Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Starburst QAL - Block 7

I had not made any of these blocks for a couple weeks and I had forgotten how long they actually take for me to make them. I started these four yesterday and then finally finished them up today.

I had some accidental design changes on a couple of the blocks but, really, I can live with it and I won't be redoing them. Some of them turned out pretty funky looking but because I am using the same few fabrics to create the blocks they will all mix in together and it will just give some wonderful variety.

All of the blocks for the QAL, hosted by Little Bunny Quilts, have already been released...I did fall behind a bit but will soon be on track. There are two more blocks in the QAL that I still need to make (I am making four of each) and I have already printed the instructions and they are waiting for me. If things go according to plan I will have them made over the next few days and then I will need to think about layout and borders. I am loving it so far!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Celtic Solstice - Step 5

I had fallen so far behind on this mystery and had left off at partially completing step 2. On Christmas day I was able to find time to get into my sewing room and I jumped back on the Celtic Solstice train and I haven't looked back!

Over the past few days I was able to finish up step 2 and I also completed step 3, 4 and now 5. For step 5, I was able to pull 3.5" blue strips from my bins and I cut my triangles using the Easy Angle ruler. I was also able to take many of the neutral triangles from my precut bins too. That really helped when  it came time to piece those blocks together. I am really surprised at how even my blocks turned out. I usually have so many problems with the pieced sections turning out crooked but not this time :).  I am back on track and really looking forward to seeing how all of these pieces come together.

I must have been a little tired when I was working on step 5 because I did sew a few parts together incorrectly. I managed to sew my triangles to the orange instead of the yellow several times and I also made a very interesting block. As I was adding the triangles to the hst I was so certain that I was carefully checking to make sure the orientation was correct but as you can see I obviously wasn't as careful as I thought I was. Oh well, oopsies are bound to happen.

Hop on over to Quiltville to check out all of the other links - you just may be inspired to hop on the Celtic Solstice train too!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Paisley Seven Sisters Quilt

Molly modelling the finished top.
I did it!! I just finished stitching down the last bit of binding on this special quilt and I am SO happy with it. I don't really know how long it has been since I started piecing this quilt together (the top was completed before 2011) but it has taken me less than a year to hand quilt it and I am thrilled about that. Every stitch within this quilt has been taken by hand and with love. This is the second quilt in a series of Seven Sisters quilts that I am making for me and my six sisters and they hold great importance to us.
Peanut wanted to model the finished top too!

This quilt finished at approx. 73" x 82" and is quilted with an all over Baptist Fan motif using a neutral thread. I tried to get a picture of how wonderful the texture looks but I just can't seem to do it as well as I would like. As with the first quilt I finished, I still don't know which sister will receive which quilt, so I will need to add a label at a later time.

The third quilt top is already in progress and all of the blocks are finished and you will be seeing it a lot over the next while :).  I am ready to start putting the top together but I still need to cut some more sashing strips and then the borders. I have already purchased blue thread to quilt it with and I am looking forward to starting a new journey. I do hope that I will get it finished long before the new year is finished!!

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching...pop on over and check out the other links.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Celtic Solstice - Step 4

I am on a roll when it comes to getting caught up with this mystery quilt and I am enjoying every moment of it!  After being so busy leading up to Christmas it really does feel good to hang around in my jammies and just sew when the mood strikes. Yesterday, I started working on step 4 and I got all of my 4 patches stitched and pressed.

I am having a bit of trouble with my orange fabrics in that I have used up quite a bit of my smaller scrappier bits and mostly have only larger pieces left and that means not as much variety. Even though orange is one of my favourite colours I do hope that we are nearly finished with it. My game plan with this quilt is to use only fabric from my stash and I really don't want to buy any supplemental fabric.

Look out step 5 - I am coming for you!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Celtic Solstice and Cold Weather

Bonnie Hunter released the latest step in her Celtic Solstice mystery quilt and I see that it uses hsts that were made in step 3. Luckily....I just finished that step last night and I am good to go!

I still need to work on step 4 and I don't think that will take me very long to complete but I do think that this latest step is a bit of a doozy. I always have trouble making split triangle units even when my seam allowance is set correctly. I must sew really crooked or something because many of the units I have made in the past have been noticeably crooked.

