Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meadow Mystery Update

I pulled up the November instructions, and went, "Wait, what?" when I saw that October instructions had not been clicked upon...ya, two months behind I was.  However, that is all fixed now.

So here are October's half hourglass and full hourglass blocks:
Here you have 4 hourglass blocks in the centre, arranged in a pinwheel, flanked on three sides by half hourglass blocks in various fabric combinations.
I know probably everyone but me has been long ago finished the October step.  However, I thought it worth showing this tip for squaring up hourglass blocks.  I like to use either my 8" square from That Patchwork Place or my 9.5" square from Omnigrid as it has the 45-degree line marked through the centre of the ruler. Lay that line on the 45-degree seam.
Place the 2.25" dot at the centre of the block, making sure you have the point of the ruler on the 45-degree seam line at the top, and the 4.5" dot on the bottom of that 45-degree seam. Trim.  Rotate the block and repeat.  Presto! Perfectly centred "v" point in the 4.5" block!

And November's geese and square in a square blocks:
Interesting how you can see where the light source was coming from, no?  From the centre to the right of the photo  is the truest colour.
I am also sure everyone is finished their November blocks, but in case you aren't, or in case you make more geese using this no-waste method (Eleanor Burns devised it btw, and my own tutorial is here) then here are a few tips for squaring the geese up to 2.5 X 4.5" rectangles.

To make the first cut, set the 2.25" mark at the point of the goose and also at the left side seam.  Trim these two sides.  Try to get the 4.25" mark as close to the right side seam line as you can.
To trim the remaining two sides, align the 4.25" mark at that just cut side and the point of your ruler at the to-be-cut seam, ensuring you still have 1/4" above the goose peak. Trim the remaining two sides.
Here are the three stages:

Foof!  All caught up now, and tomorrow is the next step!! I pulled some of these out of the garbage to add to the pile I had created, and now I've put them in a ziploc bag...maybe I can use them for stuffing something, right?!
Quilt porn, as I've heard said around Instagram! Makes me quiver, so it does!

 I sewed a few more slabs between these two months' worth of steps:
For some reason, I like these better than the weekend's slabs.  Maybe because there is more unity in the bright yellows, green/blue/purple striped fabric and pinks?

One of the suggestions in the comments on my last post, from Rebecca Grace, was to consider offsetting the rows for my rainbow stars RSC 2016 project #1.  At first I thought, meh, don't think so; I'll lose the squares that are formed when the low volume areas meet.  Then I thought, well, let's just see how it would look...since I thought it might provide a little more interest:
I removed the grey stars, folded them in half to get an idea of what they'd look like as fillers, and stepped back....and quite liked what I saw!
Here was the first layout, just so you can compare:
It definitely has grown on me, sitting on the design wall as it has for the past few days.  It still hasn't become a flimsy yet; I was busy doing Meadow Mystery stuff!  Oh, and reading.

Finished The Camel Bookmobile, by Masha Hamilton, and it is a very worthwhile read.  Not fluff at all.  Rather more true to life than one would expect/like.  Sniff.  But such a great read.  Thank you Mum, for getting it for me; not sure if it's one you heard/read about reviewed, or one that 'came' to you on the shelves of Goodwill book department. Do books do that to you too?  They sure do to me, as well as to my mum and I think my sisters as well, that is, make sure we find them.  It's quite magical how it happens time and time again when I'm in a library or bookstore, new or secondhand.  Anyhow, I will be reading more of Masha Hamilton's work, 31 Hours, next on my list: I've already put it on hold at our library.  She served in the US Embassy in Kabul, as Director of Communications, and, according to her website, is currently working as Communications Director for Concern Worldwide.

I spent some time on Concern Worldwide's site.  Here is a sobering article.  I intend to find a way to help the many Syrians that Canada has taken in, many in the Windsor area, once we return in the spring.  I cannot imagine being displaced for 4-5 years from Canada, and, like the refugees in Turkey are having to do, work in agriculture.  Here in Canada they are finding work in the greenhouses in and around Leamington, when once, in their home country they were teachers or office workers, etc.

I am so very proud of Canada, and my prime minister, Justin Trudeau, for taking in so many Syrian refugees!  Lifeline Syria in the GTA, Greater Toronto Area, was just chosen as a co-recipient of a humanitarian award for their work.  When we have recently celebrated Thanksgiving in early October in Canada, and in the United States, at the end of November, and are grateful for all we have, I hope we investigate some way that we can give to those displaced by wars, and help ease their suffering.  :-)

Linking up with
Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, November 28, 2016

Scraps, Scraps and More Scraps!

And they do NOT seem to get any less in volume!!!  Like HOW??

Today I made the last two of my Whirling Star blocks for the RSC 2016 at So Scrappy.  It's been a fun year and one in which I really played, not on purpose, mind you, with value and gradation in colour families.  So here are my last two blocks for the year for project #1:
Yellow with a bit of orange was Angela's directive.  I had the perfect scraps of batik for one set of star points and the yellow with orange dotted spots was from a fat quarter stack I was given from Benartex for promoting their Modern By the Yard magazine, which btw, has another new edition coming out Monday! I thought the star point fabrics I used were absolutely perfect for what Angela had us working with for the month.

I thought I'd show you my process by which I arrived at those two blocks before I show you the layout on my design wall of all 20 blocks.

Along the way of making these blocks, I realized two things: 1) right away I saw I could spin the centre four blocks from light to dark or dark to light, and 2) a couple months in, I realized that I could spin the centres in two directions.  That, I discovered by accident.  There are 3 blocks, well 6, because I have two of each colour, that spin in one direction, and 7 (14 in total) that spin the other direction.  The photo below shows you exactly what I mean:
I was pretty sure I wanted the dark gold in the centre, but I did rotate the four blocks to see what a light centre would look like:

For this block, I also flipped the star points around just to see if it made much of a difference as to whether the more saturated HST or the brighter HST was beside the lightest of the yellows in the centre 'whirl'.
As you can see the block on the left is the way I ended up piecing them both.

I put them on the design wall in ROYGBIV order.  It was tricky because I had a grey star with a bit of acid green hints, and a brown with pink hints...where do those fit in?  Brown is a mixture of all colours, no?  And grey is a whited out black, in other words, a tint, just as pink is a tint of red, which is why I put the pink in front of the red star.
In the end, or at least as it stands right at the moment, I put the brown with pink highlights beside the pink star.
What do you think?  Part of me wants to separate the blocks with lattice, but a bigger part of me says nope, enjoy the scrappiness (and the less work, lol), and the modern feel to it.  In this layout, it will finish at 48.5X60.5"

Over the weekend I put in some time on my Scrap Vortex.  I've been picking away at it mainly as a leader/ender all year.  It finally seems to be getting to the slab stage.  Here are the most recent slabs I created from smaller pairs and foursies and what-have-yous:
That area measures about 32X39".  Obviously it will shrink considerable when put together.  I have a whole bunch more slabs like the above from previously working on it, as well as a schwack of smaller chunks that need to be sewn up into squares and rectangles like the above.  I don't know...the jury's still out on it being lovely scrappiness or scrap vomit.  I'm leaning to the latter currently, although it does make me smile thinking of the various projects, some fairly recent, others ancient (like scraps I came across from my Trip Around Alberta quilt I made in 2000, so 17-year-old scraps, egad!!) that I made with these fabrics.

Finally, hooray!  I figured out the missing Churn Dash blocks pieces mystery.  It IS the pieces I thought.  I sat and went through them, and saw that there was a bit of a method to the madness, and that I had a couple of 5" squares and a strip about 2.5-3" wide of most of them.  And then, I found some rough notes in a small notebook I have where I drew out the layout and plan for how many cows and how many churn dashes and the bull and one other great thought for a block... Anyhow, my point is I whipped this up just to test my math for a 12" finished block:
It worked!
Now if I can just stay focused on the RSC 2016 project #1 quilt assembly, and project #2 finishing blocks, and then assembly of quilt, and Cheryl's Meadow Mystery assignment, oh, and test the hockey block for Cindy, well then I think I will be going full steam on the cows quilt.  Just how many projects did I bring down?  Well that's a subject for another post.

I did waver a bit from my resolve to not buy fabric 'just because'.  I got an email from Alyssa at Pile o' Fabric and helped her clear out a few yards.  Her sale was better than my LQS's Black Friday sale of 40% off because she only asked that you buy 1/2 yard minimum, whereas my LQS asked you to buy 1 yard minimum.  All her prints are 45% off.  No affiliation to either, but Alyssa's sale is still on and she has some beauties.  I picked up a couple pieces of Katarina Roccella's Avant Garde which I got in my fat quarter club gift 3-month subscription from my husband for Christmas last year (well really as told to do by Dayna).  Avant Garde was my favourite collection of the three months.

If you haven't checked out or taken advantage of Craftsy's Black Friday sale that ends Monday, Nov. 28 at midnight MT, then get your hiney on over there.  They too have some terrific deals which I mentioned in my last post.  The best, IMHO, is their classes deal.  $17.99 for any class.  Remember that's ALL classes, not just quilting.  And kits!  I've bought a few, okay several over the past 3 years of membership, one of which, a knitted scarf, I'm currently working on.  Look at this cute beanie you can scoop for $6CA! You read that right!

Aww!  I need to knit one for Brady.  I did knit myself the Fisherman's Wife Cowl. They also have a crocheted version too.  I absolutely LOVE it, and I've worn it several times.
Two last temptations for quilting items:
1.  My pattern Blue Skies and Sunny Days is discounted today only to 45% off.  :-) I figured if I took advantage of Pile o' Fabric's 45% off prints, I would pass along a similar deal. So $4US for a pattern that is easy, quick and has two sizes, and two methods of construction.

I got a Cotton & Steel fat quarter box at Craftsy's last sale and it is just delicious.  These basics are meant to work with all their lines; just look at those saturated colours, mmmph!  Thank you so very much for clicking through on my affiliate links, as I do get a small commission on purchases. I promote these because I believe in their value. :-)

Happy Cyber Monday shopping!  First, I'm going to watch some more Netflix, "The Crown" to be specific.  It is just excellent.

Linking up with
So Scrappy
Main Crush Monday

Friday, November 25, 2016

It's a Mystery

There are a few mysteries in my life of late.  The most recent is unpacking my sewing stuff a few days ago now that we are ensconced in our Florida abode, and pulling out this:

Two stacks of rectangles, one in golds with some oranges and one in reds with some golds.  One was wrapped in the Laurel Burch kitty fabric you see, the other not.  I was looking for the churn dash block pieces I'd cut in early November, and thought these were them, but nope, I cut mainly floral fabrics for those.  And then it hit me, the gradated rectangles inside rectangles I'm doing as project #2 for the RSC 2016!  Still wondering why I don't have a very dark red on black fabric with the red stack, but I do have a few red small pieces in my stash I brought down which could work...

Mystery solved.  Mostly.

The second mystery is just where said churn dash block pieces have gone...
They will be going into the cows quilt which was my RSC 2015 project.  I did find this random stack of floral fabrics, one of which is a hay-type looking one, which leads me to think maybe these are some I'd figured on incorporating...but where are those that I'd already cut??  Back to the RSC 2016 projects, and you can see I've cut the strips and pieces to make the gold whirling star blocks for RSC project #1.  Good thing I'd placed them on top of the red block, between it and project #2 or I'd still be wondering what those skinny strips and low-volume squares were for!  You might also notice that I have since placed a potential dark red with the former mystery rectangles as a possible fit.  Sometimes being super-organized is a big PITA.  I guess having done this 3 weeks ago and not labelling things, plus experiencing a few other 'interesting' life events adds to the confusion, sigh.

Mystery of the missing churn dash block pieces remains unsolved.

You may have gotten a giggle out of seeing Miss Bella's 'moosa-moosa' toy in that photo that Tish sent her last spring, and if you're observant, you'll see a nylabone by the cow blocks...the fur kids are so happy to be back in their southern sewing room.  Their northern one got sold a couple of months ago, and they don't have a new one in place yet, so it's been good to leave that stress and nonsense behind in their opinion.  (might be in mine as well)

This helped assuage some of the stresses we've all been experiencing over the past oh, 4-5 months:
Large bodies of water, like the Gulf, or Lake Erie, soothe my soul in short order
I put the photo below on Instagram the other day; it made me smile to see these sweeties, tree frogs, moved from their ledge last year, on the top of the front entry overhang, to the narrow ledges right on the front door!
Florida welcoming committee!
I'm reading a great book, The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton right now.  My mum got it for me a few birthdays ago, knowing how much I depended on, and loved our Strathcona County Library Bookmobile for the nearly 25 years we lived on acreages in rural Alberta.  It kind of puts in perspective my own stress (fabric mysteries, hard life for sure there, Sandra) reading about a bookmobile that brings books to nomadic tribes in Kenya, run by an American female librarian alongside an African male librarian.  It takes 3 hours each way, atop a camel to get to Mididima where the nomads have settled for the time being.  I'm getting to know the inhabitants, and see their stresses, rather a tad worse than mine, although not having a permanent home is a tad unsettling, I'll admit right now, ha.  Still, it is showing me what I have known and believed in my heart forever: we are all united in our wish to be in meaningful relationships with each other, to belong, to learn, and to be happy.  It doesn't matter really and truly what our souls, our inner beings are clothed in, and by that I mean skin/hair/eye colour, skeletal or body shape, body shape, social status and so on.

Cheryl's Midnight Mystery from last year is nearing completion.  Bella is helping as usual!
I hope to catch up on Cheryl's Meadow Mystery piecing this weekend, between watching my latest class on Craftsy, Free-Motion Motifs for Classic Blocks, which I hope to review in short order for you.  So far it's excellent, and I've already put into use one of Natalia's early-on tips.

Craftsy is the final mystery, but with a good ending, in this post.  Like many affiliates, I was surprised, and pretty annoyed, when they changed, and not for the better, the commission schedule, like why would you do that to those who help sell your product? It's a mystery, well not much of one: greenbacks, not green tree frogs are the answer here.  You may have noticed I haven't written a lot about current deals or goings-on with them.  However, they listened to their affiliates!  They've reneged on the cutbacks, something I'm, for obvious reasons, pretty impressed with, and happy about.  Another mystery with them is how to find out how many of my patterns have been downloaded; I was hoping to have a celebration of sorts as I had surpassed 2500 downloads on my free pattern, Pocketful of Sunshine.  It is still being downloaded at least once a day, but I no longer get emails when someone 'buys' it.  Weird.

Mystery unsolved.

You've probably by now got the email in your inbox about their Black Friday sale that started yesterday and lasts until Monday, at midnight MST.  (Like wow, that's an extended time, right?!)  This is the lowest price I've seen on classes since I bought my first one in 2013!  All classes $17.99!!  You can check out some of my class reviews here.  Pretty much anything taught by Angela Walters is totally worth it.  I've watched and rewatched them many many times.

As for kits and supplies there is up to 70% off quilting and sewing projects, again the highest reduction I've seen.  Remember I made the Three-Quarter Patch tote earlier this year? 55% off right now.
I use it as my yoga teacher bag 4 times a week and just love it.
This one caught my eye too, and it's 60% off:
Fast and a great price IMHO.
Or what about an entire quilt for about $5 more?! (under $25CA)
These are 52% off and use Tonga Treats batiks.

If you want to treat yourself, then look at this deal on an Alison Glass sun prints quilt! 50% off this beauty:
Oh how I love that quilt!  You get...wait for it...just shy of 18 yards of fabric in this kit!! 17.75 to be exact.  Be still my heart!

All right, off to munch on pizza and watch/listen to/take notes on Natalia's class. :-)  Thanks so much for reading my blog, and for your purchases, if you click through any of the Craftsy links.  I do get a commission on classes AND (yay) kits and supplies. ;-)

Linking up with
Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Stash from Sew Me A Song

Foof! I think this is the longest gap in blog posts since I started this blog a little over three years ago.  Life stuff has been happening big time in my corner of Planet Earth.  Interesting times.  All is well, so not to worry.

One thing that happened is that when cleaning out my gmail inbox, I discovered a flagged email from a ways back from Becca at Sew Me a Song congratulating me on winning a prize, a gift certificate for Scraptastic Tuesday.  I could not recall using said gc, so I emailed Becca to ask if she could check her records if I had...apparently I had not.  Yay! So this is what I got!!  And yes, I followed Helen of Midget Gem's "rule to be cool" (my moniker for her fair is fair attitude towards fabric purchasing/winning):  I spent some of my own dollars as well as the gift certificate, as, it would be rude not to, right?!
From left to right, half yard cuts of:
Damask from Tiny Dancers by Melimba for Kokka Fabrics (a fabric company whose fabrics I own none of, and wow, are they ever nice)
Three 1/2 yard cuts from Minimalista for Art Gallery Fabrics:
Prisma in Honeycomb, Flora in both Watermelon and Honeycomb

Here we have three more half yard cuts:
Sausalito Cottage by Holly Holderman and Lakehouse Dry Goods, probably headed into something for Dayna (hmm, don't think I own any of their fabrics either!)
Beaded Stripe from Tiny Dancers by Melimba for Kokka Fabrics
Grey Floral from StudioE

I also picked up two fat quarters.  The pink one is probably going to find its way into my eldest daughter, Brianne's quilt.  Isn't it interesting?  It's one I would never buy otherwise, however, fashion and French?  Fits her like "un beau gant".  It's 80% cotton, 20% linen, "Fashion Show" by Suzuko Koseki for Yuwa of Japan.  Fabric manufacturer #3(!) whose fabric I have not got one piece of.  The turquoise one is one from Stof Fabrics, a Danish company, yet another one I own none of (seems to be a theme here). It has a gorgeous hand.

Becca's prices are very good, and be sure to check out her sale and clearance sections!  She has excellent customer service and wow, does she ship FAST!  I know I plan to increase my selection of Stof, Kokka, and Yuwa fabrics for sure through her.

If you're wondering just what is the quilt these lovelies are posed upon, it is Dayna's grad quilt, Shoot For the Moon.  I think we could take another look at it right?!  I had the pleasure of sleeping under it last night, and man, that wool batting has lovely warmth. I was concerned because I like weight upon me; there was no need to be.

She had some fun with our doggies...
Think she had more fun than they did!

Hard to believe that I took this just yesterday at a darling friend's house.  Over the past few months I have been completely overwhelmed by the kindnesses (many) of my friends.  I am so blessed.
It was 71F/just short of 22C yesterday.  Right now it is 34F/1C, brrrr.  I'm so glad I cut all her blooming roses and made her a bouquet to enjoy for several days.  What a treat to inhale the scent of a fresh rosebud on a bush outside on November 18 in Canada!!

Speaking of true friends, I got together with a whole bunch of Alberta ones this past week, such a treat.  Here is a finished pyramid pouch that my friend Janis made.  You saw it in progress a little while ago.
Isn't it adorable? Her twin granddaughters just love them apparently.  It makes me smile!

Linking up
Molli Sparkles

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Oh Canada

Seems to be a theme for the past few posts, doesn't it?  Not intentional.  Yet kinda cool, especially on today, as I think of my neighbours to the north--north of me is Detroit, Michigan, and to the south across Lake Erie--south is Sandusky, Ohio.
You are probably thinking, wait, you made an entire quilt of maple leaves floating on one giant maple leaf like, a week or so ago?  Yep.  Windfall.  That was my own design and for the Autumn Abundance blog hop.  This particular block is a test for Cindy at Stitchin At Home, who has designed a Canada quilt as a block of the month for her guild to do over this next several months, with the finish in time for Canada's 150th birthday on July 1, 2017!  I'm testing the blocks for her.  She constructed her leaf a little differently than mine.  It looks great amongst the leaves, several of which I'd picked to scatter on my quilt.

I also tested the puppy block for Joanne at Canuck Quilter.  I have very limited time for sewing and blogging over the next couple of weeks, so I couldn't do the entire baby quilt for her, but she's got several testers for the owl and ducky versions, such a cute quilt.  She writes great patterns; hope you check out some of them on her blog link, and maybe pick up a copy of this pattern once it is available!
I was thinking Naala, aka Rottweiler when I did this one.  Pretty cute, huh?  It might end up in a cushion or something for Brady.  He loves dogs.  The mum that the puppy is resting against is one that comes back each year, such a vibrant burgundy-red! It survived a recent transplant quite nicely.  

The glorious Fall weather continues: I leave the house five times a week at 5:45 am for yoga, either doing or teaching, and I've only had to scrape the windshield once.  That was such an ever-so-light scrape, as the frost was just a touch.  All our flowers and all the flowers in town (well those who haven't been rather goofy IMHO and yanked them out) are flourishing:
 So many roses in town are still thriving, blooming.
Close-up.  Canada colours, eh?!
Back to our American neighbours on their Election Day, which will undoubtedly affect us, not to mention the rest of the planet.  We were on the north side of the Detroit River last week.  The drive along Jefferson Avenue to Dayna's never disappoints; why take the freeway when you can revel at the jaw-dropping mansions on one side of the road, and the jaw-dropping views of Lake St. Clair on the other?  And then, there's the stunning colours...
The photo does not come close to doing the colours justice, but you get the idea.  I hope all will be well with them.  Our two countries are so very similar in many ways, but so very different in others.  Yet we live side by side pretty amicably.  Would that all different cultures could do so in peace and understanding.  Variety is the spice of life, as they say; why should everyone be all virtual clones of each other, and look and act the same?  Wouldn't quilts be pretty boring if all the millions of them on this planet were one colour and all the same shades or tones of that colour?

Tolerance, cooperation, and we, like the fabrics in our quilts, can all play nicely together on the quilting frame.  That is my own humble opinion and hope for our world.

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