Monday, 31 December 2018

A quilt for Zoe/December Goal is Finished

     I'm squeezing in one last finish for 2018! I managed to put the last stitch in the quilt binding just as the sun was going down for the day on Saturday.  Of course it was cloudy on Sunday morning when I took the photos (it's raining now).

      I whipped up the quilt top in June when I decided to use the fabric you can see in the plus signs, in a quick finish.  I won those whimsical fat quarters in the Rainbow Rose Quilt Along which was hosted by Modern Quilters Ireland back in 2016.  I chose the Coral background fabric because it went nicely with all the other fabrics.  Who would know I would be on trend with the Pantone colour of the year for 2019.  

     The pattern is the Celestial Plus Quilt from the book Modern Plus Sign Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander.  I made the quilt in what I call Toddler Size.  It's 48" square.

     I managed to find a co ordinating fabric to put on the back, which worked really well for the binding as well.

     I'll be giving this quilt to my newest great niece Zoe.  Baby Zoe is about 3 months old now.  She is the 3rd daughter for my nephew Eric.  I tend to give baby's their quilt at about a year old so Zoe's is ahead of schedule for me.

     I quilted the background of the quilt with an all over pattern call bear claws. The claws radiate out in all directions from the dark grey larger plus sign.  I used my Janome 8900 for the quilting and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Not perfect by any means but quite a bit better than any fmq I have done so far. I used Mettler 50 weight Coral Thread in the top and the bobbin. I will be taking a course with Christina Camelli and Quilt Con so I need to be practicing all over designs.  I got pretty comfortable with this one as I worked on the quilting and I was able to relax and enjoy the process.  Quilting Zoe's quilt was my OMG for December so I will be linking my post to the December OMG linkup.  It's also my 2nd finish for the 2018 Finish Along 4th quarter so I'll be linking up there as well.  You can see my list of proposed finishes here.  I'm also sharing this finish with the Let's Bee Social linkup and with the Brag About Your Beauties linkup.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Best of 2018 Linky Party

     Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is holding her annual Best of Party and after missing the party last year, I'm joining in again.  I like to use this link up to share my favourite makes of the year.  Here they are in no particular order.

1.  I made this version of the "Preppy Pod" quilt , pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, for my youngest grandson Elisha so of course it's one of my favourites.  I wrote about it here.

2.  The second quilt on the list was also made for a toddler and I think it's my favourite make of the year.  I love the bright colours in this quilt and I had a lot of fun with the quilting.  You can find the story of this quilt here.  The blog post for this quilt was in the Wish Upon A Star blog hop hosted by Carol of Just Let Me Quilt, and it received the most visits for the year.

3.  My quilter's planner quilt is another favourite.  Making this quilt was a good skill builder for me as the piecing was a little more intricate than my usual and I'm happy to say I could see improvements in matching up points etc.  The blog post for the quilter's planner quilt (designed by Cheryl Brickey) is here.

4.  I also enjoyed working on Sandra of mmmquilts  Free Fall quilt with my friends Wendy and Cyndy and you can read about that quilt here.

5.  For my fifth and final choice I'm going with this simple quilt which I designed and made for a Curated Quilts Challenge.
I am super proud of myself for completing this challenge and submitting it to the magazine and I'm planning to work on more challenges in 2019 as time allows.  Here is the post that goes with the quilt.

     I hope you all have a great New Year and here's to another great year of quilting and blogging.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

2019 Planning Party


      Like many others I am joining Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl in her Planning Party for 2019.   This is my 4th year of goal setting and I really enjoy the process of sifting through my ambitions and wishes for the year ahead. 

     Here's a quick update of last year's progress.  I did complete 6 quilts and I'm working on completing the 7th right now so I may exceed that goal.  I did do some practice with free motion and walking foot quilting although not as much as I was intending.  I did not set aside weekly time for fabric play although I did enter some challenges in the later part of the year which helped me to have some creative play time.

     Regarding the blog I did not always manage two posts a week but I did share some community outreach work.    In my personal goals I did spend more time with my sister and I did go to museums a bit more.  I made some  progress in cooking and cleaning strategies but I did not get back to daily meditation and goal setting.

      As I move into 2019 I have some exciting news to share with you.  My two quilting buddies and I pooled our money and bought a sit down long arm machine ( mid arm).  It's living a Wendy's house as she has the most time to use it at present but I am super excited to be using it as well. Also in the fall of 2019 I'll be moving into semi retirement, so my time will free up but my money will tighten up.  So keeping these things in mind here are my goals for 2019.

Quilting Goals
1. Improve my quilting both waking foot and free motion, using my home machine.
2.  Become comfortable with the "mid arm" and work on my free motion skills with it.  The plan is to start with quilting on donation quilts, as we always have more quilt tops than quilters.
3.  Complete 4 to 6 UFO's (hopefully) all that practise above will help with this.
4.  Continue to work on challenges as they arise.  This will include the Curated Quilts challenges, guild challenges and any other challenges that come my way and catch my fancy.  While working on these challenges also work on creativity and skill building.

For my Christmas gift I asked  Dwight to build shelves in the cupboard in my sewing room. This next goal relates specifically to that.
5.  As I rearrange my fabrics, scraps books and patterns, look over each item and make a decision about whether to keep it before placing it on a shelf.

Blogging Goals
1. Post once or twice a week depending on content.
2. Write more process posts
3.  Work on better photos.

Personal Goals.
1. Make better use of my Quilters Planner.
2.Continue to develop better cooking and cleaning strategies.
3.  Retain flexibility as life keeps throwing those curve balls to me.
4.  Be kind and patient with myself and others.   

I welcome 2019 with all it has to offer and I look forward to sharing another quilting journey with my fellow quilt bloggers.



Friday, 14 December 2018

The "Ugly Fabric Challenge"


  When the folks from The Red Red Bobbin came to our  Modern guild in September they let each of us choose a fabric that we was an "ugly" fabric or a fabric we would not normally use.  They  then challenged us to make a small quilt with the fabric.  I made two.  Here's the first one.  

     The ugly fabric is the brown fabric, although the light gold is giving it a run for its money.  I used some of the colours in the gold fabric to choose additional  fabrics for the piece.  I also thought it would be fun to practise some gentle improv curves.  I was really just playing around at this point seeing how the colours were working together.  Although I wasn't thrilled with how this piece was coming together, as I worked I began to figure out a way to use the fabric with a result I might like.

     I decided I needed to tone the fabric down a bit and I decided to add some grey grunge fabric with blue undertones.  I sewed 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" rectangles of the grunge to 3 1/2" squares of the "ugly" fabric and some other co ordinating fabrics I had in my scrap bins.  Things worked together quite nicely and I finished with this table runner.

I think the brighter orange squares really lift the tone of the runner and I knew I had a winner when I added them to the mix.

     And winner it was!  It won the most votes (by one or two) at our December Guild meeting/Holiday Party/Sew In. I used my walking foot to quilt more or less straight lines across the quilt using a light blue aurifil thread.  If you go back to the first photo in the post you can see the 2/12" by 12 1/2" creative grids ruler I received as a prize.  You can also see the EZ angle ruler and the template holder I received as a gift.  Instead of purchasing things we wrapped up tools or material we had on hand, or made something as gifts for one another.

     These two small quilts make up my first finish for the fourth quarter of the 2018 Finish Along (you can see my original list here.  There is also a really good photo of the "ugly" fabric there.  I will be linking up to the finish along later in the month but for now I am linking this finish up to the Brag about your Beauties link up with Michelle of From Bolt to Beauty.

And I'm also linking up with TGIFF which is hosted this week by Kathy at Kathy's Kwilts and More.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Fireburst Mystery

     Look What I managed to finish!

