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Friday, December 7, 2018

Finally, some sewing and an update!

Here it is, Dec 7th and I am finally 'getting around to it".  Procrastination seems to be a family trait and I have had 'write blog' on my list of things to do for the last few weeks.
We arrived at our winter home and, right away, the social life gets better and lots of time on the tennis court and I decided to enjoy the heat with trips to the local library and do some reading.

Finally, I headed into my sewing room and looked around, shook my head and knew that I had make some lists and get myself organized.  In the meantime, my husband had a repair that I had to fix so that meant unpacking my sewing machine and getting it set up which also means digging out the spools of thread that I keep wrapped in zip-loc bags.  My machine (and my printer) are always packed away in heavy plastic with as much air removed as possible to help prevent parts from drying out in the summer.  We leave our a/c set at 90 while we are gone so things get hot and dry in our house.

It is always a feeling of relief and happiness when my printer works after being unpacked and getting it connected. 
The first project that inspired me to get stitching was a post from Canadian Quilter's Association (CQA) that next year, 2019, they were going to sponsor, along with Northcott Fabrics, the making of log cabin blocks for Quilts of Valour, Canada.  The block is easily available on the QOVC website and uses 2.5" strips.  It is preferable to use Northcott fabrics (Oh Canada) but any red or white fabrics are acceptable.  Since I didn't find out about this challenge/project until after arriving here, I don't have any of the Oh Canada fabrics available here.  So, I dug out all my red and white (more cream than white) and got busy cutting strips.
The blocks were laid out and sewing began. Who knew I had so much red fabric here.  Lots of variety!  Since the blocks finish at 10", it takes 42 blocks for a finished quilt 60" x 70". 
And the finished quilt with some extra blocks leftover.  CQA and QOVC are accepting blocks, tops and finished quilts.  Of course, finished quilts are the best and great projects for groups to work on. 
My quilt will get layered, quilted and bound next spring when I am back 'home'.
Of course, one the activities that happens here is U.S. Thanksgiving and black Friday sales.  With our dollar being the pits at the moment, I tried really hard to avoid purchasing much but Craftsy seems to have kits on sale at ridiculously cheap prices so I bought a few.  And, I dug out my projects on hand and found a few UFO's as well as kits waiting and patterns that I would like to make.
 We hosted Thanksgiving dinner, at our home and enjoyed the company of some of our friends.  Of course, Canadians love having two turkey dinners in the fall!

There are framed 16 patches from jelly roll strips, a Busy Bee kit that is from Villa Rosa and framed squares using 10" squares.
The framed 16 patches got put together into a quilt top.  Plus, two more kits pulled out and fabric cut, blocks stitched.  More good ideas for using 10" squares.

Then, I stopped!  Yesterday was a rainy day and I cleaned up the mess in the sewing room and dug out Christmas fabric.  I went through everything I seem to have on hand for the season and started making a few gifts.  My husband is enjoying some television shows that I don't enjoy (the Vikings..ugh) and so I have been stitching in the evenings while watching mindless Hallmark channel and feeling like Christmas just might be happening!  The tree is assembled, decorated and the house looks as festive as it is will get this season. 

Just in case I don't get back here in the next few weeks to update you, enjoy your Christmas and may you all be healthy and have lots of stitching time!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Changing houses is stressful!

It must be my age but am finding this business of changing homes from summer to winter very stressful this year.  Could be because of aging parents and circumstances but am a little frazzled.
I have managed to write my lists and have finished up as much quilting and piecing as will get done this year.
However, I have had some quilt finishes that are making me very happy.
My Sew-Sisters block of the month for Canada's anniversary is quilted and bound.  This has been patiently waiting on a hanger for a year. These are blocks designed by Canadian quilters and each one represents a particular part of our country. 
And, even better, I got my Canadian 150 women's quilt finished.  There were 150 blocks in total, with 3 per week sent out to us.  I kept up with making them until I got to around 70 blocks and realized that this was going to be a really large quilt.  I don't like to work with large quilts and I don't really have a need or use for a large quilt so I picked and chose the final ten blocks to get it to 80 squares.  With added sashings and outer borders, it is a perfect size and I have been sleeping under it for the last few nights.  It is warm and cozy with flannel backing and Arctic blend batting.
A quilt came to me that was quilted but needed binding and a label for Quilts of Valour Canada so that is another "job" done. The top was made by a guild member and it is a fun way to use 2.5" strips.
I also got the binding finished on my Villa Rosa Sheryl quilt.  It was quilted a few months ago but was at the bottom of the binding pile.  Crossed off my list of projects!
Am not sure if posted this picture of my Quilter's planner 2018 block of the month quilt.  I made blocks every month and then in September decided that I would finish up the blocks and the quilt so that it would a finish for the year.  However, I didn't want to take the blocks with me to my winter home and then have to bring them back and since we fly, didn't want to haul a finished quilt back with me.  So, it is done and I can post the picture to the group on Facebook at the end of December and then start in on the blocks for 2019 without any guilt.

So, heading on a jet plane to sunshine and warmth.  Tennis will take over my life for the first few weeks and then we will see what happens in my quilting room. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Time to change homes for the winter.

September was an awful month for weather but October is glorious and I am loving the cool temperatures and the glorious sunshine.  I was actually motivated to do some housework today with the brightness coming in the windows and it felt good.  I don't say that very often.

Had a fun night last night at the modern guild meeting and I won a fabulous set of fat quarters.  Thank you to Jean! And Val handed me some awesome Canadian batik fabric which will get used in a Quilt of Valour.  Thank you to Val!
Earlier in the week, I opened a fun package from my Ovarian Teal mini swap partner in San Jose, CA and was thrilled with her choice of fabrics, pattern and quilting design.  So much fun and so happy!  She had taken a class with Christa Watson (am so envious) and was playing with some of the things she learned.
Thank you to Susy!

I love the back of the mug rug as much as the front.  And I laughed at the lint picker... it is as if she has seen me leaving the house and picking threads off myself while sitting at a red light.  The card is a picture of two of her pugs and of course, who wouldn't drool over a charm pack of zen chic?
Thanksgiving dinner was a delicious turkey feast at our neighbour's house and I managed to bake a lemon meringue pie!  Plus, Gary loves my yams in orange sauce so my contribution was minimal but Susan had the rest all organized.  So nice to go out for a nice family dinner with good friends.

One of my goals got met.  All seven of the preemie quilts I started at the retreat last month are quilted, bound, labelled and off to the NICU at our local hospital.

I only made one block for Canada Stitches.  I had to make one to ensure the instructions for the guild were accurate and I was really impressed with a quilt made from this block pattern. It is garlic knot and am happy that the guild went full steam ahead making blocks and they will be in the mail in the next few days to the rep in Alberta ready to made into another quilt for a deserving first responder attending Can Praxis to help them heal from PTSD.

I met up with my naval veteran friend and he picked up a stack of quilts to deliver to deserving veterans through the Naval veterans association.  They meet at HMCS Discovery in Stanley park monthly and we are trying to cover those deserving armed forces members with a quilt.  I think that Real deserved a quilt for all the good work he does for these veterans.
On Tuesday, we had Toonie Tuesday at our guild meeting where members pay a toonie to take six classes, moving every 15 minutes to a different session.  I normally do a quilt block that is easy, quick, simple and great for using scraps but I changed my class offering, which, sad to say, upset a few people who were looking forward to my quilt block ideas.  Oh well.. next year!  Instead, I demonstrated making the small buckets from 3 fat quarters.  Perfect for small, quick gifts for Thanksgiving, Autumn, Hallowe'en, and Christmas.
I got the binding done on my Pow Wow quilt.  This was a kit from Connecting Threads 3 years ago and simple as it is, took forever to get it out of the bag and onto my cutting table and under my needle.  All is done.
This quilt was a bit smaller and I bought the kit at Quilt Canada earlier this year.  When I finished the top, I decided to add borders to make it slightly larger, and I put flannel on the back. It will be a perfect quilt to donate to Victoria quilts which are quilts given to patients fighting cancer.

My block of the week, Sparrow mystery blocks are finished but they won't be put into a quilt top until 2019.
And, am very excited that I have quilted both my Canadian 150 women's blocks quilt and my Sew-Sisters quilt.  The bindings are added but am hand stitching them down so expect pictures soon. They are crossed off the list and are UFO's that are only a year old, not too bad?
So, I am down to seven tops that need quilting and I am not upset if they wait until next spring.  I have accomplished all I wanted to get done in the last seven months.  I also have a bunch of blocks waiting to be stitched into quilt tops and again, they can wait their turn.  There are a couple of bunches that really need to be worked on next spring and I will try to get them finished.  But, lots of time, right?  At least the blocks are made which is much better than a labelled container of fabric and half finished blocks.  These tops are all destined to be donation quilts so their time will come, eventually.  

Among those blocks that are hanging and waiting are some panels that were available last year while we were celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary and I saw this quilt, made by a good friend in my Wednesday Diva group and think it is a great way to use the fabric.  Love how effective the panel looks in this quilt. This picture inspires me to use those panels next spring.
Off to work on handstitching my binding on my quilts and hopefully will have another post before I leave on a jet plane!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

September is ending with gloomy weather.

I have missed posting on my blog because of heading to a retreat during last week for a few days, getting my husband organized for a hunting trip (big pan of stroganoff made) and then the last few days, doing yard work and playing tennis in glorious sunshine.  Our yard looks lovely, neat, trim and tidy and almost ready to put to sleep for the winter.  The dead brown grass from summer is greening up and needs cutting weekly now.  The dahlias are thriving with the rain from two weeks ago and now sun.
So, what have I accomplished?  Lots but not a lot of finishes. These pictures are from the retreat.  I put together 7 preemie quilts from leftover flannel from backings plus I had a lovely bunch of fat quarters.  Cut them all into squares and this is the result. I also got the binding on my plus quilt and on my Marbella quilt.  Two tops are put together from all my teal and purple 16 patch blocks.  The daisy colorweave quilt top is ready for quilting.  And my L-7 blocks are now a top.

 This was a great place to spend all day long stitching and working on projects.  We only stopped for lunch and dinner (which we all took turns preparing) and otherwise, it was pedal to the floor.
The lodging was lovely.  Very nice new rooms and I had my own with a bathroom and comfy bed.

One last top got put together just before I packed up to leave - my stargazer is now a top.
Once home, so much to put away and tidy up.  Ugh... that is the worst part of heading to retreat.  But first, it was time to help my husband get organized and find him shampoo, towel to take (not one of the good ones - that is why I help).  Finally, they were off.  Home Alone.

I was inspired by the "big" ironing board at the retreat so came home and decided to make one for myself.  That was last Sunday's project and after googling for instructions, heading to Home Depot for a piece of sanded plywood and then with the help of my neighbour using his nail gun, I have a happy finished board of my own.
First up was getting my blue "oh Scrap" blocks done for the month of September.  Happy to say, they are completed.
And the Plus quilt (Connecting Threads) is bound.
And Portlandia (Villa Rosa) is completely finished.

The view of my back yard.  I helped my neighbour, recovering from hip replacement, to cut his grass and weed eat between our houses and around his apple tree.  Was hot and sweaty work and our Navien (hot water system) died on me!   So, had to call a repairman but didn't want to pay emergency fees so suffered with a sponge bath after all that labour around the yard. He finally showed up late Thursday afternoon so was happy to enjoy a soak in lovely hot water.  We take some of the basics in our life for granted! It turns out that the filter on the system was so clogged after the lousy air for the last two summers, that it couldn't get the air it needed.  The good news is that he showed me how to remove the cover and take out the filter and wash it myself.  That little bit of a lesson will save me $200 next time it happens!

It was a good thing I had spent the first weekend home alone, putting away retreat stuff and working on a few projects.  And, with Dancing with the Stars starting, I managed to quilt and put the binding on two more projects. First is the hug block quilt made with blocks from quilters all across Canada.  These blocks are made with Northcott Oh Canada line and they donate back to Quilts of Valour from the sale of the fabric. Blocks are in this quilt from various provinces and territories.  See the cowboy boot block - Calgary, Alberta. 
And then I worked on a quilt that is not an example of my best work.  I made the top using flannel squares I had on hand while in my winter home and used up all the flannel I could find, to complete a decent size top.  My big error here was using flannel for the binding.  It might have been ok if I had hand stitched it down but I didn't.  I machine stitched both front and back.  Lesson learned, the hard way.  This quilt is going to get washed and then donated to Victoria Quilts.  Our Wednesday Diva quilting group has a member who is working on becoming involved with this organization and they cover cancer patients with warm, comfy quilts to keep them warm during their treatments and to bring them some comfort.  There is a need for quilts for all ages, boys, girls, men and women.  Once this quilt is washed and dried, it will will perfect to cover someone needing a cozy quilt and am sure they won't mind if the border is a bit wavy.
So, my list on my last post was this:

My list for the next two weeks:
1. quilt a hug blocks quilt and bind 
 2. put together my L -7 blocks into a quilt top
3. quilt the flannel quilt that got put together in AZ this past winter, and bind.
4. blue rail fence blocks
5. cut some kid's flannel into squares for preemie quilts
6. quilt my Sew Sisters quilt top and bind
7. quilt my 150 women's quilt top and bind
8. Put the blocks from my daisy quilt together into a quilt top
9. Blocks that are 16 patch teal and turquoise into a quilt top
10. Happy blocks for some kid's quilts.

So not bad.  I have crossed off 7 out of 10 and have quilted one of the 7 preemie quilts.  I now have Sparrow mystery blocks to make and my Sew Sister's and 150 women's quilts to get finished.  I don't think it will happen by tomorrow night but I am going to get the backings made and the batting cut so they are first on my October list. The Happy blocks can wait since I prefer to the preemie quilts finished off to the local hospital.