Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cleaning up and procrastinating

Block 3 - Still Missing!
I pretty much have the house to myself this week, and instead of relaxing like I should, I've started to clean my quilt studio (aka bedroom). It's not really that messy, it's just that I have no idea where I've put stuff.

For example, I'm about to send out a search party for my first three blocks of the Growing Up QAL. I have proof that I did them, since I posted the pictures, but I still haven't found them.

Block 2 - Have you seen it?
Block 1 - Hasn't been seen in months!

I'm really hoping that I'll be able to solve the mystery of the missing blocks by the end of the week. They are definitely in a good place, which remains unknown at this time.

So not only am I cleaning up, but I'm writing down where things are. I realise that this will get outdated quickly, but at least it will be a start!

There are no photos of the cleaning process since it gets worse before it gets better - right?

Beautiful botanicals book
I got sidetracked when I found a cool project. Once upon a time, I had illusions of doing hand appliqué. That didn't last very long, but I had started cutting out fabric for a daisy from Deborah Kemball's beautiful book.

The petals I had cut out were a pastel blue. I thought I would take a few minutes to find some fabric from my scraps for the leaves and stem. Well, I guess I was in a whimsical mood because I totally re-interpreted my appliqué.

I had a great time choosing fabrics for the petals. I even cut up the larger leaf into three so that I could get more fabric on there! Of course the zig-zag stitch was a life saver. I also got to use my Kimono silk threads :-)

Whimsical Daisy
I'm not sure what I`ll do with this block, but it's bound to find a home someday. Of course, now I have to put it away in a place that I will remember write down!

I hope you're having a great week.

What I learned
  • There is nothing worse than a good place to put something. It means that it may never be found again!
  • The daisy block was a procrastination for cleaning - which is also a procrastination....for dyeing fabric!
  • I'm really glad that I made something from the Beautiful Botanicals book. I keep buying these beautiful books. I hope someday to make a project that mixes the appliqué with embroidery....Life is just too short!

Related Links

Linking Parties
I will be linking to many link-ups. See what other quilters are doing! Oh Scrap!Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not FridayDesign Wall MondayMain Crush MondayMonday Making, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Remember to start planning your learning project for September! For more details, visit the Learning QAL site. Be ready to link up between September 1-10.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Hexies table topper

I love playing with colourful fabrics. That's why English Paper Piecing (EPP) suites me so well. I get to use up some of my favourite scraps while making something pretty.
Hexie  flowers top assembled
This little hexie piece has been fun to make and I did learn a lot by making it, especially while finishing it with a facing instead of appliquéing it to a fabric background. I found a great tutorial by Badskirt for using a facing made up of more hexagons. It allowed me to keep the hexagon edge on the finished piece. (See Related Links below.) It was challenging but turned out great!

Quilted backing before the facing is attached
Once I finished the quilt top, I marked the batting and backing with a marker following the top's outline. I cut these to the same size as the top. The next step was to free motion quilt (FMQ) everything together. I very slowly quilted everything in the ditch, except the final lines leading up to the edges. I thought that I would quilt these once I had attached and finished the facing but found that it wasn't necessary.

Hexie facing on top of the piece
I made the hexagon facing to match the edge of the piece. This was the most challenging part. The hexies have to be attached to each other correctly because they need to match the quilt top. It turns out that matching the hexies following the back is not the same as matching the front! Let's just say that there was almost as much un-stitching as there was stitching. It's a good thing that it was easy to undo!

The next step was to attach the facing to the top. With right side together, as in the picture above, I attached the facing (which still had the paper pieces in them), being very careful to stitch on the outside of the hexies so that the stitches wouldn't show when they were flipped over.
The finished back with the hexagon facing attached
After removing all of the papers, I turned the facing over, making sure that the edges were poked out properly. It was simple to attach the facing to the back.

Finished Hexie Flowers Table Topper
Playing with a friend

Lyne's first foundation paper pieced block
This weekend I finished my hexie piece while spending some quality time with Lyne, a childhood BFF who now lives in North Bay, Ontario. Since she's an artist, we spent a few hours at the National Art Gallery where we took a great tour of the new Canadian art section.

