Improvisational piecing

I’ve been trying to find a way to get myself out of this non-sewing funk that I’ve been in.  So the other day, I just decided to grab some fabric and start sewing.  Since I recently organized all my scraps into bins sorted by colour, I grabbed one colour at a time, and dug out the strips that were in the bins.  Then I just started sewing log cabins, cutting strips shorter if they were too long, and finding a different strip if it was too short.

rainbow log cabin 1

This is what I ended up with. Once the blocks started to get large enough, I trimmed them down to 8.5″ I made red, orange, yellow, and green. I’m thinking I’ll do a rainbow log cabin quilt or something with them. I’ve seen those floating around blogland and I really like them. Or maybe I’ll make something else. At this point I am undecided.

rainbow log cabin 2

rainbow log cabin 3

I loved how quickly they went together. Not having to measure and cut strips and just using what I already had and making it work was very freeing. If the strips started to look a little skewed, I didn’t care and just kept on going. I didn’t have to worry about perfect seam allowances because I was trimming it up when I was done. And I feel a little rejuvenated about sewing, so maybe they accomplished what I was hoping they would and helped me out of my rut a little.

I’m linking this up to WIP Wednesday and the Needle and Thread Network. I haven’t done that in awhile, so I look forward to seeing what everyone else has been working on in the meantime.


Giveaway Winner

A great big thank you to all who entered the draw!  I thought that I’d get maybe, on the very optimistic side, 150 comments, and I got 264!  Wow!  Also, many thanks and welcome to all those who decided to become followers because they liked what they saw.

Without further ado, we will  move on to the draw.  I am low-tech, so Thing 1 helped me out with this.  We used my trusty old cowboy hat.  One of the cats was the draw official, supervising and keeping things legit.

E draw

And the winner is #144, Julie Andrea, who wrote: “Love the quilting on Deco 5. Thanks for taking part is this give-away.”

Congratulations, Julie Andrea!  I will be emailing you shortly.  I hope you enjoy the fabric.

Blogathon Canada!

Welcome to the Canadian Blog Hop.  I am happy to be the host for my adopted home province of Alberta.  Many thanks to the Sew Sisters quilt shop for having this wonderful idea and inviting me to be a part of it.  I’ll start with a little introduction.

Cathedral Stars

I’m Shena.  I live in Southern Alberta, about two hours south of Calgary.  My family relocated here about four years ago, leaving behind the Fraser Valley of BC for my husband’s work.  We have three children: Thing 1, our oldest daughter, almost 8; Thing 2, our son, 5; and our younger daughter, Thing 3, who is 2.5 next week. We’ve been very happy here, and the move was good for us.  We miss our families a lot, since we left them behind in BC, but we have a great circle of friends here.  A great surrogate family, if you will.

I currently sew in a very tiny nook in my kitchen, and do my quilting on the kitchen table, in the evening, when it’s not full of homework and dishes from various meals.  I am eagerly awaiting the day when the first half of our basement renovation is done, and I have a lovely closet for storing all my fabric, which is still in the boxes from our initial move.  It is getting close now!  Almost at the painting stage!

I started quilting about 6 years ago, when I was 22.  I had sewn clothing before then, but my older sister got me into quilting.  She taught herself how, using books and trial and error, and I followed in her footsteps shortly after.  I go through bursts of creativity, which are often linked to whether or not my kids are sick, or if I have a newborn or not.  We’ve just gone through a flu bug patch here in the Apple Pie household, so my sewing has suffered a little.

Primary Pinwheels 2

Deco 5

Mod Pop QAL: completed top

Here are a few of my more recently completed projects. They are Primary Pinwheels, Deco Shimmer, and Mod Pop QAL, (hosted by another Alberta blogger, Leanne of She Can Quilt).

As part of the blogathon, Sew Sisters is sponsoring a giveaway for each stop on the hop.  My giveaway is a bundle of 10 fat quarters, 7 red, 3 orange.  I really want to win this bundle myself, but it will go to one of you!  To win the bundle, just leave a comment.  Followers, new or not new, will get a second entry.  Just leave a second comment saying you’re a follower.  Please make sure you’re not a no-reply blogger, and if you’re not sure, leave you email in the comment.  The giveaway will stay open until sometime in the evening of the 24th.  This giveaway is now closed.

Blogathon Canada_Giveaway _Shena

Here’s a list of some other Alberta bloggers to check out.  They make some amazing stuff!  And if you are one of these bloggers, we should get to know each other a little!

Blue Elephant Stitches
Dining Room Empire
She Can Quilt
Learning to Sew
Colleen Quilts Too
Red Eye Crafts
Cora Quilts
Lala’s Lovelys Quilting
The Purple Quiltapotamus
Cathy Tomm Quilts
Quiltmom’s Journey
Magpie Quilts
Slair’s Lair

Community 3

Blogathon Canada!
Sunday, November 18 Kick-off! Michele – Quilting Gallery
Monday, November 19 BC Felicity – Felicity Quilts
Monday, November 19 BC Cathy – Blueberry Patch
Tuesday, November 20 NS Jeanette – STAMP * STITCH * CREATE
Tuesday, November 20 NB Holly – Through My Window
Wednesday, November 21 AB Shena – Apple Pie Patchwork
Wednesday, November 21 SK Patti – Retired to Quilt
Thursday, November 22 QC Marika – Live, Laugh, Love… Sew
Thursday, November 22 MB Heather – Church Avenue Quilts
Friday, November 23 YT Vivian – Quilting Under the Midnight Sun
Friday, November 23 YT Janet – Caribou Crossing Chronicles
Saturday, November 24 ON Cathi – Quilt Obsession
Saturday, November 24 ON Cara – Cara Quilts
Saturday, November 24 ON Kaye – Miss Print

Primary Pinwheels

I’m still in a bit of a sewing slump.  I’ve been sick lately and haven’t had much energy for anything, so sewing has to come after catching up on housework.  I did manage to finish another one of my UFOs, though.  I called this Primary Pinwheels, because I couldn’t think of anything else to call it, and I wanted to get the label done so I could wash the quilt and cross it off the list.

Primary Pinwheels 2

I was inspired to make this quilt when I read a book on shadow quilts years ago. There was a photo of a quilt by a Japanese maker that was similar to this. I cannot remember the maker or the name of the book since I read it years ago, when this project was started. That’s right, the oldest UFO is now officially off the list!

Primary Pinwheels 3

I had to take it all apart and sew it back together correctly, since the smaller pinwheel chain didn’t flow the way it was supposed to. I’m glad to finally have it done now, and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. I love how the colours blend from yellow to green and from red to purple.

Primary Pinwheels 4

I bound it in an awesome rainbow stripe that I picked up in Montana a few months ago. I snatched that bolt off the shelf mere seconds after I saw it, since I knew it would make the perfect binding for this quilt. Maybe it was serendipitous that I make those mistakes when I first sewed it all those years ago.

Primary Pinwheels 5

I quilted it with azure blue thread, and stitched 1/4″ away from the main seams. The stars that formed where all the stitching meets are a nice bonus that I didn’t realize would happen. I’m glad they did though! I think it measure about 74″ square, but I would have to double check to be certain. Either way, it’s plenty big for snuggling under on the couch as the cold weather starts coming!

Tomorrow is my turn on the Canadian Blog Hop, and I have a great giveaway to share. It started on Monday and runs the rest of the week. You can read my intro post here if you want to find a list of the other hosts, since they’ve all got giveways to enter as well. See you tomorrow!

Coasters and West Virginia

I am still chugging along on the Road Trip QAL that ended quite a few weeks ago.  I have finished West Virginia, the second last block.  Just Kansas left to go!

QAL West Virginia

This block came together very simply and quickly, because it is essentially only HSTs and squares. I probably spent as much time pressing this block as I did actually sewing it. I have no recent pictures of all the blocks so far, but when I finish Kansas, I will try to take one.

I also made some coasters for a gift exchange that I’m in. My person said she liked warm colours like red, orange, and mustard yellow, and also warm browns. I made these coasters in those colours, and backed them all with a dark, solid, brown.


I’m almost finished the hand-stitching on the binding of the shadow quilt, so I should be able to post about that soon. I’ve been in a bit of a sewing slump recently, and haven’t been feeling very motivated lately. I hope that changes soon.

Machine maintenance: cleaning out the lint

Lately, my machine had started to make some odd noises when it sews.  Like is was having a hard time getting smoothly through the fabric.  I realized that it had been quite awhile since I had taken the face plate off my machine and really cleaned out all the lint.  When I opened it up last night, I was kind of shocked by how bad it had gotten.

machine 1

There is a very thorough layer of fuzz over everything under the face plate. It took me at least half an hour to get it all out. I used the little brush that came with my machine, and a small pair of tweezers. Some of the fuzz had migrated to way down under all the gears, so it took a bit of doing to get all of that out. Before I put the face plate back on, I remember that it’s also a good idea to clean under the bobbin holder.

machine 5

To get the bobbin case out in my machine, you have to take out the screw of the little plate that holds it in place, and then the bobbin holder will just lift right out. The arrow is pointing to that screw on my machine.

machine 2

Oh my. That is one heavily packed chunk of lint there. I was amazed that my machine was actually sewing despite all the lint that had been hidden inside.

machine 3

This is what I ended up taking out, and I know there was some that was so far down that I couldn’t reach it despite trying very hard. I didn’t want to disassemble the machine too much in case I wasn’t able to get it back together again.

machine 4

I also removed the light cover and cleaned the lint out from there. I have no before picture of that, unfortunately. This was after I put the face plate back on, so I put arrows by the two screws that you need to remove on my machine in order to get the face plate off.

I sewed a little after it was all cleaned and I put a new needle in. It was amazing how quiet it was! No more bobbing clicking noises! I had to reduce the top tension as well, since all that lint had been affecting it. I had been gradually increasing it in the weeks before cleaning my machine. That should probably have been a hint that a deep cleaning needed to be done!

It really is not difficult to do, and makes your machine run much more smoothly. It’s one of the things they do when you take your machine in for a service, and it’s very easy to do yourself. So take the time to clean out your machine if you haven’t done it in a while. Your machine will thank you!

Blogathon Canada!

I’ve got some great news to share with all of you.  Sew Sisters quilt shop, located in Toronto, Ontario, is hosting a Canada wide blog hop from November 19-24.  They also have a blog you can check out, which is currently nearing the end of a year-long sew-along.

Each day on the blog hop, there will be two hosts from two different blogs.   Blogs from all across Canada will be featured.  The bloggers will tell you a bit about themselves and what they’ve been up to with their projects, and also provide a list of crafty bloggers in their province that you can check out.  If you are a Canadian blogger, and want to be included in this list, either leave a comment here or email the Sew Sisters shop (  We will make sure that your blog is put in the right list.

But wait, there’s more!  (I’ve always wanted to say that here.)  At every single host blog, Sew Sisters will be sponsoring a giveaway, featuring an awesome prize chosen by the host blogger.  That means that for a week, there will be two giveaways per day!  Since I’ve never won a giveaway, despite entering them all the time, hosting a giveaway is the next best thing. The giveaways will be open to anyone, Canadian or not.

Monday, November 19             BC       Felicity – Felicity Quilts
Monday, November 19             BC       Cathy – Blueberry Patch
Tuesday, November 20           NS        Jeanette – STAMP * STITCH * CREATE
Tuesday, November 20           NB        Holly – Through My Window
Wednesday, November 21     AB         Shena – Apple Pie Patchwork (This is ME!)
Wednesday, November 21     SK         Patti – Retired to Quilt
Thursday, November 22         QC        Marika – Live, Laugh, Love… Sew
Thursday, November 22         MB         Heather – Church Avenue Quilts
Friday, November 23              YT          Vivian – Quilting Under the Midnight Sun
Friday, November 23              YT          Janet – Caribou Crossing Chronicles
Saturday, November 24         ON         Cathi – Quilt Obsession
Saturday, November 24         ON         Cara – Cara Quilts

So come back then and check it out!  Of course, you’re more than welcome to come back before then too.  Canadian crafters are an extremely creative bunch, so you won’t be disappointed.