  It's the quilt top from the Fireburst Mystery Quilt Along hosted by Tish of Tish's Adventures in Wonderland.  Despite being a fairly simple quilt I managed to fall way behind as I tossed it aside for other things that caught my fancy.  Perhaps my word for 2019 should be focus.

     You will notice that we have had sun lately, and a light dusting of snow. This is helping to put me in an optimistic mood as I think about plans and goals for 2019.

     I'm enjoying the bright colours against the dark blue and the dark blue against the snow.  Linking with  UFO Busting at Tish's Adventure in Wonderland as well as the  Main Crush Monday link up at Cooking Up Quilts and the Let's Bee Social linkup at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, 3 December 2018

December Goal

     I'm not sure what happened to November but here we are at December and it's time to link up a goal for the month.  This months pick was a pretty easy one for me.  I need to get some free motion quilting practise in so I'm going to quilt this one.

     The quilt is folded on the top.  It's the toddler sized version of the Celestial Quilt from Modern Plus Signs Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander.  I found the backing fabric at our local Len's Mill store and lucky for me there was only enough there to back this quilt.  If you finish the bolt you get 15% off.  Whoo hoo!

     While we are on the subject of Modern Plus Signs Quilts, I did finish my November goal of finishing the first section of the Modern Plus Sign Quilt Along.  I finished it on December 2nd, too late for the link up but I'm smiling.  I'll keep plugging along and maybe catch up by January or February.

     I'm linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts for the December One Monthly Goal linkup and I'm also linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's blog.

Friday, 23 November 2018

A small finish

     I have a finish to share with you today.  It's a small finish, but it took me quite a time to make it and I love it.  It's a name tag.  I made it at a sewing meeting at my Modern Guild.  All  the fabric in this little project except for the Libs Elliot multi blue fabric is leftovers from other projects.   

      One of the  members of the guild had offered to write our names with Calligraphy, but she couldn't make it to the meeting, so I decided to improv piece my short name.  That was a tricky process with lots of scraps ending up in the garbage but it worked out in the end.  The other tricky bit was sewing down the binding on the front.  It's a pretty big name tag, 7" square.  I like the grey negative space around my name.  For the strap I re purposed the strap from the Quilt Con 2017 name tag..  I even kept some of the buttons I collected there.

     I put a plastic pocket on the back to stash things in.  Like draw tickets and things like that.  It was a fun make.  When I started the improv process, I thought, well if it doesn't work out I can do something different.  I've been doing a lot more sewing for fun.  Just showing up at the machine and working on things until I'm ready to stop.

   When I started blogging the slow movements were very much in vogue.  You know slow cooking , slow crafting and even slow blogging.  People had buttons on their blogs that said things like "I took the process pledge".  The idea was that in the fast paced world of work and the internet etc. we needed to slow down and create with our hands in order to nurture our souls.  That seems to me to be disappearing a little with a focus on getting multitudes of followers and posting quickly on instagram.  I've always loved reading blogs the most.

      When I lost my quilting and blogging mojo recently, I found a few things helped to bring me back. The monthly newsletter from Kim Soper of Leland Avenue Studios is one of those things.  Kim is very much interested in the creative process, and she is a slow quilter. Each newsletter comes with a project.  This months task is to think of 5 things every day that nurture your creativity and to give gratitude for those.  I haven't been doing this every day, but I have been doing it.  At first I thought 5 things a day would be too much, but I've come to realize that pretty much everything has an affect upon creativity.  So today I am thankful for my job which pays for my fabric, for my sewing room, for my husband who supports my craft, for my kids and grandkids who keep me happy, to the sunshine that also keeps me happy.  What nurtures your creative soul?

     Linking up with Michelle of From Bolt to Beauty for the Brag about your Beauties pageant.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Quilting for Charity.

     Last Tuesday was the first guild meeting since Bee Day and I received some of the quilt tops back that guild members completed.  I thought I would share some of the brighter ones here.  It's remarkably sunny here today so I hauled them out to the back porch and took quick picks.  

     At Bee Day we hand out kits with the fabric pre cut and the pattern included. Members work on the quilts during the day and in some cases take them home to finish the top.

     The fabrics in the first two quilts are batiks from my stash and Cyndy's stash.  The two of us have been trying to use up our oldest fabrics and these batiks have been hanging around for a long time. We had enough fabric to make two of kit and one of each was made at bee day.

     The first quilt top is made with the Reaction block pattern from Creatin in the Sticks. The key to this pattern is having contrast in the two halves of the block. Becky worked on this project and I love how she put it together. I would have put the blocks together in a more random arrangement so I was pleasantly surprised to see Becky's arrangement which creates a secondary pattern.

     This second quilt is bright and fun.  It's from a pattern called Batik Beauty by Angela Veek which was published in the Quilters Almanac magazine. Sorry I don't know which issue as I tore it out of my copy. Although it was designed with batiks in mind I think the pattern would look great in lots of different fabrics.  This version was beautifully sewn by Ann.
     The rest of the quilts I'm sharing today come from the guild stash. Some of it was purchased and some of it was from a very generous donation from Marion, a former guild member.  Cyndy did a great job with this Jelly Roll Twist kit. The pattern is from the Fat Quarter shop.The fabric has a 40s vibe to it, but a little more brightness.

     Dana put this lovely top together.  Don't you just love those fun plaids and that  colourful dachshund fabric.  The pattern here is based on the Quarter Cut Baby Quilt tutorial by  Debby Jeske of a Quilter's Table. We adjusted the pattern to fit our size requirements

     This last quilt just might be my favourite.  There was no pattern given with this kit.  We always have one "Creativity required kit in the mix.  The kit was made up of a variety of soccer related fabrics, balls and flags, along with co-ordinating fabrics.  Brenda, who picked up this bag was free to create whatever she wanted. She made a quilt and a half.  As she put it she just kept sewing until all the fabric was used up.  Here's the quilt.  The half will need some additions. 

     Now that I have these fun quilt tops and many others in my possession, it's my job to make up kits with backings and batting, to hand off to other guild members for quilting.

     Because I haven't been there for a while I'm going to link up with the Main Crush Monday link up with Beth of Cooking Up Quilts and with Let's Bee Social with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Keep on Keeping On

     For I think the 3rd month in a row I haven't gotten my goal done and I almost didn't bother to post one this month thinking that maybe I've been jinxing myself, but I actually started working on my October goal yesterday and I realized it would be fairly easy to finish it this month. So I'm giving it one more try.  I'll be working on the first month of the Sampler plus quilt along with Paige of Quilted Blooms and Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs.  Here's the proof that I've been working on it.

     I've been having a hard time with quilting and blogging and even reading blogs lately.  It's been a combination of a virus hanging around, burnout and grey skies.  However in the past week I've noticed a lot of positive resources coming to me and my quilting mojo is coming back.  Interestingly enough some of the resources have come through some newsletters I receive.  Through the Scrap Basket newsletter (A Quilter's Table) I was taken to this article on Diary of a Quilter. This was a guest post written by Samantha Dorn of Aqua Paisley studio. It's a post on five ways to make you feel motivated. My main take aways from this article were to show up and to start small.

     So I started small with this project.  It's a left over kit from the guild Bee Day.  It was an Eye Spy quilt top that was donated to us and was a little too small for our use.  It needed three rows added to the side and three rows added to the bottom.  I chose it partially because nobody else did, but also because I knew its bright colours and whimsy would help lift my mood.

     I thought it might be difficult to match the original makers 1/4" seam but it went together with no difficulty.

     It felt good to get another quilt top done for our outreach program.  This one will go to one of the few younger kids that the program serves.

     From there I moved on to the "ugly" fabric challenge and I'll share a sneak peak of the two quilts tops I came up with.

     Keep in mind that "ugly" fabric challenge was the name given to the challenge by the quilt shop owners who gave us the fat quarter in the first place.  The idea was to use a colour palette you wouldn't normally use.  My "ugly" fat quarter was the fabric with the browns and golds and blacks and it's in both quilts.   These are due on Thursday and I'm not sure if I will have them both quilted by then but I'll bring them along regardless.

     It feels good to be back in the sewing room and I'll share more of the good things that have helped to bring me back there in future posts.  I'll be off to work, once I link up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts. I hope you all have a great day and that you are open to the blessings that come your way.

Friday, 26 October 2018

A Little Bit of Fall

     There is a little bit of Fall in the air and I thought I would share a couple of Fall like quilt tops with you.  Last Saturday we had our bee day at the Royal City Quilters Guild.  Bee day is when we get together to sew quilt tops for our Community Outreach program and for the last couple of years I have organized the days.  I put together the kits for both of these quilts but I only sewed the first one.  Here is a close up of most of the fabrics in the quilt.  

     When coming up with quilt kits we pretty much use what ever fabric we have in the guild stash.  This is one of the first kits I put together and at that time our stash was quite limited.
I loved the floral fabric in this quilt and that's where I started.

     Most of the recipients of our quilts are young women so we try to make several quilts every year that are bold and modern and I think this one fits that category. It finishes at about 53 inches by 62 inches. I based the design of this quilt on a block from the book Block a Day by Lucinda Ganderton.  The block pattern is called Bubble and Squeek and I greatly enlarged it and added a row.  It went together very quickly as a quilt top but I think the block itself would be challenging with all those tiny pieces in a 12" block. Imagine the quilt above with the bottom row chopped off and shrunk down to 12" square and that's the block.

      Here's the other Fall Like Quilt.  It was put together by Carol.  It blends right in with the leaves on my lawn.

     The chrysanthemum fabric was the starting point here and the quilt is roughly based on the easy middle part of a free quilt pattern from Art Gallery Fabrics called Elephant Walk.

     This is my last year in an organizational capacity with the outreach committee so I am spending a little bit of time thinking about what I do so that I can pass it on to one or more people.  Bee Day is the last big thing I had to do this year (which ends in June) and I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time on my own projects.  I'm going to link my post up to Lets Bee Social next week but for now I'm going to check out the finishes at TGIFF and Bragg About Your Beauties and as I have a finished quilt top to share, no matter how simple, I guess I'll link up there as well.

Friday, 19 October 2018

A Friday Finish.

          Here's my latest finish.  it doesn't have a name but I guess I could call it the Modern Shwe Shwe challenge.  Here's the story.

     A couple of summers ago I was with some friends at the Canadian Quilters Association Show in Toronto.  At the show there was a display of quilts from the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild and a part of that show was a display of quilts from a Linen challenge they had done.  The three of us had just joined the Grand Valley Modern Quilt Guild and this gave me the idea to have a challenge there.  One member of the guild Celeste owns Meerkat Shweshwe, so I thought it would be fun to use shweshwe fabric in our challenge.  It's an unusual choice for Modern Quilts.

     Shweshwe is a traditional fabric made in South Africa.  It has small patterns and has been traditionally available in indigo and brown.  More recently it has become available in several brighter colours.  You can read about the history on the Meerkat Shweshwe site here.

     I got the inspiration for my quilt from some pillow patterns in the book Lines by Design by Debbie Grifka.  Here's where I started.  Using the techniques in her book for sewing strips with two colours behind them.

    The lighter blue and the pink are shweshwe fabrics. The background colours are Kona silver and Kona Regal.  They are leftover fabrics from the Quilters Planner Quilt.  
     Once I had the initial pieces on the design wall I cut and pasted and made more units trying them out in different ways and went from this...

to this...

to this...

to the final result at the top of the post.  You can see that during the process I shortened the top blue stripes section and took out the pink stripes on grey.  I felt that the quilt was more balanced this way.  I quilted with straight line quilting gong in several different directions.

