Monday, October 22, 2018

Secret Santa

Come on now...who can resist a Secret Santa Sewalong?!?!
You would have to be extraordinarily disciplined quilter with nerves of steal, and absolutely no FOMO.
If you've ever read my blog before, you know that's not me!
Temecula is gifting us another free Christmas project...what's not to love?!? 


I sewed their "Countdown to Christmas" mystery 5 years ago and it's still one of my favourite Christmas quilts. The free pattern is still available on their blog - click here.

SO... I'm digging into Christmasy scraps. The first step uses greens, browns and lights. It's not my favourite colour combination, but I like the block, and reds will be added at another step. And I do really like that these old bits and pieces that have been in the Christmas scrap box for a long time are finally finding their way into a project.

What's on your design wall today? 
Are you joining in the Temecula Christmas mystery?
Linking up to Design Wall Monday over at Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! 
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy while visiting the blog links of stitchers around the world. It's so inspiring to see what other people are creating with their own two hands.

I am slowly making progress on the Gail Pan "I Stitch Club" project. This is the block I finished yesterday while waiting at the urgent care clinic with my Mom. Waiting rooms are the best places to do some stitching... it's a long wait, so what better way to pass the time than to work on a hand stitching project. It's the perfect small, compact take along project. I think I have finished 17 of these little designs. You can see the first 15 here.




Today I will be tracing another embroidery pattern to stitch and maybe even getting out the winter hand quilting project since the weather is cool enough now.
What are you planning to work on today with the hand stitching community? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us.

   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Chocolate Windmills

Using up the scraps from the Carole's Square Dance Mystery, I made another quilt top.  It often happens to me that I get distracted by the scraps from a quilt, and sometimes even end up finishing the by-product before the first quilt is finished (case in point... the dreaded Indian Orange Peel ordeal). This time the original quilt top and the "using up the scraps" quilt top were finished in the same week.


The fabrics in this quilt are all chocolate themed (except the plain background fabric).

No matter how much you are are tempted to, don't lick it. Trust me, it doesn't taste as good as it looks!

I hope that it will soon be a finished quilt with a snuggly minky backing and ready for gift giving season.

Here are the sister quilts on the clothesline... they are from the same genetic material but put together differently!


Thank you to Carole for this fun quiltmaking adventure!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Square Dance Quilt Top

I have finished two quilt tops and am excited to get quilting them now that the cooler weather is here. 
In January Carole began a scrap mystery quilt project called Square Dance. I started sewing my blocks in February at retreat - click here to read about that. The quilt top was sewn together in July (see quilt top here) but I decided to make a little change. I replaced the half star blocks on the left side of the quilt with some 9 patch blocks, and moved the half star blocks to the top right side of the quilt. That change required some unsewing (which my sister helped me with) and rearranging of 8 blocks. I like how the full star blocks look but wish I had enough fabric to add another column of 9 patches on the right side, but I don't. That's okay.
I decided to add a border and presto, just 3 month later ... I present the modified Chocolate Square Dance quilt!

Stop by tomorrow to see the second quilt top I made from the scraps!

P.S. Carole is hosting a fun event in October called "Autumn Jubilee" over at her blog called From My Carolina Home which includes a new mystery quilt project.  She posts about everything from quilting projects, interesting books, home decor, and cooking ideas. There are many draws for wonderful prizes, so hop over and be part of her Autumn celebrations. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Design Wall - Blockheads



Here is my Blockhead collection so far from last year's patterns. 
One applique block is missing, but is in progress and should be finished soon.
I just couldn't resist putting all the blocks on the design wall to start thinking about a possible layout. For me, it's a little too crowded and visually jarring when the blocks are placed side by side. What do you think?



How about when they are separated a bit? I think that's a little better. It's more restful and each block can be seen easier. I think this  layout will work ... simple sashing and maybe scrappy cornerstones. What do you think? Any ideas you want to throw my way?

