Friday, April 20, 2018

April, a Month for Travelling and Quilting

The  calendar says late April, but the skies above still say Winter. Well, it is what it is, and even with the cool temperatures, my sewing room is still very warm! 

It is always a delight when the middle of the month comes by with a new block from Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. I now have 2 totes that are overflowing with blues and creams for her Patches of Blue QAL so the most difficult thing for me is to choose what fabrics to play with. This month, we made the Blue Spruce block which finishes at around 20". Love this one!


Here are the blocks made from the first three months...


I seem to have a crush on Edyta's quilts using blue and cream fabrics so have started making the Winter Village, thanks to Darlene at A Needle Pulling Thread for putting it and some fabrics in the mail to me. This morning I finished the first 5 blocks of the 20 block quilt.


Edyta strongly believes in pairing batiks with traditional cotton fabrics so I am embracing her concept from now on, using batiks at will rather than saving them for a batik-only quilt. I am really enjoying the diversity and texture in the quilts and the larger range of fabrics I get to choose from.

Another of my favorite designers is Kim Diehl, so after a few years of procrastination, I turned to page 57 of Simple Charm and jumped into making "Short and Sweet", a little patchwork quilt using 9-patch and snowball blocks with a border using a mixture of colorful woolen leaves.


The quilt's name may imply making the quilt was short and sweet, but I would disagree with a chuckle! The 3-inch blocks seemed to take forever and I don't even want to think of all those leaves that had to be prepared using a template, fusible webbing, and then machine appliqued. But it was worth it...I adore this little quilt, which finishes at about 33" square. I will machine quilt this eventually but I just have to decide how to do it. 

Earlier this month, I spent a week out West with family. It was really cold there, but it certainly didn't stop me from having a wonderful visit with DD and her family and DS and his new wife. There is nothing better than playing Paw Patrol with a 2 1/2 year old and reading bedtime stories, going to a Flames game, doing some shopping,pedicures with the girls, and just spending time with family,  As I've said before, this country is just too big! I arrived home with Fitbit watches for both hubby and I, so we are enjoying our daily walks even more so, now that we can really see how much, or as little, we are doing! 


I arrived out West laden with handmade gifts for the two babies who will be born this July, just weeks apart. Oh my heart... So nice that the cousins will grow up living close to each other.  Here are pics of a few of the gifts that were delivered. 

"Just Keep On Swimming", designed by Elaine Perez of Summercrafter...


"Andrew", designed by It's Sew Emma, in Fat Quarter Baby...


I used flannel backing on both the baby quilts and used an edge to edge serpentine stitch on the fish and a wave design for the whales. 


These tie bibs were a favorite for grandson # 1, so I made a variety for the new grandbabies along with more burp cloths. The free bib  pattern is by Marni Weaver at Haberdasheryfun that you can find HERE and HERE.  I also made a batch of burp cloths by So Sew Easy called The Perfect Baby Burp Cloth


Portable changing mats were another big hit with grandbaby #1, so I made a few more. I purchased a package of two changing mats from the local department store and covered them, perfect for the diaper bag.  I found an elephant picture somewhere on the net and appliqued it to the fabric, which is kind of a canvas so fairly durable. The pattern is also by Haberdasheryfun. 



Yous are now wondering if I got to visit any fabric stores during my quick trip? Yes, yes, yes!  Daughter and son both made sure to take me to visit my favs, Out of Hand and Along Came Quilting, and yes, a lot of money was exchanged for a lot of quilty goodness.  I filled my carry on bag for the trip home with fabrics, zippers, and patterns. The funny thing is that I was tagged in security at the airport. They opened up the bag because there was a square box in the bag that the x-ray machine couldn't identify. This was the culprit...a nicely wrapped bundle of fat quarters by Tula Pink.  Gotta watch out for travelling quilters!


One more thing...when I went out West, my Sister #1 flew home at the same time so we coordinated our plans to meet at the airport so that she would use my car while I was away to visit Mom and Sister 2.  She had a special birthday lately so I made these little pouches for her,  She does a lot of travelling so I thought they might come in handy. She also loves black and white. just like me, so off I went with Atkinson Designs Bridget's Baguettes pattern.


It's amazing how much these pouches can hold! 




