Monday, August 21, 2017

Blockheads Design Wall

I haven't updated the progress on the Blockheads quilt for a couple of weeks. I have been working on it in small bits of time and here are all my blocks on the design wall. Block #24 was posted last week, so I'm just a tad behind with 22 finished blocks.

Block #16
Did you notice that I finished the flag block #16
I wanted to make a Canadian flag in honour of the 150th birthday of Canada this year, and my friend found these tiny little maple leaves that I fussy cut and appliqued onto the flags. 

They are just as big as a thumb nail! 

Block #23

I also finished block #23 called Winnecone Star. It was fast and easy. 
I am still working on block #22 which is the appliqued bird house, and will soon get working on block #24 released last week.  
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday already! 
I have had a week full of dilly-dallying, lollygagging and bed rest, while waiting for my back and head to heal after a fall last weekend. Of course there were a few short outings in order to keep my sanity. I took my portable hand stitching project to one of my favourite spots and enjoyed a chocolate shake and some quilting.
You can't rush healing. Cells knit themselves back together in their own sweet time and you just have to wait. The headaches have subsided but the back pain continues. This week will include a few more medical appointments to see if there is anything else I should be doing to restore pain free movement (and sitting).
Thank you for all your messages of encouragement and support! Your thoughts and prayers mean so much, and do help with getting through the frustrating, difficult days.

As of today there are 12 finished blocks for my Life Is Beautiful project on the design wall. Progress is slow and steady ...
just how we like it here at Slow Sunday Stitching!

What are you stitching by hand today?
Link up your blog post below are share your slow progress so we can cheer you on!

    An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, August 14, 2017

Slow Monday

About an hour after I wrote the Slow Sunday Stitching blog post about stitching as medicine, I fell down some stairs, got a good crack on the back of my head, and injured my back. So now I really need that medicinal sewing, plus a whole lot of other medicines!
I'm going to take a little blogging break, since I won't be able to sew until I can sit. 
Hope to be back soon!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Slow Stitching Medicine

It's Sunday... which means it's time to visit with your slow stitching friends around blog land!
I don't have much to share since I've been so busy this week. I was so optimistic last weekend that I prepped a few blocks thinking I'd have them all quilted by today. 

But I didn't even finish one of these. I had so many other fun things to do, and now I am exhausted.

I need some slow stitching medicine to help me recuperate. It helps me to feel stitched back together after a difficult day. It helps me to feel grounded and to get back in my body in the present moment. 
So that's what I'm doing today. I hope you will join me in making time for some slow stitching and give yourself a big spoon full of medicine!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Temecula Quiltalong

I got a little behind in the Marvellous Mini Monday quiltalong, so had some catch-up sewing to do.
This is the adorable "half square" block with HSTs that finish at half an inch!!

This mini quiltalong is so fun for crazy quilters like me who love to make blocks with tiny pieces. This is the centre of the churn dash block that fits in the palm of my hand. 

Then we were to sew scrappy 4" patchwork blocks made of 25 tiny squares. 
I thought I was doing well until I put the newly made churn dash block on the design wall with the patchwork blocks and discovered that they were not the right size. Oh no! Perhaps the Best Press spray that I used to flatten the blocks with all those seams resulted in some shrinkage?
Well, I'm not sure what to do about that... maybe try to stretch the 25 patch blocks to fit? I'm definitely not making 5 more! 
Maybe I will be able to cut the other blocks a little smaller to make them all equal?
This is a 12 week quiltalong, and this is week #11 so the layout reveal will be coming soon. So glad that I'm caught up and will be ready to put it all together!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

July Shop Hop

In Southern Ontario, Canada some of our quilt stores host a "July Shop Hop". There were 15 stores this year and although it's a lot of driving, it is the only time I get around to visiting some of these shops. It's amazing how each store sells different products and has their own unique personality. 
Each store gives you a package with a block pattern and the fabric to make that block. That's right... it's a free event and you get the fabrics and patterns to 15 blocks if you visit all the stores. I only had time in July to visit 10 of the 15 stores.
Each store makes a unique quilt from the shop hop blocks, so you get to see 15 different sampler quilt layouts.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love sampler quilts?!?!

The one drawback about the event (for me) is that they do not want any photos of this event posted on social media, thereby keeping all the projects a mystery for the participants for the month of July. I did ask for permission to take photos so that I could remember layouts and be inspired by the creative quilting ideas. I must admit that I don't really understand the whole "top secret" philosophy! But they do have a huge response to this event and perhaps don't want the increased participation that social media exposure might bring.

I wasn't going to participate this year since both of the previous year's projects are in my UFO closet, but once I saw the finished quilt at Creative Sisters, I was ALL IN! Their shop hop quilt was wonderful and thankfully they recently posted photos on line, so now you can see that quilt (and all the 2017 sampler layouts) at the shop hop photo page here.

At the same time as the July Shop Hop was going on, there was also the popular Row By Row event. I have not yet become enamoured with this concept (thankfully!) but I do get a kick out of the creative fabric license plates at some of the stores. 

Do you participate in shop hops or the row by row?

Monday, August 07, 2017

Clarissa is on the Design Wall!

Block #16 for the Clarissa quilt is finished. Because this is a leader-ender project, some blocks are made quickly and others take a while depending on how much piecing I'm doing. This block progressed faster once the machine quilting on the Bear quilt was finished. This block has a darker pinwheel centre, with a light teal and white inner border, followed by a darker outside border. I think the outside border has 4 different brown scraps... plus my favourite plaid.
Here are all the blocks on the design wall.

Total number of pieces in this quilt so far = 2,304!!

It is so exciting to have another quiltmaker inspired by the original Clarissa quilt. Cathy who blogs at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting is making these hourglass blocks too - click here to see her blocks.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday over at Small Quilts.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party! 
This weekly link up celebrates all types of hand stitching including cross stitch, embroidery, hand piecing, knitting, crochet, rug making, english paper piecing, applique, hand quilting, etc. We enjoyed seeing examples of each these activities in the link ups last week.
Last week we had a draw for a little kit to make the Bee' Lieve in Yourself mini quilt. The winner of the link up draw was #22 (of 37) which is Jayne, and the winner of the commenter draw was #28 (of 45) who is Nancy. Send me your snail mail addresses and I'll get these in the mail to you. Thanks to everyone who contributes by linking up, and by taking the time to leave encouraging comments. 

This is what I'm working on this week... more Life is Beautiful blocks.
I finished the applique on the last alternate block. I used silk thread which makes lovely stitches that sink into the fabric, but it also frays easily and the needle constantly becomes unthreaded. It's not my favourite thread to use.

After the circle is appliqued, I cut away the foundation fabric behind it. Last year when I started cutting away the circles on these blocks, I wondered if I needed special duck billed scissors for this task. But I persevered carefully using regular scissors, and never once accidentally cut the appliqued fabric on any of 63 blocks. So I saved myself some money in not buying those! 

Here is finished alternate block #31, and the piece that is cut away from behind the centre circle. That cutaway piece will eventually be appliqued over the final block joins to cover all my mismatched seams!

And now back to quilting the embroidered blocks...
here are the first 9 quilted blocks on the design wall. 

9 done and 23 of these blocks to go. And then there will be the 31 alternate blocks to quilt. I'll be busy with this project for a while!

What are you hand stitching today? Share your progress by linking up your blog post below.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, August 04, 2017

Kevin's Mystery Quilt Update

Are you making the Sapphire Stars mystery quilt that Kevin is hosting? Step #2 has been posted. For this step we need blue, red and yellow strips. But for my version of the quilt I am using green instead of blue, some old red scraps, and some gold yardage instead of yellow. My version is called "Emerald Stars" because I'm sewing with green scraps.

Just look at this pile of old red scraps. There are leftovers here from Celtic Solstice, BeAttitudes, and Journey of a Quilter. It's time for these pieces to get into a quilt. They've been cut up and sewn together and are happy to be part of my Emerald Stars quilt!

Here are my blocks for step #2 all sewn and pressed. Wow that light green is really bright... kind of like a night light!!

I'm waiting "patiently" for step #3 Kevin!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Blockheads Update

I had three blocks to sew to get caught up with the Blockheads project.
Week #20 is called "devil's claws". It would have been easier to sew the blocks from 8 flying geese units, but I followed the directions and it turned out okay.

Week #21 is called "Flying Geese Variation". It was fun and easy with a square in a square centre and 8 flying geese. Those flying geese are versatile units!

Here are the first 20 blocks on the design wall. I'm still missing the flag block from week #16.

Hop over to the Moda blog to see what the next block is.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Cherry Time

In addition to my quilting addiction, I am also slightly obsessed with canning. Commercially canned food is easy to buy and it's so much cheaper than I can make it using all fresh, locally grown produce, but for some unexplainable reason, I enjoy the home canning process. 
Jam is my favourite thing to make and this week I made some delicious cherry jam. There are a range of fancy tools available for pitting cherries, but I still use my mother-in-law's old cherry pitter. After pitting a few cherries your thumb starts to sting and after you pit enough for a batch of jam, your thumb is really sore from moving that plunger up and down. But it's only once a year, so I power through. But next year I'm going to try this youtube method which looks too good to be true!

This batch resulted in a jam maker's disappointment called "fruit float". The consistency is okay (even though I never add the recommended amount of sugar), but perhaps I didn't cut the cherries small enough? Oh well, it tastes great and that's the main thing.

On the same day as I was pitting and canning cherries, I was hand quilting a cherry block for my Life is Beautiful quilt. 

What are the chances of that?!?

And now... for your smile of the day, hop over to quilt historian Barbara Brackman's blog post about the "alarming trends" she has noticed - click here.

Monday, July 31, 2017

August UFO on the Design Wall

2017 is more than half over, and I have only finished 3 quilts from the list of 12 (list on the side bar). That puts my UFO completion rate at 25%. Ugh!! Surely I can do better the second half of the year?!? August is a busy month, so I'm picking a project that should be an easy finish. 
This Tetris quilt top was made in 2012 in a quiltalong over at the Happy Quilting blog. It was on my UFO list for a few years. I decided I wanted to finish it this month, and just now realized that it's not even on my 2017 UFO list! HA! That's so funny since it was on the UFO list every year from 2013 to 2016 and then it fell off the list I guess?
Oh well, I'm psyched for it now, so my August goal will be to add the fabric at the top as an outside border, and then to machine quilt and finish up this quilt.
The word "tetris" is used as a verb at my house, especially when trying to pack things into the refrigerator or freezer after grocery shopping, or when we are packing to go camping. We say "can you tetris that pile of stuff into the car"? This will be a fun family quilt to have around and it will be finally finished in a few short weeks...hopefully!
Linking up to the UFO dream board linky at One Monthly Goal and Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching Giveaway

For over 5 years now I have been hosting the Slow Sunday Stitching link up! It's as regular as clockwork... every Sunday morning I host a link up and hand stitching enthusiasts from around the world generously share photos of what they are working on. It's truly inspiring and encourages us all to keep going with our own hand stitching projects. 
A huge "thank you" to each one of you who participate in linking up your blog posts, and to those who support fellow slow stitchers by leaving suggestions and encouraging comments for the bloggers.
To celebrate the 5th anniversary of Slow Sunday stitching, I am giving away two little DIY kits inspired by my mini quilt from the "BEE 'Lieve in Yourself" fabric by Deb Strain. 
hand stitching the corner label
Each kit will contain 4 different squares from the panel and some bee or hexagon sashing fabric. I will pick one number from the linkups, and one number from the comments on this post, so there will be two winners - a blog linker-upper and a commenter!

This is what I'll be working on today... hand quilting more of my Life is Beautiful blocks. I start each one with a little stitching around some of the embroidery designs, then I quilt around the circle that has been appliqued to the 4 patch background block, and then I quilt diagonal lines out to the corners to stabilize the block. I am enjoying this triangle of tailor's chalk that my friend Debby gave me. It works perfectly for marking the diagonal lines to stitch on.

Here are four quilted blocks on the design wall. 4 done and 59 to go! I plan to join them together in a quilt-as-you-go fashion (tutorial here).

Now it's your turn!
What are you hand stitching today? We love to see what you are creating with your own 2 hands.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

Blue is the colour for July over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
The Omigosh project saw some scrappy attention this week. I finished 3 alternate shoofly blocks and 1 more double 9 patch block. These blocks use up my smallest 1" scraps. These are fiddly blocks and take just as long as a full size block to make (and sometimes longer if the seam ripper needs to be involved!)

Here's the full blue block collection. Many more shoofly blocks are needed but 3 is a good start!

This is a multi-year (maybe multi-decade project!) and I just sew a few blocks here and there when I have collected enough tiny scraps.

To see more blue scrap projects, hop over to the link up at SoScrappy.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Mini Finish

Now that The Bear is finished, and before I get to work on my August UFO, I wanted to make a quick little wallhanging from fabric I purchased at the Goose on the Loose shop hop in May. I loved the whole line of this Bee Creative fabric, so believe me when I say that I demonstrated great self restraint in buying only 3 pieces of the fabric line!

I didn't want this great fabric to go into storage and decided to simply cut out the panel squares and border them with the bee fabric. I machine quilted diagonal lines with the walking foot on, and used masking tape as a guide for spacing the lines.

