Friday, August 29, 2008

Other Creative Pursuits

Unfortunately I haven't done much quilting lately. I look forward to my kids going back to school next week and getting more time in my schedule for quilting.
During the Olympics I did do some stitching and finished my 7th Capricorn Quilts block and am now only 2 blocks behind. If the coverage wasn't so interesting, I'm sure I would have accomplished a lot more!
I did work on some creative culinary projects. I made peach jam with the leftover peaches from the market. It didn't turn out as good as my blueberry rhubarb jam, which my friend Judy calls "Blubarb" jam! This jam was a lot runnier...but does taste good.
I also made a blueberry coffee cake from Tanya's blog. It did not look anything like her cake, since I put almonds on the top (a favorite with my family) but it sure tasted yummy and was eaten up in no time. My family is always so thankful for anything I cook and I wish that I enjoyed it more and would do more of it. But I'd rather be quilting...or holding a baby!
And speaking of babies, a friend and I took a quick road trip to Michigan to see our friend's new baby. I talked about this miracle baby in this post about the baby quilt I made her. And here is baby Laura sleeping so peacefully and I must tell you, as an unbiased honourary Auntie, that she is perfect and absolutely gorgeous!
Here is a picture of me and Laura taken at about 11:30 pm in dark "please go to sleep" lighting, after a 6 hour drive! So I'm not looking real perky, but it reminds me of the hours I spent cuddling and singing...hey, maybe that's why she wasn't sleeping?!?!?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Finished Miniature Quilt

Ta da! An honest to goodness real life finished quilt! I know that you are probably as surprised as I am, since I tend to get easily distracted before my larger projects are completed! But as with most miniature quilts, I really enjoyed "working" on this one and it was done before I knew it! I toned down the colours a bit so it looks a little less neon on the screen.
All the details...
Inspiration: click here.
Size: The blocks are 3". The quilt finished at 12" x 17".
Quilting: I usually like to do both "stitch in the ditch" and free motion quilting on my quilts, and this was one was no exception. I stitched in the ditches of some of the block seams and then free motion quilted in the sashing using a tiny swirly design that was lots of fun. I took a photo of the sashing quilting with a ruler so you can see how small I had to go.
Then I stitched straight lines every 1/4" on the setting triangles. I was a little worried that with all the heavy quilting in the sashing and the setting triangles, that the blocks would look too puffy, but that didn't happen. I do have a tendency sometimes to get carried away and end up quilting too much!
Embellishments: I beaded some tiny sead beads every 1/4" inch just inside the binding.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Miniature Scrap quilt top

I have spent my quilting moments this week working on a miniature batik scrap quilt, after being inspired by Andrea's quilt (click here). I made the tiny 9 patches that I posted yesterday and then sewed scraps on 2 sides of the blocks, alternating a light and medium/dark rounds. The blocks finished up at 3".
I ended up with 8 blocks, so this is the layout that used up the 8 blocks in a pleasing way. I don't remember why the green sashing jumped in there, but there it is! I bought the setting triangle fabric in Newfoundland at Quilt Canada and it fit perfectly with the colours of the scraps I used.
Wow, does it ever look bright on the screen! Maybe I should issue a warning to use sunglasses to view this baby!?!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Three winners!

I had 3 people who either left a comment or emailed me with changes I had made from the original pattern... mjjones, sheddy, and my blog stalker Deanna are all winners, so send me your snail mail address and I'll send each of you a quilty squishy (what is a squishy? you here).
Late at night I have been playing in my batik scrap box and having a wonderful time - way more fun than I had on vacation (since camping is really not relaxing for the mom who gets to pretend she is a pioneer, hauling water, cooking on a one burner gas stove, roasting meat on an open fire, heating water to wash dishes, etc)...but don't tell my family I said that!!!
I was inspired by a beautiful quilt that Andrea made for a friend - click here. I didn't set out to work with these colours, but they just jumped out, so I cut them into 1.25" strips and started sewing. First I made these tiny 1.25" 4 patch blocks and thought they were just the cutest little things! And then I started adding strips. I'll post a progress photo tomorrow.
Have a quilty day and be happy you're not camping!

