Thursday, February 28, 2013

Civil War Projects

 I've been having fun this week with these small projects. This is another one of the blocks from the Orphans and Scraps project. I should have auditioned my fabrics a little better than I did, but it IS all a learning process, isn't it? This is actually another 4.5-inch block and each of those 4-patches is only 1.5 inches finished! She gives a cool little tutorial on how to make these without having to deal with teeny, tiny pieces of fabric.

That being said, you're STILL playing with small pieces (around 1.5 inches) and it's like making Barbie doll quilts! I was never particularly fond of making Barbie clothes because they were so challenging to make, especially with all those tiny sleeves. Now I know why Barbie usually wore strapless gowns!

This was today's block and even though it was easier than the other ones to make, I should have paid more attention to which way the seam allowances were going. I'm not going to show the back, since there are too many twisted seams to reveal!

Here are the three blocks I've finished so far, and if you can see the tape measure, you can tell just how tiny they are. I'm hoping to finish the last block tomorrow and it will be a paper-pieced one, so we'll see how that goes!

Laura is always ready and willing to "help" in the quilt studio, so I've been giving her some Dresden "petals" that I had sewn as a leader/ender project and had her press them for me. Once I showed her what I wanted, she did a pretty good job. The biggest challenge for her (and one she didn't recognize as doing wrong) was getting the seam centered. So when the time comes that I'm actually going to sew these together, I'll have to go back and make sure all the seams are pressed to center.

In the spirit of Civil War projects, I finally quilted this little doll quilt I made. It's only 17.5"x22.5". In this picture, it really doesn't look any different than it did before, since I haven't added the binding. But if you look at it closely...

Before I mention the quilting, I need to say something about the Frixion Erasable pens. I've used them before--you draw your lines and then to remove them you simply iron over them. I haven't used them a lot, but when I did they seemed to work great. At least, until this project. If you notice those sort of light-colored lines that I drew--those were where I used the Frixion pens and then ironed to remove them. I don't know if I did something wrong or what, but just a warning to be careful in using these pens. Test them on anything you care about BEFORE you use them!

Now for the quilting--I used a wavy stitch that's one of the built-in stitches on my Bernina 1130. I saw someone use this stitch for quilting in a blog post (I don't remember where, or I'd give them credit) and I've been wanting to try it. It's WONDERFUL--quick, easy and even fun! I LOVE how it looks, especially on the back where you can really see the stitching. Doesn't that just look COOL?!

Now another day of Getting More Done comes to a close, so I'll just Get More Done...Tomorrow!

I'm linking to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

W.I.P.'s on a Rainy Day

This has been a rainy, wet, miserable kind of day--perfect weather for staying indoors and sewing! In fact, it's actually a bit icy outside, so my piano lesson was cancelled, giving me even more time to spend playing with fabric.

My daughter complained that I kept posting the same things and she's right. The past few blog posts were very similar and I apologize for that. So I'm going to try and kick it up with some variety this week.

I have one of those "big board" ironing boards that I absolutely love, but the canvas cover on it had gotten a bit grungy. I saw a cover in the store, but it was almost $40 so I decided I would just make my own. I already had some of the Iron Quick fabric and I cut out a piece and laid it right over the cover. That was a couple of weeks ago!

So on Monday I decided it was time to make it a little more permanent. First I traced around a cup to get the curved corners in the fabric. Then I stitched white, regular bias tape all around the edge and turned it to make a casing, leaving an opening at the end to insert a drawstring. The drawstring was the challenging part because we just don't use string that much anymore. I finally found a roll of garden twine out in the shed and used a safety pin to pull it through the casing. I put it over the ironing board, pulled it up snug to fit and then tied it in a bow. It works great and didn't take much time or money!

A friend came over last week to let me see and play with her AccuQuilt cutter. She only brought the die that makes these apple core pieces because that's what she's been working on. I can see how it would be a wonderful tool if you were going to make a whole quilt with these, but for everyday use, I can't imagine how I would use it.

If you have one of these types of devices, do you use it and what do you use it for? How often do you use it? Unless I had some really good reasons to use it, the cost of the machine and then the additional costs of the dies seem prohibitive.

So now I have this cute little apple core block and I need to figure on something I can do with it. Any ideas?

Since Mom's Egg Money quilt is finished, I decided it was time to take a break from the big projects and work on some smaller, fun things that I had put off. One of them was this Winter Wonderland Round Robin that's being done over at Patchwork Posse. There are different people designing each row and they introduce a new one twice a month, ending in July with a finished quilt. This is the first row, "Delectable Mountains."

