Friday, December 30, 2011

jingle bells, jingle bells...

I made one more quilty gift for Christmas - placemats for my Sister-in-law. I used some Amy Butler fabric if you can believe it.
I was a bit unsure of myself sewing with these brights but I was pleased with the results. They should be a colorful addition to their kitchen.

We went to visit DH's sister's family farm to spend Christmas. There wasn't a lot of snow but enough for a sleigh ride in a one-horse open sleigh :0) The horse wore the jingle bells. The kids thought it was pretty special and you could hear them singing Jingle Bells from the far end of the field.

I took a picture when I was a passenger too but it wasn't very flattering of the horse :0)

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I wish you a very Merry Christmas!! It's an incredible event to celebrate!!

I managed to start and finish one more little project this week. DD#1 had a stocking made for her by her aunt. She liked it but it didn't match the stockings I have made for her brother and sisters. So, this week she and I made the blue stocking with the red mittens. She helped choose the fabrics and kept me company while I sewed. It was fun to work together :0) I still have one more to make for my DH. We use an old, very ugly stocking for him that we don't hang up at all. (just fill and put out on Christmas eve) Next year I'll get his made... then there will be 6.

This next project was a Christmas gift for a very good friend of mine. We belong to the same guild and always our guild does a secret 12 days of Christmas gift exchange. It was very hard to keep it a secret from her that I had her name. She makes amazingly lovely quilts so I was a bit afraid to make one for her. I decided to do something different - something round.

The pattern for the flying geese was in the July/August 2008 Quilters Newsletter Magazine. The applique I drew up myself. It was fun to work with these bright, happy colors.

I wanted to handquilt it for her but the paperpieced flying geese were a bit bulky and I also ran out of time. So, I just carefully stitched in the ditch and filled in the open area with a heart for friendship.

She called me this morning, after opening it. She was excited about it - that is a gift to me :0) To make something and have it be appreciated gives me great pleasure.

I hope you all find great pleasure in celebrating Jesus' birthday!

Happy Quilting!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

four sevenths

I finished another branch on my vine. There are supposed to be 7 on this panel so I guess I am 4/7 ths finished :0)
I know Janet has mentioned that it is hard to photograph a panel. I would have to agree.

Christmas is so soon now. I hope I will be ready!

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I am very grateful for all the advice people offered the last time I posted about this project. Janet pointed out that because this block is on point - a simple crosshatch would end up on the straight of grain. I would have NEVER thought of that. I decided to take her advice and go with straight lines 1/2 and 1/4 inches apart.
I showed it to DH and he remarked that it looked like a whole lot of work to him. To me it looks like a whole lot of fun! It hasn't come too far yet. I've been busy working on a couple Christmas presents and I can't post about them yet.

I had a stencil the right size for the corner triangles so I marked before I basted. It was marked lightly with pencil so I thought I better quilt them before it rubbed off.
I am still pondering what to quilt in the the pieced blocks. Part of me wishes they weren't there at all. I would like to design and quilt a wholecloth quilt one day. Just think of that whole big surface with no seams to quilt through... sigh... :0)
My trailing vine panel is progressing slowly - I'm almost halfway - lol. I love the silk thread for the pieced leaves - it's working very well.

I hope with all your holiday preparations you are finding a few minutes to sit and stitch!

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

vine quilt

Here are my first few leaves sewn on my version of the Susan McCord vine quilt. This quilt is going to take a very looooong time to make. Thirteen panels, 89 inches long, filled with tiny leaves. It's lots of fun though and so very colorful.

I took the first few stitches in the airport waiting for my flight to Kelowna. My wonderful husband gave me the weekend "off" and I went for a visit to my parents. My brother was visiting from Toronto - it was a great weekend.
Once I started stitching on my first pieced leaf I realized I was going to have to do something different for thread. I couldn't find a thread color in my bag that would work for yellow and dark stripes in the same leaf. I talked my brother into going to the quilting store in Kelowna to pick up some silk thread. I had never used silk thread before and I am happy with how it is working. I know some people don't like using silk thread. I'm curious to know what you fellow quilters think about it.
Janet at Quiltsalott has done an amazing job of the pattern. Thanks Janet!!

Happy quilting!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

red and white project

This is one of my other new projects. Inspired by the fabulous show in New York - this one is for a red and white challenge I am doing with my guild. I wasn't going to post about it - I thought it was supposed to be a surprise when it was finished. But there are no such restrictions on this challenge. Happily, now I can ask for advice! This is the center setting square. I had so much fun looking through books of antique quilts getting inspiration for drawing this quilting design. I had even more fun drawing it. After much erasing I was ready to transfer it. Now I am stalled - in indecision about what to quilt in the space around the feathered design and the pieced blocks. Any ideas?? At least I have a plan for the border :0)

Here is the whole quilt. I was trying to keep it fairly small - I need to be finished at the end of May. I found the block on Barbara Brackman's blog a few months ago - she did a whole post about this block with lovely antique examples of it. I don't remember what it is called. They were very fun blocks to piece with all my scrappy reds.

I am trying out wool batting for this project. As I spread out the batt so the wrinkles could relax my eyes were burning and I was sneezing but now that it is sandwiched it's not bothering me at all. It is Hobbs wool. I certainly notice it is very puffy, I'm curious to see what it will be like when it is all quilted. It is a dream to needle and I will enjoy the handquilting on this project very much.

I am also trying out solid Kona fabric - this one is Kona snow. I really like it. I never sew with solids, my whole stash is prints. I am trying out Moda Bella solid for my trailing vines quilt. I have a few leaves prepped and hope to have some progress to share next week. Do you have a favorite solid fabric?

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a new project

I have started a few new projects lately - yikes! Here is one of them. DD#1 knows that DD#2 getting a new quilt before she does is incorrect in the order of fairness. Not that I've finished the courthouse steps quilt yet :0) Anyway to keep everyone happy I have started a new quilt for DD#1.
She has chosen the color scheme and the pattern is from the May/June Quiltmaker magazine. So far it is all from my stash. I see that I might want to work in a little more variety of cheddar/golds and maybe some brighter yellows. I calculate that I will need 46 blocks so I'll be at this one for awhile! It's not my usual type of block. I don't like stitch and flip because of the waste. In this case I am stitching the cut off part into hst's and stuffing them in a ziplock bag. A blue and gold quilt with lots of tiny hst's is likely in my future :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

back to Bird of Paradise

I am back to working on my Bird of Paradise quilt. I'll call this block done although all the cherries still need their stems embroidered.
The pink tablecloth is perhaps not dark enough but when laid out with the other blocks I like it ok. (the tablecloth couldn't be red because I had to have red apples :0) This is the last block I plan to make from the pattern. Now I need to get out my paper, pencil and several erasers to get drawing!

Monday, October 31, 2011

courthouse steps top

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my previous post! Your encouragement means a lot to me!
A few weeks ago my daughter and I went shopping for the border and backing fabrics for this quilt. I was sure I would get it together that week.... I finally got to it and here it is! (Most of it is showing :0) My very tall husband is standing on a chair and some of it still lays on the floor. It is a very long quilt. Hopefully this will help it stay tucked in at night - an important factor for the 10 year old who plans to sleep under it :0) I want to try free motion quilting this one. All of that length could be a bit of a challenge but there is no way I'm going to stitch this one in the ditch.

I love how warm it looks with all the gold and cheddar fabrics in it. These blocks were so fun to sew! I miss stealing away for a few minutes to sew up one more scrappy block. I really must start another scrappy project soon!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 14, 2011

4 block applique is finished

I am very excited to have this quilt completed! I put the last stitches into the binding yesterday morning and then it was such a beautiful day I had to take it out into the backyard to photograph.

This quilt was inspired by an antique quilt in the collection of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I drew the pattern up myself and designed the borders. Lucy's blog Quilting with the Past was a big inspiration to me at the time I was designing it.

I finished the top about 3 years ago - I had only the cream background fabric I saved for the binding left. Maybe red would have made a more interesting choice for binding?

We've had such a gorgeous fall. I can't remember having flowers blooming this late into October before. Here the apple tree still has lots of fall color.
All the non-quilters I show this quilt to want to know what it is for and what I'm going to do with it. It is hard for them to understand that I made this quilt for the pure enjoyment of making it. It will likely reside here in my chair for the first while. Those non-quilters just don't "get it"!

It really is inexpensive entertainment if you consider all the hours I enjoyed appliqueing and quilting it.

