Friday, January 28, 2011


I found this book in a quilt shop the last time I was here in Phoenix...

I really liked the look of these "strata" quilts, and had never tried this before...

So , I started one! That is my "finish" project for the next week.  I used a fat quarter bundle of Stonehenge by Northcott. I really liked the rich but muted colors.

For once, I did follow the pattern !! You start by cutting strips of various widths, 1 inch to 2.25  inches, then sew them in color order and cut into 6.5 inch blocks.

Then you cut each block on the diagonal....being sure to cut half in each direction.

Then picking one from each pile, match them up and sew the diagonal to create a "corner" block.

Because the strips are a variety of widths, they don't match up ...although in this picture they look like they almost do !

Then start the jigsaw puzzle of putting them together...

(on the floor)

I had a bit of a problem with the blocks that had 4 points meeting in the center. It got very thick with all the fabric and seams.  It helped to trim the seams a bit and then be extra sure that the seams were pressed in opposite directions.  A couple of the centers are not lying completely flat, so I may try pressing it again or maybe restitching that part. I think where it is very thick it may have kicked over just a bit as I was sewing over the thickest part.

All and all, it turned out OK. It is only about 40" x 40" though. I am not sure if I should make some more blocks and make it bigger or just be happy that it fit together HaHa.??
 Also not sure about a border?? The book did not use one, but it might look more finished??

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's cactus time!

We are spending a couple of weeks down in Phoenix, Arizona (actually in Fountain Hills). So we have gone from this......

to this.....

It sure is a nice break!  (no that is not our place.. we have a condo!)
I do have a sewing machine down here too, so I feel right at home. I must admit though, I have not yet had any time to sew!  We have been enjoying the nice weather here, lots of walking, golfing and visiting!
But....I did make it to the quilt store here.  I have promised myself that I am not going to start anything new until I get some things finished.....but that doesn't mean I cant buy the material, right??? The prices are so reasonable here compared to Canada, and they had a whole table on sale for $4.99/yard!  How could I not buy some??

I bought some backing for a couple of quilts that I have started at home (that really isn't buying something it?)

I also bought some  material to make a quilt for my son. I will be taking this home to start later  :)
Not exactly sure what I am going to do, but have a couple of ideas..we will see what it ends to be later!

Then...I fell in love with these soft pinks! So I had to get some. I think I will try a Dresden Plate. I have seen so many of those on other blogs lately and love them. I picked up a "Dresden Plate Express" ruler....hope that helps ???!!! But that wont get started for awhile either. ...promise !

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well, I thought that I would start small on my quest to finish some of my unfinished work. So I picked a table runner.

I started this as part of a class that I took at Periwinkle Quilting. I forget what it was even called, but they are like Kaleidescopes. I thought this would be a good place to start my free motion practice. I did echoing along the straight line triangles.....

and then meandering around on the Kaleidescope parts, but you cant really see that.  Then I tried feathers along the border....I think they look more like someone walking in snowshoes......maybe I should just call it "Snowshoes" and pretend that is what I meant it to look like!! :) I see all the beautiful pictures on other blogs...guess I just need more practice??

Then for the binding!  I really liked the tutorials by Monika at My Sweet Prairie...there is one in the "Tips for Tuesdays" and then the "Binding 1-2-3".  I don't think I am ready yet to try a bias binding so just wanted to keep it simple.  Then I saw a tutorial by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts,  and she shares my dislike for hand stitching so machine stitches her bindings. She explains this all very clearly.

I started as usual, sewing the raw edge on the front, and pressing it to the back.

Then, pinned through the seam line on the front...... (sorry, the poppy is on my ironing board cover....bad picture)

being careful to catch the binding on the back.
Then, stitching very carefully in the ditch, on the front, sew the binding on.

I did botch (is that a quilting term??) one corner, but hand stitched it down after.

It is a bit uneven in places but I was pretty happy with the end result.  You can see the snowshoes better on the border here!!

I know this is not the proper way to finish a binding but I liked it because:

  • I am lazy
  • It means I don't have to do it by hand (did I mention that I am lazy)
  • It is finished ! and otherwise would sit for another couple of months waiting for me to get the hand stitching done. 
I promise...I will learn to do them steps!
But this is finished!! Yeah !

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I really can finish something !!

Well the I Spy quilt is finished....and even before the actual birthday !!
I got the binding on, no problem...well, maybe a couple of little problems, but did OK.

For the back I used Dinosaurs! She loves dinosaurs right now, and it is flannel so really cozy too.

It is bright and pretty! My 25 year old daughter and her husband were over the other night and they had a lot of fun playing with it...I think they want one too !! HaHa!

OK, now I really am going to try to finish some of the other projects. I know that I will be tempted and find it  easier to start something new because now I am going to try my hand at free motion quilting ....and that is kind of scary! But here goes !! (maybe)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Spy Progress

I am making progress on this little I Spy Quilt. Maybe it will even be a "finish" for me !!
I laid out all the blocks and shuffled them up a bit. I tried to both scatter the color as well as not have 2 "Pooh's" etc together. Then I stacked up the rows, and even numbered them to try to keep them organized.

But needless to say when I got it sewn together.....there they were...2 Sesame Street blocks side by side!! Oh well, she is only 2 years old, so wont notice!  And maybe that can be part of the find the mistake !  HaHa!

It is about 40" x 50" I still have to add the binding.....good thing that Monika over at  My Sweet Prairie has binding as her topic for her Tips for Tuesdays!  Thank you Monika!!

This is my favourite block....

Or maybe this one???  I love that little turtle and octopus!! I brought them home from Maui :)

Well, I had better get moving and get working!  I could have finished it instead of talking about it !!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Totally distracted !

I vaguely remembering saying early in January that I was determined to finish a few of the quilt tops and other projects that have been lying around my sewing room ...before I started anything new!
But then my son gave me a Jelly Roll for Christmas, so I really had to start with that....

.........and then I got distracted by all the summery colors of the Dream On Layer Cake that I had, especially because it has been cold and snowy here, and the fabric was so bright and cheery.....

But...before I actually finished either one of these, let alone any of the others......I decided this weekend to make an "I Spy" quilt for our grand-daughter who is turning 2 years old. I have never made one of these, but have seen pictures. So off I went, digging through all my fabric, and buying a bit of extra cartoon like pieces!  I decided to go with a very simple 4 patch square. I used 4 1/2 inch squares....for a very scientific reason.....I happened to have a 4 1/2 inch square ruler, which made the fussy cutting very easy.

I drew around the pictures that I wanted with a marker, and then cut them out.

I decided that it needed some solid borders....mostly to give the eye a rest from all the busy patterns, and also just to make it bright and colorful (and I love bright and colorful !!)

Then it was a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, matching up different blocks, and different borders. It is all pretty random, and there are so many colors but I think it will be OK.
I hope to be able to post the FINISHED product soon !! LOL

Friday, January 14, 2011

Design Couch

Well, I must say, I do love these bright sunshiny (is that a word??) colors, especially when it is cold and snowy outside. They are so cheery.

This is "Dream On" by Moda purchased from my local quilt shop at Periwinkle Quilting. I just love wandering around in that store! So much fabric, so many pretty colors, so many beautiful quilts hanging all over, so many great ideas.  And you know, I never get out of there without a bag full of goodies, even though I was "just looking"!!

I haven't worked with the pre-cut Layer cakes or charm squares before, so wasn't quite sure where to start. I loved some pictures of quilts that used a lot of white, so thought that would be good to try with these colors. One of the first quilts, and blogs, that caught my eye, and actually inspired me to start making quilts, was by Faith at Fresh Lemon Quilts. I LOVED her "Lemon Squares" quilt, and in fact she has the free pattern on her blog here which is great!

Of course I did not get organized enough to actually follow the pattern, but wanted the same kind of look with lots of white, and the square within a square pattern. So off I went and started sewing! I think I will still have to actually make the Lemon Squares quilt someday...I still love it!!

I had a lot of  fun picking over the different colors and patterns to make the blocks. I don't have a design wall, but I do have a "design couch" in my sewing room !!

It is not very big, so I can't lay out the whole quilt at once, but it does give me an idea of how it will look when all put together. I am pretty happy with it so far.....and that is why I make me happy !! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Help from the Quilt Fairy?

Well, I really think that I was "cross-eyed" yesterday.....I must have been spending too much time working on the computer!!  Because.......when I went back and had a look at those strips that I had cut from the "Dream On" fabric, that I thought I had cut wrong....they really were the correct size!! Or maybe the Quilt Fairy came and fixed them up for me because I was so distressed ?????