Now, I don't really want to start any more LARGE quilts, if I can help it, but this one should be easy enough to do (all the rows so far--there are 3--have been quite simple) and you have 2 weeks to do them. In addition, I don't think it's going to be that large--about 4 feet wide and who knows how long. I decided that I would make it all in flannels from my stash since I have more than I wish I did and I'm trying to use up some of them. I figure that when it's done, I'll also use flannel as the backing and it will make Charles a really nice, warm lap quilt. So that's the plan. I have the other two rows cut out and I'm going to be working on them and get caught up.

Isn't this just the cutest block? Well, you can't tell from the picture, but it's only 4.5 inches square! Tiny! This is a block from Heartspun Quilts. She did a weekly series in January and February called "Pocket Patchwork-Orphans and Scraps." I couldn't make the blocks when she was posting them, so I'm trying to get them made now. There are only 4 blocks and she made them into a cute little table runner, which is probably what I'll be doing with them.

So, how's that for a little variety?! And the day is still fairly young (it's only 5 p.m.) so there's still time to "Get More Done...Today!"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mom's Egg Money Quilt is FINISHED!!!

I have to admit that this has probably been the most labor-intensive quilt I've ever made, thanks to some of those blocks (Y-seams), but most especially because of the scalloped border. I've never done a scalloped border on a quilt before, but I think it turned out beautifully and I would certainly do it again...but only on a VERY special quilt! And since this quilt is for my mom's 80th birthday next month, that makes it a very special quilt indeed.

Special accolades go to my dear, sweet husband who strung up a rope between two trees and then used a ratchet strap to raise the quilt so it wasn't dragging on the ground while I photographed it. He's my hero and my best friend! (He also took Laura out for the day so I could finish sewing the binding in peace!)

I brought the quilt back inside to show a close-up of the scalloped edges. As mentioned in my previous post, it took a little less than two and a half hours to machine sew the binding. Then I watched SEVEN episodes (between six and seven hours!) of Downton Abbey to hand sew the binding. Definitely qualifies it as a LABOR of love! It's such a relief to finish it, but it's so lovely to look at it!

Since I'm specifically writing this post to report for my completed projects over at Fiber of All Sorts for A Lovely Year of Finishes, I thought I probably ought to include what else I've done. I reported at my Mid-Month Check-In on several finishes I had already accomplished, but since then I've finished both the Egg Money quilt and My Friendship Bee wall hanging.

I've finished the top of my Martinsville Rose quilt and the backing and batting are loaded on the quilt frame, with the top going on in just a few minutes. It will be quilted and finished before the month is out (I'm on a roll here!)

The only other project I have to report on is my Embroidery stitchery for the March blog hop and I can't show that, but I will say it's not finished YET, but I'm working on it.

It's been a busy month and I'm bit worn out, but thankful to have gotten so much done--especially these large quilts. I'm looking forward to spending more time working on much smaller projects next month!

And's only 5:00 pm so the day isn't over yet and there's still time to "Get More Done...Today!"

I'm linking this post with Sew Cute Tuesday at better off thread and to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story
and to tgiffriday at Quokka Quilts

Crazy, busy week!

This has been something of an arduous week, with major projects going on. I'll be relieved to get some of these larger projects done and out of the way so I can work on some smaller, fun things that I've got planned. On Monday, my granddaughter, Lily came over with her mom and together they finished her first sewing project--this little doll quilt. Lily is so proud of herself and she's already started working on an apron for her doll. It's great to have another sewing enthusiast in the family!

And speaking of sewing enthusiasts, Laura started pulling out her little Elna sewing machine this week and tried threading it herself. So I gave in, threaded it, explained again in sign language (challenging!) how to start sewing and began giving her pairs of 2.5-inch strips to sew together. Fortunately, she understands putting right sides together (she hooted with laughter when she saw I had sewn a wrong side on a border strip!) and she understands strip piecing. By Friday night, she had sewn 32 pairs of strips together! But whenever she sews, I get less done, since I have to provide occasional guidance and correction. Nevertheless, I was still able to accomplish quite a bit this week.

Before I started with the scallops on Mom's quilt, I thought it might be good to do a little practice piece. I needed a quilt sandwich and one of Laura's little stitchery projects was the perfect choice. I had a piece of leftover bias binding and used that to practice with. It went well and really boosted my confidence before starting the real thing.

