Monday, June 29, 2020

Shoo Fly on the design wall

The Quiltville leader-ender project from last July was the Shoo Fly block. Bonnie gave instructions for two blocks sizes and I made the 4" size because smaller blocks use up all the littlest scraps. A new project will be announced next month, so I have been motivated to get the 2019 leader-ender project finished. 

Auditioning sashing fabrics
You can see the list of leader-ender projects from the last 10 years here. Some years I have resisted starting something new, but on 4 occasions I have joined in the fun. Shoo Fly has been one of my favourite long term projects using up random scraps throughout the year. 

Once I had sewn 120 blocks, I decided to join 4 blocks together (chosen randomly) using white sashing. Then I attached a light floral sashing on 2 sides of each set of 4 shoo fly blocks.

💗 120 blocks sewn together in groups of 4 💗

I just need 20 more blocks to make another row and then it will be the perfect size and I can get the quilt top together before the next leader-ender project starts...woo hoo! 
Linking up to Oh Scrap and Small Quilts

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching weekly linkup party! If you like to stitch things by hand, you have found your tribe! Each week stitchers from around the world share their projects and slow progress to encourage and inspire us.

I have enjoyed some relaxing hand quilting on my pig mini quilt this week.  I am using pink thread to make all my uneven stitches visible and to add another layer of interest to this little piggy quilt. I hope to get the hand quilting done and the binding on to finish this quilt by the end of the June.

Hand stitching is helping all of us to get through the global pandemic... stitch by stitch we work our way through another day, another week, another month.  I hope you and your family are staying well and have decreasing number of COVID cases where you live. In Ontario Canada our "emergency orders" have been extended to July 15th but we have the lowest number of new cases (160) reported on Friday since this began in March, so maybe we are close to being free of COVID19... won't that be great?!? 

I enjoy learning about people who are discovering hand work while staying safe at home. I enjoyed reading this story about Ariel Bade-Shamai who started hand weaving with materials she had in her home as a way to cope with long days at home during COVID19. You can see her collection here.

What are you hand stitching today? We love to see your projects and hear how you are stitching your way through COVID times, so link up your blog post below and share with us.

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

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

It's the last Saturday in June, so our month of sewing up the pink scraps is coming to an end. 

A quilting friend shared a bag of scraps with me last week and I pulled out all the pink pieces. Can you guess what she has been sewing a lot of? 

She makes the fancy kind of face masks and has all these unusual shaped scraps left over.

So I started a new project - slab blocks from face mask scraps. Such a great idea!

In my search for pink scraps this month, I came across one that I think I'll just toss in the garbage. Not every scrap is a keeper!

12 Shoo Fly blocks left to sew
And I have been cutting up random scraps to make 12 more 4" Shoo Fly blocks to finish up the collection. I love these little piles of bits just waiting to be sewn in leader-ender style in between other projects.

Hop over to the RSC weekly link up to see what other quilters are doing with their pink scraps.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Masks.. and this little piggy

I did another round of sewing masks for the local family health team and emptied another spool of my favourite Aurifil thread.
I picked out some of my favourite bright and happy fabrics hoping to cheer people up. It's onerous to wear a mask, especially in the hot summer, but it's important to try to do everything we can to prevent even the slightest chance of passing on COVID to our friends and neighbours ....and so we carry on sewing masks and wearing them. 

I made 8 childrens' size in dinosaur fabric, and 20 adult size in fun bright fabric. They seem to need them as fast as we can sew them.

And then I took a break to sew the little piggy block into a quilt top. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and votes on Monday's blog post. This is the layout that was preferred. I sewed a white border around the pig, and then started filling in the empty spaces with chunks of background fabric.

And here is the finished quilt top. I hope to do some machine and hand quilting, and finish it this weekend. I can't decide whether to call this "Pandemic Pig" or "This little (greedy) piggy". Or do you have another suggestion for a name?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Design Wall Monday

This little project started in March when I sewed a pig block for National Pig Day. It inspired me to make a Pandemic theme quilt and I wanted the words "take what you need" to go around the pig. 

I enjoy making letters using the Tonya Ricucci style of letters from Word Play Quilts. I started with 1" strips and sewed and trimmed until I got letters of similar sizes. In this project the letters are about 2.5" finished.

So here is my question... which layout is better... should the words read in a clockwise circle around the centre pig block as in layout #1 or in a counterclockwise direction as in layout #2?

Layout #1 (clockwise)

Layout #2 (counterclockwise)

Please vote in the comments below and tell me which layout you prefer. The letter 'W' is a little unique looking, but I like it so I might just trim the top a bit and start sewing it together in which ever layout is preferred. Thanks for you help!
Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching Father's Day

Happy Summer Solstice and Slow Stitching Sunday! 
That is a lot of 'S' words to say in one sentence! And it's Father's Day here in Canada and I am thankful to be able to spend time with my Dad. We are so delighted that summer weather has arrived and we can enjoy some backyard visits. I'm fairly certain my Dad would not survive COVID and have felt desperate to protect my parents from this terrible virus.

Here is my Dad measuring how far I have to be away from him to keep him safe. It has been a challenging time for people who want to hug and reassure our loved ones.  We must constantly remind ourselves to stay 6 feet apart. So far, so good, even though we feel worn down from months in social isolation. We constantly joke about the switch from my teenager years when Dad was forbidding me to do fun but dangerous things, to present day COVID times where I am forbidding him to do fun but dangerous things! The forbidden activities are definitely much different now and include everything outside his house LOL!

Zoom has been a godsend and helps us to stay connected to family across the Canada/US border, which COVID prevents us from crossing. Who knew the Christmas visit would be the last time we could see family for a long time. 2020 will be the first year with no family camping trips, celebrations, or visits of any kind!

And so we keep on stitching, to keep ourselves stitched together through the stress. This past week I finished hand stitching the binding on a donation quilt and enjoyed every single stitch while sitting in my backyard. Today I will be back to hand embroidery and working on this tea towel pattern from Colonial Patterns

If you missing family today or are prevented from visiting or hugging your Dad due to COVID restrictions, I am sending you lots of virtual hugs and hope you will enjoy the hand stitching link up today. Stitch on!

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

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

I started a new project inspired by Nann who blogs at With Strings Attached. She calls it "waffle stamps" and you can see her most recently finished quilt here

Here is my first test block. It is made with 1.5" squares and strips, and it's a perfect RSC project to use up these size scraps. 
It's also a great leader-ender project, so it's a win-win in my sewing room!

Here are my first 4 pink waffle blocks. It's so fun to have a new RSC project. Don't you find that new projects have more energy than old ones??
Hop over to the RSC linkup to see what the quilters are sewing with pink scraps.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Patience is a virtue

If you are a blogger and haven't tried the new system yet, I encourage you to not wait until you are forced to learn. At this point we can go back and forth between the systems which is great. You can start writing a post in 'new blogger' and when you get frustrated, you can switch back to 'legacy user friendly blogger' and finish the post. Apparently we eventually won't be able to switch back and forth, so I recommend that you start learning now and spread out your frustration in manageable chunks!
It's a steep learning curve and a non-intuitive system. I am getting better at it and although it takes way longer than the old one, I am hoping that with practice, the frustration and time investment will decrease. 

I made up this sarcastic message from the Blogger:
"Dear faithful bloggers:
We are giving you many new options you don't want and won't use, and we're going to make the entire system harder to figure out, but we're not going to tell you how to do any of it. Good luck with that. 
The Blogger Team"

I have learned some tips and tricks from other bloggers but mostly it's a matter of navigating new screens and learning how to use new icons. And oh my... the new photo posting challenges!
Below is my attempt to learn about the new table feature where you can set many photos into a grid style. Photo posting is a whole new world!
The old blogger dashboard is on the left (note the warning about the system change in the yellow bar across the top) and the new dashboard on the right. Unfortunate changes.

If you don't get all the sizing and alignment set  correctly,  it will extend the grid to post right over top of the text in right hand side bar, but you won't know that unless you "preview" the post!! LOL (you just have to laugh because what else can you do?!?!)

Anyway, from blogger frustrations to quilt studio frustrations... 

I am sewing the blocks for the last border of the Unity quilt and realized I sewed some of the flying geese with opposite colour placement.

The pink should always be on the same side of the fling gees units. UGH. It's way too many pieces to fix, so unfortunately these blocks are staying like this.
And on we go... 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Finished Quilt

I just finished hand stitching the binding on my version of Carole's mystery pattern called "The Twist". I am very happy to have a finish this month already!

Scrap Dance Twist

It was a delight to create this quilt with the easy to sew but interesting blocks in the design, using pastel colours that I don't usually work with, and finding those sweet fussy cut centre blocks to use up. See how the Mama is taking away a spool of thread from the kitten? So sweet!

I used warm and natural batting, which is my favourite for machine quilting. It is needle punched so it doesn't have scrim or glue, and it can be quilted with lines up to 10" apart. I just love it!

This is the back of the quilt. I had the yellow yardage and extended it with a strip of blue print inserted vertically and horizontally at the midpoint.
Everything used in making this quilt was from the stash... total win!

This quilt is being donated to my guild comfort quilt collection. We all know that violence and sexual abuse did not take a holiday during COVID, and my local guild donates quilts to the pediatric sexual assault treatment team at our local hospital. 

Unfortunately is a very busy service all the time and the staff are grateful to have a quilt to wrap around a victim of abuse when they come into hospital. This is going to bring someone a big quilty hug and hopefully provide lots of comfort.

Finished size: 48" x 60"

Linking to Finished (or not) Friday

Monday, June 15, 2020

Shoo Fly blocks

Shoo Fly blocks are on the design wall today. This is last year's leader-ender project from Quiltville. I'm not exactly sure of my layout design yet. 
All I know is that I'm starting by sewing four blocks together with 1" white sashing between. I'm auditioning possible other sashing fabrics to be between these blocks. There are 120+ Shoo Fly blocks, so once I get them all sashed and see how that looks, I'll make more decisions from there. It's so much easier using sashing with these blocks... no seams to match.
Linking up to Small Quilts.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!

We are in full summer mode here, with long lovely evenings and lots of time for stitching in full light. It is one of my favourite times of the year.

And I am doing my favourite hand stitching activity today... finishing a binding. 

hand stitching a binding

This was last night's stitching and you can see the setting sun still peeking through and giving me lots of light to stitch by. I do love the 80 weight Aurifil thread. It is thin and glides through the binding so easily I hardly need a thimble to push the needle.

In my area some COVID restrictions are being lifted. Some businesses are opening and soon we might be able to get a haircut... so luxurious! It will be interesting to see the haircut that happens around a mask! We are waiting to see if we get a second wave of COVID but hopefully that will not happen now that we all know what we can do to stay safer. 

We may also be able to go camping this summer which will be so wonderful. All these activities we have taken for granted, that became forbidden and are now returning to our lives. I am so thankful!

Gratitude for everyone working hard to help us survive COVID19

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your progress with us. If slow stitching goes well today, I hope to be posting a finished quilt this week!

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

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

Blogging update: 
It has been a real challenge to start learning the new Blogger system. I have made several mistakes, had misdirected posts, weird layouts, difficulty loading photos, and lots of frustration. I am relying on the clever bloggers who have been able to figure out some things about the new system and to share what they learn with us. You can find some helpful info at the bottom of this post from Barbara, and
Lyndsey has posted some helpful tips for us hereIf you know of any other resources posts, please let us know in the comments. As Lyndsey said..."The blogging community is like a family and we all help each other. Especially in the current state of the world it would be very sad if anyone gave up."

Rainbow Scrap Challenge update:

Pink is the colour for June, and there is a lot of pink in my sewing room these days. Here are the flying geese blocks I am sewing for the last round on my Unity quilt.

pink shoo fly blocks
Also, this is the last month for the Shoo Fly leader-ender challenge. Next month Bonnie Hunter will announce another leader-ender project, so I would like to finish up his one. These are the newest blocks using pink scraps.

I have quite a stack of scrappy blocks ready to be turned into a quilt top and that's what I will be sewing today. I'm thinking of using 1" sashing strips so that I don't have to struggle to match all those bulky seams. The quilt will be whatever size it becomes when these are all sewn together.
Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Friday, June 12, 2020

Machine Quilting

Progress is being made on machine quilting the Twist comfort quilt. It has been a bright and cheery project to work on this month. 

The quilting started with my standard stitch in the ditch grid with the walking foot. I decided not to quilt the diagonal lines of the design which would go right through the adorable centre blocks.
After all the straight lines were quilted, the fun part started! I changed to the free motion foot and started quilting arcs in the HST blocks. Aren't the fussy cut centres just so sweet?

Then I quilted  more arcs in the empty yellow squares. I just eyeball the arc path, trying to sew a smooth curve from corner to corner. No marking. No rulers. Lots of wobbles and whoopsies. I'm fine with that. 
It's "good enough"!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Goal Setting in COVID

Have you heard the term "COVID time"? 
Since March I have noticed that my sense of time (and the amount of problems I think I can actually solve each day) is way off kilter. I'm not sure if anyone can relate, but days just blur into other days and there is so much to do on every level in life, and yet sometimes I am just starring into space doing nothing! 

It has affected my quilting productivity for sure. I have way less finishes this year so far. 
I got frustrated with my May OMG project, and it is heading back to the UFO closet. It was just too frustrating for the patience I have available right now. None of the seams were matching, and I remembered why it went to the UFO closet in the first place. I know it needs to be finished, and I will work on it again eventually, but just not right now.
I really want a fun project to finish in June. But since my brain is operating on COVID time, I missed the deadline for posting my goal on the OMG linkup. But I'll set a goal for myself just for fun anyway.
I would like to finish my scrappy Maverick Stars quilt. It is one of my favourite scrappy leader-ender projects. I enjoyed sewing every block, and finished sewing the quilt top at my friend Deanna's house last summer. It's a positive energy project that is perfect for working on during COVID time. The border decision was holding up the finishing of this quilt, but I've waited long enough for creative ideas to come to me... and they didn't. So this quilt is not getting a border.
I need to find a backing and batting, and then this quilt and I can have some fun!

Monday, June 08, 2020

Design Wall Monday

The Twist - pattern by Carole
My Twist quilt was on the design wall yesterday. It was such a fun quilt to sew. If you want the pattern, it's still available on Carole's blog, but will disappear shortly, so get it while you can.
I pieced a backing (no photo yet) making a piece of too small yardage into a workable backing by inserting a horizontal and a vertical strip through the centre. 

Now the quilt has been pin basted and is under the needle for some simple basic machine quilting. Nothing fancy on this one. It's going to be a donation quilt and I'd like it to be finished this month if possible.
Linking up at Small Quilts

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! Our goal is to encourage you to pick up your project, put a few stitches in, take some deep breaths, and enjoy the happy feelings that may result!

I hand quilted some stitches in my Life is Beautiful project. I especially liked stitching this block as the message seemed timely considering all the events of this past week. These are quilt-as-you-go blocks, and once they are quilted, the quilt will be ready to assemble. But I'm not in a rush... I've been slowly working on the blocks for over 5 years.

We would love to see what you are hand stitching today, so link up your blog below and share your slow progress with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, June 05, 2020


I am aware that my post today might be similar to me complaining about having a sliver when people around me are in agony, suffering and dying. I am also aware of the judgmental attitudes that have surfaced in the blogging world (which is a microcosm of the real world) exerting pressure on everyone to say/do the right thing, on the right day, in the right way. If you're needing some brilliant and insightful commentary on the state of the world, this is probably not the blog post for you to read today. 
I am working hard on staying positive for my kids and everyone (I found this article from Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith helpful)... and I would like to be able to keep blogging, as it has helped to sustain me over the years, and I hope it has helped others to stay positive and to use our love of quilting to keep ourselves stitched together. And so I need some help from my fellow bloggers about the new Blogger system.

Canvas art I purchased to support a small business during COVID - by Curly Girl Designs

Google/Blogger has changed to a new format, and we are being forced to relearn how to blog. We have until the end of June to learn the new system.
We all hate change (hence why we can't seem to get rid of COVID or racism). We get used to the way things are, and find comfort in knowing that things are working in a predictable way. And it takes so much energy, especially now, to relearn our programming. But re-learn we must.

And at a time in the world when everything has been changing and we are relearning how to do all the very basic tasks of life, including how to find food safely, and how to stay connected to our loved ones without being with them, it seems quite bit mean (IMHO) for Blogger to change their system now. The change is reportedly being made to allow easier blogging from mobile devices. 
I have really enjoyed blogging for 15 years, and now it is a source of constant frustration.

For bloggers who are not committed to the practice or who don't love the process, I predict this change will be the end of their blogging journey. As for me, I will try to muddle along, hanging onto my hopeful belief that as time passes, all humans can become accustomed to all changes.

Reportedly I'm going to enjoy the ability to blog from my phone (highly unlikely since I use my phone as a phone, not as a computer) and supposedly I'll be able create tables of photos. But for now, I cannot even figure out how to post one photo properly. I struggled to write this post in the new blogger and changed back to the old format to fix it and be able to post. But our days are numbered in terms of the ability to utilize the old reliable blogger. 

The Twist - a mystery pattern by Carole

And to add some recent quilty content today, here is a photo of my most recently sewn quilt top (which I was only able to post on the old system).

I'm a fairly intelligent person, and when I can't even locate resource information to help me figure this out, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the new changes are a fail!

However, we are an adaptable and resilient species, so we try to blog/live on in the midst of all the upheaval, turmoil and changes.

My questions today are: 
1) does anyone know where I might access "how to" information on using this new blogger platform? It appears to be well hidden and/or unavailable!
2) does anyone know of a more user friendly blogging platform in case I actually can't figure this out within the next 26 days?
If so, please leave a comment below or send me an email. 
Sending love out to all of my blog readers around the world today, and hoping we can stay connected through all of our current challenges 💖