Sunday, March 22, 2015

Flower Garden Finale

I'm doing a very happy dance over here. My flower garden quilt has been fully quilted and just awaiting a decision on the fabric for binding.

I had some tense times while the quilt was on my b-line quilting frame. I was in distress thinking I was ruining the quilt. I made an SOS call to my friend Teresa Ranson, who is a very experienced and talented long arm quilter. I drove up and pulled the quilt from my front seat. I could hear Teresa's voice say as I approached her front door, "not a lot of respect being shown to that quilt". Nope. I confess that I was very close to just tossing it.  I grabbed it from over my railing at home and shoved it in the car unfolded. 

 We had a consult and she encouraged me to carry on and not to be so hard on myself. So we nicely folded it back up and off I went home to redeem the situation. 

I decided to load it back on the frame to finish the stippling in the floral borders. From there the plan was to pull it off the frame and pull the Janome 6500 to the dining room table and set it up to quilt it sitting down. I needed the spread room for the quilt. My sewing table doesn't have room for a big quilt. 

And after all, my quilting buddy was returning from Uganda and we had a sewing date set. I set up my small Janome for her and this is where we spent two wonderful days reconnecting and sewing ourselves into a frenzy. 

Here we are on day two having a blast. 

Here is Terry's station

She is making a storm at sea quilt for her foster son in Uganda. It will be beautiful in her blue and aqua batiks. 

I had such a better time sitting down to custom quilt the blocks.  And here are the blocks with their unique quilting in each block:

And now the finished quilt!!

Cooper approves. Sophie is still sniffing to decide if she approves. 

Now to decide on binding. If I had some of the sky blue fabric left, that's what I would use. But I don't. So then I wondered about yellow. Not sure. Then a friend suggested white. That may just be the ticket. I will decide tomorrow. 

Until next time,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flower Garden quilt adventures

My oldest UFO is my flower garden quilt. The block of the month top is now complete and it feels so great to cross it off my UFO list!  This quilt top is not perfect by a long shot. I started it before I knew about a scant quarter inch and some of the blocks with a high number of teeny tiny template pieces were smaller than some of the latest blocks that I've finished.   There was some fudging and frustration but it's done!!  Here it is before the final border:

I thought that a yellow backing would be great so I looked but couldn't find anything on sale that was calling to me. I figured I should really use my stash anyway and build a back if I could. I was reminded of my bin of orphan blocks, of yardage languishing in my stash and some strips in my bins that could be pieced into blocks to enhance the back, and that's what I did.  

I started with a bright yellow daisy print yardage  Then I dug deep in my orphan blocks I discovered some pieces that were extracted from a mystery quilt that I didn't like.  That's another story.

Then I found some yellow and purple leftover units from which I made columns. 

I added some plain yellow to the top right column and the bottom left column (not pictured).  I was trying to keep it symmetrical.   Hmmm...what next?  Nothing else from the orphan block bins seemed to fit so I decided I would piece some nine patches. And put them on point. 

Getting there!

Here it is almost done. I decided to separate the columns with a bit  of green, also from my strip bins. You can just see a bit of the yellow and green piano key strip at the top.   Stash busted for this back:  2 + meters of daisy fabric, orphan blocks, 4" squares cut into triangles for framing the nine patches, 2" strips for nine patches, and yellow fat quarter for column extensions.  That feels amazing!!  I didn't spend money. I used what I had which was my 2015 unspoken resolution/challenge. 

One final check on size revealed that it was just needing a bit  more width. So I ended up adding some green strips to the sides before giving it a final press and loading it on my quilt frame for quilting. 

This is as far as I got yesterday. Our house is for sale again ( fingers crossed for a quick sale!) and we got a last minute showing request for this morning. In noticing  the high amount of thread on the carpet, I decided it was time to tidy up, rather than party in my sewing room. Perhaps I will start quilting it tomorrow.  The next questions are:  which colour thread should I use and how should I quilt it. My friend who is a missionary to Uganda is home on a short furlough. She is my quilting buddy and she is coming for breakfast tomorrow.  Maybe there will be some inspiration as we look at it together. But we will be on a shopping mission tomorrow. She has been on a fabric fast and needs some supplies. Me?  I don't need anything, especially since my quilt back is now a done deal. I'm also still recovering from hip surgery and my shopping stamina still isn't there. But we will have some fun together. Then we have a sewing date on Wednesday. It will be sew great to spend time with my friends sitting around the table chatting and catching up while our machines hum in the background. 

I may finish piecing my scrappy log cabin quilt on Wednesday. 

