Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 
This is one of the pumpkins carved at my house this year. If you are a "Finding Nemo" fan, you will recognize this classic "good feelings gone" scene. It's my marine biologist daughter's favourite movie, hence the angler fish pumpkin!

It's trick or treat day... time for costumes and candy!
It's also the last day of the month, so for OMG quilters, it's time for either bragging or fessing up. 

I'll be fessing up!
4 blocks quilted

In spite of working really hard to finish before the end of the month, my October UFO did not get finished. I knew that it was a lofty goal to piece a backing, pin baste the quilt sandwich, machine quilt the whole thing on my domestic sewing machine, and bind the quilt within one month. But sometimes you have to aim high, so I did!

And then you have to accept that sometimes you can't meet your lofty/unrealistic goals in spite of your best efforts, so I am!
quilt back

Each block is being quilted differently, which is a lot of starting and stopping. Some blocks are quilted with straight lines and some are free motion designs. 
I have quilted 7 of the 12 blocks, so am more than half way done with the quilting.
In November I hope to quilt the remaining 5 blocks, and finish the binding on the quilt.
I will be linking up to One Monthly Goal.

Monday, October 30, 2017

When Projects Fall Off the Table

Last December I started the 150 Canadian Women quilt to celebrate the year of Canada's 150th birthday.
Then it "fell off the table"! It just became overwhelming to keep up with the blocks and all the projects I have been juggling over such a long period of time. I was tempted to bail on this project several times, but I kept going, collecting the patterns and sewing along when I remembered to.
These are the 60 blocks I have sewn so far, in numerical order of blocks posted. 

Putting the blocks on the design wall helped me decide that I need to sash the blocks for me to be happy with this project. It's just too busy otherwise. It also helped to clarify that I DO want to have a 150 Canada quilt, and I DO want it to include ALL of the blocks. 
Seeing the blocks in their correct order also helped me decide that I prefer a random (not numerical) placement:

-some blocks are very simple and some are complex, and they need to be more balanced in the final layout. 

-some blocks (ie. block #4 and #5 in the top row) cannot be side by side in the quilt as they would be in a numerical placement.

-part way through block making I decided I needed more dark reds in the quilt, so you can see exactly when I bought and started using the dark red fabric. Those dark fabric blocks need to be spread around the quilt top more evenly.

Since Christmas is coming and I would like to get started on making some gifts, I'm going to again let this project fall off the table. I'm going to put all the blocks and fabrics into a box and make it one of my projects to take to winter quilt camp.
Bye for now 150 Canadian Women... see you in February!
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching! 
It's time to pick up your hand stitching project and put in some stitches. You will immediately notice the health benefits of breathing more slowly, clearing your mind to focus on a simple task, and feeling more relaxed as you enjoy creating more stitches in a project that you have chosen. Even if you just put in a few stitches, you will benefit, and your project will be closer to completion. 
Today's post is a Life is Beautiful update.
I have been working consistently on this quilt since February 2015 and have written 55 blog posts about it already! It's truly a S L O W stitching project (pattern designer is Helen Stubbings) and is chock full of different types of hand stitching including embroidery, applique and quilting, all done one stitch at a time.
It is a 63 block quilt and here are the 24 blocks I have finished so far. The top left part of the photo shows how the layout will look with the embroidered blocks and the alternate 4 patch circle blocks. For some unknown reason I have only finished 4 of those blocks to date, so I prepped 4 more to hand quilt this week.

Slow Down!

I love this project because it reminds me of the values to which I aspire, and it's a reminder that wonderful projects get created one stitch at a time. I do not feel any pressure to finish this project within a certain time frame. 
It takes as long as it takes. 
I have all the time I need.
*deep breath* 

So now we want to know what you are hand stitching today. Last Sunday we had over 30 wonderful blog posts to enjoy reading! I love visiting all the link ups every week when I am home on a Sunday. There are 2 blogs that I can't leave a comment on because the Google Plus feature is not compatible with my computer. So I want to say to Paul and to Jocelyn how much I appreciate you linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching and wish I could leave a comment to encourage you in your slow stitching projects.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

block #13

It's the last week for using pink scraps over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Where did October go?
This week I made another pink block for the "Circle of Squares" collection (free block pattern is here).

