Tuesday, April 29, 2008

60 degree triangles

I was first inspired to try my hand at 60 degree triangles last summer when I saw the quilts that Libby (of the Simple Girl blog) was making. You can read about the start of my interest in this idea here. It turned out that the layout I showed you on that blog entry was a royal pain to sew, and is still a UFO! But I had lots of fun with other layouts and here is one of my finished minis called "Hazardous Materials".
Libby told me that she used a ruler called a "Clearview Triangle" ruler to cut her triangles, but I wanted to try to use my Omnigrid ruler for the cutting. I really had fun figuring this out. No really! It was fun. I sewed together a light and a dark 1.25" strip. Then I lined up the 60 degree line on the seam and cut the first angle. Then I tipped the ruler to the left, placed the other 60 degree line on the seam line, and put the edge of the ruler at the edge of the strip and cut...first triangle done!
Then I tipped the ruler back the other way, lined up the 60 degree line with the seam line and cut another triangle, and so on, until the whole strip set was cut into triangles.
It got a bit trickey if the angle ever got a little wonky, and then I would just recut the edge and keep going.
To deal with all the bias edges I sprayed the strips with "Spray
Starch" and then pressed them before I started cutting the triangles, which worked well.
Today I had my mini quilt class over to my studio to work on their 60 degree projects. I could tell that they weren't loving those cute little triangles as much as I do!! Here they are with their nose to the grindstone, labouring over those triangles and forcing them to fit together in their chosen layouts. Check back next month to see if they persisted in fitting them together, or will they throw their project in the garbage (gasp!)?!?!? Hopefully you will see some wonderful triangle quilts!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Step 2 is crushed!

I have been working away on my Orange Crush blocks for step #2 each evening. I finally had some time to finish them up today. They look a little boring sitting there, but they were fun to sew. The fabrics look brown, but they are really green. The question is...how will they be sewn to these blocks from step 1 to make this quilt?!?! Inquiring minds can hardly wait to find out!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day at Reichards

What a fun day today! I taught a beginner's fabric painting class last month at Reichards and today the students brought back their work and started to do some quilting. Here are some of their favorite paintings. Next month we will work on embellishing. This has been my favorite class to teach for a few years now, since I still really love fabric painting.
And while I was at Reichards I signed up for a new BOM called "Be Attitudes". I haven't done many BOM quilts, but I know that this will be the perfect gift for a special someone...whenever I can possibly get it finished! You can see a photo of the quilt here. It will also give me a chance to practise some of the fancy stitches on my Janome Jem Platinum sewing machine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wings are sewn

What a busy week! I spoke to the Busy Hands Quilt Guild yesterday and then had to rush away to get to work. But I did get to see some Show and Tell quilts and wished I could get in on some of the group activities they have going on, especially the hand quilting bee for a scrappy charity quilt.
This is as far as I am on step #2 of the Orange Crush mystery. Let's call it "half finished"! I have been sewing quietly in the basement at night until I am too tired to sew a straight line. I have finally finished sewing the "wings" on the little squares and think they look like little angels all lined up like that! Now I am ready to snip off the dog ears and put them in my jam jar...you just know I keep everything, even dog ears! As you can see my other jar is already full after the last mystery, so I found a new empty jar to use. Snip. Snip.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Orange Crushing

I used my sewing minutes this weekend to dig around in my stash and pull out the fabric I need for step #2 of the Orange Crush mystery. I am determined not to buy any new fabric - it's harder than you'd think! I made a test block and then cut out all the pieces I need for this step. I don't have the EZ ruler, well maybe I do, but I can't find it :) so I went ahead and cut the pieces the old fashioned way. Here they are waiting to be sewn together - I'll work away at piecing them together all week when I have a few moments. Don't you just love having a project all cut and ready to sew?!?!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Late Valentines

My miniature quilt group brought in their Valentine minis this week. We didn't meet in February because I was sick, and so we had to do the February project in March. Apparently it was quite a challenging project since only 4 people finished piecing the top! We had 2 quilters make the "large" size (15" square) and 2 tackled the mini size (7.5" square). You can read about the beginning of this quilt idea here.
This class we worked on piecing strips and cutting 60 degree triangles. I will write more about that another day.
And on the right is a photo of the goodies I put in a package to send to Grace, who won the draw celebrating my 200th post!

Monday, April 14, 2008

More hours in the day...

I often have people ask me "do you sleep?" Yes, but not as much as I would like to! I tend to be very focused about how I use my quilting minutes. I try to fit in time to quilt or stitch as much as possible every day, and I try not to "waste" this resource of time. I re-learned this in Myrna Giesbrecht's Self Expression's class at Quilt University. A lot can be accomplished in short blocks of time. Like the Block of the Month at Capricorn Quilts blog. When the pattern comes out at the beginning of the month, I print it out and trace it onto my background fabric. Then it sits and waits until I have a few minutes to pick it up. This weekend was the perfect time to stitch, since I wanted to watch the Masters Golf Tournament. During commercials or boring parts, I was able to stitch the whole block while I watched Tiger struggle for second place.
I almost forgot about my blogiversary giveaway! I printed out the comments on friday night and let my son pick the winner...and the winner is....Grace at GraceBeading! Congratulations! Send me your address and I'll send you a little bit of spring cheer!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Quilt Finished!

This is the finished quilt made by the "Sew 'n Sews" group which we called "Wings of Friendship". It was a difficult quilt to photograph since noone in the group was tall enough to hold it up! If you missed reading about the development of this quilt, you can read about it here. We sent it out for hand quilting by a local Mennonite group and it has been submitted to the Mennonite Relief Sale Committee to be auctioned in May. I have rarely missed attending this auction since I started quilting 16 years ago, but have never had a quilt in the auction that I took part in making. So this year's auction will be even more exciting! I usually have attended with my Mom, and we always buy a Strawberry pie - it signals the beginning of summer for us, even though some years have been quite chilly!
If you have ever made a group quilt you will know that it can be a challenging endeavour. Each quilter's quarter inch seam is different, and each artist has her own ideas about things such as use of colour, adding borders, etc . But I have to say that we had a wonderful time working together, getting to know each other's strengths, and making decisions as we went along in a way that we all could be happy with.
And here we are - pleased as punch to see our finished quilt! Now what are we going to work on!??!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Finish!

It is always cause for rejoicing when a UFO is finished! At guild meeting several members brought finished UFO's to celebrate and I was happy to do the same, and also happy that comparatively speaking (not mentioning any names!), my UFO wasn't that "old"! As you probably know from previous posts, this was made from a kit I bought at a New York quilt store called Calico Gals, which I visited during Christmas vacation in 2006. I pieced the blocks in 2007 and finally finished the quilting this week. The fact that the whole thing is now hanging FLAT against my dining room wall is a bonus!
Don't forget to enter your name in my 200th blog entry draw - see this post.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Good news!

I have lots of good news to tell you! First of all, it sure feels good to announce that we have been seeing the sun here in Southern Ontario!! And look here - some real daffodils are starting to poke their little heads up and check to see if the snow is gone...and it mostly is! Finally! It has been a long winter here and we are more than ready for some nice warm weather and some flowers.
My second piece of good news to announce is bead related, so jump on over to my beading blog here to read more about that.
My third good news announcement is that this is my 200th blog post! Wow! How did that happen?!?! I continue to enjoy blogging and find it a good way to not only meet and be inspired by other quilters, but also to keep track of my projects and the quilting/stitching that I am doing. I am going to put together a spring gift for one of my blog readers, so leave me a comment on this post and I'll let my kids pick the lucky winner on friday, which is a PD day (no school, so everyone is getting haircuts - don't tell them!).
I had a couple of quiet hours on Sunday afternoon to do more machine quilting on my spring flower quilt. Here is a photo of my original sketch for the border quilting. It is hard to photograph that green fabric for some unknown reason, so I hope you can see it. The quilting went very well and I was happy with the end results. It was a little wavy so I went around again and added a few more leaves. I challenged myself to finish the quilt in time to show at guild meeting, and I still have to do the binding, hanging sleeve, and label. Tick, tick, tick, tock.....

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Capricorn BOM

The April BOM pattern has been posted by Bea at Capricorn Quilts, so I hurried to finish up the March block. I am enjoying the varigated threads. You can see my first two blocks here.
This is a fun project that is great for stitching when my family has movie night. If I have to watch one more Bruce Willis movie....!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Orange Crush step #1

I had a great time making these little 4 patch blocks. Don't tell Bonnie, but I could have made 150 more!! I have been so busy the last couple of weeks, that it was a real treat to sit down and chain sew all these little pieces. It was very quiet sewing at night, and I didn't get any pages to come into work, so I finished all the sewing for step #1. I ended up only needing to use 4 of my Jo Morton fat quarters, so I still have two FQ's (the golden one and the blue one) to use somewhere else in the quilt. Here is a photo of my finished 4 patches.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Guild BOM

I just read my quilt guild newsletter. I love that it is posted online and I can read it in full colour anytime (and our editor Cheryl does such a great job!). I suddenly remembered that I still have blocks for comfort quilt kits from January's meeting - shhhh...don't tell Joan! February's meeting was cancelled due to the snowy weather, and in March I completely forgot to take the blocks to the meeting. Here they are still on my design wall! They were fun to sew using Jan Mullens' Stargazey method of piecing. I'm not sure of the committee's plans to put the blocks together, but I'll take a photo when I find out what happens to them.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ringsurf changes

Too bad about the changes made to the ringsurf system. Have you tried it lately? I used to like to run through the list of blogs on the two rings I belong to, but now when I do that each blog has an advertising bar across the top of the screen - oh how I hate advertising! So now 1/2 of my screen is taken up with stuff I don't want to see! Here is a photo of my computer showing my blog - see what I mean?!? And notice at the top that the address listed is not my blog, even though I am looking at my blog. When you go through the ringsurf system now, all addresses are ringsurf websites.
And it used to be that I could click on "next" on the blogring logos and run through all the blogs that way. Now if you click "next" or "previous" it takes you to the ring master list all the time, with the advertising bar on every page. So I guess I will bookmark the blogs I visit most frequently and not run through the rings anymore. It's too bad - I used to enjoy that :(
Anyway, onto more positive things... I have cut and pieced my strips for Orange Crush. Here they are. I just used yardage for the lights since I don't have many light scraps. I'll get the cross cuts done and piece the 4 patch blocks - if I don't get called in to work tonight.