Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two Granddaughters' JK Quilts Adventures

I pick up one of my grandkids from school each week and they take turns from oldest to youngest coming over for a dinner date with Grandma and Grandpa. They get to pick what they'd like for dinner (within reason :-) and after supper we play their choice of game with them before bringing them home.  This has become a very fun tradition and they look forward to being in school so they can join in on the tradition.
This year, two of my granddaughters turned four and are ready for Junior Kindergarten so that means an I spy quilt for their quiet time.  Charity and Katie came over for dinner together in June and got to choose the squares they would like in their quilt.  I let each of them put their chosen blocks on my design wall and they picked enough to make a queen sized quilt LOL.  The squares were put into a ziplock bag with their names on it and they both wanted purple and pink in their quilts.  I purchased some pink and purple kona solids and made the disappearing 9 patch making pink center squares for Charity and purple ones for Katie so they would be a little different.  We then had supper together and played triominoes with Grandpa before bringing them home.  (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Getting started

They got to use the design wall

Charity is always in a hurry :-)

Finding that perfect square

Working through the pile of 5" blocks
Charity and her squares

Katie and her squares

The two cousins in front of Charity's blocks

Best buddies :-)
Here are the two finished quilts.  They were made using the very same pattern - disappearing 9 patch with Charity's using the pink in the center and Katie's using the purple.  When I laid out Charity's squares like the pink quilt below, the purple "pinwheels" took over the whole quilt and you couldn't see the I spy squares.  Yikes..back to the drawing board.  I googled disappearing 9 patch on google images and there were several that were laid out totally random which helped a lot.  Lesson learned:  the purple should have been less strong.  Second lesson learned:  there is a solution to every dilemna in quilting :-).
Charity's finished quilt
Katie's finished quilt...amazing how changing the purple and pink around produces such a different quilt.

Quilting on Katie's quilt

Quilting on Charity's quilt

The aftermath of Grandma's neat stack of 5" blocks LOL
  Enjoy your Junior Kindergarten year, Charity and Katie.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

 I have been asked to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop.  My friend, Cathy, from Eagles' Wings Quilts asked if I would do a blog post this week answering four questions and adding some photos.  Here is Cathy's post for the Blog Hop.   You can see the post for the person who nominated her and keep going back :-).  So, here we go.....

First an introduction.  I live in Southwestern Ontario Canada with my dear husband of 36 years.  Our romance dates back to grade 7 :-).  We are empty nesters for a number of years already and have four kids, who are all married and we have 9 grandchildren...6 girls and 3 boys.  That keeps me hopping making quilts for all of them.  I teach quilt classes here in my home usually one evening and one day per week, whatever works for the schedule.  My husband is in his 9th year of teaching High School Sciences, Math and Apologetics (the defense of the Christian Faith) at a Christian High School.  He did a mid life career change.  Five years ago we built a quilt studio and designed the house around it :-).  Here is where I hang out most days:

My sewing studio with my husband's office right beside
1. What am I working on? 
I am always working on a host of different things and I work best under pressure.  I am not always in the mood to work on certain projects or with particular colours, so I need a lot of projects on the go so I have choices :-).  It is good when a deadline forces me to finish up the project.  Right now I'm just finishing up an I spy quilt for my granddaughter who is going to JK this year...I'm a little late!  But, I have two little four year old granddaughters starting JK this year.  Charity already has her quilt and Katie's just needs binding and a label.  They came over one day and got to pick out their own I spy squares for their quilt, stayed for dinner and we played games together with Grandpa.  Very fun!
Charity's quilt
Katie's Quilt

 I am also working on a One Block Wonder Quilt and another baby quilt that need to be done very shortly.   I am also working on a few long term projects:  An Indian Orange Peel quilt, a Dear Jane quilt,  the Psalms quilt by Carol Honderich and I have lots of UFO's as well.  They will all get finished eventually!  Another project that keeps us hopping is sewing quilts with my local small guild for our chemo unit at the local hospital.  We provide lap quilts for those going through chemo treatments.  This is a very rewarding activity and provides us lots of opportunities to work with colours and patterns that we might not normally use and it goes to a good cause.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I enjoy working with patterns, but often give it my own spin.  My favourite quilting activity is playing with colour (this is probably why I have so many UFO's...I want to dig through my colourful stash :-).  My very favourite way of quilting is to make some blocks, toss them up on my design wall and let the quilt speak to me what it wants next.    I'm in a brights stage at the moment and love to work with Kaffe Fassett prints.  I have a large collection of these fabrics and was able to take a class with him recently.  That was so much fun.  You can read about the class here and see the finished quilt here on my blog.  The thing that would distinguish my work most from others is that I do all my quilting and piecing on antique and vintage sewing machines.  I piece most of my quilts on a 1951 Singer 15-88 treadle which can even free motion quilt and also use my 1960's vintage Bernina 830 electric machine as well as a Featherweight and other antique machines is our collection.

1951 Singer 15-88 treadle
My trusty Bernina 830

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

I started my blog so that some far away family would be able to keep up with what I am doing.  It has become an interesting record and scrapbook of the quilts I have finished over the years.  Unfortunately, I'm a little behind in my blogging and have quite a few quilts to write about yet.  I got behind when my computer crashed!  It will all happen in due time :-).
4. How does my writing/creating process work?

My creating process could probably be best described as "random abstract" LOL.  I generally work on something that I'm in the mood for unless I have a real deadline and even then, I tend to procrastinate until it's a really really close deadline.  I do love to organize and my stash is nicely organized by colour and type.  And, I have lots of scraps that are nicely sorted as per instructions from Bonnie Hunter's site.   I cannot throw anything out and raid the garbage cans after my students leave and keep the scraps neatly organized to use as leaders/enders as Bonnie describes on her site.  Recently I did made a couple of quilts that use the garbage from circles which I used in a baby quilt.  You can see the baby quilt and the "Never Throw Anything Away" quilt here

I am supposed to nominate someone else to keep the blog hop going, but being in a household with a teacher, the first two weeks in September are a bit crazy LOL.  I have asked a fellow blogger to participate, but have not heard back from her yet.  I will add her blog information when I hear from her.

My selvage quilt on the wall and one of the "Never throw anything away" quilts on the chair.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Round Robin reveal party

Sometime in February, my friend Gail approached me to see if I would be interested in participating in a round robin with Cathy S and Christine R.  I figured that would be a fun challenge, so agreed to do it.  We had to make a center block of our own choosing in any size and add some fabrics to it.  The participants each had to add a border and could add some of their own fabrics if they wished.   We had approximately a month to complete each border before it had to go to the next person.

On Thursday evening, we gathered at Gail's place in her gazebo in the back yard and had the grand reveal!  Wow, what a great time we had.  The quilt tops were all amazing and it was great to hear the stories behind each of the decisions that had to be made and the other ideas that each person considered.  Sometimes and idea was just soundly defeated by the quilt itself LOL.  

We are each posting photos of the progress of our own quilt and I will link the other blogs to the bottom of this post when they have them up.  

This is the center block that I started with.  It was intended to be acoffee cup.

Gail was the first to put a border on.  She decided to put the cup straight again and made it a tea cup and added a border of tea bags!
a close up of a couple of the tea bags

aren't these just so fun?

Another border of the light blue was added and Cathy S surrounded it with these awesome T blocks.  How appropriate is that?
Here is Christine showing the final border.

Christine added a white border and appliqued a vine and leaves on it.   Then she embroidered a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt on the border:  "Women are like tea bags - they don't know how strong they are until they get into hot water". 

 I was totally amazed at how the quilt turned out.  I am very happy with it.  Here is a photo of the finished quilt.  The light wasn't great anymore, so the photo is a little bit washed out.  It's actually quite a bit brighter.  I will post more photos when I get it quilted.  Christine wasn't quite finished with the embroidery yet, so I will get it here in a couple weeks :-).

Gail's blog post about her quilt is here.

Cathy S's blog about her quilt is here.

Christine R's blog post about her quilt is here.

Here are all four of us with our quilt tops

Friday, July 18, 2014

Baby quilts for Amy DK and Amy V.

I finished a couple of baby quilts this was late and the other just on time :-).  Nice to have them both finished.  I was fortunate to be able to borrow a Sweet Sixteen Quilting machine from a friend to try out.  I had debated getting one of these and it was so nice to actually be able to quilt a few quilts on it to see if it was something I'd like to purchase.  Not going there yet at this time...more research on other options :-).

Sweet Sixteen sit down quilt machine

The finished baby quilt - an I spy quilt using the Disappearing 9 patch pattern.

The baby's Dad works at a dairy farm, so I chose cows and other farm animals to be included.

It was fun trying out some ruler work on the Sweet Sixteen using this curved ruler...that worked great
 Amy V's quilt was next.  I had done another quilt just like it for Denise using the Ring Toss pattern from Swirly Girls.  However, the pattern called for 5 fat quarters, but I wanted to add more variation and used 10 which resulted in enough circles and border squares to make two quilts.  Since Amy loved Denise's quilt and her nursery was in the same colours, she got the second one.  I quilted this one with straight lines, using a ruler on the Sweet Sixteen and did large swirls in the border blocks.

the finished quilt
I found the perfect giraffe backing for this quilt
I tried some free hand echo quilting inside the circles...not perfect, but good practise and the baby won't care :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Alexander Jacob's baby quilt

Just realized that I never posted my new grandson's quilt.  Alexander Jacob was born in April, but I did not have his quilt ready!!  I did finally get it finished in May and he is enjoying his quilt. 

I received  a package of FQ's from my friend in Holland for Christmas.  She ordered them from the States and had them sent to me here in Canada.  The bundle had FQ's featuring "Corduroy", the little bear that Don Freeman features in his children's books.  I have always loved those books and read them to my kids and now to my grandkids :-).  Since the prints were large and small and some were difficult to cut up, I played around with a layout using yellow and blue Kona solids and a piano key border with the leftovers and a scrappy binding with the leftovers of the leftovers.  I usually handquilt the first quilt for my grandkids, but wanted to get it finished and did some fun 'modernish' machine quilting on this one.

The finished quilt

the layout of the blocks and border

zig zag quilting in the blue square

border quilting

straight line quilting in the sashings

using leftover backing from my very first grandson's quilt 12 years ago :-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Sewing Space Tour!

I am excited to be participating in the Sew Canadian sewing studio tour hosted by Mad About Patchwork for the summer months.  There will be two or three studios featured in their blog posted each week.  You can click on the button in the sidebar to go to the schedule.  My studio will be featured on the 17th of August.  I had a rare moment of organization in the room as I was hosting an all day quilting class, so had to clean up!  I took advantage of that to take the photos needed for the tour.  

Once you get to the info post about the summer tour, click on "blog" at the top of the page and it'll take you to the current post on the blog.  Scroll down to find the posts about the studio's posted weekly.  Enjoy!

July 6th – Patti @Retired to Quilt and Krista @Poppyprint
July 13th – Dominique @The Running Thimble and Cinzia @Deux Petites Souris
July 20th – Anita @Daydreams of Quilts and Lorna @Sew Fresh Quilts
July 27th – Shena @Apple Pie Patchwork and Katherine @Sew Me Something Good
August 3rd – Felicity @Felicity Quilts and Josee @The Charming Needle
August 10th – Janet @What Comes Next and M-R @Quilt Matters
August 17th – Erica @Happy Fabric, Jacqui @Treadle Quilts and Adrienne @Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
August 24th – Leanne @She Can Quilt and Jaclyn @Jaclyn Quilts
August 31st – Pam @Mad About Patchwork and Laura @Waffle Kisses
- See more at:
July 6th – Patti @Retired to Quilt and Krista @Poppyprint
July 13th – Dominique @The Running Thimble and Cinzia @Deux Petites Souris
July 20th – Anita @Daydreams of Quilts and Lorna @Sew Fresh Quilts
July 27th – Shena @Apple Pie Patchwork and Katherine @Sew Me Something Good
August 3rd – Felicity @Felicity Quilts and Josee @The Charming Needle
August 10th – Janet @What Comes Next and M-R @Quilt Matters
August 17th – Erica @Happy Fabric, Jacqui @Treadle Quilts and Adrienne @Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
August 24th – Leanne @She Can Quilt and Jaclyn @Jaclyn Quilts
August 31st – Pam @Mad About Patchwork and Laura @Waffle Kisses
- See more at:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mexican Stars

It's been awhile since I updated my blog.  I have been busy sewing various things, but haven't gotten around to posting them yet.  May has been a very busy month and I totally had the surprise of my life when my friend, Els, from the Netherlands shocked me with a week long visit for my birthday.  I had no idea she was coming and she showed up at my front door, delivered by our friend, Amy!! We had a fabulous week, visiting a great quilt show, shopping at Quilt shops and visiting and enjoying the nice spring weather and sewing in my sewing room!  

I recently had a guest instructor into my sewing studio to teach us the Mexican Star wallhanging.   Els happened to be here for that as well, so we raided my fabric stash and cut out the pieces needed on time for the class :-).  There were 10 ladies gathered in my sewing room plus our instructor, Pat. We had a great time learning together and seeing the results of the various colours used on an identical pattern. 

Busy ladies

We all squeezed around the cutting table

Els sewed on my vintage Bernina 830 and I used my Singer 15-88 treadle
Pat showing Els the next step

First blocks assembled

My first block.  I used Kaffe Fasset fabrics on a black background

Els got her top all sewn together late at night when we noticed one small mistake!  The curved seams are not sewn here yet

My finished top with all the curved pieces finished
Darlene's top before borders

Els finished her top back in Holland and added a lippy between the border
Gerrie added a narrow border with corner stones and a lippy between her last border
Pat K's top with borders added
My second top which will be a wedding gift
Alice's finished top before the curved seams
Mary Lynn's top with borders

Mary VD's top - she's quilting it already :-)
And here is Mary's finished quilt:

It is amazing how different the quilts look with the different fabric choices and border options.  There were a few more ladies that are still working on their quilts.  When I get the photos I will update the post to include theirs as well.