Thursday, December 31, 2020

Getting ready!

Like most people I am relieved to see this year come to an end. It really was an unbelievably stressful year for so many around the world and I cannot wait to celebrate at midnight when a brand new year will begin. 

I plan to begin the new year with healthy habits, so I'm going to start a new quilt tomorrow! Kris from Scrapdash is hosting a one day mystery quilt and I have everything cut out and am ready to sew for the whole day. Why don't you join us?!?

I pulled out these fabrics from the stash - blue for the background, plus 11 yellow and gold fabrics.


Then I got down to business working on the first step (already posted) which is cutting up the fabric. I'm so ready to fling myself into into 2021 and spend January 1st sewing!

Wishing us all a very happy and healthy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Best of 2020

Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is hosting her annual linky party to celebrate our 2020 favourites. Hop over to check out the amazing eye candy here. I enjoyed participating last year (click here to read my 2019 post) and find it a fun process to select five favourites.

In 2020 I finished 9 lap/bed quilts, 9 miniature quilts, 3 placemats, and 4 mug mats. Of the finished quilts, I gave 7 away (4 to loved ones and 3 to my guild's comfort quilt collection) and kept 2 for myself. All of the placemats and mug mats were given away, and all of the minis I kept.

In this post I am going to feature my 5 favourite 2020 finishes.

1) My favourite pandemic quilt: This Little Pandemic Piggy 

2) Favourite miniature quilt: Stars at night

3) Favourite scrappy quilt: Shoo Fly

4) Favourite one colour quilt: Anita's Arrowhead

5) Favourite Embroidery quilt: Happy Little Things

Thanks for visiting my blog in 2020 and I look forward to many more creative endeavours in 2021!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Another Quick Finish

This is the third placemat I have made from the scrap bin. There were a lot of little William Morris prints in a random scrap bag that someone gave me, and I cut them to either a large or small square, or a rectangle. I sewed them together like a jigsaw puzzle and really enjoyed the process. The scraps looked pretty in the bag, but seeing them all sewn together is a bit much! Perhaps it needed some sashing to give the eyes a place to rest?

Oh well, it's done now.

It has another William Morris fabric for the  backing. I did some minimal stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.

Here are all three placemats on the design wall. I have a couple other bags of scraps waiting to become a placemat next year!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Design Wall Monday

Are you sewing along with the Grassy Creek mystery or are you cheering from the sidelines? Some people like to collect the mystery pattern and make the quilt once they know what the design will be like and can pick the fabrics they want. I like to "live on the edge" with my mystery quilting. It's the process that is so fun for me and I don't really care about how my fabric choices turn out in the finished quilt

And sometimes you get a spectacular quilt, like the 2013 Quiltville mystery called Celtic Solstice, and I called my version Angel Solstice. So beautiful!

I am keeping up with this year's mystery so far (making half the units each step). I enjoyed watching the 1947 black and white movie called The Bishop's Wife while I sewed some part 4 blocks. 

On the weekend before Christmas my local quilt guild hosted a Saturday zoom sew along and there was a "break out room" for folks who are making this year's Quiltville mystery . Here we are working on whatever step each of us were sewing. 

So fun to sew and chat with guild friends we haven't been able to meet with since February, and to meet new friends! 

Let's face it - how many other ways can you have an adventure during covid lockdown?!?

Some of my part 4 pieces are on the design wall today and I enjoyed playing with different arrangements. This was a fun block to make. 

This is how I am storing the blocks as we go along. This is the packaging that new bed sheets come in. You can see through the clear plastic, it has a zipper with a pink tassel, and it is the perfect 'free' storage container for mystery pieces.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the last Slow Sunday Stitching link up for 2020! It has been another wonderful year of being inspired by your beautiful hand stitched projects each Sunday. Thank you for sharing your blog posts, and for every encouraging comment you took the time to write to another stitcher over the course of the year.

I finished another knitted dishcloth just in time for Christmas gift giving. Can you tell what this one is? This red yarn is impossible to photograph.

Maybe if I make it a black and white photo? There... now can you see what it is? So cute and it is a free pattern by Kris Knits if you want to make your own.

I'm never sure when I'm knitting along if it's going to turn out or if I've totally messed up the design! 

I have one more embroidered tea towel to finish so I'll get to work on that today.

What are you hand stitching on this last Sunday of 2020? Link up your blog post below and share your slow progress with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Review

It's time for the last Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up of the year, which is the perfect time to review the RSC progress made in 2020. It was another productive year here in my studio, sewing up little bits of fabric that most sane quilters throw in the garbage.

My favourite RSC inspired quilt finish of the year is called Shoo Fly, which was the Quiltville leader-ender project in 2019. I sewed a few blocks each month using scraps in the colour of the month and put the blocks together with sashing. Such a happy quilt made with leftovers (except the sashing and backing). Even the binding was made from scraps! 

My favourite RSC quilt top that was put together this year (and is waiting for quilting) is the Squared Away sampler from 2018. Did you sew along with the sampler that year? So fun to try a new pattern each month - thanks to Angela and Mari for this great quilt pattern... the block patterns are still posted if you want to make any of them! 

Ongoing RSC projects that will carry over into 2021 are... 

Easy Breezy
1. Easy Breezy leader-ender challenge - more colours will be added until July when the new challenge comes out, or if it gets too large, whichever comes first!

Wishing Rings

2. Wishing Rings - I'm losing interest in this one, so I'll add the colours I'm missing and finish it up this year.

Log Cabin Loonies

3. Log cabin - I enjoy making these blocks randomly as the scraps accumulate, so I'll keep going with this one. These are made with 1" strips.

Mini Arrowhead

4. Mini arrowhead - this project is still my favourite! I started making these in the summer of 2018 but I'm not done yet! I like sewing these blocks each month and I'm joining them into 4 patch blocks to make the construction easier at the end...whenever that will be!


5. Waffle blocks - Nann inspired me to start making these blocks in June. Each waffle uses ten 1.5" squares. It still needs a lot of colours added.

QAYG Selvages
6. Selvage strings - this is a fairly new project and I've only sewn a few blocks in yellow month. I'm looking forward to making many more blocks in the quilt-as-you-go style. And that's what's been going on in my quilt studio this year. I'm so thankful to Angela for this scrap challenge which is such a wonderful way to use up scraps, maintain motivation to sew, and  make interesting quilts!

Linking up to RSC for the last time in 2020!

December UFO Finished!

My December UFO was quilted, labelled, bound, and wrapped and under the tree by Christmas morning! Now that's what I call a Christmas miracle! This was a project started in 2007 and inspired by Leanne Beasley. It was called the 365 Challenge and the goal was to document the life of your family on fabric. 

I lost interest in the project in early 2008 and didn't return to it until December of this year when I thought it was the perfect time to recall "the good old days" and bring back some happy childhood memories for my kids.

The quilt is not much to look at but it is rich in memories and love. When I read some of the entries of all the things I used to be able to do in one day, I was impressed! Life is completely different now, so it is a gift to have these little fabric notes to remind us of those days gone by.

Linking up to One Monthly Goal

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Machine Quilting

Do you see the snow on the roof?
Great progress has been made on my December UFO. I took  some photos of the process of putting the layers together to share with you. This is a photo of how I prepare the backing - right side down, 
pulling it taut and clipping it to the table.

Then I smooth out the batting and the quilt top on top of the backing, and when everything is smoothed out, I start putting in the basting pins. As I have mentioned many times, my favourite basting tool is the Kwik Klip which helps me close the pins easily. I have heard there are new basting pins out now that close with one hand but I haven't seen them yet.

I love machine quilting  when it works well and it pretty much always works well with Aurifil thread. I am using a free motion foot and stitching in a zigzag way between the notes across the quilt top. I read a little as I go... so many memories! But I try to focus on keeping the lines straight as much as I can.

The label needs to be stitched on and the binding finished, but it should be under the tree tomorrow morning. This is my favourite gift for Christmas 2020 - to bring back memories of happier times!

On Boxing Day the province of Ontario is going into lockdown. Even though most people are using masks in public places and try to be socially distant, the number of covid cases is still rising because of those who can't (due to being essential service workers) or who chose not to stay home (ie. a birthday party for 22 where 11 of the guests got covid). Everyone (except essential workers) will hopefully be staying home now except for weekly grocery pick ups for the next month. Time to hunker down, do jigsaw puzzles and quilt! 
Wishing you all a Merry Christmask!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Design Wall Monday

The December UFO quilt top is on the design wall! It's definitely not a beautiful quilt in appearance, but it represents lots of beauty and love. It's a memory quilt for my children. In 2007 I wrote a little note on a piece of fabric about what was happening in the family on that day. Now all the little notes are sewn together and the quilting can begin.

It will be a Christmas gift so that means I have 4 days to get it finished!

Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!

It's the last Sunday before Christmas so I know all you hand stitchers are busy finishing gifts and wrapping up gifts. 

When I was visiting last week's blog link ups I was overwhelmed with happiness to see the names of stitchers from the Slow Sunday Stitching gang leaving so many kind, supportive and encouraging comments for other slow stitchers. This is exactly what I had hoped for in creating the weekly hand stitching party on my blog - you are just the best and I'm so thankful to have found you! 

I have 3 items to finish in the next week. I'm not very worried about it as I am quite accustomed to giving half finished projects as gifts!! 
(You can get this great stitchery pattern at Snarky Crafter Designs.)

I am still knitting a Christmas face/dish cloth for a special gift. It's a very happy Christmas red and I hope the colour doesn't bleed when used. We'll know soon enough! 

And I'm starting the binding on a Christmas gift for my kids. I'm very excited to be in the home stretch and will blog about this project later in the week. 

But today... it's relaxation, hand stitching, and maybe a nap! What are you hand stitching today?
Share your projects with us and link up to your blog or instagram post below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

The RSC colour for December is dark neutrals and I have been continuing to sew random leader-ender Easy Breezy blocks as scraps accumulate on the cutting table. They don't look like much on their own but when they join the other colours, it's magical!

Here is the collection of blocks I've made since July.  I love the variety of scraps! I plan to keep making blocks into 2021 for this project and fill in the colours that are underrepresented.

Linking up to the weekly RSC party

Friday, December 18, 2020

Mystery Update

It's one week until Christmas!

And part 4 of the Grassy Creek mystery quilt is posted today! It's the only time of year that I jump out of bed to open up the computer on Friday mornings to see what we're sewing next. It's ridiculous how excited I get about this every year, but especially during Covid19... what other kind of adventure can you have that is as safe as sewing a mystery quilt?!?!

Here is part of my collection of pieces from parts 1 to 3. I have been keeping up with making about half of the blocks each week to make a smaller version of the mystery quilt.

Are you keeping up with the mystery? Let's go sew some blocks for part 4!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

UFO Report

The month of December is half over which is usually when I report in on my progress with my monthly UFO project. I'm getting down to the wire if I want to give this as a finished gift for Christmas (instead of an IOU!)

I have been sewing the long strips of hand written journal writings together and having a bit of trouble with the strip set curving out.  I'm not sure if this photo shows it well, but it's a real problem. I separated these columns down the middle and resewed them with lots of pinning and that helped. I'll be more careful about that as I go. 

After another hour of sewing strips, then adding borders, I'll be ready to pin baste and then start the quilting. 

This quilt does not photograph well and looks pretty boring from a distance, but hopefully that won't matter to the recipients!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Block of the Month

My local quilt guild donates quilts to the local hospital's pediatric sexual assault treatment team. All patients receiving treatment go home with a quilt. It's horrifying how many quilts they need each year.

One of the ways the guild generates the quilts is to post a block idea each month in the newsletter and the guild members make as many blocks as they want to donate. They collect the blocks and a committee of hard working folks put the quilts together. It takes a village!

The November block idea was the disappearing pinwheel. I've enjoyed making many variations of "disappearing blocks" but hadn't tried this one before. I watched 2 tutorials. 

The first video was Jenny Doan, but her cutting measurement did not work out for me and I made a cutting error so it wouldn't go together properly. Jenny did say to divide your block measurement by 3, but when she mentioned a specific measurement she used to trim from the middle - I cut what she cut. See how the blocks turned out to be different sizes? 

The second video from Teresa DownUnder also said to divide my  block size into 3 but didn't give an exact number. What is 12.5 divided by 3? It's not a measurement that is on the ruler! So anyway I made it up and the next block worked out better.

I did trim up all the 9 pieces of the problem block to the same measurements and ended up with a block 10.25". I guess this in  going in the block adoption bin!

Here are the 3 good blocks I made. I really love how they turned out! 

NO... wait... for heaven's sake what is going on with the top block?

Where's the seam ripper!?!

Are you having these kind of days in the sewing room? 

Or is your brain still firing on all pro-covid cylinders?

Linking up to Small Quilts Design Wall Monday

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and visit the links below for some creative inspiration. 

It's a busy time of year and there is a lot to be done for Christmas, but for a few minutes today, just breathe and stitch, and take a break from all your worries.

I'll be continuing my knitting and hoping to finish this in time for Christmas gift giving. I'm enjoying knitting with the straight needles and my goal for slow stitching time today is to be half way done this cloth.

What are you hand stitching today? We still have 12 days until Christmas and that's lots of time to finish some special hand made gifts for loved ones. I look forward to seeing what you're working on this week. Stay well everyone!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter