Monday, 15 December 2014

Free motion practise with Lori Kennedy

Free motion quilting is one of those skills that needs practise, practise, practise which is boring :-)   There are always so many things that need to be done.  I keep procrastinating and trying to get motivated.  Excited to report that I've discovered the solution to that problem by coming across a blog by Lori Kennedy called The Inbox Jaunt.  Lori suggests using squares of solid coloured cotton and quilting practise motifs and then binding them and using them as vase quilts or mini wall hangings or just collecting them :-).   This has just motivated me to actually get around to trying these wonderful ideas.  (She also suggests making up a whole bunch of little sandwiches in various colours, but I haven't gotten quite that organized yet LOL.)

Every Tuesday she posts a tutorial on a new design or an adaptation of one of her earlier ones.  I decided to jump in and find a piece of green Kona cotton and to make a 12" square doodle piece of a Christmas tree and then I could possibly use it in my table top hanger which I want to rotate seasonally and on special holidays.  I really just slapped this triangle onto a 12 " square of cotton and started at it.  My original idea was to quilt straight lines up and down the tree and fill in with different designs.  However, I should have used a different angle ruler, so I drew two lines and started doodling!  The two lines helped get the angle I wanted.  I just got Angela Walter's new book and it showed the design that I used in the center to fill in a triangle - perfect!  I used variegated King Tut thread , but switched to green for the background.  I was trying to make snowballs LOL.  I should have drawn my grid lines a little closer together, but "finished is better than perfect", the Dear Jane quilters would say.  (Click on the photos for a larger view.)

The tree before binding.  I am still debating quilting something in the strip under the tree, but not sure what.  Can always add that later :-)

With binding and hanging on the table top stand. 

The backing - a Jason Yenter print

Lori also instructs you to doodle a lot on paper to get the hang of a design.  That definitely does help.  I started a notebook to practise and keep it by my computer so I can doodle various motifs that she suggests.  Onward ho to a poinsettia. I did doodle a lot of poinsettia's before getting the hang of them.  The colour in these pictures is way idea where the orange comes from!  The piece is actually dark red more like the bottom photo!!

the center poinsettia

this orange peel motif was very fun

Finished little quilt bound and ready for the table

Thanks so much Lori for the motivation to get me going on this!!

Friday, 7 November 2014

New Leaders/Enders Selvage project

I spent some time this week cutting 5" squares of white fabric for foundations for the basket weave selvage quilt in Karen Griska's book on Selvage Quilts.  I made the cube quilt in 2012 and had a lot of fun doing it.  I didn't have a leaders/enders project on the go right now and decided this one would work well.  So, my little tray is all ready to go and I have three squares finished and 40 white squares cut out.  I will need to cut more later as I'd like to make it into a larger quilt.  My selvage baskets (3 of them!!) don't look like they've had anything taken out of them at all.  I even threw a whole garbage can full of selvages away that are too skinny or flimsy or ugly!  The big problem is they get stirred up LOL. 

leaders/enders all organized :-)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sisters' Sew day

Last week, my sister and I enjoyed a looooong overdue sewing day together.  Eva had started an iPad cover a long time ago and we never had a chance to get together to finish it.  She also brought along some UFO's and we made some great progress on a few of them.  

A sampler quilt Eva made in 1999.  She didn't like the borders so took them off and we did a little brainstorming on possible borders.  We will go shopping together one of these days and get this quilt to done!
A little paper pieced project that needs binding

In no time we had a total disaster on the tables :-). 

Eva is making a cover for her iPad

A needle book that our other sister made for Eva years and years ago

Eva used one of my little Featherweights to quilt her iPad cover

Eva's version of our Sisters' quilt
That triggered a memory and I dug out my matching quilt from the bottom of the closet!  I have since been working on handquilting it again and am making progress :-)

A great sisters' day in my sewing room.  We'll have to do it again soon!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Quilt show Fun

I have several quilts I still need to blog about, but have been gallivanting all over the countryside lately!  Last weekend, my fairly local guild, London Friendship, held their show.  Since we were holding it in a new spacious venue, they had asked my husband and I to put up a display of our antique and vintage sewing machines. We set up a treadle to work on as well as a Singer Featherweight and a few other vintage machines.  There were some pictures hanging on the wall behind the tables, so we hung a few quilts over them to cover them up and arranged a couple of quilt stands to display quilts made on the antique and vintage machines.  Here are a few pictures of the display (click on the photos to enlarge):

Singer 15-88 treadle machine

an assortment of Featherweights and Singer toy sewing machines and two Singer irons with a "pressing guide" produced by Singer

Singer 301 and accessories and toy machine which slides in a little worktable

Canadian machines and toys and an Elna toy machine
Our oldest Canadian hand crank machine

Basic set up.  We had a lovely large space to display the machines

Christine R took this photo on Friday when I sewed on the Featherweight.  My treadle belt broke and I had to wait for Jake to fix it.

I sewed on the treadle on Saturday.  I worked at piecing the rows together of a Kaffe Fasset scraps thimble leaders/enders project.
My Bonnie Hunter Easy Street mystery was hanging in the show

My Kaffe diamond quilt was also in the show
 We had a great time chatting with people of all ages about memories of their ancestors' machines.  One older lady in a wheelchair sat watching me sew on the treadle with tears coming down her cheeks.  Awesome hearing the stories and inspiring people to dig out those old machines and get them up and running.  I do all my piecing on my 15-88 treadle and even some free motion quilting on it.  Most of my quilting is done on my vintage Bernina 830. 

Thursday, 18 September 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, 15 September 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, 20 July 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