Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This 'N That

I'm trying to finish up some odds and ends around the sewing room before I start March's projects.

I've had the center of the little churn-dash wall hanging hanging on the display wall ever since I sewed it together. I guess I was afraid if I put it away, I'd never get back to it.

I needed the space so I decided to get him finished. I went with a simple checkerboard border for the first border and finished it with blue for the outside border. The binding is made. Into the ready to be quilted box he goes. I don't know if I'll hand quilt him or donate him to a charity that will hand quilt then sell in a auction.

I've used the same blue for the churn dash quilts as I used in my blue & white Dear Jane quilt. I had purchased a whole bolt because I didn't want to have to worry about running out of fabric. 

I measured the fabric left on the bolt, there are 3 yards left out of the original 15. I love this fabric today as much as I did when I purchased it back in November 2014. The name is Evening from Robert Kaufman's Fusions Mist collection. I'm also using some of this fabric in Nearly Insane.

When I was piecing the Scrappy Stars charity quilt, I started thinking about a different scrappy star quilt to make with 5" squares. After I finished sewing the small churn dash wall hanging together, I started on the new comforter top.

This is what I came up with. I keep seeing the 16 block scrappy star around on different blogs. These are two big scrappy 16 block stars. He measures 60" x 82". 

The box of purple fabrics is getting very low. In fact, it is so low, I didn't have enough variety of purple blocks to make another scrappy border.

Things I would do differently? I would make the yellow border 3" wide and put it in between the stars and purple squares. The outside purple border would have been 5" instead of 3". But it is finished and he is not going to be redone. Another charity comforter top, ready to be knotted.

The hand quilting has started on the blue churn dash quilt. People often ask me, how long it takes to hand quilt a quilt? It takes as long as it takes. You can't speed up hand quilting unless you make your stitches huge.

There are feathers in the white border. They take time but they are so lovely to see.

I basted the edge of the quilt to the backing and batt with longer stitches. To quilt the square-in-a-square border, there are 3 needles going. One to stitch in the ditch along the border edge. Two going along the sides of the squares. You can just keep going when you quilt like this. 

I'm using a wool batt and the quilting thread is white YLI. Now you will get weekly updates on the quilting process.

Linking to - Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Let's Bee Social, Sew Some LoveMy Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Show & Tell Monday

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Slow Stitching

I had a wonderful time with my daughter while in Arizona.  I didn't have 7 days of sunshine though, it actually rained 2 of the days I was there. Rain is always welcome in the desert so I'm not going to complain.

I did knit a couple of dishrags. They are always easy and mindless. They were a nice change from applique.

I had taken embroidery along but didn't even take it out of the bag. I worked on it before I left for Arizona and since I've returned home. Several years ago I made embroidered pincushions from patchwork loves embroidery by Gail Pan. 

Last summer I decided it was time to make more projects from this book and prepped several projects. But I didn't have time to work on any of the projects. I've started working on needle book covers. 

It's interesting what we can see in pictures that we don't see in real life. I'm see that the bird doesn't have a beak or an eye. I'll add those today.

I'll be embroidering until the applique border for the Pastor's Attic quilt is ready for applique.

In December 2016, I purchased two more embroidery books, Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery by Gail Pan and Stitches from the Garden by Kathy Schmitz.

I don't know when I'll get around do embroidering any of the projects in the books but I have the books. As you can see, I've had both of them spiral bound too. 

One time, on my blog, I mentioned that I have books spiral bound when I want them lay completely flat. Someone asked me if places still do that. Well, I don't know about where you live, but I had these two books spiral bound last December at the Staples store on the northwest side of Goshen.

I used to do a lot of embroidery but applique seems to have taken over my world the last several years. I'm hoping to find a balance between the two skills.

I have a special quilt to show you. My friend Edith just completed this quilt top. It is Stars For a New Day, a Sue Garman pattern. Edith's quilts are always so beautiful. She is wonderful with color selection. The quilt will be long arm quilted.

Linking to - Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Love Laugh Quilt, Super Mom - No Cape, Fiber TuesdayEsther's Wednesday WOW!, Let's Be Social, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

The teal 4-patch blocks were sewn before I left for Arizona.

I paired these blocks with January's purple blocks and played with the layouts.

First the blocks are place in straight rows but vertically.

Second layout - I don't know what you call this, maybe mini barn raising?

And the final design - Barn Raising.

