Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Votes For Women blocks

I have finished a few more blocks for my Votes For Women project and am motivated to get caught up because these 49 block postings from Barbara Brackman will soon be completed. 
I gotta get a move on to catch up!

Here is block #36 Sunbonnet Sue...hand appliqued!!
I think the hat band makes the block look nicer, and if you don't look too closely, it's a nice block! LOL

Here is block #37 called "Nameless Star" but I know it as 'Sawtooth Star', which is one of my favorite blocks to sew. I used one my favorite paisley reproduction prints in the center. Pretty.

Block #38 is called Nonsense: Anatomy Lessons
What a funny blog post about the dangers of activity for women...including the "morbid effects" of treadling! I better watch myself when I am sewing on my treadle machine...who knew it was so dangerous! LOL

Block #39 is called Endless Stairs. I used up a lot of little scraps to piece this one.

The next few blocks look like they should be fairly easy to sew. Such fun!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Finished UFO!

My July UFO is finished and here it is on my brother's sofa! Wow...that's bright!
You can see the red backing, which I also used for the binding.

I quilted lots of leaves on this quilt...
some big, some small, some with veins, some are really wonky. 
It was really fun to quilt and I spent approx. 6 hours on the machine quilting. 
I especially like how the leaves turned out in the gold border.
I decided to try out a different batting called "Legacy Natural Blend" in this quilt, which is an 80/20 batting from Pellon. It quilted up as nicely as the Warm and Natural that I usually use. I did not have many issues with thread breakage or pleating on the back. I wonder how this batting will wash? 
I like how the Warm and Natural shrinks a bit and gives the quilt an antique look, so I hope this batting will do the same thing. 
Hop over to A Lovely Year of Finishes to see the other UFO projects that were completed this month.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Accidental Quilt

The "accidental quilt" is on my design wall today.
I have a lot of other projects I should be working on, but I can't leave this one alone! 
I'm coming to the end of the pile of HST's, so it won't grow too much larger than this. Now to finish off this top and think about a border.
To see what other quilters are working on in the middle of the summer, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Now I really have to stop playing with the design wall and get to work on my July UFO...only a couple more days to finish it up and meet my goal. I have the quilt pin basted, and the thread picked out... Isacord (red) in the bobbin and Aurifil (variegated) on the top.

Before I start machine quilting a big quilt, I give a little TLC to my old machine
...a new needle, thorough cleaning, new Magic Bobbin Washer, and lots of oil.
I'm thinking of some kind of a leaf theme for the quilting... I probably should nail down a more specific design before I start! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

To Applique or Not to Applique

This is a rather whiny Slow Sunday Stitching post about my hand applique challenges.
I have been hand stitching some Votes For Women blocks while at my brother's house this week. I have taken several applique classes over the years with fantastic teachers, I really enjoy hand stitching, and I love the look of applique. I really want to be able to enjoy this technique. So why can't I get it?? 

Every applique class I have taken has been enjoyable, and I always pick up new tips to try. I have been using a toothpick to turn the edges under, which Becky Goldsmith taught me and it works really well. 

Right now the major problem is that the "freezer paper on top" technique is frustrating because the freezer paper never stays put in spite of vigorous pressing, thorough pinning, and in spite of carefully handling the pieces/block. 
I have an idea for one of my old UFO's (scrappy geese) for an applique border, so am really motivated to figure this out! It is so frustrating when the creative ideas precede the technical know how!!
Maybe I should try my friend Teresa's technique - see her great instructions here. But I still feel nervous about putting glue in my quilts. It's a weird "mental block" that I have about it. But if I could make quilt blocks like Teresa's, I should just get over it!
I also don't like struggling to get the pieces to line up the way they should to match the pattern, so maybe I would enjoy a more liberated (ie. no pattern) approach to applique?

Do you have any ideas for me? Techniques to try? Feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments below. And I hope you will link up your blog post of the hand stitching project you are working on this week.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Celebrate Sewing Linky Party

Angie over at Quilting on the Crescent is hosting a party. I'm all about boosting energy reserves these days, and what better way than going to a party. Well, this is a virtual party, but it's still fun!
Today I am sewing more pieces for my Accidental Quilt.
The layout is on point, so I need some strange blocks for the sides.
They look a bit like fish, don't they?!?!
And when I get tired of that, I will work on what I should be doing, which is basting my July UFO, which I have only 4 more days to finish!!!
Hop over to the Celebrate Sewing Party at Angie's and help to celebrate her blogiversary.

Scrappy Saturday - last aqua week

For the first time ever in participating in the Rainbow Challenge, I can report that I used up almost all my scraps in one colour! Woohoo! 
I am having great fun with the spool blocks and sewed up my last aqua scraps into 40 of these 3" spool blocks. Did you see Bonnie's Spool Review last week and see all the great quilts being made?!  Many of the 'Rainbow Scrappers' posted their progress and I was cheering for them! Great job!

