Thursday, January 18, 2018

Quilt Along Addiction

It has been rumoured that I have a bit of a quilt along addiction. Teeny tiny and hardly noticeable, but it has become a wee bit of a challenge for me LOL! It's such a relief when I'm able to resist, but most of the time I'm just not able!
Do you know that there is a link up for all quilt alongs over at Busy Hands Quilts? Oh dear... be still my heart!💙
Luckily many of the projects don't appeal to me or are expensive and require book purchases, so truthfully I am not tempted by those.

I had already decided to start Carole's Square Dance on Friday - click here for the intro post. And guess what... no half square triangles in this one! Woohoo! I made Carole's Scrap Dance Tango 2 years ago and love it (although it's still a lovely UFO). 

But when I was over at Busy Hands Quilts link up I noticed the "It's a wild life" BOM starting soon at Sew Incredibly Crazy. I have a pretty wild and crazy life, so that sounds perfect for me! 

And I loved the Aurifil BOM from 2016 which I made in red and white and finished in November last year.  I skipped their project last year because the first block was an applique cat which I didn't want to do. Some of the blocks later in the year were interesting, but I was already on to other things and lost track of that. You can see the block patterns here

The theme this year is "The places we go" and you can see the list of 2018 block designers here. Most of the designers are new to me so that's exciting. The first block looks like a fun challenge. The info is posted here and is by Canadian designer Katja Marek. You can see the link up for the first block over at Pat Sloan's blog here.

Did I just confess that I am starting 3 new projects?!?!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blogging thoughts from the sick bed

For the month of December I accepted Cheryl's challenge of writing a blog post every day. That meant writing something every day during the busiest time of the year. Why did I do that to myself when I'm always in overdrive at that time of year already?
I did accomplish my December goal of daily writing with 31 blog posts in 31 days. But I didn't really enjoy the "have to" part of the experience and don't think I'll do that again.  Although I enjoy writing, which is why I have maintained this quilting blog for about 12 years now, I didn't really enjoy having the pressure of daily posts.
However, it did remind me that I do enjoy the process of writing. 
years of journals
And the more you write, the more you want to write. The challenge did encourage me to put more effort into other things I have been writing, such as work related journal articles and the book I have been writing in my head for 5+ years.
So for 2018 I'll be happy to resume my usual structure of a minimum of 3 blog posts a week, plus any other extra things during the week that I feel inspired to write about, without the pressure to post something every day. 

Kathy's Quilts blog stats indicates that more than 39,000 comments have been made and that the 2 millionth page view is imminent! 
Thank you to each and every person who reads my blog, and I truly appreciate the time it takes to leave encouraging, funny and creative comments. You're the best! I even have some folks who send me encouraging emails ... hi Dotti! 
I can't wait to get back to my regular healthy life, and my beloved quilting activities. Thanks again for reading!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up for hand stitching bloggers! As my blog readers know I started off the year with influenza, and unbelievably I have not made one single stitch, by hand or machine, for over a week now. That is unheard of for me! So I have no stitching to show you today, but I do have three things to share...

1) Interesting information posted by the New York Times about recovery from influenza includes a link to the "misery map" tracking the statistics in the US. The visual impact of the weekly chart is surprising.

2) When you can't stitch, you can watch videos of other people stitching. I came across this cute video on Canadian Knitting. Who knew there was such a thing? Enjoy!

3) A new addition to the Slow Sunday Stitching link ups this year will be occasional photo challenges. I love photography and still regularly use these 3 cameras. This photo was taken with my least favourite camera on my old Samsung phone, so I guess I actually use 4 cameras! I really enjoy seeing your  stitching photos on the  Sundays link ups and often make them as big as I can on my computer screen in order to see the detail in what you are making. So be watching next week for the details as we start our first Slow Sunday Stitching photo challenge. 

