Thursday, October 15, 2009

I've moved!

Please visit me at my new blog - a quiltmaker's journal

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No pictures

I'd be happiIly sharing pictures of some more work I've done recenty, excpet that my camera has gone missing -  I always have the cord attached to it, the one that connects it to the computer, and that makes it easier for me to find.  Yesterday I found the cord, where the camera usually sits, but no camera!  My family members swear innocence.  My dogs, I'm not so sure.  Me, well, yep it could have been me.  But I can't understand why part of it would be left behind - a game of Clue with my camera.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Applique and Stash Scavenging

Let me see if I can re-trace the steps some of my fabric bundles have travelled in the past few weeks. I often put my fabric into sets - if its obvious they go together to make something - those sets then get shuffled about and experimented with.

Some thimbleberries fat quarters came into the studio, for some certain reason - can't remember what now!  They were tried out for a Lori Smith applique, a sixteen-baskets applique, and finally the magic vine applique...maybe some piecing projects in between.  Finally they happily landed on the Pushin Up Spring design.

For the Magic Vine, the thimbleberries set was replaced by some assorted fabrics - I had posted a picture of these a few days ago.  Tried out those fabrics, but blah - didn't like the white background, couldn't find a cream or any other colour background in my stash.

Then I spied my pile of batiks and hand dyes - not a huge pile - but enough certainly to do something with.  Out went the assorted fabrics, in went the batiks, on black.  Well, this was okay - but I felt that the simplicity of the magic vine designs, needed some kind of busy print or something.  And niggling in the back of my mind was a very nice assortment of white on black, that would go nicely with those hand dyes and blacks....

next thing you know, I've got out my Bountiful Baskets pattern from the Rabbit Factory - and voila!

And, digging through my baggies of fabric set scraps, I found enough of mostly a line called  Summer's Baskets of Flowers to make the Magic Vine.

So, some successfull stash scavenging, lots of handwork to look forward to, no buying new fabric - yet - and one fabric set left over!  Pretty good work for a week when I've been recovering from a nasty throat infection and cold.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pushin' up Spring

It's October - already! - and I'm working on an applique mystery quilt called Pushin' Up Spring.  This should bring bright thoughts throughout the winter.  This free applique quilt is designed by Connie Sue at Apple Blossom Quilts.  Sign up for the newsletter - quick! - and on the 15 th of each month, she'll send out a new installment.  I'm looking forward to seeing her other signs of Spring.  This is a large block with very easy applique - great especially for beginners.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Magic Vine

For a long time, I considered making a version of the Magic Vine quilt. I waffled between the blocks offered, free, from Gayle at Sentimental Stitches; and the book of patterns by Eleanor Burns. Finally I purchased the book, and I'm glad I did. She has re-printed all the original newspaper articles that were used to make this quilt, which makes greaet reading; the book also offers great ideas for embellishing with hand embroidery, machine stitches, crystals, and ribbon. There are many quilt layouts in various colour schemes to give lots of ideas on how to make your own Magic Vine.

Here are three blocks I've made - I did them as needleturn, with starch turned edge on the leaf that sticks out of the top, mean to be sewn down as the blocks are joined as vine - quick and easy to sew, and the embellishing is a little bit extra to think about.

I think this looks pretty good - almost a keeper! But, I'm not sure those really are the colours I want to use; and I've now decided to set each block on point instead of in a vine, in a strippy setting. I'm going to shrink them to 6" from 7" and do a 25 block layout, so I should end up with a nice size wall hanging. Well, that's the plan for now.

I went digging through my stash yesterday, and found this odd piece of focus fabric, and then dug up a whole new selection of colours that could make a bright spring version of magic vine -

I think I'll try a few blocks with these colours, and see how it looks.

Note to self - add more busy and/or large print focus fabrics to my stash! It really is a pretty easy way to pick colours, an idea that I rarely make use of.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's your end of day or morning clutter?

