Tuesday, August 21, 2018

UFO Problem of the month

Yes I know... I haven't posted anything about my UFO of the month. I usually do a mid month report, but I can't find it! Seriously. Stop laughing! I put it in a safe place. It's in a very safe and confidential location. 
I haven't finished a quilt all summer and have been feeling self imposed pressure to finish something. Anything. 
So I decided to do a last minute substitution, kind of like a pinch hitter in baseball. In the UFO closet I found a mystery quilt called "Ghosts and Mosts" from last year's Super Bowl mystery.
Basting was quick and easy with my favourite Kwik Klip tool which lifts and holds the pins steady in order to easily close them.

The free motion foot is on my sewing machine and (as usual) I started by quilting horizontal and vertical stabilizing lines through the sashings. Then I started stitching diagonal lines. 
So far so good.
There are almost 2 weeks left in August so there might be a finished quilt this summer after all!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Blockheads II

Block #10 Ducks and Ducklings

I am finally (momentarily) caught up with this BOW. This is block #10 by Jo Morton called "Ducks and Ducklings". The 12" pattern had a blank 6" square in the middle, so I put a 9 patch block in there.
This block has a lot of bias edges and triangle points to strive to keep with accurate piecing, so I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Block #11 Direction

Then I sewed 2 of the 6" blocks.

First was this little block by Sherri McConnell called Direction. It was fun to sew and has a partial seam. 

Block #9 With A Plus

And lastly I sewed the With A Plus block by Laurie Simpson. I used 2 of my favourite fabrics from the Harmony fabric collection. I could see a whole quilt made from this block... uh oh... Squirrel!

And here are all 11 blocks on the design wall... it really feels like a great accomplishment to be keeping up with this project!

To see more design wall postings, hop over to the link up at Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching celebration! If you enjoy creating hand made projects with needles and threads, you have come to the right place!

Last week I visited a cottage with some friends and enjoyed one of those perfect summer days. It was not too hot or humid, with a clear blue sky and a soft breeze... perfect slow stitching weather! This is the chair I was sitting in, enjoying the beautiful summer day, chatting with friends, and hand quilting another Life is Beautiful block. Isn't it fun how the red in the quilt block matched the chair and the flowers!?! It was such a great weekend... except for the terrible case of poison ivy I came down with the next day. I have no explanation for how that happened!

tabletopper made of 100 yoyos

In the middle of the kitchen table at the cottage, was a beautiful scrappy yoyo tabletopper.
I tried to conjure up ideas of who this hand stitcher might have been, who was it that cut these circles from lovely fabrics and made them into this sweet project. The fabrics  seem to be from the 1930's and 1940's, but are they reproductions or originals? I wondered which scraps were her favourites?  And I wondered why did she add the organized 2 colour solid yoyos around the outside edge when the inside was random scrappy? So much to ponder! 

Of course I had to turn it over and look at the back to see how it was made. Look at the size of the joining stitches! And the thread that was used was very thick with lots of big knots. 
There were a couple of places where the threads joining the yoyos had let go. I wondered whether I should go ahead and repair it, since I had the thread, the tools and the interest? 
But it wasn't mine to alter, so in the end I decided to leave it as it was, and hope it will still last for years to come. 

I went back to my own stitching project, enjoying my random thoughts about the maker and the project. Later I said to my friends "Isn't that tabletopper on kitchen table so lovely"?  They responded with variations of "What tabletopper?" and "I didn't notice anything on the table." 
These people are not my stitching tribe!
YOU are my tribe! 

What are you hand stitching today? Please share your creative projects with us and add your blog post or instagram photo link below. 


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

It's orange month for the Rainbow Scrappers and I have dug deep into the orange scraps. It's so fun to remember where each of these pieces have come from, the projects they were purchased for and sewn into, or the friends who have donated them to my "home for wayward scraps"!

I intended to get to work on my August Squared Away blocks, but have been distracted by Julie's Log Cabin Loonies sew along. Her cutting instructions are here and this week's link up is here. These blocks use 1" strips and it's perfect for using up the tiniest pieces worth saving.

Here are my first 4 blocks.
I'm hoping to add to this new collection each month with the RSC colour of the month.

Hop over to the weekly link up for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to see more orange blocks being made.

