Saturday, June 30, 2012

Q2 FAL Report: guardedly optimistic


Q2 in the Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap's Finish-A-Long is over and it is time to report in. I finished Red - the Ta Da post is here. This quilt was great fun to make. It is improv with Oakshott shot cottons but not too difficult. The size was determined by the amount of linen on hand, so Red has a practical side. The quilting and binding both made such positive additions to the over all quilt. And I designed Red myself, she is one of a kind - although there are many quilts made in this style.

On the Tiles - Ta Da!

I do wish I had better pictures of On the Tiles. I will see what I can do next week as this quilt is heading to the beach. For this quilt I had purchased a Reunion by Sweetwater layer cake and then, by chance, I stumbled across the Summer's Blush pattern by Bloom designed for a layer cake. I am so pleased with how the pattern took on a whole different look, like floor tiles, when made with these fabrics and when I skipped the borders. You can read more about this quilt in the Ta Da post here.

Butterflies - done

And just this week I finished Butterflies. I adore this quilt which is made with Terrain by Kate Spain. The block pattern is a twist on the drunkard's path blocks, and I began playing with it after I was inspired by Megan from Canoe Ridge Creations' tutorial here. This the most cheerful quilt I have made, it just makes me smile to look at it. The Ta Da post for this quilt is here.

 You will see if you read my post from April setting out all my Finish-A-Long goals, which is here, that I finished 3 of 7 listed projects. But I have made progress on all but one of the remaining projects:

  •  the Mystery Quilt is basted and I am going to order some threads for hand quilting as I simply cannot decide on how I might machine quilt it;
  • I now have 8 blocks for my LynneBobSquarePants quilt. Those blocks are slow but I do like them a lot so I will see if I make 9 or 12 in total before I finish it off;
  • My Echo Stained is basted and ready for quilting, I have just run out of time and it will have to wait for next month;
  • The Klimt inspired quilt got zero attention, I think maybe I will try to work on it during my holiday when I am not so distracted.
So, overall, my Q2 progress report is guardedly optimistic: I am pleased with the finishes - three quilts in three months - and I am relatively sure that I will be able to finish the rest soon. I am hoping Rhonda is in for Q3, the FAL works for me. Oh, and my chronic case of startitis means that I will likely never run out of projects that need finishing.

2012 Finish-A-Long

I am packing today, travelling tomorrow. My next post, will be from the west coast!



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Potholders remind me of my grandma


My friend Debbie at A Quilter's Table is an amazing quilter and she is also a great cook. She has been hosting Tuesday at the {Summer} Table for all of June and I have been collecting the recipes for my summer holidays. The last day for the link is Wednesday and since projects for the table are allowed, I decided to finish my potholders, which you see above.

Those potholders are a bit wonky and they have an old fashioned look to them - in part from the Katie Jump Rope Denyse Schmidt fabrics. They would have been right at home in my grandma's kitchen. She was a woman who could cook anything, always from scratch and while visiting, laughing and telling stories. Every visit to her house was filled with fun and great food. In between that, she taught me to knit, to embroider to her perfection standards and to sew. She also shared everything one could ever need to know about hockey and football, playing cards, shopping and camping.

So I am taking those potholders with me for the summer and I am going to try out as many of the delicious recipes linked up as I can, all the while remembering my grandma and having fun.

People were getting burns!

This group of oven mitts and potholder are the ones I made months and months ago for my kitchen here. Although they are an old project, we use them every day in our kitchen and they still work fine. They also remind me of my grandma's kitchen. She had those dishes (and I have some of them now), she had a radio like those on her shelf and I am even sure she gave me one of those view finder toys for a birthday or Christmas, as I had one as a child.

You have until the end of Wednesday to link up a recipe, table sewing project or story from your table for the month, but you can also visit there anytime, which I plan to do all summer. Thank you Debbie for hosting this series.

  A Quilter’s Table


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Butterflies - Ta Da!

Butterflies - done

This is Butterflies. She is all done, washed and was out in the morning sun. This quilt is made from Terrain by Kate Spain and Kona white. The binding is made of scraps of Terrain too. It finished at about 44" x 56".

Butterflies - before washing

That is a picture before washing. I have now found this block in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns, page 403. It is #3364, Fan Quadrille - by Mountain Mist. Megan from Canoe Ridge Creations did a tutorial for a version of the block here. I made drunkard path quarter circles and trimmed them and added the other squares to make the block. They look like butterflies to me.

