Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blue Eyes and Bits and Pieces - Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes Close-Up Back

I have completed Blue Eyes and I really love it. It's my first finish for the new year! I worked on it during the week to make sure that I would have it done in time. It measures 57" x 67" and I machine quilted it with white thread using a meander design. I didn't have quite enough of the galaxy/night sky print to make all of the binding but I did have some companion fabric available that I used. The companion fabric has colourful planets on it so there is a bit of colour showing on part of the binding.

Blue String Blocks
When I was trying to figure out the border options for Blue Eyes I made a string block that I cut into 4 pieces. I really liked the look of it so today I worked on making more of the blue string blocks. I think I feel another quilt top in the making. I still have more blue strings and as I make more quilts I will add to the selection. I will not be in too much of a hurry to finish this top but I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out.

I have really enjoyed looking at what other participants have been making. It's amazing what everyone can come up with from lowly scraps that others might not think twice about throwing away. I can't wait to see what February will bring with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Roll Roll Cotton Boll Update

Roll Roll Cotton Boll
I have been working away at this quilt for a couple days and I am on Step 7 and at the point where I need to slice and stitch together the string blocks. I had a little bit of trouble with the addition of the HST strips to this block. My strips somehow ended up a little bit too big (I have a lot of trouble getting the 1/4" seam right) so I had to "take them all in". Of course I did them on the fly instead of taking them apart and putting them together properly. Hopefully my shortcut won't cause too much trouble later. I don't think it is too noticable right now mainly because my blocks are busy - okay - extremely busy. I sure hope that when the neutral string blocks are added that all of the blocks work together and that my HST points won't be all askew. I am not too worried about points matching together perfectly but I do want them to "sort of" match. It took quite a bit of time to make these blocks but I think it will be quick to put the string blocks together. I did one as a trial and it took just a couple minutes to cut a few apart and stitch one block together. Hopefully my next update will be the quilt top all sewn together and that I won't face too many challenges with matching things together.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blue Eyes - Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Blue Eyes
I have made really good progress on Blue Eyes. After making some string blocks and auditioning them as a border for the quilt I decided that I would just leave it the way it is. I am very happy with the way it has turned out. It is now all basted and ready for quilting. I decided to use the galaxy/night sky print I had been considering for a border for the backing and binding instead. A piece of this fabric must have come from fabric that I received from my sister-in-law's stash after she passed away because when I was cutting and piecing the backing together I noticed that they came from different lots. We didn't necessarily have the same taste in all our fabric choices but it makes me feel really good to use her fabric. I try to include many of her fabrics (she had a pretty good stash) when possible in quilts I make because I think that it honours her when I do.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew In - Fuschia Seven Sisters

Fuschia Seven Sisters Stars
Last night on I worked on piecing one of my Seven Sisters quilts. This is the 4th quilt top that I am making in a series of seven that I am hand piecing and hand quilting. I started this top a while ago and I already had some of the stars in different stages of completion. Last night I joined half stars together to make complete stars. There are seven 6-pointed stars in each block and 12 blocks total. I put together 10 stars last night which is enough for 1.5 blocks. I added them to ones already completed and I now have enough for just over 4 blocks. Once I get all of the stars made I will start cutting the fabric for the joining diamonds and background pieces.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

I just signed up for the Friday Night Sew In. This is the first time for me to participate in this group. Tonight I will be working on hand piecing my fuschia Seven Sisters quilt blocks. I don't know how to get the blog button onto my blog. I hope that someone will come to my rescue!!??  Hurray! I figured it out!

What did I do all Week? (Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks)

Butterfly Blocks
I have been working on different projects all week but not completing anything! I have made more Butterfly block components and now that I have just about enough to complete 1/2 of the quilt top I think that I will start joining them together into 12" blocks.

Butterfly HST & RRCB
I have cut a lot of different fabrics into 2.5 strips (way too many extra strips) and just have to add a few more fabrics so that I will really only use each fabric 4 times in the quilt top. I have been trying to stitch and trim the bonus HST's as I go along because they may become part of the quilt top but I have fallen a little behind on the trimming. I am also thinking about the actual design of the quilt top - maybe placing the blocks on-point might be an option...decisions...decisions. I have made progress on the Roll Roll Cotton Boll mystery quilt and have completed the first part of Step 6. I can't wait until I get to see what the quilt top will look like once it is complete. I hope my fabric selections will work out.

I also spent time working on my hand-piecing of the fuschia Seven Sisters quilt and I also hand stitched together the backing that I will use for the green Seven Sisters. I hope to baste it next week and then start hand quilting it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Full of Wonder - Learning a Lesson

Full of Wonder
I started making this quilt for my sister Christine during the summer this year. We had gone shopping together, along with a couple other sisters, and she picked the fabric that she would like for her border.


When she showed it to me I was a little flabbergasted because I couldn't for the life of me think of what would go with it. It is a pretty fabric but the colour options are very limited. I purchased a teal batik and a very light teal and then added fabrics from my stash and this is what I came up with. I have mentioned before that I really cannot visualize the finished product so I often have to make changes as I go along.

I really love the pattern - Shimmer - from American Patchwork & Quilting (Feb 2004). My sisters Cheryl and Sandra came over one day and helped me to layout various block combos and we decided which of my colour selections should stay or go. I had a great time stitching this together and while doing so I kept singing "its wonderful!" When the quilt top was finished I was so excited and I showed it to Cheryl and I told her how I had been feeling about this quilt and we came up with it's name.

Full of Wonder
Now the lesson part - when it came time to add the border I just did not want to do it. I tried every combo, different colours, multiple borders and nothing was working for me. I knew that Christine really wanted this fabric as the border - she picked it out! It was also the fabric that brought all the colours together. I was really torn because I wanted to please her even though it wasn't working for me. Finally I just said "whatever" (except I used a different word) and went ahead and added the borders. I ended up with a quilt top that I didn't really like (and I want to love every quilt I make) - the pattern/designs just didn't work together to my taste. Before finishing it I took it to Christine to show her and get her opinion....and she agreed with me. Her actual statement was "it's okay". So now I am going to take the borders off and enlarge the quilt by adding more blocks and I am much happier - the border fabric will just be the inspiration for the colour of her quilt. The moral of the story is you shouldn't do things just to please others you must really trust yourself and be true to yourself.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blue Eyes - Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Blue Eyes
This quilt has been named Blue Eyes. When my sister Cheryl saw my original post showing the 4 blocks grouped together she felt that she was looking into blue eyes and so now it has a name. I finished the quilt top and I really do love it but it is just too small - it's only 57" x 68". It may be okay for me to use on the couch because I am only 5' tall but my husband is much taller. Darn I wish I had more of the navy blue fabric so that I could make more of the blocks! I really do prefer to make quilts that are at least big enough for a twin bed. Oh well - at this point I may add another border even though I do like it the way it looks now. I have a night sky/galaxy print that is blue/black and starry and it could possibly work or I could add blue string blocks around the outer edge. I do still have lots of blue strings left in my bins. I will have to keep looking at it and think about it for a while. I didn't have too much trouble putting it together but I do see that my crumb square border is a little rippley. I used spray starch on the squares as I was cutting them and I am sure that helped it from being a bigger issue. I think/hope that basting and quilting won't be too much of a problem.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

 Tea from Teaquilts has challenged herself and others that wish to join in to complete each of the 100 blocks in the magazine. I really wanted to join this challenge and complete all of these blocks but I know that it would really not be possible. First of all I don't have the skills to be able to create each block without a big learning curve for many of them and I already have such a big list of "Things I Want To Do" that I just couldn't devote all that time to learning these new skills. So, in my effort to join in, I have decided to make some quilts using quilt blocks from the magazine that would also meet the criteria of "Things I Want To Do". My first block challenge is #200 - Sew-Easy Butterflies by Darlene Zimmerman. I have changed my look a bit from the picture provided in the magazine because I have used black as my background colour and of course I am using different fabrics for the butterflies. I have only stitched 4 quadrants together into a block as a sample. I am just sticking them onto the design wall as I complete them and I will decide on the colour arrangement of the blocks later. It really is quite a simple design and so far it is stitching up without problems - other than my own seam allowance challenges. At this point my plan is a 6 x 8 layout with some sort of border treatment. I will decide on the border once I get a little further along. The directions use the "stitch and flip" technique so I am double stitching the corner triangles and I am getting really cute bonus HSTs. They may end up in the border......or not!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ugly Duckling and The Swan - Rainbow Scrap Challenge

I am very late posting my progress for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I had a challenge of my very own - my hard drive crashed. My husband tried to reformat the darn thing but it wouldn't cooperate so he bought me a new hard drive and he finished the installation yesterday.
This is what my scraps looked like while I was piecing the crumb blocks for RSC. Everytime I look at that picture I have to laugh. This is what I had left even after using many of my neutral strings to make the string blocks for Bonnie Hunter's RRCB Mystery Quilt. I really do need this scrap challenge! Who could believe that such sweet crumb blocks could come from this mess. This is my progess so far on this month's blue challenge. I had originally thought I would use only scraps but I really don't know what I was thinking. Most of my true scraps are very small pieces and strings - how could I think that I would get a whole quilt including borders/sashing and backing from them. All of the blue crumb blocks are from my scrap bins but I must confess that I need to shop my stash for the bigger pieces. I really don't want to make any purchases for the RSC but please don't hold me to it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Roll Roll Cotton Boll

Roll Roll Cotton Boll
These are my results so far for many hours spent working on the RRCB mystery quilt. I must say that I really enjoyed making the neutral string blocks and I love them. I have fallen behind on this mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter and I don't think I have a chance at getting caught up before the whole quilt is revealed. I have completed all the steps up to #4. Step #5 is the HST challenge step and I have been working on making the HST's for the last couple evenings so progress is being made. This is the first mystery quilt that I have participated in and I will say that it has been a great experience. I have looked forward each week to having the next step revealed and I did keep up until sometime around Christmas but you know how that goes. I had to move everything to my kitchen table to take a picture because my sewing room has been overtaken by blue scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela at soscrappy and other projects that I am currently working on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

I have six sisters (and two brothers) and around three years ago I thought it would be a good thing to make each of the seven sisters a Seven Sisters quilt. I wanted to make these quilts by hand and I thought I would have them all done in two years....and I was still working full time. How is that for optimism?! I also originally thought I would use as much fabric as I could from my stash and try to avoid buying more fabric (that is just so funny). Well at this point I have two quilt tops finished, I have the blocks finished for a third top and I have started piecing the stars for the fourth top. So I have made some progress and I did stick to the not purchasing fabric for the first few quilt tops but since then I have reconsidered that idea. This pattern is not a very complicated one but I did have trouble when piecing the stars because I often had a gap in the center of the stars. Although, I think I may have figured it out. Now that I have finished quilting my brother's quilt I will start on one of the Seven Sisters. I am a little nervous about quilting them because I am not too sure which quilting pattern would be appropriate and because I have limited quilting skills...but I also know that my sisters will love and appreciate them no matter how they turn out. The pictures do not really show the true colours of the quilt tops but they are close enough. I think I will at least make the backs and baste them for now so that they are ready when I am. As you can see my models had a little trouble holding the quilt top straight!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2011 - January

I am really looking forward to participating in this challenge. I have lots of scraps that are begging to be used up and I can't wait to see everyone else's progress. It took me a while to come up with an idea for January's challenge but I think I have figured it out. I have decided to use blue crumb blocks surrounded by white and then navy blue. My crumb blocks are 4" unfinished just because that's what size ruler I used to trim them. I have a limited amount of the navy blue so I do hope that I have enough to make a quilt that is big enough to cuddle with on the couch. My plan at the moment is to join the blocks together to make the quilt top and to make an inner border of crumb blocks all joined together in a strip and then a narrow outer border of navy blue. I don't think I will have enough blue for the binding so I will have to come up with something at that point. When I am designing/working on a project I have a lot of trouble visualizing what it will look like so I often make changes on the spur of the moment. I sure hope that I can get this done before January runs out!

Happy New Year

Brother Love

Brother Love
I finished the quilt for my brother at 11:30 pm on New Year's Eve so I squeezed in another finish for 2010. I really did need to get it done because I had already made the label and dated it Dec 2010 so I met my little self-imposed deadline. Ha...not bad for a quilt that took me a year and a half to make.  I started this quilt around July 2009 and I wanted to use an easy design because my brother would be visiting the first week in August. I really like this simple pattern - it is just one light and one darker rectangle stitched together.  The design for this quilt actually evolved as I was making it. My original design was to use only one white print and many darker prints throughout the quilt top and things went smoothly until I realized I didn't have enough white. I don't know what I was thinking because I didn't even have enough white rectangles to make the center of the quilt so I had to piece a few of them together from scraps. It was way too small so I started stitching the darker rectangles into pairs and I added two rows of them around the center and then I added the border. I wasn't able to machine quilt it in time for his visit so because I had missed my deadline anyway I decided that hand quilting it might be a good idea. My stitches are not consistent in size and many are crooked so I know I won't win any contests but I did it, it's done and I am happy with it and I know that my brother will be too.

This quilt measures 68.5 x 90 and was machine pieced and hand quilted. I stitched a smaller rectangle within each rectangle about 1/4" from the seams and I did free hand baptist fans in the border. I quilted the border from the outside in and it seems to have turned out okay. I attached the binding by machine to the front and hand stitched it to the back.

Happy New Year!