Friday, May 22, 2015

Second guessing

I made the first block for this quilt as a sample, just to see what it might look like.  I liked the design and I liked the colours and liked the prints so I decided to work it up into a quilt.  I drew it in EQ first and played around with colours and layouts, so I’d know exactly what I was planning.

When I made another block, I thought it might look too bland to have the whole background the same, so I headed off to the quilt shop for more yellows.  Then I looked at it all again and decided the yellows were awfully bright so I went back to the store for a more subdued yellow to toss into the mix to maybe calm things down.

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I just finished making the blocks and now that they are all up on the wall I think I should have had more of that calmer yellow.  Or maybe all the same background after all.  And I wish I had reversed the fabric for the small and large stars.  I considered that choice very carefully at the beginning and thought I had gotten it right, but while it was just right for a single block, I think it would be better the other way around in the whole quilt.

I think this needs a border in the same grey as the sashing, but of course that isn’t what I had originally planned so I don’t have enough of that fabric!  There’s another trip to the quilt shop in the near future.  I hope there is still some of that grey left!

Cubby stars

I’m buying extra this time because I may end up setting this on point for a long twin size quilt.  That will require some pieced setting triangles.  Again, this is not what I had planned!

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I can see what I want it to look like in my mind’s eye, I just need to get it there in reality.  There might be a version 2 of this quilt down the road to get it right!

Monday, May 18, 2015

I didn’t go to Spring Market…

…but my quilt did!  Here’s Wandering Geese in the Brewer’s booth at Spring Quilt Market this past weekend.  Thank you to Kelly from my local quilt shop, Quilting Connection, for snapping the pictures with her cell phone.

Wandering Geese at Spring 2015 Quiltmarket take 2

Wandering Geese at Spring 2015 Quiltmarket

There’s the quilt, and if you look closely you can see the pattern.  Brewer Quilting and Sewing Supply is currently distributing all eight Canuck Quilter Designs patterns that I have available for sale in printed form!  Yay!  Tell your favourite quilt shop!

I’m a bit sad I didn’t get to market myself, but getting a quilt there is putting a spring in my step.  Time to go sew something new!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Too many points

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I still can’t show you what I’m working on, but here’s a pile of detritus from that project. You may not believe it after my paper-pieced snowflake obsession last fall, and the little bits of paper you see mixed in with the fabric trimmings in this picture, but paper piecing really is not my favourite piecing technique.  It is sometimes, however, just what’s needed to achieve a particular result.  So I have been paper-piecing and pinning and pinning and pinning to match too many a lot of points.  Please, no.more.pinning!  I don’t like pinning much more than paper piecing!

So why am I doing both?  Because I am just so pleased with what I see at the end of it all.  This is a set of several items, and near the end of each I ask myself what I was thinking to commit to making several of these. OK, I complain.  Loudly.  Then put in the last seam and I just love what I see, decide it was so worth it, and start the next one.

Just now, however, I am in the “please, no more pinning stage” so I’m taking a break and working on the binding for a donation quilt.

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I’m afraid this simple quilt has been waiting awhile. Two other ladies and I started making blocks at a sewing day last November.  I sewed half the blocks into a baby quilt at a sewing day in January, quilted it at the February get-together and started attaching the binding at April’s event, at which time my sewing machine went wonky (it’s all better now, yay!).  I’m not sure when we’re meeting again so I’m just going to get this done and donated now.  The rest of the blocks will get put together eventually as well.

I’m off to bind, and then to pin more points!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Quilting Buddy

Here we are, heading into the last week of April, and I haven’t blogged at all yet this month!  What can I say, it’s been a busy month with various family events and non-quilting tasks.  Most of my limited quilting time was taken up making things I can’t share yet. Here’s all I can show you of that sewing:

Trimmings

I thought I would get some things done that I could share, but my sewing machine started misbehaving again, sewing very fast all by itself after I released the foot pedal.  The machine spent time at the shop, where of course it behaved quite beautifully, making it difficult for the technician to pinpoint the problem and confirm that it was fixed.  I had taken a video when it misbehaved at home so at least they could see what was happening. Anyway, no sewing happened while the machine was at the shop, and none again after it came home and misbehaved again.  When I went back to the shop again I was loaned a machine to use while they overhaul my machine’s insides, but now I’m catching up on the secret sewing that didn’t get done so there are still no new projects to share here.

I can share progress on an old project though.  Hand quilting stalled for a while, but I have made progress again in the last two weeks.  Here’s the progress chart for my son’s quilt.

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I have a buddy cheering me on now, so maybe I’ll get faster.

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I’m not so sure about Rosie’s other favourite spot though. Maybe she’s part cat. The paw on my back was rather distracting so I’m discouraging this particular habit!

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I’m off for a bit of quiet sewing on this quilt now.  I missed my original goal of finishing by mid-April. How about June?

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy’s Quilts

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Needs simmering

I finished all 36 blue drunkard’s path blocks.  I started getting the hang of them again near the end of the stack. Now I need to figure out what to do with them.

My original intention was to remake Autumn moons as Winter Moons.  This plan is what got me started on the whole snowflake adventure last fall, though the snowflake adventure took on a life of its own totally separate from this.  I thought I could change the color scheme and replace the leaf blocks with different blocks for different seasons.  Here’s a look at that on the wall.

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Hmm.  This isn’t soaring. The snowflakes definitely would need to be larger.  Maybe Snowflake 3, version 2 would have more “oomph” .  Also, I think the color values aren’t quite right.  I think my lights are all too similar, or I need more medium/lights mixed in.  Yes, the colors values will definitely need tweaking if I pursue this any further.  Of course borders would help, but I don’t like this enough at this point to spend too much time piecing border units.  Maybe I’ll come back to it.

After that ho-hum reaction to what I threw on the wall, I scrambled up the units and came up with a few different layouts unrelated to snowflakes.

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Of the three, I think the first has the most potential, though the others might work if I made a few more units to be able to fine tune value placement a bit more.  Still, It’s missing something though I’m not sure what, so I am going to put all these units in a box for now.  Maybe I need to let go of symmetry.  Maybe I’ll end up tossing in another color.  We’ll see what happens after everything simmers for a little while.

As an antidote to all this indecision, I am going to go sew with some yellow, grey and black fabrics, putting together a very straightforward quilt that I have all planned out.  I sure hope this one cooperates and works out as well in fabric as in my head!  At least the first block did (unless you’re not a fan of yellow). The block is 20” square so it will work up to a nice sized quilt very quickly.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meet Rosie

Look who came home from the animal shelter with us today.

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Meet Rosie.  She is a 3 year old maltese/papillon mix.  She is a little bundle of energy and despite her small size will be a good running buddy for the kids.  It remains to be seen whether she will be a good quilting buddy, as she only came home today and hasn’t had time to settle in yet.  Right now she’s a bit restless and whines to go out, then in, them out, then in…

We’ll get the hang of each other, then we’ll see if she’s a quilter dog or not!  One thing is certain.  Quilts will get washed rather more frequently now, as Rosie sheds a lot!  We had firm intentions to get a non-shedding or at least low-shedding dog, but just look at her!  And she has a very sweet, trusting disposition too. The only thing that would have made us leave her behind was allergies, but hubby played with her and was fine so she came home!

On to quilty things…

When I washed my Geese Across the Table placemats they shrank all wonky. I probably should have quilted them more evenly or prewashed the fabrics, or both.  In any case, after the shrinkage I needed a new set to use as a sample.  I hadn’t had a good dose of working with blues in a while so that’s what I pulled for the new samples.

Geese Across the Table set in blue batiks

Because of the previous shrinking fiasco, I made a point of washing these fabrics first.  In hindsight, since they are all batiks, they probably had no shrinking left to do.  I’m still glad they had a spin in the washer though.  I tossed in TWO Color Catcher sheets and this is how they looked afterwards:

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For anyone that doesn’t know, Color Catcher sheets start out white.  I’m keeping these on my bulletin board as a reminder of why I should prewash!  I didn’t prewash for years, but I’m becoming a convert. 

Now I’m off to sew a bit, if I can decide what project to work on.  I have some blue drunkard’s path blocks in progress, but as much as I loved the fabrics together before I cut them, I’m not so sure I like them in this block.

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This is just a random layout, not what they are intended for.  I’m not sure my initial plan is going to work, so it may morph after I have all 36 blocks made and I can play around a bit more.

I also have a few projects in the works that I can’t share quite yet.  One is in yellows/blacks/greys.  Another is in summer colors, and possibly repeated in fall or Christmas ones as well. 

The drunkard’s paths’ curves are a bit more fiddly than I remembered from the last time I made some. One of the un-shared projects is very straightforward while another has lots of points to match, so I have plenty of choice.  There’s also still some hand quilting to do on the kaleidoscope quilt. I just have to decide what colors and/or challenge level I want to play with today.

Or I could go play with the dog!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Owl finish

When I tried all-over freemotion designs on a practice quilt sandwich, I always had trouble keeping the scale consistent, and I would paint myself into a corner, or my design would morph into something else by the time I finished.  This made me a little wary of trying it out on an actual quilt.  What if I messed up?

This little baby quilt, however, was very vocal about how it wanted to be quilted. It wanted all-over swirls.  I thought up all sorts of straight line walking-foot options, but nothing stuck.  The quilt was very clear:  SWIRLS if you don’t mind.  Well, I do mind, but OK already.

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I googled free-motion swirl tutorials, watched a few and finally got my a-ha! moment when I stumbled on this one from APQ, with Angela Walters explaining.  The reminder that it is OK to stop (with the needle down of course!) and think about where to go next and how to get there was just what I needed.  The swirl design she demonstrated isn’t all curves.  There are points where you finish one swirl and start on the next, so stopping doesn’t involve the risk of spoiling a smooth curve, which always happens to me when I stop mid-curve.

Deep breath. Feed dogs down.  Another deep breath.

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This very first bit I quilted, in the pink, is the best on the whole quilt.  I never quite got it that pretty again, but overall it looks pretty good.  I stopped a lot.  And ranted about breaking thread.  And quilted myself into corners a few times despite my planning.  But it’s done and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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Ms. Owl was stitched in the ditch around all her parts with a triple frame in the background.
I used Invisafil thread. I really like the way it blends with all the fabrics so that what you notice is the quilted texture, not the thread.  When the thread kept breaking (well, shredding, actually) I switched to Aurifil but didn’t like the way the thread stood out on the colors, so I picked it out and went back to the Invisafil.

Here’s the back, in fun alphabet prints:

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I even remembered to put the labels on when I put on the binding.  One label has the quilt info, and the other has signatures from all the folks pitching in to give this gift.  The quilt will be delivered tonight.  I hope baby Isabel enjoys it!

And now to go try and get better pictures of it before I don’t have access to it anymore!

Linking up with Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River