Friday, December 27, 2013

Coloring Outside the Lines

With only 5 more days left of 2013, I am trying to wrap up a few things. Do you remember my Giant Vintage Star quilt? My son asked if he could hang it in his apartment above his sofa. Since this is a square quilt and not long enough for a bed, I said, "Sure." Last night I spent some slow stitching time putting on a hanging sleeve. Today I prepared and sewed on the label.
Years ago I bought some fabric quilt labels and I had never used them.  They are meant to be colored in with colored fabric pens. So, I pulled out some fabric crayons.The last time these crayons were used was when I helped my eldest granddaughter's 2nd grade class make a quilt for a school fund-raiser. That granddaughter is now a sophomore in college!

Have you ever tried to use crayons after a bunch of 2nd graders have used them? There were no pointed tips left on them. Well, that's my excuse for coloring this label outside the lines. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Hee!

Actually, I kind of like the look of it. I forgot to put the date on the label. I used a Micron pen to add that after this photo was taken.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 
to all my blogging friends! 

I had hoped to post another quilting project before Christmas, but, alas, it was not to be. Where does the time go?  I'm headed to the kitchen to start baking for tomorrow... banana nut bread to send home with my son and pecan pie. Maybe some other yummys! 

Ya'll stay safe and happy! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

My First Tutorial - Easy Flying Geese

Today I am posting my first tutorial. Please bear with me. I had worried about making this Expanding Star block because of the small flying geese units. But, the directions were so simple and fun for making these, I just have to share with you.

Making Four Easy Flying Geese Units

First you will need to decide what will be the finished unit size. For the light color fabric add 1 1/4 " to your chosen size. For instance, in this case the finished width of my unit will be 3",  so I cut out a 4 1/4" square (3"+ 1 1/4" = 4 1/4"). You will need 1 square of light fabric to make 4 units. 

Then, decide how tall your geese units will be and add 7/8" to that measurement. My geese unit are 1 1/2" finished, so I cut 4 dark squares that were 2 3/8" square (1 1/2" + 7/8" = 2 3/8") to make the 4 units.
(The colored squares in this photo are different from those I made my units with.)
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each dark square. I just used a lead pencil.

Now place 2 dark squares on the light square diagonally across from each other, right sides together. They should line up as shown in the photo below. I secured with a couple of pins to prevent shifting.

Stitch 1/4" on each side of the marked line.

When both sides of the line are stitched, cut on the drawn line.
You will end up with 2 of these funny looking units. My first thought was, "What the heck?" LOL

Now, set one of those units aside and place one marked dark square on the corner of the light triangle as pictued below.
Once again, stitch 1/4" on either side of the marked line. Then cut on the marked line. 

Here is the result, two perfect flying geese units. I have trimmed the dog ears off the top unit.
Now, repeat the last steps with the remaining funny-looking unit, for 4 complete flying geese units.

Please feel free to let me know if any of these instructions are difficult to understand. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Am A Block Head

This past week I started working on a couple of blocks of the month (BOM). One of the BOM's was actually from my LQS in 2011. Seems like even longer ago. I got the first block and tried to put it together. I had recently retired and was re-acquainting myself with my sewing machine. I had that machine for 10 years, but had done very little sewing on it. I kept stitching the block and then taking out the stitches. I could not seem to get a 1/4" seam. I put the block together, but I was not satisfied. Plus, the day I picked it up was the day Gabby Giffords and others were shot. So, that put a negative spin on it, too. I set the whole project aside until this past week. Do you ever get discouraged and just set your project aside for long periods?

A few days later I realized all I had to do was press a button on my machine and the needle would move over. It makes a perfect 1/4" seam. Well, duh! But, for some reason I kept collecting my blocks from the quilt shop each month and just stored them away. Recently, I got that block out and ripped all the seams and re-stitched it. I love it! The quilt is a star sampler made with civil war reproduction prints.
I cut out the next star and stitched it. It had a really fun trick for putting it together. I like it better than the first one.
My hubby is always asking me who I am making a particular quilt for. He loved this one, so I told him it was for him. Of course, it is large enough for our bed. I'll be able to enjoy it, too.

Since I was on a roll, I made the first block of my Blackbird Lane BOM quilt. You can see a photo of the pattern here. I am still ranting somewhat about this BOM experience. When I got ready to make the first block there was no black print fabric. I called and they sent a very large piece of black print. I made the first block. Wish that plaid fabric had been straighter.
Yesterday they sent the fabric for this month. But, still no instructions on what they are for. I am almost afraid to cut into them. Guess I'll work on civil war stars until I know for sure.

What are you working on today?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Random Sunday Thoughts

Last week at my quilt guild meeting the out-going vice-president gave a small gift all who had done a ruler or technique demo during the year. I was thrilled when I opened mine. She had crocheted us each a spindle doily. I know you have seen them on Bonnie Hunter's blog. I had wanted to make one for my featherweight for a while. But, that would mean I would have to search for get out my crochet thread first. LOL Isn't it perfect?
Do you belong to a quilt guild? My guild is rather large. We usually have about 80-100 attendees at each meeting. Gathering with others who share this passion is so fun and rewarding. If I'm ever in a slump I get inspired once again during Show and Tell. What amazing talents! Plus, I have learned so much from these wonderful ladies. They are so willing to share tips and shortcuts.

For the last month or so I have been talking about learning to applique. Well, I finally made the plunge. I started my project this week and have made some headway. It has been good for the most part. I had been buying different colors of Kimono silk thread for a while. Then, I thought, "What if it's difficult to work with? That thread is not cheap." But, I'm happy to say that I found it very easy to sew with. I do need to watch carefully because occassionally I would leave a small loop of thread. I'll need to work on getting my stitches to be a little more uniform, but all in all I think I did fairly well. Here is my progress so far.
I tried a couple of different techniques on the leaves. The rose was clipped, turned under and basted through the fabric and the freezer paper. The paper and basting will be removed just before I put in the last stitches on the rose. Then, I have to learn how to layer the other pieces of the rose.
Hopefully you can see the basting stitches in this photo. I used white hand-quilting thread because it is thick and easy to remove.

I am linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching here. Check out what others are slow stitching today.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching

I have been talking about applique for a while now. I think it is finally time to start that project. This morning I auditioned some fabrics for my first applique project. A background for the applique needs to be chosen. I'll probably go with a plain, natural muslin. The real stumper is that little bird wing. Such a tiny piece, but I haven't found the right one for it in my stash. Most of my blues seem to have too much gray in them. Or, the print is too large.
I love the red rose fabric for the corners. This is my focus fabric. Hopefully, I will find time to cut out these pieces today. I am excited to finally try my hand at applique.

In the meantime, I have continued to hand-piece my Triangles of the Past quilt. As you can see, it is nearly 36" square at this point. Wish I had room for a real design wall. The next row is all blacks. I need more black prints in my stash. Any one want to donate a 4"x6" piece of black print from your scraps? LOL 
This is moving along quickly. I just pop my Ipod Nano in my ears and stitch away. Right now I'm listening to "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. I really like the narrator and the way she pronounces the unusual (to me) names and places. What do you do to entertain yourself as you stitch?

Today I am linking up the Kathy's Quilts-Slow Sunday Stitching here.