Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Making Practice Quilts

I really need some smaller quilts that I can practice free hand quilting on so I think some donation quilts for kids will be just the ticket. I do have a lot of children's fabrics so this will allow me to get some of them out of my stash and into hopefully welcome arms! 

I had made this pretty pink quilt for a good friend's granddaughter in 2013 and it was such a simple and easy block to make so I thought it would be a good candidate. I plan on making two quilts but in different colour ways - one with red fabric and one with blue.

I washed and ironed the fabric and then cut it into 1.5" strips. I started working with the red quilt first and I sewed the strips into strip sets of four that alternated the red with the yellow background strips.

I used my Easy Angle rulers to first cut a half-square triangle off first and then continued with quarter-square triangles. At the end of each strip set it worked out that I had enough to cut a second half-square triangle. I did stack/match two strip sets together for quicker cutting.

The blocks for these quilts are bigger so I will need fewer than in my original quilt. I'm thinking a 4 x 5 layout at this point but of course it could change.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Ready for Binding

Ruffin is my new model!
This quilt top got loaded onto my long arm frame and then it just sat for a couple days while I debated back and forth about doing a panto or trying another free hand edge-to-edge design. It really is quite a big quilt top and that can be a bit overwhelming for me as a practice quilt. It's not just that though because I love this type of quilt so much and I just want it to turn out beautiful.

my drawing is just like my
I finally decided that I needed to just get over myself and I went ahead a did an over all edge-to-edge design. I did practice on a large piece of paper first and then I went for it.

My quilt came off the frame at 71" x 86" and was quilted fairly densely with a light tan in the bobbin and a light aqua/teal on top. I used Hobbs 80/20 batting and I gave the quilt a very fun and happy looking backing fabric.

Orange is one of my favourite colours!
The last time I quilted a top I had a lot of thread breaks so prior to loading this flimsy I did a very thorough cleaning of my machine. Even with the cleaning I still had many bobbin thread breaks this time. I don't know what's happening so I have given the machine another very thorough cleaning and hopefully that fixes it for the next quilt. I also had a lot of problems with my single needle up/down. It was a fairly frustrating problem because whenever I tried to use it to bring up the bobbin thread it kept giving me multiple stitches when I only wanted one and it did cause some very dense thread joins on the back of the quilt. Nothing I can't get over though!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Making it Happen!

Ruffin inspecting my work

I recently showed this flimsy and at the time I was thinking that it needed something more. I was actually thinking more along the lines of a border but adding more blocks worked for me.

I already had one leftover block hanging on my design wall from making the original flimsy so I went ahead and stitched up enough blocks to add an additional column and row. Once they were added I felt it needed to be longer so I made another 9 blocks and added them as well.  This flimsy has definitely grown and is now close to 72" x 87".  I am pretty sure I am done with the piecing and it just needs to be quilted. 😀

Friday, August 19, 2022

Un-Quilting a Quilt

That's right...I'm picking the quilting stitches out of a quilt. 👀 This unfinished quilt is a real oldie circa 2014. It is a quilt that I had planned to give to my husband once it was finished and of course he is still waiting. We both really liked the way the piecing turned out and I foolishly thought that instead of doing a pantograph that I could try to do some ruler work and maybe some freehand designs in the blocks. You creative and design something wonderful. lol

I started with an attempt at outlining the sashing with stitch in the ditch and it really ended up being such a disaster. I knew even less about custom quilting and ruler work then than I do now and my results really discouraged me. I remember rolling the quilt top back and forth on the long arm so that I could reach different areas on the quilt top. What I didn't realize was that I needed to stabilize each area fully before rolling back and forth because what I did caused the backing to loosen and ripple and pleat and you get the idea. The whole back was a disaster and this quilt deserved so much better. 😭

I took the quilt off the frame and left it dumped in a pile for the longest time and after being in time-out for a few years I asked my quilty sister Cheryl if she would help me unpick it. To my surprise and relief she agreed but we didn't get far. We were chatting as we worked and I said be careful you don't make any holes and then shortly after that her seam ripper slipped and put a hole in the top. grrrr Of course, we both felt terrible and it is totally fixable but it took the steam out of my efforts to unpick.

The quilt went back into time-out for a few more years and every time I saw it sitting in a pile it hurt me to see it like that and still not do anything about it. Well, it's time has come and over the past week or two I have been picking away at it. It is a slow and painful process but I know it will be totally worth it in the end!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Feeling Good!

I feel good...I've got a finished quilt top! It really didn't take me long to make and attach the borders because as you can see they are very simple but I think they look good. I was going to make the green border around the whole quilt but at the last minute I decided to add the black cornerstones. I think it goes well enough with the block design in the quilt.

There is a little bit of poof in one of the blocks and when the top is laid out it does stand out a bit but I think in the end it won't really be a big problem and should quilt out okay.

I already have the backing fabric chosen but it is still in two pieces so it does need to be seamed together and I will do that before I put it all aside to await quilting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

My Cute Little Helpers

Things are going great in the sewing room! I finished the blocks that I was making to add to the crooked courthouse flimsy. I laid them out on the floor with the existing flimsy so I could try to add them and make it look like they weren't just stuck on as an afterthought. While I was trying to arrange them of course my two little adorables decided they needed to help.

You have met Peanut before - she is the white toy poodle cross and she is about 10lbs or so. She just turned 10 years old in May and she is such a good dog. She really NEVER does anything wrong! Now Ruffin is another story altogether.

I got Ruffin in June 2021 so she is now already 17 months old and I really should have named her Trouble. She is such a little stinky-poo-poo-bum! She is a Schnauzer but I hesitate to call her a mini Schnauzer because she is really tiny - more like a miniature mini Schnauzer. She only weighs 7.5 lbs., she loves to play and she is fast and oh so very agile. The only real problem I have with her is that she has selective hearing when calling for her and it can be a real problem.. If she accidently gets loose (and she has) she is a runner and she just follows her nose and she just keeps going. Ruffin is quite the character and very sweet and we are both quite smitten with her. 

Anyway they both had a great time playing with me and the blocks on the floor!

Monday, August 8, 2022

One Thing Leads to Another

After making my decision regarding the borders for the Antebellum Album flimsy I went ahead and cut the yellow fabric into 1.5" strips. I have enough to make a narrow border but I had to join the pieces end to end instead of mitering them. I don't think I am going to have very much extra to spare. While I was at it I cut the black fabric into 2.5" strips and I am ready to start adding the borders.

The most important thing that happened was when I was sewing the top together I had to push aside a pile of string bits that were hanging around from previous quilts. I intended to clear the table and just drop the fabric pieces into my string bins but ultimately decided I wanted to move them forward and not stash them. I am very happy about this....the drought is over...finally!!!

I had previously decided that I wanted to add something to my crooked courthouse string flimsy so I decided to make some more blocks.  I think I had initially intended a border of some sort but more blocks are good too. Why not? 

I got so involved in making the blocks that I stayed in my sewing room working on them well past my bedtime. Now that is a very good sign! 😀