Monday, December 04, 2023

A Rag Quilt Gift and a Rag Rectangle Trick


Hello my friend!
Here in Ontario we had a huge dump of snow - huge, big cotton ball flakes that turned into baking snow kind of dump.  We were out at the cottage yesterday and drove back in the very start of the snow so it was nice to be tucked into our warm house to watch instead of being on the road.  In my gratitude journal that day I wrote - so grateful for our warm house amidst the snow.  Where ever you are - I wish you a cozy, warm day too.

While at the cottage I remembered I had rag quilt squares all ready to go in a bin.  Well, imagine my surprise when I opened the bin and found that they were quilted already - I thought they were just sandwiched!  This was an awesome surprise!

That night I laid out what I had in the bin and sewed it all together.  Here it is AFTER I washed it.

We took this picture right before we got on the road and BEFORE it was washed.  I think it still looks great even before it was washed the fringe really fluffs up afterwards.

What I really like about this one is that I use the rectangular die and the square die in a scrappy sort of way so there's not a lot of seams to match up - win!  It certainly makes things easier.  This quilt is going to be a Christmas gift for a friend and I hope that she loves it!

Although the rag rectangle die for the Go cutter has been discontinued, I came up with a way for you to be able to cut rag rectangles using your regular go die back in 2014, and I wrote a short tutorial on it.  This is such a great way to use those strips of flannel that are often leftover from cutting rag squares.

I've made too many rag quilts to count over the years but here are a few of my favourites:

I always cut my rag quilts using my AccuQuilt Studio dies - it's my favourite way to make a rag quilt because there is NO snipping!!  No hand cramps.  Sure, they need a a little more care when they're being sewn together, but, I can tell you, I never want to make a rag quilt the other way again.  I've made so many quilts using the rag dies and even have made a video (12 years ago!) about the Go! rag die.

I look like a baby in this video!  But this shows you how long I've been using the dies to cut rag quilts.  People often ask me if the dies wear out and I have to always say - no, but the mats do.  You'll know when it's time to change your mat but just keep repositioning and flipping.

Tell me - do you love the rag dies?  Or, do you prefer to snip, snip, snip?

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Christmas Quilts

Christmas Quilts.  
Are you like me?  Do you absolutely adore the combination or red and green with gold?  Or, not your cup of tea?  I don't know why but I've always adored Christmas prints and the colour combination.  That's probably why my collection of Christmas quilts is now coming in at over a dozen!

Last year I offered an evening of yoga, sound, and my Christmas quilts, and, it was so popular and well received that we're doing it again this year.  I absolutely loved seeing everyone snuggling under my Christmas quilts - it was amazing to see my love of quilting coming into the yoga room.  Last year I finished a few more Christmas quilts and this year I added a couple more scrap quilts into my collection.  I started these when I was recovering from Covid and now they are done!

First up is the Christmas Take 5 quilt.  I adore this pattern so much!  It showcases large prints beautifully and somehow this ends up looking like presents.

I use the Accuquilt Studio die for this one and highly recommend it if you enjoy this pattern.  It makes sewing this together an absolute breeze and so easy to use up scraps from other projects.

Here's a close up of the Holly Leaf Meander (as I call it).  I think this always looks so good and it really isn't hard to do at all.  I made a video of how I do it - the video isn't perfect but I hope that it shows you the technique.  If you like the video I hope that you'll click the like button and subscribe to my channel.  This is sped up about 3 x's - man I wish I could quilt this fast!

I love the red wide-back I used on this one.  I used Glide cherry thread on the top and a pre-wound red bobbin.  This red wide-back became the centre pieces for the next quilt.

Next up is a wonky Log Cabin Quilt!  I am in LOVE with this quilt!

Seriously, I think this is the most fun piecing that I've had in a while.  I was able to use up little bits and pieces and it honestly did not matter what size the strips were, or, even if they were straight.  I just sewed and it was wonderful. ALL of this came from my stash including the red snowflake border (that was purchased to make masks) that was enough for borders and binding. 