The last quilt that I quilted on my longarm was my Scrappy quilt and it had skipped stitches all over the place. I was so frustrated and I knew I had to resolve the problem before I quilted Mom's quilt. Last week's visit to the 2 hour-distant quilt shop was a great blessing, because the owner is an APQS dealer (my longarm machine is an APQS Ultimate II) and he gave me some ideas to try to fix the problem. So before I started quilting the Egg Money quilt, I thought I might as well quilt my Friendship Bee wall hanging to see if the stitches were still skipping. I'm glad to say that overall, the stitching was much better and now I have another completed project!

I got all the borders added to Mom's Egg Money quilt and here I have the top laid out and I'm tracing on the scallop markings. Thanks to those wonderful Frixion pens, I was able to make clear markings that all disappeared later when I ironed the top.

Here's the top, fully loaded and already partially quilted. The stitching quality was great overall, but I had one row that messed up. So after I quilted the whole quilt, I went back, ripped out stitches in several places and fixed all the goofs. Oh, and this quilt was SO much bigger than I anticipated! I bought 3 yards of 108-inch backing, thinking it would be plenty. However, this quilt finished to 90x108, so it wasn't enough! Even my batting wasn't wide enough! I made an executive decision and trimmed FIVE inches off each border (they were 15 inches wide) and then it fit just perfectly. I think it will still work on Mom's bed too (I sure hope so!)

After quilting, it was time to add the binding for the scalloped edge. You actually sew the binding on your drawn lines and then trim the excess fabric away once you've sewn it all. I had read that it takes a while to sew it on and that was definitely true. It took me a little less than 2.5 hours to sew the entire binding on, including going back and fixing some of the inner points. It really wasn't too difficult to do, you just had to go slowly and be careful in stitching those points.

I was concerned about joining the binding ends, since I try to make mine look just like another seam in the binding, but that actually went very well. In this photo, I had added the binding, trimmed the edges and then I pressed the binding (as well as I could) to prepare for hand sewing. And that's where I am right now--I've hand-stitched about half the binding down to the back and I plan to finish the rest of it today--more t.v./Downton Abbey time for me!

Meanwhile, I've finished the top of the Martinsville Rose quilt. I LOVE the striped border, but I'm not so crazy about the green outer border. The fabric was part of the same collection as the fabrics in the quilt, but I think it's a bit TOO green. However, I really couldn't find anything else that seemed to work (and we love green in this household) so it's going to have to do. I've loaded the backing and batting onto the quilt frame (I hate seeing an empty frame--it looks so barren!) and I'll have the top loaded before the day is over. I plan to get it quilted next week.

So now I'm outta here, and off to Get More Done...Today!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Purple Mug Rugs

Last week while the wind was blowing like crazy, my dear, sweet husband bought me another piece of foam insulation board to make into a second design wall. He was also bringing it home in an open pickup truck! It was a miracle that it got here fairly intact. One corner got bent back rather badly, but since I was trimming it, it really didn't matter.

While I was covering the board with flannel, Laura was "helping" me. I usually keep some pins stuck in the very top edge of my design wall, so I guess she thought I liked having pins stuck in it. I don't know if you can really see them, but she emptied a whole pincushion full of pins into the board! Fortunately, she was just as cheerful removing them as she had been at adding them!

I decided it was time I used some of my purple scraps (for Scrap Happy Saturday) and I also thought I should try making some mug rugs--especially since I'll be participating in the "April Showers" Mug Rug Hop. I really didn't want to spend a lot of time on this project, since I SHOULD be working on Mom's Egg Money quilt. So I just did a strippy quilt-as-you-go and this is what I ended up with. I thought it was pretty, but kind of blah. What it needed was...

A flower! Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers and they've been known to bloom as early as January around here. In fact, they're probably starting to bloom now.

Then I thought I really ought to make another mug rug, since Laura and I usually eat together and it was only right that we should each have one. I made hers using lighter, more fun purples. But again, kind of blah.

So for hers, the natural choice was to add hearts, especially since Laura is all about love and hugs. And now we both have cute little purple mug rugs!

I've been doing lots of hand sewing (embroidery, applique) lately and noticing me, Laura decided she wanted to "sew" too. I hoop up muslin scraps with a bit of batting and she sews away. She spent all day with me in the quilt studio, patiently stitching.

She doesn't follow any pattern (we've tried, doesn't work), she just "sews. Which goes to show that the pleasure is often in the process, not necessarily in the finished project!

And now it's time to go make breakfast and then back to sewing so I can Get More Done...Today!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mid-Month Check-in

Fiber of All Sorts is having a mid-month check-in for those who are participating in A Lovely Year of Finishes. I committed to NINE different projects for this month, but the suggestion is to do FOUR. am I doing?

