Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

The quilt I hinted about a few times over the past few months is done, mailed, and has finally arrived at its home.  Which means I can post a picture here now.


This was a fun one.  I found a picture I loved, in a book of quilts. But the book included everything except this one.  So I drafted the block myself, figured out the pattern, calculated yardage, and managed to put it together with only a couple of reversals and unstitching along the way.


Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm Back!

My oh my, where has the time gone.  I've been quiet for a while, and doing just about everything except quilting.  My design wall still looks the same as my last post.  And my sewing room is still a spare bedroom.  But holidays are coming, and I know I'll find some time to get back into the swing with my quilting.

 I spent 10 days on a business trip to China at the beginning of the month. That put a halt to my quilting activity, as I got ready to leave, and prepared my house and guest/sewing room for my mother's visit.  She kindly flew in to stay with my kids while I was out of town.  And then stayed a few more days so that we could visit while she was here.  It was a lovely visit, and Mom conveniently departed for warmer locals right before our cold weather hit.  Nice planning, I must say.

Now, Christmas is almost upon us.  And my gift to myself is some time in my sewing room - as soon as I put it back in order.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quilt for an Hour

The quilt for an hour quilt is coming along.  This week - borders!  And lots of them apparently.   Thanks to my smaller quilt size, I have to recalculate a couple of the borders to make it all fit.

Looks like that's going to a be a good thing, because apparently my blocks didn't come out quite the size that Judy was expecting.  I don't think my 1/4" is quite a quarter (or, in fact, it's a bit more than a quarter - my blocks are a teensy bit small).

But, it will all work out.  New border strips are calculated, and ready to cut.  That's the plan for tomorrow night.


This is all that's on my design wall for this week.  And with a visitor and a trip in my future, it's going to stay like this for a couple of weeks.  Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters are up to this week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stash Report - Nov 22

It's been a busy week in the sewing room, but not much stash busting to show for it.  I put together (except the borders) a new quilt - that fabric was counted last week.  And I stayed caught up on the quilt for an hour.  OK, in reality I sewed all day Saturday catching up on the quilt for an hour.  But, it used another yard of fabric.  That's it for fabric busted this week.

In: none
Out: 1yard

Totals for this year:
Used YTD: 54.0 yards
Added YTD: 41.75 yards
Net: 12.25 yards out this year

Monday, November 16, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Nov 16



My design wall looks a lot like it did on Friday's post.   I did work ahead a bit on the quilt for an hour, and started sewing together the rows.  And according to Judy's instructions this morning, I guessed correctly :)  OK, it wasn't much of a stretch to figure out that this was next.

I also started a new quilt, but it's not on my design wall yet (no room up there).  More of a design pile this morning.  Here's a sneak peak.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters are up to this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stash Report - Nov 15

I finished 2 quilts this week (labels on).   This one is "Starburst" and is my next quilty for donation to the children's hospital.  100% stash, including the backing (but that was all counted weeks ago, during the construction phases).  The other is still a secret, but I should be able to get it mailed out this week, and then I'll be able to post a picture.

I was dreading reporting on my stash this week.  5.25 yards purchased on Monday took my yardage out in the wrong direction.  But it turned out to be a great week in my sewing room. Wednesday was a holiday, and I spent most of it sewing, and then yesterday I managed to spend another day with my fabric.  Overall, a net bust for the week!

Bought: 5.25 yards
Used: 2.75 yards for new quilt
          1 yard for quilt for an hour
          3 yards for Christmas napkins
          1 yard for a kitty bed

Totals for this year:
Used YTD: 53.0 yards
Added YTD: 41.75 yards
Net: 11.25 yards out this year

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have been up to this week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All Caught Up

I had the day off work today, and I spent  it enjoying time for myself.  That meant quilting, shopping, and later I'll go out dancing.  Weekday holidays are the best!

First, I spent this morning catching up on Judy's quilt for an hour.   All caught up now to the end of Day #7, and the quilt is starting to come together.  I put up some of the partial blocks on my wall in addition to the completed blocks and corners, so that I could see the overall effect.  I see now I got two pieces backwards.  Good thing they are in the unfinished sections.

I'm really liking this design from Judy.  I thought I'd try a smaller size, even though the instructions weren't provided for that.   Seemed easy enough - just drop some of the blocks and shrink the borders to fit.  So I guesstimated the new fabric requirements.  Incorrectly it turns out.  Despite almost running out of my colours (just barely squeezed out the final 2 pieces), and now getting pretty low on background fabric (about 3" left) I will persevere.   Apparently we are done cutting from the colours, and the background looks like we're almost done too.  So, I shall keep my fingers crossed and continue on.

After catching up on quilting, I headed out shopping.  I actually had a non-quilting goal in mind - my computer crashed on Monday, so it is off to the repair shop for some TLC.  After I dropped it off, I realized I was half-way to the quilt shop.  So, onward ho!   I pondered several options, and finally left with fabric for a new quilt, and a couple more colours to go with some fabric I bought earlier.  The more I thought about that one as a 2-colour quilt, the less I liked it.  And lucky me, the store had the fabric I already bought, so finding 2 colours to add to the set was easy (or as easy as picking colours ever is for me).

On my way out of the parking lot, I performed a random act of kindness.  I noticed a car with the spare tire lying on the ground, and the driver looked like she was pondering instructions.  So I stopped to give her a hand.  Changed a tire for a fellow quilter, and we were both on our way in about 10 minutes.  That brings my lifetime total tires changed up to 3 - all in the last 3.5 years of my 25 year driving career.  And now I'm home, and planning some more quilting time before I head out dancing tonight.   I guess at some point I should consider making dinner for 2 hungry teenagers, too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Nov 9

What's on my design wall?  Something old and something new this week.   My Irish Chain from last week is still up there.  Haven't made a decision about this one yet, and it'll probably stew a bit longer before I do anything.   Actually, when I was sewing yesterday, all but one of the blocks fell off the wall.  I wonder if that is a sign.

The other blocks above that are part of my quilt-for-an-hour project from Judy.   I got lucky with this one, and managed to squeeze out just enough fabric from my 4 colours to cut the rest of pieces for this quilt.  Now as long as the gold holds out, I'm set for the rest of the project.

Off the design wall I've finished, or almost finished, 3 projects this week.  My queen-size quilt had the last stitch put into the binding last night.   All it needs is a label and I can send it off to its new home.  In addition, I have one quilty mostly bound, and my tumbling block quilt is ready to have the binding turned.   All in all a productive week.   I'll post pictures of the quilty and tumbling block as soon as the bindings are done. The queen quilt will wait until it arrives at its destination, since it is (somewhat at least) a surprise.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One step forward ...

And two steps back.

I've been working this week on my Quilt-for-an-Hour project from Judy's blog.  That and the Christmas napkins in my previous post were all I managed this week, until yesterday.  But, that's one step forward.  I used 1 yard for the Christmas napkins, and 1.5 yards for the Quilt-for-an-Hour project.  I have a dilemma with that one.  I apparently miscalculated my yardage, and I am going to be a bit short of a couple of colours.  I"ll have to figure out how to take care of that once I see the rest of the instructions.  The 2 fabrics I'm short of were gifted to me, so I haven't been able to find more in town.

Yesterday, after I caught up on my quilt for an hour, I pulled out my tumbling block quilt and basted it.  And that means I used another 1.5 yaards for the backing.   Maybe this was a better week than I thought.  I hope to finish that quilt this weekend, so that I can start my 2 new projects.  

Yes, that's right.  I said 2 new projects.   AKA, 2 steps back. I spent a bit of time in a quilt shop on Monday, and came home with fabric for another quilty.  I'm not supposed to be buying fabric for those, but the frogs were too cute to resist.  The other fabrics in this pic are my purchases from last week.

So, this week's stash report - still on the positive side for usage for the year (since August, because that's when I started tracking).

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 45.25 yards
Added YTD: 36.5 yards
Net: 8.75 yards out this year


Check out Judy's blog to see stash reports from other quilters this week.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas napkins

I found this link for making Christmas Tree napkins the other day, while I was browsing blogs.  They seemed easy, and kind of cute, so I thought I'd try it out.  After all, I have a bunch of Christmas fabric sitting around, and it needs to find a useful purpose in life.

So, after I finished my Quit for an Hour yesterday - which didn't take an hour, since I'm making a smaller version of the quilt - I pulled out my Christmas fabric.   The "good stuff" needed washing, so I tossed it in the machine and decided to make up some samples with some of my less-favourite fabrics.

Now I have some cute Christmas-y napkins - my kids thought they were cute, anyway.  And it didn't take very long at all.  I only made 2 changes to the directions - I top-stitched around the outside, after turning the napkins. Because I don't slip-stitch if I can avoid it :)  Plus I adjusted the fold lines a bit, to make a taller tree with broader stripes than on the original page.

I always like to give credit where due, but when I first posted this, I couldn't find the blog post that led me to the pattern link.  Well, here it is.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Nov 2

First, let's examine what is not on my design wall this week.  The green bargello quilt is gone - and the good news is that this means that all the pieces are attached.  The quilt will probably make a reappearance, as I still have to figure out borders. But for this week I am basking in its absence.

As for what is on my design wall.  I fear that this one is a disaster in the making.  It is supposed to be an irish chain for a baby quilt.  But the turtle fabric is pretty busy, and I'm not too sure about the overall look I'm getting from this.  Sigh.   Quilt and learn, I guess.

Now to decide whether to abandon this concept all together, or to try the turtles with a different (darker) fabric that might be more likely to hold its own.  I really desperately want to use up this fabric, but maybe it is destined for backing.

Let's try this.   Ah.  Much better.  The dark blocks at the bottom are a much better choice for my irish chain. Perhaps it's not a lost cause after all.   The green checkerboard is debatable (or maybe just a disaster without debate), but the purple gives me hope.  I'll hold onto those blocks for a bit.  Unfortunately, the purple is my accent colour for my Quilt for an Hour - so no more cutting into it until I see how much I need there.



This week I get to start Judy's Quilt for an Hour, and I am really looking forward to that.  Check out Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their design walls this week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stash Report - Nov 1

Wow!  November already.  I can't believe we're closing in on the end of the year.  I made some good quilting progress the past few months, thanks to some new-found inspiration with this blog.  It is amazing much I'm encouraged to quilt when I have a place to tell people about it.

I added a bit to my stash this weekend.   As mentioned yesterday, I went shopping for 1/4 yard of gold for my quilt for an hour project - I finally found the right colour.  I decided to leave the pink alone, as nothing else worked as well as that one.   I also added 3 yards of fabric for a new quilt project.  Net purchased:  3.25 yards.

1/4 yard out - binding for a small quilt. Not much else happening this week - work and Hallowe'en kept me from my quilting.

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 41.25 yards
Added YTD: 33.5 yards
Net: 7.75 yards out this year

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have to say.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Fabric Choices

This past week I haven't had much time in my sewing room.  Work  has been keeping me really busy, and my son wanted help with his hallowe'en costume.  So the little bit of time I had for sewing was spent making a shirt for a Mime costume.  Shirt's done, and received approval from the Mime himself.  So this weekend is mine.  Back to quilting :)


I'm still hunting for fabric for my next quilt.  I was hoping for 100% stash for this one, but apparently gold is not a colour I have in my stash.  I think this blue is better than the last, but the center still isn't right.

And the next one is too yellow.  Also, notice that I still haven't found a replace for the pink or orange.  Each colour is fine, but I think I'd like a bit more definition between the two of them.

Guess I'll have to hit a fabric store and see if I can pick up a couple of fat quarters that work in this quilt. 

Looks like the Quilt-for-an-Hour starts on Monday, so I'd better get shopping.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fabric Choices

I've decided to participate in Judy L's latest Quilt for an Hour project.  Judy always makes such beautiful quilts, and she is kind enough to share them with her readers.   In this case, I hope to make a smaller version of Judy's quilt, since I don't have enough stash for the full size.

Choosing fabrics is always the hardest part of quilting for me (closely followed by choosing a quilting design to finish the top).  So I thought I would post my potential fabric choices here. And if I still like them in a few days, I'm all set.  If I hate them (or I get a lot of "what the heck are you thinking" comments) then I'll try again :)

So, here they are.  Roughly laid out in the positions they'll have in the finished product.  At this point, I'm thinking the pink & orange are a bit too close in tone, so I'll probably look for an alternative for one or the other of them.


So, anyone care to venture an opinion?  Be kind (please) but be honest.  It's a whole lot easier to change my colour scheme now than it will be later :)   I think the colours are a bit washed out here - the green is fairly vibrant in person.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Progress and Improvements

Let's start with my design wall.  There is less on it this week than usual - which is a good sign.   It means more pieces have made their way onto the bargello quilt.  About 1/2 done now.  It is certainly slow going, but it's starting to come together.

I took a break after that, and quilted another small quilt on my new frame.  This one went much better than the last!  I increased the length of my leaders and gave myself some extra length on the backing, so that I could reach the whole quilt without adjusting the attachment points at the end.  I had much more quilting room at the end of this one, despite the quilt being slightly larger (about 40" square, rather than 30" as the last one was).  So the lighter fabric makes a really big difference.

I just had one minor goof-up.  I cut slightly more than half of my backing fabric, to allow the extra distance I needed to the (short) leader for the backing.  And then as I shuffled stuff around the room to get setup, I grabbed the closest piece of backing and loaded it up.  I'm sure you can see this coming - I picked up the wrong piece of backing!  I didn't even notice until after I started quilting. So I crossed my fingers and continued.   Luck was with me - the backing was just long enough for the quilt.  I did have to get creative to reach the last 6 inches of the quilt, but it worked out.

I still have some learning to do, to figure this contraption out.  I had a few issues with the quilt top puckering - not sure why, but I hope to figure that out soon.  I suppose some practice pieces would be a good plan to get the hang of this.  In any case, I'm feeling better about the time I invested in building this thing, and I think I'm going to enjoy this new table.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls today.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stash Report - Oct 25

Not much change in my stash report this week.  Lots of work on quilts already in progress, but that didn't use much fabric.  I did manage 1.5 yards used for backing for 1 quilt.

So this week:

0 in; 1.5 yards out

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 41yards
Added YTD: 30.25 yards
Net: 10.75 yards out this year


Check out Judy's blog to see what everyone else it up to this week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Experiments

I was so excited!   I found (bought) plans on-line to build a machine quilting frame.  I've never really enjoyed trying to quilt on my little machine.  Especially bigger quilts - struggling to maneuver the whole thing around on the sewing table.  Bits always fall off, the quilt gets caught on corners, and it's darn heavy!  So when I saw this, I thought it was perfect.  Use my current machine, setup a quilting frame, and I'd be set to go!  And for much less than a store bought frame was going to set me back.

I measured everything, and rearranged my (small) sewing room to make sapce for this.  It could work, although space would be tight.  I bought the necessary parts, and set to work a couple weeks ago.  I was going to do a 10 foot frame, but decided against it after seeing the table in the room.

I cut a foot off and made it 9 feet long - still plenty long enough for my quilts, as 80-85 inches is about the max I do for a queen-size.  The first thing I noticed is how wonder it was to have a table behind my sewing table.  Putting borders on a quilt was suddenly easier, as the quilt sat happily on the extra table instead of falling to the floor.  On Saturday, I completed the rest of the frame, including the roller bars, and set it all up!

I've been saving my quilts to do on this new table, so I immediately dug one out and loaded it up on the machine.   Sweet!  No pinning, no basting, no trying to find enough floor space to lay out a quilt and then crawling around on my knees with pins.

I knew that using my standard sewing machine was going to result in a relatively small quilting path, but I measured and calculated and decided it would be about 4-5 inches, which wasn't too bad (and is about what I have with my shove & push method anyway).  I even reduced the size of the roller bars, to ensure I had as much leaway as possible.

So, I started in on a baby quilt - about 30 inches square.   Things started great - but by the time I got to the end of that 30 inches, I was down to about a 2 inch quilting area :(  I had not expected to lose space so quickly as the quilt progressed.  There is no way I can use this for any reasonably sized quilt. 

I did realize later that the quilt I chose was made with a much heavier fabric than usual - so that accounts for some of the excess.   I will probably give this another chance, with a more traditional set of quilt fabrics, to see how much difference that makes.  But I'm pretty sure at this point that nothing over about 40" is going to be possible with this setup.   Very disappointing, unfortunately.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Oct 19

More interesting than what's on my design wall this week is what is NOT on it.  There is a gap in bargello now - that's because I've started to put it together, and those strips are now in the quilt.

Also off my design wall, for those who saw my post on Friday, is my second quilty.   Made a decision on the blocks, and put it together over the weekend.  Just have to hand-stitch the binding now.

So, does this quilty count as November's donation since I already finished October?  I think I'll still aim to make one in the actual month of November, but keep this extra in my pocket for a month when things don't come together so smoothly :)

Time, I think, to finish some quilts.  I have 4 tops waiting to be quilted, so I should be able to keep busy over the next few weeks.  Then I won't feel so guilty when I go out and buy the fabric for the next quilt on my list.  Although there are still at least 3 partial tops waiting for attention - maybe I should pull out my finishing list and see exactly where I do stand.


Head over to Judy's blog to see what other quilters are up to this week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stash Report - Oct 18

I used 1.25 yards of fleece for batting in my disappearing 9-patch quilty (which is now complete).   Soft and comfy, and got rid of some horrible stuff I've had on my shelf for 15 years.   Remember those flourescent colours from the early 90's?  Neon green polar fleece - what was I thinking?  But it's gone now, and I have plan for it's pink and yellow friends, too.

Used this week - 3.25 yard for another quilty (top + batting + backing + binding), plus 1/4 yard for the binding on the last one

Bought this week - None.  I tried hard though.  Went to a quilt store with a friend, fully intending to buy fabric for a new quilt for my son.  But I left the pattern at home :(  So that will have to wait for another week.

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 39.5 yards
Added YTD: 30.25 yards
Net: 9.25 yards out this year

Check out Judy's blog to see how other quilters are progressing in their stash-busting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Design Wall

When I first started quilting, I didn't have a design wall.  I didn't see the need, since the pattern told me how all the pieces went together, and I don't generally do scrappy quilts so there was no need to lay out all the blocks to determine how to fit them together.   That only lasted until the first time I put a block together upside down.  At that point, at least one of the benefits of a design wall became very apparent.

Once I had a wall, it was used for more and more quilts.  I use it now to organize blocks while I sew them together, to audition border fabrics and designs, and as a place to put a quilt or block while I ponder the colours for the quilt.  Many quilts have changed after a few days hanging on the wall.

Even to this day my wall is a bit limited - about 6 feet by 40 inches - not exactly large enough to hold a full quilt.  But it does the job.  I often pieces the quilt strips together vertically, and hang them from the design wall as I attach the strips.  Or place blocks overlapping to get the very most I can onto the small area. 

Today, my design wall is helping me decide on the fabrics for my next quilty.  My first choice doesn't work. That was obvious as soon as I put the first blocks up.

I had planned simply to figure out the placement of the various fussy-cut critters.  But as soon as I had it up, I knew it wasn't going to work out.  The patterned blocks just disappear into the yellow and red.  What I thought was a nice colour match turned into a busy mess that confuses the eye.



So now on the wall are the next 2 options. I hope one of these will work out.  I'll leave them up for a few days, and the one that draws my eye the most when I walk into my sewing room will become quilty #2.

And now I have a secondary design wall.  Moving this contemplation onto my computer allows me to work with pictures rather than the actual blocks.  I can resize, to see what the quilt looks like closer and farther away, and get a feel for the overall impression - easier than can sometimes be done on a design wall in a restricted space.

And, the added bonus.  By bringing my thoughts to my blog, I can bring other quilters into my room to give their opinions on the options.  So - what do you think?  I'm leaning towards the cars on the left - the red & yellow don't really match the print, but the overall effect seems interesting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Oct 12

What's on my design wall this week?  A disappearing 9-patch.  I saw this pattern recently and decided I wanted to try it out.  Combined that with 2 other goals:  1 - decrease my stash, particularly my collection of kiddie prints now that my children are teenagers.  And 2 - finish a quilty for the children's hospital every month.

I struggled with colour choice for this quilt - the children's print has such bright strong colours.  I debated this choice, but decided that since the yellow would end up in such small pieces, it could work.  And I think it does.

On the left is the 9-patch I started from - I have to admit not a block I would ever want to see in a quilt.  But the disappearing blocks came out great (I think so, anyway).

Now I just have to decide on placement.  I'm considering a random layout like the bottom one.  But leaning more towards the top layout.  I can see one other layout (actually several others, but one that is intriguing me) in these blocks, so I definitely see another disappearing 9-patch or two in my future.

On the right, you can see an edge of my bargello quilt.  Still hanging out on my design wall, in pretty much the same arrangement as last week.  But, having it up there is keeping me focused on it, and I picked up the batting I needed and pulled out the backing yesterday.  It's next on the list after the quilty I think.  Unless I chicken out :)

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stash Report - Oct 11

Every week Judy at Patchwork Times challenges us to share our stash report.  I started a new quilt this week, so I did manage to decrease my stash a bit.  Hmm, I really should finish a few quilts, but I did make myself a promise to do a quilty every month from now to the end of 2010.  So, I cut the fabric for this month's quilty - 3 yard used, including borders and backing.  Plus, I did the binding for my queen size quilt, which is finally out of the machine.  3/4 yard used there.

None purchased.  I've managed to stay out of quilt shops this week, so my stash didn't grow any further this time.

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 34.75 yards
Added YTD: 30.25 yards
Net: 4.5 yards out this year

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quilt show

So many favourites, so hard to choose.  Amy at Park City Girl is hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival today through Oct 16th. She asked us to post a picture of our favorite quilt and tell it's story.

This quilt is one of my favourite ones.  It is bright, and cheerful - it's actually much brighter in person than in the photo.  When I laid it out in my room before shipping, it just brightened it right up.

The story behind this quilt goes back to my very first quilting experience.  An on-line friend was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer late in 2003.  A group of us from an e-mail list decided to make her a friendship quilt.  We couldn't provide our support in person, so we wanted to send her something to remind her how much we all cared.   I had never quilted before, although I had learned to sew as a girl and was making most of my children's clothes at that time.   I decided to participate, and made my very first quilt block.  The colours for her quilt were her favourite ones - purple and green.   All the blocks - about 48 of them - we assembled by one of our members and the quilt was delivered in 2004.

She went through a lot in the next year or so, a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, but was declared free of the cancer.  And I was completely hooked on quilting.  I have been quilting ever since that first block.   Because of how I got started, I try to donate some of my quilts to groups that support cancer research and help people dealing with cancer in their lives.  In particular, I have donated a quilt to theQuilt.com every year for their auction, since 2006.

In 2007, Michelle's cancer came back.  In her bones, in her kidneys, and her battle started again.  Again, I couldn't do anything directly for her, as she lived on the other side of the continent.  So I decided that my next donation to theQuilt would be in her honour.  I happened across a beautiful pattern, from Northcott fabrics and I decided to do it in purple & green for Michelle.  The border fabric jumped out at me, and I worked from that basis, with much help from the ladies at several quilt shops.   After a couple of false starts and some fabric changes, I had what I wanted.  Started the quilt in 2007, and finished it in December 2008 - just in time for the 2009 Quilt Auction.  Sadly, Michelle passed away in June 2008.  The quilt was donated to the auction in her memory.

My mother was visiting while I was finishing this quilt, and she fell in love with it when she saw it. She even helped me finish the hand-stitching on the binding.  It was obvious that she would have loved to have the quilt, but it was promised for the auction, and I packed it up and shipped it off.  For the next few months she liked to remind me how I'd given away "her" quilt :)

I thought I would make her a new one, which she would love just as much.  I hunted and hunted, and even started a quilt, but none of the options I found could compare to that bright cheerful quilt she had seen at Christmas.   So, when the quilt came up for auction this summer, I bid on my own creation.  I won the auction, and had the quilt shipped directly to my mother just in time for her birthday.  It now has a place of honour on her bed, brightening up her room.

Click on the link below to stop by the quilt festival and see what other quilters have on their blogs.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Oct 5

What's on my design wall this week probably looks really familiar to a lot of you.  I tweaked it a couple more times over the past 2 days.  I'm still not satisfied though.  It feels more like mountains than waterfalls now.

More interesting than what is on my design wall, is what is under it.  That table is the beginning of my machine quilting frame.  I'm so excited!  Space is tight, and I don't look forward to making room next time someone wants to come stay with me.  But I'm already loving this table.  With my sewing table in front of it, I have a nice deep table to catch the quilt I'm currently working on.  Wow!  What a difference.  Maybe I don't need the whole frame after all, and I should just go with the extended table.

Nah.  Who am I kidding?  I can't wait to try out the new frame, but I have to wait for my rollers to arrive first.

If you look on the left of the sewing machine, you can see just a corner of the queen size quilt I'm working on.  I'd name it, and show a photo, but it's a gift (and maybe even a surprise) so no peeking just yet.  Quilting on that project is coming along however, and I hope to have it in the mail before too long.

Last but not least, and not really on my design wall but I want to add it anyway, is my newest pair of socks.  I'm hoping the light green/yellow will prevent my son from stealing this pair.  If that fails, the next pair is definitely pink!  :)

I'm experimenting this time - knitting 2 socks together on 4 needles.  So far so good.  But I know that decreasing is going to be challenging.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stash Report - Oct 4

It was a sad week on the stash busting front this week.  My local quilt shop had a shop hop going, with one on the other side of town (East meets West).  Dropped in on Friday for something completely unrelated (embroidery floss to finish a couple of quilts that have been waiting patiently).  I was also planning to pick up EQ6, but somehow I managed to forget to do that.   But I did find 2 bundles of backing fabric, almost 2 yards each, on sale for 30% off.  Had to have that - especially since I have a few quilts I've promised myself I would finish, but didn't have backing for.

Then of course I had to visit the other shop, once I realized that this was shop hop weekend.  Not like I ever win anything in those draws, but still...  And I did need to pick up some Christmas fat quarters for a swap that's due next week.  So I headed across town yesterday. Oddly, there was almost no Christmas fabric in the store, and no fat quarters pre-cut at all.  So I wandered down to the "bargain basement" and found 4 great Christmas afabrics.  Minimum cut of 1 metre, but on sale 60% off.  Pretty good deal, but it meant a lot more fabric came home than I planned on :)

In this week
8.5 yards
Out:
None

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 31 yards
Added YTD: 30.25 yards
Net: 0.75 yards out this year

Oh, but I can't forget - 100g yarn used for my pretty little socks.  Next pair is already in progress.

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters are up to.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Socks

I finished my first pair of socks!  I think I'm hooked on a new craft activity now.  Great for keeping busy while watching TV.


Only problem with this pair is that only minutes after they were done, my son stole them!  He's sitting beside me right now, wearing my socks.  I think the next pair of socks will be pink :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Round 3

Here we go, one more time.  What?  You can't tell the difference?  Well, maybe if you look really closely.  It was just a tweak after all.

This is definitely feeling right to me, so I think I'm pretty close to solidifying the pattern for the bargello quilt.  A few more days' contemplation should do it (mostly to give myself time to get that queen size off my sewing table).

And in the meantime, I'm well on my way to Socktoberfest.  Now all I need is a mate for this little pretty.  See the green toe?  That's because when the instructions say "100g" for 2 socks, it somehow doesn't translate to 50g (1 ball) for 1 sock.  Sigh.  Just wait. The next ball will probably do a complete sock with no issues and some left over.

There is an error in this one, which I'll see if I can correct for #2.  For some reason  my grafting comes out as purl rather than knit (yes, I know, the reason is user error).  Have to work on that.

Love the speed of this pattern.  Knit with worsted weight, and it only took me 2 days to make a sock.  Problem is, I got no quilting done in those 2 days, other than rearranging my bargello a couple of times.  I need more hours in the day, I think.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Socktoberfest

Here's another attempt at my bargello quilt.  I'll contemplate this for a few days, and see if I still like it then.  I've already spotted a couple adjustments that need to be made, so I'll play with this a bit more.

In the meantime, I've taken up Judy's Socktoberfest challenge.  Like I needed another craft.   Judy's says October is "Socktober" and challenged us to set a goal - make some socks, finish some lonely pairs, whatever we like. I've never knit a pair of socks before, but my mother did teach me to knit as a child.   I've done hats, mittens, sweaters. baby blankets.  So why not socks?  One pair, anyway.

So my goal is to try this and see if it's something I want to continue doing.   Regardless, I will finish this one pair of socks - assuming I can find the second ball of this wool somewhere in my yarn stash.

This is a part of my stash that I didn't show the other day, because it's not related to quilting.  But I'll come out of the closet (pardon the pun).  See that big brown box?  It is entirely filled with yarn.  Baby yarn, worsted weight, chunky - a bit of everything.  Oh, and look at that - more fabric.  Oops.  But I have an excuse explanation - it's not quilt-quality fabric, so it doesn't count, right?

Oh, all right, more fabric for the "baby quilt challenge" I set myself.  I will get this side of my stash closet cleaned up, and add some decent storage.  Or not - vistors do appreciate the remote possibility of hanging some clothes on this side.  I should probably leave space for that, too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Sept 28

I fell in love with the aqua's in this quilt when I saw them.  They made me think of water.  So the intent of this bargello quilt is to look like a waterfall.

I can see my plan in here, in the main colour run that flows across the quilt.  But mostly what I'm seeing in this photo is 3 sections - the 2 sides with 3 repeats, and the center with 5 parallel lines.

I tihnk I'm going to play with this layout a bit more, and see if there is something different I can do with these strips.  So, this is on my design wall this week, and will likely stick around for a few more weeks.


Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stash Report - Sept 27

Earlier this week, I cut strips for a bargello quilt.  That is all the piecing I've gotten done this week, because my focus is on the queen-size quilt that I'm trying to finish.  Progress is slow but steady. About 1/2 done now, and my quilting is getting better :)   I may have to re-do some of the earlier sections to neaten them up, but first, I need to finish the rest and get a good look at it.

Used this week - 1.5 yards.
Nothing added, despite several trips to quilt stores.  

My dirty little secret - the rest of the stash fabric from this week's project doesn't show in my stash photos from yesterday.  They are still sitting on top of my cutting table.   Shhhhh!

Total for this year:
Used YTD: 31 yards
Added YTD: 21.75 yards
Net: 9.25 yards out this year

Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have to say about their stash this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Show us your stash

Show your stash, Judy says.   Well, I'm having mixed feelings about this, but I've decided to play along.

Here (photo on left) is my main quilting stash. By that I mean, fabric purchased specifically for quilting (with one or two exceptions down near the bottom).  Not too bad, and reasonably organized - for now.   My stash goes through phases - during the initial creation of a quilt, up to 50% of my stash will end up strewn around my sewing room.  So, I regulary tidy up, and fortunately Judy caught me right after a clean up  :)

I peeked at everyone else's stash photos.  Some of those stashes are incredible. They have better fabric selection than my fabric stores!   Some put me to shame, and others make me feel pretty darn organized.  There are as many stash storage arrangements as there are quilters, apparently.

Ah, but that is not my only fabric.  Once upon a time, I made children's clothes.  And I still have a pile of stash from that adventure.  All 100% cotton, so suitable for quilting.

These cubby holes are built into the bottom of my cutting table - which is designed to be the depth of a bolt of fabric.  These are my woven cottons. All kids' prints, so I need to make a lot of quilties to use up this stash.

And over here, are knits and fleece.  Oh, and some corduroy.  Not exactly suitable for quilting.  But once in a while I use some anyway - makes the job challenging, to figure out how to quilt a knit fabric.  My very first quilt in fact was 100% corduroy.  Now that is one heavy quilt.  Maybe I'll blog about that one day soon.

So, this is my stash, in September 2009.  Judy's goal is to organize by January 2010, and make a dent in stash by end of 2010.   My goal is a bit different.  My stash (of quilting fabric) is pretty small - so making a dent in that part isn't that important.  And it is as organized as it's likely to get.  On the other hand, I want to make a serious dent in the fabric hiding under the cutting table.  I think I'll make myself a goal of a quiltie a month from now until the end of 2010.  That should make an impression in the kiddie print stash.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Quilt Marathon

Tonight I am heading out to participate in a quilt marathon.  20 (or more) teams of 8 will spend 30 hours, from 6pm today to noon on Saturday, at a 'quilting bee'. 

The event is run by my local quilt shop, and is in support of theQuilt.com.  We will be hand-quilting 2 or 3 quilts during that time. This link has more information about the quilt marathons - and oh, by the way, that's me on the left in the picture :) 

The quilt tops and the batting/backing are donated, and all monetary donations raised by the quilt marathon go to theQuilt.  The completed quilts will then be donated to theQuilt for their 2010 auction.  In conjunction with the marathon, the quilt shop hosts a bake auction Saturday afternoon, to raise more funds.  My local quilt shop is one of the top fund raisers for this event every year.

My time-slot for this marathon - 3am to 6am.   I do believe I am crazy. But I'll be enjoying a late night (or is that early morning?) with a bunch of equally crazy ladies, having fun and doing our part to see that no one has to face cancer alone.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Sept 21

There's not much on my design wall today.  I've been working diligently on machine quilting my latest, and that is taking up most of my time.  Not to mention I don't want to keep rearranging my room and resetting the sewing machine for different tasks, so I plan to stick to this until it's done.  Maybe this weekend.

But, I do have 1 bit on my design wall from yesterday.   I think this will be my next finishing project, once the queen-size is done.  Maybe I can complete it in time for guild next month, so it can go off to the hospital.

I did get tired of machine quilting yesterday, and since my second machine is still setup from my visitor last month, I started on a new project.  This is the start of the colour runs for a bargello quilt.  By next week this should be up on my design wall.


Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters have on their design walls this week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stash Report - Sept 20

I got started on quilting my queen size quilt this week - so 3 yards of backing fabric came out of the stash.  No pictures though, because this quilt is a gift.  I also put the border on the quilt that's been sitting on my design wall, so that used another yard of fabric.

And, last but not least, I cut and pieced some more strips for my reversible "warm wishes" quilt.

Used this week:
  4.75 yards

New this week:
none

Used YTD: 29.5 yards
Added YTD: 21.75 yards
Net: 7.75 yards out this year


Check out Judy's blog to see other quilters' stash progress this week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Projects and Dreams

It's been a slow week in the sewing room.  First my son was sick, and now I am.  Quilting has taken a back seat., and my motivation is waning  I did start quilting the queen size quilt, and that's part of my problem.  It is not going as well as I had hoped.  Free-motion quilting straight lines is hard.


I am really tempted to build this.   I bought the plans a few weeks ago from this website
Looks relatively simple to make, provided I can find all the bits at the local hardware store.   Am I crazy?  Probably.  But I do have a friend who I'm sure will help me with the tricky cutting bits (he has better tools than I do). 

And it would be really great to be able to load a quilt onto it, rather than basting with 400 pins and trying to figure out how to maneuver the whole thing through around on my little sewing table.

If I could figure out how to mount it on the wall, so it could fold up out of the way, I'd be starting today.  Space is the main issue right now with this concept.  I wonder how my mother would feel about sleeping on the floor next time she comes to visit?  :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Design Wall Monday - Sept 14

There is just one thing on my design wall today.   Progress has been made on one set of orphan blocks, and it's ready for a border.  I'm hoping to get this quilt bordered and ready for quilting, before I turn my room around to start quilting a queen size quilt.


Check out Judy's blog to see what other quilters are up to today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stash Report - Sept 13

I posted my finish yesterday and there isn't much more to add.  Work's been busy, and quilting time has been scarce.  I used a bit of fabric making more squares for one of my orphan block quilts.  I think this is the final setting - a nice little quilty for the children's hospital.  Need to finish this one by mid-October so I can deliver it it at the guild meeting next month.

