Thursday, February 28, 2013

March Country Charmer Update

How is everyone coming along with the Country Charmer Quiltalong? I've been visiting the QAL Flickr page HERE and am so impressed with the blocks I am seeing. I continue to be inspired every day by the blocks I am seeing by CC designer Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks,  all the participants in blog land who are making this quilt and those quilters posting to our Flickr page.

I decided to make things a little more organized in my sewing corner and spent some time at my cutting board this month preparing all the background pieces for my CC blocks. I'm using a cream background that I had in my stash.  It seemed to take no time at all to do the cutting and my background pieces are all ready. Now when I am preparing to make a CC block, I lay out the light pieces right away and it seems like the block is almost finished even before I start it. I just add a few fabrics and I am off to the sewing machine races! 

I love my fourth block. I'm continuing to use Metropolitan Fair fabrics by Barbara Brackman, with an occasional addition from my stash.

Last weekend I decided to play a little more in my sewing corner.  I had my very own self-imposed Country Charmer mini-marathon and produced 4 more blocks.  Block 5...

block 6...

block 7...

 and block 8...

I know I've said this before, but I love the quilt chart that designer Lynn has included with her pattern instructions. The pattern comes with a chart that you fill in like a puzzle.  As you place the pieces on the chart, the block comes together right before your eyes.  Sometimes I tweak the fabrics a little, and sometimes it is just perfect the way the pieces land. Thanks, Lynn, for giving us such a fun way to make a block! You can purchase the pattern at In Between Stitches HERE

I put all my 8 blocks in a group and I like it so far!

The difficult thing for me will be to decide on the colour for the fabrics in the sashing and 9-patch fabrics. I've used a variety of colours in my blocks ...several shades of reds and pinks, greens, blues, browns, and golds. I may just keep making scrappy blocks and decide on my sashing and 9-patches when all 20 blocks are complete. 

Anyone who doesn't have a blog, but is sewing aling with us, is invited to email the pictures of their progress to myself or Lynn and we will include them in our monthy update.   Below is a picture of the Country Charmer blocks made by fellow quilter Lois from Ontario, Canada. Aren't her blocks gorgeous! I love the strong bold colours.  The resulting quilt will be stunning. Thanks, Lois, for sharing your creations with us.

Make sure you visit Lynn's blog HERE. Several quilters have emailed pictures of their quilts to her as well, so we will be hopping around the globe today for a quilt show! Lynn has a page on her blog designated to the CC QAL, posting tips, tricks,and techniques to help us along with our CC journey. 

No more waiting. It's time to link up. If you have made some Country Charmer blocks and have blogged about your progress, please link up below using the URL address for the specific post you wrote about the CC QAL.  Our next Country Charmer Linky will be on April 1...and that is no joke! 

'Till next time, it's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Stitching With Kathy

Today I am linking up again with Kathy at Kathy's Quilts for her Sunday Stitching linky. I plan on working on a few hand stitching projects today. I started my 'red work on muslin' quilt called "Santa Quartet", a pattern by Birdbrain Design that I received last Fall as a gift from Sue at Chickadee's Country Cottage Crafts. Sue and I have never met, yet when she saw the Santa pattern, she thought of me and sent it along.  Thank you, Sue, blog friends are just the bestest!  

I finished the first redwork Santa...

and next up was the pile of gifts.

managed to get a pretty good start on the pile and today I hope to finish them. 

Sue is working on her Santa picture as well, and although we live at opposite ends of Canada, it is fun to know we are working together on thsame project. 

In addition to redwork, I usually have a small quilt, or two, on the go for hand quilting and today is no exception. This is the quilt top that is waiting for me in my quilting chair.  

I took the picture early this morning ...don't you love the blue snow in the background?  

The quilt is called "Mill Girls", designed by Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts It is one of seven quilts that comprises Pam's Journey Two of the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Club. Read all about the Club right HERE.  There are four Journeys to choose from. I borrowed this picture from Pam's blog to show you pictures of the quilts I will be making in Journey Two.  

Although I'm not able to attend a club in person, which would be so awesome, I was still able to receive the kits for Journey Two by mail. I emailed Pam awhile back to ask how I could get involved and she gave me some great suggestions. Then I contacted a participating quilt shop, The Country Sampler Quilt Shop in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  They sent me a kit once a month for the duration of the Journey. 

The pictures do not do the fabrics justice...they are so beautiful and are just like silk. The colours and fabrics are very reminiscent of the fabrics of that day and in my humble opinion the chocolate border fabric is downright delicious!

I really like the way Pam designed the borders at the top and bottom of the quilt.

I plan to stitch in the ditch for the pieced blocks.  If you look closely, you'll see my first stitches. This block is also a "make do" block.  Pam encourages us to "make do" with what you have, so I added this block from my own stash. 

I am thinking of quilting some kind of a design in the alternate blocks.  Any suggestions? So now you know what I am going to work on in my quilting chair, what are you working on today?

I really hope that in between the hand stitching, you'll have a little time to work on your Country Charmer quilt.  On March 1, I'll post an update here and you'll have a chance to link up and show us your progress on your CC quilt for this month. Super creative quilt designer Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks has been posting some glorious blocks, tips and techniques for us, so be sure you visit Lynn for lots of inspiration. If you want to know more about the lazy daisy no pressure quiltalong , just click HERE.   I had my own little mini-marathon last weekend and have four new Country Charmer blocks to show you. Here is a peek at one of my favorites, but I am learning that they are all "one of my favorites"!

Hope you come back on March 1 for more of Country Charmer!

It's a great day for quilting in my favorite quilting chair, and you know what is waiting for me!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simply Charming

This is a small quilt I made recently from the "Simply Charming" book by Tara Darr at Sew Unique Creations.  I want to make every quilt in the book so would highly recommend this book for all those who love small scrappy quilts like I do!  

I bought the book through Amazon because there weren't any copies available at Tara's Sew Unique Creations site when I went to purchase, but please check there first in case some are now available. The quilt is called Nellie's Nine Patch...I even love the names that Tara has given to the quilts! 

Tara chose to use a binding without a border, but I had a blue fabric I liked so I added a border, chose a binding using fabric that was in the quilt, and shook it all up with a red, blue and yellow fabric for the back.

Most of the fabrics I used for the nine-patches were from two mini-charms of the Indigo Crossing line by Minick and Simpson.  I bought them last fall from The Fabric Cupboard and I am told that they are stocking some of the more popular prints of this line. I love the blues, creams, and whites and was able to easily supplement Indigo Crossing with a few fabrics from my stash. You can see that I hand quilted my little quilt in a cross hatch design. 

I love making small quilts, but never know how to label them.  Did I make a doll quilt, a table topper, or a wall hanging? What I may do is attach a little card to the quilt that indicates it could be used as any of the three options. But how can I call it a doll quilt when I don't know what it would look like in a doll bed? Solution...ask Woodworker Hubby to make me a Vintage Doll Cradle.  I found the pattern online at  She is amazing and has patterns for just about anything you can think of! I found a couple of patterns for doll beds HERE to see the pattern for the cradle below. This is the cradle that WH made first, with a Doll Farmhouse Bed coming next. 

He is going to stain it, but first I just had to see what it would look like with some little quilts tucked in.  I made a quick mattress and pillow from some toile fabric I had on hand and started snapping pictures.

The directions say that the size of these doll beds will fit the popular 18" dolls that mothers and grandmothers are buying in droves for their little girls. 

Getting back to the "Simply Charming" quilts, there is a Simply Charming Quiltalong being hosted by Darlene at Quilting Daze and Kathy at Kindred Spirits for those of us who love these little quilts and want to share their finishes. Click on the picture of the book on my sidebar to learn more about it. 

Every two months you can share your finished quilt by linking up to Kathy's blog. The good news is that the Linky for the first quilt is open until March 10, so I still have time to link up HERE before the next 2-month period, and so do you!

Before I go, just want to remind you of a really fun and very enjoyable blog hop going on right now at Sew We Quilt.  "It's All About Me" is a blog hop guaranteed to make you smile and maybe laugh out loud! The quilters are using an Amy Bradley pattern to make a little quilt caricature self-portrait? Marilyn at Stitching by the Lake is the awesome coordinator. Visit her blog HERE to see the schedule and find out more, and have a look at Madame Samm's Pinterest page to see all the quilts at one location. 

It's a great day for quilting!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rainbow Challenge

I admired Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge QAL all last year. I saw the gorgeous colorful blocks posted every month by participating bloggers and was duly inspired as the end of the year unveiled some stunning quilts and flimsies made by quilters across the globe. Then the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was offered again for 2013. 

Last year, every month I would ponder and wonder if I should join in to the QAL and every month I put it off. This year, I started to watch again. January's month was the colour pink and February's month was the colour purple. When I saw the darling little pink houses and pink bow ties at Angie's Quilting on the Crescent, and then I saw her February purple houses and bow ties, I jumped in, hook, line, and sinker.

The challenge is hosted by Angela at So Scrappy and if you click on the icon in the sidebar, you'll see all the rules. I love that it is one of those no stress, no guilt what you do, when you do it, and if you have anything to show, show it by linking up on any Saturday of the month. 

The first thing I had to decide on was a block that I thought would look really pretty in a variety of colours.  I recently purchased the reprint of Volume 1 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine so started flipping.

I found what I think is the perfect block...a block that uses lots of scraps and would be very colourful in a variety of colours.  I only wanted to make one 12" block each month.  This is kind of a cheater block...4 blocks rolled into one!

How neat that it is designed by Carolyn Beam, the Creative Editor of Quiltmaker!

I rounded up my pink scraps and started cutting...

and produced my January block.

I rounded up my purple scraps...

and produced a purple block...

This is what they look like side by side...

Once I had all my pink and purple scraps out, I decided I would start to work on a scrappy piano-key border.  Twelve months by now, I should have enough for a pretty colourful border.

I wonder what colour March will be? I'm linking up today with Angela at SoScrappy  Why not come on over and be inspired?

It's a great day for quilting!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pillows and Fabrics

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hope it is a special day for you and the special people in your life. This post may be a little more like Christmas, but I figure the red works for both occasions. 

I decided to make a pillow recently from a quilt block that I made last summer in celebration of Canada Day. I blogged about it HERE. I have a fair bit of red and white fabric in my stash so it was fun to go to my personal "stash store" and pick out the border and backing fabrics.

I had a pillow form on hand, but now that I see the finished pillow, I may buy the next size to fill the pillow a little better. I took the pictures in different rooms so the reds look so different. The actual colour is closer to what you see in the pictures below.

My backing fabric continued with the red and white theme...

and in the next picture, from this angle, you can see all the fabrics joined together.  For my hand stitching, I used my favorite Aurifil thread 12 wt.

I tossed the pillow onto the bed, and voila, our country cabin! Woodworker hubby covered the walls of our bedroom with pine boards a few years back. I grew up spending summers at our family cottage, with knotty pine throughout, and the love of it has stayed with me.  So even though we are far from the 'shore, it feels a little like the cottage!

Our bedroom has a bit of a red theme going on...for now anyway. Do you see that red wool blanket?  It is called a Hudson's Bay blanket, a Canadian icon some say. We purchased it in 1979 with some of our wedding money. It has been stored away in the basement for the last couple of decades but I resurrected it before Christmas to add some cheery colours to our knotty pine bedroom. I love the blanket's warmth and "festive" red colour, especially with my Festive Mystery quilt at the foot of the bed. And of course you may recognize Cherry Blossoms hanging above the headboard. 

Thanks to Sauders This 'n That Fabrics for a $10 gift certificate.  I entered a Super Bowl Sunday draw and was one of the lucky winners.  I decided to be very frugal and I went directly to the sale page of their online catalogue and I scored big! Their sale prices were awesome. Today I received my purchases...1/2 yard of 5 fabrics free...all I had to pay for was the shipping and it was very reasonable. They shipped it the less expensive way so it was win-win for me.  These repro-type fabrics will work really well with my Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week. My bundle includes an assortment of fabrics by Windham, Free Spirit, Red Rooster, and Judie Rothermel for Marcus Fabrics. This 'n That are having a 5-day inventory blowout sale from February 18-22...I may have to go back for a visit! 

Thanks for dropping by today. It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Stitching with Kathy

Kathy at Kathy's Quilts loves to do hand quilting and stitching on Sundays, and you know I love to do hand stitching every day of the week. I start every morning in my quilting chair. Well, today I decided to link up with Kathy and share my Sunday hand quilting adventure.  Won't you join us? When you visit her blog HERE, you'll see that she has provided a link up for anyone who wants to share what they are working on today. I adore the project she is working on...Journey of a Quilter and would love to do this someday.  

This is what I'm doing today. This morning I finished hand quilting Kathleen Tracy's Small Quilt of the Month for February.

I used a variety of red, whites and blues, mostly Civil War reproduction prints. But if you look closely, you will see some Debbie Mumm with a little quilt motif in the setting triangles-it works for me!

I quilted in the ditch and around all the little pieces. After I took this picture, I noticed a tiny seam that I missed...will quilt that later. I love the backing fabric...this quilt could walk into a room backwards and I would still love it!

I cut my binding strips out of a rusty red, choosing to cut them pretty tiny at 1 1/4"...I much prefer this size for my narrow bindings.

It's such a small quilt, "17 x 20", that it takes no time at all to attach the binding. The bestest thing is that I have a new throat plate on my sewing machine that is for straight stitching and it has changed my life. No need to hold the threads when I start a seam, no little fabric pieces jamming, everything purrs...

I love these little clips...they hold everything in place for me on the back....

and keeps the binding nice and tidy on the front.

When I attach the binding on a small quilt, I also attach a sleeve.  I never know if the small quilt will be on a table, used for a doll's cradle, or hanging on a wall, but putting a sleeve on before I attach the binding is such an easy step. I cut the fabric strip 4 1/2", fold it in half, press it, and attach it to the top back of the quilt.  See the pins?  I'll hand sew this later.

Well, I better get going because my quilting chair awaits.

Thanks for dropping by. It's a great day for quilting!