Saturday, February 25, 2017

I'm Off To See The Wizard...

Yesterday I felt like Dorothy skipping along the yellow brick road, off to see the quilting Wizard, a.k.a. Roberta, my long-arm quilter at Cocoa and Quilts. A couple of weeks ago she was browsing through my blog and saw the posts about the Slab and Disappearing Four Patch charity quilts and very kindly sent me an email offering to quilt them for me. I couldn't refuse!

So I've been busy putting the finishing touches on the tops.

I made the smaller version of the Slab Quilt for the Canada's Big Quilt Bee (12 blocks), and have two additional blocks that I will include in the package.

Roberta had generously offered to provide backings as well but I happened to find this piece of stylized maple leaves in my stash so I went with that - it seemed perfect for this little patriotic project.

And I got the Disappearing Four Patch top together as well. Love it! It finished off at about 62" x 72", which will be a nice size.

This is such a light, airy and feminine quilt - totally reminds me of a summer garden.

I found a blue floral print in my stash of backings that I think suits it well. No outside border for this one, just a binding that will be the same as the backing.

Early yesterday I sewed the backings together and headed over the hill to leave them with Roberta. We had a great visit and she's keen to get started. I am so over the moon that she is doing this for me that I can't tell you - proof positive of the big hearts that reside in the quilting community....M

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Slowly, Slowly

A little here and a little there and gradually more of my Candied Hexagons is getting quilted.

I'm quite tickled with the progress and hope that it continues because once the warmer weather kicks in in a few months I know that it will to come to a stand still.

Right now though it's proving to be a treat to work on and a happy way to spend a few hours on a Sunday....M

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Big, Big Bee

If you are looking for a special way to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, the gals at The Canadian Quilters Association have hit upon a great idea. They are planning a HUGE quilting bee - maybe Canada's biggest ever - to create 1,000 quilts. That's big!

Over 88 guilds from across the country are participating in Canada's Big Quilt Bee but you don't have to belong to a guild to get in on the fun. It all culminates in a four-day quilt bee at Quilt Canada 2017 in Toronto from June 14 - 17.

It's not only a lofty goal (pardon the pun), it's for a great cause. The plan is to donate two quilts to every room at Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada, which provide families of sick children with a home to stay at while their child is being treated at a nearby hospital. These are extended stays, often as long as six months to a year, so when they leave for home they can take their handmade quilty hug with them.

They are asking anyone interested to make Slab blocks or quilts using Cheryl Arkinson's pattern - lots of fun, improv stitching.

For an extra sesquicentennial touch, they are asking that each block include one piece of fabric from four different Canada 150 fabric lines specially designed by various manufacturers. I found these three pieces and have incorporated the two on the right into each of my blocks.

My blocks have a very patriotic feel - all reds with a little white tossed in for interest. The blocks finish off at 12", so they are big, and come together quickly.

For full details visit the Canada's Big Quilt Bee; you'll find everything that you need to know there if you're interested in helping out. Remember, you can give one block, or two, or enough to make a full quilt top (there are two different size options); the deadline is May 30.

So, my Valentine this year is to finish off the last of my 12 blocks. Fittingly, I will be wearing my 'Ronald McDonald' socks as I sew, a snazzy Christmas gift from Finland that I received from my brother and his wife a few years ago....M

Friday, February 10, 2017

Symmetry Wins

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my dithering about whether to make the Disappearing Four Patch quilt larger or not. Finally, a decision - I'm making more blocks so I cut more squares.

It sounds like many of you often grapple with the same question. Yes, the design will now be symmetrical, which is great, but in the end I went bigger because it's going to be a charity quilt, and I'd like whoever receives it to be able to get as much use out of it as possible.

A smaller quilt is nice, but I'm thinking if it's for someone in need then it should be what's better for them more than what's better for me.

So, I put on my big girl pants and got down to it. All 11 blocks are cut and three are together.

They are all large florals to keep the feel of the quilt light and airy and help break up the smaller prints that are already made up.

It's good to have a decision, and good to see the blocks coming together....M

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Other Half of the Pile

You saw my collection of little four patches that emerged from the scraps that I dug out from the corner of my cutting table. Well, I've also put together 35 crumb blocks with the remainder. It boggles the mind because that pile just did not look big at all.

Granted, I dug into my red and green scrap bins just a bit to round things out, but really, a quilt's worth of crumbs sitting on the corner of my table?! Ah, the power of the pile!

I started out making 5" blocks but increased them to 6.5"; they will finish off at 6".

There are several that are really crumby...

and then there are some with larger swaths of colour to help everything breathe a bit. I found that if I just put a few together at a time I got more variety with the layouts, otherwise they all seemed to start looking the same. At times it felt like the pile would never disappear (initially I thought that I might have enough for a runner - ha!) but a little stick-to-it-ness paid off.

Originally they were all side by side on the design wall but they weren't looking like much so I've spaced them out a bit which I think lets the individual blocks shine a bit more, so I will sew them with a narrow sashing. It's not a huge quilt but will be fun to use on the sofa; I think I'll call it Crumby Christmas.

I've also found the perfect backing for it - this Debbie Mumm snowman print. I cannot even begin to imagine how old it is but it works nicely and it will be nice to get it used....M

Friday, February 03, 2017

I Can't Leave It Like This, Can I?

Well, I'm 30 blocks in have enough for a Disappearing Four Patch quilt but my anal, symmetrical self is struggling to say that it's all of the blocks that I need to make. This was a baby quilt that has morphed into a twin and if I make it much larger it will be a double. I want to quilt this one on my machine and if it gets much bigger (it's 50" x 60" right now) I think I'm in for a few challenges.

My issue is that it's not symmetrical - I feel that I should add another column to the right and another row along the bottom, but I really don't feel like making another 11 blocks.

After I took a pic of it I noticed that the smaller strips help create a 'border' around the entire thing, but I think that might just be a bit of rationalization on my part.

What do you think? Is this enough to start sewing together or should I bite the bullet and make the additional blocks? If I made more it would be from larger prints because I think they really shine in this block. I'm sure if I just started cutting they would be done before I know it, but I was so keen on having this one headed for the finish line now....M

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

My Disappearing Act

Anne's foray into the Disappearing Four Patch block stuck with me so I had to give it a try. I started with 6" blocks rather than the 5" blocks that she used so my blocks will finish off a little larger at 10" square.

I pulled a collection of florals - small, medium and large prints - and tossed in a bit of plaid, which happens to be from a recycled men's shirt, so it's on the scrappy side.

The pile of four patches was all prepped first and I've just been assembling one or two at a time when I pass the machine so the pile of blocks continues to grow (I think a quilt done with just this block would look spectacular!).

And this is what happens when you fall asleep as you sew...There's always one, isn't there, or is it just me?

Originally I thought it was going to be a baby quilt but I think it's going to end up closer to twin sized. Either way, it will be a charity quilt....M