Thursday, September 30, 2010

St. Anthony's Quilters

St. Anthony's Quilters - Day 1
Today, is the first day of the St. Anthony's Church hand quilters group.  For our first quilt, we're quilting the LeMoyne Star quilt from a pattern featured on the cover of a Marsha McCloskey book.   Remember I pieced this during the month of March and blogged about it. 

I was so pleased that Doris K. from the St. Dunstan's Quilters, and Linda G. from the Friday girls came to help us load the quilt onto the frame.  We carefully pinned on the backing to the long poles, then we laced twine through the holes in the side poles attaching the sides of the backing.  Then we laid the batting over and smoothed it all out flat.   Then carefully laid the quilt on top and smoothed and pinned around the perimeter.  We hand based it too, for extra security.  All that took over an hour...  That was all pretty exciting, and then it was time to stitch.

Doris gave us all some instruction on how to thread our needle with just the nicest small knot.  Then she showed us how to rock our needle to take some stitches.    The seven of us then sat around the 4 sides of the quilt and stitched.   We had such nice conversations while stitching. Every once in a while, one of us would get under the quilt to look at the nice lines of stitching.    Ahh, it was a lovely afternoon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Teaching the Spicy Spiral Class

I'm really excited that I've been selected to teach the Spicy Spiral Table Runner class later this fall to two local guilds.   Yesterday, I taught a practice class to a few students so I could judge where I need to be really clear on instructions and understand where students might need help.  It was a worthwhile effort and I'm so pleased that I have great quilting buddies who would invest the day with me. And especially a big Thank you to Anne who opened her house to us so we could sew!!

Here are the Students in the mini-class and their amazing spirals.  They all pulled fabrics from their stash, and look at the beautiful work they did below.     

Anne's Fall Spicy

A fall runner, with beautiful fabrics for a striking contrast and a few exciting fabrics which give this real eye appeal.  My camera didn't pick up the really great transitions from one color to the next, but this is a real beauty.

Vivian's Batik Spicy Spiral

I haven't done a Batik Spiral and I'm so glad that Vivian did one.  These earth tones blend is so beautiful, and I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's quilted.  There are a few purpley veins of color running through this spiral which is eye catching.

Linda G. Spicy Spiral

These colors are perfect for the fall and thanksgiving table.  I just love the light swoosh down the center and the busy print beside it.  Just a wonderful highlight.  Now that Linda understand this technique, Linda is going to try to develop this pattern even further and make another Spicy Spiral so it has 4 spirals and will suit her

Kathy F's Sunny Spiral

And look at this sunny spiral by Kathy F.  This is a really nice transition from dark to light.   Don't you love the use of the two dramatic fabrics.  They give such interest to this spiral.  And what a great colorway for fall or spring.
Many thanks again to my buddies for helping me test out my class.  You've helped me understand what will make a much better experience for the students in my upcoming two guild classes.   

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And another GO to win!

Head over to Millie's Quilting.  She's giving away a GO.    Wouldn't be great to win!!

Do you want to win a GO!

Have you seen the Accucut GO fabric cutter.   It's the newest neat tool for quilters.  GO here to Jane's Fabrics,  to read all about it and see the demo.  If you want to win one just leave her a comment.  

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Spy Quilt - Hexagons - Sewing Tips and tricks

Since I just finished sewing the main part of Aurora's I spy quilt, I thought I'd document some tips. I will be making another one of these after Christmas so I want to be sure to review all the things I learned while making this first one.

Just the nature of working with hexagons means that you are sewing on bias edges.  So when sewing your hexagons, is to make sure you have lots of points to line up at various stages of sewing. You get the points by ironing your seams so that the points stick out beyond the block. Normally, these are a nuisance. But in this case, these are important to have because they simply make it easy to line up your seams and your pinning is minimum.

So, here's how you get your points.

When you add your 2 triangles to each hexagon, be sure that you iron the triangles out so that you have little points sticking out each side of the two triangles.

Next, when sewing two hex sections together, first lay right sides together, and match up the points so that they are directly one on top of the other. Make sure that you have a quarter inch point sticking out the top and the bottom too. The layering of the fabric makes a V. Sew a quarter inch to join the blocks.

