Sunday, January 31, 2010

CLOVER NEEDLE THREADER

Now this is a very handy gadget! I had a chance to try out the Clover Needle Threader at my friend, Nancy's place awhile ago and promptly ordered my very own via the Marsh Store. What a great needle threader this is. My eyes aren't getting any better and those tiny applique needles and quilting needles are getting harder and harder to thread....this makes it so easy!





Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun Christmas gifts!

Today, my two friends, Amy and Lynn and I got together for a belated Christmas get together and for Amy's birthday. We had a great day visiting, chatting, doing show and tell, checking out Amy's 'new' vintage sewing machine and eating good food. And, we exchanged our Christmas gifts for each other.

Lynn's gift for us is absolutely adorable!! She made each of us this little tote bag, made of sock monkey fabrics with polka dot lining:

It's the perfect size for a knitting or crochet bag and it was filled with lovely Paton's wool in wonderful colours:

And, this is what the yarn is for!!!! The sock monkeys in this pattern book are absolutely adorable!! There are instructions for knitting and crocheting a number of different styles of monkeys complete with scarves and hats. I will definitely need to finish some urgents porjects so that I can make one of these monkeys. Thanks Lynn!!

I just love these monkeys with the hats and scarves:

This is Amy's gift for us.......a wonderful metal cone flower for holding the large thread cones. Isn't this just too funky and cool? :-)

There's even an extra spot to hold bobbins! It's very heavy duty; much better than those light weight plastic ones that fall over so easily. Here's the website with more info about these holders.

Thanks so much Amy....a gift which will see much use!

Monday, January 11, 2010

C 3 Rayelle's Fence

So far so good for 2010. I finished the Dear Jane block of the week already this morning. This is C 3 Rayelle's Fence. I pieced this by machine with rotary cut pieces. I now have 56 blocks finished which have 946 pieces in total. I have not done any corners or triangles yet. I haven't decided yet whether I'm just doing the middle or adding the triangles. I aim to finish the squares first and then make the major decision :-).



Friday, January 8, 2010

FALL FABRIC EXCHANGE

The Hearts and Hands of Elgin County quilt group had a challenge project which was organized in June 2008. We had the summer months to find a 1/4 metre of fall fabric to blend with a sample that Mary Lynn had already picked up. The original focus fabric was the second one from the right.

Fifteen members participated and these were the fabrics that we all came up with. A bunch of us went shopping at Cherished Pieces, located in Tillsonburg, ON so quite a few of the fabrics came from that shop. Laurie bought the solid red which blended beautifully with the focus fabric, but gave that wonderful challenge to really come up with something that could use all those fabrics. The red really gave the quilts punch! We had to use all the fabrics somewhere in the quilt, but could add as many fabrics as we wished.

We had a year to finish the quilts and 11 of them were finished, almost finished or the tops were complete for the Sept. 2009 meeting. There are one or two quilts that I don't have a photo of yet, but I will add them when I receive them. We met at Mary Lynn's place to hang them all on the clothes line for a photo which her husband would take for us! Here is the chaos of a bunch of quilters trying to get all the quilts on the line on a very windy day LOL:



Audrey's lovely quilt set with white borders! Wow, this one was absolutely gorgeous. It was quilted by Tim at the Marsh Store in Coldstream, ON and he quilted loops and stars over the whole quilt.
Audrey did the coolest label using a sample of each fabric with our names beside it. You can see some of the wonderful quilting in this photo as well:

Bea made a stuffed dog out of her fabrics LOL...what an awesome idea:


Bea is in love with her doggie!

Cathy with her quilt. I believe this was the disappearing nine-patch pattern:

Donna's finished quilt which is a similar pattern to Cathy's:

Ina's cute sampler with some lovely applique in it:
Me with my pin basted quilt. Unfortunately, it's still sitting there unquilted as my deadline passed and other projects took precedence.



Joyce also got her quilt to the point of quilting.

Joyce used leftovers and the red on the back of the quilt:

Lena's quilt looks totally different set with the blue. Awesome quilt as usual, Lena! We love Lena's quilts that are most often made from her extensive fabric stash:

Those pinwheels really look like they're turning in the wind!

Joyce's sister, Liz (left), is our honorary member from Winnipeg! She planned a trip to Ontario so she could be there for this meeting. Cool border idea Liz!! Here is Liz's quilt, all finished:

Liz also used the red and leftover fabrics on the back:

Maria's lovely quilt with piano key borders. See how well the lights and darks contrast Maria :-)?

MaryLynn's autumn chain quilt with the lovely machine applique:

Tina's center of her quilt. This is how far she had progressed by the meeting:


At a later meeting, she got the lovely pieced borders onto the quilt:


Last, but not least is Tracy's Crazy 8's top.

Photos of the quilts as they are finished will be added as well as Laurie's quilt. this was a real enjoyable challenge and it's amazing how different everyone's quilts look even though we started with the exact same fabrics.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You won't believe this!!! A Dear Jane block..........

