Tuesday, September 19, 2017

FALL PROJECTS

Last year I worked on this fall runner for my sofa table.  Finished it up and stashed it it the closet waiting for fall to come again.  However, it was supposed to have a companion runner for our entertainment center, which I cut out and started the blocks but never got very far on it when I went on to other things.  Now is the time to finish that up.  


The blocks are mostly all cut out and sewn together.  
And construction begins.  It will measure 18 my 72 when done.  I am having to make up a few blocks to finish out those measurements.  It is a pretty straight forward project, although choosing the block combinations is a bit of a thinking process for me.  
Fall is quickly on its way here, we have gone from the 100 plus temperatures to the 80's so I had better get moving on this.  


Friday, September 15, 2017

OCTOBER GUILD CHALLENGE

In the early part of this year my guild threw out a color or theme challenge to make an 18 by 22 inch quilt/art piece based on the flower or gem of a month.  I drew February, so was working with violet or amethyst colors.  
I have been working at improving my paper piecing skills and decided to use them to make this piece.  The triangles came from an idea based on the Star Blazer featured on Modern Quilts Unlimited.  I modified the size by 2 inches shorter to match the measurements required.  The 45 degree side strips I ended up actually drawing my own paper piece pattern on copy paper.
The one thing that was a particular challenge was facing it rather than a binding.  I have never done that before.  
Thank goodness for Internet tutorials.  I printed off several, did a good deal of reading them over and ended up with a really good results.  
I really like the result of this nice facing.  My last small project on it will be to put a split hanging sleeve on it.  It will eventually go to our guild quilt show in January 2019 and Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara in October 2018.  A nice finish for this piece.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TWO CHARITY QUILTS DONE & A BABY QUILT KEEPER

I finished off two more charity quilts in the last week or two.  My 1800's fabrics are quickly becoming tops and off the the guild charity program.  
This one really isn't 1800's, but I didn't have anything except these strips of it, so it got thrown into the mix.  
This one ended up just being 4 inch strips finished.  Easy to make and it went off this past week as well.  
This quilt I unearthed when I moved fabric from one storage area to another in my studio.  It was complete except for the side borders.  Why I just left it at that and tucked it away I have no idea.  Once unearthed I finished it, quilted it, and bound it.  It is a keeper to be put with a couple of other baby quilts I am stashing away for just in case gifts.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

PAPER PIECING

I have had only a little bit of experience with paper piecing.  However I recent purchased a pattern from Carolyn Friedlander called Eads, and also downloaded another pattern called Star Blazer by Modern Quilts Unlimited.  I decided to try my hand with Eads first and see where I was with this newer to me method.  
This first block came out really well.  So I was on to block two.
Hmmm!  There was a problem I left out piece #5, just skipped right over from #4 to #6.  My first lesson I learned in this process.  Be sure to cross off the pieces as you sew them so you keep track of which one is next.
Well I have the first two blocks of nine for a wall hanging done.  I'm please with my progress, but now I know I would be able to tackle the Star Blazer.
I managed a great start and along the way I have learned several tips and tricks.  

When I get ready to add a new piece I cut my area at 1/2 inch from the sewing line.  This helps get rid of a lot of extra fabric and it also made it easier to show case in the area whatever pattern on the fabric I wanted to show.  I then once the seam is sewn I recut them to a quarter inch.    
Before I sew on the new piece I have been taping it down with Invisible Duck or Scotch Brand Acid Free tape.  I found it help not to have my piece double over on the seam line and then require me to rip out the stitches which are very very tight.   I do have to say that you waste a lot of fabric, but I cut my pieces at least an inch larger all the way around from the suggested cuts.  I know they will fit then. 
 The paper pieced area is done.  On to the next part of my piece. 
This is not a finish for me, I have found I really like paper piecing.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

CAT RUNNER

My daughter asked me if I could make a table runner for a fund raiser she was involved in that helps pay for spay and neuter of feral cats.  I looked for a pattern to avoid purchasing cat fabric, and finally found a picture diagram of a pattern.  Unfortunately they gave you no measurements for the pieces.   So I winged it!  




That tail was a bit of an issue, but I finally got it figured out.
This guy was a bit easier, mostly because I had already made enough mistakes on the first one that I knew somewhat how to proceed.

Well it is ready to spray baste and start quilting.  That will be the easier part given the lack of a real pattern.

