Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is "Canada Day"! Lots of celebrations will be held across the country, including parades, concerts, and fireworks.  At my house we'll be having a family BarBQ with lots of summertime salads. The weather forecast is for rain and more rain, so I guess we'll be celebrating indoors.
This is the mini quilt that will be hanging on my front door to celebrate Canada Day. I always wanted to have a special Canada Day quilt and now I do! The flag pattern is from Christine Thresh's website. If you go to her home page, then click on patterns, she has free foundation patterns for flags - one Canadian flag and three American flags. The Canadian flag pattern is 4 1/2" x 8 ".  Christine generously gave permission to our mini quilt group to make her flag pattern. Hey gals...have you finished your flag yet? Is it hanging in your home?!?
The flag was a little challenging for some of us (not mentioning any names!) and here is an interesting variation of paper piecing a right side to a wrong side...do not try this at home!! We had great giggles over this creatively pieced maple leaf!
The letters I put on the bottom of my flag are from Marcia Hohn's website - click here. I downsized them to about 1 1/4" and that was too small for me to enjoy the piecing process (and I really like paper piecing), but that was the right size to fit across the bottom of the flag. I re-did the 'D' letter 3 times! Marcia's patterns have the letters as 4" blocks and that would be way more fun but too big to go with my flag...I'd only be able to fit a 'CA' under it!
If you are home enjoying a relaxing Canada Day (or will be home on the 4th for the American celebrations) and want some fun quilty websurfing, check out this website for lots more free quilt patterns....enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Design Wall Monday

One of my sewing groups that enjoys making quilts for charities has started another quilt. (Our last quilt was sold for $475 at the Mennonite Relief Sale - you can see it here.)
Our new quilt was inspired by Deirdre Brown's quilt pattern called Split Decision - you can see her quilt here.  When we are looking for ideas for a group quilt, we want a design where 1) you can use a wide variety of fabric scraps, 2) the block is easy for all levels of quilt experience to sew,  3) the quilt doesn't have a lot of seams to match and 4) finished blocks can be squared up to the same size, because as we know, every quilter has a different 1/4" seam allowance!!

We started by selecting a border fabric from a pile of bolts (yes, bolts!!) of fabric from one of our group member's stash. Then we each took a chunk of the border fabric home and looked in our own stash for scraps to match. 

Here are my pieces, all cut up and ready to sew.  The test block is on the left of the photo. Some of these are really old fabrics and I am delighted to be using them up.
Here are 12 of my finished blocks on my design wall. Each group member will make 25 blocks, which will give us a few extra blocks just in case some are not the right size or don't look right with the colours in the final layout. 
If you want to see what other quilters around the world have on their design walls, go to Judy's blog and check it out (click here). But don't blame me for all the quilting time you wasted while surfing the quilting blogs!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another finish

I finished another UFO this week...yahoo!  You can read about the beginning of the quilt here. I would like to make special mention of the date that I started it...January, yes, of 2009!!!  This quilt didn't even make it out of the car at quilt retreat in February and it was so close to being done. I finally got it out and finished up the quilting. 
What kind of quilting did I do?
-even, nestled feathers in the 3 pieced rows
-outline stitching around all the Winnies and piglet
-crosshatching lines on all blue background fabric
-wavy lines following the words in the green border (which I don't like and wish I hadn't done there, but...oh well...
done is better than perfect!)
-varied feather quilting with a wavy spine in the outside borders
And here it a shot of the back of the quilt which maybe shows the
 quilting lines better. I was happy that I had enough of the soft green fabric to make up the binding. I don't have a baby in mind to give this quilt to. I sure am delighted to have finished another UFO.
Wait until you see the next UFO in the production line!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iron troubles

I was sewing up some triangle blocks when I smelled something burning.  I discovered it was my iron dying...I could smell the electrical meltdown!
I am hard on my irons...they always seem to be falling on the floor and getting fusible gunk on them and generally suffering from over-use! So I buy cheap ones and replace them whenever they expire. 
Since I wanted to continue to sew,  I dug out this cute little pink iron I had bought years ago at Joanne's in the US (only $5 with a coupon!) thinking it would be good for mini quilts. But it was a major pain in the @#$! The place where the cord went into the iron was in a very awkward location for pressing and the cord plug kept falling out and the so that went in the garbage with my Black & Decker.
I headed out to Canadian Tire (which is the premier store for tools around here). My husband enjoys Canadian Tire as much as I enjoy quilting stores...he can wonder around in 
there for hours. I purchased a "Shark" iron...never had one of those before. I like the name...let's see how long it lasts with me!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quilt Designer Blog Hop

Say what? A second post in one day?!?!
I forgot to remind you about the blog hop which starts today.
Every day there is a different blog to visit and you can collect the free patterns and win prizes.
Click on the picture below and you can hop on over and see the first pattern. Enjoy!
Logo blog hop

Design Wall Monday

It's Monday already?!? The weekend just flew by!  
I might have a little time to sew today (and recover from hemming those trousers for my Dad!) and this is what I plan to work on...my triangle quilt. You can read about the beginning of this quilt here. I have the top two rows sewn together and most of the blocks made. I think I can squeeze a few more blocks out of the remaining scraps, maybe just enough for one more row and then half blocks on the sides. I'll be working with the scraps today and seeing how far they will go. The quilt size will be determined by the amount of fabric I have left...I'm not buying anymore (no, really, I am NOT buying anymore!).
To check out the design walls of other quilters, hop over to Judy's site and enjoy surfing the quilting blogs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

It's a busy weekend around here getting ready for Father's Day.  I have been pretending to be a domestic goddess and working all weekend in the kitchen. Here is all that remains of my rhubarb patch. Our desire to eat it outlasts the amount the patch produces, so I'll have to buy rhubarb at the market from now on.  I pulled the last bit of rhubarb out to make this rhubarb cake for the family Father's Day lunch.
Then I washed and chopped these colourful veggies for the lunch potluck.
 Then I chopped the cilantro, 
tomatoes, and jalapeno peppers, rinsed the black beans, defrosted the frozen corn, squeezed limes, and then mixed the secret ingredients for the family's favorite bean dip. We eat this dip with Tostitos Scoops and it is so yummy that it is worth all the effort to make it!
And my last task is to hem 2 new pairs of pants for my father. It's a boring job which I hate, but hey, its father's day and it's the least I can do for him. The whole time I have been working in the 
kitchen and when I was hemming these pants, I have been thinking about what I would be working on if I were quilting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's on...

What's on my design wall this week?
This lovely block was designed by Jenny in Australia, hand stitched by Julie in the US, and is now hanging on my design wall in Canada. Isn't the world wide web amazing!?!?!  Since this arrived in the mail yesterday, I'm counting it as a birthday present since it was my birthday! Thanks Julie! I'm not sure what it will become yet, so it is whispering possible suggestions about adding pieced borders, possible hand quilting designs, making a hand stitched border, etc. I am listening and taking notes!
To see what is on the design wall of 25+ quilters around the world - click here. The other quilters post their link on Monday but I can't seem to get this done until the middle of the week!
What's on my piano?
Birthday cards! I was thinking today about how this row of beautiful cards defines who I am and some of the special relationships I am blessed by. 
What's on my sewing machine?
I am really trying to finish up some UFO's laying around here. I just have a bit more machine quilting to do to finish up this baby quilt, so today I want to finish quilting the whole border and get working on the binding. I don't have a baby in mind for this quilt, but want to clear up my work space, so it'll be my next finish.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Finish!

I finally have a finish to announce! These are relatively rare for me, since I do love starting quilts more than finishing them. But I must say how much I enjoyed working on this quilt. You can read about the beginning of it here and although I didn't enjoy piecing the blocks at first, I learned the tricks as I went along, achieved nicer looking blocks and started having fun. One of the trickier things about this pattern is which way the seams should be pressed to get a flat block, and then quilting in the ditches, which always switch direction half way along. Don't know if you can see it in this close up block, but again, once I got used to this, the quilting was easier. 
It was also fun deciding where to quilt, sorting out which quilting lines I like the look of, which ones I didn't like and needed to unstitch, and when is there "enough" quilting. 
I tried to control my tendency to "overquilt" and here you 

can see the quilting from the back. 
And when I say "finished" I really mean completely done...l
abel and all!! Woohoo!
I really want to open up one of my other John Flynn kits and start piecing, but I am a little motivated today to get a

 couple of other UFO's finished, and clear off my work table. We'll see how long the self discipline lasts!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's on my design wall?

This week I am working on a new project! Way back in the winter I signed up for a "Ladies of the Evening" class at Reichards and the day finally arrived last friday night. It was also my daughter's prom night, so I had to take some photos and then race over to the class.  I only missed the first part of the class, but worked hard to catch up.  This is a mystery class where you don't know what you are making, until you are given a stack of fabric strips and some instructions...lots of fun!
The project we started is called "Balancing Act" from the April American Patchwork and Quilting magazine (p.58). Cutting out the pieces to strip piece around the triangles has been challenging. This is my favorite ruler to use for this cutting job.
These are the blocks I have sewn so far that are on my design

 wall. I still have about 30 more blocks to sew because the rows are supposed to be 12 triangles across and there are supposed to be 9 rows I think. I'm really liking the quilt but am wondering if all these triangles are going to fit together okay!!
If you want some fun surfing quilt blogs, go to Judy's site (click here) and see what is on the design wall of 25+ other quilters...enjoy!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Prom Celebrations

I try not to post much personal content on my quilting blog, but I have to make an exception today since my quilting friends have been asking about how my daughter's high school prom went, and I thought I should give a few details. 
I loved the dress she bought, even though it cost more than my wedding dress!  (No...she absolutely did not want a quilted prom dress!)  This is her on the right with one of her good friends, who was born on the exact same day (in the same hospital) as my daughter, so they have always said they are birthday twins. I loved the beads and sequins on the waist band of her dress, and it was a beautiful colour on her. They had a fun time doing their nails and hair, and getting ready for the party together. They were very excited!
Here she is on the left with her friend (and prom date). She had a fantastic evening and was delighted with the whole prom experience.
I celebrated prom by attending a mystery quilt class, which I will write more about when I have time this week to work on that new UFO in progress!
I also spent part of yesterday at the guild Quilt Bee Day working on  comfort quilts. This is Judy and me. I am putting together blocks that other guild members had sewn. I am probably telling Judy that I am so relieved that my daughter has decided to attend a university close to home next year (she had been seriously considering attending Memorial in Newfoundland)! Today we are all feeling tired and happy!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Feathering & Canning

Feather, feathers and more feathers. Once I get started with the feathers, I can't stop! It's like eating potato chips - you can't just try one! Here is one of my demo pieces which I am still working away on. The feather quilting class yesterday went really well. These are the brave souls who were willing to try something new and put their machine quilting skills to the test.  They practised for a while with pencil and paper, and then progressed to quilt sandwiches....trying to convince their eyes and hands to cooperate together, and determining how fast they could drive the machine and still get some nice curves on the feathers.
In the class I took with Hilary Rice 2 weeks ago, she promised that anyone can be a good machine quilter once they've put in 1,000 hours of practise! So this group of quilters have already put in 4 hours and are well on their way!
Today I didn't have much time for quilting...I focused on tending to the "garden"...if you can call it that! Does this look like a vegetable plant to you?!?
Some green things are starting to appear...slowly, reluctantly. I'm still hopeful that I will actually have a vegetable garden this summer!
I spent a while pulling rhubarb (which I recently learned is not a fruit but is technically a vegetable!) and then worked on canning that rhubarb. With supervision from my friend Joanne, I managed to tackle 3 recipes - a rhubarb
 jam, a rhubarb blueberry jam, and a rhubarb relish, which I have wanted to try for a long time. It's a very old family recipe from a friend of mine and it is delicious. Once we recovered from the agony of peeling and chopping 5 quarts of onions, it was fun! It doesn't look very appetizing here in the cooking  pot, but believe me, it's amazing!
And here is the evidence of all that labour. No one can eat any of it for a while - until I am done enjoying the sight of it!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Judy over at Patchwork Times blog asked "what's on your design wall?" I enjoyed viewing the other bloggers design walls so much, I though I'd join in the fun and put up a photo of what's on mine.
Baskets...4" baskets and 10" baskets.
The mini baskets are leftover blocks from a class I taught last month, and I am making them into little wallhangings for the guild's Quilt Show mini auction.
The large basket blocks started on Sunday. At the Mennonite Quilt Auction there were packages of background fabric for sale, asking quilters to make basket blocks for some quilts for next year's quilt auction. Somehow a few of those packages got into my handbag, and on the weekend I sewed up the blocks. 
Here are the background packages which simply requested any type of 10" basket block. 
So I made a cup of tea, searched through my Around the Block book by Judy Hopkins and picked out 6 different 10" basket blocks and started sewing HST's. It was relaxing sewing and I was happy to use up all these small pieces from my scrap bag.

In teaching news...if you want to learn more about machine quilting feathers, I am teaching a class at Triangle sewing tomorrow at noon and there is room for 1 more eager quilter! This was not an advertised class, but scheduled by special request. You can read more about the last time I taught this class here

In the computer department...does anyone out there know why my photos do not enlarge when you click on them? They used to enlarge before I got this new MacBook computer, and now they don't. Any ideas on how to fix this problem?