Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hand Quilting

Say what???? Yes I pulled out my latest and it seems forever Seven Sisters quilt and I did some hand quilting last night. This quilt sits in my family room staring at me constantly daring me to pick it up and do some quilting. It really wants to be finished so it can be loved and I don't seem to be cooperating. :(

I really don't have that much more to do - maybe one or two rows but I slowed to a complete stop because I was having pain in my thumbs. You do know that if you don't work on something that it never gets finished. My thumbs seem to be okay now and I so hope that this will set a trend for the next year. :)

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year! Stay warm - it is bitter cold out...brrrrr. I plan to ring in the new year nice and cozy and warm in my family room with a fire in the fireplace and quilting away on this quilt. I can't really think of anything better. :)

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

On Ringo Lake Clue 1 & 6

I thought I was going to get all caught up today and then Bonnie had a surprise for us. She released clue 7 one day after releasing clue 6. :)

I did finish clue 1 and I think my little nine patches look really cute. When I was working on them last night things were not so cute. I didn't have a very good start because as I was sewing the strips together I started with 2 neutrals with the aqua in the center. Oops...thankfully I didn't get too many strips done incorrectly. I did unpick them and then sewed everything together the right way!

I have been working on clue 6 today and I got all of my triangles cut. I was hoping to finish sewing all of the triangles to the units from clue 4 but I ran out of bobbin thread - grrr. I don't have any bobbins left that are filled and ready to pop into the machine. I used up the last batch very quickly it seems. I usually fill 10 bobbins at a time and when they run out I make sure to take the time to clean and oil my machine.
This is where I started air sewing - I really don't have too many units left to do but I think they will wait until tomorrow.

Friday, December 29, 2017

On Ringo Lake Update

Woohoo - clue 5 is finished - just in time for the release of clue 6 today! I don't know why but making these geese seemed to take me a lot longer than I expected. In any case, they are done and that is what matters. :)

I did get a start on clue 1 as well. I have started sewing the strips together and I think I have enough of the brown/neutrals for the centers of the nine-patches sub-cut and now I will move on to the neutral and aqua. I don't think it will take too long to finish up with this part.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Raising the Table

For Christmas I asked for these....

Lately, I have been having more and more difficulty sitting and using my workhorse sewing machine. I love my Janome 1600 for just plowing through fabric but it sits a bit high on my sewing table. That means I have my chair set at the highest point, a pillow to sit on and a box on the floor to raise the foot pedal. The problem is that I still need to hold my arms up to sew and that is getting quite tedious and tiring. I feel it in my shoulders after sewing for a bit.

My son Eric helped me to put these bed risers under the table legs and I think it should raise the table high enough that I can stand and sew.

I will let you know whether I like this solution or not. I am hoping it solves the problem - it would be an easy fix if it does. :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Decision Made :)

I looked through most of the project boxes that I have with partially finished (mostly barely started) quilts and I pulled out the three that looked somewhat interesting to me.

The first one is a string project that I would like to continue with and of course that would go with my plan of working on strings and crumbs over the next while. I don't expect that it will necessarily be finished any time soon though. I like to think of the string/crumb project as one that is being worked on as the mood strikes. You know, just sit down and plow through a bit of fabric scraps without any expectations or deadlines until I have enough fabric made to do something with. :)

The next two boxes contained quilt parts that I started as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that Angela from soscrappy hosts.

The first of the two boxes contains blocks in blue and brown. I got this pinwheel block pattern from Chantal and the moment I saw it I knew I wanted to make a quilt with this block. Chantal's quilt is beautiful!

The second of the two boxes also contains blocks in blue and brown. I am sensing a theme here - I must have fallen off the RSC wagon at the same time for both quilts. :( Angela provided a tutorial on how to make these blocks.

I would like to continue with both of these quilts this year as part of the RSC if Angela is hosting again.

