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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Slow and Easy Wins the Race


When summer rolls around,
there often isn't a lot of sewing time on the docket.
I know, for me, grabbing snippets of sewing time
has to satisfy that innate passion.

Sew a strip together here, pin blocks together there,
press those seams quickly before you head out the door;
and it amazes me how much I can accomplish.

First things first.
I finally finished my green Paper Lanterns quilt.


It was a very windy picture day,
so over the wood pile it went.
It blew off as soon as I snapped this picture,
so I didn't even attempt to photograph the back.
But it's cute!  You'll just have to believe me.

I chose to quilt it with white Aurifil 50 wt. thread
using the Serpentine Stitch and it was the perfect choice.
Thank you, Stephanie, of Loft Creations, for another fun pattern!!

When an elderly quilter in N. Tx went into an assisted care facility,
her fabrics were offered to her quilting guild.
There was so much fabric, it filled one stall of a two stall garage.
While I was visiting, I was invited to "shop"
and here is one result of that booty:


by Missouri Star Quilt Co.




 Except, I worked with an assortment of fat quarters,
scaled down the size of the blocks,
and ended up with a 40"x 50" top.
I used my walking foot and multicolored thread for the quilting.

It will be winging its way to Massachusetts on Monday
as a new baby (gender yet unknown) quilt 
for a very special young couple.

I will share one more thing, 
and then I'll save the rest for another post.
I think one of the reasons I'm getting a lot accomplished
even though I'm not marathon sewing,
is because I've made these trays for traveling 
from one station to another.


My sewing machine still lives in the kitchen
but my cutting station and the ironing board are in a different room.
I picked up a couple of plastic trays from the 
not-a-dollar-store-anymore,
and glued a layer of batting to the bottom.
It measures 10" x 14".
I can load them up and go from the cutting table,
to the sewing machine,
back to the ironing board,


and even into the living room
to work off my lap
while I watch a show in the evening!

Plus, they can be stacked on top of each other
even with projects laid out on them,
and tucked away when it's time to tidy up.

Okay, one more thing, since these blocks have shown up.
Here are some on my design wall.
already constructed.


I believe it was Adrienne of Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
that was destashing one summer,
and I was the lucky recipient of all her unwanted fabric.
The other day I was rifling through my fabrics,
which are still packed up for the winter,
and my hand pulled out this fabric that she must have used
to back a quilt.
There was enough leftover for me to construct 20 - 9" blocks.
With a coordinating border or two,
it should work up into a fun crib size quilt!
Quick, easy, cute, AND so far, free!

Had enough?
Okay, I won't tell you about cleaning the oven yesterday.
It was quite the experience.
I think I remember doing it before.
Once.

Hope you're doing well
and having as much quilty fun as me!

~karen




Friday, June 9, 2017

Secret Sewing Revealed


It is my delight and extreme pleasure 
to finally be able to reveal
the 2017 Atlantic Canada Row X Row Experience
designed by Linda Coolen Smith
in collaboration with Karen Chase,
the best little fabric shop in Halifax, NS.




I was very honored when Linda asked me to test her pattern
for her Halifax Row X Row On The Go,
"To and Fro".

I'm not the best pattern tester, 
because I usually just look at the picture,
refer to the cutting requirements,
and take off sewing without looking back.




I had to concentrate very hard 
to make sure I followed 
the very well written instructions 
to the letter.




These photos were all taken at the same place
at the same time.
Guess where you stand determines how saturated the colors are.
Just so you know, the blue is the same throughout!




Anyway, picture quality aside,
job well done, Linda and Karen!
I enjoyed paper piecing the smokestacks in Tufts Cove 
on the Dartmouth side of the Halifax Harbor,
and appliqueing the office towers at Purdy's Wharf.
The most fun was appliqueing the
(one of five)
and the accompanying seagulls.
Well, that, and machine quilting it!

You can visit 
the Atlantic Canada Row by Row Experience 
Facebook page to see more rows, if you'd like,
by clicking right HERE.
There's quite a variety!
It's always interesting to me to see how
each year's theme is interpreted!

Thanks for stopping by!
~Karen




Thursday, June 1, 2017

Adding a Little Color


Spring in the Atlantic Canadian Maritimes 
is often synonymous with 
relentless rain and lingering cold temperatures.
Even if the sun comes out, the winds are bitter cold. 

And June isn't getting off to a very good start.  
It can't last much longer!
Can it?

So, what do you do when it's windy, cold, 
and usually wet, day after day after day?

You work with the brightest, 
most colorful fabrics in your stash, of course!

Luckily, I had a fat quarter bundle 
of rich, brilliant Free Spirit Solids 
just screaming to be used, 
and a Preppy the Whale pattern calling my name!

I have been working with two colors at a time, 
and making four whales at a sitting.
This is only half of what I've accomplished so far.




I am chain piecing this project, 
and making a scrappy leader/ender quilt at the same time.  
I like to play the 'don't break the chain' game 
and see how long I can sew without starting over.

I'm also participating in Lori Kennedy's FMQ-a-long
over at The Inbox Jaunt.
I was fortunate to have a little box full of bonus HSTs 
leftover from another project to prep.
I need all the practice I can get!




This has been knee replacement week for The Ranger,
and I'm a little behind on my sewing,
so I guess I'd better 
get back to work!

Happy June!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More May is for Makers

There has been a lot of sewing going on in my house,
but not very many finishes!

Wish I could show you a picture of my new design wall!
But there is some 'secret sewing' on display,
so maybe next time.

I'm delighted to share with you
my only recent finish.
It's a new pattern released just today
by our very own,
Linda at Scrapmaster
and Karen of Sugar Free Quilts


My version:




I chose to reverse the 
center row of arrows,
    because I ... 
...well, because I just did.

I finally broke into my 
coveted box of  Cotton and Steel 2015 prints 
that I'd ordered 
from Craftsy awhile back.  
The gray print backing
is from Red Rooster.

I echoed around each arrow 
with a gray Auriful,
and kept it pretty simple. 





My daughter saw a picture of this on my design wall
and laid immediate claim to it before it was even completed,
so I guess it will be winging its way to TX soon.

May is for makers!
Check out this great pattern!
Support our designers!

Have a fantabulous day!
~karen


Monday, May 8, 2017

May is for Makers

Yay!  It's May!
Given the fact that time passes much too quickly, 
I'm not one to wish it away.
That said, I've never been so happy to see a month arrive!
It's been pretty cold up here, and I've had about enough!

Not to mention that May is for Makers!
I've completed two flimsiest just in time to share,
But let me apologize for the pictures up front.
The forecast for the week is dismal,
so there is no sense waiting.

Many of you know I'm a naturalist,
and when Barb of Bejeweled Quilts published this pattern,
I had to have it.
A day trip to Joshua, Texas to shop at Batiks Galore this winter,
a few days at my trusty old Kenmore,
 which, by the way, is parked in front of the wood stove,
And voila!




There isn't enough fabric left over to piece a backing,
but there's just enough to make a matching tote bag, 
so guess what's next on my list?

And while I'm in a blue mode,
I just had to make this charming wall hanging



I was pretty pressed for blue fabric, not being a blue person
and having very little in my stash,
but I managed to find two pieces that would work for a trial run.
The lighter blue is a poly blend (how did THAT get in there?)
and didn't play nicely, but I managed.
What color fabric do you lack in your stash?

I think it would be delightful if Allie could design a whole set!
I just love the font she chose! Not only is it pleasing to the eye, it was fun and easy to applique.

Whenever I machine applique, whatever stitch I choose to use,
I always take the time to pull my beginning and ending threads
through to the back and tie them off.
It gives a nice, smooth finish on the front.

Today, my plan is to quilt these up on the Janome.

I hope you'll take a minute to visit these two ladies
to see what other beauties they've designed!

Enjoy your day,
whatever your weather!

A big hello to Fran!
Hope you're staying warm, dry, and safe!

XO,
karen

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dressing Up Granny

How often we read about quilters finding inspiration everywhere, from nature to bridges, floor tiles to ceiling tiles, even fruit and vegetable displays at the grocery store.  And that's true for me, too, and I snap all kinds of pictures, but never do anything with them.

Well, the other week, I was at a local drug store, and in walked an elderly lady, dressed to the nines in skinny black jeans and coordinated accessories.  But, what stood out the most was the shocking pink swatch of hair at her left temple!  I watched her move about the store and she was a real pistol, and I thought, "Why NOT dress up granny?"

So, I came home and I did!  

I love making Granny Squares, 
as evidenced by this picture of my 
scrappy leader-ender project from over the winter.


Here are the first two grannies I came up with.


I decided I would keep the consistency of the white line throughout all my blocks.

The next one is ready to sew up,
which I will do leader-ender style while I work on another WIP.


I'm having fun trying to think of creative ways to 'Dress Up Granny'
and look forward to working on these,
one block at a time,
as the spirit moves me,
over the summer.

I have no idea where it will go from here
or how long it will take!

Happy Quilting!
XO,
Karen


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

One Monthly Goal March Finish


It's time for


And I did finish my green paper lanterns flimsy.
However, I packed it into my luggage before photographing it.
Sorry about that!
But I'm on the road, now, so it isn't going to happen.

Before leaving TX, I made a Diaper Clutch from a tutorial at LemonSqueezyHome. I've made several of these because my sweet friend in Houston asked for one when she had her first child 7 years ago, and she STILL uses it. Whenever she needs a shower gift, she asks for another.  Her husband told me that it's all he brings when he has the babies out.  I surmise that carrying a diaper bag isn't always the manly thing to do!


