Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Overcoming errors when piecing a quilt

Yesterday was just one of those days in my sewing room!  I started out working on another Double Slice quilt using another layer cake - Hyde Park.  I was determined to make the correct cuts this time, but when I started making the second cut realized that either the 10 inch squares were badly out of square or (most likely) I had made a crooked cut on one stack of blocks.  Unfortunately this caused several of my complete blocks to be completely out of shape.

The only way to correct this was to trim all of my blocks down to 9 inches.  I didn't want to, but it was clear that if I didn't this top would never look right or be flat enough to quilt easily.  So, I spent the time to trim them all done so they would go together like they should. When I started laying out the blocks, I ended up two short!  I could have made my quilt a row shorter, but then I would have had four leftover I found some fabric that would work and made two more blocks.  I got it all laid out and rearranged until I was happy with the look - I really like the colors in this set!

I started sewing my rows together, then around the fourth one started having some problems...some of my blocks were rotated funny, then at the end of the row I had a leftover block.  Whoops, I skipped one.  No wonder the rest were rotated wrong!

Starting the fifth row, again, blocks rotated funny, then I ran out of bobbin thread and didn't realize it so everything got out of order. I looked back at the top of the row and yes, the top block in the fourth row had been sewn on rotated wrong.  Out came the seam ripper, then back to the floor to rearrange...whew.

I got the last row sewn on fine, then sewed all my rows together to finish the top.  I was about to put it away when I spotted the rest of the fabric I used for the extra blocks, one of which was a border print.  Why not add it to the top to make it a nice large lap size?  So I did, then used the rest of the fabrics to put together into a backing.  Who says I needed to make a different top out of those fabrics? I have plenty of projects to keep me busy, so I killed two birds with one stone on this one!

I decided to go for one more try at the double slice - we'll see how that one comes out!  And guess what?  I found those two missing squares stuck to some batting strips.  Oh well.  I cut them into charm squares and added them to my stash!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Time for a Winner

How are you all doing keeping up with the Seaside Summer Blog Hop?  I'm a bit behind, but hope to catch up over the weekend.  My giveaway for this little set of fat quarters is over, now and I am ready to announce the winner!
Dianne Beavers - you will get these lovely fabrics in the mail soon!  Dianne said that she is working on  several projects in her comment:

"New to paper piecing so I'm practicing w/some fat quarters to make a 20X20 pillow. Broke out some flannel to being making lounge pants for Christmas gifts. Cutting a baby quilt for a very special little guy."

Dianne, you will love using batiks if you use those for paper piecing - they press so crisply!

My week has been busy with working on slipcovering an armchair.  The fabric was a plaid, so it took a lot of effort to make those plaids match up!

I am very happy with the results!  This will be picked up today and I can get busy with the next project - I have a pile of alterations that need to be taken care of...and of course a quilt or two in the works :)

Here are the links for the this weeks posts for the blog hop - we have one more week to go and a lot more great projects and giveaways for you.  Have fun!

Monday Aug 22 - Tradewinds

Tuesday Aug 23 - Equinox

Wednesday Aug 24 - Sea Canyon

Thursday Aug 25 - Sea Foam

Friday Aug 26 - Spoolin' Around

Monday, August 22, 2016

Double Slice Layer Cake Top

Remember that Double Slice layer cake top I was excited to work on?  I finished it yesterday.  The funny thing is that I ended up adding my own unique spin to the design.  Or in other words, I made a boo-boo!  When I cut the second slice I did another 3 1/2 inch cut instead of cutting my squares in half.  Uh-oh.

Well, you can't unspill milk, so I decided it was a design opportunity and sewed them as planned.  Then I used EQ7 to help me figure out how to lay them out - my main goal was to avoid matching seams.  Sewed them all together, and what do you know, it looks just fine!

Here is a look at it while I was laying it out.  Pretty colorful!  It will make a happy quilt when it is done.  I am adding it to my list of tops that need to be quilted, so will pick up a back for it on my next trip to the fabric store.  Now I'll have to do another one the right way to see if I like it better or not!  I kind of like how this one came out.

