Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada's Birthday

Tomorrow is Canada's 150th birthday! Of course there will be parades and fireworks, parties and picnics.
In anticipation of the big celebration, I have been slowly working on the blocks for my 150 Canadian Women quilt. These are some of the most recently finished blocks. This quilt is definitely going to need some sashing for a little breathing space. 

I have been sewing these red and white blocks on my white Featherweight. It runs like a dream and is so darn cute!

Have a great Canada Day tomorrow!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Production Line

Paw print block construction continues on Lucy my long bed Singer 301. I have a production line going to build all the block components.
Eagle eye Annie noticed that one of the border blocks on the design wall wasn't quite right on Monday's post. 
I didn't even notice that mutation. Thanks Annie for the heads up and now I can repair that block before the mistake gets quilted in!

I think the borders will need approximately 100 paw blocks, so I'm past half way. These pieces are small and I've been using my Clover seam ripper as an awl to steady the small pieces as they go under the needle. It makes for less shifting and more accuracy while chain piecing.
How can it be that there are only 2 more days left in June?!? I have given up on the goal of finishing The Bear this month, but great progress has been made and that is the purpose of setting goals, isn't it?!?!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Accidental Herd Addition

No one can really blame me for this acquisition!
Yes, I admit that I have a vintage sewing machine addiction, but I hadn't adopted one in a really long time. And this one just fell into my lap/house!
Singer 15-91 Machine #16 

I was minding my own business when my friend texted me saying that her parents found a great deal on "an old sewing machine" for $30 and asked if I wanted her parents to pick it up for me ... sight unseen.
Of course I did!
Meet machine #16 called Singer Sue.
From my online research, I believe she's a Singer 15-91 (manual here and how to identify 15-91 here) and is in the original cabinet. This machine (serial number JB598555) was made in 1936 in St. John's Newfoundland, which makes her 81 years old! See how the tension dial is located on the side of that beautiful faceplate!
The hand wheel turns easily, but you can see that the needle is bent and bangs into the presser foot (easy to fix). It has a potted motor, but the wiring is in very bad shape (not easy to fix).
However, I intend to convert this machine to a hand crank which I could take camping for quiltmaking in the wild. I have all the parts I need for a conversion and just hope I can remember everything I learned at the last TOGA I attended. 
Older machine, newly acquired on the left!

Now some of you might remember that my herd already contains a similar machine (#7) in a similar cabinet. 

Singer 99K Machine #7

But I think that machine is a Singer 99K and is a younger 69 year old machine from 1948 (serial number EE621885 made in Clydebank, Scotland). It is in better condition and it has safer wiring so I'm leaving that one "with a tail" as the Treadle On folks say.

You can see that the newer machines have the tension dial at the front. And just look at that beautiful faceplate!

Fellow blogger and vintage machine lover Cheryl will fill me in if any of my information is wrong on these machines, right Cheryl?!?!

Stay tuned to see how successful I am at my first attempt at converting an electric sewing machine to a hand crank machine!
Wish me luck!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bear-ly Making Progress!

Paw print blocks are in major product here and there are almost enough blocks to go half way around the quilt. There will be a light border between the centre and the paw prints but I'm waiting to cut that until I see what measurement will be easiest to work with.
I'm thinking of at least one or two cornerstone blocks made from the sausage fabric. Yes, it's very noticeable and visually distracting, but this is not a quilt for judging or display. It's for my family, and they will love seeing the sausages on the front of the quilt (story here).
It's now less than 2 weeks until I wanted to use this quilt on our first major camping trip of the summer. The pressure is really on!
To see more design wall posts, hop over to the link up at Small Quilts.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching weekly linkup party! If you like to stitch things by hand, you have found your tribe! Each week there are stitchers around the world who share their projects and progress (or lack thereof) to encourage and inspire us.
I don't have any progress to show this week. I'm still putzing along on the last embroidery block for my Life is Beautiful project. I'm not even going to show another photo since the change is hardly noticeable from last week.  Sometimes it's really hard to focus on stitching when there are so many other beautiful things to enjoy! 
Are you doing hand stitching today? We'd love to see what you're working on, so link up your blog post below and share your project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

The yellow month is speeding by over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I have been making a bit of a dent in the yellow scrap box. Two more blocks were added to the scrappy sprouts project this week (pattern is here).

This has been a very slow growing garden/project and that's my favourite way to make a quilt. No pressure. No deadlines. No expectations. Just making a few blocks here and there, and adding to it whenever you have a yen for it.
I like to quilt in the same way as I like to drive... believing you will get to the destination eventually, with the intention to enjoy every minute, and not be stressed about how you're going to get there.
I don't know how big this quilt will be, but it will be bigger than this, because I am still enjoying it and not ready for it to be done yet.
To see more yellow projects, hop over to the RSC link up.

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


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!
I was wrong on both'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.