Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pillowcases, Sundresses and another Baby Quilt

Toddler-sized pillow cases
Sewed 2 more pillowcases for our little twins for their new toddler-sized pillows. These two are  15" X 24", a little longer than the first 2 that I had sewn. (In fact just yesterday, I added a few more inches to the end of the first 2 cases to make them extend over the edge of the pillows a bit more.)

New baby Girl Quilt: for Chloe who arrived on June 14th/14

I started off with 2 strip sets with light and dark fabrics, 2 1/2 inches wide. The squares are also 2 /12 inches and the rectangles 2 1/2 X 4 1/2".
The 4 small blocks below were sewn together to make one 8 1/2 inch block.

Creating the 8 1/2 inch block (with seam allowance)

Kitty panel in centre with created blocks all around.

The centre kitty panel was 18" X 22 1/2".  I added some white sashing to make it 24 1/2 inches square.  ( 1 1/2 inches white sashing on the top and bottom of the panel, and 2 1/2 inches of sashing on the sides.) 

(OOPS! I saw a mistake in the arrangement of one of my blocks on the bottom. Flipped it the wrong way! Had to use my seam ripper to take that apart.)


Completed quilt top: 40" X 40" inches square. Next I washed and ironed the flannel back fabric (white with tiny stars) and sandwiched it together with a chunk of batting. (Had to whipstitch a 6 inch width of batting onto the side of the chunk I had in order to make it wider. )

Now it is sitting here while I contemplate ideas to quilt it. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heartland Quilt Show

Our quilt guild had an enjoyable, successful quilt show last weekend (June 13 and 14, 2014). What a lot of work and organization, but a good event for showcasing quilts and socialization of like minded (quilt-loving) people!

I had just finished my kitty quilt "Tabby's Place",  made up of foundation pieced blocks with a bird fabric border.  (The irony in that choice of border being that I am frequently concerned about the nesting birds here on our acreage which our cats are sometimes too curious about. Have been known to chase my cats away from the birdhouses, broom in hand. :)

Tabby's Place" wallhanging 29" X 44"

My other entry for the quilt shoe was my big Diamonds Jubilee bargello quilt. (104" X 105")
Did not walk away with any ribbons or anything special other than the elated feeling of seeing my handiwork displayed, especially this bargello quilt which I invested many many hours of time into creating. I am also proud to say that I machine quilted this giant on my own regular sewing machine after much rolling and re-rolling of this quilt, (and many spools of thread later…)

Diamonds Jubilee Bargello quilt on display at the Stettler Quilt show June 13/14, 2014

Now I am finishing up a little baby quilt for our grand-niece's new baby girl called Chloe Grace who graced the world with her arrival on Sat. June 14. More about that quilt in the next blog. :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"Tabby's Place" Foundation Piecing

Decided I needed to make something to put up on a bare space on our dining room wall. Cats and plants, two of my favourite things, are the theme of this wall hanging.

I enjoy doing paper piecing blocks, also called foundation piecing…  You don't have to be exact in measuring your fabric pieces and it's a great way to use up scraps.

Recently I got a pack of 100 sheets of Foundation Piecing paper for the computer. This way I can scan the pattern pieces and print out as many as I need.

The old way, you had to trace the pattern multiple times onto thin paper.  That's what I did, (27 times to be exact!) for one of my previous quilts, (which I call "Signs of Autumn") that was made up of all paper pieced blocks,    (See photo of that foundation pieced quilt below.)

Small paper-pieced cat, fabric sewn on

Back of same small cat showing seams sewn on the lines

The fabric strips are sewn right onto the patterned paper,  (To be ripped off later).
The cat and plant patterns are from an old Quiltmaker magazine (2003), a pattern called "Tabby's Place".

Arranging the blocks

The hardest part was placing the blocks in an arrangement that I liked. I did not like the arrangement in the magazine and I skipped putting appliquéd rugs below each cat, too.

Figuring out the sizes of the sashing required to sew the blocks together was tricky. I used my cutting mat to help there as it has 1 inch squares on it.

I worked until midnight last night to get all the saying sewn on and all the blocks together. here is the almost finished quilt top, just missing the outer border.

Then I want to sew some button eye on all the cats to add some interest. :)

Athena checks it out… :)

Here's my "Signs of Autumn" quilt. I am very proud of this one as I used my own design to create it. I had a pattern for the foundation pieced blocks, but not for how to put them together into a quilt top. Up till then, I had never assembled a quilt on the point (sideways like diamonds) and I had no idea how big to make the side or corner triangles (setting squares).

