Friday, February 21, 2020

Color It Red Day #5

It's the last day of the Color It Red blog hop. The week went by way too fast, didn't it?! My day was Wednesday when I showed my 150 Canadian Women quilt project, and today I am still working on it. 

Here are the blog stops for your enjoyment today:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Color it Red Day #4

Have you been following the red celebration with quilt bloggers this week?
I have been working with red fabrics all month long and have been making progress on my 150 Canadian Women project. Look at this 6" block that has 52 pieces! It took a lot longer than it should have to finish it!
Here are the blogs to visit today to see what they are making with red fabrics:
February 20th

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Color It Red Day #3

Welcome to the Color It Red blog hoppers!
I am excited to participate in the blog hop today!
It's hard for me to spell "color" like this since Canadians add in a 'u' and spell it "colour" (and neighbour, and flavour, and honour, etc.)

growing block pile
When Carol announced the Red blog hop, I immediately decided to use this as motivation to get working on my 150 Canadian Women project. I started this project at the end of 2016 to celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada in 2017. It's now 2020 and this quilt needs to get going so it will be finished before the 175th birthday of Canada!

Each block is named after a famous Canadian woman and each pattern includes a short biography. It's a wonderful project and I have enjoyed working it, but it's a lot of sewing! Some of the 6" blocks are fairly easy, and some are quite complicated. This block has 51 pieces.

I collected red fabrics all year long during Canada's 150th year so this quilt has a great variety of reds 
This photo shows my sewing table in the process of sashing the blocks on 2 sides to prepare for the layout stage.

sewing sashing strips to 2 sides of each block
And this is how far I got last night... 7 blocks across and 9 blocks down for a total of 63 blocks... only 87 blocks to go! This will be an enormous quilt!

I tried to take some great Canadian photos for the blog hop and although I had fun, I did not have much success. It was really cold and windy, so here are the photo shoot fails... rows of blocks blowing in the wind. Oh never mind.

How about rows of blocks on the snow? They kept blowing away and I was so cold by then that I just gave up, came inside and sewed the rows together. By the time that was done it was too dark to take an outside photo.
I'll post another outside shot on Thursday or Friday. 

Thanks for the motivation to keep working on this project Carol!

Here are all the blog stops on the Color It Red blog tour today... enjoy!
February 19th
Kathy’s Quilts (that's me!)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Color It Red Day #2

Did you visit the red bloggers yesterday?!? I love blog hops for the inspiration downloaded to my creative brain!
This is one of the blocks for the red project I am sharing tomorrow.
Meanwhile, here are the blogs to visit today... enjoy!

February 18th

Monday, February 17, 2020

Color It Red begins today!

There is nothing new on my design wall today. It's still the same view as last week... Frolic blocks, with one glaring error to be repaired. This is the pile of sewing I will tackle this week.

But what is new this week is the Color it Red blog hop hosted by Carol! This is an opportunity to visit a variety of blogs, get some creative inspiration, and meet some new bloggers working with RED. My day to post is Wednesday and here are the blogs to visit today...enjoy!

February 17th

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party! Take some time today to power down your brain and enjoy the benefits of relaxation with your favourite hand work. 

I can hardly wait to get my hand stitching bag out today. I haven't touched it all week, and that is something that rarely happens in my life. And we all know that means that my sanity is hanging by a very thin thread! 

Must stitch to restore sanity!

I am slowly working away on some Life Is Beautiful blocks. My blog posting about this project has renewed some interest in this pattern, and I'm sorry to say that it is very difficult to find. 
sharks teeth on Life Is Beautiful block

The pattern is as rare as shark's teeth, although I can easily get those for you!
You can try to get the pattern here. Let me know if you have any luck.

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

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

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

The colour for February at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is orange. Generally I'm not a big fan of orange and most especially at this time of year. 

