Wednesday, 30 May 2012


I'm still fighting with my Orca Bay quilt.  I think this is the one that is going to push me over into long-arm ownership, but in the meantime, I am determined to finish this one.  Just the borders left to go, and at least I know what I am going to do with them.

I spent an hour this afternoon chatting with the owner of the local store that distributes the Tin Lizzie.  I think I am almost talked into one of those.  There don't seem to be any other local dealers for other machines (which makes service and support a challenge). And so far, everything I've read about the Tin Lizzie has been good.  Anyone want to take bets on how long I hold out?  A hint - I am not a patient person.  :)  And I have 6 quilts waiting to be quilted.

Other than working on this quilt, my time is being spent knitting.  I joined Camp Loopy this year, and my yarn arrived on Monday - just 1 day late for the start of camp.  I cast on right away, and am now about 1/3 done the project, so it looks like the late start is not going to hurt me at all.

Want to see what others are up to?  Check out Freshly Pieced and the Needle And Thread Network.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Design wall Monday - May 28

I've been busy this weekend doing the quilting on my Orca Bay quilt.  But in between that, I put together 9 blocks for this month's Block Lotto.  I haven't participated lately, but when I saw this block I just had to try it out.

I'd love to say Orca Bay will be finished today, but work calls, so it will likely take a few more days to finish that up.  Then I can do the borders on the watercolour star, and I'll have made some small progress towards reducing my pile of quilts ready to be quilted.

Having fought with Orca Bay, which isn't that big a quilt (60x72), I am starting to think I should look at getting myself a long-arm machine.  Stuffing full-size quilts through my Husqvarna-Viking is not a lot of fun.  Anyone out there want to talk me into (or out of) a long-arm? Or have advice to offer?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Stash Report

I spent yesterday at a quilt show in Montreal.  It was a great time, but pretty dangerous for my stash report.  $2.00 fat quarters.  25% off fabric.  So I brought a few pretties home with me.  Plus, an order I made a week ago arrived.  This was an attempt to buy some backing online - which means I bought several different fabrics, hoping that one would end up the right colour for the quilt. 

I'm sticking to my story however - my stash is pretty sad right now, after all the quilts I've made this year.  So I need fabric. Honest :)

6 yards - backing and binding for Carpenter's Star
3.5 yards - backing for Orca Bay

26 yards in the mail
10 1/4 yards at the quilt show

Totals this year:
79 1/2 yards out, 128 3/4 yards in
Net for 2012: 49.25 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog to see what others have done with their stash this week.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

So much quilting....

So little time.

I just realized how much has been going on in my sewing room since Monday, that I haven't posted about yet.  So here's an update on my quilting this week.

I did some more work on my watercolour star. I'm looking for inspiration now, for the final border.  Not sure how I want to quilt that, to complete what was done in the center star and background. If you click on the picture you can see a bit better.  I did feathers in the star itself, and a wavy design in the background which follows the direction of the star points.  Now I have the borders to go.  One narrow white, the narrow blue, and the wide white border.  Any thoughts on how I should quilt the borders? I'm going to bind it in blue, if that makes any difference to your thoughts.

In addition to that (while I wait for inspiration on the quilting) I'm working on a pieced backing for my Carpenter's star.  Need to have this done this week, so it can be basted and ready for Judy's feather lessons in June.  I'm also making this quilt 6" longer, because I'm a soft touch.  My oldest son saw it and asked for it for his bed.  It's just a touch short, so I'm going to add another row of triangles above the red triangles and extend it that way.

Now of course my youngest saw it and also likes it.  So there may be another star in my near future.

I'm linking up at Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network again this week.  Drop by to see what everyone's up to.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Design Wall Monday - May 21

Since this was my May UFO, I'm linking this post up to Judy's UFO challenge today (May 31).  I had hoped to have it quilted, but I guess a completed top is better than nothing, and much farther than I was at the beginning of the month.

