Sunday, June 28, 2020

A finish and a start....

This week it feels so good to be back to a bit of needle-turn applique.

I've been doing a lot of knitting lately, and a bit of handquilting. 

I added a few pieces to this block of my Animal Album quilt, designed by Kim McLean, one of my favourite designers. I think this is the third of her quilts that I have done.




What got me back to my applique was receiving the instructions this week for Block 2 in a BOM I'm doing, A Curious Journey by Susan Smith. I've started a Susan Smith quilt in the past which is currently in the UFO pile :(

Here is Block 1 of this quilt...



For Block 2, I decided to actually follow instructions. Some designers will have you glue all the pieces onto the background all at once, then start stitching. I thought the un-sewn pieces would just get in the way...and at first they seemed to, but after just this morning working on this block it feels ok. 

Will I continue with this method?...probably not. But I do believe in at least trying because you just never know when you'll find something that will just tweak what you already have in your tool box.


That is not all of the applique pieces, there will some fish swimming about in the middle, etc.

Here is what I accomplished this morning....a little bit of stems and tulips...



Some other slow-stitching this week was sewing the binding on my Unity quilt, which was the latest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. Man, I worked hard on the piecing in the last week to get this done. I didn't do the last border because I just needed this one done. I hurried so much that my final border did not work out just right. I regret that, but told myself that the 4-year old that was receiving this for a birthday present would not notice, or care....what a rotten attitude, I know....and I'm not usually one to think this way. I hate to admit it, but there you go...now you know!





And here is Lachlan with his quilt....only a week late for his birthday!


Coming up this week is Canada Day. To celebrate, my grandson, Kirby, and I signed up for a Canada Day Virtual 5k (all the races so far this year are virtual, so sad).

We ran the race yesterday at the track that is in the Fisherville Lion's Park.

It was hot...too hot for me. I'm not a good runner in the heat and humidity, but we got it done! 


It makes me so happy that my grandson likes to run with me!

I always wear a "buff" on my head when I run and I bought this one for my race in Scotland last year...


It was nice to wear it again yesterday to celebrate our Canada Day Virtual 5k!

On that note, I'll wish you a happy Canada Day...hopefully we can all find a way to celebrate even if that means a little extra time to get some slow-stitching done!

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I think I'll take a bit of time to see what others are working on today, hopefully you can, too!


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Peaceful handquilting

I thought I was finished with making PPE. 

I haven't made any masks, but I've sewn scrub gowns and many scrub caps. I liked the fact that I was helping out in a way that we sewers can, but I was happy to be done with it.

Then I went to the dentist this past week to have a tooth repaired. The dental assistant had a home-sewn scrub cap on and I commented that she must have a sewer in her family...but, no, she bought it off of Marketplace online. That got the conversation going....on how the dental office were now looking for more of these caps. 

So, what's a quilter to do??? 


When I try the caps on they kind of make me feel like I belong in Little House of the Prairie...



It was quite an eye-opener, seeing the new protocol they are utilizing at the dentist. I feel sorry for them....but I was glad they were able to fix my tooth.


My Slow Sunday Stitching consisted of sewing buttons onto the caps that I've completed. The buttons are to hook the mask elastic onto, to help avoid constant friction on the ears. My son, who works in a hospital, says the buttons are a "game changer". I have four more caps to finish off today....then I'm done!....lol, we'll see.

Like I said, I haven't made any masks, but a good friend of mine made me a nice one...


...can you tell that she is a running friend???


After I finished sewing the buttons onto the caps I picked up some hand-quilting that I haven't touched in months. This is a pattern called Shimmer...


I'm using Coral YLI quilting thread which is showing up nicely on the front and on the back.

I always seem to forget the feeling of peace that comes over  me as I hand-quilt. In these stressful times I should make more time for quilting as I do look at it as my yoga.

I had wanted to have this one ready for the Fall fair this year...but in all probability the fair will be cancelled for 2020.  Here's my opinion....maybe they could reduce the fair this year to just agriculture/animal displays and the Homecraft displays. I'd better keep stitching on this quilt "just in case".


A couple of years ago I started working on Jen Kingwell's Halo quilt. I think I made two blocks and stalled. A couple of months ago I spotted an Instagram sewalong for Halo and figured this is what I needed to get me sewing on this UFO.

Here are my blocks, so far, not necessarily in their final spot...



My kind of quilt....full of jolly scrappiness!!!



Everyone's gardens seem so wonderful this year. For me, I was overcome at the beauty of my Wisteria. I've never seen it so lush and full of blooms...


....and the aroma was just as wonderful.

That's all for now....I'd better get at the last few scrub caps and hopefully make some progress on my Bonnie Hunter Unity quilt....which is intended to be a birthday present for my grandson who will be turning 4 next week. I've given myself an extra week lee-way to get this done. Hopefully by the next Slow Sunday Stitching day I will be working on the binding!




I am linking up with Kathy today for Slow Sunday Stitching.






Sunday, May 31, 2020

Slow Stitching and a vintage finish

Well, we made it through our first heat wave of the season and are having a much cooler weekend...but perfect for getting some gardening accomplished!

I was ready to give up on my perennial bed, but we're giving it one more shot. Hopefully the work we do this weekend will pay off in the long run. 

This time of year is so lush and beautiful and a couple of favourites in the garden are my Weeping Cherry tree...



...and my Canadian Redbud tree, which was just humming this week with big, fat bumblebees. They are so intent on their work that you can get up close for pictures...



Even though we have a lot more to accomplish outside in the garden today while it's still nice and cool out, I hope to get a bit more knitting done. I'm liking that I can knit outside in the warm weather....something that wasn't easy when I would take applique outside. This week I started another Christmas present, a pair of socks  knitted from the toe up....


Knitting socks from the toe up is something new to me this last year and I quite like it. This pattern called for the Judy's Magic Cast On. I have tried the Turkish Cast On and am liking the "Judy" method more. What did we do before YouTube!!

The colour-way for this yarn is Hamburger....I know the recipient of these socks will love it.

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Recently I had fun doing some custom quilting on a vintage quilt top that I've had for 15 years. I bought a few vintage tops on Ebay back then, intending on practicing my longarm skills....but I've never taken the time to actually do anything with them.

With the slow-down caused by Covid-19 I thought I'd take the time to quilt this Double Wedding Ring quilt. Lol, I bought this top thinking it would be good practice for when someone would eventually bring  a DWR in to be quilted....but that's never happened.


I always love working on a vintage quilt....and I've done a few over the years. Most times it is someone bringing in a top that they've found in their grandmother's hope chest. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when working on these and I find myself smiling a lot when I work on them. I almost feel the original quilter's happiness on seeing her quilt being completed. I know some may say it's a shame they aren't being hand-quilted....and as a handquilter myself, I totally get that....but I also believe the piecer would like to know that her quilt was a "real quilt" to be loved and used, by whatever means possible.

This quilt was totally hand-pieced....quite fitting then that I talk about it on Slow Sunday Stitching day, don't you think??? I'm in awe of the work that went into this and would love to know how long it took.



I actually have a few questions about the quilt other than how long it took. Like, how come the piecer didn't try to remove the blood stains where she must have really jabbed herself with the needle?....



.....and why was there one piece of fabric removed from the quilt....and never replaced...



Luckily, I did have a piece of fabric that was a close match...




....and managed to piece it in, no problem...




As for the blood stains....I tried the old trick of using saliva to blot it out. It is always said that it should be your own saliva to get your own blood out of the quilt....and I do know that this works, from experience. I don't know if it's because the blood stain isn't my own, or that the stains have been there for decades, but it didn't work on this quilt....but worth a try!



I do have to say that this quilt had many "issues". It ranks second in quilts that had issues in all of my 16 years of longarm quilting. I could tell right away that not only could I not "quilt it out", but that I'd have to disregard the fullness in spots and have puckers fall where they may. It was by no means going to be a "show quilt"...but that's ok, since it was always meant for practicing on. That being said, there are many quilting errors that I made in the quilt....on a client's quilt, or one of my own, I would have picked these mistakes out...but I didn't bother on this one. Most of the quilting problems were by me trying to become ambidextrous with the ruler-work....I think I need more practice!

