April 15, 2014

A Little BOM Progress

Not much sewing has been going on here, but at least I'm caught up on the Quilt Doodle Doodles BOM.  It's been the perfect amount of sewing to do each month and very nice having something to just sew that doesn't require too much thought or decision making.

March's Block
 
April's Block

Blocks Together
So far I'm liking how the blocks look together.  And yes, the pyramids quilt is still on the design board--no progress at all.
Happy Quilting!

March 17, 2014

Shining stars, but no triangles

As you all know, I've been struggling with my pink and green triangles.  I finally decided to work on them a couple weeks ago.  But before doing them, I decided to clean up the sewing room (and pick up all the triangles that have fallen off the design wall).

But wouldn't you know it, when cleaning, I came across a group of fabric I had pulled for a baby quilt.  The baby ended up being a girl, so I went with the more girlish stack of fabrics, and this group was left behind.


Before I knew what was happening, these fabrics were cut up.  And while I was cutting those, I might as well cut a few more for another quilt I had planned to make, right?  And then I could put the fabrics all away and have a clean place for my triangle construction, right?  Well, no.

You know I started sewing the pieces.  Just for the one group of fabrics.  A little sewing wouldn't hurt--just to make sure I didn't need to cut more before I put the fabrics away, right?  The stars felt like an antidote to the green and pink.  A cleansing of the palate, or palette, so to speak.  Sure to get me ready for the triangles, right?  Well no again.


The stars are assembled, but I think I will do some sort of border with the leftover pieces.  We'll see.  I really enjoyed working with these colors.  I'm calling this one Shine--as in let your star shine.   You can see my tax return bins on the edge of the next photo.  I'm still trying to organize our financial records/paperwork  (35 years makes a real mess!)


I started on the other quilt I cut this weekend too.  No photos of that because the camera has decided to go on strike.  And no triangle sewing so far....  I may need an intervention.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

February 17, 2014

When it rains...

When it snows, it's only right to make snowmen.  What do you sew when it is grey and drab and rains (pours) all the time?  Well plaid blocks, of course.

I've spent much of the last week making a few more blocks from the Just Takes Two BOM from a year or two ago.  My method is to look through the remaining undone blocks and pick the easiest ones--which isn't a good method as they get harder and harder.  I still have quite a few more to go. 
I'm also trying to use up pre-cut squares I have left from earlier plaid projects.  Definitely forces the blocks to be a bit mixed up, which I like, and blends well with my lack of precision when putting the blocks together, as a couple didn't end up being the right size. 
 
I think there may have been a correction done after I printed out the instructions that I didn't pay attention to (and I apparently can't read), so I've created slightly new blocks.  I figure they will fit together (or not) when I get them all done, and if not, I'll just use a few fill strips or blocks. 
 
 
The basket block is one example--I just sized it up to the next size and will trim off the extra when the time comes.  And the block to its lower right is another example.  They were supposed to be 3 of the little blocks, but since each ended up exactly 1/2 inch too small, I made a 4th and stitched them all together. I may eventually just create a few more blocks of my own.   And note to self:  Measure, READ, and check the math before you cut and sew them.  Duh.  
 
After a week of plaid, though, I'm ready to move on to some sunshine (yes, I'm trying to be hopeful).  And, no, I still haven't done anything about those bothersome pyramids...  Maybe it's their turn this week?  Doubtful.  I've something new I'd like to start.  ;)   


  Hope you are staying warm--Happy Stitching & Happy President's Day!

February 14, 2014

Snow Sewing

A week ago, our street looked like this: 
 
 
Which was just the inspiration for me to work on these guys:

 

These are the first two blocks of the BOM that Cindy of Quilt Doodle Doodles is hosting.  (I added red shutters to my window--just seemed like they were needed.)

It's not too late for you to join in the fun! 

February 05, 2014

Stitch by Stitch

Inch by inch, stitch by stitch....another King George III circle is done!  Maybe in ten or so years all the circles will be finished! ;)
 
 
 
I figure if I post photos as I complete them, it will help me know how many or what to look for when I get them all done yet can't find them all.  (Despite having project bins and being relatively organized, a block or two always seem to wander off, stuck to the back of something else.)

We have a lovely bit of snow here today.  Hope you're staying warm!

February 03, 2014

Taking care of a little business

I've been pretty good this year, working on our taxes, Quicken, and putting our financial papers in order.  I've been making good progress, but finally gave in and had to do a little quilt related Kaffe "business" this weekend.

