Friday, April 30, 2010

SewFest West

My quilt guild has a booth at SewFest West this weekend and I ran over there after work tonight. It was so relaxing to hang around with quilting friends and greet happy quilters who are enjoying shopping for fabric, thread, patterns, embellishments and lots of other fun crafty things!
Here we are... Judy, Nancy and me, sitting at our booth,  working on some comfort quilts for our June donation to the local hospital's Pediatric Sexual Assault Unit. You can see some of the donation quilts hanging behind us.

Come on by the booth tomorrow and say 'hi'.  You can find out how to make this block I am working on ...and don't forget to bring your wallet since there are so many fabulous booths to shop in!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It just makes me smile!

I get very excited about little gifts that my quilty friends bestow on me.
Like these luscious baggies of block trimmings...are they not adorable?!?  Someone read my blog post on the Buzz Saw quilt and she could not resist pulling spring pastel fabrics from her stash and starting her own quilt...very exciting! And she saved the block trimmings for me...yum! Now what will I do with them? I might make a little mini quilt or I might just enjoy looking at them. I once heard someone say that you should surround yourself with things that are beautiful or make you smile - this gift is both!
I haven't had a lot of quilting time this week, but I have been working on a little project for my 500 post giveaway, which is coming up this weekend! Here are some of the HST blocks already made. I am snipping off the corners with my new tiny scissors from my new scissor pouch that the retiring president of the guild made for the executive members....isn't that so generous? I love it!
And I'm putting the corner snips into a little jar to keep for a similar purpose as the gift above...surrounding myself with things that make me smile :)
Also making me smile... is a guilty verdict in the court case that I have been attending for 3 weeks. Getting a domestic violence case heard in superior court is so much work, and rarely happens, and a guilty verdict is even more rare, so we have much to celebrate at work!
Can you stand one more piece of good news? One of my little quilts was juried into the Threadworks exhibit! I'm still a bit in shock over that, and am looking forward to the opening of the show on Sunday. They picked 60 entries from the 230 pieces that were submitted and I never thought this little one would be one of them. I'll be sure that there wasn't a mix-up if I see it hanging there on Sunday!
The sunprint of an oak leaf (from our camp site 2 years ago) turned out to be off centre, and the border of pine trees didn't turn out as I had seen it in my mind, and the beaded shells in the corners cover up what I disliked the most about the piece, and still I really loved it!
There are 2 things that make me smile about this quilt: 1) it has everything I love about quilting - fabric painting, sunprinting, wax pastels, hand and machine quilting, and hand beading, and 2) down the middle vein of the leaf, the spiral beading hides a line of very expensive Swarovski crystal bicone beads, which only you and I know is there!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Design Wall Monday #17

It's Monday already! I'm telling you, that last week flew by at the speed of light!
I didn't do much quilting, and I can tell by how relaxed I don't feel!
However,  I did manage to get the scrappy sashings on (and am delighted with how much of my stash I cleared out) and I got the rows sewn together on my "Fox and Geese" blocks from Bonnie Hunter's mystery last year. I have decided that this will be a comfort quilt donation and it is already big enough for that purpose, so I'm just going to put on a border (yes...I'm going to do it quickly and not put it in the closet first!). The fabric I bought at the shop hop is too much of a yellowy green and doesn't look right to me with these blocks, so I'm digging through the stash to look for something else.
I'm tired of this quilt sitting around here bugging me so I'm tempted to throw it in the closet and work on something else that is more fun, but I won't!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Middle of the Mitten Shop Hop

Every once in a while I get a crazy idea in my head and I've had a lot of those lately!
My most recent quilt-related crazy idea was to travel to Michigan with my Mom and sister to visit my youngest sister, and "on the way" (which was WAY out of the way - I'm bad with directions!) we'd participate in the Middle of the Mitten Shop Hop. 
There were 8 quilt shops on this hop, and it was a LONG drive...about 300 miles (approx. 475 km) from the first store to the last (plus driving to and from Ontario, Canada to the middle of Michigan in the USA). We pretended we were on the Amazing (Quilt) Race - left home Wednesday after work, and returned home on Friday night. We managed to find our way to each store, stayed overnight Wednesday at my sister's, and then slept overnight in East Tawas on Thursday night.
These are the gifts we received from various stores along the way. When your star matched another customer's or staff member's star you could get a free Fat Quarter and that was fun.
One of the best things about this shop hop was to see the 8 quilts at each store that used the same block patterns with 8 different settings. At each store we received one of the block patterns for the shop hop quilt, except somehow I did not get block #6. I'm sure I can figure it out using EQ or maybe my sister will find her copy. There were draws at each store for various gift baskets and a grand prize draw for $800 in gift certificates, but so far I haven't heard that I am the winner.
And of course I did some serious shopping!

I found quite a few pieces for my son's guitar quilt...don't have a design in mind, but am collecting fabrics for it. The majority of these novelty fabrics were found at the Material Mart in Midland.

I picked up a few FQ's to go into my Saturday Sampler blocks and think I have enough fabric now for several of these quilts!

I love these Presencia threads and treated myself to a few of those...they are like candies...who can resist them?!? And I picked up a few little supplies when I spotted them here and there.

But my main goal was to collect fabrics for a new quilt for my 14 year old niece. I got the paint sticks from when she redecorated her room and took those with me on the shop hop, trying to get a couple FQ's at each store.
This is what I collected and I can see from this photo that some of the selections will likely not make it into this quilt, but may get sewn into the backing!!

And a few more odds and ends...some fabric for the border of this quilt, some basketball fabric for my nephew's tshirt quilt, a new Moda fabric that I like and just needed for no apparent or logical reason, a couple of B & W's that were cheap, and a floral quilt kit that I picked up at the Quilted Cottage to make for a donation quilt.

And that's the damage! 
Lots of fun, but too much driving for this old gal!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Sampler #16

By the skin of my teeth...I finished my Saturday Sampler block!
It was a hard one this week, although it looks easy enough.
I couldn't get the inner block with the first round of triangles to be the right size.
I tried a couple of different measurements, and ended up with a block that is fairly close to 12 1/2"!
Block Name: Mystery Block as suggested by the Friday Block Party.
Pattern Source: Quilter's Cache
I bought a couple more fabrics to go with my Saturday Sampler fabrics this past week. Oh, and I alos bought a few boatload more fabrics and quilty items on an impromptu shop hop...details coming tomorrow. Tonight is a party for my mother-in-law's 85th birthday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mini Trips

At mini club last month we studied the trip around the world (TAW) pattern. This is the design of my oldest UFO, which you can read about here, and it's one of my favorite classic quilt patterns. It's so simple but can be very challenging to make with lots of seams to match and long strip sets to control.
I made this mini version from batik fabrics a few years ago, and the squares finished at 1/2".
I recently put the binding on this mini a few weeks ago. It is made from the Windham reproduction line of fabrics called More Pink & Chocolate, which you can see here.

And here are the projects from the group...some are finished, some are in various stages of completeness, and some are headed for the garbage apparently (they aren't shown in the photos!).

These are made by Nancy (who put her trip on pointe) , Jake, Carol (who is still working on the other half)  and Diane.

The top 3 in this photo are made by Anne, who couldn't decide which colour way to sew, and ended up making all 3! And the green and blue trip was made by Cheryl.

These trips were made by Jackie, Lynn, Sandy (who made 2 exactly the same and already gave one away), Marilyn, Audrey, and Lana.

What a fabulous treat for the eyes each month as we see how each person's fabric choices turn out. We are always inspired by their creativity with borders, settings, and embellishments.

And speaking of trips, I'm planning to take a mini  trip to Michigan with my Mom and sister to visit my little sister and maybe take in a quilt shop or two!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday #16

Not much got accomplished in quiltland this week, but I enjoyed putzing along on my various projects at a snail's pace.
Here is my design wall as of last night. Slowly getting the piano key border sewn for this quilt. I don't have enough length on any of these yet. Since I enlarged the quilt from the original kit, I have to find some more stash pieces to add in. I'm thinking about using the smaller scraps to try to miter the keys in the corners.
While sewing this border and working on last week's project, I have also made some progress on my leader's and enders project. You can see the beginning of it last month on this blog post.
Then I found the Stitching Circle blog where Karen showed her version of Bonnie Hunter's Patches and Pinwheels design and I thought about adding in some pinwheels and turning these 4 patches into a quilt like that. But that would require buying more fabric, and I really just want to use up my scrap bags of Cherrywood fabric that I bought in Paducah last year.
And speaking of Paducah...this time last year I was in Paducah for a fabulous week of quilting fun. One of the quilters from our group last year went again this week, and the rest of us sent little shopping lists with her...well some of the lists were little, and some of us have already spent the amount she is allowed to bring over the border duty free!!  I hope she's having a blast as our professional quilt shopper this week!
If you were going to Paducah, what class would you want to take? Click here to check out the class list.  I've studied the list of classes (hey, a girl's gotta dream!) and picked out my favorites...I'd sign up for Esterita Austin's class on creating depth, or Kaffe Fassett's class on St. Mark's diamonds, and Lyric Kinard's class on surface design, or Bonnie McCaffery's Kaleidoscope piecing and...
It's 9:00...time to come back to reality and get to work.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Sampler #15

I feel much better now that I have had some time with quilting friends, and time with my sewing machine!
Tonight I worked on my Saturday Sampler block - click here to see my other 12" blocks.  I tackled a block that I found when surfing quilt guild blogs.

Block Name: Scrap Happy
Pattern Source: Florida Cabin Fever Quilter's Guild
This was a fun block to sew and just look what I have leftover to play with...a pile of baby half square triangles that will be 1 1/2" when I square them up!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Colour Co-ordination

My paying job has been exhausting the last couple of weeks as I am attending court for a local domestic violence turned attempted homicide case. (My local blog readers will know which one since it has been on the front page of the local paper most days.) It's not just the sitting there listening to the gory details of the violence and seeing the photos, since I'm used to that, but it's very draining to be so emotionally invested in a guilty verdict that may or may not be coming next week. And being in court during the day means doing my work in the evenings.
It's also exhausting because I can't quilt in the courtroom and am seriously deprived! As with all addicts, when I don't get my "fix", I get shakey and agitated and I NEED to quilt!
I was able to get the quilting finished and the binding sewn down on the baby quilt I worked on during the Masters golf tournament last Sunday. I didn't even realize until Thelma mentioned it in her comments on my blog that I unconsciously chose to be colour co-ordinated and worked on a project having the same colours as the Masters logo - green and yellow!

Last night I travelled to Barrie to do a trunk show at the Kempenfelt Quilters' Guild in Barrie, and we all know that the next best thing to actually quilting, is hanging around quilters! When I arrived I didn't know a single person there and by the time I left, I had met many interesting and wonderful people who are as addicted to quilting as I am!  Here is a photo of myself and 2 of their guild members, Muriel on the left and Vi on the right. And look at me being colour co-ordinated again...wearing matching outfits with 2 of the winners of the quiltaholic contest! What a great evening I had!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Design Wall Monday #15

On my design wall today is a golden in my mystery quilt from last year. Sometimes my projects become UFO's because of my indecisiveness. I just couldn't decide what to do about my Quiltville mystery blocks...see previous posts here. Waiting did not make the decision clearer! So, on the weekend I dug the project box out of the closet and decided that I will separate the two types of blocks...they just didn't play well together.
This is the layout I'm going with for the fox and geese blocks, white sashings, and pink cornerstones. All my blocks are sewn so the top should go together fairly quickly.
And I am auditioning binding fabrics on my "design cutting board" for a mini trip around the world quilt (the squares finish at 1/2").
What's on your design wall today? Check out other design wall on Judy's blog - click here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Relaxing Sewing at the Masters!

I have been trying to catch a little of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta over the last few days, but today I hope to watch most of it. I am not a golfer, but I enjoy watching that tournament because it looks so beautiful and sunny there, and I love to see the blooming zaleas and dogwoods, and the beautiful scenery. It makes me feel like summer is almost here!
And to continue with that theme, I looked around for something bright and sunny to work on during commercials. Look what I found?!?
I have had this baby quilt top in my closet for at least 10 years! Guess what was left to do?? I just had to sew on the 2 borders! I did the borders quickly, chastizing myself for procrastinating that ridiculously quick job for so long! The fabric is brushed cotton and is so soft and lovely to work with.
I had a spool of yellow Aurofil thread for the quilting, but only had bits and pieces of batting around. So I just butted the batting scraps, overlapping them slightly in some places, and pin basted it.  I have used batting scraps before but painstakingly hand sewed them together with zigzag stitches.  It's just a baby quilt that will be used and laundered frequently, so it doesn't have to be perfect. Do you think this will be a problem?

I am quilting it very simply, stitching with the walking foot 1/4" both sides of the seam lines. If the golf tournament is boring, I'll get a lot done on this old UFO!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Sampler #14

I have been playing around with lots of little pieces, and bunches of half square triangles to make my sampler block this week. My 12" block this week is a record holder with the greatest number of pieces I've sewn in one block so far... 176 pieces!
Here is one quarter of the block which has 44 pieces.

I thought I was doing quite well managing to keep track of all these small pieces, until I surfed over to Tazzie's Quilts and saw that she made a 6" block that is with 152 pieces! Click here to see her's amazing!

And here is my finished sampler block...

Number of pieces in the 12" block: 176
Block Name: Criss Crossroads
Block Pattern Designer: Carol Newby
Pattern Source: Quiltmaker 100 Blocks magazine (Block #67 )

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

One block at a time

I have been trying to spread out any extra quilting minutes the last couple of weeks to make a little bit of progress on some of my UFO wish list projects (see sidebar on the right).
I have made some progress on my BeAttitudes quilt, and while watching "Dancing With the Stars", I have finally finished sewing in the thread ends on block #5 and #6 and they are done!

Do you realize what that means?!?
That means I am half way finished with the blocks for this quilt!
And here are the first 6 blocks on my design wall!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Design Wall #14

This is what is on my design wall this morning. I have been working on my buzzsaw blocks that I started last weekend. I have sewn together 20 blocks and am thinking that is as many as I want to make, which makes a layout of 4 by 5 blocks.
Some of the blocks are made of 4 different fabrics and some are made from 2. I took out the yellowy green fabric which didn't seem to fit in with the other colours.
And now I am fiddling around with the block layout while I sew the border strips.
Want to see what other quilters are up to? Hop over to Judy's blog and take a look!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

I wish you a happy Easter or Passover or whatever you are celebrating at this time of year. The weather here has been glorious and unseasonably warm and sunny.
Today I will pretend to be "Peter Rabbit" and hide these eggs filled with money and chocolate for my children and nieces and nephews to find. Usually I have to hide the eggs inside because it is cold and snowy outside, but not this year!!
And then I will pretend to be "little Suzy homemaker" and make scalloped potatoes and ham for 10 people for supper. I already made Judy's easter egg strawberry pie for dessert and it turned out great! Thanks for another great recipe Judy!
And then I will pretend to not be tired and hope to find some time for quilting because I have these 3 bindings finished and ready to put on a quilt...but none of the quilts are close to being finished! I just really love making and stitching down the bindings, so I get that step ready to bribe myself to make progress on the quilt :) I can't seem to bring myself to work on my brown quilt, and only want to work on spring coloured projects these days!
And speaking of spring colours, look at this pastel sunset I saw out my window last night. It had all the colours of, yellow, pink,  purple, and blue!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Saturday Sampler #13

I tried out a new (to me) product when I was sewing this week's 12" Saturday Sampler block.
My favorite pins are the Clover Silk pins, which do a terrific job of holding tiny pieces together. I usually use a pin before and after each seam join when I really want seams to match up and it works well for me.
But I had seen the Clover fork pins on some quilting blogs (see Susan's blog here and Nicole's blog here ), had a little bit of "pin envy" and decided to try them out. Well...perhaps I am not using them right, but I had a terrible time with them.

These pins seem very dull to me...I had to really wiggle and push them, to the point of almost bending the pins to get them to go into the fabric. And then they made a little hump in the fabric, which you can maybe see in this photo. And the seams were not lining up as well as with my 2 silk pins method, which I think was caused by distortion when trying to force those pins into my fabric.

Plus I kept knocking over the little plastic container, spilling the pins out on the table and sometimes onto the floor!

Is it maybe because of how adorable my new pincushions look with the silk pins in them,  that did not allow me to like another product?!?!

Anyway, in spite of the pin drama, I did manage to finish another block for my Saturday Sampler and it was a real easy one - no seams were removed in the making of this block...woohoo!

Block Name: 54-40 or Flight (which is the weirdest block name ever, referencing a boundary dispute from the 1800's - click here and scroll down to read about that)
Pattern Source: Amy's 2010 BOM - click here.
This was a fun block to sew and just look at this amazing quilt made by Lisa Boyer using only this block. What a great stashbuster quilt!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Quilt Magazines

I am a big user of the public library (my Mom is a retired teacher-librarian) and for years I have read the quilting magazines at the library and have negotiated with them to get the ones I enjoy the most :)
My quilt guild also has a stock of magazines that I can borrow and I have generous friends who have shared their magazines with me over the years.
Judy had an interesting article about magazines on her blog - click here to read it, which started me thinking about magazines again.
When we were at the World's Biggest Bookstore on the weekend, this was the quilt magazine rack. I think I counted over 30 magazines with the word 'quilt' in the title...that's amazing! And there were some missing from this rack that I have seen at the library and at bookstores.
I have had many subscriptions in the past but they are just too much of a luxury item for me to indulge in when we are funding university tuitions!  I only have 2 subscriptions at this point - Quilting Arts, which my sister-in-law buys me for my birthday and The Canadian Quilter, which comes with the membership.
When I was sitting in the ER waiting room last night (because my son swallowed a pop can tab...don't ask!) these were the magazines I had in my quilted bag to read.... the 3 Quiltmaker magazines that I won in a draw on Pat Sloan's blog (click here to read about that) my Quilting Arts, and 2 magazines that I picked up in Toronto that I haven't seen before.
I love a good magazine and hope that the quilting magazines stay around a long time and it looks like there a quite a market for them based on the shelves of available choices. I still really miss 'Miniature Quilts' magazine...that was my favorite.

Do you subscribe to any quilting magazines?
Do you read any?