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

Block-of-the-Month · Finished Projects · Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) · Non-Quilt Projects

Closing the Book on 2019

Have you ever had life get so intensely busy that you lose any drive to work at fun things? That’s sort of what happened to me. Two weddings, two job interviews, family events, and home maintenance adventures, it all drained me in a way I hadn’t expected. I didn’t even get my assigned blocks done a couple of times, although at least one of those was due to an issue with the instructor not having enough blocks to go around.

One of the things that fueled my disconnect with my hobby were the projects that I absolutely had to do. I had my brother-in-law’s quilt to finish the quilting on and I had a block-of-the-month quilt to work on. I’ve been really struggling with the block-of-the-month quilt. The rows I received over the summer included a lot of paper piecing (more on that another day) and teeny-tiny pieces. I mean – just look at this block! And there are 8 of these blocks total to have finished!!! It didn’t help that I did the first block wrong and I don’t have enough pieces to finish all 8. I will figure that out, but I’ll need time to sit down and go through everything and re-design it. I simply don’t have the interest in this quilt to do it right now. It might just turn into my first UFO. If it doesn’t get done in 2020, I’m okay with that. I got the parts done that I felt I could get done in a timely manner. It will be pretty whenever I get it done. I really liked the flying geese I did. I don’t know why the colour order makes me feel happy, but it really does. 🙂

French braid

One quilt that got finished was the wedding quilt for my brother-in-law. The piecing was done before the wedding, but the quilting wasn’t finished in time, so I gave it to them the next time I saw them. I’m actually kind of glad that I didn’t have it done in time for the wedding. Everything was so chaotic that day, there’s a good chance I would have forgotten it anyways! It took a lot of mental focus to force myself to get back to quilting it. I was coming up with the quilting pattern as I went. It was a meandering stipple with hearts added every so often. I even quilted some squares specially instead of just an all-over meander. My new sister-in-law was very excited when she received the quilt for Christmas. She even sent me a picture of their bedroom the very next day with the quilt on the bed. It felt so good to get that quilt out the door and to the recipient. 🙂

I finally started getting back into the swing of things over Christmas, mostly on Christmas Eve. It started with a last-minute wine bottle bag for a Christmas gift to a coworker. Then, at the last second, I decided to make two table runners for my sisters. I got one completely finished before going to see everyone on Christmas Day, the second one was almost completely finished except the quilting details. It’s done now and I’ll be dropping it off when I visit in January.

I am finally getting back into it! The next post will be what I started in 2020 – and I finished it in a little less than a week! I can’t wait to show you!!!

~M

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

Ending at the Beginning

I finally finished the block work for the 2018-2019 BOTM class with FibreChick!

When last we visited this project, the final block had been assigned in … June I want to say??? Yes, June! I took the block home and tossed it in the project box with the other blocks because I had other things to do. During the quilt weekend in September (more on that later), I met up with Kim and bought two more blocks to make 12 blocks in total. I also got the first block of the new 2019-2020 BOTM class. Ironically, I’ll have missed both the September and the October classes because of weddings. Stop getting married, people!

I quickly made up the June block. It’s called “Falling Leaves”. It’s a very popular pattern, especially here in Canada because of the maple-leaf design. I was at the Quilts-by-the-Bay quilt show last week (it’s hosted here in town by our guild) and there were no fewer than 5 quilts made out of the Falling Leaves pattern. I still intend to make a full quilt of them sometime in the future, but I’ll need to really think about how I make it so it looks different than the others. Actually, I already have an idea … I should jot it down in my idea book.

Falling Leaves

After officially finishing the assigned block, I decided to go back and fix a block that I did slightly wrong the first time around. It’s call the Lightning block (for very obvious reasons). When I made it the first time, I pieced all the zigzags and then sewed them together. The block was at least 1/2 an inch bigger on all sides than the other blocks. It wasn’t until the next class that I realized it was because I failed to read the instructions through before working (baaaaaad M!!!). I was supposed to re-cut the zigzags to a certain size, then sew them together. I ripped up all the blocks, pressed them, cut them, then re-sewed them. Now it’s the same size as the other blocks in the bin!

Lightening block

Next up was the first of the two extra blocks. Back in January, this block had been assigned to us. I made it back then, but I got the points backwards and didn’t realize it until I was putting the final four pieces together. I’m pretty sure I was running late with the block (SURPRISE 😛 ) and I really didn’t feel like ripping out everything to fix it (I would have had to pull apart each piece to fix it), so I submitted it as “Done with a whoopsie”. Kim said that she liked the block even better the way I did it (she wasn’t a fan of how the original block looked, but she was going for a Christmas-themed block and it fit the bill). She named it the Ferris Wheel Block and updated her pattern to show that as an alternate. For one of my final blocks, I decided to re-do it the way it was supposed to be done. I can’t believe how different they look, even though it’s literally one piece sewn differently! When it’s all in a quilt, I wonder if anyone will even notice that they’re technically not different blocks. I present – the Poinsettia Block!

