Thursday, January 28, 2010

No Satisfaction

I've seen the posts "Show us your Backs" or something like that and I felt left out because I had nothing to show. I just don't have left over blocks that need homes and I find it faster and easier to use wide backings for backs. Hey, that's why the manufacturers make them!
During my move and reorganizing, I came across a small bag of left over blocks from my red and white Surrounded quilt. I sold the original quilt, but made a mini from the left over blocks.
Mini Surrounded
I guess I didn't use all of them so I thought I'd make a pieced back. Making a pieced back is a lot of work and I just wasn't feeling the love for this project. I kept thinking about the wide backed fabrics I have, about how I could be using this quilting time for a top, or working on my longarm. All my stray blocks are in this back, along with red and white fabric that didn't know which team to play on. Are they red or white? Why did I buy them? You know what fabrics I'm talking about. We all have them in our stash. I just didn't feel the level of satisfaction I thought I'd get from this. Maybe once it's quilted?? I'll let everyone know then. So if piecing backs floats your boat, fabulous, it's just not my cup of tea. Do you piece your backs with leftovers? Or do you use all one fabric?
Sew many ways to do things.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Binding Tutorial

I thought it was time for me to post a tutorial on joining the end of your binding and having the seam be on the angle. This is one of the questions I'm asked so often, and since I had a project in the works, I took step by step pictures. Please comment if you found this helpful or confusing or just because. Instructions are the hardest thing to write, so I'm letting the photos do most of the explaining.
Here we go!

When sewing the binding on your project, leave at least 8" of binding on each end and make sure you leave enough room to easily manuever your top to join the ends together. I left 14" on this one.

Lots of overlap on the binding.

Cut a small piece off the end of one binding, this is your measuring guide.

I cut off about 2" as I have lots of overlap.

Take the left binding and lay it out along the edge of your quilt top. Open up the binding piece you just cut off right and lay it to the end of the binding. This is the width of the binding we are working with. You are using this as a guide for your overlap.

Bring your right side of binding and overlap it.

Cut the right side of binding to the left edge of the piece you used for your guide. This equals to the width of your binding. No measuring required as this technique works with any width of binding!

Open up your binding ends and lay them wrong side down on the table.

Pick up the right side binding and lay it "right sides together" on top of the left side.

They should line up just like when you are sewing your strips together to make the binding.

Draw a line to keep you on track.

Place a couple of pins to hold everything in place while you move to your sewing machine.

Stitch directly on the line........and yes, I sewed over the pins.   Do so at your own risk!

Back to the table, open up the seam allowance and give it a quick finger press.

Fold your binding back and make sure this fits and lays flat.  This is the measure twice and cut once theory.  I always check, it always works.

Now go back and trim off the corner of your seam and give it a quick press.

Now you have a join in your binding that looks like every other join.

Pin the last bit down and sew to completely attach the binding.

Here is your seam from the inside.....

And here is what it looks like when you turn your binding to the back.  Just like all the other seams. Easier than pie!

Hope you give this a try as it is the best method I've come across.  The beauty of this is that if your binding is 2 1/4" or 3 1/8" wide, it still works.  By cutting a piece off the end of your binding and using this as your measure, you don't need to know, or care what width the binding is and you don't have to measure!
And yes, Miss Paula, this is your tablerunner.  Now to hand sew the binding and label this long overdue gift!
Take a few stitches today,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Arrived

I am so excited to spend some time with my new book.  I know, I need to get a life, but I've got too many quilting projects and books to work through so I don't have time!
By the time I learned of Gwen Marston, her first Liberated book had been long sold out and no longer in my price range. I had a peek through this book one day and was mesmerized with all the hand quilting. This started my journey to find some of her other books. I've gotten lucky in a used book store and have several that she co wrote with Joe Cunningham. Then I realized I had a few of Gwens applique books already stashed in my bookshelf. I guess I liked her work before I realized who she was!
Will I ever be a liberated quilter? I'm not sure. I'm going to try some of the techniques as they lend themselves to beautiful hand quilting, and that is something I love to do.
Take a few stitches today, you'll be that much closer to finished!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Focus = Finishes

Why is it when it's my day off, I can get out of bed and jump right into things by 6:30 a.m. yet during the week, I struggle to drag my butt out of bed by 7 a.m.  I think it's because I went right to my sewing room after filling up my snowman mug with steaming hot coffee.  I was on a mission of finishes today and I have the pictures to prove it!

