Sunday, December 31, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching New Year's Eve

Welcome to the last Slow Sunday Stitching link up for 2017! It has been another wonderful year of being inspired by your beautiful hand stitched projects each Sunday. I thank you for sharing your blog posts, and for every encouraging comment you took the time to write to another stitcher over the course of the year.

Not much hand stitching has been going on here over the holidays. There has been a lot of game playing, jigsaw puzzling, cooking, and visiting. I did have a bit of time to finish the hand applique on block #34 for my Blockheads project. The front door is a little wonky but I like it that way. 

As a follow up to the December saga of trying to knit earbud pouches for my nieces and nephews, I totally abandoned the project and was bailed out by my friend Wendy. These are the pouches she knit for me to give to my family. They were a big hit and some day I'm going to learn how to make them myself!

The last of my holiday visitors are leaving to travel home today, so I will have some time to relax, to stitch, and to visit your blogs and see what projects you are stitching on this last day of 2017. 
Happy New Year!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Review

I have been participating in Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 7 years now. I have written more than 270 blog posts about these projects and have had a lot of fun making many wonderful quilts from simple scraps. For the last Scrappy Saturday post of the year, I am reviewing the  successes from 2017 and some challenges for 2018.

2017 RSC Accomplishments:

1) I did not start any new RSC projects in 2017!! Woohoo! If you have followed my blog at all, you will recognize that this is really something to be proud of! In spite of all the wonderful inspiration from the weekly link ups, I was able to stay somewhat focused on my ongoing projects and not "squirrel off" into new projects!

2) Mad City Mama  quilt top was finished in December and it's just waiting for quilting. I think I will quilt straight lines using thread colours to match each block. If I pin baste this and quilt one colour each month, it would be finished in 9 months. If a tiny human can be created in 9 months, surely I can finish the creation of this Mama in the same amount of time! LOL

3) I have an almost finished RSC quilt! I'm so close to finishing machine quilting "All tied up in Knots". This was a quilt started in 2012 and was my December project to finish for One Monthly Goal. I hope to be able to start the binding today and maybe finish it tomorrow to squeak in under the wire for a 2017 finish!

2018 Challenges:

1) My goal this year will be to finish some of the wonderful RSC projects from previous years. If I have a couple of them pin basted, I could work away at the quilting instead of piecing more blocks each week. 

2) 2018 will be the year to finish the Alamo Star project. Here are the four patch blocks blocks in a stack. I just knew someone would ask me how many there are, so I counted.... there are 84 so far here and a nice even 90 blocks would be nice to work with.  However this will only be a wallhanging size quilt since these four patch star blocks finish at 4.5".

3) Of course I have a few projects that will need ongoing scrap piecing including Omigosh, Scrappy Sprouts, Maverick Stars, and Circle of Squares and I look forward to continuing to play with scraps in the colour of the month.

A huge thank you to Angela for hosting this weekly link up and inspiring us with ideas for using up our scraps! To see more scrappy accomplishments and goals, hop over to the last RSC link up of 2017.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Bags - part #3

When you are a competent sewing machine user, aka "a sewist", you are often asked to repair things that might otherwise be thrown into the trash. I don't really enjoy repair jobs, but I do want to keep things out the landfill and am willing to do mending as needed.

My Mom has an old cloth bag she got in Missouri and really liked. She used it so much it wore completely out on one side. Can you see how it is open most of the way down the seam?

First I sewed back and forth over the area, joining it together with thread...back and forth, back and forth approximately a million times.

Then I changed sewing machines to use the only zigzag machine I have. I know it's odd that I have so many machines, but only one that has specialty stitches! I just don't use anything but a straight stitch most of the time. I made a patch from a piece of book fabric, sewn double thickness, right sides together around the outside, and turned inside out. I straight stitched around the outside of the patch to secure the placement, and then zigzagged around the outside edge. There are also a few lines of stitching down the middle to further secure the patch.

Mission accomplished!  
The Mark Twain bag is revived for a few more days of service! Mom was happy to have her favourite bag back and to be able to use it once again. I wonder how long the repair will hold up?

Thanks for reading along with the BAGS blog series this week! Tomorrow we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming :)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bags - part #2

One of the challenges of dealing with plastics is to figure out how to reuse or recycle them. Instead of throwing plastics in the trash, I try to turn plastic packaging into something reusable. I found this tutorial at BarkPost on how to turn a dog food bag into a reusable tote bag. So I took Granddog Max's food bag and gave it a try. 

