The Vanishing Act

Out of necessity, 2020 will see changes to my blog.

This is painful, coming off my best year yet – 43,000 views, almost 15,000 visitors, from 90 different countries. But I may have said ‘yes’ to just a few too many things.

Top priority is our local quilt show in April. IMG_0591

I am involved in planning 1-Hr Lectures, offering On-Site Appraisals, and having a ‘Sit-and-Stitch’ station. This is what the week-end looks like at a glance. More information, including on-line registration, can be found at Manitoba Prairie Quilters. It will be a great show, so come if you can and plan to rest your feet as you take in one (or more) of the wonderful slate of Lectures. IMG_0592

This is a judged show, and I hope to have a few entries. Amazon Star (to be renamed Northern Star) will be in the Two Person category. It is coming back from the Quilter at the end of January so I will just need to do the binding and label. This is the picture I shared last. layout1

I am cautiously optimistic that The Circle Game (new name undecided) will be done in time for Quilt Reflections in the hand-quilted category. If you have been with me for the past two years, you will have read more than one post about the Circle Game. The first 18 months were spent on hand piecing, big stitch embroidery and hand applique; the past six months hand quilting the circles. I am now on the border, but there is still a long way to go.

Between now and April, I also have some classes to teach. If you enjoyed my Ruler Quilting series and still do not have a warm winter holiday planned, why not check out Quilting on the Beach in Kona? I am teaching 3 classes – Introduction to Ruler Quilting, Designing with Rulers, and a Ruler Hand Bag Class. In fact, I spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s writing up the pattern. Quilting Ruler Hand Bag

Quilting Ruler Hand Bag

Inside pockets – opens up flat

Also on the ‘To Do’ list are 3 challenge quilts. Why, you ask? I don’t know, is the answer. Challenges are just irresistible. It’s a chance to be creative on a small scale – a chance to try everything and anything.

All of this means I need to hibernate in my little house and be productive.

You won’t be totally neglected. I will do an occasional update on the Temperature Quilt, the Challenge Quilts and other finishes, although I won’t post pictures of my Quilt Show pieces until after the event.

I also need to re-evaluate my blog, determine where to go from here, and what the focus will be. This is where you can help. What is it you like, or not? What would you like to see more of? Less of? If you have any words of wisdom, please leave me a comment. This time I will not post any of them.  

Wishing you all the best for 2020. Keep quilting – it is music for your fingers, nourishment for the soul.

Posted in challenges, Classes, my patterns, Quilt Shows, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Temperature Quilt 2020

Canadian Prairie Folk are obsessed with weather.

My grandfather’s diary goes back 100 years. I wish I could read all of it, but I’m sure it included the temperatures of that day. This was labeled Volume 2. I don’t know what happened to Volume 1, but I have many more – all the way to the 1970’s.IMG_0567

My father did the same. Between the two, I have the basics of people, places, prices and temperatures for a century. Being an electrician, he loved gadgets so also had an electronic gauge that reflected time and temperatures to the ceiling. That way, no matter what time of night you woke up, you could look up at the ceiling and know the basics.

As for me, I seldom get out of bed in the morning without first listening to the news and weather. When I was working it determined what I would wear. Now it often determines what I will do that day. Too cold to go out? A perfect quilting day.

So it should come as no surprise that a temperature quilt appealed to me. I first heard about it last year, and have been thinking about it ever since. I would just HAVE to make one in 2020.

What is a temperature quilt? It is a quilt that reflects the temperatures for every day that year.  A diary in fabric. 

My first consideration was the fabric itself. I would need 18 different colours if I was going to have a colour change every 5 degrees, with a range from +40 degrees (Celsius) to -40 degrees. In the end I choose the Colorway line and selected pieces from the Blue Lagoon line by Cherrywood. The background will be Onyx. IMG_0556

I was determined to come up with a good design, but what? Should I make the blocks like calendar months? This would make for an easy 3 block x 4 block design, but it would also have a fair number of blanks squares at the beginning and end of each month – and just a little too choppy for my taste. I wanted a quilt that told a story, but didn’t want it to look like an obvious calendar.