I hardly believe it myself, but this morning I finished a Dear Jane block again...it's been quite awhile since I made one of those, but one of my goals of the New Year was to get going on that quilt again. The Dear Jane list on the internet posts a block of the week (BOW) and this is the one for the first week of January. I actually got it finished on time with several days to spare :-). This one is M 4 Stepping Stones. I paper pieced the center part and added the outer strips and triangles cut a little large and then trimmed to exact size.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stash Management

Comments on yesterday's post about the leaders/enders quilt got me thinking of posting a few pictures of how I organize my leftover fabric strips. Whenever I am finished a quilt, I cut the small leftover fabric into 2 1/2" or 2" (or smaller) strips and put them in the appropriate drawer. I used Bonnie Hunter's suggestions for sizes that work well in scrappy quilts. I look at yard sales for these drawer units and use them for all kinds of things. My cutting table is actually two kitchen tables which we also picked up at yard sales a few weeks apart for $5.00 and $2.00 :-). DH, Jake, made square 'risers' and drilled holes in it exactly the size of the table legs to make the cutting surface at a comfortable height. I now have a 60" square table for cutting and pinning. I have these drawer units under the table all around and store tools, thread and supplies on one side and projects that I have on the go in other drawers. Here is the side that stores the 'homemade' jelly rolls :-).

The first bank of drawers has 2" squares, 2 1/2" squares, 2" strips, 2 1/2" strips and 3 1/2" strips:

The second bank of drawers has strings, 1" strips, 1 1/2" strips (I'm working on a scrappy log cabin with these) and leftover binding pieces:

It takes a little work to get this set up and get into the habit of putting things into these drawers, but after awhile it gets to be second nature. And, the best part is that when I need something, it's right there.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Leaders - Enders

I've been using leaders/enders for a few years which I learned from Bonnie Hunter's fun site. I started with the quilt which she made under her instructions on her website for leaders/enders and made a blue and white quilt using scraps collected from years and years of sewing. Here is a picture of the first quilt I made:

I loved these units for leaders/enders so kept on cutting using beige and green scraps this time. Here is my trusty Singer 15-88 treadle with lots of beige and green 2" squares for the 4 patch units:


I organized my disaster in the plastic tub where I keep this project and pressed all the 4 patches and half square triangles that I had completed.



I have 44 blocks completed (the blue and white quilt used 100). By the time I have all the subunits put together I'll probably have at least 50 blocks, so I'm halfway:


This strip is leftover from my curved log cabin quilt's piano key border and the star is made from the cut offs from a 12" block I made for a guild project years ago :-). I've kept both these items in the bucket and hope to incorporate them somewhere in the finished quilt..kind of a cool, unexpected surprise somewhere. It'll be sometime before I get to laying this quilt out :-).

Found another picture on my computer of some of the green and beige squares up on my design wall. I forgot I had this picture :-). This is the same layout as the blue and white quilt, but I think I'm going to do something different with the layout for the green and cream/brown quilt.



Some nostalgia

Putting away my Christmas decorations today produced some warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia :-). I thought I'd post a few pictures of this special table cloth that my Mom made for me years ago; I think the first year I was married, which would be 1978. I remember it on the table in our first home, so it was definitely around that time. My Mom is an accomplished seamstress and learned some nice handwork at school in her native Holland. Her education was interrupted by World War II, but she did end up going to a special school where they taught homemaking. It was called "Huishoudschool" in Holland. She still has her notebook with paper tea towels, complete with coloured stripes on them, folded 'properly' and put into her notebook. Her mother also did a lot of needlework and I have several table cloths that she made as well. My Mom learned embroidery and sewing at a very early age from my Oma and my sister and I learned from my Mom when we were very young.

I really like this table cloth which my Mom made for our round pine coffee table. It comes out every year.



Here is a closeup of the embroidered poinsettias and the pretty edge at the hem. It's all done by hand and is as nice at the back as at the front!


This is a table topper that I made when I first began to quilt in 1989. This is probably made then or in 1990. Shame on me, I didn't put a label on the back!! I had taken a log cabin quilting class and did a lot of log cabin projects those first years. I still use this table topper every year and can really see my progress in my quilting :-). It is quilted by hand.


Here is a close up of the corner and binding. This was in the days when I did my binding by machine!! I always do it by hand now as I like the look a lot better even if it takes longer. My Mother's teaching is rubbing off on me :-).

Here is the old Christmas tree skirt that I made the same year. The table topper was made from leftover fabrics from the tree skirt. The reason I put the darker side of the diamonds in the center was because I had a rust coloured carpet so I wanted to keep the red away from it a bit :-). I handquilted this one in the ditch around each of the diamonds and did one row each year until they were all finished. I think I'll quilt a star in the center of the blocks one of these days yet.