Saturday, April 30, 2011


Now that all the hourglass pieces are finished, its time to move on to the "log cabin-like" parts.  When adding a strip to a pieced block, I always try to place the strip, right side up, on the machine, then add the pieced part on top.  This allows you to check on the orientation of the seam allowances as you sew.
Half of the hourglass parts have a 2 inch strip added first, and the other half have a 1 1/2 inch strip added first.  This can be done assembly line fashion, then press the seam away from the hourglass.  The first strip is added to the "light" side of each hourglass.
Continue on, adding a second strip of the same size, on the right side of the block, making sure that the previous strip is facing you.....
Continue on, adding the second size to each block.
Now comes the fun of stitching the block together.  It is just a large 4-patch at this point.  The hourglass pieces are turned to the centre of the block, and there are two of each block to form the complex block.
When piecing the block, make sure that the hourglass parts match carefully, but you can see that the strips are off-set, so you only need to match at the outside edge.  Now I'm off to play with all my block parts, trying to make interesting finished blocks, with no repeated fabrics .
My sewing time has been limited, as I twisted my back yesterday morning, and can only sit and sew for a short time.  I have been reading and knitting a baby sweater, so it is not time wasted!  I've also been able to watch some of the world championship figure skating, although with the competition of the Royal wedding, the election campaign in Canada, and the NHL finals, it has been hit and miss on the skating coverage!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


A while ago, I read Bonnie's blog about her latest scrap block pattern, called "Happy Hour" in Quiltmaker magazine.  It interested me, as it is made from 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch strips, and I thought it would make a dent in my scrap bins.
I spent some time and drew the block in EQ7, then planned a quilt, complete with borders.  The red and white border will be scrappy as well, made from my "leader and ender" squares, sewn into 4-patch blocks.  Not sure what colour I'll use for the sashing, cornerstones and borders - it depends on how much fabric is available in my stash - no buying more fabric!
 I used the EZ Quilting "Companion Angle" ruler to cut the hourglass pieces from 2 inch strips.  I layered a light fabric on top of a dark, right sides together and cut 2 triangles.  When you have finished putting the hourglass together, it has straight of grain on all four sides - you do have to be careful pressing the seams as you go - I finger press until the hourglass is complete.
I began by stitching all the triangles into pairs, making sure that the darker fabric was on top, and the square corner was entering the machine first (less chance of the points being eaten by the machine).  I do use a straight stitch plate on my machine when I am piecing.  I like to do assembly line sewing, so I stitched all the pairs of triangles first.
Next, I cut the matching pieces apart, and finger pressed the seams, toward the dark fabric, along the long straight edge.
I placed the pieces, right sides together, with the dark triangle on top, and the seams nestled together, then stitched along the long edge.
I then prepared the block for pressing, by opening up the tiny seam allowance at the centre of the block, and spinning the seam allowances...easier to show than describe.
Off to the ironing board to press the seams.  I press from the right side, using a hot, dry iron.  Now to finish the other 47 hourglass parts!


Monday, April 25, 2011


I have all the parts cut for 12 blocks, but my machine is in the shop, so no sewing is happening.  The finished "block" is really a block quarter, with four of these making a whole block.  I designed the quilt using EQ7, so I have all the borders and sashing planned, and I know how much fabric it will use.  I'll be using some of my "leaders and enders" four-patch blocks for the border, so at least one border and all the blocks will be made from actual "scraps"!

I finally unpacked my oriental flowered "stack n whack" quilt and plan to continue with the machine quilting this week.  Then hopefully my Pfaff will be back from the doctor, and I can get busy piecing again.  I guess I could also plan the quilt for the fairy tale redwork blocks that I stitched over the winter.  I'm always trying to find an interesting way to show off the blocks, and I need to use up some of my redwork "go withs" fabrics too!
Check out all the design walls at Judy's blog.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Still haven't managed to get much of my own quilting done, but I have finished quilting three quilts for my guild's Community Quilts program, and I had to provide the binding for one, so I can count some fabric as "used" this week!

Used this week   .5 yds
Used year to date  86.55 yds
Added this week   0 yds
Added year to date  32.375 yds
Net Used 2011  54.175 yds 

Friday we finally saw some blue skies and sunshine, but it is back to grey and rainy, and more predicted until much later in the week.
DS2's girlfriend arrived by train on Friday afternoon - we finally got to meet her!  Her family emigrated to Canada from Russia when she was a teen, so she attended high school and two universities in Ontario.  We are enjoying this chance to get to know someone who will be a part of our family.  Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet her parents when we attend the quilt show in her hometown next month.
Check out everyone's progress at Judy's blog.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I finished the quilting on this Community Quilts project, and added binding.  It feels great to get back to some quilting!
 I saw this Bonnie Hunter block in the latest Quiltmaker magazine, so thought it might be good for using my strips in bins.  It is made from 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch strips, so I've been cutting like mad to make sure I have a good variety of colours before I sew any more.  
The sample is made with 2 inch strips in the inner rows and 1 1/2 inch strips in the outer rows.  To make the block you make 2 like this, and 2 reversed, with the 1 1/2 inch strips as the inner rows and the 2 inch strips as the outer.
4 block segments go together to make the finished block, and the only matching is at the hourglass seams.  I can't wait to get more of these sewn, but I have more quilting to do for Community Quilts, and my Pfaff has to go in for repairs this morning.  I could piece on my Juki, but it doesn't have as accurate a 1/4" foot, so I mostly use it for quilting, which it does wonderfully!
Check out Judy's blog to see what everyone is working on this week.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Once again, nothing used and nothing added.

