Saturday, May 30, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching & Auction Report

Life is Beautiful Block #9
What crazy weather we had yesterday! It was so hot in the morning, I didn't know if I would be able to stay at the quilt auction, and you just know it must be really  bad when I can't stay at a quilt event! I did work on some hand embroidery to distract myself from melting, and finished block #9 of Life Is Beautiful.

My little sewing group's Sunshine Quilt was sold for $450 and we are very happy about that! We have raised over $2,000 for the relief efforts of the MCC.

In February I made a block for the "Canada: What it means to me" quilt. You can see my block to the top left of the centre medallion. You can read more about it here.
This quilt sold for $3,200!!

Photo by Dolores Sedore

The top seller of the day was the "Threads of Africa" quilt (read more about it here). This photo was emailed to me by Dolores and is much better than the photo I took at the auction. It really is a spectacular quilt... 
it sold for $42,000!
For real! It was very exciting to be there, and made the heat exhaustion worthwhile.

In the afternoon there was a huge downpour, and the temperature became more bearable. When it was time to leave, we had to swim to our cars! Just look at all that rain. The gardens needed the rain, but so much rain fell so quickly that the ground couldn't absorb it.

Don't little boys love to play in puddles? And this was a very big puddle for them to enjoy. I watched these guys have fun for quite a while.
I think they enjoyed the puddle as much as I enjoyed the quilt auction!

And while I waited to leave, it continued to rain, and I continued to stitch. The stitches are a little wobbly so don't biggy size the photo. The traffic was at a stand still, and look how much I got stitched on my next block! I will be putting more stitches in today.

What are you hand stitching? Link up your blog post below and share a photo of where you do your hand stitching. In a car, at the park, in the waiting room, on the patio... any place is a great stitching place!

Scrappy Saturday

All the green pumpkin seeds that I cut last weekend were appliqued this week. I had some fun with them on the design wall, which lead to lots of border ideas for this quilt using leftover blocks.
To see the last green scrappy posting for the month, hop over to SoScrappy. I am looking forward to getting out the blue scraps for June's adventures.

As has been my tradition for many years, today I will be attending the annual Mennonite Quilt Auction, which raises money for international relief efforts. Over 200 quilts will be auctioned, and my little group's quilt is #134 in the catalogue. If you are there, come say hi to me... just look for the person in the crowd who is hand stitching!

Friday, May 29, 2015


Major progress happened yesterday on May's UFO. It definitely was not the quilting fairies that showed up to do the work... just ask my sore back!

The quilt was pin basted.

Bobbins were wound.
I always begin quilting a project by winding 3 bobbins to give me a running start. This quilt is getting blue thread in the bobbin and taupe thread on top to blend with the variety of colours in the quilt. Of course I am using Aurifil... my sewing machine's favourite thread!

And then the quilting started. I decided to quilt all straight lines - between the block vertically and horizontally, and then diagonally through the chains. It's a bit boring, but the quilt didn't want an allover design... so straight lines it is!

Less than 3 days days until the end of May, and the end is in sight!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Working on the May UFO

During today's sewing time I finally got the outside border on. It really didn't take long to do since I just wanted a narrow float border. 

Then I did completed the  very glamorous job of hand stitching three pieces of scrap batting together. 
I also started piecing a backing from the quilt leftovers, so hopefully the pin basting will take place tomorrow and the machine quilting can start.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scrap Batting - Dog Beds

In January I wrote a blog post about how to use leftover batting scraps - click here to read it. One of the ideas was to make a dog bed. Most people throw small batting scraps, block trimmings, and scraps into the trash. 
But I save everything, and yes I have a "problem" (actually more than one!) Only fabric scraps that are less than 1" go into little dog beds (everything that is 1" goes to the Omigosh tin and everything larger than 1" goes into scrap bins)Batting scraps are only saved if they are larger than 6". Any smaller batting scraps go into a dog bed.

For example, you know when you are trimming a quilt to put the binding on? What do you do with the extra batting that you cut off?
I cut the batting into smaller hunks and stuff it into either an old pillowcase, or a bag that I have stitched with old fabric.
Full dog bed on the left & new bag being filled on the right.

Eventually you end up with a bag full of soft filling that makes a comfy little bed for an animal at the humane society shelter. These are used temporarily as they are hard to wash and dry, but they do give some comfort to a homeless furry creature for a period of time. And it gives my quilting garbage one more job to do before it hits the landfill.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cozy Afternoon Beading - Silk Thread

I am preparing some blocks for the reveal of the free Cozy Afternoon Block of the Month.  The first patterns will be available on June 15th. Have you signed up yet? Click here to join in.
Playing with wooden beads

I had fun playing in the bead box and picking just the right beads for these flowers.
When attaching the beads, I tried out the new silk thread I bought last week. 

Kimono Silk Thread

It is a finer thread than Nymo, which is my usual beading thread. And it didn't seem to split as much on the ends so threading the needle was easier. I must say after my first experience that I really like this thread and look forward to using it more.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Design Wall Monday

My UFO of the month is back on the design wall, hoping for some attention. These are scrappy Carolina Chain blocks (block pattern by Bonnie Hunter). 
I still haven't added the final blue border and only have one more week left in the month to finish this up. 
It could happen!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

The longer I've been quilting, the more I find myself wanting to personalize my projects. I want to try something new, or add in some extra elements. You probably noticed that happening with my latest scrap squad quilt. It's hard for me to follow a pattern, and not think "what would happen if I....?"

Sometimes it's a bit more of a challenge than I bargained for!
I wanted to change two of my Life is Beautiful blocks. It didn't make sense to  have a saying starting with 'life is a flower...' combined with a fish design, so I thought I would switch the text on these two blocks. Sounds like a good idea, right?!?

So I cut the patterns apart, switched the centres, and tried to iron the newly constructed block patterns. However, the tape I used to put the new blocks together... guess what.. it melted onto my iron! DUH! 
Of course it melted! 
What was I thinking?!?!
So I had to stop ironing the transfer, and ended up having to retrace the patterns with a frixion pen. The fish has been retraced, and is ready to begin stitching today. The creative idea was good, but the technique... not so much!

What are you working on for Slow Sunday Stitching? If you are enjoying a project that involves a needle in your hand, link up your blog post below and share your progress.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scrappy Saturday - Green Pumpkin Seeds

It was time to add a bit more green to my pumpkin seed quilt. I took out all of the blocks and admired how many green ones I had finished.  As you can see I still had one purple block to finish from last month, and one green block to finish.

Then I got to work cutting and preparing a few more blocks to hand applique.

That's a wide range of green right there! They really do look much prettier in real life. I'll be stitching these up today.
To see more green scrap projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Scrap Squad Quilt #2 - Under the Sea

 Today is the day for my the big reveal of my second scrap squad quilt.

I chose to recreate the pattern by Scott Murkin called "Sea Glass".I picked this pattern from the May/June issue of Quiltmaker because I have a lot of blue in my stash (doesn't every quilter?) and because my daughter is a diver and I thought it would be fun to make a quilt for her.

I needed a bit of extra time to make my quilt because I wanted to add in two design elements - photo transfer and paper piecing. 
Thankfully fellow scrap squad member Pam Snow came to the rescue and was able to switch reveal dates with me. Just look at her gorgeous quilt! It features machine embroidered flowers in the grey squares. You can hardly see the resemblance to the original "Sea Glass" design, right?

And here is my version of "Sea Glass" which is called "Under the Sea". I stayed with a similar colour palette as the original pattern. Using the block construction method in this pattern was really fun
I also added a few photo transfers of my daughter diving, and a paper pieced sting ray block.

Here is one of my beginning photos when I was making blocks and putting them on the design wall.  As I was looking at the blocks, I was asking myself "what would help me like this quilt more"?  The quilt really came to life for me when I decided to try putting the blocks on point and it started to look like an underwater scene.  I arranged a light to dark layout from top to bottom to look like the ocean does when you're diving, and the water gets darker as you dive deeper.

Machine quilting this was so fun. Most of the quilting was wavy horizontal lines, but in the larger blue sections I experimented with quilting fish tails and swirly waves.
I had a blast making this quilt and am delighted with the outcome! It is so rewarding to look at a finished quilt and remember the journey from your first glance at the pattern, to looking at a finished quilt! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ailsa Craig Quilt Festival

This week is the Ailsa Craig Quilt Festival and the featured quilts this year are from France. 
I attended a very interesting lecture given by Marie Christine Flocard on the history of Toile de Jouy. It was such a complex process and the role of women in it's production was fascinating.

Then I got to see the quilts... ohhhh they were beautiful. I had my eyeballs right up to many of them to see the gorgeous stitches. 

There were several hand pieced and hand quilted beauties. This was one of my favourites by Nicole Trollux. It reminds me of a game we played as kids called "chinese checkers". If you've played this, you will know what I mean.

Here is a close up of what the block and the quilting looks like. The texture was amazing, and I just wanted to touch all of the quilts (but I didn't cause I know better!)

If you get a chance to see the show, you will really enjoy it. For more information you can check out the updates of the festival on their facebook page - click here.
I didn't buy much at the vendors since I was mostly interested in seeing the quilts. I did pick up a silk thread recommended by Anne Marie Desaulniers, a new quilty nail file, and a needle puller that I have seen my friend Sandy use when hand quilting. I can't wait to try it out and see if I like it.
Tomorrow I will be posting my newest Scrap Squad quilt, so I hope you'll come by and take a look!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Herd Expansion - Always Room For One More!


I found a new/old treasure for $25.00! It is a beautifully hand painted treadle head.
Did you hear that??
Yes, I fell off the wagon of not buying any more vintage machines. 

