Monday, July 31, 2017

August UFO on the Design Wall

2017 is more than half over, and I have only finished 3 quilts from the list of 12 (list on the side bar). That puts my UFO completion rate at 25%. Ugh!! Surely I can do better the second half of the year?!? August is a busy month, so I'm picking a project that should be an easy finish. 
This Tetris quilt top was made in 2012 in a quiltalong over at the Happy Quilting blog. It was on my UFO list for a few years. I decided I wanted to finish it this month, and just now realized that it's not even on my 2017 UFO list! HA! That's so funny since it was on the UFO list every year from 2013 to 2016 and then it fell off the list I guess?
Oh well, I'm psyched for it now, so my August goal will be to add the fabric at the top as an outside border, and then to machine quilt and finish up this quilt.
The word "tetris" is used as a verb at my house, especially when trying to pack things into the refrigerator or freezer after grocery shopping, or when we are packing to go camping. We say "can you tetris that pile of stuff into the car"? This will be a fun family quilt to have around and it will be finally finished in a few short weeks...hopefully!
Linking up to the UFO dream board linky at One Monthly Goal and Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching Giveaway

For over 5 years now I have been hosting the Slow Sunday Stitching link up! It's as regular as clockwork... every Sunday morning I host a link up and hand stitching enthusiasts from around the world generously share photos of what they are working on. It's truly inspiring and encourages us all to keep going with our own hand stitching projects. 
A huge "thank you" to each one of you who participate in linking up your blog posts, and to those who support fellow slow stitchers by leaving suggestions and encouraging comments for the bloggers.
To celebrate the 5th anniversary of Slow Sunday stitching, I am giving away two little DIY kits inspired by my mini quilt from the "BEE 'Lieve in Yourself" fabric by Deb Strain. 
hand stitching the corner label
Each kit will contain 4 different squares from the panel and some bee or hexagon sashing fabric. I will pick one number from the linkups, and one number from the comments on this post, so there will be two winners - a blog linker-upper and a commenter!

This is what I'll be working on today... hand quilting more of my Life is Beautiful blocks. I start each one with a little stitching around some of the embroidery designs, then I quilt around the circle that has been appliqued to the 4 patch background block, and then I quilt diagonal lines out to the corners to stabilize the block. I am enjoying this triangle of tailor's chalk that my friend Debby gave me. It works perfectly for marking the diagonal lines to stitch on.

Here are four quilted blocks on the design wall. 4 done and 59 to go! I plan to join them together in a quilt-as-you-go fashion (tutorial here).

Now it's your turn!
What are you hand stitching today? We love to see what you are creating with your own 2 hands.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

Blue is the colour for July over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
The Omigosh project saw some scrappy attention this week. I finished 3 alternate shoofly blocks and 1 more double 9 patch block. These blocks use up my smallest 1" scraps. These are fiddly blocks and take just as long as a full size block to make (and sometimes longer if the seam ripper needs to be involved!)

Here's the full blue block collection. Many more shoofly blocks are needed but 3 is a good start!

This is a multi-year (maybe multi-decade project!) and I just sew a few blocks here and there when I have collected enough tiny scraps.

To see more blue scrap projects, hop over to the link up at SoScrappy.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Mini Finish

Now that The Bear is finished, and before I get to work on my August UFO, I wanted to make a quick little wallhanging from fabric I purchased at the Goose on the Loose shop hop in May. I loved the whole line of this Bee Creative fabric, so believe me when I say that I demonstrated great self restraint in buying only 3 pieces of the fabric line!

I didn't want this great fabric to go into storage and decided to simply cut out the panel squares and border them with the bee fabric. I machine quilted diagonal lines with the walking foot on, and used masking tape as a guide for spacing the lines.

I'm very happy with look of the black flange tucked in the hexagon binding. It makes a perfect little 13" square wallhanging for the front door. 
I'm going to make up some little kits to give to some of the Slow Sunday Stitchers, so if you'd like to make a similar wallhanging, check back here on Sunday for the giveaway to "bee inspired"!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Big Bear Finish!

The Bear quilt is finished and measures 58" x 69"!
This quilt was started in the fall of 2016 with Lorna's MOD Bear Paw Quilt Along. I thought I was going to make a little wallhanging, but this bear project took on a life of it's own and decided to become a bigger quilt. I made as many blocks as I could with the brown fabric I had purchased for the project.
Then I got the idea to add the word 'Killarney', which is the name of the provincial park in which I saw a bear that year (you can read the story here). Adding the word row meant that I ran out of the light background fabric and had to buy more to make the borders. The new background fabric turned out to be a slightly lighter colour which didn't bug me too much until I saw the finished quilt outdoors. But it's way too late to change it now, so I just have to live with it. I am tempted to tea dye the whole quilt and see if that tones down the difference between the two fabrics.

It was only fitting that I took the photos of the finished quilt while camping at the same park where I met the bear last year.
We had fun finding just the right spot to hold the quilt for photos. However it is difficult to get qualified quilt holders who understand how to hold the quilt still and parallel to the ground!

The quilt has already been used for cuddling up in around the fire, for warmth at night, and for protection from mosquitoes, black flies and bears!
Thank you to Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts for another great quilt along and a wonderful pattern!
I'm so happy to be linking up my finish to One Monthly Goal and Let's Be Social. You can see more bear quilts at the QAL link up here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Emerald Stars Step #1

Scrap organization is an ongoing challenge for a busy quilter! I'm always tossing pieces here and there, and trying to figure out how to store scraps so they are actually useable for future projects. What good does it do to keep scraps if they don't actually become finished quilts?!?! 

Well, Kevin the Quilter is helping us out with that challenge! He is hosting a scrappy mystery project called "Sapphire Stars" (step #1 is here). There are lots of tips already posted for scrap organization
For this project I am using up green scraps, so my quilt will be called Emerald Stars. The dark corners were leftover from the sashing and backing on the bear quilt, the medium squares are some of my favourite green plaids, and the lights were from the green scrap bin. It's so great to be getting these scraps into a quilt ... thanks Kevin!

The 48 blocks for step #1 were sewn on my white Singer featherweight 221K.  I thought it was the perfect machine for sewing these green blocks since under some lighting the machine appears to have a slight tinge of green. Notice that I'm using up a bobbin of light green thread to piece these blocks. 
Ready for step #2!
Linking up to Oh Scrap!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Christmas Design Wall

On the design wall today are the blocks for my "Have a Jolly Little Christmas" quilt. This is a sew along project from Sew Fresh Quilts. 
I just finished the Christmas Wreath pattern that was posted in June. It was just like constructing a jigsaw puzzle using pieces of fabric!

I've fallen quite a bit behind on this project. There have been 13 block patterns posted and I've just now finished sewing my 4th block. 
That's okay... there are still 5 months until Christmas!
Up next is the reindeer block... I'm thinking I'll make mine a Rudolph!

To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
At Slow Sunday Stitching, we brag about our slowness, and take pride in the art of relaxing, breathing deeply, and not really accomplishing much. We believe in the health benefits of relaxation, and take it seriously enough to commit to the practice at least once a week. If you need a reminder of the benefits of relaxation, click here.

This week has seen me slowly stitching on a few different projects:

*here I am stitching the split hanging sleeve on the back of a miniature quilt that I am calling Bonnie's Star. I sew my hanging sleeves right into the binding along the top of the quilt. After the sleeve is hand stitched, I stitch the binding down on top of it.

*here I am stitching the label for the Bear Quilt. I have been remiss about making labels for my quilts in the past, and every time I do a quilt lecture and trunk show I feel embarrassed about that. So I am trying to improve my habits by making a label for every finished project.  
This label is a plain muslin rectangle in the centre with the quilt's information, surrounded with sausage fabric. It's an easy label to make, with the edges turned under and appliqued to the back of the quilt. Sometimes I just tuck a triangle label into the corner of the binding. I'm also stitching the binding on the bear quilt today and am so close to finishing!

*here I am appliqueing the centre of a trillium block. The pieces were tiny and I used the toothpick trick from Becky Goldsmith (video here) to turn the edge under a bit at a time. I don't enjoy applique this tiny, but for one block I can force myself to do it!

