Monday, June 25, 2012

Triple Rail Fence quilt top finished! and more!

Except for the borders that is... the book i am working through has us do all the borders at one time.  this is quilt top 3 from the book that i have made, also a sampler is in the works too from the book.

so i laid this quilt top out on my seriously unattactive basement floor, i really need to look for other places to photograph stuff like this!

 Heres a closeup, so you can get a look at the fabrics.

and of course here is a sideways pic of the quilt top.  I plan ( i think ) to do a narrow black(perhaps white) border and then a wider one with larger floral print.

So last summer on vacation, i bought to quilt kits from a quilt shop in Williams Lake, B.C. with the intention of making my 2 oldest granddaughters quilts for their 5th birthdays, one on Dec 21,2011 and the other Feb 13, 2012.
  and i got them both done.
the first one for Daphne is a ballerina theme, made of  4 large blocks and about 16 smaller blocks all with printed ballerina designs. the shop had also included co-ordinating ballerina fabric .  man what a pain!!!  the blocks werent printed on the straight of grain, and man i had someheadaches with it LOL  plus being a very beginner quilter, I am amazed it turned out so well.
DH and I took our other soon to be 5 year old granddaughter Venessa with us in early December to celebrate Daphnes birthday early. About a 5 to 6 hour drive away in winter conditions.

 As you can see by the smile on her face, Daphne really liked it!!  Thats Venessa hiding behind her fan!

My first time machine quilting, I did stars on the big corner blocks and a stipple design on the others, with a not so dense stippling on the border. I was in a time crunch and sewed the binding on by machine and i like how it looked. the whole quilt turned out okay for someone who really didnt have a clue  LOL sometimes ingnorance is bliss :) she brought it with her when they came for christmas too so its getting well loved!

Venessas quilt for her birthday in Feb was a mermaid, theme, same idea , printed blocks, not square, swearing , ripping out etc. but perservered and got it finished in time for her birthday.  Sadly i didnt get a picture of her with it before they left in March to go back home to Manitoba. They had been here at my DIL's parents while my son was doing a tour in Afghanistan from Oct to Mar. 

so here is is layed out on our bed, really pretty colours in this one love the deep pinks and tourquises.

I did spirals in the large printed blocks and stippling with variegated thread in the pieced blocks.

In the border i sort of did circular stippling around the circle design of the border fabric.  Venessa does really like it she told me !

Right before making these i did a flannel quilt from a kit from the same quilt shop ( i dropped a whack of cash there that day )
for Venessas baby brother who was born Dec 2 ( she also has a sister Ainsley, who will be 2 next aug)  It was very simple blocks and qulted on the diagonal by machine. The backing fabric my DIL picked out in Edmonton when we took my son there in Oct when he was deployed. 

 This is little Darrens quilt which was pretty much ready by the time he was born.
I also made this tablerunner for my MIL for christmas last year. made from moda coins, i dont know if thats the right word, they were precuts , 2 1/2 inches by 5 inches , just sewed together and stitched in the ditch . 

I also pieced these two table runners, before christmas , the brown one was machine quilted and binding finished about 3 weeks ago and lives on the coffee table, it was a quilt from a store in Jasper Alberta that i picked up about 2 years ago. 

 the yellow and blue one which was a kit put together by a quilt store here has the binding on but needs it to be hand sewn down, (that is a travel project for the upcoming long weekend)  I did a very simple machine quilting with my walking foot on the yellow and blue.  just kind of echoed one one side of each seam in the center and simple lines in the border.  I could sure tell that the piecing of these was done before i started learning properly how to piece.   YIKES !   and also the dark green in the brown runner was of course supposed to be down the middle  OOPsy!! 

The yellow and blue one is about 4 feet long and will be going on my dresser.
well thats it for now sports fans! hopefully tomorrow i will get up my WIP list.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Directions!

It's been a bit since i updated my quilting blog and trust me it's not because i havn't been quilting or shopping :)  I was trying to play catch up with some of the quilt tops i had worked through in Quilters Academy Vol 1.  i had worked my way through the first quilt top ( see previous 2 posts) but never got around to posting about the 2nd.   And as i finished the 2nd one nearly 2 months ago it is hard to remember all the ups and downs, mistakes made and lessons learned.

so i have decided to just kinda recap show some pics,  post a  list of wips, and some pics of a couple of quilty things i did before i got totally smitten by quilting!

so here goes with the 2nd quilt top from my lessons in Quilters Academy Vol. 1
This is the design in the book, its called Cowboy Corral by Carrie Hargreave
Basically a fussy cut, with Rail Fence blocks, not unlike the first one, but a different layout of the strip set blocks to form frames around the fussy cut blocks.

Cowboy Corral from the book

main block fabric

fabrics for striped blocks
with the border fabric I chose

Did have a little of this going on!!



So there it is all finished ( except for the border)  with this series Harriet Hargreaves has us do the borders after we have done the quilt tops in the lessons. 
I didnt have too many problems with this,I still think my pressing is a bit erratic and moves things more than it should. I did sew one row on upside down or something and hence the pic with the seam ripper :)  On the whole i am happy with this one, much better piecing than i did last fall and i like the colours i chose too!  That can be kinda scary when you are at the fabric store and trying to decide if two fabrics will really look good together! 

The next lesson is a triple rail fence quilt top , which i have of course finished already...... still playing catch up!

I went with a black, white and red scheme this time, and was really leary about the fabrics i chose

I liked them but wasnt really sure if they would work???????  so i read ahead a bit in the book and made a mock up of the design by photocopying the fabric and then laying it out to check out the look of it.  pretty wild eh!!

Heres the mock up, of course being just printed on paper the colours were not as rich and vibrant as in real life!

so il liked the mock up well enough to go ahead and start cutting the fabric out. This design was somewhat more of a challenge for a beginner as there were 2 different strip sets instead of just the one.  But i followed Harriets directions ( as on the 2 previous quilts) for laying out the blocks and strip piecing. Works like a charm!

After the blocks were cut i layed them out on the floor downstairs and checked again to make sure the pattern stood out using all those prints.

the final layout before sewing, I moved the black and white swirl fabric ( lower left corner of mock up block) by mistake or something and ended up with it and the one above it in the mock up switched around, sadly i didnt notice until i had sewn it all up ....... but i still think it works fine. Now if i could only find a picture of the sewn up quilt top.......  I guess i will have to go take one and add it LOL

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lesson 7: Winter Wonderland part 2

I left off the last post with my quilt top all strip pieced together.  so now i had to nest the seams together and start sewing the rows together, this would be the test to see how accurate my cutting pressing and seams were!!

Away i went pinning the first two rows together............. and it went ....... pretty darn good. there were a couple of areas where i had to ease one block a bit to line it up with the other.   But on the whole not bad at all. Much much better than a couple of table toppers i pieced together back in the fall :) 
so here are the first 3 rows sewn together!!

 I spent a lot of time admiring it  LOL but eventually got on with the rest of it and again just minor easing in of a couple of blocks.
Here it is all sewn together!  I LOVE IT!    and feel really proud of myself for getting it ( mostly) right


some of  things i have learned doing this oone....... I still need to work on my pressing skills, i think i am still pushing too hard to the side and bending the strips when pressing the strip sets. ( Gotta get a new iron ! )  I keep thinking that the iron will solve that :)   I like the process of trying to find the "right " fabric  and i guess i will have to learn to live with it if i get it wrong!! I think i got it right with this one, i love the running horses on the warm sunset colours and think the other print that i had chosen would be lost in this. for the borders on this one i think i have enough of the horseshoe print to do the narrow border and then i will use the horse print for the wider border. ( if i have enough )
If i dont have enough of the horse print used for the blocks , i did get some of a bit different horse print but same colours that i can use. 

Not sure if i have enough....

This is the other horse print, that is my backup plan!

This lesson is finished! as of April 7, 2012.   and as i had the fabric all picked for the next one i was chomping at the bit to get started!

heres a sneak peak of the main fabric for Carries cowboy corral quilt!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Lesson 7 : Winter Wonderland - Part One

I was getting excited about doing the first quilt in the book. Lesson 7-  Harriet's Winter Wonderland quilt.  but had been having a hard time finding what i wanted for the fabric. I also planned to do Carries Cowboy Corral quilt too and had already gotten fabric for that...... but i digress .

Harriets Winter Wonderland

I found some fabric at fabricland the first weekend in  march that i thought would work.. the horse head print wasnt really what i wanted but I  hadnt found anything at Kathys ( a local quilt shop) , either. So decided it would work okay as i was chomping at the bit to get going on this one.

  I got a denimy blue with horseshoes and a light tonal denimy blue print.  okay i guess!

I liked the combination but didnt love it, if you know what i mean! LOL
another week passed and with work and grandgirls didnt get a start, but did do some research on an iron.  I had pretty much settled on getting a Velocity by Reliable, heard nothing but good stuff about this, but nobody here carried it.  so i decided to take a trip to Vanderhoof the next saturday to see if they carried it.  I could have phoned but hey its a fabric store! and there is another quilt store there as well sooooooo . Saturday morning I dropped off my 18 month old granddaughter Ainsley at her other grandmas (with her mom) after she had had a sleepover with us!  then headed off to Vanderhoof, a nice drive of about an hour, especially now that the snow is pretty much gone off the road! 

Look what i found............. and i was just what i had been looking for! but not the iron :(

Now i was in love with the fabrics i had chosen!!

I straightened the fabric early the next week but sewing time stalled for a bit when my youngest son  came home from Afghanistan the following wednesday after a 5 1/2 month deployment . so it wasnt until after he and his family left the monday after that, that i was able to get some more time in the sewing room.

I made sure to review the instructions carefully before starting and i did a couple of test strips with my chosen fabrics to make sure my seams were good to go.. they were!!
First I had to cut 12 - 3 1/2" blocks from the horse fabric, 49 - 3-1/2" blocks from the light blue and make 60 pieced blocks from the strip sets made from each fabric. Whew seemed like so much and would take a looooong time,  hard for a newbie chomping on the bit :)  cut all the blocks one evening and then cut the strips for the pieced blocks.

got back to the basement sewing room a day or so later and started sewing the 5 strip sets I needed. I think it went fairly well,  had to do some slight trimming in a few areas and a couple of places were a bit narrow so i didnt use those and made another short strip set so i would have enough.  It's somewhat confusing when you cut everything to the size you need, have a decent quarter inch seam allowance, iron carefully and still odd places are too narrow, or too wide!   I guess all those things i just mentioned are not quite as precise as they should be .... YET!
my strips also seem to be somewhat bendy, curvy after pressing too. not sure what was going on there? if its the sewing or the pressing, i suspect the pressing. but is it the way i am doing it or the iron or a combination.

It took about a week to get the strips all sewin and cut to size. I checked every block to make sure it was the right size and trimmed or resewed as necessary. Man! this sure is time consuming LOL  but hopefully as my skills increase it wont take so long!  It's hard to enjoy the process when all you want is to see how the quilt top looks when put together!

Now it was time to lay out my blocks for chain piecing together, i just followed the instructions in the book step by step and finally the light came on! well duh , how easy could this be!!

here is a very brief explanation.  you take all the blocks in row one (top row) and stack them with the top left block on the top.  repeat with each row.  I pinned a piece of paper with each row number written on it to the top edge of the stack so that i knew which way was up.  Then line up all your stacks of blocks , in this case 11 (11 rows of 9 blocks) on the right side of your machine. find something to put on the top of the stack to mark your place. I have a little black racoon statue that i am using.
to start sewing pick up the top two blocks from row one, move your racoon to the row 2 stack . sew blocks one and two together ,  dont cut thread pick up blocks 1 and 2 from the row 2 stack and sew them together. keep going with out cutting your thread until all eleven rows have the first two blocks sewn together.
press seams towards unpieced block.
now starting again at row 1 take the top block ( 3rd in that row) and attach it to the second block of the first row.  You will now have the first 3 blocks of row 1 sewn together, repeat as before, press seams and the add the 4th block to the rows.  Keep on this way until all nine blocks are sewn to each other and you will have this..

