Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heaven's Above is a Beauty

Heaven's Above...It Must Be Love - without borders
I have completely finished the quilt top and I think this quilt has turned out really quite beautiful. I took a picture of it before I added the borders and for some reason forgot to take one after I added them. Sorry for the shadows in the picture. The only place I have room to spread out my quilt tops to take a picture is in my front hallway and I stand half way up the stairs leading up to the second floor and lean over the railing a bit.

Heaven's Above being basted
I am currently in the process of basting this quilt - I am just about half done so I think I will start quilting it tomorrow. I plan on quilting an all over meandering design using off-white thread. I am so happy with the way it looks so far and I would love to keep it for myself.

I did spend a little time today getting some fabrics ready for another quilt that I have planned. I am feeling less pressure about getting this quilt done in time (the wedding is July 9) so now I feel I am able to work on a few other things as well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Busy Days

Spring Romance
I finally have something that I can actually blog about! My sister Cheryl and two of my nieces - Eva-Anne and Deanna came to visit for the weekend. We had a terrific time and boy oh boy it took me all of yesterday to try to recover! I had absolutely no energy left!!! My sister (the new quilter) brought her quilt top with her and we worked on it together. She had all of her blocks made and stitched together into a quilt top ready to have the borders added. So we spent some time making the borders and getting them sewn on. We also got the backing all prepared and once that was done we were all ready to layer and baste. Her quilt top is absolutely gorgeous. She did such a great job - her first quilt is going to be stunning when completed. It didn't take Cheryl too long to piece her quilt because she was just so excited about making it, so she was a little surprised about how long it takes to actually get it ready to quilt - adding the borders and especially the basting process. I showed her how I baste (I thread baste) and happily we were able to work on it together. She has taken her quilt back home with her and she will try to free-motion quilt it herself. I gave her some batting and fabric bits so that she can practice a little before she actually tries it out on her quilt.

Naturally, while she was here we went fabric shopping - again! She has plans to make a quilt for her daughter Deanna. Cheryl has already designed her own block, chosen her colour palette, shopped the stores and my stash and now just needs to decide which fabrics she will include in the new quilt. The obsession has begun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Heaven's Above!

Star Blocks
I finally finished all 45 of the star blocks - don't they look great! Yup....that is a total of 90 blocks so far for this quilt top! I am very happy to report that I have already started sewing the blocks together to construct the quilt top and I think it is going to look fantastic.

Top Construction
After consultations with my sisters I have also decided to use a solid dark blue as my inner border and my binding and of course I still plan on using blue hourglass units as the outer border. My sisters, Cheryl, Christine and Sandra (and my nieces Eva-Anne and Deanna) came to visit yesterday. We had a lovely visit - I love spending time with my sisters (and nieces) - we always have so much fun together.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wedding Quilt Update - Heaven's Above...It Must Be Love!

Completed Puss Blocks
I was chugging along and getting lots done on this quilt until I did a very silly thing. I had all 45 of the puss blocks completed and I had finished making all of the flying geese units needed to make up the star blocks. My downfall was that I had started sewing the flying geese units to 45 of the remaining hourglass blocks. You wouldn't think that was a bad thing but it seems that I am my own worst enemy. I should know better but I doubled my work on these blocks. I know that I always have trouble getting the correct finished size when I am making hsts or flying geese. Try as I might I am just not accurate enough. Well I thought that this time it would be alright and I just started sewing the flying geese to two sides of the hourglass units and after I pressed them I saw what a disaster is was! They were all crooked and off size - I didn't even have the heart to take a picture. Yesterday, I started unstitching and trimming all of the flying geese units and I am still at it today. What was I thinking!!! I am pretty sure that when I have finished this quilt it will be worth all of the effort but it is frustrating at the moment. Bonnie Hunter's instructions were well written and so far I haven't encountered any problems interpreting them. As I was making the blocks I was trying to think of a name for this quilt that would be a play on "My Blue Heaven" and it's name sort of jumped out at me. I think Heaven's Above...It Must Be Love! is a perfect name for this wedding quilt.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fun Day

Cheryl's Quilt Blocks
I had a wonderful day yesterday! I spent the whole day with my Mom, four of my sisters - Glenda, Cheryl, Christine and Sandra and two of my nieces - Deanna and Eva-Anne. We all piled into two cars to spend the day at my sister Glenda's house. Naturally, we spent time shopping - we went to a couple second-hand shops where my sister Cheryl found a quilt rack. Cheryl just started quilting and she is so excited and happy about the blocks she is making. They look so good - she has definitely been bitten by the bug! She says she is not going to be as dedicated to quilting as I am (she really loves to paint) but it is quite funny because she is already planning her next quilt.

New Fabric
 We also went to Len's Mills in Guelph where both Cheryl and I bought fabric and we each bought little cutting mats that were 50% off. My sister Glenda also bought one of the little cutting mats because she intends to start quilting - she has already started cutting cotton shirts into pieces and picking up bits of fabric here and there. I am always amazed at how quickly I am able to spend money in the fabric shops even when I am determined not to buy fabric just to add to the "stash". I didn't have enough will-power though because I did buy some - but at least I only bought small quantities - mostly .5 m cuts. I was looking for fabric to use as the inner border for the blue wedding quilt I am making and I did find a couple options that may or may not work. I have such a tough time visualizing how fabrics and colours will look together. Today, I plan to continue working on the wedding quilt but honestly I really do need to get some chores done. Why can't my house just keep itself clean??!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedding Quilt

Hourglass unit construction
I have been working on this quilt exclusively in my spare moments over the past couple of days and I am making progress. There is a lot of cutting required. Normally, when I make a quilt I tend to overcut most of my fabric. I just keep cutting until I think I have enough and then add a little extra so I am sure I will have enough selection to complete the quilt. This time is different - I thought I had cut enough triangles for the blue hourglasses but once I started sewing them together I realized that I was not going to have enough to complete all 174 hourglass units.

Hourglass Units

As a matter of fact, I had only cut enough for about half of what was needed. So I started cutting again and when I stopped I thought surely I would have enough. This quilt requires 696 blue triangles for the hourglass blocks and now I am only short about 50. It is probably better in the long run that I cut in stages because it gave my wrists time to rest. I also cut the half square triangles (360 of them) for the wings of the flying geese units at the same time because they share the same blue fabrics.
Fabric Rejects
I chose a variety of blue fabrics for this quilt and once I started sewing them together I decided that some just weren't doing it for me so I had to weed them out. I will take them apart so I can incorporate the pieces that are useable.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Where Has Time Gone?

Blue Wedding Quilt Fabric
Where does time go - is it stored away somewhere? I can't seem to find enough of it. I have been sidetracked by the warmer weather, trying to exercise more (who else gains 7 lbs in two weeks??!!!) and paying attention to and tracking what I eat. Please check out the SparkPeople website if you are interested in finding healthy eating and fitness plans that are absolutely free and, more importantly, realistic. Here in Canada we have to take advantage of the warmer weather when we can. Our summer season is just too short, so I am spending a lot more time outside and it has cut into my sewing and blogging time significantly. BUT now it has come to crunch time. I have a quilt planned to give as a wedding gift - it is going to be wonderful - I know it will be because it is from a Bonnie Hunter pattern. The problem is that the wedding is July 9 and I only just started cutting the fabric yesterday to make the quilt! I already had lots of neutral strips cut and waiting in my strip bins. I think I have enough ready for sub-cutting into the required units so I haven't started working on those. What I needed to cut was a ton of blue strips and I have started the process of sub-cutting them into smaller units. You know that Bonnie's quilts are made up from zillions of pieces! I will have to put aside everything that I have in-progess (Pathways, Project Linus pink blanket, Rainbow Scrap Challenge, etc.) and just focus on getting this quilt made. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks - Soldier Star Revisited as "Pathways"

I have picked up where I had left off with the construction of these blocks. I have made 11 of the last 15 blocks needed and now just have to make the last 4. This group of blocks are mostly dark and medium shades so I will have to see how all the blocks look together and decide which fabrics I will use for the last 4 blocks. Once they are made I will start sewing them into groups of 4 and again in groups of 6 and so on. I prefer to sew my quilt tops in 4 quadrants that I join together. It makes for having to sew only one really long seam instead of many and I find it much less stressful when trying to match points or corners. I have decided to name this quilt "Pathways". When I look at this quilt top as it comes together I see the pathway that seems to join each star (soldier or individual) together. So far, I have kept to using each main background colour just once - each soldier is a star and they all are individuals with different personalities that join together and interact with each other to make one cohesive group. I had originally intended to make this quilt as a gift for one of my nephews. However, as I work on it I have come to realize that it really is a quilt that will be donated to Quilts of Valour and will go to a Canadian soldier.