Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bear Update

The month is half over, but the Bear is not nearing completion. I was hoping to have the top completed and the quilting started by now.
After reading the comments last week, I put in a sashing row below the word Killarney, as that was the popular suggestion.  I sewed 5 more bear paw blocks with sashings and am ready to attach it to the top. The next step is to add sashings on both sides and the centre will be done.
This quilt pattern is from the MOD Bear Paw QAL at Sew Fresh Quilts, and the last border is a paw print pattern that goes all around the quilt, so that's what I'll be cutting out to sew this weekend.
To see what other quilters are working on this week, hop over to the Sew Fresh Quilts link up and see Lorna's new adorable fox quilt pattern.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blockheads Update



It was an easy block to sew this week.
This is block #15 called the T Block.
I used 4 different fabrics to emphasize the T shapes. I like how this finished block does not look like it's component parts.


Here are my 15 blocks on the design wall, with the T block put on point.
I am liking the look of some dark red background blocks.

Wonder what we are making this week?
Hop over to the Moda blog to see the block of the week.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Temecula Sew Along

Here are the first 4 blocks for the Marvelous Mini Monday 12 week sew along over at Temecula. 
The top ones are "Jacob's Ladder" blocks. It's ordinarily an easy block to make in regular size, but these ones took an embarrassingly long time to make. I described them to my friend Diane as "sweet", and after making her blocks, she described them as "stressful". Yes, both adjectives are accurate! This is precision sewing at it's finest with the completed blocks measuring 4".
This week's block is a framed pinwheel... I'm off to the sewing room!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Design Wall Monday



Clarissa is on the design wall this morning.
This is block #15.
I try to make each block a little bit different and I like how a few well placed hourglass blocks give this one a diagonal emphasis.






Here are all the blocks together on the design wall. I wanted to see what they would look like all smushed together with no sashing space.
I miss the sashing space!
I think my goal is to make 5 more blocks.
Total # of pieces = 2,160
To see more design walls, hop over to the link up at Small Quilts.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! 
Get out your needles and thread, and join hand stitchers around the world who are benefitting from the process of creating something with our own hands. 


Here is an interesting quote I came across this week:
“Making is part of being human, yet as a society we are suffering from the effect of increased screen time and the lack of real fulfilment that often accompanies that.  Most needlecrafts are fairly accessible and require only basic skills and minimal outlay to achieve very rewarding results.  The rhythmic, repetitive moments necessary to knit, sew or crochet are proven to have therapeutic benefits and improve mental health and emotional wellbeing, increasing serotonin production and inducing a natural state of mindfulness.”
 Polly Leonard, founder of Selvedge magazine quoted in an article called "A stitch in time saves stress down the line".

It was encouraging to read that more people are recognizing the benefits of hand stitching, and that the interest in needlecrafts is growing in some parts of the world.

This week I finished the hand applique on my XX block, and put that in the mail.






I am now stitching the very last embroidery block for my Life is Beautiful quilt. Yes, I have been dragging my feet (or hands!) on finishing this. It has been such a fun project and I'm sad that this part is almost over. I always save the words for last since this is the most fun for me to stitch. 

Do you save the best to last?


Best Dad Ever!
And speaking of the best...
Happy Father's Day to my Dad! 
It's hard to find a photo of him without a grandchild snuggled up to him, but I did find one and here it is. Notice the pen in his pocket just in case he has to write something down?!? LOL
I sure won the Dad lottery!

What are you hand stitching this week? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us... we love to see what you're stitching!


   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

Finally I had some time in the quilt studio to get to work on the yellow scraps. Can you believe there is only one more Saturday left in June? I had to make some progress with my RSC projects!
I made another Circle of Squares block (pattern here) not even realizing that I had already made a yellow block for this project. Oh well, now I have 2 yellow blocks! I used up some scraps left over from my En Provence mystery quilt. 




Here are the 11 circle blocks on the design wall. The top right is the new block... and the bottom left is the yellow block from last year. 

To see more RSC yellow projects, hop over to the weekly link up.

Friday, June 16, 2017

70273 Block in Remembrance

It's my birthday today!
I am celebrating by making a block for the 70273 Project. Have you heard about that already? 
It's a huge undertaking by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers to commemorate the lives of the physically and mentally disabled people murdered in 1940-41. You can read more about the project here. She is collecting blocks and quilts to create a display that will travel internationally.
I worked for many years with differently abled adults and wanted to contribute in my own small way to this project. 
My block is being made in memory of a little boy who was born in 1974 with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. It was thought that he would likely not survive after he was born, but remarkably he lived for 35 years.  He was one of the first babysitting jobs I had, and certainly my most challenging job due to his special needs. He taught me so much about the challenges that some people endure. He was my teacher, my "ring bearer", and my dear friend.  
I'm sending this block to be a small part of the 70273 Project in memory of my friend David, who was considered "disabled" by the world, and had he lived in Germany in 1940 he would most certainly have received the dreaded XX. But this fragile boy grew up to be an inspiring man who knew how to fully love others, how to be a true friend... and without fail, he remembered to call me every year on my birthday. I will miss that call again this year.
If you feel inclined to make a block for this project, perhaps in memory of someone who is/was not a perfect human specimen and suffered from physical or mental illness, the details are here. Thank you to Jeanne for undertaking this huge project which reminds us of the value of differently abled people, with the hope that we do not repeat the atrocities of generations past.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

150 Canadian Women


I'm still working away on my 150 Canadian Women blocks. Blocks #91-93 were posted this week, and I'm way behind, but still enjoying every one. My favourite blocks are ones with lots of pieces like this one - 48 pieces in a 6" block. 

This is block #65 ... with a pin that one of my "friends" gave me this week.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blockheads



This is block #14 and it's a classic "square in a square" block. I have made this block many times using paper piecing, but this might be the first time I've made it without the paper. Don't you think it would be fun to make a whole quilt from this one block pattern??!!



Here are the first 14 (of 48) blocks on the design wall.
I'm getting to know all the designers of the Blockheads project and try to guess what kind of block the designer of the week will chose. This week it's Jan Patek, so I'm guessing we'll be making an applique block? Hop over to the Moda blog to see if I'm right!
Addendum:
I was wrong on both accounts...it's a pieced block by Jo Morton! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

FNSI and Design Wall Monday

The Bear quilt (pattern by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts) is my UFO of the month and I have been working on it regularly. 
The progress is not really noticeable because much of the work is going on in my brain. I'm happy with the two bear paw blocks on the left of "Killarney"  bringing that row up to the necessary width. 
Now I'm trying to decide what looks better - green sashing or no sashing below "Killarney"? And do I want a dark green sashing around this whole section of the quilt?
One of the factors in the decision is that I purchased more neutral background fabric to make the quilt larger (it started as a wallhanging but has grown to a lap quilt), but just realized it's not exactly the same.
I have been using the neutral fabric (in the middle) which looks cream coloured, and the new fabric (on the bottom) looks more white. I intend to use it anyway for the next border, but I might need another fabric around this section of the quilt so that the change in background fabric doesn't bug me so much.


I had cut all the pieces to make one more row of bear paw blocks which will either go on the top or bottom of this section.
Friday night there was an impromptu FNSI and I intended to get all of these sewn.



However, my friend Barbara finally located Canada's 150th birthday limited edition vodka (see my blogpost about it here) and she was making fabulous Cosmopolitans for us. I think that explains the lack of further progress! What happens at FNSI, stays at FNSI!
Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching


Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We invite you to relax, enjoy your favourite beverage, and spend some time visiting other hand stitchers around the world. It's so fun to see what other creative people are working on.


This week I want to introduce you to my friend Debby (on the left) who has become a hand stitching hexie addict. You can see a little of the project she is making with larger size hexagons on the right side of the photo.
Hexies can become a terrible affliction and I hope I don't get infected by hanging around with her! Here she is teaching a new convert Bea (that we had just met at quilt retreat) how to sew hexies. She was so enthusiastic about her love of hand stitching that she drew another unsuspecting quilter into this beloved hobby and got Bea started on her own hexie project.


Apparently these blocks need a lot of tools to make.
Here is a photo of her supplies including clips, glue, thread, needles, scissors, lights, storage containers, etc. Can you see several of her complex blocks in progress on the table? These are really tiny!


Just look at this fabulous wooden box (with a sliding lid) that she uses for storing some basted hexies for a flower garden quilt. The pieces are clipped together in sets to complete one flower block.


Here is what one flower block looks like. It's made from 7 hexies. The outside of the flower is scrappy pinks/purples with a yellow centre. 



Debby is in several Facebook groups to trade flower blocks with other hexie lovers around the world, so some of these flowers on the design wall she made herself, and some are blocks received from trades. It will be a wonderful scrappy flower garden. She intends to make a white path between the flowers and you can see those pieces already in production in her wooden storage box.
We had a great time taking photos of her tiny blocks. Just look at these hexies on the bleeding heart plant! And a random cat hexie in the crabapple tree! You never know where you might see these adorable little blocks when Debby is around!
Do you have hexie fever? Are you trying to resist like I am?
Or are you "all in" like Debby is?
What are you working on today? Do you have a hand stitched hexie project in the works? Share it with us on your blog post if you do, and link up anything you are hand stitching below. 
Happy Slow Sunday Stitching!

   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Scrappy Saturday Block Drive

June is the month of sewing up yellow scraps over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I made 4 blocks to send to Cynthia . She is collecting blocks for the Covered In Love charity, which provides quilts to patients who are dying. This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I know how beneficial the colour, comfort and warmth provided by quilts is for sick patients and their families. 
When my brother was having cancer treatments, he was often cold. When there were scary visits to the ER, painful treatments, and hours of waiting, I always had a quilt in the car just in case he was cold. Here is a picture that captures a very vivid memory because it was a terrible day, and on this day he became particularly enamoured with the back of this quilt, which was "just a panel". It reminded him of days when he was healthy and able to go hiking and camping. It provided warmth, memories, and comfort.
If you are interested in contributing some blocks for the Covered in Love quilts, the tutorial is here
The link up for RSC yellow projects is here.

Friday, June 09, 2017

New Temecula Mini Sew Along

Did you see that Temecula Quilts has started a new 12 week sew along called Marvelous Mini Monday? What better way to start the week?!?
These blocks are an adorable 4". 
Aren't they sweet? I'm making 2 each week since I have so many small scraps to use up. It's the perfect scrap user project, so YOU should probably join in too!
Who's with me?!?

PS Did you see Temecula's "Baked to Perfection" anniversary cake quilt? What a great quilt! I baked them a red reproduction cake, which is in the second row, third from the right in the finished quilt. It was my small way of saying thank you for all the ways in which they have freely given to the quilting community. Temecula received cake blocks from almost every US state, as well as from Netherlands, Canada, Australia, South Africa, France, England, Ireland, and Germany. It was fun to be a tiny part of this amazing international quilt. 

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Rotary Cutter Blades

A couple of months ago I bought an aqua "Splash" Olfa rotary cutter which has a new system for replacing the blades in order to reduce the probability of cutting yourself during the process. Okay, so this product was actually "new" in 2013, but it's new to me in 2017!
I needed to cut bazillions of triangles for Clarissa and the Bear so I got out the new rotary cutter. And somehow I got a nick in the very first blade of my new rotary cutter. I have no memory of cutting anything other than fabric. I am very careful to always keep the safety shield in place when I set the cutter down (since I have seen terrible injuries of quilters accidentally cutting themselves) so I really have no idea how the nick happened.
The blade was really sharp when I started using it, but after a few cuts it was missing threads consistently. I was able to easily replace the blade and think the new blade replacement system is great.
However, I do hope that this new $7 blade lasts longer than a few cuts!
Here are my questions:
1) What do you do with your old/nicked/dull rotary blades?
2) Do you get them sharpened?
3) Have you had any experience with using the blade sharpeners yourself? Is it a good investment?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Blockheads



Wednesday is the day that the new block pattern is posted for the Blockheads project. This is last week's block called "Bowtie Quartet". I used this as an opportunity to see if I still remembered how to sew a 3D bowtie block. (You can see the mini plaid bowtie quilt I made a few years ago here.)
It is a challenging technique. 
Not only does it resemble origami at one stage of block construction, but there are a few tricks to remember when sewing it that make the difference between success and failure. And the smaller the block is, the harder it is to sew it correctly.
Of course the first attempt (on the right) didn't work properly and no amount of tugging, twisting or ironing the block would get the centre knot to lay flat. Once I remembered how to match the pieces correctly, the second attempt on the left went more smoothly.


Here is my collection of the first 13 blocks on the design wall.
Hop over to Moda to see what block we are making this week.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Clarissa Design Wall

Clarissa block #14
I have been away and missed my regular design wall posting yesterday, so here it is today. Clarissa is on the design wall!
This is block #14 and is quite pale compared to most of the others. I think it will provide a some contrast and interest in the overall quilt. The dark brown and the Sweetwater text fabrics were both given to me by my friend Debby. They are from her Aunt's stash of fabric, which she recently inherited. I promised her they would be put to good use and here they are already in a block! 



This is my Clarissa block collection so far.

Total number of pieces in the quilt blocks so far = 2,016

To see more design wall postings this week, hop over to the link up at Small Quilts.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly Slow Sunday Stitching link up! 
This is where the hand stitchers gather to share the projects they are working on. When you create something with your own hands (not with a machine) it takes a lot longer to finish it. You have to develop perseverance and patience while you make a little bit of progress at a time. You learn to notice and appreciate the small things, and savour the feeling of accomplishment for each small step toward the finish. Sometimes it takes years to sustain the interest in the project. 
Grandma, how's the quilting coming along?!


Such is the case with my oldest UFO which I have been working on (or storing!) for 21 years!
It was pieced in 1996, and the border was added in 2012. 
For real! 
It was pin basted in 2015 and then the hand quilting was started. It's a really big quilt, and too hot to sit under in the summer, so it's a project I only work on in the winter. The time has come to put it away until the cool weather arrives again in the fall. This is the "high tech" chart I made to keep track of my stitching progress over the years.
This is the stitching finished so far:
11 of the 20 large stars done
16 of the 32 small stars done
26 of the 31 diamonds done

That's pretty good... more than half way there, not including the border. Today I am appreciating the progress and pondering how I might eventually quilt the border.
Now it's your turn... please link up your blogpost below and share the progress you are making on your slow stitching projects. 

   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

I have been slacking with my RSC efforts lately and finally made a bit of progress with green scraps. One of my favourite scrappy blocks to make this year is the Circle of Squares block. I found the perfect background fabric with the green stars at Cherished Pieces. It's so fun to look at these green squares and remember the projects for which they were purchased. Many of these are bits leftover from Easy Street.





The green block is #10 for the collection. This is another poor photo taken late at night, but you get the idea of how the project is developing.









In addition I wanted to get my green Alamo Star blocks sewn into 4 patches in May (see the aqua blocks here and the purple blocks here). But in laying them out on the table, I realized there were not nearly enough dark green blocks to work with. Apparently I only really like light green! So I cut out the pieces for 16 blocks with dark green backgrounds, and will sew these as leader-ender blocks and finish these sometime in June. I'm looking forward to working with yellow scraps this month.
Hop over to the weekly link up to see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.

Friday, June 02, 2017

UFO Report

Well, the intended UFO finish of the month did not receive any attention at all in the month of May. I could not find the fabric I thought I had reserved for the backing and got preoccupied with finishing Grand Illusion to donate to my local guild instead. That's okay... a UFO got finished, just not the one I had intended to finish in the month of May!
So what's up for June?
The Bear quilt is getting priority because I want it finished for camping season this year. I have all the fabric I need to completely finish this quilt, so I plan to focus, focus, and focus. The next step is making two or three more rows of bear paw blocks.
To see more UFO projects for the month of June, hop over to One Monthly Goal link up.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Clarissa #13

Clarissa block #13
This is the next block to join the Clarissa block collection (you can see the other blocks here).

This one has more dark red triangles than the other blocks. The project seemed to need this kind of a block.
I like the unique (inspired by a mistake) corner hourglass blocks with 3 dark triangles and 1 light.
This is how block #13 looks from the back. I have tried many ways to press the seams as I made each block, and have settled on this as the best so far. My favourite thing is spinning the centre seams on the hourglass blocks to make them lay nice and flat.
Total number of pieces in the quilt so far is 1,872!