Monday, October 16, 2017

Design Wall Monday

My sewing machine should be smoking from all the stitching it's been done lately on Kevin's mystery quilt called Sapphire Stars. This is my progress over the weekend. 
All 12 star blocks are sewn and many of the sashing units are together. You can see all the blocks on the right hand side are hanging off the wall because that's just how big my design wall is. 
The next step is to sew the vertical columns together, and get all the columns joined. Then comes the 3 pieced borders adventure!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

A big welcome to all you hand stitching aficionados! 
This is the weekly link up to share your projects with other stitchers around the world who truly appreciate how long it really takes to create the kind of treasures that you are working on.

This is the view where I was slowing down with my hand stitching last weekend. I loved the sound of the water rushing over the rapids. The leaves were a range of beautiful colours and the sun was brilliant. It could not have been a more perfect day to stitch in the sun.  

quilting is finished on another embroidered block

I have been working on my Life is Beautiful project for two and a half years. In February, my project will celebrate it's 3rd birthday. That's just how it goes with hand stitching. Projects take a long time and progress slowly. We learn to appreciate how this process of making stitches with our own hands forces us to slow down our heartbeat, our days, and our lives.

quilting is finished on 4 alternate blocks
There are 63 blocks in my quilt, 32 of which are hand embroidered and 31 are alternate blocks. The embroidery is finished and I am hand quilting all the blocks individually (to join them in a quilt-as-you-go way when they are ready). I have finished quilting 18 of the embroidery blocks (past the half way point ... woohoo!) and have also finished quilting these 4 alternate blocks (not anywhere near the half way point!)
But my progress is slow and steady... just how I like it!

So what are you hand stitching today? Link up your blogpost and share your slow progress with us!

    An InLinkz Link-up


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Red and Pink

My sewing room is full of red and pink scraps today.

The red scraps are for Blockapalooza day for the 70273 Project. To read my blog post from yesterday for more information, click here.
As project captain Jeanne says: "a big Thank You to y'all for helping us remind and/or convince the world that Every life has value. Every. Single. Life."
I'm turning my red scraps into a "Middling" for the 70,273 project. What's a "Middling" you ask? It's a miniature quilt measuring 18" x 22". I only have two blocks started so far.

The pink blocks are part of my Alamo Star collection that I have been working on for 5 years. Yoday I am sewing the pink stars together into 4 patch blocks.

To see what the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters are up to today, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Brainworm Quilt

There's something powerful that happens when you see your name on a list that is related to a project where 70,273 people were killed because their name was on a list. In Germany in 1940 each person on the list whose name had two red XX's beside it would be killed. (If you haven't heard about the 70273 project, click here to read more about it.)
my first 70273 block commemorating 2 lives
When I was reading the update about the project recently, I saw my name on this blog post list as being a block maker. It was surprising how many names are mentioned in the blog post. So many contributors taking the time to commemorate so many dead people. Sewers from the US, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, and Canada (me) all making blocks to remember people who are long forgotten.
But it was startling to see my name on a list. 
There were no red XX's beside my name on this list, but the experience of seeing my name on the list became like a brain worm. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Then I read a beautifully written post by Michelle Freedman about Quilt 219.  Michelle reminded me that the violence and deaths in Charlottesville in August again emphasize the importance of the 70273 project.
This is how new quilt projects emerge. 
And when you're trying to sleep, your creative brain is planning how to make a quilt block, and wondering what fabric you have in your stash to make the blocks, and before you know it, you're planning a quilt layout. 
And not getting any sleep!

Tomorrow is Blockapalooza day (#globalblockday) and I have big plans for making this brainworm quilt. It's going to be a middling quilt.
Maybe then I can get more sleep!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sewing up a storm!

Kevin's mystery quilt has had me sewing like a fiend! This quilt top really needs to be finished this month, so I am spending every spare minute organizing the parts and pieces into larger units. Here are the first 6 (of 12) blocks. This is not the layout but it's getting closer. The sashings are also labour intensive and I'm working on those as leader/enders when constructing the star blocks.

But first I wanted to sew together the border pieces because I had a good start on the those units.

There are two kinds of borders - one for the top and bottom (on the right), and another one for the sides (on the left).