Last block. I’ve known for a while what I wanted to do for this one. I wanted to re-do the very first block I did in this class – the Powassan Poesy. When I made the first block, I had NO skills. There was no accurate piecing going on, no matching points, no straight (or accurate 1/4″) seams and I was ironing all my seams open. Ohhh n00b M. 🙂 That’s okay, thought! That’s what learning is about. I wanted to see if I could notice any differences if I re-made the block. To give it a different feel, I even changed up how I pieced the block. There is absolutely a difference in my skill level! Even my husband noticed when he looked at the two blocks. Practicing makes a huge difference.

Now that all my blocks are finished, I need to make the quilt! I have a plan for the quilt I want to make with them. I just need to talk to Kim first to get what I need and I’ll be ready to start machine quilting this winter. I can’t wait! Also – here’s a sneak-peak of this year’s block. I’m not a huge fan of the food-for-thought quotes on the blocks (I’m not the kind of person that’s into those things), but I LOVE the colours!!! I can’t wait to make them all!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Quilt Designs

Catching Up

I had another block-of-the-month row that I almost didn’t get done. I pulled it off a couple of days before, though, and I had a lot of fun doing it! Yay for easy blocks!

Dancing Squares

This one is called dancing squares … I think. You make the blocs, then flip every other one 180 degrees. It’s super easy and makes an interesting design! This block can get a little wonky if you’re not careful pressing because you’re cutting on the bias and it’s really easy to stretch the material out of shape if you tug on it too much.

My big issue with this block was the colours. I already decided I wanted to use the pink pixelated fabric that I used for the ribbon row, mostly to make the ribbon row fit in with the rest of the quilt. That meant picking out two fabrics for the dancing squares that match. I already decided to use solids because the background was so busy. I also didn’t want to go with the pink colour because I wanted the squares to stand out. That meant using the two fringe colours – cream and rusty red. The cream was fine, but the rusty red worried me a bit. In the whole quilt, I’m missing one colour – orange. This rust looked very very orange when I was putting it together and I worried that it would make the row not look like it belonged with the rest of the quilt. So, once the row was done, I decided to lay out everything I had to see how they worked together!

Outside to the laundry line for the design wall!!! Oh wait – the rows are really heavy and don’t want to stay on. That’s okay, I’ll just pin them to the design sheet. Wait … wind … OH NO the blocks blew off again … so solution was to lay the sheet on the deck and lay out the rows on the deck. I did not want to do that because I knew the second I laid everything out, someone would leave his digging hole under the deck to come investigate …

OH LOOK I’M RIGHT AGAIN!!!
Snowdog the nuisance dog some days …

That being said – I’m super excited about this quilt! I think all the rows blend together really well! I’m getting excited to finish up the rows that need more work *cough*BIRDS*hack* and all the other assigned blocks as they come. I want to get this quilt finished so I can start loving it!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Piecing · Quilt Designs

A Return to the Quilting

So … I didn’t start with either of the projects I have coming due. Who’s surprised?? No one? Me either. 😛

First, I got distracted by a new project I’ve been thinking of doing for some time now. I figured it would be super easy and super fast, so why not start there? I’m making sleep masks. 🙂 I’m extremely light-sensitive when I’m trying to sleep – oh, the wars over the lights that my brother and I fought as kids – and husband is often up later than me when he’s on call. Solution? A sleep mask. I’ve bought a few over the years – I usually wear out one a year – and thought, “Why don’t I just make them out of my scraps instead?”

First, I drew a template using a current sleep mask on to batting and cut it down. The pictures show version 2. Since I have a long, thin nose, some masks are uncomfortable because they put too much pressure on the bridge of my nose, so I cut the nose curve higher on version 1 and even higher on version 2. I think I have it about right now. Next step was to cut some scrap fabric the same size as the batting template. I had some long pieces of De La Luna that I couldn’t throw away (Again – no one shows surprise!), so I cut them up for this project. I tried to get the little butterflies to land in the middle of the mask. I was only successful with one, but they still function perfectly well as masks. I decided to use some thin elastic I had in my sewing kit to make the string around. Remember to put the elastic inside the mask before sewing!!! Guess what happened to version 1? Yeah … and remember to leave a gap at the top to pull the mask inside out. It has to be big enough that the fabric will fit through when bunched up. That part I did remember!

