Thursday, June 30, 2016

Draw Winner and Quiltalong Reality Check

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on the Slow Sunday Stitching 4th year blogiversary celebration! There were 58 comments on Sunday, and the winner was comment number #10 who is Linda from The Pieceful Kingdom! I wish I lived there too! 
The international online quilting community is such an amazing world and it is still mindblowing to me that we can communicate and share our creative journeys through computers.
However, one of the hardest parts of being an enthusiastic quiltaholic in the age of computers is the endless enticement of amazing projects and online quiltalongs. I just love them! I wrote about this in February (click here to read it) and at that time I had already started 5 new projects in 2016. 
The most tempting project for me right now is Bee-uatiful Quiltalong sponsored by the Moda Bake Shop. It combines embroidery blocks with patchwork and is a very cute project. But I already am working on an embroidery and patchwork project that I really like. 
Reality check - I only have a finite number of hours in my lifetime for stitching!

Melissa over at Happy Quilting is hosting a Summer Solstice quiltalong and there are even prizes for participating. Now that's a win-win!
Reality check - I have a few quiltalong tops in my UFO closet waiting for quilting, including one that I did with Melissa!

The Fat Quarter Shop has a quiltalong called Little Ruby and that looked like fun. 

Reality check - I already have a quilt in progress that is similar to this quilt design!

Perfect Pairs (like peanut butter and chocolate, cake and ice cream, etc) at Seams to be Sew is a very creative BOW but only free for one day when the blocks are released. 

Reality check - I don't want to pay for a pattern that will likely not get made because it involves a lot of applique which would take me forever!

There is a Rainbow Rose quiltalong hosted by the Modern Quilters Ireland that will be working with the colour wheel, so that would be fun and informative.

Reality check - I would have to do some major fabric shopping to make this one and I would rather be sewing up what I already have in the stash!

Lori is hosting a Gwen Marston inspired medallion quiltalong over Humble Quilts. I love the creativity of this and it would be so fun, and it's hard to resist one of Lori's quiltalongs.

Reality check - I want to keep working on and actually finish my Temecula medallion quilt!
So look at that! I have managed to give myself a healthy dose of reality, and it didn't hurt much at all! And I have managed to not start any of these wonderful quiltalongs. But I did think I should pass along the links just in case your reality is different, and you wanted to join in the fun!
And by the way, I have managed to keep up with 4 of the 5 quiltalongs that I started at the beginning of the year, so that's quite a good record so far!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Finished Quilt!

My Swoon quilt is done! I have put a lot of time and energy into this quilt over the last 4 years. And finally it is not a UFO anymore - it is a useable quilt!

The pattern is by Camille Roskelley (you can get it here). The blocks are 24" and are really fun to sew, so if you have always wanted to make one, I really encourage you to go for it! 
I enjoyed machine quilting each block on my domestic sewing machine and connected them using the quilt-as-you-go method. I machine stitched the blocks together and hand stitched the final seams on the back between each block.
A useless piece of trivia - I hand stitched 294" on the back seam joins and 294" on the binding, for a total of 588" of hand stitching on this quilt. Wow!
I'm very happy with how the striped binding turned out, although you probably can't see it well in this picture.
The quilt backing looks a little boring, but it does have one small Swoon block on the top right corner. I haven't added a label yet. I hope I do one :)
There are so many decisions that go into making a quilt - deciding on the colours, shopping for the fabrics (this quilt has more than 27 different fabrics), placing the fabrics into the "right" places in the block patterns, organizing the blocks into a pleasing layout, designing the quilting pattern, selecting the type of batting, picking thread colours ... the choices seem endless at times. 
And somehow it all works out in the end... as if by magic!

To see more finished UFO's hop over to the One Monthly Goal link up

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Scrap Dance Tango

I am still sewing my remaining Scrap Dance Tango blocks. Did you think I forgot?  Or wonder if they were headed to the UFO closet? Nope! I decided to finish up the last 88 butterfly blocks as a leader/ender project and it's working quite well.

I don't think I've shown you my project storage.
What could be better than a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat project tin??! Isn't this a great collector tin with it's clear window to be able to see what's inside! 