We spent the rest of the weekend talking, eating and playing with fabric. Lyne was intrigued with a foundation paper pieced bunny pattern I had. She decided to make it on the weekend! The pattern was one that I've wanted to make for a while but just don't have the patience to - it's got lots of small pieces, even if I doubled the size of it!

Isn't it gorgeous? This was her first foundation paper piecing project. She did a great job! It's going to look wonderful on her grand-daughter's quilt!

What I learned
  • Basting EPP pieces is a great way to finish up my almost-empty spools of thread. 
  • Piecing the facing was a huge learning experience. I think that I was twisting the hexagon pieces when I was holding them to sew. Even if I checked the hexies twice before starting to sew, I would still end up with the wrong edges sewn together. Finally I learned to pick up the hexies only to attach them with a knicker knot. After that I would place them over the quilt top as a guide and sew the correct edges together.
  • To make the facing, I used colours that matched the top. They don't really show from the side but the back look neater.
  • I was very eager to see what the facing would look like when it was flipped, so I took the paper shapes out and flipped a few over before the facing was fully attached. Since the hexies are sewn together using silk thread, I ended up breaking some of the thread. Silk is lovely but not made to take any abuse. Luckily it was very easy to sew them back together.
  • If you want to use silk thread to sew hexies together, a trick I learned recently is to make a knot at the top near the needle so that the thread won't come out of the needle. Since the silk is so fine (#100), the knot goes through the fabric but keeps the thread in the needle.
  • Quilting with a friend is awesome! Thanks Lyne for a great weekend. 😊

Related Links

Project Details

Hexie Flowers Table Topper
10" x 10½"
Materials: cotton scraps, hexagon paper pieces, silk thread
Techniques: English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Great news! This little hexie topper was featured on Midweek Makers. Thanks Susan!

Linking parties: I will be linking this project to the One Monthly Goal August Finish Link-up as soon as it opens up in the last week in August, since this was my OMG for August. I am also linked up to the following parties - come join us! Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, MOP Monday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Friday, Design Wall Monday, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making, Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Linky Tuesday, Free Motion Mavericks, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap!, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?Slow Sunday Stitching

Monday, July 31, 2017

Learning QAL - August Goal Setting

Welcome to the first 
Learning Quilt-A-Long Goal Setting post and link-up.

I've tried to keep things simple. Here's a recap of how it works:
  • The August Goal Setting link-up is open for ten days - from August 1st to August 10th, 2017. Here you link-up a post that tells us what you plan on learning this month. It can be an entire post or a short mention within the post. What ever works for you!
  • The August Sum Up link-up opens a week before the end of the month - from August 25th to August 31st, 2017. In this post, you'll tell us how you did and what you learned. The project you share can be completed or a WIP. It's all about the learning!
  • Cougar pattern by Yanicka Design`
    featuring her Fractured image technique
  • Prize! In the September Goal Setting post, I will announce the name of the winner of this month's prize. You have to have both a Goal Setting and a Sum Up link-up to be considered.
Reminder emails

If you want to receive reminder emails when the link-up opens, fill in the form at the bottom of the Learning Quilt-A-Long page.


This month's prize is the Cougar pattern made by Yanicka Design. Yanicka has created many patterns using her Fractured image or Low poly technique.

I had the pleasure of meeting Yanicka at Quilt Canada 2017 in June. I think that her pattern and technique make it a perfect prize since you'll get a chance to try a new technique and create a lovely quilt. See Related Links below for Yanicka's website as well as a YouTube video explaining the Fractured image technique.

My Learning Goal for August

Wouldn't you believe that I had trouble coming up with just one learning goal? Don't feel like you only have to choose one, but since I'm a learner, I see everything I do as learning. For this first post, I wanted to choose something that was realistic but a real out-of-my-comfort-zone type of goal. So here it is.

MX Dye Starter Kit
I will dye my own fabric this month! This is a huge deal for me. As much as I love learning, this one will require lots of courage. I've already bought the starter kit and fabric (Prepared for Dying (PFD) and some not prepared), watched some YouTube videos and read many blog posts, books, and reference guides.
  • My next step, which I started last month, is to write down the steps that I'll have to follow, in order. This will include where I'll be doing each step and what supplies I'll need. This is based on all of the research I've done. 
  • After this, I have to decide on some general design ideas that I want to try.
  • Finally, I will dye my fabric!
I know that it sounds like a lot of preparation, but for something brand new to me, involving chemicals, I need to feel like I know what I'm doing. I need to be flexible but organised.

