Saturday, 31 March 2012

March UFO

My March UFO is complete!  All the way down to hand-stitching the binding.  After 3 years sitting as little wedges in a box, I'm happy to have this one off my conscience.

The stack and whack circles are made from a striped fabric.  I really like the way they turned out, although my stripes don't always match up exactly. 

I quilted this with a spiral in the blocks, and then echo quilting in the background and borders.  This isn't a great picture, but it shows some of the quilting lines.

 I love the border fabric, which blog readers helped me pick out.  And the backing is similar to, but not exactly, the orange in the background.  I also included 2 spare blocks in the backing, just because I could.  If you click on this picture, you can see the quilting.

Friday, 30 March 2012


OxyClean, I think I love you. 

Yesterday I washed a quilt - and this is what came out of the dryer. I was so upset.  I spent hours on this quilt, working out the sizes for all the star points.  Cutting and piecing and making sure it lay flat.  Plus, it's the most intricate quilting design I've ever attempted.  And it was ruined on the first washing.

I didn't know what to do, but I headed out to the grocery store to scour the laundry aisle.  I was hoping to find colour catchers, as I've heard people have good luck with those.  But apparently none of the grocers around here carry them.  And Amazon won't ship them to my (Canadian) address.   So in desperation I picked up some Oxy Clean, and decided to try that.  I figured it couldn't hurt, given the state of the poor quilt.  I put the quilt through twice.  First in cold water with Oxy Clean and my detergent. It seemed to have helped a lot, although I could still see some bleeding.  So I took a deep breath, and washed it again - this time in warm water, which is recommended on the Oxy Clean packaging.

It was really hard to tell, while the quilt was wet (because all the seam allowances looked like they bled through the white, when it was soaking wet).  But I figured it was the best I was going to get, and I tossed the quilt back into the dryer.  And low and behold, this is what came out!

It's not perfect.  I can still see that the whites are a bit bluer than they should be.  But there are no more big blue stains across the quilt.  I am so happy!

Here is the finished quilt, pre-washing.  This was a design of my own, and something I'd always wanted to try out.  I gave up early on figuring exact sizes for all the star points, and ended up with a "cut, sew, trim" method which worked out well.

And a close up of some of the quilting, post washing.  I picked a quilting design I found online, and adjusted it slightly to handle the graduated sizes of the white squares.  The original shape when here.  One size down, I pulled the center bit only.  And one size up, I put 4 of these together to make a larger square.

I echo quilted in the blue areas, to highlight the star points.  And did a diagonal cross-hatch in the diamond border.  This is one of my more intricate quilting patterns - both in the design and in the quilting.  I'm very glad I was able to recover it, after the washing disaster last night.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday today.  Drop by see all the fabulous projects.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


I have no words :(

The scary part

For me, this is the scary part of quilt making.  The first bath!  Here goes my beautiful Indigo quilt, into the wash to remove all the marking from my quilting.  This is why I hate marking - I much prefer to do either freehand stipple, or something I can following without marking, like echo quilting or in the ditch.

But, Indigo deserved more, and got it. And now I wait, to see if the lovely blue and white quilt comes out with nice crisp distinction between the colours, or if I have a grey & blue quilt.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

New Project

Now that 2 projects are complete for this month, I have decided to start a new one.  I've had the fabric for this project for a couple of years, waiting for me to get inspired and find a pattern to use.  I realized, as I searched, that this really is backwards for me.  I'm actually not sure why this one was so hard.  I've made 3 colour challenge quilts now - given a pallette, create a quilt.  But maybe it's because there are more fabrics to choose from in those pallettes, and a wider variety of colours.  This fabric set was 2 colours, in 2 shades each.  Plus a floral that ties them together.  It certainly felt a bit limiting while I was hunting for a pattern.

I did finally come up with one, and these are the first few block components for it.  Each of these 8 squares finishes at 4.5", so there's a lot of them needed before I can move onto the alternate blocks (which finish at 9").

This has been a productive month.  2 finished quilts.  1 finished top.  1 new project.  And a reorganized sewing room.  And if I get my act together, the Monday Mystery will be finished too, since the final step was posted this week.

I'm linking up at Work in Progress Wednesday over at Fresly Pieced today.  Drop by to see what everyone else is up to.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Design Wall Monday - March 26

Once again, it's time for Judy's design wall Monday.  After a weekend of sewing, here is what's on my design wall today.  Not a lot of activity here, but Block 7 of the Blogger's Block of the Month is complete.  Plus, the last block for March in Dancing with the Stars is hanging out.

However, the weekend did produce some excellent results.  First, my March UFO is now complete.  Fully quilted, and bound and backed in orange.  I also included 2 spare blocks in the backing.

And, my Indigo quilt, from last June's monochromatic challenge is also complete.  I'm going to call this February's UFO, since it's on my list to complete and I never did get to Feb's quilt.  I'll swap the numbers, and when this number comes up, I'll pull out the Feb quilt.

When the light is better, I'll take some pictures of the quilting on both of these.  I'm really happy with the end results.  And I still have 3 Star Trek movies left to watch - I'll have to pick another UFO to work on while I watch those :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Stash Report - March 25

I said on Friday that I had 22 hours of Star Trek queued up, to get my quilting going this weekend.  8 hours in, and I have realized a couple of things.  First, the early Star Trek movies were really fond of musical interludes, which makes it interesting to "watch" while sewing (which means, listening more than watching). And second, it takes a lot longer to quilt than I realized. This is the first time I've really had a clock to go by, to see how long it takes.

This weekend's count so far:
Star Trek #1 - finished the Indigo quilt, which only had one and half borders left
#2 -  quilted the 9 blocks on the March UFO
#3 - quilted the background on the March UFO
#4 - quilted the borders on the March UFO

And March is not a big quilt - it's only 52"x52".  Apparently even simple quilting designs take a significant amount of time.  No wonder it always takes longer than I expect to finish a quilt. However, I think Star Trek #5 will allow me to finish the 4 corners of the March UFO, and attach the binding. Then, I can sit down with both the Indigo quilt and March, and hand stitch the binding down, during Star Treks 6 & 7 (and maybe 8 - binding always takes longer than I think, too)

My usage for this week is only 2 yards - backing for March UFO. The rest of my time has been spent on quilting rather than piecing.  But progress is definitely being made, so it's a good week.

Total this year:
27 3/4 yards out, 57 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 29 3/4 yards in

Check out Judy's blog for more stash reports this week.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Finish It Up Friday

I've been working like a busy little beaver the past two days, trying to complete the quilting on my indigo quilt.  I really want to get this one done before I move on to something new.  It's been a lot of work, but I think it's worth it.  I really like the overall design of this quilt, so I wanted to do something special for the quilting.

Here's a peek at what I've done in the white squares, and part of one border.  The blue points are echo quilted with blue thread.  I have 1/2 of one side of the last border left to do.  Should get that done in the next 1/2 hour or so.

Then I can start on my next quilt.  I'm still debating whether to start quilting another project (this month's UFO) or cut into a new design that sitting in the room calling my name.

Only time will tell.  I have 22 hours of Star Trek movies queued up.  I wonder if I'll get in enough quilting time this weekend to get through all of them.

I'm linking up to Finish It Up Friday over at crazy mom quilts.  Drop by to see what others have finished today.

Thursday, 22 March 2012


It's March 22nd, and spring is definitely here in Ottawa.  A bit lot early, and I fully expect it to be interrupted by a short return to winter.  But for now, my garden is blooming, the geese are back, and spring is definitely in the air.  I spent the morning outside, enjoying the weather.

Now, I've promised myself that at least part of this vacation day was to be spent working on my March UFO, so I'm headed off to the sewing room for a while.   Just 2 more borders, and it will be ready for binding.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Design Wall Monday

My design wall is in fact empty today.  Earlier this weekend, it looked like this.  But I took the quilt down to see if I could find more of the bright red, to re-do the borders. 

I like the quilt, but the pieced border seems a bit out of place to me.  No success on finding fabric, but the ladies at the quilt shop all loved it as is.  So, maybe it will stay.  It has some time to stew - the current project is quilting the indigo quilt.  All done but the borders, so it's moving right along. 

I want to finish quilting 2 quilts before I pull out my next piecing project.  Think I'll stand firm? 

Check out more design walls over at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Stash Report March 18

Just a quick stash report today. I want to get back to my sewing machine.

3 yard used for the border for log cabin quilt

Total this year:
25 3/4 yards out, 57 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 31 3/4 yards in

Check out  Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday Night Progress

Lots got accomplished at my Friday night sew in.  I finished the next block from Dancing with the Stars.  Now I'm all set for April. 

I finished the top for my March colour challenge.  Unfortunately , I'm not really happy with the colour of the pieced border.  I didn't have enough of the dark red, so I used the medium.  It's come out much brighter than I expected.  I'll finish the top, but I'm a bit disappointed with it.  And I don't have enough of the red for binding, either.  Maybe I'll drop by the shop tomorrow and see if they have any more. But I suspect this was from the skinny bolt sale, so I'm likely out of luck there.

Also, I got started on the quilting for my indigo quilt.  The blue parts of the center star are now done.  Maybe I'll get a bit more done tomorrow. I think I'm going to like the end result of the quilting I chose for this, but I'm not really enjoying the process.  Straight line quilting on an eight pointed star means way too much spinning of the quilt under the machine.

All-in-all some reasonable progress for my first sew-in.  I wish I was happier with the results, but at least there are results and now I can move onto something new in the quilt department.  I have my next quilt designed and ready to cut into.  Although I need to double check my fabric requirements, so that I don't end up in another mess like the red quilt above.

Friday Night Sew-In

I just found this link, from another blog I was reading.  One Friday a month, Heidi hosts a Friday Night Sew-In - we all get together virtually and work on those project which may have been laguishing (or not - working on your current project is good too :)  I think I'm going to join this month.  I'm on my own tonight, so I can spend the whole evening sewing if I want to.  Sounds like a great way to spend the night.

Sew, I'm in :)  Check back tomorrow to see how much I got accomplished.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Making Progress

My pieced border fit!  When I measured, both the quilt and the pieced border were 1/2" larger than I expected.  But fortunately that meant that my planned border sizes still worked.  I just had to cut the border strips a smidge longer.  There are 2 more borders to go on this quilt.  Another narrow black border next, and then dark red for the outer wide border.  But I needed a break, so I moved on to one of my block of the month projects.

This is 1/4 of my next paper pieced block, for Dancing with the Stars.  Slow going, and it's a bit trickier than the last one.  But it seems to be going together correctly, so I'll keep plugging away at it this week.

Do paper pieced blocks always end up with really bulky seams?  That center point is thick.  I guess, now that I look at it, that there are 8 pieces meeting there - but all the bulk seems to have fallen in the same direction, so it's a serious lump.  Not looking forward to quilting that.

Maybe by the weekend I'll have my piecing projects done, and I can start quilting on the indigo quilt.  I haven't been thinking too much about it lately, so I still don't have a quilting plan for the whole thing.  However, the indigo sections of the star are figured out, so I can start on them and see if the white areas bring any inspiration to the table.

I'm linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced today.  Drop by to see what others are up to this week.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Decision made

I think I've made a decision on the Monday Mystery.  While I really like the starburst effect of this layout (and many commenters agreed), it feels like the alternate blocks are out of place in this one.  They don't seem to fit in with the rest of the quilt.

This layout incorporates them better in my eye (and I guess in the designer's too :)  I'll follow the plan and put the quilt together this way. But I think I'm going to sit down with EQ and see if I can come up with something using a different alternate block to go with  the starburst setting.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Monday Mystery

Putting the blocks together is today's step in the Monday Mystery. Trouble is, this is the layout the designer planned. 

But this is what I've been expecting and envisioning for the past 3 weeks.

Decisions, decisions.  Do I go with the plan, or forge ahead with my own vision? Which layout do you prefer?

Pieced borders are ...

... kicking my butt!  On Saturday, I had my own little sew-in, and got all the blocks for the center of my March colour palette challenge top done.  In one day!  So on Sunday, I figured I could whip off the borders, and be done with this top in no time at all.  Hah!  I spent half the morning and all afternoon fighting with this.  I know the theory.  I know math.  I know what I have to do.  But for some reason, I could not get the math to play nice with these borders.

I calculated them 4 times, and got a different answer every time.  Finally I put some together. And none of the borders were long enough.  I'd used one of my intermediate (and incorrect) calculations for the lengths :(  So I unstitched, and added a couple of segments to most of the border strips (8 strips, and only 2 were correct - the last 2 I made).

Now I think I have all the sizes working for me.  But notice I have not yet had the nerve to cut into the 2 transition borders that come before the pieced one. I think I'll measure everything 2 more times, and sew the blocks together and measure a third, before I cut any more strips :)

This is all that's on my design wall today.  The votes yesterday were heavily in favour of this layout, so I've gone back to it, and I think this is going to be the one.

I had planned to do the next bock of Dancing with the Stars this weekend, but after fighting with these borders I didn't think paper piecing was likely to go well.  The happy news is that I rearranged my sewing room, so now I have easy access to the full length of my design wall.  See that box beside the design wall?  That's a new blind I bought last summer to replace the horrid drapes in this room.  Maybe I'll get that installed one day soon.

Check out Judy's blog for more design walls.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Stash Report - March 11

My sewing day yesterday had some great results on my stash report this week. I finished all the blocks for the March colour challenge top. That used 2 3/4 yards of fabric.  And the spiderweb top took 1 3/4 yards for the sashings and borders.   And, I exercised my willpower, and stayed out of the quilt shop - nothing in.  So that's a total of 4 1/2 yards out this week, to get me moving in the right direction.

This week:  4 1/2 out, zero in

Total this year:
22 3/4 yards out, 57 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 34 3/4 yards in

Check out Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Here's a preview of what I used my fabric on this week.  Trying to decide on a setting for this quilt.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sewing Saturday

I decided to take a lazy Saturday, and spend as much of it in my sewing room as possible.  It's time, I decided, to start the March colour challenge.  Finishing the Dancing with the Stars BOM can wait. And the indigo quilt still hasn't told me how to quilt the white areas.  So, March comes out.  Cuting and sewing, and more cutting and sewing, and this is what I had by noon.

I took a break and did the grocery shopping. The fridge was pretty bare, and I figured that feeding the kids was probably a necessity this weekend.  So, groceries purchased and put away.  And back to my sewing and cutting, and more sewing. 

Here is my current progress.  36 of these blocks to make, and just 3 more strips to attach to most of them.  I may even get them all made today.  Then I can play with the layouts.

For now, I'm going to put my feet up for an hour. Then think about doing some laundry and starting dinner, before I head back into my sewing room for the evening.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

UFO no more

I took my March UFO, and contemplated the various sashing options overnight.  Morning brought clarity and a decision.  Then, all I had to do was get through a full day of work, before I could get back into my sewing room to put the final touches on the project.

I chose the blue/orange batik, and added corner stones in the orange.  The corners of the quilt are an extra block that I made, which turned out to be 1/4" too small.  Using the pieces there meant that the border strips were 39" long - just perfect for one width of fabric.

I love the end result.  Thanks to Judy's UFO Challenge, another poor, ignored project came out of the closet, and turned into a quilt.  I have a backing fabric in mind, so there's even a chance this will be quilted before the end of the month.  But, I'm not getting my hopes up.  First on the list - quilt the indigo quilt, and make my March Colour Challenge quilt.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

To sash, or not to sash

My March UFO is trucking along nicely.  I'm auditioning sashing options now, trying to decide if the quilt needs something or not. And if so, what. 

First, the no sashing option.  Not bad, although I'm not sure what I'll do with borders, since I'm out of the orange.

A few options here - a mutlicolour, which I think is too busy, and too yellow.  Darker orange, as someone suggested in a comment yesterday.  And what is actually a dark purple, although it appears black in the photo.

And one final option. This fabric is already tagged for backing for another quilt, but if there's enough length I could use it here.

I guess I'll sleep on it and see what it looks like in the morning.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

March UFO

Today I'm linking up over at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday, for the first time.

I pulled out my March UFO yesterday.  Judy picked #8 on the UFO list, which is my stack-and-whack quilt.  I started this one a couple of years ago, planning to make some spiderweb blocks with some striped fabric that I had in my stash.  I got to this stage, and then it went onto a shelf. It's been resting there ever since.

So, yesterday, in an attempt to finish some projects rather than starting on a new one (my March colour challenge or another quilt I just designed), I decided to have a look.  I already knew that the original plan for this quilt - which was purple around the webs - would not work. First, it was too dark. And second (and more importantly), I used the purple fabric in a different quilt a few months ago. That's what happens when I leave projects half done.

As of tonight, this is what I have complete.  3 more blocks to go.  I think I'll set them like this, although I may audition some sashing before I make a final decision. What do you think?

Just loafing

This is Cari - making herself comfortable as can be, in my bread basket.   Silly cat. I guess I should know better than to leave out something that she fits into so well. 

After extracting the furry loaf from my bread basket, I headed upstairs to sew.  After all, it's Mystery Monday today, and I have clue #10 in my hands.  And, here is the result of that one.  For now, I've taken this mystery down off the wall - 9 blocks are much easier to keep together than all those little bits would have been. 

Now to decide what's next.  My current "active" list is:
  1. Quilt the indigo quilt - still looking for inspiration on the quilting design
  2. Finish Mystery Monday - whenever the clues complete - still have assembly and borders to go
  3. Dancing with the stars BOM - one more block this month
  4. Blogger's BOM - all caught up until the next clue comes out on the 25th
  5. Mexican star - still need to hand-stitch all the turnouts of the folded triangles
So, faced with that list of in-progress quilts, most of which are waiting for something before I can do the next step, I've pulled out my March UFO (#8 from Judy's draw this month).  That seemed like a better idea than cutting into the new quilt I want to start.  That orange corner sticking up on my design wall is a piece of it. I should have something significant to show later this week.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Design Wall Monday - March 5

The incremental changes to the Monday Mystery continue.  Last Monday, we put together the small 1/2 square triangles.  I'm still auditioning corner settings, while I wait for the official plan. Today the next clue will, I hope, finish the blocks and then it will just be borders left to go.

The other blocks on the wall are from Dancing with the Stars.  The March package is available, and the first of two blocks is complete.  This one is Viennese Waltz, and Polka will join it soon.

I was a bit worried about this block of the month.  I don't do paper piecing in general. I tried it several years ago, and it was a complete disaster, so I swore off the whole thing and have studiously avoided any project that required paper piecing since then.  However, I fell in love with this quilt when I saw it, and I just couldn't pass it up.  So, I am commited to 30 blocks, paper pieced.  Last month, I cheated.  The block was pretty simple, so I converted it to regular piecing, and put together those 3 connecting blocks.  But the star blocks are not going to work that way.  So, this weekend I jumped in. Drawing on my vague memory of my last attempt at paper piecing, I carefully cut the pieces, reduced the stitch length on my machine, and made one part of the first block.

Imagine my surprise when it actually came out correctly, and all the points matched.  Eight more block sections, and I was able to assemble my first ever paper pieced block!  Now I can't wait to start block number 2.  And I'll even do next month's connecting blocks with paper piecing.

Also on my design railing, is the next quilt I need to quilt.  I like this quilt a lot, and want to do it justice with my quilting, but I'm not sure what to do.  I feel like I want to echo the increasing sizes of the stars, but I don't know if that would work, or exactly how to do that.  What would you do in the star points and plain areas, given the varying sizes?

Check out Judy's blog for more design walls today.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Stash Report - Mar 4

I did a lot of sewing this week, but most of it was quilting, on items already basted, so not much usage to report.  I used 1/2 yard binding for 2 quilts, and 1/2 yard backing for one.

Another trip to the quilt store netted me 2 yards of backing for the Feb colour challenge, and 1/2 yard to fill out the palette for March.  This colour challenge is a lot of fun, but it is not being very friendly to my pocketbook :)

So, for this week, that's 1 yard out, 2.5 yards in

Total this year:
18 1/4 yards out, 57.5 yards in
Net for 2012: 39 1/4 yards in 

What's next for me?  I want to quilt the indigo quilt from last June's colour challenge.  It's already backed and basted, and I need the pins back if I'm going to baste this month's UFO.  I have 2 "quilt kits" in hand - that is, fabric purchased to make a quilt, but no design in mind.  So I want to spend some time with EQ this month, and see if I can come up with a design I like for those fabric sets.  And of course I have the March colour challenge.  

Fabric is bought for that one and a pattern picked, so I just need to get started. Here's the colour palette from Vicky, and my fabric choices.  My yellow is much brighter in person, and I thought the black was blacker than that.  I may look for something darker in that one.

Check out Judy's blog for more stash reports today.