Yesterday was a bit of crazy day and I feel so bad for my neighbour. She bought the house next door probably about 1.5 yrs ago or so and I have really only seen her once for about a 10 min conversation. Our weather lately has been just horrible, freezing rain that has caused lots of damage and power outages, very cold temps and plenty of snowfall. Yesterday, my husband was out in the driveway and he started chatting with a neighbour across street and they were discussing that no one has seen her at all lately. They looked toward her front door and decided to take a closer look. They were shocked at what they saw.....

My husband called the town emergency number to report there was a water leak that was causing severe damage and no one was home and that water could be heard running inside the house. The town sent someone around to check it out and they called the police.

In the end the police broke down the side door to see if in fact anyone was inside and, thankfully, no one was home. They were able to find contact info inside the home and apparently the owner was away on vacation and due home last night. The town shut off the water to the house but there is no way the house is habitable. There were wood floors on all levels and they are all buckled, the ceilings have been falling down and the damage really is catastrophic.This is a home that would normally sell for over half a million dollars and was absolutely gorgeous inside and now it has been literally destroyed inside...so sad. I cannot imagine the emotional toll that this will take on the owner...I know I would be in total shock. I hope that she does not have problems dealing with her insurance company and that she can return to her home quickly.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Back In My Sewing Room!

I had great plans to keep up with the Starburst QAL that I am participating in as well as Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery - Celtic Solstice - but sometimes things happen that require a change in plans.

I was asked to make a special memory quilt for Zackie and I only had 2 weeks before Christmas to make it. Just as I was finishing it I caught a very bad head cold and that was really such bad timing!! Needless to say I was a little concerned about how I was going to manage Christmas Eve dinner for us and our guests never mind spend any time in my sewing room. I guess mind over matter and sheer determination won out and I recovered well enough to make the dinner we had planned. I had a ton of work to do because we had decided to have Polish food, perogies, paticzky and cabbage rolls and all are very labour intensive to make but somehow I did it. Even though I am not Polish, it is my husband's and sons' heritage, and my MIL taught me how to make these delicious foods. Thankfully, I did have some help from my husband with the perogies and he baked the Christmas cookies.

Yesterday was a day of leftovers and recovery and I did spend some time in my sewing room - yaayyy! I finished off the second step of Bonnie's mystery and today I plan to work on step 3 and I hope to get back on track quickly.

The last blocks have been released for the Starburst QAL and they really are wonderful. If you are considering making these blocks in the future you really should download the patterns while they are still free. As soon as I get caught up with the mystery I will continue with these blocks until I get them finished too.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and happy Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Zackie's Memory Quilt is Finished

I don't know why that spot has appeared in my photo???
Zackie's quilt looks absolutely fantastic! I put a lot of time and love into making this very special quilt and I am very happy with the way it turned out. More importantly, Zackie's Daddy is very happy with the way it turned out and thinks it is just fantastic too.
Jayden (Zackie's twin) Daddy Paul and big brother Ty

It was a bit of a challenge to put it together - sort of like putting a puzzle together without a picture for guidance and trying to make all the pieces fit. I tried to use all of the provided clothing to the best advantage I could. Happily, I was able to make it larger than at first anticipated so instead of having a tiny quilt at 40" x 52" it finished at 52" x 60" which is a much nicer size for a cuddle quilt. I quilted it in a free hand loopy-loop pattern with red thread.

It really was such an honour to work on this quilt and it will surely be a very treasured family heirloom.

Zackie's Mommy will be able to see and touch the pieces of treasured clothing and snuggle under the quilt with her family instead of having Zackie's clothing tucked away in a drawer.

It really is such a wonderful and thoughtful gift and I bet she is going to be so thrilled and overcome with emotion when she opens up her gift on Christmas morning!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Zackie's Memory Quilt

Those of you that read my blog on a regular basis know that I am working on a memory quilt for a little boy named Zackie who passed away when he was only three years old. His Daddy has commissioned me to make this quilt for a surprise Christmas gift for his wife, Zackie's Mommy. One of the special requests that I received was to have Zackie's name added to the front of the quilt. I thought it would be a great idea so I had the letters custom cut from his Elmo blanket and I planned to machine applique them to the background.

