Tuesday, January 29, 2013

String Geese - Adding the Side Triangles

I have over 60 geese made--time to add some side triangles. Do you remember the original vintage quilt? It had peach-colored side triangles and I wanted that same look. Unfortunately, the peach color I have is pretty anemic looking. :(

I have probably over three yards of it, it's not likely I'll use it for anything else, and the whole purpose of this is to use up some of the leftovers that are just taking up space.

The first thing is to trim the geese even with the foundation papers.


Lay your ruler along the side even with the paper and trim.

 Here's one that's been trimmed on all three sides:
You can remove the paper foundations after trimming the geese, but I prefer to leave mine on until the side triangles are added. It gives more stability to all those strings which are now cut on the bias. The papers are a little tougher to remove after adding the sides, but it's worth it to me to have the stability of the paper when sewing.

I used my Easy Angle ruler to cut the side triangles, but if you don't have one you can cut 4-7/8" squares and cut them on one diagonal to get two right triangles. With the Easy Angle, I cut several 4.5" strips, stacked them, and used the ruler to cut my triangles.  

First, remove the selvege edge!

Sew a triangle to one side and press away from the string center.

Now add the other triangle:

This is what they will look like once they are sewn together:

I'm really noticing how beige my peach looks.........I think it will just have to do since I already have it on hand (and I've already cut a bunch of 4/5" triangles from it).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

String Geese Update

I counted the completed "geese" and there are 20 done. Pretty good considering I didn't spend very much time at the sewing machine all week. I am setting a goal for tonight to get 20 more finished while I watch Downton Abbey. When I get to 54 I'll be at the halfway point! Maybe I need a Downton Abbey marathon.... 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What I'm Working On

I'm string piecing flying geese. What a great way to use up some small strips of fabric! Bonnie Hunter posted a pic on her blog of a fabulous vintage quilt here earlier last month, and I just loved it so much I couldn't get it out of my mind. String piecing is the perfect "mindless sewing" project for the hectic holidays, and I for sure have plenty of small pieces that need to be used, so why not??

The problem with seeing the picture on someone's blog is that I didn't have any idea what size the geese needed to be, so I decided to just wing it and make my geese 4" tall and 8" wide. That way it wouldn't take so many to make a reasonable size strippy quilt like the one in Bonnie's picture. You could cut squares to sew the strings to and then cut each square into four triangles, but I want to be able to use the shorter strips that keep left behind on other string piecing projects.

Here's a tutorial on how I am making mine: For the foundations you can use just about any paper or lightweight fabric like muslin. I like the advertising inserts from the Sunday newspapers. The slick shiny ones. They hold up to the small stitches and are pretty easy to tear loose. Whatever you use, cut it into squares 1-1/4" larger than you want the width of the geese. Since I wanted 8" wide geese, I cut my papers 9-1/4 x 9-1/4".

Then slice the squares from corner to corner to create four equal triangles.

Select a string and lay in right side up on the middle of the triangle. I pin the first string to keep it from slipping.

Add another string face down on top of the pinned one aligning the edge.

Shorten your stitch length a little (I use 1.8) and sew a scant quarter inch seam down the aligned edge.
Now open the strip so that both are right side up and press the seam. Here's what mine looks like after pressing.

Continue adding stips by aligning a new piece with the outstide edge of the last one added.
Here are some finished geese--not trimmed yet. See how great these are for using up short stips of fabric?
I generally don't trim mine until I have sewn all the geese, but I just flip the piece over so that the paper is showing, line up the ruler edge with the edge of the paper foundation, and trim the excess off with the rotary cutter. The seam allowances were already figured into the size of the foundation, so they don't need to be added when trimming.

If I use six rows of geese like the original quilt maker did, with three inch sashings in between strips and five inches for the borders, my quilt will be 73" wide. If I use 18 geese per stip, my quilt will be 82" long. (18 x 4" + two 5" borders) Six rows of 18 flying geese means I need 108 string pieced geese. That is why I opted to make mine 4" x 8", bigger geese means less needed for a quilt top.

Stay tuned for more--once I can find the right color solids to complete the flying geese and add the solid stips, I'll write a post about that step.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First UFO Finish of 2013

I finished a really old UFO yesterday--not a quilt, but the curtains I started over ten years ago.

Finished and hung. (Sorry about the TV screen--too heavy to move just for a pic.) Anyway, I'm happy to have something finished!

I still don't know why blogger is getting harder and harder to navigate. It took me a day to get these pictures from my phone to blog land. I originally tried sending them to the computer and loading from the desktop file to my blog. Forget it. Finally just sent them directly from the phone to my blog web address. I probably need to do some research on what changes and "enhancements" have been made to blogger. I'll do that in my spare time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013

  2013 happy new year decorations

Happy New Year! I just know this is going to be a good year. I have been having a tough time since about 2008 when my dad became totally disabled, but each year it gets a little better. Sometimes when I think I just can't deal with any more stress, pressure, expectations, etc., I find out I can deal with it. It just takes time to adjust to it all. One good thing that has come out of the entire ordeal is that I've learned what not to do to my own daughter. My dad has always been private about his business and his personal life, and I've respected that. That's a mistake! Just because you think you're ten-feet tall and bullet-proof doesn't make it true. Someone close to you needs to know enough about your personal business to be able to step in and take over if that becomes necessary, because they may be in a position where they have no choice, and it's helpful if they at least know they're acting in accordance with the way you want things done. The first year my dad was totally not in his right mind, and I had to file his income tax, pay his property taxes, make sure all the bills got paid, you name it. I wasn't even sure what he owned, much less what needed to be done about it. Luckily I knew his CPA, and that helped a lot. So the moral to this story is to write everything down, keep it updated, in an accessible spot, and make sure someone knows where it is! Talk to them, and let them know you trust them to whatever is necessary. In fact, that would be a good New Year's resolution.

On the subject of resolutions, here are some good ones for quilters (they're not original to me, I copied them from the Superior Threads January 2013 Newletter):

1. I will read my machine’s Owner’s Manual.
If it puts you to sleep, at least read the Tension chapter.  If you do not have the Owner’s Manual, go to Google and type in “machine brand, model number, owner’s manual” and you should find it online.

2.  I will use a thread I have never used before (as long as it’s Superior).
If you like softer and muted colors, try a bright and bold color. If you usually piece with only neutral colors, try matching the piecing thread to the main fabric color. If you applique with cotton, try silk or Bottom Line.  If you usually use fine or medium wt. threads, try a heavier thread just to see the effect. If you use only solids, try a variegated.

3. I will take a class.  There are opportunities to learn and improve skills and techniques at shows, online, at local quilt shops, and at guilds. Our educational Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob DVD is free this month.

4. I will be understanding.
Let’s face it.  Your husband will never understand why you need so much fabric or thread or so many quilt magazines. It’s borderline addiction. Just smile and be thankful that he really has no clue how much you really have. Encourage his hobbies.

5. I will finish a UFO.
We all have them.  Pull one out and commit to finish it. If it isn’t one of your favorites, finish it and then give it to someone who will enjoy it.

6. I will donate some of what I will not use.  
We all have some fabric that was bought years ago and we will probably never use it. Most guilds have a philanthropy or charity arm and would love to use it to benefit those in need. Heather had dozens of quilts she made in her beginning years.  She said they were not good enough to use, show, or even give away.  She offered some to our children and they were thrilled.  One became a nice picnic quilt. Many were donated to the local quilt guild to use for charitable donations.

7. I will share my love of quilting or sewing with another person.
Young children and grandchildren love to learn.  They watch you and would like to try.  A few words of encouragement and some patience from you may be all they need to discover why you love it so much.  Or perhaps there is a neighbor or someone new to the sewing or quilting world who would like to learn.
8. I will step out of my box.
Some people always use Civil War style fabrics; others always use only bright fabrics.  Step out of the box and try something so. . . totally . . . not . . . you!

9. I will create a stitch book to learn the capabilities of my machines.
Make a file of various stitches using different threads.  Write a note next to each stitch stating what thread was used, what needle, and the perfect tension setting.  Then try some decorative stitching in your projects.

10. I will organize my fabric stash.
Whether by type, color, motif, or project, it will be easier to find if well organized.

11. I will learn to use those tools I bought.
We all have them – rulers, gadgets, and accessories that haven’t been touched.

Number 9 is already on my list for this year. I still haven't tried all the stitches on the Janome 7700 I bought over a year ago, and of course, Number 5 is on my list every year--instead of finishing "a" UFO, I need to finish about a dozen!