Friday, April 29, 2011


Sheltered, a quilt for Trimmings2011

This quilt is made up of raw edged improv log cabins with, mostly, animals, birds and flowers in the centres, sheltered.

Sheltered is a wall quilt, about 28" x 40", made from Umbrella Prints trimmings. Trimmings are random bits of the beautiful Umbrella Prints fabrics. This quilt used three packages. The background is Kona Coal and the binding is Ta Dot from Michael Miller.

I have entered it in the Umbrella Prints Trimmings2011 contest, the prizes include some of their fabric, which I am in love with. It would be fun to have more to make a bigger quilt. There are a lot of wonderful entries so far, just being part of such a talented group is pretty nice.

I showed you the back already, but here is it again. I am really happy with the quilting on this. The thread is a variegated gray so it shows up nicely and the colour changes really do make it more dynamic.

Back of my Trimmings quilt



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some progress

Supernova top completed

I have finished the Supernova QAL top. This pattern is rather amazing, each new person's approach to it just leads to another beautiful quilt. If you go over to the flickr group you can see for yourself.

Here is my plan for the back. Lee designed a really nice zig zag (go here to Freshly Pieced for her design) using some of the subunits but since I had an extra block done and some bits of fabrics left, I decided to use them instead. (Please excuse the wrinkles - I was in a rush this morning)

Supernova QAL back

Now I am challenged to quilt it. Some people have done an all over pattern like a stipple or loopy loop and others are doing straight lines. I am inclined to straight lines that might emphasize the asterisk and other secondary straight line patterns but am not sure yet. Turning this quilt on pointe lets you notice some of the secondary designs better.

Supernova top completed

I am leaving you with these, Party Rings in the flesh, in Canada, courtesy of my friend who was recently in London. These sure do look like the giant dresden blocks for my Party Rings quilt, don't you think? Judith, quilt-namer extraordinaire, was right!

Party Rings, straight from London


ps. I have linked to WIP Wednesday where there is, as usual, spectacular work to see.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quilting - by yourself, on your own sewing machine.

Back of my Trimmings quilt

I bought a great quilting book with beautiful patterns from talented designers this weekend. I love the book but I was sad that the book clearly did not encourage quilting by yourself on your own sewing  machine, instead it encouraged hand quilting or using a professional longarm quilter (which are both good ideas too.)

Well, I think that quilting the quilt on your own sewing machine is great fun. I think that it is not as hard as we might believe and that a bit of practice and willingness to experiment, is all it takes. Also, finding the right approach, with the right level of detail for you, at that moment in time helps.  I am finding it a lot easier to do detailed designs, to take my time doing then, and to be happy with the results, when the quilt is not huge. I am also trying "quilt as you go" blocks to solve the difficulties in quilting a  big quilt.

The picture above is the back of my Trimmings 2011 quilt which I quilted this weekend. I hope to put on a sleeve and photograph the front this week. But the back really shows off the quilting. Up until now, I have not really liked the way the thread looks on the back of the quilt as much as the front when I machine quilt.  I am learning to go a bit slower and that really improves the look.

Here is a block with just straight lines, using a walking foot. Again, this is not hard, just takes practice and patience.

QAYG - stage 1

Here is a mug rug with a bit of both straight lines and free motion using a darning foot.

At the beach

And bit of stipple, one of my favourites on the quilt, especially once it is washed.

free motion quilting

There is nothing even close to perfect about my quilting. I have a long journey yet on this quilting road.  But I like it anyway, and it is fun to do.

So I hope you will give machine quilting, by yourself, on your machine, a try too.


Here is the link to Fabric Tuesday, I hope you go and look at the other projects and ideas too.

Fresh Poppy Design

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mostly cutting stuff up - a little quilting too.

Trimmings quilt in progress
I decided to set the small log cabin blocks I showed you in the last post on a Kona Coal background. I sewed them down like a ticker tape quilt, which is also like raw edge applique.

Now I am making pebbles/bubbles around them. The variegated gray thread is interesting on the dark background.
Trimmings quilt, the quilting has started

I am hopeful that this will turn into an interesting wall quilt. It is rather compelling, making these circles, I expect I will finish this part soon.

Other than this, I have been cutting up stuff:

  •  I cut up the dark gray, the white back and the batting for this project.
  •  I cut up the sashing and the small accent bits for my Supernova Quilt. 
  • I cut up 8 more backs and batting for the Bloggers Block-a-palooza blocks. 
  • I cut up 6 backs for my Lily's Quilts QAL giant dresdens.
  • Today I bought new batting for the giant dresdens, so that now needs to be cut too.

I am not fond of the cutting part of quilting.

Soon all those projects will be in line for quilting too. Good thing I like the quilting part.

Oh, and after everyone was burned using the old oven mitts, I felt compelled to make something we actually needed.
People were getting burns!

I hope you find time for some relaxing over this Easter weekend.


ps I have linked to {Sew} Modern Monday, there are more interesting projects over there, just click the button.
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Log cabin blocks and beautiful fabric

Trimmings blocks so far

This has been a work in progress for a couple of weeks. If you want to see each of these blocks more clearly, here is the link to a set on my flickr page. I received these packages of Trimmings from Umbrella Prints:

Trimmings received to make log cabin blocks

There is a competition. These bits are trimmed from large pieces of linen and organic hemp/cotton fabric that has been hand screen printed in Australia. You make things from the Trimmings and post them on the Umbrella Prints flickr group. (There are many wonderful projects already posted, you may want to have a look.)
The contest closes May 1 and then, after 10 finalists are picked, people vote the winner.

I have been making these log cabin blocks and now I have to decide how to finish them off. They are not big, laid out all together they cover the end of my sewing table, which is about 17"x 20".

Tiny blocks - Trimmings

I am thinking that I might give them each a bit of sashing and quilt them into a mini quilt, or I might attach them with raw edges to a background as I love their raw edge look. Or maybe another idea will develop, I have all of the long weekend to play with them.

I did buy one more package of bright pink and red bits, but I think I will make them, somehow, into a bag. I'll let you know.

I'm linking this to WIP Wednesday, the projects linked there are always worth a look.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced



Quilt As You Go – joining the blocks

I am posting a copy of the guest post I did with Marci on Lily's Quilts blog today:
Step 11 - Washed and Dried

Today Leanne from she can quilt and Marci from Marci Girl Designs are blogging together as a guest post on Lily's Quilts. All the pictures in this post were taken by Marci and you can view them on her flickr page here.

To us, one of the scariest parts of a QAYG approach to quilt construction is how to join all those blocks without making a hot mess. Would the quilt have lumpy seams? Would the batting wad up into bumps?

One method is to leave the off the backing while you quilt the front and batting together. Then you sew together the front/batting blocks and add the backing at the end. This allows you to have a continuous backing piece but the quilting from the front will not show on it. Penny at sewtakeahike has a tutorial for this method here.

Some methods use strips applied with, or without, additional batting between the QAYG blocks. The strips can be wide or skinny and add an interesting design element to the quilt. Marianne at The Quilting Edge has tutorials here and here.  Sew We Quilt @ Stash Manicure has a tutorial here. Monica at the Happy Zombie has a tutorial here.

Another interesting approach is to bring the backing fabric to the front between the QAYG blocks and use it as a sashing. There is a video by Penny Halgren showing this method here. This tutorial from Mary Ann at Rocknquilts, explains how to join the batting with an iron-on tape specially designed for batting. This idea is intriguing, but we are not certain that it would work easily in a tight spot and it requires you to purchase the special iron-on tape.

Marci and I wanted a slightly different result. We wanted:
  • a clean join on the front seam without adding any kind of design element to the front or the back of the quilt,
  • the batting securely joined so it would not shift into a lump,
  • as little hand sewing as possible,
  • no bulky seam from sewing the front and the batting together,
  • the quilting to show on the back of the quilt.
So we got into a discussion, exchanged ideas and made some impossible suggestions. That puzzle led us to think harder and come up with the method we are sharing here. Although we are both sure others have solved this problem in the same way, it was not something we had read or heard about before. We both made a small sample quilt to test this approach and we washed and dried the samples. So far, so good.

Here is our approach:

Step 3 - Quilting

Quilt your blocks with the backing fabric in place. Make sure your back fabric and batting are larger than the front block. This gives you something to hang onto while you quilt and the extra for the joining of the blocks later. Leave about 1 inch unquilted at the edges of the front fabric.

Step 4A - Pin Front Seam Together

Align the two blocks and place them right sides together. Fold and pin the batting and backing fabric out of the way. If your fronts are out of line, trim them. Stitch your front fabric, right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam.

Step 5 - Iron Open Seam

Press open the front seam. Be careful to use a heat setting on your iron suitable for your batting.

Step 6 - Cut Batting

With the back of the blocks facing you, lay the piece flat and pin back the backing fabric. Carefully trim the batting with scissors so that when it is lying flat both sides of the batting touch but do not overlap. Perfection is not required here, batting is forgiving.

Step 7 - Pin Batting

Fold the blocks, right sides together. Push the seamed front fabrics into the fold and pin them out of the way. Pin the batting together.

Sew the batting together using a blanket stitch (l_l_l_l_) or a short zig zag (vvvvvv). Stitch slowly so that the needle goes into the two pieces of batting on one side and goes over the edge of the batting into nothing on the other side.

Step 8 - Sewn Batting

When you are done, open the seam and smooth the batting or give it a very gentle tug to flatten it out. The idea is similar to a flatlock that you can do with a serger. You may want to test this out on some scrap pieces of batting to get the best size of stitch to achieve this with your sewing machine.

The goal is to secure the pieces of batting together without creating an overlap or lumpy seam.

Step 9 - Sew Backing By Hand

The last step matches some of the tutorials mentioned earlier. Trim the backing fabric if needed so that the pieces overlap about 1/2 inch when smoothed out. On one side, fold and iron under 1/4 inch of backing fabric. You may want to hang one side over the ironing board to make this easier. Then place the back fabric with the turned-under side on top, smooth, pin and hand sew it in place. Go back to our first photo, that shows this sample after it was finished, washed and dried.

Repeat for all your blocks, horizontally row by row and then vertically row by row.

We are going to use this method on our huge Dresden blocks from Lily's Quilts QAL. If you decide to give this a try, let us know how it works out.


Leanne and Marci

ps Thanks to Lynne and Marci for the collaboration on this, it was fun. As Marci points out, we are in three countries and two continents - it is rather amazing to make friends internationally and work together. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quilting Bees

Quilting bees are messy!
Quilting Bees are messy!

But I made some nice blocks:
Aqua and Orange Bee - Melissa's Blocks

Aqua and Orange Bee - Melissa's Blocks

Those two are for the Aqua and Orange Bee - I get to use these amazing colours when it is my turn! We used the Quilt Dad tutorial for these (it is here).

And this one is for my other bee, the Twelve Month Quilting Bee:

Twelve Month Quilting Bee - Melissa's Block

The tutorial for this block is here, by Elizabeth Hartman from ohfransson! I have wanted to try this block  for a long time so it was great to have the chance. It is a much harder block to do than I thought, with a fair bit of planning along the way but the result is well worth it.

These are off to Melissa tomorrow. I wonder what blocks I will get to do next month, the surprise is another fun part of being in a quilting bee.



Friday, April 15, 2011

And then there were four.

And then there were 4 - LBSP Blocks

(My process is here, tutorial is here.)

Just a quick post, in case you, like me, were wondering about how this block looked next to some others - pretty excellent!



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Second verse, same as the first.

I have now got several projects on the go. I have to say that the quilt alongs I have joined are the best - the projects are divided into manageable portions with time to ponder and think before moving to the next. And the groups are supportive, creative and inspiring. I know you have seen these projects before, but I'll bring you up to date.

Here are my Supernova QAL Blocks so far. I am considering whether or not to make a couple more, I had cut out the fabrics for them so I may do them to see if I like them better. I need to decide my placement order as the sashing instructions will be up soon. Any left over blocks could be a pillow, no loss there.

Supernova finished block mosaic 2

The way your brain plays with these blocks is rather amazing, they look best from a distance.

I have also managed to piece all my backgrounds into my Party Rings quilt for Lily's Quilts QAL.

Party Rings - Lily's Quilts QAL 6 blocks done

Instructions are up for the borders on these blocks and I think I may have figured out the plan for joining the QAYG blocks. I'll post more on that later this week.

And I have been working on more LBSP blocks, I posted about them earlier here. If you want to have a peek at my QAYG progress on the Bloggers Block-a-Palooza blocks, it is here.

Here is the link to WIP Wednesday, this group is inspiring, go have a look.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

QAYG - it's pretty fun!

QAYG - stage 1

Much of my time is spent quilting these blocks (edited to add: these are my Bloggers Block-a-Palooza blocks, there are earlier posts about them). It is really fun to be able to spin them around and change the angle without a care to how much of the rest of the quilt has to move.

QAYG, bloggers block-a-palooza block

And here is the back.

QAYG, bloggers block-a-palooza block, back

This one has flying geese.


And one more.

QAYG - stage 1

I am hoping to get my nerve up to do some interesting free motion quilting, not just straight lines.

I am reading tutorials about how to join the blocks, I will post links to a bunch of excellent ones when I start the joining process.

There are other interesting projects over at Quilt Story, you should have a look.

Fresh Poppy Design


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Slow down, you're moving too fast

Quilting is a process.

These blocks, affectionately called LynneBobSquarePants by Lynne at Lily's Quits who posted this helpful tutorial, have 36 squares each. They are not hard but the process takes a while. I am working on them in between and before and after. Some people call this kind of project "leaders and enders".

They make me slow down and that is a good thing.

The sun is shining, enjoy your Sunday.


ps, Go here for  a video here about this approach of sewing a square to making half square triangles.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Supernova QAL - I'm quilting along

supernova blocks mosaic1
These are my nine groupings of the first stage blocks for the Supernova QAL That link is to the flickr group where you can see everyone's work,  click this button to get to Lee's blog where the excellent instructions are posted.

Supernova Quilt-Along with Freshly Pieced

I really like these blocks and think these, alone, could be a great quilt. This is not my final block order, and I think I will make the extra green one I cut and switch out one, the left over block could be a pillow I think.

This block transforms when you do step 2. It's big too, 17.5" square.
Supernova QAL finished block
I am totally smitten!

I have three done now.
Supernova QAL 3 finished blocks
It is never too late to join in and make one of these for yourself.