Monday, 30 April 2012

April UFO

Well, April's UFO number was 8.  That project didn't even make it out of the box. But, conveniently, the Friday Night Sew-In inspired me to finish the pillow cases I was making for ConKerr Cancer.  And, those were on the UFO list.  So, another month where I'm swapping my project, but I do have a completed UFO!  Now I just have to mail them.

And on to May.  Judy picked the right number this month :)  My son's quilt has been up on my wall for a couple of weeks waiting for a border. And this month, Judy drew #2, which is ... my son's quilt!   Now, if the fabric will just arrive (and match) I'll be set to go on this one.

Design Wall Monday - April 30

My design wall looks exactly the same as it did last week.  On the good side, I think I found the fabric I need online.  It is so hard to tell colour on the computer, so I've order some of the 3 fabrics that it might be. Once those arrive, hopefully one will match and I should be good to finish this quilt for my son.

In other news, I'm still feathering my way through the watercolour star.  I hope to finish that this week, so that I can get another quilt basted.  I want to finish up all those quilts off my railing, so I can count some serious stash usage :)

Check out more design walls over at Patchwork Times today.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

stash report

Just a quick stash reopt today  l had a chance to visit quilt shop where I've shopped on-line, in person yesterday.  That was great, but not so good for my stash.  I came home with 10 yards of fabric.  Fortunately, most has a destination already, but for this week the numbers go up.  That is offset somewhat by thee 3.5 yards used to back the watercolour star.

For this week, 6.5 yards in.

Totals this year:
52 1/2 yards out, 85 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 33 yards in

Check out Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Finish it up Friday - April 27

One big finish for this week.  I put the last stitches in the binding for Pink Posies, while watching the hockey game last night.  Too bad my team lost, but hockey certainly is productive for my quilting (binding) activities.

 You can see the quilting better from the back.  The squares are done with a celtic knot. And the borders are a simple braid. single lines braided in the narrow inner border, and a celtic braid in the outer border.

This quilt was the one that I had so much trouble marking.  I "marked" the center blocks by using a template and stitching through it.  removing all the paper afterwards was a complete pain, and I never want to do it again.  So, I hunted around for options. The narrow border I marked with chalk, freehand.  That worked pretty well, for that portion.  But I knew that I could never get the outer border even, if I tried to do that.  So, I hunted around, and bought one of pretty much every marking implement my quilt store carried.  Eventually I managed to find some transparencies that I could use to cut a template using an x-acto knife.  That plus a pounce worked reasonably well for marking this border.  I will certainly keep this process in mind for future quilts.

The second quilt I finished binding is my 4-patch posy quiltie.  Only about 24" on a side, it will make a nice donation for the NICU at the children's hospital.

I'm linking up at Finish it up Friday today.  Hop over to Crazy Mom's blog see what everyone else has been doing this week.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Star Progress

When I started quilting my watercolour star, I knew that I wanted to do feathers.  I'm not too experienced with this so I created myself a template and got to work over the weekend.  So far, so good.  This is my progress to date.  4 of the points are done, 4 to go.  Then I will have to figure out what I want to do in the background of the quilt.

Here's a picture of the back of the quilt.  The feathers get a bit lost in the swirl pattern on the backing.

I'm linking up at Freshly Pieced today. I love the motivation I get from Work in Progress Wednesday

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Poor Timing

I have to start thinking ahead more.  It seems that every time there's a sale on, I realize that I needed something the day after the sale ends.   Last week, my local quilt shop had a thread sale - buy one, get one free.  But I didn't need any, and the last thing I do need is a stash of thread that never gets used.  So I resisted.  And then, that weekend, I decided to start quilting a couple of tops.  And I needed thread for both of them.  $60 later, I have thread - but I could have gotten it for half that a week earlier.

And now, another shop just finished their birthday sale.  I was so proud of myself - I even dropped by, but nothing jumped out at me so I left empty handed.  And today, I pulled out all my tops to figure out which one I want to quilt next - and I realized that buying fabric for backings would have been a really good idea.  Sigh.  I will try to contain myself, and work on the quilt that I already have the backing for.  And hopefully another sale will pop up before I am ready to pull out the next quilt top.

And finally, to round out my mess at 3, I pulled out my son's quilt to finish the borders finally.  And then proceeded to redesign the borders (I've grown in my quilting since I designed this one, and it really needed something different).  Love my new design, but I'm a full yard short of fabric for it :(  And with 2 year old fabric, finding any is proving to be a major challenge.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Design Wall Monday - April 23

I dug out my son's quilt and put it up on my wall this week.  I really need to finish this, since he is heading to university this fall.  Would be nice to finish it before he leaves.  I was ready to start the borders when I put it away (but tired of sewing all those triangles).  But now, looking at the plan, I don't like it.  So a new border design is required.  This will sit up there for inspiration, while I tackle one of my quilting projects.

 This is the result of pulling out most of the quilt tops in my room.  I went digging for backings, and came up with ideas for most of them. I'm not totally happy with all of the matching I did, so I'll be keeping my eyes open for alternatives.

In the meantime, my watercolour star is ready to baste.  I pieced the backing today, and figured out the quilting plan - for the center star, anyway.  Not sure yet what I'll do with the rest of the quilt.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Stash Report - April 22

It has been a weekend for finishes.  I completed my April colour challenge top.

The Orca Bay quilt has borders now.  That one is finished just in time - Bonnie is taking down the instructions very shortly, so hop over there an download the files, if you want to make this quilt.

The Monday Mystery finally has its borders.  I'm second guessing the cornerstone choice, but other than that I think this worked out nicely.  And it used up some fabric that's been hanging out in my closet for far too long.

And finally, I made 2 pillow cases for ConKerr Cancer - which gets them off my UFO list.  So, if I don't get to the official April UFO, I have at least completed one of my outstanding projects.  They will be sent off to Arrow Cabinets as part of the Friday Night Sew-in party.

All this work was great for my stash report this week.  I used:

5.25 yards for the April colour challenge
1.25 yards for Orca Bay borders
2 yards for pillow cases
.75 yards for Mystery borders

Total out this week - 9.25 yards.  And, amazingly, nothing in!  I stopped by the fabric shop today, but managed to leave unencumbered by new fabric.

Totals this year:
49 yards out, 75 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 26 1/2 yards in

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

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sew-In Update

I had great plans for my Friday night sew-in. I got off to a later start than I hoped, but I managed to finish my April colour challenge top.

After that, I started sewing purple strings for the border of Orca Bay.  I sewed, and I sewed, and I sewed some more.  Then this morning, I finished sewing, and laid out the borders.

Apparently I sewed a bit too much, because this pile of string rectangles are left over.  I'll have to find a use for them.  Maybe on the back of the quilt - they might help me stretch a backing piece to fit the quilt later.
First I did a narrow black border to frame the quilt, then added the purple.  And Orca Bay is complete!  I'm still hoping to complete the other 2 items on my list - pillow cases for ConKerr Cancer and my Monday Mystery.  More of a sew-in weekend for me.  A great way to spend a rainy day, in any event.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday Night Sew-in

It's sew-in night!  Today is my son's 16th birthday, so I don't know how much time I'm going to have to participate, but I have great plans for tonight anyway :)  I want to finish putting together my April colour challenge.  Do the border for Orca Bay. And hopefully finish the latest Monday Mystery, before the next one starts.

But this month, Friday Night Sew-In is dedicated to ConKerr Cancer.  So I am going to try to complete 2 pillowcases to send to them for the kids.  Check out the details here, and I hope you'll join us.  Here are some of the pillowcases I made last year, to help inspire you.

On a different note, I submitted a quilt to the contest at Quilting Gallery. I'd love it if you dropped by and voted for "Pink Links".

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wednesday progress

I made some progress on my April colour challenge yesterday.  The first 4 rows are together, and the rest should follow pretty quickly. This has been an easy, fun project.  I even managed to get the gold print to go in the same direction.  It has a definite horizontal line to the print, I noticed after I started.  But fortunately this pattern lends itself nicely to that so I can keep all the centers uniform. 

This quilt is based on the pattern "Think Outside the Box" which I saw on another site.  I modified the individual block design, but am using the standard layout for it.

Next on the list is the border for Orca Bay.  Time to piece more purple strings, to make a stringy piano key border for it.  Black, then strings, then bordered in black - maybe this will get done this month.

The final goal for this month is to finish binding Pink Posies.  That is certainly an achievable goal, if I stay focused and don't start any new projects in the next week.

I'm linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday, over at Freshly Pieced this week.  Drop by to see what everyone else is up to.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Design Wall Monday - April 16

I suddenly realized that it's the middle of April, and I hadn't started on my April colour challenge yet.  So, bypassing Orca Bay, which is waiting so patiently on my design wall, I cut into my April fabrics.  After a day of sewing, here is what I have.  One more black round will complete that block on the left.

To refresh your memory, here's the colour palette for this month.  Interesting. The photo against my colours in person look almost perfect.  But it sure doesn't look like it matches in this photo.  Oh well.  That's what I get for not taking a picture of my fabric earlier.  In any case, I like the way the colours look in my quilt, and it doesn't remind me of moldy pie at all.

In other activity, Pink Posies is quilted, and the binding is attached to the front.  Just need to remove some of my tracing paper, hide the threads, and stitch down the binding.  After a lot of struggle, I found a method for making a stencil (overhead transparencies cut with an exacto knife), and transfered the design with a pounce.  Not perfect - I did some guessing about where some of the lines went - but it did the job with somewhat less frustration than I had been facing.

Check out more design walls over at Judy's

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Marking quilts

Oh dear.  Another stash report, and another step backwards.  I ordered 10 yards of black fabric last week, because I needed some for my April colour challenge quilt.  That arrived on Monday, so up go the stash numbers.  I did manage to baste and start quilting one quilt, which accounts for 4 yards of backing used.  So, net 6 in this week

Total this year:
39 3/4 yards out, 75 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 35 3/4 yards in

I am having a heck of a time with this current quilt. I want to use a custom quilting design, but I can't figure out how to mark it easily.  I used tracing paper for the blocks, and stitched through it.  But it is such a pain to remove the paper later, that I hate doing that.  For the borders, I can't figure out what to use.  None of my pencils are showing up - plus the fact that I really can't freehand this design, so tracing isn't really an option anyway.  I wanted to create my own stencil, but the template plastic I have is too heavy to cut in intricate (or even not so intricate) designs  It seems to work best when cutting straight lines with scissors, which isn't what I want.

How do you mark your designs on your quilts?  And do you make your own stencils, or purchase them?  I hate to buy stuff I'm only going to use once, and (for borders especially) I can't see stencils being that easy to reuse.  Every quilt seems to have different border sizes.  And the design I want, if available at all, usually doesn't match the size of my border.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The hunt ends

Remember this post about my disaster with blue bleeding into the white parts of my quilt?  I looked everywhere for Color Catchers, but they just don't seem to be available in Canada. Then, the other day at the grocery store, I found these.

Maybe my search is over. What do you think?  One of each came home, so I could them a try.  First up, one of the colour collectors (hmm, I just noticed that spelling.  Do you think it's made in Canada?).  Tossed it into the laundry with a bright green piece of fabric.  I didn't really expect the green to run, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment anyway.  Trouble is - the sheet never came back out of the washer.  What the heck?  I searched the washer. Carefully inspected and ironed all the fabric.  Double checked the dryer.  Nothing.  Uh oh.  I have absolutely no idea where this went - I have to assume it was so small and light that it washed down the drain with the water.  Is that even possible?  And if so, is it going to clog my pipes?  Jury's out on this one for now.

Then I tried the Colour Run Repair.  I thought my earlier treatment with OxyClean had fixed the problem, until I saw the quilt in the natural light at the fabric store.  I could still see the bleed, in the areas that had been the worst hit.  So, I ran it through, following the directions on the box.  And despite the quilt having been through 3 washes and 2 drying cycles earlier, this did indeed remove more of the colour from the white areas.  And the blues are still sparkling blue.  So, I think this one's a win.  And I'll be heading back to the grocery store this week to pick up another box or two, to keep on hand for future disasters.  If nothing else, being prepared should ensure this never happens again, right?

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Making Progress

The quilting on Pink Posies is coming along nicely.  The center squares are all done now, and just the 2 borders left to do.  Unfortunately, that means marking the quilting pattern, which is one of my least favourite steps in the process.  At least I have an idea how I want to quilt the borders, so the marking should go fairly quickly.

Still no good picture here,  but I'll get some when all the quilting is done.  This quilt is really heavy - I must have bought a different batting than last time, because it weighs a ton, and I don't recall my last quilt being this hard to maneuver.

 The other quilt in "progress" this week is Orca Bay.  I think I've decided to do a purple piano key border on.  I'm trying to figure out how many strips I need to cut from my purples, and so far the count is at 22.  That seems high, so I need to check my math on that.

I'm linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday this week, over at Freshly Pieced.  Drop by to see what everyone else is working on this week.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Quilting Mistakes

Let's say you posted this picture of a quilt you made recently.  And you received lots of wonderful comments on the design and the end result.  But in addition to that, was one apologetic email.  A fellow quilter was very sorry to point out that she had noticed an error in your piecing.  What would you do?  Do you leave it and hope no one else notices?  Do you try to pass it off as "that one mistake that has to be in every quilt, because no one is perfect".  Or do you root out the evil that is marring your work.

First, can you see it?  For all the times I've looked at this quilt and shown it to people, I never once noticed the mistake.  Of course, now that it's been pointed out to me, I can't not see it. It stares at me, and taunts me every time I look at the quilt.  My eye immediately goes to that spot every time.

And knowing that I can't not see it, I don't really have a choice.  This flaw has to go.  Good news - I haven't quilted this yet. Better news - I found a square of fabric the right size to fix the problem.  It didn't take long, and the quilt is now correct.  I feel much better.  And for those of you who have spotted any other errors in this quilt - shhhh!

Monday, 9 April 2012

What's on your bed?

Bonnie asked us "What's on your bed?" today.  I'm not willing to show a picture of my bed *today* because I was in a rush this morning.  But this is the quilt that's on my bed, and what it looks like on a good day.  I really like this quilt.  It took me 3 years to get up the nerve to cut into the fabric to make it, but once I did, it went together really nicely.  I think if I were making it again now, with all I've learned, the borders would be different, and the quilt a touch larger for my queen-sized bed.

However, despite how much I like that one, this is the quilt that I wish was on my bed.  My pink links is one of my favourite quilts, despite the fact that it's pink (not a typical colour for me).  Sadly, it is a touch too small to really fit the queen size bed, especially after the first washing.  So it tends to rest as a foot warmer on the end of the of bed, just so I can keep it out in the open.  If/when I get a spare bedroom setup, this quilt is going on the guest bed.

Design Wall Monday - April 9

I seriously considered starting work on my April colour challenge quilt.  But I decided that I should instead finish one of the quilts that is waiting for completion.  So, on my wall today is my Orca Bay quilt.  It needs borders, and I need inspiration.  I'm considering a narrow black border, but not sure what to follow it with.  I am, unfortunately, out of steam for the piecing required to make the designed border.  So I need to come up with something different.  I suppose a simple narrow black border and binding would work, but it seems to need a bit more than that.

In the meantime, while this hangs out on my wall, I have started quilting my Pink Posies quilt.  I decided to use a celtic knot design, highlighting the "blocks" that appeared in the secondary pattern in this quilt.  This picture doesn't show it too well, but I'll have to wait until I'm done to try and get a better shot.

On a related note, I think this needs a new name. With the change in design, it doesn't look very flowery to me any more.  Maybe something will come to me while I'm quilting it.

Check out Judy's blog to see what others have on their design walls today.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Stash Report - April 8

My pink & green quilt this week made a nice dent in my stash.  4.5 yards used for the remaining blocks and all those borders.

Unfortunately, I then took advantage of the weekend to head out to the quilt shop.  I picked up backing for this quilt and one other, for a total of 8 yards.  1 step forward, 2 steps back apparently.  I wonder if I'll be able to meet my goal of breaking even this year.  The goal to reach 100 yards used seems realistic enough, since I'm 1/3 of the way there.

Total this year:
35 3/4 yards out, 65 1/2 yards in
Net for 2012: 29 3/4 yards in

Head over to Judy's blog to see how other quilter's are doing with their stash busting (or building, as the case may be).

Saturday, 7 April 2012

This week's finish

Pink Posies is complete!  At least, the top is done.  It may be a while before it is quilted - this turned out bigger than I was expecting.

I consider this a definite success.  I bought this fabric a couple of years ago, with no particular pattern in mind.  So, I randomly bought a couple yards of each, and a bit extra of the floral.  When I designed the quilt, I did choose the size to use as much of the fabric as possible - and in the end I have less than 1/2 yard of the dark pink and floral left.  And only scraps of everything else!  Pretty good planning, if I do say so myself.

And now that the quilt inspector has approved this one, I am headed out to look for backing while I ponder my next step.  Start the April colour challenge, or quilt one of my tops.  Or perhaps actually finish a UFO, since I have a couple that need borders, which I'd really like to finish.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Border Time

This is the state my quilted started in today.  I finished all the blocks earlier this week, and now it's time to start assembly.  It's not quite finished yet, but I hope to have it done by the end of the day.  Holiday Friday's make for great progress in the sewing room.

After I finished all the pink and green blocks, I auditioned a couple of border options.  It was easy to pick - the one on the left wins.  Now the only problem is, the extension I made to the center row is the wrong width for the double border.  So I'll have to figure out how I want to extend it.

Of course, changing the plan midway leads to trouble.  The first thing I did was cut the wrong border strips and attach a floral border directly to the pink blocks.  Rats.  It's a good thing I stopped at the quilt shop yesterday and picked up this new seam ripper.  I already have 3 of them, but the newest one is at least 8 years old.  So I treated myself to a new one - and WOW!  I barely have to use any pressure at all to cut threads.  What a change.  This made quick work of detaching the wrong border, and I now have the first round of border attached to the quilt.

Now I think I need to head outside to enjoy some of this sunshine, before it disappears.  I'm linking up to Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom this week.  Drop by to see what everyone has accomplished this week.  And come back here tomorrow to see how many of the borders I manage to finish today.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Pink & Green Progress

I finished the blocks for my pink and green quilt today.

Some of the readers suggested reversing the colours, but keeping a pink block in the center.  So I moved some bits around to have a look at what that produced.  I like it!  I think this brings the balance I was looking for, and lightens the overall look. Since the pink is much darker than I planned, I think this may be the right choice.

I did have to remake a number of blocks, to get the edges to all flow correctly.  But that went pretty quickly.  I'll extend the green center into the first round of the border, to complete the diamond.

And now looking at it, I see that I have to rework the borders again.  I had a narrow dark green border planned first, but that will mess with the diamond.  Needs more thought, so I guess I'll sleep on that.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Design Wall Monday - April 2

I've been working on a new quilt this weekend.  Designed it a few weeks ago, but I was determined to finish my March projects first.  Now, I can concentrate on this one- at least until a design for the April colour challenge jumps out at me.  The was the original design.  However, the pink was much lighter in my plan, so I'm not sure how I feel about this layout now.

So I tried this one.  Not really happy with it, and I think that's the reason the quilt had a pink center to begin with.  Four more blocks and I can still decide to change it.  Once I make that last block - it has to be either pink or green and that will end the debate :)