Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Solstice Challenge & the Two-Step

I'm keeping up with the Solstice Challenge. So far, the blocks have been fairly simple. If Pat decides to make the block patterns more challenging, I'll probably stop participating and just sew the completed blocks together for a crib quilt. 

Here is this week's block.



And the first four blocks. I seem to have a yellow theme going. There are lots of blocks to sew yet, it will even out by June.





Carole, from My Carolina Home, is hosting her third mystery quilt-along, Two-Step. She has had a series of mystery quilts and they all have something to do with dancing. The first clue will be released on Friday, January 20th and on every 3rd Friday of the month thereafter. The mystery will run for 7 months.

I've decided to sew along with this mystery and I have most of my fabric ready to go.


I ordered this fabric from Missouri Star Quilt Co. years ago. It's Edyta Sitar's Snowbird line. I didn't have any idea what to do with it, so it has just sat in the sewing room, waiting all these years. The fabrics have matured and are ready to be sewn. The larger piece of cream fabric is a Fusions from Robert Kauffman. 

My fabric tastes have changed since I ordered this fabric. I like brighter fabrics now; these fabrics just look so blah, boring, subdued. They really need something to brighten them up. What color do you think I should add? It won't take much but they definitely need something to give it some zing!


Linking to Pat Sloan's I Love to Make Quilts, Fiber TuesdaysSew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pastor's Attic Quilt, the 24th Block

I'm showing the picture of the Pastor's Attic Quilt book. This is a Baltimore Album quilt book written by Marsha D. Radtke in 2009 and published by AQS. She found the original quilt in the attic of the parsonage in which they were living. I call it the Pastor's Attic Quilt (and she does too in the forward) because there are so many Baltimore Album's quilts and I want to differentiate my quilt from the crowd.

There are 25 blocks in this quilt of which 24 of the blocks are appliqued. There is one block which was first pieced, then appliqued to the background fabric. I've looked at that the block ever since I purchased the book so many years ago. I consider myself a very good foundation paper piecer. I mean, I pieced most of my Dear Jane that way and I'm paper piecing Nearly Insane. However, I could not make heads or tails of the directions. 


I decided to leave that block out and come up with another applique block, this is an applique quilt after all. I've been looking at different blocks for years, trying to decide which one to use. I finally decided to use an old stencil pattern. I traced off the design and appliqued her. I love it! There was no name for this pattern on the stencil but I'm sure there is one. Do you know what this design is?  {Updated Sunday evening - My friend Elaine says this pattern is a Lancaster Rose. I think this flower may be showing up in another of my quilts someday}

I didn't think I would be able to applique her in a week, but I didn't feel like machine sewing for several days last week because of Nearly Insane burn-out! I had a marathon session of applique while watching season 2 of Poldark. I got her done!

Now, just one more block to be appliqued! But these completed blocks are for the center section of the quilt; there will be the applique border to applique after the center blocks are sewn together.


Linking to - Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Fiber Tuesday, Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nearly Insane Blocks

I haven't sewn any Nearly Insane blocks since October. I'm sewing a row at a time but since the quilt set is diagonal rows, each row has more blocks. This row has 9 blocks, two of which are cut in half.

These are the four half blocks; the inset triangles. I piece each half separately. Two will be used in this row, the others will be saved to use in a different row. 


A close up of block 22 which has 132 pieces. I'm pretty proud of myself, I've completed this block but of course there is something I would change but I didn't see it until she was completed. I wish I would have put yellow fabric in the center square. But I am NOT going to make a second block. I can easily live with it the way it is.

When you piece blocks with lots of little pieces, you end up with a pile that looks like this.




Apparently Lucinda did too because in amongst the many stars in this row is this block, a good use for the little scraps. Sorry it's blurry.







Pictures from the rest of the blocks because they want their five minutes of fame.


Sometimes my fussy cutting turns out great. I think this little flower in the center looks nice.









The dark fabrics all look the same in the pictures but I am trying to vary the fabrics.









The soft blue fabric in the borders is one of my favorite fabrics. 










These fabrics are more muted but the yellow brightens them up.




I really like this block even though I got the dark and medium fabric mixed up in the inner border. You never know what you are going to end up with.






Now the blocks are attached to the body. I still have room for the body to hang on the display wall. As you can see, my quilt is pieced with scrappy blues and yellows. She is making very slow progress but I enjoy looking at her as she is displayed.

I would like to have the quilt halfway pieced by the beginning of May. Three more rows and she'll be there but each row has more blocks!

There are two blogs I peruse in my Insane journey, Nearly Insane Fans and Nearly Insane Quilts. Sometimes I have trouble visualizing fabric in the blocks when I have the copied pattern. I check these blogs to see the light, medium and dark fabrics. It is interesting how different they are even though they both made the same block patterns. What really amazes me is they both pieced these blocks! I wouldn't be making this quilt if I weren't foundation paper piecing her.

Alyce, from Blossom Heart Quilts, is having a paper piecing BOM, the Milky Way Sampler. The block pattern is free for a month, then there is a charge. If you are interested in learning to paper piece, I encourage to you to download these patterns when they are free and try them. They look like fairly simple blocks and would be good ones to learn with.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pitcher of Ruched Flowers

The 23rd block of the Pastor's Attic Quilt is completed! This block is called Pitcher of Ruched Flowers but, as you can see, the flowers are not ruched. I plan to hand quilt this quilt and I didn't know if it would be difficult to quilt those layers of fabric. I took the easy way out and made flat flowers.

I like circles in the center of the flowers so much better than embroidered french knots. 

The bottom of the vase looks wonky but she is going to stay that way. My blocks all have a rather rustic aspect to them.

I'll be starting on the next block this afternoon. She probably won't be completed by next Sunday, but I'll will show you the progress I've made.

Mama Spark's World is starting an Ocean Waves quilt-along. Ocean Waves has been on my list of quilts to make for many years. I may have to think about this project.

Linking to - Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh QuiltsMy Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

One Monthly Goal, Quilting Plans for 2017

In my November 15, 2016 blog post, I wrote about the 12 quilting projects I had planned for this winter. This is an updated list. Five of the original projects have been completed, most of those were very small projects, but they still needed to be made.

So this is the list for 2017.


1. I got stalled in December piecing the borders. This is the official One Month Goal, to get the borders pieced and sewn onto the center! This quilt was started November, 2016



2. Pastor's Attic Quilt - I've completed 22 blocks, just 3 more center blocks to applique. This is my top priority applique quilt. 








I couldn't fit all of the blocks in picture. The first photo is the left side. The second picture includes the right side.


I started appliqueing these blocks in November, 2015.
3. Sweet Surrender - Applique triangles are finished, need to piece the pieced triangles. 

I started appliqueing the triangles in January, 2016.



4. Nearly Insane - This is a very slow project I only work on when I feel like it. I have to be in the right mood to piece those many pieced blocks.

Started this project in January, 2016.




5. Postage Stamp Quilt - What was I thinking? I had big plans for a king sized postage stamp quilt using a whopping total of 12,000 pieces!

While evaluating my projects last week, I decided I didn't want to make it like I had planned. I pieced two more blocks so I had a dozen blocks, then I sewed them together into a crib quilt. This crib quilt has 1200 pieces in the center and measures 42" x 52". I will quilt this myself this winter sometime, probably with spiral quilting since I know how to do it now. 

I slept on this decision over night before I sewed the center together. I am so glad I decided to call it quits now. When it isn't fun anymore, it is time to either finish it or else get rid of it!


6. Wilfred & Cloves - Still need to piece the blocks to finish this quilt. Someday I'll get to her. I think this would be a good project to work on at the Jane Stickel retreat in April.

I finished the applique on this block in November, 2015. She's still waiting for the finish!


Summer Quilt - I haven't thought of anything and it probably won't happen this winter. So I'm not going to give this project a number anymore and it is officially off the list. Maybe next winter? Maybe tie it into the Rainbow Challenge? (See #8 below)

I've added 2 more projects to the list.


7. Solstice Challenge - I've joined in the challenge. Pat Sloan sends us a pattern every Wednesday. So far I've kept up!


8. I'm participating in the Rainbow Challenge this year from So Scrappy. The color for January is purple. I'm using the 4-patches I sewed for the postage stamp quilt and revised my block. I especially liked the rainbow quilt I made one of my granddaughters last winter. I thought I'd do it again.

I get tired of working on the same project all the time. These projects have plenty of variety to keep me challenged.

I hope 2017 is a very productive quilting year for you!

Linking to - One Monthly GoalSew Fresh Quilts, WIP's With FriendsMy Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tulip Square

I've finished the Tulip Square block from the Pastor's Attic quilt. I don't think the flowers look like tulips but she's completed. Just 3 more blocks to applique! I'm prepping the next block today.

It's the season for Sew-Along & Mystery Quilts. Just in case you have nothing to work on right now, here are a list of the projects I'm aware of. The first project is from several months ago but still relevant.

Kaaren from the Painted Quilt has shared the pattern for Stopped Me in My Tracks! I really like the quietness of this quilt. This sew-along was in the spring of 2016 but it is still a beautiful quilt.

Pat Sloan is hosting The One Hundred Eighty-Two Day Solstice Challenge which started December 21st. Pat is also having a Mystery BOM, 2017 Children's Library. The fabric information was released yesterday for the library quilt.

So Scrappy hosts a Rainbow Scrap Challenge every year. You make the block(s) you want to make but she says which color to use. Some beautiful quilts have been created using this idea.

Carole from My Carolina Home has a mystery quilt starting the end of January.

Just in case you've been in a coma for the last 6 weeks, Bonnie Hunter has her annual mystery quilt in progress, En Provence. The pattern is a free online pattern but only until June.

Cindy from Quilt Doodles is organizing a traditional mystery quilt. She says the quilt will be like one you can find at grandparents home.

The Surrounded by Scraps Mystery Quilt is hosted by Charlotte Hawks and starts on January 11th, 2017.

Barbara Brackman's Yankee Diary sew-along starts the 25th of January.

Quiltmaker Magazine is continuing their 100 Blocks Sampler sew-along. The blocks are from different issues of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks issues.  This sew along started in 2016 and will continue into 2017. The blocks have been resized to 6". 

Of course if you are really into sew-along, there's the 365 Day Challenge Quilt. There was a challenge for 2016 and they are doing it again in 2017. You will be creating the same quilt that was made in 2016. I was insane enough to sign up but now I realize there is no way I want to participate. I don't like sewing with a deadline; why stress myself out trying to keep up?

Update - Myra from Busy Hands Quilts has a big list of sew-alongs to peruse. Maybe your project is there waiting for you!

I don't usually jump into a sew-along. I like to complete quilts, not just start them, but I have joined Pat's Solstice Challenge. I have also selected a block pattern to make during the year and will be joining in Rainbow Scrap Happy this year. The color selected for January is purples! Are you sewing along with any challenges this new year?

Linking to Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh QuiltsCrazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December Monthly Goal Flew Out the Window!

My One Monthly Goal was to completely sew the blue churn dash quilt top. I did make some progress but just couldn't make myself concentrate exclusively on her. I needed a break and decided to finish up other projects.

I pulled out the Star Bright crib quilts (which was a free pattern) and got them quilted. I added a flange binding to each one to brighten up the grays.


A year ago I had spiral quilted a charity quilt which turned out rather wonky and would not lay flat. I hadn't had read any tutorials, just jumped in and started quilting. This time around, I read tutorials and I'm pleased with the way the quilting turned out on this quilt. She's not perfectly flat but she's a lot flatter than the quilt a year ago!


And a back view. I didn't have much gray fabric in my stash, just these two darker grays. Now they are mostly used up.









A month or so ago, I was looking through the manual to my sewing machine and noticed a stitch to be used in quilting! I used the stitch on the first two quilts. It's a long stitch then a short back stitch then a short stitch forward. Basically it locks the thread in place so if it is cut or torn, all the stitching doesn't come out. Using this stitch used a lot more thread though and took longer to quilt.


I wanted to quilt each quilt differently and came up with a different quilting on this one. I don't like the way she turned out and it took so much longer than the spiral quilting did. Even though I'm not visually pleased with the quilting, I'm happy there are no puckers, pleats or tucks.


I bought this pretty gray/white dotted fabric to use on the backs of two quilts. I'm like grays more than I used to. Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts is influencing my fabrics choices now.







For the third quilt I decided to do spiral quilting again. It does go fast once you understand what you are doing. I did not use the special quilting stitch for quilting this quilt. I just wanted to get it finished!

The tutorials I read were 10 Tips for Spiral Quilting Success from Flourishing Palms Blog and Spiral or Circular Quilting from Elm Street Quilts. These tutorials were the reason my spiral quilting was a success this time around.

These 3 crib quilts measure 39" by 44". I personally like crib quilts to be bigger than this. I will make this pattern again, but to make it larger, I will add a row of blocks to the top and left side. Or, maybe I'll cut the blocks bigger. I decide whenever I make another one.

These 3 baby quilts will be donated to the Family Christian Development Center in Nappanee.


Day into Night is the second block in the Solstice Challenge. I used a dark fabric since we're talking about night.

I'm enjoying having my daughter home this week. She leaves on Saturday then it will be back to business on the churn dash quilt again.

Linking up to One Monthly Goal, Solstice Challenge, Sew Fresh Quilts, Esther's Wednesday Wow!My Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Show Off Saturday, Free Motion Mavericks