Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Xmas Stockings Dec. 2017

New Christmas stocking for my grandkids.

Baby Dax's first Christmas stocking 




Claire's new sparkly purple poncho

Woodland Animal Babies Quilt for New Baby Grandson Dec. 2017

Woodland Babies Quilt
As if I hadn't done enough applique quilting in 2017, I decided that I loved this cute little woodland animals pattern and so I set out to make it for our new baby grandson, Dax who was due in December 2017.

Woodland Animal blocks

Went with the blue background for the hedgehog

The blue owl was fun to make along with the tree stump and the mushroom.

The first mushroom I made was pink as the directions called for, but I changed it to red instead. 

The beginnings of the raccoon block


Our darling little baby himself! :D
After ironing on the applique pieces, I made the squares for the scrappy border.

I decided on yellow  4 inch squares for the corners of the border.

Sewing on the scrappy border. Lots of seams to watch out for.

Then it was time to cut the light blue Minkee backing to the correct size., and pin the whole thing together with the batting in between the layers.

Time to quilt each animal block.

I stitched each background differently, meanders on one, waves on another and so on. I quilted the tree stump and on the bodies of the animals; Satin stitch around the outlines of the animals, zigzag stitch on the edges of the flowers and leaves.

The size of the completed baby quilt is 40" X 46"

I love how this little quilt turned out and I think that there will be many hours spent enjoying it! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Frieda Fox Collage Wallhanging

Frieda Fox- Laura Heine pattern
Started July 2017


This was a fun collage quilt to make, but not so fun to quilt it. If I every do make another one, I would get it quilted on a long arm to avoid the stickiness on the machine needle and the breakage of needles (2).
I took a workshop from Terry Rowland (a member of Central AB Quilt Guild) at The Hub, in Stettler Arena on July 7/2017.
We had to bring some fabric pieces cut out ahead of time to audition for our projects, plus a special background fabric to trace the pattern onto. It was quite a lot of work to fussy cut all the little individual pieces to create the fox. Each piece first had to have the sticky webbing put on the back.

What I learned was: USE STEAM A SEAM 2!
Any of the pieces that had the Heat Bond on the back, wouldn't stick on until they were ironed on and then they were permanent. The Steam a Seam 2 will allow the pieces to stick temporarily and they can be moved around until you are happy with their location and then ironed on permanently.

It took hours of moving the pieces around before I was completely happy with Frieda Fox.

Then came the decision for which background to use. I auditioned about 6 different ones over and over, but finally decided on the rust coloured one. I thought a fox would want to blend into the background instead of sticking out on say, a blue or bright green background.

Then I fussy cut a lot of flowers out (with Steam a Seam on the back) to put along the bottom under Frieda, and on both top corners.

Machine quilting this baby was a chore! I did a back and forth meander, "cloud-looking" stitch on the background without a problem. I used the clear monofilament polythread on top of the appliqués and flowers. The tread often snapped and the machine needle constantly gummed up and had to be cleaned off. I broke 2 machine needles and had to buy some titanium ones to finish this project.
I suppose I probably over stitched the collage pieces and next time (if there ever is a next time) I would remember that and also try and use less layers.

Frieda Fox hang in our bedroom

It does look cute though! :)

Tanner's Buggy Barn/ Tractor& Trucks Quilt- March to December 2017

 Trucks and Tractors, Oh Boy!

70" X 80"
This is the 'big boy' quilt that I made for my little grandson Tanner for his 4th birthday. What little boy doesn't like trucks and tractors?!
This is a Buggy Barn pattern (called Convoy), from the pattern book called "Those Crazy Kids". I started it in March 2017 and completed the first 3 truck blocks on April 1/17.

Truck Blocks:

I have never done a buggy barn pattern before so this was an new and interesting method. The trucks and the tractors are 2 separate paper patterns.  You start out by tracing the pattern onto freezer paper and label each section.
Each block uses 3 different fabrics in 3 different places. The trucks require 3 fat quarters stacked one on top of the other. The freezer paper pattern is pinned on top of them.
Cutting: Using your cutting wheel and a long ruler, cut along the pattern lines through ALL the layers in REVERSE alphabetical order.
To stay organized, stack all the pieces onto of the master sheet.

(These directions want you to stack NINE fat quarters to cut through all at once, but that seemed pretty daunting to me so I chose to do only 3 at a time. )
Now comes "the shuffle" which the directions state clearly how to shuffle the pieces around so you get three 3 coloured blocks.

Tractor block pieces after shuffling

Stitching: The pieces are then sewn together in Alphabetical order to each other in 6 sections, A to F. Next you square up the blocks.

Truck Blocks: 16 1/2 X 12 1/2"

Tractor blocks: 12 1/2 X 21"

If you want to add an appliquéd bucket on the tractor blocks, you need to add a piece of fabric 6 1/2 to 7 " X 12 1/2 " to increase the size of the blocks. (I put buckets on all my blocks.)

Tractor blocks:
Tractor wheels have been fussy cut and adhered to block with Steam a Seam 2

I continued to make blocks until I had 6 trucks and 7 tractors. I fussy cut the tires and centres of the wheels and the buckets. I used Steam a Seam 2 to adhere them to the blocks. Next I appliqué stitched around all the raw edges. 

I arranged the blocks differently than the directions to make my own pattern and sewed green sashing strips in between. I added a blue tractor fabric to both ends of row 2 and 4 to get the correct width. 

Then I added a roadway to either side of the quilt to make it wider, plus a narrow black border on the top and bottom. (2 1/2 " )

I used the left over fabric to make rectangles 2 1/2 X 4" for a scrappy upper and lower border.

The completed quilt top is 70"X 80" inches in diameter.

Then it was time to pin  the top together with the batting and a green "Cuddle" backing. After that I started the machine quilting process.

Machine quilting each block

Machine quilting: I used a complementary colour of thread on the top of each block background. I tried to do different patterns on most of them, squiggles, or loops, or waves or small circles; Some of the trucks got lines quilted on the boxes. It took a few weeks of work to do them all, but I'm happy with the overall quilt and I think little Tanner will get many hours of cuddly comfort under it. :D

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

More Canada Blocks and finishing the Quilt June 2017

More Canada Blocks
Top stitching the province/ territories blocks was a challenge but proved to be rather enjoyable, too. It meant a lot of thread and bobbin colour changes and a few times I used the thin almost invisible filament thread. That is quite challenging!
I practiced the tension on a swatch of sandwiched pad to get the tension right. I figured out that on my machine I need to set the tension to 2.5 or 3 in order to do these appliquéd blocks.
I found that the best way to do these blocks was not to leave all the top stitching till the end, (which, to me, was the more difficult part), but to try and do some in between creating new appliqué blocks.

It was fun to try and anticipate that the new blocks might look like before they actually arrived. I was pleased with most of the blocks that Shania Sunga had created.

Heat Bond problems-
Part of the problem was the Heat Bond that I had used to adhere the fabric pieces. I had the 'heavy' type which made everything stick really well onto the back fabric of the blocks, but it was quite thick and made the scenes quite stiff. After running out of that I bought more Heat Bond, but it was the light variety and I made the mistake of leaving the iron on too long on some of the appliqué pieces and the refused to stick at all so I had to remake some of them. I even used my glue stick a few times to stick down parts.

Nova Scotia Block

PEI Block

I really enjoyed making these two Maritimes blocks.  The Sunset was a lot of fun to put together and I really liked making the Lady Slippers and the blue jay on the Prince Edward Island block. I like the feeling of depth created on the side of the landscape in PEI block.  The Nova Scotia block looks quite 2 dimensional in comparison.

Alberta Block depicting the Rockies and the ranching aspect.

Alberta Block- I like how  this one turned out. I left out the dark blue pond from the lower left corner and moved the horse over further to the left. It seemed to open it up a bit more and make it look less busy. I love the mountains in the background! :)


 Nunuvut was a very easy appliqué block to create, the pieces were large and there were fewer of them than some of the other blocks.

Note to Self:  Use Steam a Seam 2 to adhere the applique pieces instead of Heat Bond.   The pieces will stick temporarily where you place them and you can still move them around until you press them on. The you're stuck with your decision!  Heat Bond doesn't make the pieces stick at all until you use your iron them,  so they tend to move around somewhat and in two of my blocks (Quebec and Nunuvut)  I had a bit of a problem because the pieces moved apart and were barely touching each other when pressed on,  and a tiny bit of the background could be seen.  :(   

I fixed the Quebec block, satin stitching some of the questionable edges. But I didn't even notice it on the Nunuvut block until I had the quilt already madeI I restitched the Nunuvut block afterwards right through the quilt.

Another note to self: Be more diligent about checking EVERY block before using it.

Quebec Block

Ontario cottage country block

Saskatchewan Block- depicting Saskatchewan farm country 

Saskatchewan Block 
Last but not least…

British Columbia, depicting the beautiful Spirit kodiak bear and the Orca whales.

Then it was time to sew all the blocks together and add the borders:

Canada 150 Provinces Quilt completed June 2017

Heartland Quilt show
Second place for medium sized quilts 

I was pretty pleased! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Canada Blocks

Canada Blocks  Jan 30/ 2017

To honor Canada's 150th birthday celebration I decided to make a Canada themed quilt. This mystery quilt block one designed by Shania Sunga seemed like a good one to try.

These blocks are numbered 1 to 13 and a person is supposed to receive one block every 6 weeks. They were very popular and the quilt place ran out, so I had to wait several months to get my first one; then I received 6 in the mail at once last October. What with all the things I wanted to make/ and/or finish for Christmas, I only just got the first block started in January.  (I know have up to block #10)

The blocks are numbered, but I started mine in random order, random meaning whichever one struck my fancy the most at that time. I began with the Newfoundland block because I loved the two little puffins. next I made the New Brunswick Block because Black capped chickadees are my favourite little birds. We have dozens of them here at our feeders all winter. These polite little birds will come to get one seed, fly back to a tree branch to eat it and make room at the feeder for their next little buddy. How polite and canadian is that! ? :)

Newfoundland/ Labrador block with puffins
New Brunswick block with covered bridge and Black capped chickadee

Nova Scotia block with light house and humpback whales

My next choice of block was the Nova Scotia block. It looked relatively easy to do and I loved the Humpback Whales.  I added a bit of sunrise colour to the ocean.


The polar bears on the North west Territories block really appealed to me and I loved the colours of this block so I made this one next. I added a second baby polar bear.

Manitoba block

This is such a beautiful block. I love the Bison and the crocuses and Manitoba has a large part of my heart because I lived these for over 45 years.  I love crocuses and every spring I wander on nearby Picnic Hill looking and waiting for them to bloom.  (Did you know they won't bloom on cultivated land? And, yes, I tried to prove that theory wrong with no success.)

Gorgeous Yukon block

Next I made this gorgeous Yukon block. I love Aurora Borealis having seen their beauty with my own eyes a number of times while living in northern Manitoba.  And the moose are such beautiful creatures. We see them here in central Alberta, too. I had a "Moose encounter" while driving home one spring evening at dusk. Luckily this one was very polite and stepped off to the side of the road as my car approached unexpectedly. (Almost as fast as she had stepped onto the road.) I don't know who was more surprised, the moose or me!

Next up, Alberta block and top stitching the appliqué parts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Time to Quilt Stairway

Time to Quilt Stairway

It's time to quilt my Stairway to Cat Heaven quilt.  I took a free motion quilting workshop in March put on by Wayne and Linda Kollinger of Tuxedo Park Designs, Calgary. I have been machine quilting for about 8 years, but I learned a few new things which I wanted to put to use, including some easy 9 patch quilting patterns.

The Stairway quilt is about two thirds 9 patch blocks so I started with quilting them first.
I used a black polyester thread in the bobbin, and a fine lilac coloured polyester thread as top thread. It is on a big spool which doesn't really fit horizontally in my machine, so I put the spool in a jar next to my sewing machine and then threaded it in as usual.  I used a "quilt sandwich" to treat the tension settings before I started sewing on the actual quilt. (One of the useful suggestions from the workshop. (Thanks, Linda.)

Motoring right along! 

"Auto" tension setting didn't work really well, "3" seems to be the best. (The workshop suggests that you try various settings first, changing them by half a setting each time.) I put my free motion foot on, then dropped the feed dogs.
I started out at 2, then, 2.5, then 3, then 3.5, sewing a short line of each on the practice sandwich. "3" looked like it had the best top and bottom tension, so that's what I went with.

Another thing to remember, which avoids the 'rats nest' of threads at the back of your work, is to pull both threads to the top of the quilt, make a stitch or two to secure them, then snip them off carefully so they don't get tangled in your sewing. Then away you go! 

I did the "flower petal/ circle" pattern (which I'd learned at the workshop) on the 44 nine patch blocks, then echo quilted around the appliquéd cats and appliquéd moon on the sky portion. After that I isolated some sky areas and did a "narrow cloud" meander pattern on the rest of the sky.

Echo quilting around the appliqués

Next question, how to do the three 2 inch borders.  The fastest approach would have been to do all three together as one larger pattern, but I decided against that. I used black thread on the black inner border and did my often used vine leaves all along the lengths of each side. It doesn't stand out at all, but that's OK. Then, looking at the next border, (the night sky/ dark grey colour,) I was thinking about doing moons, but a heart pattern jumped into my mind so I sewed some simple sideways hearts attached to each other at the bottoms. I also used the black thread, but after doing one side and seeing how well it went, I was wishing I had used the lilac thread. Oh, well, too late!

The scrappy 2 inch squares border is getting the same "flower petal/ circle" design as the 9 patch blocks using the lilac top thread.

The outer grey border is getting a simple scallop pattern. After that I'm cutting off the extra batting from the quilt edges, and trimming the Fishbones back fabric to 1 inch out from the edge.  Next step will be to press that 1 inch outer fabric in towards the raw edges of the quilt, then pin it over onto the quilt top, so it can be sewn on, creating the outer edging. (A mock edging).

Then it will be done after many weeks of work!  Always a proud, exciting moment!

I am getting really attached to this quilt after all these weeks of work. It is going to be auctioned online for the Animal Haven Rescue fund raiser in May. I might have to bid on it myself! ;)

Happy quilting!

Stairway to Cat heaven at the Heartland Show 
All in all this was a fun quilt to make. It involved both piecing and appliqué.

Again, I would recommend if you are going to do raw edge appliqué, then use "Steam a Seam 2" as it is very forgiving. You can stick your appliqué pieces onto your quilt top temporarily, see how they look,  then move them around as many times as you like until you decide where you want them, until you press them on. It is also very forgiving if you press a bit too much or too little.

Happy Quilting!

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