Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween Design Wall

It's time for trick or treating and I haven't finished my new Halloween wallhanging yet. This is how far I am - the base is ready with a rail fence border made from fun Halloween fabrics.
The problem is that the hat pattern doesn't fit inside the orange space. I double checked the measurements, and I followed the instructions, but it doesn't fit. Which is hilarious because the words say "if the hat fits" and it doesn't fit! I plan to consult with some of my quilting gurus on Wednesday and they will help me resize the hat. I guess this project will be done in time for next Halloween. 

This photo shows the reason why I wanted to make this kit quilt.
I have a very similar hat, so a little quilt that says "If the hat fits..." is just too perfect for me!

Happy Halloween everyone!

To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Slow Stitching Sunday

Welcome to Slow Stitching Sunday where we make time to slow down our lives, to breathe deeply, to pick up a needle and thread, and take some slow stitches. 
"Grandma, let's have a slow day to read and quilt"

I have been reading a book called "In Praise of Slow" by Carol Honoré. Here is my favourite quote so far:
"In this media-drenched, data-rich, channel-surfing, computer-gaming age, we have lost the art of doing nothing, of shutting out the background noise and distractions, of slowing down and simply being alone with our thoughts." I must admit that I really cannot fathom doing "nothing", but I am often alone with my thoughts while stitching and enjoy the peacefulness of silence.

I have been slowly hand quilting my reproduction bow tie quilt, and enjoying every stitch. These blocks were from Barb's block swap last year.  It is fun to quilt through each bow tie, and to admire the fabrics. Primarily I am quilting with brown thread but sometimes I change to blue or maroon or yellow just to make it more interesting to stitch.

This is the corner of the quilt that I hope to finish today. I try to hand quilt at least one bow tie block each day. It doesn't take long and usually it is so enjoyable that I don't stop after one! After all these years, I still love to admire the texture that hand quilting creates!

What are you stitching by hand today? Link up your blog post below and share your slow progress with us!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

It's yellow and orange month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I have been focused on using up my yellow scraps. I used a lot for this Mad City Mama block... 157 scraps to be exact! This block pattern is from Bonnie Hunter's book Adventures with Leaders and Enders

Here are the 6 blocks I have made so far. I like how they are all similar yet different. I just noticed that the blue block needs a one quarter rotation to be right side up on the design wall!

To see more scrappy projects, hop over to the Saturday link up at Angela's.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Circa 2016 blocks are together

After working on this project all year, the quilt blocks are finally sewn together!
This is a major accomplishment for me since my block sections surrounding the centre medallion did not fit together. Any changes to the seam allowances would result in mutilated blocks, so I had to figure it out differently. I resized the black coping strip border around the centre medallion and used a thousand pins to make everything fit together. It doesn't lay very flat, but I'm hoping all those little waves will "quilt out"!
I am so excited to have the quilt to this stage! Next up is the HST border which might require another coping strip border to be added, but that's okay. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's Mystery Time!

Bonnie Hunter posted the fabric requirements of the new mystery quilt this morning! Click here to read all about the next quilt I'll be starting with Bonnie and thousands of other quilters around the world. 

I have been working diligently on getting last year's mystery quilt finished before the new one starts... well, the quilt top at least. 

This quilt has fifty 12" blocks to sew together in diagonal rows with a lot of seam matching requiring the use of pins. I'm not a fan of pins, but there is just no other way to get all these seams to match up. But this is one of the things I really enjoy about Bonnie's quilts - complex blocks with lots of small pieces which make an interesting pattern. So I'm not complaining... just working hard!
Are you joining the mystery fun this year with En Provence?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

July Shop Hop progress

Seeing finished quilts inspires us all to keep working on our projects. I saw this finished Shop Hop quilt at the London Friendship Quilters' Guild show on the weekend. It was made by Yvonne Yardy. She collected and sewed all 14 blocks, made the quilt top, basted, quilted and bound the quilt, and entered it into a quilt show...
and I haven't even taken some of the blocks out of their packages yet!

This is the perfect time of year to work on this project with these lovely fall colours and now that I'm inspired by this quilt I'm going to start opening these packages. I won't be making all the blocks that are in the quilt above since I didn't get around to all the stores, but I will make most of them.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Design Wall Monday - Allietare

The push is on to finish Allietare (Bonnie Hunter's 2015 mystery) before her 2016 mystery starts in November! 
I want to at least get the blocks sewn together. I didn't sew the setting triangle blocks and have decided to use a black Jo Morton print instead. I have all the setting triangles cut and the blocks are going up on the design wall. This is how it is looking today. Yum!

I was at the London Friendship Quilters' Guild show on the weekend and saw a finished Allietare sewn by Maureen Haynes. She even made the scalloped edges! Seeing this quilt totally inspired me to finish mine.
SO I put aside the Circa challenge, and am throwing myself into Allietare this week.
I'll be over at my sewing machine if you need me!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching Treat

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching where we celebrate all the wonderful benefits of the art of hand stitching! I am so glad you can join us because I have an extra special treat for you english paper piecing enthusiasts!
I was at the London Friendship Quilters' Guild quilt show and saw so many amazing quilts, but 4 in particular that I want to share with you today. These quilts are all completely hand pieced, which means every single one of these thousands of tiny pieces of fabric was cut with scissors and hand stitched with a needle and thread. The pattern is called La Passacaglia and is found in Willyne Hammerstein's book called Millefiori

Let's start with our very own Cathy Shepherd who blogs over at Eagles' Wings Quilts. She frequently linked up to Slow Sunday Stitching while we watched over her shoulder as she pieced all these tiny shapes into this spectacular Passacaglia quilt. You cannot even appreciate all the amazing fussy cut designs she created, but trust me... you see something different every time you look at this quilt. Cathy edged all the rosettes in white and bordered them on a blue fabric.

And there were 3 more of these quilts hanging in the show!

Here is the second one sewn by Charlene O'Donnell. See how she made two borders (a gold and an orange) and then cut off some of the rosettes, and extended some of them into the border?

Here is the third one sewn by Lorraine Swanson using civil war colours. She edged the rosettes with brown, and added a larger neutral border and more english paper pieced blocks. See on the bottom right corner where she put examples of the tiny design units?!? I am telling you these pieces are TINY! I should have taken a photo with my hand beside it so you could appreciate the scale of these quilts.

And here is the fourth version sewn in brights with black pointed stars around the rosettes. This was made by Lorna Martin and she extended 3 of the rosettes into the border.

I am amazed by how each quilter used the same pattern, and how they each look so different! They were really unbelievable!

Some of the women at my quilt retreat were working on this same quilt last winter. This is Nancy on the left making a super small version, and Maria on the right making the regular size version. They are holding the same block from the pattern. Wow and wow! I sure do hope I don't fall in love with the idea of making this quilt!
Have you tried english paper piecing? What are you hand stitching today? We'd love to see what you're working on, so link up your blog post below and share your progress.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

This was my Rainbow Scrap Challenge project this week. I was using this "Circle of Squares" block as a leader-ender in between piecing other projects and finally finished it today. It's so fun to dig around in the scrap bags and boxes to come up with 8 pieces to cut into the required squares.

And here it is with my other finished blocks for a total of 6. I want to make at least 6 more, so this project will continue well into next year.

To see what the other RSC folks are sewing this week, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Circa Struggles

I love most parts of the quilting process. I love buying fabrics, using the rotary cutter, piecing blocks, and enjoy both machine and hand quilting. But the one thing I dislike the most is the math. Measuring. Calculating. Re-measuring and trying to figure out how to adjust quilt pieces when the quilt does not produce the right numbers.
My seam allowance is usually quite consistent, but these Circa sections are not coming out to the right size according to the instructions. Here I am using three different rulers to try to figure out how to trim this section. To get the right measurement, I would have to cut off the block points and I'm not doing that! Or I could unsew and re-piece the sections using a bigger seam allowance to reduce the size of the unit, but I'm not doing that either for the same reason.
So I have to recalculate how to fit these pieces together.

Here I am using the tape measure to figure out what size the side panels need to be trimmed to. There is just so much seam matching in this layout and it all has to magically work out. So far it's not, and it's giving me a headache. 
So I will try to figure out the numbers another day.

Today I am going to the London Friendship Quilters' Guild quilt show. I hope to see some blogland friends and am looking forward to being inspired by their wonderful quilts. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quiltville Mystery

As my blog followers know, I am a huge Bonnie Hunter fan and look forward to sewing her annual mystery quilt. I have sewn almost every mystery quilt pattern she has written and you can read more about those quilts here and here.
For the past few years the mystery event has started on the American Thanksgiving weekend in November. 
I really wanted to have my 2015 Allietare mystery blocks together by the time the new mystery starts. I got the blocks out of the UFO closet and started sewing them together in pairs. 
Allietare is another on point layout and I've already been struggling with my Circa quilt layout this week, so I don't want to start working on this actual layout until Circa is off the design wall. Also I didn't make the setting blocks as the pattern outlined, so I will have to figure that out. But for now I'm at least making a bit of progress and that feels great!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Bear is Back!

And here he is on the design wall in all his glory!
This is from Lorna's MOD Bear quiltalong.
I think my fabric choices were all a bit too similar in value and kind of mush together. However it might be perfect for a camouflage effect, and so I'm going to say I did that on purpose. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

As I was sewing the bear I got an idea for some improve pieced blocks which might be fun as part of the bottom border. I'm going to work with my idea this week and see if it works out. I think this is the finished size of the inside of my bear quilt, plus there are a few more borders to add including a paw block border. 
I'm linking up today to Let's Be Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts. I hope there will be other bears prowling around over there!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Aurifil BOM

Did you see the September Aurifil blocks posted over at Pat Sloan's? Take a look here at about 30 variations of the same pattern. It's amazing how each quilter's version of the block is unique. I thought maybe some of the quilters changed their layout design because they looked quite different. But when I studied the blocks, it was simply due to the value placement and your eye notices different parts of the block design.
Anyway, on to October's block which was the quickest and easiest block so far. It's called "Chip off the old block". You can read the designer interview heresee the block pattern here and see the finished blocks here.
This block is a bit odd on it's own, but a whole quilt of these scrappy blocks would be a fun stashbuster.
Only 2 more months to go and these blocks will become a quilt!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Design Wall Monday

The Temecula mystery quilt called Circa 2016 finished up last week, and I am eager to get this quilt top together. This is how it looks so far. The 3 centre panels are made but not trimmed to the correct size yet. They need to be trimmed and joined together.
The right side panel is well underway. It's been a while since I sewed a quilt with an on point layout, and it's a bit of a challenge for my brain.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Not enough time in the day!
Yesterday my "to-do" list was too long. I woke up with anxiety about not enough minutes to complete the tasks the day required. 
And even though I was making good progress as the day went on, there just was not going to be enough time.
This kind of day needs to be less of a regular occurrence for me because it leads to not enjoying even my most favourite tasks, like spending time with loved ones, and spending time in the quilt studio. 
I have only myself to blame. I take on too many tasks, and say 'yes' to too many creative ideas, which combined with my "delusional doability" makes for a lot of unnecessary stress. 
Which is why I need Slow Sunday Stitching. It reminds me to breathe, to sit still, to regain a healthy perspective and to actually enjoy what I am doing in every moment. 
Today I will be hand quilting a few stitches in my reproduction bow tie quilt. I am almost to the edge on one side, which is alway encouraging. See the smaller bow tie blocks on the border? That's the edge and I'm one hoop away from the edge!

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


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

Here are more blocks for my ever growing  Alamo Star collection. I keep thinking that I will get tired of making these little cuties, but I've been making them for 4 years now and still enjoy them as much as ever. Some of them are 2 fabric blocks, but my favourites are the ones that are totally scrappy and use up very tiny pieces of fabric about the size of a thumb nail.
Perhaps this is a sickness that has taken me over? Maybe I need to join a 12 step program?
Hop over to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up to see what the quilters are creating with their yellow and orange scraps this week.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Circa 2016

This is just a reminder to anyone who has been sewing the Circa 2016 from Temecula Quilts that the pattern will be removed from their blog today. So if you are missing any block patterns, or haven't studied the construction of the final layout, today is the last day to do that. You will be able to purchase the pattern if you want the entire PDF but now is your last chance to get it for free.
The first step was to border the centre medallion. I chose a black fabric like the sample quilt has.
The next step was organizing the blocks and sewing them together in sections. It has been fun to revisit all these wonderful blocks made over the past few months. I chose a beige print as the background fabric (the sample quilt uses grey). Here is one section of blocks which are sewn on point.
To use a directional fabric like this for a background fabric means you have to be okay with the lines going every which way. If I tried to cut the fabric to get all the lines to be vertical, the squares would all have bias edges, which could be a nightmare of stretchiness. I opted for the less distressing option, which is lines that go various directions.
When you stand back far enough, you don't even notice it!
And here is the second section of blocks sewn together.
There are two more sections to construct and then I can put the 5 pieces of the quilt top together. The last step is to add two borders, but one of the borders requires 120 HSTs so that will take a bit of sewing time.
This will be a wonderful scrappy quilt and I have enjoyed every bit of working on this project. A huge thank you to Temecula for creating and sharing this fantastic project!
Do you think I will finish it in 2016?!? The name implies a bit of pressure to do so!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Halloween Project

