Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Distracted by Omigosh

I missed out on the Super Blue Blood Moon event last night, being unwilling to sacrifice any welcomed moments of sleep. I know this is a rare event, but I'm sure my parents were out looking at the moon and will tell me all about it! 
Today is the release of the last block for the Moda Blockheads quilt. You must hop over to see Wendy's finished quilt - click here. Yes... finished! She uses a "potholder" method of making quilts so her quilt is already finished!

My Blockheads quilt is 8 blocks short as of today. I'll work on it this weekend as my friend Louise is coming for our annual quilting retreat. We will talk and quilt, and talk and quilt, get some Indian takeout food, and talk and quilt, and maybe sleep a little. It will be fabulous!

In the meantime, I got completely distracted in the sewing room... squirrel!
Distraction happened because I was sewing the On Ringo Lake blocks together and it is hard sewing these blocks together without sashing. Then I noticed the lovely gold scraps in the scrap bin and thought of my Omigosh project. And wanting something easier to sew, I started making some blocks. Tada... easy peasy 5" Omigosh blocks! Two double nine patch and two shoofly variation blocks to add to the pile. They are so adorable and made mostly from 1" strips. Now, what was I supposed to be doing?!?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January UFO Completed

So excited to show my first finished quilt for 2018! It's amazing to me that I was able to finish the quilt in January considering I was sick for half of the month.
This is my variation of the Magnolia mystery quilt hosted by Cheryl who blogs at Meadow Mist Designs. The project kicked off in July last year and the final step was posted in December. My Magnolia quilt is an octagon shape and measures 39" across.

The quilting was done on my regular sewing machine and is a swirly free motion design. The binding fabric and most of the backing is from the "Mama Said Sew" fabric line by Sweetwater.
Thanks to Cheryl for a fun mystery quilt! There will be a mystery quilt parade sometime in February and I'll post the link when it's parade time. It's always fun to see the many unique variations of one pattern.
Linking up to One Monthly Goal January Finishes, where Patty is showing her finished Magnolia quilt!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Design Wall

Blocks for On Ringo Lake are still in development in my sewing room. Here is the current assortment on the design wall. Over half of the blocks have been constructed and I'm adding the connecting corners on the blue squares of these finished blocks. It's very relaxing sewing and it's a great way to start off the week!
On Friday night when I hosted the FNSI gang, Sandy brought her finished mystery quilt top to share with us ... just look at this!!! Isn't it gorgeous?!?! This is the original design that Bonnie Hunter created. Amazing! 

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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of the art of hand stitching! We had a great time last week with our first photo challenge seeing the hoops that you are using for your hand stitching projects. It was amazing to see the variety of hoops and frames being used. There were so many links that I haven't yet got around to visit them all!
We appreciate your contributions and information shared last week and If you have any other hoop photos to share with us, please include them in your link up today.  And look for another photo challenge coming up in February!
Today I am enjoying one of my favourite hand stitching activities - quilt binding. I finished the quilting on my January UFO and am hand stitching the binding and label today. 
What are you working on today? Anybody else trying to get their OMG project finished up for the end of January deadline? Please link up your hand stitching blog post below and share your project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

It's blue month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and this week I sewed a few blue scraps into Maverick star blocks. These blocks are fun to make and the star points use up the tiniest scraps (you can find the Quiltville block pattern here). I love that neutral background fabric with the blue elephants but only have a tiny bit left. It's so sad when a favourite fabric is done!
Here is the 42 block collection on the design wall. I'm trying to make an even number of blocks with dark backgrounds, but keep forgetting that when I sit down to sew!
To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to the RSC link up.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Machine Quilting

I have been machine quilting my UFO of the month and having a great time with a free motion swirly design. Many quilters don't enjoy machine quilting, but I have to admit that I love it. It's really fun when everything goes well. And with time and practice, it almost always goes well. My goal is to have fairly even stitch lengths, no puckers or folds in the quilt top or backing, smooth design movements and no skipped stitches or thread snaps.