Butterflies - before washing - detail

I decided to be brave and do some free motion quilting on the butterflies. You can see that my lines are a bit wobbly and I just free handed it as I went. I was hoping that the washing would sort out the wobbles and it did - any remaining wobbles add texture and interest, at least I am hoping you see it that way. I decided that the only way to get better at this kind of quilting was to just do it, and I could see improvement even in this single piece as I did more and more.

Butterflies - before washing

There she is before I threw her in the washer and dryer. After I braved the free motion quilting bits, I got out my walking foot and outlined the motifs with some straightish lines. I used a variegated white/tan Valdani thread for all the quilting.

Butterflies - after washing, detail

Here is the quilting detail after washing in the bright sun.

Butterflies - after washing - detail

I love these artsy quilting shots.

Butterflies - back

On the back I used a Timeless Treasures print called Tree. I love this print and it works nicely with the butterfly theme.

The binding is made of scraps of left over Terrain and I machine stitched it on. I used Marianne from the Quilting Edge's tutorial and it works exactly as she said it would. I even carefully followed her extra tutorial for the corners and I got 2 out of 4 corners finished perfectly. The other two I fixed with some hand stitching. Although I do like the hand sewing of bindings, this method is neat and far quicker and I will use it again.

Butterflies - detail

Another detail shot, after washing. This quilt is so cheerful and full of colour.

Butterflies - done

A folded, parting shot. And, I am reminded to add that I am made my little video about how easy it is to sew curves without pins while making this quilt - it is here.

This finish is also another finish for Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap's Finish-a-Long. There is not much time left - it is nice to have this one done in time for summer.

I will link this post up to {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations and to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story as the week progresses. The buttons for both these links are on the right side of the blog. There will be inspiration at each of those links, hopefully you have time to visit.



Friday, June 22, 2012

How can it be Friday night already?

Finishing-A-Long - LBSP

I am still determined to make a honest effort on my Finish-A-Long list. I made two of these LynneBobSquarePants blocks tonight. I really love the old fashioned look of these blocks with the Moda lawn fabrics and Kona Charcoal but each block takes a while to make. I am thinking I will do 3 or 6 more and call it a nice lap quilt. Whether I finish it this quarter or not, I am 1/3 further along than I was before, so it is progress.

Free Bee - Totems for John

Those three blocks are now joined together and in the mail for the Free Bee, to John. The inspiration for this assignment was the totems made by Erin Wilson (go here to see, I'll wait, she is amazing), and they were just fun to make. I was thinking of windows as these 10" blocks came together. They are made with Oakshott shot cottons.

Seam ripper, closed

Now, I saw this lovely hand made seam ripper on Amy, from During Quiet Time's blog here a week ago. Her husband made it. I ordered it that night and it came today - a week, record speed. In that picture it is closed and on the chain.

Seam ripper, open and detached

Here it is open and detached, read for action. It has a most satisfying weight and is perfectly made. I can't wait to use it. (And we all know there are no shortage of opportunities.)

Needle holder

I blame my guy for this new inclination to collect beautiful sewing accessories - he went shopping and surprised me with a few beautiful wooden things for Mother's Day last month. That is a handmade needle case - imagine carving that little knob.

Magnifying glass

The magnifying glass is handy, especially when the reading glasses are not. But look at that little wooden ring, it is continuous, not glued - a beautiful piece of work.

Embroider scissors holder

And last were the little embroidery scissors. I expect that I will be on the look out for other unique and hand made sewing doodads - seriously, I had no idea such lovelies were about.

I also seem to be making a few more mug rugs - which you see along with the accessories, and I prepared quilt backs this week too. Tomorrow morning I plan to sandwich and baste the butterfly top  and my Stained quilt top. And then, if there is time, I will quilt too. Unfortunately, there is much work to be done to get ready to decamp to the coast for the summer so I am not sure how much sewing can happen. But I am giving it my best shot, Q2 of the FAL ends in a week.

However, the best news is that my miserable cold is finally on the mend, I have scheduled it to be all gone by morning - here's hoping.

Enjoy your weekend, yesterday was the solstice, summer is finally here.



Monday, June 18, 2012

This and that

Butterflies - top done

With less than 2 weeks to spare, my focus has returned to Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap's Finish-A-Long. I had 9 of these butterfly blocks at the beginning of the quarter and as of now, I have a pieced quilt top. I think these blocks are so pretty and a nice way to showcase these fabrics, which are Terrain by Kate Spain.

Hopefully I can get this top quilted by the end of the month, as it is on my FAL list. I am also hoping to quilt my Stained quilt for the FAL too - it is a good thing I like quilting part of quilt making so much.

Double Circle Flying Geese Pillow

On the weekend I finished my first ever pillow (cushion to some). I learned how to make this Double Circle of Geese at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in my class with Lynne from Lily's QuiltsThe fabrics are Summerville by Lucie Summers and black Quilter's Linen. My youngest has claimed this pillow as his birthday present.

Kaffe Fassett fabrics for me

Do you remember Claire and her ROYGBIV reversible quilt? Go here if you have forgotten.

Kaffe Fassett fabrics

Claire and her dad sent me this stunning set of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I can hardly wait to use them to make a quilt just for me - they are perfect, thank you!

And if you have not yet voted, the finalists are up for the Summer Sewing Contest at Ellison Lane Quilts and you should head over to vote, there are a lot of beautiful things in the final cut (including many of my friends' makes, although not mine). Thank you to Jennifer for all the time and work in  hosting this event.

Ellison Lane Quilts

Since this post has a finish, work in progress and beautiful fabric, I am going to link it to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story (the button is over on the right). I have been missing these regular link ups, there is always a lot of inspiration there.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

I'm making bee blocks


One of my new bees is called the Free Bee and it has many superstar quilters in it. I am a late game sub - but hey, I'm thrilled, I get to learn a lot and I only hope I can keep up. Lynne asked for a block in grey, black and white with one pop of red and gave us one of the well known Shindler's List movie photos for inspiration.

The background was pieced by cutting bits of my Oakshott shot cottons and arranging them on the table, then adding more. I sewed together bits, rearranged, sewed some more, and eventually also sewed the Y seams and the perpendicular meeting seams that inevitably result.

Free Bee - detail

The red circle is raw edge applique. The concept for this block also draws a lot of inspiration from the Orbit quilt by Jennifer Sampou that is at page 73 of the We Love Colour Book. You can see my friend Svetlana's version of Orbit here, which she called Sunset (go and see, it is wonderful).

For Lynne - Free Bee

Here is my block again in different light from last night. As always, the Oakshotts are hard to photograph, in part because they are supposed to change as the light changes. I love this block, it turned out just as I imagined it. I might have to play with the ideas a bit more.

Pinball Machine - for Valerie, Modern Blocks Bee

That block is Pinball Machine by Jessica Brown and it is at page 136 of the Modern Blocks book. I have made this block before and would happily make more. It has just right amount of asymmetry to keep me amused while still being so square and geometric. It is for Valerie in the Modern Blocks Bee.

Seeing Double - for Valerie, Modern Blocks Bee

This is Valerie's other block. It is called Seeing Double and is by Yvonne Malone at page 162 of the Modern Blocks book. I love the red and hope it will pop nicely in her quilt.

I am planning to play some more with the dresdens today and make cupcakes for my youngest's birthday. I'm still sick, so the rest of the time I am going to drink tea and nap.

Enjoy your weekend.



Thursday, June 14, 2012

A little sewing

More Dresdens

I'm still making dresdens, there are 4 more on my ironing board that I made last night after I took this photo. I have chosen a light natural linen as the background, you can see it in a couple of the circles. The other fabrics are from Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater.

I am leaning toward applique - not something I have done much of - using the portholes techniques for turning the edges under. If you have other suggestions for placing these on the quilt or turning under the edges that does not involve hand sewing, please let me know. I think that the placement will be something like the picture - randomly- which is why I am thinking that piecing the circles into blocks might limit the arranging options a fair bit.

Tokyo Subway Map block for Megan - Always Bee Learning Bee

I made these bee blocks for the Always Bee Learning Bee on the weekend. They finish as about 16" squares, each piece is a finished 2" square.

Tokyo Subway Map block for Megan - Always Bee Learning Bee

They are blocks from Elizabeth Hartman's Tokyo Subway Map Quilt, QAL and pattern at this link. Megan sent me the squares already cut up. Exactly what I needed, a chance to piece without cutting - it was a pleasure to make these.


And I entered Noise in the Summer Sewing Contest. I linked the contest to the Ta Da post here. There are now a lot of wonderful things in this contest, many made by my friends, so head over for some inspiration. There will be voting too next week, and frankly, it will be hard for me to ask for your votes when several of my friends have beautiful quilts the same category as me but I will remind you.

Ellison Lane Quilts 

I am hoping to get back to Finish-A-Long sewing this weekend, and making more bee blocks - oh and I seem to have joined a couple of wonderful bees this week too, oops.

Enjoy your day, the sun is shining here.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Repairing a block

Set Sail Block - Modern Blocks Bee for Lizz

This is the Set Sail block by Susanne Woods from the Modern Blocks Book. I made it yesterday for  the Modern Blocks Bee. This block has a lot of pieces and those masts finish at 1/4" wide. My queen bee sent beautiful blue and aqua background and water fabric and asked us to use our scraps for the rest.  It was challenging for me as the background fabric is a lovely light weight fabric which my sewing machine just wanted to chew up with every start.

Repairing a block 1

I changed the needle and started seams in the middle, sewing to each end and finished the block. But that little bit at the top of the third mast was bugging me. If the block was trimmed to avoid the gap, the block would loose the points on the top sails once it was pieced into a quilt. I woke up this morning and decided to fix it, so I thought I would share the quick fix with you too.

Repairing a block 2

The obvious fix is to take apart the block and insert a new mast piece. But given the challenges I had experienced sewing this block I wanted to avoid that. So I unpicked about an inch on each side of the mast.

Repairing a block 3

I pinned another bit of mast fabric in place. I wanted to make sure the seam of this repair did not end up on the seam line of the block making the block hard to piece later.

Repairing a block 4

I sewed the repair piece on, being careful not to catch the edges.

Repairing a block 5

You can see I sewed across the seam twice, just to make sure it did not unravel because it is not very long. Then I trimmed off the excess.

Repairing a block 6

Flipping to the back, I finger pressed the new seam and  laid the old seam line along the repaired piece. Then I sewed the seams I had unpicked again on both sides. I did a small backstitch where the new seam stitches overlapped the old, to make sure it would stay secure.

Repairing a block 7

You can see it sewn on both sides. By the way you can also see the little thread loops (or globs) that my lovely Janome Horizon makes - seems this is a design feature to secure the threads, so I have learned to ignore it but I don't care for it much.

Repairing a block 8

Here is the repair from the front.

Repairing a block 9

Trimmed and close up. You can see the seam but it is not a problem. It is low enough so that it does not interfere with the sewing of the block in the quilt. And it is high enough to avoid interfering with that horizontal seam below it.

Repairing a block 10

And from even this distance you might not notice it if I had not shown it to you.

I might not have bothered to fix this problem if this was a block for me. But for a bee, I try to do my best work, while still be alive to the challenges I faced in this case with the machine chewing up the background fabric. After, it is patchwork, and so I patched it.

And now I am off to work, that did not take long at all.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

A new project and so long to May

May 2012

My May wrap up for Fresh Sewing Day hosted by Lynne at Lily's Quilts is fashionably late. Not a lot of projects but two of them are large -60" x 60" - quilts, so I am good with what I accomplished in May. Especially since I missed a week of sewing in May while in London.

Lily's Quilts

Lynne keeps the link open for a whole month, which is a good thing. There is plenty of inspiration linked there, if you have a chance to visit.

Large Dresden

I have been impatiently awaiting the release of Sweetwater's new fabric line Mama Said Sew, and when I got home from London the bundle I had fortuitously found for sale on the internet was waiting for me. I wanted to make something fun that was both modern and traditional, sort of like this fabric.

Some dresden circles

So at 4 a.m. this morning - still jet lagged, not on my own time at all - I was wide awake and sewing. I have decided to play with dresdens.

There have been many inspirations for this:  I have wanted to get back to playing with dresdens since my Party Rings quilt which I made as part of the Lily's Quilts QAL last year, my friend Linda Rotz Miller has been making the most amazing dresden quilts in the last few weeks, and now the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild is sponsoring the EZ Dresden Challenge (there are great prizes, go and see).

Since I have made no decision on how I will piece the dresdens into the background (set in the curves or applique or maybe some will be portholes) and I have not even decided on the background fabric yet, I am sewing them into quarter circles for now.

Today is a beautiful day, I am going to sew and work in my small yard and maybe finish unpacking and hang out with my family. And I have some really great bee blocks to finish. I think it will be a great weekend, I hope you have a good one too.