Friday, December 27, 2013

A bit of knitting


When I was in the UK this year I spent some time in the Lake District.  There were sheep everywhere, and I couldn’t resist picking up tufts of wool along the hedges and stone walls.  My sister showed me how to wash the wool, then she carded it, spun it, and plied it.  I came home with a tiny ball of “Hedgerow 2-ply".  The wool is probably from a breed of sheep called Herdwick – the wool tends to be rather coarse and scratchy.

A few weeks ago I found a simple lacy bookmark pattern and knit up the wool -- it made three little bookmarks.    Perhaps these need to be tacked onto pieces of felt to make them functional as bookmarks.  But whether they get used or not, they make nice reminders of a lovely holiday.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Plodding along with Celtic Solstice

The excitement of Christmas Day is over and today is a chance for some peaceful sewing.  I’m  making some progress with Part One of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt.  Somehow with all the activity over the last week I have misplaced the Tri Recs rulers that I was using.  (I’m sure when they turn up I’ll also find the couple of Christmas letters and photos that have also disappeared!)


Without the rulers I’ve turned to foundation piecing to complete these units. I like to make foundations from freezer paper and use them multiple times.   (There is a fine tutorial describing this method here. )

I have half a dozen freezer paper foundations and a pile of rough-cut fabric shapes. Some gentle Christmas music is playing on Songza  while I sew a little, press a few seams, do a bit of trimming


As I complete the units I put them up on the flannel wall to admire before stacking them in sets of ten and tucking them away.  Will I get all the units I need made today? – probably not!  But I’m having a great time!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

A cover for a WHAT?

The oddest request I’ve encountered so far -- could we make a quilt to cover the side of the bass drum at church?  The drum is open, and an old comforter of some kind sits inside to soften the sound (I THINK that’s why it is there).  Whatever the reason, it looks rather ugly and can distract from worship on Sunday morning.
It just so happens that we have some hexagons sitting around, left over from a previous banner project.  So we took some measurements and set to work.
drum cover mockup
I used my trusty Electric Quilt program to draw up a plan to give some idea of layout and size of the hexagons.


Then I printed out a template from EQ7 for the hexagon.  I made a window template from an old file folder so that I could centre the hexagon correctly.

The template was used to make trim seven hexagons to the required size.  The background is ready --  it is a piece of black fabric pre-quilted on the long arm machine.  At the moment the circle shape is defined by a paper template.  When we decide on the layout we want we will stitch the hexagons in place and cut the background to the correct size.  There is plenty of the print fabric for binding.

We still have to work out the method of attaching this to the drum – hair elastics might work. And does it need some embellishment? – that could be added later. 
Of course, if this turns out well, we could find ourselves being asked for more – seasonal drum covers, perhaps?  Coordinating banners for the music stands?  It seemed like such a minor project when we first started!
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Progress on the Smoothing Iron quilt

I’ve been working on the Smoothing Iron quilt that I’m making with my African indigo fabrics.  Just two more long seams and the top will be complete.  THEN I can start on Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice!
There are lots of bias edges with these sixty degree angles and lots of points that I would like to have match nicely.  So I’ve been pinning carefully as I go along – I would rather spend a few minutes pinning than a lot of minutes picking out!
As I worked I became annoyed at finding pins with rough spots on them.  Seemed every second pin I picked up had burrs on the shaft.  I finally reached for the little pill container in which I put discarded “Sharps” and dropped the next nasty pin in there.  No more rough pins!  I had been picking up and putting back the same bad pin for half an hour!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Random Rails

A stack of blue print strips in an odd size – what to do?

Another stack of solid bits seemed to be complementary colours.


I decided to leave some blue strips full size and I cut others in half lengthwise.




Then I made strips from the solids.  This required some piecing and resulted in strips in a variety of widths.





