Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween everyone!
I have a finished quilt to show today, and that's no trick... it's a treat!

A long time UFO is done! This was mystery quilt pattern #21 from Quiltaholics from 2007.
It sat in the UFO closet for a lot of years. I didn't like that the quilt was square and doesn't fit a bed. But I finally just decided that I wanted it done... 
and now it is!

I tried a spiral quilting pattern (tutorial by Crazy Mom Quilts) for the first time and it went well. For some unexplainable reason, the size of the rings grew as I moved out from the center of the quilt. I am excited about trying something new, and I am happy with how it turned out.
I am linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes to brag about my finish. This finish marks the half way point of finishing my 2014 UFO list - 6 done and 6 to go! 
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Remaining Mystery Blocks

Over at Jo's Junction there is a Bonnie Hunter Challenge going on - click here to read about it.
In writing my mystery review post last week I realized that I only have 2 1/2 Bonnie mysteries to finish up, which is pretty darn awesome! I want to work on these in the month of November. One project (RRCB) needs a border and quilting, one quilt top (Easy Street) is just waiting for quilting, and then ...
there is one other "problem child" - Carolina Christmas mystery

There were two sets of blocks to make for this quilt, but with my colour selections (which were way way "off the beaten path"!) the finished blocks did not play well together. So I separated the blocks and used half of them in the green and pink quilt, which was finished in 2011

This week I went in search of (and happily located) the other half of the blocks.
Here they are on the design wall. Are you seeing the problem?
These blocks just didn't fit together in the same quilt as the other half.
Now... what can I do with these?
Any ideas?!?
Wouldn't it be great if I finished this quilt in November before the new mystery started?!?
Linking up to the Challenge Checkin....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sew Along Update

The Temecula sew along is rolling right along. They have posted 15 letter patterns and I have been able to keep up so far. Here are my rainbow letters.

Won't these blocks make a great baby quilt?
All the block patterns are posted on their blog, so you can join in and make your own quilt at any time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

UFO deadline approaches

My October (and September!) UFO project is being worked on, but I haven't posted about it recently. 

The backing was pieced, the pin basting was done and the quilting was started.

I decided since I didn't really love this old UFO and therefore didn't feel at all worried about quilting it, that I would try a new (to me) quilting idea - a spiral design. I first saw this on Crazy Mom Quilts - tutorial is here. The center rings went well using the free motion foot and then I changed to the walking foot as recommended in the tutorial. And the quality of the curves went down hill!

I was okay with that since I was enjoying the process. I continued to try to make the starts/stops smoother and make the repositioning of the quilt less dramatic ( a little bit at a time) so the curves would be smoother. 

I am not marking the lines, just guesstimating where the next line might be. For some unknown reason the rings keep getting wider? It's kind of fun, but I'm not sure how it will look when it's done. Stay tuned. I plan to finish it by Friday if all goes well.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Marcus Sew-Along

I have finally finished sewing the alternate blocks for the Marcus Fabrics sew-along. They should have been easy blocks but I kept making cutting errors, which made sewing the blocks together much harder than it needed to be. The problem was that some of the pieces are 2" and some are 2.5", and I repeatedly forgot which was which!
And here on the design wall is the recommended layout with the blocks on point. I'll definitely be moving the blocks around to balance the greens and red a bit more.
What do you think?
I think it's not terrible, but it won't be my favorite quilt.
The next step will be to decide which colours to use for the setting triangles and borders. 
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

I have made a bit of slow progress on hand quilting my block sampler quilt. The autumn colours of this quilt make it the perfect project to work on at this time of year.
I took some photos of the back of the quilt this week just for something different to share. The backing is a mottled gold and the red stitches show up well.

Stars - quilted 5 of 20  
These are fun and quick to quilt.

Blocks - quilted 5 of 12
These are more challenging and time consuming, and each one is different depending on the block pattern, so I make myself finish quilting a block before I quilt a star.

Sashings - quilted 7 of 31
Very boring, but easy to complete. After I finish quilting a block, I would like to quilt the sashings around it, so I don't have a lot of sashings to finish at the end.

From Red Brolly

What are you hand stitching today?
Enjoy the relaxation that making each stitch can bring!
And link up your blog post below so we can be inspired by your slow stitching.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

The RSC'ers are working on the "dark side" this month to use up brown and black scraps.  I have been cutting and sewing some batik scraps for Alamo Star blocks, which I have been sewing in between other seams (aka "leaders/enders"). 

These are tiny blocks, as you can see by the size of the squares under the presser foot. The squares are 1.25", so the star blocks will be 2.25" finished.

You can see that the Alamo Star collection definitely needs more blocks with dark backgrounds. But this is the last week for dark scraps, so I will finish up the blocks I have cut and then see what the next colour will be for November.
To see more RSC postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 24, 2014

TGIF - Let's start something new!

It's Friday and you know what that means! 
Time to sew!
I started my October QPOM (Quilt Project of the Month) for my local guild. I decided to use some Berenstain bears fabrics that I have been hoarding saving for a couple of years. 

I am adding lots of dotty scraps and hoping it will not be too wild of a combination. I am using the Companion Angle ruler to make the QST blocks. The blocks on the top left were the tester blocks which were too small. Now I have my math right, and just need to make hundreds more.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tracking the Mysteries

Bonnie Hunter is gifting her loyal fans a new mystery quilt! I love Bonnie's patterns with thousands of little pieces, and I love sewing mystery quilts, so I really look forward to her annual mysteries.
I decided for my own entertainment to go back through my blog posts and review the Bonnie Hunter mysteries I have made.

Carolina Crossroads 
2008 - 2010

This was my first Bonnie mystery quilt. Her version was red, white, and blue so you can see I went totally out of the box on my first one! I love it and it's still one of my favorite quilts and is a cuddle quilt for TV watching.

Orange Crush
2008 -2009

This is another of my favorite Bonnie mystery quilts! I stuck pretty much to Bonnie's colours for this one although at first I was nervous about so much orange!
I did change the border on my version and used up leftover blocks.
This quilt lives on my son's bed.

Carolina Christmas 2009 - ??

I didn't like the huge size of this quilt, so I divided the blocks - 
half were made into this quilt in 2011 and given to the comfort quilt collection at the guild. The other half of the blocks feel sad to be still sitting in a UFO box!

2009 (yep - started and finished in the same year!)

I started with a border print that I liked and picked colours for the mystery from that print. It was a fun way to organize a mystery quilt.
I changed the border and really like my version. 
This is a large quilt which I machine quilted myself and was very happy with how it turned out. This quilt lives on my daughter's bed.

Roll Roll Cotton Boll 
2010 - ??

This quilt is still just a top.
I didn't have enough neutral scraps to make the alternate string pieced blocks for this quilt, so I changed the layout completely. It has been stalled for a long time because I am working through my fear of fitting seminole pieced borders onto a large quilt!!

Orca Bay 
2011 - 2013

I went totally rogue on this one and used only one fabric line called "3 Sisters Grace", and that is what I call this quilt.
It is completely different from Bonnie's quilt, and you can see her quilt here. I made my version smaller and put the border on backwards creatively.

2012 - ??

I kept to Bonnie's recommended colours for this one since I had a lot in my stash. I wish my version had a bit more contrast, but it's okay. 
It is really big and I don't even have a photo of all of it, but here is the right half! This quilt is still a flimsy because I keep debating about whether or not I want to quilt it myself. It will likely be on next year's UFO list to finish.

Celtic Solstice 2013

I changed up the colours on this one (you can see lots of variations on this post) and used a lot of angel themed fabrics. It was quilted for me by Cathy with an angel design. This is one of my all time favorite quilts and it lives on my bed.

And what will the 2014 mystery be? Bonnie is calling it "Grand Illusion" and the fabric requirements have been posted here.  After years of making Bonnie Hunter mysteries, I do know that the new mystery will be: 
1) a challenge and I will learn new things, 
2) a lot of fun to sew, 
3) a well written quilt pattern with great instructions, and
4) a well-kept mystery right up until the end! 
I better get digging through the stash and see what colours I will use this year. Can't wait to get started on November 28th!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday

Last Saturday I was able to visit the London Friendship Quilters show and besides enjoying a great quilt show, I was inspired by chatting with my old friend Jacqui and her husband Jake. They restore vintage machines and have an incredible collection of antique sewing machines. I only wish I had my camera with me (I know...BAD blogger!) so I could show you their amazing display. 
They reminded me how much I love my old machines and I spent last night sewing on my much loved 1901 Singer Treadle while watching QuiltCam over at Quiltville. Did you join in and sew with us? If you didn't catch it live, you can always watch the YouTube archived show

I wasn't able to sew very long before Granddog Max decided he wanted to treadle. Can you see how that presents a problem?!?
He brought his favorite toy under the machine and kept trying to "help".

Eventually I stopped trying to treadle more scrap strips, and spent the rest of the time removing the adding machine tape/paper from the back of completed strips. That's a very easy but boring job, which was made more fun by watching QuiltCam!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Finished Quilt!

It's a wonderful feeling to finish a quilt!
And this finish is especially delicious, since the quilt was made in about a month (you can read about the start of this quilt here). Also great is that this is a total scrap quilt. Everything from the blocks, to the batting, and the backing were constructed from leftovers from other quilting projects!

This was a joy to sew, to quilt and to finish! 

Pattern by Jackie Syer at FRJ Designs.
Finished size: 50" x 64"

I should be cutting the grass today after work but instead, I plan to sit under my beautiful tree, snuggle up in my scrappy quilt, enjoy a cup of tea, and read a good book.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Letters

The Temecula sew along letters are on the design wall today. It has been interesting to learn another way to sew letter blocks. I have sewn other letter quilts before using Tanya's method (see one here and here) but the Temecula letters are more structured and less "liberated".
A sew along is such a "no stress" method of making a quilt - just a couple of easy blocks every week, and before you know it, I will have a baby quilt to give away. You can see the layout of what the quilt will look like here

I am using Vicki Welsh hand dyed fabrics for the letters and they are divine to sew with. The backgrounds are a variety of black dots on white.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

Today I will be hand quilting a few more stitches in my sampler quilt. I am enjoying the "big stitching" 1/4" from each seam. I am constantly reminding myself to resist the temptation to make the stitches smaller.
Please forgive the terrible photos taken late last night as I was trying to assess where I am with this project. The bowtie block is finished and I have started the next block, which I will work on today.
I am making such good progress that I have started to think that I might be able to finish the quilt this year.
So I made a list of parts to be quilted which I can periodically update for motivation:
Sashings - quilted 6 of 31
Stars - quilted 4 of 20
Blocks - quilted 4 of 12
What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and let us be your cheering section!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

The Rainbow Scrappers are working with the dark colours this month. Many of my ongoing scrap projects could benefit from the darker blocks which provide contrast. This week I sewed a few dark 3" spool blocks and joined them into six 6" blocks for my scrappy spools project.

To see more rainbow scrap challenge posts, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Finish

My Island Batik mystery quilt top is finished! My colours are quite different from the ones that Bea used in her quilt.

This was a very relaxing and fun mystery to sew, and the rows went together perfectly. I am wondering about making the quilt top larger and adding some borders, so my next step is to see what yardage I have left to use up.
Don't you just love working with batiks?  I know it's a weird thing to admit, but I even love the way they smell when you iron them :)
And they lay so flat!
I think this will be a quick finish for me, because I already have a quilting idea and am eager to try it out!
Hop over to Bea's link up party and see more finished mystery tops.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pile Appreciation

Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed about the volume of "stuff" in my life, in my daily schedule, at work, and in my home. When this happens, I start to really dislike the mess in my sewing room, and especially "the piles". You know the piles I mean... piles of patterns, books, fabric collected for a future project, fabric scraps, batting scraps, blocks, half finished quilts, and completed quilt tops. 
Just look at my cutting table! There is no room to actually cut anything! Usually I just accept that this is how I work. When I have time to sew, I can pick from a variety of piles to work on depending on my mood. 
But sometimes it gets on my nerves. This week it was frustrating me, until I read an interesting article on why it's a good thing to have many projects on the go.... you can read it here
Cheryl reminded me about why my space is the mess it usually is, and why I have so many projects in various stages of completion. She said:  "I am simply willing to embrace the ideas and inspiration as they come. To me, this all
"They represent you and your creativity"
Cheryl Arkison
represents creative freedom and opportunity."

YES! Love that!
I am off to the sewing room to embrace my creative freedom. 
Thanks Cheryl! I feel so much better about my piles! 
Now...what should I work on?!?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Design Wall Tuesday

Somehow I missed a day already this week! 

This is what is on my (design) wall today. 
Wherever I go, I set up a sewing machine and create a design wall. This is the sewing center for this weekend.
On the design wall is my first block from Bea's Island Batik mystery.  The blocks are coming together perfectly and I can't wait to see all the blocks together on the design wall.
Other than sewing more blocks, this is what's on the agenda for today...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

This is where I'll be sitting!
It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, which means a long weekend full of thankfulness and lots of stitching time... (well, that's what it means to me!) This week I machine quilted my scrappy rail fence quilt, and everything went so quickly that I was able to finish the scrappy binding and get it on the quilt.
This is what I'll be doing!

So today I will be reveling in my favorite activity of hand stitching a binding... the perfect Slow Sunday Stitching for Thanksgiving! 

Today and every Sunday, I am so thankful for this little online community of Slow Sunday Stitchers. I learn so much from you and enjoy visiting your blog and seeing what you're stitching.
What are you working on today? Link up your hand stitching blog post below and share your project with us!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

I am still dragging my heels from leaving the orange scraps!

I threw my pumpkin seed blocks up on the design wall in no particular order. 
I was disappointed because:
a) I thought I had sewn way more blocks than this, and 
b) it looks kind of blah. 
I think it needs more light, more orange, and gold/yellow blocks.

So I really got to work on some orange blocks, and have a few in various stages of completion.
They will really help to boost this project.
To see more scrappy posts of bloggers who are probably following the rules and working on the proper coloured scraps, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Scrappy Rails

I decided to quilt a quick and easy squiggly line pattern on the rail fence blocks. The first step was a lot of scribbling on scrap paper to figure out how to make a continuous line design. I wanted to avoid quilting through lots of thick seams, and this is working great. It is giving a nice texture, and emphasizing the rail blocks.

Also, I have been digging through my basket of leftover binding ends to see if a binding could be pieced together using scraps.

I easily found enough darker bits to join together to make a binding long enough for this quilt. Now I just need to finish the quilting, join the bindings together, and attach it to the quilt. Then I will have a binding to sew for Slow Sunday Stitching. Do you think I will make it?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Moving right along...

I have been sewing up a storm here. My scrappy rail fence blocks are sewn together in a quilt top. I use the webbing technique by Bonnie Hunter to sew blocks together, and it is quick and easy. Well, it was mostly easy... not all of my blocks were the same size, and some stretching may have been involved :)
Now the quilt is pin basted and is ready for quilting. I decided on a variegated thread for the top and my stand-by taupe thread in the bobbin. I have wound 3 bobbins to get me started. 
Now the only problem is... how to quilt it!!?!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Quilty Love

My neighbours recently had a baby girl. 
I was delighted that the baby was a girl because I just happened to have a (prize winning) baby girl quilt all ready for her! 

Both Mom and baby had a very difficult time with the delivery, and Mom is still recovering. So of course I offered my free babysitting services and have had the pleasure of many hours of cuddling this sweetness.
How could you resist?
She is the most beautiful, tiniest, perfect little human!

She is over 6 pounds now and swims in her newborn sleeper. The baby quilt seems enormous, but she will grow into it! 
I love how she sleeps with her arms up!
This photo shows the starry flannel backing and the striped binding on her quilt.
Deep sigh... I love babies (especially this one) and love making baby quilts!!