Monday, May 31, 2010

Design Wall Monday

3 out of 4 isn't bad....  I just have to finish stitching the last one and a half bows, then I'll be ready to sew the borders to the quilt!  
I used a narrow machine blanket stitch on the swags, but changed to a narrow zig-zag stitch for the bows.  I found I had more control while turning the sharp ovals.  Now I'll have three quilt tops lined up waiting to be quilted, so I think the next step is to prepare backings and get basting.....
Our bedroom is almost back to normal after its new coat of paint.  The pictures are hung, furniture polished and in place, but I reminded DH that he forgot to clean the ceiling fan....  I am still sorting through a collection of costume jewelry, left to me from my mother.  I need to simplify things, and I rarely wear any of it.  I'm cleaning and polishing, saving some of the special items, and the rest will be donated (my friend's church sale has a jewelry area, so they will probably end up there).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lost a family member....

My mother's first cousin, Elsie, passed away on Friday.  She would have been 97 this year.  Until February, she lived in her own apartment, but we could see that she was becoming very frail.  A fall sent her to the hospital, then into a nursing home.  She died in her sleep.  She and her husband Bill were the only members of my mother's family that we saw 
regularly, and they were the only adults that I was allowed to call by just their first names.  They spent weekends with us on the boat, and attended all my dance recitals, birthdays, Christmases etc.  When my father died, my mother and Elsie moved into the same apartment building, living next door to each other.  I think they got along better later in life, as there had always been a bit of rivalry between them as children and later as adults.  Elsie and Bill had no children, but enjoyed our family, as well as their nieces and nephews.  The second picture has Elsie on the left, me in the middle and my mother, Doris on the right.   I know she will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who Decided on an Appliqued Border?

I finally finished preparing all the applique pieces... First tracing the shapes onto the applique stabilizer, then spending an entire evening cutting out all the shapes.  Then I glued the stabilizer shapes onto the back of the fabric, using a washable school glue.  Back to the scissors and cutting out all the pieces, leaving a seam allowance on each.  Then I spent 2 days with a glue stick, turning the edges to the back...I think I managed to get all the glue residue off my fingers!
I finally started stitching the scalloped swags by machine, using a tiny blanket stitch, with invisible (monofilament) thread in the needle, and "bottom line" thread in the bobbin.  I use an open-toe embroidery foot on the sewing machine so I have better visibility and I stitch very slowly.....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I added the sashing and cornerstones to my current project, but am still trying to decide on the  final border.  I am leaning toward an appliqued border, with scallops and bows, but I don't want to overwhelm the blocks.
After playing with pieced borders, I don't feel happy with a plain one.  Decision time today.  I also have two quilt tops waiting to be quilted, so I guess I have to make time for those as well!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

The tale of two table runners -
My brother's youngest son was getting married last fall, so we took the easy route and purchased a gift from their registry list.  Then my feeling of guilt took over, as I usually make my gifts.  Since I didn't know his bride-to-be, I decided to make a table runner.  (The picture shows both sides)  One side is Christmas and the other is made from some grays and neutrals that I picked up at a quilt show in Hershey PA last summer.  I had fun quilting feathers in the large triangle spaces.

I liked the results so much that I made the second table runner with the rest of the fabrics, along with a few from my stash just for me!  The second runner is paper pieced and was a bonus pattern from Quiltmaker magazine.

Happy Victoria Day Weekend!

In my area this is our traditional planting weekend.  DH and I spent the morning planting tomatoes, herbs, some flower planters and one perennial plant.  Still have to pick up some annuals to fill in some of the gaps, once the spring bulb greens have died back.
DH and I planted this bed around the base of a tree in our condo complex a couple of years ago.   It was time to divide some of my irises and some perennials as well, so though I'd share them with the neighbours.  We plan to make another one around the tree that is off to the left in the picture this fall - time to divide again!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Tisket A Tasket

I was asked to show all the blocks again so here are the links to the original posts:
Block 1 January, Block 2 February, Block 3 March, Block 4 April,  Block 5 May, Block 6 June, Block 7 July, Block 8 August, Block 9 September, Block 10 October, Block 11 November, Block 12 December.
Now back to the drawing board - EQ6 drawing board that is....
I can't seem to make up my mind about the layout design.  Too many border choices!

A Tisket A Tasket Block 12

I decided to use some of my Christmas fabrics for this block.  I also had to look through my stripes to find some "candy cane" fabric as well.  I love my tiny bias tape maker for the 1/4 inch handles.  I find that starching the bias strip first helps to thread it through the opening to get it started.  This is one of the places that I use steam when pressing!
Once again, the appliques were prepared using water soluble stabilizer and a washable glue stick.  Machine appliqued with monofilament thread and machine embroidered. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Question Answered

I was asked about the water soluble stabilizer that I use for my applique.  The kind I have been using is found here.  It is easy to use - I just trace the shape using a pencil, then cut out, making sure to cut on the inside of the line, as the fabric takes up a bit of space when turning under, and I don't want my applique pieces to grow.... It does wash away, leaving a little bit of fiber behind that provides a tiny trapunto effect.
I have also been looking at this type , but haven't tried it yet.  It is fusible, so that would help to hold it in place until the seam allowance is glued to the back side.