Here are the 13 blocks on the design wall. I think I will make 7 more blocks for this quilt. Some colours are noticeably absent and I need to pay attention to this next year and maybe add a dark green, navy blue, a lighter red, brown, etc.
To see more scrappy projects, hop over to the weekly linkup.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Quick Friday Finish!

Do you buy quilt kits?
I very rarely do because it takes away the fun task of looking at all the fabrics and choosing pieces to coordinate for a specific project. But I spotted this tabletopper kit at the Hobby Horse  and liked all the fabrics they included. It was a great beginner project and/or a "no brain power required" project for the experienced quilter. The pattern was easy to piece with four patch blocks in the corner of the sashing. 

And when it was finished, it looked terrific hanging in the tree in my backyard. Aren't the leaves so beautiful this year?!?

This was the perfect October project to work on. I free motion quilted around all the interesting motifs in the centre fabric. This is a classic Patrick Lose fabric called Happy Halloween. 

I even love the selvage with the little spiders!

And then, while watching (more listening than watching) Bonnie Hunter on QuiltCam, I machine quilted back and forth across the black lines in the border fabric using black thread. So quick and easy...left to right, right to left, repeat.

I even love the backing of this project which I pieced together using pieces from my orange scraps bin. The binding was also made from leftovers.
Thanks to Hobby Horse for this fun halloween project! Linking up to Friday Finishes at Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blockheads Update

I fell a wee bit behind in the block making department lately. I became enamoured with a Halloween project that I will post about tomorrow. But now I'm back on track and getting organized with the blocks that need to be finished.

I am almost caught up with the Blockhead patterns being posted on the Moda blog
This is block #31 called "Dot Dash".

This is block #32 called Dutchman's Puzzle which is basically 8 flying geese blocks.

And lastly this is block#33 called "Starz".

Block #34 was just posted this week and it's an adorable house block that I have just started to prep for hand stitching.

Now that I see my 33 blocks together on the design wall I think this blue Starz block stands out too much. There are blue fabrics in other blocks so I don't know why this one bugs me so much! Should I make more blue blocks or remake this one in a different colour? 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Good Friend!

Well thank goodness for Cynthia! She read Monday's blog post showing my Emerald Stars quilt and spotted one errant block. That is a good friend who takes the time to email you and say... um, don't know if you noticed but there is a component in one of the stars that is turned?
For real?
I look again at the photo and sure enough, there it is! I have looked at this quilt sooooo many times while piecing it, while photographing it, and while blogging about it. Why didn't I see it before?!?! 

Sometimes people put in one "humility" block and rumour has it that maybe it is an amish tradition to do this on purpose (read about it here). I make enough mistakes accidentally and do not want to add another one on purpose!
This is definitely not that!

Sometimes we are just blind to reality, and can't see what is right in front of our face! It takes a good friend to be brave and to tell you the truth! So a huge thank you to Cynthia for giving me a chance to fix that mistake, because I would have really felt disappointed with myself if it was quilted right into the finished quilt. 
So now... the mistake is corrected and border #1 is added.
Kevin and I have a deal that I will add one border a day.
I didn't specify how many days will be between the border additions!  *snort*
Linking up to Let's Bee Social.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Design Wall Monday

The inside of Kevin's mystery quilt is finally sewn together! The last step was posted 2 weeks ago, and it was a lot of sewing to get the blocks and sashings all sewn together.

Now it is time to get the border pieces together and get the 3 borders added. Adding borders is really not my favourite activity (understatement of the year!) and this is sometimes when a project starts the slow march toward the UFO closet while waiting for borders. Let's hope I don't lose momentum with this one!
Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall postings.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! 
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy while visiting the blog links of stitchers around the world. It's so inspiring to see what other people are creating with their own two hands.
I am slowly making progress on the hand quilting of my Life Is Beautiful blocks. This is the block I will be finishing today.

And in knitting news, I gave up on the baby sweater I have been working on forever. I took this project camping with me and somehow all the stitches fell off the needles. 
ALL the stitches! 
OFF the needles! 
And well, it's just too hard of a pattern for me to figure out how to put the stitches back on the needles, and I'd gone too far to unravel it and start the whole thing over. So I had to call 911 Knitter (aka my friend Gayle). Hopefully she will be able to restore some kind of stitch order so that I will be able to finish this baby sweater in my lifetime.

