Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sourdough


I enjoy baking and I often make my own bread and my family really enjoys my efforts most of the time. ;)

I have been wanting to make sourdough bread but I didn't have any starter and I wasn't feeling confident about making my own. I mentioned it to my son's girl friend at one time or other and for Mother's Day she gave me some lovely bubbly sourdough starter. She had started a batch for herself on April 3 and she generously shared it with me. :)

I am a little nervous about whether I can keep the starter going but so far so good. I received the starter on Thursday and I put it in the fridge because I had no recipes ready to make with it. When you use sourdough starter you do have to feed it on a daily basis but if you keep it in the fridge you don't have to feed it as often. It's not a problem other than you end up discarding some perfectly good starter during the feeding process. I didn't want to waste it so I found this recipe to use it up instead of throwing it away. Anyway, long story short is that these dinner rolls turned out great. I can't stop eating them.....

I don't think I am ready to make a sourdough bread without yeast yet so I will be making this bread tomorrow. As long as you keep feeding the starter it keeps giving so I just may be baking sourdough everything for the rest of my life! lol

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Crumb Quilt


For the past few weeks my design wall has been a wall of crumb blocks. Over the past year I have been wanting to spend more time working on crumb quilts and I have finally got myself in gear to move forward with it. These strips are 2.5" x 8.5" and I have been trying to decide how to use them. I have ideas to use them as sashing strips, joining them together to create complete blocks, stacking them into long columns with long strips between them. You get the idea...there are so many ways that they can be used but I was waiting for some real inspiration to strike.

Yesterday, I had two friends over for a sew day. Vangie, Rosalie and I were chatting and sewing and Rosalie passed around a book from Missouri Star Quilt Co. and she pointed out a coin quilt that she liked called Kissing Coins. Well, let me tell you I gobbled up her idea right away and started plotting to make a quilt using this layout but instead of single fabric coins I would substitute crumb blocks.











During our sewing time together I got at least 15 crumb strips made but I do seem to spend more time chatting than working. :) I added them to the stack that I already had waiting for trimming. It really doesn't take too long to trim and depaper these strips and I love how they look - so worth the effort!

I did a little test to see if I could use these strips that I already had made. I trimmed a few of them to 5" and it would work but I think that I will just start making a bunch of strips that are 2.5" x 5" specifically for this project. Honestly, I have enough crumbs waiting to be used. I have a huge bin full and it is always growing!

Thanks to Rosalie and Vangie for such a great sewing day! It is so much fun to spend time together sharing ideas and resources as well as working out design ideas and plans for our quilts and other adventures. I am looking forward to the next sew day!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Star Flower is a Flimsy!


After thinking about the borders for this quilt, I finally decided to use just the gold fabric as an accent border and I am really happy with that decision. Once I got over that hump it was a really quick process to get this lovely to the flimsy stage.

Now, again, I am not too sure how I want to proceed with the backing.

I do have a large geometric print fabric chosen but I am second guessing myself.

If I do use it as the backing I will have lots left over to potentially make pillowcases - or - I could use the remainders of the border fabric. If I use the border fabric for the backing I will have to supplement it and piece it all together and then what in the heck would I do with that large geometric print fabric!!!!. Decisions, decisions... :)


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ugly Christmas Sweater Quilt


I may have been MIA from blogging for the past month but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy working on my quilting! This is such a fun finish -  I just love this quilt and I think it will definitely have to stay with me. As a matter of fact, it has already spent a night or two on my bed just so I could break it in and give it the lovin' that it deserves before putting it away for use next Christmas. ;)

I made these wonderful sweater blocks as part of the Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL hosted by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  Follow the link to the free patterns for these fun quilt blocks. Lorna includes the cutting instructions for the sashing as well.

Once I had the blocks all sewn together with the sashing it just wanted more from me so I obliged. I designed and added the two outer borders and I think it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

The quilt is bound with a striped fabric that I had used in at least one of the sweaters as well as the borders. It goes just perfectly with the front and the back.  The backing has a small multi-colour leaf pattern that I think can be imagined into being Christmas lights. ;)

I don't have a Christmas pantograph but I do have one called Hollyhocks and I think it makes it look like it is quilted with feathers and poinsettia flowers. I used a pale green thread for the quilting. My quilt finished at  69.5" x 81.5".  Thank you to Lorna for hosting such a fun QAL!