So, that leads me back to the new quilt that I want to make. You knew I was going to get there anyway...didn't you. ;)

When I cut the strips for Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake mystery quilt I also cut the neutral strips into standard sizes and that includes the width necessary for this quilt. I guess that means that technically I have already started this quilt. ;) I think I still need to cut a lot more neutrals though as this quilt is quite large - 88.5" x 96.5".

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

On Ringo Lake Mystery - Clue 5

Not much to see but at least I have the pieces all cut and ready to be sewn today. :)

We had our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was a very low key day. My eldest son Adam and his partner Anna stayed overnight Christmas Eve and we all opened our gifts in the morning. My husband and I were so done and we just didn't want to do much of anything so our son Eric made breakfast for everyone. That was very nice of him because I know he was tuckered out too!

Anyway, we all spent the day in our pajamas and we played several board and card games at the kitchen table. It was a wonderful day spent with my precious family. Adam and Anna had to leave at around 4 or 5 to go for dinner at her parents place, so, sadly we had to say goodbye. :(

A couple hours after they left I made it into my sewing room to get the cutting done for this clue but that was all I could manage.

Now that the mad rush of getting everything ready for Christmas is behind us I am sort of at a loss as to what to work on now. I do have the mystery quilt but each step usually only takes a day or two to complete. That is just not going to be enough for me....I need more! :) Up until now I hadn't really had the time to think about what actually comes next. The question is - do I start the new quilt that I have been thinking about or should I take a look at the quilts that I have started and have stashed away and dig them out, or, should I do both? Hmmmmmm.....

I am linking up at Quiltville - On Ringo Lake.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

It's Finished - Just in Time!

Whew.....I finished stitching the binding on Adam's Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt. I really had to buckle down and get it done! I have been working on it fairly intensely over the past couple days and in particular yesterday. ;) I got so busy with other things that had more priority at the time so it just sat in the family room waiting for me to turn my attention to it. I won't be giving it to him until tomorrow morning but I had to have it finished before everyone started arriving today.

beautiful quilted texture
I love it and I know my son will too. :) These fun sweater quilt blocks were designed by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts for a quilt along in 2016. Lorna's design did not include borders and I wanted the quilt bigger so I designed my own borders. I had started a quilt for myself during the quilt along and when my son Adam saw it finished his eyes lit up. I knew I had to make him one. :)

The quilt finished at 69" x 81.5" and I quilted it using the pantograph Dropsy by Jessica Schick. I chose to quilt it with gold thread - Cansew #6708 with magnaglide in Tuscan in the bobbin. I used 80/20 cotton/poly for the batting.

backing and binding
When my friend Ardis saw this quilt she really liked it and it sparked some creativity for her. She loved the idea of the sweater blocks and she plans to make a sweater quilt as well, but, she wants to use the sweater designs in a bit of a different way. She saw them as a good way to make sports jerseys for a sports themed quilt for one of her family members.  What a great idea!  I directed her to Lorna's blog for the instructions.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Quilting Plans and Ideas for 2018

A couple months ago I picked up this magazine from our sharing table at my Guild. The quilt on the cover really caught my attention. I do love a scrappy quilt! I started looking through the magazine and I got excited about a few patterns that were published within. I don't think that has happened to me before. Usually, I might see one thing in a magazine that interests me but to see several goodies made me think I had struck the jackpot! I think I will start with the cover quilt and I hope to get to it right after the holidays.

I have decided that in 2018 I will be making lots of crumb and string blocks. I haven't made any particular decisions on which quilt patterns or designs that I will use though. I have put aside some patterns and photos of quilts that I think would work for this long term project and I will continue to add to the possibilities. This project will definitely not be a race and it will happen as it happens. I am hoping that I will get some a huge amount of the strings and crumbs out of their storage bins and into quilts.We will see how I do with it!

One of the issues with making crumb/string blocks is the mess. So, I plan to set up an area and a sewing machine specifically for this task. I think it will make it a lot more likely that I will work on the blocks on a regular basis if there is easy access.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Another Item Checked Off the List!

