Saturday, March 31, 2018

March UFO Goal MET!

Demonstrating extreme persistence and after many hours of measuring, sewing, swearing, unsewing, and resewing, I am so pleased to announce that I met my UFO goal this month! 
My March goal was to turn a dozen asterisks blocks into a quilt top. Many times I was tempted to toss the whole thing in the garbage UFO closet and sew something else that was fun and easy, but I didn't. Yah me!
The first task was to make a few more asterisk blocks in order to make a layout of 5 rows.
The biggest challenge was the amount of background fabric I had. There were a number of "unique" greens in these blocks, and of course at the beginning of this project I had no idea what it might become. It just started out as making some fun blocks at a guild event back in 2014 and it just wanted to grow into a lap size quilt. But I wasn't sure if there was enough of the background fabrics to work with and I really didn't want to buy more.

Determined to use up what I had, it was "game on"!
I began by joining the blocks into rows. Each block was a different size, so first I had to trim the larger blocks down, or add sashing to smaller blocks to bring them up to useable sizes. In this photo, the top two rows are sewn together, and I was still working on getting the bottom three rows joined into a useable size. 
I also made a few small blocks because I just can't help myself!

I still don't like the look of these 3 small blocks in the bottom row, even though I spent quite a bit of time on that section. I finally just had to walk away from it and call it "good enough".

Truthfully this month's project was not enjoyable. I'm not sure if it was so hard because the process was complicated and involved a lot of math, or because I didn't like how it was turning out? But I do feel terrific about the accomplishment, even if I don't like the end product, and am quite chuffed to link up to One Monthly Goal. This will definitely become a donation quilt and needs to be far away from me! I will wait for a month or two to work on the quilting because we need a break from each other! I'll be choosing a different project to work on for my April UFO.

I'm also linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge where green was the colour for March. I only had a few  green scraps leftover from this project, so I turned some of them into a maverick star block to add to the collection. 
I'm so ready to bring on the month of yellow and gold scraps!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Square Dance Mystery

The next step for Carole's Square Dance mystery quilt has been posted. I am making a chocolate flavoured lap sized version of this mystery. Last month we sewed the nine patch blocks and this month is another easy step sewing rectangles together.

It was a lovely relaxing afternoon of sewing these rectangles together. The top batch has a light fabric with darks. And the bottom batch has mediums and darks. 
Don't these look good enough to eat?!? 
Now we have to wait a few weeks for the next step, which is a great pace for a mystery. It allows so many other projects to be worked on in between.
Are you dancing along with the Square Dance mystery?!?
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Design Wall Churn Dashes

On the design wall today are the swap blocks from Barb's churn dash block swap. It was so fun to get the package in the mail, go through the blocks and admire all the fabrics! Each block is a different fabric and together they will make a fabulous scrappy quilt!

And now it's time to decide on what layout to use. This is the straight set, with no sashing, nothing fancy. I would make 4 more blocks to make the layout 7 x 10 blocks. 

But there are so many other options! Sashings, alternate blocks, and what about the blocks on point?!
For now the blocks are staying on the design wall while I admire them and think about the options, and wait for them to tell me what they want to do.
A big thank you to Barb who organizes all this fun for us!
To see more design walls, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate the wonderful world of hand stitching. We encourage you to take a big deep breath, pick up your needle and threads, and enjoy some relaxing moments today. 

Is it spring where you live? According to the calendar, it is spring here, and even though it is minus 4 degrees as I write this blog post, the robins are starting to return. That is a sure sign of spring!

Not only am I on the look out for returning birds, I'm also stitching birds! This is one of the "i stitch" blocks from Gail Pan. The sweet little bird is smaller than the needle!
I'll be stitching up those flowers using the lazy daisy stitch today.

What are you working on?
Link up your blog post below and share your project with us!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

There are 5 Saturdays in the month of March, so the Rainbow Scrappers get an extra week to work with the  light green scraps. This week I sewed another 'Circle of Squares' block using up some small green pieces (pattern here).

Here are all my blocks so far on the design wall.  I think this will become a 20 block quilt, so it will continue to grow throughout the year.
To see more RSC postings, hop over to the weekly link up.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Finished Quilt!

Sewing Ringo Lake blocks on Lucy (long bed) my 1953 Singer 301
On Wednesday Bonnie Hunter hosted a QuiltCam session and I was so happy to be able to play hooky and catch most of the session. And not only that, Bonnie posted a photo on her blog that I took of my sewing table during QuiltCam while I was sewing some Ringo Lake blocks - click here to see it! 
Bonnie raised the interesting topic of how to manage social media and still have enough time to actually quilt. I know many people struggle with information and communication management, but I can thankfully say that I don't. In spite of constant pressure from many of my peers/friends/relatives, I do not have Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Twitter accounts. I only have email and a blog account in order to keep track of the things I am creating. 

These days in my free time, I am only focused on what brings me joy, because life is hard and my job is usually very hard, and I won't survive it if I am not extremely careful with my time. I decided that in the second half of my life I want to only focus on being with people who make me ridiculously happy, and doing things that bring me joy as much as is possible.  "Joy is medicine"!

And because quilting brings me joy, and I spend as much time as possible doing it, I have a finished quilt to share!
Here is the 2018 Super Bowl mystery quilt which was called "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue". It is a perfect baby quilt, with train themed fabrics and measuring 42" square.

The quilting is straight diagonal lines done in red and blue threads using the walking foot. It went so smoothly and so quickly that I could hardly believe when it was ready for the binding!

Since my Dad is a train fanatic, this will make a perfect quilt for his great grandchild, so I'm going to put this quilt in the storage closet (which is a difference place than the UFO cupboard!) until that day finally arrives.
Linking up to Finish It Up Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mysteries Being Finished

Super Bowl Mystery 2014
This year was the 5th year that my "Sew 'n Sews" group has tackled a Super Bowl mystery adventure (see how I threw in a football verb there?!?!) These events are hosted by Kris Driessen of Quiltbug. She writes a mystery pattern and at 10 am on Super Bowl day she starts posting the instructions for the quilt. A new step is posted every hour until we finish the quilt top. It's so much fun and we really enjoy the day together every year.
2017 mystery quilt

I thought it would be fun to review the 5 years of quilts:

2014 Appian Way Log Cabin in bright pink, orange and green

2015 Neighbourhood Garden with gardening theme fabrics

2016 Peekaboo in blues and greys

2017 Ghosts and Mosts in golds and rust

2018 Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue in train themed fabrics

In reviewing the mysteries I was disappointed to notice that none of them have become a finished quilt yet, even though I like them all! This situation needed to be remedied!
I signed up for the Hearts to Hand Charity Quilt Challenge as motivation to get these quilts finished. One of the categories is to donate a quilt top to Victoria's Quilts and that is where the 2017 mystery quilt will be going. That pattern was designed as a square quilt, but I made 8 more blocks into 2 more rows and made it a bed size quilt.

2018 mystery quilt backing
I also got to work on finishing the most recent mystery quilt. The first step was to piece a backing and this was made from leftover pieces from the mystery plus 2 striped fat quarters from my stash. Piecing a backing is like making another whole quilt and some people really dislike it. But I enjoy the process of building with scraps, which is kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Next step is pin basting and then on to the quilting!

Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Happy 1st Day of Spring!

It's spring according to the calendar. We won't be seeing anything resembling spring for another couple of months, but we can hope for and anticipate the changes to come!

I have been working on some blocks for our group donation quilt and thought I'd share a "fail" block. I had some yoyos that looked like they might want to become trees. It was fun to stitch the yoyos on, some with the flat side down and some with the gathered side down. But nope... it looks too phallic and I'm sure it will be rejected from the collection!
Here are the blocks so far for our sampler quilt. The yoyo forest definitely jumps right out!
I also just finished sewing the block to the right of the trees, and quite like how that one turned out.
Maybe I'll spend the first day of spring sewing a pumpkin block! How are you celebrating the change of season?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Design Wall Monday

The March UFO blocks are on the design wall today. A little progress has been made. All the blocks have been squared down to the maximum size they can be. 

The blocks that were X's have been turned into asterisk blocks. The blocks are laid out in 4 rows which would make a square quilt, but I'd like it to become a rectangular quilt. I have figured out the amount of useable background fabric and have enough to make another 4 blocks and make some pieced sashing.
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Small Quilts link up.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up party for hand stitchers!

Today will be a rest and recovery day for me following St. Patrick's Day celebrations yesterday. I usually paint my hair green and have a wee drink or two with my Irish friends. Needless to say, everything I do today will be done s-l-o-w-l-y!

There will be lots of time for slow stitching while I visit with a friend who is staying for the weekend. While chatting I hope to finish the 6th block of Gail Pan's "Send my love" BOM. This block has backstitch, lazy daisy stitch and french knots. The next three block patterns have been sent by email to the "i stitch" group. This month we'll be stitching a flower basket, a sewing machine, and a butterfly. They are so cute and I can't wait to trace them out and get going on them. 

What are you hand stitching today? We love to see what you're working on, so link up your blog post below and share your progress with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 
I'll be wearing green today and celebrating the Irish traditions with my Irish friends. 
And who knew there was such a thing as Worldwide Quilting Day, which is also being celebrated today. That means everyone should celebrate the art of quilting, and quilters should dress in green and spend all day sewing green scraps in their quilt studio!

The RSC colour of the month is green... one of my favourite colours. I especially like light bright happy lime green and use it in many quilts (see my version of Easy Street). So I have had a great time playing with the green scraps this month.

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters Mari and Angela created a quilt along called Squared Away. There are no sign up requirements, no fees, no books or tools to purchase... it's free to anyone who wants to play along with us this year. You can make as many blocks as you want each month using the block pattern in any size you want to try. How's that for a perfect project?!?

This month's pattern is called Red Cross and was published in the late 1800s Ladies Art Company catalogue. The block pattern has been around a long time! Incidentally the January block was called Red Cross also... it's a popular block name I guess!
Here are my light green quilt along blocks. It's hard to pick a favourite. I really do like them all.

And here are all my blocks for the Squared Away quilt along on the design wall. I am making 4 blocks each month. My blocks are 5" so although it looks like a big project, it's really not! 
Hop over to the RSC link up and see the other green projects being posted. 
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Scrappy Log Cabins

How can it be Thursday already? Where has most of the week gone? Lest you think I have not been sewing this week, rest assured that is never the case! 
My sister has been sick for a while and to give her brain a workout doing something fun and low stress, she has been sorting my scrap bins for me. Now that is a win-win situation don't you think!?!  She put together this package of 1.25" strips and they are not familiar fabrics, so they must have been gifted to me by a generous non-scrap loving friend! I couldn't wait to open the bag and make something with them. Yippee a new project!

I decided to sew the strips into scrappy log cabin blocks.
Here is the pressing station. I have finished 4 blocks so far and a few partial blocks.

I am not using any rotary cutting equipment to make these blocks. I decided to just use scissors and see what happens. It's not as accurate but it is FUN and gives the blocks some character! Here is the sewing table. I have set up my short bed Singer 301 called Ethel and she is doing a great job of sewing these scraps together. She makes a great stitch but really dislikes winding bobbins. She might need a visit to the sewing machine spa!
And notice my favourite quilty water bottle sitting right in the middle of the photo... which may or may not be filled with water LOL! I just read an article about how bottled water has been found to contain high levels of microplastics - click here to learn about the problem. Why drink bottled water when you can use a fun refillable quilty bottle like I have!?! I got mine at Cherished Pieces in Tillsonburg, but you can get one easily at Amazon.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall today is a quilt that my small quilting group is building. 
We collected the block kits on a shop hop in July of 2016 and have decided to combine our blocks to make a donation quilt. None of the 4 of us were able to travel to all the shops so it will be interesting to see what blocks we end up with. 
I am sewing all 4 of the log cabin star blocks, since the centres are made from 1" strips and none of my friends will sew with 1" pieces! I have 1 more of those star blocks to sew. Also my friends don't like paper piecing, so I'll be sewing the pumpkin blocks that they collected. It will be an interesting fall themed sampler quilt.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Do you live somewhere in the world where you put your clocks ahead 1 hour last night? Daylight savings time begins which means 1 hour less of sleep last night, and 1 more hour of daylight in the days to come. 
That means more light for hand stitching! Why not get out  your favourite project and a cup of tea, and go sit by a window to enjoy some natural light and relaxation.

My current favourite project is hand embroidered blocks, and this is the one most recently finished. Out of the 4 blocks I've stitched for the "i stitch club 2018" by Gail Pan, it's my favourite so far - the blue bird of happiness!

Here is a tip for those who do hand stitching and want to use up scraps to stitch on, but need the background piece to be large enough to fit into a hoop. 
I use a large basting stitch to join smaller background scraps so that the piece is large enough to work on comfortably in a hoop. Then, once the design is stitched, you just remove the basting/joining stitches and trim to size.

What are you going to work on today? Link up your blog post below and share you hand stitching with us. And I hope you'll join us next week for the next Photo Challenge linkup!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Scrappy Saturday - Omigosh!

The first order of the day is to announce the winners of the draw for the mini double 9 patch mug mats from the Small, Smaller, Smallest blog hop this past week. There were over 80 names in the draw and the two lucky winners are: 

Vicki H said...

Oh, I love your quilt. I have saved many scraps that small but haven't sewn them yet. I think my sewing machine might eat them instead of feeding them through. Now I am inclined to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.
tink's mom said...
Please don't take this the wrong way, but you are insane. That said,Your quilt is amazing. I'd love a chance at one of those sweet mini rugs.
Congratulations and thanks to all the bloggers who participated, to Carol for organizing the fun, and to everyone who visited and left encouraging and often hilarious comments! 

This week I made a few more light green blocks for my RSC Omigosh. This has been a multiyear project and uses all the tiniest scraps from my sewing adventures. 
I still have a few unfinished purple blocks from last month, so that's what I am sewing today.

So many people have commented that 1" pieces are toooo small for stress-free sewing, and if you prefer to sew with larger pieces, you could still make the Omigosh pattern using larger blocks. My friend Helen made her Omigosh quilt using 1.5" pieces and look at her amazing quilt! She calls it something like "Oh well... whatever"! LOL

To see what other quilters are sewing with their green scraps, hop over to the RSC link up.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Magnolia Mystery Parade

Last fall Meadow Mist Designs hosted a mystery quiltalong called Magnolia Mystery
I sewed my blocks into an octagonal tabletopper instead of a bed quilt. I don't know why... the idea just popped up when I had the blocks on the design wall so I started sewing it together that way.
This week Cheryl has been posting the reveal parade of over 200 quilts made from the same pattern. It's amazing to see the same pattern made in every possible colour combination that you can think of, with sashing and without, with borders and without... the creativity and possibilities are endless!

Check out the mystery quilt parade:
Day # - quilts #1 to #70
Day #2 - quilts # 71 to #140 (my quilt is #73)
Day #3 - quilts #141 - #202

I was also amazed by  the variety of layouts and quilting designs on the quilts in the parade. I quilted my version with a free motion swirly design that is one of my favourites to quilt.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

Today is the day to celebrate the wonderful women you are privideged to have in your life!

It's International Women's Day and as is my habit, every year on this day I give bouquets of flowers to women who have inspired me in my life this year. You know the ones I mean... who try so hard in everything they say and do to be encouraging and loving, to make life a little easier for others, to be a bright light, and who regularly do invisible work that is not seen or acknowledged. Today is a day to honour these women!

That reminds me that today is the last day of the Small, Smaller, and Smallest blog hop! Check out the creativity of  these fantastic women: