Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It's Always a Great Day for Quilting

The weather continues to amaze us in Cape Breton. We have had double digit temperatures right into November, with just a few cool days now and again. Today is a cool one, perhaps an indicator that winter may really be around the corner?

Because there was no sign of snow on the weekend, I found a window of opportunity to head to New Brunswick to visit family. Woodworker Hubby is the skate sharpener during the winter at the local rink so is pretty busy on the weekends and doesn't have time to miss me!  So with a little over three hours of driving time, I headed out and got to bask in the warmth of sisters' hugs and mom's smiles! My family is so generous when I arrive, from excellent accommodations, to fabulous meals and so much more, that I wanted to gift them with a little something. I had been playing with my Christmas fabrics last week so brought a few of these projects along to leave with them. Perhaps they'll think of me when it is time for them to decorate for the holidays!  

A little close up of the fabrics. Don't you love the little red trucks with Christmas trees on them?

My favorite hand work in my quilting chair is making hexies, so I found a great way to use them on this little runner! 

Of course I managed to visit a quilt shop on the way through to pick up some more Christmas fabric at Mrs. Pugsley's Quilt Emporium in Amherst. A group of quilters in the guild close by invited some of us from town to attend a workshop being put on by Karen Neary of Sew Karen-ly on the 14th. Karen will be teaching us the Log Cabin Diamond to use in a Christmas Tree Skirt. I can't wait! Karen's work is stunning and award-winning. To attend a workshop with her at the helm is such a treat! She also sells Aurifil thread so I must send her a little note to see if she will bring a few spools with her. My favorite thread colour to do free motion quilting is grey, Mako Aurifil 2610, 50 wt. and I'll need some more! 

Back to the fabric...I had ordered some great Christmas fabrics from Mrs. Pugsley's in Amherst in the Forever Green and Marble lines designed by Holly Taylor for Moda and wanted to coordinate a few more fabrics.

I decided to drop by in person to see what else she had. I found a few perfect wintry blacks and this luscious Christmas text fabric, Winter's Grandeur for Robert Kaufman, that followed me home! It is more beige than white...my picture of it is a little deceiving. 

Tomorrow is Wednesday, the day of the week our Tea Time Quilters guild meets at the church to quilt. Because I don't hand quilt any more (ongoing wrist issues), I set up my little My Excel Janome workhorse beside their quilt frame and I sew, sew, sew while the ladies quilt, quilt,quilt. I usually take along some pretty easy projects to work on so I don't have to do much thinking. Last week I sewed lots of 2.5" squares of Christmas fabric together into rows and rows. Here is a sneak peak of a special project coming together. You can tell how much I love those red trucks!

Before I go, I wanted to mention a blogger that I have been following for years. I met Carol at Just Let Me Quilt in the days of Blog hops, then hosted by Madame Samm. Do any of you remember Think Christmas, a blog hop I hosted from July 30 - August 3 in 2012? Almost 75 people participated.  Here is a link that tells you more about it HERE. What a time we had in the "olden days"!  We virtually met dozens/hundreds of online quilty blog friends, participated in almost daily giveaways, and was inspired through the projects and free tutorials that were offered on everyone's blog.  I still follow many of the quilters I met then,though, to be honest, many blogs have been discontinued over the years due to the popularity of pinterest, instagram and facebook. It seems we are all sewing more and blogging less? And commenting less? Or is that just me? 

Anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to Carol and to thank her for reminding me of those good old days through her Thankful, for the Blogging World post HERE. The days it all started! I loved reading Carol's post. It was a little trip down memory lane. I look forward to continuing to follow her for lots of quilty inspiration and to hear about those fabulous monkey boys! Please visit Carol's blog to see what she is up to. Maybe you'll want to follow her annual Virtual Cookie Exchange expanded to include Christmas traditions and Christmas quilts! Click HERE for more information. Thanks, Carol, sending lots of smiles and hugs all the way from Cape Breton! 

It's always a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

And what a time was had at the 10th annual Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival!  The Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet, NSQBQ, four quilt blogging friends for life, with our very own quilt display, talking and sharing with quilters from everywhere! Who are we?  We are Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World, Linda at Scrapmaster, Karen at KaHolly, and me, The Cuddle Quilter.

We were originally booked to set up at the Amherst Curling Club, but renovations were ongoing and the location wouldn't have worked well for us or visitors to our venue. So in a moment's notice, and agreement from the Festival committee, we changed venues and headed to the Amherst Town Hall to set up in the lobby. This location is also the Festival Headquarters so it was a great place to be with lots of excited people coming through the doors to get information about the Festival and doubly pleased to see our quilt display when they arrived.

I think between the four of us, we had over 150 quilty items on display!

Our quilts ran the gamut from traditional to modern, including zippered pouches, landscape prints, postcards, wall hangings, Christmas pieces and quilts in every size-we had it all! Many thanks to Linda for arranging for the use of quilt frames from the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild. We also used some laundry drying racks and an awesome custom-made quilt ladder created by Sheila's husband.

Miss Linda surprised me with her camera! 

Lots of quilty stories, lots of meals together, and lots of hugs! We took turns visiting the four other quilt shows, the Zonta Bazaar, and several quilt shops and pop-up shops. What a whirlwind weekend! 

Left to right, Karen, Lesley, Linda, and Sheila.
Rumour has it we'll be back again next year, October 12 and 13th at the 11th annual Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.  Maybe we'll see you there?

It's a great day for quilting!

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 all...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!