Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Lone Star

Amy is sponsoring another Bloggers' Quilt Festival, so I'm taking advantage of the incentive to write the story of one of my quilts.
This quilt started because I needed and quick and easy quilt for the monthly colour challenge from Vicki and Judy.  I wasn't overly inspired by the palette this time around, but I wanted to keep up my record of making a quilt for every challenge.  So, I dug through my stash for some fabrics to match the palette, and then cast about for a pattern to use.

Because I was using stash, the amount of fabric I could use in the design was limited.  So I decided to make a small donation quilt.  And in my web surfing, I saw some long star quilts and latched onto that idea.  Perfect!  I made a lone star some time ago, but another one would be fun - and this time I'd make it simple - just the basic lone star center, without the fractured frame that my first had.

I did some quick calculations based on the fabric in my pile, and determined that I could cut 3" diamonds and would have plenty of each fabric colour for it.  What I neglected to do was to calculate the overall size of a lone star, made with 3" diamonds.  Apparently the answer is about 55" across.  So much for my "small donation quilt".

But I persevered, because it was coming together beautifully.  And despite the size, it was still just a lone star, with the same number of pieces it would have had if I'd made it smaller.  Plus, I was deciding that I loved the colours!  Amazing how a palette can change, once you start working with it.

Once the star was done, I realized that my stash searching had not turned up enough of any fabric for the background.  I headed off to the LQS with cream on my mind.  I thought that would be a nice safe background and set off the colours well.  Well, when I got there, I looked at the creams and realized my mistake very quickly.  They made the quilt look insipid.  Not the right choice at all.

So I looked to the ladies at the shop for inspiration and suggestions - and this is what we came up with.  A rich dark purple set off the fabrics beautifully.  And, bonus factor, it matches the missing colour in the colour palette!  And I hadn't even mentioned that when we started digging for fabrics - I guess Vicki really does know what she's talking about with these palettes :)

Of course, once the star was finished, I realized that I did not want a square quilt.  So I came up with top & bottom borders to turn it into a twin-size bed cover.

Back to the store - I was out of pink and yellow fabric, since I hadn't planned on this addition at the start.  Couldn't match the fabrics exactly, but I I like what I found.

And then the quilting.  I bought a long arm machine in July, and this quilt was for the July colour challenge - so it became one of the first full-size quilts I loaded up. 

The backing is a brightly coloured batik that I purchased several months earlier for a different quilt.  I decided I didn't like it there, but it seemed perfect for this one.

I stuck with a fairly simple quilting design - straight lines in the diamonds, and a simple leaf & flower pattern in the background.  The new machine performed beautifully, and the quilt was quickly unloaded and bound.

And here is it.  Complete and ready for use.  For now it resides on my son's bed part-time while he's away at school.  When he comes home, he has his own quilt and this one goes into storage.

Click the link to hop over to the quilt festival and have look at some of the spectacular quilts.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Design Wall Monday - Oct 29

My design wall has a new quilt on it today.  This is the one I've been avoiding for a while, trying to get up the nerve to cut into it.  Finally tackled it on the weekend, and the center is just waiting for me to stitch it together now.  I picked up something that might work as borders, but we'll see after I put the center together.  First, it must gel a bit longer to make sure nothing looks out of place/needs changing.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design wall activity today.  And if you are in the path of Hurricane Sandy, stay safe.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Stash Report - Oct 27

Two of my ongoing projects are wrapped up now.  Neither looks like the original intention, but I've ended up with 4 donation quilts from them.  I showed the Mondy Mystery the other day, when I declared it finished. Here are the 3 quilties I made from the Bloggers' BOM squares.

2 yards - borders for BOM quilts
2 yards - strips for next quilt
6 yards - backing for checkerboard

That's 10 yards out this week.  Quite a good week, when I didn't think I'd done very much :)  Now I just need to finish quilting the checkerboard, so I can put some of my mystery quilts on the long arm before guild this month.

Stash usage this year: 172 3/4 yards out.

Check out Patchwork Times to see how everyone's stashbusting efforts are going. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

On the Needles - Oct 26

My yellow scarf is progressing nicely.  It's almost long enough now, but the Loopy Ewe's challenge requires 400 yards.   So I'll just keep knitting until I run out of yarn.

I'm also planning my next project.  I still have the blue scarf on the needles, but I'm tired of scarf knitting right now, so I picked my next project.  Another pair of socks, this time from a laceweight yarn.  Someone told me that hand-knit socks hurt their feet, and I can understand that now that I have a few pairs.  The yarn ridges do make a noticeable pattern, especially when walking in just socks.

So I thought maybe a lighter yarn and smaller needles would solve the problem.   My goodness 2mm needles are small.  At 10 stitches and 14 rows to an inch, these socks are going to be slow going. I think I'll probably stick with plain knitting, since none of the sock patterns I've seen are designed for this gauge.  I spent some time last night finding the colour repeat, and lining up the 2 balls so that I can hopefully get matching socks this time.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else is knitting.  And check out yesterday's post for a peek at the reveal of the 2 mystery quilts I've been working on.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mysteries Revealed

It's almost the end of the month, and 2 mystery quilts are coming to an end.  First, we have the Monday Mystery from Little Bits of This and That.  It's not quite done - there are border strips sitting around still.  But I think I'm going to stop here, because it's almost the perfect size for a quiltie donation.  26" rather than 24", but I think that's OK (I guess I'd better check that out next time I go to guild).

It's certainly bright.  If I'd known what it was going to be, I would have picked lighter "darks".  The joys of a mystery, I guess.  I'm going to quilt animals in each of the solid blocks, and I'll have to figure out the rest.

And then, the Blogger's Block of the Month.  The final month came out today, and it's setting time.  This is what it is supposed to be - with sashing, corner stones, and a piano key border.  But the final quilt is about 50" square, which is an odd size (for me).  So I'm thinking about splitting the blocks up and making 3 donation quilts out of them.

That will give me these 3 layouts.  The on-point one is a tad large - maybe I'll skip borders on it to keep it close to the 24" size.   I've cut the setting triangles and sashing from the dark backgroun - I hope someone likes dark for a baby quilt.

The final 2 will get frames around each block, then sashing and borders to stretch them to 24".  Unless I come up with something more creative while working on the other quilts.  But for now, it's time to head out for a couple of hours, because it's dancing night!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Work in Progress

I'm quilting my way through my first *big* quilt on my long arm.  This one is queen/king size (95x95").  Took me a while to get up the nerve to load it, but I'm almost 1/2 done now and so far so good.  It's still loaded, so there isn't a good picture, but here's a peek at it.

The dark squares are being quilted in black, and I'll do a second pass to quilt the cream squares in a matching colour.  If you look closely at this picture, I've marked the quilting design in a couple of the blocks.  The large squares are all 5.5", so I'm doing a fairly simple design in them - I don't want to over-quilt this one.

Here you can see a little piece of the backing and the design on one of the blocks. I think that one is one of my better motifs.  They definitely aren't perfect, but I think with the matching thread and a trip through the washer it's going to look nice.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Design Wall Monday - Oct 22

Poor design wall.  Just only lonely little block this week.  But at least there's one!  As of yesterday morning, there was absolutely nothing on the wall.

I have 2 quilts I want to start, but I keep avoiding them.  I think I'm nervous about how they are going to come out.  I've been collecting batiks, kind of randomly for a while.  I pulled 2 sets for quilts, and I keep rethinking the colour combinations.  I may finally be almost there - one I'm pretty happy with.  The other I need a couple more dark fabrics, and enough of one for borders, so that is going to mean another trip to the store.

And now the question is, do I start it, and add the borders once I buy them.  Or buy the fabric first, in case I can't find the "right" border and have to adjust the other fabrics to match.  I think I know the answer - but maybe I'll get up the nerve to cut into the other quilt this week, now that I have found the pattern again.  Well, the picture.  I have no pattern.  So I guess I can delay a bit longer while I work out all the sizes.

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

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Stash Report, Oct 21

I haven't done much sewing this week. But I did catch up on the Monday Mystery from Little Bits of This and That. That used about 1 yard of scraps.  Other than that, not much sewing this week after my binding blitz.  I haven't even loaded the quilt on the long arm, so I can't count the backing for it yet.  However, I hope to make some progress today on that one, and catch up on some other BOM.

And because I don't already have enough to do, I started a mystery quilt.  The LQS is running a mystery quilt designed by Sherri at Border Creek Station. I got some excellent help yesterday picking my fabrics, and I'm ready to start on that quilt - only 2 weeks to the next clue, so I'd better get moving.  And no, we aren't talking about the 7 yards of fabric I purchased for it (but you can see them) :)

Stash usage this year: 162 3/4 yards out.

Check out Patchwork Times to see how everyone's stashbusting efforts are going.

Friday, 19 October 2012

On the Needles - Oct 19

This is my latest pair of socks.  I'm learning to accept socks that don't match perfectly.  The widths of the stripes on these kept changing.  I suppose if I knit from the top down, I'd at least be able to control the match at the top end.  But I hate the thought of kitchener stitching the toe shut, and I like knowing that I'm not going to run out of yarn when I knit toe up (because I can just stop knitting at whatever length works out).  But maybe I'll try it once.  After 3 pairs of toe-up socks (the only 3 pairs I've ever made) I suppose I should give other techniques a try.

The socks are sitting on one of the quilts that is waiting for me to bind it.  But I haven't started that yet, because I'm busy working on 2 scarves.  I started this one a few weeks ago, while I waited for inspiration on another project.  It's interesting, but very narrow.

And the yellow is my project for The Loopy Ewe's 4th quarter challenge.  It has to be done by December, and take 400 yards of yarn.  Shouldn't be too much of a problem.  I started this one yesterday while I was waiting for my car to be serviced.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their needles today

Monday, 15 October 2012

Design wall Monday - Oct 15

I don't have anything on my design wall today - again.  But that doesn't mean it hasn't been a productive week.  I joined a virtual quilting day yesterday on a quilting board, and I finished 8 quilts.  OK, they are all small quilties (24" square), but I finished the binding on all of them by the end of the day.

I have "Over the Rainbow" - complete with blue bird flying :)  The other bright quilt is this month's colour challenge - the yellow is a bit off, but I didnt' have a better match in my stash this time around so I went with it.  I should know better.

And I have 5 quilties based on quilts from "Transparency Quilts" by Ringle and Kerr.  I'm working my way through to the book, and plan to make a small version of all of them eventually.  The last quiltie in this picture is my own design - I wanted to see what I could do with transparency using random placement of some strips.

Definitely a good finishing week for me.  Not much on starting, and hence the empty design wall.  Drop by Judy's blog to see what's up over there.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Stash report, Oct 14

I've been working on baby quilties this week.  They don't use a lot of fabric, but they get finished fast.   4 more backings this week (2 yards used) and 6 bindings (1 1/2 yards used)

So that's 3 1/2 yards out this week. And this pile of quilts ready for me to handstitch the bindings.  That's my plan for today - I'm going to sit down with a James Bond marathon and sew my fingers off :)

Stash usage this year: 161 3/4 yards out. 

Check out Patchwork Times to see how everyone's stashbusting efforts are going.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Knitting Progress - Oct 12

Once again Judy is asking "What's on your needles?"  I have 2 projects on the go, and another itching to get started.  Judy mentioned this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and it looked really interesting.  The details aren't showing up too well in this photo, but the legs are all little circles of knit surrounded by purl stitches.  Lots of fun.  Once again I have yarn that doesn't exactly match up, but it's not nearly as bad as the last skein, so I'm plugging along.  It is lovely and soft, and I'm really enjoying knitting with it.  It is Jawoll Magic by Lang Yarns.

On the other needles, my scarf has not made much progress.  Probably because I'm not 100% thrilled with this pattern.  It is coming out much more narrow than I expected.  And apparently I tend towards the blue/green combos in yarn, because I see that these 2 projects are very similar in colour.  I do need to get moving with this one - I need those needles for my next project.  That is The Loopy Ewe's 4th quarter challenge, so I have until the end of December to finish this scarf and one other.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Final Quilt-a-thon report

One more quilt made this weekend.  I'm thinking it needs something - like a couple of clouds and a bird appliqued maybe.  And I can't believe I'm even thinking about that.  Applique is not my favourite thing, and I don't have any fusible web in the house.

I'll give this some time to rest, and then consider the options again.  For now, I'm off to have dinner with my boys.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!

Stash Report - Oct 7

1 1/4 yards used for another baby quiltie
1 3/4 yards used for backing for 4 quilties

Stash usage this year: 158 1/4 yards out.  Check out Patchwork Times to see how everyone's stashbusting efforts are going. Judy asked how we are doing on our plans for the year.  I used 100 yards last year, and was hoping to do the same this year.  Since I have blown well past that goal, I'm now eyeing the 200 yard mark.  Not sure if I'll make it, but I'm gonna try.  I have 4 big quilts to finish - backing for those will go a long way towards that goal, if I can get to them.

I have fabric pulled for another quiltie, but I won't count that until I cut into it.  And that won't happen until I do more catch-up on my block of the month.  That's the plan, anyway.  We'll see what actually happens if/when I get into my sewing room today.

First, I need to get the turkey started for Thanksgiving dinner tonight.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Saturday progress

As expected, I spent less time than planned in my sewing room today.  But I had a lovely time with both my sons - out to a movie (Looper - I highly recommend it, although my son had to clarify one bit at the end for me) and then a nice dinner and chat.  Little tidbits of information about university have been forthcoming this weekend :)

However, I did manage some sewing time.  First thing this morning, I finished quilting a baby quilt . In fact, there are 4 here.  All about 24" square, and I had 60" backing fabric so I loaded it up and quilted all 4 at once.  Saved a ton of loading time.  A different design on each one - my long arm skills are improving but there is still work to be done.

And, I almost got caught up on my Dancing with the Stars block of the month.  One square left for September.  Of course, I picked up October today, so that's another 3 to make now.  Just can't get ahead on this one.  I am enjoying the paper piecing - to a point.  One star - fun.  30 blocks all the same - not so fun.  Unfortunately, October is 3 of those 30 blocks.

Drop by Judy's blog and see what others are up to for this quilt-a-thon.  It's time for me to go make pumpkin pie, so my quilting for the night is likely done.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Quilt-a-thon Weekend

It's the start of a long weekend, and I plan on taking full advantage of it.  Judy has another quilt-a-thon going on this weekend. I even got a start on that last night, making this baby quilt from the October colour challenge palette.

I plan to do some knitting.  I've started on this scarf - which was supposed to be socks.  But the yarn is too heavy for socks for me, so I decided to try this ruffled scarf pattern. It's pretty narrow, so the jury is still out on whether I like it or not.  Plus, I have a ball of self-striping yarn ready for a pair of socks.  I found the colour match from each end of the skein so I can knit both at once and they should come out pretty close to the same.

I have a quilt on the longarm which I hope to finish this weekend.  Then I'll have a pile to bind, so I should probably try to get to that.

And of course, there is Thanksgiving dinner to cook on Sunday.  My oldest is coming home from university this weekend - I think the offer of turkey and pumpkin pie had something to do with that :)  And since he'll be here, and I would like to visit with him, I probably won't get anywhere near accomplishing all that I listed.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Design Wall Monday - Oct 1

When Monday falls on the first, that means 2 posts.  One for design wall Monday, and one for the colour pallete challenge.  Check out my last post for my completed September colour challenge quilt.

I did some work on my BOM this week.  My design wall has one of them - the final block in the Bloggers Block of the Month.  Mine doesn't exactly follow the colour placement suggested.  I had a bunch of 1.5" half-square triangles from an earlier step, so I used those rather then cutting new ones all the same colour.  This makes 13 blocks - an interesting number, and we got a sneak peak at the setting this month, but the details will be out Oct 25.

My transparency quilts are continuing. This one is my own design.  I wanted to see what would happen if I criss-crossed a bunch of lines.  It was fun putting this one together.  I'm going to bind it with the 1.5" strips that I cut out, to inset the crossovers.

And finally, I'm collecting fabric for 2 new quilts.  I need a few more for each set, but here's a start on them.

I think there are a couple that need to be removed - they just don't fit in.  So these are going to stew for a while before I do anything with them.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design walls.

September Colour Challenge

I think this might be a first for me this year.  I not only finished the top for this month's colour challenge, I pieced the back, quilted the sandwich, and attached the border.  The September colour challenge is 100% complete, on the 30th of September!

This is the first hexagon quilt I've made that used pieced hexies.  Much easier to assemble than all those Y-seams in my last hexie quilt.

I love this colour palette.  It was a lot of fun to work with, and I can't wait to see what Vicki comes up with for October.  I wonder if it will be fall colours (I'd love to do something with those).

The pattern is from Modern Patchwork, although I modified the pieced back a little bit, to use up some extra bits of fabric I had.

Drop by Patchwork Times for a look at more colour challenge quilts.