Click here to find all these Blockhead patterns.
If you hop over to the Moda blog you can see Tammy's amazing finished Blockheads quilt. It is stunning and I love her layout idea with half the blocks on point and the other half bordered and straight set. I must remember this layout idea for one of my future quilts. 
Hop over to Small Quilts to see more Design Wall posts.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching


Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
Last week we had 35 link ups! And because it was Thanksgiving weekend and Monday was a holiday here, I had time to visit everyone. It was a lovely to enjoy a pot of tea and meander through the links and study the shared photographs you take the time to post for our learning and enjoyment... pure delight! 
P.S. Jocelyn... I can't reply to Google plus for some unknown reason, but wanted you to know that I enjoyed seeing and thinking about Jiggs Dinner for Thanksgiving! The leftovers are even more tasty! YUM!

Thank you to each one of you who take the time to share your projects with us. The variety of hand work never ceases to amaze me. 
And if you are ever wondering about how many people drop by to visit... here's the info from my Inlinkz dashboard tally from the hand stitching party last Sunday... 4,714 views so far!





From Gail Pan's I Stitch Club

I had one of those long hard weeks. You know the kind, where everything goes wrong one thing after the other, and the "to-do" list just requires more energy than you have available? 

But in spite of it all I managed to finish stitching Ms Wise Owl. I adore her because in each of the locations where I had time to add a few slow stitches, I was thinking about how hard life can feel sometimes. And although Ms Owl looks a little discombobulated and overwhelmed, she still stands tall, is kind and loving to others, and remains resilient! She's still able to see the stars and stay grounded to the beauty of nature. 
I know I am projecting a lot onto this little stitchery, but she and I just bonded throughout the challenges of this week! 



Hand stitching keeps me mostly sane!

And so ... I'm asking Santa for this mug for Christmas!

What are you hand stitching this week so that you stay mostly sane?
Link up your blog post below and share your projects with us.

   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Scrappy Saturday



October is green month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It's time to sew up our little green scraps into something useable.

I started the month making another Circle of Squares block using dark green scraps.









Here is the block collection on the design wall. It only needs one more block to make my goal of 20 blocks. What colour does it need for the last block?

Hop over to the RSC linkup to see more green scraps being used up.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Two Finished Mini Quilts

I finished up two Temecula mini quilt projects this week. If you remember from Monday's post, there were 15 blocks that were the same size and 11 blocks that were voted off the project. 
Here are the 15 blocks joined together with vertical sashing. I didn't want to quilt through the colonial ladies' heads, so went with simple vertical lines. Then I decided it needed just a bit more quilting, so I stitched around each of the 1.5" blocks. That meant 15 stops and starts, which isn't "fun" quilting, but it was worth it as the extra quilting did make the quilt look a bit nicer.




I took the quilts out for a glamour photo shoot with the lovely fall mums that are planted downtown. The photos didn't turn out as well as I had envisioned, but you get the gist!

Finished size: 16.75" x 21.5"









This little cutie was made from the deconstructed 25 patch blocks (that turned out to be too small), and the first 2 blocks that I made incorrectly. These imperfect blocks fit perfectly together!

Finished size: 6" x 12"



 








And while we're talking about Temecula Quilt projects, they are starting a new sewalong next week! It's called Secret Santa Sewalong and I can't wait until next Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Last Year's Blockheads Catch Up

The first Moda Blockheads project wrapped up in February and you can check out some fabulous finishes here. 
sewing block 43 on my white featherweight Singer
I don't know why it has taken me so long to finish up the remaining 6" blocks since they are adorable and I really enjoy sewing  them. However, since Blockheads II started, I have been distracted by the new block series ("squirrel) and moved on from the first block series. I have recently been feeling a renewed determination to finish up the first Blockheads series before the end of the year. These wonderful blocks want to become a finished quilt.


Block #43 Any Direction




Block #43 - "Any Direction"
It's funny that I chose 2 directional fabrics for a block called "any direction"! I spent a lot of extra time making sure that the background and the brown fabrics were all going in the same direction, but in keeping with the block name should have sewn it together randomly.





Block #44 Lawyer's Puzzle



Block #44 - "Lawyer's Puzzle"
I added little triangles to the large neutral triangles because to make them look less empty. There are 64 pieces in this 6" block. It was so fun to sew and I really like how this one turned out.





Block #45 Double Dutch



Block #45 Double Dutch
A plethora of flying geese and a few half square triangle blocks.







Block #46 Alternate



I made the alternate pattern for block #46 by Lisa Bongean. The star block in the centre measures 2". I loved making that so much, I had a fleeting thought that went something like this... 
"I should make a whole quilt from these 2" star blocks"!
Followed by a stern voice... "Don't even think about it" LOL




#47 Starry Nine Patch


Block #47 is called Starry Nine Patch

I needed a couple more blocks with a dark background, so I reversed the light/darks on this one, which resulted in a brain workout, which then resulted in needing a nap when the construction was complete.






#48 Honeymoon


The final block pattern #48 is called Honeymoon. The was also made with the lights/darks reversed, but seemed easier than the previous block.


I only have 1 more block to make for this project. It's the cardinal applique and then I will put all the blocks up on the design wall and make some decisions about putting this project together.
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Temecula on the Design Wall

Marvellous Mini quilt top

Last June Temecula Quilts hosted a Marvellous Mini Monday sewalong making blocks with 1" strips. The sewalong finished in August and it took me a whole year to figure out what to do with my blocks. 

You can see the Temecula quilt here and get the pattern in their new book called Quirky Little Quilts.


My version is quirky indeed! On the design wall today is the layout I finally decided on. 




Collection of blocks made during sewalong

I had a couple of challenges:
1) my first 2 blocks (on the left) were the wrong size, so I remade those and paid more attention to reading the instructions after that! LOL
2) my five 25 patch blocks made from 1" squares turned out to be too small due to an inconsistent seam allowance. Even though I am careful and tried hard, there is no room for variance in blocks this small.
3) I didn't like the four blocks (on the right) with plain squares in the middle instead of a piece block.
So all of these blocks were voted off the project.


I made one more block with a 9 patch centre to add to the collection, which gave me 15 blocks to work with. The blocks were sewed in 3 columns of 5 blocks with no horizontal sashing. The sashing fabric is a sweet print by Jo Morton from her Jamestown collection and it's called "brown stripe with Colonial ladies". It was quite  a challenge to get the vertical lines to meet across the top and bottom borders. Can you see where I sewed tiny tucks to make everything line up properly? 

I'm happy with how it all turned out. I'm ready to baste and quilt this project and now have to figure out what to do with the 11 extra blocks that got voted off the project!
To see more design walls, hop over to the Small Quilts linkup.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitching enthusiasts! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in Canada and I am thankful for so many things, including this international community of enthusiastic and talented hand stitchers! 

Whether you post your projects in the link ups, or you encourage others in their long term, slow stitching endeavours, or you are stitching along quietly on your own hand stitching projects making your corner of the world calmer and more beautiful, we are thankful for YOU!



Today I am slowing stitching away on another one of Gail Pan's embroidery designs. This week I am stitching a sweet owl design using a size 10 Jeana Kimball Foxglove Cottage Embroidery needle... it's my favourite needle for embroidery with a sharp point and an "easy to thread" eye when you are using thicker threads or floss. This owl is almost finished, and I just have the stars, tree branch, and leaves/flowers to finish today. I will do so while I ponder my thankfulness for each one of YOU! And then I will kick into high gear and cook a Thanksgiving dinner!

If you haven't yet entered the draw to win spools of Aurifil thread, click here to go to the "Save the Bees" hexie block pattern and draw. Good luck everyone... the winning name will be drawn tonight!

Link up your blogpost below and tell us what you are hand stitching today.

   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Friday, October 05, 2018

Blockheads Update

This project was coming along beautifully until I finished block #13 . Remember the long flower block? It was challenging and fun. 



And then the following week the blocks started being posted 2 at a time, and I fell behind. The more you fall behind, the harder it is to catch up. In the blink of an eye, block #22 was posted this week. Yikes! Suddenly I found myself 9 blocks behind.
I was drawn back into the project with Laurie Simpson's "Economy Path" block #22. There are 28 pieces in this block and it looked easy to make. 

This is a 3" block small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It's very cute, but truthfully sometimes sewing a miniature block takes longer than a full size block! The seam allowances have to be exact with no room for "fudging".
My blocks are being made from the "Harmony" fabric line by Sweetwater. I was happy to find a scrap from one of their old fabric lines called "Mama Said Sew" and will use it up in some of these small blocks.

