Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Shoo Fly Mini Quilt Tutorial

I recently made a new mini quilt and wanted to show how I did it.

This is a Shoo Fly mini quilt with 3" blocks. It is 18"x24". It is a 5 by 7 block layout.
I chose a Shoo Fly block because it is a simple block that I think works well for such a small block.

For each 3" Shoo Fly block you need -

Print A -1 - 1+1/2" square (centre of the block)
               2 - 2" squares (for the half square triangles)

Print B - 4 - 1+1/2" squares
                2 - 2" squares (for the half square triangles)

For this quilt you need 18 Shoo Fly blocks.

I used all the same black fabric for Print A, and 18 different fabrics for Print B. This is a great way to use up scraps of fabric. It is also fat-quarter friendly - I used the same black fat-quarter for the centre of the blocks and the border (my fat quarter was a metric one though, so a bit larger than one based on a yard).

I sewed all the half square triangles at once using this method - link.

For directional fabric I stitch the diagonal line with each square of the directional fabric at right angles to each other as shown in the above photo, this way the directional fabric all lines up in the finished block.
Trim all the half square triangles to 1+1/2".

The layout for each block-

directional fabric for this block

Sew the blocks together (I press the seams away from the half square triangles), and trim to 3+1/2".

For the layout you need 17 - 3+1/2" squares for the alternating blocks, and 2" strips for the border (I had 4 across the width of the fat quarter, but had to piece the ones for the long sides of the quilt top with the leftover pieces from the short sides).


To keep the points on the blocks stitch a couple of fabric threads away for the stitching lines on the points (this can only be done when the blocks are facing up).

I press the seams away from the blocks.

After piecing the top I layered it with a backing and two layers of batting - one thermofoil and one cotton  - to make a table mat that was a bit heat resistant to protect the table, and one that would absorb a spilt drink (bound to happen).

I stitched in the ditch with a walking foot on the sewing machine around all the blocks and around the border. I also added the binding at this stage (before taking off the walking foot).

For the free motion quilting I used a Hera marker to mark a diagonal line across the alternating squares.

I stitched an Open Heart design in the alternating blocks.

It is one of the simplest designs to stitch, and I think it works perfectly as a continuous design in shapes that connect to each other like these alternating blocks. The centre line acts as a guide.

I used a white marking pen (that is later steamed away) to mark the centre spine of the feather for the border.

Stitching the binding on before quilting the border is the best way to be able to fill in the whole border area with quilting on such a small border (in this case 1+1/2"). Not cutting the extra backing and batting means that there is an area for my hand to make free motion quilting easier too.

back of the quilt

For the border I did a Bump-Bump Feather on a spine that meanders from one edge of the border to the other. I stitched the border in three passes  - the spine first and then the lobes on one side and then the other.

I stitched on the Shoo Fly blocks with a simple corner to corner design in the background.

For the quilting I used a 100 wt thread - Invisafil by Wonderfil, in the top, and Bottom Line in the bobbin for most of the quilting, and 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin for the border.

Made for this table! The table is made from the drawers of a 1914 cash register that was in the garage of our second house (an old neighbour help make it into a table).

I designed this quilt on EQ7, so I played around with other option too -

Scrappy like mine -

Three fabrics -

 Two fabrics -

Christmas fabrics -

A 3 by 5 layout would be 12"x18" -

If you make a Shoo Fly Mini quilt send me a picture so I can add it here.

All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Embroidered Pillow

My Dad embroidered this lovely little picture recently-

It is counted needle point. My parents blocked it and I blocked it again but it still ended up a bit slanted, so I thought it would work best as a pillow and wanted to show how I did it.

I made a backing with a button opening. I did use some interfacing along the button and button hole edges to make it more stable.

I used a piece of white flannel to line the piece of embroidery, and layered the embroidery and backing with wrong sides together,

And stitched around the edge of the embroidery, first with a straight stitch and then a zig-zag stitch to secure the edges. I used a walking foot on my machine to help with the sewing.

I cut out the shape close to the stitching.

While it was at this stage I cut out two pieces of fabric the same shape to make a pillow form for the inside (I stitched around the piece with right sides together, leaving a small opening, turned it right side out, stuffed it and stitched the opening closed using the sewing machine, enclosing the raw edges). I stuffed the pillow form with some leftover wool quilt batting that I pulled apart.

To finish the edges I made a piece of bias binding with the same backing fabric using this method. I used a 12" square piece of fabric to make about 46" of 2+1/2" wide bias binding, that I pressed in half before stitching it around the pillow. I didn't pull on the bias binding while sewing it down (again using a walking foot on the machine). I joined the ends of the bias binding on a 45 degree angle and stitched them together - this takes a bit of pinning and checking before sewing to make sure the binding ends up the right length. I stitched the binding down on the back by hand.

