Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Finished Quilt!

I am so happy that I finished my UFO this month! This quilt is called Triangle Stars and was started on a Shop Hop in 2014. It was such a great shop hop experience... you could buy a package of triangles at each quilt store and there were many unique samples of how to use the triangles in various projects. My quilt is based on some of those samples.  
This picture was taken on one of the binding sessions down by the river as it was being finished on the weekend.
I didn't know it when I started this quilt, but it is quite challenging to sew an entire quilt from triangles, since there were are lot of bias seams, a ton of seams to match, and all the seam intersections are very thick. But it is completed now and I am very proud of all of my hard work on this one.

Although the piecing was very challenging, the quilting part was great fun. Most of the quilting was done in white thread, but I really enjoyed choosing the thread for each of the coloured triangles.

I quilted approximately 1/4" on both sides of every seam in the quilt, which gave it lovely texture.

I have never made a quilt with this much white before. The background triangles are white, the backing is a piece of solid white yardage, and the binding is white. I wonder how long it will actually look clean?!

Here is the finished quilt! 
I tried to make a tumbling block using light, medium and darks in the centre of each star and I'm happy with how that turned out.
I'm so excited that it's actually a finished quilt AND that it's finished one day before the end of the month!
Finished size: 53" x 60.5"

To see more UFO completions, hop over to One Monthly Goal linkup.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall today is Scrap Dance Tango blocks. This was a mystery from Carole at From My Carolina Home, which started in January and the reveal was in June. My blocks haven't made an appearance on the blog since June. At that time they were my leader-ender project, but since then that role has been totally taken over by the Clarissa hourglass blocks, and the tango blocks were just sitting quietly in their tin waiting for some attention. 
In June I was ready to start joining the blocks but was stuck at a decision point. I liked all the layout options that I played with on the design wall and really couldn't settle on which one to sew. 
Finally I convinced myself that they were all great and I couldn't go wrong with any of the choices, so I went with the layout that was easiest to piece. These are complex blocks and it would be easy to get them turned around and mixed up, so why give myself an extra headache?  I decided to start by sewing 4 blocks together at a time. Seeing these 9 larger blocks on the design wall makes me wonder about adding some sashing and maybe cornerstones? 
Now there are two things that are bugging me: 1) that blue square that calls attention to itself for some unknown reason, and 2) that scrap of fabric in the top row middle block that looks like creepy eye balls. I might have to do a scrapectomy and remove them!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the community of slow stitchers where we celebrate the art of creating things with our hands, where we connect to our ancestors by using time-honoured techniques to make things we could easily buy for a fraction of the cost, and where we recognize the value we add to our own lives by engaging in this restorative practice. 
This week I finished machine quilting my UFO of the month and am so happy that I get to hand stitch the binding today. Binding is one of my favourite things to do, and this is one of my favourite places to do it! You wouldn't know it looking at this photo, but this is right in the heart of the city where I live. There is a beautiful river and walking trails, and stitching benches. Well, maybe the benches were made for resting, but I often use them for stitching.
Did you know there is such a thing as "binding needles"? I did not know that until recently and so of course I bought a package to try them out. I will let you know if they are smoother and/or faster than using any other regular needle.

What are you hand stitching today? 
We encourage you to pick up a needle and thread, and join us as we make time in our busy lives to rest, to breathe, and to stitch. Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sort of Circa 2016

Well last week's Circa 2016 block went right off the rails over here! It was the rail fence block and it just did not appeal to me. It looked too big for this project, and I got the brilliant idea to make a smaller block since that worked out so well for me last week. But once I got started I had trouble with the math, and started slicing it up, and it didn't turn out anything like a rail fence. I didn't love it, so didn't make another one like it! We were supposed to make 3 rail fence blocks, so I will have to make up 2 more blocks somewhere along the way.

Here is a small sampling of some of the blocks I've made so far for my Circa quilt. 
Pop over to Temecula to see what we're supposed to be sewing this week.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Non Quilting Requests

There are many creative sewing tasks that a quilter is often expected to perform. I detest mending and hemming pants as I may have mentioned several times over the years! But there are also unusual requests that come up from time to time.

Here are a few I have reluctantly completed recently...

*sewing more student badges for my brave sister who is going back to school for her nursing degree

*repairing half eaten toys for irresistible grand dog Max

*sewing chair cushions for the dining room chairs

*making head bands for my daughter's paintballing boyfriend. This is by far the oddest sewing request I have had. 
But he had a sample that I could make a pattern from, he purchased all the supplies, and he was so excited about getting new "custom made" head bands, how could I possibly say "no"?!? The ones on the left and the right have the black nylon fabric that hangs down from the head band to keep the sun off the top of his head and his neck. It had to have a sweatband where the forehead is... what a production that was! Never again! Unless of course he loves them :)

*stitching two lines of thread across my Dad's new socks so he will know which of his thousands of black socks go together!

Okay everyone, I'm done with these "non quilting" sewing tasks! 
We will now resume our regularly scheduled quilting tasks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Quilting Prep

Although I already have one or two projects in the hand quilting stage, I decided to go ahead and prepare the bow tie quilt top for quilting. Why?
Because quilting is my hobby and I want it to be fun. So I work on whatever inspires me and makes me feel happy. And today, I want to quilt my civil war reproduction bow tie quilt, but first I have to prepare it. It's actually a lot of work to get a quilt top ready for quilting. 
First you need the appropriate batting for the type of quilting you're going to do, and it has to be the right size for your quilt top. This is my favourite batting for hand quilting - Dream Cotton in either the 'request' or 'select' loft. And this one is the perfect size. Excellent!

Next you need a backing that is the right size.  I bought this piece of Jo Morton yardage on sale, not knowing what it would be used for. It's perfect to back these civil war reproduction bow ties.

And once you have everything ready, then it's time for pin basting. I clamp the backing to the table, spread out the batting and then the quilt top making sure there are no wrinkles. It takes me about an hour to put in the safety pins. 
And after all that ... it's finally ready for quilting!
I like this quilt so much it might not even hit the UFO closet! Now that is a rare occurrence!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Aurifil BOM on the design wall

If you follow my blog you know that I have been making the Aurifil Blocks of the Month since January. It's a free program and all the blocks are still there... it's never to late to start! This month the block pattern is by Angela Walters - click here to read about her. Most quilters know her as a machine quilter extraordinaire. Her block pattern is called "All Roads Lead to Mo". Here are the pieces all measured, cut and ready to sew.

There are only 2 fabrics in this block and it is hard for me to limit myself to just using 2 fabrics, so I enticed myself to do it by using one of my favourite pieces of yardage by Sweetwater. 
If there is sashing in this quilt, I will use this fabric. Yum!

This was a fun block to sew and went together like a dream. If you make a lot of complex quilt blocks you know how rare this it for everything to fit together on the first try. And you also know how that it makes you feel like doing the happy dance! It almost makes me feel like I could tackle the Indian Orange PeelYou can see more versions of this month's block over at Pat Sloan's link up.

Here are the 8 blocks I have made so far this year on the design wall. I'm so glad I started this BOM since each block has been so interesting to sew.

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

This is the tale of the embroidery block that took most of the summer of 2016 to complete ... talk about SLOW stitching! It travelled to Goderich, Port Elgin, Montreal, and Killarney, and still wasn't finished. This photo shows part of the reason for the delay... amazing weather for other activities like canoeing, kayaking, and camping. You can't be stitching when you're supposed to be paddling, and the sun is going down!

Here is the block in progress partially stitched on the shores of Lake George. We were camping and the scenery and weather was glorious.

Life Is Beautiful block #27

And finally here is the block which I finally finished after we arrived home. This one is definitely not one of my favourite blocks ... I despise chaos and have no interest in embracing it! But it was an interesting block to stitch with all those circles, and it holds many wonderful summertime memories.
I'll be prepping the next embroidery block today.
What are you hand stitching? If you have a needle and thread in your hand today, we want to see what you're making!  Link up your blog post below and share your project.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

My Maverick Star (pattern here) collection had some new additions this week. I made two new scrappy purple blocks, this one with a dark star on a light purple background, and a second block that is the reverse. It's in the collection below... the block in the top row, second from the right. Wow those purple striped fabrics really stand out!

I have 30 Maverick star blocks now and enjoy seeing this collection grow.

To see more RSC postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Circa

Here are the latest blocks I've made for my Circa 2016 project. The pattern called for two 3" hourglass blocks, but after all the little hourglass blocks I've been making for Clarissa, the 3" size just seemed enormous. So I made 2 sets of 4 smaller hourglass blocks and sewed them together. 
Much better!
To see what we are sewing today, hop over to Temecula Quilts. They are hosting the Patchwork Olympics this week with lots of interesting projects posted.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

MidMonth UFO Report

Progress is being made on machine quilting my Triangle Stars quilt.  I have completely quilted half of the quilt and still have almost 2 weeks left in the month to finish the quilting and get the binding done. It's looking good for a possible finish this month!

I am free motion quilting both sides of every triangle seam and for the most part it is going well. I have had a few issues with tension since I am changing the thread colour when quilting in the stars and don't always remember to check the tension with each new thread change.
The result is this kind of effect with the top thread peaking through on the back. I have decided that it is going to be fine with me to have a bit of this going on. The quilt is just for me, and although it might be entered in a fall fair somewhere down the road (where the judges will tell me to try to make my quilting lines straighter and to improve my thread tension!) it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be done! That's the goal!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bow Ties

Don't you just love it when you meet a deadline? Even if it's self-imposed, there is such a sense of satisfaction when you accomplish what you set out to do. And I am delighted that I got my bow ties from last year's block swap sewn into a quilt top so that I could happily sign up for this year's block swap.
And here it is on the design wall... my civil war bow tie quilt top. Thank you to Sharon over at Vroomans Quilts for the inspiration for this layout. I really liked the bow tie quilt layout I saw on Sharon's blog last year using the "barn raising" setting, and having a border of half size blocks across the top and bottom of the quilt.
I like that my layout is slightly off centre, just like me :)
Can't wait to get this basted so I can get going on the hand quilting!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Design Wall Monday - Clarissa

I'm excited to tell you that my very first Clarissa block is finished and is on the design wall today. This is my project choice for Bonnie Hunter's Hourglass Leader-Ender Challenge for this year. You can read more about the original Clarissa quilt here.
There are 144 triangles making up the 36 hourglass units in this 12" block. There are a lot of scraps sewn into this block including a couple of browns from my civil war reproductions, some teals from a Quiltmaker mystery quilt from 5 years ago, and several pieces from last month's UFO project.
I must say this block was quite a challenge especially at some of the seam joins where there are 8 pieces of fabric trying to squeeze under the needle at the same time and hopefully meeting at the same point! I can't wait to start cutting the triangles for the next Clarissa block.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching
Yesterday I was at the Fergus Scottish Festival where I enjoyed a whole day of hand quilting. Every year Virginia (owner of Undercover Quilts) sets up a quilt frame in the Heritage Tent and invites everyone to come and quilt. The day started off with 6 quilters and this year we were working on a baby quilt in bright colours. 
It was somewhat dark in the tent due to terrible weather and I was very glad I took along my Clover needle threader. If I wouldn't have had this tool, I would not have been able to thread a needle I'm sure. At times it was difficult to see well enough to quilt at all. But we were just stitching in the ditch, so it was easy enough to figure out where to go (just don't look closely at the stitches).
There was constant entertainment in the tent, and lots of activity to watch. The spinners and weavers were there. This is Anna, and she showed me how she was following a very complex weaving pattern.

The bobbin lace makers were there making intricate tiny pieces of lace. This makers' hands were moving so fast that I couldn't get a good picture of her.
And just look at this lovely display of wool embroidery projects! This is Laura and she had several stitcheries on the go. I enjoyed looking at each of her projects and firmly told myself not to get interested in this, as I cannot afford to fall in love with one more type of hand work. There just are not enough hours in one life time!

We've had such a hot and dry summer so far, but not today. Of course because we have the big festival this weekend, it stormed most of the day. It was like being in a sauna and I was sweating just sitting still doing nothing. Just look at the rain teeming down. The fields became huge mud puddles, but we were dry in the tent.

And by about the middle of the afternoon, this lap quilt was done! You can see that the poles on the quilt frame were rolled several times until we were stitching knee to knee. If you go to the festival today there will be a new quilt in the frame, and you can sit down and put a few stitches in yourself!
Even though it stormed, and just poured down rain, we all worked on our hand work projects, creating wonderful masterpieces and enjoying the music, stitching and conversation.

I hope you will take time to enjoy some slow stitching today. We love to see your hand stitching projects and cheer you on, so link up your blog post below and show us what you're working on.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Scrappy Saturday - Circle of Squares

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters are sewing up their light purple scraps this month. Last week I made up some scrappy sprout blocks and this week I worked on a block called "circle of squares". The colours are a little pale and somewhat blah, but when this block is in a quilt it will be a nice contrast with all the other high intensity blocks.

Here it is with the other two blocks made in previous months. I'm really liking it so far!

To see what other projects are being worked on this week, hop over to the link up at SoScrappy.

Friday, August 12, 2016


As per my usual Friday routing, I am posting my most recently made Circa 2016 blocks. The blocks on the left are the new ones and they are called "double X". I'm not seeing the X in this design, but they were fun blocks to sew.

Temecula Quilts is hosting the Patchwork Olympics on their blog with lots of interesting happenings, including a fun scrappy pattern that is free while the olympics are on ... check it out here.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

IOP Update

So last week I visited with the Indian Orange Peel quilt. I stared at it and tried to get a conversation going, but it was mostly a one way effort. Some quilts are really noisy, but this one was very quiet. I know it's probably my neglect that is resulting in getting the silent treatment. I can make amends for that!
So I asked a new question...

"If I was going to spend some time working on this quilt, and I could pick three things to change to make me like this project more, what would I do?"

I picked 3 problems to work on and put a little red clip by that area as a reminder of the change I want to make.
It's a start!

I also reread the instructions. Do you see the words "practically impossible"? HA! That's exactly how I feel! 
Love these instructions!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

UFO Orphanage

From time to time a baby gets dropped off on my doorstep. Not a real one... a fabric one! Sometimes the biological creator takes responsibility for the drop off and sometimes it's a "drop and run" situation. 
Do you remember this abandoned UFO from a few years ago? It's one of my favourite rescues! Lots of the blocks were already made and I easily figured out how to finish it.

Here's the latest package that was abandoned. It's a golden oldie and the original pattern and/or idea is long gone. Now it's just a pile of fabric in colours that the quilter really wanted to like but just didn't. Some if it is cut, some of it is half sewn. There are many HST blocks sewn and some large squares with flip and sew corners.

It's impossible to know what this was going to become and it's a challenge to know where to even start. I started by trimming all the threads on the sewn blocks and finished sewing the HSTs that were started. 
So now what?!?
Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

August UFO Update

The machine quilting is coming along really well with this month's UFO called Triangle Stars. I enjoyed selecting a variety of thread colours for each section of the quilt.  I started by machine quilting approximately 1/4" on all sides of the centre diamonds with a variegated thread.

When that was done, I quilted all the white triangles around the centre diamonds. Then I moved over to the green star and quilted that area with these Aurifil threads. As you can see I am quilting both sides of every seam in this quilt.
It is a fun challenge to see how far I can quilt with a continuous thread without having to stop and restart in another place. Here is the green star corner finished. It's going quite well so far and I am enjoying quilting with different colours as a break from all the white triangles. I am also really liking the texture, and am working on getting my lines to be as straight as possible.