Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Piecing blocks

I haven't had a lot of quilting time this week between working, and running the kids around to their activities. I did make time to piece my two blocks for the UFO friendship club's group charity quilt. Joan organized the project, cut out the patches for the blocks from donated fabric, and gave us instructions to use a scant 1/4" seam. There are two block patterns in this quilt, and it is a pattern from Quilters Newsletter Magazine. I'll post a photo in a few months when all the blocks are together. You can see our group's quilt from last year by clicking here.
I also updated my 365 quilt. I have now finished 4 months and am realizing how huge this quilt is going to be (based on the size of 4 months of entries), especially if I add some sashing and borders.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blog reader winner announcement

Today was the day to draw the winning name for my blogiversary prize.
I printed out all the blog comments from this week and put them in the watermelon bowl that my son made for me a few years ago for mother's day. When my daughter came home for lunch, I let her pick the winning quilter - and the winner is...
Kim West!
Congratulations Kim! (Kim has a blog on our Stashbusters webring here.) Email me your mailing address and I will send you (all the way to Hawaii!) a package including this collection of Moda fabrics called Northern Flight, which has lots of fall colours and Canadian motifs, and also a few little quilt labels. I hope you find a project in which to use these charm squares!
Thanks to everyone for visiting my blog and for leaving me such encouraging comments and inspiring feedback.
I look forward to the next year of quilt adventure blogging!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Georgian Quilters

I was invited to speak at the Georgian Quilters' Guild in Meaford, Ontario yesterday. It was a lovely fall day for an adventure - sunny and warm, and the leaves are starting to change colours. The drive took much longer than I and 'Google Maps' had anticipated, since as Beate said "there are 2 seasons in Ontario - Winter and Construction"!! Construction that went on for miles and miles along Highway #6 - blah.
Anyway, I arrived safely and although the construction caused us to shorten our lunch visit, it was still fun. Thanks to Marg, Wilma and Beate for a yummy lunch at McGuinty's. And while I was at the guild meeting, guess what I discovered? They are having a 'president's challenge', and I can get in on it! You know how I love a challenge - especially if it has anything to do with buying, I mean using up, fabric. Here are the two charm squares to start with...let's see...wallhanging with a theme of "A snippet from my life"...perfect! Uh oh - I can only use up to six pieces from my stash plus the two provided...now that will be a challenge to limit myself to 6! Surely I can finish up something by June!
I entertained myself on the long drive there and back by listening to Lisa Boyer's "Stash Envy - And Other Quilting Confessions and Adventures". It was very entertaining and had me laughing out loud at times. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on 'progressive lenses and quilting'!
And of course I had to visit a quilt shop on the way home.... it was just a little out of the way! I stopped by Chrissie's store in Markdale called Quilter's Line. I picked up a couple of fabrics for borders for season minis that I am finishing, and some beads, and I may have also purchased a few batik FQ's :)
It was a wonderful quilty day, topped off with dropping in to visit my long time quilting friend Louise in the Mount Forest area. I thought "I can't be this close to her house and not take a little detour to see her"! I enjoyed having a cup of tea and visiting with her on the porch, while her children buzzed around us, doing homework, playing with their kittens and wearing off all the energy that youngsters seem to have so much of!
Don't forget that this is my blogiversary - leave me a blog comment this week and I'll put your name in the draw for a fabric gift!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Blogiversary!

It has been one year this week since I started blogging. Who knew that I would enjoy it this much?!? In the blogging tradition that I have come to learn in this past year, I will be giving away a little gift (of fabric, of course) to one of the quilters who leaves a comment on my blog this week. So post a comment some time this week and your name will go in the hat for the blog reader prize of the week! It has been fun to read over my blog entries from a year ago and remember what I was working on then. It is a little sad to admit that some of my projects from last year that I wrote about are still in the UFO state. For example, in this pile of UFO's that I posted here, I can tell you that I have only quilted and finished two of them! I am going to make the pile more visible in my quilting studio so I can remember how much I still like those quilts and would love to see them finished.
I have had a very busy quilty weekend. I invited the students from the monthly mini class over to my studio on Saturday. They kept me company and worked on their own projects, while I sewed the Quiltaholics mystery quilt. These are the blocks I had sewn by Saturday night. It was quite impressive that I managed to get that far, since in addition to visiting with my quilting friends that I hadn't seen since June, I attended a 50th anniversary party, and also my husband and I took my favorite cousin and her husband out for supper and a lovely visit. Then it was back to the quilting sweat shop until I was caught up with the steps posted on Saturday. I started sewing again early Sunday morning until I had to take a break and make my regular visit to my Grandma's, then right back to work. This is how it looks tonight. I am pleased with it and am debating about the border. The mystery quilt design has a really neat pieced border, but if I add that, it will be too big for the spot on my dining room wall. I want to add the sunflower fabric for the border. So I will sleep on it tonight and see what I think in the morning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

President's Challenge Award Winners

And a drum roll please....
These are the winning quilts of the President's Challenge as decided by guild members votes:

First place is Wendy Oskam

Second place is Judy Taylor (hiding behind that envelope full of cash!)

Third place is Diane Black

Congratulations to these talented quilters!
And thanks to President Barb for all the fun and energy that was generated from this challenge!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

President's Challenge Quilts Revealed

Tonight was the first guild meeting of the season and also the night for quilters to show the finished tops/quilts made from the mystery pattern we had received in our newsletters last year. The quilt design was created by Susan Druding and can be seen here. Our guild president issued a challenge to sew the mystery quilt and bring it to the meeting tonight for viewer's choice awards. There were 10 quilts on display - 8 were queen size quilts and 2 were wallhangings. These photos are the 8 large quilts. It was great fun to look at all the quilts, see the fabric combinations used, and see how the variation in colour values change the look of the quilt design. (Sorry for the dark photos...our meeting is held in a very large room with a high ceiling - it's difficult to photograph large quilts)
There were two of us who redrafted the pattern and instead of sewing 12" blocks, we sewed 3" blocks and made wallhangings instead of the queen size quilts. And here are those two crazy quilters...our Vice President Nancy (who paper pieced her quilt!) is on the left and I am on the right.
We had a viewer's choice vote for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes, donated by our President. Check in tomorrow to see which quilts won a prize.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Challenge quilt is done!

I spent most of my quilting time this weekend finishing the President's Challenge quilt. You can read about the challenge here and can read all my blog entries about working on the challenge quilt here. This was a mystery quilt which used 12 fabrics, and I challenged myself to make the quilt from my stash. I am proud to say that I did not buy a single thing for this quilt, including batting, backing and binding! I have had the top sewn together and the backing pieced together from scraps since the middle of the summer. But of course I waited until the weekend before the deadline to quilt the thing! I used lots of pastel shades of thread and had a ball with the quilting. I decided I wasn't go to do the grid thing (stitching only in the ditches) and tried to think of different ways to quilt using a combination of the free motion foot and the walking foot. To some people this is torturous, but I really enjoy it! I also love to change thread colours frequently, since I get bored easily of quilting with the same thread. Changing colours keeps me interested! I am happy that it is finished by the deadline (including the label!!) and it will hang tomorrow night at the guild meeting with all the other challenge quilts. I will post photos on Tuesday night, so come visit my blog on Wednesday morning to see how many finished quilts there are at the meeting.
Today was changing of the quilt displays in my house. I have quilts hanging in every room (at least one or two) and change them monthly on a random basis (ie. whenever I have time). Today I decided to put out some of my fall quilts, since the weather is starting to turn cooler. I have posted this photo before, but I will show it again since it is one of my favorites. It is a round robin quilt that I hang on my dining room wall. It is 54" x 55" and is called "The Great Canadian Fall Quilt". The rows were made by Linda Grover, Cathy Carritt, Gail Wiebe, Shelley Belot, Carla Watt, and Carol Stevens as part of a round robin group project. The rows sat in a box for a few years, until I finally put them together in 2005 with the encouragement of my guild's UFO group, which is now called the Friendship Group. (Shhhh...don't tell them that I still have a few UFO's that they don't know about!!!) I quilted each row differently, mostly using my free motion foot and it was tricky getting it evenly quilted. The back is pieced from one of the extra rows and extra churn dash blocks that I had made a long time ago. You can see my little label on the bottom corner of the backing which lists all the quilters who contributed to my fall wallhanging.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Beginnings and Endings

There has been a lot of complaining in my family about endings this week. The kids are so sad that summer has ended and they are back to school. I have been reminding them of all the fun and exciting adventures they will have this year and that "when one door closes another door/window opens"....one good thing ends, another one takes begins to evolve in the empty space. They sure don't buy it! I believe it when I am saying it to the children, but it's so hard to practise what I preach!
I feel sad myself. Not about school starting though (we all know how I am doing the happy dance about that!!!) I found out this week that the Waterloo County International Quilt Festival, which I have enjoyed every May for the last 12 years, has "ceased operations". That's right. The last one was this past May, and when I was there enjoying the international quilt displays, Ontario Juried Show, and vendors, I had no idea that it would be the last one! (You can read about my fun at the May 2007 festival here.) The three reasons cited for this decision are decrease in attendance, lack of volunteers in leadership roles, and decrease in the financial sponsorships.
So now I have to hear my own advice, practise what I preach, and hope that new ventures in the quilting community will evolve to fill this empty space.
My own quilt beginnings - I am starting a new project next weekend! I know that I should be finishing one of my numerous UFO's instead, but I just want to start something new! Here are the fabrics I picked from my stash. I bought the green fabric to coordinate and am ready for the mystery to start. Well, not exactly "ready"...I still have to wash the fabric, precut the pieces and sew some HST's. I am making a fall-like wallhanging for the dining room. The fabric requirements can be seen here ... join in the fun if you can.
And for endings - I have to finish my President's Challenge this weekend since the quilts will be shown at Tuesday's guild meeting. I am close to finishing the quilting and just have to do the binding.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Doing the Happy Dance!

We are back from our last camping trip for 2007. Again, we had fantastic weather and a wonderful time.
And today..."it's the most wonderful time of the year"!
It's the first day of school and I am doing the happy dance!
What will I do with my new found freedom? Well, I will spend part of the day trying to fix my computer. I can access the internet, but not my email. This is a new variation on the endless problems I have had with my computer. And of course, I will continue to attack the mountain of dirty laundry.
This afternoon I will go to a meeting of some of my quilt guild friends and do some more work on my BOM. I finished one of the block components yesterday. I altered the direction of these flowers and am happy with the change. I find that I am making several changes to each block now as I find out what I like to stitch and what kind of a look I prefer.