Tuesday, October 31, 2017

En Provence - Preparing for Quilting

I have chosen the backing, the thread, and the pantograph that I want to use for my En Provence quilt. I think it is going to be good! I just need to press the backing and the top to make sure they are both nice and flat. I plan to get that done today and, hopefully, get it all loaded onto my long arm. I really doubt that I will get any quilting done on it today because I have to run a couple errands after my exercise class a little later today and then I just might not have the energy. I like to be nice and fresh and focused when I do any quilting.

Bonnie Hunter has announced her 2017 mystery quilt and I love the colours that she has chosen. I will definitely be downloading the instructions as they are released but I am not sure if I will participate during the actual mystery. I just may wait and make it later when the time suits me better - we will see if I can resist!

I finished Betty's quilt last evening and I think she is going to be very happy with it. I don't know if you recognize the panto that I used but it is the same one that I used on Crumby Kisses called Cool Beans. I used Cansew #6711 for the top thread and magnaglide light tan in the bobbin.

I will be seeing Betty later today so I will take her quilt with me. It is always so exciting to give back a quilt and see the owner's reaction. There is magic that takes place when a flimsy is quilted and actually turned into a quilt. :)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Borders in Progress

I have already put two of the borders onto Old Tobacco Road and it is getting huge! I still need to add one more border but it should be very quick and easy to add. I just need to piece the sections together and get at it.

Inspected and approved by Peanut. Here she is letting me know that she wants me to stop giving the quilt top so much attention and give her some lovin' instead. Who could resist that sweet little face! :)

Right now I am in the process of loading a quilt for Betty on my long arm. I really need to get it finished today so that I can deliver it to her when I see her tomorrow at our exercise class.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A New-to-Me Machine

My friend Rose invited me for a little visit a couple weeks ago and look what I came home with.

Rose was looking for a new home for this sweet machine, a Singer 99, and she gave it to me! This is not just any old Singer 99 but a Centennial model 1851 - 1951 and it comes with this beautiful wood case.

Look at the pretty face plate. The machine is in good condition and Rose said it works very well and she was right. There was a matter of a missing needle plate but I just happened to have one available that can be used on this machine. I used this little beauty to stitch together the backing for Crumby Kisses and the machine worked perfectly. I did need to adjust the stitch length and I found that it is quite primitive on this machine. It is just a simple knob without any markings and I just turned it until I got the stitch length I wanted. You can see it in the photo - the shiny knob above the Singer badge.

My visit wasn't just about the machine, we had a cup of tea and some conversation and it was a really nice visit. Since joining my Guild I have met so many wonderful women who just happen to have the same hobby and that is what has brought us together but, of course, we are all so much more than that. Joining the Guild was one of the best decisions I have made. :)

While I was visiting Rose, we looked over her stash of quilting patterns and I borrowed these two. She has not made them yet and they were just sitting in the box waiting to be opened and used.

I think they will be fun and quick to make and I am looking forward to doing so. Maybe they will be made on my new-to-me Singer 99 and every time I look at the finished quilts I will think of Rose!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Crumby Kisses is Finished

Beautiful old fashioned look with a modern feel!
I am really torn about this little quilt. When I first started working on it I was sure that I was going to keep it so I decided to name it. As I was working on it I changed my mind and I decided that I would give it to charity through my Guild's outreach program. At that point, I made the decision to make it a smaller size than my normal huge bed quilt. Now, I am regretting that decision because I really like how this one turned out!

I should have known better because I really do love scrappy, crumby, string quilts and this one fits that bill perfectly. Using up some crumbs to make a quilt is a very frugal way to quilt but it is also very labour intensive and time consuming.

backing and binding
I will continue to make charity quilts but I think for the next little while I will be making simpler and less time consuming patterns and maybe it won't be so hard to give them away. I want to spend some time developing my long arm quilting skills so maybe it will be a win-win situation. We only have so many hours in each lifetime and I guess we have to choose how we want to spend them. :)

As I had posted previously, this quilt was inspired by a pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Co. called Kissing Coins. The pattern used rectangles cut from a precut bundle of fabric. When I saw the photo of their quilt in my friend's magazine I knew I needed to make it with crumbs. They do have a YouTube video tute here.

This quilt finished at approx 49" x 62" and was quilted using a gray Cansew thread #6819 and lead gray magnaglide in the bobbin. I quilted it using the panto called Cool Beans by Apricot Moon Designs and I used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly for the batting.

I finished the quilt using a scrappy binding comprised of colours found in the backing fabric. I love it and I hope the person that receives it gets many, many years of comfort and joy whenever they use it.

ready to donate
I am going to miss this quilt a lot so I think I will just have to make me another one - but bigger! Bigger is better...right. :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Old Tobacco Road Continues

Old Tobacco Road is almost ready for borders - it has been starched and pressed in preparation for trimming the edges. I don't want any stretching of fabric if I can help it!  I feel really good about this quilt and I honestly cannot wait to get it finished. I have my flying geese all made and pieced together into border strips and they are ready to add to the quilt top.

I have decided on my border fabrics as well as my backing and I think there will be some pillowcases as well!

Yesterday, I washed the fabrics in preparation for use and I was really surprised that the red fabric did not bleed at all into the wash water but the lighter floral print sure did. I really thought it would be the other way around! The dye discharge may not exactly be a fabric bleed but it sure would make any lighter fabrics in the quilt look very dingy.
top - first wash; bottom - second wash
Yesterday, my friend Vangie called to see if I was eating batteries for breakfast to get so much energy for quilting and blogging. :) I had told her that I was in the process of washing my fabric and that led to the discussion of whether it is necessary or not. She has had great luck washing a quilt that was mostly white on top with a red backing and it didn't bleed but I just don't want to take the chance. I had made a quilt for my sister Christine and I used prewashed fabric in it and it still bled. I am now very nervous about fabric bleeds into my quilts!

I am going to use the yellowy-beige floral print as the backing but I don't have quite enough. A length of the red paisley will be added to the back as well as using it for the outer borders. I think it will look good together.

I bought that floral print at Fabricland ages ago and I only paid $3.00/m for it and now I wish I had bought 20" more. :)  At the time, my sister Cheryl was visiting with me and we decided to go fabric shopping and we hit at the right time. They had quite a bit of fabric on sale for that price and we stocked up. We had no immediate plans for the fabric but we knew we would use it at some point. :)

My only hesitation on these fabric choices is with the greenish fabric for the inner border and binding. I hope it will work but I have to try it out first to see if I do like it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Westering Women is a Finished Quilt

I tried to get a decent photo - not much success though
I am a little delayed in posting this finished quilt but I really wanted to write about it so that I have something of it documented.  What can I say other than I love how it turned out!

Who knew this mess of blocks could end up so gorgeous!
These were blocks from a quilt along hosted by Barbara Brackman on her Civil War Quilts blog. It was a year long project starting in January 2016 and Barbara posted one block a month along with a background story. Barbara provided the block patterns and did give some ideas and examples for block settings but it was really up to the maker to figure out what they wanted to do for the layout of their quilt.

In the first blog posting I did about Westering Women I stated that I was going to do my best to keep up. Well, I didn't really keep to the exact time schedule but I did get it completely finished - quilted and bound in April 2017. ;)

another try at the photo
My quilt finished at approx 78" x 89" and I quilted it with Omni thread but I can't remember what the colour was. It does match really well though! I had done a bit of reading about quilting designs for that time period and found that floral designs would be appropriate so I used a panto by Patricia Ritter and Hermione Agee called Hollyhock. I used Tuscany 80/20 cotton/wool batting and it is wonderful - beautiful texture to look at and feels really nice too!

I did write a post showing the finished flimsy last March but my pictures never do my quilts justice. It can be a real challenge to find the space and decent lighting for photos, and well, not having a photo editor doesn't help either, but we all do our best. :)

flimsy done in March 2017
Barbara will be hosting another quilt along starting in January called Antebellum Album 1840-1860 and you can read about it here on her Civil War Quilts blog. Thank you so much Barbara!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

More Binding - Crumby Kisses

Today I will do some more work on binding my quilt Crumby Kisses. I have just over 100" left to bind and then it will be done. I will be sad when it is finished because I have fallen in love with this quilt and I don't think I am going to be keeping it.

I have been shown a technique that allows you to bind a quilt by machine and it really turns out beautiful but honestly I love to hand stitch the binding to the quilt. It is one of my favourite parts of the quilting process. There is something about being up-close and personal to the quilt, petting it and admiring it, that I just love so much.

I am linking up to Kathy's Quilts and Slow Sunday Stitching. Kathy celebrates those that do hand work and every week she reminds us to take the time to slow down, do some handwork and just enjoy the process. Good advice!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Flying Geese and Important Milestones

I had a busy day yesterday but I was able to squeeze in a bit of sewing in the morning. I got more of the flying geese for Old Tobacco Road made and I am getting close to being finished. I did a count and I have already made 58 of the 94 needed. I think it really did help that I started working on them as leaders and enders during the construction of the center of the quilt top.

Most of the day was spent attending our son Adam's convocation ceremony. He graduated with his Master of Arts in English and has already started working on his PhD.  We are so proud of Adam and the dedication and hard work that he has put into, and continues to put into, his education.
After the ceremony we all went out to dinner and spent a lovely evening together even though the restaurant was very noisy! :)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Old Tobacco Road and my Little Helpers

I had Old Tobacco Road laying on my sewing room floor because I had no room for it on my design wall. I had the parts all laid out waiting for me to sew them together as time allowed but I constantly had to keep setting things back to some kind of order.

This is what happens when you have two dogs that want to help especially when something other than them is the center of attention. ;) Honestly, as soon as I would start to work on the top the dogs would try to lay down on all of the pieces and spread them around.

These are the two culprits that wanted to help with rearranging the blocks. The quilt top has taken up so much of the floor space that their sheepskin has been pushed into a pile and there is barely enough room for them to lie on it. 
Molly stretching her paw out trying to slink onto the quilt top!
Molly really wanted to lie on top of the quilt as I was working and I had to keep telling her no! Peanut was happy to just observe the goings on.

Molly had finally resigned herself to the fact that she was not going to get on to the top and mess it all up...again.

Ta da....the center of the quilt top is finished and ready for trimming despite all of the help from Molly and Peanut. The next step is to make the borders and get them attached. I already have a start on the flying geese but there are still many to make.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Onto the Binding

trimmed and ready for binding
I really didn't have any plans to do any sewing yesterday other than to trim my latest quilt and tuck in the thread tails - but things changed. ;)

I had a few things going on yesterday, cleaning and then visitors later in the morning and an exercise class in the afternoon. Shortly after I got home I made dinner, took the dogs for a walk and then I sat down to read some blogs. Well, that was when I read Bonnie Hunter's post for the day and she said she was going to have quilt cam at 8pm. I haven't caught a live quilt cam since forever and I was looking forward to it.

binding while watching quilt cam
I don't have a good connection to wifi in my sewing room so I needed to find something to work on that was very portable and that I could take to my computer. I quickly made some scrappy binding for Crumby Kisses from 2"strips that I already had in my strip bins. The front of the quilt is very scrappy so pretty much anything goes but the back has dots of yellow, green, and orange as well as those blueish flower bursts so I chose those colours for the binding.  I figured I could hand stitch the binding while watching quilt cam. I was a bit hurried but whew....I got the binding attached by machine to the quilt just in time to watch. :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Crumby Kisses is Quilted!

I did it! It really isn't a very large quilt so I did manage to get it finished yesterday even with a little 30 min rest. I can't say I had a nap but just resting did help. I had hoped to have it finished before I went to Tai Chi but I didn't quite get it done.

When I got home from Tai Chi I took the dogs for a walk and it was quite chilly and dark. The days are getting shorter and quilt weather is upon us.  I am glad I wore a jacket instead of just a sweater! The temps have been really quite mild for this time of year and we still have not turned our furnace on - normally we have it going right after we celebrate Thanksgiving. Crazy weather!

Anyway, when we got back from our walk I finished off the quilt and took it off the frame. I think it looks pretty good! My dog Molly was inspecting it as I was taking the photo and I got her little nose in the bottom right corner of the photo. :) I will trim the quilt and tuck in the thread tails today and then figure out what to use for binding. It is a crumb quilt so maybe something scrappy.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Kelly Cline and Beautiful Quilting

Sunday was a very rainy and windy day but it didn't keep me from driving to Elmira for the quarterly meeting of my long arm group - SOLO. Elmira, Ontario is in Mennonite country and it is a 1.75 hour drive from where I live. As I got closer to Elmira I was a little surprised when I came upon many, many horses and buggies sharing the road with me. I have never seen so many and I have never actually driven past horses before in such close proximity - usually they are in a field. ;) I did slow down and I gave them lots of room as I passed.

We had a guest speaker for this meeting and you may have heard of her - Kelly Cline. She works with linens and doilies and old tablecloths - lots of vintage and very beautiful pieces. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and didn't get any photos but here is a link to her vintage page. Really, check out the links she is fantastic!

Kelly gave us a trunk show and then she gave a demonstration of her process using the long arm with these vintage pieces. She also uses a domestic sewing machine but I do believe she says she loves her long arm. Kelly does gorgeous work and during the talk she had certainly inspired me to think about doing some custom work of my own - maybe not on linens but certainly on my own quilts.

When I got home I visited her site and I saw a photo that contained the phrase 'She believed She could so She did'. When it comes to free motion quilting or ruler work I think I have to take up this phrase literally and believe in myself. Who knows where it will lead but maybe I can get the confidence to do custom work on my own quilts.

So after all that, today I am going to make a backing for this crumb quilt I made and I am going to do a pantograph that I want to practice. ;)

I don't know if I will get the whole quilt done today. I am feeling a bit tired today and I had intended on sleeping in but that didn't happen.  I think I have a cold coming and I hope I can fight it off. I have Tai Chi tonight and I don't want to miss it so I may need a nap.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Old Tobacco Road

When I went to the Guild retreat in September I did some prep work ahead of time on two quilts that I wanted to work on while I was there. They are both Bonnie Hunter designs, En Provence (2016 mystery) and Old Tobacco Road (free mystery pattern generously provided by Bonnie Hunter). Well, now that En Provence is ready for quilting it is time to give Old Tobacco Road some more attention.

When I last worked on OTR I had all of the sub units pieced and I needed to start sewing those together in the correct order (notice I said correct order) and then join them into rows and so on. Yesterday I started doing just that!

After sewing some of the sections together a thought came to me...there are a ton of flying geese in the border....maybe I should be using them as leaders and enders. :) And so I did!

It is looking pretty good so far except for that one solid looking black rectangle....it has got to go. It is sticking out like a sore thumb and my eye is drawn directly to it. There are other black rectangles being used but they blend in better because they have more texture or print and don't read as a solid. That strip is already attached so I will have to get my seam ripper out and get to work on it before I go any further.

Friday, October 13, 2017

En Provence is Ready for Quilting

I couldn't quite get the whole top into the photo...
I worked on the borders for this quilt top off and on over the past week or so and I finally got them finished and attached on Wednesday evening.  I think it looks really good and I can't wait to see it turned into a finished quilt.

This quilt top came together so quickly that I have surprised myself - I only started it in September and it is already a finished flimsy!

I think the next time I work on a pieced border like this that I will definitely do a line of stay stitching all around every edge - border and quilt top - before I start sewing them together. I did have a little issue with some of the stitching starting to separate so I did do some stay stitching but not until I had most of the borders attached.

This photo is a little dark!
Even with the little bit of frustration from the seams splitting I quite enjoyed making this quilt top and I am very happy with the end result!

The next step is to decide which backing to use and figure out which pantograph and thread that I want to use. Hopefully, the decisions come quickly!!

It has been dull, gray, and rainy the past couple days so not a lot of light coming into the house to take photos but...I did my best. :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another Quilt for Betty

Betty has given me a few quilt tops to quilt for her and this is the third one of the group. She chose the Popcorn pantograph by Jodi Beamish and I think it looks great. The quilt has such great texture and I think Betty is going to be very happy with it.

I used a So Fine thread #455 for the top with a brown magna glide bobbin. Betty's top is made entirely from batiks and I know that batiks can cause challenges for long arm quilters but I can't say I had any real difficulties with it. I have read that there can be real challenges specifically when a batik is used as a backing but in this case she chose a regular cotton wide back. I did use a 3.5 needle instead of a 4.0 so the finer needle may have helped.

I don't know what this block is called but I really like it. I took a closer look at the construction and from what I can determine it is made with partial seams. I like it so much that I think I have to make my own quilt using this block!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Perfect Day!

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving and we had such a great day. Of course, it was very busy filled with food preparation, cooking and eating but also with fun time spent with our adult children. While my husband was looking after the turkey, Adam and Eric spent time playing a table top strategy game, called Warhammer, and Anna (Adam's partner) and I spent time looking for a quilt design to make a wall hanging for their bedroom. After dinner we played board games. Perfect!

Adam and Anna had been talking about getting a piece of art for their wall when Adam suggested to Anna that I make a quilt instead. That suggestion by my son made my heart sing and, of course, I would be very happy to make them a wall hanging. :)

Anna came prepared with an idea of what she wanted and she called it a mandala. I had never heard of such a thing but she showed me some photos of ideas that she liked and then we went looking through my magazines for a pattern. Luckily we found something that would work for her and me  -  many of the mandala designs are very complicated. Once the design was chosen we got started with fabric selection.

We think we have the fabric figured out but as you know, changes can and do happen! At this point, there is going to be some white fabric added to the mix and a peach coloured fabric is also a possibility.

Anna has never done any quilting activity before so this was a brand new experience for her. I put her to work and she traced all of the templates for the block design onto template plastic and I cut them out. Anna used the templates to trace the center pieces for the block onto the fabric and cut them out using the rotary cutter for the first time. The rest is now up to me!

It was the best day and my heart is filled to the brim!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Twins...Toddler Quilts that is!


On Friday evening I took a little time out and finished stitching the binding on this toddler quilt. It didn't take too long because it was already three quarters finished when I worked on it last. So, now I have another little finish!
Delightful Too!

I started this quilt because I had leftover bits, pieces and hunks and chunks from a toddler quilt that I made called Delightful. I wanted to use up as many of the smaller pieces as I could so they would not get put into my overflowing scrap bins.

Delightful Too!
The last time I showed this quilt on my blog it was in July and it was just a flimsy. It wasn't the greatest looking picture but, hopefully, now you can see how pretty it really is. I used up lots of the leftover hunks of fabric when I pieced the back as well lots of little teeny tiny triangles and I think it turned out funky and fun. The binding is scrappy made from leftover strips of fabric.
back of Delightful Too!
I chose to quilt it with a pantograph called Popcorn and I think it looks like clouds - I can imagine that the geese are flying in the clouds. :)

As I was looking back to find out the details about the the first quilt - Delightful - I see that I didn't post about actually finishing it. Well, it did get done and I quilted it with a pantograph called Blowin Wind and I finished it with a zig zag fabric for the binding. The binding didn't turn out quite as I had expected because the zigs zagged unexpectedly! :))

I am linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts where Kathy encourages all of us to take some time out of our day to slow down, relax and, hopefully, do some handwork.

I don't think that I am going to get any sewing time in today because Thanksgiving preparations are under way!!!