Not so good!
I have never machine appliqued before but I thought I would give it a try. I had some extra letters cut from scrap fabric to practice on. It was an absolute failure...I was disappointed... but how could I legitimately think that I could learn how in one afternoon. The addition of his name was a special request so I decided to stitch it on by hand instead. It did take quite a bit of time but I think the results are so worth it.

I did a raw edge applique using a blanket stitch. The whole point of this quilt is to use fabric from Zackie's clothing and to make them the star of the quilt so I decided to use a thread that blended in with the letters instead of using a contrasting thread.
I didn't necessarily want the stitching to be the focus feature although it does look pretty darn good. I think it is a wonderful touch to have the stitching done by hand and while I worked on it I thought about Zackie and his family. I don't know them personally but I do have children (all grown up) and I think the love you have for your child is one of the most powerful and universal emotions.

I am linking up at Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching - it is a favourite!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Working on the Memory Quilt

Some of the t-shirts prepped and ready to be used.
Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time preparing the clothing that I will be using to make this quilt. I tried to cut the pieces of fabric as large as I could from the clothing even though many pieces will need to be trimmed once their placement in the quilt is figured out.

I had purchased 2.5 m of lightweight fusible interfacing to back the pieces of t-shirt fabric but I don't have quite enough. I am going to have to make a trip to the fabric store today to get a bit more. This is the first time that I have used this product and following the application instructions was quite easy. I think the ones I have done turned out great.

Once I finish preparing the fabric pieces I need to spend some time practicing machine applique. Zackie's name will be included on the quilt top and I had the letters cut out of his flannel Elmo blanket. I need to do some trials first because this will be my first attempt at machine applique so I also had some extra pieces cut from scraps. This will be today's challenge.... master machine applique....okay... maybe not master it but at least try to do it reasonably well. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Memory Quilt

Some of the clothing that has been provided to me.
I have been commissioned to make a memory quilt out of clothing that belonged to a beautiful child that passed away when he was only 3 years old. When I make a quilt my heart always goes into it and this is no exception. As I am taking the first few steps of preparing his clothing for cutting and piecing I am thinking about this family and their little boy and the special impact he had on them.

I am working very closely with his Daddy to make this cuddle quilt as a surprise Christmas gift for his Mommy. I will be sending photos of my progress as I work on it so that input can be given and received throughout the process.

We have already had a meeting to discuss the design and to pick out some fabric to use in addition to the clothing.

The plan is to keep it simple so that we can make the most of the pieces of precious clothing. Many of the articles of clothing are just so small - little t-shirts and onesies - but a flannel blanket has been provided too and that is fantastic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Starburst QAL - Block Six

Wow - these stars look like they are spinning!
This block design was another challenging one for me but Oh My they all turned out so good! I see in the photo that the block on the top left looks like it has a stain but it doesn't. I had spritzed it with water to press it flat with the iron and it was still a bit wet in spots when I snapped the photo - oops.

I showed someone the blocks that I have made so far and they were asking me what I was going to border and/or sash the quilt with. Sashing instructions will be provided but I think I do have options other than plain white - I could potentially use the solid red or solid blue instead. There are nine different blocks in the QAL and I can't wait to see how the rest of the blocks look.

Pop on over to Little Bunny Quilts so you can join in - it's not too late - just imagine these beautiful blocks in the fabrics of your choice. All of the block patterns are being provided for free for a limited time. I am so glad I joined in with the QAL because I am going to end up with a gorgeous quilt!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Celtic Solstice - Step 2

Yesterday while I was reading blogs I saw a couple posts where people have already finished step 2. Wow...that is quick!

I haven't had a lot of time to work on Celtic Solstice since the latest step was released on Friday but, on the positive side, I did get a whole whack of green rectangles cut and they are ready and waiting for the addition of the neutral and yellow squares.

I did dig through my scrap bins and pulled out as many 2" yellow squares that I could find and I certainly need to cut more. There is no problem with quantity when it comes to my neutral 2" squares because I have a couple bins of them ready and waiting. Can a quilter ever have too many neutrals - I think not! I will continue to work on this step over the next week and plan to have it all finished for the release of the next step on Friday.

When we linked up last week I had step 1 partially completed and happily I did manage to get it all finished before step 2 was released.

I am linking up at Quiltville - pop on over and check out the links...it is so much fun to participate in Bonnie's mysteries!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

still need to finish the binding
Last week I had two quilts that needed binding and I decided to work on the one that was closest to being finished - who can resist the reward of a finished quilt! I showed this picture last week of my Seven Sisters quilt and not much has changed except its position on the couch. So today and throughout this week, I will be working on the binding for my paisley Seven Sisters quilt. This series of Seven Sisters quilts that I am making are absolutely long term projects and there really is no need to rush through the process although it would be really nice if I can finish this one before Christmas :).

As we get closer to Christmas the time seems to be flying by much quicker than normal and things are just becoming more and more hectic. As each day passes it seems that even though I am crossing items off my list of 'things to do', my list just continues to grow instead of shrink. I think it will be a perfect end to each day to do a bit of hand stitching on the binding to wind down each evening!

What will you be working on? Pop on over to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching to link up.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Round Up

Things haven't changed much since I finished the top!
I think I have finally figured out what to do with my Boy's Britches quilt that I have been working on throughout the year. The last time I posted about this quilt I was in a tizzy trying to figure out what to do with the borders. All of the ideas that I had were not working for me and it was driving me crazy. You can read about the insanity here and here.

When my sister Cheryl visited with me a few weeks ago for our mini retreat we tried out a few different options for the border and I now have a plan that hopefully will work out the way I have envisioned it. I am keeping the checkerboard border in the design and I have been spending little bits of time here and there working on cutting and sewing the pieces together. I think that this time my plan will stick and it feels really good to know that I can proceed confidently knowing that it is going to be another wonderful quilt! It would be really good if I can finish this up before the year ends because I do think it needs to be loved and used and not just shoved around my sewing room.

I am linking up with soscrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge - pop on over and check out the other links!

Friday, December 6, 2013

'Everlasting Joy'


I finished the quilt that I was making for my sister Kathlene and I love...love...love it! It is just so pretty...my photos never do my quilts justice! Every time I looked at it I felt joy and happiness so that is how it got it's name - 'Everlasting Joy' - and I do hope it brings joy to my sister every time she looks at it and uses it.

This quilt finished at approx 86" x 96" and I quilted it using the pantograph Starburst and purple thread. I think I love everything about this quilt....even the pieces that I missed points on. Each 10" block contains 53 pieces and I did my best to be accurate but you know oopsies do happen.

I took a closeup picture of the back to show how pretty the quilting looks. The front is just so busy that it is hard to see the quilting in photos.

I wanted to use the flower print for the backing but I didn't have enough so I thought I would use the dark purple instead but I didn't have enough of that either. In the end, I pieced whatever I had together so the back looks a little wonky and definitely unique.
wacky back!
In this photo it looks like there are spots on the fabric but in real life they are not there. Not sure how that happened!

Kathlene is moving to my town next week and I can't wait to give the quilt to her!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quilting Practice

I had so much fun playing around with some practice quilting. I have been doodling on a white board and I felt I had progressed enough that I could try out some of my doodles on fabric. As you can see I do still need lots more practice but I really felt good about what I did because I am making progress.

I don't have money or quilting supplies to waste so I didn't want to use any of my 'good stuff' but I do need to practice on fabric of some sort. I have a huge hunk of white cotton sheeting that I received from my MIL that is many years old and it is discoloured and stained and is not really usable for a quilt...but it is perfect to practice on.

I ripped some strips that were probably about 24" x whatever the the width of the fabric was and loaded it onto the frame. I used narrow strips and hunks and chunks of leftover batting pieces and just laid them onto the backing and then covered it with another piece of white fabric and it worked really well.

Instead of loading empty bobbins with new thread I used up bobbins that were partially filled with leftover bits of different colours of thread. There was an annoyance factor in that I had to keep changing bobbins but I did manage to empty quite a few of them - I feel so virtuous!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Block Lotto Blocks

The blocks for this month really were not very difficult to make at all and I do think whoever wins them will end up with quite a cute quilt.

I got a sneak peak at the blocks and received the instructions early because I had finished last month's basket block before the deadline but I wasn't allowed to post them until after Dec 1. I used white from my stash and strips that I already had in my bins so it didn't take too long to make them. I did start out to make 8 blocks but I can only submit 7 of them because one turned out just a tad too wonky. I think it was because the pink fabric that I took from my strip bin had been cut somewhat crooked.

