Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blue Ribbon Stars

She's done! And just in the nick of time for the Q2 FAL with Adrianne at On the Windy Side.  This was #6, a bit of a mystery project, a secret, on my list.  I had in mind a star quilt out of one of Pam & Nicky Lintott's jellyroll books.  But then I designed a quilt for H2H, and then, I thought, what if I make it a bigger block and use this for the blue secret quilt?

There were definitely some quilting pains along the way, but you wouldn't know it to look at these photos.  Here is the flimsy post.
Lots of texture, even with Warm 'n Natural, a flat batting
I laid it down by the patio doors in the sun to see the texture, and that was when I knew I just had to get it outside in the late afternoon sun for photos.

I hopped in the SUV, and zipped up the street to the Kingswood Inn, a historic stately home built in 1859 by the man for whom Kingsville is named.  I knew the quilt would look good on the old stone wall.

 I'm so glad I did; within 10 minutes of me getting back home, the sun had gone in behind clouds. 
So happy with the way the feathers turned out
I knew I wanted swirls to contrast with all the angles, but I had some issues with them.  I don't think they're circular enough for one, I can't seem to echo evenly for another, and I was having troubles overlapping them because I wanted these fairly large.  I also tried doing what Kathleen of Kathleen Quilts has done in a few of her beautiful recent quilts: putting a ring of pebbles in the swirl which makes me think of bracelets.  She calls it Bubble Swirl.  Doing the pebbles was one of my meltdown moments. They didn't seem round enough or right enough.  However, from a few feet away, they are looking okay methinks.  Once this baby is washed up and crinkly, I think they'll look even better.

In the centre of the quilt I decided to emphasize the woven effect I was going for by flipping the ribbon blocks.  So I did the same FMQ designs I'd done in those vertical ribbon blocks, straight lines and ribbon candy.  I then flowed it into more swirls.  I think it turned out pretty cool.

There are six stars; I did three designs, two of each.
This is a design of Judi Madsen's; I did a flowing feather centre
Angela Walters' Dot to Dot designs, the centre from her Craftsy class, the star points from Shape by Shape book
The above star shows the quilting I did in the top and bottom row of stars, a kind of radiating idea I had.  Originally I wanted the small swirls to flow into the larger ones, but it just didn't look right.
More of Angela's designs, love the spiraling square
The back
Funny, you don't see the piecing of the main backing here! There were several joins.  I pressed almost every seam open, so maybe that is the ticket.  I didn't quite have enough but that worked out perfectly because then I could piece in a label with some odds and ends from the front.  I am a huge proponent of labelling quilts with lots of information, and of making the label, if at all possible, an integral part of your backing.  Tutorial on that here.  And here is a shot of the backing once I had it all pieced before layering:

Those labels came from my Auntie Phyl.  She is a seamstress extraordinaire, and I mean that to its full extent.  She has always liked quilts, but never got into it.  She reads my blog.

Here is the label...drum roll.....so by now, Auntie Phyl, you understand that this quilt is going to be winging its way to you in the very near future!  She had a very auspicious birthday back in December, which I missed (insert embarrassed and sad face here).
Her initials, hidden in the quilt
Mine are in there too.  I like to do that; it's a way of proving ownership of a quilt, and a secret touch for the person to whom it is gifted.  Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don't and let them find it themselves.
Do you see who was curiously watching the entire photo shoot?
She's still peeking...look at the cluster of trees to the left of the rolled up quilt.
Once the quilt is washed, I'll post a photo.
One last breezy shot
Quilt Stats
Pattern:  original design
Size:  60"X64.5"post-quilting, but pre-washing
Fabric:  from my stash and from my scraps
Backing: Hill Country Spring by Sentimental Studios for Moda, purchased this spring at Fat Quarter Shop
Batting: Warm 'n Natural
Quilted: on my Avanté
Threads:  Sulky 40 wt rayon for the feathers, So Fine #401 for all the background, and a new-to-me-but-I'm-so-in-love-with-it thread, Gutermann 40 wt variegated 100% cotton for all the stars and ribbon blocks
I didn't do very well this quarter, but there were some other unexpected makes: the Pyramid Pouch for Moda Bakeshop, and the Grande Scrappy Tiles pattern I tested for Cheryl.

Linking up with
Show and Tell Tuesday

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Stash Share

I know, I know, it's supposed to be computer-free Sunday in my world, but I haven't posted since Tuesday, and I do have a purchase from a Canadian, no less, quilt store, to share, as well as my (somewhat limited) progress on the star quilt.  And it's morning somewhere...maybe Hawaii?!

After hearing good things about Sew Sisters from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, I signed up for their newsletter.  Well, two months later, I made my first purchase.  They have a special on right now until July 1 or while supplies last, on the charm pack, Oh Canada! from Stonehenge for $5.  Um, that's amazing, even in the US, but for Canada?  Pretty much unheard of.  So, of course, I couldn't just order a charm pack and pay another $5 to ship it; I had to add something, right?  And I do not have a patriotic quilt...yet.  Gasp.

So I went to their sale section, where fabric is $7.99/metre.  That works out to $7.38/yard.  Translate our CA$ to the US$ at the current rate of approximately 25% and you get $5.90 US/yard, decent, especially for Canada.  I was looking for backings, and did a whoop! whoop! when I found the cows fabric, "Farm Chic" by Wyndham Fabrics.  It's been a while (like 3 months) since I paper-pieced another cow, but have no fear, the 3 cows I have so far gaze/graze contentedly at me from my design wall, and yes, I am adding to the herd very soon, following the colour of the month at So Scrappy.  This was a good score, so I bought 4 metres, aiming for a roughly 60" or so quilt for my aunt.

The "Purses Galore" fabric from Michael Miller was another I bought with a bag in mind, be it makeup, or lunch, graball, what-have-you, probably for my daughters.  Girls can never have too many bags, and makeup bags are right at the top of the list in their worlds.  It was also in the sale section; I got the minimum 1 metre.

Shipping was $8.99, which I thought wasn't bad for Canada.  Had it been fabric.com, I'd have got my shipping free, since they ship free for orders over $35.

I have a post coming with more price comparisons, just have to sit down and write it.  I have spent hours and hours on the computer over the past few days, working on my grandson's movie from his trip here last September, and I'm so close to having it ready to burn to DVD...which means it could still be another couple of hours' work.  Disappearing soundtrack credits was the last glitch, and I'm hoping I can fix that somehow in iDVD.  Anyhow, long convoluted and frustrating story (I need to make more iMovies so I remember how to work the damn programme from year to year and update to update, lol; ya I'll get right on that) but the movies I've made for him are, if I do say so myself, freaking fantabulous, and he and Brianne watch them over and over.  Heck, I myself have rewatched them more than a couple of times!

So the Blue Ribbon Star quilt (what do you think of that name?) is progressing slowly because of me being an airhead and not adjusting the tension when I switch from a near-empty bobbin to a brand new full one, or forgetting, or plain just not paying attention to, what direction the feathers are going on the outer borders...
feathers along the top edge, a design I pinned on Pinterest
I am having trouble, well was--I think I have a handle on it now--with the background.  More when I show you the finished quilt, and I'll explain.  I am also having a long-fought battle, which I am losing, with two very bad "bobbles" as I quilt.  I am positive it has to do with where the table sections join, but the machine is like possessed, and grabs, or takes a hard left kind of thing, and (insert very bad word) there goes my petal, or feather or swoop or what-have-you.  It also is not quite level at the left end; the carriage slides towards me and to the left, so that should be an easy fix to level the table, but this bobble is driving me literally to tears.  Any thoughts are most welcome.  I have gone on the HandiQuilter troubleshooting, and googled "bobble in my Avante" (bahaha and that got me some car chassis and track info and YouTube video!!)

Here are two of the six stars' designs:
Angela Walters again--ha! not planned but it's visible on her book cover you can see here
Lots of ruler work, which is good for me.  I know I don't spend enough time with Avril; hope to experiment this coming week with some scheduling ideas I've got.
Thanks to Judi and Judy here: Judi Madsen for her design, which Judy at Quilt Paradigm sent me
I shall persevere!
Linking up to the effervescent Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash, whose post, interestingly, is about rulers among other things, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Bloggers Hop Week 2

There is another round of lovely blogs to check out for you this week.  Don't forget the prizes (another round of them too, that are up for grabs this week as well.

My hive,
Erin at Twin Mom Quilts
Anja at Anja Quilts
Carrie at Chopping Block Quilts
Adrian at Quilting Fabulous

If you hop over to one of our four hive mamas, then you will see the other bloggers in this week's hop:
Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl
Teri at Childlike Fascination
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs
at my hive mama's, for today (Tuesday) you will find some cool Tips and Tutorials!
Stephanie at Late Night Quilter

Remember there are some great prizes to be had!

In random news in my world, the quilt back is pieced, well, nearly.  We've had an eventful last 12 hours, beginning with quite the storm, so bad that Point Pelee National Park is closed today as they deal with downed trees and still a power outage.  Our power was out from 2:30-8 am, which I would like to say is why I am only finally getting this post up but that is not true...  Our dogs are now terrified of storms as of this winter when a smoke detector in our Florida home suddenly went off and we could not get it to stop, and it's hard-wired in...the dogs went totally to pieces, trembling useless blobs of fur, poor babies. I know how much that sound hurts my ears, so I can't imagine how it must feel to a dog's sensitive ears....and it went off again a few days later...and then a few weeks later, Naala came running into my sewing room, belly low, ears back, shaking like a leaf, and I realized why: my husband was watching a video on YouTube that had some high-pitched "beeps" on it, and she thought the alarm was going to go off again. Poor poor baby.  Of course, with the power out, our alarm here, which is also hard-wired in, was chirping every hour or so, which sent Naala to the edge.
She's spent most of the day pressed into this corner of the living area, a place she never lies
Rocco jumped in bed with us, yep, big 65-pound raging pitbull that he is....NOT...and would NOT get out.  Sigh. So we let him stay, safe between us, Naala pressed against the bed so my husband could reassure her, but she stayed on her bed.  Not a lot of sleep was had by anyone for most of the rest of the night.

I had a much-needed pedicure appointment this morning which we all walked to. It turned out to be a lovely day, and I love the sparkly blue turquoise toenails I now have!  I took Rocco down to the beach when I got home and he had a wonderful romp and swim.
Swimming out for the tennis ball...

...and back
We disturbed a Great Blue Heron and some turkey buzzards feeding on some dead fish...which, sigh, Rocco found, and started to roll in to douse himself with their "delicious" scent.  No wonder Bella thinks he is a revolting canine!  Unfortunately for him, he got doused with the garden hose and then taken into the shower and shampooed and rinsed off.

Last night on my drive to yoga in Amherstburg, where I always see the swans on Creekside Road, (remember the photo of the two embracing?), I saw this big guy
The creek is always bluer on the other side of the road...

I've never seen one this big in Canada, maybe in Florida! Apparently there are lots twice his size here, and he was about 10" across his shell.
He pulled in his head and started to turn around so I quick went behind him so he'd keep going to that bluer creek on the other side of the road.  I'm pretty sure he's a map turtle, from zooming in on his algae(?) covered shell. There was a recent wonderful story about saving one who got run over by a car and had his shell cracked.  Love this guy's fat prehistoric front flippers, and he sure has a long tail!

Now to actually get down to sewing today!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Star Quilt Flimsy and a Winner

Outside shot in the shade
I don't have an official name for this quilt or this pattern, which is my own design.  It is the same pattern as my H2H quilt, just bigger blocks.  I love how this version turned out!  Bella had her fair share of input too.

"a scant quarter inch Sandra!"

Then she got bored
This is a gift for someone in my family.  Once the quilt is finished, and named, I'll divulge that.  I braved spiders, fishflies, and snakes (last trip into the green strip between our lane and the next I was greeted by one wriggling his way across the end of our patio to the garden--needless to say, I let him have the right of way), and tried pegging it to a tree branch since I don't have a clothesline,
but you didn't get to see the entire quilt, although I do love the look in amongst the greenery!

Tried again:
Better, but the breeze wafted the one edge over.  The stake is there because they are putting in new sewers in the lane behind us, so needed to mark our property line as it abuts the town-owned green strip.

I love the pictures in the bright morning sunshine; these are true colour renditions.  So, the fabric story.  The navy two-tone blue is one of my all-time favourite fabrics, "Opalescence" for Grandma's Attic by SSI.  South Sea Imports...are they even around anymore?  It is the background fabric in a Stack 'n Whack quilt I made in 2003.  Yep, more ancient fabric!  I bought extra because I love it so much.  I still have not quite 27" left. Maybe binding...or maybe another rendition of this one?  What's that? You'd like to see that Stack 'n Whack?  Okay, hang on, I'll go dig it out and take a pic...here you go:

The inspiration for this wallhanging came from one in a quilt shop in Lethbridge, a quilt that was not in Bethany's book, but designed, using two of her blocks, by someone who worked at the store.  This was before cell phones and their handy cameras.  So I mentally took a picture, bought the cloud fabric from the store, and recreated my own version.  I was so happy with the result.  It used to hang in our family room in our Alberta home.  I need to find a spot for it here; rolled up and stacked with the other quilts in my closet is not good!  I quilted it on my brand new Bernina in 2003:
the leaf motif is in Bethany's first Stack 'n Whack book
Back to this star quilt, though.  I love the "stained glass" effect pics I've seen around the 'net of quilts taken from the back, and I was able to do that with this one!
might give away my construction secrets, lol
The light-medium blue used in the inner border and star points is a Quest for the Cure fabric by Northcott.  Another fabric I just love but have not worked into a quilt until this one. The background is a 3-yard piece bought at one of the many quilt shop hops I went on, a Jennifer Sampou fabric from a while back.  The other blues are scraps from other projects, two fat quarters I bought because I liked them, and a few pieces of a bright blue floral that I bought this winter for the backing of this very quilt.  I knew I was making a blue quilt, just hadn't totally committed to a pattern at that point.

This is on my Q2 FAL list, so I have 8 days left to get 'er done!

And the winner (thought I'd forgotten, right?) from Friday's post of the Grande Scrappy Tiles pattern by Meadow Mist Designs is (drum roll:
#22, Jasmine of Quilt Kisses!

Thank you to all who visited and commented.  I've replied to most of you, and I will get to the rest sometime today.  I've emailed Jasmine to let her know. :-)

And she was right: this is the Detroit River, and because I am standing on the Canadian side, in Windsor, I am looking north towards to Detroit in the USA.  This is the only place in Canada where you are south of the US.  My little town, Kingsville, is even further south of Windsor.  And Point Pelee National Park is the southernmost point on mainland Canada.  We are on the same latitude down here as the northern border of California.  Cool, huh?
Note that Windsor is not named, but Tecumseh, Lakeshore and even little Kingsville all are... more evidence that, as is often said, Windsor is just south Detroit, forgotten by the rest of Canada...wry grin

I'll be linking this post up to Patchwork Times' Design Wall Monday, and also (a bit late) for Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Christmas Table Runner

Well, I've torn myself away from my basement enclave to bring you a second finish for this week!  This is one of the projects on my Q2 FAL list at On the Windy Side.

I actually had the hand quilting finished last weekend, but this week's posts had to do with the New Bloggers Hop and Cheryl's Grande Scrappy Tiles pattern launch, and so the binding didn't get finished hand-sewing down until yesterday!

This past week in quilting blogland I've seen no less than two others, so 3 counting my own, decades-old projects finally finished.  First, I saw some cute baskets that Wendy (she's hilarious) started 26 years ago and finished this week over at The Crafter's Apprentice, and second, I saw a beautiful honeymoon quilt finish by Bernie, the fabric for which was purchased on said honeymoon 17 years ago!  So I am in good company showing this finally finished project which I started in 1998 or 99, so 16 or 17 years ago.
Here you can see the pointed end of the runner...as well as the banana plants and elephant ears. I'm curious to see the change in them in a couple of months
And, who knew, but it's an original design!  Here I thought I had something new going over the past year with the creative bursts of inspiration -- I'm doodling and sketching and sewing and publishing (eeek- see the Moda Bakeshop button on the sidebar, still excited about that).  Apparently this designing thing has been in me and into fabric for longer than I realize.

I love star blocks.  They are my favourite.  So I put three different ones all within one table runner and set them on point.
Evening or Sawtooth Star
Rising Star
Ohio Star
I bought all the fabric except for the backing at my LQS at the time, Lori's Country Cottage.  I love the Old World Santas fabric.  However, it does not show the hand-quilting off very well, and it was really difficult to find a marker that would show the lines I marked, so I just marked small sections at a time.  I did a simple cable there.  The straight lines in the dark green (which has pretty cool shading, no?) were done right around the start of the new millenium.  Can you believe that's over 15 years ago now?!

I won't win any awards for 20 stitches to the inch; I bet I maybe have 6-8, and that's not consistently!  Still, it is done, the first entirely hand-quilted piece I've done.  Here is the back:

Although I still have some of each of the fabrics used within the runner, I didn't have enough of any of them for the binding.  Happily I had almost a full fat quarter of this red with crowns on that I thought worked really well with the other gold-flecked fabrics.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: original design
Size:  60"X23.75"
Fabric: I don't know because I have none left with selvages on!
Backing: cotton purchased at Fabricland
Batting: 100% cotton purchased at my LQS specifically for hand quilting, but I don't know the brand
Quilted: by hand by me
Threads: Gutermann hand quilting cotton

Another project I completed this week is recovering the top for my cedar hope chest, a gift from my parents for my 18th birthday. (ya now that baby is decades old, but we won't go there!)

Here is the before:

Yep that grouse fabric just wore right out...darn, right?!
And here is what it looks like now!
Bella approves!
This fabric is from fabric.com, bought this past winter. I thought it was quilting weight cotton, but it is somewhere between that and canvas.  I thought maybe I'd still use it for fabric baskets, a bag, or cushion covers...and then a few days ago, it hit me!  Did I have enough? Yep, if I pieced two 2.5" strips on the long sides, it would be perfect.  With my husband on the super whack-master staple gun, and me on the stretching and positioning of fabric, we did it.  Awww, yeah!  I love it.

If you are observant, you'll have noticed Summer Scents Mosaic is on our bed. :-)
We slept under it last night and it was great! It washed up just wonderfully, no shrinkage other than the usual with cotton fabrics.  So the key to using flannelette or flannel as batting is to wash and dry it in the dryer before layering and quilting.  I might have found out the hard way what happens when one does not do this...
Linking up with Pet Project Saturday at Pink Doxies.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Grande Scrappy Tiles Pattern Testing & A Giveaway!

You've seen this before in fabric selection process and in flimsy form.

And here she is toute finie!  I named her Summer Scents Mosaic, a nod to the floral fabrics that are so summery, and the name of the pattern of Cheryl's, Grande Scrappy Tiles, on sale for the next 2 weeks only, for only $6!  This is a pattern I tested for Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs.  It is a terrific pattern, a very ingenious layout to get the overall scrappy look, with clear and concise directions.  The official launch is today, so if you'd like to see some other variations, click here.
 Detroit skyline as the backdrop in early morning sunlight
Lots of us agree that quilts 'talk' to us, and this one was no exception.  When I laid her down to piece the backing and the batting (more on that experiment in a minute), she just didn't seem quite together.

I wondered...what if I put a border on? Would it pull it all together?  I still had enough fabric (I might still have some left over...Cynthia!!!)

And yes, ahhh, she was complete.

So the batting experiment.  I want this quilt lightweight, as a summer quilt.  I'd used flannelette in runners with great success, so I thought, let's give it a try.  I'd hoped to pick up flannel, however, for just that bit of extra fluff...big sigh.  Even in Fabricland, not a quilt shop, basically the Canadian equivalent of JoAnn Fabrics, flannel was too expensive.  I checked out flannelette.  Diaper flannelette is what I'd used in runners, but it is a mere 27" wide, so I investigated some soft prints that were 42-43".  I found one that was a pale gold, so I thought it wouldn't interfere with the (then planned) backing.  Yay, it was on sale for $4.50/metre.  Stay tuned for another post on price comparisons in the not-too-distant future.  And, by the way, this has a great weight, I'm actually surprised it's as heavy as it is...but then again it is pretty large!
Was hoping for more flowers for the Summer Scents Mosaic theme
With the addition of borders the quilt was 80.5" so I pieced the flannelette (after washing and drying it) and then looked at the backing I'd planned...and couldn't do it!  This is a very pretty Robyn Pandolph cream with pale pink roses on, bought on sale (as I buy all my backings) at Fat Quarter Shop...and I just thought...nope, this needs to be on the front of a quilt, a low volume quilt.  I looked in the stash of greens, and found this backing that I'd bought for Savannah

and then somehow, before or after, acquired the same brown floral I used on the front of that quilt for the backing.  In all likelihood I could have bought the brown and forgotten I did that.  Who knows...anyhow I had enough for the backing of this baby! This came from Alma Sue's in Sarasota.

It quilted up quite nicely!  This is prior to washing.
I used Christina Cameli's "Fervent" motif as the all-over meander.  I loved this motif!

I did Angela Walters' no marking dot to dot wedge design in the borders.  Great ruler work practice for me.  This picture shows about an 8" piece of fabric I needed to piece in for the binding!  Yep, I used every last scrap of the green.  Both of these greens are in the quilt.

Tried to capture one of the many seagulls flitting around and I know there was one in this photo, but it must have blended into the background.

Quilt Stats
Pattern: Grande Scrappy Tiles by Meadow Mist Designs
Size:  80.5"X80.5"
Fabric: from my stash and from my scraps
Backing: ?? a wider backing that I think has been cut in half lengthwise to equal about 54" width
Batting: flannelette
Quilted: on my Avanté
Threads: Isacord pink #2560 in the top with So Fine in the bottom for 1 bobbin and The Bottom Line (prefer this, as does Avril) for 1.5 bobbins. Approximately 500 yards all told.

What was I doing in downtown Windsor at 8 am? I'd just finished my 6:30 am Ashtanga Mysore yoga class!  I go 3 times a week.  Here is the quilt on the bench right outside the studio!

 If you're still with me, here is the giveaway!  Cheryl has kindly offered up a copy of her pattern to one of my readers.  All you have to do to enter is tell me the name of the river in these photos, AND what direction (north, south, east, west) I am facing in the first photo.  You might learn a very interesting geographical fact about this part of Canada!  (wait, whut? as the younger ones say...you're in Canada and that's Detroit across the river?....exactly.)  For a second entry just leave me a second comment telling me how you follow me, and if you aren't yet a follower, perhaps you'd care to join?!  :-)

I will draw a winner on Sunday night about 10 pm EST and announce it on Monday.  Be sure to leave me your email address in the comments if you are a no-reply blogger; otherwise I will have to draw again.  ephdra (at) gmail (dot) com is a good format.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday, TGIFF and Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? These link buttons are on my Links tab up top!