Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stars and Nine Patch

After looking at the box of scraps leftover from this top, I think it is a great idea to save them for a future applique project….pressing them, and trying to cut them into some specific sizes for a border, and hoping for enough, was just more work than I wanted to do for this quilt.  I did have a stars and nine patch top and borderlength of a nice bright but soft blue that went well, so this top is done and ready for quilting when I get the backing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

UFO Madness

This weekend, and today, I attacked the two baskets of ufo’s – or they should be called USOs, unsewn objects.  One was a small quilt I had cut out I don’t know how long ago, and everytime I saw the basket of pieces I couldn’t understand what I was thinking when I chose the pieces.  peppermint twistThey looked very odd in their basket.  When I put the blocks (small pieces, blocks finished at 3”) and the quilt together, I was so surprised and happy at the result – I think this will be one of my favourite little quilts.  The pattern is called “Pepperment Twist” from Fat Quarter Small Quilts by Darlene Zimmerman.


Next up was a basket of pieces from a quilt I was going to do called ``Colourful Thoughts`¨ by Peggy Waltman.  I had cut up scolourful thoughts blue and greenome the fabrics for the blue and green blocks, then the remaining fabric got stolen for another quilt – the Stars and Nine Patch that I posted about last week.  This left me with sixteen chain blocks that I will turn into a quilt someday.  I`m thinking of using some of my wonderful embroidery designs and setting these blocks with alternate redwork embroidered blocks.


tisket tasket block oneAnd, I made a decision on the A Tisket a Tasket block of the month by Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill Designs.  I`m going to use the leftover bits from the Garden Patch quilt that would likely never get finished as a result of losing those blocks.  I`m hoping that at the end of the series, I will be able to put the applique blocks together with the Garden Patch blocks that I do have.

Why have I been so busy?  Well, its darn cold outside!  Too cold for me, and I`ve been stuck indoors for the past couple of weeks – really, I haven`t left the house.  I`ve had lots of rest and I decided to put it to good use.

The other reason is thisstars and nine patch scrap box of scraps leftover from the Stars and Nine Patch.  This top needs a border – and I need to go through this pile and see what range of fabrics I have left and in what sizes.  Then I can decide how much effort I want to put into a border…I`m also thinking of hanging on to these scraps for a someday applique project.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thimbleberies Village

Today I finished the third block in this quilt pattern, for my son’s wedding in November.

Thimbleberries patterns are always interesting to sew. For the  most part, I don’t need instructions when sewing most quilt blocks, but with thimbleberries methods you’re never sure where or how the individual pieces go together.  There’s a lot of layering, diagonal sewing, and folding of corners.  The instructions are very good, and I enjoy looking at the block after its done to think how I would have sewn it without the thimblerries methods.

seasons one two three

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stars and Nine Patch

Here’s a picture of the completed top for this quilt – dh was in a rush, the top was freshly ironed, and this was the best he was going to do -

stars and nine patch top

This was the most challenging diagonal set that I’ve ever put together.  When I first put some of these blocks on the design board I realized that some colours were going to sort of clump together and some not.  So I decided to plan it so that the colours were grouped together.  That meant laying out the rows on the floor, then figuring out what colours to make the pieced triangles which are a  kind of half nine-patch.  Then after carefully counting and sewing all the appropriate triangles, I drew a map of what colour went where.  I have a very small workspace and there was no room to lay them out as I sewed them, so there was row labels, and my map to keep me in line.  I was so happy to see it looking right when I put the final top on the floor!

The pattern calls for a pieced nine patch border set on point – but all my scraps left are really scraps so I’m not sure how I’ll use them, if at all, and I also have a nice bright light blue that I’d like to use in the border.

Tiger Lily applique

I’ve completd a Tiger Lily block, pattern by Ruth Ohol (Quilters Newsletter April/04) . The sashing and centre block look a little odd as I haven't pieced it yet, and am still thinking about those fabrics.

tiger lily I had originally planned to do a lap or full sized quilt, but realize
now that I think this block would be a great spring wallhanging. I'll
do the floral middle border as in the pattern, and larger pieced
triangles as inner and outer borders.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Balancing “Fun” and “Challenging”

I've been forced to rest on the couch this week, and my quilting activity has slowed down accordingly.  As result, I've been thinking about the balance between having fun while piecing, applique, and quilting, and choosing projects that are challenging.

For example, I often hear on message boards and email lists that "I can't stipple!  its drives me crazy!  I've tried everything!"  well, then don't! -   unless you are really really sure that's what you want.  Just because many people do stippling and meandering, you can do your own thing and enjoy it -  there are so many other options, as well as ones you can make up on your own.

This applies to just about every aspect of quilting.  For me,  needleturn applique is where I have problems finding the balance between a fun hobby and a challenging obsession!  I so enjoy looking at the variety of styles and patterns, and while I know my skills are good, and I am able to do the small pieces, or the sharp skinny corners, do I really want to?  Wouldn't I enjoy it more if I stuck to a pattern that was larger, or had less challenging parts?  But then comes the envy - she can do it, so why don't I?  Well, I have to learn to be happy with my choices - celebrate others' achievements and always remember why you chose to do what you did.

