Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kitting the stash

I’ve been busy the past week, going through my stash and making fabric kits for various patterns and on-line blocks of the month.

Of course, this gave me an opportunity for one of my most favourite quilting activities – playing on EQ.

The first quilt started out as a variation of a quilt in Cynthia Tomaszewski’s Tea in the Garden.tea in the garden one   After a week or two of working on leaves and stemstitch vines, I realized I would be bored to death with all those sashings and that the quilt might never get made.  So along came this:  tea in the garden twoAs much as I like it, I thought it might be nice to do another applique block or design that’s been on my list.  So I’ve ended up with this, using “Rachel’s Reel” by Jo Morton:boxed reel

After much mucking about, I made up this quilt layout to use up particular fabrics in my stash, based on Cotswald Cottages from Fig Tree Houses.neutral cottages

And then there were my leftover Charlotte fabrics – I think I came up with twenty different ideas for them.  Then this morning I realized that there must be something else I can try that isn’t hsts and squares, or applique.  I dug out I’my drunkard path templates and came up with this  -  charlotte circlesThen there are a few online blocks of the month that that | wanted to do, and had the fabrics for – so I’ve kitted Now and Forever, by Beth Ferrier; a Tisket a Tasket, by Anne Sutton at BunnyHill Designs; and Pearl P. Perriera’s mystery block of the month.  I think I better stop now – as I’ve also enrolled in a couple of applique subscription blocks of the month.  Yikes.  These applique quilts -  A Primitve Garden, and a Winter Garden/Love Letters, are quilts that I know I’m going to wish I had done years from now – even if it takes me years to make them up!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Polyester thread for hand applique?

Well, I say yes!  I was quickly running out of my favourite colour of Aurifil thread – a green/grey/brown colour that happily went with just all my greens.  I went to Tristan B.C. and discovered that they were no longer selling Aurifil, and that they only had a mixed bag on clearance.  Sad face, as my teenage daughter would say.

The great thing about buying my quilting supplies on the internet is finding terrific stores that meet most of my needs, have reasonable shipping costs and good prices.  Sew Thankful is where I buy most of my thread, and they don’t carry Aurifil.    The not so great part of internet shopping is finding those stores, so you aren’t buying one thing here, one thing there, and spending lots of dollars on shipping. Well hours wasted on google just showed me that I would have to invest a minimum of $3.00 a spool for the correct weight (60 or 50 wt., 2 ply) cotton thread that I like to do applique.  But applique doesn’t need a whole spool of thread – a spool could last a year!  Then I spent more time investigating silk thread – but again the $ outlay was more than I wanted to spend to try something. 

I then discovered Masterpiece Superior  Bottom Line polyester thread pre-filled bobbins, 60 wt 2 ply.  Lots of pretty colours!  Very reasonable price!  And I had some at home to try – I have two light neutral spools that I often use when free motioning, and for machine applique.

poly thread applique I appliqued the leaf on the left (with the pin in it) with the cream coloured poly thread and you cannot see the stitches.  What’s more, the thread is easier to thread on the needle, and seems less prone to tangling and shredding.  And, unlike the polyester thread of years gone by, it is not really “hard” or “springy” – I can easily snap/break a piece just as easily as cotton thread.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A little of this, a little of that

This week I worked on various blocks of the month - self-planned are tan and blue applique sampler, cherry berry applique album, lori smith 30’s sampler, and Seasons.

The new internet b.o.m.s are Anne Sutton’s A Tisket A Tasket, and Pearl P. Peirara’s mystery quilt block a month.

I also sat down and sewed 84 strip pieced blocks for an interesting top – pic will follow soon.  I had all the strips ready to sew, and I knew that if I didn’t get these blocks sewn soon they be destined for a dark hiding place; at least now I  know the project is finishable (is that  a word?).

adapted sweet dreamsAnd I’ve been playing with some new designs – one is an adaptation of a quilt called Sweet Dreams by Cynthia Tomaszewski in her book “Tea in the Garden”. 



crazy patch and chain Another idea popped into my head this week when I re-found the basket of chain blocks I had made earlier this fall/winter – I’m thinking of using some of the 30’s scraps I have to make crazy blocks with redwork accents.  I have Alex Anderson’s book Shadow Redwork, which has been on my to do list for years, and I think the fruit redwork would look great in this quilt.

The Tiger Lily wallhanging is sandwiched and ready to quilt, but inspiration or energy hasn’t struck yet, but it’s ready when I am!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tiger Lily applique wallhanging done

When I was a teenager, I learned to ski. I went on many ski trips over a few winters, and I was a terrific skiier if I say so myself :) I only had one problem – I could not handle any chair lift, or tow lift. I was a menace to anyone behind me on the lifts. Despite coaching, and resucing, by the ski patrol at the top of the lifts, I always always fell down, or slipped backwards and caused a commotion. My friends ceased to want to go skiing with me – I was an embarrassment and a danger to others, lol.

This story illustrates my problem with applique, using a vinyl or paper layout guide, or a ruler to measure; then glue or pins or even thread, I carefully place my piece where it belongs. Magically, after its sewn, it moves – just an 1/8th here or a 16th of an inch there. Arrgghh. This is particularly noticeable on symmetrical designs – on this quilt its blaring at me that the leaves on the top bar stem are a further distance to the stem than the leaves on the bottom bar. But, this time I’m only a danger to myself, ha ha, and I will continue on with my individual interpretation of designs.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Relief! The baskets and stars is done!

Yesterday I finished the machine applique on the borders, and pieced and cut the corner blocks.    I decided in the end to do applique on the bottom corners only, as this will be going on her bed, and a pieced corner block in the upper border.  This morning I sewed on the borders and its strippy stars and baskets bottom cornerdone done done.  This quilt came sooo close to being a permanent UFO – and now its another top to be quilted.  The quilting will be fairly easy as I know my Mom likes the fluffy quilts, so I’ll use a high loft batting and very simple quilting, or even machine tying.

So now I have a few tops to quilt – the mini red and white, nine patch and stars, the wonder blocks/somewhere in time (I had forgotten that one until now!), and the baskets and stars.  Hmmm…now I think my list of tops is too long!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

getting off track….

I had been doing so well in finishing up some UFOs and turning them in to tops.  The red and white mini quilt, done.  The stars and nine patch, done.  Then I attacked – there is no other word for it – a quilt I’m calling baskets and stars strippy.  Here’s a picture of what it was like a few months ago, well this past summer:

strippy stars and baskets

I had started this quilt for my Mom, then decided not to put the applique vines in the centre bars.  While I was thinking this would be her Christmas present, I put it away to work on some other projects.  Then my Mom decided she wanted my prize winning quilt from fair – At Home and Away.  The last four or five months has been a frustrating experience with my Mom as she keeps saying that At Home and Away is too narrow for her bed and she can’t keep it unless I “fix” it.  I tell her I can’t (or won’t) make it bigger, and I already have a quilt that was being made for her.  This conversation repeated itself over and over.  Now finally, I here from her that At Home and Away is in a bag, sitting in the trunk of her car (!) waiting for delivery to me. This could be another few weeks.  And I have finally convinced her, I think, to accept the strippy quilt as her birthday gift.  Arrghh.

I spent several hours this week working on how to finish this quilt with the fabric I have left, to make it the specific size she has decided on.  I’ve added a wide border to all four sides, a small applique vine (the fusible appliques had been made months ago) on the bottom corners, and pieces cornerstone blocks.  All I have to do is sew down the appliques and then sew on the borders…but I’ve been putting it off, because…

I finally decided to cut up block bags for Lori Smith’s   30s Sampler  I had already had some fabric put away for this, and I ordered the remainder.   My fabrics aren’t exactly 30s, but they are somewhat pastel and traditional.  It arrived on Friday and I spent Friday and yesterday organizing colours and cutting.  Still not done!  Today I really should get back to the baskets and stars and have the top done.

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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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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.
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