Saturday, October 31, 2015

Starry Eyed

Just before heading to the cottage last weekend I showed you a hint of a table runner that I had started for the bazaar, thinking that it would get bound and finished out there, however, it took until late last night for me to finish it off. But finished it is.

I used the same 12-inch star block that I used for Nantucket and it seemed like the perfect excuse to use the skinny quarter inch border again, too.

The fabric for the border is lovely, so much  so that I think I might need to pick up another piece.

I can't say that I feel the same about the fabric that I used for the backing. There's something a little unsettling about those cardinals in my mind (I think it's the gold ring around the eye), so they have been relegated to the back of the bus.

Despite the Official Cookie Tester asking if we were keeping this one it is headed for the Silent Auction tomorrow at the church. We need a new roof so every little bit will help.

I also went to the cottage with a pile of squares cut from various Christmas fabrics to make another runner - same pattern but this time with white stars and a more folksy feel. About four blocks came home with me, but I was having so much fun that I made another four.

To switch things up a bit I laid them out in a square instead of a long row. Truth be known, the blocks are only nine inches finished and I thought that it was just a little too narrow for a runner (that's what you get for doing late night math).

They are about 18 inches square and make a nice little table topper so the gals at the church will like them for the craft table.

Anyway, both are now quilted and bound. The red gingham was a leftover piece of binding that I found and there was just enough. I like the green and white polka dot too. The Official Cookie Tester thinks that we need one of these too and if we do, it will be bound with green. There's been so much binding going on around here lately that almost anything that moves is in danger of having a binding attached to it!

Time to go and get the front porch ready for our trick or treaters. Happy Halloween, everyone!....M

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Crafty Diversion

I headed off to Jane's cottage last weekend with BIG plans for everything that I wanted to get done so that I'd feel that I have a bit of a start on my Holly Bazaar list. Well, that got a bit sideswiped, but in a nice way.

Both Linda and Jane are beautiful card makers and they opened wide their treasure chests of supplies so that we could create a collection to donate to the Madonna House Gift Shop. After a bit of a flurry looking at all the stamps and inks and papers we got down to business, some stamping, some embossing, some cutting and then finally, all attaching strings and packaging them in little bags of six. I have to admit that stamping/card making does not come easily to me so I was happy cutting stamps and trims, embellishing and attaching the ties.

We were going to work at cards and tags for a couple of hours but it lasted through to dinner. When we did a final tally we had made 70 packages of six cards/tags, so that will be a nice bundle to drop off. I kept a few packets of tags and will take them to the bazaar, so at least I got a little bit done :).

This little elf fighting with the Christmas lights is adorable.

After dinner we moved to quilting. When Linda saw the batik placemats that I had taken to bind she was smitten, so they won't see the sale table at the bazaar (sounds like the Official Cookie Tester, who often buys my goodies before they leave the house). I'm okay with that because the church still gets the money but now I think I should make something else.

I never did work on the placemats on the weekend but last night I made the binding and finished them off.

I'm really happy with how they turned out - both front and back - because when I first put them together I wasn't so taken with them. In fact, I thought that they were absolutely lousy. It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do for your perspective.

I've run out of some of the fabrics that I used in this set otherwise I would make another like it but I'll see if I can come up with another colour combination....M

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Holly Bazaar On The Horizon

Both Country Charmer and Nantucket are now pressed and safely delivered to Roberta to work her magic on them which will free up my sewing time to make a few things for the Holly Bazaar, and none too soon. The bazaar is November 13 and to date I have nothing made for it (eeek!). Usually by now I have one or two things ready but my Christmas quilt obsession has moved the bazaar prep completely off the table.

Jane to the rescue! Five of us got together for a weekend of crafting at her cottage this weekend so I got a great start on my TO DO list. Here's a sneak peak of a project that has been started...

and another.

I'll get unpacked and share more soon but thought you might enjoy a sneak peak. Fun, fun, fun!...M

p.s. After my last post a few of you wrote saying that you are keen to make your own Country Charmer quilt. It's a pattern from Lynn at Sewin' Wild Oaks and In Between Stitches, the shop where she works, would be happy to fill your order, I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Country Charmer Is Ready To Quilt

Wow, back to back posts on finished quilt tops - I'm liking this! Country Charmer is now ready to send to the quilter, a couple of weeks later than I had imagined it would be, but hopefully still in time to have it ready to use by Christmas.

