Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two more tops!

After almost two weeks without making a stitch with a sewing machine, I got back into it with a bang on Friday morning.

First up was a quilt top that need the intervention of an Exorcist. Really. It was intended to have four outline stitched blocks set diagonally with framed sixteen patch blocks. I had the centre sewn, the pieced border bits made up (see post about "January", below) , and I ordered a wonderful border fabric to bring out the red and black in the fabrics and embroidery. No luck – when it arrived, it was way short than I needed, end of bolt. So back to the drawing board, and a decision to use the embroidered blocks in a wallhanging; and make up some other blocks to add into the quilt, which would make it bigger, without needing the wide border.

IMG_0552After much fighting with the diagonal set, and working out the measurement of the four patch borders, voila! – a quilt called Changes – representing all the variations of this top; and most important the pinwheels representing the whirling challenges of life with two teenagers and my oldest son’s wedding in the fall.

Then I got to a quilt I’m naming Hodgepodge Strippy – I had written about the top in an earlier note. I had some concern that I wouldn’t have enough 4” patches to make up a good amount of blocks for a lap quiilt, and sure enough the most I could make was 20. EQ saved my sanity on this quilt. I was constantly drawing and re-drawing it to use up what I had without running out! What I wanted to do, and would have liked best, was 6 rows of 5 blocks each, with a 5” sash in between each row. But….nope.

So this is what I came up with – even the border ended up to be IMG_0555much narrower than I would have liked because I ran out of fabric. I’m going to use a red fabric for the binding, to bring out the slight pink in the sashing/border fabric. I’d also like to quilt it in such a way that all the plain fabric sort of blends together to make the coloured hodgepodge strips look as if they’re floating.

This quilt will be for my neice, or my sister, depending on how fast I want to quilt it! Neice’s birthday is in June, sister’s is in August.

Both of these pictures could have been better – the quilts are even and squared – but a teenager was being held against his will to hold them up for pictures!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sewing on the porch

Spring has finally arrived here, and with it the anticipation that I now get to spend more time outside, doing what I like best in the warmer months – applique and hand work.

Over the years I seem to have fallen into a routine of piecing and quilt-top making during the winter, and quilting and applique in the summer. While I do work on all types throughout the year, there’s definitely an emphasis on quilting and applique in the summer. I get to enjoy the weather, and when its too hot, I can sit in the air conditioning and quilt my quilts at the machine. Little ironing is needed, which is great, because my studio is small and even a hot iron on for a couple of hours can really make thngs warm!

It was good timing on my part when I went browsing for patterns at Lori Smith's website about a week ago. She had just posted some new patterns, one which I very much liked called Honoring Emma, An Album Quilt. It arrived yesterday and I was again very lucky to pretty decisively choose my fabrics – decisive is not my strong point!. I enjoyed a lovely afternoon out in the sun, cutting up fabric and making little block kits for the pattern.

Another quilt that I’ve started is from Margaret Docherty’s new book Hearts and Tulips. I’ve decided to sew the blocks with a blue outline stitch with highlights of blanket stitch applique – all blue on white.

I “had” to get in on a a block of the month wallhanging size applique quilt called Summertime (that’s appropriate, lol) at Homestead Hearth. I looked at the quilt and program for a few weeks, and felt it was something I didn’t want to pass up :)

As with piecing, I like to have a variety of applique and handwork projects on the go – none of these are meant to be done this summer, or even this year!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Another top … and a 1/2….done

Here’s a picture of the finished Cottage Crossing quilt top.  The cottage block is from Fig Tree Quilts’ Houses book.

cottage crossing top done

January centreAnd the centre of “January” is done – it needs a few borders, two of which are pieced.  One is ready to go, the other is waiting for a final dark fabric that needs to be added to the mix.  The pieced blocks are from a quilt in Tea in the Garden by Cynthia Tomaszewski, and the outline embroidery blocks are the Whitework Sampler by Lydia Quigley at the Rabbit Factory.

Machine Applique – Fun with Thread Accents

I love handwork – needleturn applique, outline embroidery, hand piecing, and blanket stitch applique.  But – I have so much on my list of want-to-do’s that I also have learned to enjoy the benefits of applique by machine.

It can be far more than just cutting and fusing shapes to the background.  Over the past few years I have managed a pretty good collection of variegated and heavy threads that I use for machine applique, and for quilting.  I buy one or two every time I buy ordinary piecing thread, or when I’m shopping for a specific thread for a quilt.