Through trial and error I have learned exactly what my machine likes. And since the machine is the boss of me, I do everything required to make things run smoothly for the process, including using my machine's favourite needles (topstitch 90), threads (exclusively Aurifil 50), feet (a very old Brother stippling foot), and quilting speed (not too fast). I also know that the quilting needs to start in the middle of the quilt and work slowly in a circular way toward the outside of the quilt to push any excess fabric to the edges. If the quilt has been basted really well, there won't be any excess, but that rarely happens (for me).

The Friday Night Quilters are coming over tonight, so we'll see what mischief we can get into. So happy to be feeling like myself again after the horrendous influenza experience earlier this month.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Changing Course

When you sew a mystery quilt you never know how it's going to turn out. That's my favourite part of the process! And sometimes when you're putting the pieces together, the quilt starts to get a mind of it's own. 
I have been playing on the design wall with the pieces of On Ringo Lake. I am very happy with my colour choices, and I love these blocks! 

I tried the on point setting, and then tried a straight setting, with sashing and without, with dark and light cornerstones. I took pictures of all the layouts and looked at them on the design wall and on the computer screen.
It's a hard decision. But I noticed that with my fabric choices, when I added the sashing, it felt too chaotic and my energy for the project decreased. 

Then I tried a bunch of different ways to use the sashing units as a border.  I had already sewn the 120 sashing units together (see parts department photo here)  and was trying to find some way to use them as they were.
But what to do? I started to disassemble a few units and sew them together on the long side (instead of the ends) and I started to like what was happening. 
I much prefer the sashing units as an accordion type border. But then the plaid units started calling attention to themselves. Check out the top and right border vs. the left and bottom. Without the plaid, there is still variation in the value, but the darker plaid doesn't jump out. 
Okay next decision made. The sashing is now the border. Just a hundred more border blocks to unsew and resew. 
And I also like the little light connecting corners added where the medium blue squares come together once the blocks are put side by side (with no sashing). 
So that was a lot of decisions made today! Straight set, no sashing, "accordion" border, and the connecting corners on all the blocks. 
Back to the sewing machine...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mid Month UFO Report

Well January is more than half over and there is only one week to go to finish my UFO of the monthProgress has been made and we are going in the right direction for a possible finish. The backing was pieced from project leftovers, the batting was also pieced from smaller chunks, and the project has been pin basted. I've just been waiting for my strength to return since recovering from the flu so I could tackle the machine quilting. I've decided to do my favourite free motion design of random swirls.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blockheads on the Design Wall

40 blocks on the design wall
Moda started a free sampler sew along last March and called it "Blockheads". The blocks were designed by 6 quilt designers and each block has been a delight to make. I have been following along and making the weekly blocks,  and have already written 25+ blog posts about this project. Here are the 40 blocks I've made so far on the design wall. 
We are coming to the end of the project this month. Block #46 was posted last week and there are a total of 48 blocks, so the final blocks and layout ideas will be posted soon. No pressure, but I really must get caught up with these blocks!!
Block #34

Here's the update:
Block #34 is my appliqued house with a wonky front door that is finally finished.

Blocks #35-37 were posted in December and can be seen here.

Block #38

Block #38 is called "Peace and Plenty". I just noticed that the neutral and the black fabric have the same design, although they were purchased at different stores two years apart. The black was leftover yardage purchased for Allietare in 2015, and the neutral was just a fat quarter purchased in December 2017. I guess I really like that fabric design! 
Block #39

Block #39 Framed Star was fun to sew with 12 flying geese units and 8 squares.

I'm still working on block #40 which is a cardinal applique. Maybe this will make an appearance on Slow Sunday Stitching?

Block #41 is a pinwheel star that I sewed in December and can be seen here. I don't know why I couldn't wait to get that block sewn and made it right away?!
Block #42

Block #42 is an interesting block called Turnstile. It was quick and easy to sew with 4 flying geese, one QST block, and one partial seam. I will keep working on these blocks so hopefully I'll be ready for the finale.

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

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching - Photo Challenge #1

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We celebrate all things hand stitched and encourage you to join in the fun. You don't have to prepare any food, or get dressed up, or even leave your house for this party. Just get out one of your hand stitching projects, put in a few stitches, visit with hand stitchers around the world, and share your creativity with us.

A new addition to the Sunday link ups this year will be the occasional photo challenge. I love photography and enjoy seeing the photos you post on your blogs. I often make the pictures as big as I can on my computer screen in order to see the detail in what you are making. 
The photo challenge will encourage you to take a picture of something specific to include in your Slow Sunday Stitching blog post. This week the challenge is to take a photo of any of the hoops you use in your hand stitching. Some types of stitching don't require a hoop, but if you use one, we'd love to see it. And tell us... what do you like about your hoop? 

I regularly use a variety of hoops for the different kinds of projects I have on the go. Let's visit my hoops and see what's in them... 
This is my small plastic embroidery hoop where I always have some kind of embroidery project ready to put in a few stitches. It's lightweight, fits easily in my hand stitching bag and I almost always have it with me just in case I have a few moments to stitch.

This is my most frequently used hoop. It is a circular hoop and today it has my oldest UFO in it, which I am hand quilting. It is a great hoop to have on my lap while traveling or watching TV. It is sturdy and made of solid wood. It's a little heavier than most hoops, but I went through several flimsy wooden hoops that easily broke before I became a very happy customer of the hoops made by Keith Small of "Impressions in Wood". He was a regular vendor at quilt shows in my area for many years and although he passed away in 2015, his daughter has carried on his business. I'm thinking about buying one of their half hoops this year - click here and scroll down.

I also have a an oval hoop on a wooden floor stand which I have used a lot over the years. It's not very portable, so it stays in a quiet corner of the house and I go there when I want peace and quiet! I like that the whole oval frame can tilt to the angle that is most comfortable for quilting. I bought this frame over 20 years ago at Mary Maxim and don't know if they sell them anymore.

Okay now it's your turn! Take a photo of your favourite stitching hoop and add it to your hand stitching blog post. There will be a random draw from all the link ups that have a hoop photo and of course there will be a prize for the first ever photo challenge winner!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

Angela and Mari have created a 10 block sampler project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters. We all know how much I love sampler quilts, so of course I started some blocks. The great thing about this project is that you can sew whatever size of block you prefer based on a 5 unit grid.
Because I have a lot of small scraps, I am making my blocks 5" finished, but you could make yours finish at 7.5", 10", 12.5", 15" or even 20"! I can't imagine working with a block that big, but some scrap quilters are doing it.
The RSC colour for January is blue and I couldn't wait to dig into the blue scraps. I easily had enough to make 4 of the first sampler blocks called "Red Cross". It seems like they should be made in red with this name and I might have to add some in red blocks later. But for now, here are 4 blue red cross blocks. I omitted the corner HSTs in the bottom left block and like how that one looks too.
Hop over to the weekly RSC link up and see more blue scraps projects.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Quilt Along Addiction

It has been rumoured that I have a bit of a quilt along addiction. Teeny tiny and hardly noticeable, but it has become a wee bit of a challenge for me LOL! It's such a relief when I'm able to resist, but most of the time I'm just not able!
Do you know that there is a link up for all quilt alongs over at Busy Hands Quilts? Oh dear... be still my heart!💙
Luckily many of the projects don't appeal to me or are expensive and require book purchases, so truthfully I am not tempted by those.

I had already decided to start Carole's Square Dance on Friday - click here for the intro post. And guess what... no half square triangles in this one! Woohoo! I made Carole's Scrap Dance Tango 2 years ago and love it (although it's still a lovely UFO). 

But when I was over at Busy Hands Quilts link up I noticed the "It's a wild life" BOM starting soon at Sew Incredibly Crazy. I have a pretty wild and crazy life, so that sounds perfect for me! 

