Thursday, October 31, 2013

Startitis raging case of "Startitis" has flared up again.  
*I convince myself it's just a wee project to fit in between everything else that I am working on. 
From Quiltville
*Plus, it will just be a quick little project like my Pumpkin Seeds quilt. 
*And besides that, I can give it away for a Christmas gift.
*Plus it doesn't take much fabric, so it is basically a FREE project from your stash!
Have I convinced you yet?!?
What are you waiting for?!?! Hop over to Temecula Quilts and get the fabric requirements and cutting instructions for the "Countdown to Christmas" Sew Along!  
Sewing starts tomorrow.
I'm starting with these reds from the "Mama Said Sew" fabric line. Will I be all cut out and ready to sew? Or will I actually work on the 2 wedding quilts I need to finish, or the 2 quilts I have agreed to machine quilt for my friend, or the UFO that I have not even worked on this month, or the Swoon blocks that I have imperfectly sewn?!?!?  Hmmm...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Treadle Vacation

What a beautiful morning to treadle! 

As I treadle away feeling the sun on my face, it almost seems like I'm on vacation on a sunny southern island. Until I walk outside and discover that it is ONE degree! 
Nope... I am still in Canada!
But I can enjoy my mini-vacation moment!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Healthy Striving or Perfectionism?

I am working on my Swoon blocks this week. 

They are enormous 24" blocks and I feel like I am in a distorted "Alice in Wonderland" quilting room where I am a little mini quilter working with gigantic pieces of fabric! It is really strange.

But even more strange is the many weird and wonderful ways I am finding to incorrectly sew these blocks together! 

I have been thinking a lot about perfectionism lately and wrote about it last week (click here to read that post). Perhaps these Swoon blocks are just helping me to work on my perfectionistic tendencies and encouraging me to "put my money where my mouth is"!  Brene Brown says: "When perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun. And fear is the annoying backseat driver." 
I don't want perfectionistic thoughts to be affecting my quilting fun, but my fear right now is that I will hate this quilt! I realize that yellow is quite an overpowering colour... a little goes a long way.  I sure hope I like this imperfect quilt in the end, and will focus on enjoying the process of sewing pieces together, unsewing them, and re-sewing them again!
I  am currently taking a wonderful e-course online with Brene Brown called "The gifts of imperfection". I really liked her book and like the course even more. I have learned that I must have compassion for my mistakes, demonstrate courage by taking risks (by posting them on my blog), and establish connection with others (only those who are not perfect quilters!)
What are you sewing today? Hopefully you are making some mistakes too and enjoying your times of unsewing.
To see the perfect and not so perfect design walls of other quilters, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

I am enjoying some hand quilting on my Journey quilt today, and I will be enjoying the last days of fall weather. Nothing is as soothing (for me) as quilting by the water. It is truly heaven!

This is the block I have just finished on the top right corner of the quilt. I am "working" on the last two blocks.

The leaves have mostly fallen down now, so it's time to start raking. But that's a job for another day... not today. 

It's Slow Stitching Sunday

Today it's all about relaxing, being in the moment, moving slowly and taking my time.
What are you stitching by hand today? Link your blog update below and share your project with us.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Scrappy Saturday

I have made a bit of progress on sewing my 1" black scraps this week for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I am sewing the blocks on my little white Singer Featherweight, which does a great job of making these tiny blocks for my Omigosh quilt. (You can see my great Canadian Fall quilt hanging on the wall in the background of this photo. It was a row-along project with a group of quilting friends from about 15 years ago. I enjoy hanging it up every fall!)

I decided to make the tiny 9 patch block backgrounds all scrappy neutrals, and thing it's working well so far. Black is an easy colour to work with in these blocks because of the contrast. 
To see what other scrappy quilters are stitching with their black scraps, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another machine?

Are you kidding me?
Who needs another sewing machine? Certainly not me!
When I was at my brother's house this summer, there was a little second hand shop beside the grocery store that had a pretty blue sewing machine in the window. I went in there to visit the machine a couple of times over the summer. As my brother got sicker, I thought more and more about that machine. 

Why? I have no idea!  Perhaps a happy distraction?
I decided that if it was not sold by the day of my brother's funeral, it was meant for me and I was going to buy it. 
And so I did.

It is such a pretty blue White machine, don't you think? I have never seen one like it before. And in such pristine condition!  It came with the original manuel, box of accessories, and a cute little oil can.
I have no idea how old this machine is. It is hard to find information online about dating White machines. If you have any leads, please leave me a comment. 

I am sure my piecing will improve immediately with this new Precision Super Deluxe sewing machine!

Good things about her:
-she is so pretty and blue and shiny!
-she only cost $50!

Bad things about her:
-she weights a ton and I can barely lift her. No plastic parts on this baby! Just look underneath this machine. She is meant to live and work hard forever. Maybe that should be under the category of "good things about her"?!?
We are currently negotiating about what project she wants to be all hers to sew. I plan to assess her abilities and decide what kind of a project would be best suited for her.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Mystery Quilt

 From Quiltville of course! 
I am still swooning away in my sewing room, and am enjoying sewing along with the new QuiltCam episode.
I am just popping in quickly today to ask you.... did you see that Bonnie Hunter has posted the fabric requirements for the her upcoming mystery - Celtic Solstice?  I think I have done almost every mystery that Bonnie has posted on her blog, and am looking forward to sewing this one too. My Swoon scraps are going to be in it for sure.  We have lots of time to collect the fabrics as the mystery doesn't actually start until the end of November.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Swoon Procrastination

I really wanted to work on my Swoon quilt over the summer.  I collected all the fabric and finished one test block but kept procrastinating working on it. There was even a Swoonalong to help me out. The link up is posted until mid November, so I might make the deadline yet.

The problem was that I don't like to cut a whole quilt at once. It's boring.  And I needed to cut a total of 600 pieces! If you like math, I needed 75 pieces per block x 8 blocks. That's a lot of boring figuring and cutting!
I had all the fabric chosen for each block, but just couldn't convince myself to get that cutting done. I guess that's the part of quilting I like the least.
From Rock My Roll

But I finally forced myself to get it done, and I have all the pieces cut out for the remaining 8 blocks and I am ready for a marathon sewing session.  If you're looking for me, I'm at my sewing machine!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lucky Day at the Quilt Show

I attended the Dufferin Piecemakers quilt show on Sunday and what fun it was to see some old friends and faithful blog readers. The quilts at the show were amazing, and we spent almost the entire 6 hours that the show was open just walking around, looking at quilts and visiting the 15 vendor booths. If quilt shows are going to be this amazing, and I have to be on my feet for that long, I'm going to have to start working out!
I was happy to see a wide variety of hand and machine quilting, all sizes of quilts, using a huge variety of techniques and fabrics. You know it's a wonderful display of quilts when it is impossible to pick your favorite!

One of the best things about the day was my great luck with the mini quilt raffle.
I bought 6 raffle tickets, and won 3 draws!  

These are the lovely quilts that came home with me!
That is pretty good luck, don't you think?!?!
But to top that, I met a lovely quilter at the show that I have not seen for a few years and she gifted me with a pattern she knew I would enjoy called "A Quilter's Dream" by Crab-apple Hill.
Thank you so much Debbie for the gift and the encouragement. I really look forward to stitching this!
I was feeling so darn lucky, I thought that I must buy myself a lottery ticket. But I have never done that before, so my trusty friend Barb had to tell me where to go, and what to ask for. 
And then yet another great thing happened... the lottery ticket seller asked me if I was over 30 years old! I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants - like old ladies sometimes do! 
So, with my new found amazing luck, I can't wait to see what this week holds! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Carrie Nation blocks

Participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the last couple of years has been such an awesome experience.  I have to say thank you again to our host Angela for such an inspired idea. It has really helped me to get my scraps more under control, and into finished blocks and quilts.
Since green month (April) I have been making some 8" Carrie Nation blocks using scraps of the colour of the month. I just finished a few more blocks last week and decided to get them all out (25 so far) and put them up on the design wall to see how the project is progressing.

