Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ten Years Feels Like a Lifetime

The gals at the church were looking for another hand quilting project so the time seemed right to bring out Martha's Star. You may recall that this was a project that mom and were working on before she passed away. I finished up the stars and then made the Single Irish Chain blocks to finish it up,

and has been sitting in this bag, backing and all, for probably 6 - 7 years. Sheesh! I guess I could have asked them to quilt it sooner but they have done a few for me and I didn't want to monopolize their time because they only do a few a winter and their numbers are dwindling.

So I got busy and drafted out a pattern and then quickly got it marked. I was dreading the marking but it came together much faster than I had anticipated, which was a bonus.

The backing will be this cream floral, which will be a nice contrast to the geometry of the pattern. FYI, that blue fabric takes me waaaaaay back. It's a remnant from kimonos that we made for a high school musical, Tea House of the August Moon, and I still love it.

I've heard that the quilt went up on the frames earlier this week and yesterday they started to quilt, which was bittersweet, as it will be 10 years ago next month that mom passed away. It was quite sudden and a shock to us all. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her in some way and getting this quilt finished and ready to use will be another wonderful reminder of her in our lives....M

Sunday, March 26, 2017

You Are What You Eat

Could it be any coincidence that as I work on this...

...I find myself munching on these?

They are multi-grain crackers that I've become a little addicted to lately, which I think could also be said of almost any size of hexie these days.

I've got big Candied Hexagons in the hoop,

medium ones going on around the edges for Anna Leven,

and lots and lots of little ones in the pile of pieces for Minnie. Guess you really are what you eat!....M

Friday, March 24, 2017

Red & White All Over

There's a flurry of red and white quilting going on for Canada's Big Quilt Bee these days, and not just by me.

I'm happy to say that I put the finishing touches on my little slab quilt and love both the backing and the binding.

I was all ready to bundle it up and ship it off when Anne decided that she might make a block or two.

Well, she made 12 blocks too, so this great little top will be added to the parcel.

She found some great Canada 150 fabrics for hers that are bright and playful and very patriotic.

Where were these when I was shopping???

And, of course, you need to include a beaver! Some little tyke will love sleeping under this one.

Jane is dipping her toes into the water on this one as well, and in more ways than one. She's the Creative Director for Ottawa Magazine and recently created this wonderful fabric map of Canada to promote a young fabric designer, Almonte's Grace Noel, that she met at FiberFest last September. Isn't it great? 'With Glowing Hearts - Celebrating 150 Years' is inspired by a love for Canada with maple leaves scattered throughout and classic Canadian icons like hockey sticks and beavers. An interior decorating grad (just last year), for several years she has been successfully entering contests for aspiring designers on Spoonflower. She's also a Dragon's Den winner! But it doesn't end there. Trend-Tex has made her collection the foundation of its annual quilt challenge with the winning designs to be featured at Quilt Market in Houston in the fall. Wow.

So, long story short, Jane is making slab blocks for Canada's Big Quilt Bee too, using the leftovers from the map art. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics to share yet but will see if  can get her to share a few. I'm loving how this Big Bee is touching so many in my circle! Just a reminder that if you are making blocks/quilts for this they are due May 30....M

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hexie Love

All that Orange Peel sewing in circles made me want to move to some hand stitching for a bit, so I pulled out a half finished hexie pincushion and put it together.

The red rose fabric that I used for this one is really beautiful, made even more so by the fact that I only have one little bit of it. There's a little more left, so I can stretch the love into another project.

Usually I fill my pincushions with ground walnut shells but this time I also used a bit of stuffing to try and get the corners nicely shaped. I'm thinking that I like it with just the shells but I'll try again on another one to see if I can refine the process.

And, because I've been craving a piece of cake lately, I tested this Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. SO glad that I did! It hit the mark perfectly. The hint of lemon in the frosting is literally the icing on the cake. The Official Cookie Tester is still licking his chops....M

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Circular Evidence

It's amazing to see progress on a project that hasn't been touched in years - you realize that all you had to do was start. Enter Orange Peel. Once I got myself organized and cut the remaining cream squares that I needed and then set up a system for assembling the blocks, everything seemed to fall into place. You just have to start.

So I'm going in circles these days, making the circular 'sandwiches' with the batting, the four patches and the cream blocks.

So some piles are getting smaller and some are getting taller.

It's tempting to start trimming them but I'm going to try and finish this step before I move along to the the next. The trimming and turning will be a good thing to do while I'm watching TV. Then they need to be pressed, top stitched, and finally assembled. Lots of steps to this one, but because it's quilt-as-you-go it will be a finished quilt when the last circle is added - not even a binding to fuss about.

I've run out of batting squares so it's time to cut more of those before I can do anything else....M

Monday, March 13, 2017


I've been having so much fun planning quilts lately that I'm almost breathless. Jane came by for a visit and brought a few projects with her that were in need of a 'consultation', so I was happy to oblige.

She's pairing up this spectacular large floral with pink, yellow and blue nine patches and was looking for ideas on how to lay them out, so we got right into it. She has 13 blocks of the floral and that's it, so we needed to build out from that.

Laying them on the point seems to bring the best out in them so that will be the centre panel ...

and then she's going to pull in two large blue florals for the setting triangles. These will transition into a picot border of blues paired up with a soft yellow that we found in my stash. I didn't get a pic but it's the same print that Jane used in her Danuta's Garden and she still loves it.

Then she pulled out two baggies filled with 106 gorgeous 4.25" blocks. They started out last summer as HSTs with no particular plan - she was just looking for something to hand stitch - and evolved into two sets of lovely blocks, one with purples and one with reds. They are stunning! Again, these are all of the blocks that we had to work with.

So, what to do? Well, we played around in the stash again and found almost 8 metres of this beautiful paisley, circa 1997. It's sort of the colour of allspice and the rich cerise and turquoise just make it sing.

A little more playing and we came up with this design - columns of blocks on the point with setting triangles in the paisley bordered by 1" strips of various colours pulled from the prints (purple, red, teal, etc.). These will be separated by a 4.5" column of the paisley. I'M IN LOVE!!!

You can see where the paisley has a very definite linear pattern (the top triangles run horizontally and the two on the bottom run vertically) but we didn't want to cut the setting triangles along the length of fabric, so she cut 8" blocks, cutting them again into four on the diagonal and will separate them into vertical and horizontal orientations so that she can alternate the column orientations across the width of the quilt. The print for all of the 4.5" paisley columns will run vertically and there should be enough paisley for the backing too.

All of her setting triangles are cut and her HST blocks are now trimmed, so she's off to the races. She'll be sewing them together by hand and is a speedy little thing so I wasn't at all surprised to get a note from her that she already has one and a half columns of the first one together!....M

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Just Sayin'

When you get a Pinterest message like, "This would make a cute potholder. Just sayin'.", you really don't have much of a choice but to make one, do you? Jane doesn't remember sending it, but send it she did, and now she's the happy owner of her very own hexie pumpkin potholder.

Love it! All those oranges together are just so happy! She loves it too.

It's a hand stitching project that I picked up periodically throughout the fall; 60 hexies later it's a potholder that measures 7" x 8".

Betty thought I was insane, but the hexies are the same size that I am using for Minnie, about 5/8", so I was accustomed to working with this size. The leaf and stem hexies didn't come out as well as they could have (the stem should have been a darker brown to stand out against the pumpkin), but you get the idea.

I believe a little squeal of delight was heard coming from the sewing room when I uncovered this great little gingham to bind it with.

It is backed with the same cheery fabric.

I offered to make a second one for her so that she'd have a matching pair but she is happy with one and will pair it up with another pumpkin potholder that I gave her a few years ago. Maybe I need one....M

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Freezing Rain Warning

We've had an interesting mix of weather lately, to say the least, and a couple of days ago that included yet another freezing rain warning, which ultimately lived up to its promise. That meant that Anne's curling was cancelled so she headed down to her sewing room to work on more Disappearing Four Patch blocks.

It seems to have been just the push she needed because she not only finished up all of the blocks...

she got the top sewn together. And there are enough blocks left over to make a table runner, with one block to spare.

She's laid it out in the same way that I did mine and is thrilled with it. That pretty blue plaid next to it will be the backing. It's going to be another charity quilt and I know that whoever receives it will be as tickled with it as she is, so, moral of the story: maybe freezing rain isn't all bad....M

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I Wasn't Expecting That!

When I left my quilts with Roberta last Friday I remember distinctly telling her that there was no rush - she could fit them in whenever and wherever she could - so you can imagine my surprise when I opened my email on Wednesday and she said they'd be ready to pick up Friday afternoon. Talk about a surprise!

As usual, she has done just a beautiful job on them. She even went so far as to buy a new pantograph that has a lovely little maple leaf embedded in the swirls for the little Slab Quilt for Canada's Big Bee. It's a nice touch for this Canada 150 quilt and I can imagine some little person wiling away the hours in search of all of them throughout the quilt.

The backing worked out beautifully and I'm going to use a red gingham print for the binding.

It's made and attached so I will spend the rest of the afternoon sewing it on as my little friend who is visiting enjoys a nap.

There's a Sour Cream Coffee Cake in the oven, so the house is just starting to fill with wonderful scents. I was going to bake an apple cake but didn't have enough apples so I started looking for option B.

This recipe has been in my folder for years and I don't think I've ever made it - I'm not even sure how long I've had it - so today was the day to try it out. If we like it, it stays in the recipe file, if not, I'll pitch it. The smells of chocolate and cinnamon coming from the oven right now have me voting in favour of keeping it, but the true test will be in the sampling. Of course the Official Cookie Tester will need to weigh in on things as well....M

Friday, March 03, 2017

Blowing The Dust Off

My stash sits organized by colour (actually, 'organized' is a very generous description) in open cubbies in a couple of units that fit across one wall of my sewing room. Mixed in with it are a few spots where batting trimmings, backings and WIPs reside, so there are a few projects that I see every time I sit down at the machine. I see them but they don't seem to be feelin' the love much, so I plucked one out to work on. It seems it's time has come.

The pattern is called either Orange Peel or Cathedral Windows. It's a quilt-as-you-go project that I started 7 or 8 years ago (that's my best carbon dating guesstimate). I saw a beautiful version of it at a local quilt show and was intrigued, so a friend arranged for the maker to do a small workshop for me and five friends Things came to a standstill shortly thereafter because I wasn't happy with the top-stitching that I was doing so it was shelved until I got a new machine.

Well, my new machine has been here for several years now so it's time to try again. Everything for the project was in one place - except the instructions - so I've been looking at all the bits & pieces and had decided to take a stab at making it without them, but not before checking my files one more time.

Victory! I found them!! They have confirmed the basic process for me and also contained a few extra helpful hints, so now it's time to get serious about putting it together....M