Thursday, April 30, 2015

April UFO

This darn UFO is almost a quilt top. It was a good effort but is taking so long in the designing stage. I added a 1.5" blue border, and then put the extra block parts on point. I didn't have enough blocks to complete the border it wanted, and I am still scrounging through the scraps trying to stretch them to make enough blocks. 
Also, I have not figured out the corners yet. Slowly chugging along... chug, chug, chug...
Good Enough!

This project is much closer to becoming a quilt, so I have decided to call the effort "good enough" for this month. I will put this UFO on the top of the "to do" list for May, and maybe more progress will be made.

And guess what? Bonnie is doing Quilt Cam tonight and I'll be getting out my hand stitching. Why don't you grab a project to work on, and I'll "see" you there at 9 pm.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Quilt Show Prep

This is what I was doing when I got home from work yesterday ... sewing hanging sleeves and labels on the back of quilts for the quilt show.
I was really annoyed with myself for leaving this job to the last minute, especially the labels. It really doesn't take much time when you sew a label into the binding. And I strongly believe that every quilt should have a label, so why don't I do that when I am finishing a quilt? 

**Note to self: when you are finishing a binding, tuck a little label in the corner.... you know you want to!

Today everything is done and here is the pile of quilts ready to go. I am hoping in the car to drive them over to the tireless committee that is collecting the quilts. It's like dropping your children off at the babysitter and hoping all will be well!
Be good, and I'll see you at the show on Friday. 
(Yes, I am talking to my quilts!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Life Is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful block #6
I have finished stitching block #6 for my Life is Beautiful quilt. Every time I finish stitching a block I say to myself "this is my favourite one so far"!

And this week my quilt guild is pulling off another miracle. They are building a show of amazing quilts! It really is a miracle when so many people make the effort to work together, to take an empty room and fill it with an incredible display of quilts. It is being held this Friday and Saturday in Guelph, Ontario, so be sure to come if you are within driving distance. Prepare to be inspired! Details are here.
And of course I am sewing on the hanging sleeves, which I always leave to the last minute and then am mad at myself for doing that! But still, I do it every time!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Design Wall Monday

It's the last week of April and my UFO of the month is still on the design wall in pieces. These are Carolina Chain blocks from Quiltmaker magazine. Looking at a quilt layout on a computer screen is always a good idea before sewing it together... I just noticed there is one block that is sideways. It's easy to fix at this stage!
I am making the leftover blocks into a border. I put them on point and am framing them with blue because it was the only batik dot fabric that I had enough of to do the job! It's very close to being a finished top and that's my goal for this week.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching - Hand Beading

This is a long post today with lots of photos so be forewarned! I took a beading class this week with Anne Marie Desaulniers. I used to do a lot of beading on fabric in the past and I have made many beaded quilts. But recently I have been enamoured with hand embroidery and hand quilting, and had gotten away from my beading. This class reminded me how much I love it and hope to incorporate more beading into my hand work. 
Here is my finished bead encrusted piece which I am calling "Killarney". It measures 2.5" square and contains hundreds of beads (mostly sizes 8, 11 and my favorite size 15) some watch gears, a cabochon made by Anne Marie, some stones, and other treasures I found in the bead box.
Here are the steps we went through following Anne Marie's instruction...

Step #1 Select a base size for the project and a foundation fabric. This is a piece of my brother's shirt.
Step #2 Select a cabochon and some coordinating beads. Attach cabochon with peyote bezel.
Step #3 Audition colours, found items, and beads, and cluster them around cabochon.
Step #4 Start to sew down the parts you know you like. Listen for the story that is developing.
Step #5 Fix things that you don't like. I added a piece of a brown shirt behind the watch cog.
Step #6 You don't have to know the whole design, just stitch down what you know you like.
Step #7 Create movement with lines of beads.

Step #8 Audition beads in open areas.
Step #9 Have fun and try some specialty beading stitches.
Step #10 Continue to add design around cluster.
Step #11 Do the grunt work and fill in all the edges with size 15 beads.

And voila... you have magically created an intuitively beaded story! These steps make it sound easy, and I have to admit that it really is not. You mostly have to "get out of your own way" and learn to listen to your own inner creative voice. You can take a class with Anne Marie and make one for yourself if you live near Toronto, Canada - click here for more information about her classes.
What are your hands creating this week? Link up your blog post below and share your project with other hand stitchers around the world. We love to see what you're stitching!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Scrappy Saturday

There wasn't much progress made in the scrap department here this week.
I have sewed up a few purple scraps - one lonely Alamo star was finished, and one pumpkin seed block was finished. But many more seed blocks were cut and prepped for hand stitching.  I am reminding myself that every bit helps and I look forward to some time for hand applique to finish these seed blocks.
To see more purple progress, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, April 24, 2015

UFO Update

Only one more week is left until the end of the month! My UFO of the month is making some progress, but much too slowly.
I finished sewing 42 Carolina Chain blocks with the scraps I had, so the quilt will be 6 blocks across and 7 blocks down, plus a few partial blocks left over. I am pondering whether to put the leftover blocks on the back or make a border.
It looks like I may need to alter my goal to make this into a quilt top by the end of the month, instead of a finished quilt!

I didn't remember that there is a Spring Shop Hop happening this weekend in my area. I hope to have time on Saturday to at least hop to some of the shops. 
So much fun to be had... so little time!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Antidote for Cabin Fever

You probably haven't suffered from a severe case of cabin fever if you don't live in a part of the world where more than half of the year is spent mostly indoors because it's too cold, dark, rainy or snowing to go outside for long.
Don't forget to look up!
According to the Urban Dictionary, cabin fever is defined as "a type of hysteria brought on by spending too much time indoors". Hysteria might be a bit of an extreme description, but at this time of year I do start to feel a bit desperate to get outside and enjoy some sunlight and fresh air. And we all feel a little giddy when it is not pitch dark after supper!! This was my view while I was sitting in my backyard stitching the evening away earlier this week. You have to get outside while the sun shines, because yesterday it was snowing again. Ugh.

That's okay, because I have a perfect antidote for cabin fever... learning new beading stitches with Anne Marie Desaulnier and the Canadian Embroiders' Guild. I put stitches in hundreds of beautiful beads and feel so much better. I am almost finished my project and will post more photos when I get a chance to take some. If you are tired of the weather where you are, surround yourself with colour and beads and fabric, and you'll feel much better 100% guaranteed!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Busy and Creative Week

It's a busy schedule here at Kathy's Quilts this week.
Yesterday I visited the Bluewater Quilters' Guild and gave a presentation and showed some of my quilts (the quilt being show isn't mine... it's the raffle quilt for their quilt show).
From Cheryl Richardson's Extreme Self Care

There was a full house, and a very enthusiastic audience. It was a wonderful evening seeing some friends I haven't seen for about 3 years since I last spoke at the guild for their 25th anniversary. 
And in case there are any of you reading my blog today, here is a little reminder for you. Thank you so much for a great evening Bluewater!

And today I started a beading class with Anne-Marie Desaulnier... I can't believe my luck! Just wait until you see what we are up to!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Design Floor

Because my design walls are covered in UFO's (I know, I know ...LOL) I had to use "the design floor". I was so close to getting these blocks together and knew that with some concentrated effort it could be accomplished.
Then look who comes along to "help" - the Granddog Max. He was so happy to park himself right in the middle of the action. I felt like the Grinch making him get off the quilt - click here to hear what I sounded like.

I have been sewing the rows together on my new/old 1952 Featherweight, (recently named Charity) which is sewing beautifully. Ahhhh... precision sewing on a quiet machine with a perfect stitch. Heaven!

To see more design wall/floor postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching - Project Bag

Life is Beautiful Block #5

This week I have been stitching on my Life Is Beautiful project. I finished my 5th block which had some fun stitches, including a feather stitch down the middle of the pear. 

One of the best things about hand stitching is that it is a portable activity. Wherever I go, I always have my hand stitching project bag with me. This is the shop hop bag I made many years ago and I still use it to carry projects in. It's lightweight and just the perfect size to be an easy take-along. Most people are sure to take their purse, a wallet, keys, or other necessities when they leave the house, (and I do take those things too), but I always take some hand stitching with me - just in case. In case I have waiting time, down time, traffic jam time, or visiting time, I can keep my hands busy and my heart calm and happy. 

