Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Blue Schoolhouse Flimsy

I am having a race against time to finish up some projects before mid-June so yesterday it was all about adding borders to my school house quilt. You may remember I showed you some house blocks HERE and some Irish Chain blocks HERE. The inspiration for making a blue schoolhouse quilt came from Edyta Sitar's Blue Barn quilt. I added the Irish Chain blocks for some interest and now it is ready for Ange's quilting

It was really windy yesterday (of course) and the sun was actually so bright it washed out the colours. Hopefully, this picture will still give you a little idea of what it looks like. The flimsy finished at 84" x 94" so should be perfect for a bed quilt! 

The reason time is short for me is that we were cruisin' on the high seas last week with Mickey Mouse and family! What a great time we had. Seas were calm, food was fabulous, and travelling with Woodworker Hubby, DD, SIL, and precious GS was a dream come true! Here is a little proof. Gotta love those blue waters!

Before we went, I made a little blue whale tag toy for GS. I found this free pattern and tutorial at Two More Minutes and used whatever ribbons I could find. I purchased a little baby's rattle of keys and took them apart to add to the tags.

So now it is back to the sewing room. Even with all the fun we had, there may have been just a bit of sewing withdrawal while I was away and Blogland is a distant memory. I chose to remain dis-connected at sea so have lots of reading to do to catch up. It's a great day for quilting! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Quilt of Valour Presented

On May 3, in the small rural Nova Scotian community of Grande Anse, I presented  my Quilt of Valour to Sgt. George W. McPhee. Retired in 2002 and now very active in his Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 47, George was all smiles and so appreciative as I presented the quilt on behalf of Quilts of Valour-Canada.

You may remember seeing this quilt as I blogged about its progress and the QOV-Canada program HERE , HERE, and HERE.
Nothing better than wrapping this quilt of hugs around George to thank him for his service to our country!

Before I gifted George the quilt, on behalf of Quilts of Valour-Canada, I gave a brief summary of the program to the legion members present at the monthly meeting. Following this, the Branch # 47 President Jack Hopkins presented a cheque of $500 from the poppy campaign which will be sent off to the QOV-Canada treasurer today. Wow! 

 It was indeed an honour, and a humbling experience, to be able to present this quilt to thank George for his services to our country. The goal of QOV-Canada is to donate 10,000 quilts by the end of 2018. At present, a little over 6,800 quilts have been presented. Why not join in and quilt, quilt, quilt! There are so many ways quilters can help. We can make completed quilts, quilt tops, or have fun making Hug Blocks.  I managed to snag some more flag panels from Spruce it Up Quilting in Port Elgin so have plans to make a few more quilts over the next couple of years and our local quilters are working to have two more quilts completed by the Fall. Check out the website HERE for more information.

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Door Quilts - A Year of Welcomes

My mom downsized last year into an apartment complex for seniors. When we helped move her, we couldn't help noticing that the residents took great care to decorate their doors with signs of welcome. As a quilter, I knew what I wanted to do for her, so for the past year I have been gifting her with seasonal hangings for her door. I provided her with a wire hanger so it is easy for her to replace them when the change of seasons or special occasions dictate it.  I just mailed out the flower hanging for her door for Spring and Summer.

Here are pics of the ones that have been sent over the year, in backwards (!) chronological order, starting with April Showers.

St. Pat's Day is always a big occasion to celebrate her Irish ancestry!

Valentine's Day is very special for Mom, with 4 daughters, 4 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren sending lots of love and hugs.

Mom receives lots of snow in her neck of the woods, so this little guy feels right at home. This year he probably could have stayed on her door all the way into May!

You know I love Christmas, especially the Santas, and I may have inherited the spirit from Mom! Year ago, she and Dad operated the first and only "Christmas Shop" in Moncton, New Brunswick, long before seasonal Christmas stores arrived in the malls.

The very first hanging I made for her door was one using Fall colours and little houses. All the hangings are about 12.5" square.

And there you have it...a year of welcomes! 

Today I plan to sew rows of houses and Irish chain blocks together, after I unpick a block that was sewn incorrectly in the second row. I didn't notice it 'till right now...thank goodness I took a picture and it's easy to fix!

 It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dinosaurs and Elephants

Since our first grandson was born last June, my sewing room has seen the making of many baby-themed projects, including quilts for strollers, car seats and play, receiving blankets, burp cloths, and lots of bibs, both traditional and bandana. Nothing better than sending off a quilty treat to DGS!  That has also meant my stash has grown with a variety of baby-themed flannel, especially boy baby-themed flannels! So even though I said I was putting away my flannels for the year, the chilly weather has kept me inside playing with them. I wanted to make a crib quilt for the shop, the Artisans Collective Gift Shop. You can read about the shop HERE .  The shop opens in mid-June so I turned to the trusty free pattern of Star Bright, grabbed my "boy" flannels and this is the result.

This is the second time I have used this pattern and it won't be my last. The first was made for my grand-niece HERE. The quilt is made entirely from 6" squares, with a few HSTs thrown in the mix to make the star. Within a couple of days, I went from choosing the fabrics to taking pictures of the finished quilt. I used two different dinosaur prints and a funky elephant parade fabric for the star and binding, mixed with my solids of blue, grey and white.

The quilt finishes at 40" x 45" so fit on the dining room table pretty easily for the pinning.

I quilted it with rows of serpentine stitching spaced about 2.5" apart, from top to bottom.

Yesterday was sunny, so I took my outdoor/clothesline pictures then and finished sewing the binding on this morning. 

I wanted it to stand up to lots of washing so attached the binding by machine. 

I'm thrilled that I was able to finish this so quickly and enjoyed making it so much.  Now to get back to a work in progress, like my blue school house quilt. I still have about 20 of the scrappy Irish chain blocks to make to use as the alternate blocks so I better get going!

It's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Ever Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Retreat

What a great time! Quilters from all over Nova Scotia met in Truro on the weekend for the first ever Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Retreat at the Holiday Inn and I was lucky enough to be there with them!

Although I only stayed one night, I had lots of time to reconnect with old friends, meet lots of new ones, and do lots of sewing. The guild has a Face Book page HERE and a very active Face Book page for members so it was wonderful to meet everyone in person after corresponding through the FB page. It was so nice to spend time there with my blog friend Linda, of Scrapmaster,  a fellow member of the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet! I'm on the right.

There were 26 participants and 19 of us participated in a swag bag exchange. I decided to make zippered pouches for everyone, trying to use some of my more modern fabrics with a few extras tossed in. I had purchased a gazillion zippers a few years ago and they came in handy for this project. I used a free pattern I found HERE and adapted the size to make the bag narrower and long enough to hold a chocolate bar and some goodies. 

The retreat room was perfect with plenty of space, a table for everyone, lots of outlets, and natural light. All the swap bags were on a table in one corner and they were waiting patiently to be filled...and filled they were. This is what mine looked like. 

Love the label! Inside was everything you could imagine from a group of talented, creative and generous gals. There were handcrafted pouches, home made delectable treats, candies and chocolate galore, and lots of sewing treats including thread, buttons, needles, and measuring tapes.  Here are just a few of the goodies:

For the retreat, I had brought three projects to work on and used my Sew-Ezi table to set up my old Janome workhorse!

The first project is called Quilt Bars. It is a free pattern by Tammy Silvers for Camelot Fabrics that you can find HERE. I had about half the fabrics already in my stash and bought a tad more to put it together.

I made two of the giant blocks before retreat and finished the quilt top by Saturday morning. The size is 48" x 60" so I will tackle the quilting on my own.

Project # 2 is called Bright Heart Wedges. Again, I chose my brightest fabrics, bought the Fons and Porter Large Wedge Ruler, and had all my wedges cut and ready to sew for retreat day.

A few hours later, I had assembled a few rows. 

There will be white sashing between the rows and I'm going to extend the rows a little wider and go without a border, thanks to friend Linda of Scrapmaster for her brilliant suggestion! Here is a picture of the original pattern designed by Tony Jacobson.

At that point in the retreat, it was Power Hour! This was an hour, for those participating, that was dedicated to making our blocks for the IWK Charity quilts. You can read more about it HERE. I had brought a tote filled with the precut units and by the end of the hour had sewn 13 blocks together. Adding these to my batch from home, I now have 26 blocks of the 80 block quilt done, the suggested size of a twin quilt. I have several months to work on this so I'm sure I will have a complete top by the Fall. At some point in time, I may arrange the blocks so there is some structure to it, but right now, this is just a bunch of the random blocks.

After the hour, it was back to the wedges and then I slipped away to visit my family for the rest of the weekend.

Thank you ever so much to the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild executive and organizing committee for hosting the "First Ever MMQG Retreat". It was a time filled with friends and fabric, and so many perks, like the three free mystery projects. Although I didn't participate that day, I hope to do them down the road. Who would not want to make this adorable schooner!

The organizers had arranged for multiple draw prizes from a huge group of sponsors. I wasn't lucky enough to win any of the draw prizes, but all participants received coupons for discounts from the Canadian shops Dinkydoo Fabrics and Notions and Fabric Spark. 
All in all, a wonderful time and I am hoping to stay for the full weekend next year! 

Thought you might like to see the list of sponsors, all Canadian.

Located in Nova Scotia:
Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Halifax, Greenwood, New Glasgow, and Truro

Avonport, NS

Elmsdale, NS

Halifax, NS

Canadian Sponsors

It's a great day for quilting!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Last of the Flannels

OK, even though the weather is still not guaranteed to be warm these days, I am ready to put away my flannel fabric stash 'till next year.  My goal this week was to sandwich my flannel quilt that you saw HERE and "ger 'er done", so I did! 

I am always surprised how little time it actually takes me to quilt a cuddle quilt and this one was no exception. A couple of shifts at the machine and the quilt was ready for binding. I had an "aha" moment when I was attaching the binding. Usually I wrap the binding around my vintage spool and put the spool in an empty waste can on the floor. As I sew the binding on, the binding unravels from the spool in the can. This day I decided to put the spool with my binding right on my cone spool holder. Worked like a charm!

I used a stitch in the ditch design as I didn't want to cover those pretty flower patches, and it left the quilt soft and cuddly on both sides, especially with the flannel backing.

I took this picture a couple of days ago and you can still see a few small mounds of snow in the background. I think today's rain has probably taken them away for good.

The pinwheels were dancing in the wind that day. It was too cold to sit on the swing, but soon, very soon, I hope to be able to sit out there without a flannel quilt to keep me warm!

For the next few days, I will focus on getting my projects ready for the retreat next weekend. I am heading away for the first ever Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Retreat taking place in Truro, Nova Scotia. It is a full weekend retreat, but I am only staying the one night as I have some family plans to follow in Moncton. There will be 26 participants at the retreat, with 19 of us participating in filling swag bags for our fellow quilters.  Needless to say, I played around with lots of fabrics in the last few weeks but I'm much too secretive to show my goodies until after the retreat.

I have three quilt projects to go with me, all cut and ready to sew, sew, sew. I know I am bringing way too much, but I sure don't want to run out of things to do!  On Saturday afternoon, we will have a Power Hour of sewing blocks for the 2016 charity quilts which are being made for the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax, NS. The guild has a goal to make twin-sized quilts for teenagers. We are using a very basic pattern, the Square in a Square, with a finished block size of 9". I have been pulling my brightest and boldest fabrics from my stash and have a pretty good start.

Always lots happening in my sewing room. Hope you are having fun in yours. It's a great day for quilting!