Saturday, January 18, 2020

Scrappy Saturday

January is green month at the RSC challenge, and I have lots of green scraps to sew up, but I have become obsessed with my 2018 RSC Squared Away sampler blocks. There is no predicting when a fascination with finishing a particular quilt will take hold, but when it does, I try to follow through!

light grey alternate blocks
The plan was to add sashing to make it a larger quilt, but in the blog comments last week, Janet suggested adding alternate blocks to make a full size quilt. I love creative ideas from blog readers... thanks Janet! 

auditioning some beige alternate blocks

I started digging in the stash to see what yardage I had that might work. I auditioned several fabrics and truthfully I like them all well enough.

But when my sewing friends came over this week, I showed them the choices, and they preferred the grey fabrics, especially the one on the right.

auditioning grey alternate blocks

Do you have a preference or suggestion?
Linking up to the RSC weekly scrap party.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Machine Quilting Class Coming Soon!

feather quilting sample

In spite of my recent complaining about quilting my UFO project, I usually love machine quilting. I have taken many classes, and taught many classes on this topic over the years. There is so much to learn, and everyone has their own tips and tricks to make it enjoyable and successful.
And there are so many fun designs to experiment with!

ribbon candy and wishbones sample

I am teaching a machine quilting class at Triangle Sewing on Saturday January 25th, so join us if you want to learn 4 free motion quilting designs - feathers, ribbons, wishbones and swirls. 

I often hear things like "it's too hard", or "I'm not good at free motion quilting". But it only gets easier, and you become good at it, by PRACTICING. It's the only way to learn this skill.
swirls in small spaces sample

Part of the challenge with machine quilting is learning about teamwork. You and your machine are a team. With practice you learn to respect your sewing machine, discover what it is good at, what thread it prefers, and how to work together for the best outcome.
Click here for the Triangle Sewing contact info and join me for a fun day of practicing and improving your machine quilting skills!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Midmonth UFO Report

pin basting "Chocolate Dance"
My UFO project for January is Chocolate Dance. I made a good start on it, but am really not enjoying it. 
I had 2 brilliant ideas that turned out to lack brilliance:
1) try minke for a cuddly backing, and 
2) don't use a batting to make it a light weight cuddle quilt having only 2 layers (quilt top and minke back).

I stitched in the ditch in all the vertical seam lines (using the walking foot) to stabilize the quilt, but it wasn't very stable. It was slippery and hard to control because of the lack of the stabilizing influence of the batting, and the very slippery minke backing.

I free motion quilted swirls around the chocolate windmills in the centre. Usually that is really fun for me, but the tension was a constant issue, and eventually I just accepted that the brown minke fluff was going to pop up through the stitches on the top (because I didn't use a batting) AND the tension was way off in places on the back, and that's just the way life is with minke! No amount of altering the tension settings could fix that.
My ideas seemed so brilliant when I thought of them at the time, but no... they turned out to be dumb ideas!

By the time I decided I hated the whole thing, I had done too much quilting to take it all out. So I just kept going and hoped  for the best!
I have decided that I hate minke and will never use it again. I put a strip of masking tape beside the cutting mat to attempt to corral the minke debris when I trimmed to the quilt, but it didn't help much... brown bits of fluff are everywhere.
Never again!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Frolic Update

Frolic pieces are on the design wall today. Up until last week we had sewn well over 1,000 pieces and blocks for this quilt. Who knew that frolicking is so labour intensive!?!

Step #7 pinwheels on the design board - raspberry and dark blues
I really enjoyed sewing step #7 which involved some triangle cutting, and some pinwheel making. I ran out of the red fabrics I had collected for this quilt, so had to go searching in the stash for more. Not finding any useful reds, the top left and top middle blocks were cut from my brother's dress shirts.

While happily frolicking along, I was overly enthusiastic and sewed too many pinwheel blocks for step #7! When step #8 was posted, I realized my mistake and started unsewing. Grrr... read the instructions, and re-read the instructions!

9 Sets for Frolic part #8
Once that was accomplished I started coordinating the parts to build the necessary sets. Here are the first 9. The pinwheels are on the bottom of the piles. 
I am using pink/salmon  instead of aqua, and gold instead of green. 

This has been such a fun and challenging mystery so far!
My 4 favourite sets that completely coordinate!
Even though I am a very experienced mystery quilt maker, this has kept me guessing, and made me really think to keep everything in order. I do miss the weekly link ups we used to have in previous Quiltville mysteries, but you can see some photos from the mystery quilters posted on instagram ... #Frolicquilt.  
Linking up to Small Quilts.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party!
Make a cup of your favourite beverage, grab a snack (you'll be here for a while) and enjoy visiting the amazing blog links below from hand stitchers around the world. 

What I have to share today is pretty mundane, but it is hand stitching. As I mentioned on Friday's post, one of my jobs is mending items for my grown kids. 
They are very keen to keep things functional (as opposed to throwing them in the garbage) and I want to encourage that environmentally sound thinking, but neither of them have learned to thread a needle yet! So we came to the agreement that they help with household repairs, and I help with textile repairs. This week I repaired a hole in my son's fairly new Old Navy cardigan. It completely unraveled at the neck line for no apparently reason.

Then I repaired a random L shaped tear in the lining of my son's fairly new winter coat. I just appliqued a piece of grey fabric over the rip and hope it holds.

I don't know what I'm going to hand stitch today. Now that Christmas is all put away, and the mending is done, I forget what I was working on before the Christmas frenzy started!
I'll take a look around here and see what needs a few more stitches!

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your instagram or blog post below and share your project with us!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Squared Away Decisions

You know how sometimes you make lots of blocks for a project but you're not sure if you're done with it or not? And then it sits in the refrigerator for a while until you decide? 
You don't actually use your freezer for food, do you?!? 
It's the perfect place for quilt block storage!

See my pile of Squared Away blocks sitting there in my freezer full of treasured projects?!? This was the RSC block of the month project in 2018.
I told myself I would make more blocks in 2019, since the collection of blocks was not really enough to make a bed quilt. But more blocks did not materialize as I became distracted with other projects. And that's one of the many ways a UFO is born! 

Apparently I have lost interest in making more of these 5" blocks and needed to move on!
In December I just decided that I like the on point layout, but it needed to be bigger so I would add sashing and then borders as needed to grow the size of the quilt. I will be cutting the sashing pieces and hope to begin sewing it together today.

Shoo Fly Shoo blocks
The RSC colour of the month is green and I am using up some scraps to make more leader-ender Shoo Fly blocks.

To see more RSC projects, hop over to the linkup at Angela's.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

On the Mend!

repair from the wrong side with flannel patch

When the kids are home for holidays, they bring their mending for me to do. As soon as I recovered from the norovirus, I started into the mending jobs they left for me.  My daughter's favourite pyjamas split open at the knee. My friend Joanne gave me the idea of how to repair it by cutting a piece of flannel about the size of the hole and sewing over the area intensely. 

repair from the right side

Then you sew a straight stitch around the edge of all the stitching you've done. 

trim flannel

With scissors, you trim as close as possible to that containment line of stitches. Easy peasy repair.

It worked perfectly and the pyjamas are restored to full functioning and are comfortable to wear.

And of course, there is the never ending job of repairing toys that my Granddog Max has destroyed. He plays with a toy until it is completely shredded to threads. Since Max separated the head from the body, I just sewed the now headless toy back together for more playtime!

Look for more hand stitched repairs on Sunday's post!