Block-of-the-Month

Too Hot To Quilt

I apologize for the absence since my last post. I have thought about posting a couple of times each week, but it is hard to post something when you don’t really have anything to show for it. It has been VERY warm here the last while. I’m not complaining!!! I love the heat. BUT … it really is too hot to do much crafting. I have sweat running down my back within 30 minutes, then I bail and go nap in the bedroom with the air-con. 😀 The weather is supposed to break in a couple of weeks, then I’ll be back full time.

I may not have done much, but I have done a little! Shall I show you?

Some of the August blocks

The Tula quilt is carrying on. I spend one-two days picking out the focus fabric for each block. Once I’m ready to start sewing, I just need to open to the block, cut the focus fabric I have waiting there, cut out the solid, and sew! At my worst, I was getting 1 block a night done, but 1 is a step above none, right? And I haven’t missed a deadline yet. We are on track!

The quilt is coming!!!

This is my wall as it stands. I like how the quilt top is coming together! My goal this month is to get the 2 rows on both sides together and off the wall so I can spread out the remaining blocks. Since I’ve started added the sashing, the blocks are becoming a wee bit squished, but they’re staying up so that’s all that really matters. I’ll have to study on that, though. I was looking at the wall and thinking that I may want to leave out a couple of rows to bring the size down a bit. That would mean … that I’m already done maybe??? I think there’s only 2 months of 10 blocks each left. Hmmmm … that will definitely be this week’s project to decide …

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Quilt Designs · UFO

Regressing To Crawling

Well, how else should one baste a quilt in a new house??

I’m still short a table (Husband is working on other projects and I hate to distract him just to dig out a table), so the best option for basting the Christmas Fig quilt was to lay it out on the floor and roll around with pins. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, it went very well! I wasn’t even sore from bending over like I usually am when I baste. My legs, on the other hand, complained loudly (I tend to sit cross-legged). Still, I took the odd break to stretch out and made it through. It helped that the Crazy Quilter Zoom retreat was this weekend! It made the job easier by being a distraction. 🙂

Zoomin’ and bastin’

The only issue I had was the batting. I bought batting months ago for this project and had it sitting on the shelf for usage. After finishing all the piecing, I carted everything downstairs in a laundry basket, laid out my backing, and opened up the batting … only to remember that I cut out the Brothers Bear baby quilt batting from this piece. I might have enough to proceed, but it would be very close and require a lot of cutting and piecing of the batting. Since the stores are open again, it was much simpler to just run over to Fabricland and buy batting. I need more and why not start rebuilding my supply? Plus – the Pellon 93% cotton batting I usually use was on super sale! Time to load up for the next few quilts! We won’t talk about the fabric that also made its way into the basket …

My father-in-law is spending a few days at our house during the week to give Husband a hand with his projects, so the quilting will not commence until the weekend. I am very excited to get going on it, though!! The first two blocks under the needle are the purple squares and the blue bow tie blocks in the dead centre of the quilt. I once again utilized my iPad to sketch out my quilting patterns. We’ll see how many squares turn out the way I sketch them. Sometimes I get inspired mid-quilt. 🙂

~M

Block-of-the-Month · UFO

May UFO project

Sorry – got distracted with my new June UFO commitments and forgot to post what I finished last month. 😀

One of my UFO goals is to get my class-based blocks from past years finished up. My last class from FibreChick was interrupted by the pandemic. I got all the remaining blocks, but I haven’t gotten around to making any additional ones.

Normally, I would make the remaining 6, but I picked up a panel over the holidays to make these blocks with again. I like the layout she designed for the 6.5 squares and thought it would be perfect for this Amish barn-quilt panel. And getting the first 6 blocks made is my May-month UFO.

6.5” block panel

I used the monthly retreat hosted by the Crazy Quilter to get to work on the new blocks. I may have had the Courthouse steps made before the retreat weekend, but most of the blocks were created during the retreat.

One thing I’d forgotten about is how much I intensely dis-like the drunkard’s path blocks. As far as I’m concerned, they take too much time to make. And I got extra frustrated because I made all the blocks I need to complete it … then realized I forgot a whole circle block. GAHHHH!!! But finally, at the end, I had all the blocks made and May UFO is done!

I am switching gears a little bit for June. Don’t worry – I intend to have both these flimsies finished by summer’s end! Maybe even have one quilted?? We’ll have to see …

~M

Block-of-the-Month · UFO

UFO Calamity

My goal for April was to get my Christmas Fig top together. I thought it would be a relatively easy goal – all the blocks are together, so I just need to do the sashing, right?

That sentence never ends well.

First off, I had to go through my scraps to find enough pieces to do the 4-patch corners. There are 30 of them in all. I didn’t want to stick to two colours since I’m working with a FQ bundle and I didn’t want to cut anymore of the fabric strips than I had to, so I first cut down any bits and pieces I had, then figure out how much I needed from strips. It turned out to be not much at all!! I was very thrifty. 🙂 And it was nice to do all the work from right beside my computer at the big cutting mat. The chain piecing turned into something of a rope, but all the pieces fit on the pressing station when time came to press them down. I spent a couple of leisurely evenings getting the 4-patches made!

Next step is getting the blocks ready. Some of the blocks aren’t exactly 16.5”. When making them, some called for strips around the outside of the block. I didn’t bother because I figured I would just do them all with strips. That … was not fun. Thankfully I was on Zoom for one of Crazy Quilter’s virtual retreat. By the time the call was up at the end of the night, I wanted to throw the whole project in time-out. It just means I need practice, though, at figuring out how much fabric I need to get the right size. I can do that!

Monday evening, I started putting up all my blocks on the design wall so I could figure out if I wanted to follow the pattern exactly or mix up some of the blocks. That’s when I discovered …

I MISSED A BLOCK. How did that happen??? I swear I counted all the blocks multiple times and compared it to the book. How could I be short a block?? Did it get lost during the move? With the blocks laid out according to the pattern, it was easy to see which one was missing (ironically, it just happened to be the very last block in the very last row – that was not intentional!) I flipped through the book and found the Pinwheel Swirl. After looking at it for a bit, I don’t think I actually ever made that one (at least it’s not lost!!!!) Thankfully, I had a long weekend coming up. I could just make it then!

… or not. Sorry not sorry – the weather was BEAUTIFUL over that weekend. All I wanted to do was be outside! I cut down a couple of huge cedar shrubs that were planted right beside the foundation of the house (honestly – who does that??? The roots will crack out your foundation and make a huge mess. Save foundation gardens for flowers or foundation-friendly plants like roses). Snowdog cavorted in yard was his typical terror self. He even tried to climb into the neighbour’s car and go for a drive with them! DON’T BLAM ME … Husband thought he could let Snowdog out on his own. That should teach him. Things were raked up, dog bombs were cleaned up, and campfires were had. I LOVE being able to have a fire in our own backyard at long last! Now we just need to build up a stack of wood that is actually dry and not 25 years old … but we’ll get that old, punky, wet stuff burned up eventually. 🙂

And now we’re staring down the barrel of the deadline gun. My Tula blocks are due in a week and my UFO is due 2 days later. Gotta get chopping!!!!

The block went together fairly quickly. The seams are a little bulky, but work fine. Unfortunately, making the final block made something very clear to me. I can’t finish this quilt top right now. I don’t have enough of the background fabric to finish. I will have to go back to Fabricland to get enough to finish, but since we’re going back into lockdown, that will not be happening anytime soon. I let the Crazy Quilter know I would have to change my UFO for this month. I’ve finished the block. Next week – the second part of my surprise April UFO.

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing

Public Service Announcement

I don’t know where you are right now, but here where I am, we are getting snow, snow, and more snow. I’ve literally been shovelling every day the past week except for yesterday. While it is a good work out, we’re starting to run out of places to store the excess snow. It’s madness! Of course, Snowdog thinks it’s amazing. He is asking for walks all day long. At least someone is happy!

Snow-covered Snowdog

This past weekend was the Crazy Quilter’s virtual retreat, so I took the opportunity to get my Tula blocks all finished up! I swear it took me twice as along to cut everything as it did to sew it together, but I did manage to get it all done! I was super excited about this month because I’ve been wanting to make two particular blocks for some time now. What do you think?

I was VERY happy with how they turned out! I originally wanted to make the bee block using a face out of the De La Luna line, but only once face would have fit in the 4” opening and it would have been very tight. When I matched up the face, there just wasn’t enough contrast between any of the three blocks. Since I’ve already cut into my All Stars collection, I decided to go with the bee print. I like how the two colours compliment each other. I think I made the right choice!

Once again – sorry for the short-and-sweet blog post. I also have to apologize in advance for being absent for the next week or two because … WE’RE MOVING!!! We put a bid in on a house at the start of January and it was accepted, so we will be moving all this coming week. My sewing room will be the last room to get put back together and organized. My wonderful husband is spoiling me with one of the biggest bedrooms as my sewing room and he’s getting me a new sewing table! It will not get delivered until the end of the month. My office space and my sewing space will once again be separate, so I won’t have a place to set up the sewing machines until I get the table delivered and installed, so I may not have any updates for this site for the first little bit. Don’t fret, though – I will be back and I will have lots more to talk about!!!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing · Sewing Room · UFO

Slogging Through

My goal for this weekend was to finish off the remaining Christmas Fig blocks. Spoiler: I didn’t make it, but I can see that finish line coming strong!

After my struggles last week, I decided to start off with the easiest block first. I have three blocks left – the Flying Geese Criss Cross block (ain’t that a mouthful), the Feathered Star block, and the Tree of Life block. I’m saving the Tree of Life block for last – it just seems fitting. The easiest of the two remaining blocks is by far the Flying Geese Criss Cross block. It took me less than 2 hours to put it together and the bulk of that time was spent on the flying geese blocks. I’m not super enthused with this block. It’s yet another example that I didn’t take colour value into account. Even though these two fabrics compliment each other probably better than any other fabrics I paired from this bundle, the light coloured fabrics blend into the background fabric too much. It would have been better to go with white fabrics or just use different fabrics for this pattern, but that how we learn.

On to the Feathered Star block! It doesn’t look much like a feathered star to me. In fact, if it were up to me, I’d call it the Sawtooth Star. Unfortunately, there’s already a block called that. If you compare the two, the Feathered Star looks much more sawtooth-y. I’m calling mine Sawtooth.

I honestly think this was the most challenging block in the book. Some of the others would be very close (the Puzzle block and the Milky Way block come to mind), but this one was most challenging to me, in no small part due to using directional fabric. Thankfully, the pattern was somewhat easy to conceal on the smaller pieces, but I had to make sure the eight big triangles were all flowing in the right direction. You’ll see later.

The first challenge was getting all the blocks sorted and moving in the correct direction. I love having a design wall for this sort of work!!! I know other people have boards about the size of a piece of paper that they arrange their blocks on for piecing. If I am in a place where my design wall is not directly beside my sewing machine, I will absolutely do this as well. It is so handy to be able to arrange it before sewing it to make sure it’s going the right direction. Most of my Sunday was taken up with making the half-square triangles (HSTs) and arranging them on the wall. I decided to make some of the outer blocks before calling it quits and honestly – the wall made life easy. If you’re in to quilting, please please do some form of this. It’s so much better than laying them out on the table – I promise!

Here in Ontario, we had a long weekend! Yay!! That meant I could do more quilting on Monday! First step was to make the remaining outer blocks, which was a snap. Then on to the four inner blocks!!! This is where directional fabric got the better of me. As you can see, the blocks I made last night clearly have dots streaming upwards. There are four more big triangles in the middle with the streaming dots. I got one done, then on a whim I decided to toss it on the wall to see how it worked. Am I ever glad I did!! I had it backwards! So I ripped it off, sewed it back on so the dots were going the right way, then made a second block. Have you ever heard of measure twice, cut once? Well, in quilting, you need to check two blocks, then make one quilt. 😀 My wall experience had spooked me, so I decided to take all the blocks I had made so far and put them up on the wall in the configuration I’d need them to go, just to be sure … and if I didn’t have those two fabrics backwards again!!! I need to mention here – ripping them off and sewing them back on would not have worked here except for the fact that I was working with batiks. The fun part of batik fabric is that there is no back and front to the fabric. The dye goes through to both sides so you can use either side. That made flipping these blocks around possible!

