Saturday, June 28, 2014

If Pumpkins Grew on Trees

I spent this week in my sewing corner with a quilt project I had started quite some time ago. The joy of picking up this UFO is that some of the cutting was already done. A few more sessions and I had produced a pumpkin patch quilt top which I am calling, "If Pumpkins Grew on Trees".

As with many of my quilt projects, I spent some time drawing diagonal lines on my little squares and I quickly progressed to chain sewing.

Once I had my 25 pumpkins, I sorted them into pumpkin piles. 

Then it was a matter of sewing on the leaves.

Did you notice the pattern I used? It is called "Fresh Squeezed" and was designed by Amber and on sale through her blog at A Little Bit Biased

I couldn't resist turning these lemons into pumpkins and decided to keep the leaves rather than change the design into stems. Hence the name, "If Pumpkins Grew on Trees". I also see an apple quilt in the future 

I adapted the size of the quilt, preferring to stay with one narrow green border. The finished size will be about 36" x 43".

The next step is to determine how to quilt my pumpkins.

Because of the size, I should be able to manage quilting it myself by machine. Perhaps I'll do my favorite cross hatch design, or maybe some echo quilting in and around the pumpkins. Only time will tell. For now, I will leave the pumpkins growing in the garden...

It's a great day for quilting!

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Couldn't Resist the Nested Churn Dash

I fell in love in April - with a quilt block! When Australian quilt blogger Jane, of Quilt Jane (Want It, Need It, Quilt) first showed us her Nested Churn Dash Block, I knew I had to make one. So I did. I actually made two blocks. I then chose one of them and went from start to finish to make one that could be used as a wall hanging or a table topper, or just because...

I had fun choosing fabrics that were bright, and cheerful, and summery, combined with a bright white Bella cotton solid. 

When I finished making the two blocks, I hung them out to dry, or I should say, hung them on the clothesline so I could get a picture.

Quilt Jane has started a Nested Churn Dash QAL that runs from June 1- July 30 and has invited us all to quilt along with her and ten of her "favorite quilters who will be making their blocks into a mini-quilt". It is not too late for you to start! Jane has also provided directions HERE if you want to make larger versions, maybe a pillow, bed runner, mini-quilt, table runner, or bed-sized quilt. The PDF pattern for the NCD block is available in her shop HERE for a very reasonable price of $2.00.  

I had been watching the QAL with interest and was being inspired almost daily by the NCD blocks that I was seeing popping up in blogland. But when I saw Pat Sloan's block HERE with the wavy machine quilting, that was my "A ha!"moment, the moment I knew that I had to make this little quilt sooner than later.

The blocks are so much fun to make. I chose to finish each churn dash section before choosing the fabric for the next. Once the quilt was sandwiched, I quilted it using a serpentine stitch on my Pfaff. Here are a few closer looks at the quilt and the back, which finishes at about 24" x 24".

I don't usually sew down the binding much by hand anymore, but this was too cute. I wanted to look at it even longer so I chose some matching thread and off I went to my quilting chair.

I used a Lori Holt fabric for the back, put on my label, and it was complete.

The schedule of designers and their blocks can be found HERE. Jane has started a Flick page HERE so you can see everyone's progress, showing us their versions. Jane is also offering the chance to win Aurifil thread packs or other prizes if you display your block on the Flickr page before the end of July. 

Where is my quilt today? It is in the Artisans Collective shop at the Port Hastings Museum, located at the entrance to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Yes, our seasonal shop opened this week, with the works of thirteen local artisans now available for purchase. Each of the artisans volunteers one day every couple of weeks in the shop and my day was today. This was my view from my desk...

and over in the corner...

The best news of all, is that today a quilter came in to the shop all the way from Spain! She also writes a blog about her quilting. So of course I had to take a picture of Estefania in front of my cottage quilt.

I was thrilled to meet Estefania, a fellow quilter and fairly new blogger, who is also passionate about quilting and writing about it. She is having a wonderful time in our area visiting quilt and fabric shops and buying as much fabric as she can fit in her suitcase! Please visit Estefania at her blog HERE and let her know I sent you. She has that wonderful "translate button" on her blog so you'll be able to read about her quilting in the language of your choice. She is making the most adorable Japanese doll quilt. You can find more of the dolls HERE. It was wonderful to meet you, Estefania, and may you have a wonderful vacation here in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

It's a great day for quilting!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


In my continuing quest to tackle my UFO and To Do lists, which actually seem to be growing, I dove into a bag of kits I have purchased over the years and came out with "Apples", an appliqued wall quilt by Applepatch Designs. I wanted something that would be quick and easy, a project that would go from start to finish in a couple of days, and this was it!

It's so nice to make a quilt from a kit...everything is there just waiting for a few cuts. The background squares of creams and greens were chain pieced....

and came together in no time at all.

The next step was to make the flying geese blocks using a quick method of drawing, sewing, and cutting,

Do you see how the red triangles in the border will become the tops of the apples?

The next step was to applique the letters. I loved that the letters were a good size and finished quickly. I used my blanket stitch with green thread on the top and a cream in the bobbin. 

I really liked the effect when I added the leaves and the stems to a few apples and raced outside to take a picture before the sun went down. Unfortunately, the sun also washes out the colour.

The next day was quilt day! Yes, I considered doing FMQ, and even made three quilt sandwiches to practice on. My stitching just didn't make me happy, so I decided to do a traditional cross hatch design instead. I marked it in 2" intervals with a Frixion pen and used my trusty Pfaff to machine stitch the straight lines. 

I made a sleeve and pinned it to the top before I sewed on the binding.

Then it was time to attach the binding...

The quilt finishes at 20" x 28", a great size as a hanging in the kitchen or a table topper...

or maybe just to hang around outside sharing space with the last blooms of my forsythia...

or joining the wood pile, though the colour is a bit off.

After I took the picture of the quilt with the bowl of apples, I decided to make a pie. So off to the kitchen I go...

Thanks so much for coming by. It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Aprons and More

On our latest travels, I decided to buy souvenirs in each country I visited that would be useful. Instead of purchasing collectibles that might end up sitting on a shelf gathering dust, I decided to go with collecting tea towels with the idea of making them into "Tea Towel Aprons". Jenny at the Missouri Star Quilt Company has put together a great YouTube tutorial using basic tea towels bought from a local department store. You can see the video HERE.  So I thought, why not use tea towels gathered from the different countries I visited?

The ladies I travelled with thought it was a great idea too so I offered to make their aprons for them. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any tea towels in Nassau, but I did find some in Bermuda, the Azores, and the UK. Here are a few I made from the Azores...

And a few are yet to be made into aprons! I think my favorite is the Bermuda towel...we saw so many houses that were so neat and tidy and colorful just like the house on the towel.

My Stonehenge towel will have to be made into a half apron or the rocks will be sideways! 

And of course a towel showing the historical sights in London was a must. What a great way to help me remember our whirlwind tour of the city...just hope I don't spill anything on it!

I have one more towel from the Azores waiting to be made into an apron. This towel was a gift from one of my travelling buddies. Isn't the machine embroidery gorgeous!

Guess I better spend more time in the kitchen!

Before I went on the trip, I made myself a small zippered pouch to take with me to hold all my little things. I machine quilted the fabric in a cross hatch design and made a little pocket for the inside.

I even attached a label too, just in case I forgot who I was. I filled it to the brim with anything that would fit and it came with me everywhere I went!

I had some fun in my sewing room lately with left over scraps of red and cream...not sure where I am going with this, but will just keep making the blocks for awhile longer. Perhaps it will be a table topper or a doll many options!

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Cottage Year and Quilt Shows

I have always loved seeing red, black, and white together in a quilt. Kathy Schmitz' pattern, "A Cottage Year", is a quilt pattern that combines these colours with my love of hand embroidery. You have seen several pictures of this project in progress, when I showed you the pattern, fabrics, and the first of the blocks HERE and when I sewed the blocks all together into a quilt top HERE.  Today I have just a few more pictures to show you before the quilt is put to rest waiting for its new home. 

"A Cottage Year" recently arrived back from Ange all nicely quilted. I added a black binding and "Abracadabra", the quilt is a finish. Hope you enjoy my show and tell...

I love making scrappy versions of quilt patterns, so I used an assortment of reds and creams from my stash for the log cabin blocks, tying it all together with a tidy little black print for the sashing.

One thing about my stash is that most of the fabric I buy are in fat quarters. Unfortunately, when it came to the binding, I didn't have enough yardage left to use the sashing fabric for the binding, so I used a solid black Kona cotton instead. Actually, I kind of like it!

Ange's edge to edge quilting was just want I wanted...a little quilting in and around the embroidered cottages, but still lets the hand stitching show off a little.

Oh my, how nice to see green in the background of this picture instead of white snow. After all, it is the first of June!

I had a fabulous day yesterday. I travelled a little over an hour to meet up with fellow Nova Scotian bloggers Linda, who blogs at Scrapmaster, and  Sheila from Sheila's Quilt World . We met first to have lunch and then we went to the Thistle Quilt Guild show to see the gorgeous quilts and quilted items at Sheila's guild's annual show in Westville, NS. This was the third year that I travelled to see Sheila and Linda at the show. Linda travels from the Halifax area so the show is a perfect meeting point. It was an afternoon of beauty and inspiration for us all. The extra bonus was to see some of Sheila's expertly quilted works up close...she is so very talented! 

And speaking of talent, Linda, in addition to being an avid quilter with traditional roots who has newly embraced modern quilt making,  is also a wonderful photographer and took some excellent pictures of the quilts. Please visit her HERE to see the quilts and tell her I say hello! 

A special hello to Karen at KaHolly who travelled with us to the quilt show last year. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to join us this time, but  have a look at the many reasons she chose Cape Breton as her summer home HERE. You may decide to move here too!

Speaking of quilt shows, how about if you join me this summer as I head to the Maine Quilts 37th annual quilt show in Augusta, Maine?  

A bus tour is being planned, for those who either love to quilt or love to shop at the outlets in Maine, or love both!  The bus will leave Port Hawkesbury on Thursday, July 25, to head to Maine and will start its return back on July 27. Although the bus will leave from Port Hawkesbury, the driver will make stops along the way and pick you up along the route if you live west of Port Hawkesbury. If you are a quilter living in Nova Scotia, PEI, or New Brunswick, you could definitely climb aboard the bus and let someone else do the long distance driving! Prices include the travel aboard an air conditioned coach, tour guide services, luggage handling, three nights accommodation at the Best Western Plus in Waterville, weekend admission to the quilt show plus banquet gala and live auction. Tour organizer Maureen promises laughs, games, prizes, movies, and so much more enroute to our destination. 

Here are the prices in Canadian dollars.

Quad (4 per room)  $475 
Triple ( 3 per room) $500
Double (2 per room) $525
Single $575

I have wanted to go to this quilt show for years, but hubby just wasn't interested in making the approximately 9 hour trip with me. This bus tour is the perfect solution. Won't you join me? If you are interested, please call the organizer Maureen at 1-902-625-0544 before June 14, 2014. Maureen will answer all your questions.  

And did I mention Pat Sloan will be there, along with a very talented group of quilt teachers offering workshops and demonstrations? And did I mention all the vendors who will be participating?  Do I have your interest? Check out the events HERE and please forward this information to anyone you think might be interested in joining us.

If you are one of my followers and think you might be attending the show, please send me an email or add a comment and maybe we can meet up at the show and say hello! 

It's a great day for quilting...