It's coming along well and pieces are fitting together as they should. 
Linked up to Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

UFO Update

Due to recent spamming, I've had to change my blog settings to "comment moderation" which is unfortunate but temporarily necessary from time to time. That just means that all of your wonderful comments will be delayed in showing up on the blog for a little while until the spam machine moves on to greener (unmoderated) pastures :)

Meanwhile in my quilt studio, the October UFO has been pin basted and the machine quilting has begun. I always begin the quilting with some stitch-in-the-ditch grid lines to stabilize the 3 layers together and those lines are done.

Because this is a sampler quilt, I am quilting each block differently. Some blocks just want a simple straight line design. I use my Bohin chalk marker and a small ruler to mark some lines to follow. The pink chalk is my favourite because it shows up on most fabrics.

This photo show how this block looks from the back. Just simple straight lines. 
I am not hand sewing the thread ends in on this project. It's just a family quilt, so I'm taking a few stitches in the same spot to fasten the thread at the beginning and end of the line of quilting, and then just clipping the thread. It makes a tiny knot and doesn't look as pretty, but it's faster and easier than burying all the threads by hand when there are so many starts and stops in these quilting designs

In some blocks there are fabrics that have a pretty design that can easily be free motion stitched. In this block I started some free motion quilting on the outlines of the flowers.
It's a fun challenge to think of a different quilting design for each block of the quilt. 

Linking up to Let's Be Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Mystery Progress

The Sapphire Stars quiltalong finale was posted last week over at Kevin The Quilter. It has been really fun making this quilt and having NO idea how it was going to come together!
Here is my first block on the design wall. 
There are many more blocks to finish, and lots more components to work on, included an interesting pieced sashing and two types of borders. I look forward to working on this quilt more in the coming weeks. 
There is a teeny tiny bit of self imposed pressure to finish this in October because Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery quilt will be starting in November and it might be too confusing to be sewing too mystery quilts at the same time!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitching enthusiasts! Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada and I am thankful for so many things, including this international community of enthusiastic and talented hand stitchers! Whether you post your projects in the link ups, or you encourage others in their long term, slow stitching endeavours, or you are stitching along quietly on your own hand stitching projects making your corner of the world calmer and more beautiful, we are thankful for YOU!

I have enjoyed finishing the bindings on three quilts over the past week (Tetris quilt, baby quilt, and miniature quilt). Binding is my favourite kind of hand stitching so it's no surprise that I quickly finished it all.
And now, having no other bindings to stitch, I'm back to hand quilting my Life is Beautiful blocks. 
I have finished a few of the alternate circle blocks (the ones with no embroidery). I'm very happy with how they are looking and have a couple more blocks ready for stitching today.

What's your hand stitching project? Take some time to put in a few stitches today and be thankful for this wonderful hobby we enjoy! 


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

This week is the 4th anniversary of my Omigosh project, so I had to make a few more blocks to celebrate! This is one of my multi-decade projects. 
Last month's colour was orange, and October is pink month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Finally I had a chance to play with my tiniest scraps to make a few more Omigosh blocks.

The grand total of blocks is: 

87 double nine patch
8 scrappy shoefly

After 4 years of adding to the pile, I'm almost half finished the block production. See what I mean about it being a multi-decade project?!?!

To see more scrappy projects in the making, hop over to the  SoScrappy linkup.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Mystery Quilt Finish

Humble Quilts Quiltalong
This must be a blogging record for me with daily posts and THREE finished quilts in a week! The first finish was the Tetris bed quilt, yesterday's finish was a baby quilt and today's finish is this adorable 21" miniature quilt.
Humble Quilts hosted a mystery quiltalong called Palmateer Point. The layout was posted on Monday and because it's a small quilt, I was able to quickly put the pieces together and finish the quilting with some straight lines.

The brown and blue fabrics are Shweshwe fabrics from South Africa, and were lovely to work with.  I'm so happy to have them in a finished quilt!

