Monday, January 30, 2017

Design Wall Monday

On the most recent Quiltcam Bonnie Hunter said:
"All I want to do is make really big quilts from really small pieces".
Me too! That is a great life, don't you think?!?
Well, it would be if you're retired and didn't have to work. But if you do have to work and take care of your kids, your parents, and a home, and fit in some community, church or volunteer work, there's not a lot of time leftover for making lots of big quilts. We all do the best we can with the time we have.

I'm making my version of En Provence smaller than Bonnie's version, but I'm very happy with how it is looking. My layout will use 9 blocks instead of 16 blocks in the original pattern. The pattern will be removed from the Quiltville website tomorrow, so I'd really like to have it done by then. Only one more block to piece and then I can sew the whole quilt top together.
In the middle of En Provence is my purple circle of squares block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It will come off the wall as soon as the last block is finished. You can see the pieces for it pinned to the right side on the bottom of the design wall.
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Slow Beaders

Welcome to the weekly Slow Sunday Stitching party! If you enjoy creative hand stitching, you are one of us!

Jackie's Bead Collection
On Friday I taught a class called "Intuitive Beading on Quilts". It was a wonderful day spent in the company of avid hand stitchers and creative quilters. It's so rewarding for a teacher when the students are excited about the topic, listen intensely, fearlessly attempt the techniques, and ask great questions. It was such a great day, and I felt so energized by their enthusiasm, that I could hardly settle down when I got home!

I took these photos of hand stitching so I could share them with you today. 
Auditioning the beads for the project is almost as fun as actually stitching them to the quilt. We practiced various types of stitches, and then learned about using your intuition and creativity to guide the design process (and all the decisions in your life). 

Beading is a very relaxing hand stitching hobby and a great way to add texture and bling to a quilted, cross stitched or knitted project. Have you tried beading?
What are you stitching by hand today?
Link up your blog post below and share your progress with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

There wasn't a lot of sewing going on in my studio this week, but I did finish another "circle of squares" block (block pattern can be found here). It's such a fun block to sew and uses 8 small scraps and a few strips of background fabric.
January is purple month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I once took a class with a quilting teacher who would not let us use the word "purple". We had to say "violet". I was thinking about that as I chose the scraps for this block. 
The finished block uses mostly the mid violet range, but I found scraps for the other ends of the colour range to make 2 more blocks.

Here are the "red violet" scraps.

Here are the "blue violet" scraps. I could only find 4 today, but I'm sure there will be 4 more in the bottom of the scrap bag to make one more block.

I pieced this block leader-ender style as I was sewing my 8th block for En Provence. Two blocks made at the same time! 
To see more purple/violet projects being made, hop over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Friday!

My "Clarissa was a Superstar" block collection made a brief appearance on the design wall yesterday. I just had to see how the colours were going to work together (or not!)
I am very happy with how all the colours are playing together with the addition of a dark red (lower left block). I especially like how each block is so different and feel excited about how the next ones will come together. I have many hourglass units made and will have time this weekend to play with some layouts. I'm thinking the next block might be all aqua pieces.
I'm teaching a beading class today, so will be in my happy place all day long! Look for a full report about the class on the Slow Sunday Stitching blog post. Have a great Friday!

Monday, January 23, 2017

En Provence Update

This is the current status of my version of the mystery quilt En Provence. The pattern will be disappearing on February 1st so I really want to get it mostly done by then, which is less than 2 weeks away.
Most of these pieces are sewn in rows so that I can shift everything one block to the left, hanging the left side of the quilt off the design wall so there will be room to work on the 3rd column on the right. Some of the block pieces for that column are pinned on the right side. Clearly I need a bigger design wall!
All the block components are made, organized and counted, and I have everything this quilt needs to be finished except the border 4 patches. It just might be possible to finish by the end of January.
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up that celebrates the art of hand stitching! 
Make a cup of your preferred beverage, grab a snack (you'll be here for a while), and enjoy clicking through the amazing blog links below from hand stitchers around the world. Last week there were 48 amazing posts showing us incredible hand stitching projects. I was truly inspired!
It's been a busy week for me and I'm really looking forward to some slow stitching time today. I've almost completed the embroidery on my 30th Life is Beautiful block, which I'll show next week and write an update on that project.
But today I want to do some hand quilting on my oldest UFO. I spread it out on the bed to see where I want to quilt today, and in all truthfulness, to admire my stitching so far :)

Here's the update of the quilted blocks so far:
*9 of 20 large 12" stars (quilted 1/4" inside the seams)
*14 of 32 small 6" stars (also quilted 1/4" inside the seams)
*21 of 31 diamonds which are quilted with a square in a square design 