The sun is finally starting to come out so it must be time to start supper. It's a great day for quilting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hopping Along in March

Another glorious month of sewing! Love these cool winter days when I can warm up in my sewing room, jumping from project to project, starting a few new ones, and finishing a few old ones. Apparently Spring is on its way, but I think I'll continue my winter routine until the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming! To put me in the Spring mood, I did make a little bunny quilt, using a mish mash of bright fat quarters from my stash. 


These were so much fun to make, each bunny coming together with its own little personality. 


I really enjoyed the quilting, with straight lines for the backgrounds and a medium meandering for the bunnies.



The backing is a cozy dotted flannel and I used a pieced border to finish it off. The pattern is called Everybunny by Diane Harris and is in Quiltmaker March/April '16, No. 168. I adapted it a bit by choosing not to use sashing or a border. By doing this, I kept the quilt at a size that was easy to handle for machine quilting. The quilt finishes at 34" x 50".

I finished my Quilt of Valour and have sent it off to our Provincial Rep for distribution.  It's such a wonderful feeling to make a quilt for this organization and know that it will go to a very deserving member of the Canadian Armed Forces who has been injured during or after service. 


I chose to do an edge to edge meandering pattern for the quilt which finishes at about 50" x 70". You can read more about the pattern and designer on a previous post HERE.


I finished piecing a UFO which also prepares me for Spring! The quilt is called Spring is Sprung and is designed by Pamela Morgan and published in Quilting Quickly April 2017.


This one may have to wait 'till Summer for the quilting. It is a little larger than I usually quilt myself, finishing at about 60" x 80". What was I thinking? Another quilt to lay out on my narrow kitchen floor between fridge and cupboards!



This is what I am working on today...straight stitch quilting on Fly Home by Jeni Baker. The free pattern is available HERE.


I adore these Amy Butler fabrics, a combination from several of her lines from a few years back. The flying geese are 4" x 8" finished so the quilt actually came together fairly quickly when I used the No Waste Method of making flying geese. Just Google and you'll find many tutorials and YouTube videos on how to make them. 



I decided to keep sewing with these fun fabrics and made a tote to match the quilt! 


I adapted several patterns for the bag to make it the size I wanted, using extra geese blocks from my quilt. It finishes at about 16" x 20". I was able to put a large pocket and a smaller zippered pocket inside, along with hardware to hold some keys. Works for me! 

It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February Quilts

Isn't it funny how one month just rolls right into the next month! My sewing room continues to be busy but with many of the same January quilts. I have also been doing a lot of secret sewing that I can't show for awhile. It is keeping me very busy and very happy and I seem to be smiling all at the same time!

But for now, I will share with you what I can. The Quilt of Valour-Canada I am making is very quickly coming to a finish.  The trickiest part is always finding a space on the floor to lay it out to measure backing and batting.



And then it is even more difficult to figure out how to cut the batting to the size of the quilt so I try a bit of rolling under the fridge and it seems to work. (And yes, I always find a few dust bunnies but they are easily removed!)



Woodworker Hubby always comes to the rescue to help me spread the 3 layers on the dining room table to prepare for pin basting. I have a very old Scovill Dritz Deluxeboard that goes on the table first so that my pins won't harm the table. 




The pin basting goes pretty quickly once everything is spread out.


For this quilt, I used Aurifil 50 wt. light beige 2000 for both the needle and the bobbin threads. It works like a charm in my Pfaff Expression 3.5. I chose to do a fairly large meandering design from edge to edge which resulted in a nice, soft quilt.  I used Warm and Natural for the batting.


Today I am working on the binding. I'll attach it by machine and may hand sew it, just because I enjoy doing this in front of the TV. Will do lots of little double stitches along the way to be sure it will stand up to lots of washes.


Of course, I always have a few projects on the go. At our April Ocean Waves Quilt Society AGM, I a mini-demam jloining other quilters in offering some demos. I will be showing how to make  Flying Geese blocks, the 4 at a time method. So in preparation, I decided to use this method to make the "Fly Home" Flying Geese quilt that I had seen on Jeni Baker's blog HERE.  I have a bundle of Amy Butler fabrics from a few years ago which includes Forget Me Not and Hopscotch, so am having lots of fun making some geese and their wings

 .


I also completed my February homework for the Patches of Blue free quiltalong hosted by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. 





With the Olympics on TV and sewing projects to work on, I am almost forgetting about the wintry weather that comes and goes, day by day. Looking at the calendar, I know Spring is just around the corner. It's a great day for quilting!





Monday, January 22, 2018

January Quilts

The days in January sure seem to be speeding along and my sewing room has been pretty busy trying to keep up!  I decided to participate in a couple of quiltalongs being offered this year. One is the 52 Week Quilt Block Challenge (BOW/block of the week) being hosted by Darlene of A Needle Pulling Thread Quilt Shop in Digby, NS.  If you visit her Facebook post dated January 1, you will find all the info there. The link is HERE.  Darlene inspired me to do the star of the week in a previous year and her block choice this year again inspired me to participate. Each week you actually make two blocks.  One is a 25-piece checkerboard block and the other is a snowball block.  Have a peek at my first four weeks worth of blocks...


I have some really fun leftover fabrics called LOL by Me and My Sister Designs by Moda that I had used last year in my Asterisks quilt. I will use these in the BOW and supplement them with other bright fabrics from my stash to make scrappy blocks. The white is a tone on tone white, but I'll probably uses several different whites over the year.

The second QAL that I'm doing is called Patches of Blue by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. The information about this QAL is on Edyta's blog HERE. This QAL requires that you purchase her book of the same name. Check with your local quilt shop and they will probably get the book in for you. I was in a hurry to start so I actually ordered mine from a Canadian distributor and it arrived in a couple of days.  
Like Edyta, I will use blues and creams for the quilt, trying to make it with my stash fabric. Here is what I pulled from my stash for the first block.


On the 15th of each month, Edyta will post instructions on her blog of the featured block. By using both the information from the book and the information on her blog, participants can make the monthly block.  There was a fair bit of cutting, and at one point in time, we were to lay everything out before we started sewing the units together, kind of like a puzzle. 




When it came time to sew the block, I just moved the units back and forth from my table to my sewing machine until the first block, "Frost", was a finish. My block measures about 16" square.



This week I am also trying to finish up my 150 Canadian Women quilt, designed by Kat Tucker of Next Step Quilting, that I started last year to commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary. Although the year of free blocks is over, you can still purchase a CD from Kat for the full year's blocks HERE.  We made three 6.5" blocks a week and when the year came to an end, we had 150 quilt blocks. In the last couple of weeks, I sewed the rows together and added one 2" cream border.  Here is the top on our queen bed without any borders. You can see that it will make a pretty big quilt. And yes, after the picture, I got busy and removed about 1,000 loose threads! 


Sewing the borders on was a labour of love...so much fabric! There isn't one place in our house large enough that I can lay the quilt out to measure it except the bed. Luckily, my measuring worked out so off I went to see my little Janome 2030QDC.    



Of course, it was also a challenge to press the borders afterwards. My little pressing corner became smaller and smaller! 




I just finished pressing this morning and now it's time to start working on my final border - a red 4" piano key border.  Once that's done, the quilt will be off to the longarmer.

January also got me thinking about doing another charity quilt. I believe very strongly in the Quilts of Valour-Canada program so wanted to make another one. Although it isn't a requirement to make a Canadian themed quilt, my colour of choice for making these quilts is always red and white/cream.  I combined my fabrics with some strips of Canadian themed fabric by Northc  had this fabric left over from last year's Quilt Canada program where quilters made comfort quilts for Ronald McDonald houses across the country. I found a free pattern that worked so well for me, combining maple leaf blocks with strip piecing. Thanks to Charlene McCain of Just Because Quilts for her design, which you can find here at the Moda Bake Shop


I adapted the pattern a bit so that the quilt would finish at the minimum size of 55" x 70" and would be a good size for a comfort quilt.  I think there is nothing better than wrapping up in a quilt and feeling that hug so I prefer to make lap sized quilts for QOV.


This quilt is sitting in the spare room now waiting for me to sandwich it and quilt it.  I guess you could say I've been busy this month. Winter has arrived so why not stay inside and sew, sew, sew! Thanks for visiting, and remember it's a great day for quilting!