Tuesday, September 30, 2014

UFO End of Month Report

All I can say is "UGH"! 
I didn't work on my September UFO at all this month. I came down with a bad case of Startitis, and took lots of remedies (100% cotton) but wasn't able to recover in time to work on my UFO (excuses, excuses!)
I just didn't feel like machine quilting, so I didn't do any. And this quilt didn't get done. 
Oh well... I'll try again next month!
I did get one of the UFO's listed on my sidebar (Block Sampler) pin basted and began hand quilting it, so that is some UFO progress to report.
To see the postings of people who did finish their UFO this month, hop over to A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Design Wall Monday - QPOM progress

My scrappy "Quilt Pattern of the Month" project called "Not Just Any Rail Fence" (by Jackie Syer) is coming along well.
Here are 42 of the 63 needed blocks on my design wall...21 more to sew. This is a great scrap eater project, using up lots of 1.5" squares and strips. 
I pieced a bunch of leftover squares for some of the center rails and I like the look of that. 
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching - New Project

This week I pin basted a quilt top to start hand quilting using a big stitch. This is my first attempt at the larger stitches and thicker thread, and I am really enjoying it so far. It goes much faster and I have already finished the first block. I am quilting 1/4" (or so!) from the seam lines. It's the lazy quilter way to avoid marking lines :)

This photo shows the difference between the quilting needle I usually use, and the new embroidery needle I am using for this project. That's a big adjustment!

The hardest part is getting the stitch length to be consistent. See those big red stitches?!? I am okay with that, because I am just learning. I probably should be using a colour that melts into the background, but that's not as much fun!
I hope you can join in with the slow sunday stitching party today and put in a few fun stitches. Link up your blog post below and share what your hand work project is for today.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Saturday is the day to post our progress with the Rainbow
Scrap Challenge. I have made over 40 orange spools that are yummy. Except that one with the blue background...it might need to disappear?!
I have lots more to do with my orange scraps, and this month has passed so quickly, that I think my orange blocks might spill into next month.
To see more scrap postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

TGIF - Sew Alongs

I love a mystery sew along. You can probably tell because I am involved in a few of them and I will update 3 of my current sew alongs in this post!
*The last Marcus Sew Along mystery block will be revealed today - click here to see it. These are my first 8 blocks.

Next week will be the layout reveal, and it is likely that I will need to go shopping for some fabric for the alternate blocks, since I have just been using scraps so far. There are setting triangles in the quilt description, so the layout will be on point and I need yardage for that. 

*I am also trying to keep up with these little 4" letter blocks from the Temecula sew along. Aren't they cute?!? 

*BeaQuilter has a sew along just starting over at Island Batiks. This is a smaller project, so if you are new to mystery quilts, it's the perfect project for you to try.  I am ready to start cutting into these beauties!
Have a great Friday!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ready for quilting

It's that time of the year when the days become shorter and the temperatures are dropping. And that means I need to have a larger hand quilting project in my hoop.
This is a block sampler project from a shop hop last year in the Kingston area. I turned these blocks into a quilt top using a star sashing and it has been waiting for quilting.

This project is on my 2014 UFO list, and I should really be working on my September UFO. But this quilt won't leave me alone! And it insists on being hand quilted. 

So I have been pin basting it this week and thinking about how I will quilt it. 

I think I will just quilt 1/4" inside the seam lines without marking. I have the threads all picked out and am going to be bold with using a red and a blue coloured thread, even on light patches. And since I am using these thicker threads, I will try bigger stitches using an embroidery needle. We shall see how that goes! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Fairs and Quilt Parades

One of my favorite things about this season is the local fall fairs. I love this community tradition and want to see it continue, so I usually try to enter two or three of my favorite fairs every year. I am also a certified judge and this year I was a judge at two fairs. 
This experience leads me each year to reflect on the judging process. It's always a difficult task and every year I seem to have at least one conversation with someone who is quite hurt and/or angry about the results of the judging. I try to tell them that the award decisions are a combination of 1) the category in which the item is entered, 2) the competition within that category, and 3) the experience and preference of the judge. Some judges use a numerical equation to calculate the awards, and some judges have a more visual and intuitive approach. It doesn't really matter at the Fall Fair level where the prize money doesn't even usually cover your entry fee and gas money to get there and back! You're definitely not going to get rich entering fall fairs!

For example my favorite hand quilted baby quilt was a 1st prize winner in one fair and yet didn't win anything in another. 
Same experience with my version of Orca Bay, which I call "3 Sisters Grace". 
It won first prize in the category and a special award for machine quilting at one fair, and nothing at another.
I'm happy if I win, and happy if I don't. 
Because I love a fall fair, and my quilts always enjoy an outing! 

In addition to entering my quilts, I like to enter the huge Paris Fall Fair Photography competition. It is an amazing display of photographs and I am always delighted to win a ribbon there. This year I won a first prize for this photograph taken in Montreal.

And my favorite win this year is a 3rd prize ribbon for this black and white portrait taken of my brother in Port Elgin.

What could be better than a fair?
A parade!
Pam Buda is having a Quilt Parade over on her blog. She is sharing the versions of the Market Day mystery quilt that her blog readers have made. It's always fun to see the same quilt made with different fabrics and layout changes. I added another border to my quilt. This is my mini version of her quilt and it won a ribbon at the Fergus Fall Fair! Thanks again Pam for such a fun mystery quilt!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday - Great British Sewing Bee

My 1901 Treadle machine

I am still treadling regularly on my Sphinx Egyptian Singer Model 127, sewing more scrappy strips onto adding machine tape. 
I really wanted to watch the Great British Sewing Bee while I treadled, since I quite enjoyed watching season one last yearIt's like the "Survivor" TV show, only with sewers competing in sewing challenges. It was an unbelievable challenge to actually be able to watch episodes of season 2. It's like the BBC doesn't really want anyone to watch it!

Watching season 2!

I'd be happy to buy the season on a disk set, but couldn't find that anywhere. I'd also watch it on YouTube since that is where I found season 1 episodes, but for season 2, I could only find episode 8.

Horrors... I had to finally resort to watching contraband episodes, which my son taught me how to find on the internet. 
Sewing Bee's big move to 9pm slot not so seamless
David was the last man standing/sewing in the bee!
The whole "finding a needle in the WWW haystack" should earn me a Detective position (and by the way, I'd be happy to work with contestant David who is a police officer). I eventually found and watched all 8 episodes of season 2 while treadling scraps! 
Treadledog Max
Episode 6 was my favorite because all the sewers had to construct a vintage inspired garment completely made on a vintage machine. One of the show reviewers called the antiques "dangerous and archaic machinery"!!! HA!

And of course, Max the Treadledog was always under foot, eager to help me with the dangerous treadling!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I have made progress on my QPOM scrappy rail fence blocks and here they are on the design wall today. There are 34 of the 63 blocks needed, so the blocks are more than half finished. 
I don't like that purple block blob on the bottom row, so I'll dissect and reconstruct that one. I think it needs more dark purple and more black.
I must admit to feeling very self righteous as I am sewing these blocks, because they are all made from the scrap bin. Very old fabrics are being given new life and finally getting into a quilt top.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Relaxing Slow Sunday Stitching

I recently enjoyed a camping trip in Algonquin Park.
Isn't it beautiful?!?  
It sure was strange to have great "summer" weather in September!

I tried something new this year and now I can cross this off my 'bucket list' - kayaking. It was a steep learning curve, which thankfully did not result in me taking a swim! It was absolutely amazing!

Here I am wearing my "Miss Daisy" sun hat, and leisurely paddling through the lily pads, admiring the landscape, and enjoying the wonderful feeling of total relaxation.

It's amazing how easy it is to forget how it really feels to relax. I realized that even when I am slow stitching, I sometimes have myself totally stressed out by the thoughts I chose to focus on.
Not today.

Today I am going to pick up my needle and thread, and remember what I felt like when I was kayaking, and I am going to focus on total relaxation while I applique some orange pumpkin seeds.
This little needle threader eliminates some of the stress of threading needles for old eyes :) 

Can you join me in some relaxing sewing today? 
Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching projects with us.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Scrappy Saturday - Pumpkin Seeds

It's orange month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge but as you can see, I am still finishing up with some green blocks from last month. These 16 pumpkin seeds are hand appliqued and I have them sewn into 4 blocks to add to that project.
Although I call this shape "pumpkin seed", it is known by many other names. 

Playful Petals Header

And if you like it as much as I do, you should definitely check out the "petals" blog tour.  There are so many beautiful and creative projects shown using this seed/petal/peel shape. But beware... you could get lost in that linky list and spend way too much time on the computer (not that I would know!)

I might never stop sewing these blocks!
But for my rainbow scrap challenge quilt,
I think orange is the only colour I still need to add.  I have a good start on some orange seed blocks, and a few gold ones slipped in there too.

This past week I started the letter sew along over at Temecula, and sewed an orange 'B' block using the hand dyed fabric I won from Vicki Welsh in a previous month's draw. Thanks for sponsoring our scrap challenge Vicki!
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other orange projects are being sewn today.

Friday, September 19, 2014


It's Friday!
And not only that, it's the 3rd Friday of the month, which means it's Friday Night Sew In! I was organized enough this month to plan ahead, so I have a couple of friends coming over to help me sew up a storm tonight. You can join in too and sign up here.

First on my sewing agenda will be the Marcus Sew Along block.
Here is my version of block #7 from last week. 
It will join these 6 blocks below.
Hmmm.... not lovin it so far.
Let's see what block #8 is.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I must admit to having picked up a raging case of Startitis.
All I seem to be doing this week is starting new projects.
Today's new project is a mystery quilt by Bea of BeaQuilter and it is being hosted by Island Batiks. It's a small quilt (36" square) and it will use up batiks in my stash - which means it's a free quilt, right?!? Who can resist?!?

Here are some batiks I bought at Quilt Canada in June... hey, who picked out all that pink!?!?
There is not enough contrast at all in this grouping. 
Oh well, I have to go shopping for my new "stash project"!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another new project?!?!

It's probably not a good thing to post two days in a row about starting new projects, when September is half over, and I haven't even touched this month's UFO!!!
However, Temecula has started a new alphabet sew along and I totally have to make this one because it will make a great baby quilt.  

Click here for the first block instructions. 

My plan is to use up bright scraps (hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh) for the letters on a black-dots-on-white background. FUN!
The instructions are great and each block is fun to sew.

Now... where is that UFO pile?!?!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Design Wall Monday - QPOM

I was happy to see my quilty friends at guild meeting this past week and we enjoyed a wonderful presentation by Jackie Syer (no website that I know of). I signed up for the new QPOM (Quilt Pattern of the Month) program, where we get a new scrappy quilt pattern each month. 
Got scraps? We are getting ideas!
So when I was at Gail's house this weekend, I started cutting 1.5" strips for my new QPOM project called "Not Just Any Rail Fence".
I am sewing these blocks on my 301 (gifted to me by Liz) to give it a good workout.

On my design wall today are the blocks I have sewn so far. I have already finished about a quarter of the blocks - 16 of the 63 needed.
I think I need to add in more red and gold and brown. What would you add?

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching Friends

Yesterday my friend Barb and I took a road trip to visit our quilty friends in the St. Thomas area. The original plan was that we were going to spend the day working on our Indian Orange Peel quilts. But not a single one of us brought our peels to work on!  So we had to find other trouble to get into. Quilters go a little crazy when the scrap bin comes out!

Gail did some slow stitching because she couldn't wait until Sunday! If you hop over to her Cozy Quilter blog, she might share her finished quilt today! Here she is hand quilting a few more stitches. She is trying out her new Hiroshima Tulip needles which are quite expensive. Although they are "large eye" needles, they were challenging to thread. What was the conclusion Gail... are these needles worth the extra money?
Today while slow stitching I am thinking about how great it is to have online and in person quilt friends! Quilters are just the nicest people and we had a wonderful day together yesterday. 
Today we get to visit with our talented online quilting friends.  I'm slowly finishing up my pumpkin seed blocks that I showed last week. What are you stitching? Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project with us.

Friday, September 12, 2014

TGIF - Marcus Sew Along

My internet access has finally been repaired and I am back in blog land again. That was tough being separated from y'all! I look forward to visiting the Slow Sunday Stitching links from last weekend, and hopping around blog land to see what you have been sewing. 
Are you keeping up with the Marcus mystery quilt
I must say that I am enjoying working with the 8" block size. And after sewing for almost 25 years, it's a treat to try new block patterns that I haven't seen before. This is my version of block #6 called "Four Plus". It's my favorite one so far, but I think I say that every Friday!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


9-11 Cover Photo

I started blogging 8 years ago in September. 
My first post was about 911 quilts - you can read it here
We remember.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Broken Internet

I am having internet issues here, which my service provider said can't be fixed until September 11th. 
Really? I can make a whole quilt in the time it takes to fix my internet?!?!
I tried to tell him I can't live without it, but that didn't get me anywhere. 
So here I am accessing service at Tim Horton's (thanks for the free but "slow-as-a-turtle" wifi) and at my parents' house. 
I have been keeping busy with entering and judging at my favorite fall fairs. And of course, doing a wee bit of quilting every day in order to keep calm! LOL

Sunday, September 07, 2014

SLow Sunday Stitching

What a crazy week! 
I hardly had any time for sewing this week. Today I will be forcing myself to sit on a chair and put some stitches in my seed blocks.
How about you?
Hope you can join me today in recovering from your busy week. 

Link up your hand stitching blog post below and show up what you are stitching today. Join the turtles and take your time stitching!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

It's the start of orange month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I have a few scrappy projects that need some orange blocks.
First up this month is spools. I have no orange blocks and have been cutting and sewing scraps (on my new 301!) for spool blocks this week.

Another thing I did was cut a sliver off of all the gorgeous hand dyed fabric I won from Vicki Welsh. I wanted to make one spool block from each colour and I love them! They are a perfect addition to the spool pile.

Hop over to SoScrappy and see what other quilters are sewing with their orange scraps this week.

Friday, September 05, 2014

TGIF - Marcus Sew Along

The Marcus Designer Sew Along is over half way done now. It is a mystery quilt and each week a new block pattern has been posted.
This is my version of block #5 - baskets. The pattern given is a two colour block, and I made mine a 4 colour block to use up more small scraps. A scrappy quilt made of this block would be fun - I am tempted to try it!
Block #6 will be posted today!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

September UFO

I decided to make my September UFO goal a project that is "fall-like". My Sunflower quilt was a Quiltaholic mystery posted many years ago. (There is still a fun mystery pattern posted on this website - click on projects, click on mystery quilt.)
The sunflower project has been hanging around the studio waiting for some inspiration and it just hasn't happened yet. I don't like this quilt and just want it to move to a new home. This project helped me learn that I don't like square quilts... and I also learned that for me, a little brown goes a long way!!
I may add a top and bottom border to make it rectangular for a bed quilt, but that will depend on the stash fabric.
Hop over to A Lovely Year of Finishes to see more September goals.