My 3 for Finish Along Quarter 2

>> Friday, April 7, 2017

Joining up to this finish along in hopes it will help me stay a bit more focused on finishing!

As only finished projects, not just progress on UFOs or keeping up with Blocks of the Months count for this one, stay tuned for a second post about my ongoing block projects that I am trying to keep up to date as well ;)

quilt top tea party wonky blocks pat sloan

1. My Madhatter Tea Party Challenge quilt - still needs to be quilted! I know, I know. I wanted this one finished and hanging in my dining room right now to celebrate our "Unbirthday Season". We have no more birthdays in the house now until July so I thought this would be a fun quilt to display before my summer quilt. No such luck - yet!

This quilt is sandwiched with help from ladies at my local guild that I just recently joined. At my first sew day I attended I took my top and they helped me pin it together - FAST!

I've been waiting for a nice PFAFF machine to show up to review (one with a wide throat space and built in decorative stitches), but it looks like I will just have to take the plunge and start with some of the straight line stitching. 

placemat liberated churn dash carrie bloomston

2. Liberated Churn Dash placemat - needs to be quilted. 
This one has been waiting around in my pile for awhile. I would like it finished so I can use it with my other  placemats that are made up of different patterns but use up my scraps that I bought of Carrie Bloomston's last line of fabric, Story.

My Liberated Churn Dash placemat pattern is available on Craftsy and Etsy ;)

3. Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Quilt - needs to be made and quilted!

Yes, I'm excited to announce I have a block in the next issue of Quiltmaker's 100 blocks. This time, instead of just doing mockups of design possibilities with the block I actually went ahead and made the real thing!
I have half of the blocks completed and need to cut out and make the rest; sandwich and quilt, label and bind the quilt.

While I hope to have the quilt top ready in May, I'm also considering making it a gift for my paternal grandmother who celebrates a big birthday this year in June. I'll keep you posted!

Three is enough for me this quarter - ambitious really considering two of the finishes are quilts! But I'm game! 

I'm linking up over at She Can Quilt - check it out and please send encouraging comments!

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Catching up with Canadian Women blocks

>> Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I have been quilting - just not blogging! 

150 Canadian Women blocks 49 to 51

The March blocks are starting to get more challenging, but also include some favourites. The top left block made up of capital Ts is one I like, and I really like the looks of the one on the top right. I think I will make one of these up to add to my Splendid Sampler blocks.

150 Canadian Women blocks 52 to 54

The one on the bottom right required a set-in seam, something I usually avoid, but in this case it was simple and was required given the way the outer border was pieced.

150 Canadian Women blocks 55 to 57

Last week's blocks were fun too. I started using some of the bottom Pat Sloan background fabric in another project and took this opportunity to add it into this quilt too:)

This week's blocks are now available for free downloading over at Next Step Quilt Designs

Are you keeping up or joining in?

With Joy,

Sarah V.


New Lucky projects to share

>> Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Life is full and busy on my end these past few weeks, but I didn't forget that I wanted to share a free project every month this year. This month's freebie is several projects that, with any luck, will lead you to use up some stash and try something new too!

selvage projects for March and St. Patrick's Day sewing

It's my turn over at this week and I decided to make shamrocks out of hearts, try out some built in decorative stitches, and finally play with my rainbow of Tula Pink selvages!

You can see my post reviewing PFAFF's passport 3.0 and using selvages to make a stitch sampler here.

Then I turned my sampler into a mug rug with a shamrock.

And I used the shamrock to make myself a pincushion too!

There's one more project lined up for the rest of the week that I'll share later - or you can check it out starting tomorrow at QUILTsocial.

I hope these projects bring a little bit of light and joy into your sewing time too.

With Joy,

Sarah V


Keeping up by keeping organized - my 150 Canadian Women quilt blocks

>> Sunday, February 19, 2017

I am finding it hard to keep quilting on my list of things to do and still enjoy it. I thought you might be too! This post will go through how I keep my supplies and fabrics organized so that I can move this project forward and enjoy the time spent doing it. There's nothing more frustrating than having time and wasting it looking for something ;)

4 - 6 inch blocks red and white for Canada's 150 birthday

I felt silly writing the title for this post because I still have last week's blocks to do to be up to date with the 150 Canadian Women blocks! A new group of 3 will be released on Tuesday by Next Step Quilt Designs - motivation to write this post and get quilting!

keeping fabrics sorted to ensure variety in quilt blocks

When the blocks get listed the first thing I do is download the files to save them. I take the time to read the great historical information included about each woman a block is named for, keeping in mind my fabrics in case there is a motif on the fabric that would suit telling a particular woman's story.

Sometimes that's all I get done! If I have more time, I go to my fabrics. 

I am growing a small collection of reds and whites. I keep them in a clear box with a lid - it's about the size of a shoe box. At this point, because I have made over 30 blocks, I have some small bits of fabrics that I keep laid out in the lid of the box. When I put the fabrics away for the week I place the box on top of the lid and then tuck it into it's spot on the shelf.

Inside the shoe box is semi-organized with reds on top followed by whites. I have a large piece of red that I think I'm saving to use with some 12 inch blocks that I plan to incorporate into the quilt top. I'll show you my first one later in this post!

As I'm picking fabric for this week's blocks I leave the ones I use outside the box so I don't use them for more than one block. When I'm finished making this week, this mini pile goes under the fabrics in the box so they are picked first next week. This saves me time going to find last week's blocks and matching fabrics to them so I don't repeat the fabrics too soon. Of course, sometimes I do, but I'm trying to avoid it;)

using blocks as leader and ender of each other lined up on sewing table

My next step is to cut the fabrics for all three blocks before I start sewing any of them together. 

I'm lucky to have a long sewing table with room to the right of the machine for leaving pieces out - even overnight. My cats don't jump up here like they do on my cutting table (!) so I know the pieces will still be in the right place when I sit down to sew.

I also use a little flannel design board that I inherited from my husband's granny to move pieces from my cutting table to sewing table. Leaving one block on here gives me more room on the table too - I can place the board on my ironing board if I need to.

different rulers that are useful in making patchwork blocks

I have several different rulers I use to cut and prepare my block pieces. The longer 18 inch ruler for making initial cuts of fabrics off of larger pieces.
 The 6 1/2" square ruler has great increments printed on it for cutting the smaller pieces used in these blocks. I like that I can turn it one way to square up for 2 1/2" then turn to a different corner to square up to a whole number - like 2, which is a popular square size in these blocks.
The yellow ruler you can see in the photo is used for its straight edge to draw diagonal lines on the back of squares when making hsts. I use a red dressmaker pencil also inherited from my husband's granny! 
I match up the hst pieces and bring them over to the sewing table with the rest of the pieces in the block laid out for assembly.

Once all the pieces are cut then I start sewing the blocks. I usually do one at a time, but sometimes I make any hsts needed for the blocks at the beginning. Then I trim them and lay out the pieces for all 3 blocks and start with the first block.

12 inch Northcott tree block

Two weeks ago when I went to my local quilt shop I was lucky enough to get a copy of the stores 12" block for Northcott's Trans-Canada Block Party. 

I'm in love with it and trying really hard to resist making a whole quilt of this beautiful block!

6 inch and 12 inch block with diagonal triangles

I thought it was pretty neat that I had just tackled the same triangle construction in block 37 that's also in this tree block.

blocks 37 38 and 39 from Next Step Quilt Designs

These are last week's blocks done. After a week of looking at them I notice a mistake in the one on the top right. It might just stay that way! I'll do the first block for this week and see.

I hope seeing how I organized my time and fabrics helps you in keeping up with a project you enjoy!

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Madhatter Tea Party Challenge Quilt

>> Monday, February 6, 2017

I'm late! I'm late! But never one to completely give up on a challenge - so here's my quilt top. Finally!

madhatter tea party quilt applique tea cup quilt Pat Sloan

The challenge was originally issued back in 2009 by Pat Sloan. If you 'google' madhatter tea party quilt challenge you will find the applique templates for the tea cups, tea pot, cream and sugar.

It was pretty much make the blocks and create your own quilt. A lot of possibilities there, right! I took my time hand blanket stitching around the tea cups and such, but really wanted to get this one done this year.

I've always thought of it as my after-the-birthdays-are-over month quilt because in our house we have 3 birthdays from the end of February to the end of March - I want this quilt ready to hang when the birthdays are over! Because in my head I've always attached the tea party song, 'a very merry unbirthday to you - to you' to this quilt! LOL! 

pieced cake quilt block snapshots sew along

So of course my quilt needs cake! Again, several years ago now, when I saw this cake block in the Snapshot sewalong by Fat Quarter shop I knew this block would work in my unbirthday month cake. Both my son and I think it would have been better with the yellow as the icing and the green as the cake but, it's done and it definitely suits the rest of the party decor!

Now that I'd added a different block to the mix I needed to figure out what to add that would still keep it looking like a tea party. I thought about a big top hat but it didn't feel quite right. I decided to go through my books by Pat Sloan to see if any of her other blocks would fit in.

heart roses applique quilt block designed by Pat Sloan

Heart roses! Perfect. So fun to make in the fabrics I had set aside to go in this quilt. It's from her book, New Ideas for Applique.

Then it was time to start setting the blocks to see what I could do with the fabrics I had. I decided on making some of them 'wonky' and used a tutorial to help me with the cutting - even though I ended up making some wrong cuts and pretty much flubbing my way through!

I made the two outside columns first, alternating my sashing fabrics and measuring to get them both the same length. I decided to put a long block in each column to hopefully balance out the composition. Then I had a bit of leftover space in the middle column. I had been considering a label for the quilt and putting it on the front. 

handstitch quilt block with ric rac on alice in wonderland quilt

Of course! Just like in Alice in Wonderland. I traced Pat's letters from the templates and even used her heart embroidery from her little Splendid Sampler cake block - which almost made it into this quilt too. Maybe the back label? The ric rac is sewn into the side seams of the black fabric; I think I'll stitch it to the quilt too when I quilt it. The black flower fabric reminds me of the flowers that sing Golden Afternoon in the movie :)

madhatter tea party quilt challenge by Pat Sloan

Then there was some humming and hawing trying to figure out the best use of the Alice in Wonderland fabric that I had for the borders - not enough to go around all four sides. I thought about adding little cake block or a teacup in each corner. Then I realized that where I will hang this quilt in my house you won't see the bottom all the time. So it's okay if it doesn't match or balance in the corners and that's when I came up with using the Alice fabric on the sides and top and more of the cards fabric across the bottom. I tried the card fabric on the sides but it blended right into the sashing where it's the same fabric - and alternating the fabrics around the quilt would require a lot of math and still be tricky to line up. 

Better late than never, right? This is my first UFO finish of 2017 - even though it's just the top. It's next in line to get quilted so it's done in time for April in my house!

Do you make challenge quilts? 

With JOY,

Sarah V.

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