Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pizza Box Challenge

Okay...I did it....thank goodness! I was really stumped with this box and I really had no idea what to do. I did some brainstorming with my sister Cheryl and the result is this 'ghost of clothing past' in my closet. You know the clothes I am talking about - the clothes we keep holding onto thinking we just might fit into them someday. ;)

These are all of the blocks in the pizza box including the one I just finished. I hope the next person to make a block for this box has an easier time of coming up with an idea than I did.

Making this block caused me to use something in my sewing room that I have not used in a few years. I uncovered it when I tidied my sewing room and this is the first opportunity that I have had to use it. I did a zig zag around the ghost and I think it turned out okay even without practice. The problem I had is that because I hadn't used the machine for so long I needed the manual to help me navigate and all I could find is the French version. I don't speak or read French but thankfully pictures work in any language!

Tomorrow is my Guild meeting and I have quite a bit of stuff prepared for the actual meeting but I need something to work on at the social sew that takes place beforehand. I think I will work on a Midget Block...gasp! I will do one that requires hand work so I need to get that together tonight and then I am off to bed.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Preparing for March Guild Meeting

Happy spring colours
Yesterday and today I have been preparing for my Guild meeting being held on March 1. At each meeting, members are offered a 5" square of fabric that we call 'Cotton Candy'.  At the beginning of the Guild year members can sign up to provide these fabric squares and I signed up for March. Boy....March meeting is coming really quickly! So I have cut squares of fabric, folded them and then pushed them through the sewing machine. I basted the edges together to help keep them neatly folded. I added a couple more fabrics after I took the photo of the fabric squares and I made sure to add a more traditional neutral just in case everyone wasn't feeling Spring!!
All ready for the members!
As well, at this month's Guild meeting several members are demonstrating favourite tools or rulers and I volunteered to go along for the ride. I am going to be demonstrating how useful the Tri-Recs rulers can be. It really is just a short demo and very informal. Guild members move from table to table around the room to see the different goodies being demonstrated.

Carol's Cuddle Quilt - 'A Warm Hug'
I want to show a quilt that I made quite some time ago but it has been given away so I printed out a photo of it to show as an example of how these triangle in a square blocks can be set together to make different patterns. I also plan to show my Celtic Solstice (of Bonnie Hunter fame) if I can pry it away from my son. :)
Celtic Solstice
So far, I have made one sample block but I don't think I will be making any more. I don't want to be starting a bunch of new quilts! ;) So, I have printed out photos from the internet showing other design ideas.

sample block
I have also grabbed strips from my bins in order to demonstrate how easy it is to get accurate cuts for the 'triangle in a square' blocks using standard size fabric strips.

I guess I am all ready for the March meeting except for my Pizza Box Challenge block and I am certainly struggling with it this month!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Last Batch

Rocky Mountain Chain, Bears Paw and Road to California
I did it! I even redid the first block that for some reason I had a brain cramp and made the wrong size. ;)

Independence Square
So, the next step is to figure out how I want to set these blocks. All twelve blocks stitched together won't make a very big quilt even with sashing added and I really do prefer to make larger quilts. I want my quilts to be used and not just looked at so it definitely needs to be bigger. I like the Way West setting that Barbara Brackman showed on her blog. Here is the link to the instructions. I have to think about it a bit though because there are also other options available.

All 12 blocks mashed together!
In any case, I will have to figure out which fabrics I have in large enough quantities that will work to finish this quilt. I may even purchase something new. I love a good reason to buy more fabric! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

More Blocks = More Fun!

Courthouse Rock, Sage Bud, Chimney Rock
I got three more Westering Women blocks done yesterday. They are called Courthouse Rock, Chimney Rock and Sage Bud.

My Chimney Rock block looks nothing like the block that Barbara Brackman showed on her blog. I used the alternate method to make this block to avoid those crazy seams and I got my dark and light triangles in different positions. It just goes to show that fabric selection and placement can give the same block a whole different look. I think it looks pretty good though!
My photo skills just don't do these blocks justice!
I am so happy with my progress with these blocks. It really does take me a very long to time to make each block. Trying to decide on fabric choices really is time consuming but a lot of fun.

I am so lucky to have so many repro scraps to choose from because I ordered a lot of reproduction scrap bags from here quite a while ago. I see now that they don't seem to offer the reproduction only scraps any longer - too bad. Because my repro collection of fabric is mostly scraps it can be a challenge to find just the right fabric in the right quantity. It is almost like a scavenger hunt and it is so rewarding to find just the right bits and to put them together. I want to use mainly cream/beige, brown, blue and red in these blocks and I am finding that I do have less options when it comes to the blue family, but so far so good!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Westering Women Blocks

Platte River, Hill and Hollow, Independence Square, Indiana Territory, Lone Elm and Sweet Gum Leaf
Over the past two days I have been digging into my repro scrap bins and I have actually been making some blocks. I already had the first two done - Independence Square and Indiana Territory and I added four more.

In the photo you can see that they are mostly large blocks just about 12.5 inches unfinished except for one lonely little block. That is the first block in the series and I 'accidentally' made it 9 inches. I know...how could that have happened??? When I took the photo I noticed something else about those blocks stuck up on my design wall. Block number 6 named 'Hill and Hollow' has a wee issue and I don't just mean that my pinwheel in the center is a bit off. I tried three times to fix the center and that is my limit! No, it's that darn patch in the upper right corner section. That is going to need a bit of surgery to fix!

No problem, out came my trusty seam ripper and after a bit of this and a bit of that and then re-ripping and resewing because I made the same mistake....voila!
Oh that is much better. Today I plan to carry on with my journey...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blue Cheese is Ready for Quilting!

Finally, a finished top!
I love quilts and I love to make quilts. As a matter of fact, I love just about everything about quilting but in particular I love finished quilts. There was a time, several years ago, that I would start a quilt and I would work on it until it was finished. I could and would work on one hand piecing/quilting and one machine piecing/quilting project simultaneously. I may have even started piecing a second quilt just as I was coming to the point of doing the actual quilting but I never, ever, had so many quilt projects underway sitting idle and taking up space and cluttering my mind as I now have.

It was like an assembly line, but a fun one and I enjoyed the process immensely! I would finish so many quilts and pass them on to their recipients and I felt really good about it. It worked perfectly for me. Over the past few years, I have taken on and started so many quilts that I have been feeling really bogged down and I don't like it. I don't like it one bit so I am going back to what worked best for me.

In January, I had hoped to finish three quilt tops -  I did get the Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt turned into a top but then I decided it needed a border - so not finished. I needed some time to think about how I wanted to proceed and I think I now have a plan. Blue Cheese did get some attention but was not completed and I didn't even touch Westering Women. So in the end I didn't get any of them to the finished quilt top stage in January but stuff happens in life and I will just keep moving forward with the plan.
ready and waiting for a border
The good news is that I have finished my Blue Cheese quilt and it is ready for quilting. February is not January but I am happy none-the-less! I am thinking of using blue for the backing but if I don't have any blue fabric that works for me then I just may use a beige/cream fabric.

I just want to see some finished quilts coming out of my sewing room!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Pizza Box Challenge

I am so glad that I am finally getting my energy back! I didn't bounce back from the flu as quickly as I had hoped but it seems that I am definitely on my way now.

Wednesday was my Guild meeting day but I just didn't have the energy to attend but I did manage to get my Pizza Box challenge block done. Thankfully, one of the Guild members delivered it to the meeting for me. The theme for this box was 'In My Garden' and I worked on my block off and on all day Monday and I had it finished for Tuesday morning. I am so happy that I was able to get it done and have it delivered because it really would have messed up the exchange for the other participants.

These are the blocks that were already in the box including the one I added. I used Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 and it has a permanent bond so I didn't need to stitch the applique down. Honestly, I just didn't have it in me anyway. I think that the recipient of this box of blocks can stitch it down later if they feel the need.

The rules are that we must use some of the focus fabric, which in this case is the flowery piece, and we must also use some of the background fabric. I followed everyone else's lead and used the background fabric as a frame for my block. I cut my flower blossoms from the pink sections of the focus fabric. I found the hummingbird on-line but I can't for the life of me remember where. It was in an image of a block and I printed it and cut the hummingbird out to use as a template - a big thank you to the creator. I am pretty happy with how it turned out!