And I'm learning how to knit a little tiny pouch for ear buds. See the one that my friend Wendy gave me last year? I just love it and use it all the time, so I wanted to try to make one. Here are the needles and the wool. Hopefully this is (much) easier than the sweater. It's my first time knitting with 4 needles and I'm excited to try something new. Worse case scenario is I don't like it and/or make a big mess, and then I will just drop off the wool and needles at my friend Gayle's house! 
What are you hand stitching today? Are you having success or do you need a little help from your friends?


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

October is pink month for the Rainbow Challenge Quilters. I have sewn together most of my pink Alamo star blocks into 4 patch blocks. They are joining the yellows, blues, purples, and aqua blocks in storage. Soon it will be time to figure out a layout for all these blocks. I think I will need your help when that time comes!
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other blocks are being sewn with pink scraps!

Friday, October 20, 2017

A New Clarissa Block

Clarissa #18

Clarissa is my hourglass leader-ender challenge that started with the quiltalong last summer at Quiltville. There is a new leader-ender challenge for this year, but I'm still working on this one. This project is inspired by a quilt from the 1800's made by Clarissa White Alford - see the quilt here. I just finished block #18.

And here are all the blocks on the design wall. There are tons of little scraps in these blocks!  I try to make each block a little different from all the others.
My friend Cathy who blogs over at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting is also making a Clarissa quilt and you can see some of her blocks here.
Hop over to the link up at Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mid Month UFO Update

My October UFO is the 2016 Aurifil BOM quilt. The month is half over, and half of the blocks are quilted, so I'm right on schedule! 
This will be a fun block to quilt today. First I am stitching-in-the-ditch around the sashing of the block (with the walking foot on) and then will switch to the free motion foot and figure out some kind of design.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Design Wall Monday

My sewing machine should be smoking from all the stitching it's been done lately on Kevin's mystery quilt called Sapphire Stars. This is my progress over the weekend. 
All 12 star blocks are sewn and many of the sashing units are together. You can see all the blocks on the right hand side are hanging off the wall because that's just how big my design wall is. 
The next step is to sew the vertical columns together, and get all the columns joined. Then comes the 3 pieced borders adventure!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

A big welcome to all you hand stitching aficionados! 
This is the weekly link up to share your projects with other stitchers around the world who truly appreciate how long it really takes to create the kind of treasures that you are working on.

This is the view where I was slowing down with my hand stitching last weekend. I loved the sound of the water rushing over the rapids. The leaves were a range of beautiful colours and the sun was brilliant. It could not have been a more perfect day to stitch in the sun.  

quilting is finished on another embroidered block

I have been working on my Life is Beautiful project for two and a half years. In February, my project will celebrate it's 3rd birthday. That's just how it goes with hand stitching. Projects take a long time and progress slowly. We learn to appreciate how this process of making stitches with our own hands forces us to slow down our heartbeat, our days, and our lives.

quilting is finished on 4 alternate blocks
There are 63 blocks in my quilt, 32 of which are hand embroidered and 31 are alternate blocks. The embroidery is finished and I am hand quilting all the blocks individually (to join them in a quilt-as-you-go way when they are ready). I have finished quilting 18 of the embroidery blocks (past the half way point ... woohoo!) and have also finished quilting these 4 alternate blocks (not anywhere near the half way point!)
But my progress is slow and steady... just how I like it!

So what are you hand stitching today? Link up your blogpost and share your slow progress with us!

    An InLinkz Link-up


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Red and Pink

My sewing room is full of red and pink scraps today.

The red scraps are for Blockapalooza day for the 70273 Project. To read my blog post from yesterday for more information, click here.
As project captain Jeanne says: "a big Thank You to y'all for helping us remind and/or convince the world that Every life has value. Every. Single. Life."
I'm turning my red scraps into a "Middling" for the 70,273 project. What's a "Middling" you ask? It's a miniature quilt measuring 18" x 22". I only have two blocks started so far.

The pink blocks are part of my Alamo Star collection that I have been working on for 5 years. Yoday I am sewing the pink stars together into 4 patch blocks.

