Monday, June 17, 2019

Design Wall Monday

I am just freshly back from Quilt Canada, so have some sleep deprivation/exhaustion going on and can't muster the energy to get my project bags sorted out. So I will show you what I worked on last week, which is my Kim Diehl project.
I'm not sure yet if this will be a Christmas Stars table topper or a tree skirt. It was a complex block to piece but I love how they turned out, and the directions are easy to follow. I've just cut out the star block pieces and looking forward to sewing those next when my sewing mojo returns.

a trillium and a tree

In the meantime I took a tree block to the forest for an outing just for fun. The forest is my "happy place" where it is calm, quiet, and peaceful.
And look... I found a trillium! It is way passed trillium season so I was very happy to find one still in bloom!

Of course I had to take a photo of the fabric tree surrounded by real trees. This old tree stump seemed like the perfect prop.

nature's design wall

It was a lovely outing... except for the mosquitoes. It was a wet spring, so they are out in full force this year. I swear they are the size of a hummingbird! That means you have to walk quickly so they can't catch you, but when you stop to take a photo, you get swarmed!

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

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We want to encourage you in the slow process of creating treasures by hand.
I have been hand stitching a binding for a very special baby quilt. Binding is my favourite mindless stitching activity. Lots of love, prayers and best wishes are being sewn into this quilt from my heart, through my hands and right into the fabric!

And I'm thinking of starting a new project because that's what we do when we finish something, right? We just go ahead and start something new!?!
Is anyone stitching the Little Band Sampler from Aurifil? It's so cute and I am tempted to start it, but I'm worried that I wouldn't finish it. I would be happier if one of YOU Slow Stitchers out there made it and I could watch over your shoulder!

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us.

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

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Quilt Canada

Quilt Canada has come and gone for another year, and I didn't even write one blog post yet! It has been so busy, that sleeping has been an optional item on the agenda. 

Libs lecture

I'm in Ottawa with my friend Debby and here is our attempt at a selfie at the Libs Elliott lecture. It was so fun to be here, to celebrate our birthdays, to learn new things, visit with quilting friends, and be inspired by incredible quilts, 

There were so many unbelievable prize winning quilts - you can see them at the CQA juried show webpage. My favourite quilt is called "To The Nines" and features hundreds of tiny 9 patch blocks (which according to the CQA facebook page won the viewer's choice award!)

Janome booth at Merchant Mall entrance

And what can I say about the Merchant Mall?  It was a bit overwhelming to see all the new sewing machines, fabric, and quilting accoutrements.

When I return home, I will write more about the 2 new UFOs I started in classes here, but just look at these fun pieces that I've been working on. All I can say now is ...
english paper piecing is not as easy as you think!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Off to Quilt Canada

It's been 3 years since I last attended Quilt Canada and I decided to go this year since it's in Ottawa. This is the capital city of Canada and it's only about a 5-6 hour drive from where I live. When this wonderful event is so close (it's in Edmonton next year which is a 32 hour drive!) I really should go.
It's just so darn expensive. With paying for the passes to get in, tickets to lectures and workshops, supplies for the workshops, transportation, parking, accommodations, food, etc, it takes a big chunk out of the fabric budget.
But it's my friend Debby's 50th birthday, so we decided we need to go because You Only Live Once (YOLO)!
I reviewed the notes I wrote the last time I attended a Quilt Canada... words of wisdom can be found here.

I am registered to take an English Paper Piecing skill builder class with Libs Elliott and of course I had to get some of her fabric to sew with. These are the fabrics I ordered from Fabric Spark ...2 pieces from her Wild Side line, and a fat quarter bundle from her Mixtape line.

I'm also taking a class with Tamara Kate called "Paper Piecing a Modern Alphabet". I would have loved to have taken her hand embroidery class but it was full. 