3.5" Arrowhead blocks
Nevertheless, I know that my rainbow quilts need some orange blocks, so I forced myself to pick some squares to make into Arrowhead blocks. I prepped some green fabrics that I missed using in January, and somehow I see a purple one got in the pile too! I really like making these blocks so I look forward to adding lots of these to my collection this year. 

Shoo Fly blocks

And of course the Shoo Fly project continues. A few more blocks were made with orange scraps this week, and I am always collecting little pieces to make more of these... adorable.

But mostly I just want to work on these little blocks. They will become a fabric Valentine.
Linking up to the weekly RSC party.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Frolicking along!

Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you are having a love filled day and are celebrating all the wonderful people you love and who love you back! 

It has been a long week with not enough sewing time to maintain sanity, so it's getting a bit scary in my head! Only quilters really understand that!

There has been a little bit of slow progress on my Frolic blocks. This is the pile of finished blocks and some blocks in progress. It is relaxing sewing these blocks now that I know what I'm doing, having studied the instructions for a long time.

I decided to go with dark blue cornerstones. Here are my blocks with sashing on the design wall.
Well for goodness sake... evidently I was a bit too relaxed and today I will have some unsewing to do! 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Quilty Gifts

I participated in Barb's sawtooth star block swap and just got my blocks back. It's always an exciting day when you see the package in the mailbox and can't wait to open it!

Sawtooth Stars on the design wall
Aren't they beautiful and sparkly?!?!
I think I might make 10 more blocks to make it a larger quilt and feel totally stoked to work on this project at my upcoming quilt retreat.
Thanks again to Barb for this (and many previous) block swaps! I am sad she is retiring as swap mistress and hope someone else with the time and organizational skills will take over this wonderful tradition.

And also, I received a second surprise parcel in the mail this week as I was the lucky winner of the blogiversary draw at Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Thank you Sarah for the gift bag! It had some fabric treats, notions, patterns and this lovely card, which I taped right in the front cover of my dayplanner (yes, I still use an actual book to keep track of my schedule).

I feel very spoiled being the recipient of all these treats! Thank you blog readers and writers for constantly building community and being so generous! I am grateful indeed!
Linking up to Small Quilts.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching link up! We celebrate all types of hand work and enjoy seeing what is being created by hands all around the world... slow and steady, one small stitch at a time!

Did you know that yesterday (February 8th) was Hari-Kuyo? This is a 400+ year old Japanese ritual called  "Festival of Broken Needles". What is that you ask?!?

Hari-Kuyo is the Buddhist and Shinto Festival of Broken Needles which is celebrated in parts of Japan on February 8th. For the past 400 years, kimono makers, seamstresses and homemakers have gathered at shrines to thank their bent pins and broken needles for the hard work and faithful service they have provided over the past year. They express their thanks by holding a small memorial service and putting the pins and needles to rest in a block of soft tofu or jelly. It is also an opportunity to pray for improved sewing skills in the year to come. (Modern Quilt Guild)

This ceremony resonates for me. I go through a lot of needles! I like my needles to be sharp and replace them as soon as they feel dull. 
Here is the final resting place for my dull, broken and bent needles. This little glass jar has a cork lid and keeps all these sharps safe. It holds all the secrets and sorrows that my needles have absorbed from my hands over the years. They have seen me through a lot of stitches and memories and I am so thankful for them!

Today I am putting more stitches into my Life Is Beautiful blocks. Here is the stack of finished blocks that have been hand embroidered, hand appliqued, and hand quilted. I am enjoying working on this project again, and have prepped a few more blocks to take to quilt retreat later in the month.

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

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

Thursday, February 06, 2020

150 Canadian Women on the Design Wall

Since it's Valentine's Day this month, and there is a red blog hop coming mid February, I have decided to focus on my red and white 150 Canadian Women quilt.

I really wanted this to become a finished quilt, and I greatly enjoyed the stories of famous Canadian Women that inspired the blocks. 
And then I lost interest. There was not one particular reason why this happened, except perhaps project overwhelm and the brain power to continue. The process is lengthy because I want to read the historical information for each block, and then selecting fabrics for each block, cutting the pieces and sewing the block takes at least an hour. 
Eventually it ended up in the UFO closet.
I have seen some amazing finished quilts that prompted me to get to work on it, and then last week I saw Celeste's quilt top where she used the tiny cutoff corners, sewed them into HST blocks and created amazing borders.
Totally gorgeous! 

Some of my 150 blocks on the design wall
And I decided I must finish this quilt, and I must do ALL the blocks. I had been considering making a smaller version using the blocks already made, but NO... it needs to be the full version. And I need the white sashing like Celeste used to calm down the whole sampler feel.

hand full of 150 blocks
Here is the pile of my blocks sewn so far. 
60 out of 150... not even half way there!
My February goal is to get all 150 blocks made (gasp) and get them sewn into a quilt top (double gasp)!
Linking up to One Monthly Goal.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Shweshwe Inspiration

Celeste and her Nelson Mandela tribute quilt
Last week we had an inspiring guest speaker at our guild and I wanted to give a shout out to her on my blog. This is my friend Celeste of Meerkat Shweshwe. Celeste is originally from South Africa and imports Shweshwe fabrics to Canada. Her guild presentation is part history lesson, part fabric production lesson, and pure inspiration.

My last quilt made completely from her Shweshwe fabric was the Palmateer Point mystery quiltalong. It was lovely to work with and even before the quilt was finished, my sister claimed it as her own.

Celeste brought a wonderful selection of her patterns and fabrics for us to purchase at guild meeting (you can see them here ). This was the line up of customers even after most folks had gone home!

Celeste's 150 quilt
I was re-inspired to continue to work on my 150 Canadian Women quilt after seeing Celeste's quilt. From her cut off corners and leftover scraps, she made tiny HST blocks along the top and bottom borders... so pretty!

Celeste's 150 quilt
Be still my heart! 💖
I haven't worked on my project for 2 years and realized that I still really want to finish ALL these blocks and finish my 150 quilt. And I really like the white sashing, which tones down the look of a busy sampler quilt.
Thank you Celeste for all the inspiration and ideas!
Now... where are my 150 blocks?!?!

Monday, February 03, 2020

Group Quilt

A small group of my quilting friends (we call ourselves the Sew 'n Sews) like to work together on a group project to donate to the Mennonite Relief Sale. Our last quilt Whirlygig donated in 2017 raised $700 and we were thrilled to contribute our quilty efforts to this worthy cause.

2020 group quilt blocks
Since then we have been a little distracted or lazy or perhaps unorganized, but we decided to focus on finishing one of our projects for this year's auction. These were the blocks on my design wall. Two of them got voted off the project... one measured too small, and the yoyo tree block was deemed to be drawing too much attention to itself! "Look at me, look at me, I'm not like the others"!

After much discussion (which I find stressful but other people find enjoyable!) this was the final block layout with black sashing strips added.
Then there was (too) much lengthy discussion about borders, which was peppered with intense discussions about an upcoming family wedding, and health concerns of various family members, plus a very active puppy desperately trying to "help" us! It was exhausting to keep the focus on finishing the quilt!

This was the scrappy border that we finally decided on and I think it looks terrific! 

This is my favourite photo that shows some group members moving blocks around. Once the order of the border sections was decided on, the sections were passed to the sewers, and somehow the whole thing magically came together. 
Except the corner blocks. 
There was much debate about those, and eventually I brought the quilt home, made the blocks I like and now the quilt is at the hand quilters! 
Linking up to Small Quilts and Oh Scrap!

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching link up! We celebrate all types of hand work and enjoy seeing what is being created by hands around the world. 
Today is Groundhog Day here and we are hoping the rodent predicts an early spring for us (although the winter really hasn't been terrible this year). It's also Super Bowl Sunday, which is a perfect opportunity for hand stitching while you watch/listen to the game and/or the half show.

Today I am working on an old hand stitching project. I got out my Life Is Beautiful bag and put the blocks up on the design wall to figure out where I'm at with this project. The block that I thought I finished hand quilting this week (bottom row 3rd from the right) needs an echo circle quilted and I will start with that today.

I have 2 more embroidery blocks to applique, and 10 more embroidery blocks to quilt.  This project is coming along well (as it should be after 5 years!) and I'm excited to work on it more today. 
What are you hand stitching today? Are you stitching through the Super Bowl? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us.

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

Friday, January 31, 2020

January Miniature Quilt

Wendy at The Constant Quilter encourages fellow bloggers to make miniature quilts to link to at the end of the month. 

starting blocks
I enjoy making mini quilts and am looking forward to sewing up lots of tiny scraps in 2020.
My January project comes from a scrap bag from a friend that was full of 1.25" squares. 
I posted last week about this muddy mess of a mini scrap quilt, and for some unknown reason that blog post has disappeared into the ether. Blogging (and life in general) is weird that way... now you see it, and now it's gone!

miniature quilt top with dark blue sashing
Anyway, in the comments on that missing post Annie suggested a dark blue sashing to give "drama and definition". Such an excellent idea... thanks Annie!
Here is the same blocks with sashing... so much better!

back of the quilt top

This is a photo of the quilt top from the back so you can see how I pressed all the little seams. It is very precise sewing and sometimes challenging with pieces that finish 3/4", but I enjoy it!

This photo shows the scale of the blocks as I was quilting the diagonal lines with the walking foot. The finished block size is 2.25" and there are 271 pieces in the quilt.

Here is my January miniature quilt measuring 16" square. 

Because most (all?) of the scrap pieces (except the sashing) are William Morris fabrics, I am calling this "William Chains".
 I like the strong diagonal neutral chains in this design. 

To see the links to the other January miniature quilts, hop over to The Constant Quilter.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Teaching and Giveaway

Triangle classroom
Last week I enjoyed teaching a machine quilting class at Triangle Sewing. They have such a wonderful classroom, large and spacious for spreading out quilts, and windows all around the room ... a wonderful place to spend a day. You can see my demo samples on the table and my  finished quilts behind.

quilt stack!

This is the stack of quilts I brought to show the students a range of quilting designs they could learn. One of my favourite quilts is hanging on the ironing board... Save The Bees was last year's BOM pattern by Jacquelynne Steeves. Each border was quilted with a different design... bricks, swirls, and ribbons.

machine quilting demo
And I brought another one of Jacquelynne's patterns to demo some quilting. This is my Happy Little Things quilt and I am demonstrating how to quilt a wishbone design in the floral border. Two more borders to go and this will be finished!

And while we are talking about Jacquelynne, hop over to her site to enter the Grand Prize draw for the Happy Little Things wrap up. It's a reminder to get your free patterns before they are deactivated. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Chocolate Dance is over!

My January UFO is done! 

Finished "Chocolate Dance"
So exciting to start off 2020 accomplishing the goal that I set for myself in the first month of the year! I hope this sets the trend for my whole year!
Here is the finished quilt being held up by my son. It doesn't drape well due to having no batting, but you get the effect of how it looks.

Here it is laying in the snow! It's a miracle that when it's horizontal, it lays flat! 
I'm shocked!
Why does it look so much better now that it's finished and the struggle is over!?!?

I still love those scrappy chocolate themed border prints!

This quilt top was finished in the summer of 2018 and I'm doing the happy dance about the first finished quilt of 2020! That was only a year and a half from start to finish... woohoo! The quilting on this was a really hard process, and many lessons were learned in the finishing. It's amazing to me that after 25+ years of quilting, I am still learning new things about quilting!  
So proud to link up my finish at One Monthly Goal!