Sunday, May 31, 2020

May Mini Quilt

sorting scraps
This month's mini quilt was started during a zoom meeting. I had a pile of scraps that were slightly out of view of the camera, and I enjoyed myself so much more by multitasking with fabric!

sewing the last goose
When the meeting ended I began sewing a few flying geese blocks and just kept going until I had enough for a little quilt. You can see the piles of scraps still needing to become part of something. My January mini quilt was made from the same collection of scraps.

stitching the hanging sleeve

Sometimes I wonder why I make these little things. They serve absolutely no purpose, except to make me happy in a way that is not logical or explainable. You can see that the hanging sleeve is about the size of my needle.

And here it is... may I present to you "Of course I still love you". 

"Of course I still love you"

The title is the name of the SpaceX drone ship which was repeated so often during the televised launch yesterday. I was stitching the binding while watching the replay of this historic event.

Finished size: 5" x 5.75"

Hop over to Wendy's blog The Constant Quilter to see more miniature quilts made in the month of May. 
Linking up to Cheryl's Favorite Finish, Alycia's Finished (or not) Friday, and Cynthia's Oh Scrap party.

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of hand stitching! It's the one time a week where we make sure to set aside some special moments for playing with needles and thread/yarn. We hope you will join us!

We had a heat wave here this week, so I was only doing hand stitching since it was too hot to sit at the sewing machine. The only comfortable place was in the back yard in the evenings, so until the mosquitoes made me their evening snack, I enjoyed some hand stitching time.
"Rainbow Stars" quilt was auctioned for $1,650!

One of my happy moments this week was watching the online quilt auction for the Mennonite Relief Sale. I have attended this fundraiser for at least 15 years, and was so sad that since COVID rules prohibit any public gatherings, it needed to be an online event this year. They managed to host a great online event and raised a lot of money for their international charity work. I stitched my way through the event, trying not to miss the real in person event, the strawberry pies, the tea balls meeting my quilting friends, etc.

And since my goal is to make Slow Sunday Stitching posts encouraging and positive, I wanted to share with you a gift I received this week. I have made a lot of masks over the past couple of months, including masks for any of my kids' friends that wanted them.

Tuesday night I found this on the porch... a lovely thank you card and homemade brownies! 
The card says...
"Making the world a nicer place, one mask at a time"!
I must say that made me a little weepy. 

Okay now it's your turn.
What are you hand stitching this week? Do you have any good news to share to cheer us up? Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project with us.

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

Saturday, May 30, 2020

From Green to Pink

We are finishing up dark green month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It's not my favourite colour to sew with, but it is one of my favourite colours to see at this time of the year especially. I didn't accomplished much in the sewing room, but in my life there has been a lot of green!

I planted a variety of seeds that are finally sprouting. I think this is an emerging zucchini plant.

And I've made lots of healthy = green meals. 
I think I'm coming to the end of my soup making obsession. I only made one batch this week with 3 different green veggies in it and still managed to make it taste good!

So now we are moving on to pink month.
Pink is one of my favourite colours to sew with and I am looking forward to playing with the pink scraps!

Part 6 of the Unity quilt needed a lot of pink HST blocks. I always trim them down to the exact right size, although when I look at this photo I wonder about my sanity... look how tiny the slivers are that I am fussing around with! 

Now I am cutting out pieces for round 8 and this is how the block will look. It has all the recent RSC colours... blue April, green May and pink June, so it's the perfect block to sew today.
Linking up to the RSC party.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Heating Up!

We went from snow and hail on Mother's Day May 10th to a heat wave this week. 
hail on pile of quilts
This is a photo of the preparations for Mother's Day - a pile of quilts to wrap around my 2 kids who were coming for a backyard, socially distant visit. It was cold enough to wear our winter coats and be wrapped up in quilts. 
Over the past 2 weeks the temperature rose more than 30 degrees (Celsius) . It's quite an extreme and rapid weather change for which I was unprepared! I don't have the window air conditioner installed in the sewing room yet and it's too hot to sit at the machine and sew! 

