Ok, I am finally starting to feel better after being sick with a cold for over 2 weeks now! This has been really brutal. I actually spent 3 days in bed not even getting out of my pj’s. I am still not over the silly thing but at least I am feeling way better than I was (knock on wood).
The good thing about working for yourself when you are not well is that you can give yourself the time and space to get well without feeling an overwhelming sense of quilt. The bad thing is that there is no one to pick up the slack for you regarding work you do have to get done so it just sits and waits for you. Oh well.
On the last weekend in November my Mom, a close family friend and myself travelled over to the Mainland to attend my new great-nieces baby shower. Isla came several weeks early and had been in the hospital all this time however she was allowed to come home just days before the shower so we all got to see her for the first time.
It was a great weekend with some Black Friday shopping thrown in, the first Christmas movies of the season watched with family and just generally a really fun time. Unfortunately for me, I started getting sick on the day we were travelling home and I was the driver. Well, at least there was no snow just lots of rain!
Lora, Joyce, Mom and Isla
The day of the shower a picture of the proud Grandmother (my sister) holding Isla my Mom the Great Grandmother and our longtime friend and “adopted sister” Lora.
Janice colouring with Georgia
I got to colour with my oldest great niece Georgia. I hadn’t seen her in about a year, and she is walking starting to talk and she was quick to figure out which crayon colours I was asking for. Smart cookie.
I brought over a giant tiger, he is bigger than Georgia.
Mom holding Isla. I only wish my Dad was alive to see his two great-grandchildren however I am sure he was with us in spirit.
I think this is my favourite picture of all time. Georgia finally getting to know her baby sister.
On the Quilting Front
On the Quilting Front, I did manage to work on the Once Upon a Star quilt for about 30 minutes to an hour each day so it is now on the frame and I only have the two side borders left to quilt.
So, side borders, those of you who may read this and quilt on a frame, do you tend to quilt the side borders (if you are custom quilting the quilt) as you work your way down the quilt or do you turn the quilt and quilt the borders all at once?
For me, it depends on the design I have decided to use. Some designs are fine to quilt as you go especially if you have other areas of the quilt you are doing with the same colour thread. Since I only have 18 inches of throat space to work with sometimes I find it much easier to just unpin the quilt, turn it, pin it back on the frame and quilt the side borders all in one pass. That is what I have decided to do with this quilt.
I will share more about that and my thoughts on the McKenna Ryan patterns in general on the next post.
Meanwhile Happy Quilting
It’s getting near the most wonderful time of the year! What time would that be? Christmas of course. That is of course if you enjoy that time of year. Christmas used to be a stressful time of year, however, my husband and I have cut way back on the number of preparations and even gifts we get each other and others. I would just rather enjoy the time instead of stressing over holiday decorating etc. I wouldn’t want to end up looking like below!
Holiday Quilt Projects
Do you work on holiday quilt projects? Quilts for people for Christmas? I sometimes do although not for a few years now. I will have enough wedding and baby quilts to make soon enough. However, that said a few months back I was given a box full of quilting stuff from someone who’s Mom had recently passed away. In the box were several block kits from McKenna Ryan’s Once Upon a Star. Oh my, in fact, they were all there but one block and I happened to find the one I was looking for at Hamel’s Fabrics in Chilliwack. They had one left!!
It is always more fun to do projects together with friends so my neighbour and I decided to create the project at the same time. It has been fun and the top is almost ready to sew together.
Cute huh! I can’t wait to quilt it and then add all of the embellishments. I doubt this will get finished before Christmas though. I haven’t totally decided yet but I think this one may end up at the Church for a raffle but we’ll see as this was a LOT of work.
I Spy With My Little Eye
Another project I started many years ago now was an eye spy quilt. Has anyone ever made one before? Let me know in the comments if you have. I have been collecting the different fabrics to go into this for at least 10 years and I finally got what I need cut out and lo and behold the perfect background fabric was also found in the above box of gifted fabric. It is a dark green solid fabric and looks like it will work well for this project. I have completed one row (see the top of the picture below).
I have also been working on quilting client quilts some of which will be holiday gifts. One of which was a really cute chicken baby quilt made by Susan Teece. I LOVE it and it was so fun to quilt! Cute, cute, cute. I would love to make one for a baby in my life or just for me!
So as mentioned above it is getting colder here although we still haven’t got the rain we usually get. The flats out the back are usually flooded by now but they are still dry. Cocoa is spending his time closer to the baseboard heaters these days and we have to put a sweater on him for his walks.
Not something he really likes but he dislikes getting cold more than wearing the jacket.
So that’s about it for me.
What are you working on, let me know in the comments below! Also, check out my Instagram.
So, what’s been happening around the studio these days? Well, first up I wasn’t in the studio for just over a week as I headed down to Orlando Florida to meet up with friends and do a jam-packed tour of several Disney parks and Universal Studios. It was an awesome trip, however, I was so tired when I got back that nothing much has been happening at all in the studio for the past week or so.
We ended up as a party of five as I met up with my friend Karen and her brother Tom and then we were joined by a long time friend of Tom’s and his wife. We were quite the mixed bag as Tom is from Schenectady New York, Karen has recently moved to Newport News Virginia and Colin and his wife hail from Gulf Port Mississippi. I was the lone Canadian in the group.
Here we all are, this was actually taken at Epcot which was our last day together but it was the only group photo I could find.
Here I am with Micky at Disney Animal Kingdom we are ready to go on Safari!
Here is the Volcano at Volcano Bay. The tube thing you may notice in the photo is a water drop (I would say slide but you actually just drop down it) and no I didn’t try this out. We had a lot of fun at the water park it was great being a kid again!
Here is Karen and I at a restaurant in Hollywood Studios, it was designed as a late 50’s early 60’s diner like Mom’s, you even got told off if your elbows were on the table or if you looked at your phone!
The stormtroopers marching down the streets of Hollywood Studios.
Me just before heading down to explore Knockturn Alley. I loved exploring all of the Harry Potter stuff at Universal Studios. I could have just stayed there all day. Next time I may just do that.
It was a great time, we did Disney Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot Centre, Volcano Bay and Universal Studios-Islands of Adventure (Harry Potter). It was a lot of fun but I think if I go again I would like to space things out some with more downtime scheduled in between parks. I just missed hurricane Michael on my way through Atlanta airport and it was a rough hour flight from Atlanta to Orlando due to the hurricane but it was all good. We had sunshine, for the most part, however, it was unseasonably HOT and HUMID!! I never thought I would hear myself say this but I really enjoyed the air-conditioned exhibits and theatres when we could find them.
On the quilting front, I did finish a July Quilt a-long that Bold Notion Quilting was holding, of course, I was a few months late but better late than never. It is funny how you get really good at doing some quilting patterns but avoid others. I made myself go out of my comfort zone and do swirls on this one. I didn’t do to badly but still need a little more practice.
Since I managed to come back from the trip exhausted and then caught a cold I didn’t get much done but did pull out some hand work to do.
This is Block 11 of the Vintage Valentine pattern which I started hmm 12 or more years ago. It was supposed to be a block of the month, then it was a block of the year and now it’s whenever I remember to get it out and work on it. I choose to do it by needle turn applique. It is not my favourite method of working however, I am determined to finish this one day. I only have one more block and the centre medallion to go.
It’s odd though, I don’t even like the colour pink that much or hearts so whatever possessed me to take on this project still baffles me.
Oh well, may the quilting force be with you!
You know it’s interesting, I will have all of these great ideas about what I can write about in a blog post and then when I finally get time to sit down and write the post I find that all my great ideas either sound lame now or I’ve completely forgotten them. I am going to have to figure out a way to start to record the ideas so I have them ready when I sit down at the computer to actually write something.
A Quick Trip to Kamloops
Labour Day weekend saw my Mom and I heading up to Kamloops to spend the weekend with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins. It was my Aunt and Uncle’s 62 wedding anniversary! It was great to see everyone it had been a while since I had seen my cousins. of course, we had to make a trip to the quilt stores and even hit a store selling knitting supplies. Although I love checking out other quilt stores wherever I go, I find that I have so much fabric already that unless I completely fall in love with something I just can’t justify bringing anything new home. The one thing I did bring home though was a fabric Hobbit Panel, they had some middle earth fabric as well however I didn’t get any of that, and now I think maybe I should have. Oh well, may have to order it online if possible.
So you might be wondering why I would get a Hobbit panel (or not) since I don’t normally go for panels of any type. Well, the Hobbit movie was Kevin and my first date. Of course, I am a Lord of the Rings, Hobbit fan anyway. Now to figure out what I am going to do with the thing.
Canadian Double 4 Patch Scrap Quilt
In other news, I finally finished a scrap quilt I have been working on for over a year. I finished the top last year but the top has been sitting around waiting to be quilted. I have so much fabric in my stash now that has been sitting around quite a while, that unless I have a specific pattern that I want to make I usually end up making scrap quilts. Besides, I actually think that using many different fabrics makes a quilt much more interesting to look at than just using 2 or 3 fabrics. I have to say I especially don’t like quilts that are made all from the same fabric line. I find these quilts very flat looking and actually boring to look at.
I showed this project on the design wall several months ago.
I finally got it finished, bound and a label sewn on. Since it is red and white and I had a maple leaf pantograph I quilted it with that using a dark red Superior Sew Fine 50 thread. This was all from scraps except the border fabric which I had in my stash. The only thing I purchased for this was the backing fabric, which I noticed I forgot to take a picture of. Even the batting was from several scraps I pieced together. Almost a free quilt!!
I even completed a free pattern for those who might want to make one themselves. You can find it on the new free pattern page! Try one it sure uses up a lot of 1.5 and 2.5-inch squares you may have lying around.
So in 2008, yes at least 10 years ago, I purchased a Judy Niemeyer pattern called Rain Drops. They have since redesigned it and it now looks similar to the original pattern but it now has more “raindrops” than the pattern I have. I started gathering the fabrics over the next few years then packaged it up and there it sat for another 4 years. In 2017 I actually started working on it and now it looks like this
Ok ignore the messy stuff on the right, obviously, I should have closed the door when taking the picture or cropped the picture. Since I am running out of time today you will please just forgive the mess.
So, it still has a ways to go however it is finally coming along! Yeah. I only have about 12 more quilts that are all kitted up to complete. Maybe I will be finished those in another 12 years. Of course, once I have this as a top then I will actually have to quilt it! That is a whole other story.
Here is the original picture of Rain Drops that is on the cover of my pattern.
So, I have had this quilt on the design wall for a few weeks now and I have had a lot of my clients asking me about how I do the curved piecing. Now I should probably do a video on this and perhaps I will but for now, I thought I would try to explain in pictures.
First, for those of you have ever done garment sewing, doing curved piecing in a quilt is very similar to setting in a sleeve on a dress or top. The larger curves (which I had already sewn before deciding to write about this) are a lot easier to sew in than the smaller ones. With the smaller curves, they are just a little bit deeper so you have to be a little more careful but it is really not hard once you get the hang of it.
For this design, I had some blocks that required two small star pieces to be added in. I cut out my template from freezer paper and ironed it on the completed block.
From there I freehand cut around the template using my rotary cutter. I guess you could use a ruler to help you if you felt you needed it. I do it this way, I do usually have my left hand (I’m right-handed) holding the area I’m cutting around down for stability, however, it was hard to show that and take the picture at the same time. You just have to be very careful you keep your fingers well out of the way of the blade.
so once it has been cut it will look like this.
The next thing you do is find the centres of both the block and the star piece you will be piecing into the block. Place a pin at both ends and one in the middle. Now pin around the edge, using as many pins as you need.
It will now look like this.
Always sew on the inside of a curve. In this case, it is with the paper facing towards you. It just makes life a lot easier.
See, curved piecing completed. Now to remove the paper and press the block. Now, I didn’t take pictures of this and maybe that is something for the next post, however, I tend to just press the seams the way they want to lie the flattest. I used to worry about the seams being opposite to one another but I find that as long as you match your adjoining seams up well there really isn’t a lot of bulk at the seams if they are both pressed the same way and in the end, with curved piecing it sometimes actually makes the quilt press flatter if you don’t worry about that. Everyone is different though and I know Judy does have a pressing diagram on the pattern.
So there you have it curved piecing. It is not a quick process but it is not hard either. Maybe give it a try.