Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On a Roll

When I sat down to stitch on Sunday I thought that I had 42 border stars that I needed to separate with sashing strips but as I sewed I realized that it was only 30, so things came together faster than I had expected, which was nice.

Since I was on a roll (and the Official Cookie Tester was golfing) I quickly moved the dining room table out of the way so that I could lay things out and plan the borders. The glare from the windows is washing things out a bit, but you get the idea.

The hardwood strips that you see on either side of the quilt are where the last two sashing strips still need to be inserted.

Once I got things laid out I stacked blocks up and made a few hastily scribbled notes so that I would remember what went where. My roll continued and now I have all four borders together - man, I wish all of my quilts came together this quickly! So, two more strips of sashing and four borders to attach and this one will be a wrap....M

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Shooting for the Stars

I've spent the last few evenings sitting in this armchair with my feet up sewing more strips together for Danuta's Garden. They are all together now so it's time to look at how the stars for the border will be laid out.

Actually, what I should have said is, 'all six of the block strips with the exception of the two sashing strips that go along the outer edges'.

I've been distracted by table toppers so it's been a while since this one was picked up, but it's always so relaxing to move away from the machine to my hand stitching.

I want a change from sewing long seams so I'm turning my attention to the star border. They are separated with a strip of plain sashing so I'm going to start sewing a sashing strip to each star block to make the final layout go a little faster, an idea I picked up from Jane.

It's hot and muggy today so working with smaller pieces will be a little cooler than having the entire quilt top on my lap as I stitch. If memory seves me correctly, there are 42 stars so that will keep me busy for a while....M

Friday, August 26, 2016

Halloween Lite

Some people really get into Halloween, but I have to say that I'm not one of them. I love autumn and the changing leaves and pulling on my sweaters after a long, hot summer, but I've never been that much into getting dressed up or decorating for it. I like a little bit but am not into the ghoulish side of things.

So I was a little surprised when I found myself looking at a 'Halloweenish' table topper on Pinterest by Buttermilk Basin - it's sort of Halloween, but I'm calling it Halloween Lite.

I'm on a kick to get my Holly Bazaar sewing done early, and hopefully a few things for the Madonna House Christmas Shop, so I've been trolling my Pinterest Table Runners board for ideas. Last year's square format were a big hit and seemingly flew off the shelves, so I started there.

This pattern is one of Bonnie Hunter's Leaders and Enders projects - Lozenges. Follow her tutorial - it has great hints on trimming and pressing so that all of the seams are nicely nested when you put the blocks together (though you have to pay attention - there were a few rip outs and repressses!). That said, it's a fun one to sew.

Her idea of laying a block out to remind yourself of the order that seams are pressed makes all the difference.

I didn't mark my small squares, I used a strip of painter's tape as my guide and it worked really well and sped things up nicely.

I've cut enough lozenges for four table toppers and now have two centre panels together in slightly different colour schemes - they still need a couple of borders. I made the green one above first and used only two black and cream prints for the little pinwheels, but for this gold version I used a much more scrappy selection of black and cream.

I like them both so maybe I'll do one more of each for the remaining two. I'm thinking that one of these might just stay with me rather than making them all to charity....M

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Simple Simon and a Handful of Hearts

Remember that nursery rhyme 'Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair...'? Well, blueberries are in season, and after a few recent rains they have come on like gangbusters so Anne and I did our best pieman imitations and had a pie-making session.

I did the pastry and she did the filling (she had found mom's recipe and was keen to give it a try) and in a couple of hours we had eight pies in the freezer ready to be enjoyed this winter. Anne also picked all of the berries so I got off easy.

The farm where we pick is expecting to have berries for at least another month so maybe I'll make a couple more and share them around.

Sunday's slow stitching was really productive. I often start with great plans and then get totally side tracked but I got nine little heart decos stitched together and then finished the last three off last night. I think I'll prep another batch so that they are ready to go when I am. Who knows, I might even be a little ahead of the game for this year's Holly Bazaar!....M

Sunday, August 21, 2016


It's been a full, full week of meetings and company and dinner parties but the kitchen is now clean again and the guest room is empty so it's time to sit and stitch. When I was cleaning up the study in preparation of weekend guests I came across this hot mess that had fallen behind my chair - the makings of a batch of felt hearts for the Holly Bazaar.

When I got everything sandwiched back together and organized things didn't look quite as bad so I think I will spend some time stitching a few of these together this afternoon.

Hopefully soon each one of these...

will be looking like this. Looking forward to it....M

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stretching Is Good

That HST block that I showed a little while ago has really been a good exercise for getting me out of my traditional colour ruts and trying something new. And, it's now joined two other blocks to become a table runner that is ready to quilt.

The colours in this piece are a real mix but I'm lovin' how they all play together - red, green, blue, brown, grey and citron with a hint of cream.

I've got a thing for citron fabrics but haven't seemed to really do anything with them so this was a good move. There's a second citron project mulling around in my head, but first things first.

I started making HSTs with 5" squares but realized fairly quickly that unless this runner was to be used by giants I had some trimming to do. It was the perfect excuse to crack open my new Martelli circular rotating cutting mat. LOVE it! I had seen Lynn from Sew'n Wild Oaks use one in her videos and, after much stewing (and finding a great online deal), decided to treat myself for my birthday last month.

Now, we grew up in a 'waste not, want not' kind of home so there was a fair bit of angst about trimming almost a half an inch off of each block, but in the end I decided that it was the only thing to do. That said, I think the original block size would be great if it were for a quilt top. You can see the difference in size the trimming made, and this is before everything was sewn together.

I think it's going to get quilted with simple vertical lines but it needs to sit on the design wall for a little bit longer before the final decision is in....M

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Spring Garden In The Middle Of Summer

Anne has been doing a little happy dance lately because she's put the finishing touches on her Spring Garden quilt, and it's soooo pretty.

This is a pattern that I created a while back that she was anxious to try and had lots of fun with it.

Three really easy blocks combine to make up the pattern - nine patches, four patches and a square in a square. It's a wonderful way to use up those little scraps and the variety is what makes it.

In addition to using the square in a square blocks for the outside round of blocks they are used again with a white border to create the 'lace' that sits between the centre and the outer green border. I thought long and hard as to how I might make that transition as the first one was going together and was thrilled when this idea came to me.

It's going to be backed with the same green print as she has used for the outer border and it's now ready to be basted, so she'll have a quilt to put on the frame for the winter. She's already talking about making another one!....M

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Piping Hot!

Not sure if this a good thing or a bad thing, but I think that my fabric is starting to talk to me!

I was pulling fabrics for a new HST project (the Holly Bazaar is suddenly able to be seen on the distant horizon...) and found a shirt that I had picked up at VV Boutique that hasn't been cut up yet, so I cut a block from one of the arms. As I turned the shirt over I noticed 'Piping Hot!' printed across the back yoke. Too funny! This has been a screaming hot summer for us so the message was very appropriate. The fabric didn't make it into the final selection but I had a good little chuckle. Maybe I need to get out more...

So, we've been looking for as many ways to cool down as we can. I've had a hankering for a bowl of soup but didn't want something hot so I landed on making Ina Garten's gazpacho. It was just the ticket - fast, easy, and all made in a food processor.

I used the recipe in my cookbook but it made a HUGE batch - it said serves six but serves 16 would have been more accurate. The link that I've provided takes you to a recipe that looks like it has been cut in half so if you make it you won't be eating it for a month.

Back to my HST project for a minute. Here's a little bit of what I've been up to. I'm still playing with it but it's coming along nicely.....M

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Couple Of Favourites

Sandy wrapped up her thoughts on their weekend at Jane's cottage with, "I'm a wee bit addicted to taking quilt pics the colours, textures, designs ...and, I came home with so many ideas from Blue Heron. Jane has so many lovely cottage quilts! Good thing I've been stock-piling fabric!" Sounds to me like we will be seeing more beautiful quilts from her soon. Here's a couple of the quilts that she's dreaming of.

This one was made by our friend Martin from shirting. If I'm not mistaken it might have been the first one that he made, and it is just the perfect sunny, summer quilt. Not only did he make the top but he machine quilted it. Impressive for a first outing, I'd say.

The second is one that I've long wanted to make as well. Appropriately enough for a cottage quilt it's called Sand Castles. Love the softness of the prints behind that creamy white lattice.

It's from the book The Best of Black Mountain Quilts by Teri Christopherson (great book). I'd like to do this one using lots of soft, large florals.

Sandy, if you are itching to start just let me know and I can get you the pattern - its easy peasy and I'd hate to see you idle :)....M

Monday, August 08, 2016

Summer Reunion Part Two

I promised to update you with the third quilt that Sandy is working on but just had to share this pic of Jane first. How is that for concentration?! She's sewing the label onto the quilt she's made for her nephew Eugene for his 40th birthday.

Eugene recently lost everything in a house fire so this is a start at helping make his new home warm and welcoming. Jane hand stitched it and then her niece Sheila (Eugene's sister) hand quilted it. A gift of love from start to finish.

Gorgeous plaids and paisleys come together in a simple pattern with an end result that is just stunning. And how about that backing? Could it be any more perfect?

Betty continues to work on her beautiful muted star quilt - it looks to me like the border with the stars and large floral print is on now. We'll have to see what the next round will bring.

And this is Betty laying out Sandy's third quilt (see my last post if you missed the first two). The pattern is Tilted Spools but she calls it Crazy For Red because that's the name of the Moda reds in it and she loves the name. Sound good to me.

It was her first attempt at sewing a quilt by machine and it was quite a learning experience - not very relaxing as her machine had a mind of it's own sometimes (not to mention that she had to get the manual out every time a bobbin needed thread, but it sound like she's pretty good at it now!) :) and she found that it wasn't as exact as she can be stitching by hand. Beautiful.
She's hand quilting it and it's going quickly; the backing is much softer on this one than the first one she quilted - lesson learned. Sandy is meticulous, including the attention to detail in her basting - Betty and Jane were in awe, and rightly so.....M

Friday, August 05, 2016

And Then There Were Three

Blue Heron is the name of Jane's cottage and last weekend it was home to a long standing re-union of Jane, Betty (Steve) and Ed (Sandy) who worked together in an Ottawa ad agency years ago. It's a long standing tradition and a testament to love and laughter and friendship.

Amid all of the silliness a few years ago some of the quilting bug rubbed off onto Sandy and she hasn't looked back, and here are the three amigos cuddled under her first quilt, Friendship Album. Quite appropriate, I'd say.

Isn't it gorgeous? I just love the scale of the blocks - somehow it says Scandinavian to me, but that could just be me. That's the lovely and talented Sandy in the middle.

It's hand stitched from start to finish and hand quilted as well. Ed is a scuba diver so she found this fun fish fabric to back it with. Apparently it was very stiff, even after washing, but it is perfect, and, as she says, "Even though this backing was so stiff to quilt, I don't think I could have resisted the fabric. I love it!"

Sandy might be a quilting newbie but she's fast becoming a quilt commando. She's working on a king sized quilt called Ed's Underwater World which was inspired by some sea creature fabric Ed found (Ed is the mystery guest on the left...), also hand stitched. Doesn't it just look like the shimmering sea? Look closely and you will see turtles, seahorses, octopuses and anchors.

And here's the lovely and talented Ed modelling the border that has yet to be attached. This one's a biggie so she's not sure this one will get quilted on a hoop.

And that's not all! There's a third quilt in the works but I think I'll save that for another post along with some updates from Betty and Jane. Nothing like a little teaser, is there? .....M