To see what the other Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters are up to today, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Brainworm Quilt

There's something powerful that happens when you see your name on a list that is related to a project where 70,273 people were killed because their name was on a list. In Germany in 1940 each person on the list whose name had two red XX's beside it would be killed. (If you haven't heard about the 70273 project, click here to read more about it.)
my first 70273 block commemorating 2 lives
When I was reading the update about the project recently, I saw my name on this blog post list as being a block maker. It was surprising how many names are mentioned in the blog post. So many contributors taking the time to commemorate so many dead people. Sewers from the US, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, and Canada (me) all making blocks to remember people who are long forgotten.
But it was startling to see my name on a list. 
There were no red XX's beside my name on this list, but the experience of seeing my name on the list became like a brain worm. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Then I read a beautifully written post by Michelle Freedman about Quilt 219.  Michelle reminded me that the violence and deaths in Charlottesville in August again emphasize the importance of the 70273 project.
This is how new quilt projects emerge. 
And when you're trying to sleep, your creative brain is planning how to make a quilt block, and wondering what fabric you have in your stash to make the blocks, and before you know it, you're planning a quilt layout. 
And not getting any sleep!

Tomorrow is Blockapalooza day (#globalblockday) and I have big plans for making this brainworm quilt. It's going to be a middling quilt.
Maybe then I can get more sleep!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sewing up a storm!

Kevin's mystery quilt has had me sewing like a fiend! This quilt top really needs to be finished this month, so I am spending every spare minute organizing the parts and pieces into larger units. Here are the first 6 (of 12) blocks. This is not the layout but it's getting closer. The sashings are also labour intensive and I'm working on those as leader/enders when constructing the star blocks.

But first I wanted to sew together the border pieces because I had a good start on the those units.

There are two kinds of borders - one for the top and bottom (on the right), and another one for the sides (on the left).

It's coming along well and pieces are fitting together as they should. 
Linked up to Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

UFO Update

Due to recent spamming, I've had to change my blog settings to "comment moderation" which is unfortunate but temporarily necessary from time to time. That just means that all of your wonderful comments will be delayed in showing up on the blog for a little while until the spam machine moves on to greener (unmoderated) pastures :)

Meanwhile in my quilt studio, the October UFO has been pin basted and the machine quilting has begun. I always begin the quilting with some stitch-in-the-ditch grid lines to stabilize the 3 layers together and those lines are done.

Because this is a sampler quilt, I am quilting each block differently. Some blocks just want a simple straight line design. I use my Bohin chalk marker and a small ruler to mark some lines to follow. The pink chalk is my favourite because it shows up on most fabrics.

This photo show how this block looks from the back. Just simple straight lines. 
I am not hand sewing the thread ends in on this project. It's just a family quilt, so I'm taking a few stitches in the same spot to fasten the thread at the beginning and end of the line of quilting, and then just clipping the thread. It makes a tiny knot and doesn't look as pretty, but it's faster and easier than burying all the threads by hand when there are so many starts and stops in these quilting designs

In some blocks there are fabrics that have a pretty design that can easily be free motion stitched. In this block I started some free motion quilting on the outlines of the flowers.
It's a fun challenge to think of a different quilting design for each block of the quilt. 

Linking up to Let's Be Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Mystery Progress

The Sapphire Stars quiltalong finale was posted last week over at Kevin The Quilter. It has been really fun making this quilt and having NO idea how it was going to come together!
Here is my first block on the design wall. 
There are many more blocks to finish, and lots more components to work on, included an interesting pieced sashing and two types of borders. I look forward to working on this quilt more in the coming weeks. 
There is a teeny tiny bit of self imposed pressure to finish this in October because Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery quilt will be starting in November and it might be too confusing to be sewing too mystery quilts at the same time!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitching enthusiasts! Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada and I am thankful for so many things, including this international community of enthusiastic and talented hand stitchers! Whether you post your projects in the link ups, or you encourage others in their long term, slow stitching endeavours, or you are stitching along quietly on your own hand stitching projects making your corner of the world calmer and more beautiful, we are thankful for YOU!

I have enjoyed finishing the bindings on three quilts over the past week (Tetris quilt, baby quilt, and miniature quilt). Binding is my favourite kind of hand stitching so it's no surprise that I quickly finished it all.
And now, having no other bindings to stitch, I'm back to hand quilting my Life is Beautiful blocks. 
I have finished a few of the alternate circle blocks (the ones with no embroidery). I'm very happy with how they are looking and have a couple more blocks ready for stitching today.

What's your hand stitching project? Take some time to put in a few stitches today and be thankful for this wonderful hobby we enjoy! 


    An InLinkz Link-up