Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Countdown is on...

Two more days until me, myself and 11 of my crafty friends set up our Artisans Collective shop for the Olde Tyme Christmas at the Port Hastings Museum. Press releases have been issued, posters distributed, and all of us are like Santa's elves...busy in our workshops.  We are only open for a total of thirty hours during the next two weekends so we want the experience for our visitors to be exceptional.  As in the past, the shop will be filled to the rafters and visitors will be welcomed through our door to browse, to shop, and of course to buy a ticket on a basket filled with hand-crafted goodies.

I am in my self-proclaimed race to the finish, trying to change those UFOs from Christmas past to Christmas presents. Yes, pun intended!

In the past week, I have totally changed my plans for my Icicle Snowman runner. You can read about my original plans HERE. I decided to make some star blocks to frame my little guy and jumped in to do my first ever FMQ! All I have left is to FMQ the blue star points on the second star and the final border and add a binding. (Thank you, teacher Linda at Scrapmaster, for giving me the confidence to FMQ through the workshop you taught us a few weeks back.)  I used the "loop de loop" design this time around. Icicle Snowman will definitely be a finish for the shop.

I embellished my snowman with a few blue snowflakes and some outline stitching, a bit different from the original design HERE.

Then I added a bit of winter to my stars with some die-cut snowflakes that I bought last year from my not-so-close LQS

Apparently we are expecting snow on Thursday, so my Icicle Snowman will have some friends! 

I finished up a couple of small table toppers too. I love combining stitcheries with fabric, so these were fun to do, not too taxing, and one of them will be donated to the gift basket for the draw. The first one is 14" x 16" and the second one is 12.5" x 12.5".

Another project that I have ready for the shop is a Christmas table runner with a more modern flair. I can't remember the name of the fabric, but if you do a close-up, you will see the fabric is full of Christmas ornaments and holly. The pattern is designed by Nova Scotian designers, 2 Easy Design. I bought the pattern and kit at a quilt show in Pictou awhile back.

I used my "go-to" straight line quilting which always gives such great texture and allows the runner to lay flat on a table.

For this runner, I used a "new to me" method of sewing the binding to the back, folding over to the front, and stitching on the front. It leaves a narrow binding showing on the back and a wider binding showing on the front. By matching the thread colours on both sides, it results in a very tidy and quick binding.

Warm Winter Blessings is still on my quilting to do list but I had to send away for the perfect thread colour that would blend into the blue background. I plan to FMQ this one, and contrary to other FMQers out there, I don't want my quilting to show! Will keep you posted.

Thanks so much for coming by today and a very Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends who will celebrate later this week.

It's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blogathon Canada

Welcome to the third annual Blogathon Canada event, a week long celebration of Canadian quilting blogs. 

Sponsored by Sew Sisters Quilt Shop, the hop travels the country this week introducing you to bloggers from coast to coast. Sew Sisters are having some great giveaways this week so visit them often! 

Every day of the hop begins in a different region of the country and todays hop is all about the Maritimes. Since I live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, I definitely qualify as a Maritimer! Our special cohosts today are both Lindas. We have Linda from Scrapmaster, and Linda from Stitch Lines who will tell you more about Blogathon Canada, list some links to bloggers from the Maritimes, and will have some terrific giveaways on their blogs.  All you have to do is click on their names in this paragraph and you will be transported to their blogs.

As for me, I am thrilled to be with you today to welcome old friends to my blog and to meet new friends too! If you are already a follower, you know that I dabble in quilting in many different ways, from the traditional, country, and civil war styles, to the more modern day quilts with lots of white space. Please visit my previous posts for a look at how I fill my retirement days.

For today, though, I thought I'd share three things with you....a recent finish, what I am working on today in my sewing corner, and what I hope to play with next.

My latest finish is Feathered Christmas, a pattern designed by Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio. I purchased the kit directly from Cherry a few years ago and have picked at it ever since, using the fusible precut shapes she supplied and a machine blanket stitch to finish off the edges. I pulled it out of my UFO tote a few weeks ago and decided to finish it with echo quilting. Not perfect by any means, but it works for me!

A few closeups...

What's in my sewing corner today?  I love Christmas and I love Santas, so the Christmas fabric in my stash was put to good use for my next project, a table runner.

The runner was inspired by one of the table runners in My Runners, a book by Disa Designs. I chose not to add any applique to it since I think the fabrics are already pretty beautiful and also pretty busy!
I didn't use the "quilt as you go" method suggested by Disa, but rather strip pieced it, added some borders, sandwiched it, and am now machine quilting it with lots of straight lines. 

I only have the green strips left to quilt, plus the borders, and then the binding to add. I think I'll bind it in the black Santa print. I so love those Santas!

I had some yardage in my stash that worked really well for the back.

And what's next in line? I just finished embroidering a snowman block from the pattern by Crab-apple Hill, Snowmen A-Zzzzz. I chose the "I" block featuring some cool icicles. 

My plan is to play with some of my blues and creams to make a version of the table runner design I found in the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine from March/April 2003. The original design, Posy Chain by Heather Mulder, featured applique. Quilt tester Laura Boehnke added her version without the applique, and I am further adapting the pattern to use my embroidered snowman...a joint effort, wouldn't you say?

So that's what's happening in my quilting world. I am also a member of the Artisans Collective, a group of 12 friends who sell hand crafted items at a  shop located in the Port Hastings Museum located at the Canso Causeway, the entrance to Cape Breton. In addition to opening seasonally during the tourist season, we open for two weekends before Christmas. A percentage of proceeds from every sale will be donated to the Museum. 

Here is the poster advertising the Christmas hours and dates in case you live within driving distance. If you plan to come by, please email me and I'll try to make sure I'm there to say hello.

Thanks so much for popping by during Blogathon Canada. It's a great day for quilting!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Warm Winter Blessings and a Santa Quartet

Update: Congratulations to Renee G. She was the winner of the Warm Winter Blessings pattern and fabrics. Thanks to all of you for visiting!

If you follow my blog, you know I love Christmas and I especially love Santas. But last year, when I saw Lisa Bongean's pattern, Warm Winter Blessings, I knew I was going to be crossing over to the snowman side. How could I resist these wooly snowmen in their action poses? There was even more of an appeal to me when I realized the pattern called for a variety of fabrics for use as the dark blue backgrounds, and an assortment of creams and light blues for the sashing....a perfect stash buster!  So I made the leap and over the past year completed the appliqued snowmen by hand using the blanket stitch. This week, the snowmen were sewn together and my team is now ready for the big reveal...

When I was ready to start, I was very fortunate to be able to purchase some of the Snowman Gatherings fabrics and wool from Darlene's shop, A Needle Pulling Thread. Although her shop is about six hours away from me, she is a phone call away and is always so quick to put things in the mail for me!  I supplemented with fabrics and wool from my stash and am very pleased with the scrappy effect. Here's a closer look at each of the blocks. They each seem to have a personality of their own! 

My goal is to quilt it myself, but not by hand since my wrist issues continue to plague me. Instead I will use my trusty Pfaff and machine quilt some crosshatching in the sashing and use some echo and FMQ in the snowman blocks. As for the borders, I will see how I get along with the inside of the quilt first...fingers crossed.

And just to prove that my first love is still Santas, here is a picture of the Santa Quartet runner I finished recently. 

The pattern was gifted to me a very long time ago from my friend Sue who blogs at Chickadees Country Cottage Crafts. It took me awhile, but it sure is nice to call it a finish. Thanks, Sue, for helping me add to my Santa collection! 

I did echo quilting with this runner and will probably use the technique again with my snowmen. The Santa Quartet pattern is by Bird Brain Designs HERE.

Getting back to my snowmen, are you now inspired to make some? I had so much enjoyment making these snowmen I would like to share the experience with one of you! I will be having a Giveaway of my gently used Warm Winter Blessings pattern and this collection of left over scraps of blues and creams that may help get you started.

If you are interested in this giveaway, just leave a comment. The deadline for the draw is Friday, November 14 at 12:00 midnight EST.  I will get Mr. Random.org to help me draw the winner who will be notified by email the next day. 

Since I am quickly getting in the Christmas spirit, I hope you will join me and check out Madame Samm's Sew We Quilt Christmas blog hop called "Twas the Night". The hop runs from November 11-21 and will be hosted by the Marvelous Marlene at Stitchin by the Lake . She will be sure to keep the crafty quilters on track providing us with a fabulous hop that is sure to be full of Christmas Quilty Inspiration. Check the schedule out HERE

Good luck in the draw and remember, it's always a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Country Homecoming a Finish

With the arrival of cooler weather, the need for a cozy cuddle quilt is greater than ever. This week I met the challenge and was thrilled to finish binding Country Homecoming.

The quilt is designed by Terry Burkhart and Rozan Meacham and featured in their book, "Primitive Gatherings: Quilts and Accessories." 

I fell in love with this quilt when I first read about it in April, 2012, on Sweet P's blog HERE . Paulette was participating in a Quiltalong and as I watched her homespun houses become neighbourhoods, my interest in making the quilt grew and grew with each house she completed.

My Country Homecoming uses a variety of homespuns from my stash, many years old (!), and a few newer ones with some cozy flannels added for texture and warmth. 

I have to be honest...the applique took me forever, even doing it by machine, but I love the punch it gives to the borders. I used some more homespun for the bias binding that I attached.

As usual, the quilting design Ange chose blended perfectly with the quilt. Can you see the swirly stars among those loops ?

My Country Homecoming journey has now come to a close and the timing could not be better as the wind howls and the snow is teasing us from just around the corner. Thanks so much for the inspiration, Paulette. 

If you, like me, love seeing these neighbourhoods grow, please visit Nancie Ann at Nancie Ann Quilts.  She is participating in a more recent Country Homecoming QAL that will soon be winding to a close. Her homespun houses are beautiful and you will see lots more Country Homecoming inspiration on her blog.

It's a great day for quilting!