Monday, September 30, 2013

It's time to link up your Q3 Finish-A-Long Finishes.

she can quilt

It's the end of Q3 of the Finish-A-Long, can you believe it? I have two finishes this quarter out of the six projects on my list (my original Q3 list is here):

1. Octagonal Orb quilt for Siblings Together: Done and donated. Ta Da post is here.

Octagonal Orb, ready to gift

2. Grannie square quilt - Done and in use, this is my quilt for cuddling, reading, naps, etc. Ta Da post is here.

Granny Squares - Done

So two out of six is not bad, and I am going to have to put some thought into my Q4 list so that I can finish the year on a high note.

Now it is time for you to link up your Q3 finishes. Remember that each finish is an entry into the randomly chosen draws for the prizes from our wonderful Q3 sponsors.

Here are some answers to your questions (the rules are also here):

How do I link up my finishes? Do I need one link for each finish?
  • Please link one blog post or flickr picture for each finished item that you had listed on your Q3 FAL list which you linked up in July. You can link older blog posts or do new ones, as you like. In one or all of the posts or pictures you link up, please include a link to the Q3 list you linked up in July so I can check your entries.
  • Feel free to do a post about how you did this quarter and link it for one of your finishes and then link up the rest of your finishes separately. Don't add an extra link just for the wrap up post please.
  • Please visit some or all of the other links and leave comments, everyone likes comments.

Is there a penalty for not finishing something on my list?
  • No, but please join us for Q4.

Do things I finish in the first week of October count?
  • Yes, anything from your Q3 list that is linked by October 7 counts.

What if I have no Q3 finishes?
  • Leave a comment on this post, post about it on your blog or in the flickr group, but don't link up.
  • Join us for Q4 - put those projects on your Q4 list and let's get them done.

What is the schedule?
  • October 1 - 7 - Q3 tutorials will run on this blog.
  • October 7 -     the Q3 post quarter link up closes at midnight, MST.
  • October 8 -     The Q4 pre-quarter link up opens - please post your Q4 list.
  • October 15 -    The Q4 pre-quarter link closes at midnight, MST.  
  • January 1 -      The Q4 post-quarter link opens.
  • January 8 -     The Q4 post quarter link closes.
  • January 9 -     The 2014 Finish - A - Long begins, with a great new host! (I'll tell you who soon.)
she can quilt

The Q3 post quarter link is open until midnight MST October 7 - don't be late. You must link your finishes by then for them to count in the draw for the wonderful prizes from our generous and wonderful sponsors - each separately linked finish is one entry in the random draws. If you are trying to squeeze one last finish in you can link the rest of your finishes now and that last one at the 11th hour - just saying.

I can't wait to see how many beautiful projects you have finished and gotten out of your sewing rooms this quarter. Oh, and you can start getting together your Q4 lists. Don't forget, we have great tutorials coming this week, in between the link ups - it is going to be a fun.

If you have any questions, or get stuck linking up, let me know and I will help you out. You can leave a comment or email me at shecanquilt [at] gmail [dot] com.



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cycles 2 - in progress

Cycles 2 - basting

Friday night and yesterday my cold/flu was back in some force so I stayed home from Sew Day with the EMQG. But in between naps and tea, I started cutting and making more circles. By last night, I was well along the way in my second planned selfish sewing project, a variation on my Cycles quilt. There it is during basting, just before I added the pins.

Cycles 2 - basting

I think the picture above is actually how it would hang on a wall, if you were hanging it. It is about 39" x 43", I did not want a square and I might trim the background once it is quilted. Oh and the pictures were after dark so the colours are close but not quite right. The fabrics are Kona solids and Essex linen, with the background being linen too.

Cycles 2 - quilting detail

I decided on more matchstick quilting, I love the effect. This is where I stopped last night, about 4" are quilted and I counted 40 lines done - and two bobbins worth of this 40 wt. Sulky variegated thread. The lines are purposely not even and a little wobbly, and I have to say it would be much easier to aim to get them even. However, I favour the modern industrial style of this.

Cycles 2 - back, quilting detail

I put a piece of Kona white on the back, it was handy. I debated a print but thought the better of it, I expect that this is a wall piece and no need to give up over a yard of anything pretty. I am pretty sure that I will have many moments of regret at this dense quilting but I expect that the ultimate effect will be striking. Oh and I set my stitch length to 4.

