Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guild Cuddle Quilts are Finished

Today is a very dull, dreary day with intermittent rain showers. A perfect day to stay indoors and finish hand sewing the last bit of binding on these quilts.

These quilts aren't very big - approximately 39" x 49" - but they will make wonderful cuddle quilts for children in need. They came to me as completed flimsies and the blocks were pieced by other members of the guild. They are basically made up from various scrappy strips of fabric that were string pieced onto a fairly thin foundation fabric. They really were perfect for me to practice my free hand quilting on and they both got flowers and loops.

My photos are not that great but trust me....they did turn out pretty cute!

Resting after the trip to the vet.
On a side note - earlier this week I had taken my dogs out to have their nails trimmed. We just arrived home and we were going up the steps to the front door when I tripped on the leash and my foot landed very, very hard on poor Peanut's front right paw. She is so tiny and weighs less than 10 lbs. and I immediately knew that it was not going to be good. I immediately started using a bag of frozen corn to cool her leg/foot and made arrangements to see the vet. Her leg seemed to be okay but the vet suspected broken toe(s) and/or bruising. I didn't have x-rays taken (she didn't recommend them) because she said even if it was broken they wouldn't splint it anyway. Peanut is still in a lot of pain if she tries to use her paw and she is hopping around the house and yard on three legs. There has been some slight improvement in that I have noticed that she has started to occasionally put her paw down to balance herself but she does not put any weight on it all. If she accidentally does she cries out in pain. Even though it was an accident I feel terrible that this happened and all I can do is hope that she will have a quick and full recovery. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Loving My Little Houses

some sections that are ready to be joined
I am so enjoying working on this quilt...why oh why did I let it languish for so long??!! Yesterday afternoon I did go into my sewing studio and I spent way more time in there than I had intended. I just could not seem to pull myself away from these blocks. I even got up early this morning to continue joining the blocks together and now I don't have too much more to go. My photo shows nearly half of the sections that I have joined. I do like to join blocks together in squares or rectangles rather than sewing all long rows.

ooops...need to unsew some sashings
These blocks came about because of the blog Building Houses from Scraps. If I recall correctly, these houses were intended to be hand-pieced and finish at 4" and the pattern was offered free for a limited time. I wasn't ready to commit to hand piecing or a 4" house block so I redrafted the pattern so that the block would finish at 6" and I machine pieced them on my Singer 301a. Even with the pattern changes it did still take a fair amount of time to make the blocks. I made templates for the pieces and got a lot of practice with sewing that funky seam that joins the outer section of sky to the chimney and roof. I could have made that sky piece in two sections but I would have missed out on that challenge and the opportunity to learn and practice different techniques.

If I keep up the pace I am working at it won't be long before I have a quilt to snuggle under!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Little Houses

Not much to see but there is progress!
I am still working away on my little houses quilt blocks. I have added the sashing and cornerstones to almost all of the blocks but I have left a few untouched because I am not going to add cornerstones to the outer sashing. I will be able to just sew on long strips like a border and it will be complete.

Sashing strips will be added later depending on block placement.
When I start joining the blocks together I think they will end up being placed side by side in a rather willy-nilly fashion. My design wall is way too small to hold all of the blocks and it is quite the challenge to lay them out on the floor. The only floor space I have available is on the main floor and my sewing studio is on the second floor so I am not usually successful at keeping them in the correct order when I sew them together. Somehow I always manage to get them mixed up so I will just try to avoid all of that angst altogether.

I don't have any real design plans for this quilt - it is basically make my decisions as I come to them. I have been thinking about different border ideas but I don't have anything planned. It will definitely be a trial and error process.

I just may be able to squeeze some more time in my sewing studio this afternoon. I am really looking forward to working on the next phase of this soon-to-be quilt!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Finish

Over the past few days I have been spending time working on hand stitching the binding onto the back of this quilt and I finally finished it very early this morning.

Molly inspecting the back
I had spent yesterday in Toronto running errands with and for my Mother and by the time I got home I was beat. I ended up going to bed at 9 pm but then for some reason I was wide awake at 1 am. I stayed in bed until 2 but sleep was elusive so I got up and worked on this quilt. At 4:45 am I tucked in the last loose quilting thread tail.

I love the way this quilt turned out - I love everything about it...except the reason I made it. I have decided to call it 'A Warm Hug' and I hope that every time Carol uses it that she will feel the warm hug that has been stitched into it.

This quilt finished at 58" x 66" and was quilted using a pantograph called Double Plume. Something that I must keep in mind is that the size of the finished quilt really is affected by quilting. When I loaded the flimsy on the frame it was actually 60" x 69". Of course, the difference in size does depend on how dense the quilting is. Even though it did shrink a fair bit I think it is still the perfect size for a cuddle quilt.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Home Is Where The Heart Is...

sashing added
and my heart is definitely in these houses. I am loving how this is coming together!! I started making these houses so long ago and then I set them aside because I couldn't decide which fabric to use for my cornerstones. Indecision can be my enemy but I think I have nailed it with the fabric I chose - a darker blue with tiny white dots - but of course, that is just my humble opinion. ;))

When I pulled out the basket of houses to work on them I literally had to blow the dust off the top layer of blocks. These blocks will gather dust no more....I am zooming through adding the sashing! Apparently I made 120 or so of these blocks and they finish at 6". They are made from all sorts of scraps and I think they are so funky and fun looking. I can't wait to turn them all into a quilt for me.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making it Happen

This morning I made the binding and attached it to the front of the three latest quilts that have just come off the long arm - 2 Guild cuddle quilts and the quilt for Carol. This takes me one step closer to three finished quilts -yippee! I hope to get the binding hand stitched to the back on all of these quilts over the next week or so and I am starting with Carol's quilt.

Photo of the final 11 blocks
Now that I have got all of the machine work done for those three quilts it is time to pick another quilt to get to the finish line. I have decided that I will continue where I left off with my Little Houses quilt. It has been ages since I have worked on it. Look at the date in the photo - yikes. This is one that will be very scrap happy when it is finished. I put it away at the stage where I needed to add the sashing. I decided that I would use a solid red and I have already got it cut into strips but it still needs to be sub cut to fit the blocks. I am going to use cornerstones so I also need to cut those as well. Once I do that I will have everything ready to go. I really like it when I have everything prepared ahead of time and then I can just get lost in 'the zone'.

My goal is to get my sewing studio under control and getting quilts done and I am making it happen!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

More Practice

I loaded the second Guild cuddle quilt on the frame this morning and got right to it. This quilt has green sashing and the backing is mostly green so I chose a pretty green thread. I think the colour of the thread looks quite good on all of the fabrics.

I still need a lot of practice with my free form flowers so I did the same quilting pattern as yesterday - flower and loop combo. I think I did do a better job at getting the flower petals to meet 'sort of' in the middle but I still have issues of overshooting my stopping point. Overall, I think I did do a better job than yesterday and that is certainly a step in the right direction.

I know that whoever does receive these quilts won't really be trying to find fault with the quilting. These quilts go to people in need and I am glad that I am able to help in some small way.

I still need lots and lots of practice but the way my sewing studio is currently set up I do not have easy access to the long arm if I am using my sewing machine and vice versa.

I have been waiting very in years....for my husband to finish the basement reno. That would allow us both to have more space for our hobbies, etc. Unfortunately for him he will be having shoulder surgery in a few months and the basement needs to be finished before then. If not, we will probably have to add another year to the estimated finish date and that would be a very, very unhappy thing!!!