Borders always seem to bring out the procrastinator in me, but yesterday was election day here in Canada so, while I was waiting for the polls to close and the results to start rolling in I decided to just sit down and do this.

I've changed the borders a bit from what was in the pattern, opting for a single wide border rather than two narrower borders, and without the nine patches. The gingham that I had thought I would incorporate will now become the bias binding, I think.

I was so excited to see the whole thing that I put it on the line without giving it a good pressing, but I'll do that today and see if I can drop it off to Roberta this week.

I don't think I will ever get tired of looking at all of those different star blocks.

Now I need to find a backing and am hoping that Roberta will have something in a large floral cream that will work. Time will tell! In the meantime, I'm pinching myself that it's done....M

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

And The Last Shall Be First (or, Nantucket Redux)

Despite starting off great guns with Country Charmer in the hopes of having it quilted by Christmas, Nantucket is the one that reached the finish line first. It has been staring me down from the design wall for a few weeks, and for a few weeks, between work and holiday weekends and the like, I seemed to manage to avoid it. Until last weekend.

After all of the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving I had quiet time on Monday to play a little. It was such a spectacular day that I was dying to get outside and do some gardening, but I gave myself and hour to sew first.

Well, it took closer to two hours, but it's done, and it feels great. I quickly laid it out on the guest bed to see if it was going to be large enough and it is. Just. It's plenty long but it could be just a tad wider for my liking, but it will do. I'm glad that I made it big enough to fit on a bed and know that all of those little nine patches will put a smile on my face every time I see them.

I've been so obsessed with assembling the tops that I've forgotten totally about the backings. Cross your fingers that Roberta has something tucked away that will work when I take them to be quilted.

So, now it's time to get serious about the borders for Country Charmer. I've washed three different fabrics but am toying with how many I will actually use. I missed my September deadline with this one but with any luck at all, it will be all ready to quilt by the end of this weekend....M

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada, so that means lots of friends and family and turkey and stuffing.

Bearing in mind the coming turkey and stuffing (oh, and pumpkin pie!), we decided on a pre-emptive strike with a walk along beautiful Old Growth Forest trails at the Shaw Woods.

The canopy is still unusually green for this time of year but we enjoyed the walk and did come across a few nice colourful spots along the way.

With all of our excitement and company behind us, today will be much quieter - a good day to spend some time with Minnie. I've got a few more strips ready to cut into hexies and am looking forward to some hand stitching. So much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too...M

Thursday, October 08, 2015

It Helps To Know What You're Looking At

I'm in the finishing stages of both Nantucket and Country Charmer so my mind has been skipping ahead to the next project. Jane, you will be happy to know that I think I'm finally ready to tackle the machine quilting on your Pumpkin Patch at Midnight, and you can thank Paulette at Sweet P for that. A short while ago she mentioned finding a 'stitch in the ditch' foot for her Janome and I thought that any little bit of help I could get with my machine quilting would be a bonus, so I was all set to buy one.

Just before bolting out the door I thought maybe I should check and see if maybe it was one of the feet that came with my machine, since it is a quilting model. So, I dumped out this little bag of goodies that had been stashed away, and...

...there it was! Bonus! See the little black guide that drops down into the centre of the foot? That sits in your seam as you sew, ensuring accuracy, and given my paranoia about messing this up it is a welcome little tool. There are lots of other uses for it too, if you are interested (it's often called and edge foot). Guess it would help if I spent a little more timing exploring the details of the toys that came with my machine.

All along I've been thinking that I would free motion quilt this piece but I have never done any before and just have not been comfortable testing out my skills on this piece. Then recently I had a brainwave - maybe I could make the spider web quilting pattern using my walking foot.

I whipped out a little scrap with some batting, drew up a loose web, and in no time had a free form spider web that I was very happy with. Eureka! The blocks are not precise matches so the webs will be a little free form too, and I want to stitch in the ditch the spines of the webs, so all the stars suddenly seem to be aligning....M