Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Blockheads Update

The Blockheads project saw some progress this past week. The bird house from week #22 was a cute little appliqued block. It took me a while to figure out the order in which to stitch the pieces, but I got it figured out and am pretty happy with how it ended up. I added some bird feet since it just looked like he was slipping right off the roof... so now he's firmly grounded!

Block #25 is called "Twice the Friendship". It was easy to sew when you follow the directions. I changed the light and dark pieces in order to feature the brown fabric that my friend Deanna recently sent me. And half way through cutting the block pieces, I forgot that I had made that change! So I have lots of extra pieces already cut for a future block.

Here is my version of the 25 Blockhead patterns posted so far...

Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Clarissa is on the design wall!

This is block #17 made for my version of the Clarissa quilt. I wanted to include more of the dotted butterscotch fabric in the quilt since it does seem to draw attention to itself when all the blocks are together. The key to dealing with "attention seeking" fabrics is to sprinkle more of them around the quilt. 

This block collection has outgrown my design wall, so I just put up a few more blocks to surround this new one. You can see the first 16 blocks here.

I think I'll make 3 more blocks for this quilt for a total of 20, with a layout of 4 across and 5 down.

To see more quilts being designed, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly slow stitching party where we celebrate the art of hand stitching.

Yesterday was "Play Music on the Porch" Day. 
Who knew?!?

This was my second year attending a local porch party event and it was lots of fun. While everyone else was enjoying the music, I was also doing some hand stitching and finished one more block for my Life is Beautiful project. It was a great day of music and stitching.

When I got home, I realized that there is a big stitch across the middle of the block that is quite noticeable. See right where the needle is? I guess I was moving from quilting the column of flowers on the right to the column on the left, and instead of the needle pulling the thread through the quilt sandwich, it went right across the top. Of course I'm blaming the needle!
Any suggestions of how I can fix it now? If I clip it, the lines of stitches will start to unravel. Please leave me a comment if you can solve the hand stitching dilemma of the day!

What are you working on this week?  Please share with us your hand stitching project and link up your blog post below.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, August 24, 2017

150 Canadian Women Update

Since my fall, the most pain-free position is standing. Which means that the most comfortable quilting activity for me at the moment is cutting fabric at my cutting table. So I have been organizing and cutting for my 150 Canadian Women project.
I have more than a third of the blocks made, and many more cut out.
One of the challenges of a complex project like this one is keeping everything organized. And in spite of the system I set up, which I thought was working well, I have occasional mishaps... like making the same block twice! I will deconstruct one of them and use the parts for another block.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Loving Neighbourhoods

Janet the Rogue Quilter is making a "Love Thy Neighbour" quilt, and it reminded me of the "Building Loving Neighbourhoods" block that I made last year. Back in March I donated this wonky house block to a collection organized by the Montreal Quilt Guild. They were making quilts to donate to the victims of the Quebec City shooting
They recently posted on their blog that they received contributions from 3 continents, 5 different countries, all 10 Canadian provinces and 25 states! That's an amazing response! 
From those donations they were able to make 50 quilts to donate to the mosque!! 
You can read more about the quilts here and see the photos of the finished quilts here.
This is the quilt that my block ended up being a part of.... see it there near the centre of the quilt?
It's amazing how many different blocks they received from around the world. I am so inspired by their efforts and hope the symbolism is not lost on the recipients of these wonderful gifts of quilted love.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Blockheads Design Wall

I haven't updated the progress on the Blockheads quilt for a couple of weeks. I have been working on it in small bits of time and here are all my blocks on the design wall. Block #24 was posted last week, so I'm just a tad behind with 22 finished blocks.

Block #16
Did you notice that I finished the flag block #16
I wanted to make a Canadian flag in honour of the 150th birthday of Canada this year, and my friend found these tiny little maple leaves that I fussy cut and appliqued onto the flags. 

They are just as big as a thumb nail! 

Block #23

I also finished block #23 called Winnecone Star. It was fast and easy. 
I am still working on block #22 which is the appliqued bird house, and will soon get working on block #24 released last week.  
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday already! 
I have had a week full of dilly-dallying, lollygagging and bed rest, while waiting for my back and head to heal after a fall last weekend. Of course there were a few short outings in order to keep my sanity. I took my portable hand stitching project to one of my favourite spots and enjoyed a chocolate shake and some quilting.
You can't rush healing. Cells knit themselves back together in their own sweet time and you just have to wait. The headaches have subsided but the back pain continues. This week will include a few more medical appointments to see if there is anything else I should be doing to restore pain free movement (and sitting).
Thank you for all your messages of encouragement and support! Your thoughts and prayers mean so much, and do help with getting through the frustrating, difficult days.

As of today there are 12 finished blocks for my Life Is Beautiful project on the design wall. Progress is slow and steady ...
just how we like it here at Slow Sunday Stitching!

What are you stitching by hand today?
Link up your blog post below are share your slow progress so we can cheer you on!

    An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, August 14, 2017

Slow Monday

About an hour after I wrote the Slow Sunday Stitching blog post about stitching as medicine, I fell down some stairs, got a good crack on the back of my head, and injured my back. So now I really need that medicinal sewing, plus a whole lot of other medicines!
I'm going to take a little blogging break, since I won't be able to sew until I can sit. 
Hope to be back soon!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Slow Stitching Medicine

It's Sunday... which means it's time to visit with your slow stitching friends around blog land!
I don't have much to share since I've been so busy this week. I was so optimistic last weekend that I prepped a few blocks thinking I'd have them all quilted by today. 

But I didn't even finish one of these. I had so many other fun things to do, and now I am exhausted.

I need some slow stitching medicine to help me recuperate. It helps me to feel stitched back together after a difficult day. It helps me to feel grounded and to get back in my body in the present moment. 
So that's what I'm doing today. I hope you will join me in making time for some slow stitching and give yourself a big spoon full of medicine!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Temecula Quiltalong

I got a little behind in the Marvellous Mini Monday quiltalong, so had some catch-up sewing to do.
This is the adorable "half square" block with HSTs that finish at half an inch!!

This mini quiltalong is so fun for crazy quilters like me who love to make blocks with tiny pieces. This is the centre of the churn dash block that fits in the palm of my hand. 

Then we were to sew scrappy 4" patchwork blocks made of 25 tiny squares. 
I thought I was doing well until I put the newly made churn dash block on the design wall with the patchwork blocks and discovered that they were not the right size. Oh no! Perhaps the Best Press spray that I used to flatten the blocks with all those seams resulted in some shrinkage?
Well, I'm not sure what to do about that... maybe try to stretch the 25 patch blocks to fit? I'm definitely not making 5 more! 
Maybe I will be able to cut the other blocks a little smaller to make them all equal?
This is a 12 week quiltalong, and this is week #11 so the layout reveal will be coming soon. So glad that I'm caught up and will be ready to put it all together!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

July Shop Hop

In Southern Ontario, Canada some of our quilt stores host a "July Shop Hop". There were 15 stores this year and although it's a lot of driving, it is the only time I get around to visiting some of these shops. It's amazing how each store sells different products and has their own unique personality. 
Each store gives you a package with a block pattern and the fabric to make that block. That's right... it's a free event and you get the fabrics and patterns to 15 blocks if you visit all the stores. I only had time in July to visit 10 of the 15 stores.
Each store makes a unique quilt from the shop hop blocks, so you get to see 15 different sampler quilt layouts.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love sampler quilts?!?!

The one drawback about the event (for me) is that they do not want any photos of this event posted on social media, thereby keeping all the projects a mystery for the participants for the month of July. I did ask for permission to take photos so that I could remember layouts and be inspired by the creative quilting ideas. I must admit that I don't really understand the whole "top secret" philosophy! But they do have a huge response to this event and perhaps don't want the increased participation that social media exposure might bring.

I wasn't going to participate this year since both of the previous year's projects are in my UFO closet, but once I saw the finished quilt at Creative Sisters, I was ALL IN! Their shop hop quilt was wonderful and thankfully they recently posted photos on line, so now you can see that quilt (and all the 2017 sampler layouts) at the shop hop photo page here.

At the same time as the July Shop Hop was going on, there was also the popular Row By Row event. I have not yet become enamoured with this concept (thankfully!) but I do get a kick out of the creative fabric license plates at some of the stores. 

Do you participate in shop hops or the row by row?

Monday, August 07, 2017

Clarissa is on the Design Wall!

Block #16 for the Clarissa quilt is finished. Because this is a leader-ender project, some blocks are made quickly and others take a while depending on how much piecing I'm doing. This block progressed faster once the machine quilting on the Bear quilt was finished. This block has a darker pinwheel centre, with a light teal and white inner border, followed by a darker outside border. I think the outside border has 4 different brown scraps... plus my favourite plaid.
Here are all the blocks on the design wall.

