Monday, February 8, 2010

Alphabet Acrobatics

I cut the Alphabuddies that I showed in my last post into 5 and a half inch squares using this half-square triangle ruler by June Tailor. It is so accurate and being able to cut 2 sides at a time makes the process nice and quick. I used the inner black border to line up ruler markings since the outer border of each of the letters is a wavy brown representation of tree limbs.

This image shows what the final version might look like with the yellow sashing. I put some of the squares onto a folded section of the yellow flannel.

The other fabric I have for this project is black. To me the yellow is such a contrast that it looks a little too harsh.

I think I like it with an additional border of black. Once I get a couple of strips cut, I'll audition the blocks again.

These little animal characters are so well done. I also like that the printing includes upper and lower case letters. I've seen other panels with just upper case. It doesn't appeal to me as much.

So far, so good.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Lazy Perfectionist

Strip piecing this log cabin block appealed to my desire to keep sewing and avoid ironing and trimming. It also appealed to my need to have pieces line up nicely. Thus ... lazy perfectionist. Seems like an oxymoron.
The top is now finished and ready to be sandwiched and quilted. I'm so surprised. Usually I iron after every seam and measure and trim. I squared each block up to 9 and a half inches, trimming just a smidge off each one. There were very few seams to match within the blocks so the blocks fit together nicely and the end result is square. Good ol' Eleanor Burns and her tutorials on She was right. She's so great.
I bought an amazing ruler from Michaels with my 40% off coupon. It has slots every half inch for a rotary cutter and really helps square up blocks quickly and accurately. I can hardly wait to use it to cut strips as well.

A friend at work is expecting and will soon begin maternity leave. I found a great panel called Alphabuddies by Andover at one of the local quilt shops called Snip and Stitch. I plan to cut up each of the squares and surround them with sashing strips in yellow with corner blocks in black. It should go together quickly. I hope I can finish it before she begins her leave in March.
Once I finish this baby quilt, I'll go back to the log cabin quilt and play with the quilting. Maybe some feathers. Hmmmm.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finished Log Cabin Blocks!

I still like the blocks even with the last couple of strips sewn on. Whew!
I really would like to make this pattern again though with the lighter inside fabrics. Maybe I'll eventually try it with soft greens and whites.

Here's another image:
Now I just need to square up the blocks and sew them together. When I was ironing the blocks, I tugged a little on the corners of the first few blocks. I'll have to see if I can re-press those ones and square them a little better through ironing. I wish my ironing board had a grid on it. There always seems to be something else to purchase:-) Any excuse to get back to a fabric store!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Building a Log Cabin

I was hoping that I would be able to enter a post at least once a week, but sometimes work deadlines encroach on weekends. Oh well.

I've been wanting to make a Log Cabin quilt for a long time now and recently watched Eleanor Burns give a tutorial using strip piecing on So I've taken a break from free-motion quilting and started a new project. I wanted to use fat quarters so I did a few calculations in order to determine what size I could make, limiting my strip lengths to 22 inches. I found out that my blocks could be 9 and one-half inches unfinished with 1 center square and 4 rows. Each strip was cut at 1 and one-half inches wide.
Above are the fabrics I chose. The 2 darker yellows and the 2 darker blues needed 2 fat quarters each.
The pictures above show the blocks after some strip piecing. This goes quite quickly.

Eleanor Burns mentioned that it wasn't necessary to iron between each row but after the first 2 rows I couldn't resist. Once I tried a couple layouts (I think the first layout is called All Sevens and the second is called Barn Raising), I found that I really liked the colours so far and now I'm not sure I want to add the darker rows. I might have to make another quilt with just these shades. I really like it up to this point.

The picture above shows how the block will look with the last 2 strips added. Hope I like it when it's done.

. . . and here comes the week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mistakes are Simply Opportunities for Learning

This week I tried a few new things. I folded squares of freezer paper in half, in half again, then into thirds. I slowly cut a pattern from the edges and opened out the paper to reveal a 6-sided snowflake. This was ironed, shiny side down to the background of the tree quilt. I created 4 more and ironed them down.

So what did I learn after sewing around each cutout:

. . . quilting does not show up on patterned fabric even if it's a very light coloured background,

. . . even if you change colour to a darker thread, quilting does not show up!

I think I may have to quilt heavily within the open spaces to highlight the design. But I don't think I will.

So what's underfoot now:

I'm creating free-motion swirls around the rest of the background to mimic snowflakes falling in a wind. That's my hope anyway.

So what did I learn from this process:
. . . I really appreciate my walking foot. I used it for the first time around the Christmas tree and managed to sew a quarter inch around the blocks as well as in the ditch very smoothly. I like that foot!!!!
. . . I'm not sure what to do when I get to the border, so I tried to echo the border when I came to it with straight stitching. I think in the future it might be a good idea to echo the border first to create the stitching space.

Oh well, it's all a learning process . . . and it's the process that I love. The product is the gravy.:-)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Entering the Land of Blog

Blogging seems like such a great way to create a journal of progress and what better time to start than the beginning of the year. On Dec. 31st, I created a list of WIP and a list of quilts I would like to start. Each list contains 10 items. It's a little daunting to see all the projects recorded in black and white. I keep reminding myself that many of the WIP just need quilting and binding. Not so bad.

I've been promising my mother a Christmas Tree wall hanging with buttons attached so that she can hang ornaments on the wall hanging rather than put up a tree in limited space. I finally started it just before Christmas and had hoped to finish it in time to give to her for a present. I'm going to be a little late ... or maybe early for next year.

I decided to use a simple design for the tree shape so that the ornaments would be the main focus. After completing the tree, I didn't really like it much. It looked too plain. I added the ribbon border and felt a lot better.
Now ... onto the quilting.