I finished making the double ended oven mitts and I think they turned out great. Thanks to Jo for the easy-to-follow tutorial!

Instead of quilting each oven mitt individually, I quilted one large piece of fabric on my long arm and I intentionally made sure that it was much bigger than I needed for the oven mitts. I knew that I wanted to also make matching hot pads or pot holders.  I cut out the sizes needed for the oven mitts and then I made some hot pads with the remaining quilted fabric.
large size - 12" x 16"
I am very pleased with the way they turned out. I machine bound everything and I think I did a pretty good job. I had tried machine binding previously and it just did not turn out very well at all. I think I have started to get the hang of it now so I have another skill in my toolkit. :) I wouldn't say that I have mastered the technique but I think it looks good enough that I can now use it confidently to machine bind donation quilts.
small - 9" x 13"
These are gifts for our friends that spend Christmas Eve with us and I think they are going to really like their gifts. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

On Ringo Lake - Progress

Woohoo...I have clue 4 all finished. I actually didn't think that I was going to get any sewing done yesterday because we were out for most of it. We went to Toronto and visited my Mom, my brother Aron and my sister Cheryl. We also took care of a few errands and didn't get back home until after 5 pm.

It was already 8 pm before I managed to get into my sewing room and I was able to sew all of the wings to one side of each square. I was at my sewing machine by 6:30 this morning and I finished them up. I am quite happy with them - even all of the extra ones I made. ;) Somehow I must have lost count along the way because I have quite a few more made than are needed.

They all ended up pretty close, within a thread or two, of the required measurement and that is good enough for me!

I am on track with this mystery except for clue 1. The only progress I have made on that clue is to have my strips cut to size.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Perogie Making Day

Monday is the day we planned to make perogies but it didn't happen until Tuesday. It used to be that I was the one that made them all by myself but over the past couple years my husband has started helping me. As he is his family that is of Polish descent! We make these ahead of time and freeze them on trays and then bag them up. This is one thing that I can make ahead for Christmas Eve dinner.

How do you get this bowl containing 10lbs of potatoes mashed with fried onions and butter -
to this?

One perogie at a time! We made over 140 perogies and they are delicious. We tested some for dinner last night - yum!

It was always tradition that my husband's family celebrated Christmas Eve and my family Christmas Day so it always worked out. When my MIL couldn't manage it anymore my husband and I took over the tradition of making and hosting the dinner on Christmas Eve.

I make Polish food for dinner - homemade perogies, cabbage rolls and patichky (meat on a stick) among other things and everyone is very happy about it! It is a lot of work and takes a lot of time but it really is worth it. I always make way more than is needed and everyone gets to take home is tradition!

We still celebrate as a family and open our gifts on Christmas day but that meal is usually more low key now and much more relaxed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Making Christmas Gifts

I have decided to make double ended oven mitts as gifts for family friends that spend Christmas Eve with us. We usually host Christmas Eve dinner and we all exchange small gifts with each other as part of the ritual. I know, I know, I have to hurry - time is running out!

I had seen these mitts on Jo's blog and she graciously provided a tutorial on how she makes them. I have a long arm so I thought why wouldn't I quilt my fabric and then cut the pieces as needed? I started with my backing and I layered it with 100% cotton batting and then on top of that I placed a piece of Insul-brite and then finished with the top fabric.

I chose a pantograph called White Clover by Patricia Ritter because I wanted it densely quilted but with a smaller motif and I think it looks quite good. It is a bit stiff but I think that is a result of using the Insul-brite more than anything else.

marking the end for trimming
I plan to make some matching hot pads/pot holders as well. Stay tuned - I hope it all works out and that I will have something to show in a day or two.
Molly napping under the tree
While I was cutting the piece of quilted fabric to size I happened to look over at the partially decorated tree and I saw Molly sleeping under it. She really is the sweetest dog. :) My late sister-in-law Wanda made that puffy tree skirt and Molly is using it as a pillow. She thinks we put it there just for her - too cute!

Monday, December 18, 2017

On Ringo Lake Mystery - Clue 4

On Saturday evening I was able to start tackling clue 4 of this Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. I love the look of the aqua fabrics with the browns and I can't wait to start sewing the pieces together. All in good time though - I hope to start on it over the next day or two.

I started out by spending quite a bit of time cutting my fabrics into strips of the standard 1.5", 2", 2.5" and 3.5" widths and I sure hope I haven't made a mistake doing that. I had a fairly good quantity and variety of brown fabrics but less so of the aquas. Honestly, I really just did not want to have piles of bits of fabric taking up valuable surface space in my sewing room. This time of year is already so busy and chaotic for me that I just don't need to add more to it!  I am also still trying to work on finishing up some Christmas gifts and I need space for that. Besides, I don't know if I mentioned this but I really do like to work efficiently so that means pick up the fabric, press it and cut it until there is nothing left to work with. Most of the strips that I cut were from fat quarters or smaller chunks and less from yardage. If my strategy doesn't work I just may have to make a trip to the fabric store to replenish what I need. ;)

Since I was having trouble sleeping on Saturday night I got up instead of struggling to sleep and I went to my sewing room and I cut the triangles and squares for clue 4 from my freshly cut strips. Now I just need a bit of time and I will get the units made. I still have not worked on clue 1 but now I have all of my strips cut and ready to be sewn so who knows....I may get to work on that as well.

Joining the link up at Quiltville - On Ringo Lake.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Slow Start

I have been working on knitting dishcloths to give to my Mom for Christmas and everything was going along okay until this happened.

For some reason, when I started that dishcloth I picked up the end of yarn that was unwinding from the outside of the ball instead of from the inside. It is a total tangled mess. I did manage to finish the dishcloth but it took me a long time because the tangles and knots just kept getting worse and I really was spending more time untangling than knitting.

I didn't get out of bed until just after 9 am this morning. What a lazy bones! I couldn't fall asleep last night so I got out of bed after one hour. I don't see any point in just laying there and waiting for sleep when it is just not going to happen. I stayed up puttering around until 4:30 this morning and even though I was very tired it still took me at least 30 minutes to fall asleep...grrr.

While I was having my first cup of tea (I am now on my second) I thought I would knit another dishcloth using this pink and brown mottled yarn. I got a little bit done but all of a sudden I realized that it just didn't feel right. I guess it took a while for the brain fog to lift. So I took a good look at the package and's not cotton. :(

I still want to make a few more dishcloths so I will have to take a quick look to see if I have anymore cotton yarn. I could untangle that rat's nest from the pink yarn but I just don't have the time or energy to mess with it right now.

I already have seven dishcloths made and I can tell you that each and every one has mistakes. It just goes to show that I am not a very good knitter even when using a very simple pattern. I used Grandmother's Favourite Dishcloth and the instructions are available all over the internet. I know my Mom won't mind one bit though because she will be very happy that I took the time to make them for her. :)

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

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Another Customer Quilt

Ardis asked me to quilt this little quilt for her last week and she needed it for Christmas. It really was short notice but I said sure....she had broken her wrist and wasn't able to do it herself.

It is a cute little quilt but it did give me some trouble. Well, not the quilt specifically but the backing that Ardis gave me to use. She had purchased a fleece blanket and it was really cute but it was smaller than advertised! I had loaded it on the frame yesterday and I thought I would just double check the measurements and it was not as wide as the quilt top. It should have been at least 3" bigger! So, I let Ardis know right away and she brought me a larger fleece backing to replace it.

I quilted it this morning and got it trimmed and it is awaiting pickup. Ardis just wanted simple loops and white thread. I used Cansew in the top and magnaglide in white in the bobbin. The batting is 100% cotton.

When Ardis delivered the second backing to me I had the quilt top hanging like it is in the photo and she noticed an oopsie. See the tree block in the upper right - it is turned on its side. She decided to just leave it as is. I think it looks like it got chopped down in anticipation of Christmas. lol

Friday, December 15, 2017

Customer Quilt

This is the last quilt that I have for Rosalie this year and I finished it late last night and trimmed it this morning.

It is a wonderfully, snuggly, flannel winter/Christmas quilt. The colours in the quilt in real life are a bit more rich than in the photo but as you can see it does looks really nice and cozy. Just simple squares of fabric - not all quilts need to be complicated. :)  I really like the striped border that she added and it reminds me that I should use more stripes in my borders as well.

Rosalie chose a gold thread from Cansew #6720 and I used a tan SuperBob in the bobbin. The batting used is 80/20 cotton/poly and the panto is Triloba by Hermione Agee.

We have had a blast of frigid air over the past few days but it is supposed to get better today. This quilt makes me want to wrap up in it and hunker down in front of the fireplace but there is no time for that!

Things are so hectic this time of year and it is hard to try to find time to fit it all in. I had to pick up last minute Christmas gifts yesterday and run a few errands so I had a late start on this quilt. Thankfully, I don't work at a real job so I have more control over how I spend my time but things are starting to feel quite real. Christmas Eve is just nine days away and I am at least one week behind where I wanted to be. Oh well....that's life I guess. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On Ringo Lake - Getting Caught Up

I have now completed clue 2 and clue 3 of the mystery and I wonder if this is it for the coral fabrics. I could be wrong but I have used up most of my coral fabric and I was cutting from yardage.

I still need to work on clue 1 and that used aquas/browns/neutrals. I don't think I will be in a rush to start that clue until Friday though. That is when the next clue will be released and I suspect it will use the same colours so I can cut both clues at the same time. I like quick and efficient...and easy!

And speaking of easy - I really liked using the Bonnie method of making the parallelogram rectangles in clue 3. It was very quick to use the Simple Folded Corners ruler to cut off the ends of the rectangles on an angle and then quickly add the hsts on each end. Once I had these units all done and stacked into little piles I couldn't help but wonder if they will be part of the border?

Even though the cut-off corners from the rectangles were rather small I still saved them. You never know, they just may end up in another crumb quilt at some point. :) It is a sickness I tell you - I just couldn't let them go!

Between clue two and three combined there were a ton of neutral half square triangles used and that meant a whole ton of cutting. I am glad that I did pre-cut a lot of neutral strips ahead of time while working on the flying geese in clue 2 and that really did help with clue 3.

I think from now on I will make a point of cutting and keeping lots of neutral hsts in my parts boxes as a standard practice. It does make sense for me to do that because I do make a lot of scrappy quilts and these little nuggets are always in demand. I think if I just make it a routine I will always have a healthy supply with really little effort.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Binding Again!

Now that I am finished with binding Old Tobacco Road to Delhi it is time to start working on the binding for Adam's Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt.

I chose a striped fabric that was used in the quilt top and borders for the binding and I think it is going to look just fine. I spent a couple hours last evening stitching away while watching tv and I got a whopping 77 inches done.

As we get closer to Christmas things are getting really hectic. My husband and I steam cleaned the carpet in the living room and dining room yesterday and that was two weeks later than we intended. :(  We are behind schedule!! Anyway, I planned to give it all a really good vacuuming this morning but I don't think it is totally dry yet. I usually just give what my MIL used to say was 'only where the Pope walks' vacuuming but that just won't do right now. It will have to wait until later this evening....grrr....I just want to get it done and put things back into place. We are also going to steam clean the family room carpet today and that should be it for the really heavy cleaning - I hope!

I am participating in the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge and so far so good. It really is quite a challenge to write a blog post every day - kudos to those that do it on a regular basis! If you are interested you can join in here and you can also check out the blogs of the other challenge participants.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Old Tobacco Road to Delhi

I finished stitching the binding on Sunday night and now it is on my bed and I couldn't be happier!

Old Tobacco Road was a free Bonnie Hunter mystery from 2008 and when I discovered it several years ago I knew that I wanted to make it. It brought back memories of when I was a child.

When I was a child we lived in Delhi, Ontario and at the time it was the heart of tobacco country.  In the last house we lived in we were on the edge of town and we actually lived beside a tobacco field. Delhi has grown since then and in 2011 it had a population of 4172. The tobacco field is now a park and there have been many new houses built in the area. Our old house is still there and I can't believe how tiny it is. My sisters, Cheryl and Christine, and I took a trip down memory lane a few years ago and visited Delhi to check it out. Over the past many years we had returned to the area several times to visit our grandparents and family friends but we had never taken the time to walk around the town and revisit. Anyway, while we were there we decided to have our lunch while sitting in the park beside our old house. We were looking at the house and talking about it and the current residents invited us in.  They were jammed packed in there with only a family of 4  - we were a family of 11! They couldn't believe that 11 of us lived in that teeny tiny house and neither could we. The kitchen was so tiny that there wasn't even enough room to put a table never mind with chairs. There was barely even enough room for us to stand in while we were visiting. It seemed unimaginable that my Mom was able to cook for eleven people everyday in that kitchen. My goodness where did she keep the pots and pans.  It didn't seem that small when we lived there! Anyway, enough about memory lane. :)
I pieced the backing using a wonderful print that I got at Fabricland for $3.00/m. Of course, I didn't have enough so I added a strip of the same red fabric that I used for the borders. I had enough fabric left over to make pillowcases and I couldn't resist.

This quilt is big enough to fit what I call my 'princess in the pea' bed but I had to turn it so the longer edge is on the sides. I am only 5' tall and the bed is so high I almost have to climb onto it to get into bed - just like a little kid! I think this quilt will stay on my bed for at least the winter and then I will change it out with something brighter in the Spring. In the meantime I will enjoy this beautiful quilt!
close up of the top - I made all of my 4 patches neutral/green
I like to keep track of the details of the quilts I make and this quilt finished at 81" x 102". I really thought I wanted to quilt it with gold thread but instead it wanted this greenish colour and I think it was the right choice.

The thread I used was Cansew # 6717 with dark brown magnaglide in the bobbin. The panto is called Flying Paisley by Jodi Beamish and I used 80/20 cotton/poly for the batting.

This quilt makes me happy and Molly and Peanut like it too!

Monday, December 11, 2017

On Ringo Lake Mystery - Clue 3

See all of those neutral strips in the background  - I cut a ton!
As soon as Bonnie Hunter posted this step I was downloading the instructions and printing them off. It was really fast and easy for me to cut the rectangles because I was cutting from one big hunk of fabric instead of from smaller pieces or strips of fabric. I cut wide strips and then subcut them to the smaller measurement and it was quick, quick, quick.

To make the required block pieces I have chosen to follow the Bonnie method.  I had previously cut a whole slew of neutral strips so they were all ready for me to cut the triangles for the corners of the rectangles using my easy angle ruler. Lucky for me I just happen to have a Simple Folded Corners ruler to use for cutting the corners off the rectangles prior to sewing. Now I just need to find some time to use it. :)

I have already used this ruler when I was making the sweater blocks for Adam's ugly Christmas sweater quilt and it worked out quite well for me.

My coral rectangles still require lots of attention before they are finished and ready to be used and I am looking forward to digging in. I hope to be able to show more progress a little later this week.

Funny thing, after I posted about having no willpower to resist this mystery I noticed this tissue box sitting beside my computer.

No wonder I couldn't resist - I was constantly getting this subliminal message every time I used my computer. :)

Today is mystery Monday link up over at Quiltville - pop on over and check out all of the mystery quilts in progress.