In response to my friend Peggi's great question - what's on you're cutting table? (her blog is at - I've slightly revised it to show what is also surrounding my cutting table! I won't show the ironing board, or my sewing table (that would be just too much information :) - but here's what my cutting table and work area looked like this morning -

Here, I have a new "fit to frame" applique pattern by Lori smith. This one has a little dog under a tree, a great cute chicken, and few other motifs that just made me *have * to get it. The fabric baggie is a possibility for this little project. Also, is one of the new spools of thread that I just received from Tristan B.C. They sell a terrific selection of European cotton threads, including Aurifil. And, the kitchen scissors somehow got on to my cutting table. I have some green fabrics that are now leaves on a vine, for Garden at Dusk, my version of Cindy Lammon's quilt in her book Gathered from the Garden. The cover of the new Lori Smith pattern is tossed on top of that book. The plastic storage box is for my sewing feet - that bo does not belong there.... Then, because I have age-onset a.d.d., I had to pull out a file of patterns pulled from Australian Patchwork & Quilting, looking for something that had just jumped into my head for yet another idea on a blue and white quilt.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cottage Crossing Quilted

Here's a little corner of finished quilt - I'm not up to getting a whole picture - I’m quite happy with how this quilt turned out – and I didn’t un-stitch too much, either! There are free motion curves in each courner of the geese crossing block, and free motion vines/leaves in the houses. Just straight stitching on the sashing, and on the borders. Now here is the problem - for the first time *ever* my lovely quilt has ripply edges, and the solid blue looks almost like its been feather quilted, but it hasn't - its gone all ripply. It hasn't yet been washed, so hopefully it will sort itself out; and, this is a gift for my sister, and I sure don't like something weird like this happening to a gift quilt - and why this one?! I can't think of one thing I did any differently than anyother of my quilts.

Here's a pic of the whole quilt top, before it was quilted -

I have actually got some other projects started that are actual keepers! I'm going to try to get back to posting every day or two, as I almost always have something, or some idea, to share.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So much indecision

This “hobby” of quilting just seems to feed my habit of not being able to make a decision.

In real life, if you make decision, and act upon it, its done. Rarely do you get to go back.

But in my quilting studio, boy do I go back! and forward! and left and right!

I have spent the last several days – as I often do – just shuffling patterns and fabric.

I made one block from the gypsy rose fabric and nutmeg flannel, for the Plain and Simple quilt.

This looked good, and you’d think I’d leave it alone. But….I’ve been thinking about the new applique pattern called Southern Gentleman that Sindy at FatCat Patterns has offered – pulling out some yardage for the Plain and Simple quilt, as well as some pieces that were meant for finishing some orphan blocks – and doesn’t that look pretty?


And what if I added some navy?


And now that looks so nice, maybe I need to find a different pattern – do I really want that combination to be used on Southern Gentleman? What else is lurking around the corner to tempt me?

Here are a few applique blocks I fiddled with this week – then I gave up on the idea of vegetables as really, what would I do with a fruit and veg themed quilt? Although it would be fun to do….


And, sometime this past week I decided I *really* did not like where I was going with some blocks I made for Eleanor Burns’ Egg Money quilts sampler – thirties on red. I’m not even showing a picture :) So I’ve decided to re-do these in a them I’ve wanted for a long time – solids on black. Some of the blocks are prepped and ready to sew.

Can I also admit that I’ve given up already on Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler in blue and white? It just wasn’t looking like a project I could stick with – only 8 blocks in so that’s a good time to stop before I get much further. So what else can I make with blue and white? And I ordered a dozen red and cream fat quarters that I fell in love with – something else to puzzle over.

Finally – and this is a good thing – I finished the top from Jane Patek’s girl gang quilt. Isn’t it wonderful? *this* will be Fraser and Kaitlyn’s wedding quilt….yes, I did order and have a pile of fabric for a more modern quilt that I was going to make them….but this top just calls to me as their wedding gift quilt.

girl gang top

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some sewing done this past week….

I did three blocks towards the Secret Garden quilt by Cindy Lammon, with hand applique leaves on the honeybee block.

 secret garden aug 08

I kept up with Pearl P. Pereira’s mystery block of the month – and here’s my version of the quilt to date.

p3 designs mystery august 09 

I decided that the some of those large flower prints from the Portugal line were just too much for me – so I cut up the fabrics I did like to start a Sunshine and Shadow quilt, pattern from the book Radiant Sunshine and Shadow by Helen Frost.

sunshine and shadow strips

I caught up on the bunnyhill tisket a tasket blocks – redwork version.   I was going to change the stars to maple leaves on the July block, but then thought that leaves will likely show up on a fall design.  So I added a moon, because I thought of the nighttime summer sky (maybe while camping...).  But my moon looks like its backwards.  I kept the sheep because he's cute.  I completely changed August - cupcakes don't mean much to me, and I thought of what August might mean when I was flipping through books for design ideas when I found a doodle by Betty Alderman - just the idea of August when you have the chance to have to daydream on a hot muggy day.

bunnyhill july august

And…I did get a quilt sandwiched, although it nearly did me in, but its ready to go when I am.





Monday, August 17, 2009

Design and Planning frenzy

Over the past couple of weeks, since my last posting of August 2, I've been in a frenzy - or daze - or an obsession - about planning some new quilts. I've finished up the tops that I really wanted to get done...the leaf border on one of them will have to wait. I really needed to find some new fabric combinations, some new block designs, something interesting to keep me motivated. I haven't done much sewing at all during these two weeks, just a lot of book and magazine browsing, EQ designing, web shop browsing, and of course going through my stash over and over and over.

So these will be my latest works in progress, I think -

Sleep Tight in Poseyville, by Beth Ferrier, using fabrics from Moda Portugal line. The green leaves in each corner of the blocks are appliqued. I've got one block sewn, and is it ever a departure from my usual colours - pale yellow, white, and pink.

Secret Garden, by Cindy Lammon, using Moda Glace. I think I'll be making changes to some of the blocks - switching one for another. I've never made a primarily red and blue quilt - and these colours are softer than the usual repros I commonly use.

And, Plain and Simple bed quilt from Kim Diehl, using Gypsy Rose charm squares and a "nutmeg" coloured flannel - its about time I had a flannel bed quilt for winter!

During all this dreaming and planning, I was hoping to come up with a couple of miniatures and or wall hangings. I have lots of scraps, put into zip loc baggies so they're kind of coordinate. Somehow I ended up with all large quilts...but I do hope to soon make a small one to freshen things up for late summer/fall. Oh, and of course get to some quilting of the tops I do have ready to go.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scrap Quilt Surprise!

I’ve finished sewing together the top for Pick & Choose – it looks much different than the original, because of the sashing substitution.

But before the big picture - imagine my surprise when pressing the top, to discover…

pick and choose man

Who *is* that man in my quilt?!!

He must have just jumped in at the last minute ‘cause its amazing his whole self is in that triangle!

pick and choose top

Friday, July 31, 2009


Yesterday I decided I would finish the centre of Pick and Choose.  Not too much to do – just finish putting together the four patches into blocks, then piece the sashing strips.

I got the blocks put together, counted them, and came up with 18, instead of 20.  Okay….there are two more somewhere that I had made up some time ago just to see how the block would look.  Now, where the heck did I put them?

The sashing strips are made up of umpteen 1 1/2” by 6” strips, pieced to form long strips that come to about 75”.   Two of these strips are sewn together lengthwise to end up with a 2” finished size sashing.   I sewed up 9 or 10 of these, then proceeded to cut up enough of these long strips to 12 1/2” to make the short sashing strips.  I grabbed my 12” ruler – cut, cut, cut – 24 pieces – sat down to sew them to my block – ack!  They’re short, or my block is too big!  Or….I just made the stupidest mistake ever, because 12” is not  12 1/2”!!!!!  Oh my – these pieces are not exactly replaceable scraps. 

By now I’m tired, and fed up, and mad as all get out.  I grab a basket of cut up neutrals that were meant for another background –  they were cut up to a size that might work, and they were neutrals – and started to sew those into the proper lengths.  By the time I realized that what I really had to do was make all the sashings neutral – that I couldn’t get away with short neutrals and long strips of scrappy – I had to put it down for the day.

But first – I had to find those darn two missing blocks.  Which were no where.  For a few moments, I seriously considered making the quilt with 3 x 4 block setting, instead of 4 x 5; but forced myself to find enough leftover pieces to make 2 more blocks.  I did have to stop for the day though, while my sewing room looked like something had exploded.

This morning I got right back to it, before I forgot what it was I planned to do; and before I chickened out.  I did get the new sashings sewn, the new blocks sewn, the centre of the top sewn.  Now just the final pieced border remains. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More applique play

I made yet another partial applique block yesterday – this time a design from one of Kim Diehl’s book.  I’ve now decided that I definitely need to treat myself to some new fabric :)

I’m bored with my stash; unhappy with how the fabrics I want to use are looking in the projects I thought they’d be good for.  Time for some new stuff – some style familiar, not so different that I won’t be happy working with it – but different enough that I get a little lift.

I’m also looking for a “just right” pattern – not really flowers, vines, wreaths, samplers – I’m looking for some pattern that has a repetition of a single block.  Something I can slowly work away at, just to keep up my needleturn skills.

I keep thinking of the Applique Sampler I did from the Piece O Cake ladies – that quilt was all done in FigTree quilts moda fabric.  I love the look, but never went back to it.  Kind of got stuck in a rut of civil war repros, and tiny prints and tone on tones.  Tried some brights, but they weren’t my style.

piece o cake sampler 2

So I’ll do some shopping, I’ve got yet another pattern in mind, Twining Blooms & Baskets by Elly Sienkiewicz and hopefully have some positive results soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fiddling with applique

I spent the weekend playing with the idea of another applique project.  While I already have handwork on the go (redwork, wool applique, even hexagons), and I have a few machine applique projects happening, I very much miss needleturn applique. 

I keep thinking I’ll approach an applique pattern via needleturn, then reality sinks in and I’ll end up using a machine applique method. I am very slow at needleturn applique, what with periodic hand shakes, stiffness and cramping.  I also have this annoying self talk going on – you *can* make a needleturn masterpiece!; no, what’s the point?  I want my quilts to be used and loved and I already have made two pretty darn good needleturn wallhangings! 

I would just like a project that I can pick up and put down without any timetable in my head – whenever I get the itch to needleturn!

Here are my experiments from this weekend – all were easy to sew, all are okay fabrics, but none gave me the *eureka!* moment – because of the fabric, the pattern, or both.

The first three are from a basket pattern in Kay MacKenzie’s Baskets to Applique; the last one is a basket pattern from Piece O Cake, the flower arrangment is from Bountiful Baskets by The Rabbit Factory.






I’ll keep searching and playing with fabric and EQ – experimenting with applique is my biggest challenge, and although I have taken the easy road with a few block of the month appliques quilts, I am learning a lot from them regarding colour placement, background fabric choices, and design.  This will I’m sure help me to eventually make up my own version of a great needleturn quilt.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hmmm…an ugly quilt in the making?

pick and choose

I’m making up a quilt from a pattern called “Pick and Choose” by Carrie Nelson (Miss Rosie Quilt Co.) published in American Patchwork & Quilting June 2009.

All I can say is thank goodness I precut *everything* for this quilt – or else I might just have given it up somewhere along the line.

There is a lot of sewing in these blocks. Each block is made of four units, each unit is made up of two four-patches and two hsts, – I’ve sewn all the units, and made about 9 of the 20 blocks (the pattern calls for a 5 x 5 setting, I’m making 4 x 5). Oops – I can see a placement mistake in one of the blocks :) Then there is a pieced sashing, and a pieced border. The fabrics are almost all 1800s repros and a variety of printed neutrals. Right now I think it looks a bit like the dog’s breakfast, but amazing things have been known to happen when quilt blocks turn into a quilt – so I’m hoping!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The wonderful “old” Singer sewing machines

Here’s a picture of a wonderful Singer sewing machine that I’ve brought out for use for a while…

singer 411

I have a second hand Designer I that I bought for its embroidery ability, but now mostly use only for piecing and machine applique.  I enjoy using this machine because of all its bells and whistles which enable me to sew with less physical effort – auto presser foot lift; needle up down; even auto thread cutter – all this means that my hands stay on my fabric, and my foot stays on the pedal.

Today my D1 ended up with a broken bobbin winder – first it went clunk clunk when it started winding; after pushing it back into the non-winding postion, and then again into the winding postion, the bobbin winder post and something else went clunk down into the depths of the machine.  So it has to go the sewing machine doctor.

I do have a second machine – a wonderful Viking Sapphire that I bought almost two years ago – I use this for garment sewing; home dec; and most important, quilting!  I like to be able to set up my quilting, then walk away, and still do some piecing without having to disturb the quilting set up.