Slow progress is being made... just like we like it!
1 Year of Stitches - week #3
And here is a terrible night time photo of my 1 Year of Stitches project. I'm not really fond of my additions this week, but that's life. Love isn't always smooth sailing or pretty looking, and neither is stitching sometimes!
So what are you planning to work on today? Link up your blog post of your hand stitching project and share your progress.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Alamo Stars

Alamo Stars has been my main leader-ender project since 2012. For more than 4 years I have made blocks here and there and posted them occasionally on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up. You can see the whole block collection on the photo header of my blog this month. I have decided I am ready to be done with sewing more of these Alamo Star blocks. I have another little block I want to start making for my next RSC project, but first Alamo Stars needs to be finished. Harsh, I know!
It has been difficult to figure out how to start putting the blocks together. Should I try a random layout? Attempt an organized light to dark layout? Indecision stalled any progress.
Finally I decided to make 4 patch blocks using the colour of the month at RSC, which this month is purple. I'm sewing 4 patch blocks using two light and two dark backgrounds. The 4 patches measure 5" and will be 4.5" in the finished quilt. They are tiny and adorable... and they really do sparkle on the design wall. 
Like most things in life, I have no idea how this is all going to work out, but at least it's a start toward someday having a finished quilt from these blocks. I'm hoping I will be able to arrange the colours like Angela did in her OMG layout.
To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge updates, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Clarissa Update

Agnes Gru
I cannot believe it is Friday!
I haven't written a blog post all week, which is most unusual for me. No blogging usually means not much quilting time, which means I feel quite miserable and depleted by Friday. 
But today is the first Friday Night Sew In of 2017 and I have quilting friends coming over, so very soon I will start to feel much better! You can click here to sign up, or you can just join in wherever you are and make some progress on your sewing projects. 
Block #6 Clarissa
I did finish the 6th block for "Clarissa was a Superstar" quilt. This is my leader ender project for Bonnie Hunter's challenge this year (you can read more about the challenge here). The Clarissa quilt is inspired by a quilt from the 1800s which you can read about here
I used the light triangles as the centre pinwheel for this block. I like it and think I'll do more block centres like this one has.
It's funny that whenever I post another Clarissa block that people think I am making HST (half square triangle) blocks. These are not HST blocks, they really are QST (quarter square triangles) which are more commonly called hourglass blocks. They are cut and sewn differently using the Companion Angle ruler, or you could use Bonnie Hunter's new ruler.
Here is how I cut the 1.5" strips to get the 144 quarter square triangles I need for each 12" block. I cut two or four strips together and place the pieces ready to sew by the machine. I have learned that I have to put two pieces through the machine with the dark fabric on top and oriented in this way or else the block just doesn't work out.
This is my machine set up, showing that I am piecing a block for the En Provence mystery quilt. And my Clarissa triangles are sitting on the right side of the machine bed waiting to be a leader/ender between sewing sections of the mystery. I love that it doesn't waste any thread! And I love that I am making progress on 2 quilts at once.
I can't show you all the Clarissa blocks together because En Provence pieces are on the design wall. I can't wait to see all the blocks together and find out if I like the addition of the dark red colour in this block. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Aurifil BOM

I was a little tardy in finishing the Aurifil BOM blocks for 2016. By the end of the year only the December block remained unsewn. The last block is a paper pieced flower block designed by Amanda Herring.
My 5 fabrics were organized back in December, but it took me a while to get the pattern printed, and to gather the concentration required to sew it.
Because I am used to sewing smaller blocks, the pieces seemed very large to handle. And no matter how I worked with each section, there was a lot of fabric wastage (which I will use in my 150 Canadian Women blocks, so it's not really "wasted" at all, I guess).

This is the pattern with 6 sections having 5 pieces each.
It doesn't look like it should have been that hard. 
But it was!
Why did it take me over 4 hours to put it together??

I can't explain it!!

Here is the 12th block for my 2016 Aurifil BOM project. Although the striped fabric doesn't match up perfectly around the centre, it's close enough for me, and I'm very happy with how it turned out, all things considered!
When I'm back in the quilt studio I will get all 12 blocks up on the design wall. I can't wait to see the suggested layout for these blocks and get them sewn together. 

You can see many variations of this block pattern over at Pat Sloan's blog here. To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching - 1 Year of Stitches

Welcome to our weekly hand stitching party!

We are already 2 weeks into the new year, and I've only started 1 new project... that's pretty good for me! How about you? How many new projects have you started in 2017?
I decided to join in on the "1 Year of Stitches" project hosted by Sara over at Brown Paper Bag. The guidelines for this project can be found here, but the essence is this... take one stitch every day for a year and see what you create. How hard could that be?!? 
I thought it would be easy for me because I do stitch everyday already, so this is just an extra project that would be used for "warm up" with my daily stitching. 

