Sunday, March 31, 2013

Country Charmer Update for April

I'm publishing this post a little earlier than April'll see why at the end of the post. Read on...

Today is the day of the monthly Country Charmer Quiltalong progress report. Designer Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks  has inspired us every step of the way. Last week she posted a pic of the stunning quilting stitches she is doing with her long arm machine. Make sure you visit her to see her CC eye candy that is so amazing! 

If you have been working on your blocks this past month, make sure you link up below so that we can all share your excitement. If you don't have a blog, just send an email to myself or Lynn with your pictures attached and we will post for you. The link is open for about a week.

Can I hear applause please?  A little louder? I put the pedal to the medal and I finished all the rest of my Country Charmer blocks.  I now have twenty blocks made and ready for the next step.

Here is a peek at the remaining twelve blocks I made this past week. I declared a self-imposed Country Charmer mini-marathon in my sewing corner and worked only on CC blocks for a few days. I am so glad I did...I love each and every block!

You might notice I added a few checks and plaids, like Ms. Lynn suggests. I ordered a package of these special fabrics, Cotton Pickin  Plaids, chosen by Ms. Lynn herself at In Between Stitches. Love the fabrics that arrived, and even found a few plaids and checks in my own stash! 

Yes, there was some pushing and prodding at times to make the pieces in my blocks fit. I tried to be very precise and following Lynn's suggestion, ordered the Marti Mitchell Corner Trimmer. It did help out a lot with precision, but sometimes I just went too fast and ended up "unsewing" a few seams. Ugh...My seam ripper worked overtime, so much so that I decided to purchase a new, super duper one.  It is called "Seam-fix" and is awesome. 

You rip out the stitches and then "erase" the threads away with the plastic cap. If you google the name, you will find video demonstrations like this one  HERE.  Once I saw it I just had to place an order! I purchased Seam-fix recently from the Fat Quarter Shop  and it does everything it is supposed to do.  It's a really cool gadget that is being very well used in my sewing corner.

My next challenge for the CCQAL is to choose the fabric for the 9-patch blocks and sashing.When I was cutting and arranging the pieces on Lynn's chart, I would be thinking the block was primarily red, blue, green or whatever, but once it was sewn together, very often another colour would dominate. So I guess you could say I have very eclectic blocks! I love the fabrics Lynn chose for her sashing and 9-patches and am very inspired to follow her lead.  Stay tuned for the next CC update on May 1.

Please leave a comment...I love hearing from you and always try to get back to you within a day or two.  But this time, you'll have to be patient. I may be a little distracted this coming week and may not have much time at the computer or with my sewing machine. You see, in the next twenty-four hours I will be doing this...

crossing the country from East to West to see DD and future SIL, arriving with some of this...

and will spend the week visiting, shopping, helping with the summer wedding plans...

 and just maybe visiting some of these...

It's a great day for quilting! See you when I get back!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tabitha's Trinkets and Darlene's Mystery Quilt

I have really been enjoying Tara Darr's book, "Simply Charming, Small Scrap Quilts From Yesteryear". If you recall, there is a little quiltalong taking place, where quilters share the quilts they have made from this book every second month. It's a great little quiltalong arranged by Kathy at Kindred Quilts and Darlene at Quilting Daze and relatively stress free because of the two month time frame. You can read more about it and see my first quilt HERE.  

My second quilt was an easy choice, "Tabitha's Trinkets". 

I was very fortunate to win some mini-charm packs from Kathy Schmitz from her beautiful new line just coming out called "Round Robin". Love these colours and I thought they would be the perfect choice for "Tabitha's Trinkets".

I found a few fabrics in my stash for the 3 B's...borders, backing, and binding.  Once the top was made, I settled into my quilting chair...

When I was finished, I attached my little tag...

and a sleeve...

and took lots of pics!

The quilt is about 18" x 21", the perfect size for a doll quilt...

or a table topper...

or to hang on the wall. One small quilt with so many options!

I've also been working on Part 3 of Darlene's Mystery Quilt, the third border that was to include 4 star blocks and an appliqued feather border.  I decided this would be the perfect place to incorporate a border I had seen in one of Kim Diehl's books, "Simple Charm".  I made a few adjustments, sewed together a few more star blocks, and managed to attach 2 borders in time for today's post. The rosebuds will be further embellished down the road with little yo-yos at the tips of the rose. But for now, this is what the quilt looks like...

What else am I working on? My Country Charmer blocks, of course. The Flickr page is amazing with tons of inspiration HERE. Come back on April 1 to see my progress on the Country Charmer quilt and to link up with quilt designer Lynn of Sew"n Wild Oaks and the quilters from around the globe who are participating in this "work at your own speed" Country Charmer QAL. I'll have the link ready on April 1 and will leave it up for a week because I know a lot of you will be busy in the coming days with Easter celebrations and family visits. 

Enjoy your Easter weekend!

 It's a great day for quilting!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rainbows and Gardens. Is It Spring Yet?

If it's Saturday it must be Rainbow Scrap Challenge Day! I am linking up with Angela at So Scrappy. Hope you'll check it out and maybe join us?  

Each month a new colour is chosen by Angela and participants make a block (or many, many more) in the chosen colour. At the end of the year I will have twelve colourful blocks for a quilt. Every Saturday of the month, Angela offers us the opportunity to meet up at So Scrappy to share our progress. This month the colour is orange, so in I went to my scrappy stash and this is the result...four little blocks....

sewn together to produce one 12.5" block.

