Friday, January 30, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree Completed

This is the quilt that I was working on when I stopped blogging in 2011. It is called "Oh Christmas Tree" by Don't Look Now designs. 

I started this one in the fall of 2011 and it was finished by June 2012.

The applique tree is made from a single piece of fabric (which was no small feat) and is satin stitched down. I no longer satin stitch applique. I prefer the more "forgiving" blanket stitch. It is so much less stressful and much, much faster, which helps me enjoy the process more!

For the quilting I did an all over meander in a variegated thread.
For the back, I used flannel and added my signature mark; my monogram.
I love it and we use this one a lot. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cheese & Crackers

One of my favourite quilts of all time is the Cheese and Crackers by Atkinson Designs. (I guess I DO call every quilt my favourite!). 

Here is my version below. This is the one the family uses when we watch tv. 

The colours are bright and vivid. The binding is a black polka dot (LOVE!).

The colours are so "happy" that I named the quilt Be Happy and used left over fabric to applique "Be Happy" on the back. I deliberately placed the "y" as dropping off for fun!
It is quilted with an edge to edge design in variegated thread (also LOVE)!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Swirled Christmas Tree (2012)

Here is Swirled Christmas Tree from Cherry Blossom designs. It was originally a wall-hanging size, but I enlarged it to make it a large throw size. Used my favourite blanket stitch. 

I backed it with flannel & quilted swirls in a blue variegated thread. 

I may have a wee problem with Christmas quilts. Swirled Christmas Tree is number three. Then, I saw this one below. Isn't it awesome? The first verse of "T'was the Night before Christmas" appliqued in a tree-shape!!! Can't wait to make it! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hobo Quilt

This quilt was a nightmare to make. It took nearly 3 years & is the primary reason I stopped blogging in 2011. The directions weren't great & it was as if the project were cursed. Everything that could go wrong went wrong with this quilt. I got so discouraged I gave up on it many, many times. But, it finally got done, quilted & shipped to its recipient. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pineapple Quilt

A Pineapple quilt was on my quilting bucket list. I saw one hanging in my LQS and just had to make it!

I started this quilt in April of 2014 & was finished just a couple of weeks later. 

I used the Creative Grids Pineapple Ruler. It was a bit confusing at first, but after 3 blocks it made sense. I am thrilled with the results. I'd definitely use & recommend the ruler! 

It's just waiting to be quilted. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Family Tree Quilt

Nothing new to report with Aurora. Still awaiting the replacement pattern that I ordered.

But I will take the opportunity to show another one of my 2014 finishes. This one is "Family Tree" by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. I love her patterns & am just delighted with how my version turned out. I modified mine a bit by using checkerboard borders rather than the appliqué versions suggested in the pattern.

Here's the photos.

I started this one is September of 2013 & finished it (including the quilting & binding) in March of 2014. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spin Wheels

American Patchwork & Quilting is one of my absolute favourite quilt mags! I just love it! 

The February edition had a great pin wheel pattern called "Spin Wheels". 

At our semi-annual quilting retreat in September I completed my version (below). I love this quilt, but there are 2 things I love especially: 1) aside from the oatmeal background, every single fabric came from my scrap bin. Not my stash, but my SCRAP BIN! Isn't that great??? It was neat to see fabrics I had used in quilts more than 10 years ago and hadn't seen since. It was a bit of "quilting memory lane", 2) my monogram in the corner. I have been using my monogram on the back of quilts for years, but once I saw how it looked on the front in Whimsical Garden I decided to do it again and I LOVE IT!!!

One thing I did not like about this quilt was the time it took to make the half square triangles. I forgot how much time those HST's take!

The quilt looks very red & green in photos, but it's more red, blue & burgundy in real life. 

Can't wait to get it quilted up and start using it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Aurora Step #3

I think this is the best that I can do with this particular step. I can see wrinkles, but it lies fairly flat. I think I have to learn to live with it. When I made Happiness, I wasn't too hard on myself. I kept telling myself it was my first time & not to be too self-critical. And as a result I enjoyed the process. I think that my success with Happiness has caused me to have unreasonable expectations of myself for Aurora (& I'm only at Step 3 & my expectations are already too high! Yikes!!!). Oh well. 

I have to wait to move on to Step #4. Would you believe that I misplaced one of the template pages??? I can't not find it anywhere. So, I had to order the complete pattern again. This misplace net cost me $47.00. :(

Hopefully once the second pattern arrives I'll have more success with Step #4, etc! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Whimsical Garden Photos

Not too much progress was made on Aurora this week. I got the centre appliquéd onto the star. It went well. That was Step #2. Then I attempted to sew the outer white ring to those two pieces (step #3). That did not go well. I took it off & will have to redo it. Sewing that piece on went so well with Happiness that I was pretty surprised I had so much difficulty this time. As soon as I find the time & work up the courage, I'll try it again!

I'll take the opportunity, though, to show my version of Whimsical Garden by Piece O' Cake designs.

I started it during the May long weekend this past year & finished it up in September. I'm pleased with it. My favourite part is actually a result of a mistake.

Because I was appliqueing the pieces, I had initially cut each background block larger than necessary in order to cut down to size & square up once the appliqué was finished. I had made the block shown as per the instructions. I wasn't over-the-moon with it but I didn't hate it, either.

