Sunday, April 30, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching 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 lives by engaging in this restorative practice. 

This week I finished the machine quilting of my Scrap Vortex quilt, and today I am hand stitching the binding. Isn't that a great piece of leaf fabric in the quilt backing?!?

How long do you think it will take me to stitch the 272" of binding? 
Is it possible to do this much binding in one day?  I could've easily finished it by machine, but I really enjoy hand stitching a binding and didn't want to miss out on one of my favourite parts of quiltmaking, just to meet my artificial goal of finishing this quilt in April. I stitched around one corner yesterday and have everything ready for today, including some arthritis cream for when my hands start to ache. Check back later tonight to see how I made out. If I finish, I will post a photo. If I don't finish, well... let's just be positive and hopeful!
What are you hand stitching today? Link up to your blog post below and tell us all about your project...


    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, April 28, 2017

Spiral Quilting

Progress is being made on machine quilting my UFO, but it's not done yet.
Here is a photo of one of the corners of the quilt and you can see the circular quilting lines out to the edge. So far it's laying fairly flat on the edges, which was my biggest concern with this quilting design. If everything isn't completely flat and well basted, you can end up with a teepee in the middle of the quilt and ruffles on the edges!
Also I have decided that it needs a dark scrappy binding, so I sorted through my basket of leftover binding ends and pulled out pieces to use. It will take extra time to construct a binding from so many smaller pieces, but it's perfect for this project. I hope it will be my Slow Sunday Stitching project to hand stitch the binding ... so exciting that the quilt is this close to finishing!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Grand Illusion Resurfaces

This quilt was a Quiltville mystery that started in November 2014. Although I enjoyed piecing it, and really liked the fabrics I had originally picked, it never really grew on me like most quilts do. I did make two changes that helped me to like the quilt more (removed the green and changed the border) but still it didn't make my heart sing. 
So I decided that it would be a comfort quilt to donate to my quilt guild. Once that was decided, the quilt project fell deep into the UFO closet!
This Saturday my quilt guild is having a Bee Day, so this is the quilt I'm going to spend the day working on. I am collecting the leftover blocks and yardage to be organized and gathering all the supplies I will need to move this quilt forward toward a finish.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No Scrap Left Behind!

I am celebrating with Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts as she kicks off a blog hop for her new book "No Scrap Left Behind". Amanda Jean is such a generous person and has freely shared so many wonderful tips, creative ideas and quiltalongs over the years. So when she publishes another book, I want to support her! As soon as I heard about the book I pre-ordered it and have enjoyed reading her new ideas and seeing her fabulous scrappy quilts. Click here to see the blogs on the celebration tour and enter the daily draws for free copies of the book.
With one week left to the finish line, my April UFO (which started with a Crazy Mom Quilts quiltalong!) has been pin basted. 
Only quilters can appreciate how much time it actually takes to go from a quilt top to being ready for quilting. The thread has to be chosen for the top and the bobbin, and the quilting design has to be figured out. The backing fabric has to be chosen, measured (and pieced sometimes) and pressed, the batting has to be cut and fluffed up in the dryer, and the quilt top has to be pressed. Then the layers have to be smoothed out, one on top of the other, and finally the pin basting can begin.
This quilt insisted that the quilting design had to be the spiral pattern, which is also something I learned from Crazy Mom Quilter Amanda Jean Nyberg from her tutorial here. I have quilted this design once before and remembered that the beginning of the spiral is a little tricky using the free motion foot, but when you change to the walking foot, it's a little easier. 

However, you are shoving half of the quilt continuously through the harp of your sewing machine, around and around, trying to keep the curves smooth. Shoving the quilt through the machine and repositioning it constantly means that your shoulders and hands will be aching, but it's the price you pay for leaving it to the last week and trying to finish it before the end of the month! LOL
Once you get to this stage of the quilting, when you are farther away from the centre of the spiral and moving to the outside of the quilt, it gets way more fun! There is less fabric to shove through and the curves are more gentle and easier to manage. I am lucky to have two large tables to spread the quilt out on when I am machine quilting and it holds the weight of the quilt (except the part that is on my lap, which in this photo is the top half of the quilt that is hanging over the front of the table).
An important spiral quilting tip - always make the spiral go clockwise, or the bulk of the quilt will accumulate to the right of the needle in the harp of the machine, instead of to the left of the needle and you will not be happy!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Finished Quilt Top

The Scrap Vortex is finally a quilt top!

I started this quilt in June 2015 and it has used up a ton of scraps. The piano key borders took a long time to prepare and attach, but I'm soooo happy with how it all turned out. It is rich with scrappy fabric memories and completely frenetic - just like my life! 
The quilt top measures 59" x 77".
I have a week left in April to get this quilt pin basted, quilted and bound. I feel like I'm on the amazing quilt race TV show...will she reach the finish line in time?!?!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times. To see some amazing improv quilts, hop over to the AHIQ link up.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of the art of slowly stitching by hand! We encourage you to slow down, breathe deeply, take a few stitches, and enjoy seeing the slowly created projects of hand stitching gurus from around the world.

I had a terrible flare of "gettingthingsdoneitis" this month, with many deadlines and not enough time. So now I have to recuperate, slow down and get myself calmed down. A few more embroidery stitches will be put into this Life Is Beautiful block. In fact my plan is to deliberately move SLOWLY like a sloth for the entire day. 
It used to be that the animal symbols of being slow were the turtle and the snail. But more recently the sloth has become the representative of slowness. Have you seen the Zootopia movie? Here's my favourite scene of sloths at the DMV:

It's Sunday, so slow down and stitch like a sloth!
And then link up your blog post below and share your slow stitching project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

The colour of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is "multicolour". That has been quite a challenge for me for my RSC projects, so I practiced with some cookies first! 
These are some of the easter cookies my daughter and I made last weekend. It was great fun to decorate each one differently. My favourites were the ones with all the icing colours. The colourful cookies created quite the family conflict, since she didn't want anyone to actually EAT these treats. Apparently she thought we should just admire the creations for a few weeks! They're long gone now!

I did finally make a sort of multicoloured block for my Circle of Squares project. My scrap collection doesn't seem to have much in the way of multicoloured fabrics, and this is the best I could do!

Here are the 9 blocks on the design wall.

To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to the weekly link up.