Monday, November 29, 2010

Hearts are going

This is the top that is going tomorrow morning to New Zealand. In my previous post, there is a link to the lady that is collecting heart blocks. I figured by the time my blocks are received, it might be a tad too late to do anything with them .... so that is why I decided to make them into a top to help speed up the quilting process. I hope that whoever receives this quilt finds some comfort during their time of sorrow.

My father worked in the mines for a very short time when my parents were first married. I know that he did not like going underground to work and thankfully he was able to find other work to support his growing family.

Top size: 39-1/2" x 55"

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gathering hearts

I just read this afternoon about a call for heart blocks to be sent to New Zealand to be made into quilts for the families of the 29 miners that perished this week. All my hearts have been cut out and I am in the process of sewing them onto the 6-1/2" square fabrics. If you are interested, please visit Shirley Goodwin's blog and just scroll down to read all about the Healing Heart blocks. So, my hearts will be going to New Zealand early next week.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Times are busy

More circles and leaves have been prepped ..... ... to do the final 3 blocks .....
.... as well as marking up this challenge UFO for machine quilting. Oh yes, times are busy around here.

To my American neighbours .... Happy Thanksgiving!
Have a great day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Finish # 1

Well .... it feels so good to have my first UFO finish for Finn's New Year's Eve Challenge. This is it .... Flowering Stars! Here is a side view so that you can see some of the hand quilting effect.

One down .... two to go.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Needlepoint Display

Many thanks again to Chookyblue for organizing another weekend of cross-stitch and needlepoint 'show and tell'.

I've done a few pieces and to start off, this one is of the hotel at Lake Louise. When we drove to the west coast of Canada many years ago, I so wanted to drive to Lake Louise. Instead, we went to Banff and were equally awed with our visit there. This piece has shown its' age and I will need to replace the mat. This piece never got framed. The mountains and the lake and the colours just called my name.

This was a kit that my Mom bought for me just after DH and I were married. This was a labour of love. The mountains and the church just speak to me. I think the setting of this scene is from Austria and that is where some of my ancestors came from.

I did a few tissue holder boxes....which we still use today.

There are 2 UFO's that need to be finished. This one of iris flowers is really hard on my eyes. The canvas is single strand and that is the reason for me shelving it (over 25 yrs. now). My other UFO is a kit that I bought in England ... but I can't find it .... will have to go on a hunt for it.

My Mom made this one of an English cottage garden. She did many needlepoint pieces and I'm lucky to have two from her.

... and she made this one of blue flowers and gave it to me a few years ago for Christmas.

She has 2 UFO's that I will finish for her.

So, now you have seen another side of me other than quilting.

Go on over to Chookyblue's post for a list of people that are participating this weekend and enjoy!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Got to out-smart

I finally figured out a way to out-smart Miss Hank to keep her off my quilting hoop.

I've been marking my klosjes quilt for hand quilting and switch between quilting my star hanging and working on my klosjes top. Usually, whatever I'm working on, Miss Hank has to climb onto it and lay down for a nice long snooze. You can imagine how frustrated this has been for me. So, I keep the other project close at hand and when she climbs onto my quilt frame, I just reach over and drag the other project over to my chair, fiddle around with it a bit and then Miss Hank hops over and settles down for a snooze on that ... ..... leaving me to quilt to my heart's content or mark my klosjes quilt top. For my star quilt, there is only one more border to do and then the quilting part is done.

Yeah me, for figuring out that little trick; otherwise it would have been a very long winter with a lot of the cold shoulder treatment from Miss Hank.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

X stitcheries

Chookyblue is having a display of cross-stitch projects and invited others to join her. Here are just a few of my stitcheries.

A very long time ago, I used to do cross-stitch and needlepoint and crochet and knitting and a lot of clothes sewing. Those hobbies have taken a back seat now that I spend most of my time quilting.

This stitchery dates back to the 80's when orange and yellow/gold and browns were the colours that were very much in vogue. These were the colours of our living room furniture and dining room which I loved very much. Times have changed and those colours are very much gone from our furniture and our rooms ... but I still love them and looking at this stitchery brings back fond memories. These tree ornaments were made during the 90's. I had forgotten about them while routing through my stuff to see if there were any more stitcheries hanging around. I found a bag with another 6 of these gold frames as well as the pattern booklet. Guess I should have another go at making more of these ornaments.
I had forgotten about these X-stitch blocks and unearthed them while looking through bins. These are about 10 yrs. old and the time has come to do something about them too. I'm thinking of doing these blocks as a 'quilt as you go' project ... but will have to wait until the new year to do anything about them. Ummm ... I see another UFO in the making. :o) My SIL bought some blocks at the same time and she just finished her quilt this year.
There is another x-stitch pillow that I made ... but it is at our cottage and that is a 5-1/2 hr. drive away from here ... so it will be a no-show for this show and tell.
Next Saturday, I will show needlepoint stitcheries.
If you would like to see more cross-stitcheries .... visit Chookyblue's post and enjoy.
Have a great day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

English Paper Piecing

Today, I'm going to write about English Paper Piecing (aka EPP) and applique. Making hexagons first started me on this method. In the past, I have tried needle turn, freezer paper, liquid glue and glue sticks. They all worked for me; but I was just curious to try different methods of applique. EPP is the last method and my favourite so far (that is until something new comes along). It is a bit time consuming but I like the fact that my applique pieces are firm and they don't tend to move around a lot when being appliqued.

