Thursday, May 23, 2013

Back to the garden

The weather has finally turned balmy enough to make it pleasant to move on from the planning to the doing phase in the garden.  Last weekend we divided and moved several clumps of daisies and black eyed susans.  Ornamental grasses will soon join them in a new flowerbed my husband dug me for mother’s day.  I’ll wait to share pictures until things fill in a bit.  A couple of the black eyed susan clumps are looking very sad and wilted but I keep telling myself they will eventually settle in and perk up.  I hope.

IMG_6555In the meantime, I’m enjoying looking out at my new tipsy pots in the back garden.  My daughter helped paint the pots, stack them and plant them.  We’re quite happy with the result and we’re looking forward to what they’ll look like once the plants get larger.

Now if I could just figure out what to do about the front yard…IMG_6554

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Step away from the piecing…

Why is it that when I have carefully measured everything, and measured each unit at each step along the way to make sure everything is still on track, that is when the final result isn’t the size it should be?  There must be quilting gremlins kicking around here somewhere.

After gnashing my teeth at finding that my carefully paper pieced border (I didn’t have enough fabric to change tack after all) was 3/4” too long on all sides, and checking my math again and again and again, I took in several seams just a smidge until all the smidges ate up the extra length.  I couldn’t just cut off the extra because I needed the pattern to match at the end to turn around the corners.  I then added an outer border to stabilize the bias edges on that pieced border and ta-da!


I’m waffling about the width of that last green border.  I may make it about a 1/2” narrower, but this is where it stands now.  I also wonder if I should have used a different scale for the pieced border, but I’m not changing it now!  I have no idea how I want to quilt this so one of the other two flimsies I have on my shelves will push ahead of this one for quilting.

This makes three unquilted flimsies waiting in line, plus the Canada quilt only 1/3 hand quilted.  I know that isn’t very many by some standards but that’s more than I usually have so I need to step away from the piecing, move on to deciding how to quilt the flimsies and start basting.

flimsies 2013-05-14

On the other hand, I have 1100 1-1/2” scraps that want to be joined into 10” blocks…I know just how I want to set them too…

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Grrrr!!! Error…

Grrr!!!  Despite all my proofreading, an error slipped into the pattern for my String of Diamonds placemats.  Anyone who downloaded the pattern from Craftsy after I moved my patterns over there should have received an email from Craftsy about the pattern update in late March.
I made the change in March but forgot about downloads which may have occurred directly from this blog before I made the switch. So, if you downloaded directly from the blog, grab a pen, scratch out 3-7/8” and replace it with 3-3/8” for the size of the square A.  Or you can download the corrected version for free here.

If you ever have a question or concern about my patterns, please let me know.  My email is in my blogger profile.  Thanks!

Decisions, decisions

For the pieced border I am planning for the HST quilt I need 76 units.  Of course I drew it out and chose it before giving any thought to how I would construct it.  It took a bit of thought, but I finally decided that paper piecing it was the way to go.

After figuring out how much fabric it would take and checking that I had enough of each colour, I cut out fabric and started piecing units.




I made all of 8 units before my husband commented that the units look great but that paper piecing seems like an awful lot of work.  He was right, which made me start thinking again about the best way to make these.  This morning I pulled out some scrap strips and tried something else.




This is two strip sets, sewn together right sides together along both long sides to make a tube. Cut a triangle with the base along one seam line making sure the tip doesn’t include the other seam line.  Open up the triangle and ta-da!


This is a lot faster than paper piecing!  I’ll have to be a little more careful not to stretch things, since the squares’ sides are all bias edges and there is no paper to stabilize them.  There’s also waste, one triangle cut the opposite way between each one cut for the fabric order I need but those units can go in the orphan block bin and become something else at some later date.

The catch?  I’m not sure I have enough uncut fabric  left to switch methods now.  However I didn’t cut all the pieces I needed for the paper piecing so I may manage.  I’m off to measure some yardage and do a bit of math.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Repeat performance, new pattern

Back in June 2011 I worked on a set of placemats and a matching runner.  I gave it away and never posted a photo of the finished set.  Recently I came across a photo of the set in use after I gifted it and I decided I needed one for myself.  I used the photo to write myself a pattern to make it again

Here’s the original:

Geese Across the Table set 1

Here is the new set, Geese Around the Table. 
I thought I remembered piecing units in a certain order the first time around and wrote my instructions to myself that way. When I actually got to sewing I realized that there would be an awful lot of pesky bulky seams where I couldn’t make seams nest.  I don’t remember that from before.  After a bit more thought I ripped some seams and came at it a different way and eliminated most of the bulk so things lie flat.  I think that’s a good thing in a placemat!  You just don’t want a bulky bit to make your glass full of your beverage of choice a bit tippy.

I have no idea how I quilted this the first time around, but in this incarnation it’s all quilted in the ditch.  I did machine sew the binding on, which I hade never done before. The thought of hand stitching almost 500 inches of binding just left me cold.  I don’t mind hand stitching a few hundred inches of binding on a cozy quilt, but it somehow it seemed like a lot of trouble for a set of placemats.  I sewed the binding to the front as usual, then folded it around to the back far enough that it would be caught by the needle when I stitched in the ditch along the binding on the front.

Having in effect tested this pattern and fine tuned it I decided to list it for sale (click on the Pattern Shop" tab under my blog banner to go to my shop). Pattern downloads of my 3 free patterns on Craftsy have been brisk, and some quilters out there have also bought my Wandering Geese pattern.  I’m encouraged to keep honing my pattern writing skills!