Thursday, January 28, 2016

Empty Bobbins

It was retreat time with my gal pal. We've packed and talked about projects for a week in advance of going away for two glorious days with nothing but sewing, chatting, and snacking all day and into the evening. As we pulled up to our retreat room, we could see there were people in there, and after a gasp and confirmation that we had the right day, we found out the room had been double booked. But not to worry, those quilter's were busy at the cutting tables, and we couldn't get our blocks out and up on the design wall fast enough.

Here is the first project. I decided on the same setting as I've used before. Blocks are all stacked and pinned and ready to go together in my sewing room.

Next up was a few blocks of pink and brown. I've kicked around a few ideas for these and just left them up so I could see them and ponder.

I just soaked up the look of side by side,

Pondered using a setting square to break up the piecing,

And got busy on my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Carolina Christmas from 2009.  I got the 1/2 square triangles all put together, only 104 of them needed.

and had these blocks finished a few years ago,

and then got these little cream and red 4 patches all together.  They are SO cute.

Took a break from sewing and organized all the star blocks.  I wanted to make sure I didn't repeat any prints in the 4 patch that comes together in the center.

I put a few blocks up on the wall.  All the green sections were pieced in previous sewing sessions.  It's looking good!

I've kept all the instructions for every section.  It's all been contained in one box.  The reason for making this quilt was to become more proficient using the EA ruler.  I fell in love with it, and have used it so many more times since I cut for this project.

I got back at the machine, and started joining the green section to the red/cream sections.  See, sample sitting right beside my machine so I don't turn them wrong when piecing.  Look at that pile of chain piecing!

And then when pressing, I realized I HAD turned the block and got the wrong orientation.  All the left pile of blocks need to go to rehab...........

So I packed everything back into it's traveling suitcase, the bad blocks have their own special place; in a zip lock bag with a seam ripper for company. Then I closed it all up and called it finished................ for now.

To be continued.....

Hope you got to stitch this week, we are so blessed to be part of this amazing community of quilters.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sneak Peek

Here's what I'm working on right now.  The pattern is Flowers in the Cabins, an oldie, but a good one from the late Pam Bono.  There are a lot of seams in this one, and the strips not only vary in length, but in width, and some have little squares sewn to the ends before they are added to the block.

Wreaths of leaves.  I hope you can enlarge by clicking on this, I was having technical issues, any surprise?  It's Monday morning.  *I think I fixed photo issue*

Have a great week, I'm off to sew for two fabulous days.  My boxes of projects are all packed and ready to go.  Clothes and personal stuff, not so much!

Have a great week, keep stitching,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hand Quilting BTCT

The past few months of hand quilting have been on projects that I 'had' to get done, and now it's time to pull out my Beyond The Cherry Tree (BTCT).  I saw Lori over at Humble Quilts got another block finished on hers, so this was the nudge I needed to keep mine moving towards finished.

This is all I need to work on this quilt, well, this and time; the elusive element for so many of us.  I use a Roxanne Thimble, the little blue rubber thimble for my pointer finger to help eliminate the stress on my wrist when pulling the needle through, some scissors and the lint brush.  There is always fluff or cat hair or threads that need to be removed.

 I like to load up my spool of thread with a group of needles.  I do this for a few reasons.  The biggest reason it that I can keep track of my needles.  I would hate to loose one on the carpet and then find it with my foot.  The other reason is that it helps me keep my rhythm when stitching. Finish one thread, and just pull off another one.  No need to stop and thread a needle.  I always make sure I end my sessions with the spool loaded up, makes for a fast start the next time I sit down to stitch and I count my needles.

Speaking of spools, my 'go to' hand quilting thread is YLI. It comes on wooden spools and the manufacturer still hasn't realized we need a place to dock or lock our thread.  No worries, a Sharpie and a sharp pocket knife will do the trick.  I just put a little notch in the edge of the spool, and mark it with a dot of Sharpie.  This makes it easy to find the notch when locking the thread.

Here's a picture of my quilt.  Clearly, I have not stayed on task with the quilting as the top was finished in 2012.  My original goal was June of 2015, then it moved to end of 2015 and now I'm thinking end of 2016 is a possibility.  All the blocks have been outlined, and about 2/3 of the border has been outlined.

The 9 center blocks have all the cross hatching completed, but the quilting in the appliqued pieces will wait to the end.  Changing colors will be the last part of the quilting. 

 However, most of the outside round of blocks, 18 in total,  look like this.  Random lines of cross hatching have been stitched, but most blocks are a few hours away from each being finished.  I got a bit done on the weekend.  It's the perfect break from my longarm machine.  Just getting this quilt out and back on the couch is enough to keep me motivated. 

This is definitely my 'best quilt' to date, and I hope I can keep focused on it in 2016 and find those few minutes here and there to keep rocking the needle on this treasure. 

Keep stitching,

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Last Quilt

I know you all know this isn't the last quilt I will make. It is the last family quilt that I have left to do. My nephew has patiently waited, has never asked when his quilt will be done, and to be honest, he's a guy and has probably no memory or idea that I would be making him his own quilt. But it's almost done.

The only decision I let any of them make was color. Seriously, letting a non quilter pick out a pattern for their own quilt would be painful on it's own, but imagine if they picked a Cathedral Windows, or Double Wedding Ring, or, or, or.... You get my point. I love this pattern, Blooming Pineapples from Bonnie Hunter. I've made it a lot. It's the pattern on my bed, I've done table runners, it's been gifted to my friend, to my other nephew,  it's just a perfect block to use up fabrics in one color and it's a block you can pick up and work on without twisting your brain on how it goes together. And you get bonus 1/2 sq. triangles. This is what I now have,   240 + blocks  all trimmed up to 2 1/2".

And I have this; a stack of 64 finished blocks, all ready for the design wall. The great thing about this pattern is the lay out options.

I could do this, all the cream marching in one direction.

Or this, I love the 4 cream triangles coming together for a scrappy square.

Or I could set the blocks on pint and find a print for setting triangles, or used cream scrappy triangles.

Or a zig zag setting.  This one might look better with more blocks up on the wall. Squint :)

But for now, this is all in a box, waiting to go on retreat with me.  My goal is not to finish any one top, but to use the huge design wall for the layouts, pin my rows in stacks and mark them all for assembly back in my studio. 

And I even have a starter kit for the next green/cream mock pineapple quilt. 

Do you have a "go to" pattern when you are making quilts that will possibly end up on a camping trip?

Keep stitching,

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A New Year, A New Finish

December it the time of year I get excited about starting new Christmas projects and always say they are for next year. I enjoy working on something of the season and so I did some red work stitching during my vacation the beginning of December. It was all hands on deck once I returned, getting all the customer quilts quilted and back to them in time to bind and gift out on the 25th. I had decided if quilts weren't required for Christmas, then I would take the few days between the 25th and the 1st to clean up and regroup in my studio.

December 26th: I enter the studio with clear intentions, start cleaning and work on this green scrappy pile of strips and blocks that have grown roots beside my machine. It's JUST time to get these blocks done so I can gift out my last family quilt.

December 26, later that day:
In the clean up/pick up process, I find this pattern, border strips and squares all piled together on top of my Christmas fabric drawer and I pick it up. (big mistake)

December 27th:  Oh I'll just cut a few scraps and do a few corners to make the faces of these cute snowmen.  No, I didn't save these tiny off cuts.  Now that's just too small for me and remember, I'm cleaning up my studio and working on the green pineapple blocks.

OK, so you can see a few FG to the left.  Thought I'd test out the holly print for the background.

And once I got the snowball blocks all pieced, I thought I'd see what they look like on my design wall.  No time like the present to get them stitched together, right?

And while I'm at it, might as well make a few more FG blocks.  I love the  Elanor Burns method, it's perfect for something like this project.  All the outsides are the same and the centers are scrappy.

I only needed 78, so what the heck, just get them done.  A little trimming and the FG are perfect!

December 31: Well, might as well get the whole thing put together, quilted, machine sew buttons on for eyes, use some wool for the noses and a few sets of eyes.  All this just adds to the quilting as they were done after it was quilted and bound.  I stitched out an eye on one of the faces, just to make them individual and a little quirky.

January 8th: Stitch out the text around the inner border, using red Aurifil color 2260 in 28 wt.  It's my go to red thread for any type of red work stitching.

Oh, and I did get the drawer of Christmas fabric organized, tidied up and all put away.  That's what I started to do, right?

So who else worked on Christmas projects after Christmas?  According to IG, I wasn't the only one.  Now its back to the longarm and customer quilts for January. 

Pop by later this week to see what happened to the green blocks!

Happy New Year,