Thursday, October 31, 2013

Starburst QAL

I will be using a solid white for the background fabric. I still need to add a couple more fabrics.
Yesterday, I joined up with the Starburst QAL and it is all BillieBee's fault. I certainly cannot be blamed for wanting to participate because the star blocks are just so darn wonderful.

The first block was posted on Monday but I haven't made mine yet because I have only just chosen the fabrics that I want to use. I woke up really early - 2:30 am early - and I started looking through my fabrics and decided on the primary ones but I didn't have enough secondary options. I needed a consult with my sister Cheryl but she had the nerve to be sleeping. :) I know she checks her email shortly after she wakes so I started sending them to her at around 7 am. I was just so excited about this project and I wanted to know if I would be able to shop her stash for just the right fabric.

After much jibber jabbering consultation by phone I think we have figured out what she has in her stash that will supplement what I already have. She is going to be visiting me early next week for a little sewing retreat at my place and she will bring more solid red, a complementary blue fabric and more of the red background with squares. We both bought the same red with squares fabric some time ago but I used almost all of mine and I really do have just a scrap left. I am really looking forward to her visit and the fabrics she will be bringing with her!

It's not too can join in the fun too!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

String Blocks for the Guild

I had brought home four little bundles of fabric from the October Guild meeting and they contained all of the parts needed to make string blocks. These strips are considerably wider than the strings that I would normally save and use for my own string blocks. The center string is consistently the same fabric and they are stitched to the provided background square of foundation fabric. As I stitched the strips together I kept thinking about the scrap stash they came from and how fabulous those scraps were. Somehow when I see other quilter's scrappy bits of fabric I always think they look more interesting and way better than my own!

My picture of them would be considerably cuter if I had the blocks trimmed but we have been asked to leave them untrimmed. These blocks hardly took any time at all to make because of the size of the strips and I am glad that I brought home four of them instead of just one.

I also managed to finally get my own pile of scrap fabric cut into strips, rectangles and squares. I still need more variety with my rectangles so I have started pulling strips from my strip bins and will work on cutting them to size over the next while. I am not really in a big hurry, I just want to have everything ready for when I am ready to make the quilt top.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

Small progress.
The last time I posted about my Seven Sisters quilt I am pretty sure that I said I was hoping to have
it all finished by the end of the month. Well, it doesn't appear that it will happen because...... if you want to finish a project you actually have to work on it! There is a difference between slow stitching and stitching so slowly that you don't get anything finished.

I really can't say that I haven't worked on it all because I have been but I keep leaving it to work on in the evenings and you know what happens then. I pick it up and do a small amount of stitching but by then I am too tired and end up going to bed instead. The hoop is moving along but very slowly so I think I am going to have to switch things around for the next while and work on it in the mornings until I get it finished.

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

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scrap Happy Saturday - Black

I have been working away at cutting my scrappy bits of fabric and found a few nice chunky sized black pieces that were trimmed from the backing of my quilt 'Shoot for the Stars'. I folded up the larger long piece that had been trimmed from one of the sides of the quilt and put it in my fat quarter bins for later use. When I cut the remainder of the backing scraps I made sure to cut some strips for my churn dash blocks.

I made one large block that will finish at 12", four 6" blocks and six 3" blocks. I don't really have a specific plan for these blocks yet but they really are such a classic and I think they will all look great together in a quilt.

I am linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - hop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links. You just may be inspired to dig into your scraps and use them up!

Today is a cool and blustery day. It has been raining most of the morning and there have even been some wet snowflakes mixed in. It is the perfect kind of day to stay inside so this afternoon I will work on removing the wallpaper from the second part of the kitchen. I think the evening will be well spent working on some hand quilting.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Midget Block #86 - Grandmother's Brooch

I finished this block a little while ago but I have only realized that I had not posted about it. I don't remember too many details about it other than I went with a similar but not exact colour scheme and I pieced it by hand in rounds. I am very happy with the way it turned out - very cute!

I haven't counted how many of these blocks I have already made but I think that when I make the next one that I should take a group photo. Unfortunately, I missed the first 50 that were provided for free but I have since downloaded and saved the rest of them. They can be found at Sentimental Stitches and blocks 51 to 159 are currently still available for free download.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guild Night

Last night was Guild night and at the meeting I picked up a few things to work on. First, I checked out the library table and found a book called Floral Abundance - Applique Designs Inspired by William Morris and I decided it needed to come home with me for the month. During the break, I visited the Outreach table and picked out a quilt kit and 4 little bundles of fabric. I also picked up a square of Christmas fabric to make the Block of the Month. I guess I don't think I have quite enough projects on the go!

The speaker was renowned textile artist Gunnel Hag. She gave an interesting talk and she showed quite a few samples of her work. If I remember correctly she has made fabric for productions like the Lion King and Resident Evil among others. When you see her samples up close and personal they really are quite wonderful.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I did really well with my winding ways blocks yesterday and I got nine pink blocks completed. I made one block for each pink fabric that is being used for this quilt. The next batch will probably be brown blocks just to keep everything even...ha ha!

I didn't do so well with cutting my scraps. I thought I would get a lot done while watching Bonnie Hunter's quilt cam but by then I was feeling quite tired. I decided that I would just sit and knit some dishcloths but I didn't get too far with that either. I shut everything down at about 9:30 and was in bed by 9:45 - I was having way too much trouble focusing on anything!

I woke up feeling pretty refreshed and I have made two loaves of bread and a big batch of homemade powder laundry soap. I feel pretty good about that! Next on my list to tackle are some pears that are starting to show their age. We have a pear tree and it is a really good producer. I often can some of the pears but because of the basement reno I can't get at all of the things I need so we have just refrigerated them. I need to do something with them so I plan to try a new recipe for a pear cake and a pear crumble.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Deprived No More!

I haven't spent too much time in my sewing room over the past few days and I feel like I have been somewhat deprived! I have decided that I am going to spend most of my day today playing around making more winding ways blocks and also getting some scraps cut.

I have already sewn the center sections of about 13 blocks together and I have found that it is better to sew over that little seam a couple times. The seam is just so short that if I only sew it once then it comes apart very easily.

I have also pinned the corner sections of quite a few blocks and have now started to sew them together. I plan to chain stitch these blocks together and I think that will help me to complete them fairly quickly.

I also have plans to make at least one quilt using 2" x 3.5" rectangles so I have started cutting my scraps to size to add to my rectangle bin. It will be a very scrappy quilt and I do need to have a lot of variety so after I cut my scraps I will probably start cutting into 2" and 3.5" strips from my strip bins.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Busy Days

There has not been a lot of sewing going on around here but boy - oh - boy I have been busssssyyyyy! I did get two more winding ways blocks sewn but that is all. I thought I would show you a tool that I do use all of the time especially when I am working on tricky bits like curves.
Nut Picker

I find that this little device helps me hold things in the correct position for sewing. Even though I do use a lot of pins when I am sewing these curves, I often find that the leading edges will start to separate and get misaligned before I can get them sewn. It's not fancy but it does the job and it didn't cost me anything extra either! I tried to take a photo showing it in action but it was so hard to sew, hold the camera and take the picture. When I am sewing curves I do sew slowly and that allows me to have very good control of the placement of the fabric and the picker.

I have been spending most of my time removing wallpaper...ugh! Remind me to neverever wallpaper again. We wallpapered our kitchen and eating area just about 19 years ago and of course it has needed updating for many years but who really wants to remove wallpaper?!

 I set out to wash the kitchen walls the other day and thought that if I was going to go through all that trouble that I should just remove the paper. We have quite a large kitchen and I am just about finished removing the paper from the eating area and I hope to have the walls all washed by the end of the day. Once that is done, the next step is to clear out the cooking area and to start removing that wallpaper. I am exhausted just thinking about it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dear Jane - Rayelle's Fence (C-3)

This block was such a simple and straightforward block to make. I didn't need to make any templates and it was just basic straight line sewing. I sewed it in sections - first I made the four patches and then the rectangles. I pieced the sections together and then sewed it in rows just like I would normally do a 9 patch by machine. No curves, no inset seams, no applique - just wham, bam, thank you ma'am and it was done!

I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rainbow Quilt in Progress

I have been making nine patch blocks over the past 2 years or so while participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela of soscrappy. I have now come to the point where I have sewn these 9 patches together, by colour, into groups of 36. They do look so pretty together!

I have four more blocks set aside that I didn't have room to put on my design wall. That leaves me one 36 patch block short if I decide on a 5 x 5 layout. I have pulled out enough 2.5" blue squares from my scrappy bins to make the last block but.....I am not too sure if I want a square quilt. I have the option to go with a 4 x 6 layout which just might suit me better.  I think I should hold off making the extra block for now - if I do need it I have everything in place to make it.

