Friday, September 30, 2011

Two Sweet-as-Pie Lap Quilt Finishes

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

My longarm quilter used yellow thread on the top and red on the bottom to quilt an allover design that is suggestive of heat waves and flames.

And, Saskatoon Berry Pie
(a berry similar to a blueberry but sweeter and less juicy)

I love the quilting detail my longarm quilter stitched into this top, extending the yellow thread into the blue border.

And the blue stitching on the back.

You can really see the swirls she quilted into the border from the pic of the back of the quilt.

I lived in Saskatoon for a couple of years in the 1990s.  There was a small bakery I would pass on my walk home from the office and every Friday, I would stop and buy a small pie (a tartlet really), big enough for two servings of pie, my weekend indulgence.  More than a dozen years have passed and I still miss that pie.  The blue in my quilt isn't quite right.  A saskatoon berry is blue with a blush of pinkish purple.  But I was feeling nostalgic when I named these quilts.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2-4-16 Patches - Pattern Chosen

I went back to my original pattern choice to use up some of the 2, 4 and 16 patches I've been making as leaders n' enders - Sunny Lanes.  I have a couple of patterns by that name ripped out of magazines, so I must like the look. There is a free pattern at Quilt Blocks Galore.  I've linked directly to the pattern page here.  The patches I'm using are completely and randomly scrappy, built from 2" strips / scraps given to me by numerous quilters.  I pulled out some of my brights (yellows and oranges) but thought it was a little too bright and I didn't have enough yardage of the yellow I would have chosen.  So I decided to go with some brown and blue for the sashing corners.  Each block will be 12.5" unfinished, laid out like this pic (which will form blue stars and brown squares).

Or like this one (which will form brown stars and blue squares).

Now I just have to decide if I want the stars to be brown or blue.  I made enough sashing to complete four blocks and laid it out on the design wall so that the blues formed a square and the browns formed stars.

Then I switched it all around to see if I liked it better with blue stars and brown squares.

I had pretty much decided on brown stars until I looked at the pics.  Now I'm thinking blue stars.  This pattern is going to produce over three hundred new 2.5" Half Square Triangles because I'm a fan of double-sewing my sew n' flip corners to create bonus HSTs.  I've learned my lesson about tossing them into a bag or box for future trimming though, after finding the box with over 1,000 HSTs during my stash reorganization.  I originally blogged about those here.  (I'm still trimming those little suckers up in batches of 30 a day and may finally be done in another couple of weeks.)  As I make the sashing for my Sunny Lanes blocks, I will be trimming the bonus HSTs as I go.

I cut all the strips and squares today and will start drawing sewing lines on the remainder of the brown and blue squares while watching television.  A double bed sized quilt will only use half of the 4 and 16 patches in my stash, and I have a few more patterns I've found that I'm looking forward to making with the remainder.  After all the low-key brown and blue, I may go wild and bright in the next one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Catching my breath... and slowing down

I made two new blocks for my Traditional Tuesday Sampler.  I am so glad I did that, and not just because of my perfectionist tendencies.  Using five browns and five pinks adds a textural quality to the log cabin blocks that was missing in my first attempts.  And I made sure to square the blocks after each go-round.  Click on the pics to enlarge them for a better view of the fabrics.  I used a couple of faves in them.  The brown with the criss-cross pattern?  That's a fabric from a Basic Grey collection, I bought in a layer cake pre-cut.  I loved that fabric so much, I went back and bought yardage. The other is the outside row of pink - it reminds me of fresh berries for some reason - it's a Thimbleberries tonal.

All my blocks to date.  Don't they look great?

On the radio today they mentioned the s-word.  Snow.  Not that they are forcasting snow - they're forcasting rain, but it is going to be so cold that the rain might just come down in flake form.  I know it's inevitable and it's even overdue (and it won't stay on the ground this time), but it felt like the proverbial second shoe dropping to the floor.  The almost manic and mysterious sense of speed that has been driving me for weeks now came to a screeching halt.

