Saturday, April 15, 2017

Finishing Projects Left and Right

While I want to get my big queen-sized Aunt Gracie's Garden quilt, I've done a couple of other projects. The first - and most fun for me - is my Halloween Dresden plate quilt top. It's all done, and I just need to find the time to sit down and get it quilted.


I love it! I fell completely in love with the cauldron blocks; they're my favorite next to the ghost block. It's the first of two or three Halloween quilts I'll be making this year. One of these days, I'll finally get to quilting the Christmas quilt top I finished three years ago. Ugh.

It was also time to swap out the placemats on my dining room table. I've had the same autumn-themed ones there since late August. I finished a couple of 12" blocks from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book and turned them into placemats with little pockets for the silverware. I'm a leftie so I moved the pocket on my placemat to the left. :)


I'm more of a fall/winter guy, but I do love how these look super springy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Holiday Projects...Already?

I've been putting off this project, and the fabric's been collecting dust, so it was time to do something about it. I know it's still March - though barely - but Halloween fabrics are hitting the market soon, so I'm in the mood. When this happens, I have to get to work or the feeling fades pretty quickly.


I've had this bundle of fabric for a while, Spooky Delights by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda Fabrics, and I'm finally putting it to use. I didn't even really have a real design idea when I sat down in front of the machine, but sometimes that's okay. Today it seems to have worked out, judging by block one anyway.


I decided on a cream spider print from the Happy Hauntings line by Riley Blake. Fun, right? Or creepy. I'll take fun or creepy.


I cut some 5" x 2.5" pieces from strip sets (which always feels like it takes foreeeeeeevvvveeer) and used a Dresden ruler to cut them.


Cutting is the worst part of quilting for me. I'll take ironing over it anyday, but pairing up the different fabrics for each block alleviates some of the boredom that task manifests. To lessen that monotony even more, I turned on one of my favorite Halloween films...



Halloween II. It's one of those movies I can recall seeing for the first time, and it's stuck with me all these years later. But back to the fabric!


Chain piecing the units through the machine is the fun part for me. Once I'm in the groove and let the machine do it's work by gobbling up each piece of fabric, I can feel the project coming together. A string of Dresden petals is kinda festive, like a series of pennants. Except even better, because they're Halloween pennants!

🎃  🎃  🎃  🎃  🎃

After that the Dresden plate comes together rather quickly.


It's cute enough on its own I think, but I figured I was going to be bored with just a plain circle in the center of the plate. That's when the idea clicked to add a Halloween-themed applique to the middle. It was also partially inspired by Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie sew-along. I had too many projects in the hopper or on hold (this being one of them) to participate, but I think this will fill that void. I'll to an a few different appliques to the center circle, but this is the first fella that came to mine.


Isn't he cute? My embroidery skills are really pretty basic, but I'd have to put them to use to give this fella some eyes and a mouth.


There he is in his final...resting place? I opted to applique him with black thread to give him a little more definition and make him stand out from the cream background fabric. His eyes aren't as even as I'd like them to be, but I shan't stress about it. I'll figure out some friends for him to be the center of the other blocks.

This is a quilt I'm looking forward to finishing. I just have to make sure I don't make it all up as I go along.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Present to You - Aunt Gracie's Garden

I am done with this quilt top. DONE! Over three months in the making, and I'm so thrilled to be done with it. Not only because I love it, but because it was a challenge. Piecing the blocks wasn't terribly difficult and, in pieces, the applique itself wasn't either. However, there are a lot of applique pieces and getting them on was so time consuming.

At first, I wasn't sure if I should attach the borders and then add the applique or add the applique to the border and THEN attach the borders. I'm glad I did the applique first. It's quite a chore cajoling a queen-sized quilt around the sewing table. The corner flowers on the border had to go on last after the borders were attached. Honestly, I was about 60 seconds from throwing things at one point. I'm pretty even tempered, but the moving all the fabric around - and, at one point, getting a grease spot from sewing machine lubricant on the white fabric (gone now, thank goodness) - was frustrating.

By the end of it, I had to trim up the outer border because it had frayed quite a bit after being moved around so much. Mitered borders aren't my favorite and they're far from perfect, but I'm mostly happy with the outcome. Next, she gets quilted. I can't wait for this one to be done! It's the first, and probably last, queen-sized quilt I'll finish. Famous last words...

The quilt is 83" x 105" so it's too big to get a flat shot of the whole quilt in my small house. Here are some photos. Enjoy!










I'm also linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts! She does beautiful work and I love her fun patterns!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chug Chug Chuggin' Along

Small aside: whenever I say "Well, hello!" - which it's often - I say it just like Brenda Dickson in her infamous Welcome to My Home video. Now that you know that...


Well, hello! Look at me offering TWO updates within the same six-month period. Trippy, right? Anywhats.

While I'm not finished with my Aunt Gracie's Garden quilt, I have made some final decisions. Finally. I'd been waffling back and forth between following the pattern and using rick rack for the vines and stems or going with traditional 1/4" bias strips. Let's explore the advantages.

Rick Rack
Quick

1/4" Bias Strips
Looks better
Lasts longer
More options

Yeah, rick rack was only offering me one advantage -- laziness. I threw that idea out the window and got all my bias strips ready for applique.


Pretty cute, eh? Before I did them, I made a test bias strip with one of my fat quarter scraps. I also used it as an opportunity to test the layout of the applique flowers and leaves.


I'm in love with it! I'm also in love, it seems, with putting it off as long as humanly possible. I'm not a hand-appliquer, but even doing it by machine can feel monotonous and never ending. I'll have to stop planting those seeds in my brain and just get down to it. I know that once I do, I'll enjoy the process. It's the mitered corners I'm really dreading, but one step at a time.

In the meantime, I was procrastinating yet again and made this little cutie pie potholder.



Almost too purty to use...almost. It was my first time binding with bias strips, and I'm mostly happy with the results. The part I'm not too pleased with is partially hidden under the loop. I'm not taking part in Lori Holt's most recent sew-along, but I wanted to put some of her fabric and templates to use. Hopefully, I'll have some actual progress on those applique borders to show you in my next update. So...like...a year from now? No! Next week! 😀

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

OMG! REMEMBER ME?!

I'm fairly certain I noted early on in my blog that I'm pretty well terrible at blogging and that I eventually stop keeping up. Well, looky there! It happened...I stopped keeping up. Is it post-election depression? Is it laziness? Is it the coming zombie apocalypse? Who am I kidding - it's laziness. But here I am!

Though I have most definitely been slacking on ye olde blog, the same cannot (thank goodness) be said about my quilting efforts. Here are a few examples of what I've been up to in the past several months.








I've been doing a lot of smaller projects between bigger bed-sized or lap-sized quilts. The Prince love symbol pillow was my first paper-pieced project and was for our annual friends' Christmas gift exchange. My friend Shawna was the recipient and was good enough to share her photo with me, as I forgot to snap one (in my defense, I was on my deathbed with an awful case of the flu). The BB-8 pillow was another paper-pieced project and was really fun! He took the place of the Christmas pillow.


This is a 16.5" squared tabletopper I pieced this weekend. It's a simple pattern I improvised - sixteen 3.5" scrappy green pieces that were snowballed on three corners with 1.5" squares. The stem was appliqued on after the piecing was top. It's on top of my living room end table right now.

Several of these are projects I'm using as a distraction from adding the borders to this beautiful monster...


It's a free pattern from Fons & Porter called Aunt Gracie's Garden. The piecing was fun and not at all difficult - just four-square units, half-square triangles and triangle recs. It's the borders I'm dreading. Mitered corners and applique. Honestly, I don't know what I'm waiting form. I've already made all the applique pieces (flowers and leaves)!





See? It's all right there! I just have to do it. I'll get over it eventually, but till then...why do today what you can put off till tomorrow! 😉

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Boo!

So...it's August. My nieces were visiting from Philadelphia for a couple of weeks and they were taking up all of my time. I'm not complaining! I love them and they keep me on my toes. But it also kept me from sewing. Here I am. Finally. :)

It's time for Halloween decorating, right? Right?! It's never too early, I say! I'm not a summer fan, not at all. The sooner I can start daydreaming about fall (and then, inevitably, winter), the sooner I can forget about the heat and humidity of July and August. Blech!

My aunt Carol Ann is a marvelous quilter, and she sometimes sends me patterns she thinks I'll love. Most recently it was this Hexed Table Runner from Fons & Porter. She knows I love Halloween, and boy did she hit the ghoul on the head with this one! A couple of years ago, I bought two bundles of Riley Blake's Witch Hazel, and it's probably my all time favorite fabric. It's just so evocative of Halloween and all the fables and rituals associated with it (without getting too ghoulish).  I made this quilt from it...


It's a simple pattern I improvised, because I mostly wanted to showcase those gorgeous prints.

Well, I finally dug into that second bundle of fabric. Don't think I didn't try to talk myself out of it! I love it so much I didn't want to part with it. It was my first time working with hex shapes, but it came together rather quickly.


After I decided on the prints, I took a big gulp and cut them into strips!


Then onto the piecing....


It wasn't long at all before I finished my first hex shape!


Not bad at all, right? The rest was a breeze, and before I knew it I had a pieced top. It took me a bit of time to figure out how I wanted to quilt it. I chose a variegated black and grey thread and did a simple grid of wavy lines that gave the impression of a spider's web. Here's a shot of the back...


And the final product?


I love it! I'd love to keep it out year round and pretend that it's always autumn, but it'll be replaced with a Christmas runner in no time. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy it. :)

Today I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Another UFO Bites the Dust!

About a year ago, at the height of my Farm Girl Vintage frenzy, I was doing projects left and right. It was around this time that I realized my "style" or quilting, so I took advantage and made project after project. No harm there! However, I have a few unfinished projects here and there in my sewing room as a result fo the FGV mania. This weekend, I finally finished one of them.

First up was getting the batting ready. I have so many 6" or 7" wide scraps of batting, most of them leftover from quilts taken to the longer-armer. I can't say it was a real joy to piece them all together, but it did yield enough batting to finish the project.


I butted the pieces up against each other and sewed them together with a wide zig-zag stitch then flipped them over and did the same on the other side. Stitching a second time may not have been necessary but I wanted to be sure they wouldn't come apart. A good pressing with the iron flattened them out nicely.

The main aim was to "git 'er done!" so I opted for a quick straight line quilting job. Easy peasy! Typically, I'm a fan of attaching the binding by machine and then hand-turning it. I love the look of a binding with no visible stitches, but lately I've gotten a lot better at doing the binding completely by machine. That's now my go-to binding method for some projects, mostly quilts that aren't going to end up on a bed or a lap. Within four hours, I had four of these little cuties quilted and bound...


The design was inspired by the Blue Plate Special pattern. This particular placemat is mine; I'm a lefty, so the cutlery pocket is on the left. ;) Although I have a couple projects that I've yet to finish from when I first learned to sew and quilt three years ago (don't judge!), I was happy to tick this year-old project off the list! Not only did I get satisfaction from that, but the patchwork pumpkin design also somewhat sated my desire for autumn. I am not a summer lover, and I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures, shorter days and those comforting foods of fall. These will be on our dining room table for a while.

Lastly, I finished my aunt's quilt - the Jinny Beyer project that scared me half to death and ending up being not so terrible - and mailed it off to her, but I completely forgot to take a photograph of the finished quilt! Ugh. She was kind enough to share a photo of it with me.


I'm happy that she is so happy with it!

I'm linking up again with Sew Fresh Quilts this week. Lorna is so creative and makes beautiful patterns...go give her a visit. Now if you'll pardon me, I have to make a torturous decision - start a fun, new project or tackle a long-idling one. Decisions! Decisions!