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It started about two years ago, a challenge among quilting friends (sadly, I don’t even recall what the challenge was).  It was also a good opportunity to try the leaders and enders that Bonnie K. Hunter recommends.  If you haven’t heard about leaders and enders, I recommend you read Bonnie’s blog on the subject.

I decided for the challenge I wanted to make a scrappy masculine feeling snowball quilt.  I had lots of 3″ squares, I could use.  I then started scrounging for 7″ squares.  Cut down some of the 10″ squares to get a 7″ and a few 3″.   So as I worked on other projects, I would stitch one of the 3″ squares to the 7″, and away I went.

At some point, I figured I’d better count how many completed blocks I had, and how many more of each (needed alternating dark and light blocks), I needed to complete.   I wanted to get this quilt done, so it became a non-leader/ender project.

A few weeks ago, I was in a position to start stitching the blocks together.  I think it was an Eleanor Burn’s video I saw that described how to piece the blocks together by columns, instead of stitching each row together.   This method you do not trim the blocks apart.  As you stitch all the columns together, the rows are “attached”, and you just pin and stitch them together.  I found it worked very well.  I had to unstitch some of the chain stitching, as my first 2 rows got twisted somehow.  Was easier to snip the chain stitching, instead of trying to untangle them.  Stitching the blocks together in this fashion works very quickly.

As I was finishing up the blocks, I started to realize I did not have a plan for the borders.  I wanted to carry on with the scrappy theme, and use from my stash.  I don’t have enough yardage of any one fabric.  But an idea started to form.  When I was stitching the blocks I added another line of stitching 1/2″ (approximately), from the required stitching line, then trimmed the Half SquareTriangles, to create them.   I was sure I would use them somewhere, sometime down the road.    I can use the “leftovers”.

The last couple of days, I’ve been trimming and pressing all those leftover pieces.  The smallest piece was about 2″, and the largest about 2 1/2″.  I decided to trim down to 2″.

Now that I have done that, I have not measured the top as it is now.  To be honest, I didn’t even square up the blocks, and I realize now I probably should have, but it is a scrappy quilt, and I’m not overly concerned if the seams match up or not.  The concern is the actual size of the top as it is now, and if it is “square”.  I think I may have a couple of wobbles in it.  Ah well, it is going to be a utility quilt, I think.  Something I can practice my Free-motion quilting with.

I decided I wanted to do a “floating” type border.  Now that I decided I was going to use those leftover pieces, I thought it would be neat to float them.  To me this means having the same colour of fabric pieced around the scrappy blocks, to make them as if they are floating on the border fabric.  Opened the stash cupboard to see what I had that would be appropriate.  Again thinking scrappy.  I didn’t have enough of anything really to work.  I did have some fabric, three pieces of that were all the same shade.   I took them out, pressed and trimmed to 2″.  I then happily sat down at my sewing machine, and proceeded to stitch the HSTs to the strips of fabric.  I cross-cut, and came up with another idea.

Design 1 on the left, Design 2 on the right

I wasn’t so sure now about the floating squares.  I had only really seen them on black fabric, and typically bright fabric was used.

Then I thought about stitching four of the stitched squares to each other, putting all the lights in the center for one unit, and darks in the center for the other, with a spacer of the border fabric between each unit.  This pattern copies the patterns of the blocks.  I had every intention of following that idea.

Design 2 on the left, design 3 on the right.

Then another idea hit me (Design 3).  What if I was to create the same design of the small triangles from the snow ball blocks.  Alternate the dark and light to create the same design, and then drop the spacers completely.  I could then mix up the border fabric to make is scrappy.  Granted, cutting them into 2″ squares is going to make a lot of work, but I think it will continue with the scrappy theme of the quilt.

Deisgn 1, Design 2 and Design 3.

So this is where I’m at.  The more I look at Design 3, the more I like it.  I think it is also called “Broken Dishes” block.  I will use the dark red strips for the inner and outer border, maybe I will piece 4 of the triangle units together (4 patch), and then when I have a pile of them, stitch to the border strip (width of fabric), and then crosscut.  The border pieces will then be 3 1/2″ long, or 3″ long when finished.  That way, I don’t have to cut 2″ squares, and try to get them aligned nicely.