So what are you working on this week? I do hope you will cheer me up by telling me all about your hand stitching projects and the progress you are making so far this year.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sick Saturday

While spending days in bed fighting a nasty influenza virus and trying not to go crazy/crazier, I treated myself to some Angela Walters Midnight Quilt Show videos. When you're too tired to quilt, watching someone else having fun in their quilting room is the next best thing to actually doing it yourself, don't you think?!? If you're not familiar with the show, here's the link to the last episode of 2017, which might be a fun place to start watching - Midnight Quilt Show
Angela demonstrates how she makes an interesting quilt top, and then shows how she machine quilts the project on her home sewing machine. She ostensibly makes the quilt in one evening, but of course there are days of work in each part of the quiltmaking process. She has a great sense of humour and I adore watching her machine quilt.
This is my new favourite line from Angela ... 
"Quilting is my therapy and threads are my meds".
Yes! Love this line!
Well, you'll never guess what happened to me... some thread medication arrived at my door while I was lollygagging in bed, trying to recover from influenza! I was in bed for the 7th day, sweating, coughing, exhausted, and trying not to move due to severe headaches, when this parcel came to the door.

I had won the end of year draw in December from Patty at the One Monthly Goal linkup partyWhat a great box the gift came in... I loved that movie that I saw with my sister and niece over the holidays. 

Just look at this! A whole box of my favourite Aurifil threads from Fig Tree & Co.!!!  I was so excited but had to quietly celebrate from my sick bed. Just look at the delicious colours! 
I have propped up the thread box beside my bed so I can see it all the time and dream about quilting. I am in the second week of suffering recovery and Doctor says that is just how the flu is this year... nothing to do but rest, drink fluids, wait, and hope you don't get pneumonia.
Remember that Angela says:
"Quilting is my therapy and threads are my meds".
Unfortunately this beautiful box of medication did not help with the influenza, but it sure did help me to feel a little better each day while trying to recover from it.
Thank you Aurifil for sponsoring One Monthly Goal and thank you to Patty who encourages the members of the quilting community to finish their wonderful projects!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

On Ringo Lake Update

Yesterday was the link up for the quilters who are making the Quiltville mystery. I'm sure some superstar quilters will have their quilt top finished already, but most of us are in some stage of quilt block construction. 
I've only made 4 blocks so far. 
I'm entering the 4th day of laying in bed, with my fevered red cheeks, my aching bones, hacking up my lungs, and getting more frustrated with my lack of recovery with each passing moment. I am not a good patient and detest being sick/unable to quilt. 
block parts in development
Here is a photo of the "parts department" where all the bits and pieces of my version of the mystery are in various stages of readiness, just waiting for me to be to able to sit upright pain-free and get  sewing. All the gold sashing pieces on the right are ready to go because they were from step #3 early on in the mystery (before Christmas). But many of the later steps aren't fully completed yet.  
Hop over to the Quiltville mystery link up to see all the wonderful quilts that the non-sick quilters are making!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Scrappy Friends Quilt Top

Before I took sick I was able to finish my quilt top from the New Year's Day mystery over at Quiltbug. It's called "Scrappy Friends" and measures 46.5” x 66.5". 
I prepared a backing and binding while I had all the batik fabric out, so it's all ready for pin basting and quilting. I'm thinking of quilting diagonal lines in pink thread!
Thanks to Kris for a fun day and a great quilt pattern!
To see more design wall projects, hop over to Small Quilts.
Now if only I could recover from this terrible flu and get back in the sewing room, I could make some more progress on my Ringo Lake blocks.
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts...go see Lorna's new adorable foxy quilt pattern!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A New Year of Slow Sunday Stitching!

Welcome to the weekly link up celebrating the art of hand stitching! We are interested in anything you are stitching with your very own hands including knitting, tatting, applique, hand piecing, rug making, english paper piecing, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch, and beading. 
It has been really cold here this year so far with record breaking low temperatures. It's too cold to go outside, so the best thing to do is stay indoors and do some stitching! As I am writing this blog post it is minus 25 degrees Celsius. Along with this type of weather comes cold and flu season, and I have finally succumbed. I was so happy to be healthy through the holidays, but my good luck has run out and I am in bed this weekend with a fever, a rattly chest cold, and achy bones.
And meanwhile Mr. Max has been refusing to go outside to do his business because it's too cold! But he's only too happy to cuddle up in a quilt! As soon as I got this quilt out earlier in the week to figure out where to move the hoop to next, he was sooo happy! He was rolling around and delighted to snuggle up to my side while I put in a few stitches. 
I won't be doing any hand stitching today, but I will enjoy reading what you are working on. Link up your blog post below and share your first project of 2018.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018

Angela and Mari are offering an RSC  sampler quilt for 2018 called Squared Away. It's a way to use up leftover fabric scraps using the colour of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The colour for January is blue. I have blue scraps coming out my ears!
One of my scrap bins that doesn't see much action consists only of small pieces and narrow strips in darker colours. Many of those scraps were used in my Mad City Mama blocks, but I still have many scraps still needing to be organized for quilting projects. 

I'm so happy that the new sampler project allows for small blocks. I'm going to be making the 5" block size which uses 1.5" units. While making a few blue HSTs so I'd be ready for the first pattern, I cut myself with the rotary cutter.
Not cool!
However... being able to use a bandage with sewing machines on it... very cool!
Hop over to the first RSC link up of 2018!

Friday, January 05, 2018

On Ringo Lake Update

Are you sewing the Quiltville mystery
I lagged a bit behind the week of Christmas, but since my holiday company has gone home, I've been peddle to the medal and have caught up with all the parts to step #8.
Well, to be honest, I did start another quick New Years Day mystery in the middle of sewing Ringo Lake, but I'm back now and focused on finishing step #8
Here are my first 4 lovely blocks... total swoon! Each block has 49 pieces... that's a lot of precise piecing required and a lot of points to not chop off! I am loving my colours and these blocks! Yum!

The grand reveal was posted on January 1st and it is a gorgeous quilt! There is a lot of sewing for me between now and a finished quilt top, but I'll keep at it. 
Unless I start more projects in the meantime. It's hard being me! LOL
Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

January UFO Goal

This month the Magnolia Mist mystery quilt is put to the top of the list. It is my January OMG project because the project parade will be in February. 
When you are sewing a mystery quilt, you never know what you are making, so picking colours is sometimes challenging. Some people are hesitant to sew mystery quilts in case they end up disliking the quilt. But I am happy to donate quilts that I don't love to worthy causes. Mostly I am just happy to be using up leftover fabric scraps.

But this mystery quilt, I really like! It demanded to be an octagonal shaped quilt, which is not really useable for bed quilts. I really like the on point orientation instead of straight set for these blocks. I'm going to quilt it first, and then trim the edges of those black squares which will then  become triangles, and bind it with black, for a very dramatic tabletopper.

I also like that 1) it used up lots of scraps from my Swoon quilt, and 2) I did not buy anything to make this quilt. I plan to use leftover batting scraps, machine quilt with a dense free motion design, and finish it by the end of the month. Is it doable???! 
Thank you to Cheryl for this wonderful mystery quilt adventure!
Hop over to One Monthly Goal link up to see other January projects being finished. Patty is also working on her Magnolia Mist quilt this month!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

UFO Review

Scrap Vortex
2017 was another wonderful quilty year, full of fabric purchases, new projects started, old UFOs rediscovered, some completed projects, and many quilt adventures. I am delighted to say that 5 projects from my UFO list (on the right side bar) were completed last year!

*Aurifil BOM

*The Bear

*Scrap Vortex

*Grand Illusion


Of the remaining 7 projects on the 2017 UFO list there is: 

*3 projects (Log CabinBroken Dishes and Quiltbug superbowl mystery) that are just waiting for machine quilting. I have all the required elements - the batting, backing, binding and quilting ideas, so these will be on the 2018 list for finishing in 2018.
*1 project (Allietare) is going to Cathy for long arm quilting. It's just too big for me to finish on my domestic sewing machine. 
*3 projects that need much more piecing to finish the top (Kissy Fishy, Pink Improv, and Quiltbug mystery 2017).

So these 7 projects will be on the 2018 list and I can add 5 more on the list for an even 12 quilts to finish. I'll work on which projects to add and revise my UFO for later in the week. I'm super pumped about finishing a quilt each month, not only because 1) I work well with deadlines and 2) it increases the odds of me actually finishing a quilt, but also because 3) I was a winner over at One Monthly Goal. YES! And not only was I a prize winner, but I won my favourite Aurifil thread! 
Could this year get any better?!?!
Votes For Women

In addition to my 2017 UFO finishes, I also completed 2 baby quilts, a Halloween tabletopper, a Humble Quilts mystery, a Valentines Wallhanging, 2 mini quilts (here and here), and one long term UFO called Votes For Women which was a phenomenal finish for me!

Cheers to another year of creating things that make your heart sing and your world more beautiful!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Scrappy Friends

If the way you spend New Years Day, is the way you'll spend the rest of the year, this day was a perfect way for me to start 2018! Two quilting friends came over to sew and we worked on the Quiltbug mystery called Scrappy Friends

We sewed blocks steadily all day, with a few mishaps here and there. The seam ripper was always close by and it was used quite a few times. When you're visiting and laughing, concentration lags sometimes! Can you tell who was not paying attention when making their friendship stars?!?

We worked steadily until productivity declined and then we stopped for lunch. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of homemade onion soup, 3 types of cheese, crackers, 4 kinds of hummus, and homemade pickles. 

And then it was back to the salt mines... I mean the sewing machines!

Here are the double friendship star blocks. We each made 6 of these blocks for the 3 pm clue and then we were getting a bit tired. I pushed on, sewed the sashing units and got all my blocks up on the design wall. By that time it was dark. We sewed the entire day away!

Here it is... my version of Scrappy Friends.
I'm very pleased with the way the fabrics worked together and love the pink stars. The problem is that all my sashing strips are a bit too long. I guess my double stars blocks are a bit too small? Batik fabrics generally have a higher thread count and are not amenable to stretching much. I can't fudge the size difference, so that means I will need to slightly alter all 27 sashing units before I can sew it together. I'll get right on that another day.
You can see Ellen's version of the mystery here.
Linking up to Let's Bee Social.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Quiltbug Mystery

Did you start the new year by starting a new project? What better way to bring in the New Year than by spending the day in the sewing room?!?

I have 2 sewing friends over to sew the Quiltbug mystery and this is how far we got before our lunch break. We are enjoying some onion soup, crackers, cheese, hummus and homemade pickles. 
I also enticed Ellen and Deanna to join in the fun... the more, the merrier! 
So far, 2018 is fantastic!

Quiltbug New Years Day Mystery

With several mystery quilts on the go, one would think that a normal, sane person would not be starting off the new year with yet another new mystery project. Right? 
Well, if you know me and/or read my blog regularly you know that I live several bus stops away from sanity on most days, so you can likely predict what is happening in my sewing room today!!

Yep... new year... new mystery quilt!
Quiltbug is hosting a New Years Day 2018 mystery called "Scrappy Friends". So of course I had to invite some friends over to start the new mystery!  
Click here to see the mystery from 2015 which was lots of fun. I don't know what we did in 2016? I'll have to ask my friends (who still have a good memory) if we sewed a mystery quilt on New Year's day last year.
Anyway, here is my fabric to start with... 6 fat quarters, a "spark" fabric and a background. Easy peasy... all batiks pulled from stash.
When you cut the fabric pieces ahead of time and sew the HST blocks, you are ready to sew your quilt top together in one day. 
Yep, only one day quilters! 
Start your machines Scrappy Friends!
Check in tomorrow to see how our sewing day progressed.
Happy New Years everyone!