While I was working on this quilt my sister Cheryl found these fun coasters while she was out shopping. Of course, she did the right thing and picked them up to give to me as a gift. So sweet...sisters are wonderful!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Procrastinator Indeed!


I did finally get my Angry Bird block done but it wasn't finished until long after it was due. When I did the applique I found that one of his eyes was way too small compared to the other and I just ran out of time to fix it. So, I returned the Pizza Box to the Guild with a photo of the Angry Bird block and a promissory note.

I found this cute block at Fandom in Stitches and even though it was originally designed as a paper pieced pattern I had no trouble adapting it to applique. I hand appliqued all of the pieces to the red background and after fusing the face to the background fabric, I did a zig zag with invisible thread around the outer edge to securely attach it. The feature fabric that I had to use was the blue and it worked perfectly for his eyes.

I did get my Angry Bird block finished in time for this month's meeting and I handed it in along with my May block.

The May block's theme was 'My Home' and I made a castle! The feature fabric that was mandatory to use in this block was the little floral print that I used as the windows in my castle. It was quite a simple and quick block to make because it used fairly big pieces. :)  I fused the windows and door to the castle and then fused the castle and the tops of the turrets to the background fabric. I then did a zig zag stitch using invisible thread around all of the pieces to securely attach them to the background fabric.

I can't say that I have ever used invisible thread before and here I used it twice in one month! :)



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Procrastinator!

Call me a procrastinator! I really should have made this block much earlier in the month but I guess I got all caught up in my 'finishing quilt tops' goal. I need to make a block for my Guild Pizza Box Challenge and my topic this month is Leisure Time and, naturally, I need it for tomorrow.

What do I do in my leisure time if I am not sewing you ask? Well, I have been known to spend time putting jigsaw puzzles together, playing brain games like Sudoku and logic puzzles, reading, in good weather I poke around in the garden, and I also play computer games.

Hmmm....computer games....so, I went looking for a game design that wouldn't/shouldn't be too difficult to translate into a quilt block. The blog Fandom in Stitches came to my rescue and I found an Angry Birds paper pieced pattern that I thought could work. The pattern calls for lots of tiny paper piecing and I thought that would be just too much for me so I am going to do my best to applique it.

The only other thing that I 'have to' do today is go to a medical appointment so I think I should be able to get it all finished and hopefully make it look good too!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Time to Tidy Up

So, it is now April and I have completed my January goal. ;)  I am not disappointed with my progress though because I didn't just want to rush through to finish the three quilt tops that I had prioritized to finish just for the sake of finishing. Blue Cheese didn't want any extra lovin' but Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Westering Women did so I obliged and I am so happy with the results. Westering Women and Blue Cheese still need to be quilted but that will happen soon. The backing for both quilts has been chosen and washed. As a matter of fact, the backing for Blue Cheese is in the dryer right now so I will just need to iron them both and they will be ready to go.

Now that those tops are finished it is time for me to tidy up the scraps and put everything away. I am using my Go die cutter as much as I can but my rotary cutter is getting a good work out as well. I know that clearing up those scraps and clearing off my tables is so important for me to be able to work on something else. There is nothing that blocks my creativity more than not having space to work! :)






Friday, March 31, 2017

Taaa Daaa!


Westering Women
My Westering Women quilt top is finished! The photo does not really show a true representation of the top though. It is a dreary, rainy day so the natural light is pretty much nil and there are a lot of shadows showing on the top from the overhead lights - including mine. :) I used the flash and it just seems to change the colours of the fabrics as well. Hopefully, when the quilt is finished I will be able to take some better photos. Some good news though is that I was able to make this quilt top a more useful size for me. It is currently 80" x 91" - I know that it will shrink a bit after quilting but I think still a good size.

Yesterday, when I was working on adding the blue border I wasn't feeling very confident about my choice. I took photos of different options and sent them to my sister Cheryl. We talked on the phone and she totally reassured me that the blue I had originally chosen would look just fine. She was right!

I needed to cut the blue coping border to size in order to make the hst border fit and I had another delay. I really need some coping skills. ;)  I actually did just fine on the first try but it took me quite a bit of time to gain the confidence to cut the strips and sew them on. I had calculated the sizes the day before and I was good until I rechecked my measurements yesterday. For some reason, unknown to me, I was coming up with different numbers. I guess we can call it brain fog because I decided to go with the original calculations and everything fit perfectly.