Hand stitching to the rescue!
Sometimes is has even been too hot to hold the needle without sweating, but evenings have been comfortable.
I'd like to give a shout out to Kathleen in Connecticut, who is a hand stitcher and wanted to know the size of this embroidery pattern. I measured it for you and the length of the rolling pin is 6.25". You can order the pattern though Colonial Patterns. It would be a great tribute to your pie making Mom and sister!

Your smile for the day... if it wasn't so hot outside, I'd consider returning to this old style of women's clothing to help me maintain a safe, socially distant life! 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Unity Sewing

The weekend provided some time for catching up on my version of the Unity mystery. I have been delighted at how easily each round of this medallion mystery has attached to the growing quilt top. The practice of adding so many borders really does help to improve the skills. I don't know why it seemed so hard a few years ago?!? LOL 

another finished cone of Aurifil

I played thread chicken when adding this long border. Can you believe that I used up another large cone of white Auriful thread. That's 5,900 metres of thread (or 6,452 yards if you aren't familiar with metric measurement) which represents A LOT of sewing. Luckily I have another cone of white thread ready to keep on sewing.

Here is the quilt on my too small design wall after adding part 5 to the top and bottom. I can't believe how much I like this quilt considering the fabric was completely unplanned and all from stash.

This week I will sew some letter blocks for the next word in part 7. 

Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly linkup where we celebrate the art of hand stitching! 
Make a cup of your favourite beverage to enjoy while you visit the blogs of slow stitchers around the world. It's the perfect way to start your Sunday! 

I have been enjoying lots of outdoor time and doing spring time chores like digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and trimming everything that is growing so quickly this time of year (including weeds). But still, Sunday is dedicated time to slow down with hand stitching. 

Some progress is being made on my Stitcher's Revolution 
embroidered tea towel. The inside of the design is stitched and I'm working on the outside. I like how it all fits inside this perfectly sized hoop.

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

For the past 2 months the two primary projects in the sewing room have been the Unity mystery and mask making. 
musician face masks
The requests for face masks is starting to ease up, so that means more quilting time. Yah! For some reason it doesn't feel as "heavy" or emotionally intense to sew the masks as it did in March and April. Are you finding that too? Maybe it's because it appears as though the medical staff have enough of the approved N95 masks at the moment and the worry about their safety and protection has eased a bit?

I am actually starting to enjoy picking fabrics from my stash to match the interests of receivers. I'm seeing about a quarter to a third of shoppers wearing masks around here. And I get compliments every single time I wear mine (the one at the top of this photo) to the grocery store! 

May Mini Arrowheads
And in between those two projects, I am using my mini arrowhead blocks as leader-ender pieces. It's just fun to watch blocks build slowly over time. These are the green blocks made in May so far. If they look familiar it might be because I finished a blue bed size Arrowhead quilt last month. These little blocks will be 3" in the mini RSC version.

Here are the 25  green blocks in the collection so far. You can see more of the block collection here.  

Linking up to the  RSC weekly scrap party.

Friday, May 22, 2020

A whole lot of sewing going on!

Starting the Quiltville Unity quarantine project was such a great idea! It has been a wonderful distraction and a ton of piecing of small scraps which I really enjoy! 

Be adaptable!
I loved sewing these green and blue flying geese blocks for part 5 and think it was my favourite step of this mystery.

The blocks for part 6 HSTs and then part 7 spinning pinwheels were quite labour intensive. But using the bright pink was a great decision. It kept my interest and filled the sewing room with bright energy.

I am almost completely out of neutrals so am looking forward to the time when I can visit all my favourite quilt stores to stock up again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Having PATiENCE with letters!

For some reason my Unity quilt wanted words added, so I have been sewing letters this week. 
sewing letters
It is a completely different process to sew traditional  pieced blocks vs. letter blocks. When I am sewing letters I get in a "creative zone", just sewing and cutting and not really evaluating or counting, but just playing. 
And then I have to step back and see what I actually made. 

