Monday, November 28, 2011

It was a Pillowcase Sweatshop!

Last week, Jacqui, Chris and I got together for 3 hours to make pillowcases for our local homeless shelter and the local Christmas hamper program. We purchased some fabrics for this project but some of the fabric was donated by "Cherished Pieces"---Thanks, Cynthia!!!

We started by cutting lots of pieces for the pillowcases and then putting them in piles for Jacqui to pin. Chris sewed the tubes together and ironed them and then I serged them and did the final ironing. We did stop half way through for a cup of tea!

Here are our 21 pillowcases!

And another picture which shows more of the fabrics we used....

Three tired but happy pillowcase makers!

We hope to get together again soon to deliver the pillowcases and make some more for the Christmas hamper program. I bought some more material tonight to use for the next bunch of pillowcases...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Postcard and Elgin Piecemakers Charity Quilts

The London Friendship Quilters' Guild has a fabric postcard exchange every month which I try to participate in most months. I put a card in the guild mailbox this month and this is the card I received in my mailbox. Jill (aka The Quilt Rat) made this postcard by embossing a beer can using a cork board and a ball-point pen. I was thrilled to receive this card in the mail--Jill's creativity knows no bounds!  For more of her work, you can check out her blog.

The Elgin Piecemakers guild met this past week. We had our usual show and tell of our charity quilts which we make for our local hospital's adult chemo unit as well as our own projects. I showed a couple of quilts that I received back from the long armers recently--you will get to see them when I get the binding sewn down as well as a quilt I made for my SIL for Christmas. I don't want to show a picture of it yet either--she knows she is getting a quilt but I don't want her to see it before December 25th.

A few months ago, we each made a Churn dash block in greens and browns. The long arm quilter just finished quilting this quilt. I love the variety in how the blocks look depending on the colours and amount of contrast used.

I showed this quilt top last month but here it is all quilted. I love the backing!  This quilt will be sure to brighten someone's day!

Last month, we all made yellow and blue blocks and now all those blocks have been made into a flimsy.

This month's colours were purple and green. There are still a couple more blocks to be handed in before these blocks get put together into a quilt top.

Next month, the colours are green, white and black. Two of us had our blocks done and brought them to our meeting.

Jacqui, Chris and I spent an evening this past week making pillowcases for our local "Inn out of the Cold" shelter. We made 21 pillowcases, mostly from donated fabric but we all contributed fabric from our own stashes as well. I will post a picture of the pillowcases soon. I also did some sewing on the borders for RRCB. This week, Christine and I will be getting together to work on our RRCB quilts. I hope to get that binding on those two recently quilted quilts as well. There are also some fabric postcards to work on...  The list never ends! 
Have a good week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We Have a Winner!

This morning, I put all the names into a hat and my husband picked the winner!

Linda at lrdesignsquilting! I have already sent Linda an email to let her know that she has won "37 Sketches".  We will all be watching your blog, Linda, to see if you decide to make a "sketch".

I did some sewing this week and hope to do a blogpost soon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Give-away! "37 Sketches" by Gwen Marston

As you know, Christine, Carol and I recently went to Gwen Marston's "Beaver Island Quilt Retreat" at White Birch Lodge in Elk Rapids, Michigan. You can see my previous posts about the retreat here. We had a wonderful time and I am still "basking in the afterglow" of my 5 days of sewing non-stop!

While at the retreat, I purchased a copy of Gwen's latest book, "37 Sketches".  I have read it and re-read it several times and everytime, I am inspired by Gwen's colour combinations, use of shapes and small pieces that I never would have tried before attending the workshop.

Here is what Gwen has to say about her book:

"37 Sketches is both an artfully designed and beautifully made book. It shows my new work built on the idea of exploring the elements of design by constructing small studies, which I quickly began to think of as sketches. I began to see these sketches in much the same way as a painter does in using sketches to explore technique and to work out color and composition ideas. These pieces are abstract compositions, worked primarily in solids. Constructing these 37 sketches provided me with a valuable and expedient way to explore new technique, color, and composition. I explain my process for making these small studies using my liberated, improvisational methods, of which many of you are very familiar, and discuss how the experience of making this series of sketches was like taking a crash course in design."

Gwen showed off her book at the "Show and Tell" evening during the retreat. She explained the process of making the book, picking the paper, the binding, taking the pictures, etc. She is rightfully very proud of her book!

It contains pictures of each of her 37 sketches as well as detail shots and short descriptions of each sketch and the inspirations behind them.

Gwen's sketches will be on display at the Taupo Museum in Taupo, New Zealand in July of 2013. She will also be teaching at the National Quilt Symposium in Taupo.

Now, the give-away!  If you would like to win an autographed copy of "37 Sketches", please leave a comment on this post by Friday, November 25th, at 7pm (Eastern Standard Time). I will draw a name out of a hat at that time and will contact the winner by e-mail so make sure I know how to get in touch with you!

If you would like to purchase a copy "37 Sketches", you can do that here. I am sure that Gwen would be happy to sign your book for you! This book would make a great Christmas gift!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quilt 'til You Wilt Report

I left home this morning at 7:45am--my husband thought I was nuts to get out of bed so early on a Saturday morning!  There was a good reason for my early rising--Today was Quilt 'til You Wilt! It started at 8am and I arrived a bit early to find that there were already 5 people there ahead of me!  This annual event is held at a local hotel. We moved the tables around to make sure everyone had access to electrical outlets, set up our machines and started to sew.

