Monday, May 22, 2017

Kringle Trees - H2H Charity Quilt

Woo hoo! First finish in the new house, new sewing loft!  This quilt fulfills two obligations: Hands2Help at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and my May goal for OMG at Elm Street Quilts.

I won this fabric, the post is here, "Kringle Krossing" by Shelly Comiskey for Henry Glass Fabrics, in December, right before Christmas.  So far, I've made 3 projects using the fabric: Holly the Christmas HoundJingle, and this one, all three given or to be given away.  This one is one of two quilts I pledged to make for Sarah's Hands2Help charity quilt drive.  It will go to the Windsor Sexual Assault Centre, a quilt for a child who should not have to ever deal with such trauma.  Hopefully, holding onto and keeping this snuggly quilt will help comfort and heal.

Several times during the quilting of it, this first quilt that Avril, my HandiQuilter Avanté and I did in our new sewing loft space, these particular chocolate brown tree trunks would catch the corner of my eye, and I'd literally start to reach out to pick up the 'piece of chocolate' sitting on the quilt!! The trees pattern is one of the Honey Pot Bee Blocks, an Amy Smart block that is the same method as Karla Alexander's Stack the Deck free-cut blocks. I made my blocks for the bee (I've fallen way behind in it, and not sure I have plans to hop back in, but time will tell) and then, when I won the fabric, the idea for a charity quilt for Hands2Help was born.  It was fun using all of the fabrics to make these blocks.

Here it is hot off the frame:
I think we've had one of the coldest, least sunny Mays on record here, and so when the sun peeked out yesterday afternoon, right after another good rain shower, I threw it down in the front entry for a quick pic.
Again, early this morning the sun was out for a little bit, so I hopped into the back yard and took a few photos.  I did put a border on it to bring it up to a bit better of a child-size cuddle quilt.

I quilted one word on the quilt in one spot; do you see it?  'love'
To get the feel back after 6.5 months of being apart from poor Avril, who lived in her box all that time, frame all apart in pieces and carefully labelled by MacGyver, I did a fun, flowing meander over the quilt.  I absolutely LOVE this kind of quilting: it's flowing, it's relaxing, it's like watching goldfish, it's that mesmerizing for me. As I quilt, I think jigsaw pieces, sometimes mittens or ghost heads and arms.  The binding is the red striped reindeer fabric, and was machine-stitched to the back of the quilt this time, not my usual method, and then top-stitched down on the front. I wanted durability and speed, as the deadline approaches. I'm not a fan of the line of stitching you get on the back of the quilt, but it is what it is.

Here is the back, cobbled together pieces of fabrics left.

I love interesting quilt backs!

I still have the panel, and while adding the borders to this quilt, a plan formed, to make a second quilt for the Sexual Assault Centre, using the panel, and making blocks to go around it.  That one won't be done in time for Sarah's deadline, but it will get done asap.  I do have the Syrian refugees quilt to finish for H2H, which has so far been stitched only on my vintage Singer machines.  This one was stitched on the Bernina.

Here are all the projects I've made with this win:

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Amy Smart's Modern Christmas Tree Block
Size:  40.5 X 41.5"; after quilting and washing: 38.75 X 40.5"
Fabric:  Kringle Krossing by Shelly Comiskey for Henry Glass Fabrics
Batting: micro-fleece
Quilted: on Avril the Avanté
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Floriani Fufus rayon thread, Bottom Line in the bobbin

Updated to add a signature 'quilt in a tree' pic after it was washed and dried!
Sniff...almost all the blossoms are gone now.

And just a quick note to thank those of you who support my blog by purchasing through my links to either Craftsy or Connecting Threads.  Thank you SO MUCH.  Man, that was a great sale this past weekend; I bought a couple of items I will let you know about when they arrive. Do I have a Craftsy story for you.  And no, it won't be timed with one of their sales (at least that isn't the plan, ha).  And I have a quilt sale story for you too that will warm your heart!  And if that isn't enough to make you want to come back to read more, I also have Vintage Singer installment #1 on one of my machines coming this week, Wednesday is the plan.

How's that for foreshadowing, teasers, tantalizing gotta-come-back tidbits?!

Linking up with Cooking Up Quilts for

Hilarious, typical airhead menopausal Sandra: only after linking up with Beth, did I realize, DUH! I forgot to sew my mmm!quilts label in the binding...AGAIN!! Sigh.  So before I throw it in the wash, guess I'm headed upstairs to remedy that oversight.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Like/Love #4 - Gifts of Many Kinds

I love thoughtful gifts.
This came from Brianne for my birthday, which was in April.  I just LOVE it!!!  I want to wear it in public, but it's a pj top.  The bottoms are cute and comfy as all get-out too.  Maybe I could get away with it as yoga clothes? 🤔  I'll let you know if I do, and what happens.  I just know, live dangerously once in awhile.  Speaking of thoughtful gifts, I need to get better at this within my own family.