After all that second guessing and putzing around I ran out of time to finish adding the rest of the borders simple as they are. I did get the strips cut before I went to bed though and this morning I sewed them on.

I am totally amazed at how these 12 individual blocks suddenly turned into this beautiful quilt top. Of course, it took a little time and lots of fabric and some effort but it sure was worth it!

I have totally enjoyed the process of turning those simple 12 blocks into a top and I can't wait to do the quilting and turn it into a quilt that will be enjoyed!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

More Progress

Still too small - only 52 x 68
Oh my....I am getting quite excited about my progress with the Westering Women quilt top. Oops... you can see in the photo that it needs a really good pressing . :)

I spent some very productive time in my sewing room yesterday stitching the sashing to the blocks and then working on my border. At first, I was thinking of doing flying geese but I decided to go with the hsts instead. I have them all made and sewn together into four strips but I need to make a coping border before I can attach them.  My thought was to use the blue that I showed the other day but I haven't done any testing with it yet so I don't know if it will work or not. I hope it does because at this point I don't have a plan b.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sashing Westering Women

Yesterday was a fairly productive day in my sewing room. I managed to get my Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt ready for hand stitching the binding and I worked on my Westering Women quilt as well.

I took a photo of some of the blocks on the design wall with the sashing laid out around them. I think it is going to work just fine. When I design a quilt layout I am never really sure how it is going to look when my ideas are actually put into action. Happily, so far so good!

This is a very simple sashing treatment that will help to get my quilt blocks turned into a quilt with a finished size that will work better for me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Off the Frame....


and loving it! It took me a little longer to finish the quilting last night because I had more quilting to do than I thought. According to my calculations I should have had only 6 more rows to go when I posted my progress to the blog but in reality I had 7 rows plus a partial row to do before the quilting was finished. It is all done now and I couldn't be happier. I waited until this morning to trim it because I just don't want to be in charge of a rotary cutter when I am tired. ;)

beautiful back texture
When I finished piecing this quilt I had turned all of the scrappy bits into strips and pieces for my parts bin. So, when I was thinking about binding options this morning I started digging through the 2.5" strip bins to make a scrappy binding but I found a strip of one particular fabric that I thought I would really like as the binding. I checked my stash cupboard and I had a piece that turned out to be just big enough to do the job. Isn't it wonderful when things work out!

The binding is attached and so is the label and since it is starting to get a bit late in the day I plan on stitching the binding to the back of the quilt while I spend some time in front of the TV.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Hankering for a Finish...


I have been putting in a lot of time over the past few months to get some quilts to the finish line. I have got my Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt and my Blue Cheese quilt tops to the ready-for-quilting stage and a couple others almost to the flimsy stage. After all that work I am feeling the need to see at least one completely finished!

I decided that my Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt would be the one. I already had the backing chosen so I just needed to choose a thread colour. As you can see, I chose a pretty green that I think works with the front as well as the back. I love the backing fabric - it is actually leaves but if you use your imagination you can turn those leaves into Christmas lights. :0

The quilt was loaded onto the frame earlier today but I only just got to quilting it this afternoon. I have two rows done and I just need to do about six more....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Finally Have a Plan!


Westering Women has been on my mind since I completed the blocks and I think I finally have 'the plan' to help it on its way to completion. The biggest problem for me is that with just 12 - 12" blocks it doesn't really make a quilt of usable size. I like to make quilts that are at least big enough to snuggle on the couch with.

I have gone through several design ideas and trying to figure out how to execute them as well as making sure I have enough fabric to do so can be a real challenge so some designs have been rejected.

If my plan works I will be sashing the blocks and bordering the quilt with these 3 fabrics. It is not a very complicated design and I hope I can make it all come together into a cohesive and, hopefully, attractive quilt!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Off the Frame

Weird photo angle but it is the best I can do with the space I have!
No, not one of mine but one for Joy and I think she is going to be very happy with her quilt. I am trying to remember the name of the pattern or design but I can't quite remember what she told me. I do recall that it has something to do with garden.