WOW !!  I am just happy that I had not started trimming them down yet, or I would be doing some creative patchwork now!  They are such pretty bright colors !! I love this fabric!

So I happily cut a few more and did a bit of sewing.

I don't have many blocks done yet, so am not sure how it is going to look in the end.  And, I have to confess......I don't have  a pattern, just a picture in my head so I am just playing with them !! I know that is probably not the way to go, and a "REAL" quilter would have a much better idea of what they were doing !! But I wanted these bright colors set off with a lot of white, so we will just see how it turns out !! Don't you just love an adventure ????

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is this really progress??

I know this is "Work in Progress" Wed ......

and if you want to see some exciting work in progress check out Lee's blog at Freshly Pieced or lots of other blogs......not this blog though!! : (

I dont really feel like I am making any progress this week! I have been working pretty steadily on revisions to my journal article for publication, and apart from feeling a little cross-eyed  and also having  reached the point that I really dont think that I know what I am talking about anyway..... why am I doing this again ????... I am not feeling very productive.

Of course I do spend a bit of time browsing around in blogland, seeing what everybody else is creating !  And there is some really fun stuff going on other people's sewing rooms......just not mine.

I did take a little break to cut into my "sunshine" fabric - it is Moda Dream On and is so bright and cheery that I thought it would cheer me up !  But of course, even though I am reasonably intelligent...I cant seem to count to 10 !!!  I was planning on 10 " blocks and cut the inner white blocks the wrong size ! YIKES!

 Oh well, at least I cut them too big and not too small, so I will just end up with a few more little bits for my scrap bin. Obviously math is not my strong suit ! And top it all off it is minus 25 C. (about 10 below F.)here and a blizzard is moving in !!  I wonder if hibernation is an option ??

Monday, January 10, 2011

I've been TAGGED !! : )

This is such a fun surprise !!  I have been "tagged" by Diane and LaDonna from A Sisterly Connection.
This is fellow bloggers spreading the word about other smaller blogs!!! Thank you so much! I am honored and flattered ! Be sure to stop by their blog--A Sisterly Connection--besides quilting ideas and news there are great recipies....YUM!

I want to share this fun and name some fellow bloggers who would love your company and comments also.  If you choose to participate (and the more the merrier!), the rules are:
1) Tell your readers who tagged you.
2) Add a link to their blog.
3) Award 3-5 bloggers who you think deserve this award.

Inform them and post directions to your blogspot. Please don't tag people who already have 300 followers. The goal of this award is to get more publicity to blogs that are good, but not so well known.

So.... to follow the rules and join in the fun I want to TAG a few of my favorite blogs:
1)  A HUGE inspiration...and an amazing Fibre Artist, Photographer and Sewist!! Go visit Monika at My Sweet Prairie
2) One of my favourite blogs, with sew many great ideas and tips....and great pictures - stop by and visit Lee at Freshly Pieced. You will just LOVE her Dresden Plate pillow !!
3) and finally Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches- not only do I love the blog name, but there is lots of great quilting going on here !!

Hope you have fun finding some new places to browse around !! Have a great day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Check this out!

This looks like a lot of fun......and great give aways too!!

Be Mine Blog Tour
(OK, I dont know how to add a "button" so I just added the picture and a link !! But it is close....isn't it???)
It starts today, and you have to leave a message everyday to qualify for a great giveaway!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baffled by Batting !

Well my goal this month is to finish a few of the quilts that are lying around my sewing room. So ...when there was a 50% off sale at the fabric store I thought it was a good time to stock up on batting.  As a beginner here, I was a bit unsure about what is the best kind of batting to use. I have used high loft polyester batting for most of the baby quilts, to give them a bit more cushion if they are used on the floor.

for tote bags and placemats I have used "warm and white" or "warm and natural" and that seemed to work out well.

For those quilt tops that have been patiently waiting I bought a cotton / poly blend - Warm Bond, made by the same company that makes Warm and Natural. This should keep me going for awhile ....ok a long long time!!

It states that it is an 80 cotton/20 polyester  Bonded quilt batting without any glues or resins, and it shrinks less  (only 3%) than the 100% cotton batting(5%), which I thought was probably a good thing for a larger quilt???
If anybody had any good advise I would appreciate it!
Maybe a good Tips on Tuesday topic....hint hint !! : )