I say to myself "what 3 things would I like to improve?" I do that because I know that the 'evaluation stage' can take forever and cause the project to move into the UFO closet. 
So I give myself a limit to pick 3 things.
Here is the first set of letters for the word 'patience'. I made all capitals except the letter 'i' for some unknown reason, but I like it. 

The 3 things I wanted to change... 
1) make the letter 'p' taller, 2) make the letter 'a' background narrower, and 3) fix the letter 'n' which didn't look right to me.
Once those changes were made, the next step is to figure out the length of the word needed to fit the border space. I needed to sew 2 more pinwheel star blocks and add a piece of white to each side of the word to make the border fit the size of the quilt.

I was very happy with how it was coming along, but then the letter 'G' in COURAGE was still bugging me, so I will make a tiny alteration. 

Next up... flying geese blocks will be flying onto the top and bottom of the quilt!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Midmonth UFO Report

I chose a happy but challenging project for the May UFO project. 
Sweet Sixties layout
Here is the layout of the blocks. Those dark reds really pop out so they needed to be carefully sprinkled around. I have sewn the 2 left columns together.
There are so many bias seams, and angles to sew. Plus about half of these blocks were started 10 years ago, and my piecing has improved considerably over the years. Let's just say... the blocks don't fit together very well! There has been a lot of stretching,  trimming and seam alterations... tuck in a little, let out a little. And I have been saying "that's good enough" over and over to myself.
See the pieces for Frolic at the bottom of the design wall?!?! They are still waiting for attention since the Unity project caused havoc in the sewing room!

I took all the pieces off the design wall and pinned them together to take to the sewing machine. This little pile represents so many hours of sewing and organizing!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up of hand stitched projects! I was thinking this week how ironic is it that for years I have encouraged the stitching community to slow down, and now the world has screeched to a halt, and people have been forced to stay home!
We are all on an enforced slow down and it has been hard for some people. While the uncertainty is troubling, I must say that I have enjoyed the slowing down part and am so thankful to have my stitching to keep me sane as the days crawl by. I am farther along in embroidering this Stitcher's Revolution tea towel, but I didn't take a more recent photo of the progress. It has been meditative and relaxing.

rhubarb juice and muffins
It's rhubarb season here and I love all things rhubarb... here you see part of the little patch that was planted by my mother-in-law about 25 years ago and still provides plenty of rhubarb each season. I have already made rhubarb juice, rhubarb muffins, stewed rhubarb and strawberry rhubarb jam.

This is what I'll be doing again today... enjoying the great outdoors, having more rhubarb products for breakfast, and putting in some stitches.

What are you hand stitching today? 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, May 15, 2020

More Unity

Sewing blocks and parts for the Unity quilt continues this week. 
I wish I could produce my blocks in an organized and orderly fashion - cut all the pieces, sew all the pieces, press them all, and trim the HSTs. 
But I can't. Somehow it seems like a lot for my brain to handle these days. So I'm doing it in spurts here and there, randomly cutting and sewing, having no idea how many I still need or have already finished. Just making slow and steady unorganized progress.

part 7 blocks
Blocks are getting made, and I really like them, although it is a lot of pink!
And my sewing time is relaxing and way more fun than sewing masks, so maybe that's the most important thing!

Here are my first blocks for part 7 on the design wall (with the flying geese strips from part 6).
Blocks from parts 6 and 7

I enjoyed this quarantine singalong with the Phoenix Chamber Choir in Vancouver as I sewed... sing along...

Monday, May 11, 2020

Design Wall Monday - Unity

It has been wonderful to watch all the versions of the Quiltville Unity mystery popping up on instagram. I do miss the good old days where we had a link up on the Quiltville blog and could leisurely visit all the mystery quilters, but seeing the photos on instagram is inspiring too.

This is how my version is looking today... almost finished part #4

I want to make another word for the top border, but couldn't decide which word. I don't want to let my indecision hold up the process, so may end up picking a word from a hat!

And so I move on to step #5 which is flying geese blocks.

I rediscovered this awesome Tamara Kate fabric in my stash which was being saved for a special project... and this is it! I used the whole fat quarter and added in other neutrals for these blocks.

