Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Save the Bees - New BOM starting!

Starting in August Jacqueline Steeves is bringing us a brand new BOM called "Save the Bees". I have started sewing my blocks to share with you each month and am having a great time making my version of this wonderful pattern. You can get colour and fabric inspiration here.
My quilt will have a bee colour palette of gold, yellow, brown and black. 

I love the BEE theme since I have been worried for a long time about our bees (and by "our" bees, I mean the bees belonging to the planet). It was reported in the spring that 7 of 10 Ontario Beekeepers "suffered unsustainable losses" which is described as the worst winter losses on record. Beekeepers are urgently advocating for pesticide bans - more info here. And click here to learn more about why we NEED bees.

Thanks to Jacquelynne for another wonderful quiltalong! Want to join us? Click here to learn how to sign up and get the fabric requirements.

Monday, July 30, 2018

On Ringo Lake - Quilt Top

I can hardly believe it, but I did accomplish my July goal to sew together my "On Ringo Lake" quilt top. This was the Bonnie Hunter mystery from November
2017. I have changed my version slightly from Bonnie's original pattern which had an on point setting, and I used a straight set layout. The original d
esign also had sashing, but I turned my sashing units into an accordion border. Because of my changes, there were a lot of bulky seams to match, and many, many pins were used to join each seam. Here is the quilt top hanging on the clothesline today.

I was so excited to take the photo of the finished quilt top... and guess what happened when I hung it up?
I immediately spotted a mistake! Can you believe it? There it is just as plain as day. I had checked and rechecked each row so many times before putting the whole thing together. 
Oh well, I guess it's not completely finished since I'll have to dig out the seam ripper and fix that mistake now. I sure do hope there is only one mistake!
The quilt top measures 82.5" x 64.5" and contains 3,056 pieces.

A huge thank you to Bonnie Hunter who has been providing these wonderful mysteries to us year after year for FREE!! Let's remember to thank her for all she gives to the quilting world by supporting her classes and buying her products. I can't even imagine what quilting would be like for me without her scrappy inspiration, generosity, and brilliant pattern designing. I can't wait for her next string piecing book to be released and to see what she comes up with for the next mystery.

To see more design wall posts, hop over to Small Quilts.
To see more One Monthly Goal posts, hop over to the end of month link up.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Hand stitching = Sanity

That's just the truth for me. My most recent embroidery block has seen stitches added in 4 cities, on 2 trains, several buses, and at 2 local parks this past week. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I just put in my earphones, listen to some favourite music, and get out my hand stitching. Not much progress was made on the stitching, but it was the act of focusing, of slowing down, of getting grounded in the current moment that was the important accomplishment.

Here is a photo of my embroidery project getting a few more stitches added while relaxing at the park.
A beautiful swan swam serenely by to add to the calming factor.

Ahhhh now I can actually breathe deeply and start to feel a little of that relaxed happy feeling that had been MIA all week.

Or maybe it was a "sugar rush" from this fantastic lavender cupcake that I devoured while hand stitching?
WOW that was delicious!

This stitching and cupcake eating in the park experience was a treat for all my senses. 

What are you hand stitching today? 
I wish I could pass around some lavender cupcakes for everyone to enjoy, but I can encourage you to take your hand work project outside to enjoy putting in some stitches "en plein air" (it's really a painting term, but we're going to use it to apply to stitching outdoors). 
Happy Slow Stitching Sunday!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

It has been a long week, and I am looking forward to lots of sewing today and tomorrow to get me back on the right/healthy track. 
It's red month over at the RSC, so I cut into some red scraps for another Circle of Squares block. These squares are leftovers from some of the 150 Canadian Women blocks.
Here are all the 15 blocks made to date. Looks like I need to add in some darker blocks (dark green, navy, brown, etc).

To see more RSC posts, hop over to the weekly link

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Restoring a sense of peacefulness and safety

It has been a challenging week here with a mass shooting in Toronto. It's always a jarring and terrible thing to hear when something like this happens somewhere in the world, but when it's 2 blocks from where your daughter lives, it's a whole other experience all together. 
No one wants to see this site in their neighbourhood.
photo by Tony Smyth/CBC
I will be going to the makeshift memorial site after work today to say prayers, pay my respects, and try to help my daughter feel safer in her neighbourhood. I will take my hand stitching and sit at a cafe on this street to support the local businesses and maybe in one tiny way help to restore a sense of peace.

