Saturday, 30 June 2012

June Finishes

Yesterday was graduation day for my eldest.  He is now officially done with high school, and will be moving on to university in the fall.  He's not going too far, but he is headed into residence.  This quilt will, I hope, head there with him.  When I first started this quilt - the May colour challenge - Colin saw the center star and immediately asked for it.  So, I modified the design a little, to
stretch it to fit his bed better.

The quilting is freehand feathers, from Judy's feather lessons this month.  Her lessons were great! and I am happy with the way mine turned out.  The back of the quilt is pieced - again on request.  My youngest has a 2-sided quilt on his bed, while my eldest's current quilt has a plain back.  So, when this one was in progress he asked what the back would look like, and strongly suggested he'd like a design on it.   So how could I not oblige?  Besides, I didn't have a good backing choice anyway, so it needed to be pieced :)
And now the quilting is done and as soon as I have 5 minutes in the same room as him, I'll give him the quilt.

In other news, my placemats/table runner are finished. This is the June colour challenge, so I am thrilled to have completed them before the end of the month.  I stretched a bit with the quilting (I figured I could handle that, on something so small).  Found a design I liked (a center rose with vines/leaves on each side) and fit it to the french braid on the placemats.  My pounce worked GREAT for marking!  This is notable because if you remember I went through a lot of pain with a couple earlier quilts trying to figure out how to create a template, and what to use for marking.

On the table runner, I started with the same basic design, but drew it freehand so that I could enlarge it without just scaling the whole design up. I wanted the density of the quilting to be close to the same on all the pieces.  The lower half of the placemats are quilted with a freehand vine & leaf design.  For variety, I used 3 different binding colours between the 5 pieces.

Check out more June projects on Judy's blog.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Design Wall Monday - Jun 25

This is what was on my design wall yesterday.  I have made even more progress, and these (plus 2 additional placemats) are now quilted and in the process of being bound.

The rest of my design wall looks like it did 2 weeks ago - blocks still hanging out waiting for me to catch up on block of the month projects. 

My personal goal - finish binding these placemats before the end of the month.  Then catch up on Dancing with the Stars before the next set comes out. And then I will let myself start a new quilt or two - which will be my test quilts for my new long arm when it arrives.  I can't wait!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Stash Report - June 24

I made a run to the quilt store yesterday.  Ran out of fabric for binding my latest project, so a trip was a necessity.  Of course, I also picked up some fabric for a new project - I need to make a practice quilt for when my long arm arrives.  Yep, that's why I bought it. Honest :)

5 1/4 yards in

1 3/4 yard out

Stash totals this year:
82 3/4 yards out, 137 3/4 yards in
Net for 2012: 55 yards in 

 Drop by Judy's blog to see what others have done with their stash this week.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A couple of finishes

Orca Bay is DONE!  That's right, completely finished.  Pieced, quilted, bound and ready to use.  And only 6 months after the mystery was over.  I tried taking some pictures outside to get truer colours for this, but I might have to try again.  I really like the way this quilt turned out, although there were times when I wondered if I'd finish it.  Thank goodness for the Patchwork Times retreat in February, where the top was finished.  If not for that, I'd still have a bunch of pieces sitting around my sewing room.

The backing is pieced.  The leftover strips from the border were used here, along with some large sections.  I pieced on the outside of the purple section, because I love that fabric so much I didn't want to lose 4-8" in the quilting process (the excess backing needed and then cutoff later).  It's purple and black, and I thought the perfect colours to back this quilt.

This is the quilt that pushed me over the edge.  My Handi-Quilter Avanté should be here in about 4 weeks!

In other news, my June colour challenge is pieced.  I finished the table runner and placemats.  Two are shown here, but there are actually 4 mats.  This project did NOT go as planned.  I avoided it for weeks, and I now know why.  I should have sat down and done the calculations in detail, on paper, instead of relying on a rough sketch/calculation.

The placemats were supposed to have the french braid running vertically down the left side.  But the length of the piece was 6" too long when it was done. I have no idea how I got the calcuations that far wrong (and note that this was a second attempt, after completely blowing the center square size the first time).  You would think I'd have learned, but apparently not.  However, despite being different than planned, I do like the end result.  I bought fabric for binding today (I might have had enough, if I hadn't needed to recut all the placemats) and I hope to finish quilting this before the end of the month.

My favourite bit of the placemats is the the yellow piping around the center square.  That's a new technique for me, but it seemed like a good way to get a highlight of yellow in a very small piece, without driving myself crazy trying to stitch that accurately.  In the runner, the yellow is 1/2" and is pieced into the pattern.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Measure Twice?

Measure twice, cut once.  This should be my mantra.  Actually, more like calculate twice.  I know why I had so much trouble getting started on my french braid - I was not too comfortable with my plans. As I now know, my dimensions are not ideal on the table runner - the braids are narrower than I think they should be.  But it's what I needed, to get the overall dimensions I wanted.  I should have sketched it to scale - I might have rethought the whole thing.

But now I'm committed.  And there are placemats planned to go with the runner.  So I cut those out yesterday, after a quick calculation to scale my runner down to the right size for an insert in the placements.  Except, as I sewed them together today I realized that I calculated them COMPLETELY wrong.  7"x12", rather than 3"x12".  Wow.  That is NOT going to work.

So, recalculate (when using a "square in a square" calculator, it is useful to know the difference between inside square length and outside square length).  Then I eyed my (very small) pile of fabric. I bought just what I needed this time, rather than over-indulging in the pretty stuff.  But fortunately since I'm working with 1.25" strips, it didn't need a lot to re-cut the placemats.  I cut new strips (wider and shorter) and hopefully I can get these assembled soon.

Unfortunately, I think this leaves me without any yardage for binding, so I guess a quilt shop visit is in my future this week.

Drop by the Needle and Thread Network to see what other (Canadian) bloggers are up to.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Design Wall Monday - June 18

I managed to kick myself into gear yesterday, and my design wall has something new on it today.  My June colour challenge is almost done - one part of it, anyway.  There will be some placemats to go along with this table runner.  The rest of the design wall hasn't changed since last week.

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls today.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Stash Report and Ramblings

I need my mojo back. I don't know where it's gone, but I'm having trouble getting motivated in my sewing room this week.  I have 12 hours of movies all stacked up to watch while I'm quilting, and figured it would be a really productive weekend.  But alas, I haven't spent more than a couple hours in there.  I did finish quilting and get the binding attached to my Carpenter's Star.  But I have block of the month to make. I've picked a project for the June colour challenge.  And I just can't get started on either of them.

I did make some progress on my knitting project this week - which is a good thing since it's due next week.  I guess I should be happy about that.  I think my problem is that I'm fretting over this long arm purchase.  I don't want to start quilting what I have stacked up, if a long arm is coming home soon.  But I am in a waiting mode, because I contacted the local dealer and she isn't ready to deal yet - not until she gets back from training at the end of the month.  It's only 2 weeks, and it would be nice to buy from someone local - but my head keeps going to the other deal who could have had one delivered to me next week.  If the local doesn't work out, I'm going to kick myself for not jumping on the prompt delivery from across the province.

Ah well, patience I suppose.  In the meantime, plugging along, I did use 1/2 yard this week, for the binding on Carpenter's Star.  Nothing in, since my son had the car and I couldn't get to the quilt shop yesterday.

Stash totals this year:
81 yards out, 132 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 51 1/2 yards in 

 Drop by Judy's blog to see what others have done with their stash this week.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

New Toy!

I'm tired of posting about my Carpenter's Star - and you have probably read more than enough about it.  So instead I want to tell you about my upcoming purchase. I have made a decision, and a long arm will be coming home sometime this summer!  I measured, and realized it wouldn't fit where I was thinking.  So I measured some more, and changed my thinking, and I can fit it into the basement.  I had my mind all made up, and was ready to order a machine.  And then I spoke to a few more people and completely changed my mind :)

I think a Handi Quilter Avante is in my future!  Now I just have to sort out the details and coordinate with a distributor.  I can't wait.  And I can't decide whether to put my quilts on hold for a few months - because I have to order the machine, wait for it to arrive, set it up, figure out how to use it, and then practice, practice, practice before I'm ready to do any of the quilts I currently have waiting to be quilted.  So, do I leave them waiting, or do I suck it up and do a few more on my domestic machine before the long arm gets here?  I suppose I'll probably do a couple of the small ones.  Or maybe I'll concentrate on making some practice quilts instead.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Stash Report - June 10

Nothing in, and nothing out this week, for my stash.  It was a busy week at work, with my boss in town.  Lots of meetings, late nights, so not much sewing went on this week.  I've been trying to make up for that since Friday night, and have made some excellent progress quilting on my Carpenter's Star.  My feathers are coming along, thanks to Judy's excellent lessons. I'm done the green sections now, quilted in a variegated thread.

Plus I finished the binding on the Watercolour star, and Orca Bay is 3/4 done.  Not bad, for a non-quilting week :)

Stash totals this year:
80 1/2 yards out, 132 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 52 yards in 

 Drop by Judy's blog to see what others have done with their stash this week.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Feather Lessons

I've been waiting (sort of) patiently for Judy to finish posting her feather lessons.  She's using a long arm, and I'm working on my domestic machine, so I needed to wait for her to get to the diamond sections before I could start.  Fortunately, she posted that today!  So my quilt went under the needle right away, and the first section is now complete. 

I'm pretty happy with my feathers. I wasn't comfortable with the path Judy took - she quilted up the spine, down one side and up the other (and then back down the spine to move on to the next feather.  My feathers look pretty rough when I quilt down, so I decided to all the feathers quilting up the spine. This meant marking the spine, so that I could quilt up one side, down the middle, up the other, and back down the middle again.  I think it worked out really well, and maybe next time I'll be ready to try quilting the feathers downwards.

I think I'm going to do a meander in the background sections, rather than the feather wreaths Judy showed. I think my son, who already requested this quilt, would prefer that.  So, after dinner I'll be back upstairs doing some meandering and hopefully even starting on the green feathers.  I'm quilting each section in matching thread, so there will be lots of thread changes in this quilt.

Now that the center is done, I can see that I did not align the backing quite perfectly.  The center of the backing star is a couple of inches out of alignment from the front.  Shhh.  Don't tell Colin - he probably won't notice :)

Friday, 8 June 2012

Knitting and washing

Judy asked what's on our needles today.  Since I joined Camp Loopy, I have my first project currently in progress.  It's about half done, and there are 3 weeks left, so I should be able to finish this shawl in plenty of time.  the picture isn't great - I'm going to have to learn how to take photos of knitting in progress.  This is going to be a shawl when it's done.

In other news, my watercolour star survived its first trip through the washer.  I was pretty nervous, after what happened to my indigo star earlier this year. But I put it through the washer with 3 colour catchers, just to be safe. 

Here is what the colour catchers looked like in the end.  The left is the first washing.  On the right is the second washing.  And in the middle is an unused sheet for reference.  The quilt came through beautifully, and is now for sale in my etsy shop

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Watercolour Bound

Editted to add:  Linking this up to Judy's UFO page today (June 30).  This wasn't the official UFO for the month, but it is the one I finished.

Binding is done, on my watercolour star!  I started this quilt back in September, and have worked on it somewhat regularly since then.  It is nice to have it complete!

I had actually planned to bind it with the same fabric I used for the backing.  But I completely forgot about that when I went to cut the binding, and I picked up one of the whites I'd used in the border instead.  I'm actually glad this happened - I think it looks better than the blue binding would have.

And on the back, the white border is a nice accent to the backing fabric.

I quilted the star with feathers - one of my first attempts to do this.  I still haven't washed the quilt, so if you look closely (or even not that closely) you can see all the pencil marks where I marked the feathers.

I really like the style I chose for the background (waves, radiating out along all the star points). But I do wish I had thought a bit more about the outer border before I did that.  I left a narrow white border, which messed up some ideas that were considered for the final border.

In the end, I went with more feathers, for the final border.  They certainly aren't perfect by any means, but I'm pleased with the end result.  Now to take a deep breath and toss this into the washer - with a few colour catchers, just in case some of the scraps I used were not previously washed.  Then, I'm going to post this on Etsy and see what happens.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Design Wall Monday - June 4

I made some progress on my block of the month projects this week.  That's all that's on my design wall, since the rest of my focus is on quilting tops, rather than piecing.  One more block and I'll be caught up on Dancing with the Stars - which is good because month 5 comes out on Saturday.

I'm working on the binding for 2 quilts.  And I'll get the Carpenter's Star basted sometime this week - hopefully just in time for Judy to start her lesson the center star.  I was planning to follow along, but she's long-arm quilting, from the top down. And I need to work from the center out, since I'm on my home machine.  I'm following along in the meantime and making notes.  Hopefully 2-3 more lessons and we'll be in the center so that I can get started.  Then I'll get to play catch-up :)

It's going to be a busy week at work, so I likely won't get a lot of quilting time anyway.  Maybe just as well if the feather lessons continue without me for a few days.

Drop by Patchwork Times to see what everyone's up to this week.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Stash Report - June 3

Another week, another stash report.  I cannot believe that it is June!  This week, I've been focusing on finishing up some projects, so not a lot of stash usage to report.  Just 1 yard out, for binding on 2 quilts

And I tried, really I did.  I told myself I didn't need to go to the quilt store this weekend.  I found some fabrics in my stash that were pretty close for the colour challenge.  But they didn't wow me - and the palette wowed me. 

Partway through the afternoon, inspiration struck and I decided on my project for this month.  So, late afternoon I finally broke down and went on a trip to the store.  And I found the perfect fabric for this challenge.  Isn't it gorgeous?  And some lovely batiks to match. 

It all came home with me - 3.75 yards in, for this month's colour challenge.  I'm going to try to use some will power and finish quilting/binding 3 quilts before I start this project. Wish me luck :)

Totals this year:
80 1/2 yards out, 132 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 52 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog to see what others have done with their stash this week.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Almost finished

I finished quilting Orca Bay last night, and put the binding on it today.  Just have to tack down the back and it will be done.  I'll show some pictures after I get the binding finished.

And, I finsihed the quilting on my watercolour star.  Judy's feather lessons started yesterday.  I watched the first couple of videos, which were about feather borders.  Then I plucked up my courage, and decided it was time to finish the star - with a feather border.

Following Judy's instructions, I sketched on paper first.  Then I pulled out the quilt - and my courage failed.  I could not bring myself to freehand the feathers on my machine, so I drew them in all around rather than just on the corners.

Then, I loaded up the machine with the right thread, and started out.  It went better than I expected, and I finished the feathers on the outside of the spine following my drawing.  When I moved to the inside, I had obviously become more confident, because I completely ignored the markings in many places and cleaned up the feathers to a better shape than what I had drawn.

I'm really happy with the end result - and I think I might even have enough nerve to do the next feathers without drawing them in.  I'll baste the Carpenter's Star tomorrow, and be ready to join in Judy's lessons next week.

Here are some pictures of the border on the watercolour star.  And a couple of shots from the back, although I'm not sure that shows up any better.

Friday, 1 June 2012

June colour challenge

My May colour challenge top has been finished for a while.  I even made a pieced back for it, but a picture will have to wait for a couple of days on that.  The quilt is folded up somewhere waiting to be basted.  Judy's feather lessons started today, so I need to get this out soon. But I want to finish quilting the 2 current ones before I leap into a third.  So I'll be a bit behind in my lessons.

In the meantime, this wonderful palette is June.  I am in love!  What a wonder palette.  June is my birthday month, so I'm thinking that the quilt I make from this palette is going to be mine!  So much for my earlier plan to scale back and start making small quilties for donation from these challenges.  Now, to design something that does justice to this palette.

Check out more colour challenge projects over at Patchwork Times.