Monday, November 30, 2015

Design Wall Monday

Work is continuing on my July Shop Hop blocks and the first 6 blocks are now up on the design wall. The top 3 blocks are variations of the churn dash block and were fun to make. The flying geese block on the bottom left was also fun. 
But the bottom middle block was frustrating due to complex cutting instructions which resulted in not cutting the pieces in an efficient manner (largest ones first) which then meant that I had to piece tiny bits of fabric together in order to make up the required size pieces. 
And the bottom right block was supposed to be made with templates (bleck!) so I cleverly designed a paper piecing block instead. However, not being as clever as I had thought, I forgot to figure in the seam allowance measurements so the pieces don't join up properly anywhere. All those nice corner points will also be gone when I piece the block in the quilt. Ugh.
Oh well, I'm telling myself (as I usually do) that I tried my best, so it's "good enough".  Move on.
If you want to see more design wall postings, hop over to visit Judy at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly linky party where we celebrate all forms of hand stitching. Make a cup of your favourite beverage to enjoy while you visit the blogs of slow stitchers around the world. It's the perfect way to start your Sunday!

I have been working on some of the sampler quilt blocks from the local July Shop Hop. When I was at quilt retreat I started this block and was able to finish it this week . It is an embroidery design in the centre of a pieced churn dash block.

Next up is a hexagon block, which unfortunately I am not enjoying. I hoped I would enjoy these hexies more since other hand stitchers seem to like making them. I have enjoyed making small hexies in the past, and I think the problem with this block is that the fabric pieces are precut and it's a struggle to have enough of a seam allowance to baste over the edges of the paper hexagons. The next step will be to whip stitch them together. I think I'll enjoy that stitching more.
What are you hoping to work on today? Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Scrap Squad Starburst

My 5th Scrap Squad quilt is finished!

The original pattern is "Candy Cane Crush" by Sandra Clemons. I used the block pattern and then decided to put the blocks on point. To read more about this quilt, hop over to the Quiltmaker blog (not posted yet but stay tuned!) where I wrote about the design decisions, the construction of the top, and the machine quilting.
Even after all these years of making quilts, this one challenged me in new ways. 

These are some of the things I learned in making this quilt:
1) I learned how to painstakingly sew a border on the edge of a quilt with more than 160 blocks that need to be sewn precisely in order to not lose the points of all the squares.

2) I learned that it is a real challenge to make a quilt with so much white fabric. Every single stray thread showed on the quilt. I had to use the sticky lint roller on the backing, the batting, and both sides of the quilt top before basting. And then again after quilting. And still there were threads that were noticeable. 

3) I also learned that it is nearly impossible to photograph a white quilt and get the colour balance accurate.

4) And I was reminded not to try to photograph a quilt on a windy day! Remember when I tried to photograph Easy Street? The problem was that I cut it too close in terms of the timing for finishing the quilt and getting the photos taken for the deadline for writing the Quilty Pleasures blogpost. 

Because it is totally dark outside after 5 pm (when getting home from work) and I have poor indoor lighting for a white quilt (which makes it look yellow) the photos had to be taken on the windy day. Trying to get some decent photos in sub optimal conditions was not fun for me, but was quite entertaining for the neighbours!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Allietare Countdown

I didn't realize that the beginning of the Quiltville mystery is this Friday! Are you sewing along with the mystery gang?
The first step is revealed on Friday morning, and I finally corralled all my fabrics. I am going totally "by the book" this time and using the colours that Bonnie recommends. My collection looks a little boring to me, but I know that Bonnie's patterns always have a million pieces and it will be anything but boring!

The black fabrics are from my civil war fabric scrapbox, the reds are leftover from Confluence, many of the golds are leftover from Angel Solstice, and the neutrals are just always kicking around here. The greys are all new. I couldn't pick just one grey as recommended, but they all "read" fairly similar in value. 
I'm calling it good to go. 
Two more sleeps!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Maintenance Reminder

My sewing machine feet are getting a real workout this week in finishing my Scrap Squad quilt. These are my tried and true attachments, and have worked so hard over the years, they really should be retired. On the left is the walking foot, the middle is my piecing foot, and on the right is a very old free motion foot. I'm not sure which machine that one originally came with, but it's my favourite one. 
In preparation for the mystery starting this week, I decided to give my machine a bit of a spa treatment, including a thorough cleaning and oiling. And look what I found inside... a piece of thread caught in the bobbin gear. That is never a good thing. It took quite a bit of finessing with the tweezers to get that long thread unwound. 
Maintenance is such an important part of keeping our machines in good running condition. 
The machine is ready for Allietare.
Wait. Where's my fabric?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Design Table Monday

There has been a flurry of activity in my sewing room in order to complete my next Scrap Squad quilt, which will (maybe) be posted on the Quiltmaker blog on Friday. I have been slicing and sewing, and piecing and quilting up a storm in here. There are scraps of fabric everywhere. I wish I had a cleaning fairy to help restore some order. Everything looks organized in this photo, but I'm not showing you what's outside the picture frame!

trying to figure out the partial blocks
I really annoyed myself by following a creative thought, and deciding at the last minute to change the layout. That decision required a big change in the kinds of blocks I needed to make and it also required construction of partial blocks. 
Which meant doing some measurement calculations (not my strong suit). 
And that meant making mistakes. 
Which meant some swearing, followed by recalculations.
Repeat as needed.

It's my own fault, so to whom can I complain when it's totally self inflicted!?! 

No one. 
(Well, I'm kinda complaining to you right now!)

Time for an attitude adjustment!

To see some regular design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching in November

Generally speaking I detest November, when there is less natural light, the beautiful colours of fall are gone, and the cold winter weather descends. In the cycle of life, it's the time for hibernation, when we crawl into our caves, try to keep warm, and sleep until better weather returns. Modern day life does not allow that cycle, and we have to work just as much in November as in any other month of the year. But we can be sure to follow the healthy practice of having one day of rest each week. 
Today's our day to rest and be thankful. 
And stitch.

I was so lucky to have an entire weekend of rest when I attended a quilt retreat with my sister last week. Of course I took my winter hand quilting project, which is hung over the porch railing in this photo. We had such a great view of the lake that it was hard to concentrate on sewing at times. I didn't actually get a lot accomplished on the stitching, but I did achieve my primary goal of rest and relaxation!

It was gorgeous fall weather and you know me... I couldn't wait to stitch outside! As soon as the sun came out, I went out. My sister took this lovely photo of the sun shining right on me. It was cold, but the quilt was perfect to snuggle up under and kept me warm enough to be able to quilt for a while, until my hands got too cold to stitch.

Today I'll be stitching indoors, especially since snow is in the weather forecast. 

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below. We love to see what you're stitching and cheer you on!