Thursday, July 25, 2013

Midget Block #83 - Evening Star

The instructions that were provided for this block were paper-piecing combined with hand or machine piecing. It is the outer corner sections of the block that are recommended for hand or machine piecing and they do have an awkward seam that sealed the deal for hand-piecing for me. So, after looking at the block, I decided that I would just hand-piece the whole thing.

I have found while working on these blocks that when I combine paper-piecing with hand piecing that I generally end up with frustration and a mess. I always have to remind myself that the instructions provided are really just suggestions and that the quilt police will not seek me out for doing it my own way!

When I started sewing the block together, my first reaction was to sew the center star and then add the surrounding pieces but I quickly realized it was not the best way to proceed.

So I unstitched and then sewed the pieces together so that they made a square.

Once the individual blocks were made it was just a matter of joining them together to create the finished block.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Jane - Water Lily (B-8)

I have been thinking about my Dear Jane quilt for the past while and how I have abandoned it and my Midget Blocks as well. I didn't really mean to, it just happened, but I have been just thinking about them long enough and it is time to take action!

On Sunday, I started the prep work for Block B-8 and I even managed to get it all finished and it turned out really well. I am very happy with my applique pieces and their alignment. As a beginner to the process of applique, I find that accurate alignment can be really challenging. I creased the corners to help with keeping the petals centered and I used a Frixion pen to place a small dot where the point of the petal should go and I did manage to hit it fairly well.

Once I finished hand piecing the block together I added the petals using 'freezer paper on top needle turn' applique. I used wonderful silk thread for the applique and I think it does make a big difference with the stitch quality.

Even the back looks pretty darn good!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday is Here Again!!!

Another Sunday has arrived and it is just glorious. The sun is out and the temp early this morning was wonderfully cool compared to the recent hot and very humid weather we have been experiencing. I spent a bit of time this morning working on the quilting of my yellow paisley Seven Sisters quilt. I am just past the half-way point and I think it looks wonderful. I have no idea how many stitches I have put into this quilt but I know there are thousands and there are still thousands left to go!

I plan to get back at quilting it some more this evening but in the meantime I started working on prepping another Dear Jane block for hand piecing. It has been what seems like a very long time since I have made a block for this quilt. I am ready to settle into stitching it together while I watch the movie Georgie Girl. I had heard the song before but I didn't know there was a movie to go with it.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching. Pop on over to see other projects that are being hand made the slow way.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Quilting and Thread

Black background fabric with very tiny stars
 - makes your eyes crazy!
On Tuesday, I finally got the backing made for the quilt I will be giving to my nephew Norman. It didn't take very long to make but it did seem to be a sticking point. I don't know why that happens but I know I am not the only one that can get stuck there.

Once I got the backing made and straightened, everything fell into place and getting it loaded onto the frame and quilted really went quite quickly. I used a pantograph for the quilting pattern and I love how it turned out. I also used the new thread that I recently purchased to quilt this one and also to quilt Tickled Pink.

I think this thread (Poly Plus 65/2) is really good stuff - I had no issues at all other than one thread break on this quilt and I know it was my fault. I had the upper tension way too tight and I am glad the thread broke because I had to pick out my quilting because of the tension issue. If it hadn't broken I probably would have done a whole row and then would have had to pick it all out!! I did not have any thread shredding either which I seemed to be constantly having with the So Fine thread I had purchased.

I took some close up pictures of Tickled Pink so that you could see the stitches using this thread. I have no affiliations with the company that manufactures this thread (in Canada by the way) but I think I have found my 'forever' thread - ha ha!

They do have a minimum order requirement and it was a little scary to spend the money without actually trying the thread first but I am happy with it. I am also happier with the price!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gorgeous Quilty Floor Tiles

Yesterday I needed to go to Osgoode Hall for some business (don't worry I wasn't bad - I was there with the Crown) and boy oh boy, I wish I had brought my camera. The floor tiles in the Atrium are just amazing and so is the actual building and grounds. It is a National Historic Site of Canada located in the city of Toronto and it is just fabulous. I don't have any of my own pictures but I took some from their website and from the Internet.

They look like stunning, gorgeous quilts and if you read about the history they mention that the tiles were ordered from the manufacturer's catalogue and then designed by renowned designers. If we had any doubt that we, as quilters, are not artists we are absolutely mistaken. It was so exciting and inspiring to see these tiled floors!

If I ever go to Osgoode Hall again I will certainly make sure I take my camera!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

'Tickled Pink'

Tina's baby quilt finally has a name. Normally, after I have a soak in my bathtub I can come up with a name for my quilts but it didn't happen this time. I knew I wanted pink in the name, so I looked up the meaning of the colour pink on the Internet. There were some options that I could use for a quilt name - Unconditional Love, Universal Love, Happiness & Joy but they weren't quite right because I still wanted the word 'pink' to appear in the name. I read a little further and saw phrases that use the word pink and I saw 'Tickled Pink' and I knew right away that was the one!

This baby quilt is very important to me and I wanted it to be as special as I could possibly make it because it is going to a very special baby. My dear friend Lou Lou passed away in October from breast cancer. She had been a survivor for just over 20 years after being diagnosed in her mid-30s and her greatest wish was to see her children grow up and to hopefully one day see her grandchildren. Thankfully, she was able to see her children grow into young adults and before she passed away she also knew that her son and his partner were expecting a child - her first grandchild.

I started hand stitching the binding to the quilt last night and this morning I was so excited to get going that I was up by 6 am and already working on the binding by 6:30 am. So much for slow stitching but I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts - Slow Stitching Sunday anyway!

This quilt finished at approx. 46" x 53" and was quilted in a free hand loopy pattern with pink thread.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Easy Going Day

I made some really pretty 9 patch blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge today. The colour this month is teal or aqua but I also squeezed in some peacock blue. I really do have quite a bit of scraps in those colours because of this quilt top that I recently worked on for my niece Amanda.

Today was also a day to spend some time tidying up my sewing room and also my dining room. I need to use my dining room table to iron and cut bigger pieces of fabric and to trim quilts, etc., so my mess does get spread around! I puttered around my sewing room and I cut up some fabric scraps that were hanging around. I even got some fabric ironed that had been purchased over the last couple weeks. I am very good at getting it washed but I always seem to take forever to get it ironed and put away so that it is ready to use.

Tonight I plan on working on hand stitching the binding on Tina's baby quilt while hanging out with my husband and watching a movie together. A pretty perfect day if you ask me.

Baby Tina's Quilt

I wish you could see this little 'quilt-in-the-making' in person because it is just so adorable! I planned on using the pink with green dot fabric for the backing but it was not wide enough so I added a strip of the border fabric down the center.

I didn't want to cut into a large piece of batting so I pieced together one wide scrap piece with two narrower strips down the sides to make it big enough. This is the first time I have pieced my batting and I simply overlapped the edges a bit and just sewed it with a straight stitch. I think it turned out just fine - I had no trouble quilting over it at all.

Originally, I wanted to quilt it with double loops but, boy oh boy, I just couldn't do it well. I gave it the old college try but gave up after trying twice and ripping out both times - so single loops it is!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bossy Quilt was Right!

I am so glad that I followed this very bossy quilt's lead. Even though I really wanted to add the sashing, I think it has turned out just adorable without it. Without the sashing the quilt would have been a bit too small so I added another row of blocks to the side and bottom and now the size is fine for a new baby but it will also be more than big enough when she is a toddler too.

My plan is to quilt it today and I am going to try a new free motion design. Angela from soscrappy very kindly sent me these books to help me build my confidence and to learn some new free motion designs.  At this point I am planning to use the double loop pattern shown in the book - Pajama Quilter Reloaded. It isn't a difficult pattern and I think it will look really sweet on a baby quilt.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's Own Design

I really wanted this quilt to have sashings but no matter what I tried this quilt just did not want to cooperate.