I am really happy with how it turned out. You can't tell that it is not perfectly oval. The cushion is about 8"x10".

All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Knitting Sleeves

I don't know why it still surprises me how long it takes to knit sleeves!

Maggie can never resist the cord stoppers
I think I have been knitting these sleeves for three weeks and I am still only half way there (I am blaming it on knitting two at a time - there is lots of repositioning). I am hoping to have them finished by Thursday. They should go faster now that there will be more decreasing happening towards the wrists. I put the body stitches on hold after finishing the first ball of wool, so I could knit the sleeves and then be able to use the rest of the wool for the body - I am hoping for a tunic length sweater.

The hand spun socks have heels now. The plan is for a 3x1 rib for the rest of the leg to use all the beautifully sparkly yarn.

I spun a little sample for my niece. She bought this large roving to make a blanket, but found that it is not practical (it sheds too much), and thought it would work to be spun. It is 100% acrylic. I used a large whorl, and it spun very easily. I spun it a bit thick and thin to create texture since it is a even colour.

Photos from around-

amazing colours
so much energy 
All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Too Early!

At the end of last week there was a snow storm that came way to early!

It started out beautifully-

It was in the forecast, and this is what I was expecting for this time of the year - a light dusting, still able to see the grass, but that was just the start.

By the second day we had huge drifts of wet, heavy snow.

My husband did get stuck out on the highway on his way home from work (along with other cars, and a tow truck!). I was so happy that we were able to pick him up with the truck, and also managed to pull his car safely off the road. It has been over 20 years since there was such a bad storm that he had to leave his car stuck in the snow - that time he managed to walk home.
We don't normally have snow so early, usually it doesn't start until November.
We were so lucky that we didn't loose power like so many people did.

Luckily now it is melting-

Although since the yard was already flooded, there is just more water.

The pond is just about to the top-

We are hoping for a nice skating rink this winter. 

We were also lucky that there was just a few broken trees (most of our trees had already lost their leaves which helped).

I did get some sewing done-

Another of my favourite Blackwood Cardigans from Helen's Closet. This time out of a black, french terry fabric. I made a length half way between the two on the pattern.

Photo from around-

A Great Horned Owl in the trees. 
We also saw a few hawks and a Bald Eagle.

All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Kitchen Renovation

We have been renovating our home since last March, when we finally sold our other house, so I thought I would show some pictures of the renovations so far. Apart from a new furnace, some plumbing and the countertops, we have done all the work ourselves. We have renovated houses before, but this is the most work that we have done to a house - just about everything is new, luckily now we have two adult sons who did lots of the work too.
It is funny how things work out the way they are supposed to, living in the house for so long before renovating really changed our plans for how we wanted to renovate it (we reconfigured a few spaces).

Here are some before pictures -

The kitchen was very small, we had to overflow into what was the dining room space.

The living room was big enough for our dining room.

The best thing that we did was to remove the wall splitting the two rooms, and going around the stairs to the back door and basement (we did have an engineer come in to make sure that it wasn't a supporting wall).

I love having just one big room (we had that in our house in Alberta).

We went with simple wood cupboards because we live in a small farm house with grain bins in the front yard (the cupboards are from Home Depot).

While deciding the plans for the kitchen I had asked a couple of people who had recently renovated their kitchens what they like about their new kitchens.

My sister has a nice wide space around her island, so we did the same. It worked out great, there is lots of room for everyone to work in the kitchen, even space when the dishwasher is open. She also suggested lots of drawers which I am glad we did too. A dear friend said that she was pleased that she had moved things to have more space between the sink and the stove, and I am so happy with that - I would have kept the stove centred on that wall now there is a great work space. One big change that I wanted was a second sink in the island - my family thought it was a bit much when I suggested it, but now they all think it is so handy, I love it. I am glad that we went with a slide in range rather than a freestanding one - it seems like there is more room on the stove top (we had the free standing version in our last house, it can be one large oven or two small ones), also we went with a counter depth fridge - it has the same amount of space as we had before but it is wider and not as deep, making it much easier to reach things in the back.

There are two areas of renovations that are mine - the painting and tiling (I could do the hard wood floors by myself but I like to have some one to help get it started straight). I was really happy with how the back splash tiles turned out around the window - it's nice when measuring works out!

Photos from around -

Still spending lots of time in the kitchen canning! These are pickled beets and pickled carrots - Taqueria Carrots from a Blueprint class (the verdict is still out on them, maybe time will improve the flavour).

We are still having so much rain-

 crayfish holes everywhere
 the soybean field around us is flooded (the tractor has been sitting there for two weeks)
 we surprised a skunk when we went out for a walk in the rain
 the harvested fields have started growing even the bales have growth on top
(there is a hawk on one of the bales)
a heart shaped red onion
All the best!♥︎