With the word 'garden' in the name and the florals in the fabric, Joy chose a very pretty panto called Hollyhocks for her quilting design and a pale green thread.  I finished quilting it yesterday and just this morning trimmed it and tucked in the threads. I love a quilt made from simple blocks and with this quilting design it just looks wonderful!

beautiful texture
Joy used a wide backing from Northcott's Stonehenge collection and I think she is going to use it for the binding as well. So pretty!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ready for Borders

I still need to trim the setting triangles along the outer edges.
I finished putting all of the blocks together the other night and I love it! Since then, the top had been languishing pinned to my design wall while I try to figure out the borders. It's not like the borders are going to be complicated so I don't know what my problem is. Really they are just narrow strips of the plain solid greens and gold plus this gorgeous flower print that will be a wider outer border.

I guess I am having trouble deciding if I want to include both greens or not or exclude the gold or not...I just don't know. I can't seem to make a decision on whether I like the sequence of colours when I try them combined together. Something is bothering me about them so here I am pondering away and trying to make a decision!

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Pretty in Progress

Not much time has been spent in my sewing room over the last week but today appears to be the exception.

The last time I worked on the blocks for this quilt I thought that I had made enough but I really must be the Queen of Miscounts! I needed 10 more of the star blocks so I worked on making those today and then I started sewing the blocks into rows. I think this quilt is going to be so pretty!

I really should be doing something else at the moment but the pull of sewing this quilt top together is just too great. I think I will just hideaway in my sewing room and work on this for the rest of the day instead.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Another One to Work On

design plan - not necessarily same fabrics as shown
Now that I have my Blue Cheese and Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt tops put together and ready for quilting, I have picked up another in-progress quilt to work on while I think about the layout for my Westering Women quilt.

I thought that I had blogged about this quilt before but maybe not. I don't have a name for this quilt yet but I keep thinking something like Starflower (which I am leaning to) or Sunflower or something to that nature. I designed and started working on this quilt last September. I had cut out most of the pieces in anticipation of working on it while I was away on quilt retreat at Killbear Provincial Park.

Since the retreat, I have worked on making the blocks off and on but mostly off since then. ;)  I did take it to my Guild's social sew day in February and all I got done was this messy pile.


Considering the social sew was a full day that is not a lot of progress. I am always too busy socializing instead of sewing! With that pile all tidied up I can see that they are unfinished 'triangle in a square blocks'.

56 shoofly blocks ready and waiting













For the past couple days I have been making the shoofly blocks and now I need to turn my attention to the star blocks. I think I have eight made already and I don't think it will take me too long to finish the rest. After that, this quilt should come together fairly quickly because it has a very simple layout with plain borders. Nothing fancy or complicated here!


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Customer Quilts


Now that my long arm is repaired I am so happy with it! Even though I am still a bit nervous and have some residual trust issues the machine has been performing very well - thank goodness!!

I got my machine back in January while I was in the throes of the dealing with the flu so I wasn't able to test it right away. As soon as I was feeling well enough I did tuck into it and so far so good.

I was working on Rosalie's quilt when I noticed the issues on the back and I ended up ripping out all of the quilting I had put in. Her quilt was quite large - 92" x 92" - and I had got it about one-third quilted. I was very unhappy and panicked about what I was going to do. But, in the end, all is well that ends well!

I finished Rosalie's quilt a few weeks ago with the help of my sister Cheryl. Thank goodness she helped me because after ripping out the original stitches I was quite anxious about the result the second time around! Cheryl was like a jack-in-a-box popping up and down from underneath the quilt while I was quilting. She was constantly checking to make sure the stitching was just as nice underneath as it was on top. Gotta love sisters!!!

Rosalie used a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Carolina Christmas but she put her own twist on the design and I think it turned out beautiful. I quilted it using the panto 'Deb's Swirls' and a med/lt green thread. Rosalie is very happy with her quilt - she did a great job and it looks fantastic!!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ready for Quilting :)


After trying out a few different options, I made my decision and got right into finishing the borders for this quilt top. It really didn't take me too long to make and finish the piano key border because with all of my testing I had most of it done prior to making my final decision. I am so happy that I decided on the inner border with alternating background and scrappy squares. I think they are the perfect transition from the quilt top to the outer border and I love the end result.

first border
My original goal was to have this quilt top finished and ready for quilting by the end of January. I did get the top done according to the Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL hosted by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts and I could have left it at that and called it 'quilt top finished and goal achieved' but this quilt wanted more. I needed time to think about what I, or should I say, the quilt wanted for borders. I am so glad that I didn't just rush to get it done and instead took the time to figure out what I wanted to do. Thank you to Lorna for hosting such a fun QAL.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Border Options


Well, January and February have come and gone and I am still trying to figure out a border idea for this quilt. I don't know if I am quite there yet though. I was thinking of doing Christmas ball ornaments all around the edge but after making four blocks I realize that I just won't have enough background fabric to make enough to go around the quilt. Besides I don't think that is the right one anyway. Another option I have been thinking about is using small trees around the border or a combination of ornament blocks and tree blocks but I don't think that is the one either.

