Saturday, October 23, 2010

New projects

I've been cutting large floral prints (that came in a box of garage sale fabric) for a modern graduation quilt for the church. I love the vibrant colors! Black will be used for sashing.
I have been inspired by all the beautiful fall quilts showing up on quilting blogs. I found the gorgeous Thomas Kincaid fabric on the right at Joanns, then pulled some fabrics from my stash that I can pair up with the main fabric. I bought the leaf print and the light yellow stripe for some variety. Now I will wait for inspiration to strike! I already have an idea that involves appliqued leaves.
I have also seen some very fun fall quilts using whimsical fabrics. While at Joanns, I picked up a few pieces of Debbie Mumm's fall line...
...and started playing! This will be a smaller wall quilt. I have lots of ideas for this one, including turkeys, squirrels, leaves, sunflowers, pumpkins.........
I have so many quilt projects going; I am not one to sit down and make a quilt. I prefer to make bits and pieces at a time...variety spices up my sewing life! I am hoping in January to start machine quilting the five tops that are ready to go! For now, I am having fun with the creative process of all my WIPS.

Here is one last picture of my carrot harvest. These are so crisp and yummy! And there are more in the garden! Hip Hip

Monday, October 18, 2010

Applique Blocks for the Christmas Sampler

I picked out some applique blocks for the Christmas Sampler quilt. Since I had already cut out the pieces (with wonder under applied), it was relatively easy to iron the pieces into place. This first one is called "Love Bird", but to me it is a Christmas bird!


This star block will have some kind of fancy stitching between the points, at least that is what the directions say! I have yet to see just what I will do with that!
Here is an advent wreath. Incidentally, all these blocks are not originally set on point, but since that is how I am setting them into the quilt, I tipped them all so they will not be crooked in the quilt.
I am calling this block "Legend of the Three Trees"...a story about three trees that were cut down and used in service for Jesus. One was made into the manger, another was a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and the third was made into the cross. This block did not come from the magazine (Quiltmakers 100 Blocks) directly; there was one block that had a tree and a snowman with stars and moon. I just made three trees instead. I like how it turned out!
I love this last block. It is called Poinsettia. This is the only block that has absolutely no connection with the magazine at all. I saw a picture of a beautiful quilt using this block; I tracked the pattern down and made one square for this quilt--because I loved it!
Now the real work must begin. I need to stitch around all the applique pieces. I've not done that before and not sure how I will do it. It may take me a while!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quilt Retreat...Final Update

So here is the block that I worked on yesterday but did not like. Now I love it! It might just be my favorite block so far!
Here is a successful paper-pieced block! I have learned that the bigger the pieces, the easier the block. This one took me under 30 minutes! I don't know that I love to paper piece at this point, but I will say that it makes extremely accurate blocks!
Here is another paper-piecer! I even appliqued that little center circle by hand.
And here are the finished blocks so far...(again, blogger, what is up with the turning of my pictures? Grrr.)
I hope to set them like this, on the diagonal, with sashing. I have five more blocks to make...all applique. I can't say it will be done for this Christmas, as I have many other projects that beg my attention. But who knows? I may surprise myself!
I have thoroughly enjoyed this quilting retreat. A great big THANK YOU to Susan at Blackberry Creek Home Arts (http://www.blackberrycreek.typepad.com/) for hosting this in-home quilt retreat. It has been just the boost I needed to get my mojo back for quilting!

Quilt Retreat, Day 3

I am late in posting today. But that does not mean I have not been busy! Despite many distractions, I pieced another Christmas block.
And I replaced the middle triangles of this block from yesterday. It looks so much better! Notice the fussy cut pattern? The pattern calls for some fancy embroidery stitiching in those triangles, but I don't know how to embroider, and this quilt has enough new challenges for me that I don't need another skill to learn!
Stay tuned! I will post a picture of all the Christmas blocks in a couple of hours!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Retreat Update

I'd like to introduce you to...Big Bertha and Minnie. Big Bertha recently joined my quilt tools to add support to Minnie, who has been with me since I got my first sewing machine in 1989. Minnie still does a great job, but Big Bertha has been brought in for really big jobs. Her egonomically correct body design helps my hand to relax and 'enjoy' the task at hand.
I used Big Bertha to remove the four corners from this block. The off-white flowered fabric was bothering me, so tomorrow I will try to replace it.
This next block has seen a lot of Big Bertha as well. Now, even though I am a recovering perfectionist, I still am serious about accurate cutting and piecing. But that middle pinwheel square was NOT square, and when I tried to attach the green strips, they did not fit according to the measurements. Oh, how I sewed and ripped, sewed and ripped. Next I worked on the flying geese. I must be really rusty, for I started out sewing right side to wrong side, and yes, more ripping.
I finally laid it all out to take a look before attaching the geese; once again, the off-white flowered fabric bothered me. The color in the photos really is not accurate...it does look awful with the white surrounding the geese. So.....tomorrow I will (once again) do some ripping; I think I will use this scrolly fabric instead.
Alas! I did finish the paper pieced block! It turned out just fine. (Bertha was used extensively on this square too.)
So I am calling it quits for tonite. I had frustrating moments today, but at least Big Bertha and I know each other v-e-e-e-r-y well now.

Quilt Retreat, Day 2

I'm off to a slow start today. I made another one-fourth of the paper-pieced block. Yesterday Susan commented that when she does paper-piecing, the fabric pieces seem to end up in the wrong place, which leads to seam ripping. Yep, that is my problem exactly! Well, I have a few more paper pieced blocks chosen and cut, so perhaps with practice I will do better and enjoy this technique more than I do right now.
I decided to alternate paper piecing with regular piecing, and here is another block!
Oops, I guess I am not much better with placement of blocks, am I! Get out the seam ripper and fix that lower block.
Back to work!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Retreat Update

Every good retreat has bowls of chocolate on each table! Here's mine.
So I am working on the Christmas Sampler. I won a copy of this magazine, and I had a set of 20 fat quarters that I bought for $10 clearance at JoAnns. I decided that I would put "won" and "20" together to make a sampler quilt. The set of fabrics are not Christmas fabrics, but the colors are Christmasy, and that is why I am calling it my Christmas Sampler.
At some point (I can't remember when) I chose the blocks I wanted to make, then cut out all the pieces and put each block into an envelope. The fun part is opening the envelope to see all the fabrics again!
Here is the next one I am making...called Wishing Star. (Grrr....blogger turned my photo again.)
Here is the block, roughly laid out... Yep, all the pieces are there. Whew!
And the finished block. It is not perfect, but in the grand scheme of the quilt, I don't think anyone will really notice!
Hey look! I'm paper piecing now! One of the challenges for me in this project is to try new techniques. I have not paper pieced before, so I am following the instructions in the front of the magazine.
Hey look! I'm ripping out the paper piecing! I'm not so sure I really enjoy this technique, as I am unsure exactly where to put the pieces of fabric.
Ta-Dah! Here is my first attempt, hot off the machine. I need to peel the paper off yet--not so easy to do. Then I must make three more as this is only one fourth of the complete block.
I'm going to go grab some supper, then head to church for worship practice. I hope to finish this block when I come home.

Quilt Retreat, Day 1

Tuesday is the busiest day of the week for me. Since I am in and out all day, I decided to work on the blocks for my Christmas sampler. These three blocks were made months ago.
Here are the two blocks I have made so far today. (I don't know why blogger posted this one sideways.)
We overslept this morning...so much for getting up early! We were five minutes late to the Early American History class (homeschool), where I am the assistant to "General Kelly" (aka the teacher). This afternoon Daughter is in Shakespeare class, so I had a short window of time to sew these blocks. Now I am off to pick her up and drop off others in the class...
But I WILL BE BA-A-ACK!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quilt Retreat!

Well, my house is getting put back together. Like so many quilters, my sewing room shares the dining room. We moved furniture around so that my Koala sewing cabinet can be opened to the max; hopefully I can contain the fabric mess to the Koala instead of the dining table! (Husband installed my new chandelier! Oops..burned out bulb.)
Susan, over at Blackberry Creek Home Arts (http://www.blackberrycreek.typepad.com/) is hosting an IN-HOME Quilting Retreat this week, and I have decided to join in! I am busy preparing for it...

Sewing machine....Check.
Good lighting....check. (put all 60 watters in that new chandelier, pulled in the torch light from the living room, added the little Ott light to the Koala.)
Cutting and Ironing center....Check.
Plenty of thread...Check!
Let's see...what else do I need?
Oh! Projects, of course! I would love to complete the flying geese top:
Or how about putting the Sunshine Quilt together?
Then there are Christmas projects. This one (from last year) still needs binding:
Here is a new project that is completely cut out...a zigzag quilt in the holiday/winter theme:
Oh, dear. I had hoped to work on this Christmas sampler all spring/summer....one block a week. That obviously did not happen. There are applique blocks in this one, and even though the pieces are fused to the background, I need to get the other machine out for stitching the edges down.
One non-quilting item...last year I told a little girl who comes to Bible Study (with her parents on Sunday evenings) that I would make her a bag. Nothing fancy, and it should sew up rather quickly, but I just have not had the time to put it together. Maybe this should be my first project?
The fun starts tomorrow! I hope to post a couple of times a day to show what progress I am making. Homeschooling takes top priority, of course, but Daughter will be at Shakespeare class for part of the day! And maybe I will get up early for a change?