After much searching through quilt magazines to find other quilts assembled this way, none had 14 inch blocks so their directions for those triangle pieces didn't help. A quilter friend finally gave me a link to a table that gives those measurements for all sizes of blocks. Yay, problem solved! I hand quilted the square blocks and free motion quilted the triangles and the sashing on my sewing machine.

25 foundation pieced blocks, arranged 'on the point'.  Two more blocks are in the pillow shams.
This is still one of my favourite quilts, in spite of all the work involved in making my Diamonds Jubilee Bargello… :)

Happy quilting!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Blocks of Fancy" and "The Right Slice"

"Blocks of Fancy" 40 x 40 inches square

Recently I finished another baby quilt, which I call "Blocks of Fancy".  This little quilt is for our newest little grand baby, Tanner Felix, to use at his house, once he starts using his crib, or just for "tummy time".

My daughter, son-in-law and their young family and I went to a quilt show last June in Lethbridge, AB.  We enjoyed viewing the numerous creations displayed there, some of which were very beautiful and quite inspiring!

We saw one quilt there that my daughter particularly liked, so I took a photo to remember what it looked like once I got home.
I printed the photo to help me figure out some measurements in order to make a small sized version similar to the original.

Arranging the 3 inch squares into blocks...
I figured that making the square blocks 3 inches and the rectangular blocks  3" x 11"would result in a finished quilt of  40" by 40" a good size for a baby. (The white sashing strips in between are 1 inch wide.)

Once I figured out the measurements for each part of the quilt top, it was quite easy to make.
My daughter helped me to rearrange some of the blocks at one of her visits here.  Luckily I had made a few extra squares so we could switch a few of them.

Kitty approved :)

Once the blocks and sashing were all sewn together, I 'sandwiched' the quilt with the batting and backing, then pinned it thoroughly together. I 'ditch quilted' the blocks on my sewing machine.  On the white outer border, I free- motion quilted some vines and leaves with white thread to blend in.

With the blue Minkee Fleece on the back and it turned out to be a nice colourful, cuddly quilt for our new little boy.  :)

Blue minkee fleece on the back

They are all coming to visit us here this Easter weekend and I am looking forward to giving the quilt to little Tanner. I hope he gets many hours of warmth and enjoyment from it.

Love all my little Sweetie Pies bunches and bunches! 

The Right Slice:
Our  quilt guild is working on some charity quilts for an organization called Little Warriors which is starting up in June to help abused children in the province. Our group is donating over a dozen quilts, some which individual members have made and some which we worked on during meetings and quilting bees. The quilt below is a pattern called: "The Right Slice" (Quiltmaker Magazine- Nov./Dec. 2013 issue).  We put an "Eye Spy" twist on it, adding a novelty print at the centre of each block.

A number of us worked on the individual blocks which all start out as a basic 9 patch. After that  2 2/3 inches are chopped off the right and the left sides, then 1 1/2 inch black sashing is sewn on.  Then the chopped off parts are sewn back on.

Next the top and the bottom of the block get the same treatment (black sashing added).

The blocks end up being 14 inches square.  Once the blocks were all completed, we arranged the blocks on the floor in rows at one of our meetings and we sewed it together into there quilt tops, one of which you see above. This one I will be quilting and binding on my sewing machine in time to be displayed at our annual Heartland Guild Quilt Show in Stettler in June.
After that they will be delivered to the "Little Warriors Organization for their use.

Happy quilting!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Magic of Quilting: Diamonds Jubilee Bargello

Photo of the finished Bargello quilt; here's the link:


Friday, February 21, 2014

Diamonds Jubilee Bargello Quilt- finally completed!

Diamonds Jubilee Bargello quilt

Diamonds Jubilee bargello quilt completed... and kitty approved as well! :)

I finally completed my big Diamonds Jubilee Bargello quilt last weekend! (Feb. 16, 2014).
The actual quilting of this monster took quite a number of hours to do and a whole lot of muscle, too!   (I estimate about 40 hours to quilt and add the edging.)  The quilt dimensions  are 104" by 105"inches, almost 8 1/2 feet long and wide.

I had to roll the entire quilt up tightly in order to feed it through my sewing machine. I used a series of free motion designs on it, starting at the centre with one of my favourites, a vine of leaves joined together from the top of the quilt all the way down to the bottom. I put safety pins along the edges of the blocks where I wanted to quilt in order to keep from wandering off during the free motion quilting.

Bargello quilt all rolled up showing back fabric

Next I re-rolled the quilt on the kitchen floor and  re-pinned the "path" to be quilted.   Then I sewed a butterfly design along the left side of the leaves running down the centre . Again I re-pinned and re-rolled the quilt the other direction, sewing a similar butterfly design to the right of the leaves.

 I went back and forth like that, sewing various designs down the quilt, but always matching the designs on the right and the left each time.  It wasn't as easy as it sounds, as the quilt weighs about 20 pounds and I had to sling it over my shoulder and drape it on my computer chair so it wouldn't get hung up on the edge of the table too much as I was trying to sew.  I had to stop and start many times to re-position the quilt, but tried to do the restarts as unnoticeably as possible.  I tried to stop at a seam line each time and because the Bargello has over 3000 pieces in the top, it wasn't that difficult.

In the end there were only a few places where I was unhappy with the sewing and took the stitches out to re-sew the design.  The red/ orange batik outer border of the quilt has large veiny leaves on it so I decided to go with the pattern when I quilted that.  I free-motion stitched around many of the leaves on the border to keep to the design which was already there.

I also tried out a new design. I got an inspiration from a flower on the front of my photo album and figured out a way to make that design in a continuous manner all the way down the quilt.

The edging worked out well, too. I wasn't sure what I was going to use for the edging at first, but one day I was in the local quilt store in town and I saw the exact brown fabric that I had used in part of my quilt.  Great!  Because this quilt already has 11 different fabrics (not including the back) I really hadn't wanted to introduce a new fabric, so that was perfect!

Beautiful bargello

 I did some estimating in my head and figured out that I would need a minimum of 30 inches of fabric (at 42 inches wide) to make enough strips for the edging. It had to go all the way around the outside of the quilt, with an added 3 inches at each corner and 6 inches overlap at the end, (plus figuring in 1/4 inch seam allowances at both ends of each fabric strip....)  Well, the length of the edging worked out to be approximately 445 inches long!

I like to cut my fabric strips 2 1/4 inches wide, then fold them lengthwise with right sides out; press well ( with help from cats!) and sew the raw edges along the raw edge of the quilt sides.  The time consuming last part is where you have to flip the edging around to the back of the quilt, and hand stitch it all the way around! ( I usually do that part while I'm watching TV in the evenings.)

Then I washed the quilt in the machine on 'cold' and dried it in the drier on medium heat. Then, voila!!! It was done and now sits on top of our bed to be enjoyed all night long! :)

Paper pieced "Signs of Autumn" quilt
My paper pieced "Signs of Autumn" quilt which used to decorate our bed, has now been put in storage for the time being.

To see the beginning steps of the Diamonds Jubilee quilt, follow my link below. :)


Happy quilting!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

2 Baby Quilt Tops Completed

Yay! Finished quilting both pink baby quilt tops in the last week or two, The Pink"Starry Boats" made up of 5 Bernagat Bay blocks and the Pink/ Kitty Chains quilt top.

I finished off the Pink Starry Boats quilt with a mock edging (where you use the back fabric to wrap around to the front and sew it on around the outside.)

The Pink Kitty Chains got a traditional edge made up of  2 inch strips of white fabric matching the fabric used in the chain blocks. It seems to set off the rest of the baby quilt quite nicely.  It got the approval of our 2 year old grand daughter anyway! :)
But then again, she loves blankets of all sorts.   👼 

White fabric edge

The back of the Chain quilt is pink Minkee fleece.  That can be a bit tricky to work with because it can be slippery to sew with, but I pinned it really well. After that I started the quilting process by stitching in the ditch down the centre of the quilt, then stitching vertically for a row or two, then back to a row or two horizontally. I alternated the beginning of the rows as well, starting one from the left side, then the next row from the right side and back and forth. That helps to keep the Minkee from shifting.

Minkee fleece backing

Both of these quilts are about 40 inches square. 

I really like how the Bernagat Bay blocks turn out so I have already started on a yellow starry version with green boats. There is no baby in mind for that one yet, but I am hoping to get one quilt top ahead, if possible.  😊

After that, the next plan is to start quilting my Diamonds Jubilee Bargello king sized quilt. It has been sitting here on top of the ironing board for several months now all pinned together and waiting its turn very patiently. The cat seems to think it is her personal cushy sleeping spot and I had to put a towel on top of it for that reason.


Diamonds Jubilee quilt top