Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll progress...

I'm thoroughly enjoying this mystery. Having done two other Bonnie Hunter mysteries from her Quiltville site, I started this mystery with eyes wide open knowing that it would:

1. actually USE my stash;
2. have a lot of small pieces;
3. have some easy blocks and some 'need caffeine and music to distract me' blocks;
4. have colours together that I would never have thought of (she's brilliant!);
5. have a breaktaking outcome.

Here's where I am so far:

Step 1: done on time

Step 2: done on time
(picture shows steps 1 & 2)
Step 3: Interesting -- I was the one who didn't want to use paper as my foundation because of all the ripping and mess! So I found the Ricky Tims Stable Poly Stuff which dissolves in water. To make a long story short - I had a better time ripping off the paper of the first 10 I did that way before discovering the 50 pack of Stable Poly Stuff. We had a memorial service yesterday for my DMIL so I thought before we left I would put the 50 blocks on 'delicate' on a short cycle in the washer to self-dissolve. While it worked I wouldn't recommend it. I have to restitch 3 blocks that were stressed to the point of coming apart on one strip. Also, it looks like I put a full box of kleenex in the washing machine. There is white fluff on my clothes, white fluff left in the washer, white fluff on the laundry room floor, white fluff on my ironing board (I didn't dry them; I just ironed them wet to block them), and white fluff on my dark blue carpet in my sewing room. Moral of the story ~ follow Bonnie's instructions because she has obviously "been there, done that" and found the best way. Bonnie, you rock!! Pardon my laziness and thinking there was a better way.

Step 3 photo:

Step 4: 1 set done just to see. Love it! Now that I'm done Step 3, I will forge ahead and finish the 'easy' Step 4.

Step 5: Using triangulations and got 24 done with one sheet of paper. Love them! Hoping another lesson won't be learned in doing it my own way. So far they look awesome. Only 24+ sheets to go. Better than saying 500+ blocks to go right?

Step 6: Seems way in the future to me but I'll get there.

Guessing at the mystery: Not even close!! I love surprises and it seems Bonnie has really done it this time!

And tomorrow is Friday!  So we'll get the second to last clue.  Aren't we having just the greatest fun??

Until next post...

Monday, December 27, 2010

And the quilt goes to....

I usually try and gift a quilt for one person/family per year at Christmas.  This year I presented this quilt to my pastor and his wife (Bruce & Lorraine).

I started it at Quilting in the Trees, my annual June retreat at Pearson College here in Victoria with the Victoria Quilters' Guild.  It was a mystery quilt created and led by Kelly English and Arlene MacKenzie.  We had great fun and the different looks with different fabric choices were amazing.  Some in the class chose to turn the centre block different ways which gave theirs an even different look yet!

My sunflower batik fabric called me loudly from Bib n Tucker Quilt Shop here in Victoria.  We were told to choose a focus fabric plus a dark (my brown), medium (my gold) and light (my off white) coordinating fabric.  All of it is batiks.  The back is the dark sunflower focus fabric.  I think I bought the whole bolt.  This is the result! 

I was going to send it to Arlene MacKenzie (On Point Quilting Studio) to long arm, but the more I looked it the more I figured it would be fun to do some custom quilting on my domestic Janome 6500.  And it just so happened that I had another quilt retreat with my satellite group in November at Honeymoon Bay Retreat Centre near Cowichan, up island, so this was the perfect time away to devote the attention and time needed for this project.  I love the result and Bruce and Lorraine love it too.

It gave me great joy to create this quilt for them.  I accompanied this one with a prayer that they would feel the Father's love for them every time they snuggled under it.   I hope they are enjoying it as much as I did during the creation of it.

Now...back to my 2 Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts.  I'm behind on the steps for the Roll Roll Cotton Boll and am anxious to see how all these lovely colours will fit together into the finished quilt top.  And I'm still quilting the Carolina Christmas, last year's mystery.

AND I have 4 days off so I will have some time to play.  Yippee!!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pillowcase Prezzies!

It's safe for me to post these photos because I don't think that any of the recipients follow my blog.  I may be surprised but I am so excited to have finished all of these in record time (aka BEFORE Christmas) that I just had to share them:

I used the "sausage roll" method of making these so they all have finished seams.  Here's a link:

They were a fun and quick present to make.

Now off to finish off a quilt for my pastor and his wife for delivery later this week.  Pictures to follow!

Have a great week leading up to Christmas!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Roll, Roll, Rolling along...

