Sunday, October 27, 2013

Random Sunday

Yesterday, I met up with a group from the Naples Quilters Guild for a get-together called Gathering Stitches.  It happens once a month and is basically a "sit and sew."  I'm happy to say I learned a couple of things!  Fern, one of the members there, is in charge of  organizing the Raffle Quilt for 2015, so she has put together baggies (lots and lots) of pieces to be paper-pieced and put into the quilt blocks.  She held a mini-class for those of us who are really new to paper-piecing (like me!).  

This is the piecing I finished along with the other half that I still need to do.  Not too bad!  I brought home another baggie of pieces to do as well.  See that little yellow ruler?  It's called an Add-A-Quarter ruler and it's used for trimming the 1/4" while you're piecing.  It just butts up against the paper and makes the trimming so much quicker!

Speaking of Raffle Quilts, next year's quilt  (to be raffled off at the Quilt Show in March) is absolutely gorgeous!  It's 110" x 110" so it's great for a king-size bed (like mine!).  Anyway ~ I'm buying a few lots of tickets and keeping my fingers crossed!  Here's a pic ~

Also on Saturday, I made 24 hourglass blocks for Christmas tree skirt #3.

I'm always debating on which way to press my seams ~ right?  left?  open?  Luckily, Judy (another member) showed me a neat trick to use when pressing the blocks ~ it's called "swirling your seams" ~ and it's absolutely magic!  The seams are all pressed in the same direction and the center where all the seams come together opens up to form a little square and it lays REALLY flat!  Who knew?!  It's one of those little tips that make me happy.  :)  

Finally, I've been looking for a good protein bar to help keep me going with all these projects and found one at Costco that was perfect!  20 grams of protein ~ and only 18 grams of carbs (which is partially offset by the protein) and they're chocolate!  Yummy!

So today was just a visit to Englewood to see my mom & stepdad (always a treat) ~ and now I'm lost in blogland being inspired.  All in all ~ a productive weekend!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finish Friday

So I finished Christmas Tree Skirt #2! (I know I haven't finished #1 yet, but that's a bit more complicated.)  Not only is it a finish for this week, but it's a Christmas gift out of the way.  Yay me!  (I don't think the recipient reads this blog yet, so I think I'm safe ~ shhhh)  Really happy with the way it turned out ~ I used Winter's Lane fabrics and a disappearing 9-patch design.  I spent last night hand stitching the binding while watching the first few episodes of this season's American Horror Story.  (Weird show)  Here are some pics ...



The only other thing I finished this week was last week's City Sampler blocks ~ 61, 62, 63.  

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.  (Love the baby quilt she just finished!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday and an interesting Linky Party

Only two WIPs for me this week.

First, Christmas Tree Skirt #2 has been quilted and the binding sewn on to the front as well as Wonder-Clipped all the way around.  I'd love to have it finished by Friday!

Christmas Tree Skirt #1 is basted and I started the quilting on that one yesterday.  Aside from the straight-line quilting next to the seams, I haven't decided what I should do next ... it just needs something ...

but I like the way it's looking on the back!  

I REALLY need to take a class to get some hands-on free-motion quilting instruction.  I've been watching Leah Day's videos for the Free Motion Quilting Project ~ she's really got some great designs.  And I know what I really need to do is practice ~ practice ~ practice!

On a totally different note, I'm always interested in seeing how everyone else pieces their quilt backs.  So when I came across this Linky Party at Swim Bike Quilt called "The Other Side of the Quilt",  I had to join in and add my one and only quilt back.  

That's it for today ~ hoping to have a "finish" on Friday!

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday, some Random things, and a new Quilt-Along

Can't believe it's Wednesday already ... so I guess it's WIP time.  The main only thing that's really consumed me this week is Christmas tree skirt #2.  The piecing is finished and I did the basting yesterday ~ started out by curvy pin basting (not good for the brittle nails) and ended up spray basting with 505 which most of the spray-basters out there seem to love!  I really haven't had much experience with basting yet, but I was happy with the way I was able to really smooth out both sides using the 505.