If you are like me and have a little bar on your quarter inch foot, I use a seam ripper to flip over the points so that they go nicely through the machine.... (Note to self.. get a quarter inch foot without a bar for my Juki)

After sewing a whole row of these you will need to press the seams down. Here's how I ironed my seams to ensure that I had 4 points coming out of the top and bottom of each hexagon. If you are a quilting purist, don't read further because this is just wrong!!   Anyway, on the wrong side, press the seams down so that the points stick out from each edge.. this means that you will have to twist the seam backwards about 1/3 of the way down the seam. I urge it along with my finger, then press.

Notice the back of this hexagon. Two points sticking out the top, and the bottom. The middle ones don't matter much now. Their work is done. Ironing these down now prepares you for an easy long seam in the next step.

This is what it looks like after pressing from the right side.

I prepare all my rows before sewing them into pairs of rows.

When I sew my rows together, I line up the points to be exactly stacked on top of one another, and I pin below the point. I sew a quarter inch seam for the whole row, and I continue to use my seam ripper to make sure my points remain stacked and folded in as they go under my presser foot.  You may find that because of the bias edges, you may find that the top or bottom fabric seems to be longer... Don't worry, just be true to your points... Make sure they stacked perfect on top of one another.

By doing this, you'll be pleased with how the points of your trangles line up on the right side. 

There she is!

Just in time, I was able to finish piecing the I spy quilt.  We got a great Dora and it even has a boots in it too.  And I'm so pleased to get a Sleeping Beauty.  It was right here at Fabricville.  Thanks to Linda G. for keeping on top of all the local inventory for me.... 

The quilt still needs borders and to be quilted, and bound... But since Aurora is here this weekend, we thought we would have a little fun with her....

I spy with my little eye, where Mickey Mouse?

I spy with my little eye, where's the Cow?

Eye Spy with my little eye, where's Diago?

I spy with my little eye, where's Dora?

And after playing all this for a while, I asked her,  "Aurora, what is your favorite?"

Without a moment's hesitation, she picks up the Dora and Boots patch.   She loves it......I'm so glad my friend Gwenda shared her fabric with me!! Thanks Gwenda... You've made this little girl's day!  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Spy with my little eye - Where's Dora?

Where's Dora!   She's going to be in row 9.
I've been working on Aurora's I Spy quilt this week and I've made great headway.     You'll probably notice in this photo, there's a row missing.  That's row 9.   My friend Gwenda has a special piece of fabric for me.  It's Dora the Explorer.  Aurora just loves her.  So, I'll be getting the Dora fabric in the next week, and then add her with the rest of hexagons in row 9, then continue on with adding the borders and finishing the quilt.  

I started out with my kit of 120 charms that I got from the swap we did this summer.   I supplemented these with many from my own stash, and lots from other friends.   I loved picking out lots of patches that Aurora will love.  There are two Disney princesses, (but sadly no Sleeping Beauty ), a Micky Mouse, many cats nd dogs, a Winnie the Poo, butterflies, Canada flags, crayons, marbles, a golfer and lots and lots of animals.  

"A" for Alligator and Aurora

This A for Alligator (and Aurora) is perfect.  I had been collecting some fabric with letters but my friend Kathy F. found this A in her stash.  It's a perfect size for this size hexagon.  Thanks KF.
While waiting for Dora, I'm going to see if I can find a Sleeping Beauty fabric.  There's got to be some somewhere.   Did you know that Sleeping Beauty's real name is Aurora? 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Queen's 3D Coronation in 1953

Do you all have your 3D glasses from the post office yet?
On Monday, we watched this neat documentary on CBC that was made from rare 3D footage of the Queen's coronation in 1953. This footage while exciting at the time, was put away and was only recently made public. Can you imagine that they even had such technology back then.

I'm pretty sure the documentary is on again this evening. Watch it if you can. You'll have an appreciation for what effort was made to get footage of the coronation to Canada on the same day so that Canadians could enjoy this. Of course it was just regular black and white footage, but there was no such thing as live TV back then.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weed Wacker - Test complete

Well almost complete.

This evening, I completed my Weed Wacker test blocks. I'm glad that I read Bonnie Hunters directions, especially where she warns about the accuracy of the quarter inch seam.

I stitched these test blocks sewing as accurate as I possibly could. The width on all four blocks was right on, but the measurement on the other direction was a bit short, by up to a quarter inch. Because there are 5 horizontal seams, the margin for error is greater.

It's almost perfect, but I'll do a couple more test blocks and even though I'm using my straight stitch throat plate, I'll move my needle over to the right by one notch. I recalled that hint from a friend, Geraldine who is in the Miramichi guild. She told me that a few years ago, and now I finally get to use that tip. Anyway, that should give me the perfect skinny quarter inch seam.

