Thursday, October 31, 2019

Postage Stamp Blocks

As ragtag as they are I have finished all of the blocks required for the postage stamp quilt. I have set aside enough strips to complete the sashing so pretty much all of the piecing is finished. I think the next time I make a postage stamp type quilt I will definitely make sure that I press the fabric with Best Press or starch before cutting the segments. I think it would make a big difference in the overall finish of the blocks. I would also double check my seam allowance every time I picked them up to work on.  Even though my blocks are a bit wonky looking at the seams I still love the look of them. :)

I do need to cut my pink fabric to make the alternate blocks as well as the cornerstones for the sashing. I already washed the pink fabric and now I am off to start pressing it to ready it for cutting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

First Wild Goose Chase Block

I am feeling really excited about this new quilt that I have undertaken. I love the colour scheme that I have chosen to work with and I am finding these beautiful purples and blues to be very calming yet exciting at the same time.

I made a test Wild Goose Chase block and I was all ready to go but then Chantal from At the Corner of Scraps and Quilts left a great comment on my last post where I showed the design I had chosen. She made a suggestion to use purple in the outer corners of the Wild Goose Chase block. I tried it in EQ7 and it looks wonderful. Now, what to do....what to do....
new option #3 
I love my first block and the design I had chosen but now I need to make another block to try out the new design. Whichever design I decide to make I hope the rest of the blocks look just as good. I don't know - maybe I have to make two quilts????  That would be fun to do and it really wouldn't be a problem. As a matter of fact, I like those kinds of problems. :)
original choice
I have been doing a lot of cutting in preparation of making all of the blocks for this quilt and I have been scrounging through my fabric and parts bins searching for the blues/teals that will be featured in the Double Aster Variation block.

At this point I think I have the purples covered for the Wild Goose Chase blocks but since I need lots of variety in the blues/teals it could be a real challenge. I want to use a narrow range in the shades of blue/teal in my fabric choices but since my goal is to use only stash for these blocks I may have to expand that range.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The New Quilt

This new quilt that I am making is taken from a photo in a magazine so I don't have a pattern to follow along but fortunately, I do have EQ7. :)

I did a mock-up of my new quilt project to see if I can get an idea of how my quilt just might look when I get it finished. I don't often sew with 3.5" squares or hsts but I think I will do with this quilt and that will give me gigantic 15" blocks.

The first option shows the quilt with darker corners in the Wild Goose Chase block and the second option has lighter corners.

option 1
option 2

Even though the colours in the photos are not exactly the same as the ones I plan to use, it does help me to visualize how the design will look. My preference is the one with the light corners - option 2.

I am excited to get going with this new quilt!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Another Quilt :)

My youngest son had plans to come home for a week for Thanksgiving the second week in October so that meant that I needed to clear out my other sewing/storage room - errrr - spare bedroom. lol

While I was digging around and sorting things I found some older quilting magazines and I took a break and thumbed through a couple.

In a 2008 Quilters Newsletter there was an article about using two block designs to create secondary designs and I really liked one of the examples in particular. In the third example the two blocks they showcased were called Wild Goose Chase and Double Aster Variation.

The timing wasn't right to start the quilt but that didn't stop me from having a look through my fabric stash.and pulling some fabric options. I am sure there will be more additions and some exclusions before I make a final decision but I think I am on the right track. :)

Thank you to everyone that left such kind comments and sent emails about the loss of my brother. I really do appreciate them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


My brother Aron passed away on October 20 and we are so heartbroken. He was a very good person and he loved his family and we loved him.

Aron John Greenland
Rest in Peace my Brother

Several years ago I made him a quilt and he was so happy to receive it. He used it all the time and I know that it was special to him. Quilts really do have love stitched into them and I am so glad I made one for him.

Now we are eight......

Friday, October 18, 2019

Rail Fence Flimsy

I thought I was making great progress putting all of the blocks together to make this flimsy but then I noticed something really wrong. :(

My process for creating a flimsy from blocks is to sew them first into pairs, and the pairs into larger blocks sets, etc. I think when I was joining the larger blocks together I must have turned a couple of them 90 deg. in order to avoid clusters of certain fabrics. The problem with that is I ended up messing up the light/dark 'weaving of the rails'. In order to keep with the design/pattern I should have turned the blocks 180 deg. instead. Grrr....out came the seam ripper!!!!

Everything is fixed now but if there are any other mistakes then I am blind to them because I think I have a beautiful flimsy.

This quilt top really did come together fairly quickly even with my latest oopsie. :)  I still need to figure out a name for this quilt and to decide on a backing fabric but in the meantime it is currently in the 'waiting to be quilted' pile. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Filling up the Wall

My design wall is filling up with these 36 patch blocks. :) The pattern calls for 80 of these blocks and I am just over half-way there.

I did reduce my stitch length when I sewed the strips into blocks in an attempt to reduce the risk of seams splitting along the edges but as you can see in the photo I am also stay stitching around the edges of the blocks.

Another thing you can see in the close-up photo - I have a lot of hit and misses when it comes to matching the seams. I had been sewing other things in between these blocks and therefore adjusting my seam guide. It would definitely appear that I had forgotten to check more than once to make sure it was in the correct place for these blocks...oops. I didn't bother to rip unless the miss was really egregious but even then quality control let some slip by. ;)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Feeding the Beast :)

I did it! I finished stay stitching all of the 1.5" strips and I am so done with that. I completed the task over a couple sewing sessions of just feeding them into the machine one after the other. First one side and then the other.....boring!!! Thankfully this sewing machine is quite a beast and is just so fast. :)

There is definitely a drawback to stay stitching all of the edges and I discovered it when I tried to sew some more blocks together. With the edges of the seams locked in place it made it so that it was virtually impossible to manipulate the seams to fit when they didn't quite match up. I am very imperfect when it comes to sewing and I did have to deal with this issue more than once. ;)

Overall, I think stay stitching the edges was still the right choice to solve the seam splitting issue.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

First Block

I have been working on this quilt like a mad woman - I just can't seem to leave it alone. After sewing and cutting so much fabric I wanted to make a test block to see how things would look. I started sewing some of the 1.5" strips together to make the block and I discovered a major problem.

As I was handling and manipulating the strips to fit and sew together I noticed that some of the seams were splitting. Not good...not good at all. :( 

I thought I had my stitch length set small enough but apparently that didn't seem to help. The only way I can think of to fix the problem is to just run all of the 1.5" strips through the machine to stay stitch along both long edges.

One good thing though - my block looks great!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Split Nine Patch

Do you remember me? If quilts could think I am sure it is wondering if I had forgotten it. :) This quilt has been hanging around for quite a while now waiting for me to make some binding. Well it is finally made and ready to be attached so that I can hand stitch it to the back.

I am so happy with this quilt. It was my third attempt at custom quilting and I think I did a pretty good job.  :)

Now that Autumn is here I am more than ready to spend some quiet evenings stitching away with a quilt on my lap. :)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Making Postage Stamps :)

After sewing strip after strip for my rail fence quilt and now for my Postage Stamp quilt I have been giving my sewing machine quite the work out. I am so glad that I have my Janome 1600 back in action....she is a beast!

For this new quilt I have started cutting my strips into 1.5" segments and all I can say is make sure to have a fresh blade in your cutter. I didn't start with a fresh blade and I really should have. It didn't take me too long to figure out that I needed to change it and it made all of the difference. The cuts were much cleaner and it became much easier and quicker to do the necessary cutting. :)

Cutting the strips into smaller segments can be very tedious and long sessions are just a bit too much for me. I like the process of completing several strip sets at a time and then cutting them as I go. It breaks it up into much more manageable sessions.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

String Piecing Set-Up

front view
I have a crumb station already set up and now I also have a string station and they sit side-by-side along the same wall. Gee....sounds so indulgent and really it is. :)

Making crumb blocks and string blocks is a very messy process. Having things set up and readily available to just sit down and sew as the mood strikes makes it a lot more likely that these bits and pieces will end up in a quilt. If I do feel some strange compulsion to tidy the space I can easily collect the bits and pieces of fabric and stuff them back into the bins.

view to the left
I have moved what I call my portable ironing station to the left of the machine so that I can press as I go. It is really just an old typing table on wheels - remember those??? - that I can move around to any location in my sewing room.

I am so very fortunate that I have a few sewing machines and enough space to be able to have this set up. Of course my sewing room is somewhat crowded but it works well enough for me. :)

I decided to use one of my Singer 301 machines for making these blocks because it has a slant needle and I can really see where the needle is going to stitch. Because these string blocks are light on one half and darker on the other, I need to be fairly accurate with the placement of those first strings. I have drawn a line corner-to-corner on my foundation papers and it is very easy to see this line for sewing accuracy.

I am ready to go!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Happily Sewing Away

It feels like I got a lot done in my sewing room yesterday.

I wanted to start sewing my rail fence blocks together but I felt like I was being held back because my design wall was full of the string blocks. So that is where I started. I took them down off the design wall and matched the blocks in pairs and got them sewn together. I don't think I will go any further than that right now because when I put the top together I want to be able to spread the fabrics around. At this point, I only have a total of 64 blocks made and I need at least 208 to make a quilt  65" x 80" and that means I will be adding much more variety of fabrics from my string bins as I go along. I have all of the finished sets in a basket sitting beside my sewing machine with a note as to how many blocks I have already made and the quantities required depending on the size of quilt I want to end up with.

Once I got the string blocks stitched and pressed I started on my rail fence blocks. I began by sewing some into pairs and then sewing those into larger blocks and I put them up on my newly emptied design wall. I still have many more to put together but I am ready. I have paired the rest of the blocks together and they are waiting for me at my sewing machine. I think this top is going to come together really quickly. :)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

More String Blocks

I have been working in stops and starts on my string blocks and it is wonderful how quickly they add up even when I only make one or two at a time. The last time I posted about them I only had enough blocks made for a couple rows. Now I have added many more and I like what I see on my wall. Of course, I still need to make a lot more for a decent sized quilt but I do need to pay attention if I intend on making progress on this particular design.  String piecing isn't necessarily a process where I can totally zone out. ;)

I made a couple incorrectly - can you believe that? :) I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and I added a dark corner to the light side and light corner to the dark side. I am not going to rip them out because I am pretty sure I will make a few more just like them before I finish all of the blocks and maybe it will be the beginnings of a new quilt. Stuff like that does happen fairly frequently!!

Bonnie Hunter has released a tutorial on making her crooked courthouse steps blocks and I know I will be making some of those blocks as well. I have enough strings stashed away to make plenty of quilts and I am always adding more to the bins. :)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Cheddarback Quilt - Block Set 4

Even though I have been spending time working on my rail fence quilt and the postage stamp quilt I am still making some time to continue making these blocks.

See that dark pink and black block? I knew when I saw it that it would be a troublemaker for me and I was right. The first time I sewed the sections together I ended up a d-cup block. Seriously, I should have taken a picture but I just wanted to take it apart as quick as I could. On one half of the block I had inadvertently switched the orientation of the black patches when I was adding the pink patches to them. Nothing that a seam ripper couldn't fix but it was a pain in the .....! In the end I think it turned out pretty well and I am quite happy with my blocks.

I decided to take a photo of the 4 sets of blocks that I have completed so far. I think they look great together and it got me to thinking  about which fabrics I should use for the sashing. I have already decided on the cornerstone blocks and I have a couple options in mind for the sashing.
option 1
option 2

I haven't made a final decision yet but after seeing Carla's blocks all set together with the sashing and cornerstones I want to start putting mine together even though there are still many more blocks to make. If I can't settle on either of these two fabrics I do have other fabric options available. Maybe the problem is that I have too many options - if I only had one fabric that is one I would use. ;) The red cornerstone fabric is actually darker in real life.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Postage Stamp Quilt

Quite some time ago I purchased what I think is a fantastic book that showcases some great quilt designs that I really want to make.

In anticipation of making my Rail Fence quilt, as well as some quilts from this book, I have a ton of 1.5" strips cut from reproduction fabrics ready to go. Honestly, I cut way, way too many strips. ;)

I just love the pink that was used in the quilt on the cover and I will definitely be using pink in my version of the 42-Cents Forever Stamp quilt as well.

Once I finished sewing the strip sets required for my Rail Fence quilt I started right in on sewing the strip sets for this quilt. You know....strike while the iron is hot!