Or maybe I will finish constructing these:

I will think of something. In the meantime this girl needs some shut-eye. My friend will be here for 7:45 and my chance for sleep on this sleepless night is fading.

Until next time,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The adventures of Gertrude and Emily and the wrath off the angry bird lady..

Have you ever heard of such a title??

When my kids were little there was a series of irreverent kids books called Captain Underpants. I'm not kidding. Who would make that stuff up!!?? There was one title that particularly hit our collective family funny bone. Are you ready?  "Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgy Woman".  I'm not kidding.  Anyway I will explain this blog title later, but keep that in mind.

As previously posted, I'm finishing off a very old block of the month UFO called The Flower Garden Quilt from Newport Quilt Shoppe. The shop has been closed, according to my google search, and the pattern is discontinued but It's very eye catching indeed and I was drawn to it and bought a quilt kit years ago through a local quilt shop. 

This quilt has been by far the most difficult piecing project I've ever done and I've thought a few times of either throwing in the towel, modifying it to simplify it by maybe paper piecing instead of templates. I've even though of appliqué, and I'm not a fan of appliqué. But I'm not a quitter either and I am actually quite a determined soul so it's not natural for me to let a pattern get the best of me.  So I persevered.  And I persevered some more. 

Today was the day to tackle this block:

What I didn't realize, because I didn't read the fine print (duh!), was that there are two blocks in this pattern package. That would explain the bazillion template pieces for this one.  I decided to start with the biggest one, which is the two birds in the bird bath. Here are the two bird blocks under construction. 

Not for the faint of heart. One shows the finished bird block. The other shows the back of it. You will notice the ever popular Y seam, only Barbie doll clothes size. How wonderful (not!).  Anyway, I conquered the beast. It's not perfect and I'm not totally thrilled with it but I figure I can quilt out the sins.  Here are the birdies which I have named Gertrude and Emily splashing in their bird bath.

Next on to the second smaller block called the flying bird. 

I didn't name this one. 

At least they measured correctly (small mercies). Now the only thing remaining are the floral borders. 

Where did the little birdie  go!!??  Oh there he is!!

And now Gertrude and Emily are also wrapped in flowers. I'm glad they are happy little birds.

And now for the title explanation.  I was the angry bird lady today.  I was very aggravated putting together this block. I figure with that much emotion involved, I needed to name these darn birds. I immediately thought of the game Angry Birds, but they weren't the angry ones. I was. So there you have it :   Gertrude and Emily and the angry bird lady. That's me. But I'm angry no more, because my birdies are now drinking from their bird bath and the blocks for the quilt are coming together. I stood back after putting some on my design wall and I am very pleased. 

We're getting there. I have a few completed blocks still to frame. I have three blocks still to construct and frame and then it will be on to completion.   Has it all been worth it?  Absolutely yes!  All of the challenges we endure in our quilting projects make us grow our skills.  There is something very satisfying in crossing the finish line. It's even a sweeter victory when the journey has been a difficult one.  I am also recovering for surgery so I am building not only my skills, but my stamina and leg muscles. 

We'll see if tomorrow's block(s) are easier. I expect they will be. 

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Back at the machine!!

I'm now over a month post-op and very happy to have been able to resume piecing at my sewing machine. 

I feel like I've got quilter's ADD as I've got quite a few things started or underway or resumed. 

Firstly, I'm finished piecing these totally scrappy log cabin blocks. I bought the nine patches in the middle at a guild sale probably for a buck. Then I saw an idea posted on a Facebook quilting page to wrap the, lovingly in log cabin logs.  I'm not sure what I will do with this quilt but it's been s fun and mindless piecing project using up my 1 1/2" strip scraps. 

Secondly, I got the strips cut for my next quilt sample for my Amish block party original quilt design.

These are all laid out in order and will be stratas ready for subcut soon enough. More to follow on that project. 

Then I was inspired to pull out this UFO called The Flower Garden quilt. I had 7 blocks left in this block of the month project from a few years ago.

Here are a couple of my finished blocks:


Template piecing is not my favourite technique and this quilt is full of them.  I'm nearing completion...finally!!  I've got 5 blocks left to go and they are complex!!  I decided to spend the evening creating all the templates, and then worked on cutting the fabric for each block. 

So, I got all the templates done, and two blocks cut out and ready to go.  The plan is to finish cutting the fabric for them in the next few days and then all the roadblocks to completion will be dealt with. It has taken all the determination I could muster to push this through to completion. The instructions haven't been great, and the construction has been very fiddly and some blocks were even short. Thankfully I had enough sky fabric to enlarge the blocks as necessary without affecting the design. Phew! 