I wanted to get a sense of the colors as well. These earth tones seem a bit bland, so when I go fabric shopping for earth tones for this quilt, I'm going to be sure to put a bit more color. I've decided to go with between 15 and 20 fabrics. In these four blocks I used 8 fabrics and even though it was a test, I found 8 a bit limiting.

Ahh, after doing this little test, I know so much more about my project and I'm looking forward to getting the fabric and start cutting. I am hoping to get the fabric and a kit cut before we go on vacation early next month. Sewing will not start until after Halloween.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Testing the Weed Wacker Block

I'm in the middle of testing out a slightly smaller version of Bonnie Hunter's Weed Wacker block. I'm using 1.75" strips instead of 2". The finished block will be 7.5" instead of 9". This allows me to fit an odd number of rows and columns into the queen size quilt. EQ tells me that if I use 99 of these weed wacker blocks I'll have a 86" x 101" quilt. A perfect size.
I'm just at the stage where I'm sewing the diagonal light patch on the strip.
I thought I'd tell you about this new Glow Line tape that I bought recently. Although it's intended to use on your acrylic rulers, I find I really like it for marking my sewing line on my sewing machine bed for when doing the diagonal line. It's slightly tacky like floral tape. I'm using the pink tape on my sewing machine. The package includes 3 colors.
I can't show you the finished block because the nice sunny and warm weather is calling us to the cottage for a couple of days. I'll finish the test block on Sunday evening.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nines and Vines II - The kit

Over the past couple of days, I've cut out a kit to make a queen size Nines and Vines quilt. Yep, it's the same pattern that I did in late 2007 - early 2008 for St. Dunstans Church. I think this was one of my all time favorite bed quilt sized patterns to sew. The pattern is available free on the McCalls quilting website. Get it by clicking here.
I'm glad I kept the pizza box with the nines and vines name on it. It's full again and organized with the pattern and all my notes from last time. Ready for me to sew in November. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

St. Dunstan's Raffle Quilt for 2011

It was so nice to have tea and cookies with all the St. Dunstan's Quilters again. It's been quite a while since I've visited them. I was sad not to see Rose there. She's my usual main contact, but she is sick and not able to attend quilting for a while. But we carried on with the task of choose what the next raffle quilt will be and tried to consider what would Rose like in our process.
So, after going through lots of pictures, and every bookmark in the books, the ladies came upon a decision. Because they think this is going to be much easier and quicker to quilt, they chose the Weed Wacker quilt by by Bonnie Hunter. This is Bonnie's quilt. It's really got a unique look.

The ladies were quite excited about it and want me to do it in earth tones. Browns, golds, greens, burgandy's. I'm excited to get going on it too.

I haven't decided whether to make this in a very scrappy style with 15 - 20 fabrics or just do it less scrappy 9 or 10 fabrics. I'll make a sample blocks this weekend and decide after that.

I'll soften the border and do something a bit lighter - maybe some fall leaves and vines on cream borders... . And they're not crazy about the Weed Wacker name, so they want to come up with a autumn themed name for the label.

. I'm excited to do this one as it's been on my to-do list for a long time. Many thanks Bonnie Hunter for this fun pattern.

What will they choose?

I can't believe its that time of year again. The time when I take an hour or two and look through all my quilt books and photos for good suggestions for St. Dunstan's next raffle quilt.
So here I am, all armed and ready for our meeting this afternoon. I have many bookmarks in 8 or 9 books and I have a fist full of photos of quilts. Most photos were taken at local quilt shows and then I have other photos of quilts that I thought would be great for their annual raffle.
The Square Dance quilt that I did for them last winter is proving to be a bit too much quilting for them. It's still on the frame so I'll see if I can get a picture of it this afternoon. They're running a bit behind because this summer was unusually hot and they lost a few weeks of quilting. Anyway, the bottom line is that they're looking for something a bit simpler to quilt... I'm translating that to mean they just want to quilt straight lines for this next one.
So I'll share with you this evening, what they chose.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Team Jedi

Mitchell came for a visit this afternoon. He's been itching to come over all week to sew/embroider a special project.

See, he's been accepted on his elementary soccer team and his first game is tomorrow. We did some research, and then he designed this shirt all by himself. He chose the design, the colors and the placement of the words. Didn't he do a cute job?

And won't the other kids be impressed when he goes to the game with the team name on his shirt.

What a cool kid!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How would you machine quilt a Hexagon quilt?

I haven't sewn much in the last month, but I was pleased today, to finally get out a project from earlier in the summer, just to get back into the swing of things again.

I was thinking and thinking of another way to quilt my scrappy hexagon table runner, and without a definite plan, it was easy to put it off.
It's not my most successful project anyway, was the excuse I was giving myself.
But yesterday in my "I spy" class, we were given one possible way to machine quilt a hexagon quilt...... There it was, my inspiration. Yippee.
So first thing this morning, I dug out my project and started sewing. I kinda consider this red neck machine quilting. It's rough, but it feels good to clear off my machine and get some sewing done.
I have another hexagon runner called Sugar Cookies that I need to quilt, so I'll try to be a bit more precise. Stay tuned later this week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ask me what's in my Werther's Can?

This summer, my sister gave me some metal tins that she didn't have use for any more. I really like this oval one and I love Werthers candies. But there are no candies in this can.

See, I invited my niece Michelle and her hubby Scott came over for supper. I had an ulterior motive. While they were here visiting, we put everyone to work. Scott re-programmed our remote control for our TV and then we all assembled my Run for the Cure stitch markers.

Scott designed a nice little business card size package for my stitch markers which are stapled on the back of the card. So, here's what they look like in the can. It's hard to read but under the words Stitch Markers, it says "bling for your knitting". So cute... So, until the end of the month, this can is going everywhere with me.

I hope by the end of the month this can will be empty of stitch markers and replaced with $5.00 bills.

Thanks for your help today Michelle and Scott!

Post note: Some have asked if I can mail these. I sure can. I can mail up to 5 sets in Canada for $1.25 and airmail to the US is $2.25. I'd love to have your support from afar.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sewing up a Tea Bag of Spices

This afternoon, we boiled up some beets with a plan to pickle them. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of pickling spice tied up in a few layers of cheesecloth. I never have cheesecloth. So here's what I did instead.

Take a couple of scrap squares of fabric and sew around 3 sides.

Then turn the square inside out and put the proper amount of pickling spice in it.

Then close up the open side and sew it shut.

Put your teabag full of spice into your vinegar mixture to boil. Remove the teabag of spices and pour the spiced vinegar over the cooked sliced beats.

Voila, Pickled Beets!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Run for the Cure - Knitters Stitch Markers

Yesterday, I showed you some pink beads that inspired me to make a unique craft to raise money for the Run for the Cure. I will sell them locally to my friends and quilt guild friends this month. I guarantee that these stitch markers will put a smile on any knitter who uses them.

Here you can see my first couple of sets of stitch markers. These type of bead stitch markers are popular among young knitters. I have two styles that I just love and will make for my fund-raising effort. The pearl set looks antique and is embellished with a small crystal. The crystal set will have 2 crystals for extra sparkle. They are shown here with a size 4.5mm knitting needle as a reference. Which set would you like for the knitter in your life?

I made them in sets of five, with one unique pink marker in each set. The unique marker has two functions. The first function is to indicate a new row, if you are knitting in the round. The second function of the pink marker is to remind us of the ever present need to find a cure for Breast Cancer.

Who will you be running for on October 3rd.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pink Beads!

I have a bunch of beads. And these small pink ones are special. I'm crafting a project to raise money for the Oct 2nd Run for the cure. Each project will have a pink bead to represent and honor all survivors of Breast Cancer.
Stay tuned. I'll show you my project tomorrow.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Leapster Training

Today was Mitchell's turn to come and spend the day with Aurora. He spent some time doing sticker crafts with her and coloring some Dora Shrinky Dinks. Then after lunch he was going to show Aurora how to operate this new little Leapster. A great find on Kijiji. It has a Dora game. She really got a charge out of that... She calls this her DS because all the kids have a DS.
After a couple of hours of training, I guess we decided that she was a bit too young for this toy, so maybe we'll try again next summer. She loved playing with it, but couldn't get the concept of pushing the button to make the moves.
Tomorrow, we're off to the cottage where Caitlin will join us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Guess who's coming for Dinner?

Aurora is here for the long weekend. We've had this visit planned for a long time, but we didn't plan on this heat wave. She'll be glad when the heat breaks. Grace is here for the day too, and we'll do some stuff together. Tomorrow, Mitchell will visit, and on Sunday, Caitlin will visit.

Aurora is one lucky little girl to have such attentive cousins.