So my husband took a Singer 411G out of the cupboard for me.  We cleaned it up and oiled it.  Gee, I’ve forgotten just how much I love these older mechanical machines (they aren’t really old, because its younger than me! lol).  The clear view to the needle, the great straight stitch, the humm of the motor.  And, its just so much more interesting to look at than the current styles of plastic sewing machines.

singer 411 bed

The little metal gadget to the right of the needle in this picture is a seam guide – place it so the short edge is up against your fabric, the required distance from the needle – tighten with the screw and voila! a pefect seam allowance.

  The 411 is very similar to the Singer 401, except made in Germany instead of the States and if you have the right accessories, it can also do a chain stitch – handy for basting and decorative sewing.  The 401 was the first Singer machine made specifically for home use that did more than just a straight stitch.  As quilters, we’re all familiar with the Featherweight; the last straight stitch machines produced were a 201 and a 301, both full size.  There is a model called a 316 and its cousin, 319, that do zig zag and other fancy stitches, but this was made with more “industrial” type use in mind, and required special needles.

Prairie Vine

When I saw this quilt in Quilt Sampler, Fall 2007, magazine, I just fell in love with it. The pattern stuck in the back of my mind for some time, and when I made an order for some of the Hearth & Home fabric line from Connecting Threads, I realized that even though I had ordered the fabric for some other quilt (since forgotten), this fabric was actually perfect for the Praire Vine pattern.praire vine blocks

It was meant to be a straight setting of double x blocks, seperated by sashing, with the vine border. When I finished the blocks, I still had lots of fabric left over, and got to playing on EQ, of course. I fiddled with the double x block, simplified it, and set them as an alternate blocks, in a diagonal set.

prairie vine eq

There will be a lot of leaves to applique! I’ve set aside the blocks for now; I have to order the border fabric; and I already have lots of handwork. I’m not sure how I’ll be doing the leaves – so many choices for applique!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Centre of the Storm, and getting back on track

I haven’t been posting a note for while as I’ve been, well, unable to write or focus much, as even now I’ve re-written this opening sentence about five times!

My family has been going through some rocky times, each person with their concerns and problems, all affecting me as wife and mother – how can i support them? - how can I fix it?!! (i know, can’t be done) – am I listening well enough? – am I letting them know I’m there to help, without crowding?what can I do other than worry?

My quilting is usually where I dump all this self-talk, and focus on creating, while my brain subconsciously works though the problems. The past few weeks though, this has been difficult, and all I’ve got is several projects, started or finished, that just don’t seem to make me happy. I sure hope I can get out of this slump soon – I do believe that if I’m happy, then those around me might catch it!

I’ve been working away at some piecing and finishing, thinking that eventually there’ll be “click” of aaahhh. this is good :)

This morning I was looking for a picture of a finished quilt, somewhere on my computer. I know its here, because I’ve used it on a blog post. But i cannot find the actual picture, and I’d like to print it out to doodle on for quilting ideas. I also can’t remember under what EQ file name its saved under, and I have too many EQ quilts to count. This made me realize that things have gotten way out of hand – I’ve been in too much of a fog of disorganziation and . So because this blog is meant to share a quilting journal - I better get back to it before I get to lost.

Here’s a finished top, that I completed a few of weeks ago. Its Lori Smith’s pattern, 30’s sampler. I’m not very happy with how the arrangement of colours turned out – the quilt just looks crowded, with no one place to look at.


This is a good example of why I do some quilts as a block of the month. I rely heavily on EQ for my quilt planning, and with a sampler quilt such as this it really can’t be done. I don’t have a full size design board, and if I did, I’m sure I would have arranged the blocks differently, or chosen colours differently.

I finished up the sampler because I got an itch to start the sampler blocks in the new book Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler. I made myself finish this one, which was hard as I knew it was going in a direction I didn’t much like. The new sampler, which I’m simply calling Elm Creek, will be all blues on an ivory background. Much easier for me to work on, knowing at the end it pretty much has to look right with a one colour scheme.

Now, i should go and do some clean up on the blog lists on the sidebar, and remember to use tags and such so I can better organize my posts!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baskets of Wishes

baskets of wishes

Here it is!  Finally done and ready to be delivered to my Mom as her birthday gift.  Based on a pattern called Noel Sampler, Fons & Porter magazine,  Aug-Dec 2005,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New pieced projects….and one quilt top quilted

IMG_0643 I thought that I was very slowly working working away at quilting my Mom’s quilt, and I discovered that you really can get a lot done, just 15 or 30 minutes at a time.  On Sunday, the quilting was done, the binding is on now, and I’ve got two weeks – lots of time – to hand sew the back of the binding.

