Friday, May 26, 2017

150 Canadian Women Update

This is a quilt project to celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada by remembering the lives and contributions of 150 Canadian Women. The project is hosted by Next Step Quilt Designs. Three blocks are posted every 2 weeks and you'd think that wouldn't be hard to keep up with. But it has been a challenge for me. I made several blocks this past week, but have a lot more to make in order to be current.
First I print out the instructions and put them in a binder (a RED binder of course). Next I select some red and white fabrics for each block. I have purchased a few of the commemorative fabrics to include in some of the blocks.
Then I read about the woman's life that is being honoured in each block. The history has been fascinating to read and with each block I feel inspired by the women who faced very difficult challenges, most of whom were way ahead of their time. Like Helen Harrison who was a pilot from British Columbia who was the only female pilot in Canada who was paid as an aviator in 1940. Even though she had been a flying instructor in South Africa and was the first woman to fly and teach on military planes in the British Empire, she was rejected by the Royal Canadian Air Force in the second world war because she was a woman! 

While I reflect on the story of each woman's life, I get to work sewing the block components. Some of the blocks are straightforward and some are very complex, just like the lives they commemorate. 

Here is another interesting 150 celebration project by Canadian artist Libs Elliott. She teamed up with Absolut Vodka to make a new bottle design and a quilt using code to generate the design. You can see the quilt on her instagram here, her Facebook herehere's the video...Enjoy!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Improv Inspiration

Being inspired by the quilt bloggers posting their projects over at the AHIQ monthly link up, I got out my pink and white improv quilt again. 
It went into the UFO closet last year because the pink just became too much for me! I'm sure a little girl would love all that pink, and even though I like pink, this much pink is hard on my eyes to work on!

This quilt combines two types of blocks started in two different classes:
1) quarter log cabin blocks made in a class with Bethany Garner. The fabric pieces were cut with scissors and pieced in a free from way. 
2) strips sets made in a class with Cinzia Alloca.
This quilt layout just needs a little TLC to make some major progress, but it is competing with The Bear for time in my brain.
Suggestions are welcome!!
Hop over to the AHIQ link up and see all the wonderful improv quilts being made.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Weekly Blockheads

Are you keeping up with the weekly Blockheads pattern release?! I had no idea when I started this project how much fun it was going to be! I have tried some new techniques, enjoyed a few challenges, and practiced making favourite blocks. 
This is block #11 called Lisa's Star - click here for the link to the pattern.

This was a particularly rewarding block for me to sew. 
I must have muttered "I love this block" 10 times while I was making it. 
I'm telling you, I was totally in my happy place! I carefully cut everything and squared down each unit at every step of the construction and it's perfect! Just look at how small these adorable little pieces are!!  It's totally ridiculous how happy this makes me... and also a little concerning! LOL

Here are all the blocks together on the design wall. This will be a very interesting sampler quilt!
What will the Moda designers have us sewing this week?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Quilt Bee Report

Photo by Mitzi Designs
My quilt guild recently hosted a bee day and we had a very productive day working on various charity quilt projects. The comfort quilt committee did a terrific job of organizing projects for us to work on. And we had our very own photographer Mitzi documenting our day in photographs.

This is the package I worked on in the morning. See how everything is measured, labelled and perfectly organized to make the quilt top! The 12" blocks in the bag were made by guild members throughout the year using the pattern called "Divide and Conquer" (a free download at Pellon).

Here's the finished quilt top.
Kind of funky and definitely not my cup of tea, but I'm sure it will find a home with someone who likes it more than I do!
It's a true challenge to work on a project with colours you didn't chose, blocks you didn't make, where sewers have used a wide variety of 1/4" seams, and get it all to come together in some kind of coherent fashion. It was a great brain exercise for me. It will be quilted and finished by someone else in the guild.
Photo by Mitzi Design

Then I worked on piecing blocks for another project. Our photographer got some interesting photos and here is one of them. I was piecing blocks on Lucy (my long bed Singer 301).

Photo by Mitzi Designs

Here is a photo of Colleen and I. We were working on the same churn dash blocks using different colourways of the similar fabrics. 

It was a relaxing day of sewing quilts and visiting with friends, almost like an old fashioned Quilting Bee!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Everyone knows how much I love the 100 Blocks magazines. It is creatively refreshing to flip through the patterns and see a wide variety of 12" block designs. When I got the latest issue #15, I was smitten by Bonnie Hunter's block - no surprise I'm sure! On the design wall today is my version of Bonnie's block.

