Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tying a quilt

I finally got started on tying At Home and Away. I decided on using a blue cotton embroidery floss that comes as six strands, that I've divided into three strands.

I used a continuous tying method on the only other quilt I've tied - here is the method and some pictures.

When beginning, insert the needle from the front to the back, then from the back to the front, about 1/8" away from each other. Pull up all the thread, leaving about an inch tail on one end, poking out the front. Tie that short tail and your long still threaded thread together with a knot - right over left, left underneath, left over right, right underneath. Anyone did brownies or girl guides when they were little?

Now move your needle ahead about 4" or to the next decided on spot. Insert the needle front to back, then back to front, always about 1/8" - 1/4" away from each other. Now the next part -
insert your needle under the long stitch you just made by going from the first spot to the next -

Then, put your needle and thread through that loop formed by going under the long stitch -

Repeat, under and through, pull, and there's your knot. Continue going, re-thread when necessary, and when you're done, just clip the long stitches between the knots.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Almost Log Cabin

I finished this top on Friday - the log cabin block design is by Judy Martin; I designed the secondary block and the quilt layout.

This will be a table topper for our dining room - we have a living/dining room combination, and I don't much like our dining table - putting a pieced quilt on it, rather than a table cloth, brightens up the room quite a bit.

Friday, July 25, 2008

An oops turned good

I finished piecing the centre of the Sally Post quilt yesterday. This quilt design was made available to quilters from Gayle at Sentimental Stitches - I believe the pattern will be again offered as a free download later this year, or as a purchase all at once.

The original pattern called for 36 blocks, set 6 x6 with sashing including an outersashing. I wanted a rectangular quilt for the church donation, so I made 30 blocks and set is 6 x 5. I've ordered the border fabric and hope to quilt it by early September.

My son is holding this one for me - but he's still not as tall as his Dad (!) and I couldn't get the whole quilt into the picture.

The oops? - well here you go. I had already sewn 18 of the blocks, complete with sashing and corner squares set to the right side and bottom. When I went to cut out the sashing and squares for the last 12, I decided - wrongly - to not look at the pattern and merrily cut then 3 1/2" wide. They should have been 4" wide! Grrr.. Meanwhile, I was thinking about the border and binding, and decided to go with the peach colour, same as the sashing, but a tone on tone instead of solid, and the red floral for the binding. The order was sitting on my computer while I was cutting. When I realized what I did, I thought, well thank goodness I hadn't press send yet because I can order more sashing fabric if I've run out because of the oops. So I recut and thankfully I had enough and pressed send on the order.

The next day, while sewing the blocks together, I realized I didn't account for the outside sashing! I should have ordered more solid, and now the order has been processed and its on its way (this shop is fantastic - Fabric Shack - excellent service and help when you need it). Back to EQ to look at how I can fix this and I discovered that it looks way better with just the border and no outer sashing - I had never even thought of this as the original doesn't have a border and I had just kept the outer sashing on the design when playing with the finishing ideas. So all's well that ends well.

I'm just about done the Almost Log Cabin...so back to the sewing room.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I finally finished all the applique machine sewing on the Sally Post blocks and I'm well on my way to completing the setting piecing. The Almost Log Cabin has almost all the blocks done, and then that will be another top complete!

I've done little work on the applique - Mike's been interested in a tv series, Mad Men, that is starting its 2nd season this weekend; he found that all twelve of last season's episodes were being shown in a marathon this past Sunday, and pvr'd (is that a word?) all of them. So we've been watching this series the last couple of evenings, and I can't do applique and watch something I'm actually interested in, at the same time (no commercials, either!)

The little I've done, I'm not happy with - because, yes, I've decided the background is too busy. And being me, I can't just choose another background, I'm rethinking the pattern I've settled on and revisiting some of my other choices - partly because now that I think I've got a good handle on backbasting, I'd like to try it with a pattern that's a little more complex.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A little rant about supplies

Yesterday morning I thought I was all set to start tying At Home and Away. I have several different types of yarn, perle cotton, tatting thread, heavy thread, and floss - here they are all lined up.

So I chose a few of these and experimented with using each to tie a sample sandwich. I began to feel like Goldilocks visiting the three bears - the yarn was too easily breakable with a good pull, and I could not thread it through a needle, even if I pulled it apart to two strands; the light blue perle cotton was too light, it felt that it wouldn't hold the knot, the red "thread" was perfect - but no label remained on it so I didn't know what it was.

Now here comes the rant - I'm only able to drive myself about ten minutes from home, as I have to account for the time spent at the destination, and then the return drive home. That leaves me with all of two places to do any kind of live in person shopping for quilting/sewing supplies - Walmart and Michaels. Walmart is discontinuing all their fabric - which I used to rely on for emergency, tests, and ideas; their notions and patterns are slowing shrinking as well. When Michaels move into the neighbourhood, I thought well maybe this will help me out.

I live near the centre of an old town with a main street - I'm sure that once there was a needlecraft shop there, but the town has grown into suburbs and big box stores.

I had already had a good look at possible tying yarn/threads at Walmart - that's where I got the yarn. That's it - that was pretty much my only choice.

Off to Michael's yesterday with my little practice in hand, knowing I'm looking for something the same weight and feel of what worked. Well, of course they too have limited colours, limited weights of floss, cotton crochet yarn, and tatting thread. Not just limited weights, but limited colours too. In the cotton crochet yarn, I got to choose between a 3 weight and a 10 weight - one way too fine, the other I suspect too thick, but brought home a navy (not my first choice) #3 weight anyway.

The navy was thin enough for me to thread a large embroidery needle, but then I couldn't get the needle pulled through the sandwich with a pair of pliers! Not good.

So back to mail order for me. I ordered some perle cotton size 5 from Herrschners.ca - and I sit and wait, again. I'm also waiting for a box from Connecting Threads with some batting and backing fabrics to start quilting Folk Art Finery, and a couple of others that are ready to go.

Basket Applique

Now that I'm waiting to start tying, I got another basket block ready. I think what was wrong with the first block was that the greens were too light, maybe....so I've tried a brighter green on this one.

Here are pictures of the back and the front of the block, with the leaves basted in place. This block may not be the best example, and best use, of the back basting technique as there isn't a very set pattern, but I'm still going to work with the technique. Lots and lots of small berries on this one, marked with an x - which I will do entirely by needleturn, not prepping them at the ironing board first.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Basket Block

I actually completed an entire applique block and stuck with the colours I chose - this one is a basket from a pattern by Kim Diehl in her book "Simple Blessings". I really like how Kim drew these baskets and "bloomers", using the stems as representation for the basket handles.

Here are pictures of the front and the reverse of the block while in the basting and sewing stage


And the finished block:

I think the background might be too busy, but I do like it. I'm using mostly the Magic Vine fabrics from Eleanor Burns. I got a selection of half yards on a great sale price back in January - I like the bright colours of 30s and 40s fabrics, but I don't much like the novelty prints in these lines. The Magic Vine line has the colours, but more subtle prints. I used the fabrics in the Sally Post applique quilt, but I'm fairly sure that quilt will be donated to my church, so I've decided to use the remainder in a quilt for our family - or maybe as a gift to my niece who will soon be in her own first apartment.

I finally got up the gumption to baste the At Home and Away quilt, so now its time to start tying it. Now that I've finally got the applique pattern/fabrics/technique figured out, it looks like I might have to put it aside for a while.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Backbasting revisited

I learned to hand applique using Ellie Seinkowicz' book "Applique 12 Different Ways" - this was an excellent introduction to the many different ways that one can achieve needleturn applique.

As mentioned in previous posts, I then discovered the Piece O Cake ladies, who use templates for the applique pieces but these templates are made from a kind of laminate paper available at Walmart and business supply stores; also they use a plastic overlay for the entire design so that you can place the pieces where needed on your block. I loved this method, and successfully sewed up my first large wallhaning - the new Applique Sampler, and also went on to Lori Smith's Simple Pleasures using the same method.

Then along came back-basting. First there was a little discussion about it on a few applique lists - I think that an applique pattern b.o.m. by Apple Blossom Quilts was the first to start this off. Over the past year or so there seems to have been an explosion of back basting converts - those who have learned it, spread the word and the technique - which has a lot of postives such as no templates, no overlay, no pins!! And absolutely accurate for achieving the piece's shape and placement.

