Sunday, January 31, 2016

Midget Blocks

I thought I would take a picture of all of the Midget Blocks I have made so far. What do you think...cute huh? I have completed 41 at this point and I still have quite a few to go before I have enough for a quilt. These blocks will finish at 4.5" and they can be a challenge to make! I am using
hand piecing, hand applique and machine piecing or a combination of the three techniques to complete these blocks.

I should probably take a group photo every ten or so blocks so that I see the overall picture of how they are coming together. Case in point - what is up with all the yellow backgrounds? I see that I need to use other colours besides yellow when the block calls for a background that is not neutral. lol

I started seeing these blocks on soscrappy's blog and I couldn't get enough of them so I decided to join in and make some of my own. Of course, Angela was way ahead of me and has a beautiful quilt to show for it!!! Deb of vtquilter joined in as well and she has many blocks made that are ready to be turned into a quilt. They were both much more dedicated at working on them on a regular basis than I was and it shows. :)

Blocks #51 to 196 are still available for free from Sentimental Stitches so pop on over and get them while you can!

I plan/hope to be a little more disciplined in making these little blocks and I am striving to do at least one a week. We will see how long I can keep it up but maybe I will find motivation in knowing that I will have the cutest quilt when they are done.

I am working today but later this evening I plan to work on this little cutie. I will definitely be hand piecing this one!

Pop on over to Kathy's Quilts to check out the links for more Slow Sunday Stitching.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pinwheels with HSTs

I don't know the name of this block but as soon as I saw it on Chantal's blog I knew I needed to make them for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge as well. They are so pretty and don't they all look so great together - Chantal's quilt is just gorgeous!!

I don't know what size blocks Chantal used but I decided to go with 6" blocks. Even with that decision made I proceeded to make another block size mistake. What is going on with me??? Good thing I had only cut the first six blocks as a test because I needed that test!

I am using the same background fabric throughout the quilt along with the scrappy colour selections each month. I started cutting strips at 3.5" and 2.5" from my background fabric and pulled blue strips from my scrap bins and I used my Easy Angle ruler to cut the hsts. Do you see the problem yet? Once I sewed the pinwheels together and the larger hst blocks together they just didn't fit. I had to trim my pinwheels to 3.5" so I would have my 6" block. Good thing I hadn't cut too many 2.5" strips from the white background fabric. Everything is fixed now and I guess it could have been worse if I had cut the strips too small. :)

Last night was another non-sleeping night so I made another 6 blocks to go with the first ones. I love them!

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links to all of the fantastic projects being made with simple scraps.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Westering Women - Independence Square

I am joining in with Barbara Brackman's latest quilt along and I am planning on sticking with this one. ;) Unfortunately, I don't have the best track record but I will try to do better this time.

The first 12" block that was posted is Independence Square and it really wasn't too difficult to make except I made it as a 9" block. I don't why I did that but I did. Regardless, I am quite happy with the way it turned out so I don't want to remake it. Who knows, maybe I can make all of the blocks 9" instead of 12".  I do have the option of putting a frame around this one to make it larger if need be.

When I was digging through my stash to choose my fabrics, I found this fabric and I decided to use it as my light background. I don't know if it is period correct but I think these ladies are a perfect choice. I have about .75 of a meter and I am hoping that will be enough.

Barbara will be releasing one block on the last Wednesday of each month throughout this year and along with it she will be providing lots of interesting background information about the life and times of these women.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ready for Quilting

Looks so much better!
For some reason, I woke up really early again and I couldn't go back to sleep so I knew exactly what to do with my 'extra' time. I don't know why I keep waking up at 4 am but I guess it gave me the time to put the borders back on this quilt and now it is ready for quilting. :)

I did my best to fix this quilt top and I think I did pretty well with it. When I started working on this top it was not square at all, did not lay flat and it had a huge variation in measurements. There was no way that it could be quilted as it was.

This morning when I was working with the borders, I had great temptation to take them all apart and then put them back together so that the lines were straight and neat and tidy but I had to resist. I did have to make some size adjustments because the original borders were modified unsuccessfully by the maker many times to try to make it all fit. You know how it goes....a few extra sewing lines, a couple snips to get rid of the excess fabric...etc. ;)

My intention was to just fix the quilt top enough to make it usable and not remake it into 'my' quilt. I did my best to fix it while still keeping the integrity of the quilt top that I started with.

It still isn't perfect but it looks so much better!

Molly and Peanut took a couple minutes to inspect my work and gave it their seal of approval but Peanut wants to know why I took her picture with her ugly sweater on....grrr. ;)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Midget Block #94 - Contrary Husband

When I picked this block to work on I thought it would be easy peasy to piece using my sewing machine. Once I had a good look though, I realized it had inset seams and that it would be a lot easier to hand piece.

I had such a bad headache yesterday and no matter what I took or tried I couldn't make it go away so I was not very productive at all. I started this block early in the day by picking my fabric and drawing out the pieces and sewing lines. Honestly, I was so slow at putting it together and it was a bit frustrating to me. :(  I knew that it was not the block or the actual sewing that was my was my darn headache. Anyway, I did get two blocks pieced by last night and this morning I finished the other two and sewed them all together. My headache is gone and I am much more productive today!

I have to run errands today but I think I am going to do a bit of hand quilting on my Seven Sisters for a little bit first.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Midget Block #77 - Rising Sun

Good thing I am not a perfectionist - my best is good enough!
I hand pieced this block last week and it was a bit of an adventure! First off, I had trouble following the directions (it's me - not the directions) so I did it my way.

The only problem I had was that after I pressed a couple pieces I lost my 1/4" sewing line. I was puzzled and I thought I had forgotten to draw some of them but then I realized that when I had prepped the block, I used a Frixion pen to draw my stitching lines. I had started working on this block about a year ago and it has been sitting in a bin waiting for me to make it. So I had to wing it a bit because I really wasn't about to redraw the lines. I know...lazy...but I still put in my best effort!

The way I put the block together meant that I needed to attach the center portion using applique. Not really a problem except I lost my stitching lines when I pressed the first seam allowance. Oh, well...I think it looks charming and you can barely tell that my block is a bit wonky donkey! ;)

Today is Slow Sunday Stitching with link ups at Kathy's Quilts. I plan to do some more hand quilting on my Seven Sisters quilt this morning. I am not keeping up with it as much as I would like but I am making progress!  Won't you join us in some relaxing slow stitching today?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Nine Patch in a Square

two test blocks
Angela from soscrappy shared this block on her blog and as soon as I saw it I knew that I also wanted to make it for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. She provided a tutorial here.

Following the colour of the month, which is blue with optional accents of purple, I used a variety of 2" blue squares that I pulled from my precut bins. I also pulled 2" strips of blue from my strip bins and cut some of them into squares to add more variety.

The blocks that Angela shared were framed with black and white prints and I thought they looked fantastic. I dug through my stash and found a black/white and a white/black fabric that I liked together. I have less of the dot fabric but I think I will have enough for more than 50 blocks so I figure by the end of the year I should have at least 100 blocks for a fun quilt.

I made 15 blue nine patches and I have plenty more scrappy bits to make more if I need to. I didn't frame them all with the black and white prints because, at this point, I just don't know how many I will need.

Wow...doesn't that frame of black and white prints dress up those blocks!!!

After taking the photos and looking at the dot fabric closely I am wondering if it is navy blue and not black. Whatever it is I am going with it and maybe some day, many years from now, someone will be looking at my quilt and they will be saying.....oh....poor thing....she thought the blue was black. :)

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. You will find so many creative ways to use up those scraps!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Sister's 'Treasure Quilt'

I have been working on the quilt top that belongs to my sister. It is a quilt top that she purchased because she loved the look of the design as well as the fabrics used. She didn't realize that it had some major problems.

I took off all of the borders and all of the setting triangles and I have tried to fix the center without taking it apart. I gave it a press with water and then spray starch to try to get it to cooperate but I have had limited success. :(

There was some extra fabric that came in the bag with the quilt and it happily included a big hunk of the black and gold print. I was able to make two new setting triangles for the sides and I made adjustments to the corner triangles as well and then sewed it all back together. Still, not perfect and with a few small ripples it doesn't lay completely flat. I think the only way to remedy that is to take everything apart including the pieced blocks and I am not going there. I can say that it is much better than what I started with.

I have started cleaning up the border strips that I removed. It is very boring to sit there and remove the leftover bits of thread from the strips while I am pressing them but I guess it does need to be done.

pile of removed borders and setting triangles
I don't really want to take every single border apart and remake it even though it is very tempting to do. I am hoping that I will be able to use them as is or with just a bit of modification. I have to remind myself that I am just trying to fix the quilt enough so that it can be quilted and used. It is the work of another quilter and it is their love and joy that went into it originally. I want to respect that even though this quilt top needs some extra lovin' and a little bit of help. ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

More Birds in the Air Blocks

Look what I did...I made six more Birds in the Air blocks from purple and blue scraps. I had made nine previously as a participant in the Block Lotto but since then I decided that I would also participate in the Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler hosted by Sophie of Block Lotto.

Oh my goodness! Did you click on the link? I just realized that the BIA blocks for the sampler are colour reversed so I need to make 6 more replacements....too funny. I will have to make those later today. I will chalk that boo boo up to being very tired yesterday from waking up waaaaay too early.

Sophie designs/chooses great blocks for the Block Lotto so I am pretty sure the mystery quilt will be a goody. You can join too if you are looking for a sampler mystery to participate in.

Yesterday morning I woke up really early, 4 am early. :(  I needed to do a quiet activity so I thought I would visit blogs, comment, respond to comments made on my blog, etc. You know, get caught up on stuff I missed because I worked this weekend. Something must have changed between Monday night and Tuesday morning, because after I commented on several blogs I started needing to click on the 'prove you are not a robot' thingy. That went on for several comments and then, in addition to proving I wasn't a robot, another box would pop up where I had to choose specific items. If I didn't do it my comment would not be accepted. It got quite annoying and onerous to leave comments so I stopped. I don't know what that was about but I hope it doesn't happen again!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Midget Block #101 - Cat's Cradle

I made a Midget Block!! Wow...I haven't had a Tiny Tuesday posting since forever..look at me go!

It is quite a cute little block and the red print fabric I used is so cute. It was a gift from a blogging friend. :)

I am a little bit out of practice but I made it turn out okay even though I did need to press it into submission. I sewed it using my Singer 301a (love that machine!) and because the block pieces are so small I did have to be very careful to make sure my seam allowance was correct. Even then I still had difficulty. After looking at it I realized that somehow I did cut a couple of the red triangles a bit small but I made it work anyway. This block finishes at 4.5" and I have added it to the stash of blocks I have already made.

I think when I make the next one I will try to do a group picture of all of the Midget Blocks I have made so far. I have about 40 done and many more are still to come!

These blocks were provided by Sentimental Stitches for free and they can be found here. The last I checked blocks 51 to 196 were still available for free. Sadly, I missed out on getting the first 50. :(

Monday, January 18, 2016

More Rectangles

It doesn't look much different but it is bigger! :)
When I got up this morning, I asked myself what I wanted to work on. Sometimes, I have a plan and I know exactly what I want to do but this morning I was feeling a bit wishy washy. I sat down with my cup of tea and pondered the current projects I have underway and then I made a decision.

I thought I was finished with making the center portion of the rectangle quilt I have been working on but, after thinking about it this morning, I felt that it needed to be a bit bigger.  It's not like I have a shortage of scrappy rectangles. ;) So I dug into the bin and I made 16 more blocks. I think I am happier with this size for the center. It is now approx. 48" x 56" and I plan to add at least a 6" pieced border all around. I think that will be a better size for a cuddle or lap quilt.

I have already started stitching the pieced border so it won't be long before this quilt top is done.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Quilting My Latest Seven Sisters

When you are quilting an all-over design, like Baptist Fans, it's just not very exciting to show arc after arc. ;)  I mean, it is exciting to me because the hoop is moving and with that I am getting a little bit closer to having a beautiful quilt to enjoy or in this case to give to one of my sisters. On top of that, it is really hard to get a photo showing the stitches. Once I get to the light background areas I will be able to show that there are actual stitches in the quilt! ;)

I am quilting two rows at a time and I have now reached the mid point of my first pass across the quilt. If I can keep up with this pace, I should be able to make one quilting pass each week which would equal two rows per week. The quilt is 75" x 85" and each row of fans are approx. 5" so.....I should be finished in 8 weeks or so. But I don't live in a perfect world so I am hoping to have it done in 3 months. We will see if I can achieve that little goal!

This is the first time I am using Tuscany Cotton/Wool blend for the batting and it is lovely. Even though the quilt is large it is not heavy and that makes it a lot easier to move around and to quilt. So much easier on my shoulders! This batting can be quilted up to 4" apart and that is not a problem when doing an all-over quilting design.

I got up early this morning to do a bit of quilting before I go to work and now I have to put it away. When I come home this evening I plan to do a bit more. A perfect way to start and end my day!

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

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Twinkle Stars

As part of this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I am participating in the column quilt designed by Angela. If these first blocks are any indication I think the quilt is going to be gorgeous. Aren't these blocks just beautiful? Wouldn't they make a beautiful quilt just as they are? I really could see a whole quilt made from them.

The colour chosen for January is blue with accents of purple and that is what I used. I pulled blue strips as well as any blue strips that had touches of purple from my 3.5"scraps bins. I did the same for the 2" and 2.5" strips and I also raided my stash of precut squares as well. I chose to use the same background fabric for each block.

I spent time over several days working on these blocks. They were a bit of a challenge because my seam allowance was off and I got a little bogged down with trimming, etc., but I think the effort was worth it.

Angela has provided instructions to make these blocks here.

In making the blocks, I chose the option of double sewing my flip and sew corners and I ended up with bonus 2" half square triangles as my reward. Don't you just love it - scraps making scraps. ;)

Pop on over to check out the linky party at soscrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge - I bet you'll be glad you did!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Little Bit of Sewing

Today, I spent some time working on my rectangle charity quilt. I have been sewing the blocks into sets of two and then the pairs into groups of four. I have been using my Singer 301a that I just got back from servicing and it is working wonderfully. Gee I love that machine!

I was going to leave it at that but once I took the first picture I changed my mind and sewed the top together. It turned out just fine. It is quite small at the moment but once I add the borders it will be big enough for a child/youth.

I also dug through my stash to gather lots of different fabrics to provide enough variety to work on the 365 Challenge - The Ultimate Sampler quilt. I first decided to use green and brown and then I changed it to blue and brown and then.....I put it all away. What am I thinking!!!! I have so many quilts already that I want to make and that I can't seem to get done. I think I will just watch this one and I will enjoy seeing the quilts being made by others.

I didn't get any sewing done yesterday because we had my eldest son's birthday celebration at our house. His birthday isn't until the 21st but this was the only time slot he had available for the family celebration. There were five of us, Adam and his girlfriend Anna, my other son Eric and my husband and I and we had a good time. Before dinner we played a card game called Munchkins and after dinner we played Mascarade and then Carcassonne. My little family - I am so lucky!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's a Beautiful Thing!

Hard to see my quilting on the floral fabric.
Excited and so happy! I have started the hand quilting on my latest Seven Sisters quilt. It really has been such a long time since I have done any hand quilting and I got mixed up right from the start. I couldn't wait to start so I marked a few fans and then started quilting it from the bottom right corner. Um....that didn't work out too well so once I realized what was going on I marked the quilt from left to right and then dug in with my needle. Sometimes I do have serious brain cramps!!

Oh...I can see it much better on the back!
Not sure why but I had 3 needle breaks last night. I may be trying to load too many stitches on my needle and will have to refrain from doing that. At this rate of breakage I will need to buy a needle factory to keep me supplied. ;)

I was anticipating quilting this baby all day long yesterday and couldn't wait until I had time to get going. I had my Guild Executive meeting yesterday and I am the Secretary. We are now starting nominations for the Executive next year and I wasn't going to continue but I ended up volunteering for Display. A lot easier than being Secretary!

Next on the agenda was to go to the sewing machine hospital and pick up my Singer 301A. She wasn't sick but she needed some TLC and I am looking forward to giving her a good workout. I still have my Singer 99k in for a check up and I will be thrilled to sew with her when I get her back.

Next stop, the Dermatologist. Ladies....if you have something on your skin that doesn't heal make sure you get it looked at. I had a small lesion at the bridge of my nose, right between my eyes, that wouldn't heal. Just red and peeling and no matter what I tried it wouldn't heal. I had a referral to the specialist and she determined that it was indeed skin damage from the sun and it had a potential for squamous cell cancer. I did not have cancer but it was coming if I didn't have the lesion looked after. I had my last cryo treatment yesterday, I hope. I kinda look like a cyclops but nowhere near what I looked like when I used the Picato Gel.  Even I am a beautiful thing! ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Loaded and Basting

I now have everything loaded on the long arm and I am basting it with large stitches and I am just about ready to finish it up. I am trying to do it methodically but my method is madness so it is what it is.

I didn't really have any trouble at all keeping the zigzags aligned when I pieced the two sections of backing together. I was really surprised and happy. Not 100% perfect but good enough! I thought about adding a second line of stitching along the seam for extra reinforcement but in the end I decided to just go with one.

I should have this off the frame today and ready for marking. I had been toying with trying a different quilting design but I think I will stick with Baptist Fans for all of these quilts. It is a very traditional design for a very traditional quilt pattern.

Could I actually be hand quilting tonight???? I hope so but it is more realistic to think it will be tomorrow.

I baked bread this morning...yummm!
I have my Guild Executive meeting tomorrow morning and then a medical appointment so if I don't get all of the marking done tonight I should be able to finish it tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Donation Quilt

Lately, I have been wanting to sew every single day and I am very happy about that. Today, I needed to get my sewing in really early because I am working the 1-9 shift. I find when I have that shift I am too tired to do much of anything once I get home.

I decided to pick up and finish the blocks that I had started for a charity quilt that uses scrappy rectangles. When I last left off I had made all of the segments required and I just needed to build the block. I got 52 blocks finished this morning and they will be added to the 4 I had already completed.

The quilt will have a 7 x 8 setting which will make a 42"x 48" quilt center. Once I add the border this quilt should be large enough for a child/youth and will be suitable for a boy.

In yesterday's post I mentioned that we were having warm temps with rain and that our snow had pretty much melted away. I took this photo around 4:30 yesterday. I am so glad I didn't have to go anywhere yesterday...crazy weather indeed!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Seven Sisters

I am so close to getting this quilt in the hoop! I added the borders but once I did I decided that they were a little too wide so I trimmed them by an inch and I am much happier with the way they look. The top now measures 75" x 85".

I have washed and ironed the backing and I need to mark my sewing lines to join the two sections together to make it wide enough for the quilt top. I hope I don't have too much trouble keeping those fun zigzags aligned. If  I was machine sewing them I probably would try to glue them into place with a small amount of glue but I just don't think that would be easy to hand sew through. We will see how much fun those zigzags really are after I try to sew them together. ;)  I just may find myself with a backing that I 'planned' to be offset, or crooked or whatever it ends up - lol.
backing fabric

Ideally, I would like to load everything onto my long arm quilting frame today so I can baste it all together. We will see if it does happen today, if not, it will be done over the next few days. So least to me anyway. ;)

It is a very dark, dreary and rainy morning and a very mild 5* C (41* F). Almost all of the snow has been washed away - crazy weather!

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

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Flock of Birds in the Air

One of my goals this year is to participate in the Block Lotto on a regular basis as well as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Today, I have a double header! Happily, the colours chosen for this month's Lotto block coordinate with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for January.

This month's Block Lotto blocks are Birds in the Air and the blocks finish at 6". I got nine blocks made using scraps of blue and purple tone-on-tone and solid fabrics. Two blocks were made from purple scraps and the rest were made from blue and I found everything I needed in my strips bins. I love that!  I think they look beautiful and the winner (hopefully me) will be able to make a gorgeous quilt from all the blocks they receive.

I am linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Pop on over to find inspirational ways to use up your scraps!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Sister's Visit

A couple days after Christmas, my quilty sister Cheryl came to visit for a couple days. She brought a couple quilt tops with her and she planned to quilt them using my long arm. No problem, except my long arm is usually buried with stuff piled up on all the flat surfaces. So I moved everything off and placed it all on top of my sewing, cutting and ironing surfaces - and there it still sits. There really was no room to stack it up on the floor. ;)

It had been a while since my sister had visited and we had a really good time. We spent time being silly and laughing and just hanging out and we did a bit of shopping too.

beautiful texture
The first quilt we loaded on the frame was a larger bed sized quilt and we got down to the business of quilting. I was the teacher and the assistant and she did all most of the work. She chose to use the pantograph that was already on the machine from the last quilt I did. It is called Whipped Cream and it is a bit challenging especially for a beginner.

It was all fun and games until she started going backwards while following the pantograph - grrrr! While we were picking out the stitches Cheryl decided that we needed to have the ability to reverse stitch. Not just stitch backward when in reverse but to actually remove stitches while in reverse. Wouldn't that be handy to have?

The second quilt we loaded was a sweet little baby quilt that had a couple issues being a bit out of square but we managed just fine to get it done. She used a fun panto called Popcorn and it turned out great.
back showing beautiful texture

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Outreach Sewing

I was supposed to go to my Guild's Outreach Social Sew today but I stayed home instead. I have a sinus headache and sore throat and chills and I thought that being in a large room with lots of people and machines running would just be too noisy. I decided to work on my project at home instead and even though I missed out on the camaraderie I am glad I stayed home. Firstly, I won't be spreading any germs and secondly, I think I got way more sewing done than if I had attended the social sew. I very often spend more time with the social part than the sewing. ;)

Recently, I showed the first four blocks of this scrappy rectangle quilt. I had started it with the intention of using it for quilting practice and to give as a charity quilt.

There was no cutting required in the making of these block pieces, I just dumped out a bunch of 2" x 3.5" rectangles from my scrap bin and dug in.  I chain pieced one rectangle after another to make the subunits.

These block parts are ready to be joined into 6" finished blocks. If I counted correctly, I have the makings of 48 blocks plus the four that I had already made. I still need to make just a few more to allow for a 7 x 8 layout.

My sewing room is currently in a disaster state so I laid an old sheet on my dining room table and set everything up so I have room to work. I was much more productive than if I had tried to squeeze into my sewing room. I dug out my Bernina 910 and brought it downstairs to sew with because it really did need a good workout. I haven't sewn with this machine for a very long time because it is missing the sewing table that it came with originally. It is a free arm machine so the sewing surface is very narrow but I am making do just fine. Eventually, my husband will make me an extension table to fit but that is way down on the list of his priorities!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Seven Sisters

The alignment looks so much better!
After my post on Sunday about the sashing alignment issue I got out my seam ripper and took off the section that I had added. Really there is nothing worse than having to rip out hand stitches :(

That was enough trauma for Sunday so I put it away until Monday. I carefully pinned the section back onto the quilt and I got it all stitched together and I think the alignment is so much better. Don't you? I don't need perfection but I do need to do the best I can. Once I finished with that it was a very easy task to add the top and bottom sashing - no alignment necessary. :)

I am so anxious to get this quilt in the hoop so I think I will be spending this evening working on adding the floral border.

With all of the hand stitching I have been doing I don't know if my hands will cooperate with hand sewing all of the borders on in one go but I am going to give it my best shot.