I was going to use 80/20 batting in the quilt, as I thought it would have a more authentic look....but I chose wool batting hoping to fill out some of the fullness with the batting's loftiness. It didn't work, but I do love the feel of a quilt with wool batting!

Here are a few photos of the fun I had with the quilting...




I do regret not doing something a bit more creative in the green/pink 4-patches. These were actually the most troublesome parts of the quilt so maybe if I'd quilted them differently it would have hidden the fact a bit more. Oh, well! 





You can see how the wool really gives definition to the quilting. In the end, I absolutely love this quilt. It is about 80" square and I do intend on using it as it is so soft and cozy.

On a quilt with scalloped edges you really do have to use a bias binding to make the job easier...but what a pain doing all of those inside corners. Plus, I don't know if there is a way to calculate how much binding you actually need for these quilts, but if there is I don't know of it. Luckily, I made too much binding rather than too little.


....usually I attach the binding while the quilt is still on the longarm, but not with this one. I forgot how cumbersome it is attaching it with the domestic machine.


Now, I'm itching to make my own Double Wedding Ring quilt. I've only made one once before, probably 20 years ago. It was one someone paid me to make, so it's not even my own. 

I did find the book I used to make it though....it's a book by John Flynn and has a slick trick to make it an easier process. After I finish the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt (which I need to get done soon for a gift), I hope to start on a DWR of my own so I don't forget and never do it.



That is a picture of the quilt before I started sewing down the binding....but that is done now and, after many, many decades of when the quilt was first started, it's now a real quilt and I'm very happy with it. I enjoyed the quilting and I will enjoy using the quilt :)

Something I have not made at all is face masks. I've done gowns for our local nursing home, and many scrub caps. I had been using my running buffs for a face covering but now I have a mask custom-made for myself by my running buddy, Paula...



It's actually a sad state of affairs that putting on a mask has become the new normal :(

I appreciate, though, how lucky I am that I don't have to wear one constantly like some other people do in their jobs. 


I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. It's quite chilly this morning, so I think I'll have another cup of coffee and see what others are working on today before I head outside. 

(Hopefully this post turns out ok, as there is a new Blogger format that I'm trying for the first time.)





Saturday, April 11, 2020

Scrappy days...

I'm taking a couple of days to work on some scrappy quilts....my favourite.

I know there are so many UFO's in the sewing room (as someone was kind enough to remind me), but I couldn't resist the 15-day mystery sewalong hosted by Edyta Sitar.

Here is my quilt, made of 30's fabrics from my stash...



There's a couple of bits I would change if I did it over, but I'm pretty happy with it. I was not going to do a border, but Edyta showed us a few options and I really like the pieced option. I think it would set this quilt off nicely. On the other hand, it would be nice just to call this one done! lol


For a long time I've wanted to do Jen Kingwell's Halo quilt and it's actually started. Now there is an Instagram sewalong for Halo, where you try to finish and post 2 blocks per week. I've joined in as it seems like a good way to get back to this quilt. Here are the four blocks that I had already pieced...



This would be a good one to piece by hand....but I already have enough slow stitching projects on the go.


Next bit of scrappiness??....my ongoing leaders-and-enders project, log cabin blocks made of 1" logs...




I know there is not a lot on contrast, but I also know that I am going to absolutely love this quilt. I can already picture it on my bed!!

Does anyone else find that once you start down the rabbit hole of fussy-cutting you tend to try to incorporate it all the time?

For instance, the peace sign...




....and my hedgehogs...I wish I'd purchased more of that one!...



 ...some bunnies...





 ...I love the kiwi fabric...


..and some words...




I keep a stack of partially made log cabins next to the sewing machine and they turn into finished blocks surprisingly quickly.


Last bit of scrappy for today is the mystery quilt that Bonnie Hunter is running currently, called Unity. As always with Bonnie's quilt patterns, there is always a lot of piecing involved!



Even a bit of "ghastly" fuss-cutting going on...



I feel a little guilty to get this personal sewing time, as we as quilters have been called on to make items for "the cause", but I'm going to sweep that guilt away....we've all been doing what we can.

I did get some scrub caps made for ICU nurses...there was a call out for some in a city near here....