Once the mask was flipped out, I used my fingers to push out all the edges for a smoother look, pinned the open top in place, and pressed it with an iron to get a crisp line. Then it was simple to run a 1/8″ topstitch around the edge. Voila! Sleeping mask for Auntie M! I even modeled it for you.

Mmm so sexy. 😀 On version 2, I matched the thread colour for the top stitch, but on version 1, I just wanted to finish it to see what worked/didn’t work.

On to distraction #2! Wait … you didn’t think the sleep mask was the only thing keeping me from the work I was supposed to be doing, did you? Tut tut. Distraction #2 – a cousin called me last week to announce … her daughter is expecting a sister in January! 😀 Yay more family babies!!! The last time any babies were born to our family, I was crocheting baby blankets. I get to quilt a baby blanket instead this time!!! 😀 TO THE FABRIQUE ESTATES!!!

I have a few (very very few, surprisingly) panels in my stash, most of which are for babies. Since it’s super early, we don’t know the gender of the little one. That doesn’t really matter anyways for this cousin – when she was expecting her first daughter (and knew it was a girl), she decorated her baby room with seafoam green, royal purple, and robin-egg blue. She and I are cut from the same cloth! 😀 I decided to go with the owls panel I bought last winter. Kelly from The Cottage Quilter demoed the panel at quilt guild and as soon as I saw it, I had to have one. I’m so glad now that I did!! I also pulled one of my stocks of solid fabrics and coordinated up a cool tone and a warm tone collection of 4 fabrics each. Everything is now set aside now until winter – I have to work on the other quilts – but it felt so cool to be able to go into my nicely-sorted room and just pull out what I needed. 🙂 Plus, I’m in design mode for the new quilt!! I love design mode. 😀

Finally … on to what I’m supposed to be doing!

First order of business: Grandma quilt. I know the window for getting at least one block before class this week is swiftly closing, but I wanted to have this done first. And I was so close!!! I had no idea that I had one row to sew on, then the border, then done! Why did I avoid doing this quilt for so long! It was almost finished! Oh well … It’s finished now. 😀 Because it’s huge, I had to hang it on the clothes line in order to attach the border. Snowdog was such a little jerk!!! He wanted to go in the house (because it was hot out and we have A/C inside now), so he kept stepping on the part of the quilt I was working on to get my attention. I was afraid he’d track dirt on it, so I gave into his demands. Spoiled boy!

When I measured it on the clothes line, it came up to 93″ square. The Cottage Quilter had a summer sale a few weeks ago, so I’ve already picked up the backing and the batting. I’ll baste the quilt sometime this week – probably Thursday after quilt class – and get cracking on the quilting part. I only have two weeks (not including the week we’re in) to get the quilting done and we’re going to the family cottage for the August long weekend cause Auntie M needs a break! A little pressure never hurt anyone, right? Oh, yeah … there’s also an interview to prep for next week and we have to finish the shed painting project … *le sigh* I’m just not going to be able to quilt it as extensively as I quilted Dan’s. That’s fine, I didn’t really intend to do it that intensely, but I did want to do a medium amount of quilting on it! Chop chop Auntie M.

Final sewing adventure (man I got busy this week!): the BOTM. The one I need to have at least one of so I don’t get dinged with a $5 fine? Oh, and it’s complicated … yay … It’s paper piecing. Paper piecing is cool because you put the fabric on the back side side, the sew through the paper following the line, flip it over, press back the top fabric, and like magic – it’s perfect! It’s also annoying because it’s all angles and I don’t cut my fabric to match it very well, but I managed to get three birds done all the same! That’s more than I expected of myself!! There are supposed to be 5 large and 7 small birds strutting across the row. I’ll probably do what I did with the Dresden plates and finish them before I start the next row. Please oh please … next month be easy!!! I would have taken the model picture on the quilt topped cutting station … but it was occupied. Animals, I tell you …

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Non-Quilt Projects · Sewing Room

Mini Update

As promised, I did not have time to do a blog last week. We didn’t get that lovely A/C fully installed until mid-week. When they installed it, they ran all the piping out through what had been a boarded up window, so we spent the remainder of the week installing a new window and bricking around the pipes. The weekend was a family canoe trip, during which we punched 3 holes in our canoe and sank it. Thank goodness for family. We loaded the Snowdog into a cousin’s canoe with their pooch. The dogs didn’t try play at all – just cuddled up in the bottom and went to sleep – so that went well at least. Husband’s brothers tied the sinking canoe up to their canoes to tow it while we tried to bail fast enough to keep the canoe afloat to get back to the cottage. We sank twice anyways. That’s how bad the holes were. 😀 At least we laughed the whole time! It was a very old canoe we got for free, so we just made the best of the situation. Long story short – there was no time for blogs.

What I did have time to do was finish straightening up my sewing room. When the A/C guys came, they asked my husband to move everything … and boy did he ever.

It got worse than this, believe it or not …

I almost cried when I saw the mess … but messes are opportunities for organization!!! 😀 And since I’d just installed Fabrique Estates, it was the perfect opportunity to finish cleaning up and setting up! I’ve decided that painting is going to wait a year or two, but everything is set up where it’s going to go when the painting does happen.

See the quilt-covered dresser next to Fabrique Estates? It turns out that the top is the exact same size as my “small” cutting mat! I now have a cutting station that’s at chest height! No more back ache from bending down to cut!!! I can still put the big cutting mat on the folding table to cut long strips, but most of the time I’ll be using my cutting station!!! I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I’ve been seriously considering investing in hardware to get a collapsible cutting station. My back was injured during a car accident in college and I try not to strain it anymore than I have to. Now I have a cutting station!!!

I put the big mat on the regular sewing table to replace the small one getting moved to the cutting station. It got damaged during the AC installation – my husband left it out in the hot sun and warped it badly – but I’m hoping that it will slowly flatten out and be usable. If not, I think my dear mother-in-law may have another unused mat lying about that I can snag.

What I’m also really excited about is my pressing station!!! I made an ironing board out of … well, a board … from Home Depot, covered it in a layer of batting, then covered it in this cute Amy Butler fabric I found in the sale bin at Fabricland! I’m planning on painting the room a slightly more muted shade of the purple, so it’s going to match the finished room perfectly when I get there. And my rulers aren’t lying in a pile by my table anymore! An uncle of mine made this little shelf for me years ago as a girl in high school. It’s been up in most of my places, but I hadn’t found a room for it in our home. Now I have. And did you notice the shelf supports? That’s me! Auntie M!!!

There has been little to no sewing being done, but I did at least get caught up on last month’s block. The assigned block was a Dresden plate (or to be exact, a half Dresden plate). I got three blocks done for the class, which was enough to not get dinged with the $5 failure charge, but I wanted to complete my row anyways. There were five blocks needed. All were cut out and ready to go, so I took a couple hours on my last night of vacation to finish them and sew them together. Aren’t they cute?? They aren’t perfect, but I did the thing and I’m happy with how it turned out.

Now to get at least one of the next blocks done, plus get Grandma’s quilt pieced (due August 12). July and August are shaping up to be busy sewing months and it’s finally cool enough in the house to do the work!! Can’t wait!!!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing

Returning to Responsibilities

It’s time to catch up on my block-of-the-month quilts! I’ve been slacking so hard lately.

First- bye bye coral orange peel block!! I’m going to miss you!!!

It’s so lonely in the project box!!!

Second, my FibreChick BOTM. I still had a week left before it was due, so I got working on it. My block has 4 main colours, 1 accent colour, and the background colour. Most of the other colourways have one main colour. Usually my blocks get rotated with 1 of 4 main colours, but for this block, I got all four colours in it.

It’s a cute little pinwheel block!

I rather enjoyed putting this block together! We were using 4-at-a-time and 2-at-a-time half-square-triangles (HSTs). It gave me a chance to use my magic wand!! 😀

See?? Literally a magic wand!

It is so handy! It gives you a perfect 1/4″ line to sew along for HSTs. In some cases, I drew a line from point to point. On others, I just lined up the ruler on the points and drew the stitch lines with the mechanical pencil. It beats using your 1/4″ foot to make sure you stitch a straight line.

It’s magic, baby. 😉

The last time I had a block that had all four of my main colours was my first block, so I pulled my first block out. I think I’ve made a lot of progress since I started class back in September.

First and second-last block of the class

The next class is the last class of this year. Since that will leave me with 10 blocks, I intend to buy two extra blocks to bring the total blocks up to 12, which will give me A COMPLETED QUILT!! Whoot woot!

Third – my Cottage Quilter BOTM. It is a Dresden Plate this month. We have to make 5 half-plates. A Dresden Plate is like a big sunflower or sun. Cutting out the petals took me TWO WHOLE DAYS. ugggggggh. It did give me a chance to watch HBO’s Chernobyl. WOW. I’m not a huge fan of HBO shows – too much jingly-jangly people parts for my taste – but this show was INCREDIBLE! I highly recommend! Although, full disclosure – the miners were mining in the nude (historically accurate) and they did not … strategically frame the scene. Everything was captured. Other than that though – I actually want to re-watch it already. It was that good.

Next week – hopefully finishing the Dresden Plate so I don’t get dinged with a failure charge.

~M