snug

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Mystery Quilt

     Another Mystery Quilt is underway!  Last year, I completed one from the Quilters Club of America, which I wrote about here.  The finished quilt was pretty, and made a nice gift for my cousin.  I realized I needed to work on my color value skills, and I also learned how to use a Tri Rec ruler.  I think these quilt challenges are a great way to improve old skills and learn new techniques!
2016 Mystery Quilt
     This year's Mystery Quilt Along, Magnolia Mystery Quilt, is from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.   This time, I jumped in from the beginning in July, and am enjoying the process, which is on (so far) a very do-able schedule. 

       The first task was to choose the quilt size, and I decided on a lap, instead of a queen size quilt.  In July, I had to pick four fabrics.  Cheryl's instructions were very thorough, and noted which fabrics would be paired.  She also had some suggested color combinations for consideration.   Since I am always trying to use fabric from my stash,  I went with solids I have lots of, and one old print.   
The fabric possibilities.  I ditched the yellow feathers for this project, and went with the turquoise yarn fabric.  
     The August task was cutting.  I made nice little piles, and learned how to add writing to my photos!  I need to figure out how to add typed letters now!  Much of the background (white) will be cut later.
The cut pieces.  
     September brought the first sewing job, sewing the little squares A and D together into HSTs (Half Square Triangles).  The instructions suggested cutting the pieces a bit bigger (which I did) and then trimming to size.  I have never done that before, which might explain a lot of the unmatched points and seams in earlier HST projects!
The squares pinned and marked
The sewn pieces
      Part way through the process of trimming, I was at Joann Fabrics with a coupon (of course!) and picked up a little 2 1/2 ruler.   I figured for a few dollars, this might be a handy tool.  It certainly made the trimming process go a little faster.  The instructions suggest a Bloc Loc ruler, which would be handy, since this little one did wobble a bit on the seam.  Maybe I'll invest in one at a later time!
The little 2 1/2 inch ruler
The finished squares - 72 in all! 

The trimmings! 
         There is a Facebook page for this Mystery Quilt, and it is so much fun to see everyone else's fabric choices and combinations!    I am looking forward to the next steps!

Take care,
Gretchen

Friday, September 22, 2017

Quilt binding redo!

     One of the quilt guilds I belong to, Southtowns Piecemakers Quilting Guild, is having its biennial quilt show next week.  I chose three of my newer colorful quilts to submit for judging. 
Zing

Turquoise triangles

Eye Candy
       I haven't entered anything in a show for quite a long time.   On Wednesday, I was at a statewide meeting where there was a discussion about judging, and the importance of neat mitered corners on the binding.   Yesterday morning, a Quilty video popped up on Facebook about making perfectly mitered bindings.  Perfect bindings may be aspirational, but my bindings on these three quilts were way closer to terrible than perfect.   


This was the worst!
     These quilts have been washed and dried and are nicely crinkley.  Was it even possible to fix these corners at this stage?   I decided to try.   Fortunately, not every corner was awful, but I ended up redoing 9 of the 12 corners. 
      I removed the handstitching and the machine stitching from about 3 - 4 inches on either side of the corner, and then resewed, using the tips from Mary Fons' video.  I then spent an hour resewing the binding on the back.  The tips in the video were great, and certainly improved my little corners vastly!   




Big improvement!
        I feel better having fixed these bindings.  I have no expectations that these quilts will win anything (the quilters in the guild are amazing!), but I didn't want to get knocked out simply  because of crappy corners!   I am looking forward to seeing these quilts hung, and more so, seeing all the other quilts.  

Go see a quilt show this fall!

Take care,
Gretchen

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Part II - Stepping Stones

     I am delighted to enter a second quilt in the Fall 2017 Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy at Amy'sCreativeSide.com.   This quilt, like the other, all done in Kona cotton solids, is a mini quilt, and was entered into the QuiltExpo mini modern challenge.  Just 20 inches square, I wanted to create a piece where the little bits of colors would stand out and shimmer.  I quilted the piece with Aurifil black thread with a pebble design.  
    
The batik backing (from my neverending stash) shows off the quilting design

In the process of quilting.  I quilt on a Tiara II midarm.
      I was very happy with how this piece turned out, and it is now happily hanging in my home.   I don't often work with small pieces, and this one was fun!
     If you are visiting this blog for the first time, welcome!  For years, quilting was my way to relax after work.  I am recently retired, and finding the time to really enjoy the process!  Please check out my other quilts and projects.  Links should be in the side bar.

