Monday, September 30, 2013

Piecing Winding Ways Blocks

Today turned out to be a rainy, dull and dreary day and it was a perfect day to sew. I added six more winding ways blocks to the two I had made previously.

I was asked if I am hand-piecing my winding ways blocks and even though I think they would be a great block to hand piece I am doing mine by machine. These blocks are not difficult to sew at all because I have some help with keeping the pieces aligned. I do sew them at a slower speed and with more care and I use plenty of pins.

My sister and I cut them using her Go Studio and the die cuts the pieces and leaves notches in the seam allowance for matching them together. I think that really does help a lot. If you are making your own templates I would suggest making them with notches too.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dear Jane - Trooper Green's Badge (C-1)

This is the first block of the third row and it was another block that was fairly quick and easy to sew together. The straight line stitching was so easy compared to stitching curved pieces and the pieces were relatively large....for a 4.5" block!

I only took a picture of the finished block and none of my process but I did use freezer paper to make my templates.

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts - Slow Stitching Sunday. Pop on by to check out the other links. You just may be inspired to do some slow stitching!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Scrap Happy Saturday

This morning I made another 5 blue string blocks that will become part of my nephew Mark's quilt. If I can add correctly, that should put me at 47 string blocks that will finish at 8" plus one that is 8.25 x 8.5. Sure wish I had not cut that one incorrectly but then stuff does happen! I am linking up with soscrappy's Scrap Happy Saturday - pop on over to check out the rest of the links. You just may be inspired to work with some of your scraps too.

I had planned on making more blocks but my sewing room is such a mess that it is hard to function. I guess that is what happens when you have multiple projects in-progress so I really need to spend time today cleaning up. Ever since I purchased the long-arm my sewing space has decreased to just a very small area and space is at a premium for sewing/cutting/ironing. I am feeling quite cramped. I cannot wait til my husband gets that darn basement finished so I can move the long-arm down there and have a bit of breathing room in my sewing room. He is getting closer - all of the drywall is up and today he is working on replacing the windows. I think I will soon be spending less time sewing and a lot of time taping and mudding walls!

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Coming Together!

I got out of bed at 4:45 this morning because the newspaper delivery guy hit our blue box recycling bins at the end of our driveway and dragged them onto the street. It caused quite the racket and that was it for me - I was wide awake. It gave me an earlier start to my day so I decided to take advantage and I headed for my sewing room.

So far, I have been putting in most of my time on this quilt just completing the segments that make up the blocks and they were ready to come together. All of the corner sections were finished and I just needed to add the sashings within the blocks.

This whole stack was sewn incorrectly.....grrr!
It did take a bit of doing to get all of the corner sections finished though because I kept making silly mistakes. Yesterday, I was sewing this last batch of pieces together and what do you know...I sewed the green triangle to the wrong end. It should have been added to the end with the wide base of the triangle. So I had to work a bit backwards but I did get them all fixed.
I think my design wall looks pretty good and my sister is going to be so happy! I have finished all of the blocks now and just need to start sewing them together.

The blocks will finish at 10" and because my design wall is quite small at the moment I couldn't fit very many on it. There are 20 on the wall and 39 in this pile - I have an extra one because of the sample block I made as a test.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joining the Quilt Guild

I joined the local quilt guild (Region of York Quilters Guild) after a long wait. I had tried to become a member a couple years ago but they had a long waiting list and this year I finally became a member. Apparently they are considered a large guild with a maximum of 200 members. I am really hoping that it is going to be a really good experience for me. I am mostly a solitary quilter, every so often my sister Cheryl joins me and I love it but it just doesn't happen often enough. Of course I also share what I am making by blogging and I also enjoy that immensely. I really do want to meet other women that share the same obsession interest as me. I am looking forward to creating new long-lasting friendships!

The first meeting after the summer break took place last night and I really enjoyed myself. The guest speaker was Kathy Wylie and she gave a talk on many methods of applique and showed some really gorgeous quilts.

I signed up for a little one day sewing get together for new members that will take place on Oct 5. We will be making a small project of some sort but the whole point of the session is to become acquainted with other new members.