Saturday, I did a little laundry, washing the Flower Garden applique blocks I've finished in the last few months.  They are lined up on my never changing design wall.  (I really need to work on these pink/green triangles for the Pyramid quilt or take them down.)

  
I haven't counted them all up yet, but I think I'm done with all the Flower Garden center blocks.  ( I'd put an exclamation point after that sentence, but I don't want to end up disappointed if I find there are still a few more to go.)
Just another close up.  I sure hope this is all of them.
Sunday I spent working on a binding for Turn by Turn.  (The quilting was finished almost a year ago.)  Sigh.   It always seems to take so long to get it ready and sewn on.


Ended up being VERY lucky in the amount of binding--only an inch or two extra.  (not bad for not just guessing on the size and amount to make.) 


Love using the clover clips for binding.    What color of thread do you use with a print like this?  Seems like any color will show in one area or another. 


Now just a few days (weeks?) of hand stitching to go.  But oh, the Kaffe's are absolutely glorious to work on!    I guess stitching binding is a good way to stay warm.  Will save the big quilt reveal for when (IF) I ever get the binding sewn on.

I sure hope these fabrics that just happened to hop into a bin together don't interfere with my progress.  Seems that temptress Heather (who blogs at Happy Appliquer) started another BOM which just happened to catch my eye at a weak moment.  The BOM is hosted by Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles, and you can join the fun here.  Several speedy people have already posted their blocks on Pinterest--go here to see them.


Happy Quilting!

January 14, 2014

Few Words Wednesday

Not too much getting accomplished here lately.....
 
One King George circle completed.
 
 
One more King George circle in process.
 
 
Some fabric picked out for a binding--and it didn't even get to the ironed stage, but PLEASE notice that you can actually see the carpet! ( I haven't done much sewing since I cleaned up the sewing room for Christmas, but this is the cleanest the room will be for awhile, so I have to document this cleanliness while it lasts!) 
 
The fabric is for the binding for Turn by Turn that I was working on a year ago.
 
 
And have I been sewing?  Nope, not much. 
 
My New Year's resolution was to put our financial records in order and get our taxes ready early.  That project has been a much bigger project than I planned on (so many years to go through and struggling with a new version of Quicken on the computer), but I am making some progress, and am feeling virtuous about the whole endeavor.
 
Not sure how long my commitment to paperwork will last.  I can hear my stash getting restless.
 
A week ago, our front yard looked like this.
 
 
Today it was beautifully sunny outside, most of the snow is gone, and it feels like Spring is on the way.  I know that's just wishful thinking, but I did take a little walk to enjoy the nice weather.  And great news:  My dd is coming home for 3 days later this month--it's almost like an extra Christmas! I can hardly wait!

Happy Stitching!

December 29, 2013

Yikes!

It’s been forever since I posted!  I have no good reason why either.   So painful to have to remember what I've been doing and catch you up!  (Have to did deep to find my memory first...)
 
Let's start with the two finishes (yes, only two since September.)  First up is the Granny Square quilt for my mother-in-law (which was supposed to be for Mother's Day, but what's a few month's difference?) 
 
This quilt has been one of THOSE projects right from the start.  Initially, it was supposed to be just a small, one block wide strip to liven up the back of another quilt....then it grew, and grew, and grew.

Front
You can see the unplanned growth in the borders.  First it was just going to be blocks straight to the edge, then I added cream blocks.  Then I added the colored blocks and more cream.  Then the straight scrappy edge, and I finally surrendered, found a cream that matched, and just added a plain border.

With each size increase, I had to unpick the edges, and add on more, and more.  All to make it fit the bed.  And then increase the back size too.
 

Probably should have skipped the straight scrappy edge or cut it off, but oh well. I first added it to try to square up the quilt after picking and unpicking all those bias edges. Probably just should have just added the plain border months ago and been done with it sooner! 


This is a close up so you can see Yvette's lovely quilting.  We used a wool batt which really showed off the quilting designs as it retained just a little puffiness after washing.

It is in the colors (dusty pastels) that my mother-in-law favors--and really hard to find today.  She seems to like it (more or less), although I should have included dusty pinks/mauves for her.  But it is done and after 1 1/2 years, and I'm grateful to not have to see it again!  (Or see some of the fabrics--like that back--that I've had for 20 years!)



I also finished another baby quilt, using the scraps from the previous post's quilt.  This is during the quilting process--just simple, straight lines across each square, marked with a hera marker at first, then I eyeballed it toward the end which seemed just as accurate.  My sewing room really isn't as dark as this makes it seem. 