We (the quilt and I) went for a walk to find a good place to take a photo. Turns out there were many good places!
Thanks to Lori for a really fun mystery quilt adventure! Click here to see more variations from the quiltalong.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Finished Baby Quilt

The Berenstain Bears baby quilt is finally finished! The finishing of this quilt was upstaged by the other UFO finish last week, but now it's finally done.
The pattern is called "Arrows Up" and is by Jackie Seyer at FRJ designs. I pieced the quilt in 2014 and when it had marinated in the UFO closet long enough, I started the quilting!
Even though I am trying to be okay with "random layout", the places where there are clumps of colour bug me when I look at it. I remind myself again that "random" does not mean "evenly placed"! And I also tell myself that the baby won't care about exact colour placement.

Does this darkened photo show the quilting lines better?
I did stop machine quilting before the quilt became as stiff as cardboard (as advised by my blog readers!) 
It's now ready for another baby to be born! 
And I'm ready to finish up another quilt!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Blockheads Update

The mystery sampler quilt from Moda is continuing and it is so much fun! I get up early on Wednesday morning to see the new pattern and visit the designer's blogs. It is inspiring to see so many variations of each block pattern. You really must check out the Blockheads facebook page to see the creativity of the quilting community. It blows my mind to see how each interpretation of the same block can be so different!

Here is my version of block #28 which is a hand appliqued pumpkin designed by Jan Patek. I don't know why my pumpkin leans to the right, but some pumpkins are just like that you know?! I'm wishing I hadn't put the pumpkin on a background fabric with vertical lines which just emphasizes the lean, but that's life.

Block #29 is called "Juneau". I have no idea why the block is called that, but I have a niece who is attending university in Juneau, so first I have to post a photo of her at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, right? We are so proud of her and are all enjoying her adventure vicariously.

Thankfully, sewing the Juneau block was not a harrowing adventure. The directions were clear, the tiny pieces went together beautifully, the seam ripper did not get used at all, and the block even turned out to be the right size!

Block #30 was just as easy and fun. This is called "Four-Patch Dash". Inspired by Carrie's blocks, I made my version a "double four patch double dash". The tiny 4 patch blocks are 1.75" and adorable. Now I'm thinking of how great a whole quilt would be made of these little blocks.

Here are my 30 sampler blocks on the design wall.

I'm hopping over to Moda now to see the new pattern block #31 posted today!

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

UFO for October

This is the project I chose for October's UFO. This is the Aurifil Block of the Month project from 2016 (free patterns still available here). The blocks were made in 2016, and the top was sewn together in March of this year.
One of the lessons of this quilt was to remind me to not worry about fabric substitutions. I miscalculated on the sashing fabric amount and couldn't find any more of the red fabric in local quilt shops to finish sashing the blocks. Eventually I added a second red and you don't even notice it. And if you did notice it, I think it adds more interest to the quilt.

My first step will be to piece a backing and cut some batting. Pin basting will hopefully commence this week.

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

Monday, October 02, 2017

Mysterious Blocks on the Design Wall

I have been working away on Kevin's mystery quilt called Sapphire Stars. Here are the latest finished blocks for step #5 up on the design wall. 
First I cut all the background squares the wrong size. For a while I just could not believe I did that. I was clearly in denial!
The instructions clearly said 
 "cut squares 6 7/8", and then I went ahead and cut them 6 1/2".  Why? I guess my brain just short circuited on me! 
Once I calmed down, I had to re-cut all the squares using the correct measurement and then of course didn't have enough fabric. So I added in two more fat quarters that are light with green dots and I really like how those blocks look. 
This is an interesting quilt with just these blocks on their own!

But somehow the above blocks are magically going to be sewn to these blocks to make a quilt design. I have no idea how all these units are going to fit together!

I have also been sewing a lot of HST blocks this past week for two other mystery quilts.
At the top are the HST blocks for step #3 of the Palmateer Point quiltalong. The brown fabric is shweshwe with a caramel coloured neutral. This quiltalong is a miniature and the next step will be posted today over at Humble Quilts.
And the 72 white and yellow HSTs are for the Magnolia Mystery. I am using up scraps from my Swoon quilt for this project and don't think I'll need to buy anything to make the lap sized version. New instructions come out once a month, so I'm ready for October's step which will be posted on Thursday.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of all hand stitched crafts! We hope you will join us in setting aside time each Sunday for some relaxing stitching on your favourite project. Pick up a needle and thread, breathe deeply, and enjoy a few moments of restful stitching.

