Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowman Santa and the Ladies

I found the perfect combination of my love for Santa with the popularity of snowmen- a "Snowman Santa" featured in a Moda Bunny Hill Winter Wonderland panel.  I purchased the panel awhile ago and put it aside until I could figure out how to use it. With this wintry weather, it seemed like the time to shovel it out from my stash, make some decisions, and turn it into a flimsy!

I cut up the panel into the square blocks, and at first, wasn't even going to use the longer strips. But how could I not use the Snowman Santa? I had an extra few courthouse step blocks and they fit wonderfully well with the longer panels. Here is a close up of the Snowman Santa that is flying over the top of the quilt...

I had a Moda honeybun that was gathering dust so I used the cream and red strips from it along with strips from my stash to make the courthouse steps blocks. 

The quilt measures 38" x 52", a perfect size for a cuddle quilt,featuring snowmen celebrating winter and Christmas. I'll be sure to have this one done for next Christmas!

I have been working diligently with my Downton Abbey ladies too! The next step is to make a pieced border using both shoofly and square in a square blocks. I swear I have every quilt-related gadget or gizmo ever invented, so rummaged around and pulled out my Marin and Colusa Stitching Lines papers to make my shoofly blocks. It did help speed up the process and it was much easier to sew a straight line!

Of course, a person can sew faster if a person does a whole bunch at a time...

I haven't finished all the blocks, but I definitely made a start!

It's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Little Letters and Country Charmer

Woodworker Hubby and I are going to be grandparents for the first time! On Christmas Eve, DD and SIL shared the news with us that they are going to have a baby in June! We are so thrilled for them and so happy that we will be joining the grandparents club!
So what is a quilter to do? Make a baby quilt, of course...

Little Letters, the quilt designed and featured as a free pattern by the Temecula Quilting Company, had been popping up all over blogland since the quiltalong began in the Fall. I had wistfully followed it's growth, letter by letter, wishing I had a little one to make it for. When the news of future grandbaby arrived, I knew this would be the first quilt...a Little Letters car seat/stroller quilt. After all, it is never too early to start to read, right? 

The Little Letters were so much fun to make, that I made two sets at once. For grandbaby, I wanted to make a quilt that would work for a boy or a girl so chose some bright prints bordered with mellow yellow and a luscious teal! Since Little Letters has been mailed out, we have found out that the baby is a boy. The second quilt for GBB (grand baby boy) is now in the making!

You know how much I love cross hatching, so this design was a given for the machine quilting.

I have been seeing minky fabric used on baby quilts, so I ordered some white minky from It is so soft and seems like the perfect backing for this baby cuddle quilt.

I had read some tips about working with Minky and found it was as easy as any other fabric to quilt with. After I cut the piece I needed for the backing, I put it in the dryer to air fluff and remove the little fuzzies that you get when you cut it. The finished quilt has since been washed and came out just great!

The quilt is about 35" x 39", a perfect size to use in the car seat, stroller, or as a play mat. I added ties to the quilt so it could be tied to the stroller or car seat if needed, adding an extra tie to the top as well. 

I learned about this method last year when I made Clover and Violet's Sophie's Car Seat quilt for a gift. 

Little Letters is now in its new home on the other side of the country, but I have a second one here to keep me company until it finds its new owners. 

For this quilt, I changed one of the borders to white and used a teal flannel backing.

I want to send a huge congratulations to our Country Charmer queen, Lynn Wilder, who blogs at Sew'n Wild Oaks. She is the featured quilter this week on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. There is a membership fee for The Quilt Show. You can pay for a one month trial subscription or pay for one year. 

I watched the video yesterday and was so impressed with Lynn's Taking the Fear out of Math session. She is a natural teacher and was so comfortable sharing her tips and techniques. As for her organization skills, wow...out of the park! 

Lynn also included a segment on Country Charmer and my heart soared. It is such a beautiful quilt and one of my all-time favorites. When we were making our quilts during the 2013 QAL, we were so fortunate to have Lynn helping us out all along the way. When my quilt top was finished, Lynn offered to quilt it for me. It travelled all the way to California and back, with huge thanks going to Lynn for her expertise and generosity. You might remember she put together a collage for me when she finished quilting it.

If you haven't made this quilt yet, it might be time to start. You can find the pattern HERELynn also has all kinds of helpful tips on her Country Charmer button HERE

My heart soared yet again while I was watching the video yesterday when she actually mentioned me by name on the show- Lesley, the Cuddle Quilter from Nova Scotia. How cool is that! Well, Lesley, The Cuddle Quilter from Nova Scotia, has been buried in snow for the last few days, watching blizzards rage outside from the comfort of my cosy sewing room. Today we might have to venture out as the cupboards are bare!

Until next time, it's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It Takes a Village

A Quilted Village that is! I have pulled out another UFO and have been working on a few houses from the Quilted Village kit I purchased years ago as a BOM from Shabby Fabrics. You have seen a few houses over the years and I still have a long way to go, but here are a few pics of my progress to date.

I loved putting together the centre "greene" with those quarter square triangles surrounded by the sidewalk. I have a funny feeling I might have to fudge my blocks a tad to make everything fit.

A lot of the blocks have had their challenges for me. The quilt can be made using the applique instructions or the paper-piecing method. The fabrics arrived each month cut in pieces for each block. Unfortunately, my paper-piecing method uses much larger pieces than intended, so I ran out of some fabrics and had to remake the blocks accordingly with my own scraps. Thank goodness for my stash! 

I adore the row with the church, and just think how nice it will look when the wrinkles are pressed out!

As you can see, some of the blocks are embellished with embroidery. The kit actually included materials to do ribbon embroidery, but I wasn't ready to tackle that, so substituted with good old fashioned embroidery floss.

This is the block that I am working on. Still have to add the apples!

Congrats to Dolores, the winner of my gently used Fernhill pattern and some Hollyhock Cottage fabrics. It is nice to know the pattern will be going to a good home. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments! 

I thought I'd also give you an update on The Ladies of Downton Abbey quilt. I managed to finish sewing the three narrow borders on and am ready to make the shoo fly blocks and the square in a square blocks for the next pieced border. I must have wiggled the camera a little...sorry for the fuzzy picture.

I worked on the quilt during the last three Mondays, when I have headed to the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre and joined some local quilters for a morning sew-in. We bring along our sewing machines and set up in the arts and crafts room. There is plenty of space, excellent lighting and a big floor so I was able to lay out the quilt top to take the picture. It is so enjoyable to sew along with quilt friends, sharing our projects and our quilting stories, and finishing it off with lunch at a local eatery afterwards. I love Mondays!

It's a great day for quilting!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fernhill Finish

Another UFO has been finished! Fernhill, a quilt designed by Lynette Anderson, is now complete. 

The little quilt, 28" square, features Lynette's Hollyhock Cottage fabrics, lots of embroidery, and some adorable Fernhill hand painted buttons. How about this little blue bird?

Or this little brown squirrel scurrying along the grass?

More buttons like a dragonfly, a toadstool, and some features like this chocolate bunny...

and a lot of tiny yoyo flowers.

I decided to keep the machine quilting pretty simple because there is so much going on in this little wall hanging. Stitch in the ditch seemed to keep it all together.

I saw this pattern several years ago at a fabulous quilt shop in Calgary that I was visiting with my blog friend Sue of Chickadee's Country Cottage Crafts.  Unfortunately, the quilt shop has since closed down...very sad face here. 

Anyway, Sue and I filled our baskets with treasures that day and had a wonderful afternoon. I noticed the Fernfill 9-month BOM on display in the shop and thought it was adorable because it combined piecing and embroidery, a favorite combination of mine. I added Fernhill to my basket, thinking the pattern was $12 as seen on the sticker on the package. Well, it was $12, alright, but it was $12 for each of the 9 patterns included in the package. You see, each packet not only included the pattern, but also included a hand painted button for each month all the way from Australia. I can see the reason for the pricing, but the BOM package was way over my budget that day. I didn't notice the actual pricing until after I had paid with my credit card. So rather than return it once I noticed the price, I gulped loudly, and the rest is history. Now that it is a finish, I am so glad the pattern came home with me that day! 

If you would like to make Fernhill, and don't mind receiving a gently used pattern in the mail (without the buttons!), just let me know in the comments before Saturday, February 7 by 4:00 pm EST.  I'll draw a name after the deadline and send it along to one of you, with a few Hollyhock scraps to play with!  

It's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Ladies are Calling

Of course I am talking about the Downton Abbey ladies. If you read my post HERE, you'll know I have been inundated with glorious fabrics designed to celebrate the ladies of my favorite TV series, Downton Abbey. I continue to build this quilt, enjoying each and every step.

I finished all the Ohio Star blocks I needed and just love the colours that pop from them. Some of my blocks show strong contrast, while others are softer and more muted, just what I was looking for. After all, the Downton Ladies show both strong wills and shyness and timidity depending upon the situation and the character. 

This quilt builds from the centre "Towne Square", so once the Ohio Star blocks were framed on two sides, I started sewing them into rows for the tops and sides.

Luckily, we had a sunny afternoon last week so I could "fly" the top complete with the Ohio Star borders. During that same windy day, my clothesline broke, so until it is fixed, I will use my deck wall as background for my quilts.

Can you tell it was yet another windy day in the Strait area?

The next step is to sew three narrow borders to the top and then begin the outer pieced border that is made of alternating shoo fly and square in a square blocks. I ran out of fabric for my borders so am waiting for the fabric to arrive before I can finish the borders and make the blocks for the outer border. 

When I take a break from machine sewing, I often head to my quilting chair in the living room to watch a movie and do a little handwork. Today is a snow day so I plan to spend the afternoon thinking of summer while I finish sewing the binding onto Summer Leaf, my orange peel lap quilt that arrived from the LAQ before Christmas. 

This quilt is indeed a scrappy quilt, as you can see, constructed from a multitude of bright fabrics I used for the petals, or leaves, and the combination of a variety of white tone on tone  fabrics I used for the setting blocks and border. 

I love the quilting design Ange used. I'm using a green daisy print for the binding, bringing everything together like a flower garden! The quilt isn't very big, a good sized cuddle quilt, or maybe a wall hanging, measuring at 48" x 60". 

Thanks for coming by on a snowy wintry day in Cape Breton! It's a great day for quilting!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Sunday Snowman Finish

It was a beautiful, crisp winter day yesterday, the perfect day to finish my Warm Winter Blessings quilt and take a few pictures.

I am particularly proud of this quilt, since I made the entire quilt from start to finish myself! Usually I send out my lap/larger quilts to be quilted by my long armer, but this time I wanted to do it myself. 

I used my trusty renditions of loop de loop free motion quilting in the backgrounds and borders and added a little "oomph" with the cross hatching I used in the triple sashings - which, by the way, took forever and a day! There was a lot of handling the quilt and pushing and shoving it around while using my Pfaff, but luckily my appliques were well attached!

The sun was shining through the slats of the fence so you can't see the quilting very well on the blue border. I used the same loop de loop design, just made it a little larger and matched my thread. The quilting doesn't show up that well in the picture, but the texture is just what I wanted. 

Warm Winter Blessings is a quilt designed by Lisa Bongean . This is another one of my favorites ever quilt!

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Ladies and Designer Car Bags

Downton Abbey is one of my all time favorite TV shows. 

I have followed it from the beginning and was so enamored with it, that when Andover Fabrics produced its first collection of Downton Abbey fabric over a year ago, I immediately ordered a quilt kit featuring the Ladies of Downton Abbey fabrics from the Fat Quarter Shop. ( I don't believe the kit is still available, but they have more recent fabrics from the Downton Abbey line.)

Even before the fabric had arrived in quilt shops across the land, my pre-order was in and I was anxiously awaiting its arrival.  Fast forward over a year, and this luscious fabric that I so adored was still sitting in a tote in my sewing corner. With the Christmas holidays a distant memory, and the beginning of Season Five of Downton Abbey last week, the fabrics have now come to life in my upstairs sewing room.  

Although a pattern called Ladies of Downton Abbey arrived with the fabrics, I liked it, but I didn't love it.

However,  I am in love with a free pattern that I found online designed by Wendy Sheppard for RJR Fabrics called Towne Square. The pattern features fabric designed by Lynette Anderson but I see quite a similarity in the colour families of both collections so I think it will work.

I can just picture the Ladies Mary, Edith, and Sybil strolling along in the Towne Square, of course being chaperoned by Countess Cora and the Dowager Countess of Grantham, all wearing their elegant dresses of blues, greens, lavenders, and burgundies, with Lady Sybil's dress always being a little bit more modern!

I really like this pattern because it is scrappy, uses a variety of quilt blocks including the Ohio Star, the Shoo Fly, and the Square in a Square and is a good size at 77" x 77".

You'll see that the centre of the quilt is a great mix of fabrics, with sashing that features scrappy cornerstones. The fabric includes tone on tones, small prints, large prints, bold prints, and pale prints, perfect for a scrappy quilt.

I have a good start on three Ohio  Stars.

I love how a larger block is then created by adding 3 1/2" strips to the top and sides of the star...

or is the bottom and sides?

The three at a glance...

I have lots left to do, but am enjoying making this quilt so much. 

Of course, I did finish a few smaller projects last week. I made some nifty little fabric trash bags for the cars. Each has a stiff liner inside so you can put a plastic grocery bag or a large zip lock bag inside and fold over the liner to hold in place. 

I used some coffee themed fabric for two of the bags. After all, don't we usually need to find a place for our fill our empty coffee cups? 

I made the smaller middle bag with iron-on vinyl to make the fabric waterproof. It turned out OK, but it lost the look of a brand new project...kind of wrinkled by the time I finished it. I kept this one for me and the others have new homes in Alberta and New Brunswick. The trash bags hang from the gearshift in the car on the passenger side. 

My DD had pinned the bag on Pinterest and I was able to find the tutorial with the instructions HERE. Designer Stephanie Hughes also sells her finished Designer Car Bags in her Etsy shop, Green Goose, right HERE, if you'd rather buy than make. Thanks, Stephanie, for a great tutorial! 

As always, it is a great day for quilting!