Friday, January 30, 2015

Over the River and Through the Woods

I finished the embroidery for this in August 2014. If you click here you can see the embroidered panels and the stack of fabrics I collected for the piecing.

Yesterday I pulled out the fabrics again and started cutting. Finishing the top of this quilt was high on my to-do list for Selfish Sewing Month. Yet here it is almost the end of the month and I'm just starting on it. Oh well! I have done several other things from my list as well as a few spontaneous projects. This month was more about doing what I want sewing-wise rather than checking things off my list.

There were only two greens in my stack so I looked through my stash and pulled a few more. When I put the embroidered panels next to the blues in the stack they didn't look right to me. So I pulled a new set of blues from my stash. I did well the first time when pulling the reds/pinks. I just needed to edit from the original stack. And I decided to stick with only one white fabric. The one in the center is the only one in my stash I had enough of for the whole quilt so that decision was easy.

These print squares with the white will become the flying geese border for the quilt. If you aren't familiar with the pattern, it is a Crabapple Hill pattern called Over the River and Through the Woods. The link will take you to the pattern page on the Crabapple Hill website where you can see the original. I love the pattern but do not care for the colors in the original. Mine will be look very different from the original.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Test is Successful

I finished seed stitching around my little bird.

This takes such a long time, but I love how it looks! It's a good project to do while watching a movie. If you missed it or need to remind yourself, click here to see what the bird looked like before stitching.

The thing I was really testing was the thread, mainly how well it holds up and how it looks on the wool. It did just fine. I was concerned because this thread is old. I got it from a local shop but she said that what she has is all she can get. The thread is Clarke's O-Sew-E-Z Punch Embroidery Thread. I pinned the label above the spool laid on the basted back piece I am starting (see photo below). It is made for punch needle projects but seems to work just fine for my purposes too.

The light colored machine stitching is just basting and will be removed as I go. Originally I was going to just use a plain piece of wool with seed stitching for the back of my bag. Then I decided that I wanted to add a little detail to the back piece other than just seed stitching. So I repeated the little flowers from the front on the back.

I'm also testing how much thread I will need. My In Full Bloom project is about 36" by 42". These two pieces are about 9.5" by 9.5". Based on just the front piece with the bird, I need to buy a couple more spools to be sure that I will have enough. This type of stitching requires a lot of thread!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A New String Project

I've had a spider web quilt on my "want to make" list for a while. This week I started it, with Miss Spooky Boo closely watching. She is so talented that she can supervise through her eyelids! LOL

I am using all the strings left over from this quilt. And I am using this tutorial, although I am sewing all of my strings directly to the base fabric instead of just the first one like the tutorial shows.

It will make the quilt a bit bulkier, but I'm not going to hand quilt this so I don't care. I think it will make everything a bit more stable. I'll probably need to press the seams of the block open though, which isn't my favorite. I'm only making two blocks to start with but I'm planning to make at least twelve. I think this might be my next scrap group project.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Test Project

I am testing an idea that I have for how to quilt my In Full Bloom (Sue Spargo 2014 BOM project) by trying the idea first on a smaller project. So I'm making a small zipper bag and putting one of the birds from Sue's Bird Dance book on the front.

I started my bird at the end of last week. She is now ready for quilting, which is the actual part I want to test.

The colors in this second photo are truer. The two pictures were taken on two different days in very different lighting conditions.

The plan is to use seed stitching for the quilting, which I have done before. But I'm trying a new-to-me thread and I want to see how it holds up before using it on a larger project.

Should make a nice zipper bag even if my idea doesn't work for the In Full Bloom project.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Friday Finish :: Scrappy Log Cabin

It's done and already hanging in my dining room.

I quilted it simply with just lines. They aren't straight lines and they aren't evenly spaced. Many of the logs are not straight or square and they aren't all one size so I didn't want the quilting to be too precise.

We had fresh snow so I decided to try laying the quilt on the snow for a photograph. I prefer the straight on shot but it turned out okay.

I wish I had a way to get up higher so I could take a better picture with the quilt laying on the ground. I'd have to drag out a ladder, which isn't going to happen, so I will stick with clipping quilts to the fence for now.

On Wednesday my scrap group met. We were a smaller group because of the weather and the crud that is going around this area right now, but we had a great time. It was nice to get out of the house and go sew with friends! I taught them how to do this quilt. So I made another block and turned it into a second pillow.

You can see the first pillow if you click on the link: first pillow. As you can see in that post (if you clicked the link), I quilted the first pillow with straight lines using my walking foot. For this second pillow I used one of the stitches on my machine and quilted wavy lines, still using the walking foot. I like them both. It is nice that they are essentially the same but they aren't perfect matches.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This One is Mine!

My fourth bunny pin cushion.

This one is mine! For the back I cut up an old velveteen curtain panel and added some ribbon detail.

The ribbon covers the slit in the back used for turning and sliding in the crushed walnut shells sack.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Chair

I've been searching for a new chair for my sewing room for some time. Finally I found one I like that is small enough to fit in my small space and priced right. It came yesterday.

It is just perfect! I hope to spend many happy hours in this chair hand sewing and drinking tea.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Third Bunny Pin Cushion

This is my third bunny pin cushion.

The pattern is by Sue Spargo and was published in a magazine, Love of Quilting in the July/August 2008 issue. The finished size is 5" by 4.5" and it's darn cute, if I do say so myself. One of my fellow guild retreat attendees will win this one at our February retreat.

I used crushed walnut shells for the first time for the filling. Usually I use sand. I like the crushed walnut shells. They are fine, about the same as the play sand I usually use. But the shells are a bit lighter than the sand, which is a nice change. I like the weight of sand in pin cushions. I don't like to pull at a pin and pick up the pin cushion instead. Crushed walnut shells are heavy enough that the pin cushion stays put when you pull a pin but doesn't add as much weight as sand. It's a nice change.

I've made three of these and haven't kept any. I am remedying that by making a fourth one, which I will keep. I am using scraps left over from my Sue Spargo BOM for mine. I'll show it to you next week when it is finished.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Selfish Sewing Month Update

Half way through my month of selfish sewing and I've completely finished one project, my Modern Monday quilt. I have also finished the applique and embroidery on my Sue Spargo 2014 BOM. Unfortunately, I'm still not permitted to show you any photos of it. The pattern is expected to be released in May. Once that happens I will be able to show pictures here. For now, let me just say I'm thrilled with it so far. I'm trying to decide how to quilt it and hope to start that soon.

At the beginning of the month I made a list of things I wanted to do. New pillows for the living room was on the list.

Here is the old pillow.

And the new pillow.

It's actually the same pillow inside, just with a fabulous new cover. Sure brightens up the room!

The pillow cover is a left over block from this project.

Originally I planned to make 12 blocks. After putting them up on my design wall and doing some measuring, I decided that nine blocks with a pieced border will better suit my needs for this quilt. So the extra block became a pillow. I will make another block next week at my scrap group when I teach them how to do this quilt. That block will become another cover for the second yucky gold pillow in our living room. Meanwhile I'm working on the borders for the above quilt. More on that later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Batting Storage

I make a lot of quilts. Enough that I decided I'd like to purchase batting by the roll rather than as I go. This has also come in handy since my LQS closed and I can't just run downtown to get some when I need it. However, storing a large roll of batting has been a challenge in a small house. Cutting off what I need is also a challenge, especially with a full roll. The rolls aren't heavy, but they are big and unwieldy.

My husband came up with a simple solution recently.

He purchased a long handle and a couple of U clips then installed this underneath one of the basting tables he made for me several years ago. The link will take you to the post where I showed the details about the basting tables he made.

Now when I need batting I pull up however much I need, cut it, and then roll the excess back up. It's kind of like a big paper towel dispenser. I love it! It's so easy to cut batting now and it's stored underneath the table and out of the way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Wool Project and Winner Announced

First, the winner of my Eleven Eleven giveaway is Rose! She responded to my email quickly and her prize is already in the mail on it's way to her. Thank you to all who entered and left such kind comments! I don't do giveaways often because that is not my focus for this blog, but it is fun occasionally.

My next guild retreat is coming up. We are doing a pin cushion exchange. I've been wanting to make another bunny pin cushion and thought this was a good excuse. I've made two previously, first one and second one.

I haven't decided what I will put on the back and I don't think I am quite done embellishing it yet. The pattern calls for some beads which I haven't dug out yet and I think I may do a little more stitching around the leaves and flower. I am going to use crushed walnut shells inside this. I've never used them before. I have a pin cushion that I won at a past guild retreat that is filled with crushed walnut shells. It is nice so I thought I would give it a try on this one.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Modern Monday :: A Finish

The first finish of 2015.

It was a long process to make the blocks, but so much fun especially since I was doing them with my friend Caroll who blogs for her LQS, Attic Window Quilt Shop. It was hard for me to stick with such a limited color palette but I'm glad I resisted the urges to introduce another color.

The quilting took quite a while but it was good practice. I'm pretty confident with this new-to-me design. Here are some closeups of a couple blocks so you can see the quilting better.

I purchased the backing last year and got the binding over a year ago.

I don't have a real plan for this quilt other than I plan to keep it. The finished size is 64" by 64". I'm not usually a fan of square quilts, but I am very please with this one. I'll leave you with one more full shot, minus the cat.

And if you are interested and haven't entered yet, I am having a little giveaway. Click this link to go that post. It will remain open for a few more days and is open to everyone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eleven Eleven Giveaway

This is my 1111th post! And since January is also my birthday month, I'm celebrating with a little giveaway.

When I came home with the wool last month, I also picked out this fabric kit with pattern thinking that it would make a nice giveaway.

There is a tag that says the fabric kit includes fabric for the front, binding and backing for the wall hanging (the dancing snowman on the bottom right of the pattern). The pattern says the finished size of the wall quilt is 24.5" by 32.5". The pattern includes the full directions and full size applique pattern pieces for tracing to make the wall quilt as well as the table runner and the three tea towels, even though the fabric kit is only for the wall quilt.

The fabric kit looks complete to me, but I can't guarantee that the original owner of the kit didn't pull out a piece for something else at some point.

How to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post. You can tell me something about yourself, such as how long you have been quilting, or who taught you how to quilt, or anything else you care to divulge in a comment.
2. If you are a follower, old or new, leave a comment telling me how you follow my blog (through a reader, or email, or Blogger, or some other way) because I'm curious to know how other people follow blogs as I have only used Blogger.

Please be sure that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner! If you are a "no-reply" blogger then please include a way for me to contact you in your comment.

That's it! I will let Mr. Random Number Generator choose a winner on Monday Jan 12th and will edit this post once the winner is drawn letting everyone know that the giveaway is closed. I'll contact the winner on Monday and announce the winner in my Tuesday blog post.

Edited to add: the giveaway is now closed. The winner has been notified via email.

Thank you for following along with my quilting adventures!

P.S. If you don't know whether you are a "no-reply" blogger or not, google "no reply blogger." Or simply click the link in the previous sentence to view the various hits that came up when I googled it. I know that blogger does not play nice with with every type of blog account so this can't be fixed for everyone, but usually those folks already know that blogger lists them as "no reply". If you don't know what a "no reply blogger" is or don't know if you are or not, I suggest you do some research about it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Quilt Finished (Photo Heavy)

I finished this quilt days ago, but wanted to wait to post pictures until after the recipient received it in the mail. They received it last Friday.

I did not have enough of a single fabric for the back so I added a little interest to the back since it needed to be pieced anyway. I also included a sleeve for hanging.

Here are the blocks, in no particular order.

I quilted it simply because the applique should be the focus, not the quilting. The finished size of the quilt is about 48" by 48".

The name of the pattern is Yuletide Joy. The pattern is by Susan H. Garman and was a block of the month from 1998. I was asked to finish the quilt by a friend. Her sister purchased all the fabric kits and block patterns, probably in 1998. She did the first four blocks and then quit. I completed the remaining 8 blocks using hand applique and machine piecing and finished the quilt for my friend.

This project was quite the learning experience for me. I learned that hand applique is extremely time consuming, at least for me. Each block took me an average of 8 hours of work to complete. I also gained valuable hand applique experience. In particular I learned that good quality fabric is much easier to hand applique than lesser quality fabric. This was also the first applique quilt I quilted. Trying to quilt it evenly was a challenge.

Despite the fabrics not being my style, I do like the finished quilt. It is not a pattern I would have chosen to do, but it is an adorable finished quilt. I particularly like how the blocks are set together. They are not laid out in a strict grid pattern and the pieced stars, squares and half square triangles are used to fill in the spaces in between the applique. There is just enough piecing in between the applique to set off the applique without overwhelming it. Even more of a surprise was the fact that everything went together very easily despite being made by two people over 16 years!

It was hard to send it off to its forever home after spending so much time with it. Knowing it will be well loved and looked after is a comfort.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Selfish Sewing Month

Last year I decided that in January I would only sew projects for myself. It worked out so well, I'm going to do it again. I find that a lot of my sewing time at the end of the year is spent sewing for others so January seems like a good time to focus on myself. In addition, January is my birthday month so this is my gift to myself.

The first project I am going to tackle is to finish my Modern Monday quilt. The link will take you to the post in which I showed the completed top. That was on April 8, 2013! Quilting has already begun.

During Craftsy's end of the year class sale, I purchased the class The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting. The design I'm doing on my Modern Monday quilt is one of the designs covered in the class.

I've only watched the first two sessions of this course. Despite not even finishing the course yet, I feel I can safely say that I love this class and am so glad I purchased it. The class is not a basics of free-motion quilting type course. There is no information about basting your quilt, stopping and starting, batting, needles or thread. The course covers free-motion quilting designs, which is exactly what I need. The lessons are organized by design type. Within the first two lessons the instructor, Christina Cameli, covers several designs, how to mix and match them to create more designs and how to look at a finished quilt and deconstruct the design so that you can figure out how it was stitched. When I finish the class I'll try to do a more thorough review, but if you are looking for free-motion quilting design ideas with instructions on how to stitch them, I recommend you check out this class on Craftsy.

The instructor, Christina Cameli, has a blog too, called A Few Scraps.