Monday, February 8, 2016

Only 2 years in the making!

It's finished!  It's done! Happy dance!  It. Is. Finished!!!

I sewed the first seam in this one on February 10th, 2014, and I took the last stitch in the binding on February 1st, 2016.  I would have celebrated here earlier, but nobody was available during daylight hours to hold it up for a picture until today.  Hmm, and looking at it now, I think I forgot to turn the flash off and it washed out the colors.

Here it is on the bed.  Note the model, who approved the quilt and assumed the photo shoot included her. Given a choice of anything to lie on, Rosie will settle down on the quilt every time.

Most of the 2 year delay in finishing was due to hand quilting.  First, I'm slow.  Second, summers are too hot for me to want to sit with a quilt bunched in my lap so there's no hand quilting happening for at least 4 months a year.  Third, I had a couple of inconvenient bouts of tendonitis that curtailed the hand work for a while.  Fourth, I sometimes I feel like hand quilting, and sometimes I don't, so it isn't a continuous process in this house!

This quilt is for my son, who chose the colors.  Here's the back, which has nothing at all to do with the front but plenty to do with my son.  The blue and red lines like the lines on a hockey rink seemed like a good idea until I started hand quilting and remembered I don't like quilting through seams.  I shouldn't have added any extra ones on the back!

The fabrics are not actually on an angle like that.  I just took a crooked picture.  However, that would look pretty cool...

So now that's done, the hand work has shifted to sewing binding to the back of the Minions quilt. The binding of three other projects is attached and waiting for the hand stitching, so there should be 4 more finishes to share soon!

And just to have it to refer back to, here's my quilt-related to-do list:

1.  Finish binding treeskirt, table topper and snowflake quilt.
2.  Final proofreading of the Blaze pattern.
3.  Finish writing pattern for snowflake quilt (half done)
4.  Finish writing pattern for treeskirt/table topper (2/3 done)
5.  Finish last 4 blocks of yellow/grey/black quilt (must name that one sometime)
6.  Pick out quilting I started on purple Sparkling Trail and start over (that's a whole other story!)
7.  Finish cutting out and start sewing red Valentine version of Tic Tac Kiss
8.  Start one or two completely new projects (ideas are percolating as I type)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Heart Month Freebie

After an almost month-long absence from blogland, here's my latest quilt:

Tic Tac Kiss

I'd like to share the pattern with you but I'd like you to read the whole post first.  Please?  (I'm a quilter, I'd read a whole post for a new pattern!)

A little over two weeks ago, I was pondering a new blog post.  I have absolutely no recollection what it was going to be about.  All I remember is that the phone rang and sent me scurrying through 4 airports in 10 hours to get to an unplanned family reunion.  It could have been a very somber reunion except that...

someone I love knows CPR 
(go learn CPR)

Someone else that I love has a heart that stopped beating and the someone who knows CPR administered CPR right away.  My loved one survived.

(go learn CPR)

Here's the thing about CPR.  It probably won't start a heart up again, but it will keep blood pumping to the brain and other vital organs to keep those alive until wonderful modern technology can have a shot at restarting the heart.  CPR needs to happen right away.  Not when the trained paramedics arrive.  Right away.  And it isn't complicated.

 (so go learn CPR)

When I got back home, I found these fabrics on my cutting table.  When the phone rang that morning, besides pondering a blog post, I had been cutting these fabrics to make a Valentine version of Tic Tac Kiss.  I was thinking of sharing the pattern as a freebie for Valentine's Day.

Well, I missed two weeks of work, thanks to my unexpected "vacation", so the red quilt isn't ready, but the pattern is and I'm sharing it with you in honor of Heart Month instead of Valentine's Day.

Now, not necessarily in this order:

1. Go download the pattern here

2. Go hug someone you love.

3. Go learn CPR in case someone you love (or someone else's someone) ever needs it.

In the US, the American Heart Association or the Red Cross are good places to start.
If you live elsewhere and you know where training is available where you live, please share that in a comment!

