Book Blog Hop & Giveaway – Recreating Antique Quilts

I was thrilled to be asked by Wendy Sheppard to take part in this blog hop introducing her book, “Recreating Antique Quilts, Re-envisioning, Modifying and Simplifying Museum Quilts.” Click on the button above and you will be taken to Wendy’s … Continue reading

Baby X’s and O’s

A finish! Well, almost a finish. The label still has to be added, but other than that Baby X’s and O’s is a finish. I made it some time ago with the Inklingo 7.5″ Spool or Japanese X collection. Now hold … Continue reading

Blogathon Canada … in Toronto and a Giveaway!

SewSistersQuiltShop

I’m excited to be one of the Ontario blog hosts of Blogathon Canada today! Thanks to Sew Sisters, my favourite quilt shop, for putting together this wonderful blogathon of Canadian quilters.

My name’s Cathi and I live in downtown Toronto, my hometown, with Mr. Q.O. and our Maine Coon kitty, Baxter who has his own following thanks to the daily Baxtertoons Mr. Q.O. draws.

Living in downtown Toronto, we are close to many major attractions, including the Rogers Centre where our beloved Blue Jays play and where the Grey Cup is being played this weekend. I love the gargoyles on the Rogers Centre – they always make me laugh.

And the CN Tower, which we can see from the roof garden.

While I have a sewing machine, I find hand piecing the most relaxing, therapeutic craft imaginable. No matter how stressful a day might be, half an hour or more — usually way more — with a needle, thread and fabric and the stress of the day is wiped away.

My favourite quilt so far is Chintz Circles, a quilt I made for my aunt’s 90th birthday and the one that started me writing patterns for use with Inklingo shape collections. I hand pieced and machine quilted it and enjoyed every minute of making it and even more the moment when my aunt saw it for the first time. When I had the top finished, I realized I had nothing that would work for the binding. So where did we go? Sew Sisters, of course, where I found the perfect French General faded red that framed it perfectly.

I tend to give most of my finished quilts away, it seems, so pretty much everything in this blog post are finished tops. When I realized just how many there are (and there are more that aren’t in this post!), I decided it’s time to start buying some batts and get these quilted!

Another favourite is the quilt in my blog header, the blue and white Texas Star quilt. I hand pieced and machine quilted it. That was the beginning of my journey making two-colour quilts. I love the classic look of two-colour quilts, but have learned that I absolutely have to love the fabric I’m working with or else it’s all too easy to get bored.

A pink and cream hand-pieced top was my next two-colour quilt top. Another hand pieced top, although I did add the final pink border by machine.

This little quilt top was inspired by the framing the blocks. I was at a quilt show with a friend and when I saw that fabric, it just had to become part of a Dresden Plate variation. Another hand-pieced top.

The dragonflies top is one of the last applique pieces I’ve made. I seem to have gravitated to hand piecing much more than applique over the past five or six years. I have the binding ready for this one and really do need to get it quilted and hang it on the wall.

Curved piecing is another passion. Making this Drunkard’s Path quilt using French General charm packs and some yardage was pure delight. Hand pieced again, except for the borders which I added by machine.

The reproduction star top is possibly not finished. I can’t quite decide whether to add another border to it or not. Hand pieced.

Fruit Punch is one of my favourite tops, waiting its turn to be quilted. And  yes, hand pieced again.

My most recent two-colour quilt top finish is the red and white Feathered Star/Sunflower quilt. It’s 72 x 92 and was made entirely by hand, although I know most people would have machine-pieced the HSTs used to make the feathers. I might have too, except they gave me such a wonderful opportunity for lots and lots of continuous stitching, which I love almost as much as curved piecing. This isn’t the best picture, but as it’s too large to hang on the wall we had to make use of the roof garden to take the picture.

I have decided to call this quilt Canadian Starburst. It couldn’t have been finished were it not for Judy at Sew Sisters. I had made half of the 12 Feathered Star/Sunflower blocks when I realized I was running out of the white on white fabric. The quilt sat for a few months while Judy worked her magic and found more of that white fabric. I still remember the Friday night when she called to say it had arrived at the store. We were up there very quickly and I was printing my shapes on fabric to finish the red and white quilt in next to no time!

I have machine pieced a few quilts, including this Japanese X/Spool top. It was fun making it by machine – once I got my head wrapped around just how differently one constructs a block when machine piecing as compared to hand piecing! But I did want to see how I’d do, and I’m happy enough with how it turned out. It will eventually be quilted and tucked away as it’s the perfect size for a baby quilt.

What do I love about blogging? The sheer inspiration that can be found on so many blogs by such extraordinarily talented quilters. And thanks to this week of Blogathon Canada, I’ve found some new-to-me blogs. Who could ask for more? Except maybe more time to stitch!