I'm forging ahead and almost keeping up with Bonnie Hunter's newest online mystery quilt entitled "Roll Roll Cotton Boll" (

I am currently on Step 3 which is 60 string blocks measuring 8 1/2" square.  I started with photocopy paper and grew weary of that within the first 10 minutes.  There has to be a better way, I said to myself!  Then I popped down to Bib n Tucker Quilting to pick up a book I had ordered and guess what I found?  Ricky Tims Stable Poly Stuff.  That's the real name; I kid you not. I never even knew it existed.  It's like a washaway stabilizer but it doesn't have any glue in it at all.  It dissolves with the first washing of the quilt.  And it was 20% off ~ bonus!!  So it came home with me and I've been happily playing with these string blocks (my first time) and quite enjoying the process now that I know I don't have to tear the paper off.

As I was sewing I was trying to watch the latest episode on The Quilt Show but the volume of my DH's TV made it hard to hear.  He's watching Ben Hur (tis the season you know!) and the sound of the chariots definitely drowned out the sound of Ami Sims sharing about her Alzheimer Quilt initiative.  I can always go back and watch it again.

In the meantime, here's a photo of tonight's efforts so far:

My beginning ones were pretty tame.  As I saw the other ones in the quiltville yahoo group album I decided that I needed to let loose and let the dark strips in too and the uglies and the ones with some colour.  Neutral is an objective term and apparently I'm quite 'reserved'.  I'm so excited to see how this quilt turns out.  I do love a good mystery!!

Now I'm trying to keep my eyeballs open long enough to sneak a peak at Friday's clue.  It's already Friday in North Carolina so I figure Bonnie's blog should be loading Clue 4 before I go to bed tonight.  West Coast time is 9:57 p.m. which is 12:57 a.m. in North Carolina, which is ..... Friday!

Back to do a couple more before I call it a night!

Until next time,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quilting as I go...

I have now finished  my Carolina (Canadiana) Christmas blocks and they are currently hanging on my design wall looking gorgeous!  I'm very excited to get this one finished.  Thank you to Bonnie Hunter from for this design/mystery.

I decided to try a 'quilt as you go' method because I am doing sashing on this quilt and it lends itself wonderfully to quilting each block and then merging them together...and it's going to be a king sized quilt and it will be much easier to quilt it one block at a time.

I'm using the "Twirly Tucks Variation 1" from my Quilting Designs disk (a Quiltmaker product).  I've enlarged the design to 16" and have pasted my 4 sheets of laser printer paper together to make one big design.

First I thought I would needlepunch the design and 'pounce' the quilt top, each block just before getting ready to sew it.  Great idea but the execution left something to be desired.  Some of the holes showed the chalk markings but it was not easy to follow the design.  I don't need any stumbling blocks in my way when it comes to machine quilting.

Second, I thought I would trace it onto 'tulle' and then transfer it with a quilt pencil onto the top of the quilt.  With such a big design (16" square) the tulle moved too much and the image was distorted as a result.

Third try ~ I pulled out some thicker tissue/pattern design paper and traced the design onto the tissue paper and then pinned it onto the quilt square and then quilted through the tissue.

It worked the best of the three different methods but I really hate tearing the paper away after the fact (one of the reasons I don't paper piece too much!).

If it was a sunny day I would probably tape the design to the window and then tape the quilt block on top and trace the design right onto the quilt top.  But alas, it's a dark Sunday evening and I won't have any daytime quilt time until next weekend.

Here are two of the blocks, now quilted:

On this one I used my walking foot.  Lots of moving the block around but the quilt design worked quite well.

Here's the free-motion version:

I think I did better on the walking foot except for the little humps which it stalls on (intersections).

Here's a closeup of the poinsetta block done free motion:

Not my best work but maybe they'll improve as I get a few more blocks done.

Off to feed the troops, fold some laundry and then get back to the sewing machine.

Until next time,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Carolina Christmas (Canadiana Christmas is my version)

I'm done my first step of the Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery quilt but on a 'roll' so decided I would continue piecing my Canadiana Christmas quilt.  I'm still short some blocks and will have to cut more but here's the first row done!  The only thing missing is the sashing in between the blocks.  I'm trying to make it a King sized quilt and am seriously thinking about doing a 'quilt as you go' approach to getting it quilted.  I don't think I could manage a king-sized quilt on my Janome 6500 but I am quite certain I could handle these 16" finished blocks.  I will still ponder that and see how I feel when my wool batting (Hobb's Heirloom Wool Batting) arrives from Fabric Depot.

