Saturday, 30 November 2013

December's Get it Done!

Last month I set these goals for myself.  And I made quite good progress, if I do say so myself
  1. finish binding labyrinth - Done
  2. quilt and bind Living in Harmony - Done
  3. bind bear paw - not done
  4. catch up on BOM - Downtwon, Toes in the Sand, and Block party. - Done
Poor old bear paw has been on the list two or three months in a row now, and I keep ignoring it.  Maybe next month.  But, in addition to all those lovely finishes, I started and finished my diamond star quilt, pieced my labyrinth quilt (hmm, just noticed the name conflict with my "other" labyrinth - I guess I'll be renaming this one.  Maybe "A-maze-ing Effects"), and made a Christmas wall hanging.

For December, I'd like to continue my finishing streak.
Urban Candy
  1. quilt & bind swoon
  2. quilt & bind Urban Candy
  3. extend "challenge" top from retreat
  4. quilt & bind christmas wall hanging
The first 3 of those are "due" December 14.  That might be a stretch, but hopefully the quilting can be done on two of them, and the piecing on #3.

That's not to say I won't be working on the Bonnie Hunter mystery, and the Border Creek Station mystery, and another diamond star quilt.  Just not making any promises about those :)

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else is up to in December.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Friday Update

After my non-starter day earlier this week, my swoon quilt is on the long arm.  I couldn't find any king-size white batting the LQS, so I decided to go ahead and piece it.  I have my queen batting all loaded up, and when I reach the bottom I'll figure out how to handle the shortfall.

I'm hoping to get this quilted and bound before the 14th, for a show and tell.  It's a big quilt, but so far things are going fairly smoothly with the quilting.  Hopefully I didn't speak too soon :)

It could be a busy weekend. Tomorrow is "Get it Done" link up day.  Bonnie's Celtic Solstice started today.  Back to Square One mystery should end on Sunday.  And then it will be time to think about catching up with all my block of the month projects.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The best laid plans

I was all set tonight to start quilting my swoon quilt.  It is enormous - about 106" square, but I have a wide backing for it, and have figured out my quilting plan.  So I headed downstairs, quilt and backing in hand and loaded up the long arm.  Then I turned to the closet to pull out the white batting I knew I had in there - and it's only a queen size!  93x106" - not nearly big enough :(  I debated piecing some batting, but decided I didn't want this particular quilt to have pieced batting if I could avoid it. So, my longarm is now loaded with a backing I can't do anything with, until after I get to the shop later this week.  I sure hope they have some king size white batting in stock.

So, instead of quilting swoon tonight, I headed back upstairs to see if I could get started on my next quilt.  Printed out the plan from EQ, and started counting fabric. I knew I had enough for the original, but I have decided to extend this one a bit.  And, naturally, I'm short on one of the fabrics for the new plan.  I couldn't find anything in the stash that would work, either as a replacement or an extension, so that's off the list for tonight too.

So, moving on, I dug out some sashing fabric for a charity quilt I'm working on - and now can't find the blocks I'm sure I made.  These are the blocks I have, but I was sure I had made about 10 more.  If I did, they've found themselves an excellent hiding place.  Time to give up for tonight I think.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Design Wall Monday - Nov 25

UPDATE January 2018:
The pattern for this quilt is now available on Etsy from this link.

My design wall isn't big enough to hold today's project. So here it is on my design floor. All done except for the borders - I have to check how much of the dark I have left, to figure out how wide the borders can be.

I'm thrilled with how this came out.  And even more thrilled that I had enough fabric - there is a 30"x5" strip left of the light purple.  I wish I could remember exactly  how much fabric I bought for this project.

I think this picture looks even more 3-dimensional than the other.  The quilt is actually square, but the dark pieces on 2 corners are blending into my floor so well that it looks like they aren't there.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design walls today.

And the winner is ...

Commenter #81 - Joanna - won the giveaway of Tonga Celebrate Batiks.  Congratulations, Joanna.  Watch your inbox for an email from me.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stash Report Sunday - Nov 24

I spent the weekend finishing a quilting projecct so I could return the quilt to its owner. And figuring out how to hang an octagon.  My diamond star quilt is going to be a class at the local quilt shop in the spring, so I had to figure out how to make it hangable at the store.  Which is fine - because when it comes home it's going to hang here too, so that was just some added incentive to figure this out sooner rather than later.
I ended up running a piece of doweling across the widest part of the quilt, in addition to the top.  Put a pocket at each end of the long dowel, and a short sleeve in the middle to keep it tight to the quilt.  Seems to work, and I'm looking forward to my next visit to the store, to see my quilt displayed.

It's not quite as wavy as it looks in this picture - it's dragging on the floor here.  But I will admit that it's not entirely as flat as it could be.  But the dowels hold the top part nice and straight, and it doesn't collapse in on itself.
Stash usage this week was minimal - 3/4 yard for binding and sleeves on the diamond star quilt.

Total for the year: 232 yards.  Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Saturday, 23 November 2013



Welcome to my stop on the Blogathon Canada tour!  It's a sad day, because the blogathon is ending today.  But I hope you had a good time and dropped by a lot of new blogs over the course of the week.  And to ease the pain as our fun ends, there's another great giveaway at the bottom of this post!

I am an avid quilter, in whatever spare time I can scrounge from my days. Now that my sons are older (17 and 19) I have a lot more time for quilting, and I've been making full use of those opportunities.  I've lived in Ottawa for over 20 years now, and I love it here.  I've been quilting for almost 10 years, and often design my own quilts.  I thought I'd give you a quick tour of some of my favourite quilts.

 This was an "ugly fabric" challenge at my guild last year.  I ended up with 5 tone-on-tone fabrics, and one print which included all those other colours - quite convenient, for creating a pretty quilt from ugly starters.  I'm in a bit of a triangle/hexagon phase, and this quilt fits right into that :)

This is my most recent finish.  I am in love with this turqoise fabric

I designed this quilt based on an M.C. Escher print.  More hexagons and triangles :)  I call it Metamorphosis after the Escher print that inspired it.

And this quilt was probably my first "modern" quilt.  And one of my first designs which I've actually made available for sale.  And I made most of this quilt when I was in Texas at my very first quilt retreat. That's a lot of firsts, for one little quilt :)

I designed this quilt because I wanted to see what I could do with fractals - ever-increasing stars inside each other.  I found my limit at a 3" lemoyne star in the center.

And finally one of my favourite quilts.  This was my first hexagon/tumbling block pattern.  I had a concept in mind, then I just started making blocks out of my scraps.  The falling blocks on the right are all pieced individually, with a lot of cut & sew to keep everything straight.

Be sure to drop by some of the other blogs on the tour.  Jackie is our other host for today, and you can find her over at Jackie's Art Quilts  And, to keep you blog hopping, here are a few more of the wonderful Ontario bloggers you can check out.

Happy Turtle

I love batiks, and when I saw this rainbow fabric I knew it had to be part of my giveaway.  The bundle includes 1 metre of  Tonga Celebrate Batiks - Sketchbook Rainbow, and 6 fat quarters from the same collection.
To win this fabulous bundle of fabric, just leave me a comment before midnight Eastern time on Nov 24.  If you are a no-reply commenter, please make sure you leave your email address, so I can contact you if you win!  The contest is open to international participants. Contest closed.

And don't forget to drop by the Sew-Sisters blog, for a great giveaway from Robert Kaufman.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Block Party progress

I took a break from my labyrinth quilt yesterday, and got two of the three block party blocks completed.  We have a pretty Christmas pinwheel, and a star block this month.  It's a busy month this time around, because we had a cancellation last month so we're playing catch up. 

I have one more to complete, but the official deadline for it isn't until the 6th of December, so I can put together some more labyrinth blocks before I tackle that 8-pointed star.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Blogathon starts today!

Blogathon Canada starts today.  Be sure to drop by the host blogs for a chance to meet some great Canadian bloggers.  And don't forget to enter on each blog for a chance to win great prizes.


Drop by the Sew-Sisters blog too, for more chances to win!

Here's the schedule for this week's blogathon. Be sure to drop by all the blogs during the blogathon week, and check out some of the additional blogs they'll each have linked.  Get to know some Canadian bloggers, and enter for a chance to win prizes. And be sure to come back here on November 23 for my hosting day!

Monday, November 18
Monday, November 18
Tuesday, November 19
Tuesday, November 19
Wednesday, November 20
Wednesday, November 20
Thursday, November 21
Thursday, November 21
Friday, November 22
Friday, November 22
Saturday, November 23
Saturday, November 23

Design Wall Monday - Nov 18

My design wall is a bit of a mess today.  I spent some time working on my labyrinth quilt yesterday. I really should have been doing my block party blocks, because two of them are due this coming weekend but labyrinth was calling my name. 

I cut all the strips out, to make sure I wasn't going to run out of the light, and stuck the strips up on the wall in sets. I should be OK - there's about 10 inches of the light purple fabric left right now.  Assuming I didn't make any major mistakes in cutting, I have enough.  That might be a big assumption, give than I have found cutting issues in each of the 3 blocks I've assembled so far.  Apparently I can't count very well.  However, I'm pretty sure the fabric is going to be enough.

On the good news front, I finished quilting my diamond star yesterday.  I love how it came out, although some of my free motion quilting still needs more practice.  There's a little bit of everything in this quilt - feathers, circles, stippling, and ruler work.

The colour in this second picture is way off, but I was trying to get the quilting to show up.  I guess my photography skills need more practice too.  Now I just need to get it bound by this weekend.  With that and the block party, I think labyrinth is going to have to take a break for few days.

Drop by Judy's blog today to see what everyone else has on their design walls.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Stash Report - Nov 17

This week wasn't nearly as prolific as last week, but I can report 3 yards used for the backing of my star quilt.   I've made a lot of progress on the quilting, and hope to get it off the long arm by the end of today.

I've also made a little bit of progress on the labyrinth, and have managed to confirm that I will *not* run out of fabric before it's done.

Total stash used this week: 3 yards
Total for the year: 231 1/4

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has been up to this week.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Quilting Decisions

After lots of contemplation, and one false start, I have figured out how I want to quilt my turquoise star.  Still working on the details for the background sections, but I should have that figured out by the time I get there.  Now if only I didn`t have to work today and could quilt all day. 

Choosing a quilting design has got to be one of the hardest parts of quilting for me (even harder than picking fabric, which can take me hours sometimes).  I do think it gets easier, both with practice and with experience in the actual quilting. I`m no longer afraid that I`ll pick something  I can`t do justice to, so that does open up a lot more options these days.  But there`s still a great deal of angst from the time I decide what I`m going to do, until I can actually see it taking shape on the quilt.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

I'm Famous (well, not quite)

My Bulging Checkerboard quilt has been featured in a magazine!  Australian Homespun has an article about optical illusion quilts in their November issue, and my checkerboard is one of the examples they've included.  How cool is that?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Design Wall Monday

Today, my design wall has a quilt that I started yesterday at the retreat.  After I finished my first 2 projects, I pulled this one out and started making blocks.  I designed this labyrinth several months ago and have been waiting for a chance to tackle it. Every block is different - the quilt has an entry, an exit, and a single path through the maze.  I took the pattern, divided it up into 18" squares, and am putting them together a piece at a time.  3 rows out of 5 are done (there are more blocks finished, but my design wall isn't wide enough to hold the whole quilt.  The little bits of white paper are the row/column numbers for each block, so I don't have to put together a jigsaw puzzle in the end :) 

Having put it on the wall, I've already spotted one mistake, which I will take care of this morning.  Then, I'm going to cut the strips for the rest of the quilt - because I'm starting to doubt my calculations and I'm a bit afraid of running out of fabric. If I figure that out soon enough, I can redesign the bottom of the quilt to fit the fabric I have.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone has on their design walls today.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


 I just got back from a fabulous weekend at a quilt retreat.  I love this retreat.  Twice a year my local quilt shop runs a retreat in Gananoque, a lovely little town about 2 hours away.  We stay at the Gananoque Inn, where they take great care of us with wonderful food, a great room for sewing (and talking, and laughing), and overall lovely service.  There were  a lot of wonderful projects being worked on this weekend (of which I have no pictures - I really do have to remember to use my camera).

These are a couple of the project I made (start to finish) at the retreat this weekend. It is really nice to have a focussed time to sew, with other people to chat with and projects to see.  Very different from shutting myself up in my sewing room for a weekend.

The Christmas tree is, of course, a Christmas wall hanging.  I started with the center panel, and wanted to add some borders to make it a bit bigger (and more interesting).  The top and bottom borders were part of the panel.  The rest of pieces are 4.5" star blocks I made.  There is a light kit for this quilt which I have - so I just have to figure out how to attach them and then how to quilt it without sewing over the electrical wires.

The star is a neat project I found in a book - Diamond Chain Quilts.  Although it looks really complicated, and there are some tricky bits with set-in seams, the quilt went together really well.  There were a few moments of angst when I cut the strips and came up one strip short for the turquoise but a bit of judicious cutting allowed me to make up the needed bit and complete the quilt with what I had on hand.

