Friday, September 12, 2014

A Day at the Shop

There are 12 of us who make up the Artisans Collective, a group of women from the area who set up shop every summer in the Port Hastings Museum at the Causeway, the entrance to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. As one of the twelve, I take a turn once every 12 days  to work a shift. My day was yesterday. Off I went with a smile, some sewing projects, my "new" 1964 Featherweight, and a portable table. You see, at this time of year, the number of visitors drops a bit, so there always seems to be a little time to work on a project or two. Seeing an artisan at work also seems to be a treat for the visitors who come into the shop so it's a win-win situation. 

The number of visitors the shop will start to pick up again in a week or two because of the Celtic Colours International Festival, an annual event that attracts thousands of visitors to celebrate our rich Cape Breton culture. Music, concerts, workshops, crafts, food-it's all here for our visitors to see and experience. Our shop will stay open until the end of the Festival and reopen again for two weekends before Christmas,

Back to my day. I set up my FW in front of the patio door overlooking the deck. This also gave me a beautiful view of the Strait of Canso. I sewed along, listening to Cape Breton music, tapping my toes and heels, and jumping up to welcome the visitors who dropped by. The natural light was indeed a bonus so I pulled out my "peels" ( you can read about this quilt HERE)  and started to sew.

In no time at all, I had finished 6 of the 8 rows that I need for the quilt. I'll work on the final two rows this weekend and then sew the columns of "leaves" to green stems. I figure the quilt will be a good size to cuddle in come the spring!

Do you recognise the quilt on the bed underneath the peels? It is my Cake Mix Celebration quilt. 

We have a bed in the shop that is used to display quilts on. When people are interested in a quilt, if it is on a wall or quilt stand, we spread it on the bed so that they'll see how it looks. We change the bed often-either the quilt sells or we rearrange the quilts in the shop so that our repeat customers will see something different every time they visit. Yesterday I welcomed quilters from Ontario and PEI...there is always so much to be shared with fellow quilters!

This week I also finished all the machine applique on Country Homecoming. My last picture looked so faded in the sunlight, so I took another picture, this time in the kitchen. It is all ready to go to the longarmer next week. Flannels and homespuns always makes my heart soar!

Thanks so much for coming by today. It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sea Glass Has a New Home

There is nothing better than gifting a quilt to someone who will hold it dear to their heart, the same way making the quilt was dear to me. "Sea Glass" is such a quilt. It started off as a "Sea of Squares" QAL project hosted by Christa at Christa Quilts.  You can read all about the making of the quilt, the fabulous fabric included in the kit, and the free QAL HERE.

If you read carefully, you will see that I originally said I would quilt it myself. Christa offers wonderful tutorials on her blog that make machine quilting look so easy that I think even I could attain some pretty good results. But summer came along, life got busy, and I wanted this to be a perfect quilt for my sister, so I sent it along to Ange at Quilting on the Mira to do her magic. And magic she did...

"Sea Glass" has a new home with one of my beach-loving sisters, a long-time collector of sea glass, who was gracious enough to hang the quilt on her clothesline and take a few pictures. And you know how much I love seeing my quilts hang on a clothesline!

I think the quilting pattern is fabulous. Ange knew this quilt needed the perfect pattern, and look....sea shells and more.  I see scallop shells, snails, star fish, sea grass. I think I can even smell the ocean!

I like the way the quilting pops out on both the front and the back. I had a gorgeous piece of fabric I wanted to incorporate into the backing and am so happy with the result. The solid shows off the quilting so well, and the printed side adds so much texture. A win-win for this little quilt. 

"Sea Glass", enjoy your new home...

It's a great day for quilting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guess What Followed Me Home?

What a glorious trip I had last week. I visited my mom out of province, enjoyed a golf game with her and lots of movie and "we" time, and found a treasure in the local Singer shop that followed me home. Meet my new 50-year old baby, a 1964 Singer 221K Featherweight.

It was made in Great Britain, has the original carrying case and manual, has a new belt and pedal, and has been completely serviced by the Singer QS. I have been googling FWs all weekend long and read a great review of this model at Cheeky Cognoscenti's blog HERE. I had also been checking prices online and was thrilled to see a FWat a price that was affordable for me, reconditioned and ready to go. I shared my news with Kaaren at The Painted Quilt and she directed me to a site that specializes in FWs HERE. I think there is a 1/4" attachment calling my name!

