Saturday, March 20, 2021

Quilted Hug for Mom

I got this shawl finished for my Mom a couple days ago and I took some pictures outside yesterday. Oh...it was such a beautiful day but still cold. Today is supposed to be quite a bit warmer and Peanut and I are really looking forward to that!

I took this photo as soon as I removed the shawl from the longarm. I don't know how visible the quilting is but it is a loose leafy design called Lush Leaves. I love it!


I cut my binding at 2.25" and I applied it to the wrong side of the shawl and then flipped it and stitched it to the right side which is the reverse of what I do with a quilt. I didn't want to go with hand stitching the binding because I thought it would be a quicker finish by machine and I think it will hold up better. I know that this will probably get a lot of wear and tear and be washed frequently so I did a double row of stitching when I applied the binding to the front. The first line of stitching was right along the edge of the binding and the second line was about a 1/4" away. I really wanted it nailed down! I also added a small label sewn into the binding that has my Mom's name on it. 

The pattern calls for pockets on the inside but I didn't bother with them. I don't think my Mom would remember they were there and they wouldn't be used anyway.

Unfortunately, I couldn't make a visit with my Mom work last week but I am able to go this week!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Trying Something New


One of the things I want to try to do this year is to make some garments and I think I have found the perfect item to start with - a Quilted Hug. I found the instructions on YouTube here

I had to modify mine a bit because I don't have the fabric required for the lining so I am using flannel instead with 80/20 quilt batting. I am also making the outer layer from one piece of fabric instead of piecing it like a quit top. I will know soon if I can make it work or not as I have everything cut out and loaded on my long arm for quilting. 

batting, backing and top

My Mom was placed in a nursing home at the end of January and I have finally been given permission to visit her which I am very happy about.  At this point she really has great difficulty communicating so telephone calls really have not been much of an option. I don't know if she will remember me or not but I remember her! Anyway, I want to bring my Mom a gift and I thought a quilted hug would be perfect. My Mom is very tiny - less than 100lbs and she is always cold so I know this is something that she can use and enjoy. My hope is that with the flannel lining it will very soft and snuggly.

The home is about an hour and forty-five minute drive from my home so it isn't a quick little trip and my visits will be somewhat limited but at least I can do some visiting. In order to visit her I must take regular Covid tests prior to visits and I am awaiting the results from the test I took yesterday. I know I haven't been exposed to the virus as my husband and I are very, very careful but the nursing home justifiably needs proof. 


Friday, March 12, 2021

Another String Quilt


While I was on my last blogging hiatus I did do some sewing that I haven't shown on my blog. I love string quilts and I have oodles and oodles of strings that need to be turned into quilts. The only way I know how to do that is to sew those strings together in one form or another. 😉

Molly and my zig zag string flimsy - sadly she is gone but absolutely not forgotten 💔

I started making these latest blocks once I finished with the final string blocks for my zig zag string quilt that I had turned into a flimsy in January 2020. My beautiful Molly was such a lovely model when I took that photo. At the time, I couldn't wait to get started on the next group of string blocks. I changed things up a bit and started making Crooked Courthouse string blocks. You can find the instructions for these blocks on Bonnie Hunter's blog - here. My zig zag quilt top is currently languishing in my 'ready to quilt' pile but maybe it should be the one I choose to quilt next.

When I started the crooked courthouse blocks I decided to use some 2" squares that I wanted out of my stash and they became the centers in all of the blocks. This is a great project to help me get them out of my stash!

This time my blocks finish at 8" and I won't need to make as many as I did in the last couple string quilts. Bigger blocks = quicker finish. :)

I still have a ton of strings so I know I won't be running out any time soon.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Blind Man's Fancy


Now that the rail fence quilt is off the frame I am ready to load another...but which one? It seems that the one I intended to quilt is not quite ready for quilting. This is my Blind Man's Fancy quilt top and I thought I finished it in March 2019.                         . 

As I look at it, I keep thinking it needs another blue border and then a brown border. The more I think about it the more I keep having the song from Lamb Chop's Play Along running through my head. If you recall it is called 'The Song That Doesn't End' but what I am singing in my head is 

This is the quilt that doesn't end

Yes it goes on and on my friends

Somebody started sewing it not knowing what it was

and they'll continue sewing it forever just because 

This is the quilt that doesn't end....

(sorry about the ear worm!)

The quilt top is currently approx 85" square and I only have about 16" x wof left of the blue fabric. That is just enough to make a 1" finished narrow border and then I can add the outer brown border but the real question is should I?

Not only that but I think it needs more than just an all-over quilt design. I'm not a very creative person and I am certainly not very artistic so it will take me a long time to figure out some sort of design to put on it....sigh.

In the meantime, I really need to dig through the flimsy stash and choose one that wants a quick finish!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

More Cheddarback Blocks

I keep telling myself that I am determined to finish these blocks so I must be determined...right?

I did get two blocks finished the other day and then there were four and happily I got another two more done. These are all blocks that will finish at 5" and they are really cute!

I haven't done any hand piecing or applique in such a long time but I guess I still remember how to do it. Two of these little blocks needed some special treatment - the pink and black one was hand pieced and the red and black one needed the little center square appliqued. I did some back basting on that little square and it seems to have worked out well enough.

Yesterday when I was walking Peanut I just started feeling so much better and much more optimistic about the situation we are all living in. Spring is coming and the sun was shining and even though it was still cold the temps were warmer and the wind wasn't as blustery. Spring is always so welcome after a long cold winter but it seems to be even more important this year.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Off the Frame

Peanut helped me trim the quilt

I finished up the quilting of my rail fence quilt yesterday and I think it looks great particularly with my little model on it! It didn't really take all that long and I was done in plenty of time to take Peanut for her walk by 3:15 yesterday while the sun was still shining. It was very deceiving....it was quite cold and we are definitely getting those March winds as it was quite gusty and blustery at times. They are calling for milder temps over the next few days and I am looking forward to getting some warmer days!

I didn't have time to trim the quilt until after dinner and when I did Peanut was really confused. Normally when I am crawling around on the floor it means playtime with her and she kept trying to play and didn't understand why I kept trying to shoo her away. lol

She was happy when I was done and we got a little play session in. 😀


Saturday, March 6, 2021

Time to Quilt

 

I've loaded a quilt onto my freshly straightened leaders and it went onto the frame so easily. I didn't have to fuss with anything to make sure it loaded straight - such a dream! Now that I have the aggravation of straightening the leaders behind me I am so glad I went through the process. The results are just great!

As you can see in above photo I have chosen a Baptist Fan panto for this quilt and I love it. I actually started quilting this rail fence quilt several days ago but since then I have been distracted by watching YouTube videos. Honestly, the addiction seems to be worse than computer games. 😵 I think I have it out of my system now and I am going to get away from my computer and do something constructive that is actually rewarding!!!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Straight(er) Leaders

I did it! It's not beautiful and absolutely not perfect but it will do. I followed instructions that I found on YouTube from HandiQuilter and Kimmy Brunner but I can't seem to find the video to link to - weird. I did find this video from whirlsnwwirls quilting and it gives information on sewing casings on the leaders so it may be helpful.

I had a lot of trouble actually sewing the hem down on the first leader because I couldn't get good tension on it while stitching. I tried to use my clamps just as shown in the video presentation but it just wouldn't work well for me. The first and last few inches on the sides are not perfectly straight because I just kept getting caught up with the clamps but honestly I think it should be okay. I don't normally pin right to the side edges of my leaders anyway. After sewing the first hem I was quite discouraged with my results. 

Before continuing with the hemming exercise I found some other clamps that I was able to put on my machine around the rails to help support the leader being hemmed and it helped a lot but by then I was frustrated and just wanted it all over with. I was sewing way too fast and without accuracy - ugh. Nary a straight line to be found - why do I always think I have to go at top speed! 

messy hems with new centering marks

When I was finished I didn't cut the excess canvas from the hems as suggested in the instructions. Instead I did another line of stitching close to the edge to hold them all down and I am happy enough with that.

My leaders won't win any awards but they are straighter than when I started. The next time they need this degree of straightening I will probably just purchase some canvas and make my own. I know...another headache....so I won't be doing it any time soon!!!


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Getting Ready for Quilting :)

clean and ready to try to straighten the leaders

It has been quite some time since I have actually used my long arm and it has been an even longer time since it has received any tender loving care. There really is no excuse because my long arm is within easy access in the basement. I hadn't been near it in such a long time that it was dusty, cobwebby, very lonely and in dire need of a really good cleaning!

I spent some time giving my long arm some love and attention and I thoroughly cleaned the machine, oiled it and then cleaned the rails. I had been watching some Jamie Wallen YouTube videos and he showed a product that he uses on his long arm rails to keep his machine moving smoothly so I thought I would try it. I don't know if it will work but I could definitely use all the help I can get with my quilting. If it does help my machine move around the rails with smoother movements I want it! I would have liked to order it from his site but I am always leery of the import fees and other charges from the US so I ended up ordering some from Amazon Canada - no extra charge surprises.

I do have quite a few quilt tops finished so I just need to choose one and get the backing prepared and loaded but first....I am going to try to straighten my leaders. 😓


Friday, February 26, 2021

A Small Thing but Frustrating!

I just want to work on my blocks and get them done and have a beautiful quilt. I really don't want any aggravation but it seems to want me! I'm feeling some frustration on the current one - can you tell? I took a photo of my progress and it is quite pitiful. 😖

The block is supposed to be 5.5" unfinished but at this point it is heading to be much larger than that. It is all bubbling up in the center where I have added the outer pieces and that just won't do. I thought I traced the templates accurately but my pencil lines must have been too thick and my templates may have ended up too large....grrrr.

I 've set it aside for now but eventually I will unpick it, check the sizing, mark sewing lines on each piece and then hand piece the whole thing instead of machine stitching it. I need to keep moving forward!


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

More Blocks Completed

12" blocks

Happily, I have made more progress on my Cheddarback blocks. I got these first two done before that sweet pup Odin returned to visit with us and my focus was redirected. No complaining here...he is the sweetest but very playful and energetic pup. Even Peanut was sort of starting to warm up to him a bit but sadly there are no more visits planned. I know that I am going to miss him!

Now that Odin is back home I can spend more time in my sewing room and I have dug back into my Cheddarback blocks. I got two more blocks completed last night. 

I will be spending some quality time in my sewing room later today digging through my scraps for the next batch of blocks and I am really looking forward to that.

I had a little later start to my day today because I slept in until just about 7:30. Let me tell you it felt so darn good!!! Since October I have been trying to focus on my health and wellness and sleeping well is always an issue for me.

I've been trying to get on my treadmill every morning but with my slow start I was a bit delayed doing that but I did get that done. I am trying to make it a habit/routine but I really have to work at it!

I am hoping the weather cooperates today so that I can get Peanut out for a walk. The latest freezing cold snap that we had been experiencing seemed to go on forever and then lots of snow on top of that makes it really challenging for Peanut to go out for walks. I know she is missing them!



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Digging Into My Scraps

fabric selections for now
I had a bit of a surprise and a little rough start when I jumped back into my Cheddarback quilt. There was a stack of patterns printed out ready and waiting for me to work on and based on that I thought I was more than half finished all of the quilt blocks. I soon discovered that not all of the patterns were there!

I looked on my computer to see if I had downloaded the missing patterns into my Cheddarback file folder and they were not there either. It took me a while but I finally figured out where they were stored on my computer and I was able to print them out. Whew!

I would have been disappointed if I hadn't made a point of getting them as they were released. I can't tell you how many quilt patterns I have done that with. I always start out great - downloading the patterns as they are released and then something happens and I forget and I only end up with half of the quilt patterns required to make the quilt.😞

I spent some time in the morning yesterday digging through my reproduction fabric scraps and selecting the fabrics that I want to use for several blocks. This is one of the most fun things to do. Most of these scraps are not scraps from my fabric stash so they are almost always new to me. Someone else's scraps are always so much more interesting than our own...don't you agree?

I actually purchased quite a few reproduction scrap bags several years ago so that I would have a lot of variety to add to my stash and it has worked out great. Having this luxury also means that I have to really work at making sure I have enough of each chosen fabric piece to complete a block requirement and that requires lots of digging. With that comes lots of ooohs and aaahs as I discover wonderful bits and pieces of beautiful fabrics. 😄


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Back to the Cheddarback Quilt

 

finished blocks to date

After writing my post yesterday about finishing up the string and hourglass flimsy I headed back into my sewing room to work on my next quilt. I was so tempted to start something new but I know that I really need to get a lot of in-progress quilts to the finish line.

My sewing room is overflowing with bins and stacks of various already made blocks and then the piles of fabric that have been set aside for quilt finishing. Not to mention all of the mess that comes with ongoing string piecing! Not that I am complaining...I feel very fortunate to have such an abundance but I need to get some control over it and, of course, the ultimate goal really is to make quilts! 😀

It can be a bit overwhelming so, I sat down for a minute to just gather my thoughts on what to work on and I spied the bin for the Cheddarback quilt that has sat abandoned for quite some time. Perfect - I'll work on that one.

As a side note - the Cheddarback quilt was a free block of the month from Sentimental Stitches as it was being released but now there is a fee for the patterns.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

A Finished Flimsy?

Is it a finished flimsy?
Sweet Odin has kept me pretty occupied over the past couple weeks but he went home last night for a few days and I feel that I have absolutely earned some uninterrupted sewing time. 😀

This morning I started right in working on this quilt top but I didn't get to start with sewing. 😖 In my last post I said I needed to add another row to the top of the quilt but that was sooo wrong. What I really needed to do was to remove the last row on the bottom of the quilt so that the border would work out properly.

Anyway, I got that done and finished sewing the border pieces together and then added them around the quilt. Once I did that I noticed that some of the string blocks were starting to split their seams from tugging on it while pushing it through the machine so I immediately stay stitched around the whole quilt.

I really like this quilt as is but I'm not sure if it is calling for another border of some sort or not. I have to think about it for a while. It is going to join a whole bunch of finished flimsies in my to-be-quilted pile so it has time to age and I have time to decide. It is currently 60" x 76" which is big enough for a couch quilt so we will see.

I saw this quilt on Bonnie Hunter's blog here and I loved it at first sight. I have mentioned this previously but she has stated that she does not have a pattern for it and does not plan to create one.

Happily, I have coerced my husband into making dinner tonight and maybe even the next couple nights so that I can really take advantage of the free time I'm going to have over the next couple days before Odin returns. 


He really is a very good and lovable puppy - its just that he is so very high energy and I honestly can't get over how smart he is. He has been housebroken since he was 8 weeks old and he knows how to ask to go out. He has not had any accidents....unbelievable!


Friday, February 12, 2021

Busy Days

Things have been very busy around here lately! I did manage to get a bit of sewing done on the quilt I have been working on but not as much as I thought I would. I've got most of the top together but it still needs one row added across the top and then the borders all round. It also needs a really good pressing as well. 😀 

I do have a good start on the borders but there is still work to do before I have them ready. I honestly thought I would have had it to the ready-to-quilt stage long before now but something else has taken priority. 

This little stinker has been staying with me and he is a very, very busy little guy. He's about 5.5 months old now and he is just too smart for everyone's good!

Odin pleading with Peanut to play with him.

Peanut wants to know why she has to put up with his nonsense!

Odin is an adorable but squirmy little guy
He is tons of trouble but oh so stinkin' cute!!!! I am hoping to get another puppy this summer so having him here is good practice. 😀

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Making String Blocks


I have made some progress in my quest to move my latest string quilt into the flimsy stage. In my last post I wrote that I was debating about using some of the neutral strings that I had already sewn together and that were waiting to be used in quilts. In the end I decided that the math just wouldn't work out and I would have a lot of waste. 

So, I have been making string blocks. :) I am making these strings to finish at 4" so I am using paper foundations that are 9" x 4.5" and some singles that are 4.5" square.  Making the smaller blocks allows for more variety in the strings as well as using up lots of smaller pieces. 

I was moving right along until I ran out of bobbin thread and all of my bobbins were empty. I am sewing these on my Singer 301 and it is a very fast machine and it eats up the thread from those smaller bobbins really quickly! So I took a break to press and trim the blocks I had made and then took some time to refill my bobbins. I now have 32 little string blocks ready to go and I am ready to put it all together into a quilt top.

On Friday I had a medical appointment that couldn't be taken care of by telephone. It seems really weird to go to the doctor in person now and especially seeing the waiting room completely empty. The bonus is that I was seen exactly at my appointment time. Crazy Covid times!





Thursday, January 21, 2021

Building Blocks :)


parts and pieces ready for assembly
I spent a good amount of time in my sewing room over the past couple days and I have made amazing progress on my string and hourglass quilt. I had a real assembly line going. 😀

I haven't really encountered any difficulties making these blocks other than the seams on the string blocks can be a bit bulky. I have found that using my wool pressing mat helps me to get them smashed down. I spritz the mat with a bit of water before I start my pressing sessions and I think it is helping.

I have 30 large four patches finished and up on my design wall and another 19 done that just won't fit on the wall. I still have a few more blocks to stitch together and then I have some thinking to do before I start sewing everything together. 

There is a border that goes around the edges of the quilt and it is made up of neutral string blocks and hourglass blocks. I think I have more than enough hourglass blocks ready to go but I haven't quite figured out the string blocks yet. 

For quite some time I have been working on making full sheets of neutral strings to have ready to go into any projects as needed but I don't know if I want to use them in this project. 😕 I will make that decision today so that I can keep moving this quilt top forward to completion.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Design Wall

design wall

Now that my fun and productive hexagon detour has come to an end I'm back to working on my string and hourglass quilt. This is what my design wall looks like and I am pretty happy with the way it looks.

I had posted previously about seeing this quilt on Bonnie Hunter's blog and I loved it as soon as I saw it. This is a quilt that she is not providing a pattern for so I am making it using my own block sizes.

I'm still sewing lots of my little string blocks into four patches but as you can see I have also started sewing my scrappy hourglass units together as well.

Other than taking Peanut for a walk this afternoon and getting on the treadmill later in the evening I plan to spend lots of time in my sewing room today. I say to heck with chores!!!


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Detour to a Hexagon Flimsy!

My fun little detour has come to a quick end but it sure was an enjoyable trip! I can't believe how quickly this quilt top came together. I'm pretty sure not having to cut all of the hexies contributed to the speed of getting this flimsy together.😀

Luckily for me, I received these hexies from my quilty sister Cheryl after she had tried to put them together into a quilt that she couldn't make work for her. I think I made them work pretty well for me. 😉

rejects
I was able to use most of the hexies but there were a few that were spoiled in that some of the corners had been trimmed and I didn't feel there would be enough fabric for the seams. I set them aside into the reject pile and determined that I would just use up all of the 'good' hexies to make the quilt. Once I started sewing the columns together I realized that if I just made four more hexies that I would be able to make another column. I recognized many of the fabrics that were used in the hexagons so I dug into my stash and found some of them. All I needed to do was to cut three more hexies to add to the lone remaining good hexagon.

replacements
This quilt top was put together randomly although I did try to not have like fabrics together. I wasn't quite successful when it came to the triangles but c'est la vie. Speaking of the triangles - I added them to all of the hexagons even the ones that would eventually become the edges of the flimsy. I didn't know which hexagons would be on the ends and I figured it would be easy to unpick a few triangles and it was.

One thing I would do next time is that I would trim off the dog ears from the triangles after sewing them to the hexagons. It would be more efficient and easier to sew everything together if they are out of the way.

This flimsy finished at 65" x 80". I am not sure if I am going to keep the edges as they are or if I want them trimmed straight. I will quilt it like this and then decide if I want to trim them later.

One other thing I have decided is that I am going to return these hexies to my sister instead of donating the quilt. I am sure my sister will love to have this quilt to snuggle under.😀 I know I will make many, many other quilts that I will donate to charity.


Friday, January 15, 2021

Hexagons Continue

I'm still a little obsessed with these hexagons and it is a good thing to have something to focus on other than the Covid situation in my area.

As of yesterday, my province is now in a state of emergency with a stay at home order. My region of the province had already been in a lockdown since December 14 and then on December 26 the lockdown was extended province wide. I am a bit confused because I don't know what the difference is between lockdown and the new order other than maybe with the lockdown they were telling us to stay home and the state of emergency they are ordering us to stay home.

Happily, this quilt top is really moving along quickly and I have already started sewing the blocks into pairs and then the pairs into sets of four. I will end up sewing three of these four block chains together to make a column. 

Normally when I put a quilt top together I prefer to sew the blocks into quadrants and then join them together but I can't with this one. This quilt top needs to be put together in columns or rows because of the way the hexagons fit together. Once I get to the point of joining the columns it will be straight sewing - no pins - hopefully!!! 

I am really happy with the way it is coming together. 😀

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hexagons and Triangles

I'm still distracted by the hexagons that I received from my sister Cheryl. 😊 I wasn't sure which fabrics I would use for the connector triangles but after I made the second test block I knew I liked the blue. It turned out to be a good option because none of the hexies are blue and there would be some contrast. I also decided that scrappy would be the way to go.

I was able to raid my 3.5" strip bin for a variety of blue fabrics. Some of these fabrics are oldies - I don't use 3.5" strips very often and you can tell that a lot of the strips had been in the bin a long time. There are plenty of hairy strings hanging off the triangles that I cut. lol

Aligning the triangle for sewing was a breeze!

I started sewing one triangle onto each hexagon and after I was done I thought I had cut way too many triangles. Reality set in when I tried to layout out more than two blocks together. Oops...I needed to add another triangle opposite the first. I honestly don't know what I was thinking.

By the time I had finished sewing all of the triangles onto the hexies I only had a couple extra triangles left. 😁


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Taking a Little Detour


Quite some time ago my quilty sister Cheryl gave me a stack of large hexies that she had cut for a quilt but she couldn't make it work for her. They have been taking up table space and I've been constantly moving them around and out of the way. Well, last night I took a little detour from the string bins and tried to figure out what to do with them. My sister and I texted back and forth and talked on the phone about what to use for the connector triangles. In my minds eye, which is not reliable at all, I thought I could use the larger triangle that makes up part of a triangle in a square block. 

I did a test and it absolutely did not work! It was difficult to sew and it bubbled up in the center where the triangles met. I realized then that it needed to be an equilateral triangle. Luckily for me I just happened to have the perfect ruler to use to cut those triangles. 😊

This is the second test block and it looks so much better. It was easier to sew together as well but I will have to pin where the triangles meet in the center. I am so not a pinner!

I have to decide which fabric or fabrics that I will use for the connector triangles but other than that I am good to go. I think this version will be a donation quilt because as I was working on the test blocks I got an idea using different fabrics for the hexies.

Monday, January 11, 2021

More String Blocks

My sewing machine has been humming along as I continue to make string blocks. I am using all colours of strings in my blocks but I am tending to use more of the medium tones.

I have made a total of 3 batches of string blocks that I have already cut into squares using my Studio cutter. I didn't count how many squares I got from the first batch but I did from the second and third. My string blocks are pieced on 8" papers and I made 17 in the second batch and 20 in the third. 

I am using the 2.5" studio die to cut my squares and I got 153 from the second batch of string blocks and 180 from the third. It was amazingly quick and easy to cut all of those 2.5" squares. Just a few passes through the Studio cutter and voila! 

I find that the whole process works much better for me if I remove the papers and give the blocks a spritz of starch before pressing. On more than one occasion I have stitched my seams a bit too narrow because my strings are not all straight. If I remove the papers first I have an opportunity to check for wayward seams and I can fix them prior to cutting the blocks to size.

I have also started cutting the quarter square triangles for the hourglass blocks using another Go die. I already had some stashed in my bins that were leftover from a quilt I made for my niece Amanda. I need to add a lot more variety in the colours and I need a ton of neutrals as well so I still have lots of cutting ahead.