Thursday, April 30, 2020

Finished UFO!

My April project was a relatively new UFO. It was started in August of 2018 which means this quilt was finished within 2 years. That is quite a miraculous happening in my quilty world!

Anita's Arrowhead

These blue arrowhead blocks are 9" and the most fun blocks to sew. The free pattern can still be found here. I like making this block so much that I am also making a scrappy miniature arrowhead quilt using 3.5" blocks.

All the quilting was done with the walking foot. 
Boring stitch-in-the-ditch. Boring. 
Vertical, horizontal and 3 diagonal lines in both directions across every quilt block. 
Snore. Boring. 

I know some people really enjoy straight line quilting, but I do not. However, this quilt was very happy with it and it turned out to be an effective choice for this quilt. And maybe it was the perfect pandemic activity when my brain is tired from trying to learn so many other things in this new reality.

I used the 6" ruler with painter's tape so I could easily line up the diagonal on the ruler with the border seam, draw the 45 degree angle extending the quilting line into the border, and then stitch to the edge. 
I did that 112 times!

The binding was made up of leftover backing scraps plus one blue FQ that I scavenged from "the twist" mystery project. These black gold Clover needles are my favourites, but a needle threader is an essential tool since the needle eye is so small.

Here is how the quilt looks from the back. The fabric is called "Bella Suede" from P & B Textiles.
Pretty cool quilting design!
Finished size: 55.25" x 79.75"

quilt finished as the forsythia blooms
Proudly linking up to One Monthly GoalFavourite Finish at Meadow Mist, and Alycia's Finished (or not) Friday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April Miniature

I finished my April mini quilt with one day to spare!
working on the layout on my messy sewing table
The seeds of this quilt were donated "cut off corner" triangles from a red and white quilt that my friend Jackie made. Instead of throwing them in the garbage, she gifted them to me. They were a range of sizes and it took a long time to get all the triangles turned into HSTs, then squared up to similar sizes, and sewn together in pinwheel blocks. 
No triangle was left behind! 
Then the blocks waited for another couple of years, aging to perfection.

Then I sewed similar sized pinwheels together and ended up with 15 blocks of different sizes. White sashing and borders were added and the quilting was done by walking foot... simple straight lines.

The HSTs in the centre block are .5" and there are 36 of them in that 3" block! So tiny and adorable! There are a total of 116 HSTs in this quilt (anyone want to check the math for me?!?! LOL)  and the finished size is 15.5" x 15.5".

I couldn't resist taking a photo of the quilt in the backyard to show that the rhubarb patch is up and the grass is turning green! Spring is finally here!
Hop over to The Constant Quilter later this week where Wendy will post the links for the April miniature finishes.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Unity on the Design Wall

I have been enjoying the Unity mystery project by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville. My 'logical' brain told me not to start another project, but my 'suffering from social deprivation in the pandemic' brain said... go ahead, you NEED this treat!

I have spent many happy hours cutting little pieces and even brought out one of my precious vintage machines to sew these blocks. First I had to find the exact 1/4" seam allowance because there is no wiggle room with these small blocks. This seam guide ruler is perfect for the job. I put painters tape on the machine bed to show me where to line up the pieces being sewn.

This is my set up for sewing and pressing.

Sewing on 1952 Charity Singer

I am sewing the blocks together in rows and using the Shoo Fly blocks as leader-ender pieces. See how the thread spool is sitting on the sewing machine bed? Apparently Aurifil thread likes to be unwound from the top and not the side, so the tension of the stitches was more even when I put the spool there instead of on the spool pin.
Here is my progress so far. Part 3 has been put on the quilt and I just love it!

I'm pretty tickled about that dotty sashing fabric that I had to piece to make it useable to finish up this round.
I have just started part 4 but look at this...
my friend Nancy has already finished this sewing and it looks fantastic! I'm excited that we will have quilts that are cousins...similar DNA but very unique! 

Part 5 is posted today at Quiltville and I'm going to try not to look at it until I finish sewing part 4... just to postpone the suspense! We need every bit of fun and excitement and things to look forward to while we're staying safe at home.
Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate the art of creating things with our hands. Any hand stitching activity is welcome here :)

I have been spending a lot of time making the dreaded "m' word in my quilt studio. It's all negative energy and extremely draining for me, but I'm doing it because... well, it needs to be done to protect the people we love, and to protect those we don't even know! I made masks for my family and friends, and made matching caps for my sister and niece who work on a COVID unit.

I do enjoy when they send me photos of my "work in action", and tell me how much they appreciate my efforts, but truthfully it makes me so angry that I am working on COVID response clothing so my loved ones can do their jobs with less pain, and why haven't people thought this through before?!?! 

Handwork has fallen by the wayside this week, with only hand stitching buttons onto caps so my sister's ears don't fall off. Well, I guess her ears won't actually fall off, but when she has to take Tylenol just to go to work and endure the daily pain of wearing N95 masks... well, just... wow! I have to ask why hasn't this problem been solved a long time ago? Why am I trying to MacGiver a solution to this professional practice issue?!?!

So, all of this to say, I haven't taken a single stitch in any of my relaxing hand stitching projects. That must be remedied today for sure.

Please encourage me (and all of us) with your hand stitching projects. I can't wait to see what you are creating and look forward to visiting with you today.

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

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

It's the last week of sewing blue scraps over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I didn't make much progress on my ongoing RSC projects, but I was surrounded by blue all month with my various projects and I used up a lot of blue scraps in the Quiltville Unity mystery. These measure 1.5" so they finish at 1" in the quilt. So darn cute!

And here they are sewn into some of the sawtooth variation blocks I'm making for the part #3 Unity quilt border. Each little block has 21 pieces for a total of over 750 pieces for just this step of the mystery!

I have been sewing a few little shoo fly blocks because they are the perfect leader-ender project. 

Can you see the little HST behind the needle as I sew this row of Unity blocks together? And the Shoo Fly block pieces laid out on the pressing mat waiting to be sewn?

Here are the most recently sewn Shoo Fly blocks fresh off the ironing board. The block on the top left has a Y2K fabric in the centre,  (yes I still have some of that and it has to get used up) two blue fabrics from mask making leftovers, and an elephant print from a friend's scrap bag.

I'm also working on my 5th pandemic jigsaw puzzle. It's a challenging Ridley's puzzle that is mostly light blue pieces. I started by completing all the dog names.

And of course trying to finish my UFO of the month. I'm machine quilting this totally blue quilt, so I'm really getting my fill of blue this month!

Hop over to the RSC link up to see what the quilters are sewing with their blue scraps this week.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Mid week update

When blog readers start checking in to see if you're okay, you better write more blog posts! Thank you for your love and concern... especially Dotti who keeps an eye on me from Connecticut :)
My job is very stressful and I don't have much energy left at the end of the day to quilt. I do sew something every single day, but don't seem to have much accomplished to blog about.

4th pandemic puzzle

I just completed my fourth 1,000 piece Pandemic puzzle so that's an accomplishment to share I guess!

Also there are no quilting meetings or adventures to enjoy and report on, so there's not a lot of inspiration going on. It's quite a challenge for me to stay at home since my energy gets renewed by all the wonderful people with whom I usually have contact. There are many online things happening but since I sit at a computer all day now, I don't feel like being on the computer at night.

I did bring out one of my featherweight machines this week as a little treat for myself.

sewing HSTs on "Charity"

This is "Charity" and she was an "accidental acquisition" 4 years ago. She sews like a dream even though she is 68 years old. She does need a new belt and wiring, but that won't happen for a while. I sewed about 150 HSTs this week on Charity and enjoyed every minute of it.

9 more blocks ready to sew 
Here's the next batch of blocks cut out and ready to sew. Such a great scrap user project! See all those little 1.5" HST blocks that I'm using up instead of making flying geese for Part #3 of the Unity mystery? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm falling behind since part #4 of was already posted on Monday.
Oh well, it's not a race, and it's looking like I'll have plenty of time to finish this during the COVID19 social isolation restrictions.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Design Wall Monday

This is what is on my design wall this morning....the Quiltville Unity quiltalong project.

Again this week I was delighted to be able to use the blocks that were leftovers from the previous step. All those little 1.5" HSTs (finishing at 1") of the star points were bonus triangles from the round #2 flying geese. I didn't get all the blocks finished but I'm getting there. I will have to start cutting other scraps now since I've used up most of the extra HSTs.

sewing blocks for Unity part 3
I love this photo... it makes me happy to remember the hours of COVID19 angst that were soothed by making these little star blocks knowing that hundreds of other quilters around the world were sewing the exact same thing! 
You can see many wonderful photos on instagram: #unityquiltalong
I wasn't sure about adding another word to this quilt, but my friend Barbara suggested the word 'patience' and I am thinking about putting that across the top instead of star blocks all the way around.

Unity Quiltalong
Part 4 is posted today, so I am excited to see what we are sewing next! Thank you to the amazing Bonnie Hunter who is creating this project for us to enjoy. 
Linking up to Small Quilts.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday again, and that means it's time to relax with some hand stitching. Please join in by getting your hand stitching and putting in a few more stitches while we visit.

2 bright spots in a dreary week
I'm still on a soup making kick... can't seem to stop it yet. 
Here is the latest batch of 3 veggie soup with the cutest little daffodils that popped up this week. Since the pandemic started other soups I have made include broccoli, carrot, roasted garlic cauliflower, squash, asparagus, chicken noodle, and Thai carrot (made with peanut butter). Next up is potato soup since I've cleared out the fridge and freezer of all the vegetables. 

