Tuesday, March 31, 2015

(Design) Wallflowers

In addition to working on the sashing for Danuta's Garden I've got a few of the 9-patch and star blocks together and up on the design wall. I'm not convinced that the contrast is strong enough on the bottom 9-patch but I'll wait to see what it looks like with other blocks added to the mix.

I have to say that I've gotten used to stitching relatively small pieces all the time so the pieces for the blocks feel large (they are about 3" square), so I suspect that once the sashing is together the rest of it should go fairly quickly - famous last words.

It's always good to see the layout through the lens of a camera because you see things that aren't readily apparent to you just looking at it face on. For example, I'm surprised by how much blue is in this section of sashing; I'll need to work a mixing up the palette a little more....M

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Back in the Garden

Seeing Jane's progress on Danuta's Garden a couple of weekends ago had me picking up mine after a few months of just watching it sit in the basket. I've spent a lot of time at the machine lately so hand sewing the tiny four-patches for the sashing was a lovely, relaxing change.

There are stars all around the border so I've begun working on a few of those as well. I gave Mr. Meerkat (Gustav to his friends) a break and used my little angel to hold a few pins for me.

It's magnetized and has a second magnet so that you can sandwich a garment between the two, so I attach it to my sleeve cuff and I'm good to go. So much faster than having to reach for the pincushion all the time and again, minimal chance of me impaling myself on tiny sharp objects - bonus!....M

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stop The Presses!

After going great guns on quilting the Confetti borders it seemed to take forever to sit down and finish off the final corner but - and Stephanie, you might want to sit down for this - it's now finally all quilted. Miracle of miracles! So cue the choir and lets get that Halleluiah Chorus started!!

This one has been in the works for so long that it's hard to even believe that it's possible that it could be quilted, but quilted it is.

I'll have to go back and see when I started making it, but suffice it to say that it's been years in the making. It will be a bit of an adjustment not having it around the house - it's become like a piece of the furniture and I think I'm going to miss it.

Now the search begins in earnest for a binding. Jane had given me a piece from her stash to try but when I got it home the colours were off just enough to make it look odd. Ah well, shopping for fabric is a tough job, but someone's got to do it....M

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Priority Mail

The postman delivered a lovely Priority Mail package the other day...

which contained my beautiful new tattooed quilting buddy...

Give up? It the stripper (a.k.a. the Strip 'n Sew made by Mr. Joe) that I won from Lynn at Sew 'n Wild Oaks. It came all ready to assemble and, you can see from the photo that I was in such a hurry to do that I just set it up on the kitchen island as quick as could be to check it out (sorry, Lynn, not the best photo).

And, there was a second squeal of delight to be heard. She very generously included one of her patterns that I've been eyeing for some time now, Country Charmer.

She has it done up in an alternate colour way which I think it would be a lovely Christmas quilt for our bedroom. So, since there was a box coming this way with the stripper I wanted to order one and have it included with my shipment. Ship it she did, but charge for it she didn't. That was so kind of you Lynn - I can't thank you enough.

I've got lots and lots of red and green prints so I should start pulling fabrics now and get busy putting this together so that I'm sleeping under it the next time Santa calls. Don't you love Priority Mail?....M

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Spring!

Spring arrived yesterday, delivering a beautiful sunny, clear day, as if on cue, but you wouldn't know it today with a light snow falling. Ah well, it's to be expected this time of the year. Regardless, I thought it would be nice to usher in the promise of warmer weather with a little parade of Jane's Danuta's Garden blocks.

She's got all of the star blocks finished and has begun sewing a strip of the 3-block sashing to them, and they are beauties.

The large florals go so beautifully with the swirling yellow print. Can you say Martha Negley? Her prints just make me go weak-kneed.

So hard to pick a favourite.

She's coordinating the colours in the sashing with the colours in the stars for a little bit of a different feel.

The stars border the 9-patch blocks that make up the quilt's centre. It's a beauty, and a great reminder of the coming warmer weather. It was also incentive for me to find my little bits and pieces and resurrect my version, but I've got a loooong way to go before I sew this much done on it....M

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I went out to the lake to have lunch with Jane on the weekend and took some hand stitching with me to do in the afternoon. It was a great excuse to see her latest projects and I didn't need to look very far to find one. She has now finished hand piecing this one for her nephew and was looking for some ideas for borders.

The fabrics are so rich and a great combination - it just looks like it was made with a log cabin and roaring stone fireplace in mind. It will be perfect for a guy.

These were remnants that she had left over (aren't they gorgeous?) but very few of them had enough to make a border except for the blue on top. So she started cutting to see how much she'd get and was ready to make it pieced if she had to.

But she didn't have to - there's enough for a six-inch border all round. This piece is a classic 'make do' piece - it's an old dress that she salvaged that had a very full skirt; so full, in fact, that there was enough for this border. Love when that happens.

It still needed a little life so we played with adding in a narrow red border. This one would have worked but there wasn't nearly enough of it. So, there was only one thing to do - dive into the bins with her stash.

After looking long and hard the reds were finally revealed and this check rose to the occasion. She's going to insert a 2" red check border between the quilt top and the blue border and then cut a bias binding from the same material. Happy to have that puzzle solved we found ourselves singing that catchy little Monty Python ditty, 'I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay'...:) ....M

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Skinny Border

There's not much about me that I consider 'skinny' but I have discovered a neat way to make very accurate and thin borders.

Anne had started a table runner with pink and blue scraps from Jane but was having trouble finding fabrics for borders to finish it. I took a long look at my stash and finally settled on a blue tone on tone border, but it still needed a little zip so I wanted to include a thin green border before the final blue one.

Quite some time ago I bookmarked this tutorial from Barb Robson on how to make a thin border but until now didn't think to use it. I love it! It's so perfect for such a narrow trim (1/4") and adds a nice extra shot of colour. The trick is sewing the outer border from the wrong side of the quilt so that you are able to keep a consistent distance from the first line of stitching.

And just to make things interesting, I backed with another green, this time a print. It's quilted with a blue/green variegated thread which adds a little life to the blue border in particular.

This runner will be added in with the two little quilts that I'm shipping off this week and will make for a happy little threesome. It was a bit of a surprise project but it's nice to have it finished off so quickly. More skinny borders in my future, I'm sure....M

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Another Quilter on a Roll

Betty and I are not the only ones quilting up a storm these days. Anne has finished off the third (yes, three!) of these baby quilts so she's busy getting them quilted and bound so that they are ready by Wednesday. Two will join the two that I've made and go to the Madonna House Gift Shop and the third is for a friend that she used to work with who just had a baby. We used the Sophie Car Seat Quilt pattern from the Moda Bake Shop and just made it bigger, omitting the ties.

It was this adorable backing fabric that was the deciding factor as to how many to make (remember my $5/metre bargoon?). There was enough for three baby quilts, so three it was.

And, it was her quilting on the diagonal that finally convinced me to do a diagonal pattern on the Strippy X quilt.

While she was busy putting the last one together I made lots and lots of mauve dragonfly bias binding from one of the prints that we used in the quilts, so now it's needle and thread time. That will be relaxing sewing and a nice way to spend the weekend because we are in for lots of rain/freezing rain, so no point playing on the roads.....M

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I'm Not The Only One That's Quilting...

A short while ago Betty put this beauty up on the frames and is making great progress quilting it. To say that this is a work of art is an understatement. The colours are wonderful and rich and just pull you in for hours of gazing - truly spellbinding.

It's her version of Kaffe Fassett's Fruit Salad. Same principle of triangular pieces, but elongated into an isosceles triangle rather than an equilateral triangle (who says you never get to use your math?). The triangles are about 4" tall and about 2.5" at the base and totally hand stitched.

She's quilting it close to the seam lines. In the border fabric - that yummy, yummy red print - she's outlining the blossoms and the leaves which adds a nice organic touch compared to the structure of the centre panel.

How many times can you say you love something and still sound like you mean it?...M

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Choir is Warming Up

The end of February was my target date for finishing the quilting on Confetti, but we're already into the first week of March and it's still on the hoop. That's okay. All of the large triangle patterns are now quilted around the whole quilt (yay!) so it's a matter of filling in between them with one of the smaller squares, figuring out how to quilt the corners, and then this one will be ready to bind. I can almost hear the choir warming up to belt out the Halleluiah Chorus when the last stitch goes into this one!