Like I mentioned, the red centres are from the wide-back and they are all various sizes.  I tear my wide-backs, so they're straight of grain and way easier to load, so I had sort of an odd size strip to work with and just went with that for the centres.  I think the different sizes adds to the interest in this quilt.

This used up so many scraps!  So many little bits that I was saving - you know those bits that are just too small to be usable but way too big to throw out?  Well, here they are!  I used my 10.5" square die to square this up but I have to say, next time, I would square these up to 6.5" (finishing at 6") so that I wouldn't have to find such large scraps for the outside.

Now check out the back - I am thrilled about this backing.

Many years ago I used to work for a quilt store.  The owner loved country fabrics, primitives and homespuns.  Not really my thing but hey I still purchased fabric there!  Well, these homespuns have been sitting in my stash for over 15 years!  I have no idea why I had these - I think they might have been for a rag jacket (red would be the sleeves and binding I think) that I never got around to making.

I pulled them out and started to piece them together, in a way that made sense to me, and added the yellow and gold flannels in to make it larger.  This was perfect for Covid recovery because it was easy and there was no right way to do it - kind of like the from of this quilt!
A red, green, and gold backing for my scrap quilt - all from my stash, using fabrics that I wasn't crazy about, but, I love for a backing.

So what do you think of my new Christmas quilts?


Sunday, November 12, 2023

Christmas Projects!

Hell my friend,
Well Covid has finally eased off.  I just have a stuffed up nose and a bit of a hoarse voice left-over and that's about it!  Thank goodness!  And thank goodness for sewing easy projects in colours that make me happy.  What would we ever do without our sewing machines?

I got the Take 5 quilt together and I have to say - I love it!  Take 5 is a perfect pattern to use up beautiful prints like these and it goes together so quickly.  Every time I make one of these I'm constantly surprised at how much I like it.  I made a Christmas Take 5 several years ago to donate to a fundraiser and I always planned on making another one - well, here she is!

I also found a deep red wide-back in my stash, you can see it on the right side of the picture, that will be perfect for this quilt.

Next up, in my quest to deal with the mountain of Christmas fabrics in my stash, is this wonky log cabin.  This has to be one of the most freeing projects I have ever worked on!  Seriously, this is just a throw it together and it will work out later sort of projects that I don't usually do.  And man is this using up some bits.  I always tear my wide-backs, because they get cut so wonky off the bolt, not anyone's fault, but they load so so much better if they are torn before they are loaded.  Anyways, I used the torn left-over red to cut some squares and rectangles for the centre pieces of the log cabins and then just went for it with piecing strips and bits.  A great way to use up the odd shaped piece of tear-off fabric.

I squared these up using my Studio 10.5" square die but you could use the one for the Go Big too.  This is pretty big for this style of quilt, and you could make these smaller, say 6.5", but I like the bigger size.

After pulling out my Christmas 2" squares bin I realized that I could use a few of these as well for the initial pieces - win!  Why, oh why does this bin never seem to get smaller no matter how much I pull out of it?  Well, to be fair, I added a LOT of squares to it after I processed the scraps from mask making.  Sigh - someday this will be depleted - right?

Probably not, but a girl can dream right LOL!

See what I mean?  This is filled to the brim!

I've also been playing a lot with my sourdough bread.  This is a really easy recipe that is 100% whole wheat.  It doesn't spring up as much as a 100% white recipe but it's delicious and just beautiful with soup.  If you make sourdough bread - give this one a try.

My husband liked this loaf so much that he would only cut the right side of it and hasn't touched the left yet LOL!

Next up, I just bought some tea towels to do a tutorial for the oven handle cloths I made for a friend.  Stay tuned for that and happy quilting!