I followed the steps on the tutorial and was surprised at how easily my Singer 301 stitched through this bag. It was as if my machine didn't even recognize that it wasn't sewing quilting cotton!

The handles were a little tricky to figure out, but it all worked out okay.  
The only drawback is that although I washed the bag twice, it still has a mild smell of dog food. I wouldn't put my groceries in there or any item that might pick up the smell. But to carry the dog's belongings back and forth to Grandma's house, it's perfect!
Overall the frustration factor to make this tote bag was low/manageable. And I was able to make a unique Christmas gift for my daughter, which she appreciated. 

So instead of throwing these food bags in the garbage, I'll continue to make totes from them. And when they wear out or break, they'll eventually go in the recycling bin.

Drop by tomorrow for Bags part #3.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bags - part #1

Today is the first of a 3 part blog series about B A G S.
My daughter is an aquarist, which means we are treated to regular diatribes about the evils of plastics damaging the oceans. Most humans understand that the oceans are full of our non-biodegradable plastic. It's a worrisome situation that will result in the extinction of some of the ocean creatures which my daughter dearly loves (seriously loves, more than she loves most humans!)

plastic and marine creatures
In order to not contribute to this global problem (and to avoid lectures from my daughter) I have been highly motivated to change my ways and did some research about options. The website "All about bags" is full of interesting research, and discussion of fact vs. myth/fiction if you want to read more yourself. 

Bottled water is a no-brainer. I try to never use this product and carry my reusable water bottle everywhere I go. Two exceptions to this rule are when I am in a dangerous dehydration situation and can't find a fountain or water tap to refill my bottle, or we are camping in an area where the water may be questionable. As much as possible we carry drinking water with us in re-useable containers.
The use of plastic bags has taken me longer to sort out. I carry a bag of old bags in my car and take them with me whenever I go into a store. They go in the recycle trash bin when they break or when I put meat in them from the grocery store. My goal is to never accept a new plastic bag when I am shopping.
However we all need containers of some kind to transport things like groceries. Quilters are notorious for being bag ladies and we have lots of them. I prefer to use cloth bags and recycled plastic bags. Here are two bags that have recently been given to me. The International Quilt Festival bag was a gift from my friend Sandy, and the "Life is better in Canada" bag was a Christmas gift this year - thank you Barbara and Debby for the wonderful bag full of treats!
This is the interesting information on the bottom of the Quilt Festival bag. 
What kinds of bags do you use in your part of the world? Drop by tomorrow for part #2 of the Bags series.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day

Well, Christmas has come and gone for another year. All that activity is over now. All the shopping, cleaning, wrapping, cooking, and visiting is done. Well, except for the fabric shopping... that activity continues all year round!
When I went shopping in search of a sashing fabric for my Grinch project, I did find the perfect fabric for the sashing AND the binding.  
Total deliciousness!

But uh oh... while at the quilt store, I fell in love with a new project. I just had to buy this Christmas present from me... to me 
I love this Kim Diehl Simple Christmas Tidings book and the Twinkle Trees table topper pattern. I bought the book and the beautiful fabric kit that the Quilter's Nine Patch store put together because their sample quilt was gorgeous. 

You know you're a quilting addict when a lovely pile of fabric makes you this happy!
If you need me, I'll be in the sewing room... ALL day! Sew happy!

Do stop by the blog tomorrow for the first in a 3 part series about bags.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! 
Christmas just happens to fall on Design Wall Monday this year, and I revived an old UFO tradition and put my Grinch project on the design wall. The fabric was purchased at Keepsake Quilting in 2011 while on a trip with my friends to Quilt festival in Vermont. Click here to see it the first year in 2011, click here for 2012, and here for 2014. And then it was M.I.A. for a few years. I had to really go digging in the UFO closet and wow, it was deep in there. Here it is revived once again. At some point these blocks were sashed and sewn together. But there are other blocks in the project box, so I'm not sure what I was planning?  

I wonder when this project might become a quilt?!? LOL
I still love the fabric because it has such happy childhood associations and it makes me smile. 

Were you on the naughty list or the nice list this year? Did Santa bring you some quilting presents?

This is me being an elf at a Christmas lunch with my quilting friends... yes, we are willing to be crazy in a public place and have FUN! 
Wishing you a special day of making wonderful memories with family and friends! 
Merry Christmas everyone!

