Well all this time at home is certainly allowing for lots of time in the sewing room. Last June I started sewing these charm squares I had accumulated into blocks. The charm squares are from a variety of sample packs from Benartex. Simple, prints in soothing colors that wanted to be made into something rather than live on the shelf in the closet (where they had been for at least two years or so).
I saw this idea on Julie’s blog, Me and My Quilts, around that time. She was making something similar and I absolutely copied her!! I cut 2 1/2″ strips and sub cut them into five inch strips. Each was sewed to a charm square, then sliced vertically. One piece flipped around and then I sewed them back together.
I did lay out the pieces in a random order first but decided I wanted something a bit more organized so I started putting them in collections by color.
Finally making up my mind, I got the rows put together and added a few borders (it is a bit on the long and skinny side).
I used this purple print from the shop for the outer border. It is from the Ginger & Spice line by Missy Carpenter and looks great with the neutral sashing. I chose purple because there are only three purple blocks in the quilt and I thought it just needed more!
Now I am looking through choices for the backing. I have decided to keep this one. It is time for me to set up a hand quilting project to work on in the evenings. I have never hand quilted anything larger than a pillow or a mini so this is a big undertaking for me.
I have so many questions since this is a new undertaking for me! Once I baste it, I am thinking of stitching in the ditch along the sashing lines. I was thinking if I had it anchored in place, it would be easier to quilt. Of course one might say after stitching in the ditch it is basically quilted already. Is this a normal progression? I need all the hand quilters to give me lots and lots of tips and tricks in the comments please!! I am thinking of using Perle cotton. Yay or Nay??? I really don’t know what I am doing here so would love any and all hints or referrals to good places to read up on this.
I appreciate the help. Hope everyone is doing well as can be. These are trying times so let’s all stay connected even if virtually. Take care all of you. 🙂
Linking up with all the usuals. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
It has been a while since I actually finished a quilt. Hurray for Squared Away – all finished and so pretty! I started this quilt in the beginning of 2018. The block of the month was hosted by Mari at Academic Quilter. Somehow I didn’t end up following along all year though. I can’t honestly remember why. Then the blocks sat and waited, all lonely and sad, until I stitched them together last spring. Since I didn’t have enough blocks for an entire quilt, I interspersed them with a modern print of Pat Bravo’s. It was from her line called Dare. I had an abundance of it leftover from a previous quilt I had made back in 2016.
I love the way this all came together. The squares are bright and fun while the background calms everything down. When I chose the borders, I shopped downstairs in my fabric shop and chose a chartreuse textured solid and then did a wider border with a beautiful print by Bari J called Bougainvillea Lilac. I love how these look together. So much so that I used the chartreuse fabric as the binding. They are perfect together!
For quilting, I kept it simple with straight lines and my walking foot. I did two different patterns, a checkerboard in the background and a simple star in the pieced blocks. This was easy and kept the quilt loose and fluffy. In the wider purple border, I did some free motion with curving lines and little hearts.
The backing fabric is a cute rainbow print with rectangles of all sizes and colors. I labeled this quilt as I intend it as a gift to my nephew who married last summer. I machine embroidered it which was fun. Don’t even ask my why it is so crooked. It just is. Kind of how things go with me. 😉
Let’s see…. what else can I tell you about this one? It was my goal for January and yahoo! I got it done! Makes me so happy – it was fun to quilt it and I enjoyed the hand stitching for the binding. It has been too long since I finished one up!
I am now working on a quilt for grand daughter number two. She is scheduled to arrive (by c-section) on March 12th, unless her mama goes into labor sooner. So that is really exciting! I will share some progress on that in a post soon.
Just in case you missed my post from a couple of days ago, I am holding a giveaway to share lots of cute scraps. You can hop over here to read about it. Be sure to enter today as this is the last day of the giveaway. I will select two winners tomorrow morning and will email the winners. Great fun if you are a scrappy quilter or if you like making quilts for kids.
