Monday, December 31, 2012

Use It Up

I'm trying to use up fabric from my stash. I got serious about the effort recently and have just started cutting. My strategy has been to start with fabrics for which I have a width of fabric piece (so it includes the selvedges). Depending on how much of it I have, I'm cutting two 2 1/2" strips, one 5" strip, one 6" strip. If there is any left after this I measure it, divide by two and cut two strips this width.

Fabrics for which I don't have a width of fabric piece are getting cut into 5" squares, 6" squares, 4" by 6" rectangles or goes into a bag of fabric I am going to give away.

In the bags at the top are three quilts cut out and ready to be assembled. Two of them even have binding already made and one includes backing fabric. The left most stack is random width length of fabric strips. I'll show you in a minute what I'm doing with those. The bottom stack is 2 1/2" by width of fabric strips. The other two piles are 5" squares, 6" squares and 4" by 6" rectangles. All of these will turn into charity quilts at some point.

Here is what I am doing with the random width by length of fabric strips.

I'm just sewing them together into charity quilt tops. I realized that if I really want to use up some of this fabric, the easiest thing to do is to just sew strips together. This way I don't create any scraps! The above quilt top is width of fabric by about 52".

I've got the binding halfway attached to my third of six projects I wanted to finish before the end of the year. I'm not going to make that goal but getting half of them done is better than none! I hope to get the binding finished up today and I'll show you that quilt when it is finished.

Hope you have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Plumbing Update

My plumbing issue was resolved before 11:30 am yesterday. Yay! I didn't get as much sewing done as I had hoped, but I did get caught up on the dishes and laundry.

The sewing I did was to make binding and a backing for the last charity quilt top I made at my October retreat. Then I decided to do some hand sewing and watch a movie. I'm working on my Fall 12" by 12" project that my art group is doing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Candy Stripes

I finished number two of the six projects I'd like to finish before the end of the year.

Candy Stripes
This is another of the charity tops I pieced at my last retreat. I really like this pattern for charity quilts. It is easy, fairly fast and makes a good size finished quilt, about 54" by 62".

For the quilting I played with a few of the designs from the book Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Waters.

I used Pulleys (p. 58), Wishbone (p. 54), Stacked Triangles (p. 52) and Figure 8 (p. 48). I alternated through these designs and used each one four times.

I hope to get some more sewing done today. My husband and son went skiing so it should be a nice sewing day for me. However, we have had a clogged kitchen sink since Monday afternoon and I've got to deal with that today. The plumber has been called and they should be here early afternoon. Hopefully it won't interfere too much with my sewing plans.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Modern Monday Quilt Along

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted my blocks. The end of the semester, Christmas gift sewing and class sample sewing were consuming most of my time. However, last week I was able to get three blocks done on Tuesday afternoon.

Here are blocks 59, 60 & 61:

I'm still not "caught up" since last week I should have done block 62. I got the above done on Tuesday and took my BERNINA to work with me on Wednesday and left it to be serviced. It's been over a year since I adopted Bernie so he is overdue for a cleaning and tune up. I've also been having a problem with his knee lift that needs correcting. It hasn't affected his sewing but I haven't used the knee lift in a couple of months due to the issue.

Don't feel sorry for me though. I'm not without a machine while Bernie is on vacation. I got out my Featherweight and she'll enjoy the chance the get out of her box for a bit.

Caroll has been keeping up with the Modern Monday Quilt Along. Visit Attic Window Quilt Shop to see her latest block. Then visit 42 Quilts to see what Jenifer has in store for us next. Jenifer said that last weeks block was going to be the last "regular" block and that the last two would be much different. Sounds interesting!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pillowcases for Sandy Hook Students

I made two pillowcases earlier in the week and already mailed them off. These were made yesterday by me and a friend, Barb. They will be boxed up and mailed out tomorrow. Several bloggers are highlighting the pillowcase drive for Sandy Hook Elementary School students. Here is one that includes the address for where to send them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Free Log Cabin eBook

I was contacted recently by Fons & Porter to review their new ebook, Build Your Best Log Cabin. Clicking on the link will take you to their website where you can download your very own copy of the book for free!

If you are familiar with their magazine, the format of this book is similar. Each pattern, and there are four, starts with the finished sizes of the quilt and the blocks along with a project rating (easy, intermediate, challenging). Next the list the fabric requirements and all the cutting instructions. I really like having all this information upfront. I may not cut out everything all at once, but I like to see all the cutting requirements in one place instead of scattered throughout a pattern.

I think all four patterns look interesting but the Woven Log Cabin caught my eye.

The project rating for this one is "challenging" but I think that is mostly due to the fact that it contains 12 different blocks. This really isn't hard but it does require you to get organized and stay organized throughout the project. The blocks are only different in the fabric placement required to create the overall design. The pattern includes a very clear chart which categorizes how many pieces of each color you need for the quilt making cutting and getting organized pretty easy.

Included within each pattern are helpful tips. For the Woven Log Cabin pattern the tips pertain to organizing your myriad pieces for the blocks, which could come in handy for many other projects as well.

The other thing I really like about Fons & Porter patterns is that they tell you which way to press your seams so they nest together nicely. I'm a pretty experience quilter now so I can figure this out for myself, but it is nice to have this already done for me. For new quilters I think this is essential information to include in a pattern so they can have a good piecing experience.

In addition to the patterns, there are instructions for Liz's Lumpless Binding. The end result is the same as the way I do binding, but she uses a different technique for joining the ends than I do. Other additions are Bobbin Work with Trapunto and Binding with Piping.

If you haven't already, click here to your own free copy of the book!

Disclaimer: I am not being paid for this review. I did receive a copy of the book for free, but so are you. All opinions are my own.

The photographs are courtesy of Fons & Porter.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nash Quilt Finished

I'm trying to finish up a few of the quilts I have in progress before the end of the year. I have a couple of projects in the queue for January that I'd like to give my full attention to, but that's hard for me to do with these other things laying around unfinished taking up space in my sewing room. This is the first of six such projects - the Nash Quilt. I blogged about it here previously.

I added two more borders to it so that it is now 36" square, which is still small for my tastes. I don't have enough fabric left to do more and I was ready to be done with it. It will be a charity quilt.

I had fun quilting by it trying out some new-to-me things.

In the first pieced border (the printed border between the two white ones) I practiced taking this design around the corner. I still need some practice but I'm happy with this first attempt. Then I tried the "stacked triangles" design in the second white border. Again, this was a first attempt and as such I'm happy with it. Both of these are from Angela Waters' book "Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Waters."

I had terrible tension issues with this quilt. I believe the problem was the top thread I was using. I could not keep a good tension and it got worse as the spool of thread emptied. I used YLI 40 wt. variegated machine quilting thread in the Jewel color. In the bobbin I used a pre-wound bobbin I got as a sample with my HQ Sweet 16, Hattie. It is a "SuperBOB" wound with The Bottom Line. I used my TOWA to set the tension properly on the bobbin so I'm pretty sure it was not the problem.

A year and a half ago I took all my YLI out of my thread stash and relegated it to hand-sewing only because my old machine, Lily, did not like it. I tried it out on my new Bernina, Bernie, when I got him a little over a year ago and had the same problems. Since enough time had passed and I hadn't tried it on my HQ Sweet 16, I decided to give it another go and had all the same issues with it I had on the other machines. This thread broke repeatedly and every time I checked the tension on the back, which was frequently, it was bad. So I had to stop, adjust everything and then continue. I'm not sure why I didn't just give up after the first few thread breaks, but I didn't.


I will continue to use the YLI I have for hand-sewing, but I'm done using it on my machines for quilting. It seems to do fine going at a regular speed for piecing or with a walking foot, but I can't get this thread to cooperate for free-motion quilting. Which is a shame because it comes in such pretty colors.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Finished Top - Which Witch's Boot

We woke up to snow this morning.

I've finally found a good back drop for photographing a black cat - snow! We've never had a cat who would set one toe out in the snow, until now. Crazy cat! She insisted on going out every time one of us went out to sweep the snow from the walk and sidewalk. I guess she feels she needs to supervise.

The forecast was for 1 to 2 inches. We got more than that and it may snow some more tonight and tomorrow morning.

We had 4.5 inches at about 10 am and it snowed until about 1 pm. Probably got about another inch of accumulation. I'm not complaining about the snow. We really need it! The local ski areas will finally be able to open almost a month later than they usually do.

All this snow makes for great sewing weather. Most of my work is done except for calculating final grades and turning them in. Grades aren't due until Tuesday so today I did this.

I let my OCD side out for a bit and cut the jack-o-lantern fabric so that they are all right side up. Good thing I bought extra of this fabric to use on the back because this was not the most efficient use of fabric. I don't care though. I've got lots of fabric! If I don't have enough of the jack-o-lantern fabric for the back I'm sure I have enough of something else or I'll just piece the back with two fabrics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Little Bit of "Me" Sewing

All my gifts are sewn and sent off. Time for "me" sewing.

I had a few minutes today while waiting for this and that so I worked on my Which Witch's Boot project.

I was able to turn these piles into eight blocks.

That is as far as I got, but it's better than nothing! I didn't get the center embroidery part out today. I have it safely hanging in a closet to keep it from getting lost or wrinkled. To see a photo of the embroidery part, go here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Second Pillow

I did get the second pillow finished yesterday.

Here is the pair.

See my previous post for the embroidery pattern information.

Sure is nice to have new pillows! I think I need to make a couple of pillow covers that I can use with these pillow forms for after Christmas. That will have to wait until next week. This week is Finals Week for ASU so I'll be busy doing grades. In addition, I have several other activities to attend which will keep me out of my sewing room for most of the rest of the week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Snowy Afternoon Sewing

It snowed here yesterday! We need the moisture so badly. No one at my house minded the snowy day. It gave me a chance to do a little sewing.

I turned one of my Reindeer Games blocks into a pillow. The link will take you to a page that contains all the patterns for the Reindeer Games blocks.

I have enough of the red & white fabric to turn another block into a pillow. Might do that today.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What do you think?

I made up this quilt top a week or so ago, but wasn't really happy with the contrast stripe.

Today I made a new contrast stripe by reversing the placement of the two fabrics. So which do you like better?

Slate background with dot accent
Dot background with slate accent
I know which one I prefer. I just pinned the dot background with slate accent contrast stripe over the finished top to cover the original contrast stripe. I'm trying to decide if it is worth ripping out the original contrast stripe to replace it, or should I just leave it. What do you think?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mini Totes

I've been making lots of gifts lately and decided I needed some cute bags to wrap them in.

The smaller one is this pattern by Happy Zombie. The pattern is a free pattern on the All People Quilt website. You may have to register to see it, but it's free to register. The bigger one is my own adaptation of the smaller one. I just upsized everything by 50%. The pattern for the smaller one calls for ribbon for the handles. I didn't have any ribbon that would go with my fabrics so I made my own handles. I think it would be a lot easier to use the ribbon on this small scale.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Modern French General

The Modern Monday Quilt Along will continue for another few weeks. I plan to wait until the last block is published then finished up the last few all at once. To see Caroll's block please visit Attic Window Quilt Shop.

I've had lots of other sewing to do recently and have been busy at all of my jobs too. I finished French General top late last week.

Modern French General
The pattern is Urban Birthday by Jenny Pedigo. I really like the juxtaposition of a modern pattern done up in traditional style fabrics. It is one of the classes I will be teaching at my LQS over the next few months. You can see samples of the most of the classes we are offering by following this link.