The Seaside Summer blog hop continues this week with lots of new projects, giveaways and posts by the Island Batik Ambassadors!  Todays posts are featuring the Tradewinds line - I have a project in mind using this lovely line, I think it will make a great fall table runner.

Monday Aug 22 - Tradewinds

Don't forget to enter my giveaway, it ends this week!  You'll find it on my Seaside Summer post.  Hope you have a wonderful week!  I have a full list of projects that need my attention, so I'd better get busy!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rounding up the week

It's been a busier than average week, what with my birthday, posting for the Seaside Summer Blog Hop and working all day at Threads That Bind yesterday!  Despite all of that I got a lot done.  Before I get to that, though - I forgot to show the fat quarter bundle that I am giving as a prize for Seaside Summer!  Here they are:

I really like the black one - it shows the beautiful print so well, but it just didn't fit into my quilt.  I hope the winner finds a good use for it!  

The first project off my list was a custom order quilt.  This is the fifth quilt I've made in this design - it's been fun for me to make these - they have been thank you gifts for people involved in serving on a board.  I had a bit of a snafu with the green strips in the border - cut them all too small and had to recut.  Luckily I had enough fabric, with a bit of piecing in a few of the sections.  Luckily it really doesn't show!

The light streaks are the sun shining through the slats of the fence.   This is a close up of one of those border blocks.  They finish at 7 3/4 inches, so the measurements are all really odd for cutting it out - that's my only excuse!
I made a shop sample for the quilt shop this week - another version of my CityScapes pattern.  I had hoped to finish it on Wednesday, but ended up adding the binding Thursday morning and running it to the quilt shop just in time to be packed for the show this weekend!
This is a fun scrappy quilt, made with fat quarters.  It takes 14 fat quarters 1 1/2 yards for sashing and binding, plus another fat quarter for the cornerstones.  I love all the fun nautical prints in it!  
I also worked on getting some pillows started for the Design studio.  They are really soft and nice, but the fabric sheds like crazy and made a hug mess in my sewing room.  I didn't have enough of the dark blue, so added some of the tan to bring the covers to size.  It was interesting mitering that fabric!  A total of 16 corners for two pillows, it was good practice so I don't lose my skills at it.  (Rolling my eyes)
I also had to make a lanyard that sold on Etsy.  The last strip of the mushroom fabric!
Yesterday was a no sewing day since I had to work all day, so I was excited to do some sewing today!  I finished up those pillows, but unfortunately had a zipper fail in one, so I'll be replacing that sometime next week.  Boo.  Then I cleaned up the sewing room and started a double slice layer cake.  Someone commented on my Seaside Summer post that they were working on one so I had to look it up.  I've been looking for some good layer cake ideas since I won three from the EQ social media contest!  I've got the first slice done, so look forward to working on that tomorrow.  

I also basted my Jelly Roll Race quilt for the Quiltsy Team challenge.  I had some issues with my backing on this one - I had a nice piece of fabric in my stash to use, but after I cut the pieces I realized that I had previously cut a long strip out of the side of it for another quilt back!  I was about 8 inches short, so had to find something else to add.  Then, when I laid it out on my table I saw the 4 inch square missing from another corner!  Luckily I was able to get it laid out without needing to add to the corner.  If I did need to add some fabric, I would have just made a label to put there.  Here is a peek at it before basting.

I like it pretty well and I think it will be pretty after quilting.  The fabrics are lovely.  I think I'll choose a blue to quilt it, but with all the colors in this, there are a lot of choices.  Well, that's my progress for the week.  Next week I have a slipcover due, so will be working on that, but I know I'll be doing some quilting as well, plus adding sleeves to quilts for the quilt show coming up in September.  

Don't forget my giveaway for the Seaside Summer blog hop ends next week - please let me know if you can't leave a comment, I would be glad to manually enter your name!  I know that some people have had problems with that.  Next time I won't make that a required option.  Send me an e-mail, and I will add your name to the drawing.  Thanks for all of your lovely comments, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Seaside Summer Blog Hop with Island Batik - Seashore Collection

Hello - I'm excited to be participating in another blog hop for Island Batik! This is my day to share on the Island Batik Seaside Summer blog Hop - the collection I am sharing with you is Seashore.

 I was so delighted when I opened my Ambassador box earlier this spring to find this bundle!  You can see all of the fabrics here on the Island Batik website.

I just love the beautiful creams, purples and blues in this line, plus the vibrant yellow!  Just read the description - it really does a great job of describing these fabrics:

 "You can just feel the sun, sand and surf in the Seashore collection by Kathy Engle for Tamarinis. The warm creams, greens and purples will bring delight to your sea-salted senses! There are netted violet purples, bubbly dusty rose pinks and summer punch oranges for all. Beachcombers will be excited to see the hand dyed treasures awaiting in the Pacific sea blues and catch a glimpse of coral reefs amidst sand dollar tans. There is a colorful surprise awaiting everyone in the Seashore collection!"

I decided to make another version of my Tidepools design for this project.  My first version was all shades of blue, and I was excited to make it with more color!

For the blocks, I went with the blue fabrics on cream netting.


I loved the aqua print so decided to use that for the side triangles and cornerstones.  Then the yellow for the stars in the sashing and after that the dark and light purples - so pretty!

Then the decision about what to use for the borders!  I thought this gorgeous deep blue with light blue was perfect for the inner border.

I decided to make the quilting simple this time, just swirls, using the light purple 40 wt Aurifil thread I received in addition to the fabric.  It was the perfect color!

Here is my quilt hanging on my fence in the backyard.  I wanted to take it to the beach for pictures, but the wind has been horrible this week again, so I had to settle for doing them at home this time...

I am delighted with this project!  Tuesday was my birthday, and one of my girls sent me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.  I used my quilt as a tablecloth with the flowers on top, and it is gorgeous - I smile every time I walk by.  Don't the flowers look beautiful on the quilt?

As part of the fun, we are all sharing a recipe for a seaside snack.  At first I had in mind a yummy snack mix, but when I was out photographing my quilt, I realized I had a whole lot of ripe strawberries that needed picking - so my snack is Strawberry shortcake!  I just use the recipe from the Bisquick Box, but since I am using a 6 inch cake pan, just cut it in half.  (Since there are only two of us at home now, I try to make the treats in smaller sizes!)  So 1 1/4 cups biscuit mix, 1 1/2 TBSP sugar, 1 1/2 TBSP melted butter and 1/3 cup milk.  Mix it all together until you have a soft dough.

Press it into the buttered pan and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.   While it's baking, get your strawberries washed and cut.  Mine were small, so I only cut them in half - about 2 cups of strawberries in all.  Then add 1/4 cup of sugar - I add less than called for because they are already pretty sweet.

If you want to take your snack with you to the beach, assemble it right before you are ready to eat it, it is easy to do especially if you split your cake beforehand.  Add half the strawberries on the bottom half, add the top half with the rest of the strawberries and some whipped cream and you are ready to eat!
Yummy!  A perfect snack for the shore, or for anytime!

Are you ready for something even better than Strawberry Shortcake?  I have some nice pieces left of my Seashore Bundle and would love to share some with one lucky quilter!  I will send four fat quarters to the winner of my drawing.  I'm sure you will love these as much as I do - they are even prewashed and ready to sew with!  Enter in the rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Island Batik is also giving away 3 larger fat quarter bundles so make sure you enter there as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for joining me on this blog hop!  Here is the schedule for the rest of the hop - make sure you go to each blog, we all have our own giveaways, so lots of opportunities to win, and you will love each one of the Island Batik Spring and Summer lines.  You will be inspired by each of the Ambassadors and their creativity, so don't miss out!

Seaside Summer Blog Hop Schedule
Monday Aug 15 - Rain Forest

Tuesday Aug 16 - Red Tide

Wednesday Aug 17 - Sand Dune

Thursday Aug 18 - Seashore

Friday Aug 19 - Surf Squirt

Monday Aug 22 - Tradewinds

Tuesday Aug 23 - Equinox

Wednesday Aug 24 - Sea Canyon

Thursday Aug 25 - Sea Foam

Friday Aug 26 - Spoolin' Around

Monday Aug 29 - Tide Pools

Tuesday Aug 30 - Wind and Sea

Wednesday Aug 31 - Spring Zing

Thursday Sep 1 - Splash

Friday Sept 2 - Landscapes

Monday, August 15, 2016

It's the start of a new week, and the start of the Island Batik Seaside Summer Blog Hop!  Hop along and see all the Spring and Summer lines and how the Island Batik Ambassadors used them to make lovely projects.  There are lots of prizes to be won and we are all sharing recipes for our favorite summer snack - you might just pick up a new favorite!  