The straight stitch on the FW is perfect and I have already wound the bobbin and threaded the machine with no problems at all. Because the FW is so tiny, about 9.5" x 13", I have set it up in one of the spare bedrooms to use with my smaller projects. I found an inexpensive portable table at the local department store with adjustable heights which works really well. It will be the perfect machine to use once I finish appliqueing my orange peels and am ready to start sewing the little blocks together. 

I had been looking for a white FW for the last few years but hadn't been ready to make the commitment. When I saw this on Friday, I swear it had my name on it!

Why do I need to set up my FW in the spare room? Because my Country Homecoming quilt is ready to machine applique so my sewing corner in the basement will be filled with stars, berries, and vines. The fusible web did the trick and everything is set and waiting for me. We are having beautiful hot summer days this week so the colour in the picture I took yesterday is a little washed out. I'll take another picture when it is a finish. I used homespuns and flannels throughout...what a cosy quilt it will be!

Thanks so much for coming by. I know how busy everyone is so when you take some time out of your day to visit me, I truly appreciate it.

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This Quilt Appeals to Me

I have always had an "orange peel" quilt on my bucket list, so when I saw "Summer Leaf" on the cover of Fons and Porters' May/June edition of Quilty magazine, I knew this was the inspiration I needed for a new start. 

As you might have guessed by now, I love making scrappy quilts, so off I went to my stash to find some bright fabrics in blues, pinks, and yellows. I used the template of the peel from the magazine and then sewed my peels, right sides together, to fusible interfacing. I cut a little slit into the interfacing, turned the peels right side out and ended up with a bunch of pretty peels!  

Designer Victoria Shackle has provided a template for a pieced peel, but I have issues with sewing curves so this method worked for me. I cut out the background blocks using a variety of whites and fused the peels in place.

A hot iron and a little steam did the trick!

I plan to use my trusty machine to applique the peels in place and will use a bright green for my stems. I'll continue working on this project in between others, so it may be next summer before you see my version of "Summer Leaf". I love it when I fall in love with a quilt and just have to make it!

I have started to see "Summer Leaf" popping up around blogland. Polly at Aunt Polly's Porch made an absolutely gorgeous version and used an even faster way to make it. It is adorable! On her blog, she demonstrates how she made it and uses her expert free motion quilting to finish it off. See her version HERE

While I was working on my peels, I decided to make a few small design boards that I have seen Lori use at her blog, Bee In My Bonnet. I made a few 10" boards, have a 10" x 15" one in the works, and plan to make a few more in a 14" size to use when making 12.5" blocks. Tutorials for the design boards are HERE.

We had a very successful show at the annual "Celebrating Quilting at the Causeway Quilt Show and Sale". We wrapped up Friday after a great week, welcoming visitors and buyers from around the world. Thanks to all who visited and enjoyed the quilts. Next year will be our 10th annual, so plans are already underway to make it even more special. Maybe we'll see you there!

It's a great day for quilting!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Quilt Show at the Causeway

Before I bundled up my quilts to take to the 9th annual Quilt Show and Sale at St. David's Church in Port Hastings, Nova Scotia, I hung them on the clothesline for a few pics. As you can see, I have a little bit of everything, from small to large, from traditional to modern.

Pumpkins and baby quilts, from earth tones to bright colors.

A scrappy pinwheel made primarily from Collection for a Cause layer cakes.

And of course my favorite, from Quilts by Darlene's QAL, Darlene's Mystery quilt, which I have renamed "Mystery Solved". It is a pretty heavy quilt so I am surprised I managed to get a picture of it blowing in the wind. What must the neighbours think when they see me out there waiting to snap that windy picture! 

Some quilters keep track of how many hours it took to make a quilt. Mystery Solved took a lot, but I am so happy with the result. Thanks, Darlene, for your inspiration. Darlene is a fellow Nova Scotian who has opened her own quilt shop in Digby called A Needle Pulling Thread. It is almost a day's drive from here, but well worth the drive!

Our show started yesterday with a very successful first day. You can read more about the show HERE. Three bed sized quilts have already left us, on the way to their new homes. Here are a few pics I snapped before the show opened...

