Monday, March 27, 2006

The Simple Cross - Completed Flimsy

Here it is! The Simple Cross is now a completed top, ready for quilting. This is a monster at 102" square. You can see the hands of my two helpers at the top of the quilt. This one is so large it was hard to get a picture of it--even with help.

How to Stop a Quilter in Her Tracks

My iron died last night in the middle of piecing. Without a functioning iron, quilting comes to a halt. It doesn't matter how fancy your sewing machine is, without an iron, it is impossible to quilt! An iron that doesn't work will actually stop a quilter in her tracks!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Simple Cross

I have been trying to make more room in my studio--not necessarily room for more fabric; just room to enable me to organize my existing fabric and works-in-progress better. I have a need to streamline my studio - to reduce the cluttered look.

I have been working on projects that will reduce my stash. Yesterday, I managed to work my way through my entire bin of 2 1/2" strips. The only things remaining in that bin are a few strips of solid black fabric and a small stack of rectangles left from a prior project that are already cut to 2 1/2" x 4 1/2".

The pattern that enabled me to work through what was left of my 2 1/2" strips was The Simple Cross, a pattern from pages 38 to 41 of Fons and Porter's For the Love of Quilting magazine from September/October 2000.

I started making blocks for this quilt on Sunday, March 12, 2006. By documenting my daily progress on this quilt in a binder, I have been able to stay focused on this project without getting sidetracked to other projects. I may have found a way to curb the growth of my UFOs!

There are a total of 36 blocks in this quilt. Yesterday, I finished the construction of the last two blocks, the sashing between the blocks, and put together 4 rows. There are two more rows of blocks to put together and then the top will be ready for borders. The pattern calls for a 1 1/2" inner border and a 6 1/2" outer border.

This pattern also uses a technique called, presashing.

Presashing avoids piecing skinny sashing rows that have to be attached to larger rows of blocks. Presashing adds the sashing to blocks as you go. When you are done putting the rows together, you just need to join a sashing row across the bottom of the quilt and another across down one side of the quilt. This is a much easier way to manage those skinny sashing rows.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Spring is Here!

Spring is definitely here! It is just after 7:00 in the morning, the sun is shining and the sky is clear. There isn't a breath of wind. What a glorious day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Guild Night - Show and Tell

Tonight was our Quilt Guild meeting. I took two quilts to show and tell. The first one was the Quilt Guild's Raffle Quilt.
The second quilt was my Snowball and Nine Patch Quilt.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Tonight was a night away from quilting to celebrate a special birthday.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Raffle Quilt Finished

This is the PieceMakers Quilting Guild's Raffle Quilt. I finished quilting it on my long arm quilting machine last night.

It is a King Size quilt quilted with the Baptist Fan Quilting pattern.

The batik star blocks were pieced by individual quilt guild members and assembled into the quilt top at a work bee. It is ready to be bound by one of the membership.

Once proper photos are taken of the quilt and tickets printed, the selling of tickets can begin.

The quilt show is in October so look for your opportunity to purchase a chance to win this beautiful quilt.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


This is Lucky.

Lucky is an APQS long arm quilting machine that has been living with me since May 2005.

You may think that naming a piece of machinery is a little odd. However, it is tradition in the long-arming industry to name your machine. Other quilters have come up with names like: the obvious, Millie, Glinda (the Good Witch), Polly-Ester, Lucy (after Lucille Ball), and Patience. If you are interested in reading about some other names for long arm machines and the stories behind them, have a look at the APQS site by clicking here:

I named my machine Lucky because it has a 13 foot table. Standard sizes are 12 foot and 14 foot when it comes to table length. I wanted the largest table I could get and 14 foot was just too long for the room that I was going to use without taking out a wall and doing some major renovations. I thought 12 foot would be too small and I would be sacrificing something I would regret later. The dealer suggested that I go with a custom table length and I ended up with a 13 foot table. ..................hence, Lucky 13 came to mind and the name stuck.

For me, naming things that are not human is not unusual. I named my Ford Explorer Suvy because she is an SUV. Last April, when the price of gas rose to levels equaling the price of gold, I bought a Honda Civic and named her, Maggie, because she is the colour of magnesium. I named my Singer sewing machine, Zip because he only had two speeds--very, very fast and stop. Zip was replaced by Heidi on April 17, 1999. Heidi is my Bernina sewing machine (of Swiss origin) and her and I have logged many happy hours together. Naming the items we spend a great deal of time with gives them personality.

Have you noticed the trend? The things that "challenge" me the most have male personalities and those objects that provide trouble-free service are female. Hmmmmmmmm.

The quilt on the frame shown in the picture with Lucky is the raffle quilt from the PieceMakers Quilt Guild. This is just a sneak peek. I will post more pictures of the completed quilt after Lucky and I finish working on it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Digital Camera as a Design Wall

This is yet another picture of a UFO that I am working on.

The center of the blocks is a small snowman panel. I have surrounded the panels with logs to make Courthouse Step blocks.