Diamond Chain Quilts
One other benefit of this weekend is for my stash report.  2 finished quilts used 2 1/4 and 7 yards respectively.  That bring my stash usage for this year up to a very respectable 228 1/4 yards out.

Drop by Judy's blog to see more stash reports today.

There was  lot more activity at the quilt retreat, and I'll have more to say about that later this week, once I get some projects unpacked.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Catch up Progress

My mad catch-up weekend/week was a partial success.  I got two block of the month projects all caught up.  the stars/houses are for "Downtown". That's October and November done.  And the kimonos are for my Block Party, due next weekend.  And I almost forgot Back to Square One, which I showed the other day.

Just 2 more BOMs to go - Toes in the Sand, and Border Creek Station mystery.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Quilting in Space!

Astronaut Karen Nyberg Displays Quilt Block And you thought you had it tough.  Astronaut Karen Nyberg is sewing a quilt block during her time on the International Space Station.  She talks a bit about some of the challenges of quilting in space, in this clip.  Things I never would have thought of - like how do you keep your fabric flat and straight for cutting, with no gravity.  And how do you keep all your tools, and scraps, and thread bits corralled - I think I'd be in really big trouble in space, since I can never seem to put things away as I use them.

She's also inviting all quilters to make blocks to join hers in a quilt for the 40th annual International Quilt Festival in Houston next year.  Maybe it's time to plan a trip to the quilt show.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Design Wall Monday - Nov 4

My design wall has some of my block of the month projects on it today.  I determined to catch up on last month's Downtown blocks (2 houses and a star), before the class on Wednesday.   However, as I was making the houses, I cut a piece wrong.  And of course it was one of the largest pieces.  These blocks are cut pretty close in the amount of fabric provided, so I didn't have a single scrap of the black to re-cut from, in that block set.

Fortunately, I picked up November's blocks on Saturday.  So I pulled them out, hoping I could find a way to squeeze an extra piece out of it.  Fortunately, the odd shape of the roof in the second house made this possible. So I cut my new pieces of roof and continued assembling the houses.  And then managed to cut a different piece in a mirror image to what I needed.  Sigh. I suppose a smart person might have taken a break at that point, but I pulled out the grey fabric this time and did some measuring.  And yes, it seemed I could get that piece out of the fabric for November also, by frugally using the leftover snippets from October's block.

Of course now, having stolen fabric from November, I felt that I had to make those houses, just to be sure I didn't mess up my calculations.  So, I pushed on and now have 4 houses and one star complete.  Just one more star to go and I'm not only caught up, but a bit ahead of the game.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what's on other design walls this week.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stash Report - Nov 3

I finished a quilt this week and attached the binding, so I have a good chunk of usage to report.  I decided to make a small alteration to this pattern.  I left the top and bottom points, rather than cutting the quilt square.  I thought this would add a bit more interest.  It's also good practice for binding inside corners (which isn't going quite as well as I had hoped).

I also managed to catch up on the Back to Square One Mystery.  It is now officially too big to put on my design wall, so all I have is a picture of one corner.  I can't remember how big Judy said it would be, but it's already 80" square so I think we must be almost done.

Used this week for Living in Harmony:

quilt - 9.5 yards
backing - 4 yards
binding - .5 yards

Total used this week - 14 yards.

Total this year: 219 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog to see more stash reports today.

Drop by Judy's "Back to Square One" link up for December, to see more of these beautiful quilts.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


The good news is - this quilt is quilted! Now I just need to get it bound before next weekend. It's a sample for a class I'm teaching, and the store owner was asking about it when I stopped in today.  I promised to have it done for next weekend.

This is another quilt done with my new swirls template. I am really liking the way this one looks on the two quilts I've done so far.

And what did I learn today?  When you break a needle, it is best to re-thread the machine from scratch. Otherwise, you may spend the next 30 minutes trying to figure out why the machine won't stitch right, and keeps skipping stitches, and the thread keeps breaking.  I just hope I didn't mess up the timing - I was on the last row of this quilt when it broke, so I struggled through (after re-threading). But I need to load up a quick sampler and see if things are working right again.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Back to Square One Mystery

After spending all week catching up on the Sept & October clues for the Back to Square One Mystery, I was thrilled to see that this months clue consists of "sew the borders together and attach them". That might even happen before the last minute this month.

Here's what my quilt looks like after the October clue  - not enough room for all the border blocks, so just a few are on the wall.  And apparently I guessed wrong, so I'll have to remember to switch the orientation of the log cabins before I sew them together. 

Drop by Judy's blog today to see all the wonder mystery quilts.