I also did a bit of shopping this week.  Looking at all those orphan blocks on Monday, I made some decisions about the finished products and headed out to the quilt store.  The positive balance on my stash report took a bit of a hit this week.  I found some lovely bright fabrics to complete the feathered star block and the kaleidoscope quilt blocks, plus enough black to finish my tumbling blocks.

Used this week:
1/2 yard - orphan quilt
1/4 yard - binding for Cambridge Blues

New this week:
6 1/2 yards  - for finishing orphan blocks, honest :)

Used YTD: 24.75 yards
Added YTD: 21.75 yards

Net: 3 yards out this year

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Quilting Blues

Do you ever go through periods of working almost exclusively in a single colour?  4 of my most recent finishing projects are in Blue!  OK, all but one of them was started 4 years ago, and the colour of the 4th was picked for me.  But I'm starting to think that I was in a really "blue" period when I started quilting. And now that I'm finishing projects, I've hit a number of the blues in a row

This quilt is the one which was not started several years ago. And in fact the colour was not chosen by me, so I'm sure I haven't slipped back into a blue period.  The quilt pattern was a mystery quilt from a shop hop held by the local quilt shops.  At each stop on the hop, a clue, including fabric, was available.  At the end of the hop, the final layout was provided.  The fabric in this quilt is all from Northcott's "Quest for a Cure" fabric line (Cambridge blue).

This quilt is now all boxed up and ready to send off to theQuilt.com for next year's auction.   I think this is the first time I've had the quilt done early, and haven't been scrambling to finish it in time for the January deadline.  Whatever is happening to me?  LOL

Friday, September 11, 2009

2 steps forward, 1 step back

I can't say I finished anything at all this week.  But I made lots of progress - quilted the shop-hop quilt, attached binding to 2 quilts (just have to turn the binding and hand-stitch), actually did some stitching on the Hawaiian quilt.  That would be the 2 steps forward.

And then, I started a new quilt.  One step back.
Well, not really.  Some of the blocks already existed, so I could claim that I didn't start it, I just moved it forward towards finishing.  I took some of the orphan blocks on my design wall, decided on a layout and started the additional blocks I need to complete this new quilt.

Next up - the queen size quilt.  Want to get that done and sent off to my sister.

So my summary for this week is:

* - the shop hop quilt (half-way done binding)
*- A challenge quilt from my local quilt shop - 3 years ago (needs binding)
- a picture quilt from my 2005 trip to Mexico (needs quilting)
- a queen size quilt (need to quilt it)
- a set of 3 wall quilts (to be hung)
- a stained glass dragon (still piecing)
* - a Hawaiian wall-quilt that's been on my frame for 4 years now (finish quilting)
- mystery quilt (ready for quilting)
* - tumbling blocks (ready for quilting)
- reversible quilt
- kaleidoscope quilt
* - orphan block quilt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Easy half-square and quarter-square triangles

Do you ever struggle with figuring out how big to cut a square, when you need to to make half-square triangles, or quarter-sqare triangles?  I found this handy tip page, which lays it all out for you, so you don't even have to think about it. This page even diagrams it for you, if you want to understand why it works.

I don't know about you, but I hate dealing with triangular pieces of fabric, particularly when makings half & quarter square triangles.  The pieces always want to stretch along the bias.  So, here is an easy tutorial on making those from squares, instead.   With no waste.

Easy half-square triangles
Cut a square of each fabric you will use for your half-square triangles.  Using the tip above, the size of your squares should each be the finished size of your block plus 7/8 of an inch.  So, if you want 3" half-square triangles, cut a 3-7/8" square from each of your 2 fabrics.  Lay these right sides together, and mark 1 diagonal.  Then, stitch 1/4 inch away from your mark on both sides of the line.

Cut along the marked line, press open, and voila!   Two perfect half-square triangles.








Easy quarter-square triangles
For quarter-square triangles, the process is basically the same.  But, cut your squares 1-1/4" larger than the finished size of your quarter-square triangles.  So for 3" finished size, cut two 4-1/4" squares from your fabric.  Again, place the fabrics right side together, mark and stitch on either side of your diagonal line.  Cut and press.


Now, take your 2 half-square triangles, and line them up right sides together. Make sure you match the seams, and place the dark side of one square on top of the light side of the other square.  Once again, mark the diagonal, stitch, and cut.


Press open and you have 2 quarter square triangles.








But what if you want more colours in the quarter-square triangles?   Simply make yourself 2 sets.  Cut, for example, 4 squares of fabric in 4 different colours.   Pair them up, and create the half-square triangle intermediate step for each of the sets.  Now you have 4 half-square triangles.  Match them up in pairs again, mixing the colours up as you wish.  Stitch and cut, and you have 4 half-square triangles containing up to 4 different colours.  The only catch is that you will end up with mirror image blocks - so if colour placement (with 4 colours) is important, this method may not work for you.


The biggest bonus with this method is perfect points.  You are never matching points at all - you match seams across your half-square triangles.  If you press those seams correctly (I prefer to press all seams towards the dark side of the half-square), they nest together and you get perfectly matched points with no fuss.