And what's inside my bag? Today it has my next Life Is Beautiful block in it, along with everything I might need - hoop, thread, and scissors. Every project bag needs it's own pair of scissors, since there is nothing worse than having lots of stitching time but no scissors to cut your thread!
How do you carry your hand stitching projects around with you? Link up your hand stitching blog post below and your project bag/box/tote ideas with us.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Scrappy Saturday

Thanks for all the encouragement and suggestions that were offered for my scrappy spools layout last Saturday. I have started to sew the diagonal spool rows and am using my little purple Alamo Star blocks for leader/enders. These are the blocks that were finished this week, which means 16 seams per block x 4 blocks for a total of more than 100 spool seams sewn :) 
To see more purple scrap projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Scrap Squad Sewing

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Beths Stars in My Crayon BoxDid you see Pam's Scrap Squad quilt posted this week? If not, click here to hop over and see her quilt. I love her version of this pattern and all the creative changes she made that make it so unique. I am making the same pattern this month as Pam did, and mine will not look anything like either the original pattern or Pam's version. That is one of the best things about quilting - each quilter adds their own unique creative touches to everything they sew.
I had all my blocks on the go for my Scrap Squad quilt, but it was lacking a little bit of spark. I just kept staring at the blocks and wondering "what else...."
So I did a little stash enhancement to get the creative juices flowing and just look at this great batik turtle fabric I found to use.

More turtle blocks are being adding in, I'm planning to add a paper pieced block, and some photo transfers to my quilt.

Okay... back to cutting up turtles!
Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mid Week Hand Quilting

If you need to relax and stay put, hand quilting is just what the Doctor needs to order. I had some cryosurgery for skin issues this week, and my recovery included lots of hand quilting!
I finished the top third of Always Home, and am happy with how it is looking. I am now quilting straight lines in the outside border following the plaid lines. You can probably see it best in the green border across the top.
I started quilting this wallhanging a year ago today while watching the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta. It's now one year later and this project really needs to be finished before next year's tournament! It's well on the way, and I think I'm very close to finishing the middle section. I may need to prolong my recovery!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More about Ricky...

You didn't think that I would only write one blog post about my day with Ricky, did you? My family is certainly tired of hearing about him, so maybe you are too?
This is what I'm pondering today...

Border feathering in Ricky's quilt
**Ricky reminded me of how much I enjoy feather quilting! I love the look of feathers and can't get enough of them. But honestly... just look at Ricky's feathers! He generously shared so many tips about his technique and I am reading over his notes, wondering if I am brave enough to try his method of bobbin feathers combined with micro stippling?!? So beautiful!  For sure I will be looking for places to quilt more feathers, even if I just use my own method for now.

**I think the best you can hope for as a quilting teacher is to you inspire someone enough to keep progressing in their own life and/or quilting journey. And Ricky did that and so much more for me. 
ordinary miracles
From Beyond Waiting
He inspired me to be my ordinary self in the telling the story of the salesman who sold a sewing machine to his granny, which was a sale that changed the future. When his granny died, Ricky reluctantly inherited her old sewing machine. Because of her old sewing machine, Ricky learned to quilt, and that dramatically changed his life. We all have opportunities to do ordinary things that change peoples' lives now and in the future, in ways we will never know.

**There are many types of inspiration - visual, technical skill, spiritual, auditory, musical, just to name a few. I got it all filled up, full to the top and flowing over on Saturday. I discovered for the first time that a human brain can only take in so much information, beauty and  inspiration at one time. I have never experienced that in my life before. 
So here's a line from Ricky's Granny that I will always remember, and you have to picture him saying it in his "South Canada" Texan accent:
"Nothin's ever happened that couldn't have been worse".
So here's a song to start your day, by Great Big Sea from Newfoundland,  since that's where Ricky is today...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Design Wall Monday

It is almost the middle of the month, and my UFO goal was to have the blocks completed by now. 
Not happening! 
I do have 25 blocks made and on the design wall, so that's a start at least. That is going to be another eye popper!

I have tons of block parts laying around here. I started these Carolina Chain blocks as a leader/ender project in 2010 - without a plan. And that is making it a little more challenging to put together now... which is also why it has been a UFO for so long. I don't have much more of these scraps, so will either add in new batik dot fabrics, or make the backing out of the odd blocks and call it a day finish the quilt.

This is how my sewing machine looks while I'm working on the blocks. One pair is already past the needle, parts are waiting to be sewn, and Alamo Star pieces are standing by as a leader/ender when needed!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

Yesterday was spent basking in the creative brilliance of Ricky Tims. 

Yep, he came to Canada (from "South Canada") making 3 stops so far, and is travelling on to St. John's Newfoundland to meet the quilters there on Tuesday. I just know he is going to love it there, and they will love him.
This is the syllabus that Ricky used for his master class. He taught so many quiltmaking techniques by lunch time I thought my brain might explode! 

Louise and Ricky

I cannot say enough effusive things about the whole experience of being with him. He is a great quilt teacher with a fabulous sense of humour, a captivating storyteller, and a brilliant musician. He spent every extra bit of time at this table endlessly signing books, and taking photos, and talking with the 

In the evening, he treated us to a wonderful concert and more entertaining, hilarious, and moving stories. It was inspiring and enlightening, and I feel so blessed to have been there.

Life Is Beautiful Block #4

So today I have a Ricky hangover, and I am tired from too much sensory overload - what a great problem to have!

I need some Slow Sunday Stitching. I have finished block #4 for my Life is Beautiful quilt, which is certainly a perfect block to have sewn this week.

I played with the variegated threads to emphasize the words love and life, and the 3 apples on the tree. Maybe it's too subtle, but I know it's there!

What are you working on my slow stitching friends? Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project for today.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Scrappy Saturday - Spools

While I had the large portable design wall up from last Friday, I thought I would take the opportunity to put all my spool blocks on the wall and see where the project is at. 

I have been making spool blocks since July 2013, and definitely have enough blocks to make a good size quilt. How many are there? 580 spools are in this layout so far! That's a lot of scraps!

I had planned on a totally scrappy layout, but then was drawn to try a rainbow layout, especially since this is a long time rainbow scrap challenge project!

I made the last four purple spool blocks for this quilt on my new/old Singer Featherweight. I got her working, and am so relieved she is not a boat anchor! She sews a very pretty stitch with good tension, and is a delight to sew on! I had to put a piece of tape down to mark the 1/4" seam. 
I am taking Swooze's suggestion made on a previous post and will call her "Charity". It seems like the perfect name for this machine considering how she came to join my herd.
To see what bloggers are sewing with their purple scraps today, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A date with Ricky

I am late posting today because I am packing up to go and see Ricky Tims! Well, to be honest, it's not just me and him. There will be a few hundred other quilters there, plus me and my friend Louise! I am beside myself with excitement and can't wait to fill up my creative well listening to, and learning from, this amazing quilter and musician. I saw him in Paducah in 2009 and it was a great experience.
Check out Ricky Tims' facebook page to see how the quilters in Saskatchewan arrived to meet Ricky. We will not be traveling in quite that much luxury! 
However, I may be wearing my cowboy hat since he always wears his! 
I have a rainbow scrap challenge update prepared to post tomorrow, so you'll have to check back on Sunday to read all about the Ricky date!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Is Spring really here??

This past weekend I was at my cousin's daughter's wedding celebration. She is an inspiring young woman, who has worked hard in her life. She is almost finished nurses training, and I am so proud of her!  I don't know how she managed to plan her wedding and study for final exams, but she did. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside!

This is where she had her photos taken - at my cousin's barn! Not exactly a traditional setting for wedding photos, but she married a farmer, so it was the perfect setting for them.

Here is the happy couple! I only took a couple of photos because I had to get myself inside... it was really cold! They have newlywed love to keep them warm I guess ;)

In between travelling and visiting with relatives, I got quite a bit of hand stitching done on my "Always Home" quilt.  I finished the top two blocks and started quilting the borders around the top. And I left my hoop there... ugh! What is a quilter to do? I'll just have to go "hoopless"!

Guess who I saw??

I saw my first robin for 2015. Looks like we all survived another great Canadian winter!