Cycles 2 - quilting in progress

Here is a photo from this morning, the colours are better but it is gray and raining here so the light inside is still not great. I pinned this more than I often pin and you can see how the dense quilting draws in the fabric and makes the wrinkles in the unquilted part. As I move the quilt in the machine, I use my hands to pull the upcoming part - top, batting and back - tight and wrinkle free, thus avoiding puckers and such in the quilted part. I can get a nice rhythm but it is not sewing at breakneck speed. I expect several more hours of this, I might have to find an audio book to listen to.

Making circles

Here are some of the circles, actually some of the better ones I now see.  They are not perfectly joined, I focused on having the centre seam as perfect as I could because that is where I think your eye is actually drawn. The imperfections will disappear in the quilting. The other thing I did was made the "L" shape background piece wider on both sides and then after making the DP (quarter circle) unit I trimmed them down. The quarter circles are 4" unfinished and so the circles finish with about a 6.75" diameter.

she can quilt

Tomorrow the link to link up your Q3 Finish - A - Long finishes opens, and you will have a week to get them up. And you can start thinking of your Q4 list, the things you hope to finish before years end. The link for the Q4 lists will open on October 8.

Enjoy your Sunday, I am going to be stitching lines I think.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday - a WIP update

My Pickle Dish Quilt so far

I am going to miss the Wednesday WIP report next week as the FAL tutorial week will be running, so I thought I should do a quick update today. I have returned to the Pickle Dish Quilt, and I have now finished 178 of the 200 dish units. The end is in sight for them, but there are a lot of edges to piece and blocks to put together and centres to add. You will see more of this project over the next few months I expect.

My new sweater project

Yesterday I stayed home and slept a lot - the cold is retreating. In between, I swatched this lovely yarn - Acadia from The Fibre Company - and I have started Cria, which is a pretty sweater in Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague. I have one of my two selfish sewing week projects started - even if it is knitting and not sewing.

Finished from last week's list:
  • I found a much better pattern and made Krista a much better hat. Pictures to come soon.
  • I finished recovering my ironing board cover (go here to see it, what a big improvement).
  • The pickle dishes are being made.
  • The end of Q3 of the FAL and the start of Q4 is organized and ready to roll.

Carrying forward from last week:
  • Placemats - high priority
  • Emerald chain quilt -  it is on my FAL list so it needs to be done now.
  • City Sampler -  I need to either start this or set it aside.
  • Finish the Nordika Giant Plus  and make a Giant Plus free pattern/tutorial.
  • Variation on Cycles (it is in my head, I doubt I can wait that long to make it)
  • Always Bee Learning blocks - fabric arrived yesterday
  • Mail to Di and to Shanna and Becky - This one is a priority, I cannot believe how easy it is for me to put off going to the post office.

It is sew day for my Modern Quilt Guild on Saturday, maybe I should take some of these projects along to do.

           WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I will link to Lee at Freshly Pieced and The Needle and Thread Network, see you there.


p.s. Amazon links are part of the affiliate program.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pedal to the Metal - Q3 of the FAL is closing soon!

she can quilt

It's time to remind you that Q3 of the Finish - A - Long is drawing to a close. You still have plenty of time for a last finish or two, but it would now be time to get on with it.  Here is the end of Q3 schedule:

  • September 30 - The link to post your Q3 finishes opens
  • September 30 - October 7 - bonus week for very last minute finishes
  • October 7 -  The link to post your Q3 finishes closes at midnight MST. 

We have a great set of excellent tutorials from talented quilters set up to enjoy during our bonus week:

In case you need any added incentives to encourage you to get your Q3 finishes done, remember that each qualifying finish is an entry into the random draw for the Q3 prizes from our wonderful sponsors. Please remember to support these excellent shops and feel free to thank them for their FAL sponsorship when you visit them. They are:  

Quilter in The Gap
Surprise Package from Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap

£25 Gift Certificate from Tikki London

Texty Fabric Bundle from Sew me a Song

So, what are you waiting for - finishing a project to get it out the door of your sewing room and to qualify for such great prizes might also be viewed as selfish sewing. By the way, I have 2 of the 6 projects on my Q3 list done, so I will not have a total bust this quarter like I had in Q2.  I am going to see if I can manage some more too.

I can't wait to see all your finishes.



Monday, September 23, 2013

I am often selfish about sewing

Rachel from imagine gnats and Jill from Made with Moxie have declared this week selfish sewing week. This concept intrigues me, as I consider all of my sewing rather selfish. It is time spent doing just what I want to do. And I often make things for me - I even have two different king size quilts for my own bed.

But I like the concept of focusing on making exactly what you want to make for you, not something that is expected or that you promised or that you are somehow otherwise obliged to be working on.


Since I cannot imagine a post without a picture, there is my recovered ironing board. I did it last week, another selfish project. The only person who irons here is me, and I love seeing this bright Echino cheater print on the board. I should have done it ages ago.

People are making lists and lists seem to be working for me right now. I am going to make a tiny list - it is, after all, just one week - just two things:

1. I am going to start an improv or Cycles inspired quilt for me, aiming for 45 - 60" square. Just for fun, not for anything else. Maybe I will finish it this week or maybe not.

2. I am going to pick a knitting pattern, maybe a shawl or scarf or sweater, and start a new knitting project. I am not sure if it will be big or small, but it will be nice and it will be for me.

There you have it, I have other projects to do too, but these two will be new and they will be the selfish ones for this week. Oh and I have a cold/flu too, but I am hoping that it will not get in the way much. Are you going to play along with selfish sewing week too?



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Granny Squares Quilt - Ta Da!

Granny Squares - Done

Here is my Granny Squares Quilt, washed and out in the afternoon sun. I am not sure she will get another name, Granny Squares is good with me. She is about 78" square. The scrappy blocks were made by the members of the Modern Stitching Bee and the border is Kona White. In the end I went with an aqua binding (I asked the instagrammers for their help on that).

Granny Squares - back

For her back, I used an IKEA fabric and added the signature blocks from my bee mates. I just this minute realized I should have also added a signature block of my own, maybe the quilt will last a long time. I will add a quilt label and identify myself on it.

Granny Squares - detail

I free motion quilted this quilt with an all over stipple or meandering line. Despite the fact that it is popular and often used, I still love the effect this quilting pattern has on a quilt after washing. It makes it bumpy and soft, as if the quilt is already old and well loved.

Granny Squares - before washing

The picture in the stairway of my office building was taken several days ago before I washed her. You can see how the washing really changes the quilt.

The tutorial we used for the granny squares is over at Blue Elephants Stitches here. To eliminate stretching of the bias edges of the blocks as they were handled, mailed and then pieced by me, I asked my bee mates to also frame each block with their neutral background. I am so glad I did, it was so simple to put this quilt together - I don't know why I waited so long.

Granny Squares - done

Granny Squares is almost king size, here she is on my bed. I plan to use this for me, as my reading, snuggling, movie watching quilt. Thank you to all the members of the Modern Stitching Bee who made me blocks for this quilt - Rhonda, Susan, Susan, Emily, Cindy, Di, Sarah, Jennie, Chrissy, and Nicky. Each block is wonderful and they look so good together in this quilt.

she can quilt

I almost forgot to add that this quilt is on my Q3 FAL list too, and it is now a finish.

Fresh Poppy Design

I am linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and Fabric Tuesday, there are lovely projects at both already this week.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's late but it's still WIP Wednesday

Three quilts done, one top

Look, I finished the bindings on my three quilts from last week - my Giant Plus, St. Louis 16 Patch and Granny Squares quilts. I will post a nice "Ta Da" post about each of them over the next while, two still need to be washed and photos are required.

Giant Plus top

Early this week I found that I could no longer resist working with the lovely stack of Nordika that my kind sponsors at the Fat Quarter Shop sent me in late August. So this coming week I plan to baste, quilt, and bind this quilt and finish the Giant Plus pattern/tutorial for you.


On Saturday, inspiration struck and I designed, and made Cycles. You can read more about her here.

You need a charger to take more pictures

Then disaster - my camera battery charger disappeared. It turns out these are hard to find (new batteries are everywhere but chargers, not so much) and very dear to replace. I shall be keeping close tabs on it in the future, as it is no fun to be a blogger if you don't have pictures.