What are your hands stitching? 
We encourage you to relax and spend some time creating something with your needles today! 
Slow down, take some stitches and then link up your blog post below so we can see what you're working on.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

A couple more blue blocks were added to the Maverick Star collection this week. This a slow growing, no pressure project... just the way I like my quilting to be! The star points are mostly corners cut off of flying geese blocks. This is a free Bonnie Hunter pattern (click here) and uses up lots of scraps. 
To see more Rainbow Scrap projects, hop over to the weekly link up here.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Finished Mini Quilt

Back in May when issue #15 of the 100 Blocks magazine came out, I was immediately smitten with Bonnie Hunter's blockIn the magazine this block was called "sawtooth flutter" but I'm calling my version "Bonnie's Star". 

I sewed her block pattern using leftover triangles given to me by one of my quilt guild members (who would have otherwise thrown the pieces in the garbage). It was a fun challenge to turn the baggie of scrap triangles into this 133 piece 12" block. 
Since I already had the walking foot on my machine because I was quilting the Bear, I thought a quick little diversion with some instant gratification would be nice. And it was! I just did some stitch-in-the-ditch quilting around the block pieces and some parallel lines in the border and it's done - including a label and hanging sleeve.
A quick finish is just what I needed to maintain my motivation for my larger long term projects. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New Mystery Quilt

I caved to the temptation to start the Meadow Mist Designs mystery quilt called Magnolia Mystery
Because there are only 4 fabrics required and I already have them in my stash! When I read the fabric requirements for this quilt, I could see in my mind's eye the exact fabric I could use from my stash. I have a lot of fabric leftover from my Swoon quilt and this is the perfect project to use it up.

A - yellow (3/8 yd scrappy)
B - grey (3/4 yd yardage)
C - black (5/8 yd yardage)
D - white with black designs (background 4 1/4 yd scrappy)
We won't actually start sewing until August but I have everything ready to go. Thanks to Kate for the enticement to join in the fun!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Are you sewing along with the Blockheads mystery sampler?
This is the block for week 19 called "Night Flight". If you're sewing this block be sure to use the instructions on page 2 if you are doing traditional piecing (page 1 is for "layered patchwork" technique).  We haven't had many flying geese in the blocks so far, so it was nice to sew a few of those. 

Here are the blocks on the design wall in no particular order. My block collection is missing the #16 flag block since I haven't figured that one out yet.
Hop over to Moda to see what block #20 is.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Still Quilting the Bear

Progress continues on machine quilting the bear. After the stabilizing lines on both sides of the sashing were stitched, I started quilting the paw print border blocks. I just stitched a free motion 'X' through each plain square. 
And then in the next border I free motioned an 'X' design again. I marked each section with an air erase marker to have a spot to aim for. It's not a precise method and the lines are usually not even straight, but I like quilting this way, and the results are good enough for the bear and me!

Then I decided to quilt across the brown bear paw blocks on the diagonal. I like the way it looks but it's a lot of stopping and starting. I decided to not tie in the thread tails, but to just tack the beginning and ending of each line of stitching, and clip the threads. It doesn't look as nice, but the bear and I are both okay with that too! If progress keeps going this smoothly, this bear might even be done by the end of the month!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Marvellous Mini Monday

Are you sewing along with the Temecula summer mystery??
It's only 1 or 2 easy blocks every Monday. Well, there was one week that wasn't easy at all, but all the rest have been easy peasy. 
We've just made these blocks with a tiny 9 patch, a flying geese centre, and a broken dishes centre. These 4" blocks use up all your tiniest scraps, the pieces that "normal" quilters throw in the garbage.

Here are all the blocks I've made for this project so far.
Hop over to Temecula to see what block we're making today, and then hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall postings. So much quilty goodness to enjoy!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate the art of hand stitching! We encourage you to pick up a needle and thread, and S L O W L Y take some relaxing stitches today.
Last Sunday I finished hand quilting the first Life is Beautiful block. I did a bit of quilting in the embroidery, stitching inside the heart and following the swirling tree branch lines. Then I quilted just outside the appliqued circle, and in those middle seamlines that go out to each edge. That didn't seem to be quite enough so I also quilted a diagonal from the circle to the corners. I think that's enough to hold each block together, while still being not too labour intensive so that it will not take me another 2+ years to finish!!
One done and 62 more to go!

What are you hand stitching today? Do you have a take-along project that is travelling with you and getting finished slowly over the summer (or winter if you live in the southern hemisphere)? Link up your blog post below and share your slow stitching progress with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

I'm working away on my collection of Alamo star blocks. 
 I've been making blocks for almost 5 years and this year I am sewing them together into 4 patch blocks with two light colour backgrounds and two dark backgrounds. The star colours in each four patch are random, which I constantly remind myself does not mean "evenly placed"!!  Here are a four more finished green 4 patches from May, and eight blues from this month. The 4 patch blocks measure 4".
To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to the weekly link up.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Quilting the Bear

One of the biggest challenges of being a quilt maker is figuring out how to do the actual quilting. I know of many quilters who have a collection of quilt tops because they just don't know how to quilt them. 

While I am basting a quilt, I am thinking about the quilting design. Sometimes I have a clear understanding of how I will quilt a project (like when making the Scrap Vortex) and sometimes I have no inspiration. When that happens, I just start by quilting a grid of some sort, making horizontal and vertical lines from the centre to the edges, or diagonal lines from the centre to the corners. As I'm doing that, more ideas for possible quilting designs usually come to mind.

That is what I'm doing with the bear quilt. I started by "stitching in the ditch" on both sides of the sashings using the walking foot. 
Then I decided that the bear needed some free motion swirling designs. My concern about this is if one area of a quilt is densely quilted and the rest is not, the quilt will not lay flat. 
I'm not sure how this will work out, but we shall soon see!
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sampler Quilts

Sampler quilts are some of my favourite quilts to see, and to make. As opposed to quilts in which all the blocks are the same, a sampler quilt is made from a variety of blocks that are unique. Each block of a sampler quilt uses different layouts, scraps of fabrics, and/or construction techniques. These projects hold my interest WAY longer than quilts where I have to make a bunch of blocks that are exactly the same. My version of Votes For Women (pattern by Barbara Brackman) is my most recently finished sampler quilt, and therefore my current favourite! You can see some of my older sampler quilts here and read about some historical sampler quilts here.

My love of sampler quilts is one of the reasons I love the Moda Blockheads project. Last week we sewed block # 18 called Rocky Mountain Puzzle. It's a bit of an unusual name for this block, and you can learn more about the history of the name here

Because this is a mystery quilt project, I don't know how the layout will be. But I'm already leaning toward having some of the block be straight set and some on point.
A huge thank you to the Moda pattern designers who are providing this mystery sampler quilt for our enjoyment completely free of charge!
Hop over to Moda to see the pattern for block #19.
If you have Facebook, you can visit the Blockheads page and see all the block variations being sewn.
Linking up to the Oh Scrap! party at Cynthia's.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Empty Design Wall

Nothing is on my design wall today.
That is a rare occurrence here in my quilt studio.
I am trying to stay focused on my UFO of the month, which is the bear quilt. I finally attached the last two borders (a light, and a dark green) and here is a photo of the next stage of quilting - pin basting.
It's not a fun task, but it is necessary to move to the next fun task, which is the machine quilting step.
To see some design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitchers! Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join us in celebrating the benefits of slow stitching!

Because I am finishing up my last Life Is Beautiful block, I put them all up on the design wall to see how it's going to look.
Looks great if I do say so myself!
I decided to do this project in the quilt-as-you-go style, so I am hand quilting each block individually and once quilted, I'll join them together.

I spent time prepping a few blocks for hand quilting this week, so that's what I'm stitching today. This is the first block I embroidered, so it will be the first block I quilt. This is a perfectly portable project for dragging around with me this summer. 

What are you hand stitching today? We'd love to see your project, so link up your blog post below and share with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

July is blue month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'm starting off the month by organizing my blue Alamo Stars into 4 patch blocks. I'm surprised that there aren't more blue blocks, but this is all there are to work with. 
What are you sewing for the blue month? Hop over to the link up at SoScrappy.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Temecula Sew Along

Temecula Quilts is hosting a "Marvelous Mini Monday" sew along for the summer, making a block or two or three every week. Here is my collection as of this week. These blocks use up the tiniest scraps that "normal" quilters throw in the garbage, so I feel like this is a free quilt!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Are you keeping up with the Blockheads project?
Block #17 was posted last week and is called "Trail of Tears". But there were no tears involved in sewing it! It was an easy block and used up lots of small scraps.
The block pattern the week before is an appliqued flag, and because it's Canada's 150th birthday this year I wanted to make a Canadian flag. So I have to figure out how to make that.

Here are my first 16 blocks.
I wonder if this week is another applique block? Hop over to Moda to see the pattern for block #18.