I still need to cut the white strips for the sashing that goes between the blocks and I have to decide if I will be adding a border treatment.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Midget Block #87 - Tempting Tulip

I am so happy with the way this block turned out. My hand applique is getting much better and I don't feel quite so fumble fingered when I do it. I had not attempted applique until I started working on these midget blocks, and my Dear Jane blocks as well, and I can see the improvement each time I complete a new applique piece.

My little circle on top of the flower turned out so well. I had been having trouble with making my circles round so I purchased the Perfect Circle templates by Karen Kay Buckley and I think that has helped tremendously. It really does help to start out with a circle that is an actual circle...when I would make my own circle templates they were never quite round!

From this picture you can see that I use up lots of scrappy bits and pieces.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

Whenever I just need to sit down and do some slow stitching I have been working on quilting my yellow paisley Seven Sisters quilt. I have been making slow but steady progress and I am now beginning to see the end - just look at that bottom edge. I have just over 2.5 rows left to quilt and I am getting really excited to see it finished. It just may drive me to do some marathon slow stitching over the next week or so. My quilt is approximately 74" wide and I am quilting it rather densely with Baptist Fans so I hope I am not being too optimistic in thinking that I can have it completely finished by the end of the month. I guess it wouldn't be a problem if I didn't have so many other projects that I want to work on as well!

Today I will be making pumpkin pies and doing as much prep work as I can for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I also need to do some cleaning and laundry but I will still make sure I take time to do some hand quilting today.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching. Pop on over to see other hand work projects - you just may be inspired to do some Slow Sunday Stitching yourself!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Scrap Happy Saturday

These mini stars will finish at 3".
This month's colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is black and gray. I think using black in a quilt really can be dramatic and wonderful and I do like to use it now and again. This week I decided to make some little stars with my black scraps. I dug through my scraps and tried to find bits and pieces that had black in them. These stars only use 1" and 1.5" strips of fabric in fairly short lengths and they are a perfect way to use up smaller bits and pieces.

Drop by soscrappy's Scrap Happy Saturday and check out other fun scrappy just may be inspired to use up some of your scraps too!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Winding Ways

I worked on making more of the winding ways blocks this morning. I made them in sets of four and it just seemed that the first batch took me a very long time to make. The second batch went together a lot quicker - I guess it just takes a few blocks to get warmed up.

Here are all of the blocks I have made so far. Some of them look really busy and others look much more serene but I like them all!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bordering on Insanity

After supper last night I was finally able to go to my sewing room and I thought I was going to work on my winding ways blocks but that didn't happen.

It appears that my boy's britches quilt had other ideas and as soon as I entered my sewing room it started demanding attention from me. What could I do but accept that I still need to figure out a border for this quilt.

Do you hear that sound......that is the sound of me losing my mind! I have tried so many different options for a border with this quilt but I am just not feeling it. I had thought that I might like a checkerboard but it seems to overtake the quilt.

Next, I tried some leftover colourful hsts around the edge......

Then I tried using those hsts with white triangles...

The border has to be somewhere, I have tried so many options already but nothing is really singing to me. It just may be that I am trying too hard and I should just border it with just a plain white inner border and then a plain black one as the outer border. 

I even pulled out some fabrics from my stash that are colourful with black backgrounds but I am not too sure about them either.

I have to get ready to go to the dentist now so while I am there I will think about the border some more. I am not a fan of going to the dentist, even for just a cleaning, so this border might be driving me crazy but it will be a good distraction to think about while I am sitting in the chair!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Churn Dash

When I went to the guild workshop I made one 12" churn dash block. I really do like this block design and while I was at the workshop I was speaking with a woman and we both agreed that we really liked this block when it appears in different sizes in a quilt. know what happened next don't you?

I don't often use 12" blocks but I thought they would look great with some 6" blocks.

I do like 6" blocks a lot but I also like 3" blocks too, so one thing led to another and a few 3" blocks turned into 16.

Look at the difference in size - I think a quilt made up of all of these block sizes should look pretty good. I am going to continue making these blocks in all three sizes but I will also add lots of scrappiness to it as well.

I am heading off to Toronto this morning and I am taking Kathlene's flimsy with me for show and tell. My Mom doesn't use a computer and she really does like to see what I am working on especially if it is a family quilt. I know she is going to love this one for sure! I plan to be back early enough to take care of some things around the house and to also spend some time in my sewing room. You know that a day without sewing is well.....not a good day!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Progress

Kathlene's quilt has made it to the flimsy stage and I love it! I worked on adding the borders yesterday and I only needed to add the last top and bottom border this morning. I sewed them on but didn't look at the stitching until I was pressing it. I happened to flip the quilt over a bit when I was pressing and I saw that my stitching on the bobbin side was terrible.

I took the quilt back to the machine and checked everything over and found that the upper thread was wrapped around the needle threader. When I used the machine this morning I had to rethread it before I could start and I guess I just got the thread caught where it shouldn't have been. It was no problem to just run the top through the machine and resew the seams.

I still need to piece the backing fabric and then this baby will be ready for quilting. I have already cut the binding and just have to piece the strips together.

I don't have a name for this quilt yet - I hope something comes to me soon.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Midget Block #85 - Whirling Star

The pieces look so messy until they are trimmed.
I started working on this midget block fairly late at night and I didn't get it finished until after 11 pm. The first clue that I had that I was too tired was the number of times I had to remove my stitching because I goofed up either by sewing the wrong line or by miscutting the fabric. You know how difficult it is to remove those little teeny tiny stitches when paper piecing!! I probably should have just put it away and called it a night but I was determined to finish it.

This is another one of those blocks that tricked me into thinking it was going to be a very simple one to make....ha! Other than being tired and making silly mistakes it did go together quite easily and the process was straightforward until I got to the outer edge.
I didn't clue in to the difficult corners until I got there!
Do you see it? Those corners are not straight - they are angled. I did those mitered corners by machine and I think I did a pretty good job. I have learned so much and certainly have increased my skills by making these blocks and my Dear Jane blocks as well.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dear Jane - Streak of Lightening (C-2)

At first glance at this block I thought I would hand piece the whole thing but after taking a little closer look I decided that a combo of hand piecing and applique might work a little better for me.

I made my templates by tracing the block onto freezer paper (just love that stuff!!) but I did make a minor adjustment to the corners. I made my background corner pieces whole by ignoring the two larger corner triangles. I had decided that I would applique those larger corner triangles over the corners instead of trying to piece them into it.
Just need to add the applique triangles!

I love how this little block has turned out. As I make these blocks, and the midget blocks as well, I am learning so many new techniques and sometimes I am really successful and sometimes they just don't turn out very well because I am such a beginner with applique. When I have a success like this it drives me to continue learning and practicing!

Edit - I forgot to add that I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching. Pop on over to check out other links and find some great inspiration!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It Was a Great Day

I participated in a guild workshop and all I came home with was this block...and I met lots of other women that enjoy quilting. What could be better?

We had demonstrations on different techniques for making hsts, flying geese and also machine applique. I have not attempted machine applique before but I think I just might try it out. I took my Singer 301 with me and it is straight stitch only so I didn't make an applique block. Instead I did do a lot of chatting and hopefully I have made some new friends and in particular, new friends that understand my quilting obsession!

The ladies put on a great workshop and I do hope that they have more of them because I would definitely participate again.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Getting Excited!

Tomorrow I am participating in a day long mini retreat with other new guild members. I am so looking forward to it but I am also a little nervous because I am not too sure what to expect.  Some of the instructions seem a little vague to me.....bring .5 meter of a cream fabric...check....also bring some coordinating fabrics that can be used in one project. I am not too sure how much or how many???? The instructions state that Northcott has donated some natural Stonehenge fabrics in rusts, green, etc. This is what I picked to bring with me.....

I wanted to take a smaller, lightweight machine with me so I had to dig out my Singer 301. I have not used it in months so I oiled it, cleaned it, and I also tested it.

While I was sewing these qst blocks into a row, my husband made me a board with rubber feet for the machine to sit on so I could use the extension table from my Janome. Just perfect!

I made this quilt top for my niece several months ago and my sister Glenda took it to Winnipeg so my niece Amanda could pick out her backing fabric. She didn't find what she was looking for but she did decide that she would like another row added to the width. Since I made this top using the 301 it was perfect to test out the machine by adding the extra row. I had many leftover qst blocks so I already had a very good head start.

When I sewed them to the quilt top I didn't use pins and I still managed to match almost all of the points. This quilt top is going back on the shelf awaiting the backing selection. I hope she finds the right one soon!