Saturday, February 29, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

I have written a series of posts this past week about my quilt retreat. One of the best things about being at retreat is getting fabrics scraps from other quilters! Besides accepting gifted scraps from friends, I have also been known to rescue pieces out of the trash bin, such as some of the scraps in these sweet Shoo Fly blocks.

SO DARN CUTE Shoo Fly blocks!
I particularly like the teal block in the middle which features pig bums, the block above that which features mountie hats, and the bottom left block which features a robin.  Now where are you going to find that kind of variety and unique fabrics except at a quilt retreat?!?

transitioning from orange to teal scraps!
I had so much fun cutting and sewing these little 4" blocks that the Shoo Fly project constantly threatened to derail my daily sewing goals! I endure a lot of good natured ribbing from my fellow retreaters who like to tease me about the quilting tangents I fly/sew off on!

Here in the Shoo Fly collection on the design wall with a total of 96 blocks made so far.

I am constantly going back and forth between the idea of adding sashing, and just sewing them all together. Thoughts?
Linking up to the weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge party.

Friday, February 28, 2020

A Finished Quilt!

One of the happiest events for a quilter is to actually finish a quilt (although starting one is quite happy too!) And if it's a pretty quilt that you really like, well that's even happier!

Happy Little Things hanging on my dining room wall

This is my version of "Happy Little Things" which was a quiltalong by Jacquelynne Steeves. Each month a free embroidery pattern plus a pieced block pattern was revealed. I enjoyed making this quilt so much, that it did not spend any time in the UFO closet at all!

echo quilting with the open toe foot
I enjoyed stitching a variety of machine quilting designs including stitch-in-the-ditch along the sashing with the walking foot, curved line quilting in the blocks, and echo quilting with the open toe free motion foot around the embroidery.

I quilted the last two borders at retreat. They were fun to quilt as the quilt was completely flat (which means I did a good job of measuring and attaching the borders). 

 2 border quilting designs (from the quilt back)
The piano key borders have a simple diagonal grid, the floral border has a wishbone design which I really love to quilt, and the last border has an uneven diagonal grid following the fabric design. It was wonderful to have a binding to hand stitch in the evenings while winding down for bedtime, and enjoying the quiet conversation with fellow retreaters.

"Happy Little Things" in the shadows
I took the quilt for an outing to try to get some good outside shots, because the colours in this quilt are hard to photograph with a flash. However, winter photography is challenging here in the winter. As it turns out it was too windy and too sunny to get a good shot but it was fun anyway.  Here it is on my favourite bridge with some weird shadows. Well, I guess along with all the happy things in life, we do also get some shadows!

This photo doesn't have the shadows and shows the true colour of the fabrics. It also shows some of the quilting. Not only am I happy that the quilt is finished, I'm so happy that it didn't fall into the river during the photo shoot!

Finished size of the quilt: 
42" x 52"

Linking up to Alicia's Finished (or not finished) Friday, Sarah's celebrations at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Cheryl's Favorite Finish.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Daily Goals vs. Time to Play

When I go to a quilt retreat I make a list of projects to work on. I like to set daily goals and give myself a bit of structure. 
I do this because I know that I can fall down into a rabbit hole quickly and start new projects accidentally (see the accidental quilt post). Starting new projects does NOT result in any projects being finished!
Also I am not one of those quilters who can bring 1 project and work on it for days. I usually work on 3 different projects each day - one piecing, one quilting, and one hand work for the evening. 

While at retreat I was gifted bits of fabrics and leftover scraps. This package arrived from a retreater's sister. I was so touched by the lovely note and the gift of scraps from a deceased quilter, and look forward to making some wonderful projects from this collection. It was very hard to focus on my retreat goals after receiving this gift, full of so much potential sewing fun.

But showing great self restraint, I did stay focused!

For the first 2 days of retreat I only worked on my 150 Canadian Women project and would not allow myself to play with anything else until I had some rows sewn together. 
But after that was accomplished I allowed myself play time with scraps and HST collections.

Here is a good example... My friend Jackie gave me a bag of red and white triangles, which were corners cut off of pieced blocks. Instead of throwing them in the garbage, Jackie gifted them to me. 

morning play time at quilt retreat
This was the second year that this bag of bits attended quilt retreat. I spent many happy hours sewing the triangles together, squaring the HST's to similar sizes, and playing with various block patterns. Some blocks have 4 HST's, and one block has 72 HST's. So fun! This is going to be my miniature quilt project for March.

Do you set quilting goals for retreat or do you just play with whatever strikes your fancy? Do you ever play with another quilter's garbage?!?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February Mini Quilt

When I started working on this mini quilt, I wasn't sure what it was going to become. These were some of the squares I started sewing 1" connecting corners onto. The number of pieces determined the size of the quilt.

I went with a layout of 2 X's and 2 O's.
One of the things I enjoy about miniature quilts is how quickly they can be made. The machine quilting time was less than 15 minutes. And it is so fun... no pulling and pushing and shoving the quilt through the machine as we do with large quilts. 

Another think I enjoy is using up small bits of fabric that other quilters might toss in the trash. My February mini quilt is a perfect example of this. The X and O blocks measure 2".

I took a little walk to take a perspective photo of this quilt, but I do not think I accomplished my goal since it looks quite large in this photo.
Oh well, you get the idea and can clearly see that this mini quilt brings colour and love to a very cold winter day.