My Country Charmer quilt is at the front of the church, on a pew to the right, with the other display quilts. People are so impressed by the customized quilting that was done by my wonderful blog friend and quilt designer Lynn from Sew'n Wild Oaks. We see mostly edge to edge machine quilting here, so it is a special treat to see a quilt with such stunning customized quilting. You can revisit Country Charmer's quilt story HERE.

In addition to all the bed quilts in the church, the church hall in the back is filled to the rafters with smaller quilted and hand crafted items. You can tell we had a long snowy winter because our quilters stayed inside and sewed, sewed, and sewed!

If you live in the area, please drop by and say hello. Our hours are from 10-4 every day through to August 14. I'll be waiting!

It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

SIL's Flannel Sports Quilt and a Quilt Show

When DD was married last summer, I gained a wonderful new SIL and the quilt wheels started turning in my head. My SIL is a huge fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team, as evidenced by his many t-shirts, hoodies, and other "Riders" paraphernalia. I knew it was just a matter of time before I made him a sports quilt. 

Earlier this summer, DD, SIL, and DS visited us for a few weeks and that gave me the chance to give him an early birthday present. I worked on it this winter and spring and was thrilled to be able to present it to him earlier in the month. By all accounts, it is well loved and appreciated and has already travelled west to take up residence in its new home. 

Here is the story of this quilt. I printed off a Roughriders logo on fabric and used that as my inspiration throughout the winter to choose a design and fabrics. I decided to make a cuddle quilt out of flannel for those cold winters out West.  Green, black and white solids were the colors I chose to match the logo. 

As to the design of the quilt, I literally googled everything from "green quilts" to "sports quilts" to "flannel quilts" to get some ideas. Using my searches and quilt images, I found a wonderful Bento Box quilt made by Anya at Hills Creek Quilter. She made her quilt using the free tutorial posted by Film in the Fridge. I wanted the quilt to be bright, bold, and trendy, and this pattern fit the bill. Now I had a plan...

It was so quick and easy to sew the blocks together...

but admittedly, a little scary to cut each block in four.

Then the fun came back when the quarters were arranged and this bright and bold block appeared.

One block quickly became a stack.

I designed the centre block around the logo I had printed using Printed Treasures Printable Fabric.

The flimsy was very photogenic. You can tell this picture was taken in the spring before the trees had leafed out.

I sandwiched the quilt with cotton batting and flannel backing using a multitude of pins to baste the layers in place. I decided to machine quilt it using "stitch in the ditch" and off I went...

Woodworker Hubby caught me at the dining room table...there was no way this quilt and I would fit in my sewing corner! 

I added a few borders to the top and bottom to change the design from a square to a rectangle resulting in what I think is a perfect sized cuddle quilt.

I also added a little more interest to the quilt by appliqueing  a few football helmets on the front of the quilt. The binding was attached, a label added, and ta was ready for gifting. This quilt is now ready for SIL to enjoy the football season. I have a feeling it will be very happy in its new home. Go Riders! 

Next week we are hosting the 9th annual quilt show and sale at the historic St. David's Church in Port Hastings, NS. 

It runs from Thursday, August 7 through to Thursday, August 14th from 10-4 every day. I will be working there along with my quilty friends so please drop by to say hello and to see some wonderful treasures made by local quilters and members of the Ocean Waves Quilt Society. We will have a quilt set up on a frame in the church hall that the ladies will work on all week and there will be goodies to munch on like tea and oat cakes. Maybe I'll see you there?

The church is located at the rotary at the entrance to Cape Breton. Just look for the quilts blowing in the wind!

It's a great day to quilt!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I've Been a Little Busy This Week

Soaking up the sun at my sister's cottage...

From the deck, I can see the Northumberland Strait with Prince Edward Island in the background and the causeway to the island on the right. Life is a beach...

Just to let you know I am still a little immersed in the quilt world. This is what I am working on.

It is a fabric painting of a lighthouse that I purchased from textile artist Eileen Gidman in 2012 at Quilt Canada when it was held in Halifax. I have used Eileen's gorgeous art as the centre of a wall hanging I am making. I framed the piece with some borders, both solid and pieced. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but I am handquilting around the lighthouse, clouds, shed, fences, etc. When I am finished handquilting, I plan to machine quilt the rest of the quilt to give it some more texture, maybe using some wavy lines to represent the waves in the ocean?

It is a great day for quilting!