Thursday, March 16, 2017

42 Days

That is how long it took me to finish my Antique Sampler (by Sue Daley) top.  Holey Moly ..... was I obsessed with this pattern!  I just couldn't stop working on it.  Don't I look pleased or what!
So, to help others wanting to make this pattern, but are shying away from it because it looks hard, well here are a few tips to guide you along.

Where to start?  First, pick your background fabrics.  Most of these fabrics are F/Q's with the exception of the large blocks which I bought extra fabric for.  I chose whatever fabrics looked good together.  There are Civil War fabrics in with Asian and more modern fabrics.  A lot looked like tone on tone from afar.
How to place them?  That is a good question.  Following the pattern, my background fabrics were placed according to the blocks in the pattern.
Starting with the heart blocks (on the four corners of the pattern), one fabric was selected for the four heart corners.  Because each small motif is repeated 4 times in the pattern, I started cutting four identical fabrics for each icon.  This is when I thought that 16 fabrics was limiting, so only 4 fabrics were cut (4 x 4 = 16).  Where you see the stars represent the 16 cuts and their placement.  This is where I decided that the remaining small blocks were to be cut 2 per fabric.  Confusing?  Yes, but it works.
Now for the placement of those cut fabrics, I simply followed the pattern.  The coloured lines show how they are placed.  There is a reason for this that I will explain later.
As each motif was cut out and basted, they got pinned to the square (again following the pattern placement).  By putting the white square on top of the background fabrics, this helped me to keep track of those squares and also to help choose colours.

 Day after day, week after week, my blocks were coming together.
 Stepping back, my layout can be adjusted.  But what to adjust?
Can you see the lines?  The motifs with the blue line can be adjusted because they have the same background fabric.  Just the motif gets moved.  The same with the yellow line.  Or, I can move all 4 motifs around to wherever they fit in better with the surrounding colours.   The background fabrics stay, but the motifs move.  Simple.   Once I was happy with the overall look, then the motifs were sewn permanently to the cream circle.
Here is my top with one border done.
There were a few changes made (not many).  The birds were done facing each other.  The centre large block was changed.  The vase was kept, but the flowers match the other flowers in the big blocks.
 The basket motif was enlarged 130%.
 The leaf in the border corners were substituted with circles.
In the large blocks, the leaf placement was adjusted.  See the arrow?  Now look at the other leaves and their placement.  Right beside them is the pattern placement that were drawn onto the cream fabric (using my light box) which I felt looked odd.  So, simply move the leaves around to the same placement as the one with the arrow beside it.
So, after all this, are you more confused or afraid to try the pattern?  Don't be.  Find friends to do the pattern along with you or do as Sue Daley says (don't fuss too much) and just try it.

Often times, I tend to get too technical and matchy matchy, and probably a tad OCD (ok maybe a lot OCD) but it works for me.  Oh well, that is life and I'm happy with my way and the results show for themselves.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Applique Obsessed

Oh my, I have been so obsessed with my Antique Sampler (by Sue Daley).  I couldn't leave it alone.  Day after day, night after night, I worked on those blocks.  They really were that much fun to do!

The centre (not the borders) is completed and all sewn together.
The tabs in this border are pinned and waiting to be appliqued onto the border fabric. 

Two changes to the pattern were made.  The centre large block.  The flower in the pattern didn't appeal to me as it didn't fit with the other large block flowers.  So, it got changed.  Also, leaves in the corner border blocks were changed to circles.  Other than that, this pattern is perfect.

Love, love this pattern!

This top will definitely be hand quilted and I've already got ideas on what to start with.

Those borders will get tackled and then this top will be completed.  Then it will be time to move onto another project.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ten .... ten .... ten .... ten

Ten years!  Today marks my 10th year of blogging.  Ten years.  Holy scrap, where did the time go?  Really, I can't have blogged for 10 years?  Really?

Yes, I checked.  Feb. 22, 2007 is when I first started.  Here is my first post.  Short and sweet.  LOL.  Lordy, but I have come a long way in my writing and posting.

I remember that day.  I was so nervous to actually be starting a blog.  Would there be enough to talk about?  Would anyone read my posts?  Well .... yes to both questions.

Last month, my page views were:  20,289
Page views all time history:  570,968+

Thank you to all my followers (442 last checked).  Thank you to all my readers that keep coming back to check out what I've been up to.

What actually drove me to start my blog all those years ago?  To help other quilters.  I would leave a comment on their blog to describe how to solve their problem.  But how many people would that comment reach?  Start a blog and talk about these issues.  So, that is how my blog came to be.   Many tips and tutorials have been given throughout these years.  When someone had a problem, I was able to help them out and do a post about it.  If I had a problem and was able to solve it, then a post could help others as well.

So much has happened in 10 years.  I won't bore you with all the details.  You can go through my blog and see for yourself.  Mind you, it will take a bit of time.  :o)

How much longer will I blog?  As long as I can and as long as there is something to write about.  At some point in time, my eyes and fingers will start to give out on me and that is when my quilting life will start to slow down.  This is not being pessimistic, this is reality.

So, what am I working on on this 10th year of blogging?  Applique, of course.  Right now, I am so obsessed with Antique Sampler (by Sue Daley).    I can't seem to stop working on it.  This pattern has so much to offer.  EPP and applique combined.  Perfect choice for me.
I had a question on where to buy this pattern.  Just Google Sue Daley quilt patterns and links will show up where you can buy them.  My pattern came from a shop in Australia.

The other thing that has consumed me over the years is EPP (English Paper Piecing).  Many tops/quilts have been made using this method.  I'm still amazed how this method has creeped into my life.  There is always one EPP project on the go for take alongs on trips and to the cottage.

This EPP is from a photo that I saw in a magazine and the rest is history.  The pattern was figured out and away I went with it.  This will be worked on until it is time to go to the cottage where all those pieces will be sewn together.  Lovely days are coming.
Ten years.  A lot has happened in my life in 10 years.  It is nice to go back to past posts and reflect on those days.

Life is good!

Have a great sewing day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Quilting in the Garage

It has been a while since I last posted about quilting with my friends in the garage.  This past Saturday was our latest get-together.  It snowed a lot overnight but the temperature was a good -6C.  Not bad for venturing out for a day of sewing.

Jeanne and Karin (who is in sunny Florida) were not sewing with us that day.

Let's start with Claudia:

Here is her finished Antique Sampler.  She started this last March and finished it in February this year.  Hand appliqued and hand quilted.  Absolutely gorgeous!
Her hockey top that she is in progress of making.  Now, there is a story about acquiring fabric to make this top.  Both Claudia and I bought the panel and two fabrics at a store in New Liskeard (2 hr. drive north of us) a month ago.  They didn't have much else to go with it.  Then, a few weeks later, I found the remaining fabrics we both needed at a store in Sudbury (1-1/2 hr. drive west of us).  Now, we can both finish making our hockey quilts.  Yeah!
After Claudia saw my sheep quilt, I gave her the pattern and she did her own version.  Love it!
Meet Lois.  Lois was our guest that day for quilting with us.  Lois is president of our day guild and Claudia is president of our night guild.  Lordy, but Darlene and I had to be on our best behaviour that day!  Lois is showing us her bag that uses a piece of metal tape measure as a closure for the bag.
She made two feather blocks.
Here are Claudia and Lois both making one of those bags.
Darlene (who is the owner of the garage) was working on her Antique Sampler.
This is her progress so far.
This is me with Coach (garage dog).  If he is not sitting on Darlene's lap, he is on my lap.  LOL .... I look like I'm snoozing, but actually am working on my Antique Sampler too.
So, it was another fun day and from looking at the photos, gosh so much inspiration abounds at our sew days!

On another note, as I'm sitting here working on this post, a noise to my left gets my attention.  Miss Ashes the Cat is trying to open the door into the treat cupboard. She has the door open but can't get her head inside.  Guess she wants a treat!  LOL

Anyway, the snow banks are getting higher and higher each day.  DH has already snowblowed two neighbours' driveways this morning.  Right now, snow flurries are coming down.  Another good day to stay indoors and work on my Antique Sampler.

Have a great sewing day!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My kind of basting

I think the older I get, I'm getting smarter for using tools to make quilting easier.  That is the beauty of ageing.

Anyway, in the past, my knees and back used to suffer sandwiching quilts on the floor.  It worked.  There were no puckers on the back of my quilts.  But, boy did it hurt.

Eventually, I did end up putting two folding tables together and using lots of masking tape (same as I did for the floor), but puckers were always there, no matter how much I tried to keep the backing taut.

Enter Styrofoam boards and flower pins.

This quilt is the last one that I did using this method.  Binding has yet to be cut and sewn on, so no full photo of this quilt just yet.

Below photo shows two full sheets (24" x 96") of Styrofoam taped together.  My dining room table is the perfect spot for this job.  See those arrows?  Lots of flower pins at the side and the front.  I just had to be careful not to put the flower pins too deep and scratch the table.
Then, the right side of the backing was stretched slightly and pinned in place.  Lots of flower pins about every 2".  No pins were placed on the side that is closest to the quilt you see hanging on the wall.  The batting and top were placed on top and then I could start to pin baste.  

The flower pins stay pinned into the Styrofoam.  The process of pin basting (using quilting safety pins) can start.
Once I moved the whole section forward towards me, I don't bother placing any flower pins where you see the arrow.  Gravity does a wonderful job.  Flower pins are placed on the backing (just the backing), starting on the left side and then stretching the backing slightly and more flower pins are placed on the right hand side. 
At the end of machine quilting .... no puckers on the back.  Wonderful.

The down side to this?  Miss Ashes can't help me anymore.  She is not allowed on the dining room table.  Lordy, but she sure does protest this new method!  LOL

Next time I sandwich another top, I will use strips of wood on my top just to make the smoothing easier each time the section is moved forward.

Like I said, I'm getting smarter.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lotta Progress

Yep, lots of progress came to my house this past week.  I'm feeling much better but I still do have a lingering cough that seems to lessen each day.

A lot of hand quilting got done on this hanging.
Well, that is until Miss Ashes came along and decided she wanted a nap on top of my quilting frame.  Well, why not and I might as well have a nap along with her.  So we did.  It probably helped my cold.

Outer borders got added to this top.  This will soon (as soon as it is machine quilted) be going to a neighbour who moved to Portugal a few years ago.  This ufo has been sitting in a bin for only two years now and it is time to get this shuffled to the front of the line.
Our neighbours signed fabric squares and I then added images to the blocks.  The images will remind him of the hill where he could look up from his former home to see deer, bears and trees and the signatures will remind him of the friends he left behind.
A few of The Garage Girls are making the Antique Sampler (by Sue Daley) and since I was so behind in joining the fun, a couple days of pulling fabric and cutting got me started so that I can show my progress to them too.
All the cream background got pinned to each block so that I don't lose any pieces.  I have a bad habit of losing pieces and have to recut more to replace them.
There are two more projects to get started on and I will get those projects prepped so that I can work on them as I want to.  Getting started sometimes is the hardest thing to do.  A Simple Life and Dutch Treat are the next ones up.

So, it was a good week after all.  :o)

Today, the sun is shining, but it is cold outside.  Miss Ashes is sleeping in front of the fireplace.  This would be a good time to sneak down to my studio and do some quilting.  Ssshhhh ....
Have a great stitching day!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Next up

The next top up for hand quilting is this wall hanging.
A close-up of what has been done so far.  I did do small machine quilted meander in some parts of the centre.  I do like the effect it gives.  For me, there is no problem combining both machine and hand quilting together in the same quilt.
My goal is to get this hanging quilted before the end of February.  That is doable.

I'm linking to The Needle and Thread Network.

Have a great day!