Yesterday was when I finished making it around the edge and the whole time I was accompanied by my little visitor, Baylea. Truth be known, she snored through most of it, but I'm certain that she was as excited as I was when I finished the fourth side.

And I pressed my new little needle holder into service; so much better than impaling myself on the tip of a needle every little while - a lot less painful and you don't have to worry about bleeding on the quilt! He's quite the distinguished little fellow so I think I'm going to call him Gustav. Gustav Meerkat. That has a nice ring to it. Betty's using hers as well but no word yet on whether she's going to name it or not... :).

Anyway, since I was on a roll, I started in on the smaller squares  that need to be inserted (like the one to the right of the red block) and got one side of the quilt finished.

It's going to look like a nice lacy finish along the edge.

When you find yourself wondering what to bind it with you just know that you're nearing the end. I don't have anything but scraps left from the fabrics in the quilt so I'm hoping that I can find a nice creamy pink or blue gingham, which I think would finish it off nicely bound on the bias.

Back to the hoop...M

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Baby Blue is Ready Too

I mentioned last time that I surprised myself and managed to quilt the Strippy X baby quilt on the weekend. Well, it's now bound too so that makes two baby quilts ready to pack off.

For some reason quilting on the diagonal wasn't sitting well with me and I was going to do randomly spaced vertical lines, but in the end I went diagonal. There are double rows of quilting through the scrappy strips and then a row of stitching about an inch outside of the strips in the cream, which make for a nice 9-patch pattern.

It is backed and bound with one of the prints that I used in the strips. I was a little concerned that it might be too dull at first but it works really well. I used a cream thread and always increase my stitch length a little bit so that the stitches are pronounced without being overdone.

Often I don't get a full pic of the quilts that I finish because I don't have a great place to hang them, but with the little ones (and my handy, dandy new mini design wall!) I can get shots of the baby quilts. So here it is, all done. It's incredible that one little unassuming pile of scraps was (almost) enough to make a quilt - I love that.

The two of them together, this one and Strawberries & Cream (the pink heart on cream), make a sweet little bundle to send off to the Madonna House Gift Shop....M

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

One Surprise After Another

It seemed like every time I turned around this past weekend there was another happy surprise waiting for me. If you recognize Liberty of London packaging you'll know where my first little bundle of joy came from.

Our friend Ann K from Ottawa was in London a while back and brought Betty and I each a packet of Liberty Art Fabric Scraps. Be still my beating heart. Scraps! And from Liberty of London! Does it get any better than this??? Betty surprised me with this little packet when we arrived there on Saturday evening to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. What a treat! Betty has claimed the packet on the left, the darker of the two collections, and that's just fine. Now I need to get to thinking as to how I'm going to use mine...Guess if I run out I might need to go to London myself a get a bit more :).

And these two charming little Meerkats were included in the parcel as well. They are magnetized and help you keep track of your needle. How cute, and perfect for me as I tend to find needles and pins in the sofa cushions or when I'm taking off my top. This will save me from myself. Ann is always so at sending little surprises when you least expect them. Thanks a million, Ann.

Then on Sunday I gave myself a surprise. I sat down and quilted the Scrappy X baby quilt. It took me a few visits to the machine to get it done, but done it was by dinnertime and no one was more surprised than me.

And, to complete my surprise triple header, just before I turned in for the night Sunday evening I received a note from Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks that I'd won her Strip 'n Sew giveaway! It's a wooden rack not unlike a pasta dryer that her husband, the ruggedly handsome Mr. Joe, made in honour of Lynn's appearance on The Quilt Show, (apparently he wanted to name it Strip Search, but I am just going to call it the Stripper...). She had quite a funny post about her beautiful dog Mazey making the draw that I think you'd enjoy.

Mr. Joe will be making more of these in his spare time so they've bought a branding iron and now each one has the Sew'n Wild Oaks brand on it soooooo, as Lynn suggested, my Stripper now has a tattoo! I'd better stop before this gets out of hand, but you can see why it was such a nice way to head off to bed. Thanks so much Mazey, Lynn and Mr. Joe - you made my day!....M