A Tisket A Tasket Block 11

I managed to get block 11 finished.   I love choosing the fabrics from my stash.  I cut each shape from water soluble stabilizer, then spent some time with a glue stick, gluing all the seam allowances to the back of the stabilizer.  I then used some washable school glue to attach each piece to the background fabric.  I used invisible (mono-filament) thread and a very small machine  blanket stitch to attach each part of the applique.  When I began this project, I challenged myself to do all the embroidery stitches by machine as well.  For the lines, I use a triple stitch, and then found shapes for eyes, etc.  I had to play with the length and width of the stitches until I found a setting that was correct for each of my choices.  I even sewed the button on by machine!
I haven't been getting as much sewing done this week as I've been  suffering with back pain.  It started to bother me about a week ago, but it has suddenly become worse, so I'm waiting to hear from my doctor's office about an appointment....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Finished Disappearing Four Patch Quilt

I used invisible thread to stitch in the ditch in most of the seams.  Then I decided to play with a couple of quilting designs.

  I stitched flowers in the blue squares, and leaves in the pink ones.  Then did some swirls in the blue border and more leaves and vines in the pink border.  

I think the dark blue border and binding complement the finished quilt.  

I made a scrappy backing of leftover flannel from some of the other lap or kids quilts that I have made.  

(I'm trying to clear some space on my shelves so I can buy more fabric!)

This one is off to my community quilts program with the Limestone Quilters Guild in Kingston.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Design Wall Monday

More finishing to tidy sewing room!  I finished the first 10 blocks of "A Tisket A Tasket" BOM from Bunny Hill Designs before heading south last fall, but as I don't have a stash there, left these to be finished upon my return.
Today is the day!  I'll be getting my light box out and tracing the pieces onto some water-soluble applique foundation and choosing the fabrics to finish the last two blocks.  Then I have to decide what type of setting I want to use to finish the quilt top. Fun, fun, fun.....
Thanks to Judy for hosting design wall Monday

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Disappearing Four Patch

I saw this demo'd and thought it could make a good, quick project for my Florida group next winter.  I like to try things out first.   I am also trying to tidy my sewing room, and found some light blue flowered fabric left over from a Project Linus workshop many years ago.

I began by cutting 6 1/2 inch squares of both fabrics and stitching them into large 4-patch blocks.
I decided that I wanted the centre "sashing" to end up at 2 inches finished, so I made each cut 1 1/4 inch from the centre seam , cutting on both sides and in both directions.
Leaving the four corners and the centre four patch in place, the remaining rectangles were turned around.
I then stitched the block together as you would any nine patch block.
I decided to square the blocks up to 11 inches after sewing.

I think that this would also made a good scrap quilt, and it could be made in a variety of sizes.  It looks best if made with two pairs of matching fabric squares.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Community Quilts

I had fun yesterday at a workshop for our community quilts projects.
We met at the home of one of the coordinators; we sewed, we quilted, we made quilt kits of donated blocks with strips for borders, we made labels, we chatted and laughed....
Then we enjoyed a lovely pot luck lunch with homemade soup, salads, a variety of breads and many lovely desserts!  Yummmmmmmmm.
I is always hard to pack for one of these days, and I always forget things that I really need.  Fortunately, I didn't forget anything really important, and our hostess had lots of items that could be borrowed.  I'm glad she has a huge quilting space (almost the entire basement) as she has tons of bins full of pre-cut squares and strips just waiting for a home in a quilt.
Our guild has one or two "block of the month" challenges per year, with simple blocks in bright colours, destined for one of the many community quilts made each year.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Shabby Roses quilt is on Jenny's Blog!

