Squared Away Is.

Here is my Squared Away quilt top! 45965127_10215548800767685_2041166830713700352_n

Thanks are in order to Mari, of  Academic Quilter and Angela of soscrappy  for the Squared Away BOM program. The blocks were fun to make, the directions were clear and accurate, and there were lots of useful tips. The first Saturday of each month, I’d check for the new block choice, and it was always there, with a little historical background. Such a treat! A thousand thank yous, ladies!

The blocks were made from my scraps, which added to the challenge and the fun. Each month, I would think, “But I have no (insert colour) scraps!”. Then I’d dig through the bag, check my leftover charm squares, look at my daughter’s donations, and all of a sudden, I’d have choices to make. Animals and boats and all manner of colours would appear in the blocks, and I would love them. And try to take pictures of them.

There was a misadventure, but that only added to the fun. No blocks were permanently harmed in the photographic process. 37245040_10214704300335702_3464150003377766400_n

Then came the setting challenge. I love Mari’s on point setting, but I had many figures that would look like they’d been drinking if I did that. And who wants to look at a drunken hippo? Straight setting it was. Sashing? Yes. I wanted to define the blocks. And just when I was thinking “white”, I read a post talking about value variation being necessary for a dynamic quilt. I auditioned several dark fabrics and decided on navy with green polka dot. I tried to have a line of polka dots centered in each sash, with mixed success, and cut the pieces a little less than 1 1/2 inches.

When I put the top together, I found it a bit small and decided to add a border. I started a pieced one, but it just didn’t work. 46022125_10215548073749510_4627553062137888768_nThen I tried piano keys. Nope. While the quilt as a whole is multicolour, each block reads as only one colour, and the bright, mixed, border scraps screamed for attention. After further contemplation, I decided the proportion of background light to feature colour was the key. Eureka! “I have fabric from Cameroon, that might work!”

I love this quilt. It is very busy, especially when hanging on the line on a windy day. No, seriously.  Each block is busy, due to the multiple fabrics and some patterned backgrounds. The sashing is patterned. The border is unusual and drags the very conventional, structured, design of the quilt out of its classic constraints, and into a global context. And makes it SO much more interesting. What do you thing? A lesson to live by for all of us?45902486_10215548800887688_6857150222775091200_n

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Beth at Cooking Up Quilts,  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, and Dione at Clever Chameleon






A Tale of One Wall

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… It was a story known only to quilters. Certainly, Dickens would never have written a tale like this.

Back on May 30, my basement, including my sewing room, flooded. It’s contents were evacuated, the floor and bottom couple feet of gyproc removed, and there followed months of frustration when I could easily access neither my sewing belongings, nor much of the upstairs, that was crowded with “stuff” from below. Fast forward to this weekend, and I am finally almost back to normal. In fact, now that the mess is almost gone, some things are better than before, with new lights in my sewing room and over the cutting table, fresh paint and flooring, and even some new furniture. I decided it was time for the old dollar store plastic table cloth to be replaced by a proper design wall

After studying several tutorials about such things, I knew I needed insulation and white flannel. I bought these, had the insulation cut so it might fit in my car, and headed home. I should add, I headed home with my trunk open and one hand clutching the styrofoam so it didn’t fly away as I sped down the highway. Thank goodness I had just traded in my standard for an automatic, and had a free hand. And the store was only a few minutes from my house.

There was a thin grey film on the insulation, which peeled off. Sort of. I couldn’t pick off the grey residue, so I decided to paint it. I went down to my paint stash for some ceiling white but found this Tremclad spray. Sticks to plastic, wood, metal, and other things. Perfect. 45374048_10215492446478863_2876260811251122176_n Not so much.

The paint dissolved bits of the styrofoam, leaving trenches. The good news is that it is clearly a great solvent, because the remaining grey plastic peeled right off. Time to break out some batting and glue.

After the batting was glued in place and trimmed, the white flannel was stapled down on the back, and the masterpiece screwed to the wall. Sadly, the imperfections can be seen in the photo. They’re not quite as obvious in person.

Truth be told, I don’t really care. When the blocks go up, it looks perfect. I love it!45275107_10215492444158805_3240765941109227520_nNow that my mountain of boxes has been sorted, it’s time to sew again!


My First Quilt is Finished!

I have just finished My First Quilt!43121742_10215275148366546_3732892004078583808_n

Back in 2005, my friend and I took “Introduction to Quilting: Six Block Sampler”. Our materials list instructed us to choose a fabric we loved and, using it as a guide, select four more fabrics to go with it. I went off to class with my lovely, bright colours, to find the other seven people in the class had chosen “autumn” fabrics, and the teacher asked it I was making a baby quilt. I was offended.

Rotary cutters were relatively new, and our teacher was very traditional, so most of the blocks were constructed with templates. I struggled with sewing accuracy, but still loved the whole process. I would race home from class and start the week’s homework, and got my top assembled on schedule. Then came the quilting. The hand quilting.43098778_10215275148726555_602308853333229568_n

I started with great enthusiasm, but rapidly got bored out of my mind with it. And life was busy and the quilt ended up in a bag somewhere. For years. Every now and then,  I would take it out and sew a few lines of quilting and realize, yet again, that I hated hand quilting. A number of times, I nearly put it under the sewing machine, but there had been too much hand quilting already done for that.42498677_10155781764245754_354785378349088768_n

Along came Quilting Gail, and the PHD project.  I listed My First Quilt as an undone project, with no real hope of finishing it. Somehow, that was just what I needed. I sewed a little at home,  but mostly during breaks at work, and even took it on holiday until, magically, it was done. Done perfectly? Hardly. Heavily quilted? You’ve go to be kidding. Finished? Absolutely. And its destination? I have no idea. I do not want to see it in my sewing room. Maybe I’ll put it away for a future grandchild. After all, it looks like a baby quilt.


Linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

September update on the PHD

So… 9 months gone and 3 to go with the PHD. Back in January, I committed to finishing 16 of 26 known UFO, and to starting no projects that wouldn’t be finished by year end. In other words, not adding to the UFO pile.IMG_E0621Since August 1, I have completed the teal and green pillow, and added the mountie to my  row by row quilt. That makes 4 out of 6 in column one finished.

In column two,  there remain only a couple row by row kits that went missing in my sewing room flood. They will turn into tote bags quicker than you can say PHD when they reappear. All the rest of those kits were used in the row by row quilt that is DONE. 36970988_10214639755602124_8633106233164824576_n

Column three still has three undone projects, but  two of them are presently receiving attention and should be ready for quilting by October’s end. Another awaits quilting. Of note is that the second one from the top has been finished and gifted. DSC_0053Finally, of the six items in column four, three remain and probably will not be finished by year end, although I am soldiering away on the blessed hand quilting on my first quilt. It even went to Ireland last week in hopes the leprechauns might put in a few stitches. No such luck. I did, though, and I can almost taste that finish. Or is it the Guinness? Or Dublin Bay prawns?

The total to date is 13 UFOs completed, with 3 more needing to be completed by year end for the PHD. That is very doable, given there are a number of easy finishes left in the pile. I just have to find them when the boxes return from post flood storage. Otherwise, I’ll have to buckle down and quilt the few that’ll be ready for that very shortly, assuming my long arm comes out from under wraps. Truth be told, my fingers are itching to get at them. The sewing room finally has flooring, so there is hope life will return to normal.

The real challenge now becomes how to complete new projects started this year. My Fancy Forest is ready for quilting, and my squared away BOM is on track. It doesn’t finish until November, so it’ll be tight getting it done. There’s a baby quilt partly quilted. Sounds fine, but oh, the temptations. I SO want to do the blockhead quilt along, and make my friend a quilt for Christmas, and start another wedding quilt…NO. Well… maybe. I confess I’ve started cutting out the Christmas present, but you didn’t read that here.

Linking up with Quilting Gail.

Scrap busting

Scraps. Is there anything in quilting that inspires as much discussion? We love them. We hate them. We make quilts from them. We give them away. We throw them out in disgust. We organize them more thoroughly than the card catalogues in libraries, or we pitch them into bags in case our OCD ever gets so bad we need to sort something.

The scraps that challenge me are those that have already been curated to go together. They are left from a particular project, for which you cut some extra pieces, or you used most of a fabric collection but have little bits left, or you just treasure them too much to pitch into the main scrap bag. Those I put in little baggies, and store carefully in a tub full of similar little baggies, for when inspiration strikes. The problem is, inspiration strikes much less commonly then the bags are added, and the tub is getting full. It is also buried deep in the mountain of tubs relocated to my living room after the sewing room flood.38007832_10214792636784058_7725782168407900160_n

This summer I made Deer for dinner placemats from fabrics that I loved. When they were finished, I was left with a number of bits of strip sets, and some strips, as well as some bigger chunks that were too small for the stash and too pretty for the scrap bin. As I went to get a baggie, I rebelled. “Noooo!!! I will not bag up this fabric. I will not leave it lying around. I will not dig through bins to put it away. I will USE it.” What a novel thought!41532855_10215117997837881_6322789727749537792_n

This is “Something from Nothing”, inspired by the children’s book of the same name. The center is part of Corey Yoder’s Patchwork Flower, block 13, for the Moda 2018 Blockheads #2 block of the week program. It is surrounded by strips, and strip sets, and deer that were too darling to cut up. I even broke out my previously unused blocloc half rectangle ruler to make the yellow triangles. When it was pieced, I sewed together three pieces of batting, then three strips of flannel for a backing, quilted a square spiral over the entire thing, bound it with my last few strips of teal, and called it a baby quilt.


I was thrilled with myself until I looked at my table and saw…more scraps. Still not going to baggie them, I decided to bag them. That is, I sewed them together in a tote sized slab, pieced some more batting strips, and found a piece of neglected fabric in the stash for lining. Le voila, a tote bag!


When it was done, I was left with two pieces smaller than a charm square. I put them in my scrap bag, and patted myself on the back for a job well done. And then I hung the lot of it on the clothesline and took a picture.


The end.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I’m definitely looking for a Whoop Whoop.