I considered doing one block per week in which case I could work with larger more complex blocks. Most blocks, however, have units with even numbers. There are not many with seven sections. Also, 52 weeks does not work into a nice square or rectangle.

The next thought was to run one day into the next. After all, the calendar is a man made way of organizing a year. In real life temperatures just flow from day to day. Not having the sashing between blocks, or not having blank days in a monthly calendar would be more of a real life feeling.

2020 is a leap year so it has 366 days – at least an even number to work with. Seventeen columns, and 22 rows at 4.5″ (finished) would result in a quilt 77″ X 99″ and only have 4 small blank blocks that I could place at the beginning or end. I could even quilt the year into them. Not bad.

The next consideration was on how easy or complex to make each block. If I was only going to record one temperature what would it be? The high? The low? High in summer and low in winter? Would it reflect the ‘feel like’ temperatures? Would it include any other weather factors? For example, snowflakes/raindrops appliqued on? Or, maybe words quilted into the block. Okay. Now I was getting carried away again. Considerations, none-the-less.

One year is a long time to stick with something. I had to scale scale back the dreams. It had to be kept simple. Very simple, in fact. So here is the plan and prep.

Cut 5″ squares. IMG_0564

Organized by month IMG_0565

The coloured fabric has been fused with Wonder Under. I really have no idea how much I will need but suspect I may need more for colours in the -20 to +20 range. IMG_0569

And this will be my tool: IMG_0575

I have decided to do circles in raw-edge applique that will be applied to the background fabric. In order to accurately reflect my experience, I felt that it was important to include circles for that day’s full range of temperatures so I will use different size circles, depending on the number of circles I will need for that day. Since most of the prep is already done, all I will need to do is draw circles, cut and iron them on to the background. Stitching around the circles can be done at any time and is a good quilt retreat type of exercise. The quilting at the end will be minimal.

The vision is to start at one corner, and work diagonally to the opposite corner. My expectation is that there will be many shades of blues and greens at the beginning and end with yellows, oranges and reds in the middle. I just hope that it doesn’t look like my quilt has the measles!

Posted in Inspirational, my patterns, quilt along, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ruler Gremlins

Some days it seems like Gremlins have taken up residence in your sewing machine. The thread breaks. Stitches skip. Generally, just a mess.

This seems especially true when you want nice quilting stitches, you have rulers in hand, and you are working in the most obvious spot on the quilt.

This post is about troubleshooting. Some of the points are obvious, but included for the sake of a complete list – or at least as complete as I can make it.

  1. Needle.

“Change your needle” is the most common advise given, but perhaps a little trite. Where do you start? and what do you change to? They advise using a size 14 or 16 Topstitch needle for Ruler Quilting. Personally, I seldom use needles that large because of the large holes they leave behind.

I make a selection in the following order: size, type, brand. For size, my go-to would be a size 12 but could go up or down, depending on the weight of the thread. First choice for Type would be Topstitch or Embroidery. Both have a larger eye and a groove to protect the thread. If I don’t have a Topstitch or Embroidery needle in the appropriate size, the next choice would be a Quilting or Sharp/Microtex. Brand is not as important. A couple of my machines have specific needles recommended by the Manufacturer and I try to use those.

If you are having problems, needles are the place to start. Change to a new needle once, and if that still doesn’t work, change brands or type and try another one. Even new needles can be defective. If your thread is shredding, go up a size. 

2. Thread.

Best practice is to use the same threads, top and bottom. There are times though when you do not want the same thread on the back. For example, the bed runner I have been working on has many, many thread changes. I did not have enough bobbins for all the specific threads so I picked the thread with the middle value, that could go with most of the threads. If there are problems, I change the bobbin thread so that it is at least the same weight as the top thread.

Another consideration is fiber content. One of the first rules I learned in quilting was that you should only use cotton thread. Yes, that may be best if you are making a masterpiece and want it to last 100 years. Quilts that are loved and used everyday can have their own personality, and that includes the look of other threads and the interaction between thread and fabric.

Cotton thread (even good quality ones) shred and break faster than rayon or polyester so if you are having problems, go with a thread that is stronger and a little more ‘slippery’. Every machine seems to have it’s own thread preferences. Pay attention, and learn to avoid the threads that always break. My machine does not like one of my favorite threads – King Tut Superior – so I tend to avoid it for free motion Ruler Quilting.

3. Ruler Foot

I tend to go with ruler feet that are produced by the manufactures of the machines I own, assuming it will give me the least problems. In one case, however, I suffered many, many hour of frustration before buying another foot (different brand). The problem was solved. All of that to say that not all ruler feet work the way they should, and you may have to try another one. This can be an expensive proposition, and you will want to explore all other possible solutions first.

4. Height of the Ruler Foot

The foot needs to have a light enough touch to skim the fabric, but still come in contact with the pressure plate when you are sewing. If your stitches are skipping, your Ruler Foot may be too high. Try lowering it just a bit so that it has an easier time picking up the bobbin thread.

5. Stitching Direction

Many machines don’t like stitching backwards and some don’t particularly like stitching from left to right.

You just might have to let your machine be boss. If your project is small enough, rotate it so that you are sewing in a direction it likes. Otherwise, try tricking it by by stitching at angles rather than straight forward/backward and side to side.

6. Fabric

This one may come as a surprise to you. It did me.

Many tone-on-tone fabrics have beautiful motifs applied to the top of the fabric. For example, the grunge bed runner I have been working on has some very pretty, subtle polka dots. It took awhile to realize that my skipped stitches occurred whenever I was stitching over the polka dots. Having started, I couldn’t avoid them altogether but I tried to minimize the number of stitches by going off center. You can see that in the following picture. Slower stitching also seems to help. In the future, I will avoid buying these types of fabrics.clamshells2

7. Mood

Don’t ask me how this works. It just does. You, or your machine may be feeling moody that day, and nothing wants to work. Walk away and do something else. Another day/time, it will be all good.

Posted in ruler quilting, Skill Builders, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

RQ 201 – Doing it the Hard Way

I was recently reminded that you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. Small comfort.

There were so many times the rotary cutter almost made contact with fabric, but I refused to give up quite that easily. The square flower I stitched last time was okay, but after that I was lost. A ‘basic’ plan wasn’t enough.

Once I started stitching, the agenda changed. I started exploring ideas and it became harder and harder to connect the design into cohesive elements. Sometimes the design didn’t work. Sometimes it was the colour or weight of thread. And sometimes it was just bad stitching. Wonky seems to be in style. ‘Crude’ could also be used to describe some things considered ART. Why is it that my wonky and crude stitching never looks Artsy?

In any case, there are only 2 tools that can eliminate a bad design. removal toolsThe eraser is by far the easier of the two. Which is why I went back to the drawing board. Taking into considering the work I had already done, this is what I came up with for the two end sections of the bed runner. They were going to use the same basic design, but have different stitches, or different colours, or different fillers. draftStitched out, this is what the RQ 201 version would look like… RQ 201Not very dramatic. It could work, if you want a soft delicate look, but I wanted drama. And I still could not resist the urge to play.

For the sake of simplicity, I will show you results by the ruler used, starting with The Spin-e-Flex. If you don’t have this ruler, you could make a flower using a 4″ or 6″ Arc ruler.

spin-e-flexI placed a row of echo stitching around it – on one side, I added circles and on the other, some FMQ squiggly lines.

The circle ruler gave me basic circles and clam shells. These 2 rulers end up with circles the same size so I used the large one (easier to hold) for the first round, and the smaller one when I needed to stitch over the top of previous lines of stitching. 

The RQ 201 version would continue with additional ruler work. I did fans on one side using the Arc ruler as an aid, and straight line stitching on the other. 

Ruler Quilting 201+ should include some FMQ. I drew some ideas in the draft plan, and tried stitching some of them. They look good when others do them, but I did not like them in my piece. They did not survive, even long enough for a picture. 

I had more success with the Arc ruler. Or maybe I was just tired of un-stitching. The Arc ruler was used for the leaf in the corner. First, one row of stitching, and then an echo row.

Then some FMQ filler stitches.