Total number of pieces in this quilt so far = 2,304!!

It is so exciting to have another quiltmaker inspired by the original Clarissa quilt. Cathy who blogs at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting is making these hourglass blocks too - click here to see her blocks.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday over at Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party! 
This weekly link up celebrates all types of hand stitching including cross stitch, embroidery, hand piecing, knitting, crochet, rug making, english paper piecing, applique, hand quilting, etc. We enjoyed seeing examples of each these activities in the link ups last week.
Last week we had a draw for a little kit to make the Bee' Lieve in Yourself mini quilt. The winner of the link up draw was #22 (of 37) which is Jayne, and the winner of the commenter draw was #28 (of 45) who is Nancy. Send me your snail mail addresses and I'll get these in the mail to you. Thanks to everyone who contributes by linking up, and by taking the time to leave encouraging comments. 

This is what I'm working on this week... more Life is Beautiful blocks.
I finished the applique on the last alternate block. I used silk thread which makes lovely stitches that sink into the fabric, but it also frays easily and the needle constantly becomes unthreaded. It's not my favourite thread to use.

After the circle is appliqued, I cut away the foundation fabric behind it. Last year when I started cutting away the circles on these blocks, I wondered if I needed special duck billed scissors for this task. But I persevered carefully using regular scissors, and never once accidentally cut the appliqued fabric on any of 63 blocks. So I saved myself some money in not buying those! 

Here is finished alternate block #31, and the piece that is cut away from behind the centre circle. That cutaway piece will eventually be appliqued over the final block joins to cover all my mismatched seams!

And now back to quilting the embroidered blocks...
here are the first 9 quilted blocks on the design wall. 

9 done and 23 of these blocks to go. And then there will be the 31 alternate blocks to quilt. I'll be busy with this project for a while!

What are you hand stitching today? Share your progress by linking up your blog post below.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, August 04, 2017

Kevin's Mystery Quilt Update

Are you making the Sapphire Stars mystery quilt that Kevin is hosting? Step #2 has been posted. For this step we need blue, red and yellow strips. But for my version of the quilt I am using green instead of blue, some old red scraps, and some gold yardage instead of yellow. My version is called "Emerald Stars" because I'm sewing with green scraps.

Just look at this pile of old red scraps. There are leftovers here from Celtic Solstice, BeAttitudes, and Journey of a Quilter. It's time for these pieces to get into a quilt. They've been cut up and sewn together and are happy to be part of my Emerald Stars quilt!

Here are my blocks for step #2 all sewn and pressed. Wow that light green is really bright... kind of like a night light!!

I'm waiting "patiently" for step #3 Kevin!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Blockheads Update

I had three blocks to sew to get caught up with the Blockheads project.
Week #20 is called "devil's claws". It would have been easier to sew the blocks from 8 flying geese units, but I followed the directions and it turned out okay.

Week #21 is called "Flying Geese Variation". It was fun and easy with a square in a square centre and 8 flying geese. Those flying geese are versatile units!

Here are the first 20 blocks on the design wall. I'm still missing the flag block from week #16.

Hop over to the Moda blog to see what the next block is.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Cherry Time

In addition to my quilting addiction, I am also slightly obsessed with canning. Commercially canned food is easy to buy and it's so much cheaper than I can make it using all fresh, locally grown produce, but for some unexplainable reason, I enjoy the home canning process. 
Jam is my favourite thing to make and this week I made some delicious cherry jam. There are a range of fancy tools available for pitting cherries, but I still use my mother-in-law's old cherry pitter. After pitting a few cherries your thumb starts to sting and after you pit enough for a batch of jam, your thumb is really sore from moving that plunger up and down. But it's only once a year, so I power through. But next year I'm going to try this youtube method which looks too good to be true!

This batch resulted in a jam maker's disappointment called "fruit float". The consistency is okay (even though I never add the recommended amount of sugar), but perhaps I didn't cut the cherries small enough? Oh well, it tastes great and that's the main thing.

On the same day as I was pitting and canning cherries, I was hand quilting a cherry block for my Life is Beautiful quilt. 

What are the chances of that?!?

And now... for your smile of the day, hop over to quilt historian Barbara Brackman's blog post about the "alarming trends" she has noticed - click here.