Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Projects

I have had a wonderful week playing in my sewing room. I love using Christmas fabrics in the month of December, even if some of the projects won't be ready 'till next Christmas! I have a plastic tote for my Christmas fabrics that seems to grow exponentially from year to year until I dig into it and do some sewing. But as all quilters know, the more you cut up those fabrics, the more you seem to have left over. This means that when Christmas is over every year my tote seems to be full again!

My Christmas tree skirt, designed by Karen Neary of Sew Karen-ly Created,  has progressed very well to the point that it is sandwiched and pinned just waiting for me to start my quilting.

It was an amazing project to put together. There are 12 blocks sewn together, 6 in one way, and 6 in another. Then the fun began as I played with the arrangement of the blocks. I put them together in 4 different arrangements and then Woodworker Hubby and I decided on the one we liked the best. It was interesting that we both chose the same one. Here are the four ways with the first picture being our choice. 

When I sandwiched the skirt, that's when I realized how nice and large it is! It is almost 60" from tip to tip, so besides being a tree skirt, may be also suitable as a lap quilt or ladder quilt, folded up to hide the centre hole which I will cut out once quilted. 

When I cut the edges off, I had lots of batting and fabric left to use in another Christmas project. I loved the Christmas Cottage block that was posted on December 3 for the free Moda Bake Shop Countdown to Christmas quiltalong. The block was designed by the Sterling Quilt Company and is just so cute in Christmas colours!  I decided to make a few cottages using some greys for the houses. 

With 4 blocks completed, I figured I had enough for my Christmas Cottage neighbourhood! But it needed something else besides sashing and a border, so I found some cute letters in my Jingle All the Way Art to Heart book and used the fusible applique method to adhere the letters to my background. 

Do you notice that the background fabric looks like Santa's beard? I'm always looking for an excuse to sit in my quilting chair and watch a Christmas movie, so off I went to add the blanket stitch to the letters.

I finished the little top ...

and then I sandwiched it. It is a nice little size and will finish at about 20" x 24. 

Now it is ready for quilting, waiting patiently on the dining room table! 

It is always a great day for quilting!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Busy Time for Quilt Projects

Whew! Made all my deadlines for sending packages out of town. Some of my quilty items were given as pre-Christmas gifts so I can share them here.  These two smaller items were made from the pattern, Heartfelt Holidays, which used a fabric panel designed by Wing and a Prayer. 

I loved seeing how DD displayed the banner with her nativity set!

I also sent a pre-Christmas quilt to DS's place, but forgot to take a picture first. He and his new wife have decorated their place with a Paris-Eiffel Tower theme, so when I saw this panel, it followed me home! I did some edge to edge meandering quilting to finish it up. I love how it hangs behind their Christmas tree!

Another project that has brought me great joy in the making is the Mary and Jesus quilt I made for my DD's classroom. The pattern is by Jen Frost of Faith and Fabric Design. The pattern seemed a little overwhelming at first, since there are 49 pages to it, but Jen broke up the project into four units so it became pretty manageable from start to finish. 

I had great success with the first unit, using all kinds of low volume prints and bright yellows for the halo.

Unfortunately, I printed off my Unit 2 pages and pieced the full unit before I noticed that my patterns hadn't printed to scale! This was totally my error, not the designer. Jen was so smart to have a 1" square on each pattern page but I hadn't thought to check it. Woe was me! I had no choice but to reprint and remake Unit 2, which thankfully, worked wonderfully. Patience is a virtue, right? 

I sandwiched the quilt using some 80/20 batting I had on hand, and used some white with grey stars fabric for the back. 

The sun was shining brightly the day I laid it on the deck! It measures about 34" x 41".

I had lots of the medium blue batik left so that is what I used for the second border and the binding.

With this quilt finished, I now have time to work on my Christmas Tree skirt. I attended an excellent workshop recently,  put on by Karen Neary of Sew Karen-ly Created and hosted by the delightful Havre Boucher Quilting Guild. It was a fabulous day of learning, playing, and eating! Karen's workshop, Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend-Log Cabin Diamonds, was excellent! I have been sewing and quilting for far too many years to keep track, but Karen had several new tips and tricks to make my quilting life easier. 

Karen also sells Aurifil thread so I treated myself to an early Christmas present of a great collection of neutrals. I love using Aurifil, and my Pfaff loves it too! I don't seem to have any problems with FMQ anymore, and I think it is because of the thread! 

Today I am playing with my diamonds, arranging, rearranging, and sewing the corner blocks.

It's a great day for quilting!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Getting Closer

Oh my goodness! How did this month go by so quickly?  Maybe because I've been so busy in my sewing room? Unfortunately, many of the projects I worked on are going to be gifts, so I can't show you many of my quilty projects yet but I did finish one more tablerunner from my red, black, and white Christmas stash that doesn't have a home yet.

I absolutely adore the centre square, with those vintage cars and Christmas trees. Anyone remember those days?

I used lots of older fabrics from my stash to compliment the new ones, and the backing full of snowflakes was just waiting to be used! 

The pattern is a free tutorial by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company that you can find by clicking on this link. I used the binding tool she recommends, but I think you would be fine with just cutting strips and trimming off the edges when done. 

I am now in the midst of making a paper pieced project wall hanging. I knew I wouldn't be able to make it in time for the Christmas boxes that went out earlier this week, so now I am taking my time and playing with it whenever the mood hits me. I have finished one of the four sections required and have really enjoyed making the units so far. Do you recognize the beginnings of a halo?

The picture of the back gives you a pretty good idea of how many fabrics are being joined to make the background.

The pattern is called Mary and Jesus, designed by Jen Frost and will finish at approximately 28" x 36".  You can find the pattern available HERE. I can't wait to dig into my blues for the robe!

In between my sewing spurts, I'm going through my Christmas quilts and will do some hanging today. I usually wait 'till December 1 but it just seems like a good day to start!  My snowman quilt has been waiting patiently in storage and so have all my red and green ones! 

Thank you so much for coming by today. It's always a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It's Always a Great Day for Quilting

The weather continues to amaze us in Cape Breton. We have had double digit temperatures right into November, with just a few cool days now and again. Today is a cool one, perhaps an indicator that winter may really be around the corner?

Because there was no sign of snow on the weekend, I found a window of opportunity to head to New Brunswick to visit family. Woodworker Hubby is the skate sharpener during the winter at the local rink so is pretty busy on the weekends and doesn't have time to miss me!  So with a little over three hours of driving time, I headed out and got to bask in the warmth of sisters' hugs and mom's smiles! My family is so generous when I arrive, from excellent accommodations, to fabulous meals and so much more, that I wanted to gift them with a little something. I had been playing with my Christmas fabrics last week so brought a few of these projects along to leave with them. Perhaps they'll think of me when it is time for them to decorate for the holidays!  

A little close up of the fabrics. Don't you love the little red trucks with Christmas trees on them?

My favorite hand work in my quilting chair is making hexies, so I found a great way to use them on this little runner! 

Of course I managed to visit a quilt shop on the way through to pick up some more Christmas fabric at Mrs. Pugsley's Quilt Emporium in Amherst. A group of quilters in the guild close by invited some of us from town to attend a workshop being put on by Karen Neary of Sew Karen-ly on the 14th. Karen will be teaching us the Log Cabin Diamond to use in a Christmas Tree Skirt. I can't wait! Karen's work is stunning and award-winning. To attend a workshop with her at the helm is such a treat! She also sells Aurifil thread so I must send her a little note to see if she will bring a few spools with her. My favorite thread colour to do free motion quilting is grey, Mako Aurifil 2610, 50 wt. and I'll need some more! 

Back to the fabric...I had ordered some great Christmas fabrics from Mrs. Pugsley's in Amherst in the Forever Green and Marble lines designed by Holly Taylor for Moda and wanted to coordinate a few more fabrics.

I decided to drop by in person to see what else she had. I found a few perfect wintry blacks and this luscious Christmas text fabric, Winter's Grandeur for Robert Kaufman, that followed me home! It is more beige than picture of it is a little deceiving. 

Tomorrow is Wednesday, the day of the week our Tea Time Quilters guild meets at the church to quilt. Because I don't hand quilt any more (ongoing wrist issues), I set up my little My Excel Janome workhorse beside their quilt frame and I sew, sew, sew while the ladies quilt, quilt,quilt. I usually take along some pretty easy projects to work on so I don't have to do much thinking. Last week I sewed lots of 2.5" squares of Christmas fabric together into rows and rows. Here is a sneak peak of a special project coming together. You can tell how much I love those red trucks!

Before I go, I wanted to mention a blogger that I have been following for years. I met Carol at Just Let Me Quilt in the days of Blog hops, then hosted by Madame Samm. Do any of you remember Think Christmas, a blog hop I hosted from July 30 - August 3 in 2012? Almost 75 people participated.  Here is a link that tells you more about it HERE. What a time we had in the "olden days"!  We virtually met dozens/hundreds of online quilty blog friends, participated in almost daily giveaways, and was inspired through the projects and free tutorials that were offered on everyone's blog.  I still follow many of the quilters I met then,though, to be honest, many blogs have been discontinued over the years due to the popularity of pinterest, instagram and facebook. It seems we are all sewing more and blogging less? And commenting less? Or is that just me? 

Anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to Carol and to thank her for reminding me of those good old days through her Thankful, for the Blogging World post HERE. The days it all started! I loved reading Carol's post. It was a little trip down memory lane. I look forward to continuing to follow her for lots of quilty inspiration and to hear about those fabulous monkey boys! Please visit Carol's blog to see what she is up to. Maybe you'll want to follow her annual Virtual Cookie Exchange expanded to include Christmas traditions and Christmas quilts! Click HERE for more information. Thanks, Carol, sending lots of smiles and hugs all the way from Cape Breton! 

It's always a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

And what a time was had at the 10th annual Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival!  The Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet, NSQBQ, four quilt blogging friends for life, with our very own quilt display, talking and sharing with quilters from everywhere! Who are we?  We are Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World, Linda at Scrapmaster, Karen at KaHolly, and me, The Cuddle Quilter.

We were originally booked to set up at the Amherst Curling Club, but renovations were ongoing and the location wouldn't have worked well for us or visitors to our venue. So in a moment's notice, and agreement from the Festival committee, we changed venues and headed to the Amherst Town Hall to set up in the lobby. This location is also the Festival Headquarters so it was a great place to be with lots of excited people coming through the doors to get information about the Festival and doubly pleased to see our quilt display when they arrived.

I think between the four of us, we had over 150 quilty items on display!

Our quilts ran the gamut from traditional to modern, including zippered pouches, landscape prints, postcards, wall hangings, Christmas pieces and quilts in every size-we had it all! Many thanks to Linda for arranging for the use of quilt frames from the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild. We also used some laundry drying racks and an awesome custom-made quilt ladder created by Sheila's husband.

Miss Linda surprised me with her camera! 

Lots of quilty stories, lots of meals together, and lots of hugs! We took turns visiting the four other quilt shows, the Zonta Bazaar, and several quilt shops and pop-up shops. What a whirlwind weekend! 

Left to right, Karen, Lesley, Linda, and Sheila.
Rumour has it we'll be back again next year, October 12 and 13th at the 11th annual Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.  Maybe we'll see you there?

It's a great day for quilting!