A Quilting Update

Well the days are whizzing by, or at least it seems like that. I remember being told that time moves faster the older you get. I could never figure that one out when I was younger but I am beginning to see how that saying came into being. Of course being busy helps with time appearing to move faster.

The weather here in Victoria continues to be unusual or at least it seems that way. It appeared to jump from winter to summer overnight, a few wonderful days and then back to winter overnight again. So far we appear to have missed spring altogether this year.

Here are a couple of random photos taken while Cocoa and I were on one of our daily walks. We ran across this turtle behind the pond near where we live. He/she had come out to enjoy the sun that had finally shown itself that day. Don’t worry Cocoa didn’t harm it. I picked Cocoa up and we carefully stepped over the turtle and left it in peace to enjoy the day.

My crazy work schedule has slowed down a bit and that is both good and bad. Good as I finally have time to relax and do some planning and maybe actually quilt one of my own quilts (we’ll see how that goes), and bad because slower work means less money coming in. Oh well, I am enjoying having a little time to sit back and actually think about what I want re the future. Besides come July 10 the schedule will go back into crazy mode again so I need to just enjoy the time I have while I have it.

Princess Kieva Quilt-1Princess Kieva Quilt-2

Recently I got the chance to work on this wonderful quilt. This was really fun to work on, the only drawback I had is that the silver Superior Sew Fine 50 thread I used as the background colour for a large part of the quilt ended up being back ordered. I had one small spool of the thread so I ordered a cone the same day I started working on this quilt and I didn’t receive the thread in the mail until 10 days later. Not great however it all turned out well and I love how this quilt turned out.

Even though I previously posted that I am not a huge fan of doing pantographs there are quilts that call for just an all over edge to edge design. I am very good at doing simple edge to edge for kids and baby quilts and I really enjoy those however I thought it would be nice to have a couple more sophisticated edge to edge designs available for people who want them. The Cloth Castle where I work recently brought some pantographs in so I purchased two that I liked.  Both are by Urban Elementz, one is Deja Vu and the other is Bora Bora.

I have used the Deja Vu on a client king size quilt (which I forgot to take pictures of) and it turned out great and I have also used it on a smaller quilt for a client that needed a quick wedding present.

Blue Quilt-1Blue Quilt-2

I did like the way these turned out. I just finished a custom quilt (one I completed from start to finish) with the Bora Bora pantograph which also turned out really well, however I am still sewing down the binding on that one so the client hasn’t seen it yet other than in pictures I have sent so that will have to be posted later.

Good friends are like quilts they never lose their warmth

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Busy week and Something New

Whew, it’s been a busy week or so and it’s going to be busy for the next three weeks so I will have to try to slip a blog post in whenever I can. I have now started a second part-time job as well as the job at the Cloth Castle not to mention having more quilts to quilt as well. It’s all good though and things should slow down again by the end of the month so in the meantime it’s going to be a test of my time-management skills.

I just recently decided to purchase a new camera. Now, one might wonder why since I have a camera I use on my phone as well as a very good DSLR camera. I love my DSLR camera but it is big and bulky and it works well for video and tripod shots but not so much for just a quick photo. The phone camera is OK for that type of thing but has it’s drawbacks so my partner Kevin and I discussed it and decided to bite the bullet and get a really good point and shoot camera that takes great pictures in low light, takes good video and has a super zoom. It’s nice and compact so I can take it on holidays with me (the countdown is on). It’s small enough to just slip in my bag but not so small I will lose it. This is all a good thing as I won’t be taking my phone with me on this trip. Now I just have to find the time to figure out how to use it before Mom and I head out on the high seas.

Nikon COOLPIX A900 Digital Camera (Silver)

One thing that seems to have been coming up recently while working at The Cloth Castle is about ripping vs cutting cotton fabric and the straight of grain. At the Cloth Castle we cut the fabric as opposed to ripping it. Now this is fine except that if you take the fabric home and wash it, sometimes that fabric will go off-grain. I had two customers come into the store last week with pieces of fabric that they wanted to complain about as it was all askew and if they cut it like that they would loose too much fabric. I took a look at it and quickly assessed that there was nothing actually wrong with the piece it simply went off-grain when they washed it and a simple pull corner to corner put everything right.

This got me to thinking, (I know dangerous at the best of times), working with fabric straight of grain was a very basic sewing lesson in first year home EC,  however this doesn’t seem to be taught anymore and both woman I talked to last week didn’t even know what I was talking about when I said that the fabric was simply off grain and I showed them how to fix it. So, how many quilters or other sewists out there these days know about fabric straight of grain and how to fix it?

I think this is important and will follow this post up with another this week (when I have a little more time) explaining how to get fabric back on grain.

Image result for fabric grainline photos

So look for that post soon. Meanwhile I had two client quilt finishes this week.

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You can’t really see the quilting in this quilt as the fabrics were very busy and I used Superior Threads Sew Fine 50 in both top and bottom. I did a different design in each of the borders and used a new circle template for one of the borders. It turned out really nice but as mentioned the quilting didn’t show up in the pictures.

Quilters Retreat Quilt-4.jpg

This was another client quilt about a queen size and she just wanted a simple design on it so I chose a simple loop de loop and star all over design done in Aurfil 50 thread in both the top and bobbin. Nothing fancy but it totally works for this particular style of quilt.

Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.

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Back to Quilting

Quilting is finally getting done! It feels good to get back at the longarm machine. I really needed to take that week or so off though. I think everyone sometimes needs to step back from things, regroup, and seriously think about why they are doing something. The opportunity I mentioned in my last post really made me think about that. I haven’t heard whether anything has come of it or not, but either way I have a much clearer idea of what I want my life to look like.

It’s funny how life goes, I had a lull in my quilting business and this opportunity came up so I decided to look into it. Nothing ventured nothing gained type of thing. The very next day after a meeting I had, I got called asking if I had time to quilt a quilt! Wow OK yes. The day after that another client called asking the same thing and then the third day this happened yet again!

So now I have several quilts waiting to be quilted. I guess the universe was trying to tell me to just slow down and stop worrying, things will turn out the way they are supposed to and it is all good. Patience my friend. New businesses take time to grow.

What the lull I had also taught me though is if I intend to continue down this path I also need to diversify so I will be putting some thought into what I want that to look like.

There is a mantra that I started using about 3 years ago, I sometimes forget to apply it though. I think it’s time to pull that one out again and pin it to my wall.

Image result for slow down calm down don't worry don't hurry

Meanwhile I finished one client quilt and need to get back to work now quilting the others.

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This is Over the Pond an older pattern from Quiltmaker magazine. My client did it scrappy and it turned out well. It was just quilted with a very simple “water” design as we didn’t want anything to interfere with the pictures. I used Superior Threads So Fine 50 in a soft green that blended well with all the different colours going on. I think it was a good choice of design as you just get some nice texture without overpowering the cute frogs, bees and butterflies pieced into the top.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Quilting

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Raffle Quilt and Dog Walks

Well, it looks like fall is here. The weather here in Victoria has been beautiful and sunny however the temperature is dipping down at night these days. I awoke early this morning to the smell of something burning, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the smell was coming from until I happened to glance at the heat register. I had it down low but not off and obviously the temperature dipped low enough that the register actually came on. What I was smelling was the dust burning off the baseboard element. Oh joy winter is on it’s way.

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The complex where I live has a creek, park and trails right behind it so I take Cocoa for a walk back there most days. As the weather is getting cooler what we are finding is a lot of garter snakes are coming out of the grass to sun themselves.  Cocoa has figured this out so he is always on the look out for them. Sometimes he sees them before me and it’s a good thing I keep him on a leash or he’d be gone.

Not sure if you can tell from the picture at left. I had to grab the camera fast so it’s not the best picture and you can just see Cocoa starting to lunge for the poor snake.

I took this picture yesterday however Cocoa and I saw at least 3 snakes on our walk today as well.

Every year the complex where I live has a craft sale in the clubhouse and this year it is happening on Oct 29, 2016. My partner and I decided we would go in it so we have both been creating things to sell at it.

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Here are some of the things I have been working on. I saw this tutorial on the Crafty Gemini  and thought I would give it a try. I have made 8 of these and will need to make more as they are so cute. They are fun to make too.

Another thing I have been working on is my church’s 2016 raffle quilt. I have finished sewing the binding on so all that’s left is a label. I am printing up the raffle tickets and will also need to create a postcard for this as well.

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This quilt turned out much larger than I had anticipated as it measures 70 x 90 or thereabouts. Not quite a full queen size but as you can see in the above photo it does pretty much fit onto a queen size bed.

I was going to do some fancy quilting on this one for practice if nothing else, however I decided against it as for one it was for a raffle and for two you really couldn’t see the quilting at all. I used Superior Threads Sew Fine Thread in a neutral colour and believe me it was hard enough trying to see where I was going with just an easy overall quilting design I would have driven myself crazy trying to do anything else. In the end I decided to just quilt around the applique “pumpkin seeds” as well as just echo inside them and do an overall seed design over the rest of the quilt. I thought the seed design was fitting.

A quilt is a treasure which follows its owner everywhere.

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Happy Quilting

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Keeping Busy

Things have been busy around here. I have completed my Inspiration Journals for the craft sale and now on to the next item I have on my list. In the meantime I had been quilting using templates and my needle hit the template and threw the timing off of the machine so I had to have someone come in to repair it. Got that fixed and so I was able to finish quilting a client quilt.

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She wanted an overall design so I did a playful heart design which worked very well for this quilt. The fabrics are quite busy so you can’t really see the quilting design very well. It was raining early today so I had to take the pictures inside. I am still working on where the best location is to take pictures of finished quilts. I see lots of quilters taking the pictures with the quilt draped over the frame however I can’t do that as there isn’t enough room to back up far enough to get a good shot.
On this quilt I used Superior Threads Rainbows thread number 805. It’s called Inca Pink. I got this thread through a special promotion and when I looked at it I thought where am I ever going to be able to use this. Well this quilt was perfect for it.

See what I mean. The thread had the same colours as the quilt had. I used Bottom Line in the bobbin colour 606 Dark Purple.

 

Yesterday was a beautiful day so my partner and I decided to take Cocoa for a walk along the beach at Esquimalt Lagoon. It was beautiful.

esquimalt-lagoon

Somewhere along the way though I lost my drivers licence which I had stuffed into my pocket. We went back and searched for it but to no avail so down to the motor vehicle office I went today to get a replacement. Luckily it was fairly painless and I only had a 30 minute wait.

So now I’m off to help with the setup of the church’s Vintage and Treasures sale. If you are in Victoria tomorrow, Saturday check it out at 1600 Cook Street. It should be a lot of fun.

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Happy Quilting

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9/11 Remembered and a Baby Quilt

So do you ever find when you go away even for just 4 days it takes longer to catch up on everything? Here it is almost a week gone by and I am finally getting to writing another blog post and feeling like I can start to catch up on everything now.

I was catching up on my Facebook reading this morning and although I knew yesterday was the 9/11 anniversary it hadn’t occurred to  me that 15 years had gone by! Yes, I know just do the simple math but it is something I just hadn’t thought of. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. It was early here on the west coast so a lot of us hadn’t even woken up yet. The news came on the radio when the alarm clock (remember those I use my mobile phone now) went off and that is when I first heard it. At first I thought I heard wrong and my ex-husband thought the radio announcers (who were prone to make jokes) was kidding but something about the tone of their voices told me otherwise. I jumped out of bed and raced to the living room to turn on the TV and there it was. Nope not a joke! It was very real.

Not much work got done that day. The TV in the lunch room at work got moved into the board room so that everyone got a chance to keep abreast of what was going on. This was before internet streaming was allowed on people’s computers at work. That day the six degrees of separation theory was put into practice for me. At the time I had a very good friend whose brother worked at the pentagon for years and only had just retired months before the plane crashed into it. In fact at the time he lived only blocks away. Now 15 years has gone by, the world has changed, or has it! As with anything bad that happens a lot of great things and good will happened as well. It does seem though that is one date where you ask someone if they remember where they were when they heard the news and they will be able to tell you without any hesitation. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

Anyway enough of the melancholy, it wasn’t actually what I was going to write about, but somehow it seemed appropriate. So now onto some pictures of a cute baby quilt.

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Isn’t that pig flying over the fence sashing the cutest! This was just a simple baby quilt I quilted a couple of weeks back for a client. She wanted white thread and a simple all-over heart design so I used Superior Threads King Tut 993 Temple and used a white Superior Threads Masterpiece in the bobbin. I really love how simple all-over quilt designs make these wonderful simple baby quilts come to life.

I am still struggling to find the perfect spot to take good photos of the finished quilts. I have a friend who is a photographer who is coming over to help me tomorrow with finding the perfect spot both indoors and outdoors and give me some pointers on lighting. Yeah! I can’t wait.

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Happy Quilting

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60th Wedding Anniversary

Well, Mom and I made it back today. The weekend was fun and we got to see lots of family we haven’t seen for awhile at my Aunt and Uncle’s 60th Wedding Anniversary.

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Here is a picture of my Aunt and Uncle at the location where the event was held. Don’t they look great! I think they really enjoyed themselves and my cousins did a great job in organizing the whole event.

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I created a memory quilt as a gift for them. My Mom told me there favourite colours were yellow and green so that is what I used. When Mom and I got to the location for the event guess what the colours my cousins had used for the decorations… yellow and green so the quilt blended in beautifully even though that was not planned. My Aunt and Uncle loved the quilt and I know they will cherish it. I can’t ask more than that as this one was truly a labour of love.

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I chose to create a star in the centre of the quilt using my their wedding picture and then created log cabin blocks around the centre star with different photos during their life at the heart of the log cabin blocks.

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I stitched in the ditch and around the figures in the photos using Superior Threads Monopoly thread and then quilted the rest of the quilt using Superior Threads Sew Fine 50 in colours that blended with the area to be quilted. I chose to quilt leaves around the log cabin again to go with the green and being they are organic looking. I chose a straight line design in the inner border and then did a fern design in the outer border that I learned from Angela Walters books and classes. I am really please with the way this quilt turned out.

Mom and I left Kamloops Sunday morning after having a great brunch with my sister, her husband, my two nephews and their partners/wives and my cousin and her husband. It was great fun to catch up with everyone. Mom and I traveled on to Harrison Hot Springs where we stayed at the resort for two nights. Sunday was a bit of a zoo at Harrison as the weather was still warm and the whole town was hopping with families out to enjoy the last full day of vacation before having to travel home on the Monday for the start of school today. We still managed to have a soak in the adult pool though, where it was a bit more sane.

Yesterday the weather turned and it was cold and drizzly. By 10:00 am the resort was looking quite empty and there was no one in the lake at all. Mom and I took advantage and got some swimming time in at all of the different pools at the resort as well as at least two nice soaks in the adult pool. Ahh heaven! The pools were all nice and warm even if it was darn cold when you had to get out! brr!

So now back to real life!

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Isn’t he cute. He was left at the end of the bed for us to enjoy!

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Happy Quilting

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Quilting and Moving Forward

Warmer weather is still with us yeah although I didn’t enjoy it much this weekend as I ended up in hospital on Saturday with a kidney stone of all things. Has anyone ever experienced this? If not I wouldn’t recommend it. It is not a lot of fun! I am still not feeling up to par and may go for a nap before today is over even though I have a lot of things that need to get done. Severe pain seems to drain energy but I guess that makes sense. I am fine now other than still feeling very tired.

Lately I have been reading a lot of books on entrepreneurship, the one I am reading right now is The Power of Starting Something Stupid. How to crush fear, make dreams happen, and live without regret. It is by Richie Norton and I am enjoying reading it. The thing with these books is that they make you think! Now that is not a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing but it does mean that if you want to continue to move forward with your life and your goals you will need to put in the work. Sometimes that work is simply to check in with yourself and start to become aware of your feelings and then once you are aware of them to be honest about what you are feeling and experiencing. If the feelings aren’t positive then to really look at them and figure out why. This may sound easy, but in truth it is actually very challenging. It’s easy to get distracted and not dig deeper than the surface to find out what you are feeling and why you might be having the fear that is stopping you from reaching your goals. I am discovering I have a lot to learn but I am also discovering an inner strength and talent that I knew was there hidden but was always afraid to uncover it. Not sure why and I guess it doesn’t really matter at this point. Anyway that is not the point of this blog so on to quilting.

Last week I finished quilting a quilt for a client. This client likes to quilt in her RV (recreational vehicle). I am not sure how big the RV is but all I can say is way to go! This client has a wonderful eye for colour and her piecing is perfect. My piecing is just alright compared to hers. I am not sure what this pattern is called. It is a simple pattern using 5 inch squares and 2.5 inch strips. The block is the same just rotated to make the stair effect.

Donna Stepping Stones-2

The client said just something simple so I kept it simple but I just couldn’t do an allover design on this quilt. An all over design would have looked fine and given some texture but that stair stepped negative space kept calling me to do something different in it.

Donna Stepping Stones-1

There was a lot of leaves and nature in the fabric designs used in this quilt so I chose to quilt leaves on a vine in the light green areas using Superior Threads So Fine 50 506 and just a simple petal design in the squares. I repeated the leaf and vine quilting design in the border using Aurifil 50 variegated thread colour 4649.

The quilting doesn’t show up so well in the border as there is a lot of colour happening in the border. I think this turned out well and I personally like the look of it better than if I had chosen an all over quilt design for this quilt. The client seemed to agree so I guess that is all that matters.

Well, onto the next project which is another surprise, this seems to be the year of secret projects.

We are responsible for what we do no matter how we feel.

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Quilting and Frustration

So, in my last post I mentioned the special project I am working on quilting. I spent a good part of the weekend on this project although did take Monday off as it was a holiday here in BC. My partner and I took his Mom back up to Nanaimo where she lives. My partners sister had brought Mom Finley down to stay with her here in Victoria for the weekend so we drove her back home on the Monday. The traffic driving up the island to Nanaimo was unreal!! I have never seen it so busy and I have lived here all my life. I did the driving as my partner drives the highway almost every day so I figured I would let him be the passenger for a change. Good thing too as I don’t get as stressed as he does. Although sitting at the Spencer Road bottleneck for over 25 minutes just trying to leave Victoria was not fun! The picture below is actually the McKenzie Road bottleneck but you get the idea.