So I gave in and looked at some options for the border instead. I really don't want to do anything complicated at all because I think the blocks really do hold their own in this quilt. That may be why it just does not want sashings...period. I think it is going to be so cute when it is done. I do really like the way the blocks look side-by-side and I think a baby would like to look at them too.

I think I have finally settled on this border arrangement of a green and then a pink strip. I think even just a small border of the purple is way too distracting. I want the quilt to be bigger so later today I will be cutting and sewing more strips for the blocks. If we don't have the predicted thunder storm and if I have time, I will try to sew them together as well.

I drove my son to Toronto this morning and while there I planned to spend some time visiting. I was at my sister Cheryl's place when my husband called to say that they were expecting another major storm and that I should think about coming home earlier rather than later. So I didn't stay at her place long and then popped in to my Mom's to see her for a few minutes.

My family did fairly well during the flooding the other day - my Mom just had some minor seepage into her basement and my nephew Kevin ended up with 6" of water in his apartment. He would have been fine but because of the power outages the sump pump for his apartment building was out of commission. Toronto just had an overwhelming amount of rain fall in such a short period of time and there was some major flooding. When I was there on Friday there was also a major rainstorm - I think this summer has been unbelievable with the amount of rainfall we have received in the Greater Toronto Area.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blocks are Made

I finished sewing all of the blocks together for the baby quilt and they look so cute!

My next step is going to be a bit harder because I have to make some decisions on what to do about the sashing. I have added strips of fabric between the blocks on my design wall to get a feel for what some of the different options will look like. I will still try to add some of the solid purple to see if I like it as an option but I don't have any cut yet. I will definitely do that before I make any decisions.

Another option is to just sew all of the blocks together without sashing because I think they would make a cute pattern of their own and then add the borders.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Baby Girl Quilt

The flower fabric is for the border.
I need to make a baby girl quilt and I think I have most of it figured out now. I pulled some fabrics from my stash - pretty pink, green, purple and white.

Once I decided on my design I realized that the purple wasn't going to work for me so I had to set it aside.

I am really happy with the fabrics that I have chosen and I think my design is going to make a very pretty quilt. My fabrics are not exactly as shown in the design so I may need to change things a bit to suit my fabrics.

This is the block that I am using for the quilt - the alternate blocks are turned sideways. I sewed 1.5" strips together and I cut them into triangles using my Easy Angle companion ruler. The sashing in my design is the solid pink with solid green cornerstones but there may not be enough difference in the shade of pink that is being used in the blocks. I will have to check my stash for a darker pink or I could potentially use the border fabric for the sashing instead or even the green solid. I will have to make a decision on that later. I have sewn one block together as a test and it looks great!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trials and Tribulations

Friday morning I drove my sister and her quilts home to Toronto and we picked up my Mom to take her to the bank and grocery shopping. We were leaving the bank parking lot to go across the street to the grocery store when my brakes failed!!!! I couldn't believe it ..... my foot was to the floor but I was still moving. I had just had my front brakes done a couple weeks ago so I didn't understand what went wrong. Thankfully I was driving very slowly and was able to recover. I use my parking brake all the time so it is in very good working order and it sure came in handy. I did get across the street into the grocery store plaza and there I stayed. I called my husband to come and help us and then my Mom and my sister and I went into the grocery store to get our shopping done. We were finished shopping but my husband had still not arrived so we sat in the car in the pouring rain and had cookies and lemonade and had a nice, wet visit for an hour or so. You have heard of the saying when life gives you lemons - make lemonade - hee hee. It just so happened that we were having a major rain storm with a very heavy, long lasting downpour. Unfortunately, when I parked I was quite a distance from the grocery store and we got absolutely soaked getting back to the car.

When my husband arrived we transferred the groceries to our van and he drove the car slowly, with me following behind, to the corner where there was a repair shop and I left him there. I drove my Mom home and then my sister and I carried on with our plans. (Ultimately, the car needed to stay overnight so they gave my husband a lift to my Mom's where I picked him up later in the day.)

Cheryl and I were on a mission to buy some quilting thread. I have been using So Fine but it was shredding and it is very expensive so I wanted to try a new type. There is a Canadian supplier called CanSew and they sell a product called Poly Plus 65/2 that I want to try. I know that many other long arm quilters use it and are very happy with it and the price is a lot better as well. They have a location in Toronto so we decided to give it a go. There is a minimum $ order so after spending the money I hope that it works well for me. I plan to give it a test run in a couple days and I will give a review of my results.

My car is all fixed now - apparently the brake line corroded and that is why it just let go. I am so glad it didn't happen when I was driving at a high rate of speed and needed to stop quickly. When they had it on the lift they showed my husband that the gas line was badly corroded as well and it needed to be replaced. We are talking $$$ here but you gotta do what you gotta do. My car is old now, it is a 2001 and even though we have kept it well maintained, things are just wearing out.
This morning my husband brought me a Canadian Tire sales flyer and said that maybe we should buy these for my car because it is showing it's age and it can use some 'gussying up'.  He is just so funny! What do you think??

Three Quilts Quilted!

We did it - we got it all done! My sister arrived at my place Wednesday morning and we started our quilting marathon at 10 am. We didn't get all three quilts finished until around 10 or 11 pm on Thursday and by then we were totally done in. I am still getting to know my machine and things like tension settings and such are still a challenge for me but I think I am getting the hang of it - at least I hope so. By the time we got the last quilt done our feet were screaming at us and we were beyond tired but really happy!

Kevin's Quilt
We started with Kevin's quilt and it is quilted with a very dense and challenging pantograph. I think his quilt took a long time because of the difficulty of the quilting pattern but it was totally worth it. I know that as I do more pantograph quilting that it will become so much easier for me and I will become better at it as well.

Gary's Quilt
The second quilt done was Gary's and it was quilted with a fun starry pantograph. I had no issues at all with the quilting and his quilt went quite quickly.

Cassandra's Quilt
Cassandra's was the last quilt and it took an extraordinary amount of time. I kept having thread issues - for some reason it just kept shredding. I changed the needle, I checked for burrs in the bobbin/hook area, I adjusted the tension but I kept having challenges. It didn't help that we were already really tired by the time we started quilting it. Of course, we did prevail and it turned out really gorgeous.

Don't they all look fabulous? They were all quite large, I think the smallest one is Cassandra's. If I remember correctly her quilt is 77" x 83". I think my sister Cheryl did such a great job on her quilts. She really is a beginner quilter but she has progressed so quickly with her skills and she even designs her own patterns as well.

I do still have issues with how to deal with the edges of the quilt when doing a pantograph. Sometimes, the edges are not perfectly straight or aligned and I am not sure how to manage those types of issues.We all know that there really is no such thing as a perfect quilt and I am learning as I go. I am sure there is a resource available that will help me to deal with common problems and issues with quilting on a long arm.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This and That

Total of 22 Priscilla Star points
Today was a quiet day for me - I woke up with my head all stuffy and feeling just a bit out of sorts. I seemed to get better over the day and I did spend a bit of time in my sewing room. I tidied up a bit and I also did some string piecing.
They don't look like much!
I used 8.5 x 11 paper and I filled up 4 sheets. Not a lot made or scraps used but at least I did something. I have cut them into triangle shapes that will be used to make Priscilla Stars and I also cut some 3.5 squares. I have saved all of the leftover scraps and they will be used in crumb blocks. My fabric scraps just keep on giving!

I made 12 - 3.5" squares.
Some scraps were almost big enough for additional star points.
My sister Cheryl is coming to visit tomorrow and she will be spending a couple days with me. The plan is that we are going to quilt 3 quilt tops for her. I hope that we do manage to get them all done before she leaves on Friday. I already gave my husband fair warning that I will not be available to do any cooking and have very simple, easy meals planned that anyone can put together.

I think that tonight I will just hold the couch down and do some more hand quilting on my yellow paisley Seven Sisters quilt. I am feeling really good about the progress I making on it!