Monday, February 19, 2018

Quilt Retreat

Nothing is on the design wall today because it's time for my annual winter quilt retreat! Once I get there, it's fantastic. However, preparing to get there is very stressful for me. I get myself in quite a state because ALL my projects want to come with me. But of course that is not possible. I know some quilters who are really chill, and only bring one or two projects to work on for 5 days. 5 whole days!



New olympic event - packing for quilt retreat
From the infinite list of my projects, I have to chose which ones I might want to work on this week. The list of projects going to retreat should include at less one item in each stage of development:
a couple of creative projects in the planning stages so you can consult with your friends, extra fabric that may be needed for projects that may be accidentally started while at retreat (usually need neutral yardage), projects to piece, one paper piecing challenge, at least one project that is pin basted and ready for machine quilting, some hand stitching activities including at least one embroidery and one hand quilting project, and there absolutely must be a quilt with a binding ready to hand stitch late in the evenings.


With my list in hand, I have been rummaging around in the UFO closets and sorting which projects qualify for retreat and which will stay home. And then I must ensure that I have all the tools, fabrics, patterns, threads, and any other supplies needed for each of the projects. 
It's exhausting.
Kevin reminded me in his latest blog post of this truth.
So true Kevin!



Retreat projects waiting to be loaded into the car

Once the torture of attending to all the details, making all the decisions, and organizing all the stuff is finally complete, then comes the hauling of said stuff into the car. Sure wish I knew a sherpa I could call! Here is the end result of all that effort. How many projects do you think I have there? Enough for 5 days?

And then the realization hits.... I should probably pack some clothes too!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party! We meet here every Sunday to celebrate the art of all varieties of hand stitching. If it involves a needle or 2, and some thread/yarn/wool, and stitches taken with your hands, we want to know about it!
Last week I posted about the slow stitching olympics and it was fun to hear about your long time UFOs. We had many contenders, and Deb was definitely in the running with her hand pieced and hand quilted log cabin project from 1989. Way to go Deb!
And congratulations to all you slow stitchers who persist, who keep making progress and never give up. It's hard to maintain a vision and enthusiasm for a project over many years. You are inspiring!

This is the embroidery design I finished this week. This is one of the three January patterns for Gail Pan's Send My Love BOM. It took me 2 weeks to finish the flower on the right and the little bee. Oh well, slow progress is still progress.


What are you hand stitching today? Share your slow progress with us and link up your blog post below.

   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fabric Sprays

Do you use any products to help with pressing your quilt blocks? I really like my blocks to lay flat since I do most of my own quilting and it really helps with reducing issues when the quilt is completely flat.
I've tried using a steam iron and had nothing but problems with the irons spitting, leaking, and staining my fabric.
Then I tried unscented and lavender Best Press Spray. This is a product that I really like and use almost every time I quilt. It is called a "starch and sizing alternative". 

When another product called Flatter was on sale, I thought I'd try it and see how it compares. This product is called a "smoothing spray" to relax wrinkles and freshen fabric. 
I tried it on my Ringo Lake blocks and it was okay. The Flatter spray pump was not as user friendly and the spray was more of a fine mist. I definitely preferred to use the Best Press spray bottle with more product coming out with each squeeze. And I do think my blocks were flatter with the Best Press.
And how do the prices compare here in Canada?
Flatter was $13.00 for 248 ml minus 30% on sale and Best Press was $11.50 for 473 ml. 
My only concern about the Best Press Spray is that the ingredients are not listed. I often wonder what's in this spray and why the ingredients aren't listed? 
There are lots of recipes on line to make your own version of a pressing spray, but at this point I am not motivated enough to try making my own. Also the recipes use Vodka, which I'd rather drink than spray on my quilts!


And speaking of drinking, it's Friday Night Sew In and some of my friends are coming over to sew tonight. It has been a long week, so I hope I can stay awake!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

True Confessions!


True confessions: I am in love with half square triangles.
Head over heels. 
Totally smitten. Can't get enough of them!
I discovered my HST enthusiasm in 1996 (read about it here) and have been "collecting" HST blocks ever since. Friends frequently pass them to me in baggies since apparently they are not beloved by everyone! But I love them... the friends and the HSTs!

Truthfully it's not often that these triangles actually get used in projects. Perhaps this is just a collection, like when stamp collectors collect stamps but don't actually "use" them for anything. They just admire the stamps and search for unique ones. Or perhaps it's just like my sewing machine collection. I don't use all the machines, but I like to have them to admire.

This week I am playing with some half square triangle blocks from a friend that were donated to my collection. I am sewing them together on my Singer 301, pressing and trimming them and think they will make a great border for a quilt that is developing in my mind. 

Okay readers... what are you loving today? Do you love/collect/hoard half square triangles? Do you think I am crazy (be gentle!)?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Enjoy filling your life with everything you love! 💕

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Midmonth UFO Report

Aurifil threads for machine quilitng
My UFO goal this month is to finish the quilt called Scrappy Friends. This was a New Years mystery designed by Quiltbug and I made my version in batiks from my stash. This isn't a very old UFO since it hasn't even spent a year or more in the UFO cupboard, but it is a bossy quilt and wants to be finished.


The quilt has been pin basted and quilting has begun. It will be quilted very simply using the walking foot. I almost always start a quilt making some horizontal and some vertical lines to stabilize the whole thing. I don't like to stitch in the ditch because it's boring, and I think that if I'm going to do all this machine quilting, I want to see it! And you can't see the stitching if it's hidden in a seam. However, sometimes a quilt needs it, so I force myself to do the "stitch in the ditch" part.  
If you dislike it too, Angela Walters has a blog post with 4 tips on how to hate stitching in the ditch a little bit less... click here to read it. 

So now on to the fun quilting... diagonal lines straight across both sides of the pink stars.
The binding is already prepared and waiting, so I am motivated to get the quilting finished. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Swap Blocks on the Design Wall



I have friends who participate in a variety of swaps on Instagram and Facebook, but I'm not interested in having those accounts. The only swap I regularly participate in is Barb Vedder's annual block swap.
In 2015 we swapped bowtie blocks and you can read about my finished quilt here. I hand quilted this one and it's one of my all time favourite quilts!





In 2016 we swapped broken dishes blocks and those blocks are in a quilt top. It has been in the UFO closet while I am trying to decide if it needs a border or just a red binding. I want to hand quilt this one too... maybe in red?!?
What do you think?







This year we are swapping 6" churn dash blocks. I have all the parts sewn for the blue blocks and am having a relaxing time putting the blocks together. It's a no-brainer kind of task, but perhaps I have been a little too relaxed about it and need to engage the brain a little more?
8 Churn Dash blocks and 1 Dog?

I actually have more than 20 blocks sewn accurately, and the dog will be unsewn and remade into a churn dash ... 
hey, he could be a churn dashhund!! LOL

To see more design wall blog posts, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Slowest Stitcher Medal

Welcome to the olympic sport of hand stitching! It's all about the olympics this week, so let's classify our slow stitching as an official event. I'm in the turtle competition for slowest stitcher on the planet. I think I could get a gold medal in the event. 
Anyone want to compete with me for the Slowest Stitcher Medal?!?


I will be hand quilting my oldest UFO today, which was started in 1996. Can you beat my outstanding accomplishment for slowest progress ever on a project?!?! LOL
Are you a fan of the Olympics? Will you be stitching while watching the competitions today? 
I love this sentence from the New Yorker
"The Olympics feel like a testament to human pleasure: let us gather, and do these pure and ridiculous things for fun."

That sounds like Slow Sunday Stitching too ... let's do pure and ridiculous things, and spread the fun over many years!
Link your blog post below and share your slow progress with us!


   

    An InLinkz Link-up