Linking up with 
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
TGIFF at Devoted Quilter this week 
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Thursday, January 7, 2016

List? What list?

OK, yes, I am familiar with my list of projects I plan to finish next.  I just don't stick to it very well!  This, for example, was not on it:

It really couldn't be avoided (really!).  I had to start something new to prove to my daughter that I do, in fact, love the ruler she gave me for Christmas.

I saw the Quick Curve ruler at a quilt show a few years ago when it was brand new.  I almost bought it, but then worried that it was a "one quilt ruler", the kind that looks really neat until you figure out that every quilt you make with it looks the same.  The samples in the booth were all pretty similar, so I passed.  However, there are now oodles of pretty patterns that prove the ruler can be used in many different ways. Check out Sew Kind of Wonderful for eye candy.

This block is one of their free patterns. Except for the trimming on my first unit (which eventually resulted in that seam that doesn't even come close to matching), I didn't have any trouble with the directions and everything came together smoothly.  I did press my seams differently in a few spots and will continue experimenting with that to get as many seams to nest as possible.  I really, really like it when seams nest!

Now, returning to the list, I will go enjoy some quiet hand quilting.  Only two sides of the outermost border left to finish.  If I can avoid more distractions like tonight's, I might have the kaleidoscope quilt quilted and bound in the next couple of weeks.

Linking up, a day late, with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, January 4, 2016

Running start

See these?

These rolls of binding were my New Year's Eve day sewing, products of my determination to move a few projects closer to finished state before the calendar rolled over to 2016.  After Christmas I looked back at my 2015 sewing and realized I had only two "large" quilt finished for the year.  By large I mean at least a throw size.

I know I used the sewing machine regularly most of the year, I used plenty of fabric, I created scraps and I emptied thread spools, yet I had only two finished quilts to show. There were a few smaller projects, most of which I made in December:

So what did I have to show for the rest of my efforts?  There are four runners that took up most of my May and June sewing time but that I can't share yet (though hopefully soon?).  The rest are partially pieced projects, flimsies and partially quilted pieces that I couldn't decide how to finish.

These three are still in the unquilted pile.

The first two measure about 30" x 40" and will get done at some point but I'm not feeling any urgency about them.  The third was basted on New Year's Day and will get quilted up in the next two or three weeks.  The purple binding is waiting for that one.  And by the way, I think I'm done with Sparkling Trail for a while!

Between Christmas and this morning I quilted and quilted and quilted and moved 4 more projects to the "just need the binding" stage, and may I refer to the picture at the top of this post for a peek at the bindings waiting for them?  I'll share full pictures when they have their bindings attached.

So what's left?

The fall quilt still needs upper and lower black borders, then quilting, of course.  It's a twin size and I know more or less how I want to quilt it, but I'm not sure I want to tackle it at home with the setup I have.  Still thinking on that.  Then I have plans for a variation in a totally different colorway.  The fabric is waiting in a labelled bin...

This queen size one has been coming along in fits and starts since last February, and I think I'm almost ready to pull the top together.  This one is definitely being sent out for quilting!

Last but not least, my son's quilt is in the last stages of hand quilting.  I'm down to the outer border, and I'm making fairly rapid progress.  Of course the progress would be faster if was upstairs quilting right now...

So for the next month or so, I am going to concentrate on these three quilts, and possibly that variation.  I also need to finish writing patterns for the snowflake quilt, the treeskirts, the fall quilt... Let's just say that Canuck Quiter Designs is off to a running start in 2016!

Happy New Year!  Enjoy your quilting journey in 2016!

Linking up with
 Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Free block pattern at Stitchin at Home

I'm behind on my New Year's post, as I'm still trying to figure out how I felt so busy and yet have so few finishes for 2015.

