Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fun & Games

Fun & Games - cutting and sewing!
Now that I have almost finished putting the Garden Fence quilt top together I have started working on this quilt again. I had already cut most of my fabric and sewn all of the 4 patches I need for the whole blocks prior to my little interlude with the Garden Fence quilt (I really need to come up with another name for that quilt). I have so many more male family members that I need to make quilts for than female members so I really do need to step up my creation of masculine looking quilts...but I really do like working on pretty, feminine quilts too!!

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night - I fell asleep just after 11 pm but was awake by 12:30 am. I stayed in bed until 1:30 but finally got up and went into my sewing room and worked until 5. I went back to bed but still didn't fall asleep until after 5:30. Last night, I mostly worked on making block components but I did sew a few blocks together to get an idea of how I wanted to construct them. When I finally got up this morning and looked at the blocks I had worked on I realized that I needed to make some changes.

Fun & Games sample blocks.
I need to replace some of the neutral squares with ones that have a little more colour if I want to keep my neutral horizontal/vertical lines dominant.

Fun & Games design layout using EQ4
On second thought, it might be better if I just make some new blocks first and then decide which ones should be used before I start unsewing! I may still be able to use these blocks just as they are and space them out within the quilt top. I still have to figure out what I need to do to make the partial blocks that go around the outer edges. Math is not my forte - that is for sure (especially when I am tired)!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baking Bread - Not a Quilty Post!

After reading this post on Kathy's Quilts blog and watching the video I decided to start making my own baked goods. I had been feeling a bit icky for quite a long time about the freshness dates on bread. I don't ever remember bread staying fresh in the cupboard for that length of time ever before in my life. Not only that, it is really ridiculous to pay $3 or more for a loaf of bread that is full of chemicals and additives. I made two loaves of white bread and I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to knead the dough. I think it was a bit much for it to handle so I think I will just make one loaf at a time. Who knows - I may even just start trying to knead the dough by hand. It may lead to getting some upper body strength that I so need!! As I said, my first attempt was white bread and it turned out pretty good - I took a picture after I we had eaten most of it. I also made 2 carrot nut loaves at the same time - my son is soooo happy.

Dough after rising
Fresh baked buns!
My next attempt was making buns - it was so easy. The recipe I used did not require any kneading and they turned out great. The recipe was supposed to make 48 small buns but I made 20 larger ones instead. I wanted them big enough for my son and husband to use for sandwiches. My son has requested that I make them into longer buns and my husband requested they not be so thick. These ones turned out like mini-loaves. I guess with practice I will figure out how much dough to use and how to shape it. Once I get these recipes down pat I will attempt to make whole wheat bread - much better for us!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Garden Fence Quilt-Along

Garden Fence in progress
I don't know what happened - I was so wrapped up in making this quilt top and then I got stalled making the last 12 blocks - go figure. Well, I finally got them all done and I am adding the sashing as I go. My quilt is quite large at 8 x 9. It just felt so overwhelming to lay it all out and try to arrange the blocks ahead of time so instead I decided to just start sewing it together into pairs and then into groups of 4 blocks. I will just have to arrange them on the fly. Doing it this way will limit me somewhat with the final arrangement but it just seemed sooo much. I have all of the blocks sewn into pairs and I have started sewing them into groups of 4. I have to be very careful when pinning and sewing them together because on 2 of the sets my sashing did not line up perfectly so I had to take them apart and redo them. I am still loving this design!

While sewing I have been watching tv and listening to the coverage of Hurricane Irene. It is such a huge storm and I do hope that everyone in it's path does take heed to all of the warnings and evacuates. Sadly, I don't think there is any way to prevent property damage and loss but hopefully lives will not be lost.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quilting Spring Romance

Spring Romance
Quilting Spring Romance
My sister Cheryl made this gorgeous quilt (my photos just do not do it justice). This is her first quilt and she did such a great job putting it together. She wanted to free-motion quilt it herself and she did try to do it on her own at her place but she does not have the right set up to be able to do it easily. So, she brought her quilt back to my place to quilt it. She gave it a try but had a little bit of trouble so I quilted it for her and I showed her everything that I had learned over the past year or so that I have been free-motion quilting. She quickly determined that it is a lot harder than it looks. I don't think it really is that hard - just like anything a little bit of practice goes a long way and I like to think that I do improve with each quilt.

Quilting Spring Romance
Cheryl plans on making a few baby quilts for donation and she will practice free-motion quilting using these smaller quilts until she feels more confident instead of tackling such a large first project. I didn't quite get the quilt finished because I didn't have enough thread. Cheryl will come back in a week or two so I can finish quilting it and she can trim up the quilt and apply the binding using my sewing machine. She will take it back home to hand sew the binding to the back.

I have a little quiz for you - what do you get when you mix this

with this?

Molly @ 9 mths

Thankfully, my son Eric caught her with it and with a whole wad of thread hanging from her mouth. I couldn't imagine what would have happened to her if she had swallowed all those long pieces of thread - it makes me sick to think about it! When she was a little puppy I let her play with the empty spools - I see now that was big mistake.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whahoo - I am loving it!

Garden Fence QA - 31 blocks
This is what I have been working on lately and I am so loving it! I had been saving and collecting pink and orange fabrics along with teal to make a quilt for myself someday but when I saw this quilt pattern I had a change of plans. My orange and pink fabrics were screaming to be used in this quilt along with green and I had no choice but to listen to them! Who knows...I may still get my pink/orange/teal quilt someday because I didn't use up all of the fabric that I had been collecting. I have made more blocks since I took this picture and I still have about 12 more to make and then I will be ready to add the sashing. This quilt block is very easy to make but this quilt is demanding that I spend my time making it instead of working on my current projects. It is funny how that works! Click on the Garden Fence Quilt-along gadget in my sidebar so that you can join in the fun too!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Flowers For Christine Redux

Completed Flowers for Christine
I made this quilt as a surprise for my sister Christine. It turned out great - until I washed it and the red from the border and binding bled all throughout the quilt. I was devastated but I thought I would give it to her anyway and explain what happened and how badly I felt about it. Anyway, after talking about it and asking for advice from Judy at my favourite quilt shop (Sew Sisters) I was given a bottle of Grandma's Secret Spot Remover to try. When I blogged about the catastrophe Kathy from Kathy's Quilts very generously sent me 3 Shout Color Catchers from her precious stash (they are not sold in Canada).

Spraying with stain treatment
 I added 4 very generous long squirts of Grandma's Secret Spot Remover to a spray bottle filled with water and sprayed the quilt liberally on both sides - I had to refill the bottle twice. I then washed the quilt normally and added a Color Catcher along with whatever was left in the spray bottle. When I removed the quilt from the washer it looked better but was still stained with red so I repeated the process except I added double the amount of Grandma's Secret Spot Remover to the spray bottle. I also put some of it directly onto the worst parts. I put it in the washer again with another Colour Catcher. The quilt came out almost perfect!!

Color Catcher 1 & 2
I am very happy with the result. The quilt doesn't look dingy and discoloured anymore and the red stains that remain are really very light. I will give my sister what is left of the stain remover and the last Color Catcher and when she needs to wash it she can pretreat the remaining stains (she will have to look carefully to really see them) with full strength spot remover. A big thank you to Kathy and to Judy for their help - they helped return the beauty to my quilt! I am doing the "happy dance".
Renewed Flowers for Christine - looking just lovely!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Garden Fence Quilt-a-long - First Blocks

First group of blocks for Garden Fence Quilt
I have been totally distracted by this quilt pattern! After I finished hemming and hawwing and finally made my decision to join in I had to figure out which fabrics I was going to use. I belong to a program, Bargain Lover's Club, with my LQS and each month I receive several fat quarters of coordinated fabric. It is always a little surprise each month because I just never know what I will receive. Every once in a while I do get a package of fabric that I would not normally purchase but I am happy to receive because it just might challenge me to get out of my comfort zone. I just wash/iron it and put it away thinking that I may be able to eventually use it. Well I got to use some fabric from a couple of these bundles in these quilt blocks and I cannot be happier! The fat quarters I used were basically pink/orange/green so I went through my stash and added fabrics that would work and...voila I have enough to make a quilt and it is going to be very bright and happy looking!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've Been Shopping!

My sister Cheryl and I have been visiting the fabric stores lately. My latest purchase is pictured above. I bought some red solid and some bits and pieces but really I needed to add to my stash of turquoise and white fabrics. I saw this very pretty block on Ann Marie's blog 16 Muddy Feet. As soon as I saw it I wanted it! Amy from Amy's Passion posted a tutorial on how to make a similar block and even though the final outcome does differ I think the same process applies. Amy's is a 3 colour version and Ann Marie's is 2 colour and the strips are sewn in a different arrangement. I really like them both so what is a girl to do? I think I will make a sample block in both arrangements and then try to decide. Who knows, I just may end up with two quilts instead of one. We also had a fabric shopping trip last week and Cheryl gave me a bunch of gorgeous fabrics for an early bday present and silly me I forgot to take a picture. She has started collecting orange, green and blue fabric for a new quilt as well - she is truly addicted! She now has 4 quilts in various stages from early design/ideas all the way to ready-to-quilt.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Garden Fence Quilt-a-long

I have no idea why I am doing this because I have so much on my plate already. I just could not resist - I am weak-willed - there I admitted it! I can't help it because I really like this design.

I am a little late to the party and I still have to decide which fabrics I am going to use. I hope to have that all settled and to start cutting within a couple days.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A New Project - Fun & Games

Sample block for Fun & Games Quilt
 Last May (wow! I really can't believe how quickly time flies) I went through what I call a creative period and I came up with a few quilt designs. I worked on these designs for the May Friday Night Sew In. One of the quilt designs I created uses the Domino block. I have an older version of EQ that my husband bought for me many years ago (version 4) and I never really got into using it because I just couldn't make it do what I wanted. I don't know if it is 1D10T error (idiot operator) or limitations with the program. Anyway...I had decided to load it onto my computer again and try it out. I still couldn't make it do what I wanted but I could at least use some of the blocks within the program to design some quilts. So, the first one that I am going to tackle is this one.

Vision of Fun & Games
Of course, I know that it will not have the same colours etc., but it will be similar - a scrappier rendition. My plan is to use lt. neutrals, beiges, golds, tans, rusts, browns - basically warm masculine colours. As you can see I made my first block as a sample and I like it a lot. I haven't figured out all the sizes yet because it is set on-point and I have to work out the partial blocks and corners. I am still not decided on the borders so I guess I will figure out all that stuff as I go. So the question is - which of my latest projects will become the leader/ender and which one will be the main one. I think I may just end up alternating between Leftovers and Fun & Games.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Leftover's Quilt

Beginnings of a Quilt
I started preparations to make this quilt a little while ago and I have been spending little bits of time here and there cutting the fabric into 4.5" & 2.5" strips and then subcutting them into squares and also cutting light and dark 1.5" strips. I originally saw this quilt on Lori from Humble Quilts blog and she very generously provided an EQ drawing that gave the details for the block construction. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make one - I just loved the one she made!

I have since started sewing the 1.5" strips together - light and dark - and then started subcutting them. I was planning on sewing the little 4 patches as a leader/ender project but now I am just not sure. Maybe this will be a main project and I can start another one as the leader/ender? For now I will just continue sewing the 1.5" strips together and cutting them into 2sies until I decide what my next step will be.