In the meantime I think I will surf the Net and see if there are some tutorials out there.  I know there are many methods of QAYG (quilt as you go).  I just don't want my quilt to be obviously QAYG.  I've got some time to make up my mind as I've still got many blocks to assemble.

Here's a photo of the first row:

I'm LOVING this quilt!  It was going to go in our Queen Suite in our B&B, but I've decided we need a warmer winter quilt for our bed and this Canadiana Christmas will do the trick, especially with warm wool batting.

I can hardly wait to get this one finished.

Warm quilty wishes!!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Night Sew-in - perfect timing for Roll Roll Cotton Boll new Quiltville mystery

I've been waiting for the first clue of Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery quilt..."Roll Roll Cotton Boll".  I was able to print out the first clue before the clock struck 12:00 last night ~ one of the benefits of living on the West coast!!

I changed my colours after spending last weekend away at a quilting retreat and spotting this colour combo in a magazine.Up to that time I was struggling with shopping from my stash.  Chioices were teal, purple, gold, cream which I loved but couldn't choose a constant so I kept switching it up.  Not satisfied with any of them.   I've now chosen light pink, greens, blacks and tone on tone white/light cream with a double pink/raspberry as my "constant" (Bonnie's lingo for one colour that ties the scrappy colours together nicely).

The first step is 3 2" strips; two pink with one green in the middle.  Then cut into 2" sub-strips.  Here is the result:  172 units done!

Until next time!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Homemade Christmas

Every Christmas Eve, my family gathers with my sister's family, usually at our house.  We usually do a themed Christmas Eve dinner.  We save turkey and all the fixins for Christmas Day.

One of our first themed dinners was "My Big Fat Greek Christmas Eve".  The colours, blue and white, of course, the food ~ as authentic Greek as we could muster ~ my DH does a fabulous barbequed lamb roast; couple that with Greek lemon potatoes (one of my sister's specialties), my homemade baklava, spanakopita, etc. and you guessed it, we rolled ourselves away from the table after lots of great food and conversation and more often than not, some of DH's prize-winning wine.  These are memorable family times.

I usually give one family member a quilt for Christmas each year.  Last year my niece got a black and white and hot pink disappearing Nine-Patch which was very warmly received and to this day cherished (gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing my homemade gift blessed my kin).  I don't have any quilts for family members this year but I have issued a challenge to my rellies ~ 'we're going to have a homemade Christmas'. So far, my knitting daughter is on board (she had already starting knitting Christmas presents for her cousins); my wine-maker husband is on board; my musician son is on board, and me and my sewing machine are warming up to get down to business.

I love the idea of taking time (away from the mall) to think about using our giftings and talents to create something to give to someone else.  They don't have to be elaborate, professional productions.  I'm working on knitting socks for my DH and DS.  They are excited to receive them.  I love the feeling that I'm going to give them something I myself have made.  It's a great feeling.  The less time shopping the better as far as I'm concerned.

And as for the meal this year....Christmas in Tuscany.  I envision warm candlelight and my favourite people around my table enjoying our favourite Italian foods and in those quiet moments between bites and conversation, pondering the love that went in to our gifts to one another.  I imagine the expressions on their faces when they unwrap my gift from the heart.

I'm still formulating my gift ideas.  Tomorrow is November 1st which always seems to signal me to get busy cutting and sewing because those days on the calendar are closer than they appear.

Now I'm off to my stash to go shopping and see what I can find for these gifts.

Is it too soon to say Merry Christmas??

Until next time,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday Night Sew-in and Sunday Night Project - Carolina Christmas

Friday Night Sew-in...was a bust.  I came home from work with a headache and was dizzy.  I opted to stay in bed and watch TV with my hubby and managed to ward off the flu.

Tonight, however, I'm working on my Carolina Christmas Mystery Quilt from last November (Quiltville).  inI'm very close to being able to my blocks together and am very excited!!  I will be doing the 'sashed' version of the quilt to break up the noise of my fabric.  I think this quilt will be for the queen bed in our Queen Suite of our B&B (the Christmas quilt).  I love Bonnie Hunter's quilts.

208 half square triangles in red and my neutral.  I'm half-way through them and hope to get them all done tonight and pressed.  They will form part of the broken dishes block.

Not sure what these are called but there are plenty of them and they will go with the first blocks to form what Bonnie calls the "Fox and Geese" blocks.  They end up being the 'stars' in the quilt.

These next blocks are called Poinsettia blocks.  Four of them go together into each block.  I love them!

I can't find Bonnie's finished Carolina Christmas quilt on her Quiltville website but here's what I'm planning to do for my layout.  I love this quilt!

This one was done by "Illa" from my yahoo group.  Just love it!  Isn't it wintery??  Mine won't be as white as this but if it looks this good I'll be happy!!  Well done Illa.

This weekend I'm also working on knitting socks and various and sundry projects.  It must be autumn!!  And since the socks are for my DH and my DS and were supposed to be gifts for last Christmas I should really finish them soon.  It helps that my DD has taken up knitting so we now love to sit together with a cup of tea and visit and knit together.  I love that.  And she's looking for me now so I will hang up my stylo for the evening and shut down my sewing machine and join my daughter for the remainder of the evening.

Until next many projects, so little time!!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

My first quilted bag/purse!

I finally did it!  I made a quilted bag.  I found this as a kit down in Oregon when I was on the Sisters Bus Trip.  I cannot remember which quilting store had it but it had to be mine!

I love the fabric and it was a quick project.  I started cutting it out at noon with my quilt group and finished it up tonight after a few hours' break for grocery shopping, dinner, etc...AND I had to rip out a few stitches because the instructions weren't very clear for a first-timer.  The pattern is "Pocket Perfect" by Kathy Fernholz (Indygo Junction, Inc.)  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Creative Slump leads to deconstruction...

I haven't sewn a stitch since my Saturday sewing 2 weeks ago.  I've spent some time in my studio but more organizing than creative pursuits.  I've had a baby quilt on my design wall for weeks trying to decide how to fix it.  Today it was like a bad hair day.  I pulled out the scissors and chopped it up, salvaging the main squares and discarding the rest.  Here are the before and after shots:

BEFORE (I actually placed the squares back in the frames.  The blue border has already been cut off.  This is a reasonable representation of the 'before' picture.  Yuk!

Now, here's the blocks I salvaged:  (the 2" blue borders are in my 2" strip drawer; the balance of the 'flimsy' is in my bag of scraps that goes to the Win Thrift Store to be recycled into new fabric, so it's not really waste, right?)

Any ideas on what else I could do to finish this baby quilt?  I'm toying with framing them log cabin style but they already measure 9".

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about these blocks...

Until next time,


Monday, September 6, 2010

Baby Bricks & Stepping Stones - UFO done! or IFFI!!

This quilt was created especially for a beautiful baby girl in our church congregation named Monroe.  She totally suits her name and I think this quilt totally suits her.

Baby Bricks & Stepping Stones

It is a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter's website: called "Bricks and Stepping Stones".  It is very quick to put together.  I machine quilted on my friend's Little Gracie with a Janome 6600 and then did a machine binding using the faux piping tutorial at

It will be presented to Monroe sometime mid-September along with some other presentations by other quilters in our church quilting group to the other babies born to families in our church...and there are many!

We're kinda behind in getting our quilts done so I'm very happy to have found time to finish this quilt this weekend and to have discovered this snazzy new binding method.  Thank you to Trish from Seattle for sharing this tutorial on her tlcstitches blog.

Until next time!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I am a fan of "Quilting Arts" on TV and the Web.  I usually tape the show and watch is Saturday mornings.  Last Saturday I did just that and was so inspired by one of their projects that I bought some dissolvable paper and created this portrait of my dog, Sara, Saturday afternoon.

I loved this project!  I will use a lighter background next time because it's not easy to see Sara, but my whole family recognized her right off the batt so I must have done something right.  There are some more advanced doggy portraits on the downloadable .pdf on the website.  You have to register on the site to download the document but it only takes a few minutes.

You can check out this project at It's Project 609-1.

Supplies Needed:  Scrap of batting 8.5 x 11"; Scraps of fabric (batiks work great), all in analogous colours; Temporary adhesive spray; dissolvable paper/stabilizer (I used Sulky brand); image to print on injet printer.

The directions are on the Quilting Arts website.  This was so much fun!  It gave me lots of ideas about other applications of this design.  I hope it inspires you too!


Strawberry Fields Forever - the photo!

Argghhhh...I bought my daughter's laptop with the dreaded Windows Vista on it.  I'm trying hard to upload the photo of the quilt...let's give it another whirl....

Ta da!!  Off to make the label now...

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

And ANOTHER UFO done.  Woo hoo!  Am I on a roll or what??!!