In the meantime, head over to Stitchin at Home for a free block pattern.  Cindy designed Double Cross last summer for her guild BOM and ended up using a different block instead.  She has decided to offer this one as a blog freebie to usher in the new year.

Cindy's Double Cross block

I tested the block pattern for her last summer. 

My version of Double Cross

 I have to say I like the block much better in her fabric!  When you check out her blog. you'll see that these blocks look great set together.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I hate it when that happens

I was happily getting the hang of freemotion hooked swirls again and thinking I might get the quilt quilted this afternoon.  My stitch length is not even, but overall the quilt looks good, I think.

Then I tried to smooth out the next section to quilt and couldn’t.  Uh oh.  I didn’t, did I?  Humbug! Yes, I did.

I failed to notice the side of the quilt sandwich sneaking under the quilt and I sewed it to the back of the quilt. At least I noticed before too many more stitches were made, so I don’t have too much reverse sewing to do!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Because the project list was too short?

I’m in the middle of quilting a tree skirt (newsflash: it won’t under this year’s tree!), also halfway through quilting the blue snowflake quilt, and I have two other tops I planned to quilt before the end of 2015, and I’m very close to finishing hand quilting my son’s quilt.

So of course I had to go work on something completely new!

Not sure why some photos are insisting on loading sideways...

 My current Christmas placemats were beginning to look a bit the worse for wear, so I bought this pretty poinsettia print last month to make some new ones.  It just sat around decorating my sewing room for the season until I decided how to use it, then sat around a little longer while I pondered what fabric to pair it with.

I settled on the 10-minute table runner (you can do a search for that and find lots of tutorials) though it took me longer than 10 minutes to make.  I added trim between the borders and the center, and top stitching to help keep seams flat after washing.  Still quick, but it took longer than I anticipated.  Then again, what doesn’t?

I wanted the poinsettia print to do most of the work in the placemats, and I wanted to use the other two fabrics from the runner to tie in to the runner.  Here’s what I came up with:

I took notes and pictures to remember how to make them again and to share the process here.

Christmas Placemat Tutorial

For each placemat I used:
  • 1 – 13” x 18.5” rectangle of poinsettia print
  • 1 – 13” x 18.5” rectangle of backing fabric
  • 1 – 2” x 14” strip of gold for the diagonal strip
  • 2 – 3/4” x 14” strips of striped accent fabric 

Step 1. Sew one accent strip to each side of the gold strip.  (I missed a picture of this, sorry!).  Press the seams towards the accent strips.

Step 2. Measure and mark 9 1/4” from the top left corner along the top and left side of the print rectangle, then cut from one mark to the other.

Step 3.  Sew the gold strip set to the largest print piece, centering it along the diagonal cut.  Open and press the seam towards the print.

Step 4.  Sew the print triangle to the other side of the gold strip set, matching centers.  Press the seam towards the print.

Step 5.  Trim the piece back into a rectangle measuring 13” x 18.5”".  The top of your placemat is finished.

Step 6.   I wanted my placemats to be thin to layer over a tablecloth, so I chose not to add batting to quilt them. I also didn’t want to use binding, so I finished the placemats by sewing the front and back together right sides together all around the sides, leaving an opening on one side, then turning the piece right side out through the opening.  I clipped the corners of the seam allowance to reduce bulk in the corners.

**If you want to add batting, layer batting, then backing (right side up), then top (wrong side up) and proceed as in step 6. **

Step 7.  Press placemat, making crisp edges all around and pressing the fabric in the side opening to match.  Top stitch about 1/8” from the edge all around the placemat.  This will close the opening as well as keep the edges pressed when you wash the placemats.

Step 8. Top stitch in the ditch between the thin accent strips and the gold, and between the accent strips and the poinsettia print.  This will help the seams stay flat when you wash the placemats.

That’s it!  Now I need to go fill a few plates with Christmas goodies to set on the Christmas placemats!  I need to go find the greenery and candle centerpiece too…