I am not sure if I will bother to fix this dud block - the seam lines are noticeably crooked but they could be corrected by making an adjustment within the seam so that the pink seam allowance would be a bit narrower than the white and then it would finish straight and to the correct size. For now it will just sit in my scrap bin waiting....

Even though my seam allowance is pretty accurate, my blocks did finish just a hair shorter than the 9.5" but according to the guidelines that is still very acceptable. When I ironed them I did use some spray starch and that helped a lot.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Starburst QAL - Block Five

I am quite happy with the way my blocks have turned out especially when I consider that it almost broke my brain to make them!

Two options were given for the B blocks in this pattern (the outer corners) and I decided to go with the first option even though that block contains a very funky seam line. The first block I made I decided that I would cut that section away from the piecing pattern so I would have two sections to paper piece and then sew the two sections together. Well, it worked out okay but was a bit messy to figure out the alignment and then there was also the annoyance factor.

I just kept looking at the block trying to figure out a better way and after looking at the block for a while I finally got the 'aha' moment. I just needed to renumber the pattern and piece it in a different order. It was totally smooth sailing from there!

I am linking up with Little Bunny Quilts - pop on over to see other renditions of this wonderful star block. The paper piecing patterns are being offered free for a set time after which they will need to be purchased.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Celtic Solstice - Step 1

piecing in progress
I couldn't wait for the instructions to be released on Friday...it was so exciting...but I also knew that I needed to spend the day in Toronto and wouldn't be able to start the mystery for a couple days. I had planned on leaving for Toronto no later than 9 am but when I downloaded the instructions and saw that we were doing 3" finished triangle in a square blocks I knew I had to get everything ready before I left. Lucky for me, my sister Cheryl has this Go die and I had already planned to spend most of Friday with her and my Mom.

fabric ready to go - check!
I didn't have any fabric 'ready' in that I planned to use Bonnie's colour palette and go totally scrappy and just use what I have in my stash. I intended to pull fabrics as the need arose but I didn't plan that I would need to get everything ready in a very short period of time!

I quickly grabbed pieces of fabric that would work....fat quarters, chunks that were smaller and pieces that were bigger. I quickly cut the widths I would need for the Go die and then ran the iron over them to get the creases out.

Just a small sampling of the mess I left!
 In the end, I left my sewing room completely strewn with fabric but I did get all of the fabrics prepped and ready to go and I left my home by 10:30.

cut pieces all ready for sewing
After a day of shopping and running errands my sister and I cut my fabric into the required pieces (actually more than I will need) and I made it home before 9 pm. It was a little later than I intended but I got my pieces all cut and ready to sew as a bonus!

I have started sewing the neutral/blue blocks and plan to finish step one today. I am linking up at Quiltville - pop on over and check out the other links.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday - Binding

I haven't made much progress since this photo was taken!
The past couple of days have been quite busy and I just haven't had any time to actually sit and sew for two days. Today I plan to change that and I will be working on hand stitching some binding this morning. I have two quilts that are in the binding stage and I really can't wait to finish them up.

I can see my quilting much better in this photo!
I am still sewing the binding to the front of my yellow paisley Seven Sisters quilt and I am anxious to get that finished so I can move onto stitching it to the back .... but ..... I am just about half way on finishing the binding on my sister Kathlene's quilt. I don't think I will have time to work on both because I do have a baby shower to go to today so somehow I am going to have to make a decision on which one will get some attention.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday - pop on by and check out the other links!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Squishy in the Mail

Earlier this month Deborah at Simply Miss Luella had a giveaway that I entered. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out it was me that had won. I was just so darn excited because this was the first time I have ever won a giveaway... and what a prize it was.

I won a jelly roll of Lush Uptown and the fabric is really cute. This is another first in that I have never purchased a jelly roll except for the edible kind! I opened it up to see the fabrics and was totally surprised to see how many strips it contained. Hmmmm....I do see some yellow, green and orange in there - maybe I can incorporate some of these strips into Bonnie Hunter's mystery.

Thank you Deborah for hosting the giveaway - I am so glad I won!