A darling reader, who is also a pitbull advocate extraordinaire, got rid of a ton of her sewing stuff.  That she has lost her sew-jo and has no more interest in quilting, makes me so very sad for her, but I know she's channelling wonderful energy into her new position, working with animals. They are so fortunate to have her.  One day, next year, I hope, we can meet on our way north from or south to, Florida.
Literally STUFFED with goodies, accompanying sweet notes--blown away doesn't begin to describe the emotions that arose when going through this magical gift.
You may recall the mini, aka mug rug I sent Jasmine of Quilt Kisses for her new sewing room in her new house. A couple of weeks ago I got this in the mail:

She knows me well! As you see it has already been put to good use and sits on my cutting/pressing counter holding important tools.

I love wildflowers.
Once again, I have no clue what these
No one tends them; few admire them; I marvel at them.

I love wild flowers of the permanent kind... THIS stunning, sweet surprise of a gift arrived the other day from my dear friend Cindy, of Stitchin at Home.  The detail! The precision! The artistry! The depth! The pleasure it gives me!

I immediately added it to my 'wall' of minis.

I love the educational and inspiring gift I receive each week from the 150 Canadian Women quilt along going on at Next Step Quilt Designs.
Here are the latest group of blocks:
73-Violet Paul King: first black person to graduate from Law at the U of Alberta, first black female lawyer in 1954, eventually moved to the US where she became the first woman in a senior management position with the American national YMCA! 74-Emily Ferguson Murphy: another Albertan who every Canadian knows, one of the Famous Five, fought for women's rights, and when she was pleading the case for a woman magistrate, she was offered the job. Thus, a self-taught legal expert, she became the first woman magistrate; fought to change the meaning of the word 'person' in the BNA act to include women (THAT SHOCKS ME-and it took them 10 YEARS to do so) so that women could serve in the Senate. 75-Eileen Vollick: diminutive, she had to sit on cushions in the cockpit of her airplane; first Canadian women to parachute into water; and, after a mere 16 hours of training in an open-cockpit biplane, in 1928, she was the first Canadian woman to receive a pilot's license.
As I wrote on Instagram, I was all set to celebrate getting to block 75, the half way point.  Then when I filed the PDFs of these blocks into my CA Women folder (I file them upon completion, so I keep track) in my laptop, I saw I was missing blocks 70-72.  Huh?  Looked in the documents folder and saw them there. "Oh!" I thought, "Guess I forgot to file these."  Opened 70 and did not recognize the name or the block.  Whaaat??  Open 71 and 72, same thing.  😣😫 Somehow I'd gone out of order!  Don't worry; I've already finished 70 and will persevere with 71-72!

I love seeing everyone's yards and photos of beautiful spring blooms. I revel in the joyful bursting forth that Spring brings. Here are a few shots of my own of Mother Nature's gifts to us.
April 23-Rhododenron, survived the winter at our friends' house while we were in limbo
This crabapple (I believe) tree in our yard!

I love that I am so close to Lake Erie.  A short minute walk to the end of the lane, and another couple of minutes standing, listening, gazing, and I've restored my chi.  I put a photo on the blog April 18 from basically the same spot I was standing this morning:

Like my mum, I love views through windows.  What a surprising and wonderful gift I have been given in my sewing loft here!
Those lilacs--! I bet they are the same, or near to the same, age as the house, 70 years old.  They are as tall as the peak of the roof.  And yes, their scent wafts in.  The feline buddha is a gift from Dayna.  Bella has a perch just beneath and to the side of the window. 😻
I love Nature; that's a well-known fact how much I do.  MacGyver spotted this anomaly the day we went to check out the 1947 Featherweight:
Your eye might go to the angels, etc in the yard beneath the up the tree.  There! Do you see the white squirrel??!!  Never have I ever...  Must be an albino.  We have black squirrels, brown squirrels, some black squirrels with reddish tails, but never an all-white one!  I am so pleased I caught it on camera.

I wish you a day filled with gifts of the meaningful kind!

Okay, this post was ready to publish at this point this morning, and then outside called...

LOLOL so I did NOT plan to segue into it this way, but serendipity strikes yet again...maybe you give yourself a gift!  I freely admit that I rarely pay full price for anything from household goods to sewing supplies, and if you get email notifications from Craftsy (affiliate link there) you will know there is a screaming good sale starting today for the Canadian May long weekend: up to 60% off Quilting supplies (fist pump! These kind of sales is when I have got the majority of my purchases.) Up to 70% off Clearance and Sewing! Up to 60% off Knitting supplies!

Yeah yeah you think, like what?  Well, kits are often a great deal. Take a look:

That gorgeous quilt is 50% off, meaning you are paying less than $7CA/yard for the fabric.

How about fabric by the yard for $6.86CA/yard? Boundless Blenders Aura is one; Boundless Botanical is another I've bought several of and love. It isn't as good a deal at $8.92CA/yard but still pretty decent when you compare to quilt shop prices. These I will vouch for have a beautiful hand. Note, I was not given any of them; I bought them.

Yarns are at least 50% off.  I love Cloudborn Merino Alpaca that I've bought on sale before. Still have a pattern to sit down and try for the 3rd or 4th go...  There are hat kits for as low as $4 to make!

If you need backing, now would be the time to snag some.  Cotton & Steel's Rashida Coleman Hale has both midnight and orchid for $6/CA yard!

Or maybe Amy Butler?  At $8.68CA/yard and all prints available, it is a decent price.

Full disclosure: a jelly roll of this Jennifer SampouStudio Stash jumped into my cart just now!

You may recall I recently became an affiliate of Connecting Threads (affiliate link).  They carry more than their own brand; right now they have some adorable Shannon Fabrics Minky baby quilt kits on sale. At $34.99US, here's a cute one called Ziggy Quack! That price includes everything: pattern, fabric for top, appliqué, backing and binding!

Tools are on sale 30-50% off and books are on 40-50% off.  Waaah! This book (that I LOVE) I got this past winter is now on sale for $16.19!  That's less than I paid!

Well, have fun! Just call me The Great Enabler.  Oh! Remember, Connecting Threads loves their Canadian shoppers too: at $75 they ship free to your doorstep.  I might know that personally.  And it's fast shipping too.  And the tax and duty was no more than I would pay in Ontario anyhow, so big win.  I know.  Enabling.  Okay I'm done now.  Gotta go check out on Craftsy before that jelly roll sells out.  I may know that personally as well, sniff, on a certain quilt kit I had in my cart on the last sale...

Linking with LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color, and with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Freefall Quilt Along Step 5

Woo hoo!  We are HERE!  Some of you are all, 'been there done that' because you've got your tops all sewn up, but here is the official final step to assemble the 25 blocks into a flimsy along with some quilting ideas.
Here is Freefall, in flimsy form.  Tish based her colouring page on this layout, which is also downloadable from my Craftsy store (affiliate link) for free.

I stand before you to say do not follow this layout to a 'T'.  Yup.  I've said this in several places here on the blog and in the PDFs to note where three of my leaves point together.  Not good because there are so many seams coming together there and it makes for a bit of a lump when you quilt over that area.

Here is the Windfall layout as a flimsy:

Complete with a Bella bum.

You can tilt your leaves any which way you like, even the H1-3 leaves can be in various places as long as the shadow leaf 45-degree lines are correct.

Moral of the story: don't be seamy, be free, and tilt away! 😁

As for assembly, you may want to try my 'Book It' method, which I almost always use for assembling quilt tops. Basically you sew the quilt blocks in columns, chaining each column together as you sew pairs together.  This quilt has an odd number grid, so you'd have two columns of 'books' and then one column of singles.  I learned this way back when I did colourwash quilts and I had many 2" blocks to keep in exact orientation.


I don't know about you, but every since I bought my first quilt magazine, or quilt book, and came to the 'Quilting' part of a quilt pattern, I got supremely upset and disappointed to read the phrase, "Quilt as desired."  I get a little happier when I read these days, "Sandra quilted flowing lines with echoes, and swirls in the background.  She quilted straight lines across the shadow leaf, treating it as a separate entity from the background, and ignoring the leaves that fall on it. She also quilted some ghost leaves in the background areas."

I get really ecstatic when I get a drawn diagram or a photo that shows the quilting!

And when I get closeups to study.
This was after the shadow leaf had all the straight lines quilted. And okay full disclosure: I had no clue was not totally sure what I was going to do in the background!
Freefall was quilted on my Bernina.

I went with quite large swirls, 3/8-1/2" spacing, echoes and of course a ghost leaf

Windfall was quilted on Avril, my HandiQuilter Avanté.
Windfall got a border of ribbon candy around the shadow leaf after I did several straight-line echoes of the shadow leaf

Each leaf that was in the background got its own design.
Feathers, with contrasting thread
Leaf veins with matching thread
More leaf veins
And some got dot to dot work and elongated figure eight and continuous curves.