And I loved the Aurifil BOM from 2016 which I made in red and white and finished in November last year.  I skipped their project last year because the first block was an applique cat which I didn't want to do. Some of the blocks later in the year were interesting, but I was already on to other things and lost track of that. You can see the block patterns here

The theme this year is "The places we go" and you can see the list of 2018 block designers here. Most of the designers are new to me so that's exciting. The first block looks like a fun challenge. The info is posted here and is by Canadian designer Katja Marek. You can see the link up for the first block over at Pat Sloan's blog here.

Did I just confess that I am starting 3 new projects?!?!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blogging thoughts from the sick bed

For the month of December I accepted Cheryl's challenge of writing a blog post every day. That meant writing something every day during the busiest time of the year. Why did I do that to myself when I'm always in overdrive at that time of year already?
I did accomplish my December goal of daily writing with 31 blog posts in 31 days. But I didn't really enjoy the "have to" part of the experience and don't think I'll do that again.  Although I enjoy writing, which is why I have maintained this quilting blog for about 12 years now, I didn't really enjoy having the pressure of daily posts.
However, it did remind me that I do enjoy the process of writing. 
years of journals
And the more you write, the more you want to write. The challenge did encourage me to put more effort into other things I have been writing, such as work related journal articles and the book I have been writing in my head for 5+ years.
So for 2018 I'll be happy to resume my usual structure of a minimum of 3 blog posts a week, plus any other extra things during the week that I feel inspired to write about, without the pressure to post something every day. 

Kathy's Quilts blog stats indicates that more than 39,000 comments have been made and that the 2 millionth page view is imminent! 
Thank you to each and every person who reads my blog, and I truly appreciate the time it takes to leave encouraging, funny and creative comments. You're the best! I even have some folks who send me encouraging emails ... hi Dotti! 
I can't wait to get back to my regular healthy life, and my beloved quilting activities. Thanks again for reading!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitching bloggers! As my blog readers know I started off the year with influenza, and unbelievably I have not made one single stitch, by hand or machine, for over a week now. That is unheard of for me! So I have no stitching to show you today, but I do have three things to share...

1) Interesting information posted by the New York Times about recovery from influenza includes a link to the "misery map" tracking the statistics in the US. The visual impact of the weekly chart is surprising.

2) When you can't stitch, you can watch videos of other people stitching. I came across this cute video on Canadian Knitting. Who knew there was such a thing? Enjoy!

3) A new addition to the Slow Sunday Stitching link ups this year will be occasional photo challenges. I love photography and still regularly use these 3 cameras. This photo was taken with my least favourite camera on my old Samsung phone, so I guess I actually use 4 cameras! I really enjoy seeing your  stitching photos on the  Sundays link ups and often make them as big as I can on my computer screen in order to see the detail in what you are making. So be watching next week for the details as we start our first Slow Sunday Stitching photo challenge. 

So what are you working on this week? I do hope you will cheer me up by telling me all about your hand stitching projects and the progress you are making so far this year.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sick Saturday

While spending days in bed fighting a nasty influenza virus and trying not to go crazy/crazier, I treated myself to some Angela Walters Midnight Quilt Show videos. When you're too tired to quilt, watching someone else having fun in their quilting room is the next best thing to actually doing it yourself, don't you think?!? If you're not familiar with the show, here's the link to the last episode of 2017, which might be a fun place to start watching - Midnight Quilt Show
Angela demonstrates how she makes an interesting quilt top, and then shows how she machine quilts the project on her home sewing machine. She ostensibly makes the quilt in one evening, but of course there are days of work in each part of the quiltmaking process. She has a great sense of humour and I adore watching her machine quilt.
This is my new favourite line from Angela ... 
"Quilting is my therapy and threads are my meds".
Yes! Love this line!
Well, you'll never guess what happened to me... some thread medication arrived at my door while I was lollygagging in bed, trying to recover from influenza! I was in bed for the 7th day, sweating, coughing, exhausted, and trying not to move due to severe headaches, when this parcel came to the door.

I had won the end of year draw in December from Patty at the One Monthly Goal linkup partyWhat a great box the gift came in... I loved that movie that I saw with my sister and niece over the holidays. 

Just look at this! A whole box of my favourite Aurifil threads from Fig Tree & Co.!!!  I was so excited but had to quietly celebrate from my sick bed. Just look at the delicious colours! 
I have propped up the thread box beside my bed so I can see it all the time and dream about quilting. I am in the second week of suffering recovery and Doctor says that is just how the flu is this year... nothing to do but rest, drink fluids, wait, and hope you don't get pneumonia.
Remember that Angela says:
"Quilting is my therapy and threads are my meds".
Unfortunately this beautiful box of medication did not help with the influenza, but it sure did help me to feel a little better each day while trying to recover from it.
Thank you Aurifil for sponsoring One Monthly Goal and thank you to Patty who encourages the members of the quilting community to finish their wonderful projects!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

On Ringo Lake Update

Yesterday was the link up for the quilters who are making the Quiltville mystery. I'm sure some superstar quilters will have their quilt top finished already, but most of us are in some stage of quilt block construction. 
I've only made 4 blocks so far. 
I'm entering the 4th day of laying in bed, with my fevered red cheeks, my aching bones, hacking up my lungs, and getting more frustrated with my lack of recovery with each passing moment. I am not a good patient and detest being sick/unable to quilt. 
block parts in development
Here is a photo of the "parts department" where all the bits and pieces of my version of the mystery are in various stages of readiness, just waiting for me to be to able to sit upright pain-free and get  sewing. All the gold sashing pieces on the right are ready to go because they were from step #3 early on in the mystery (before Christmas). But many of the later steps aren't fully completed yet.  
Hop over to the Quiltville mystery link up to see all the wonderful quilts that the non-sick quilters are making!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Scrappy Friends Quilt Top

Before I took sick I was able to finish my quilt top from the New Year's Day mystery over at Quiltbug. It's called "Scrappy Friends" and measures 46.5” x 66.5". 
I prepared a backing and binding while I had all the batik fabric out, so it's all ready for pin basting and quilting. I'm thinking of quilting diagonal lines in pink thread!
Thanks to Kris for a fun day and a great quilt pattern!
To see more design wall projects, hop over to Small Quilts.
Now if only I could recover from this terrible flu and get back in the sewing room, I could make some more progress on my Ringo Lake blocks.
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts...go see Lorna's new adorable foxy quilt pattern!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A New Year of Slow Sunday Stitching!

Welcome to the weekly link up celebrating the art of hand stitching! We are interested in anything you are stitching with your very own hands including knitting, tatting, applique, hand piecing, rug making, english paper piecing, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch, and beading. 
It has been really cold here this year so far with record breaking low temperatures. It's too cold to go outside, so the best thing to do is stay indoors and do some stitching! As I am writing this blog post it is minus 25 degrees Celsius. Along with this type of weather comes cold and flu season, and I have finally succumbed. I was so happy to be healthy through the holidays, but my good luck has run out and I am in bed this weekend with a fever, a rattly chest cold, and achy bones.
And meanwhile Mr. Max has been refusing to go outside to do his business because it's too cold! But he's only too happy to cuddle up in a quilt! As soon as I got this quilt out earlier in the week to figure out where to move the hoop to next, he was sooo happy! He was rolling around and delighted to snuggle up to my side while I put in a few stitches. 
I won't be doing any hand stitching today, but I will enjoy reading what you are working on. Link up your blog post below and share your first project of 2018.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018

Angela and Mari are offering an RSC  sampler quilt for 2018 called Squared Away. It's a way to use up leftover fabric scraps using the colour of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The colour for January is blue. I have blue scraps coming out my ears!
One of my scrap bins that doesn't see much action consists only of small pieces and narrow strips in darker colours. Many of those scraps were used in my Mad City Mama blocks, but I still have many scraps still needing to be organized for quilting projects. 

I'm so happy that the new sampler project allows for small blocks. I'm going to be making the 5" block size which uses 1.5" units. While making a few blue HSTs so I'd be ready for the first pattern, I cut myself with the rotary cutter.
Not cool!
However... being able to use a bandage with sewing machines on it... very cool!
Hop over to the first RSC link up of 2018!