I think the rush to do a million things is a left-over from growing up on a farm.  September brought that sense of hurry to get everything done or lose it all.  Harvesting grain and picking up all the vegetables for canning from the family garden before the first hard frost - we none of us had time to rest much at this time of year.  It is so ingrained that I don't notice I'm doing it until it snows and then I stop and take a big breath.  So now I'm slowing down a little, forcing myself to slow down just a tiny bit, and breathe.

Now I know why I've been making so many strange mistakes these days. What's the old saying - haste makes waste.  I discovered that the two fabrics I pulled from the fling-it bag because I thought they were cotton... were in fact not cotton... which is likely why they were in the fling-it bag to begin with.  All it took was a hot iron to figure that out again - the unmistakable scent of polyester is still in my nose an hour later - yuck.  Back into the fling-it bag.

I dug out my box of four patches and sixteen patches, then sat down to leisurely think about what quilt patterns I would like to use them in.

And I'm going to put some time in hand stitching binding, again in a leisurely manner.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crumb-Along Week 4 - Nine Patches n' Four Patches

I've had a busy sewing day.  Made my weekly block for Jenifer Dick's Traditional Tuesday Sampler, made six more string blocks for Donna's String Quilt w/ 9 Patches, and then escaped all my troubles through some Crumb-Along sewing.  I joined a lot of teeny pieces to make bigger pieces, and tossed about ten partially formed crumb blocks back into the crumb bin at the end of today's sewing.  Maybe my next session will go that much faster.

I started by making some really teeny tiny wonky nine patches.  What a struggle!

I've had a revelation though.  It's not that the crumbs are too small.  It's that my fingers are just too darn big!

I cut some 3.5" random squares in angle cuts and made some wonky four patches.

I made ten crumb blocks today.  Here's the first six.

Every time I do this, I have a favourite block.  This is today's favourite.

And I made three more stars.  I've decided to use these half-framed stars as my border, so I'll need to make quite a few more.  Maybe if I start making them as my leader n' ender and not just on Tuesdays.

Traditional Tuesday and String Blocks too

I made the next block for the Traditional Tuesday Sampler and I blew it by not trimming my 1.5" strips down to 1" strips for the block.  Aaarrrrgggghhh!   I was so delighted by the selection of browns and pinks in my strip box, I completely forgot about the cutting instructions.  Given my perfectionist tendencies, it won't surprise anyone that I plan to make these again tomorrow.  This time, let's see if I can get it right.  (Sigh)  At this rate, I'll have a entire pieced backing made up of rejected blocks.

I made the next row of string blocks for Donna's string quilt w/ 9 patches - at six blocks a week, I'll be done making the string blocks in another six weeks.  Then I can move on to the strip sashing and the teeny 9 patches.

The strings don't seem to be reduced at all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday's block is done - Bring on the Crumbs

It's Monday, and that means it's time for the next instalment of Modern Monday.  I find it's just as easy (almost easier) to make two blocks instead of just one.  Are you making these wonderful blocks?  I started a Flickr Group Pool  - please join and upload your pics.

I pulled out the crumbs and strings for tomorrow and may work a little on Crumb-Along blocks tonight.  Jo's progress on hers has been amazing, and I feel so far behind.  I cut some 2" squares to make more wonky stars. That's how I want to border my crumb quilt.  I only made two star blocks last week and never got back to it.  Now that I've got some 2" neutral squares ready to work with, I can make stars on a whim.  It's fairly easy to find the colourful bits for star points and centres in my crumbs and they work up really quickly.

Or, I might work on the String Quilt w/ 9 patches instead.  I pulled out three strips to use as the centre stripe in making my next six string blocks.  (Six seems to work out just right from a time perspective for me and it's the number of string blocks I need for each row.)  These fabrics are wonderful, at least two of them are from Sandy Gervais collections (I'm not sure which one(s) anymore).  I starched my foundation fabric blocks.

