Sunday 25 May 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday: Looking for Advice

     Whenever I check out the posts at Slow Sunday Stitching I'm always impressed by the dedication and skill of the hand quilters.  I do a little bit of hand applique.  I'm very very slow at it, but lately I've been feeling the itch to try some hand quilting.  I even dug this out of a bin.  It's the sampler from a hand quilting class I took eons ago.

     My son (he's my baby. He's 23)  is getting married in August and I have made a small project to give to him and his fiance at their wedding.  Just in case they check out this post I'm not going to show it.  But these are some of the fabrics I used.

     My plan is to practice by completing the sampler and if all goes well to hand quilt the project for the kid's .  I could use some advice on the basting and marking,  and on what threads you use.  I'm using hand quilting thread on the sampler.  Do I have to use that on the project or can I use a heavier cotton thread like Mettler.  I'd appreciate all advice. 

Friday 16 May 2014

A Little Spring Time Meditiation

      There has not been much sewing happening  here lately.  It's because Spring has finally arrived!  Instead of sewing there have been walks in the woods and gardening. Obsession number two for me is  gardening with plants that are native to our area, which is southern Ontario.  We have a pretty large city property and although we don't garden exclusively with natives , we are using more and more of them all the time.  Two years ago we planted several little trees at the back of our yard.  That August I think it rained once the whole month.  I really bonded to those trees as I lugged buckets of water back there every second night for that entire month.  Unfortunately I think a couple of my babies didn't make it through this years severe winter conditions.
      Last summer I planted some woodland flowers  under the trees.  I only tried a couple because I wasn't sure if the soil was rich enough for them.  Last week I was happy to see that my Trillium came back up!

     Now I know they'll survive I've planted more and other woodland plants as well. I find it's really good for my soul to weed the garden and hang out with the trees.  Linking up with the slow bloggers  at Knotted Cotton and with May for Me.


Tuesday 13 May 2014

Modern Blocks

     The  guild I belong to recently started up a modern quilting sub group.  There are six of us in the group. We've only met a couple of times and what we've decided to do is to each make blocks which we put together into donation quilts.  The first one we made was the missing U from Sunday Morning quilts.  Scott just finished  quilting it on his long arm.  My blocks are the pink block on the left and the blue block beneath it.

      For our second project we decided to make two blocks each using any modern technique.  All these blocks would have a white background. 
     For my first block I decided I would do something simple.  I went with a modern cross block.  Here it is. Or should I say was.  Making this block turned into a bit of an Alice In Wonderland experience, where she eats the cake and shrinks or drinks the drinks and expands!

     Because the block was simple I  decided to wing it (not use a pattern), and I also thought it would be interesting to make the arms of the cross out of scraps.  I was aiming for an 8 1/2 "square.  I started with an 8 1/2 white block which I slashed. I thought the block would get bigger as I was adding fabric to it but of course as the angles were crooked by the time I trimmed it up it was only 7 1/2 ".  Then I found out the block was supposed to b 12 1/2 ".   You have to laugh.   My friend Wendy  suggested I make it larger by adding  a white border then a scrappy border followed by another white border.  I thought that was a great idea and decided to give it a go. 
     While figuring out how big to make each section I forgot that if the block needed 5 inches to get it to the 12 1/2 inches I would divide that by two to figure out how big to make each strip.  So of course after I added the first white strip and then the scrappy strip it was almost but not quite the right size.  To get the proportions right I ended up  trimming the scrappy strip way down before adding the final white strip.  I'm happy with it now.

      As I didn't have much time left to make the second block I figured I should make the second block an even simpler one but of course I messed up the math with this one as well!   Math difficulties aside I really enjoy the process of figuring out things as i go.   It will be interesting to see how these two blocks fit in with the ones made by the others in the group. I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at the needle and thread network.


Monday 5 May 2014

May for Me

     I  read  about May for Me on  Kathy's blog last week.    I was feeling exhausted after an overly busy April and I thought some me time in May is just what I need.  I've been thinking about ways to sneak a little me time into my days.  Fifteen minutes of meditation a day is something I'll try for May.  I need to create some space in my head.
      On Saturday Our Guild had a  sewing day and some of us were talking about how we don't use our quilts on our beds because we worry about our pets wrecking them. In my case the quilt is on the bed but no one can see it because it's covered so the cat won't scratch it.  I realized that I don't want the quilt hidden away.  I want to enjoy it.

    So I trimmed the cat's nails and  the next morning I made the bed and put the quilt on the top.  It didn't take long for  the cat to hop up on the bed. I didn't stress out about it and I didn't shoo him off. I folded up a blanket and made him a little soft bed on the bed, and that's where he's spending his time.
He's looking pretty evil in this picture....maybe just waiting for me to leave the room before he gets the claws out.  Just kidding, the system seems to be working. Yeah!  May for me and May for Benni too!

     If you are wondering about the sewing day at the Guild.  It's a Past President's mystery.  We have a couple of them a year.  We get together for a day of sewing and the Guild Past Presidents provide us with a pattern or sewing idea .  They also feed us lunch and make door prizes.  It's ton's of fun!

    As the projects are always a mystery until we get there I try to use fabric from my stash. I chose to use batiks that had been in the stash for a while.   Here's what I manged to accomplish.  5 1/2  X blocks.  I spend a lot of time socializing and checking out every one else's projects.  Which of course is half the fun!

     Only another 25 blocks to go.  I'm not sure when I'll get back to this project as I have several others on the go.  I'm linking up to May for Me at Marcia's blog  .

Friday 2 May 2014

A Bright Quilt Finish for Spring!

I finished what I have been calling my crazy curves quilt.  I think it deserves a new name so I'll call it Spring becomes Summer because it shares colours from both seasons.  I snapped the shot last Sunday when we had some sunny weather.

     I made the quilt top in a workshop with Elaine Quehl at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph.  Elaine is an Art Qulter who makes beautiful quilts of flowers and plants.  You can find her at . I took her "Liberated Strip Piecing" workshop several years ago but the top sat around for ever because I couldn't figure out how to quilt it.
     Then last year I saw several quilts on various blogs which used this quilting pattern or variations of it.  I can't recall them all but I do remember there was one on the Quilt Matters blog and one on Crazy Mom Quilts blog.  It's quilted with the walking foot in a big spiral.  I started in the centre of the purple section in the top right hand area of the quilt.  The quilt is 36' by 36".   It's the first finish of my Q2 Finish Along Goals.   It's hanging in a local library for the month of May in celebration of International Quilt Month!  I'm linking up to TGIFF  Quokka Quilts and to finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.
Here's my link to the original FAL post.