The Arc ruler was also used for the spine of the feather. I stitched half of the spine with the arc going one direction and then flipped it for the other direction. The rest was done using FMQ. Feathers is not something I do very often but sometimes they work in a space.RQ feathers

The rest of the filler and edge work was done with the straight ruler, and here I will show you this finished section.RQ 201+

At some point I may be able to show you the end product, but not sure when that might be.

 

Posted in 2019, FMQ, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Learning at Sea

When you take classes on a quilting cruise, you not only have a very pleasant working environment, you are also learning from the best. At least, that has been my experience. view

This cruise had 4 teachers; each teaching a variety of classes.  I could only pick 3.

Class #1: Building a Visual Vocabulary by Pat Delaney

Pat has won many awards and has been published in different magazines. She quilts on a domestic sewing machine and has written several books on Free Motion Quilting. This class was about developing a portfolio of stitch designs. With the help of Open Sew time, I came home with these swatches.

I totally agree with this concept. The middle of a project is not the time you want to file through the index pages of your mind for an appropriate stitching pattern. It is so much easier to reference a visual library. Plus – if you previously stitched it in a sampler, you will already have some muscle memory built in to assist you.

It did remind me, however, why it is I prefer ruler quilting. Less time spent marking…more precise lines…better end product (by my definition only). Combining the two will give you the most flexibility a sewing machine can offer, and will be the most efficient. The best of both worlds.

Class #2: Building a Nuthouse by Laura Wasilowski

Laura is an art quilter who dyes her own fabrics and threads.  She uses them to create whimsical pieces, filled with improv hand and machine stitching. She is also the Dean of Corrections, Chicago School of Fusing (ha. read more here). Laura mix

To be honest, my expectations going into the class were low. I have done a lot of hand stitching in my life and most classes start with the beginning stitches – chain, stem, daisy, fly, french knots, etc. None of that in this class.

I also have extensive experience with most of the fusible products out there – Misty Fuse, Wonder Under, Steam-A-Seam, and Heat & Bond. I thought I knew how to apply them and when to use which product.

I was so very wrong. I could not have been more surprised at how much I learned and how much fun this class was. Here was my Nuthouse by the end of the day, apparently in the middle of a windstorm. Hand stitching will definitely improve it, but … when? my nuthouse

Class #3: Attic Window by Cindy Walter

Cindy is an author of more than 10 books, a TV host and instructor. One of the books she co-authored with Diana Leone was on Attic Windows (2000). In this class, we looked at the wide variety of panels each person brought and we discussed a variety of options they had for turning them into ‘window’ quilts. She showed us fast ways of working, including how to get the 45 degree miter right, every time.

My panel was the New York skyline. One wrong cut and it ended up a little shorter than it should be. window on New York

The next day, I used Open Sew time to put together a challenge quilt top in a similar style. You will see more of this one when it is done, as it will be auctioned at our local Quilt Show (Manitoba Prairie Quilters) in April. cat and mouse

So, those were my 3 classes.

Teacher Demo’s

The teacher I did not take any classes from was Karen Combs. The reason? All of her classes were full. Some people signed up for her classes two years ago. Now that is dedication!

My first (brief) exposure was during Teacher Demo’s, where she showed us how to get accurate measurements for odd-shaped tumbling blocks. A useful technique I will store for use in the future. Karen demo

Karen also has a beautiful line of fabrics coming out in December with BayanBatiks. Colorfall

Finally, she shared a family recipe for these Rolls. They are by far the easiest and best of any I have made. If you want the recipe, you will have to sign up for her newsletter. She tells me that it will be in her December or January issue. buns

For the Demo’s, Pat talked about Colour Theory using Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color Tool. I agree that her tool can be very useful. I used it in Amazon Star.

Laura entertained us with a song about the use of different needles and threads.

Cindy showed us a examples of Huck embroidery, aka Swedish Weaving.

Isn’t it pretty? This is another technique that I will have to highlight and file in my memory bank for a future project. She is working on a new book with patterns. Watch for it in the years to come.

That is it for my Quilting Cruise. Memories to treasure. Techniques to apply. Next week we will get back to some more Ruler Quilting.

Posted in 2019, art, Classes, FMQ, Highlighting others, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, travels, Uncategorized, WIP | 6 Comments

Cruising with Purpose

Have you considered, or maybe wondered about a Quilting Cruise?

