Monday, November 14, 2016

Moving Along

I have been making progress on these blocks:
Making blocks is fun, but figuring out how to put them together is the hard part. I still had lots of the 4" squares that were used to make the quilt, and I had used some to make little nine-patches so I had a head start on this:
Since I took the picture, I've added two more rows. Progress is good. I'm trying to think ahead to the border and at least get a plan so I don't get paralyzed at that step. If I have enough of the 4" squares left, maybe I can just sew them together into a border. If I don't have enough left, I'll have to figure out something else.
Here's a few pictures I took at the Houston Quilt Festival:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Two More POTC Blocks

I have two more of the Patchwork of the Crosses blocks  done and several more cut out and ready to stitch. It's a good project for watching TV.

It's definitely not a fast process, but I'm enjoying it, and that's all that matters. 

I am still working on the never-ending job of cleaning out the sewing room, and I can finally say I'm making some progress. I have put everything together that goes together and am getting it all organized. I have found more and more projects that need to be completed, and now that I have all the blocks, patterns, etc. grouped together, I should be able to get some of them completed. I found a bunch of completed blocks and have all the parts and pieces together. I think I have enough of them done to get a quilt top together. I just need to figure out a sashing and border that's wide enough to make the most of the blocks I have done (about 42, I think). 

All the completed blocks.

I had better take a closer looks at the blocks; it looks like there's one in the pic that needs to be re-made. 

Tomorrow I am headed to Houston to the International Quilt Festival. It should be a fun day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A New Diversion

I feel like I'm late to the party (again). It seems like the Patchwork of the Crosses quilt blocks have been a big thing for about the past two years, and I guess I just didn't notice. I'm sure I saw them on various blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., but it never really registered. Until a few weeks ago. All of sudden, the blocks are everywhere I look!

I really do like English Paper Piecing, so it was just a short leap into POTC. I ordered a starter kit from The Featherweight Quilt Company on Etsy, and since Alan had a birthday coming up,  I ordered one for him too. The kit has the papers, enough fabric to make one block, a template, and needles. Cake and coffee were not included.

Here's a pic of Alan cutting his out:

It wasn't a fast process, but I got the block done.

I've gotten a few more blocks cut; cutting is slow too, but it's so addictive! I'm really having fun with it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The End of Summer

I've always associated Labor Day with the end of summer. I like summer (even the hot weather) and don't like seeing it end. Fall and winter seem so much busier, and the shorter daylight hours don't help. One good thing about Labor Day was the long weekend (four days off for me). I could have used the extra time to sew, but headed to the beach instead.

There were a lot of people who had the same idea on Saturday and Sunday, but Monday was perfect. Not very many people out, and the weather was so nice.

You can still see the tire tracks from all the cars that were there on Sunday.....

We took the dogs along for some exercise; neither one of them really likes the water, but they were happy to get the walk.

I left right after lunch so I could avoid any heavy traffic. I'm glad I made time to go; sometimes it's a nice break to do nothing productive, and that's exactly what I did! I'm considering taking my featherweight sewing machine down there so I can sew if I want to, but I need to replace the motor brushes first, and for now I'm okay with having an occasional unproductive holiday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pulse Quilt Progress

I'm happy to report that I got the top done for my donation quilt for the Pulse Nightclub shooting victims.

I don't know why I was dragging my feet so much on getting the borders on. It probably took all of 30 minutes. I clearly prefer starting projects to finishing them, which might explain all the UFO's.  

I have a quilt already loaded on the frame, so the goal for the weekend will be to get it quilted and get this one loaded. I haven't figured out the backing yet. I may just go buy about 4 yards of solid white.

Monday, July 11, 2016

3rd Quarter Finish-A-Long

2016 FAL
It's time to link my list of proposed finishes for the 3rd Quarter Finish-A-Long. I managed to get three projects finished last quarter in spite of lots of interruptions and a tough schedule at work. We'll see how it goes this time.

1) Finish the quilt for the pulse nightclub victims.
2) Binding and label for this quilt:
This one was on the list last quarter, but never made it to the finish line.
3)  Binding and label for one I finished quilting last quarter.

4) Finish this monster:

It needs two more borders, quilting, binding, labeling.

5) Get my top made from last quarter's list (it is cut out now):
6) Make a couple of hair bands: 
7) I hope to get at least two more quilts made for the Quilts for Kids charity.  
8) Two American Girl outfits need to be done, and

9) This American Girl doll quilt needs to get completed:


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Third Finish

I had to add a seperate post to link the third quilt. The original post is here.

I don't know if I'll be able to get a fourth finish done or not, but probably not. I'll add everything I didn't complete to my third quarter list. Hey, it was a pretty ambitious list.

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.