Friday, February 23, 2018

Plus Block QAL

     I have finished my #plusblockqal quilt!  This was a fun project that started with an Instagram posting (@stephkucera   #plusblockqal) with a website (here ) as well.    The block itself was pretty easy, and it was a blast seeing all the different color combinations that were being made!  It looks like there were several who had the same idea as I did to use oranges and melon colors with the scrappy neutral low volume backgrounds!  They are all beautiful. 

      I started with scraps from my bins, and discovered I had just enough orange scraps to make this work.
     As I got scraps ready, I used my clover clips to keep the pieces for each block together.  This turned out to be quite handy!


    I like the speed and efficiency of chain piecing, so I continued to clip pieces together so I could chain piece without getting mixed up!
    I had decided to do a baby sized quilt, with 20  blocks total.  The finished quilt measures as 44 by 55, which is a nice size.    The musical notes fabric popped more than I had imagined, so I had to carefully scatter those blocks around the quilt. 
     As always, I use my craft table and big binder clips to make the quilt sandwich, and to allow me to pin without bending over on the floor. 
     I decided to do some straight quilting, with rows about 1/2 inch apart.  I used my walking foot, and simply used the outside of the foot as a guide.  I ended up using white Aurifil thread for the quilting, which kept it simple and clean looking. 

     For the second time in as many weeks, I used the black and white strip as the binding.  I made an error with the final miter connection, but one which was easily fixed.  Will I ever make a quilt that doesn't require ripping out at least one seam? 
     I prefer to photograph the finished quilt with some sun, but I don't think we'll see the sun for a few days.   So, a photo on an overcast day, thanks to my trust quilt holder!  This is such a happy looking quilt. I am considering putting it for sale on my Etsy site once I can get some better photos.  Stay tuned!  

         I am making some slow progress on the "On Ringo Lake" Mystery quilt - since the final pattern has been released, the only mystery is when will I finish!  In the meantime, I am anxious to try a quick piece with some fabric I picked up at quilt guild "garage sale" type auction. 
     Thanks for visiting my blog.  Have a great weekend!
Take care,

Friday, February 16, 2018

Magnolia Mystery Quilt!

  My first quilt finish for 2018 is the Magnolia Mystery Quilt from Cheryl Brickey's Meadow Mist Designs.  This was a fun and very easy paced mystery quilt along!   I love the finished quilt!
     I started this QAL during the summer, and by November, put the small blocks together at a retreat, and guessed at how they were going look.  The white, black and yellow are all Kona cotton solids.  The turquoise is a 2001 fabric from an Alexander Henry line, "here, kitty kitty."   
      I was wrong.  The final design was more complex, and provides more secondary designs.
    The pattern calls for lots of negative space, which in my case is white.  What has been so much fun on this quilting journey is seeing the other quilts in progress, and finished on Instagram and Facebook.  So many quilters made extra blocks or put borders on to break up the white space.  While those quilts all look beautiful, I decided to stick with the pattern, and see how it went.
    I got the top pieced by Christmas, and then there was a lull as I was trying to move my sewing things up to a bedroom.  I finally got the room set up with the basics (still lots to put away on the shelves)
   Pinning up this quilt was the first project in the new room.  I use my craft table, and heavy duty binder clips to pull the backing flat and keep the quilt sandwich nice and taut and then I pin, pin, pin. 
    The backing is an organic cotton that I found on the red tag table at Joann Fabrics.   Please note that my design wall is up, but somehow, very disappointingly,  the tape under the flannel shows (and is not even, so can't serve any useful purpose).  
I also got a wide ironing board for the sewing room! 

   I had some grand plans for some fancy quilting, but suddenly it was February, and I wanted a finished quilt to submit by February 15 for the reveal parade in March.   I thought that nice wavy lines would be a good contrast to the sharp edges of the blocks.  After considerable pondering, I decided to go widthwise with the lines, since the pattern actually spans the width of the finished quilt. 
    I started in the middle with white straight lines (I use Aurifil thread) every 3 inches or so.  This allows me to get rid of the pins.
    My plan was to add some lines of yellow and turquoise green.  Of course, I wasn't sure I had quite enough of those colors, and so had to wait for some additional thread to arrive!   I didn't end up using the pale green on the front.  (I did use in the bobbin!)  I had enough bolder turquoise thread that I ended up using. 
     I started putting two yellow wavy lines, using my walking foot, in between the white lines, so they were approximately one inch apart.  That looked a bit bare to me, so I then decided to put down a turquoise line woven in and around the white straight lines.  I thought that gave just enough pop of the turquoise.  That still wasn't quite right, so I went back and added another yellow line, weaving around one of the wavy yellow lines.    Those four lines of color between the white finally looked right to me.  
     I had some black and white stripe fabric that I knew would be perfect for the binding.  It was blinding to look at in one big piece, but cut up into a really nice binding strip!

     Here is my view of Lake Erie from my sewing machine in the new space.  How lucky am I?  It will be even nicer in the summer! 
   Here is a close up of a part of the quilt with the binding.  I really like the stripes with this pattern.
     When I had first finished washing and drying, my trusty quiltholder wasn't around, so I used the abundant snow as my background. 
         The finished quilt (after laundering) measures 60 x 68 1/2 inches.  This will soon be on its way to someone special!      I am thinking about putting together tutorials on the wavy quilting design and also on using the craft table and clips for making the quilt sandwiches.  What do you think?    As always, thanks so much for visiting my blog! 

Take care,

Saturday, February 10, 2018

An Amazing Benefit of the Walking Foot!

    I finally have my new sewing space sufficiently set up that I was able to pin up two quilts that I am trying to finish by Tuesday.    Both are for internet quilt-a-longs   --  the Meadow Mist Magnolia Mystery Quilt and the Plus Block Quilt Along.   I'll post more on each of those in the next week.
Magnolia Mystery Quilt 
Plus Block Quilt
     I decided to quilt both with on my Bernina with my walking foot, choosing a wavy line pattern using different thread colors for the Magnolia Mystery Quilt.  I find quilting on my home machine involves quite a bit of quilt wrangling, especially now with the machine cabinet close to the window.  (The view is wonderful but the space is a little cramped!) 
      On Thursday, I spent most of the afternoon in my two studio art classes.  When I came home that evening, I decided to really get going on the quilting and spent a few hours making wavy lines.
     I was somewhat surprised when, late that evening, my Fitbit announced I had reached the 10,000 step mark.  In any given day, I will get about 7000 steps, but I usually have to purposefully walk a few miles to get to 10,000.  Perhaps my mall walking with my mom that morning  was longer than I thought, since I knew I was sitting for most of the rest of the day.
    Since I now wear my Fitbit on my wrist, I decided to do a little test.   This morning, before I got sewing, I checked my step count:

    Almost an hour later, I had finished the wavy quilting, and had gotten the binding on, all using my walking foot.  What I hadn't done much of was get out of the chair and actually walk around.  However, here is what my Fitbit reported:
        Ha!  Apparently, using the walking foot is just like actual walking!  Who knew?  I think I'll try to slip off the Fitbit when I sew from now on!

Take care,