 
Here's a close up view. 


 I had been unhappy with the waving edges on the baby quilt I finished in the prior post, and had theorized that the rippling was caused when I washed the quilt after it was finished and the batting shrunk, causing the machine stitched binding--which didn't shrink--to ripple. 

So I changed the method with this quilt.  I washed it after it was quilted, but before attaching the binding.  Here it is after the binding was attached.  Notice the awful rippling.  I was pretty bummed about it because it wasn't consistently rippled.  I have no idea why it occurred.
 

 
Since I had glue basted the binding, I had to wash it again before gifting it.  After the 2nd wash, all those ripples were gone and the quilt was perfectly square!  It was amazing!  So amazing, in fact, that I was so anxious to get it to the baby, I wrapped it up without a photo.  You'll just have to trust me that it worked.  (My husband was amazed at the change too--he's my witness!) 
 
Prewashing the quilt before adding a bias binding by machine is going to be my go to method now.  And the quilt is just an extra bit softer from the extra washing, too! 


This is the quilt back before the 2nd washing.  The crosshatching didn't line up perfectly with the squares on the back, but often did (which is just a miracle), and the differences I can live with. 

And those are the only finishes I can show you for the past 6 months.  Sad, I know.  Where does the time go?  Next post, I'll show you what I started--maybe!
 
Happy Quilting, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year too!

September 16, 2013

A Finish!

Hooray!  My Star Surround is finished!

The Star Surround was made during a wonderful quiltalong hosted by Melissa at Happy Quilting .  Melissa had such great instructions, it was an easy way to make a quilt. 

To see the parade of all the lovely finished quilts, go here.  It's fun to see how the different fabrics and different sized blocks change the way the design looks. 

Front
 
This isn't perfect, but I actually managed to quilt it myself, despite an angry shoulder.  Luckily the baby isn't a quilter (yet) so she probably won't notice the rough spots and longer stitches.   
 
Back
 
One thing I did learn (note to self), is if you make a two sided quilt, you have to have a design that works on both sides, and unless you can line the two sides up perfectly, you shouldn't plan on using straight lines or things that follow the blocks of the one side if the quilting won't look right on the other side. 
 
This swirly quilt design solved the problem and worked great for both sides. 


Also, if you choose a thread that won't show much, you shouldn't be surprised to find you can't see where you are at when you are quilting and lose track!  (This is Aurifil 50 wt.)

Another thing I learned is that when you use a batting that shrinks a bunch, it might be a good idea to wash the quilt after it is quilted, but before sewing the binding on.  The batt I used was Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon cotton, which I used to use years ago, but I don't remember that much shrinkage (or having to quilt as close as every 2 inches).

My quilt now has little waves in the binding area that weren't there before I washed it, and the shrinking was significant (it now measures 44 1/2", but it started out  at a finished 48" (in theory only since I didn't measure but it was close to that.)  I do like the old fashioned crinkled look the batting gave the quilt, though.

Putting the binding on by machine worked pretty slick.  After I stitched it on the first side, I used Elmer's School Glue to glue the other side in place then stitched it (hoping for the best) and except for one area, (and another I just noticed) it was perfect--well, good enough, and done beats perfect!

Now I just need the baby's name to make a label. 


I think this is the earliest I've ever finished a gift--the baby isn't even due until November.  Boy, it sure feels good to have finally finished something!  And thanks again, Melissa, for hosting such a lovely quiltalong!

Happy Stitching!

September 02, 2013

A different finish...

My Star Surround top should be finished by now.  It only lacks one final seam.  But my usual procrastination happened on the way to the finish. 

I thought I would work ahead and get the back ready.  I didn't have enough of the fabric I bought specifically for the back (and the mother-to-be).  So after much calculating, I figured out a way to piece it with minimum effort and keeping all the little people heads upright.  So, I grabbed the cutter and....cut the wrong fabric.  Whoops!  Definitely did not have enough fabric now.  What to do? Well make another Star Surround, of course. 

Now I have one Star Surround finished--just not the one I've been working on.  All little heads properly upright too.



 

I think I'll use it for the back of my original Star Surround--when I finally sew that last seam.  An unintended reversible quilt.  I hope it will line up okay for quilting, and not be too odd when it's finished if I get things off centered a bit.  (The colors look better in real life--we've a drab day here.)



 




I also finished one more Flower Garden block.  With a little luck, someday I might just finish all the flowers.  I wonder how many more years it might take to finish the four borders....









