Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, at Least in Canada!

What a glorious weekend it has been! The weather is just like summer. I walked this morning in shorts and a t-shirt and it doesn't seem right to have a turkey in the oven. It is so warm, I may have to put on the air conditioning in a bit!

Pulled out a few Fall quilts to get us in the mood. My lemons that became pumpkins is still one of my favorite little quilts. The pattern is Freshly Squeezed by Gigi's Thimble that you can find HERE. Changing lemons to pumpkins works for me! 

My sewing room has been in busy mode and I managed to finish two important projects.  I finished my string pieced rainbow quilt that is being donated to the Halifax Ronald McDonald House as an initiative of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild.

The 80 blocks were made using 9" foundation blocks of white tone on tones. I used some pretty colours from my stash and put them in kind of an order. I like the result and I hope the recipient will like it too!  

Because the quilt is a little heavier with the cotton foundation, I used a bamboo batting that is supposed to be soft and drape well.  It seemed to work for my edge to edge fairly large meandering free motion quilting! 

This was the largest quilt I had quilted on my Pfaff Quilt Expression 3.5 so I was a little buried in the fabric! I chose to do essentially one block at a time, starting in the centre of the quilt and working out, tying off the ends in each block by stitching small stitches at the start and end. The quilt finishes at about 66" x 84". 

My second big finish was my round robin quilt made by myself and three of my quilt blogging friends. We call ourselves the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet and you can read about the quilt and the quartet HERE. We are having our very own quilt show and sale this coming weekend as participants in the Nova Scotia Fibrearts Festival. Our show is being held at the Amherst Curling Club on Friday, October 13 from 10-5, and on Saturday, October 14 from 10-3. You can check out the brochure HERE

Anyway, back to my round robin quilt. I managed to get it quilted and bound so now it's ready for its trip to Amherst to meet up with its buddy quilts! I have several pictures of it in progress, being bound, and then a few from the clothesline and deck.

I adore my little quilt and thank my quilting buddies for their special treatment of my little quilt with their exceptional borders around my centre block. The first border of spools and checkerboard was added by Karen of KaHolly. the ribbon border was added by Linda of Scrapmaster, and the final border, complete with applique, embroidery and my favorite quilting expressions, was made by Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World. Thank you rock! 

It's a great day for quilting and enjoying Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Modern and Traditional

Hello from my sewing room! I'm still having lots of fun with my UFOs. Back in 2014, I made a few nested churn dash quilt blocks designed by Australian quilt blogger, Jane, of Quilt Jane.  Jane hosted a QAL at that time and I had great plans of making a complete quilt. However, I ended up just making two blocks at the time. I finished one block as a table topper, which you can read about HERE. I pulled out the other block from the back of my closet recently and decided to enlarge it a bit to make a baby quilt or a play mat. 

The quilt finishes at about 36" square so didn't take too long to finish. It was a great way to use up some strips I had left over in my favorite greens and turquoises!

I had a piece of multi-coloured batik I was saving for a rainy day so I used that for the backing and used an edge to edge loop de loop design for the quilting pattern. 

Then, to go back to my traditional roots, I spent a few sessions in my sewing room piecing together a mini-quilt using left over 4-patches in a square. 

I think I love the ABC fabric on the back as much as I love the 17" topper from the front!

After this, I jumped right back into modern day with my rainbow blocks! I made 80 blocks using the string-piecing method on a foundation of white tone-on-tone fabrics.  The free tutorial can be found HERE.

The finished twin-sized quilt will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Halifax as part of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild charity quilt initiative. I am waiting for the batting to arrive and then will tackle the quilting, keeping it fairly simple so it will quilt up quickly and won't be too demanding for me and my domestic machine! 

What am I working on today? Sewing together some of the blocks into rows for my 150 Canadian Women quilt. We are definitely getting to the home stretch. Designer Kat Tucker has given us 135 6.5" blocks so far...only 15 more to go! 

I have used a free photo editing program for years to resize my photos before I put them in my blog, which allows the page to download quickly. Unfortunately, the program is now starting to charge after a free trial. Does anyone have any suggestions for another free editing program?

Just a reminder about the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival coming up in Amherst, NS, from October 10-14. Yours truly and her three fellow members of the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet, Karen of KaHolly,  Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World, and Linda of Scrapmaster, will be attending the festival and hosting our very own quilt show and sale at the Amherst Curling Club on Friday, Oct. 13 from 10-5, and on Saturday, October 14 from 10-3. Hope to see you there!

It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Wedding and Some Quilts

What a great August we had! A wedding for DS and his lovely bride, lots of time with the entire family from far and near, and still a little time in my sewing room. 

DS was married almost two weeks ago in a lovely church on the Mirimichi River in NB. One of the highlights was when they walked down the aisle, husband and wife, to the tune of Mairi's Wedding, a song made famous here in Cape Breton by The Rankins. Everyone joined in and clapped in unison as they made their way to the back of the church. What a moment! I tried to link the Youtube video of the song but had no luck. However, you can probably just go to the link HERE to listen to the lyrics. 

Although much needed rain did fall that day, inside the reception hall there was an abundance of sunny smiles...and then the party started, with everyone dancing the night away. 

We spent the week before the wedding in Murray Corner, NB, at my sister's cottage along the Northumberland Strait. Lots of morning coffee on the deck, playing on the sandbars with our precious GS, and having lots of family time.  Of course, I awoke before everyone else to see the sunrise. If you look a little closer, you can see the causeway to PEI on the right. 

Having a wedding week in NB also gave me the chance to bring my Stargazer quilt to its new owner, one of my sisters. Love seeing it on her bed...

In August, our local quilters hosted our 12th annual Celebrating Quilting at the Causeway Quilt Show and Sale, a week filled with camaraderie, quilts and dozens of smaller hand-crafted items. I am the Facebook writer for the quilt show so if you click on the link HERE you can see lots of pictures I took of the quilts and more! Here is a little teaser of what folks saw when they walked into the historic St. David's Church in Port Hastings, NS.

Almost every morning this summer, I walked four laps of the Port Hawkesbury Waterfront which translates into about a 45 minute walk. Woodworker Hubby does a fair bit of golfing, except on the weekends, so he would also join me in some evening and weekend walks.  Every walk would reveal new sights...the Tall Ships that visited in July, the boats owned by friends and moored at the Marina for the season, and visitors' boats coming and going all day long. I had started making a sailboat quilt, Smooth Sailing by Amber Johnson, and knew, in addition to taking a clothesline picture, I would have to take a few pics on the waterfront too! I decided to do wavy lines for the quilting to give the illusion of movement on the waves.

And now to the waterfront...

And just a couple more...

So you can probably tell, I had a wonderful summer. With the good weather predicted to continue, I hope to do many more walks and still spend lots of time in my sewing room in preparation for our appearance at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival being held in Amherst, NS, from October 10-14, 2017. As part of the Festival, our foursome, the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet, (Linda at Scrapmaster, Sheila at Sheila's Quilt World, Karen at KaHolly, and myself) will be hosting our own quilt show and sale on Friday, October 13 from 10-5, and on Saturday, October 14 from 10-3 at the Amherst Community Curling Club. Read more about the festival by visiting their Facebook page HERE

Before I go, one more little picture of the wedding...all in the family! 

It's a great day for quilting!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Sewing

What a great summer so far! Excellent weather with lots of morning walks along the Port Hawkesbury waterfront, and early evening walks along the newly improved Port Hawkesbury walking trails. In between all that, thee has been lots of time for sewing, visits to family, and preparations for DS's wedding in late August. Life is great!

My sewing room continues to entice me with a combination of UFO's and brand new projects. Kim Diehl's Saltbox Sampler was started years ago with my friend, Santa Mary, but put away when we weren't able to get together due to her work commitments. I decided to pull it out recently and finish mine.

The quilt will finish at about 42" x 42" so it's one  I should be able to quilt myself. Kim's version was machine quilted in a variety of ways, and I think I should be able to follow along fairly well with changes as needed.  Saltbox Sampler is in Kim's book, Simple Charm. 

I then resurrected some coffee-themed panels I had bought years ago. One panel was cut apart, then sewed back together (what was I thinking?) and another panel was cut apart for placemats.  

This little quilt should be perfect as a kitchen quilt or couch quilt!  

I did some edge to edge meandering which results in a lot of texture.

Although my quilting seems to be improving, I don't mind a backing that hides a few things!

The placemats were a lot of fun to easy to quilt because of their size and finished up in no time. I had found some that coffee bean fabric somewhere in my travels and it was just the thing to bind them with!

I actually used my Janome "My Excel" very old, little workhorse, to do the FMQ and it worked like a charm on these placemats.

Of course, every week I get three new blocks to make as part of the Canadian Women 150 quilt designed by Kat Tucker of Next Step Quilt Design. I am feeling soooo accomplished as I am still up to date after starting this last November!  

As for today, I am working on making sailboats! Living on Cape Breton Island and walking the waterfront every morning has inspired me to make boats! I purchased the pdf pattern for Smooth Sailing online at Gigi's Thimble HERE. Amber has written an excellent easy pattern which is coming together very quickly! Here are a few of the 16 boats being assembled. 

What drew me to this pattern was the way Amber strip pieced the sails...a great way to use a Happy Go Lucky FQ bundle by Bonnie and Camille that I had bought a few years back, with a little stash additions! 

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

NSQBQ Round-Robin Quilt Challenge

What a day I had yesterday! I headed to New Glasgow to meet up with fellow members of the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet (NSQBQ) to do the exchange with them of our Round-Robin Challenge Quilts. My fellow quilt bloggers are Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World, Linda of Scrapmaster, and Karen of KaHolly.

The challenge was made last Fall with the idea that the blocks would travel from one to the other all winter and then we would exchange our finished blocks in the Spring.  Each of us made a 12" centre block of our choosing, and then the block travelled to each person who then added a 6" unfinished border. We weren't able to meet 'till yesterday when sweet Sheila offered to host us at her beautiful home, providing us with a scrumptious lunch and home made strawberry shortcake for dessert...yum! 

The four quilt tops were exchanged with so many oohs and ahhhs! 
Left to right is Karen, Linda, myself, and Sheila. Thanks so much to Linda's daughter Niki who was able to talk some great pics of the four of us with our quilts.

It's amazing how each of us used the other's centre block for inspiration and created our borders with some of the fabrics that were travelling along with the quilt and other fabrics from our stashes or LQS.

I'll show you a picture of each of us with our quilt and the story behind it. I'll start with me!

I chose to make my centre block using an embroidered design from Gail Pan's "Patchwork Loves Embroidery". You might recall I used this same embroidery design in a quilted tote I made for Sheila in a previous challenge. I love shades of reds and blues combined with whites so used fabrics from my stash to put the block together. Off it went on its trip to visit my friends' sewing rooms!

I was amazed, stunned, and almost(!) speechless when I saw my finished top yesterday, and then I couldn't stop talking!

The first border around my block was a multi-coloured collection of tiny little spools, made by Karen and pieced with perfection! She added that decorative strip of red and white squares bordered by the blue. Next, Linda added a unique ribbon border using shades of red and blue...perfect with the white background she chose. Sheila brought the quilt back to its centre by making 4 embroidered borders, each with a different quilty quote in her own hand-writing and appliques of everything you can think of that is sewing related, including spools, a Singer sewing machine, quilt shop signs, a seam ripper and pin cushion with beaded pins, a rotary cutter, and even a three-dimensional quilt hanging on a clothesline. She chose to make 4 friendship stars in the corners, a tribute to our gang. Please click on the quilt and enlarge to your heart's content to see this beauty.  I was flabbergasted! Thank you friends. You rock! I will take some time before I start to quilt this treasure. I want to get it right!

Next up is Linda.  She made her centre block with a bold and colourful group of flying geese in a circular pattern. I was the first to add a border. Linda loves "negative space" for her quilting  so I chose to make a wonky star with the bright fabrics and leave her lots of background to do her awesome quilting on. Sheila added those terrific arrows, again using the centre theme of flying geese blocks, and Karen added the final border using 'pick-up sticks' blocks. If you look closely, you'll see Karen personalized some of the white strips. Amazing idea and amazing impact on the quilt!

Sheila's quilt is a starry delight with some geese added to the mix! She made her centre star using some sewing related fabric. Linda added to this with her large blue star. Karen used some great fabric and made a border of flying geese in graduated sizes, framed by the green fabric and the corner square in a square blocks. Genius!  I decided to return to the star theme and added a border of scrappy stars, choosing blues for the corner stars to mimic the blue star in the second border.

Karen's quilt began with a striking centre block of black and white prints arranged like a modern dresden plate block paired with some bright frames. Sheila's pretty little hexagon flowers complete with embroidered leaves brought it all together! When it came to me, I decided to play with blacks and brights, using scrappy 9-patches. Linda completed this little quilt with those adorable x-blocks used with black prints on a modern background printed with x's! Again, all these quilts should be clicked on and enlarged so you can see the beauty of these pieces.

Make sure you also visit these gals' blogs to see their quilts and read their stories. Just click on their names in the first paragraph. We plan to have all the quilts completed by the Nova Scotia Fibrearts Festival being held in October. Our group of 4 will have our very own Quilt Show and Sale as part of the Festival. We will be in the Amherst Curling Club on Friday, October 13 from 10-5, and on Saturday, October 14 from 10-3. See you there!

And just one more shot of my quilt. I took a picture of it on the deck when I got home...I love my quilt!

It's a great day for quilting!