I made some orange units that I will combine with the other colours to use for a very scrappy piano key border. Always fun to chain piece...

cut apart...

and press and tidy up!

I took a pic of the January and February blocks on top of the snow, but only after I had put the blocks away did I see the poor colour. Please use your imagination and think of a brightly coloured rainbow!

Continuing the theme of Spring, flowers, and lots of colours, I want to share with you my "Garden Steps" quilt I finished this past week. I made this quilt as part of a free Stitch and Quiltalong offered by Jenny and Clara at Clover and Violet.  It was such a fun quilt to make! The blocks came together very quickly once all the stitcheries were finished. I decided to set my blocks in the same direction rather than turn every second block. 

I loved the combination of bright colours that Jenny and Clara chose for their sample quilt so I chose similar colours, using the Chelsey fabric line from Wyndham fabrics with shades of teals, fuschias, and chocolate browns. How yummy! 

The little stitcheries that the mother-daughter team designed for the centres of the  blocks were a joy to make and I'm so glad I took the time to do them. I would anxiously await for the reveal of each of the twelve stitchery patterns and would head to my quilting chair with embroidery thread in hand.  Thanks to Chrissy and Linda at Sew Lux Fabrics, I was able to purchase the variety pack of colours of perle cotton that matched my quilt perfectly. The free instructions and patterns for the embroidered blocks are still available at Clover and Violet HERE. The Flickr page to see everyone's creations is HERE. I chose to set the blocks in the same direction rather than turn the alternate blocks.

The quilt was machine quilted by Angie from Quilting on the Mira, an "almost" local quilt shop in Sydney, about an hour and a half away from here. I love what she did with the quilting; nothing too dense, just nice and soft to keep the integrity of the embroidered blocks. A few more pics....enjoy the show!

And that's the end of the story.

It's a great day for quilting! In fact, this weekend I am having my own mini-marathon in my sewing corner to work on my Country Charmer blocks. The end of the month is fast approaching so I hope you'll come back on April 1 to share your progress and link up with everyone else who is making the Country Charmer quilt. Designer Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks has so many tips and techniques for us. Check them out right HERE and join the fun! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Christa Quilts and I Do Too!

Awhile back, I discovered a new-to-me blog and started following Christa Quilts. You know by now that I love all types of quilts, including traditional, civil-war, modern, trendy, and even wonky! Christa Quilts is such a fun blog to follow...she admits to traditional roots, yet embraces modern and contemporary in her quilting style. 

One day I noticed Christa was having a quiltalong for a quilt she called "Sea of Squares", approximately 51" x 60", the perfect sized cuddle quilt. 

At first, I watched with delight from the sidelines as the quilt started to take shape. The supply list called for only 4 charm packs and a little binding. Her choice of Deb Strain's "Seascapes" fabric was just so perfect for the quilt...fresh, bright, and colourful, very reminiscent of the colours I saw during my childhood summers at the beach. I continued to watch the QAL from afar for a few weeks, but then I could watch no more.  I wanted to make that quilt with that fabric! Much to my delight, Christa Quilts is also the name of her online quilt shop that you can visit HERE. You'll also see her button on my sidebar. In a matter of a few clicks, the kit including that gorgeous sea-themed fabric was on its way to my house in Nova Scotia. 

Within a few days of its arrival, I had the quilt pieced, thanks to the excellent instructions and pictures of each step that Christa posted HERE. The "Sea of Squares" quilt reminds me of the colours of sea glass, especially the sea glass found on our beach walks when I visit my sister's cottage in New Brunswick on the Northumberland Strait. Unfortunately I think the beach glass is probably covered by snow these days!

The quilt top looks very relaxed on the couch. 

It took no time at all to cut the fabrics...

and to sew the blocks together.

Some of the fabrics are just so darn cute. Seashells...

and sand dollars...

and even maps and "sea" words! 

Christa finished her quilt with machine-quilted straight line stitching and it looks amazing. Her machine quilting tutorial is excellent so this little quilt top of mine is also going to be machine quilted by me, myself, and I. Will keep you posted!

Christa recently started another QAL. Her "Hugs 'n Kisses" Quilt is 48"x 64" and uses one jelly roll with some background and binding fabric. Below is a picture of the quilt from her first post HERE, complete with the supply list. This is just one of several versions you can make. And "you-know-who" just received some jelly rolls in the mail, so this just might be my next quilt!

In addition to piecing my Sea of Squares, I had a mini-marathon in my sewing corner this weekend. I put the binding on two quilts, so they are totally finished. I'll just show you one finish today as this post is getting a little long and my eyelids are starting to droop...

Below you will see the pictures of my completely finished "Wonky World  House Quilt", a quilt made from a wonky house block exchange I participated in last year. The exchange was very successfully coordinated by Jane at Jane's Fabrics and Quilts. She was awesome with keeping us all in line, encouraging us, and looking after the mailing of all those blocks back and forth and to almost every corner of the globe. By the way, Jane is also the very accomplished host for Madame Samm's Stitch Me Up Blog Hop that starts tomorrow. See the schedule HERE.

My wonky house blocks came from across the world. There is a Flickr page HERE where you can see all the wonkiness!  I kept the wonky theme in the quilt, choosing to piece the back with signature blocks from the 12 quilters (including mine), wonky star blocks, colourful 4-patches from another exchange, and a few orphan blocks from my stash. Recently I put the pedal to the medal and machine quilted the quilt in a cross-hatch pattern. This past weekend I finished the quilt off with the binding. Here words needed...

It's a great day for quilting!