Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thankful for Slow Stitching Sunday

I have spent a lot of time behind my machine this week.  A lot of sewing and trimming was going on.  These little 4.25 inch paper pieced pineapples blocks take a lot of time.  Of course, laying the fabric on one side and stitching on a printed line on the other side of the paper doesn't help.  After doing a few seams I get into the groove, but, there was many a time that the fabric would flip back and I would sew and have to pick out a few stitches.  You would think I would double check that the fabric was laying flat exactly where it needed to be. LOL I finally got into the habit of placing the fabric in place and then hitting it with my iron. That pressing seemed  to help keep the piece in place so that I didn't have to pin.
Then with each seam you have to fold back that paper and trim adding that quarter inch.  Of course there was the time I forgot to add the quarter inch about 3/4 thru the block so I had to start that one all over.  I know for a fact that I have trimmed off more fabric and thread than there is remaining in the block.  But those little pineapple blocks are so cute and yes even worth the effort.  But, I am so thankful that today I can sit and relax and stitch on row 29 of TATW.







I have two sides done and hope to finish the other two sides today.  Maybe I will cut and get the squares prepared for the final row of squares. Now there is something to celebrate!!!!!! Hope you have something relaxing planned for today. I will be linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday!



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Planning

This last week we have enjoyed some cooler weather. Although mid 80's seem warm for some of you, down here in Arkansas mid 80's in August is a blessing!  The cooler nights really get me to start thinking about getting Baltimore Garden ready for hand quilting. It's a large quilt so getting it sandwiched and pin basted will be a big job.  I started a few weeks ago making some templates for some of the shapes I want to use on the open background spaces.



I also placed my order for quilting betweens.  I ordered ten packages of 20 needles.  Hopefully that will be enough to finish this quilt! I am using YLI thread in natural. I love using a thread a bit darker than the background that I will be quilting.


After spending two years making the blocks and border and putting them together, it is now time to start the final leg of quilting it.  I want to honor the original quilt maker by using some of the same shapes provided in the pattern.  The quilt is quilted much like quilts in it's day. Shapes floating around with heavy background quilting.  I'm a bit apprehensive about starting. Will I  like the results?  There is only one way to know and that is to get started.

I have a few things I want to finish up before summer comes to an end. First,. I need to add the final rows of TATW. I started row 29 yesterday afternoon! Whoo Hoo!  I also have the fabric for row 30 chosen!  Then a row of black quarter square triangles to square it up and it will be a completed top.


 I printed out some paper foundations for a miniature pineapple quilt back in May. They have been shuffled back and forth from  one stack to another.  So earlier this week, I started piecing all nine blocks.  I have  14 seams out of 49 seams done on all nine blocks.  I find when I paper piece it is better to work on all the blocks at the same time and repeat each seam in each block.  It just makes it much easier for my brain to get it right.  A little miniature top will make a great warm up piece to get me back to hand quilting since it has been a while!

My stack of nine blocks ready for seam #15

Hopefully all nine will look like this soon!  This was a sample block that I made earlier this summer.  Then I need to think about how to set these blocks you know sashing, no sashing, on point, not on point, border, no border.  Would love to hear how you would lay out the nine pineapple blocks!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Out of Control!

Today I will be joining Kathy over at Slow Stitching Sunday as I try to finish row 27 of my TATW.  Row 30 will be bringing this quilt to it's final size.  I find when I get this close to finishing a project that it takes control of me and becomes my focus.  All my other projects will take a back seat as I work on these final rows.



As I stitch today, I will start asking this quilt how it wants to be quilted.  I already know that  the quilting will take a back seat on this one.  The graphic design will play the lead role. Yet those stitches will play a big supporting role.
Isn't it wonderful that a simple shape like a square can turn into something so wonderful. As I add each new round this quilt has surprised me.  My goal was to use pieces of fabric that have been in my stash way too long and to get comfortable with hand piecing.  My fabric choices depended on whether there was enough to do each round.  Yes totally out of control here, but it sure has been a fun project!
I was a bit concerned after row 26 Getting a bit boring!


But these polka dots saved the day!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer finish #2

Yes I am stitching down binding again!  Always a good time to reflect on all the work that went into a quilt.  This is a little quilt I made a couple of summers ago.  Another attempt to use up some plaids!  I made it to go into my car so when we travel to my sons house we can use it as a tablecloth at a rest area or for me to cover up as my husband likes a cooler temp than I do most of the time.  There is something about simple baskets that is very appealing.



Again I practiced my machine quilting.  I used a technique called echoing in on the individual basket blocks.  For the sashing I kept it simple and did straight line quilting.  I discoverd I didn't do a very good job with measuring on this quilt as the sashing didn't quite line up.  Of course, it didn't really become a problem until I tried quilting some straight lines!  LOL  But it's not going to be in a quilt show and it has a folky look to it, so it is what it is!  I am linking up with Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday, hope you will join us!


Monday, August 10, 2015

A Finish!

Finishes are wonderful aren't they!  Such a good feeling when all your hard work results in a wonderful quilt!  I started Country Roads several summers ago to use up some old stash.  The pattern is Simply Woven from Moda Bake Shop and really is a fun project.  The results are a quilt that looks much more complicated than it is!



I knew when I made this quilt, that I would machine quilt it as we can't hand quilt them all.  So I chose to try spiral machine quilting to finish this one!  I don't know if I will ever master free motion quilting but walking foot quilting is doable and now that I have my second quilt under my belt I am feeling more comfortable with it.  My shoulders are relaxing, but I still need to remind my self to let the machine do the work and by going slow and adjusting enough it can go quite smoothly.



I have to give a shout out to Cathy over at Sane, Crazy, Crumbly Quilting who was so kind to give me a heads up on how to finish the very beginning of the spiral. The walking foot doesn't let you go much smaller than a four inch circle.  So she suggested marking and
using a regular foot to finish off the spiral.  It worked wonderfully.  I used my open toe foot so I could see exactly where I was going! Thanks Cathy!

I use Hobbs Poly/Down batting and even though it is pretty heavily quilted when it came out of the wash it was nice and soft.  I am so glad that I have given machine quilting another go!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Slow Stitching Sunday

It's been a while since I have done any slow stitching! This summer has been filled with a lot of machine piecing and even some machine quilting.  This week I finished up the machine quilting on Country Road.  My first attempt at spiral quilting.  I must say it was very enjoyable!!!!  Country Road is a lap quilt that only measures 58X68 so it was managable for me under the throat plate of my domestic machine.  I loved that you could just keep stitching until the bobbin runs out! When I machine quilt I always bring the bobbin thread to the top and later knot it off and bury the thread into the quilt very much like when I hand quilt. My machine has a locking stitch but I really don't like the look of that slew of tiny stitches. So fewer starts and stops is a plus in my book.  Starting in the center is a bit intense, but soon you are on your way.










So I am pleased today that I can put in a few more slow stitches as I finish stitching the scrappy binding down.  I am very pleased with this scrap buster quilt.  Even the back was pieced together from scraps!  So when it came to the binding it was worth the extra effort to use scraps to make the binding.  This quilt was started to use up some scraps and I thought it would be a quick project, but as usual I let the quilt dictate what it needs.  Then it is just a pure joy to work on and the time it takes to finish it doesn't matter anymore.  I will be linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday to see what others are stitching today as I put in the final binding stitches!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July's update!


Where does the time go?  It definitely is time to update the blog with what I have been doing!   My focus this month was to finish up my Tribute to George quilt.  I was able to use all of my blocks except the embroidered cherries and I have decided it will become the label for the quilt so it will be included it will just be on the back.  I am pleased that my challenge to make some blocks and bring them together into a quilt top was successful!



Tribute to George will move into the closet waiting it's turn to be quilted.  Which brings me to thinking about pulling Baltimore Garden out to prepare it for quilting.  I worked on some templates of shapes that I will use in the open background areas.   I love that Barbara Burham included the quilting designs on the pattern.  The plan is to fill in with some closely quilted lines or echo quilting. So this one is going to take a while but should be a lot of fun!



I have decided on my next project.  Trailing Vines a quilt first made by Susan Mc Cord from Indiana.  Her quilts are just amazing!!!!!!!!  Janet over at Quiltsalott did a sew along a few years ago and generously offered her rendition.  So that is where I will start!

First a lot of tracing needs to happen


I have prepped the stems on the first panel so now on to prepping the leaves.  I hope to use up the small bits of fabric leftover from the previous scrappy quilts I have made.  It will be my go to project for a while when I want to put in some applique stitches.


TATW is still hanging around. Row 24 is finished and I have two sides done on Row 25.  I know that Row 30 is close at hand, we will see if my stash can get me there.  I am very close to 50 inches square which makes for a nice size throw.


I have spent so much time working on tops that I really am missing my favorite part of quilt making and that is the quilting.  Last year I took a craftsy class to help me with my machine quilting skills.  I did some straight line quilting on my granddaughters quilt.  This time I am trying a spiral quilting pattern.  This scrap quilt was a Moda Bake Shop pattern called Woven.  I made it for my husband and am naming it Country Road!  


Starting was the most difficult part!
Day One !  The first bobbin got me this far!
Day 2 Bobbin two!
Day 2 Bobbin 3
Finishing this one will be my focus next week!