Thursday, May 31, 2018

Clarissa Quilt Top

Clarissa was started in 2016 as a leader-ender challenge by Bonnie Hunter. The challenge was to make a quilt using hourglass blocks. It was the perfect incentive to make a quilt similar to one I had seen at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. The original quilt was made by Clarissa White Alford circa 1880. She raised her own 9 children, plus 6 children from her husband's first marriage, and after surviving that, Clarissa made her famous quilt completely by hand. That's right... no rotary cutter, no rulers and mats, no sewing machine, just scissors, needle and thread!

Almost 140 years later I used all the modern quilting tools to construct my copycat quilt top. Each block has 144 triangles, and my version of the quilt with 20 blocks has a total of 2,880 triangles plus the 48 sashing triangles for a grand total of...2,928 triangles in this quilt!
I did meet my May UFO goal of getting these blocks to quilt top status, but I'm still undecided about a final border. I'm thinking of a white border with the quarter square triangle (QST) cornerstones, then maybe another border of a million more QSTs. I haven't had the time to make a stack of blocks to see if I would like that, but that is the plan of the moment!
To see more Monthly Goals postings, hop over to the link up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Square Dance Mystery Update

This month we made the "promenade" units for the Square Dance mystery quilt. For the quilt size I am making, I only needed 40 units and they went together easily. Here are a few of my units on the design wall. 
I have no idea how this quilt design is going to come together and it doesn't look like much today, but that is the fun of a mystery adventure.
Next month will be the big reveal for the mystery quilt design and I am READY to put together my "chocolate covered cherries" quilt!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Clarissa is on the design wall

It's the last week of May and I'm fairly close to meeting my UFO goal this month. The final Clarissa block was made and the layout decided. There was a lot of moving blocks around and you know how that goes... fix one thing you don't like and create another problem you don't like even more. So finally, with the end of month deadline looming, I just started sewing the sashing to the blocks.
The quarter square triangle blocks are the cornerstones of the white sashing, but I'm not sure about what to do around the outside? A plain white border? With or without QST cornerstones? The decision making agony process will be dramatically shortened due to the end of month OMG deadline, which is probably a good thing.
Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the hand stitching party! Sunday is finally here and you know what that means... it's time for some relaxing hand stitching!
I have finished 2 quilts in the last 2 weeks (Make a Wish and Tied up in Knots), and stitching those bindings provided me with many hours of hand stitching enjoyment. 
I have also been working on some hand embroidery. Here is my most recently finished embroidered basket block for the Gail Pan "i Stitch" club. I stitched this on the GO train to and from Toronto and it was very helpful in calming me down a wee bit while travelling to and from the big city.
So far this has been a mystery project, but next month Gail will send us a layout idea. I haven't trimmed any of my embroidered blocks yet, waiting to decide what I'm going to do with them. Today I will be tracing a couple of new patterns to stitch this week.

What are you working on? Link up your hand stitching project below and share your progress with us.
Blogger has been having a few issues this week, so I do hope you will be able to easily post comments and linkups.


   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   



Saturday, May 26, 2018

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Finish!

Can you believe I am posting my SECOND quilt finish this week?!?! So exciting! I finished my quilt for the "Wish Upon a Star" blog hop (see it here) and I also just finished "Tied Up In Knots"! This one is a really big finish for me because I've been working on it for 6 years!

The first block was made in January 2012 as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. I meticulously cut the 1.5" scrap  squares in the colour of the month for a total of 56 squares per block.  The 12" Knot block pattern is by Tina Curran and was published in issue #3 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine.



Spring has finally arrived here and the outside world is turning green at last!  When the binding was finished I went for a walk with my sister looking for some photo op locations. This is a fun shot because the first block I made for this quilt was the red one.




It's not very often I get a fancy photo of me with one of my quilts! I'm very proud of this multi-year effort, from the graduated arrangements of the colours within each block, to the challenge of machine quilting the blocks and the diamonds in the sashing, this finish has been a long time coming! 



Thanks to Angela for hosting the weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge and to all my blog readers for the encouragement to stick with this thing over the years. And thanks for celebrating today with me! So pleased to be posting this finish over at the RSC weekly link up.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Last day of Wish Upon A Star Blog Hop

Have you been enjoying the star quilt postings this week? 
Machine quilt on my "Make a Wish" quilt border
It has been such fun! When you give a suggestion to creative people, it's amazing what they can create!
Thanks again to Carol for organizing the fun!
Here is the line up of the links to visit on the last day of the blog hop:
May 25
Just Let Me Quilt

I'm linking up to Sarah's Hands2Help
My star quilt (details found here) is being donated to my guild's comfort quilt project

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wish Upon A Star Quilt

It's my day to post my star quilt for the blog hop. Thank you for dropping by! My project is made of orphan blocks from 3 different block swaps from many years ago. The blocks were sitting in a project box in the UFO closet until Carol suggested making something with a star on it. Hey... I have some stars in the closet! 
"Make a Wish"

The top star blocks are 6", the middle nine blocks are 12" and the bottom stars are 9". It was a challenge to figure out how to combine 3 different block sizes, and along the way there were a few creative possibilities using layouts that made the quilt way too big. I wanted to make a donation sized quilt, so this layout came out to the right size at 45" x 60".

quilting on a 12" star block

All the free motion quilting was done on my Brother 1500 domestic sewing machine. The quilting design is mostly loops and stars, with some curved arcs in some of the star blocks. 





Pinocchio inspiration





Around the outside border I quilted the lyrics from the song  "When you wish upon a star(which won the 1940 Academy Award for best original song) from the Disney movie called Pinocchio

"When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you"





Beginning border quilting
This song just makes me feel happy, and I played it on Spotify repeat until the border quilting was done! I even found the kids' old Pinocchio video to take a photo of with the finished quilt!




quilt back

I'm so happy that these blocks have finally become a finished quilt. Not a single fabric was purchased for the quilt top and the binding strips were leftover pieces in the navy scrap box.
Here is a photo of the back of the quilt. It used up 5 pieces of fabric that were in a bundle on sale for $10 at Creative SistersThat's a great deal for a backing! 
Hopefully you had some time to visit the other blogs on the hop and enjoy the wonderful star quilts that have been created (complete list here).  
Here are the other blogs to visit today:
May 24

Thanks to Carol for organizing another fun blog hop for us to enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wishing to finish my star quilt!

Have you seen the fantastic star quilts that the quilters have been sharing this week on the Wish Upon A Star blog hop? I have had a blast creating my star quilt and seeing all the inspiration that was stirred up by Carol inviting people to make something with a star on it! I have been quilting stars and loops until my shoulders and arms ache. My chair needs to be up higher to be ergonomically correct, but then I can't see well. If I'm going to do this much machine quilting I'm going to need new glasses, a higher more comfortable chair, AND a massage therapist LOL!
Here is the list of blogs to visit for Day #3:
May 23

 Come back tomorrow to see my star quilt reveal on Day #4!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Machine Quilting the Broken Dishes

Since finishing the quilting for my Wish Upon a Star blog hop quilt (drop by on Thursday to see the big finish!) and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge project I was working on, you would think I was quilted out. But no! 
I immediately started right in on quilting the Broken Dishes quilt. I did quite a bit of stitch-in-the-ditch quilting to start. I also used the Hera Marker to make some straight lines to stitch in open spaces. The Hera Marker just makes a crease in the fabric to stitch on and although I love it, the lighting has to be very bright for me to be able to see the lines made by this tool. It's wonderful for quilting on white fabrics where you don't want to worry about removing marks made from pencils, pens, or other markers.


Then I switched to the free motion foot and started making some curved lines in the blocks. It was really fun making it up as I go along. I didn't have a quilting plan in mind from the start. I just did the next interesting thing that came into my mind, one step at a time.
I'm now wondering about quilting feathers around this block or stitching more parallel straight lines. I am reminding myself there is not "one right answer" that I am in search of. There are lots of good ideas, and I just have to pick one to try. The quilt will tell me right away if it doesn't like my idea!
Linking up to Let's Be Social!

It's day two of the Wish Upon A Star blog hop. Here is the line up for today...enjoy!
May 22


Monday, May 21, 2018

Clarissa on the Design Wall

Here it is... drum roll please... the last block has been made for my Clarissa quilt top. It was fun sewing this block knowing that it's the last one. I used up many odd triangles sitting in the project box. This is a classic Clarissa block, with a pinwheel in the centre, surrounded by a dark round of QSTs, and around the outside of the block are light QSTs.
The next step is to finalize a layout (first I have to find the other blocks in storage), cut out the sashings, and sew it all together. 
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts

Also, today is the start of the Wish Upon a Star blog hop... prepare to be inspired!  I am still working on finishing my quilt... my day to post my star quilt is Thursday. Here is the line up of blogs to visit today...
May 21

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up of hand stitched projects!


I am doing my favourite type of hand stitching today - binding. I recently finished the quilting on a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt called "Tied Up in Knots" and have been enjoying hand stitching this colourful striped binding.



It must be the week for binding...my friend Debby is also hand stitching a binding on a quilt-as-you-go project. Part of her binding is made of satin so it will be an extra cuddly quilt.






And my sister is also hand stitching a binding on a baby boy quilt. She uses the binding clips that resemble hair clips and her stitches are microscopic.





Are you doing any binding this week?!?
If you have a hand stitching project that you would like to show us, link up your blog post below. We hope that whatever you are stitching today will be relaxing and fun! Enjoy!


   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pink Scrappy Saturday

Pink Omigosh blocks
An Omigosh quilt has been in construction in my sewing room for about 4 and a half years. When the colour of the month is announced at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge I start gathering up my 1" strips and scraps to make some Omigosh blocks each month.
For three years I sewed the double 9 patch blocks and have made 93 of those so far.


I started sewing the alternate Shoofly variation in March last year and have only made 14 of those so far. Here are a couple of other blocks made in the last 2 weeks.
It's such a wonderful way to make a quilt... no pressure, no deadlines, just a leisurely sewing of blocks and putting them into the project box in the closet as they are made. It's fun to watch the pile of blocks grow!
To see more pink Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects being worked on, hop over to the weekly link up.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Machine Quilting

Although Clarissa is my "UFO of the month", one of my other UFOs has tried to hog the attention spotlight recently. The culprit is the broken dishes quilt... "look over here"... "I'd like to be a finished quilt"! 
I usually have one machine set up for piecing and one machine set up for machine quilting so I can work on whatever suits my fancy in the moment!
The noisy broken dishes quilt is now pin basted and machine quilting has started. It's always good to "do shots" before you start quilting... just to get the creativity flowing!

I'm starting with the walking foot and stitching "in the ditch" a grid pattern as I usually do to stabilize the whole thing. If I've done a really good job with the pin basting, there will be no fabric mountains popping up in the front of the walking foot. Little hills are manageable... this is a little one, but reminds me that the quilt top was not pulled taut enough when I was setting up the quilting sandwich. But so far it's pretty much smooth sailing. Next I'll be putting on the free motion foot and seeing what curved lines I might want to stitch.


Happy Friday!

Hope you have a full weekend of relaxation and quilting ahead!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Midmonth UFO Update

My UFO goal this month is to finish the Clarissa quilt top. The first step is to make the 20th and final block. Each block has 144 triangles, so the cutting takes a while. The pieces at the top are leftover triangles I found in the project box. In true Clarissa style I wanted the last block to be scrappy and use up the extras. I cut the triangles with Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool

Then I got out Charity (my adorable 1952 Featherweight) to sew the hourglass blocks. These old machines really need to be able to sew regularly to keep them in good shape. She's old and although she sews beautifully, she doesn't have any seam markings. I just put a piece of tape on the bed of the machine where the edge of 1/4" seam allowance should be, but it's not perfect.


That's okay... all the blocks need to be squared down anyway using the Bloc-Loc ruler. As you can see, not much needed to be trimmed away... I guess the accuracy was better than I thought!

Linking up to Let's Be Social over at Lorna's.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Next Step

Credit: © Ivelin Radkov / Fotolia
Sometimes motivation just pops up for no apparent reason, and that is definitely the case this week. I want to work on the star quilt that I showed yesterday, but all of a sudden I was consumed with design ideas for quilting my Broken Dishes quilt. The timing is really annoying, but when inspiration strikes, I pay attention.


But first I had to do all the prep work... find a backing (a piece of muslin that I had bought to make the swap blocks, but after washing it seemed too course and not high quality even though it was expensive), find a large enough piece of batting, and find some thread. Here is the pile of required elements ready to move on to the next step...pin basting. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Star Quilt Progress

The star blocks are still on the design wall. At first I tried to incorporate all the blocks from the 3 sets into a cohesive design (see all the blocks here). That didn't work out well at all. I ditched that idea and have been playing with other layout ideas, and wondering about adding scrappy navy sashings and yellow/gold cornerstones to the centre 9 blocks, and then using the smaller star blocks as borders. Decisions. Decisions. There is pressure to move forward on this star quilt because the Wish Upon A Star blog hop starts on May 21st! Although I can't figure out the layout, I already have the quilting design in mind..... swirls and stars. Just need to make a final decision on the layout and sew this baby together!
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching AND Happy Mother's Day!
While people are visiting and enjoying family time, why not pick up your needle and thread, and make some progress on your projects.
I just finished another embroidery block for the Gail Pan BOM. This photo shows my favourite embroidery needle a size 10 Jeana Kimball needle. These needles come in a handy portable tube that are easier than the card system that needles are usually attached to. These needles are comfortable to use, and easy to thread with embroidery floss. 



Last Sunday was a little Slow Sunday Stitching reunion. I met up with Sandra and Gail at a quilt show in Simcoe, Ontario where we enjoying seeing a few of Sandra's beautiful quilts. Here we are in front of one of Sandra's amazing quilts. This is called  "Down the Rabbit Hole" (pattern by Sarah Fielke). It's hand appliqued and hand quilted, and has many delightful details with fussy cut fabrics, and quilting designs. It was a wonderful and inspiring visit and Gail came up with a great idea to have a "Slow Sunday Stitching Stitch In" day and I'm starting  the planning process for that. Stay tuned for details as they become available.


Happy Mother's Day to everyone! 
And especially to my Mom who is a real life hero who managed to "do it all", raising 4 kids, running a home, working full time, and at the same time getting a university degree to keep the family financially viable...and managed to maintain her sanity AND do some hand stitching along the way!


Here are some photos of my daughter wearing clothing made by my Mom... 
a sweater on the left and a smocked dress on the right. 


Thanks MOM/Nana!

Now what are you hand stitching today!? Link up your project below...

   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

It's pink month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Pink is one of my favourite colours and I was happy to play with the pink scrap bin this week. 
I made four blocks for my version of the Squared Away sampler quilt. This is block pattern #5 and the pattern is called Baton Rouge Square. I changed the orientation of some of the HST blocks around the centre, just because I like how the blocks looked that way. I am surprised at how the colour is so off in this photo. Some of the fabrics look red and they really are dark pink.

Here are my 20 blocks for the sampler in the colours we have worked with so far this year... purple, blue, green, pink and yellow. 
My blocks are 5" and use up some of my smallest scraps.
To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to Angela's linkup.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Square Dance Mystery Quilt

Are you sewing along with Carole's Square Dance mystery?
Starting with a mistake!
The steps are posted once a month, so it's a relaxed pace. The step posted last month (Allemande Left) was cutting instructions which were easily finished... if you started cutting the right units! In a square dance, it's easy to get confused and make a misstep. I started cutting the wrong unit, and quickly realized my pieces were turning out too small. 
Reread the instructions... duh... get out the correct  pieces to start with, and from there on it's easy peasy! I found that my old Olfa cutter was more comfortable for cutting these units than the newer teal Ofla cutter. Once I got the right units and the right tool for the job, the blocks were trimmed to the proper measurements and the step it was easy to complete .


Here are the units cut and ready for the reveal of the next step, which will posted next Friday.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tied Up in Knots

Progress is being made on this old RSC project
It had been stalled at the stage of figuring out the quilting design in the sashing and borders. Nothing was quite coming together and the frustration quotient was way higher than the enjoyment of my hobby, and so it went into the UFO closet for a time out.
After reading Amy's post last month, I brought it out again and forced myself to work through this challenge. And one of the things I've noticed over time, is my increasing ability to say "that's good enough". So what if the math didn't quite work out, and the angles on the squares are often not 90 degrees, and there are a few issues in the quilting at the cornerstones (ie they are all different!)... it's all okay. 

I give credit for the improvement in my healthier thinking to Angela Walters. Although I am not usually much of a perfectionist in any realm of my life, I have noticed a change in my quilting this year in terms of expecting even less perfectionism of myself. I notice less use of the seam ripper, less posting photos of my mistakes on the blog, and more acceptance of the "design opportunities" (formerly known as mistakes) as they occur.

perfect binding fabric
I have been watching all Angela's Midnight Quilt Show videos this year and besides being entertained, I am realizing how she is not at all a perfectionist, and I still love her quilts! So maybe I could think the same way about my quilts, as she thinks about hers? 
Yep, turns out that I can!

The machine quilting is now done (imperfectly) and I found the perfect fabric for a Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt binding. The binding is sewn on and you know what that means... a finish is soon to come! So excited!