Here are all my completed blocks on the design wall. That's one busy quilt so far. I predict that sashing may be necessary to calm it down a bit. I better go and check the Blockheads II blog to see how many blocks I am behind now!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

October UFO

If you are looking for the Save the Bees blocks and the Aurifil thread giveaway, click here.
On the design wall today is the UFO of the month. I have chosen a 2 year old project that is not on my "official" UFO list on the right sidebar but I can't resist working on it. I came across the bin of elephant blocks I started in a class with Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts and became obsessed with this project again.
Elephant Parade


Total swoon... 
I love these guys!

To complete this quilt top I need to sew 7 more left facing babies, 4 more right facing babies, 2 birds, 1 turtle and 1 frog, for a total of 18 creatures. That's quite an animal menagery! OH yah and there are also 3 flowers to sew! I think it's a doable goal to create all these animals in the month of October and get them into a quilt top. It's an ambitious but fun goal to have this month.
Linking up to One Monthly Goal and Let's Bee Social.
If you want to see more elephant quilts made from this pattern, click here. If you want to get your own copy of this pattern for yourself, click here (no affiliation, just an enthusiastic customer!)

Monday, October 01, 2018

Save The Bees Block #3

Save the Bees - block #3


It's time for the reveal of the next block for the Save the Bees quilt.... drum roll please... 
it's bee hive hexies! 
Click here to see Jacquelynne's block and get the instructions. 



There are many ways to sew hexagon blocks, and for this block I used the hand piecing method. I enjoy all types of hand stitching and host a weekly linkup for hand stitchers called "Slow Sunday Stitching".  Because I enjoy it so much, I am always looking for opportunities to incorporate hand work.









Hand piecing the hexagons



These blocks were a delight to piece together! I chose a few golden honey fabrics for my hexies, cut freezer paper templates and ironed them to the back of the fabrics. Then I traced around the freezer paper with an air erasable pen to get my stitching line. 








Then I removed the templates, and with right sides of the hexagons together, I stitched on the drawn lines using a running stitch. It's such a relaxing way to sew the seams together without sewing any Y seams. This photo shows the first 4 hexagons joined together. I finger press the seams as I go along and don't use the iron until they are all sewn together. There are so many bias/stretchy edges that I don't want to risk wonkiness developing at the ironing board!




Appliqueing the hexagons to the base




When all the pieces were connected, I folded under a  1/4" edge all the way around, and thread basted with large stitches. This gives a nice crisp edge to stitch, although you could also use needleturn or other applique methods.
Then I appliqued the whole section of 8 hexagons to the base fabric.




Cutting away fabric from the back of the block

The last step was to remove the excess fabric behind the hexagons. This makes it easier to quilt with one less layer of fabric. But safety is crucial here. My advice is to go slowly and make small cuts, being very careful you only cut the background fabric and not your hexagons! I make a tiny snip and place my finger as a barrier between the backing and the hexagons. When the cut is larger I put my whole hand in there to prevent any accidental cuts.




If you press the seams carefully where the hexagons are joined it will form another tiny hexagon. Here is my block from the back. Those tiny hexie shapes made me smile :)

I am excited to visit the other featured bloggers to see how they made their block this month. It's so fun to see the variety of techniques and fabrics being used in each of the  projects. Here's the line up of blogs to visit: 
Remember to enter the draws being held at each blog when you visit. The terrific prize this month is the Valori Wells collection of Aurifil thread. Everyone knows I adore Aurifil thread and just look at those vibrant colours! If you enter at each blog, you have 8 chances to win one of the thread boxes (one prize per winner). The draw is open to quilters in any country, so be sure to enter before midnight of October 7.
To win my draw for the thread box scroll down to the end of this post and click on "comments". Draw is now closed
Leave me a comment telling me how you feel about hexies. Do you make and collect them? Are you addicted to hexies? Are you trying to resist their charm? Have you made hexie quilts? Do you dislike hexagons? I do like them, but not as much as my friend Debby does - click here to see some of her collection. 

To see even more photos of Save the Bees blocks being made, hop over to Jacquelynne's Facebook Group
⬡⬡⬡ Happy Hexieing! ⬡⬡⬡
Save The Bees - my  first 3 blocks on the design wall
Linking up to Design Wall Monday.