The block of the month for October is boxy stars and I was so excited to participate that I have already made one. The example that they showed in the newsletter was done in Fall-like colours so I decided to stick with that theme and used warm colours too.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Check Your Seam Allowance!!!

still need to be sewn and trimmed
Yesterday morning I took a little time and headed into my sewing room to work on my sister Kathlene's quilt blocks. Ever since I put those few test blocks together I have been itching to get more done. My next step was to add all of the little triangles onto the triangle in a square blocks. I did get through all of the blocks and had added the triangles to three sides before I realized that I had my 1/4" seam allowance set incorrectly.

The last time I used my sewing machine I had made a paper pieced block and had removed my seam guide. When I was finished I put the seam guide back on the machine but didn't check the accuracy and it was off just slightly. You wouldn't think it would make much of a difference but because I am adding so many pieces (and seam allowances) that it is enough to make a big difference.

I do have small marks on the machine bed for the seam guide alignment but I still have to double check because the smallest deviation makes the blocks come out all wonky. Even with trimming the blocks are not exactly as they should be and I hope it doesn't affect how they will look in the finished block.


It is funny (not really) but the other day I was reading Audrey's blog Quilty Folk and she talked about how time consuming it was to trim blocks and I commented that I found trimming blocks to be very tedious. Well, guess what I am doing....ugh!

I watched some of Bonnie Hunter's quilt cam last night while I sewed more blocks and did some trimming. I am doing them in smaller batches so that I don't get too overwhelmed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Midget Block #91 - Blazing Star

This block is appropriately called Blazing Star. I love the red and yellow together...very fiery! This block was another one that went together so quick and easily. The instructions called for paper-piecing and they were very detailed. It is amazing how quick it is to create a block using paper-piecing compared to hand-piecing!

Don't forget that many of these blocks are still available for free from Sentimental Stitches.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Winding Ways Blocks

I had a very early morning today because for whatever reason I woke up 3 am. I tried to fall back to sleep but when 4:30 rolled around I just gave up and decided to do some sewing.

I have a whole basket of pink and brown winding ways block pieces all cut and ready to be sewn together and they have been calling my name - maybe that was what woke me up! Even though I have a couple other projects in progress I decided to make some blocks anyway. These blocks are a bit fussy to sew together so I figure if I do a couple here and there then eventually I will have enough made for a whole quilt.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

They remind me of string blocks!
I had a very busy week last week and I didn't have as much time to sew as I normally would. I needed to work on something very simple so I picked up some knitting needles that have been idle for a very long time. I made a few dishcloths that will be given away and I think I will continue to make a few more today. It is very calming and soothing to just knit such a simple item. Just what I needed this week.

The past week has been a week of highs and lows. My friend Evelyn passed away on Monday from breast cancer. She fought that evil disease for 19 years - she was so determined to live and live she did to the fullest. Her funeral was on Friday and she had written that cancer is cannot take away your soul or the love of friends and family. I had met Evelyn through my dearest friend Louise many years ago. Evelyn and Louise were each others pillars of support but sadly Louise lost her battle in October last year and I miss her terribly. Several months ago, I had made a quilt for Evelyn and when I gave it to her it brought tears to her eyes. It made her so happy to think that I would spend my time making her a quilt.

Even though there was a lot of sadness last week there was also a lot of joy. I spent the whole day on Thursday with two of my sisters, my Mom and two of my nieces. I left my home at 8:30 in the morning and drove to Toronto, then on to Milton, Guelph and Acton and then eventually back again. I didn't get home until 10 pm but we had a fabulous fun day together. I love my family!!

Saturday was another very happy day. My husband and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary and we also went to a get together to celebrate the birth of my friend Louise's first grandchild. Baby Tina was born in June and they wanted to have a get together when family and friends would be able to gather. I gave the quilt that I had made and everyone loved it. It is always so wonderful to welcome a new baby - life does go on!

I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

More Blue Strings

Guess what I made today for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge....betcha you won't be surprised at all. I was very, very busy today and only just finished making 3 more blocks. Not very many but they will eventually add up. I don't have a particular plan yet but there really are so many options. Regardless of how my design turns out I know that I want and need to make many more string blocks.

I do have a lot of blue strings but the biggest problem is digging them out - I have a huge amount of strings that are not sorted. I started the process but I have only put in bits of time here and there. I guess I will just have to buckle down and sort them while digging for blue strings instead of just shoving them around. I am linking up to soscrappy's Scrap Happy Saturday.

Friday, September 20, 2013

We Have A Winner!

