Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Plus Playtime Winner

The random number generator picked #5 out of the eleven linkups which is Louise of My Quilt Odyssey who made this beauty:

Isn't it just so vibrant? Five Alarm Chili is what she's called it. Congrats Louise; I can't wait to see what you buy, and I hope some will be for yourself! Louise gives the bulk of her quilting away to charitable causes.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Postcard from Sweden Tips for Success

I, along with Helen of Midget Gem Quilts, recently hosted a QAL for making the absolutely gorgeous Postcard from Sweden quilt, a pattern I downloaded from (affiliate link here) Craftsy (free!!) shortly after I became a member. It is designed by the talented Kelly of Jeli Quilts, and is still graciously offered as a free download. Here is my finished quilt back in April on the little stone bridge over Mill Creek which runs into Lake Erie:

Cat Mats Finish

This was one of my Q2FAL goals, to make four cat mats. My list is here. I'm happy to report that as of this week, I have completed that goal.

Here are two of them, modelled by the ever-cooperative Bella:
Seriously, she just loves to pose for the camera! She actually was a huge factor in the design process of these first two...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Plus Playtime QAL Flimsy Parade & Giveaway

Here we go! Lots of you got your row 3, ha, maybe even your rows 2 AND 3, all done right away, so feel free to link up an older post, no need to write up a new one. Instagram and Flickr posts work too; just use the URL in the toolbar in the linkup widget.

This week for a finished top (save the finished quilt for the grand prize drawing) I am giving away the second $25 gift certificate to Stitch Stash Diva, done once again by random draw. I'm so pleased with the variety and number of participants in the QAL! If you don't have a blog or your Instagram is private, email me a photo and I'll link it for you using my own Instagram account. It's wonderful to see all the quilts out there!

Monday, June 11, 2018

A Bit of Everything

I was dark almost all weekend, meaning I stayed off-line. Didn't read blogs, didn't post on Instagram, except for my yoga challenge and one quilt photo, didn't even look at gmail. So my apologies if you're wondering why I haven't read your TBT post or responded to a comment. However, I was pretty productive, despite not sewing at all on Saturday because of IRL commitments.

The first item on the catch-up list is the Fireburst mystery that Tish of Tish N Wonderland is hosting. This is my fabric pull...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Throwback Thursday #6 Fan Cushion

Welcome to TBT for June! This is where we bring out quilts we made before our blogging days, photograph them and tell their stories. There are always stories. Remember the Chicken Soup books that used to be so popular? I think a collection of these quilty stories would make an awesome book right? Well, it's like you're getting that for free, so meander through the links below and enjoy.

I mentioned earlier this week in my Playful Pillows post for Island Batik that I would be telling this cushion's story on TBT.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Playful Pillows

Our Island Batik Ambassador assignment for May was to create a pillow, aka cushion, cover, incorporating piecing or quilting. I had so many ideas! That can be not so good when trying to focus. So I thought I'll let things percolate on the back burner of my brain and work on one of my H2H quilts which were also due in May.
And then as you know life threw me a curve ball and before I even got the binding on the H2H quilt, I found myself 2000 miles away and lost nearly three weeks of May. On the way back to reality and home and routine, I knew exactly what I would make for my assignment: I'd recreate the pieced and quilted cushion I made for my mum many years ago.

Plus Playtime QAL: Row 3 Construction

Well I am finding lots to smile about this past week, amid the tears that come upon me when not always expected. I am so very grateful to those of you who have written to me to tell me how much you like my quilt! I am so touched by the time dear friends have taken to write to me personally, sharing their thoughts, and told me sweet things about my blog...your words have meant so much to me, have raised my spirits, and I thank you so very very much. Yoga teaches ahimsa: do no harm. I also like to add: do good works. And so please know that I will be paying these small yet priceless kindnesses forward.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

DrEAMi! #16

Sorry I missed getting the linky up last Saturday, which was the last Saturday in May, but it's only June 2, so we're good right?!
Were you a well-behaved quilter in May, or did you put your shades on and go incognito and follow the scent of ....
a squirrel?!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

OMG I Finished my May OMG

Two days ago, I saw a couple of OMG finishes, and thought, 'Did I sign up for one? And if I did, what was it?'  So I looked back through my posts, and yup, I did, when I did my Throwback Thursday post for May, it was embarrassingly apparent that the cushion cover I was featuring was incomplete...

No more!

I Like/Love #16

It is the last Thursday of the month, which means I write my gratitude post. I'm starting to get back into a routine, if only teaching yoga classes as usual this week, and trying to get back to the blog schedule. I realized yesterday I missed May DrEAMi! so I think I'll have that on Saturday June 2. If your regularly-planned quilting schedule got derailed by a just-have-to-make project this past month, then I hope you'll link it up. Squirrels are like rabbits right: multiplying in a blink!

Here are my notes of gratitude for the month of May. Interesting, in that Yvonne, the chaplain who directed Mum's Celebration of Life said in her talk, "Gratitude shifts everything. Even in the darkest of times, there's always something to be thankful for, if we are willing to look for it."

1. I love Spring. This is a photo taken on the public pathway between two houses in here (not ours) of the wonderful violets that carpet the grasses in early May, with a Forsythia (always associated with our five years here in the late 80s, as we had a beauty in our front yard then) and a towering Magnolia in the background. Such colours, perfect for a quilt right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Plus Playtime QAL: Row 2 Construction

I'm wondering how many of you are already done part, or all, of row 2?! This second quilt I am making as part of the QAL was started as a leader/ender, and it wasn't long before it sort of took centre stage and I had several blocks together! The main page with links to all the steps is here.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Plus Playtime QAL: Row 1 Construction

My apologies for being late with this post. You can find the ezine issue with this pattern by going to Sew in Love With Fabric where you will find the newest issue, and can scroll back to January for the one that my quilt is in.

This week we are making the three blocks for row one. Follow the diagrams in the pattern in the ezine to make Block 1. Remember that you construct the blocks in columns. Below you see segments two and three using this method:

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Today is the final day to show your quilts for Sarah's Confessions of a Fabric Addict Hands2Help charity quilt drive.

I have one of my two almost ready (just needs binding) to be dropped off for Syrian refugees coming to Canada, who are making a new home in the Windsor area.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Week 4 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Welcome to week four of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop where we introduce quilt bloggers who are new to Quilting BlogLand. My hive named themselves In Stitches.
Carrie of Carrie Bee Creates made our button. That's one of her own quilts!

We hope you had a great week 3, and that you enjoy this last week of the hop!  This week Tracy at It's a T-Sweet Day, Joni of For the Love of Thread, and Sandy of Gray Barn Designs, are introducing themselves to you. I hope you can find some time to visit and leave them some comment love. Thank you so much to everyone who has been along on all four weeks of this hop! You will find Week 3 winners on last week's post.

Once again there is a terrific giveaway with lots of awesome prizes from our very generous sponsors.

I hope you will also have time to hop over to my co-hosts' blogs, Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts, Tish @ Tish N Wonderland, and Jen @ Dizzy Quilter where you will find links to the bloggers in their hives who are also posting today.

All you need to do for all the new bloggers posting today is leave a comment and then come back here to enter the giveaway for some truly wonderful prizes.

We are so very grateful to our 18 very generous sponsors for this year's hop:

The giveaway is the same on all four of the co-hosts' blogs, so you only need to enter once. The giveaway will run from May 14 12:00 am to May 19 at 12:00 am EST. Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 20, notified by email and posted to the Rafflecopter widget below.

Have fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hands 2 Help Check In

I haven't written much about my Hands2Help quilts, but trust me, they are in production, both of them. I wanted to do a quick post to show you the flimsy of the first one.

Here's how it evolved:
Last year Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts won a $25 gift certificate to Sew Sisters Quilt Shop (big sale this weekend, no affiliation, just enabling, as per usual). Well Preeti gave the gc to me because she said the postage would take the majority of it. I said well, I'd put it toward some Canada fabric that I wanted to use for a Syrian refugee quilt as one of my 2017 H2H charities. She approved! So I spent it and then some ha, and got a bunch of Canada fabric. However, the quilt didn't get made last year; I made the originally planned one for refugees.

So this year is the year. I just hadn't decided what pattern to do, and was letting it percolate, and getting a few ideas.... Then came the Humboldt bus crash tragedy. I made a half dozen blocks for the call for quilts. That pattern was it!
I played with arrangement: all the same orientation, or twist and turn?
Not only are mine and Preeti's fabrics in here, but also there is the Canadian cities fabric my brother sent me, leftovers from a jacket he had made for a Canada 150th Sesquicentennial thing at work. You will also see more Canada fabric he sent me which I'm using for the backing, in my finish post. Or maybe it will be an added pic or two to this one as it's about to be loaded onto Avril my longarm.

I settled upon alternating every other block and sewed up the twelve blocks in no time at all, entirely pieced on Tillie my little '51 Featherweight. It's her turn right now to work; Billie, my little '47 girl, is resting, but wanting to come out to play and keep in gear, nice and oiled and smooth too!
Oops, I see I have it upside down there; I aimed to have the big blocks of text fabric all one way.
Here is a funny outtake that I wish you could see 'live' in the Photos app, typical of often windy days here by Lake Erie.

I might not be on top of responses to comments this next little bit, so I hope (well I know) you'll forgive me. Brady will be 'in the house' in a few hours! I made him some new pj shorts as he's grown right out of his Frozen ones I made him a couple of years ago.
They turned out great! Sure hope they fit him okay but I made size 12 hoping they'll be baggy, as pjs should be. This is some of the fabric I bought off my friend who is de-stashing.

Speaking of her fabric, here are two pics of some more of it, 'Woodland' by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches for Lecien Fabrics.

Please shoot me an email ephdra(at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in buying any of this. It has been pre-washed, but is from a non-smoking home. $4/yard, minimum half yard cut. Postage extra!

A quick note:💥💝🎉🎊Starting today, this weekend is a free Watchathon at Craftsy (no code necessary) that I know I'll be partaking in... well, I hope to, here and there, especially when MacGyver and Brady are pounding away in the new garage that is now complete, well, inside it they'll be putting up drywall...
All done but finishing off the inside!
Linking up with the last check-in at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Oh, and one more thing: this is the final day for Week 3 of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. Go here for the links to the blogger in my hive and the co-hosts, and the giveaway. Winners will be announced on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Better late than never, right? Here we go...again! This is one of my goals on my Q2 FAL list.

April's challenge was to create a new, modern version of a vintage quilt or quilt block. I love stars; it's no secret they are my favourite block along with the schoolhouse one. So I knew I wanted to do something with stars. The gorgeous rich batiks were provided to me by Island Batik, the threads by Aurifil and the batting by Hobbs. I just love working with these fibres!
I chose to work with the Island Strips and coordinating yardage of Alpine Jingle that I was sent.

Why the delay? I knew I was going to work with these fabrics at the beginning of April. Well, a few things altered the supposedly smooth course of April: a quilt along that rather exploded in a lovely way, Postcard from Sweden, a rather major life happening, an upcoming magazine publication (eeeee!) with a rather tight deadline, and then a rather waffling brain in the design department. However, all the waffling means I do now have four new designs, all starry ones, just so you know...

I settled on this one, with a little input from my good friends, Tish and Judy. Not Punch and Judy, although sometimes it feels that zany when we get texting or emailing, FaceTiming or Skyping back and forth! LOL
There's the settled-upon design, not in the settled-upon colours, because I realized I couldn't do it as planned, two red stars and two green ones, when I only had gold and green for background...the green stars would be lost and that just wouldn't do! So all four stars became red, with the large star being gold. And yes, it's yet another shadow quilt, super-imposed images I do love thee! Thees...them...whatever.

The challenge was to make a 36" minimum quilt, and so I'd planned that each graph paper square would be 3". Great plan, 48" finished quilt. Only problem? Island Strips. It's their name for a jelly roll, so they are 2.5".... No red Alpine Jingle yardage. All right, well we have 32" here, guess I can add a border. This is why these are challenges, right?

But I need 2.5" not finished HSTs. How does one do that when one starts with a 2.5" strip? 'Oh ye of little faith,' and no knowledge of the wondrous Pam & Nicky Lintott books.... or rulers that do this magically with the little dog ears, no, I don't like that term, with the little points cut off, that's better. I made a template because I couldn't find the one I'd previously made, in the previous house... (I've since found it, after the graph paper drawing became a flimsy, yup.)

All I did was sew two 3" squares together on the diagonal, cut apart, press, trim to 2.5" then press them flat again, RST so I had my perfectly trimmed 2.5" triangle. Off to the races! (After I picked out my four red strips of course.
I love making No Waste flying geese, which is how I determined I would construct the star points, both blown apart (windblown? deconstructed?) ones and attached. I counted up how many I needed and what background they need to fly upon, and I knew I'd have to get a wee bit creative with my HST placements, as you see in the above in action shot! I didn't have to reverse sew much at all, just a little to keep me humble and honest. I also realized I didn't have any red yardage of Alpine Jingle to make the 4" finished star centres...what to do? Make a 4-patch, all four identical, one each of the four reds! I love a good challenge.

In no time at all I had the design starting to take shape on a section of the design wall in the guest room:
My design wall is 8X8", four pieces of styrofoam board snugged up together with the gridded flannel wrapped around them. Once the sewing loft is renovated, this will move up there so I won't have to run up and down, although that's good for the body! The cedar chest you catch a glimpse of butts up against half of the wall, and that is the door I have to push to if I want to use the entire width, which I needed to, as two other quilts in progress, Plus Playtime and one of my Hands2Helps quilts, besides this one, were on it!

How did I hit upon this design? Well, I was playing with taking star blocks apart, rotating them and putting them back together, meh, not so much, and then thought to partially explode, or pop them apart, leaving one set of points attached, and then thought that I could float a few on a big star, and then what if I had one intact star in the centre... I think not having all four geese windblown is a bit of a surprise, and having a giant star in the centre, ergo lots of negative space, is one of the components of modern quilts. Also, lots of modern quilts do have just one big block as the entire quilt.
Finished flimsy
I added a 3" border to bring the quilt up to size, well a little over now, but that's okay! This green batik is particularly lovely and rich, going from lighter olive-tones to rich intense pines.

I did have a minor mishap before that photo:
The one red strip has green trees on (love!) and within the 4-patches, I wanted them all to be standing, not lying down, so the quilt has a definite right side up to it. Thus, I had to reorient this one. Somehow on the trip from the main level design wall to the sewing loft, it got turned around...

It stalled again for a good day and a half, probably more all told, while I thought about quilting. Emphasize the popped apart stars? Connect them? Do flow quilting (modern) in the gold? Do straight line quilting (modern)?

The green quilting is loosely based on the quilting on Quilting Land's version Jellied Lone Star. I like the look of 2-3 lines together, then a 1/2 - 3/4" gap, so I went with that. I also like quilting designs that appear to weave under the piecing, like I did in my Rainbow Kitty Rows.

So, armed with Aurifil thread, perfect colours:
and a couple of my trusty quilty teachers for more inspiration:
I set to work.
This feathered spiral design of Angela's went in the four corners.
Lines radiating out, something I wanted to do right from the get-go, but then I did a feathered vine through the central 'v', ignoring the windblown star.

I really thought it would be so cool to do largish pebbles in the large gold star...but I was already late with this quilt, and we all know pebbles take a while... I also knew I wanted to do two or three ghost stars in that gold. Tish said maybe swirls, and I nearly did, and then almost did large pebbles echoed 3-4 times, a design that both Angela and Christina have in those books! Finally, one of Christina's spoke to me, 'Lithe', the perfect combination of pebbles and lines!
The light angle here is a very true representation of the colours.

Even in real life it is extremely hard to see since the thread and the design blend into the dotted batik so well. I did a dot-to-dot design in the centre green star to emphasize the diamond shapes and fool the eye a bit.
Here's a ghost star closeup:
I echoed it, as well as the centre green star, three times.
You can see the Lithe motif that runs vertically in the gold large star. I tried this morning with the lower, early morning sun:
It's amazing how much warmer the gold is, isn't it? The echoes show up, but the lines with beads, not so much. Oh well.

The cedars provided a bit of a Christmassy feel to this Christmas quilt.
It even smelled all Christmassy as I was clothes-pegging the quilt in there!
I had enough, well not quite, as you see, of the gold to do the back:

I'd hoped to have a full 2" at the bottom but I guess I snugged the quilt up against the top rollers more than anticipated, so I just have an inch, almost half of which is covered with binding!

The label:
Here's a three-for: the label, 'Popstar', a closeup of the flanged binding, where I used the four reds, and my mmm! quilts label.
One last shot:

May's challenge is creating a pillow aka cushion, and I have a gazillion ideas in my head for it! Maybe I'll be early this time?? Thanks so much to Island Batik for this challenge; it feels so good to play within parameters like this, and fuel the creativity!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design by me
Size: 38.5"
Fabric: top: Alpine Jingle by Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester
Backing: Alpine Jingle by Island Batik
Quilted: on Avril, free-motion and ruler work
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann and Aurifil; quilted with Aurifil 100% cotton
Stitch Count: 81 557 stitches

Linking up:
Sew Fresh Quilts
Freemotion by the River
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Crazy Mom Quilts
TGIFF at Summer Lee Quilts
Dizzy Quilts for the Q1 FAL

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Plus Playtime QAL: Cutting Tips

I've seen a fair amount of fabric flying around on blogs and on Instagram posts, and one or two finished tops already! I think this is wonderful, so that others see what some quilters have done, and it can help with decision-making, or perhaps convince others sitting on the fence to jump in with the rest of us.

So last week we saw the dive-right-in-dolphin Louise's flimsy, and this week here is eager Canadian beaver Anja's of Anja Quilts:

I just love the two greens she used in her background, genius!

Alright, cutting. By now you have looked through the pattern and seen that the construction of this quilt is a bit different: the quilt is one giant 9-patch (not so different at all), but the blocks are constructed in columns (ahhh, different). You cut various sizes of rectangles and squares.

Major tip #1: background and large plus

  • the background requires 8 strips @ 3.5" wide
  • the large plus in the background, aka the shadow plus, requires 9 strips @ 3.5" wide

Major tip #2 - background:
  • two strips will give you enough for your 3.5" squares for the background and two more for the 3.5X6.5" rectangles will give you 12; cut the 13th from the leftover strip from 3.5" squares
  • three strips will yield the correct number of 3.5X9.5" rectangles
  • one strips will yield the two 3.5X12.5" rectangles
Major tip #3 - large shadow plus:
  • two strips will give you enough for your 3.5" squares
  • four strips will give you your 3.5X6.5" rectangles
  • three strips will give you twelve 3.5X9.5" rectangles; cut the 13th from the leftover strip from the 3.5X6.5" rectangles 
For organizing purposes, you can just stack or you could use baggies to keep the pieces together. Easy!

Small plus blocks:
  • There are 28 in total.
  • 25 are full pluses, meaning one 3.5X9.5" rectangle and two 3.5" squares.
  •  Three are partial pluses, meaning one 3.5X9.5" rectangle and one 3.5" square.
  • You will find these partial pluses at the end of rows 1 and 3, and at the beginning of row 2. See below.

Here is my adult Plus Playtime quilt at the 9-block stage on the design wall. 

I'm allowing two weeks to cut out all your pieces. It seems like a hefty chunk of time, but Mother's Day happens on May 13 in the US and Canada...I think it was a month or two ago in the UK, no? Yes, a quick Google and it was March 11, the fourth Sunday in Lent. And looks like you Aussies and Kiwis celebrate it the same as us, on the second Sunday in May! I love learning all this stuff, and feeling connected.😍🌏🌎🌍😍 
Anyhow, May is a busy month everywhere: here in Canada we have the May long weekend, celebrating Victoria Day on May 21. It was a Bank Holiday in England and Ireland, Scotland too, I presume, on May 7, and Labour Day in Australia, and it's Memorial Day the last weekend in May in the US, so a busy month everywhere. Let me know, Jean, if there is a Bank Holiday in NZ in May; couldn't see any public holiday in May according to Google.

No linkup today, but please remember to tag me on Instagram @mmmquilts and also hashtag is #plusplaytimeqal if you feel like showing an and all progress!

Any questions, please either ask in the comments, or shoot me an email: ephdra (at) gmail (dot) com

If you haven't checked out the new bloggers for week 3 go here where you will find links to Linda in my hive who is posting, as well as the other co-hosts' blogs, and of course be sure to enter the giveaway on the Rafflecopter!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 3 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Welcome to week three of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop where we introduce quilt bloggers who are new to Quilting BlogLand. My hive named themselves In Stitches.
Carrie of Carrie Bee Creates made our button. That's one of her own quilts!

We hope you had a great week off from extra visiting, and are geared up for the last two weeks of the hop!  This week Linda at Cozy Quilts is introducing herself to you. I hope you can find some time to visit and leave her some comment love.

Once again there is a terrific giveaway with lots of awesome prizes from our very generous sponsors.

I hope you will also have time to hop over to my co-hosts' blogs, Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts, Tish @ Tish N Wonderland, and Jen @ Dizzy Quilter where you will find links to the bloggers in their hives who are also posting today.

All you need to do for all eight new bloggers posting today is leave a comment and then come back here to enter the giveaway for some truly wonderful prizes.

We are so very grateful to our 18 very generous sponsors for this year's hop:

The giveaway is the same on all four of the co-hosts' blogs, so you only need to enter once. The giveaway will run from May 7 12:00 am to May 12 at 12:00 am EST. Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 13, notified by email and posted to the Rafflecopter widget below.

Have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway