Thursday, March 22, 2018

I couldn't get this idea out of my head

The day after I made my latest scrappy churn dash block, I had the bright idea of making another version of it, but this time half-sized. Yesterday, after weeks of the idea rattling around in my head, I took some time to test it out. It was so fun to make!!! Turns out I like the smaller size better. (I'm sure that no one is surprised!!!)
This block will finish at 4 1/4". I purposely made it this size so I could combine 4 small blocks and alternate them with one larger block, which will finish at 8 1/2". 
It's really hard to convey the scale of the block in photos, but I think this one shows it best. It would be fun to make a large quilt combining the two different sizes of blocks..... OR, it would be SUPER fun to make one quilt from each block size. (Here we go, down the rabbit hole again! Ha!) Either way, I think I have a new WIP. :)
There is a tutorial for the large sized scrappy churn dash block here, if you care to make some of your own.

Monday, March 19, 2018

this is going to take awhile

As you can probably imagine, I am very eager to get my log cabin quilt finished. Last week I worked hard behind the scenes piecing a quilt back for this monster quilt....
... and I immediately basted it. It was a little chilly out on my 3 season porch (it was only 37 degrees), but duty calls! Ha! No matter the temperature, it is nice to have floor space to baste a king size quilt.
I debated sending this one out to be professionally quilted, but part of me really wanted to quilt it myself. (Maybe I have more stubbornness than good sense? I don't know....) I consulted a few friends and they thought that I should quilt it myself. With their votes of confidence, I decided to jump in and just do it. Even though I've quilted (literally) over 300 quilts, I still get nervous before I begin each one. This one, especially so! (I don't want to mess it up!) I am using the Tiara to quilt it, and so far, so good!
I'm quilting simple loop-de-loops and now that I've gotten into my groove, it's actually kind of relaxing. (Can you believe it???) I love how the tiara foot glides over the quilt and doesn't distort the strips. That's especially important for a quilt with this many seams.
Here's a photo to show my entire quilting set up. The tray table to the right holds my pin bowl, the bobbin side winder, my coffee, a sample quilt sandwich to check my thread tension, and a sewing needle to bury my thread ends. To the left, I have a few chairs to help support the weight of the quilt. If you notice, I prefer to pool the quilt (rather than roll it) to deal with the bulk during quilting. It's much easier to manage that way. Any way you slice it, that is a whole lot of fabric to manage. The extra throat space in the Tiara is super helpful!
This is the situation UNDER my desk while I'm quilting. :) It's pretty cute.

My kids are on spring break this week, so I'm not sure how much quilting I will get done, but I'm hoping for the best!
My daughter wanted to do some sewing today, too, so I pulled out my hello kitty sewing machine and she's been working on a few things. (YAY!)
So far she made a heat pack (made from flannel and filled with corn) and she's moved on to a doll quilt. It's so fun to have her sewing!!! (I'm trying to keep my excitement at bay so I don't scare her off. Hahaha!) Hopefully I'll have more of HER projects to share this week, too.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, March 16, 2018

a hat for a friend

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I wasn't sure what to finish this seems like there is always so much to do and so little time. This hat, which was the closest project to being finished, was a good candidate. I have been procrastinating finishing the top because I was scared that I would mess it up. Turns out it took less than an hour, and it was pretty easy! Once again, I'm thankful for the accountability of finish it up Friday!
Last December, my friend and I went yarn shopping and we saw a knit sample of this hat in the yarn shop. My friend bought the yarn, I bought the pattern and knit it up. It was a delight to make! I'm excited to give it to her. I may even try to get some modeled shots eventually. :)
Pattern: Origami Top Hat
Yarn: Shasta Pretty in Pink (purchased from Amazing Threads)
Needle size: 6 and 7, as directed in the pattern
Hat size: I knit the larger size in the pattern

I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out! I would recommend the pattern and the yarn. It was a fun knit!

Oh, I wanted to say thanks for all your input on my binding dilemma! I have a lot to consider. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

quilt repair, part one

I have not done repairs on an antique quilt before, but I'm about to dip my toes in the water. I guess I'm going to have to make it up as I go along! I've had this quilt for almost a year now, and I'm still SO thankful that I was the one to find it and rescue it. (You can read more about it in this post.)
The binding has disintegrated, so removing that was the first step. I'm pretty sure that the maker used pre-packaged bias binding. (I'm only guessing, but I've seen enough vintage pre-packaged binding in thrift stores. This looks like one of the signature colors.)
The binding was hand-stitched to the back of the quilt, so it was easy to remove. (It was actually kind of fun!)
When it came down to it, there was surprisingly little binding removed.
I decided to keep the front half of the binding on the quilt. I didn't want to remove it, because the line of (machine) stitching is holding all the layers together. The quilt isn't extremely fragile, but I certainly don't want to open up those delicate edges.
I had some bias binding pieces leftover from some other projects, so I used a few scraps to test out an appropriate width of binding. I started with a 2" wide strip, which was too narrow. (There wasn't enough binding to adequately wrap around and cover the line of stitching.) This strip measures 2.375" and it's just right. I will attach the binding with a seam allowance that is slightly larger than 1/4", so the new binding will cover the remains of the original binding.
This fabric was just supposed to be a test, but I actually like how it looks on the quilt, especially with all those orangey-red hexagons. I have plenty of it in my stash, so I'm considering using it to bind the quilt. Besides, if you have to go to all the trouble of making bias binding, showing off a pretty plaid pattern just makes sense, right? :)
Option A: plaid
Option B: Canary Kona cotton
The other option would be to use a solid yellow. I do like this option because it is more in keeping with the original quilt. I am using a brighter shade for three reasons: 1. I'm not a fan of the golden yellow, 2. The brighter yellow holds it's own against the orangey-red hexagons. (A lighter yellow looks washed out.) and 3. The yellow is a better match to the yellow fabrics that are a part the actual quilt.
Since I can not decide which fabric to use, I'm going to ask you to vote.... which option would you choose for binding and why? I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks in advance for your help!
I'm excited to be taking on this challenge of repairing the quilt and giving it many more years of life. That's the hope, anyway!  

Friday, March 09, 2018

I built a log cabin!

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

You guys, I did it!!! I built a log cabin (quilt)!!!! It's not a tiny one, either.
Start date: May 18, 2016
Number of blocks: 132
Number of pieces in each block: 17
Total number of pieces: 2244
Finished size: 108" x 99"
Total yards of fabric used (approximately): 12.1 yards !!!!!

It feels AMAZING to have this quilt top complete!

Block measurements can be found here.

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 05, 2018

scrappy churn dash block--a tutorial

Hello! I thought that it would be fun to share a tutorial for making a scrappy churn dash block today. I originally planned to include this idea in my book, but I didn't like any of the versions I made while testing, so I switched gears and made the ring me quilt in it's place. I'm glad that things worked out that way, because I adore that quilt. I wasn't going to give up on the scrappy churn dash block completely, so today I revisited the idea. I'm pleased to report that I finally made a version of the block that I LOVE. Hurray!
For the background fabric, I'm using Quilter's Linen by Robert Kaufman in the color Ecru. (I have a whole bolt of this fabric, which is very exciting!) I love that it looks like Essex linen, but it's actually quilting cotton, which is easier to work with because it's less bulky.
From the background fabric, cut:
(1) 5" square for the center
(2) 3" squares for the corners
(4) 1 1/2" x 5" rectangles for the sides
From a contrast fabric, cut:
(2) 3" squares for the corners
From scraps, piece several together, end to end, to make:
(4) 1 1/2" x 5" scrappy strips
Cut each of the 3" squares in half on the diagonal once, to make a total of 8 triangles. Place one background fabric and one contrast fabric, right sides together. Sew to form a half-square triangle. Make 4 total.
Press the seams. (I like to press my seams open when making half-square triangles, but you can press the fabric in any direction you choose.)  Trim each half-square triangle to 2 1/2" square.
Place one strip of background fabric and one strip of scrappy patchwork, right sides together. Sew along one long side and press seam to the background fabric. Make 4 total.
Arrange the pieces as shown.
Sew the block units into rows. Press the seams in the top and the bottom rows toward the triangles. Press the seams in the middle row toward the center.
Sew the rows together to assemble the block. Press seams toward the center. The block should measure 9" square.
Here are my three original scrappy churn dash blocks that I made in the testing phases. Like I said, I wasn't thrilled with any of them, but they do make dandy hot pads. If you'd like to turn your scrappy churn dash block into a hot pad, you can use this tutorial as a guide. I like to turn orphan blocks into usable objects, because that means less clutter hanging around the sewing room.
If you give this block a try, I'd love to see it. Have fun sewing up your teeny tiny scraps!
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, March 02, 2018

gingham doll quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This gingham doll quilt, which is a mini version of my new king size quilt, was such a delight to make. After I had finished the king size quilt, I threw all the extra scraps into a bag and stashed it in a bin. (That's a bad habit to get into!!!) It felt so good to pull out the scraps and actually use them!
I made a teeny tiny little pillow case to match, because...cuteness!!! (I used my OLD doll bedding tutorial from 2008, which can be found here. Still works. Hahaha!) I haven't done much sewing with my Emma and Myrtle fabric since it came out, so it was nice to use it for this project.
I decided to quilt it on the baby lock tiara, which went very well. I had to snap a picture of it mid-quilting, because the scale of the machine vs. the scale of the quilt is comical. Turns out a lot of throat space is lovely, no matter the size of quilt. :)
Right before I was about to make the binding, I discovered some leftover binding from the king sized quilt. Guess what? I had enough left to bind the doll quilt with about 5" to spare. It was perfect!!
I'm going to give this to my daughter. (Either for her birthday in a few months, or sooner if she reads this blog post and finds out about it. Ha!) The quilt can be used for any one of her many, many stuffed animals....
....or she can use it for her favorite doll, Sage. (Isn't this vintage cradle just perfect? I picked it up at a garage sale for ONE DOLLAR several years ago. It was quite the bargain!)
Seriously, is this not squeal-worthy??? She's going to LOVE it!!!  
The doll quilt measures approximately 18" x 22" and it is scrap project #199!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a GREAT weekend!

Monday, February 26, 2018

pressing issues

Wow! You guys seem to like scrappy quilts as much as I do! I'm pleased that so many of you stated that you were going to start your own version of a scrappy 4 patch quilt. That's exciting! Many thanks go to Jean Gilbertson for the wonderful inspiration!
Since I had so many questions about the pressing direction on my 4 patch blocks, I thought I would show my work. (ha!) The beauty of this quilt is that there is an alternate block that is not pieced, so pressing direction really doesn't matter. Woohoo! Right now I'm pressing to the dark fabric for step one and the center seam gets pressed to one side. Honestly, if the pressing would have been fussy, I probably wouldn't have attempted this quilt in the first place.

I also had a lot of questions about the background color. I'm not sure yet, but I do love the suggestion of the same color as my aqua desk. My one hesitation is that I have a LOT of aqua scraps, so they would fade to the background. Hmmmm. Thankfully, I have a lot of time before I need to make a final decision.
I'm happy to report that I'm making great progress, though. I have over 100 blocks done already! I decided that I'm going to bag them up in groups of 100 as I finish them. That will save me tons of time counting and re-counting. It will also help keep me motivated, I think.
Over the weekend we had lots of pretty SNOW and I had plenty of time to SEW! It was lovely! I started my last batch of log cabin blocks. When I say my last batch, I'm trying to be optimistic that I'm farther along that I really am. I have 70 blocks complete, I started the final 62. I guess any progress is good! I'm QUITE anxious to see this one as a quilt top!!!! (Block measurements can be found here. Last progress photo of the quilt can be found here.) The nice thing about working on these two projects at once is that they both use 1 1/2" pieces. Perfect!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, February 23, 2018

small projects

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I made my first pincushion of the year! It's about time, no? I had 5 of the 6 sections pieced for months and then it got set aside. Yesterday I finally pieced the final section and finished it up. I got hung up on fabric placement, (and then distracted by 100 other things!) which is why it took me so long to finish it. Seems silly now, because I love how it turned out! It's scrap project #198. (Pattern can be found in Plenty of Pincushions, Volume 2.)
This week I finished my 10th block for my Mark Twain quilt. It's pretty exciting to see the pile growing! I have a low-key goal to make 5 blocks a month, so I'm about a week ahead of schedule. (I'm rarely ahead of schedule on ANYTHING, so I'll celebrate that miniscule victory. Ha!) I have been enjoying hand stitching so much!
I decided that this project needed a brand new WIP bag. (Pattern can be found here.) This version is extra measures about 18" x 20"! I was happy to discover that it was very easy to upsize the pattern. (I have a post about sewing with vinyl and shortening zippers here, that you might find helpful.)
It's really hard to convey the size of the bag, so I took a photo of it on my 18" x 24" cutting mat for scale. It's HUGE! I look forward to filling it up with finished blocks!

If you have the Work In Progress Bag pattern and would like to make an 18" x 20" bag, here are the measurements you will need:
Use a 16" zipper.
Cut 1 piece of vinyl 2 1/2" x 18"
Cut 1 piece of vinyl 17" x 18".
Cut 1 piece of vinyl 18" x 20".
Cut 2 pieces of fabric 2" x 18" for the zipper casings
Cut 2 (or 3?) strips of fabric 2 1/4" x WOF for the binding
Zipper with tabs should measure 17 3/4".
Assemble the bag according to the pattern directions.

Alright! I think that's it for me today! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

lost in the crowd--the beginning

Last November I had the opportunity to speak to the St. Cloud Heritage Quilters. A woman named Jean Gilbertson brought this amazing quilt for show and tell that literally made my jaw the best way possible, of course!
If I recall correctly, this is at least a queen size quilt. It was truly stunning.
Each of the 4 patches finish around 2", so each individual square finishes at about an inch, I believe.
I was foolish and asked the only question that came to mind, which was: "how long did it take you to make that?" (I should know better. Hahahaha!) No surprise that her response was: "a long time". After seeing this EPIC quilt, I knew I had to make something inspired by it....someday. After a mandatory three month waiting period, I STILL want to make it, so....
...I pulled out some scraps and started sewing! I had a small bin of 1 1/2" squares that I had previously cut, so I was able to sit down and prep needed. How fantastic!!! Of course I've already blown through my supply of pre-cut squares, but that means I'm making good progress! I made it a point to not overthink the fabric selection. I know that some day in the future I will look at some of these blocks and think, "what was I thinking", and other days I will think, "hey, those aren't bad at all". I waver back and forth, depending on the day, or my mood, I suppose. (Does that happen to anyone else???)
The pieces are small, but not unmanageable. That's a good combo! (Quarter in the photo for scale.)

There are a lot of things to love about this project:

-There is only one seam in the center to match up.
-Playing with fabric combinations within each block is a delight.
-They are small, so you can get away with finger pressing the seams during the block construction. (I  do press them with an iron once a bunch of blocks are finished.)
-They are addictive. As I was sewing, I found that I kept telling myself, 'just one more'.
-They are QUICK to make.
-It's easy to check the block for accuracy with a 2 1/2" square.
Did I mention that it's FUN sewing up scraps??? I'm having a blast!
A friend asked me, "how many blocks do you need to make?" I think this is one case where it's better to NOT do the math quite yet. Why take all the fun out of it so soon? Hahaha!
I decided to name my quilt "Lost in the Crowd", for a few reasons. One, because it would be really easy to camouflage ugly scraps and get away with it. Two, if you wanted to point out a favorite fabric to someone, good luck finding it!
Rarely do I have a name for a quilt this early in the game, so that's pretty exciting! I think I'm going to go sew just a few more blocks now. :)