Monday, March 27, 2017

Design Wall Monday

The design wall is covered with asterisk blocks today. I am almost out of those weird green background fabrics, so I need to figure out the setting for these fun blocks and get them turned into a finished quilt. I'm undecided about whether to keep the X blocks or make them all into asterisks. In the photo I really dislike the X on the left in the middle row. It might not make it into the quilt at all. Of course I'm loving the little asterisk blocks and want to make more of those. I took these blocks along to share with the Paris Quilters on Saturday.
We had a great day practicing how to construct a variety of improv blocks including asterisks (which were the group favourite), houses, and different types of letter blocks. I love a group of women who are fearlessly willing to try sewing anything, who tell inspiring and heart felt stories about their quilts and their quilty adventures, AND who also have a fantastic sense of humour!

We had so much fun and I was sad when the class was over and it was already time to pack up and go home. Here are some of the quilters who attended the class and you can see some of the quilts I brought to show various ways of constructing letter blocks.
These are the books and websites I recommended:
-"Word Play Quilts" by Tonya Ricucci
-"Out of the Box" by Mary Lou Wideman and Melanie McFarlane
-Patchery Menagerie blog by Lynne Tyler
-Asterisk Quilts by Karen Griska
-Temecula Quilt Co. baby letter quilt (not improv, but another fun way to sew letter blocks)
To see more design wall blog posts, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching/Resting

It's Slow Stitching Sunday - the day of resting, moving slowly, breathing deeply, and hand stitching. Resting is an activity, and is a verb. To rest means to "cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength" (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary). In past generations, people believed that resting was an essential element in a healthy, well balanced life. But now I often hear (and have believed) that resting is not valued. For many people rest = lazy, and it's something you only do on vacation once a year (unless you get completely burned out before then and your body makes you go on a forced leave!)

I have only learned the value of rest in the past few years, and realized that the ability to power down your brain, and let it heal itself is vital to wellness. Of course getting enough sleep is also important, but I'm talking about being able to be in a restful state while awake, to take a complete break from your activities and your worries, and to achieve a state of deep relaxation. 

The quickest way for me to accomplish total restfulness is by hand stitching. When I'm hand stitching, I am not thinking about anything else except where the next stitch is going. And I must pay attention to this task, because injuries are caused by inattentiveness. When I don't focus, I poke myself with the needle and bleed! 
I take deep breaths, I focus only on the next stitch, and I don't allow any worries to enter my mind. 
So every Sunday I am writing a permission slip for you (and me) to take some time to fully relax! You are not being lazy. Get out your hand stitching project and know that you are investing in your own wellness by relaxing and taking good care of yourself.
Here's the link up if you want to share how you are relaxing with your hand stitching today.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

Major progress was made with the red scraps this week. I finished another Mad City Mama block (pattern from Bonnie Hunter's book Adventures with Leaders and Enders). 
Red was a fun colour to play with and I had many prints with little graphics that I could fussy cut. 
As soon as I took the photo, I could see that I forgot one of the light triangle corners. But it was easy to add in, and voila... here are the 8 blocks on the design wall.

WOW that's a lot of scraps!

Only one more block to go. 
What colour should I add?
Lime green?

To see more scrappy red projects, hop over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up.

Friday, March 24, 2017

UFO Machine Quilting

My March UFO project is finally seeing some major progress this week. In truth, this project has really been my "UFO of the month" since last September - sad, but true!  The third and last panel of Votes For Women was pin basted the first week of the month and since then the quilting has been coming along well. 

First I put the walking foot on my sewing machine and stitch in the ditch to stabilize the edge of each block. 

Then I change to the free motion foot and make up a stitching design for each block that has the longest continuous line of quilting I can think of. It's a fun challenge to make a different design for each of the 14 blocks in the panel that I am quilting.
I anticipate being able to sew the three panels together next week, with a possible finish in sight. I am trying not to get too excited!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scraps and Improv

I am teaching an improv piecing class in Paris (in Ontario, not France!) on Saturday and am getting all my samples out of the closet. I decided that I really wanted to have my Scrap Vortex finished to show the students. It's one of my favourite quilts and it demonstrates how you can use crumbs, scraps and letters to make an "interesting" quilt. 

I started this quilt in June 2015 and this is how it looked when it came out of the UFO closet this week.

I still loved it, and particularly loved that the 'S' in SCRAP turned out to look not as bright as the rest of the word. That's seredipidy!
However, I really wanted to have the word 'vortex' in the quilt, so I pieced the letters, surrounded them with scraps, cut the quilt top in half and inserted the vortex strip.

Here it is...

Definitely not serendipity!

The R's cannot be right above each other! That just didn't look like how I had envisioned it!

Out came the seam ripper, and the quilt top was dissected again! 
I inserted a scrappy strip between the words. 
But there are a few things that need to be changed so I can like it more. And a great border idea popped into my mind, so this project isn't close to being a finished quilt top yet! But it's ready for a road trip to Paris on Saturday!

Linking up to Cynthia's Oh Scrap! party!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's Blockhead Day!

Have you started the Blockhead project yet? Information about the project can be found here and many beautiful versions of block #1 can be seen here

This is my version of block #2 called Aunt Dinah (link to the pattern can be found here).

These are my first two blocks for this sampler quilt. 

Wednesday is the day that the next block pattern is posted, so I'll be hopping over to Jo Morton's blog today to see her block. 

"Resistance is futile" of course! If you've been strong enough to resist making these cutie pie blocks so far, I am amazed by your self control! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Aurifil BOM Quilt Top

You never know how a project is going to turn out, especially when it's a mystery BOM. I would love to know the statistics on the number of quilters who start a BOM and actually end up with a finished quilt. Some interesting quilty statistics can be read here from the 2014 survey of American quilters, but there are no statistics gathered on the number of blocks sewn/started/sitting in UFO cupboards.
I have my fair share of those that may or may not become a finished quilt one day, but I have learned something and increased my skills with every block I have sewn. And every once in a while, blocks actually do become part of a quilt top.
Here's my most recent accomplishment...
the Aurifil BOM from 2016 (free patterns are still here). The size of the quilt top is 62.5" x 82".
Although it is a 2 colour quilt, it really is a true scrappy quilt with it's huge variety of red and white fabrics. I was determined to not buy more fabric to finish it, so I had to substitute another red for some of the block sashings. Many of the sashings are pieced from scraps. And the inside light sashing is a different size from the border sashing because I was running out of that yardage too. It was a huge logic/math puzzle (not my strength) which makes this seem like a bigger accomplishment to me than usual!
This will be the perfect project to be quilting during Canada's 150th birthday year!
You can get the instructions for Pat Sloan's layout here, and see a few finished quilt tops at the link up.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.