Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Little Late...

I'm a little late for wishing you all a Merry Christmas but just in time for Happy New Year!
So where have I been?  It was a busy couple of months trying to finish 3 quilts for my 3 stepsons. I got them done and just in time!
Then I went into panic mode to make a gift for a wonderful friend.
Now that the Christmas rush is done I am settling into getting back to a few old projects and getting ready to enjoy some new ones!
Some new first - I love little blocks. I had bought a kit from Primitive Gatherings - Summer Love
They are so cute! I can't stop touching them. All the blocks are ready to assemble.
And I have a pile of fabrics all gathered to start another new project- another Primitive Gatherings pattern called Nine. It's all 1-1/2" nine patches.
I'm not sure if I am crazy or not but it is going to be fabulous!
And for some ongoing projects... my wool angel...all I have left is a little embroidery and then get it into the frame.
And my little 1/4" hexies are really making progress.
And for a small trip back to the beginnings of my quilting in the early/ mid 1990's - this is one of my very first quilts from the book that started it all - Country Threads. I found it all folded up while sorting out the linen closet. You can hardly tell that there is a row of houses in the middle and then look at that weird night sky! It was originally an American flag inserted there but being Canadian I thought a night sky would work well!
I think I have made almost every quilt in this book.
Look at these old calicos! And my little red plaid hearth!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Dealing with my grief the last few months has made me think about all the parts of my life including my quilting and my blog. There was a short time that I wasn't sure I was going to keep posting on my blog, but I am. I enjoy sharing what I've been doing almost as much as I enjoy reading other peoples' blogs. So in the near future I am going to update it's appearance (it has been too long and really needs a face lift), start adding a few tutorials (I have a couple ideas) and more I hope!
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Should be making Christmas gifts but....

There is still lots of time...I know...but I am not usually a leave it to the last minute person.
So what have I been doing instead of finishing Christmas gifts?
All 168 scrappy 4-1/2" log cabin blocks are done. I pieced them together in two halves so all that is left is to sew the two halves together and decide on a border. There are 2 layers on the door.  For now it will stay as it is until Christmas quilts are done.
Then I was visiting my Dad for a couple of days. The hexagons have become my travelling project.
 I am now finished all the full 'flower garden' blocks.
I have just 3 stars to finish and then some part blocks to finish the edges. It is still a long way to go! My dad thinks I should put the number of pieces on the label. He always has good ideas!
Here is a look at the back! That is a lot of seam allowances.
Taking the paper out is going to be interesting.
And finally this little angel was calling to me to get started.
It was a kit from the Houston show. It isn't my usual taste but when I saw the sample it so reminded me of my mom.  If she was still with us I would have bought this and made it for her. She would have loved it. I kept going back to it over and over so I finally bought the kit to make for my sewing room as a tribute to my wonderful mom and all the things she loved.
I am not sure it is a good idea to make such a tribute. I keep getting a bit weepy when I am working on it. Even after 5 years, I still miss her more than words can say.
Now I have to tell myself I should get back to Christmas...
Happy Stitching!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Where have I been?

I'm home...from Houston!!!! 
What a great time! I loved the quilts, I took classes and I shopped!
Here is a bit of my unpacking!
It's hard to see on top of my busy quilt! But as I make things I'll be showing them.
Going to International Quilt Festival was one of my bucket list trips and a 50th birthday gift to myself! And now I want to do it again! It was inspiring!
But now Christmas is right around the corner and I have to get busy! busy! busy!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Oh no...a VERY big UFO list!

What was I thinking would happen when I started peaking in bins, looking on shelves and moving things around?
What happened was that I found a huge UFO pile. Some of it technically not unfinished because it is just in the 'I collected it for this project' stage, but it is all there and ready to go! My list has over 25 quilty things on it. And all I can say is how did that happen???
So I organized my list into categories with the most urgent things first and hung it on my bulletin board. No more ignoring reality! I started with what had to get done for Christmas because 3 of the quilts are for gifts and one is a Christmas lap quilt for us (or maybe a gift). Then in May my local quilt guild is having a quilt show and I have a couple quilts I want to get done for that. Next on the list is scrap quilts - I have 3 of those started. Then I have hand quilting projects. After that I listed the small UFO's that are just little day projects like bags and things. And finally the miscellaneous section full of the non priority projects.
My thought is to work on several things at one time (such as something with hand work and also something with machine work) but to finish things starting with the top 3 categories first.
So here is what I have been working on this week...
Two posy blocks done (and another one is started)
And a scrappy log cabin is coming along. I have almost 90 blocks complete of the 169 I want to make. They are cute and will finish at 4-1/2"
Happy Stitching and hopefully your UFO's are not as out of control as mine!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Little Hexagon Progress!

I spent a couple days this weekend relaxing with my Dad.
He watched football and I sewed hexagons...lots of little hexagons!
By Sunday afternoon my hands were all cramped up from handing those little 1/4" hexagons  but they are so worth it!  
I have 4 more stars, all the neutral 'in-between' hexagons and a few partial blocks that go around the outside edge still to make. Lots to do but I made good progress!
I placed a dime down on the block to show just how little those pieces are!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quilt Therapy

I have immersed myself into quilt therapy and have hardly left my sewing room the last few days. I was still getting my new sewing space organized so I worked a bit on that in between other things.
I almost finished the cowboy boot quilt top. The border fabric I had set aside was older fabric and when I spread it out to cut borders I found that at some point it had been exposed to the sun and had a faded grid all over it. It will be a quick finish though after I get some border fabric for it! It is going to be a Christmas gift for one of my stepsons! He is going to love it!
I finished a second block on my Posies quilt. I am much happier being back to my usual freezer paper method. One thing I am keeping though is the vinyl overlay idea for placement of the pieces. I really like that!
I have one more hand applique method I want to try - back basting. I've been reading a little about it online. The people who do it seem to love it. I think thought that instead of trying it on this quilt I will just make a small wall hanging to test it.
I've basted and pressed my pieces for block #3 and I am ready to start pinning pieces to the background.
This is going to be such a whimsical quilt. I have been thinking it either needs embroidery or big stitching to add to it's playfulness. Maybe even some beading!
I suppose I have a while before I need to decide what route to take. 
I have been having Dear Jane thoughts again. While sorting things out I found an old packet of some Dear Jane blocks (8 of them in fact). I am not sure what stopped me from continuing, but I kept those little blocks. After finding them I started dreaming a crazy dream...what if I changed the color scheme to blues and browns and instead of 4-1/2" blocks maybe I could do 3" blocks! I did say crazy after all. So I printed off a couple of 3" block samples from my software to compare.
It is something to think about....
And now that summer is over I am back to hand quilting. It feels good!
Happy Stitching!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Beyond Sadness

I usually keep my personal life away from my blog, mainly because my blog started as a place to get away from the stresses I was facing at that time.
It has been a place of peace for me.
But something little brother had an accident and fell, landing on his skull and fracturing it. The resulting brain damage was severe. After 5 weeks he passed away. As his big sister it was always my responsibility (at least I felt so) to protect him, but I couldn't protect him from this. I could not have asked for a better brother. Although distance kept us apart I never felt he was that far away. He was creative and giving and sarcastic and wonderful. He was only 47 when he passed away. 
A picture from long ago... and a favorite for both of us.

He was always the biggest supporter of my blog. He would often email me little comments and sometimes would ask if what I was making was for him. Knowing that he will never again read my blog or comment on it breaks my heart beyond words.
A picture from just a year ago at my wedding. It was a happy day.
It is time for me to start healing and I know that my quilting and keeping my blog updated will help me get through this.  
So it is time to get quilting and blogging again...
so back to my sewing room I go.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Surprise!

I'm still on my mission to slowly get my space ALL put together.
I happened to look in a small bin and I found something I wasn't expecting - a box of 2-1/2" squares!
They are all scraps cut a very long time ago and I don't have a clue what was ever intended from them. So when I need some mindless sewing I am going to start putting a light and dark together! I am not going to put any thought into it - it will just be random.
I will see where that takes me...but I suspect it will make an 'ugly' quilt that someone will love!
And that someone might very well be me!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Moving into a new space really brings out the UFO's!
The cowboy boot quilt is going to be a Christmas gift for one of my stepsons. The boots were all in pieces so I got them put together. It's a fun quilt and a great way to use up those 'western' look scraps! It is from an old Fons and Porter 'Love of Quilting' magazine.  
This is a fast, easy quilt made from10 fat quarters. It's a pattern from The Quilt Patch - 'Take Ten'
It will go into my 'to be quilted pile' for a quick wedding, shower, birthday or just because gift.
Then I found a UFO from probably 4 or more years ago. These were made from a Honey Bun.
My pieces came with one little diagram I had scribbled so I am not sure what my original  intent was... I think it got put away because I need one more dark star to make any of my preferred layouts work and there are not enough strips to get one more star..
I do have some yardage as well that goes with it -one light piece and one dark piece.
Here are a couple of possibilities.
I will layout a few more possibilities but I think this is going back into the UFO box again- for now at least. It did inspire me though! Maybe a better planned one is in my future.
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Big Move!

A year after getting married and moving in I am finally moving into my sewing room!
I will never, ever take for granted again such a wonderful privilege!
So during the moving into my room process I thought I should clean up all those things that need cleaning. First thing I picked up was my ruler holder. The dust was thick in the slots. All of a sudden I had a that I couldn't believe I had never thought of before- compressed air!
Works like a charm! My ruler holder is happy and dust free!
The rest of the room is slowly getting more organized but the walls are bare. I had a couple of small UFO's that  I have not been sure how to finish so I decided to frame them and hang them on my walls. After a quick trip to Michaels to buy some square frames, I managed to get these two sashiko panels done.
In the process of getting this little UFO framed, I had to wash out some markings and discovered the black fabric RAN! Ouch! The whole beige border had black dye 'smudges'!
This was not made from my own fabric so I didn't realize it was not prewashed!
Synthrapol to the rescue. A quick wash in the sink with hot water and the black is gone!
It worked like a charm!
Not a perfect framing job but it will do. I'll call it "rustic"!
I am going to enjoy decorating my sewing space!
My next project will be a design wall!
Happy Stitching!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Not much going on...

It has been a while and although I feel as if I haven't done much, I really have. I have machine quilted four quilts. I just finished putting on bindings and all that is needed now is to hand sew down the bindings and give them a wash to get out the water soluble thread.
And speaking of machine quilting...I bought a new foot for my sewing machine for free motion quilting. It is easy to see where you are going and since it is closed all around it doesn't catch my basting threads! I LOVE it!
 I free motioned my apple core quilt and I think it was the best free motion quilting I have done yet. It has markings so you can do echo quilting so I am going to practice with some muslin squares to see what I can come up with! I have LOTS of ideas!
And I started prepping the pieces for my next applique block too.
I am happy to go back to my usual freezer paper method!
And after a year without a sewing room, I am finally counting down the days until I get a room to create in once again! You don't realize how hard it is to be without a space until it is taken away.
Hopefully my next post will be about me setting up my space!!!!
Happy Stitching!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Am I an old dog?

Can an old dog learn a new trick?
Not this time it would seem...
My preferred way to applique is to put freezer paper on the back and baste the edges down with thread. I don't like glue (too...well gluey!). I have tried the starch and iron method but I like my fabric soft on the edge when sewing it down (I am very tactile).
I have been on a quest to get better at needle-turn applique. I have done needle-turn before but I always go back to freezer paper. Quite a while ago I watched the video for doing needle-turn the Piece of Cake way. I have been procrastinating (not like me) on sewing block #1but it is finally done!
 It is not a bad effort but I am not as satisfied with my result as I want to be. The whole time I was wishing I was using my regular method. I love that with freezer paper I can lay it out and it is exactly how it will look when sewn. I love that I don't have to wrestle the seam allowance and I love that with freezer paper I can easily cut the back out under the applique and I end up with less layers to quilt through.
One thing I will start doing though is to make a vinyl overlay. It makes life so much easier when laying out the pieces. I LOVED that idea.
Now I can get started on block #2 but it is going to be the "Ann" way!
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

More Little Hexies!

I've made a little progress on my mini hexagons!
 I am loving this!
But this is not a project for someone who wants to see fast progress.
I'll be working on this project for a LONG time! 
I was cutting as I went just from scraps but I finally had to get more organized!
And I had to get into my larger scraps.
 I began sewing my scrappy log cabins...
It doesn't matter how many log cabin quilts I make - I never tire of them!
These still need 2 more rows...
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Scraps and Hexies!

The good news...I finished cutting up my scraps!
I have my cutting table back!!!!
The bad news...I am going to need a lot more scraps if I am going to make 169 little log cabin blocks!
And now onto those little 1/4" hexagons...this is how I have been basting them...
I started off with a 1" square and cut off the corners...
Fold the first side over...
Then make the first corner fold...
At that point I clip just on that folded side and corner and take my first basting stitch...
Just keep going around, folding the corners and basting until you have about half the corners done. At this point it is stable enough that you can take the clip off (it gets in the way eventually...) and keep folding over the corners and basting.
The last fold is the hardest. You'll want to make sure that each corner is tucked in properly.  
And now it is ready for sewing!
When I began sewing my little hexies together, I thought my 100 weight silk thread would be perfect!
But after getting one flower done with a medium grey I realized the threads showed too much.
So the next flower I tried a bit of a darker grey...still not great... it was just too shiny of a thread!
Next trusty Aurifil...darker grey for color to color, lighter grey for color to white or white to white.
Much better!
Another flower started!
My next step is to try removing the papers from the inner rounds so I can reuse them!
 I'll need some really small tweezers to get that job done!
These little hexagons are easier than you'd think! Give them a try!
Happy Stitching!