Friday, November 21, 2014

Finish It Up Friday

Why no blog posts lately?  Because I've been finishing things, people!  I finished six quilts in the past week. Six!  One of them from start to finish!  OK, so none were particularly large, but I'm happy and they are done.  So today I will start by sharing two of them, because they are similar.
 See?  Same pattern and practically the same fabrics.  As you recall, I was given lots of fabric when I made the 100 blessings quilt.  I even shared the quilt tops that I was able to complete with all the extra.  Now they are all quilted up and ready for donation.
 The top one finished up at 33" x 41" and the bottom (blurry) one is 41" x 52". 
 I quilted them both the same, a curvy stitch along each seam line.  I think it gives it nice stability, openness for softness of the fabric and its super easy and almost mistake -proof.
 They each have the same backing and binding as well.  This was a large length of cotton decorator fabric from my mom - it washed up nice and soft for a quilt backing - yay!

Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday 11.12.14 - A complete List

As we enter the last 7 weeks of the year (I'm serious people, check your calendars), I have gathered up all my projects and we'll see what I can bang out to finish.  I've learned to not make gifts for Holidays, especially Christmas, too much pressure, so these are just projects that I'd like to get done and most likely, out of the house.

 At the top of the list is the only Have To Get Done project. My mini for the IG mini swap.  I need to figure out what to do.  Do you see the bottom edge?  Yeah, that was just bad planning on my part.  All the pieces are appliqued on, but I didn't give myself any room to work on that side.  Still mulling it over.  This needs to be in the mail the first week of December.

Next up are two tops that I haven't shown on here, yet.  Only on instagram.
 My Charm Parade quilt top.   I've decided to float the center with a dark binding.  I've even prepped the matching binding already.
 And a fun panel that I'm planning to hang in the girl's room.  The pink in the back will be the backing.  It is exactly the right size.
 So now for a complete list of everything in the To-Do pile.

1. WD's quilt.  Top is done, back is prepped.  Need to baste and have WD do the quilting.
2. E's quilt. Top done.  Back needs prepped, baste, quilt, bind.  E needs to help as much as possible.
3. Girl's adventure panel.  Baste, quilt, bind. (already made binding!)
4. Central Park Quilt. Baste, quilt, bind. (already made binding!)
5. Large Bricks Charity quilt. Baste, quilt, bind.
6. Small Bricks Charity Quilt. Baste, quilt, bind.
7. Purple column charity quilt. Baste, quilt, bind. (already made binding!)
8. Fish charity quilt. Baste, quilt, bind.
9. Circle of Life Panel quilt. Baste, quilt, bind.
10. Charm Parade. Baste, quilt, bind. (binding already made!)
11. Downton Abbey Quilt.  Quilt. Bind.
12. IG mini swap.  Finish piecing, baste, quilt, bind.

Whew.  I'd best get going!
Linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Temperature Quilt Update: October

 The temperature top is complete through October.  You can see we had one fairly cool day in the second week, but then some nice warm days.  Even a record high (of 77) just a few days before Halloween.  Rest assured, it is cold now.  Today is in the 30's!  So we will have a lot more blues and greens for November.  Only two months to go!

 You'll remember that one of my caveats for not purchasing fabric was that I could get more for this project, and I had to!  One more fat quarter for the 50-60 degree ranges.

 This piece here is for 60-65. While I wouldn't mind having some more warm days, I really don't want to have to order more fabric!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Turned Edge Applique - A Tutorial

As I've been doing a lot of hand applique lately, I thought perhaps a tutorial on how I was preparing my appliques might be in order. 

This tutorial explains how take the shape that you are planning to applique and create a turned edge with your machine as opposed to ironing the edge with starch or needle turn applique.  This method will give you a clean edge, something that won't fray or add bulk.

Ready?  Let's begin.

You will need your shape to be appliqued, a lightweight interfacing or stabilizer, sewing machine, thread, and iron.
 This is the shape I will be using to demonstrate the technique - one of my extra diamond shapes from pattern testing.
 For my interfacing I am using Pellon Soft-N-Stay.  It is very thin/lightweight so that if I choose not to cut it away later, its not a big deal.  Note that on the instructions, this particular product should not come into direct contact with an iron.
 First you will need to cut a piece of the stabilizer the size of your applique piece.  It doesn't need to be perfect.  Pin it in place - on top of the right side of the applique.
 Sew all the way around your applique piece, 1/4" from the edge of the applique piece.  This method is great because you can see through the stabilizer, so corners can be exact and you will be sure not to cut off any points.
 Trim up the stabilizer and cut off points.  If you had curves, you would want to clip them for easier turning.
 In the center of the stabilizer, cut a slit.  It doesn't need to be small - no one will see it and you want to make turning easy.  You don't want to cut it all the way to the stitching, either.
 Turn your piece right side out - I like chop sticks to help with points.
 Press your piece - from the right side!
 Lay your applique piece onto the back ground fabric where you want it.  Pin in place.  If you are going to use your sewing machine to secure the applique, keep the pins on the front.
 However, if you are planning to hand applique, a really neat trick that I learned is to pin from the back.  This will keep your thread from constantly catching on your pins as you sew.
 All pinned and ready to go. 
 Here is a shot of what I've been appliqueing lately.  3 diamonds done, 5 to go.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Evolution of a Quilt Top

About a month ago I was watching Cindy from Live a Colorful Life put together a quilt top with some Bonnie and Camille fabrics (Miss Kate) and the pattern was called "Charm Parade".  It was a pattern that Cindy had published a few years ago.  I really liked it, told her so and the next thing I knew, that pattern was mine!
 I immediately started thinking about which charm pack I should use.  It would have to be one that I already owned (remember, no fabric purchases for 6 months).  I looked through the pattern and saw that it was recommended to have matching pairs of charms for the blocks.  I finally decided on some Kaffe Fasset (rhymes with safe asset) charms that I bought on impulse a year or two ago. I had two packs - one red, one blue - and they each had 30 charms, 15 pairs.  Perfect.
 So I set about making blocks, adding the solid green centers, navy blue triangles and grey strips to the Kaffe fabrics.
 So now I had 15 blocks.  Which makes for some odd layouts.  Can't do 4x4, short one.  3x5 is weird and long.  But 4x5 would require more blocks!  I had some offers from very sweet ladies of some scraps to fill it out, but I really wanted to step up to the challenge of using what I have and no new fabric.
 So I decided to make 5 blocks with just the navy blues.
 Here are the blocks laid out, the light and focus isn't the best, but you get the idea.  I haven't actually pieced the top yet, soon, though.  I just thought you'd like a little story of what I'm working on lately.

And I'll tell you this: If you had told me 5 years ago that I would make a crazy scrappy quilt like this, I would have told you you were crazy!  Funny how things change.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Milwaukee Lights : Four-in-Art Reveal

 Milwaukee Lights
My interpretation of the Milwaukee Skyline at night, reflected in Lake Michigan.

This reveal is a bit of a bonus round for our group.  We are Four-in-art because we started with four people, but then because we did four art quilts per theme.  In an effort to align our Theme year with the calendar year, we have added a bonus quilt. Urban: Lights.

When I was working on my last Urban Quilt, Contrasts, I thought that the stitching across the buildings rather looked like lights, before I used sharpie to color over them all.  So I took that idea and carried it to this quilt.
 And of course if you have lights at night, they are going to reflect.
I tried to capture that effect with thread.  The thread I used is Invisafil and is a very fine polyester.  I actually threaded two different colored strands through my machine at the same time.  It did work, but I don't think you can tell there are two colors, and getting the tension right was impossible. I don't really feel like I captured the reflections in the water like I would have liked, but I also wasn't willing to either start over or unpick.  Sometimes done, OK, and good enough are are the way to go.
A shot of the back.  Nope, I don't even have a label on it yet.

Speaking of bonuses: I have a bonus quilt.  My first cutting of the skyline was backwards.  Oops.
So to test out some of my ideas, I used this skyline to make a Sunrise version of the Milwaukee skyline.  Now it is obviously not correct - but it let me work out some ideas.
 I'm not going to do a construction post, as it is made pretty much the same as the last one, Contrasts, so you can read about that *here*.

Please go check out the other participants in this round of Four-in-Art quilts.  You'll notice the list is smaller than usual.  We are going through some changes and will return next year with a new theme and a changed up membership.  Stick around!

Anne Diester at

Amanda Kattner blogs at

Betty Ayers has a  Flickr site at 

Elizabeth Eastmond blogs at

Nancy Myers blogs at

Simone Bradford blogs at

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pleaides for the Blogger's Quilt Festival

 Pleiades, named for the constellation of Seven Sisters.
7 white stars for the ones you can see easily, 7 blue stars for a total of the 14 that can be seen with the naked eye.  11 more stars quilted in for the many more that can only be detected by telescope.
 This quilt measures 33" x 33" and was made for a guild challenge where the only "rule" was to have at least one 5 pointed star on the front.  Unfortunately I wasn't at the meeting where the other quilts were shown :(.  I wish I could have seen them all.
 I quilted around each star and radiated out from each center.  All on my domestic machine.
 I love to use uglies on the back of quilts.  A great way to use up fabric.

This is my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Small Quilts Category.  (yay for entering two quilts!)

Submissions are through Oct. 31, and then voting!
Original Pleiades post is *here*.