Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Orca Bay Progress Update

I finally finished putting this quilt top together - all I need to do to complete the top is to add the borders and since I already have the border blocks made it won't take me too long. It was quite a challenge for me to piece this top together. Firstly, I had a lot of trouble with matching the points up and I have lost a few, but really, that doesn't bother me too much. Secondly, and more importantly, as I was putting the top together I wasn't too sure if I liked the fabrics/colours that I have used.  The problem may have been that it was just sitting on my design wall in bits and pieces for so long and it is such a bold looking top. I found it to be quite jarring every time I looked at it on the wall. As I wrote in my last post, I seemed to have lost my mojo for the past week or so but things are looking up now. I am not sleeping well so it doesn't help that I am really overtired and that can really affect my perspective! Now that the top is almost all sewn together I think that I do like it a little more but it still looks very chaotic to me.  Once the borders are added and the magic of quilting happens it will change its appearance again and it will become that wonderful thing called a quilt!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge-Red Week 4

In this picture the centre placemats look glow in the dark - yikes!
Here I am late again! I have not had the best week - I had not been sleeping well and whenever I went into my sewing room I would just sort of sit there and not work on much of anything. My mojo seemed to have hit the road! I was able to piece one placemat during the week and today I pieced one more and also 4 more red blocks for my rainbow quilt. At least I got them all pieced before the end of the month! For the third and fourth placemats I used crumb piecing with sashing and string piecing.

The one with the string piecing was not tall enough so I added a strip of red/white dot on the top and bottom to make it taller and then I added a red border around both placemats. I still need to trim all of the placemats to the same size - they are all completely different. Once I really get my mojo back I will layer all 4 placemats and practice some quilting designs on them. Hop on over to SoScrappy's blog to see what other participants have made with their red scraps.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge-Red Week 3

Okay - I am a little late posting my progress for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - where did Saturday and Sunday go anyway??...but I did make something and I want to show it! This is my second red scrap placemat and I think it turned out pretty well. The month is just flying by and if I want a set of four red placemats then I have to get cracking and make two this week instead of just one. I know that it is not likely that I will have them quilted before the end of the month but I am okay with that. I don't want to rush the quilting just to get them done within a specific time period. My sewing room is too much of a mess and there is just no creative space in it. And...the truth is that I am feeling a bit intimidated by quilting them in some design or pattern other than meandering or straight line quilting. I know I just have to get over it because that is one of the reasons for making the placemats - practice pieces!! To see what everyone else worked on this week check out SoScrappy's blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday Night Sew-In - January Results

Will someone please straighten me out!!
It was another wonderful evening sewing with my friends from around the world. It may not have been in person but it definitely was in spirit! Orca Bay is coming together slowly but surely. I thought I would have got a lot more of it pieced together but it is definitely slow going. I am trying to be careful but I am still losing some of my points - I don't mind if you don't mind!! I have some other blocks started too, they are in various stages of construction and they are sitting on my ironing table - just waiting their turn to get up on the design wall. I am a little late posting but I just could not find the time yesterday. That's me - a day late and dollar short - what can I say! Hop on over to Crafty Vegas Mom to check out what other participants worked on.

We were supposed to visit our son yesterday but schedules got rearranged and we will see him in the next day or two instead. So, what is a girl to do? I loaded up the car with a ton of fabric and visited my sister Cheryl in Toronto. She purchased one of those new-fangled cutters and we cut enough scrappy 2.5" squares and 2.5" hst parts to make a quilt for my nephew Norman...and then some! His quilt is going to be red, blue and neutral so those are the colours I focused on cutting.

Don't let my poor pictures fool you, those bins are 4.5" tall and there are thousands of pieces in them. I know that for sure because there are over 1000 neutral hsts alone. If I had not had the opportunity to have my sister cut most of the fabric for me (I mostly ironed) then this would have taken me many hours and probably days to cut. After all that excitement and the drive home last night I was just too tired to do anything but unload the car and read for a bit before going to sleep.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Leftovers is a Quilt!...and FNSI

The actual name of this quilt is "They Aren't Leftovers Until Everyone Is Finished Eating" but I call it Leftovers for short. I love my version just as much, well maybe even more, than the original that I saw on Lori from Humble Quilts blog! As soon as I saw her quilt I knew that it would be perfect for my son, Adam. We will be delivering it to him tomorrow when we see him for his family birthday celebration.
Pardon the shadow across the top!

I tried to take a picture of it hanging...

Leftovers finished at 79" x 94" and is quilted in a meander design using off-white thread and wow it lost a couple inches both ways with the quilting. There are a couple toe-catchers but I can live with them and I know Adam can too. I might not get an award for the quilting but I certainly would win first place if it was judged by how much love went into it! I hope he wears it out and then asks me to make him another quilt to replace it. We all wish long, happy and healthy lives for our children! I used a black/gray/tan/gold paisley for the backing as well as the extra 10 blocks leftover from the front and a piece of tan fabric to fill in the extra spaces. I also used the same paisley fabric for the binding.