     I learned a lot while working on this piece.  For one thing I don't sew a straight as I would like to.  I think in the future I would spray baste the fabric before starting and that would help in this regard.  I did spray baste after I made the stripes but it would have been better to have done it before.  Lining up the purple edges as I sewed the pieces together was also quite challenging.

     I'm really happy with the resulting quilt and the we had a lot of fun at the guild meeting sharing our challenges.  You can see the other quilts here.  I'm joining the link ups at Brag About Your Beauties hosted by Michele of From Bolt to Beauty, and at TGIFF which is hosted this week by Fiona at  Celtic Thistle Stitches.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

4th Quarter Goals

     Last Quarter I only managed one finish but I didn't link it up because I didn't write the post until I could get some half decent photos and by then it was too late.  If you would like to see it it's here.  No worries.  It's time to link up my goals for the rest of the year and I'm only going to list four.  Anything else that gets done is bonus.  So here goes.

     Last month the owners of the Red Red Bobbin fabric store came to guild and they issued us a challenge.  They had each of us choose an "ugly" fat quarter, or to put it another way a fat quarter in colours you wouldn't normally go to.  We are all to make a mini quilt with that fabric and then we will vote on the quilts and the winner will get a ruler.  Here's my fabric.  The fabric on the left is the fabric I chose to work with and the ones on the right are fabrics I might use with it.  I guess that's a good deal for them . Give me one fat quarter and I ended up buying five, all in colours and patterns I wouldn't normally use except for maybe the purple one on the bottom and the yellow one on the top.

I'm also going to quilt this baby quilt.  I need to be practicing my free motion quilting over the next couple of months so this is my first one.

     If I get this one done then I'll move on to the Fire burst Mystery Quilt and see if I can get it finished as well.

     For my last goal I can't show you any fabric but I plan to participate in the next Curated Quilts Challenge so I'll be hoping to finish that as well.  I think the next challenge announcement is in November so I'll be picking the fabric then.  I have only worked on one other Curated Quilts mini quilt challenge so far.  You can see it here.

     I'm linking up to the 4th quarter link up of the 2018FAL on Leanne's blog She Can Quilt.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Quilters Planner Quilt Take Two

     Well we finally got a little sunshine and I've been able to get some photos of the Quilter's Planner quilt.  The planner quilt was designed by Cheryl Brickey of Modern Mist Designs and was planned as a year long quilt along but I skipped ahead to get it done for my Traditional Guild's quilt show.  The Quilters Planner comes with a pattern magazine and this was one of the patterns.

     I really pushed hard to finish the quilt in the summer so I could get it quilted by Mary Hopkins who blogs at Quilted Art from Mary Katherine Hopkins.  Mary is a member of the traditional quild I belong to.  She does a lot of quilting for our donation quilts and she does a great job.  Here's a close up of the quilting.

     There is  a lot of shade in the back yard but I still think you get an idea of the fabrics and colours.  I used Kona Silver for the background colour and Kona Regal for the darker sashing.  In the  blocks I used Libs Elliot Fabrics for the most part with a few Allison Glass and Kaffe Fasset  thrown in for interest.

      Working on this quilt was a skill builder for me and I could tell that I have gotten better at lining things up with flying geese an such.   Although I've quilted for many years many of the quilts have been made for charity and are more basic than this one.  The outside triangles for the on point setting where also very challenging and I was considering switching to a different orientation but I persevered.

      I'll be giving this quilt to Evan (my nephew) and Allie who where married in September. I'll be linking up with TGIFF which is hosted this week by Becca of Pretty Piney and I'm linking up at Brag About your Beauties which is hosted by Michelle of  From Bolt to Beauty.