Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes, December

Well, Hallelujah! 

My December goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes has been met. The Quilt of Valour flimsy I've been working on is finished!!!

I've prepared a backing using a print that reminds me of poppies. It's been in my stash for years waiting for just the right quilt, and I think it works here. There was just enough fabric to make a pillowcase, too.

Now I can't wait to get this quilted, bound, and ready to give away!

I'm so happy that ALYoF will carry on for another year! I plan to continue linking up with Melissa and Shanna each month, setting and working toward goals. What about you? Will you join in, too? It's very motivating, and lots of fun to see what everyone else is doing!

Remember the quilt that was on the frame before Christmas?

It's done...and so is its twin!

I was all caught up by the 22nd, so have been enjoying my holiday guilt free. 

In fact, last week I had a whole, uninterrupted, glorious day in my sewing room! 
I read, tidied and organized, stitched a postcard, cut border fabric for the QofV top (now finished), and daydreamed. It was fabulous. I want more of that!!! 

Which brings me to another topic... 


Yvonne @ QuiltingJetGirl has a "15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015" linky party going until the end of the month, so I thought I'd join in. (You are invited, too, of course!)

15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015

Carole's 15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015

I resolve to:
  1. Plan regular times for "dreaming and doing" by settling into my sewing room without a particular agenda.

  2. Practice morning yoga to keep my neck, shoulders and knees in good shape for long hours at the quilting frame.

  3. Take better advantage of online subscriptions by accessing them more often. When life gets busy this is one of the first activities I cut, BUT there always seems to be time for Facebook. Time to flip that around!

  4. Submit a quilt to Quilt Canada. There, I've said it! Eeek!

  5. Dive in and take the first step toward becoming a certified quilt judge through CQA/ACC. Opportunity knocks, and I really want to open that door!

  6. Participate in reader challenges offered through Quilting Arts magazine.

  7. Join SAQA Already done!

  8. Participate in fiber art challenges offered by SAQA.

  9. Go to Sisters, Oregon for "A Quilters Affair". Oh, my gosh! This will be visit number three! I had thought it would be a one time thing, but it is just so ding, dang wonderful that I want to go again and again!

  10. Do only the things that make my heart sing. There is no time for mediocre projects or experiences!

  11. Read every word of every book in my quilting library - again! What a lovely thought. :-)

  12. Remember that not everything I make has to be perfect, or even all that good. It can just be an opportunity for growth.

  13. Take risks and allow experimentation.

  14. Elevate my skill level by practicing the things I learn from books, videos, classes, and my own experiments.

  15. Print this list and refer to it daily!

Lots of hard work will be involved for these resolutions to come alive, but I'm sufficiently motivated. (See resolution #10) 
Putting them out here for all to see doesn't hurt, either!

Thanks, Yvonne, for encouraging this time of thought and focus. Now I shall snoop around and see what others are planning for 2015!

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes, at Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts
15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015, at QuiltingJetGirl

Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks so much for looking around!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

My Week in Pictures

1. Dealing with a few thread tails.

2. Quilt of Valour flimsy just needs final borders...and a decent photo op!

3. Another gorgeous client quilt, fresh off the frame!

4. The final client quilt promised in time for Christmas. (Yay for keeping promises!)

5. Spectacular hoar frost on a sunny day.

View out my front door.

6. See how the ice crystals have built up on my lilac?

7. Cedar waxwings gobble highbush cranberries outside my kitchen window.

8. Sunset at 4:13 p.m. on December 19th...I've "zoomed" across my backyard toward the neighbour's house.

9. Another client quilt on the frame.

10. Pie baking day. Not for us, but to send to work for my husband to share.

Next week looks just as busy, but will involve secret Christmas preparations and lots of family time instead of quilting. 

What am I saying? 
There will always be quilting! Ha!

If you celebrate the season, have a wonderful, Merry Christmas! 

Linking up with:
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks so much for looking around!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Garlands (& Runners Galore!)

Certain little elves have been hard at work, making Christmas garlands.

If you know these elves, please do not mention that you saw this post! They are super excited about this Christmas secret. I'd hate for them to accidentally spill the beans about who will receive their garlands. Spoiling the surprise would be so disappointing for them, and I would hate to be the cause! 

Back in September, Sally @ Wonky Patchwork showed a lovely Christmas Star garland made by her daughter, Venetia. (Sally's blog is delightful - be sure to snoop around and say "hi" while you are there!)