I like them all.
The Star Dance blocks were pieced this week, 8 of them. Aren't they cute? They will finish at 4".

Linking to - Scrap Happy Saturday, Finished Or Not Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric AddictEm's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Fiber Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Scrappy Stars, A Charity Quilt

Several Sundays ago, on January 29th, I was planning to piece another Nearly Insane block. Before I got to my sewing machine, I checked Sarah's blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict to see the first of several free quilt patterns to use for charity quilts.

The first pattern was Scrappy Stars. I scrapped the Insane plan and jumped into the new project.

I try to remember to cut up leftover pieces of fabrics into strips and 5" blocks. I also cut older fabrics that way. So I already had a basket full of 5" blocks. What could go wrong? Did I mention Sarah said she pieced a quilt from this pattern in 4 hours? 

Sewing the 9-patch blocks was easy. Then I started on the star blocks. I had 4 star blocks completed when my son dropped in for a visit. I quickly laid out blocks to show him what I was doing. He said, "Mom, you don't see the stars." And he was right, you didn't. So I piled everything onto a tray; set it aside until another day and pieced an Insane block.

After I completed sewing a row of Nearly Insane, sewed the blocks for the center of my Pastor's Attic Quilt together and then marked the blue churn dash quilt, I got the tray out again. I decided I wasn't going to let this quilt defeat me!

I pulled darker fabrics to use in the star blocks and put it all together. I added a border because I thought it needed one to give my eyes a place to rest. 

It took me two weeks but this was what I came up with.

My Scrappy Stars is larger than the ones Sarah made. The charity this flimsy will be donated to wants the quilts to be at least 60" x 80". I don't need to quilt it, he will become a knotted comforter. This quilt top will be an easy one to knot, the squares are evenly spaced.

To see the other patterns Sarah has to offer, check out these links - Exploding Stars, Speak to Me of Love and Super Nova.

In January I linked to DrEAMi after I started a new block for the RSC. DrEAMLi! is about starting new projects on the spur of the moment. She wasn't impressed that the new project I started in January on the spur of the moment was going to take me more than a year to finish. Maybe taking 2 weeks to make this spur of the  moment project will be more satisfying to her.

Linking to - Fiber Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Sew Some Love, My Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, DrEAMi!, Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, Monday Making

Sunday, February 12, 2017

One Monthly Goal & Churn Dash Quilt

I don't purposely set easy goals to complete but again I've finished my One Monthly Goal way before the end of the month. You just never know how long a project is going to take.

The circles have replaced the embroidery, the blocks have been squared to size and the center is complete! I am very excited.

When I return home from Arizona, I'll start prepping the borders. I had planned to make the vine be straight. I guess the reason I thought that way was because, even though the original border is zig-zag, the vine was straight. 

Lynne Stucke left a kind comment saying "May I very quietly suggest you rethink straight vines on the borders? That would create quite a bit of straight and box-like empty space in a visually full, curvy quilt. Of course, you could always fill it with beautiful hand quilting . . . But, maybe a curved vine (as opposed to the zig-zag) might be more visually pleasing to you? Just a thought. The changes you've already made are absolutely fantastic, so who do I think I am to make any (though well-meant) suggestions???"

What a wonderful idea. I've been visualizing this all week and I won't have the stick flower in the corner. So, as of now, I'm going to have a lovely vine. Thanks for the suggestion Lynne.

I haven't forgotten about my blue churn-dash quilt; the quilt has been marked. I'm going to be using a wool batt. The batt has been removed from the packaging and unfolded. I lightly spritzed it with water to help it relax. A week on the bed should soften the kinks. Quilting will commence when I return home.

I'm leaving Monday, February 13th for a fun filled week visiting our daughter and son-in-law in warm sunny Arizona. She has some special activities planned. Actually, just experiencing 7 consecutive days of sunshine will be exciting. I will return home the following Monday. Until my next post, Happy Stitching!

Linking to - Finished or Not Friday,  Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Love Laugh Quilt, One Monthly Goal

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Nearly Insane

I had two more blocks to piece to finish this row of Nearly Insane and they're done.

This is block 5.  She was easy to piece.

The last block was the block with the most pieces, #17 with 109 pieces. First I decide on the values. I wanted the star points to stand out so those were marked as dark. Fussy cut flowers would be nice so I marked which blocks they were. The other flowers were differentiated. 

After the paper was marked, I made a master copy to refer to when I put the blocks together. I don't do this for every block, only the ones with a large amount of pieces.

