Showing posts from 2012

Rudolph made it!

I tossed Jingle Patch out onto our 10 inches of snow for pictures on December 23rd before I got the red binding sewn on.  I wanted pictures before the snow was completely trampled by excited kids!  I finished stitching the binding on to my Rudolph quilt in the evening on December 23, so it was all set for Christmas Eve snuggling, but haven’t gotten around to taking pictures with the binding.  Christmas cheer took precedence!  I hope you all had a lovely day as well.I freemotioned swirls all over the body.  Quilting an allover pattern was new for me, and overall I’m happy with how it turned out.  I won’t show you a close-up though.  Distressingly many stitches are ridiculously long!  I need practice apparently, but I don’t enjoy machine quilting enough to want to!The snowflakes are outline quilted in the green.  I tried some freemotion in the snowflakes but didn’t like how the white looked with needle holes in it.  I then tried stitching in the ditch but didn’t have a steady enough han…

Rudolph progress

I’ve been spending too much time sewing up my Rudolph quilt and not enough doing chores, but it has felt very good!  I have pieced the borders but I don’t feel like pinning right now, so I’ll go make myself useful away from the sewing machine and attach the borders later.  I think mixing up a batch of Christmas cookies should keep me out of trouble (except for the part where I need to taste test and keep going back for just one more taste, in the interests of quality control, of course!)

Hmm, looking at this picture, now I’m not so sure about those red corners….  I’ll have to ponder while I taste test.

Early visit

Rudolph has come to visit a little ahead of schedule this year! I couldn’t resist a little “just for fun” sewing, and I’m really just a little kid at Christmas.  I have an “all grown up” style of Christmas quilt already but this one, even unfinished, is making the whole family smile and want to put on some Christmas music. Anyone for a rousing rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?This is Jingle Patch from the November/December 2012 issue of Quiltmaker magazine.  I changed the assembly though.  The pattern called for the body to be made up of small squares as well but I really didn’t want to cut 75 brown squares then sew them back together again.  I drew the design onto graph paper and sectioned the quilt in a way that let me sew chunks of brown together instead of small bits.I am also changing the borders because I didn’t care for the squat little trees in the border from the original pattern.  There was a note that the borders on all the “Patch Pals” patterns are interchangeab…

Clearing the design wall

Having finally finished Whimsy I wanted to reward myself with a simpler, shorter project but my design wall was occupied by my blue Kyoto Gardens quilt-in-progress (designed by Judy Martin).  I could have taken down all the pieces but decided to just plow through, finish up the stars, and assemble all the pieces I had before tucking it away.Finishing up the last 4 stars went much more quickly and smoothly than making the first 8 because I followed all the directions.  It turns out that when the author says she recommends finger pressing seams instead of using an iron to press as you assemble these blocks, she knows what she is talking about.  I was afraid I would stretch the bias that way, but I actually mucked things up using the iron.  Sigh.  Anyway, the last four blocks are lovely, flat and not distorted in anyway, all with the use of my fingers only.  Lesson learned.I still need to add borders to this quilt, but it was in good shape to come off the design wall so it is back in a b…

Done Done Done

Finally, here is Whimsy.  I love the old quilt crinkly look the quilting I chose gave it.Pattern by Darlene Zimmerman. Machine pieced and hand quilted by me on and off over the last 4 years.  Enough said.  You’ve read all about the progress over the years!

Working on this, that and the other thing

For the past three weeks I have had trouble settling down  with one particular project.  Considering I have made progress on several, I guess That’s OK.  Now if I can just finish more of them I’ll be happy!  Here’s a look at the last weeks’ work.I’m excited about this one!  Whimsy is all quilted!  I finished that last night just after midnight.  It was little bit past my bedtime but I was so close I couldn’t stop just because the clock said I should.  Whoo-hoo!  I made and sewed binding to the front today and over the next couple of evenings I plan to hand stitch it to the back.  I’ll have a full reveal then.I also made 3 more stars for my blue Kyoto Garden quilt and sewed some rows together, but forgot to take photos.  I’ll share some next time.Whimsy’s quilting would have been finished sooner but I could not resist the blue yarn I posted about last time.  I still have to add the fringe, and I’m tempted to make the matching hat.  After that I’ll have to go shopping for a coat to matc…

Uh oh!

This is not good.  The budget and the available shelving just cannot handle the start of a new variety of stash.  The fabric is greedy enough. But isn’t this pretty?This yarn arrived this week.  A very dark green with speckles of colour arrived last week.  The green is turning into a sweater and this lot is turning into a scarf and hat.  And I am definitely not browsing any more yarn aisles or online stores until I have my quilting and knitting UFOs under control!There has been quilting progress.  In fact I am going to log off the computer as soon as I finish this post and go finish quilting the last of the sashing on Whimsy.  I have quilted a bit of its borders already to test my choice of design, so I have a tiny head start on those to inspire me along the rest of the week.  Maybe by sometime next week it will be ready for binding? No promises.  The sweater or scarf may distract me again!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival

I must have been napping coming up to the last several Blogger’s Quilt Festivals because I missed them. I still had a lot of fun browsing the entries later but this time I paid attention so I could share a quilt too. Thanks to Amy for organizing another festival!

Scattered Leaves
58” x 67”
Designed by Joanne Kerton
Machine pieced and hand quilted by Joanne Kerton
Category: Hand quilted, throw
This is possibly my husband’s favourite quilt and is one of the first I made without a pattern.  It was also the first quilt I added prairie points to.  My husband’s great aunt had given us some of her lovely quilts with prairie points and I loved the way they looked but feared they were complicated.  After I added the green border to Scattered Leaves it still didn’t look finished.  It seemed a little bland somehow.  I decided it needed more triangles to play off the leaf points and thought prairie points might fit the bill.  They really weren’t as terrifying or as fiddly as I had feared and I think t…

The other kind of needles

Whimsy is coming along, slowly but surely.  On some days I spend hours hand quilting and on others I don’t pick up a quilting needle at all, but the end is in sight.  On some of the days off from quilting this week I picked up a different kind of UFO and different kinds of needles.These socks had been languishing on my knitting needles since last spring.  One sock was done except for grafting the toe, and the second wasn’t quite down to the heel.  I’m glad I hadn’t grafted the toe of the finished sock because in the months that I forgot about them, dear daughter had a growth spurt and added over an inch to the length of her foot.  I had to unravel some knitting and add a little lot more length.I enjoyed clicking the needles together, so I think that once the multi-year adventure that is Whimsy is finished I will start another knitting project. I would like to finish a project in less than several months or years so I’m thinking of a bulky sweater in chunky yarn that will knit up quick…

Motivated by fractions

Whimsy is finally seeing some steady progress.  I started quilting it on February 26, had a little flurry of activity, then promptly slowed to a crawl.  There were long periods of inactivity and I even lost my quilting callous on my left index finger. Summer was only partly to blame.Last month I decided I really needed to focus on getting this finished, but it wasn’t until the last 4 or 5 days that I really hit my stride.  This has happened before.  I start enthusiastically quilting a quilt, then the enthusiasm peters out and the quilt languishes, getting worked on only sporadically, until suddenly I become very focused again to finish up.Today I figured out what triggers the push to the finish.  It’s all about fractions.  Really!  The quilt as a whole is rather overwhelming, but getting past the halfway mark, then the 3/4 mark, and so on, makes the finish seem within reach and I start to obsess about reaching the finish line, so to speak.In the case of Whimsy,  this weekend I realize…

Now for the quilting…

Presenting Autumn Moons, unquilted.  It measures about 47” x 59”. It really does have nice square corners and straight sides.  I just haven’t mastered the art of photographing the wall from straight on.I still need to prepare the backing and I also need to catch up on home and office chores that I have neglected while I worked on this.  Quilting will wait until at least next week.  This will give me time to waffle some more about how I plan to quilt it!Speaking of quilting, I have made a bit of progress quilting Whimsy. Here’s my progress chart from three weeks ago and from last night.  I have not been working regularly on this all that time.  Most of the progress was made in 3 or 4 bursts of effort.

More fall fabrics

Last week I almost scraped the bottom of the fall fabrics bin. This precipitated a trip to the quilt shop for more, since I still had to add borders to my Autumn Moons fall quilt.  My husband came along for the drive and was very useful for more than carrying around candidate bolts of fabric.  He suggested I remove my glasses to judge if a colour was too bright relative to the rest.  As I am very short-sighted, this worked very well.  I couldn’t see any patterns and shapes, just a blur of colours, and the too-bright orange was very obvious then. Wasn’t it handy that I don’t wear contact lenses!  Having successfully replenished the fall stash, this is the selection of fabrics I played with today.  I really did need the variety for the border I want, but of course didn’t need the whole width of fabric, so will have a lot left over for some other project at some point.  Such a shame!Here’s a peek at today’s sewing (don’t mind the points, the units aren’t sewn to each other yet!):There wo…

