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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cute Little Bags!

I love little bags, zippered cases and just about anything that you can tuck away little sewing tools into.
 
I have a secret project I'm working on with a very far into the future deadline.
This is from the Lazy Girl pattern - Sweetpea Pods.
 
 
They are perfect for holding thread, small scissors, needles, binding clips and how about chocolate!
 
 
I've made 16 of them so far and once I got going they were fast!
 
 
Then I finished my little hexagon bag I was making.
 
 
I HAVE to make another one!!! Fun to make and super cute!
 
But mostly I am hand quilting as much as possible.
 
I'm quilting the sashing now and that is going so fast. Then I just have to fill in some of the baskets and it's done - I can see the end and I'm so excited!
 
 
It will be done with time to spare for the quilt show!
 
Happy Stitching!
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Courthouse steps and a bit of hand quilting!

I've been steadily paper piecing my little courthouse steps blocks.
Another 20 are done!
 
 
That's now 42 done and a lot more to do. I was playing a bit in EQ7 with the sizes and I'll make at least 150 blocks (I think!) but it could be double that amount too. I am counting on just 'knowing' when I've done enough.
 
And more hexagons... but it's just a small project.
I am making the little project pouch from the booklet 'Tiny Obsessions' by Vicki Bellino.
 
 
The hexagons are all sewed together now so now I just have to quilt it and assemble it.
 
And I am on a deadline. The Moose Jaw quilt show is coming up and I really, really want to get this quilt finished for it. I've been quilting about a half hour most days. It should be enough.
 
 
I am taking a leap of faith and I'm sending in my entry form this week. I am on my last border and then I have to quilt the sashings. I have about 5 weeks to get it done.
Wish me luck that my hands co-operate!
 
Happy Stitching!
 
 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Something new and something finished!

The something finished... it's turned out wonderful! It's put me into a 'springy' mood, even though spring is still a long way from now!
 I even made the tassel!

 
And the new...it's a small courthouse steps quilt. The blocks are just 2-3/4" square. It's going to be a controlled scrappy quilt. I'm using mostly assorted aqua, brown, black, green and small amounts of other colors as well. My plan is to have chunks of the same color combinations. For now I'm just making blocks. I have no idea how large or small it will be. Right now I've completed 26 blocks.

 
I'm cutting strips from my assortment. Some are just small pieces and scraps so I am using them up and some are from larger pieces of fabric so I'm just cutting from then until I feel like it's enough. My inspiration came from an episode of The Quilt Show. Back in series 2, Alex and Ricky did a road trip and Alex showed an old antique courthouse steps quilt that captured my heart! It had 'chunks' of the same colors throughout the quilt. I loved the effect. Here is my next batch of strips to work from.
 
 
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Handstitching by Machine?

On the top of my list to find techniques that are easier on my hands came 'hand' stitching by machine. For some reason that particular motion really hurts - even more that hand quilting.
 
I didn't actually think I could come close but with some experimenting I think I have something that will do. My next small UFO is a little door hanger with just a single hand stitched word. Here it is in progress!
 
 
 
 At first I was going to suffer through it, but then I thought this was the perfect project to get started on looking for a machine stitch that can do it for me. There were several stitches I tried on my machine. I also played with tension and stitch length to see if I could get the look I was after.
 
 
Finally I settled on a double stitch. I just used a regular weight cotton sewing thread, but that could be something to play with too if you wanted a thicker stitched line.
  
Here is a closer look - with two different stitch lengths. Not too bad!
 
 
 
 
 Here is the final stitching...not perfect but it suits the project and I learned a few things.
 
The stitch goes forward-back-forward and starts all over. You have to pay attention to what forward section you are in especially on curves. If you pivot before the beginning of the stitch you'll end up off the line going backwards.
 
I backed this particular project with a thin cotton batting. In the next project I will probably try a light interfacing to stabilize it.
 
On the straight sections it is faster than hand stitching but I'm not so sure that small curves would be faster. It is a lot of pivoting but I think after some practice I'll get fairly quick at it!
 
I have a Santa red work in my UFO list, so I think I will try that next.
 
Happy Stitching
 
 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

'Nine' is Pieced!

It's pieced! It's pieced! It turned out wonderful!
I can't believe how straight it is considering all those little pieces! And I can't believe how heavy it is.
 
 
Now it's time to decide on the quilting. I have narrowed it down to two choices - cross hatching through either the dark or light squares or a small meandering stipple.
 
After a big project I like to give my sewing room a good cleaning    
 before starting on the next project(s) so I got busy.
 
In this case I really needed to clean up. I spilled my pins all over a week ago but I was so obsessed with piecing I just kept walking on them.
 
Warning - graphic pictures below!
 
I was cleaning under my sewing desk, sitting on the floor when I noticed thread sticking out of the castor feet on my desk chair. I flipped it over...and
 
 
After digging out thread, fabric bits, and even a bit of interfacing...
 
 
Six feet later I had quite a pile!
 
I'm not quite finished cleaning but the worst is done. Later today I should be started on my next UFO!
 
Happy Stitching!
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Obsessed

I have been sewing and sewing and sewing....this is a labor of love and I AM loving it!
 
Today I made great progress and then the decision - do I make it rectangular or square?
 
 
 
After debating most of the afternoon I decided it has to be rectangular so I have 4 more rows to make. I am hoping to finish piecing it tomorrow... 4 rows is a lot of sewing with these little blocks so it may be reaching a little far!
 
I am making it just a few inches smaller than the pattern (Nine from Primitive Gatherings) so that it will fit nicely in the space I want to hang it. Right now it is about 52" square.
 
I am so excited!!!!!
 
Happy Stitching!
 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Back to little nine patches!

Finally I am back to working on that little 1-1/2" nine patch quilt. There is still a lot of sewing but it's going to become a favorite of mine. I'm putting together the rows from the top corner and the bottom corner of the quilt. I can't wait until I get to the middle!
 
 
I have way too many UFO's and I have had them laying everywhere! I've been quite intrigued by the UFO challenges out there so I started to make a list thinking I may do one of those challenges. When I got to 20 projects and still had lots more I thought I needed to do something more drastic than a list. I put away all my UFO's except the ones I am working on right now. They are in a bin up high in the closet so I can't see them. For the next many months I am going to work on one machine pieced project until it is finished and one hand work project. I'm allowing small projects to creep in that can be done in a day or if its a gift I am making. 
 
My handwork project is the borders of the applique quilt I had been working on last year. Since rheumatoid arthritis came into my life I can't do a lot of handwork at one time so this will be slow going but it will get done and I am enjoying it.
 
 
The hard part of this is the temptation to start another new project. That is the hazard of blogs and Pinterest...there is always something to catch your eye and send you off the rails!
 
I'll be happily following UFO progress in blogland!
 
Happy stitching!
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Peace and Healing and a little precision piecing

In early December, a friend sent me  the link to a Bock of the Week she was starting from Piecing The Past Quilts Although I probably should not have taken on another project (my UFO list is completely out of control), I thought one block a week was reasonable to get done.
 
 
Week 1
 
 
I decided to do mine in scrappy reds and white/cream all from my stash.
 
Week 2
 
 
 
All the blocks are 6" so some precision piecing is needed!
 
Week 3
 
 
I made 2 of these. My first one did not have enough contrast!
 
Week 4
 
 
This one was fun and cute!
 
Week 5
 
 
The easiest block so far!
 
A little about precision piecing...the last couple of years many of my quilts have been easy piecing. This project is a chance to keep my piecing skills working - if you don't use them you lose them as they say!
 
Here are a few of my basics to keep your piecing on track. I think most quilters know these tips but if any of you are like me you get lazy once in a while, especially when making easy blocks.
 
  • Check your seam allowance before starting to piece. It's easy to take a little too much or too little.
  • When piecing 1/2 square triangles I always cut my squares a little bigger and trim once the triangles are pieced together. So if you are cutting squares 2-7/8" I cut mine 3" and then cut into triangles. Sew those together and trim to size keeping that diagonal line perfect (here it would be 2-1/2").
  • Be careful starting and stopping stitching so that your starts and stops are where they should be. Often we don't get the beginning of the seam lined up perfectly with the needle and a sewing machine wants to drift at the end of the seam. Even a little bit can really affect how a block turns out.
  • Press carefully and for construction. Often the seam will hint what direction it wants to go. I always try to figure out my pressing so that it makes sense for the whole block. Sometimes that means pressing to one side and sometimes it means pressing open. And I always try to be aware of bias seams and to take extra care when pressing them.
  • A little starch sometimes goes a long way. I used to hardly ever use starch because I was mostly a hand quilter and I didn't want to quilt through starched fabrics. Now with my arthritis hand quilting will be something that is rare so I have started using starch here and there. In this quilt I decided to use light starch on my fabrics. I still want my fabric to feel like fabric  (not stiff paper) so I'm careful. It does help keep the fabric from stretching so when piecing small components it can be helpful!
 I'll be practicing all these tips while doing this Block of the Week!
 
What kind of tips do you use to get perfect blocks?
 
Happy Stitching and Happy New Year!