I loved the idea of making star garlands with my grandchildren, and happily the kids were enthusiastic, too! 

We decided to add hearts and gingerbread men to the mix. Yup. We like a challenge!

We hand drew the stars, but traced cookie cutters to make the other shapes. We made templates of all the shapes out of cardboard cereal boxes.

Making templates.

The two had great fun choosing scraps for their projects, and were ever mindful of the recipients' tastes. Fine tipped sharpie markers were used to trace shapes onto fabric. (My table bears witness, but I don't mind. Call me crazy, but I love seeing little reminders of a life well lived.)

Tracing shapes onto fabric.

I was impressed with the thought behind the design process. Each child had definite ideas about shape, colour, balance, and even the thread they would use to stitch everything together!

Laina's garland, ready to stitch.
We used craft felt as the base for the shapes. Cutting craft felt can be a bit tricky, so I helped Riley get smooth edges on his huge heart. As for the rest...a few signs that things are hand made just adds to their charm, in my opinion! 

Thankfully, Riley (6 years old) chose mostly stars, so it was easier going for the cutting AND the sewing.

Riley's garland, ready to stitch.
I don't have a picture of Riley sewing. He sat on the chair between my knees so I could operate the foot pedal of the machine and he could "drive". He did all the pivoting, steering, and reversing, but is a bit unpredictable, so I thought it would be safer for me to provide the "gas". 

Here he is, proud of his accomplishment!

After this shot, I pressed the heart flat!
And Laina's big finish!

Thanks for the inspiration, Sally!

Meanwhile...Runners Galore!

I'm working on a final stack of table runners for the Secret Santa program explained in this post. Fortunately, the deadline is not Dec 1st, as I'd thought. The program runs until Christmas Eve, so I can keep picking away at 'em as I have time. (whew!)

Ready to bind.
 Three have been requested for Monday, so I finished these ones today to be sure they are ready.

This deserves a happy, "WHOOP WHOOP!".
I'm extremely pleased with the way the table runners are turning out. Sometimes simple is best!

Linking up with:
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Finish it up Friday, at Crazy Mom Quilts
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks for looking around!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

On the Wings of a Butterfly

"The green grass and the happy skies court the fluttering butterflies." ~ T. Guillemets

Well, no green grass around here at the moment, but there are butterflies, Fresh off the Frame!

The butterfly filler was such fun to stitch!
My client had requested the design shown in the Buggy Barn pattern book, which made things pretty easy for me. I just had to analyze the pictures and figure out a stitch path.

I started each one by outlining its feelers and filling the body.

Outlining the feelers and filling the body.

At first I tried traveling in the ditch around the body as I worked the wings. 
I absolutely hated the thread build up. Sometimes a shortcut is not worth it, so each butterfly has five starts and stops (one for the feelers/body + one for each wing). Much better!

Pretty butterfly filler design.
Before quilting anything, I had basted the entire quilt to keep things from shifting as I rolled it back and forth. 

I left the basting in place until the last possible moment. You can see it in the picture, below. I'd pulled it from the borders as they were filled, but it was still holding the row of blocks nice and square.

BEFORE filling the background.
As I filled the blocks I pulled out the basting stitches.

AFTER filling the background.
I must say...the last stitch was such a relief - I was swirling in my sleep by the time I'd filled all thirty blocks!!! 

Ah, but it was worth it. I love how it turned out, and so does my client!

Don't you love seeing the texture on the back of a quilt? I sure do!

Bye, bye, butterflies!

Linking up with:
Free Motion Mavericks, at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She 
Finish it up Friday, at Crazy Mom Quilts

Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks so much for looking around!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes, December Goal

My December goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is exactly the same as my November goal. Even though I've made a good effort, I'm forced to carry over my plan to finish piecing a quilt top using 'Hug Mug' blocks. (Where on earth did November go???)

Many different hands made these blocks, so naturally they vary in size. My first step has been to add fabric and square them up to make them all the same size.

The center blocks feature quite a bit of black, so I've framed them with a herringbone print to lighten things up. The next round has been framed in black (Ha! I know...but it's the only thing I have that works!), and I've used herringbone again for the final round of blocks (not shown). 

I plowed through a pile of framing and squaring on Saturday, chain piecing to speed things up. Twenty four blocks need their fourth side added, and then I'll be ready to put the top together. I'll figure out borders when I get that far...have to balance all that black!

This week I tried out one of my new pantographs, and I love it! This is K's first quilt, and I think it turned out beautifully. The shots of orange make it sing!

I also quilted another 3 meters of seasonal fabrics to make into 9 more table runners, but they have yet to be cut and bound. I'm inching toward meeting my goal of completing 18 runners for charity. (Six are already done and gone. Honestly, I might decide that 15 are enough.)

One of the quilted fabrics that will be made into runners.

On the frame today is a Buggy Barn butterfly quilt. Deep, whimsical feathers in the outside border will tie in with the filler planned for the butterflies. Loops in the purple border are a nod to the way butterflies flit in their dizzying dance. Grass and leaves add interest to the green border without being overpowering. Sometimes it's good to have a bit of breathing room.

Reassessing goals and allowing breathing space for myself is also a good thing. Extra time with a project is okay. Cutting back production is okay, too. 

Welcome, December.

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes, at Sew Bittersweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts
Fresh Sewing Day, at Lily's Quilts 
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch

Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks for looking around!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Back in Business

Encoder troubles slowed me down this week, but not for long. Instead of having to wait for a part to come from the USA, my dealer lent me one off a studio machine. His goal was to get me up and running as quickly as possible. When my new part does arrive, we will swap again. Now that's excellent service! Thank you Sparrow Studioz!

'Flower Power' was on the frame for a few extra days until things were sorted, but it's owner was very understanding.

'Flower Power' (client quilt)

As if 'Flower Power' wasn't enough, here's more proof that the prettiest quilts come across my frame!

client quilt, fresh off the frame!
The next quilt went out the door so quickly there wasn't time to properly photograph the finished quilt, which is a shame. It has minky on the back, and will make a wonderful cuddle quilt!

My Secret Santa table runners are coming along. I can get three runners from a meter of seasonal fabric. I hope to make a total of six sets (18 runners) for the program...I know it's ambitious, but I'm gonna try! The first and second sets are finished (6 runners), so I'm a third of the way there.

Set ONE (one runner shown, but there are two more just like it)

Set TWO (all three of these are now bound and ready to go)

Machine binding has helped speed things up. I cut the binding at 2 1/4" wide, and attach it to the front of the quilt as usual. I then baste the binding to the back of the quilt using glue (Roxanne's Glue Baste It). A final round of stitch-in-the-ditch from the front of the quilt finishes the job. Slick.

The Hugs From Across Canada blocks I volunteered to make into a quilt are still waiting, but I do have a plan for the layout. I've decided to make a strong center for the quilt by using the darkest blocks in that position. I will start sewing today - yay!

Blocks for the quilt center

It was a crazy week around here with work, family and social activities. Between birthday celebrations, lunches out, school visits, company, cooking, cleaning, and quilting, I was wishing there were two of me! How is everyone else doing it all??? *deep breath*

Had a quick lunch at school with my granddaughter. Who could say no to that??? :-)
I love that she is as happy to see me as I am to see her!
Do you set priorities? 

I have, but sometimes it's hard to keep them straight. I am trying hard to keep my work schedule reasonable. (It is my own personality that makes it difficult, not my clients!) Having a home based business makes it too easy to work all. the. time.

I've posted a reminder where I can see it, and it does help.
  1. Health (physical, emotional, spiritual)
  2. Spouse (and family)
  3. Wealth (work is important, but not at the expense of the first priorities)

What are your priorities, and how do you keep on track?

Linking up with:
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She

Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks so much for looking around!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

HOPpY Alberta Day!

Blogathon Canada hoppers, welcome to Alberta!

The weather I dream of, now that winter is here...this was taken in September.
Typically I blog about current projects, but today it seems like a good idea to show bits of work from the past year. 

As you will notice, I quilt everything to death. I can't help myself! All that quilty texture makes me weak in the knees!

Kool Kaleidoscope
CLICK HERE for more about this quilt
For more about these projects, please click on the links provided with the pictures.

Crazy Curves quilt
See more about it HERE

Scrappy Plus
To see it finished, CLICK HERE

River Project panel

Hand dyes
More about that in THIS POST

The start of Irish Lass
Piecing it HERE
CLICK HERE for the finished quilt

Thanks for stopping by today. Please have a good snoop around! Tabs at the top and labels in the side bar make it easy to do just that!

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks so much for looking around!