But as 

Bonnie Hunter (bad influence LOL!) says - 

"What good is a wagon if you can't fall off once in a while?" HA!

I discovered that the Federation machines were made by the Jones company. Apparently if there is a large screw head on the top of the arm between the two spool pins, it's a Jones C.S. machine.... and there is.

This is what is called a "badged machine" which means the manufacturer (Jones) puts a fancy label on the machine with the retailers name (CWS) on it.
There is no information on what this serial number means (records are not as good as Singer's).

According to the Sew Muse website:

Jones produced machines with badging for various retailers in this case for the Co-operative Wholesale Society. Dating to around 1925 it has beautiful floral decals and a scrolled C.W.S. Federation badge to the bed.

An interesting side 
note is that the Jones company merged with Brother in 1968.
There is a machine I found in the Beamish collection in the UK that looks exactly like mine, and dates it to the 1920's, so that's the date I'm going with.

This machine has a cylinder shuttle instead of a bobbin.  It's like my Singer treadle, only the shuttles are not interchangeable since they are different sizes.
This old gal needs a lot of TLC, is covered in dirt and grime, and her paint is  chipping off. But she is so happy to be in my herd where she will be loved and cleaned and treasured...  and restored to full use. 
Of course she will be named, and her name is "Frieda" Federation!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Design Wall Monday

On my design wall today is the beginning of a brand new project! It is Jacquelynne's new free Block of the Month which starts on June 15. 
I am going to be a featured blogger for the BOM, so I have a little head start with the patterns. I want to have my first two blocks ready to show on my blog on June 15th.
I am using these very pale, soft fabrics, which I am a little worried about.

It is a really different colour palette for me, and it looks very blah on the computer screen. 
But I wanted to try something light and airy for a cozy, summer afternoon project!
I decided to go ahead and make the first two blocks and if I hate them, I will still have time to restart with new fabrics!

There are three options for the block centres (pieced, appliqued, or embroidered) and I am using the bright pink embroidery floss for my blocks. It will be fun to stitch with over the summer.

You can sign up for the BOM here.
To see much more interesting design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slow Stitching Sunday

Life is Beautiful block #8

It is the Victoria Day weekend here so we have a nice 3 day weekend to relax. Some years we have gone camping, but this year there is too much to do at home. This weekend will be full of yard work and garden prep.
And some hand stitching of course! During Friday Night Sew In I finished the embroidery on block #8 of Life is Beautiful this week. 

And then I started the next block right away!  I will be putting some stitches in this bee while sitting outside today. I will look for some real bees and put out some flowers for them to enjoy.
What are you stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching with us.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Scrappy Saturday Leaders and Enders

While sewing this week, I have been very careful to have my leader/ender blocks cut and ready to go.  This is a concept that we have heard a lot about in quilt land and I think we sometimes forget how revolutionary it is. You really can make a whole separate quilt in between sewing blocks for a primary project. Leaders/enders are magical when you really think about it. You just have to be thoughtful and have the project be very organized. Do you have Bonnie's book Adventures with Leaders and Enders? Believe me, you need it!
Here are the leader/ender Alamo stars made this week in between other sewing projects.  Over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge we are using up our green scraps this month, so each star has some green in it.
The block on the lower right doesn't have as much contrast as I would like, but I left it and am hoping it will add some "interest" in the final quilt. Some fabrics don't translate as well in miniature blocks, but I reminded myself that not every block needs to be high contrast.
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other quilters are sewing with their green scraps this week.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Frenzy

It's a frenzied friday. So far today I have totally lost a blog post, cut a finger (I don't even know how) and dropped a knife on my foot (no blood, but a huge bruise). What is going on?!? Hopefully that is the end of the excitement today, and somehow the day will morph into a fabulous friday!
I have been working with photo transfer this week. I take hundreds of photographs every month and like to use them in many different ways. What I do not want to have happen is that all my photos sit in a computer and are rarely seen/enjoyed.

I am transferring some photos onto fabric to sew into a quilt. The product I am using is called Printed Treasures and it is so user friendly. The not user friendly part is getting my old computer to hook up to the new printer, but that's a whole other problem.

This is the size they need to be, and you can see that the seam allowance is going to be too wide and white on some sides. I am thinking about how to solve that problem.

In the meantime, I hope not to injure myself again or lose anything!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Paper Piecing Success

The sting ray block is completed! This was by far the hardest paper pieced block I have ever sewn. The pattern is available over at Craftsy and is by Quilt Art DesignsI am delighted that I persevered, and that it's finally finished.

I did have a bit of trouble matching some of the seams, but that was easily fixed with a permanent marker. I just added a bit of dark ink where the point of the pen is so that it looks like the seams meet up there.

I was thrilled that my daughter said it looks like a real cownose sting ray! 

Here she is feeding some, so she ought to know how they look!

Post linked to Paper Piecing Party