Around 9am, breakfast was served, so we all stopped for a bite to eat before getting back to our machines. I had a bagel and some fresh fruit.
My first project--borders for Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  I had brought 4-5 projects with me but this one consumed most of my day.  I sewed the strips I showed you in the last post together and then cut them into 172 of these units:

Then, I cut the brown triangles out and sewed them on to each of these threesies.

It took a long time to iron these and trim the dog ears!

After a delicious supper--a Greek buffet--I started sewing them together to make the borders. (Lunch was very good too--broccoli soup, salad and sandwiches)

First I sewed twosies, then foursies, get the picture...

At the end of the day, I had one side sewn together--39 units. I have some other smaller sections made as well.

I walked around the room every so often to look at other people's projects and to take pictures for the London Friendship Quilters' Guild blog. Our blog editor will do a post soon using the pictures.

I also added a border to a block that I made yesterday for a table topper. This topper will be put into a gift exchange at a Christmas party which is coming up soon.  I quilted it and added the binding at QTYW but did the hand sewing tonight when I got home.  The block is called Puss in the Corner.

I wilted about 8pm tonight--it was a great day!

Come back again soon as I have an exciting give-away coming up this week!  I will try to do the post about it tomorrow and will make the draw later this week. You will not want to miss out on a chance to win!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekly Sewing Report

These blogposts are becoming a weekly report of my sewing activities. There are just not enough hours in the day to blog any more often than once a week!  The fabric postcard above was made this past week for the London Friendship Quilters' Guild fabric postcard exchange. I made another one as well which is in the mail to a friend that I have not seen in a while. The fabric is leftover from the pillowcase I made myself recently. I quilted it on the diagonal, but you can't really see it in the picture.

I also made two placemats this week for Meals on Wheels--they will be put into giftbags for shut in seniors in London at Christmas. The two blocks are orphan blocks leftover from another project.

Christine and I got together on Wednesday night to work on our RRCB quilts. I put some of my blocks together and cut the strips for the pieced border. I hope to get some more blocks together this week and work on the pieced border at the annual Quilt 'til You Wilt day next Saturday.

Christine worked on her daughter's quilt. She has all her RRCB blocks together already!

Today, Pam from Mad About Patchwork did a workshop for our guild where we learned how to do not one but two quilts!

In the morning, we worked on "Through the Trees"--

And "Quartered Squares" in the afternoon.

(Those are both Pam's versions of these quilts!)

I used some flower fabric that I purchased years ago with some co-ordinating brights  for my Through the Trees quilt.

We had to cut all of our fabrics the same size, stack them up in a certain order and then slice in a wonky way.  We then reordered the strips so that each block would be different...

It did not take long to sew the 8 blocks together. We talked about various ways of putting the blocks together...I decided to make a wonky coins quilt with bright green (Kona Sour Apple) sashing and border. I even managed to finish this top before the end of the day, although it still needs a little trimming at the top and bottom...

I have picked out some pink fabric for the binding--I will have to search though my stash to see if I have any suitable fabric for the backing.

I decided to use solids for my Quartered Squares quilt and got one block done.  There is a lot of cutting for this quilt and I did not get all of it done. I decided that I needed to have one block completed as an example of what to make at home!  There are at least a dozen different solids in this quilt.

Another project to work on at Quilt 'til You Wilt....

This week, I hope to get some more RRCB blocks together and get my fabrics cut for the QS quilt. I have to get everything ready for QTYW too...

Until next time... Happy sewing!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Slow and Steady Progress

I finally finished sewing the blocks for RRCB this week! Christine and I got together one evening and worked away on our blocks. I finished off 8 that night and started another few. The next night, I had 12 done.

When this mystery was first posted on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville website a year ago, I thought her colour choices were a bit odd--double pinks, brown, green and red with neutrals. Now, I love how these colours play together in these blocks!  Most of the browns and all of the double pinks I used in these blocks were fabrics from a kit I bought at People, Places and Quilts in Charleston, SC several years ago when my family was there on vacation. I never got around to making the kit quilt so I decided to use the fabrics in this quilt.

Friday night and Saturday morning, I was bound and determined to finish off the last 8 blocks before taking my sewing machine in for its annual overhaul (actually a year overdue for the annual checkup!).  I sewed all of the rest of the HST's together into strips of 5 units and then I had a small problem...

I was one HST short. I had made 599 HST's instead of 600!  I dug out some red and neutral fabric and cut one more out with my easy angle ruler.

Soon, I was done the last 8 blocks and my machine was packed up and ready to go.

Today, I trimmed up my string blocks so that they are all the same size as these blocks and I started to sew some blocks together. I am using my mother's old Kenmore sewing machine. The last time I used it was two years ago when my Janome was in for its checkup. My mother was not really interested in sewing but when I was around 10 or 11, I talked her into taking sewing lessons so that she would get a new machine that I could use!  The Kenmore was the machine she bought. It is a heavy brute--all mechanical--no computerized parts on this machine!  It came to live at my house after my mother died a few years ago. After some liberal doses of oil on all the moving parts and some cleaning, it works as good as it ever did.
This afternoon, I made 3 pillowcases for our London Friendship Quilters' Guild charity project.

I also made myself a pillowcase from some quilting fabric...

I have to make a postcard and a  couple of placemats before our meeting this week. I found some orphan blocks that I will use for the placemats. They will be donated to Meals on Wheels where they will be given to shut in seniors for Christmas. I will post pictures of these later this week. In the meantime, I will keep working on getting my blocks together for Roll Roll Cotton Boll.

Have a good week!