Friday, 31 January 2014

Finish up Friday

The Library Project Quilt Along has me ransacking my stash so I can start the scrap quilt pledged here. I've chosen the colours with a second challenge in mind hoping to kill two birds with one stone!

"Radiant Orchid" will be the main colour in keeping with the Pantone Quilt Challenge.
No long arming this week. My grandkids are visiting, and they keep me busy enough...I don't remember being this exhausted when my kids were little!

I finished my modern baby, so today I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for "Finish it up Friday".

Click on over to her blog and snoop around. There are links to other Friday finishes, and a really cool design that Crazy Mom stitched up for her daughter (7).

Binding by machine =  lots of pins!

Bye bye baby!
Until next time,

Try, Learn, Grow!


I welcome your comments...thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sweet Treat

Isn't this tiny sweater adorable?

My friend Carol made it. She sent it home with me today - lucky me! - and I'm happy to say it fits my little bear perfectly. Thank you so much, Carol... I love it!

This bear is the first one I'd ever made.
The fur came from my grandmother's coat.
I've made at least 60 bears since then, but this one is special.

I'm sure my grandmother would have been horrified that her coat was chopped up and made into bears for our family (three subsequent generations), but...honestly....even if we'd wanted to wear her coat, it was far too narrow in the shoulders to fit any of us. It would have hung in a closet and collected dust.

This bear is a special reminder of my grandmother, and now of my friend as well.

My (magical) cupboard proffered a backing for the modern baby quilt, so I loaded up the frame:
Modern baby, almost finished.
It was imperative to load it square and true so the straight-line quilting would be parallel to the seams. I basted it down so it wouldn't move, and then stitched in the ditch to keep the piecing in place.

"Ditching" to keep the piecing straight.
I deliberately varied the spacing between my quilting lines so they were not too regular. I think variations are more interesting than precisely spaced lines.

Skipped over an area I didn't wish to quilt...snipped the threads later.

I hope this quilt will be washed a thousand times, so I secured the threads by back tying off and burying threads today.

The binding is attached and all that's left is the final round of stitching. Tomorrow.

Oh, and I loaded the log cabin so there's no way I can quilt anything else until that project is done! (Did I mention that I'm easily distracted???)

Now I'm in the mood to make bears...good grief.

Try, Learn, Grow!


P.S. I just found a fun link up party for WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced, and since it's Wednesday, I'm in!

DOUBLE P.S.!!! Found a cool "I Quilt" link up with Pretty Bobbins, too. 

I welcome your comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Two Done, One More Begun

I knocked two long arm UFO's off my list...and then I started another quilt! Crazy, right? (What is wrong with me??)

My niece and her wife will welcome a new baby boy in May. Last night I found the perfect pattern for a masculine baby quilt. Today, I couldn't wait to get started!

Wait....What? Masculine and baby?

Modern, masculine baby (32" x 44")
Dark brown, light blue, dark teal, with blue & teal polka dots on brown.
I love it, and I hope they will, too!

Here's the pattern I used:

From the current issue of "Best Modern Quilts" magazine

The pattern was written for a full sized quilt (64" x 88"), so I reworked the math to make mine exactly half that size. Perfect for a crib.

I shopped in my stash, so am staying true to my "fabricholics" pledge to use what I have. If I can scrounge a backing out of the cupboard, this could go straight to the head of the line and be the next quilt on the frame!

Yesterday was a busy day. I quilted two UFO's and started binding them. I finished binding them this morning.

Here they are,

Fresh off the frame:

Charity quilt in progress.

Charity quilt, finished.

Flannel baby quilt in progress.

Flannel baby quilt, finished.

Thankfully, the two layers of flannel are perfect without any batting. Soft and cozy!

Both quilts were bound entirely by machine for a fast, durable finish.

Off to scrounge in my cupboard, and try to stay on track! (Wish me luck with...oh, look! A squirrel!)

Try, Learn, Grow!


I welcome your comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Long Arm UFO's

It's been two months since my reconstructive surgery (stage one), and I feel 99% recovered.

Time to long arm!!

Since it's been soooo long between sessions, I think I'd better warm up with a pantograph...or three!

What is waiting for attention?

Pantograph candidate ONE
I stitched up leftover blocks & bits contributed by Guild members into a top for charity.

Pantograph candidate TWO
I'm going to try this flannel top with flannel backing & NO batting.
It could make a light-weight delight.
Or, it could be an epic fail.
Guess I'll find out!

Pantograph candidate THREE
So many seams. Such busy fabric. Won't see the quilting. Great panto choice, methinks.

Once I started taking stock, I couldn't stop!

Next, custom quilting candidates.

Some of these offer opportunities to try something new, and some are old favourites that I feel deserve more than a pantograph:

My class sample from six years ago was rescued from a pile of UFO's when our LQS closed.
Still not entirely sure how I'd like to quilt this one.

Another class sample waiting for some custom lovin'.
This one seems obvious to me now...fill 'er up!

Day & Night class sample.
This needs some's not my usual style, so I'm a bit stumped.

"Day & Night" table runner.

Vanilla Jamaica class sample
I have some ideas, but need to draw and think them through.

Scrappy Churn Dash is also in the line up.

Recently pieced to use up scraps.
A place to experiment!

My oldest UFO also begs to be a practice piece!

Until today I only had a vague idea of my long arm "to do" list.

Now that I know, I'd best get at quilt at a time.

At least I remember how to load a quilt!

Try, Learn, Grow!


Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Library Project Quilt Along & Fabriholic's Anonymous!

I'm so excited to have found The Library Project Quilt Along!

The LPQA involves choosing at least four projects from books, magazines, or patterns in one's personal quilting library with the intention of finishing them over the course of the quilt along.


My picks will have to wait until tomorrow when I get home from the city so I can look through my library and narrow down my choices. <I'm home now, so the following has been edited and updated>

Finishing UFO's is still a priority, so I'm limiting my Library Project list to four.

These are my choices:

1. Create Your Own Free Form Quilts, by Rayna Gillman

This is a design and technique book, so the challenge will be the design process.
The fact that this scares me a little is a sign that I need to jump in and do it!

2. Journey to Inspired Art Quilting, by Jean Wells

This is another design book, so will require the same intense process as number one.

The inspiration photo and fabric swatches for my "inspired" art quilt

3. Quilting Wide Open Spaces, by Judi Madsen

The piecing will be straightforward, it's the quilting that scares the stuffing out of me!

4. and...a simple scrappy quilt that's been on my "want to do" list for a year.

You may have noticed that all four projects involve the use of scraps...all part of my master plan to use what I have.

Wish me luck!

(This really will be a time to take the leap and Try, Learn, Grow!)


P.S. My name is Carole, and I'm a FABRIHOLIC.

For about a year I've focussed on using up my stash instead of purchasing fabric for my projects.
(Stash busting post)

Well, this year I am making a pledge to continue with that, and more!

 I promise to:

  1.  Use the fabric in my stash, forsaking all others
  2. Finish UFO's without following the lure of new fabrics...although, I am me so I will continue starting new projects. I just won't buy fabric for them.
  3. Stop the insanity of buying the latest and greatest fabric
  4. Save the money I would have spent on fabric
  5. RELEASE the fabrics I realize I am never going to use

To view the complete set of rules for this pledge, use the Fabriholics button in the side bar to hop over to the host. Maybe you will be inspired to join in!





Friday, 17 January 2014


Much better! 

My scrap bins now fit under my table. Raising the table top to counter height makes my back happier, too.

My scraps are sorted by colour and stored in drawers.

Here's my hunky love raising the table top.

Room, refreshed!

Bulletin board disaster zone.

Calm and happy

Paused to attach a sleeve so I could hang this piece (tree, shown below) on my wall.
My beautiful, Korean thimble fits like a glove!

Keepsakes, books, inspirational items, television, storage, happily organized and accessible!

As soon as my room was in order, I had to sew something!

In 2010 I had a "starter" (home version) longarm system that I didn't know how to use, so I found a teacher and took a class. 

In that class I'd worked on a sample. The sample was sent home with me after class. It's been stuffed in a cupboard ever since because I didn't know what else to do with it.

Time to move it along!

Edges are zig zagged so I can give it to my grand-puppies to make their kennel more comfortable.
It felt sooo good to get that out of my space and released into the world!

Hmm, what else can be stitched up quickly & released? 

Leftover blocks from the Guild raffle quilt will become a quick charity quilt.

Until next time,

Try, Learn, Grow! (and have fun!)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Making Space

(Kaleido strip sets, ready to go)
Release is my guiding word for 2014.
Today, I've applied it to my sewing room by releasing stuff.

The kind of stuff that takes over your space and clogs it up. It does the same thing in your head. Even when you are nowhere near it, you know it's there. 

Surrounded and overwhelmed

This morning I awoke and thought, "Enough!"


I dragged everything portable out of my sewing room & into our family room. Large pieces of furniture, and the flotsam that exists on top of said furniture, were left in place.

Our poor family room is held hostage once again!

I've started piles:
  • Garbage
  • Give away
  • Keep and return to sewing room for immediate use
  • Keep, but store elsewhere in the house
Sifting through every cupboard, shelf and drawer was an emotional journey.

Should I keep my Grandma's knitting magazines? I don't knit (very well). They are not valuable. They are "vintage", but looking at them doesn't make my heart sing. The fashions are out of date.

Even so, parting with them gave me pause.


Allow these things to shine where they will be appreciated.

Tomorrow I will check with the museum to see if they are interested in acquiring them.

Space has been created to hold the things that serve me better.

Tomorrow I'll sift through the piles on my desk and table, and revamp the bulletin boards to make them inspiring once again.

I found the floor!
My vacuum gave the dust mites quite a fright, I'm sure.

My wonderful husband will also help me raise the table top to counter height so my rolling drawers will fit underneath. I can't wait!

With any luck I'll be moved back in on Wednesday, clutter-free!

Releasing the things that get in the way is making more room for me to
Try, Learn, Grow!


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Lily's Quilts: Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet

Thanks to my friend Margaret for leading the way into the world of blogging!

Following her example, I've linked up with
Lily's Quilts: Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet

It has been great fun hopping around and reading other linked blogs. If you have a couple of hours to spare, check them out!

Unlike Margaret, I haven't been able to add the "Small Blog Meet" button...yet.

There may be a technical glitch that requires the help of a son (I have two very capable young men who help me at times like this).

Or it could just be me.

The button will be a shortcut to the list of linked blogs, so will be worth the trouble of figuring it out.

Next up...

Preparing to make a Kool Kaleidoscope a la Ricky Tims. The book I ordered hasn't yet arrived, so I'm working "blind", but I'm willing to live with the result. It will be a learning experience, if nothing else!

These are the fabrics I've elected to work with, darkest to lightest. I don't need to lay them out that way, but it is a great exercise in judgement.

The kaleidoscope will either sparkle and shine, or be a total disaster...yikes!

A quick snapshot in black and white tells the truth. Very educational.

P.S. I've since "ditched" the one in the middle with all the stark white bits.
Time again to Try, Learn, Grow!


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A Story & Some Magic!

The Story

When I'd wanted to learn how to piece quilt blocks, I took a sampler class at our local quilt shop. Thanks to Margaret's guidance, the work I did in class turned out pretty well.

The sampler featured six blocks. Unfortunately I'd had to miss the "card trick" class.

This complex block was beyond my skill level at the time, but being game to learn, and hoping to finish my project, I'd tackled it on my own.

Having had no experience with traditional piecing, I didn't know what details needed attention. I knew my goal, but not how to get there.

My sad card trick block, with missing points
(either sewn into the seam allowances, or soon to be)
Pretty rough.
Disappointed, I'd stuck the project in a cupboard. I didn't want to ruin my quilt by including sub-par work.

Fast forward to 2014.

This forgotten project came to my attention as I tidied up some of the messes in my sewing space last week.

Suddenly, cleaning could wait!

My skills have grown considerably since the early days, so my new card trick block turned out beautifully.

All points accounted for!
Six blocks, ready to go.

The class was about the piecing, not a finished quilt, so no pattern was available. Not having had any design experience, I remember going back to the store to see what to do with the blocks.

Chris, the store owner, helped me "guesstimate" how much fabric I might need to make a quilt like the class sample. I penciled a few notes on a scrap of paper so I'd remember the plan, and bought everything I would need to finish the project.

Thank goodness!

Since I have all the materials on hand, I've been able to make quick work of finishing this little top, making a backing, and preparing a binding.

Custom quilting fun ahead!

The Magic!

Transforming blocks of various sizes into blocks of the same size - without losing any points into seam allowances - is a bit of a trick, but it's not difficult once you know how.

Two of the blocks I'd made in class were almost a quarter of an inch smaller than the rest. AND their edges were a bit rough, jogging in an out here and there, so they were not perfectly square.

Now that I know what I'm doing, I can fix things to give the illusion of perfection.

What to do:
  1. Flip the too-small block face down on the table
  2. Place a large, square ruler on top. The ruler must be larger than the block.
  3. Based on the FINISHED size of the block, center the ruler.
    I wanted the finished block to be 12" square, so I placed the spot where the 6" lines on the ruler intersect in the center of the block.
  4. Pivot and align the lines on the ruler with any piecing lines that make sense, keeping the ruler centered as you do this.
  5. The ruler will cover one corner and two sides of the block leaving the opposite corner and sides sticking out beyond the ruler.
  6. Use a marking pen and draw the seam line along the edges of the ruler where the fabric sticks out. This will be the SEWING line.
  7. Rotate the block and mark the opposite corner in the same manner.

Sewing line marked all the way around the block, and one seam sewn.

Be aware of points. You may need to adjust your ruler if you are "cutting off" points on one edge...see if there's wiggle room on the opposite edge of the block and adjust accordingly. Sometimes minute adjustments make all the difference. Remember to redraw the sewing lines wherever you have adjusted.

See the line drawn across the yellow fabric where the seams intersect and make a point?
This line guides me just outside the tip, so it's okay. Any further in would have "cut off" my point.
Point intact
Next steps:

  1. Mark a sewing line on the WRONG side of the sashing (or whatever you are joining to the block).
  2. Place the block face down on top of the sashing piece.
  3. Align the pieces and pin carefully through BOTH the line marked on the block, AND the line marked on the sashing.
You can see how the pins are positioned, shown here on the WRONG side of the sashing.
Finish the Illusion:

Sew on the lines!
I like to have the "short" fabric on top so I can ensure accuracy.
The bottom fabric is the desired size.
I can tell all is well because it is aligned with my quarter inch foot.

This "illusion" is a skill transferred over from my days of sewing garments and stuffed animals.

I have found there is always a way to make things work if you Try, Learn, & Grow!