One Monthly Goal (OMG)

Feathers for the inside block
My OMG for July was to finish quilting and binding my Neutral Lap Quilt - Take 5 Loves Coffee Milk. Unfortunately, it's not finished. I did get many of the inside blocks quilted (I only have 2 to go out of 16) but I'm also quilting between the blocks, and only about half of these are done. I'm not going to make it my August OMG although I really hope that it will be done by then. I'm sort of tired of it!
August OMG: to finish
this EPP hexie table toppe

Orange Peels between blocks
Since I've been doing a lot of slow work lately, my OMG is to finish my English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexie table topper. It's also coincidentally a learning goal since I'm experimenting on finishing it without appliquéing it. Let's just say that there's been a whole lot of learning so far - and it's not even quilted!!

What I learned
  • I know that doing something new that makes me nervous requires that I do a lot of work to get myself mentally ready. I've been procrastinating (a sure sign that I'm nervous) so I'm hoping that this Learning QAL will be the perfect motivator.
  • I've learned something already. Dying fabric is spelled with a "Y". I was always misspelling it and writing about killing my fabric instead! 
  • Of course I used this learning opportunity to buy lots more books :-) I'll include them in upcoming posts.
  • I may have figured out how to send out reminders using Mail Chimp. If you're interested, please see the form at the bottom of the Learning Quilt-A-Long page.
  • As I was free motion quilting my neutral lap quilt, I realised that the dark blocks are just too difficult to mark since there is a variety of dark and no one marking tool works on all of them. That's when I decided that I needed to figure out some FMQ patterns without stencils. I've found a few that may end up being part of my favourites, but it's taken much longer than anticipated. That's why it's not finished!

Related Links

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Final Celebrate - Fêtons 150 post

The adventure started February 13th, 2017 with the first of six linking parties to Celebrate - Fêtons 150. There are still many celebrations happening across Canada but my big party is over.

It's been a real learning experience for me to host these link-ups. Not only did I have to learn the whole linking up system (thank goodness it was relatively painless!) but I also researched, found and shared all kinds of quilting projects and events to celebrate our 150th.

"Canada On the Go" pattern
I didn't think that there would be much to say in this post, but a quick look on Pinterest led me to all kinds of great quilts and projects.

This first pattern is from a Row By Row 2017 - "Canada On The Go." It was designed by Sew Karen-ly Created for Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, in Amherst, Nova Scotia. You can read about Karen's design process and photo shoot on her blog. (See Related Links below)

This next project is not specifically for Canada 150 but it's so cute, I couldn't resist. These are Maple Leaf Mug Rugs. You can find the tutorial and pattern on the Quilting Board, posted by BuzzinBumble. If you don't make it for the 150th, you can make it to celebrate the upcoming, but hopefully not too soon, fall!
Maple Leaf Mug Rug - posted by BuzzinBumble

As far as Canadian icons go, the Hudson Bay is pretty high on the list. Here is a pattern based on the colours of the original Hudson Bay trading blankets. The Bay Blanket Table Collection includes patterns for a placemat, mug rug and table runner. It's really lovely. The pattern is by Indygo Junction.

I'm really sorry that I missed the Canada 150 Quilt Along this winter. It was hosted by Lorna Costantini and featured her quilt, Canada 150 A Modern Quilt. The Quilt Along is over, but you can check out her posts and pattern.

Canada 150 A Modern Quilt

Here's a free Canada Maple Leaf block pattern by Monica Curry Quilt Designs.

Block pattern by Monica Curry Quilt Designs
 Here is a cute Canadian Flag (Maple Leaf) Mug Rug by The Patchsmith's Pattern Store.

Canadian Flag (Maple Leaf) Mug Rug
Spirit of Canada was Spruce It Up Quilting's 2016 Block of the Month to celebrate Canada's Sesquicentennial. The pattern was designed by Madelaine Higgins, pieced by Lorette Cole and machine quilted by Agathe Klingenberg (Sussex). Look for the pattern - it's to be published soon.

Spirit of Canada - Spruce It Up Quilting's2016 Block of the Month
Canada Eh?
Mystery Table Runner

In the Quilter's Connection magazine this winter, there was a Mystery Table Runner contest. The Summer issue has released many wonderful pictures of these runners. Here's what the finished runner looks like.

Quilter's Connection magazine mystery table runner

The Summer edition of the Quilter's Connection magazine is full of interesting articles and quilting projects celebrating Canada's 150th. If you get a chance, it's worth reading!

Northcott's Sesquicentennial
Celebration fabric collection
I couldn't end Celebrate - Fêtons 150 without mentioning Northcott Fabrics. By now, we're all familiar with their Canadian Sesquicentennial Celebration fabric collection as well as the Stonehenge OH CANADA Our Home and Native Land collection. These fabrics have played an important part of our celebratory quilts this past year.

Oh Canada bag by Northcott

If you check out their patterns pages, there are many free patterns using their various Canadian collections. There are also many patterns available at your local quilt store. Here is one of the many projects in case you're still in the mood for making Canada 150 projects!

Finally, here's a recap of my finished Canada 150 projects.
Canada 150 - Beaver block designed by Sew Fresh Quilts

Canada 150 Art Quilt

Sergeant Sesquicentennial

Canada 150: 1867-2017

What I learned
  • I don't think I would have made these Canada 150 projects if I hadn't been hosting this party. What a benefit and great souvenirs!
  • Thank you so much for cheering me on, reading and participating with me in this party. It's been a great adventure.
  • In fact, it was such a good experience that I want to continue it (sort of). As you may have read in my July 20th post, I will be hosting a Learning Quilt-A-Long starting Tuesday, August 1st. It's going to be a lot of fun - so I hope you'll join me.


Lastly, here is the prize for this final link-up. I've chosen it because it fits two themes. First, it's a Canada 150 project, but it's also a technique that Kathy calls the “Peek-a-boo Appliqué“.  The maple leaf block is made with reverse appliqué, satin-stitched over a strip-pieced patchwork block. It's great for the Canada 150 project, but can also be used in other ways, like this gorgeous maple leaf.

Using Kathy's
Peek-a-boo Appliqué technique
This technique may even be something that the winner will learn this month!
Canada 150 quilt by
Kathy K. Wylie Quilts

Our winner in this final Celebrate - Fêtons 150 is Joanne, of Canuck Quilter Designs. Thanks so much Joanne for sharing your quilt and pattern with us.

Related Links

Linking Parties I will be linking up to lots of link-ups. Why don't you join me and see what everyone is doing this summer! Finished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap!, Off the Wall Friday, Slow Sunday Stitching, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, MOP Monday, Linky TuesdayMidweek MakerLet's Bee Social, Needle & Thread Thursday,

Remember to come back August 1st to join in the Learning QAL fun!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Slow Projects

EPP project from Make Modern
In the last couple of week, I've barely made it up to my sewing room (except to sleep since it's also my bedroom!). I was wondering if it was a summer heat problem so I checked out what I was doing last July. Turns out my sewing machine was in the shop and I was doing hand appliqué and was going to try my hand at English Paper Piecing. This is pretty much what I'm doing now, except that my machine is running great.

Isn't the pillow project to the right lovely? I was going to EPP this project since it was made up of triangular pieces (back then I wasn't impressed with hexies - how some things have changed!)

Well I did attempt to make the pillow top. What a mess! It's really not the pattern's fault. I just love the Make Modern magazine from Australia. The problem was the fabric I used (not enough contrast), but mostly it was a combination of my accuracy-challenge and not having a clue as to what I was doing :-) Sometimes you just have to chalk things up to experience and learn from it!

It would seem that I didn't really learn my lesson from a year ago - although I had a gut feeling that this would happen!

The EPP  for Block 7
- just to prove that I made it!
I was thrilled when I got the latest block pattern for Growing Up QAL. There were two patterns for English Paper Piecing. You can probably see where this is going.... I do have a picture of this one. It's not a total dud (and this time it wasn't because I didn't know what I was doing!), but I won't be using it for the final quilt. I didn't even bother attaching it to anything. It's not obvious in the photo but the EPP part is a couple of inches larger than the 12½" block that it's supposed to go on!

My version of Alida's second option for Block 7

Again, the pattern wasn't the problem. The problem is me trying to make an accurate EPP template from a printed pattern. I've decided to give up on that and only use pre-made EPP shapes.

Of course, I couldn't just leave block 7 in this shape. So I put together a block similar to Alida's second option.  And yes, it's made with pre-made hexies since these are the only shapes I have so far.

Midweek Maker #83

Update: Great news! My Block 7 hexies were featured on Midweek Makers. Thanks Susan!

I've also been working on the other hexies and put some together. I remember reading on someone's blog about finishing these without binding. I really hope I saved the link in my favourites!

I just love my hexie flowers!
What I learned
  • I really need to listen to my gut - I could have saved myself hours of work on block 7!
  • I made the shapes from my daughter's scrap booking paper. The weight of the paper worked well for EPP.
  • It's not the first time that I've had problems with value - and it probably won't be the last. Think contrast!
  • I've got all kinds of projects that I should be working on - but this heat and humidity is dulling my brain (even if I avoid going outside!) 
  • The weather is less humid since I started this post. I FMQ two more blocks for my One Monthly Goal (OMG). Part of the problem was the weather but I realised that I was bored of using stencils - so I made one with feathers and now I can tackle the stencils again 😊Yeah!
About half of the blocks are quilted!

Related Links
Linking Parties: I am linking up to Growing Up QAL Month 7 as well as these link-ups. Let's see what everyone is up to! Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, Finished or Not Friday, Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall Monday, Linky Tuesday, Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Needle & Thread Thursday,

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Announcing the Learning QAL

Please join me in the Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL).

Join the Learning Quilt-A-Long
In this QAL, you get to choose what you want to learn - 'cause it's all about you ;-)

Think of all of the learning that you do while you create quilts and art! What about that new pattern or the first landscape quilt you made? Are you taking a class or participating in a quilt-a-long? This is where you'll link up when you want to share what you'll be learning with the rest of us!
Learning Needle Felting!

Learning with the Growing Up QAL

Twice a month we'll get together - at the beginning of the month we'll share our learning goal for the month in the Learning Goal Setting link-up. Then at the end of the month, it'll be time to share what we learned in the Learning Sum Up link-up.  

I've created a Learning Quilt-A-Long page on my blog. That's where the button will take you. It has all of the details, including the links to all of the link-ups (eventually past and present!). 

Learning all about "value"

Learning to blog (first post)
My own learning goal before the launch of the Learning QAL on August 1st, 2017 is to use MailChimp to send email reminders of the link-ups to anyone who wants them. I've seen other bloggers use it and I love getting that email reminder. As soon as I've figured it out, I'll post the link on my post as well as the Learning QAL page.


Each month there will be a prize for those who have linked up to both the Goal Setting and the Sum Up link-ups. I'm going to try to find prizes that are related to learning - a new technique, e-book or something fun about learning. The prize for the month will be announced at the Learning Goal Setting Link-up and the winner will be announced on the next month's Learning Goal Setting Link-up.

Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL) Button

Feel free to grab the button located at the top of the sidebar. You can also find it on the Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL) page. (See Related Links below)

What I learned
  • I've really enjoyed hosting the Celebrate - Fêtons 150 link-ups. It's given me an opportunity to: 
    • Reach out to more quilters and bloggers, 
    • Find out about all kinds of events and projects created specifically for Canada 150.
    • Make a few of these Canada 150 projects myself.
    • Learn all about link-ups.
  • I've also learned that I enjoy hosting link-ups but wouldn't want to host one every week. I know my limitations.
  • I get bored very easily! I'm hoping that this link-up will give me the opportunity to try new things - that way I can keep my interest and motivation going!
  • As I mentioned in the Learning Quilt-A-Long page, in the last 5 years that I've been blogging, I realised that learning isn't only about practice - it's also about taking a few minutes to reflect on what I learned.
Related Links

I hope that you'll help me celebrate learning by joining the Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL). See you back here on August 1st!