The problems was that I was watching TV while cutting the finished blocks down to 101/2". Bad, bad    quilter. I cut it 1/4" too short! I had to remake the block.

I had seen that Lisa Bonegan had put the year in one of her blocks. I liked it, so I decided to do something similar to that with the redo block. I added my initial & the year onto the flower. It turned out to be most favourite block on the top! I absolutely love it!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Double Wedding Ring

One of the items on my (quilting bucket list) was a Double Wedding Ring. To me, it is one of those "rites of passage" quilt patterns.

So, in late 2014 I bought the Judy Niemeyer templates and began.

The templates were fine, but I found the instructions lacking for someone like me who had never made one before. Luckily my partner's mother has made several DWRs and had the Marti Michelle instructions. Marti's instructions were fantastic. She explains what to do (including what piece to place on top when sewing which is critically important when dealing with curved pieces) and she explains why you do it in that way. Her instructions were easy to follow.

This was my first foray into curved piecing and was ambitious. I was intimidated. But, I had a riot making it! I enjoyed it tremendously and would have continued on and made more circles to increase the size had I not run out of fabric. You know it's a good sign when you want to continue on (and a bad sign when you don't). the project stretched my skills without stressing me out. Nice when it work that way.

This was fun and was excellent practice for working with the curves in the "Happiness" pattern as well as with "Aurora". I feel very competent in working with curves now.

I should have ironed it before taking the photos, but oh well. Here it is. I love it and am proud of how it looks. Not too bad for a person who never sewed a single curved seam before!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Steps #1 and Almost #2 of Aurora

Hi There,

I did not have too much time for sewing this week, but did manage to complete steps #1 and almost #2 of Aurora. Also got the piece cut out for step #3. Life is getting busy, so I will have to learn to be content with small, baby steps towards completion.

The first photo is of step #1 and is of the star that will sit in the center of the quilt. You can see the transformation that occurs when you trim it to a 1/4" seam allowance. From somewhat of a duckling into a beautiful swan. The star was similar in construction to the Happiness quilt, so it went together fairly easily.

Step #2 is to applique the white round circle center onto the star. As per the instructions, I traced the template onto freezer paper. I went a little further and did 3 ply of freezer papers for added stiffness. I then ironed the freezer paper onto the wrong side of the fabric and used a small applique iron and Best Press to turn the edges under. I am satisfied with the results.

As this piece needs to be appliqued on, I was originally going to pin it on and sew. But I had seen a Judy Niemeyer Youtube ( video where she glued pieces together rather than pinned them. I thought I would give it a try and used the glue you can see in the third photo. I used it very sparingly to avoid it coming through the fabric. I haven't appliqued the piece on, but it seems to be glued down pretty well. Fingers crossed that the appliqueing process will go smoothly. 

Once I get the center appliqued I can move on to step #3 which is sewing the white circle that will surround pieces 1 & 2.

Wish me luck!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year - Blog Revitalization!

 I love, love reading quilt blogs! I read them every. single. day. Just can’t get enough of them. So, it was high time to get mine rebooted! It’ll be nice for me to have a diary of my quilting journey again.

And what better way to kick off a rebooted blog than with a finish?

The images below are of my first finish of 2015. The pattern is “Happiness” by Jacqueline de Jonge ( of Be Colourful quilts. I am absolutely over the moon with this one (although my family tells me I say that EVERY TIME I finish a quilt)! The fabric is mostly from my stash and the colours are much more vibrant than they appear in the photos. The assembly went like a dream, but there is a bit of a back story…

I have been an admirer of Jacqueline’s patterns for years and finally worked up the courage to order the Aurora kit in early spring of 2014. When it arrived I was delighted with the fabric in the kit, but I was completely lost in terms of understanding the pattern instructions. This was due to three important factors: 1) my complete lack of experience with curved piecing, 2) my lack of experience with paper-piecing, and 3) my inability to understand/visualize the instructions. I was completely lost and totally out of my depth.

And so the kit sat and sat and my guilt at spending the money on it grew and grew.

Then, one day I was perusing quilting blogs and Jacqueline’s came up ( Lo and behold, I quickly discovered that she had made an introductory DVD and pattern for people just like me!

I promptly ordered the DVD and IT. WAS. AWESOME! She explained and demonstrated everything so well that the moment I finished watching it I ordered the accompanying pattern, “Happiness”.

As a result of the DVD someone with extremely limited paper piecing and curved piecing experience was able to assemble this beauty in just a few days time. It looks amazing AND I had a great time doing it. She even explains how to do mitered corners which I had never done before doing them on “Happiness”.

If you are wanting to make one of Jacqueline’s quilts but are, like I was, as confused and as intimidated, I would highly recommend ordering the DVD. It was well worth it. So worth it in fact that I am going to begin the Aurora kit next! I have moved from intimidated and confused about it to excited!

My 2 Quilting Resolutions for 2015 were:

1) Re-start my blog, CHECK
2) Finish Aurora.

Wish me luck with #2!

All the best,

Ps: The white circle looks wonky in this photo which is disappointing because in real life it looks perfect.