I am hoping that when our basement is finished that I will have a much better place for displaying my quilts for photographing. Currently, I lay them out on the hall floor then stand on the staircase - hang over the railing - and try to get a picture.

Tonight is Friday Night Sew-In and I plan on participating..I am going to work on my Orca Bay quilt top. Hop on over to Crafty Vegas Mom's blog to sign up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Leftovers is Quilted!

Leftovers is quilted!
Yesterday, in preparation for quilting Leftovers, I cleaned and oiled my Janome 1600 so I would have a fresh start with this quilt. This is the third quilt to be quilted on my frame and I wanted it to go a lot smoother than when I quilted Pavlova (RRCB). I had so much trouble quilting that quilt and I felt a lot of frustration! I thought I was finished cleaning the machine and I was just about to close everything up when I caught a glimpse of something deep inside. At first I thought it wasn't really anything other than some part of the machine but I got my trusty tweezers out and low and behold it was a piece of thread. When I gave it a little tug it loosened up a bit and I was able to see that it was a couple inches long but it was caught in the hook race somehow. I tried to take the feed dogs off to access it but I couldn't undo the screws so I had to wait for my husband to get home so he could help. Between the two of us after 15 mins or so we were able to get the thread out.
This thread caused me a lot of trouble!
This piece of thread is 10" long - it was even longer but pieces broke off as we were tugging at it. No wonder I had so many problems quilting Pavlova!! Quilting Leftovers definitely went a lot smoother ...whew! I don't have the binding made so that is on for tomorrow as well as getting it sewn to the front by machine. I don't need this quilt finished until Saturday so I will have plenty of time to hand stitch the binding and the label to the back.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Red-Week 2

Practice placemat ready for basting & quilting.
Oops I am doing it again! I am getting a little too enthusiastic and making such grand plans about making sets of different blocks each week in the chosen colour. I got all carried away this week and I spent time looking through my copy of the The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns and picked out some really great blocks that I thought would make fantastic scrappy rainbow quilts. Today, after taking a step back, giving myself a shake and taking a deep breath I realized that I have to reign in my enthusiasm a bit. I had to ask myself...how many rainbow quilts do I really want at the end of the year? Realistically only one should be enough and it will allow me to use up some scraps and I will have a gorgeous quilt at the end of the year to commemorate the challenge. So, here I am back where I started and that is to make one rainbow quilt from my scrappy 9-patch blocks and to possibly make some string blocks as well. I also plan to make at least one placemat (more if I have enough scraps) each month and I will use it to practice my free-motion quilting on. Somehow, making the time to practice quilting has been a challenge for me. I don't normally make a lot of small projects and I don't necessarily want to "practice" my quilting on a large quilt so the placemats will be a perfect way to achieve both goals. I use placemats at my kitchen table every day so these practice pieces will get used and when they get dirty or stained I won't feel so bad. If you stop by Angela's blog - SoScrappy you can check out what other participants are working on.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Building My Little Houses

5.25" and 6.5" block samples
The block on the left is the first house that I made as a test for the "Build Houses from Scraps" project. I think the original houses are 3.5" but that is just too small for me so I resized the block to 5.25". I tried paper-piecing but I didn't like that the sky sections would have to be pieced together so I added them in one piece after the rest of the block was made. It is cute but still a bit too small so I tried again with a 6.5" block - it will finish at 6". These pieces are a bit bigger and I didn't need to paper-piece them. I originally thought that I would hand-piece but the cold reality is that I just don't have the time. The final version of the block is pictured on the right. This block is actually two versions combined to make one block. My first try on this block didn't have the roof sections the correct size or angle so I had to take the block apart and remake that portion. Even though I need some practice adding the outer sky pieces I am happy with the way it looks now so I have made the templates for the roof sections and the two outer edges of the sky and I have already started cutting fabric for more houses.  I have decided that the doors of my little houses will all be red! My plan, for now, is to spend time cutting the pieces to size when time is available instead of just cutting and sewing one at a time. Of course, as I am cutting for other projects I will also make sure I cut some house pieces from the scraps. 

I love these little houses and I cannot wait to start building my neighbourhood. Of course, because my blocks are bigger I won't have to make quite so many to make a good sized quilt. It is not too late, you can still sign up and build some of your own little houses but you better hurry because the patterns are only available until January 16.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Leftovers is a Flimsy!

My son is going to love this quilt - it really is made in a style that is right up his alley. He definitely likes the old-fashioned scrappy look. I can't wait to finish it and give it to him - so very exciting for me.

I did find a little oopsie as I was sewing the blocks together and I am glad I saw it before I put the whole top together. See the block in the bottom right - the 4 patches are turned the wrong way. The dark squares are aligned where the light ones should be. If I had the whole top finished I am not sure if I would have fixed it - it probably would have become an I Spy block. I decided to go with the layout as I had seen it and fell in love with on Lori from Humble Quilts blog. As I was laying out the blocks to sew them together I realized that if I made the layout 10 x 13 then the centre square would not be centred. So I have adjusted the layout to 10 x 12 and I think it looks great. Because of that there should be 15 extra blocks - if you remember I thought I made 5 extra. I cannot find those extra 5 blocks anywhere. When I took the photos of the groupings of blocks I must have included 5 of them twice - duh!

Over the next day or two I will make the backing and it will be pieced together in some way. The quilt is 80" wide so I cannot just use 2 fabric widths sewn together. I will use the extra 10 blocks, including the one that is pieced incorrectly on the back.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Leftovers as a Main Course

70 Blocks

Plus 30 Blocks
Slow but steady progress has been made on my Leftovers quilt. I have spent most of my sewing time exclusively on this quilt for the last few days.

Plus The Last 35 Blocks = 135 Blocks Total
Oops - that's 5 too many - how in the world did I do that! All of the blocks were made in batches and I completed the last batch yesterday.  The next step is to make the actual quilt top by first laying out the blocks and then sewing them together. Somehow that is easier said than done. My design wall is too small to hold all of the blocks and, well, the design floor is too much of a temptation for a puppy!
Molly Enjoying Froggy and Leftovers
I will have to figure out another way to layout my blocks for sewing - I guess I will have to try my bed next.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2012 - Red Week 1

Week 1
This year I am gung-ho to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again. It is graciously hosted by Angela of SoScrappy who definitely deserves a great big THANK YOU - she is really motivating us to use up our bits and pieces of fabric and the best thing is that there are no quilt police. How you participate is up to you - no scraps...gasp! or too busy - no problem. She provides a link-up on her blog each Saturday so why not visit and check out what everyone is working on. I plan on doing things a wee bit differently than I did last year. I really didn't have too much of a plan when I joined in for 2011 and just went with the flow but after seeing all of the great rainbow quilts that were made I have decided to jump on that wonderful band wagon. I plan on making little 9-patches that will finish at 6" as well as some string blocks. I am open to other projects as well - it just depends on time and inclination. I figure if I can work on some smaller projects then I can use them to practice my machine quilting skills at the same time. I hope to have a number of fabulous scrap projects completed by the end of the year.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I already had these blocks made.
Jiminy cricket...time is already flying by in this new year. It is already Jan 4th and I need to get cracking on finishing my Leftovers quilt for my son Adam. I had set it aside in November so that I could work on a couple other projects and now the date for completion is looming ahead - his birthday is Jan 21. I know that I will have plenty of time to complete it but it won't get done if I don't start working on it now. I finished up with Orca Bay step 7 (no picture - nothing too exciting to see) and I have put that aside for a couple days. I needed to clear up my sewing room so I could have some flat surfaces to work on. I had left most of the fabric that I thought I might need for Orca Bay on the tables for easy access so it just turned into a big cluttered mess as I ransacked it for what I needed. I have put most of it away now and I just have a pile of smaller pieces that I will cut down into squares, bricks, etc. and another pile of larger pieces that I will cut at my sister's place with her new Go fabric cutter!
The colours are off - it was already evening and I used a flash.

I sewed all of these blocks together today. It helped that I already had all of the 4 patches sewn together so I was able to get a lot finished. This quilt will have a total of 130 blocks (they finish at 8") so I do still have quite a few left to stitch and I plan to get a lot of them made tomorrow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Orca Bay - Week 6

The cat is out of the bag because Bonnie has already posted the finished quilt and it is a beauty! I have just finished step 6 and I hope to start working on step 7 tonight. I am very happy with the way my stars have turned out and I really do like the effect of the positive/negative blocks. I have not made a quilt using that design element before. I have fallen a little bit behind but that is okay - I will just keep plugging along until I have it done. It is already so close to completion that I don't think it will take me too much longer. It took me a year to finish RRCB (Pavlova) but this quilt will certainly be done within a much smaller time frame. Take some time to visit Bonnie's blog to see the progress that others have made and also see how the quilts look in other colourways. There really are some gorgeous quilts being made!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Roll Roll Cotton Boll is Finished!

First off, I would like to wish you all a wonderful, happy New Year! I could write something like - may all of your resolutions stick and that you achieve all of your goals and dreams, etc., but instead I really do just wish that you find happiness and joy in whatever you do for this new year.

I am so excited - I finished Roll Roll Cotton Boll last night and it has a new name. I have called it Pavlova. When I was in the early stages of making this quilt, my sister Cheryl thought it looked like it had an eastern European feel to it and it stuck with me throughout. When I was trying to decide it's name I just kept thinking that the neutral blocks could be snowballs, or marshmallows or....meringue and the reds/pinks looked just like they could be berries decorating it. Put that together with the eastern European influence and I got the name. The dessert Pavlova was originally created for Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer.

Molly loves Pavlova too!

I love this quilt and it will definitely be staying with me - I even used it on my bed last night. It is quilted in a meandering design using beige thread and bound with a dark brown fabric that has a tone-on-tone pattern. This quilt finished at 84" x 98.5" and was designed by Bonnie Hunter for her 2010 Mystery Quilt. All I can say is a big Thank You Bonnie!