Monday, November 20, 2017

Adam's Ugly Christmas Sweater Quilt

In January of 2016, Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts started the Ugly Christmas Sweater Quilt along and the blocks just looked so cute that I couldn't resist.

I made this one for myself and when I showed it to my eldest son, Adam, his eyes lit up. I told him he couldn't have it but that if  he would like I would make him one. Adam wears ugly Christmas sweaters for Christmas so this quilt was just up his alley!

white with gray mottling - way too light!
Last week I had cut all of the background fabric for his version of this quilt and then I decided it just was not going to work. I found that it was just too light in colour for my taste so I spent an hour last night cutting more fabric. I decided to use the same fabric that was used as a backing for my En Provence quilt. It's not very dark either but it is more of a creamy beige with a swirly print and I think it will work much better than my original selection. I want the background to be subtle but not invisible. :)

Adam is a fun guy with a fun personality and I have chosen some fabrics that I think suit him perfectly. I have some argyle prints, plaids, music prints, solids, and of course, Christmas prints among others. I have made my first block and I think it is adorable.

For the quilt along, Lorna only gives the block and background information. It is up to the maker to decide how they want to finish their quilt. When I made my version I didn't have a plan ahead of time for the layout but this time I know what to do. Because I am going to make it using the same layout as my quilt I can precut all of the extra squares and the piano key border while cutting for the blocks. That will save some time. :)

I hope to be able to gift this to him on Christmas Eve so that he can use it right away. I think I can do it! :)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fun and Done!

On Friday my quilty sister Cheryl came for an overnight visit and she arrived with a few quilt tops and backings that were ready for quilting. The plan was to quilt as many of her quilts as we could and we did do our best. We managed to get three of her quilts finished before she left on Saturday afternoon.
Rosalie's quilt
When she first arrived, I had a customer quilt on the frame for Rosalie and I quilted that one up while Cheryl supervised. I think it turned out so cute and I think Rosalie is going to be very happy with it. Rosalie chose a panto called Shooting Stars by Sue Schmieden and I think it looks fantastic on this little quilt.
Cheryl's quilt for Lindsay
Next up, we loaded Cheryl's first quilt of the day. This beauty is one of Cheryl's own designs and it is going to the girlfriend of her son Gary. This will be a wonderful Christmas gift for Lindsay and I think she is going to just love it. Who wouldn't!!
Close up of Lindsay's quilt
Cheryl chose the Lotus Blossom panto by Megan Haun and it is perfect for this quilt. Look at the gorgeous texture - love it.

Cheryl's quilt for Luca
The next quilt we loaded was this knight and castle quilt. Cheryl incorporated panel strips in this design and it turned out so cute. She chose to quilt it with the Cool Beans panto by Apricot Moon Designs. This quilt will be going to our new great-nephew Luca. It is a nice big size so he will be able to get many years of use from it.

Luca's quilt
The final quilt that we got done was quilted by me because Cheryl just did not feel confident stitching out the panto that she chose to use. The panto she chose is called Spaced Out and it looks like swirling wind and waves. She chose a darker thread for this quilt to emphasize the look of the wind and waves. This is the second quilt that Cheryl has made based on this original design. She had made one similar to this for herself and when the girlfriend of her son Mark saw the quilt she wanted one just like it. Cassandra will be receiving this one for Christmas and I know she will love it.

Cassandra's quilt
I took the photos of Cheryl's quilts on Saturday afternoon and it was a very dark, dreary, and rainy day. Unfortunately the lighting just does not show how wonderful these quilts really are.

Cheryl still has a few quilt tops here that need to be quilted but they will have to wait. It is so funny to me that when Cheryl first started quilting she told me that she would never make as many quilts as I do. Honestly, I think she is outpacing me. :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Busy Days

I want to get going on making some things for Christmas gifts but I feel like I must take care of some sewing housekeeping before I can start more projects.

As usual, there is way too much clutter in my sewing room! So, on Saturday, I spent the day doing quite a bit of scrap cutting and organization - boring!! I didn't get all of it done but I did make a pretty good dent in the pile of fabric scraps sitting on my table. All of those bits and pieces and strips are now at the ready for later use.

Yesterday, I spent some time with this cat quilt. This quilt was pieced by Vangie as a donation for our Guild's outreach program and I did my part by donating the quilting and batting. I quilted it with a panto called Tweet Tweet by Patricia Ritter. I thought it would be fun to have the little birds twittering around the cats. :) It turned out quite cute but as usual it is not the best photo. :(

At 56" x 79" it is quite a bit larger than a toddler quilt so maybe it will go to an adult or a teen. I will return it to Vangie at our December meeting so that she can apply the binding.

