Monday, January 28, 2019

Seeing Red, and a Little Plum Too

It's probably just the time of year, you know - with Valentine's Day in the offing. Or maybe it was because I had pulled out all of my scrap bins to cut pieces for Halo and got sidetracked with the reds. Whatever it was I decided that I needed to make some of those small red scraps into scrappy fabric.

No plan in mind, just the fun of mindless sewing and seeing the bits and pieces come together in interesting ways rather than languishing at the bottom of a bin.

About half way through I set upon an idea of what to do with it so that everything didn't get chucked right back into the scrap bins or a WIP pile, and it was FUN! I'll have an update for you next time (how's that for a teaser?)

And speaking of teasers, how about this beauty that Betty is working on? Is it not amazing??? This is just a small taste of what I expect to see next weekend when we gals get together to stitch and catch up. I'll be certain to share lots of pics....M

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Very Special Friend

There are some moments in a life that you recognize as game changers. For our family, one of those was when our friends Nancy and Vince moved their young family from Montreal to a farm on the edge of town. I can't remember the year but I believe I was only about 8 or 9. The bond that our families formed continues to this day and we are fortunate to still be able to get together and share a few laughs. We did that recently with dinner at the farm and it was a chance to get caught up on what Nancy was creating in her sewing room.

Nancy loves colour - LOTS of it - and graphic prints. She is a wonderful seamstress and that love of colour and texture translates into her quilts. This WIP that she and Betty are standing beside is a perfect homage to her sensibilities -  bright, bold and beautiful.

Very reminiscent of Freddy Moran, wouldn't you say?

I had a few more great photos but they are trapped in a cell phone that died and, sadly, lost forever. Suffice it to say that her design sense is not waning.

Log Cabin quilt: QuiltBeeIn her studio we found another beauty, this Log Cabin made with wonderful batiks. She shared a wonderful story of buying fabric on a trip to Bali and needing to buy eight hockey bags at an outdoor market to get it all home (she loves a bargain)! On a mission to work through her stash, she is creating gorgeous quilts as she does.

Always resourceful, she uses scrap strips to create beautiful one-of-a-kind rag rugs.

And, her creative genius has been passed down to several of her grandchildren. Love this portrait that one of them whipped up depicting Nancy smoking a joint once it was announced that cannabis would become legal in Canada. Cheeky!.....M

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Cookie Anyone?

I pulled out the mixmaster last night for the first time since Christmas to bake a batch or two of cookies. The Friends of Bonnechere Parks are hosting their annual Winter Magic this weekend and are in need of a few goodies for everyone to enjoy with their hot chocolate after their fun snowshoeing or taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride. You can search for ice gems in the snow maze or build a snowman. After hot dogs, s'mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire, there's a scavenger hunt through the woods and a guided snowshoe hike along the Little Bonnechere River. Lots of fun!

I thought I was only doing a double batch of Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chippers but once I got into it I decided to do couple of batches of Hooty Cakes as well - oatmeal cookies with cranberries and white chocolate chips and a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger thrown in for good measure.

The Official Cookie Tester was on his game and, being the dedicated taste tester that he is, he had to come back for samples two or three times. Quality control, you know!

Not to worry, there are still lots to deliver - 16 dozen to be exact. That should help keep the munchies at bay on a winter's day....M

Monday, January 21, 2019

I'm Finished Churning

Churn Dash quilt blocks: QuiltBee
Omigosh requires lots of Churn Dash blocks - lots! Even though I have simplified the design of the block that I am using (I've removed the tiny four-patch blocks from the centre of the four outer cream blocks), it was still going to take some time to get the last of them all together. The pieces were getting lost amid the mess of my sewing table so I decided to pair everything up and just work at them until they were all together - it's easier to keep track of 4.5" quilt blocks rather than 1.5" squares.

Over several days I'd sit down and put three or four blocks together in one sitting and - wa-la - they are all finished now.

Or at least as many as I think that I need.

It's a happy little block and I love seeing them all together.

I'm going to modify my quilt design even more than just using a simplified Churn Dash block, which will require fewer blocks all round, but I'm pretty sure that I now have enough for what I need, with possibly some extras. I'll share my idea for my version of Omigosh with you one of these days; I'm quite excited about it....M

Friday, January 18, 2019

Shipping Out to California

We are in the middle of a serious cold snap here which makes one pine for warmer climes like, say, California. Wouldn't a trip to California be nice right about now? Yes indeedee! Sunny skies and no snow and ice or dangerously frigid temperatures to deal with. But, since that's not in the cards, I'm shipping off a bundle of house blocks to Debbie's Quilt Shop instead.

After my recent post about this project, my sister Anne got in on the fun, making blocks with the pattern suggested by Lori recently at Humble Quilts, and I do mean fun. Her houses are made from bright, sunny prints...

and she has fussy cut her window blocks to include great little characters like this turtle...

and this puppy.

This gal just cracks me up - very Pippi Longstockingish, wouldn't you say?

All told, she made nine blocks, one of which included this little nod to Canada. And, when added to my six, there will be 15 more blocks to help the quilters in Paradise CA in their rebuilding efforts after the devastating fires.

If you are just seeing the info about this initiative for the first time and would like to join in, please do. They are 10" blocks, are easily made from a few scraps, and come together really quickly; Lori included instructions in her post, too. Every block helps.....M

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

I'm No Jen Kingwell

My idea to just cut a few of the pieces that I need for Halo to see how my new little rotary cutter would work has taken over all of my quilting time lately. Pile and piles of little pieces are now emerging, so while everything it tossed up I am just going to keep going.

It was a bit of a struggle at first though because I was having a hard time seeing Jen Kingwell's quilt in my cuttings. She used predominantly graphic prints and my stash is decidedly floral with a few graphic prints thrown in for good measure. Her palette has considerably more greys than my stash as well and I was starting to wonder if I was just making a mess.

But the more I cut the more I realized that her quilt was a reflection of her stash and mine would be a reflection of mine; they were not going to be identical, just similar and I just had to pay attention to colour value for the various pieces. And once the piles of pieces started growing I could see that it was going to be okay ­čśĆ).

Early on there was a bit of template first aid to be had. The templates tend to slip, especially with all the curves that are being cut, so I looked around for a way to prevent them from skidding so much. I had to look no further than our medicine cabinet.

I cut small strips of surgical tape and applied them to the back of the templates; there's just enough friction created to help keep the templates in place.

So, the cutting continues. It's slowed a little by the fact that I am  cutting from even the smallest of scraps and then taking the cutting remnants and trimming them to 1" blocks and strips for Oh My Gosh, but I might as well do it all at the same time....M

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Joy to the World!

#Halo quilt: QuiltBee
I'm a little slow in getting around to it but there were a few quilty gifts under the tree this year that have me tickled pink, not the least of which was the pattern for Halo by Jen Kingwell. This one is going to be another 'forever' project because I want to hand stitch it, but I don't mind - it's so wonderfully scrappy that it will be fun adding new bits and pieces over time.

It is included with nine other patterns in this little Jenny From One Block booklet, which is a great idea - no need for a full book.

Santa was very organized this year and in addition to delivering the pattern he came through with the acrylic pattern templates too. I could have drawn them up onto cardboard but what's Christmas without one or two special treats?

Many moons ago when I started quilting I spent hours tracing out pattern pieces before cutting them out. Rotary cutters changed much of that (thankfully!) but the curved pieces in this one meant that I had to figure out an alternative to all of that tracing.

I decided to see if a tiny rotary cutter would do the trick, so I picked one up on sale (28 mm) and took it for a spin. Works like a charm! The tighter arc is still a little tricky, but manageable, I just have to take my time. Thank heaven, because I didn't want to trace all those pieces - I'd never get this one finished.

#Halo quilt: QuiltBee
Now to resist the temptation to go at this one whole hog. There are a few others that were in line first, but maybe it can be worked into the hand stitching rotation....M

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

A Helping Hand

house quilt block: QuiltBee
Even though we don't live in California, much less the USA, we couldn't help feeling the devastation of the folks impacted by the massive forest fires this fall. To have a town completely wiped off the map is a sobering thought - so many people left with nothing. I have a hard time imagining it and cannot even begin to conceive of what those people are going through.

Lori at Humble Quilts shared a facebook post from Debbie's Quilt Shop in Paradise, CA the other day encouraging quilters to make 10" house blocks for the fire survivors to  help in some small way as they rebuild their lives. She included block instructions from Dianne Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting - very easy and fun to put together. The block is made with 2.5" squares and strip scraps - easy peasy.

house quilt block layout: QuiltBee
House blocks have been something that I've wanted to play with for some time now so the decision to make a few seemed like a no-brainer; after I watched the Rose Bowl Parade I sat down to make one or two.

house blocks: QuiltBee
That quickly turned in to half a dozen (I told you they were fast and easy).

We're to write something on each block with a permanent marker, which I don't have, so I'll need to dig one up before sending these off. If you are at all inclined to help out I'd encourage you to visit Lori's blog for the instructions. Blocks can be shipped to:

Debbie's Quilt Shop
6287 Fremont Drive
Magalia, CA  95954

Short on time but still want to help? Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks is selling tickets on a quilt to raise money for the survivors. She grew up in Paradise so the loss is doubly painful. Selling tickets on a quilt doesn't seem like it would be a big deal but as of December 15 she had raised $13,105 from generous quilters around the world and it just keeps coming! It is even more amazing when you realize that tickets are $5 a piece. See what she's done with the money so far. Make cheques payable to:

Lynn Wilder
PO Box 3236
Arnold, CA 95223-3236

Please write 'Stitch Paradise Back Together' in the memo section of the cheque.

This was a such a great way to start my new year. Happy 2019 everyone!....M