Monday, July 23, 2018

UFO Update

There is one week to go in the month of July, and it's not looking good for meeting my UFO goal. Progress has definitely been made, but there is still so much to sewing to do, and not much time left in the month. 
Here are the 42 blocks together so far. There are 6 blocks remaining blocks to sew and attach to this quilt top. Okay so, each block has 49 pieces, which means only 294 pieces to sort out this week... plus sashing (if desired) and borders...

Here are all the border units sewn together in sections and ready to join. I haven't figured out the corner blocks yet. So much to do...
Will she meet her goal or will she not?!?
Hop over to the weekly design wall link up to see how other quilters are living on the edge!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
At Slow Sunday Stitching, we brag about our slowness, and take pride in the art of relaxing, breathing deeply, and not really accomplishing much. We believe in the health benefits of relaxation, and take it seriously enough to commit to this slowness practice at least once a week. If you need a reminder of the benefits of relaxation, click here.

I did a lot of hand stitching this week. I finished the appliqued kites, and the hand stitched binding on a group quilt (see the quilt here). I cut the binding strips from a fun fabric called "Colorworks Concept".

And I finished another one of Gail Pan's embroidery blocks for the "I Stitch" club.  These blocks are just so darn cute and are the perfect size to finish up in a short period of time. I stitched the bunny in brown thread to look like the ones we have in the backyard. 

Next up is this sweet little cat. First I trace the design onto muslin using my Frixion pen and my "light box" (see my fancy technique here).
Then I am ready to start stitching.
I hope you can join us today in enjoying some relaxing stitching. If you have a blog, please link up your hand stitching project below so we can see what you are working on and cheer you on!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

July is red month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The goal is to sew as many of our red and maroon scraps as possible into quilt blocks.
It used to be that my red scraps were mostly Christmas themed, but once I started the 150 Canadian Women project, I accumulated a wide variety of reds. (That quilt hasn't seen any progress lately... maybe I should get it out this month?)
Anyway I did use up a lot of small scraps for my Squared Away sampler blocks for July. This month's pattern is called "Round the Corner" and the pattern can be found over at the Academic Quilter

I am making 4 blocks each month at the 5" size. And here are all my fantastic sampler blocks made this year. 
Thanks to Mari and Angela for this fun project!
Hop over to the link up to see more RSC posts.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Aurifil DOM

Aurifil posts a new block pattern each month in their Designer of the Month project with the interesting theme of "The Places We Go". I made their DOM last year (click here to see it) and really enjoyed it, but some of the blocks this year have been more challenging. January's block has been "in production" since January LOL! I didn't like the bridge block for April, and couldn't visually figure out what the June block was.

But then came July's block which is an easy log cabin variation called "Beach Houses" by Sherri McConnell. It involved cutting lots of 1.25" strips but once the cutting was done, the sewing part was quick and easy.

Here is my finished block.
To see other finished blocks, hop over to the June Aurifil link up.

Below is a photo of the 4 Aurifil DOM blocks I've made so far this year.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Group Quilt is Finished

I have been working on a group baby quilt this week. Each person in the group was requested to add one or two kites to the quilt. It's a challenge working on a group quilt. Everyone contributes in whatever way they can and you have to give up all your perfectionistic tendencies to accommodate a wide range of sewing abilities. 
The goal is to have everyone participate, not to get a beautifully made quilt.

I appliqued two kites to the quilt - a sock monkey kite and a striped kite. 

The striped kite got a ricrac tail, and the sock monkey has a couched yarn tail which were both fastened down by machine.

I also finished the edge of the quilt with a striped binding. 
Here it is hanging on the clothesline.  Now I am passing the quilt onto another friend who will hopefully add a kite or two. 
And then it will be gifted to our friend who is a first time grandma. So happy to be done with this "must do" project so I can get back to some fun projects of my own!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Design Wall Tuesday

The big family camping trip of the summer is over. It was similar to all the previous ones... too much sun, lots of laughing, chatting and playing games, and not enough sleep. And for the Moms, it is way too much work. Cooking on a Coleman stove or over an open fire, and hauling water for cooking and washing dishes is not as much "fun" as it used to be when I was younger! And let's not even talk about the whole outhouse experience! 

But memories were made, relationships were strengthened, and new members of the family ("add-ons" as we call them) were met. No bears were seen this year (read about the bear adventure here), but Granddog Max had a close encounter with a snapping turtle which left him with a sore nose!

Anyway, I missed "Design Wall Monday", but this quilt is on my design wall today. It's a bit of a hot mess. The project was started by a high school friend to gift to another one of our friends to celebrate becoming a grandmother. The creator of the project has no quilting experience and thought it would be "easy". The quilting was done without a walking foot and this photo doesn't show how hard it is going to be to put a binding on that wavy bunched up edge. My job is to add a kite or two, put on the binding and pass it to the next friends who will add more kites. I am trying hard to not let my quilter perfectionism get in the way of making a group gift full of good intentions for someone we love. It is what it is! Today I'm making binding for the kite quilt.
Hop over to the weekly design wall linkup at Small Quilts.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's finally Sunday - a day of rest, reflection, renewal, and slow stitching! Why not join us as we get out our hand stitching projects and put in a few relaxing stitches?

I'm working on my Life Is Beautiful project today. I put all the finished blocks on the design wall to see where this project is at. 
30 blocks are quilted, which is almost the half way point. I have quilted more embroidered blocks than the alternate blocks, so today I'm going to pin baste a stack of alternate blocks to work on.

I have the blocks appliqued, the batting and backing squares cut, and am ready to get a few more blocks completed. Well, the completion won't happen today, but lots of stitching will be happening and they will all get finished eventually.

What are you hand stitching today? We love to see what you're creating so link up your blog post and share your project with us.

**Sorry the link up didn't work right this morning! I was camping and set an autopost that apparently didn't like my instructions. Click page refresh and hopefully the updated link will appear...

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Square Dancing Improv Style

After making Carole's Square Dance mystery quilt top, I became preoccupied with the scraps. The first project from the tiny scraps called Diamonds in the Rough is a mini quilt. But the larger scraps were big enough to make a lap size quilt. You can see Carole's improv scrappy version here.
Here is the fun stage of trimming units and generating ideas of how they might be sewn together. I trimmed up all the blade units to the same size. 
Because the original Square Dance design had windmill shapes in it, I was drawn to this windmill configuration and just had to figure out the math for pieces to fit in the open spaces.

When I was sewing it together somehow I got the white background pieces on the opposite side of the blade and didn't realize it until it was together and I was measuring the block size.
It's interesting, but not the design I was hoping for.
Try again. I took the entire block apart and resewed it.

That's better!

Chocolate Windmills!

The next step is to figure out how to make it larger by adding  some scrappy sashing and/or borders.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July Shop Hop

It is time once again for the July Shop Hop. This is a large scale mystery quilt adventure sponsored by stores in southern Ontario, Canada. 
This year there are 15 stores that you visit to collect a block pattern and the fabric to make it. If you go to all 15 stores, you will have a 15 block sampler quilt. Each store makes a unique sampler quilt using the same blocks, so you get to see 15 different quilts.
It is such a large project and I am amazed that they are still offering this to us for free! And there are door prizes and a grand draw prize of an amazing sewing desk made locally by Adam of Eddycrest

I have attended on and off over the last few years:
-in 2012 it was called "Yours to Discover" and had 10 stores, 
-in 2015 I collected a few blocks and Barb gave me all her blocks since she doesn't like blue, 
-in 2016 we collected block fabrics in fall colours and I didn't make it to all the stores but together with some of my friends we are making a quilt to donate to the Mennonite Relief Quilt Auction with these blocks, and 
-in 2017 the blocks were grey and I got around to 10 of the 15 stores.
It is quite a lot of driving, and this year I am joining with some quilting friends to try to get to as many of the 15 stores as we can before the end of the month. It is inspiring and very fun, and a very expensive adventure because of course you spend money at every store you go in. 
Click here for the Shop Hop Facebook page.
Do you have shop hops where you live? Do you participate?

Monday, July 09, 2018

Indian Orange Peel Update

There has been some recent progress on the dreaded IOP. Here it is still on my secondary design wall. I recently dusted it off, picked up all the pieces that had fallen on the floor and figured out where I had left off. Only 6 more blocks need to be sewn and several of the columns are almost together now. There are even some moments when I am working on it that I don't hate it!
Working on it can even sometimes be relaxing, and removing the paper from the back of the 120 paper pieced arcs is easy work. I say to myself: "Kathryn, I don't know why you hate this project so much? See how easy it is? You don't need to procrastinate working on it. Just go ahead and finish it up!"

And then comes the moment when I do remember how challenging this project is! Pin pin pin, measure and pin, add a few more pins so you don't lose all those points. Sew from the centre of the curve out on both sides. 
Then look at how you sewed the whole thing wrong because you pinned it incorrectly. Swear and curse. Get the seam ripper, remove those painstakingly made stitches, and start over again. 
I realize I have learned so much from this quilt because I can quickly fix most of the mistakes that I make over and over.

Two of my friends have finished their Indian Orange Peel quilts and they are gorgeous and amazing! Jacqui posted her quilt here and you can see Louise's quilt here
It is hard to finish something I haven't even been working on. I'm back to making some efforts to finish this in my lifetime if only to get it off that design wall.
What's on your design wall? Are you actually working on it?!?
To see more design wall posts, hop over to the Small Quilts link up.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching Anniversary!

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! The Slow Sunday Stitching link up has just entered it's 7th year! You can read the first post here from 2012. I used a different link service then, so I can't look back and see who posted at the beginning, but I do know that several of our folks have been stitching with us a long time.

It's hard to believe I have been posting a hand stitching post every Sunday for 6 years now. With all that calm, meditative stitching, you'd think I'd almost be a buddhist monk by now. But no! I'm just as wound up as I was when I started, and always in need of the benefits of slow stitching.

I have a few more finished embroidery blocks that I haven't show on my blog yet from Gail Pan's "I Stitch Club". Isn't that a cute block with a spool flower holder? And of course a sewing machine has to make an appearance in the pattern collection. 

Here is the new embroidery  pattern that I traced and will begin stitching today. This cute bunny will be stitched in these colours... brown (like the backyard bunnies that used to eat my vegetable garden), orange for the carrot, and other colours for the flowers.

What are you slow stitching today?
Please link up to your blog post that features HAND stitched projects only.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

In a demonstration of great self restraint, I am NOT joining in on the Moda Summer Camp Quilt Along. It sounds like so much fun, but really how much fun can one quilter stand?!? Also Bonnie Hunter announced her new leader and ender challenge Jewel Box Stars, which looks like lots of fun too. 
Okay... staying focused means working on quilts already in progress, so instead of starting anything new, I better buckle down and get to work on my multi-year Omigosh project. Last month was teal month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge so I've been working on some tiny teal blocks.

These are the alternate blocks in Omigosh which are a shoofly variation. There are 41 pieces in each of these labour intensive little 5" blocks. Because they are so small, there is no wiggle room and all components must be squared down to the exact size. 
Here is the collection of the alternate blocks made so far. I have finished 27 as of today. Only about 80 more to sew!! LOL

See how wonderful they are when put beside the double nine patch blocks?!? YUM!

To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to the weekly link up. I'll be looking for some red scraps to stitch up today.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Blockheads II

Block #2 Buckeye Beauty 6"
Block #3 Pennsylvania
Block #5 has just been released and I am right up to date on this quilt along. I posted block #1 here and wasn't all that keen on how my fabrics were looking together. But I decided just to "press on" (quilter's joke!) and see how the project began to develop. After all, it's just the beginning stage of making blocks for a large quilt.
Blocks #2 and #3 are 6" traditional blocks, easy to cut and piece, and turned out "not terrible". 
But then block #4 arrived and this one I could sink my teeth into... a complex block called Roman Cross. This block has 33 pieces and is pieced on the diagonal with bias edges on all the outside triangles. My value placement is different than the pattern to emphasize the crosses, made with 4 different grey fabrics.

Block #4 Roman Cross

I was in my happy place, or "in the flow" as people like to say now... cutting and sewing, listening to my favourite music on Spotify. Secretly I was wondering how this was all going to work out, but just stayed in the moment and happily placed that bulls eye circle right in the centre of the block. And you know what? It turned out perfectly! An exact 12.5" block with great contrast!

Blocks #1 - #4

Here are blocks #1 - #4 on the design wall, with two 6" blocks and two 12" blocks so far.
But then block #5 called "Impact" was posted this week. 
Ummmm... a 24" block with 8" units?!? NO. I can't have that much blank space. I'll have to use my mad math skills (laughing hysterically!!) to rescale that pattern by at least half.
This is the fun of a mystery quilt along... you never know what's coming next, and you get to opt in or opt out, enjoy the best parts, tolerate the 'hum ho' parts, alter what you don't like, and make it your own!