Thursday, March 31, 2016

UFO of the Month Tale of Woe

Swoon was my project for March and my goal was to get all 9 of the blocks machine quilted. Things were going along great (details here) until I ran out of backing fabric. I then wasted more than a week visiting quilting stores after work to see if they had any of that fabric. Of course they didn't, because it's old fabric, and I will need to piece the last two backings with scraps. 

I was able to quilt 7 of the 9 blocks. 9 blocks you say?!?
I could only find 8 blocks!
The 9th block was MIA. I thought I had sewn all the blocks, but I did remember having a problem with not having enough of one of the yellow fabrics. Clearly I didn't actually sew that block because I found the pieces in the Swoon box!
So, it's the end of the month and I am disappointed that I didn't meet my March goal, but I am farther ahead on this quilt than I was last month.
To enjoy some UFO finishes, hop over to One Monthly Goal link up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dog Beds

The quilt making process generates a lot of scraps. Some of them are too small to be used (even by me!) and some donated scraps are not useable (too flimsy, see-through, pulled threads, etc)
I put these scraps into fabric bags that I sew from old fabric I want to use up. Sometimes I use an old pillowcase.

Also, when you trim up a finished quilt before adding the binding, there is an inch or two of batting that really can't be used for anything.

In my sewing room, I cut up all of this and stuff it into a fabric bag. When the bag is almost full I sew the top closed and ... ta da...
doggie pillows.

When I have a few of these made, I take a trip over to the Humane Society. On my way over, I pick up some bags of treats to donate as a little memorial gesture to my dog Molly.  
These pillows are used as beds for dogs that are waiting for adoption. When the dog goes to it's forever home, the bag just goes into the garbage. But these pillows give the scraps one more season of usefulness before they end up as landfill.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Painting and Beading

I just finished teaching a biweekly beading class for the Canadian Embroiders' Guild and was totally inspired by these creative stitchers.
The first class we painted on fabric using Setacolor paints. In Canada these paints are available from G & S Dye.
I had forgotten how much I love to paint fabric...we had so much fun!
These are some of the paintings made by the students.

Can you see the white kosher salt? It is sprinkled on a painting to give some special effects.

Just look at how the salt is affecting this piece as it dries! The salt is not moving across the fabric, but the salt absorbs the moisture and makes it look like it is drawing the colour across the fabric.

Beaded Bindings

In the following weeks the students learned how to prepare the fabric for beading, practiced a variety of beading stitches, and discussed the process of intuitive bead designing. The last class was on beaded bindings and finishing the projects. 

These are two of the pieces made in the class. I was inpsired by these creative students, and I hope they had as much fun as I did! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Design Wall Monday

The Vortex is back! This quilt started with a quiltalong over at Crazy Mom Quilts last year.

It has been aging in the UFO closet for a while. I was feeling stuck with it, like something needed to be added, but I wasn't sure what it was. I finally decided to add some letters to the quilt.

Can you guess what I'm trying to spell?

See this bin of scraps? 
It's like a quilter's paint box! 
All the colours I need are in here, and part of the fun for a scrap quilter is to dig around for just the right colour or size of piece to add. I got out one of my favourite books Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci. 

This book gives great tips on making free pieced or "liberated" letters. I decided to make the letters in black on white prints so they will hopefully stand out enough.
I will keep continue letter construction, and I also have an idea for a pieced border, so I'm happy about the direction this quilt is taking.
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Patchwork Times. No design wall link up available today :(

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching link up where we celebrate all the benefits of hand stitching. It's also Easter, which is a busy time for some families, so I hope you can find even a few minutes in between all the activities to pick up a needle and thread and put some stitches into a project you are working on.

It is not at all Easter or Spring like around here. We had an ice storm this week that closed the schools, and shut off our power. Just look at the poor daffodils!  But it's still perfect weather to stay indoors for some slow stitching time.

I have been working on my Life Is Beautiful blocks this week. These are some of the embroidery blocks that are hand appliqued onto the 4 patch background blocks. When the fabric is cutaway from behind the circle, that piece is appliqued on the next blocks.

Here are those blocks... they have the cutaway circles appliqued to the centre of the 4 patches. 
The next step will be to start hand quilting these blocks, since the assembly is quilt-as-you-go.
But first I have to finish up the rest of the embroidery blocks.