I don't very often buy kits because I really like the process of choosing my own fabrics for a quilt. But I saw this kit at Kalidoscope Quilts and couldn't resist. I like how the kit was organized and labelled so I didn't have to guess about which pieces go where.

This it just the right project to work on when my brain is sore from building the bear. It starts with easy rail fence blocks for the border. I am piecing this quilt on Lucy the long bed Singer 301.

This is the perfect time of year to be sewing with these wonderful Halloween fabrics. The question is... will it be finished in time to enjoy it on Halloween?!?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

UFO Progress

Some progress is being made this month with my "Grandmother's Choice: Votes For Women" UFO. Finally!
I did not fuss around about the layout much. I set a timer for a half hour and gave myself that amount of time to do some block switching. I tried to spread around the blocks with strong colours (gold, greens, reds, etc) and separate them from each other. I also tried to place the applique blocks around evenly. 
Here are the strips hanging on the design wall. There are 6 columns of 8 blocks. I decided to sew three sets of two columns and I will baste and machine quilt them in these sections. It should be totally manageable, right?
Okay... now, I have to decided how to quilt each block!!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's a bear!

Are you making a bear quilt with Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts?
I am sewing a small version of the quilt... maybe a wallhanging or a table runner kind of thing. Just look at all these pieces! It is a lot of work, and I must say that Lorna is an amazing "one-of-a-kind pattern designer". I consider myself to be an experienced quilter, but this is one challenging pattern I must say! 

This is a bear somewhere here!
The pattern is written so clearly that I just follow one step at a time and somehow magically these blocks just come together. 
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

From Journey of a Quilter
Happy Thanksgiving! 
Depending on where you live in the world, it might seem too early in the year to be extending this greeting, but this is the weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada. 
I love Thanksgiving... a whole day devoted to food and gratitude. What could be better than that?!?
Well, if you add in beautiful fall weather to enjoy a walk in the great outdoors while enjoying the company of people you love, AND you have some time for hand stitching, you've got yourself the perfect day! 
Life is Beautiful block #29

This week I finished block #29 for my Life Is Beautiful project. There are only 3 more blocks to embroider and then I will be ready to start quilting. 
Today I will get the next block prepped and ready to stitch while watching some post-turkey eating baseball on TV. And with each stitch I take, I will remind myself of the things I am grateful for...including my Slow Sunday Stitching friends!
What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us. And then visit the blog posts of the stitchers before you and give them some encouragement!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Scrappy Saturday

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge has us sewing up our orange and yellow scraps for the month of October. I hope to get a lot accomplished because I have a lot of these scraps!
I started with the Circle of Squares block using some orange scraps. 

Here are the 5 blocks I've made so far for this scrappy project. I was hoping to get the yellow one finished to add to the group, but didn't have enough time. I think they look great together so far!
To see more RSC projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Circa 2016

I have finished sewing all the blocks for the Circa 2016 project!  Last week the posted pattern was 4 patch blocks, and I altered mine a wee bit. I may have said this before, but I love these little blocks and could see myself making a whole quilt of them!

Today we will begin the process of turning the blocks into a quilt top. We started making these blocks in January and added a few every week. 

This is my pile of blocks. I am hoping it will turn itself into a really great quilt! Do you remember the centre medallion of the quilt that we made in February?

Hop over to Temecula to see how these blocks will work with the centre medallion!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Broken Dishes Update

All the broken dishes blocks for Barb's block swap are finally done and in the mail. Some quilters really dislike sewing HST blocks, but I don't mind it, so the thought of making 320 HSTs in order to sew 80 blocks to swap was not a deterrent. However I must admit that it did take me longer to complete this pile than I thought it would.

Next up is the MOD Bear Paw QAL, which is more of the same. I will continue to sew more HST blocks but in a brown, smaller version to make into bear paw blocks.