I assembled blocks using a wide blue strip, a narrow blue strip, and assorted solid strips.  The blocks were trimmed to size and arranged in a Rail Fence pattern


The top finishes at 40” square.  A back has been prepared, and this project has joined the queue for quilting. 

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Table Runner for Christmas

Many years ago I swapped strips of Christmas fabrics with internet friends.  Ever since, I’ve been working them into projects and wondering if I would ever come to the end of the pile. 

This year, I’ve made another table runner using those strips, and there are now only a very few left.  Hooray!

I adapted a pattern called Baby Juniper from the new book Angles With Ease published by Anka’s Treasures.  I am calling the trees on my runner Pine Trees, because junipers in this part of the world are not that shape.   The Triangler ruler that goes with the book made cutting the pieces very simple. 




  I completed the runner with some machine quilting.  Now I’m not quite sure what those shapes represent – snowflakes, perhaps? 



It’s great fun to have some Christmas stitching already finished!




Monday, October 21, 2013

Cut the quilt to suit the cloth

Once in a while the scraps we have on hand dictate what we make from them.

My friend Pat made these framed pinwheels for our Prayer Quilts group recently.  The pinwheel blocks in the centres finish to 5” square – why that size?  Because that’s what worked with the triangles she had on hand.
We framed each one with strips cut 2 1/4” wide. This seems an unusual width, but Pat had on hand some muslin she wanted to use, and it was already cut in 4 1/2” strips, so she simply cut them in half.
The blocks will finish at 8 1/2”.  We expect that 20 blocks plus borders (let’s see what’s available in the cupboard) will make a quilt the perfect size.  It will look like we planned it that way! 

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reversible Basket

At Scrappy Club last week Helga showed us a charming basket that she had made with her sewing group in Holland.  She very kindly demonstrated how it was put together. 
It is reversible, and it makes a wonderful container for all those tools on the sewing table.  Or it could be a thread catcher.  Or you might use it in the bathroom to hold odds and ends.  You are sure to find many other uses for one of these. 

Helga's bag2Helga's bag1
See the tutorial page (at the top, right hand side, of this blog) called “Helga’s Reversible Basket” for instructions.
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Monday, October 14, 2013

On the Design Wall


I’ve been working on “use ‘em up” type scrappy projects for the last few weeks, and it’s time to do something else.  Remembering my vow to start using “the good stuff” in my stash I pulled out a bin of lovely shweshwe fabrics from South Africa. 

Not much sewing done yet, but I’ve constructed two blocks.    I’m using the directions for Smoothing Iron as found in Gayle Bong’s book Trouble Free Triangles.IMG_2449

The rest of the time I’ve been busy with cutting and counting the pieces I’ll need.  I have a couple of days lined up to sew with friends in the not-too-distant future, and I’m looking forward to pulling out my pieces and doing a lot of stitching.IMG_2447

I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday over at Patchwork Times – so hop over and be inspired by what other quilters are doing this week. 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Tumbling along


Quilts made with tumbler shapes have been around for many years, but lately they seem to be cropping up everywhere in wonderful fabric combinations. 

The current Sew Scrappy Club project is based on these shapes.  I had great fun making up samples. 

Of course, the Tumblers can be cut any size one wishes.  But this video from the Gourmet Quilter shows a wonderfully simple method which worked perfectly for the fabrics I had on hand. 

Tumbler quilt

First I dug into that big box of plaids and shirtings, added a blue print for sashing strips and came up with a twin-sized throw (60” x 80”)

Somehow there were plaid tumblers left over, so I put them together into a smaller top.  Still needs borders, may be donated to our Prayer Quilts group.

Tumbler lap quilt

Then I pulled out the charm squares I had won at Eleanor’s last Quilt-Till-You-Wilt-Day.  These are some Red Hat fabrics and they worked up quickly into this table runner. 

Tumbler table runner

Now I’m eyeing that basket of batiks……

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I belong to a group that meets annually to share a challenge project.  This year we worked from a set of photographs.  The challenge was to base a quilt on one of them.  I chose a photograph by Keith Henderson of the sculpture called “Jaguar” by John Henry that stands in Vancouver. 

I imported the photo into my Electric Quilt software program and traced it, simplifying and eliminating portions until there were only a few shapes left.  Then I rotated the image to form a pinwheel-like design.

I repeated the trapezoid shape in the borders.  Quilting began with stitch-in-the-ditch around the design elements to make them stand out and was followed with a zig-zag meander in the gray background to make it recede.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Very-Scrappy-Ninepatch quilts


Here are two more quilts made from nine-patch blocks from our Sew Scrappy Day last month.  These finish 36” square and will be added to the pile for preemies in the NICU at the regional hospital. 

Very scrappy 9-patch 2Very scrappy 9-patch 3

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Log cabin variations


I love the way a simple change in placement of values in a quilt design can produce such interesting results.  Here are two examples of my Log Cabins and Stars quilt.  I made the Christmas version and a friend made the summery one.


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Monday, June 17, 2013

Using the scraps

scrappy 9-patch yellow
Scrappy Club members recently had a Sew Day.  We had fun starting with 6” squares and making Very Scrappy Nine-Patch blocks.  We ended up with a nice stack of bright blocks.  This is the first quilt made from those blocks.

scrappy 9-patch pieced back

And this is the back of the quilt.
The yellow fabric used for the setting squares, the green border and binding fabric, and the flannel pieces on the back all came from the Stuff-to-be-Used-Up pile. 
I continue to marvel at how much pleasure can be had from working with leftovers and making something useful!

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scrappy Stitching

Don't Worry, Be Scrappy

I really like this Quilty Quote from Quiltmaker magazine!!





A couple of Scrappy projects were finished up recently.  These were both samples from our recent Carpenter’s Star session at Scrappy Club.


Louisa Carpenter Star preemieThis small blue and green quilt was made with units that finished to 4” square.  It will be given to a preemie at the regional hospital. 









The units in this one finish 5” square resulting in a quilt about 65” by 80”.  This has been donated to a local Good Cause.



I don’t seem to see any noticeable reduction in the piles of blue and green or plaid scraps.  Odd how that works!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Project completed!

I haven’t been at my sewing machine lately because I’ve been travelling.  But I did complete a project.  I purchased yarn to make socks when I was in Calgary in 2011 and have been carrying the unfinished project around ever since.  Managed to get these completed while I was in Edinburgh. 




The yarn is Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn.  It was great fun to watch the colours develop differently in the two socks. 




I’m hoping that the next socks (yarn purchased in Edinburgh) don’t take quite so long to complete!!

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Monday, April 8, 2013

International Birds!

This piece is the result of a challenge with friends.  Our theme was Birds, so I put an appliqued bird panel from Panama in the centre, then used fabrics from Africa to make the circle of Flying Geese.  Couched yarns and some sparkly beads were added to meet some of the other requirements of the challenge.  I’m pleased with my little wall quilt and am eager to see what the rest of the group has come up with.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Travel

I recently traveled over a high mountain road.  (No matter which direction we travel there is a “high mountain road” involved!).  I was impressed that the roads weren’t icy even though temperatures were just below freezing and there had been snow overnight. 

When I looked at my car later I understood why the roads weren’t slippery. There must have been a lot of salt put down!  I’m sure my (usually) red car brought most of it home!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Preemie Quilts 2013

The pattern for this year’s preemie quilts is “Basketweave and Stars”  (see the page for Preemie Quilt 2013).   Guild members and Scrappy Club members have joined in making these and we have seen a lovely variety.  Many began with a swap of dark and light 2” strips – it’s hard to believe that quite a few of these quilts began with the very same collection of fabrics!

The album shows some of the tops completed so far.  The makers have been very creative with their treatment of the “star” blocks.  Some of these quilts have already been designated by the makers as gifts.  Others are destined for the NICU at our regional hospital. 


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