Well, I gave it a try, about a year or so ago, and felt it was just not my thing. It felt awkward, too much work, etc etc. Then this past month or so while I've been literally goofing around with patterns and fabrics, I decided to give it another try.

Back basting simply means this -
transfer the entire block pattern to the back of your block fabric, using a light box or a window and drawing with a pencil or washable marker
take the first piece to applique, following the usual order of "underneath" pieces first - for example, a leaf - place the applique fabric right side up on the top of your block fabric, hold it up to the light or use pins to make sure it is covering the drawn shape on the back, then sew it to the block fabric following the drawn leaf line you made on the back - am I making any sense?
now, you can needleturn applique the leaf on the front, following your sewn line as your marked line

here are a couple of excellent tutorials:



My main frustration with backbasting had to do with just not being able see the holes. I've used a large embroidery needle, double thread, and still those holes elude me. So then I figured out that I could simply take my pencil or chalk and draw around the sewing line I've made - that helped, but it seemed to me add to the work. I also sometimes had trouble getting the front piece to line up with drawn lines in the back, without using a piece much too large and wasting fabric - sort of the same problem I have with paper piecing.

I gave up on back basting, again, and went back to a variety of templates; drawing the design on the back and pin placement on the front; and freestyle placement using just the vine placement as a starting point.

A friend on an email group brought up a discussion about a wonderful Canadian applique artist - that is what she is, I think - Katie Friesen - you can see some of her work and patterns here -


I thought about back basting, again, and decided to give it another try. I really liked the idea of no pins - they are a real pain when sewing. I came to the realization that I could do the basting with machine stitching. Well, this seems to be the trick for me. Bigger holes, some of which I can actually see - combined with a drawn pencil line over the stitching, my nice big sewing light to help with placement of the fabric on the front, quick - and not at all hard to pick out as I sew. I think I just might be a back basting convert :)

Pictures tomorrow, of my first little block completed with back basting.

The Rabbit Factory - Lydia Quigley

I sent a picture of my Folk Art Finery top to the folks at The Rabbit Factory, to get permission to display it at the Markham Fair as I might be entering this quilt in the fall. They've posted my picture on their blog! I'm very glad that Lydia is happy with the few small changes I made to her design.

For some reason, this site doesn't want to work on Mozilla Firefox, but it does work on Internet Explorer:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Folk Art Finery - top done!

Its quite amazing what can get done when you work at it just a little at a time. I've been unwell the past several days, and have spent much less time than I usually do at my quilting. I had started the scallops on the Folk Art Finery borders this past weekend - and found them quite daunting! I've never worked with such large applique pieces (using freezer paper machine applique), and I chose to do yo yo's instead of circles so that was also something new to me as far as sewing down the yo yo's onto the top. But little by little, I was suprised to discover that I had sewn down the last yo yo this morning, and with some neatening up, the top will be ready to quilt :)

I ordered the backing - a nice purple and gold print that somewhat matches the inner border and yo yo colours, along with an extra couple of queen size Hobbs Heirloom batts.

I'm still working on quilting the Sudoku quilt - mostly because I'm not feeling that well, and also because I'm really in no hurry to have it to someone or to finish it for a particular reason. I'm still going with the idea of using a different free motion design or meander pattern in each large block - two done and I'm liking it so far.

My Mom has taken a liking to the strippy baskets and stars top - although she wants it for her queen size bed. I think if add a wide border to each side, that will make it big enough. I'll have to think about what pattern though, as it has to be interesting enough on its own to be such a wide border, but she does not want any green! - so that rules out any florals. In finally found the pattern reference for this quilt - its called Noel Sampler, Fons & Porter, July/August 2005 (three part series starting that month). My top bears little resemblance to the original!

Of course the downside to not actively working on my quilts is that I find myself actively *thinking* about my quilts! More ideas of designs to make, fabrics to wish for, and uses for UFOS are all bouncing about in my head - but one step at a time. Most important is basting the queen sized At Home and Away top for tying, which is at the top of my list as soon as the weather cools off and as soon as both I'm ready and Mike has time to help.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Misbehaving Borders

I've had a great lesson in sewing on borders. The Folk Art Finery quilt top requires a narrow inner border, then a wider outer border that has an appliqued swag on it.

I guess I've been lucky so far because always my quilt tops have ended up to be the size they should be - meaning, if the directions ask to cut a border 52 1/2" long, then my centre will be that size. So this time around, I didn't measure the centre, just cut the first borders which were to be on the long sides. When I went to put them on, I could see immediately that they were longer than the quilt - but of course I proceeded anyway, pushing and shoving fabric as necessary to make it fit. Steamed and pressed and sure enough it was wobbly and ripply. I put the quilt on the floor, measured the centre, and it was 52 1/2". Re-measured my border strip and I had cut it at 52 1/2". So I went ahead and put on the other long side, then the top and bottom sides, put it on the floor and what a ripply mess!

I think we all do what might later be considered as a why did I do that? moment. I took off one long border, and cut off 1/2" - just a random idea - sewed it back on and it didn't make any difference to the rippling.

So I un-sewed all four borders. Pressed and starched (well, Best-Pressed), the top. Measured again. Still what it should be, top to bottom and side to side. I was beginning to suspect the border fabric. The experts say - and they're right - to always try to cut border strips from the length of the fabric. Just try it - take a narrow strip from across the 40" width of the fabric, give it a pull between you're two hands and you can feel the stretch. Cut a narrow strip from the length of the fabric, and when you pull it will feel very "solid". So this purple fabric was coming from the cross grain, I had no choice as I didn't have enough to cut it otherwise, and I really wanted that fabric for the inner border. I double checked I was cutting it on the straight of grain, starched the heck out of it, and re-cut the borders. After all that extra cutting, pressing, and starching, the new borders looked somewhat better, but not the results I usually get.

The next day I went to sew on the wide black borders. These were cut from the length of the fabric. I cut these, and when I was attempting to pin them to the purple border, it was as if the first border had grown overnight! I had almost an inch to ease in. But I did do it, and after adding those borders the whole top looks pretty darn good. Now on to all those applique swags!

These were a couple of other thoughts I had about the borders for this project -
  • the sashing were paper pieced, strippy kind of blocks, that also framed the outer edges of the blocks - although I had kept the paper foundation on, perhaps I should have stay stitched these before adding the border (stay stitching is just stitching about and 1/8" from the edge, to keep the shape of the piece prior to adding another piece)
  • as explained in another post, I had difficulty removing the freezer paper from some of the appliques because I had used a blanket stitch rather than a zig zag - because of this I did something I have never done previously and never wil do again - I cut away the the back of the fabric that was appliqued on to - I think this made the quilt unstable
I wish I had taken pictures of the ripply inner border - but at that point I wasn't thinking of my blog, I wash busy scratching my head and trying not to cry!

Here is a picture of how it looks at this point, as well as a picture of the back of one the applique blocks where fabric was cut away (though not as much as I thought).

My Sapphire came home today, so I'm starting to quilt on a quilt called Sudoku. This was done during the winter as a weekend retreat through Canadian Quilters Online. I upgraded the Sapphire from an 850 to an 870, so I need some getting acquainted time. The Sudoku quilt is perfect for this, as it has large empty blocks to play in, and the kids have already requested it for their rec-room. Pics of that quilt I hope tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Orphan Blocks & EQ6

I dug out some log cabin blocks that I had started months ago - I remember at the time that I wasn't at all sure that the pattern for which these were made was going to be the actual top that would result. I love the look of log cabins, but I've never actually made one yet.

I got a dozen blocks completed, then started to play on EQ6 and my design board. This is what I've come up with so far - I'm going to let it sit on the design board for a few days.

EQ6 is one of my favourite, almost must-have tools for quilting. I can take a pattern and change the colours and the size and immediately see the results. I can put blocks on the design board, transfer the idea to EQ and play some more. Quilt University (www.quiltuniversity.com) offers great courses for EQ6 - Fran Gonzales is the instructor and she gives a huge amount of detailed info and great support so you never feel lost. I took the Drawing class this past spring, and finally learned some tricks that take me beyond trying to draw everything with a nine patch grid, lol. In August (bad timing for me, but I am so looking forward to this new class) Fran is instructing a new program at Quilt University on EQ layouts - I'm sure I"ll love this one and get some fresh ideas and new techniques and shortcuts.

Week one almost done

Scott has been terrific about attending his summer school - I think he's enjoying it but won't admit it. He does make a point of saying it was boring, but later a few happier comments escape. Meanwhile Wendy is acting like the monster of the morning. She has to be up at 6:15 and out the door at 7:00 for her volunteer work at a summer camp - there is nothing I can do right according to her - any suggestions for her breakfast and lunch are snarled at; tears and whining that she can't find a hat or sunglasses that are right where they were left the night before. I sure hope this act doesn't carry over to next week. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying some nice days cleaning up some projects while I await for the quilting to begin when my sewing machine comes home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More applique!

I'm still waiting for the machine I use for quilting to come back from service - its a Viking Sapphire 870 - so my quilting is on hold. I've been using one of the longer arm sewing machines for a few years now, and I find it so much easier to machine quilt with that extra couple of inches in the harp. I just can't imagine using my regular size machine for a larger quilt.

So in the meantime, I'm piecing tops. They're all slowly coming out of their boxes, drawers and bags. The strippy basekts and Folk Art Finery last week, and this week its Sally Post. This is yet another applique quilt! I'm actually much more of a quilt piecer than a quilt appliquer (by machine) - but one thing led to another and I have/had three on the go. The Folk Art Finery was mean to be hand applique, but I read about Beth Ferrier's technique and though that would be good project to give it a try. Then Sally Post, I decided to try fusible/raw edge with a fine blanket stitch. The third is yet another go at Beth Ferrier's invisible machine applique, only this time it really is invisible - not a heavy blanket stitch as the Folk Art Finery was.

The Sally Post floral sampler is a pattern based on a quilt owned by Gayle at Sentimental Stitches. She translated the blocks to patterns, and began offering one a month. There are thirty six blocks - so it was going to take a while! Then she had an Applique in May event where she offered a block a day, until all blocks were available. Unfortunately, her site http://sentimentalstitches.net/ went down yesterday and those who read her blog every day don't know yet what has happened.

I kept up until about block fifteen, each day doing the fusing and sewing. And then I got behind, and behind. This past weekend I finished fusing all the blocks, and have been slowly sewing them. The last couple of days, I've sewn the blocks into their setting squares, with the sashings on the right and bottom of each. I've done I think 20 of these, here's a picture of 9 -

To hopefully solve my hand applique dilemma, I've subscribed to Jan Patek's 2008-2009 Girl Gang block of the month at Homestead Hearth - it looks like a fun top, a design that I wouldn't come up with on my own, and it seems that the only way to get Jan's current patterns is through a block of the month. I don't want to later see pictures of this top on the 'net and wish I had had done it!

I still have those hexagons I'm working on, and I should be starting to tie the quilt for the Markham Fair (but right now its way too hot to consider basting a quilt). I sure have enough to keep me occupied, but like many quilters there's never enough, and always time for one more project or to play with a good idea.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fun with Bleach? Who knew!

Yesterday I was thinking about white - solid white - quilting fabrics. I've found that there are "wimpy whites" and "heavy whites". I've been working on a sampler top - more about that another day - that is made up of blocks using a wimpy white. This is a quality name brand white - I've forgoten though who the manufacturer is - but I call it wimpy because even with starch or sizing it has little body, very soft and thin. Fine for machine sewing, but I wouldn't want to use it for hand applique. I wanted a white that was similar to some other solids I have - I do know that two of these are from Kona and Moda. These other solids are thicker, have a firmer hand, and are heavier.

I have a couple of yards of a Kona that is an ivory or bone. Part of my job requirement for the illness I have is one or two short naps a day - lying down on the couch, my mind started wandering and wondering about fabric descriptions "bleached white" and "white pfd" (pfd, prepared for dying). Bleach!!

Being one of those few summer days we get without the icky high humidity, I jumped up and filled up a bucket of hot water and bleach, plunged in the Kona cotton, and hoped for the best. I love the smell of bleach on clean sheets -but this was a little overwhelming. Fifteen minutes, half an hour, one hour later and it still wasn't white. Why when I do laundry or cleaning with bleach it takes seconds to get a bleached spot on my shirt, but my ivory won't turn white?

