Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Quilting Recap

I have been reading many blog posts this morning recapping the year's quilting accomplishments and I kept thinking to myself that I wouldn't make a post because I didn't think I had made or finished very many quilts this year. Just for interest sake, I thought I would check and see how many I actually did finish and I really am feeling quite surprised. 

Over the past year I have finished 10 quilts...not all of them were start to finish quilts in 2014....but they all did get finished and most of them have been sent off to their new homes. Of course, I did start/work on lots of other quilts too and maybe they will be finished in 2015. ;)

I didn't count how many quilts that I made for the guilds that I belong to nor did I count the number of quilts that I only did the long arm quilting on for my sister, charity or friends. So all in all I have had a very successful year in my quilting studio.

I am ending off my year feeling pretty darn good! :))

Happy New Year to all! My wish is that we all have a happy, healthy, peaceful and fulfilling 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dear Jane - Eye of the Cyclone (C-5)

This block ended up turning out pretty well considering I had a bit of a false start with it. I was trying to come up with a way to make the block without doing a lot of curved piecing and I just ended up making a big mess.  At first I thought I would applique the center wedge shapes onto the background fabric but it just didn't work for me. I really need to think things through before I jump in!

So, I backtracked and I re cut the center bits and hand sewed them together into a circle. Once that was done, I marked and cut a circle out of the center of the background fabric and I made sure that I also allowed for a seam allowance. I nipped the seam allowance of the background fabric and creased it under into a circular shape and I used a few dabs of washable glue stick to hold it in place. Next, I aligned the center section of the block behind the background fabric and it was also held in place with a bit of glue while I did reverse applique. It worked great and I had no problem with it at all. Once I got that done I appliqued those little hook shaped pieces onto the background fabric too. They were quite easy to align because I had the rounded center to use as a guide for the curves.

I am linking up to Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching. Pop on over and have a look at what other slow stitchers have been working on. Kathy has done a great job of reminding us to slow down, breathe deeply and relax with some hand work each week!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sampler Blocks - RSC 2014

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I had the perfect celebration - both of my sons were home with my husband and I and I couldn't have asked for anything more or better!

This is the final scrap happy Saturday of 2014 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I didn't have any new blocks made to post this morning. I haven't been doing very much sewing the past couple days but I really wanted to make sure that I posted some more of the Sampler blocks. Happily, I was able to get into my sewing studio this afternoon. I worked with my purple scraps and I made six new blocks.

The two blocks on the left hand side were completed during April - the actual purple month. I am very happy that I have now completed all of the purple blocks for the Sampler. The best part is that I was able to get all of the scrappy pieces for these blocks from my strip bins and/or part bins. It feels so good to use it up!

Angela of soscappy is hosting the RSC again in 2015 and I know I will be about you?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Give Away Winners!

I wrote out all of the names of the entrants for my fabric giveaway and I put them into my lucky hat. I love this hat because it was worn by my eldest son whenever he performed in his high school jazz band. He doesn't want it any more but I can't let it go because it just brings back so many fun memories!

My lucky husband drew two names from the lucky hat and the first one drawn was Grit and the second was Chantal.
This bundle for Grit.

Congratulations to both of you! I have sent out an email to you both to get your snail mail addresses.

This bundle for Chantal.
Please bear with me because I want to avoid the post office until after Christmas but I will put your fabric in the mail soon after.

I wish I could have given everyone a little something but as you all know that just isn't possible. Thank you all for being such good blogger friends. Please know that I appreciate your visits, your comments, your input and your friendship!

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Floral Seven Sisters

Christmas is fast approaching but, thankfully, we have really scaled down our Christmas preparations. There are just a few things left that need to be taken care of. There really isn't a lot of shopping to to do other than buying what I need to prepare for Christmas Eve dinner so I have been working on the floral Seven Sisters blocks instead of participating in the Christmas rush!

I wanted to see what a finished block would look like with my chosen fabrics and honestly, I couldn't be happier. The floral print doesn't photograph very well but it really is beautiful! It did take quite a bit of slow-stitching time this week to finish the block and I doubt that I will get the rest of the blocks done this quickly. ;) I just couldn't resist!

When cutting the fabric pieces I realized that I had lost the template for the trapezoid shape and I also needed to make a better template for the 4 large corner triangles. It was done pretty easily and quickly from template plastic and one from cardboard.

I was asked it I am using a pattern and my response is not really. I had found a pattern for the block on-line years ago, although I can't find it now, but it is really a standard Seven Sisters block. My blocks are rectangular...if I added a narrow strip of fabric along the top and bottom it would square them but I didn't think it was necessary for my purposes. My unfinished triangle template fits perfectly on a 2" strip of fabric although I am marking and cutting the triangles from yardage not strips.

My plan today is to spend some time marking and cutting my fabric for more of the Seven Sisters blocks. I want to have everything cut and ready for piecing so I can just pick it up and work on it - no muss no fuss.
back of block
Pop on over to Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching and check out the links to see what other participants are working on.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sampler Blocks - RSC 2014

the upper right block looks more teal blue than teal green
This is the second last Saturday for the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge and with Christmas nearly upon us there seems to be less and less time to sew. I am still working on making blocks for the Sampler quilt that Angela designed for 2014 and this week I have added the six blocks on the right. I have made progress with the Sampler blocks but I really can't say that I am getting caught up because there is very little chance of that this year. ;)

The good news is that I did get all of the green/teal coloured blocks done but there are many more blocks to make and there just won't be enough time before now and the end of the year. I will just continue to make these blocks into 2015 and I know by the end of the year I am going to have a very pretty quilt.

strings, crumbs and block pieces
There is one good thing about making these scrappy blocks in just one or two sewing sessions and that is it makes less mess. I am able to pull out all of the scraps and strips at one time and that means it is quick work to sort the unused strips and cut down what is left of the smaller strips into usable block pieces instead of having the leftovers hanging around my cutting table. These bits and pieces have already been put away waiting for their turn to be used in a future quilt.

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links to see what other participants in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge have been up to!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Will You Celebrate with Me?

bright bundle
I really cannot believe it but I am heading toward another blogging anniversary! Wow...where oh where has the time gone? I started blogging on Dec 21, 2010 and here we are in December 2014 and I just cannot get over it.

batik bundle
I would like to celebrate my little anniversary by hosting a giveaway of a couple bundles of fabric - one to each winner. Each bundle contains 8 fat quarters of coordinating fabric. All you need to do is leave a comment - you don't have to be a follower but it would be nice!

When you comment let me know which bundle is your first pick but of course the first name drawn will have first choice. I will hold the drawing on December 21 so I think the cut-off will be midnight December 20.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have made blogging about my quilting journey and other bits of life to be such an enjoyable and rewarding experience!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A New Seven Sisters Quilt

I am just so excited that I finished the latest Seven Sisters quilt that I just couldn't control myself and I have already started the next one.

I had previously started piecing some stars from fuchsia fabric and when I dug them out on Tuesday they just weren't doing it for me.

Just not digging it at the moment!
The original fabrics that I had chosen to go with the fuchsia stars just didn't seem to want to play together nicely. What was I to do but set those stars aside for another day and dig through my stash to find some replacement fabric.

I have decided to go with this small floral fabric for the stars with the light purple as the background. The large floral and the darker purple/burgundy (not sure what colour to call it because it seems to be a cross between the two) will find a place in the quilt too.

The tools I use for marking the fabric are very simple and low tech - a pencil, large ruler, small ruler and my home made templates to help mark the diamond shapes for the stars. It really is quite easy to cut the pieces from the fabric and it doesn't really take too much time either. I already have quite a few pieces cut and I have also sewn a star together to see how it will look.  After seeing one star made, I hope the small floral isn't too busy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blue Seven Sisters is Done!

I finished stitching the binding on this quilt on Sunday while participating in Slow Sunday Stitching hosted by Kathy. I still had a fair amount of binding to attach but I so wanted to get this quilt done so I plunked myself down onto the couch and stitched away while my husband and I watched an Indiana Jones movie.

Overall, I have invested a lot of time in this quilt. It is hand-pieced and hand quilted - everything was done by hand for this quilt - I did not use my sewing machine at all. I quilted it in an all-over Baptist Fan motif with blue thread. I love the old-fashioned look of this quilt!

One of the reasons that I blog is so that I can easily keep track of the info on my quilts. Unfortunately, I didn't start blogging until December 2010 and by then I already had all of the blocks for this quilt pieced so I don't have anything from that part of my journey documented.

I first showed the blocks for this quilt in March 2012 and I was just starting to add the sashing. Fast forward to February 2014 and I started working on the quilting, and now, almost a year later it is done! This quilt often sat in the corner waiting for me to visit and pet it while I quilted it. It has been very patient ;))).

This quilt finished at 73" x 83" and it will be added to the other two seven sisters quilts I have made. I only have four more to make.....and once I get them all done each of my six sisters and I will have one to keep. These quilts have very special meaning to me and to my sisters as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dear Jane - Tic Tac Toe (C-4)

Woohoo....I have another Tiny Tuesday block to show!

This block was such a challenge for me to make!! I had a lot of difficulty aligning the grid in the center of the block and had to redo parts of it over and over and I still couldn't perfect it. Those little squares in the center are not all the same size and not necessarily square either. When I was piecing it together it was so easy to pick up the wrong one or even the right one but get it turned around. There may have been some @#%#$ going on!

As you can see in the photo, the center section is less than 3" square and contains a whopping 21 pieces. No wonder I was having so much trouble - tiny pieces = fumbley fingers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Round Robin

Latest round added by my sister Cheryl
I finally got my quilt top back from my sister. She had it for ages and even though, if I remember correctly, she returned it to me in November I have not done anything with it as of yet. It has grown considerably and is now 60" square.

This was what it looked like before she added her latest round.
I really like the way this quilt top has evolved - it looks really good. This is my first medallion quilt top and I know that I will be making more...lots more.

The round robin has been challenging but also a lot of fun. Working on a quilt with someone else and being challenged by their design ideas has made it very interesting and rewarding. Doing the round robin with my sister has pushed and pulled me into uncharted territory.

Now I have to figure out what I want to add as my next round. I hope it doesn't take me too long to decide!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

Yesterday, I spent a bit of time tidying up my sewing room and cutting and putting scraps away. Once I got tired of that I decided to mess it all up again and pull out some teal scraps and make some more RSC sampler blocks. I did manage to get four done - only six more teal to go before I move on to the next colour.

Saturday evening I spent time watching television with my husband and relaxing while I sewed on the binding for my Seven Sisters quilt. I still have quite a bit to go and I plan to work on it some more today. It may not be the most exciting part of the quilting process but it is really satisfying and enjoyable!

Why not take some time to do some slow stitching today and also take a few minutes to pop on over to Kathy's Quilts. You can check out the links and see what other slow stitchers are working on today.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sampler Blocks - RSC 2014

Lately I have been seeing some gorgeous RSC sampler quilts online - you know who you are :)) - and I have been drooling over them. They are just wonderful and Angela did such a good job putting everything together for all of the participants. I have been an on again/off again participant (what is wrong with me????) all year so I do have some blocks made but nowhere near enough to make a quilt.

pretty but oops
On Thursday I decided I wanted to make all of the blocks that I missed. I know it will take me a while to get caught up but it will be so worth the time. I visited her site and printed out the list of blocks for the sampler and got to work. I cross-checked the list and marked the ones that I needed to make. The on-line list has links to all of the instructions and that made it so easy to find what I needed to get going.

I made all six of the pink blocks.... plus one extra. I think they turned out so pretty although I was disappointed with my version of one them. I love the block and I love the fabrics but it was a real oopsie! Look at the difference in size...I used 1.5" strips instead of 2" and that was such a disappointment because it would have been perfect. It all ended up just fine though because I also really love the one I made in the correct size and I am sure that the extra wee one will find a home of its own. We all know how much I love little blocks ;).

See the difference in size...darn!

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links from other Rainbow Scrap Challenge participants!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Still Winding Away


I am still working on my Winding Ways quilt blocks and I am making slow but steady progress. I feel pretty good about it too. I think I really am getting my sewing mojo back and it is not just a false start because if it was I know I would have already put these blocks away again for a later time. They are very challenging for me!

From the last batch of blocks that I need to make for the quilt I have now got all of the blocks with the brown corners turned into half sections and I have the reverse blocks pinned and ready to be sewn into half blocks.

Hurray for chain piecing!

I have also stitched together the narrow center joining sections and I made sure to use a very short stitch length. There is not a lot of fabric holding the two pieces together into the strip and if the stitch length is set to a normal length the stitching does have a tendency to come undone.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Churn Dash Blocks

Over the past couple days I have added to my collection of churn dash blocks. I made two 12" blocks from largish pieces of scraps and I had enough bits left over to make 4 each of the 6" blocks.

I have a long way to go before I have enough blocks to make a quilt but I figure if I can be a little bit disciplined I can add to the blocks each month while participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2015.

I have been seeing some really wonderful quilts made from churn dash blocks around blog land and I do hope mine turns into a wonderful quilt too. I don't really have a plan or design at this point other than using a combination of 3 different sized blocks and I want to keep the colour scheme a bit muted and masculine.

I tried to put all of the blocks I have made so far on the design wall together to take a photo but they didn't want to cooperate and kept falling down so I have included a photo of the last group shot I took.  I really do love the look of the churn dash!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Little Houses is Done!

I called this quilt 'Home is Where the Heart Is' and I think it is the perfect name for it. I love how this quilt turned out. The fabric choices are very whimsical and I say 'choices' very loosely because I just went totally scrappy and pretty much totally random. I just grabbed fabric scraps, cut them all into the needed pieces using templates and laughed as I sewed it all together and I think it all works. Other than the sashing and cornerstones the only colour choice that I controlled was that I wanted the houses to all have red doors.

I actually finished this quilt in October but just didn't blog about it then. I took it to my guild for show and tell and so many people complimented me on it. It gave them a good idea of how to use up their scraps building little houses of their own.

I quilted it using a pantograph called Double Plume and I used a cream thread. This quilt finished at 71" x 86" and it will live with me. I didn't have anyone around to hold the quilt while I photographed it so Peanut took advantage of the quilt on the floor and posed for the camera.

I originally got the house pattern from Building Houses from Scraps but I resized it to a 6" finished block. I sewed all of the blocks together on my Singer 301a but I pieced the top and added the sashing using my Janome 1600 - I love both machines! Both are straight stitch and because of that I can use a seam guide to make sure I am working with a 1/4" seam allowance and the guide doesn't get in the way of the feed dogs.

A reader had caught a glimpse of the seam guide in an earlier post and wanted to know what it was. I offered to take a photo and include it in a post so she could have a better look. It screws into the bed of my machine and the seam width can be easily adjusted if needed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dear Jane - Jason's Jacks (D-3)

When I started working on my Dear Jane quilt blocks I was completing each block in order but things seem to have changed. Now I seem to be doing them in a scattered fashion - sort of the way I have been feeling myself. :0

This little block was applique only and I think I am getting a little better at it. I still have trouble with the points but I recently saw a little tutorial at Traditional Primitives and I will give it a try next time. Who knows, someday I just may have perfect applique points!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fun Day

I made some more progress with the Winding Ways blocks yesterday even though I didn't get to spend a lot of time sewing. The guild had it's pot-luck lunch yesterday and it was really so much fun. After lunch and show & tell we played Quilto for bundles of fat quarters and it was fun, fun, fun. I think everyone had such a good time. I didn't win any fat quarters but a poinsettia did come home with me because I won our table centerpiece. I had a busy start to the day and then once I got home and took care of a few things I sort of petered out but I still did spend some time in the studio.

I was able to add a center pink section to one-half of the pink corner blocks and now they just need the other half stitched to them to make a complete half-block. I also got the center brown section pinned to the reverse colour blocks. Every little bit of progress counts and will eventually lead to a finished quilt!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winding Ways

I worked on my Winding Ways quilt blocks yesterday and I made some pretty good progress with them. This is not a quilt block that I can just whip through and have done quickly. All of that curved piecing requires lots of time and pinning - which I usually try to avoid. One good thing is that after sewing so many of the curved pieces I have it down to just using two pins.

I have seen photos of two-pronged pins and if I ever see them in the store I will have to buy them. I think they would work wonderfully to hold the layers together so they won't shift...and I would only need to use one pin!

I already have quite a few blocks completed and I have included an old photo of my design wall. I have changed things up a bit with the construction of the blocks and I am chain piecing them now and I think it is speeding things up a bit.

After my sewing session yesterday I have all of the pink corner sections of the blocks pieced. When I left off previously I had finished the sections with the brown corner pieces. The next step is to sew the center sections to the corners. I have already pinned quite a few of them so they will be ready for me to sew today.