Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas is coming!

Yikes! I'm really behind.  I did a lot of gift certificate gifting this year, so I should feel on top of things. Trouble is, gift certs seem rather impersonal to me, so I wanted to add something to each one.
We're having a family dinner on Christmas Eve with DD#1. In addition to food, I thought I'd make a little gift for each family there. It adds up to 5.

I saw a cute pattern for a hot pad here.

Here's my first attempt:

It's really stiff, 5 layers. Not bad, but a little bit wiggly round the edge.

Second attempt:

Better, but I haven't sewn down the binding yet. Lets not get ahead of ourselves!

Third one. Now I'm getting confident. And while trimming the top four layers, ready to bring the binding over from the backing, I actually thought: "Wouldn't it suck if I cut into the backing?"
And, hey presto!

So now I've got to trim it all, and put on binding separately. And do you want to know something funny?

These hot pads are a 60 Minute Gift !!! To wrap, maybe. For me to sew, not so much!

To all my blogging friends, have a very Happy Christmas! We'll get together again after the holiday.

Linked to:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Till next time,


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The more I hurry...

I've got far more ideas than time!

I'm not ungrateful, I know that I have much more time for quilting and crafting than many of the talented people I admire. It's just that every time I finish a project, two more seem to take its place!

Don't get me wrong: it's the way I work, the way I keep enthusiastic and interested, but it is rather like a kid in a candy shop. That's why I used the blog title above. Isn't there a quotation along the lines of "The more I hurry, the behinder I get" ? That's me. So what have I been doing?

The latest batch of sewing has been delivered.

Two Advent calendars now in use:

Two cushions claimed by the little girls whose artwork is on the fronts:

I sewed together some of the squares on my Hunter Star quilt. Up to the dark blue is sewn together now. It will be bigger than this, there just wasn't room to put out all the squares! It's a barnraising layout, for those who know. You'll be sick of this quilt if you read my blog. Feel free to skip ahead!

A while ago I came across a Block of the Week posting of paper pieced Harry Potter themed blocks. The project finished a couple of years ago, but all the patterns are still available. The quilt is like Harry Potter's bookshelf. You can read about it here. I fell in love with it! Never mind that I'm a paper piecing newbie! So when I have a few minutes I make a block, it's so much fun. I've raked through all my scraps loads of times.

I've done more than these, pictures next time!

While I was visiting my son, we talked about turning his cherished concert T shirts into a quilt.  I must admit, I'm a bit nervous. I even put most of them in my carry on on the flight home!
Feel free to offer any advice!

Isn't this a long post!
More next time,


Linking to:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Finally a few finishes!

After taking a look at all my WIPs, I am really trying to have a few finishes.

One Advent calendar is nearly done. It's like bunting, and each day you undo the snap to get a picture.

I'm going to add Velcro fasteners on each side. Then each date can contain a very small treat , like stickers, without falling out the sides.

I finished a pillow cover.

One side is a picture done by my GD, printed onto fabric by Spoonflower. It's an underwater scene, so I quilted swirls around it.
The back is some of my collection of triangle scraps. It was surprisingly hard work to get it all put together and on point. I don 't think I'll be making a full size quilt like this anytime soon!

I finished the baby quilt and sent it on its way.

The backing is red Minky. I was worried about quilting it, but it turned out fine. It was more of a challenge putting on the binding. I love how soft the Minky is!

I'm pleased with my progress, now I just have to keep it up!

Linking to:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Till next time


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I've got crazy numbers of WIPs!

I seen to have overdone starting projects and somehow missed finishing anything. It's time to get a grip and smarten up! And any other rousing statements I can think of.  I have a real fellow feeling for the dog in UP who keeps getting distracted and shouting "Squirrel!" It's time to focus.

Fortunately I've got a quilt retreat this weekend, so I'm planning to finish a couple of things there.

I have two cute advent calendars from Spoonflower to make for the GDs. We are looking into an alternative to candy - one has little tree ornaments, the other makes bunting. They have to arrive before December 1st. Top of the list.

Next up, a baby quilt for a friend. It's a little girl, not yet born. I plan to send the quilt as soon as I can though. It's fun to have some new things early. She is a second child, and her parents have just moved house, so everyone is very busy. Should be a good time to get a quilt.

I plan to quilt the octagons with a couple of echoing circles and then diagonally through the pie shapes. Or something. I've got red Minky for the back, so I thought I'd do most of the quilting to the batting first and then put the backing on. Any thoughts on that? I understand Minky is hard to quilt on, being stretchy.

I spent a whole day trying layouts for my Hunter Stars. Originally I planned the traditional layout:

Many layouts later, I thought this looked nice:

Then on Monday morning, another brainstorm, and this is how it looks now:

Of course, there are problems. The second layout just needed triangles sewn dark to dark and light to light. I sewed about 50. They'll all have to come apart. Sigh. I've done the math, so I know how many squares of each colour I will need, and so the colour order may also need adjustment. I'll keep plugging away at this, no time constraint really.

More about my other WIPs in my next post. I need some coffee!

Linking to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Lots of great quilting to be seen there!

Till next time


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Octagonal Orb

This month's bee block in the Sew.Bee.Create group is the Octagonal Orb for Kris.

The tutorial is at the Modern Quilt Guild website, and the block is designed by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson!

Kris had done all the cutting, and there was a lot of it, squares and rectangles. I just love her fabrics! She must have a great scrap bin!

Sewing up the block was quick to do, and the finished block is gorgeous!  Kris is going to put on the triangles to make the block a square. It finishes at a little over 17" square. Six would make a very pretty crib quilt. (Note to self!)

Linking to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Till next time,


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm liking it better!

Yesterday's post was about my struggles with a scrappy Hunter Star quilt top. After a lot of anguish (yes, anxiety, anger and various other unhappy words!) I finally got to a stage where I was happier with how it was going.

After lots of rearranging, and more blocks made, here is how it looks today

It's on the wall in my bedroom, and I can lie in bed and see where there is too much of one colour and make the changes. I'm going to have to number every half block, cause I don't think I'd have the patience to set it all out again from the beginning!

This is 36 squares, I'm planning on 90. Well, it's a start!

Linking to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Lots to look at there!

Till next time,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hunter Star, lighten up!

I've had it in the back of my mind to make a Hunter Star quilt ever since I saw one in progress a couple of years ago. So when I saw a class offered at my LQS, I jumped in! What I had not considered is that in those several years, my taste in fabric and design has changed dramatically, and the two colours that I had reserved for this project now leave me completely cold!

My friend and I went shopping for fabric for her quilt, and she wondered why I was leaving my planning till the last minute, more so because there was cutting to be done before the class. I just couldn't get enthusiastic. I did some cutting, went to the class, and struggled with it some more. It was just painful, everything felt wrong. My colours looked too dark and, well, blah! Have you ever had something like this happen? Usually I feel great starting a quilt, and this felt the very reverse!

Yesterday I made more blocks, put them up on the design wall, and now at last  I feel I'm getting somewhere. I've accepted that this quilt won't be made entirely from my stash, an important step in my thinking. Now I've added the lighter pink, and it seems to open it all up. There's still a long way to go, but  I'm back in the right frame of mind, and hoping to stay that way!

Linking to:

Till next time,


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Winner, winner!

Since I started reading blogs, I've often entered giveaways, and occasionally won small gifts.
When the Dots on Dots Blog Hop was on, I entered a giveaway on Amy's Crafty Shenanigans and WON! Amy blogs from England.

My gifts came yesterday, and the presentation was so lovely I wanted you to see it too.

It looked great right from the start, a dotted mail envelope, how cute!! That's it on the left, and inside was a large envelope, a small package tied with scrappy homemade ribbon (love it!) and a pretty message, all tied together with yarn.

Look at all the goodies that were inside:

There are two fat quarters,a pretty floral and some Oakshott (I've heard of this but never had any), matching bias tape and the cutest little drawstring bag. See it there? It draws up into petals on the top and inside...

                                                 Matching ribbon and vintage buttons!

All this is sitting on a crafting magazine just packed with great ideas, and even a CD to help me in my crafty ventures.

Thank you, Amy! I feel so spoiled, and you made my day!

Till next time,



Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Bee Block

Today I made the block for September for Sew.Bee.Create.

It's a spiderweb block and the tutorial is here.

I loved it, and it is quick to make, and uses lots of scraps. Perfect!

My Bee friend sent the fabric, it is the cutest Halloween fabric I've ever seen! There were strips of about 25 fabrics, all different! I don't have any, and probably not this year, but next year I'm going to get some of these : the flying cats, the eyes in the dark, oh my!

Till next time,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Neapolitan Finish

It's the most beautiful fall day today, very warm, but cooling off in  the evening. I'm determined to enjoy eating my lunch and supper on the deck while it is still possible!

I've got a finish today! Neapolitan is bound, labelled, and washed. It's ready for the use of our guests arriving next week.

I'm very satisfied with the way it turned out. It's got just the random look I was trying for. I learned a lot along the way: from calculating the sizes of the blocks so that they would fit together, to learning a new FMQ pattern for it. (See my last post for the tutorial.)

I'm waiting for more fabric for my spinning stars quilt along baby quilt, so I've pulled out all my strings and started work on a scrap quilt. It will be mine, all mine, to snuggle under on the couch.
I'm using the pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts, Candy Coated, as a guide. I already see some changes coming!

Till next time,


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Orange Peel FMQ Tutorial

 This blog is about how I learned to do a free motion quilting pattern called Orange Peel. My Neapolitan quilt needed quilting, and I decided to do a very curvy all over pattern to contrast with all the boxes and straight lines that make up the quilt top.

I found a pattern I liked on Elizabeth Hartman's great blog, Oh Fransson. Elizabeth makes wonderful quilts and does beautiful quilting. She is also teaching a class on the Craftsy site, if you haven't seen it, check it out. I'm a student!

Back to the quilting pattern, called Orange Peel. I used Elizabeth's pattern, but I just could not make the design in the order that she did it. I kept getting it wrong and taking it out, and saying to myself, 'I can't have got it wrong again!' But I had. Over and over. Finally I decided it must be a left brain/right brain thing, and I should construct the same shape, but my way.

First, draw a grid, 2" squares. I used a Clover marker with powdered yellow chalk.

It's a big quilt, 90 x 100", so I worked on a quarter at a time, and I found it easiest to draw 4 lines vertically, and then mark horizontally using my basting stitches as alternate horizontal lines.

Now start sewing at the border and sew away from you, moving the quilt toward you. Start at the end of a vertical line, sew a quarter circle to the left, an arc, meeting at the widest point with the intersection of a vertical and horizontal line.

Now sew another quarter circle, this time going to the right, ending at the next intersection of horizontal and vertical lines. Now you have a half circle.

Keep sewing like this, making a line of left side half circles until you reach the end of your vertical line at about the middle of your quilt.

Now we're going to come back, sewing toward you, and pushing the quilt away from you.

Here we are at the center of the quilt, and making our change in direction.

Reach the intersection at the arrow, now do a quarter circle to the left to the next intersection.

From this point we will go all the way back to the outer edge of the quilt, making half circles with the mid point at the next intersection.

So here's where we are, with the line in black stitching toward the middle of the quilt, and the line in green coming toward us from the center to the edge. See what I mean, it's intersecting semicircles!

Now we work on the next vertical row. Start again at the spot where you finished the last row. This time I found it helpful to think of the Cathedral Windows block. We're making that shape. After we reach the intersection, it's back to semi circles again. We're following the blue line now.

When we reach the center of the quilt we reverse as before and arrive back at our starting point on the edge of the quilt. This is the yellow line.

And that's it! Four lines of stitching creates the motif. To start the next motif move over to the second marked vertical line from where you ended, think Cathedral Window, and make your left hand quarter circle. Then continue as before. I found it smoothest to aim for the widest part of the circle to my left, and to work in half circle arcs as much as possible.

Here's the start of the next row to get you going!

This is Neapolitan, quilted and ready for its binding. Nearly done!

Linking to WIP Wednesday, lots of great projects. Check it out!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Till next time,


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oh Quiltalongs, I love you!

I just can't resist a quiltalong, can you? Spellcheck doesn't like the word, but it makes perfect sense to me, and it sounds like one word, not two.

I joined one for my Swoon blocks, I'm still working on them (slowly!). Lots of people joined that group, some of the fabric choices were just stunning!

Then I joined one called Oh My Stars, and learned more than I really wanted to know about Sawtooth stars. The quilt is finished, and it was lots of fun seeing how everyone else's colour choices worked out. We traded tips on making flying geese and admired everyone's efforts. That's the thing about a quiltalong, it comes with tips, advice, and a cheering section. Those are all things that motivate me!
There's a picture of that quilt under the tab above for 2012 quilts. I must get a better picture.

So when I saw that Katy of I'm a Ginger Monkey was having a quiltalong with a pattern by Anna Maria Horner, I couldn't resist! It kicked off today, but being a keener I had already started. I thought I'd make a baby quilt, so I'm using Little Apples by Anneela Hoey. Today I find I need more, so on to another favourite activity, fabric shopping. Did I really need an excuse?

Here are my blocks so far, big guys, 18", so I only need six for my quilt.

Linking to WIP Wednesday, I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 Till next time