Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Getting closer!

The labyrinth quilt is now off the frame and ready for binding. It truly looks like I'll get this one done this month!

Here's a close-up of some of the quilting. I free-motion quilted all the sections, picking one design for each colour. The walls are quilted with 2 different wavy designs to look like vertical lines. Straight (ish) lines in the cream sections (wall tops). And pebbles in the darkest area, for a cobblestone floor.

I picked a thread I had on hand that blended well with the 3 darker colours. Unfortunately it is a discontinued thread line and I only had a single partial cone of it. But I figured I'd try, and come up with an alternate plan if I ran out part way through. Well, someone was looking out for me, because I finished the whole quilt, with just a few winds of thread left on my spool!

Binding is now attached, and 1/3 sewn on.

I'm linking up with the Needle and Thread Network's WIP Wednesday today.

Monday, January 15, 2018

January UFO

Judy over at Patchwork Times is really trying to get me off to a rough start this year.  Her UFO challenge started this month, and she picked #10.  Great, I checked my list. And this is #10 - my purple labyrinth quilt that I've been avoiding since 2013. Sigh.

I guess it's time to fish or cut bait here.  I debated switching it out for a different (easier) UFO. But then I thought - if I actually get this one done this month it will be a great way to kick off a great UFO completion year. So, I pulled it out, got myself mentally set for working on it, and promptly put it aside.  But I had a good reason - I couldn't put it on the longarm before Jan 11, because I needed it for a trunk show (and it would definitely not have been done by then).

Instead, I pulled some fabric for the backing - I decided on a scrappy, pieced backing in order to continue my efforts to reduce stash, rather than buying more. I think I had bought a backing for this, but ended up using it for a different quilt.  I'm not 100% happy with the backing, but it will do. No photos today - I forgot to take a picture before I loaded the quilt.

Progress is being made - the quilt is up off the floor and I think 3 more rows will get it completed - tomorrow I hope, because the longarm is rented for Wednesday and this will have to come off, finished or not.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Single Girl Garden

Sometimes a plan comes together. And sometimes it doesn't.  This quilt started with some damaged blocks. I repaired a "single girl" quilt for a friend a couple of years ago, and had to remove these 16 blocks because they all had small holes in them (from unpicking stitches). At first I was thinking I could applique flowers over the holes, and create a garden look on her quilt - but I decided that probably wouldn't be as pretty in reality as it was in my head, so I scrapped the idea and just finished the quilt with the undamaged blocks.

These have sat in my sewing room since then, so I finally decided it was time to move them out.  Going back to my original thinking, I put them together with some green at the bottom and a grey border to try to get the size a bit closer to a donation quilt.  I pulled out all the (few) flower prints I had in my stash, started by covering the holes, and then tried to turn it in to a field of flowers raining down.

No completely happy with this one. I like the bottom half - but not so much the top. I think maybe because it's a bit dark. I'll have to see what I can do with quilting, and maybe find a way to spruce it up.

Friday, January 12, 2018

On Ringo Lake

I've been quilting along with Bonnie Hunter, and a group of local friends, since Bonnie's mystery started in November.  Bits and pieces came together each week. All these little bitty bits - Bonnie likes to work from 1.5" strips this time, so that gives you an idea what size some of these blocks are.

Bonnie suprised a lot of us with a "Rapid Fire" release, starting on Dec 29 and ending on Jan 1. The last 3 clues came fast and furious, but now we know where the mystery is headed.

In my case, the mystery is a bit stalled - I got my blocks put together, and some sashings, but I've been busy with customer quilts again (the post-Christmas break is over) so I haven't had time to get back into the sewing room.

Tonight is our last sew-along, and the weather is just not cooperating.  Freezing rain is going to keep a lot of people home. I'm still hoping to make some good progress on this project tonight, whether I have to quilt alone or I have some company in braving the weather.

This quilt was a bit of a risk for me  - I wanted a Christmas quilt, but with any mystery the actual arrangement of the colours is, well, a mystery.  I think I got lucky and my colour choices are lining up nicely for a "Christmas, but not in your face Christmassy" quilt.  I think it will be called "Christmas on Ringo Lake", since Bonnie's design is "On Ringo Lake" in her aqua and salmon colourway.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Using up Stash

I am determined to make a dent in my stash this year. I'm not saying I won't buy fabric, but I'm going to look at stash first for anything I want to make, and I'm going to pull out some of those old "bundles" of fabric I bought way back when and figure out a plan for them.

This fabric has been holding court in a bin for years, waiting for the right pattern to come up. I finally pulled it out and dragged it to 2 retreats at the end of last year.  No go, at the first retreat. But at the second I was scraping the bottom of the project barrel, and it was either this, or work on my 150 Canadian Women quilt and I did NOT want to do that one.  So I brainstormed over breakfast with my table mates, and googled a few options. To be honest, in retrospect I'm not exactly sure where this design came from. I think it may have been inspired by "Magic Tiles"  I did some quick math, came up with a block ratio that I liked, and cut a whole pile of fabric.  The size and number of blocks was defined by the amount of print fabric I had. The rest just fell into place.

It used every bit of black I had - so I had to stop here. I think the quilt needs borders - a narrow black one, followed by whichever fabric I have enough of to finish it off.  I'm hoping it might be donation sized in the end (50x70) but it's looking a bit short for that.  In any case, I'll probably give it away somewhere, because 4 years later the colours just don't speak to me the way they did when I bought the fabric.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Another finish from the end of last year. In pulling out projects to work on at a retreat, I stumbled across some fabric I had been hoarding - a fat quarter bundle of these cardinals and some coordinating fabrics.  So, I took it along to a retreat and decided to figure something out.

First, I cut the cardinal fabric apart and frame each bird with one of the fat quarters. I liked the blue for background, but it wasnt' quite enough to go around all the birds - but then I realized I had lots of the trees left, from the cardinal piece. So I lined them up, trying to complete the trees from inside the frames in some places. Filled the rest in with the blue, and voila!

I custom quilted it, continuing the birch trees in the blank spaces and it is now hanging in my front window for the month of January (my goal is a different hanging for each month - a quilt in the window helps clients identify my house when they come)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Block Party plan

My block party group starts up again this month, and I'm on deck for the first meeting. I've had a quilt in mind for a while now - ever since I quilted it for a customer.  At our December meeting, I fell in love with some fabric - the purple paisleys in the back, in this photo. So I bought what I though was enough for the quilt and set out to prepare my plan. Unfortunately, I was math-challenged that day, and only ended up with 1/2 of what I would need.  I considered a follow-up shopping trip to buy more, but instead I decided to go stash diving.

The colour in these photos is terrible :( but I came up with a lovely set of purples and teals for my quilt. I think the tone-on-tone from my stash will give the quilt more life than it would have had if I'd gone with the original plan (all  paisleys).  Here is my first set of test blocks, to take to the Block Party meeting at the end of the month.  None of the pretty fabric made it into these testers, because I wanted to save it all for the final quilt.