 


And lucky me--I won a book!  Can hardly wait to put it to use on another new project! :) It looks like grand fun for making leaf shapes and especially the borders. 

Many thanks to Kathleen who blogs at Kathleen Murphy Designs (and who makes spectacular quilts that I often drool over with envy and admiration). 


The book uses the Leaves Galore Template.  Do any of you own these templates?  Which size would be best to get?  Or does it depend on the project?  Guess I better read the book first. :)

Happy Stitching!

August 25, 2013

A little progress...

A little more progress on the Star Surround quilt along--the blocks are sewn, and one row is together.  I'm a little ahead, but need to clean up the sewing room, so I'm anxious to get this done, or at least in one piece.


Also managed to finish one more Flower Garden block.


And managed to find the carpet in my sewing room.  Still have to dig out the cutting mat and my favorite scissors, though.  I'm sure they're under there somewhere.  And no, no photo of that--wouldn't want to scare you!

Happy Stitching!

August 18, 2013

Runaway Blocks

Last week I decided to work on my Flower Garden blocks.  I pulled out the background pieces for the unfinished blocks--7 background pieces were left.  I pulled out the patterns for the unfinished blocks--there were only 6 pattern pieces.  Yep, one was missing.

I keep my projects in bins containing the key parts, pattern, and fabrics for each (if possible).  If there is too much fabric, I put it in another bin, box or basket (or a big stack on the floor). I'm ordinarily a messy quilter, but my applique blocks are actually organized and in numerical order in a stack.  (they are too much work to lose!)  The applique blocks for the Roseville Album and Flower Garden have their own two bins--one for unfinished blocks, pattern, and parts, and one bin for finished blocks and backing/binding--and extra stem bias, because that's where it fits.  (It's what's wrapped around the piece of an orange swim noodle in the photo.)  Baby photos are nice, but the finished block bin is what I plan to save if our house ever starts on fire.

SOME of the WIP Bins
Finish block bin











 
So I went through the bins.  Went through them again.  Looked in any spot where the missing pattern could have been put.  Scanned the other bins. Looked again and again.  Finally, I got distracted with all the UFO bins and decided to look at the Flower Garden borders pattern pieces to see how much more work lay ahead.  That's when I realized I hadn't cut out the missing block's pattern--it was still attached to the border pattern.  Sigh.  Wasted hours.

In the midst of my pattern search, I checked off the completed blocks, so I'd know which one was missing.  Only problem, when I added the finished and unfinished blocks, I was still one short.  Not just a missing pattern, but the whole block.  Another half day search.  I went through everything.  Again.  And again.  I thought I remembered that this block had traveled on a plane with me.  Did I leave it somewhere in the process of stitching it?  Had it fallen behind somewhere?  Had I thrown it away?  I started wondering if I had ever stitched it? 

Truly disheartened, I gave up.  Sat down.  And looked on my blog.  Yep, there was a photo of the missing block.  Remember this block?

The Runaway Block

So where was it?  Hmmm.  I looked at what else I had posted about in that post, dug out that Raining Cats and Dogs bin, and voila--there it was, put away with those blocks.  Now I remember--I planned to wash the finished ones at the same time together. Now I know why I blog! (failing memory?!)

All blocks finally accounted for!  So much for making progress.  Do you ever lose things like this?  So frustrating.
Choosing Fabrics 


Eventually I did start working on the Flower Garden.


Prepped Blocks










I managed to get several of the remaining Flower Garden blocks all prepped and ready to take on our next road trip.  Some parts are glued under and some are front stitched, which I really like using on the leaves. I've even started stitching a little on a couple of them.



Last Flower to Do!





One more is in process--it just needs the tulip flower to be added.




Finished Block!










And I finished stitching one block!  (It is laying on top of the quilt on the design wall which shows through--sorry)




 



 
The cleanest part of the room
 
I did make a big mess.  (This is just a tiny, tiny part of the mess.)  So today, I'll be cleaning up the room......getting ready for the next round of the Star Surround quilt along tomorrow.
 
So far I've resisted joining the Love Entwined BOM.  Not sure how long I can hold out--it looks like fun (and work!)  They just started month #3, so it isn't too late to join in.  Fun of a new project vs. responsibly working on all my UFO's. Decisions, decisions.  Are you going to do it?  A clean sewing room almost needs a new project, doesn't it? ;)  I'm going to have to think about it......

Happy Stitching!