Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Vacation here I come!

I was able to get my kits completed for the four blocks from Month 4 and Month 5 of the Cheddarback BOM that I will be hand piecing while on  on vacation!  I also got the rest of the blocks for month four and five made.  This means that when I get home from vacation I can start on month 6 which was released Aug 1st.  A decision was made to wait on adding the sashings until all the blocks are made.  Gay suggested stitching them as we go, but I prefer to wait. How about you, what would you do, does it make a difference?

This block from Month 5 was a real challenge for me!  A lot of fussy cutting and challenging to piece

Month 4

Month 5

For now all my blocks are scatterd on the floor!  I love seeing all the different fabrics play off one another and am really looking forward how they will look when sashed in a white and black shirting and red cornerstones! But, the rest of this week will be spend gearing up for vacation!  It will be fun to get away and see family.  But as usual I know I will be ready to come home and am so glad I will have this project waiting for me.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Hand piecing prep!

We are headed to the NW in a few weeks and I was looking ahead to some of the 5 inch blocks in Month 4 of the Cheddarback quilt.  There are three of the four that I think I want to hand piece.  Something that I could do in the car, as we are driving, and help make the time pass.  I don't want to be too distracted as I do love sight seeing.

So today,I need to get out some baggies and prep the three blocks so they will be ready to pack.  I started by picking my fabrics for the three blocks.  So after another cup of coffee, I will start cutting out the templates to cut the pieces.  I like to hand piece blocks that have templates that I can easily cut with a ruler and a rotary cutter.  The next step will be marking the seams so that when I get ready to stitch all I have to do is pin the pieces together and stitch!

Kathy over at Kathy's Quilts reminds us how good hand stitching is for us!  I agree, so I am really excited about hand piecing these three blocks while on the road.  Hopefully, when I get home at the end of August I will have 4 months of block completed.  August will bring us the 6th series of block so maybe I can get caught up before the BOM comes to an end.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Accuracy, Pressing, Hand piecing!

As I have said more than once on my blog. I learned to piece so I would have something to hand quilt.  However over the years, I have tried to get better at my piecing and for the most part I am pleased with the results.  I also remind myself once the quilt is washed all those not so perfect points will never be noticed.   Perfection was never my goal,  but having a quilt that lays flat, and that I can sew together with a smile on my face makes me a happy quilter.

Looking back, most of my problems were due to pressing!  It's so easy to get a block out of whack when you press it. I try to pay much more attention to bias and how I press.  I am also on the starch your fabric first band wagon.  Recently, I watched an episode of Fons and Porter on PBS, and they were using a wetting pen to run over the seams before pressing.  We all know that when fabric get wet is relaxes and it made sense in my mind that wetting that seam could be helpful.  Well being a inpatient quilter I just got an old medicine bottle and a little paint by number paint brush and tried it out.  I was really impressed with the results.  I know some use steam but I don't have much luck with putting water in my irons,  so I use a spray bottle and when I spray the whole block I easily distorted my block.   I am so happy to have found a compromise that really helps get that seam to relax without stretching it.

The following block is a 5 inch finished block from the Cheddarback quilt I talked about in my last post. Sometimes an old fashion block is easier to hand piece in order to get accuracy.  Gay, offered two ways to make the block one by machine and then hand piecing.  The hand pieced block was the identical block from the quilt so I went for it.  It came out quite well.  My first attempt was about a quarter inch too small so I was careful to draw my stitching lines with a bit narrower seam allowance the second time around.

It is also possible to machine stitch the hand pieced block by stopping the stitching at the seam lines as if you were hand piecing it. But, why not enjoy making a block with just your needle and thread? Quilting has been such a challenging hobby for me.  There is always room for improvement and the added plus of the simple enjoyment of stitching.  So mixing up how we construct a block can get you the results you want and also allows you to relax and make a complete block with slow stiches!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cheddarback Quilt

When Gay Boomer over at Sentimental Stitches  takes an antique or vintage quilt and offers a BOM it always peaks my interest.  Cheddarback Quilt is her currect BOM.   This one really tugged at my heart strings enough that I decided to give it a go.

The BOM started about five months ago.  I just started making blocks a few weeks ago.  It's been a busy summer and making a block here and there when I have a few minutes really appealed to me.  I also decided it would be a great way to use up some of my stash.  Heaven knows, I really don't need another quilt at my house, but one more couldn't hurt.

The photo above is month one's set of blocks. So far each month she releases a 12 inch block and four 5 inch blocks.  I think the combination of the two sizes really makes this an interesting sampler quilt.  It's rare that a sampler quilt with sashings will catch my eye, but this one did.

I have also completed month two's blocks!  I know some quilters in the facebook group are trying to use similar fabrics, but I am not taking it to that extreme.  I am excited about using some of my stash and some plaids that I have collected and I ordered a shirting for the sashing and a red print for the cornerstones.

There are alot of blocks in this quilt that I have  never made and some are quite challenging for me.  I am using both my machine and will turn to hand piecing when necessary.  As usual I don't have a deadline and once cooler weather arrives it may get put a side so I can hand quilt.  I love that I no longer feel the need to keep up with a BOM or make every quilt I love.  It's just fun to fit some sewing into my life!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Binding Completed!

I finished up the binding yesterday as I watched the US Women's Soccer team win the World Cup!  Fortunately I had most of it done before the game started.  I am not sure what this pattern is called but it's similar to a Double Wedding Ring.  It washed up nicely with only a few minor stains left.

The rings are not circles but squares with rounded corners

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Soccer and Stitching!

It's been a while since I have written a blog post.  I sure am not getting too much done this summer in the sewing room.  I haven't purchased any fabric yet for the sashing of my hst quilt.  Maybe that will happen later this month, we will see.  One of the projects I wanted to complete this summer was replacing a binding on an old quilt my mother in law owns.  She said she thinks it was made by husband's great grandmother but she isn't sure. The top was given to her when she married into the family and she not being a quilter, had it machine quilted.  It looks to me as if it was made in the 1930's but I am no expert.  She said they used it alot when they first got married so the binding was quite worn and it has a few stains.  Hopefully a new binding will let her enjoy it again!

New binding ready to be sewn on!
The walking foot really makes it easy to sew the binding on by machine!

The old binding was a single fold and I will replace it with a double fold as I prefer working with double fold binding.  I was able to stitch the binding on Saturday and spent the afternoon getting two sides of the binding stitched down.  So today, I plan to get the other two sides finished.    Hopefully, I will get some stitches in while I watch the final game of the Women's FIFA World Cup.  The USA plays the Netherlands a tough opponent.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Outdoor time!

Now that we will be starting our fourth year in Texas, we know that this time of the year is when you have to enjoy the things that are thriving in your yard.  Once the hot summer days come, those plants will go into survival mode and not be as showy.  We have had a lot of rain this spring so everything is  looking great.  I started a flower bed on the back of the house which almost faces completely North.  I know that flowers that bloom need sunshine, but in Texas they also need afternoon shade.  I started out with some yarrow and purple cone flowers a few years ago. I have divided them in the fall so that I could fill in the whole bed.  I love repeating the same flowers throughout the bed.  I also have a few small hostas that I planted around the irrigation heads so the at the water can still spray as it's suppose to.  I am thinking next year Tom is going to need to change out the height of the heads because my perennials are getting larger.

Early this year I added some white lily bulbs and they are so pretty right now.  I also planted a clematis but it will take some time for it to build up a root system before it will show off.  Then a few weeks ago I added the rain lilies.  My latest addition was a hydrangea bush I got for Mother's day!    I hope they surprise me a little later this summer.  A few iris and a few mums that my sister shared with me last summer are coming along.   I am so excited to see how well it is doing. It is a whole lot different growing perennials here than up north.  I will continue to add things I see growing well in this area.  The plants are filling in pretty well, but I know for sure I will be adding some more lily bulbs and would love to find some red tulips that will return year after year. They are getting harder to find since everything started to get hybridized.

 I am so excited to have a southern magnolia planted in the back yard.  Tom has convinced me to add a couple more.  So that may happen next February.  The large white blossoms smell so good, I just wish they lasted longer.


The final picture is a fig tree. It is starting it's third summer with us.  We got quite a few figs on it last year and this year we will probably get two crops.  They are a very interesting tree as they don't flower but produce fruit.  This is the first year it hasn't died back to the ground during the winter.  We thought we had lost it the first year, but after reading up on it it's very common for that to happen until the tree gets to the age of three.  I am very pleased to still enjoy my passion to grow things, although we have scaled back the size of our yard with this move dramatically.  I knew as we are getting older it gets harder and harder to garden the way we used to.  So last year was my last year to have a veggie patch.  I will continue to grow a few herbs and found that planting them in a planter with some flowers it a great way to fit them in.  Tom and I really love going out every day and checking the progress!  Life is definitely good!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hst Quilt

Well, back to work on my hst's!  I finally hand pieced enough hst's that I started assembling them into sixteen patches.  I was inspired by a quilt on Lucy's blog, back in January.  I really need to remind myself that I love quilts that are simple and repeat the same block.  It's all about color and seeing the fabrics play off one another.  I used to struggle with trying to choose fabrics when I first started quilting. Then there was the question of how much yardage should you buy?  Then one day I was weeding the flower garden and realize how all the colors in the garden seem to cohabitate and look lovely, why should it be any different in a quilt.  So my journey into scrap quilts started!  I am much happier to make blocks out of scraps.  You can always throw another fabric into the mix if you aren't sure you have enough of this color or that.  It changed the way I purchased fabric.  It's all about pretty colors, prints and solids.  Less stress and more time to enjoy the time stitching.  But with this process all the units need to be made before a quilt top can start coming together.  I usually don't fret too much about each blocks layout, my only rule is to not have the same color next to the previous color.  Sometimes certain colors take the same position in each block, but mostly it's pretty fabrics stitched together and either pieced or appliqued to a background solid or print. I need 36 scrappy 16-patches for this quilt.
I am finally seeing the bottom of my project box!
First I lay out 16 hst's in a pleasing way!
Then they turn into foursies!
 I have room to lay out about four blocks in my sewing room. I don't always get them all sewn each day but I do try and spend a little time sewing each day.  Hopefully by the end this week, I will have all 36 blocks assembled.  This will be my first scrap quilt that I hand pieced but then machine pieced the blocks and the quilt top together!  It allows me to enjoy some hand piecing, but I don't have to worry about stressing my hands.  I hope that I can keep doing some kind of hand work well into my future.

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