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!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Fall Design Wall

Today is the first day of fall and so my summer mystery quilt to had to be finished yesterday! It was a self imposed deadline to have Kevin's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap Mystery finished by the end of summer.
This was the growing quilt on the design wall after adding the neutral top and bottom borders which I really liked! I pieced together lots of little bits to make these neutral borders and realized I wouldn't have enough fabric to make the layout that Kevin's quilt has. So I made one more dark border for the top and bottom.

I sewed and sewed and sewed some more. There are a lot of squares in this quilt... hundreds of them! Until finally all the borders were on and it was time for the photo...

Here is the quilt top hanging on the clothesline. The finished size is 65" x 80.5"  and I'm very happy with how it turned out (and the stash it used up!)
A big thank you to Kevin for this fun mystery quilt adventure that resulted in this lovely energetic quilt! I can't wait to get quilting it!
To see more design wall postings, and to see Julie's version of the same mystery quilt in blue and yellow,  hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching Announcement

Welcome to the weekly party where we celebrate the art of hand stitching! 
And today I have great news - I am planning the very first (hopefully annual) Slow Sunday Stitching Retreat Day! It's short notice because a day lease just became available at my favourite facility so I took the opportunity to scoop that up for us! 
If you enjoy hand stitching you are cordially invited!

It will be held at St. Brigid's Villa in Guelph, Ontario which is a beautiful facility on the outskirts of town. 
Here is a photo I took on the way to a  retreat there last year in late October. (Hopefully we won't have snow in early October, but you never know!) As you can see it is in the country at the end of a long lane. There is a beautiful work room with lots of windows all around and I just know that amazing things can be created here!
Mostly we will be working on our own projects and there will also be some tutorials to learn new skills. Of course there will also be a show and share time to be inspired by our creative stitching friends. 
Let me know if you are interested in coming or if you have any questions about the retreat. It's all about taking time away from your busy life to rest, to renew your energy, to take some slow stitches and enjoy being around rejuvenating creative energy! I can hardly wait!
Today I will be finishing this fun little Gail Pan embroidery. Sorry about the washed out photo... it's sunny here this weekend! The variegated thread gives an "interesting look"... I'm not sure if I like it yet or not!

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post or instagram below (you can find me on instagram at ssskat7 and use #slowsundaystitching).

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

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Scrappy Saturday Shoo Fly Shoo

When I was visiting my friend Deanna, she brought out something guaranteed to bring gasps and squeals from every scrap quilter - a scrap basket full of strings! 
Playing in Deanna's scrap basket
It would not be possible for any quilter to resist the urge to immediately start digging in this basket! Then you start saying things like... "oh I have this fabric in a different colour, "ohhh I love this fabric", "I have some of this in my stash", and "this piece is perfect for a Shoo Fly Shoo block"! You can see that I have pulled out some strips and started to trim and organize some pieces I intended to steal. Deanna was very generous and said we could help ourselves to anything we liked... and so I did! You can see in the bottom left of the photo that I was cutting triangles using the Easy Angle ruler for Shoo Fly blocks.
And then this leader-ender project kicked itself to the top of the main projects list because the blocks are so darn cute and I couldn't stop working on them! They are addictive like chips... you can't just have one and feel satisfied with that... 
** m u s t   h a v e  m o r e **
Shoo Fly Shoo
Here is the block  collection.
It is fun to vary the values to make some of the blocks look a little different.
But I don't want them to be as different as those two renegade Shoo Flies? 
What the heck?!?!
Why didn't I see that when I was making the blocks?!? I'll fix those two and keep cutting more.

Purple Shoo Fly blocks
I've sewn a couple more purple Shoo Fly blocks to add to the collection. See how I like to play with the value:  a muddled low contrast block on the top right, a crisp high contrast on the bottom right, the light/medium rectangles on the top left give the block a circular feel, and the bottom left is just a regular looking medium value block with my favourite Kaffe Fassett Paperweight fabric in the centre.

And while I was playing with purple scraps, I cut up some purple scraps to sew into Wishing Rings this week.

Go visit the RSC link up and pop by Sarah's to see what other scrappy adventures are going on!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Leader-Enders Obsession

This is a post about a sewing concept that I learned from Bonnie Hunter called Leader-Enders. I have been using her revolutionary idea for probably at least 10 years since her first book was published in 2010 and she had shared this  technique on her blog before that. On the right side bar of my blog the topic of leader-enders has almost 30 blog posts!
main project under the needle with the leader-ender block waiting
This concept is always on my mind when I'm sewing any project and I always have at least one leader-ender project going on. On my sewing table everyday there is a main project that it being sewn, and some leader-ender blocks for a secondary project that is 1) already organized and cut, and 2) easy to sew requiring no brain power.

Thankfully I was not tempted to start ALL of Bonnie's leader-ender challenges usually because I liked the unfinished ones I was already working on! Here's the list of L/E projects Bonnie has inspired over the years with a link to either Bonnie's page or my version if I made one: 

2019 Shoo Fly, Shoo (started in July and presently obsessed!)
2018 Jewel Box Stars
2017 Rail Fence
2016 Hourglass (one of my favourites - top finished in 2018)
2015 Tumblers (I made a sweet "tiny tumble" version)
2014 Lozenges 
2013 Split 9 Patch
2012 Spools (one of my favourites - top finished in 2016)
2011 Cheddar BowTies 

I have also started my own leader-ender projects over the years. The most recently finished leader-ender projects was Maverick Stars. It's one of my all time favourite quilt tops and it's in the queue for quilting.
Alamo Stars
Another of my favourite was Alamo StarsIt's at the stage of becoming a quilt top and currently stalled because I had the grand idea of making more blocks to make the quilt bigger. The blocks are 2.25" so it's a relatively small quilt. But apparently I don't truly want to make it bigger because more blocks are not actually being made!

And partly it's because I became smitten with the Shoo Fly Shoo block. It's so fun to use up all the bits and pieces in the sewing room. 
In a recent blog post Bonnie said:
"Sometimes we have to get inventive to move the fabric that has been neglected for whatever reason".
She gave lots of ideas (click here) on how to be inventive, one of which was how to cut 5" square for 3 sets of HST's. Brilliant! I have a few odd charm squares that needed to be gone. 
Hope you are sewing your own leader-ender projects and if not, why not start with the Shoo Fly project?!?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Waning Days of Summer

Progress is being made on the Simply Sensational Summer Scrap mystery which I would like to finish before Fall arrives on September 23rd. It's an arbitrary self imposed deadline, but I work well to deadlines.

I had procrastinated trimming the edge of the quilt once the centre was put on point. It was all bias edges and there was so much potential to make a big mess and lose points (as in chopping off the sides of the squares, not as in losing "brownie points"!)
I cut with trepidation and gentleness.

The next border was neutral strips followed by neutral squares. I was getting a little tired of the selection of my  remaining neutrals, but resisted the urge to buy more because the goal is to use up what is in the stash. 
And I did.
I don't really like these strip sets, but I'm sure I won't notice them once this busy quilt is finished.

So then it was time for the litmus test... would the next borders fit the on point edges?
And guess what? 
sewing on a border with the bias edge on the feed dogs
To my great delight, the next border went on easily and most of the points are still visible.
AND best of all... it lays flat!
My secret was to use a lot of pins, and to sew the seams with the bias edge on the feed dogs while easing in the extra fabric from the on point centre.

I gotta congratulate Kevin because my faith in this wonderful outcome was low when I was working on it! I'm still in shock when I look at it and see how it all worked out!
Okay... now I'm moving on to sewing the colourful 4 patch blocks into strips for the next borders. I'm so close to finishing the summer mystery while summer is still here!
Here it is on the design wall measuring 56.5" square at this point.
Exactly square!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Mystery Updates

I must admit that I seem to be addicted to mystery quilting. It is rare for me to be able to pass up a mystery quilt adventure. Every mystery quilt pattern writer has their own unique style and I love them all!  It's so fun not knowing what I'm really making or what the project will end up looking like. 
Today is an update on the three mystery quilts I am currently working on:
Mosaic Mystery step #1

1) Step #1 of the Mosaic Mystery quilt at Meadow Mist Designs has been posted. It was quick and easy sewing but doesn't look very exciting on the design wall.  

Are you someone who worries about how your fabric choices will work out and hesitate to join in the fun? For this mystery you just need 4 fabrics and Cheryl shared lots of tips on the fabric selection process - click here. And then hop over to the September "House Block" link up to see all the finished blocks. It's so fun to see the variety of fabrics that people are using. There are no wrong choices!

And of course I sewed the second line on all the corners of these blocks to make the baby/bonus HSTs to add to my collection. I'm not sure why the blue fabrics look so different in these 2 photos, but they are the same fabrics!

"Almost Reproduction"
2) Lori at Humble Quilts is starting a new mystery project and step #1 is posted. The quilt is called "Almost Amish" and uses solids. I don't enjoy sewing with solids, so I'm using civil war reproductions because I have lots of those and need to use them up. I guess I'll call my version "Almost Reproduction", although that doesn't sound quite right!

4 patches for step #1
I have been reading Lori's blog for many years and have really enjoyed all her mystery quilts. Here are some of her mysteries that I have made: Palmateer Point, Pink Lemonade, Country RoadsAbundance, Cascadia, and Mountain Trail. What is most noteworthy about this list is that every single one of Lori's mysteries that I started has  resulted in FINISHED quilts! So why not jump right in, make the 4 patches for the first step and use up whatever stash you have laying around. 

