Friday, March 31, 2017

Taaa Daaa!

Westering Women
My Westering Women quilt top is finished! The photo does not really show a true representation of the top though. It is a dreary, rainy day so the natural light is pretty much nil and there are a lot of shadows showing on the top from the overhead lights - including mine. :) I used the flash and it just seems to change the colours of the fabrics as well. Hopefully, when the quilt is finished I will be able to take some better photos. Some good news though is that I was able to make this quilt top a more useful size for me. It is currently 80" x 91" - I know that it will shrink a bit after quilting but I think still a good size.

Yesterday, when I was working on adding the blue border I wasn't feeling very confident about my choice. I took photos of different options and sent them to my sister Cheryl. We talked on the phone and she totally reassured me that the blue I had originally chosen would look just fine. She was right!

I needed to cut the blue coping border to size in order to make the hst border fit and I had another delay. I really need some coping skills. ;)  I actually did just fine on the first try but it took me quite a bit of time to gain the confidence to cut the strips and sew them on. I had calculated the sizes the day before and I was good until I rechecked my measurements yesterday. For some reason, unknown to me, I was coming up with different numbers. I guess we can call it brain fog because I decided to go with the original calculations and everything fit perfectly.

After all that second guessing and putzing around I ran out of time to finish adding the rest of the borders simple as they are. I did get the strips cut before I went to bed though and this morning I sewed them on.

I am totally amazed at how these 12 individual blocks suddenly turned into this beautiful quilt top. Of course, it took a little time and lots of fabric and some effort but it sure was worth it!

I have totally enjoyed the process of turning those simple 12 blocks into a top and I can't wait to do the quilting and turn it into a quilt that will be enjoyed!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

More Progress

Still too small - only 52 x 68
Oh my....I am getting quite excited about my progress with the Westering Women quilt top. Oops... you can see in the photo that it needs a really good pressing . :)

I spent some very productive time in my sewing room yesterday stitching the sashing to the blocks and then working on my border. At first, I was thinking of doing flying geese but I decided to go with the hsts instead. I have them all made and sewn together into four strips but I need to make a coping border before I can attach them.  My thought was to use the blue that I showed the other day but I haven't done any testing with it yet so I don't know if it will work or not. I hope it does because at this point I don't have a plan b.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sashing Westering Women

Yesterday was a fairly productive day in my sewing room. I managed to get my Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt ready for hand stitching the binding and I worked on my Westering Women quilt as well.

I took a photo of some of the blocks on the design wall with the sashing laid out around them. I think it is going to work just fine. When I design a quilt layout I am never really sure how it is going to look when my ideas are actually put into action. Happily, so far so good!

This is a very simple sashing treatment that will help to get my quilt blocks turned into a quilt with a finished size that will work better for me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Off the Frame....

and loving it! It took me a little longer to finish the quilting last night because I had more quilting to do than I thought. According to my calculations I should have had only 6 more rows to go when I posted my progress to the blog but in reality I had 7 rows plus a partial row to do before the quilting was finished. It is all done now and I couldn't be happier. I waited until this morning to trim it because I just don't want to be in charge of a rotary cutter when I am tired. ;)

beautiful back texture
When I finished piecing this quilt I had turned all of the scrappy bits into strips and pieces for my parts bin. So, when I was thinking about binding options this morning I started digging through the 2.5" strip bins to make a scrappy binding but I found a strip of one particular fabric that I thought I would really like as the binding. I checked my stash cupboard and I had a piece that turned out to be just big enough to do the job. Isn't it wonderful when things work out!

The binding is attached and so is the label and since it is starting to get a bit late in the day I plan on stitching the binding to the back of the quilt while I spend some time in front of the TV.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hankering for a Finish...

I have been putting in a lot of time over the past few months to get some quilts to the finish line. I have got my Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt and my Blue Cheese quilt tops to the ready-for-quilting stage and a couple others almost to the flimsy stage. After all that work I am feeling the need to see at least one completely finished!

I decided that my Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt would be the one. I already had the backing chosen so I just needed to choose a thread colour. As you can see, I chose a pretty green that I think works with the front as well as the back. I love the backing fabric - it is actually leaves but if you use your imagination you can turn those leaves into Christmas lights. :0

The quilt was loaded onto the frame earlier today but I only just got to quilting it this afternoon. I have two rows done and I just need to do about six more....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Finally Have a Plan!

Westering Women has been on my mind since I completed the blocks and I think I finally have 'the plan' to help it on its way to completion. The biggest problem for me is that with just 12 - 12" blocks it doesn't really make a quilt of usable size. I like to make quilts that are at least big enough to snuggle on the couch with.

I have gone through several design ideas and trying to figure out how to execute them as well as making sure I have enough fabric to do so can be a real challenge so some designs have been rejected.

If my plan works I will be sashing the blocks and bordering the quilt with these 3 fabrics. It is not a very complicated design and I hope I can make it all come together into a cohesive and, hopefully, attractive quilt!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Off the Frame

Weird photo angle but it is the best I can do with the space I have!
No, not one of mine but one for Joy and I think she is going to be very happy with her quilt. I am trying to remember the name of the pattern or design but I can't quite remember what she told me. I do recall that it has something to do with garden.

With the word 'garden' in the name and the florals in the fabric, Joy chose a very pretty panto called Hollyhocks for her quilting design and a pale green thread.  I finished quilting it yesterday and just this morning trimmed it and tucked in the threads. I love a quilt made from simple blocks and with this quilting design it just looks wonderful!

beautiful texture
Joy used a wide backing from Northcott's Stonehenge collection and I think she is going to use it for the binding as well. So pretty!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ready for Borders

I still need to trim the setting triangles along the outer edges.
I finished putting all of the blocks together the other night and I love it! Since then, the top had been languishing pinned to my design wall while I try to figure out the borders. It's not like the borders are going to be complicated so I don't know what my problem is. Really they are just narrow strips of the plain solid greens and gold plus this gorgeous flower print that will be a wider outer border.

I guess I am having trouble deciding if I want to include both greens or not or exclude the gold or not...I just don't know. I can't seem to make a decision on whether I like the sequence of colours when I try them combined together. Something is bothering me about them so here I am pondering away and trying to make a decision!

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Pretty in Progress

Not much time has been spent in my sewing room over the last week but today appears to be the exception.

The last time I worked on the blocks for this quilt I thought that I had made enough but I really must be the Queen of Miscounts! I needed 10 more of the star blocks so I worked on making those today and then I started sewing the blocks into rows. I think this quilt is going to be so pretty!

I really should be doing something else at the moment but the pull of sewing this quilt top together is just too great. I think I will just hideaway in my sewing room and work on this for the rest of the day instead.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Another One to Work On

design plan - not necessarily same fabrics as shown
Now that I have my Blue Cheese and Ugly Christmas Sweater quilt tops put together and ready for quilting, I have picked up another in-progress quilt to work on while I think about the layout for my Westering Women quilt.

I thought that I had blogged about this quilt before but maybe not. I don't have a name for this quilt yet but I keep thinking something like Starflower (which I am leaning to) or Sunflower or something to that nature. I designed and started working on this quilt last September. I had cut out most of the pieces in anticipation of working on it while I was away on quilt retreat at Killbear Provincial Park.

Since the retreat, I have worked on making the blocks off and on but mostly off since then. ;)  I did take it to my Guild's social sew day in February and all I got done was this messy pile.

Considering the social sew was a full day that is not a lot of progress. I am always too busy socializing instead of sewing! With that pile all tidied up I can see that they are unfinished 'triangle in a square blocks'.

56 shoofly blocks ready and waiting

For the past couple days I have been making the shoofly blocks and now I need to turn my attention to the star blocks. I think I have eight made already and I don't think it will take me too long to finish the rest. After that, this quilt should come together fairly quickly because it has a very simple layout with plain borders. Nothing fancy or complicated here!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Customer Quilts

Now that my long arm is repaired I am so happy with it! Even though I am still a bit nervous and have some residual trust issues the machine has been performing very well - thank goodness!!

I got my machine back in January while I was in the throes of the dealing with the flu so I wasn't able to test it right away. As soon as I was feeling well enough I did tuck into it and so far so good.

I was working on Rosalie's quilt when I noticed the issues on the back and I ended up ripping out all of the quilting I had put in. Her quilt was quite large - 92" x 92" - and I had got it about one-third quilted. I was very unhappy and panicked about what I was going to do. But, in the end, all is well that ends well!

I finished Rosalie's quilt a few weeks ago with the help of my sister Cheryl. Thank goodness she helped me because after ripping out the original stitches I was quite anxious about the result the second time around! Cheryl was like a jack-in-a-box popping up and down from underneath the quilt while I was quilting. She was constantly checking to make sure the stitching was just as nice underneath as it was on top. Gotta love sisters!!!

Rosalie used a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Carolina Christmas but she put her own twist on the design and I think it turned out beautiful. I quilted it using the panto 'Deb's Swirls' and a med/lt green thread. Rosalie is very happy with her quilt - she did a great job and it looks fantastic!!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ready for Quilting :)

After trying out a few different options, I made my decision and got right into finishing the borders for this quilt top. It really didn't take me too long to make and finish the piano key border because with all of my testing I had most of it done prior to making my final decision. I am so happy that I decided on the inner border with alternating background and scrappy squares. I think they are the perfect transition from the quilt top to the outer border and I love the end result.

first border
My original goal was to have this quilt top finished and ready for quilting by the end of January. I did get the top done according to the Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL hosted by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts and I could have left it at that and called it 'quilt top finished and goal achieved' but this quilt wanted more. I needed time to think about what I, or should I say, the quilt wanted for borders. I am so glad that I didn't just rush to get it done and instead took the time to figure out what I wanted to do. Thank you to Lorna for hosting such a fun QAL.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Border Options

Well, January and February have come and gone and I am still trying to figure out a border idea for this quilt. I don't know if I am quite there yet though. I was thinking of doing Christmas ball ornaments all around the edge but after making four blocks I realize that I just won't have enough background fabric to make enough to go around the quilt. Besides I don't think that is the right one anyway. Another option I have been thinking about is using small trees around the border or a combination of ornament blocks and tree blocks but I don't think that is the one either.

I made some piano key border pieces but again I am not too sure about those either. I think it needs a transition from the 'airier' looking quilt center to the very dark and heavy looking border. Next I tried using squares of focus fabric alternating with squares of background fabric then adding the piano keys as an outer border and that may end up being the one. I am going to have to make a decision soon or I am going to use up all my fabrics on testing instead of actually making the border!!!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Midget Block #97 - Western Rose

I prepped this block to work on while at my Guild social sew yesterday and I actually made some progress. Normally, if I do take something to work on it just sits while I chatter away. I love spending time with my people chatting about life and quilts and other very important topics. :0

While there I managed to applique these little pieces onto the background square even with all of my socializing. :) Last evening I finished it up and I think it turned pretty cute even with my beginner applique skills. They certainly have not improved much over time because as we know practice makes improvement and I have not been practicing!

I used a Frixion pen to mark my design and after pressing it has disappeared although a small black mark was left on one of the petals of the flower because my iron has a burned on build-up on it. If anyone knows an easy and effective way to clean the face of an iron I would appreciate some help with that. I am sure the mark will wash off but I prefer to just not have it there to begin with.

I haven't worked on these blocks since forever and I really did enjoy it. Why did I stop?