First of all, my number ONE project for the month is this Egg Money quilt I'm making for my mom's 80th birthday in March. As you can see, all the blocks are finished. I have them on my design wall, with the sashings and borders pinned up around them so I can determine if I like how it looks, and I do! I've bought the border fabrics I plan to use (the bright blue pinned up around the perimeter and the floral blue on the left edge). I'm hoping to have the entire top finished before I quit for the night. It's already 6 p.m., so we'll see how that goes. I really SHOULD make us some dinner!

My number TWO project was this Modern Twist quilt and it is completely finished. Yay!

Number THREE was this Scrappy quilt. It's also completely finished and we've been sleeping under it. Very warm, especially since I used a flannel backing!

Project number FOUR was to complete at least one embroidery piece for the March Stitch Me Up Embroidery Blog Hop. I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to make and I've transferred one of the designs, but that's really all I've done so far. I need to get busy on that one.

The number FIVE project was to finish this Martinsville Rose quilt (my name for it). I've gotten the main top sewn together, but haven't yet added borders. I was having some difficulty finding fabrics that I thought would look right for the borders and I finally stumbled on something yesterday that I think will work. I also bought the backing for this one and the Egg Money quilt, so they'll both be ready for quilting as soon as the tops are complete.

Project number SIX was to finish my Friendship Bee wall hanging. It's the very top one on this rack (my "to-be-quilted" rack). It's hanging there with the batting and backing; it's simply a matter of doing the quilting. I would probably already have done it, except that it's fairly low on my priority list until Egg Money is finished.

For my SEVENth project, I wanted to finish at least two triple-zip bags and you can see that I actually got three of them done, so that one was a major score!

Number EIGHT was to work on/catch up on the Country Charmer Quilt-Along, but I decided I wasn't too crazy about the pattern; at least, not enough to take the time to make one of them. So I dropped that project.

I threw in a NINTH project too (I must be insane!) and that was to make a February/Valentines wall hanging. It took me a couple of weeks to decide what I wanted to do and this was the result. It wasn't finished until late on Valentines' Eve--just in time for the holiday!

So those are my projects and what I've accomplished so far this month. Of the EIGHT projects I'm still committed to doing, FOUR of them are completed and I've made progress on all of the others. Not too bad, eh? But after all, this IS the "Get More Done...Today" blog!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

My wonderful husband took me to TWO different quilt shops yesterday, one of which was almost 2 hours away! He's so good to me and I sure do love him! None of our local quilt shops have any Civil War fabrics, but I was able to get some at the out-of-state shop, so now I have what I need for the Charm swap I signed up for (plus, of course, a little extra for myself!)

The quilt shop had these wonderful little Gingher scissors for only $5 a pair or 3 for $10, so of course, I grabbed three of them! They're great for traveling because of the lack of points, but they're very sharp (as I have the scar to prove!). I also use a pair clipped to my shirt with a little zipcord-thing (retractable leash, I think it's called) to use when I'm sewing on my longarm. I was afraid that if I used pointy scissors, I might bend over and stab myself, so these are a perfect alternative. AND, these are just great for children (again, no points), so I'm going to give Lily her very own pair when she comes to sew next week.

Since I knew I would be traveling in the car for a while yesterday , I came prepared with projects to work on. I finally completely finished this wall hanging! One more project to cross off my list! The instructions suggest you frame it, so now I need to find a 14-inch square frame and then I can hang it.

After weeks of deliberating, I finally came up with a design to use for my February wall hanging--just in time for Valentines Day! I finished it, took down my snowman (January wall hanging) and hung it up in my quilt studio. I think it turned out very nice!

I found this embroidery piece online and fell in love with it and knew immediately that it would be part of my March wall hanging. I enlarged it a bit and I also decided to use applique for the clover leaves. As I was working on it last night, I thought, "it needs a FOUR-leaf clover!" So I added an extra leaf to the top one, just for good luck!

Today was another day spent at quilt shops! I've been looking for fabric for the borders and backing for my mom's Egg Money quilt and also for my Martinsville rose quilt. I think I've got everything I need, so tomorrow I will be staying home and sewing!

Linking to Applique Thursday
and Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday which is being hosted today by Sewing by Moonlight
and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
and Delightfully Inspiring Thursday Party 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Goodies in the Mail and a Small Quilt

I rarely, if ever, win anything, so you can imagine my surprise when Charlotte, from Charlottes Creations contacted me to let me know I had won a Junior Jelly Roll in her "Dare to Dresden" giveaway! Today the package came, along with a Valentines fat quarter she threw in--how fun! Here you can see the cute bright fabrics in the jelly roll (Charles thought we were getting something yummy to eat!)

Today was a bit crazy in my quilt studio. My daughter was here with HER daughter, my granddaughter, to try to teach her to sew as a home school project. Lily is only 7 years old and I suggested she make a little quilt for her American Girl-type doll. I forgot to take pictures of what she made, so I'll have to do that later. She actually did a very good job for her first time sewing.

I must have jinxed myself when I told Lily today that EVERYONE has to rip out stitches and we all make mistakes and sew the wrong sides of the fabric together. Well, I think I sewed FOUR patches with the right side out--I was ripping as much as Lily was! At least she had company for reverse sewing!

This is what I was working on. It's a Civil War Scraps Doll Quilt from Kathy Tracy's book, "The Civil War Sewing Circle." I'm participating in her Small Quilt Challenge via Yahoo Groups where we're making one small quilt a month. This is the one we're doing for February and I sewed it all together today. It's still not quilted--I don't plan to hand quilt it (too many hand projects waiting their turn right now!), so I've got to figure on how I'm going to quilt it by machine.

I was trying to use reproduction Civil War Fabrics for this and I only had a small bundle that I ordered online. The selection was quite limited so this little quilt is not quite as colorful as I would have liked. I've ordered more fabrics and hope that future quilts will be a bit more interesting. Lily was NOT impressed with my doll quilt at all--SHE prefers VERY colorful quilts!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Weekly Quilting Review

I thought I might just give a quick review of what I've done this week, along with an explanation of where I've been the last few days. I've actually accomplished quite a bit, and since the name of this blog is "Get More Done...Today," that's what I've been trying to do! Some of these things have been mentioned before, so forgive me for repeating myself. One item that I accomplished that is NOT on my list of projects for the 2013 Finish-A-Long (see sidebar) was to put together the blocks for what I call my Martinsville quilt. I'm working on this project because I'm trying to help some quilter friends get theirs finished, which probably wouldn't happen without my help. So the top is done, it just needs borders.
This next accomplishment is my Breath of Spring project. It's quite pale, even in real life, so it's hard to get a good picture of it. It's supposed to be made into a pillow, but I really have no idea what I would do with such a fancy pillow, so I'm thinking I'll make it into a wall hanging. I love the curves of the lace on the left, so I'm trying to figure how I'll preserve those in the finished project. It's so close to being done and I'll be glad to have it off the workspace and onto the wall!
My mom's Egg Money quilt--all the blocks are finally done! I've cut the WOF strips of fabric for sashing, but that's all else I've gotten done. We made a little family trip today to go to a quilt shop to buy fabric for borders and backings for this quilt and the Martinsville quilt. After driving about an hour to get there, we found that it had closed 45 minutes before we got there! I was so bummed! Now I'll have to make plans to go again next week.

One piece of good news--I thought we just had 2 weeks left in February and was so relieved to look at the calendar and realize that there are 3 weeks left! Since I'm planning on finishing this Egg Money quilt this month, I can really use that extra week!
I haven't taken another picture of this quilt, but it is now completely finished. Charles has discovered the series, "Downton Abbey" and we've been watching the first few episodes each evening. That's when I got the binding sewn on here.
This project is what has kept me away from the computer the past few days. I spent the better part of Thursday cutting and piecing the backing and batting and then loading it all on the longarm frame. I quilted several passes on it yesterday, but with kids and grandkids dropping in, I had to wait to finish it until today. I pieced the binding from leftover bindings from other projects so it would be scrappy too. 

I like using flannel on the back of quilts, but until now, I'd only used it on lap quilts. This is a large full-size and it is SO heavy with flannel for the backing! I felt like I was wrestling with a baby elephant while I was trying to sew on the binding and move it back and forth from the sewing machine to the ironing board! I still have to hand-sew the binding, but I wanted to see how it would look on my bed and took a picture while it was there. With that flannel, it should be extra-toasty warm!

I have a few other projects I've been working on too. I'm trying to design a mini Valentines wall hanging for February (I'm not in the hop, I'm just doing this for fun) and I would like to actually finish it before Valentines day! I've also started a mini wall hanging for March that I just love. There's a Small Quilt yahoo group that I'm participating in and I cut out the pieces for the February small quilt. 

And then there's the Stitch Me Up Blog Hop for next month. I've been looking over the various designs and trying to figure what I'm going to make. I think I've finally got a plan! So that will be worked on behind the scenes. I've signed up for the April Showers Blog Hop too. That one should be lots of fun!

So...I've been gone because I've been busy! But that's all that's gonna be happening THIS week! I'll Get More Done...NEXT Week!