Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Challenge beginning

I admit that I am powerless and weak and unable to resist a quilt challenge. This coming weekend is my guild's 4th quilt show and I have participated in the challenge for each show. This challenge piece started with a piece of freezer paper and my garbage pail, which was the exact size of the miniature category size limitation...I have very complex design tools! I traced a plastic lid and a plate to make 3 rings. And then I folded the circle into lots of sections. Here is a shot of the 2 challenge fabrics and my finished pattern. I decided to only use the warm colours of the challenge fabric and eliminated the blue, green and purple sections. 
Then I started the piecing. I started with the smaller flying geese ring and it was fun, fun, fun! I got a lot of use out of my Clover mini iron which I really like for piecing minis. You can get a sense of the scale of the pieces in this photo. I was able to use up a lot of tiny scraps.
Next step was piecing the inner circle, which I had cut into 2 parts. It was tiny and frustrating and I was unable to get the 2 halves pieced together and laying flat. What's a quilter to do but cut a hole in the centre?!? Then it layed flat but I had created another problem for myself which I decided I would figure out at the end.Then I pieced the outside ring and hand pieced the 3 rings together. Tune in tomorrow to find out how I fixed the hole in the centre!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Design Wall Monday

It is Design Wall Monday again. This week went by way too fast!
I still have 2 quilts to finish for the Quilt Show, and do not have time to start a new project. But if I did, I'd make Judy's Quilt for an Hour and I'd use these fabrics that I bought in Paducah so I wouldn't even have to buy new fabric...I'd actually be using up my stash.
And the step #1 block might look something like this.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

I enjoyed a gorgeous fall weekend at a cottage in Northern Ontario with a group of friends from work. We have worked together for 5 years so we know each other well and can really let our hair down and relax. They helped me conquer my fear of boating and now look at me sitting at the front of the boat and not freaking out...smiling even!
We did a lot of talking...and I mean A LOT!
And we played some games, ate truck loads of chocolate, and had a wee drink or two. It was similar to a quilting retreat, only without any quilting!
Of course I took along some hand stitching to do while all the chatting was going on.  I made quite a bit of progress on block #7 of my "Journey of a Quilter" project. You can see my other blocks here.  I'm almost ready to start piecing block #8!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm not starting anything new....

I have several things to finish up for the quilt show - click here to find out more about the show. I have hanging sleeves to sew on and 2 quilts to finish the quilting on. I may have mentioned that I work well under pressure!
I also have my garden to sort out. Since we have frost at night, the plants are all dying, so the remaining tomatoes have to come in. I am freezing some and canning some.

And I am for sure not starting a new quilting project. No way. I don't have time. Maybe after the quilt show. Judy Laquidara is having a "Quilt for an Hour" project on her website, and even though I love it and know that it would use up a lot of stash (and I have the perfect fabric for it)  I am staying strong and am planning to resist starting this new quilt. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Design Wall Monday

I spent some leisurely time over the weekend sewing blocks for group quilts.

The first blocks on my design wall are for my quilt guild's BOM.  Our tireless charity quilt coordinator Donna organizes and cuts up donated fabric and gives out kits at the monthly guild meetings. We take the kits home, sew up the blocks and bring them back to the next meeting. Then we have Quilt Bee days to sew the blocks together into quilts. It's a lot of work to coordinate the fabric, select patterns, and make up the kits but Donna does a great job, as did our previous coordinator Joan. By the end of the guild year we have about 50 quilts to donate. This one will be one bright, scrappy quilt!
The other blocks on my wall are for a group quilt - scrappy churn dash blocks using the pattern on quilter's cache. On the screen some of the blue fabrics look teal...hmmm. I had a great time digging around in my scraps and coming up with some different blocks.
If you would like to see the design walls of about 25 other quilters, click here .

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I am not accomplishing much this weekend. The weather is gorgeous - sunny and warm today, which is perfect for cleaning out the garden. But I have such a bad head cold and don't feel like getting off the sofa. My family says it serves me due to my episode of acute "schadenfreude" last weekend!! I was so happy that my daughter had a bad cold and came home to recuperate. And now I have her miserable cold!

So I have been relaxing, made a dozen blueberry muffins and now am doing a bit of beading on my bra purse for the quilt show. Here is a photo of the beaded edging I am finishing. I have spent way too much time on this project, but it's so much fun that I can't resist! If you live in Ontario, Canada and want to come to a great quilt show on Oct. 2nd and 3rd, you can go visit the guild website (click here) and get more information. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buzz Saw

Don't you hate it when you go to use a fabric that was nicely folded in your fabric stash - and you find this swiss cheese mess!?!? I hate when I do that! But I know exactly where those pieces are and they were removed necessarily and put to good use!

So, the rest of this holey fabric was also put to good use in the binding. Here are the flat piping strips and the binding strips all ready for me to use. I wasn't sure I wanted to do the flat piping because I didn't have a lot of the pink scraps left.  I must thank my sister Jayne for helping me cut and piece all my scraps...the strips truly are bits and pieces of leftovers and took a lot of organizing to be useable.
The very exciting part for me of this exercise is that I think I have converted my sister to a quilting addiction...she volunteered to help me tame the scraps and thought it would be fun...yippee! She used to be a cross stitcher and now she looks forward to quilting time...woohoo!

So anyway, while quilting convert was piecing these lovely strips, I was trying to figure out how to turn the corner with my quilting pattern. I had decided to try Sally Terry's hooked feathers again and wasn't sure now to turn the corner and also quilt into the light fabric block on the turn. This photo shows one of my sketches and you can see the end result in the photo on this post .
And here is the finished quilt! I was very happy with how the piping gave a little bit of colour around the outside.
If you would like to use up some stash and learn how to make this Buzz Saw block, I am teaching it at Triangle Sewing  on Nov 21st - it will be a fun class, so I hope you can join in!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Buzz Saw finished

Another finish?!? What is going on? Am I ill? Should I see a Doctor?

Now don't go worrying about me...I am thinking of starting another new quilt, so I'm not that far gone! Check out Judy's new "Quilt for an Hour" project - click here.  Doesn't that look like fun? My mind is mulling over my stash and trying to figure out how to make this quilt without buying a single bit of fabric. 
Just like I did with my Buzz Saw quilt, which was made completely from stash fabric. What a great feeling! I started this quilt at retreat in February because I wanted to have a new project cut and ready to sew. You can read about it here.  I finally got around to finishing it. I was held up on the borders, unsure of what I liked best. Finally I just decided to go for the plain border and just started quilting. I was great fun and here is a quilted block...curly swirlies on the light fabric and I left the pinks alone. I might decide to go back to this quilt later and quilt those blocks, but for now I left them.

Blogger is giving me a headache about loading photos tonight so I'll try to put in one of the backing, which was also pieced from stash leftovers. If this photo enlarges you might be able to see the's hard to say what will happen with the way Blogger is acting up tonight. Maybe all the quilters are staying up late and writing new can only wish! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I am bragging again today...another quilt is finished...woohoo! We have a quilt show coming up so I'm pulling out all the stops to finish up some UFO's, and have absolutely promised myself to not start anything new until after the show. This was a quilt I started at a mystery quilt class in June - you can read about it here .  It was challenging to get the triangles sewn together in rows and get the seams to match up, but I was happy with the outcome.
I quilted it very simply...all stitch in the ditch - horizontal, vertical and diagonal, and then I free motion outlined the yellow triangles in the centre of the blocks.
Here is a photo of the back of the quilt. I hope you can see the quilting. Some of my photos enlarge when you click on them, which seems to be a random process that I don't understand, so maybe you can click on these to see them in a larger window for more detail.

After I had finished all the quilting, I looked back at the pattern by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr in the American Patchwork & Quilting magazine (April 2009 Issue 97) to find that I had sewn it together incorrectly! The design is called "Balancing Act" and they lined up the triangles differently than I did. (You can see more about the pattern and order a kit here.) This is a bad photo of the magazine page, but hopefully you can see where I went wrong, or where I creatively made my own version of the design...yes, let's go with that story! My "balancing act" is a little different from how it "should" be done (in many
And here is a photo of one of my favorite parts of quilting...putting on the binding. Some relaxing hand stitching, the satisfaction of finishing another quilt, and loving that striped fabric I chose for the binding!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

D9P Finish

Here it last post on the disappearing 9 patch quilt because it is finished!! Not a bad turnaround time since I just started playing with the fabric and making some experimental blocks at the beginning of August! The finished quilt turned out to be 54" x 76".
Here is a photo of the back of one of the corners. 
I had a very fun time quilting it, especially the borders. I used the hooked feathers that Sally Terry describes in her book Hooked on Feathers. As always, I practised with my pencil and old computer paper first, and when I felt comfortable,  jumped right in to the quilting.

And I did not have one single problem with thread breakage, even at top speeds,  because I used Aurofil on the top and in the bobbin....have I mentioned how much I love that thread?!?
And here is the finished quilt laying on my daughter's empty bed in her empty, lonely room. Unfortunately she recovered very quickly from her cold and is already back at school.  Luckily I still have my Molly dog to keep me company and pose for photos.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Triangle Open House

If you're free this afternoon and looking for something to do, come on over to the Triangle Open House. Directions are on their website here. You can see my newest finished project, which I haven't blogged about yet, and I'll be there for some of the time working on my guild challenge. It must be submitted tomorrow and I haven't even finished piecing yet...I still have the quilting, binding and beading to do...yikes!! I am stressed out, but only have myself to blame since I got the fabrics last fall and although I have been working on the design for months, I left the sewing until the last minute AGAIN! Apparently I like the drama and the adrenaline rush, because I could have prevented this!!!
Come by and chat with me while I rip the paper off the back ('s a paper pieced monstrosity) and enjoy some great food.
P.S. I never thought I would rejoice at the illness of my children, but my daughter came down with a terrible cold so she came home from university for some rest and TLC...yippee! She wasn't planning to come home (didn't want to miss the parties) so I am delighted to see her and fuss over her...this is when I can shine with my mommy abilities...oranges anyone? hot tea? chicken soup?

Friday, September 11, 2009

More quilting on the D9P

I am watching CNN today and remembering that disastrous day 8 years ago on 9/11. Although I did not know anyone who died, and live in a different country than the one in which this tragedy occurred, I was deeply affected by it.  It was one of those life changing days that I will never forget and it was the topic of my first real blog post 3 years ago. Click here to read it. 
Today I will be quilting my way back to peace and serenity, as I have tried to do every day since then.  Here are some photos from quilting my disappearing 9 patch. I always start quilting with a stabilizing grid in the seams of the blocks and then I quilted a wavy line over those seams...I have no idea why, but it was fun. 
Then I got the crazy idea to make circles in the connecting corner blocks. As soon as this idea came to my mind, I was annoyed because I knew I would do it, and it wouldn't be fun, and I knew it would take a long time!  I proceeded to make a quilting pattern using my very fancy design tools - a CD, 2 sizes of dinner plates, and a jam jar lid! I quilted this design in the 7 connecting corner blocks and this is how it looked when it was done. 
While I was working on those blocks, I was thinking about what I might like to do with the border, which is one of my favorite parts of making a quilt. The end is in site, it's the last step before binding, and it's your last chance to add something special to the quilt.  

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

D9P borders and basting

I auditioned about a dozen fabrics for the borders on my D9P and finally settled on this purple. Then I wanted to bring some of the white connecting corners out into the borders, but didn't want the white to overpower the border, so I sewed 2 diamonds on the top and bottom and 3 diamonds on the sides. 
Tada...a finished quilt top!
It sure looks different than what I had anticipated!
I just noticed that the white blocks with the connecting corners look like bowtie blocks set on a diagonal...I like that too!
In looking around at my garden it is apparent that I really do like pink and Rose of Sharon bushes bloomed at the same time as I was sewing this quilt top together...more purple and pink to enjoy! I love these bushes and really enjoy their blooming season.  I even saw a hummingbird in the blooms one day but couldn't get my camera out fast enough to snap a photo.
The next step for my pink and purple quilt is pin basting with my handy dandy Kwik Klip. I know lots of people don't like pin basting, but I still love it. I am afraid of inhaling the spray basting fumes since I don't have a large enough table outside to use, and I was very unhappy with the quilts on which I used a basting gun. So I'll stick with my favorite method for now. 
And I put the basting time to good use by practising my quilt whispering skills (you can read about my abilities here) LOL. I ask the quilt "what kind of quilting would you like" and I start to get some ideas of things I could do. Some ideas I refuse outright because they are too labour intensive but the other ideas I make note of and let them percolate while I finish the basting. Then I usually quilt a "stitch in the ditch" grid horizontally and vertically to stabilize the whole thing and then I go to town with the free motion.

Monday, September 07, 2009

D9P on the Design Wall

I have been having so much fun with my disappearing 9 patch quilt. (To see the development of the quilt click here.)  Here are the 24 blocks up on my design wall. I really wanted to add connecting corners to some of the blocks since I liked the look of Becky's disappearing 9 patch quilt that she showed back in June - click here.  I auditioned some of my darker fabrics for the connecting corners but didn't like it because the contrast was too stark.  I was going to scrap that idea, but then decided to give the white fabric a try on the corners and liked it. So here is the quilt top with the blocks sewn together and ready to start the border auditioning.
This has been the most fun I've had making a quilt in a long time! In thinking about why it has been so much fun, I came up with these reasons:
1) I used up a lot of fabric - at least 12 Fat Quarters from my stash that I had collected over the years
2) the actual sewing was very enjoyable/relaxing (no trickey seams to match, no math to do)
3) the quilt top is turning out totally different than I anticipated (and I like surprises/mysteries)
4) there were so many design possibilities and it was great fun playing with the various layouts
Tomorrow I will post the outcome of the border audition...stay tuned!
P.S. For those of my quilting friends who are wondering, I have survived dropping off my daughter at university, with a minimal amount of weaping and howling, knowing that it would embarrass her. So now we wait for the texts and emails with baited breath - because kids don't make phone calls these days. We will have to wait until the weekend to hear her voice again. I am tempted to sit in the basement, eat chocolate, and watch old home videos, but I will do some productive quilting instead!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Mini #4

This is the last one of the mini series...all the little tiny bits that were leftover that most people would put in the garbage! It looks a little wonky in the photo, but in real life I think (hope) that it's not that bad! I have heard this pattern called "Chinese Coins" but don't know how that name relates to the design. 
If you have extra time to surf the web this long weekend and want to see a few other "Chinese Coins" quilts, here is a list to enjoy:
3) Mary has a few different versions and patterns on her site but this one is my favorite with the coins border.
4) Millie made her quilt from a charm pack with larger pieces with an alternating white block (she also has one on her blog header)
5) Andee made her own series of chinese coin quilts.

In the comments on my post yesterday Sara asked the size of the pieces I used. For the first three minis I cut rectangles 1.25" x 2", so the finished size once they are sewn together is .75" x 1.5". In this mini, the white pieces are that size but most of the other pieces are smaller than that.
I enjoyed quilting a 1" grid pattern... I haven't done that for a while and thought it might be fun. I am very lazy with my grid quilting. My fancy technique is to draw and quilt the first diagonal line, then place my 1" ruler on the quilt top, put my walking foot on the edge of the ruler and then scooch the ruler along the previously sewn line. 
Today we moved the majority of my daughter's belongings into her university residence and tomorrow is the big drop off day. I will cope by quilting my brains out every minute after she is gone. There is nothing like a quilting challenge to keep yourself from turning into one big blubbering mess! I plan to finish this quilt.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Mini Quilt Series #1 - #3

When you're trying to use up fabric and not add to your stash like I am, you have to resist purchasing a lot of gorgeous fabric. My personal compromise is that when I see fabric I really like, I only buy a small piece or a charm pack. Such was the case when I saw the Swanky line by Moda when I was at Paducah in the spring....I had to have a little bit of it. Perhaps it was the bright, happy, citrus colours that appealed to me after a long, dark winter! (To see the fabric line click here.)
I cut up the charms into tiny pieces and started to make a
mini quilt series inspired by the ZigZag quilts I have seen on line. 
To see a good tutorial on making full size ZigZags click here.
This is the first mini in the series. It has an on pointe layout and is quilted with a simple 'stitch in the ditch'. I love the striped fabric that I found in my stash for the binding.  I'd plan to add beads to this one in the near future.
This is the second one - a straight layout, added a honey brown fabric on the border, and did some wavy free motion quilting following the path of the Zigzags.
The third one was made out of the green and orange pieces that didn't seem to play as nicely with the other colours. I don't know how it morphed into this non ZigZag design, but there it is! I had fun with the RicRac!
There is a fourth quilt in the series made up of all the tiny leftovers but I'll post about that another day.
We are having such spectacular weather here, I just have to go outside and soak up the sun!