Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mystery Quilts Reveal

A couple of months ago, the Youngest and myself went to a Mystery Quilt Day! For those of you new to Mystery Quilts -- you get the instructions in bits and pieces. The best are the ones that you have no inkling of what they look like!


It all started with the cutting instructions! The Youngest had her choice of colors and her base fabric is what you can see on the right for the borders. This is a closeup of the borders and backing:

Imagine that beautiful floral in her stash! She says she found it at Fabricland! Absolutely gorgeous! The rest of the fabric she bought at My Sewing Room. I went with her as her "bolt holder" haha, as we wandered the bolts of fabrics for just the right choices! Remember, you have NO idea what the outcome is going to be, but she really liked the combination of the ranges of yellow and blues to tie into that beautiful floral!

As for mine, I had some great fabric for the borders as well! I was hoping to go red and green, but was outvoted by Chef and The Youngest! They were both choosing fabrics from my stash and also went with the yellows and blues! This quilt is for Chef's Youngest!

With our cutting instructions in hand, we cut and separated the different pieces into baggies labelled, "A", "B", "C", etc.

When we arrived to sew, were would be given more clues. The first hour would have us sewing one piece from bag "A", to another piece in bag "C". The day continued like that as our blocks came together! I am so glad that I didn't know what the finished quilt looked like as I am sure I would have picked out different fabric! Besides, I got to use fabric from my stash and I only had to buy backing fabric!

Here are the backs to our quilts! I love how The Youngest put one stripe of that gorgeous floral off-set to one side!

I found the backing to my fabric from Connecting Threads. The total for the back was $20! You can't beat that! The quilts are totally reversible, so if you are having a day where you want it a bit "quieter" you can always flip it over!

These are the fronts! Mine first and then The Youngest's.

75x75 approx

 75x75 approx

With this weekend being the long weekend, I sat with my meds on a side table along with boxes of tissues, constant fluids and the quilt on my lap while I hand stitched the binding to the back. The Youngest had finished hers long ago, but Tuesday they are both being delivered to Heritage Park Quilt Festival! The above quilt is The Youngest's second quilt in the Festival! I am so very happy that she likes quilting!

As for Chef and the Youngest, a hearty thank you for digging through my stash for Chef's Youngest's quilt! It turned out great! All that's left are labels for both and they will be ready for delivery!

I'll leave you with a few more photo's!

Happy Quilting Everyone!
In anticipation of Canada's holiday tomorrow - Happy Victoria Day!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ugh! Binding

Well I do love to hand stitch, but having to wrestle the quilt all around is not my favorite, but sitting and stitching the binding by hand to the back is my absolute favorite thing of the whole quilting process! Especially when it's fun fabric like this!

One of the other things that I always struggled with is how do you get all the binding on without having a mess of a binding pile next to your chair? I know some people wind it around the foot of their extension table of the sewing machine...then someone said to wing it over your shoulder while you feed it onto the top of the quilt as you sew. I was thinking that I hated both ideas! I have to find something that would 1. not cost any money, 2. was easily at hand and 3. worked to unwind the meters/yards of binding so it wouldn't tangle! I remember having to stop and untwist the binding so I could continue sewing! That is until:

You got it! an empty toilet paper roll! This my friends is is 26 feet of binding. Now the next question was "where the heck to you put this? Do you let it roll along the floor at  your feet? " No! Then I'd have the same problems I had before. I know this isn't a bid deal and I am sure that along the way someone will develop a "Binding Assist Tool"

This seems to work fine!

I have my set of chopsticks and skewers -- which by the way are great tools to turn tubes and make corners nice and pointy! My oldest made this great ceramic holder for all my things...scissors, pins, and chopsticks of course! I was able to put my toiler paper tube with my binding over the chopsticks and it was slick I tell you! unwound perfectly while I was stitching that binding around the gigantic quilt! 

It may not be the prettiest "tool", but it sure worked exactly the way I wanted it! I even had left overs that I was able to save and put into my basket of all the other leftover binding! I always have extra, and make extra on purpose so I don't have an excuse for those little projects!

One of the other things I always hated was using pins to mark the last quarter inch so I can turn my binding around the corners. A quick solution to this was the tape  you use for marking rulers! A nice quarter inch that's easy to see! You can use it over for all your corners and not worry about being inaccurate in those corners. I could easily stop in the exact place I wanted to without squinting as to where a pin was.

Just so you don't think I am boycotting "tools" - I did order the Superior Threadholder from Mass Drop! It was a great deal, so I didn't hesitate to get it! I love that it has an adjustable arm and also a way to hold all different types of spools! I didn't struggle once with my thread tangling or toppling over when Tigger decides to squeeze through places he shouldn't be!

Oh and a PS to the Youngest one....I cut the binding at 2" and it fit's just perfect! That is my new go to number!

Believe it or not - there is a You Tube video on how this thread stand can be used. It was probably the best little video that really showed me a lot about this tool. You know how you just "have to" have a "tool" and by the time you get it home, you forget about all the capabilities? Just another reminder to me to check out those tools as well on You Tube and see if I can get more use out of them!

This morning, I sewed the last bit of binding on the machine. Good thing, as I have a horrible cold. I'm now all set up with my box of kleenex, drink, snacks, thread and the quilt.... hand stitching the binding to the back! It's soothing the soul and I get to look at the wonderful fabric for the binding! I am hoping that on this long weekend, we may have a sunny day so that I take photo's of the finished quilt! It goes into Heritage Park Quilt Festival on Tuesday -- so I have my work cut out for me!

Enjoy the long weekend to all my Canadian Friends and Happy Quilting to you all!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Relaxing Day before Mother's Day!

This is our dog....he acts exactly like a dog. He comes when you call him. Sits when you tell him to sit. Lays down when you ask him to lay down. When he tuckers himself out with his toys, he plops right down and has a nap - preferably in the sun! I wanted to show you how big this beast is. He's not even stretched out, but I am sure you can imagine how long he is next to the treadle!

Our little friend is 15 years old!             

I spent some time making another flower. It was a very, very slooooooooooow process having to take breaks after each petal! Oh how great it will be once my left hand is back in working order!

I love the thread that I am using for these hexies! I'm using "Invisifil". Of course my most favorite needles for any type of handwork as you can see. "Black Gold" by Clover, are absolutely the best! They go through anything like butter! So smooth! Seriously! You can tell that I've worked through almost a whole package over the years, but they are my "go to" for anything! They stay sharp for an incredibly long time. They are a bit short, but I find the size perfect for me. It lets me take microscopic stitches, making my piecing almost invisible! Gotta love that!

Happy Mother's Day to one and all! I hope you all have a lovely day being a Mom or celebrating a Mom in your life!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Hexies here we come!

The hexie box has come out once again! This time I cut up a few more pieces and will continue to do so as long and my hands hold up! It's so nice to be hand sewing these little hexies in the sunshine! The spring air coming through the house and the rays of the sun warming me up as I soak up the heat and enjoy every moment!

How do you like my little snips? I'd have to go through all my posts to remember where I got them, but they are perfect for my little kit! I wonder if these little scissors would be acceptable on an airplane? Maybe I should go with my daughter to the airport one day when she flies out of Calgary and see if Security lets her through with them? EGADS...if they confiscated them from her I would be somewhat annoyed! I just found these little one's....maybe if I get a duplicate set I can experiment with Security. MAYBE....Security takes stuff like this because THEY like them and want them for themselves! hmmmmmm? Any airline workers out there that can tell if they would be acceptable or not? Drop me a line and let me know! Last time I was on a plane they took my nail clippers.....HEADLINES... hypothetically IF they were not confiscated...


The BEST news is I can hold the hexagon pieces together with my thumb splint, which makes me very happy! It's nice to be sewing these back together once again. Maybe I'll make headway on these units while I sit with Chef and watch TV! Either that or they can come out with me when we go fishing! I can't hold the rod, but I can sure stitch away at these!

Happy Quilting Everyone!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Love mail!

I am crushing on the bright fabric that I won for the contest! This is the one that I entered with my quilt for my daughter into Fon's and Porter's Quilt that you Love contest! You have to love a good magazine! I'll be browsing through this deciding what I'm going to make! I couldn't find a selvage with the name on the above, but the rest of the fabric is called "Dash". Very cute! I think I'm going to use it for my Bionic Gear Bag Notions Tote from Craftsy. I just downloaded the pattern this morning....get this...OVER 50 pages of instructions! Heavens! you get a "bonus" pattern, but honestly! is for "beginners", so I hope that all those pages make it easier to put together! I'll have to find a binder to store it in! ha ha! One of my fellow quilters, Trish, made one and it is just beautiful! She said it had a lot of instructions to it. The finished product was great! If I can make it through one of these bags, I'll be using it for retreats and sew days! It opens up "boxy". You'll have to check out Craftsy under Patterns and then Bags.

Yesterday was spent with The Youngest! We went for pedi's and mani's! Had lunch together and chatted! It's always nice to see your adult children making their way in life. She showed me her new finished quilt. Hopefully she will pass a picture along so that I can show you all! She is a talented girl! Her boyfriend was telling me the plans for a sewing room for her! They have an extra room besides the guest rooms they have. He's already dreaming of having her sewing machine set up in front of a window and thinking about the shelving and drawers she'll need for fabric! Gotta love a man who supports a woman who loves to sew!