This is the block I'll be finishing today.

What are your plans for hand stitching today?
Link up your blog post below and share how you are celebrating Easter and what you are hand stitching today. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Last Purple RSC

It has been a very productive month for using up the purple scraps kicking around my sewing room. The pumpkin seed blocks have re-emerged. I don't know why since I thought I was done making those, but I'm working on 6 more to hand applique.
Sprouts by traceyjay quilts

Then 3 scrappy sprouts blocks appeared for my fabric garden.

But then the fun really started!
I cut 125 squares and 20 strips to make another Mad City Mama block. I finally figured out what I didn't like about my first block and had an idea of how to make me like the block more. It's always a relief when a project sorts itself out and I know what I'm supposed to be doing!

Mad City Mama (from Adventures with Leaders/Enders)

Here's the finished purple version. I really like the centre block, and the light purple star corners.  So then I went back to the blue block and started to deconstruct it to remove the yellow pieces and replace them with light blue.
To see more RSC projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Circa 2016 Update

It's time for the weekly posting of my most recently sewn Circa 2016 sewalong blocks. These blocks are kind of boring, but what is exciting is that my friend Sandy is also doing the Temecula sewalong, and when she was here for FNSI last week, she brought her centre medallion to show. I apologize for the bad lighting on these photos, but you get the idea.
Here is her red version beside my civil war reproduction version. So fun!
They are cousin quilts! 

Since we made the medallion centres, we have made 12 more 3" blocks but we don't know how they are going to be connected to the medallion. That's the fun and adventure of sewing a mystery quilt.

Hop over to Temecula to see the next step. 
I love Fridays!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Quilt Canada Update

Are you coming to Quilt Canada in June? 
I have signed up for a couple of classes, a quilt show guided tour, and a lecture. Most people don't know that the decisions about which workshops and lectures will be cancelled is made three months before the event and they tend to procrastinate making their final plans until closer to the actual event.
Unfortunately, my hand beading class was one of the classes without enough early enrolment so it was cancelled.
The majority of the classes offered are machine piecing and quilting since that is what most quilters seem to want to learn, and there are lots of classes about long arm quilting. If you've ever thought about getting one of these machines, or you want to learn about computerized quilting, now is your chance to try it out. You can check out the workshop listings here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Sometimes you just have to spruce things up...
especially when your sister looks at your ironing board and tells you the truth about how disgusting it is. She made me throw out my ironing board cover (and the old one that was underneath that). 
I didn't think it was that bad

But just look at the new one she bought me. It's lovely to press blocks on. Now that I am enjoying the new one, I have to admit that she was right. 
Please don't tell her!

And while we were sprucing things up, I made a few other changes including replacing my rotary cutter blade. I don't know why I resist it so much when it's so much easier to cut with a new blade.
Maybe it's the start of a spring cleaning event?!
I hope not. 
I'd rather be sewing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Scrap Dance Tango Update

Step 3 for this mystery quilt was posted by Carole last week. I needed to make 88 of these 4 patch blocks for the twin size quilt. I had used up most of the donated HST blocks that my quilt camp friend Gillian donated to this worthy cause, so for this step I had to make most of them myself (not complaining!)... for a total of 176 HSTs. 
It sure used up a lot of small scraps.

Here's a yummy looking plate full of blocks. It probably doesn't taste as good as it looks!
For those who enjoy the math part of quilting, so far I have cut and sewn together 1,144 pieces of fabric for this project.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Design Wall Monday

It's all about red on my design wall today. It's strange that there is so much red milling around in my sewing room at the moment. On the top right are 2 finished blocks for Life Is Beautiful, top left is a Maverick star block to add to my collection, and on the bottom are the first two Aurifil BOM blocks. They are waiting for me to work on block #3 which will hopefully happen this week.
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate the wonderful world of hand stitching. Take a big deep breath, pick up your needle and threads, and enjoy some relaxing moments today. 

The 1st Life Is Beautiful block

A big thank you to everyone who offered ideas and creative solutions to my scissors question last Sunday. I was fascinated by the comments and feedback. My plan is to borrow some applique scissors from a quilty friend so I can give them a test run before I make a decision. In the meantime, I will plod along carefully, in typical slow sunday stitching style using my regular scissors.

On Friday night some quilting friends came over to sew and my friend Sandy brought some of her Life is Beautiful blocks to show us. It is so fun to be working on this hand embroidery project at the same time together. I am using variegated red thread and Sandy is using variegated blue. Here are our blocks together on the design wall. 

Won't it be fun to have sister quilts that are similar and yet completely different?
Today I will be finishing the binding on a quilt while complaining about the end of Downton Abbey. It has been my practice to curl up with hand stitching every Sunday night and watch the adventures of the Crawley family household. I am embarrassed to admit how much I miss them already. 

What are you hand stitching today? We would love to see your slow progress and hope you will link up your blog post below.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

It's National Quilting Day! How are you celebrating? Hopefully you will have some time today to pull out your favourite quilt in progress and enjoy some stitching time. Did you know that The Quilt Show is offering free viewings of some of their shows this weekend? I have managed to watch a couple so far, and hope to catch a few more before the weekend is over. If only there were more hours in the day!
Did you see Angela's post of her churn dash and double nine patch blocks? If you are a scrappy quilter, it will make your heart sing. 
It inspired me to get going on my little nine patches. I finished the brown one from last month, and made up 3 more purple blocks.
I have been working on this Omigosh project for about 2 1/2 years, and although I have always enjoyed working with small blocks and saved tiny bits of fabric, this project has put me a little farther over the scrap hoarding edge! 

I save every little 1" scrap for these blocks. Here is the tin that I started keeping them in. There are squares, strips, completed 9 patch blocks, and partially completed double 9 patches.
To see other scrappy projects being made, hop over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Fabulous Friday

It's Friday, which means there will be another block posted for Circa 2016.
Here are my windmill blocks from last week. Did you notice that they are spinning in opposite directions? I don't care... I think they are sweet and I'm leaving them like that. Besides, the whole thing looks like a bit of a dog's breakfast, so what's a little more "uniqueness"?!?

And here is my project so far. The lighting is weird because the photo was taken last night, but you get the idea.

I wonder what we will be sewing next? 
Click here to see (but not too early in the morning, since they are on California time).

The official FNSI is postponed for one week, but I am so excited to be hosting a get together of some sewing friends tonight. We will have our own FNSI event.
If you need some tips on hosting a sewing event, click here and go have some fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Will you be wearing green today to celebrate with our Irish friends? 
Do you plan to enjoy an Irish Potato or two? I am not a big fan of coconut, but people who are claim that these are delicious. 

I made this mini quilt a couple of years ago and this week it is hanging on our front door. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Last Scrap Squad Quilt

I have been working on my last Scrap Squad quilt. I am very sad that this wonderful experience is coming to an end, but am greatly enjoying working on my last quilt.
Shades of grey

Here are some photos of my project. 
The scraps I am using are grey. Yuck. I hate grey, so am happy to be clearing them out. Grey is the focus of my local guild's 25th anniversary challenge called "25 Shades of Grey", so I am combining my scrap squad quilt with this challenge. And it is indeed a challenge for me to sew with so much grey. I did have to go to the store to buy a few darker grey fabrics, but this was what I started with. 
The theme is shades of grey, degrees of uncertainty, difficult decisions to be made where there is no clear answer.  The course of a life is the total sum of all of these grey decisions. 
And so is a quilt. When you are creating a quilt, from the beginning to the end, from picking the pattern and the fabrics, to the quilting designs and finishing flourishes, each decision made along the way changes the outcome. 
Be careful!

What doesn't change for me is that I need lots of humour in my life and in my quilting, so I love this grey fabric with the big eyes, and I love this photo of the eyes watching me quilt!
Decisions, Decisions

Be on the look out for the big reveal when all the decisions have been made and the quilt is finished. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mid Month UFO Report - Swoon #6

I am impressing myself with my commitment to finishing the Swoon quilt. I pieced the blocks in 2012, but didn't start machine quilting them until February of this year and have just finished block #6. I have two more weeks to machine quilt the remaining 3 blocks to meet my UFO goal.
Swoon block #5

This is how I start from the centre point of the block to stitch the 8 seed shapes that mimic the design on this grey fabric.

This is a great photo that shows the quilting lines in this block. 
Loving it so far!
I will be finishing these blocks using a Quilt-As-You-Go technique (tutorial here). With only 3 more blocks to finish, I am getting excited to see these blocks become a finished quilt.