Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Quilting is Done

Recently, I put the pedal to the metal to finish quilting a few projects that I have blogged about HERE and HERE.  I was able to finally conquer the problem I was having with my Free Motion Quilting. 

I thought I had tried everything, but to no avail. The stitches on the back were just not being "locked" in properly, no matter how much or little I played with the tension, the needles, or the way I sat! For some reason, I had been ignoring my thread. It was good quality thread so I had presumed that was not the issue. But guess what? I found out, by trial and error and making dozens of quilt sandwiches, that my particular sewing machine does not like to do FMQ with thread on a cone! I changed to using smaller spools of thread and my issue has been  resolved. I still have lots of practicing to do, am far from perfect, but at least I know how to make my machine behave.

With the IWK charity quilt, I used inspiration from several quilters to plan my FMQ. For the centres, I found a Craftsy class tutorial called The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli. I purchased it when it was on sale-Craftsy always has great sales! I watched several of the lessons and really liked what she calls Basic Echoing Designs. I played around a bit and used a tear drop shape which I echoed to fill in the centres. 

I am also an avid follower of Natalia Bonner of Piece 'n Quilt. Her work is amazing! I purchased her first book awhile back, Beginner's Guide to Free Motion Quiltingand have used it as a resource ever since. I used her Ovals loop pattern in the borders of each block. As you can see, it's far from perfect, but I am happy with it!

I also finished quilting my little whales baby quilt. I wanted to keep the idea of waves for the quilting so used a serpentine stitch on the quilt.

It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Couple of Quilts for the IWK

As a member of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild (MMQG), I am so happy to be able to participate in the making of a couple of quilts for the annual charity quilt program. Every year the guild decides on a charitable cause to support and this year the guild chose the IWK, the children's hospital located in Halifax, NS.  We had the occasion to need the services of the IWK on one occasion many years ago as the children were growing up.  Although it is about a 3-hour drive, we always knew we were in the best of care when we got there. It is nice to be able to give back in a small way by making a couple of quilts.

The guild chose a square in a square pattern to make. Many members are making twin sized quilts, but as "The Cuddle Quilter", I wanted to keep the quilt cuddle size. Besides, I can't handle much larger in my domestic sewing machine and this way I was able to bring the quilt from start to finish all in my own sewing room. 

I finished one of the quilts yesterday. I kept this one fairly bright, using a variety of bold colours and prints.

The quilt finishes at 43" x 60" with 8.5" finished blocks. This one I quilted using a stitch in the ditch and a grid pattern. 

The second IWK quilt was started using the leftover blocks from the first quilt. I had made a variety of blocks and decided to keep all the brights for the first quilt and use more of the whites for the second quilt. This one is pinned and ready!

I plan to do FMQ on this second quilt if this heat wave ends soon. It is just too hot and humid today for me to sit with a quilt in my lap so I may have to wait a bit while the air conditioner does its work.

It's always a great day for quilting, 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Having Quilty Fun

I've been retired for several years now, but each day still feels like a holiday.  Playing in my sewing room for a bit every day is my norm, with wonderful visits with family interspersed between appointments and working at the Artisans Collective Gift Shop. If you follow my blog, you may remember the Collective is a small group of friends who quilt and craft all winter and open a seasonal gift shop from June through October in the Port Hastings Museum Nova Scotia. 

I continually jump from project to project, depending on my mood and inspiration and the enjoyment never seems to fail. I may finish a UFO, or start a new project...every day is a mystery.  Recently I finished my Super Nova Scotia quilt, a cuddle quilt I started a year ago following a free quiltalong series that had been hosted by designer Lee Heinrich in 2011. She created the Supernova block and blogs at Freshly Pieced HERE. She has since changed her blog host and I wasn't able to find the directions with the pictures to link for you. If you are interested in the pattern, you may have to do some more searching of her blog or contact her directly. 

The quilt is primarily made from Kaffe Fasset fabrics that I had been saving for awhile.

I used an edge to edge loop de loop quilting pattern, bound it with a scrappy binding, and the 60" x 60" quilt is now a finish. You can read more about this quilt HERE.

Rolling this quilt top made it even more appealing to me. Doesn't take much space this way!

After playing with such bright colours, I decided to keep on the same wavelength and start another bright baby quilt. Remember my first baby whale quilt?  You can read about this pattern HERE. I knew I'd make another one of these. It's just so much fun to see each whale go from pieces of fabric to these little guys.  In a day, I can take a quilt from cutting fabrics to sandwiching it, so this one is now ready to quilt. I plan to stitch some wavy quilting from side to side like I did on the other. 

Today's goal is to finish quilting Hugs 2, my second flannel HST quilt made from leftover HSTs and a few stash flannels. I have it draped over my ironing board waiting for me.

Yesterday I quilted the grid pattern and today I will do the quilting on the diagonal. The colours are not as bright as the first two quilts, but those fabrics sure are cozy!

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Busy Time at the Quilt Show

The Celebrating Quilting at the Causeway Quilt Show and Sale is now a not too distant memory. We closed the doors of the show at the end of the day on Tuesday after six full days of celebrating quilting. Hundreds of folks entered the church to look at the quilts, buy some quilts and smaller crafted items, be inspired, and enjoy Cape Breton oatcakes, biscuits and tea. 

We also had two quilts on frames so visitors were able to put their own stitches in the quilts. I couldn't resist taking a pic of hubby. He had brought me a coffee that day so I asked him to pose with the quilters for a pic. No, he is not a quilter, but he sure supports the quilting industry. Four ladies in the picture taught school with him so he stayed for tea, almost like hanging out with the staff at recess!

It was a very successful show for visitors, the quilters, crafters, and St. David's United Church. The 130-year old church will receive all the donations from the door and a percentage of each sale. 

I took dozens of pictures almost every day and posted them on Facebook. If you'd like to see the quilts, please visit the facebook pages HERE to see more. Our quilt show and sale always takes place somewhere around the 13th of August, the anniversary of the Canso Causeway. Maybe we'll see you next year?

I am still rewinding after the show so haven't done much in my sewing room. In fact, I took a quick trip to see my sewing machine doctor who helped me with the tension on my machine for FMQ. I have a couple of quilt tops waiting to be quilted so  I must get started. The first is my Super Nova Scotia quilt that you can read about HERE. All pinned and ready to go!

Although my sewing time has been limited lately, I did manage to finish another flannel quilt I will call  Hugs 2. I had so many HSTs already from Hugs (you can read about Hugs  HERE) so it was a no-brainer to make another! I have it laying out on the dining room table but I ran out of pins for basting. May have to look around to find more pins before supper so we can eat.

Thanks so much for visiting me today! It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet on the Road

Yesterday was the day of our annual trek to Pictou, Nova Scotia, for the Northumberland Quilt Show. Our quartet includes Linda who blogs at Scrapmaster, Karen who blogs at KaHolly, Sheila who blogs at Sheila's Quilt World and myself. Unfortunately, Sheila wasn't able to join us...we missed her terribly! 

The four of us have decided to do a round robin quilt exchange, which will take about a year to complete. We each made a centre block, 12" finished, so a couple of blocks were exchanged yesterday. Here is the block I made and passed along to Karen for the next round.

You may recognize the embroidery centre of the block as I used the same Gail Pan pattern for the tote bag I made for Sheila and gifted to her last year. The quilt block pattern is called Souvenir which I found HERE. I thought it was such an appropriate name for my block, as the quilt, when finished, will be my souvenir of the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet!  

Linda's stunning block came to me for the first round. Can't wait to play with this one, Linda!

The Northumberland Quilt show was wonderful. An amazing number of quilts showing a range of style and several vendors which made it very easy to add to my stash! I did take a few pics of some of my favorites so hope you enjoy.

Before we left, Linda and I posed with a couple of our latest quilts in front of the Pictou waterfront. Can you tell it was a little windy? Maybe even windier than you've seen in some of my clothesline pictures?

Today I am in my sewing room struggling with my sewing machine tension. The top stitching is wonderful but the stitches on the back are not the way they should be.  I have a few quilts to finish up before our quilt show on Thursday and my FMQ is just not working for me. Perhaps it has been too long between projects or perhaps it is an issue with my machine?  I vented to my resident FMQ expert, Linda, who gave me a few excellent suggestions so will try them out and hope for success. If not, I can certainly get them done with straight line stitching so will just have to weigh the pros and cons and see what happens. 

I did manage to finish my little hexie table runner!

Maybe I'll see some of you at our show? Celebrating Quilting at the Causeway Quilt Show and Sale in St. David's United Church, Port Hastings, Nova Scotia at the entrance to Cape Breton. Hours 10-4 each day. 

It's a great day for quilting!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Meeting Some Deadlines

My sewing room seems to be getting busier day by day! I have put a lot of my ongoing projects on hold so I can prepare for the annual quilt show we have that runs from August 11-16. I managed to finish binding two bed-sized quilts and attach labels so they are off my to-do list.

Earlier today, I finished machine quilting my Scrappy Irish Chain quilt. My inspiration for this quilt was a design by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts which you can read about HERE. I used straight line stitching, like Rita did, in a 2" grid which was a bit monotonous to do, but I like the effect. Here are a few pics I took earlier today.

I love how the black and grey pop from time to time!

I have a black binding prepared and will attach that tomorrow.

Once that is off my list, I have a Kaffe Fasset lap quilt top that is waiting.

It's a great day for quilting! 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Getting Ready

The Celebrating Quilting at the Causeway Quilt Show and Sale is less than a month away, but with all the things happening between now and  then, I have to get ready sooner than later. The posters arrived from the printers and a PDF was sent my way so here it is. For all my friends who follow my blog, just a reminder that the quilt show/sale is in Port Hastings, Nova Scotia, Canada, so I will understand if you can't make it! 

I have lots of irons in the fire, as they say, to prepare for the show including attaching the binding to this quilt. 

The pattern, Four-Patch Stars, was created by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. She has an excellent tutorial HERE. I blogged about the quilt HERE.  It has since arrived back from the quilter, Ange Ross at Quilting on the Mira so it is definitely the time to get that binding attached. 

I also have about 100 hexies all ready to put together in a table runner.  Amanda, a fellow member of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, gave us all a package of a hundred 2.5" squares of fabric in the goody bags we received at the retreat held in April. I decided awhile back to turn the squares into hexies. My travelling kit went everywhere with me and now all the squares have been transformed into hexies. 

I am thinking I may make a table runner out of them so I did some auditioning of fabrics for the background using grey as the theme colour. 

My gut feeling is to go with the last one, the fabric that is darker than the first two. I love the bright fabrics in the hexies and they seem to pop more on the darker colour. I will probably make a runner similar to this one that I made last year. I blogged about it HERE.

In addition, I am preparing another Quilt of Valour using combining Northcott's flag fabric and my scrappy flying geese for the centre. Today I am working on putting the centre together and then will build some maple leaf blocks to surround it.

In a perfect world, I would have my latest QOV ready to machine quilt by the start of the show. I plan to set up my machine in the church during the show and when things are quiet, I will do some machine quilting, while the other QOV (blogged about HERE) will be in the hall being quilted by hand. I think it will be interesting for people to see both the traditional and modern method used to finish a quilt. If I'm not ready to quilt it by then, I'll just continue to piece it together at the church.

So as you can see, lots happening in my sewing room. It's a great day for quilting!