I'm making good progress on my hand embroidered tea towel. This is from a pattern collection called "Stitcher's Revolution" of iron on designs. This week I finished the rolling pin, all the letters, and the little heart. Today I look forward to unusual stitching that border design.

This really is a "no stress" hand stitching project. I just pick a colour of floss from my carefully organized storage system and start stitching.

I have been enjoying many online concerts during my COVID stitching. Did you catch the One World Together at Home concern last night? It was very inspiring. 

I enjoyed all the artists and the stories presented, and the global effort to put on a show like this. Here is a photo I took of Andrea Bocelli, the amazing pianist Lang Lang, and Celine Dion... they sang "The Prayer" and wow that was beautiful! Lady Gaga and John Legend joined in also... check it out here.

It brought me to tears thinking of all the health care workers who are sacrificing their lives to take care of COVID patients. Included in those brave superheroes is my baby sister, fighting on the front lines of COVID in one of the hardest hit areas in the USA. Here she is getting ready to gown up to get to work, hoping to save lives and also to stay alive herself. This is one of the reasons why I have been staying home for more than a month now while the world tries to get this virus under control. 
Save lives (maybe my sister's!) = STAY HOME!

What are you hand stitching today while we wait out COVID19?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Midmonth UFO Report

It's so hard to believe that April is half over. 
It has been a month since my office closed and we are working from home. In so many ways the time is crawling along at a painful snail's pace, and quilting is the only thing that makes it a bit more bearable.

Adding the border
My April UFO is finally at the quilting stage. I decided to add a border to the quilt top because while digging around in the stash for blue fabrics to make medical caps for my sister, I found a perfect border fabric. I was happy with how the borders went on especially with all the bias edges on this quilt.

The quilt was pin basted while I had a zoom meeting with some quilting friends. It's the only safe way to see friends in COVID times and we talked about our quilting projects, and our worries.

Let's quilt this thing!
Although some folks dislike the basting task, I find it meditational and spend the time thinking about some creative quilting designs I might want to try. Nothing came to me with this quilt. This quilt just wanted straight line quilting which is boring to quilt, but I guess that's what I'll be doing starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Unusual Quick Gift

A very talented friend of mine has been posting weekly online Facebook concerts for everyone to enjoy and although it was a technical challenge it worked out so well, and it made a huge difference for me (and everyone) in feeling connected and happy. 
As a result of my great enjoyment, I wanted to send a thank you gift and was thinking about what to include in a thank you parcel.

I made 2 little mug mats using halloween fabrics that I know he will like. The fabrics are from the Riley Blake line called Costume Maker's Ball.

Here is the back of the mats. So darn cute, quick and fun, and a little quirky... my favourite thing to make. It took away all the angst of making masks and caps.

As I mentioned on my last binding post, my favourite binding needle is the Clover black gold needle, but the eye is sooo tiny. 
I was relieved to find my needle threader... it's one of my favourite tools. This photo shows my needle threader and the relative size of these mug mats measuring 5.75" x 7". So fun to hand stitch that binding... see how it's a measuring tape?
And of course at this crazy time in the world, you have to include a roll of toilet paper, because that's just an amazing gift to receive! 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Unity and Courage

This weekend I enjoyed the challenge of creating the second round following Bonnie Hunter's Unity quiltalong.

I was delighted to discover that all the bonus HSTs from step #1 were the perfect size to use for this round. Did Bonnie do this on purpose to make me happy? I think so! It took a while to figure out how many HST blocks I need to make all the square in a square blocks. 

I decided to alternate the centres using the leftover blue and raspberry blocks from last week. I was going to make all the star points yellow, but it was too bright so I added in some happy greens and I loved that.

Then I worked on the inside corners blocks using the blue fabric and although it didn't turn out as I had thought it would, it was "good enough". 

I only had enough blocks for 3 sides of the quilt... what to do? I decided to add a different border to the bottom of the quilt using letters from the Word Play Quilts book.

The word that kept coming to my mind as I was sewing this weekend ...was courage.

I am so amazed by the courage that some extraordinary humans show, day after day, in terrible circumstances, putting their life and/or their own mental health on the line for others, many of whom have no appreciation for their sacrifice. And yet they show up the next day and show courage yet again. And for some of us, very day that we get up and live another day in the times of COVID19 requires courage!

I made the letters from one of Libs Elliot's fabrics from her Wild Side line of fabric. I used 1.5" strips of white and green to free piece the letters. I was amazed that the 7 letters turned out to be the perfect length to add to the bottom of the quilt. 

There is one more narrow border to add all the way around before I can start step #3 which will be posted today. 
Linking up to Small Quilts.