Today is Marlene's turn - she is showing us what she did with Rain Forest!  Her blog is Kissed Quilts, and you will love the pattern she created, make sure and enter the drawing to win a copy! 

Here is the full line up - don't miss a day!  Just a few more days and I can show you what I made!  I hope you enjoy hopping along with all these wonderful quilters :)

Monday Aug 15 - Rain Forest

Tuesday Aug 16 - Red Tide

Wednesday Aug 17 - Sand Dune

Thursday Aug 18 - Seashore

Friday Aug 19 - Surf Squirt

Monday Aug 22 - Tradewinds

Tuesday Aug 23 - Equinox

Wednesday Aug 24 - Sea Canyon

Thursday Aug 25 - Sea Foam

Friday Aug 26 - Spoolin' Around

Monday Aug 29 - Tide Pools

Tuesday Aug 30 - Wind and Sea

Wednesday Aug 31 - Spring Zing

Thursday Sep 1 - Splash

Friday Sept 2 - Landscapes

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday Summary

This week felt like it went by really fast!  I've been struggling with a bit of lower back pain all week, it really flared up last Saturday so I've been trying to be careful not to make it worse.  A big pillow behind me in my chair in the living room helps, as well as remembering not to stay in one position for too long.  A bit of sitting, a bit of standing and moving, easy stretching and walking are the ticket.  With the Olympics on TV it is hard to remember to get up and move around, though!

The Quiltsy team is having their own kind of Olympic event - we are having a Jelly Roll Race challenge!  More than 36 of our team members have started making a quilt using the Jelly Roll Race pattern.  If you haven't heard of this, check out this video to see how it is done - it's a lot of fun and a super fast way to make a quilt top.  Here is a peak at my top with the backing fabric I am going to use:

Most of this week's sewing time was spent on getting some curtain panels sewn up.  This was a simple job, just 6 panels 130 inches long and one width of fabric.  No lining and the top will be clipped so it was just a matter of folding under 2 inches at the top for a heading.

By Thursday I had a big pile of alterations to work on, so I set myself down and made by way through all of that.  I hemmed three pair of pants, took in a sweatshirt, hemmed a linen dress and replaced zippers in two robes.  Then I rewarded myself with an afternoon of piecing!

Yesterday I went to Bunco - we had a lovely time on Diana's patio and I was a winner!  I got this beautiful teal butterfly Trivet (Pioneer Woman).  It will save me from ruining my lovely orange counter tops by putting hot pans on them.  (make sure you read that last sentence in a sarcastic tone...)  We had a wonderful lunch featuring roasted root veggies that were everyone's favorite dish.  So good!  Sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, red onions and garlic.  I got the recipe to make for myself later.  After that, I worked on the next border for my feathered star quilt.  

My plan for today is to finish the last pieced border for this quilt so I can quilt it on Sunday.  Next week I'll be working on a slipcover for a chair as well as starting on visor holders.  Plus the Island Batik Seaside Summer Blog hop will be starting!  My fellow ambassador, Adelle, posted about it here.  There will be a giveaway on each blog on their day, plus Island Batik always hosts a big giveaway as well, so make sure you follow along and enter all of them.  You are going to love my's a beauty!

Hope you have had a good week, enjoy the Olympics and remember to move your body often as well - we may not be Olympic competitors, but we need to take good care of our bodies so we can do the things we love!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

EQ25 - Some of my favorite uses for EQ7

This month I thought I would like to share some of my favorite ways to use EQ7.  I love to use it to design quilts - it's easy to import fabric, and see what your quilt will look like before you even start out.  It's a lot of fun to switch fabric easily, change block sizes and even switch blocks out.  One of the features I use a lot is the ability to print out fabric requirements.  The nice thing is that it tends to over estimate, so I've never been short when using the estimates.  You just click File - Print - Fabric Yardage.

