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Sunday, December 27, 2015

More Sunday sewing!

Another productive day thought not quite as much sewing got done.  But I did go through my bin of 3" strips and pulled out some brown and beige fabrics that will work with my 9 patches.
And then I went through my Canadiana bin and found some great strips for my next project... a rail fence.

I want to play with some easy quilting patterns so that I can hopefully hold a few free sessions in the spring for Quilts of Valour and encourage quilters to come with either 2.5" strips or fat quarters and I will demonstrate a couple of quick and easy blocks that can turn scrappy fabrics into easy blocks and simple quilts perfect for donating to soldiers who have been injured while on duty in service to Canada.

My first project is a batik quilt that I got the borders added to.  It is a Villa Rosa pattern called Cool Water and is made from 12 fat quarters. It will go home for quilting.

And I made more brown/beige strips sets so that I could stitch up a few more 9 patches for my patch a day challenge.  I think these will get put aside for a few days while I work on the other projects that I have started.  Fourteen of them means I have two weeks worth made.  I really need to spend time stitching the strip sets so I have a variety of pieces to choose from to keep the blocks scrappy looking.

Then I wanted to try this simple pattern that uses 2.5" strips, the width of fabric.  It is easy and perfect for scrap fabrics that you have cut into strips or leftover strips.  I am using up some strips of Canadian themed fabric and will mix and match in some red and cream strips to get the quilt large enough.  My stash of Canadian themed fabric is limited here but I found a shoebox of fabrics that I will use up.  Two contrasting strips stitched together lengthwise will make one 12.5" block. 

And back to my Sunday in the Park quilt.  A few more blocks are stitched together.  It is slow because I have found that if press my seam allowances the correct way, they will next nicely and it takes time to figure out which direction to press for each block. Seven of the twenty blocks are on the design wall.  If I can make three a day, should have the blocks ready by New Year's eve!

Of course, am still working on my flying geese as well as my Christmas batik quilt.  But all these projects are in their own bins and all stacked by my sewing machine ready for me to sit and stitch.  I need to take time out to fill some bobbins, clean the dust from the bobbin area and change my needle and oil the moving parts so that I can put the pedal to the metal when I get free time this week.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

My quilting mojo might be back!

Christmas Day 2015.  Cool but sunny and we started off our morning with a game of tennis with friends.

When I got home, I spent some time in the kitchen and got the ham into the crockpot and peeled potatoes and made a large dish of scalloped potatoes.  Once my kitchen duties were done for Christmas dinner, I had time to head into my sewing room.  On Thursday, I managed to spend 4 hours in there!

First, I worked on my batik quilt and finished taking the blocks off the design wall and getting them joined.  The border fabric is cut and ready to be added to the quilt and this will be first top finished this fall!  Well, guess I should say winter.

And I played around with hexagons and made a mug rug/trivet or wine bottle pad... not too sure, could be used for a variety of purposes.  Fun to make and will get some finished for our craft fair in the fall... only 11 months away, 10 months to get some stitched and finished.

 I also played with a block design called Summer in the Park.  Last fall, I was inspired by a project at the modern guild that I attend and then this week, at the quilting group here, someone once again showed the same project.  So, I dug through my strip bin and pulled out lots of browns.  Funny though, took all those strips out and the bin isn't any less full!

And you can see the progress I am making with the flying geese.  I have a stack sitting by the sewing machine and making them as leaders and enders as I work on my other projects.  I have four projects on the go!
On a blog that I read, there was a challenge to make a 9 patch a day.  That would be 365 by the end of 2016!  I had the brilliant idea to continue to work with the browns since I had a bunch of strips leftover from the Summer in the park blocks (which are all made, just need to be pieced together into four patches... then into the quilt top) and then I also thought, rather than cut 2.5" squares, why not strip piece?

Of course, the problem is that with strip piecing, you don't get the variety for scrappy 9 patches.  My original plan was to make two strip pieces per day and one block per day but that idea won't work too well until I get a few strip pieced units stitched and cut into 2.5" slices.  So now, I will concentrate on making strip pieced units and catch up and make 7 of my 9patch units at the end of the week.  I did spend an hour searching for more strips of neutral colours and more brown fabrics and have a nice stack in a bin ready to use.  These are the 9 patches that I made today but some of them have fabric repeats in them.  By the time I get lots made, they will be spaced farther apart and only you and I will know!

And, just for fun, I cut a batik Christmas quilt to work on for next year.  I have 11 months to get that finished!

Was a busy stitching day.  I am emptying bobbins and feel happy that my sewing mojo is back! 

Of course, my room is a mess, I have too many projects on the go but it feels good.  Hopefully, you all had a Merry Christmas.  We did here in Arizona although the cool, windy weather is helping to give me sewing room time instead of tennis court time!

Friday, December 18, 2015

And, 3 weeks later....

So three weeks has passed since I posted.  I was beginning to get really motivated about quilting and then I had a health setback... something to do with my kidneys, an infection? kidney stones?  Not too sure but took some antibiotics and slept a lot.  I lost a few weeks out of my life and am still a little tired but am getting a few things started and finished.

I managed to finish this runner just in time for Thanksgiving.  I didn't go to my last post to see if I had posted a picture so forgive me if you see this twice.

And I managed to get our Arizona home decorated for Christmas.  Simple but puts us in the Christmas spirit.

And I made two striped placemats for our Thanksgiving table, ready for 2016... nice to be early!  Though that really means I was too late for this year!

I also made two pillowcases for the bed I sleep in most nights.

And then I started a new project.  Quick flying geese from Missouri Star using some of the stack of fun polka dot fabrics that I had on hand. 

I just realized that I have had finished blocks up on my design wall for a month... whoa... that is so unlike me but am determined to get them stitched together in a flimsy which will wait to be layered, quilted and bound. 

Right now, I am busy adding labels to a couple of quilts that I am going to give to friends who are undergoing cancer treatment.  So sad when that is the reason for giving a warm gift of caring hugs. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lots of beginnings but finishes are slow to happen

I have many projects on the 'go' but am not being very successful finishing anything in a timely manner.

First, I have my Downton Abbey mystery quilt from earlier this year that is ready for binding.  It is very large so I sent it to a friend, Rosemary, to get it professionally quilted.  The binding is made.  But it is waiting...

I did manage to make some autumn placemats.  Since it is U.S. Thanksgiving this week, I thought that they would make some gifts for close friends.  They are reversible and this is my favourite way to make these.

I am also piecing some new placemats for us to use next year in October and November.  Fall seems to last a long time here... maybe it does at our other 'home' as well?

And a row by row is done.  This one from Vancouver WA.  Was easy enough to make but not impressed with the shop.  They didn't include enough fabric to make the row 'deep' enough.  It was long enough but only 6.5" long... and should be 9.5" so had to scrounge in my stash to find something to add a border. 

And, I have an autumnal table runner as an ongoing project.  My friend Trish should be impressed that I made striped bias binding for this.  And I was challenged with making the vines for the appliqué using bias strips.  I don't have any bias bars here but managed ok.  Just need to finish up the binding as I do have this quilted. 

And a simple quilt is waiting for me to get it quilted.  I did NOT make this quilt.  It was made by the quilters here in Sunland Village and I offered to quilt and bind it.  Hopefully will find time this weekend to get this done and turned back in for donation. 

Of course, I also have blocks in progress for my latest Villa Rosa project.  More to come on that as I get blocks onto the design wall and start seeing some progress on this quilt top.

So, not much in the way of finished projects but I try to sew for a short time every day.  Some days am not successful - too much tennis or socializing or dreaded housework.  Hopefully will get my house decorated for Christmas this weekend.  And, more stitching done.  And, more handwork done so some bindings will be finished and that means finished projects!  And then, I can start some more! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. friends.  Love have turkey day twice in the fall. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Early November in Arizona

The good news is that it has been less than a month since my last post.  I am happily living in my 'other' house where the sun shines and I can play tennis almost daily and am back with my great stitchers group here in the Valley of the Sun.
The bad news is that I have been slow to bond with my sewing machine.  However, I did manage to bind a quilt for donation that I brought home last week from the Stitchers and this week brought home a quilt that needs quilting and binding.  Am determined to get it done in a timely manner.
But the great news is that I did manage to quilt and bind a Hallowe'en quilt that I made last year and didn't finish for Oct 31st.  And this year I didn't get it finished in time either!  But, it is finished for Hallowe'en next year in 2016!  All ready for making my home a little more Octoberish!  (not a word, I know!)

I made a big mistake when I made this quilt.  Not too sure if the directions were poorly written or if I was just being in a 'senior' state of mind when I read the instructions but I cut the strips far too short and my quilt was long and narrow... so I added more black fabric to the sides to try to make it little more proportional.  It is done and as always, finished is better than perfect!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My last week at this house

I have finished up my final two projects for the season here at my summer home.  A big 'whew'.  I still have a few smaller projects that didn't get completed, but that is ok.  The big ones are done and the B-line quilting system is back at my buddie's home since we share the frame and machine.

This is a pattern from Missouri Star.  Used 10" cake plates.

the last of my Jolly Bars from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Cute little girlie quilt.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mid October and autumn is moving quickly!

Cannot believe we have celebrated Thanksgiving weekend and life is continuing to move along quickly here in our home.  We are finishing up our outdoor gardening work and putting everything to bed for the winter and on sunny days, we are still playing tennis with our local seniors group.

I am wrapping up a lot of quilting projects and getting them finished before we change homes for the winter.

One of my finishes is this St. Louis 16 patch that I began earlier this Spring and tried hard to make a dent in my purple and green stash of fabrics.  Some of these fabrics are quiet old and need to be taken off the shelf and used in a quilt that can be donated to Quilts of Valour.

And my other finish is a new project that I started a month ago from a kit that I purchased from Hamel's fabrics on their Thrifty Thursday.  Feels good to have it done and I am down to completing the binding on two more quilts and that will be it for projects that get completed before we leave.

Back to cleaning, tidying, packing, organizing and staring at my lists of things that I need to get done this week.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Here comes October, Hallowe'en month!

 Hallowe'en month... one of my nieces just loves October and she is into all things Hallowe'en so I made her these pillowcases and will get them in the mail asap.

 I have a few quilt finishes... still more that need to be quilted and bound but this is a start!
Lemonade which is a free pattern by the Fat Quarter Shop.  Made from 10" squares and I added to a Holly Taylor layer cake pack with some of my own fabrics to make this large enough for Quilts of Valour.

And Busy Bee is a Villa Rosa pattern that uses fat quarters.  I dug into my stash of autumn colours and then put them all together.  A total stash quilt.  And even better, finished for Quilts of Valour.

I had a pack of cake plates called Celebrations and I used a free pattern from Hamel's quilt shop to make this.  Goes together quickly.  Not so sure this will be for Quilts of Valour but I did play around with some different quilting on this and tried vertical parallel lines.  I need to get out of my rut of quilting everything the same.  Love the happy colours in this quilt.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Raining... good weather to get back into the quilting groove!

So, going back to August, I was working on finishing six preemie quilts for our local hospital and their NICU unit.  I like to make a few of these small quilts in memory of my grandson who was born far too early (24 weeks) and only survived for 3 days.  I spent a lot of time in that special care nursery because his brother survived and lived there for 3 months and the quilts really brighten up the space and I may have mentioned before, help parents to identify their wee babe's isolette when they enter the space.  The babies get moved around depending on their current state of health and needs.

So those are done and already donated via my local quilt guild. And I feel good because the charm packs I bought this spring are used up and not calling my name.

I made some blocks from a package of cake plates (10" squares) and the fabric is all sewing themed.  When I put some of the blocks up on my design wall, it felt really overwhelming.  I am not too sure if  it is because I have working with 'modern' concepts, using lots of neutrals and whites in my projects recently and the lack of negative space just seemed not quite right?  I am living with the blocks for awhile and will decide how to use them when all my other current projects are completed - which really means, I am practicing 'avoidance' of the situation!

Bonnie Hunter on Quiltville has a tumbler challenge and I have been sewing these tumblers as leaders and enders and now have enough for a few small quilts.  There are actually a few ways to arrange the tumblers and this is my first one.

I have three quilts that I have quilted this week and the binding is made and stitched on, ready for me to do some hand sewing while watching tv.  This is the week of the new season starting for many of my favourite shows so hopefully, by the end of the week, they will be done!

I did actually make and finish a quilt as a wedding gift and it is now in the mail to the lucky recipient.  I don't think she reads my blog but if she does, she gets a sneak preview of what is on the way to her!  I did use wine themed fabric as they are in southern California and the wine industry is near and dear to her, her fiancee and her mother (who is one of my good friends that I have know forever).  If you are ever in Ramona, check out Hatfield Creek Vineyard and Winery. This is a Turning Twenty quilt made from fat quarters.  And, best of all, I got to use up some of the fabrics in my stash that I have been collecting.  Of course, still lots of yardage left in the 'wine' bin.

Currently, I am playing with some variations on quilting with straight lines on the B-line and am now doing a wavy line variation. Might be hard to see in this picture.  It is difficult to get a good picture of cream thread on cream coloured fabric but I tried!

And of course, I need another project to work on!  This is what is on my design wall at the moment and the blocks are in progress.