It finally cooled down enough to be able to iron the flannel without dying of heat prostration.  I cleaned up my cutting area, trimmed my daily quota of HSTs and put the final stitches into the binding of one quilt (and started stitching down the binding on another UFO).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A bit of Sunday Sewing

Today is the first day of the Canton Village Bloggers' Block of the Month  - I'm going to make mine in scrappy blues and neutrals.  There seems to be quite a good supply of those fabrics in all of my strip bins, as well as yardage in my stash.  All the block # 1 components could be made from 2.5" strips and squares.  I'm keeping all the pertinent links for this project on a Blog Page here.

After finding a handful of colourful 9 patches in my 2.5" strip bin, I decided to keep making them so I could use them as the centres of Sister's Choice blocks - it will be a very colourful and scrappy project.  I'll be making these along with my Bloggers' BOM blocks every month.  The Sister's Choice blocks will finish at 10" square so I will probably want to make the quilt 6 by 8 (48 blocks).  I already have 19 nine-patches so only need another 29 before I move on to the next phase of these blocks.

I like the fast piecing method I read about on Quiltville - where to make a scrappy 9 patch you pull two strips plus a square from your strip bin.  As these are being made from 2.5" strips, I needed to cut two 10" strips in contrasting colours plus a 2.5" square of one of the colours.

After sewing the two strips together, and ironing, the strips are then subcut into 2.5" segments.

Then laid out for chain piecing.

 I made another two blocks for my Traditional Tuesday Sampler (blog page on that project is here).  I did determine that my seam allowance was a couple of threads off, but increased the components by 1/8" anyway.  There wasn't much to trim off to make the blocks 6.5" square.

Here's the pile of scrappy 4 patches that were run through as leaders n' enders during today's sewing.  I've found a couple of patterns I like that will use up some 4patches.  One requires 3.5" HSTs and the other 3.5" strips with sew n' flip corners.  Both ideas require some cutting to proceed, which I hope to have done before I run out of leader n' ender two-patches.

I'm making seriously good progress on the 2.5" HSTs I've been trimming.  Here's a pic of the trimmed box.  Amazing how fast it goes, even if only trimming 20 or 30 a day.

And this is all that is left in the "untrimmed" box.  I am on track to be done with this trimming business before the end of October.  I've found a couple of patterns that use a lot of HSTs.  They too require cutting components.

I can see I will have quite a bit of fabric cutting to do to use up some of these components.  Tonight?  I'm planning on handstitching binding and watching television.

9 patch done - sampler blocks done

I finished joining the 9 patches (hooray, wild applause, woohoo!).  It's 60" by 78" and I am considering adding borders to make it a bed-sized quilt....

Getting all those 9 patches joined, means I can go looking for fabrics for the Modern Monday sampler.  This is the view of the bins.  The two on the right hold my UFOs and kits.  The three on the left hold most of my strips.  They are so full, I can't fit the 1.5" strips or charm squares into them.

The 2" strips.

The 2.5" strips.

The 3.5" strips.

Good Grief!  I found more 9 patches - a different size this time.  These were in the 2.5" strip bin and will finish at 6".

I did find some oranges and greens that will work with the fabrics I've already pulled together.

Block 1 of Modern Monday.  I made two blocks.  Then I took a pic and admired them for a long while.  Then I did a little delighted wiggle of joy in my chair.  It's going to look great and it's going to be a lot of fun.

And I found my fabrics and first two blocks a home so they don't get swallowed up in stash and get used for something else.

Then I made a couple of blocks for the Traditional Tuesday sampler.

The blocks came out beautifully, but a little small.  I checked my seam allowance.  It's bang on.  The trimmings were scant threads.  And the blocks came out at 6 1/8" unfinished instead of 6 1/2".

I think I'll try making another couple of blocks with slightly larger components tomorrow.  Maybe my seam allowance is just a couple of threads off.  And of course, I found the second sampler a home of it's own too.