Wednesday, November 27, 2013

College Girl Comes Home

There might be some sewing later today but first, it is time to cook.  

My baby college girl is home for the first time since late August.  To celebrate, we are making some of her favorites!
I hope you have your special people with you to share Thanksgiving.  Have a good day, a wonderful meal, and don't get hurt when you hit the stores for the sales!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's Talk About Thread

I've spend the past few days piecing these little units.  They finish at 4" square and I need 64 of them. They will form the four corners of the star blocks for Twilight Hopscotch.   I had to take the photo in poor light (the weather is not cooperating here); the background is white, not pink.

I usually piece using thread in a neutral color;  ecru, beige, or gray.  I use white thread if ecru seems too dark, like when I have a lot of white background.  Any of these neutral colors blends into most printed fabric but two color quilts can be tricky.  I used gray thread on all of my blue and gold school auction quilts, which worked very well. 

I had to give some thought to the thread for this green and white quilt and have settled on a plan.  I used green on top and white in the bobbin when I sewed the green and white fabric strips together.  These strips get sub-cut to make the mini four patch units then joined with the white squares to make the larger four patch units.  I used white thread in both top and bobbin to sew the four patch units. 

To make the stars, I'll go back to green thread on top, white in the bobbin to make the star points, then green on top and bobbin to join the points to the center square.  Then to join all the pieces into  the star block, I'll switch back to white thread.  I think this will work well; I just have to remember to make all the thread changes!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Four Patch Mania

My first step in making Twilight Hopscotch is making the four patch units.  About a gazillion of them...ok, I exaggerate, 128 to be exact.  They are strip pieced, sliced and diced, and sewn again.  Very easy.

In fact, I think this quilt will be quite easy and fast to make.  Definitely worth considering if you are looking for a design for a two color quilt, or even a three color quilt. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Twilight Hopscotch

For my next project, I'm turning to my Pinterest quilts to-do list and starting Twilight Hopscotch.  The pattern is by Kim Diehl from her book Simple Comforts. 

This will be a Christmas quilt.  I'm using this snowflake batik fabric with a green tone-on-tone with gold metallic flecks.  I'm not "into" batiks but saw this one at my LQS, liked it, and thought it would be good in this particular quilt.  The background will be Kona white. 
I have the pieces cut and ready to sew.  This will be a good project for evenings after work, when I have 20 or 30 minutes to spend sewing after dinner. 

And speaking of cutting, I've been meaning to mention these new rotary cutters from Olfa.  Do you have one?  They are worth buying because they've made changing the blade so much easier and less hazardous.  The old one pops off with the flick of a switch; put the new blade in place and flick the switch back, and voila, ready to go!  No nuts and washers, no wondering about the correct order for replacing all the parts - so easy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Complicated - A Finished Quilt

I put the binding on over the weekend and now I have a finished quilt.

I made the scrappy LeMoyne Star blocks last spring.  My original plan was for a simple quilt layout, alternating star blocks with plain blocks.  Then I got another idea.  I drafted my own alternating block, cut the fabric pieces, and set to work sewing them up.  The quilt is set on point, alternating the two blocks, and setting triangles form the solid border.  The revised layout led to the name, It's Complicated.

Mr. Main Street did his best but his wingspan is not quite wide enough for the size of the quilt.
Karen Thompson quilted It's Complicated with a curlicue vine and hearts pantograph design. 

I'm so happy with the way this quilt came out.  It is part of my series of Fig Tree Harvest quilts, an attempt to use up my extensive stash of fabric from Fig Tree & Co. collections for Moda. My earlier quilts used the more girly pastel and floral prints but I used more of the brown and carmel fabrics, with a little red and green, in It's Complicated.  I'm glad I did because the colors make for a different look.
I used a special ruler to make the LeMoyne Star blocks, the Rapid LeMoyne Star ruler from Studio 18 Designs.  The ruler simplifies the block construction so it doesn't require any set-in seams.  Using it was a breeze; I highly recommend it for this block.
I'll be back later this week to share the start of my new project.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner

My other leisure time activity is reading.  When I don't post here for a while, it is sometimes because a book has hijacked me from the sewing room.  I was at our local public library on Saturday and saw this book, Modern Bee, on a display so I checked it out. 

The quilt patterns in the book were designed by members of the Mod Stitches bee, a group originally formed to swap patchwork blocks.  This was an online group that met through their blogs and Flickr.  The designs in the book can be made as part of a bee or individually.  There's a chapter on starting and running an online bee; the tips would work for an in-person exchange as well.  Then the quilt designs are arranged in order by skill level; 13 projects in total.
My favorite design in the book is Trellis Crossroads, by Jessica Kelly.  It is made using 20 fat quarters and three yards of background (white) fabric.  This one is going on my to-do list as soon as I decide what fabric to use.

I also like this design, Baseball Curves, by Lindsay Conner.  The tricky thing about this design is that is uses templates, which are not one of my favorite things.  

I would probably not have paid attention to this book in a quilt shop because the cover is kind of boring (yes, I judge my quilting books by their covers; they have to get my attention) but I'm glad I picked it up because it has given me a few ideas.  And while a bee is probably not in my near future, I think I'd enjoy that kind of swap too, some day. 

Oh, and if you're looking for a novel to read, I recommend Bridget Jones Mad About The Boy, by Helen Fielding, a worthy sequel to Bridget Jones's Diary.  But don't be surprised if it cuts into your quilting time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Finally...A Finished Flimsy

You may have been wondering where I've been.  Events conspired to keep me from quilting during October.  Lots of work, a trip to Miss Main Street's college for parents' weekend, then a monster cold that left me in no condition to do much more than watch the World Series on TV. 

But finally, my Jubilee top is finished.  I took this photo in Miss Main Street's bedroom on a cloudy day; the colors are actually brighter and sharper. 

This is a monster quilt - 98 inches square, though it may shrink an inch or so when quilted.  Plenty ample for our queen size bed, might even fit a king bed.   The long, drawn out last step was adding the borders.  I made them per the pattern directions, with a narrow white inner border that matches the sashing, followed by a medium width print border, then a third, wider white border.

For the print border, I used the Fig Tree fabric that had been my original choice.  I had used this print to select all the fat quarters I used for the 40 blocks.  Here it is off to the left on my design wall with the first 12 blocks. 
Here's another shot of the border with some of the blocks.

I have the backing pieced too, and am on my quilter's list for January.  Now I get to start something new.  What will it be?