Friday, April 10, 2015

A Little of This, A Little of That....

Well, my Janome went in for servicing last weekend so my little work area has been empty all week....

In the past it has taken as long as a month for it to be returned but I'm hoping it won't be that long this time.  For now, to tide myself over, I focused on getting to some project cutting.  First up was the pieces for the next Wool Ornament BOM stocking:

With that it's all ready for stitching.  If my machine isn't back quickly, I should be able to sew this up using my old Euro-Pro machine which now bides its time as a "traveling machine".  Unfortunately, that function is fairly infrequent ever since my MIL moved to North Carolina.  The last time I used it, I felt it could also use a tune-up and I'm not sure if they service other machine brands where I take my Janome since those are the only machines they sell. 

I have two projects that have been sitting around for a while that will use solids.  As noted on my "Get It Done" list for April (and for March) I wanted to get them cut out so I could use the leftovers for other things.  One of those projects is Amy Butler's "Thea's Puzzle Quilt":

The wedges will make up the center blocks.  I'm debating whether to use a solid for the inner border as per the pattern or to use that pretty green and pink print instead (although that definitely will be the binding).  To decide, I would need to start laying out the wedges on the design wall and formulating the center blocks but that's not something I'm ready to do right now. The white Kona is for the outer border and the Kaffe print is for the backing.  For now, I'm satisfied that I've cut the wedges and freed the solids from this stash so all of this will be bundled into a box until I'm ready to get back to it.

The second solids project is Kathy Doughty's "Dreamcatcher".

I saw this when Kathy blogged about it on the Material Obsession blog prior to it being published in a 2012 special edition of Australian Quilters Companion called "Old Quilts Made New".  The issue even came with a DVD where Kathy discussed her methods for reinterpreting antique quilt designs to give them a modern flair.  At the time I couldn't find this issue stateside and actually ordered it from her shop in Australia!  Last year this quilt was included in (and on the cover of) her second (solo) book " Adding Layers - Color, Design & Imagination: 15 Original Quilt Projects from Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession". 

As you can see this one is not all solids -- it's anchored by big trapezoids cut from Kaffe Fassette's Marquee Stripes fabrics.  Kathy used three of the color ways (Husky, Bright and Pastel) whereas I'll also include the fourth (Contrast).  The solids are used to make quarter square triangle squares with red combined with various colors for sashing.  I started with a stash of various Kona solids and added a  jelly roll of the 28 new (at the time) Kona colors introduced in 2012. 

Putting these together will be a great for Leader/Enders!  With the project solids all accounted for, I can now prepare a quilting sandwich for Lori Kennedy's FMQ Mystery project. The mystery actually ended at the end of February but I plan to do it anyway for FMQ practice.  The other thing I want to use the solids for is to add bright colored Seminole pieced bands to the new kitchen curtains I have long planned to make.  If you are not familiar with Seminole piecing, you can see examples of it at the bottom of this tutorial offered by Sew Well Maide.  I've only tried Seminole piecing on a very limited basis so this is a chance to work extensively with the designs while doing some Spring sprucing up of the house. 

For the last of the cutting sessions I have also finally cut the border strips for my long simmering Double Wedding Ring project.  This has gone on and off my "To Do" list so many times but I'm really hoping to finally get this "put to bed" (figuratively and literally) by the Fall.

Whew!  I'm hoping to spend the weekend finally getting back to doing some hand work.  Next week, I'll try setting up my second machine for sewing.  It may take me some time to get used to using it again!

A Crafty Public Service Announcement:
April is National Serger Month!  Did you know that Baby Lock was the first to offer sergers for the home machine market?  To celebrate, you can pick up a free e-booklet of serger projects HERE. Go HERE to the Threads Magazine site for a chance to comment and win a set of serger techniques DVDs. 

Want to try to serge a quilt?  Many years ago I used Kaye Woods "6 Hour Quilt" pattern and made quilts for my sons using a serger.  An updated version of the original pattern can be purchased from Craftsy HERE or her website HERE or you can watch her make it on YouTube HERE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Get It Done! March Recap/April Goals

It's April 1st but this is no April Fools post!  Gathering everything together for a look at what got done in the month that just passed (and so quickly too!!).  Here's what I had hoped to work on for March:

1. UFOs:  Quilting on the Civil War  mini quilts.  DONE! (Details here)

...and lap quilts...  STILL NOT DONE

But hopefully with the minis done and the opportunity to hang them this month, I'll be motivated to get this last big part of this project done.  Only snag right now is that I plan to take my machine in for servicing at the end of this week.  Hopefully I'll get it back quickly.

2.  Wool/BOMs: Continue work on the next block of the wool Ornaments.....  DONE!

..... and the Heart & Home BOM.  The plan was to finish the last three blocks and complete the quilt this month as well.  WELL, AT LEAST THE TOP IS ALMOST DONE!

I still have to add some decorative wool circle appliques to the big corner squares and to the borders but I'm happy to say all the blocks are done.  The backing is in house so I have to give some thought to how I want to quilt this to determine whether to finish it now or wait until later. 

Details on all of March's Wool BOM work can be seen here.

3.  Hand Work:  The plan was to continue "Slow Sunday Stitching" by restarting work on my old Quilt-As-You-Go project.  I'd also hoped to mount the finished Lincoln/Obama Redwork finished in February (see it here) onto the quilt it was made to be added to.  NOT DONE

My excuse this past Sunday was that I attended a quilt show ("busy" was my excuse all the rest of the month!).  Again, hopefully with some of the big projects off my mind I can get back to these now.

4. Gift Quilts: Once again, I need, need, need to start work on the baby quilt (its now long, LONG overdue!!!)  NOT DONE

I bought a pre-cut quilt kit (pictured above) at the quilt show, maybe that will help get me in gear?

5.  New Project/Challenge:  I'm going to cut out two new solids projects because I want to use the leftover stash from them for the FMQ Mystery at Lori's Inbox Jaunt and another solids project down the road.  NOT DONE BUT ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS PLANNED FOR APRIL!

So for April the plans are:

1. UFOs:  Quilting on the Civil War lap quilts (depending on the quick return of my machine).
2.  Wool/BOMs: Continue work on the next block for the wool Ornaments.  For the Heart & Home BOM I will probably just finish up the top details (and leave the quilting for later) because I have a Spring-themed one I'd like to get started on.  
3.  Hand Work:  I'll resume the "Slow Sunday Stitching" an finally restart work on my old Quilt-As-You-Go project.  I still would also like to mount the finished Lincoln/Obama Redwork but no promises on that one.
4. Gift Quilts: Once again, I need, need, need to start work on the baby quilt!!
5.  New Project/Challenge:  While the machine is in for service, it'll be the perfect time to cut out the two new solids projects and use the leftover stash from them for the FMQ Mystery at Lori's Inbox Jaunt and another solids project I'd like to do for Spring.

I don't know about you, but I am welcoming Spring with open arms!  Hopefully Mother Nature will respond in kind soon!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Update on the CW Mini Quilt Finishes

It took a while to get pictures of the finished mini quilts.  Here they are all together:

And here is each separately:

 "Reproduction-print Table Topper" from the American Patchwork & Quilting website (approximately 26" square).  This one was quilted with the Baptist Fans stitch pattern using a walking foot because the free-motion stitching plan I originally had was not working out.  Below is just a portion of the back showing that I used the monogramming function on my machine again to do the label information (as was also recently done for this quilt). 

Next up was the quilt Inspired by Judy Rothermel's "Hummingbird" design in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting. March/April 2004 .


You can see the quilt stitching (also all done with a walking foot) better from the back. 

I did not piece the blocks using the patterned method but did them using the piecing techniques by Sue Bouchard of Quilt In a Day and the Lazy Angle Ruler (and is approximately 22" square).  I hadn't yet written the label information on the back of the quilt when this picture was taken, it will be added before it is hung for display.

Last but not least is the "One Patch Doll Quilt" from  Kathleen Tracy's  book "The Civil War Sewing Circle" (approximately 25" square).  I admittedly copied this one pretty much "word for word" since I already had a lot of scraps in the same or similar colors to those in the book.  It was quilted with a simple hanging grid pattern (again with a walking foot).  This one also has a fairly light backing so label information was written directly onto the back.

Now that these are done,  I can start mounting  my display in the upstairs staircase with these and the Merrimac Dresdens quilt.  There are CW reproduction quilts already mounted at the top of the entrance stairs.  I still have to quilt the tops for the Kaye England sampler lap quilts and the Civil War Chronicles BOM quilt.  I do have an issue there:  my machine really needs to be brought in for service making it hard to do free motion and why all of these were done with a walking foot.  In the past that has meant being without a machine for a few weeks so we'll see if I can get anything done on the rest before I'm forced to do that. 

Once all the quilting is done, I will be diving into what's left in the stash box because I want to make a cot quilt.  After that we'll see how much of these fabrics (and/or scraps) I still have left and if I can come up with other ideas to use them or whether the remainder of the stash will be mingled with the general stash piles.  However, at this moment I am in the process of finishing up the last block for my Heart & Home Wool BOM and will be trying to bring that project to the flimsie stage before the month ends. 

I hope you enjoyed your National Quilting Day this past weekend and have a bunch of projects (not necessarily quilt related) lined up to continue celebrating March as National Craft Month!  Check here for information about the Craft & Hobby Association's "Crafty Selfie Contest".  Above all, have fun doing what you love!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Steadily Working.....

I thought I'd have a bunch of finishes to show by the end of last week but as usual it has taken a little longer than planned to complete everything.  The good news is that I am finishing up the last of the quilting on the Civil War mini quilts (you can see the tops here). 

This one should be finished by the end of today and then I will do a big post about them all.  I'm glad to be finally getting the quilting part done but it has also set me back a bit as I had hoped to finish them a lot quicker so I could also quilt the lap quilts (seen here). 

Hopefully, I will get those layered up later this week but first I'll knock out the next block of the wool Heart & Home BOM.  I also want to finish that whole quilt by the end of this month (you can see the last two blocks completed here) and feel I need to knock out those blocks little by little in order to accomplish that.

The biggest casualty in all of this has been my Quilt-As-You-Go project for Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching link up.

I haven't been able to get to it in the last two weeks but admit that mentally, I NEED to get the CW quilts finished for quilty peace of mind!   Looking forward to a productive week!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

FYI: When 'Ya Gotta Rip, Make it Zip!

Just saw this posted on Nancy's Tattered Garden Quilting blog.  I have to agree with her, it's definitely a Du'oh moment watching this!

Simple technique tips that make work short are always welcome!  Also always good to see another left-handed crafter.  Go lefties!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

March BOMs

So far this year, I haven't been getting to the BOM blocks until the end of the month so I decided to get an early start on them this time.  This way I can focus on the rest of the "Get It Done" list (especially the overdue stuff) for the rest of the month.

I was able to get to the store earlier this week for more Daiwabo fabric so finished the borders on last month's "Heart & Home" block:



 I only have three more blocks left for this BOM.  The plan for now is to try to finish them all and the whole quilt this month but we'll see how that goes.  I decided to start with the easiest of the remaining blocks so that at the very least a block for this month is also done.

Block #12 on the design wall.

The next stocking for the "Warm Hands & Feet" BOM is also done for the month:
This was another easy one and I was able to get the embroidery details done by machine again which helped speed things up.  I do have another wool project I had hoped to start but I'm going to try to get the quilting done on my Civil War quilts first so I can finally take them off the "To Do" list.  Hopefully there will time left towards the end of the month for the other wool project.   

Project Recap: Vintage Cherries for Valentines

I reported this in my February/March Get It Done Recap but now need to give the full update on my finished Valentine's Day quilt so I can link it to the finish list on the sidebar.  Here's the finished quilt, front...
"Vintage Cherries" from the Martingale book "'Tis the Season" by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks

...and back.  I pieced "canning jar" blocks along the sides to fill out the backing.  I bought the precut novelty rectangles of candy and sweets on Ebay.  For a closeup of the blocks see this post.

For the label, I tried something new:  about this time last year, I saw a post on Judy's blog Quilt Paradigm where she had stitched her label onto the binding.  When I emailed her about it, she said she originally got the idea from Sharon Pederson's book "Reversible Quilts" and then sometime later I also saw it referenced in a reader letter in the May/June 2008 (back) issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting.  It's a simple technique if your machine has a monogramming function.  Only thing is I should have used a higher contrast thread so it may be a little hard to see here. 

So now along with this....

....this one is on the shelf until it can be unfurled next year to display for the Valentine's Day holiday!