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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Finally, some stitching happened!

I made a few 'happy blocks' from the Heartstrings group on Yahoo and some framed nine patches using fat quarters.  Not a lot of sewing but it is a start and felt good!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A New Year but not such a new me!

This has been a crummy beginning to 2018. It is the first time in my life that I was not organized to end the year and begin a new one with enthusiasm. 
I had to fly home for a week at Christmas in December and that was the worst Christmas that I can remember in my long life of 70 years.  My husband was having health issues and he was cranky.  I didn't feel in control of my daily activities and the weather was brutal and I felt lost.  There were some great moments in all of that.  In my cedar chest, I found some awesome winter sweaters and at the back of the closet, I found my fur coat and a super warm winter jacket.  But no sewing got done at all!
We returned to our sunny and warm home on Boxing day and I was immediately involved in a tennis tournament but sadly, my partner had been ill with a lousy cold for a week and I didn't realize just how ill he still was.  We didn't play well and a few days later, guess who had a sore throat?
I hustled to get my Xmas tree taken down and the house cleaned up knowing that I was going to potentially get the inevitable cold.  A trip to the local drugstore helped with lots of Zicam (to lessen or reduce the symptoms of a cold) plus a few boxes of super soft kleenex.
And then, bingo, the cold arrived full force on Jan 3rd and that was the end of regular routine and the beginning of life on the sofa!
I keep reading blogs where everyone is organizing for the new year.  I love the eighteen in 2018.  I enjoy reading about how many projects got accomplished last year and how many quilts were donated to charity.  None of that has happened here! 
But... in December, I made this quilt top and I have to say, it was the best use of fat quarters since I discovered Atkinson's yellow brick road!

But, where are the instructions?  I 'think' I might have taken them home?  I have no idea.  But I know each fat quarter was cut up into a square for the center and then strips and all mixed and matched. 
Today was the first day I ventured into my sewing room since mid December and I really am not sure where to start.
So, I began with cutting up Christmas fabric for pillowcases.  I cut the body, accent and cuff from fabrics that I have been buying on sale and want to make these for gifts for next year.  I realized when I was home that I had no small gifts to hand out to neighbours and friends.  These are ready to stitch when I get home as I prefer to use my serger.
I have a plus quilt ready to cut and stitch.
I have put some flannel squares onto my design wall.  Surprise, the kit of squares I had were 5.5" and the ones I cut were 5".  That was enough to make me walk away in annoyance.
I have projects stacked on my desk.
I have a pile of kits and layer cakes and jelly rolls, with patterns in a container (well, there is more elsewhere but these ones appeal to me).
And more in my walk in closet.

I am very organized!  But no sewing is happening.  And not much else either! So, I walked outside and took a few pictures in our backyard.
The oranges and grapefruit are ripening and I have been craving grapefruit.  I decided to listen to  my body and have been eating one a day even though they are still not quite sweet enough.  However, they are juicy and my cravings are getting satisfied.

Our pomegranate tree is losing all its leaves... seems funny here in Arizona but that is the nature of that tree.  New leaves will grow before the last ones have been shed.
My sister gave me a journal system for Christmas.  I have other journals as well.  I did organize them all into one basket.  The best idea I have heard that might just be my method of choice is to start every Monday with a list of projects for the week.  Things you want to get done.  It is referred to as the 'task master' and am going to try that and see if it gives me the required 'kick in the butt'. 
Happy New Year and hopefully you are healthy, happy and stitching up a storm! 
Otherwise, I am tempted to make a cup of hot lemon and honey and curl with another book! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

More tennis and less quilting

The weather has been unusually warm here in Arizona and temperatures are 10ºF higher than the normal average.  Thus, more time has been spent outside, playing, having fun and staying fit than sitting at my machine and using the iron.  Most evenings I am too tired to contemplate moving from my lazy boy!
This quilt top got finished to this stage.  I think it needs another floral outer border and will check my stash of floral fabrics at my other home and find one that will 'work' to finish this off and make it a decent size for donation.

I also got this top ready to take back home for finishing in the spring, again, will be a donation quilt.
Last summer, when perusing the quilts donated for the fire victims in BC, I saw a picture of this quilt and figured out the pattern.  It uses a jelly roll and lots of cream fabric.
I didn't figure out the math very correctly and one jelly roll actually made two quilts so I have quilt one and two ready for the next step. They look the same but the fabrics are actually varied in the two quilts.

In my October "box" from Fat Quarter shop, I had a set of Tula Pink fat quarters and a pattern for this quilt.  I started cutting and sewing and this just needs the two side borders added and it will be ready for the layering and quilting.

So, not a lot of projects finished in the last 4 weeks but, at least there is a little bit of progress.  I was hoping for a day or two of rain here in the sunny southwest so I could really accomplish some sewing but I really am glad that the weather is great for tennis.  Not so good for the air quality and dust here but eventually winter will arrive.  In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all my quilting friends.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

FINALLY... bonding with my Janome 6600

We are in our winter home.  Oranges and grapefruit are growing and pomegranates are ready.  The bouganvilla is blooming as are the lantana.  Our palm trees are getting really big... hard to believe that the two of those fit into the back of our vehicle six years ago! 

Now that the basics have been taken care of (sort of... some windows still need washing) and we have groceries and have played lots of tennis, and temperatures have cooled somewhat to high twenties/low thirties during the afternoon, it is time to sew!!

I was in a "tea" swap many years ago and gave up on ever getting my blocks returned to me.  But, through a series of events, a package arrived in my mailbox from Susan in Florida.  I think these blocks will go home where I have an assortment of 'tea' fabrics that I collected at the time.  Am sure my Wednesday Divas will have some brilliant ideas to help me figure out what to do with these.
And, this is a really old UFO I dug out of my bin that is here.  I know I cut these blocks at least seven years ago!  And have looked at this a few times and put it away again.  The time is now to work to on these.  This is a Cozy quilt shop pattern and the fabrics are ancient!
These are some blocks I decided to make after the pattern arrived "free" in my inbox this week and I had a jelly roll of Free Spirit Fabrics that I decided to use and play with the block.  Easy but perhaps a little boring so working on two projects at once to keep me on my toes!

Am busy with tennis but happy to have some sewing time happening. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Rainy west coast weather

I am on countdown to changing homes and so the focus is on finishing!
This is the third triangle quilt made from a kit started 3 years ago. I decided to make two preemie quilts plus this one from all the leftover triangles that I had cut.  I added two borders to make the quilt large enough to use for donation.
A preemie quilt from a kit handed out last month at guild.
This is a combination of two ideas I gleaned from Missouri Star and Fat Quarter shop.  I used this as a sample for a guild mini workshop to go with making quilts from jelly roll strips and also included how to make 8 half square triangles from a 10" square.

This is quilt number four from the tops sent to the Fraser Valley Modern quilt guild to be finished and donated where we choose.  I was given quilt tops to finish that were appropriate for Quilts of Valour and this one needed borders added to get it to the right size for donation.  A friend had given me this fabric and I thought the moose and bears worked nicely around the edge of the quilt.  I took a couple of close up pictures because this quilt demonstrates a perfect way to include the Oh Canada fabric from Northcott that is like a panel with a variety of sizes of prints of animals and RCMP on horseback.  That fabric can be a challenge to figure out how to use it and this quilt included the blocks in each of the blocks using a variety of techniques but all based on the Cheryl Arkison slab block.
My last project that I want to complete is to stitch up the final two blocks in the Sew Sisters monthly program to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday this year.  The blocks arrived in the mail yesterday so am off to start cutting and stitching!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wow, one week gone in October!

My Mom.  She fell two weeks ago, in her garage, and spent close to 24 hr, on the cement floor.  My sister just happened to drop by to take her to vote in a by-election and found her.  She has been warmed up, fed intravenously, given a blood transfusion to increase her iron levels, and is now able(with help), get from her bed to a chair and use a commode.  I had made a small quilt that I thought was perfect for her hairdresser, because it had bobby pins and blow dryers but, it is even more perfect for this use!  It is a poly batting and not a very large quilt so fits on her lap to keep her legs and feet warm.
And so... not much time with my sewing machine for a week while I was visiting her and my sister, who all the work is falling upon to care of both parents, both in the hospital!

I have managed to quilt and bind three quilts that were tops that came from the Canadian Quilters Association, via the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild.  I had a stack of 9 given to me to quilt and donate to Quilts of Valour.  These were made for the Great Canadian quilt bee held during Quilt Canada's conference and for donation to Ronald McDonald houses across Canada.  The quilt bee was held to commemorate Canada's 150th birthday and each quilt was made from Cheryl Arkison slab block pattern and needed one piece of Canadiana fabric in them.

If anyone happens to recognize a quilt that they are or know the quilt maker, I would be thrilled to add their name to the QOV label that is on the back of each one.

I also got one of the summer star block quilts finished and it is ready to donate to Quilts of Valour.

This quilt was made by Val Redekop and Gloria Toews. I quilted and bound this one and again, donated to Quilts of Valour.

I have two of my triangle quilts finished and the third one is waiting for binding.  This was originally a kit called Zoe's quilt (bought at a quilt show in 2014) and I decided to make two preemie quilts and one slightly larger instead of one big quilt.

And a preemie quilt called confetti.
And blocks in progress for a We Care quilt demonstration at guild on Tuesday.  Come and see what it is about! 

These fabrics are a challenge for the FVMQG and I have no clue what to use them for but the project is due Thursday.  It might not happen!
 I picked up a We Care kit from our last guild meeting in September.  Will it get finished for Tuesday?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Will it rain?

The weather is getting cooler and darker and rain is predicted.  Much needed rain even though I much prefer sunshine.  Our air quality is awful with the smoke from forest fires sitting in the valley and the ground is bone dry after a very long, dry, hot summer. 
Rain is ok for a few days.  I have a long list of projects: some I have been working on and a bonus stack of quilt tops that have arrived from Canadian Quilters Association that are left over from the drive for quilts for Ronald MacDonald house this past spring.  The modern guild I belong to offered to take some of the leftover quilt tops and get them finished and we can donate them to wherever we like.  The organizer sorted out the tops that looked like potential Quilts of Valour and gave them to me.  Thank you Jean but it has now made my list of projects much longer!!

These are some of the quilts... the ones on my sewing table need borders added to make the quilts large enough... most of them need another 10" all around and I just happened to have some of the fabrics that are in the quilts so am adding!  The top two are waiting for me to cut and stitch the backings for them.  Their size was perfect.

This one will get quilted next.  I have the backing ready, need to cut the batting and get it loaded!  Would like all the quilts that I have for QOVC finished before mid October so that gives me a month to get to work.
Two more quilts waiting for quilting.  My Canada 150 blocks are put together and sashing/border added.  The other is another quilt from Quilt Canada and there is one of mine in that stack as well. 
The B-line is going to be busy!
A finished quilt. These were string blocks from this summer that are now quilted and bound into a quilt ready for donation. 
I did the binding on this quilt.  I did NOT make the quilt.  The blocks were made by various members of one of the guilds I belong to and stitched together by someone, then quilted by another member and I did the binding.  Silly me hung the quilt upside down and didn't notice until I looked on my camera later.  The center block is actually one I made even though the theme was pastel, I obviously didn't think about that.  Nice that the block got included anyway. 
I did get all my blocks made for guild meeting this past week and had them on my portable design wall so that guild members could purchase kits to make blocks and identify which ones they wanted by the names.  Now I need to sash the blocks and add them to my sampler of hug blocks available in kit form to contribute to the cause.  It will happen... one day?
And of course, yesterday was jelly roll day.  Quilters were being encourage to stitch something with their jelly rolls.  I combined an idea from Missouri Star (the layout and hsts)  along with the method from Fat Quarter Shop to come up with my blocks.  Now I need to stitch more of the jelly rolls together to get an assortment of choices to go around my center hst.  And, need to make more hsts!
Just what I need, another project! 
This was my white board BEFORE Thursday night, when I was handed all these fabulous quilt tops to finish for QOVC.  Some of these are just waiting for binding to be finished.  And I have a stack of quilts to label for donation to the fire quilt collection as well as some QOVC labels to put on quilts that have been donated. 
So, back to stitching!  And listening to the rain... a happy sound though I might not think so in a few days if it continues too long.