I managed to get to this stage during the work week . and i really likeed how it was looking!   I found putting a safety pin in the upper left corner block, first block in row one, as a marker to orient yourself when chain piecing the rows together. I found after the first pressing when i just had the long piece with just 2 blocks i had to really check that i had things the right way round before adding the 3rd row of blocks .  They want to twist and all manner of annoying things between the sewing machine and the ironing board!

well thats it for now i will get part two up  soon!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Quilters Academy Vol 1

I first saw  the Quilters Academy series back in mid jan uary i guess.... Immediately ordered Vol 1 and it was hand delivered to me where i work!!  I got it from an incredible place called the Vanderhoof Dept Store, which is in the small community of Vanderhoof about an hour west of where i live in Prince George B.C.  The book was delivered by the son of the owner who happended to be coming here that day anyways!  Nice service!
I started reading the book that evening when i got home and knew immediately it was something i wanted to delve further into and learn how to quilt! properly . previously everything i did was fudged here or there , my seams probably werent even close to being a quarter inch. 
I am going to try and blog my way through the book, like a few other ladies i have seen doing. but i just have to play catch up for a few posts and hope i don't forget things. 

during this time until about mid march my DIL and 2 granddaughters ( 5 and 18 mos) plus their new baby brother were here in town while my son was in Afghanistan. so we had the girls over a lot and i didnt have a lot of time for sewing until after he returned to Canada and they all went off home together... sad they left but happy he came home safe and that they are all together again. 

It took me about 3 weeks of reading and trying things out on my machine before i finally came up with a good foot and seam guide that worked for me. 
This is the Janome straight stitch foot and although its wider than a quarter inch foot i was able to make a mark on it where the 1/4 inch is. Its hard to see in the picture but i marked a auarter inch out from the needle on both sides of the foot (not sure why on the longer side)

I found a seam guide that is printed on a piece of paper that you stick to the machine in front of the foot...... of course my machine has a drop in bobbin so i cut out the seam guide to fit the size of the bobbin cover .  you can see the little white square on my needle bed in the next picture.

my test strips were coming out pretty good ( most of the time) using these two items so i moved on to getting fabric for the practice piece in the book.
Practice sampler from the book.

I finally found some floral in a light and dark pink that i like and thought would work well for the project. I washed and straightend the fabric and then set out to cut some practice strips to test out.  When i sewed the test strips together  i was getting perfect measurements on my strips.  My first set of three strips for the project were less than stellar and had to be ripped out and restitched. Not sure what i had done wrong but the center strip was a little too narrow the first try.  I couldnt figure it out because i thought i was doing everything exactly as i did on the test strips.
Decided to try a couple more test strips and they turned out okay , I think what i was doing with the longer strips was  watching the needle and not where the fabric was in relation to the seam guideline.

Fionally got around to cutting the blocks a few days later and prepared to sew them together.  I didnt quite GET the instructions in the book for laying the blocks out  to be chain pieced  ( i have since figured it out)  so just did them into rows of 3 and then sewed the 3 rows together.   The seams butted together pretty well , not perfect but better than anything else i had done previously. and i spent a fair bit of time admiring my little pink block !! 
my practice sampler!


 I think the thing i had the most problems with is my pressing, the number one issue is my iron is spitting and spurting and shuts off after what seems like a very short time, so i am always waiting for the darn thing to heat up!
I NEED a new one!!

the back

So some of things i learned from reading the book and doing the first exercise in the book are..
  • how to straighten my fabric
  • how to press properly
  • that i need non skid thingys on my rulers!
  • that i do NOT like the quarter inch foot that came with my machine, the one with the guide..... I tried it and when i sewed over a seam while joining something it veered off course on me. Really annoying!!
  • I really, really, really need a new iron and ironing board too for that matter.
I finished the sampler block probably in mid to late February i guess.

so on to lesson 7 the first quilt top!