Fresh off the design wall - my son's quilt top is now complete.  I am now officially DONE with diamond borders.  At least until the next time :)  After making 2 of my star quilts, and this one, I have had enough of those diamonds.

This top was intended to reflect waves washing up on shore, with the lighter blues being the shoreline.  Originally I tried to also include a setting sun, but I decided I didn't like the effect so took it out.

The quilt is 95x75, sized for my son's bed.  It ends with a dark blue border (hard to see on the dark floor) and will be bound with the same fabric (assuming there is enough left on my cutting table for that).  I considered adding a cream border all around, but I kind of like this effect.

I'm thinking about quilting it simply with wavy lines following the direction of the waves, but I haven't completely decided yet.

There is one spot in the border where I'm not 100% happy with the way the colours line up.  But after trying without much success to get a good picture of the "issue", I decided that maybe there is no issue after all.

It is "quilt inspector approved", and now goes into the "to be quilted" pile, which is becoming quite a mountain. I really need to get a handle on that soon.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Stash Report - May 20

This week was very productive in my sewing room, and very positive for my stash busting efforts.  I finished the tops for both my blue and red Starburst quilts.  This used 11 yards of fabric in total, and allowed me to complete the pattern which is now available for sale on my patterns page.

Strangely, both these quilts and my May UFO have diamond borders.  I am pretty much ready to be done with those, but I am only halfway through my son's quilt.  So there are a few more diamonds in my future this week.  My goal is to get the border on my son's quilt during this weekend (since Monday is a holiday, I get an extra day and this goal is almost realistic).

While I was sewing today, I looked down and saw a cute white paw sticking out under my cutting table.  I looked down and found this cute little bundle camped out on my fabric.  I guess I'll be washing that bolt before I use it.  And I suppose it is also evident that I need to clean up in my sewing room.  Making 2 quilts last week, with 3 other projects in various stages of construction has left my sewing room looking a bit like a tornado came through.

Used this week: 11 yards
New this week: 0 yards

Totals this year:
70 1/4 yards out, 92 1/4 yards in
Net for 2012: 22 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else's stash busting is coming along.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

The Bloggers Quilt Festival starts today! Amy run this twice a year, and it gives quilting bloggers a chance to share a story about one of their favourite quilts. My entry this year is my Starburst quilt.

I had this lap quilt in my head for several months before I got up the nerve to try to make it. I thought the idea of an expanding star, with a smaller and smaller star in the center of each would be really interesting. So last June, when the colour at Patchwork Times monochromatic challenge was Indigo, I decided to jump in.

The biggest challenge with this quilt was the math. I don't (well, in those days I didn't) do paper piecing. So I was determined to make the quilt without paper or templates. First, I made the center. A lemoyne star, to start the pattern. Based on the size I wanted to end, this block was 2.5" finished. Maybe that should have been a sign (have you ever tried to make a miniature lemoyne star?) but I soldiered on, I measured and calculated and calculated again. Then I cut. And the pieces were the wrong size. So I tried again. And again.

Eventually I figured out that it was best to cut everything over-sized, and trim the star points down to the right size. Once I started doing that, everything went really smoothly. The nice part of this was that after the very center star, there is not one single Y-seam in this pattern.  I hadn't realized it would work out that way, until I started piecing it,

I included a pieced border, because after all the work in the center I felt the border needed something extra too.  Then it took me 6 months to start quilting it.  Again, after putting so much effort into this quilt, it needed special attention in the quilting,.  Here are a couple of close-ups of the quilting.  It is machine quilted on my domestic machine.  I finished the quilt in March this year.

And now. over the past 2 weeks I have made this quilt twice more.  This time I paper pieced the center, and that was much easier.  The quilt pattern is now available for sale in the patterns section of my blog.

There are lots more quilts in the festival.  I hope you'll drop by Amy's Creative Side and look around.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

It's been a busy quilting week, with lots of progress to show for it today. I almost finished my red star last night.  Just one more border to do.  But rather than risk mis-cutting something because I was tired, I left it at this point and went to bed.  I did finish writing up the instructions however.  I'll run the border on the blue star from the last update and make sure everything is calculated correctly.  Then it will be ready to post.

