Monday, January 31, 2011

Design Wall Monday #5

These blocks were on my design wall. The batik blocks were donated to the guild's comfort quilt program and I just need to add some sashing and/or borders and make it a larger quilt top. I have been playing around with scrap sashings to avoid buying yardage, but that seems to make it too busy...might have to go shopping.
The 'S' blocks at the bottom were made for Shannon's birthday quilt and they have been mailed to the birthday girl! **to see all of Shannon's blocks on her blog - click here.

I took the batik blocks down while I think about what to do next and put up my guild's mystery quilt project. I have sewn 9 of the 12 blocks. The remaining 3 blocks have been cut and the pieces are in the plastic sleeves at the bottom of the design wall, all ready to sew. All of these blocks have been made from my bright scraps... only the background fabric was purchased.

To check out many inspiring design walls - click here.

I have a question for you experienced bloggers out there... I am getting a message from Picasa that I have used up my "allowed storage space" with photos on my blog. I refuse to purchase additional storage space from Google in order to continue blogging, so do you have any suggestions for how to handle this dilemma? Who knew that one's ability to freely use Blogger services was time/space limited?!?!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Blue

Last Saturday I posted my scrappy blue quilt top with 35 blocks and this week I was able to get 7 more blocks from my scraps to make an extra column of blocks bringing it to 42 blocks, and even had a 7" x 1 1/2" strip of the light background to spare!
Although I was unable to find more of my original background/light fabric, I did find something similar, and then I got the great idea to use my new book "Word Play Quilts" by Tonya Ricucci and learn to make the letters of my nephew's name to put across the top of these blocks. (You should check out the UnRuly Quilting blog and see some of the fun projects posted there.)
It was so much fun to make UnRuly letters! I used my new light background fabric (which is a lovely sky print from Northcott's Stonehenge line) with more of my blue scraps.
I had a few mistakes learning opportunities along the way.
The letter on the left doesn't exactly look like an "H" but that was fairly easy to fix. Also, I had a little trouble with the letter "N" and decided to start over with that one. Isn't the "N" on the left much nicer than the one on the right??
Eventually I made all 6 letters following the wonderful directions in the book, and was very happy with how it turned out.

This is my scrappy blue quilt top (48" x 56") with my nephew's name at the top. I am thinking of paper piecing 2 airplane blocks (his current interest) for each side of his name. And I'll be on the lookout for some airplane fabric for borders.
I am so delighted with how this project is coming along...from a long forgotten (and much detested) project, to a very cool quilt top with a fun optical illusion effect, on it's way to becoming a gift! Thanks again to Angela for motivating me to dig out this project with her Rainbow Scrap Challenge (click here to see the last of the blue scrap postings...soon we'll get a new colour!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Indian Orange Peel Update

For a nice change of pace I sewed some arcs for my Indian Orange Peel project.
These are arcs #23 - 32.
I really do enjoy working on these arcs because a) I love paper piecing and b) it is mindless, relaxing sewing. The only decision I need to make is which colour will be the teeth and which colour will be the background.
I have occasional challenges deciding if a fabric is a warm or cool colour. Check out this is yellow or yellow-green. If it's yellow, I can pair it with a nice blue or purple, but if it's yellow-green, I can pair it with an orange or pink. Which is it?!? Warm or Cool?? I'm sure the quilt police won't arrest me if I making an error here, but it's fun to ponder. According to my arc production chart, I am approximately 25 arcs behind schedule (glass half empty).  Or I can look at it as... I have now finished more than 1/4 of the 120 required arcs (glass half full)!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Comfort Quilt Project

While I am taking a wee break from sewing thousands of pink HST's, I thought I would enjoy cutting into some fabric.
For the comfort quilt project at my quilt guild, we make up block kits for the members to take home each meeting. They sew the blocks and bring them back to the next meeting. Then another member (usually someone who falls in love with the blocks) takes the blocks home to sew them into a quilt top. Then another member does the quilting and brings it back to the next meeting. Finally another guild member does the binding. That's a lot of member participation to complete one quilt! 
Our motto is...every little bit helps! And we encourage people to help out by doing whatever part of the projects they are interested in and have the time for. And all of these efforts result in our guild donating 40 - 50 beautiful quilts each year to the pediatric sexual assault unit at our local hospital. 
For example at the Quilt Bee day in the fall I started machine quilting a project which was made from donated blocks. I recently finished the quilting and now the quilt will be handed off to the person who likes to do binding.

So this is the start of another comfort quilt made from a bag of donated plaid fabrics. The pattern is called Nine Patch Split - one of the free patterns on Bonnie Hunter's website.
I had a great time sorting through the bag of fabrics, pulling out what pieces to cut into and organizing block kits. I got a little carried away with that yummy orange plaid and made all the HST's for the blocks (wasn't I just complaining about making 600 pink HST's?!?!) 
And then I started making some blocks to be able to put one completed block in each kit and realized that if I didn't get a grip on myself, I'd end up making all the blocks and have nothing to hand out at the next guild meeting :)
Here are the 12 block kits ready to go into the plastic bags for the next guild meeting.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Design Wall Monday #4

I finally finished the first part of step #7 of Bonnie's mystery quilt.
I don't know why these 30 blocks took me so long to make! I just putzed along, happily sewing the blocks and listening to Pat Sloan's radio podcasts
I have also been working on the 600 HST's as a leader/ender project.

Although I really like pink, I must admit that I am feeling "pinked out". I feel the need to put this project away and play with some other colours for a while. So I put all the little bits and pieces into baggies and put it in the cupboard. I have 1 more week to finish up my January UFO, so I'm going to focus on that. I would also like to get more organized and locate all the UFO's that I put on my wish list for this year, so I will have a better chance of finishing them! 
To see other mystery quilt blogs (listed on the right hand side) - click here.
To take a peek at quilters design walls around the world - click here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scrappy Saturday - Blue

I am making progress with my blue rainbow scrap challenge.  I unpicked the rotated block I sewed incorrectly last week (top row right side) and joined the rest of the blocks together.
The quilt top is now 5 blocks across and 7 blocks down, which was my goal with this project. I really love it now, and would make it larger if I had more of the light fabric (because I have a lot more blue scraps to use up) but I am down to small bits of the light.  I will admire the quilt for a few days and think about border options. Any ideas for me???
If you want to see the projects from other rainbow challenge participants, click here to visit Angela's blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tension issues

The corner of my marred batting has been repaired, #6 UFO of the month has been pin basted, and quilting is well under way. I just stitched in the ditch with my walking foot all the horizontal and vertical seams, and a few diagonal lines.

Now I am enjoying some free motion swirls in the border. (With this swirly border fabric, I couldn't possibly quilt anything but swirls.)
The problem is the tension.
I'm using a bright green thread on the top and a white thread in the bobbin, and just when I've got everything running smoothly, I whip around a swirl and the tension gets loose on the bottom.
Can you see what I mean?
I fiddled around with the tension for a while, and then I chastised myself for quilting too fast.
Now I am accepting that I can't have good tension and fast quilting...I have to pick one or the other.
Guess which one I picked?!?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

UFO progress

I am working away on my January UFO project. I got the blocks sewn together and the border sewn on last week to complete the top. This week's job is to piece a backing, pin baste the quilt and get quilting.
At the beginning of 2010 I had set a goal of using up scraps from my quilt tops by piecing the backings. Throughout the year I tried to stick to that - to see some of my pieced backings click here, here, and here.

Here is the pieced backing for January's UFO.

I used up every bit of the leftover fabric, except for the lime green left over from the borders, and the dark blue/teal that I bought for the binding.

I am also trying to use up all the white on white fabric that I have, since I find that on some of my older quilts using this kind of fabric, the white has a yellow tinge.  Can you see what I mean on this old quilt?

I found a piece of batting to use and wouldn't you know it, it was just one corner too short! What quilter in her right mind, cuts out a small corner of a perfectly good piece of batting?!?! Sheesh! Now I have to add in a little corner to make it big enough. Hope I don't go cut a little corner out of another perfectly good batting!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Design Wall Monday #3 - Indian Orange Peel Update

I haven't worked on my Indian Orange Peel quilt since way before Christmas. The next class is at the end of March and before then I need to sew the 120 paper pieced arcs. Until mid December, I had sewn 10 arcs.
On my design wall today are the 12 arcs I sewed yesterday, bringing my grand total to 22.

According to my production chart, I should have sewn 50 arcs by January 15th, so now I am only 28 arcs behind schedule!

What's on your design wall today?
Go check out Judy's blog and see what other quilters are working on - click here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scrappy Saturday - Blue

It's Saturday....time for the rainbow challenge update.
I'm working on my blue UFO and "killing 2 birds with 1 stone" (that's a weird saying!).
I set a goal of 35 blocks by the end of January,  which gives a layout of 5 blocks across, and 7 rows down. I am enjoying strip piecing the blocks and I'm throwing in the occasional purple strip, since it seemed "too blue" to me. It's hard for me to limit myself to 1 colour!
I don't have all the blocks sewn yet, but thought I would jump ahead and see if I like it enough to keep making more blocks.

Can you believe I made another mistake?! My last blog post showed a mistake and this post shows another one!  You're going to think I am falling apart over here!  Okay...tomorrow, I'm going to really concentrate!!
To check in with the other Rainbow Challenge participants - click here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Birthday busyness

See this adorable little boy?!? Today is his 16th birthday!
This is one of my favorite old photos. I was doing a show of some of my mini quilts (for guild meeting or a library show?), so I had mounted them on a display board, and he just had to get in the photo.
He's grown into a wonderful young man and I love him to bits, but I sure do miss this little sweetie!
So, it has been a hectic week here with the birthday gift shopping,  and celebrations (a specially ordered roast beef dinner with the fixings, and a homemade birthday cake).
All of this has followed on the heals of the stomach flu sweeping through the entire family the first week of January,  which has resulted in.... not enough quilting time to keep me balanced!
And we all know what that means! LOL!  I NEED quilting time!
I did a little piecing on my mystery blocks, but look what happened!
There is nothing worse than needing some good quality quilting time and ending up UNsewing! Better put it away until I have some time and energy to focus, or it'll be 2 blocks forward, 1 block back!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mystery Quilt Update - Step #6

The stomach flu has been travelling around my family for the last week and I sure do hope that we have finally rid the house of these pesky germs. It has been a welcome relief to have some easy sewing to do in between taking care of sick family members, and I have been making some progress on Bonnie's mystery quilt.
Step #6 is well under way. ..
Part 1 of this step is to sew the rows of 5 HST's together and I am pinning them in groups of 10. I need 120 of these and most of the HST's are finished.

Part 2 of this step was fun and quick to sew, and I have finished 172 of these.

I have to admit that I have peeked ahead to the last step and although I love the finished layout, I decided not to make the same layout. I skipped step #3 of making the light string blocks, so I'm going to try a layout using only the blocks I have the parts to make.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Design Wall Monday #2

I signed up for the UFO challenge and the first project the participants are supposed to work is UFO #6 on our list. The original #6 on my list appears to be "unavailable"... M. I. A. and A.W.O.L.!
To locate it, would take me a long time, and I would rather quilt than clean/search.
SO...I changed my list!
That is called "creative prioritization of the to-do list".

Ta #6 UFO is my "disappearing 4 patch"! I  had better get to work on it quick before it also disappears!

The blocks for this quilt were shown on a design wall Monday post last September and they were easy to find this week. So on my design wall today is all the blocks sewn together and a border on. I'll tell you, that lime green is bright enough to be a nightlight!

The next step is to figure out something for the backing.

Hop over to Judy's blog and sew what other quilters are working on this week.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Scrappy Saturday - Blue

Angela started the Rainbow Scrap Challenge...a creative way to encourage quilters to use up their accumulation of scraps. Check out her blog for a ton of block ideas - click here. On the right hand side of Angela's blog there is a list of more than 50 quilt blogs to visit...grab a cup of tea and treat yourself to some inspiration!
For the month of January I have chosen to work on a very old blue scrap UFO. I am reconstructing some of the blocks I had incorrectly made while in some kind of quilter's fog.  Here is one example of the blocks I didn't like...2 of the 4 blocks are too scrappy for my liking.
My real life UFO support group encouraged me to finish this quilt and just mix in these scrappy blocks with the ones I like, and I tried to, but this project has been in the closet for many years, so apparently I wasn't happy with that solution!
I finally got out the seam ripper and took apart the offending blocks (there were many more than just this one example!).
To make the task a little less onerous, and in keeping with January's blue theme,  I put on my Matt Anderson CD's. He is a great Canadian blues musician who writes his own music, plays amazing guitar, and has a unique voice. To listen to some of his songs at his website - click here, then click on "music" at the top, and make sure you listen to the song "To Leave What I Should Have Left" which is one of my favorites.  You can hear him sing "O Holy Night" (on You Tube - click here) at a Christmas concert I attended where the audience gave him a standing ovation and wouldn't stop was amazing!  And to hear him sing with his Mom (gotta love that!) - click here.
OK...enough about Matt!

Back to quilting...

Before I knew it, all the offensive blocks were repaired and here is the new and improved version.

Much better.

Here are 4 repaired blocks together. Only 1 block has an issue, but I don't mind that one, so I'm leaving it.
Feels great to be making progress on this old UFO, and my goal is to finish the top by the end of January. If I can find some similar light fabric, I might even make the quilt larger...never thought I'd be saying that!

PS... Mary just told me that today is the 76th birthday of Elvis Presley, singer of Blue Suede Shoes...Happy Birthday Elvis!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Happy Day

I had an enjoyable sewing time today working on my Layer Cake Quilt Along blocks with my Happy Layer Cake.
This is block #4 Starry Starry Snowball by Sherri.
I had a little trouble with the centre block due to a cutting error...yikes! I had to border the centre block with the purple stripe to bring it up to the proper size. I kind of like how the error turned out!

Then I moved on to block #5 Rainbow Boxes by Cara.
I was happy to be able to use up the scraps I had saved from previous blocks, and really enjoyed sewing the corner blocks.  But I think the finished block looks a bit like a dog's breakfast!
Oh is the process that I love. It's one of my favorite things to putz around with a pile of fabric and cut up little pieces and wonder how a block will look when it's all sewn back together. And at the end, I don't really care if it's my cup of tea or was fun!
If you want to see other Layer Cake Quilt Along blocks, visit the Flickr Site - click here.
I have soooooo many block projects on the I completely crazy to consider starting another one?!? (Don't answer that!) How can I resist the new Civil War Quilt by the amazing Barbara Brackman?!?!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll Update

The weather so far this year has been mostly miserable, dark, rainy and warm (for us). Most of the pretty snow has melted, and everything is grey and dull, which is extremely unusual for this neck of the woods. What else can a person do but enjoy some relaxing sewing?!?
As you probably know,  Bonnie Hunter started a mystery quilt called Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll in November.  I must brag to you that I have been very disciplined and not looked at any of the steps ahead (applause for being disciplined for once!) however I have not had enough time to keep up with the steps as they were released.
This is where things are with my mystery quilt development:
*I managed to finish step 1 and  step 2 before Christmas.
*step 3 was ceremoniously by passed, since I don't have enough light strings/scraps and would have to cut most of them from yardage. I am waiting to see the final design before I decide that if I want to sew those blocks.

*step 4 using the green and light fabrics was finished today.
*step 5 is well underway, but it's a doozie...600 HST's! Here are about 340 blocks waiting to be sewn.
If you use the EZ angle ruler, there are dog ears on one corner that need to be trimmed, so my tiny bits are going into my collection jar...don't they look so pretty?!? (To see an old photo of my jar collection, click here.)

I should also brag that I have continued my 2011 self discipline streak and have so far (the day isn't over yet!) managed to resist starting the Planet Patchwork New Year's mystery! Instead of starting another new quilt, I am getting ready to work on an old quilt... #6 on my UFO list (on the right hand side of my blog) to be exact (the number drawn by Judy) which is going to be the disappearing 4 patch. I will be searching the UFO dungeon for this project and assessing what the problem was that resulted in that project morphing into a UFO if ever whenever I find it.  Perhaps I will even search out all 12 of the projects while I am in the dungeon and place them in an "easy to access location" should I decide to continue my streak of self discipline and actually follow through with finishing them! LOL

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Design Wall Monday #1

It's the first Monday of 2011 and my design wall is a smattering of many projects. Usually I focus on one project to write about on Mondays, but over the holidays everything somehow became a disorganized mess!
There are 2 blocks from my blue UFO, 2 blocks from my guild mystery (and the rest of them are MIA!), a couple of blocks from my quilt-as-you-go project, a couple of leftover blocks from the H quilt that I don't know what to do with now that the quilt is finished, and one tiny renegade pinwheel (heaven only knows which project box it jumped out of!)
I hope to be able to settle down and get organized this week. Check out some other design walls over on Judy's blog and see if the quilters are as unorganized as I am this week!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Blue

It's the 1st Scrappy Saturday of 2011 and I have already benefitted from signing up for Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge! The colour of the month is blue and I got out my blue scrap bins to make some blocks. All of this thought about blue reminded me that I had a very old UFO made from blue scraps that had been on the list for my guild UFO group many (at least 5) years ago. So instead of working with the blue scraps, I went on a UFO treasure hunt and I found it! 
This project is made of what I would call a quarter log cabin block with 1 1/2" strips of a consistent grey and lots of blue scraps. All of the feelings I had about it came rushing back...I hated this thing at one time. As happened with this quilt when I am away from a project for some time and start working on it again, I often forget what my plan was for the quilt. When the brain fires up again and I realize I made a mess...ta da...a UFO is born!!
I sorted through the box and decided that some of the dark blue rounds that were mistakenly made from 2 different fabrics were going to stay like that, and some of them needed to be reconstructed. So I did some ripping and made 8 quarter blocks, which when put together made 2 more blocks for the quilt.
This is the end of the grey fabric and I think I have enough blocks for a nice size lap quilt, so I'll work on putting them together. I can't believe that this old thing has been joyfully resurrected and might actually become a finished quilt!!