Sunday, October 20, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee or pumpkin spice latte 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.

This is the Gail Pan embroidery block I am still working on. I haven't made any progress on this little 3" block since guild meeting earlier in the month, and all it needs are the lazy daisy flowers under the house to be stitched.
Also I'm determined to finish up the hand quilting on my Friendship Album. I really wanted this quilt to be finished in the summer, but the fall season has arrived and the stitching continues. It's cold enough to get out my oldest UFO for hand quilting, and I must get the little quilt finished so I can tackle the big one once again!

What are you hand stitching today? Share your progress (or lack thereof) and link up your instagram photo or blog post below.
Happy Slow Stitching Sunday!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, October 19, 2019

More Shoo Fly Love!

Did you start the Leader-Ender challenge with Bonnie Hunter this past July? It's never to late to join in! You can make a mini quilt, a table runner, a king size quilt... whatever you want.
I am making the 4" size of the Shoo Fly blocks and love making them. I always have a pile of pieces cut out and waiting beside my sewing machine to put under the needle between the other projects I am sewing.

I have been using up some charm squares leftover from other projects. This is how I cut the squares to make the background pieces for one block. There is very little waste and it's awesome to get these pieces used up. You can cut 4 to 6 of these charm squares at a time if your rotary cutter blade is sharp.

I do try to focus on the colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge when I'm sorting scraps to use. This month is using up the darks... browns, greys and blacks.
One of the down sides to using the leader-ender technique for sewing blocks is that sometimes pieces get lost because they sit beside the machine waiting for their turn to be sewn. The block on the bottom left is missing an HST. I wonder when that will show up?!? Eventually I'll make a replacement from other scraps if it doesn't reappear.

Here is the Shoo Fly block collection as of last week. 
Oh my goodness... every time I put these on the design wall I see a problem block to fix! Do you see the problem one this time?

Hop over to the RSC link up to see more scrappy projects in development.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Meadow Mist Mystery Update

Step #2 of the Mosaic Mystery Quilt was posted last week and it's a "square in a square" block, which is one of my favourites! 
I pieced the blocks on my Sweet Baby Jayne 1964 featherweight and they came out the perfect size with very little trimming required.

These blocks are:
7 fabric A and background fabric
and 8 background and fabric C.
It's a fun and easy step this month.

Click here to visit the mystery link up and see all the wide variety of blocks being sewn this month.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mid Month UFO Update

Quilting is going full steam ahead on the Scrap Dance Tango.
machine quilting - see the pretty backing fabric?!?
The first step was my usual vertical and horizontal grid to stabilize the quilt. I stitched on both sides of all the sashing strips for a total of 22 straight lines.
And while I was quilting those lines, I was studying the quilt and thinking of quilting designs to add once the grid was finished. The possibilities are endless and limited only by my imagination, motivation, and purpose of the quilt.

Even though it is very popular now, I am not a fan of densely quilted stiff quilts that don't feel cosy and snuggly. 
AND there is a whole closet full of UFOs here so I don't want to spend too much time quilting complex designs. 
PLUS this UFO has been going on for 3 months now! 
I just needed to make a decision and get going!

I finally decided that the next step would be to quilt a straight line through the centre of each block (one horizontal and one vertical). I tried sewing right across the sashing/quilt but didn't like how it looked, so that got ripped out. As a result I decided to make 40 lines, which is a lot of stops/starts. That's okay... it had to be done.

marking straight lines with the Hera marker
And then I got a great idea for a continuous line within the block but it would be tough with twisting and turning the whole quilt to sew with the walking foot on. So I had to try it with the free motion foot. It's hard for me to quilt a straight line with the feed dogs down and without the traction of the walking foot. I decided to draw the lines with a Hera marker (doesn't leave any ink, chalk or pencil, just an indentation in the fabric)  to help me quilt the lines a little straighter.

It's slow going.
That's okay because I really like how it's turning out. It's "just enough" quilting for my liking.

One block done, 19 more to go!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Almost Amish Mystery Quilt

The quilt layout for the Humble Quilts mystery was revealed last week, but I resisted looking at the finale until I was caught up with all the steps. I like a mystery to last as long as possible because the older you get, the more the surprises you get seem to be mostly bad ones! Mystery quilts are the best kind of surprises because even if I don't love the final layout, I can play with it to create something I like better, or give it away to someone who will love it. So it's all good!

This mystery was sewn on my Sweet Baby Jayne 1964 white featherweight, and she had a few random troubles with stitching a good tension.

See how the thread wasn't tight on the back? That tension is way too loose and the whole bobbin thread comes out with a slight tug.

I realized the thread kept slipping out of the thread tension disc when I started sewing a seam at too high of a speed. See where the stitch ripper is pointing? There is no thread in that hole and there should be!
So Sweet Baby Jayne is going in for a day at the sewing machine spa soon. I think she'll also get the toe pedal loosened up, the belt replaced, and maybe get a new bobbin winder tire.

In spite of the technical difficulties, I finished the mystery top this weekend. Here it is on the design wall. I'm very happy with how my mystery turned out! It's a little darker than most of my quilts, but it used up a lot of small pieces of reproduction fabrics and it's the perfect size for a hand quilting takealong project!
Thanks to Lori for another fun mystery adventure!
Linking up to design wall Monday over at Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching - Retreat Report

slow down!
Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We are celebrating Thanksgiving here in Canada today and I am very thankful for the wonderful Slow Sunday Stitching Retreat Day we enjoyed last weekend.
I posted a few photos on instagram of the activities throughout the day and you can follow me at ssskat7 to see those.
It was a perfect fall day, and so fitting that the speed limit on the road to retreat reminded us that we should slow down to "God speed", which is the whole point of Slow Sunday Stitching!

Retreat day is starting!
This is the room we stitched in. It's a lovely space with windows all around making it bright enough for stitching, but also making it difficult to take good photographs.

"free" to a good home
There were loot bags for each stitcher and door prize draws throughout the afternoon. There was even a "free" corner of the room where there was a pile of donated supplies, tools, rulers, and books for stitchers to rummage through and find just the right thing they "needed". There were bags of scraps free for the taking, and there were even boxes of organized pre-cut scraps donated by Chris. I must confess to helping myself to one of the fantastic bags of scraps that Chris brought to share with us and I can't wait to dig into it!

hard at work  hand stitching projects
I love this photo that shows all the stitchers hard at work on their projects. All the heads are bowed and the stitchers are deep in concentration!
We had so many wonderful projects in the room including knitting, hexies, embroidery, EPP, needlepoint, puppet stitching, rug making, wool work, applique, binding, and cross stitch.

Chris and granddaughter Ava
If you want to read more about the day, you can find Gail's blog post from retreat day at The Cozy Quilter, and see all the wonderful photos she took of the stitching projects. And then hop over to Quilting at the Farm to read the highlights that Chris wrote about. Chris brought her granddaughter along and she was our youngest stitcher at retreat. It's so inspiring when young people show an interest in keeping the stitching tradition alive!

Slow Sunday Stitching Sisters!
We also had some Slow Sunday Stitching Sisters! Try saying that fast 3 times! LOL
How wonderful that these sisters were able to clear their very busy schedules to spend the day relaxing, visiting and stitching together!

Here is the group photo of the amazing hand stitchers!
Slow Sunday Stitching Retreaters

I was blown away by the support and encouragement of this incredible group of women! Thank you to all who helped with the arrangements, the prizes, the tutorials, the snacks, the gifts, and for believing that this crazy dream of mine was even possible! It was amazing to me that we pulled this off on such short notice and after I rest up a bit, I will give some thought to organizing the second annual Slow Sunday Stitching retreat day!

Quilter's Blessings
I did bring along the quilt I was working on when I started the weekly link ups to celebrate Slow Stitching. The quilt is called Quilter's Blessings and was a pattern by Capricorn Quilts in 2008. It is also the quilt that is on the Slow Sunday Stitching button that Connie made for my blog. I took the quilt outside for a photo to show you how much in the country we actually were, and how spectacularly beautiful the weather was!

Okay now it's your turn... what are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post or instagram photo below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Scrappy Saturday - Arrowhead

Wow that was a long hard week! So happy that Saturday has arrived and it's a long weekend here to celebrate the Canadian Thanksgiving. I look forward to hanging out with my sewing machine a lot this weekend.  
3" Purple Arrowhead blocks
I am very thankful for all my scrappy quilting projects and send a big thank you to Angela who has kept the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up going for many years in spite of such her very busy life! It has brought me great joy Angela!!
I seem to be having a hard time letting go of the purple scraps! I'm still sewing purple blocks and just finished my mini Arrowhead blocks. They are so fun to sew and it is one of my favourite scrappy projects.
Here they are on the design wall. 

There are 56 blocks so far in this collection and I love it. This is the first time I've tried this layout and it gives an interesting secondary design. And now I'm digging through the dark scraps and cutting pieces to sew for my scrappy projects this month.
Hop over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Linkup to see more scrappy goodness!

Monday, October 07, 2019

Happy Little Things - block #3

It's time for block #3 of the "Happy Little Things" quilt by Jacquelynne Steeves! 
I started my block with the lovely flower embroidery pattern that is the centre of the design. The fall leaves are starting to change colour here so it was fun to take a photo of the embroidery in a tree that is changing colours to match my threads!

In this month's pattern we get to make the rectangle triangle blocks which uses a technique that is unique to Jacquelynne patterns. I always have to look at the pattern, and look at my pieces several times laid out on the cutting mat before I'm sure I have it right. it's a bit tricky but just follow the instructions and it comes out perfectly every time!

Here is my version of block #3 with the borders added. Unlike the previous blocks, 
this one only has 1 border around, so I chose 2 grey fabrics to compliment the colours of the embroidery and the pieced units.
So pretty!

And here are my first 3 blocks laid out on the floor. 
It's going to be an awesome quilt! 
Click here to hop over to Jacquelynne's blog to get more information about how to get your free copy of the pattern.

Design Wall Monday

Well I survived the first Slow Sunday Stitching retreat day! 
It was so fun to meet with other hand stitchers and see their projects. I will write more about it on next Sunday's post.
Today on the design wall is the kit project that I have been working on. It is a pattern by Nancy Halvorsen called "Home Grown". I enjoyed piecing the word 'home' at the top. The 3 little Shoo Fly blocks were made from the corners cut off at the bottom of the hearts. Next I'll be piecing the two home blocks.
To see more design walls, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts! 
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or maybe a pumpkin spice latte) and join us to celebrate the experience of slowly stitching your way through life!

I'm so excited to be hosting the first (hopefully annual) Slow Sunday Stitching Retreat today! I have been posting my hand stitching projects (and some related thoughts) on my blog every Sunday since June of 2012. 
That is a lot of slow stitching!
And today I am so excited to be meeting some of the slow stitchers that I have only known through the internet. 

I am bringing some of my current hand stitching projects (just 5 or 6!) and some finished projects for show and share. Here is my trunk packed up with some hand stitching "show and share" projects.
I can hardly wait to see the hand stitching that folks bring to show us today. I will make a full report about the retreat on next Sunday's post, complete with lots of photos, so those of you that live too far away can see what went on. 

What are you hand stitching today?
Link up your blog post below and share your slow progress with us!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

Purple month is over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
I had time to finish up 8 more Economy Path blocks and sewed them into two groups of 4.
Here is the magenta purple collection.

And here are the darker indigo purple blocks.
You can see the other Economy Path blocks here. I didn't have time to put them all on the design wall, but I will in October for sure. It's time to get working with the brown, grey, and black scraps for October.

Today I am getting organized for the Slow Sunday Stitching Retreat Day being held tomorrow. It will be exciting to spend a full day with like minded hand stitchers and I am very excited!

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

October UFO

Do I dare suffer the humiliation of choosing the same UFO for the 3rd month in a row?!? 
Yes, I'm swallowing my pride and I'm doing it!
Scrap Dance Tango
October's UFO goal will be the same as August's and September's - the Scrap Dance Tango which is a mystery quilt pattern by  Carole. Progress has been made since it became the UFO of the month. The problem has been that my monthly goal has been too lofty.  All my spare (non working) time has been spent judging and entering fall fairs, which did not leave much brain power or time to work on my UFO.
Enough of the excuses!

To date, the border was cut and attached, the backing, batting and quilt top was prepared, and the pin basting completed. 

These are the chosen threads for the quilting ... a dark taupe for the bobbin and a creamy neutral thread for the top. You can see the backing on the lower right side of the photo (under the thread).  The quilting has been started with a stitch-in-the-ditch grid on both sides of the sashing, and I don't know what is happening after that!

The goal this month is to finish the machine quilting, put the binding on and actually finish this beautiful quilt once and for all! Linking up once again with One Monthly Goal.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Design Wall Monday

On the design table are the blocks for the mystery quilt called "Almost Amish" on the Humble Quilts blog. Part #3 has been posted, but I've just finished part #2 so I'm a bit behind.  My version is using Civil War Reproduction fabrics, so I'm calling it "Almost Reproduction"! I hope to be sewing the next step tonight. 

I'm also working on the the "Home Grown II"  quilt by Nancy Halvorsen. Although I don't usually buy kits because I enjoy chosing all the fabrics myself for quiltmaking, I fell in love with the sample at Cherished Pieces and HAD to make it. 
The kit is great, but the cutting instructions were intense, with so many small pieces to keep track of! I use my friction pen to write the number or letter of each piece on the side of each piece, otherwise it's impossible to keep track of all these different pieces.

And to make things worse, I cut a whole alphabet of pieces from the wrong fabric!

Here are the pieces for the letter "e" for the word 'home'. I had to recut all the pieces that are not white for all the letters.

Not to worry... the pieces are small, and the kit fabric is very generous so I can make lots of mistakes and still be okay. 

To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of all hand stitched crafts! We hope you will join us in setting aside a few moments each Sunday for some relaxing stitching on your favourite project. Pick up a needle and thread, breathe deeply, and enjoy a little vacation from the responsibilities of your life.

Last week I announced the first ever Slow Sunday Stitching retreat and we have enough people to go ahead with this wonderful event. If you have indicated an interest in attending, watch your email for all the details about the day. I will take lots of photos to share with all the folks who wish they could be there but live too far away. And if I win the lottery one day, I will fly in all you slow stitchers who would like to come but live a plane ride away!!

My friend Marg is recovering from surgery and while we were visiting she was working on an old embroidered pillowcase which she rediscovered while recently cleaning in her sewing room. Isn't it fun when we unearth old treasures that we forgot we had?!? LOL The colours are so pretty and she is motivated to finish the project. 

I am still slowly working away on hand quilting my little Friendship Album quilt from the Elm Street Quilts Hand Piecing Quiltalong. This project has been travelling around in my trunk of my car for the entire summer, and on occasion I take it out of the trunk and actually put some stitches in it!

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post or instagram below. Happy Slow Stitching Sunday everyone!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Wishing Ring blocks
Purple is the September colour at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I don't seem to enjoy sewing with purple and don't know why. I like to wear it, but don't seem to "see" it as a colour when I'm choosing colours for a quilt. Weird eh?
But I do love my 4" purple Wishing Ring blocks! 

And the purple blocks were definitely needed for this project. Here are all the blocks on the design wall. Wow I love this project!

And speaking of the colour purple, Cherrywood Fabrics had a Prince challenge that resulted in the most amazing purple quilts. Quilters were encouraged to let the music of Prince inspire them, to be creative, and to think outside the box, and they did - click here to be inspired by the winners.

Today I'll be sewing up this little handful of purple deliciousness into 8 Economy Path blocks that finish at 3"!
Hop over to the RSC link up to be inspired by the  quilters sewing up their purple scraps.

Friday, September 27, 2019

September UFO

A teeny tiny bit of progress has been made on my Scrap Dance Tango quilt. This was a 2016 mystery quilt pattern by Carole at From my Carolina Home.
The quilt was stalled at the border stage because I didn't buy enough of the fabric I wanted to use for the border. A lot of thought was required on how to cut the fabric because it is directional, and there was no room for error. 

I procrastinated the task for almost 2 months. And finally I took the bull by the horns so to speak, did the math, recalculated, and remeasured, cut carefully, measured again, used a thousand pins, and sewed slowly (see the cute little leader-ender block ready to be sewn at the beginning and end of each border seam?)

Scrap Dance Tango
And finally the borders are on. 
It was not a fun job but it all worked out okay and I'm so relieved. I think the fabric  looks better in real life than on the computer screen. 

Pin basting
And now... the fun part can begin. The pin basting is started and soon it will be time for machine quilting which is my favourite.

Obviously this won't be finished by the end of the month, but it's going in the right direction for a fall finish!