I set my fabric width to 42 inches, and seam allowance to 1/4 inch (.25).  You can preview the page and zoom in to see how much fabric you will need.  It shows each fabric as a swatch, the total number of patches that use that fabric and the yardage:

You can print this page and take it with you to the fabric store for easy shopping, or as I often do, just use it to check and see if you have enough fabric on hand without actually printing it out.

Another favorite use of mine is for figuring out cutting my pieces for my blocks.  EQ7 won't tell you how to sew your block, but it will tell you the sizes for the pieces, and give you some rotary cutting dimensions.  Click File - Print - Rotary Cutting...
Make sure you select the button for use size from quilt, and .25 for seam allowance.  Hit preview and you can see the instructions.  

If you click zoom in, then click and drag over the area you want to enlarge you can see the details:

You can see the size of our pieces, and how many pieces of each color are in your block. If you want to make more than one block in your quilt, you are on your own to figure out the math.  I like to write it all out on my print copy for later reference.  You never know when you might need that information later!  I had a request for another feathered star quilt and I am so glad I have all my pages saved with cutting info and yardage so I don't have to recalculate.

Don't forget to check out this months prizes on the Electric Quilt Blog!  Art Gallery Fabrics is sponsoring the prize for August! 

Don't miss Quilt Shop Gal's post, she'll be linking up to several other bloggers as well.  Remember to use #EQ25 to win prizes from Electric Quilt as well.  Hope you are enjoying learning more about the program - I love it and am enjoying sharing as well as learning from the other posts I've been reading.   

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Changing Things Up

Notice anything different?  I was creating a new header for my Etsy shop and liked it so much I decided to try it out on my blog as well!  Is it too early for fall?  It's starting to feel like it here already.  The nights have been quite cool lately, and the apples are ripening on our crab apple tree.  We haven't had too much of a summer here, it's been very windy and not very warm most of the time.  We are looking forward to fall, which is really the nicest season here - the summer winds die down and the weather becomes a bit more pleasant for being outdoors.

I decided I wanted to work on a little fall project - a leaf mug rug.  I looked on Pinterest and on Craftsy, but never did find what I envisioned, so I decided I needed to do my own thing.  I found a piece of paper, a pencil and a Sharpie marker and started to work.

 First I drew a leaf shape.  It wasn't quite the shape I wanted so I did have to do a bit of editing!
Next I added the veins.
Then I used my Sharpie Marker to draw in my lines, leaving a 1/8 inch gap where the veins are.
Since I will be using fusible web, I turned my drawing over and traced the lines on the back for my templates.
Then I got out the fusible web and traced my pattern onto the paper side of the web.
I pulled out my fall fabrics and had a great time picking and choosing the fabrics for my leaf and in the end here is how my Mug Rug came out:

I was so happy with it, I decided to write up a pattern!  You can get it in my Etsy shop - Leaf Mug Rug.

Are you thinking of fall yet?

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Asian Ladies Wholecloth Quilt

This was an interesting project to work on - two ladies came into the quilt shop and fell in love with a piece of yardage.  They each wanted a quilt made out of it, just a simple quilt using the print with a black border and backing.  I figured out the cost, and they said "Let's do it!"

Here is what the finished quilts look like:

All I had to do was add 4 1/2 inch border strips to the outside of the fabric, layer the quilt sandwich, basted, quilt and bind!  Voila!  A quilt in an afternoon.

I did a swirly pattern with black thread.  It was nice not to have to worry about sewing over bumpy seam allowances!

I was hoping my pictures would come out all right - we've been having quite the windy summer here so it is hard to get pictures without corners flapping, or your quilt just blowing off the fence if you are fool enough to try it in the afternoon!

I'm making a quilt nest week that has enough piecing to make up for these plain and simple quilts...another feathered star quilt for a retirement celebration!  This time I will write up instructions.  This one will be for experienced quilters, some y seams and tricky piecing and cutting.  I like a challenge now and then, what about you?