Friday, May 13, 2016

Humble Quilts Doll Quilt Swap

It's reveal day and I finally get to show the beautiful quilt I received from Nancy. Is this not wonderful?

Oh, I love it! Thank you so much, Nancy!

Here's a little close-up:

I'll never get over my love of reproduction fabrics. Aren't they luscious?

And as if that that lovely little quilt weren't enough, she also sent me a fabulous book.

I love this book. There are just so many little quilts to admire, and more than a few to consider making up myself. I'm grading up a storm at the moment (in these final days of the semester), but grades go in next week, and then I see some serious sewing ahead!

Thank you for the beauty of a quilt and lots of temptation!

And for those of you wanting to see the swap quilts all together, head on over to Humble Quilts and enjoy the collection!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another

Well, I started with the little squares I had cut from the leftover charms, and I made the little basket (which I forgot to take a picture of -- oops). And then I thought about using some of the squares I had left to make up a hot pad. Like this:

I took a bunch of photos and meant to write it up last weekend and then accidentally deleted the photos. (Oops, again!)

So I made up another so I could take some photos.

To begin, I once again used Pellon's 1" fusible grid interfacing. I cut 12 by 12 on the squares and then cut out a two inch square from each corner.

I laid out thirty-two 2" squares on the grid and pressed.

After folding over and sewing as usual, I made a small cut at the corners to meet the seam line.

I also trimmed off a wee bit from the seam allowance.

The little cut I made meant I could press open the seams at the cut-out corners as well.

Seams all sewn and pressed! So fast and easy. I love it.

After I grabbed a bit of spare batting, I settled for some easy straight line quilting.

I used the AccuQuilt GO! 8" circle die to cut out the hot pad circles--  the cross lines make it easy to center the patchwork.

So I ran the pieced and quilted section thru, and then a little Insul-Bright, a backing piece, and another piece of batting. Easy peasy.

So, it may have taken be a little longer to get there, but this little duo accounts for my GO! Sew Challenge for last week and this week. Whew. That's good, because this quilter just had a very nasty bout of food poisoning, or maybe the flu, and I am wrung out. Writing this up is the only thing I've accomplished all day. I could use better photos or perhaps more time in Photoshop but, hey, sometimes good enough is good enough, right?

And, as Scarlett said, Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gotta Sew!

Gotta sew! -- despite sewing room challenges. I've staged a coup on the dining room table. So progress IS being made. For one, I managed to sew all the GO! Tumbler rows together.

Isn't that pretty? Having got it to this stage though, I'm pretty sure I need to add one or two more rows. From this angle it looks plenty long, but that's my camera skills for you. When I hold it up, I can see it needs to be a little longer. It's destined to be a lap quilt that a guy could use --  so while it is plenty long enough for little ol' height-challenged me, it's not long enough for the male contingent. Perhaps by next weekend it will be ready for borders.

I sewed up the latest Westering Women block from Barbara Brackman. Was I the only quilter to find this block an absolute pain in the neck to sew? My inset seam skills abandoned me. I am afraid I periodically used language unbecoming a gentlewoman and scholar.  Still, the block did come out to size in the end. (That had quite a bit to do with a hot iron, steam, elbow grease and determination.)

And there's some more GO! work ahead. For one, it's never too early to start holiday sewing, is it? This year I'm making up some little baskets using Pink Penguin's basket tutorial. It's a good use of leftover charms, for one.

The basket pattern calls for 2" squares and I have a 2" GO! die, so that's perfect.

A few years ago, I gave myself a GO! Challenge to use the 2" inch die and cut up charms into entirely useable pieces. You can see the results of that here.  This time I wasn't aiming to be that frugal. I was entirely fine with just getting four 2" squares per charm.

A few passes through the GO! and I've got a happy little assortment to play with.

When I make up the basket pattern, I like to use Pellon's Fusible 1" grid. It speeds up the sewing process and gives the basket a little extra body as well. Here it is with the first set of seams sewn. (I created a couple tutorials on using the Pellon grid that you can find here and here.)

And in no time I've got the two patched sets I need for a basket. So cute!

And there's lots more to keep me busy this coming week.  GO! Sew indeed.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

GO! Workout

When I think of things I'm grateful for, that I picked up quilting as my hobby of choice always makes the list. It's brought me good times, helped me through hard times, and invited the friendship of wonderful women into my life. I love, too, how quilting lets us bring gifts to others as well. A friend is fighting cancer and so I've been collecting well wishes from co-workers. This weekend it's been all about sewing up those blocks.  (I whited out the names to protect people's privacy).

These have been great blocks for my leaders and enders tumbler project. Wow, have I made progress this weekend!

They may not look like much all neatly folded up (there's some more strips out of the camera image as well), but I have the rows for the lap quilt nearly all finished. Just a few more patches to add and then I'll be joining the rows together. I'm excited about that -- all part of my current need to finish the old as well as start the new.

The working dies for this week:

I love when dies play well together -- like how the 3" finished half square triangles line up so perfectly with the signature die.

And there is a new Big gadget in my sewing room!

That was an indulgence that nearly had me hyper-ventilating before I clicked purchase. Though there is at least some reason to the madness. My doctor has a habit of starting sentences with "Well, at your age . . . ." And what being an old gray mare of my age means is that those repetitive stress injuries are way too easy to come by. I can feel it on occasion when I'm doing a lot of GO! work -- cranking that handle again and again. I feel it with rotary cutting as well. My elbow and shoulder just ain't what they used to be. So I'm hoping the GO! Big can keep me quilting away with a little less wear and tear, since I am a woman of a certain age (and then some).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Two Colors, Too Fun

It's been a good week. To begin, I finished the miniature blue and white quilt.

I am so happy with how that came out.  I'm really loving that I hand quilted it.  So sweet.

And I made progress on the next red and white. I'll probably branch out with my red and white minis, but to start, I'm pulling patterns from Miniatures in Minutes. This next one is the Everlasting Tree foundation. The red and white print-out is my EQ mock-up.

And here it is with the top sewn up. White fabric. White snow.

I think I'll probably machine quilt this one.  I seem to be on a mission to begin anew and finish the old, so the little pincushion below is the finish of a little five by five block I had sewn up quite a while ago.

And with all the red and white going on, I decided it was finally time to order Infinite Variety. It came this last week. Oh, those quilts. Be still my heart! And look, here's a red and white version of the blue and white mini quilt I showed up above:

I'm pretty sure I'll need a red and white version of my own!  I was playing with this design in EQ and wanted to see if I could work a two-color with triangles in the larger squares. This is what I came up with:

I like that quite a lot. And then, what should I see as I was browsing Infinite Variety, but this variation:

I love that as I play with quilt design, I'm just following the footsteps of all those quilters who came before.  It really is a living tradition.

And because I need to show I haven't forgotten about the GO! Sew Challenge, I have to say my tumbler die has been getting a work out this last week. I've been cutting new and sewing the old. This is only part of the show:

Every bit of progress counts! I do LOVE to start new quilts, but it sure is satisfying to work on the older projects and see them move closer to completion. I have so many unfinished projects, they feel like a burden or a weight of guilt. Working on them definitely helps get rid of that bit of unnecessary emotional baggage. And besides, pretty fabrics, pretty quilts!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

What's GO!ing On?

I'm still following my GO! Sew Challenge and this week the GO! has been getting a workout. First off, I finished the little red and white 13-Square miniature quilt.

The GO! has been busy cutting signature patches for a quilt I'll be making for a friend.

And there's some bright and cheerful tumbler patches coming along, too.

And it's March,  which means it's time, of course,  to bring out the miniature Irish Chain quilt.

I wrote about this quilt ages ago -- about my Irish roots here, and how I used the 13-Square foundation from Miniatures in Minutes (the same one as the red and white quilt above) here.

And now that I've finished one red and white miniature, I'm pondering which one will come next.  Let's hear it for Spring Break!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

More Progress

It was just so much fun working on the red and white mini, I couldn't stop. I'm hoping I can finish it off this week. Right now, I'm hand quilting the border. For the pieced center, I machine stitched in the ditch.

Here's a few process shots just because.

The patches all added and starting Fold and Sew on the rows:

Once the paper is off, I like to press the seams open so they lay flatter:

At this stage, it is really easy to distort all that tiny piecing. I try my best not to do that, but I almost always need to do a little pressing to get the quilt back into square. I press freezer paper onto an ironing surface and draw a square that allows me to size the block exactly.

I aim to be really careful as I add borders. Still square. Yes!

Yup, that makes me happy.

And here I am:

Not the kind of stitching that's going to win any awards, but it's making me surprisingly happy to hand quilt again. Something I haven't done in ages.

Meanwhile, the sewing room continues to come together bit by bit. My shelf for the wee decorative things.

Oh, some of that goes way back. The little red top was given to me by a beau when I was in second grade. The vintage rick rack and thread bits go back to my grandmother's sewing basket, as does the pincushion on the top shelf. I made the red needle book for my mother back when I was in third or fourth grade, I think -- perhaps my first sewing project. There's a wee ancient Alice in Wonderland that was given to me by a dear friend in college. Add in sewing gifts from quilting friends and a couple Dalmatians in honor of the first dogs my husband and I shared our lives with.

It's what makes a room really special, isn't it? All those bits of history, all the love, and all the connections -- past and present. Every time I look at the bits and pieces on this shelf, I smile.

More practically, there's the cutting table. So clean, too!

It's hard to tell from the photos but the walls are a cream color, a very soft yellow. I'm loving it. In fact, I'm loving my sewing room so much at the moment, I just want to move in food stuffs and a sleeping bag and live there. Of course, I do have other demands on my time. My husband, for one. That's fine -- a nice quiet evening at home with wine and chocolate ahead. I'm not complaining.

Not to mention there are classes to teach, students to meet, and papers to grade. It's nice to know the sewing room is there all pretty and new when I've got the time though.

One last thing: Emmy asked how I hang my quilts on the wall. So, nothing fancy.

In the past, I sewed hanging sleeves onto the backs of my minis. Now I sew triangles (just a square folded on the diagonal) into the binding. There's a lot to like about this method: it's easy and there's no hand sewing. It also makes it really simple to switch between little quilts of different sizes.

I stab two push pins into the wall a little less than a couple inches apart. (I use a level to make sure they are even). Then a narrow little dowel slips into the triangles and balances on the pins. Easy peasy.

For my older little quilts with hanging sleeves I just cut out a rectangle from the center top of the sleeve -- that allows me to still use the dowel and pins. Not a particularly elegant solution, I grant, but hey, it works.

Oh, wait. One last last thing. The latest Westering Women block from Barbara Brackman.  All blues and browns for me with this sampler.