Thursday, September 27, 2012

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.

IMG_6264There’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 borders

Tonight I’m going to go curl up on the couch to quilt on Whimsy.  I am hoping to make enough progress on it that I can update my progress chart and actually notice a change!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Exploring curved seams

IMG_6260Last 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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Writing patterns

008When 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


IMG_6253Progress 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.

Whimsy quilting 2012-09-17




*Sigh*.  I really thought I was closer to halfway through.  Perhaps this chart will keep me focused!

Monday, September 10, 2012

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 today.  I think that’s a much better strategy!  Here’s what I made on Friday:


I have never been much of a purse person.  I carry the smallest one I can fit a wallet, phone and keys in. The kind I can sling across my body and forget about is best because I do forget about my purse and if it isn’t slung across my body it gets forgotten wherever it gets set down.  The bag pattern in the latest issue of Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts caught my eye and reminded me that the essentials fit just a little too snugly in my current purse, making access difficult.  I chose a couple of fat quarters and checked out the pattern.

The finished product is not in fact the bag from the magazine pattern.  It turns out it needed more fabrics, was quite a bit larger than I wanted and lacked a flap closure.  ( I wanted the flap to make it just a little harder for things to spill out when I toss the purse on the seat of the car as I rush out to get to school pick-up on time!)   I used the magazine instructions to make the button loop and to figure out how to put in the lining, but I sorted out my own measurements and figured out how to add the flap all by myself.  I think I’m starting to get the hang of this!