Maybe this is a better perspective shot of finishing the quilt with a tiny label.

Wendy at The Constant Quilter will soon be posting the links to other mini quilts being finished this month.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Will you actually like quilt retreat?

Quilting retreats sound like so much fun when you're reading about them on a blog, but how do you know if you would enjoy attending a quilt retreat? I think it's similar to any kind of adventure, because if you are open minded and flexible, you can have fun anywhere (well, not on a coronavirus cruise!)
If you are a person who is particular and needs things (beds, food, people, etc) to be a certain way for you to be happy, quilt retreat is not for you. Also if you have specific dietary or sensory requirements to be comfortable, quilt retreat is not for you. 
It reminds me of an Adam Sandler Saturday Night Live skit. You can watch it on twitter here
"You're still going to be you on vacation"!

retreat sewing room late at night... most quilters are asleep!
Being on retreat is like being part of a big family where you accept that life is not going to go your way all the time, and you are not going to enjoy everything about your environment and the people around you 100% of the time. If you can be flexible, kind and generous, and have a good sense of humour, then you are going to LOVE quilt retreat!

Also, if you are a person who doesn't like to hear the opinions of others, quilt retreat is not for you. 
my retreat table 2019
I welcome the opinions of other quilters so that I can learn, and so that they can help me streamline the decision making process... especially on quilt layouts. You may not agree with everything that is said, but if you love to collect ideas, are open to hearing different artistic perspectives, and enjoy learning new ways of doing things, you are going to LOVE quilt retreat!

my retreat table 2018
I am just sooo deliriously happy at quilt retreat. I adore not having to shop, cook, shovel snow,  wash dishes, and clean. It's the only respite from the drudgery of life and for that reason alone, it is spectacular (for me).

my interesting friends even have interesting socks!!
But the cherry on top of that is being able to spend time with amazing women, soak up their creative energy, and benefit from their lived experience... what could be better?!?

Well, the sprinkles added on top of that... you get to sew all day long! You get to start new projects, finish old projects, see a wide variety of other quilter's projects, and truthfully it can be a little overstimulating at times! That's when you need to take a walk, get a massage, and/or take a little time to read quietly in your room.
Oh yah... and don't forget to sleep! Naps are luxurious if you don't have FOMO.
my retreat table 2020

I had such a wonderful time at my annual quilt retreat! I am catching up on sleep and putting away all my supplies and projects. I look forward to blogging about what I accomplished at retreat!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Design Wall Monday

I'm just back from quilt retreat and am catching up on my sleep! I am writing daily posts this week to share all the fun and accomplishments. Look for tomorrow's post called "Will you actually like quilt retreat?"

It was wonderful to be at retreat with 2 friends who are also sewing Bonnie Hunter's Frolic mystery. One friend has her quilt top finished already and one has just started sewing blocks. I am in between their accomplishments, having 12 blocks sewn together. We ventured outside to take a photo on a very cold day. It was also windy, so I'm glad we got a good shot of the finished quilt top.
3 Frolics!

Isn't it amazing how different fabrics can make the same quilt pattern look completely different? I just love that! 💖

12 Frolic blocks
I am going to sew my blocks on point and really like the curvy effect which you don't get with the straight set. This is the centre part of my quilt. I'm not quite half finished the centre blocks, and haven't started on the outside half blocks yet.

And look what I bought... a Frolic mug to enjoy my hot beverages while sewing thousands of blocks for this quilt! You can get this and any of the previous Quiltville mystery swag at Zazzle

If you order a sweatshirt, beware that the sizing is very generous. I measured myself and got a sweatshirt that is way too big and did not shrink at all in the dryer. Here I am at retreat, early in the morning, drinking coffee from my new Frolic mug, and wearing my too big Frolic sweatshirt.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday over at Small Quilts.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of hand stitching! Why not join us today as we make time to enjoy the benefits of relaxation with our favourite projects?

Last week I attended my annual quilt retreat and have written a series of blog posts to share this week. I made sure to fit in a little slow stitching every day. I enjoyed hand stitching the binding on my February miniature quilt. I'll post more about this quilt on Wednesday.

And of course I started a new project! 
This is a Stitcher's Revolution iron on pattern that says "life is short, lick the bowl". This will be an embroidered tea towel for a Christmas gift. I plan to stitch all 9 designs in this pattern collection this year eventually.

The other major hand stitching project this week was hand stitching the binding on my Happy Little Things quilt. I'm so excited that this quilt is almost finished, with just the binding to finish, the label to stitch on, and the hanging sleeve to attach. 

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

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

orange arrowheads
I finished 4 more orange arrowhead blocks for one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects. I still really enjoy sewing these blocks. The instructions are free here.  My blocks finish at 3" so they are a smaller version than the pattern shows.
arrowhead blocks
I also finished up the green blocks I had cut last month but didn't get sewn in January.
There are over 70 blocks in my collection now, and I am still enjoying making them, so this project will continue for a while longer.

I also sewed together the RSC 2018 Squared Away sampler blocks. 

I'm impressed with that grey alternate fabric and how it helps to make the blocks stand out. I'm calling this one "B whooo U R" and I think it will get 2 or 3 more borders.
Hop over to the weekly link up to see more scrappy projects being sewn.

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