Wednesday, February 3, 2016

APQ UFO Challenge - Jan/Feb Update (A Finish - Yay!)

As mentioned back in January, I decided to participate in the All People Quilt 2016 UFO Challenge (thanks, Dawn... I think).  You can see that post here. You can also check out the challenge with the button on the right side of my blog.  Here is my update for my progress in January and the upcoming UFO for February. YAY!
I was able to finish the binding on my Antique Green Baskets quilt.  This was a pretty easy goal, I only needed to stitch down the binding... but of course it was January 30th when I finished it!
I used a black print for the back and the binding. If you remember the story of this quilt, it was inspired by an antique quilt I saw at an antique show and regretted not buying. My longarm quilter, Janice, did a beautiful job on the quilting.
I even got the label completed for the back.  Love making labels that match the front of the quilt in some way.

So here is the current UFO list that hangs in my sewing a constant reminder.
Now onto February!  The number for February was project #5.  For me this is my Bachelor Buttons quilt that has been basted and waiting to be quilting for a couple years now, at least.  This is from the book Country Inn by Barb Adams and Alma Allen.  Love that book!!
It is quite wrinkled from being folded up.  And it is larger than I remember! LOL  I hope to get this machine quilted this month. That will be a challenge indeed!
This is hand appliqued and machine pieced. It certainly will be nice to get it done.  I guess I need to get the machine I use for quilting into my sewing table and get to work!

Happy Stitching!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Paper, Plastic, or Fabric?

First, thank you to all of you that left comments on my last post regarding working with string blocks and bias edges.  I got a lot of wonderful suggestions and lots of positive feedback. So, Thank You to all of you!!
First block done.
I have been experimenting with the suggested ways to decrease the stretch caused by the bias edges around each block.  Lots to consider. 
First option tried, as you know, was the telephone book paper.  Pros: I like this option because it is readily available and FREE.  Nice bonus.  Thanks to your suggestions of leaving the paper in until I sew the blocks together. 
Cons: Having to deal with this.  I removed the paper in the seam allowances so I could press my seams open.  This does not inspire the creative process......
Here is the center section ironed.  I like the flatness here.... and the colors, of course!
Second option tried was muslin.  Pros: natural cotton option that does not need to be removed after sewing and is very stabilizing.  BIG pluses.
Cons: It does add quite a bit of weight.  Actually doubling the weight of the quilt with that added layer.  Also, as you can see in the picture above it makes the seams bulkier.  Not sure why this is, but you can see the ripples here. 
Third option was dryer sheets.  I am not a big fan of dryer sheets in my laundry so I picked up a box without any fragrance. 
Pros: Very lightweight.  Pretty good stabilization of that bias edge and does not add any substantial weight to the finished block. Cons: The sheets are 6.4" x 9" and my blocks are 6 1/2" square.  So after using the dryer sheet it is slightly smaller, making my foundation smaller than my finished block, but not by a lot. Also, I keep hearing about all the chemicals that are in dryer sheets.... hmmm.  Should this be a concern... is it any different than polyester batting?  Jury still out on that one.  I also have to be careful with the heat setting on my iron... they do melt. :-)
So I now have a mix of foundations going into my blocks.  The muslin and dryer sheet foundations seem to play well together. 
I can tell you I have definitely ruled out the telephone book paper.. at least for this quilt.  Just too much tedious removal for me.... And it still does not eliminate my problem of a wobbly edge.. even with leaving the paper in until all the edges are sewn. 
You can see the blocks on the outer edge of my larger block have a bit of a 'wave' even though the paper is still attached. 

My fourth option, still to be explored, would be a light weight interfacing. This would be the most costly option, but maybe the best!  I will let you know... stay tuned.
Finally, I wanted to show you the large glass jar I got from Sally when she closed her quilt shop.  I filled it with my perle cotton spools and it is just so colorful, it makes me smile.... and think of Sally.  Happy Retirement!
Happy Stitching!
Linking up this Monday at Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag.  Check out what other's did over the weekend!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mojo Therapy

I happened to watch a Bonnie Hunter QuiltCam video the other day.  Perhaps you saw it too, it was on string piecing.  QuiltCam is on Bonnie's blog, Quiltville.  If you didn't see it, you can see it here on her blog.  Anyway, I have seen string quilts on other blogs, etc. and had this piecing technique on my 'gotta try it' list.  The video was perfect to get me started - Thanks Bonnie!
So yesterday afternoon, since I was trapped inside the house with Blizzard Jonas visiting us, I pulled out some scraps out of my little basket of modern scraps. I found an old phone book to use for foundation papers and away I went.....  PURE FUN!
Soon I needed more strips and variety so I was cutting through my scraps and favorite bright and modern fabrics.  The pile on my sewing table next to my sewing machine grew!
The view from our front porch toward our neighbor's house across the street about 2PM.  The walkway and most of the garden has disappeared. 
It was the perfect remedy to brighten up a day that looked like this.  We ended up with about 24" of snow.  Pretty good for the first significant snow fall of the season. 
I was delighted by this new piecing technique and soon I had a nice pile of finished blocks.  I was thrilled with each block as it was completed and this was definitely what my quilting mojo needed.  Not sure what this will look like eventually, but I sure am having fun!
These are 6 1/2" blocks.  
I removed the paper from the back and pieced two blocks together.  Hmmm.. then it occurred to me that I had made blocks that had totally bias edges.  Eek!
And there was quite a bit of stretch with these blocks. Eek again!
So I am asking for your help.  I know many of you are string quilt aficionados.  

When do you remove the paper?  Before or after you sew your blocks together?
How do you deal with the potential for stretch and distortion?

I appreciate any feedback!  But in the meantime let me get back to my sewing machine and my 'strings'!

Happy Stitching


Linking up at Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

All's Quiet and the End of an Era

There has not been much going on around here except some quiet slow stitching.  One of the things I have been working on is the Oak Leaf and Reel blocks that I started right before Christmas. 
There will be four Oak Leaf and Reel blocks in this wallhanging.  Here are the two blocks that are currently done on my small design board.  Ignore that other quilt behind them... we can talk about that another time. :-)  

I decided I wanted to frame each block with a sawtooth border.  So I was playing with some half-square triangles, otherwise known as HST. :-)  These were leftover from another quilt.
On Sunday I sat down at my sewing machine and reintroduced myself.  It had been a least a month since I had turned on my machine. 
I cut a stack of cream blocks and a stack of red blocks and got to work.
I like using Star Singles by Spinning Star Designs to make my HST.
Sew. Repeat.
Then you just cut them apart and remove the papers.  Easy!!
It felt good to get back to the sewing machine.
I moved onto my next applique block basting down my pieces.  I am enjoying working with just one color.  It is a nice change.
Lastly, I made my final trip to Aardvark quilt shop.  As I had mentioned in a previous post, Sally and her husband have decided to retire and close the shop.  It's sad to see a quilt shop close, but I certainly understand, they have been in business since 1987.  This is their last week.
Fabric was down to $3 or $4 a yard.  Most everything else was 75% off.
I picked up two books, a Christmas quilt book and a Jo Morton book.  Also some needles and applique pins - can always use those! 
I asked Sally if she was selling the big glass jars that she had on her cutting tables.  It is the one thing that I always remember being in her shop - filled with a variety of candy for her customers - mostly chocolate!
She graciously gave me the glass canister.  I will use it in my studio for spools of thread or something.  And I will think of her every time I use it....

Happy Stitching!



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