I'm sewing the floral 2 1/2 inch border squares together as leaders and enders in between the block components, thus maximizing efficiency and curbing thread wastage. 

I would be thrilled to have this quilt top put together this week. Then, if it's not too big for my frame, I am feeling like I want to custom quilt it on my b-line quilt frame with my Janome 6500. Wish me luck!!  I'm still recovery from hip surgery and this goal may be too lofty but you can rest assured that there will be naps when needed and physio exercises in between sewing and ironing. 

Until next time,


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2015 adventures

This is my first post for 2015 which, when I looked at my last posting date, kinda surprised me. But there is a good reason. My focus for the remainder of December and the beginning of January has been to manoeuvre around all the colds and sickness around me with the goal to staying healthy for hip surgery on January 19th. It felt like a touch down when the day finally arrived and it was my turn for a total hip replacement.  After sucking it up for two plus years of hip pain I am a new woman!! Or at least I will be soon enough.

I was home after about three days and now I'm on the slow road to recovery. I am easily bored so I knew that I would need a sanity project or three to keep my occupied during rest periods. 

I got on the hexie bandwagon last year working on Grit's Le Passion Hexagon quilt.Grit's pattern can be found on her blog,  here.  It continues to amaze me just how generous some pattern designers are. I imagine that there are literally thousands of hours that Grit had put into designing and then creating her hexagon quilt. And she has shared this pattern free on her blog. Amazing!

Here is my humble beginning of Grit's quilt design:

These little guys are addictive. I've chosen to go multi-coloured on my quilt reminiscent of Moroccan tile. I'm loving it so far. 

Secondly, I'm working on hand quilting  a quilt I pieced in 2011 during the Super Bowl. It was a Super Bowl 12 hour mystery quilt and my friend Pam and I both got our tops completed. She machine quilted hers and I  decided to hand quilt mine.  Here it is 2015 and I'm still stitching away. This is a long term project with no deadline.

Here is the quilt top:

And here are some photos of the hand quilting underway:

I'm doing freehand baptist fans.  No marking needed.  This was a technique that Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville shared and it appealed to me for this rather antique looking quilt.  I am starting with the inside edges of the quilt and proceeding around the outside.  I'm now on the second row working towards the centre.  According to Bonnie, this is a different way of approaching it, rather than quilting from the centre out.

And here are my handy tools.  The pliers are a great addition for pulling those needles through the layers of the quilt.

So, that's basically what's keeping me busy during recovery.  There will probably be more blog posts.  I'm also finalizing writing up a pattern that has been on the back burner for awhile.  It's for my Amish Block Party quilt:

I'm going to start another one of these in a different colourway as a second sample soon.  Stay tuned!  I have a long way to go before I can sit at the sewing machine but I have enough to keep me busy for now anyway and inspiration to encourage my healing.

Until next time,


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!!

Bonnie Hunter has challenged those following her blog and Quiltville Open Studio facebook page to post some Christmas quilts (or Hanukkah, Solstice, Winter).  We are linking up with her blog starting tomorrow, Christmas Eve.

Here are a few of my Christmas quilts:

Let's start with the oldest...the Christmas stockings I made my kids a few years ago:

Next is a Christmas "Magic Tile" quilt which I have now sold.  So glad I got a photo of it before it went.

This one was a gift for my niece  few years back.  It was a 'cheater' panel with chenille borders and red cornerstones in quilting cotton:

This one is also a few years old and was also gifted.  The pattern is called "Warm Wishes"

This next one is a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from a few years ago called "Carolina Christmas".  I can't remember which of her the books the pattern ended up in but I modified it only slightly by breaking up the squares with some sashing.  This one is king sized and lives on our bed during the Christmas season:

Closeup of the quilting which is now nice and krinkly because of washing it.  I love when that happens.  I used Hobbs Wool batting in this one.  It's nice and toasty warm.

And lastly, is my Christmas Celtic Solstice quilt.  I did two, a king sized one in brown, blue, rust and light blue/white and this one using Christmas fabric.  Originally this fabric was going to be a second Carolina Christmas but I lost steam on doing a second one of those.  The fabric worked perfectly for a Christmas Celtic Soltice quilt.  I modified it slightly by simplifying the blocks.  I wanted to get it done!  So happy to have this one ready for Christmas 2014:

Merry Christmas from our corner of the world in Victoria, BC Canada where we are going to be enjoying a green Christmas!    Mavis