Stay tuned for some blogposts about the adventure if I can access wifi.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Machine Quilting Again

Another baby quilt is needed this week so I have been machine quilting the project I started in May. I purchased the fabrics on a shop hop without a plan in mind and (fingers crossed) I hoped I had purchased enough to complete this quilt. 

I am quilting with my walking foot, just straight lines in a grid. 
Nothing exciting, but it's very relaxing.

I did decide to purchase new Machinger gloves as my old ones were way past done. 
Can you tell which are the old gloves and which are the new?!?! The old gloves were recently washed, so that is how they look when they're "clean". Oh my goodness! 
The grip tips were worn off and the thumb has a hole in the tip of the glove where I wore it right through!

Using the new gloves, I quilted a few diagonal lines. I am using the Hera marker to mark the quilting lines I need as I come to the space. You can see the cute backing fabric rolled over on the right (white stars on a soft grey).
I hope to meet the new baby soon, so I must get to work finishing up his quilt!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Aurifil May Block

The June block will soon be posted so I had to get going on my May DOM block by Andrea Tsang. The hold up was that I just didn't have the right solid fabrics to get the gemstone effect. Once I decided I wasn't going to worry about that and just use the fabrics I had on hand, I was off to the races!

Here's my Ruby Red block. It's a lot of empty space there on the bottom right. I think I'm going to have to put another block in that space. I know the "modern" quilters like empty space, but I'm not very modern. I think my version looks like I forgot to put something there!
I did notice an error in the pattern if you are going to sew it. To make the small ruby blocks in step 4, you use the 2" squares, not the 3.5" squares.
To see more versions of this block, click here.

Here are all my Aurifil DOM blocks on the design wall. It's an interesting collection and the split apple block from September is my favourite so far.

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

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly linky party where we celebrate the art of hand stitching!

I am working on my hand embroidery project that is well into it's second year of production. I took this hilarious photo while working on a block at the beach. You know how your eyes see a certain view and you take a photo that is nothing like what you had envisioned?!? I was stitching a sailboat at the beach, when I spotted a sailboat on the lake. 

I thought wouldn't that be a cool photo to have an actual boat and a stitched boat in the same shot?!?! 
It sure would be! 
Can you see the boat on the horizon just to the right of the pink hoop? 
You can't?!?! 
Of course not, because it's microscopic.

A+ for effort and F for the end product! LOLOL

I am stitching these embroidery designs on the edge trimmed from the muslin backing of the "Red Repro Broken Dishes" quilt. 
Here's the finished boat block. I stitched a "K" on the mast flag just for fun.

Remember that the 7th birthday party of Slow Sunday Stitching is coming up on June 23rd, so make sure you put that on your virtual calendar! It won't be an in person event, but that is my dream to one day host a Slow Sunday Stitching retreat day.
Link up your blog post below and share the hand stitching project you are working on.

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

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

June is blue month for the Rainbow Scrap Quilters. Most quilters seem to like the colour blue, except my friend BarbI really like the wide range this colour has, from light to dark and all the variations in between... greeny blues, grey blues, reproduction blues, navy... all of them are delicious!

I am working on some Maverick star blocks. You can find the block pattern from Quiltville here

When I was at quilt retreat I was gifted a fun bag of scraps from my new friend Mary.  As a diehard scrappy quilter, I really enjoyed digging through the scraps (other quilter's scraps are always way more fun than your own) to pull out many of the pieces to make these blocks. It was shocking to think that some of these chunks of fabric might have gone in the garbage!
In addition to Mary's scraps, there are also leftover pieces from Tula Pineapple sashing, the backing and binding of Ringo Lake, and the 4 patches in July Sampler QuiltI am trying to sew more blocks with darker backgrounds to add to the collection.

I thought this was a sweet block using up some vintage Holly Hobby fabric scraps. But the fabric was thin and it shrivelled up under the iron, so I'm going to remake this block with new corners and throw the vintage scraps in the garbage... so sad, but they won't hold up to the wear in a quilt.

Hop over to the RSC link up to see more blue scrappy projects being sewn.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

June OMG

My June UFO goal is to finish the improv "Dots and Dashes" quilt top. It's been in time out for about a year and it really wants to become a quilt top.

The reason why this quilt became a problem and went to the UFO closet was due to decision fatigue. When you are not following a pattern, and you are making an improv quilt that requires constant decision making, and your brain is too full of all the other real life things you need to make decisions about, it sometimes becomes too much. I need to be in a clear brain space to work on improv quilts. 
I really do enjoy the process and love the finished projects, but need the right head space to pull it off. Hopefully that will happen in June!
So now the pieces are out again, the project has a time limited goal and the pressure is on the fun can begin!
Linking up to June goal setting party over at OMG.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Design Wall Monday

These are the blocks for the backing of my Tula Pineapple quilt. It's such a bright fun quilt, and I wanted to use up all the leftovers on the back. 
backing blocks
The blocks on the left are the cut off pieces from the pineapple corners, sewn together in groups of 4 to make the pinwheel blocks. They were going to become their own baby quilt, but then I got the idea to put them into the pineapple quilt backing to make a double sided quilt.
The HST blocks in the centre (that look like flying geese) were given to me by my friend Dorothy left over from one of her projects. She asked me "Can you use these"? YES!
On the right are the Missouri Star Company Wacky Web blocks made using their diamond template and foundation papers.
I have a stack of rectangles and lots of the background fabric, so now I will start to put the blocks together like a big puzzle. There is no wrong way to do this, so I'm just going to start!
Hop over to Small Quilts to check out the other design wall posts.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! 

Last week there were so many amazing projects to enjoy in the link ups, and I just want to acknowledge how amazing it is that this link party has been going for 7 years this month!  We will have a big birthday party later in the month, so stay tuned for the details on that. I'm so happy that the art of hand stitching is alive and well, and that YOU are a part of keeping it going. For all the times you linked up to share your project, and visited other bloggers, and left encouraging comments... THANK YOU!
As always, I encourage you today to take a deep breath, and spend some time indulging yourself with your needles and beautiful threads. 
I finished a quilt this week which included hand stitching about 300" of binding. It's my favourite relaxing hand stitching. You can see this is the pretty navy floral backing for this quilt. You can see the finished quilt here.

I also made progress on my embroidery project this week finishing this cute tree block with some flowers and a heart. There were a few lazy daisy stitches on this block and I enjoyed making them as a break from all the back stitching.
This is a block from Gail Pan's 2018 "I Stitch Club". This year's club features Christmas blocks, but I am being very disciplined and committed to finishing last year's project before I start another one. 
What a novel concept!

What are you working on? We love to see what you are stitching with your own 2 hands, without the assistance of any machines.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

Here are the stragglers for orange month. These are arrowhead blocks and they were finished just in time for the end of orange month (pattern is here). They are so fun to sew! The 4 patch in the centre measures 1/2" finished. There is no room for fudging when you're sewing this tiny!

And here is the entire block collection on the design wall. What a great scrappy quilt this is becoming!

Linking up to the RSC party.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Goal Accomplished!

It was a hard push to the end of the month to finish this quilt. It was an ambitious goal to start with but am so delighted that this quilt is now finished! 
Here it is hanging on my friend's clothesline because I finished the binding while visiting her. It is a heavy quilt using up almost 5 bobbins of thread!
On Ringo Lake

This is the Bonnie Hunter Quiltville mystery called "On Ringo Lake" started in November 2017. I'm very happy with how the design turned out since I used the blocks that were designated for the sashing as the border blocks instead. I love that zigzag border!
Finished size: 62.5" x 80"
Linking up to One Monthly Goal and Favorite Finish!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Quilting Woes

After bragging yesterday about finding the perfect machine quilting combination of machine, needle, and thread, I started having problems. I broke a needle! I very rarely break a needle. These are strong needles made of hardened chrome plated steel, so when they break there is a loud sound and it's scary!
I calmed myself down, replaced that needle, changed the quilting foot and vowed to slow down.

another broken needle
But then I broke a second needle! 
I have quilted so many quilts and never broken a needle, so it was shocking to have TWO breaks on one project! I reminded myself that this quilt has a lot of intense piecing in it, and lots of bulk at the seam joins. I decided to have more respect for my poor old machine trying to power through the big lumps of fabric where blocks join together. 
I pushed through the frustration, slowed to a snail's pace, and finished quilting the blocks. 

Then for the border quilting, I stitched a zigzag quilting line on both sides of the accordion pattern. It was very tedious with the walking foot, with so many twists and turns of the quilt each time the direction changed. So I switched to the free motion foot.  Ahhhh... delightful! My accuracy declines when I'm stitching straight lines with the free motion foot, but I am willing to sacrifice perfection for enjoyment! It's just so much fun when you have the perfect combination of the right quilting foot, needle, thread, and speed.

The quilting is finally done and I have 2 days to make the binding, get it attached to the quilt, and hand stitched down to meet my May goal for OMG.
Oh the drama!

These are the lovely medium blue fabrics that were leftover from the quilt that will become the binding. There will be approximately 300" of binding to hand stitch by friday. It's possible that I might reach my goal if I work on it every moment that I'm not working or sleeping!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Progress on May's UFO

My version of Bonnie Hunter's mystery pattern from 2017 On Ringo Lake is finally being quilted. 
stitch-in-the-ditch quilting with walking foot
Quilting on a domestic machine is not something you see on quilting blogs very often. Most bloggers are long arm quilters or send out their quilts to long armers. I still really like to quilt my own quilts. I enjoy the creative process and as long as I have the upper body/arm strength to do my own quilting, I will.

Having said that, there can be some very frustrating moments. If you do a perfect job with the basting stage, everything lays completely flat and there are no puckers, pleats, or bubbles on the top or backing. 
evidence of basting fail
If you don't do a perfect job, you get this happening. See how there is a hill of fabric forming between the needle and the corner of the quilt where the pins are? This means I didn't pull the quilt top taut enough on this section while basting. Because this happens sometimes, I always quilt the stabilizing grid starting from the centre out, so that I can readjust and re-pin as necessary to push the excess fabric to the edges of the quilt.

Then I switch to the free motion foot and have some fun adding other quilting designs. 

Free motion quilting late at night!
Of course I immediately notice the place where 2 scraps ended up right beside each other. I remind myself that 'random' does not mean 'perfectly spaced' (insert smile) and I continue to quilt.

This is my favourite part of machine quilting. 
In the past with different needles and a variety of threads, I have experienced thread skipping, thread breakages, and thread tension challenges. 
But with the found combination of:
1) my Brother 1500 sewing machine (which is almost 25 years old and is still amazing!) 
2) a top stitch 90 needle, and 
3) Aurifil thread, I never have any problems.

Famous last words... as soon as I wrote this blog post, I started having problems. I jinxed myself!
Come back tomorrow to hear my tale of woe.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Baby Quilt Top

It's always a good thing to have baby quilts on hand because you just never know when you will need a baby gift.
It seems that most of the babies born in my social circle recently have been baby boys, and still I needed one more boy quilt.
I bought 2 charm packs on sale and found 2 grey fabrics (light star yardage and 2 dark fat quarters) with no actual plan in mind. It's a challenging way to make a quilt which I don't do very often, but eventually a plan came together in my mind while I was at quilt retreat.

This is how the growing quilt top looked when we went for lunch. It was looking like a hot mess! You can see the little tiny blocks on the sewing machine bed that I was piecing in between the major projects. They are so darn cute and distracting to me... must focus on baby quilt!

I decided just to frame the charm squares and made a layout of 5 blocks across and 6 blocks down, using the 3 frame fabric colours (dark grey, light grey and white) to make a diagonal block layout.

And then we went outside to find a "design wall" to photograph it on. You can see that the daffodils are up and the buds are just starting to come out on the trees.

I have been debating about adding a border or not. I think it's big enough for a baby quilt, but does it need a border? I have some white and light grey fabric left.

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

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
Why not pick up your project and put in a few stitches today? That's exactly what I'm planning to do, but I have put in so few stitches recently that I don't have any of my stitching to share today. 

Sandy's quilt being auctioned
So I will show a couple of photos from the Mennonite Relief Sale that I attended yesterday. This is an annual event where over 200 quilts are auctioned to raise money for relief from hunger, poverty and natural disaster world wide, and for international development and peace keeping efforts. 

Sandy's quilt under plastic
I was only able to stay for half of the auction this year, but enjoyed the visual treat of so many lovely hand quilted delights.

This is a quilt that my friend Sandy made from the fabrics of a quilter who had passed away. Sandy pieced the quilt and it was hand quilted by Saleda Martin. You can see a better photo on the auction website here. It's always exciting to see a quilt being auctioned when the quilt maker is sitting right beside you!!

College quilt under plastic
And here is a quilt that the tag said it was made at the local college. I thought for sure that it was likely just "commissioned by the college" because it was very well made. But I spoke to the organizer and she said it was constructed in the fall and hand quilted in the winter by the students!

College quilt being auctioned
They called the quilt "X's and O's" and it was very pretty (more information and a better photo here). I think it would make a great scrap quilt and the creative wheels are turning in my brain!

Anyway, lots of money was raised for a terrific cause, and it motivated me to get going on finishing a quilt to donate next year. Click here to see the video clip that was on the local news about the event.

What are you hand stitching today?
Please share your project update in the link up below!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

I started making Economy Path blocks in January for an RSC project that uses up the 1.5" pieces in the scrap bin. 

The first block I sewed  was for the Blockheads II project and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to keep making that block pattern with my scraps. 

Here are the orange blocks made this month. My goal is to make 4 blocks in the RSC colour of the month and then sew those 4 blocks together.

Here are all the blocks on the design wall. The blocks on the top right and left are "randoms" because sometimes there are just scraps sitting around on the cutting table that want to be sewn into an Economy Path block (pattern here).

Keep in mind that these are 3" blocks (finished) so this is still a very small quilt! I am thinking of continuing to make these small blocks for the rest of the year, and then next year make the same pattern in the 6" size. It's much faster to build a quilt with larger blocks! LOL

To see more scraps being sewn, hop over to the RSC link up and Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

UFO - On Ringo Lake

Some progress is finally made on this month's UFO.
Yes, I know the month is more than half over, but it took a while to get everything organized. I purchased, washed and pieced the backing yardage, and found it was 5" too short (grrrrr). I pieced a length of FQ scraps to add to the backing, bought the batting and finally got everything ready to pin baste. 
Basting is a fairly boring job so I tend to procrastinate the task. I don't like to spray baste because I do not have a "well ventilated room" and I do not want to inhale those glue fumes. So I do it the tedious way... with pins.

I spy a piecing error!!
As I was listening to music and about half way finished, I noticed a piecing error right in the middle of the quilt. I said something like "fiddle dee dee" (as I learned from my friend Gail!) 
Seriously, how could I miss that after all the time I had spent piecing blocks, and putting the quilt top together, and enjoying it hanging on the design wall?!?
I had already repaired an error in piecing and I could not believe there was another one. I was not going to undo all those pins and get the seam ripper out to fix it. I decided I will either applique a triangle on top after it is quilted or maybe even leave it as is!
Me discovering this error was a sight that no one should ever see, or hear, although my kids think a video of that might have gone viral on the internet! Fiddle dee dee!

Moving right along...
once I calmed down, I selected some quilting threads. Why do I have 4 very similar spools of blue thread?? Time to use up this thread! I wound some bobbins and started quilting my usual stitch-in-the-ditch grid to stabilize the 3 layers. 

Ahhhh.... back in my happy place again!