Thursday, January 31, 2013

Finished UFO!

Yep...right on the very last day of the month! 
And that is why deadlines work for me. If I didn't join the Lovely Year of Finishes, and commit to finishing this project in January, it would still be in pieces in the UFO closet. 
Here it is being quilted by my trusty old Brother 1500. It has been such a work horse machine for the last 12 years.
I tried a new (to me) quilting design for this flannel quilt - a variation of clam shells.  The shell shapes on the center snowball blocks were easy and things went downhill from there! LOL 

I think many (most!) of my shells are quite a bit wonky in places, and as I was quilting, I was thinking of ways to make it a little more organized and even the next time I try it. 
But overall it was a fun and quick design to quilt and I am happy with it.

This is the backing, with lots of trees, and moose, and pinecones. The piece I bought wasn't quite wide enough, so I added a green strip on one side.
I realized as I was making up the scrappy binding that there are scraps of four different flannel projects in this quilt! 

Hop over to the UFO link up to see the other projects that were finished in January.

Treadling on Thursday

I have been treadling away on my Singer 127, piecing together small bits from my scrap basket. It has been challenging at times, but I think I am getting better at it...practice, practice and more practice is the only way to improve!
I tried piecing the scraps on phone book pages...didn't like the feel of that.
Then I tried piecing the scraps on an old roll of adding machine tape...PERFECT! 
Just wide enough (3") to use up all these old bits and pieces. I am cutting the tape in lengths of about 12" as a foundation to piece onto, and usually have two or three strips going at the same time. SO FUN!
Here are the first 8 blocks trimmed up. I have no idea how I will set them together, maybe like chinese coins? 
Maybe I should use a setting with sashing like Mary's - click here to see her coin quilts.
I won't be able to sew rows together until I figure out how to treadle a good 1/4" seam, so I have lots of time to make blocks while I practice.
It will be fun to have a quilt made entirely on my Treadle!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Dresden Love

Have you seen the Dresdens posted on this amazing Dare to Dresden blog hop? So many creative variations of this block have been shared. It is really worth your time to visit these much inspiration, so little quilting time! LOL
I forgot to mention on yesterday's post that my very first experience with quilting was a Dresden! 
My mother-in-law made me one almost 29 years ago, and I still love it. You can read more about it here. It is a totally scrappy quilt with colours that are bright and happy, and hand quilted with beautiful designs.
It was the first and only quilt she ever made and I still enjoy it every day! 
Here is the list of blogs to visit today to be inspired by more Dresden quilts:

January 30th, 2013
Charlotte H @ “that Other Blog”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dare To Dresden

Welcome to the "Dare to Dresden" blog hop! 
The Dresdens on this blog hop have been absolutely stunning and I have enjoyed each day of this hop as much (and maybe even more!) than the others I have been a part of.  A big thanks to our organizer Madame Samm and chief scheduler and cheer leader Christine
I made a Dresden wallhanging last year (click here to see my Joy Spring Dresden) 
so for this blog hop
I challenged myself to make a "daring dresden" in a miniature version. 
It is made of civil war reproduction fabrics and ended up to be 8" square.

The center circle is hand embroidered and I beaded the tea dyed rickrack around the circle.  I finished off the little quilt with some hand quilted echoed lines around the plates.
"Dare to Dream" will be donated to the upcoming silent auction to raise money for aboriginal services at the college where I work.

My quilt model Molly says that she dares to dream of warmer weather so she can get a spring hair cut and see better!!

What are you daring to dream?!?

Here is the list of Dresden makers today...ENJOY!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Design Wall Monday #4

My January UFO is off the design wall, the backing is sewn, and the batting is cut. Next step is pin basting...only 4 more days in the month to finish this thing and I'm going to pull out all the stops to get it done!
So the design wall was free...what to put up there? 
I gathered up all the 6" scrappy crumb blocks that I've been sewing for two years with the Rainbow Scrappers, and put them up on the design wall for a blast of mid-winter energy boost. 
I LOVE it!
I think the pink blocks need to be between the red and the purple ones, and there need to be more pink blocks. I think I need to make more blue ones too. But it's coming along just great! 
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall postings today.
And come on back tomorrow to see my Dare to Dresden post. Here's a little teaser photo...I'm adding some beads tonight and can't wait to show you my mini Dresden!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching - Binding

I picked up our group quilt from the hand quilters this week. This is our donation quilt for the relief sale in May. You can see a photo of the top (without borders) here.  It has been at the quilters for a while, so I was happy to see it again.
Can you see the quilting design on the back here? It's a crosshatch in the center, and some wavy lines around the borders. The tube has all the binding wound up and ready to go.
It's a large quilt (for me!) and I made 400" of binding for this quilt. I machine stitched the binding to the quilt top yesterday, and today I plan to enjoy hand stitching the binding to the back. 
Link up your blog post below and show us what you are hand stitching today.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pink Crumbs and leaders/enders

I can't believe this is the last pink Saturday link up over at the Rainbow Challenge! I love pink, and haven't even made a dent in the pink scraps! Oh well, pink month will come around again next year!
Where did this month go?!?
made a few more 6" crumb blocks for my collection.
Do you need inspiration to make some crumb blocks (and to NOT throw out your little scraps?!?)... hop over to Jane's blog and see the three quilts she made all from crumb blocks - so beautiful! I dare you to go see her quilts and then try to resist sewing up a block or two right away! 

I also worked on my leader/ender project and cut more pink scraps for some tiny Alamo stars. Organization is the key to a leader/ender project. If I have blocks cut, I sew them up, and if I don't have anything cut, I use a scrap to start and stop my lines of stitching, and that just wastes thread and accomplishes nothing. 

Well, I guess it does result in a collection of "hairy guys"!
But what good are these things?!?
Why would a sane person even keep them?!?

When I have the 17 pieces cut for a star block, I put a little Clover clip on them so they all stay together. And then I put them in the leader/ender storage box I received from Julie 3 years ago. It keeps everything for this project in the same place...strips to cut, prepared block pieces, and finished blocks.

These are the two pink star blocks I stitched this 'em!

Hop over to SoScrappy and see the other pink scrap projects being sewn.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Night Sew-In's Friday Night Sew-In!

I'm putting on my flannel PJ's, joining Bonnie for Quilt Cam at 9pm, and doing some hand quilting.   
But first, I have to hop over to see the Dare to Dresden posts today...have you checked these out?!? 
Yesterday's Dresdens were amazing!

Corner of Easy Street

I just had to sew up a corner of my Easy Street mystery to see how it was going to look.
I wish my greys were darker and it looks very green! 
Oh well, I am familiar with this uncomfortable stage of making a mystery quilt.
I know I need to "push on" and eventually either it will grow on me, or I will find the perfect person to gift it to! I sure am enjoying sewing up the blocks, so have decided to focus on the journey, not the destination!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Visit Your Quilt Shop!

Today is "Visit Your Quilt Shop" day!
There is so much to read and enjoy on the website - click here.
I won't have time to visit any quilt shops today, but it is a great reminder to all of us that "if you don't use it, you lose it" so support your local quilt shops!
My closest quilt shop (Lyn Bell Designs) is closing due to retirement of the owner, and I was very sad to hear about that.
At my last visit to the shop, I bought some wonderful flannels to piece for the back of my January UFO, so it will be somewhat of a reversible quilt. This week I finished sewing the quilt top together and made the top and bottom borders wider to give the quilt more length. I am excited to use up all this old flannel. This is a combination of leftovers from three different projects! Now I have one more week to quilt it before the end of the month...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

National Polka Dot Day

Yesterday was National Polka Dot Day and I didn't even learn about it until today. I missed the chance to celebrate one of my favorite things!
I read about it over at Nifty Quilts... what great eye candy! And for more polka dot enjoyment, visit Barbara Brackman's blog and Carol's Polka Dot Chicken blog.

It seems like a perfect day to share my two favorite polka dot quilts. 

I made the stars wallhanging for the Dots on Dots blog hop,  and the Disappearing 9 Patch was made for my daughter's bed a few years ago...all pink and purple dot fabrics, with circular quilting designs.
Hope I get to play with some polka dots after work about you? Did you miss the celebration on the 22nd?  Well, now you know...go get out your dots!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Liberated Piecing - Free Zone

Do you have Victoria's new book
I can't wait to see it!
Last year I made two blocks for her Santa quilt (you can read more about the project and see my blocks on this post). Victoria has finished the Santa quilt top - click here to see it. It's amazing! 
I know how difficult it actually is to sew together so many different sized blocks, and if you've done it before, you are nodding your head right now! Victoria makes it sound easy, but it's really not!
I used this technique for making my "Words to Live By" quilt and I think it utilizes a different part of a quilter's brain than traditional piecing does. I find I have to be in the "free zone" - a creative space where nothing fits together, no measuring is allowed, lines are not straight, seams don't line up, and it's ALL GOOD! 
Once you know how to get to that zone, and if you like it there, it can be so fun. Making crumbs blocks is one way to access that part of your quilter's brain, and then you can expand and use the same concepts to piece quilts. 
I've been making crumb blocks this past week to use up some pink scraps for the RSC, and somehow this photo of the perfect snack (a cracker, a cucumber slice, and some dill cheese) is on my camera! I don't remember taking this photo... I must have been in the "free zone"!?! I do remember piecing the block, and will post more on Saturday's scrappy stay tuned!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday and Mid Month UFO Report

For 2013, I signed up for the "Lovely Year of Finishes" and it is time for the mid-month report (here and here) ...yikes!
Okay...true confessions time. 
I did not even look at this UFO until I knew it was time for the mid-month report, and not wanting to be a UFO deadbeat and report a complete lack of progress to something I just committed myself to do, I stitched on the square borders real quick! 
Pathetic, I know!
This is an old photo, so the quilt looks a little different today, but I took away that light flannel strip on the top and bottom (too distracting) and am just adding the dark border, cut as wide as I have enough flannel for. I plan to use up both the green and the blue flannels.
I did also buy some flannel FQ's to stitch together for a backing, so that is also a bit of progress.
Will I have it done by the end of the month?
Of course! (she says hopefully!)
What else is distracting me?!? The Dare to Dresden blog hop starts this week, and I don't have my project finished yet! My day to post isn't until January 29th, so I still have some time. It has been fun playing with some reproduction scraps to make my little far the blades look like tiny little boats! 
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see the projects other quilters are working on today (I have no idea why my link is posted twice there?!?)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quilty Adventure

Yesterday I was invited to teach a miniature quilt making class for the Hamilton Quilters GuildIt's not too far from my house, and should have been easy to get to, but just because I've been somewhere once, doesn't mean I can get there again, if they stick a new round-about on my path! 
Study this diagram and see how helpful it is! 


I detest round-abouts!!

So, this is the first sign that confused me.
Okay...I want #8.

Now what does this sign in the middle of the highway mean!?!?
Is highway #8 gone now?
Where is it?!? I need #8 east?!?

There should be a little sign on the bottom that reads..."for those of you who screwed up at the roundabout and are frantically searching for highway #8 east, make a U-turn right now"!  
Clearly I need to be on the signage committee!

And this is the sign I missed first time through the round-about when I was trying not to hit anyone, while I figured out my exit.
Oh...if you want to go east, you need to turn right/south as you exit the round-about, 
and you don't actually keep driving east until you end up on the 403 east to Toronto, panicking and unable to turn around, when you really want to go to Flamboro, which is supposed to be to the east!  
Breathe...breathe...try to access your logical left brain problem solving skills...breathe :)

Needless to say, I was late for the class (OMG) and I'm sure they thought I was not going to show up. I got a few more grey hairs yesterday I'll tell you that!! 
And I'm asking Santa for a GPS next Christmas!
But eventually I found them and what a great classroom space they have, with lots of windows, tables to use, and room to spread out.
I was so happy to see a former mini quilt student from about 13 years ago (Hi Jan!) and my former neighbour who lived 2 doors down from me when I was a teenager, and whose niece is now dating my son (Hi Sandra!) ...what a small world it is sometimes!
And what a great day it was!
These quilters were game to tackle anything, and they fearlessly tried out some of the tiny little blocks. They had great scrap bins and fabric collections to make projects from. And there was not one bit of swearing throughout the mini quilt challenges of the day! 
Here they are holding various blocks and projects and mini quilts.  Thanks so much to all the students for your patience (especially Barb) and for such a fun quilty day!

Slow Sunday Stitching

It has been such a whirlwind week, and I am sooooo looking forward to some relaxing hand stitching time today!  I can't wait to put a few more quilting stitches in my "Journey of a Quilter". (Later today I will write a blog post about the quilting adventure I had yesterday!)

I also hope to finish stitching down the binding on the "Words to Live By" quilt. What a great backing I have on this quilt...needles and thread!
And I had to put on purple nail polish to stitch down a purple binding, right?!?!
I was amazed at how many people who posted links on last week's Slow Stitching Sunday link up were working on bindings...lots of quilts are being finished to start the year off right! Post a link below to your hand stitching post and share what you are hand stitching today.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Strange beginnings

Have you ever been inspired to make a quilt because of a song?  

This is the beginning of the "Wonky Donkey" Quilt... 
donkeys and boots!

My friend Nicki gave us the Wonky Donkey book for Christmas a few years ago and introduced me to this crazy song. 

Then my friend Barb found a quilt pattern of the same name, and just had to buy it, so a new quilt project was born!  I hope to find a couple of "go with" fabrics from the stash and cut up the fabric to sew into a Wonky Donkey quilt at retreat in February.
Hop over to the youtube video and listen to the song and see if you are inspired to start a Wonky Donkey quilt?!?'s a "brain worm" song... you'll be singing it all day long!

Sometimes new things come together in life in such a creative and bizarre way. 

Maybe this will be the theme of 2013!?!

Hee Haw!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Place Like Home - Quilt Whispering

This is a wallhanging project that I have been working on for a while but it got stalled and I couldn't figure out what the problem was.
I am well aware that this is the stage where a project can begin the death march to the UFO closet!
I was determined to figure out the problem.
***Is it too hard or technically challenging? 
No...this is an easy and fun pattern to sew.
***Don't like the fabric or colour combination?
No...I was loving working with the plaid scraps that were leftover from other quilts I've made.
***Losing interest and working on too many other things?
Well, yes, but I still really wanted to finish this one.
And then I came to me. The problem was that I really love it!  So why did that stall the project then?  
Because apparently I didn't want to give it away as a Christmas gift as I had intended, and that is why it just wasn't coming together in December.  I am planning to move this year, and this quilt wants to come with me wherever I move to!

Well, why didn't you just say so? LOL
Sometimes you have to be a patient "quilt whisperer" to discern the problem!!
Once I figured that out, it has been going great! I have made a few changes to the blocks...different kinds of buildings, made lighter coloured windows (to show that the lights are on and someone is home!) and mixed up the row layouts, etc.  So fun!
What is stalling one of your projects? Just go whisper in it's ear... "what is your problem?" and see what you learn!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Treadling on Tuesday - Bobbins

My non-quilting friend Nancy "found" some shuttle bobbins to fit my 127 Singer Treadle! She won't reveal her source...she said she has "a friend, who has a friend"...likely story! Maybe I don't even want to know?!? These are so bright and shiny compared to the old one that was in the machine (at the bottom of my hand).
So I needed to relearn again how to wind the bobbin!
I re-watched the video that Bonnie Hunter posted last week (click here to see that) and then I started.
Does anyone know if the little spring where my scissors are pointing is a thread guide? It doesn't show that piece in the manual, and if it is a thread guide, I'd have to pry it out a bit because the thread can't fit in there as it is.
I found a blog post from a quilter that has a similar 127 model, and it has a different kind of thread guide around the same area - check it out here. And looking at the photos on the TreadleOn site about winding a vibrating shuttle bobbin, I think it's probably not a thread guide.
So there it goes...
winding the bobbin and all seems fine.
I was just admiring the beautiful gold decals and all of a sudden we developed an issue!  Should've stopped when it was going well and not got all distracted with the pretty machine!! LOL
On the left side of the bobbin, the thread began spilling over the edge for no apparent reason. This hasn't happened before. Is it too full? Doesn't look too full? Any ideas?!?
Well, I just unwound the last part of the thread and am treadling again using this new bobbin. I am so tickled with myself for successfully winding another bobbin and rethreading the shuttle...woohoo! Doesn't take much to thrill me!! LOL
Next Tuesday, I'll show you the scrap project I am sewing on my treadle.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Design Wall Monday #2

Easy Street is growing in my quilting room!
I have 9 blocks made: 5 A blocks and 4 B blocks, and all the parts ready for the remaining 16 blocks.
It's looking very green to me right now, and I'm not loving it, but with the right borders and binding, and maybe quilting it in purple thread, I'm sure I'll like it more!
Hop over to Patchwork Times to check out more design walls.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

I love Slow Sunday Stitching!
I get up early before anyone is awake in the house and when it's still dark outside, put on my new coffee maker (which I love), and start my day with some relaxing quilting and meditation.
This is the block I just finished quilting and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

I was hoping to get the binding on my Words quilt to stitch down today, but that didn't happen yet. 

So I'll be putting in a few more quilting stitches in my Journey of a Quilter (pattern by Leanne Beasley). I want to try these discs that are called "under thimbles". 

They are supposed to eliminate the injury to your fingers that are under the quilt that start to bleed after continuous needle pricks. 
I found two different kinds to try - one with dimples, and one without.  
Have you tried them? Any tips?
What are you hand stitching this week? Share a link to your blogpost and show us what project has captured your fancy!