Saturday, May 31, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

It's the last week of sewing up the green scraps over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
I made a Palm Branch block using some  dark green scraps (since I had already sewn a bright green block). This free paper pieced pattern is from Quiet Play and is still available if you want to give it a try. 

That brings the grand total of Palm Branch blocks to 12!

I do enjoy having a paper pieced scrap project to work on every month, so I think I'll keep going with more of these.

I also sewed a bunch of green spool blocks as leader/enders. What a wide  variety of greens! 

Then I joined four spool blocks together in similar greens to make a 6" block. 
I just love the variety of backgrounds too! 

To see what other quilt bloggers are sewing with green scraps this week, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, May 30, 2014

End of the Month Quilty News - Good and Bad

Good News: 

Another quilt is finished! 
This is Nabby's Dowry, which was a really fun mystery sew-along with Pam Buda last fall.  I like this photo, although it is a bit washed out, because it shows the quilting.

All the quilting was stitched using the walking foot. In the setting triangles, I used my Hera Marker to give me a guideline to follow when quilting. I used the width of my 1" ruler to measure each line and just marked the lines as I came to them.  

I call this "mark as you go"!

This is the backing on the quilt. 
It was pieced from all the leftover scraps. If it looks  slightly askew to you, it is! That is not something I planned at all... it's just a little special, slightly annoying bonus!!

The finished size is 36" square, which is the perfect size for a tabletopper.
Do you know what this means?!?  It means that I can start the new sew-along called Market Day! I am planning to make the mini size, so I should be able to catch up quickly.

Bad News: 
As you can probably guess, that in spite of finishing 2 quilts this month, my planned May UFO finish was not one of the finishes. I have no explanation or excuse other than I didn't feel like doing it! I did make one small step in the right direction with the purchase of the border fabric, and this is how is will look eventually, but the border didn't actually get sewn onto the quilt yet. It will get finished next month hopefully!
More disappointing news is that for the first time in many years I can't attend the Mennonite Quilt Auction.  I am hoping that someone out there in quilt land will be attending and can give me the highlights?? I thought it would have been last weekend and double booked myself. So many fun things to do, so little time!
Have a great quilty weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Staying Sane One Stitch at a Time

This week has been much too busy. Between work, and doing outside yard work, and my son having his wisdom teeth removed, there is not much time leftover. But we all know that I must squeeze in a few minutes of sewing in order to maintain my sanity! 

So I set up my Featherweight on the kitchen table and sewed a few log cabin seams every time I walked by. The blocks are growing bigger slowly (the logs are 1" strips) but surely. 
Every stitch counts... and flowers help too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday

After getting my Singer treadle sewing machine back from the spa (repair shop for cleaning, oiling and maintenance) I realized that I needed to tighten up the belt. I hadn't done that since I installed a new one a year and a half ago.
I just opened the staple, cut about a 1/4" off one end of the belt, poked a new hole in the belt and reconnected the staple. It wasn't difficult to do, but did take longer than I expected because I don't have the proper tools. However, I made do with what I had and stuck with it, and was delighted to be successful!

The new belt made it easier to wind the bobbin, and it was going along well until I came to a knot in the thread. Can you see that knot where the seam ripper is pointing??!! That will not go through the vibrating shuttle bobbin at all, so I had to cut it at the knot.
But I had wound enough thread on the bobbin to get back to piecing some scraps....ahhhh... so fun!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Design Wall Monday - New Project!

On my design wall today is a new project... woohoo!

These are triangles that were the Shop Hop project from Goose on the Loose. I just started working on this quilt and was finding the design process a little overwhelming, especially since the whole quilt will not fit on my design wall. 

So I made two decisions to give me some direction to get started...
1) I decided to work with only one package of triangles at a time instead of tackling the whole quilt design and 
2) I decided to try to make tumbling blocks appear in the star centers. 
So far so good. I am just starting to do some sewing of the triangles and it's not terrible, but also not a lot of fun yet!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

Ahh... it's Sunday! Take a deep breath and let the slow stitching commence.
If you are like me and have weeded the dandelions (no jelly this time!) and cut the lawn, washed mountains of dishes and one crazy dog, done laundry and groceries, and completed numerous other invisible tasks yesterday, then you are probably ready for a relaxing day full of resting and stitching!

I finished 300" of hand binding this week on my Angel Solstice and enjoyed every stitch - if you didn't see the finished quilt, click here. Today I hope to finish the binding on Nabby's Dowry and then I will have another quilt finished before the end of the month!
And if I get the binding finished, I will enjoy some applique on my green pumpkin seed blocks.
What kind of hand stitching are you enjoying today? We would love to see what you're working on, so please link up your blog post below and share your progress!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Scrappy Saturday Green

There are 5 Saturdays in May, so we will have an extra week to enjoy working with our green scraps. To see what other quilters are sewing with their scraps, hop over to SoScrappy.
I have been cutting and organizing, and have started to applique some pumpkin seed blocks. I cut 16 different green seeds, which will make 4 blocks to add to the seed collection.
See those little green scissors there? I bought them for my friend Barb, but I haven't seen her recently, so I just started using them. If I don't see her soon, I might "forget" they were purchased for her, and I might claim them for myself... they are so cute and perfect for snipping green threads!
I have a lot of hand stitching ready for Slow Sunday Stitching tomorrow... drop by and stitch with us!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fantastic Friday Finish!

I am so excited to share that I have completed my "Angel Solstice" quilt! 

The photo shows that the dandelions are growing well, but the tree leaves are still not out yet!
I am happy with the weird creative thing I did in the corners of the red inner border. I was running out of red fabric and thought I would stretch it out using the gold at the corners. And then I found more of the red fabric at Ye Olde Quilt Shoppe which I used for the binding, so it turns out I didn't need to do all that work! 
The only thing I would change about this quilt top is to add another border around the outside. I cut off most of the outside triangle points when attaching the binding and I could have avoided that with an outside border. Oh well... live and learn!

The machine quilting was done by Cathy over at Eagle's Wings Quilts. She quilted the angel design that I love (which she also quilted on my Civil War quilt). 
Can you see the quilted angel flying above the angel on the fabric? 

This quilt was made from Bonnie Hunter's "Celtic Solstice" pattern that she posted as a free mystery quilt starting last November. You can see more than 100 variations of this quilt that were posted on the Quiltville link up in February - click here to see them.

This photo shows the backing for the quilt. It started with the "Angels Among Us" panel.
If you are wondering how to construct a pieced backing from your leftovers, this is how I made mine. I started with the panel, and built the backing out from there. 
First I added extra pink triangle blocks above the panel, and then added a pink bar which used up all the leftover pinks from this quilt. Then I pieced sections of black scraps to add to the top and bottom of the panel. Lastly long strips were pieced to fit and were added on both sides of the centre panel, which used up most of the remaining fabric.

The binding is made from two of the reds in the quilt.

If you want to download the pattern, it is still free (click here) until June 1st when it will be removed from the website, and will likely appear in one of her future books. A big thank you to Bonnie for another great quilting adventure!
I am linking up with the celebration parties over at TGIFF and Finish it up Friday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mid Week Focus

This is a photo of focus in action.

It's a lovely project and everything is going well.
As you can see, I decided to go with the straight line quilting, because although it is boring to do...the quilt really insisted on it! I should clarify that it is relaxing and repetitive, which many people would enjoy. To me it feels like work... which is just silly, because I'm quilting, which I love. And it is staying flat and the designs are going well.
But it's just not challenging enough like it is when I can do some swirly fun designs. I'll have to save it for another quilt.
The problem is...
I want to start the new quilt along

New things are just so fun aren't they?!?  Nothing has gone wrong, everything seems rosy, hope runs high that this will be awesome, and the endorphins 
are giving you a rush.... who doesn't want more of that?!?

But the fun part of making a quilt is over on this old project, and it's all work now to push on and do the work to get to the binding stage (the icing on the cake for me!)

