My Bernina came home after three weeks at the quilt shop for a cleaning and repair. So. with my Bernina home, I was able to make some progress on my current stitching projects. I'm behind on my National Quilting Association Block of the Month. Today, I finished the May star block, a Crazy Star, for the Galaxy quilt. The pattern was designed by Pam Seip, certified NQA teacher.
The pattern is a paper foundation pieced block. Now, paper piecing is not a technique that I enjoy, but I did complete the pattern as designed. Over the years, I figured out a way to make foundation paper pieced blocks, but find paper piecing to be tedious with unnecessary extra steps. The results for this star are not significant compared to a liberated star piecing technique I learned several years ago. Gwen Marston's liberated piecing techniques produce lovely blocks in less time and without any paper. I would much rather make my stars like this.
- Liberated Stars
I really like Gwen's liberated piecing techniques. I have taken several classes from her and made not a few quilts using them. Here are two more liberated quilts - String blocks and Liberated Baskets.
- String blocks - quilt on top
- Liberated Baskets - challenge quilt with Michigan Quilt Network
I need to finish the June block during the next week, so that I am back on track. Do you schedule time to complete projects in a timely manner or do you get behind, too? No matter how much I try to plan sewing time, life gets in the way and I find myself behind in finishing a project. Probably why I have so many UFO's.
I'm on target, completing my April BOM (block of the month) in the month of April. The pattern is Home in Ohio designed by Cyndi McChesney. Cyndi is a certified teacher through the National Quilting Association and this BOM is offered to members through the guild's website. All the patterns are stars that will form a quilt called Galaxy.
I am using reds from my stash to make the blocks, replacing the blues in the patterns. This particular star pattern is created from three different units and the instructions are written separately for each unit - log cabin variation for center block, four patches in corners, and quarter square triangle patches to make the star points. I made the mistake of stitching each unit together without looking ahead at what fabric would be needed in the next unit. Unfortunately, the last unit needed a 5-1/2" square of white fabric. Using many different white fat quarters and scraps and cutting each width as a strip, I did not leave a insufficient width of fabric left to cut the square. I could have cut the larger square first and would have had enough fabric to cut out the smaller pieces.
- Home in Ohio Star
Anymore, I tend to skim the reading material and look at the illustrations, sometimes missing important information in the pattern. I also work sequentially, so I proceeded through the pattern in the order given. The adage to read a pattern through first really is important. I can say that I did read it when I initially printed the pattern, but should have also read it through a second time before I began. You probably can see, I also should have chosen a few more reds for the pattern to provide more contrast in the design. One of the fabrics in the center log cabin touches itself in the surrounding star units, giving a different look than intended for the block. But I'm not planning on doing an "unsewing" with this quilt.
I still like how the block looks. I continue to mix into the blocks from the six reds I pulled from my stash. This particular block allows you to see the value of each fabric as they are positioned next to the others, so I can see that my dark, medium and light selections show up as designed. I may need to pull a few more pieces from my stash to ensure future blocks maintain the integrity of the design. In just over a week, I will be able to download the next BOM pattern.
Until then...Happy Stitching!
I took the day off from work today to sew with my sister. We finished adding the borders to our Dresdan Zoo baby quilt for our niece and her new baby daughter. You can follow along with the construction of this quilt in earlier posts HERE, HERE and HERE. We chose to add sashing between and around the outside of the blocks. This added six inches to the quilt dimensions, so the border strips needed to be longer than a WOF (width of fabric). Rather than adding a seam allowance to each border strip, we decided to add corner squares. We chose a light green, so as not to compete with the Dresdans. Next up, FMQ. Here's a look at the finished quilt top.
- Dresdan Zoo baby quilt top
We spent the remainder of the day selecting fabrics for another baby quilt. My sister's son is the next family member expecting a baby. He will be a new father later this summer. We have selected a bow tie quilt pattern featured in Quilter's World Summer 2014. The scrappy pattern uses 64 different fabrics, so we spent quite a bit of time searching through both our stashes; sorting and re-sorting fabrics to ensure a variety of tints and shades.
