Monday, March 30, 2009

Birds are back

It was snowing a bit this morning, but that did not deterred the robins from returning over the weekend. We are always so happy to see them and when they appear we start to feel hopeful that the long winter is finally over. Here is a mama robin looking for some worms, and the grass is even starting to turn green from the increasing sun!
For some relaxing sewing since finishing my Double Delight mystery top, I have been working on birds of another kind...flying geese! You can see the beginnings of this project here. I have been working on the half square triangle blocks for about a month. I sewed the HST together and trimmed them all, then layed them on the table and tried to find a mate for each of them. Some of the good matches are on the left of the photo, by the sewing machine ready to be sewn into a flying geese block. The other matches aren't permanent yet...waiting to see if another more suitable match comes along. I have had a lot of fun entertaining myself with thoughts of what makes a good match, what happens if you're too "interesting"/unique and can't find someone similar, should I just pick any similar block, or wait for the "right one" to come along??
Here are my growing piles of finished flying geese blocks that have been suitably matched together. What great fun I have had from Liz's bag of scraps!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A little face lift for Spring

I gave my blog a little face lift tonight...don't know what got into me, maybe it's Spring Fever?!?
I just wanted a change, and made everything match my new little quilt that my friend Judy made for me (the photo at the top of my blog). Judy and I had ourselves a little mini challenge...we each had a Quilt Diva FQ of fabric and we were supposed to make a mini quilt from the fabric. On the left is the centre of my mini.
Judy made a half a dozen quilts and here are her minis! Aren't they wonderful!?! I have my "Kathy quilt" hanging in my quilt studio and enjoy looking at it when I am sewing.
This is the mini I made from my Quilt Diva FQ. It uses the same block as in this quilt and all of these quilts. I machine quilted some feathers in the corners but the fabric is so busy you can't notice the quilting. I will be donating this mini quilt to my quilt guild's mini raffle at the Quilt Show in the fall.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Great news!

My Double Delight quilt top is finished at last! I started cutting and sewing on New Year's Day, so that's only 3 months...not bad! (You can read all about my progress on this quilt top if you missed the saga - click here.)
I had a miserable time sewing on these borders. I sewed two of them on with the fabrics in the wrong order, which was such a stupid mistake caused by rushing to be finished and not checking my work before sewing. And then it took me almost 2 hours to unsew that mistake. But I persevered and was amazed at my determination to finish the borders, versus my old tendency to work on something else and kick the border problem to the UFO pile! And you know what else? I have already purchased a large backing and the batting, so this one will maybe be finished in record time!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bad News/Good News

First, the good news...I have finished sewing my Double Delight blocks together and here is the quilt top so far!! I was really impressed with how the rows fit together, all the seams locking perfectly, and the whole quilt top was truly a delight to sew.
Now the bad news....since my creative self changed my version of the Double Delight design (without my permission!) to make the 9 patch blocks on the edges, I had at least 10 of the Rolling Star blocks left over. And since they took forever to make, I figured I had to find a way to include them in the quilt. I thought I might sew them into the backing, or make another smaller quilt.
But no...I just couldn't let go of the idea of sewing them into the border somehow. So I spent all of my sewing time on the weekend (I am not took me hours!!) changing 4 of the Rolling Star blocks into star blocks -without the rolling part!! But because of the way the blocks were constructed I had to pry open the ends of 16 seams on each block and then re-sew the two sides of each star point! Stupid idea! But once I started and realized how long it would take, I couldn't convince myself to stop! So I finished reconstructing 4 of these blocks for cornerstones on the borders.
Then I had to figure out the fabrics for the borders and tried a thousand (perhaps a slight exaggeration) combinations. Finally I decided on my favorite borders and started cutting only to guessed it, that I didn't have enough of the teal fabric left for an inside border! More bad news! I flopped around and moaned and complained for a while, and thought about starting over on the whole border idea or skipping the borders altogether, but I was already too far into the cutting of the teal and the floral fabrics to start over without wasting fabric. And it is no longer an option to skip over to the quilt store and pick out some new fabric...I am a committed Stashbuster with a serious fabric storage problem and I am not buying anymore (until I go to Paducah and then I am totally having a fabric buying binge!).
So instead of 2 borders (teal and then brown floral) I cut the teal in half to have enough to go all the way around the quilt, and then had to add a 3rd border of raspberry to make up the measurement...UGH! Here is a photo of my original border idea.
Now I am not a border's usually the time when a UFO suddenly appears because I get frustrated or don't have enough fabric left, or I get bored. But not this time because I am forcing myself to finish these borders if it kills me! Tune in tomorrow to see if I have good news or bad news to report!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

National Quilt Day

Yesterday was "National Quilt Day" in the US... I think it should be an international celebration with the whole world having a day off work to enjoy quilting! However, the next best thing is having a whole Saturday to enjoy quilting activities, wherever you live.
In the morning the mini quilters came over and brought the quilts they finished last month, which was the Wheel of Mystery pattern. (You can see my first one here and my heart version here.) The variation and creativity in these quilts just makes my heart sing! Each one is a little treasure! I love it when the quilters pull their projects out of their bags and we get to see all their finished quilts. If I loaded the photos correctly you should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them so you can see more details, including unique quilting designs, fancy stitching, and button and bead embellishments.
This photo shows the beautiful projects from Tuesday's group, and the two quilts on the right are made from the same charm pack, but look so different!
In tomorrow's post I will show you what I worked on in the afternoon of National Quilt Day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Black & White block challenge

I forgot to post the results for the Black and White block challenge. You can see the block I made for the challenge here. This is a photo of the blocks that were submitted. The wide variety of techniques was amazing and I enjoyed looking at each one and trying to figure out how it was made. If you live in the St. Jacobs area, don't forget to go over to Riverworks and vote for your favorite only have until Saturday!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This is a shamrock design that I saw 2 years ago when surfing the web. I haven't been able to track down the original wallhanging to give credit to the quilter that posted the photo...anybody recognize it so I can give proper credit??
I made it in a mini size and it is hanging on my front door today....Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quiltville Finish!

I am so thrilled to announce that I have finished my Orange Crush quilt!
You can read about the creation of this quilt by reading the blogposts I have made since April 1st 2008 - click here. I enjoyed finishing the free motion "C" design I quilted in the light squares of the 4 patch chains. But I sure laboured through the quilting of the orange blocks (and the half blocks on the edges). I made a list of the number of blocks to quilt, and ticked off the blocks on the list as I quilted them, so that I could see my progress. That seemed to take a long time. Then, to get more momentum going for myself, I sewed and pressed the binding and set it in the middle of the table wrapped around a roll of paper towel, so I could see that I was so close to being able to sew the binding on.
This encouraged me to finish the free motion swirly "C" designs in both borders. I like this photo because you can see that I really was using up all my green scraps to finish the border of the quilt.
And here it is...not a good photograph because a) it was a sunny and windy day and b) it is a big quilt (72" x 86") and my 6' tall son had to stand on a chair to hold it for me. You can see the bottom left corner really well. It is a really wonderful feeling of accomplishment to finish this year long quilt project and to know that the whole quilt top was made from stash fabric! Thanks again to Bonnie for organizing this mystery (one of my favorite quilting activities) and for giving us a great quilt design!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Retreat Projects Report #4

I think I am almost done posting about my quilting retreat projects! This is the new quilt kit I cut out to start sewing at retreat (it's no fun to just work on UFO's!!).
These fabrics are old (5+ years percolating) batiks from my stash. I just love the look of all these pieces cut out and ready to start sewing for a mistakes made yet, no realization that your colours choices are horrendous, or that you don't like the pattern!! Just hours of happy sewing ahead and the potential for a great quilt!
I wanted to use the pattern called "Buzz Saw" that I saw posted on the Happy Valley Quilter blog almost 2 years ago. I printed out the fabric cutting info but not the sewing instructions thinking a)I was saving paper and computer ink and 2) I'm sure I can figure it out. So when I pulled out the project to work on at retreat, I couldn't figure it out!!
I asked one of our retreaters who went home to sleep if she could check on her computer when she went home. The next day she reported that the block looked right, and we figured out that I had cut all the light rectangles in where for them to go in the block. So this is the Buzz Saw block and I had cut enough for 20 blocks. Since coming back from retreat I have sewn the blocks together and am thinking about using the mistakenly cut rectangles for an inner border. I think it needs another border after that...any suggestions?!?!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Retreat projects report #3

One of the projects I have been working on for almost a year is the Quiltville Orange Crush mystery. I already have 15 blog postings on this quilt, and that's more than enough! But here is a photo to prove that I took this baby to retreat and did more quilting on it. Jackie took this picture of me and if you are wondering why I tied my scarf on my head, it is because I almost machine quilted it into the Orange Crush!! Perhaps most people would have just removed the pesky scarf...don't know why I didn't think of that?!?!
I finished the 'C' loops that I free motioned in the light chains. Then went back to working on the orange blocks, which I really wanted to put some quilting in, but couldn't get the thread to stop shredding. At retreat I tried a 100 needle and it worked wonderfully! So I am back to enjoying the quilting, am about half way finished the orange blocks, and feel like the end is in sight for this project!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Retreat projects report #2

One of my goals for quilt retreat was to piece a block for a black and white block challenge at Reichards. All participants were given a square of black fabric and were asked to make a 9" block. The blocks collected will be assembled into a quilt that will be auctioned at the Mennonite Relief Sale in May, with all the money raised going to relief efforts around the world.
Before the retreat I had printed out one of my favorite paper piecing patterns in Electric Quilt in a 3" size. I figured out the white and black placements and wrote the information on the back of the papers. At retreat I spent a lot of time fussy cutting the centre fabrics for each block, and cutting the wavy fabric so it would go the right direction to form a diamond shape in the block.
And here is the finished product. I was happy with how it turned out, but unhappy with the amount of time it took to construct!! Winners of the block challenge (which are decided by viewer's choice) can win various cash amounts, and I promised the retreaters that if they voted for my block and I won, I would use the winnings to bring treats (ie. fabric!) to quilt retreat next year!! I have seen some of the blocks submitted and the variety of the results are just amazing. I will post a photo of the quilt when it is finished.