Monday, January 22, 2018

January Quilts

The days in January sure seem to be speeding along and my sewing room has been pretty busy trying to keep up!  I decided to participate in a couple of quiltalongs being offered this year. One is the 52 Week Quilt Block Challenge (BOW/block of the week) being hosted by Darlene of A Needle Pulling Thread Quilt Shop in Digby, NS.  If you visit her Facebook post dated January 1, you will find all the info there. The link is HERE.  Darlene inspired me to do the star of the week in a previous year and her block choice this year again inspired me to participate. Each week you actually make two blocks.  One is a 25-piece checkerboard block and the other is a snowball block.  Have a peek at my first four weeks worth of blocks...


I have some really fun leftover fabrics called LOL by Me and My Sister Designs by Moda that I had used last year in my Asterisks quilt. I will use these in the BOW and supplement them with other bright fabrics from my stash to make scrappy blocks. The white is a tone on tone white, but I'll probably uses several different whites over the year.

The second QAL that I'm doing is called Patches of Blue by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. The information about this QAL is on Edyta's blog HERE. This QAL requires that you purchase her book of the same name. Check with your local quilt shop and they will probably get the book in for you. I was in a hurry to start so I actually ordered mine from a Canadian distributor and it arrived in a couple of days.  
Like Edyta, I will use blues and creams for the quilt, trying to make it with my stash fabric. Here is what I pulled from my stash for the first block.


On the 15th of each month, Edyta will post instructions on her blog of the featured block. By using both the information from the book and the information on her blog, participants can make the monthly block.  There was a fair bit of cutting, and at one point in time, we were to lay everything out before we started sewing the units together, kind of like a puzzle. 




When it came time to sew the block, I just moved the units back and forth from my table to my sewing machine until the first block, "Frost", was a finish. My block measures about 16" square.



This week I am also trying to finish up my 150 Canadian Women quilt, designed by Kat Tucker of Next Step Quilting, that I started last year to commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary. Although the year of free blocks is over, you can still purchase a CD from Kat for the full year's blocks HERE.  We made three 6.5" blocks a week and when the year came to an end, we had 150 quilt blocks. In the last couple of weeks, I sewed the rows together and added one 2" cream border.  Here is the top on our queen bed without any borders. You can see that it will make a pretty big quilt. And yes, after the picture, I got busy and removed about 1,000 loose threads! 


Sewing the borders on was a labour of love...so much fabric! There isn't one place in our house large enough that I can lay the quilt out to measure it except the bed. Luckily, my measuring worked out so off I went to see my little Janome 2030QDC.    



Of course, it was also a challenge to press the borders afterwards. My little pressing corner became smaller and smaller! 




I just finished pressing this morning and now it's time to start working on my final border - a red 4" piano key border.  Once that's done, the quilt will be off to the longarmer.

January also got me thinking about doing another charity quilt. I believe very strongly in the Quilts of Valour-Canada program so wanted to make another one. Although it isn't a requirement to make a Canadian themed quilt, my colour of choice for making these quilts is always red and white/cream.  I combined my fabrics with some strips of Canadian themed fabric by Northc  had this fabric left over from last year's Quilt Canada program where quilters made comfort quilts for Ronald McDonald houses across the country. I found a free pattern that worked so well for me, combining maple leaf blocks with strip piecing. Thanks to Charlene McCain of Just Because Quilts for her design, which you can find here at the Moda Bake Shop


I adapted the pattern a bit so that the quilt would finish at the minimum size of 55" x 70" and would be a good size for a comfort quilt.  I think there is nothing better than wrapping up in a quilt and feeling that hug so I prefer to make lap sized quilts for QOV.


This quilt is sitting in the spare room now waiting for me to sandwich it and quilt it.  I guess you could say I've been busy this month. Winter has arrived so why not stay inside and sew, sew, sew! Thanks for visiting, and remember it's a great day for quilting!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Happy New Year

Another year is on the horizon, and I know it will be filled with family, fabric, and friends. Our Christmas was wonderful, albeit filled with more facetime hugs than actual ones. Thank goodness for technology that helps make the miles seem to disappear!

My sewing room was a busy place before the holidays so here are a few of the projects that found new homes at Christmas. The first is a teacher/book tote I made for my new DIL. This was a project I inhaled...I loved the pattern, loved the fabrics I found in my stash, and loved the result.


The tote is an Elizabeth Hartman design that can be purchased as a PDF pattern HERE. I wanted to highlight the pen fabric so chose that for the front and some awesome sweater prints to highlight on the back.


This quilt-as-you-go project was fun to make from start to finish.



The bag includes a small inside pocket as well as a zippered pocket. I even added a little strap to hold her keys on the inside! 


I figure the tote will come in handy for just about anything! 


How thrilled I was to then receive this Allen Designs clock from DS and DIL for Christmas!


The clock is already hanging in my sewing room and gives me lots of smiles when I gaze at it! 

Another gift that gives me smiles is the artwork that arrived from our 2 1/2 year old grandson. Of course he had a little help from DD! My collection of Santas is growing every year and this hand made Santa will be very special to me as the years come and go! 


I made a table runner for a friend who loves blues. It was such a fun project to make and I couldn't resist taking a picture with some of my mom's Belle Fiore tableware that we grew up with. I googled and found the history of this hand painted cottage ware from the UK HERE. 


I couldn't resist making some more ouch pouches this year, three for family gifts, and three donated to a local Seniors' Christmas dinner. I forgot to take a picture, but here is a group of 5 I made last year using this tutorial.


I also had fun customizing some text panels. Gotta love Christmas, holidays, decking the halls, and sharing my love of all things Christmas with Santa Mary! 



Now that Christmas is behind us (even though I insist on keeping my Santas around me for a few more weeks), I am in my sewing room with some new projects and some UFOs. It's always a great day for quilting!



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Projects

I have had a wonderful week playing in my sewing room. I love using Christmas fabrics in the month of December, even if some of the projects won't be ready 'till next Christmas! I have a plastic tote for my Christmas fabrics that seems to grow exponentially from year to year until I dig into it and do some sewing. But as all quilters know, the more you cut up those fabrics, the more you seem to have left over. This means that when Christmas is over every year my tote seems to be full again!

My Christmas tree skirt, designed by Karen Neary of Sew Karen-ly Created,  has progressed very well to the point that it is sandwiched and pinned just waiting for me to start my quilting.


It was an amazing project to put together. There are 12 blocks sewn together, 6 in one way, and 6 in another. Then the fun began as I played with the arrangement of the blocks. I put them together in 4 different arrangements and then Woodworker Hubby and I decided on the one we liked the best. It was interesting that we both chose the same one. Here are the four ways with the first picture being our choice. 





When I sandwiched the skirt, that's when I realized how nice and large it is! It is almost 60" from tip to tip, so besides being a tree skirt, may be also suitable as a lap quilt or ladder quilt, folded up to hide the centre hole which I will cut out once quilted. 


When I cut the edges off, I had lots of batting and fabric left to use in another Christmas project. I loved the Christmas Cottage block that was posted on December 3 for the free Moda Bake Shop Countdown to Christmas quiltalong. The block was designed by the Sterling Quilt Company and is just so cute in Christmas colours!  I decided to make a few cottages using some greys for the houses. 


With 4 blocks completed, I figured I had enough for my Christmas Cottage neighbourhood! But it needed something else besides sashing and a border, so I found some cute letters in my Jingle All the Way Art to Heart book and used the fusible applique method to adhere the letters to my background. 




Do you notice that the background fabric looks like Santa's beard? I'm always looking for an excuse to sit in my quilting chair and watch a Christmas movie, so off I went to add the blanket stitch to the letters.


I finished the little top ...



and then I sandwiched it. It is a nice little size and will finish at about 20" x 24. 


Now it is ready for quilting, waiting patiently on the dining room table! 



It is always a great day for quilting!




Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Busy Time for Quilt Projects

Whew! Made all my deadlines for sending packages out of town. Some of my quilty items were given as pre-Christmas gifts so I can share them here.  These two smaller items were made from the pattern, Heartfelt Holidays, which used a fabric panel designed by Wing and a Prayer. 




I loved seeing how DD displayed the banner with her nativity set!


I also sent a pre-Christmas quilt to DS's place, but forgot to take a picture first. He and his new wife have decorated their place with a Paris-Eiffel Tower theme, so when I saw this panel, it followed me home! I did some edge to edge meandering quilting to finish it up. I love how it hangs behind their Christmas tree!



Another project that has brought me great joy in the making is the Mary and Jesus quilt I made for my DD's classroom. The pattern is by Jen Frost of Faith and Fabric Design. The pattern seemed a little overwhelming at first, since there are 49 pages to it, but Jen broke up the project into four units so it became pretty manageable from start to finish. 


I had great success with the first unit, using all kinds of low volume prints and bright yellows for the halo.

Unfortunately, I printed off my Unit 2 pages and pieced the full unit before I noticed that my patterns hadn't printed to scale! This was totally my error, not the designer. Jen was so smart to have a 1" square on each pattern page but I hadn't thought to check it. Woe was me! I had no choice but to reprint and remake Unit 2, which thankfully, worked wonderfully. Patience is a virtue, right? 



I sandwiched the quilt using some 80/20 batting I had on hand, and used some white with grey stars fabric for the back. 


The sun was shining brightly the day I laid it on the deck! It measures about 34" x 41".


I had lots of the medium blue batik left so that is what I used for the second border and the binding.


With this quilt finished, I now have time to work on my Christmas Tree skirt. I attended an excellent workshop recently,  put on by Karen Neary of Sew Karen-ly Created and hosted by the delightful Havre Boucher Quilting Guild. It was a fabulous day of learning, playing, and eating! Karen's workshop, Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend-Log Cabin Diamonds, was excellent! I have been sewing and quilting for far too many years to keep track, but Karen had several new tips and tricks to make my quilting life easier. 

Karen also sells Aurifil thread so I treated myself to an early Christmas present of a great collection of neutrals. I love using Aurifil, and my Pfaff loves it too! I don't seem to have any problems with FMQ anymore, and I think it is because of the thread! 



Today I am playing with my diamonds, arranging, rearranging, and sewing the corner blocks.





It's a great day for quilting!