Freefall was done entirely with one colour of thread, probably my favourite one for blending in with multiple fabric colours, Aurifil 2600.

Like my Bernina, Avril likes pretty much any thread I've used on her, from cotton to polyester to rayon, various brands and weights.
For Windfall, I used Essential cotton, Isacord polyester, Floriani rayon and Aurifil cotton.

So there.  I hope I've made you ecstatic, and given you ideas. This quilt is quite a graphic design, so you could do straight lines across the entire top; alternatively, you could do wavy 'organic' lines across its top.  I wanted to define the shadow leaf from the background when I planned my quilting.  You can use whatever threads you and your machine prefer.

You have exactly one month, that is until June 15, what would have been my dad's 91st birthday, to get your quilts assembled into tops if you haven't already done so, and then quilted up and bound ready for the final parade and prizes!  To see a list of the prizes, go here and here and here.
There are 4 fabric prizes, a copy of the book Crafted Appliqué, and 8 pattern prizes!

Again, I cannot say it enough: THANK YOU!! 😘😘😘😘😘😘😍😍 for taking a chance on a blogger doing her first quilt along, to my sponsors for being so agreeable to offer prizes, and to my followers for quilting along with me...even though, sadly, I did not quilt along on a third version - YET - with you due to IRL circumstances.  It means so much that you've done this, and I hope you've had fun and that you are pleased with your quilts! I know I am blown away (ha, pun not originally intended) by the beautiful falling leaves quilts I've been seeing!  I cannot WAIT for the parade in a month!  If you fell behind, not to worry (ha, been there done that, am there NOW with my own damn QAL oops, haha) you have a full month to get it together for the parade and be eligible for prizes.

Linking up
Cooking Up Quilts

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


You may have heard that acronym, or seen it.  What does it stand for? Well in my case, not, as you would think, the usual:  What Would Jesus Do? to indicate doing the right thing, the loving, compassionate thing....
Oh but wait! There's love.  There's compassion.  There's the right thing.
Singer 15-91 the morning after purchase

What Would Julie Do?!
Julie and me earlier this year in Florida

Let me start at the beginning.

Kaleidoscope Quilts began this journey many years ago.

In 2000 I took a class at Earthly Goods in Edmonton from Deb Tilley, a 'protegée' of Paula Nadelstern's.  That was where I first learned about Featherweights.  Paula sews on one, and in her book is a photo of her sewing on this tiny machine on her tiny kitchen table in her tiny NYC apartment.  Over the years I heard how wonderful they are for stitch quality and perfect 1/4" and light to transport to classes.  I didn't actively pursue one though; I loved my 1979 Elna Air Electronic (still do), and I then I loved my 2003 Bernina 180 Artista even more.

Years passed.  Then three things happened within a relatively short timespan.

1. I inherited my grandma's Singer 27 treadle machine in 2012.  This woke up the slumbering vintage Singer aficionado in me. Once I have her up and running, something I am ashamed to admit I still have not done, I will write her story.

2.  I got together last summer with my good friends Liz and Danielle for a sewing day, and what does Danielle bring down from her sewing room to sew on?  A sweet little Featherweight.  Hmmm.

3.  Towards the end of April Julie got a Singer 15-91 (read about it here) and thus she it was who fully woke the beast.  So I decided to go on kijiji which is just like craigslist in the US, just to see if there were any vintage Singers in the Windsor/Essex County area...

Uh yeah.  There were several!  There was a 15-91 much like Julie's!  For a mere $50!  There was a 99K that was a great price too. There was also a Featherweight which Danielle advised to go for, since it was a terrific price, despite being advertised as having no cord/foot pedal, no case, and no attachments.  However, I couldn't get a response from the person selling it. So one evening after yoga, MacGyver, who has become rather smitten with these darlings, and I popped off to check the first two girls out.

So, we set off to see the 15-91, which was the original one I'd thought to get, since it sews leather, and MacGyver has a few projects in mind for me to sew with some deer hides he's been saving.  The 15-91 is also well-known for its FMQ capabilities, ability to drop the feed dogs, and large harp space, (the area between the needle and the post part where the motor is), so this was the machine I thought would be great to have as well as a Featherweight. However, the person selling it wouldn't be home until later in the evening.

Therefore, the first stop was to see the 99K which had been sitting in a storage unit for at least 5 years (probably more is my guess) and hadn't been used for much longer than that.  She interested me because she was smaller, and I thought she might be the machine to get instead of a Featherweight.  I'd read some very good things about this model too.  Well, we plugged her in and away she went with one small turn of the wheel by hand to help her.  She whirred like a little worker bee.

All the while I'm thinking, I want a Featherweight, really.  But this one is pretty small! And she purrs!  And she's so shiny, like just about perfect condition after sitting all these years?  What would Julie do?  She'd give her a good home.  Done.  Sold.  (for $20 less than asking) 😉👏

Time to go see the 15-91.  Or should I just stick with this 99K, which had already floated her name into my head, Fiona, being made in Kilbowie, Clydebank, Scotland.  MacGyver said let's just take a look at the 15-91; can't hurt.  So we sat at Tim Horton's (of course!) waiting for the arranged later time to meet up to see it, talking about how ecstatic I was to have scored this 99K, and excitedly discussing these vintage machines, along with his real love, vintage cars, and how they are built to last, and a person can bring them back to life with a little elbow grease, much like Julie talks about "spit and polish" in her post on her 15-91.

Well, we ended up getting the 15-91 too.  She's a bit rough, and hasn't had her full treatment spa day yet, but I've already spiffed her up a bit, and the former owner has found a couple of her feet and another instructions book.  She's named Dorothy.  You'll have to wait until I write up her post to find out why.

Suddenly, within a couple of days of reading Julie's post on her 15-91, I was the owner of three vintage Singers: a Canadian 1905 model 27 treadle, a late 1930s Canadian 15-91, and a Scottish 1956 99K.  The two purchased machines cost me less than half of what a Featherweight sells for in this area, which is $300.

Yet still no Featherweight.  Emailed the guy again.  Finally heard back from him and he said someone else was coming to look at it, and he'd let me know if they didn't take it.  And then I decided to look a bit further afield, up around London and Chatham/Kent County.  Well, one ad caught my eye.  The machine looked pretty spiffy.  They had two, both 221K, which are made in Scotland.  The price was what Danielle had said they go for.  This couple lives in Tillsonburg.  The home of Stompin' Tom Connors!  I hadn't been there since we lived in Essex County in the 80s.  It's only about 2 hours northeast of me.  I emailed.  We arranged to meet on April 30.  MacGyver decided to come too because he had finished assembling all the IKEA stuff he could at that point, and he loves a drive.  Wait. We could do one other thing on this road trip Saturday, check out if Cindy of Stitchin at Home, would not be at home, and could meet us somewhere!  You know the outcome of that from a former post.  Great visit.  Preceded by a great purchase.

Yes, I bought a Featherweight!  She is a 1951 221K.  Another Scottish lady! I've been sewing on her pretty much ever since I got her and gave her her full treatment spa day, and she sews beautifully.

So the next day, Sunday, April 30, I was able to take another very short drive of a half hour, to Belle River, where I had my first Ontario teaching job when we lived here in the late 80s, to see the really low-priced, probably a garage rat of a machine, Featherweight.  Why would I get a second Featherweight?  One word: price.  I could maybe fix her up and sell her and make a bit of a profit.  Besides, What Would Julie Do?  You got it.  Save her.  Love her.  And I did.  And I do!

She is my only American vintage machine of the group.  She's a 1947 model 221.  She's the same age as our new house.  Like how could I not?  She has seemed to name herself Elizabeth, after her Elizabeth, New Jersey, birthplace, but Marilyn also pops into mind...think of the icon Marilyn Monroe, and you might know why.  I've sewn a bit on her after she got a MAJOR full-treatment spa day.  I am SEW in love with her, and amazed by her fortitude after living who knows how long in a dusty garage and, clearly long-neglected before that.  Oh, and she has quite the story to tell as well.

So this has been a rather wordy post, and thank you if you have read it all and now know the story of WWJD?!  As for Julie's escapades adventures from north to south of the continental US over these vintage machines, hop over to her blog to see what love and compassion she, too, is showing by doing the right thing!

As for my five vintage Singer ladies, I will be devoting a full post to each one of them, because they are that deserving, and I am honoured to have become their caretaker.  So stay tuned.  I see another tab up top: Vintage Singer Sewing Machines.  I've done a ton of research over the past few weeks, and have come up with some terrific sites with valuable information for those of you who may be considering the purchase of one.  I'll include these on the Singer page.  This may help to explain why I haven't been sewing as much as usual!  It's not just the move/organizing/running around/planning/setting up/dismantling/hunting for/different routines/I want my quiet set-routine life back issues!  It's also all my Singer adventures that have contributed to less time in front of my sewing machine.  I'm pretty 'dead chuffed' as my mum would say, about it all!

Linking up
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication