Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mid Month UFO Report

My October/November UFO is seeing some steady progress. Like a true sampler quilt in which every block is unique, I am quilting a different design in each block. Some blocks are mostly free motion quilted with squiggles, stippling and/or arcs, and some are mostly straight line designs. 

This block was all squiggles and very quick to finish.
It is interesting to note that this project was an Aurifil Block of the Month from 2016 (free patterns still available here), and I am quilting the Aurifil quilt with... my favourite Aurifil thread!

It's a fun creative exercise to look at each block and construct a quilting path.
In the most recently quilted block there were only 2 stops/starts. The dark red triangles are unquilted, the white triangles in the centre have curved arcs from corner to corner in white thread, and all the other triangles were quilted with arcs in red thread.
I have quilted 10 of the 12 blocks, so only 2 are remaining. Quilting the baby quilt interrupted the UFO progress, but still it seems like a November finish might be possible!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall today are my 32 flower units for the Magnolia Mist quilt. 
I have arranged them in groups of four, just for fun. I have no idea how these blocks will come together because it's a mystery quilt! 
One thing I have been thinking about while sewing these blocks, and at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy, I miss the good old days of pressing seams to the side or "to the dark". I really dislike pressing seams open and it seems that most block and mystery patterns want you to press open these days. I know this sometimes helps blocks to lay flatter, but every block takes longer to press and needing to pin every seam join is annoying. When the seams are pressed to opposite sides, it's so easy to butt seams together perfectly without using pins. 
Any thoughts on this issue of pressing seams open or to one side? Maybe it's just me?!?!
The next set of instructions will be posted on December 7th, so this project is going back in the box until then.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Small Quilts.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching Medicine

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! 
This week I have been thinking about stitching as medicine. The process of taking repetitive stitches, slowing the breath, being only in this moment, and concentrating on a simple task engages the parasympathetic nervous system in a way that nothing else does. It forces the body to relax and to heal. It's called the "rest and digest" or "relaxed and content" state, and for me there is no quicker way to achieve that state than by hand stitching. 
Today I need to calm down and relax. My Dad had emergency surgery this week, and thankfully he is doing amazingly well today, but once the crisis passes, you start to recognize that the stress of worry takes a toll on everyone who loves him. 
When I am concentrating only on taking my next stitch, I am not worrying about whether my Dad is going to live or die. I can finally relax and start to feel healthier myself.
I'll be stitching down the binding on the baby quilt I made last week. This is my favourite hand stitching activity, so I will really enjoy my slow stitching time!

What are you hand stitching today? 
Please share your project with us and link up your blog post below.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Knots

November and December are for "finishing" Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts. I have "a few" RSC projects that need finishing! At the top of the list is the Knot blocks which were pieced 5 years ago.
Well guess what?
Those blocks are now sewn into a quilt top!
I debated about the cornerstones quite a bit, but decided to keep them and think it gives the quilt top a bit of a 3D effect. I also debated about a border and the quilt decided it didn't want borders. So the next task is pin basting and then on to quilting. Is it possible that this quilt might get finished in 2017?!?
To see what other RSC quilters are working on, hop over to the weekly linkup.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Machine Quilting Tip

Besides using a type of thread that your sewing machine likes (my machine is exclusive to Aurifil these days) the other really important choice is what type of needle to use. 
I use a different needle for quilting and for piecing. I know a few people who never change their needle until it breaks - I'm looking at you Louise!! LOL
I always change my machine quilting needle after quilting every large quilt, or after 2 or 3 small quilts. It is really important when your needle is making thousands of stitches through 3 layers of materials at a high rate of speed to have a sharp needle. Needles that develop spurs or become slightly bent can result in costly machine repairs. Needles are cheap but sewing machine repairs are not!

Here's my tip: place the needle container near your machine so you always know what type of needle you're using. You can see on the little ledge on the right side of my machine that I have my Schmetz Topstitch needle case there (and you can see that it's empty because I go through a lot of needles). It's a visual reminder to me of the type of needle that's currently in the machine. If I want to stop quilting and start piecing, I would want to change the needle. For precision piecing, especially with tiny pieces, I prefer the Microtex Sharp needles. 
Yes there is a difference!
If you have problems with tension, skipped stitches or thread breakage, I would encourage you to try a new and/or a different kind of needle.

It has been a long time since I stipple quilted anything. It's one of the quickest and easiest quilting designs to use and since the baby quilt has to be finished, it got stippled. And look at that... the binding is prepped and ready to go on!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

My Dad has been in hospital this week, so there's not been much quilt studio time for me. Thankfully he's doing much better and hopefully will be coming home today or tomorrow. I have had lots of time for hand stitching and will show that on Sunday.
But with all the commotion, I completely missed that Quiltmaker has released the newest 100 blocks magazine
It's my favourite! 
The Quiltmaker blog has a lot of posts this week and giveaways happening - click here to check it out. I will be scouring the local book stores to see if I can find a copy around here.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Whipping up a baby quilt

A friend of mine just had twins... baby #3 and #4. 
Of course they needed their very own quilts.
Baby boy is getting the Berenstain Bears quilt that I finished last month and Baby girl is getting this quilt that I have been working on this week. I've had everything since the spring quilt retreat but of course I procrastinated it until the babies arrived and the quilts weren't ready!
The pattern I used is called "Through the Looking Glass" from Sew Emma. The main fabric is an adorable owl print from Robert Kaufman.

Here is the quilt top. It was quick and easy to put together and before I knew it,
I was already pin basting the backing, batting and quilt top sandwich and it was ready to quilt.
Baby quilts are so fun to make!
Linking up to the Baby Quilt Party