I made this block from a baggie of scrap triangles given to me by a quilting friend at my guild. Although I set myself a challenge to use only the triangles in the bag, I ended up needing to add white squares and rectangles for the outside rows.

Total # of block pieces = 133!

These are some of the HSTs being squaring down using the BlocLoc ruler. 
WOW this was fun block to sew! It will probably be finished as a miniature quilt one day.

The link up for design wall Monday is now being hosted by Judy over at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up of hand stitched projects!
I am doing my favourite type of hand stitching today - binding. I finished the quilting this week on Grand Illusion (with my new Machingers). I really like this blue French General  fabric that I'm using for the binding. This quilt will be donated to my local quilt guild's comfort quilt collection and I'm so happy that it will be done before the last meeting of the year.

If you have a hand stitching project that you would like to show us, link up your blog post below. We hope that whatever you are stitching will be relaxing and fun! Enjoy!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Quilting Grand Illusion

Grand Illusion is closer to becoming a finished quilt. A backing was made from fabric pieces leftover from piecing the quilt top, including the sashings that I removed because they had a green fabric that I decided I didn't like in the quilt. It's much more labour intensive to piece a quilt backing than to buy yardage or a wide backing, but I'm so happy about using up all these leftovers! And it's almost like having a reversible quilt!
The machine quilting will be all stitch-in-the-ditch between the blocks and straight through the middle of all the blocks (horizontally and vertically) using the walking foot. It's boring, but a quick way to finish a quilt.

I thought I might need to invest in a a new pair of Machinger gloves (used for greater control when machine quilting) because the coating on the fingers seemed to be wearing out. But when I compared the old gloves to the new ones, I could hardly believe it! Oh my goodness I was WAY past needing new gloves!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blockheads #10

This is block pattern #10 called "Basket and Flower". It was posted last week for the Blockheads sampler project. 

I am not an expert appliquer, so first I watched the applique tutorial that Jan Patek posted on her blog. That was really interesting so I tried her techniques on this block. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out the order in which to stitch the pieces down. 

From watching the tutorial, I learned not to stitch down the places where another piece should be underneath, such as the stem slipping under the basket.
But I couldn't figure out if the flower should be under the green part or on top. Or if the leaves should be under the stem or on top. Since the "on top" position was much easier to sew, that's what I did! 
To see my other blocks for this project, click here.
I'm heading over to the Moda blog to see block #11 which should be posted today... is it applique or piecing this week?!?!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bear Quilt

I have been making progress on the bear quilt this week. This quilt started last fall in a quiltalong over at Sew Fresh Quilts. I was just going to make a small wallhanging but it is growing into a full size camping quilt inspired by a bear incident while camping last summer.
The letter blocks (of the name of the park we were camping in) are sewn together, although I think the L's need to be a bit closer to each other so I'll fix that. More bear paw blocks will be made this week to add to the top and bottom of the quilt to make it bigger. And the next borders are being calculated. 

One of my ideas was to incorporate some sausages into this quilt because my 2016 bear encounter occurred when I was cooking a sausage supper for 10 hungry campers (mostly famished teenagers) on a Coleman stove. 
hungry campers returning from a hike
The bear and the hungry family, just returning from a long hike, both wanted the food! The nearest store was more than 1/2 hour away (total of 1 hour to get more groceries to restart the cooking) and at this very remote store the cost to buy only 5 sausages was $25! So you can understand why I was determined to not give the bear our food! 
I remember thinking "he's a fairly small bear, I'm sure I can convince him to go away". I was actually thinking about challenging a wild bear! Thankfully the screaming of everyone on the camp site while they escaped to the vehicles scared the bear away and I didn't have to physically defend the sausages. But I was at the ready, and did not intend to leave the stove/food!
The bear quilt definitely needs some sausages don't you think?
However it's difficult to create fabric sausage blocks without them looking... ummm... phallic. My practice blocks were so terrible I'm not even going to post a photo of them. It turned out to be difficult to track down some sausage fabric. But my quilt friends came through for me and tada...  2 different sausage fabrics arrived from my friends!
Should these be part of the main quilt, part of a border, or pieced into the backing? I'm waiting for the bear (or you!) to tell me what to do!
Linking up to Let's Bee Social!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Clarissa is on the Design Wall

Here is the 12th block for my "Clarissa was a Superstar" quilt. There are 36 hourglass blocks in one 12" Clarissa block. This one is really scrappy and used up a lot of small pieces. Up close the block really is a bit of a scrappy mishmash, but far away, it's fantastic!

Here are all 12 blocks on the design wall. 
Total # of triangles = 1,728!
I wasn't sure how many blocks the quilt would be when I started this leader-ender hourglass challenge. I'm still not certain, but I do know it will be more than 12, because I'm still having fun and want to keep going with this project. The original Clarissa quilt has 42 blocks! That's probably not going to happen, but 20 blocks is looking like a reasonable goal at the moment. 
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Patchwork Times. So sad to read that Judy has discontinued Design Wall Mondays. This has been a part of my routine for a long time. I looked forward to Monday mornings to see what the quilters were designing each week. Thank you Judy for hosting the fun Monday link up for so many years!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

If you are a Mom, I want to wish you a very Happy Mother's Day! 
I enjoyed a lovely visit with my daughter yesterday, and will be visiting with my son and my Mom this afternoon. These are the chocolate covered strawberries that I will be eating today while enjoying my slow stitching... yum! 
I have to admit that the mothering issue I have been worrying about this week is that the staff at the Toronto Zoo are on strike. I can't help worrying about the baby animals there and wondering who is taking care of them. It really is none of my concern and I'm sure they have made arrangements for care of the little creatures, but this is the kind of thing that weighs on my mind, and why I NEED my slow stitching to calm myself down.

I found this great article on managing the intrusiveness of world news and social media over at Raptitude. I will be reflecting on these ideas today and figuring out how I can worry less, and relax more.
Let's slow stitch our way to a more relaxed and healthier lifestyle, shall we?!?!
This is what I am stitching today. It's the last hand embroidery block for my Life is Beautiful project. I finished the heart at the top of the block and most of the angel on the left this week. Today I'll be stitching the angel on the right.
What are you stitching by hand today? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us. As always I will try to visit all of our stitching links. If I'm able to leave you a comment (and I'm not able to do so on any Google + blogs) I will. And I encourage you to visit the link before and after yours, and offer some words of inspiration and support.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Shop Shop Report

My friend Louise and I had a great day shop hopping this week. We found lots of treasures and even had our photo taken and posted on the Cobwebs and Caviar Facebook page! We felt like real celebrities!
Louise and I have been friends since 1990 and although we only get to see each other 2 or 3 times a year, we treasure every moment of great conversation we can squeeze out of our very busy lives.

These are some of the treasures I found at the 6 shops we travelled to. Most of these fabrics are "needed" for ongoing projects including the elephants, 150 Canadian Women and the bearI also got a new Bohin pencil to replace the one I wore out, and some unscented Best Press spray.
I almost met my goal of not starting any new projects, but could not resist the "Bee Creative" fabrics so bought a few fabric pieces to make a quick and easy door hanging. How could I resist?!?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Goose on the Loose

Today is the start of the Goose on the Loose shop hop. My friend Louise and I have attended this annual event for the past 11 years.

I have been having car troubles recently caused by a mouse on the loose! Because the shop hop involves a lot of driving, it was looking like I might not be able to go this year. But yesterday the mechanic assured me that my car has been repaired, is now rid of the destructive rodent that had taken up residence under the hood of my vehicle, and it is road worthy once again. 

And so we are off on another quilty adventure! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Are you a Blockhead? I totally am and this quilt project is the perfect one for me. The blocks are 6" so the pieces are tiny (FUN!), you can use up all of your smallest scraps (FUN!), there is only one block to make each week (FUN!) and you get to learn new things each week (FUN!).

Here is block #7 which was very interesting to make. I could not follow the instructions at all but have enough quilting experience to figure out how to construct the pieces a different way. Sewing this block reminded me how much I enjoy making circles.

Block #8 used up a lot of small scraps. The brown HSTs in the basket handle were baby triangles from the flying geese units in block #4. And the HSTs in the basket were leftover from Circa 2016.

Block #9 is an Ohio Star variation and is one of those blocks that looks quite different depending on the use of value. 

Here are the first 9 blocks on the design wall. I wonder how all these differently oriented blocks are going to fit together in the layout design?
I guess that's part of the fun of a mystery quiltalong!
Hop over the the Blockheads Facebook page to see all the blocks being posted. Block #10 will be posted today over at the Moda blog.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Grand Illusions is on the design wall today and it's a finished quilt top!

You can see the Quiltville link up party here from January 2015 to see what the original design was supposed to look like. My version went through a few changes, and I'm still not loving how my corners turned out, but I'm calling it done and ready for quilting. 

But first I need to piece a backing. There are a few blocks leftover, including the pieced sashings that I had to remove in order to like the quilt more, so these will be included in the backing. I have Ethel my Singer 301 out and she is getting a good workout piecing all the leftovers into something useable. It's always a fun challenge for me to see if I can transform the remaining yardage into a backing and binding for a quilt.
To see more Design Wall posts, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday again, which means it's time to s-l-o-w down and make time for some relaxing stitching. 
I haven't done much slow stitching since I finished the binding on my Scrap Vortex quilt. But today I can't wait to get my project out, find my needle and thread, and get stitching. This is my last Life is Beautiful block and I seem to be dragging my heels on finishing it, which is really annoying. I'm ready to move on to the hand quilting part of making this quilt, but need the embroidery done first. The only way to get over this slump is to just start. So today some progress will be made! 
One of the best parts of Slow Sunday Stitching is visiting stitching friends around the world and seeing what they are creating. 
Grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and start your Sunday with a big dose of inspiration!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Green Scrappy Saturday

The RSC colour for May is green, which is one of my favourite colours especially at this time of the year when the grass and leaves are growing and we are surrounded by vibrant juicy greens. I have big scrappy plans for green month but at FSNI last night I only managed to sew one little 5" alternate block for Omigosh. This brings my grand total of alternate blocks to 3! 

That's okay because: a) this is a lifelong project and b) we had a blast at FNSI and talked for 5 hours straight! There was a lot of talking and laughing, and not as much sewing! 

To see blog links to quilters accomplishing more green things than I did this week, hop over to SoScrappy!

Friday, May 05, 2017


It's Friday!
That means it's time for Friday Night Sew In! 
The official FNSI is usually held the third Friday of the month, but it is a challenge to get my little group of sewing friends together due to very busy schedules. So tonight's the night! Who knows what we'll get up to?!?

In preparation I will be cleaning up, clearing space on the cutting table, vacuuming the sewing room, and planning what I might like to sew.
I hope to catch up on my Blockheads and will be sewing leftover HSTs from block #4 into the basket block #8.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

UFO of the Month

It has been hard to think of working on another UFO since I finished the Scrap Vortex. It's like when you've just finished reading an epic book and you don't have any interesting in starting to read another book and getting to know a whole new cast of characters when you still miss the ones from the book you just finished.  
However, I am setting the goal of finishing my 2016 Aurifil sampler quilt. 

The first step is to piece a backing. There is still some of this Sweetwater border fabric left, so it will feature prominently in the backing. 
Hop over to One Monthly Goal to see the UFO goals for May.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Blockheads Update

There have been 8 blocks posted so far for this sampler project, and I'm a little behind. Here are my 6 finished blocks on the design wall. The bee skep is finally done, although it needs some hand applique added to make it look more like bees would want to live there. 
I am working on block #7 right now and making little circles to sew into the penny basket. I'm using Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles.  I start by basting around the fabric circle as if making a yo-yo, put the washer in the centre and pull the thread tight. 
I spray some "Speed Starch" into the little glass jar and then paint the edges of the circles with the starch using the paint brush. Then I iron the edges of the circle (the heat resistant plastic washer is still in the circle) and magically it makes a perfectly round circle. When it's dry, I remove the washer and the circle is ready to hand applique. The next step is to sew the basket block to put the circles into.
To see the newest Blockhead pattern, hop over to the Moda blog.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

100 Blocks Magazine

I hardly ever buy quilt magazines anymore as I just don't find that I am interested in reading them or making the kinds of quilts they feature. 
However there is one magazine that I never miss - Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. I have made many projects over the years from these magazines. A new issue is available this week and I'll be on the lookout for it. The Quilty Pleasures blog is hosting a blog hop, which they are calling a "road rally" and includes a souvenir hunt (if you have lots of time that you don't want to use for quilting).
In 2010 I made many blocks for a sampler quilt, and most of them were from the 100 blocks magazine. I wonder where those blocks are? They sure would make an awesome quilt. I'm going to search for them in the UFO closet... if you don't hear from me, you know where to look!