Guilt played a part in getting this quilt done.  When the second anniversary of this lovely young couple had passed and I hadn't yet finished their wedding quilt, I knew it was time to do whatever it took to push past the creative block and get 'er dun!!

I will upload a photo when I get a picture taken of the quilt but here's a's an original pattern using about 3 charm packs.  Each charm is surrounded by sashing.  The border is neutral and has appliqued strawberries and a vine on it (hence the name).  What was making me 'stuck' was the thought of satin stitching around all of those blessed berries and strawberry tops/leaves.  I broke free and did raw edge applique which will hopefully add some texture when it gets washed and fluffed/frayed a bit.  This has given me one less excuse to finish my Tuscan Hillside quilt which may very well be the next project back on the machine. It also has a vine and some grape leaves on it.

I am so pleased with the final result of this latest IFFI (I finally finished it!) and I hope that this wonderful young couple will get much enjoyment from their Strawberry Fields Forever quilt.

Until next time... when I will hopefully have snapped a photo and uploaded it...but not tonight.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Attack of the Scrap Basket!!

This is something I've wanted to do for years!  I've dealt with new scraps as I've finished projects and determined not to let my scrap basket overflow.  But yesterday was the day I decided to attack my backlog scrap basket.  I first looked into Bonnie Hunter's Leaders and Enders book to see what her common scrap usage sizes were.  I decided 2" strips and 2 1/2" and 2" squares were the most useful.  That said, I also thought about the 5" charm packs and the new patterns available for them.

Here are the before and after pictures:


I've still got a ways to go but I figure I'll be all set to start some scrappy projects in September!

Happy Little Quilting Dance!!

Until next time,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Another UFO finished!!

I am more shocked than anyone that I have actually machine quilted two quilts in the month of July despite a full work day and a few guests visiting the B&B.

This latest one in yellow and purple (love, love, love that combo!) was started a few years back when Margaret Miller taught her "Strips that Sizzle" class here in Victoria.  The instructions were to choose two colour families (mine of course were yellow and purple) and in those families choose three different values.  There are a number of different layout options for this quilt.  It was on my design wall for a LONG time until I was satisfied that the quilt was talking to me.  I wanted it big enough for a bed quilt but I didn't want to introduce additional fabrics to make more blocks.
The result was adding a purple square to the center of each 'pinwheel'.  I liked it and the decision was made!  And I was amazed as I stood back and watched the yellow 'lattice' making a secondary design.

About half way through making the quilt top, I decided this quilt would be for my dear mother-in-law suffering from Alzheimers.  She is now in long term care (after living with us for about 9 years).  I wanted to make her a quilt that would brighten up her room.  If this sunshiney quilt doesn't do it then I don't think anything will.  I made the label large enough for her to read where it came from.  I know she doesn't understand that I made it for her.  It was just important for me to express my love for her with a handmade quilt and I pray that somehow she can feel its comfort.

And here it is ....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another quilt finished.....

One of my favourite phrases is..."I finished another quilt!"   And I did!!

My husband and I visited a charming B&B in Charlottetown, PEI called Elmwood Heritage Inn ( and the quilt in our room inspired me to create a quilt for our Queen Suite in our B&B.  It has been a goal of mine to have quilts on each bed in our B&B.   The colours in our Queen Suite are blue and brown with a neutral creamy beige wall.   I dug through my blue, brown and beige scraps and Buckeye Beauty (aka Jewel Box). 

Here's a 'before' picture of the Queen Suite:

Here's the 'after' picture of the Queen Suite:

The twin bed has my Double Delight (see earlier posts):

Two more UFOs off the list and a great feeling of accomplishment as I have put my quilts on beds for our guests.

2010 Quilting in the Trees (VQG) @ Pearson College

Twas a great retreat indeed and I have a few things to show for myself!  My first day was photo editing/printing on fabric/image transfer techniques with Susan Purney-Mark.  I came with memory stick loaded with an assortment of photos but it soon became clear that my Peony picture was a must for a photo quilt.  Here is the result: (Printed photo on EQ printables; printed a second photo on Extravorganza, cut 2 pictures into tiles and then steam a seam lite onto the photo as a 'suggestion' of a second photo superimposed overtop.)  I managed to get it framed and pinned but not yet quilted.

Here's another small project we all did in the class: (teacher supplied kit with photo and fabric):

I already knew some of the techniques we used in the class but it was great fun to learn new things and to actually have some dedicated time to focus on a small project/art quilt.

The second and third days were a mystery quilt designed by Kelly English and Arlene MacKenzie.  The quilt is called "Dash to the Finish".  The centre block is a big Churn Dash featuring a focal fabric.  These sunflowers just called my name at Bib N Tucker Quilting here in Victoria and became the focal point for my quilt.  I then had 2 choose 1 light, 1 medium and 1 dark to compliment the focal fabric.  I just loved these fabrics and had so much fun putting this quilt together.  Here is an array of photos as the quilt progressed during the 2 days.

 Center block done.  Next came auditioning borders with various strip sets.

I love my focus fabric and will be adding one more border of it on this quilt.  I think I will be sending it out to Arlene MacKenzie for quilting.  I've just finished quilting a queen-sized quilt on my Janome 6500 and have had it with puckers appearing on the back despite my best efforts to baste.

All in all, a fabulous, creative time away at Quilting in the Trees.  My goal now is to finish off all projects from this year before signing up for next year's inspiration!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Retreats and Road Trips!!

I've been feverishly working at getting my "Buckeye Beauty" pieced together.  We are giving the Queen Suite in the B&B a makeover.  My Double Delight (mentioned in the previous post) is on the twin bed and I'm loving the country look of it in that room.  The Queen Bed is next.  The Buckeye Beauty finishes at 94 inches square and looks gorgeous in that room in its blue, tan and brown colour scheme.  My son said it reminded him of the beach, dark blue for the ocean, light blue for the sky, tan/brown  for the sand.  Now that you mention it, I think he's right!

My dear friend Shirley helped me sandwich and baste it yesterday.  Now it is folded and ready to be carted upstairs to my studio where I will lovingly add the stitches to make it a quilt.  After all, it isn't a quilt until it's quilted, right?

I really want to have it done by June 17th as we have guests checking into that suite on the 17th and it would make me so happy to have the makeover done by then.  Then of course a photo shoot will follow to update the website.

I don't have very many days to get the quilting done as I am joining the same friend Shirley at Pearson College in Metchosin for our annual Quilting in the Trees retreat.  Thursday until Sunday with creativity, classes and someone cooking for me.  If the weather cooperates and it's warm and dry it will be another perfect retreat. 

In July I am going a my first ever bus trip to Sisters, Oregon for the outdoor quilt show.  My dear friend Jan will be joining me on this adventure. 

I will be posting a picture of the finished Buckeye Beauty hopefully before I leave on the retreat.

Until then I'm praying for Godspeed in my studio as I finish this quilt.

Until next time,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ta da!! Double Delight is done and ready for the quilt show

What a great feeling!  I finished hand quilting my Double Delight (see previous posts), and I still have some flesh on my finger tips, albeit sore flesh.  I never was a thimble girl.

Well, I finished the binding last night and here are some photos of my Double Delight:

Here are some photos of the hand quilting (my first time!)  Happy Little Dance....

This shows the leaf vine quilting I did on the border.  I used a paper printout of the quilting and then cut a piece of bridal tulle large enough to cover the drawing.  I put the bridal tulle over the image and used a sharpie marker (permanent) to trace the quilting lines onto the tulle.  Then I rinsed out the tulle and dried it (to make sure there was no left over black sharpie marker which would harm my quilt).  From this point, you've got an image which you can lay over your quilt and use a chalk marker to trace it.  Because the tulle has little holes, the chalk goes through the tulle and onto the quilt top.  I thought this idea was pure genius.  I can't claim that genius.  I learned this trick at the Victoria Sewing Show.

I'm not sure you can see the tulip quilted into the setting triangle.  Once again I used the bridal tulle over the image to create my transfer medium for the design.  Worked great!

Here's a closeup of one of the quilt blocks showing the hand quilting.  Very simple quilting inside each square and an 'x' through the centre nine-patch.

Here is another closeup of the border (top left and bottom right corner)  I repeated the 'x' through the nine-patches and tulips in the small squares.

Also, try the 'Where's Waldo'? to see if you can find the nine-patch boo boo.  I chose to take the Amish approach that "only God is perfect" and leave the boo boo in the quilt.

I wonder if the quilt police at the Quilt Show will find it.   I'm not the least bit worried if they do.  I know it was planned...or at least allowed for when I discovered it myself.

Off to do my label now!  Til next time,  Mavis

Sunday, April 25, 2010

U.F.O. update

One baby quilt finished and presented - wahoo.  Updated my UFO list on the right hand side of the blog page and noticed that I've mentioned my Buckeye Beauty which is on my design wall.  Wanna sneak peak?

This is another scrappy adventure.  Are we having fun yet?  Oh yes we are!  I threw everything in here, even if I thought the pattern was too bold.  I like the effect and have thrown off all control and welcomed every block in.  The quilt police have been dispatched elsewhere.  They do not live at my house any more.  Don't you just love being liberated??  Oh yeah....

Baby Quilt Buzz

I absolutely love my ministry at my church.  I am privileged to make baby quilts for our newborns (or older if we're really behind...) and to welcome them to our world and to the family of God.  Today was another one of those days.

This is a picture of the quilt I presented this morning...

These nine-patch blocks came from a Canadian Quiltswappers Block Swap. All I did was frame them alternately with dark brown and beige and then added a teddy-bear border.  There are sheepies on the back.  I think this qualifies as a scrap quilt and for sure a stash buster quilt.  I didn't purchase anything new for this quilt and love the scrappiness of it.

I better get back to my sewing machine.  We have a bumper crop of babies due this spring and many, many more quilts to produce.  Til next time...

Monday, April 5, 2010

and the battles rages on...

in my soul, that is.  I tried a friend's quilting machine (which is comprised of a Little Gracie II and a Janome 6600).  She can do a baby quilt in 1-2 hours.  I visited yesterday and even got to test drive on a charity quilt she is working on. It was great fun!  I came home wanting that or a long arm...again. Sigh.  But I had to see it.  Isn't that what it's like?  You don't want a new car until you go for that test drive...and then you're sunk unless you have the willpower of ..well I don't know what or who, but you get my point. 

I've been working very hard at being content, I really have, but for the last 24 hours all I can think about it how to get my own long-arm.  I really thought I was settled about this.  We simply don't have the cash right now, so practically speaking, it's not going to happen.  But then why this sudden onslaught of lust after what I cannot have?  I repent...I will be content.  And if I really need to try it out, my friend has offered to let me take a quilt to her place and test it on her machine.  That's good enough for me!

One hopeful option for my quest (or non-quest depending on my state of mind at the time) - I am married to a mechanical/woodworking genius.  My dear husband is pondering building me the quilting frame.  With my Janome 6500 I would have the equivalent, basically, of my friend.  Wouldn't that be nice...but for now I will wait.

And there ends today's rantings.  Time to go play some more on my handquilting project.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Handquilting vs Long Arm Quilting vs Machine Quilting on Domestic Machine

My Double Delight quilt top is finished (started January 2009 at but had a few stalls along the way).  About 3/4 of the way through piecing it, I realized that I wanted to hand quilt it.  The process of arriving at that decision was a long one.

Long had I wondered, pondered, decided, then undecided, and pondered some more about whether or not to buy a long arm.  I find that machine quilting is difficult on a domestic machine.  I must not be alone here as how many quilters do I know that get stalled at the quilt top stage?  In my mind I justify the expense of a long arm setup by adding up what it would cost to have my quilts long arm quilted by someone else.  10 or so quilts and it's paid for right?  I don't think I would ever have the nerve to quilt someone else's work and it causes me anxiety to even think about that option.  So, I just need to justify the cost by my own savings. And I feel adequately confident that I can justify the expenditure as a long term investment if I simply crunch enough numbers.  After all, if I have quilting retreats at our B&B then I could offer the long arm as an added bonus.  Think of the possibilities!!

But then I go to a guild meeting and see the amazing work of other quilters all done by domestic machines and feel challenged to 'make do' with my domestic machine.  I can think of many quilters that have produced absolute works of art (and award winning quilts) on their domestic machines:  Ricky Tims, Barbara Shapel (, Ana Buzzalino (of Calgary, AB), Martha Cole  (, and I'm sure there are many, many more.

With the economy still unsure, I know many of my quilting friends, as well as myself, have gone 'no buy' for fabric. I'm on year 2 of 'no buy' but I did fall off the wagon on a few occasions.  I went on a year long magazine 'fast' too.  I've worked hard at sewing from my stash and delving into scrap quilts (Double Delight was my first).  Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville is very inspiring in this department and it is a totally different challenge than buying specific fabric for a specific pattern.  You'll know if you have control issues when  you attempt your first scrap quilt and squirm at the colour combinations that randomly fall together.  It's such freedom when break past that barrier!!

Friends, our hobby has grown into big business but it hasn't always been that way.  I personally think it's time to look backwards a decade or two or ten to gain some inspiration from our ancestors.

