Saturday, August 31, 2019

End of the Summer

I am so lucky to be spending the weekend at Ted and Deanna's in the Great White North. Deanna calls herself my Northern Blog Stalker! It's the perfect way to recover from the busyness of the summer.

I have a few blues ready to sew another little log cabin loony block. But I'm distracted by the reveal of Kevin's mystery quilt and want to get sewing those blocks.

We have enjoyed relaxing walks in the forest, and playing in the creek. Now it's time to get to work in the sewing room. I've already sewn the V blocks for the last step of the mystery and took a photo of them by the creek. It was a little breezy but none of them fell into the water!

This week I needed to add the "verify that you are a human" step for commenting on my blog, which I don't like to have to do myself when I'm visiting blogs, but the spam is out of control, and sometimes adding another step is enough to discourage a spammer. Sorry about that but hopefully it will be time limited.
What are you sewing on the last day of August?

Monday, August 26, 2019

Design Wall Monday

Did you think you'd be seeing some of Kevin's summer mystery pieces on the design wall today?!? Did you see the reveal last Thursday? It's a really great quilt layout that is nothing like I thought it would be, and made from the humble square shape. But surprisingly, it's quite complex and a little overwhelming. So I've packed away all the pieces and put it in a project bag to take when I visit my friend Deanna who lives in the great white north! Hopefully it won't be white and snowy there when I visit, but you just never know :)
Today the design wall has some tree blocks and a star block for my Christmas Stars pattern by Kim Diehl. The trees were such fun to sew, that the unruly stars took me by surprise!  I'm tired of these star blocks and the seam strugglesSome seams have very thick sections with so many layers that will not lay flat. I just have to push on and be done with them so I can get to sewing the layout.

 To see more design walls, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! I don't have much of a stitching update to show, since I'm still slowly hand quilting my Friendship Album sampler.

But I wanted to share some hand made glass treasures that I found on a recent trip to Montreal.
The Sun
First is a blown glass sculpture called The Sun at the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal. It has over 1,500 pieces and weighs over 2,000 kgs! And when they put it away for the winter, all the components go into 134 boxes! And then in the spring, they take out all the boxes and reconstruct the sculpture. Can you even imagine the magnitude of that hand work?!?!

The second type of hand work that captured my interest was mosaic tiles on cemetery headstones. One of my friends is very interested in old headstones so we spent time at the Notre Dame des Neiges cemetery. It was so lovely and peaceful, with bike and walking paths. 

I thought I would spend time hand stitching but I became captured by the amazing tile work I found. Imagine these artists picking up every little piece of tile (like we do scraps of fabric or bits of wool or beads) and placing it into the mosaic in just the right place to create the image. It fascinated me.

Just look at this one. In the background alone were multiple intricate images created with tiny pieces of glass and stone tiles. And the gold work was also unbelievable in this piece. I just couldn't stop looking at this and wish I had the time and resources to fully research these amazing works of art... that have NO NAMES on them! Don't you wonder who made these amazing works of art?

And now it's back to reality and my own hand work project. There will be no glass work for me, just my needles and thread!
So what are you hand stitching today?
Link up your blog post or your instagram below and share what you are working on.

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

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

The sewing room has been a whirlwind mess, with too many projects on the go, and fall fair season is upon us with entries to prepare, and fairs to judge. And also there is too much negative energy in the sewing room from recent unhappy sewing with seam matching struggles.

So I got out the blue scraps and starting organizing which pieces might be good for which project. 1" pieces are for Loonie Log Cabins and Omigosh, 1.5" are for Economy Paths, Shoo Fly Shoo and Wishing Rings, and 2.5 is for scrappy sprouts, and larger pieces are for Arrowheads.

Here is a handful of goodness! 
All 112 pieces cut to make four 3" Economy Path blocks. It doesn't look like much, but it was a couple of hours of work sorting and organizing scraps, and then cutting them into small pieces.

The sewing part is the most fun for me, but as with all fun things in life, it went way too quickly and before you know it, the blocks were done and more cutting was required.
Here are the blue blocks for August and they will join the collection which you can see here.
Hop over to visit the RSC weekly linkup here.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Seam Struggles

This week I have been working on my Christmas tree skirt... or table topper, whichever it wants to become. I really wanted it to be finished in time for Christmas, but at this speed it will be Christmas of 2020. It's a lot of piecing, which usually is enjoyable for me, but I am having a terrible time with sewing these star blocks. 
There are 8 places where the points need to line up correctly and they are not. Most of the seams I have sewn 2 or 3 times to get it to an "I can tolerate that" stage. 
I prefer a "that looks great" stage, but that is not happening with these blocks. 
See where the seam ripper is pointing? That particular section of the seam has been sewn twice and still I can't stand it. Rip it out, and try again.
Pin, pin, pin, sew, rip, rip, rip - repeat.

Here is the first block finished. You wouldn't know it to look at it, but it was absolutely hours of work and it's only tolerable! I think I've decided it needs to be a tree skirt so that lots of presents can sit on top of all the terrible seam joins!
4 more blocks still to finish!
Pin, pin, pin, sew, rip, rip, rip - repeat.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Mosaic Mystery Quilt

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs has started another mystery quilt and of course I have to play along. I really enjoyed making her Magnolia Mystery and can't wait to get started on another one of her wonderful designs.

**resistance is futile when you have no will power**

You only need 4 fabrics for this quilt, so it's easy to pull them from your stash. I scavenged some of my fabrics from a kit I had bought to make a paper pieced tablerunner. I love the fabrics, but wasn't loving the pattern, and this new mystery project works well with these fabrics plus a few FQ additions from the general stash.
Because I get bored easily sewing with yardage, I'm doing a slightly scrappy version. When the instructions say you need 1 yard of Fabric B, I'm using 4 fat quarters of the colour instead of yardage.

Here are my pieces cut and ready to sew. Of course I ran out of the cute background so will try to obtain more.

If you want to join us, fabric requirements are here, and the first link up to s
ee the fabrics people are using is here. There are already over 80 quilters linked up sharing their fabric photos. I enjoyed seeing all the resourceful systems that quilters have developed to keep their quilt pieces organized using clips, stickers, pins, baggies, and baskets.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up that celebrates all types of hand stitching! 
Do you enjoy applique, hand quilting, knitting, embroidery, EPP, crochet, rug making or beading? If so, we are your tribe! Come join us! We hope you will visit the links below and sprinkle encouraging comments everywhere you go. And of course we hope you will link up your current hand stitching progress to share with us.

All of my hand stitching time this week was spent finishing an embroidered pillow that a friend of mine made for a gift and asked me to finish for her. The deadline for gift giving was yesterday, and it took way longer than you could ever imagine. I was getting a bit panicky that I wouldn't be able to finish it in time. It was NOT relaxing sewing!

adding piping

wrong foot to join pillow sides
I have made a few pillows over the years, but don't consider myself experienced in this task. 
Also I don't have the correct sewing machine foot, and couldn't get the piping attached properly using the walking foot or the free motion foot.

correctly attached piping 
incorrectly attached piping 
After several frustrating attempts, I gave up on the machine and started doing everything by hand. 
SO much better.

I tried "self threading needles" that I bought at Fabricland thinking this might be a really great thing for my old eyes. 
Nope it wasn't.
I could not figure out how to make it thread itself. I thought of making a video of my attempts because it was quite comical, but I didn't since it might make me look ridiculous if there was something obvious I was missing about this process! 

Even though they aren't "self threading", these needles were strong and did a good job of finishing this pillow.

I hand stitched the side opening. This loose weave Monks cloth was so hard to deal with, and frayed every time I looked at it!

Finally it was finished! 
My hands were aching and my nerves (and the cloth!) were frayed by the end. 
What a relief to be done with a couple of hours to spare!

Today I'll be relaxing with  some easy hand quilting on my Friendship Album quilt.

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

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

I got completely distracted this week with the multi-year Omigosh project. It started with just sewing a few 1" pieces into this double 9 patch block which was one of the RSC Tiny Tuesday blocks this week. Cute! 

So I kept making more blocks with the scraps on the cutting table, and ended up finishing these 4 blocks to add to the project.
Then I went in search of the other blocks. They are stored in the refrigerator - the fabric one, not the food one!

I decided it was time to take stock of this project and see where it's at. 
Omigosh project in the freezer
The double 9 patch blocks are on the left. I have enough of those and really should stop making any more! 
The small pile of alternate blocks on the right is another story. The piles should be the same size. They are not as much fun to make as the double 9 patch and require more coordination, but I need to focus my efforts and make lots more of those. 

I got out all the alternate blocks and put them on the design wall for the first time with the double 9 patches of the same colours. Here is what it is looking like. Omigosh!

Wow! That is awesome! There are some colours that are over-represented and some that are MIA, so that will have to be sorted out by the project manager LOL! I counted all the colours and will try to be more purposeful about filling in the gaps now. No more willy-nilly making random blocks when I feel like it for this project. Focus is required!
So see more RSC projects hop over to the weekly linkup.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Mystery Update

Are you sewing along with Kevin's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap mystery project?? 
This quilt involves a lot of cutting and sewing scraps. Did I mention A LOT?
I'm not going to say exactly how much work it was, but we are talking about hundreds of pieces to make this quilt!

I shouldn't complain because I am very happy about all the old batik scraps I am clearing out of the stash. I had many 2.5" pre-cut strips, so I cut all my squares 2.5" but you can use any measurement you prefer for this amazing mystery. 
Mystery neutral blocks 
Cutting the squares left several smaller pieces from the ends of strips, so I sewed those into blocks as well. I liked the neutral blocks so much I put them on the design wall to admire. They really could become their own quilt. I'm not loving that green fabric in the top left of the photo, but in real life I don't think it's really that dark. When I look at it again, it better appear to be lighter or it's not going to make the final cut to be included in the quilt :)

I'm very proud to be caught up and finished step #2. 
You put me through my paces Kevin! 
Here are all the pieces in a storage container ready for the next step to be posted at the end of the month. I can't wait!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Design Wall Monday

Last week I set up Elsie, one of my vintage sewing machines to give her a workout and do some power sewing on pieces for Kevin's summer mystery
There are hundreds of pieces to be sewn for this quilt, and the leader/ender style wasn't making fast enough progress for me. So I oiled her generously and found the quarter inch seam line using Bonnie Hunter's seam guide tool.

She worked beautifully, making a perfect stitch for hours. Don't you love how the fabric looks like ribbon candy coming out behind the needle when you sew long strip sets?

Eventually I was bored of working with neutrals and needed to work with the bright colours for a while. And then suddenly for no apparent reason, the thread snapped and it was hard to thread the needle again (old eyes). So I got the brilliant idea to change the needle, and when I did that, the machine stopped making stitches at all.
Everything was threaded properly but it was as if there was no thread. I reread the manual for the umpteenth time. In my own defence, I have a lot of machines and have read a lot of manuals so I can't remember all the details for each machine (yet). As it turns out, the issue was incorrect needle placement. In this machine the smooth side of the needle in the shank must face the back of the Featherweight 221K. I hope I remember this!

In spite of this  technical glitch, I was able to finish over half of the required blocks for step #1 and #2, and have the remaining parts cut and ready to finish in plenty of time for the next step at the end of August. Here are 40 blocks on the design wall to get a sense of how it's looking.
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Small Quilts.

PS... the winner of the Olfa prize package from last Monday's Happy Little Things post was commenter # 122 (out of 228 comments). Congratulation
s to Diana from Texas!
It was inspiring reading what makes my blog readers happy....thanks for entering!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching link up!

The morning quilting crew
I'm excited to share with you that I was able to attend a quilting bee this weekend. At the Fergus Scottish Festival they had a large white heritage tent and set up a quilt in a frame for hand quilting. Lots of people stopped by to watch, to put in a few stitches, or to tell us about their Grandmother who quilted.

The afternoon quilting crew
At past festivals I have quilted on a scrappy kids quilt, a butterfly quilt, and stitched a background grid on a dresden plate. It's so fun to add stitches to a project created by someone else. This wonderful scrappy quilt was made by Mary who is quilting on the bottom left.

My favourite needle threader
I was able to spend several hours at the frame putting in stitches while visiting with new and old quilting friends. It's so fun to spend time with like minded people, to see how they stitch, and what tools they use. 

We quilted as far as we could reach, leaving the threads to continue the stitching lines after the boards were turned. Rolling the quilt by turning the boards is always exciting and it is encouraging to see the progress made.

If you didn't enter the draw that I posted on Monday for the Olfa prize pack, click here and be sure to leave a comment there. The draw will be made tonight.

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

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

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Scrappy Saturday

August is the month of light/bright blue... I just happen to have lots of those scraps! I started with some blue miniature arrowhead blocks. They are fun to sew and I made 8 of those this week. These blocks will be 3" in the finished quilt. If you want to try making these blocks, the pattern can be found here and the sizes for the starting squares can be found here.

I had fun playing with the blocks on the design wall and tried a diagonal colour layout. I really like it! It needs a lot of blocks, particularly violet, greens, browns and golds, but it's a good start. To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to the weekly link up.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Summer of Leaders and Enders

Are you sewing along with Kevin's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap Quilt? It's a fun mystery project that only has 2 colour choices which makes it so easy peasy. You could do lights and darks, or use 2 different colours.  
My Simply Sensational summer Scrap Quilt is using up old batik scraps. I have tons of them left over from quilt making over the years, and am so happy to have a project to sew them into.

Batiks were sorted into 2 piles... all colours and light neutrals. I did buy some fat quarters of neutral batiks on the shop hop to have enough to make this quilt.

As step #1 began I realized that it is very simple sewing and I couldn't stick with it for very long because I was bored. So I decided this would be my summer leader-ender project to work on in between other sewing. Here are the first 49 of the 4 patch blocks.
Aren't these just fabulous colours? This is going to be such a happy energetic quilt!

Step #2 is working with the neutral fabrics, and I just got started with some of those.

And of course I had already started making Bonnie Hunter's leader-ender challenge blocks called Shoo Fly, Shoo, so now I will have two projects on the go to sew in between other piecing. 
Are you sewing along with either of these projects?

Monday, August 05, 2019

Happy Little Things

It's time for the Happy Little Things BOM to begin! If you are a new visitor to my blog, welcome! I have been writing this quilt blog since 2006, posting regularly about my quilty adventures and the process of making quilts. I also host a hand stitching link up every Sunday, so feel free to visit anytime!
The Happy Little Things BOM will run from August to December and we hope you will join in the fun and create your own version of this Jacquelynne Steves pattern. To learn more about this project click here and make sure to sign up for your free pattern delivered right to your email.
centre of block #!

Today you can get the pattern and start making the 1st block. 
You can chose to have a plain piece of fabric, an appliqué or an embroidery in the centre of the block
Embroidery is one of my favourite hand stitching activities, so that is what my block centres will be.
Hand stitching is my favourite way to enjoy time at the park in the summer. I take my lawn chair and sit by the river, listening to the birds and sounds of the water, and slowly stitch the time away.

Block #1
Once you have your centre block made, you surround it with some flying geese blocks and then add a couple of borders, and there you have it... the first block is done!
Most of my fabrics are from the Strawberry Jam fabric line, with a bit of grey fabric added. If you prefer to have your fabrics chosen for you, click here to buy the fabric kit that Jacquelynne has put together for this project.

And if a free pattern for a beautiful quilt is not enough excitement, there are also going to be prizes to win every month throughout the BOM! 

The giveaway price for the first month is an Olfa gift pack (for US and Canadian residents, and an alternate prize for international winners). You can visit the bloggers and enter to win at each blog, but you may only win one of the prizes each month.
To enter the prize giveaway at my blog just scroll down to the end of this blog post and click on where it says 'comments', and leave a comment about what makes you happy! The winner's name will be randomly drawn on Sunday August 11th. 
The draw has taken place and the winner is:
commenter # 122 (out of 228 comments)... Congratulations to Diana from Texas!

I'm so happy to be one of the featured bloggers and can't wait to visit all the blogs to see how they made their 1st block! Here's the blog list, so go ahead leave a comment at each one to increase your chances of winning one of the prize packs:

Kathy's Quilts (that's me!)