I had left the quilt 75% quilted and thought that I would spend a couple of hours on it on Tuesday and it would be done!! Not so. The last two borders to quilt were black and I had been using So Fine 50 black thread on the black areas however what I noticed is you really can’t see it, so I decided that I would use Superior Threads King Tut Black thread which is thicker to quilt the feathers in the last two black border areas. What a nightmare that turned out to be!.

The first black border to be quilted I had sectioned so that it was in quarters. The first two quarters were done without too many problems. I did notice some tension issues with the black King Tut thread and I remembered I had these same issues when quilting with this spool on another quilt but things seemed to be working so that was fine. Then I got to the third section and that is when things went horribly wrong. The tension issues I had experienced with the last quilt I had done with this thread resurfaced. The tension simply changes in midsection and not just a little!! A lot!!  On the back no less so you have finished completely before you realize there is a huge problem. So much so that you can’t leave it. I tried everything, re-threading the machine. Rewinding a new bobbin. New needle, making sure there was no lint in the machine. Everything! Nope I had to rip that whole section out. Now what! I have already finished two sections, there is a deadline on this quilt and the only way to get Superior  thread in Victoria is by mail order. I decided that the only way was to soldier on and just keep checking the quilting every couple of inches. It took hours and some more ripping but I finally finished that border at 10:00 pm last night. Even with using the thicker thread you can barely see the quilting on the black. I had left a channel in the feather stem to quilt some pearls in as I like that look but with the fact you really can’t see it and the time factor this will have to stay as is.

Raven Quilt-5

So I have one more border to go and I am NOT using that spool of thread. It is now in the garbage I used black thread on the black and white fabrics as well and if I had this to do over again I would use white thread.Something to file away in the back of my mind for next time. Black of course recedes and with that you can’t see the quilting at all.

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So something that should have been fairly straight forward and finished by now is still on the frame and I was NOT a happy camper yesterday. Oh well today is a new day and I will need to come up with plan B for the last black border.

We are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel!

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The Light Within Quilt Design

The Light Within-3

Well the quilt got finished and presented to it’s new owner. I am so thrilled with how this turned out that I am in the middle of writing a pattern for this one as I want to make this one again. I will post the pattern for free here once it has been completed.

The quilt design process started as I needed a quilt for someone who is facing surgery, not life threatening but never fun. The person happened to be a male and so you then have the question about what kinds of designs are good for men etc. I knew it would be scrappy as I have bins overflowing with scraps. I use Bonnie Hunter’s scrap system but have modified it to my space and the way I work. So one sunny afternoon I dragged a chair into the sunshine and sat down with a mountain of books and magazines to try and get some inspiration. I saw a few things but nothing that ‘spoke’ to me.Then I saw a pattern that used 2.5 inch strips but in bricks of 5 inches long. That intrigued me as I had a whole bin of 2.5 inch strips that were all different lengths. The pattern was quite random with colours all over the place, which didn’t really work for me so I decided to go with more of a central focus with bands of colour.

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Here is what the quilt finally morphed into. Like I said, I really love how it turned out. Kinda like a trip around the world except using the 2.5 x 5 inch ‘brinks’ instead of the squares usually used. As mentioned in a previous post it is larger than I had anticipated, I was going for a lap quilt when I started however it turned into a twin size. It is not as large as I thought it would be when it was still laid out on the floor though so that is good.

The back of the quilt is so much fun there is Star Wars and owl fabric and no this quilt was not for a child but he is a huge Star Wars fan. A friend had a piece of Star Wars fabric that she donated for the cause.

For the quilting design I chose a simple leaf pattern. I know leaves again however I enjoy quilting leaves and do quilt many other designs but leaves are so organic and look especially lovely quilted as an overall design. Leaves are symbolic of nature as are the owls and the symbolism works for who the quilt was created for.

On this quilt I wanted the thread to be more in the background especially in the high contrast of the white and yellow areas. I debated about using ‘invisible’ thread but decided against it. I decided to go with Superior Threads So Fine 50 colour 448 Olive and I used Aurfil cotton 50 number 5016 in the bobbin. The thread blended beautifully with the darker colours and didn’t ‘scream’ on the contrasting fabrics so I think it worked well.

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The person who received the quilt appeared to be thrilled so that is always a good sign. As for the scrap bin…. It is still overflowing so I guess I may need to make one of these quilts for me now.

When life gives you scraps make a quilt!

Happy qulting