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!
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. 🙂
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!!!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 …
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.
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!!!
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!!!
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!! 😀
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.
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.
One of my Block-of-the-Month classes is actually a Row-of-the-Month class. It’s hosted at a local library by The Cottage Quilter and we’re doing the Piper Girls’ row-by-row sampler.
This week, we were assigned the pinwheel row and some homework. Check out my pretty pinwheels! I’ve also included the other rows we have done to date.
The pinwheel row was actually Row #4. Kelly (our instructor) didn’t want to assign Row #3 until next week because it’s a new skill for most of the class (yaaay!! I’m not the only n00b!!) and she wants us to practice at home before doing it for real on the quilt. It’s called machine applique. It’s “machine” because you do it with your sewing machine and not by hand (which is what many people prefer). What is applique, you ask?
Applique is when you take a piece of fabric, cut out a design, and stitch it on to your quilt top. A lot of quilters make large portions of their quilts this way. I’ve never seen the appeal of it. I like doing piecing, not applique. And yes – I did do one bit of machine applique when I first started (as you can see above). My first issue was that the applique was a star. I have always had problems making star shapes and it has always bothered me, even as a small child. It looks wonky to me and I don’t like it. My second issue was that this was done back in … September? Maybe? I was still very new at quilting and I think I took on a little too much too soon.
I decided that my class practice is going to be a for-real practice … maybe. 😀 I got this beautiful fabric from Troll Brothers to make an orange peel quilt. As soon as I get around to picking out a background fabric, I intend to start! The problem with the orange peel design is that 90% of the patterns are an applique pattern. You can do a pieced orange peel block, but there aren’t a lot of tutorials because it’s curved piecing and I think most people prefer applique to curved piecing.
I have to veer off a bit at this point to talk about acquiring patterns. I try (whenever possible) to purchase a pattern instead of just looking at the design and doing it myself. It’s not that I can’t do that (and for husband’s quilt and niece’s quilt, they are my designs), but if I’m going to use someone else’s creativity to make a project, I’d like to compensate them for the effort. Plus, they’ve done all the maths to figure out the right sizes of things so you don’t wind up with pieces that don’t fit together.. 😀 I’ve been doing this more frequently with my knitting projects. The nice thing is that yarn patterns are usually only a few dollars on Ravelry.com. I only make … sorry, start (see last blog post) … a couple of things a year, so it doesn’t break the bank. Quilting patterns are different. The “professional” patterns can be quite expensive. You can often get blocks for free, but doing applique or curved piecing requires having a template of some sort. Ordering acrylic templates for this pattern has been a huge pain in the butt for me since the only places currently offering the orange peel templates are out of the US of A and the UK. I absolutely refuse to pay a foreigner’s tax (aka the import fees or duty) on something someone in Canada probably has for sale but I just can’t find. After 3 days of searching, I finally found an extremely old free paper pattern that has the templates included! In the spirit of doing the old thing, I cut out some cardboard using the paper pattern as a template and pulled out some test fabric to figure out what I want to do.
First, I made the curved piecing version. I don’t mind sewing curved piecing that much, but my scrap fabric decision made pressing the fabric a bit onerous. You’re supposed to press out away from the peel. Since my peel was a very dark fabric and my background was a very light, see-through fabric, there would be serious ghosting happening. Ghosting happens when you can see the seam right through the fabric – this is why most quilters press with the seam under the dark side – less chance for ghosting. When I do my quilt, though, I’ll be using a darker background fabric, so this won’t be a problem in the official version. The other issue was the cardboard template itself. Because I’m using a rotary cutter, I have to be very careful that I’m not accidentally trimming the cardboard. Not only does this dull the blade and make a mess, but it changes the size of the template over time. The last block might end up smaller than the first block. When I go to make my quilt, I will either need to invest in acrylic templates or mark the shapes from the cardboard template with a pen before cutting along the pen line.
With the curved test out of the way, we move on to the applique test. The interesting part is that these blocks will end up a little bigger because I’m not losing 1/4″ on each side of each piece to a seam allowance. It’s good to keep in mind.
I cut out the orange peel from scraps first, then I cut a couple of squares to use. I was going to go with scrap squares, but I thought it would be fun to play with the opposite dynamics by cutting squares from the original matching fabrics. I did make a mistake, though. You have to attach fabric stabilizer to the back of your applique pieces to give it some rigidity during sewing and to help keep the edges from fraying if you’re doing a raw-edge applique (more on that later). Usually, you attach the stabilizer to the fabric, then cut (so you don’t see the white stabilizer showing). I forgot to do this part, so I had to attach the cut pieces to stabilizer, then cut around the shapes with scissors. It wasn’t bad this time, but making this same mistake with the star applique was the part of the reason it started looking wonky. I was very careful about setting the pieces in the dead center with the same amount of background space on the mirrored sides. This isn’t super crucial because you can re-cut the block properly square afterwords, but I’m aiming for right the first time.I loaded up my bobbin with dark green and selected a yellow embroidery thread for the top. I’ve used it a little bit in the past – it comes up as a golden colour. It might not work out, but this is a test piece and I wanted to know how this thread will hold up on future projects (since I’ve got 6 spools of the stuff to use).
Note: I should have posted this blog last week in keeping with my one-a-week resolution, but this was as far as I got before my busy week and away-weekend ended my spare time. I did consider posting just this much, then decided to do a two-blog week so I could finish out this story. 🙂
My sewing machine has preset stitches specifically for machine applique. I didn’t know that when I made the star piece, so I made my life a little harder by having to manually set up my stitch type. This time, I just used my presets and it made life so much easier! I have three sizes for an applique satin stitch. In the samples, you will see me use sizes medium and small.
I started with the green-on-plaid piece under the medium satin stitch. The pictures should show why this is called a satin stitch – it looks soft and shiny when it’s done. After running for an inch or two with the default settings, I tightened up the stitch width to give it a bit more of that satiny sheen. In machine applique, the big challenge is points and turning corners. From the very limited reading I did on this (because why wouldn’t I want to learn the hard way with no pointers?? 😉 ), the two main ways of turning corners is to slowly walk around the point or to stitch slightly past the point, stitch backwards, turn the corner, stitch back again to get a sharpish point, then continue forwards. With green-on-plaid, I decided to try the walkaround method. From what I understand, the key to this method is making sure you always have your needle stop on the applique-side of the stitch, turn the fabric slightly, make another two stitches so you land back at the same spot on the applique side, and re-adjust again. You keep doing this until you are completely around the corner. As you can see, I needed a couple of attempts to get it looking okay.
Next up was the plaid-on-green with the small satin stitch. This was much harder as my margin for error with the edges of the applique piece was much tighter. With the medium stitch, all I had to do was make sure that the edge was somewhere between the two 1/8″ marks. This also allowed me to make a more gradual curve if my cuts were a little choppy (putting the interface on after cutting the shape only makes this worse). With the smaller stitch, I had to follow my cuts exactly. There are a couple of places where you can tell I didn’t schwoop very nicely in my cuts, but whatever – practice pieces! I also tried the back-and-forward corner method for the points this time. I think, in some ways, it actually works best with the small satin stitch because the tiny size hides the stitches a bit. In other ways, not so much – because stitch is so small, the edge of the applique was fraying a bit as I attempted to sink my stitches into the edge without having the applique fabric show on both sides of my stitches. At the corner, this fraying gets worse because I’m going back over it two extra times. Time will tell if the applique stands ups with the small stitch.
My two completed looks! I had already decided before stitching that I didn’t like the green-on-plaid near as well. The patterned piece just looks better as a focal point. I’m still glad I went ahead with it, though, because I learned something else. When stitching on the applique, the background fabric got a little warped. It’s not bad and it will almost completely vanish once the the block is stitched in place, but it is a lot more obvious that it’s happening when you use a pattern fabric as your background fabric. Learning things! I also think I prefer the look of the small stitch over the look of the medium stitch as it starts to take emphasis away from the applique. I can’t even begin to imagine how the “big” satin stitch would turn out! I want to make two more of these blocks so I can make a completed orange peel block – maybe I’ll try the big satin stitch on one of them, just to see!
Finally, I’m also glad I waited until after I got home before posting this because … I found the background fabric for my orange peel! Won’t it look nice with the charcoal grey?? I was in Ottawa, Ontario for the weekend visiting a friend and I made them pull over at a local fabric store (Sew For It) to see if I could find something. Good news – I found something! Bad news – there was only maybe 1/2 a meter left on the bolt. Not very much at all, maybe not even enough. I have to measure it out and see. I took what they had left just in case – worst case scenario, I’ll stash it and get something else. Oh darn. 😀 Because there’s so little of it, I will definitely be doing the curved piecing over the applique because I won’t have fabric to spare hiding under the orange peel. It was still worth doing the applique work just to learn how to do it. 🙂 No time is wasted time if you learn things!
You may want to keep Ugly Row in mind. I’ll be referring to Ugly Row whenever I reference this quilt.
The next row is called Holding Hands. I thought I’d take the chance to play with three colours, two of which are very close (we’ll call them medium pink and dark pink). The cutting went as follows: 2.5″ squares, 1.5″ squares, 2″x1.5″ rectangles, and 1″x1.5″ rectangles. Once all the cutting was done, I did not have enough for one last 1″x1.5″ rectangle of medium pink. No scraps big enough, no discarded pieces big enough, nothing. Sooo … I had to decide how I was going to replace the piece.
I briefly considered using the Fairy Lights scrap from the last blog post, but it was just way too different to be used in this block. My option was to use one of the dark pink squares or a new light pink square (that’s 3 pinks, for those of you counting) from my stash. I didn’t include a picture of the dark pink as it didn’t show up in the image. Using the dark pink made it look a last minute fill-in (Can’t have that!! 😀 ). The light pink looked quite nice, even though it’s significantly lighter. I decided to swap out the center square for the light pink and cut down the existing medium square into a smaller one to match the layout.
The first of three batches of holding hands. I thought the mix of light and dark pinks looked good at this stage, so I continued to make up the blocks. The piecing media of choice today was Youtube, watching how-to videos by Barnyard Bees. Husband decided on a new hobby for this summer – beekeeping! We’re going to attempt to make our own honey out at our wooded property this summer. I’m getting pretty excited!
Remember when I was talking about the design wall ideas and I had a brainwave?
Flannel on the clothes line!!!
I bought a hanging design wall by Fons and Porter. It’s meant to be strung up on a curtain rod and hung on the wall and is usually purchased for travelling or going on retreat. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying a piece of flannel of the same size, which was my original plan. I thought the clothes line was a rather clever, unique idea … turns out, most of the women in the guild used this as their starter wall . 😀 Oh well – nothing new under the sun. The line can drape closer to the deck, so I can weigh it down on windy days. On rainy days, I’ll just have to make do in the house or wait for the weather to turn nice again. And when the sewing room gets its coat of paint and mini renovation, I’m going to make this the window blind! Two birds, one stone!
I laid out my blocks and played around with the look of the mixed pinks on the row. I think this layout will work, although that light pink extra block really stands out. I’m still hoping for a miracle piece to appear in my stash …
And all together! The new row was a smidge small, making me think that I’d messed up by sewing my seams too large or something … Nope! I tucked the blocks in my pocket when I came in from outside and one block stuck to the flannel lining of my coat pocket. 😀 At least it was the end piece! I didn’t have to pull it all apart to fit the block in! Lining this row up with the others makes me think that Ugly Row isn’t so ugly after all – having the same colours show up in other rows in the quilt makes it fit a lot better. Maybe Ugly Row will make it to the final quilt?
What do you think of this project so far? Does the light pink square stand out too much? Do the medium and dark pink blend or clash? Does Ugly Row really just need to be eliminated? FYI – this quilt might just end up super ugly, despite everything we try. The next three available colours in my scrap protation are red, black, and white … scrappy-looking quilt indeed!!
Sometimes, it’s not all fun and games. Sometimes, we just have buckle down and do the things that need doing before getting the playtime.
I signed up for two block-of-the-month programs at the local quilt shops – one through FibreChick and one through The Cottage Quilter. The FibreChick BotM (Block-of-the-Month) is every third Saturday. The Cottage Quilter BotM is every fourth Thursday. In order to get the block for the next month, you have to bring your completed block to class (both will accept a photo of it through email if you cannot make class, but the photo must be submitted before the class is over) or you pay a fee (I think 5$?) to get the next block. As I’ve stated before, I’ve had a couple of close calls with the FibreChick blocks, occasionally getting them done just a couple of days prior to class. Starting in January, my quilt guild decided to host a BotM learning session at each meeting (first Monday of the month). It is not mandatory to participate with a completed block, but why wouldn’t you do it if (like me) you are very early on in your learning curve?
If you’re counting, that means M has three blocks (or block rows in some cases) to make each month. This last-minute block making isn’t going to cut it at this point, so I’ve set a goal for myself. The goal is to have the blocks completed one week after the class is taught. Since the sessions are usually spread out with a week between each, this gives me plenty of time to do the project without getting a production backlog. I always have the option to drop the ball on the quilt guild blocks without penalty, but I’d rather not do that (although I did totally forget to take said completed row to the last guild meeting because I’m a dumb-dumb – it was even sitting on the counter by the door, for crying out loud! No excuse!).
I did have a bit of a backlog this week due to the Grandma quilt cutting carnage of last week. I had two quilt guild blocks (an optional extra row was offered the first week) and the FibreChick block had just been assigned.
I got cracking on the FibreChick block first. I was very excited about this block because it meant using my new rotating mat!!! Whoo hoo! Plus, it’s a bordered 4 patch that we have to cut up and sew back together – I love these!! 🙂 As long as I don’t make a mistake cutting it, that is … If I have extra fabric, I really like doing these. It’s a bit nerve-wracking with the FibreChick blocks because she supplies the fabric, so if I screw up, it’s Frankenstein block time! I think next year, I’m going to lobby for an OOPS bundle to be offered at additional cost – just a fat quarter of the selected fabrics for OOPSIES!! 😉
I just love spinning my centers. They’re the corners where at least 4 block corners meet. Look at all those spun block centers!!! So pretty!! (yes I know I’m boring … moving on)
The quilt guild row-by-row is using scraps. They give us the pattern, we make the rows our of our stashes. My first row (rail fence blocks) was SO. TERRIBLY.UGLY. I’m trying to scrap bust!!! Maybe I should give up on that fabric … I got it through an auction and I’m trying to use it all, but yeck. It’s too bad too because I did some fussy cutting to get all the children facing the right way. I did screw up the blocks, though … maybe it looks funny because it’s too small? The second row (stair step blocks) turned out really well! One of the things that Kelly focused on at the guild meeting was checking your fabrics. The secret to these are not necessarily finding complimenting fabrics, but focusing on different colour weights (read: dark/light shades) of fabrics. That might be part of the problem with my first row – it’s a bit too blendy. Even though these are both cool colours, I made sure one was dark and one was medium light – and look at how much nicer it looks!
I kept building on that theme with the third row (doughnut hole blocks). I decided at the meeting that night that I wanted to use these two fabrics for this pattern, but it wasn’t until I started cutting that I thought I’d try tossing in that hot pink. It is a completely different tone than the other two, but I figured in worst case, I’d just have two ugly rows. It could not have turned out better!! Look at how pretty that looks! And that hot pink really pops in the centers! I might re-do the first row with different fabric if I have a slow time (or at the end of the instructional series). I might need to invest in more colour solids bundles in my future – just plain colour blocks are a beautiful look without adding printed fabrics to them.
I’m starting to get a little drained in my work, though … I need a way to find some energy. And a cutting table is someday in my future – my poor back aches after bending over for an hour straight to cut fabric. I decided to try to break my funk by buying some fabric for curtains! Off I went to Fabricland on Member’s Day to get some fabric. Little did I know that this is the busiest day at our branch all year. There’s parking for 8-10 cars out front, an alley around the back, and about 5-6 staff parking spots in the back. I’ve never seen more than 7 cars out front and thought those were busy days. WELL. Parking lot full to bursting, parking all along the alley, and 7 cars squeezed into the back lot. It was absolutely mental! I swear I saw half the guild there that day. I only got to speak to a couple of them because I got overwhelmed and needed to get out of there. I found a cheap-looking orange lace curtain in the discount bin for $5 – I bought it and escaped! It still took 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot because an ambulance parked in the drive and people had to take turns using the only remaining lane to enter and exit. People kept pulling in, realizing it was full, and having to wait for a break in traffic to back out on to one of the city’s main roads. On a Saturday. At noon. Next door to a Tim Hortons. Utter chaos. I went home feeling more wiped than when I left. So much for getting energized!
The resulting curtains are ugly as sin, but I LOVE them. 😀 I wanted something bright and warm and boy – are these curtains bright and warm. Some would even say LOUD. They filter the sun a bit so it’s not an intense square of light, which is what I was looking for. When I eventually get the real curtains, I may cut these up to be underneath. It makes my space feel cheery (even though Husband insists that they’re an eyesore). The curtain rod is too long, but that’s because I used one I had sitting around in the basement. When the room is painted and finished, I’ll make everything proper. 🙂
Best part of the week? My Tula Pink Pinkerville fabric arrived!!! This is what I’m planning to make my niece’s quilt out of. Poor little girl has been dealing with a range of medical issues pretty much since she was born. She is the family “princess”, so I thought that this fabric would be a perfect fit for the princess. Now that I have it, I WANT MOAR. Shoutout to Troll Brothers Quilt Design for fussy-cutting my special picks bundle and for scoring me the very last half-metre bundle in her shop when I realized that I needed a stash of this fabric, not just barely enough to give away in a quilt. She had a draw for every pre-order of the fabric with an ultra-rare patch as the prize … and I won!!! I got so excited when she posted that! Stacie, you are the best! (and currently my top-fav online fabric store 😉 ). She is located in beautiful British Columbia, so while the odds of us meeting are fairly low (I’m on the far side of the country in Ontario), I do have a bestie in BC that I’ve promised to visit sometime in the near future. I might have to spend extra time to get all my visits in. 😉