Friday, August 31, 2018

Whale Baby Quilt Finished

A new little great-nephew is due around Oct 1. This is great-nephew number 7. Of course he needs a quilt; his brother and all his cousins all got quilts when they were born.

I found a cute whale print I know his mom will really like.

And this is what became of it:

It just needs one side of the label hand-stitched down, and a spin thru the washer and dryer, and it'll be ready for the little guy when he gets here.

His mom and dad aren't revealing his name until after he's born, so the label just says "For Baby with Love from Aunt Jan." That's been the case with all the other babies, but each child has his own unique quilt.

I'm pleased with how it turned out. This is about as close to improv as I can get. I hope they like it.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF at Anja Quilts

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The only thing worse...

than running out of bobbin thread running out of thread altogether,
with only a small corner of quilting left. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Testing, Testing...

I bought this specialty ruler for adding corner triangles to blocks when I was in Paducah in April. I thought I could use it to snowball the corners of my Dresden blocks, but I found the instructions confusing. I was afraid to mess up that project so I just made them the usual way. Here's the special ruler:

Since then I made something else with snowballed corners, and I sort of figured out the ruler, but it involved making oversized triangles and trimming the block afterward. OK, faster than the original method. But could there be a way to use this ruler in combination with die-cut triangles so no trimming is needed?

I'm making 6" finished (6-1/2" unfinished) blocks with 3" triangles on opposite sides. For 2 test blocks, I cut 2 background squares and die cut 4 triangles.

The corners of the background square will have to be trimmed before the triangles can be added. I figured out where to align the ruler.

Just double checking before cutting, to make sure the triangles can be sewn in the right place.

OK, looks like if I cut there it'll work. I cut opposite corners off the background square. Looks like my triangles will line up just fine.

Sewing them with a 1/4" seam:

Looking good! After the triangles were pressed outward, the blocks measured exactly the right size without any trimming.

And the points came out nicely when the blocks were joined with a slightly scant 1/4" seam.

A successful test. I learned that I can save the time and trouble of cutting squares, marking the diagonal, and trimming away the bonus triangles when making snowball corners.  If I make something with dozens of blocks, this would be a huge time saver.

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 24, 2018

Pickle Dish: A Finished Flimsy

Dr. Seuss's Pickle Dish is now a finished flimsy. This has been a long and complicated project, but so worth it. It's a big sofa quilt, 67" x 81".

I started collecting the fabrics and paper piecing the arcs last fall, so this has been in work for about 9 months so far. I don't know about you, but for me, the more care and effort and time I put into a project, the better I like it. This is one of my favorites ever.

I found a perfect backing fabric, a loose abstract grid print in the same dark teal-green and aqua as my background floral. My plan is to quilt this myself, so I'll have to spend some time prepping the backing and basting the layers together.

Meanwhile, I'm celebrating a finish!
Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF, hosted today at Alycia Quilts

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Work in Glacially Slow Progress

I've been doing a lot (for me) of hand stitching lately, on a project that's been in work since before Feb. 2008. This is a project that my Piecing Group friends have helped me with, but now it's in too few sections to hand out any more so I need to finish it.

Last week my guild had a UFO-themed social meeting. I knew some of the girls from Piecing Group would be there, so I wanted to show them how much progress I've made.

I need good light for hand piecing. I have a nice bright light on a flexible stand that I can move over my sewing table, which gives me good light for stitching.

Here's what the project looked like on the design wall back in 2015 so you can get an idea of it. Since this photo was taken, the rows have been sewn together in pairs, black pieces have been added to the ends to create side borders, and black rows have been stitched for the top and bottom borders. It will be queen size when finished.

As of last week, the bottom third is together, and the top four rows are together. Our meeting motivated me to keep pushing on this.  As long as my hands aren't too painful, I'll keep on stitching a little each day. I can only hand stitch for about 20 minutes; that's about one thread length, about 1/5 of the way across a row. When my hands flare up I'll take a break, but at least I can make some progress in the meantime. I will persist!

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pets on Quilts

It's time once again for the Pets on Quilts show over at Lily Pad Quilting.

This is Murphy. And this is his very most favorite spot in the whole wide world to be.

Check out all the other cute pets on quilts over at Lily Pad Quilting. Voting for Viewers Choice will start in a few days, after the link-up has closed.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Red Project: Completing the Dresden Blocks

The Red Project has been a task-of-the-month project since last fall, usually making blocks to this point. Last month the snowball corners were added.

This month the goal is to get all the centers appliqued on and the backs of the Dresdens trimmed out. First task, prep the centers:

After cutting, gathering, pressing and starching all the centers, I removed the cardstock circles from them and lightly glue-basted them in place. They're getting the same machine-stitched applique around the edges that the blades have.

See that presser foot? That's my quarter-inch piecing foot. The open slot is less than 1/8" wide. If I align the inside right side of the foot against the edge I'm stitching down, the needle will be close to the edge and the stitches will be nice and even. Sometimes the "wrong" tool is actually the right tool for the job.

I'm liking the proportion of center circle to blade diameter. I had earlier auditioned several sizes and I liked this one best. The center circle finishes 2-1/2" and the total block finishes 14".

Here's the back of the block, now that the center has been added: 

My friend Suzanne Marshall, applique artist extraordinaire, recommends cutting away the layer(s) of fabric from behind the applique so the batting will fill into the space. She should know, check out her website.

I'll definitely follow her advice. It's tedious, cutting the backing away from all those points.

You can see in the photo above that the red Dresden points still have an extra layer of fabric with seams. After cutting away the light background, I'm going back into each point and trimming the red to 1/4" seams. 20 points per block times twelve blocks. Good thing I have the rest of the month to get them all done. And a nice sharp pair of scissors.

Here's the back after cutting the layers away. I haven't decided if I'll cut away the center or open it and insert batting like trapunto, so for now I've left the background fabric there.   

Not really much to show for a lot of time and tedious work, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, August 10, 2018

August N4Nb Quilt

My August Nurses for Newborns quilt is finished. Once I had the blocks made correctly and laid out, it went together quickly.

It told me it needed spiral quilting. 

Double spirals, centered on the star points. 

I found the perfect backing in my stash, a large grey polka dot. It came from the free table at STLMQG awhile back. It was two cut pieces which I think were left over from the year our charity project was pillows. It's nice to be able to use it for our charity project this year.

The spiral quilting looks good on the back, too.

About the binding - A local shop had a FQ promotion last weekend, where everyone could register for a drawing, receive a FQ for just coming in, and receive an additional FQ for each $10 spent. By the time I got there the available FQs were pretty picked over, but there was one that was a chevron stripe that had the same colors in it as the focus print here. Turns out it's also labeled Dear Stella, so it's probably the same collection. I was just able to eke out enough from one FQ for the binding on this little quilt.

So the August installment of my N4Nb quilt saga is complete; three more months to go.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's Your Super Power?

Mine is: I can make everything much more complicated than it needs to be. 

Let's start at the beginning, with the fabric for my next Nurses for Newborns quilt.

Grey, coral, and navy. Gender neutral. This was a remnant purchased in Paducah in the spring, to be used for a donation quilt. The info on the bit of selvage I have says Dear Stella. I pulled some friends from stash to go with it:

So far so good, right? Now to choose a pattern.

Since I'm making one of these little N4Nb quilts each month and they're only 24" by 36", each one is an opportunity to experiment with fabrics or design or layout on a small scale. 6" blocks work within this size, in a 4 by 6 layout. Since the blocks are small, let's use a simple one.

When these blocks are combined, they create a diagonal star effect.

Still not complicated. But let's color these blocks with my fabrics, and move them around a bit. So I scanned the fabrics and played with them in EQ7.  Hmm, since these blocks are asymmetrical, they might lend themselves to more interesting layouts than just simple stars....

Keep in mind, the focus print is one-directional and the herringbone is also directional. So after I thought I had a plan and printed it out, I revised it.

Since I didn't want to waste ink on reprinting the revised plan, I just made blocks from my notes. And I adjusted everything so that my directional fabrics would all be going in the same direction.

Sheesh, it would have been less wasteful to reprint the plan. It was easier for my brain to follow the picture than the notes, so I wasted a lot of time ripping when I sewed wrong colors together or added the triangles on the wrong side for the print direction to be consistent.

So after much ripping and resewing, I now have the blocks on the wall, ready to be sewn together:

Kite tails blowing in the wind.

My super power is taking a very simple block for a very small quilt and making a very complicated production out of it. What's your super power?

...But the spiral concept is cool. It could be interesting to create a larger design using this concept. In a square layout, two accent colors could swirl around each other. I should probably avoid directional fabrics if I try it out. Maybe play some more in EQ first. And print the final plan, even if it wastes ink.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, August 6, 2018

Whale Baby Quilt Flimsy

I finished sewing the whale baby quilt into a top. The blocks are 9", 6" and 3", and it measures   
39-1/2" by 45-1/2".  Here's the flimsy in natural daylight, which shows the shades of blue much better than all my earlier indoor photos.

My plan is to use that same whale print for the backing; I have enough. I'll quilt it with an all-over meander. The question is, what thread color should I use?

I'm thinking the quilting thread should match the blue background of the whale print. The stitching would blend in in those areas, but show as high contrast in the navy areas and the white print areas. Or, maybe go a little darker than the whale print, match the medium blue triangles. What do you think?  What color would you use?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt
Em's Scrapbag

Friday, August 3, 2018

August First Saturday

I get together with some quilting friends for coffee and conversation on the first Saturday of the month. Early on, we each declared a project we'd show progress on each month, such as making a block or two or moving the project forward in some way. Mine is the red Dresden plate and checkerboard project. This month my goal was to snowball the corners of all the Dresden blocks.

Done! All twelve of the blocks now have their blue corners.

What a difference the snowball corners make in the overall look of this project. I'm really pleased with the diagonal movement they add to such a rigid checkerboard layout.

Next month's goal will be to get the centers appliqued to all the Dresdens.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July Stash Report and Goals Update

It's time once again to look at how this month went and look ahead to what I want to accomplish in August. The best part of July was getting together with friends. The stash report took a hit this month, but it's all good. Some of it was gifted and I'm very grateful.
L-R: Me, Julie, Cherie, Kevin

July Stash Report:

IN this month: 17-1/4 yards (Blues for snowball corners, 1-1/2 yards. Jackman's FQ sale - 4-3/4 yards. Gifted from Julie Sefton, 11 yards)
OUT this month: 10 yards (Heart Builders top #2, my fabrics, 3 yards.  Heart Builders Top #3, all my fabrics, 4 yards. Binding for 2 Heart Builders quilts,7/8 yard. Cherie's Round Robin, 5/8 yard. July N4Nb quilt, excluding scrap pack and charm pack, 1-1/2 yards. )

IN YTD: 96-1/8 yards
OUT YTD: 80-1/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 16 yards added to stash

OK, so I have 16 yards to make up by the end of the year. There's still five months, so if I don't get carried away with more FQ sales, and if I finish some of the WIPs, I should still be able to break even.
Gift of backing fabrics from Julie
~Thanks, Julie!~

Goals Update: 

July Goals Recap:
1. Clean, make desserts, and host Piecing Group. DONE; hosted a smaller group  than usual on July 3rd due to the holiday. 
2. Assemble 2nd Heart Builders top and possible third top. Get all tops sent out to Heart Builders. DONE, three tops made, sent and received. 
3. Add first borders to Pickle Dish top. Draft, cut, and start piecing second borders (to be paper pieced).  DONE with slight change of plan; top and bottom first/second/third borders are pieced and assembled. 
4. Get grandson's big boy bed quilt layered and basted; start quilting. Change of plan - Sent it out to be long arm quilted; due back in early September. 
5. Piece and/or quilt another N4Nb quilt. DONE, using gift of Amy Smart's scraps plus remains of a Scrumptious charm pack. 
6. Finalize post for 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop, to be featured on July 15. DONE
7. Snowball the corners of the Dresden blocks for the red project. DONE
8. Start working on baby quilt for new great-nephew due end of September. Yes, in progress, blocks made. 
9. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project. Not touched - too much other hand piecing for Piecing Group blocks this month. 
10. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE

 12 Days of Christmas in July

Heart Builders Top #3

Pickle Dish Borders

July N4Nb quilt

August Goals:
1. Finish baby quilt for new great nephew.
2. Finish adding borders to Pickle Dish to complete the flimsy; order fabric for backing.
3. Make another N4Nb quilt.
4. Add centers to the Dresden blocks for the red project.
5. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project.
6. Keep up with bee blocks.
7. Look at UFOs and WIPS and plan next one to be worked on.

Future baby quilt for great nephew #7 due in September

It's a shorter list than in July, but some of the items on it require more focus and more time. We'll see how much I can actually get done.

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts