Friday, February 27, 2015

Quilting on Cloud Nine

Yesterday I worked on this Quilt of Valor.

I haven't shown you this project yet but I have taken a few pictures. My picture taking has been hindered due to the weather.

The reason I am on Cloud Nine is that I found out yesterday that the quilt my art group submitted to AQS Paducah was accepted. We are all very excited. I don't know if any of us will get to go to the show ourselves, but our quilt will be there.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Finish :: Charity Quilt

This is the second UFO finish for me for February. If you missed the first one, it was this one.

This is a very simple quilt, just some 5 inch by width of fabric strips sewn together.

I quilted it using my walking foot on my BERNINA. I used the serpentine stitch on my machine. I haven't quilted anything this large with a walking foot in a long time. I forgot how much shifting can happen. Also, when sewing lines, even wiggly lines, with a walking foot you need to sew them all in the same direction. If you know what to look for you can tell where the three or four lines are that I sewed the opposite direction from the rest. Hence the bowed look.

I opted to square up the quilt rather than finishing it wonky. So some of the bottom stripe had to be sacrificed. Oh well. The back is cute!

The serpentine stitch gives a nice texture but I will go back to free motion quilting for my next project.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Binding Bucket

I keep a bucket in my sewing room for storing any leftover bits of binding.

When it overflows, I make scrappy binding.

I use this to bind scrap quilts. I make a lot of scrap quilts. If the binding is already made and ready to use, I find that I am more likely to use it and finish things rather than letting them wait.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Day and Stupendous Stitching

Despite living in Colorado and being surrounded by mountains, where I live does not usually get much snow. In the ten years we have lived here this is only the second time school has been cancelled due to snow. In addition, even though much of the eastern part of the U.S. has been socked in with snow and cold, up until Sunday we had been having spring like weather for weeks with temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s.

As the saying around here goes, if you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes. Things changed drastically for us on Sunday when it snowed all day and into the night. It continued to snow off and on Monday too. I spotted this little bird stopping for a snack in our front yard.

He snacked for several minutes before moving on.

Our estimate is that we got a foot of snow at our house, again very unusual for us. When it snows we rarely get more than 2 or 3 inches of accumulation. We've had little to no moisture for far too long though so we are not complaining. But enough about the weather!

On to the sewing. I purchased the class Stupendous Stitching on Craftsy a while ago. I finally got around to watching it recently since my art group decided to use the technique for one of our 12 by 12 projects.

Last year we did a little round robin type exercise. We got six 15" squares of prepared for dye white fabric and put them in paper sacks with our names on them. Then we traded the sacks each month and did a surface design treatment on everyone else's square. In December we finally got to see our own squares. We put them all up on the design wall and decided that we would each do a Stupendous Stitching type treatment to our fabric and cut them down to 12" by 12".

I looked and looked for the photo I was sure I had taken of my square, but I can't find it. So here is what my piece looked like part way through the process.

I think you can still see enough of the background in this picture to get the idea of what it originally looked like. At this point I had couched some things down and done some machine stitching.

Then I did the hand stitching, trimmed it up and quilted it, then added buttons. Here it is finished.

This technique is really fun! I enjoyed pulling out all of my yarns and ribbons for the couching. Then I pulled out my collection of variegated threads for the machine stitching. I used a variety of threads from my growing hand embroidery threads collection. I collect buttons all the time but rarely use them. It was fun to dump them out and sort through them to find a nice range of sizes and colors for this project.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Scrap Group Report

My scrap group met last Wednesday at Kathy's Fabric Trunk in Del Norte, two towns over and about a 35 minute drive from my house. The link will take you to her website. It really is a great shop! If you are ever in the San Luis Valley of Colorado you should stop by.

We had a great time! Nine of us attended, which ties our attendance record. Most of us made spider web blocks. Thanks to my friend Debbie who helped me with my blocks, I now have six, half the number I plan to make.

Again, I am using this tutorial but I am sewing through the white base fabric instead of flipping it back.

I'm not sure when this will get finished. It may be my next Leader and Ender project since I have everything cut and marked already. When finished it will be a charity quilt.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Scrap Cutting with a Plan

Earlier this week I turned this pile of scraps, plus a few more that didn't get into the picture

Into this stack of 2.5" strips

In just a couple of hours.

I put on a movie and before I knew it, I was done. I used my Accuquilt Go! to cut them. I could have cut the fabric with just a ruler and rotary cutter, but ... (1) it would have taken me much longer and (2) my shoulder and wrist and back would have been killing me long before I had cut everything.

My plan for some of these strips is to make rail fence blocks to go with a few of these stars.

I haven't sewn the star together because I have decided I'd like all the light fabric in the HST to be the same fabric. I have enough to do this. I just haven't done it yet. Once it is finished I plan for it to be a Quilt of Valor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Finish :: Second Scrappy Log Cabin

I'm on a roll! This is my third finish of this week!

For the back I pulled from my stash.

And if you look closely you will see that the binding is also scrappy. I used the left over purple binding from the quilt I posted yesterday as well as three other pieces from my leftover binding bucket.

This one finishes at 42" by 56". It will go to my local hospital for my guild's oncology quilt project.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Finish :: UFO Busting

While doing some sorting/organizing in my sewing room I came across a completed top I pieced at a retreat a few years ago. My mom sent it to me as a kit, complete with binding fabric. It is now finished.

She even sent me this cute backing fabric although it wasn't part of the original kit.

It finishes at about 42" by 48". It will be donated to a local charity. It feels good to have it finished!

Speaking of finishing, I've had it in my mind that I'd like to shoot for finishing one completed top from my stash per month this year. I'm stating it here to make it official. I can of course complete more than one per month, but my goal is to finish a minimum of one per month. In January I completed my Modern Monday project. This is my project for February.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Second Scrappy Log Cabin Top

This is my second one of these quilts. I really love this pattern! All but one of these blocks were made by my guild retreat buddies at our retreat the first weekend of February. In keeping with my new "don't let things linger" philosophy, I've already got the blocks together.

I even have it already basted and ready to quilt. Hopefully I'll get to that soon. My goal was to have it finished before our next guild meeting on Saturday. We'll see how close I get to that one.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Finish :: Floral QAYG

I'm trying to finish things up instead of letting them linger. My QAYG class went well last week. Now I have completed the quilt.

The blocks (all but three of them) were given to me by my mom. The kindest way I can think to phrase this is "these aren't my favorite fabrics." I don't have a lot of realistic florals but do have a few. I used them to make three more blocks and used them on the back, as well as some other fabrics I set aside for a charity quilt.

It took me a while to find a joining strip/binding fabric in my stash that I thought would go with these blocks and fabrics. What I used was not my first choice, but it is what I had enough of in my stash.

Interestingly enough, I don't dislike the finished quilt. It is not my style, but it is nice. Hopefully someone will like it. The finished size is about 49" by 62". It is bigger than I anticipated, but a nice lap size.

I was curious to see how it would wash up and I'm pleased to say that it washed up beautifully.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Retreat Report, Part 2

At a past retreat one of the ladies had everyone make blocks that she turned into a table cloth for us to use at our retreats. She had diva blocks too and told us to pick one that we liked then sign it. These are included in the quilt along with our blocks.

This was the first retreat at which we used the table cloth. We were all a bit afraid of spilling on it, but I think it made it through alright. It's so busy that most stains will be hidden anyway.

We always do some kind of swap. This time it was pin cushions.

We play our version of dirty Santa to do the swap.

Someone usually brings a clothesline that gets hung up in the office area of the place where we stay. Folks hang their completed projects on the line.

We had a great time, as usual. It is a lot of work to pack up your sewing room, drive to the retreat location, unload and set up only to do it all over again in two or three days. However, it is so much fun! The uninterrupted sewing time it worth the effort. As is the good company.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

QAYG Class

Today I am teaching a QAYG (quilt as you go) class at a quilt shop in another town. I taught this class at my LQS before it closed so I just needed to refresh my memory of the steps earlier this week.

My mom sent me a bunch of floral nine patch blocks some time ago. I pulled them out and layered them with batting and backing.

Then I started quilting them simply.

For this quilt I will be joining the blocks with strips on both the front and back. This is my favorite QAYG method, although I cover three different methods in my class. I have found that one method is not appropriate for every quilt so it is good to cover all the methods in the class. Then students can decide what will work best for them and their projects.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Finish :: Over the River and Through the Woods

I'm so excited about this finish. It is already hanging in my dining room.

Quilting this was a fun challenge. I quilted the star blocks and alternate blocks differently.

I repeated elements from these blocks in the outer border.

I quilted the embroidery sections last because I didn't really know how I wanted to quilt them and I was a bit afraid of ruining the hand embroidery. I did a lot of sketching to try out ideas and to practice. This is the final sketch for what I ended up stitching.

And here is a close up of one of the stitched embroidery sections.

Quilting over the hand embroidery was scary, but I'm glad I did it. I was afraid that the quilting would somehow cover the embroidery. It doesn't. I think the fact that the background is white and I used white thread for the quilting helps the quilting to fade into the background even though it is the last layer.

I'll leave you with one last look at the whole quilt.

The pattern is Over the River and Through the Woods. It is a pattern by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio. The links will take you to the designers website and to the pattern page.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Retreat Report, Part 1

I got back yesterday from a weekend of sewing with my quilt guild buddies. I was in charge of the retreat mystery block this time. I chose to do more of a "group project" block rather than a mystery.

They made a stack of scrappy half log cabin blocks for me.

There are 48 blocks here, enough for a good sized charity quilt for our local oncology department.

When I got home last night I put a few of the blocks up on my design to see how they look. The lighting isn't the best since it was night time, but you can get the idea.

There is another row of blocks but I ran out of energy. I think these are such fun blocks! I hope to get the quilt finished before our next guild meeting in two weeks.

I have more to show you from my retreat but will save that for another post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Over the River and Through the Woods Top Complete

Last week I showed you this nice circle of fabrics.

I took a stack of white squares like the one in the center of the above circle and turned them into 64 flying geese. The photo below shows just one flying geese unit from each fabric.

Then I trimmed up my embroidery panels and starting auditioning fabrics for the sashing and blocks.

Of the sixteen print fabrics I used, I only had a width of fabric piece from a few of them. The rest were fat quarters. So I was limited as to what I could use for the sashing pieces. I made it work. I choose the sashing fabrics first, because I had limited options for those. After auditioning which fabrics I wanted to use for the pieced blocks I turned the above very rough layout into the finished center shown below.

I worked out of order and all of my geese for the outer border were already done. So I just figured out a pleasing arrangement, sewed them into border strips and attached them.

Voila! The top is complete.

As luck would have it, I have enough of one of the blues to use for the binding. I just need to make a backing and quilt it up.