My giveaway closed on Wednesday night and to be honest I was a bit surprised about the response. I had hundreds of visitors during the giveaway and yet only a few left a comment on the post. I guess it just meant that there were better odds to win for those who did leave a comment!

The winner of this pretty bundle of fat quarters is Deb from VTQuilter. Congratulations Deb - my husband picked you and I am pretty sure that you will be able to make something fabulous with them. An email has been sent and as soon as I get a mailing address I will be sending it off.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dear Jane - Four Corner Press (B-13)

Making this block was quite the change of pace. It was so simple to put together - no templates required. It really didn't even take me very long to choose the fabrics that I wanted to use. It was just a simple matter of cutting the pieces to size and marking my sewing lines.

I didn't time myself but really it did just take several minutes to hand-stitch it up. The perfect end to the final block in row B. I am really loving my Dear Jane journey. It has been such a wonderful learning process so far. I am looking forward to starting the next row.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Building Blocks

I have been working on my sister Kathlene's quilt by sewing segments within each block together and most of the time I have done it quite well. There are certainly other times when I have done this....
Oopsie...the one on the right just isn't right!
I got the triangle in a square pointing in the wrong seems to be a common occurrence with me!

While I was sewing today, my sister Cheryl called me and we were discussing my progress on this quilt and she asked me if I had sewn any blocks together completely other than my test block. I really had been planning on waiting and sewing all of the blocks together all at once but she got me thinking about just putting a few together to see how they would look. So after I did some more piecing I ended up with these sections

and I just needed to add some of these sections
along with a purple center square and I ended up with this.

I didn't want to make too many - just enough to see how they will all look together. I think I am in love!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Midget Block #80 - Japanese Garden

Goodness this block is so cute and it went together really quickly too.

I followed the provided instructions and paper pieced it and had no trouble at all. I am sure it took me more time to pick out the fabric than to make the whole block.

Don't forget that I am having a giveaway as a little celebration and if you would like a chance to receive this bundle of fat quarters then leave a comment on this post only. The cut-off is Wednesday, Sept 18 at midnight EST.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quilty Fun - Tooting My Own Horn!

A week or two ago when I checked the mail I found that I had two fabulous things delivered to me. The first item was a complimentary copy of Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. Way back in July I was contacted by the editorial assistant from Quiltmaker Magazine and she told me she had come across my blog and found my 'beautiful Soldier Star Quilt of Valor' quilt (you can see it here) and asked me if I would be interested in having it featured in the Sew to Speak section of their magazine. Of course I said Yes!

I wanted to be able to give away a copy of the magazine and I have been checking magazine stands but haven't found any copies at all. So instead, in celebration (tooting my own horn), I have decided to hold a giveaway of this bundle of fat quarters.

giveaway bundle
There are a total of 2.5 yards of fabric in this bundle. If you wish to join the celebration with me please leave me a comment on this post only and make sure I have a way of contacting you if you do win. I will close the giveaway at midnight (EST) on Wednesday, Sept 18. You don't have to be a follower but it sure would be nice!
Contents of one bag
The second was a box from Homestead Hearth. I ordered their 1800s grab bags (I originally saw them here) and I asked to have as many shipped to me that would fit in the medium flat rate box and they managed to get 7 bags in it. It just made more sense economically to buy multiple grab bags rather than just one or two because of the shipping cost. I am really happy with my purchase...this was the first time I have ordered anything on-line and I wasn't disappointed. The pieces in the bags are all usable sizes from bigger than 3.5" squares to pieces that are close to fat eighths. I have a lot of trouble finding these types of fabrics locally at a reasonable price so now I have a huge variety even if some of the pieces are a bit small. Perfect for a scrappy quilter and absolutely perfect for my Dear Jane blocks.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dear Jane - Starflower (B-12)

Wow, I can't believe that I am almost finished piecing the second row of this quilt. It is a slow journey but that is just fine by me - I don't need to be in a rush to finish every quilt.

 When I first looked at this block I really was torn between two options for completing it. I could see doing applique or just hand piecing and hand piecing finally won the tug of war.

before pressing - ugh!
This is a lesson on not what to do....I didn't press as I was sewing and I am sure I would have had a better result had I pressed but it is all good. Once this quilt gets washed all of the little inconsistencies will disappear and it will just end up being a gorgeous hand pieced/appliqued quilt!

I am linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday hosted by Kathy's Quilts. Drop on by to see more links to other hand made items.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Scrap Happy Saturday

My contribution to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week is another 10 blue string blocks that I made this morning. I know, I know, it is a little bit boring but I am using up some blue strings. I did make a little boo boo and cut one of the blocks a bit short - 8.25 x 8.5. I am sure I will eventually use it up in something.

If you want to see other projects that are certainly a lot more interesting than what I made you should hop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Border Decision ???

Close up of the fabric - I like it but....

I spent most of my day in Toronto and when I got back I wanted to run to my sewing room to work on the border for my Boy's Britches quilt right away but that didn't happen. Instead, while my son Eric unloaded the groceries I brought home I got my pups organized for a walk. I have been promising them that I would start taking them for walks again once the weather cooled and I just couldn't go back on my word after making such promises! Then, of course, I had to make supper.....and then...finally I got into my sewing room. I was so looking forward to starting the borders for this quilt. I had a vision in my mind and I was so excited to get going.  I sewed some of the strips together to make pairs of black and white squares because I thought I would like to finish the 4 patches along the edges. Next, I cut strips of the fabric that I had in mind but oh oh...I don't think it works very well.

My next idea was to trial another black and white fabric but I don't know about it either. By this time I was feeling a bit discouraged.

So I tried another idea - black and white fabric paired together in strips - another big fat nope!

Next I tried just plain black but that is a no go as well. I was ready to give up and I was not feeling too happy at all because none of my ideas were working.

I decided to try one more option and I do think it works better than all of the others. I haven't sewn any of the black and white strips so it is a bit difficult to see but maybe, just maybe this border will work? Or, maybe I am completely on the wrong track and just need to sit back and think about it for a while.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Moving Right Along

I am really enjoying the process of making the quilt blocks for my sister Kathlene's quilt. It has been such a breeze so far and I know it is all because my sister Cheryl spent her time cutting the quilt top for me. I am so glad she did that part for me!

I finished sewing the triangle in a square blocks on Tuesday and it didn't really take all that much time. Each of the pieces really did fit together very well so I didn't have to fuss with them too much. I wanted to start sewing the next segments together but I knew my machine needed a bit of TLC. I also needed to fill some bobbins so this was the perfect time to stop and take a breather and give my machine a much deserved cleaning.

Every time I change the bobbin I always brush out the area and get all of the visible lint out before I insert the new bobbin. I can't remember the last time that I took the plate off and cleaned inside and this is what I found when I opened it up. I have been doing a lot of sewing on my Janome 1600 (which I absolutely love) and I guess I have been neglecting her because I haven't been oiling her either. I knew that if I was using her a lot then I should be oiling her every day but for some reason I forgot all about that.

This is what she rewarded me with after I gave her a bit of a spa treatment on Wednesday......I was able to sew all of these 2 patches (224) together and she was smooth. This machine really is quite the workhorse! I still need to add one purple square onto half of them but that will wait for another day.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quilt Surgery

Last night I decided it was high time that I did a little bit of this.

My husband and I settled in to watch a movie and I started quilting. All was going well until I moved my hoop to a new area and I saw a tiny piece of fluffy lint on the quilt top. I picked it off the quilt top and lo and behold there is a bare spot underneath where the linty bit was.

This bare spot does not go all the way through but I do think it weakens the area. What to do...what to do??? I decided to leave it alone for the night and put my quilting away while I thought about how I should proceed.

While I was sleeping I was working out what to do. I did have a couple options - I could just leave it and hope that a hole does not appear in the quilt, I could remove the whole piece and add in a replacement or I could applique a patch over it. I finally decided to applique over it because this quilt is hand pieced and I don't know where I originally started or stopped my sewing thread when I pieced it together. If I break the sewing stitches I may end up with multiple sections of the star needing attention.
I used the template from making the quilt to size the new patch
applique in process
Once I decided on applique I also decided that I would make the applique 'patch' a little smaller than the original - I didn't want to make the seams any thicker and I wanted to stay away from the center of the star - way too bulky already. Luckily I still had quite a bit of this fabric leftover that I intend on using for the binding.

Here it is all finished - I did not cut away the fabric from underneath because I didn't want to risk the integrity of the piece. I did my best and I don't think anyone would really notice unless they knew to look for it. This is a very close up shot of the patch and it does blend in pretty well. My quilts are meant to be used...none are ever perfect...but they are made with love. They each have their own little personalities and flaws ummmm character!