Here are a few more pics of the finished quilt top.
- Corner of quilt
- Crocodile center block
- Giraffe in left corner
- Side border with zebra
- Finished baby quilt top
I finished out my Friday off work by stitching up my NQA April BOM (block of the month). But more about that in another post.
I know, I know, it's April. But, I was only just able to finish the March Block of the Month (BOM) for my Galaxy quilt. The patterns are for members only of the National Quilting Association. This month's block utilized two different techniques - handwork and machine applique. The star points utilized a stitch and turn technique that formed the star points, while the center is a hexagon constructed using a paper template. The pattern was published by Andover Fabrics, who granted permission to the NQA to use it in the quilt. I chose to machine applique the star using a blanket stitch. I hand appliqued the center, but added a blanket stitch for appearances. The block construction is taught by certified teacher, Ruth Ann Johnson, of West Virginia.
This month's star block pattern is the Savery Friendship Star. The original quilt was made by Elizabeth Hooten (Cresson) Savery and friends in Philadelphia, PA in and dated 1844. The quilt measures 83-1/4 X 80 inches. The quilt was made of cotton and linen fabrics using the English template method, and the center hexagons were inked with signatures and drawings. The quilt was gifted to the American Folk Art Museum by Marie D. and Charles A. T. O'Neill. You can read more about the quilt and other Quaker quilts HERE. I'm considering adding my signature to the center hexagon.
The block was fun to make and a change of pace from the sewing activities of late. You may have noticed my recent post about prayer cloths. I continued making more of these, along with two cotton skirts for my sister to wear on her mission's trip. She departed on Thursday to catch a flight in Chicago and has been in Haiti since last night. So, now I am back to my regular sewing projects. This afternoon, I hope to baste my SewBatik challenge quilt and begin the FMQ. I choose not to provide any pics of this project, since it will be entered into the NQA challenge later in May. At that time, I will reveal my final project, the results of which I am very pleased.
Hope that you find time to do something quilty today. Happy Stitching!
There was a thread in the QCA forums last winter about snow dyeing. I was intrigued, but had plans to try some other types of resist dyeing techniques. I wrote about those experiences HERE and HERE. Last week, it occurred to me that I should consider snow dyeing with all the white stuff outside. So, I purchased some powder Rit Dye on clearance at Meijer, soda ash at Hobby Lobby, and reviewed a couple of You-Tube videos on the topic. I spent the better part of Saturday trying the technique. Here are the results.
I use muslin at a low cost to try out these dyeing techniques. After learning the technique, I may choose to purchase fabric and dyes of a higher quality to prepare more fabric. To begin the snow dye process, I soaked the muslin in a Soda Ash solution for 20 minutes. This allows the dye to take to the fabric better. After wringing out the excess solution, the fabric was bunched up and place on a slotted surface over a tub. I made do with a plastic shoe rack from my closet and placed it over two tubs. The entire setup was placed inside the bathtub for ease in rinsing the fabric and cleaning up. I gathered snow from the back deck and placed it on top of the fabric. Powdered dye was sprinkled across the snow, which acts as a resist until melted. The dye colors I used were Fushia, Golden Yellow, and Dark Green. My choices were based upon the selection on the clearance shelf.
Snow Dyeing Setup #1
- Snow Dyeing Setup #2
- Fabric after snow melted
After the snow melts, the fabric is rinsed until clear. I didn't get the results that I was hoping for. Maybe the fabric pieces were too large, but the dye did not penetrate through the pieces. Large areas of white muslin remained untouched by the dye. I chose to re-dye one of the pieces. Another piece was flipped over part way through the melting and the snow added to the other side to finish melting. Here are the three samples I created.
- Re-dyed Fabric #1
- Fabric #2
- Fabric #3
I probably won't be trying snow dyeing again anytime soon, although there is plenty of snow outside. The technique was time consuming and the results were less than satisfying. I would really like to try Batik dyeing and additional attempts of Shibori dyeing.
