Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shweshwe for the Quiltalong

Indigo Shweshwe
As my blog readers know, I have a million quilts on the go and so many projects already to work on. In fact there are 4 mystery quilts in various stages of progress on my work surface today! 
But of course I'm starting Lori's new "Palmateer Point" quiltalong because:
a) it's just a quick tiny little quilt, 
b) I've enjoyed so many of her previous projects - you can see some of them here, here and here, and 
c) I may have a bit of an addiction problem! LOL
I decided to use a long saved treasure of Shweshwe fabrics that I received from my friend Celeste. I don't want them to be on a shelf in a closet anymore... they need to be in a quilt and this is the one!
The wrong sides of the fabrics are stamped with either "six star toto" or "three cats" which indicate authentic Shweshwe fabrics from South Africa. There is a lot of dye discharge with these fabrics so you must prewash before using them. And they are quite stiff, so washing them first makes them more soft and fun to sew with.


Here are my 4 patch units for step #1 with a wonderful variety of indigo prints. Part #2 has already been posted, so I'm hoping to sew those blocks tonight.
Are you joining in with this quiltalong?
Linking up to Let's Be Social.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Machine Quilting

Progress is being made in machine quilting my Berenstain Bears baby quiltThis terrible photo of late night stitching shows how I started with some free motion curved lines in white threads, working my way across the white fabrics on the diagonal. 

Here's a better day time quilting photo. 
I put the walking foot on the machine and did some stitch-in-the-ditch on the horizontal seams to stabilize the whole thing a little more. It seems close to being finished. 

How do you know when the quilting is done? I sometimes have a tendency to overquilt... because it's fun and I keep getting ideas so I keep quilting. I'm trying to stop myself before I do that because it's a baby quilt which I want to be soft and cuddly, and less stiff from being overquilted. But now looking at the photos I can see 2 more quilting ideas I could add. 
Maybe I should just stop quilting and put the binding on. Then I could focus on the "to-do" list and get started on quilting my UFO of the month!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Design Wall Monday


What's that on the design wall? 

I have no idea what this is going to be!
These are the parts for the latest step in Kevin's mystery quilt. I'm really enjoying working with some of my old stash plaids and I also love the background fabric that I found in my stash... is says "BAAAA" in a variety of fonts. It makes me smile and that's my favourite kind of fabric.
Here are the pieces we have sewn in the previous steps. All the blocks are different sizes, so it's a true mystery for me how this is all going to fit together in some kind of quilt layout! 
To see more interesting design postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! It's time to take a deep breath, pick up your needle and thread and put some stitches in your project.
I have been working on some alternate blocks for my Life Is Beautiful project. I'm not even finished quilting all the embroidered blocks, but just wanted to see how the alternate blocks were going to look. I stitched in the seams horizontally and vertically, and then stitched around the circle. The block needed more quilting so I traced a second circle to see how it looked, and I like it more now.
I also repaired this block with the one big "toe hanger" stitch in the middle. I cut the thread where the scissor point is, pulled the stitches out on both sides, knotted off both ends and restitched the area. It was fiddly stitching, but I feel much better about that block now.



We have been enjoying some gorgeous fall weather here and this was my view while working on some hand stitching last weekend. 

So now it's your turn... what are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your progress with us.





   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sew a Jelly Roll Day

Did you ever know there was such a day to celebrate?!?!
Today's the day! Hop over to Project Jelly Roll to see what's going on over there.
I have been saving a jelly roll for this very occasion I was hoping to plan a jelly roll sewing party but have been too busy to get it organized. That's a sad state of affairs when you're too busy to plan some fun sewing! But it's Fall Fair season, so sewing time is at a premium.

I did get some maverick star blocks sewn this week from some orange scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. If you asked me if I liked orange I would probably tell you that I don't, but I sure do seem to have a lot of orange fabric scraps laying around here!





Here are the 36 maverick star blocks on the design wall. This project is coming along well!

And now I'm off to see what's going on in computer land to celebrate Jelly Roll day. Are you cracking open a jelly roll today?!?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Baby Quilt

A friend of mine is having twins soon and so of course baby quilts will be needed! I looked through the UFO closet and pulled out this older Berenstain Bears quilt top. The pattern is called "Arrows Up" and is by Jackie Seyer. This project hasn't been seen on the blog for almost 3 years. It fell into the UFO closet because at the time I thought it was very busy and frenetic looking, and I was going to add some borders to try to calm it down a bit.

But now I have decided it's the perfect size and wildness for a new baby quilt. I pieced a backing from that yellow fabric and some odd leftover pieces. Isn't that a great selvage edge on that fabric? 
I have the Aurifil thread all ready to go... white on top and variegated yellow in the bobbin. It's pin basted and ready for "quilt as desired"!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Mystery Quiltalong Addiction

Everyone knows how much I love a mystery quilt! It's next to impossible for me to resist a great mystery. To prove my point, here's a summary of the mystery quilts division of Kathy's Quilts:


1) Temecula's Marvelous Mini Mondays is finished now. All the block patterns have been posted, and the final layout can be seen here. I really enjoyed sewing these tiny blocks and here they are on my design wall. There are supposed to be 20 blocks in the quilt. I don't know why I have 18 blocks, but there you have it! I also have 5 incorrectly made scrappy squares that are too small. You can look for a creative layout that will incorporate all of these blocks...coming "soon".

2) Kevin's mystery quilt called Sapphire Stars, which I am calling Emerald Stars since I am using greens instead of blues. Here are my blocks for that mystery project and a surprise clue was just posted, so that's on the sewing agenda for next week!

3) Blockheads BOW project, which I usually update every week is past the half way point at block # 27 this week.

4) Magnolia Mystery is at the beginning stage and I've just finished cutting all the pieces. The first sewing step has just been posted!

5) Lori over at Humble Quilts is starting a little (20" square) mystery quilt called Palmateer Point. Of course I will start this one too!

How many mystery quilts do you have on the go?!?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
I am definitely looking forward to some slow stitching today. How about you?
I hope you will take some time today to relax and to put a few stitches into your project. 

One of the important jobs for hand stitching projects is doing all the prep work so that when you have the time and energy to do some stitching, everything is organized and ready to go.
 This week I prepped these 8 blocks for hand quilting. This task involved finding backing fabric, pressing the fabrics and blocks, cutting the backing and batting to the correct size, then pin basting the sandwiches. Now they are all ready for me to hand stitch today. I doubt they'll all be done, but I'm looking forward to getting started on the pile!
We 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
   

Friday, September 08, 2017

Fall Fair Season

The temperatures are cooler at night, it's getting darker earlier each evening, and the leaves are changing from green to gold, red, and orange. And you know what that means... it's time for Fall Fairs to start!

This photo of my trunk of my car is a good snapshot of my life this week. I have camping gear for the weekend, a bag of quilts for fall fair entry, my briefcase for work, and 3 dog pillows to drop off at the Humane Society on my way to work. That is a lot of details to manage in one day!
I have entered two fairs so far this month and have won a couple of photography ribbons and some quilting ribbons. The financial rewards are tiny and don't even cover the cost of the gas you need to drive yourself and your entries to the fair! 
But I really enjoy these community events and if I want to see them continue, I have to be ready to contribute. I like getting out in the fresh air, seeing friends, and being inspired by the creativity of talented people.
Next week I will be judging at 3 different fairs and it's a challenging job. For example, look at this photography category. I didn't judge or enter this category but want to show you what an impossible task it is sometimes when you have amazing entries. 
This category is... minimum 5" x 7" photos with a theme of "Dominant red". Some photos will be eliminated for being too small for the specifications of the category, and the rest of the photos are judged according to the theme. That cardinal photo is incredible, but it doesn't read as "dominant" red. It's mostly blue. So it didn't win a prize in this category, but would likely be a winner in other categories such as "Up in the sky", "Canadian wildlife" or "Birding".
As with all competitions, a win/ribbon is relative to all the other entries and the preferences of the judges.
Do you have fall fairs in your community? Do you enter your quilts?

