Saturday, 17 December 2016

Canada 150

Next Step Quilt Designs is putting on a special quilt project for Canada's 150th birthday coming up July 1, 2017.  I really didn't need a new project LOL, but this one was irresistible and a great opportunity to do something fun with my scraps for Canada's special birthday.  I'm doing my quilt all in red and neutrals and must confess that I have bought a couple of new FQ's of reds and whites on my last visit to a quilt shop.  But, I've been rooting around in my stash and scraps to make these 6" blocks.

Every week, on Tuesday, three patterns are posted together with a story about a Canadian woman and her accomplishments.  It is interesting reading about these woman - some familiar and others totally new to me. The patterns stay up on the website for two weeks and then they are taken down.  But, at the end of the program a CD will be available for those who have missed them.  I just finished #13 and #15 tonight.   Here are the first 15 blocks:

Blocks 1 - 3

Blocks 4 - 6

Blocks 7 - 9

Blocks 10 - 12

Blocks 13 - 15
Now to get back to working on my UFO's and keep up with these every week.  There will be a total of 150 blocks!  But, it will be a very pretty quilt and they work up quickly.  It takes longer to choose the fabrics than to sew the blocks. 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sisters Quilt Finished

A few weeks ago I finally put the last stitches in the binding on a quilt that I've been working on for a very long time; in fact, I can't even remember when I started it (could be 15 years ago?).  My sister Eva and I thought it would be fun to make the exact same quilt together.  Sewing the top didn't take all that long, but then life got in the way and we both forgot about them in the busyness of life.  She dug it out again two years ago when she came over to work on a number of projects.  You can read about that here.  I just noticed the date on that post was Oct, 2014.
This is the stage they were at two years ago; mine is on the left, Eva's on the right
Here it is, finally finished - it even has a label :-)

I hand quilted this quilt in the ditch, but it seemed to need more so I quilted lines in white strips and about an inch and a half apart along the borders and circles in the dark green squares.

By the time I finished this quilt, I had nothing in the stash anymore for binding!  My tastes have definitely changed for the more colourful in the last dozen years.  I dug through my stash of Kona cottons and found a FQ of the perfect blue and green and just managed to get the binding out of that.  I still really like this quilt and it's hanging over my Mom's little chair in my living room...a perfect little quilt to put over your lap while reading a good book on a snowy day like today!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Christmas table runner and pillow

A couple of days before my friend Els went back to Holland, we visited Cherished Pieces in Tillsonburg together.  It is one of our favourite quilt shops in this area :-).  Els bought a charm pack of winter fabrics featuring cardinals.  We rooted around on the internet to find a pattern for them. We came across sotak. (the same site where the instructions for zippered pillows comes from).  She had a free tutorial for a modern table runner using 2" squares.  We cut the charm pack in half twice to make 2 1/2" squares and adapted the background size to fit.  

That triggered a memory that I had some Christmas mini charm packs (candy) in my stash somewhere.  I found them and had two packs (you need 52 or so squares).  There was also a lovely Christmas tree print which worked great for the back. I searched around in my solids and found this lovely Pepper Cory shot cotton in a shimmery grey. (click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view)

The finished runner

Close up of the fabrics and quilting lines (the white trees on red in the lower left is also the backing fabric). I quilted it 1/2" apart.  The pattern said 1/4", but since this was larger, I think 1/2" was perfect.

Binding was also done in the red and white trees.

The completed runner on the design wall

I had auditioned a white with red snowmen fabric for the background of the table runner, but figured it would be a little busy.  But, the leftover squares were still on it and I needed a handmade gift for a Ladies Conference I attended last weekend.  And, I really did want to try quilting 1/4" lines as I love the texture.  I had just enough little squares left to make a 20" pillow.

Love the way the pillow turned out with the 1/4" lines.  It was a lot of sewing, but worth it.

I used a turqouise Aurafil thread from a little thread set given to me by my friend Lynn last year for Christmas.

I found these Basic grey snowmen in my stash which went perfectly.  Of course it got a zippered closure as well :-).

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Landscapes - the Next Step

The first landscape piece I made in our second class was inspired by a calendar photo.  It always amazes me how each project I tackle teaches me lots of new things.  With this piece, I ended up with too much contrast between the purple and yellow and it looked more like a couple of evil eyes than streaks of sunshine peeking through the purple clouds.  I'm thinking perhaps the purple should have been a softer shade?  So, this is turning into my practise piece :-). (Click on the photos for a larger view - sorry about the small captions - blogger is not letting me enlarge it for some reason!) 
This is the original calendar photo that inspired my landscape

The "evil eyes"

amazing how much nicer it looks with a mat

I got very brave and added the thread painted trees with black So Fine thread from Superior.  It's a 50 weight thread and doesn't fill in the trees very quickly.  Perhaps I will try a thicker thread next time?
two trees added

with two more trees added and framed with another thrift shop frame
It also did not eliminate the 'evil eye' syndrome LOL.  I'm thinking of adding a lighter charcoal/grey thread to one side of the thicker tree branches as suggested by a few friends.  But, of course I'm suffering from "paralysis by analysis" as Lori Kennedy of the Inbox Jaunt likes to label it!!  Do I leave it or keep going and possibly wreck it? I do like the way the trees turned out.  Any advice is welcome :-). 

More Landscapes from our classes

More landscapes......some more photos of the landscapes we worked on including the first class in June....the mat was just used to temporarily frame it.  It's just amazing to see how the mat or frame transforms the piece from a messy mish mash of strips to a beautiful scene :-).  (Click on the photo to enlarge for a better view.)

Alice's landscape

Julie's landscape

Marg's landscape

Mary's landscape with a frame from the thrift shop

Sharon's landscape in a thrift shop frame

Sunday, 30 October 2016


My friend Els, from the Netherlands, came over for a two and a half week visit.  We had a great time together.  She is also an avid quilter so never a dull moment here.  We spent lots of time in the sewing room together or hand stitching over cups of tea and enjoying chocolate chip cookies :-).  

While Els was here, Pat Palmer was guest instructor for my students in my sewing room.  She taught a class on landscapes.  She originally learned it at Heather Bell's studio in West Lorne, ON.  We used 1/2" bias strips of batiks and did a sample to learn the technique.  They actually turn out very nicely once they are put in a frame. (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

This is Els' first one with a mat pinned in front of it

This is the first one I did in my first class in June
I found a frame and lighter mat for it - amazing how it changes the look! (White flecks are reflections from the glass.)
Els enjoyed her sample very much and we decided to try another one together.  We found a great photo in a calendar that our Church did this year as a fundraiser. We tossed batik fabrics onto the photo that would work and cut the 1/2" bias strips and then started putting together our version of the landscape. We asked Lisa Bishop for a .jpg of the photo she submitted for this calendar so we could share it here on the blog.

This is the original photo taken by Lisa when she was in New Zealand.  We loved the colours and the challenge of trying to get that island in the quilt and that grass in front of the water in the foreground.

This is Els' version with a very curved island and strip piecing for the water/grass.

I used the bias strips for the water/grass section as well as the island.  Totally different look, but both cool. That white fleck in the top right is reflection off the glass.  I'm a quilter, not a photographer :-).
We used photo frames that we found at our local thrift shop! It is amazing how the bias strips curve so much without puckering.  I'm sure we'll have a few more landscapes in our future. 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

a Patch Job

Last December, I got a quilt finished for my granddaughter Kara.  You can read about that quilt here.  However, when they put the quilt on the bed, it was too small!  Apparently, bunk bed sizes are not all equal and I chose one on the internet that was too small.  Lesson learned:  Always measure it on the actual bed before finishing!  
This was the original quilt all finished including hand stitched binding!

I removed the binding, found fabric to match and sewed a narrow and wider border strip together.
I cut a strip of backing fabric and sewed the edge of the original quilt between the new border and the backing and then had to cut a strip of batting to add between the layers.

Then the process was repeated for the top and bottom borders and the quilting could begin

Spiral flowers were quilted in the new border and the edges were also filled in.

quilting on the back

Unfortunately, the borders shrunk in, so I washed it hoping the center would shrink, but it seemed to make it worse.  I pinned it to my design wall and sprayed it wet and that helped a bit.  However, it is now finished in time for the cool weather and is on the bed.  And, if it still doesn't fit, that's the way it's gonna have to be :-).

Monday, 26 September 2016

Having fun with Selvages

While I was rooting around for some photos, I came across some hot pads I had finished this summer and realized I had not blogged about these.  

We were invited to a friend's cottage for an overnight stay in July.  Another mutual friend also joined us. We had a fabulous time catching up and enjoying the beautiful weather, swimming, boating, playing Scrabble, etc.  I had to test a few sewing machines and wanted an easy project so cut out some 8" squares of scrap fabric and a square of batting and covered them with selvages quilt as you go style.  That worked slick.  I dug out leftover pieces of binding from other projects and chose selvages to match those colours.  After stitching the selvages onto the batting base, I added a backing and stitched the bindings on.  I joined a couple of friends one evening and hand stitched the bindings down while they worked on their projects.  I got seven of the eight finished and the last one was stitched at the cottage :-).

Found some fun leftover binding strips in my bin :-)

I started with a strip in the middle on the diagonal ones and added selvages to each corner

Half of them were done in straight lines...the navy blue one was not finished yet.
 I gave four of them to each friend at the cottage.  They had a hard time choosing the colours LOL.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Beth's Baby Quilt

Last night we had another shower for one of the young girls in our Church who had her first baby.  We had an enjoyable time with the ladies of our Church, young and old :-).  You know you're getting old when you have to identify 14 different baby foods in jars and there are names that you've never heard of in the mix!!  Needless to say, I didn't win that game LOL.  

I made a quilt for the baby and also finished off a UFO in the process.  I started this quilt 11 or so years ago after I took a class at the Quilt Rack in Ancaster where I worked for two years when my husband went back to school.  The class was called Lemon Braid and was a pattern from the book "Open a Can of Worms" by Debbie Caffrey.  I made a large quilt for my husband and then began experimenting with my scraps to make it in smaller sizes.  I finished the half braids and it languished in a drawer until I found it last year.  It's been waiting for a baby girl so I could finish it.  I used a lot of fun novelty prints so it became a bit of an I spy braid.

I found this great print awhile ago and it was perfect for the back!

The finished quilt

swirly flowers in the sashing...great opportunity to practise them since they are not obvious :-)

The quilting on the braids was just a simple stitch in the ditch and a swirly motif in the braids.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Shop Hop table runner

In May, we loaded up a van and headed for a Quilt shop hop in the Kitchener/Stratford area.  We had a great time chatting along the way, going out for lunch and collecting our little packets of fabric pieces for a table runner.  At the last shop, we received the finishing pieces and the pattern.  
Alice and I decided to get together right away to put the table runner together so it wouldn't end up in the UFO pile.  I actually got it done that week, but forgot to blog about it. 

We received a 10" square of the small floral or the purple foral at each shop

The solid green and the purple stripe was given at the last shop along with the pattern

A close up of the quilting

The finished table runner has already been used quite often
 Thanks to Creative Sisters in Kitchener, Heart 'n Home Creations, New Hamburg, The Quilt Place in Shakespeare and Ye Olde Fabric Shoppe in Stratford for the fun day.  And, we ended up taking home a lot more than just the pieces for the table runners :-).

Saturday, 27 August 2016

More Pillows for Holland.....

Before going to Holland, I also made three Selvage Star Pillows for my two cousins and for one of my husband's cousins.  We stayed at each of these homes for part of our trip to Holland.  While I was at it, I also sorted out all my selvages by colours.  That really helped to make these pillows.  This is one of the patterns from Cut Loose Press. 

Here is the process of some of the selvage sorting :-)

I had three of these baskets...once you start stirring them they fluff up big time!

Grey pillow went to Jake's cousin, Martijn and Wilma

This one went to my cousin Corine and Bert

This one went to my other cousin Liane and Henk
Interestingly, everyone in Holland has these cute little chairs and each pillow fit perfectly with their decor and into their chairs!