So here is how I am doing:

Also done from last week's list:

  • I have organized the Q3 FAL tutorials and most of the sponsors for Q4, just waiting on a few emails. By the way, if you would like to provide a Q4 tutorial let me know, I have Q4 tutorial spaces.
  • I finished Krista's hat and I am now going to take it apart and try again, likely with a different pattern. She needs an excellent hat, and the one I made is technically good but only so, so, maybe even less than so, so. The good news is that I love to knit hats and they are fast.
  • I am counting Cycles as the improv project I was itching to make, even if she is not really improv.
Carrying forward from last week:
  • Pickle dishes - I have them and all the bits and fabrics in a chair, I need to get back to making them.
  • Placemats - still needed, high priority
  • Ironing board cover - it is almost disintegrated, soon this will be an emergency requirement.
  • Emerald chain quilt - no excuse now, and it is so close to being done.
  • City Sampler - it seems that picking the fabrics might be what has been holding me back on this project. Now I am thinking I will use black, grey, text, brown, low volume fabrics and maybe the odd print or solid for pops of colour.
New on the list
  • Finish the Nordika Giant Plus 
  • Giant Plus free pattern/tutorial
  • Variation on Cycles (it is in my head, I doubt I can wait that long to make it)
  • Urban Maps quilt for my 4 in Art group - due at the end of the month.
  • Always Bee Learning blocks, but the fabric has yet to arrive
  • Mail to Di and to Shanna and Becky - I seem to be side swapping jelly and Starbucks mugs too now.
No promises on getting it all done, but optimism is working for me so far. So are lists. 

           WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I am linking to Lee at Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network, as usual.



Sunday, September 15, 2013



Let me tell you about Cycles. She is 14" x 21" - about the size of a generous placemat. She is made from Kona cottons and four of the neutral backgrounds are Essex linen. The circles are pieced without pins, you can always learn my method by going here.


I planned Cycles to hang horizontally but I like her either way. My brain really wants her vertical so the quilting is vertical, like rain falling I think. But I planned the quilting to be horizontal to create exactly that tension for me. This piece is not intended to be a comfortable as she looks. It is to make me think.

Cycles - detail

I used matchstick quilting, which I mean to be very close together lines. As usual, I made it modern industrial with the lines purposely wobbling a bit, and being different widths apart. Harder than I thought to do with such little space in between. There are 120 quilting lines in the 14" of space.

I have not washed Cycles yet, for once I like the look relatively flat. I'll let you know if I decide to wash her in the end.

Cycles - back

She has a faced binding and I used Elizabeth's tutorial from the FAL, which is here. I need some practice getting the corners of this binding right, but I am pleased with the result none the less.


Cycles looks really good on a dark table or surface - it is a palette that I have used before (go here to read about my other little quilt and click this link to see the pictures I took then of the beach by my house on the island) when thinking about the beach. And that brings us to what inspired me to make her.

I have been thinking about making a quilt for the Holiday Memories event -  about my time this year at my little farm on an island in the Pacific Ocean - the Salish Sea is how it was once known. Things out there are sunbleached - the sand, the rocks, the driftwood, the grass and fields in August, the tree trunks - even the leafs, shrubs and flowers seem sunbleached by August.

I chose fabrics from my large pile of solids, just looking for ones that felt right. I looked the colours up long after I started the quilting part and they are Aloe, Pond, Seafoam, Ice Frappe, Sky and Dusty Blue. Perfect names for what I was thinking about.


Now the design came from another place. I have been thinking a lot about the cycles of my year, and of the years over time. While I was at the coast, I thought a lot about just being in the moment more, about being still enough that the hummingbirds let you see them. About being, not always doing, more of the time.

For me, these thoughts came, for the large part, from the proximity to the ocean - the world ocean really, they are all connected - and the fact that we had two full moons in August - a blue moon it seems - also helped. It is hard to feel like your little things are that impossible or that important when you are around these powerful forces of nature. And, for more massive forces of nature, I only had to look up at the mountains on the mainland that were usually in view.


So my trips to the coast, are in large part, an important part of the cycles that keep me together, make me strong and able to do all the other things I do. Circles, different yet similar, grounded in different places, yet related, you get the idea of where I was going. Well enough of all that deep feeling stuff.

I also wanted to make something modern, fresh, and fun, yet calming for the most part. Just the tension of the quilting not going the way my head wants it too, so that she would always make me think when I looked at her.

I wonder why, on a piece like this, I think of quilting as the rain? That is for another day. I am really in love with this piece. I already want to explore this visual concept further - I have many more variations on this theme already percolating in my imagination..

When the link opens, I will add this to the Holiday Memories event, you still have time to make an entry about your holiday memories too. I made Cycles yesterday, start to finish.