Sunday, February 28, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party! We invite you to take some time today to power down your brain and enjoy the benefits of relaxation with your favourite hand work. 

This is an unusual hand stitching project that I worked on this week. This is a ball gown (for dress up purposes) with a broken zipper. A friend asked me to find a way to do it up in the back without using the zipper (due to "covid body expansion"). I found these cute little fasteners and hand stitched them to both sides of the zipper giving an inch of "expansion space". Hopefully that will work, and if it is still too tight, I found a red bias tape that could be threaded through the fasteners (like threading up a corset) starting at the bottom and tying up at the top. Where there's a will, there's a way!

I also became motivated to hand quilt a scrap project that I started in October. I wanted to try out a wool batt so I could develop an opinion on using it for hand quilting. I pin basted using my favourite "Kwik Klip" tool, which has been so well used that the product name has worn right off the handle!

This is a small project at about 27" square so I don't need a hoop. 
I wasn't sure how this combination (cotton top, wool batt, flannel backing) was going to be like to hand quilt and it's like "a hot knife through butter" as they say.

I plan to use this project as a teaching sample for the hand quilting class I am teaching on International Quilting Day on March 20th. My class is called "Stillness and Stitches in Solitude". My quilt guild is planning a big online event that you can join for only $20. We know how to have a party, so I know for sure it will be fun!

So what are you hand stitching this week? Share your slow stitching progress with us and we will cheer you on!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Mini Table Scraps

 This project combines 2 challenges in one project - the Mini Makers at the Constant Quilter, and the Table Scraps Challenge at The Joyful Quilter.

This month I used up some bonus/baby triangles from a quilt that was finished and gifted in 2010 (quilt on the right), so that means these HSTs have been sitting in a box, aging perfectly and are now ready for a project!

The first step is to trim the HSTs to the same size. At this point I realized a variance in the block sizes and didn't want to cut them all down to 1.25", so I separated the blocks into 1.5" trim ups and one into smaller block trim ups. This project uses the 1.5" HST group which means the blocks finish at 1" in the project.

Next you think of a block layout design that you like. That is the fun part. There are no right answers, so do not let this stress you out... just pick one that sings to you.

Then you make 4 decisions:

1) the finished size you want, 

2) how many blocks you need, 

3) sashing or no sashing, and 

4) borders or no borders.

I make these decisions very quickly. I'm making placemats this year, so the size is decided, and that tells me how many blocks I need. In this case it also meant no sashing and no borders due to the space limitation. But I did add a column to both sides to create a rectangular shape for a placemat. 

The next 4 decisions are:

1) batting

2) backing

3) quilt design, and 

4) thread. 

Again, don't stress about these decisions and let decision fatigue set in! Just let the project tell you what it wants, and you decide what you feel like quilting, and then you negotiate. 

Yes... out loud! It's a conversation between the quilter and the quiltee!

I still had leftover fabric in my stash from the backing of the original quilt that was finished 11 years ago... can you believe it!?! That became the binding on this little quilt. Although I measured twice, I was 1" short on the binding! I had needed to insert a piece just to cover the seam allowance on the binding join UGH!

I use a single layer of fabric for placemat binding so that it will lay flatter. And here is the finished placemat.

Finished size: 13" x 16" and uses 80 HST blocks.

The backing fabric is so cute and springy looking!

Linking up to The Joyful Quilter and The Constant Quilter

Easy Breezy Progress

Yellow Easy Breezy Blocks

One of my favourite methods of creating a quilt is picking one block pattern and adding a colour each month. This is exactly what I've been doing with the Easy Breezy Leader-Ender challenge that Bonnie Hunter started last July.

Block Collection

My block collection is now over 100, but since the blocks are only 4", I need to sew many more to have enough for  a bed size quilt.

This project still needs lots more of aqua and orange blocks, so I'll focus on those months, and add blocks here and there when I have scraps in other colours.

Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge party and then I'll write my blogpost for the February Table Scraps Challenge.

Friday, February 26, 2021

UFO Progress

My February UFO goal was to finish one of my mystery quilts. 