We arrived home – to snow, and temperatures below zero. That may be enough reason to go on a cruise. But there are so many more. Lets take a little break from Ruler Quilting so that you can come along with me on this Cruise. itinerary

There is just so much to cover that I will do it in 2 posts. This week I will comment day by day; next week, I will tell you about the classes I attended along with links, tips and descriptions.

Day 1 – approximately 75 quilters and 30 non-quilting spouses/partners gathered in the lounge to receive schedules, goodies, meet the teachers and hand in our ‘Life’s a Beach’ block. I showed you my block several weeks ago, but now to explain the thinking behind the block… Life's a Beach

Don’t cat’s have the easiest life of all? This cat (like the one at our house) certainly does. He – or She – has a fish-mobile and mice to play with. There is a rug to lay on and even a perfectly crumbled up old quilt to snuggle with. Most cats enjoy looking out the window, and this cat has a bird’s nest just on the other side to further entertain him.

Most of the other quilters took a far more literal approach to the topic, which you will see later.

Day 2 – This was a port day. No classes were scheduled but we spent a couple hours in the classroom for a Make-and-Take. The side benefit was that we learned how to use and get comfortable with these top-of-the-line Janome sewing machines. Make and Take

Day 3 – I had a FMQ class with Pat Delaney. More about that in my next post.

Dear Hubby had his own demo’s and workshops to attend on this cruise. There will probably be additional recipes posted in Ken’s Kitchen soon.

Day 4 – We arrived in Aruba at 1:00 pm.  Most days had some scheduled Open Sew time so on this day, I used the morning to finish my FMQ blocks from the day before. Open Sew time was really appreciated by many who just wanted to sew. Thanks, Scott & Sam for hanging out with us, keeping our machines serviced, changing feet and bobbins! Open Sew

Day 5 – Another port day. This time in the charming island of Curacao. I found the help of a pirate to address and mail quilted postcards to the grandsons. quilted postcards

All of the ‘Life’s a Beach’ blocks were hung. Feast your eyes. Would you be able to narrow it down to one?

Day 6 was a class day with Laura Wasilowski. More next week…

This was also a day where we gathered as a group for free drinks and appetizers. The teachers provided our entertainment as they were on the hot seat, answering all of our questions on any topic, panel style. 

Day 7 – We had an excursion to Panama City that included a 1 1/2 hr bus ride each way. The perfect time for some hand stitching. I was glad that I had brought Baltimore Christmas to work on. Baltimore Christmas

We visited old and new Panama. Old Panama (Panama Viejo) is a UNESCO world heritage site) dating back hundreds of years. So do these pins, needles and thimbles.

Day 8 – Holland America arranged an exclusive excursion for our group to meet with the Costa Rica Quilt Guild. What a highlight! Quilting is just one of those things that removes all barriers, and provides instant connections. This was the whole group.excursion quilters in Costa Rica

They were amazing hosts. We were all given a bag & pin cushion, with a snack of fresh fruit. There was a game with prizes and some entertainment… entertainment

The grand finale was a block exchange. Prior to the cruise we were given the option of making a block representing our country/province/state, and then doing an exchange with a member from their guild. block exchange

The Costa Rica Quilt Guild is very new and has around 100 members, scattered throughout the country. My new friend, Nancy, drove 4 hours just to meet with us! 

Day 9 – another class day, this time with Cindy Walter. More next week.

Day 10 – Our final day at sea was a full one. I went to Open Sew in order to finish a couple of class projects, but took a break in the middle to participate in a 5K Walk for a Cause. This is a walk Holland America does on every cruise as a fund raiser for Cancer Research. As a cancer survivor, this is personal. Participating is optional. So is walking. FYI, 9 laps = 5K.

There were teacher demo’s in the afternoon. Due to the length of this post, I will cover those next week.

Our final group event was another appetizer & drink party, along with Show & Tell and the announcement of the Challenge Block winners. So, here you go… The Winners!

This quilting cruise was put together by Quilt Seminars At Sea. They have a number coming up next year, and you can even make reservations for 2021. I highly recommend them. Thanks Amy, Cindy and Kim for a wonderful time!

Posted in 2019, challenges, Inspirational, mini-quilts, travels, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Ruler Quilting 201 – Start Stitching

Starting can be scary.

But I had a plan, I had rulers, I had a sandwich I liked, and I had thread. Recently I attended a class where a teacher suggested using 7 threads – 3 matching the colours in your quilt, 2 variegated, and 2 entirely different. This was my line up. 201 threa

This week’s task was to stitch the square flower design that I showed you last week. This is what it ended up looking like on paper. RQ201 final paper copy

The center (1) was made using the 2 1/2″ circle, which is found in many beginner kits. Using the Magic Seam Marker (small red disk in the picture), I am able to duplicate the stitching line, which is 1/4″ in from the edge of the ruler. The circle stitches out to 2″. RQ201 flower circle

I used the 8 Point Crosshair ruler (Westalee) to mark and then stitch the center lines, with the longer ones along the seams. This was the only markings I made for the flower.201 cross-hair

 

The length of the Chevy ruler (Angela Walters) determined the length of the long petals. I used the reference lines on the ruler for the shape – starting with zero at the circle and going to the 3/4″ line at the end of the spoke (#2). RQ201 flower arm

The corner of the ruler formed the tip of the petal. RQ201 flower tip

For the shorter petals, I used the same technique but determined the length by the seam, and then marked the ruler to get them all the same length.

Stitching one row around was okay, but not very noticeable. 201 flower b

Another row of echo stitching was better, but still not enough. 201 flower c

I decided to vary it, so did another row of outline stitching 3/4″ away, and finished it off with an outline row 1/4″ away. Markings on the ruler helped keep things relatively consistent.201 flower d

Now I had lots of options. There were channels I could fill with squiggly lines or pebbles. There were inside and outside parts to the petals, and there was the center. All spaces in which to play.

My 201 option (ruler only) ended up looking like this: 201 flower f

The 201+ (ruler + FMQ) was: 201 flower e

I liked 201, but the jury is still out on 201+. Plan A is to continue and see what happens; Plan B is to cut it up and turn it into pillows. We will see where things takes us. In either case, this is a flower I intend to make again. There are just so many potential design options.

This flower would be easy for you to make, even if you don’t have any of the rulers that I used. Simply mark/stitch the circle and then use a straight ruler for the rest. It measures out at 15″ square. I think it would look lovely as the center motif on a pillow, and you could make it bigger with some straight line stitching around it. 

Posted in 2019, FMQ, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ruler Quilting 201 – The Design Process

It started right. A large sheet of paper on the floor, with the blocks marked.

Do you have any idea what cats do with large sheets of paper? It goes something like this… 201 cat

The next step was to put the bed runner under a vinyl tablecloth and mark out designs on the tablecloth with washable markers. That was the picture I showed you last week. IMG_9276

Now, why did I think that would work? It could…if you were going to stitch it before the marks disappeared…if you didn’t need the table for anything until you were done…if you didn’t mind markers coming off on your hands, your rulers and everything else they came in contact with.

Next came a smaller, more manageable sheet of paper (to be used only when my assistant Sir Huxley was sleeping). I picked several rulers to use, as I get confused with too many options. 201-rulers-scaled-2560-e1572572319128-scaled-2560.jpegThis time I was going to do a repeat- drawing out the basic concept of one section but giving myself permission to reverse, resize and revise motifs for variety in other sections.

It made sense to start with the larger design elements. The Chevy ruler from Creative Grids (#1) has been in my collection for awhile but I have been at a loss as to what to use it for that a normal straight ruler couldn’t do. This time I was determined to use it, and I come up with this straight-line flower that I quite liked. 201 pattern

Drawing it on paper first really helped visualize the design. For the real thing I would make just a few minor adjustments so that the seam lines wouldn’t compete with the edges of the flower.

Next week we will start stitching. I really liked it before it was quilted. Would I like it after?

 

Posted in 2019, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ruler Quilting 201 – Super Simple Bed Runner

For the next few weeks I will build on all of my previous Ruler Quilting post.

RQ 101 was about using one ruler for a variety of designs.

RQ 201 is the reverse; Several rulers, one design. You might even get one or two Free Motion Quilting suggestions to complement the ruler design.

This week its about the quilt sandwich – something simple and manageable. In RQ 101, I made the blocks without a particular plan. It turned into a Sampler. IMG_E6684

This time, I wanted to apply RQ to an actual, more practical quilted project. Placemats? Cushions? Table runner? Bed runner?

A look at my fabric stash for solids or near solids, helped with the decision. It seems I have collected a fair bit of grunge in the past couple years, and I decided to use an assortment of white and pinks – a little bit of yardage, some fat quarters, and a few pieces stolen from a Layer Cake. IMG_9258

I have always liked the look of bed runners, with matching pillows but it is not something I make very often, so it became the project to practice my ruler quilting on. 

The pattern needed to be simple. The thread, not the piecing would be the star of the show. I cut all the pieces 10″, the same size as the Layer Cake; 12 white and 12 pink.

Pairing a pink and white together, I stitched around the perimeter and then cut the pieces diagonally in both directions to produce 48 half square triangles.

The eyes don’t work as well as they used to. The hands shake more, and every machine sews a little different. 1/4″ seams aren’t always 1/4″. Good thing we have tools to help us get it right. In this case, the Bloc_Loc helped square up the pieces to 6 1/2″.

Keeping it simple, I choose a herringbone pattern for the layout. IMG_9276

It is ready to think about quilting designs for this piece. That will be next week’s discussion.

 

Posted in 2019, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Life’s a Beach

Ironic, that topic is.

On a weekend that most Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, it is looking more like Christmas. Thanksgiving pumpkins

Roads were closed. School was cancelled, and the grandkids came to hang out with Grandma. They had fun making forts. Tea anyone? fort

It turned all our plans upside down. Instead of traveling 6 hours north to make a Thanksgiving dinner for aging parents, I spent considerable time prepping for an upcoming Quilting Cruise.

The assignment? Make a 10″ challenge block using the phrase “Life’s a Beach” as inspiration. It had me stumped – until I returned to one of my favorite subject matters. Life's a Beach

Now I really need your input. Does it work? Does it make sense? What does it say to you?

The next task was internally driven. I had no hand stitching to take. Now, even I have to admit that being concerned with not having enough to do when you are going on a quilting cruise seems excessive. All I know is that hand stitching is my security blanket. All those hours, airports… airplanes… hotel rooms… ports… sea days with no classes… will be made MUCH better with a small portable project. And for that, I had nothing.

Looking through my ‘someday’ pile, I found the perfect project. Baltimore Christmas. This will be an applique challenge. One that could keep me going through many, many trips, but I made the decision (subject to change) to make only three of the blocks, and to make one per year. In 3 years I should have a Christmas wall hanging. No pressure. IMG_0197

I decided to start with Block #8 – a nice top block for a wall hanging of three. Block 8

Part way through the prep I was already contemplating a strategy for shortening this project. What would a person do with only one block?.

We were just given another piece of homework. One of our excursions will involve a block exchange with quilters in Costa Rica. It was optional, but how could you not? The block was to represent where you came from. All I have so far is the fabric.exchange block to be

As usual, the first thing to go into the suitcases will be my quilting supplies and projects. My hand stitching book will be part of the carry on. handstitching book

Dear Hubby had a birthday this week, so DH was given a day off and I took over Ken’s Kitchen. I have as much trouble following recipes as patterns but came up with a very delicious meal. Birthday dinner

Garden carrots, spinach pasta, Lemon Vodka Shrimp, (a very, very good sauce) and Walnut Crusted Chicken. The recipes are with my modifications.

DH has been busy harvesting his gardens. It was not very bountiful, which suited my minimalist spirit fine. Instead of massive amounts of zucchini to deal with, I have been able to use them one by one – mostly for this classic Chocolate Zucchini Cake. birthday cake Super easy and half-way healthy (you can even successfully substituted carrots for some or all of the zucchini). Instead of icing, I sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped nuts on top, and I make them into large cupcakes instead of baking it as a cake. The cupcakes are large enough to serve two, and freeze well.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, lets focus on everything good in our lives. Life’s a Beach!

Posted in 2019, challenges, recipes, travels, Uncategorized | 4 Comments