There's little that frustrates me more than turning a project right side out, then having to try to manipulate a mere quarter inch to fold under and finish.

I thought I'd share my trick, which is easy enough to do, and produces crisp, clean finishes with that professional look.

First, I measure out an extra quarter inch in the seam allowance to be turned, giving me a 1/2" seam allowance.

Next, I pre-press it, but open it back up and pin it as I would normally do.

Then, I just stitch around my project, whatever it might be, and turn it right side out like always.

Finally, I am able to fold in the seam allowance neatly and accurately to close up my hole.  It comes out perfect every time!

You may also notice that the bottom corners are rounded.  Rather than clip those curves, I take the pinking shears to them.  Makes a nice smooth corner!




Just prior to heading north, we visited our Houston friend and had a wonderful time, especially with the kids, including a very cold visit to the Houston Zoo.


The baby loved his pillow case.


The 4 year old wanted to try her hand at crochet!


And the 7 year old wanted to 'learn to knit'!
She finished a hat before we left!

Be sure to visit Patty
to see everyone else's monthly accomplishments!
Let's make this linky party
a real party!
I know each participant will appreciate your visit,
and it's a great opportunity to meet someone new!

Enjoy your day!
I won't complain about going from 80+ degrees
to only 39!

XO,
Karen




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Counting Down


Eight days and counting,


before I head back to the northeast coast.

Progress is being made in my sewing room,
despite all of life's distractions.


Here's a quick pic of my design wall
(I'll never live without one again!).

My green Paper Lanterns quilt is just about all sewn together.
Just a couple more rows to sew to meet my one monthly goal.

While I was constructing those hearts blocks,
I kept thinking about how nicely they would play with one of 
Loft Creations' recent pattern releases,

Paper Dolls


Even though I don't have the time to make the quilt,
I did take the time to try the paper doll block.
TOO much fun!
I will definitely be revisiting this pattern again, 
and soon!

Click the picture to enlarge

Some of you may recognize the fabrics?
Circa late 1970s.
When Crafty Daughter was just a toddler,
I made her little sun dresses using this whole line.
(Yes, the scraps are still in my stash.)

*

When I am pinning pieced blocks or rows together,
I have a simple process I always use
that I thought I'd share today.

First, I pin at the beginning and at the end.

Next, I sweep back across and nestle all the matching seam allowances.

Then, I travel across one more time and secure all of the 
seam allowances that lay in the opposite direction than I'm sewing.
This gives me the opportunity to ease in any extra fabric
without compromising my corners.

Finally, I stitch it all together!

I'll bet a lot of you approach it in a similar way. 

*
Well, here's hoping it won't be too, too cold
in Massachusetts and Maine after next week.  It will be difficult enough
to be away from a sewing machine for a few weeks,
but to be c-c-c-c-cold, too?
Ouch!

Enjoy your day!
Thanks for popping in for a visit!

XO,
Karen

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Secret Life


As my green Paper Lantern pile grows,


my secret sewing is closer to being finished.
I look forward to replacing one for the other on the design wall.
I only have ten three more lanterns to make!

I fly back to the east coast in just a few short weeks,
and I'd like to be packing a finished flimsy
instead of a baggie full of partially finished blocks.
So why not link up to 


this month?

As I've been attaching lantern tops and bottoms,
I am reminded that I finger press,
a lot,
when I am pressing seams with the iron,
especially when there is bulk.
It makes a big difference.
I know, I know, it also slows down the process,
but the process is the best part!

I've been stitching up some smaller gifties, too.



I never got beyond these first two blocks during a past QAL,
despite my best intentions,
so two little totes for two sweet little girls,


pillowcases for my three Houston kids,


and necktie onesies for my
Houston kids' new baby boy cousin!

With a forecast of 100% chance of rain for the entire weekend,
it's back to the sewing machine for me!
My blogging break is over.

But, before I go,
I had to share this picture.


I made Crafty Daughter a pillow to match her quilt.
And when she's not looking.........
.....The Secret Life of Pets?

Hope you have a quilty day,
no matter how large or small your project,
no matter your weather!

XO,
Karen








Monday, February 27, 2017

New Pattern, New DrEAMi! Project


You know that charm pack you couldn't resist purchasing,
but you only bought one,
because you didn't have 'a plan',
and it was an impulse buy?

And it sits on the shelf looking pretty,
but you don't know what to do with it,
because you only have one?

Or maybe you won it in a give away?
Received it as a gift?

Well, let me tell you,
Stephanie @ Loft Creations,
has just published the most adorable pattern,


Paper Lanterns


and you're going to want to make it!
As a matter of fact,
I'd be surprised if you can resist!

My initial intentions were to collect the needed fabrics 
and pack them, along with the pattern,
in my luggage,
to make when I get back to Cape Breton,
because I already have my projects lined up to work on.

Well, I took my morning stroll yesterday,
which led me right to to Joann's,
just in case they might have what I need 
to augment what I already have,
so I can start stitching up this sweet quilt
right away!




They didn't have a lot to offer,
but I found this all green charm pack
and I didn't want to wait!
I wanted to start to make it immediately.
Not too exciting, but I think it will finish up ok.

I had to take some 'secret sewing'
for the NSQBQ's* 3rd annual challenge
off of the design wall to take this pic,
but it's going right back up!
You'll have to wait until springtime to see.
Sorry.  But something tells me,
it will be worth the wait.

Since this project jumped to the head of the line
in only the blink of an eye,
I think it's the perfect post for


mmm! quilts' DrEAMi! Linky Party


*What is the NSQBQ, you ask?
Four Nova Scotia quilters who get together a few times every year
to attend quilt shows and what not.





Linda @ Scrapmaster
Sheila @ Sheila's Quilt World and
Lesley, The Cuddle Quilter,
as well as myself, comprise the group.
After finding each other online,
we've been gathering for maybe about 5 years?
For this challenge, we have been doing a round robin!
It certainly has been a challenge, too.
But a fun one!


Enjoy your day!
XO,
Karen


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Double the Pleasure


Blogging has taken a backseat  
since arriving in TX for the winter.
There has been a lot going on in Blogland,
and I have to admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed.
It overcomes me every so often,
 as I'd like to be able to make everything I see,
But I know I can't.
So, I plug along and do my own thing.
And the sewing machine has been humming!

Almost as soon as I arrived,
Crafty Daughter asked for Twins' Quilts for her first college roomie.
Twins at age 40; I can't imagine!
But being her first successful pregnancy,
we wanted to make it special for her.

We had lots of fun working together to plan and make
these quilts.  Sewing for my daughter is one of my many delights.





The little word 'lamb' is part of her last name,
and will be the theme of the nursery.








Grey, white, and beige comprise her color scheme.
Can you tell that the little lamb in the lower picture is purple?
I think it's hard to tell. 







I used a darker gray solid,
a lighter gray pin dot,
and white for the gingham look.
The sheep's heads and legs
are leftover batting.
What fun it was
to make these quilts!
They finished up
at 40" x 50".






Sadly, the baby shower that was to be held this weekend
was cancelled, as the little mother had to be
hospitalized for high blood pressure.
The doctors are hoping she can hang in there
for 3 or 4 more weeks.

~

Recently, I had the pleasure of quilting alongside an old friend.
We worked on her scrappy blocks, so I prepped, and she sewed.
She was a little miffed at how much I used pins,
declaring that I've been doing this for so long,
why do I need to?
This sparked quite a conversation about:

talent vs. skill,
patience vs. speed,
developing good habits vs. making do,
and having focus,
as well as an understanding of good practices.

Not all fabrics are the same.
They don't all play well together
without proper preparation and consideration of the next step.
There is so much to pay attention to
from how you press and handle your fabrics,
to being sure to square up as you go along.
Pinning is somewhere in the middle!

What one good habit would you encourage?

Enjoy your day!
XO,
Karen

Friday, January 13, 2017

Shopping Joann's? BEWARE!


First of all,
Happy 2017 from Texas!
I just know it's going to be a banner year 
for everyone!

I haven't been very motivated to blog of late,
until today's shopping trip to Joann's.
I guess this post is mostly for my US quilty friends.




I don't purchase fabric from Joann's,
but I do avail myself of their multiple coupons
to stock up on essential items throughout the winter
to bring back to the island with me,
like thread, sewing machine needles, rotary blades...
you get the picture.

This morning, I walked up there armed with three coupons and a list.
(Yes, I walked.  It's less than a mile away.  
Sometimes that's good, sometimes not so much!)
One coupon was for 50% off my total purchase 
of items on the Notions Wall.
The other two coupons were 50% off one regularly priced item.

I shopped the Notions Wall - one coupon,
then picked up two more items 
from a different department - the other two coupons.
Check.
Pretty simple, you'd think.

Wrong!

Even though I thought I'd already learned my lesson 
and presented the Notions Wall coupon first,
the cash register still used 50% off one regularly priced item
on two of the Notions Wall items,
charged me full price for the two regularly priced 
non-Notions Wall purchases,
then gave me the overall 50% off 
of the remaining Notions Wall items.

Confusing?
Bottom line #1, I still paid full price for the 2 non-Notion Wall items
that I had two 50% off coupons for.

The customer has to make two separate transactions
at the cash register in order for the coupons to work out right.

Bottom line #2, ALWAYS check your receipt before you leave Joann's.
That's not the only sleazy trick they pull.

Okay.
I feel better now.
Thanks for listening.

(I'm still thankful for the coupons!)