When the values are marked, I decide how to cut the paper apart for piecing. It broke down fairly easily, square in squares and then the outside finishing blocks.

I piece each section of blocks, then lay them out for a look. I want to make sure I have the right fabrics in the right place.

Then I turn them over to the backside and sew them together.

Topside view.

I trim the block to size and remove the paper then give her another good press.

The stars show up nicely. That is what I was hoping would happen but you never know how the block is going to look until she is finished.

I used a new fabric in this block. Aren't those little elephants cute? They make a nice change from the flowers.

The blocks are sewn into a row and attached to the body. I'm still able to get her on the display wall. She hangs off some but I enjoy looking at her.

I had been placing the blocks the way the Nearly Insane book had them but I mixed this row up. I noticed a white section was starting to form on the left bottom side. I mixed the blocks so the light and dark blocks were more evenly distributed.

Two more rows and then the center will be half way finished!

The Amaryllis have started to bloom. This one is apple blossom. The flowers are so cheery. I don't keep track of which bulb is which color so each plant is an adventure.

In November I potted 6 bulbs and took them on my family's Christmas gathering in December. I also took along 10 bulbs. The pots were all taken and half of the bulbs too. 

My sister sent a photo of her flowers. That light orange color is nice and bright in this gloomy winter we are having this year.

Linking to - Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Love Laugh Quilt, Fiber TuesdayEsther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, My Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The 25TH Block!

The 25th block of the Pastor's Attic quilt is finished! 

This is a great feeling of accomplishment. The applique process for this quilt started in November 2015.

Here are all the blocks in their layout. I've been switching them around and I think this is the way they will be sewn together. I am going to turn the top corner blocks so the vase is on the outside and the two side basket on their side. You'll see what I mean when they're sewn together.

That bright light on the left side of the quilt is a natural phenomena that has occurred occasionally this winter. It's called sunshine. 

I've arranged my blocks differently than they are in the original quilt. I made some of the blocks light so I've tried to distribute them through the quilt.

I've started changing the french knots for circles. When the circles are finished, I'll trim the blocks to size, then sew them together.

A commenter asked me what my next applique project is going to be. Well . . . after I get these blocks sewn together, there are borders to be appliqued. The work on this quilt isn't finished yet.

I don't like the zig-zag of the border applique in the book, so I will simplify my applique and make it straight. I'm thinking maybe 3 sections on each side.

I do want flowers in the corners but I don't think the stems will be as long as the picture. But I'm not sure about that, I'll do the vine/leaves/flowers first.

I had thought about making a narrow red HST border before the outside border, but I've decided not to. I like the gentle simplicity of the background fabric.

As you can see, there is plenty of applique in my future to post about on upcoming Sundays. I hope you haven't grown too tired of this quilt. I will be exceedingly happy if the top is completed (but not quilted) by the end of this year. Thanks for following along on this journey.

Linking to - Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Fiber TuesdayEsther's Wednesday WOW!, My Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Nearly Insane & Solstice Challenge

I've been piecing more Nearly Insane blocks. There are 11 blocks in this row and I've completed 9 of them.

The two split blocks.

And the other blocks completed so far in this row.

Don't look at this block if you are a perfectionist. I found the mistake after I'd trimmed and removed the paper. I'm leaving it like it is.

I've pressed these blocks but the edges still curl.

A picture of the backside of block #47 before the paper is removed. Give it a good press, be careful, the paper gets HOT!
The front side before trimming. I always like to make the pieces for the outside extra long.

I found this yellow in another tub, pulled it out and used it in this block. The color is more brighter than the other yellows I've used but I like it.

Trimming to an exact 6-1/2". Using a 6-1/2" square ruler makes it easier.
Now the paper can be removed from the back. Never remove the paper before trimming or you will be very sad. 

And the block beside all the trimmings made while piecing.

I didn't like the block for week 6 of the Solstice Challenge so I made a 2nd block from the week 5 pattern, but made value changes.

I've decided not to participate in the Two Step mystery quilt. I'll be downloading the directions, but I just don't want to spend my time sewing a quilt if I'm not sure what she will look like. I know, that's the mystery in mystery quilts but I like to play it safe.

Linking to - Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagLove Laugh Quilt, Fiber Tuesday, Esther's Wednesday WOW!, Sew Fresh Quilts, WIP'S With Friends, My Quilt Infatuation, Finished Or Not FridayCrazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, WIP's Be Gone