Sunday, March 27, 2011

English Paper Piecing

Best laid plans....I was all ready to leave for my day of quilting. One last check in my bag and I realized I screwed up. The fabric I bought for the base of my string piecing was ivory, not white! A quick check confirmed my worst fear, my white strips looked dull when placed on top of the beige.  I didn't want to spend my day just eating and talking so I needed to think fast. I remembered an English paper piecing kit I had been given a couple of years ago, so i grabbed it, a pair of scissors and thread and I was off and running.

Pin paper to fabric, rough cut 1/4"seam allowance.
Fold fabric over paper and baste.

Align 2 pieces and whip stitch edges together.
Couldn't resist laying out a few pieces to see what it will look like.
  I think this will be a good technique to do while watching tv. I have to be careful with 3 dogs running amuk that there aren't a lot of needles that could be lost, or eaten. This is small, portable and only requires a needle, thread and a couple of pins for holding the papers to the fabric. (I've been doing a bit of reading on tips for this technique and found you can use freezer paper, which eliminates the need for pins. For right now, I'll do it the way the kit instructions say to do it.)

I received a little surprise gift on Saturday too.
A whole bag of buttons and a CD of Van Morrison! I was thrilled.
Buttons! Buttons! AND MORE BUTTONS!

My dearest friend is having a rough time going through chemotherapy and I've been searching for something she could do on her treatments days in the hospital or when her energy level is low. I showed the paper piecing technique to her and she loves it! Now we have never done anything quilt related (except I've talked her ear off about projects, fabrics, etc.) as she is not a sewer or quilter. But last night all that changed. We picked some fabrics from my stash for her to make a pillow out of hexagons. The rest of the evening was spent sewing together. A day that started out in a panic ended up being a perfect day and night!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Few More Rows

I've cut up a bunch more blocks. Right now I've got 48 blocks. Guess I should decide what or where I'm going with this quilt pretty soon. I'm thinking of hanging it on the wall so I don't want it too big. I'll probably make another 10 or so blocks. I've cut waaay more strips than I need, especially if I decide not to do a strip pieced border. Here's what I've got so far. Good thing I'm not a photographer or I'd starve. As hard as I try to take pictures that are straight, they always turn out crooked (so do some of my seams, maybe it is not a photography problem, more of a brain malfunction).

Saturday is sewing day with Assiniboine Circle in St. Francois Xavier. I'm so glad I became a member. Lots of sewing, eating, talking and laughs. A really great group of women. I think I'll be smart this time, and pack up what I need to bring on Friday, rather than 1/2 hour before I leave! Isn't it amazing how much stuff you need to lug around for quilting? so worth it though!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Win an Accuquilt Baby Go!

Fellow Canadian Blogger over at Sunshower Quilts is holding a giveaway for an Accuquilt Baby Go cutter and 3 dies to celebrate National Quilt Day! Check it out!

Friday Results

I really enjoyed my first Friday Night Sew In. I've made some progress on my batik quilt, which is now called Moody Blues. The layout is just rough and I haven't decided if I want all the pieces to be strip pieced, or to keep some of them a single fabric. I'm thinking I like the way the first blocks I made were arranged in my previous post. There will be alot more rearranging in this quilt's future. It'll talk to me when more blocks are done.

It sounded really simple to sew a bunch of strips together and cut out a few shapes, but it takes a lot longer than anticipated. Now, I'm not in a rush and I know it takes me a long time to decide on fabric,  I just didn't think it would take me as long as it does to arrange strips from light to dark etc. I swear I must have rearranged one of the strip sets a bizillion times! The great thing about it all is I LOVE DOING IT. I'm finding my favorite part of quilting is not really the actual piecing together and quilting, it's playing around with the fabric.

I did say I would tidy up my room a bit before starting...NOT. In fact, I made it even worse? or better? I've got strips over chairs, on the floor, on the design wall, hanging off the cupboard doors, even one of my dogs walked out of the room with a nice blue batik strip on his back!

 By the way, those Kansas Troubles fabrics are back in the closet. Maybe one day they will get to come out and play.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My First Friday Night Sew-In!

I just signed up for the Friday Night Sew-In. I've never needed an excuse to sew, but did need one to clean up!

Whenever I set up everything in my sewing room neatly I vow to keep it organized, even during a project. That hasn't happened yet. Maybe I'm just more creative in a mess? Well, this afternoon I will tidy up a bit. While doing that I'm going to decide on which project I will work on. There is a stack of Kansas Troubles fabric that has been waiting patiently for the right project to come along. Maybe today is the day, or should I say night?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why Did I Wait So Long?

I can't believe I waited so long to try the Strips 'n Curves technique. I'm really enjoying the process. There are only about 1/4 of the block pieces cut out but I like where it's going. My favorite part will be arranging the blocks once they are sewn, this is just a mockup to give me an idea. Back to sewing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Batiks Were Calling

I've been pretty good (for me) in holding off starting something new while I had the scrappy quilt on the design wall. My intention was to get that quilt top finished. I had the border idea all sorted out, the fabrics stacked up and waiting. Well I couldn't do it. I couldn't resist cutting into the batiks I've been collecting. I'm blaming it on the fat quarters I bought on Monday. They were the last pieces I needed for a strip pieced drunkard's path quilt. So scrappy is "scrapped" for now. The batiks were calling my name and I answered.

I'm doing the technique from the book Strips 'n Curves by Louisa L. Smith. I've cut several 1 1/2" strips from each of  35 batiks. I've got them on the design wall, ready for sorting. I need to sew several strip sets in darks, mediums and lights, then cut them with drunkard path templates. So far this is what I have sorted:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Day

This has been a perfect day! The sun was streaming through my window this morning, which always makes for a great start. Had a little blip in my morning when  I stepped outside with the dogs and realized it was darn cold (-22) but had a nice SHORT walk anyway. Went on a little road trip out to Stonewall with a friend. Listened to Van Morrison on the way there. I haven't heard his songs in years. Especially love "Moondance" and "Have I told you lately that i love you". After a great lunch at the Rockwood Inn (everything is homemade and delicious)  we stopped by The Quilter's Cottage. I know I had said to myself that I wasn't going to buy more fabric but......What's a quilter to do when faced with hundreds of bolts of gorgeous fabric? Gotta love days like this.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Getting Better

I finished sewing on my circles this afternoon. Now that there isn't as much white showing I'm much happier with it. The next step is to decide what kind of border, maybe do a  wider white/beige border and applique a grouping of circles in each of the corners. I'll leave it on the design wall and let it talk to me for awhile. I enjoy sipping on coffee and thinking about the next stage of quilting.

Joanne at Thread Head put up a great tutorial on free-motion feathers. I'm tempted to try and do feathers in the empty spaces and on the border. There's a lot of space to practice on. We'll see if I'm brave enough!

The dogs were bugging me quite a bit in the sewing room. Eventually they gave up. They have a rough life.