I used a light blue thread - Cansew #6317 with a magna glide bobbin in blue and the batting is 80/20 cotton poly.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Remembrance Day

Today is a solemn day - a day to reflect on the wonderful freedoms that we enjoy every single day and to remember those that fought for it. Freedom is never free.

Over the past couple days I have been watching the History channel with their Remembrance Day programming. I have been thinking about a young man that I never knew but who served in WWI. My grandfather's brother, Victor Ernest Morgan Greenland died at the Battle of Lens on Aug 21, 1917 - the day before his 21st birthday. He was not married and did not have any children. His body was never recovered and he is memorialized at Vimy Memorial, France


He was so young that he barely even had a chance to live and yet he gave his life for our freedom.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Quilting is Finally Finished

The quilting is done and I am very happy! It's so funny, after saying how much I prefer doing edge-to-edge long arm quilting in one fell swoop it took me three separate quilting sessions to finish this one! I don't know why that happened but it did finally get finished.

I tried to take some photos that would show how great this quilt looks but it is huge and I couldn't find a space large enough to spread it out. :) Hopefully, I will be able to get my husband and son to be quilt holders for photos once it is all finished.

I want this quilt to stay on my bed for the winter so I had better get it trimmed and get the binding finished really soon because this happened last night.

We had snow squalls all evening and into the night and this is what we woke up to this morning. The dogs are not thrilled! They keep going to the door to be let out and then they immediately want back in - poor things.

While the winds were blowing and the snow was falling I was snug in my sewing room last evening making these pillowcases to go with my quilt. I couldn't remember how to make them so I refreshed my memory with this video by Missouri Star Quilt Co. We are so fortunate to have so many resources available to us with just a click of the mouse. :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Making Progress on Old Tobacco Road

Yesterday, I turned my attention back to Old Tobacco Road and I attached the final border. Ooooh I love that paisley! I also pieced together the backing and even though it was very large and unwieldy I didn't have too many difficulties trying to control it as I stitched it together. Dealing with such large pieces of fabric really is not my favourite thing to do and if I can I will always go for a wide backing. Not an option this time because I specifically wanted to use my chosen fabrics so I had a choice to grumble or smile and I chose to smile.

I also got the backing loaded before I went to Tai Chi last evening but that is where I left off. This morning I finished setting everything up and I am raring to go but I have an exercise class early this afternoon that I don't want to miss. As I have said before, once I get everything set up and going I just want to get it done without interruption. I did do a test to check my thread tension and I see that my top tension is a bit too tight. The dark brown bobbin thread is showing as dots on the lighter fabric and that is not the look I am going for. :)
Peanut and Molly before spa
I took my pups for grooming on Sunday - they were both very unruly looking and I am pretty sure that Molly couldn't see anything through that long hair over her eyes.
Molly and Peanut after spa 
I no longer have dust mops. :)

Friday, November 3, 2017

En Provence Quilting is Done!

hanging off the frame
Oh my this is a very large and beautiful quilt! I am so glad that I decided to make this Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt - it was time consuming to make it but so worth it. :)

I loaded it on the frame the other day but I didn't get a chance to start quilting it until yesterday.

Normally, once I start quilting I like to just get it done all at once but I had to take a break from it yesterday so that I could go to my exercise class. Happily, when I got back I was able to easily pick up where I had left off. I find that if my mood changes, or any other factors like muscle stiffness occur, it really does affect my quilting rhythm.

Anyway, back to my beautiful quilt - I just had to take a few photos - I love it!

close up of quilting
I am looking forward to trimming it and making the binding as soon as possible so that I can start hand-stitching the binding.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

En Provence - Preparing for Quilting

I have chosen the backing, the thread, and the pantograph that I want to use for my En Provence quilt. I think it is going to be good! I just need to press the backing and the top to make sure they are both nice and flat. I plan to get that done today and, hopefully, get it all loaded onto my long arm. I really doubt that I will get any quilting done on it today because I have to run a couple errands after my exercise class a little later today and then I just might not have the energy. I like to be nice and fresh and focused when I do any quilting.

Bonnie Hunter has announced her 2017 mystery quilt and I love the colours that she has chosen. I will definitely be downloading the instructions as they are released but I am not sure if I will participate during the actual mystery. I just may wait and make it later when the time suits me better - we will see if I can resist!

I finished Betty's quilt last evening and I think she is going to be very happy with it. I don't know if you recognize the panto that I used but it is the same one that I used on Crumby Kisses called Cool Beans. I used Cansew #6711 for the top thread and magnaglide light tan in the bobbin.

I will be seeing Betty later today so I will take her quilt with me. It is always so exciting to give back a quilt and see the owner's reaction. There is magic that takes place when a flimsy is quilted and actually turned into a quilt. :)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Borders in Progress

I have already put two of the borders onto Old Tobacco Road and it is getting huge! I still need to add one more border but it should be very quick and easy to add. I just need to piece the sections together and get at it.

Inspected and approved by Peanut. Here she is letting me know that she wants me to stop giving the quilt top so much attention and give her some lovin' instead. Who could resist that sweet little face! :)

Right now I am in the process of loading a quilt for Betty on my long arm. I really need to get it finished today so that I can deliver it to her when I see her tomorrow at our exercise class.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A New-to-Me Machine

My friend Rose invited me for a little visit a couple weeks ago and look what I came home with.

Rose was looking for a new home for this sweet machine, a Singer 99, and she gave it to me! This is not just any old Singer 99 but a Centennial model 1851 - 1951 and it comes with this beautiful wood case.

Look at the pretty face plate. The machine is in good condition and Rose said it works very well and she was right. There was a matter of a missing needle plate but I just happened to have one available that can be used on this machine. I used this little beauty to stitch together the backing for Crumby Kisses and the machine worked perfectly. I did need to adjust the stitch length and I found that it is quite primitive on this machine. It is just a simple knob without any markings and I just turned it until I got the stitch length I wanted. You can see it in the photo - the shiny knob above the Singer badge.

My visit wasn't just about the machine, we had a cup of tea and some conversation and it was a really nice visit. Since joining my Guild I have met so many wonderful women who just happen to have the same hobby and that is what has brought us together but, of course, we are all so much more than that. Joining the Guild was one of the best decisions I have made. :)

While I was visiting Rose, we looked over her stash of quilting patterns and I borrowed these two. She has not made them yet and they were just sitting in the box waiting to be opened and used.

I think they will be fun and quick to make and I am looking forward to doing so. Maybe they will be made on my new-to-me Singer 99 and every time I look at the finished quilts I will think of Rose!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Crumby Kisses is Finished

Beautiful old fashioned look with a modern feel!
I am really torn about this little quilt. When I first started working on it I was sure that I was going to keep it so I decided to name it. As I was working on it I changed my mind and I decided that I would give it to charity through my Guild's outreach program. At that point, I made the decision to make it a smaller size than my normal huge bed quilt. Now, I am regretting that decision because I really like how this one turned out!

I should have known better because I really do love scrappy, crumby, string quilts and this one fits that bill perfectly. Using up some crumbs to make a quilt is a very frugal way to quilt but it is also very labour intensive and time consuming.

backing and binding
I will continue to make charity quilts but I think for the next little while I will be making simpler and less time consuming patterns and maybe it won't be so hard to give them away. I want to spend some time developing my long arm quilting skills so maybe it will be a win-win situation. We only have so many hours in each lifetime and I guess we have to choose how we want to spend them. :)

As I had posted previously, this quilt was inspired by a pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Co. called Kissing Coins. The pattern used rectangles cut from a precut bundle of fabric. When I saw the photo of their quilt in my friend's magazine I knew I needed to make it with crumbs. They do have a YouTube video tute here.

This quilt finished at approx 49" x 62" and was quilted using a gray Cansew thread #6819 and lead gray magnaglide in the bobbin. I quilted it using the panto called Cool Beans by Apricot Moon Designs and I used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly for the batting.

I finished the quilt using a scrappy binding comprised of colours found in the backing fabric. I love it and I hope the person that receives it gets many, many years of comfort and joy whenever they use it.

ready to donate
I am going to miss this quilt a lot so I think I will just have to make me another one - but bigger! Bigger is better...right. :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Old Tobacco Road Continues

Old Tobacco Road is almost ready for borders - it has been starched and pressed in preparation for trimming the edges. I don't want any stretching of fabric if I can help it!  I feel really good about this quilt and I honestly cannot wait to get it finished. I have my flying geese all made and pieced together into border strips and they are ready to add to the quilt top.

I have decided on my border fabrics as well as my backing and I think there will be some pillowcases as well!

Yesterday, I washed the fabrics in preparation for use and I was really surprised that the red fabric did not bleed at all into the wash water but the lighter floral print sure did. I really thought it would be the other way around! The dye discharge may not exactly be a fabric bleed but it sure would make any lighter fabrics in the quilt look very dingy.
top - first wash; bottom - second wash
Yesterday, my friend Vangie called to see if I was eating batteries for breakfast to get so much energy for quilting and blogging. :) I had told her that I was in the process of washing my fabric and that led to the discussion of whether it is necessary or not. She has had great luck washing a quilt that was mostly white on top with a red backing and it didn't bleed but I just don't want to take the chance. I had made a quilt for my sister Christine and I used prewashed fabric in it and it still bled. I am now very nervous about fabric bleeds into my quilts!

I am going to use the yellowy-beige floral print as the backing but I don't have quite enough. A length of the red paisley will be added to the back as well as using it for the outer borders. I think it will look good together.

I bought that floral print at Fabricland ages ago and I only paid $3.00/m for it and now I wish I had bought 20" more. :)  At the time, my sister Cheryl was visiting with me and we decided to go fabric shopping and we hit at the right time. They had quite a bit of fabric on sale for that price and we stocked up. We had no immediate plans for the fabric but we knew we would use it at some point. :)

My only hesitation on these fabric choices is with the greenish fabric for the inner border and binding. I hope it will work but I have to try it out first to see if I do like it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Westering Women is a Finished Quilt

I tried to get a decent photo - not much success though
I am a little delayed in posting this finished quilt but I really wanted to write about it so that I have something of it documented.  What can I say other than I love how it turned out!

Who knew this mess of blocks could end up so gorgeous!
These were blocks from a quilt along hosted by Barbara Brackman on her Civil War Quilts blog. It was a year long project starting in January 2016 and Barbara posted one block a month along with a background story. Barbara provided the block patterns and did give some ideas and examples for block settings but it was really up to the maker to figure out what they wanted to do for the layout of their quilt.

In the first blog posting I did about Westering Women I stated that I was going to do my best to keep up. Well, I didn't really keep to the exact time schedule but I did get it completely finished - quilted and bound in April 2017. ;)

another try at the photo
My quilt finished at approx 78" x 89" and I quilted it with Omni thread but I can't remember what the colour was. It does match really well though! I had done a bit of reading about quilting designs for that time period and found that floral designs would be appropriate so I used a panto by Patricia Ritter and Hermione Agee called Hollyhock. I used Tuscany 80/20 cotton/wool batting and it is wonderful - beautiful texture to look at and feels really nice too!

I did write a post showing the finished flimsy last March but my pictures never do my quilts justice. It can be a real challenge to find the space and decent lighting for photos, and well, not having a photo editor doesn't help either, but we all do our best. :)

flimsy done in March 2017
Barbara will be hosting another quilt along starting in January called Antebellum Album 1840-1860 and you can read about it here on her Civil War Quilts blog. Thank you so much Barbara!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

More Binding - Crumby Kisses

Today I will do some more work on binding my quilt Crumby Kisses. I have just over 100" left to bind and then it will be done. I will be sad when it is finished because I have fallen in love with this quilt and I don't think I am going to be keeping it.

I have been shown a technique that allows you to bind a quilt by machine and it really turns out beautiful but honestly I love to hand stitch the binding to the quilt. It is one of my favourite parts of the quilting process. There is something about being up-close and personal to the quilt, petting it and admiring it, that I just love so much.

I am linking up to Kathy's Quilts and Slow Sunday Stitching. Kathy celebrates those that do hand work and every week she reminds us to take the time to slow down, do some handwork and just enjoy the process. Good advice!!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Flying Geese and Important Milestones

I had a busy day yesterday but I was able to squeeze in a bit of sewing in the morning. I got more of the flying geese for Old Tobacco Road made and I am getting close to being finished. I did a count and I have already made 58 of the 94 needed. I think it really did help that I started working on them as leaders and enders during the construction of the center of the quilt top.

Most of the day was spent attending our son Adam's convocation ceremony. He graduated with his Master of Arts in English and has already started working on his PhD.  We are so proud of Adam and the dedication and hard work that he has put into, and continues to put into, his education.
After the ceremony we all went out to dinner and spent a lovely evening together even though the restaurant was very noisy! :)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Old Tobacco Road and my Little Helpers

I had Old Tobacco Road laying on my sewing room floor because I had no room for it on my design wall. I had the parts all laid out waiting for me to sew them together as time allowed but I constantly had to keep setting things back to some kind of order.

This is what happens when you have two dogs that want to help especially when something other than them is the center of attention. ;) Honestly, as soon as I would start to work on the top the dogs would try to lay down on all of the pieces and spread them around.

These are the two culprits that wanted to help with rearranging the blocks. The quilt top has taken up so much of the floor space that their sheepskin has been pushed into a pile and there is barely enough room for them to lie on it. 
Molly stretching her paw out trying to slink onto the quilt top!
Molly really wanted to lie on top of the quilt as I was working and I had to keep telling her no! Peanut was happy to just observe the goings on.

Molly had finally resigned herself to the fact that she was not going to get on to the top and mess it all up...again.

Ta da....the center of the quilt top is finished and ready for trimming despite all of the help from Molly and Peanut. The next step is to make the borders and get them attached. I already have a start on the flying geese but there are still many to make.