This is an intuitive piece, which means there is no pattern, no "right" or "wrong" way, and you have no idea what it will look like at the end. You just follow your intuition. 
The hardest part for some people is where/how to start. 
I thought about it over the last week of 2016 and decided to start with an embroidery pattern that I found on the Wild Olive blog.

Love has to be in the centre, right? It's at the start of all creative endeavours... you love something/someone and want to spend more time with it/them. 
Here is the disembodied thumb photo to give you a sense of the size I'm starting with for my year long project.
1 Year of Stitches - week #1
One of the suggestions with "1 Year of Stitches" is to take a photo of your stitching every day over the year. I'm not going to do that, but I do plan to take one photo each week.

These are my photos for week #1 and #2.

1 Year of Stitches - week #2
The hardest part so far is only taking a stitch (or two) each day. As you can see on the instagram feed, many people are taking a different approach to the challenge and have already created massive stitcheries! 
It's really hard to only take 1 stitch, 1 step at a time! 
I got carried away a bit in week 2 and clearly made more than 7 stitches. But I was loving the LOVE and wanted to finish the word!

Are you joining in with this creative endeavour? Do you have the ability to take one stitch each day on your project? 

We love to see all types of hand stitching, so please link up your blog post below and show us what you are working on today.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

Another crazy week is over and I am relaxing today by sewing some tiny random 1" bits of purple fabric into 9 patch blocks. Purple is the January colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I have just finished my 9th purple block.
I was so sad reading the news that Sue Garman died, which was announced this week by The Quilt Show. I have followed Sue's blog for years and have been inspired by her quilting and life adventures. She was an amazing woman with a fascinating career at NASA, followed by a brilliant career as a creative quilter, teacher, pattern designer and blogger. 
The news of her passing inspired me to get out my own Sue Garman project called Omigosh. You can see her original version of the pattern on her blog post from 2008 here. I've been working on my version for more than 3 years now and I have 84 of the double nine patch blocks done (110 are needed), but haven't even started sewing the second block yet! It's a perfect RSC challenge project, and I enjoy picking it up now and then to make more blocks with small scraps around the sewing room.
To see what the RSC quilters are making this week, hop over to the weekly link up at SoScrappy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

UFO Report

The second Votes For Women panel is quilted! 
This is a 42 block quilt that was a sampler project from Barbara Brackman which started in 2012, and is made from reproduction fabrics. I am quilting it in 3 sections, and this panel is the two columns of blocks which will be on the left side of the quilt. It feels like a big accomplishment since I've been working on it for a few weeks.
The panel looks like it's curved in this long photo, but it's an optical illusion due to leaning on my design wall.
Each of the 14 blocks in this panel was quilted individually. I viewed each block as a mini quilt needing a unique quilt design to be created. I didn't mark any quilting designs, and just tried to create as many continuous curved lines as possible.

By Jessica Hagy

The next task is to piece a backing, prep a batting, then pin baste the third panel. You can see all the panels here
It feels like I have crossed a psychological hurdle on finishing this quilt and am stoked to get to work on the last panel. 
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Design Wall Monday - En Provence

Progress is being made on my version of Quiltville's En Provence mystery quilt. I have made 2 changes so far in the process of working on my quilt.
In my photo from last week's DWM, I had used "background" squares in the block because that's what the directions said. Background to me means neutral fabrics. But in the photo of Bonnie's quilt, she used yellow 3.5" squares. 
I tried that out and liked it better. See how the block on the left has background squares and the block on the right has yellow squares? Yep, the yellow shines more, and shining as much light as possible is always the goal! So I recut those pieces and started sewing the blocks together.
The next decision was what to do about those pink stars in the sashing. It was too scrappy for my liking in the above photo. I like scrappy for sure, but that was too much, even for me! So I am grouping the pink star points with the same fabrics together as you can see in this photo. Oh I see one star point on the right is upside down... good thing the sashing isn't sewn together yet.
I am really having so much fun with this project. It's like one big jigsaw puzzle! There is still lots of sewing to do, but it's taking shape and looking more like a quilt.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times. And to see more mystery quilts in progress, hop over to the Quiltville link up.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the first Slow Sunday Stitching link up party for 2017! If you enjoy hand stitching of any kind, then you have found your tribe! You are welcome to join us here every Sunday and learn how we keep ourselves stitched together... it's one stitch at a time!

The #1 health risk is loneliness and we want you to be have a healthy and happy 2017, so join us! We are a little quirky, we love our needles and threads, we are excited by colour, and we could talk endlessly about our collections of fabric, wool, frames, hoops, and stitching tools. If that sounds like you, then you are one of us!

  • This week I will be putting some stitches into my next Life Is Beautiful block. There are a lot of curves in this design, so it helps to take smaller stitches to get the curves more rounded. I do contemplate the words of each block as I am stitching. But I save the actual stitching of the letters until last, because it's my favourite part and I enjoy the anticipation. Would you stitch your favourite part first or last? 
  • So now it's your turn... being part of a tribe means you contribute in whatever way is comfortable for you. You can link up your hand stitching blog post below and/or visit some of the links that look interesting. See what you can learn, enjoy the sights, and leave comments to encourage your fellow slow stitchers. Happy Slow Stitching Sunday!
        An InLinkz Link-up

    Saturday, January 07, 2017

    Rainbow Scrap Challenge Review

    This post is a review of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects. I have many fantastic block collections, but not a lot of finished quilts. I need to figure out what needs to be finished, what needs to be continued and really think about if anything new needs to be started. HA! It's very brave of me to take a fearless inventory, since it is a teeny tiny bit discouraging in some ways. 

    First I am proud to say that only TWO new rainbow scrap challenge projects were started in 2016. That shows great self restraint for me!

    1) Mad City Mama - It's a weird name for a quilt block, but it's a really cool block. The pattern is by Bonnie Hunter in her book Adventures with Leaders and Enders. I have finished 6 blocks and will continue with this one, adding a dark red, an aqua and a lime green block.

    2) Circle of Squares - This is a really fun block collection and I have enjoyed sewing each one. The pattern can be found here. Again I have finished 6 blocks and will continue to make at least 6 more blocks for this quilt.

    These are my older RSC Projects:

    1) Alamo Stars  
    This project has been in production for more than 4 years! This is the collection of hundreds of star blocks (no, I'm not counting them!) It is time to start putting them together, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Maybe I will start making similar coloured 4 patch blocks from the stars?

    2) Omigosh 
    This is a 3 year old project and it is labour intensive. It will be a lifetime achievement (or not, and will be passed on to my quilting buddies to finish in the future). It uses up all the 1" pieces of fabric scraps and is a leader/ender project.

    3) Palm Branches  
    This is my only paper pieced project and uses up small scraps also. I would like to finish this one in 2017 and need 2 more blocks.

    4) Maverick Stars  
    I love this one too! It's a 6" block and is a great scrap buster. I have 30 stars at this point and will continue to fill in the missing colours this year.

    5) Scrappy Sprouts 
    I don't know why, but this project fell right off the radar. Maybe it's something I only feel like working on during gardening season? I will continue to make more blocks to grow this scrappy garden. 

    6) Pumpkin Seeds 
    I haven't worked on this one for a long time. I have enough blocks done and have been pondering the border dilemma. I have a few purple blocks to complete this month and would like to sew the centre of this quilt together.

    7) Carrie Nation 
    This one hasn't been seen on the blog this year. I lost interest in this project, the poor thing. It would be easy to finish.

    8) All Tied Up in Knots - This project did not receive any attention this year. It's stuck at the layout decision stage. I saw a quilt at a show a long time ago that inspired some layout ideas, but then it got stuck at the math stage. 

    9) Spools - Is a quilt top! Ending on a positive note, my biggest RSC accomplishment this year was finishing my Spools quilt top. I'm very proud of sticking with it and am delighted with the outcome. I will be quilting this one in 2017.

    So that's my RSC review to start the year. I'm hoping for some finished quilts this year so that I can brag about it at the start of 2018! I do love to participate in this ongoing challenge hosted by Angela over at SoScrappy. Thanks for all the fun and encouragement over all these years Angela!

    Friday, January 06, 2017

    End of the week finally!

    This was just one of those weeks that needs to be over. You know the kind ... too much stress, too many worries, too many activities, not enough sleep, and no quilting time. 
    Miserable really. 
    I did enjoy making a few batches of "super soups" which is a fun activity for me. I am a terrific soup maker and fearless with combinations of odd ingredients, much to my family's chagrin sometimes! This should get us through the cold and flu season. This batch was spinach and broccoli which is one of my favourites, but the kids will only eat it if there is absolutely nothing else in the house to eat!
    And tonight there is a full recovery expected with nothing on the agenda except quilting! 

    Wednesday, January 04, 2017

    First UFO for 2017

    My first UFO goal for the year is the same as my goal for the November and December of last year. UGH. I just can't give up on it now because I am making some progress, just not fast enough to finish within a month. Or two. Or three.
    This is the most recent photo of machine quilting panel #2 on my Votes For Women quilt. Each panel has 14 blocks. I stitch around each block in the ditch with my walking foot, and then put the free motion foot on and quilt each one with a different design. I'm almost finished quilting half of the blocks on this panel.
    Could this be the month that it becomes a finished quilt? I hope so!
    Linking up with the goal setting party at One Monthly Goal.