Friday, September 1, 2017

FREE MOTION QUILTING

Free motion quilting has been a real challenge for me.  I just have not been able to wrap my brain around it.  I have managed to dodge it by coming up with all sorts of cheat ways to get around learning to do it.  I have drawn designs on tissue paper and sewn on the lines and then pulled the paper off.  I can get great quilting done that way, but all that paper pulling is a real chore.  I have learned to meander by putting my sewing machine on a serpentine stitch and turning my quilts this way and that to accomplish a nice pattern.  That works, but there has to be a easier way.  So I finally gave up and took a four day class on free motion quilting.
And here I was for four days.  I am told it just takes lot of practice.  Well four days at 8 hours each sounds like a lot to me.  I am exhausted! 
Well practice we did, and I did get somewhat better at this.  Sort of.  
This is my final project practice piece.  Not perfect, but I am doing better.  I took my Bernina 125 with the free motion darning foot, but I have a Bernina 750 with a stitch regulator that probably will work a bit better for me.  I am still not sure that I will ever become really accomplished at this, but I guess I am on my way a bit to being able to master it eventually.  WITH PRACTICE, yes I know!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

AUGUST FAT QUARTER QUILT ALONG BLOCKS

I am a little surprised that I have continued to get the last eight months of a monthly block of the month complete.  I usually give up and move on after three or four months.  Short attention span I think!  These little guys have become sort of addictive.  I will have to purchase some red fabric for September and the following couple months.  I am fresh out of red fabrics.  I am repeating some of the white backgrounds, although I said they would be different each month as well.  White fabric purchases just isn't as exciting as red. 
Four of the six are done, but the other two block parts are cut and put together to complete the last two blocks of the six for this month.
  

Friday, August 25, 2017

BABY QUILT STASHING

I just cleaned out most of my 1930's fabric stash.  While working on a charity quilt to rid myself of some of the huge stash of them I discovered two prints that were very pretty and I had over a yard of each and in fact almost two yards.  Some of it went into the charity quilt, but they were so pretty I thought I would make a baby quilt.  I don't usually need baby quilts as my daughters and all their friends are well into their 40's and 50's and babies are no longer a happening thing around here for us.  However once and a while I do get a request for one, so I have taken to stashing a couple for just in case occurrences. 

A simple pattern but so pretty.  Love it!  It is just 42 by 48 inches a perfect size for me to quilt myself.  Now it is just waiting for a baby I guess.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

CHARITY QUILTS GALORE

I finally managed to get one of my stash busting 1800's charity quilt tops done.  I mention a few posts ago that I had finally decided a huge bin of 1800's fabrics had to go.  Once this one was done I have sort of fallen in love with it.  It really doesn't look so 1800's does it?

This one is also going  for charity.  It is the last of my Cotton and Steel fabrics.  I have made several quilts and runner from this line and I was finally done with it.  I actually sent some of it to my VBF Brooke and still ended up with an awful lot of leftovers.  

This one I made more for boys or men.  Most charity quilts we make and give are girly.  I had lots of browns in the 1800's bin so used them in this very simple 5 inch squares.
And of course the finished 1930's quilt top finished at last.  Yes there are still more cut out and another done, but no photos of it yet.  It has been a marathon this past week, but I still need another run at the remaining ones all cut out.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

IRON AGAINST RUNNER

Here is the culprit!  It is only about 2 years old.  It started leaking several months ago, so I empty the water out of it when I turn it off.  It started spitting so I cleaned it with vinegar.  I have always used distilled water in it, but recently was told to use drinking water in it.      I guess I did something wrong because its final crime was to spit brown water spots all over a runner that I had been quilting and was only 3/4 of the way complete.  
There was nothing to do but wash the runner, still 1/4 of the way unquilted.  I treated it with stain spray, Oxi Stain liquid, and Blue Dawn.  I did manage to get the stains out.  I tossed it into the washer on delicate and hung it to dry.  The stains came out. 
I pulled out an old iron, no steam this time, just Best Press and was able to iron it nice and flat and it actually ended up looking like it had never been wash.  I was able to finish quilting my circles on it.  

I have just purchased a new Rowenta Pro Master.  I am reading the directions really carefully.  Believe me the directions are lengthy and specific, since the silly thing ended up costing $80 and that was with a 20% off coupon I am going to follow these maintenance directions perfectly.  Lesson learned.  
It is all finished now, no brown spots and not looking the worse for the whole experience. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

BIRTHDAY ZIPPY BAGS

My youngest grandson is having a birthday next week.  I have come to the conclusion that cards are just a waste of time and money with children.  I have taken to putting their gifts into zippy bags made with some special theme fabric and giving them money instead.  
This boy loves sharks, this shark fabric was a perfect fabric to make his bag in.  Mom said could I make it big enough to put a book into it.  Great idea, I am headed to Barnes and Noble for a shark book of some sort. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

1930's FABRICS SCRAP ALONG

A week or two ago I decided after reorganizing my fabric stash that some fabric collections had to go.  Its out of control, and many fabric lines have not been touched for several years.  So I started with my 1800's and now have moved on to my 1930's.  
Ok, yes this is a big mess.  I did sort it all in the beginning by color, but as you can see that sort went by the wayside quickly as I started making blocks for a quilt.  
I found this pattern in Fat Quarter Style that makes up a 12 inch block.  Some of my prints had less than a fat quarter, but enough to cut at least one or two of the pieces in the blocks.  
So I started cutting and making color groups.  Silly but I might need to buy just a little bit of the orange and peach colors to help out with my stash and complete my idea.  
Row one is finished.  I am not adding shashings.  These blocks are 12 inches square finished, so with a layout of 5 blocks each row and 5 rows I get a 60 by 60 inch quilt top.  I will just layout colors mixed in each row and be done with it.  And hopefully done with the 1930's fabric stash.  If not then I guess I will be making another smaller baby quilt with what is left.  I need a baby quilt made up to keep for just in case occasions anyway.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

JULY FAT QUARTER BLOCK QUILT ALONG

I finally started my July Fat Quarter Block Quilt Along.  These little guys are sort of an odd pinwheel.  They go together easily too.  
Three more to go and they are all cut out and ready to start.  

Friday, August 4, 2017

GONZO FINISHED

Yes, Gonzo is finally finished.  I can't wait to quilt it.
I did cheat on the third row from the bottom and instead of doing some sort of triangle I just did two strips.  I'm telling myself that I did that to give the eye a rest from all the other activity in the piece.    I thought that sounded more creative than I just didn't feel like making up another triangle block. 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

CURVED PIECING

Another just finished table runner is leaving me today as a belated birthday gift for a past co-worker. Figured I had better get busy making some more. 
I dug this pattern out of my pattern stash.  I probably have had it for several years, but it looked too complicated with those curves to bother with.  However, I was fresh out of runner ideas so decided to give it a try.  
It had these paper templates.  I preferred to be able to use a template edge to draw the curves unto my fabric.  I took them down to the Federal Express Store and they laminated them.  This laminate is much heavier than template material we quilters can purchase.  These templates are almost thick enough to use a small rotary cutter along the edge like a ruler.  Great idea to keep in mind.
Well here it is ready to spray baster.  It was super easy.  The curves are not sewn together the small left side is laid a quarter of an inch over the larger right side.  Sewn down and the stitches covered with a 1/2 inch bias strip.  So Easy!
I used this strip fabric.  I love stripes cut on the bias.  I will use this same bias cut fabric to bind it with.  The large template above is the curve the ends of the runner will be cut.  I think I might pull some of my other forgotten fabric stashes out and try this one again.  
Time to link up with:

Friday, July 28, 2017

GOODBYE 1800'S FABRIC

I have been quilting for about 26 or 27 years.  Over the years I have accumulated various types and lines of fabric.  I have a large collection of 1800 reproductions and also 1930's.  I don't know if you find that what you loved many years ago has now become just hidden away and you are never going to do anything with it again.  I find myself with this issue after reorganizing my quilt studio.  So I pulled out my 1800's and decided it was time to do something with them.  
This bin was full almost over the top.  I scanned through some patterns and began cutting.  I started with cutting fabric for four quilts.  I am lucky that my guild does a great deal of quilt making for charitable purposes.  That is where all this fabric once turned into quilts tops is headed.  
One done and at least three more to go, plus what ever else I can cut out from what is left in that bin.  I have number two about 2/3's done.  I do not have to quilt them, our group has a number of long arm quilters that will do that.  I just have to provide the top and since I have lots of fabric I will also supply the binding.  It is a finish, at least one top and soon one empty bin.  However I do have the 1930's and another bin full of pastel prints.  Making room for new purchases of fabric that I really do love. 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

GONZO CONTINUES

I spent the last few days of the week and weekend working on Gonzo and my Modern Quilt Group project.
I was able to finish my triangle Modern Quilt Group project.
Here it is all finished, quilted, and bound.  I love it and think it is a good example of Modern Quilt pieces using triangles.  
However, as I went back to working on Gonzo I discovered that we are again using triangles in a Modern Quilt project.  So I may end up with two projects after all.  
Here we are with 5 rows of the 9 complete.  Four more to go.  
A little more progress with only one more row to go.  I must admit that I needed to changing row three and row five.  The pattern had one using these triangle shapes that frankly I just could not get to really come out straight or fit in the other rows properly.  If I do not tell no one will know right?
It is not a finish, but I feel like I am making good progress and when I am done I will have two nice wall hangers for my hallway.
So I'm linking up with: