Monday, August 29, 2016

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall today is Scrap Dance Tango blocks. This was a mystery from Carole at From My Carolina Home, which started in January and the reveal was in June. My blocks haven't made an appearance on the blog since June. At that time they were my leader-ender project, but since then that role has been totally taken over by the Clarissa hourglass blocks, and the tango blocks were just sitting quietly in their tin waiting for some attention. 
In June I was ready to start joining the blocks but was stuck at a decision point. I liked all the layout options that I played with on the design wall and really couldn't settle on which one to sew. 
Finally I convinced myself that they were all great and I couldn't go wrong with any of the choices, so I went with the layout that was easiest to piece. These are complex blocks and it would be easy to get them turned around and mixed up, so why give myself an extra headache?  I decided to start by sewing 4 blocks together at a time. Seeing these 9 larger blocks on the design wall makes me wonder about adding some sashing and maybe cornerstones? 
Now there are two things that are bugging me: 1) that blue square that calls attention to itself for some unknown reason, and 2) that scrap of fabric in the top row middle block that looks like creepy eye balls. I might have to do a scrapectomy and remove them!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the community of slow stitchers where we celebrate the art of creating things with our hands, where we connect to our ancestors by using time-honoured techniques to make things we could easily buy for a fraction of the cost, and where we recognize the value we add to our own lives by engaging in this restorative practice. 
This week I finished machine quilting my UFO of the month and am so happy that I get to hand stitch the binding today. Binding is one of my favourite things to do, and this is one of my favourite places to do it! You wouldn't know it looking at this photo, but this is right in the heart of the city where I live. There is a beautiful river and walking trails, and stitching benches. Well, maybe the benches were made for resting, but I often use them for stitching.
Did you know there is such a thing as "binding needles"? I did not know that until recently and so of course I bought a package to try them out. I will let you know if they are smoother and/or faster than using any other regular needle.

What are you hand stitching today? 
We encourage you to pick up a needle and thread, and join us as we make time in our busy lives to rest, to breathe, and to stitch. Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project with us.


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Friday, August 26, 2016

Sort of Circa 2016

Well last week's Circa 2016 block went right off the rails over here! It was the rail fence block and it just did not appeal to me. It looked too big for this project, and I to the brilliant idea to make a smaller block since that worked out so well for me last week. But once I got started I had trouble with the math, and started slicing it up, and it didn't turn out anything like a rail fence. I didn't love it, so didn't make another one like it! We were supposed to make 3 rail fence blocks, so I will have to make up 2 more blocks somewhere along the way.

Here is a small sampling of some of the blocks I've made so far for my Circa quilt. 
Pop over to Temecula to see what we're supposed to be sewing this week.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Non Quilting Requests

There are many creative sewing tasks that a quilter is often expected to perform. I detest mending and hemming pants as I may have mentioned several times over the years! But there are also unusual requests that come up from time to time.

Here are a few I have reluctantly completed recently...

*sewing more student badges for my brave sister who is going back to school for her nursing degree

*repairing half eaten toys for irresistible grand dog Max

*sewing chair cushions for the dining room chairs

*making head bands for my daughter's paintballing boyfriend. This is by far the oddest sewing request I have had. 
But he had a sample that I could make a pattern from, he purchased all the supplies, and he was so excited about getting new "custom made" head bands, how could I possibly say "no"?!? The ones on the left and the right have the black nylon fabric that hangs down from the head band to keep the sun off the top of his head and his neck. It had to have a sweatband where the forehead is... what a production that was! Never again! Unless of course he loves them :)

*stitching two lines of thread across my Dad's new socks so he will know which of his thousands of black socks go together!

Okay everyone, I'm done with these "non quilting" sewing tasks! 
We will now resume our regularly scheduled quilting tasks!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Quilting Prep

Although I already have one or two projects in the hand quilting stage, I decided to go ahead and prepare the bow tie quilt top for quilting. Why?
Because quilting is my hobby and I want it to be fun. So I work on whatever inspires me and makes me feel happy. And today, I want to quilt my civil war reproduction bow tie quilt, but first I have to prepare it. It's actually a lot of work to get a quilt top ready for quilting. 
First you need the appropriate batting for the type of quilting you're going to do, and it has to be the right size for your quilt top. This is my favourite batting for hand quilting - Dream Cotton in either the 'request' or 'select' loft. And this one is the perfect size. Excellent!

Next you need a backing that is the right size.  I bought this piece of Jo Morton yardage on sale, not knowing what it would be used for. It's perfect to back these civil war reproduction bow ties.

And once you have everything ready, then it's time for pin basting. I clamp the backing to the table, spread out the batting and then the quilt top making sure there are no wrinkles. It takes me about an hour to put in the safety pins. 
And after all that ... it's finally ready for quilting!
I like this quilt so much it might not even hit the UFO closet! Now that is a rare occurrence!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Aurifil BOM on the design wall

If you follow my blog you know that I have been making the Aurifil Blocks of the Month since January. It's a free program and all the blocks are still there... it's never to late to start! This month the block pattern is by Angela Walters - click here to read about her. Most quilters know her as a machine quilter extraordinaire. Her block pattern is called "All Roads Lead to Mo". Here are the pieces all measured, cut and ready to sew.

There are only 2 fabrics in this block and it is hard for me to limit myself to just using 2 fabrics, so I enticed myself to do it by using one of my favourite pieces of yardage by Sweetwater. 
If there is sashing in this quilt, I will use this fabric. Yum!

This was a fun block to sew and went together like a dream. If you make a lot of complex quilt blocks you know how rare this it for everything to fit together on the first try. And you also know how that it makes you feel like doing the happy dance! It almost makes me feel like I could tackle the Indian Orange PeelYou can see more versions of this month's block over at Pat Sloan's link up.

Here are the 8 blocks I have made so far this year on the design wall. I'm so glad I started this BOM since each block has been so interesting to sew.

To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

This is the tale of the embroidery block that took most of the summer of 2016 to complete ... talk about SLOW stitching! It travelled to Goderich, Port Elgin, Montreal, and Killarney, and still wasn't finished. This photo shows part of the reason for the delay... amazing weather for other activities like canoeing, kayaking, and camping. You can't be stitching when you're supposed to be paddling, and the sun is going down!

Here is the block in progress partially stitched on the shores of Lake George. We were camping and the scenery and weather was glorious.

Life Is Beautiful block #27

And finally here is the block which I finally finished after we arrived home. This one is definitely not one of my favourite blocks ... I despise chaos and have no interest in embracing it! But it was an interesting block to stitch with all those circles, and it holds many wonderful summertime memories.
I'll be prepping the next embroidery block today.
What are you hand stitching? If you have a needle and thread in your hand today, we want to see what you're making!  Link up your blog post below and share your project.


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