Thursday, December 16, 2010

Something a little different!

I'd like to share with you all what my Dad makes...some of it 'quilty' themed. He 'pieces' wood quilt blocks and uses them in his beautiful wood turned bowls. Here are just a few of his bowls. I hope you enjoy!

I'll be away from my computer for a couple of weeks enjoying the Christmas holiday with my family and I hope to have some quilting themed Christmas gifts to show off when I get back!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Stocking!

I finished a new Christmas stocking for my sister-in-law this week. I knitted her last one many, many years ago and because my brother insisted on stuffing it TOO FULL and I could not repair it, a new stocking was needed. I used as inspiration, a table runner pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine from December 2007.

For a project like this I like to use cotton batting as a stabilizer for the machine buttonhole stitch. I also like my tension adjusted so that the stitches are pulled slightly to the back, making sure that the tension isn't causing your stitches to pucker.
I like the way my stitches look with this adjustment.

My backs are a mess now that I have a sewing machine that locks the stitches. I am so glad no one sees this part of the finished stocking! I used to pull my threads to the back, tie and trim them but now I just pull the back thread a bit, clip the top thread and leave the mess at the back. A little lazy of me I think!

Next I machine appliqued the heel and toe and added some trim to 'pretty' it up a bit. 


Do you think she'll like it?

And this is my inspiration...

Happy Stitching and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Very Productive Week!

Before I show and tell, I wanted to share a couple pictures of the visitor we had yesterday afternoon. We are hoping he comes back today!

Isn't he wonderful! He was very suspicious of me and did not take his eyes off me while I snapped a few pictures.

And now for my regularly scheduled blog....

I have no idea where it came from but I have been very productive this week! I finished knitting another pair of socks...that makes four pairs in November. I'm taking a break from socks for a bit...or am I? I am still feeling a bit of a tug to knit another pair but I had better save that for Christmas holidays. I have things to finish for Christmas.

I finished another knitting project as well (and just in time for winter!)...a scarf knit with wool from New Zealand that my cousin Heather brought back for me in the spring. It is kid mohair and merino and it is wonderfully soft. I can't wait to wrap it around my neck! The picture does not do it justice. The colors are much more vibrant.


I did finish the next 3 Farmer's Wife quilt blocks as well. I am really starting to enjoy all the colors coming together. Even though I have a long way to go, I have started thinking about the sashing and border. I am thinking I may choose either black, charcoal or dark blue. My instinct is telling me dark blue...

I don't make cards that often anymore but I needed to make a couple special ones for a friend. I can't show those but I did do one extra Christmas card just because I loved the paper!

So that is some of what I finished up this week!

I have just one more project to go...a Christmas stocking!

Happy Stitching!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Favourite Snips and More Farmer`s Wife

It was a very sad day in my sewing room favourite thread snippers are on their last legs.

The spring is not working well and the little clip that closes it is loose and catches when it is not supposed to. I have had my beloved thread snips for well more than 10 years, maybe closer to 15. 
At least Fiskars still makes them so they can be replaced! I'm on the lookout!

While I was fighting with the snips. I was working on some more of the Farmer`s Wife blocks.

When I first got the book, I drafted all the blocks into my EQ7. I had bought fat quarter packs of Thimbleberries Village Green fabrics in Dawn, Dusk and Midnight so I downloaded all the fabric swatches for them to use in EQ7. My thought was to preplan all the blocks but I have ended up just grabbing from the pile. It is great though to have a general feel for the project right in my EQ7.

 My Aunt Sharon`s class is doing Blocks # 8, 18, 80 and 90 so I got right to it ths weekend.

The class is only doing 24 blocks in all, and I plan to make the queen size quilt so I have started from Block #1 and will slowly do them all. I did #6 and #7 yesterday as well. That's 14 blocks done!

I have plans for three more blocks today and a bit more Christmas present making as well!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

With Christmas coming quickly, I have been making a few small things....some I can show, some I can't! Here is my latest little project. They turned out so cute! All you need is a charm pack and you get 3 of them!

Two charm packs later...

When I was finished sewing I started cleaning my sewing room and found this Cutting Mat Cleaner I had never tried. So I took it out and cleaned my cutting mat. The cutting mat even looks clean!

This is the close up- I would never have believed my mat could be that dirty! Very gruesome! This is one product I will be using more often!

Now back to my sewing room...I have a Christmas Stocking to make!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friendship Triangle Exchange

Today I have been working on my half square triangle squares for a friendship triangle exchange with some other quilters in my area. I only had 9 "cinnamon sticks" to sew and cut so it didn't take me long.

I am doing the Tree of Life quilt but I am adding an extra 2 rows of trees so that it will be square. In all, I need 234 squares for this quilt.

I am already thinking about making that quilt on the cover as well. I love how graphic it is.

These were really easy to do and fast. Each sheet of triangle exchange paper took less than 5 minutes to sew. (Yes, I actually timed it...4 minutes and 36 seconds! )

Cutting them apart took a bit longer but this was still a fast process.

All that's left now is to wait for the exchange!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's Sock Season!

Along with quilting I also love to knit! I haven't touched a knitting needle since February but with winter on the way I suddenly felt the urge to get working on a pair of socks! As I was sorting my sock yarn, I realized I had enough for 11 pairs plus a few more pairs of thicker socks. I know there are MUCH bigger sock yarn stashes than this, but for me it is a lot.

That will keep me going in socks for a while! But I still find myself browsing online for more. So far I have resisted. Do you think I may have a sickness?

So here is my first pair for this year...I made them to fit me but I have enough so I think I'll be passing these on to someone who might enjoy them for the winter. Although you can't see them well because of the striped wool, they have a diagonal pattern. Want to make them? Find them on Ravelry...they are called Anastasia Socks.

I have already begun pair #2. These ones ( also from Ravelry) are No Purl Monkey Socks. I don't normally make the same socks twice but this pattern is an easy knit for a striped yarn that won't show much pattern.

Maybe socks will end up being this years Christmas gifts!

Happy stitching!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Farmer's Wife Blocks

My Aunt Sharon and I are working on the Farmers Wife quilt. My aunt is doing it through her local quilt shop Candlelite Quilts each month and I am following along making the same blocks as her. I am a little behind but I thought I'd show what we have done so far.

These are my blocks so far... # 29, 54, 19 and 77.

These are my Aunt Sharon's blocks so far.

I do have a bit of catching up to do!

I just got back from Vegas and had an amazing time. I printed off directions to quilt shops, wool shops and a rubber stamping store but did not make it to a single one. I did however get pictures of floors and ceilings for inspiration. There was a lot of that! I thought I would share pictures of a few floors that inspired me.

What a great way to spark your creativity!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Glue on my quilt?

I was procrastinating on this challenge but I finally decided to just do it...that is what this blog is about but I have had misgivings. In the end I decided to keep an open mind and make a wall hanging. I found a pattern for applique to suit the season and gathered my supplies. Freezer paper and a glue stitck. It is so hard for me to use glue on a quilt. It just seems...well...wrong. I know lots of quilters use glue but I am such a traditional quilter that it is difficult for me.

The challenge was to use the freezer paper and glue method of machine applique from The Quilt Show Episode 210 with Beth Ferrier. When I googled this method there were lots of websites and blogs that mentioned it and gave tutorials.

So I began cuttitng my freezer paper, ironing it onto my fabrics and readied myself for the glue. I could not believe that every single glue stick I had was dried out. I tried it with a shrivelled glue stick and it was Yuck! Plan B..I've been meaning to try the freezer paper and spray starch method so I dig out the starch. Yuck! I am so not liking it and it took me forever to do just one piece. I ended up hand basting all my pieces, which I think took me the same amount of time as it would have with the glue stick or iron and it was less messy and I could do it in front of the tv in a relaxed position. Now I was happy!

Finally I can get to the stitching. I used Sulky clear poly thread (regular thread in the bobbin) with a very small zig zag stitch and loosened my top tension just a bit. After stitching I removed the basting stitches and the freezer paper from the back side in the same manner I would use for hand applique. After I was used to my machine stitching I made the stitch width even smaller and found it was much easier to remove the freezer paper. The smaller the 'bite' the better.

So I finished the stitching in no time at all and it turned out to be a very cute wall hanging where the stitches, while not truely invisible, were not noticeable. The one difference that I found noticeable between this method of machine applique and hand applique was that the appliques are much flatter looking as a result of the stitching on the edges. I really enjoyed it and would do this again, with the hand basting. I will not try the glue again and I will probably not try the starch again either. But I am happy that I tried them.

The pattern is from the October 2000 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Retreat quilt and GO!

This quilt is getting big! When it is finished it will be about 90"x100". And it is not so easy to layout for piecing.

I sew in an attic with sloped ceilings so there is really not room for a large design wall or a small one for that matter. My design wall is a space on my floor and in this case was just large enough to hold 2 rows at a time. I moved furniture in the living room to take a picture of 4 rows done.

By tonight I did get all six rows done, so all that is left is to sew those rows together! I am really liking this quilt and I am fairly certain I am going to Big Stitch it with perle cotton. As soon as it is together I`ll start throwing embroidery floss all over it to pick a color. How many balls will I need? At least 10 and maybe up to 15. That is a lot of perle cotton. I'll be using a traditional fan pattern for the quilting. I think that circular motion of the fan will really complement the different sizes of the churn dash. This is a good winter project and hopefully it will be on my bed by summer! But I may need some luck for that.


So how does a person resist all the excitement of the Accuquilt GO! ?
All over blogland there are VERY excited people. I supposed I should state, for the record, that I am not buying a GO! and I have not even tried to win one. But the temptation is strong. Everywhere I look there are giveaways, tutorials and show and tell. So is anyone else trying to resist? Or is it just me?

Happy stitching!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My new most favourite notion!

This week I pulled out from my drawer, a box of pins that I have had at least 2 years and more than likely longer than that. I have never tried them in all this what have I finally tested and now can't live without?

Clover Fork Pins!

I've been working away at my Churn Dash quilt and decided to try using them where you butt your seams up together. I have to thank Annie Smith. She showed off these pins when she was on "The Quilt Show- Episode 209" and I realized that I had those pins.

They were amazing! Every single seam match is perfect - nothing slipped. I do have to admit to a couple of mishaps though...

I must confess that I am a pin bulldozer. I just sew right over them with wonderful abandon and it is not too often I bend a pin or break a needle, until these fork pins...2 pins bent and 1 needle broken in 3 seams. Not a good record. So I changed my ways and as I reach a pin, I slow my machine right down and I am ready to stop it and grab the wheel if necessary. After that I have a perfect record!

So now I wonder how many other notions do I own that are amazing and I don't know it yet?

Happy Pinning!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Retreat Weekend

It was a great weekend. Saturday and Sunday spent quilting in the company of other quilters is always good. I had my camera along but guess who forgot to take pictures...yes, that would be me! Too busy sewing I suppose. This time I decided to start a new large quilt so I cut all my fabric before the weekend so I could just enjoy the sewing. It took me 3 days to cut it all out! I guess it had been a while since I cut out a large scrap quilt all at once. I did not expect it to take that long.

Here are some of the finished blocks from the weekend-

I am using greens, browns and blues and making 16", 10", 6" and 4" churn dashes. The original patterrn is from the February 2008 issue of  American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Lately I have found myself attracted to quilts that have combinations of blocks in different sizes.

I am roughly dividing each size into brown/blue, brown/green and blue/green combinations. This quilt will be bigger than the pattern but I am not sure yet whether to add more blocks or a border. I'll decide that later.

I finished all the 16" and 10" blocks and got a good start on the 6" blocks this weekend. I am really happy with them and I am loving these colors! All the fabrics came right from my stash except a little bit of dark blue I got from a friend. I love scrap quilts and this one will be wonderful. I'll be working on it over the next week or two so hopefully it won't be long before I can show the top finished. I was going to have it long-armed but I am loving it so much that I may hand quilt it or use the big stitch on it.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Easy Fabric Dyeing!

This weekend I had some fun creating my own fabric. This is the second time I've done this technique and it is fun and easy!

I used this fabulous kit for low immersion dyeing. Each kit makes 30 fat eighths and it comes in 12 colorways! I bought my kit at a quilt shop a long time ago but I did find them online at Pro Chemical and Dye. You`ll need a couple of uninterrupted hours to do this.The first thing to do is gather your supplies and read the instructions over. Yes, I did say read the instructions. (I usually skip this part myself but in this case it`s a good idea to read it over.) One thing to note is that you should buy the best quality of PFD cotton that you can. The better the quality the better your color will be.

This is the very abbreviated version of how to do it...

First you stuff your fat eighths into small containers and make your dye mixes. The instructions are straight forward and easy but there is a lot of measuring involved so you`ll need to keep your attention on your measuring spoon! One tip is be careful when adding the dye can fly in a breeze. I did mine in the garage. I`m a little clumsy so I didn`t want to take chances on dripping dye in the house.

Next you pour each dye mixture over one of the 30 fat eighths.

Already it is a WOW! Then you need to set the dye, cover them up and let them sit overnight.

The next day you rinse, wash and dry them and this is what you get...

They are soft, beautiful and I can`t wait to use them.

If you are wanting to try dyeing without committing to a lot of supplies, this is a great way to do it.

Happy Stitching!