Friday, July 31, 2015

A new start - Antique Wedding Sampler

Time to take a bit of a break from the longarm quilting. While it is great to get some quilts finished, too many days on my feet and my knee started acting up. And then after a three day weekend babysitting the grandchildren, I was feeling a need to play with my fabric. I have been considering making the Antique Wedding Sampler quilt from Di Ford's book Primarily Patchwork in shades of blue and white for about a year. After seeing the beautiful red and white Civil War Bride quilt on the blog Every Stitch I was inspired again and decided to just jump in. For awhile I had considered using these fabric to make Oma's Blues by Esther Aliu, and still hope to make that quilt one day, but decided that I really wanted to give the AWS a go. I decided to make the blocks in the order they appear in the pattern, possibly not the best choice as the first block proved to be a bit of a challenge. This one is hand pieced and hand appliqued. I especially love the Broderie Perse in the corners, so fun finding the perfect fabric in my stash.

Block 2 was much easier. I machine pieced the large star and then did EPP for the little star in the center. It actually should have 8 points instead of 6 but since I already had the papers for the 6 pointed star I went for it. A little fussy cutting really brings the star to life.

Block 3 is a pretty simple block. Mostly machine pieced except for the circular star in the center which is hand pieced and then appliqued onto the center square. So hard to remember that these blocks will be set on point but so important when you are fussy cutting!

And finally a picture of these and a few more unfinished blocks on the design wall. These are more true in color. I love how the blues are playing together so far. Using such a restrained color palette is quite challenging for me. I am still working on value issues but as always, I am learning as I go.

I have been hoarding most of these fabrics for about 7 years so it is fun finally using them. If you are familiar with the pattern then you know there is lots more Broderie Perse to come - I can't wait!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

The finishing continues

Now that my longarm machine is up and running I am trying to catch up with all the tops that have accumulated over the last few years. I can't believe that I had about 30 tops waiting to be quilted - it will take a long time to finish them all but I am making a start.

Here is my Celtic Solstice, Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt from 2013. I am very happy with the colors in this one.

About a year ago I made this quilt called Science Fair. It makes a cute throw in the guest room that until recently was my sewing room.

And today I quilted and bound another Bonnie Hunter quilt, Scrappy Trips, a free pattern available on her blog. I have called it Scrappy Trip to France because I used mostly French General fabrics. I had forgotten how much I like this quilt until I was quilting it, I just love all these pretty prints combined. It is fun getting to know my machine again and to practice a different design with each one. My machine is not computerized so I must free motion quilt all the designs by hand. I need lots of practice!

I also finished another 1/2 size block from My Enchanted Garden. Lots of fun to work with these fabrics and threads!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Di ford mystery quilt, part 6 continues

This has been a busy stitching week and yesterday I finally had a chance to cut the setting triangles for my Di Ford Mystery, Mountmellick. In the original quilt the final border is red so I have really had to think about color placement while selecting colors since I changed my border to a teal fabric. I am really learning a lot about color, design and attention to details with this quilt. Di seems to excel at these things and in trying to select fabrics to enhance her design I am paying more attention myself. Today I pieced 2 of the borders, can't wait to get to the other 2 soon. It turned out a little darker than I intended but I do really like it. And isn't it weird how light the center background looks - it is the same fabric used in the background for the stars in the final border yet looks so much lighter!

One of the things that has kept me busy has been helping my DIL finish a quilt for her brother's wedding. She finished sewing the top before the wedding but didn't have time to get it quilted so this week she came over to make the backing. We decided to add a pieced section to make the quilt reversible and to save fabric.

I rarely make quilts this big, it is 87 x 91", so I was a bit nervous to quilt it. I ended up doing a simple all over paisley design and think it worked out well. Now to get it trimmed and the binding put on. Thankfully, DIL will be doing the hand stitching on the binding on this one.

Really happy to have this quilt off my plate, I am anxious to start quilting some UFOs of my own.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Doing the Quilter's Happy Dance

Since nobody needs to see pictures of me doing that dance, I will start this post with a photo of my Stonefields quilt as it is on the design wall right now. Sorry, it is not a great photo but at least you get the idea. I have finished all the flying else needed for the border and have 88 of the 121 blocks completed. Still hoping to finish this top this year.

But back to my dancing with glee. You may remember that we have had to move a few times over the last few years and during that time I also had back surgery for a spinal fusion. As a result I have not been able to use my longarm machine for about 3 years. I had only had the machine for just over a year before it had to be disassembled and packed up and then right after it was set back up in the last house I found out I needed immediate surgery and then we had to move again. Well finally, with my new studio space complete, DH set the machine and frame up again. This past week I finally had the courage to relearn how to load it and operate sewing machine and after much research and troubleshooting things are running well. Yippee, and dare I say it is running better than ever. So in just a few days I have finished a few things and am so excited to think I can finally start making a dent in all the tops I have accumulated. I decided to just start with some easy all over designs so I could focus on machine adjustments. Here is an easy top that I had made awhile ago. My little grandson loves all the vehicles and was happy to see this one go on his big boy bed.

Here is a charity quilt ready to take for someone else in my sewing group to bind. This floral is another of the designs that I find easy to do. I do not often do pantographs as I enjoy "drawing" the pattern freehand.

And finally another quick quilt either for my granddaughter or charity. My DIL has asked for a small quilt to be donated to a silent auction so this will go to that unless she decides to keep it - then I am happy to make something else for the donation. So much easier now that I know I can get the quilting done!



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Di Ford Mystery, Part 6 begins

For the last several months I have been enjoying my Di Ford Mystery, Mountmellick, quilt top displayed over my fireplace. Although I would much prefer to hang a finished top, sometimes seeing the unfinished one eventually spurs me on to a finish as is the case with this one.

If you are familiar with this quilt, which was last year's mystery quilt in Quiltmania magazine, you know that part 6 has lots of EPP to do before the border can be assembled. Just over a week ago I decided to tackle the EPP only to discover that I did not have the correct paper pieces for the 36 stars. So instead I began with the corners and ordered the "jewel" pieces from Paper Pieces. Here are the finished corners.

And once the papers arrived I began making stars. I decided to do a little fussy cutting with these stars and am pretty pleased with how they are looking.

Once the stars are made they need to be appliqued to the background. I like to remove the papers before appliquing so I give the star a quick spray with Best Press, iron on both sides and then remove the papers. A tiny dab of Roxanne's Glue Baste and they are glued in place on the background square. While I do sometimes use a glue stick to baste my EPP I find that it is easier to thread baste these tiny pieces in the corners only. By not basting throughout the paper and punching a hole in the papers before using they are easy to pop out.

I like to finger press the diagonal lines on the square to help with placement for these. By making sure that the tip points are going in the direction of my stitching (I am left handed) these are easy to appliqué in place. I do trim the tips as I come to them so there won't be so much extra fabric to tuck under.

And here is the quilt on the design wall with some of the finished stars in place. I am waiting til all the stars are complete before cutting all the setting triangles as I am still deciding on fabrics for those. And on the right is the border I am planning to use. I wish I had used a darker teal fabric for the center swags but I love the border enough to make it work.

I did finish piecing my Red and White quilt, a little late for the July 4th and Canada Day holiday but hopefully it will be quilted before Christmas.

Finally another little Stonefields sunflower block. I couldn't resist making one more!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

My Mystery gone astray

To celebrate both Canada Day and July 4th I decided to do a little red and white sewing this week. I belong to 2 quilt guilds and one of them has a mystery quilt project. A new clue is give each month and by the end of the year we will end up with a quilt. This year's mystery required only two fabrics with good contrast, though you could go scrappy, and size is determined by the size of your pieces. I have wanted a red and white quilt for a long time and thought this would be the perfect chance. Our first clue had us making lots and lots of either HSTs or flying geese units. Mission accomplished and then I went searching online to look at Red and White quilts. Oh dear, I saw a quilt I just loved and hoped that my mystery would be that quilt. Another look at the second clue and I knew it was not to be. But I just could not get that quilt out of my head. So I decided to to figure out how to do it and started making components.

It is basically an Irish Chain and I am using the Flying Geese in the sashing sections to make the stars appear.

It is pretty small as I am using 1" finished squares. Once this all gets sewn together there will be a few very simple borders and I will have a great little throw or large table topper, perfect for Canada Day, July 4th, Christmas or even Valentines Day.

Now I think I might have to go back do the mystery in Blue and White!

Finally, I just wanted to share these lovely hydrangeas. These grow in my backyard but I can't see them where they are growing so they are perfect for cutting for indoors!