And on the knitting front, I pulled out some random yarn, to try out the pattern I want to use for this month's Camp Loopy project.  It's a good thing I did. In the 3 repeats shown here, no two of them look the same :(  The good news is, I think the third one is actually correct, so I think I'm getting better at it.  I have another week before Camp starts, so I'll finish up another couple of repeats just to make sure I've got it in my head.  Then I'll be ready to start when time arrives.

I'm linking up at Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network today.  Drop by to see what everyone's up to this week.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Am I out of my mind?  I'm sewing up a storm, and now I've been sucked into the fun at Camp Loopy.  Do I have time for this? Probably not. But it looks like great fun, so I thought I would try to join in.  I picked what I hope is a simple project for my first one.  400 yards seems like a lot of yarn to use in a single month's worth of knitting.  But I'm going to give it a whirl.  I'm sliding in just under the wire, for the Camp Loopy discount at the store.  Sure hope Canada Post comes through and gets this too me quickly - I'm going to need every day I can get to finish it in time.

In the meantime, I'm still working on my May list of projects.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Design Wall Monday - May 14

There's lots going on, on my design wall today.  I've had a busy week, working on a couple of my planned projects, and something unplanned too.

First, on the lower right, is one of the Dancing with the Stars blocks for this month.  2 more to go, and April to catch up too.  The more blocks I make for this quilt, the more I am enjoying paper piecing.  I'm really glad I took the plunge and joined this BOM.

Lower left is my Blogger's Block of the Month.  The top left square is this month's block.  I'm really liking how this one is coming together.  I think there must be only 4 months left before the end of this BOM.  Then I will have to figure out how to put it together.

Last, but certainly not least, are 2 versions of my Starburst quilt.  I decided that I want to publish this pattern, so I set about writing the instructions (in a more readable format than I used originally).  The first attempt isn't here - I gave up on it really quickly. When I made the quilt, it was all done with calculations and no paper piecing or templates.  However, I cut everything oversized and then trimmed it down to fit.  I realized that this was not a suitable method for a pattern, so I redid all the calculations and tried them out.  A complete disaster, after the first round.  So I tossed that idea.

Instead, I went back to my drawing in EQ, and printed foundation templates for it.  I put together the blue star from those, but I couldn't figure out why none of my points wanted to match. I managed to force most of them, but I knew that this was not right.  So back to the program again.  I expanded the picture to its largest, and discovered that the points did not match in my design!  No wonder I couldn't get it to make up correctly.

So, back to the drawing board (literally) again.  I redrafted the pattern, fixed all the points, and now I have templates that should work.  Pink star is in progress, and coming together much more nicely than the blue.  I hope to finish it this week, including the border, and get the pattern up for sale by the weekend.

Drop by Patchwork Times to see what everyone else is up to today.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Stash Report - May 13

Another week has flown by.  I got quite a bit of quilting done yesterday.  Finished two blocks of the month, and started a new quilt.  That one wasn't in the plan, but I need to test out a pattern so I pulled some fabric and started sewing yesterday.  Not ready to count any yardage from it yet, but I should have that next week.

Out this week:
5 yards - Carpenter's Star quilt top

There were no trips to the quilt store this week, so a light week on that score.  Just the fabric that came in the mail on Monday.
2 yards in - the perfect match for the borders on my son's quilt

Totals this year:
59 1/4 yards out, 92 1/4 yards in
Net for 2012: 33 yards in

Head over to Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Plugging Away

I can't seem to get motivated for a good long sewing session these days. Probably just as well, since I do have to work and make sure the kids get to their evening activities.  I have been plugging away as much as I can.  I put the final borders on the Carpenter's Star.  My son loves it, and has asked if he can have it.  I don't think it's the right size for his bed - I suppose if I was a nice mother I would check, and add some border if I need to, so that it will fit. 

