Monday, 19 March 2018

Finding Joy in Colour

     I find I have had little time or energy for quilting lately.  I've come through a fairly busy time and I'm starting to wonder if this is how it will continue to be. We have also all been walking around with a virus we can't seem to shake.  I'm longing for Spring and some warmer weather, although I am grateful for the sunshine we have been having. I have made some slow progress on Postcard from Sweden.

     It's looking very beautiful don't you think?  It's an interesting process working on this quilt, a kind of paint by numbers approach which requires a great deal of concentration.  I'm not fussing too much about points as I'm sure no one will notice in all this colour.
     Working with all this colour is such a wonderful thing.  I find that each time I get to introduce a new colour I feel a burst of joy.  Seeing how colour and fabric play together is what feeds my quilting energy.  Oh, and I've started to warm up to Peach.

     This photo gives you an idea of my process. I make four blocks then pin them on the design wall in correct order.  I repeat that for the whole row, making three sections.  I repeat this for the next row.  Then I sew the two rows of section one together, followed by the two rows of section two. 

   I sew these three sections together then move on. I don't mark.  I do it all visually referencing the finished quilt.   It's interesting seeing how we all do this differently.  My way is working out o.k. so far, but it might get more complicated as I get further down the quilt.

     I'm hoping to get a little more progress done before the next link up, but I'm going on a small quilt retreat next weekend and this is not the kind of project I want to bring along.  I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday and with the Postcard from Sweden linkup as well.


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

OMG for March

     I managed to finish fairly substantial goals for both January and February so you would think I would go for another big one, but I've decided to go smaller this month.  At the end of February I was beginning to feel a bit stressed about being able to keep up with my quilt alongs. I eased up a bit on the self pressure and all is good, but I know I am going to be quite busy this month so I want to keep it easy.
  One thing I will be finishing this month is my postcard for the postcard exchange hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts. Here's evidence that I have started.  Actually I've got the top of the postcard done so I just have to quilt it and then pop it in the mail.

     But this isn't my goal.  My goal for March is to catch up with the Quilters Planner quilt along.  I'm working on the on point version so I should have four blocks finished by now.  I decided to double up on the same blocks as Cheryl did in the original quilt mostly so I don't have to think about it.  I have one block finished for January, and this is as far as I've gotten with one block for February.

     So I have to make 4 blocks in total to catch up.  Two February and one for January, and then the March block. This  isn't a lot but I have to fit them in around working on Postcard from Sweden and getting things done for my guild's next Bee Day, Block of the Month etc.  Getting caught up with this quilt along will make me feel really happy , so it's my goal.  I'm linking up with Patty of Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal linkup.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

A Finish and PostCard from Sweden Update

     Last week I managed to finish this.

     It's a 12 l/2" mini quilt that I made for my co worker Erin.  The committee that organizes these kinds of things at my work was a little bit late in letting us know about our secret Valentine this year so that's why you are seeing a heart now.
It took me some time to settle on what to make her.  You see Erin is an master seamstress.  She taught herself how to sew from tutorials on the internet and she has made herself jeans and a all season coat.  For her secret valentine she made a dog coat.  So the pressure was on to make something good.
     I knew the colours she likes and I knew that she didn't like cutesy so when I saw the mini quilt designs on Carole Lyles Shaw's blog I figured it would be perfect, and it was.  She absolutely loved it , and she is going to hang it in her sewing room.

     I've also been working with these beautiful fabrics.  I'm playing along with Sandra of MMMQuilts and Helen of Midget Gem Quilts who are hosting a Postcard from Sweden QAL.  I ordered a kit of the Kona fat quarters from Mad About Patchwork.  So far the most exciting thing about this quilt along is getting to see 36 luscious Kona cotton colours up close and personal.  I have a colour card but it's not the same thing.  I'm really loving some of these colours.  The colour which had the most triangles in the quilt , peach is my least favourite colour, but I am thinking it is probably a colour which helps other colours to shine. Some of my favourite colours, Azalea, Breakers , Water and Capri, have the smallest number of Triangles.  I guess they will pop in the quilt.

     This is my system.  So far I've cut all the squares (I'm making the smaller size).  My plan is to cut the triangles as I need them and to construct the quilt by making the blocks for one row at a time and then construct that row. Thanks Louise for that tip. I have to move things around in my sewing room so much between my own projects and guild projects.  I think this approach is the only one in which I can keep my sanity.
I'm linking up with the PostCard from Sweden linkup and with Main Crush Monday, hosted by Beth from Cooking Up Quilts, but before I go I'll announce that the winner of my 4th Blogversary Give Away was Gayle of Pedal so Lightly.  I'll get your prize in the mail, within the week Gayle!

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

February Goal Is Finished

     I finished my February OMG on Saturday but it took a while to get the post finished.  It was difficult to get good photos.  It was either too cloudy or too windy or too sunny. 

      It's my first finish for the First Quarter of the 2018 Finish Along (you can find my original  list here.  I managed to finish the quilt  as many  quilting friends were enjoying themselves at Quilt Con in Pasadena. This was fitting as this simple little quilt had it's origins at Quilt Con, last year in Savannah.
     My friend Laura from the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild won this pack of charm squares and she felt she wouldn't use them as they weren't her style.  I offered to take them to make a donation quilt.  It only took me a whole year to get it finished.

    I opted to stitch the charms together into a couple of blocks and surround them with negative space.  These charm squares are so happy and I thought they looked really good sitting side by side.

      I had a lot of fun with the quilting which is done with the walking foot.  I quilted intersecting straight lines through the charms creating a starry look.  I picked up this method of quilting at the Jacquie Gering workshop I went to last summer.  I then quilted straight lines in the rest of the quilt.  I had a lot of fun changing the direction of the quilting and figured out what I wanted to do with the quilting as I went.   

     I'm linking up my finish with the OMG linkup at Elm Street Quilts and I'll link up with the FAL linkup later in March, but I'll leave you with this last picture where the wind turned my quilt into a flying carpet!  I'm also linking up with TGIFF which is hosted at What A Hoot Quilts this week.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

It's my Blogversary More or Less

     I was reading Anja's blog post about her 4th year blog anniversary and I realized it was my 4th year blog anniversary as well!  So both Anja and I started blogging in February, four years ago, although we didn't meet each other until the New Bloggers blog hop in 2015.  Carrie also started her blog in February, but 2 years ago.   I think there must be something about the middle of winter that makes people feel the need to reach out.

      Half the time I forget about my blog anniversary.  Probably because I'm usually sick in February.  But this year I remembered thanks to Anja and Carrie and I've decided to celebrate by having a give away. Come to think of it Anja won the first give away I had.  I've chosen 8 fat quarters from my stash that I will send to one reader. They could go together in one project but of course they don't have to. You don't have to be a follower of my blog to enter the give away but I would appreciate it if you did follow. I'll choose a winner next week on Friday.  It will be March then, but that's o.k.

     I'll put the names in a hat and pick a winner that way.  Good luck.

I had said I would have a Friday finish to post about today and I got really really close but not quite done and of course I'm hoping for some more sunny weather so I can get some good photos.  So it will have to wait for next week.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Some Hand Work to Share

     Monday was the Family Day Holiday in Ontario.  I decided to take a weeks vacation around this holiday and Dwight decided to take a few days as well.  We went up to the Collingwood area and stayed in a Bed and Breakfast.  Part of our Plan was to go to the Scandinave Spa.  It's an outdoor spa in the Blue Mountains which has hot pools and cold pools along with a dry sauna and steam room.  We have gone to this spa in the winter before and really enjoyed it.

      It was great to get away but things didn't go exactly as we had planned.  Dwight came down with a cold so we spent a little more time in the B&B than we would normally have.  We planned to visit the spa on Tuesday after the long weekend, but found out it was due to rain on Tuesday.  The spa is great if it's snowing but we didn't think we would enjoy ourselves  in cold winter rain.  We attempted to go on Sunday but we found out that on the Sunday and Monday of a long weekend you have to line up  half an hour before the spa opens to get a booking for the day.
     So we didn't go to the spa.  We did go for a walk in the woods and we did go to a winery and a cidery (and came home with lots of goodies) . We also ate some great meals.
I brought along my E.P.P. project which I haven't worked on in months.  I've decided to start putting the stars together as I make them.  I'm liking this method of constructing the quilt top as I go.  This way I can reuse the paper pieces.  I also used silk thread for the first time on this project.  I'm not sure where or when I purchased the silk thread, but I think it was when I was working on needle turn applique.   It's a great thread to use for E.P.P.  It's pretty much invisible.  It does take getting used to though as it is slippery and likes to slide out of the needle.

     We came home yesterday and I spent part of today finishing the quilting for my One Monthly Goal.  I'll share it on Friday once I get the binding on.  I have continued to meditate daily and today I increased my time to 15minutes, although I found it difficult to focus on my breath as my thoughts were all over the place.  

     My plans for the rest of my week off are to do lots more quilting and to babysit the grandkids on Friday.  What are you up to this week?

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Goals and Meditation

     As we move through the year many of us are taking another look at the goals we set for ourselves and are working on implementing them.  Kim of Leland Avenue Studio wrote a post about her goal to meditate. She has found meditation really helps her creativity.  If you don't know Kim's blog it is worth checking out. She writes really thoughtful posts on the creative process.  She also makes beautiful and creative quilts.

     Anyhow Kim's post reminded me that I have wanted to write a post about goals, and some habits that I have found to help me meet my goals.  As it happens Meditation is one of the things I find helpful.

      I have practised meditation off and on for many years. I think my son who is 27 now was about 10 when I started. I have a memory of him plonking down beside me and trying it out for himself.  I am lucky to have a really good meditation leader in my city.  He follows a Tibetan Buddhist practice but the groups he leads are usually non denominational.  Years ago when I started a meditating his advice was to set aside 20 minutes a day.  His goal is to help as many people as he can to use meditation for stress relief and he now suggests aiming for 5 minutes a day.   The repetition is the important thing not the length of time. When we meet as a group we meditate for 20 minutes. 
  I'm finding that 5 minutes is not quite enough for me so for now I am aiming for 10 minutes a day.  Meditation helps to calm me down and helps me to deal with the stresses of my day. That in turn frees my heart and imagination  to work on other things that I love.  It also helps me to be brave and to take risks.

     The other daily practices I have found to be useful came from this article here written by Neil Pasricha. He suggests starting each morning by letting go of something negative, by noting something you are grateful for, and by focussing on three attainable goals for the day. You write all of these down in a journal.  I use my Quilters Planner. It takes a couple of minutes to do this.  I find that like meditation, these practices help me to clear my mind and move forward.  I don't use them all the time but when I do I am able to accomplish so much more and move towards my bigger goals.

   I started my day with a 10 minute meditation session followed by the journal exercises. It has been hard for me to sit down and get to this task. My cold/flu has left me feeling a bit fragile and I have had an incident with a friend on my mind. I found that the meditation and excercises helped me to focus and I managed to start working on my February Goal of finishing the quilting on this quilt.   But before I could do this I had to do this.

     I cleared and cleaned my sewing table to help the task go more smoothly.  I worked on my quilting in the evening as well and I am feeling like I just might be able to accomplish this goal this month.

     For the next while I will be joining Kim in working on meditating every day. What do you do to help you meet your goals?