Sunday, July 23, 2017

Slow Projects

EPP project from Make Modern
In the last couple of week, I've barely made it up to my sewing room (except to sleep since it's also my bedroom!). I was wondering if it was a summer heat problem so I checked out what I was doing last July. Turns out my sewing machine was in the shop and I was doing hand appliqué and was going to try my hand at English Paper Piecing. This is pretty much what I'm doing now, except that my machine is running great.

Isn't the pillow project to the right lovely? I was going to EPP this project since it was made up of triangular pieces (back then I wasn't impressed with hexies - how some things have changed!)

Well I did attempt to make the pillow top. What a mess! It's really not the pattern's fault. I just love the Make Modern magazine from Australia. The problem was the fabric I used (not enough contrast), but mostly it was a combination of my accuracy-challenge and not having a clue as to what I was doing :-) Sometimes you just have to chalk things up to experience and learn from it!

It would seem that I didn't really learn my lesson from a year ago - although I had a gut feeling that this would happen!

The EPP  for Block 7
- just to prove that I made it!
I was thrilled when I got the latest block pattern for Growing Up QAL. There were two patterns for English Paper Piecing. You can probably see where this is going.... I do have a picture of this one. It's not a total dud (and this time it wasn't because I didn't know what I was doing!), but I won't be using it for the final quilt. I didn't even bother attaching it to anything. It's not obvious in the photo but the EPP part is a couple of inches larger than the 12½" block that it's supposed to go on!

My version of Alida's second option for Block 7

Again, the pattern wasn't the problem. The problem is me trying to make an accurate EPP template from a printed pattern. I've decided to give up on that and only use pre-made EPP shapes.

Of course, I couldn't just leave block 7 in this shape. So I put together a block similar to Alida's second option.  And yes, it's made with pre-made hexies since these are the only shapes I have so far.

I've also been working on the other hexies and put some together. I remember reading on someone's blog about finishing these without binding. I really hope I saved the link in my favourites!

I just love my hexie flowers!
What I learned
  • I really need to listen to my gut - I could have saved myself hours of work on block 7!
  • I made the shapes from my daughter's scrap booking paper. The weight of the paper worked well for EPP.
  • It's not the first time that I've had problems with value - and it probably won't be the last. Think contrast!
  • I've got all kinds of projects that I should be working on - but this heat and humidity is dulling my brain (even if I avoid going outside!) 
  • The weather is less humid since I started this post. I FMQ two more blocks for my One Monthly Goal (OMG). Part of the problem was the weather but I realised that I was bored of using stencils - so I made one with feathers and now I can tackle the stencils again 😊Yeah!
About half of the blocks are quilted!

Related Links
Linking Parties: I am linking up to Growing Up QAL Month 7 as well as these link-ups. Let's see what everyone is up to! Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, Finished or Not Friday, Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall Monday, Linky Tuesday,

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Announcing the Learning QAL

Please join me in the Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL).

Join the Learning Quilt-A-Long
In this QAL, you get to choose what you want to learn - 'cause it's all about you ;-)

Think of all of the learning that you do while you create quilts and art! What about that new pattern or the first landscape quilt you made? Are you taking a class or participating in a quilt-a-long? This is where you'll link up when you want to share what you'll be learning with the rest of us!
Learning Needle Felting!

Learning with the Growing Up QAL

Twice a month we'll get together - at the beginning of the month we'll share our learning goal for the month in the Learning Goal Setting link-up. Then at the end of the month, it'll be time to share what we learned in the Learning Sum Up link-up.  

I've created a Learning Quilt-A-Long page on my blog. That's where the button will take you. It has all of the details, including the links to all of the link-ups (eventually past and present!). 

Learning all about "value"

Learning to blog (first post)
My own learning goal before the launch of the Learning QAL on August 1st, 2017 is to use MailChimp to send email reminders of the link-ups to anyone who wants them. I've seen other bloggers use it and I love getting that email reminder. As soon as I've figured it out, I'll post the link on my post as well as the Learning QAL page.


Each month there will be a prize for those who have linked up to both the Goal Setting and the Sum Up link-ups. I'm going to try to find prizes that are related to learning - a new technique, e-book or something fun about learning. The prize for the month will be announced at the Learning Goal Setting Link-up and the winner will be announced on the next month's Learning Goal Setting Link-up.

Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL) Button

Feel free to grab the button located at the top of the sidebar. You can also find it on the Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL) page. (See Related Links below)

What I learned
  • I've really enjoyed hosting the Celebrate - Fêtons 150 link-ups. It's given me an opportunity to: 
    • Reach out to more quilters and bloggers, 
    • Find out about all kinds of events and projects created specifically for Canada 150.
    • Make a few of these Canada 150 projects myself.
    • Learn all about link-ups.
  • I've also learned that I enjoy hosting link-ups but wouldn't want to host one every week. I know my limitations.
  • I get bored very easily! I'm hoping that this link-up will give me the opportunity to try new things - that way I can keep my interest and motivation going!
  • As I mentioned in the Learning Quilt-A-Long page, in the last 5 years that I've been blogging, I realised that learning isn't only about practice - it's also about taking a few minutes to reflect on what I learned.
Related Links

I hope that you'll help me celebrate learning by joining the Learning Quilt-A-Long (QAL). See you back here on August 1st!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Planning Post

3Q FAL (3rd quarter Finish-A-Long)
I've just discovered the 2017 Finish-A-Long. The idea is to create a post with a list of projects you want to finish for a quarter (this one is the 3rd) and link up. Since I'm writing a post for the One Monthly Goal (OMG), I may as well participate in the 3Q FAL (3rd quarter Finish-A-Long) as well. I do have a few projects that need to get done, and this might provide some additional motivation. :-)
July OM 

July One Monthly Goal

My June OMG was to sandwich and start FMQ my Neutral Lap Quilt - Take 5 Loves Coffee Milk. I managed to reach my goal, and now my July OMG is to finish this lap quilt. I have 4 of the 16 blocks quilted. I want to have this baby quilted, bound and labeled by July 31! This project will also count as one of my 3Q FAL.
Neutral Lap Quilt - finished quilt top
Neutral Lap Quilt FMQ Block

Here are the other projects that I will work on and hopefully finish (they have to be finished to be posted in the final link-up of the quarter).


The beginning of The Leaves
The Leaves wall hanging has been in the making since at least June 2014. I've mentioned this project in three posts now. It would be nice if it was mentioned one last time in the next quarter, as a finished project! It only needs a little time and love to quilt and bind it (and a better photo).

The Leaves - time to finish it!

Placemat No. 2

In May I made a reversible placemat for a friend. She loved it and asked for another one. I don't want to make this one exactly the same, but it would be nice if it matched to some extent. I need to make a few decisions - to use the same pattern on the front with different fabric (I don't have enough fabric left)? or to use another pattern in the same style. I do know that the other side will be scrappy and improvisational.

Here is the first placemat - Classy and Scrappy.


Fixing an old quilt

I promised a friend to fix her quilt. I've had it for a very long time so I need to do this in the next 3 months! It needs a lot of tender loving care. It was beautifully hand-quilted but some of the fabric has ripped and will need to be stabilized and fixed. It will be a challenge but I expect it to be serviceable when fixed.
A quilt in need of tender loving care

Playing with EPP Hexies

I've been playing with hexies! At one point, after making a whole bunch, I thought that maybe I should see what I had and what I might do with them. Here are a few patterns that I found on the internet. In the next quarter I will make at least one small wall hanging with my hexies :-)

What I learned

  • It was interesting going back to some of my past posts to see the UFOs. Some I had no interest in finishing. Hopefully one day!
  • I think that I'll be able to finish many of these since they are projects that I'm enjoying and want to get done. Now I just need to get into the mood to quilt!

Related Links
Posts related to Neutral Lap Quilt - Take 5 Loves Coffee Milk
Posts related to the Leaves

Linking Parties: I'll be linking this post to both OMG July Goal Setting and 2017 3Q FAL as well as several others. Join me to see what's going on in Quilt Land! Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Moving it Forward Monday, Design Wall Monday, Linky Tuesday, Oh Scrap!, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Off the Wall Friday, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Today We Celebrate - Fêtons 150

Happy Birthday Canada!
Northcott's Map of Canada
Northcott's Map of Canada
Today is our 150th and Canadians are celebrating across Canada.

In Ottawa it's going to be crazy busy. I hope to celebrate quietly at home with my sewing machine :-)

I'm very happy to share with you the finished version of my Canada 150 Art Quilt.