The final two sides are sewn on my Christmas Log Cabin Star, the edges are all stay stitched 1/8" in from the edge, the binding is pieced and pressed.  I didn't participate in the Red and White Snowball challenge because I had already started this baby......and because I have a tray of red strips for a different red and cream quilt... but I digress.

Although it's not quilted, I'm thrilled to move this project out of the sewing room for now. Since I have so many piecing projects in various states of completion, I'm only allowing myself to start an applique project and it will be needle turn applique. This isn't my strongest quilting skill, so I decided to do a warm up project. This is what I've got.

I tried a tip that I picked up from the author of this book. The five circles down the side of the heart were cut from freezer paper and traced. The circles in the stars were made using removable dots from the office store. They make perfect circles and the results are definitely better.This finished out at about 12 x 16. It's the perfect little stand to showcase one block. My goal is to make challenging blocks for this stand and be able to rotate them throughout the year. A Feathered Star, Pine Burr, Tree of Life? There are lots of strong blocks that can hold their own.

And finally, the other job that took up my afternoon. Don't believe it when enclosed paperwork says "estimated time of assembly - 15 minutes" 15 minutes my ....well, you know what I'm saying. It took me 15 minutes just to open up the box and sort and count all the pieces.

Let's just say, 2 screw drivers,a hammer and my power drill later, I got one of the two bookcases together. I also went through every book and magazine that I own and did a little purging. I'm going to be sore tomorrow, but it was worth it! I took this last section of my longarm studio that looked like this....

And this is what I have now. Although I'm not a good organizer at home, it sure felt great to accomplish this today. I didn't have my buddy Lisa with me today, the queen of sorting and purging, but she was here in spirit.

A job well done.....sort of. I have another shelving unit still in the box. Maybe next weekend?
Sit and stitch for a bit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Show and Tell

This is not my quilt. Being a longarm quilter, I am blessed to have many beautiful quilts pass through my hands and I deliver them back to their rightful owners. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to return the quilt. This is one of those times. I hope no one thinks I'm showing off my BOM 30's quilt. Hahaha. I still have 5 envelopes that I haven't opened yet, so that's wishful thinking. This quilt belongs to Mona B. of Idaho. Her love of applique is apparent on this top.

I don't know the story behind this top. Is is a BOM? A pattern she did on her own? ** updated at end of blog**

I do know that it is beautiful. I love the combination of piecing, applique, embroidery, even the fishing guys are embroidered and then colored in with crayons.

This quilt is in the mail, yup, I controlled myself and boxed it up and shipped it back... but not until I took a bunch of photos, asked permission to blog about it and now it will be a sweet memory in my life of longarm quilting.

Thank you M, for allowing me to help you finish this beautiful quilt. I don't know what you will do with this; keep it for your own treause? give it away to a new grandchild?

Where ever this quilt ends up, I know it will be cherished and loved.

Thank you M, for your patience and your trust! It is appreciated!
**piecers update**
This quilt was started by me. I made the row of sunbonnet girls. I have a quilt group that meets once a month. We then pass our quilt on to someone else to make a row or block and follow the directions we specify. We take someone elses and make a blcok or row for them. Each month we keep passing them around until we have made something for everyone. Mine included patterns from a 30"s repo book. Some quilters came up with their own and the embroideries. I furnished all the fabric and thread I wanted used and specified directions of what I did and didn't want. When the quilt was the size I wanted I took it back and put the rows together and did the vine/flower outside border. I have my binding ready to attach when I get it back. I had everyone sign a quilt tag I made to put on the back. So this was really a group effort.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When is a Quilt Done?

This is a good question and I now have the answer.  I posted  here about being finished.  If I was truly finished, how come I spent 2 1/2 hours last night working on this quilt?  It's because I didn't have a sleeve sewn on and I didn't have a label.  I will now include full photo shots as part of "finished".  I wanted to enter this quilt in a show that required the full, hanging quilt photos and it just wasn't possible for me to meet the deadline.  So much for that show!  There are others, like this one .  My quilt is in the hands of the USPS.  I know they will take care of it, so please don't email me with your postal horror stoires.  I try to keep my glass half full!
I shall keep everyone posted on the results of my quilt. It is being judged by Elizabeth Spannring. I know it is only one persons opinion, but it will give me a starting point for what I need to pay attention to and what I'm already doing that is "show" quality.
Put needle to thread today!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another 30's Block

I've got enough machine projects going on so I seem to be making headway on any hand projects. Here is one more of the larger appliques for my 30's BOM. I think I have about 5 months still to go......

I've been spending my quilting time longarming for others; I love doing that as much as doing my own projects. Even if I've spent the whole evening longarming, I always like to take a few minutes  and do a little hand stitching, or at a minimum, browse through a few books and dream of all the projects that I'll never make!
Stitch a bit today,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

60 Minutes in an Hour

I sent a card off to my gal pal Paula. It said "I'm bored, therefore I'm boring" I wrote this because I haven't called her in a while, unusual for me. I just felt like nothing has happened lately, it's the doldrums of January. There has been no big finishes of my own work, nothing monumental to tell her about. Yet when I looked at my photos, I guess I have accomplished a bit so far this year.
I made a lot of meals for my freezer. Christmas dinner was away this year, so I cooked a turkey last weekend. It just doesn't seem like Christmas has happened if I don't have the left overs and soup. So I filled my house with the comforting smell of Turkey soup this week.
I signed up for a 9 patch swap in November. There is a Yahoo group that I belong to and the facilitator, Joyce, does an amazing job on swaps. I've done 30's charms, brown and pink civil war hourglass blocks and now I'm in the 9 patch swap. She made Feb the deadline, thank goodness. Even though these blocks go together quickly, it was nice to take my time and slip in 10 or 15 minutes of piecing at a time. And now they are done. I've made 8 sets of 8, so I shall get 64 blocks back, 32 different combos. We are also swapping the setting squares and corner triangles. Now I can get this project off my cutting table and out of my mind until I get my blocks back in March!

Here is a clipping and pressing tip I picked up from Jo Morton. When you do this, all the "ditches" fall in the same direction. From the front, the dark fabric will always have the ditch away from it. Does that make sense to you? It just gives more options when it comes to quilting.

I've also been picking away at my 30's BOM that got abandoned March 2009. Slowly but surely, blocks are getting completed. Here are a few that I've finished.

I've not sat down and sewed for any length of time since mid December. All this had been accomplished a few minutes at a time. So no big finished, but a lot of progress is being made.

A few minutes here and there adds up to hours of enjoyment!
Stitch a few minutes today,

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Years Surprise

I was going to post about this.  My Christmas decor has been reduced to this pile on the cabinet!

That post went out the window when I went to Lynden and stopped in at Calico Country. I needed to pick up some paper pieces and since I was going there, I took over my winter quilt to show the girls. When I walked in, there was a beautiful quilt draped over a chair and immediately I was told "this is yours".

What a strange thing to say, I didn't make this and leave it at the shop. I'd never seen this quilt before. She went on to say "it's been left here for you. You just missed Janet". I looked over my shoulder and out the door, nope, no Janet!

It's for you, she said again. Janet W. made it for you, it's your Recovery Quilt. I wrapped myself in this beauty so fast it would have made your head spin. For me? Wow! Oh my, it's beautiful, LOOK at the quilting she did on this piece. I've taken a class from Janet and her work is amazing.

Look at the binding, the piping, the quilting, the piecing, the colors and fabrics. Truly a gift from her hands and heart.

Look at the beautiful print! I have wrapped myself in this every evening since recieving this amazing gift.  Even the back is beautiful.

Gorgeous quilting.

I knew 2010 was going to be great, just look how it's started out.
We all have so much to be grateful for, just look around and notice it all.