Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Morning

I was up early and enjoyed a lovely, quiet start to the day, stitching a little on Minnie and sipping my coffee.

We're getting together with our friend Ann at Betty's for brunch and having Strawberry Shortcake (first fresh berries of the season), so making biscuits was next on my list. I love buttermilk in cakes and recently found a recipe for Southern Buttermilk Biscuits so I decided to give them a shot.

So glad that I did. I used my food processor and they took no time at all, and they are de-lish (yes, I tested one - couldn't risk the possibility of poisoning someone, could I? :) The neat thing about this recipe is that you can freeze the unbaked biscuits and bake them as needed; could be dangerous...luv fresh biscuits!

Back to Minnie for a few more minutes and then it's into the shower and off to brunch.....M

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sea Glass

I laid 20 blocks for the String Quilt out on the floor and left them there for a few days to get a good feel for how it would look and two things came of it.

After several trips by it I realized that it could do with a little less grey. I had been including at least two strips of grey in each block and just got the feeling that it was becoming more grey than I wanted, so I'm making several blocks of just blues.

The second good thing is a new name. String Quilt is fine, but a tad on the technical side, don't you think? From here on in it will be called Sea Glass. The soft blues & turquoises remind me of a hand full of sea glass, and it sounds much prettier than String Quilt.

I've got a pile of blocks that the foundation papers need to come off of but I think I'll sew a few more and then do a larger batch....M

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Mail

A walk to the mailbox yesterday delivered a nice little surprise for my String Quilt. Linda had found several yards of a soft blue-grey fabric in her stash that she thought might work well as the backing it, so Jane tucked a sample into a card and sent it off so that I could see if it matched. As my dad used to like to say, "I think we're in business".

Jane and Linda make wonderful cards and this one just seemed custom made for the message it was carrying. I was surprised to turn it over and see that it had, in fact, been made a while back. Guess she knew she'd be mailing notes her quilting buddies.

Not only does the fabric work, but the card is colour coordinated as well. She thinks of everything.

The sample was tucked inside and when I flipped it up I found this happy little message. :)

Today's surprise came from the gardens. A couple of years ago my sister Dori went commando on my gardens and planted about 8 new peony bushes for me. They have gradually been coming into their own and this year they are just gorgeous. I'm thrilled, because now I can cut more to have in the house without totally eliminating them from the beds. LUV peonies! Thanks again, Dori; it's the gift that keeps on giving....M

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Minnie Me

There's been lots and lots of intensive computer work for my day job lately and, as much as I'd like to keep going with the String quilt (it needs a different name), my eyes and neck and shoulders just weren't up for sitting for a couple of hours in front of another machine, so I moved to one of the many little quilting bundles around the house and found several Minnie diamonds that have been made for a while and pressed them.

There are 12 in this batch, and lots of new colours, which has been fun. I'm certain that after a while they all look the same to you, but they are like kids, each unique in their own way.

Love this rustic little gingham; it's adding a new dimension to the whole thing.

I know that I keep threatening to put together larger combinations of diamonds but it's so much fun working on the little ones that I don't seem to get there.

I think I'll pick up a needle and thread and see where it takes me. Either that or go for a quick nap - I'm pooped!....M

p.s. A while back I had a question from a no-reply blogger and since I couldn't get in touch with them I thought I'd answer it here. She wanted to know why my stitches don't show through on the front of my work. I suspect that it's because they are hand stitched and not EPP.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Little Klepto Quilting and I'm Off and Running

Jean's String Quilt has begun and, the more it comes together, the more my jitters about it seem to disappear.

Earlier I mentioned my challenge finding soft blue prints that weren't overly juvenile. Problem solver that I am, I decided to do some klepto quilting in Jane's stash last weekend and found a few lovely little pieces that she generously contributed to the cause.

Still feeling that I needed a little bit more variety, I picked up a few more fat quarters this afternoon. That's it. No more blues. At this rate I'll be sewing a king-sized quilt and all Jean wants is a quilt to lay over the back of the sofa!

The blocks will finish off at 7" and I'm using squares cut from telephone book pages as my foundation. After sewing a few I noticed that the white strip wasn't always staying centred on the corner, so I've started putting a very small dab of appliqué glue in two opposite corners, laying the fabric strip right side down, and then positioning the paper square to the back of it to keep it secure while the first seam or two go in.

Once a block is sewn I flip it over and use the paper as my trimming guide and then, when I'm not particularly motivated to sew, I take a pile of blocks and tear the papers off.

Eager beaver that I was, I forgot that I had decided on a 1.25" white strip rather than the original 1.5" width I had planned. I was four blocks into it before I noticed the difference, so two were made with the wider strip. They might get made into a pillow - or maybe incorporated into the backing. We'll see.

Anyway, I think I need 120 blocks, so time to cut and sew!....M

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Shades of Grey

My quest for soft blues and greys took me into a colour zone that I don't normally go to and ended up hurting my head at times because I seemed to be thinking waaaaay too hard about it. It just wasn't coming naturally. I wanted blues that weren't juvenile prints and just a few greys to make it interesting, but at the end of the day I ended up with many more greys than I expected/wanted.

Despite seldom, if ever, going to greys, there were some beauties on the shelves, so I have a great little collection to work with. I think a few are too dark for this project but they'd be nice with citron & white.

After adding a few pieces from fabrics that I already had, this is where I have landed. There is one more shop down the road that I think I'll check out to see if I can mix it up just a little more.

These are for a wedding gift quilt that Jean has commissioned, and it probably didn't help that I wasn't totally sure of the pattern that I was going to use. The bride requested baby blues, greys and either cream/white, which suggested something a little more contemporary to me. Somehow I thought that the fabrics would define the pattern for me, and, after much wringing of hands and changing my mind, it did. It's going to be a string quilt....M

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Backing It Up

I know that last time I said I'd share the blues & greys that I was hunting for, but we spent Saturday with Jane at the lake and she made great progress on the backing for her Fruit Salad, so that takes priority. And, you'll be happy to know, this time I've got pictures that are focused!

She wanted to piece the backing so we drafted a plan where she inserts a vertical row of large triangles between two larger pieces of backing. After a little hunt through her fabric bins, she found the perfect fabrics - a paisley and a small polka dot.

She's anxious to get the backing done so that she can start quilting it so we set to work and drafted her triangle, and she was off to the races.

By the time we left she had most of the strip finished and I'm certain that it's all together now. It is stunning!

When I wasn't drafting a new version of Danuta's Garden, or doing a little klepto quilting hunting through her stash for light blues, I spent quality time supervising from the hammock; given her progress, I'd say I did a good job. :) ....M

Sunday, June 08, 2014

'Bee'-u-tiful Finds

One of our favourite things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake is to get up and go for a long walk before breakfast (can you say freshly baked croissants?!). The gardens are always so beautifully done and the streetscape some of the loveliest that you will ever see. I also like to take full advantage of the fact that we were near two really wonderful quilt shops (which is code for 'I bought more beautiful fabric'), both of which have 'bee' themed names.

My first stop was in Virgil, at The Modern Bee's new location. This is not the largest quilt shop in the world by any means, but I think it has the best fabric selection that I've seen. They don't buy full fabric lines, but instead select the pieces that work with other fabrics in their shop, and they do a beautiful job of it. I went looking for blues and greys and came away with these gorgeous little goodies. Don't you love those radishes? Thank you Martha Negley!

The next day it was off to The Quilting Bee in Font Hill. This is the shop where I bought my sewing machine last year and it is fantastic. The staff are all so lovely and the selection makes it hard to come away with only a few things. The last time I was there they gave me a free Creative Grid 2 x 6" non-skid ruler, just for showing up, and I like it so much that I bought two new ones - a 12" and a 24". The fact that it's getting hard to see the lines on my current rulers sort of helped that decision.

I also found this great print. Not sure what it will be for yet, but it was on half price, so 8 metres followed me home.

I picked up a few more pieces for Minnie...

and Kaffe Fasset fabrics were 40% off, so I found a few of those that I liked too. It was hard to pick just three (the dots aren't Kaffe).

What I was really looking for, believe it or not, were shades of light blue and grey; instead I came home with all of these gorgeous, saturated colours. I did manage to get some blues and greys too, but will show them to you the next time....M

Friday, June 06, 2014

Road Trip

A spring trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake had been in the works for quite a while and suddenly it was here. Often I will sew in the car but this time I decided that 12 hours in the car was a good chunk of time to get caught up with cutting hexies. No paper piecing, just regular 5/8" hexies.

I had found a new square container that holds a good supply of cut hexies but it was full, so I put it inside another larger container along with lots of 1 1/2" strips (at least twice the amount that you see here), my scissors and pincushion, and we were off. I got lots of cutting done but there's still lots more to do.

And there are two new 4-diamond hexies that now have an outer border attached. It's been a while since I've had a chance to work on Minnie and it was good to get back to it.....M

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Three Little Bibs

I got to playing with a few of the scraps from Jean's Broken Dishes baby quilt and ended up making three cute little baby bibs - two are very similar, all blues, and the third is a combination of blues & greens.

Jean came to pick up her quilt yesterday so I was able to surprise her with a little extra to accompany her quilt, and she was delighted with it.

I tried a few methods of putting them together because I wanted more quilting in them. The challenge is that you can see the starts and stops along the edge of the bib with each line of quilting you add. So, for the third one I took a modified quilt-as-you-go approach and quilted the top to the batting before sewing the two pieces together. Then all I had to do was two or three rows of quilting through all layers when it was turned right side out and top stitched the edge. Much better.

The scrappy mix of colours is really sweet so I'd like to make more, maybe with pinks & yellows added in. I've been wanting to make a few items to donate to Madonna House to sell in their gift shop and have been dragging my feet at it, so these might just be the ticket....M