Now for the fun stuff. Here’s a list of some Ontario bloggers — and don’t forget there are lists of more Ontario bloggers to be found on Cara Quilts and Miss Print, the other two Ontario host blogs today, as well as more giveaways sponsored by Sew Sisters:

Bending Pins
Super Mom No Cape
Sew Maybe I Can
Krista Quilts
Liz’s Quilt Adventures
Aft Agley
Modern Aunties Quilts
Quilts by Joanne
Books and Quilts
Crazy Quilter on a Bike
Lindy’s Threads
Itch’n2Stitch
All About Inklingo
Patchwork Sanity – A Woman’s Piece of Mind
Applique ‘n Patch Quilting

As I’m firmly convinced no one can have too many batiks, the giveaway sponsored by Sew Sisters is of this luscious bundle of batik FQs. I’d love to win this one myself! All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is leave a comment. While I’d love it if you were to subscribe to my blog, either via a reader or by e-mail (see the subscribe by e-mail widget at the right), it is not necessary to get a chance to win. The winner will be drawn and announced on my blog Sunday. The giveaway is open to everyone, no matter where in the world you may be.

And there are yet more great giveaways still going on on most, if not all, the blogs that have hosted Blogathon Canada this week.  They are:

Sunday, November 18 Kick-off! Michele Quilting Gallery
Monday, November 19 BC Felicity Felicity Quilts
Monday, November 19 BC Cathy Blueberry Patch
Tuesday, November 20 NS Jeanette STAMP * STITCH * CREATE
Tuesday, November 20 NB Holly Through My Window
Wednesday, November 21 AB Shena Apple Pie Patchwork
Wednesday, November 21 SK Patti Retired to Quilt
Thursday, November 22 QC Marika Live, Laugh, Love… Sew
Thursday, November 22 MB Heather Church Avenue Quilts
Friday, November 23 YT Vivian Quilting Under the Midnight Sun
Friday, November 23 YT Janet Caribou Crossing Chronicles
Saturday, November 24 ON Cathi Quilt Obsession
Saturday, November 24 ON Cara Cara Quilts
Saturday, November 24 ON Kaye Miss Print

Baxter is ready for some fun visiting blogs today.

This is a shot from the summer of Baxter, but it is one of our favourites of him and shows why I love the view we have overlooking the roof garden.

A Walk Around the Block

To see some flowers around the block this time.  Flowers from the pathway up to the front entrance to the building.

Flowers at the store right across from the building.

I had hoped there’d be pictures of the flowers from the roof garden, but I guess the gardeners are sticking to the don’t plant before May 24th rule. I’m a bit surprised as we had gloriously warm weather throughout the entire long weekend and this week looks like it’s going to feel like July rather than May.

On the long weekend I got lots and lots of the New York Beauty pieces I had printed on fabric cut and ready to stitch, a few more of the Drunkard’s Path blocks stitched and spent a fair bit of time giving my blog a facelift. Which, if you’re reading this other than through a reader, you’ve probably already noticed. I love the new WordPress option of being able to see a true preview of how the various themes look with the blog header photo. It made switching themes fun this time.

Baxter knows how to relax but, even when having a snooze, always likes to know where his toys are. Mr. Q.O. captioned this one, “Choices, choices.”

I’m Seeing Circles

Some wonderfully soft pastel circles.

Some circles in richer, darker colours.

I had a box full of charm packs in various lines. A few years ago I appliquéd circle after circle after circle. And then they sat. And sat. I’ve had them out before, trying to decide just what to do with them and, having no ideas, have put them away again. Now I think I’ll just put them into two quilt tops of whatever size they end up. Perhaps they’ll turn into covers for a few stitching books.

I have spent the past few days working on — struggling with — tearing my hair out over some designs that I’m trying to turn into designs using EQ. The designs are completely thought out in my mind, I can draw sketches on paper in seconds, and I know the designs work. But translating them from my mind or sketches into EQ designs? Not something I’m finding at all intuitive. That said, I will get this figured out before the week is over but I’d much rather be playing with fabric as I sort out a design than sitting in front of a computer screen. My EQ manual is full of Post-it notes and highlighted passages.

Baxter seems to find it all a big bore and decided to have a snooze. Notice how he makes sure he has a pillow in just the right spot!

Floral Blocks

On the weekend, I was cleaning out a small container in which I found floss, needles and these appliqued and embroidered blocks. I barely remember making the blocks and have no idea how long they’ve been sitting in there.

They finish at 6″ and, as there are about 20 of them, I think I can make a small summer wall quilt with them by adding a floral border.

Stitching with Baxter is an adventure.  He has decided that helping is something he needs to do and so he bats at the fabric when I’m piecing. He loves to help Mr. Q.O. with his cryptic crosswords by batting at his pen. We both happily put down what we’re doing to play with him.

He’s growing and getting more adventurous every day. On Monday he started to talk more in the classic tiny Maine Coon meow and silent meows. I’ve noticed the past couple of days that his whiskers seem to be getting longer, which I think you can see in this picture.

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, Spring 2011

Amy's Creative Side
It’s that time of year again, when Amy at Amy’s Creative Side is hosting the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival.   There are all sorts of beautiful quilts entered — lots of eye candy and tons of inspiration.

I decided to show the first applique quilt I made.  It was all done by  hand — the piecing, applique and quilting.  Each plate has 20 blades, and looking at it now I realize that it has to be the scrappiest of the quilts I’ve made.  In it are some novelty prints, batiks, ’30s repros, checks, stripes and florals.

That was the first time I used a fusible batting and I remember the day I basted it — we vacuumed and vacuumed the living room carpet, laid out the backing, batting and the top and then out came the iron.  It seemed like it took next to no time and the quilt was ready to quilt.

There’s something about Dresden Plate variations that I always seem to have been drawn to.  Not only have I made this one, but also Ferris Wheel (which is about to be quilted), the new one I’ve started and showed yesterday and yet another which is in the planning stages.

Now I think I’ll spend a lot of time over the next few days looking at all the gorgeous quilts being shown.  This has to be the best way to go to a great quilt show — no travelling, no line ups, no trying to get a good view.  Just click on the links and you’re there.

Smudge continues to improve.  Here he was reaching for the toy basket in typical Smudge fashion.  He’s a very laid-back cat!

Batik Ovals

On the weekend I was going through projects.  This one has come out to be finished. It’s going to take a while as it’s all applique and I can only do a little applique at a time.  Found that out again on Saturday when I tried to do a bit too much, appliqueing about 6 of the ovals, and paid for it with hand pain the next day.  Now my plan is to applique a few each week and slowly finish them off.  What’s shown in the top photo is about a third of the total there will be when finished.

They finish at 3.75 by 5 inches and are all batiks and hand dyed fabrics.   The ones that are yet to be appliqued have been sitting in a box, already back-basted, for at least 2 or 3 years which will make the applique quick and easy.

Smudge was posing for the camera Monday night.

Works in Progress

There’s still a little hand piecing to do on the pink and cream quilt, but I am thinking now about what projects jump to the head of the queue once it and the baby quilt are finished.  Along with the Stormy Seas and Pickled Ladies quilts, the Summer Picnic Dish is definitely moving up the list.  A little more has been done since this photo was taken, but not a lot.

The POTC blocks definitely have to move up the list to be finished and the top put together.

I want to get this piece, which I’ve dubbed star of stars,  basted and quilted.  I know why it has languished this long — because I kept thinking I need to add to it and make it square or rectangular.  But I’ve decided to leave it in a star shape.

I’m going to arrange these applique blocks and get the top put together.

Of the above projects, the one that will take the longest is likely the Patchwork of the Crosses blocks.  On top of this I’m still working on getting to the point I feel confident using EQ6.

My plan for the weekend is to get the fabrics ready and printed for the Summer Picnic Dish as well as finally select the fabric for the 2″ squares used when connecting the POTC blocks and get it printed.

Smudge has a new habit.  When we empty the dishwasher in the morning, he likes to sit on the door.  I may have been a bit premature in thinking we were over the worst of this eating thing with him.  Wednesday he wasn’t interested in food again at all so we immediately went back to the syringe feeding.  I am very grateful he’s so accommodating about that process as I can only imagine how difficult it would be with many kitties.

We caught Lester in the midst of a huge yawn.  This photo makes me laugh.

Circle of Fractured Hearts

On Monday’s post, I showed a photo of one of the quarters of the applique I had done over the weekend.  Last night, I finally got up my courage and sat down at the sewing machine to stitch the four quarters together.  I was, as usual, practically breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of having to make sure my sewing was this precise, as my sewing machine skills are less than wonderful.  But, thanks to the fabulous lines that one can use as matching points, with a little careful pinning I was able to stitch the four quarters together and now have a circle of fractured hearts.   I didn’t have to frog stitch any of the seams!

The back shows just how perfectly the lines matched up.  I don’t know that I’d want to try this with anything other than the shapes printed with Inklingo, though — as I doubt I could trace anything with this kind of precision.  In fact, I wouldn’t even want to try.  But now that I’ve got this block under my belt, I think I’m going to try one of the Celtic applique designs that are available in this collection.

One of the things I really loved about this applique block was that I set the size. I could have printed a 4″ block, a 6″ block, a 8″ block but I chose to print the design in quarters and then have a larger block that finishes at 14.5″ but I didn’t have all that fabric bunched up in my hand while I appliqued.  That’s an added value for me, as my hand will begin to hurt very quickly if I’m having to hold a large piece of fabric.

I have an idea for the fall fabrics I showed a while back using Winding Ways blocks that’s begging to be made.  I’m trying to resist but it’s getting more and more difficult.  I have so many projects on the go and so many others in the ideas book that I’d like to finish at least one before starting this.  Whether I can continue to resist the siren call of those Winding Ways blocks remains to be seen!

Lester was curled up asleep on the couch, showing us the paw pads on one of his feet.

While Smudge had taken over my desk chair.