I may have to throw in some “spacers” to get the borders to fit the top.  Or, maybe I will just trim the blocks to make it fit.  If they don’t line up, I’m okay with that too!’

So what do you think?  Would you have stuck with your first idea, or would you have let the creative juices flow, until something else came up.

-Alice

PS – I bet you didn’t expect a second post from me so quickly!  Me neither, but I wanted to share.  I have been feeling really good the last few days.  I can only work an hour or two at a time, but it feels good.  So I stitch, press, trim for a bit, then when I start to feel “it”, I go and rest for a few hours.  Then I’m back at it.  This process is doing me good.  Although the brain is still doing the “GO GO GO”, at least now I’m listening to the body and when it starts going “NO NO NO”, I’m stopping!

Thank you all for your comments.  Your support has definitely raised my spirits up!

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So here I am!  Not much news on the quilting front, actually not much news on any front!

Thank you to Ruth, for giving me the much-needed boost to write.  I promised a little while ago, that I would share what I did with the label for the “Memories of Maui” quilt.  The photos have been sitting on the disc in the camera for, well lets just say, long enough!

Do you recall when I first started this quilt?  My first blog and photos of the “Hawaiian Quilt“.  I did a “close-up” (although I must admit, revisiting it, it is not much of a close-up).  I mentioned, I think, of having a bit of fun, and including some of the backing fabric into the blocks.  It made a meandering path of footprints from the bottom of the quilt to the top, on the left side of the quilt.  It was very clever of Shawn to include in the quilting footprints travelling up the quilt as well.

When I was delivering the quilt to Marie, she sent it back home with, and asked if I would do the label.  The plan was just using a piece of muslin, writing out the particulars, then stitching a border around the muslin using the fabric that was used for the binding, and the inner border.  That was the plan!

As I drove home a completely different idea took place.  I couldn’t get it out of my head.  I drew it out on paper.  Erased.  Redrew.  Erased again.  Redrew.  I did this a few times, until the design was just right!  Then I realized, I was going to have to figure out some way of transferring the idea from paper, to fabric!  What was I thinking!  My drawing skills are not the best, and I had to think about it for quite some time, on how I was going to take the design from paper and transfer the idea to fabric.  LOL.  I should have taken some photos of the drawings.

I have not done much machine applique, and again it was one of those things, I just jumped into without giving it too much forethought!  Its amazing what you can achieve, when you don’t think about it too much, and do not let your intimidation take hold.   I decided I wanted to use the satin stitch for the applique.  Of course, that made it so much easier!   I’ve used the satin stitch on other things, besides applique, so it was “easy”.  Did I mention that I don’t think applique is easy?  I know it needs more practice.  I just haven’t found much I wanted to do, to achieve the practice.

Oh, I had considered using my embroidery machine, but again, I haven’t had much practice with it either, and I wanted to use the KIS principle.  Keep It Simple

Here is the label!  I was so surprised, when I realized the fabric lined-up with the backing.  I turned it over and used the ladder stitch to stitch the label to the backing.

I traced my foot.  Have you ever noticed that tracing a foot, looks a lot different then a footprint?  I really didn’t like the shape, so I cleaned it up a bit.  I cut out the muslin foot print, and pressed a piece of freezer paper, so I could do the writing.  I had darkened the lines on some lined paper, and transferred those to the “dull” side of the freezer paper as a guide when I wrote the label information.  I cut a piece of Pellon Wonder Under and traced the foot outline, and applied it to the muslin.  I cut out the foot shape.  I then appliqued the foot shape to the fabric using the satin stitch.  I had decided to use the backing fabric to ‘hide and blend’ the label to the backing.

I have to mention this again, but I was so surprised that I could line up the label with the backing fabric to “hide and blend” the label even more.    I was very pleased with the results.

Marie was so tickled.  I had told her I kind of lost the little toe, and that someone had suggested I create a toe ring.  She said she would have loved that!  Oh well, if I had asked her, it wouldn’t have been a surprise.  I really enjoy making labels that are not “square”.  I like the whimsiness of using different shapes.

And I haven’t done this for a while!  Here is my challenge to you, if you choose to accept it!  If you have not made a unique shaped label, I challenge you to do so on a quilt.

Now for a personal update:  I am doing okay.  My 6 month scans were all clear.  It seems that I have chronic pain.  I have found that this has been very draining, but I am now taking medication so I can function.  I didn’t realize how debilitating pain could be.   I have been off work since the middle of December.  I just found it had become too much, and I wasn’t doing anything but working, even at only 3 days a week for 4 hours a day, I was resting when I wasn’t working.  I realized this is not what I wanted to do.  I needed more than just working in my life.  I think what brought it all to a head, was when my DD#2 really wanted to do some craft things with me for Christmas, and I just didn’t have the energy to do it.   The look of disappointment on her face broke my heart.  She understood, but I didn’t.   I am now working up to doing things I like.  I meet once a week with a quilting/sewing group.  That exhausts me too, but at least I am having fun!

I had my one year anniversary of my diagnosis.   I survived the week.  As a year ago, it was a week-long experience.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to react.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but I think I prepared myself to look on the bright things.  At the Living With Cancer Support group they told me to celebrate and I did.  I made up for missing my birthday last year.  I hadn’t really thought of it at the time, but yes, I was diagnosed two days before my birthday.  I celebrated with 21 family and friends with a pot-luck dinner.  A friend (who has the same birthday as me) of my father’s had stopped by and asked what they could bring.  I had invited him and his wife to join us.  He plays in a band (bluegrass and country music), and asked if I would like them to play at the birthday party.  I was honoured, and told him I would love that.  The music was fabulous.   One of my friends from out-of-town gave me a book “Choosing to Smile” written by three British Columbian women about their lives with cancer.  The book was inspirational.  I didn’t know if I really wanted to read someone’s story about cancer, but I am glad I did.  I laughed, and I cried.   I hadn’t realized it, but for my journey, I have also chosen to smile.  And I will keep smiling.  Recovery is taking longer than I expected, but I am at this point in time, cancer free.  I am so thankful and grateful for all of you!  My “Hug Quilt” is on my bed, and every night I goto sleep with it tucked around me.

I have put together a project which I will be working on at my sewing group.  I just realized, I started this project two years ago.  It was a Leader/Ender project, and now it is coming together.  I am hoping to have all the blocks stitched together this week, which means another photo-op, and another blog post!

-Alice

That is the name of the “Hawaiian Quilt” I’ve been working on for over a year. I should clarify… I didn’t have it for the entire year, it spent about 4 months at the quilters.  You may remember the beginning of it from this post.

I delivered it to the woman who commissioned me to make it, last Tuesday, Januarey 31.  She was thrilled.

The first thing I told her was that she and I were to be married to the quilt because this quilt has been through “sickness and health, and richer and poorer” or maybe I should marry it.

I haven’t measured it, but I guesstimated about 400 inches of binding I stitched down by hand.  Almost 3/4 done, when the thread started shredding.  I was so frustrated with it, but wanted to get it done.  She was supposed to be on her way back to Hawaii in mid-January.   I had been using Piecemakers Betweens.  The only thing that was different, I started wearing a thimble on my middle finger, as the eye kept poking into my finger, and it was getting rather sore.  After changing thread and the needle.  I changed the needle once more to one with a little larger eye and about 1/4″ longer.  The other thing… I dropped my thimble in the couch.  But I got it done.

I used the ladder stitch, you may remember that I really liked using Sharon Schamber’s binding technique.  Way back then… yes, I looked it up, just over three years ago there wasn’t much on the “ladder stitch”.  Wow, time flies.  Anyway, when I was trying to explain to my mom through messaging on the computer and then by phone,  I did a quick search, and couldn’t believe all the hits.


Marie and her quilt “Memories of Maui”

My friend Shawn (MsLibra) did the quilting on this quilt.  She used a topography design, with foot prints walking up the quilt.

I’ve been asked to make the label for her, and I was hoping to do that on February 8, at my sewing/quilting group, but forgot the hall has been scheduled for another event.  I should work on it from home.  I have some ideas on what I’m going to do, but can’t say anything until its done.  The label will be another blog entry.

I do  regret  I didn’t take photos of all the different shapes of the fabric when I received it.  Approximately half of my time was spent cutting the rectangles.

I’ve been through a lot with this quilt.  It has waited patiently as I went through my health issues.  I am very glad it is completed and soon will go to its forever home, but I will miss it.

Next step is the label.

-Alice

It seems there are so many who plan to bust their scraps this year. I too have had some really neat ideas popping through my head. Reading Ann’s blog post inspired me to post.

The one block/quilt I would like to try is from Bonnie K. Hunter.

Bonnie K. Hunter’s Winston Ways block

It is called Winston Ways.   I have tons of HSTs leftover bits, and I think this block would be perfect to use them up.

Last fall I was invited to a sewing group, and with my low energy levels, I didn’t participate in the sewing/quilting days.  Although I would stop in from time to time for a coffee visit.  Although my energy levels are still quite low, I am taking small projects that I can work on… it takes me a lot longer to do simpler tasks, but I’m okay with that.  I’m getting out of the house, and I enjoy their companionship.  I do more visiting than anything else.

I saw a General Surgeon yesterday (he removed my gall bladder), as I was still experiencing some low-degree pain.  There seems to be a problem with one or two of my lower ribs.  They are sore, possibly due to an injury.  He’s ordering a CT-Scan to determine if anything turns up.  My daughter told me I shouldn’t be lifting anything, which she may be right, so as a good Mommy, I will listen to her, which means I won’t be lifting my sewing machine, and wont’ be doing anything with it.   I am really hoping that knowing about the ribs, will help give a jump start to the progress of my recovery.

Thank you all for your comments of encouragement and well wishes.  I truly appreciate it.

-Alice

I can’t believe it is almost Christmas.  And I am no where near being ready, but that’s okay.  We have decided to keep things low-key this year.

When I thought I had more energy, I started making Yo-Yo Angels.  My plan was to make lots and lots, and sell them.  But my recovery is taking longer than I expected, and so have bundled them all away for now.  Family will be in for a treat, because that is where most of them will be going.

The photos I am including are the “individual” angels.  Pins, magnets and ornaments.  I made several “collections” of ornaments for Christmas.  The skirts are the same, but other than that they are unique.

Pins

Magnets

Christmas Angel Ornaments

Making the yo-yos was made easier using the Clover Yo-Yo maker.  I was able to recline and make lots and lots.  The angel assembly took a bit.  A little sewing, a little hot gluing, and even some tacky gluing.

I’ve been commissioned to make several Christmas Nativity projects for a friend.  It’s a good thing she is not in a rush, she asked for the Stocking first, which is Cross-stitch, and every space is stitched.  I have about 20 hours into it, and only about a 5″ x5″ square complete.  It looks beautiful so far, but a lot of work.  Several projects are hand-work, which gives me something to do in front of the TV.

Health Update:

My recovery is taking longer than I thought.  I saw my Urologist/Surgeon in October, to find out that I could expect at least a year recovery, why didn’t they tell me that to begin with?  I would have done things differently, but alas, what is done is done, I can now go forward with the knowledge I have.  Besides being fatigued with the odd bout of nausea I am doing fair.  My 6 month Chest-xray and Ultrasound came back clear, so I am good for another 6 months.  I realized last week, when I was going to see my doctor for the ultrasound results, that for all intents and purposes, right now, I am tumour free!  What a wonderful sensation.  I suppose I hadn’t really thought of having my kidney removed, was actually having the tumour removed.   Odd how the mind works.

The surgeon told me, that if I was tired, I was doing to much.  I stopped doing everything at home.  No household chores, no fun stuff.  All I was doing was going to work – 4 hour shifts, 3 days a week, alternating days.  When I saw my doctor, we were both concerned about my lack of progress in recovery.  I have been experiencing a fair bit of discomfort especially at night, and I really didn’t think about it.  Until the night I woke up with abdominal pain, and took another pain killer.  I slept wonderfully, and had the best day I’ve had in I don’t know how long.   I went to my doctor about 3 weeks ago with that information.  He prescribed a slow-release pain killer.  I took it for 2 nights, had some issues, and stopped taking it until I saw him last week.  I’m back on it.  Haven’t had great days yet, but I am sleeping with no pain, just wish I could sleep longer.  We have decided I should stop work for 6 weeks, to fully do nothing, and to give myself a kick-start into recovery.

With Christmas so close, it is hard to stop, and not do anything.  Everything I do, have to budget my energies around.   I’m learning, but it is a steep learning curve, I must tell you.

So with this update, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Until the next time!

-Alice

I’m shameless to say, I need your vote!

Linda at Paperpanache.com has all the Fairy Quilt Godmothers posted, and the vote is now on until September 10.

There are 5 categories to choose your favourite Fairy Quilt Godmother:

  • Most Beauteous
  • Means Business
  • Makes Me Smile
  • My Favourite
  • Best  Name

There are some very fun FQG there.

When you goto the voting page, give it a few minutes, as all teh FQG’s will be shown down the right side of the screen/page.

Click on the category, then click on the FQG you would like to vote for.  The image of the FQG you have selected will show in the category you just selected.   Below the Best Name category, is all the names, click on the name you would like to vote for.

Once all four selections are made, the VOTE button will appear.  You can only vote once, but you can return at any time, and see the results.  Also, you can still get in on making your own FQG, Linda has details on her website.

Thank you!

-Alice

 

PS – Needlella is my FQG, and Bindbara is Sandy’s.

I was visiting Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog,  checking her posts, and someone had sent her a request on a particular block.  I decided I would thumb through my book of 5500 Quilt Blocks from Maggie Mahone, (if you visit the link, scroll down the page, you will see some of the actual pages from the book) when I discovered a few gems.  I should note, that every once in awhile, I look for something in the book, and see something that intrigues me.  If only I had really gotten into quilting 40 years ago, maybe I could make all the quilts I want to.  Um… wait a moment, it was about 38 years ago, I started my first patchwork quilt… which still remains unfinished!  Ohh… back on subject.

Well the block that really caught my eye today, is called 3D nine patch.   Now the thing with the book, is it gives you the name of the block, and shows you an image, but that is all you get.  The block has three 9-patch units with sashing, on point.

I decided I would draft out this block on 1/4″ graph paper.  It was going well, until I brought the wrong ruler (metric), which makes using accurate measurements a bit difficult.  It looked okay, but I knew that if I was to use the measurements from what I had drawn out, the block would not be very accurate.  DS#2, suggested I draw the 9patch units “square” to the paper, and then draw the setting triangles after.

Seemed like a reasonable plan.  I had an idea that the 9patch pieces would finish at 1″.  So I drew them at 1/2 scale into a 4″ block….   or so I thought.  Yes, the 9-patch units are 3″ finished… but… the block is now 4¼” instead of 4″.  Hmmm.

Next, I took two pieces of graph paper, laid them side by side, to make a larger piece.  If I was going to draw out an 8″ block, and draw the 9-patches first, I was going to need a much bigger piece of paper.

Off I started drawing again.  And it is looking pretty good.  Measured the block… 8½”… hmmm.  Apparently going to the size I want, is still not going to work.  One of things I forgot was that when things are on-point, their “dimensions” change, they are not the same size you expect.   A 1″ square is not 1″ across when you put it on its point. n (LOL I just checked… and it is 1 3/8″).   I looked at the block I had drawn out… how am I going to get it to be a finished 8″.  I wonder if EQ6 might be able to handle the job.  I draft out a  number of my quilts, primarily for yardage estimates, but occasionally, I will alter blocks, or create one if I can’t find what I’m looking for.

It took me a bit, to figure out how I was going to divide a 2″ space into 3 equal parts.  Drawing it wasn’t working, how do you measure 0.6667″.  I could guestimate, but it still wouldn’t be accurate enough.  I found I could change the “snap points” in EQ6, which means I could divide a 2″ space into 6 parts.  Woohoo!

I thought this block would be a good one to do scrappy, although the background and sashings would have to be purchased.

              

I then used EQ6 to play with layouts

then colours

as I was altering the quilt to be a bit more scrappy for the dark units, I discovered that the block if rotated a bit more, looks like a heart!

I am considering using Bonnie’s Leader and Ender method to create the 9patches, sewing them in strips, then cross-cutting to get the patches.  This would be a project that would fill in while working in other projects, that are less scrappy.  I think I just convinced myself this quilt is going to be started sooner than I anticipated.  What better way to get it going than using the Leader and Ender method.  And my scraps could always use a good clearing out!  I think they multiply when I’m not in the quilt-n room.  I guess I will need to start going through, and then cutting strips of 1½”!  These quilts are “small”, if the blocks are 8″, but I’m sure with the Leader and Ender method, I could have lots of 9patch units to create a much larger quilt, and use up more of the scraps!

-Alice

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