Monday, September 30, 2013

The Pincushions of the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat

I am back from BIQR and I had a fabulous time!  My week away went by way too quickly, as all holidays do...  Gwen Marston was full of wit and wisdom which she lavishly shared with all of us throughout the week.

The weather was perfect--sunny and warm. We had a great view of Elk Lake from the room where we were sewing.

This is the first of several posts about my time at BIQR 2013. Today, I would like to show you some of the interesting pincushions of BIQR. I did several tours around the sewing room admiring other people's projects and came across some unique pincushions, which I had to photograph, of course!

This one was purchased at Crate and Barrel--it is not really a pincushion, but some sort of decoration that the owner is using as a pincushion.
I thought it looked like a hedgehog!
J's husband brought this one back from a trip he took.

The base part is made from a small wooden bowl.
This little wool house was used by a quilter who actually sewed something with those little pieces in the bag beside the pincushion!
Everyone needs a cup of tea and a grasshopper pincushion!
I liked the leaf pins in this pincushion.  It was attached to a scrap catcher.
This one matched the fabrics that this quilter was using.
 Deb and Kathy brought some cute mug rugs that a friend made for them. Here are their pincushions:
Stay tuned for more posts including pictures of Gwen and her quilts and some of the quilts that were made at the retreat.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Bags are Packed...I'm ready to go... (almost!)

Tomorrow morning, dark and early, Christine, Carol and I will be leaving for Elk Rapids, MI where we will join several other quilters at Gwen Marston's annual (and final!) Beaver Island Quilt Retreat. I have been flitting about all day, gathering up everything I will need for a week of sewing and relaxing at the retreat.

I cleaned my sewing machine, oiled all the moving parts and changed the needle. I am going to do some hand sewing in the car...I put the binding on my 9 patch mystery quilt this afternoon to test out the machine after its tune-up--all is running smoothly and there are fewer squeaks now! I love hand sewing binding in the car--it keeps me awake and is a good use of my time on the long ride.

I did a bit more applique on my Becky Goldsmith workshop project this week
. I just have the tree to go and this block is done.

Here are some pictures of the lovely quilting on my 9 patch mystery quilt. Cathy at Eagles Wings quilts did a great job!  Thanks, Cathy!

I will do another stash report when I get home.

Now, I need to get some sleep before my vacation starts!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Cathy and I had a sewing day on Saturday and we both worked on our Lazy Sunday mystery quilts. We both did some sewing and unsewing in the process, but both of us are on the right track now! I have my first row completely sewn and the sashings and cornerstones added to most of the rest of the blocks. I love the bright colours and all the little surprises in the fabrics of this quilt when you look at it closely. Christine is coming over tonight and we will both be working on our mystery quilts. 
Carol, Christine and I got together last week to work on our collaborative project. The top is completed and Christine is piecing the back so it can be brought to the long arm quilter's house this week.

We are all in love with this quilt!

I made my next charity quilt block for the Elgin Piecemakers on Saturday. This block will be handed in at our October meeting. I decided to make a slab with my brown, green and tan scraps.

Now, it is time for the stash report...

I purchased a half yard of blue and white ticking to do the binding on the antique quilt that I showed in this post.

Fabric used in the last week: 2.05 yards
Total fabric used this year: 132.16  yards
Fabric added to the stash in the last week: .5 yards
Total fabric added this year: 120.91 yards
Net fabric used this year: 11.25 yards

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Workshop with Becky Goldsmith

The first meeting of the new year for the London Friendship Quilters' Guild was this past Thursday and our speaker was Becky Goldsmith of Piece O' Cake designs. What a fun evening!  Her whimsical quilts were bright and colourful. She spoke to us about picking colours for our quilts and showed several pictures of people and places that illustrated different colour schemes. I knew we were in for an interesting evening when I saw Becky's socks...

Here are a couple of the quilts that Becky showed us...

I love the way the colours in the applique pop off the backgrounds she chose for her quilts.
On Friday, I took a vacation day from work and participated in an applique workshop with Becky and 19 others.

This is the pattern for our project.  We learned how to make templates and trace them onto the fabrics we have chosen on the bias in order to make it easier to turn the edges under when doing our stitching.

By lunch time, I had this much done...


After lunch, we started sewing. Becky provided us with the tiny pins shown above and a couple of different needles to use for our hand sewing.

This is a needle threader which all of us used to get the thread through the tiny hole at the end of the needle!  Becky supplied the thread that we used. There are lots of colours in those two bobbin holders!

 Two edges sewn down...

I also learned to reverse applique and finished one of these windows at the workshop and then did the second one yesterday.

I also reverse appliqued the orange door onto the door frame at the workshop and then appliqued the door frame to the house yesterday.   I have the roof pieces cut out and ready to applique and hope to work on them later this week.

This 8" block is one of 9 in a wall hanging designed by Piece O' Cake Designs. I had fun at the workshop and will show more pictures of my block as it is completed in a future post.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Swooning over my finished quilt!

I finally had two quilt holders here on the weekend to take some pictures of my completed Swoon quilt!  I will be taking this quilt to the London Friendship Quilter's Guild meeting later this week for show and tell.  Then, it will be put on our guest room bed for a while so we can admire it as we walk by the room!

Cathy at Eagle's Wings Quilts did a feather meander on this quilt. Great job, Cathy!  I love it!

You may remember that I made a table runner from some of the leftovers from this quilt. Ironically, the leftovers project was finished before the quilt.

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Couple of Old Quilts

My husband was cleaning out an old storage locker that belongs to a family member and found a couple of old quilts that had probably been in there for over 20 years, just folded up on top of a piece of furniture, covered in dust and cobwebs. He brought them home and I laid them out on the grass in the backyard to take a closer look at them this afternoon. No one knows who made them or where they came from.

This scrappy 9 patch quilt is hand quilted with fans and the binding is just the backing turned over to the front of the quilt. One of the blocks was different from the rest. You can see the deep fold line down the middle of the quilt. It is stained in a couple of spots and was very dirty. It smelled very funky and later in the afternoon, it got washed in the washing machine, (twice!) and tumbled dry.

Here, you can see the brown stains as well as the fabrics used in the sashings and cornerstones.

Most of the blocks had matching fabrics, but this one didn't!

All the stripes go the same way, except for that one on the lower right.

Here is the block that is not like the others!

This block has a different fabric in the centre.

You can see how dirty this quilt was before washing it in this picture.
This quilt was in really good shape and all the seams and fabrics were intact so I decided it would be safe to wash it in my front load washing machine on gentle.
Here it is after washing and drying. The colours look brighter and wrinkles have disappeared! 
The smell is gone too.
The second quilt is not in quite as good shape as the first.
It is actually not even finished --the binding has not been put on yet.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there are machine stitching holes all around the outside of the quilt which makes me wonder if it was quilted, used, taken apart and a new backing put on. There are actually still some pins all around the outside of this quilt holding it together until the binding is put on. Those three red blocks really look out of place with all the other softer colours.  Were they a later addition or were all the other fabrics once as bright as them?
Does anyone know the name of this block?
Here, you can see the diagonal quilting.
I don't know a lot about old fabrics, but this one just does not look like the same vintage as the other fabrics in this quilt.
The cotton batting is looking a bit rough around the edges. You can see two of the pins in this picture.
I would like to bind this quilt and then wash it to remove the dirt and the smell. The fabrics all appear to be intact. The backing is white. Do you think I should just use white binding or should I find some sort of subtle stripe to use? 
If anyone has any thoughts on these quilts, please comment below.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Beginning of a New Project

These shirts are the beginning of a new project for me. They belonged to my Father-in-Law who passed away in the Spring. I have been collecting ideas for what I might do with them.  For now, I am cutting them up into usable pieces of material for my project. This will take a while--he had a lot of shirts!  I need to have this done before I head off to my 3rd Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston in a few weeks.  I plan on taking them with me to work on my project there. I am looking forward to my week away to spend some quality time with my friends and my sewing machine!

I made another pillowcase this week--another gift. The tractor pillowcase and this one are for some friends who are going through a rough time right now with health issues. They will be delivered tomorrow afternoon.
We had a little getaway on Labour Day weekend. One of the places we visited was Kingsmere in Gatineau Park, Quebec. Kingsmere was the vacation home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Prime Minister of Canada for most of the years between 1921 and 1948.
The buildings and grounds have recently undergone extensive renovation including new shingles and paint, landscaping, etc.
"I felt better the minute I was at Kingsmere. The air here is fine, the trees fresh, lovely."
I loved the moss growing between the rocks in the stone walls.
Of course, there was a log cabin quilt at the foot of the bed...
Everyone needs a quilt on their bed, don't you agree?
I did not do a stash report last week because we were away so here is my report for the last two weeks. Our getaway did not include any fabric stores, so nothing was added to the stash this week.

Fabric used in the last 2 weeks: 1.85 yards
Total fabric used this year: 130.11  yards
Fabric added to the stash in the last 2 weeks: none!
Total fabric added this year: 120.41 yards
Net fabric used this year: 9.7 yards
I am off to cut sashings and corner blocks for my Lazy Sunday Quilt.
Have a good week!