The quilt top is only half complete.
I have taken a picture of the layout of the remainder of the blocks that I want to make. This digital image serves as an electronic design wall. I keep this picture next to my sewing machine as a reference for which block to join to which to finish the design I want.

My digital camera is my newest quilting gadget.

Friday, March 10, 2006

UFOs in the Basket

I am not sure how other quilters store their UFOs but I have mine stored in various ways. I have most of my larger UFOs stored in pizza-type boxes with a label on the end identifying what is in the box. I keep the UFO and all fabric and patterns related to that UFO in that box. This way when I want to work on a project, I can just take out the box and go to work.

Smaller projects are kept together in a large tote that is identified with a label on the end of it showing that it contains works in progress.

I also have two hand-work UFO projects that live in a basket in the living room next to my chair. It is amazing how old these ones are!
One of the projects is a kit that I bought at Woolco here in Canada before it was bought by Wal-Mart. This project is at least 11 years old. I looked on Wal-Mart Canada's web site and found out that "Wal-Mart Canada was founded in March 1994 with the acquisition of the Woolco division of Woolworth Canada Inc. A total of 122 stores were converted in less than eight months to the Wal-Mart format."
This project was a whole cloth quilt with a cross stitch design stamped on it. After the cross stitch is completed, it can be sandwiched with batting and backing and is ready to quilt. Even the quilting lines are marked in blue on the top. This picture shows the progress I have made on the top - it is only about half complete.
This is a closeup of one of the stars.

The second UFO project in the basket is an English Paper Pieced Star quilt made out of diamond shapes. Each piece is hand basted to a freezer paper template and then they are hand sewn together into a star shape.This project was started as a gift for my son. I believe I started this one in 1998.

I thought I might have it finished in time for my son's High School Graduation. He graduated two years ago. Then I thought I might finish it in time for his Graduation from University. He graduates from University in three years. With the slow progress I have made so far, this might be an ambitious goal. Some of the rows are put together. Each of the stars is made from a different fabric. My son was very specific that there should be no flowers or "girlie stuff" in this quilt. It was difficult to find enough fabrics to keep each block unique while staying way from anything with a flower in it or any hint of something feminine.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Crumb Quilt #2

I have started a second Crumb Quilt. These blocks are so easy to make and do not require any concentration at all. They are great blocks to make when you only have a few minutes to spare.

Sometimes quilt inspiration is like a dry well and you just can't get motivated to quilt. This is the perfect prescription for the un-inspired quilter. Working with leftover bits of previous projects jump starts the creative process again as you reflect on the memories of quilt projects past. (This is where the Ghost of Quilting Past appears!)

Instead of just sticking to one particular colour like I did with the green crumb block quilt, I have decided that anything goes with these blocks. It is hard to believe that a tangled mess like this..................

.................................turns into beautiful blocks like these!

I have made 30 blocks so far. I plan on making this into a queen size quilt so I will have to soon decide on the setting so that I know how many blocks to make in total.

I have set these blocks on a black background to take their picture. I am playing with the idea of alternate blocks of black or black sashing strips between the blocks. The advantage of plain alternate blocks is that there is room to showcase some quilting.

Since this quilt looks like it will have quite a bit of black in it, there is no danger of it being snatched by the quilt-napper, my mother. That means that this one will likely make it to the prospective gift pile. I need to get a few quilts ahead as I have two nieces that were recently engaged and are planning weddings for next Spring.

Monday, March 6, 2006

First Machine Quilted Quilt

This is a picture of my first quilt that was quilted by machine. This quilt is called Fall Log Cabin. This quilt was pieced in November 1997 during one of our group's Pre-Christmas Quilt Weekends.

This top sat for years - until 1999 - in an un-quilted state until I took some machine quilting lessons and tackled the quilting.

This quilt was also entered in our Fall Fair that year and won first place in the Medium Patchwork category.

First Quilt

I see a lot of quilters on-line talking about their first quilt. That made me go back and see if I could find a picture of my first quilt. Here it is.....................Crazy About Chickens.

I put the last stitches in this quilt on September 17, 1999, the day before the deadline for entries to our local Fall Fair that year. I won first place in the "Beginner's First Major Quilt" category. The top was crazy pieced on a muslin foundation. I tied the blocks and machine quilted the border.

I used my Grandmother's Singer treadle sewing machine to piece the blocks for this quilt. I have many fond memories of my Grandmother sewing on this machine. As a child I was allowed to play with all the fabric scraps left from the many clothing projects she made. The only fabrics in her stash that were off limit were the large "whole" pieces that hadn't been cut into yet.