Once I finally got all my dots streaming the same way, I quickly whipped the rows together and voila – Sawtooth the block! I love that you can see the two focus fabrics interacting with each other much more in this block as there is less background fabric. The colours really are pretty. 10 out of 10, would totally make this block again. It’s a lot of effort, but I think it really looks nice.

Sawtooth The Block!

On a parting note, I still have one block left – the Tree of Life. I’ve been dealing with back pain this week due to a very old car accident from my college days that comes back to haunt me once in a while, so I was taking lots of breaks in the piecing process. I did manage to get all the HSTs made before calling it quits. I just need to cut them, press them open, and I’m ready to start piecing that tree!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing · UFO

Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself

And appliqué. No, I take it back. Appliqué should fill your soul with unholy dread. Fear is too mild a feeling.

One of the reasons the Christmas Fig BOTM project was so easy to sideline were the next two blocks: Carolina Lily and the Triple Lily. They both had appliqué that could not be left out. The first was lots of little appliqué and the second was a big appliqué on curved pieces. Ohhhhh I did not want to start on those two blocks … so it only made sense to make those two blocks my UFO goals for February. Why just two blocks? Oh, I have reasons …

But first the blocks!! I decided to start on the Triple Lily block during Crazy Quilter’s monthly sewing retreat in January. I was very happily surprised that I was fussing over nothing!! The lily blooms were very fun to piece for starters. Because I’ve gotten to the end of the book, I was able to pick whatever fabric I wanted that I had enough scrap of. I decided to re-use the Rolling Stone block fabric because I wanted the blooms to be the same from a distance, but the same up close. I like how they look! When it came to making the stem (curved bias seams appliquéd on), it was so easy and took no time at all! I glued them to the fabric, then did a simple blanket stitch on both sides. I felt like a pro!! And I now had the confidence to move on to the scarier block – the Carolina Lily. As you can see, I still have to trim off the excess fabric before the Triple Lily is complete. The book said to trim it before assembling the block, but I figured it was better to leave it on and cut it to size afterwards.

That same evening, I started in on the Carolina Lily. I got the blooms and bloom base (whatever that part of a flower is called) all put together. I pinned the appliqué on the donkey (HAHA … ohhhh my jokes make me laugh … too bad they’re just funny to me). Then I called it a night and left the unholy dread portion for the next weekend. I mean – I’d done most of the work already, right? It would be a piece of cake!

And unholy dread, it was. Due to my overwhelming success with the curved biased appliqué, I decided to do a satin stitch again. Problem #1 – I did not stabilize anything. I’d love to say that I thought I didn’t need to, but the painfully honest truth is I plain forgot how necessary that is. I won’t ever forget again. Problem #2 – I got cocky. Hands up – who is surprised??? Well … I did not too bad for first half inch. Then the fabric started rolling up underneath itself while I simultaneously discovered I can’t go smoothly around a circle. It was … truly awful. I should have taken a picture, but I was so horrified by the end result that I started ripping it out before I finished cutting it off the sewing machine. You can see the holes below how far off the rails I went. Surprisingly, I was actually able to salvage the fabric and re-do it using the tried-and-true blanket stitch. Time will tell how well these little pieces hold up with use and washings, but for tonight’s post, I’m happy enough with the end product to call this block “Done”.

I decided to give myself a little break and do a quick, easy block to make myself feel like I went the extra mile this month. This is called the pineapple block. I simply LOVE how these colours turned out! I find this block mesmerizing. It makes me want to keep this quilt when I’m done … or maybe just this block? No M – don’t be selfish! You can’t keep all your favourites!

My Pretty Pineapple Block

~M

Binding · Block-of-the-Month · Finished Projects

How Not To Bind a Quilt

I got the binding on the quilt and all the ends stitched in the night before the deadline. I am very happy with the result! I used the blue rows that I removed from the quilt mixed with a blue solid. Ohhhhh boy … that was not fun. You’ve heard of measure twice, cut once? I am hear to tell you to check twice to make sure all your mitred binding seams are pointing the same way. I was coming up on the end of the quilt and suddenly realized that the seam I just stitched on was facing OUT. If I was doing this the longish way, it wouldn’t be an issue, but since I was using the binding attachment tool, it was an ordeal. I had to feed an extra 12 inches through the tool, take the tool off, then juggle it on my lap while I cut out the seam and figured out how to stitch it on so the seam would face in. The air in my sewing room may have been a little blue, but I finally figured it out and got everything attached.