So, here is how it is done (only for hand applique - this will not work for machine applique):

A - Cut out your paper template (remember .... your paper template) without any seam allowance. Place template on the back of fabric and pin in place. Be sure to leave enough material all around the paper template for seam allowance. B - Here is my template cut out showing seam allowance.
C - When I'm ready to start basting, the pins are transferred from the back of the template to the front. If the template is large, place a couple of pins in the centre of the template to stop your fabric from stretching too much when the fabric is folded over the edge of the paper. Before I figured this out, my completed fabric template would not lay flat as the fabric stretched and pulled the paper template out of shape giving me a slight bowl shape.
Continue folding and basting the fabric all around the edge of the paper template. On the curves, take your scissors and make tiny clips so that the fabric will fold over nicely on the curves.

D - This is what the front will look like once complete .... see ... nice and flat.

E - This is what the back will look like once your template has been basted.

F - This is what the back looks like after the fabric template has been appliqued to the background fabric (the background fabric has been trimmed away).

G - The basting threads have been removed from the front and the paper template has been removed.
If you don't want to remove the background fabric; then just make a slit in the background fabric (anywhere inside the applique edges) and insert your finger into the slit and remove the paper template.

H - Follow the same steps for the stems and leaves.

i - Shows all the paper templates removed.

J - The finished block.

This is the layout for all my applique. The fabric templates have all been pinned in place and now all I have to do is pick a block and sit down and applique while watching some TV. This pattern will be a lap quilt ....

.... while this top is a wall hanging. I still have not completed the embroidery for the vines but will continue working on this hanging after it is taken down from the wall. I'm waiting for the beginning of December to roll around so that I can replace this top with a Xmas hanging.
Can you see why I love pumpkins? These are all my pumpkins that have been collected over the past few years and I suspect a few more will be added as time goes by.

Now you know how I do my applique.
Have a great day!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Projects, projects, projects

So far this year, I've finished more quilts than last year and that pleases me very much. It is November and soon the year will come to an end. Finn is having another of her yearly challenges and I'm on board again this year. Below are my quilts (these 3 have been pledged to finish) that I really, really want to finish. The first one was to be a Xmas gift last year; but life got in the way and I had to go out-of-town for a few weeks and this top never got quilted.
You've seen this one below .... it is time to finish off this wall hanging.

This top just got finished this week. I'm happy with the way it turned out and it will be a nice big lap quilt.

My extra will be my project that I'm working on for Chooyblue's SSCS swap. Time is running short and I must get this one done first.

So, there you have it .... my projects for the next 2 months. If you want to join Finn's challenge you still have time to join.
BTW .... all of these tops were made from my stash and that is a bonus that I love!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sharp ruler

So ... is this ruler worth the money I paid and does the ruler live up to its' claim? Are you interested in finding out? Read on .... So far, my findings (based on two sharpened blades) are as follows:

How can this ruler sharpen my blade? On one edge of the ruler, there is a diamond carbide edge (that is embeded into the plastic edge) that sharpens the rotary blade as you cut your fabric. As the rotary cutter moves along the special edge, you can hear the blade and the edge grinding so you know that you are doing it correctly.

I could see an improvement with my blade each time the ruler was used.

Once the blade was sharpened, the ruler was stored away and I started using my regular ruler again. My plan is to keep this ruler only for sharpening my blades. As with everything else, the diamond carbide edge will eventually wear away. I bought this 6-1/2" x 6-1/2" ruler since that is the size that I use a lot for cutting my fabric. Also, this size was a lot cheaper than buying the larger size rulers and I didn't want to pay lots for a ruler that didn't work.

In order to ensure that the full blade got sharpened (this is because I bought the smaller ruler), the ruler was placed on the fabric and without lifting the rotary cutter, the ruler was moved along the width of the fabric so that the blade was sharpened all around the circumference. You do have to remember to dismantle your cutter and turn your blade over so that both edges are sharpened. You also have to remember to use the side of the ruler that has the special edge. A couple of times ... I forgot. :o)Let's face it, a new blade is sharp and there is no way to match up to that with any sharpener that you buy. Even though my blade has been sharpened, I do have to apply a bit of pressure while cutting with any ruler (this new one and my regular rulers).

Will this ruler sharpener take out nicks? My blades had small nicks and they were removed. Large ones, I doubt it.

Once my blade starts to dull, I will take out my new ruler and re-sharpen my blade again. At some point, a brand new blade will need to come out of storage and my old one will be scrapped.

I do have about 5 new blades still in their packages; but this new sharpener is easy to use and (for me) it was worth it to buy this new ruler.

BTW ..... I am not affliated with the manufacturing company and they are not paying me anything to give my opinion. There is a chance that my opinion will not agree with someone else. It is your decision if you want to purchase one of these rulers or not.

Have a great day!