While I was taking my time quilting, the still cool weather got me going on a few new pieced quilt tops.  As my list shows, I do like a lot of variety to choose from :) 

IMG_0640 First there is a scrappy quilt from civil war repro fqs and bits and pieces, called Pick and  Choose, from American Patchwork & Quilting.  Here are four sections that will form a block.  There are hundreds (well, maybe not hundreds) of hsts and strips to sew before I can sort them out to put together the blocks.

I got a Dresden Plate finally started, using “twice the charm” strips from Thimbleberries Three’s Company, brights.  No picture here, because I haven’t yet picked out what I”ll be using the for the centre circles.

IMG_0641 There is a quilt on the cover of Quilt Sampler from Fall/Winter 2007 that I so liked and have thought about ever since.  Connecting  Threads’ new line, Hearth & Home, was to me just perfect for this pattern  - here’s one block done.  I don’t know why the centre square looks crooked…

bountiful baskets Then these baskets-in-waiting.  Six pieced, one filled.  Waiting for there bounty….pattern called Bountiful Baskets by Lydia Quigley at the The Rabbit Factory.  The fruit are fused and machine stitched, but I’m not sure yet if that is the final choice in the applique method.

And, I finally got a drawer stocked with a great selection of solids and black yardage – waiting for that perfect patttern so i can finally make a quilt with solids that I’ve been wanting to try for so long.

One more pattern that I have on my mind is Stardust Serenade from the Rabbit Factory – I’m having trouble deciding on its colours but I’m in no hurry – I’m sure they’ll jump out at me one day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Invisible" Machine Applique

I would definitely recommend Pearl's DVD for learning the process of freezer paper applique - however - she does not show any machine stitching in the DVD, just hand applique.

After a long time of practicing and reading up on various methods of stitching, I finally learned that the best way to accomplish "invisible" machine applique is to experiment with the stitches on your machine, and with the threads you have. Here are two blog postings that can be helpful on choosing the stitch settings for your machine: BlackBird Designs and BunnyHill Designs. On my Viking D1, I use a blanket stitch that has a couple of forward stitches, followed by one stitch bite going into the fabric. The width is set at .5 and the length at 1.0. This does take practice, and it does seem at first that the needle isn't even going into the fabric because of the very narrow width. Just practice on your machine and find what's right for you! Don't forget too, that through the quilting process your applique pieces will likely get "sunk" into the batting and back, so the stitches will likely become even less visisble.

Monday, May 25, 2009

“Redwork” Outline Embroidery

blackwork embroideryI so enjoyed sewing the black outline embroidery blocks from Lydia Quigley’s Whitework Applique Samper.  (more about this in previous posts).

I’ve since added a couple of more outline embroidery projects to the list of handwork projects.

chunky tulip blueworkAt first I thought I would make up some blocks from Margaret Docherty’s book Hearts and Tulips, using both fusible applique and outline embroidery.  Here’s a picture of the first block, I was partly through the second block when I thought this wasn’t turning out the way I’d like.  So  that book and its lovely patterns are shelved for a while!

forget me notI have often thought of a series of flower applique drawings in a Better Homes and Garden book, but I never did take the idea to planning a quilt with them.  I now realize they would make up very nicely as bluework sampler – blue outline embroidery with blue and white setting pieced blocks; the block size is just 4” so they are a great little quick project.  These flowers are all American state flowers, fifty are presented but there are some duplicates.  Some of those duplicates are the same as ones that represent out provinces, and I’ll make up drawings for our provinces as well.  I don’t care what the flowers might officially represent, I just like the detailed drawings and the flower name given and drawn on each block pattern.

a tisket a tasket redwork blocksThen I came aross this month’s installment of Anne Sutton’s A Tisket a Tasket.  Looking at the previous blocks I had made, I realized that they were looking too cluttered with the orphan blocks that I wanted to use with them in a quilt – and, these blocks kind of deserved their own fabric theme.  So I started to make them up with a dark brown thread outline embroidery which I think will go very nicely with the orphan blocks – here are two done, shown with paper copies of two more and a possible block setting.

