Progress on the Shimmer

This is Shimmer in her present state. She’s almost off the PHD list.
29177464_10213782279645761_428994982930546688_nYou may have read my Quiltcon at Home with the saga of the backing for this quilt. I am happy to report that I’m now pleased the original back was flawed. The pieced back didn’t cause me too much thread breakage grief, and that I love the initials. I hope the newly weds will be charmed by them too, when they get the quilt in September.29104056_10213782305606410_7539180957681582080_nI struggled with the quilting. My tension wasn’t great for the first third of the quilt, despite having done a trial sample. The lines were fine, but the swirls were plagued with eyelashes. And there were tucks. I was ready to take the whole thing and pitch it. I left it for a week. Then I put on my big girl pants and went to work. I adjusted the tension, and checked and checked again. And kept going, thinking all the while that I could applique some pictures to cover up those tucks. When it was done, I rolled back to the beginning and picked out the worst of the eyelashes, and redid those bits of quilting.

Yesterday I pulled it off the frame and dumped it on a bed. Oh my goodness, it’s OK. The tucks don’t scream at you, and the bits with questionable tension will do. 29179051_10213782279405755_7867688081141268480_n

This quilt is proof that some mistakes you obsess over really aren’t so critical in the big picture; you just have to put your head down and keep going. Rule to live by.

29186746_10213782279805765_6453885212093841408_nThere will be scallops in the final border. They’re quilted in, but can’t really be seen until I add the binding and trim the curves. That’s a project for the summer, after my own daughter’s wedding in May. I need to get going on her quilt first; so far it’s just a small pile of squares.

Linking up with freemotion by the river.





Christmas Hanging Gardens


Have you ever noticed that sometimes serendipity provides just the kick in the pants that you need?28471872_10213705210999093_795464885919901012_n

Moda says the third Saturday in September is National Sew a Jelly Roll Day. Who knew? Not me, when I sat down with my morning coffee last September 16. It was pelting rain and, for once, I had no particular plans for the day. No plans, that is, until I started browsing the quilting websites and learned the day was significant. I confess, my first response was, “I’m Canadian, this doesn’t apply to me” and “Who is Moda to name a day that is clearly in its own best interests?” And then the coffee kicked in, I thought of the lovely Holly’s Tree Farm by Sweetwater jelly roll gathering dust in the sewing room, and the Hanging Gardens pattern I’d ordered from the Cozy Quilt Shop. By the time I was two cups in, the jelly roll was unwrapped, a matching set of charm squares located and a contrast fabric found in the stash. Didn’t bother with the Saturday paper- I was too busy changing the blade in my rotary cutter.


By the time I next caught my breath, every scrap of jelly roll and charm square was cut into log cabin sized pieces and five blocks were completed. I headed for the LQS, found a lovely robin’s egg blue Northcott solid to serve as background, returned home and cut into some of it. By then the caffeine had worn off, and I realized this would make an ideal retreat project, so I put it away. By the end of the fall retreat, the blocks were made, and shortly after, the top was complete.

Buoyed by the success of my quilting Freefall Maple Leaves, and wanting to have some hand sewing for the Olympics, I opened my roll of extra wide batting, ironed the top and flannel backing, and got to work. There followed another LQS trip for binding and many hours of hand sewing while the sports commentators kept me entertained before I earned my queen sized trophy, Christmas Hanging Gardens.


There’s another jelly roll waiting for the third Saturday of this September, if it rains.

Linking up with Amanda at Crazy mom quilts

February PHD progress report

Here it is…my PHD progress this year. 28377951_10213671641719882_1758105490586566811_nIn the spirit of the recent Olympics, I thought a photo finish was in order. There are nine items there that have been finished. Some took no time to finish, like the Valentine runner and the baby quilt that just required binding, but some were huge, like the two quilts on the right, and all are out of my PHD pile.

I have a large quilt on the frame, partly quilted, another  in flimsy form (it had been in blocks), and a third looking at me from the design wall. I think I know what I’ll do with that, but it’ll take time. What do I do with this? It’s 17″ across, was made as a sliver demo years ago, and I can’t think of a single person who’d use it, in any form.

28468419_10213671746042490_7389470872034520524_nTime will be a problem this month, but April is looking promising. In the meantime, I’ll be plugging away when I can. I may actually start something new. Sssshhhh! Don’t tell my academic advisor.

So this is it, Quilting Gail., my PHD work to date. Btw, I’m not discussing the number of additional PHDs I’ve discovered since I made my list.

Santa Pillow

28378735_10213666897201272_1523633845452079938_nIt’s finished! At least six years ago, I started a Santa pillow. It was made from this pattern which was published in a Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine but, to my surprise, is still available online. I chose a background of turquoise corduroy and used regular craft felt rather than the wool of the pattern; I was in a rush to get it finished for Christmas. The hand embroidered beard was done, complete with sparkly seed beads, when my daughter, in school away, came home from Christmas and admired it. My other daughter, still in high school, liked it too. Clearly I needed two pillows… The whole operation ground to a halt.

Every year as Christmas approached, I’d sew a little on the tops, and eventually finished them. Last year I put the back on one and stuffed it, and this week, finally put a zippered back on the second, and inserted a pillow form in it. 28377721_10213666897161271_2409677293418526335_nThe corners pooked out too much, so I trimmed them back using this trick I learned on Craftsy. And now they’re done, just in time for Christmas 2018, and I have one fewer item in my PHD pile. 28575822_10213666897121270_322078407300998410_n

Wonder if the girls still want them?

Quiltcon at Home

Last year I was lucking enough to go to QuiltCon in Savannah, and had a wonderful time, so I thought I’d celebrate by sewing my way through this Quiltcon weekend at home. I have two UFO/PHDs on the go: a quilt on which I am hand finishing the binding, and a wedge from a QuiltCon workshop that I need to ponder, but mostly I’d like to do some machine quilting.

I have nothing finished. Nothing to write about. Lots of sewing done, but no finishes, so I am going to tell you about my backing challenges. No, I don’t mean backing up the car, although that is challenge enough for me. I mean backing a quilt.

I have a beautiful quilt top that I would like to complete so that my daughter can give it to her good friend for a wedding present. I really like this friend. I really like the quilt top. I have decided upon my quilting plan. I am ready.

I take the lovely backing I bought months ago at an unbelievably good price. Washed it, Ironed it. Found a flaw going right down the middle of the fabric. Guess I now know why it was cheap. Wish the store would label its seconds.

Searched my shelves and found a suitable piece. Wide enough but too short. Contemplated piecing in a strip, but I hate the thread breakage a pieced back sometimes brings. Went to the store and bought 108″ wide fabric. Washed it. It shrunk 8″, putting the selvages under the edge of my quilt. Too narrow. Accepted that I would be working with a pieced back. Trimmed the excess off the end and made initials in a heart to piece into the back. Inserted the piece. It looked like an apple. Didn’t like it. Morning wasted.

Off to the quilt store. No wider backing. Bought the same 108″ fabric, planning to use it unwashed. Left my mittens at the store. Went back for them. Bought a bottle of wine. Felt badly about the shrinkage I knew would happen (to the quilt, not the wine). Had a nap. Woke up and realized the initials were fine, just the apple was the problem. Pulled the pieced back apart and removed the apple strips. Put the initials in unadorned, and resewed the back. Finally, ready to start. Wish me luck.28279954_10213638031479647_7135533613649063646_n-e1519571970321.jpg
Progress on my PHD pile the last few weeks? Nothing finished, despite significant energy expended. Several coming close. There’s a breakthrough around the corner, I hope.

At least the days are getting longer, and the sun is giving us more heat. Have a good week.

A Map and Doll Quilts

This week the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild held a workshop, and it was FABULOUS! Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd story workshop led us through the construction of a beautiful map of the Maritimes. Her instruction was excellent; we are now ready to conquer the world. Literally. As a brand new member of the Guild, I was thrilled to meet some of the other members. Such a welcoming group of quilters!

At home, I made borders for the Shimmer flimsy I had spent the summer piecing, and marked curves on them, defining where I wanted the scalloped edge of the quilt to be. Then I tried to decide how to quilt it. I was having trouble, so I sat down at the computer, looking for inspiration. Didn’t find any.
27971795_10213576282495961_87043484014046318_n.jpgThen I started reading blogs, specifically those of Mari , Bernie, and Preeti, and learned about Spread the Love, Quilting for Kids. Take a look at the link; the story is inspiring. Quilts are needed for dolls made specifically for children with significant physical challenges. A light bulb went off in my head. I had a spare block from this quilt. If I enlarged it just a little, it would be doll quilt size, and I could audition my quilting for Shimmer.

This little 22 inch darling is ready to go! I even found some ancient fairy fabric for the back, and practiced machine binding, which is not my strong suit.

And then I felt badly that I had nothing for a boy, so I looked in my orphan block box and found some friendship stars left from a quilt for my American cousin’s baby ten years ago.

And here they are, side by side, getting ready for the mail.28059142_10213581505586535_6357728793851071424_nHave a quilting great week!


Squared away in purple

This is my scrapbag. Makes you want to dive right in, doesn’t it (NOT)? This picture is for all those who feel their scraps are imperfectly organized. 27658068_10213518235564824_7119854970226277042_n

I thought I had no purple scraps, until I dug through the first foot and found this.27867899_10213518236244841_424281093696922634_n

OK, time to make my blocks for the squared away BOM hosted by Mari and Angela. Here are my three 10″ purple blocks for February. I had fun making them, especially the one on the bottom left. I found a scrap that had been pieced with two purples, so I cut it into 6 and 1/2″ pieces and flipped some corners. I love the asymmetry of the circle. 27658132_10213518235724828_7707867604995599655_n

This makes a total of 6 blocks, or 20%, of the blocks completed. I am determined not to fall behind in this BOM; the last thing I need is another UFO/PHD. 27751642_10213518235884832_8632875824172131870_nLinking up with Angela at soscrappy happy purpley