Monday, February 22, 2021

Whimsy Sampler journey

So here's a question....what do you do with orphan blocks?  You know...those blocks that just don't fit into a project but are perfectly useful and even pretty.  Do you make potholders? Do you give them to another quilter? Do you just keep them in a bin with no purpose?

I am the latter mostly.

About 10 years ago, my hubby and I still owned our B&B on acreage with a huge house, beautiful gardens and an empty horse barn.  We had a vision of actually making it a cabin, studio, or similar which could be added to the B&B room inventory (only more rustic) or a place where musicians, writers, ministers could come for a quiet time away from the rat race to create, rest or contemplate.

The vision didn't come to pass.  It would have taken a capital investment to create a new septic field, the construction/reno, etc.  However!  As the vision was underway, I had already envisioned the rustic furniture that would be in this cabin, and of course, as a quilter I could already see a 'cabin-ish' quilt on the bed.

About that same time I joined an online block swap for 12" quilt blocks.  The idea was to pick your block from the Quilters' Cache website and cut fabric for your chosen block for the number of people in the group.  I chose a red and white fabric to represent the one Canadian in the group.  My American counterparts sent me fabric in red, white and blue.  I was going to add those blocks and create a sampler quilt. All these blocks lived in a project bag labelled "Dayspring sampler" after our B&B name. But ....

Long story short, the red, white and blue blocks ended up going into a Quilt of Valor for an American friend who is a veteran, and just had a heart transplant.  The red, white and blue seemed more fitting for him as patriotic colours than the more random idea I had.  I finished it and sent it off late last year.

The remaining red and white one that I didn't use in this quilt became part of the actual original sampler quilt idea.

I found a grid online that I thought would work and began filling in the spots with my orphan blocks. A lot of them weren't useable so I still have a pile left to use.  You have to use either even numbered finished blocks or odd numbered finished blocks.  Duh...I know.  It didn't occur to me when I first started this project.  Those odd numbered ones will be used in another quilt.

This little dog (and her brother) were with me underfoot for most of the journey.  Too cute to make her move.

I was determined to get this quilt top finished and quilted so I could enjoy it.  I'm working very hard at finishing my UFOs one at a time and not multiples at a time.  This is working for me and I'm getting closer to the end.  My reward will be starting a new project.  The top was finished last week and I have been waiting for batting to get it quilted.  That got done late yesterday so it's officially DONE except for the binding. 

I quilted it with a pantograph called "Alp".  I wanted the thread to appear sort of golden like my yellow fabrics in the quilt so I chose "Glide Biscotti" which I was very happy with. 

The quilt is no longer going to live on a bed in our B&B cabin as we moved and downsized in 2015 and have many fewer beds and no guests.  I don't know yet where this quilt will end up but I'm so glad that I persevered and got it done.

In my next blog post, you'll see the next project on the finishing list... my "Charming Denim Quilt".  This UFO isn't as old as others but after I finished my sampler I pulled it out and have been having a lot of fun getting it done too.  I'm waiting for some fabric I purchased from someone else's stash to do the borders and then it too will be quilted and declared done!

You have to know that there is JOY in finishing.  There's definitely FUN in starting something new, but it is surpassed by the JOY in finishing.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Carolina Christmas mystery quilt version 2.0

In my previous posts I talked about restoring one of my favourite mystery quilts (Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Christmas from 2009) which had quilting thread popping all over the quilt and a corner of the binding chewed by one of my dogs.

Read about that here:  and


It took a couple of months of seam ripping while watching TV but I got it done!  I then added some larger borders and just finished requilting it.

I quilted it with a pantograph called "Esmerelda" which added some nice movement to the quilt.  I have yet to add the binding but here it is on the bed with a much larger drop to keep both of us warm!

I'm so happy to have it finished.

Until next time,

Monday, February 8, 2021

The P word and UFOs

I confess to being quite a procrastinator and I believe that's where my UFO pile originates from.   I unconsciously approach it like it's going to take a LONG time so I limit my progress to a bite now and the rest later.  Later becomes much later and before you know it I'm shopping for bins and they fill the cupboard, UFO lists grow while new patterns or fabric catch my fancy!  Am I talking about just myself here or can you relate? 

I'm really trying to change my ways. I have a few friends who are just the opposite of me and start and finish their quilts within days and don't start another one until they are done. I want to be like that and every day the new me commits to staying the course with a current project and not filing it away in the someday pile.

In 2019 I joined a UFO challenge from (American Patchwork & Quilting).  This meant listing ten of my UFOs and committing to working on them during the year.  Every month they would draw a number and whichever quilt was numbered that particular number was worked on.  This really helped build my momentum for getting these projects back into my creative zone.  One by one I got a lot of them done and the thrill of the finish was worth it!

By the end of 2019 my list had been reduced by at least half.  I created another list in 2020 and repeated the process only this time I chose my UFOs to finish based on what inspired me, not on being told what to work on (I'm a rebel I guess).  By the start of 2021 I had only about 4 UFOs left.  At this point I thought it was a good idea to create a KIT list as a gentle reminder to myself that it wasn't time to start shopping just yet.  "Remember all those lovely kits you purchased because you LOVED them?!!?  Well, it's time to let them see the light of day when your UFOs are extinct."  yeah, yeah...  

I'm here to tell you that even procrastinators can change (with enough determination).  I have found great joy in finishing what I started. Imagine that!   I'm looking forward to pulling out those kits next, one by one, and bring them to fruition.  

What about new projects you ask?  Well, yes I've created room for them too (with limits).  I did start a scrappy half square triangle quilt as a leader and ender project.  Simply put, I sew two triangles together at the end of piecework belonging to a main project.  Then I toss them into a basket for the second quilt underway.  Two projects at the same time!  Win/win right?  Also, if I need a mood boost I may do a one day mystery quilt just for fun (like the Super Bowl Mystery Quilt I did yesterday, ahem).  A one day mystery is a short commitment of time and doesn't detract from my long term goal of finishing UFOs.  At least that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

The pandemic restrictions have been in place for almost a year. I doubt I'm alone with fighting the moody blues during this past year.  Aren't we glad we have fabric and projects to work on to help get us through it?  I sure am.   I'm sure we are all looking forward to more freedom to sew with our friends, get back to retreats, have lunch dates, etc.  In the meantime, I'm embracing my time finishing up projects in solitude and it's a good thing.  It's a season and not forever. We can do this!  

Here's an idea:  How about you check in with a friend today to see how they are doing?  Maybe they are in a creative slump and just can't find their mojo.  Maybe you can get them inspired again.  And if you're the one in a slump, reach out virtually.  Your quilting sisterhood will understand. Let's cheer each other on.

Until next time,