I made some piano key border pieces but again I am not too sure about those either. I think it needs a transition from the 'airier' looking quilt center to the very dark and heavy looking border. Next I tried using squares of focus fabric alternating with squares of background fabric then adding the piano keys as an outer border and that may end up being the one. I am going to have to make a decision soon or I am going to use up all my fabrics on testing instead of actually making the border!!!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Midget Block #97 - Western Rose


I prepped this block to work on while at my Guild social sew yesterday and I actually made some progress. Normally, if I do take something to work on it just sits while I chatter away. I love spending time with my people chatting about life and quilts and other very important topics. :0

While there I managed to applique these little pieces onto the background square even with all of my socializing. :) Last evening I finished it up and I think it turned pretty cute even with my beginner applique skills. They certainly have not improved much over time because as we know practice makes improvement and I have not been practicing!

I used a Frixion pen to mark my design and after pressing it has disappeared although a small black mark was left on one of the petals of the flower because my iron has a burned on build-up on it. If anyone knows an easy and effective way to clean the face of an iron I would appreciate some help with that. I am sure the mark will wash off but I prefer to just not have it there to begin with.

I haven't worked on these blocks since forever and I really did enjoy it. Why did I stop?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pizza Box Challenge




Okay...I did it....thank goodness! I was really stumped with this box and I really had no idea what to do. I did some brainstorming with my sister Cheryl and the result is this 'ghost of clothing past' in my closet. You know the clothes I am talking about - the clothes we keep holding onto thinking we just might fit into them someday. ;)

These are all of the blocks in the pizza box including the one I just finished. I hope the next person to make a block for this box has an easier time of coming up with an idea than I did.

Making this block caused me to use something in my sewing room that I have not used in a few years. I uncovered it when I tidied my sewing room and this is the first opportunity that I have had to use it. I did a zig zag around the ghost and I think it turned out okay even without practice. The problem I had is that because I hadn't used the machine for so long I needed the manual to help me navigate and all I could find is the French version. I don't speak or read French but thankfully pictures work in any language!

Tomorrow is my Guild meeting and I have quite a bit of stuff prepared for the actual meeting but I need something to work on at the social sew that takes place beforehand. I think I will work on a Midget Block...gasp! I will do one that requires hand work so I need to get that together tonight and then I am off to bed.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Preparing for March Guild Meeting

Happy spring colours
Yesterday and today I have been preparing for my Guild meeting being held on March 1. At each meeting, members are offered a 5" square of fabric that we call 'Cotton Candy'.  At the beginning of the Guild year members can sign up to provide these fabric squares and I signed up for March. Boy....March meeting is coming really quickly! So I have cut squares of fabric, folded them and then pushed them through the sewing machine. I basted the edges together to help keep them neatly folded. I added a couple more fabrics after I took the photo of the fabric squares and I made sure to add a more traditional neutral just in case everyone wasn't feeling Spring!!
All ready for the members!
As well, at this month's Guild meeting several members are demonstrating favourite tools or rulers and I volunteered to go along for the ride. I am going to be demonstrating how useful the Tri-Recs rulers can be. It really is just a short demo and very informal. Guild members move from table to table around the room to see the different goodies being demonstrated.

Carol's Cuddle Quilt - 'A Warm Hug'
I want to show a quilt that I made quite some time ago but it has been given away so I printed out a photo of it to show as an example of how these triangle in a square blocks can be set together to make different patterns. I also plan to show my Celtic Solstice (of Bonnie Hunter fame) if I can pry it away from my son. :)
Celtic Solstice
So far, I have made one sample block but I don't think I will be making any more. I don't want to be starting a bunch of new quilts! ;) So, I have printed out photos from the internet showing other design ideas.

sample block
I have also grabbed strips from my bins in order to demonstrate how easy it is to get accurate cuts for the 'triangle in a square' blocks using standard size fabric strips.

I guess I am all ready for the March meeting except for my Pizza Box Challenge block and I am certainly struggling with it this month!