Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More FMQ ...

I am still working on the FMQ with Leah Day and I think I am getting a hang of things.  Leah's quadrant concept is quite logical and it gives the randomness of stippling a direction of sorts.  From the front of a busy pieced quilt you can't tell that it was worked in rows but from a solid back it's only slightly easier to figure that out.
Christmas Quilt.  Designer: Cheri Payne

I completed Lori's QAL Pink Lemonade top.  I don't know when I'll get to quilting it as I want to zoom into some sewing, at least till end of February.  I don't usually work with such bright colours but I bet the antique quilt was once this bright too.
Pink Lemonade. Size:20" x 26 1/2"

Just Takes 2 - Jan 15th
The house block was a royal pain, but it'll have to do!

An old lap size quilt top that needs to get quilted.  This was one of my early largish quilts that I pieced.  I didn't know about the importance of stitch length then.  I had to hand stitch all the seams tight before quilting further on this baby ... sigh.  Straight line machine quilting for this.  This quilt will be for my aunt who is not well.

My sewing book finally came early this month.  Still reading it.  Wonderful techniques and finishes.  Since cotton and linen are my preferred fabrics to wear and work with, this book is right up my alley. 

I did not need to add to the crotch line length to the front pattern after all.  So I removed the slashes that I made previously.  
 I altered my pants block yesterday and even cut out a new piece of muslin for the front. A tedious task because I had to unpick the waistband, inseams, side seam and hems, fortunately I used basting stitches.  I suppose I could just as well cut out a new back piece but I thought I should be frugal with my muslin.

The pants fits well now and I have a basic pants block to refer to.  Next will be to learn how to draft a bodice and sleeve block pattern.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Free Motion Quilting

 I have been following Leah's blog for some time now.  She does FMQ so effortlessly.  If only I can muster half her skill, I'll be happiest!  I've bought some essential tools from Leah's shop some time back.  Although I've had spurts of practice but not enough to really get out of the 'ditch' (pun intended).  Stippling / Meandering has always eluded me but I hope that will change this year.

 My humble practice piece.  I took an old bed sheet and sandwiched with a high loft polyester batting, the cheapy kind.  It took quite a bit of getting used to but it was quite free-ing!  I am using the speed slider on my Brother sewing machine with the foot pedal disengaged.  That way the speed of the sewing machine is regulated and I just had to work on my hand movements.  I find the FMQ were more coordinated when I increased the speed.  So perhaps I may have found a happy medium. When my hand movement got wonky, the stitches on the front of the quilt was bigger and they in turn formed eyelashes at the back.  So that's something I should look out for.  I tried to relax but only before the machine starts up :(   I hope to try stippling in some doll quilts with low loft polyester batting and better quality thread.  Hopefully these changes will help me look good!  I can only wish ...

I've completed all the blocks for Lori's Pink Lemonade QAL.  Now to find a suitable fabric for the setting squares.  The amount of pink in this quilt was getting to me.  Although I did tell Lori that I'd keep it as true as the antique quilt, I added some mauve here and there.

Designer: Kathleen Tracy.  Book: The Prairie Children & Their Quilts.  Size: 26" square
Completed the quilt top for the January 2012 challenge on SQT.  I had the opportunity to use this large floral print for the border.  It was in my stash for some years!

Some repro fabrics from This-N-That.  The picture directly above are fabrics from a 1 lb grab bag.  Very happy with the cut sizes and variety!

Monday, January 09, 2012

It Just Takes 2 ...

... well not really.  I have been using a variety of reds with Kona Natural for the Just Takes 2 first installment.  6 blocks altogether.  I find it easier to manage this QAL rather than the CW blocks mostly because of fabric selection. 
Block 01
Block 02
Block 03 with Redwork (DMC304, 3 strands, Backstitch and interfaced)
Block 04
Block 05
Block 06
I worked on Lori's Pink Lemonade too.

And the Crosses Mourning Quilt.

I have only completed 4 blocks of the Temecula 12 Days of Christmas blocks ... yeah ... pathetic!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

May 2012 bring you much happiness and good health!

I've caught up with the Civil War blocks, at least with blocks that I want to piece.  I've omitted blocks with  applique, curves, Y Seams, templates and very tricky calculations.  I can't manage those and honestly I prefer not to!

#44 Union
#45 Port and Starboard
#47 Dixie tea
#46 Apple Tree
#51 New York
#50 Grapes of Wrath
#49 Yankee Puzzle
#48 West Virginia
#52 Christmas Star
#41 Red White & Blue (Paper pieced)
I did not make Block 41 initially and when I went over the comments on the CW Flickr Group, there was a link to make the star using paper piecing.  As I was telling Merilyn that my earlier paper piecing efforts leaves much to be desired!  This star looks easy enough ... NOT!  I had a terrible headache twisting my mind :)  I watched the TQS video of Carol Doak again to GET it ... even then I made mistakes.  Boy did I sweat over this baby!

I must confess that not all my blocks are 8-1/2" square, well some are but most aren't :(  But since I firmed up my thoughts on settings it's not too much of a do or die situation anymore.  I intend to sash every block with either black and light tan.  Alternating the blocks on the quilt top.  It's all in my mind right now.  I've even got the fabrics already and their drying on the clothes horse right this minute.  It will be a 6 x 8 blocks setting with 10-1/2" square each block (after sashing) which makes it 60" x 80".  Not sure about the borders yet but that decision can come later.

I will be re-doing some of the blocks some were pieced badly, some did not have a good colour combos so there's still some work to do. Here they are all together on my Flickr set.

Some fabric stashing was done too and there were some anxious moments during the Christmas rush.  A sewing book I ordered from Abe Books is not here yet, it's been almost a month :(  But for those that arrived I am relieved.

Plaids for Jan Patek's  'Lincoln's Platform' quilt that I have plans for
The 2 bottom left fabrics are for sashing the CW blocks
I've been thinking of making a red and white quilt this year and I bought these 1 yd cuts of an old Judie Rothermel fabric line called Quaker Quilts.  My idea was the Ocean Waves quilt.  But that has all changed.  After reading Lori's blog this morning she mentions about the Just Takes 2 mystery quilt.  And yes I am sold!

For a table topper I have plans for.  I know ... I am BIG on plans ...

When Gail Wilson was having her Christmas sale, I figured there's no time like the present to get the outstanding items I needed to make the Lottie doll ... and other dolls!  I asked Gail if she sold courage too.  She said that I've got to go and see the Wizard of Oz for that!  So here's to courage and maybe a doll in 2012?!