Monday, December 31, 2012

Little Houses - Final 11

I am thrilled that I achieved my goal of making 120 little houses throughout 2012 and I made them all on a Singer 301. I had originally intended on making 10 per month but that did not happen on a regular basis for many different reasons. You know that I can find an excuse for anything and everything - but I did eventually get them all finished. Now I just need to make the sashing and start sewing everything together. I have been thinking about using a solid red for the sashing and maybe adding cornerstones as well. I am not too sure so I will have to audition a few different options before I commit.

If you visit here you can see that many participants have not only pieced their houses (some made one house for every day of the year) but that they have also got their tops sewn together and some even have them already quilted!

Crumb Quilt = Done!

So much prettier in real life!
Yesterday was a busy day in my sewing room and one of the things I did was to make the binding and label for this crumb quilt. At first I was a little undecided about the colour to use because the red does not really go with the backing but I liked it so much for the front I decided to go ahead with it. By the time I got it ready and attached to the front it was already evening so I sat down on the couch, turned on the television and just sewed away. I finished at close to midnight last night and this morning I finished up the little details like sewing in the thread tails.

Donated backing fabric
This quilt finished at 53" x 68" and is quilted in a loopy-loop design with white thread. It is a donation quilt and I will be delivering it to the local Project Linus drop off location sometime over the next week or two. I love the way this quilt turned out and I think it will make a wonderful quilt for an older child. Who knew that such small scrap pieces all sewn together could make such a pretty quilt. Many quilters throw away pieces that are much bigger than some of the pieces that I included in these blocks! The backing fabric was given to me by the lady that I purchased my quilt frame from. When she learned that I make quilts for donation to Project Linus she asked me to take this fabric and to use it in donation quilts. I have some left that I will use in a future quilt.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts 'Slow Sunday Stitching'.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New to Me Singer 301

Oh Singer 301 needs some TLC (not just oiling and greasing) and my husband just doesn't have the time or the inclination at the moment to look at it - insert sad, pouty face! But....seeing as I am a creative and resourceful quilter....I checked out Kijiji and I found a lovely 2-tone 301 for a very reasonable price. My husband and I zoomed to Toronto on Friday to check it out and I ended up purchasing it. It runs so smoothly and quietly compared to the one I had been using.

I have several sewing machines, but at this point, my favourite for piecing by far is the 301. It is a straight stitch machine and I have no problems with the tips of triangles being sucked down into the machine. Another beautiful thing about this machine is that it is a slant shank and that allows for a much better view of the stitching area.

I have been sewing my Little Houses on my 301 and I wanted to finish the last 11 before the year ended....and I wanted to continue sewing them on the 301 and now I can!

I am a very happy and lucky girl.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2012 - Wrap Up

Let's just say that I was definitely not an over-achiever when it came to participating in the scrap challenge this year. However, that does not mean that I didn't enjoy participating when I could! I did work on making 9 patch blocks for a rainbow quilt and I still needed to make my purple blocks. I got them done this morning and I think it will be a cute quilt when it is all finished. The blocks will be grouped into sets of 4 with white strips surrounding them so that will help make it a bit larger and spread things out a bit.

Once I put all of the blocks up on the wall I saw that I really should have made another set of 4 of each colour. So, I will continue to make them through this year. I think the colours will look better in sets of three rather than just in pairs. Of course, the different colours will be spread out within the quilt top and not all grouped together.

As for the 2013 Rainbow Scrap Challenge I am not certain what else I will be making yet. The first colour up for the year is pink....I like pink. Hop on over to soscrappy's and check out the info on the challenge.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Midget Block #65 - Pride of the Prairie

This little block gave me a run for my money! It is hand pieced and the center is hand appliqued using silk thread. I am still a beginner at hand applique but I think using silk thread is divine. It really does help to make the stitches appear almost invisible.

I used the supplied pattern to draw out my block parts and I cut them out easily enough, apparently so easily that I cut out a lot of extra pieces - what is it with me? When I went to sew them together I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get them to join as shown in the picture.

Sure enough, when I traced the pieces I should have placed them face down but I didn't. So my block spins in the reverse direction. My quilt is definitely going to be unique to me!!
Neat and tidy back - not perfectly aligned but good enough!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Earthtones is Finished

I am very happy with the way this quilt has turned out. It did take quite a bit of work to construct because there are many, many small pieces in it, a total of 4800, but I think it was well worth the effort. I finished hand stitching the binding to the back yesterday, but I noticed that I had a tiny little birds nest of threads on the back so I picked it out and today I quilted over the area that needed to be removed and I also sewed in the thread tails. I quilted it in a meander design with a yellow/gold thread. It finished at 82" x 96" and is bound with the same fabric that I used for the backing. It was a couple inches wider than I thought!

When I showed the finished quilt to my husband his first comment was that the colours are perfect for the recipients. This quilt will be going to dear family friends Loretta and Taber. Loretta is really part of the family because she was a daughter of the heart to my mother-in-law. Loretta's family (her mother was my mother-in-law's best friend) and my husband's family have been friends going back to just after WWII more than 65 years - quite astounding!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Child's Pillowcase

Tonight I made a cute child's pillowcase for a little boy. I used the hot dog method to make it and I got the instructions from youtube. I had no trouble at all following the instructions and it turned out really cute. I had a little trouble with my sewing machine though because I had a thread caught in the bobbin area and that took more time to clear up than to actually make the pillowcase!
Really cute buggy fabric!
The little boy that will be receiving it is only 6 or 7 years old and we are also giving him some Lego. I know that when my boys were little they would have loved sleeping on a buggy pillowcase and they just loved to play with Lego.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Making Christmas Gifts

I wanted to make something to give to my Mom and sisters and a friend for Christmas but I had left it a bit long. Seems that I do that every year and then I have a few crunch sessions and I manage to come up with something. This year I decided to make hot pads for everyone.

On Saturday, I was looking around in my sewing room and I spotted a bin of 2.5" hsts that I had made as leaders/enders a long time ago. I don't remember if I had a plan for them at one time but since they were just hanging around I figured I could use them. I had some insulated batting that I had purchased a couple years ago and I used a layer of it and a layer of regular batting so they should work well at keeping the heat away.

Had to do some stitch ripping!

I decided to set them two ways and I made 8 of each block. As you can see, I did not escape the gremlins that seem to turn units around when I am not looking. Once I made the blocks I needed to figure out what I was going to use to back them with. I thought they needed a bit of sparkle so I added the orange dotty fabric to the front as a border and also used it to back them.

They finish at 7".
I added a pocket to the back so that you can slide your hand into it and it will help to grip the hot pad. I used a fabric that tied the orange and red together and used it for binding as well. I finished up stitching the binding to the back today after a marathon binding session yesterday. I hand sewed over 420" of binding yesterday and I just could not finish the last hot pad. I just finished it up this morning and my index finger and thumb are feeling the pain! All in all, I think they turned out fairly well. I hope they will like them!

Since I spent so much time on the binding yesterday I wasn't able to get much else done. Today, I don't think I will have time for sewing because I have to get some much needed chores done - the dirty dishes are overtaking the kitchen and I also have to do a bit of shopping and I DO NOT like shopping - unless it's fabric shopping of course!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Midget Block 63 - Setting Sun

I really like this block and it was fun to choose the colours and fabrics that I wanted to use. Somehow, I messed up the arrangement a bit and I got two yellows together. It is paper-pieced and I guess the reverse piecing tripped me up a bit with the order I wanted the colours to appear. It turned out a little more oval than round but it doesn't matter because I like it with all of its flaws! I did the center a little differently and just used one fabric instead of the 4 patch. 

I wanted to use my Roxanne's glue for the applique but I can't seem to find it. I would like to say that I have looked everywhere for it but if I did then I certainly would have found it. I must have put it in a really safe place. I think it would have been easier for me to manage the applique if I had used glue instead of pins.

Monday, December 17, 2012

From Our Home to Yours

Please ignore the bags in the corner - oops!
Yesterday I spent a relaxing evening in front of the tv while finishing off the binding and sewing in the thread tails. It was a great way to spend the evening particularly after spending the day machine quilting. I can't think of a better, more satisfying way to spend an evening.

This quilt was quilted in a meander design and finished at 73" x 81". I love the backing I used - it is a toile and is rustic and homey looking with pictures of a man fishing and ladies being courted and so on. Perfect for a log cabin quilt and the whole quilt is gorgeous if I don't say so myself!! My photography skills are poor at best and today they are not any better than usual.
Backing fabric
Over the past six years my husband has faced some health challenges and at times he has been physically incapable of doing work around our home. Two instances that come to mind are when our chimney liner for our fireplace needed to be replaced and when part of our fence blew down.

We did not know the chimney had broken until some man, who was driving around the neighborhood and using binoculars, was looking at everyone's chimney from the road. He knocked on the door and told me about it. Of course, he was happy to fix it for us for an incredibly large sum of money, and of course, he had everything with him to make the repair. I asked him to return later after I had an opportunity to speak to my husband about it. While my husband was standing on the road using binoculars to see the damage, our neighbour Stan was driving by. He stopped and asked what was going on. My husband explained the situation to him and knowing that my husband was not well, Stan offered to make the repair for us. All we needed to do was buy the materials. He chipped out the old liner and installed the new one and he did it quickly - within a week or so.

During that time, my husband had our fence propped up waiting for a time when he could make the much needed repairs to it. Stan also offered to repair it and replace any boards and posts that were damaged or broken. All we had to do was supply the materials. He worked on it almost every day after work for a couple weeks and now our fence looks so much better - thanks to Stan.

How do you thank someone for taking the time to do this work for us? He did not do it for money - he did it because we needed help. As a quilter, I thought the best way to thank him and his wife Jillian was to make them a quilt. So, they will be receiving this log cabin quilt and I have named it 'From Our Home to Yours'. I hope they will enjoy using it for many years to come and I also hope that every time they use it they will be reminded about what good and generous neighbours they are!

I am linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts. Hop on over to see more slow stitching projects!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Earthtones - Quilting Marathon!

I made the backing for Earthtones yesterday and I have to tell you it is one huge quilt. It was approx 80 x 96? (I can't remember how long it was) and required two full widths of fabric to make the backing and it was just barely wide enough. I got it all loaded on the quilt frame last night and it was pretty close to the maximum width that I can quilt on the frame - I only had a few inches to spare. I oiled the machine, changed the needle and filled the available empty bobbins as well so that all I had to do was to start quilting. The problem was that I only had 5 empty bobbins so I knew I would have to wind some mid-quilting and I really don't like doing that. Tomorrow, I will go to my LQS to buy more bobbins - an early Christmas present to myself!

The quilting is all done and I have taken it off the frame and I am very tired. I didn't have too many difficulties quilting other than I got a burr on my needle and it took me little while to figure that out so I had to change it again. I must remember whenever I have problems to check the needle and not just assume that it is a thread/tension/bobbin problem. It took me a good part of the day to finish quilting Earthtones and my shoulders feel like they are part of my ears. I am ready for relaxation - my husband made me a gin & tonic and we are having butter chicken for dinner that I had made previously and froze - no cooking for me tonight. I am going to curl up on the couch and work on binding the log cabin quilt and just watch tv. I had planned on finishing the binding last night but didn't even touch it - just as well, as I need something stress free to work on.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back to Earthtones

Last Christmas I had a silly thought that I would have this quilt all finished and ready to give to family friends as a Christmas gift. I took a reality check and decided that it would be quite impossible for me to get it done in time. So here we are again with the same plan but this time I think it has a much better chance of happening. The last time I worked on this quilt was July when I completed the top and set it aside for quilting - it is funny but the last post I wrote about this quilt was that I was going to make the backing and get it quilted as a priority. Well December has arrived again and I am just now making the backing and I absolutely love the backing fabric I have chosen. I have it in the washing machine as I write this and today my plan is to iron it, sew it together and get the whole kit and caboodle loaded onto the quilt frame. I don't know if I will have an opportunity to start the quilting today but I will keep the possibility open.

I am almost finished stitching the binding to the back of my Log Cabin quilt - it has a name now - 'From Our Home to Yours' and will be given to our neighbour as a thank you gift. This evening will be spent finishing the binding up and maybe even getting all of the thread tails sewn in. I would love to have it all finished to gift to them tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Little Houses Build-a-thon

House parts all ready for building!
I had previously cut out a lot of house pieces in preparation for making my little houses and on Tuesday I started sewing the parts together. I made house fronts, house sides, roofs and chimney/sky segments. I just kept going until I thought I had enough - I knew that I needed to make 46 more houses so I didn't think I would actually make too many.

Design Wall 1 - 35 houses from latest batch.

Both of my design walls are holding houses - 109 of them in total and I only need to make 11 more to complete my goal of 120 houses. That would give me a layout of 10 x 12 and I thought I would sash them with solid red strips.

Design Wall 2 - 74 house blocks
I have been thinking about the border and the possibility of adding some trees to my neighbourhood. My current idea is that I should make a few more houses than I originally planned and make some tree blocks as well and see if I like them as a border. I won't be ready to start working on the sashing until after the new year so I have plenty of time to decide on my border design. Who knows, I just might like it without the additional border!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Midget Block 61 - Royal Star 4's

The colour is mainly burgundy even though it looks brown.

It is time to get back to working on my midget blocks! As I was going through the bin that holds my midget blocks I noticed one that I was pretty sure I had not blogged about. I checked through my blog postings and sure enough I could not find it. I made it way back in August and I can't remember too much about making it other than I received a reminder from this funny looking little block to make sure when foundation piecing to select a small stitch length and to spend the time to change the thread in the sewing machine from light to dark when the block calls for it. The stitches are noticeable but I will leave it as it is - I think once it is quilted, and over time and many washings, it will not be so noticeable. This block looks quite ugly in the photos but in real life  it is not so bad even though it does not live up to it's name - Royal Star 4's! Maybe, one day, 100 years from now someone will be admiring looking at my quilt and they will certainly be asking 'why oh why did she include that block?!!'.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Green Seven Sisters Quilt

Finally, I am able to say that this quilt is finished...and it only took me a few years to get it done. Everything has been sewn by hand - from the piecing to the binding and quilting. I love how it turned out! I did leave a small area around one corner unfinished. I have not stitched the binding down in that area because I still need to add the label and that won't happen until I finish the other six Seven Sisters quilts that I am making for me and my sisters. I have not decided which sister will get which quilt and I don't really want to add a blank label and write on it later. I quilted this quilt in an all-over Baptist fan design and I went row by row from the bottom to the top. I love it! It finished at 74" x 83".

I had a little bit of an oopsie moment when I was trimming this quilt to square it up and I found that when I quilted it, somehow I went a bit crooked and I didn't have enough fabric in the corner. After trimming I stitched a small piece to the corner and just continued the quilting pattern and it is not too noticeable on the finished quilt.
Upper left area is crooked

Closeup of crooked front
I have recently seen quilts that are being hand quilted and they have the bindings already attached and I had not thought about doing it that way. I guess it would really help to keep the edges straight or would it just cause more trouble by possibly having a big ripple at the end? I also found when I was straightening the edges of my quilt that I had to be very careful not to cut any quilting stitches that were too close to the edge. I don't really know what the most common method or 'correct' method is because I just jumped in and did it!

The Seven Sisters quilt that I will be hand quilting next is the yellow paisley. I love the fabric that I used for this quilt. I am not too sure which quilting design I will use but I will have to make my decision soon. My absolute favourite is Baptist fans so I just might be tempted to use it again. I plan to baste this quilt on my quilt frame sometime during this week - I hope I can make it work as I have not tried that yet.

Kathy from Kathy's Quilts wrote a blog post the other day about blogging and why she blogs and she has listed some great reasons. I so wish I had been blogging when I started this project so that I would have all of the documentation about when I started making these quilts and all of the little tidbits of information about piecing them, etc. It would be lovely to have a journal that included pictures and other information about the bigger picture of what else was occurring in my life while working on these very important quilts. I have scribbled notes here and there but there is nothing like just looking back on blog postings and seeing all of the details at hand. It is also fantastic for the recipients of each quilt to see the process and progress of their quilt being made. I am much better at documenting for 'show and tell' on my blog than I am for just writing in a notebook for me.

I am linking up at Kathy's Quilts 'Slow Sunday Stitching'. Why not head on over and check out the links to see other wonderful hand work.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oh...the Shame of it All!

Look at what my Mom is making we wear!!
Poor Peanut! She turned 6 mths on Nov 20 and I had intended on getting her spayed right way but then we had the sorrow of my MIL passing and I didn't have the opportunity to get Peanut taken care of. I have her spaying scheduled for this Monday but I think nature has a different plan! One of her siblings has already gone into heat and I think Peanut has just started as well. I am truly not very happy about that and I don't think Peanut is either because she does not like what I made for her!

Peanut is too embarrassed to show her face!
I whipped up this little number today - just in case my suspicions are correct and I am pretty certain they are.  I used some flannel and velcro and I also inserted a layer of quilting batting inside the liners. My friend's daughter is my dog's groomer and I have her scheduled to come tomorrow to groom Peanut before her surgery. I will have her confirm it and if Peanut is in heat the vet will not do the surgery and we will have to wait several weeks. I am really, truly hoping that we will not need Peanut's fancy pants and I think she is hoping that too!!
I also made two washable liners.
Not too fancy but it will do the job!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Log Cabin Quilting

Yippee!! I finished quilting this beautiful log cabin quilt the other day. I really love the way this quilt looks but sadly I won't be keeping it for myself. I hope the recipient loves it as much as I do. I need to make a log cabin quilt for myself and I have added it to my list but it will be a little while before I get mine.

I quilted it in a meander design and I couldn't be happier with how easy it was to quilt. I only had one or two thread breaks and they really were operator error. I have corrected what I was doing wrong and I think I have got all of the bugs out now. The change in thread has been just what I needed!

This quilt needs trimming, the threads buried and then the label and binding added and it will be ready to be given away. I will be very happy if I can get it done within the next week or so.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Change is on the Horizon

After lots of thought and deliberation I decided to resign from my job - whoohoo! I think they really need someone to work full time and I am not prepared to be that someone. I need to make some real changes and now that  I have a 'new attitude' I am more than ready.  Since returning to work I have shockingly gained almost 15 lbs and I don't like the way it is affecting my health.

I will have to make sure that I start a healthy exercise routine - I don't want to hurt myself on day one and then give up - that would not be a good thing.

More importantly, not working means that I will have more time for pleasurable activities like....quilting!! Going back to work drastically cut into the time I spent quilting and I have really missed it.

Thursday will be my last day at work and I am really looking forward to a new routine.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

So Close to Completion

I have been watching Bonnie Hunter's quilt cam on and off for the last week or so and since I had my green Seven Sisters quilt returned to me (I had left it at my sister Glenda's home) I have been hand sewing the binding to the front of the quilt. I am almost finished now and just may get it done tonight while I watch The Walking Dead. I love that show which really does surprise me because I don't normally like watching really gory stuff. Maybe over the next week I will get the binding sewn to the back of the quilt as well. It is so exciting for me to have it to this stage and I can't wait to start working on the next one.

As soon as quilt cam was over I scooped up Molly and gave her a bath - she does not like it one bit and always tries to hide from me when I run the water in the laundry tub. She is really funny - when I call her to come for her bath she crawls to me on her belly....poor thing! Peanut on the other hand has no problem with having a bath and that's a good thing because she is white and gets so dirty.

Another work week is upon us and I need to get as much done today as I can in preparation for the week ahead but it just seems that I never am prepared! I have done most of the laundry and I made some home made soup. Yesterday we held the memorial for my mother-in-law Adela (it was beautiful) and dear friends of the family were so thoughtful and prepared a ham for us. I won't have to cook much at all this week and I am pretty happy about that!

Hop on over to Kathy's Quilts to see other links for Slow Sunday Stitching!