Monday, 27 March 2017

Quilting with Friends

     There is nothing like a quilt hanging on a line to brighten up a dull day.  Although it was not raining when I went out to snap the picture, the quilt was cold and damp when I brought it back inside.  But the dampness couldn't dampen its spirits as its a happy little quilt.

     It's for the Canadian Quilters Association Big Quilting Bee and I'll be putting it in the mail soon.  It will join many other quilt tops destined for Ronald McDonald houses across Canada.  It's a very kid friendly version of the slab quilt with its crayon box colours and with lots of eye spy type fabrics including clouds, whales , fish, frogs and fruits and vegetables.
    Wendy and Cyndy and I got together a couple of weeks ago to make the slab blocks out of our scraps. Often when we get together we are working on our own projects but occasionally we work on a project together.  For our next project we are going to make a quilt together following Sandra's  Free Fall Quilt Along.   If you or your friends are interested there is still loads of time to join in as the quilt along is just getting started.
     We'll be making the quilt a little bit larger than Sandra's to fit the requirements of our guild's comfort quilts.  We will do that by adding more negative space around the outside of the pattern.  Lucky for us, our now local quilt shop, which is one town away had a sale on Saturday and we picked up some fabrics for the background and the shadow leaf, along with a couple of fat quarters for smaller leaves.  We'll build the rest of the leaves out of our stashes.

     The background is an off white Kona (not on sale)  The orange is for the shadow leaf and the blue and black fabrics are for smaller leaves.  We get together to sew about once a month so I guess we'll have homework in between.  I'm sure this will be a fun project for us to tackle...and who knows maybe we'll make a second one out of batiks.  So today I'll say I'm crushing on community, both my local community of quilters and my online community and I'm linking up to Main Crush Monday  with Beth of Cooking Up Quilts and to the Quilt Bee with Lorna of Sewfresh Quilts.  And here's a new one to me.  I'm linking also with Kat of Kat and cat quilts to Sew Some Love, and yet another new to me linkup for quilts related to Canada's 150th Celebrate-Fetons 150  (sorry I don't have the accent over the e in Fetons) with Andree of Quilting and Learning.  
     This post is getting lots of mileage because I'm also linking with Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon for her free fall link up.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

MId March Catch Up

     On Monday morning I was feeling really happy.  I find that often I don't realize how much of a funk I've been in until I get out of it and feel joy.  It's been a difficult winter and to add to that my sewing machine was acting up.  There were a lot of skipped stitches.  I took it in for a tuneup, got it back and the problem was still happening.  So last Friday, I took it in again and this time I went in with it.  Reza (the repair man)  opened things up and had me sew with it until the problems started up again. He then made adjustments as I sewed along.  He did this while helping  another customer choose a machine. It seems that the tension was adjusted a bit too tight on my machine.  He gave me some trouble shooting tips as well. So it was a good experience after all.  It's amazing how much happiness having a well functioning sewing machine can bring to a quilter.

    Here's the project I was working on to test out the machine when it came back the first time.   I'm going to float these blocks in negative space for a simple but cheerful quilt, for my local Guild's charity projects.

     My friend Laura won this charm pack from Andover fabrics at Quilt Con.  She figured she wouldn't use it so I took it to make the donation quilt. It's a noble quilter who knows her quilting style so well that she can pass on such beautiful fabric. I tend to be more of a hoarder but I am trying to rectify this problem. 

The next thing I tackled was this Star Block for Lee, the Queen Bee of Stash Bee Hive 3.  She requested any star block .  As I'm the Queen next month and have to prepare a tutorial this month, I chose a simple 8 pointed star.

     I didn't realize until I got this done, that the eight pointed star is one of the blocks for the Honey Pot Bee.  I've been far too busy to work on Honey Pot but I'm itching to  make that tiara bonus block.  Now that the 30 quilt design challenge for 2017 is drawing to an end as well as the Meadow Mystery I just might have some time to participate in the Honey Pot Bee.  Fingers crossed.

     Speaking of the 30 quilt designs challenge I am pleased to say that I only have one more design to reach the 30.  I have to submit it today but that's totally do able.   Designing 30 quilts in 60 odd days has been very intense indeed.   I like some of the designs more than others, but it's taught me to look around my world for inspiration.  Another interesting thing is that sometimes I've thought a particular design is pretty darn awful and someone else will comment that they love it.

     I'm using one of my earlier designs as my block for Stash Bee.   I won't share it until April when the Stash Bee tutorial is live....but here is a peak at some of the fabrics I'm using in my samples.  The colours are chosen for the person I'm planning the quilt for.

          Today is March 15th and it's Gabriel's 1st Birthday!  Oh Happy Day.   I'll be calling his parents later today and Dwight and I are on for babysitting on Friday.  He's so much fun at this stage.  He recently learned to walk and to clap his hands.
One of my goals for this year was to spend more time with him and it's working out.  You would think this would be an easy goal, but with their family living in a neighbouring city and trying to work out our schedules with his parents schedules it's been a bit harder than you would think. 

      I'm linking my post up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and then I'm practising my renditions of "The Wheels on the Bus" and "5 Little Monkeys".  Being a Grand Parent is so much fun!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Canada's 150th Charity Quilts


     It's Canada's 150th birthday as a nation and I'm sure you all know that The Canadian Quilters Association is collecting blocks to be made into quilts for Ronald McDonald houses across the country. They are hoping to collect 1,000 quilts. My buddies and I decided to make a quilt top between the three of us, so last Saturday we got together at Wendy's and started making slab blocks out of our scraps, being sure to put the special Canadian Fabrics we purchased from Fabric Please into the blocks.

     I brought all my blue, turquoise and green scraps to use in the effort and I'm sad to say that I still have loads and loads of scraps remaining.

     Here are some of the blocks we made.  We opted to make the kid's size which is 4 blocks by 6 blocks (24 blocks in total).  We finished 18 blocks on Saturday leaving 2 each to get done at home.  The blocks are 12 1/2" slabs made with the technique shared by Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg in their book Sunday Morning Quilts.  

     The last day for mailing blocks and quilt tops is May 30th so I'm sure we will have our quilt top together well before that date.  The quilt tops will then go to the Quilt Canada show in June to be quilted at a really really big bee.  They are hoping that some folks will quilt their own quilts and donate them to their local Ronald McDonald houses  but we have so many other commitments with our local guild that a top is what we can manage.  Every little bit helps!   I'm linking this post to Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's blog.   If you are interested in a little more Canadian input you can check out this post where I share some of the Quilt Con quilts from my region of Ontario.

Friday, 3 March 2017


     Wow was my grandson's first word and so far it's the only word I've heard him say. Wow pretty much sums up my life for the last two weeks.  First of all there was Quilt Con East and all the excitement, fun and craziness of that experience.  If you haven't read Patti of Elm Street Quilts blog post about it I suggest you read her excellent summary. I'll share some Canadiana around Quilt Con a little later in the post.

   I got home on Monday night , went to work on Tuesday, then came home from work to my husband telling me that our daughter in law was in the hospital and that we were babysitting our grandson for a couple of days.  My daughter in law has an autoimmune condition and is expecting their second baby. Things were pretty intense for a couple of days but we are over the immediate crisis for now and hoping things will settle down so that she can return home.  In the mean time I am very grateful to both my place of employment and to Dwight's for being so accommodating with giving  us time off with essentially no notice. 

So now back to Quilt Con.  I had a wonderful time. The quilts were amazing and so inspiring.  I'm sure you've seen many of them on instagram by now but I'm going to show you a couple that are from people in my region.  This first one is by Linda Hutchinson (@artfultoo) who is a member of the Toronto Modern Guild.  I'm sure she made this for Canada's 150th birthday and I'm thinking it will be at Quilt Canada in the Spring.  It was in the hand quilting section.  She did an amazing job on the hand quilting of the red lines that you can see somewhat in this picture.

    The next quilt came in first in the Minimalism category.  It's by Susan Kyle of Toronto.  She's not in the guild but she and Karen became fast friends as they were stuck in an air travel nightmare together.  Susan missed the awards ceremony but Karen worked hard on her behalf behind the scenes to make sure Susan got her own awards ceremony later in the show. The background fabric of this quilt is made from the muslin that's used when they wax your eyebrows.

     The next one by Marilyn Farquhar of the Grand River Modern Guild won first in the piecing category.  I know Marilyn (@marylinjfarquhar) because she used to be a member of my local guild.  She lives near by and it was great to see her there.  It's so beautiful with its low volume and pops of colour.

     This next one is by Marilyn as well.  It's a fun little number with organic shapes and an interesting use of fabrics.  I am happy to see some colour in this quilt as the three above are all pretty low volume...I guess they go with the land of snow we come from.  It snowed again last night but hey, it's March we'll be getting spring soon.  And don't get me wrong I love low volume as much as the next person.  I just think it's interesting that so many quilts from my area were low volume.

        And speaking of colour look at this beauty made by Jeannie Jenkins (@itchn2stitch) of the Toronto Modern Guild. This beautiful quilt won the 2nd place prize in the Modern Traditionalism category.

      That's it for the quilts I'm sharing. I took some awesome workshops and I'll share about that in another post.  I also learned a lot in lectures and I got to meet (if only for a few minutes) many of the people I know on line.  Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl, Cheryl of Meadowmist Designs, Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts, Jessica of Quilty Habit, Daniela of Block M. Quilts, Kitty of Night Quilter.  I missed Stephanie of Late Night Quilter and Diana of Red Delicious Life but I did see both of them from afar.  I also met a lot of really nice people at the Canadian meet up on Wednesday night and in workshops and wandering around the show floor.  I'm a lot more connected to my fellow Toronto Modern Guild members as well.  I think the people aspect was the most fun!

     When I decided to go to Quilt Con this year I thought it would probably be the only one I would make it to, but I enjoyed it so much that now I'm thinking of setting up a special savings account to save up for Nashville in two years.  I'll be sharing this post with Beth of Cooking up Quilts for Main Crush Monday and with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.