We still use this quilt on our bed. It is one of the quilts that keeps us warm in the winter. It is no longer visible as a much prettier quilt now lives on top of it.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Short Trips Around the World

Often we have bits of fabric left from making larger projects. I like to make miniature quilts from these left over bits. These are two Trip Around the World quilts I have made from leftover bits of fabric. Because they are so small in size, I have named them Short Trips Around the World. If the quilt is smaller, the trip must be shorter, right?
When I machine quilt on my DSM, I like to use this serpentine stitch.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

I thought I should start showing some of UFOs that I am working on. I do not start a project and see it through to completion before starting another project. This is why I have an endless list of UFOs! I am often tempted to try a new technique, put together a new block based on an exciting new quilt I have found, etc. in between projects that I am currently working on. As well, I become bored with a particular project and often shift gears to another project.
This quilt is named Everything but the Kitchen Sink because it has many blocks in it that were sitting around without a home. There is no plan to this quilt - it will be finished when it is queen size. I have no idea how it will look when totally finished as the decision for what to do on the the next round is not made until the previous round is finished. I still have a box of log cabin blocks that will eventually make their way into this top as well.

The intent of the quilt is merely to use up orphan blocks and reduce my scrap stash. No plan, no rules!

Friday, March 3, 2006

A Small Quilt for a Small Bear

After my grandmother, died, my mother commissioned a bear maker to make my grandmother's muskrat fur coat into three bears as a mementos for us. The bears were, Robert (my grandmother's first name was, Roberta) which belongs to my brother, Elva (my grandmother's middle name) which belongs to me, and Grandma which belongs to my mother.
Since Elva is owned by me and I am a quiltmaker, it was not long and I had made Elva her own quilt. This quilt is named, Canada Day. It is red and white - the colours of the Canadian flag and has a backing with small Canadian flags on it.

When my mother discovered that Elva had her own quilt, she wanted a quilt made for her bear. I decided that the quilt would be a gift for my mother for Mother's Day. I finished the quilt in April 2001 and took it to my local quilt guild for show and tell.

The guild was asked to develop a display to showcase quilting for the the local library. I was asked if I would loan my small quilt to this display for the month of April. These pictures are of the showcase as it appeared in the entrance of the library.

This is Grandma Bear with her now famous quilt.

These pictures show the details of the quilt. Take a look at the penny in the upper right hand corner. I have never made blocks this small since! I do not enjoy making quilts with triangles but I managed to make tiny half square triangles for this quilt using the "Square in a Square" ruler developed by Jodi Barrows.

No Valentine Quilt

Prior to Valentine's Day, many quilters' blogs contained pictures of quilts that they display in their homes each year in celebration of February 14. I have no such quilt. There are no quilts in this house sporting red hearts. This is not because I don't like heart quilts, it is just that I have not yet found the time to make a heart quilt. So, for the month of February, this quilt hung in my entrance as a tribute to Valentine's Day. Perhaps I will finish a heart quilt in time for next Feb.

This is the third nine patch wall hanging I have shown on my blog. I enjoy making nine patches. I think they lend themselves well to scrap quilts which are the quilts I enjoy making most.

Celebrating 40!

In 2003, my sister-in-law turned 40. I made her a table runner in recognition of this milestone and presented it to her for Christmas that year. I named this table runner, Four Decades.

I had fabric left from making the table runner so I continued to make nine patch blocks and put them together in this wall hanging.

My brother also turned 40 in 2003 and his Christmas present that year was a quilt. This quilt was named Forty Years. It is comprised of 40 hourglass blocks - one for each year. Surrounding the hourglass blocks are rail fence blocks. The rail fence blocks represent the roads by brother has traveled in 40 years. You can't see it in the photo, but the backing of this quilt was flannel printed with license plates. The reference to the road and license plates are in recognition of my brother's hobby which is buying old vehicles (sometimes not running at the time) and fixing them up for enjoyment and later re-sale.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

PieceMakers Quilt Guild Challenge

The Quilting Guild that I belong to is having a quilt challenge that will be showcased at our Quilt Show to be held October 28, 2006.

This is the fabric that we have to work with. It is a batik and I can honestly say that it is not the prettiest fabric that I have ever seen.

I don't know what I will be making out of this!

PieceMakers Quilt Guild 2006 Quilt Show Challenge
Theme: The Beauty of the Earth

* Each kit included 1 fat quarter - see picture above - and the rules for $4.00.

* The challenge fabric must be very visible on the front of the quilt.

* You can use any additional fabrics of your own choosing.

* The perimeter of the finished piece must not be larger than 144 inches and not smaller than 72 inches of whatever shape you choose.

* Your design may be original or traditional.

* Any combination of machine and/or hand hand piecing, applique or quilting is permitted. Embellishments are at the quilter's discretion.

* The deadline is September 19, 2006.

Quilt Tester

This is my official quilt tester. All quilts made by me have received the official "stamp of approval" by our in-house quilt tester, "Joey".

UFO Complete - Nine Patch and Snowball

Another UFO finished!

I finished hand sewing the binding on this quilt last weekend.

This quilt finished 75" x 84" and was machine quilted on my long arm with concentric circles - 208 circles and 36 half circles in all. The borders were quilted with a clam shell pattern.

This is a heavy, warm quilt with a flannel back and Warm and Natural batting.

Winter is Back

This is what we woke up to last Sunday morning. It started snowing late Saturday afternoon and continued all through the night.

.......................just when we thought winter was over.

The good thing is that the snow had all disappeared by the end of the day Monday. Hopefully, this is the last snow storm of the season.