I even received a donation from my friend Barb to add to the scrappy mix this month! I used every one of them...can you find the spools from these scraps?

I think this is the block format I am going to make... 4 spools of one colour (makes a 6" block). Then I might sew 4 of these together to make 12" blocks, but am not sure if I want to do that randomly, or have more control over block/colour placement by keeping the blocks of 4 separate until layout time?

I also sewed 9 pretty Alamo Stars over the month.
I wonder when I will get sick of these blocks? They are still so fun for me to sew here and there as leader/enders.

It is time to put the July blocks away and prepare for August sewing. What's the next colour up? 
Any guesses?
Thanks to Angela for all the fun with Scrappy Saturdays. Pop over to her blog and see what other quilters are sewing today.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Nabby's Dowry

I am really on a roll this week with the HST's (half square triangles)!
Just finished the second block of the Nabby's Dowry Pocket Patchwork sew-along.
Come on y'all...grab your HST's and hop on over to Heartspun Quilts - block #3 is posted today!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Accidental Quilt Update

One of my leader/ender projects is the HST quilt I accidentally started while at quilt retreat in the winter. You can read more about the inspiration and fabrics here, and read about the book and the quilt I am making (called "Up, Up and Away") here.  You can take a peek at another beautiful version of this quilt by Quilt 'n Queen
I tried to make the HST blocks in a "liberated" fashion but they look pretty OCD/perfect to me! LOL
It is a fresh, summery, no-pressure project that perks me up whenever I work on it. I have all the HST's made, and have sewn most of them into pairs. 

Then I went ahead and started making 4 patch blocks...
sewed 2 of the 4 patches together,
and then sewed those together into double 4 patch blocks. 
So each design unit block has 16 HST's.
I plan to just keep sewing these until I use up the HST's. I wonder how big this quilt will end up being?!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Votes For Women Wednesday

I am stuck on block # 36 of my Votes For Women sampler. 
Why, you ask?
Because it's applique. 

I considered skipping this block, but I really do want a "Sunbonnet Sue" in my quilt. It is such a classic block. 
And I really want to learn to like applique!

Have you ever seen "The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue" quilt??! You can read more about the subversive messages in this quilt, and learn about the significance of this block over at the Quilt Index - click here

So... off I go to hand stitch...

Ms. Sunbonnet Sue. 

Looks easy enough ,eh? 

What could go wrong ?!?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Deckade the Halls Quilt Along

I am keeping up with my version of the "Deck-ade the Halls" quilt along. These are my stocking blocks which turned out okay, but I have to admit that they were kind of tricky to make. I made a couple of cutting errors, which took a while to figure out. One of the errors I fixed by adding a red band on the stocking cuff, and I like it even better than before...
so yah, that's right, I meant to do it that way!!
Then I constructed the entire block incorrectly... nope, that doesn't look right? It probably would be easier to sew if I actually followed the instructions!!  But it was easy peasy to fix.
Anyway...the stockings are done and they are sweet. 
Next I will be cutting for the presents blocks. This has been a really fun sew along and I am so delighted to be using up all this old stash! You can check out all the group photos from the quilt-along on the Deckade the Halls Flickr page.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Design Wall Monday - A finished top!

Well, here it is...a finished quilt top!
Determined not to buy more fabric for this scrappy quilt, I auditioned lots of possible borders from the stash, thinking I wanted more blue or something dark to showcase the star blocks. 
But the quilt insisted on something brighter. 
I liked this red fabric and it turned out I barely had just enough if I cut the strips 4.5", so I did! Not sure yet what I will use for the binding?!
It has been a long time since I had a finished quilt top to share on DWM! Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more posts.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching

I was at my brother's house most of this past week. He had a very tough week of ongoing health challenges. He was in 3 different hospitals on 4 different days for countless procedures including his second chemo treatment, three blood transfusions (huge hugs and thanks to everyone who donates blood to save lives), four blood tests, a CT scan, two xrays, and a CT guided lung drain procedure. Each hospital outing is an exhausting production involving transporting the wheelchair plus four oxygen tanks to get through the commute and the waiting for procedures/doctors. 

We have been enticing him to eat since he has lost so much weight, has lost his appetite and feels nauseous most of the time.  This was one of my creative attempts to get him to eat :)

Part of my stress relief has been to work on my "toothbrush rug" in small bits of time. 
I am on the last round of colour, so it's very close to being finished. It has been a very relaxing and mindless activity to work on. 

As I was working on the stitches, look what I noticed - a heart popped out!

And I had some wonderful stress relief yesterday when my friend Barb and my sister and I took a quick road trip to see the Red Red Bobbin quilt show and sale. 

It was a beautiful day and the quilts were inspiring. 
I felt so much better after being surrounded by quilts and fabric and we even met some of our quilting friends there!

You wouldn't believe who else we saw... the Queen was there! 
She was lovely to visit with and even had her royal Corgi with her. 
So fun!

This is my sister and I peeking around the quilts, trying to find our favorites and examining the quilting details.

Thanks to Barb for encouraging us to attend and for the photos of our outing! 

I felt re-energized and ready to be a better caregiver in the coming days.

I hope you are taking time to enjoy some relaxation today.  Link up your blog post below and show us your hand stitching project.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - aqua

It is aqua month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, but I have (unbelievably) used up most of my aqua scraps! It is not a colour I sew with a lot, and I used up most of my scraps last week sewing two slab blocks and cut the remaining pieces into spool blocks
Since I already had a teal palm branch, I decided to finish up my yellow block that I started last month.
It has been so long since I did any paper piecing, it was wonderful to remember how much I enjoy it! (To see more paper piecing blog posts, you can visit the link up over at Quiet Play.)
Here are the 9 Palm Branch blocks I have sewn so far.
The original block pattern is called Red Herring  and the pattern is from Kristy at Quiet Play (lots of free paper piecing patterns on her blog). 
My collection really needed a yellow block.
To see more Rainbow scrap postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Spools Link-Up at Quiltville

Last summer Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville inspired her quilting fans to try the spool block as a leader/ender project - click here for the tutorial. Well, I already had a number of leader/ender projects on the go (like this one and this one) and was able to resist making spool blocks for quite a while. 
But then some of the Rainbow Scrappers started making pretty scrappy spool blocks and showing them every Saturday, until finally I couldn't stand it any more...I had to try one.  
I thought I'd sew just one little block to see what all the fuss was about.

And they were fun! 

Spools are great stashbusters for using small scraps, which I hoard collect. I even have sewn some blocks in a scrappy manner when I don't have enough of one fabric to complete a block. This yellow block has bits from three different yellow fabrics, and from two background light fabrics!

So I was late to the join in on the spool challenge, but still have a fair sized pile of spools to share. Here is my yellow spool collection that I sewed in June. 

I am part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so when Angela announces the colour of the month, I go to my scrap bin of that colour and start cutting for my spools.
Then over the course of the month, I use the pieces as leader/enders between whatever else I am sewing. It really does work great and no thread is ever wasted!

This is the layout I am leaning towards right now ...four blocks of the same colour sewn together in a 4 patch block, then sewing 4 of those into a large block, then putting them together scrappy style when I have enough.
This week Bonnie is hosting a link up for anyone sewing spools to show their collection, so hop over to the Spool Review and see the amazing spool quilts being created.
A big thanks to Bonnie for yet another great addiction idea!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nabby's Dowry - first block

I am still putzing along with finishing the HST's for my Nabby's Dowry mystery.
Here is my first 6" block (pattern released last friday) and it is so cute! I have a lot of variety to chose from in my finished HST's, but wouldn't you know it, I put the same dark blue in the two bottom corners?! Well, random does mean random, so I'm leaving it, and hoping that in the final quilt design, it won't bother me.
This is a fun, "summer paced" mystery project, so why not join in the's not too late to catch up! You might even have some HST's hanging around that need to be used up...this is the perfect project for them. 
For inspiration, hop over at the Wraggedy Patches blog to see Candace's scrap happy block...scroll down past her wonderful aqua blocks, and you'll see how she is using up HST's from another project. Tell her Kathy said to drop by!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

UFO Mid month report

One of the reasons that some of my quilts live in the UFO closet for a long time is because I am stalled on the borders. Sometimes I purchase specific border fabrics when beginning a quilt, and when the quilt top is almost finished, I discover that I don't like my original choices.  And sometimes the quilt decides it doesn't even want a border.
This is my July UFO for the 'Lovely Year of Finishes' project. It was a mystery quilt that I started a couple of years ago.
I still love the large print that I originally purchased for a border, but I didn't like the inner green border fabric that I bought (which I disliked so much I don't even have a photo of it to show you!) I debated about whether this quilt didn't want any borders, but it convinced me that it did need to be a bit bigger.  I decided the green could maybe become the binding, and then auditioned a ton of stash fabrics for an inner border. 
The final two choices are or gold. 
I decided on the gold because it really brightened up the whole quilt and flowed nicely into the border.
The black was dramatic, but drew too much attention to itself.

Now the borders are finally on and I like it! It's not a great photo, but you get the's a summery and fresh looking scrappy quilt.
Here is the pile of the quilt top, the batting, and the red backing...all ready to move on to the basting stage. I have two more weeks to do the basting, machine quilting and binding to meet my Lovely Year of Finishes goal for July.