I must admit... I LOVE it so far!
I am using Bonnie Hunter's concept of "neutrals" in this project. You can read her great tips here.
Putting a project up on the design wall can really give a it (or you!) a boost of creative energy, if you like what you see.
And I DO! 
I think I'll make about 75 more blocks. 
What are you laughing it? It could happen!
If you like these blocks too, the pattern is here. Get sewing!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times...enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Slow Sunday Imperfect Stitching

I am going to a quilt show today. I know that I will see many beautiful and perfectly constructed quilts. I will feel a sense of awe and by inspired by the great beauty, and yet, I know I will likely come away from the show feeling a bit defeated about my own quilts. 
Ever since I saw some of the Gee's Bend quilts (my blog post is here) I desire to see quilts differently. I learned that when I look at a quilt, I want to be inspired, but mostly I want to experience an emotional connection, and to have a visceral reaction that is not related to perfect construction. I want to seek out the interesting, the unusual, and the memorable. 
For many years when attending a quilt show I would take 3 photos of my most favorite things - it might be a bit of quilting design, or a combination of colours, and sometimes a whole quilt... but something that made my heart sing.

Unpopped knot at the base of the heart!
It's staying there!
Perfection does not make my heart sing. 
It makes me feel stressed. 
I enjoyed reading Joshua Becker's thought provoking article on "Life is Not Perfect. Fortunately". He said "we can find contentment and joy even in the midst of defect".

Which is one of the reasons why I decided that as I quilt my "Journey of a Quilter" to not use any marking tools. 

I wanted my journey to be congruent with what I believe - that the imperfections are what make each person, each life, and each quilt unique and special in their own way. 

As a result, none of my quilting lines are an exact 1/4" away from the seam, nor are they perfectly straight. I am having a wonderful quilty time on my journey, imperfect stitches/steps and all!

When I get home from the quilt show, I'll be enjoying some imperfect slow stitching on my Journey quilt. 
How about you? What are you hand stitching today?
Link up your blog post below and share your imperfect project with us!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - Black

I have been sorting through my black scraps this week for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The biggest challenge for me in using up scraps is getting them into useable sizes for specific projects.

You have no idea how long it took me to organize this!

There are piles of cut pieces ready for several different projects - a finished pumpkin seed block plus 2 more prepared for hand applique, a pile of leader/ender 3" spool blocks, some 1" strips for Omigosh, and some pieces for Carrie Nation blocks. That's a lot of black and white fun just waiting for me to sew my way through this month!

This week I sewed three Carrie Nation blocks and finished a red one from August, and liked them so much I am going to get them all out and put them on the design wall for Monday's post.
Check out more blog postings at SoScrappy to see what other quilters are making with their black scraps this month .

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Finishing the Pumpkin Seeds

Since the Featherweight machine is not recommended for machine quilting, and the feed dogs cannot be lowered, I decided to do the machine quilting on the Pumpkin Seeds quilt with my Brother 1500 machine.

I quilted a stipple pattern in the middle and tried to make pumpkin seed shapes on the borders. 

It was fun and things were going well until I remembered that I was not considering the 1/4" seam of the binding, which covered up much of the edge quilting. See what I mean? 
The binding covers up the edge of the quilting design.
Oh well...I hope I remember this the next time I try this quilting idea!

Here is my finished "Pumpkin Seed" quilt hanging on my clothesline. It measures 18.5" square. I didn't put a hanging sleeve on it since it is going to be a tabletopper on my dining room table.

Here is a very resilient Morning Glory in my backyard that wanted to be part of the photo shoot today. So pretty and still flowering in mid October!  
Many thanks to Cheri for a fun quilt-along.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

And speaking of pumpkin seeds...

I started a new project.
It's Google's fault.
All I did was Google "pumpkin seeds quilt block" and I found a little quilt-along over at the Quilts by Cheri blog that was too sweet to resist.
So, I guess it's Google's and Cheri's fault! 
I used one orange fabric, and went scrappy on the 48 HST blocks to use up some beige/tan odds and ends.

I decided to piece this little project on my white Featherweight machine, which I call "Sweet Baby Jayne". 
This machine makes a perfect 1/4" seam, so the blocks came out the right size every time! I really enjoy sewing on this machine. In addition to enjoying the gentle sounds and the lovely stitches of the featherweight, no matter what else is going on in my life, it reminds me how blessed I am to have wonderful, generous friends (if you missed the original posting, you can read the story here). 