I sent a picture of the quilt I made using the BOM pattern from Jenny's blog last year.  She has it on the bottom of this page!
It was interesting to make as it combined applique with embroidery.  I found the variegated thread in my stash and had just enough to finish all the blocks with about 2 inches left over!  The blocks were stitched with a back stitch, and the applique was done with a hand blanket stitch.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I managed to get the pieced borders sewn together.  The stars will be in all four corners.  I also have the other borders cut ready to sew as well as the binding prepared.  The top is stitched together in one direction, and is pinned waiting to stitch in the other.  I am a minimalist where pins are concerned, but I do like the pieces to match and dislike becoming pointless!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

I've had a lovely lazy day.  DS2 gave me 2 quilt magazines to browse and become inspired.....  DS1 called and we had a long conversation - doesn't occur too often as his work schedule is crazy and he has to save time to spend with his wonderful wife!
DS2 baked a lovely pound cake, helped me blanch asparagus and get it into the freezer, and made a lovely dinner of chicken mozzarella with rice and asparagus.
I even took some time to read a novel for a while!  
Seems strange as I haven't stitched anything all day.  I do plan to work on my latest cross stitch project this evening.
Hope everyone had a great day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another Alternate Block and Trunk Show Report

Since I still had more 4patch blocks to use, I decided to make one of the borders for this scrappy quilt a pieced border.  I had 4 star blocks remaining, so they could be in the corners, and I decided to use the modified economy block alternating with this simple one.  I had fun pulling more black prints.  I found that most of those in my stash were floral, and most of those were pink!  I managed to get all the blocks stitched, and all the plain borders and the binding cut and waiting.  The top is about half sewn together, waiting for another row and pressing.
My trunk show this week was lots of fun.  I showed my first (and almost my last) quilt, then talked about different types of quilts I had made over the years, with examples of miniatures, stack n whack, redwork, scrappy, appliqued, embroidered etc. quilts.  There was a fun question/answer period, then during the break, everyone was able to get up close and personal with the quilts.  Many more were asking me questions, and I left a list of favourite websites with our newsletter editor, to be shared with the members in the next newsletter.  I also offered my email address to some so that I could answer further questions, or look up more detail of a quilt pattern etc.  I had a fun night, and at the end, donated 4 of my quilts to the community quilt program.  My two bins were much easier to pack for the trip home!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Alternate Block

Since the scrappy star blocks looked too busy just stitched together, and since I wanted to make the quilt larger, I needed to decided on an alternate block.  I still had lots of 4patch blocks made with writing on the "light" squares.  I decided to make an "economy patch" block, using the 4patch as the centre square.  I used the "Companion Angle" ruler to cut triangle pieces from strips.  It works quite well, but you do need to be aware of the bias edges while pressing.  First I looked in my 2 inch strip bin to check for leftovers with black backgrounds, and cut triangles in sets of four.  I also had to check through my stash for smaller saved pieces of black with a small coloured print.  The blocks needed to be larger, so I figured out that I could cut triangles from 2 1/2 inch strips to make another round.  I decided to use lighter shades of greens to help calm the quilt top and to add some contrast.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My latest scrap quilt

This one began due to my frugal nature.  Over the years, I have bought many printed panels to make cloth books, aprons, wall hangings etc.  When I was cutting one out, I looked at all the fabric that was printed with instructions, which cost the same as the printed area.  I decided that it would be wasteful to put all that "good" fabric into the garbage bin, so I cut it all up into 2 inch squares.  I began stitching these to a "dark" square from my bin, as a "leader and ender".  After I had stitched lots of these, I then made them into 4patch blocks.  
Sewing with "leaders and enders" over the past few years has made me think of creative ways to use the finish products.
I stitched more light and dark 2 inch squares into half square triangles by sewing from one corner to the other, then trimming the seam allowance to 1/4 inch.  These were then stitched together into a "flying geese" arrangement.  These were placed around the central 4patch blocks, with cream or white corner squares to make the  6 inch finished blocks.
I made 36 blocks, then decided I had had enough fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Busy Day!

The first of my early irises are blooming this morning!
 Off to have my eyes checked this morning, then trying to get my quilts selected, notes written and packed for my trunk show at the Limestone Quilt Guild meeting in Kingston tomorrow night.  Just received a call from the program coordinator, asking if I needed anything - just some hands to hold up the quilts as I speak...
 I love the shading in the interior of flowers.  This tulip is a beauty...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I just started joining in with the Monday happenings, and I find it keeps me on my toes!  
I found a stack of variable star blocks that needed some friends, so I am making the alternate blocks in blacks and greens to help turn these into a finished quilt.  
I just finished designing the quilt, using EQ6, so now I have a firm plan in place.  I had made 36 star blocks some time in the past, and didn't want to waste any, so I planned a quilt top that will use them all!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just for Fun again

Thought you might like to see the great frog backing....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just For Fun - Project Linus pattern 2003

I finished stitching the binding on this quilt last night.  I used the same dark blue as in the first border.  
I found a great frog print flannel in my stash to back the quilt, (the second border fabric has kids in hats with frogs on the occasional hat).  I machine quilted "in the ditch" with a variegated thread, using a lime green thread in the bobbin to match the frogs!

It will be ready to donate to the Community Quilts program at my guild on Wednesday night.  Our program provides quilts to the oncology units, nursing homes, group homes, and baby quilts for a program at the local hospital, as well as the auxiliary-run gift shop.