This is what's inside. I am storing the bits and pieces of the partially constructed blocks in here. And today I hope to be sewing more of these into finished blocks so I can finally get going on my layout. I know I will miss this project when it's done. It has been a great scrap project to work on this year.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Design Wall Monday

Did you read my post last week about the improv strip piecing class I took at Quilt Canada with Cinzia Allocia? My project blocks and strips are up on the design wall today.
It's the first time I've really looked at them since the class. You sure won't need a night light in a room with this quilt! Wow that's a bright and busy hot mess going on there! I'm not even sure of what to do next.
Any suggestions and helpful hints you can offer to help improve this quilt are most welcome!!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching Anniversary Celebration

I can hardly believe that this weekend marks the 4th anniversary of Slow Sunday Stitching! The first post was on June 24th, 2012. That means I have written 208 posts about the benefits of stitching slowly, and have hosted 208 weekly link up parties. That's a lot of slow stitching to celebrate! 
Today I will be drinking my tea, visiting my slow stitching friends around the world, and hand stitching the binding on my Swoon quilt. It's coming along well, but the perimeter is 290" so it is taking a long, slow time!
A huge thank you to everyone who has provided encouragement and feedback to other slow stitchers, and especially to those bloggers who have shared their projects by participating in the link ups that we enjoy every week. You never know who you have inspired in their stitching journey!

Also a big thank you to Connie who (out of the goodness of her heart) created the Slow Sunday Stitching button for us. She did a fantastic job using the photograph on the first link up blogpost.

Don't you agree that this calls for a celebration giveaway?!? I am going to gift a gift certificate for the Sew Sisters online store with the amount being equal to the number of comments left on this post. The lucky winner will be randomly drawn from the comments when the link up closes tomorrow. Good luck in the draw!
So what are you hand stitching today? Link up your post below and help us continue the celebration!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

I received a surprise package in the mail this week from Kristin who blogs over at GumdropsLook what was inside... a rainbow scrap challenge pouch with an orange zip!
There are few things more fun than getting something in the mailbox that is unexpected, and not a bill or a jury summons!  And this package travelled over 9 hours crossing the US-Canada border, coming all the way to me from Wisconsin! 

So fun!
And guess what was tucked inside?
These little squares are already cut and ready to sew into a project.

But that's not all...
More scraps were in the package. 
Just look at these!
Thanks so much Kristin for this fun gift!
I set right to sorting and cutting these treasures to sew into my various RSC projects.

First up was some scrappy sprout blocks. I made an orange sprout which was last month's colour, and an aqua block for this month.
This is a free pattern from Tracey and can be found here.

My fabric garden is growing well and I have 10 sprouts now. They look healthier than anything in my real garden this year!

To see more rainbow scrap projects, hop over to the RSC link up.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Circa update

I haven't written about my Circa 2016 project since the beginning of the month, but work is continuing on my little 3" blocks. These were the blocks made mid month - "little tree" blocks on the left and basket blocks on the right. You can clearly see the difference in complexity and sizes of pieces in these two blocks, and I very much prefer making the basket blocks on the right. They are so cute!
Last week's block is called "Old Maids Puzzle" and they turned out well. It has been so fun to visit these old block patterns and make them in my favourite mini sizes.
We are also supposed to be making 120 HST blocks at the 2" size for the final layout and I need to get going on that. I cannot even imagine how all these blocks are going to come together, but I guess the mystery will be solved sometime in October.
Thanks again to the wonderful and generous folks at Temecula who are providing this sewalong to us for free!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Aurifil BOM

The Aurifil BOM is a monthly project that has captured my attention this year and each block has been fun to sew. There is so much happening on the Aurifil blog that the BOM post is sometimes difficult to find, but you will enjoy reading all the other interesting things they have posted, including a fabric giveaway and a new quilt along.
The June block is called Modern Delft and included options for embroidery. While I really enjoy embroidery, I don't think having one block will fit in with all the other pieced blocks. I decided to fussy cut some printed fabric to fit in the corner blocks and a pinwheel in the middle.
You can see more versions of this block over at Pat Sloan's blog, and it looks like everyone else has done the same thing as I have done in terms of not including the embroidery.

The 2016 BOM is half over now, and here are my 6 blocks together on the design wall. It's going to be a very interesting quilt and I look forward to the other 6 blocks we will be sewing as the year progresses.
Are you sewing along with the Aurifil BOM this year? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Midmonth UFO update

June is more than half over and I am right on target with my UFO this month! Swoon is my project to finish in the next two weeks. Here are two columns on the design wall. The short horizontal seams are done, and only the long vertical seams still need to be done... and there are only 2 of them, so it should be no problem to finish those in the next two weeks. I have the binding already on the third section that is not on the design wall (binding is my favourite job and I couldn't wait to get started on it). I'm so excited to be nearing completion of this 4 year old UFO!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice Design Wall

Today is the longest day of the year AND it's a full moon, which makes it as rare as a whole cloth quilt! It's the first time it's happened in 70 years. I'll be celebrating that we made it through another winter of life, and now its time to celebrate the power of light over darkness! Hey, I look for any opportunity to celebrate!

And here's another reason to celebrate...
on the design wall today are all the sample sandwiches from the machine quilting class I took at Quilt Canada last week (details are here). I'm just letting all that inspiration soak into my brain until I decide what to do with these. Maybe I'll join them in a quilt-as-you-go style to have as a reference for the future.
I hand painted these blocks the week before Quilt Canada, so that I would have something pretty to practice my quilting designs on instead of plain fabric.
I used my favourite Setacolor paints and had a great painting day. It was dry and hot outside so the fabric dried very quickly and I didn't get much effect with the salt. When the paints dried, I heat set them with a hot iron, cut them into 8" squares and I was ready for the class. So fun!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching and Quilt Canada

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate the art of hand stitching! We encourage you to pick up a needle and thread, and slowly taking some relaxing stitches today. 
I have hand stitching news to share with you from Quilt Canada. If you want to read my other posts you can click here for some of my highlights, here for machine quilting class, and here for improv class notes.
But first, please hop over to visit our friend Sandra who blogs over at Quilting at the Cro's Nest. Sandra is a regular linker at Slow Sunday Stitching and she has some great news to share with us. I won't spill the beans because it's her news to tell, but I'm so excited for her! I know you will want to send your congratulations to her so make sure to drop by.
And now onto the CQ hand stitching report. As you have probably noticed in your own area of the world, there are usually only a few hand stitched items entered into most shows. Most of the quilts are "art quilts" and most are machine quilted. But there were a couple of wonderful hand stitched quilts in the National Juried Show 2016. 

It's always fun to see a whole cloth quilt in person since they are as rare as hens teeth. The winner of the "Excellence in Hand Quilting" ribbon was given to a quilt called "Palmetto" made by Georgia Beale. This was her own design inspired by a tin ceiling in a general store. Inspiration is everywhere! This is a beautiful quilt, but my photographs did not do it justice. Here is just a small part of the quilt to show you a some of the exquisite quilting. 

This next quilt was easy to photograph. It is called "Not Now, Maybe Never" made by Joan Dorsay. It is such a fun quilt, with the red background and all the bright colours.  It won first place in the category for Bed/Wall quilts made from patterns.

And just look at all these perfectly constructed circles! There are hundreds of them on this quilt in the blocks, in the sashing and in the border. All hand appliqued and all hand quilted. I had my eyeballs right up to this quilt for quite a while.

So are you inspired now? I hope so! I hope you are already thinking of the next stitches to put into your beautiful project. I will be working on my embroidery project. The poor thing has not seen much progress in the last month, and I think I might have to redraw the pattern since the iron-on transfer seems to have faded. 
Please link up your blog post below and share the hand stitching project you are working on today.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Quilt Canada Class #2

My second Quilt Canada class was called "Modern Quilting With Feed Dogs Up" and the teacher was Melissa Marginet from Manitoba. Just look at all the designs on this sample quilt!
This class was a whole other ballgame from yesterday's class. It used a completely different part of my brain but thankfully I discovered that this part still works well enough to learn these techniques.

Many of these designs involved measuring and some minimal marking, and were fun to sew. It really was quite a different process than free motion quilting.

These are the machines we were using, which were even more computerized versions of the ones we used in class #1. This one had some nice features, such as the automatic foot lift and pivot function that engaged whenever you stopped sewing. 
However some of the students had a lot of challenges with their machines and made good use of the technician who spent most of the day in our classroom. The needle threaders were consistently problematic, and I just didn't even bother to use mine at all.

Here is one of the quilting designs we learned, but just look at the mess on the back of my block! Can you say tension issues?!? I tried to fix the problem and was periodically successful. 

Here are some of the sample sandwiches from the students.
This class gave me lots of great ideas for designs, and my mind was spinning with plans for quilting the various UFO's that are currently in the finishing queue.
I will write more about this project on Monday when I gather up all the samples and put them on the design wall.
And tomorrow I will share some wonderful hand stitching highlights from Quilt Canada.
Thanks for reading!

Quilt Canada Class #1

My first Quilt Canada class was on improvisational strip piecing and the teacher was Cinzia Alloca from Montreal. I must like improv piecing because last Quilt Canada, I took an improv class too (read about 2014's class here). Here is Cinzia showing some pieces that she is going to combine for a quilt she is working on. This is the first time I have ever worked with strip sets, and it's a whole other process than making improv quilt blocks. It's something I have never tried before.

For this class I started with the quarter log cabin blocks I made in a class I took with Bethany Garner last month. I wanted to combine these blocks with the strip sets from this improv class. I had to whip up another 2 blocks to make an even 12 blocks.

First we cut and strip pieced some sets of fabric to work with and started to play with possible layouts. It was so relaxing to piece these blocks and I loved the look of of the fabric piling up behind the needle. Don't you think it looks like ribbon candy?!? 

This is the beginning of adding strip sets to the sides, and we were encouraged to think about direction of the strips, and the widths. 

Here I am with Cinzia at my sewing machine. When she was making the rounds in the classroom and helping each student, I got a quick photo with her. 
I should also mention that even though I was worried about working with a sewing machine I didn't "know", I didn't have a single problem with this learning this Janome machine. It sewed really well for me all day and I ran it hard!

The next step was adding in the accent fabric, which for my project was lime green. But where should it go, and how much of it do you like, and do you want a strip or a small square?

So many decisions to make and it's all up to you!
I thought my project was looking way too pink, so the next strip sets I made with wider white strips and narrower pink ones.

Here is Cinzia helping me with the layout and making suggestions for improvements and additions. It was fascinating to hear her ideas and to learn how to "see" the process of building a quilt in a different way. 

Here are some of the other projects in development. It was challenging to work on layouts on the floor and I realize that a design wall is really essential when working on a quilt layout. There were some really amazing quilts being created here!

Quilt Canada Highlights

At the CQA booth

Quilt Canada 2016 has come and gone. It was such a well organized event, and I was able to easily find my way to every class, lecture, and quilt show. A huge thank you to the many volunteers who donated their time to help make everything run smoothly.  The whole experience was amazing and even though I was there for 4 days, there were many events that I didn't even get to participate in. There were lectures and demos, and well... you just can't do it all! I will share some of my highlights in a couple of blog posts.

1) Vendors Mall:

Don't judge me when I tell you that I didn't buy any fabric. I know!  I was concerned that I might be ill! But I was so busy with classes and seeing all the quilts, and visiting with friends, that I couldn't focus on buying anything at the vendor mall. Everything looked beautiful, but I couldn't even remember what quilts I was working on and what I might need.  So I don't have any purchases to show you, but I have other exciting things to show you.

2) Book Launch: 
My friend Maggie Vanderweit had a book launch at her CQA booth. I was on the program committee of my local quilt guild with Maggie about 20 years ago so we have known each other for a long time. She has written a book called "Stone Threads" and I can't wait to read it. Maggie has been such an inspiration to me and to so many quilters, and I was thrilled to celebrate this amazing accomplishment with her. Here she is signing a copy of her book for me. My head is still spinning with all the things we talked about!

3) Jane Sassaman:
Jane was the keynote speaker and her lecture was called "Under the Influence". She talked about the development of her quilting career, and the experiences, artists, and friendships that influenced her. It was thought provoking, humourous, and inspiring to all of us.

4) The Quilt Shows:

There were several quilt shows to enjoy including the Trend Tex challenge, the Modern Quilt Guild show, the Invitational show, the Fibre Art Network show (see those quilts here), and of course the National Juried Show. I attended a NJS tour with Jackie White which was really interesting. Here is my favourite pieced quilt called "Ancient Stars" by Joan Robinson which won the award for "Excellence in workmanship in piecing". 

Just look at these incredible borders... not a single point is cut off and that is hard to do on hundreds of HST and diamond blocks! And in spite of having so many complex borders, this quilt was completely flat!

This is another amazing machine quilted winner called "My Three Boys" by Kim Mullen. The entire design is quilted on a piece of black fabric. That's it... just black fabric and thread. The detail on this was amazing! It won the "Excellence for work by a first time exhibitor".

Okay, I want to tell you all about my classes too, but my kids need the computer to watch the soccer game. I'll be back later with more highlights... from the quilt show, not the soccer game!