Monday, August 18, 2008

How about a little fun?!?!

We are back from camping in Northern Ontario. I am now doing the piles of laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and putting away supplies, and wondering why we ever go camping in the first place! Oh enjoy the great outdoors and have fun with activities such as canoeing. Here's my crew going out to fish. I don't like anything about fishing, so I relax on the shore and do some stitching.
I am happy to share that I have finally passed the half way point on my Journey of a Quilter project! I have finished block 4 and am very close to finishing block 5. This has taken me a lot longer than I had anticipated, that's for sure! I was working on the "Celebrate" block on the airplane to Newfoundland, and just last week finished the flowers.
As with all the other blocks, I have made a few little changes that make the block more to my liking.
So just for fun, the first person to tell me 4 of the things that I changed from Leanne's original pattern, will win a Fat Quarter or two!

Friday, August 08, 2008

BeAttitudes Block #2

Thanks to everyone who commented on my finished Orange Crush quilt! I am very happy with it and plan to machine quilt it in the fall when the temperature is cooler.
This week I have been working on my second BeAttitudes block. I have added a couple of fabrics to the BOM kit and decided to take out all the floral prints.
Here is the base sewn together, looking very boring.
Then I started the fusing and the buttonhole stitching. Thanks for all the ideas that were left on this post giving me suggestions of how to improve my stitching. I am trying them out and getting a little better, especially at moving from one place to another without starting a new thread. The letters are the hardest. Here is a photo of the top showing all the threads. I pull the threads to the back, then I tie them in knots and hand sew them into the back of the stitches. I just don't want the black threads to unravel when I wash it.
And here is the finished block!
If you want to see another set of these blocks in development, click on Julie's blog. She just finished her second block too. She made me laugh because she made her plaid letters out of her husband's old pyjama bottoms!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Orange Crush top finished!

Guess what?!?! I finished the Orange Crush quilt top! Woo hoo!
If you read this post, you know how much I dislike sewing borders! But I bribed myself and was able to finish the quilt top. The next Quiltville mystery will start in September so I had to get this one finished up since I will soon have to do back-so-school shopping and hair cuts for the kids, and also fit in a vacation, a visit to my sister's in Michigan, and a trip to the zoo for my son before September. Surprisingly, especially since there are a lot of pieced blocks on the edges, my measurements weren't too difficult to deal with. I measure across the middle and the two ends when cutting a border piece, and there was between 1/4" and 1/2" variance - quite good for a quilt this size and not a problem to ease in that amount over a long border. I made a small 1.5" black inner border and a 3.5" outer green border using up the leftover half-split 4 patch blocks in the corners. I ran out of the green fabric on the last border and had to piece in another fabric as you can see in the photo on the right. I wasn't worried about this - I don't think it's very noticeable.
And here is the finished quilt top! It was difficult to get a photo of the whole quilt since it is almost twice as large as my design wall. I taped it to the walls for the photo!

Friday, August 01, 2008


In the summer I like to do hand work, especially at the kids' sports practises and games. It's just too hot most days to sit at the machine and piece or quilt. I just finished stitching this block, which is the June block from Capricorn Quilts. I am really enjoying this project - quick and easy (and free!)blocks each month and I have been able to keep up fairly well. I have posted my finished blocks on the right hand side of my blog, just for fun. I almost have July's block done, plus there is a bonus block for the month which I haven't started yet.
I was thinking back to the days when I was involved in lots of swaps and often had a mailbox full of squishies.
What is a squishy, you ask?!?! It's an envelope in your mailbox that is filled with fabric or blocks or something quilty!
I don't sign up for fabric or block exchanges anymore because a) I am too busy doing other things and b) I have piles of unused blocks because I am too busy! I participated in hourglass and 9 patch block swaps for a long time in the mid 90's. As I was stitching this mailbox block and thinking about my participation in swaps, I started wondering where my old squishies were. I went in search of them down in the UFO dungeon. They are keeping well, and when they are aged to perfection I will make a quilt!