The first step was to find or piece a backing. I had a black wide backing in the closet which was perfect for this job. When I washed it, I tossed in a "Color Catcher" sheet and look how much excess dye it picked up! The white square is how the Color Catcher looked before washing, and the grey is how it looked after being washed with the backing. If I wouldn't have prewashed, the excess dye would be absorbed by the fabrics on the front of the quilt. Love this product!

Here is the backing, batting and quilt top ready to go. 

I'm blaming the fact that February is such a short month for the reason that this quilt will not be finished this month. 

Oh well, there is always next month, and progress has been made so it's all good! 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Design Wall Monday

I'm so excited to share my Morewood Mystery quilt top! I chose bright colours to keep me going with this project through the winter. Here it is on the design wall - I hope I have all the blocks correctly oriented! It was really fun to put together with very little seam matching to be done.

One helpful hint in mystery quilt construction is to not use directional fabrics because you never know how they will end up. I did use a directional text fabric in this quilt and put it in the centre of the orange blocks, not knowing how they would be oriented in the final layout. But it all worked out perfectly which was lucky! I was prepared to be happy with it even if the blocks were every which way.

And here is the fun outdoor shot with true colours.

We have a lot of snow and are getting more this week, so it's quite an undertaking to get good outdoor shots with natural light.

I'm very happy with how my quilt turned out and am excited for the quilting stage which will likely consist of diagonal lines in keeping with the design. Thanks to Cheryl for another wonderful mystery adventure!

Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, February 21, 2021

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?

I finished a knitted face/dishcloth this week and am very pleased with how it turned out. Look at how much yarn was left... that was really close!  I am enjoying my needle  threader and my Bohin needles for embroidery and for stitching in the yarn ends.

This "cherry blossom" Sudz yarn was lovely to work with. And the pattern from Knitwits Heaven was excellent. There is a whole section for parent themed patterns, and a large selection of other interesting patterns (no affiliation, just a happy customer). This will be for a Mother's Day gift and next I'll work on #1 Dad for Father's Day. It's so satisfying to give a hand made gift for special occasions, don't you think?

When that was done, I went back to my fall Kawandi quilt that was started in an online class with Sujata Shah. As you can see I am having a very hard time keeping the stitch length consistent, but am really enjoying the hand stitching process. Don't tell Sujata that I am using pins as that is a definite "no! no!" I can't help myself as it's hard to keep everything in place otherwise. 

What are you hand stitching today? Share your slow stitching with us by linking up your instagram or blog post below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Scrappy Saturday

I made the February blocks for my version of the RSC Full Stop quilt. It was fun to dig through the yellows and make these little cuties.

Of course no sewing day is complete without at least one block going rogue! But it was an easy error to fix this time - only one seam to repair. 

I'm not sewing my blocks together until closer to the end of the project. For now these quotation marks will join the pink hashtags from last month in a storage bin.

Linking up to RSC

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Just say 'NO'!

Lest you think I have absolutely NO self control, I actually do have a teeny tiny bit on some days! I have so many wonderful quilts in progress that I really want to finish, so sometimes I just have to turn down a fun adventure. For example, I said "NO" to Moda Blockheads 3 because I hadn't finished Blockheads 1 or 2 and I really like both of them!

There are several mystery quilt projects that I have said "NO" to, either due to time, not having the right fabric on hand, or maybe even because I had a smidge of self control! I'm posting them here in case YOU are also a mystery quilt addict and might have missed one or two projects!

Dakota Inspired - This is Alycia's 12th mystery quilt pattern offered free on her blog. She writes easy to follow instructions with a clue posted each week that takes 1 - 2 hours to sew.

Grand Country Quilter Stitch Along- a 60" x 72" mystery with weekly clues, and so far they have sewn square-in-a-square blocks and HSTs.

Carole's Pachanga Mystery - these mystery quilts are lots of fun with a step posted each month so I keep telling myself it's not too late to join in!

Cape Wildflowers Mystery - a modern 2 colour quilt with steps every 2 weeks. This is a new designer (to me) and the project sounds intriguing!

Country Lane Quilts with Kathleen Tracy is running a small mystery project with monthly clues.

If there any others that I'm missing please don't tell me! I'll be in my sewing room hiding from temptation and trying to finish one of my UFOs!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Total Scraphappiness

I started sewing scraps together in January and trimmed the sets to 3.5" x 9.5". This was a guild block of the month idea in the fall and I really enjoyed it, so kept making more. Let me tell you it lead me down a rabbit hole! A deep and colourful scrappy rabbit hole!

I worked on a few layouts with solid yellow bakground rectangles, but it just wasn't speaking to me. So it sat for a while waiting for inspiration.

Then I got the idea to sew 3 strips together and voila...  I started liking it a lot more! These blocks measure 9.5" square and usually have between 28 and 30 scraps in each block.

Anything and everything is going in here! It's so fun to sift through the scrap bin -!

But I'm telling you, this creative process makes one heck of a mess. It's like a wild squirrel was running around in here! LOL

I don't know where this project is going, but I do know I need to put it away for a while. It gets to a point where I just can't stand the mess anymore and need to clear off the table and work on something with a more organized maybe my UFO of the month!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Mystery Quilt Top - Princess Charlotte

I finished putting the borders on the Super Bowl mystery quilt. I changed the layout slightly because I didn't have enough yellow or aqua left for the first border. I decided to complete the diamond shape in the first border and add a grey border. 

You can see more variations of the Super Bowl mystery quilt here.

I used 2 fabrics in the grey border, and used the old HST trick to make it look like I mitered the corners, which I would never actually do because it makes me swear too much!

The finished size of the quilt top is 50" x 62" which is the perfect size for a donation quilt. But my daughter's best friend is having her second baby this year, so maybe I will finish it up for her.

We'll see what the quilt tells me once it's quilted! Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the hand stitching party where we celebrate all things stitched by hand! And today we are also celebrating LOVE because it is Valentine's Day! 

I have made so many miniature Valentine's quilts over the years. These are the quilts hanging up on my studio walls today. And of course my new Valentine's placemat is on my blog header.

Are you stitching a Valentine's Day quilt today? Or just eating lots of chocolate?! 

I'm hoping to finish the tea towel I showed last week.

Tell us about your hand stitching projects so we can cheer you on. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Playing With Scraps

Every quilter knows that once in a while it's essential to just play with a box of scraps! I needed that this week - no thinking required, just sewing pieces together. Any size strips, all kinds of fabrics.

This is my sewing area with the scrap project under the needle, and a leader-ender Easy Breezy block on the bed of the machine.

My goal was to create scrappy blocks measuring 3.5" x 9.5". I cut strips in the approximate size using scissors, and sewed them together and then trimmed them to the same size. This is what I have come up with so far.

I'm not sure what the layout will be or how many blocks I will make yet, but I am quite concerned that for some unknown reason the scrap bin does not seem less full? 

Monday, February 08, 2021

Super Bowl Mystery

Instead of watching football yesterday, I did a little bit of hand stitching and then I worked on the Scrapdash mystery project called Princess Charlotte. I have been sewing these Super Bowl mysteries for many years, and this is the first one I've sewn on my own due to covid lockdown. It was sad to be sewing alone, but I did some zoom sessions with my friend Louise who was also sewing the mystery.

Princess Charlotte Mystery

And here is the quilt top on the design wall today. It's a very soft looking quilt. I haven't decided on the borders yet, but hope to do that this week.

Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We hope you will get out one of your own projects and put a few stitches in today.

Apparently February is National Embroidery Month! I have no idea who decides these things, but I love embroidery in many forms, so I thought it would be fun to post a couple of my favourite embroidery projects this month.

One of my favourite projects over the past year has been embroidered tea towels using a Stitcher's Revolution pattern. These are my 4  finished towels from last year.

This is the one I am stitching this week. I am grateful indeed that no one I love has contracted covid so far, and that I have my stitching to keep me sane throughout the lockdown order that we have been under since Dec. 26th. We are hopeful that lockdown will be lifted soon since the case numbers are finally going down.

What are you hand stitching today? Do you have an embroidery project that you can share with us this month? Link up your blog or instagram post below and show us what you are stitching.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Scrappy Saturday

Don't you just love hidden surprises? Angela mentioned that on her blog today and I have to admit that over the course of the past 11 months, I have found a LOT of little treasures just waiting for a turn at the machine.

I came across a scrap bag this week which I think was given to me by my friend Mrs. Brown... so many little pieces, which generated so many ideas.

First off, there were about ninety 2" squares which immediately became a RSC project. Each month I will make a couple of 16 patches when the colour of the month goes with the jellybean fabric. So here are the yellow and pink blocks. I'll be able to make green, purple, and blue blocks, and this will eventually become an interesting donation quilt inspired by Mrs. Brown's scrap bag!
Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Friday, February 05, 2021

Mystery Update

I spent a few hours this week sewing units for Morewood Mystery from Meadow Mist. I really like the pace of this mystery with one step each month. It's refreshing to pull out the bin of  happy fabrics and sew some block units, and then put it away for another month. It's a fun way to make a quilt. 
The quilt design reveal was posted yesterday, but I haven't looked at it yet to prolong the surprise until the weekend. There are so few things to look forward to these days, I like to hang on to the anticipation as long as I can! LOL

And... speaking of mystery quilts, there is a one day mystery on Super Bowl Sunday over at Scrapdash. I have been sewing mystery quilts designed by Kris for several years on Super Bowl Sunday and have made several lovely quilts. This year's pattern uses 4 fabrics of 1 yard each (plus a border fabric) and I am using white, yellow, grey and aqua to sew a gender neutral baby quilt. I don't have any one yard pieces in my stash (except lights), so I'll be using combinations of similar fabrics.

Are you joining in the mystery quilt fun on Sunday or are you watching the Super Bowl??!

Thursday, February 04, 2021

February UFO Goal

After not meeting my January UFO goal, I think I should pick a sure thing for February! I hope to finish my guild covid mystery quilt and donate it to the comfort quilt collection at the hospital.

The quilt top is ready, I just need to collect a batting, backing, and binding (and some quilting ideas!) to turn this into a finished quilt by the end of February. It's a short month, so I hope it's doable! Two months of failure would be hard to take! LOL

Linking up to One Monthly Goal

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

News from the Groundhog and Rose Marie!

Well, our infamous groundhog Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring for us. I hope he's right! 

It's a weird game we play with ourselves because at the beginning of February, having 6 more weeks of winter would take us to mid March, which would also be considered "an early spring"! So it's that old saying "6 of one or half dozen of the other"... which means it doesn't matter either way! And also we have had snow in May before, so the whole thing is just silly. But all of that aside, here where I live, there is a lot of conversation about what the groundhog says!

And in other timely news... I got a message  from Rose Marie today who told me that I had a mistake in my Grassy Creek mystery! On the bottom right side there is a flying geese unit that is not flying correctly! Thanks so much for your eagle eyes and now I will be able to fix that before it gets quilted in permanently.

Happy Groundhog day everyone!

Monday, February 01, 2021

Design Wall Monday

My Grassy Creek mystery quilt top is done! 

I loved making this quilt and I'm delighted with how my colour and fabric choices worked out. Does anybody see a mistake before I quilt it? Other than the one light triangle on the bottom right? I have no explanation for how that happened!

I'm unofficially calling my version "Up Covid Creek without a paddle" because I worked on it during the famous lockdown period after Christmas. I ordered a mystery mug from Zazzle as a souvenir of this quilty adventure - you can see the products here for this mystery, and here for the previous mysteries.

On Saturday I met with 2 mystery quilter friends at a local park for a masked and socially distanced outdoor visit. This is Diane's version of the mystery on the left, and Nancy's version on the right. It's amazing to see how the design looks in different colours.

It was a quick visit because it was very cold and we could only tolerate the "great outdoors" for about a half hour before we couldn't feel our toes! But it was wonderful to be with other humans even briefly and to see their beautiful quilts.

Linking up to Small Quilts