Wednesday, 15 March 2017

MId March Catch Up

     On Monday morning I was feeling really happy.  I find that often I don't realize how much of a funk I've been in until I get out of it and feel joy.  It's been a difficult winter and to add to that my sewing machine was acting up.  There were a lot of skipped stitches.  I took it in for a tuneup, got it back and the problem was still happening.  So last Friday, I took it in again and this time I went in with it.  Reza (the repair man)  opened things up and had me sew with it until the problems started up again. He then made adjustments as I sewed along.  He did this while helping  another customer choose a machine. It seems that the tension was adjusted a bit too tight on my machine.  He gave me some trouble shooting tips as well. So it was a good experience after all.  It's amazing how much happiness having a well functioning sewing machine can bring to a quilter.

    Here's the project I was working on to test out the machine when it came back the first time.   I'm going to float these blocks in negative space for a simple but cheerful quilt, for my local Guild's charity projects.

     My friend Laura won this charm pack from Andover fabrics at Quilt Con.  She figured she wouldn't use it so I took it to make the donation quilt. It's a noble quilter who knows her quilting style so well that she can pass on such beautiful fabric. I tend to be more of a hoarder but I am trying to rectify this problem. 

The next thing I tackled was this Star Block for Lee, the Queen Bee of Stash Bee Hive 3.  She requested any star block .  As I'm the Queen next month and have to prepare a tutorial this month, I chose a simple 8 pointed star.

     I didn't realize until I got this done, that the eight pointed star is one of the blocks for the Honey Pot Bee.  I've been far too busy to work on Honey Pot but I'm itching to  make that tiara bonus block.  Now that the 30 quilt design challenge for 2017 is drawing to an end as well as the Meadow Mystery I just might have some time to participate in the Honey Pot Bee.  Fingers crossed.

     Speaking of the 30 quilt designs challenge I am pleased to say that I only have one more design to reach the 30.  I have to submit it today but that's totally do able.   Designing 30 quilts in 60 odd days has been very intense indeed.   I like some of the designs more than others, but it's taught me to look around my world for inspiration.  Another interesting thing is that sometimes I've thought a particular design is pretty darn awful and someone else will comment that they love it.

     I'm using one of my earlier designs as my block for Stash Bee.   I won't share it until April when the Stash Bee tutorial is live....but here is a peak at some of the fabrics I'm using in my samples.  The colours are chosen for the person I'm planning the quilt for.

          Today is March 15th and it's Gabriel's 1st Birthday!  Oh Happy Day.   I'll be calling his parents later today and Dwight and I are on for babysitting on Friday.  He's so much fun at this stage.  He recently learned to walk and to clap his hands.
One of my goals for this year was to spend more time with him and it's working out.  You would think this would be an easy goal, but with their family living in a neighbouring city and trying to work out our schedules with his parents schedules it's been a bit harder than you would think. 

      I'm linking my post up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and then I'm practising my renditions of "The Wheels on the Bus" and "5 Little Monkeys".  Being a Grand Parent is so much fun!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Canada's 150th Charity Quilts


     It's Canada's 150th birthday as a nation and I'm sure you all know that The Canadian Quilters Association is collecting blocks to be made into quilts for Ronald McDonald houses across the country. They are hoping to collect 1,000 quilts. My buddies and I decided to make a quilt top between the three of us, so last Saturday we got together at Wendy's and started making slab blocks out of our scraps, being sure to put the special Canadian Fabrics we purchased from Fabric Please into the blocks.

     I brought all my blue, turquoise and green scraps to use in the effort and I'm sad to say that I still have loads and loads of scraps remaining.

     Here are some of the blocks we made.  We opted to make the kid's size which is 4 blocks by 6 blocks (24 blocks in total).  We finished 18 blocks on Saturday leaving 2 each to get done at home.  The blocks are 12 1/2" slabs made with the technique shared by Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg in their book Sunday Morning Quilts.  

     The last day for mailing blocks and quilt tops is May 30th so I'm sure we will have our quilt top together well before that date.  The quilt tops will then go to the Quilt Canada show in June to be quilted at a really really big bee.  They are hoping that some folks will quilt their own quilts and donate them to their local Ronald McDonald houses  but we have so many other commitments with our local guild that a top is what we can manage.  Every little bit helps!   I'm linking this post to Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's blog.   If you are interested in a little more Canadian input you can check out this post where I share some of the Quilt Con quilts from my region of Ontario.

Friday, 3 March 2017


     Wow was my grandson's first word and so far it's the only word I've heard him say. Wow pretty much sums up my life for the last two weeks.  First of all there was Quilt Con East and all the excitement, fun and craziness of that experience.  If you haven't read Patti of Elm Street Quilts blog post about it I suggest you read her excellent summary. I'll share some Canadiana around Quilt Con a little later in the post.

   I got home on Monday night , went to work on Tuesday, then came home from work to my husband telling me that our daughter in law was in the hospital and that we were babysitting our grandson for a couple of days.  My daughter in law has an autoimmune condition and is expecting their second baby. Things were pretty intense for a couple of days but we are over the immediate crisis for now and hoping things will settle down so that she can return home.  In the mean time I am very grateful to both my place of employment and to Dwight's for being so accommodating with giving  us time off with essentially no notice. 

So now back to Quilt Con.  I had a wonderful time. The quilts were amazing and so inspiring.  I'm sure you've seen many of them on instagram by now but I'm going to show you a couple that are from people in my region.  This first one is by Linda Hutchinson (@artfultoo) who is a member of the Toronto Modern Guild.  I'm sure she made this for Canada's 150th birthday and I'm thinking it will be at Quilt Canada in the Spring.  It was in the hand quilting section.  She did an amazing job on the hand quilting of the red lines that you can see somewhat in this picture.

    The next quilt came in first in the Minimalism category.  It's by Susan Kyle of Toronto.  She's not in the guild but she and Karen became fast friends as they were stuck in an air travel nightmare together.  Susan missed the awards ceremony but Karen worked hard on her behalf behind the scenes to make sure Susan got her own awards ceremony later in the show. The background fabric of this quilt is made from the muslin that's used when they wax your eyebrows.

     The next one by Marilyn Farquhar of the Grand River Modern Guild won first in the piecing category.  I know Marilyn (@marylinjfarquhar) because she used to be a member of my local guild.  She lives near by and it was great to see her there.  It's so beautiful with its low volume and pops of colour.

     This next one is by Marilyn as well.  It's a fun little number with organic shapes and an interesting use of fabrics.  I am happy to see some colour in this quilt as the three above are all pretty low volume...I guess they go with the land of snow we come from.  It snowed again last night but hey, it's March we'll be getting spring soon.  And don't get me wrong I love low volume as much as the next person.  I just think it's interesting that so many quilts from my area were low volume.

        And speaking of colour look at this beauty made by Jeannie Jenkins (@itchn2stitch) of the Toronto Modern Guild. This beautiful quilt won the 2nd place prize in the Modern Traditionalism category.

      That's it for the quilts I'm sharing. I took some awesome workshops and I'll share about that in another post.  I also learned a lot in lectures and I got to meet (if only for a few minutes) many of the people I know on line.  Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl, Cheryl of Meadowmist Designs, Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts, Jessica of Quilty Habit, Daniela of Block M. Quilts, Kitty of Night Quilter.  I missed Stephanie of Late Night Quilter and Diana of Red Delicious Life but I did see both of them from afar.  I also met a lot of really nice people at the Canadian meet up on Wednesday night and in workshops and wandering around the show floor.  I'm a lot more connected to my fellow Toronto Modern Guild members as well.  I think the people aspect was the most fun!

     When I decided to go to Quilt Con this year I thought it would probably be the only one I would make it to, but I enjoyed it so much that now I'm thinking of setting up a special savings account to save up for Nashville in two years.  I'll be sharing this post with Beth of Cooking up Quilts for Main Crush Monday and with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Monday, 20 February 2017

My Second Quilt

     It is a very sunny Monday and I did think I would have a completed Meadow Mystery top to share but I ran into difficulties with it...I'll explain it when I get it finished.  I won't be able to finish it by the end of the month because I will be in Savannah at Quilt Con. (I still can't believe this!)  It's very close to completion but I have to fix a block.

     Instead I will share my 2nd quilt top.  Lee Ann at Devoted quilter is hosting a link up for your first quilt.  My first quilt was made for my nephew Eric.  He's Charlotte's father and you can see the quilt I just made for her here.  I didn't take any pictures of the first quilt, and as Eric was a student at the time, the quilt ended up on the couch with the cats, I think it has gone to the great beyond.  Eric's quilt was made in a beginner quilting class at Greenwood Quiltery, which sadly is no more.  I think I made it about 11 years ago.

   A couple of years after I made Eric's quilt and with a few table runners under my belt I arranged for some friends to chip in for a quilting class for my friend Pauline who was interested in learning.  She of course wanted me to do the class with her so, I took my second beginner class and made this quilt here to go in my living room.

     I didn't finish the quilt because of course, it was for me.  Instead I went on to make quilts for both my kids and for a friend who had a baby and on and on.  I only got the top totally together in the last couple of years.  So now I have this top hanging around the sewing room, but hopefully not for long.  The completion of this quilt is going to be my OMG for March. Wish me luck!  I'm going to need it as I have to work up my tutorial for Stash bee for April when I'm the Queen Bee!  I'm linking up with My First Quilt at Devoted Quilter.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A bit of a Catch Up

     Normally in the my region we get about 86 hours of sunlight during the month of January.  This year we got 12 hours.  I know it's February , but here's the thing.  We are all tired and sad up here and it's been a bit harder to keep up with quilting and blogging.  I'm pretty much mainlining the sunshine vitamin (that's Vitamin D in case you don't know).   But February has given us a few sunny moments and next week I go to Savannah so I'll stop complaining now.   

     Here I'll give you some love instead.  

     The scrappy heart is my block for my February Stash Bee Queen, Paula. She asked for the scrappy heart blocks to use in quilts she is making for seniors. It' didn't have to be red but I had a lot of red fabrics calling to me.  It was a fun little block to make.  The block with the sheep is a mini I'm hoping to finish tonight to give to my secret valentine at work.  Here's a closeup so you can take in the true cuteness of the sheep.

          This is what I received.  It will give you a little more insight into my character.   I need the protection from weirdos (the bad kind) and rude people because I work in retail.  Take note that not all weirdos are considered to be bad and I do have to note that 98% of our customers are awesome.

     This little gift made me really really happy!  

     Continuing with the theme of red.  I made these huge blocks to take to Quilt Con with Me.

     They are for a workshop on Friday night with Riane Menardi of Vessel Quilts.  It's called Quilt Remix and the object of the workshop is to take a traditional block and turn it into a modern quilt.  I am so excited!  I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and I hope to find some time over the next couple of days to catch up with my blogging friends.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A House or a Home

     After the shooting at a Mosque in Quebec City the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild put out the call for  House blocks. They are making quilts to donate to the families of the victims in the shooting. You can read more about this project here.  The Toronto Modern Guild is putting together a quilt and I made the block below to add to that quilt.

     The shooting in Quebec City has really shaken many Canadians.  We are a pretty peaceful place for the most part.  Many of us are thinking about our roles going forward in making sure that our Country supports all Canadians no matter what our origins or religion.

     I am a first generation Canadian.  My parents immigrated here from England after World War Two.  I have never felt unwelcome here.  Canada has always felt like home.  I have been reading articles where people have been talking about their experiences here, which are quite different from mine.   Yesterday I read an article in the Toronto Star where a first generation Canadian whose parents immigrated from Pakistan  said Canada was perhaps not a home for her but just a house.  The intention of the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild in making the quilts is that Muslims in Quebec City will be able to feel like Canada is their home.  I hope that this is the case and that all of us  can move towards making all people feel more welcome.  

      Today at work we received a box from one of our suppliers.  Someone in the warehouse had used a red marker to draw several hearts on the box and had written the message "True love is not an emotion it is an action".  This is something worth remembering.

          House blocks are also a theme at my local guild.  Last year Martina posted a tutorial in Stash Bee for making stack and wack improv houses.  I had a lot of fun making them and got permission to share the tutorial with my guild for a block lotto.  The block lotto is a fun way to get more blocks for the community outreach committee of the guild.  We get some of the blocks and someone wins the rest.  I kept my blocks untrimmed so the lucky winner can trim them as they like.  It should be a fun quilt or quilts as these little blocks are pretty adorable.  

     I'm also working on my Stash Bee block for this month.

     Here's my progress so far.  Check back next week to see what this turns into.  I'm linking up with Lorna at Let's Bee Social.  Have you been doing any social sewing this week?

Friday, 3 February 2017

February OMG

     It's time to come up with a goal for February.  I've decided to keep things low key this month.  February is a short month and I'm going to Quilt Con (yay) which makes it even shorter.  I've also got some advance sewing to do for a workshop I'm taking. So instead of trying to complete a quilt, I've decided to focus on catching up with my quilt alongs.  
    I'll have a Stash Bee Block to make and at least a couple of blocks for the Honey Pot Bee, but the specific goal I've settled on for February is to get my Meadow Mystery Quilt top sewn together.  I still have to put January's blocks together before I can do that but I think it's doable.  Here are the strip setts for January's blocks.

     I finished my January goal but unfortunately I missed the link up for setting January's goal.  Guess what!  Patty at Elm Street Quilts now has a sign up to receive notice when the link up opens up.  I signed up for that as I obviously need it.
I'm heading over to the link up now.  Do you have a Goal for February?