I think it looks cute! All this quilt needs is a wash and a label and it is out the door! That won’t be for some time, but I let the new mother something would be heading her way in about a month. I want to tuck a colouring book in the package for the older brother anyways and I’ll need to get out and find something. Which reminds me … where did I tuck that baby card … :S

On to my next project! We had our first Tula Pink City Sampler class last week! We were getting all inspired by the lesson. I’m glad I didn’t commit to anything before the first class. I already knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to set it. Since it’s a bunch of 6” blocks, I’m going to use a floating block setting for the blocks when they’re finished.

Floating blocks setting

I saved all my sewing for Sunday. I’ve come to realize that I can’t realistically quilt during the week with my current office set up. That’s okay – we will change that with a little time. That is one of the reasons I wanted to do this sampler – the blocks are very simple and I’m able to easily hammer them out in a weekend. Turns out, I can hammer them out in one day if I really lean into it!

Look at all the pretty colours!

I’m super excited for this project! My first 10 blocks were all made out of my scrap bin from quilts/projects I made with Tula fabric. You should recognize most of the fabric from my past blog posts. Next month, I’ll dig into some of my uncut bundles to make a diversely colourful quilt. If I’m lucky, I’ll even have some Lineworks pieces from my sister’s bag to add to the quilt! Speaking of … I should get back to that soon …

The one block I’m not happy with is the pink-and-green checked block. The idea was to take two of the less prominent colours to show case the cute little mouse blocks. Well … I did definitely use two less prominent colours. The colours are probably less prominent because they are LOUD. Instead of highlighting the block, the pink-and-green checks totally overwhelm the corner blocks and pull focus. It’s a good learning experience and I’m totally not re-doing the block at this stage. The funny thing is that the blue-and-yellow block did the exact opposite, even though they are also loud colours. Maybe because the Tula fabric I used in that one was less subtle? My favourite has to be the dark grey block with the one bright leaf in it. I love how it stands out on the dark fabric. The large amount of dark grey means I’ll need to pick a lighter background when I go to piece them in, but that’s a future problem.

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing · Quilt Designs · UFO

Project Updates

I actually got a lot more done than I thought I did this spring! Here’s where my projects currently stand:

FibreChick BOTM 2019-20: I was staying up-to-date with all Kim’s homework during classes. After the March shut-down, she decided to wait it out to see if things would open up quickly (a hope that I think most everyone shared at the time). However, it was not to be, so in June she emailed everyone to let us know that the remaining blocks would be available for pick-up. I did pick up the blocks, but my crazy summer/fall had just started, so these items are waiting for a finish. I’m keeping my new classes this year to a minimum – I know, I said that last year, but I mean it this time! – and instead, I’m joining a UFO club. You hand in $120 at the start, and each month that you meet your goals, you get $10 handed back. It’s an online club, so I can connect from my computer (which I LOVE). I think the rest of the blocks are going to be my first UFO commitment.

Crazy Quilter BOTM: I think I mentioned this one on my last blog entry before The Great Hiatus of 2020. It was a Christmas Fig BOTM that I was doing from a book. Surprisingly enough, this is one of the few things I worked on during the summer. I managed to keep up to date through the end of August … but more on that later. These are all the blocks I’ve made so far. I just have 4 more to make, then we’re done! All that will need to be done is to put them all together and add them to the quilting pile. I have to say, if you like reading blogs, check hers out. She’s a professional quilter based out of Toronto. I usually read her blogs in the morning on my coffee break because I like reading on my coffee break … and in the car … and at the beach … and in bed … okay, I’m a bookworm. Sue me!

FibreChick BOTM 2018-19: Speaking of on the quilting pile, I took time to piece all the peach/white blocks from last year! Whoo hoo! I think it looks good, but someone in this house has a weird take on the lightning block. If you see it, comment below. I think it’s just them playing some of the specifically themed computer games they play, but if everyone else sees it too, I may have to do something about that block. Anyways – it’s got batting, a backing, and it’s basted. It is currently folded up in a drawer and waiting for me to get around to quilting it this winter. I also have a little table runner to quilt. I know you’ve seen this pattern before, but I won this particular runner at a quilting bee, so the fabric was free and I got it already pieced. I just need to do the quilting! I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep it for myself for when I have a table again or if I’ll be gifting it. Probably for now, I’ll quilt it and tuck it away.

Completed projects: One of the fun little projects I finished this spring was a twister quilt! I borrowed a ruler from someone at quilt guild to make it. What you do first is assemble a quilt, usually made out of 4-patches. Then you take a ruler or template and cut the 4-patch quilt up. I know it sounds crazy, but because you cut it on an angle, you get these cute little “twisters”. Plus, it’s a quilt that looks super complicated even thought it’s super easy, which makes you look like a quilting super-star when you’re just starting out. I also re-upholster the kitchen chair that I use in my sewing room. I used old pillow shams from a long-since-departed quilt. I think it looks super cute! The colours should match my walls when I get around to painting them. It won’t last forever because the fabric is super-not durable, but for a homemade upcycle, it fits the bill! I intend to use it until we move to a new house. I’ll get a better sewing chair then. I also moved around my sewing room because … *drumroll* … I am using my sewing room as my work office for now. More on the that in the next blog post, but while it’s convenient to have my computer in my sewing room, it’s also cutting down on my sewing space and adding to my reluctance to sew. My upcoming projects may force me to overcome, that, though.

Projects on the table: I’ve already mentioned the baby quilt for December. I really want to start working on it. Half of it is super easy. I got a panel from Fabricland and I cut it into strips. I plan on making row blocks and sewing the panel strips between the blocks. I think it will look super cute! She already has one boy and she’s having a second one, so I think the two teddy bears are perfect. She doesn’t read this blog, so the secret is safe with you! The other work in progress is the quilt for my niece. Originally, I was going make her bed quilt out of Tula Pink (I did a whole post on that). I’ve also mentioned that she has seizures that aren’t 100% under control. Well, it sounds like she’s going to have to go back down to Toronto for more tests (a four-hour drive from us). In the past, she’s taken an old baby blanket with her, but my sister told me it’s getting too small for her and asked me to make her a new travel blanket. Of course I’m delighted too! I mentioned a long time ago that I had Peter Pan fabric stashed away for a special project. Well, the special project is here now. I’m making both my nieces quilts from the fabric. I’m using big blocks again to get it done quicker (I just finished cutting all the block last week!). It’s the same pattern and fabric, but I’m changing the block orders so they aren’t exactly the same. I’m also putting a different backing on each. Ideally, I’ll have them both done for mid-November (right between both their birthdays, one month apart) or for the Toronto appointment when they get a date. Now that they’re both cut out, I’ll focus on finishing one, then the other. The bed quilt can wait until next year.

There was one more project, but I’ll mention it in the next post. It’s going to be a bittersweet post, but I think I need the therapy of writing it all out. If you want to find out how my summer/fall went, it will be there. If you need to stick to the positives right now, I totally understand and recommend you just skip the next one. 🙂 Stay safe, stay happy, take care of your emotional state!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing

Keeping Up Appearances

I didn’t get much more done on my aunt’s quilt. I accidentally toasted my arm on the stove and it’s keeping me from doing too much at once. I joined a second BOTM club – I know, I said I wouldn’t – but it’s a go-at-your-own-pace one. Plus, I was intrigued with the pattern. 🙂 We are following the Christmas Fig sampler pattern. I’m glad I got the book. It includes table runners, cushions, and a tree skirt. I’m just doing the quilt for now.

I decided to dip into one of my super special fabrics – Botanical’s batiks in the Crystal Waters bundle. I bought it last year with a few other fabrics that I’m hording for that special future quilt. The first challenge was choosing a background fabric. I recently acquired a purple-gray fabric with tiny little leaves on it. It matched perfectly and I thought it would be perfect. All the second opinions disagreed, though. They thought it was too blendy and really wiped out the beauty of the fabric. Someone else recommended white. I really don’t like white, but they were right that it suits better. So I got an ice-blue fabric that I think works perfectly with the fabrics.

The first two blocks are nine-patches, ironically. So is my other BOTM class. January is nine-patch bonanza. I managed to get the first block done. I need to work on my 1/4″ seam. It’s always a learning experience. I can’t wait to get going on block two!

~M