Some of these are really old scraps and I'm so happy to use them up. See that blue green fabric on the bottom right... it's from a quilt finished in 2012!

I am sewing the flying geese blocks using 2 different techniques and really do prefer cutting all the pieces from the Essential Triangle tool ruler and having no waste.
I'm also enjoying the wool pressing mat and am saving the dog ears in a jar... for no reasons other than it makes me happy to look at the jar!
Linking up to Small Quilts design wall Monday

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching!
We have been meeting here weekly for almost 8 years to encourage each other in our hand stitching endeavours. We hope you will join us by linking up your blog post or by leaving supportive comments on the links below. We all need a little extra loving these days!

In Canada we are celebrating Mother's Day today, so Happy Mother's Day to all our moms... the moms that we miss and wish we could be with today, and the moms who have passed on. Sending you gratitude and love for all you have done to give us a good life and to make the world a better place!

This week I have been hand quilting more Life is Beautiful blocks. I quilt a vertical and horizontal line through the block and then I trace around a dinner plate using my Bohin pencil (which I love) and quilt on that circular line.

Here is the next finished block. I usually hand baste large stitches around the outside of the block to secure the edges to make it easier to add the sashing when it comes time for putting them together (quilt-as-you-go style). Not sure how many blocks to go after 5 years of working on this project. I'm not in a rush... it's hand embroidered and hand quilted, so it takes a while!

I'd like to share another kind of hand work with you today... rock painting.  A thankful woman started a "gratitude garden" at our local hospital and it has grown to be a beautiful display of appreciation and beauty. This is the garden just outside the emergency entrance on the front lawn.

Sometimes after work I go by and admire all the wonderful creativity and the kindness of people who take the time not only to paint the rocks, but also to bring them to the hospital. You can see that some are made by children, some name specific staff, some are amazing works of art.

Also some signs have also been added to the display. So much gratitude and appreciation made visible.

I hope this display of amazing creativity encourages you today! There are so many good people in the world who are loving and kind and generous, and when they decide to make themselves known, the world is changed! 

What wonderful thing are your hands making today to add to the beauty in the world? 
Thank you for all the positive energy you provide to our hand stitching community and to the world... it is so needed and appreciated!
Link your blog post below and share your project with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, May 08, 2020

Life during Covid19

In March I resisted sewing face masks. I just couldn't bear to have the negative energy invade my sacred quilting space. 
face masks, half made with hair elastics
But the reality of the world situation required me to adapt, and so I did some exposure therapy on myself, and by the time April rolled around I was cranking out the protective gear

For a while I couldn't get any elastic, and made a few masks with ties but I didn't like those. Then I was using hair elastics and that worked okay, but were hard for my sewing machine to stitch through and I broke a few needles. 
Thanks to my friend Gail who generously shared her elastic with me, I can now keep up with the demand for more masks. 

I made 25 masks for the crew at my daughter's job since they couldn't source any masks to purchase, and I have made many for family and friends, elderly parents of my friends, and anyone who asks me.

I was relieved that my efforts to help my sister with her ear pain were successful. I sewed some surgical caps with buttons on the side to hang the N95 masks on. Her ears are much happier and she doesn't need as much pain medicine to get through a shift. Yes, they wear 2 masks and a face shield to go into COVID patient rooms.

I like this story about a young man who developed ear guards on his 3D printer... creative genius! It would be awesome if all hospitals, nursing homes and funeral homes had a big supply of those.

And here is a sight to be excited about... so much toilet paper on the previously empty shelves! The hoarders must be all full up so now there is some for the rest of us! LOL

And I must say that I feel very thankful to live in a town where the gratitude of the people is more visible than the anger and agitation that is occurring in other places in the world. 

Thankfulness of a neighbourhood family

And although I miss my regular life and my friends very much, I'm content to stay safe at home, sew face masks every day, and await the advice of the experts about what we're going to do next to get through this pandemic as quickly and as safely as possible.

I'll be in my quilt studio today sewing face masks, flying geese for the next Unity border, and making green mini arrowhead blocks. They are all leader-ender projects for each other. Linking up to RSC.