Sunday, November 11, 2018

Cozy Cabins progress

I had a lovely Saturday - lots of sewing and just general puttering around in my sewing room!  I finished up the blocks for my Lavender Sage Log Cabin quilt  (Island Batik Ambassador Challenge for November), and took a little time to try a couple different layouts.  Here are the blocks as they got thrown up on the design wall when they were finished:

I tried a diagonal setting first, but wasn't entirely thrilled with the bottom row as I was a dark purple block short of an even arrangement:
Then I tried out a version with dark purple in the center of the quilt and building out:
Then for fun, I posted the three pictures on my facebook page and my instagram account to see what the most popular layout would be.  So far 12 like the diagonal and 13 like the centered.  So close - I'm leaning toward the centered version simply because it is what's up on my design wall and it would be easy just to sew the blocks together and be done.  So, let me know you think, maybe you can change my mind!

I also pulled my rug out of hibernation and added a couple more rounds.  It was getting a little wavy, so I think I got it pulled back in to shape.  I had a ton more strips to sew together so I am ready to add more to it this week.  These are entirely binding scraps at this point!  It is totally amazing how much I have accumulated over a year.  When I get those all added I may start raiding my 2 inch strip bin and use those.  It's kind of hard on my wrists, and I have a tendency to have my tension too tight so it's a bit of work.  At least this is not a big rush project, just a fun way to use up fabric.

I also stitched together a bunch of little leftover bits from the log cabin quilt.  Thinking I will turn this into a cute throw pillow, I just had to use up every last bit of the lovely Lavender Sage fabrics, they were too pretty to toss!

Today's plan is to clean up the sewing room a bit and work on a pair of identical quilt tops.  One is for a customer and the other is a shop sample.  And maybe some machine quilting - I've got several tops in line that are basted and ready to go.  Let's face it, I just need more hours in a day to get all my projects finished!

Linking up with:

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Trust Bible Cover

I always enjoy getting custom order requests, they often provide me with ideas for new color combinations and generally are a pleasure.  This week I had a request from a customer for a quilted bible cover with the word Trust on the cover.  She suggested floral with a dark background, so I pulled out my bin of blacks and came up with a nice pile of florals that worked perfectly to make a lovely cover:

I decided that lovely royal purple would look great for the lettering and binding.  I also used it for the flaps and pockets:

It's ready to mail off today, I hope she loves it as much as I do! 

I've added this item to my Etsy shop - If you would like a Trust journal or Bible Cover, just click here and I can make one for you!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Lavender Sage Log Cabin

I'm getting a start on my Island Batik Ambassador project earlier than usual this month!  This lovely Stack of beautiful purples and greens was provided in my ambassador box in July - and could be currently available in your local quilt shop - if you search online you can definitely find it!
This month's challenge is Cozy Cabins, so I'm keeping it simple and going with a simple log cabin block.  After just a couple hours of sewing this morning I already have half my blocks done!  Yay me!  It was so fun just to sit at the machine and chain sew my heart out, what a terrific way to spend my sewing time today.
I just threw them up on my design wall willy-nilly, so pretty!  I can't wait to finish the rest of the blocks and play with my layout.  You will definitely want to keep your eye out for more great projects by the other ambassadors - you'll find the list on a tab at the top of my blog.

Linking up with Connie of Free Motion by the River for Linky Tuesday

Monday, November 05, 2018

Changing it up - Mountain Dawning - same pattern, different colorway!

I've been working on a new version of my Mountain Dawning pattern as a shop sample for Threads That Bind.  This time I used Rock Candy strips and White out (essential gems from Wilmington Prints).  So much fun in the bright colors!  I tried laying it out different ways, and it was really hard to choose which one to use:

I really liked this one (which isn't in the pattern, but easy to figure out!)
And this version is stunning as well!
So hard to choose!
All of them were just so beautiful!
I decided to make the cover version in the end.  I added some of my leftover strips to some rainbow raindrops for the backing:

And got it basted.  I plan on quilting this one differently - the blue version was done with straight lines, so this one will get some free motion quilting.  I think I have a fun bright variegated thread to use on the rainbow parts!

I enjoyed working on my design wall yesterday, it's been a while!  Linking up for Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Time off is a wonderful thing!

We had a wonderful well-deserved week of vacation!  We traveled to visit our grandchildren (and their parents) and just enjoy some time away from all the work we've been doing.  We have made it a routine to go up for a week in the fall, and the weather was actually quite good despite the forecast for rain.

We enjoyed watching football, soccer, swimming and gymnastics!  We walked the Nike campus with our son-in-law who works there.  Gorgeous place - and got in 2.2 miles while on our tour.
 Kids and water!
 Sweet statue - me and my beloved years from now!
There is a large berm build up around the campus from when they created this beautiful lake area - instead of paying to haul it away, it was put to good use!

My little climber - she's always busy!  I was in charge of her while her brother had soccer practice.  

We also enjoyed our time in Washington - I got to make a Halloween costume for my granddaughter there.  Luckily I had my sewing kit with me, I just hand-stitched felt to a t-shirt and embroidered a spiral onto a felt cone for the horn:
We also got to meet the new pup, Port:
Isn't she a cutie?  She's almost 4 months old and is a goldendoodle.  Her favorite game?  Grab something you don't want her to have and run!  She's teething and loves to chew on ice cubes.  She was lots of fun to play with!

It was so nice to relax - I brought a project from home to work on while sitting around.  This is my husband's sofa blanket.  It's probably about 20 years old and very well used!  The binding was a mess, actually the whole thing was pretty much a mess.  I offered to make a new one, but he really was hoping to get some more years with this one!  So I am patching the holes, adding some quilting and replacing the binding.  Fingers crossed it will hold together in the laundry afterwards!

Last time I repaired the quilt I added some ties through the center of the paisley blocks.  Every single tie ripped through the upper fabric.  So lots of little holes in those to be repaired.
This end was pretty shredded! I had to trim about half the outer border off before replacing the binding.  Much better looking now!  

 I also added some big stitch quilting with the Aurifil 12 wt I used for my October challenge (2610).  I stitched along every other row of squares.  The back looks like a big mess, but at least it won't rip the top like the ties did.  It's a dark blue, just looks washed out in this photo.

Speaking of washed, that's where it is now, then my happy hubby will have his beloved blankie back.  I'm going to start on a new one anyway, though, because I don't think this one will last much longer!

I had a wonderful week of hand stitching, now it's back to the sewing studio for lots of speedy machine work.  My list is long for November, and I've got to get busy crossing items off my list.

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching on Kathy's blog!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Needle, Paper and Scissors

When discussing paper piecing, it's important to determine whether the topic is english paper piecing (EPP) or foundation paper piecing.  The former is done by hand, and the latter is a machine piecing technique.  For this months Island Batik Ambassador challenge, I decide to do EPP.  Since I usually like to piece by machine, this was a great way to do something different, and since it's very portable it was a great project to take with me during our travel times.  I used scraps from the Eclectic Garden and British Rose collections for my project - such fun colors!
I like to baste my pieces by hand, so I put my wonder clips into use to hold down the corners while I stitched the edges.

I really didn't have a plan when I started, I just started making stars.  Can you see my mistake in the green one with the purple center?  I can goof up just as well hand stitching as I can when machine stitching!

I decided to make 7 star units and joined them with light yellow diamonds.

This was a great relaxing project!  So nice to put my feet up and stitch for a while :)  I added Dragonflies in Lilac triangles to finish out the edges, then added Dragonflies in Jelly from the Lavendula line.

Since I'd done all the piecing by hand I decided to hand quilt it.  I received this lovely spool of 12 wt thread from Aurifil in my July Ambassadador box from Island Batik, and the color looked great with this project!  Light Blue Grey blends nicely with both the lights and darks in my quilt.

I decided to use the Dragonfly in lilac for the binding as well, and this I did machine stitch!  Those corners are a little tricky, but they came out really nicely as well!

Isn't it pretty?

I love the geometric look on the back.  I used Rice for the backing.  One of my favorite neutrals!
This was really a fun project!  I don't know if I have the patience for a large EPP project, but his small one was really pleasant, and I enjoyed having a project to stitch by hand in those little moments of time that I would have probably otherwise been looking at my phone - much more productive and relaxing!

Thank you to Island Batik and Aurifil Thread for providing the materials for this fun project!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Christmas All Year - Finishing the top

Hello!  Today is the day we finish up our quilt tops.  If you've been good about making your blocks each month you will now have 9 finished blocks ready.  They should all measure 12 1/2 inches square.  If not, you have a couple of options, which I will give more detail on after I go through the basic setting instructions.  Go grab your Finishing the Top instructions, and let's put this quilt top together!

First, lay out your blocks in a 3 x 3 grid.  This is the layout I decided on - I thought the hourglass looked best in the center because it has more background than the other blocks. 

Next, cut your sashing strips.  I ran into a bit of difficulty here - I found two slightly different red fabrics that I liked, but neither one of them was quite large enough to cut all the sashings.  Being determined to use my stash to complete this quilt, I decided that since they were very close in color that I could use both.  I used one color for the sashing strips around the outside of the blocks and the other for in between the blocks.  Here are my two sets of strips together so you can see how close in color they are:

I used the one with more gold for the outer strips.

And you will need to cut your cornerstones.  I chose a fun green with candy canes.
Assemble the center in strips.  I like to web my quilt top, but it does get a bit bulky when you are working with all the blocks and strips, so if you would like to just assemble them in separate rows, you can definitely do that! 

If you look at the bottom corner you can see how my rows are all sewn chained together.  I had a twist in that bottom sashing strip, so had to clip the first chain to get it ready for sewing to the block row above it.

And the center after sewing together!  At this stage your pieced center should measure 48 1/2 inches. Now you are ready to add the borders all around it.  I chose 5 1/2 inch strips for my border for a quilt that will finish at about 58 inches.  If you want your quilt larger, you can add bigger borders. 

Piece your side borders first.  They will measure the same as your pieced center.  Sew them on and press the seams toward the border.  Then measure your quilt across - I usually take three measurements - top edge, center and side edge.  If there is much difference I will usually go with the center measurement, or add the three together and divide by three for a happy medium.  Piece the borders and sew them to the quilt, press seams toward the borders and your top is done!
I'm loving my fun top!  I plan on getting this quilted over the month, so I'll be posting updates here on my progress.  On November 25 I'll be back and let you know exactly how I quilted it, and give you a binding lesson, too - I am so excited to have a new Christmas quilt to enjoy this year!

If your blocks do not finish at 12 1/2 inches, but are all about the same size, you can cut your sashing at 3 1/2 wide and the length that your blocks finish at.  Or if there is a lot of variation in sizes, you can add coping strips to the edges of your blocks to make them all measure the same.  To add coping strips, sew 1 1/2 inch strips to all four sides of each block, then trim them to all measure the same as the smallest block.  Cut your sashing strips 3 1/2 by this measurement and proceed as instructed.  Hopefully your blocks are all fairly accurate and you won't have to mess with them!

Can't wait to see your finished tops!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing....

What a week!  I've been keeping the pedal to the metal this week and have churned out an amazing lot of progress - but no finishes this week.

I've got all the blocks finished for the Brothers and Sisters quilt and am working at the border units.  Only 190 rectangles that have a sew and flip triangle on each end.  I do a bunch, then trim and press.  Those will probably keep me busy all week long.

Plus I tackled the mountain of scraps that have been building up!

That's a pretty impressive mound of blocks I've got done already.  Almost enough for a quilt top - woohoo!

You could barely even see the bin of strips before I started!  
Now look!  I've really reduced the level making all those blocks.  Don't worry, I'm in no danger of running out any time soon...I've got a big stack of leftover fabric ready to be processed and added to my bin.

It's been a fun week of scrappy projects!  

Linking up with Cynthia for Oh Scrap!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Friendship Star Variation

The last two weeks I've been steadily working on the Brothers and Sisters Quilt, and am happy to say that I now have all the blocks finished!  One of my favorites was this friendship star variation:

At first glance the block looks quite complicated, but in reality it is very easy to make.  It's basically a friendship star with a diamond in the square as the center, and a sew and flip triangle added to the half square triangles.

For a six inch block you will need to cut four 2 1/2 inch squares of background for the corners and two 2 7/8 inch squares (cut in half diagonally for four triangles).  Cut one 2 1/2 inch square for the center, two 2 7/8 triangles (cut in half diagonally for four triangles) for the star, and eight 1 1/2 inch squares for the contrasting small star.

After you sew the four half square triangle units, place a small square at the lower left corner of the star triangle.  Sew a diagonal line across the small square like you are making a snowball unit.  Trim and press out.  Make a diamond in a square unit by sewing small squares on each of the four corners of the center square.  I like to sew the two that are diagonally across from each other, then trim and press out, and then add the final two small squares.  You can see what all this looks like before pressing below (this is a different color combination, so don't let the change in color confuse you).

Then assemble your block, making sure your star points are facing correctly!
This looks way better!  Good thing I was on my last block, I think it was getting to be quitting time!

You just have to do a little easy math to figure out how to make your block any size.  If you divide your finished block size by three you will know what size your finished units will need to be.  Add 1/2 inch to that for your center and corner squares, and for your half square triangles add 7/8.  For the measurement for the small triangles use 1/2 of your finished unit size and add 1/2 for the seam allowance.  So for a 12 inch block, your units will finish at 4 inches.  Cut your center and corner squares at 4 1/2 inches.  Cut your half square triangles at 4 7/8 inches.  Cut your small squares at 2 1/2 inches.  Not so hard, right?

Here is one of my 9 inch blocks.  So pretty!  I have one other block that I need to re-do, then I am ready to add sashing and assemble the center of the quilt, this project has taken a while to assemble so I am pretty excited to see what it looks all sewn together.  Then it's on to piecing the border!

What's under your needle today?