Friday, February 24, 2017

Scrappy Pineapple

I just finished a 2 day in-town retreat with about 35 women from one of my quilt guilds. The beauty of an in town retreat is that we got to leave our machines setup overnight, but went home to sleep in our own beds. I took a couple of projects to finish, my 150 Canadian women quilt to catch up on, and a couple of projects to think about starting if I got that far.

It was a very productive two days. This is my scrappy pineapple quilt that I started back in 2015. I've been working on it as a leader /ender project and finally finished all the blocks. So I took advantage of the retreat to put the top together. All it needs now is a border.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Quilties

One of the guilds I belong to makes little quilties - 24" square quilts - which are given to the special care nursery at one of the local hospitals.  Somehow I ended up on the quiltie committee this year, which means making sure we have plently of kits ready to hand out at each meeting, and delivering finished quilties.  Last week we had a "quiltie sew day" where a bunch of us got together to make kits.  It was an amazing day, and with all the help we made over 150 quiltie kits. I then spent a couple of days making backings for half of those little quilties. This is just a small portion of the result - the rest is in 3 large bags in my spare room, waiting for our next guild meeting to hand some out.

One thing I love about these little quilties - aside from how quickly they go together - is that they are the perfect size for practicing free motion quilting.  Big enough to play, but small enough to fit through the machine without a lot of fighting.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Block party


I finished this top a little while back. The blocks were made as part of a block party - 12 of us get together, and each month 1 person picks a block for everyone to make.  The blocks come back to that person, and they have a quilt.  With 12 of us, at the end of the year everyone has a quilt made from blocks created by the other 11 participants.

I found this block in a magazine - it is apparently a variation on Blackford's Beauty.  The size is odd (finishes at 12.5"), but I love the end result. I set it with a narrow sashing and corner stones, to continue the red chain between the blocks.  The border is scraps left over from the quilt. I experiemented with a piano key border, but felt it was too heavy for the quilt and detracted from the look.  I like this one much better. Plus, I only had to make half as many bits to put together the squares in the border :)

I don't know where this quilt will end up. For now, it goes into the 'to be quilted' pile, where hopefully it won't spend too much time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sewing Day

I had a really productive day today at a guild sew-in. Those of us who braved the weather were nice and cozy and lots of sewing was done.

A whole lot of people were working on the guild mystery. I guess that's no surprise, since the final clue came out recently and we are all guild members. The general consensus from that group is that Ugh beats Better. So I'll be moving ahead with the original quilt design on this one.  Now to figure out what to do with 6 blocks and 10 setting triangles when I have absolutely no matching fabric remaining.

I didn't take that quilt with me, since pulling it off the design wall seemed like too much work. Instead, I took my Peace, Love, Quilt mystery from loveshackquilts.com and worked on that.  I got all caught up on step 8, just in time for step 9 to come out at the end of the day. 

Now I'm back home with a decision to make.  My guild meeting for tonight is cancelled due to weather - so I can either work on a customer quilt on the longarm (which is loaded and ready to go), or I can continue work on Peace. Love, Quilt, since I wasn't orginally going to be home to do the customer quilt anyway.  Somehow I think PLQ is going to win that one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

En Provence!


Since I made the label for this quilt yesterday, I thought it was time to share a photo of it.  This is Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt for this year - en Provence.

 I made all the blocks for the mystery, but when it was done I realized that I have no need for another full-sized bed quilt.  Plus, I had used 2 different background fabrics for the 4-patches as Bonnie suggested. And I made half of the 1/2 square triangles with each of the background fabrics. I didn't like them together in the quilt, so I decided to split up the blocks and make 2 quilts - one lap quilt for me, and a smaller one to donate.

The only catch was that I didn't want to make any additional blocks. I did cave in and make 2 1/2 square triangles to fill out the large quilt. But for the tri-rec setions, I was not going to do any more of those. So the small quilt was cheated and I redesigned the outer rows slightly to work with what blocks I had on hand.

In the end, I have enough pieces left over to make 6 or 7 blocks - all different - so I'll have to come up with some sort of plan for those.

Bonnie's final mystery linkup is up today, so I'll be heading over there to join in.  I really like this quilt. My only disappointment is that I took the easy road and used Bonnie's colours. I hadn't planned to - I really wanted to go my own way. Plus, I was determined to do this from stash. But, when I started pulling from my stash what I ended up with was exactly what Bonnie had. Funny how things work out.  Now, I keep seeing quilts that I think are mine (because there are so many with the same colours). So next year, I need to try harder to go my own way again.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quilt Labels

Today's output from the sewing room.  I finally took the plunge and invested in some embroidery software so that I can make labels.  They came out pretty well, I think, so maybe my quilts will start getting labels again. The first 2 honours go to Bonnie Hunter's last two mystery quilts.  Luckily they both have purple in them, so I could use the same thread for both.  The labels are ready to go - one quilt is done so I just need to attach it. And the other will hopefully be quilted soon.

The first label is after washing and blocking (to remove the sticky-solvy I used for interfacing). The second is before washing. I'm still playing around with font sizes and positioning, but done is better than perfect, in this case :)

Now I have to decide if I want to turn my big sewing machine into a full-time embroidery setup.  Re-arranging everything for the different configurations is one of the reasons I haven't done this before now.  But if I set it up for embroidery permanently, I'm giving up my nicest sewing machine for piecing.  Decisions, decisions.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Better?

After yesterday's disappointment, I scrounged up the last of the fabric, and made a few different alternate blocks.  Better?  I'm not sure.  I thought larger red squares between the blocks would help highlight it, but now I'm not convinced.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ugh

Well, that didn't turn out like I hoped.

This is a mystery quilt for one of my guilds. The pattern is pretty, but my result is not.  I knew it was risky when I picked the fabrics. I had a set of red & 2 greys in my statsh that I bought some time ago, thinking they'd make a nice quilt. So when this one came up, and my yardages matched, I figured it was time to use those fabrics. I was a bit worried, because each had a fairly large design printed on it - white snowflakes on both the red & dark grey. And dark grey on the light grey.

I ended up tossing some of the cut blocks, where the overall print was too obvious. But in the end I feel like this quilt is pretty mushy.  It might have been ok if the red had less white in it - I don't mind the variation in the dark background fabric, and I did a pretty good job of fussy cutting around the dark print in the light fabric (except in a couple of places). But the red is getting lost 😞

I'll finish sewing it together this weekend, and in the meantime contemplate whether there is any way to save it.  It may just end up in the donation pile - well, it was destined there anyway, but I usually like to donate quilts I'm proud of, and this one doesn't make the cut unfortunately.

Oh well, that's what mysteries are for, in my opinion. Trying things out and figuring out what doesn't work, as much as seeing what does.

I'm linking up for the final day of Judy's quiltathon. I can at least claim something got done this week :)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Another top ready for quilting


This is the next top I want to get onto my long arm. It is a companion for this quilt and is going to be quilted with the same swirl design I used earlier.  It's the final quilt of a set of 3 I made from a lovely turquoise and brown fabric line I fell in love with.  I bought it so long ago I have no idea what the line actually is. And every scrap of that fabric is now used up - I pieced the back for this quilt from all the leftover bits.

This is one of my goals for Judy's quiltathon this week, but since it's already day 3 and I haven't loaded it on the longarm yet, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a miss. 

I have been doing some sewing at least.  One little top finished, for a guild challenge.  I call it Rainy Days and Sun Days, but I'm not ready to show the finished project, until after the submission deadline in April.  Here's a sneak peak at the start of the project.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quiltathon

As I attempt to get back into both blogging and quilting, I am going to join in Judy's quiltathon this week.  Today through Sunday we are going to sew 'til we drop.  Not sure what's on the plan yet.  Definitely a customer quilt that's been requested for Friday. And then one of my own, to stick to my "do a UFO during the quiltathon weekend" promise.

 And then maybe some of my 150 Canadian Women quilt. Here are some of the blocks I have so far, but I am about 4 weeks (16 blocks) behind right now, so some serious catching up is needed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I'm back! (I hope)

It's been a while since I blogged regularly.  I think mostly because I didn't do a lot of quilting for myself in the second half of last year.  I'm hoping to get back to a more regular schedule around here, now that the holidays are over. I have once again set myself a goal of quilting for myself on weekends, and restricting my business quilting to weekdays only.  We'll see how that goes.  First step in making that possible was to invest in zipper leaders for my longarm. This gives me the abilty to easily remove a quilt from the frame, and load something else. So now, when I am working on a big, complicated custom quilt, I can take a break from it and do something quick and easy for myself.

My first trial of that came this week - after 3 days of custom quilting, I needed a change of pace. So zip, off came that quilt, and on went one of my brown/turquoise set which have been waiting for a couple of years to be quilted.

A nice modern pantograph of spirals complements the straight lines. This quilt was made using a strip-tube ruler and some fabric that I fell in love with but had no plan for.


All done. Now I have some binding to keep me busy in the evenings, and the custom quilt is back on the machine - zip!