Final layout…maybe

My eyes are crossing.  I’ve laid out my maple leaves and drunkard’s path units so many ways I can’t see straight.  I am now stepping away and leaving the layout you see here on the wall to “cure” for a day or two to make sure I don’t need to change things around again.   I’ve said that once before today, then promptly stood and stared and switched a few blocks around to distribute colour values more evenly.  This time I really am stepping away, into another room even!  I need to come back to it with fresh eyes.I tried very hard to let the colours and shapes form randomly.  Before you say it, this layout is not that layout!  I just couldn’t do it.  My brain insists on more order.I thought you might enjoy a peek at the iterations the layout went through. I am sharing this at great risk you realize.  As I go through the pictures I just might want to revert back to a previous layout, not remembering or understanding why I didn’t like it earlier…Oh, decisions!Autumn moons VIEW SLIDE SHOWDOW…

Happy Fall

Fall arrived last Saturday according to the calendar and it didn’t take long for the trees to dress up appropriately.  The photos in my new header are from my afternoon walk.  I think all this fall colour is earlier than usual here in Iowa due to the stress from the drought. It is awfully pretty though.  There seems to be greater variety in the shades of yellow, orange and red than usual.There’s a touch of fall in the sewing room too.  I’m still working on those drunkard’s path blocks in rich fall fabrics.  I completed 20 and rearranged them on the design wall. Yesterday I added this leaf block to the mix.  I then decided that I really want the finished quilt to be a bit bigger so today I cut fabric for 20 more drunkard’s paths.  It sounds like more than “a bit” but it just adds a row of blocks all the way around. I’m getting to the bottom of the bin of fall-themed and fall-coloured fabric stash, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do for bordersTonight I’m going to go curl up on the co…

Exploring curved seams

Last week I went to the quilt shop and came home with a set of templates for 6 inch drunkard’s path blocks.  I didn’t have a particular quilt in mind.  I just wanted to try my hand at sewing curved seams, and this seemed as good a way to start as any.

On Thursday I pieced 3 blocks.  Hmm.  Two have a little pucker, and the third has edges that don’t line up.  I didn’t take a close-up to show off the flaws!  I’m close though, so I plan to practice.

I spent the weekend at Girl Scout camp with my daughter so there was no practice.  Today I cut out pieces for 20 blocks and put them up on the design wall just to keep myself motivated.

Tomorrow I’ll start sewing again and hope I get the hang of the curves.  I watched a few video tutorials online today so I have a few techniques to try. Though I had no particular quilt in mind when I bought the templates, I now have several design ideas floating in my brain.  It would be nice to manage to bring at least one of them to life in fabric.

Writing patterns

When I posted pictures of my fall placemats and runner last week Karen asked if I could post the cutting directions. I decided this would be a great time to practice writing up a pattern and making up diagrams to go with it.  You can download the free placemat pattern by clicking here and the free runner pattern here.

I have learned my way around a lot of new software in the last few weeks.  I’m getting more comfortable navigating QuiltPro.  That’s what I used to draw the diagrams for the patterns.  I have learned how to create a .pdf file.  I learned to use a new-to-me photo editor (Picasa) to make collages. I went a little “collage happy” when I figured those out, as I had wondered how other bloggers made them. Check out the “My own designs” tab to see a sample of those.

That’s enough computer time for a while.  Tomorrow I’m planning on spending the whole day sewing star blocks for my blue Kyoto Garden quilt and getting a bit more of Whimsy quilted.

Slow progress

Progress is bound to be slow when you don’t work at something very much so I don’t have much progress to report on the quilting of Whimsy.  Now that the weather has cooled I plan to do a bit more hand quilting every night so the pace should improve… in theory…if I actually do sit down to quilt every night.  I’ll keep you posted.I actually thought I had more of the quilt quilted than I actually do.  Another blogger whose blog I stumbled onto recently used an EQ file of her quilt to chart her progress in quilting a quilt.  I thought that was a great idea and I wasted invested some time today in creating a QuiltPro file of Whimsy to do the same.  The grey areas still need quilting.  The colored bits are done.*Sigh*.  I really thought I was closer to halfway through.  Perhaps this chart will keep me focused!

Where does time go???

Despite my plans to indulge in a sewing binge in September I still haven’t spent much time at the sewing machine.  The fall runner and placemats are still not quilted, and pieces of the blue quilt on my design wall are starting to fall off the wall.  And no, I haven’t been sucked in to the quilt design software to the exclusion of everything else.  I’ve just been busy with lots of little non-quilty chores that add up and eat up the days. Quilting has been the carrot to get me to cross things off the “to do” list. I tell myself I can quilt when I’ve finished the chores (and some really can’t be put off anymore) then enjoy guilt-free “me time” with pretty fabric.  Hmph!  I think I need to rethink that strategy because the list never seems to get shorter and if I wait to get to the end to sit down and sew it will never happen!On Friday I took a break from chores and that gave me an extra boost of energy to cross off lots of office chores, laundry, and even one or two cleaning chores toda…

That was quick!

Voila!  4 placemats and a runner ready for basting and quilting.  I cut out the fabric on Monday night, I sewed the diamond in a square blocks and sewed a few of them to each other last night and I finished the rest of the seams in about an hour this morning.This is a very simple pattern , but I really wanted something that would let the prints hog the limelight.  That large leaf print second from the bottom especially could not be cut down much without losing its impact.When I set these out on the kitchen table to see how they fit, I was frustrated to find they don’t all fit! That’s why you’re getting a photo of them on the floor.  I wanted a skinny runner that would fit on the table at the same time as the placemats.  I finally clued in that I goofed in the planning stages.  I always forget to account for the extra seam allowance all the way around a piece.  In this case that adds up to 1.5 extra inches across the table.  I have small table so that extra matters.I had planned to bin…

Fall fabrics

The kids headed back to school last Thursday.  I know school starts in August here every year, and this being the 9th First Day of School for our family you would think I would be used to it by now, but my brain still associates back-to-school with September and comfortable temperatures.  So my brain is saying “fall” but the rest of me is saying “summer” because it was 32 Celsius today, with 35 and 36 C forecast for the next couple of days (that would be 90, 95 and 97 degrees Fahrenheit).  That is NOT back-to-school weather!Today the brain won and I played with fall fabrics to make some fall placemats and a runner.  The project is coming together quite well, which is a relief because I went ahead and cut everything according to the measurements QuiltPro spouted without checking the math or making a test block.  It occurred to me after I cut all the pieces that as this is the first time I sew something up from a pattern I designed on QuiltPro, perhaps I should have checked to make sure…

New time sink

I found something to occupy me while the sewing machine is in the shop.  My lovely husband bought me Quilt Pro 6 design software.  I have been spending some quality time with it in the evenings (ahem, some daytime hours too) to really figure out what I can and can’t do with it.  Since it came with a 30 day trial period, I really need to figure everything out now in case it won’t do what I’m looking for, in which case I can get a full refund.  Don’t tell the family I’ve pretty much already decided to keep it, or I’ll lose my excuse for spending way more time playing than I should be when there are plenty of chores waiting!Here’s a sample of what I’ve been up to.I wanted different borders than the pattern for my Kyoto Gardens quilt call for but had trouble visualizing how my border ideas fit with the quilt.  This pattern has unusual block sizes  (10.25”, 4.25”) so it wasn’t a thrill to draw it out to scale on a single page of graph paper.  This was a perfect task to put the software thr…

Just walk away…

Sometimes you just have to walk away and everything just looks better when you come back. I haven’t been very inspired to quilt this summer.  My blue Kyoto Gardens sat untouched since the end of May. Friday night the sewing bug tickled again so I pulled out that neglected project and proceeded to make half a star block before quitting in disgust.  The pieces just didn’t seem to be fitting together properly and the edges of the block weren’t straight and dog ears appeared where they shouldn’t.  I could visualize this project, with all those cut pieces, languishing as a UFO.  I sulked in its general direction and walked away.Saturday I came back to my sewing corner and tackled the same block again and it came out exactly as it should.  Go figure.  So I tried another one.  It came out just right as well. *big grin*  Then of course I became obsessed and sewed till way too late last night, then again today chain piecing a gazillion pieces into units for the quilt’s sashing. I couldn’t resi…

Three quilters

Quilting has been happening in fits and starts around here this month, fit in around a few days of camping and a week of painting bedrooms and just enjoying a relaxed summer schedule, but three of us have each sat down at the sewing machine at least once.DD added two more borders to her quilt.  Though she wanted an inner and an outer border she has discovered that she doesn’t much like pinning them on.  This is why her quiltmaking  stalled in April.  Happily there are only two more to go then we can baste it and get to the part she really wants to do.  She plans to go wild with a walking foot and all the fancy stitches my machine can do but that I don’t use.As I type DS is finishing his wall quilt.  He paper pieced 3 sizes of fish blocks.  The smallest is one inch finished.  Eek!  He did a good job though.  He also pulled out the graph paper and figured out how to set the blocks the way he wanted, remembering to add seam allowances.  That is the back you see here.  He is going to bind…