Saturday, February 27, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

12 blocks
This week I worked on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge Column quilt that was designed by Angela of soscrappy. The block made this month is called Patience Corners and it was a very easy and simple block to make. It didn't take me too long at all to make the 12 blocks.

The colours for the February RSC are brown with an accent of pink and that worked out just perfect for me. I still have all of my pink with brown scraps left over from a Winding Ways quilt that I have under construction for my niece Kimberly. I don't think I have shown a photo of it since I've sewn all of the blocks together but it is just waiting to be quilted.

I didn't use up all of my brown scraps this month because I really do have quite a lot of them. I will be using more of them though over the next little while because once I was done cutting the pieces for these blocks from some of my 3.5" strips I just had to finish them up. I really didn't want to send those partial strips back to the scrap bin. :)  I cut the remainders of the strips into 2" x 3.5" rectangles for a scrappy charity quilt that I have in-progress.

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out all of the links to other participants working with their brown scraps this month.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Westering Women - Indian Territory

If you can believe it...this block took me just about all day to do. I just couldn't make up my mind which fabrics I wanted to use and I was such a slow mover all day - pretty much sloth-like. I tried a couple different fabrics and even cut and made components for the block before rejecting them. I don't have a large quantity of the background fabric and I want to use it throughout these blocks so I hope that I will be able to re-use the rejected pieces.

The good news for me is that I actually made the block the correct size this time and it will finish at 12". Last month I accidentally made the block at 9" and you can really see the difference when they are side-by-side. I am not sure if I will remake the first block or just add a small border around it. I will wait until I have all of the blocks made before I make a decision.

You can read all about the story behind this block at Civil War Quilts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yellow and Gray

I see a renegade in the bottom right corner...grrr!
I haven't been doing very much sewing at all over the past few days as I have been busy with other commitments. :(   I really miss spending quality time with my sewing machine and I am pretty sure she misses me too!  I do still need to work on and send out the minutes for the last Guild Executive meeting but I really hope to have them done and off my list of things to do later today.

The block is quite large at 12.75" then sub cut into 4.25" sections.
Lately, I have been doing most of my sewing in the dining room but my son needed the space as he was entertaining a group of friends so I had to clean up my sewing sprawl. It was probably a good thing because it was starting to spread into the living room as well. ;) Before I did my clean up I did get some more of the yellow and gray Disappearing Pinwheel blocks made. I'm just about half done with the blocks - I would have had one more but there was an issue with my ruler and my rotary cutter. It certainly couldn't have been my fault that one of  the sections sliced from the larger pinwheel block was cut at the wrong size. ;)

Looking at all of the blocks made so far, I see that this quilt will indeed be very subtle looking. I do have some darker grays that will be included and some of those fabrics will be used in the next batch of blocks.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks

I have been very busy playing with my brown scraps this week. Who knew that I had so many brown scraps - well - actually I did. In the past I have made a lot of 'boy' quilts and used brown very frequently. I haven't been doing that so much lately and that means I haven't been replenishing my stash of brown scraps on a regular basis and I found that I didn't have the best selection in my 2" strips and 2" squares. I did manage to get 10 of the nine patch in a square blocks completed without using any repeats within individual blocks.

I wasn't too sure how these blocks would look surrounded with the black/white prints but I am pleasantly surprised - they remind me of Liquorice All Sorts candy. :)

I also worked on making the rest of the pinwheel/hst blocks that I had planned for last week. I wanted a total of 12 blocks but had only managed to make four. That left 8 blocks still to make and I worked on these in stages over the past week. I had already gathered the scrappy bits I wanted to use and over a couple days I cut the pieces for the blocks. Thursday evening I started sewing them together and I challenged myself to see how long it would take for me to get all of the hsts sewn and pressed. I sometimes have a bit of trouble staying on task - there are just so many distractions. ;)

It took me about 1.5 hours but it was a fun little challenge for me. The only real problem I encountered was that I was a little over exuberant in my fabric selection and cutting and without paying attention I prepared enough for 10 blocks instead of the 8 I needed. I'll keep the extra parts together with the blocks because at this point I don't really know how many I will need. Even though I worked on Friday, I had hoped to finish up these blocks but I didn't get too much done before I ran out of steam. When I woke up this morning I stitched them up right away.

Eight more blocks finished
I see that I really should have used some pins when I sewed the blocks together. The centers are a little bit off - I hope the quilt police don't come knocking...they will certainly find many more infractions if they do a search! ;)

This block doesn't look difficult to make and it really isn't but I seem to get a bit bogged down with them. The biggest time consumer is finding the same scrappy strips in 2" and 3,5" so I took the suggestion from last week's comments to just cut whatever I needed from my larger scrappy pieces. I have plenty of chunks of fabric that are smaller than a fat quarter in my stash and using them would make things a lot easier and quicker too!

All of the brown blocks together. Tricky little devils....
I see that the block in upper right is oriented incorrectly!
Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links to see how other participants in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge used their scraps this week.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL-Block 5 & 6

I have two more Ugly Christmas Sweater blocks finished and ready to add to my little collection of sweaters. These blocks are called Churn Dash and Grecian Square and they were both released this week. The schedule is not too onerous at the rate of two blocks per week and I think I am getting quicker at making them as well - except for the time it takes to decide which fabrics to use. ;)

Sweater collection!
My plan is to make the 20 block version which finishes at 53" x 66". I like bigger quilts so once I get all of the blocks together I may add borders of some sort to make it bigger.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Midget Block #103 - String

Oh my goodness - this one is such a cutie and one that I particularly love - a teeny tiny string block! All of the fabric came from my string bins and that made me very happy as well. One of my goals this year is to make lots of string blocks to use up all of those bits but I really haven't had much of an opportunity to do it. Well, I finally made one but at this size it is going to take a few lifetimes to clear up all of those strings I have in my bins. ;)

This midget block was paper-pieced and it turned out just about perfect and it really did not take much time to make at all.

I have been keeping up with making these blocks on a regular basis since the beginning of the year and I am very happy with my progress. At one point, I had been making my Dear Jane blocks as well and I had planned to continue to work on them at the same time but that was making both forever projects go on forever. ;) I think focusing on one series of blocks at a time is the right thing for me and I feel so much happier about it - my collection is growing. :)

Today I have my Guild's all day social sew and potluck. I have my coleslaw made and ready to go and I will take my Seven Sisters with me to do some hand quilting. I find that I get more done when I take hand work with me. I don't know why but whenever I take my sewing machine I get absolutely nothing done!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Definite Treasure!

fresh off the frame
This was a quilt top that my sister Glenda fell in love with and purchased at the spur of the moment. We did not take the time to examine it - the thought that there could be problems with it just did not enter our thoughts at all. That was a mistake - I guess we should never assume that all quilts are carefully pieced and well made.

I had taken the top home with me to quilt for my sister and it got lost and forgotten about in my sewing room. I rediscovered it and when I went to quilt it I found all of the issues that plagued this quilt top. You can read about it and process of me fixing it without making it 'my quilt' here and here and here.

The top is now a quilt - not quite finished - but it is quilted and trimmed. I will make the binding for my sister and I will tuck in all of the thread tails left from quilting it. I will then return it to her so she can finish it. 
back showing texture

I quilted it using a pantograph called Blossoms and gold thread. It finished at 72" x 92" and I love the texture of the quilting. I really do think it has turned out to be quite the treasure!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Midget Block #89 - Cowboy's Star

Today is Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts and I have a cute little block made for 'show and tell'. :)

This little block is called Cowboy's Star and it was hand pieced and it is ready to be added to my collection of Midget Blocks. I really enjoy working on these little blocks even though they can sometimes be a bit fiddly!

I have to work again today but only from 11:30 to 5 so I will have time and energy to work on some slow stitching later this evening. I have been really neglecting the hand quilting of my latest Seven Sisters quilt so I plan to pick that up and put some quilting stitches into it tonight while I watch television.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you on this very, very cold and snow squeaking morning. My husband just stepped outside to get the newspaper and the snow started talking back to him with each step. :)  I hope you all get to spend some time cuddling up under a quilt with a special loved one today!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks

I love this block design! I love how the four blocks come to together and make that wonderful secondary pattern. I got these blocks made last night and then I ran out of time and had to get ready for bed. I had planned on getting 12 blocks made and I gathered up enough scrap fabric to make them but I always underestimate the time it takes to go through my strip bins. Going through my 2" and my 3.5" strip bins to find the same brown fabrics really is work! It might be easier if I just went really scrappy and used different focus fabrics throughout each block. I will have to think about that....

It was so cold when I got up this morning to let the dogs out. The thermostat was at -25C which is the equivalent of -13F. We have a wind chill of -40C which just happens to be -40F as well or just call it what it is...brutally cold! I layered a sweater and a coat onto each dog before I let them out. They didn't really like it when it was happening but I think once they got outside they didn't mind those extra layers too much. ;)

I am off to work this morning and boy oh boy I am so happy that I park my car in the garage and not in the driveway. The problem will be when I leave work because my car will be in the open all day. I wonder if I can convince my husband to drive me to and from work - you know door-to-door service would be fabulous today.

With the cold weather I think it is a perfect day to stay inside to play with scraps - I wish everyone a happy scrappy and warm and toasty Saturday. Pop on over to soscrappy's to check out the links to other quilters that have been using up their scraps.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL-Block 3 & 4

Whew....I got my chores done 'enough' to be able to do some sewing this morning. It's amazing what a difference it makes with just vacuuming and clearing off a few surfaces. :)

This morning I worked on blocks 3 and 4 - Shoo Fly and Eccentric Star. There are two sweater designs to choose from and I am following Lorna's lead when it comes to which sweater design to use for each block.

You can see in the group photo that the first two blocks used sweater design 1 and 2 but these two new blocks were made using design 1 only.

So far so good...I think they are looking pretty cute!

I am working tomorrow from 9 -6, so tonight I want to work on some Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. Before I start though, I will make a simple dinner of potato and fennel soup with chicken and some cheese biscuits. Nice and easy and it is something that can sit in the pot and wait until we are ready to eat dinner.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A New Quilt :)

disappearing pinwheel block
I am so excited about making this quilt and if it turns out as pretty as I hope then I will be very happy!
first two blocks

I saw a video tutorial on youtube from Missouri Star Quilt Co. and they showed a beautiful quilt using the disappearing pinwheel block. I just had to make one and it just so happened that I also wanted to make a new quilt for display at work. What could be better than combining the two!

background, binding, small
 pinwheels and backing
I have my fabrics all chosen and have started the cutting process. Oh my gosh...I just love these prints! That is a white fabric that I am using for my background although it does look gray in the photo.

I started by cutting the fabrics I had chosen to use in the blocks into 10" squares and then I began the sewing process. I did get two blocks finished and I think they look so pretty. They are 11.75" unfinished which seems like such a weird size but it doesn't matter one bit because all of the larger blocks in my quilt will be that size and they will all fit together.

I have other blocks in progress and I can't wait to see how all of the prints I have chosen look in the finished blocks.

I have to stop sewing for awhile because chores are calling. I have been very busy the past few days with other activities and work so my sewing and my chores have been sorely neglected. I really want to sew but I have to do those chores. :(  I fear if someone comes to my door I certainly won't let them in!!!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Quilty Sister Visit

back of quilt
Just look at this fun little quilt my sister Cheryl made for a little baby that lives next door to her. The main reason for her visit was to quilt this little number on my long arm and it turned out so cute. I can't be certain, but if I remember correctly, it was around 42" x 50" and it was quilted with a panto called Popcorn and we used a pale lemon yellow thread.

Cheryl stayed for a few days and while she was here we also did some stash enhancement. We got it all washed and dried and Cheryl got it all ironed as well. It sure reminded me of the good old days, before she started quilting, when she would iron all of my fabric for me. I miss those days! ;)

On Sunday, we loaded my sister Glenda's 'treasure quilt' on the long arm. I was so impressed with myself because I was able to load it onto the long arm without too much difficulty at all. I certainly would never have been able to accomplish that if I hadn't done all of the work on it to fix it. I chose to use a gold thread and a panto called Blossoms.  I got the first row done and it looked great so I went on with the second row. I got through most of the second row and when I ran out of bobbin thread I changed the bobbin as I normally would. I started quilting again but I was feeling some resistance as I was moving the machine - not good!

The stitching on the top looked perfect but when my sister looked under the quilt it was a terrible snarled birds nest. I should have taken a picture but I was too horrified at that moment to even think of it. We undid all of the stitching and then I thought I would change the bobbin because maybe there was something fluky wrong with the bobbin. I started up again and it looked great on the top but when my sister looked underneath it was a terrible mess again. :(

I didn't know what to do....everything looked fine and normal except the birds nest on the back. I couldn't see anything that was obviously wrong with the machine and nothing had changed except the bobbin. I use a TOWA gauge to set my bobbin tension and the tension reading was just fine. I was very puzzled and not happy so I just turned everything off and left it.

Yesterday morning, I tried to find reasons for the issue I was having. I figured the problem had to be with the bobbin so I looked on the APQS website and I realized that there may be lint stuck in the bobbin case itself under the tension thumb. I followed the instructions they gave to use a business card to slide under it and voila a fair sized piece of lint came out. I put the bobbin back in the bobbin case and I used the TOWA gauge to test the tension and it was way too loose. I tightened up the tension on the bobbin case and put it back in the machine and did a test run and it was perfect. That little bit of lint caused such a huge problem with the bobbin tension.

I think the instructions provided by APQS for bobbin maintenance would apply to any sewing machine bobbin case. If you ever have the problem with birds nests on the back of your quilt I would certainly check your bobbin case to see if lint is the culprit!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL-Block 2

I had planned to make this block yesterday but as often happens I got a bit sidetracked. I was able to put it together this morning and again I really need to pay attention to the instructions. I had just one minor issue and it was no problem to correct. When I was making the checkerboard portion, I cut all of the sections at 1.5" instead of cutting a couple at 2.5" for the sleeves. No problem really because I do have extra fabric and I am going a bit scrappy so I may not need this fabric again. We will see!
Block 2

Block 1 and 2
I took a photo of my sweater collection so far and I think I am absolutely on track for a scrappy and hopefully cute Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt! The green fabric in the Friendship Star looks very dark and more black than green in the photos.

I have to work today from 1 - 9 so that's it for my sewing today. :(

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL-Block 1

I am participating in Sew Fresh Quilts Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL. I think it will be fun to play along and I will have a cute ugly Christmas sweater quilt in the end. I don't have a Christmas quilt that I have made myself so I think it is about time to remedy that. I am lucky enough to have a couple Christmas quilts that my late SIL made and we normally put them out for display each year and it would be nice to display one of my own as well.

I had my Guild meeting yesterday and when I got home I made dinner, etc., and then I started working on the block a bit later in the evening. Once I got going it really didn't take too long - I think the most time is spent deciding which fabric to use and getting it ready for cutting. This block wasn't too difficult to put together if you actually read the instructions and pay attention to the strip sizes. ;)

For my background I had planned on using a white fabric that had red snowflakes scattered on it but at the last minute I changed it to this green on white print. It is more of an all-over print and I think I like it better.

I swear I must live under a rock because until recently I had never heard of Sew Fresh Quilts and when I did visit Lorna's blog I saw so many cute quilts. She has held quilt-alongs in the past and the instructions are still available....I particularly love the Elephant Parade....adorable. It is definitely on my list to make!!

Anyway, I see that she has released the second block this morning so any guesses as to what I am working on today?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Midget Block #102 - Indian Hatchet

Final version.
Okay...this block was such a huge struggle for me. I actually made it twice...the first try I gave up as I was adding the final row. I tried paper piecing the first version but I couldn't get anything to align. I loved the colours and fabrics that I originally chose but I was working from scraps and I just didn't have enough left for the second try. (:

My second attempt wasn't much better than my first and it is a bit bigger than it should be but I am keeping it...for now. I racked my brain trying to think of a way to make the little blocks that make up the whole. I thought if I made them in a strip and cut them on an angle that it should work. After I got it all together I realized that I had cut one strip of the brown fabric the wrong width and nothing would align to it. C'est la vie!

In older quilts you can sometimes see where the quilt maker had difficulty with piecing or appliqueing a block and they just did their best and moved on. Certainly a lesson for me to allow myself to do my best and not worry too much about perfection. I was so confident that I could make it much better on my second try but this block has certainly humbled me! :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snails Trails

The February block for Block Lotto is Snails Trails. I had received a sneak peak so I made some blocks a couple days ago, took a photo, and submitted it for the Block Lotto virtual sampler. I had never made this block before and I found it to be a bit of a challenge. In order to get it sized correctly, I needed to make the surrounding triangles a bit bigger than the measurements required and then cut them down. I don't know why I had difficulties because I did have the correct seam allowance but all is well that ends well. I think they turned out pretty good in the end. Sophie has provided instructions that include paper piecing as an option.

The colour and fabric requirement this month are brown snails and a pastel or low volume background. Pop on over to Block Lotto and check it out. The pattern is free for the first 10 days of the month. Anyone can join in and you just never know - you might win enough blocks to make a quilt.

I really wanted to be a winner of last month's Bird in the Air blocks but I wasn't so lucky. :(