I enjoy picking through my threads, and using accent colours to stitch the blanket stitch, or a variegated thread (I love the Sulky 30 wt. threads for this!).  I’ve been working on the first block of A Primitive Garden, a block of the month quilt from  HoneyBee Fabrics.  I knew for sure that I could not needleturn all these blocks – just too much of a challenge physically and for time spent, and I also wanted this quilt to be used and enjoyed (meaning lots of machine washing and drying).  So I thought I might hand blanket stitch the fused pieces…but that was going to be slow going, an outline stitch project is wanting to get done, and at least two needleturn applique patterns are calling my name! 

So I set about the machine applique and am I ever enjoying it!  There is a challenge to evenly blanket stitch around a narrow corner, or a circle….its interesting to pick a thread and see the result on the fabric…and more options available when stitching stems and other bits and pieces.  Almost all newer sewing machines have lots of stitches, and a way to alter their stitch width and length.  I keep a little scrap of fabric with odd shaped fused pieces nearby so I can sew out a stitch and see what happens, before I put it to use.

primitive garden block one small primitive garden bloc k one

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cherry Berry Album top done

The blocks in this quilt are from the book Favourite Applique and Embroidery Quilts by Betty Alderman.  I can’t say the quilt is one of the patterns – as I didn’t end up finishing it as presented.

All of the blocks were done with fusible machine applique, using sulky blendable thread 30 wt for the stitching – what a nice thread!  Adds just enough highlight and accent to the batiks.Two of the blocks, once finished, I just didn’t care for.  The Rooster, especially, and another one which was a kind of horn-of-plenty.  I could substitute the blocks, or make the quilt smaller. 

cherry berry album top a This was my first attempt at the layout – I meant for the corner blocks to be the darker blue, but I miscut  (several times!) and didn’t have enough to do the job properly.  So I put the lighter blue in the corners, which I think gave me nightmares all last night, lol.

This morning I got up and decided to see what it would look like if I just squared off the corners – after a pressing preview, off I went with the rotary cutter.  Now I’m happy!  This quilt is destined for the kids’ basement room, it will certainly brighten it up.

cherry berry album top final

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Yesterday I brought out my box of somewhat prepped blocks for Lori Smith’s 30s sampler.  I was disappointed to discover that I was only on block 13 of 40 or so – it felt like I’ve working on this forever – but I think its been only a couple of months :)

lori smith sampler star I looked at the block I was to do, a 9 inch star – and I rolled my eyes.  I love Lori Smith’s patterns, but her sampler blocks can be challenging – a lot of pieces, and a lot of 1/8” measurements.  Not counting cutting time, it took almost two hours for me to finish this block!  But look at it – amazingly, its almost perfect and its very pretty – too bad it will get lost amongst all the other blocks in this sampler.

To recover from yesterday’s piecing trauma, I played with scrap blocks today.  The first is Charlotte’s Hodgepodge – made from leftover Charlotte line fabric, the pattern is dead easy,see making hodgepodge.charlotte's hodgepodge  I chose a very pale pink as my centre square so there is something to follow within the quilt.






strip mine eight blockThen I laid out the Strip Mine quilt, from a class I took at Quilt U.  Another quick, easy, and fun block, this one I’m making from civil war repro style fabrics.


I was going to make more of these today, but then I ended up getting involved in planning the final borders of the Cottage Crossing quilt; the got restless and ended up pulling out the Cherry Berry Album blocks – guess what?  We just might see two finished tops this week!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Paper piecing

I have to say that while I like the idea of paper piecing, and I like the accuracy and final result of paper piecing, I despise the process!  To me, its slow and fidgety, uses more fabric than I would with regular piecing, and taking out the papers is on the bottom of my list as far as things I’d like to be doing :)

goose chase blocks But, after several days effort, I got 12 goose chase blocks done that will be set alternately with the cottage blocks I finished earlier in March.  And they sure do look great, don’t they? – even lying out on the floor like this.


This week I also did the binding on vintage tiger lily quilt – its not so bad as I thought, and its hanging in the side hall.  It is nice to have something new and bright on the walls for  Spring.tiger lily quilted done

Add a comment!

Thanks for visiting - any comments, critiques, greetings? Click on "comments" below each post.

About Me

My photo
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.

Search This Blog

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.