Here is part of my story:  In March, 2009 our family had a medical diagnosis which meant that I may be spending consistent time every month hooked up to an IV and so would my son. This would mean monthly trips to a different city to the hospital.   Through this difficult time of coming to terms with our family's genetic disease, this was also the turning point for me in the long-arm debate. My decision was now made, for the time being anyway.  I decided that I needed to focus on portable hand work. But I needed to learn some skills.  So last year I learned needle-turn applique.  I was at Quilting in the Trees Annual Retreat at Pearson College in June 2009 and began a wall hanging with one of Nancy Chong's patterns.  It's still classifed as a UFO but I am making great progress and have one portable project to take with me wherever I wish. These are not instant gratification projects.  These are the ones that you add a few stitches here, a few stitches there and one day you have a finished project.

Then I took a quick lesson from a friend on hand-quilting. After that I bought Alex Anderson's book and decided there was nothing left to stop me.  The needles cost a mere $2.12 and I was given a quilting hoop.  Equipment - check! So, I am happy to announce that I have  joined the ranks of the hand quilters.  I am enjoying the process although could still do with a good thimble as the fingers are a wee bit tender.  I love the look of the hand quilting and this quilt really lends itself to hand quilting, which is why I chose this quilt as my first hand quilted project.  And here it Double Delight!

I guess all of this is to say that I wanted to share with you my journey through this debate.  I'm very happy and content with my domestic machine (Janome 6500) and will do my best to produce quilts that I will be proud of and that will be cherished by  my family and friends who receive them.  I will take what I've learned from Ricky Tims (about level working space for machine quilting) to do machine quilting, will keep working at my hand quilting skill and will enjoy the learning process and forgive myself for my first stitches.    Here's a closeup of the quilting:

If one day an opportunity should arise for me to have a long arm then I will revisit that option.  But for now, I'm glad to be slowing down and enjoying the therapeutic approach to my hobby.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Disappearing Nine Patch

This is a very simple construction technique and very quick to assemble.  This is one I made my niece Becky for Christmas 2009:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No-Sew Block Swap

Here is a picture of the block I chose for an online no-sew block swap: 

This is called "Annie's choice" from and I can see why it was her choice!  It was SO easy and cut and sewn in 1/2 hour.  I prepared 8 baggies of triangles which I will now put in the mail to the swap host.  On February 1st she will be mailing me 8 different packages of fabric for 8 different blocks.  The result?  A nice red, white and blue sampler.  Isn't that a whole lotta fun??

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 brings a new mystery

Well, it really started on the US Thanksgiving weekend when my friend Celia from Seattle arrived at our B&B for the weekend with her husband Howie and her Brother Embroidery/Sewing machine.  Celia always takes her machine on vacation with her.  I would too if I could get away with it. 

Celia had packed up enough quilting projects for two trips and she was raring to sew as soon as they settled in.  I knew we were in for a fun weekend.

About the same time, Bonnie Hunter of was announcing a new mystery quilt on her website.  She called the new quilt "Carolina Christmas".  In my most mischievous voice I asked Celia, "would you be interested in starting a mystery quilt with me this weekend?  It would mean, of course, that we have to go shopping...".  I didn't need to twist her arm much.  We set out to Cloth Castle just before they closed on either Thursday night or Friday night.

After we had acquired some fabric for her (OK and maybe a few fillers for me), we printed out the first clue in Bonnie's mystery and set to cutting.  Here are some photos of our time:

 Celia cutting her gold fabric for the mystery quilt.

Celia's greens, reds and neutrals

My non-scrappy #2 Carolina Christmas colours.

My half-scrappy, half controlled #1 Carolina Christmas colours.  Did I not mention I'm doing 2 of these?  The plan is to do 2 queens or maybe 1 queen and 1 king for the Queen and Princess or Queen and King suites of our B&B.

It doesn't look like much but these are my #1 gold and neutral step 1 units.  They aren't going to be four-patches.  They will be part of poinsettia units (not there yet but I peeked ahead!).

This is the same step 1 of my #2 CC fabrics.  I couldn't resist these fabrics when I saw them on sale at Fabricland at half off (which is why I'm now doing two).

And these are Celia's step 1 units (hers is scrappy).  Lovely tones...

I've moved beyond step one but haven't taken any more photos yet.  I've cut some green and I've cut some red and I've cut some more neutral.  I'm working on my poinsettia star units.

Bonnie's quilt is gorgeous and can be seen at Quiltville.  I'll upload some more pictures soon. 

And Celia and I are in contact from time to time to check on each other's progress.  It's not a race at all but it's nice to have a quilting partner to share this with!