I made the binding on Sunday using a little less than 1/2 yard of fabric and this continuous binding tutorial (which has some great charts to help you determine fabric needs and binding lengths).

So today, I started on some straight-line quilting.  I really hope I learn to love the actual quilting part of making a quilt ~ at the moment, it's not my favorite.  Since the tree skirt is going to be 8-sided, I started with  that shape in the center, and I'm doing kind of a sun-burst pattern from there.  It took a while to decide exactly what to do, but so far so good (and no puckers ~ Yay!)

I managed to do a couple of small charity things this week ~ a Christmas pillowcase to be sent over to Afghanistan for the troops ~ and four blocks for a charity quilt being put together by our local quilt guild.

Finally ~ Good news!  Rachel over at Stitched in Color is hosting a Penny Patch Beginner's Quilt-Along!  I planned on doing a patchwork for Christmas tree skirt #4, so this is perfect for that project.  I grabbed the button for my sidebar ~ I'm ready!!

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday catch-up

I fully intended to put up a post for Finish Friday, but we ended up gone for the day and I was too tired by the time we got home at almost midnight.

Anyway, as far as finishes go ~ I have a few, but the first two do not entail any sewing at all.

I've been wanting to accomplish two things to help me as a quilter ~ and I got them both done this week.  The first was creating a large pressing board (since my ironing board with all those holes in it just plain sucks!).  So my hubby and I went to Home Depot to buy a piece of plywood for that purpose.  I thought it would be good to get his input on what would work for this project.  I wanted something that would be easy to store in case I needed to get the ironing board out of my sewing space which is actually in my kitchen/dining room (we never hardly ever eat at the table ~ it's usually covered in fabric and cutting tools!).  

So once I found a piece of wood (24" x 48"), I covered it in two layers of an old flannel sheet and a piece of home dec fabric (Joann's was having a 50% off sale on their red-tag fabrics, so I paid $4.50 for a yard which fit perfectly!).  I wrapped the board with the flannel - taped that down, then wrapped that with the home dec and taped that down as well.  (I'm not going to show you the back, but imagine lots of bright turquoise duct tape holding everything nice and tight!)  And here's the finished pressing board which for now just sits on top of my old ironing board ~ it's light enough that I can move it anywhere I need to.

I love the fabric ~ makes me happy :)  Since I took these photos, I've moved it so that it's parallel to the big window and it gives me lots of natural light during the day.

My second project was putting up something for a design wall.  Sounds easy enough, but I put it up in a guest bedroom (aka storage room) on the only big wall, which then entailed splitting a king bed into two twin beds, moving them to a different wall and cleaning out some of the things that were stored in there.  But the initial design wall is now up (I hung up two crib-size flannel backed vinyl sheets by sewing loops at the top corners and hanging them on little nails).  Works for me (although I may need a bigger one down the road!).  (BTW, that bag hanging on the closet door is my Aragon Bag ~ love it!)

Now for the sewing part!  I followed traceyjay's Continuous Bias Binding Tutorial, and turned 1/2 yard of fabric (from Deb Strain's Christmas Countdown) into more than 9 yards (!) of bias binding for Christmas tree skirt #1.  Love this method!

Last, but not least ~ I finished this week's City Sampler Blocks  # 58, 59 & 60.

So that's it for my belated Friday Finish!  Time to relax with some Tiger baseball, college football, NASCAR & Red Wings hockey  ~ oh, and Mecum auto auction ~ (my husband flips the channels while I catch up on sewing/quilting blogs).  Go Wings!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 Finish-A-Long

I realize that this is the last quarter (Q4) of Leanne's Finish-A-Long over at she can quilt, but better late than never - or so they say.  The official rules can be found here (and there are prizes!).  I don't have too many UFOs on my list, but it gives me a goal to shoot for ~ which I usually need.  Here's my list:

1.  Christmas tree skirt #1 ~ I actually have this top completed, but (along with the other tree skirts I'm working on) it's a gift so I'm not able to show the whole top.  I still have the backing, binding and quilting to do.

2.  Christmas tree skirt #2 ~ I almost have this completely pieced using a disappearing 9-patch pattern.  This will be travelling cross-country, so I need to make sure it gets done in plenty of time!  

3.  Christmas tree skirt #3.  Just started putting together hourglass blocks for this one.  

(I actually have another tree skirt to do but haven't actually started it, so I guess I can't add it to this list unless I start that one this week as well.)

4.  Verona Hourglass quilt.  I finished piecing the top in February.  The backing is ready and I've made the binding ~ so why has it taken me so long to finish?  The fear of doing the actual quilting ~ I've wanted to do free-motion quilting on this one and it terrifies me. :)

5.  Midwinter Reds table runner.  I took this class at our local quilt shop last month, made two blocks and then got busy with other things ....  I'd love to finish this to give as a Christmas gift for someone.

So that's my list!  Not too bad I think.  

Did I mention Leanne has some prizes to give away?  The list for this quarter isn't up yet, but if you take a peek at what the previous sponsors donated I'm sure this quarter will be just as awesome!  Just sayin'.

Linking up with Leanne for Q4.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Playtime ~ Disappearing nine-patch

So today's the day I decided to dive into something called the disappearing nine-patch.  It's basically where you start with a typical 9-patch block, the cut it into quarters and twist and turn the quarters so they end up totally different.  The tutorial I followed was by the Neighborhood Quilt Club.  

I started with this

Then I took a deep breath, got out my rotary cutter and cut each block in half - first horizontally and then vertically.

so that I ended up with this

In reading the tutorial, I decided to follow layout 1 in turning my blocks ~ this is what it looked like when I finished putting all the blocks together.

I keep looking at it and wondering if it's too busy?  So I tried layout 2 and got this ~

a different kind of busy.  :)  So now I'm not sure which way to go ... but at least I have a couple of months to decide!

On a brighter note ~ I signed up for a class in November to make the "In From The Cold" quilt by Kate Spain for Moda (you can get the free pattern here).  Here's a pic of my stash for this project ~ can't wait!  (I may have to keep this one!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Finish Friday ~ sort of

I know this post is supposed to be all about finishes, but do partial finishes count?

I did finish the three City Sampler blocks scheduled for this week at Sew Sweetness:

I finished piecing  Christmas tree skirt #1 ~ I know I said no more peeks, but here's a little one:

I ordered the fabric for the binding ~ so I just need to figure out what to do with the back.

Last but not least ~ I cut into the Winter's Lane layer cake for Christmas tree skirt #2 and finished sorting all the 5" squares into a layout that I can live with. (I consider that a "sort-of" finish!)  I'm thinking of doing a disappearing 9-patch for this one.  I've never done one before, but I love the pattern and it looks pretty straight-forward, so I think I can handle it!

Here's a first peek at that one (please excuse the yellow and blue bedspread ~ I really need to put up a design wall!):

So that's it for this week ~ I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for finish it up Friday.  I'm totally jealous of her handmade scrap baskets ~ maybe once Christmas is over ...  :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WIP Wednesday and a fabulous chance to win with Madame Samm

Just a few things today ~ 

Working on the City Sampler blocks for this week.

I finished piecing the quilt top for Christmas tree skirt #1 (which I can't show you, sorry!) ~ it still needs backing, binding and quilting.

I pulled out the Winter's Lane layer cake and sorted it by colors so I can start on Christmas tree skirt #2.  I hope to start cutting tomorrow!
On another note ~ Madame Samm over at Sew We Quilt has a fabulous new button for her blog!

To celebrate, she's offering up to 8 chances to win $250 in vouchers if you put her button on your blog (like I just did!) ~ and if you don't have a blog you'll get a chance as well!  More details here.  Good luck!!