Canada 150 Art Quilt
A lovely maple leaf with a sheer overlay
and paper snowflakes encased within.
This quilt was a great opportunity to practice many of the techniques that I learned at Hillary Rice's embellishment workshop. In my progress post of June 11th (see Related Links), I mentioned some of the techniques that I used on this piece.

  • appliquéing
  • sheer overlay
  • encasement
  • free motion embroidery
  • couching
  • free motioned appliquéd

  • Since my last post, I added to the free motion embroidery of the northern lights and then free motion quilted the entire piece.

    English Paper Pieced Diamond Shapes
    into a Flag with a Metal Appliqué Leaf
    Metal Appliqué
    I used some of the metal that I had softened with a blow torch and cut and shaped it into a maple leaf with 150 inscribed in the middle.

    I did some beading along the printed fabric insert using Hillary's bead trail technique. Essentially you bead on top of a quilted line so that your beads are nestled in place and don't wobble. You can also adjust your stitch length and then follow the stitches to get uniform spacing between beads. I didn't follow the stitches, but beading over a quilting line is great since I didn't have to struggle to keep the line straight.

    I also appliquéd a feather near the right bottom corner. Over it I attached a feather charm. I added this to pay homage to our First Nation people who were here long before us.

    I decided to try some new finishing techniques for this quilt. First I finished the quilt using the pillow case method. Then instead of a sleeve I used triangles quilt hanging sleeve. I found a great tutorial on YouTube (see Related Links).
    Details of the bottom of the art quilt
    Sesquicentennial Quilts of Valour Challenge Results

    In the Countdown to Canada - Fêtons 150! post I had pictures of some of the Quilt of Valour Challenge quilts. I just found the results of the Challenge on the Northcott website (See Related Links).

    My favourite quilt didn't make the top 3 but all the quilts were great.

    In that same post, I promised that I would share with you some of the other quilts presented at Quilt Canada 2017. Here they are!

    My Place in Canada 2017 Youth Quilt Challenge

    The winners are posted on the Canadian Quilters Association website (see link below).The quilts were really great. We have many budding artists if they keep it up! I just wanted to show you my favourite - it didn't win but for me evokes many memories of my childhood.

    1967 Centennial 

    I don't have any information on these two quilts but I did want to show them to you. The first quilt is more traditional but the second one must have been very modern for its time since it could easily pass as a modern quilt now.
    Traditional quilt celebration Canada's Centennial
    Traditional quilt celebration Canada's Centennial

    Modern quilt celebrating Canada's Centennial
    Modern looking quilt celebrating Canada's Centennial
    What I learned
    • I had a really great time trying new techniques for the Canada 150 Art Quilt. I now have some ideas for the two art quilts that I started during Hillary Rice's workshop. I'm looking forward to working on them and trying more of Hillary's techniques.
    • Aren't the Youth and Centennial quilts amazing? It was a real treat getting to see them all at Quilt Canada 2017. 
    • I've really enjoyed hosting the Celebrate - Fêtons 150 link-ups. It's been a great experience. I was going to keep the link-up for the rest of the year but I don't think that it will see much action. I will keep it for this month, so hopefully you will post whatever you have created around the theme of Canada.
    • Next month will be the start of a new link-up theme. I haven't figured out the details yet (or a catchy name and image) but the theme will definitely be around learning. I want to make it as inclusive as possible, so it will include trying all kinds of things such as new techniques, new colours schemes etc. I will be announcing it August 1st, so please come back!
    Related Links

    Project Details

    Canada 150 Art Quilt
    13 ½" x 13"
    Materials: eco-printed cotton, cotton, novelty yarn, beads, charm, metal, thread, tulle, paper
    Techniques: crafted appliqué technique, sheer overlay, encasement, free motion embroidery, couching, metal appliqué, free motion quilting, embroidery, bead trail, 

    Prize - I will be drawing the prize for the June link-ups soon.

    Linking Parties I will be linking this post to many link-ups. Check out what everyone is doing, including Canada day and the Fourth of July! I have linked-up to Joanne, of Canuck Quilter's linking party. Check out her great Canada 150 quilt that she designed! Needle & Thread ThursdayOff the Wall FridayFinished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap, MOP Monday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Moving it Forward Monday, Design Wall Monday, Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Free Motion Mavericks

    To download the button, click here.

    Friday, June 30, 2017


    Yikes! June is almost finished - just a few hours left!

    Dahlia flower (although I see tulips!)
    This is a quick post to prove that progress has been made! My June OMG (One Monthly Goal) was "to do some free motion quilting on my Neutral Lap Quilt - Take 5 Loves Coffee Milk", and I did!

    I sandwiched it on the weekend, did some stitching-in-the-ditch around each block and then decided on a few stencils to use.

    This quilted block is made from a large dahlia stencil but I'll be adding a little something later so that it fills out the edges of the whole inside block.
    Lotus Flowers

    This quilted block is from a lotus flower stencil. This was great since it does take up most of the inside block. I just added a leaf on both sides of the middle strip to complete it.

    Fanciful Heart Pattern

    This third block has a fanciful heart motif. I'll be adding a little something extra so that it takes up the whole space of the inner block.

    I now have 13 more blocks to quilt! I'll be using these stencil patterns again as well as one more that I haven't tried out yet.

    I also found a great series of Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) sample blocks at ipatchandquilt. I have been practicing Esther's Fantasy block which is part of her FMQ samples - part 13 - orange peel variations. Have a look (see Related Links below) - she is doing some amazing quilting!

    Practicing the Stem Stitch

    I've been adding to the stem stitch sampler which I started on my trip to Quilt Canada last week. I'm calling it Étude in Stem Stitching.
    Étude in Stem Stitching - to date!

    Details of Étude in Stem Stitching
    I had a great time coming up with different FMQ designs to draw and then stem stitch. I did use a few detached chain and lazy daisy stitches.

    The colours aren't always very visible on this background. I'm not sure what I'll do with this after I've finished the embroidery. I think I would like to add beads and maybe even add some paint (that would be very brave of me!)

    More details of Étude in Stem Stitching

    Isn't is amazing how a photo lets your really "see" your piece? One of the National Juried Show winners at Quilt Canada said that she takes pictures at every step to review how her quilt is coming along. I really want to use this technique.

    I'm mentioning this because as I look at the flower here, I see that I should be adding a few more petals in the lower right side to even it out.

    Come back tomorrow for Canada Day - Celebrate - Fêtons 150! 

    What I learned

    • As I just mentioned, I want to take more photos of my pieces, especially those that I am designing, to get another perspective of the work. This is one lesson I really hope I will remember.
    • It would seem that I don't really do quick posts! I always have something to say about quilting. Thanks for humouring me. :-)

    Related Links
    Post of the Stem Stitch project
    Posts for Neutral Lap Quilt - Take 5 Loves Coffee Milk

    Linking Parties: I am linking this post to OMG June Finish Link-up, as well as many others. Please check them out to see what is happening.  Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Free Motion Mavericks, Finished or Not Friday, Slow Sunday Stitching, MOP Monday,

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Countdown to Canada - Fêtons 150!

    Quilt of Belonging coming to Ottawa
    Countdown! In 9 days Canada will be 150!

    As you can imagine, there are many events already under way and many more planned.

    Quilt of Belonging

    On June 23 the Quilt of Belonging will be displayed at the Ottawa City Hall until July 5. This should be on your list of things to see if you're in Ottawa during these dates. There are also visits planned to other Canadian cities, but if you can't make it, their website is well worth a look. See below in the Related Links.

    The quilt of Belonging is a collective work of art that was created to celebrate the diversity of Canada's people. Everyone that I know who has seen it was very impressed. I've made plans with a girlfriend to visit it on Monday. Yeah!

    Quilt Canada 2017

    Last Friday I took the train to Toronto to attend Quilt Canada 2017. Wow! The quilts were incredible. It was so awesome to see these works of art. The highlight was the National Juried Show. This year they offered tours of the winning quilts. The tour I attended was lead by one of the judges of the show. What a great way to learn about the judging process and find out what they look for.

    I'm not posting any pictures of the National Juried Show because I didn't take any (I can't believe it either!) The organizers created a booklet of all of the quilts in the show and I bought two copies :-) I just found the link to the winners of the National Juried Show, so it's below in the Related Links.

    Sesquicentennial Quilts of Valour Challenge

    Another quilt exhibition at Quilt Canada 2017 was the Sesquicentennial Quilts of Valour Challenge.

    Quilt #3 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #3 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilts were created using Northcott’s Canadian Sesquicentennial collection and then donated to the Quilts of Valour. The top 15 quilts were exhibited and everyone attending the show was asked to vote on their favourite. I've been checking the Northcott website but haven't seen the results of the voting yet. I will add the link to Related Links as soon as I find it.

    Here are some of the quilts.

    I heard many people talking about quilt number 15!

    Quilt #15 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #15 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge

    Check out the details of Quilt #12 below.

    Quilt #12 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #12 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #12 details - "For your service & dedication"
    Quilt #12 details - "For your service & dedication"

    Quilt #12 details - "Canada Thanks You"
    Quilt #12 details - "Canada Thanks You"

    Quilt #10 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #10 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge

    Quilt #8 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #8 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge

    Quilt #7 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #7 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge

    Quilt #6 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge
    Quilt #6 of the Quilts of Valour Challenge

    Canada's Biggest Quilt Bee
    Slab blocks I made in March
    Do you remember these? They were scrappy slab blocks made for quilts going to Ronald McDonald House. Many of the quilts were pieced and quilted by volunteers during Canada's Biggest Quilt Bee, held during Quilt Canada 2017.

    Here are some pictures of the different work stations at Canada's Biggest Quilt Bee. I got a lovely guided tour. It was near the end of the day, so it was rather quiet at the Quilt Bee. Volunteers had worked hard all day and were taking a well deserved break. I'm sure it started all up again the next day!

    There were stations spread out efficiently through out 3 rooms. The blocks and quilt tops were received at one end and progressed through the many stages. There were 6 or 8 people sewing slab blocks together to make quilt tops. The quilt tops were then pilled up to be sandwiched while the batting and backing were cut.

    Quilt tops to be sandwiched
    After being sandwiched, the quilts were piled, ready to be quilted in the other room. 
    Ready for quilting
    Volunteers at several long-arm and domestic machines free motion quilted them. I spoke to one volunteer who was FMQ a quilt on a domestic machine that she had never used. It was a challenge!

    Free motion quilted on a long-arm
    After being quilted, they were piled on another table for binding and the label.

    Quilts ready for binding and labels

    Big Quilt Bee labels
    Once completed, the quilts were placed on another table for folding. These were placed in bags or boxed for shipping.

    Finished quilts ready to go

    Quilts ready for shipping
    As I was leaving Canada's Biggest Quilt Bee, I noticed this on the door. The original goal was to donate 1,000 finished quilts to Ronald McDonald Houses across the country. Based on how many quilts my own guild donated (Common Thread Quilt Guild sent over 100 blocks and 50 finished quilts), I'm not at all surprised that they exceeded their goal. Quilters are incredibly generous people!
    The final count was 2614 quilts!
    Status as of Friday late afternoon
    I also have a few images of the Youth Challenge, the Guild Rosette Invitational as well as quilts made for the Centennial in 1967. Come back on July 1st for these.
    Practicing the stem stitch

    While I was travelling on the train, I practiced my stem stitch. Before I left, on a fat quarter, I drew some free motion quilting designs that I typically use and proceeded to embroider them using a stem stitch. I practiced for about 6 hours during that trip and my stem stitch is getting better.

    My secret is not just practice! I purchased the Craftsy course, "Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery" with Jessica Marquez. She is an excellent teacher - and her secret to stem stitching is well worth the price of the course :-)

    Finally, here is Block 6 of the Growing Up QAL. It's a "Famous Jane" style block. I had never seen this before. It was interesting and had a bit of the improv feel when adding the final 4 pieces.

    Block 6 of the Growing Up QAL
    Block 6 of the Growing Up QAL
    What I learned
    • This was the first complete national juried show that I've attended. It really changed my perspective on juried shows. Because I had only seen pictures of the winning quilts, I didn't think that I could ever submit a quilt. However, at the show, there were many quilts in every category that were great, but much more achievable to make as a quilter or artist.
    • Great news! Quilt Canada 2019 will be hosted in Ottawa!!!!! I have two years to try to add some accuracy to my quilting so that I can submit them and hopefully get accepted. Now that's a BAHG (Big Audacious Hairy Goal!)
    Related Links
    Posts on the slab blocks and Canada's Biggest Quilt Bee

    Linking parties: I will be linking this post to the link-ups at Celebrate - Fêtons 150 in June and the Growing Up QAL as well as many other excellent linking parties. Please check them out! Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Linky Tuesday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Moving it Forward Monday