For outline embroidery, I back my fabric with a very light fusible interfacing.  This gives the fabric just enough body that I don’t need a hoop.  I used a red transfer pencil for the basket blocks, and a black transfer marker for the flower blocks.  I’ve also in the past just pencil traced the outline with the help of a lightbox.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Applique – Honoring Emma

I was happy to find Lori Smith’s new applique pattern – Honoring Emma– I like Lori Smith’s applique designs because of their flowy curvy shapes, and this one had just the right size of blocks, a small centre medallion, and a good variety of designs throughout the blocks.  (Oh! and her new sampler patterns are wonderful too – I will likely end up starting one of those soon as well :))

honoring emma draft block ones abcI ended up making 3 versions of the first block (well, the two cotton ones aren’t fully finished).  As my optometrist would say, “better A, or better B?  Better B or better C?”, lol.  I’m going with C – the wool applique.

  There’s nothing particularly wrong with A and B, they just somehow didn’t seem right to me – not the look I wanted to achieve.  C is the first wool applique I’ve done and it was fun. I used a flannel background, and wool felt which was I think 60/40 wool/rayon. The layout was much easier than with needleturn, the stitching honoring emma block one woolwas quick and easy, and I got to do a bit of decorative embroidery on some of the flowers.  So I will soon move on, finally, to block two.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Try, Try, Again

Anyone who has read this blog, or knows my quilting style, knows that I am indecisive in choosing and sticking to quilt project.  I’ll plan a wonderful quilt, start a block and yuck.  I’ll prep a kit for quilt, then decide later to use those fabrics, or part of them, in something else.  I have sewn countless applique blocks in the past two years, all from different sources and never ending up to be just what I wanted.

The past few weeks I’ve sewn two needleturn blocks – the same but different fabrics – and now I’m making it up as wool applique on felt.  I’ve also sewn one and half bluework blocks, from Margaret Docherty’s Hearts and Tulips book, but came to realize that it wasn’t working out how I imagined.  The past few months I’ve been following Anne Sutton’s (BunnyHill Designs) A Tisket a Tasket block of the month, working it as a fusible applique project.  Now I’m thinking of turning it into a redwork quilt.  I’ll post pictures of all these efforts in the next few days.

stars and nine patch quiltedMeanwhile, I did get a quilt quilted! (With of course one or two areas tried out, ripped out, and re-quilted).  Here’s the Stars and Nine Patch,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two more tops!

After almost two weeks without making a stitch with a sewing machine, I got back into it with a bang on Friday morning.

First up was a quilt top that need the intervention of an Exorcist. Really. It was intended to have four outline stitched blocks set diagonally with framed sixteen patch blocks. I had the centre sewn, the pieced border bits made up (see post about "January", below) , and I ordered a wonderful border fabric to bring out the red and black in the fabrics and embroidery. No luck – when it arrived, it was way short than I needed, end of bolt. So back to the drawing board, and a decision to use the embroidered blocks in a wallhanging; and make up some other blocks to add into the quilt, which would make it bigger, without needing the wide border.

IMG_0552After much fighting with the diagonal set, and working out the measurement of the four patch borders, voila! – a quilt called Changes – representing all the variations of this top; and most important the pinwheels representing the whirling challenges of life with two teenagers and my oldest son’s wedding in the fall.

Then I got to a quilt I’m naming Hodgepodge Strippy – I had written about the top in an earlier note. I had some concern that I wouldn’t have enough 4” patches to make up a good amount of blocks for a lap quiilt, and sure enough the most I could make was 20. EQ saved my sanity on this quilt. I was constantly drawing and re-drawing it to use up what I had without running out! What I wanted to do, and would have liked best, was 6 rows of 5 blocks each, with a 5” sash in between each row. But….nope.

So this is what I came up with – even the border ended up to be IMG_0555much narrower than I would have liked because I ran out of fabric. I’m going to use a red fabric for the binding, to bring out the slight pink in the sashing/border fabric. I’d also like to quilt it in such a way that all the plain fabric sort of blends together to make the coloured hodgepodge strips look as if they’re floating.

This quilt will be for my neice, or my sister, depending on how fast I want to quilt it! Neice’s birthday is in June, sister’s is in August.

Both of these pictures could have been better – the quilts are even and squared – but a teenager was being held against his will to hold them up for pictures!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sewing on the porch

Spring has finally arrived here, and with it the anticipation that I now get to spend more time outside, doing what I like best in the warmer months – applique and hand work.

