Saturday, December 31, 2011

UFO list for 2012 Challenge


It is time to list the projects that I undertake to complete during 2012 while I take on the UFO Challenge at Patchwork Times.  Here we go: 

1.  African Collage – this is a holdover from last year’s list.  Surely this time it will be finished!

2.  Orca Bay Mystery

3. Buggy Barn project – flowers.  Blocks are made.

4.  Framed scrappy logs quilt.  Centre of the top is done.  It needs borders and finishing

5.  Log Cabin and Stars.  Top is complete.

6.  Stack and Whack six-pointed stars.  The blocks are made and have been hanging around for more than a decade – time to get it done!

7. Double Slice Scrappy – this one even has a destination ready for it, so it will be great to see it completed.

8.  Wall-hanging made of vintage 1950s scraps. 

9. Monet’s Wedding Ring – pink and white. 

10. Scrappy Braids – this one is leftover from last century!

11. Batik tiles

12.  Summer flowers – designed to hang over the fireplace.

Let the Challenge begin!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas quilts

Each Christmas season I enjoy putting up my Christmas quilts around the house.
The oldest one is this Cardinal Quilt (which is a good example of why we should label our quilts when we make them!)  I THINK it was made about 1998.  Pattern is from the book Go Wild with Quilts by Margaret Rolfe. This one hangs on the quilt rack in the dining room.
Christmas cardinals quilt
Somewhat newer is the Star Sampler that was made with a group of friends in 2004.  We chose fabrics together and each made a set of stars.  Then we swapped blocks so that each person had one of each star.  I really enjoyed figuring out the set for this and piecing the borders and setting blocks.  The values don’t quite work (the large star into which the others are set doesn’t really show up), but I hang this one by the back door and remember my friends every time I see it.
Christmas star sampler quilt
The little Nativity Quilt is a pattern from Linda Worland at Paper Panache.  For this I used some batik scraps and I had a great time choosing the fabrics for each section.  This is displayed in the entry way on a display rod that I found at Ten Thousand Villages.
Christmas nativity quilt
Putting out the quilts is one of my favourite parts of the Christmas season.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UFO for November

No, it isn’t completely finished, but it has come a long way from the stack of blocks that languished in a bag for years! 

I made the hexagon blocks from a pretty pink daisy fabric some years ago.  I bought the fabric and the One Block Wonder book by Maxine Rosenthal on the same day.  But as pretty as the hexagons were, I wasn’t happy with them with the One Block Wonder technique, and they were put to one side.  I have carried them around with coordinating fabrics for YEARS!  Every November at retreat I would vow that this would be the year.  Another retreat has come and gone, and there was still no progress. 

The sticking point with this project was in making the decisions – which fabric? where?  One day I sat down with EQ and considered my options.  I made some decisions.  I started to sew.  Nearly came to a halt when I didn’t like the way one fabric was working out, but I made ANOTHER decision and carried on.  (I’m sure you didn’t notice where I used two different fabrics because there wasn’t enough of either to do the job!) Pink hexagon top

This still needs some borders, but I have enough of the original daisy fabric plus a coordinating dark pink or dark green.  So that part will be easy. 

There is one UFO left in my stack for the year.  It is the African Collage from a class with Pippa Moore at Quilt Canada in 2010.  If I put the pieces up on the design wall, do you think they can be turned into something by the end of the month? 

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pin cushion excavation



I reached for a pin in my pin cushion the other day and had to hunt around to find one.  It was then I realized that the pin cushion contained a MESS of all kinds of pins and other tools, many of which I don’t even use. 


Time for an overhaul.  I removed everything from the old tomato and was surprised at some of the things I unearthed.  This pin cushion had belonged to my mother, and I’m sure some of the things I discovered were leftovers from Mum’s sewing days.

I found all sorts of pins.  The flower head pins don’t belong there, because I keep those in the pin cushion that hangs beside my flannel wall.  The ones with the large pink heads belong downstairs with the longarm.  T-pins and safety pins have homes of their own.  I threw away all the thick, fat, ugly, bent, corroded pins; they almost filled up the old film canister that I use for Sharps disposal. 


I thought the job was done, but when I looked more closely at what I thought was an empty pin cushion, I realized there were a few needles that had been pushed down inside.  It called for pliers to get some of them out – I found 15!  And some of them look too big to ever have fit inside the tomato.  These I sorted out and put in storage (or discarded). 


Then I refilled my pin cushion with lovely fine glass headed pins and put it back into the little pottery dish my son made in art class at school.  Doesn’t that look better! Now I know that whatever I find when I reach out for a pin will be something useful and a pleasure to use. 

pincushion after

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Home from retreat

I spent a wonderful weekend retreating and quilting with friends.  As usual, we laughed a lot, stayed up late, ate too much – and got lots of sewing done.

One morning began with a gorgeous sunrise.  I wish my photo could capture the depth of the colours – the vivid pink sky was reflected in the lavender lake.

Retreat sunrise2

blue happy villages




The  quilting on my current Happy Villages project is completed.. I think this will get a  dark binding and perhaps piping – pink?  How about the name “Village at Dawn”?



One project I took along was a bundle of fabric strips that had been donated to the Prayer Quilts group.  I made fifteen off-centre Cobblestone blocks with the strips, then was delighted to find a bit more fabric at the bottom of the stack to let me make one more.  Sixteen blocks is enough for a preemie quilt.  Next morning I was in the sewing room early and I took advantage of an empty table to lay out my blocks.  I was amazed to find that there were now nineteen of them!  I found a few scraps and made what my friend Brenda called my “renegade block” so that I could have a full extra row.  Now it is too large for a preemie quilt.  I will find some borders for it and see what it becomes. 

hearts and squares baby quilt

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October’s UFO

As my son would say -- “Yeah, about that….”
At the beginning of the month the contents of  the bag looked like this:
nov ufo fabrics There are two batik New York Beauty blocks along with some fabrics that may or may not coordinate.  This collection came from a UFO swap with friends a few years ago, and I was supposed to “do something” with it.  I have an idea of what this could become, but at the end of the month, I’m afraid it looks exactly the same as it did. 

I am going to claim a finish anyway.  A donated Lonestar top turned up at our quilting group.  Not the right size for a prayer quilt, and besides it would have been an absolute waste to simply put ties in something that complex.  There was a fund-raiser auction coming up, so I took on the job of finishing the quilt for that.  Here’s how it looked when it was done:

Lonestar quilted
I’m guessing this had been in storage for a while before being donated.  The colours take me back a decade or so.  It has been beautifully pieced.  I wonder about the story behind it – why it languished unfinished and then simply was donated. 
Lonestar quilting detail
Here is a close-up of the quilting on one of the plain setting squares.  I used a variegated thread to give a bit of texture to the plain gray fabric. 

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lots of pinwheels


The ladies of the quilting group at the church have discovered the “Lil’ Twister” template and have been busy making wreath table toppers.  Several are busy making seconds and thirds after we were asked to lend them for table centres for the Christmas banquet coming up soon. 

We found a fantastic set of directions here: 

Twister Wreath directions

Some of us were dismayed at having to cut up the panel of squares which we had so carefully sewn together, but it is great fun to watch the simple arrangement of squares turn into pretty spinning pinwheels.  (The non-Christmas one is mine – a scrappy summer-time wreath.)

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Remembering when

It has been several years since one of the founding members of our quilt guild, Del Reynoldson, passed away. Her daughter is still working through her mother’s stash, sorting things, flinging things, finishing up projects, finding new homes for things. I was offered one of Del’s quilt tops for the Prayer Quilts group at the church.Dels sampler I was very surprised when I saw this – it was a sampler quilt I designed many years ago as a block-of-the-month project at the local quilt shop. I remember how honoured I felt at the time to know that someone who had been quilting and teaching others to quilt for much longer than I had would decide to do my project.

I designed the blocks using Electric Quilt software, probably version 4. The blocks each month were chosen to focus on a variety of quilting techniques, strip piecing, half square triangles, curved piecing, templates, etc. The blocks were in a variety of sizes and we made various simple “fillers” so the quilt could be put together in a “custom set” – this seemed like a very daring idea at the time!

Del certainly made the quilt her own. She added more blocks and her own personal touches to several of the blocks. 

This quilt top has brought back memories of a dear friend, and I know the church group will enjoy finishing it up so that it can bring joy to someone as a prayer quilt.


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

UFO completed for September

September was a busy month, but I’m pleased to report that I managed to get another UFO done in spite of the full schedule.  Of course, it helped that this month’s selection was a small project!
The pattern is Java Jazz, one of Marjorie Rhine’s continuous line appliqué patterns.  When I saw this, I knew I had to try it out.  Since we make two appliqués each time the pattern is cut out, I had four coffee cups to work with.  
three cups
Three of the cups were used for the long wall-hanging.  The most important thing I learned from this piece was that even if all the fabrics are black and white, one still should not try to select fabrics in poor light!  (All whites are not created equal!).

one cup
I think I like the single cup with the scrappy coloured border better,  But I am pleased with both pieces, and I’m especially pleased that they are FINISHED and ready to hang on the wall. 

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Along Came Quilting


I’m home, after spending a few days teaching at the new location of a great quilt store in Calgary.  Take a look at their web site here:   Along Came Quilting.

They have gorgeous fabrics, lots of books, patterns, and threads.  There are wonderful samples on the walls.  There is lots of parking.

And the students were fantastic.  Even though I made them work hard, they hung in there for two days (and many for three days) of learning how to use the Electric Quilt computer program.  They explored libraries, used worktables, colored blocks, designed quilts, added sashings and borders to quilts, imported fabrics and on and on until I’m sure their heads were spinning (I know mine was!) .

Many thanks to Linda and her wonderful staff for inviting me to Calgary.  I’ll be looking forward to visiting you again. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A new (old) project

I've had a set of star blocks in a box for many years.  I received them in a swap with internet friends and somehow never got around to putting them into a quilt, although when I opened the box recently I discovered that I had added coordinating fabrics to the collection of blocks and had printed out quilt layouts from Electric Quilt.

The latest project for Scrappy Club involves Log Cabin blocks.  I intentionally wrote the plans for the blocks to be the same size as my long-neglected stars.  Here are some of the blocks on my design wall.  I think this will work!

I can see that I need to spend some serious sewing time on building more of those Log Cabin blocks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Display of Preemie Quilts at the Fall Fair

Those Preemie Puzzle quilts we made earlier this year were put on display at the Fall Fair on the weekend.  Marianne and her fall fair helpers provided us with a great location complete with tables and a display wall.  We filled all three sides with preemie quilts, a few Memory Quilts, some knitted hats, and a framed write-up explaining the project.
IMG_0704IMG_0703IMG_0705IMG_0702Here are some pictures:
Don’t they look great!  (Can you see the one you made in there?)  I understand they attracted a lot of attention and interest.   Now they will be bagged up and taken to the Hospital in Kamloops to be put to use.

It sounds like some people are ready to do it again. Watch this space for a new preemie mystery starting in January 2012.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet my quilting fairy godmother!


Paper Panache godmother Thimblena


This is Thimblena, my own personal quilting fairy godmother.  (Why does she have green skin, you ask?  Because the instructions challenged us to be creative.  And because I needed two values of the same colour, not too textured or printed, and green is what I found.)

Linda at Paper regularly posts paper-pieced Mystery Blocks but this time she has outdone herself – every one of the Godmothers is  different!  (I have no idea how she did that!)



There is a parade of godmothers on the site right now.  Take a look at  The results are fantastic – some are young, some are old, some look stern, some are gentle.  And the wonderful variety of fabrics and embellishments will astonish you. 

Until the 10th of September you can vote on your favorites in several categories.  Not only that, the pattern is still available, free of charge, so you can make one of your own. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A new tote bag

Water bag front
A small challenge group I belong to chose the theme Water.  This gave me an opportunity to play with some curved piecing.  I’m happy with the result (but I’m not quite sure why the waves are running up and down…..)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August UFO -- Hexagons

By the time we got to August, this bag was nearly empty. Back in January it contained my samples from a strip-pieced hexagon class.  But I finished up the lap quilt months ago  when I needed it for a special gift. 
Hexagon flower garden

runner quilting
This meant I just had a table runner to complete.  I pinned the layers for quilting and decided that a simple stitch-in-the-ditch would suffice.

But all that open muslin was too tempting to ignore, so I let myself do a little more…..
Hexagon runner

Friday, August 19, 2011

Harvest time begins


We didn’t plant potatoes this year.  But about a dozen plants appeared in the garden and thrived.  Today we decided to see what they had produced.  We have two buckets of lovely spuds, plus these small ones.  I can see oven-roasted baby potatoes, perhaps a touch of garlic, for dinner……


Saturday, July 23, 2011

UFO completed for July


We are past the halfway point.  It feels great to have worked on more than half of the UFOs selected for the year’s challenge! 

July’s UFO was an easy one to finish.  The baby quilt was made as a sample for a beginning quilting class and the top was complete except for the outer blue border.  This meant all the hard work was done – all the figuring out how to make one small piece of Thomas the Tank Engine fabric stretch far enough for 9 blocks.  If you look carefully you’ll see I cheated a bit and used a few scraps of a green calico that more or less matched.

Islands baby quilt

The quilt has a flannel backing (used up a couple of good sized scraps of green and yellow flannel, getting them out of the stash as well, hooray!). 

I quilted it with the panto “Sprung” from Willow Leaf Studios – it’s a perfect one for little boy quilts.  This quilt is done done!  Except for the label which will wait until a recipient turns up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Have you ever been tempted….

…to leave out one of the ingredients in a recipe?  Baking soda – the recipe calls for only a teaspoon or so, and the stuff doesn’t even taste good!
I had the first pan of cookies in the oven when I realized what I’d done.  Too late for that batch.  I hurriedly mixed baking soda into the remaining dough.  Was quite amazed at the results!

Ginger cookies
The duds weren’t wasted.  My son said they tasted fine, and I notice they have all since disappeared. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another UFO off the list!


June’s UFO bore the title “Ugly Blocks”.  This project began with a challenge on Stashbusters group to make a sampler as a BOM using an ugly fabric from the stash.  My ugly fabric is one of those 36” wide prints from years gone by – nice quality fabric, but I really don’t like the brown!  I made only two blocks before realizing I wasn’t going to keep up with the project, but I kept the blocks and fabrics together.  Then when I needed some samples for a class using the Creative Curves rulers I dipped into the same set of fabrics and added a few more blocks to the collections. 

Six blocks do not make a very large quilt, so I had to increase the size with sashing and borders.  When I saw the cheerful Scrappy Spiderweb over on  Kathy’s Quilts blog I was reminded of much fun a piano keys type border can be.  I think it frames these blocks and brings out the colours nicely.  The top is 46” by 64” now – this would make a respectable lap quilt, or it could be donated to our Prayer Quilts group.  I’m not finishing it at this point, but it will be added to the pile of Useful Tops. 


Sampler 2

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Preemie Puzzle Quilts

Guild member did a fantastic job with the Preemie Mystery Quilt project!  Take a look at the finished projects in this album

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lone Star finished

Chris has shared this picture of a quilt she started in a workshop I taught a few years ago.   It has been finished in time to be presented to a very special young lady on the occasion of her graduation from high school. 
Don’t the colours glow beautifully against the dark background?  And the Broken Star setting makes a lovely frame.
A gorgeous quilt.  I’m sure it will be treasured. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

May’s UFO is done

It is wonderful to check another item off the list!

Cows baby quilt

This was made with blocks and fabric left over from a previous project.  Instead of a bag of odd blocks and bits to do something with someday, I have the top of a baby quilt ready to give whenever it is needed.  This is not quilted yet – I’ll wait to see if I want to play up the pink or emphasize the blue when I choose backing and binding.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quilt in a week!

My sister arrived for a visit, bringing with her the extra large suitcase I'd told her would be needed to take back a quilt that was promised long ago. But.... the fabric still looked like this! Fabric for M's quilt


A week later, thanks to many helping hands, it looked like this: Miriam's quilt1

Actually, the quilt was designed and constructed the other way up, but I think it looks good from this angle, too. 

The quilt fit nicely inside the suitcase and the bag was JUST within the weight limits for the trip home.  The recipient has expressed her approval.  We are all proud of our “One Week, One Block Wonder.” 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Finished – April’s UFO!

I was delighted when the UFO drawn for April turned out to be this little project. This was made with strips received in an exchange at guild last fall.  I’m not thrilled with the way I used the strips, but decided it was better to get them made into something than to leave them sitting around waiting for the perfect inspiration to use them.
How simple this would be! – it just needed a border, then it could be quilted and bound – perfect project for a busy month.   
October strip exchange But it wasn’t quite as easy as I thought.
It took a while to find where I’d put the rest of the blue fabric for the border.  I was relieved that there was just enough to miter the stripe to match the centre!
And my machine balked a bit at the thread I used for quilting.  Worked fine once I tweaked my settings a little, but that took a while.
Then I realized that the tiny scallop in the print wasn’t navy blue as I thought, but black.  Quandary – navy binding?  or black?  I finally went with the navy because the black seemed too harsh.  (Bet you can’t even tell from the photo!)
Then I had to block the piece to have that little printed stripe running nice and straight down the sides.  And I had to stitch the binding on from the back so it could be turned to the front – I wanted it to just touch the scallop-y bit.
I still think it’s an odd little piece, but it’s DONE DONE, and it turned out well.  It looks great on the small table in my sewing room.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flying Geese

Another preemie quilt.  The dimensional geese blocks were made by members of Sew Scrappy Club at our last meeting.  Now they are flying in formation ready to be donated to the NICU at the Regional Hospital.  Well done, scrappy quilters!


dimensional flying geese

Thursday, March 31, 2011

UFO Completed for March

IMG_1125 In my box of UFOs  #1 turned out to be these Wonky Pumpkins.  The pumpkin blocks were made last fall as a demo for a class.  As I worked with the blocks this month I explored various liberated piecing ideas and had a great time. 
I also managed to incorporate a specific fabric (“Winter’s Grace, by Mark Lipinski), thus satisfying the requirements for a challenge I’m engaged in.   I’m delighted to have this little wall quilt all together.  I’ve even started on the quilting, and the binding is made and ready to apply. 
Now I'm eager to see what the project will be for next month!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Preemie Puzzle Mystery Revealed


We’ve reached the last step of the Mystery Quilt.  See the link to the instructions on the Preemie Puzzle Mystery page to the right.


Here’s what my version looks like.Preemie puzzle w borders

I hope it will brighten up the day for some tiny baby in  the Intensive Care Nursery.


I can’t wait to see what yours looks like!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Book!

Look what arrived in my mailbox!  Autographed by the author!
Quilter's Color Club bookIt’s full of wonderful ideas for playing with color and fabric.  I’d like to dive in and get started right now!  You can read all about this book right here.
And there are some beautiful photos inside.  Including one of this quilt:
Log Pile ShadowsIt’s on page 91, and it looks great in the book.  Almost as beautiful as it looks on my wall at home.

Thanks, Christine!  I’m very proud to have a quilt in your book. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Preemie Quilts


Today I was handed a bag with some preemie quilts for the guild’s ongoing donation project. 

Do you recognize this pattern?  These were made from last year’s Guild Mystery.  Don’t they look great!  Thanks, Grace!


Preemie Mystery 2010 ladybugs  Preemie Mystery 2010 flannel

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February’s UFO (#10) is done





This month’s UFO was #10 – which made it a simple task for me.  This little NOEL wall-hanging was a teaching sample from 2009.   I took it to retreat with me and managed to sew some batting scraps together for it, back it with muslin, and get the quilting done.  When I got back home it just needed binding and a hanging sleeve.  So now it is done done!   And I’m actually ahead of the game for Christmas, for a change!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Back from Retreat

A group of quilters retreated to Highland House at Logan Lake on the weekend. 

We sewed and visited and sewed and ate and sewed and laughed.  Blocks were made, tops were assembled, layers were sandwiched, quilting was done, and a good time was had by all.


On the first evening retreat participants all made blocks for this quilt top, and Marilyn was the lucky quilter who got to take it home with her on Sunday.  We’ll expect to see it all quilted and finished next year, Marilyn!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January UFO complete

My UFO for January is finished! The Number of the Month in the UFO Challenge was #6, which on my list was the Hudson Bay Log Cabin (pattern from “Yes You Can! Make Stunning Quilts from Simple Patterns” by Judy Martin). The blocks were completed last year and needed to be put together in a top.

The top is complete and the border is done. I used a lovely Jinny Beyer border print fabric that I’ve been hoarding “for something special”. I decided this was special enough.

My goal was to complete the top. It would then go on my pile of “tops in waiting” ready to be turned into a real quilt when the need arose. It looks like this one won’t be “in waiting” for very long – I have a recipient in mind and am just awaiting a bit more information so that I can get it quilted and sent off to its new home.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Excavations in the Sewing Room

A New Year seems to bring out resolutions to CLEAN UP the working areas. Here are a couple of shots of things the way they were before I got very far with the job.

A determined effort over the course of several days brought great results.  Areas of floor emerged which had not been seen for months!  Flat surfaces appeared on the worktable.

I readily admit that I am not by nature a tidy person.  But I am so enjoying the changes, that I will do my very best to keep the situation from reverting to the hideous mess it was before this campaign began! Posted by Picasa