Friday, November 24, 2017

It's Christmas Time!

Today is like Christmas morning for quilters!
Santa (aka Bonnie Hunter) is bringing us the gift of a new mystery quilt adventure! This year's adventure is called "On Ringo Lake".
I'm going full size with this mystery, which will make a quilt about 75" x 90". 
I'm changing my colours to fit the Edyta Sitar fabrics I have been saving for this special project. There will also be lots of scraps, and odds and ends tossed in with these fat quarters. One of the many creative things I've learned from Bonnie is the more variety you have, the most interesting your finished quilt is! 
I have been trying to convince some of my quilting friends to start this mystery too and they are coming over tonight, so we'll see how successful I was and who will be cutting and sewing the first step with me.
Are you sewing along with the mystery?!?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

It's a Finish!

Baby quilt #2 for my friend is finished! 
The pattern is called "Through the Looking Glass" by "It's Sew Emma" and it measures 38.5" x 42.5".
I used up some of the smaller scraps in the backing of the quilt but I forgot to take a picture of that.
What is cuter than a baby quilt?
A baby on a quilt!
And what is cuter than a baby on a quilt?
TWO babies on quilts! 
Here are the babies on their quilts. It's been a long time since I've seen such tiny humans and they are total sweetness! I can't wait until their Mommy recovers more and I can have a longer visit to cuddle them in their quilts.


Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends who are spending time with family and friends today!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mid Month UFO Report

My October/November UFO is seeing some steady progress. Like a true sampler quilt in which every block is unique, I am quilting a different design in each block. Some blocks are mostly free motion quilted with squiggles, stippling and/or arcs, and some are mostly straight line designs. 


This block was all squiggles and very quick to finish.
It is interesting to note that this project was an Aurifil Block of the Month from 2016 (free patterns still available here), and I am quilting the Aurifil quilt with... my favourite Aurifil thread!



It's a fun creative exercise to look at each block and construct a quilting path.
In the most recently quilted block there were only 2 stops/starts. The dark red triangles are unquilted, the white triangles in the centre have curved arcs from corner to corner in white thread, and all the other triangles were quilted with arcs in red thread.
I have quilted 10 of the 12 blocks, so only 2 are remaining. Quilting the baby quilt interrupted the UFO progress, but still it seems like a November finish might be possible!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall today are my 32 flower units for the Magnolia Mist quilt. 
I have arranged them in groups of four, just for fun. I have no idea how these blocks will come together because it's a mystery quilt! 
One thing I have been thinking about while sewing these blocks, and at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy, I miss the good old days of pressing seams to the side or "to the dark". I really dislike pressing seams open and it seems that most block and mystery patterns want you to press open these days. I know this sometimes helps blocks to lay flatter, but every block takes longer to press and needing to pin every seam join is annoying. When the seams are pressed to opposite sides, it's so easy to butt seams together perfectly without using pins. 
Any thoughts on this issue of pressing seams open or to one side? Maybe it's just me?!?!
The next set of instructions will be posted on December 7th, so this project is going back in the box until then.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching Medicine

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! 
This week I have been thinking about stitching as medicine. The process of taking repetitive stitches, slowing the breath, being only in this moment, and concentrating on a simple task engages the parasympathetic nervous system in a way that nothing else does. It forces the body to relax and to heal. It's called the "rest and digest" or "relaxed and content" state, and for me there is no quicker way to achieve that state than by hand stitching. 
Today I need to calm down and relax. My Dad had emergency surgery this week, and thankfully he is doing amazingly well today, but once the crisis passes, you start to recognize that the stress of worry takes a toll on everyone who loves him. 
When I am concentrating only on taking my next stitch, I am not worrying about whether my Dad is going to live or die. I can finally relax and start to feel healthier myself.
I'll be stitching down the binding on the baby quilt I made last week. This is my favourite hand stitching activity, so I will really enjoy my slow stitching time!



What are you hand stitching today? 
Please share your project with us and link up your blog post below.




   

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Knots

November and December are for "finishing" Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts. I have "a few" RSC projects that need finishing! At the top of the list is the Knot blocks which were pieced 5 years ago.
Well guess what?
Those blocks are now sewn into a quilt top!
Woohoo!
I debated about the cornerstones quite a bit, but decided to keep them and think it gives the quilt top a bit of a 3D effect. I also debated about a border and the quilt decided it didn't want borders. So the next task is pin basting and then on to quilting. Is it possible that this quilt might get finished in 2017?!?
To see what other RSC quilters are working on, hop over to the weekly linkup.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Machine Quilting Tip

Besides using a type of thread that your sewing machine likes (my machine is exclusive to Aurifil these days) the other really important choice is what type of needle to use. 
I use a different needle for quilting and for piecing. I know a few people who never change their needle until it breaks - I'm looking at you Louise!! LOL
I always change my machine quilting needle after quilting every large quilt, or after 2 or 3 small quilts. It is really important when your needle is making thousands of stitches through 3 layers of materials at a high rate of speed to have a sharp needle. Needles that develop spurs or become slightly bent can result in costly machine repairs. Needles are cheap but sewing machine repairs are not!



Here's my tip: place the needle container near your machine so you always know what type of needle you're using. You can see on the little ledge on the right side of my machine that I have my Schmetz Topstitch needle case there (and you can see that it's empty because I go through a lot of needles). It's a visual reminder to me of the type of needle that's currently in the machine. If I want to stop quilting and start piecing, I would want to change the needle. For precision piecing, especially with tiny pieces, I prefer the Microtex Sharp needles. 
Yes there is a difference!
If you have problems with tension, skipped stitches or thread breakage, I would encourage you to try a new and/or a different kind of needle.

It has been a long time since I stipple quilted anything. It's one of the quickest and easiest quilting designs to use and since the baby quilt has to be finished, it got stippled. And look at that... the binding is prepped and ready to go on!