I'm very happy with look of the black flange tucked in the hexagon binding. It makes a perfect little 13" square wallhanging for the front door. 
I'm going to make up some little kits to give to some of the Slow Sunday Stitchers, so if you'd like to make a similar wallhanging, check back here on Sunday for the giveaway to "bee inspired"!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Big Bear Finish!

The Bear quilt is finished! 
This quilt was started in the fall of 2016 with Lorna's MOD Bear Paw Quilt Along. I thought I was going to make a little wallhanging, but this bear project took on a life of it's own and decided to become a bigger quilt. I made as many blocks as I could with the brown fabric I had purchased for the project.
Then I got the idea to add the word 'Killarney', which is the name of the provincial park in which I saw a bear that year (you can read the story here). Adding the word row meant that I ran out of the light background fabric and had to buy more to make the borders. The new background fabric turned out to be a slightly lighter colour which didn't bug me too much until I saw the finished quilt outdoors. But it's way too late to change it now, so I just have to live with it. I am tempted to tea dye the whole quilt and see if that tones down the difference between the two fabrics.

It was only fitting that I took the photos of the finished quilt while camping at the same park where I met the bear last year.
We had fun finding just the right spot to hold the quilt for photos. However it is difficult to get qualified quilt holders who understand how to hold the quilt still and parallel to the ground!

The quilt has already been used for cuddling up in around the fire, for warmth at night, and for protection from mosquitoes, black flies and bears!
Thank you to Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts for another great quilt along and a wonderful pattern!
I'm so happy to be linking up my finish to One Monthly Goal and Let's Be Social. You can see more bear quilts at the QAL link up here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Emerald Stars Step #1

Scrap organization is an ongoing challenge for a busy quilter! I'm always tossing pieces here and there, and trying to figure out how to store scraps so they are actually useable for future projects. What good does it do to keep scraps if they don't actually become finished quilts?!?! 

Well, Kevin the Quilter is helping us out with that challenge! He is hosting a scrappy mystery project called "Sapphire Stars" (step #1 is here). There are lots of tips already posted for scrap organization
For this project I am using up green scraps, so my quilt will be called Emerald Stars. The dark corners were leftover from the sashing and backing on the bear quilt, the medium squares are some of my favourite green plaids, and the lights were from the green scrap bin. It's so great to be getting these scraps into a quilt ... thanks Kevin!

The 48 blocks for step #1 were sewn on my white Singer featherweight 221K.  I thought it was the perfect machine for sewing these green blocks since under some lighting the machine appears to have a slight tinge of green. Notice that I'm using up a bobbin of light green thread to piece these blocks. 
Ready for step #2!
Linking up to Oh Scrap!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Christmas Design Wall

On the design wall today are the blocks for my "Have a Jolly Little Christmas" quilt. This is a sew along project from Sew Fresh Quilts. 
I just finished the Christmas Wreath pattern that was posted in June. It was just like constructing a jigsaw puzzle using pieces of fabric!

I've fallen quite a bit behind on this project. There have been 13 block patterns posted and I've just now finished sewing my 4th block. 
That's okay... there are still 5 months until Christmas!
Up next is the reindeer block... I'm thinking I'll make mine a Rudolph!

To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
At Slow Sunday Stitching, we brag about our slowness, and take pride in the art of relaxing, breathing deeply, and not really accomplishing much. We believe in the health benefits of relaxation, and take it seriously enough to commit to the practice at least once a week. If you need a reminder of the benefits of relaxation, click here.

This week has seen me slowly stitching on a few different projects:

*here I am stitching the split hanging sleeve on the back of a miniature quilt that I am calling Bonnie's Star. I sew my hanging sleeves right into the binding along the top of the quilt. After the sleeve is hand stitched, I stitch the binding down on top of it.

*here I am stitching the label for the Bear Quilt. I have been remiss about making labels for my quilts in the past, and every time I do a quilt lecture and trunk show I feel embarrassed about that. So I am trying to improve my habits by making a label for every finished project.  
This label is a plain muslin rectangle in the centre with the quilt's information, surrounded with sausage fabric. It's an easy label to make, with the edges turned under and appliqued to the back of the quilt. Sometimes I just tuck a triangle label into the corner of the binding. I'm also stitching the binding on the bear quilt today and am so close to finishing!

*here I am appliqueing the centre of a trillium block. The pieces were tiny and I used the toothpick trick from Becky Goldsmith (video here) to turn the edge under a bit at a time. I don't enjoy applique this tiny, but for one block I can force myself to do it!

What are your hands stitching? 
We encourage you to relax and spend some time creating something with your needles today! 
Slow down, take some stitches and then link up your blog post below so we can see what you're working on.


    An InLinkz Link-up