I've added the button for Janet's Trailing Vines quiltalong to my sidebar. I'm looking forward to starting another long term project :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

log cabin corners

I have the setting triangles onto my applique block now. I need to put on the border yet. A friend of mine suggested that I should put a little bit of pink in the border to tie it together better. I think it is good advice so I will put a bit of applique on the border.
It's to be a gift - the recipient chose the blue print that frames the applique block. I plan to quilt this by hand and I want to get it basted so I can start the quilting. Over the weekend I finished quilting my 4 block applique quilt - yeah!! I still need to bind it - I'll post pictures soon! Already I am missing having a handquilting project :0)

The setting triangles were pieced onto big pieces of paper. The pattern for these is in AP&Q magazine April 2001. I've been wanting to try this for over 10 years and I finally did it!

Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

signed and dated

I'm getting so close to having this 4 block applique quilt finished. Last week, on the last stretch of border I had to commit to how I wanted to sign it. I wanted to explore some calligraphy books and find a really elegant J and O and perhaps make the numbers more exciting as well. However, in the end I decided that the space was small and so I kept it fairly simple. Next time I post about this quilt it will be finished!

My stars are growing as well. This really is the ultimate, portable take-a-long project for me. I should have ordered more quilt patis... :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

more applique

With the kids back to school things are every bit as busy around here as they were in the summer. All my big plans to have more time to sew - lol.
In the evenings I have carried on with this applique block. It's based on a pattern in the Dec 2002 AP&Q. It was meant to be machine appliqued and since I'm doing it by hand some of the shapes needed to be changed a bit. I want to do something different in the center - I had it started last night but then pulled it all off - back to the drawing board for me. I am, however, happy with it to this stage.
And I've been missing making Courthouse steps blocks. They were so fun to sew. These Album blocks are a little less fun but I'm happy to see the pile of blocks growing.

I did not get the borders on the Courthouse steps - I haven't even washed the fabric we picked out yet - too much other wash to do around here :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

a quick finish

This little quilt now is hanging on the wall in my front entryway. It was a quick finish :0) The pattern is Sweet Carolina - from AP&Q August 2011
When I finished the top I put it away - I was unsure of how to quilt it and I knew for certain I couldn't quilt it like the one in AP&Q. After a few weeks I could pull it out having forgotten how beautifully quilted it was in the magazine and quilt it "my way" (very simple - stitch in the ditch mostly)

I managed to get all the blocks assembled for my daughter's courthouse steps quilt. Today DD#2 and I went to the LQS to choose fabrics for borders/binding/backing. It was fun to do that together!! She chose pink (no surprise there) Hopefully I can get the borders on this week and take a picture to share.

Happy Quilting!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

new stuff

I thought I'd give a peek of the applique project I am working on. I"m just taking a little break from my Bird of Paradise quilt to make a gift. I'm so glad I took pictures of it - I can see right away that the flower center fabrics need changing - maybe just reversing them would work. I love to use a digital camera to help with decision making. Now this is something I'm very excited about. My new thimble - Yahoo!! I first heard about these thimbles when Barb posted about them. Teresa posted about hers too. I told a friend who got 3 of them. Finally I ordered one myself. (Barb you should be getting a commission :0) It is so impossible to find a good thimble in my city - not enough hand quilters I guess. This thimble is a TJ Lane thimble. It has the best dimples!

This is a new handwork project I've started (because I needed a new project - lol) I've never liked piecing by hand. I've wanted to like it because it's so portable and my applique/hand quilting projects sometimes aren't. I hadn't tried English paper piecing because the idea of basting around little papers didn't seem like much fun.

Then I watched a Youtube video of someone using these Quilt Patis and I was sure I would like it. Only one backstitch on each corner to hold the fabric on the plastic template and they're ready. They are so easy to use and I am happy with the accuracy. I even stitched at the playground last night - I'm going to find all kinds of places to sew where I couldn't before. Do I sound excited?? :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

end of summer

It's nearing the end of summer - it's been wildly busy but good. The kids start back to school on Thursday. Will there be more time to sew...? Probably not but I like to think so :0)

I did manage to get eggs in the nest for this pair of blackbirds. I did a lot of the sewing of this block in the van while travelling. It sure passes the time pleasantly!
I'm taking a short break from this Bird of Paradise quilt to work on a different applique project. It's a small project so it'll be a short break.

At the sewing machine, I made it to block #180 of these courthouse steps blocks. They very quickly became these 4 block units. It was so fun to do this step I'm sorry the stack of single blocks is gone.

Now to get the them into rows and sewn together. Do you suppose I could get this quilt finished entirely before winter? :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

laid out together

That big ol' bird from the last post has been bugging me. It's not quite right. I thought if I laid him out with the other blocks I'd have a better idea if he was still going to bug me.
I laid him out with the other completed blocks. Right away I think he's too big and black - stands out too much.

But, if I mix in the almost completed block of blackbirds (they haven't laid their eggs yet :0) The blackness works okay although I think I need to mix a bit of black into a couple of the remaining blocks to keep it balanced.
I think the bird still bugs me - off to the drawing board again...

Happy Quilting!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

after much delay...

There has been much procrastination over this Bird of Paradise block!
I started out with the tree trunk and leaves - no problems there. Then the tail was next - I was a bit terrified of the tail. The pattern says to piece the 18 feathers together first and then applique it. I didn't know how to do that so it sat around on the sewing table for a long while.
Finally I decided to just do it "my way" and used an overlay to place and applique each feather. I was so pleased with how the tail turned out I didn't want to wreck it by making an ugly bird. I really liked Lurline and Teresa's birds - much better than the pattern so I tried to draw mine like theirs. I drew this bird so many times and it continued to sit on my sewing table. Then I went fabric shopping looking for just the right fabric for the bird (as if I didn't have anything suitable in my stash - ha!)
Finally I cut out some fabric and just went for it. The second picture is the first attempt. The wing was too plain and the head crest just looked silly. Last night I swapped the wing fabric and I'm going to call it done. (except for some embroidery which I'm also procrastinating about in a BIG way)

I think I finished 2 other blocks while I procrastinated over this one. It's been months and I'm glad to move it to the finished pile!

Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

new project

Yesterday I had a bit of a surprise to find a photo from my blog appear on Barbara Brackman's blog. I had been thinking about that bowl of cherries quilt because last week we were on vacation and spent a morning picking cherries with my Mom. I thought they were just gorgeous and they taste even better than they look :0)
I do want to make a bowl of cherries quilt one day.... But this week I started something else :0)

I have always liked this signature/chimney sweep block. Last year my husband and sister threw a birthday party for me and I thought it would be an excellent time to gather some signatures. They've been sitting in an envelope for a year and a half. Yesterday seemed like the perfect time to dig them out and get going!

So it works out perfectly - I have all the fun and excitement of starting a new project but technically I can still call it a ufo - lol.

Happy Quilting!

Friday, July 22, 2011


There is still some stitching going on here in the evenings :0) I finished another block for my Bird of Paradise quilt.

It's block #12. I have to confess it's not my favorite but with 20 blocks in the quilt every block can't be a favorite.

My garden is starting bloom - roses, bellflowers and peonies. It makes me smile every time I look out the window :0)

Happy quilting!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

paper piecing

I just love flowers on the deck in summer. It makes me wish it was summer all year :0)
I had a little gift to make last week. I hadn't done any paper piecing for a long while so this was a fun, quick project.

I popped it in the mail the next morning. Happy Birthday Mom!

And since I have so few quilting pictures I thought I'd include a couple from our recent family trip to Lethbridge, AB.

At the Japanese gardens with DD#1 and DD#2. I remember visiting here when I was about 11. It was just as I remembered it.

We went to the Birds of Prey Nature Centre as well. We all got to hold owls! Even DD#3 got to hold one - here a burrowing owl. It was so interesting to see these magnificent eagles, hawks and owls up close.
I just love summer... :0)

Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

double lines

I'm still working away at quilting my 4 block applique quilt. I basted this on July 1st last year never thinking it would take longer than a year to quilt. Those Bird of Paradise applique blocks have been a big distraction :0)
I decided to go with double parallel lines in the borders to try something new. They are 1/4" and 3/4" apart. I really like the texture that is created.

I decided to change the direction of the lines as I go around the corners. I got this idea from looking in books at the quilting of antique quilts. Here is the first corner. Together with the feathers it does make the corners a bit busy. Oh well - I'm learning :0)

The kids finished school for the summer yesterday. I suspect posts could be few for a couple months. I'm looking forward to a busy and fun summer!
Happy Quilting!!