I know my daughter's girlfriend seemed to appreciate getting a few. She works across the border in health care and says it's pretty bad there :(

This weekend we all expected to be sewing gowns for our local LTC facility, which has been hit especially hard but the kits for the gowns did not arrive before the weekend. So I am taking this bit of personal sewing time for myself, knowing that it'll be a busy week ahead.

I am linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?.

I am also linking up with Cynthia over at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

One Monthly Goal - April

I've been working on the mystery quilt that has been generously brought to us by Edyta Sitar. 

She offered this to help us get through our isolation at this time. There has been one block per day over 15 days...but each day you have to make a few multiples of that particular day's block. After 15 days we have 100 6" blocks.

Today is day 14....one more day to go!

Here is my quilt so far...


I may put a bit of a border on when it's done...not sure yet. I don't know if I have enough of any of my 30's prints to make a border. I guess I could do a white border.

I will put these blocks together using a Doug Lenko's 3-pin method. You can view his method on YouTube, HERE

I've actually tried something similar in the past, but he has a couple of tips that I'll incorporate into what I have done before.


We're in for some beautiful Spring weather in my area. My hope for all of you....please try to get some fresh air. We are all feeling edgy and worried, and that's to be expected. I believe that some fresh air is so good for our mental health at this time, even if it means just sitting out on your front porch and listening to the birds sing. 

I've been worried that my local park will shut down....I go there frequently for a run. Last Fall they paved a 1.1km walking trail around the baseball diamonds for people to use safely away from traffic. There's hardly anyone there when I go for a run....and the track is at least 8ft wide, so it's easy to be socially distant. I'm always glad to see this track utilized by local seniors, walking to promote their health. 


Sometimes I wish I could just step out my door for a walk or a run, but it's not safe as I live on a provincial highway.

I think of all that has transpired over the last month and realise that only a month ago I'd never heard these phrases before...

Social Distancing
Self Isolation
Flattening the Curve

...and now we hear them on a daily basis....as well as the word "unprecedented". I think that that will be a word that I will not miss when all this is in the past.


Now for my One Monthly Goal for April. My goal is to complete the quilt top on my Edyta Sitar mystery (shown above). I'd even like to have it quilted if I can find an appropriate backing in my stash....but the goal will be to at least have the top done and not have this be a UFO!

I am linking up with Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal.


Monday, March 30, 2020

One Monthly Goal - Finish

Well, it's the end of the month already and I almost forgot to post my One Monthly Goal Finish for March!

My goal was to get the main body of Farm Girl Vintage together....finally!!!....and I'm happy to say that I accomplished it!


I'm really happy with it. I think I will make a goal to have it done in time for the Fair this year. It still needs a pieced border, etc...but the end is in sight.

I've had some extra sewing time. The longarm is not very busy at the moment so I'm taking advantage of the lull.

Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts has been offering a mystery quilt....a new block every day for 15 days. Some days we make as few as 4 of the daily block....the other day we had to make 16.  There will be 100 blocks total, which will make a nice lap-sized quilt.

I decided to do mine in 30's prints as I have a lot of them, and I do still love them. 

Here is mine after Day 11...


There are some bits I'm not too sure about, but it's staying as it is.

I will name this quilt in some way to remember that it was made during this pandemic :(


And...wouldn't you know it...Bonnie Hunter has started a new mystery quilt to keep us busy during isolation. At first I thought, "no way"...I want to concentrate on my UFOs.  But I'm doing it....I haven't participated in her mystery quilts in quite a few years as they usually take place between American Thanksgiving and Christmas....a longarmer's absolute busiest time!

Well, I'm not so busy at the moment, so I'm jumping in on this one!

It's called the Unity Quilt-along and you can find Part One on her blog today, which you can see HERE.





You can have a look at her Intro post HERE to see Bonnie's suggestions about fabrics.

One of my goals during social distancing is to make some sense of the sewing room and get it tidied and organised.  I've been saying it for a few days now, and after I finish this post I will actually start. I think one of the things I will do is start a box for donation to the free table at the guilds...I'd like to part with 5 UFOs that I will never get back to doing. I'm sure I can come up with 5. 

I am linking up with Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal linky party.