Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Quilty Sister Visit

back of quilt
Just look at this fun little quilt my sister Cheryl made for a little baby that lives next door to her. The main reason for her visit was to quilt this little number on my long arm and it turned out so cute. I can't be certain, but if I remember correctly, it was around 42" x 50" and it was quilted with a panto called Popcorn and we used a pale lemon yellow thread.

Cheryl stayed for a few days and while she was here we also did some stash enhancement. We got it all washed and dried and Cheryl got it all ironed as well. It sure reminded me of the good old days, before she started quilting, when she would iron all of my fabric for me. I miss those days! ;)

On Sunday, we loaded my sister Glenda's 'treasure quilt' on the long arm. I was so impressed with myself because I was able to load it onto the long arm without too much difficulty at all. I certainly would never have been able to accomplish that if I hadn't done all of the work on it to fix it. I chose to use a gold thread and a panto called Blossoms.  I got the first row done and it looked great so I went on with the second row. I got through most of the second row and when I ran out of bobbin thread I changed the bobbin as I normally would. I started quilting again but I was feeling some resistance as I was moving the machine - not good!

The stitching on the top looked perfect but when my sister looked under the quilt it was a terrible snarled birds nest. I should have taken a picture but I was too horrified at that moment to even think of it. We undid all of the stitching and then I thought I would change the bobbin because maybe there was something fluky wrong with the bobbin. I started up again and it looked great on the top but when my sister looked underneath it was a terrible mess again. :(

I didn't know what to do....everything looked fine and normal except the birds nest on the back. I couldn't see anything that was obviously wrong with the machine and nothing had changed except the bobbin. I use a TOWA gauge to set my bobbin tension and the tension reading was just fine. I was very puzzled and not happy so I just turned everything off and left it.

Yesterday morning, I tried to find reasons for the issue I was having. I figured the problem had to be with the bobbin so I looked on the APQS website and I realized that there may be lint stuck in the bobbin case itself under the tension thumb. I followed the instructions they gave to use a business card to slide under it and voila a fair sized piece of lint came out. I put the bobbin back in the bobbin case and I used the TOWA gauge to test the tension and it was way too loose. I tightened up the tension on the bobbin case and put it back in the machine and did a test run and it was perfect. That little bit of lint caused such a huge problem with the bobbin tension.

I think the instructions provided by APQS for bobbin maintenance would apply to any sewing machine bobbin case. If you ever have the problem with birds nests on the back of your quilt I would certainly check your bobbin case to see if lint is the culprit!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL-Block 2

I had planned to make this block yesterday but as often happens I got a bit sidetracked. I was able to put it together this morning and again I really need to pay attention to the instructions. I had just one minor issue and it was no problem to correct. When I was making the checkerboard portion, I cut all of the sections at 1.5" instead of cutting a couple at 2.5" for the sleeves. No problem really because I do have extra fabric and I am going a bit scrappy so I may not need this fabric again. We will see!
Block 2

Block 1 and 2
I took a photo of my sweater collection so far and I think I am absolutely on track for a scrappy and hopefully cute Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt! The green fabric in the Friendship Star looks very dark and more black than green in the photos.

I have to work today from 1 - 9 so that's it for my sewing today. :(

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL-Block 1

I am participating in Sew Fresh Quilts Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL. I think it will be fun to play along and I will have a cute ugly Christmas sweater quilt in the end. I don't have a Christmas quilt that I have made myself so I think it is about time to remedy that. I am lucky enough to have a couple Christmas quilts that my late SIL made and we normally put them out for display each year and it would be nice to display one of my own as well.

I had my Guild meeting yesterday and when I got home I made dinner, etc., and then I started working on the block a bit later in the evening. Once I got going it really didn't take too long - I think the most time is spent deciding which fabric to use and getting it ready for cutting. This block wasn't too difficult to put together if you actually read the instructions and pay attention to the strip sizes. ;)

For my background I had planned on using a white fabric that had red snowflakes scattered on it but at the last minute I changed it to this green on white print. It is more of an all-over print and I think I like it better.

I swear I must live under a rock because until recently I had never heard of Sew Fresh Quilts and when I did visit Lorna's blog I saw so many cute quilts. She has held quilt-alongs in the past and the instructions are still available....I particularly love the Elephant Parade....adorable. It is definitely on my list to make!!

Anyway, I see that she has released the second block this morning so any guesses as to what I am working on today?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Midget Block #102 - Indian Hatchet

Final version.
Okay...this block was such a huge struggle for me. I actually made it twice...the first try I gave up as I was adding the final row. I tried paper piecing the first version but I couldn't get anything to align. I loved the colours and fabrics that I originally chose but I was working from scraps and I just didn't have enough left for the second try. (:

My second attempt wasn't much better than my first and it is a bit bigger than it should be but I am keeping it...for now. I racked my brain trying to think of a way to make the little blocks that make up the whole. I thought if I made them in a strip and cut them on an angle that it should work. After I got it all together I realized that I had cut one strip of the brown fabric the wrong width and nothing would align to it. C'est la vie!

In older quilts you can sometimes see where the quilt maker had difficulty with piecing or appliqueing a block and they just did their best and moved on. Certainly a lesson for me to allow myself to do my best and not worry too much about perfection. I was so confident that I could make it much better on my second try but this block has certainly humbled me! :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snails Trails

The February block for Block Lotto is Snails Trails. I had received a sneak peak so I made some blocks a couple days ago, took a photo, and submitted it for the Block Lotto virtual sampler. I had never made this block before and I found it to be a bit of a challenge. In order to get it sized correctly, I needed to make the surrounding triangles a bit bigger than the measurements required and then cut them down. I don't know why I had difficulties because I did have the correct seam allowance but all is well that ends well. I think they turned out pretty good in the end. Sophie has provided instructions that include paper piecing as an option.

The colour and fabric requirement this month are brown snails and a pastel or low volume background. Pop on over to Block Lotto and check it out. The pattern is free for the first 10 days of the month. Anyone can join in and you just never know - you might win enough blocks to make a quilt.

I really wanted to be a winner of last month's Bird in the Air blocks but I wasn't so lucky. :(

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Midget Blocks

I thought I would take a picture of all of the Midget Blocks I have made so far. What do you think...cute huh? I have completed 41 at this point and I still have quite a few to go before I have enough for a quilt. These blocks will finish at 4.5" and they can be a challenge to make! I am using
hand piecing, hand applique and machine piecing or a combination of the three techniques to complete these blocks.

I should probably take a group photo every ten or so blocks so that I see the overall picture of how they are coming together. Case in point - what is up with all the yellow backgrounds? I see that I need to use other colours besides yellow when the block calls for a background that is not neutral. lol

I started seeing these blocks on soscrappy's blog and I couldn't get enough of them so I decided to join in and make some of my own. Of course, Angela was way ahead of me and has a beautiful quilt to show for it!!! Deb of vtquilter joined in as well and she has many blocks made that are ready to be turned into a quilt. They were both much more dedicated at working on them on a regular basis than I was and it shows. :)

Blocks #51 to 196 are still available for free from Sentimental Stitches so pop on over and get them while you can!

I plan/hope to be a little more disciplined in making these little blocks and I am striving to do at least one a week. We will see how long I can keep it up but maybe I will find motivation in knowing that I will have the cutest quilt when they are done.

I am working today but later this evening I plan to work on this little cutie. I will definitely be hand piecing this one!

Pop on over to Kathy's Quilts to check out the links for more Slow Sunday Stitching.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pinwheels with HSTs

I don't know the name of this block but as soon as I saw it on Chantal's blog I knew I needed to make them for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge as well. They are so pretty and don't they all look so great together - Chantal's quilt is just gorgeous!!

I don't know what size blocks Chantal used but I decided to go with 6" blocks. Even with that decision made I proceeded to make another block size mistake. What is going on with me??? Good thing I had only cut the first six blocks as a test because I needed that test!

I am using the same background fabric throughout the quilt along with the scrappy colour selections each month. I started cutting strips at 3.5" and 2.5" from my background fabric and pulled blue strips from my scrap bins and I used my Easy Angle ruler to cut the hsts. Do you see the problem yet? Once I sewed the pinwheels together and the larger hst blocks together they just didn't fit. I had to trim my pinwheels to 3.5" so I would have my 6" block. Good thing I hadn't cut too many 2.5" strips from the white background fabric. Everything is fixed now and I guess it could have been worse if I had cut the strips too small. :)

Last night was another non-sleeping night so I made another 6 blocks to go with the first ones. I love them!

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links to all of the fantastic projects being made with simple scraps.