Sunday, September 29, 2019

Rail Fence Blocks are Done :)

Now that I have finished sewing my strips together into sets and I have them all cut to size I am ready to start sewing them together into blocks. This box contains a minimum of 120 each of darker blocks and lighter blocks and I am ready to turn them into a quilt top.

Rail Fence quilts really are fairly quick and easy - no fancy curves or hsts, or even squares - just straight strip sewing and then cutting....lots of cutting. :)

Sewing the segments together should be a quick and easy process as well because there are no seams to match either. This is the perfect quilt design to make if you are a beginner quilter or if you need or want to make a quick and easy quilt.

If you take a closer look at my photo you will see some more strip sets sitting underneath the box of blocks. That is a sneak peak at the next quilt I am planning to make. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Rail Fence Blocks

Now that I have my Janome 1600 back in my sewing room she and I are both raring to go. I want to work on a quilt that will really test out the machine to make sure everything is good to go. As my first project I have decided to use it to continue working on my reproduction strip quilt.

The quilt is a rail fence that I saw in an older American Patchwork and Quilting magazine and it was designed by Kathie Holland.
I have been zipping through sewing the long strips sets together and I have been trying to press the strips and cut the blocks to size as I go. When I started this sewing session I already had 59 dark strip blocks and 46 light blocks that I had made months ago.

Now, look at all of these blocks - I have just now added 43 dark/light blocks and 50 light/dark blocks to the ones that I had completed previously. These blocks really are quick and easy to make if you have all of the fabric strips cut to width ahead of time.

This will certainly be a nice, easy and quick quilt top to make and put together.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Beautiful Quilt!

My quilty sister Cheryl came for a visit on Saturday and we had a fun visit. We did lots of talking and joking and tea drinking and we even got some quilting done. :)

Her quilt turned out so beautiful! I did my best to get some photographs of it before she took it home with her but it was already getting late in the day so not the best light. Who am I kidding - I am the worst photographer even if the lighting is perfect. :(

It was quilted using Cansew 6268 thread on top and we used a lavender (Tabriz Orchid) Magnaglide in the bobbin. The panto she chose to use was Tickle and it looks gorgeous on this quilt. The batting used was Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly. Cheryl plans to give this quilt away as a comfort quilt and I think the recipient is going to love it - who wouldn't!!!!

Cheryl has been quilting for a few years now and she has designed and made many beautiful quilts and like most of us she has several flimsies waiting for quilting. I say that she needs to visit more often so that she can get them done. :)

The quilting process started out a bit rough because the machine was having tension problems and I tried everything I could think of to try and fix it. It was a bit frustrating and tiring because it was a very time consuming process but I eventually figured it out, overcame the issues, and we got it done.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Reunited and it Feels So Good :)

I love sewing on vintage machines and I am fortunate to own a few but my real workhorse is my Janome 1600P. It is just so fast and I can sew fairly accurately with it even at high speeds. I just keep feeding the fabric and it just keeps on stitching.

That is until I started having problems with the foot pedal. It started cutting out intermittently and it kept getting progressively worse until it pretty much stopped - so frustrating. My machine had been in the hospital since July 11 waiting for a new foot pedal and also waiting its turn to get a very thorough check up and cleaning. I have owned her and enjoyed her since 2011 when I purchased her used along with a Grace frame. I don't know how long the previous owner had her but I was told that she had just been in for a cleaning. Don't tell anyone but this was the first time I had taken this machine in for cleaning/maintenance...bad I know. In my defense I did oil her and clean the bobbin area and feed dogs on a regular basis. Needless to say I had been missing her terribly but she should be good to go now for a very long time to come. :)

The table this machine sits on is elevated with risers so that I can stand while I am sewing. I just love this is so very freeing to be able to walk up to the machine and sew and then easily walk over to my ironing table instead of being stuck in a chair. :)

I am so happy that we have been reunited and I can't wait to dig out a project and start sewing with her!!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Cheddarback Quilt - Block Set 3

I am making great progress on the blocks for the Cheddarback Quilt although I doubt I will be caught up before the next set of blocks are released on the first of October. If I keep at it maybe I will be all caught up sometime in late October. :)

These blocks were all machine pieced and really went together quite well except for this little block. First off, I don't know if it was me or not but I needed to cut a couple extra triangles for hsts to make the block look like the picture that I used for the fabric placement. Second, Gay recommended foundation piecing and she provided the pattern but of course I didn't follow her recommendation - silly me. I decided to just do regular machine piecing and I cut the hsts to size and then I seemed to have a wee problem when I was done. That section was a bit too big. :(

Adjustments were made to some block pieces and voila I have a block that will finish at the correct size - perfect - except that I have lost the points on the base. I can live with it. :) It really is a little cutie!
from block set 3 on the left and block set 2 on the right
I also wanted to point out that these two blocks are really quite similar but they were created using completely different construction methods. It was really cool to have a block come together in a manner that I wouldn't normally think about doing. I won't detail the construction differences here because even though these blocks are initially provided for free during the month they are released they don't stay that way.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Singer 301

I learned something new the other day. Maybe I am clueless or maybe I am unobservant or more likely I just have never used my Singer 301 to make hsts this way before.

I am currently making hsts for my Cheddarback quilt blocks and I find that Gay often gives the instructions in a way that you make the hsts larger. She uses the method of  putting two squares together, mark a line on the diagonal and then stitching on either side of the line and then you cut them apart, press and trim them to size. I don't usually make my hsts this way because I just really dislike the fiddly business of trimming down to size.

Anyway....I am so not a perfectionist when it comes to that 1/4" but I did realize that the 301 presser foot is actually perfect for getting that 1/4" stitch line. It is exactly 1/4" from the left side of the presser foot to the needle....who knew...not me anyway. I am sure this knowledge will come in handy to me someday. :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

It's a Finish - Finally!

I finally finished the binding on my Framed Blocks quilt and I am so happy with the way it turned out. This is the second quilt that I did custom quilting on and I know that it has helped me on my journey toward becoming a better machine quilter.

Scrappy Friends - my first try at custom quilting
I kinda regret that I gave my first custom quilted quilt away to charity because now I would like to have a series of quilts documenting my progress. Scrappy Friends was quilted with a very simple design but it did turn out really cute.

I am a very strong believer that when I give a quilt to charity that it should be one that I would really love to receive and I certainly don't regret giving a quilt to charity. I honestly think I should be doing it a lot more often - but I wish I had kept that particular one.
portion of finished flimsy
Framed Blocks has been a quilt in-the-making for a couple years and I initially finished the quilting last February. At the time, when I took it off the frame I was so thrilled and so surprised with the way it looked even with my bumbling quilting. I just could not get over the transformation from such a plain Jane flimsy to a beautiful quilt. There is absolutely magic in quilting!!!!

Even though I was really excited about finishing the quilting it just seemed to take me a long time to settle in and get that darn binding done. Now I can check this one off my list and move onto the next quilt that is ready for binding.

Framed Blocks finished at 61" x 70" and I quilted it using So Fine #402 (Pearl) as my top thread and cream MagnaGlide in the bobbin. The batting I used was Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly.

The block design came from Block Lotto - such a simple block but it made up into such a beautiful quilt!

So cute....Peanut likes my quilt too. :) I disturbed her sleep when I walked past her but I couldn't resist taking a photo of her. Peanut had taken the opportunity to make sure the quilt was nice and comfy when it slipped onto the floor from the back of a chair.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Cheddarback Quilt - Block Set 2

Month 2
I finished my second set of these quilt blocks and I am pretty happy with my results. In my last post I wrote about picking all of my fabrics ahead of time for each block right through to the latest release - block set 7. Of course, after all of that time and effort I had an issue right away with the first block I worked on. :(

not enough of this fabric...too bad :(
It all worked out in the end but I couldn't use one of the fabrics I had chosen because I just didn't have enough. I really wanted to use the subtle paisley fabric in the corners of the 12" block but it didn't work out. I am using mostly fabric scraps for the construction of these blocks and unless I really need a large piece of fabric I want to stick to just scraps. I had to rummage through my scrap bin again to find a suitable scrap piece that I could get four 3.5" squares. I did find one that would work well enough even though it is darker than my first choice.

I chose to machine piece all of my blocks but I did take the time to hand applique the basket handle.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Cheddarback Quilt

First set of blocks
Way back in March, when Gay from Sentimental Stitches released the first blocks for this quilt, I managed to get them finished before the month ended. :)

I loved the way they turned out and even though I fell behind I really wanted to make the whole quilt. I have been diligently downloading and saving the blocks every month as they were released knowing that I would eventually get back to them. Friday night, or should I say Saturday morning, I had an opportunity. My little dog Peanut disturbed my sleep when she started retching at 3:30 and I jumped out of bed to get her into the bathroom and then, of course, I had to let both dogs outside for a bathroom break.

After everything was taken care of I just couldn't fall back asleep. So, in the wee hours of the morning I decided to print out the rest of the instructions that have been released so far - 6 more sets - and I started pulling my fabric choices for each block.

Most of the fabrics I am using are from my reproduction scrap bin so I figured I would just make one big mess and get my selections made all at once instead of rummaging through the scraps for each set of blocks. I worked on it throughout the day on Saturday and there are now 28 blocks ready for me to start cutting and sewing. :)
I plan to make this block today :)
I made such a huge mess because my reproduction fabric scraps were stuffed into a very large tote and they were not sorted at all. While I was digging through them I did make an effort to sort as I went. There are still lots of mixed up scraps but now I have good amounts separated into clear bags sorted by colour.

Oh my goodness, I had such a great time....I love my scraps!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Yummy Strings

I am currently obsessed with making these strings blocks. I think my design wall is just so yummy looking with my blocks sitting up there. :)

I didn't have a plan or anything when I decided to start making them but now I think one has formulated - quite organically. As I was adding each finished block to the design wall I started twisting them and turning them around and I ended up with this layout. It is very simple and I really like it - so this is it! I don't yet have an actual size in mind for the quilt but it I think it will need to be big enough for a bed. :)

I need to pay careful attention when I am cutting my blocks to size. See the two upper blocks? The one on the left got trimmed a bit too small. I do remove the papers and press my blocks before trimming so I don't have the foundation paper to use as a guide. I accidentally trimmed it using the 5.25" line on the ruler instead of 5.5". :(

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ready for Quilting :)

I couldn't sleep last night so the next best thing to do when I can't sleep is to play with fabric. :)

I pulled out the crumb blocks that I recently completed and cut and added the sashing strips. It was a very long night so I even got the blocks joined together and added to my crumb flimsy. I added one full row and one full column and I think it is finished and ready for quilting now. My blocks are 8" finished and the sashing and cornerstones are 1" finished. The flimsy is currently approx 64" x 73" and I know that it will shrink a bit with quilting but it should still be a good size for cuddling on the couch.

I thought that 'Abstract' would be a really good name for this quilt because all of the colourful crumbs stitched together look like art to me. I love the way it looks now and I am pretty sure that once it is quilted it will look fabulous. :)

Monday, September 2, 2019

String Blocks

first two test blocks
While I was working on my crumb strips I was watching/listening to some older Bonnie Hunter Quilt Cam videos on YouTube. There was one in particular that really caught my eye (2/11/18) because she was working on some string blocks that were two-toned - they had light fabrics on one half and darker on the other and I was smitten.

I don't know exactly what size Bonnie was making hers - I am certain I could make a pretty good guess though - but I decided that I would make mine on 5.5" foundation papers. I don't have a quilt planned for them or even the slightest idea for a design but I think they will make a great quilt in some incarnation. :)

Just like my crumb bins I have overflowing string bins and I am happy to find a way to use some of them up. Really, I don't just want to use them up - I want to make lots of beautiful quilts with them. :) I  have only made a couple test blocks so far and there are still plenty more to make before there are enough to make a quilt.

Now that I am back in my sewing room I just want to play a bit without thinking about all of my UFOs. :) They will still be there when I am ready and inspired to pick one back up and get back into it.