Friday, November 20, 2015

Sonja's Windows - a finish

This was started a long time ago!  Using up my scraps (well a few of them anyway)

You can see details about the process here

It is a pattern called Sonja's Windows and the instructions a detailed over at Stitchin' Therapy.

It went together more quickly than you would think, and I love seeing all the little bits from other quilts mixed in here.

I used some leftover bits for a highlight on the back as well...

This one I quilting with what I call "Bubbles", really just a circle within a circle and travel around the quilt..

This one is proudly hanging on the bunk beds at the cabin..

Linking up to TGIFF today over at Anja Quilts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Quilting learning journey

Before I start, I just want to say thank you to all those who serve our country, on this Remembrance Day.

Now to move on to my latest adventure in quilting....

I wanted to share my learning process for quilting feathers.  I am certainly no expert,, but sometimes that is a good thing. I can tell you about the mistakes I made, so you don't have to! LOL

I am in awe of some of the quilters out there that make such beautiful feathered patterns. There are a number of great tutorials too, so please check with the experts for a more experienced view on this.
Here are a couple that I found very helpful:  Sue Garman  and How to Quilt Feathers

I wanted to use the feathers in the border, so I started on paper. I measured out the 6" border and started practicing the design.  I find it very helpful with any FMQ to start first with pencil and paper..

Although I think there are many ways to do these, I started with the long curved stem bottom to top, then started coming down the convex side with the feather loops..

When you get to the bottom, most instructions say to go back up the stem and then repeat the feather loops on the other side, The issue I had with doing this, was that I wanted to travel all the way along the border, so wanted to finish at the top in order to move on up to the next feather! mmmmmm

BUT I also found one tutorial that suggested going up with the feathers. A "Loop and Bump" method.  You make the first loop..

 then for the second one, travel up the stem and out to form the loop..

Then retrace the outer edge of that loop a short ways and "bump" up into the next loop.
Continue to repeat those 2 steps all the way up the stem.
So now I finished at the top of the feather, and was ready to move on to the next one, just repeating the process.  I alternated the direction of the stem curve each time.

Next step was to practice on some smaller scrap blocks... I drew the feathers onto the fabric with chalk first, then tried it out..

I had read somewhere that you can use Press and Seal to make it easier.  You press it onto the area you want to quilt, then draw directly onto the Press and Seal with a pen.Then you can just follow the lines.  The problem I had was removing the plastic afterward!!

This was just too much work for me!  I am basically pretty lazy and will take the easiest route, and this just added extra work, so I quickly scrapped this plan.

Back to the practice pieces. In the beginning I had problems with the thread breaking....a lot!  Very frustrating!!  So back to reading blogs and tutorials about what I was doing wrong!

Blogland is such an amazing place! I found someone who had the same problems and suggested that it was better to move the fabric away from you as you were sewing (like you normally do for a seam) rather than pull it towards you as you travel down the stem.  Now with FMQ you actually go all different directions, so I couldn't really see how this would make a difference, but thought it was worth a try. The only problem was that all my practice sketches were upside down then!!! So I had to practice drawing them the other way...

Low and worked!!!  Now, I am not sure that change is what made the difference, or if I was just holding my head differently, or wearing different socks!!!  BUT  the feathers went very smoothly after that.  

It is important to try to keep the size of the loops as consistent as you can.  Easier said than done sometimes! But it is a learning process.  Also, sometimes I should have made my loops more even in length, and to fill the border more consistently. 

The other thing I did was measure the length of the border and decide how long to make each feather, so they would fit nicely into the length.  Then I sketched out the whole border on one side at a time with chalk so that I had a reference to follow. 

My feathers certainly are a bit rough around the edges, but I am very proud of them, and will keep working on practicing.  Can only get better!! 

They are quite fun to do....go ahead....give them a try! 

Linking up to TN&TN....check out what is going on with everyone else here!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Vico anyone? and FEATHERS!!!!

Do you remember Vico?  That delicious chocolate milk that we used to drink as kids?  I lived on a farm, so we didn't get this treat very often, and so I thought it was extra special.

Anyway, the soft brown in this quilt reminds me of Vico so that is what I keep calling it when I refer to it!

This was a layer cake (Papillon by Moda) that I had been saving because I couldn't decide what to do with it.

I decided to try out the layer cake HST's....easy peasy!!  I have since found a Missouri Star Tutorial that explains the technique (love those tutorials!!)  Basically, you put 2 - 10" squares RST, sew all the way around the outside, then cut across on both diagonals.  And have 4 HST!   I have been using a lot of HST lately, there are so man options for the layout that totally changes each look. For this one, I off-set the square.

I have to admit, when I got it sewn together, I wasn't really happy with it.
It was very pastel, very soft, very pink and blue!
BUT I found some brown for the border, and it changed the whole look!! (seems like I am using a lot of brown these days....and I never use brown!! Must be a phase I am going through! )

I was a bit short for my backing, so had to add a little strip of contrast in to make it big enough..

I quilted it with my "go-to" echoed teardrop pattern all over...

AND ..... I tried ou tFEATHERS in the border!!!!!!   Yes, I did!!!  Not perfect, but it was my first try.

It was a learning experience and I think I will tell you all about it in another post.  I learned a lot, but still need lots of practice!

Linking up today at TGIFF over at Quokka Quilts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

baby herringbone

I have a dear friend whose daughter is having a .....of course I need to make a baby quilt!!

I have wanted to try a "Herringbone" for a long time, so thought this was the perfect time.  I had some Riley Blake Basic Grey charm squares which would be perfect!  I cut some 5" squares from some white fabric, and got to work.  I used 32 of each which made a baby quilt of about 36" square.  If you want it bigger, you can add more sets of squares.

If you haven't discovered the magic of HST really should try them! They are so versatile and not nearly as hard as they look.  I used to be scared to try all those pointy bits, but really they are easy-peasy! :)

Place one grey square, and one white square , right sides together, and draw a pencil line across the diagonal. Repeat this for all the pairs of squares

Then sew a 1/4" seam using the pencil line as the outer edge.  You can chain piece all the sets of squares.

Now repeat on the other side of the line, again chain piecing the whole lot

Once you have them all sewn, cut each set along the pencil line.

Press the HST open, pressing to the dark side..

Now comes the annoying part....trimming!
I sometimes think about skipping this part, but it really does make it much easier later to sew the squares together, and also gets rid of those little dog ears, which only make the seams a-trimming-we-will-go !

Line the diagonal line on the ruler up with the seam, and carefully line up the edges..

Sometimes there is almost nothing to trim, other times there is a bit.
Because there is a seam in the middle,  often the ruler will wobble a bit, so be sure to hold it firmly.

It is tedious work, but once you get into a rhythm it goes pretty quickly.  Then you have a little pile of perfect 4-1/2" HST and a little pile of trimmings!

No, the trimmings are not garbage...they go towards stuffing my "batting bears"

Now the fun begins!  HST's can do so many interesting patterns!


Offset Squares..

I am sure there many other options as well,but I went with the Herringbone. To make the Herringbone pattern you need to keep both halves of the HST set together, and alternate the direction that they angle.
Once you get them organized the way you like them,, sew the squares together by row..

When you are pressing the seams, be sure to alternate directions on the rows so they "nest" together nicely when you sew the rows together.
Although I generally press my seams to one side, I find that these seams can get quite bulky, so usually press them open in this case.

 Once you have sewn the rows together the top is finished!

I used minky for the backing and quilted it with zigzag lines echoing the seams..

I still have to get the binding on and then it will be ready for the baby bag!

I will add a few other goodies....some receiving blankets and burp cloths and maybe a "Grab and Go" diaper clutch.  But that is for another day :)

So that is what I have been well as lots of cuddles for my new little grandson..

Linking up today to TN&TN....and going to check out what everyone else is  up to !
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Island Chain

This is such a fun quilt!  I saw several pictures of it on line.

I think the pattern is in a book called Scrap Basket Sensations (available at Amazon)
Of course, I didnt have the book , or the pattern, so had to do some figuring out for this one!! It was not all that difficult, but I did have to rearrange several times!

I used a jelly roll (Sweet Serenade by Moda)  and then extra fabric for the borders and sashing. For the  backing, I found some darker brown fabric on sale that I thought really complimented the quilt top.

I quilted this very simply with straight lines echoing the lines in the pattern, and a large zig zag pattern on the outer border.

This is now one of my very favourites!  I love the colours and the simple geometric design.
mmmmm.....guess I cant give this one away either !!

Linking up to TGIFF today over at The Carpenters Daughter who Quilts.