Friday, June 24, 2016

Another Delay

I should be working on my Finish-Along list; I think the second quarter projects are supposed to be finished by July, but I took a slight detour.

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is asking for help with their charity quilt project for victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Specifically, 10" heart blocks or finished quilts with a heart theme that measure at least 48"x60". Rainbow colors. The details can be found here.

I do a lot of charity quilts and feel motivated to help with this cause. I think it's okay to delay the other stuff I need to do and get this one done.

It's going pretty fast; about 8 more blocks to make, and I can get a top put together. 

Is any one else participating?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Paper Piecing

I finally got the June Saturday Sampler block done.

The block is 16"x20". I don't think I realized it wasn't square until I got it made, and then I was a little surprised. It also took longer than I expected. I'm glad it's finished.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Saturday Sampler

What happened to the weekend? It passed so fast. My Saturday Sampler group met Saturday morning at Quilters Patch. I've been participating every year for about the last 15+ years. Every month we get a new block and also get to see the all the new fabric lines, books, BOM's, etc. The 2016 Saturday Sampler is a quilt called Star Gazing. The block so far:
 January (r) and February (l)

The June block is paper pieced. I'll get it done this week and post a picture.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It's Gotta Be Done

No sewing happening here. It's hard to sew when the sewing machine is covered with "stuff". My friend Alan had helped me about a month ago in an attempt to reorganize my sewing room, but after moving stacks from one side of the room to the other, we came to the conclusion that true organization was going to require emptying the room. That's not what I wanted to do.....the very thought filled me with dread. On the positive side, the room is carpeted, and I have wanted to change the flooring for some time. Also, the current organization system is not working and I need to re-think everything.

I have been busy moving things (fabric, lots of fabric) out of the room. I think it will just have to be stored for a while. I had no idea how much fabric I actually have--every time I move some out, I keep finding more. In the meantime, everything is a huge mess. I know there are bloggers who post pictures of their mess in hopes of maintaining accountability during the process, but no way am I going to post a picture of the current chaos! That seems to me like publicly beating yourself up for things that have gotten out of control. You know what? It happens. My sewing space is not shared with anyone else, so I have no obligation to straighten up each time I leave. Compound that over time, and it's a mess. Add in the fact that sewing itself is a messy hobby, and double the mess factor. Again, it's my room, and I am not going to beat myself up over it.

I have, however, looked at lots of pictures on Pinterest of finished sewing rooms, and that was fun. I learned a couple of things from the pictures. First, I don't want a space that has no color. The solid white walls and solid white furniture and solid white cabinets don't inspire me. Second, spaces that are totally uncluttered (like when everything is inside drawers and cabinets) seem really sterile to me. I don't want my favorite room in the house to look like the operating room in a hospital. I've already said I don't want carpet, and that reminds me that I don't want the popcorn finish on the ceiling anymore either. So, that gives me enough of a plan to forge ahead. I just have to keep at it until it's done!

Friday, May 27, 2016

String Star Tutoral, Part 2

I'm happy to say I completed 5 blocks in less than an hour last night. The construction is pretty mindless once all the background squares are marked and ready to go, and while I'm not always into mindless sewing, it's pretty therapeutic after a long day at work.

Here are the instructions for how I added the strings to the background squares:

Lay the first strip against one of the drawn lines, right sides together. Note the white line is not the stitching line, it's just a guide for placement of the strip. The stitching will be 1/4" from that edge. Remember the 3-1/4" measurement? The reason I added the quarter inch was to accommodate the seam allowance. The sewn strip will actually be 3" from the corner.  I pinned the strip down so it wouldn't shift under the presser foot.

Once the stitching is completed, iron the strip open:

One thing to remember: don't skimp on the pressing. The strips need to be very flat before the next one is added.

Do the same thing on the other drawn line:

Right sides together, and placed just inside the white line. Then add the next strip to the outside of the previous one:

I drew a pink line of the last picture to show which edge to stitch. After stitching, open the strip out, and press it. Keep adding strips until the black on the sides is completely covered.

At this point, I didn't try to trim them to the correct size, but I did some rough trimming (about 1/4" outside the black square) just to reduce the bulk.

I'm really pleased with the way they are turning out and can't wait to get some more done!

Stay tuned for more progress. By the way, it you try this tutorial, leave me a comment and let me know how it worked out for you. Feedback is good! I'd love to see pictures of your blocks and will post them here if you want to email them to me.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

String Star Tutorial

I have this picture pinned to my Pinterest board, and there's something so attractive about it, I must have looked at it dozens of times.

Photo from:

I have tried to find tutorials for the blocks, but all the pictures I have pinned take me to a site or blog that references a book called "String Quilt Revival".  I'm sure it's a wonderful book, but I really can't convince myself to buy it yet. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I can figure this out myself. I'll post the steps so (1) I have something to refer back to if it becomes a UFO (not that unlikely), and (2) so anyone else who wants to make their own won't have to figure it out for themselves.

I did find a Nancy Zieman tutorial where she cut kite shapes from her solid fabric and added strings to the sides, but I think it would be easier to cut solid squares and just mark where to start adding string strips. So, what size squares? I decided to cut them 8", mainly because I figured removing the selvedges from my solid fabric would leave me about 40" of usable fabric, and 8 goes into 40 exactly five times. Four of the 8" blocks sewn together to make the star pattern will give you a block that finishes at 15", so again, another easy measurement to work with.

Step 1 would be to cut 8" strips from whatever fabric you are using for the background. Mine is black:

Then remove the selvedges and subcut into 8" squares.

Using a white chalk pencil, I marked one corner of each square 1/4" from each side:

Turn the square to the opposite corner and mark the two sides 3-1/4" down from the corner. This is one of those times when a picture is worth a thousand words. Hopefully the white chalk marks show up in the pictures:

Once you have four marks connect them by using your ruler to make straight lines as shown in the next picture.
This is all a little time-consuming with the marking, but my reasoning is that once I take the time up front to get the squares made, I can sit down and just sew, sew, sew.

That's probably enough for now; check back in a few days, and I should have something posted on how to add the strings.

Update: I was asked how I chose the measurements for marking the blocks. The 1/4" in the first corner is so the strips will overlap, and you won't lose those nice, sharp points when joining the squares together. The 3-1/4" measurement was just a nice, middle-of-the-road choice that is entirely up the maker. If you want star points that are skinnier or fatter, you could decrease or increase that measurement. You may want to try a few variations to see what is most pleasing to you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two More Finished

I finally got some pictures of the quilts I finished last week.

This one will most likely go to the Nazareth Academy Fall Benefit for their auction. It's quilted with an all-over leaf design. Traditional double-fold binding made from the same fabric as the border and stitched down by machine.

This one is for Quilts for Kids:


I like the Hello Kitty Fabric and hope it will bring a smile to a little girl who is in the hospital. I used the same print for the back and brought the backing fabric to the front for a fold-over binding which is stitched down by machine.

The next pic is totally unrelated to quilting, but these are blooming in the flower bed and are such a pretty color!