This week I finished a quilt that was 5 years old (see the finished Tetris quilt here). I enjoyed stitching down the binding on my lunch hour, sitting on a bench at the park. So many employees will sit at a desk and stare at their phone screen for their lunch "break". That does not relax my body or brain. But hand stitching does! It is a meditative process that immediately calms me. I enjoyed sitting in the sun, breathing fresh air, and feeling renewed with creative energy. 

I also put in some binding stitches at my weekly date with my parents. It is our tradition to watch "Dancing With the Stars" together and I like to have a hand stitching project to work on during the commercials. 

Since that project is finished, today I'll be back to working on my Life is Beautiful blocks. Here are the quilted blocks on the design wall.

I have a few more alternate blocks prepped and ready to start stitching. When they are all quilted, I will join them together using the quilt-as-you-go technique.

What are you working on today? Link up your blog post below and tell us about your hand stitching progress so we can cheer you on! 


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

This is the last Saturday of orange month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I got a few scraps sewn into useable blocks for various projects over the month. These are the two newest orange scrappy sprout blocks finished this week. For more sprout inspiration, the pattern is here, and you can see a finished version of this block pattern here and a WIP here.

Here is my entire sprout collection on the design wall. Does it need more medium blues/aquas? Yellows/golds?
Purples? Pinks?
Well, I guess it needs more of everything!

Hop over to the weekly link up and see what quilters are sewing with their orange scraps.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Big Friday Finish!

It's such a great feeling to reach a goal that you set for yourself! Today I am patting myself on the back for finishing my UFO of the month - Tetris. 
This project was a quiltalong over at Happy Quilts in 2012. 
Yes... this quilt began 5 years ago!
The free pattern is still available on Melissa's blog - click here. And you can see other variations of the Tetris quilt at the link up here.

I added the letters to the top of my quilt because I love making letter blocks. I tried to make the letters look "boxy" in keeping with the Tetris theme.

If you check the UFO lists on the right hand side bar of my blog, you will see that the Tetris quilt has been on every list since 2013! 

And now I am so happy to be declaring this quilt to be "DONE"! It's a great feeling of accomplishment!
To see more Friday Finishes, hop over to Crazy Mom Quilts. And to see the September finishes over at One Monthly Goal, click here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Machine Quilting Tetris

Monday night's visit to the Halton Hills Quilters' Guild was lots of fun! I didn't get lost on the way there, didn't get caught in traffic jams, didn't get lost in unorganized or sudden detours/road closures, and I even arrived to the meeting early. That was the easiest drive I have had in a long long time and made me realize how stressful the "season of construction" has been for driving! LOL
The Halton Hills quilt show is coming up in October so there was a lot of excitement about planning for that. It's a big undertaking to plan a quilt show and organize all the volunteers required to make it successful. At the meeting I got to see a couple of the quilts that will be featured at the show and it promises to be an inspiring event. Hope you can make it if you live close enough!

My UFO of the month is finally getting some attention. Nothing like leaving it until the last minute, since it's the last week of September! 
The "squares on black" border fabric was attached without drama. The whole quilt was pin basted on the weekend and the quilting was started. During the basting process I decided that the quilting was going to be primarily straight vertical lines for the main area of the quilt. It's fairly boring stitch-in-the-ditch quilting with the walking foot, but the quilt just didn't want anything fancier. And it's going very quickly so I might even make the end of week/month deadline!

The straight quilting lines are continuing right into the borders. You can see that the the backing fabric (on the right of the photo) is a black on white print that I'm happy to be using up from my stash. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Design Wall Monday

My Blockheads BOW project is on the design wall today. 
There have been 29 patterns posted, and here are my first 27 blocks. I'm still working on the last two blocks, one of which is an appliqued pumpkin so that will take me longer to complete.
To see more design wall posts, hop over to the link up at Small Quilts.

This is block #27 called "union variation" which is the most recently constructed block. I fussy cut a civil war reproduction scrap for the centre square. It tilts significantly to the left for some unknown reason, but like how it looks and I'm leaving it like that!

In other quilty news, I am the speaker at the Halton Hills quilt guild tonight at 7pm, so if you are in the area and able to attend click here to get all the information.