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 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 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!

Monday, May 07, 2018

Design Wall Monday

12" star swap blocks
Star blocks are on my design wall today. Carol is hosting a "Wish Upon A Star" blog hop later in the month and I am making my project from old star blocks. There are 3 groups of blocks that I found in the UFO cupboard, from three different periods of time.  The 12" blocks are from a block swap from many years ago, and as is often the case with swap blocks, they are variations of the 12" size.

6" star blocks
Then there are two other piles of star blocks... 6" and 9". I have no idea what these were supposed to be for. I know the 6" block at the top was an experiment and it needs some repair to be useable.

I think the 9" blocks may have been for a star sampler that I lost interest in, and they all have the same background fabric. I have the dark blue scrap bin out and it is my goal to make a quilt for the blog hop from these varied star blocks. I put them up on the wall and told them to talk amongst themselves, and tell me how to build a quilt with them. I hope they come up with some good ideas for me in time to have a finished quilt by May 24th, which is my blog hop day!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up of all things of interest to hand stitchers! 
I have been working s-l-o-w-l-y on my hand embroidery block for Gail Pan's BOM. New patterns will be posted next week and I haven't finished the ones from last month yet. Now that my taxes are completed and I have more time for fun things, I hope to make lots of progress with these embroidery blocks.
This week I came across an interesting article about the value of hand work so of course I am sharing it with the slow stitching gang: "How busy hands can alter out brain chemistry". I love the idea of using "behaviorceuticals" instead of and/or along side of pharmaceuticals to change the brain neurochemistry in order to feel better. 
Why not do your own experiment today? 
Get out your needles and threads and spend some time creating something with your hands. Just see if the repetitive movement of your hands increase some relaxation chemicals in your brain. What do you notice? And then, when you see the beautiful project you have finished, that is also bound to increase your happiness hormones.

How can you resist?!? Bring on the dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and seratonin!

Addendum to today's post... I found out late last night that the Norfolk County quilt show was cancelled yesterday due to lack of hydro. I'm so excited because I can go today! I am hoping to see 3 of the slow stitchers at the show - Sandra, Gail, and Cathy.

Link up your blog post below and share your hand work project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Annual Shop Hop

First we drove through fog
For many years my friend Louise and I have been participating in a quilt shop hop the first weekend of May. This year was no exception. It was a bit of a different shop hop since 2 of the quilt stores have closed in the past year, and 2 new shops were added. 

Then there was rain and wind and many uprooted trees
Too dark for photos and shopping

The weather was intense this year which made driving a bit more of a challenge. We had fog in the morning, pouring down rain in the afternoon, followed by a terrible wind storm. 

The storm resulted in many power outages, and one of our favourite stores called Cobwebs and Caviar in Shelburne had no hydro. 
How can we shop in the dark? Not to be deterred by darkness, we got out our cell phones and used the torch/flashlight to see what we could. 

It was so sad for the store to be in total darkness when it was such a busy event for them.
And even in the darkness, I found this wonderful sign.
Of course we did manage to find quite a few items with which to cheer ourselves up. I collected some fabrics to use for a quiltalong with Jacquelynne Steves that will be coming up in the summer. And I topped up my consumable supplies like Best Press Spray, batting, and needles.

I'm so happy to be spending time in my sewing room today... it's been a long week with not enough sewing to keep me balanced. Today I'll remedy that! Happy Sewing Saturday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

What's up with Clarissa!?!

There hasn't been a Clarissa sighting on the blog for a long time with the previous post being in December last year! This kind of time delay is usually a sign that there is either a problem/"challenge" with the project, or there is a big decision pending (and not being made!)
With Clarissa, the hold up was the debate about how big to make my version of the quilt. The original quilt was 6 blocks by 7 blocks for a total of 42 blocks. My Clarissa has 19 blocks so far. With adding one more block, it would be a layout of 4 blocks by 5 blocks. I like the rectangular shape for this quilt, so if I were to make mine bigger, that would mean making at least 4 more blocks for a layout of 4 blocks by 6 blocks, or 10 more blocks for a layout of 5 blocks by 6 blocks. 
Realistically, that isn't going to happen. I have loved making these blocks but it's time to move on to new projects and wrap this one up.
So my UFO goal this month is to make the final block, figure out the sashing and borders and get this to quilt top status by the end of May. To see more quilty goals, hop over to the One Monthly Goal link up.