As for Chef...he was at home waiting for our new dishwasher! Maytag with stainless steel interior! Yipee! No more hand washing dishes! That is, he has been hand washing dishes since our dishwasher broke down. Don't forget, most of the pots are washed by hand anyways, but having to add the rest of the hand washing..... well, you don't appreciate these appliances as much as when you don't have it anymore! He's been great with my hand giving me trouble! It's nice to have the dishwasher back is all I'm saying!

Maybe after a bit of housekeeping today I'll be in the sewing room!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Just a little bit at a time!

I have a whole lot of these going on! I had to un-stitch one completed triangle because I sewed it on wrong, but then I worked it out. I had forgotten to cut that little notch on those triangles that go on the side -- so I made sure I cut them all. My finished square is not 4.5 --it is 4.25". 

- yes I made sure it was a scant 1/4" seam
- yes I made sure that the copy of the pattern was to size {made sure the little box measured out the way it should have}
- yes I cut all the pieces the way I should
- yes I have "pressed" the way I should

so.... now I will have to match the rest of the pieces to make sure they make the same size. I am sure it will all work out! It is just frustrating as all get out when you buy a pattern and it doesn't work out. Maybe it's the thread? Maybe the thread is too thick? Who knows!

Has it stopped me? NO! now I am anxious to get to the other pieces! It will work out I am sure. Sometimes we have to "fudge" a few things and we learn for the next time! I'll have some trimming to do, but that's never stopped me in the past!

The little green owl? He's my timer! I've been trying to spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day in my sewing room! That has been very successful! He motivates me!

I've been struggling with coming home after working all day and I'm tired. The last thing I want to do is "do" something else other than sit and let my mind go blank. I do enjoy quilting though and sewing, so I have promised myself 15 minutes...only 15 minutes out of my day.  I get great pleasure of hearing that timer go off and end up continuing to work after. Rarely do I stop until much later .. which is  great!

This latest quilt is for my son. It will take a while, considering all the pieces that I have cut, but I'm looking forward to piecing it all together!

I am waiting for my friend Karen to finish up quilting one of my mystery quilts that I made. I'll be working on the binding before long! I am almost finished the top to a scrappy quilt that will need to go visit Karen for the "treatment" on her long-arm!  

Maybe a couple of bibs should be sewn up and passed onto my little niece! So many things that I could do! I think I'm on the list to sewing up some curtains as well!

Stay tuned and set your timers!

Happy Quilting everyone!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's been a good day!

Nothing is better than being able to "make" for little ones! I think she's going to need these for Easter Brunch!

Reversible is good!

A little bit of batting and a couple of stitches around and done! Now I can bring these along with the carrot tea towel!

Hope you have a wonderful day with loved ones for Easter!

Happy quilting!

Happy Easter!

Passing on a little Easter goodness! I got two of these kits from my retreat, courtesy of Nimble Thimbles Quilt Club! Love, love, love!

Now I am new to any type of machine applique. That means I am trying out new stitches, new thread and of course what to do with stabilizer. This little project is Phyllis' fault!
 She tackled these at Retreat and said it was pretty easy! 
 Thanks Phyllis! I couldn't be happier with the outcome of these!

I had bought a wee bit of Tear Away a while ago - and had no idea where to start. There was a shiny side and a  sticky side. I put the sticky side down to the back of the tea towel and used my iron to press it a bit. It stuck to the fabric and not to my iron thank goodness!! Who knew! It didn't stick permanently though, but enough that it would let me stitch the pieces down. When I was done -- simple -- it tore away! [duh!] I have so many stabilizers and sticky papers that I have to start labeling everything! I do believe that I need to educate myself on these things! I am very happy with the outcome though! It was tons of fun and took about an hour and a half for each - which included tracing, fusing the pieces to the iron and then stitching around the pieces.

Then I thought, I needed to do the other one! Though on this one I started to stitch everything in phases. I stitched the leaves and then put on the next pieces and stitched those down. It turned out cute! I think I do need practice on my stitching -- but everything gets better with practice, practice, practice! 

Chef Murphy let me put one on the oven handle! We need a little Spring in the kitchen with all this miserable weather we have been having! Last night it was snowing again! Though not enough for it to stay on the ground, but chilly enough to want to stay indoors and sew! I feel like I accomplished something this weekend!

Happy Easter all! God Bless each and everyone!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Love Craftsy!

I don't know if you knew...but I posted by Stash project with the baskets on a contest that Crafsy had. Remember this photo?

Well that photo went on to win one of the grand prizes for a Stash contest! How exciting! I got to pick a free class! I picked BIG TECHNIQUES FOR SMALL SCRAPS with Sarah Felke! Now in no way am I working for Craftsy, but I found Craftsy on my own a long time ago when they first started up. Why?

#1. I have very limited time to attend a class
#2. I am a very hands-on learner and do not do well with classes where a person stands at the front of the class and lectures
#3. Sometimes it takes repetition on new techniques for things to sink in!
#4. I can watch and work through a class on my own time -- even if it's 2:00 in the morning and I can't sleep!
#5. I get to take classes from amazing teachers without the big price tag.
#6. I can ask as many questions as I want and get an answer back from the teacher! {without those smarties pants out there sighing HEAVILY because they got it and I didn't!}.
#7. Did I mention "selection"? So much to pick from! Not only quilting, but knitting, crochet, gardening, baking.... you get the picture!

So check them out! Craftsy will let you sign up for free and then browse through. OH, and I forgot -- they even have FREE classes! Never been to Quiltcon, but want to know a bit about it without leaving your home? Check it out!

Well what topped the list today is a box that found it's way to my door from Craftsy! I won a box of Craftsy stash on top of the free class!  So exciting! Thank you Craftsy so much! Look at all the lovely fabric I get to play with this weekend!

What a lovely pressie! I think I'll be gazing at this for a bit and thanking my lucky stars!

Craftsy .. you ROCK!

Happy Quilting Everyone!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz....

I wonder where the flowers is?

Trust me....the background crabapple tree blooms in late May! We are not there yet, but I sure do miss the flowers! Hexies that is!
My hexie box is near empty! Time to fill it up again for evening stitching!

I started with a photocopied sheet of hexies. Free on the internet. I then took 5 sheets of plain white freezer paper {I found this was the max that is easier to cut without hurting your hand)

I then cut strips off my photocopied page and attach it to a strip of the wax paper -- remember nothing is pre-measured. Just chop a width off your freezer paper - remember, 5 sheets thick. You then place a staple through these layers in the middle of each hexie.

When you have a whole batch, start cutting along the line. This is where the # of layers are important. With more layers, your cuts can be off, even by a fraction is enough that you don't get nice matching petals when you whip stitch them together. Some people at this point will put a hole punch in the center of each hexie to make removal easier. For me, it wasn't a big deal at the end to remove the paper. It came out easily enough!

Remove the staple, discard the paper piece, unless you want to use that piece and glue onto your strip of fabric. I don't use this piece because then I would have to take out my glue and glue each piece onto the fabric. Make sure that you have shiny side down onto the wrong side of the fabric. Remember you want to be able to adhere the waxy side to your 2.5" strip, or scrap, or whatever you are using. I find 2.5 strips easy to manage and store in my hexie box.

Then place each of the hexies along your strip and press down on the paper side so the hexie adheres to the fabric.

This is the important part Morgan -- do not be in a hurry or you will slice your finger off! LOL... I do not use a ruler, I just trim enough to leave about 1/4 of an inch all around the hexie. I am using my small rotary cutter as you can see.

This is what it looks like. I tend to cut a hundred or so of these and then spend my next hexie day as a "glue" day. 

I have tried all types of glue. You name it, I bought it -- but the cheapest is Elmer's stick glue. It washes out very easily and lasts a long time. It is also easy on the budget. It's up to you, but make sure that it is washable as you don't want the residue of the glue to gum up and when it comes to quilting time, or removal time, you don't want the wax paper hexies stuck on there! You can see that I am focusing the glue on the fabric, rather than the paper.

Use your fingers to press down the edges to the paper side of the hexies - remember the wax side has adhered to the wrong side of the fabric.

Make sure you do the corner as well.

You can see the I am getting some glue on my finger as well! No worries! it washes off! I want to make sure that I have the whole edge of that fabric so it will stick where it needs to! I've even glued hexies in the car while travelling through Portugal! This is the easiest step where you really don't need to watch too carefully! I also have a couple of those wet-naps in my kit so I can clean the glue off my fingers!

Closer picture so you can see some edges are narrower than the others  It's ok if they are a bit narrower and a bit wider! It will all work out when you start stitching! You can see the corners are nice and tight. Excuse the lack of manicure! 

This hexie is ready to go!

These were the different glues that I used. The ONLY difference is all three of these are about 3-4 dollars MORE than Elmers. You pick!

Fuzzy pile of hexies!

Voila! After sticking all of them together. Once the whole quilt top is together, then I start picking out the papers.

So my dearest Morgan -- now that you know how to hand-stitch! Guess you know how to put these together! No worries! I am STILL working on this one for you!

Happy Quilting everyone! What are you doing today?