3) Kevin's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap quilt is coming along. Summer is over now so this quilt has to get finished! 
It was challenging to trim the quilt since I didn't want to lose any points, and the edge is now completely on the bias. The next border has to get on there quickly to prevent stretching which would make the quilt edges wavy.  
This is how it looks today on the design wall. The next border is being sewn, and there are more borders still to make.

Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall posts.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday and you know what that means... it's time for the weekly hand stitching party! We hope you will pick up your needles and thread or yarn and start making some stitches. 

I have been busy judging local fall fairs and have seen some beautiful hand stitching. Just look at these hand embroidery pillowcases with such a variety of designs. I have never seen anything like the one on the bottom right with the blue variegated crocheted skirt. Such a treat to see these treasures up close!

Today I'll be putting stitches into my own embroidery project.  I'm working on my Gail Pan "I Stitch" blocks from last year. I think I only have 3 or 4 more to stitch. I have chosen an odd variegated thread to make this house and look forward to seeing how it will turn out.

What are you hand stitching today? Please link up your blog or instagram post below and share your project with us.

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

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Scrappy Saturday - Big Reveal

It has been such a busy week in the middle of Fall Fair season. In spite of all the busyness, I have a big Rainbow Scrap Challenge reveal to share with you!
I have been sewing a few Maverick star blocks here and there since April of 2014. That's 5 and a half years of collecting little pieces for these scrappy 6" blocks! These blocks have seen a lot of my life and hold so many memories.

This is my Sweet Baby Jayne 1964 Singer Featherweight sewing all my stars into a quilt top. There were a lot of seams to match and many pins were used in the top construction. But I was surprised at how well it came together considering the blocks were made on many different sewing machines over several years. 
And then it was time for the big reveal. I hung the quilt on the clothesline at my friend Deanna's house for the photo shoot. 

Do you see my friend Barb's whale block also hanging on the clothesline to the left of the stars?!? It makes me smile that the whale looks so small swimming beside the stars!

I'm not going to share all the secrets about the lengths to which a crazy blogger would go in order to get some good quilt photos from the right angle, but let's just say a ladder was involved! And bless their hearts, Deanna and Ted never rolled their eyes or talked about me being crazy (in front of me anyway!) when I asked if I could borrow their ladder to climb up to the shed roof!! LOL

I wanted to take a photo with the quilt by some of my favourite birch trees that are dying and will have to be taken down. But I couldn't get far enough away from the quilt to get a full angle shot. So I climbed a ladder on the other side of the shed to get a shot from over the roof. And then when the wind picked up,  Deanna tried to hold the corner of the quilt to keep it still. I love this action shot and it still makes me smile!

I couldn't really think about ending the Maverick stars project until I had another scrappy leader-ender project that would use up all the small scraps in my quilting room.  And now I have that focus thanks to Bonnie Hunter's Shoo Fly Shoo challenge. Here are the latest blocks made last night. The RSC colour for September is purple and I don't seem to have many purple scraps laying around, so I'll have to dig deep!
Hop over to the RSC link up to see more scrappy projects.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Design Wall Tuesday

Guess what is on the design wall this week?!?
A finished quilt top!
Actually it's either going to be a Christmas tree skirt or a table quilt. I haven't decided how to finish it yet and haven't cut the final shape, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. Those star blocks were challenging but they look good from this distance!
This is a Kim Diehl pattern in her Simple Christmas Tidings book. It's such a lovely book and a well written pattern.
Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall posts.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching celebration! We hope you will enjoy a cup of your favourite soothing beverage while you visit with the other hand stitchers around the world.
Last weekend I visited one of our Slow Sunday Stitchers at her lovely home a few hours north of where I live. It was so much stitching fun and a mental health reset for me. We enjoyed many adventures in the forest and in the sewing room.

Slow Sunday Stitching last weekend in the gazebo
One of the highlights for me is always Slow Sunday Stitching in the screened gazebo which even has a wood stove for heat, so that no matter how cold it is, we can still stitch outside! Do you see the forest out the window? The creek runs between the gazebo and the trees and the sounds of birds and water are completely relaxing. 

These are the projects we worked on:
I continued to hand quilt my Friendship Album quilt and am about half done now. It has been a lovely summer takealong project.

Louise was knitting some socks using an interesting variegated yarn that created a striped pattern.

Barb was making some hexie blocks in a larger size to practice her skills in order to progress to a project with teeny tiny sized hexes.

Deanna was hand stitching a binding on a wedding quilt which she had been hand quilting most of the weekend.

So now it's your turn.
What are you hand stitching today? Share your project with us by linking your instagram or blog post. And if you haven't entered to win the Aurifil thread draw from Monday's post, click here and leave a comment. The winner will be randomly drawn tonight! 

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