In Sue Garman's new block a month at The Quilt Show, she presents instructions for a paper pieced feathered star for the first block.  And then, she offers an alternate star - making it clear to all that some of us just might not want to take on the feathered star, and we will be perfectly okay - and happier - if we did the alternate block.,
I chose the feathered star, even though I despise paper piecing, because it was just one block and I was up for the challenge.  If it was more than one, I don't think I would have done it - it would crossed the line between fun and challenging.

So with these thoughts running through my head, I've edited my must do projects for this year -

my son's wedding quilt will be a Thimbleberries pattern that was once a block of the month, called Thimbleberries Village - I'm calling it Seasons.  This past weekend I got the fabrics sorted for each block, so it will be easy going to have it ready for November/09.

an applique pattern called Vintage Tulips - I've shrunk the size of the blocks by eighty percent, as they were just two large.  I'm going to set it in a four block setting, and perhaps add an extra border to make it lap size.
Stars for a New Day - which I am going to call Quilt Stars - very scrappy, from 1800's repro style fabric

a Tisket, a Tasket, from Anne Sutton at Bunny Hill Designs  - if you only knew how many basket quilts I've started!  This one is easy applique and stitching, one small block a month, presented as a mystery - lets hope I stick with it

I do still have three scrappypieced tops in progress, and two fusbile applique projects in progress, as well as the Jan Patek's Favourite Things b.o.m.  So I've cancelled the Aunt Millie's Garden b.o.m., as much as I loved the idea of having the red background and applique fabrics delivered every month - the challenge of staying up to date on these blocks on a monthly basis will cross the challenging - fun line that I'm going to stay aware of this year.

Here's a picture of my feathered star - quilt soup feathered star

Friday, January 9, 2009

Garden Patch

I’ve been slowly working on this quilt pattern by Kim Diehl. I am like so much how this top is turning out – I could see it as being my favourite pieced top that I’ve made in a while.  The centre is made from basic nine patch blocks, but they are bright and happy to look at.  The real beautyh of this quilt will come later with an appliqued border on a bright blue fabric that I have put aside.

garden patch jan 9Now the bad news – I seem to have lost 25 of the small nine patches that make up some of the blocks.  I am beyond upset that I can’t find them.  I had what I thought were all the little nine patches in a basket, with their background squares, ready to sew up the blocks.  I sewed 5 and ran out!  I have gone through everything I can think of and can’t find them.  I guess I’ll have to put this to rest for a while, and if I can’t find the rest of the blocks I’ll have to make it into a wall hanging.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stars for a New Day, cont…now Quilt Soup Stars

Well I couldn’t leave it alone.  Made some tea, thought about dinner, and ended up pulling out the bin of repros (mostly fqs here),  the pale yellows, and a piece of white.  I think this will work!  The yellows as setting pieces, the white for background, and the repros for everything else.  I might even find some suitable border fabric when I get far enough in to this.  I will just have to promise myself to let it flow…and the end will result will at least be an interesting surprise.

quilt soup stars swatches

Stars for a New Day – The Quilt Show b.o.m.

I looked at the fabric requirements for this beautiful quilt and just about gave up.  22 yards!!  Whoa! 

Stars for a New Day

I’m on a restricted fabric diet this year – trying to start a quilt top with fabrics from the stash, and adding only what I’m sure I need.

After much searching, I came up with several fabrics that would work – but only a few colours.  I was very lucky in finding a wonderful print online, to link together all the colours, and when it came it matched perfectly!

Now, though, despite what I already have, I realize I’m already very short.   I know this is a block of the month, that does last one year, but I do think that I shouldn’t be adding new fabrics on the last borders or two without having them somewhere else in the inner part of the quilt, or else it would look like an add on.

This is what I have so far:

stars for a new day swatches small

The yellow fabrics in the middle were going to be my background fabric – six yards needed, and I don’t have  that much – I could change it to a scrappy white background but I don’t know how much the yellow would then show up.  I think I also need to find some lighter versions of the pink, blue and green, and maybe even add a brown.  But I’m not buying more! 

The pattern calls for five fabrics that each need 1 1/4 to 2 yards . That could be the multi floral, the pindot (3rd down in the middle), the blue floral….that’s it so far.  Maybe the yellow?  And then 18 fabrics that are 1/2 yard!  So far I have six, and I’m not sure I have a whole 1/2 yard of these.

As much as I love this quilt design, and have even bought fabric for it, I’m thinking I might have to pass.  Its just way too much fabric to find, and store, unless I could possibly come up with at least  9 of the 1/2 yards, and  bought the border fabrics later.

I already have three or four pieced quilts on the go, many more to tempt me, and one more pieced quilt that I must decide on that will be both a wedding quilt for my son, and my fair entry for this fall. 

More thought needed – I’m really happy with how these fabrics play together and maybe they’d be happier in another quilt.

Another thought – I have a lot of civil war repros, and a – confession here – monthly subscription for a 12- fat eighth collection – maybe I’ll try the quilt in completely random scrappy – just go nuts and throw everything in there!  Don’t even look at the parts together, or think about anything more than what I’m doing that month -Stars for a New Day – or Quilt Soup Stars!!, lol.  Oh, I think I’m liking this idea :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A different way of edge finishing - Almost Log Cabin done!

almost log cabin top








I completed this top in the Fall, and had the centre quilted, when an oops occurred - I don't even remember what was the oops - but the result was a good sized rip through the border.alc rip  At the time, I thought I could fix it by adding another border (I had about 3-4" of batting overhanging the top) , making the red border narrower, or patching the rip then adding appliques.

When I pulled it out of hiding - my table needed a bright non-christmasy table topper - I decided on a rather unique way of finishing off this quilt.

I had a length of fabric that would go with the top, and I Aripped lengths of it, 10" wide. Each length I folded in half lengthwise and pinned it to the border, measuring how far in I had to go cover the original rip. alc piningAfter sewing all four sides, opposite sides first, I had a nice flange added to the quilt. But - another oops - even being a garment sewer I didn't take into account that I should have measured the last two lengths in order to hem them in and have a finished outer edge. And, I thought there was a bit of oomph still needed.

I dug out my little box of heavy threads, and with bobbin work (working upside down, wrong side up, with the embroidery floss in the bobbin so it would show on top) I did a neat little zig zag all around. I am ever happy with the result! The whole job was much quicker than a traditional binding, much quicker than adding and quilting a second border.

alc corner 2

alc corner 3

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cherry Berry Album

I started this project in September, five blocks left to go. The pattern is from Betty Alderman's book, Favourite Applique And Emboirdery Quilts.

I wanted to make this bright, so I've used assorted batiks in colours similar to those in the original quilt. What makes the blocks wonderful is the 30 wt. Sulky Blendables thread - those colours shine! I might have used the 12 wt., but I had already had a few of the 30 wt., so it was less expensive to just add a couple rather than buy several new spools.

It started out as hand blanket stitch, but I got involved in other hand work, and wanted to see this top progress, so I changed over to machine blanket stitch - right in the middle of the third block! I was quite surprised and happy to see how well the two get along - there really is very little difference.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Star and Nine Patch

I had quite a bit of leftover 30's fabrics when I finished the Sally Post quilt. I went through my books and patterns, sewed a few blocks from different quilt patterns, then settled on this one - simply named Star and Nine Patch,, from Stashbuster Quilts by Lynne Edwards. I combined some of the left over 30's fabrics with some complimentary bits from my stash, and I had some novelty type 30's type nickel charms that I used for the inner points of the stars.

When I was putting up these blocks on the design board, it seems that whenever I moved one, to better separate colours, I ended up near another smilar colour. These blocks are less than half the total blocks, but I'm thinking that when I'm done and ready for layout, I may try to purposely lay them out in colour sections - red, pink, purple, orange, yellow, blue, green.

Jan Patek's Favourite Things

Over the next few days, I hope to post pictures of each of my current tops-in-progress. These are five blocks of a b.o.m. from Homestead Hearth, Jan Patek's Girl Gang's Favourite Things.

I chose to do these applique blocks with the freezer paper method, and an open fine zig zag with a neutral tan thread. This I think suits the folk art look of the blocks. Sometimes that thread blends right in, other times it is a nice accent. I do like the look of freezer paper applique, it has a dimension rather than the sometimes flat-ness of fusible applique. What I don't like about freezer paper is taking out from the back!

I've looked into Sharon Schamber's method of using a wash-out but not stabilizer type product, but I don't think its something I want to have to constantly stock from the States - Purple Daises is the name of her affiliate store - as it doesn't seem to be available anywhere but at her site (although I'm still thinking of trying it - with the idea that it would be good to use on the top layers of an applique, and the freezer paper on the layer closest to the background); and, the convenience of freezer paper is that you don't need to glue down the template - an iron will do the trick.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Whitework - Bluework?

About a month ago I posted a picture of an applique quilt block from the pattern "Whitework Sampler" by the Rabbit Factory. I used white on yellow fabrics. I wasn't happy with that, and experimented with a few different ideas, coming up with a scheme of a variety of blues on a range of tan/beige fabrics. I've now completed three blocks -

I strongly believe that to make machine fusible applique successful, the choice of thread is as important as the choice of fabrics! To me, if monofilament or a closely matching thread is used, the block just looks too flat. I love the look of closely blended colours in a variegated thread - for this quilt top I've chosen three different spools of blue that are each a range of blue, from YLI threads.

Sewing the edge finishes on the applique pieces takes a bit of practice, and its easy to sometimes stop paying attention as the work can be hynotizing! Go very slow, slower than you might think, then the turns will be smooth as you try to always keep the stitching at a right angle to the edge of the fabric.

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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.

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Willowberry Designs
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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.