Well, I was having fun - believe it or not - and I decided to pull out of my stash three yards of a solid cotton dark burgundy/rust colour. I had no idea why I had this, I didn't like the colour particularly, and I know it had been around for a few years. So that went into a fresh bucket of bleach - my goodness! - very quickly, even before I got a chance to stir it - there was this wonderful colour - a bit tie dyed, but wonderful none the less -

I'm looking forward to finding the perfect project to use this colour - I don't think the picture really shows it right - in some lights its more coral than pink.

Here are the two fabrics drying on the line. Isn't it great to hang things on the clothesline - there is nothing better to sleep on than sheets dried outside.

Off topic, but not really, is a comment about a recent kerfluffle in our part of the world - subdivisions, and even towns, that outlawed clotheslines because clothes drying on the line offended people and/or deterred from the beautiful neighbourhoods that some people wanted to live in. Now I'm not a fan of looking out my kitchen window and seeing my neighbour's bras, underwear, and her husband's boxers - but - its okay with me if that's what she wants to do. Thankfully, "they" have struck down these ridiculous bylaws and now clotheslines can be used by one and all.

How to ruin a Mom's summer

This past week has been pretty quiet as my daughter has been away at horse camp - leaving 14 yr old Scott to have full control of what he wants to watch on TV, where his friends can be, how long he can be on the game stations, and when and what he wants to eat. He's had a great time with his vacation from his mothering older sister, but now its all over - because....

Summer school!! Scott just scraped by his Grade 8 year and he has to do a review (I'm calling it study rehab) for three weeks starting Monday, to prep for high school. This means that I get to drag him out of bed at 7:30 each weekday, after arguing with him on how late he should stay up. Argue with him about washing his face, brushing his teeth (boys this age aren't good on hygiene :))- argue some more about eating breakfast or bringing a snack for the bus, more discussion about lunch packed or bought, then get to greet a grumpy sullen kid at 3:30 in the afternoon, just to start all over again the next day.

He has attended overnight summer camp for several years, and this year I paid for 2 - two week sessions in August - telling him that's his reward for getting through summer school. Ha! That's my reward for getting him to attend summer school every day, somewhat prepared for learning what he should have learned when the opportunity was first given to him!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Planning applique

Well here we go again - more frustration and hair pulling over planning fabrics for applique. I don't know why I can plan a pieced quilt with out too much angst - I can see a group of fabrics together, and when I see a pattern I'll pretty much just know that that group will look terrific sewn into that pattern. Or might have one star fabric, and design my own pattern. Or customize a pattern to suit my fabrics.

I don't have a quilt shop nearby that I can visit - in fact, the closest one which is about a 30 minute drive, I just don't feel comfortable and at home when there. There are some terrific quilt and fabric shops in the city, but they are too difficult to get there, shop, and return home due to this illness I have. So - I order pretty much all my fabric on line. I'm pretty good at knowing what I need for the pieced quilts and going from there.

But my stash just doesn't seem big enough for the applique I want to do - and anything I've ordered with applique in mind just doesn't seem to suit (the proof is the applique I did this late winter and spring - half dozen or more blocks I've made in different colour combos and different patterns, all resulting in my disappointment). I feel that if I had $200 to go made in a fabric store, I just might end up with what my mind keeps envisioning - but I don't and I won't so I have to make some kind of decision.

I have made a few successful applique projects - the Piece O Cake applique sampler, and Lori Smith's Simple Pleasures were needleturn, and my newest finished top, Folk Art Finery, was machine applique. These were made with a pretty limited colour pallete, working from a set of fabrics that were meant to go together. What I really want and I think this is my problem, is a print or dark (not black) background - I've done the needleturn quilts on muslin, and in my mind "I've been there done that" to want to do it again.

Sitting on my back porch this morning, in the lovely warm but not humid day we're having, I was so enjoying appliqueing yet another block. But I wasn't really enjoying it as I know I'm going to pass on these results as well. Am I destined to join a block of the month? Or buy a kit? I hate to give up making my own creation, but perhaps I'm strongest when designing or planning pieced projects, and I should let someone else do the work on the applique quilt so I can just enjoy the sewing!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This is the strippy baskets and stars top. I'm still looking for the Fons & Porter magazine issues from which I got this pattern. It was a three part series - I don't know how I could misplace it so fast!

The centre of Folk Art Finery by the Rabbit Factory, the border has an appliqued swag - these are the colours I'll be doing the border - (the website is www.rabbitfactory.com but the site is being changed, so the patterns aren't available to view right now).

And a close up of one the blocks. As mentioned in an earlier post, this was my first attempt at Beth Ferrier's method of freezer paper invisible machine applique. Although, you can see my applique is not at all invisible!! I did the first block using monofilament thread, but I felt with the black background it needed something more, so I wound up using black thread and buttonhole stitch. I sure hope that the finished edges will hold up in the wash.

Yesterday I was working on many many fusible applique blocks for another quilt top. More about this tomorrow when I hopefully will have these sewn down.

Threading a needle

A friend called last night - someone who doesn't sew often - and she was so upset that she had spent three times as long threading her machine needle as doing the little job she had set out to do. Here are some tricks for needle threading that many of us might know, but some might not -
- place a white scrap of paper behind the needle - makes the hole much easier to see
- freshly cut the end of the thread after every attempt at threading the needle
- this sounds icky, but works, lick your finger, then wet the needle with your finger
- get your kids or grandkids to do the job for you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Piecing Tops

Yesterday I actually got some sewing done. I pieced together the strippy rows of a basket and stars quilt that I haven't yet named. This pattern is from Fons & Porter, and it was intended to have applique in the centre strips, but this is the quilt I mentioned in a previous post that, in the end, I thought it was getting too big if I had continued to follow the pattern, and I actually liked it just fine the way it was turning out without the applique.

I also had a great time yesterday piecing the blocks for the sashings on the Folk Art Finery quilt top. Sometimes when I'm piecing, I can get in to a very calm, almost meditative state. Of course, this only happens when your pieces are cut and ready to sew, there are no calamaties with the sewing machine, and few interruptions. In the process of piecing, cut fabric to cut fabric, adding on one piece at a time, pressing, and continuing on the circle - I can get very quiet, and my mind can actually declutter itself - just watching the fabric feed through the sewing machine.

Pictures to follow later today, when Mike can help me by holding the finished top and the finished centre section of Folk Art Finery.

Canada Day!

Lists and surveys always create a lot of conversation. Of course there was published in time for Canada Day - what do we like most about Canada? or what are our symbols of Canada? I had to laugh to see Tim Horton's in a top 10 spot on the list - multiculturalism was number 1.

Our town has an annaul fireworks and party at a local park. We've been living in this town for 15 years - when we moved here it was still pretty much a rural town on the outskirts of Toronto. Now its a full fledged suburbian city with thousands of new homes, big box stores, a performing arts theatre being built, and numerous changes that go hand in hand with development. Our local fireworks continue, as the crowds continue to grow, and I'm so happy and thankful that our town continues this tradition, expands it to allow even more participants, and that all of us, those born here in Canada and those recently arrived, together can peacefully and joyfully celebrate Canada's birthday.

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About Me

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southern Ontario, Canada
I began quilt-making in January 2001, as therapy following diagnosis a chronic autoimmune condition. I enjoy creating and exploring hand and machine applique, machine piecing, english paper piecing, machine quilting, and machine embroidery. I have been working with Electric Quilt for several years and I'm comfortable with just about very aspect of using EQ to design pieced, applique, and embroidery quilts. I'm an early retired Mom with two teenager and a son who'll be married in Fall '09. My husband is my biggest quilting supporter.

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Bunny Hill Designs

Bunny Hill Designs
A Tisket a Tasket b.o.m.

Willowberry Designs

Willowberry Designs
verandah views b.o.m.

works in progress

  • pushin' up spring b.o.m.
  • garden at dusk
  • hop to it - my garden album (blue & white)
  • baskets
  • checkers
  • strip mine
  • prairie vine - needs applique border
  • p3 designs - online b.o.m.
  • a tisket a tasket - online b.o.m.