Saturday, 30 September 2017


I'm working on a 1/2 size version of one of my patterns (Bulging Checkerboard).  Hopefully this will make the illusion easier to see, from a closer distance.  9 blocks down, 216 to go.  This could take a while.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Building Blocks

 A new finish!  This poor little quilt has been hanging in my closet for years. I designed the quilt back in 2009, and put it together at my very first quilt retreat in February 2010.  And then it sat. First, because I could not find a backing I liked. I finally settled on one, although there wasn't enough fabric left on the blot. So I planned to piece the backing - at least I had something I liked at this point.

But then poor little thing sat around for a few more years, waiting for me to find the inspiration for quilting it. And then the time for quilting it.  The incentive to finally get it done? It's going to a trunk show this week, so I had a deadline now.

I used my new computerized longarm to simplify the straight line quilting in the blocks. And then free-handed peacock feathers in the background, to provide a softer contrast to all the boxes and corners.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

More Canadian Women

Another weekend spent working on 150 Canadian Women, and I feel like I'm making a dent in the pile of instructions.  Top 2 blocks use the fabric I thought was lost.  I think this takes me up to #68. 

Rather than printing out 150 sheets of instructions, I'm just printing the pictures, as many on one page as I can fit, and then working out the cutting/assembly process for myself. Usually that works (when my math is on the ball), but sometimes I get ahead of myself and cut blocks before I check where the seam lines are supposed to be.

There are a whole lot of itty bitty triangles in some of those blocks. And in a couple of cases, my construction method doesn't match the provided diagram. But the end result is the same, so I'm good with it.

Friday, 22 September 2017

En Provence

I'm having a productive month finishing up quilts around here. This is one of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts from 2016. I split my blocks into 2 groups and made one quilt for donation - this one. The other has 9 blocks and will be for me, when I eventually get around to quilting it.

I changed up the borders a bit on this one, because I had no more of the star units left and I refused to make any more at this point.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

New Longarm Design

I was playing around with patterns on my longarm the other day.  I saw this (or something like it) done on a quilt a while back and decided to try it out.  Makes an interesting border or straight line detail I think. Doesn't work so well as an overall fill.  But it was fun to play with, and got another Victoria's Quilts donation completed.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Merry Mayhem, 2016

I finally finished this quilt. It was a New Year's Day mystery from Merry Mayhem in (I think) 2016.  Took me ages to get around to putting all the blocks together - mostly because I had other myteries going on and didn't keep up with these clues. Then when I realized it was 15 identical blocks, I lost interest for a while.

However, it is finally done, and I took the opportunity to try out some custom quilting on my new long arm.  Each block has the same design (which I created), and the border is done with a cable design.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

150 Canadan Women

I put my 150 Canadian Women quilt on the back burner for a while. Other projects and visitors took precedence and I just couldn't keep up.  I finally pulled it out again this past weekend and made some progress on blocks.  These are blocks 51-59.

I also spent hours searching my sewing room for the fabric I KNOW that I bought for 2 particular blocks. It is white with red accents, and I planned to use it for the blocks that has a very large white center.  But I could not find it anywhere. It lived in one corner of my sewing room for ages, and I remember moving it (and all the other 150 fabrics) when I visitors in June. But I could not find it.

Finally, 2 days later, I moved one more pile of fabric and there it was.  Phew. I was just about to go out and buy it again, but I've been saved.  Now I can go back and finish up those 2 blocks, and see if I can at least get to 1/2 way before the program ends.

Friday, 15 September 2017


Peacock is now complete!  Hours of piecing fun, and a few moments of sheer panic, but it is finally complete.  As I was getting down to the last pieces, I had about a dozen templates that weren't cut out yet that I figured were part of the background and I'd cut them as I needed them. But when I was finishing the last of the tail feathers, I realized that I only had 6" of fabric left, plus some odds and ends. Not nearly enough for all those templates.  I didn't know what to do, and actually walked away from it at that point for the night.

I thought about it, and hoped the missing bits would be outside edges and I could maybe make the quilt smaller to use only the fabric I had, because I knew I'd never find this fabric online anywhere. It's about 4 years old.

When I went back to it the next day, I looked at the pattern to see if I was right about where the pieces would go - and realized that I didn't need all 12!  Some of them were for one of the alternate layouts, and I only needed 2 more pieces of background fabric. The largest of them was almost exactly 6" wide. It fit perfectly on the strip I had left, I cut out the 2 templates and breathed a side of relief.  Of course, binding might be an issue, since I certainly would not be using background fabric for that.

In the end I opted for facing the edges. I was going to bind in one of the blues, but decided I didn't want a harsh transition there.  So here he is all quilted and faced.  Straight line quilting around the tail feathers, and some scallops that I hope look like feathers in the body of the peacock.

The pictures aren't very good, so I'll have to try again when the lighting is better.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Block Party

Another block party project.  The owner gave us this project, already cut out so it was a really quick project to put together.  The block is neat, and I love the finished quilt.  The pattern is "Round peg, square hole" by Krista Hennebury.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

(not my) UFO

Does this count as a UFO?  It's not mine, but a friend asked for help finishing off this project.  Of course I said yes. Unfortunately, I picked up the bits from her back in May and it's been languishing ever since.  Finally this weekend was a "me" weekend for my sewing - all up to date on customer quilts, so I could abide by my "no work weekend" policy.  So, I pulled out this quilt. And in the span of 5 Terminator movies, I finished it.

It doesn't show well against the white design wall - the star has a solid white border on all sides to finish it off as a lap quilt.

All set to return to the owner now, and one less project waiting on me.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Another new toy

This is a long-delayed post.  Back in May, my fabulous sister found this old Singer machine at a garage sale.  Apparently she immediately thought of me, and asked if I was interested. Of course I was!  From the photo it looked like it was in great shape, so she picked it up for me. Then the challenge was to figure out how to get it from Vancouver to Ottawa.  Fortunately for me, my mother was heading this way, so she became our "travel mule", accompanying the machine on the flight.

This little baby is way heavier than it looks, so carry-on was not an option, but stars aligned to allow my sister to take my mother & the machine to airport and get them checked in (comfy seat for one, and checked luggage for the other). And I met them at this end to retrieve both :)

I tried to restrain myself, but unpacking happened that night, despite the late hour.  Overall, the machine was as good as it looked in the photos. Except for the power cord and drive belt - both of which disintegrated in my hands.  So unpacking is as far as it got that night.

The next day, after some online research, we headed out to pick up parts for a new cord (fortunately the connector at the machine end was in fine shape), and a new belt - both obtained locally. Once those were in place, I powered her up, and the machine stitched wonderfully. No sticky bits or other issues. It was obviously well-stored, despite not being used for years (given the state of the cord, I assume it was in storage for 40 years or so).  A little oil, a little tweaking, and except for the clutch not disengaging for winding bobbins, everything works perfectly!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Block party pillow

This cute little project is from my Block Party group.  I apparently got the odd-one-out (and I missed the class), so I had a few minutes of concern during assembly. But a quick email to the owner and we confirmed that I was on the right track.  Can't wait to see her whole quilt done.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Apple Core

Every second Monday, I get together with a quilting group where everyone brings their handwork and we stitch and chat for a couple of hours. For the past year, this has been my project for those sessions.I always wanted to make an apple core quilt, so when a member was reducing her stash, I jumped at the chance to pick this up. I added a few more fabrics to the mix, and I've been working on blocks. I decided to make them in sets of 25. That way I'm not committed to a particular quilt size.

This is block #4, so the next step is to join these four together with my sashing fabric. Then I can decide how much further I want to go.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

PEI Modern Guild Mystery

The PEI Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a mystery this year, and everyone's invited!  Fabric selections came out over the summer, but there's still time to catch up. Step 1 is up now, and Step 2 won't be out until October 1, so you have lots of time.

I love mysteries, and I am feeling deprived since I didn't do any New Year's mysteries this year. So I jumped on the bandwagon over the summer and picked my fabrics.  Here is the result of my step 1 (see, it's easy).

Now I'm wondering if I should make 2 quilts - a second one with a dark background.  If I can figure out 2 accent colours, there's a good chance that's going to happen.

I'm joining the PEI Guild linkup here . There are even monthly prizes, if you do decide to join up (and everyone is welcome, international as well as Canadian).

Monday, 4 September 2017

Assembling Peacock

Poor little headless peacock is starting to come together now. I had a few moments of panic as I was finishing up the piecing for this.  The pattern called for 4 yards of fabric, and I was certain I had 4 meters, which should have been plenty. But I was down to the last few pieces of tail, and had about a dozen remaining templates in the pattern and only a 6" strip of fabric left :( 

I actually put it all aside and stopped quilting early that night, I was so depressed about this. The fabric is several years old and I'm sure I could never match it.  The next day, I had another look and was trying to figure out where the last pieces would go, to see if I could piece them from scraps, or make the quilt a bit smaller. And I suddenly realized that I only needed 2 of the remaining templates (the pattern has 2 layouts and the additional bits are for the other layout).  Cue joyful dancing, when I figured out that the largest of the 2 pieces I needed was exactly 6" wide - and hence came nicely out of my final strip of fabric.

On reflection, I must have had only 3 meters, rather than 4.  Good thing I didn't know that in advance, because I never would have risked it.  But all's well that ends well, and the pretty fella is coming along nicely.

Saturday, 2 September 2017


Here is proof that you should not let yourself get distracted while quilting. I took my eyes off the ruler a second before the needle stopped moving. Next thing I knew, SNAP! I still don't know exactly how this happened, but obviously I banged the ruler with the needle and this was the result. Two nice clean breaks.

Fortunately, the longarm seems to have survived just fine. A new needle and it's happily back to stitching. The ruler not so much. But a little super glue, and it's (almost) as good as new.