Over the years I seem to have fallen into a routine of piecing and quilt-top making during the winter, and quilting and applique in the summer. While I do work on all types throughout the year, there’s definitely an emphasis on quilting and applique in the summer. I get to enjoy the weather, and when its too hot, I can sit in the air conditioning and quilt my quilts at the machine. Little ironing is needed, which is great, because my studio is small and even a hot iron on for a couple of hours can really make thngs warm!

It was good timing on my part when I went browsing for patterns at Lori Smith's website about a week ago. She had just posted some new patterns, one which I very much liked called Honoring Emma, An Album Quilt. It arrived yesterday and I was again very lucky to pretty decisively choose my fabrics – decisive is not my strong point!. I enjoyed a lovely afternoon out in the sun, cutting up fabric and making little block kits for the pattern.

Another quilt that I’ve started is from Margaret Docherty’s new book Hearts and Tulips. I’ve decided to sew the blocks with a blue outline stitch with highlights of blanket stitch applique – all blue on white.

I “had” to get in on a a block of the month wallhanging size applique quilt called Summertime (that’s appropriate, lol) at Homestead Hearth. I looked at the quilt and program for a few weeks, and felt it was something I didn’t want to pass up :)

As with piecing, I like to have a variety of applique and handwork projects on the go – none of these are meant to be done this summer, or even this year!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Another top … and a 1/2….done

Here’s a picture of the finished Cottage Crossing quilt top.  The cottage block is from Fig Tree Quilts’ Houses book.

cottage crossing top done

January centreAnd the centre of “January” is done – it needs a few borders, two of which are pieced.  One is ready to go, the other is waiting for a final dark fabric that needs to be added to the mix.  The pieced blocks are from a quilt in Tea in the Garden by Cynthia Tomaszewski, and the outline embroidery blocks are the Whitework Sampler by Lydia Quigley at the Rabbit Factory.

Machine Applique – Fun with Thread Accents

I love handwork – needleturn applique, outline embroidery, hand piecing, and blanket stitch applique.  But – I have so much on my list of want-to-do’s that I also have learned to enjoy the benefits of applique by machine.

It can be far more than just cutting and fusing shapes to the background.  Over the past few years I have managed a pretty good collection of variegated and heavy threads that I use for machine applique, and for quilting.  I buy one or two every time I buy ordinary piecing thread, or when I’m shopping for a specific thread for a quilt.

I enjoy picking through my threads, and using accent colours to stitch the blanket stitch, or a variegated thread (I love the Sulky 30 wt. threads for this!).  I’ve been working on the first block of A Primitive Garden, a block of the month quilt from  HoneyBee Fabrics.  I knew for sure that I could not needleturn all these blocks – just too much of a challenge physically and for time spent, and I also wanted this quilt to be used and enjoyed (meaning lots of machine washing and drying).  So I thought I might hand blanket stitch the fused pieces…but that was going to be slow going, an outline stitch project is wanting to get done, and at least two needleturn applique patterns are calling my name! 

So I set about the machine applique and am I ever enjoying it!  There is a challenge to evenly blanket stitch around a narrow corner, or a circle….its interesting to pick a thread and see the result on the fabric…and more options available when stitching stems and other bits and pieces.  Almost all newer sewing machines have lots of stitches, and a way to alter their stitch width and length.  I keep a little scrap of fabric with odd shaped fused pieces nearby so I can sew out a stitch and see what happens, before I put it to use.

primitive garden block one small primitive garden bloc k one

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About Me

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southern Ontario, Canada
I began quilt-making in January 2001, as therapy following diagnosis a chronic autoimmune condition. I enjoy creating and exploring hand and machine applique, machine piecing, english paper piecing, machine quilting, and machine embroidery. I have been working with Electric Quilt for several years and I'm comfortable with just about very aspect of using EQ to design pieced, applique, and embroidery quilts. I'm an early retired Mom with two teenager and a son who'll be married in Fall '09. My husband is my biggest quilting supporter.

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Bunny Hill Designs

Bunny Hill Designs
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works in progress

  • pushin' up spring b.o.m.
  • garden at dusk
  • hop to it - my garden album (blue & white)
  • baskets
  • checkers
  • strip mine
  • prairie vine - needs applique border
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