Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mystery Time!

Bonnie Hunter is ramping up for her next mystery, and I'm jumping on-board once more. I always enjoy Bonnie's mysteries, although they are a heck of a lot of work :)

This time around, I'm stepping outside the defined parameters and picking my own colours. Always a risk with a mystery but I want to do this without buying any new fabric, which means I'm working from what is in my stash.  Today I went digging, and this is what I came up with. Some may change, but I'll contemplate this arrangement for now.






To reference back to Bonnie's colours, for anyone else who's going to quilt along with this mystery, I have teal (Bonnie's gold), purple (red), brown (black), grey (grey), and cream (neutral). Most of mine will be from a single fabric for each colour, except the neutral (there's no way I can find 5.5 yards of a single fabric in my stash) and brown (I have five 1 yard cuts, to find the 2 3/4 yards Bonnie calls for).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TBT - McKenna Ryan Cats

Sometime back in early 2009, before I started blogging, I bought a set of 3 McKenna Ryan wall hanging patterns.  This would be my first attempt at raw-edge applique, but I figured I could follow directions and should be able to figure it out on my own.  I'd done some machine applique already, so this didn't seem like too much of a stretch.

I have to admit, as I was putting it together, it felt more like building a collage in grade school than like quilting.  Trace the piece onto Steam-a-Seam, stick to fabric, cut it out and stick onto the background.  The process went fairly quickly, and the end result was then layered and basted.  I then decided I didn't want the raw edges to fray, so I attached the pieces with a zigzag, with invisible thread on the front, rather than the free motion stitching that the pattern used.

I didn't do any additional quilting in the background areas. Because these are wall hangings, they have held up pretty well in spite of that. Plus there are a whole lot of edges in a McKenna Ryan pattern, so there is quite a bit of stitching holding the whole thing together just in the outlines.

Once the quilting was finished, these sat around as UFOs for most of a year, waiting for me to embroider the faces on the kitties and get them hung. That finally happened in January of 2010, and I hung these in my upstairs hallway.  One kitty wall hanging for each of my 3 cats.

Please join me for Throwback Thursday today. The rules are simple (and flexible :) ). Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again. Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address. You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration. See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.



Monday, October 12, 2015

Safety First

Safety tip - don't try to trim blocks when tired. 

Good news - I was almost 1/2 done when I sliced my finger with the rotary cutter.
Bad news - it's going to be pretty awkward trying to trim the rest tomorrow.

In the process of finishing the blocks for the twister quilt, I also got a (very little) bit done on another scrappy pineapple block. It's slow going when the blocks are only sewn in between other projects as leaders and enders.

Tomorrow I should be working on the longarm anyway - that should not be a problem with my taped finger (I hope).  Hand stitching could be an issue, so some work may pile up in that area this week.  And typing is definitely awkward - my "T" finger doesn't work :)


Thursday, October 8, 2015

TBT - My first quilt

Back before I was a quilter, I caught the bug by making a single block for a friendship quilt. I thought this was a hobby I would enjoy, but, before I jumped in with both feet I wanted to figure out if I liked *all* the steps.  So far, all I had done was piece a block  What about assembling a top, and quilting it?  So I hunted online, looking for a pattern to make.  The goal was to make this entirely from my stash, since I had a lot of cotton from making clothes for my kids.  Then, if I liked it I could consider actually spending money on quilting supplies.

I think was the point where I bought my first ruler (6x24").  I already had a rotary cutter, as I'd been introduced to those joys by a friend much earlier, and used it almost exclusively for cutting the fabric for children's clothing.

I found a block pattern I liked, and designed the colour layout - because even then I really didn't like the look of scrappy quilts.  Back then, I did all my designing on paper, in hardcover notebooks.  So I grabbed some coloured pencils and went to work.  And wanting to make this somewhat useful but easy to put away, I decided to make a quillow.  For those not familiar with the term, a quillow is quilt that folds up and tucks into a pocket to make a pillow.


Then I checked out my fabric shelves.  All the cotton fabric was bright cheery children's novelty fabric.  Not a single blender or solid in the bunch.  That was not going to work.  What I did find was a really cute corduroy with bears playing baseball.  Really cute, and a lightweight corduroy, so I didn't think I'd have too much trouble manipulating it.  Digging around some more produced more corduroy, in complementary colours, even!  So I had a pattern, fabric, and a plan.

I merrily started cutting the fabric for the squares.  After a few cuts, I decided to assemble a couple of blocks to make sure it was going to work - and to confirm the colour placement.  After the first block was assembled I made a frightening discovery.  Corduroy is directional!  OK, you probably knew that already, and so did I.  But I hadn't considered what that actually meant for assembling a quilt top out of it.  Some will tell you I never do anything the easy way, and this quilt was no exception.

I lucked out, and my first block had all the lines going in the same direction.  I had fortuitously picked a quilt block which, when cut, provided sets of pieces that all paired up perfectly to account for directionality.  I did muck up a couple of the early blocks, and the nap runs the wrong way - the cords are correct, but upside down.  You can see this in the picture.  But I was happy enough to get it mostly straight, so I decided not to stress over that.   The quilt is backed and bound with the baseball bears fabric.

The quilt is 5x8 blocks - about 60x94".  On the back is the pillow pocket.  I created a large square for that, with a slightly different colour placement.  It took several attempts to figure out how to attach the pocket  and what size to make it so that the quilt would fold up neatly inside.  Binding/finishing the edges of the pocket was the biggest challenge, along with sizing (the green border was not in the original plan).

 One major discovery I made, is that corduroy is VERY heavy  This is the heaviest quilt I've ever seen.  Also, corduroy sticks to itself - so folding this quilt into its pocket is difficult.  Not impossible, but it takes some practice and perseverance.  But it is toasty warm for sitting under, and you can tuck your feet into the pocket to keep them warm and off the floor.

As my first completed quilt, this one is special to me.  I learned a lot making this - more about what not to do than anything else.  Rule #1 - don't quilt with corduroy :)

For all its challenges, this quilt simply reinforced the idea that I wanted to quilt.  And next time, I would do it with the right type of fabrics.

Please join me for Throwback Thursday today. The rules are simple (and flexible :) ). Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again. Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address. You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration. See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Design Wall Monday - Oct 5

My blogging has been lacking for the past couple of weeks, mostly because my current project is something that can't be shared yet.  However, I just reached a stage with it where I need to alternate it with a leader/ender project, so I will be pulling out my scrappy pineapples again and hoping to make some more progress on that project over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I also pulled out this old UFO.  It has been sitting on my shelf in this state - top completed except for some hand stitching to turn back the edges of the triangles - for the past 5 1/2 years. It's about time to move it forward, I think :)

The pattern is Mexican Star, and once I get the remaining corners turned, I just have to figure out how I want to quilt it. Custom quilting for sure, because I want to keep the 3-D effect of all those curves.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Finishes

I've been really good about not adding to my stash for most of this year.  But yesterday I went on a little fabric tour with a friend (hereafter called "Enabler" :) ).  She lives outside of town, so took me out to a couple of shops in that end, which I hadn't been to before.  Needless to say, I could not walk out of them empty handed. In total, I came home with 4 yards of fabric - 2 yards of some of Northcott's new Oh Canada! line, and 2 yards (8 fat quarters) of Stonehenge, just because it was pretty.

To balance that out, I do have a couple of finishes to show you. First, I have my Modern Rainbow quilt.  I finished stitching the binding on it just in time to show it off at my guild Show and Tell last Monday.  4 yards of fabric for backing & lining for this quilt, plus 1/2 yard for binding. 

And I finished my "Sailing the Sunset" quilt. The applique is now stitched down (raw edge applique was the final decision). I really like the way this quilt changed, when I added the sailboat. Definitely a technique I'm going to keep in mind.  Fabric for this one and the next was already reported.

In fact, this quilt, another convergence, might be the next one to get spruced up with some applique.  The colours seem a bit dull, so it would be nice to find something to brighten this one up a bit.  Butterflies and flowers, perhaps, to draw from the floral print in the lower left.


Stash totals for this week:
4 yards in
4.5 yards out

Stash totals for the year:
99 3/4 yards in
209 3/4 yards out
Total: 110 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports today.





Thursday, October 1, 2015

TBT - Heaven Sent

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 - were 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 donated a quilt to theQuilt.com every year for their auction, starting in 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 starting point, 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.

Please join me for Throwback Thursday today. The rules are simple (and flexible :) ). Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again. Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address. You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration. See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.