Wednesday, November 28, 2018

For Every Action, There is a ... Reaction

I'm not sure anymore if my desire to sew little pieces of fabric together is a passion or an obsession, but it’s all I want to do.  I have completed my pre-migration south 'must finish' list, so I have a couple of extra weeks to just play, sort, organize, and pack away my sewing mess.  This is often when I make blocks I've always wanted to try but never took the time for.

Action:  Motivated by Tish's Adventures in Wonderland to buckle down and tame my stash/scraps, I unearthed the first bin to work through.  Slightly larger than a shoebox, it's been taking up space for quite a few years, containing leftover layer cake fabrics and scraps from a Connecting Threads' kid's quilt kit that I made 8 or 9 years ago.  Sorry, no picture to show it was stuffed full.

Reaction:  But instead of cutting it up into more manageable pieces for storage purposes, I ended up cutting it all up and sewing it back together.


This quilt was inspired by the Knee Socks Quilt Block 
that Elizabeth Hartman designed 
for the Modern Quilt Guild a number of years ago.
I have always wanted to try it.

I am straight line quilting it, FMQing a row of ribbon candy 
in one strip per block to break it up.  It's kind of tedious, so it's going slowly.
But I'm loving it!

And that led to this.  Not scraps, but charm packs.  I thought, "Why can't I do the same thing with some of those charm packs that have almost rooted to the shelves?  I rarely use them, except for applique, because they aren't really and truly 5" square and it frustrates me to work with them.

And here's a little closer look, just so you can see I used text fabric as my background.

Two charm packs will give you a pretty good size.  I only used 63 charms because there wasn't an equal amount of solids, and it will end up being 40.5" x 49.5".  I cut each charm into 3 pieces measuring 2.5", 1.5", and 1".  I used 40" of text print.

At this rate, I will never tame and organize my scraps and leftovers,
but I am sure having fun!

Hope you are, too!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Be Still my Beating Heart

Early every morning, I sit quietly with my cup of coffee and take a lovely scroll through Quiltland, checking blogs, following links, literally falling down the rabbit hole.  I am an early morning person and this jaunt really motivates and inspires me, and sometimes gets my quilting juices bubbling so rapidly, I don’t even finish my coffee before I’m sitting at my sewing machine, stitching away.  

Luna Lovequilts - Flashback - A Memphis style quiltYesterday morning,
during my leisurely scroll
down Piecemaker Lane,
I saw this quilt
by Luna Lovequilts
and the needle on
my Quilt Meter went berserk! 
It made my head spin. 

Even if you aren't into modern quilts,
you'll want to pop over to
not only to
check this out and see a full size picture,
but to read about her inspiration.

Way to go, Sophie!
You've nailed it!
Good luck with your QuiltCon submission!


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Finishing Up, Getting Ready to Go

(Click on pictures to make larger)

I have been winding down my summer island sewing adventure, getting ready for my annual fall migration, and have been working on a very scrappy granny square quilt.  These blocks were made every once in awhile over the last couple of years, and when Crafty Daughter asked for a quilt for her guest room bed, I decided it was time to make good use of this collection of blocks. 

I had accumulated over 30 blocks, and thought that was pretty good, until I did the math.  For a twin size quilt I’d need quite a few more!  But, by adding sashing, I could reduce that number, so I got to work and kept adding to the pile during the summer.  I kept the quilting pretty simple.

The scraps are rather randomly selected, and individually, are quite ugly.  But all together, they aren’t too, too bad.  With the addition of some quilting, it looks pretty good in person!  You see, my daughter has multiple cats who love the quiet, safe space that a seldom used guest room affords, so the request was to make a quilt that wouldn’t show cat fur.  Hmmmmm.  I think that was the deciding factor for choosing these blocks.  It just a scrap quilt, right?  A utility quilt.

Well, scraps or not, it’s still a lot of work!

My time is short, so I took advantage of the quiet before the storm,
to lay it out on the deck to spray baste.
This Texas Star Spangled BOM quilt was almost ready
to come off  the Janome 

and I wanted to be prepared to start quilting granny squares right away!

Guess what?  
Spray basting doesn't work when it’s only 46*F outside.

There has been a bit of chatter out there regarding free quilt patterns hurting the sales of commercial patterns.  I just can’t help but throw in my 2 cents worth, as an everyday, run of the mill quilt maker and consumer of Quilty goodness.  If I see a free quilt pattern that I like, I will make it.  If I see a commercial pattern that I just can't live without, I will buy it.  (Herein lies the problem, I have purchased so many quilt patterns, I can't possibly make them all!  So, I have to really, reallly, realllly need that pattern to buy it!)  IMHO, the market is flooded.  With both.  And don't forget magazines and books.  But, offering a free pattern on the internet is not going to impact sales. 

There, I feel better.  It's not as if quilt designers visit my blog.  Well, not many, anyway.  

I'll finish up by showing you the wallet I made
for Crafty Daughter's birthday.

(A purchased pattern!) 

This is a Mini Diva Wallet by Sew Many Creations.  I thought it would be difficult.  
But it was fun!
(Thanks, Linda, for supplying the pretty fabric.  
Crafty Daughter absolutely loves it!)

Now I"m off to make some binding.  
Enjoy your weekend.
I'm pretty excited to get an extra hour tomorrow morning!
Wish I could have an extra hour every morning.
Mornings are my favorite time of day.


Monday, October 22, 2018

It’s a Wrap!

One more finish!
It was so much fun to FMQ,
I was sorry when it was finished,
and couldn't wait to get the next flimsy under the needle.

A free pattern at RJR by Wendy Sheppard

Measuring 56 x 74", my version is a little smaller than the original,
because I was using left over Free Spirit solids,
and ran out of pieces large enough to grow it any bigger.

Wendy's was quilted with swirls, but when I practiced them
on a smaller quilt, they were pure torture.
The smaller practice quilt looked great when completed,
but I am much happier with a more custom quilted look.
And it was a lot more fun to do!

FMQ turns a flimsy into a beautiful quilt,
but when I was reading a few blog posts this morning,  
I was struck by this photo found at Luna Lovequilts,
and my first thought was
that you don't need fancy FMQ 
to make a beautiful quilt!

It may be October, but trust me, Christmas is just around the corner.  
If you need unique little gifts for any of your Quilty friends, 
Crafty Daughter still has retractable scissor keeps in her little Etsy shop.

For me, using a retractable scissor keep is such a convenience.

I don't think I could operate effectively without mine.
No more wandering around the house, wondering where did I set my scissors last.

It especially keeps them off the floor when I am free motion quilting
because there is no room for anything else but the quilt.
And it takes up a lot of space!

She has a variety of designs other than scissors.
Mine is a colorful dog print.
There are only 3 scissor designs left,
but I have it on good authority that she can make more.

And, although no longer listed,
it probably wouldn't take much to encourage Crafty Daughter
to make you a decal or two.

Here is one she made me,
on a Dollar Store cup
and what lovely meaningful, yet inexpensive, gifts
you could make!
Just visit her Etsy shop and send her a quick convo!
Most ship for just the cost of a postage stamp.
She will even design a custom decal for you.

Speaking of custom,
I never showed you the cookies I made this summer
for a young friend's nautical wedding reception.

I hadn't made cookies in a couple of years,
so they were a fun challenge.
She only wanted 50, and at about 45, 
the anchors started looking good.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Log Cabin Lunacy

Autumn.  Again.  Already.

Bright, brilliant colors have popped out all over.  I admit, it’s beautiful. Cape Breton does not disappoint this fall, and visitors are getting an eye full!  But I confess it’s not my favorite season.  It means I’m another year older, it’s dark in the mornings when I rise to greet the day, the butter's hard, and I have to compete for residency with spiders, large and small. And, it means winter is just around the corner.

It also means it's time to start winding down my summer sewing, prioritizing what needs to be finished and what can be stored away for the winter.  Trouble with that is I return in the spring with new projects, new ideas, and projects stored away become forgotten UFOs and don’t get finished, sometimes for years!

 I jumped on Julie's Log Cabin Loonies bandwagon to make another 16" square pillow top for #87 pillows, a nursing home initiative of one of the members of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild.  It's not exactly modern, but it will appeal to a male resident.

And while I was finishing up with these traditional scraps, I made one more pillow top that has a

little more modern oomph to it.  Again, my hopes are that it will be just right for a man's room.

Yesterday, there was a gentle rain coming down, no wind, and the temperature was mild.  It was the perfect day to tuck in and sew.  I even managed to do a little housework.  I trimmed a quilt and dusted my way across the house on the way to the trash can with the leftover batting scraps.  I may not have reduced, but I certainly re-used.

FMQing this quilt has been the most fun!  I stitched in the ditch a little, marked a minimum amount, tried a little dot-to-dot, and even practiced a little basic ruler work.  (Let’s just say it's going to take a little more practice.) 

I didn’t know how I was going to quilt this up, but once I got going, I couldn’t stop.  I alternated the designs in each block.  (That wave on the right is just the way the quilt is laying.  I kind of just dropped it down and snapped the pictures.)

Busy Bag Tutorial

So far this month, I've also made 4 Busy Bags to gift some littles for Christmas,  
2 donation blocks for Hurricane Florence, 
and did some secret sewing for Crafty Daughter's birthday.

Whew!  That's enough for today.  I'm still reeling from seeing all the devastation from Hurricane Michael on last night's news.  If you or your loved ones were affected by this storm, my heart goes out to you.  I can't even imagine.

It's a Dog's Life!
Bras D'Or Lake
Baddeck, NS

Stay safe, East coast friends!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

This and That

Oh, my goodness, another month has slipped by in the blink of an eye.  The speed with which time passes really disturbs me.

Thought I'd climb out from underneath my rock and get a quick post up before September was over.
Nothing like last minute!

I finally finished working with that bag of scraps my friend dropped off during the summer.  It’s difficult to juggle taking advantage of being outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather, with accomplishing much in the sewing room, but 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there eventually adds up.  My leaders-enders became the leaders-enders to my leaders-enders in order to finish up this personal challenge so I could move on.  I was able to piece two quilts and 2 pillow tops out of it.  Here's the second quilt flimsy, just completed today.

Pattern by Stephanie Dunphy
Uncommonly Corduroy

I don’t make the time to go out on 'photo shoots', even though I spend my summers in an amazing location, so I was very excited when, during a visit with The Scrapmaster, she agreed to indulge me. I had her bag up one of her quilts, and off we went to Point Pleasant Park on the Halifax waterfront. This is one of my favorite quilts of hers, which I personally think is pattern worthy.  Although the sun was blazing, I managed to get a few good pictures before the heat of the day drove us away.  You can read more about this quilt here.

(This ship's anchor is from the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure.  
It serves as a monument to the men and women who died
while serving the Canadian Navy during peacetime.)

While visiting Linda, she gifted me with a darling quilt that she made while testing a new pattern
for the up and coming local pattern designer, John of Art East Quilting Co.

Quilting is for the Birds

It is the perfect quilt for this bird brain!  She has a better picture on her most recent blog post.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer
(Libellula pulchella)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lasting Impressions

Well, hello September!  
I tried to slip this post in yesterday,
but it interfered with my nap.

Do you ever wonder what people remember about you?  Twenty-odd years ago, before Joann Fabrics went the impersonal superstore route and instead, had intimate little stores throughout the local communities, when customers counted, when staff were knowledgeable, I worked there part time for about three years for fun.  And it was fun.  We were a little family.

Last spring, while I was spending time in Massachusetts, I ran into one of the women I worked with. She was one of the few who continued to work for the company after they closed down all their stores and opened the one big one that was too far away for most of us to commute to (or shop at).  When I asked her if she remembered me, she said, “Oh, yes!  When I was getting ready to make my first quilt, a log cabin, everyone said I had to use red for the centers of my block, but I didn’t want to.  You said it was my quilt, and I could use any color I wanted to!”

Hearing that memory made my day!  I like that I made that lasting impression!

I don’t think I’ve ever made a log cabin quilt.  But JulieKQuilts has started Log Cabin Loonies, and since I had a little pile of 1” strips left over from making arrows, I decided to join in.

My goal is to make 16 of these 4” log cabin blocks to make into another pillow for the annual nursing home initiative sponsored by one of the members of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild in Halifax.  This isn't necessarily the final layout.  I added one more block after I took this picture this morning.

As well, I’ve been using up more flying geese triangles to make another pillow similar to the one I showed in my last post, only opposite placement of colors.

It takes 64 2.5" squares to make a 16" pillow top.

The first pillow top came out great!  

I have less than 20 arrows to make before I can wrap up this challenge.
I'm growing quite weary of these fabrics,
and I am more than ready to move on!

My scrappy churn dash blocks by Crazy Mom Quilts
continue to grow in number.

Someday they'll make a beautiful quilt.

I say someday because I will be linking up with 

to celebrate the almost completion of an 11 year old UFO.
Don't judge me!  There are extenuating circumstances.  
Maybe not exactly extenuating.

Eleven years ago, I started a signature quilt 
to commemorate my sister's 25th wedding anniversary.  
I thought it might be nice if she rec'd it one day.

I constructed each block from randomly placed scraps 
to measure 18.5" unfinished and hand quilted them.  
Fat quarters only measure 18" wide, just saying!

And I've just finished QAYGing them together.  
The binding will go on today.

I kept the quilting pretty simple.

Lots of hugs and kisses.

My sister and her husband are naturalists like me,
so I tried to reflect that in the fabrics I chose for each block back.

For example, bugs and butterflies...

Point?  Eventually, I finish everything!  
Some projects take a little lot longer than others.
I'm certain, in this case, Little Sister will be pleased.

And on that note, I leave you with some hummingbird tidbits.
They are getting ready to head south
and are frequenting the feeders more often.
With this heat, I've been changing their hummingbird juice almost daily.

Here is a picture of the rare Northern Black Hummingbird.

Not my picture.  Someone tweeted it a while back.
Enjoy the long weekend!
Stay safe!


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Peas in a Pod

Oh, my goodness,
there are so many beautiful quilts to make.  
There are new ones posted every day.  
I overwhelm myself flitting around the Internet.  
I’ve pinned hundreds.  
I have a folder in my desktop labeled Patterns, 
and it’s chuck-a-lucka full. 
I had to stop purchasing them, I have so many,
but it's so hard! 
I have to keep reminding myself 
that I just can’t make everything I see!

Often, I find new-to-me blogs, and when I take a break, 
I enjoy a little scroll through their archived posts.  
I do that a lot with my favorite blogs, too, 
sometimes scrolling back years.  
Do you ever do that?  
Two new-to-me blogs that have recently caught my attention are

In an attempt to only use the fabric I have,
I have found it very fulfilling this summer to return 
to the roots of my quilting journey - good, old fashioned scrap quilting.  
Utility quilts, if you will.

In my previous post, I mentioned that a sweet friend brought me a bag 
of her scraps  and left over pieces 
that had been cluttering up her sewing space for far too long.
Just what I needed.  More.
What to do, what to do.
I graciously accepted the bag
and while I was sewing later in the day,
I remembered this quilt that Louise of My Quilt Odyssey had made,

and I started pressing, cutting, and sewing as a leader/ender project.
Louise provides links to her inspiration,
if you pop over and take a peek.
She also has more pictures of her lovely creation!

And here's mine, sans the binding,
which was only finished late last night.

I am going to gift this to my only nephew
and his delightfully sweet bride-to-be next month.
They make their home in rural Maine.
I wanted to give them a quilt that they will use,
not deem 'too pretty', and shelve.

I was excited to finish the flimsy 
because I already knew exactly how I'd quilt it.

Peas in a Pod added just enough movement
and a little bit of whimsy!

The label will be stitched onto the back this evening,
and it will be a finish!  
Finally, a finish!
My first this summer!

(Click on picture for a clearer view.)

This is already pretty wordy for me,
but there's more.
The scraps generated from this quilt generated MORE!
What to do, what to do?

So I started another quilt
using a pattern from Stephanie Dunphy's book,
Too much fun!

Too big for the design wall,
it had to be layed out on the design floor.

But wait!
The scraps generated from THIS quilt
resulted in MORE scraps!

I couldn't help myself.

These are the corners from the flying geese in the arrows.

This will finish as a 16" pillow
for a nursing home initiative hosted by
a member of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild
in Halifax.  
It will be perfect for a male resident.

I think that's it.
Let me check my picture cache....
........Yep, that's all there is!

Sewing is slow.
The weather is hot but beautiful,
and here in Cape Breton, we waiting a long time for it,
so I've been busy out of doors.
It's raspberry and blueberry season,
we're rebuilding my front deck,
and the grass keeps growing 
despite the lack of rain and the oppressive heat.

I leave you with one last picture that I took 
while birding in a cemetery 
in Portland, Maine this past spring.

Cemeteries are great birding spots during migration, 
often being the only dark spots among the city lights
where hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tired birds
can finally drop down
and find respite
from their long journey.

Thanks for popping in!
Have a wonderful, funderful day!