Friday, January 31, 2014

Fridays Are the Best!

After almost two years of retirement, I still love Fridays and the anticipation of the weekend. My plans for the weekend? More TV, reading, and resting. Yep, I'm back in "resting" mode from my quilting shenanigans projects and waiting for results of yet another set of x-rays, this time on my wrist and shoulder. Cortisone shots were ruled out by my physician as the aches are in too many places for it to be effective. But no sad faces as my pain is very minimal, more of a nuisance now than anything. I'm definitely improving, I just want to make sure my steps are forward, not backwards.

Since I have no new finished projects to show you, I thought I'd take you for a spin around our little house. I guess you could say I am a bit of a quilt collector...



When you walk in the front door, you are greeted by a little quilt in honor of little houses just like ours!


The pattern is designed by that sweetie, Michelle, Folk Art Fusion designer, owner and operator of The Raspberry Rabbits. The quilt has lots of embroidery and uses cottons with wool applique hearts. Make sure you check out her shop...she has some wonderful designs!

If you take a left into the kitchen, you see a little quilt on the fridge that I designed for Woodworker Hubby in honor of his birthday a few years ago.



It's a little tricky to read the newspaper article that I had printed on cotton, but it shows him at the age of 10, "believed to be the youngest Hydro plane driver in Canada".  The caption detailed how he competed in the 10 horse Power utility class in the Nova Scotia Power Boat Association regatta long before I knew him. He looks a little swamped under his dad's helmet and wearing a life jacket of that era. He was pretty proud that day!

On the back, I couldn't resist adding this little cartoon, personalized it just a tad and gave it to him on his birthday which was celebrated while we were on the Alaskan quilting cruise in 2012.



I used selvages from the fabric lines designed by the quilting teachers on the cruise, Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts and Lynn Hagemeir of Kansas Troubles Quilters. It's a perfect little memoir quilt for the two of us if our memories begin to fade like the fabrics!

There are several quilts in the kitchen...one is a very vintagy snowman quilt I made with homespuns. It has seen lots of sun over the years so is pretty faded, but I still love these guys!



Here's my mittens quilt, one of the first quilts I made using wool applique!



The table is decorated with a mitten tablerunner made with flannels and cottons...cosy quilts for a wintry day!


This framed log cabin quilt was made years ago...



In the livingroom, I don't have pictures hanging, I have quilts! This one again combined cotton and wool. 









and a few more snowmen...





I have several hooked rugs...all gifts from my talented and very generous friend!

I hope you have enjoyed my show and tell. If all goes well, maybe next time I'll have some quilted treats to show you from my sewing corner. Positive thinking can work wonders! 

Have a great weekend!



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ergonomics and Baby Quilts

I invested in a couple of new quilting tools recently that are already making my life easier and a lot more fun! Rotary cutting has always taken its toll on my wrist, elbow, and shoulder. I did some research and discovered the Martelli rotary cutter, an ergonomically designed cutter that has made a huge difference. When you use it, your wrist and forearm are straight in line, no awkward angle at the wrist as you cut through the fabric, so no stress, aches, and pains. Another bonus is that I can use it sitting down for those small jobs.




I read some reviews, watched some videos, and knew I had to have it. I called Darlene, who blogs at Quilts by Darlene, at her new quilt shop, A Needle Pulling Thread and sure enough, she had this cutter in stock!  Within a few days, my new cutter was delivered to my door. Darlene posted a great pic of the Martelli cutter on her Face book page so I borrowed it to give you a better look. This is the best thing since sliced bread and comes in right and left hand models.


My second gift to me was an Oliso Smart Iron.  There are three models available and I chose to purchase the TG1050 model. I found it online at Amazon.ca and it arrived the other day. I call it my hovercraft iron and, like the rotary cutter, it is the best thing since sliced bread!


My wrist problems were being aggravated from lifting up the iron and putting it on it's end over and over and over again. This Oliso iron can stay flat the whole time. It has "feet". When I touch the handle, the feet disappear into the base and I press my fabrics accordingly. When I'm finished, I just slide the iron over, remove my hand, the feet extend and the iron pops up. Don't believe me? Check out this video here.
What have I been doing with my new toys? Here is a picture diary of my latest project...















I used a free pattern, "Sophie Car Seat Quilt" designed by that talented mother-daughter team who blog at Clover and Violet. They also have a wonderful selection of patterns in their shop.  This particular pattern is featured in the Moda Bake Shop and can be found HERE. The quilt finishes at 25" x 30".

I love the idea that there are ties on the quilt so it can be used for a car seat or a stroller and won't fly away! My nephew and his wife had their first baby just last week and the quilt is on its way to them today. I used fabrics from my stash, including some Lori Holt fabrics by Riley Blake, and chose a soft flannel for the back to make it a little more cozy. I used straight line machine quilting and a decorative stitch for the binding. Hope the new baby likes it!

It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Slow Sunday Stiching, and Monday, and Tuesday, and so on...

What a great day to sit in my quilting chair, watch a movie, and do a little hand stitching. I have a couple of projects I have been working on, for just a few minutes a day, and am finally seeing some progress. Today I am linking up with Kathy at Kathy's Quilts for her "Slow Sunday Stitching" link. 

One of my hand stitching projects is "Warm Winter Blessings", a wool applique wall hanging designed by Lisa Bongean. My heart goes out to Lisa of Primitive Gatherings and her family who suffered a terrible loss over the holiday. Many prayers sent to Lisa and her family.  

I purchased this pattern quite awhile ago, waiting for a good time to start. With all this winter weather, it is definitely a good time for a snowman! I worked on snowman one...



and all I have left to do is to add some snowflakes to the sky. I also prepped snowman two...




Seems like I may be "crossing over" from Santas to snowmen, but I can certainly see the appeal. Lisa's snowmen are adorable!

With my Santas taking a rest, I also decided it was time to add some redwork angels to my Christmas decorations. I googled "Redwork Angel Patterns" and found this delightful quilt pattern designed by Beth Ritter. She has her angel designed for every month.



It is available online at her Etsy shop, Wellington House Design. I love PDF files. With just a few clicks, the pattern was being printed out on my home computer and I was ready to start.

Not sure why, but I started with the December angel and am working backwards. 


My goal is to do two blocks a month and with my "slow everyday stitching", I still managed to finish my January goals. I think December will be my favorite...



But I do like November too!




So off I go to my quilting chair. It's a great day for quilting!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Quilting Just a Tad

Good morning and Happy New Year! The cob webs are slowly being lifted in my sewing corner and the dustballs are flying off my keyboard, one click at a time. 

I don't make New Year's resolutions. In the past, it kind of set me up for failure...like really, who can live without Lays Classics? Instead, I am choosing to be happy and choosing to slow down. Yep, I will strive for moderation, in my blogging, sewing, and quilting.

My health team says it's time to extend my periods of sewing and quilting. I may even get up to thirty minutes a session soon! It's been wonderful to look around in my sewing corner and choose an unfinished project that can be finished without a lot of time. I'm trying to avoid long bouts of rotary cutting from starting a new quilt so going to my UFO bins instead.This is what I finished the other day.


The pattern was designed by Laural Arestad and is in the Winter 2013 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects. 



"Friends, family, and the warmth of home"... I love this quote! I had actually made one of these quilts for the shop before Christmas and it is now in the home of a very good friend. 

This design was part four of a little seasonal quilt. Mine finishes at about 12.5" square.


"Winter Comforts" was the perfect project to bring to my quilting chair on a wintry morning with my cup of coffee...


Once the crosshatch quilting was finished, I added the borders and binding and then sat again...


I love using these clips...I found an earthy floral print for the back and a tiny homespun check for the binding...


and now it's a finish!

I also finished a small braided runner. I had made up the kit awhile back, so all I had to do was a little easy stitching. I machine quilted it in the ditch, bound it, and put it in my "Tickle Trunk" for a gift.


That's another thing I learned from this tennis elbow fiasco...don't wait until next Christmas to make my Christmas gifts! 

It's a great day for quilting!