**Link up #9 from yesterday won the draw for the Slow Sunday Stitching Christmas present. That's you Chantal... congrats!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Slow Sunday Stitching

Are you rushing around your sewing room trying to finish up some last minute gifts? I am notorious for doing this and although every single year I tell myself that I'm not doing that ever again, I always do. 

complex and creative jean mending project

Thankfully I'm not finishing up any quilts this year, but I do have two secret sewing/mending tasks to finish. Repairing items and mending jobs are not high on my list of enjoyable tasks, so my gift to certain family members is to fix their items and have them wrapped up and under the  Christmas tree by tomorrow morning. 

And then, I can do some fun hand stitching. I am really looking forward to some hand applique time to finish up block #34 for my Blockheads project. Here are all the threads assembled and ready to stitch down these pieces. As soon as the wrapping is done, I'll be making a cup of tea and putting some stitches into my house, while watching a Christmas movie.

Will you have any time to enjoy some hand stitching today? To entice you to write a blog post about your hand stitching, I'm having a little giveaway of this adorable Crabapple Hill Crazy Quilt Snowman embroidery pattern and some Christmas fabric to go with it. 

All of today's link ups will be entered in the draw, and the winner be determined by a random draw on Christmas morning. I hope you will take a moment to relax and do some hand stitching. Then tell us what you're stitching, and what you hope to finish up to put under the Christmas tree for someone special.

Happy Christmas Eve to my Slow Sunday Stitching readers!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

I really wanted to finish my RSC Knot blocks quilt this month. It's a project that has been 5+ years in the making and it's time to become a finished quilt. The free motion quilting is done on all 12 Knot blocks. 

The next step is quilting the sashings and borders. I decided to experiment with different sizes of squares and see what kind of continuous line grid could be made. These are the sizes that seemed to fit best.

Once the quilting design was figured out, the next decision was how to mark the pattern. For this project I went with the Sewline pen which disappears over time. The only drawback to this method of marking is that you have to sew it right away. You can't mark the whole quilt and come back the next day to do the quilting because the lines will disappear. In fact, you have to quilt the design quickly because the marks start to fade right away. 
It's possible that this will be a 2017 finish. Being an optimist, I have the binding strips all ready to go!
To see what the other RSC quilters are finishing up today, hop over to the weekly link up.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mysteries Galore

Yesterday I posted about the Magnolia Mystery, and today step #5 is posted for Quiltville's On Ringo Lake. And here's yet another mystery I have gotten myself into. How could I possibly resist a project that combines three of my favourite things... hand embroidery, quilting, and mystery projects!?
One of my favourite designers Gail Pan is hosting the "i stitch club" which provides new embroidery patterns each month with a mystery layout at the end of the year.

The embroidery is finished on my "Life is Beautiful" project, with only the hand quilting and quilt construction remaining, so I needed another embroidery project. 
It's the perfect treat to give to myself for Christmas!
If you want to join us, hop over to the i stitch club webpage and treat yourself! 
Yes I am encouraging you to start a new project! It's a new year coming, and what could be better than filling up your life with lots of relaxing hand stitching?!? 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Magnolia Mist Update

Happy winter solstice! This is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. What better way to pass the time than to do some sewing?!?

The layout for the Meadow Mist's mystery quilt called Magnolia Mystery was posted last week. I have been working on my blocks and here they are on the design wall. It's not a good photo, taken without day light, which is most of the time now! But you get the idea. Seeing the blocks on the design wall has given me lots of ideas of possible layouts, and as soon as all the blocks are sewn, I will have some fun moving everything around and seeing what I can come up with.

We have until mid February to complete the quilt for the reveal parade!

I needed 2 more full blocks and one more partial block. In my rush to get the last partial block finished, you can probably guess what happened.

One of these things is not like the other!  

The faster you go, the behinder you get!
Where's the seam ripper??

I should, of course, be wrapping presents, but the wrapping table is in the same room as my sewing machine, which keeps calling me to come and sew a little more!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Blockheads Update

Are you a Blockhead
Here's the definition according to Carrie Nelson:
Blockheadnoun block·head \ˈbläk-ˌhed\  A quilter who likes to make a wide variety of quilt blocks, who probably collects books filled with quilt blocks, who has lots of random quilt blocks but still wants to make more.
That's me!
I've been following along with this mystery quilt since March of this year. When it started, I had no idea what the project would evolve into. It turns out that the blocks have been a combination of pieced and applique blocks, and it will be a wonderful sampler quilt. We are nearing the end of the 48 block project, with block #42 being posted today.

