Monday, February 28, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Challenge-Red Quilt Top

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Red

Well I have finally finished the quilt top that I was making for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I did my best to use up all of the red that was leftover from the borders I had removed from the Full of Wonder quilt and I did a pretty good job of it. I still have some red left but not enough to complete the number of  flowers needed to make the quilt larger. The quilt top is 60" x 71" - large enough for a couch quilt or to keep at the bottom of the bed to pull up on cold nights. Most of the pinwheels came from making the flower blocks. I used the stitch and flip method and double sewed the triangles before cutting them off. I needed to make a few extra though to be able to go around the whole quilt. I really enjoyed making this quilt top although I have no idea why it took me so long - I didn't even get it basted or quilted! I don't have a name for this quilt yet, I guess I will think of it while I am basting/quilting it. I feel like I have been moving in slow motion...maybe it is the winter blahs. I am looking forward to March's challenge but I don't know if I will be doing a whole quilt. I already have several waiting for basting and quilting and when I get too many unfinished quilts they quietly yell at me to get them done.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Raven Stars Quilt-Along 9 Patches

I have not been doing too much machine sewing since last Wednesday, as a matter of fact, I had not even turned on my sewing machine until yesterday. Late in the afternoon I started working on my 9-patches and I got all of them stitched together. I have printed out the instructions for the next step and hopefully I will find time to work on it during the week and not just at the last second.

Raven Stars Quilt-Along
They look a little dark to me but maybe when the white is added it will lighten it up a bit. I am really really busy these days but I do intend to keep up with this quilt-along and I also hope to keep up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge although I did not post for it last week.

This is the reason I have been so busy - my new guard dog....
Molly @ 3mths
...not very ferocious looking is she? Molly is a miniature schnauzer and she is wearing me out! It was hard to get her to stay still long enough in one spot to take this picture because she was more interested in playing. My hat is off to those of you that work and have young children and are also training a puppy. So far I think she will be a good dog. She is really eager to please and even though she has had a few "mistakes" she is getting better or maybe I am just getting better!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In - Seven Sisters

All Ready to Start
Is it wrong to be proud? I feel so proud of myself for working on this quilt top. I was really really hesitant to start the hand quilting on this quilt because all of the Seven Sisters quilts that I am making have great meaning to me - more-so than any of the other quilts I have made. This is the first one to be quilted and I wanted to do such a good job that I was afraid that I would "mess it up" or the pattern I choose would be the wrong one, etc. I love the stitching that I have done - no it is not perfect but I did my best.

Close-up of hand quilting
Hand quilting

I know that each of my six sisters will love and appreciate the quilt they receive regardless of the consistency of my hand stitching because they know the importance of these particular quilts...but I still want to do my best. Thursday and Friday were particularly difficult days so working on this quilt for FNSI was the perfect ending to the week. I find it very soothing and calming to hand quilt. I worked on this from around 7 to 11:30 pm and I got 6 fans done. My fans have 5 arcs and I am using a template and marking them with a tool as I go. I do hope I get faster with practice! Maybe all the other participants in the Friday Night Sew-In got a lot of work done too and that they are just as happy with their results.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

Tonight I intend on starting the hand quilting of my green Seven Sisters quilt. It has been ready for quilting for a while now but I had put off starting it because I was really indecisive about which pattern to use. I have finally made up my mind and I have decided to keep it simple. My current plan is to quilt it all over using Baptist Fans. I really do love the look of this pattern - we will see how much I can get done in one evening. Join in the fun and participate in the Friday Night Sew-In.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bella Butterfly - Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

Bella Butterfly

My sister Cheryl and our 15 year old niece Eva-Anne came for a visit and spent a couple days with me in my sewing room last week. My sister usually irons most of my fabric that I purchase for quilt-making (just gotta love her) and I had two large laundry baskets full saved up for her. While my sister ironed fabric my niece helped me with Bella Butterfly. She decided on the placement of each butterfly and arranged them on the design wall for me while I sewed them all together. Bella Butterfly is bright and beautiful and is big enough that I won't be adding a border to it.  I haven't decided which backing fabric I will use for it but once it is selected I just need to baste and quilt it. It was a wonderful collaborative effort and the three of us had a nice time together (although they do think I am a slave-driver!). Whenever Cheryl would take a break from ironing Eva-Anne would pick up where she left off.  In my defence I did let them out of my sewing room for short periods of time. We did do a bit of shopping too while they were here - we had to - my iron broke and there was still fabric to be ironed....Stop by Tea's blog and see the beautiful blocks that she and others are making from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine.

Eva-Anne's Pillowcase

I had made a quilt for Eva-Anne (I will write a post about it sometime soon) last summer and I had some leftover border fabric still available. While she was visiting I helped her make a pillowcase. I must say that she really did make it herself - I just gave a bit of guidance and she did such a fabulous job!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Red Fabric Frustration

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Feb
Well I was off to a good start with February's red challenge but then I started thinking....(oh oh - you know what that means). I had 6 blocks completed and I couldn't decide what to do. I was trying to come up with a design I liked by combining other fabrics with my red but I could not make anything work. That red fabric really is my nemesis - it wants to be the boss and does not want to get along with anything! The only fabric I had that I could get to work with it was the light teal that I had used in the original 6 blocks. So now I had a major issue because I only had a small amount of the light teal fabric leftover from Full of Wonder. If I could not add other fabrics I would need much more of the light teal to make a quilt top. I am a somewhat practical person and if I am spending my time making something I want it to be useful (and hopefully look good) to me and my family. So after several days of unsuccessful fabric auditions and trial layouts off to the quilt shop I went. My favourite quilt store was having a 20% off sale so I consoled myself about my purchase. I found a fabric that works with the red and now I should get a quilt that will be usable for someone I love although I am still limited to the size by the amount of the red fabric that I have left. On Saturday, as soon as I got home from the shopping trip I prepped the fabric and started cutting it up. Today I completed 10 blocks using the new fabric and I have more blocks under construction. The original 6 blocks that I made are shown at the bottom of the picture. I plan on taking them apart and remaking them using the new fabric. I will really need to do some power sewing to get it all finished by month end!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Raven Stars Quilt-Along

Raven Star Fabrics
 I have decided to participate in the Raven Stars Quilt-Along hosted by Amy of Amy's Passions. This quilt was designed by one of her Math8 students and was the top voted design. It is a three colour quilt and Amy will be making her's white/black/purple. I have selected my fabrics and I will be using white/black/green definitely not the colour of a raven - oh well). She currently plans on posting one step per week with a time commitment of 1.5 - 2 hrs per step. I should be able to keep pace at that rate. Why not join in on the fun - I have linked to her post outlining the fabric requirements and where you can sign up. The cutting instructions will be posted tomorrow. I also placed a picture of the block design on my blog.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Red

Full of Wonder Remnants
I had been so busy working on Full of Wonder this week that I really did not give myself any time to pull out my red scraps. So last night as I was sitting in my sewing room mulling over what I might do for my challenge I saw the remnants that I had left from my Full of Wonder quilt top and lo and behold there was all that red border that I had removed! I grouped the leftovers that I had from making the blocks and took a picture...surely there must be a quilt top in there somewhere! I do have some leftover light teal fabric that I did not include in the picture. I don't have a concrete plan yet but I was thinking maybe an on-point layout and possibly somehow integrating some 4 patches - it will definitely change as I go along! As you can see I made different sizes of the flower block as a trial and it looks like I have settled on the medium sized one. I am making them using the stitch and flip method and I am double sewing the triangles so I will also have some pinwheels that may be incorporated.

Flower Blocks
The quilt design is mine but the block design is not - I saw them on the blog Cherry Red Quilter and they are from the book Simply Charming. I was so excited about designing/making this quilt that I had trouble sleeping last night. I just kept thinking about different ideas and layouts etc! I didn't get to work on it a lot today because I had errands to run and I had to go to the dentist - ugh.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Full of Wonder

Full of Wonder
I have finally finished making this quilt top. Full of Wonder has been a bit of a journey and I am so happy with it! It took up most of my time this past week to get it completed and I think it looks fabulous. I know that my sister Christine is going to just love it. While I was piecing the blocks I had it hanging in my sewing room and everytime I walked into the room it made me smile. If you go back to this post you will read about and see a picture of this quilt top. I have since removed the offending border and added 8 blocks to make it larger. I made enough units to make 12 blocks but in the end I decided that 8 was enough. Each block is 19" finished and the layout is 4 x 5 so now this quilt top is 76.5" x 95.5". I really thought I would have it all done in a day or two because I had precut the fabric a while ago in anticipation of completing it. I had actually forgotten how long it took to make each block - it is scrappy but in a controlled format so I had to really pay attention to placement of fabric/colour. There also seemed to be so many steps to complete each block - I had forgotten about that too! I hope I did get everything balanced because I was challenged by adding blocks to an already completed quilt top. I will not be adding a border to this quilt top - it is big enough. I just need to make the binding (red) and backing and then I can proceed with basting and quilting it.

Happy Birthday to my sister Sandra!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basting my Quilts

Basting Seven Sisters

I thought I would write a post about how I go about basting my quilts. I use this method whether I am going to quilt by hand or machine. When I baste I use thread not pins. I found that when I used pins I would accidently run them over when machine quilting and that was not a good thing. I tried different methods of basting including the batting that can be ironed on and spray glue and did not have good results with either. When I first started thread basting I would tape the backing, the batting and the quilt top to the floor and carefully crawl around on it to baste it. Then I found a tutorial on-line by Sharon Schamber that showed her technique for hand basting with thread and I tried it and it worked for me. Janet from Quiltsalott has also used this method successfully. My husband cut me three sets of different sized boards for different quilt sizes (I didn't want to use really long boards if I was just basting a baby quilt!).  Just as Janet from Quiltsalott does, I also use tape (green painters tape) to hold the edges of the quilt to the boards when starting to roll. Just a word of caution, I have found that I really have to be very careful removing the tape from the edges of the fabric particularly when using a very popular brand of solid fabric because the fabric just seems to shred very easily.  I will say that since using this method I have not had any trouble basting and no problems when quilting - either by hand or machine.

Currently I use my dining room table for basting and I protect it with cardboard - but I still use the floor to roll my fabric onto the boards. If the quilt is very large, I add the extensions to the table and use my cutting mats if the cardboard is too short.

Here is the quilt all basted - it is one of my Seven Sisters quilts that I will be hand quilting so when I basted it I made sure to take lots of back stitches to ensure it was thoroughly stabilized. For machine quilting I normally only backstitch at the end of my thread. My husband is working on finishing our basement and once that is done I will have an old ping-pong table available for basting, ironing large pieces of fabric, etc. - I can't wait!