I had fun at the workshop today, although only 6 of 8 made it out to the farm in the rain.  Our hostess has turned the whole upstairs into a quilt studio, with tons of room for everyone to work.  She has an old pool table in the center of one of the huge rooms, and has covered it with parts from an old ping pong table. It makes a great place to pin-baste quilts. 
I took 5 of the quilts that I finished this winter to donate, and helped to pin them up for their picture.  Then I began machine quilting the first quilt that was pin-basted.  Things were going well, and then my machine made a strange sound and the tension went awry.  I tried everything I could, re-threaded, changed the needle, and then it would sew a bit, but was making a strange clicking noise.  I guess it goes into the machine doctor on Monday.
I brought that quilt home to finish, along with a couple of panels that were pin-basted as well.  No one likes to quilt the panels, so I've offered.  I'm sure they'll have a few more ready when I return these!
Two participants, stitched binding, and labels on the finished quilts.  We shared a great pot luck lunch - these ladies are all good cooks!
I hope everyone else had a more productive week!  Check it out at Judy's blog.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I was asked for the pattern or source for a pattern for the heart shaped bowl, but I don't really have one.  I've been making wrapped baskets and bowls since the early 80's.
 I began by wrapping a 50 foot hank of clothesline cord (purchased at Walmart) with leftover selvedge edges that were torn from my purchased yardage, after washing.  Mine are about 3/4 inch wide or less, and you can use fabric strips as well.  I pin where the strips overlapped (when joining a new strip).   You can wrap as you go, but I usually wrap when watching TV.  If you want a planned bowl, you wrap as you go, so you can change the colour  to form a design.  I like the random, scrappy look!
The trick with these is to make sure that the free end of the wrap is on the right-hand side when sewing, so that the bowl forms to the left as it grows.
I used a multiple stitch zig-zag at the widest width, but a regular zig-zag is also fine.  I began with about 4 inches, then folded it back.  I also bent it like a "V" when I began to stitch.  The first few rounds are difficult, and you have to make sure that you take your time stitching around the tight corners.  
When I figured the bottom was big enough, I began tilting the bowl with my left hand, as I continued to stitch the cord, and it magically shapes the bowl.  When I get near the end, I trim the cord on a slight angle, and then wrap passed the end.  After I get the final round sewn, I continue to sew to enclose the top edge of the final round.  If your finish isn't too neat, cover it with a button, charm, yo-yo!
I know that there are a couple of new books on these type of projects, called "Its a Wrap" I think.  Give it a try, and have fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


A few days without needle and thread, and I go into withdrawal.  I sat and wrapped some selvedge edges around a hank of clothesline cord while vegging in front of the TV, too tired to do anything else.  Today, I managed to squeeze in a few minutes at the sewing machine to make a coiled basket as part of a house-warming gift to DS2 and his girlfriend when they move in together, sometime in July.
 These are selvedge edges from fabric that I bought in Nov/Dec last year, to complete some projects.  I always remove the selvedge after washing my fabric and then press it lightly before folding for storage.  I crochet "rag rugs" with the strips, and use them for these baskets.  I figure that I paid as much for the selvedge as I did for the rest of the fabric, so why not make use of it all!
I have no idea how much fabric it takes to make one of these, so I guess it doesn't count against my stash.......
Once I get organized for the Community Quilts workshop on Saturday, I'll have to get my pinwheel Stack n Whack quilt out to finish the quilting.  I may also do a bit of piecing on another project as well, since I have room to set up both machines and can switch between them when I want.  Now I just have to get some audio books from the library to listen to while I work!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have to thank my friend, Sandy, for this award.  Sandy is an internet friend from a quilting newsgroup, who I met in person a few years ago. Now I have to figure out how to meet the rest of the requirements.
A.  Put the logo on your blog.
B.  Thank the giver and give a link to her blog.
C.  List seven characteristics of your personality. (This one is difficult)

1.  Enthusiastic
2.  Stubborn
3.  Loving
4.  Loyal
5.  Understanding
6.  Passionate about quilting
7.  Demanding of myself

D.  List 7 more blogs with links and inform each person that they have been nominated:
2. Paula 
3. Kaaren
4. Lynne
5. Mercy
6. Nann
7. Therese
Hope everyone enjoys visiting these interesting blogs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


We were fortunate to have an uneventful trip north.  There was a couple of traffic tie-ups, and some dense fog on two of the days.  Yesterday we had gusting cross winds that DH had to struggle with for the last 2-3 hours of our trip.  Didn't stop at any quilt shops - my favourites were passed by on Sunday, when they were closed, but didn't have room for anything anyway.
We did see some wonderful dogwoods blooming along the way.....

Today is treasure hunt day - I get to find where I packed everything so carefully, unpack and find homes for everything.  We also have items that travel back and forth with us, so they have to be returned to their normal place, if I can remember where that is!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Nothing on my design wall, and this is why.....
 Looking in the sliding door on the driver's side
 Looking in the sliding door on the passenger's side
 Looking in the back tailgate
DH says that there isn't even room for a fat quarter.  Good thing all the quilt shops along the way were closed on Sunday.
Check out what's on others' design walls at Judy's blog.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Nothing used, nothing added. 

Used this week  0 yds
Used year to date 86.05 yds
Added this week  0 yds
Added year to date 32.375 yds
Net used 2011   53.675 yds

Spent the week packing, but did do a bit of stitching on my final applique block.
DH was a magician, making everything I wanted to take north,  fit in the van.  It was like a giant three dimensional puzzle, but he said that I don't have room for anything "fat" like quarters, eights etc.!
I'm sure others made progress - check it out at Judy's blog.

Friday, April 8, 2011


The first things ready to load into the van are my thread bins, my quilt tool bag, filled with all the items I don't duplicate, and the bins of scrap strips, sorted by size.  I have 4 Rubbermaid totes to pack, along with DH's golf clubs, 2 guitars etc., etc., etc!
The next item on the agenda is to sort clothes for packing.  We brought more than usual this year, as our trip to Houston in the fall kept us on the road longer.  We usually make the trip in 3-4 leisurely days, with stops along the way.

We are fortunate to have many great neighbours who take care of our place while we are away.  There is always someone keeping an eye on the comings and goings.  When we have friends or relatives staying at our place when we are not here, we always call the neighbours to warn them so they don't call the police! 

I'm getting anxious to see my family again, and to meet DS2's new girlfriend!  And after all the hard work of packing and cleaning, I'm looking forward to a few days in the car.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It is always sad to say good-bye to the quilters in my Florida group, but most are preparing to head north, while a few live here full time.

Today there were 3 quilts pin-basted, and two began their "stitch-in-the-ditch" quilting.  Several others were asking their last question so they could get their latest project finished.  Hugs were given all around, with plans being made for next season's projects.  

This is always a bitter/sweet time, as we never know just what life has in store for us.  We hope all our neighbours will return next fall, but there is always the chance that health or family issues will prevent their return.  We have such great friends on our street - everyone is helpful, and we look out for some of the older residents in our area.  We've met each others' children and grandchildren, so it feels like an extended family.  Some of the quilting group have been attending every Wednesday for 8 or 9 years.  There is so much to learn, new projects to begin, new techniques and tips and never enough hours in each day to quilt!
Back to packing........

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


My eldest son had a friend from public school who was quite an artist.  When I began my dressmaking/tailoring company in the late 1980's, I asked him to design a logo for me.  He is now a successful animator, working in Toronto, and I thought I should find my work of art and use it as a blog header.  

Still packing and cleaning.......

Monday, April 4, 2011


Some design wall - this is the back of block 12 of my Baltimore Bliss quilt - just a bit of stitching done, and here is the reason why......
 I had to empty my "sewing room", a sunroom built under the carport, so DH can pack up the garden railway, storing all the buildings, vehicles and other scenery for the summer.  The track and the plants stay in the garden, waiting to come back to life in the fall.
I use our spare room as a staging ground before I begin to pack the large totes for the trip north.  
Hopefully everyone else has been more productive!  Check them out at Judy's blog.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Nothing used, nothing added.  What a week....

Used this week  0 yds
Used year to date 86.05 yds
Added this week  0 yds
Added year to date 32.375 yds
Net used 2011   53.675 yds

I cooked and baked all day Sunday and Monday, Tuesday at Disney World with our Godson, Liam, and his family, Wednesday quilting group until 3, then BBQ with friends, including a late night jam session (DH plays the guitar). Thursday - recuperating, and a bit of hand sewing, Friday back to Disney World from 8am until 11pm!
Saturday I managed to finish preparing the applique pieces for block 12 of Baltimore Bliss, and a bit of packing my sewing room.  I already have a project partly done that will be completed in the fall on our return.
Another quilter from my group left a quilt shop gift certificate for me, but I've decided to use it next fall, when I'm sure I'll be looking for that special fabric to finish a project or two!  Our van will be riding on the rims if I add anything more to the packing list! 
Check out everyone else's progress at Judy's blog.