I have just finished sewing block #41 Pinwheel Star. It was fun to sew and turned out to be the perfect size... love it when that happens!

Block #40 it is an adorable cardinal, but I haven't yet finished up the previous applique block #34. I couldn't abandon my house block to work on the adorable cardinal! So I got out the fabrics for the house and got to work on it. It's relaxing stitching to do late at night. It feels so much more calming to put a few stitches into fabric instead of staring at a screen/ TV/ phone/ computer. The house is coming along well, with all parts cut out and most of the hand basting finished. Next is the actual applique.
You can see my first 36 blocks hereI'm a wee bit behind but next week I'll be working hard to get caught up before the end of the year.
Linking up to Let's Be Social... hop over to see Lorna's plaid moose quilt!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tripping down memory lane...

'Caroline Chains' is a fun Bonnie Hunter pattern that was in her 'Addicted to Scraps' column in the Quiltmaker magazine. 

I started these blocks as a leader-ender project in 2010. All the blocks were made from batik scraps with dots. I don't know why I had so many of these dotty batiks, but the block pattern inspired me to start sewing them. 

So why am I taking a trip down memory lane and writing about this today? 
Two reasons:
1) I saw Kevin's version using this same block pattern on his blog last week and it's amazing! He is finishing it for his parents for Christmas. Go ahead and check it out here. Isn't it amazing?!?!
2) The pattern for this quilt is now available for free over at the C and T website. You can get the whole pattern now with clear diagrams and great instructions ... go now... it's free! It also includes excellent general information about how to sew a quilt on point. (I have no affiliation to the publisher or the author. I'm just a fan of both, and also a fan of free quilting stuff!)

Here is my quilt using the Carolina Chains block pattern. I used a straight set layout and finished my quilt in 2014.
Both Bonnie and Kevins' quilts have the blocks set on point, but my blocks are straight set with the border blocks set on point. Even though the border math was a bit of a nightmare, this was a happy quilt project that I really enjoyed making!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mystery Update

Step #4 of the Quiltville mystery "On Ringo Lake" was posted on Friday and some quilting friends came over that evening to sew. Three of us are doing the mystery project. Well, truthfully two of us are sewing, and one of us (not mentioning any names) is still playing with her fabric piles. I don't think any actual blocks have been sewn yet! 

To be fair, she does have a lot of other things to do that keep her pretty busy... like dressing up as Frosty the Snowwoman and providing entertainment for us! Here she is at my sewing machine pretending to sew one of my blocks, and still managing to avoid sewing any of her own blocks!

Although the visit from Frosty was hilarious and quite distracting, some sewing did actually happen. I finished about 1/4 of the required blocks for step #4 . And I may have eaten all of the chocolates that were sitting at my machine. Sew 10 blocks, have a little sweet reward. Works for me :)

We put some blocks up on the design wall. Bonnie's recommended colours for this step are brown and aqua. My blocks are dark blue and light blue (on the left), and Sandy's colours are brown and blue (on the right). Sandy was worried about not having enough contrast in her blocks but I think there is enough, and they are going to be great beside her other blocks.

And here they are... isn't this a fantastic block collection?!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts. To see more mystery quilts in development, hop over to the Quiltville link up party for "On Ringo Lake".

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitchers! Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and visit the links below for some creative inspiration. I'll be drinking day #17 of my David's tea advent calendar while I visit my favourite hand stitching blogs today. Each flavour has been enjoyable, but I think the "raspberry cream pie" was the most delicious so far!
Here's an update on my secret Christmas idea...

I wanted to knit earbud pockets for all my nieces and nephews for Christmas. It was a dismal failure. I tried really hard to learn circular knitting and I wanted it to look like the pocket on the left which my friend Wendy made. My version is on the right. Ugh.
I tried to push myself to knit every day in order to meet the deadline so I could create something wonderful for my Christmas gifts. But truly it was not enjoyable at all. It was stressful and I want to avoid stress, not create more of it in my life. It was a great gift idea that was not to be!

So I am back to hand quilting my oldest UFO today. It's so enjoyable, relaxing, peaceful, and soothing....
just the way hand stitching projects should be! Yesterday I finished quilting this block. It was very festive using the red and green threads!

What are you hand stitching today? Are your Christmas projects progressing well, or do you have a story like mine of projects gone astray! Only one more week... no pressure! Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up