Also linking up to Oh Scrap!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More Blockheads II

Alternate block #8 - 6" pieced pineapple 

While I had my Sweetwater Harmony fabric spread all over the sewing table, I continued sewing more blocks to hopefully catch up to the current Blockheads II patterns being posted.
Thanks to Pam and Julie who directed me to the pieced pineapple pattern (instead of the applique version of block #8). The pattern is by Corey Yoder and can be found here. I love how my fabrics worked with this design.

Then I tackled the redrafting of block #5 called "Impact". The original pattern is a 24" block which was way too large for me. This is my version which finishes at 12". Instead of plain squares I added a star block in the centre space, and double 4 patch blocks in the corners. It was quite a challenge, but felt very rewarding when it was done!
Getting so close to being caught up... 3 more to go!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Blockheads II on the Design Wall

Block #6

I am almost caught up with the Blockheads II blocks. This is a 12" block called "Path Through the Woods". The pattern is by designer Betsy Chutchian and can be found here. It was one of the most challenging blocks I've sewn for a while with lots of bias seams. A couple of triangle points are missing, but that's okay because it came out to the perfect size, so I'm quite tickled about that!

Block #7

This is block #7
called Spin Cycle.  It is a 6" block by designer Stacy Iest Hsu. Stacy is using very happy colours for her blocks - you can see them on her blog here

I am now a few blocks behind. I am redrafting the enormous 24" block called "Impact" to be half that size. And I'm figuring out how to make a pieced pineapple to replace block #8 which is an appliqued pineapple.

Here are all my blocks on the design wall. I am feeling much happier now with my fabric choices for these blocks. I didn't really like how the contrast worked out for my first block, but I'm okay with it now when I see them all on the design wall. 
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

And if you want inspiration overwhelm, visit the Blockheads Facebook group. You don't need a facebook account to be able to scroll through the photos, but be prepared to kiss your sewing time goodbye, because there is so much to see!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate the creation of hand stitched works of art! 
I have finished one more embroidery block for my "I Stitch Club" project by Gail Pan. Isn't this an adorable little cat? It's the only kind of cat that I'm not allergic to.
I am quite a bit behind on this embroidery project, since 3 block patterns are sent out each month, and I've only finished 9 or 10 of them (of a possible 20+).
But that is what summer is for - taking things at a leisurely pace, and not worrying about falling behind. Today I'll trace another pattern to begin stitching later in the day. 
If you haven't yet entered the "Save the Bees" draws yet, you have until the end of today to get in on that - click here.

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post and show us what you are working on.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

Orange is the colour of the month for August. It seems to be a controversial colour and quilters either love it or hate it.
I am in the "love it" camp and find that it really brightens up any quilt it is a part of. Most of my ongoing RSC projects already have plenty of orange in them, but I'll be adding in more this month.
disorganized scraps

I tackled this pile of scraps from my friend Debby. She gave them to me for dog bed stuffing, but these pieces were way too big for that!

The first step is to organize the scraps into colour families and either cut them immediately for specific projects, or put them in the appropriate scrap bins (by colour).

I started with the maverick stars project and chose these scraps to make 5 more blocks. This is all organized and ready to feed through the machine. There were a few orange scraps to work with.

Here are 4 finished star blocks. The centres of the stars are either 2.5" squares (the two blocks on the right) or scraps pieced together and trimmed to 2.5" (the two blocks on the left).

And here are all the blocks on the design wall.

Over 60  blocks have been made so far. The pattern is here if you want to start your own collection.
Hop over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up to see more scrappy projects being made.

Friday, August 10, 2018

July Shop Hop

For the past few years there has been a July Shop Hop in Southern Ontario. It involves visiting 15 stores to collect block patterns and the fabrics to make those patterns. Each store makes their own version of a quilt layout using the same blocks and it's amazing to see the 15 completely different quilt layouts. 
They ask that participants not take any pictures in order to keep it a mystery for everyone until the end of July, so I reluctantly comply with that rule and don't have any quilts to show you.  
shop hop blocks plus teal
But believe me we saw some lovely quilt layouts which will eventually be able to be seen on the website here. I think you can still see the 2017 quilts when the theme colour was grey. The 2018 quilts will be posted any day. This year the colour was beige/neutral and the blocks are kind of boring. So I decided to spruce those up with some teal fabrics left over from 2 of my previous quilts - Clarissa and a Patchwork Times mystery. The idea to add teal to the sampler quilt came from the Cherished Pieces shop in Tillsonburg.
Some of the shops I travelled to on my own, and some parts of the journey I was able to car pool with some quilting friends. 
Esther of Heart N Home Creations
I was happy to be able to visit each one of the shops during the month of July, and ended my journey at Esther's shop in New Hamburg called Heart N Home Creations. A huge thank you to all the quilt store owners for organizing this fun summer event for us. The Shop Hop is a lot of fun for quilters but it's also a lot of work for the store owners. I hope it is financially worthwhile for them otherwise they won't continue to offer it. You can rest assured that I bought something at every store and definitely did my best to support the effort! I treated myself to a new cutting mat, a roll of batting, new needles, marking pens, and perhaps a bit of fabric here and there! LOLOLOLOL 
I am well stocked for the year (well, for years to come actually!)

Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Squirrel Club

Did you see that Julie started a new club for scrap quilters who are easily distracted? It's called "The Squirrel Club".
Do you know anyone who might fit that description? 
I'm looking at YOU! 
And you're probably looking at me!

I have already made one Scrap Vortex quilt and it's one of my all time favourite quilts. It started in 2015 when Amanda Jean had a quiltalong and my friend Gail double dog dared me to start one... read about it here. At times I thought my scraps looked boring compared to other quilters, but in the end it made one heck of a fun quilt!

Have you made a scrap vortex quilt yet? Are you thinking of starting one?
If you need more inspiration, hop over to Linda's blog post over at Art in Search to see her wonderful collection of scrappy blocks. And Julie has posted her vortex quilt here.
Debby's vortex

Just look at my friend Debby's scrappy blocks on my design wall. She is learning to be a scrap quilter and all these bits are Tula Pink fabrics. I think we have pulled her right into the vortex! Yippee another convert!

Of course I want to start another one myself. It's the perfect mindless sewing project. 
So what are you waiting for?!? 
Get out your scrap bags, bins and boxes and get sewing!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Save the Bees - Revised Block #1

revised block #1

My first block for the Save The Bees project was posted yesterday. I hope you had a chance to visit all the featured bloggers:

Their blocks are so amazing! Two of the bloggers are doing a mini sized version of the quilt, one is using a floral fabric instead of the applique, and there are several variations on how to do applique. We have machine buttonhole stitch, scribble/outline stitch, and hand applique. There is also a wide range of techniques used including using fusibles, templates, freezer paper, and foundations. And for adding in detail, the quilters have used a combination of hand and machine embroidery, and a pigma pen too! So many ideas to inspire creativity!

After visiting all the blogs to see the other versions of block #1, I decided to make 2 changes to my block. 

1) I added the flight trail from the bee using a hand embroidered running stitch. I was hesitant to add that but once I saw the other blocks I decided it was a necessary detail, and I'm happy with how it turned out. 

2) I also widened the black stripes on the bee, making 3 lines of back stitch using black floss, instead of just 1 line.

Ah ... that's better now.
Make sure to leave a comment on yesterday's post to enter the draw.
I sure enjoyed reading all the "bee related" comments. If you didn't receive a reply from me, that's because you are a "no reply blogger". If you want to change that status and be able to receive messages, click here for instructions. 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Save the Bees BOM

Block #1

Block #1 is released today for the new Save The Bees BOM by Jacqueline Steeves. This is such a fun project and I hope you will join us and make your own version of the quilt.
Here is my version of block #1. I have been collecting bee fabrics in anticipation of this project and have used some of my favourites in this block. You can see my fabric collection here.
I pieced the border blocks by machine, but the applique was  stitched by hand, which perhaps explains why the leaves are not very uniform. I'm calling them "organic looking" leaves!

I started the applique by stitching the 4 pieces of the sunflower together. Then I stitched the whole flower to the background fabric. Some swear words may have been said trying to get those curves to be round instead of pointy. The farther away you stand, the better the curves look!

I used all the tips I learned in a class with Becky Goldsmith, such as using tiny applique pins (so the thread doesn't get caught), finger pressing the curves before you stitch, and using a toothpick to turn edges as needed. I did notice that by the time I started stitching the bee, my curves were improving. Maybe my next block will be even better!

The sweet little bee was appliqued and embroidered by hand. I had to give her a little french knot eye. 
Fun fact - do you know that bees have 5 eyes?!? Check it out here. I only gave my bee 1 eye so you have to imagine that there are 4 eyes on the other side of her head! 
I wasn't sure if I wanted to stitch the bee trail because I think it looks great as is, so I'll check out the other blocks (links below) and then decide if I want to add it.

Block #1 in my tomato garden
When you sign up for the BOM, not only will you get the free pattern, but each month you will have a chance to win one of 8 prizes. The prize for August is a copy of the Splendid Sampler book, courtesy of Martingdale! When you visit each of these featured blogs to see their version of block #1, make sure to enter their draw:
Giveaway = Splendid Sampler book, coaster and FQ

To enter my giveaway which includes a copy of the Splendid Sampler book, this bee coaster, and a fat quarter of this cute bee fabric, just scroll down to the bottom of this post, and click on where it says "comments". At the bottom of the list of comments, type your comment in the box and tell me something about bees. Do you know a beekeeper? Have you visited a bee hive? Do you love honey? Do you grow flowers to attract bees in your garden? Are you sewing along with us to make your very own Save the Bees quilt?
The draw closes on August 12 so make you visit all the above blogs before then. Good luck! Draw is now closed - all winners will be notified by email on August 16th.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party where we celebrate all types of hand stitching including cross stitch, embroidery, hand piecing, knitting, crochet, rug making, english paper piecing, applique, hand quilting, etc. If you are creating something with your hands (not by machine) using needles and threads, we want to see what you're making!

I have been doing lots of hand sewing for the "Save the Bees" BOM which is starting tomorrow. Here are my applique supplies ready to start stitching. I used both the white Bohin chalk pencil and the pink Frixion for marking on different colours of fabric.  

There are several little tiny pieces to applique that are not even as big as my thumb. They were quite fiddly and it was really challenging for me to get the curves to be round and not pointy. 
It was a constant reminder that completion, NOT perfection, is the goal! 

And there was some hand embroidery to do too. You might be able to guess what this is!
I hope you can drop by tomorrow to see how the finished block turned out. I am delighted to be one of the 8 featured bloggers for this BOM - click here to read about who is joining in.

So now it's your turn. What are you hand stitching today?
Link up your blog post below and share your slow progress with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, August 02, 2018

New Mystery Quilt

My motto is - "there is no such thing as starting too many quilting projects"!
There I said it.
Yes I have many many quilt projects on the go, and some really old UFOs, and some very large closets for WIPs. 
That is all true and still... I start more!
Last week I attended a mystery quilt class with Deb Beirnes. My local blog readers know that she used to teach the "Ladies of the Evening" mystery class at Reichards (20072008, 200920102011).  We used to show up at the quilt store after work on a Friday, and Deb had a fantasy quilt land set up for us ... a delicious homemade supper (she shared the recipes too), a new project to sew with a sample quilt she created for inspiration, and all the fabrics pre-chosen, and organized for us. All we had to do was relax and sew something awesome!
Well, fast forward to this summer when my friend Debby convinced our teacher Deb to do this for us again for old time's sake. We were invited to sew at Deb's personal studio for the day. Just look at this package that Deb made for each of the students... everything pre-chosen, organized and pre-cut for us! 

Me with our teacher Deb

All we had to do was just sit and sew, and enjoy the day with friends. 
I brought along Lucy my 1953 long bed Singer 301 and she was a trooper. There was a little bit of a pressure foot tension issue making my seams wobbly at the beginning, but I was able to adjust the pressure and she sewed like a dream.

But wait, there's more...
Deb also made us a delicious home cooked meal, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, with fresh corn and salad ... oh my it was amazing! AND her husband cleared up and wash dishes! For someone like me who is always the one doing these chores, to have someone else do them for you is just heavenly beyond words. 

Here is Deb on the left and her 5 happy students with finished quilt tops. Not only do we have a great project, we also have wonderful memories of a special day spent with quilting friends!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

August UFO

It's time to do some machine quilting and get another quilt finished up.  This was the 2016 Quiltbug Superbowl mystery project that was sewn at a Superbowl party with some quilting friends. Click here to see the different colourways that my friends used in their blocks and the other possible layouts. 
This quilt top has aged perfectly and now is the time for it to become a finished quilt! 
I have been stitching together batting scraps to use up.
And then I'll pin baste, machine quilt, and bind this quilt. Can it be done this month? I'm highly motivated since so far this year I've only finished 3 of the 12 quilts on my 2018 UFO list.
Hop over to the One Monthly Goal link up to see more August projects being completed.