But I made a promise to myself to finish this older quilt first. I want to be a person who keeps her promises or dies trying  
So... I am quilting this.
And then I can start the new quilt along.
I love this blog post by Greg McKeown - How to Simplify Your Life in 5 Minutes a Day
He said  "we make a millimeter progress in a million directions". That is a perfect description of me in my quilting room, and probably in real life too. It resembles a chicken with it's head cut off!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Treadling

Guess who's back?!?

My 1901 Singer sewing machine is home again after a stay at the spa. It was missed!

It now has a lovely new face plate which helps reduce thread breaks. The old one looked like it might have been the original face plate, and it had many nicks around the single hole where the bobbin thread comes out.  Now it is nice and new, and the thread comes through without getting frayed or broken.

Reconnecting the machine to the cabinet was a bit if a production, but the damage to the wood was minimal. I had trouble disconnecting the machine, but was able to get it solidly reconnected back together and ready to sew again. 

So I was happily back to treadling my scraps onto old adding machine tapes. It was getting a little tricky to wind the bobbins because the belt was too lose, so I trimmed the belt by 1/4", reconnected the staple in the new hole, and re-installed the belt (good information here). I now consider myself to be a pro at this and sure do love my Treadle!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Quilting Decisions

It's Design Wall Monday, but there is nothing on my wall today...horrors!

I am trying to finish up Nabby's Dowry so I can start Pam's next Quilt Along guilt-free!
I already have the binding done and waiting, but am still trying to decide about how to quilt this treasure. The quilt is saying straight line walking foot design, but I am thinking that is too boring. I may have to give in and do the boring!
You can see lots of amazing design wall postings over at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching - Take a Stitch!

From Dreamstime
Do you ever go into your sewing room and feel confused or overwhelmed?  
Do you wander around in all directions, move things around, and accomplish nothing? I hate it when that happens, but this was one of those weeks for me.
Here is a brief insight into how I looked in my quilting room this week without any sense of direction.

I had a stern talk with myself, which started with something like "Listen Ms Quilter, if you do nothing, you get nowhere". 
So I decided I had to do something - anything. 
And what's better than thinking about finishing a quilt?!? 
I started cutting binding strips in anticipation of finishing some quilts. I ended up with three bindings prepared, but only one quilt was even ready for the binding (just wait until you see it when it's done... it's amazing if I say so myself!).
The other two quilts are just at the quilt top ("flimsy") stage, but now they have a binding ready for them, and at least I had a direction in which to go. And I got one of the three bindings sewn on and ready for some wonderful Slow Sunday Stitching! The perimeter of this quilt is 300", so I have a lot of stitching ahead of me today.
If you don't have a direction, or you feel like you're going nowhere - in quilting or in life, just do something or go somewhere - anywhere! You don't have to have it all figured out. You just need to start with the next step/stitch that you already do know.
Pick up your needle and start stitching something! Then write a blog post about it and link up your stitching adventure below!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Green Scrappy Saturday

Yesterday's post was about the red bindings and today's is all about the green 2 1/4" Alamo stars. What's going on with all the Christmas colours in my sewing room!?!?

There were still a few leftover purple blocks from last month that I just finished up, and the rest are greens mixed with other batiks.

Green is such a welcomed colour this time of the year, but it has been so cold here (we had frost last night) that the garden seedlings are very slow to get growing. I started some seedlings in egg cartons this year, but look how pathetic they are.

Nothing is growing well, so plants can't go into the garden yet. 
But lots of green is being cut and sewn in my quilting room!
To see more green scrap projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Red Bindings

I have been making a little bit if progress on a few different projects this week, and tonight found me cutting binding strips for 3 quilts, which all just happened to be red!
These bindings will be for Plaid Beauty, Celtic Solstice, and Nabby's Dowry. What are the chances that they all need a red binding?!?

I also pieced a backing for Nabby's Dowry and used up almost every bit of fabric that came in the kit. I want to get this one finished because Pam Buda  has started another little mystery called Market Day Sew-along. But I promised/bribed myself that I wouldn't start the new one until I finished the last one. It's not too late for me (or you!) to start and catch up, but I have to quickly get this one finished first! Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May For Me

I wanted to try something new to celebrate May For Me.  
I have been reading Dan Siegel's research on the importance of creating new neuropathways, having a healthy balanced life, and trying new things.
So I made a batch of Dandelion Jelly! 
Who ever heard of that?!? Somehow in blogland I came across the recipe (click here) and decided I was going to try it.

Dandelions are very plentiful around here in May and I think they look so pretty making your green lawn sparkle with some yellow flowers. But everyone hates them because they will take over your entire lawn if you let them get out of control.
So I picked a bowl of dandelions at my house and in my parent's backyard to try this jelly recipe. Believe me, I took a lot of teasing from certain people for doing this! But for some unknown reason, it seemed like something interesting and quirky to try... so I did!
 I did not use scissors as recommended to clip the flower heads, but did put on disposable gloves because these dandelions make a big yellow mess!
I tried to remove as much of the green leaves and stems as possible by hand.

I love the Bernardin dissolvable labels. See the leftover label from last year that I just couldn't scrape off? That doesn't happen with these labels - they wash right away.

And here are the finished jars of Dandelion Jelly.
Aren't they so pretty sitting on the window ledge?
However, I must say that I like the appearance of the jelly more than the taste! It's not that I dislike it, but I don't like it nearly as well as blueberry or strawberry jam. Also, it was a lot of time and effort for 5 jars of jelly!
So I think that's a "once in a lifetime" event for me... I can cross it off the bucket list now and look for something new and unique to try next! LOL

What interesting things are you planning to do to treat yourself during May For Me
You can check out more postings over at Marcia's.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shop Hop Report

From the wonderful Kelly Rae Roberts

My friend Louise and I had a great time at the Goose on the Loose Shop Hop last week. We went to 6 quilt stores in one day and we were exhausted by the end of the day. What a great problem to have - too much great conversation, too much creative stimulation, and too much fun! It was so wonderful to be with an old (as in long time friend, not as in elderly!) friend who really "sees" and understands me, and who enjoys my company as much as I enjoy hers.  

These are my purchases from the shop hop ... clothesline to make more fabric bowls, the 60 degree triangle packs (which were the shop hop special and is my newest UFO!), a frixion pen, a bit of thread (quilter's candy) and the border/backing/binding fabric to finish my UFO of the month.

From Quiltville

What a great day!
We laughed a lot about how much I still love my old "fliposaurus" phone, and continue to resist entering the new millennium of "smart" phones. We feel privileged to have shared a  friendship for almost 25 years without needing Facebook, or Twitter, or any other way of being pseudo-connected through virtual reality. We just meet together face to face in real life whenever we can, and we connect on a heart and quilting level. Aren't quilting friends just the best?!?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Backing

On the design wall today is a backing for my Plaid Beauty quilt. 
Boring, I know. 
I would really like to finish this quilt, and the next step was to get a backing. I have never seen a wide plaid backing fabric... do they exist??
I had to make a backing so I bought 2 meters of the dark plaid and split it in half, then filled up the center with pieces that were leftover from making the quilt top. It's big enough now, so the next step is to get the quilt basted. That's the plan for this week!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

What happens when you have white squares left over from a baby quilt, and small  bits of scraps from a sampler quilt
You start a mini quilt of course! 
I have been enjoying hand appliqueing the pumpkin seed shape for a while, and my technique has improved quite a bit. So I wondered how it would be to make a smaller seed block.

Scraps + Wondering = a new mini quilt!

Happy Mother's Day
The smaller blocks are definitely more challenging in making smooth curves and pointy points, but they are really cute.  Maybe I should try turning them into one of the variations that Julie has sewn using the seed block? 

Happy Mother's Day to all my blog readers who are celebrating today with their mother,or who are celebrating surviving being a mother!

Today I will be hand stitching more little pumpkin seed blocks in between celebrating Mother's Day. What will you be hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share with us.