Thursday, November 09, 2023

It Finally Caught Up With Me

Well Covid finally caught up with me.  After all this time I finally got it and it packed a punch.  I'm on day seven and finally starting to feel like myself which is such a relief.  Thank goodness for quilting!    Once I got some strength back I was able to get a few things done.  

In my efforts to deplete my Christmas fabric stash I decided to cut out a new Christmas quilt!  I love Christmas fabrics so much so I usually like to showcase them with larger pieces if I can.  Take 5 is a perfect, easy pattern to showcase nice prints and I have the die for my Studio cutter.  So it was easy to cut enough for 42 blocks (6x7 set - maybe I will cut a few more, I haven't decided yet).  

Last night, I pieced all of the blocks - these are so fast, and this morning I laid them out and guess who found them and claimed them LOL!?  River does love fabric - she's my girl.

What do you think?  My husband thinks they look like presents all lined up, and I like that.  I think it will look good on a bed.

Next up a friend asked me to make these towel toppers for her as her sewing machine was acting up.  This was a great, easy project and I think I might make a few of my own.


If I make a few more - would you like a tutorial?

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Preemie Quilts and What Have I Been Doing?

Ahh Preemie Quilts!

I do love to make them.  Our local quilt guild collects preemie quilts for a NICU in Ottawa (that's where my son was after he was born) and I do try to make a bunch every year to donate.  During Covid I actually fell off when mask making took over, but, as Wednesday was our first meeting of the guild year, I gathered all of the ones up that I'd made over the past three years, and bundled them up to bring to the guild.  Check it out!  There are 20 ready to go.

A bunch of them are mask remnants:  Star Wars, Bat Man, sports etc.  Some are 2" leaders and enders 16-patch blocks with setting squares that I have been doing forever!  These are my favourite way to use up kids prints and left-over white fabrics and they always look so cute.  You can see a tutorial I posted many years ago here.

Some of these are actually orphan blocks that I purchased from a thrift store - you can see the blue and yellow quilt in the bottom row and the houses bottom right - neither of these were my blocks but I made them into preemie quilts.  And the two in the bottom row, that look like a road, were made by my oldest son during Covid so he could learn to use my long arm :-)

Here they all are on the donate pile at the guild ready to go to their new owners.

And - last - I thought that I would share a little bit about what I've been doing!  I realized at the quilt guild that none of my quilting friends really know what I've been doing over the past few years.

This is me last weekend during the Sound Bath I led to a full house.  I play various instruments:  crystal bowls, gong, rainstick, ocean drums, chimes, bar chimes etc, with my husband on the guitar and hand pan.  This takes up quilt a bit of time to completely arrange these evenings so I haven't done much quilting the past couple of weeks.  We absolutely love doing this!  There's something so rewarding about offering the gift of relaxation and time for yourself :-)

Also, during Covid a lot of my yoga trainings went online!  So, I was able to do all of the coursework and intensives to complete my training, over the past three years, to be a Yoga Therapist!  I have just entered my practicum year and am taking clients. 

Long and short - I went back to school to attain a professional designation and I am starting a new (or sort of new) journey to helping people live better and fuller lives using the tools of yoga:  meditation, breath work, postures, mantra, nervous system works and a lot more.  I am specializing in nervous system work, mental health and the menopausal transition.  If you would like to read more about what Yoga Therapy is you can check out this link, and, if you would like to work with me you can check out this link

Life is good!


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Binding Update

Hello my friend!

I'm motoring right along with my St. Patrick's Day T-Shirt quilt.  I took it off the frame a couple days ago and started to think about a binding.  Luckily I remembered that I way over-cut this Kona Parrot green fabric into 2 1/2" strips.  I don't bind at  2 1/2" - I prefer a 2 1/4" - but I really didn't relish the idea of cutting 1/4" off all the strips!

Luckily I have the 2 1/4" strip die for my AccuQuilt cutter.  I just laid them out, stacked a few strips high, and ran it through.

Perfect and so fast!  So little waste.  Someone actually seemed surprised to find out I still die-cut a while back LOL!  I asked them - still rotary cut?  They rolled their eyes at me - but seriously?  Why would I pick up a rotary cutter when I own the die and I have a bunch of strips to cut?

After cutting and preparing the binding I love using my Binding Babies to wind it and dispense the binding.  My favourites are always the limited edition ones that I get directly from the company - like my cute little vampire.  I have a bunch of these so I can leave my favourite colours prewound and beautifully displayed ;-)

Next up - I think I'll start a new Leaders and Enders project that I've been thinking about for a while - orange and grey.

I know - not everyone's cup of tea but I adore orange and grey together.  I'm thinking of an alternating orange and grey 16-patch and maybe a snowball or a star sashing with black points to make it into a fall sort of Halloween quilt.  

I'm honestly looking forward to getting back to straight up good-old 2" squares and no HSTs!

What do you think?  Grey and orange - yes or nay?


Friday, September 08, 2023

Quilting a Shamrock

 Hello my friend!

After we got home from the cottage I decided to get to work on my St Patrick's Day T-Shirt quilt.  I have some commission work to do and this one was already loaded onto the frame and ready to go.  I even picked Glide Celery thread for the top and bobbin.

So I decided to finish it up first.  Besides - I actually pieced a backing for this one from some left-overs and large pieces and I didn't want to load it again.  I really don't like taking a quilt off the frame when it's ready to go.  I don't know about you, but it takes me a while to get it loaded onto the frame and I hate to undo that work.

I decided on a simple straight-line piano key quilting in the border, but, for the body I wanted something more.  I sketched and doodled shamrocks for a good while on my white board (thank goodness for white boards!) until I came up with something that worked for me.  

I'm being vulnerable here so you can see the process :-) I realized that quilting the two side heart like a figure eight was the key to this process instead of going around it in a circle - right side, left side and then the top.

I made a video so you could see what I was talking about. 

It's a little long but I love watching people free-motion on the long arm.  Maybe you do too?

Let me know what you think and if you enjoyed my quilting video.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, September 04, 2023

The Split 9-Patch Centre is Complete!!

Hello my friend!
Thank you all to warm welcome back to blogging.  It feels good to be sharing in this format again. For a while I thought that social media would completely replace a blog - nope!  I was wrong.  There's something beautiful about this longer form of communication.  I know another that contributed to my lack of blogging was that I was trying to blog from my iPad - huge mistake!  It takes way too long.  I have a new Apple laptop and wow what a difference!

Yesterday we took my son to Trent University - and left him there!  :-o
That was hard and nerve wracking if I can be honest.  I had great plans to come home and get the final row done but it didn't happen.  Instead, we came home and chilled.  The campus is beautiful, right on the water and his housemates seem nice - so he's in good hands.

Instead I got up this morning and finished the last row in this Split 9-Patch quilt.  I went outside and sat at the water to pin the row.  This is always a big job in a Leaders and Enders quilt like this because there are so many points and seams.  This was a nice way to do the pinning ;-)

After sewing the last row on I had to see it out and wow!  I'm in love!  All this from the humble Split 9-Patch.

Look at how all the colours look like sparkles in the dappled light.  So many colours, and they all come together in the end.

With all of my L&E quilts I go through a hate stage.  I get to the point where I just want to throw it all in the garbage, donate it or just get rid of it somehow.  This job just seemed too big, too drawn out and, frankly, taking way too long.

Started in 2011 (when I purchased the 1.5" finished HST die) to having the centre finished in 2023.  This is actually a pretty big quilt.  I had to lay it out on a Queen sized bed to see how it lays and I'm so surprised to say it's actually dropping over the edge a few inches.

I was going to do a more elaborate border, but, now, I'm thinking a smaller first and a wider second border - simple.  No idea of the colour yet but I will be pulling from my stash.  Thoughts?


Sunday, September 03, 2023

Split Nine Patch Update!

Hi there!
If you follow along on my Facebook page you will have seen this picture of an old Leaders and Enders project.  I laid this out and realized that I only need two more blocks to be able to piece the last row and I have a lot of things already together - these last two blocks might just come together pretty quickly!

 Can you believe this was started in 2011 when I bought the HST die and first posted about it 2012!  Check it out! This quilt has been a long time in the making - here's an update from 2019.  

The biggest stumbling block - the off-white/cream/light-tan background fabrics.  I tend to buy a lot of an off-white and make projects from it but this project required so many different print scraps!  All the coloured prints - no problem I have bins of those - it's the background fabrics for me.

This quilt uses only two dies - the 2" square die

And the 1 1/2" finished half square triangle die

Hard to believe I know but it really is just all done using these two.  Of course you can do this without die-cutting, using traditional half square triangle (HST) methods.  And, of course you can do this in different sizes.  For example 2 1/2" squares and or the Value Die.  

I will be over-joyed to get this quilt done!  I'm still debating the border - kinda thinking about a first border and then maybe a 16-patch outer border?  I have lots and lots of those already pieced, but, it might be way too much.  Maybe a solid?


Saturday, September 02, 2023

It's Been A Long Time!

Hello my friend!

It's been quite some time since I last blogged.  My husband pointed something out to me today.  He noticed that I haven't blogged since my Mother in Law (who was a quilter) passed.  Honestly - I didn't realize it, but, I haven't.  She used to read my blogs, and, chastise me for not blogging enough LOL!  When the blogging algorithm changed, my blogging became much more infrequent because I wasn't seeing the interaction I used to see, but I would put out blog updates.  Since she passed - not one post.  Sigh - I hope to change that.

Needless to say - I got the urge to blog today because I have an update on a post from allll the way back in April of 2012 I found this sewing cabinet on the side of the road for FREE!  You can check out the post for more details but this cabinet has been used as a table for over ten years!

I finally decided to bring it up to the cottage after 9 years of sewing on an old, uneven table.  I realized that the small insert area would perfectly fit my Pfaff Passport sewing machine and found the Sew Steady company that made custom inserts to fit cabinets and machine combinations - even this OLD Singer cabinet.

Why did I want to get an insert for this cabinet and not just buy a new one?  Sorry for the bad picture, but, can you sew what's under the machine??  A working hydraulic lift!  This is an excellent cabinet with a hydraulic lift, Serger area and it folds down!  It fits my Passport perfectly so no need to spend over a thousand dollars for a new one.

Check out how nice my set up is now!  Sew Steady was an excellent company to work with.  We had quite an extensive back and forth as I sent them measurements for a cabinet they hadn't seen before, and they searched for something that would work.  They eventually found a piece and made my insert and shipped it out promptly.  It's beautiful!  It's a thick piece of plexiglass and the cuts are beautiful.  I'm very pleased.  I'm not paid by them in anyway - just a happy customer.

This cabinet also folds down completely when I need to put everything away - when we have guests with small children running around ;-) and, the dark brown wood actually blends well with the cottage.  

I also decided to move my old sewing chair up here - soooooo much more comfortable than the rickety wooden one I was perching on before with my bum elevated by a pillow!  I think I'm getting serious about my quilting here now LOL!

Sew Steady also sent me this press on ruler - but I can't decide where to stick it!  Where do you stick yours?  Right in front?  On the front edge of the table?  Help a quilter out!

I'm so happy I finally decided to take the time and set myself up properly here.  I love sewing here at the cottage.  I just love it.  I just had to take the time to set myself up so my body would like it more.  So silly it took me this long - sigh.

I am pledging now - I will blog again!  I enjoy this and I hope that you enjoyed reading about my 11 year journey with this sewing cabinet :-D



A Rag Quilt Gift and a Rag Rectangle Trick

  Hello my friend! Here in Ontario we had a huge dump of snow - huge, big cotton ball flakes that turned into baking snow kind of dump.  We ...