Thursday, February 28, 2019

Star Blocks Finished? - Check

Whew - I have finally finished up all of the star blocks for the border of my Blind Man's Fancy quilt. It took a bit of time and effort to complete all 52 blocks and I am happy to move forward from here.

In preparation for the border of stars I have already stitched all of the brown outer triangles to the quilt top and joined all of the rows together. I find that sewing the rows together on the diagonal to be a bit tedious but it must be done. :)

I think the top looks pretty darn good even though it still needs trimming. At 72" square, before trimming, it is already fairly large. The star border alone will add another 12" so this is going to be quite a big quilt by the time it is finished.

I think the next thing I will do is sew the star blocks into 4 columns/rows and then measure them. That will help me to determine what size I need the quilt top to be so that the stars will fit properly around it.

This quilt is coming together really quickly - I can't wait to see it finished. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Really Scrappy Quilt

Way back in February of 2018 I posted this block that I was making while participating in Block Lotto.

I think I only got the one block done before I took my hiatus from blogging.

photo from March 2018
I did continue working on them and I took this in-progress photo back in March last year. I carried on making them and ended up with 30 of these fun blocks and then they patiently sat waiting for some love.

These blocks were uncovered when I was digging around looking for blue 4 patches. Honestly, digging around in my sewing room is like digging around for buried treasure. :)

I put some of them up on my design wall to have a look and then I couldn't resist playing around with them a bit. I think it is time they get turned into a quilt. :)

Monday, February 25, 2019

That Burning Smell :(

I really like this little iron that my sister Glenda gave to me. She found it at a second hand store and picked it up for a couple dollars. It is a nice little travel iron that has dual voltage - not that I need that. :(

It came in its own little travel case and it still has the original receipt with it. It was purchased from Canadian Tire on February 22, 1986  for $ 21.95.  That makes it 33 years old and it still looks really good.

I have been using this iron as my pressing iron when I am piecing and it has worked great. It is just the perfect size and weight and has a flat sole plate which is really perfect for pressing small pieces like hsts. The other day while I was working away I started smelling something burning. It was a strong plastic burning odour so I thought I had better stop using it and see about getting it repaired.

Luckily for me, the repair shop is very close by because my husband is an electrical engineer and he knows just what to do. :)

When he took it apart he saw that there was a wire loose and it had caused it to overheat and it 'messed things up' of course those are my technical  terms. :)  He had to get some parts from his parts bins to fix it - lol.  Doesn't everyone with a serious hobby or skill have parts bins? As scrap quilters we all know about parts bins don't we. ;)

Anyway, he did his magic and - voila - I had a fixed iron and I am a happy girl!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2019

I really hadn't planned on making any more blocks for the RSC this year other than the broken dishes and the zig zag blocks but I guess I have changed my mind.

I had been digging around my UFO and scrap bins looking for some blue 4 patches when I uncovered a box of ongoing Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. I had started these blocks in 2016 and only got as far as making blue and brown and then last year I added purple.

Once I had the yellow blocks done I figured I should just go ahead and make the red ones too - you know - just in case I fall of the RSC wagon again. Hopefully I will stick with it and get something finished.  ;)  It has been quite a while since I have finished a RSC quilt but when I do I love the results.

Pop on over to soscrappy's and check out the links to see some great ideas to use up your scraps!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Those Star Blocks!!!

There should be more than enough here!
When I made the first four star blocks for the border of the Blind Man's Fancy quilt I could not believe how long it took - way too much time. I made a couple more and then decided that there has to be a better way.  Life is short and I have a lot of quilts to make before I go so I need to be quicker!!

I had been sewing the blocks one at a time and that was just not working - it was way too time consuming and tedious frankly. So, I went on a sewing blitz and made literally hundreds of 2" hsts - chain pieced one after the other - and now I think I have plenty ready to go.

After I made all of these hsts I made a couple more blocks but they were still being sewn block-by-block and it was STILL taking a long time.

As I made my hsts I pressed all of the seams toward the darker fabric and when I sew them together into the flying geese units for the star points one seam has to flip for the seams to butt together. That means I needed to press every single flipped seam individually as I added the segment to the block....grrr.  I finally came up with the plan to chain piece the star points randomly into pairs and that has allowed me to quickly press the flipped seam.

My Blue Cheese quilt from pattern named Better than Cheddar
I already have all of my blue center 4 patches made and ready to go so now I can just dig in and get it done.

As I was making the 4 patches I remembered that I had made a lot of blue 4 patches for my Blue Cheese quilt and I thought I might have some leftover so I went digging around and I found these.

I count this as a score!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Blind Man's Fancy - Outer Triangles

This is what it looks like all laid out - I like it!
I have all of the BMF blocks sewn into rows and now I can start the next step. I've been working on getting the brown triangles ready to add to the quilt top and in preparation I starched the fabric before pressing and ultimately cutting. I wanted to eliminate the possibility of stretching  the fabric as much as I could.
corner triangles from 14" square

edge triangles from two 26" squares
I decided to cut my triangles larger than is required so I settled on cutting two 26" squares (cut into 4 triangles) and two 14" squares (each cut in half). This should give me plenty of excess along the outer edges so that I can trim them to the size I will ultimately need.

After I did the cutting I found the edges were still a bit too stretchy for me so I went ahead and starched them again. I was very careful to just lift the iron up and down - not push it around. I didn't want to add any stretch at all to the fabric. :)

Can you see my oopsie?
When I last posted about these blocks I showed a photo of the finished blocks. When I was shutting my computer down for the night I spent a few minutes admiring the photo of my blocks and I noticed something. Oh...oh....what the heck!  I had even made sure that I had all of the flying geese pointing in the right direction and I still missed it. :(

 It was a quick fix because, thankfully, I hadn't stitched any of my blocks together. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

So, So Excited!

I finished the quilting on my split nine patch quilt this morning and I am thrilled and amazed. I am so happy with the way my quilting turned out and I am totally amazed that I was able to actually do it. I mean....I actually did it. :)  I guess I can do this thing called custom quilting. Of course, if you spend any time examining it you would certainly see lots of oopsies but I am good. I know that with practice I will get better with my precision.
quilting design I created
This is the design I came up with and I was able to reproduce it on the quilt fairly well. In the photos of my quilt you can't really see the quilting lines very well on parts of the straight line quilting. I am not 100% sure why but maybe it has to do with quilting with or against the grain of the fabric.

I wanted to work on it yesterday but I didn't get to it until much later in the day and I was only able to do a row or two.  I was a bit too tired so I was having trouble focusing and kept making lots of little mistakes so I left it until this morning.
back of quilt
I was up really early this morning to get on my treadmill and I just had to visit and admire my quilt while I was down in the basement. I couldn't wait to get back to the quilting so after I took care of my Mom I practically ran downstairs to finish it up.

Oh happy days!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

On the Frame

I finally loaded my split nine patch flimsy onto the frame yesterday and I got right into quilting it. My goal with this quilt is to practice control of the machine and I do feel a difference at this point compared to when I started on the quilt.

I am trying to be careful and pay attention to what I am working on instead of thinking about the last mistake or worrying about the next one but it is hard. I also seem to be playing a game of  'ditch, ditch, where is the ditch' and even though I am trying I am missing it fairly frequently. I guess that will be something that I will get better at with practice.
very happy with this block :)
I think I did pretty good with the quilting on this block but honestly as soon as I do a really good one the next one is often a mess. That is because I am so busy congratulating myself instead of focusing on what I am doing. ;)

I know that I will never be a quilting goddess and that is not my intention. My goal is to be able to confidently place whatever quilting design I choose onto a quilt and make it look somewhat decent. I am a human not a machine - nor a goddess - so there will never be a time when there are not any mistakes and I am definitely okay with that. :)

I got about half way through the quilting but I really needed to take a break. My shoulders were really hurting so I know I need to work on my posture as well. I hope to get back to it today or tomorrow and maybe even completely finish the quilting in one more session.

I can't wait to see how my quilt looks once it is off the frame!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Clean Up in the Sewing Aisle

My sewing room was such a mess with literally hundreds of 2.5" hsts piled up on pretty much every surface. I was pulling the pre-made hsts from my bins for my Blind Man's Fancy blocks and of course I was digging through them and making a mess everywhere. I was also still making more hsts as leaders/enders while I was stitching the blocks so I honestly think I added more than I used up. ;)

Now that I am finished making the Blind Man's Fancy blocks I needed to clear the mess so that I could start making these star blocks for the outer border. I am making them at 6" finished so I needed to make room on the table for the bins containing my 2" half square triangles. Unfortunately, I haven't started my big sew-a-thon for that size of hsts yet so I am making them up as I go. I need to make 52 of these star blocks and it has taken me much longer than I had anticipated to make these four so I think I am going to be at it for a while. :)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Blind Man's Fancy Blocks

I did it - I have finished all 13 of the center blocks and I think they look great! I am thrilled with my progress on this quilt and I can't wait to see how it all comes together.

The next step is to sew them into rows and then start working on the large border triangles as well as the smaller border stars. I still haven't figured out how the blue borders will work with the amount of fabric that I have but I guess I will think about that when I get there.

I don't know if you can tell but I am really excited about this quilt. ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Quilting Design Idea

I like this design :)
Now that the split nine-patch is a flimsy and the backing is made I need to decide how I want to quilt it. Normally, I would default to choosing a pantograph but I have a real urge to try more custom quilting.

The other morning I woke up at 3 am and I couldn't fall back asleep. I got up so I wouldn't disturb my husband and spent some time lounging on the couch trying to doze off. No luck - my mind was going a mile-a-minute working out some quilting design ideas. I finally gave in and got up and started playing around with some doodling on paper. I came up with a design that would suit each split nine-patch block and I really liked it. I thought it would be the one I would use on the quilt. Whew...problem solved so I could finally get some rest.

Not so fast - I tried to doze off on the couch again but the design just wasn't finished with me. I kept seeing those squares in the quilt top. Not the actual blocks but the design that was formed when the blocks were joined together and I knew I needed to modify the quilting design a bit so that these 'blocks' were the focus. So, I went back to my doodles and drawings and I made a modification to the block design I had created.
version 1 on top - version 2 on bottom
I am much happier with the second design and I hope the quilt will be too! I am still learning and I do have trouble visualizing how things will turn out but I am not going to let that stop me. After all, it is just thread and fabric. :)

Lookin' good :)
Look out quilt - here I come!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Another Design Progression

My Blind Man's Fancy quilt design is getting another workout and I have made an addition to the design.

My outer star border is made up of 6" finished stars and in order to accommodate that size and fit them to the quilt center I might need to float the center blocks within the brown triangles. I am not sure what the actual size the border triangles should be so I will make them over-sized with the intention of trimming them to fit.

I really want to bring more of the blue fabric that I used to surround the stars in the center blocks to the outer edge of the quilt and I have been scrounging around trying to find enough. I have one large hunk that is approx 28" x full width but it won't be enough for the borders. I rescued what was left of the last 7" wide strip used for cutting the triangles and I dug through my strip bins and I found 1.5 full strips at 3.5" wide. Now I have to make it work.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Blind Man's Fancy

My blocks are really moving along quite nicely. I just have five more blocks that need the outer hsts added to them and one of them is already laid out and ready to go. I am trying to make sure that I don't repeat the same darker fabric within each block but I know that I have done that on at least one block but I didn't rip it out. ;)

I am hoping to get the rest of the blocks finished today so that I can start working on the outer triangles along the quilt edge.

I plan on using this fabric and I am hoping it will work. It does pick up the blue from the triangles and has a bit of sparkle with the lighter tan colour.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2019

Whew...I started working on these blocks yesterday but I ran out of steam and finished them off today.  I am quite surprised at how many different yellow scraps I had. They must have multiplied when I wasn't looking because I didn't think I had much in yellow. ;)  I used scraps that ranged from the vary palest yellow all the way to dark golden yellow.

I started by searching through my bins of finished 2.5" hsts and pulled out a variety of the yellow but I felt that many were the same fabric so I searched through the 2.5" strip bin to supplement.

As you can see I got 6 broken dish blocks made as well as 12 zig zag blocks.

This is how they look with the red blocks I made last month - toasty warm on a cold day!

Pop on over to soscrappy to check out more Rainbow Scrap Challenge ideas.

Even though I slept just over 7 hours last night I am still feeling quite tired and that is a bad omen. I don't want to get sick and being really tired is usually the first sign for me.

Peanut and Molly
I hope it is only because my sweet Molly woke me up in the middle of the night to go out. :(

Friday, February 8, 2019

Seven Sisters Update

This seems to be my forever project. :) I am working on hand quilting the final pass on my latest seven sisters quilt. I'd say that it is about time!!!

This quilt is the fourth in a series of seven quilts that I am making completely by hand for me and my six sisters. It is definitely a labour of love and is a long term time commitment. Of course, I didn't think it would take this long but you know what they say - 'it takes a long time to finish a quilt if  you don't work on it'.

These are the quilts that I have finished so far.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Split Nine Patch Backing

Now that the Framed Block quilt is off the frame I can get my split nine patch quilt ready to load. In order to do that I needed to make my backing.

After all of the drama I had decided to go with the fabric in the upper photo but I still needed to prepare it by sewing the lengths together to get the correct size. While I was preparing to measure the required lengths I laid it down on top of the quilt top to see how I liked it together. The quilt top emphatically said 'no way' and I agree! Turns out that the blue gray in the backing just isn't working for me.

I dug through my backing fabrics again and finally came up with this one. The quilt and I both agree that it will work much better than the first one. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

O.M.G. It is Beautiful!! really IS beautiful! I am so excited and surprised about my quilt that I had to take pictures of it before I even trimmed it. I honestly cannot believe how good it looks. It certainly didn't look like this while it was on the frame. I am grinning from ear to ear!!!

I can't tell you how many mistakes I made - tons of them, and yet, it still turned out so pretty. I cannot believe that this is the same quilt top. It is such a beautiful transformation. :)

very plain before quilting

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Getting Close to a Finish :)

It won't be long before I have this quilt off the frame and ready to trim and bind. I just have two more rows to quilt and I hope to do that today.

I am getting much more comfortable doing the quilting and I think there has been some improvement as well.  Still very beginner with lots of wiggles and bobs and misses but once it is washed I am sure they won't be so noticeable. ;)

My tolerance for spending so much time staying focused on the task at hand has also improved. You can really see when and where I lost focus - the evidence is all over the quilt top. ;)

These three blocks are from the last row I quilted and I think they turned out pretty good!

I was able to complete two full rows in my last quilting session so I feel confident that I can finish it up today and I feel pretty darn good about that!

Almost finished!

Monday, February 4, 2019

On My Design Wall

I love the blocks on my design wall! I think that this could actually be a jumping off point for another quilt idea. I may have to revisit this later because I think it would be another beautiful quilt! This is obviously a very scrappy quilt but even then I was a little hesitant to include the bright fabrics but I am glad I did. It seems to be adding a bit of sparkle and I quite like it. :) To be honest, unless the aim is controlled scrappy, I think everything can and should be included.

It didn't take long for those star blocks to turn into these.

It took just one sewing session to get the outer triangles onto the stars because I had them already cut and ready to be stitched on.  I first added opposite corners to the stars and then I needed to give the very large dog ears a trim before I added the last two corners. It was a very quick process to remove the dog ears because I just snipped them off with my scissors as I went.

Now that the center stars are complete I need to start putting the hst block borders together and get them attached. This quilt is coming together one step at a time and I love the results so far!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Am I a Fabric Hoarder?

I don't know what is wrong with me!!! I need to make a backing for my split nine patch quilt and I am having a great deal of difficulty choosing which fabric to use. I have plenty of fabric to choose from - lots of variety in design and style - so it really shouldn't be too hard.  I kept pulling fabric off the shelves and then immediately putting it back because I didn't want to 'use it up' because you know...I might need it for another quilt. What the heck!!  I did end up pulling this selection from the shelves and initially I was going to use the fabric on the bottom but I can't let it go.

Is it the quilt that is telling me it is not the 'right' backing or is it me hoarding?

Because I can't seem to let go of my first choice fabric I think I will use the fabric 3rd from the bottom. It is similar in colour and could be used for a masculine or feminine quilt but more importantly it seems that I am able to let it go. :)