Thursday, July 30, 2015

July Binding Blitz

Can you believe I did not finish one single quilt in the month of June? However, I did make progress on many projects, which enabled me to finish 3 quilts in July.

The first finish is a wallhanging called "Always Home" (pattern by Country Quilts and I bought my copy at Heart 'n Home). All the fabrics in this quilt are plaid homespuns which makes it a soft quilt. It was very relaxing to sew the 124" of plaid binding around this finished quilt. I wish I would've had enough fabric to cut a bias binding, which my favourite in plaids, but I didn't so it's a regular bifold binding.

The second July finish is my  Scrap Squad quilt made with Kansas Troubles fabrics, and the binding used up most of the leftover scraps. This photo shows the backing of the quilt.  The perimeter of this quilt is 268".

The third finish is a "Tiny Tumble" that was started and finished within the same month! That's about as rare as a unicorn - you've heard of them, but not seen one before! Here it is! It adds a whole 33" to my binding total for the month.

At the end of July, let's tally the binding stitched so far this year:
January - 586"
February - 326"
March - 564" 
April - 0"
May - 385" 
June - 0"
July - 425" 

Total = 2,286"

I'll link up to the Binding Blitz party over at Julie's at the end of the month.
I intend to just celebrate that binding total, and not even notice that my UFO of the month did not become one of the quilts that were finished this month. Sheesh. I wanted it to be, but it just didn't happen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scrap Squad Inspiration - Six Versions on the Same Pattern

For your creative inspiration (and for my failing memory) I like to post all the versions the Scrap Squad created for the pattern of the month. This is our 3rd assignment of the year, and there were four members of the squad that made this pattern called "Hero's Homecoming" by Janice Averill, from the July/August Quiltmaker magazine. This quilt has a square layout of 10 blocks across and down.

Julie Huffman from Idaho made her awesome version of the same pattern with blue, pink, yellow and green. She called it Dogwoods in Bloom and the layout is 4 blocks across and 6 down.

And then Julie even made a second variation of the same design is red, white and blue for a veteran's organization.This layout is 6 blocks across and 8 blocks down.

Version #6 by me

And as I posted on Friday, I made my Kansas Troubles version from the same pattern. I made a square quilt using 8 blocks by 8 blocks.

Isn't it amazing to see them all together and notice how each quilt appears so different depending on the use of colour and value?!? Yet another reason to totally love quilting!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Design Wall - Organized Choas

I am still working on making vortex blocks from thousands of tiny scraps. If you saw my design wall post from last week, you'll notice that the chaos has been organized into rows. Now it is starting to look more like a quilt.

How did I figure this out you ask? The comments from last week's post were very helpful, but it wasn't until I visited some wineries over the weekend that I could visualize the solution. I know it's a bit unorthodox to be inspired at the winery, but that's the truth of what happened. 

I went for a wine tasting tour and saw these skids of bottles of wine. As soon as I saw these boxes, I thought they looked like quilt blocks, and my brain suddenly understood how to piece the quilt top. It showed me how to offset different lengths of blocks while keeping the block height the same. Now that is serendipity!

I came home and started to sew the blocks together in rows. I put an episode of Quiltcam on the computer and enjoyed some free form block construction while listening to Bonnie Hunter chat as she sewed in her basement. It was very relaxing.
The scraps I'm sewing now are from that giant jar that you see on the left of the photo. The jar was given to me by my friends at quilt camp. It's so fun to include scraps from the quilts that my friends have sewn.
The plan of the moment is to make the rows a bit wider than my design wall, which is 49", and then sew the rows together. I have 5 rows started and I think I'll make 7 or 8 rows, so I still have quite a bit of sewing to do.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching Finish

The "Tiny Tumble" quilt is finished!
It started out as a leader/ender project, but was so much fun to work on that I just couldn't leave it alone. I started and finished this little quilt within the same month... now that is a rare occurrence! 
It measures 8" x 8.5" and is made of 108 tumbler patches. My favourite patches are the 3 teal tigers that were fussy cut from a scrap of fabric.