The wonderful feelings of working with this machine were briefly interrupted by realizing that I had exactly the right amount of orange fabric, and I mean I just squeaked by. 
Scared cartoon boy
Cartoon from McGill blog
There were a few tense moments after I had cut the binding and realized I still needed 4 more 2" squares but had no fabric left. One square came from the end of the binding, and the other 3 squares were pieced from scraps that were already in the trash. That was cutting it a little too close for comfort!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin Seeds

I very rarely do not post a Design Wall Monday photo. But there was nothing on my wall yesterday, and I didn't want to post a photo of my blank wall! 
The reasons for the blankness are numerous...
1)  Fall is my favorite time of year, and we are having such amazing fall weather with warm temperatures and spectacular colour, that I just can't stay indoors.

2) I am tired from all the outdoor activity and fresh air, so don't have the motivation to work on a large machine pieced project right now, or the energy late at night to even do some hand stitching (you know it's bad when...)

and 3) I am obsessed with Pumpkin Seeds!

My hand applique project has totally captured my interest, which feels very odd and unexplainable even to me.
I keep gravitating to these blocks, so I am trying to go with the flow of creative energy.

I was planning to make each block with the same colour of seeds, but then thought it might be fun to mix up some fall looking blocks with different colours. You can see that all four of these seed blocks are unfinished! 
I didn't like it. 

So I went back to making four seeds for each block in the same colour.
Then I struggled with getting the center points to line up. Why was this all of a sudden so hard?
Oh yah, I remembered that I was not putting the centers in to make an X shape, I had planned to make an O shape. 
Sheesh... where are the brain cells and where is the seam ripper?!?!?

Here are the 12 blocks I have sewed together so far on the design wall today.
Perfect... just what I had in mind!
Now, if only I can remember the plan next time I put a block together!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching

From Curiosities By Dickens

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian blog readers! I hope you will have some time to enjoy at least a few moments of hand stitching today.

We will be enjoying the spectacular weather of this weekend and staying outside as much as possible. 
How could you resist the pretty colours of a great Canadian Autumn?!? This is where we are hiking today.

And as soon as we are back, I will be hand quilting more of my Journey of a Quilter. I only have two more blocks to quilt and plan to enjoy every last minute of this quilty journey. This is what I am going to starting quilting since it seems appropriate for Thanksgiving!
Link up your blog post below and share what you are hand stitching today.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - Loving the Leaves

I am still obsessed with enjoying this pumpkin seed/orange peel/ leaf shape.  I even found a beautiful FREE online pattern by Susan Brubaker Knapp for using these leaf shapes - Leaves of Green.
I am appliqueing them by hand and find it very relaxing. The worst part is the prep work, getting the shapes traced and cut, and ready to sew for when I have a few moments to stitch.

The colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrappers is black, which is not a colour I tend to gravitate to in terms of purchasing fabric, but I do seem to use it for dramatic contrast in quilts (see Carolina Crossroads and Pointsettia Stars - which is still a UFO!) So I do have a lot of black scraps to use up this month, and I am getting to work!
This is my first black block which is almost finished.
To see more rainbow challenge projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Antique Hexagon Quilt

While visiting my cousin last month for a little restorative rural therapy, she showed me this old baby quilt that she found in the farm house she moved into a couple of years ago. It had been stored in a plastic bag (horrors!) which is very bad for quilts. The quilt was in terrible shape, smelling of mold and mildew.  She was able to gently wash the quilt and removed the smell and most of the stains.
My cousin eventually figured out that it was made as a baby quilt for the previous owner of the house, who was born around 1935. 
I could not stop looking at this quilt! 
My cousin was delighted in my intense interest in her quilts since there are no other quilt lovers in her family. I could tell by getting my nose right up to it, that the hexagons were completely stitched by hand. Each flower block has a different colour in the centre and is surrounded by a round of solid fabric, then a round of printed fabric. This seems to be typical of the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts of the 1930's (you can see some examples at Quilt Inspiration).

We are so fortunate now to have a plethora of reproduction prints available, but it is really amazing to see the original 1930's prints - in person!

When the quilt was washed, there was some colour bleeding around some of the hexagons, especially the oranges, purples, and reds. But it was not enough to damage the overall look of the quilt on the front, and it really only noticeable on the white backing.

Look at the teeny tiny hand quilting stitches.  
So amazing. 
I am drooling at how small and even these stitches are.

What a sweet experience to find such a treasure to enjoy.