Earlier this summer I made a plus quilt using the Art Gallery Dare fabric line, designed by Pat Bravo. I set it aside for a while, as most of us tend to do. After taking the long arm class, I decided to quilt this one for my second round of practice. Thursday last week found me at the Sew-So Shop ready to load the project on the machine.
When I arrived, I was told that the owners would be running a bit late due to a family emergency. There was another woman, a very experienced long arm quilter (Diane), who was there to pick something up and she offered to help me get everything set up. I felt so fortunate to have run into her because she taught me a great deal in the 15 minutes that we worked together. It was so helpful! We got the backing, batting and quilt top loaded and straight.
I talked with Diane about my plan to quilt this. I wanted to do simple spirals in the negative space and something linear within the pluses so they would be differentiated from the background. She and I scribbled on paper for a bit and decided on a flow of linear lines that look like water flowing. This would allow me to leave the machine free (as opposed to setting the channel locks for straight lines) and would give me a relaxed pattern to stitch. It worked perfectly (well, nothing is perfect but overall, it was very successful!)
I love the flow of these soft linear curves. At first I tried to treat each plus as a separate entity but it didn’t seem to make a difference so I relaxed on that and let the lines flow over the edge of one fabric and on to the next.
I love this motif – I don’t think I have used it prior to this but I will definitely use it again. It was really relaxing to stitch.
For the negative space, or the background, I did large, loose spirals and loops. My goal was to work on my speed control and precision so I picked a simple motif. Looking back, I wish I would have selected a darker gray thread because the quilting hardly shows up. I was not feeling very confident about my abilities so I picked a light thread, in case the stitching wasn’t the best.
The stitching shows up better on the back. For the first time, I bought a wide back cotton for the backing. This was so convenient! I had begun to piece a backing using the leftover Dare fabrics but when I decided to do this on the long arm, I nixed a pieced backing. I have enough going on loading the long arm without having to worry about a potentially wavy or ‘un-square’ backing (is that a word?). Using a wide back fabric eliminated all of those possible issues.
Since I had already pieced strips of the scraps, I decided to use that as the binding. I sliced the strips into 2 1/4″ strips for the binding. You know how much I love a scrappy binding.
As with each long arm experience before, I do have a question. The finished quilt has a bit of a wave to the center of it. (Look at the photo at the top and you’ll see it.) I feel it was flat and square when I started to quilt it. My question is, do you think this is because I quilted the Plus section more tightly than the negative space? It definitely has a stiffness to the Plus area. When I did the surrounding area, I kept it loose so the whole quilt wouldn’t be stiff but maybe I should have been consistent all the way through? Looking for some advice here. Yvonne….. Help please! 🙂
Oh how I have enjoyed learning about and using the long arm. I have one more finished quilt top to do so I will set up some time for that project soon! It has really helped me to get some projects finished up that were languishing a bit.
Couple of reminders –
The voting begins for the Quilt Bloggers Festival on Sunday! Go take a look and choose your favorites — so many gorgeous projects have been entered.
Handmade Halloween is coming soon! I hope you are checking your blog history for fun posts to link up that will inspire readers to make something for Halloween! If you don’t want to link an older post, you are welcome to write a new one. Lots of fun prizes have been provided by Craftsy, C&T Publishing, as well as Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts. Come back and join the party October 4th!! Be sure to let me know if you have any questions!
Craftsy has a sale going on this weekend. All classes are less than $20 (except for those in the Great Courses line.) Take advantage and learn something new!! There is always something new to learn. (Note, I am a Craftsy affiliate.)
Linking up to my favorites. See the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups, for more info.
Yesterday I finished a quilt top. This hasn’t happened for a while! I am excited about this one because it is going to be a gift for someone that I am almost certain does not read my blog. I certainly hope so, otherwise, I have just blown the surprise. 😉
The fabrics in this quilt worked wonderfully together. The background fabrics are Moda solids, Figtree Cream and Stone. I am not entirely sure how this rich and creamy, off white color relates to a fig tree but it is gorgeous. Maybe they were thinking of that creamy outer part of the fig’s flesh? Who knows. The centers of the economy blocks are from a fat eigth collection I received for my birthday. The Art Gallery collection, designed by Bari J, is Millie Fleur. This quilt didn’t consume too much of the collection so I think I will use the rest to create a scrappy binding. (I love a scrappy binding!) Along with the prints, I used a selection of solids from my stash to create the center of the economy blocks. The blocks are quite large at 10″ square.
Looking at the secondary pattern (the cream and stone diamonds that surround the smaller economy blocks) will help me determine how to quilt it. The quilt is 70 x 70, so a slightly large lap quilt. Since I just took the long arm class, I plan to quilt it at the shop. It will be fun to quilt over all of that space created by the solid fabrics. However, since it is a gift, I want to do one or two quilts as practice before I work on this one. I still have two tops waiting to be finished which will make for good practice sessions.
There is a three inch border surrounding the blocks with four patch blocks serving as cornerstones. The bottom border looks distorted in this picture. I did some relief quillting there which I will show in the next post after I quilt this up. For now, just know that is why that portion looks a bit odd.
This was a bit of a beast to photograph, especially since my trusted quilt holder is back in school. Alas, I had to rely on my clothesline instead.
Hopefully I will be able to reserve some time at the long arm shop next week to practice. I’m very much looking forward to that. Then when I am a bit more confident, I will finish this project.
The weekend is coming and we don’t have anything planned. If it is cool enough outside, there is plenty of yardwork to be done. Not terribly exciting but that’s ok with me.
Linking to my usuals. Find them at the top of the page, under link ups.
Have you heard about the $5.00 Blowout Sale over at C&T Publishing? It runs through Sunday, 9/11/16 and is a great opportunity to grow your sewing library for not a lot of money! Take a peek at the titles that are on sale this weekend. One of my favorites is Get Quilting with Angela & Cloe, a book about sewing with kids written by the wonderful Angela Walters.
Ever since I fell victim to my Pinterest addiction, I have wanted to make a plus quilt. Something about the simplicity of the design and the ability to use large scale fabrics effectively makes plus quilts very attractive to me. Honestly, I don’t think I have seen one that I didn’t like.
Last fall, when I received my first Art Gallery Club shipment from Pink Castle, I designated that bundle to be used for a plus quilt. (I posted about this here.) The line, Dare by Pat Bravo, has some wonderfully vivid large floral prints. I immediately ordered a couple of yards of Thread On to be used as the background fabric. When that arrived, the whole bundle sat in the sewing room until March.
One rainy Saturday, I managed to cut all of the squares for the pluses. Then it sat some more. Finally I started to assemble the quilt top. Really, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. Once I going, it went together quickly.
This quilt top was not an easy one to photograph. It was really breezy this afternoon and I couldn’t get the winds to cooperate with me.
I had to resort to my ever faithful quilt model.
She is such a helpful girl.
I am looking forward to quilting this. Lots and lots of negative space to work with. That is both fun and intimidating at the same time. For the backing, I have been piecing the scraps that were left from the front. I need a bit more fabric to complete it though. I had hoped I had enough leftover fabric but I am short. Darn it. I ordered a bit more of the background fabric and it won’t take any time to finish the backing once it arrives. For now though, the top is done and I am calling this one Positively Floating.
Linking this pretty flimsy finish with my usuals. Find them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
This week I finished up Square Dance. It was well over a year ago that I started this quilt. For some reason, it was put aside and ignored for a long while. Now that it is done, I am really pleased with the cheerful colors. The pattern is a simple one based on squares of two different sizes and simple borders on each, bringing the blocks to 9″ when finished.
Putting the quilt together was a breeze. Quilting it, on the other hand, was not. Back in March, I was reading Cynthia’s posts over at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. She showed some quilts that she had finished up using some oversized daisy flowers. I loved it and thought it would be great for this quilt. I planned to put a flower in the center of each block. Additionally, I placed one on the intersection of each set of blocks.
My machine was most uncooperative and I stitched about 1/4 of the quilt before I realized that my bobbin tension was way off and I had to unpick all of that quilting. Ugh. Not my favorite task. There really wasn’t a choice though. On the bright side, the tension was so far off that the stitches were totally loose on the back side and came out easily. These frustrations were resolved when I found the Magic Bobbin Genies that I recently posted about. The small washers helped a great deal. I have had these issues sporadically and I am hoping this resolution works out over the long haul.
I requilted (is that a word?) the first section and finished up the rest. I think it is very cute – though it looks much better on the front than the back. I pieced the backing as I was determined to used some stash up. I love the way the backing came together but backing a quilt in solids means that every FMQ wiggle is accentuated. That’s ok. I am making progress with each project. For now, I am just going to look at the front side!
The colors are great, as is the motif I chose for quilting Square Dance. Finally, look at the binding. It is adorable. I found this red and yellow print on a sale table at Ben Franklin and it was a steal.
Tomorrow I will wash it and enjoy that cozy crinkle that the quilt will have once it is out of the dryer. Earlier this year, I signed up to participate in Hands 2 Help Charity Quilt Challenge organized by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. When I signed up, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would donate but I think this quilt will bring comfort to it’s recipient.
Update: I shipped this quilt off to Kat for her Covered in Love program and she let me know it had arrived. I hope it will be used by someone in the near future.
The timing of this finish is good as I am now in the process of piecing my black and white Stepping Stones quilt. There is black and white flying all over in my sewing room these days. The blocks are looking really good though. I am pretty excited about this one!
Linking to all sorts of sites. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups!
Hey everyone! I finished the vintage double nine patch quilt top. Yay for staying with it and getting it done. It is a good size for a lap quilt. Finished, it should measure out to about 60″ x 70″. I am really happy with it and look forward to getting it basted and ready to quilt.
The quilting decision is an important one due to all of the negative space that this quilt has. My FMQ skills are improving but aren’t stellar. What to do?? My thinking is that this sort of traditional quilt calls for FMQ over straight line quilting (I usually associate straight line quilting with a more modern project). Because this will be auctioned off at a 1940’s themed fundraiser in October, I feel like I need to do some decent quilting on it. I need a foolproof idea! Please help me out here and send ideas my way! Do I do an easy all over stipple? If so, do I stipple the main portion and do something different on the borders or just cruise right over the borders too? I have plenty of time to decide. I don’t have any batting just now (well, other than the piles and piles of batting scrap – I could probably stitch those scraps together and make a piece large enough for a king size quilt). I need to spend some time on Pinterest and hop over to a few sites (The Inbox Jaunt and The Freemotion Quilting Project come to mind) for inspiration.
One more thing…. Totally off topic here, but yesterday my quilt model and I went to the movies and saw “Inside Out”. I had high expectations for this new Pixar film since the reviews are glowing. Yikes, I was disappointed. Both of us kind of shook our head on the way out, wondering what the hype is all about. I found it really preachy – sort of like they were forcing a lesson down my throat. Neither my daughter nor I could figure out what age group this was aimed at. The plot doesn’t seem suitable for early elementary school ages and it seemed very trite for older kiddos. Did I miss something? Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it? Just curious what others are thinking about this movie.
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Needle and Thread Thursday. Links to these sites are available at the top of the page, under link ups.
A couple of months ago my husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary. This week I finished a quilt made with fabric purchased on our honeymoon on the island of St. John. It may have taken me 16 years to think of how I wanted to use the fabric but once I got going, it didn’t take too long to finish it up. I posted earlier about making the quilt top in August of last year. Because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it, I set it aside (for nearly a year!) Come January of 2015, I set a goal to finish this quilt up and I did it. This finish means that I do not have any unquilted tops lying around. Yahoo!
This project was fun to plan. I have been reading about whether to stitch in the ditch before starting to FMQ. Honestly, this sounded like a whole lot of extra work. I decided to compromise and I stitched the perimeter of each nine patch. I thought this would stabilize the quilt and hopefully, reduce and puckers on the backing. It is so irritating when you flip the quilt over to check on it and there is a fold. Between pin basting and ditch stitching I was hoping for a better back. Some quilters think it holds the quilt square and prevents distortion. Others say it makes the FMQ work look better. I do think it helped. My quilt stayed square and often, it doesn’t. I didn’t have a single pucker on the back. The only thing is that on the back of the quilt, the ditch stitching is very visible so one has to take that into account when planning the quilting. It doesn’t show much at all on the front. As for any benefit to the look of the quilting on each nine patch, I didn’t notice a huge difference. In fact, after I had quilted about 65% of the project, I noticed that I had skipped ditch stitching one block. That block really didn’t look noticeable different from the others. So, I think it is good forquilt stabilization and keeping square but doesn’t noticeably enhance the FMQ.
I took a look at some quilting sites (mainly Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt) to get inspiration. I knew that I would do an all over FMQ pattern but wanted just a bit more detail than that. Each of the nine patch blocks have a blue center. Starting with that, I quilted a large flower in the center of each blue square.
I decided that leafy fines would complement the flowers. Using a variegated green YLI quilting thread, I FMQ’d leaves of various sizes on each block. I left the black sashing plain. Because the backing is a light green batik, the FMQ stitching really shows up on the back. Not sure if this is good or bad! For the most part, I am happy with the stitching. Why is it that my eye goes to the little tension blips and the occasional jittery stitching instead of the overall look? For those of you that quilt on your domestic machine, how to you handle the starts and stops? Look closely at the squares that I ditch stitched, see the dark spots at one corner where I stopped and started? I chose to reverse a few stitches rather than knot and bury tons of threads. Not sure I like how this looks. What is the consensus? Do you back tack stitches or knot and bury threads? I know which is cleaner but yikes, burying all of those threads is time-consuming.
The binding is, as usual, one of my favorite parts. I used the honeymoon batik for the border and also for the binding. To add some depth, I attached a black flange to the perimeter of the quilt before binding the quilt. I love the ‘something extra’ that this flange adds to the quilt.
To honor our honeymoon, I tried stitching St. John as well as April, 1998 on a corner of the quilt. Kind of difficult to see but it was a good addition.
When I was binding it, I came upon my two ends that needed to be joined and sighed my heavy, here-we-go sigh. I hate attaching the tails of the binding. This time I looked to Rita over at Red Pepper Quilts. On the off chance that there is someone who hasn’t heard of Rita, she is an amazing quilter who has the most amazing sense of color. Her quilts are bright, happy and so vivid. Truly amazing. If you haven’t looked at her work, now is the time. She has numerous tutorials, several of which talk about binding. This is the one that I used. The result was good so I will refer back to her measurements next time.
I can check this goal off of my 2015 list and move on to another one! I think the next goal I need to work on is some quilt restoration. I have two quilts to restore and I want to get one of them going soon.
Finally, remember the Allison Glass mini swap that I participated in? I blogged about the mini that I made here. There were a few comments asking me to post the mini that I received. Wow, I can’t wait to share it. It is gorgeous. I am so grateful to my partner for putting so much effort into this project!
My partner outdid herself with this. I love the text print that was used as the background on each 2″ square. She appliqued the orange peels with a blanket stitch which was brilliant.
She also made this smaller mini. I think it is intended as a pot holder but I am hanging it on the wall. I don’t want it soaked with food splatter, which we all know would happen.
I also received this sweet wallet. Hand-made and so well done, it is lovely.
The swap was fun and I am thankful that I gave it a try as it pushed me quite far out of my comfort zone. Also, I am truly grateful for the work my partner put into the items I received. That being said, I am not sure I will do another one for a while. I could see participating in one each year. They are quite time-consuming and it set my nerves on edge trying to think of what my partner would want, based on the few hints we are given. The process is a good way to get to know other makers though. It is really a big deal on Instagram and there is a swap for just about anything crafty.
Hope you all have something fun planned for the upcoming weektend.
This week has started out with a productive bang. Yesterday I completed my neutrals/red heart quilt top. Today I finished up our taxes (never a fun task). Wow. If I don’t do anything else this week, I’m ok with that!
I got on a roll with the neutrals quilt and it all came together so quickly.
The fence wasn’t quite tall enough to photograph the whole thing but this is most of it. Pretend I ironed it – the wrinkles are really showing in these pictures!
I pieced one little random block. When I was trimming the HST’s to be used in making the big heart, I had little bits and pieces leftover. I used a few of them to make this little guy.
Tomorrow I will get the backing assembled and pin baste the layers together. I haven’t quite decided how to quilt it. I know I want to use straight line quilting but not positive of the pattern. Also thinking about quilting the heart separately or different somehow so it stands out more.
Making good progress on my March goal! Also got started on the yellow scrappy blocks for RSC15 and they are going to be adorable. They are a double star block – finished the first of ten blocks today . At least all of the pieces are cut though so they will go together quickly.
Linking to Sew Cute Tuesday, Linky Tuesday and Let’s Bee Social. Links to all of these great sites are located at the top of this page under Link Ups.
If you are unsure what ALYOF means, it stands for A Lovely Year of Finishes (a fun link up at Sew Bittersweet Designs where you set goals and see what everyone finishes up during the month). Let’s just says some are lovlier than others! I finished my quilt with the black and gray ten minute blocks which was my February goal for AYOLF. Finishing it feels good because I met my goal, but I am not thrilled with the finish. I didn’t like the blocks a whole lot from the get go. I set them on point, sashed them with black and used black for both the corner and setting triangles. Then I remembered that I hate quilting on black…. Ooops.
I have been really working on improving my FMQ skills. Want to know how to highlight the fact that you are not yet highly skilled at FMQ? Quilt with lighter colored thread on black – that will do it. I used a varigated YLI thread which matched the colors of the quilt very nicely. YLI has some heft and it is nice to sew with. It looked ok on the print fabrics. On the black, not so much. Oh well, live and learn!
The saving grace for this quilt, in my opinion, is the scrappy binding. I love a scrappy binding. I had actually gone to the LQS for fabric to bind it and couldn’t find anything so I decided to just bind it in black. Alas, I didn’t have enough black when I got home so I dug through all the scrap left from the project and made a lovely binding. To me a scrappy binding adds charm to a quilt.
Like I was saying, lessons learned…. if I were to be granted a “do-over” on this one, I would quilt it in charcoal gray (dark but a color I could see against the black). The stitching would look reasonable if it wasn’t so darn light. I am not at a skill level (yet) to highlight the stitching by using light colors on a dark fabric. Hard to post pics of your work when you aren’t really happy with it but this is the real deal. It doesn’t all turn out perfect. I am definitely done with black for a while. Luckily, my daughter loves the colors and she doesn’t give a hoot about the quilting. I had planned to use it as a donation quilt but I think this one will stay with us. 🙂
My daughter was my quilt model yesterday. My favorite pictures were of her running down the hill from our pond, back to our house. Put a cape on a kid, no matter the age, and they will run.
Hope everyone is having a good week. As usual, we are crossing fingers for a bit of rain at the end of this week. California has virtually NO snowpack which should make for a horrendous fire season this summer. I am hearing hints that there might be a tiny bit of snow coming our way this weekend. Please, please, please……
Linking to Sew Cute Tuesday, Freemotion by the River and Let’s Bee Social as well as AYOLF at Sew Bittersweet Designs. Links for most of these are at the top of the page under link-ups.