There are so many seams in this quilt, with very little area for quilting without having to go through a lot of seams. So I just hand quilted right across the middle of each row.
This was such a fun project that I'm kind of sad that it's finished. Now that's crazy!

What are you hand stitching today?
I'll be making more appliqued seed blocks since the tiny tumble is done.
Link up your blog post below and share your project with us.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Scrappy Saturday

Today I am hand appliqueing a few red pumpkin seed blocks. It's a hot summer day, so it's perfect for sitting in the shade and enjoying some stitching.
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other red scraps are being sewn.

It's also a perfect day to enjoy some fresh summer fruits!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Scrap Squad Quilt #3

Today is the big reveal of my scrap squad quilt over at the Quiltmaker blog, where you can read all the details about the creative process.
The biggest surprise for me when  making this quilt was how much I disliked it when I was sewing the rows together, and then how much I liked it when it was done! My feelings went from one extreme to the other, and that has never  happened to me before when making a quilt.
The thing about this quilt is that the farther away from it you are, the better it looks. It's true. 
And that's weird, right?
Anyway, it used up almost all of my Kansas Troubles fabric scraps and emptied an entire tote bin.
You know what that means?
I'm going fabric shopping!
I also want to announce the winner of the Cozy Afternoon giveaway from Jacquelynne. There were 89 comments on that post, and the random number generator picked #39, which is Margaret! Congrats to you Margaret, and check your email because the patterns will be emailed directly to you.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Who likes chaos?

I have been happily sewing more scraps into vortex blocks but my sewing room is a total disaster. I'm going to have to stop soon because the mess is getting to me, and you know "it's bad when"....
In the photo I showed on Monday, I just have all the different sized blocks stuck to the design wall, and now I have to figure out how to sew them all together somehow.
I reread Amanda Jean's week #5 lesson about vortex layouts and construction, but it all seems a bit overwhelming at the moment.
I am wondering about how to bring structure and organization to the scrappy chaos.
Should I sew it together in rows? Add sashing?  Make all the blocks up to the same size and frame them? Or join them?
Or just let it be chaos?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Design Wall Monday Vortex

The Vortex is back!

Being in the vortex is addictive I tell you! The whole process is fun. I like digging in my scrap bags, wondering where the fabric came from and piecing together little bits that don't really go together in a perfect quilting project.

And then something wonderful happens... like you suddenly find Popeye! Where on earth did he come from? And then you start singing the song, and googling the lyrics that you can't remember. And you try to recall the characters names, and wonder what years you might have been watching the cartoon on TV. 
You're deep in a rabbit hole in the vortex!
I'm having too much fun to stop yet, and heaven knows I have enough scraps to make a few of these ;)
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

8 Things That Make You Happier (aka attend a TOGA event!)

On Saturday I attended my first TOGA event. No, we didn't wear any togas, although it was so hot it might have been a good idea to keep cool.  This was a gathering of people who have a passion for vintage human powered sewing machines.
We did all the things that research indicates will make you a happier person - click here to read the list from website
If the research is accurate, we should all be deliriously happy this week!

Here's the top 8 things:

1. Thank someone. 
A big thank you to Harry and Sharon who hosted the event in their home. We were treated to a viewing of an incredible collection of vintage and people powered sewing machines. Thank you to the people who provided yummy food, and who organized and participated in the raffle and block swap. Thank you to everyone who generously shared their knowledge of and experience with vintage machine maintenance and repairs. And thanks to Marge for the mementos she made for everyone.

2. Spend money on someone else. 
Oh boy did we spend money! On machine parts, and books, and new/old machines, and we bought raffle tickets to support the cost of the event. Technically I guess we spent money on ourselves and funding our fun, but that's okay too :)

3. Give 5 hugs. Done!
There were so many wonderful people to meet. This is Sharon (our hostess), me, and Carol (our organizer). It was fun to put faces to the names of the people from the Treadle On yahoo groups.

4. Do stuff you're good at
Well I'm good at it now, since I have gained the knowledge and experience that the experts shared with me.
Ears up. 
Don't give up - when you're just about ready to quit, it will work!
Grease on gears.
All important tidbits!

5. Do 5 nice things for others
Mostly others were doing nice things for me, but I was nice also! LOL!
How many hands does it take to mount a hand crank? These were just a couple of the hands that worked on this one - many people also gave suggestions.

6. Create something to look forward to
Note to self - attend next year's event!

7. Spend time with friends.
Common interests and values sure make fast friends. I finally met Cheryl, whose blog I have been following for a long time. She came from Illinois to attend the event. Here she is learning how to thread her new/old Betsy Ross miniature hand crank. And it made a perfect chain stitch!

8. Before bed, write down 3 good things that happened today
*safely travelled to Michigan and back, with only a couple of "detours"/being lost!
*met amazing and talented sewing machine experts, and learned some new skills that I've always been interested in!
*saw some of the most beautiful and rare sewing machines on the planet!

I left home with one machine needing repair, and came home with three machines needing repairs. 
How did that happen?!? LOL
That's a whole other story for another day.

Slow Sunday Stitching

"Hmm.... what's this... A CAT?"
It's slow sunday stitching time!
I am doing everything a little more slowly today due to all the excitement I have had this month so far! 
Last week while visiting fellow slow stitcher Deanna in North Bay, I finished another block for my Life is Beautiful project. 
"Who's cuter? Dogs or cats?"
My work was checked by Belle the canine inspector. She was not amused that it was a cat. She tried to show me how cute she was, and asked if there was a dog block also? Of course there is, and I reassured her that no one was cuter than her. She is adorable!
Life is Beautiful block #13
And here is the finished block - "Life is what you make it to be". I am living that out this month with so many weekend adventures that I can hardly keep up with myself. But I am hand stitching everywhere I go, and having a blast! 
How's your summer going?
Tell us about your hand stitching project, and link up your blog post below.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Scrappy Saturday

These are the newest Alamo star blocks that have been sewn as a real leader-ender project, while I was sewing my tumblers as a fake leader-ender project! It's really hard to resist when a project takes over your sewing brain, which is what happened with my mini tumble.

To see more red scrap projects being sewn this month, hop over to SoScrappy.
Today I am in Michigan learning about the maintenance and restoration of human powered vintage sewing machines. It sounds very "geek like" when I say this out loud to someone who is "normal", but this stuff just "turns my crank"... LOL! That's a funny joke for quilters who love hand crank machines :)

I'm also doing a hand quilting demo with Cheryl, so I'm taking my Mini Tumble to quilt. Cheryl is a 'stabber' and I'm a 'rocker' (hmmm.... now that's a sentence you don't hear every day!) so we'll be a good combination to demo these techniques. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Good news Friday!

From CQA
I have some great news that I can share today... I was accepted as an instructor at Quilt Canada 2016! The announcement was made on the CQA facebook page so now the cat is out of the bag! I will be teaching "Intuitive Beading on Quilts" and am so excited that I don't know how I will ever wait until next June!
Start saving your pennies (well, we don't have pennies anymore in Canada, so save your nickels) and mark your calendars for June 15 to 18 next year. It's in Toronto and I promise you it will be a great quilting event to attend!

Are you tired of hearing about (but not seeing) my scrap squad quilt? The big reveal is next week, so only a couple more days to wait.
I have been machine quilting this week, using a large stipple design. It's going to be a sofa quilt, and will be well used, so I'm not doing anything fancy for the quilting. Almost done.

Another exciting thing happening today is that I am on my way to Michigan to learn how to convert an electric sewing machine to a people powered sewing machine. This is something I have wanted to learn for so long, and now I have the opportunity to do it! Carpe Diem, right? 
This is my 1920's Federation treadle head machine that I am converting to a hand crank machine. I am also taking another machine to convert. The "how to" instructions are here, but are a little hard for me to understand, so now is my chance to learn from the Treadle On experts in person.
Stay tuned for a report when I get back from this whirlwind trip...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Good Friends

Belle is saying "Kathryn step away from the tumblers"!

When I became obsessed with my tiny tumblers that I showed yesterday, I was really supposed to be finishing my next scrap squad quilt. Even Miss Belle was trying to be helpful. She sat under my sewing table with her paw near the foot pedal, ready to assist at any time.

The problem was that I got totally sidetracked with the mini tumblers. They were so cute and the rows went together so easily that I just couldn't put them down. 
My friends tried to be so helpful in encouraging me to get to work. They offered me treats - just look at this delicious dessert, which I may or may not have had a few pieces of. 
See the quilt top in a pile there behind the dessert?!? And one little Alamo star piece, which is really truly a leader-ender project, under the needle.
When the dessert and encouragement didn't work, they offered me money. This is not a good photo of me, but I'm posting it anyway because it makes me smile.
You know you have good friends when they bribe you with cash so you can meet your publishing deadline! They dangled the money from the Ott light over my tumblers and said if I finished piecing the scrap squad quilt top by lunch time, I could have the $20. This photo is just so funny... they have the webbed quilt top hanging behind me (which I blocked out since I'm not supposed to reveal it until the publish date on the Quiltmaker site)  and the cash dangling right in front of me, but I was so obsessed with the tumblers that I was not seeing anything around me.
FYI - I did finish the tumblers and the scrap squad quilt top, thanks to my friends. However, I forgot about that money and accidentally left the $20 hanging from the light!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tiny Tumble - Leader/Ender???

I had a fabulous time at "Quilt Camp North" on the weekend.  Deanna and I are the biggest Bonnie Hunter fans, and Bonnie's leader-ender project this year is a tumbler quilt
Of course we wanted to start one, but a) we both have gazillions of UFOs and shouldn't start a new project, and b) neither one of us had a tumbler ruler. We talked about how we don't like to purchase a ruler only to use it for one project. Deanna searched around in her sewing room, and found a ruler we could use to cut tumblers. It's called a "squedge" ruler. I cut some 1.5" strips and this ruler worked perfectly to cut out the tumbler shapes. 

The pieces were sooooo cute that I decided to make a "mini tumble".
It was irresistible!
I sewed a couple of tumblers as a leader/ender, and then ditched my main projects, and only worked on the tumbler until it was finished. 

Here is the finished top with 108 tumblers!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cozy Afternoon

Block #3 of Cozy Afternoon is on the design wall today.
The butterfly and the flower in the stitchery make it a perfect block to sew in the middle of the summer! 
It's not too late to sign up for this free BOM if you haven't yet - click here. When you sign up, you will get all of the previous blocks, and it won't take you long to catch up.

Jacqueline's instructions for this block have you making the corner blocks in a really creative way that was fun to sew. Here's the outdoor photo shoot of my block ... so pretty!
The colours on both of these photos aren't great, but you get the idea, right?

Here is the list of blogs to visit to gather inspiration for your blocks:

A Quilt and a Prayer

Lily Pad Quilting
Red Letter Quilts
The Crafty Quilter

44th Street Fabric 


And look at this July giveaway from Jacquelynne! To win a copy of these patterns, just leave a comment on my blog and tell me your favourite summer beverage. The giveaway will be open until July 19th - good luck!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

Here is the next finished embroidery block for my Life is Beautiful project.
Life Is Beautiful Block #12
Notice a few things that are not quite right about this one? This is the block where I switched up the graphics and text between two blocks (click here to read about that). You can see I didn't do a great job of centering the design, but that's not fixable at this point. C'est la vie! The words are a little wobbly too. Oh well. 
But the one thing that is fixable, is the seaweed on the right of the fish. Somehow when I traced the lines, I didn't connect the seaweed with the bottom curve.Ugh... that was bugging me. 

So I put it on the wall for a day or two to see if I could live with it and nope... I can't. 
Must have closure!
I reminded myself of Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) and his need for "compulsive closure".  Click here for the video clip.
See how I fixed it? Ahhhh... so much better now! It's not my favourite block in any way, but you can't love 'em all!
What are you hand stitching today? Are you working on "closure"?!?  And speaking of closure, if you missed my post on Thursday, I finally finished my hand quilted wallhanging "Always Home".
Here in North Bay, we are sitting in the gazebo enjoying some hand stitching. I'll post more about that next week.
Link up your blog post below... we'd love to see what you are hand stitching today.