Sunday, June 23, 2019

A little bit of applique and a little bit of handquilting....

I truly didn't think it would be such a long gap between this post and my last one.....the days slip by so quickly sometimes!

Today marks the 7th anniversary of Slow Sunday Stitching hosted by Kathy at Kathy's Quilts. Every week she invites us to share the projects that we are stitching away at. 

Lately I came across the new quilt published by Kim McLean, called Animal Album. I had no interest in starting a new applique project, but I just love Kim's designs and I finally caved in....thinking I'd get the pattern and it would be a new start for 2020.

I've completed two of Kim's patterns and loved both of them. I told myself it's ok to just work on one block...just one! 

Kim McLean's are "a little bit much", as I overheard a woman say once when she was viewing my Stars and Sprigs at the Fair a few years ago...and as I began this block I've realised, once again, that I really do like quilts that are "a little bit much"!


The blocks are 18" and there are still a lot more pieces to go on block #1.

This week I also started hand-quilting a quilt that was part of an online sewalong that just wrapped up, called Shimmer...


I love that I can baste quilts on the longarm. Back in the day I would pin quilts to the wall-to-wall carpeting that I used to have in the living room and spend a few hours crawling around the floor basting them. This is so much quicker and easier, and a service I love to provide for my hand-quilters.


Then I just had to sit down and put those first lovely stitches into the quilt. I wondered which feeling is better....those first few stitches quilted on a quilt....or the last few? I don't think I know the answer, both are pretty good!

My favourite thread and needles....and my new thimble, ready for action...




....and who'd a thunk it....I can't use my beautiful new thimble to quilt with .... it will have to be only used for applique :(

I wrote about my new silver thimble in my last post, which you can find here

I bought it at the quilt show hosted by the Genesee Valley Quilt Club in Rochester, NY. I do have a few more pictures to share with you from this wonderful show.

I always love house quilts. This one was beautiful and you can see in the close-up one of the "pictures" that were quilted into the background...




I like when we can see different quilters' interpretations of the same quilt. Especially nice when the quilt is from one of my favourite designers, like this one designed by Sue Garman...




This one is my favourite...



The following quilt was their raffle quilt...I haven't heard from them so I guess I didn't win. It's probably the most beautiful raffle quilt that I've ever seen at a quilt show. I also love the extra effort they put into the beautiful feature around the edge of the quilt...



I always love a good scrappy quilt. This one really caught my eye, I think the blocks are 3 or 4"....




I'm thinking it would make a good "leaders and enders" block. I made one up to try it out. I cut a 3.5" square, sliced it in half and and inserted a strip...





I seem to remember someone once being hesitant about attempting a scrappy quilt, worrying about how everything would go together. But I also remember hearing how each of the fabrics are usually in your stash because you liked them at some point, so they should be wonderful together in a scrap quilt!

Today I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I hope you have a moment to visit with her to wish her a happy anniversary and maybe visit with other slow-stitchers.

Have a lovely Summer's day!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Beautiful quilts and a silver finger...

It seems like the perfect morning to spend a little extra time with some hand-stitching.

 It's a bit grey outside and I've had a lovely couple of days away and feel relaxed, refreshed and peaceful.

On Monday evening I will be presenting the next section of our BOM, Queen's Garden, and I'm almost finished the embroidery part of the blocks...



I was having a bit of trouble marking the lines for the embroidery on this type of fabric, when I thought of my Hera marker, which did an excellent job. Can you see the marks on the lower leaf?...



Here is the quilt so far...



There's still some embroidery to add. I'll try to catch up on that over the Summer. 

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Friday and Saturday we went on a little road-trip to Rochester, NY. 

My husband had come across a big quilt show there put on by the Genessee Valley Quilt Club and suggested we go down...I guess he's a keeper, after-all :)

It was quite the event, held in the Rochester Institute of Technology, a venue that was 70,000 square feet. I think it may have been the best quilt show I've been to. 

Here is the picture I took of the event on the first day...


I didn't realise until the next day that past the furthest bit of the picture was another half of the show! There were 700 quilts and 60 vendors. I was surprised at the amount of quilts that were somewhat new to me....and that a lot of the vendors were selling items that I'd never seen before. 

Since this is Slow Stitching Sunday, I'll stick to showing you mostly handwork that I saw at the show.

A lot of quilts had this "hand" attached to it...


I thought it meant "keep your hands off the quilts"...but it was to indicate a hand-quilted item.

 There were more than usual that were hand-quilted. The most fantastic and my favourite was this one...





Here is the Best in Show, also hand-quilted...



This one is not done by hand, but I love that the applique is done on a background that has been pieced of diamond shapes...



Then there is this fantastic quilt. All of the letters on the quilt spell out the words to the song, Morning Has Broken. Truly fantastic.





I was lucky to see someone selling some of the same type of fabric that I'm using in my Queen's Garden, so I picked up a bundle to add more interest to my quilt...


I made a couple of other purchases that I'll save for another post....but I will show you one more.

There was a woman at the show who is a silversmith and she had a booth filled with the most beautiful thimbles and chatelaine's. I was positively drooling over the thimbles....but made myself walk away and think about it so I wouldn't make an impulsive purchase (yay, me!)...as the thimbles were a little on the expensive side.

I thought it over until the next day when we were returning to the show and convinced myself that I did indeed deserve such a beautiful thimble. After-all, it's like a piece jewelry and art...and something I would use each and every day, right????

I was looking at the thimbles that were open on the back and had lovely filigree work over the fingernail area. It wasn't until I was almost ready to make a purchase that the silversmith had me try it out on a bit of quilting. Well!....it turns out I use a part of my finger that was more toward the fingernail to do the pushing....not protected at all by these beauties! Even the silversmith was surprised. I'm glad she had something to test on before I bought one and returned to Canada. (Although, they come with a lifetime guarantee, so I could have switched it out later)

I ended up with a fully enclosed thimble, which I quite enjoyed breaking-in this morning with my applique...



When my eldest grandson was about 4 years old, he would ask permission to try on my "silver finger"....and proceed to walk around the room carefully balancing my thimble on his tiny finger.

Now I am happy to truly have a real silver thimble and I will use it with great pleasure.

I could show you a lot more to inspire you from this wonderful quilt show, but I'll save some for another day. 

This show is held every two years, the first weekend of June. I'm sure we will go back again!

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. I think I'll sit with an extra cup of coffee and see what everyone has been up to this week!


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday stitches...

It seems that Spring is finally here in Southern Ontario....hope I'm not jinxing it! It feels so good to be out in the sunshine and a bit of warmth.

I have a bit of sewing that needs doing today, but hopefully the rest of the day will be spent outside enjoying the weather.

I started my day as usual, with a bit of hand-sewing.  I'm working on the next segment of my Queen's Garden so I can present it at the next guild meeting. I've been leading this as a BOM, with permission from the designer. 

This month we are working on two of these blocks.....



There will be a bit off embroidery going on and then these two blocks will actually be sliced in half diagonally to create four setting triangles.

Here is some of what has been completed so far...



It feels like this one is getting closer to being a real quilt top!

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A new sewalong this month is the Jen Kingwell "Dear Jen".

I think there will be 75 blocks in all...and we are given 6 block patterns per month. 

I was a little frustrated with myself as I worked on the first block. I made many mistakes....just due to my own inattention, but I finally got it done. This one was done using hand-piecing. The blocks will all be 6" finished.



And, of course, it wasn't until it was done that I figured it could have used a bit more contrast between the background and the green fabric....but too bad, I'm calling this one done!!!

The next block went together much more easily. I decided to construct this one with English Paper Piecing. It still came out a bit bubbly, who knows why??!!!.....but it's not bad....


The background fabric is one that I won in a fabric bundle at Retreat a couple of weeks ago. Who took shorthand in high school??....I did, although it was the other sort....maybe known as Faulkner? I did enjoy shorthand, but did I ever use it in the work-place?....nope!....but I still will use a bit if I'm jotting down a quick note to myself.

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching. Hopefully you get a few moments to put in a couple of stitches on whatever you are working on and also get outside to soak up some Vitamin D.




Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Stitching, Show and Tell

Happy Easter!

I've taken a break from blogging this past month. It's been a forced hiatus as I have been taking steps to de-stress my life a bit. Not that blogging has ever been a chore, or stressful, but it felt like something I could put on hold for a short while.

I've also taken some of my quilty projects off the to-do list, in an attempt to simplify life. I do have to admit, though, to another sewalong beginning at the end of April, lol. 

I wish I could somehow fit a relaxing activity like yoga or pilates into the mix, but at the moment it doesn't seem to be happening. Luckily I have my morning slow-stitching....which I often refer to as my "yoga". 

Since I was last here in blog-land I completed my Hand-piecing Sewalong. I think I'll try to get this one basted soon so I can do a bit of hand-quilting when the mood strikes me. It is 26"square and I contemplated adding a border, but I think this will be it.




I've also completed the fourth and final block from the wool applique class that I was taking at Quilt Junction lately. I learned a lot of cool stitches and am happy with my blocks. I think I will sew these together and make a small, decorative pillow.




On my to-do list tomorrow will be to do the prep-work for the next block for my Queen's Garden. In the meantime, this morning, I worked on my Tula Nova EPP....which is normally saved for "away" stitching...





I'm a little behind in my Harry Potter QAL. I did get the "Dobby the House Elf" block completed, but then it was given away and I'll have to make another....which kind of sucks, as it was a difficult block with a couple of issues ( not issues with the pattern, issues with my piecing! ) ...



Dobby was an intricate block.....then came the Hogwart's Express block!!!....it was even more-so...and in the end it did not work out well. 


There's a big, fat error in the piecing....which I can live with. What you can't see, due to the magic of cropping, is the uneven edges to  my block....so much so that I don't think it will be fudge-able when it comes to joining it with the other blocks. Also, I think I will change the numeral 2 in the block so it looks less like a backwards 5. 

Here is a reminder of the previous blocks....



In my quest to organize and de-stress, I am trying something called a Bullet Journal. As someone who enjoys working with lists I think this may be a good thing, who knows. If any of you uses a Bullet Journal, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


It's been an early morning for me...I find that happens when there is a lot to do to prepare for a family gathering. We are having most of the family over for an Easter lunch.

 I'll be trying a couple of new recipes, one being a crust-less quiche...I hope it works out! 

On Saturday I made something ahead of time, to free-up some oven time for today. This bread was something my mother would often make. It's made with a sweet dough and when it comes out of the oven you put jam in the creases of the braid and a thin icing on the humps. I have to say, I'm impressed with the results, even though the flavour of the bread is slightly different from what I remember of my mom's. Of course, I had to test it out by having a slice (or two)....


That's all for now....have a wonderful day. I hope it includes a bit of slow stitching.

I am linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, and also with Elm Street Quilts for the Hand-piecing QAL Finale.