Thank you, Amy, for hosting this fun Festival!
Take care,
Gretchen

Blogger's Quilt Festival Part I - Eye Candy!

     I am delighted to enter my quilt, Eye Candy, in the Fall  2017 Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy at Amy'sCreativeSide.com.
     I think this is the happiest quilt I have made recently.   Made from a simple block I designed for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks (Vol. 15), I love how little blocks of color dance across the quilt.  Made from all Kona cotton solids, I quilted it with Aurifil White, in a big loopy happy pattern.    The back is a great Windham Fabrics wide backing, "Newsprint," designed by Carrie Bloomston.
      I am about to enter this in my local Fall Guild show and am glad to also share it in this festival!




     It still feels like summer here in Western New York!  Enjoy the rest of the month.  Thank you, Amy, for hosting this fun Festival!
      If you are visiting this blog for the first time, welcome!  I have been quilting for years, usually to relax after work.  I am recently retired, and now taking my time and enjoying the process!  Like many, I have gone through stages, and am currently quite taken with modern quilts, and bright fabrics!  Please look at my work through the years by checking the links in the sidebar.  Thanks.

Take care,
Gretchen

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ariana's Summer Snowballs Quilt and my newly established Etsy Shop!


     I took a break from blogging during August, but of course, didn't stop sewing or quilting.  My latest finish to share is a snowball quilt, make with 30's prints for my nephew's new baby girl, Ariana.       I had purchased a wide assortment of 30s reproduction fabrics earlier this year, and pulled some blues, yellows and reds for Pippa's Union Jack Quilt.  You can see that quilt here  I knew this baby was a girl before I started the quilt, so went very pinky - with orange and violet..  

    
     I was winging the pattern; I looked at some examples and tried to figure out my own sizes.  I started with 5 inch blocks of the 30s fabric, and then cut 2 inch blocks for the corners (in Kona Candy Pink and white).  After testing a piece, I decided I needed smaller corner squares, so trimmed those squares to 1 3/4 inches.   
The blocks with the 2 inch corners.  I didn't think they would make the squares look round, which is the point of the snowball blocks! 
The trimmings!   Note to self - test one block before cutting for 99 blocks! 

Once I got the sizing right, I marked the sewing lines and began sewing lots of little corner pieces accompanied by many Doc Martin episodes! 




    I alternated pink and white for the corners, which created a little hourglass design in the middle.  I spent some time laying out the blocks to keep it looking pretty random, albeit with the pink and whites in the right spots.     

     I wasn't sure if I had achieved the "snowball" effect, but once I had the blocks sewn together, I was happy with the result.  

The finished top
     I found a Kona printed wide backing fabric that I thought was perfect for this quilt, and had spent some time watching Angela Walters' tutorial on how to quilt a free motion flower pattern.    This is the first quilt I was working on with my Tiara II up on blocks to create a standing machine, so I did a sample block which turned out well, so I got started on the quilt. I was very excited about this design. That excitement soon turned to dismay.
Sample piece on the back
Actual back - disaster! 
     After quilting perhaps 1/8 of the quilt, I turned it over, and to my horror, realized that the tension was all off!  Eeeeekkkk!!!  For the first time ever, I had to undo all of the quilting.  I considered just reverting to a stipple or a meandering stitch, (let's face it, I also considered just ditching this quilt!) but eventually came to my senses, and decided to try again, with a bigger pattern.   Although I had some problems at the end, I eventually was happy with how it turned out.  

More problems to undo! 
     The backing fabric is just so cheery.  I am glad I stuck with the flower quilting pattern after all.  The binding is more Kona Candy Pink.   
     Here is a picture in the sunlight of the finished quilt.     The quilt finished at about 40 x 49 inches.
Finished quilt, trust quilt holder!
     I hope little baby Ariana enjoys her quilt as much as her big brother, Levi, enjoys his!  You can see his quilt here.

     In other news, I have finally gotten my Etsy shop up and running.   The link is on the side of the blog!   I started out with a few of my little novelty bibs, and have sold a few of the science baby bibs.     I have some more of those to offer, and will also be listing some baby quilts for sale, as well as offering custom designed baby quilts.    A guild quilt show is right around the corner, so I am busy getting ready for that.      Stay tuned! 
     Enjoy the end of summer and beginning of fall.
Take care,
Gretchen