Of course, he's the same son for whom this quilt is in progress.

I've also managed to finish 3/4 of one block for Dancing with the Stars. It's actually even more complete than this, because the last quarter is 2/3 done. So I should be able to finish this one tomorrow.  I do have some plans for this weekend, plus it's supposed to be nice so gardening is hopefully in the cards.  Sewing may continue to take a back seat, but I hope to make it into the sewing room a few times over the weekend.

I'm linking up at AmyLouWho tonight.  Drop by to see what everyone's been up to.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

May Progress

I've made some good progress on my May colour challenge quilt this week.  One more border and it's ready for Judy's feather lessons.  This has been a nice easy quilt, and a nice break from my Storm at Sea.  The good news is, I now have the fabric I need to finish the borders on that one, so it'll be up on my design wall again very shortly.  Maybe I'll do a couple of my block of the month projects first, though.

I listed my May projects back in this post. None done yet, but good progress on this one.  And since I have the fabric for #4 there's hope on that front too.

1. finish quilting watercolour star - center complete
2. May colour challenge - just borders left
3. Carpenter's Star for June feather quilting lessons
4. May UFO (my son's quilt) - needs borders Fabric arrived!
5. April block from Blogger's block of the month
6. April and May blocks for Dancing with the Stars
7. Block Lotto for May
8. baste and quilt one more WIP

Drop by Freshly Pieced  or the Needle and Thread Network to see more Wednesday Works in Progress.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Happy Dance!!

It arrived!  My order from the UK, with fabric I hoped would match my son's quilt arrived today. And it is PERFECT!  The colour is horrible in these shots - and hence why I had such trouble figuring out the right colourway for this fabric.

Here is it, fresh out of the package.  And it came with a lovely little note.  Yes indeed, this quilt will be well-traveled :)  I want to give a shout-out to Sew and Sos fabric store in the UK.  Wonderful prompt service (even if Canada Post did have me biting my nails for a week). And very reasonable shipping charges - it only cost 1/3 of what other quilting stores in the UK wanted to ship the same product.

Thank you, google search, on-line shopping and Sew and Sos, for saving my son's quilt!

And here it is beside the 3/4 yard I found in town on the weekend, and with the edge of the quilt it's going with.  In person, the 3/4 yard seems a bit darker than the other - but that might be because it's been washed.  In any case, I will use the one cut of fabric for the borders, and save the 3/4 yard for another project.  Or possibly binding.  I haven't considered that part yet.

Why the heck don't fabric manufacturers put the actual colour code in the selvage, rather than just the name of the line?

Design Wall Monday - May 7

Finally, my design wall has something new on it!  I have most of the blocks for my Carpenter's Star put together, and ready to assemble.  This is a nice quick project - a good change from quilting my watercolour star, and working on the borders for my son's quilt.

Speaking of which, I did get 2 borders done today.  There are 5 more in the plan - but first I have to wait for the background fabric to arrive.  I don't want to start the rest of the borders until I make sure I have enough fabric and am not going to have to redesign them again.  So, at this point I'm putting this quilt (and every scrap of fabric I have left for it) away until a package arrives in my mail box.

Check out Judy's blog for more design walls today.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Stash Report - May 6

Another bad week for my stash report.  4 yards of fabric arrived, from the set I ordered to finish my son's quilt.  Unfortunately, none of it is the right shade, so I hunted through some fabric stores today. And found it!!  But they only had 3/4 yard and I need 2 yards :(  I will keep hunting - at least now I know the colour code.  I did order this shade from the UK, but it hasn't arrived yet and the seller is not answering my email.  Hopefully it will arrive eventually.  In the meantime, I bought the 3/4 yard, and got up the nerve to start on the border.  I used 1 3/4 yards of fabric (the background I had left, plus some of the blues).  I'm short on two of the blues, also - but I'll just shift the design a bit to make that work.

So my totals for this week - 4.75 yards in.  1.75 yards out. Still heading in the wrong direction.  I wonder if it will turn around soon.

Totals this year:
54 1/4 yards out, 90 1/4 yards in
Net for 2012: 36 yards in

Check out Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Friday, 4 May 2012

May Plans

May is starting to feel like a busy month, and it's just begun.

I have these projects on my "to do" list this month:
1. finish quilting watercolour star
2. May colour challenge
3. Carpenter's Star for June feather quilting lessons
4. May UFO (my son's quilt) - needs borders
5. April block from Blogger's block of the month
6. April and May blocks for Dancing with the Stars
7. Block Lotto for May
8. baste and quilt one more WIP

I really wish one of those was a major stash user, since I need to work my way back in the right direction.  Especially with 6 yards of fabric for #4 on its way to my doorstep. I only needed about 2 yards, but I can't tell the exact colour so I ordered 2 yards of each of the 3 colours that look close.  I sure hope one works.

#1 is slow going.  I did one star point last night, so I'm up to 5 complete now.  3 more to go, and then to figure out the quilting for the background and border.  Slow and steady on that one.  There's no real deadline, but I don't like switching back and forth between free motion quilting and piecing, so in my head I want to finish this one before I start the next projects.  That might make my May deadlines impossible to meet, however.  Maybe I'll finish the star points, and then put this one aside for a bit.

I am combining #2 and #3 - my May colour challenge will be a Carpenter's Star.  Otherwise there'd be no hope at all of getting those both done.  And the pattern looks really quick and easy, so I hope to put this quilt together next week.

The May UFO is a biggie - which is why it's a UFO :)  Lots of piecing in the borders, but my son saw the quilt last week and really likes it, so I am inspired to finish before he heads off to university. Which means I'd better get the borders done this month because it's going to be a bear to quilt.

#5, 6 and 7 are simple once I'm back into piecing mode, so I should be able to catch them up pretty easily. And #8 is just on there as a wish list.

My WIP (Work in Progress) pile is the set of quilt tops I finished this year but haven't quilted yet.  They haven't made UFO status because they are too new and haven't spent time in the dark of my closet :)  Feb, March, and April colour challenges.  Orca Bay.  Monday Mystery.  Just five quilts (although I feel like I'm forgetting one somewhere).

So, I guess May is "hop to it" month for me. Let's see how much of this I can get done.  I'm linking up with AmyLouWho today.  Drop by to see what everyone's up to.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

May Fabrics

May's colour palette is fun and yummy.  I think Vicki is making up for the moldy pie that inspired April's palette :)  I spent some time in my stash today, trying to make the available fabric fit both the palette and the pattern that I want to make this month.

Here's what I came up with, entirely from my stash. I had to swap 2 colours in my pattern, but after that change I should have enough of everything to complete the project.

And just to prove that I matched the palette, I took a picture with it.  Unfortunately, the flash is washing out the printout. And without flash, the fabrics are too dark.  So a good picture is not going to happen.  You'll just have to trust me :)  In any case, I'm ready to start on my May colour challenge.

The pattern is a Carpenter's Star.  Judy is going to teach us to quilt feathers, starting June 1.  So if I get this project done in May, I'll be right on schedule to get started with her.

I'm linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday, over at Freshly Pieced.  I don't really have anything in progress to show (still quilting my watercolour star), but intentions are good too, right?  Hopefully next week I'll be able to show you a partially finished Carpenter's Star.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Colour Challenge

April is done, and it's time for the May colour challenge.  But first - another quick look at my April project.  I finished this top about a week ago, and now if just needs to find an appropriate backing fabric.

The May colour palette looks fun and cheery!  And ymmy!  A far cry from last month :)

I had a plan for this month's palette, but I may have to reconsider because I'm not sure it will work with this colour set.  I'll pull the pattern out later today and decide if I need to find something different for this month.  Trouble is, the pattern I have needs to be made this month in some fabric - so I do hope I can figure out how to make this palette work.  That way, I can kill two birds with one stone, and have one fewer top waiting to be quilted :)