So, I got an extra day off from work on President's Day. And, I used it to stitch together a UFO project, one of those that was put into a shoebox and forgotten about. The outfit is a seersucker capri pant & top, New Look pattern #6473; and I cannot remember when I cut this out. I thought that I had planned to make it for my oldest granddaughter, but now I am thinking that I started it two years ago when my youngest granddaughter was born. Either way, it is at least a two year old project. Luckily, my granddaughter is petite and the cut size will still fit her.
I am not the greatest at clothing construction, which is why I took up quilting. But, when I started having grandchildren, I started making them outfits. It was hard to resist the fabric selections and cute patterns. Sewing small seams, armhole openings, and buttonholes are things I haven't mastered. And all of these were involved in this project.
The rick rack and bows add a sweet touch to the design. I added the bow at the top of the pants, to mark the front from the back - no tags when you make your own clothes. The top was supposed to have three bows across the bodice, but I strategically placed one bow over a blood stain on the fabric that wouldn't come out. The bow covers it nicely and you wouldn't know that it wasn't supposed to be there. Here's a closeup of both pieces.
This year is the year of the UFO and I can mark another one off my list. This sweet little outfit will be a gift for my granddaughter's 2nd birthday next month.
Now that my Riley Blake challenge quilt is complete, I can focus on other projects. First up was to complete the February BOM for my NQA project. I have been a member of the National Quilting Association since 2008. This year, I have decided to participate in the SewBatik fabric challenge, but will not be able to attend the annual show. So, I decided to join in on the BOM for members only.
This month, NQA certified teacher Barbara Arnold provides the star pattern. The February pattern is Sawtooth Checker Star. I used two different red fabrics from my stash. Again, the instructions were easy to follow and the diagrams provided additional help. The center of the star is a 16-patch of alternating red and white two-inch squares. Barbara utilized strip piecing for the two colors, then cut them apart into sections. Two of these sections were sewn into a row, then four rows sewn together to make the center. This process was different from other patterns that I have made. I had expected to make four patches and sew them together. However, this sequence of stitching had fewer seams to match through the piecing process and stitched together quickly. The remaining block sections are flying geese units and squares.
Here is the finished block that I stitched up today.
- February BOM - NQA
I am liking these blocks. Are you working on a BOM? How are you doing?
I started a new quilt this weekend. As a member of the National Quilting Association, I have the opportunity to make a members only Block of the Month quilt. Each month, the association will post a pattern tutorial by an NQA certified teacher on their website.
The quilt is titled Galaxy. The pattern calls for assorted white prints and 4-8 different one-yard cuts of blue fabric or your favorite color. I downloaded the January BOM pattern and selected several red fabrics from my stash. Red is my favorite color and I have several one-yard cuts in my stash. I’m trying to use up some older fabrics, most purchased in the 1990′s. NQA certified teacher, Cyndi McChesney, of Colorado, designed the Prairie Star block and her instructions are easy to follow and understand. She utilized two different quick piecing techniques that made the block go together quickly. As well, the block sections were sewn larger than needed and trimmed down, for more accurate piecing.
Here is my completed block.
I certainly have several other projects to work on before starting a new quilt. But, a block of the month isn't too much time commitment. I only have to make one block each month and at the end of the year, I have enough blocks to make a quilt. How about you? Do you join BOM through your LQS, guild, or online? They are a fun way to learn new skills and all the planning is done for you. My quilting space needs cleaned out, so using up stash fabric is a bonus.
It seems that everyone has grown up and is having babies of their own. A nephew had a baby girl in May and a niece had a baby in July. I created two baby quilts: Charm Block Baby Quilt and Farm Animal Baby Quilt. Now, I have another niece that is due this month. My two sisters and I collaborated to make a quilt for her brother in 2012, when he had a baby girl. You may remember our Touch & Feel Baby Quilt that we finished. Now, we've chosen a pattern and started making the blocks for our niece's baby quilt.
The pattern is Tangerine Zoo by Brandi Frey and was published in Scrap Quilts in Summer 2012 by Fons & Porter and Easy Quilts. The quilt is made of scrappy Dresden plates with fussy-cut animal centers. Our zoo will be more green and purple, than tangerine. Each of my sisters and I contributed bright colored fabrics from our stashes. We cut out the Dresden sections and stitched them up on Monday. The easy piecing techniques in the pattern made the sections stitch together quickly. On Monday, my older sister and I worked together to stitch, turn the points, press and stitch the sections together. Previously, we had fussy-cut the animal centers and prepped them for hand applique. Next, applique of the plates to the background squares. I'll keep you updated on the progress.
The Advent Calendar project didn't get completed, but I've continued to work on the wool ornaments. Here are three more finished ornaments to oogle at.
I'll have to get it done for my grandchildren to use next Christmas.
Happy New Year!
Life can get in the way of my quilting projects. Life should - it is more important. Although, there are a lot of quilters out there that may be missing out on life because they do so much quilting. Me, I have chosen to make quilting number three on my list: Faith-Family-Hobbies.
Grandpa (my husband) & I have been watching the granddaughters a lot in the evenings, since our son-in-law has been on 10-hour work shifts. Then, there are the day-to-day activities, and of course, life includes having a job, which has been very hectic. So, I haven't been able to do much with my quilting projects. I say that, but some of you will see my accomplishments as a lot. What has it been, three or four weeks since I last posted? See Modern Sue's new blog at Wordpress. At that time, I was working on wool felt ornaments for an Advent calendar. That project is still in progress, although moving along slowly. I've only finished two more ornaments. Several are put together and just need blanket stitching. Stores don't seem to carry a selection of #8 perle cotton, so I finally had to order it online to get colors that I wanted. I was able to finish the key and the bell ornaments.
I stitched together a couple of aprons, I cut out last Christmas. Trying to get ahead on gifts.
My applique heart quilt is in the final stages of completion. This is the first Applique Club project that I led our guild in two years ago. All the leaves have been added and now work is progressing on embroidering leaf stems and appliqueing cherries. Here is a peek at that progress.
My local quilt guild met the week before last, and I held the first Applique Club meeting for the 2013 guild year. Lots of new faces and some challenges in leading the group with the newest project. Songs of Spring by Lori Smith was chosen for the year's project. I am finding this challenging, working with six-inch finished blocks, so I can only imagine how others are feeling when they are new to applique. I sure hope that I am able to lead these newbies along. The block is only partially finished.
I basted the Charm Squares Baby Quilt for my nephew and hope to spend some time today doing the quilting.
I am also designing two quilts; one for the The Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake fabric challenge and the other for the American Quilt Study Group biennial quilt study. I have decided on a bargello style quilt for the MQG challenge, and a Rose of Sharon quilt from 1852 is my inspiration for my study quilt.
I also stitched the binding onto an exchange block quilt that my long-armer quilted back in March. I haven't done much of the hand stitching, but it should be a fast finish, if I could find the time. My surgery put a lot of quilting on hold and now I am playing catch up. So, there you have it. Far too many WIPs, you may wonder how I remember what needs to be done. Lists. I make lots of "To Do" lists. I feel like I am accomplishing something when I can cross it off from my list.
Hopefully, it won't be so long until I post again. And, hopefully, many of these WIPs will have progressed to being finished projects.
Life has been busy in Modern Sue's household. Blog posts have not been a priority. Besides the usual stuff of life, DH and I have been remodeling the sales floor of our bakery business. As well, our daughter began a new job on the afternoon shift, and we have been assisting with child care. It has been difficult to squeeze in any sewing time amid all the activity.
The only project that I have actually completed is new valances for the windows at the bakery. I purchased an aqua chevron design fabric by Cloud 9 and a coordinating design with multiple colors, both at JoAnn Fabrics. They were perfect for the decor. Luckily, I had a 60% coupon, since the cost of the Cloud 9 fabric was $14.99 per yard. Fabric prices have sky-rocketed, even at the discount stores.
Have you ever sewn curtains? Valances are just short curtains. They are so simple and these valances softened the starkness that the tall, open windows presented. Valance length is usually a third of the window. Add 2-4 inches for the header and an inch for the bottom hem. I stitched a 3" header with a quarter inch turn under seam and a half inch, double fold hem. Measure the outside edge of the window and multiply by 2.5, to determine the fabric width. Add an additional 1/2" for seaming strips to obtain the needed width. Add another one inch for adding both quarter inch, double fold, side seams. Be sure to trim off the selvedges. I had a 65" X 20" strip for each valance, which was one-and-a-half times the WOF.
Sew the quarter inch, double fold, side seams first. I press under a 1/2" fold, then turn the edge under to meet the pressed edge, forming the double folded seam. A seam guide works well to measure the seam across the width of the fabric as you press under the edges.
Next, fold under and press the header seam. Do the entire header width first, then, press under the quarter inch seam. Stitch the seam. Stitch another seam 1-2" from the first seam, to form the opening for the curtain rod. For these curtains, I decided to stitch a second seam about 3/8" away from the lower seam, then stitched a one inch seam from this line. This left a 1-1/2" header above the curtain rod opening.
Lastly, press under a one inch hem, then fold the seam under to meet the pressed edge, forming the 1/2 inch, double fold hem. Stitch the hem in place. The valance is now ready to slip onto the curtain rod and hang onto the window.
Now I'm back to stitching on quilts. There are two baby quilts that are waiting for backing and basting, so that they can be machine quilted. I have also been stitching leaves on an applique border for my applique heart quilt. This will likely be put on hold, as I begin the blocks for my guilds next Applique Club project samples. I'll have to be sure to post pictures as I progress on these projects.
I finally got back to the sewing machine tonight. I have a baby quilt I started a few weeks ago, but got sidetracked with the American Quilter's Society show in Grand Rapids and family activities. The highlights at AQS included meeting Jacquie Gering and seeing her quilts, along with purchasing some cool modern fabrics at the Modern Quilt Studio booth.
I don't know what I'll make with these fabrics, but the bundles called to me from the bin. The book was on my list of planned purchases. I also found a thimble I had been searching out, some pins & needles recommended at the hand applique class I took from Mary Sorensen, and a pattern by Lori Smith at her From my Heart to your Hands booth.
I took two other classes, learning to piece a New York Beauty block with Karen Stone and quick piecing a star block for perfect points by Klaudeen Hansen. The pattern, Dancing With The Stars, uses flippy corners and piecing that eliminates stitching seams at the points.
Now, all these projects will be relegated to the WIP pile, while I get back to my previous projects. Last Sunday, I was able to stitch together then scrappy 9-patches with the farm animal blocks. Just needs borders and it can be quilted. Tonight, I picked up the Elizabeth Hartman Charms Squares Baby Quilt, and began stitching the strips together.
I have decided that I need to get back to stitching just a little every day. Otherwise, I will not be able to finish any of my projects. However, faith and family will always trump quilting, making quilting time wanting. Until next time...
The Farm Animals Baby Quilt is nearing completion. I hadn't worked on it for awhile, but finished up the last three blocks with blanket stitching on Thursday. Then, I spent the week-end stitching together the scrappy 9-patch blocks.
Since the blocks are scrappy, there was no quick piecing. I started with 162 blocks, 2-1/2 inches square. The fabrics were all used in the farm animal and heart blocks.
Then, I stitched the squares together following typical piecing for 9-patch blocks. I press seams inopposite directions, so that seams nestle together for more accurate piecing.
The pattern called for eighteen blocks, that will be six inches finished.
Here is a peak at the finished quilt. Scrappy blocks alternate with animal & heart blocks, while the animal blocks alternate in rows with heart blocks.
Now, I just need to get the blocks sewn together and add the border. My younger sister will do the quilting. It will have it's final home at my niece Steph's house, where baby Charity was born a few weeks ago.
Another Mid-Michigan Quilters' Guild member and I are in charge of making a raffle quilt for our guild quilt show. We decided on a simple pattern - nine patch - and had guild members provide the blocks. The fabric colors are brights that read like a solid. Members also provided a scrap of fabric from their blocks to use in the applique borders. I created the border design of bluebirds, flowers, and hearts that was discussed in a previous blog post. Several members of our Applique Club volunteered to create the quilt borders. Last Tuesday, we got together to put the borders onto the quilt. My guild friend had arranged all the blocks and stitched them together. The Applique Club members brought the finished borders. Here is how it turned out at the end of the day.
I'm excited to see the finished quilt. Another member of the guild will quilt the finished top. There will be lots of room for quilting designs in the alternating blocks and the border. The quilt will be raffled off at our Spring quilt show in March 2014.
Well, I am finally following up with the results from my second day of fabric dyeing. I was interested in trying a Japanese technique called Shibori. This is a resist dye technique that uses string or thread to create areas where the dye is not able to penetrate. The result leaves a unique design in the fabric. I tried two types of resist - string wrapped around a tin can, and basting lines of thread across fabric. My results matched the samples that came with the directions I followed at the Rit Dye website and on Quilting Arts TV.
Here are the results of the dyeing. The fabrics in the first picture were dyed using the string & tin can method, while the fabrics in the second picture were dyed using the hand stitched method. The third picture shows the purple hand stitched fabric as it was drying on the grass outdoors. I will review the two techniques below, with pictures taken during the process.
The first technique called for a large tin can. To begin, I folded a fat quarter size piece of muslin around a tin can. Then, a piece of string was wrapped around the center of the can and knotted, leaving about a 3" tail. The string was tightly wound around the can from the center to the bottom of one side of the can. After winding the string around the can a few times, the fabric was scrunched toward the center of the can, then more windiing and scrunching, until the end of the fabric. The string was wound a couple times around the can to get back to the center, then the entire process was repeated with the other side of the can. Finally, the string was wound back to the center and the end knotted together with the initial 3" tail. I neglected to take pictures of the wrapped tin can before it was dyes, but the following are pictures of the tin cans after the fabrics were dyed.
Here is one of the fabrics created from this process. You can see that the dye did not penetrate through all the fabric. I tried using less string, thinking that the string was not allowing enough dye to penetrate to the extra fabric, but there was not enough string to create the design. Each of my fabrics created this same look, so the folds in the fabric were the real issue. I plan to use a larger tin can the next time that I do this, so that the fabric does not have to be folded.
The second technique used thread to create areas of resist. I tried this process following the instructions that follow, but modified the stitching process for further fabrics. Instructions indicated drawing chalk lines 1-1/2 inches apart on the long side of the fabric. Then, basting stitches were sewn along each chalk line. Last, the basting stitches were pulled up, creating a fan fold affect, and the threads were knotted. Here are pictures of this process.
The fan fold created by the stitching creates creases in the fabric that do not take the dye, causing the resist. The preparation process is tedious, so I decided to try it by fan folding the fabric without the basting stitches, then using a large upholstery needle to pull thread through the layers. It took a lot less time and the effect was the same. Check out these photos of the fabric being dyed.
All the fabrics are placed in water and the excess squeezed out, before applying the dye. In this technique, the dye is squirted from a bottle along the folds. The fabric is turned over and dyed on the other side, as well. Then, a second dye is squirted along folds. Different effects are obtained depending on how much dye is used and the area of crossover where the two colors meet, creating a secondary color. There can be many combinations within the cloth. One of the fabrics that I dyed was made by using up all the extra dye in the squirt bottles, so that a rainbow of colors was created.
So, there is the process for creating your own Japanese Shibori resist dyed fabrics. I really enjoyed the process of making the different designs in the fabric, and learned a lot about using dyes. I hope to make this into a regular event, creating fabric to use in my quilts. Maybe you will consider trying this technique, as well.
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