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Blockheads Update

The Blockheads mystery sampler project is moving right along with over half of the blocks posted now.
Block #24
One of the most challenging (for me) was block #24 called "Corn. No Beans". There are 72 pieces in this 6.5" block and when I sewed it the first time, it was too big. The air was a little blue in the sewing room for a few minutes! Once I calmed down, I took apart the entire block, carefully re-trimmed every HST (some were a few threads too big) and then resewed the block again. Carefully and slowly. And will you look at that... it's perfect now!
Block #26

This is block #26 called Cat's Cradle. There was no drama with this one... no reversing the lights/darks, no cutting mistakes, and everything came out to just the perfect size. I love it when that happens!

Check out the variety of blocks being posted on the Blockheads Facebook page. You don't have to be a Facebook member to be able to view the postings and it is inspiring to see all the variations on each of the block patterns.
Block #27 was posted today and is called "Union Variation". I'm off to the sewing room... but before I go, here is my block collection so far:

Monday, September 04, 2017

Design Wall Monday

On my design wall today is one lonely 12" block. This is for the Aberfoyle Fall Fair quilt block challenge. They collect blocks to make quilts to raffle to raise money for the fair expenses. The block theme is "a variety of vegetables" and it has to include the feature fabric that is on the outside of the top left and bottom right blocks. I also fussy cut the centre blocks from the feature fabric.
The pattern is the #14 Blockheads square in a square block. Half way through block construction I was wishing that I had used a paper piecing pattern instead, but it turned out okay in the end.
The challenge was to create enough contrast in the block when using only very busy vegetable prints. I tried to create contrast by carefully considering the scale and value of the prints.  Still... it's very chaotic looking. I'm telling myself that it's just like a healthy vegetable garden should be! Fair submissions are on friday morning and I'm delighted to not be finishing at the last minute - you quilters just know how we are! 
Linking up with Small Quilts.

And in other vegetable news...
as soon as the weather gets cooler, my soup making interest reappears. This is the leftovers from the first batch of vegetable soup this month. It's made of all the veggies that were sitting in the fridge... carrots, zucchini, celery, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes. It's a totally delicious way to get your vitamins!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the regular weekly practice of relaxing with some hand stitching! We encourage you to join us... all you have to do is take a deep breath, find your hand stitching project and put in some stitches. Easy peasy!
In Canada this is called "labour day" weekend, which marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the fall school semester. In years gone by people would use this day to campaign for better working conditions, and some unions do have marches planned for Monday. But for most people it's just a day off work to relax and enjoy a rest from their labours. Of course I'm hoping to get in some serious "work" time in the sewing room!
I am really trying to practice what I preach regarding the value of "one stitch at a time". A whole week has passed and I haven't even finished quilting another Life is Beautiful block. I haven't fixed the block from last week either. I have been slowly putting stitches in this block and it is a few diagonal seams away from a finish. 
I remind myself to be satisfied with any progress.

What are you hand stitching today? Post a link to your blog post and show us your project so we can cheer you on!



   
    An InLinkz Link-up
  

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Happy International Bacon Day!

Do you know what today is? 
Here's a photo clue...
Besides being Scrappy Saturday, it's international bacon day! Yes I know bacon is a terrible food and it's really unhealthy, and we shouldn't eat it. But we do because it's just so darn delicious! We usually save this as a treat to enjoy when we're camping, but today is a special day set aside for bacon lovers, so we're having it!


When not eating bacon, I've been busy organizing some orange fabrics to work with for orange month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I sewed another Circle of Squares (pattern here) block using some reddish orange scraps. I found that perfect background fabric in the stash.



I added this to the growing collection of blocks and here they are on the design wall. 12 blocks without sashing makes a rather small lap quilt, so I'm going to keep going with this one and make 8 more blocks. Looks like I'm missing some colours... dark green, navy blue, gold, and brown to name a few. To see more scrappy projects, hop over to the weekly RSC link up.

Friday, September 01, 2017

UFO Report

The month of August is split into 2 parts in my mind... before my fall and after. Before was too busy with preparing for a week vacation, then the vacation (which was so busy I needed a holiday to recover from it), then the fall on the Saturday of vacation week, followed by 2 weeks of pain, working very few hours, not sewing at all, and going to medical appointments.


Overall it was a total bust for UFO progress. 
But healing is slowly happening and I'm so thankful to be able to pain-free most of the time (except when sitting).
So September will be "Tetris Redux". I'll get the border sewn on, and get this baby quilted!
Linking up to One Monthly Goal.