Monday, April 30, 2012

Some fabric came in the mail...

So I found a new online fabric store to try.  It is called Fishskin Fabrics and it is in Canada.  Even better, it is in British Columbia.  And they have a pretty nice selection of fabrics.  I needed some bits and pieces of Ruby for the quilt I am working on and they still had some in stock.  Fishskin will cut fat quarters from anything they have in stock and postage on fat quarters is free.  That is kind of cool if you are just ordering fat quarters.  Their shipping charges on yardage is very reasonable and their price per metre is also pretty good for Canada.  Win, win all round.

I was pretty happy to see that they had some Henna Garden by Sandi Henderson on sale too.  Now Henna Garden in leaf is pretty hard to find and I like it a lot.  I was worried that I would run out and then what?  They also had it in Raspberry.  Happiness.  Now I can continue to use and not hoard my supply.

The next great thing about Fishskin (and I am just saying this... no promotion here, just opinion), the fabric got to me in 4 days.  Happiness.  When I order from US online stores, it takes about 2 weeks because of the whole customs thing.  Just so you know, another Canadian option for those fabric nutters like me.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

On the Design Floor...

I seriously got cracking with this quilt.  The pattern is called Garden Trellis and is a free pattern on Lauren and Jessi Jung's website.  I am using Bonnie and Camille's Ruby... charm packs and fat quarters.  I have tweaked the pattern a tiny bit.  I am using 5" squares instead of 4.5" squares and I never like to waste fabric so rather than making all the blocks squares and then cutting them down to triangles, I made all the setting triangles with just 2 of the 5" squares.  I just cannot seem to bring myself to make all those blocks and then cut them away to make the quilt square.  After taking this picture, I moved squares around to balance out the red.  

It is coming together nice and quick.  The pattern is straightforward and simple which is a good thing since I am battling a whopper of a head cold.  Blech!  I have been infected by all those little germ gremlins at school!

And I was thinking that this would be a great pattern for a vintage sheet quilt!!!  Totally would be perfect!!!

Linking up with Judy's Design Wall Monday...  I am off to find more Kleenex!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday's Flea Market Finds...

It was a busy morning but I did manage to squeeze in a garage sale and a thrift store.  At the garage sale I picked up 6 Johnson Brothers Olde English side plates.  So awesome!  I have a platter in the same pattern.  These made me quite delightfully happy at $4 for the 6 plates.  I didn't quibble about the price because it turns out that I know the garage sale person.  The joys of garage sale shopping in a small town!

Then I popped into the local thrift store.  I have not been there in ages and just like a magnet, I went straight to this Johnson Brothers serving bowl in pink.  Eeek!  It was priced at an extremely low $2 and when I took it to the cash, I found it out that the thrift store had a customer appreciation sale and everything in the store was half price.  More inner squealing occurred.  It is in perfect condition!

Some lovely vintage doilies wandered out of Mum's linen cupboard and came to live at my house.  So pretty!  Thanks, Mum!

Linking up with Sophie's Flea Market Finds and with Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Granny Squares Quilt... Finish!

I finished my Grannies in the Breeze quilt just the other day.  I waffled a bit with the binding but am super happy I went with the turquoise gingham check print.  I just love it!  I hung it on a string for a bit on the grandmother nut tree behind the barn.  Then I hung it on the clothesline.  It was breezy again so I had to keep waiting for the quilt to come back to earth!

I straight line quilted on either side of each block.  I am a big fan of that kind of quilting.  Aurifil 50 wt in white.  Backed with a lovely vintage sheet, this is one pretty quilt. I love this block!  I will definitely make more grannies!  I think they make really lovely baby quilts too. And other than the white sashing and the binding, this is another scrap quilt.  This is the the third scrap quilt I have made this year and I still have overflowing scrap buckets.   Seriously!  What is the deal, people?????  Scraps breed like bunnies and hangers!

And with this finish, I fulfilled my Just Three for April.  Just saying.  But more on that later!

Linking up with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From the Rhubarb Patch...

We have pretty deep sinks and the sink is filled with the first big rhubarb harvest.  Husband says it is just the beginning.  This represents 33 pounds of rhubarb goodness.  It is really so exciting that this humble, old-fashioned plant comes up each spring.  It never asks for anything and yet, produces hundreds of pounds of food for us, our friends and family.  It is a wonderful thing.

Happy spring!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zen and the Art of Sewing Machine Maintenance

When I got my new sewing machine, I was determined to keep it in the very best of shape.  After spending a fair bit of money on sewing machine tune ups in the last few years, my "burning" question for the sewing machine store was around maintenance.  What did I need to do to keep my lovely Janome in peak running condition?  And I use my machine A LOT so I needed to treat it right.

With that said, this is what I know.  You need to have some tools.  Compressed air is one of those tools.  Being paranoid about wrecking things, I did ask if it is okay to use this on my machine.  It is okay.  Just so you know there are some safety tips you need to remember.  More on that later.  I also have my trusting sewing machine oil with the telescoping spout.  Kind of cool.  I also have handy, the little screw driver thingie that came with the machine to remove the needle plate and tighten the screws when done.  The little brush that comes with your machine is also important.

I was told to check out the lint accumulation and give a little drop of oil after every 8 hours of sewing machine time. I try to do this.  Have a look at what I saw after removing the needle plate the other day.  Big giant EWWWWWWWWWW!  The first photo shows the bobbin case still in place and the next photo shows with the bobbin case removed.  Look at all the fluff that gets under the bobbin case!!!!!  EEEK!  Trauma!

So I take my little brush and I brush as many of the clumps of fluff out of there as possible. The magical little brush acts as a fluff magnet so it does quite a good job.  After getting the fluff out, I then make sure I turn the machine off before using the compressed air.  I just think this is a good idea.

Safety tip:  Turn off machine before using compressed air.

Using the compressed air, blow out all remaining fluff.  I use it on the upper parts of the machine as well.  It works like a hot darn.  The can gets really cold as you use the compressed air.  I find that, well, cool!

Now look at the clean machine!  Wow!  Snazzy!  One last thing, using the sewing machine oil, place one tiny drop of oil on the centre spot under the bobbin case.  Right in that little donut on the "wick."  That is it, folks.  These are the keys to a smooth running sewing machine!  Put all your pieces back in, tighten screws and you are good to go!

And just so you know, all that fluff accumulated after quilting 2 quilts.  ERG!  One big, one little.  Just so you know.  Have a lovely evening!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday...

First up in design land, I needed to pick fabric for binding. After auditioning a great number of fabrics for my granny squares quilt, I settled on this gingham print.  I think it really works and I finally settled on the turquoise!  I think it adds a real pop to the quilt.  I love this quilt!

Then I was messing around with a bunch of half square triangles that came in a scrap bag at the stash swap at the FVMQG meeting.  In the true spirit of Earth Day, these little recycled HSTs are destined to be a pillow top.

Finally, I picked out a mess of Ruby, a little bit of Bliss and a length of Reunion white on red floral print from my stash for my next quilt project.  Such beautiful fabric!!!!  I am going to use a pattern from Lauren and Jessi Jung for this quilt.  I think it will be awesome!

And some flowers in the garden!  Linking up with Judy for Design Wall Monday!  Have a lovely evening!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day and a quilt finish...

I finished this baby quilt last evening.  This is, if I wanted to sound really professional, a commissioned project.  In reality, I made it for son's lovely girlfriend to give to a friend who is about to have a baby.  The request was for greens, yellows and monkeys.  The monkeys landed on the back in the form of some lovely brushed cotton.  I always forget how much fun it is to quilt a baby quilt!  At 33"ish by 44" ish, it took no time at all to quilt.  

No pattern to reference as I put this one together myself.  It evolved on the design wall until I was happy with it!

Look at how the quilt matches all the green and yellow in the yard today!  And the monkeys wanted a picture too.

It was a really lovely day today and the yard is popping with colour.  The leaves are still not quite open on the trees but we are so close!

I made a little tag with washing instructions and we are done!  And in the spirit of earth day and recycling... I backed my Granny Squares quilt with a vintage sheet!

Linking up with  Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How About Some Pie?

When we moved to our small farm a few years ago, we looked all over the place for the rhubarb.  We knew it had to be somewhere on the farm because our place was settled in the 1930s and every old farm has a rhubarb patch. Husband found it up the hill and did he ever find a lot of rhubarb!  It is amazing rhubarb.  The very best.  He picked the first rhubarb of the season yesterday and made a pie for me to take to my card ladies last evening.  My husband makes awesome pies. He doesn't use a recipe.  He just makes pie.  Never too sweet.  Perfectly delicious.  Pie.  Too bad blogs don't have smell-o-vision.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wedding blocks

Wedding blocks have started arriving in the mail.  Another block came in the mail just today.  These are blocks that are being made by friends and family of a bride to be.  I have been recruited to put the blocks together into a quilt that will be displayed at the wedding.  Actually my daughter offered me up for this as the bride is daughter's special someone's sister. That is complicated!  The bride chose the colours.  Her wedding colours.  I came up with a block that would not be too tricky for non-quilters and wrote a tutorial for quilting newbies.  So much fun!

Once all the blocks arrive, I  will trim them all to the same size, play with the layout and and start stitching them altogether.  I am strangely excited about the whole thing.

Spring has sprung at our house.  I walked around the farm with Husband this afternoon in the rain.  We checked out the rhubarb (almost ready to pick), the frog eggs at the pond, the baby white roses for our future rose hedge, the state of the flowers and the new fence posts along the road.  We are so lucky to have our own pocket of heaven!  I took a few pictures... including a bee in the flowers.  I told Husband it is a quilting bee.  He looked at me oddly.  Have a lovely evening!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Farmer's Wife Quilt: Part 2

When I got home today it was raining so quilt pictures would have to wait for another day.  I got on the torture cycle and was half way through when the sun came out.  I hopped off the bike to see that it was raining through the sunshine.  Drat.  Not only did I have to get back on the torture cycle but I still couldn't take the pictures I wanted.  After doing my time on the bike, the rain had stopped so Husband, the dog and I grabbed the quilt and pinned it up on the clothesline really quickly before the rain started again.

So here it is again.  In full glory on the clothesline.  The carport shots from yesterday just didn't do it justice but I so wanted to share!  We didn't pay any attention to right side up or not because it really doesn't have a right side up.  It's all good.  10 months of quilting work all bundled up and hung on the line.  It feels good.  Really good!

Linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday.  Full quilt details available on yesterday's post.

 Quilt stats in brief:
Started June 2011
Scraps only
90" x 90"
Quilted by me, straight lines, lots of them in Aurifil white 50 wt
my favourite backyard stump needed a photo today too!

Have a lovely evening!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Farmer's Wife is.... DONE!

My Farmer's Wife Quilt is finished!!!  I am so glad it is done.  I wanted to take some super gorgeous pictures of it outside after work today but it is POURING with rain.  Hopefully it will be nice tomorrow and I can take some proper pictures.  With Husband's help, I hung it up in the carport.  Oh, the things quilters will do!!!!  Standing on chairs, we strung up a string and clothespinned it up for a photo op.

This quilt has a total of 113 blocks, finishing at 90" square. All the blocks are made from scraps.  It is sashed and bordered with a pale yellow cotton.  I have bound the quilt with a small green feedsack print and I used the same for the small cornerstones.  I straight line quilted it between all the blocks and on either side of the seam lines between the blocks.  It looks pretty neat from the back too!  The back is an orange print that actually has little itty bitty quilt blocks on it.  I bought it about a year ago as a bolt end for quilt backs and I had enough for this beast.  I pieced the back with a strip of the binding fabric and one little extra block that was a bit too small for the front.  It was one of the first blocks I made and I was having a problem with scaling of the templates when printing.

I have to say that since last June, when I started this quilt, I have celebrated little blocks and been frustrated with others.  This was a ton of work but it looks GREAT!  And I am so happy it is done!  Better pictures as soon as the rain stops, I promise!

Linking up with Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday and with Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday!

Monday, April 16, 2012

How I Spent Sunday...

I spent yesterday at the sewing machine quilting my Farmer's Wife quilt.  I started at about 9 am and with a break for lunch at noon, a little bit of time on the baby quilt, and some time out for laundry, I finished the quilting by 4 pm.  All in a day's work and many bobbins later it was done. I debated what to do with the quilting but decided to straight line quilt on the sashing and a quarter inch on either side of the seam lines on each block.  Because the blocks are set on point, I was dealing with a lot of bulk when quilting because I was basically quilting on the diagonal the whole time.  My wonderful Janome Horizon handled the bulk of the 90" by 90" quilt just fine.  Last evening, I made and attached the binding so this evening, I will be hand finishing the binding.  Yippee!  I am almost there!!!  I might even be able to get a picture in time for Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story!!!!  Who knows!!!!!????

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Evolving Baby Quilt...

Okay, this is not a great picture but I wanted to talk about this baby quilt on the design wall.  I keep changing it.  I kept staring at it this past week and decided it was not making me totally happy.  So I added the green pin dots in between each little block and I started feeling better.  I stare at my design wall when I am on the torture cycle (a.k.a. stationary bike).  Today while on the bike, I could see all the blocks I need to move around and tweak to balance all the dots and stuff.  I also want to have all the trees standing upright.  I will fix that.  I guess the design wall is a good spot.  Double benefit.  Exercise and quilt tweaking.

On the exercise front, I also got an extreme upper body workout today because I quilted my Farmer's Wife quilt.  Yep.  I did.  90' square of quilt beast. I can feel the impact of all that pushing fabric in my shoulders.  Ack!   Just the binding and we can call it done!  I cannot wait!

Pretties in the garden!

Linking up on Monday over at Judy's for Design Wall Monday!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flea Market Finds after an exhausting day!

Today I spent the entire day at school for a giant fundraiser!  I am about ready to crawl into a heap and watch mindless television until bedtime but I do have some treasures to share from last weekend.  I also have some treasures that Mum brought along when she came to visit.

First off, some really great vintage sheets!  Woo hoo!

And this sweet little bowl.  It speaks to me of restaurant ware but I love it for it's straightforward simplicity.  It was a mere 50 cents.  Total treasure!

Mum's treasures are all bits and pieces of my Nanna's and Great-Gramma's.  Vintage recipe booklets to add to my collection of such items.  So cool.  Who doesn't need to have a vintage Betty Crocker Bisquick recipe booklet?

And a small catalogue from a nursery from the 1940s!  To think that it has survived in such great shape is a testament to my family's great pack ratty-ness!  And check out the Simplicity Pattern Preview from the 40s?  Oh my goodness, those nipped in waists are to die for!

Have a super lovely evening!  Hopefully I will find my sewing machine tomorrow and get some quality quilting in!

Linking up with Sophie's Flea Market Finds and Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday!