Friday, 31 July 2015

Friday Finishes

In honour of TGIFF and WIPs Be Gone, I present to you ... some finishes for this week!

First, my 1000 pyramids quilt.  OK, it's more like 60 pyramids, but you get the idea :)  This was made from leftover fabric from my Gananoque stars project - pretty much every scrap of leftover fabric. I even remembered to keep some of the background fabric set aside for binding.  It was quilted with feathers in all the borders, and a meander in the main part of the quilt.   This was a short-lived UFO, since I started the quilt earlier this year for a demo day at the local quilt shop (demoing the 60 degree ruler).

Next up is quilt from a panel I picked up at a guild meeting - back in early 2014, I think.  There's a second, partner to this one, but the binding isn't on that one yet.  I had the 2 panels, plus I think it was 4 fat quarters and a 1/2 yard of a striped border fabric.  Most of the fat quarters were used on the other panel, and this one got sections of the border print.  The cut was just a bit too short, unfortunately, for the size of the panel, but I did some piecing and made it work out.

I never would have picked that red binding, but as I was trimming the quilt, I found it on my cutting table. I think my cats pulled it off the shelf recently and I never got it put away again.  But when I looked at it, the red was a perfect match for some of the darker reds in the quilt, and I think it makes a nice frame for it now that it's done.

And finally, I have a little quiltie, made from leftovers from my Chain Reaction quilt (which still is not quilted).  It's 24" square, and will be a donation to the children's hospital through a guild, when meetings start up again in September.  I had some purple/blue and some green/blue 9-patches left over from Chain Reaction. But only purple and blue fabric left. I had to add an additional purple fabric, and I left the green 9-patches scattered in there for interest.

I'm also linking up to Link a Finish Friday and Can I get a Whoop Whoop

Thursday, 30 July 2015

TBT - Oh! My Stars

It's Throwback Thursday! And I've pulled out one of my poor neglected quilts to highlight today. This quilt was one of my very first quilts. It was started and the top was completed before I ever thought of blogging, so I have no photo records of the process. 

This quilt was a shop challenge at one of the local quilt shops, sometime around 2006.  Instructions were open enough that you could end up with almost anything.  Instructions like "make 4 star blocks (any size)"  "make 4-patch blocks (any size)"   "create a border using half-square triangles". Each month everyone received the instructions and 1 piece of fabric, which had to be incorporated into the project in some way.  One of the little tiny yellow squares has a chicken on it - because the fabric for that month was a square of barnyard fabric.

As I said, there are no photos of the process, but when I made this quilt originally, I had used a red fabric for the 1st plain border. I thought that would tie in with the red/burgundy fabric I used for the pieced border chain blocks.  But I hated it from day one. That's part of the reason the quilt sat for 3 years before I pulled it out to quilt it. When I did, I knew I'd never like the result. So I disassembled my way back to that border, and replaced it with the same fabric used in the last border.  I like this much better.

The pieced border just about gave me fits. I didn't know enough to know what I was doing, so it ended up being a lot more complicated to attach than I expected.  Rather than designing it with a simple miter at the corners, I pieced all the chain blocks, and ended up with some funky bits to join at the corners.  Personally, I'm amazed I managed to get the border to fit, given my lack of experience.  But that border I replaced is carefully sized (different on the top/bottom than it is on the sides) to ensure the pieced border fit correctly.

I machine quilted this on my domestic machine (Husqvarna Quilt Designer II) with a simple meander.  Based on the photos, the batting is polyester which is typical for my early quilts. I never actually posted a finished photo of this quilt. The one above, quilted but not bound, is the only project photo I had. Amazingly, given my tendancy to donate quilts, I actually still have this quilt so I was able to take a finished photo of it.

If you want to join the Throwback Thursday fun, rules are simple. Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again.  Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address.  You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration.  See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.



Monday, 27 July 2015

Design Wall Monday - July 27

There's nothing new on my design wall today.  I've been working away on a queen sized custom quilt for a customer, so that's been taking all my quilting time this week.  It's almost done, so I hope to have more to show for my own quilting next Monday.

There were a couple of finishes this week, which I showed yesterday.   Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else is up to for Design Wall Monday.

And later this week, please drop by my blog on Thursday for a "Throwback Thursday" linky party.  I'll be revisiting some old quilts, and I invite you to do the same. Pull out that quilt or project you made before you were blogging, or one that never received much attention from you on your blog. Create a post about it, let us know where it came from, how you made it, or where it is now - whatever you want to say about your project. Then come back here and link up to the Throwback Thursday linky party.

Here's the code to add your own TBT button to your blog sidebar.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Stash Report

Not much sewing has been going on this week, but binding did happen, and thus a few finishes.   I finished the binding on my Regatta quilt - one of the New Year's Eve mysteries that I did this year. Also, as shown earlier, Gananoque Stars is now finished and ready for donation.

And, I completed my quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake challenge.  I had to buy the binding for this one (1/4 yard in) which means I should stumble across the extra fabric any day now :) but it's now done a whole 5 days before the deadline.

Stash out this week.

binding for quitie and challenge stars - 3/4 yard
binding for Regatta - 1/2 yard
backing for 15 degree MQG challenge - 1 yard
binding for MQG challenge - 1/4 yard

Stash totals for the year:
95 3/4 yards in
184 yards out
Total: 88 1/4 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Throw Back Thursday

Since this seems to be popular around the web, I thought I would start my own version of Throw Back Thursday on my blog. Every week I'll pick one of my quilts and revisit it.  It might be a description of why I made it, how it was created, or pretty much anything related one of my previous projects.  I have 99 to choose from, according to my journal so this should be fun.  Please join in. Dig up a quilt from your past (or someone else's) and blog about it. You can post a link in the comments to your own TBT blog post. 

On the menu for today is my Broken Lone Star quilt. This design was one of the first quilts that I wanted to make, when I started quilting.  I pictured it in blue & white, sitting on my king size bed.  But I was very nervous about making it.  So before I jumped in and purchased a pile of fabric, I decided to make a test quilt. A miniature version to ensure that I understood how it was going to go together and could do all the steps. This quilt was the result of that, and I blogged about it here after it was done.  This quilt is about 24" square, and hangs on the wall in my sewing room. 

I finished this in 2005, and then tried to get up my nerve to buy all the fabric I needed for my king size version and start that. Because I was working without a pattern, I had to do my own size calculations, and those kept throwing me off. I wanted the star to sit on top of the bed, and kept second-guessing my calculations for it.  Then, life changed and the project was shelved for a while.  Divorce, move, and adjusting to single life took over. 

When I revised my plan for this quilt, I no longer had a king sized bed to cover, so I redid the calculations yet again and sized it for a queen.  The piecing of this quilt predates my blogging days - wow, I hadn't realized that. So I have no pictures or record of the process.  The center of this quilt went together nicely. Having a miniature sample make this easier - I could refer to it to make sure I was keeping my strip sets in line. 

Then things got interesting. I recall that I had not planned the borders for this quilt. I got as far as knowing that I wanted the main star to fit on top of the queen bed, and about a 10 inch border on all sides.  So, when the center star was done I started thinking about next steps.

I finally decided on the Ohio Stars for the border. They are all pieced from leftover fabric from the main center. The quilt could have been a bit larger - a white finishing border perhaps.  After quilting and the first washing, the design is smaller and the borders ride up higher on the bed.

A finished picture of this quilt apparently never made it onto my blog, so let's remedy that now. 

Nope, that's not finished either.  We'll have to go with a photo of a well used quilt, 6 years down the road.  The quilt has held up reasonably well, considering I have 3 cats who get free reign onto the bed and any associated bed covering/quilt. Some of the stitching is breaking - I attribute that to using cheap cotton thread (I didn't know any better) and stitching straight lines on the quilt bias.  Quilt stretches, thread doesn't, so the thread breaks.  My 3 most-used early quilts all have this issue.

Quilting of this was done on my domestic machine, with a jury-rigged setup in my sewing room. I created a raised table to help support the quilt, and turned the machine 90 degrees so it was oriented like a regular longarm machine.  A better description of the setup is here. This worked out pretty well, and I used that setup for several years, until I bought my Handi Quilter long arm in 2012.

I quilted feather wreaths in the white sections. you can see where I should have quilted the inside of some of the wreaths, in the larger areas. 

(The colour is horrible here - serves me right for taking pictures in the middle of the night).

The star is outline quilted.  Interestingly, these stitches have not broken. Perhaps because they are stitch in the ditch - and thus reinforced by the piecing seams they are stitches along. Or, perhaps a slightly higher quality thread used here. I can't recall exactly which navy thread I used.

I love the way the dark thread makes the star outline show up on the back of the quilt, although I'm not too thrilled with the knots where I started/stopped my quilting lines.

This is where my stitches are breaking.  I did a simple crosshatch in the borders across all the stars.  The threads are not holding up. I suppose I should put this quilt on the longarm one day, and restitch the borders with something else to repair them.  The fabric in this quilt has all held up really well, and the quilt is lovely and soft after multiple washings.

Here is the quilt as it appears today

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Challenge Stars

This quilt started as a challenge at a retreat in April 2014.  We received a packet of 10" squares and some background fabric, and instructions to make these star blocks.  There was enough fabric in the kit to make 4 blocks and assemble them as shown here.

The blocks are made by layering two 10" squares, and sewing a 1/4" seam on each of the 4 edges. The square is then cut on both diagonals, producing 4 half-square triangles from each pair of 10" squares.  Two squares of each of two colours, plus 2 background squares makes all the half-square triangles for one star.

I decided to make this quilt into a rectangle later, so before the retreat ended I picked up one more packet of squares & background for myself.  Then, I made 8 smaller squares, using 5" squares as the base.  The quilt is now 52x74", just the right size for a donation to Victoria's Quilts.  So in April 2014 I folded the quilt up and put it somewhere safe, until I could get it onto the longarm.

Earlier this year, while organizing my quilts and moving my sewing room, I realized that I had NO idea where this quilt had gone. It was not, as I thought, folded up neatly and stacked in my pile of "to be quilted" projects.  And after moving everything in the room, it didn't seem to be anywhere else, either.  I gave it up for (temporarily) lost and moved onto other projects.  But 4 weeks later, it turned up. Neatly folded inside a backing that was already prepared for it - and then placed back onto the shelf of backing fabrics.

A couple of weeks ago, I dragged it out and loaded it onto the Bernina longarm at the local quilt store. I wanted to try out a new background fill pattern, and this quilt seemed like a good place to do that. I quilted random feathers into all the grey background areas, and tried some rope designs in the large stars.

It came out pretty nicely, but the rope really needs something long and narrow, rather than the wide sections I was working with.

I put the binding on (by machine) this week, and have added this quilt to my donation stack for Victoria's Quilts.

Update: This quilt has been renamed "Gananoque Stars".  Looking through my notes, I see that Challenge Stars was completed in 2009. So, because this particular challenge was started at a quilting retreat in Gananoque that is its new name.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Design Wall Monday - July 20

My design wall looks much the same as it did at the end of last week. 

I haven't made any more progress on these blocks, but I have been binding up a storm.  3 of them were customer quilts, but I did manage to finish 2 of my own on the weekend.  I've been using my quilts as testers for the new longarm, and the finished quilts have been piling up waiting for binding. So I spent some time working on that, and will likely spend another day or two doing some more.  It is nice to have a few projects I can check off my list.

This quilt started as a challenge at a retreat last April. I added the top & bottom borders. And now it's finally quilted and bound, and ready for donation.

This is just a little 24" quiltie. I made it to do a quick test of a new overall quilting design that one of my customers asked for.  She wanted spikes, so this is what I did for her.

Drop by Patchwork Times for more design wall Monday fun.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Work in Progress Friday

I'm still working away on my scrappy pineapple quilt.  6 blocks done now. I took a short break this week to attach binding to a couple of quilts for my longarm customers, but now I'm back at piecing these blocks.

The rest of this weekend is probably going to be devoted to long arm work. I have a few customer quilts to complete, and my own Modern Guild challenge which is due by the end of the month.

Drop by WIPs Be Gone for more fun today.

Tumbling Down

My Tumbling Down pattern is finally available for sale!  If you haven't seen it (or forget what it looked like) here is the finished wall hanging.

I have written the pattern for 2 sizes. A 30x39" wall hanging as seen here, and a 78x59" lap quilt. The only difference between the two is the size of the template used. Both templates come in the same set - Marti Michell's Perfect Patchwork Templates Set H (Large Hexagons Plus).  Pattern is available from my Craftsy store, for only $5.00 US.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Design Wall Monday

This would be why I don't make scrappy quilts very often. I decided to make this one - a scrappy pineapple, completely from scraps. That is, all the little leftover bits that I have stuffed into bins and drawers, not all those nice folded fat quarters and yardage sitting on my shelf, although there is enough variety there to make a nice scrappy quilt. This scrap quilt is taking over my sewing room. I have a pile of scraps on my ironing board - to be ironed so that I can use them. A pile of scraps on my cutting table - to be cut into 1 3/4" strips (or thereabouts) for this project. And this pile of scraps beside my sewing machine, from which I pull strips as I go.

I like the result - and I'm really amazed how much I'm liking my scrappy background. There's a mixture of grey, cream, white, beige and maybe even a couple of yellows tossed in there.  Normally even for a scrappy quilt I'd be trying to stick to one colourway, but this time I decided to go all out, and just pulled every light scrap of fabric I could find.

Four blocks done, lots more to go. The blocks finish at 10", so I probably need at least 35 to make a decent sized quilt. I'll just keep sewing along until I run out of my bright scraps.  Then I may have to turn around and make a dark version, just to use up more.  As I'm sure most of you suspect, even with all these piles of scraps scattered around my sewing room, my scrap bins are still overflowing.

Drop by Patchwork Times for more design wall fun today. I missed WIPs be Gone, although maybe that's for the best since once again I'm creating a WIP rather than finishing one.  The finishes are here and here :)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Stash Report - July 12

I finally broke down. This Paris fabric has been calling my name ever since it arrived at the shop.  I finally broke down yesterday and brought home a  yard of it, plus some friends for it to play with. Not sure what's going to evolve from this pile of fabric, but it sure is pretty.

That purchase adds 4.5 yards to my stash report. But I get to balance it out with 3 finishes this week.
mystery quilt - 7.5 yards
quiltie, top and backing - 1 1/4 yards
1 fabric quilt - 5 yards

In this week - 4 1/2 yards
out this week - 14 1/4 yards

Stash totals for the year:
95 1/2 yards in
181 1/2 yards out
Total: 86 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog to see more stash reports. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Another Top

I stitched away this past week, and finished assembling my latest top.  Loosely based on the technique found in "One-derful 1 Fabric Quilts" by Kay Nickols.

This was an interesting experiment. Not 100% successful, but it was fun to do. I learned a few things about fabric that might make a good one-fabric quilt.  More variety in the stripes would be the key, I think. The large sections of green in this one made the cutting a challenge, to get 4 nice blocks out of one cut.  I ended up making many differently placed cuts, hence my wide variety of block layouts.

There is also a heck of a lot of bias in this quilt (ie, every single square and all the edges). I'm not planning to add a border, but that might have been a good idea just to stabilize the whole thing.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Design Wall Monday

I finished my Border Creek Station mystery quilt this weekend.  I've set aside the rest of the fabric to make the backing. I'm not convinced I like the borders, but that's what the design called for, and it's certainly better than what I auditioned last week.

I also made lots of progress on my new project.  Almost all the pieces are cut and sewn into squares. I think this layout is what I'll go with, but it will age on my design wall for a few days before I start sewing squares together.  It's not quite what I was expecting, but I kind of like it. I've now cut every scrap of fabric there is, so these are the blocks I'm working with.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

New Project

Yet again, I had the greatest of intentions to finish up some projects, but instead I seem to have started something new. This fabric was a possibility for the border of my mystery quilt, but once the quilt was assembled and I auditioned the fabric, it was clear that this would not work. The print is much too dark for the quilt.

So, back to the pattern for the pieced border. But now I needed a new project for this border print.

Enter, "One-derful 1Fabric Quilts" by Kay Nickols.  Glancing through the book, this looks interesting so I proceeded to cut up a couple of meters of fabric to play with. Here's what I have so far.  I think I can make this work with a creative placement of squares and careful cutting, so onward I go.

Join me over at WIPs Be Gone for more eye-candy.  And maybe eventually I'll actually post something that lives up to the name of that linkup :)

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Row by Row

I was away at a conference for a few days, and took the long way home - through a bunch of quilt stores.  A few (well, maybe more than a few) Row-by-Row kits jumped into my car.  Now what?  I guess first I'd better get some hometown rows. Can't have all those American rows showing us up. Then apparently I have some quilts to make :)

In case you can't tell, the license plates (and kits) are from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, from Grand Rapids to Ogdensburg. 

If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend the Row by Row Experience going on this summer. Details can be found at, including a full list of quilt shops and a handy-dandy map that will let you find all the participating shops in your area. Or on your route of travel if you are vacationing by car this summer. 

Over 2500 shops are participating this year - I picked up rows from 18 of them in a 2 day stretch - and I only stopped at shops within about 5 minutes of my route.