Wednesday, September 28, 2016

One Monthly Goal..done!


My OMG (One Monthly Goal) for September was to finish a group exchange I've been part of for two years now. You can read about it here.

It's been a great project to work on, but I was ready to be done! I just had to complete 3 sets of 8 blocks and I've done it...

(I know there are four sets in the picture, but one set had already been sewn)

I think one person in the group still has some catching up to do, but in the end there should be 384 blocks measuring 5" unfinished. 

I bought a lovely wide backing this month in anticipation of finishing this quilt so I hope to have this as a "finish" in the not too distant future....maybe a project over my Christmas break.

I've been keeping up with the #100days100blocks quilt. It seems like it was just starting and now we are already up to Day 42.

Here are my blocks from the last week...
See the blue one at the bottom right? After I had made mine I saw a picture of someone else's block done in yellow and black so it looked like Charlie Brown's shirt....wish I'd thought of that!!!

This has been a great daily challenge. Each block hardly takes ten minutes to make up and most of them are blocks I've never seen before. It's also been fun to do some fussy cutting for some of the pieces.

I am linking up with Red Letter Quilts for One Monthly Goal and with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Back to my hearts...

Life has certainly gotten busy around here lately!

I almost decided not to post on my blog today but will do a quick update before I go tackle the vegetable patch.

This week I am going to do my best to get caught up on my Quilty365/Year in My Life quilt. I probably have 8-10 to applique and another 10 or so to get prepped.

The "winner" heart is from my new TulaPink fabrics and is to commemorate the first day of my Learn to Run class that I have signed up for.

I have to admit, the decision to try to be more active has made me a bit emotional this past week or so. So much out of my comfort zone and feeling like a turning point in my life. I've been a bit overwhelmed.

Quilty365 will wind up in close to completing the year that I don't want to give up now!

Here are a couple that I worked on with coffee this morning...

I've been working off and on on quilting my FlowerGarden quilt. I've made it past the halfway point. This has been some of the more difficult work I've done on the longarm, but at the same time lots of fun. There have been many mistakes made, but it's been a learning experience and I will definitely do this kind of work again!

Here is a peek at the pebbles on the top border...
As for the rest, you'll have to wait for another day...I'll post lots of pictures when it's done!!!

I want to send warm wishes to a dear friend who will be facing a long road in the next couple of months. I know that there are many quilters who will have you in their thoughts tomorrow and the coming weeks, xo.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for some Slow Sunday Stitching and with Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework for Oh,Scrap!.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Happy Days are here again!

This year I have been taking part in a block-of-the-month offered by Sarah Fielke called Happy Days.

 It started in January and I think it runs for ten months, which means we are nearing an end. I had put mine off a couple of months ago so I could focus completely on my FlowerGarden quilt, so for the next little while I think I'll try to play catch-up a bit on my Happy Days.

Here are my blocks so far...

Each month there are generally one pieced block and one applique block. With each installment there is a great tutorial video sent out by Sarah. 

The way this quilt has been set up, I think, is to progress into more challenging techniques as the year goes on.

I am presently working on a Hawaiian-type block which I have chosen to do by back-basting. Doing the basting was a great way to pass the time on a long car ride on Monday...

I know that some people can't do hand-work in the car, but I can and I think I have to pack a project for the car and leave it there....maybe a way to get back into knitting socks!?

Here is my piece, ready for applique...first the back...
I think that bit in the middle looks a bit wonky, I'll probably replace it with something else!

....and the front...

....and after two mornings of applique...

I have to admit, this block is not for the faint of heart. Please don't let this put you off from joining in on Sarah's quilts, though....she often reminds us that if something seems a bit out of our comfort zone we can always swap in a block that we would rather do!

Sarah has hinted that another block-of-the-month will be starting in the new year. I will definitely be taking part as the instructions and monthly video tutorials for this year have been great. If you like taking part in BOM's, I would recommend Sarah Fielke's. 

I should mention, there is a nominal fee for the pattern. Also, there is a great Facebook support group where we get to see everyone's progress around the world.

Time to get back up to the longarm, where my FlowerGarden awaits me. I have registered it for the Fair....but at this point I don't know if it will be ready. That's ok, there's always next year!

I have attended three sessions so far in my Learn To Run class. I'm glad to report that I don't hurt as much as I thought I would and that I haven't fallen down...which was my #1 fear!!!  :)

I am linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Stitching on a Sunday

It's a foggy start to the day here and I woke up way too early!!!

I hope to take it easy today, maybe even a nap later on.

This morning I took the few stitches needed to finish this Life is Beautiful block...
....and I went back to this block and finished up the little bit that needed doing....
I still need to prep some hearts to get caught up with my Quilty365, but I did applique a few this morning...

If feels good to know that I am on the home stretch with the heart project. I still love it and can't wait to see the completed quilt top.

As one project comes to an end another is calling my name. This one is called Round the Garden by Wendy Williams...
What is it about quilts and paintings with houses that makes them so appealing?....I don't know!

About six years ago I saw this painting and had to have it...

It is by Ontario artist Kym Brundritt and is quite vibrant. I still enjoy looking at this painting. After I bought it, a friend who was with me laughed and pointed out that I am so drawn to houses. So funny, since I hadn't noticed that, but now that she's pointed it out I find it to be true. 

I think the fascination with house quilts, etc is pretty wide-spread. I don't think I'm alone in that.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Over-the-top quilting!

I'm still stitching along with my #100days100blocks project on Instagram. Instagram is the only place that this challenge is taking place. Check it out if you have a few minutes....lots of beautiful fabrics being used!

Here are my blocks for the last two weeks...

For the next while I will be hiding in my studio as I stitch away at my FlowerGarden quilt on the longarm. I'm just having a little break now as my eyes were starting to cross. 

The method of quilting I am trying is inspired by classes I took last year with Judi Madsen.  I've known since then that I wanted to try her method of quilting on this quilt. I have to say, it's turning out to be quite difficult...but there's no turning back now!

Here is a sneak peak...

On a more personal note, I'm quite proud and surprised at myself this week. 

A couple of weeks ago, a friend suggested I join the local Learn to Run programme. My first reaction was to scoff and come up with many reasons (excuses) why this wouldn't be for me. 

To cut to the chase, last night I attended my first class! I was scared but excited at the same time. For the first couple of weeks it is brisk walking....which is fine by me! 

We walked along at a brisk pace for 4.5 kilometres...which is huge for me. 

I was so proud of doing something so out of my comfort zone that I cried all the way home!

I guess the biggest surprise for me is the fact that a year ago I was experiencing a lot of pain in my body. So much so that I was very close to asking my Dr for a handicapped parking pass. What a difference a year makes!

I am linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Finally a real quilt, almost!

I've been working at getting my FlowerGarden quilt together these past few days.

I'll post pics today since this quilt has been featured in many of my Slow Sunday Stitching posts this past year....or so!

Here is the top half...
.....and here is the bottom half....
Now I just need four outer borders made up of 89 1.5" squares each. So close!!!

I think I'll have some sewing time later today, so my goal will be to get at least two of these outer borders done.

I am finally ready for this one to be a completed quilt!

Today, to switch things up I thought I'd start my day with a bit of embroidery on my Life is Beautiful quilt...
Most of the stitching on Life is Beautiful is back-stitching, so it was fun to do a bit of the feather stitch (I think that is what it is called).

On the kitchen front.....I've been trying all Summer to make sourdough bread with no commercial yeast. I've had a few failures, but yesterday I finally had success.

Here is my lovely dough, all ready and waiting...

.....and here is my first loaf...

I know it looks a bit short and wide....but that's because I think I should have seasoned my new pan....the bottom of the loaf stuck to it.

I have to say, though, the texture was great and it had wonderful flavour. We both gave it a thumbs up! I'll cook the second loaf today and see how things go. I can't even explain how exciting this was to me!

Someone who is new to needle-turn applique has asked me to post pictures of how I end off a piece of applique. This is by no means "my way", but just "a way" that really works for me. 

If anyone has a different way that they could share, that would be wonderful!

First, after the last stitch, I bring my needle and thread to the back and take a little bite into the backing fabric only, making sure it's within the seam allowance of the applique piece...
 ...then I tie a knot right there...
 I take a couple of running stitches in the backing fabric only. This is to ensure that that dark thread doesn't wangle itself over to the un-appliqued backing and show thru' after the quilt is quilted....causing what we in the longarm world  call "varicose veins".
 Finally, I trim the thread close, again to be sure a dark thread doesn't migrate. Again, note that all this is done in the seam allowance.

I am linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching and Oh, Scrap!.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back to Guild!.....and a circle review.

I know it's back-to-school week here in Ontario....but more importantly for us quilters it means back-to-guild month!

I attended one of my guilds yesterday and there was so much excitement and smiles and sharing. I almost didn't go since I hadn't slept well the night before....but I pushed myself out the door....with a bit of much-needed encouragement from my husband.

I'm so glad I went. Along with the chit-chat with friends not seen since the June meeting, there was an overview of what the year holds for us. I couldn't resist....I did sign up for the guild's BOM for this year.

My other guild is put off for a week this month because of the Labour Day next Monday I'll experience all the excited women again!

If you are a quilter that has never tried a's worth investigating. It's so inspiring to be surrounded by people with the same love for quilting!

This week I've tried a new technique (for me) of making perfect appliqued circles. As I mentioned in Sunday's post, you can check it out here on YouTube.

I needed about 27 circles and didn't have enough mylar templates so at first I used dimes as my template...
I had gone to the dollar store for elastic just need the very small ones. Instead of buying the big bag of assorted sizes, I bought the ones that are meant for putting ponytails in little girls' hair. This way I got a nice amount of just the size I actually need.

Turns out, dimes were too large, but note how perfect the circles are!!!... I switched to washers (the thimble wasn't actually needed, it's just in the picture to show scale)...
.....and prepared all the circles I needed...
....this step went fairly quickly.

Then I sprayed them with starch, and let them dry overnight.

This morning I carefully snipped the circles and washers off...

Luckily, the washers didn't rust. If I buy more in different sizes, though, I think I will pay the extra few pennies for stainless ones.

I used my little curved scissors for the snipping, which makes it a bit easier maybe.

I'm sure mylar templates would be even better since I think coins and washers make for a slightly thicker circle....but they work out pretty good in a pinch!

This morning I actually got a few stitched on...
Perfect!!! This is exciting for me, I guess, since circles has been the most difficult thing for me to master over the years. This technique is definitely going into my bag of tricks.

I am linking today with Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. She mentions she is doing a trunk show this week at the Halton Guild....wish I could go!

Have a great day.....and keep cool!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Come On Get Happy

It's a lovely weekend and today I plan on taking it slow. I just want to enjoy puttering around in the yard and doing a bit of applique.

In my last post I showed the last piece to be appliqued to my FlowerGarden quilt. I may have been stretching the truth a bit. It was the last piece, kind of. 

I do have a bit of tweaking to do so that the quilt is pleasing to me in the end. Here is a picture from a while back showing bits that didn't seem to pop enough...
I'm not going to change all of those circled areas. I think the trees will be fine. I have though, gone ahead and changed up the cat...
...I like her much better!

This bird bothered me...
.....much better now....
These little changes have been worth it to me since the quilt has been such a huge project for a couple of years, I figure an extra morning of applique to fix it is not bad!

The last fix (I think) is the fountain...
....actually, not the fountain but the "water". It may have been ok if my background had been white, but it's actually green and pink. I did have some great suggestions come in for a fix for this, but in the end I have to re-do. I'm not usually a perfectionist, but if I don't fix this now I know it will always bother me.

I would like to try a technique on these little circles that I've heard about but not tried. A friend of mine actually reminded me of this technique the other day. It involves tiny elastics and starch and templates for the circles and you can check it out here.

 I didn't think I could try this method since I didn't think I had templates this small, but I just checked my Perfect Circles and there are four the right size. Hmm, time to try a new technique, I think!!

This morning I've taken a little break from the FlowerGarden and sat catching up with a few heart blocks for my Year in My Life/Quilty365...

The second one has had me singing Partridge Family tunes all morning....get it???....and has provided me with a title for today's post!

We went to see a movie last that I hadn't even heard of. It's called Florence Foster Jenkins and is based on a true story. It stars Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this movie. It was obvious that everyone in the theatre was enjoying it. I came out believing that Meryl Streep is truly the most talented actress of our generation.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts for some Slow Sunday Stitching and with Quilting is More Fun Than Housework for Oh Scrap!.

Friday, September 2, 2016

September's OMG....and a "ta-dah"!!!

My goal for September will be to get the rest of my blocks completed for my Nature's Neutrals quilt.

Here is what I have so far...

....about 350 of them!

This has been part of an exchange among friends. Each month each of us was to sew two groups of eight blocks. We'd exchange monthly and come away with sixteen blocks per month. 

The idea was that after two years we'd each have plenty of blocks to make a quilt with. We were inspired by one of our friends who made the quilt on her own a few years back. 

I'm not exactly behind on this since it was supposed to run 'til sometime this Fall. Many of the group worked ahead though just to get it done, so I think it's just two of us still working on it.

If there is a UFO challenge in my guild this year, this quilt will go on the list as I don't want it to hang around for a long time unfinished. It will be a beautiful quilt and I'd like it done!

So my goal for this month is to get the three sets of eight sewn that need to be done.

It's ironic that I am linking with Red Letter Quilts today and for me it is a red-letter day.....

I was sitting doing applique with my coffee this morning as usual when I realised I was about to applique the last piece to my FlowerGarden quilt. I knew this was coming, but what a feeling it was after two years to know that this huge project is almost complete!

Here it is...the final bit...
....hard to believe!!!

The next few days will be about tweaking the quilt a little. There is a bird and a cat that need changing out as they just disappear into the background. I found a perfect fabric for the cat, so I know it's the right choice to take the time to fix it.

I was going to put FlowerGarden as my One Monthly have it together and quilted...but I know this is on track to finish. On the other hand, I want to challenge myself to get Nature's Neutrals done instead.

I am linking up with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts to join in on the OMG, One Monthly Goal goal-setting party!

Have a great day!