Friday, June 28, 2013

Quilting Gallery Quilt Along

This is my first block for the quilt along going on at www.quiltinggallery.com.  It's all about learning more about accurate and precise piecing.  

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This block was pretty straightforward for me.  It was all half square triangles.  I got that method down when I was doing the 840 for Jamestown landing.  I did try something new and I might have to continue it.  Normally when I press I always pressed to the side.  Either the dark or the way that made sense so that I could nest the seams.  Michelle, the coordinator of this quilt along, talked about pressing seams open a bit so I thought I would try it and see how it went.   

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This was the back of my block.  See how neat it looks!

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All my points were spot on.  

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If you want to join the quilt along there is a button on the side if my blog.  I would normally include it here but I am typing from my phone and can't figure out how to do it.  There will be prizes and drawings for everyone every week.  

This week I am linking up to www.crazymomquilts.com.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WIP Wednesday 6/26

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I finally made a dent in my Jamestown Landing quilt.  Its all I worked on all weekend.  It can be found in String Fling: Scrappy, Happy and Loving It! by Bonnie Hunter.  I finished all 840 half square triangles and I finished about 70 of 156 string blocks.  I started sewing the HST's into broken dishes blocks too but I didn't get a picture of that.  I can't wait to get this quilt done.  Its for my bed and the first quilt I have kept for myself in a long time.  I have been looking into sending it out for quilting because its going to be pretty big but I just don't think its going to be in my price range.

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I posted awhile ago that I purchased these totes for organizing scraps and I would share my thoughts after using them for a bit.  I purchased two different sizes.  Here are the links to both:


I love them.  I think I prefer the wider flatter size.  They are not super sturdy as they are just thin plastic but they are great for small pieces.  I have my scraps sorted by color now.  The only complaint I have is that if you pack them too full the cover won't stay on.  But I had some small adhesive velcro dots and that fixed that issue.  I put all my bigger pieces, fat quarters or larger, in that tote on the bottom.  Now I just need to find a place to store them in my teeny tiny house.

This week I am linking up to Freshly Pieced And Esther's blog.  

  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, June 24, 2013

Craftsy now has Fine Art Classes!

Just wanted to share a new announcement I received from Craftsy!

With the launch of six art classes, Craftsy is proud to announce a new category - Fine Art! Let our world-class art instructors teach you professional techniques to elevate your art, regardless of your skill level or preferred media. From landscape drawing to portraiture, watercolors to acrylics, these classes allow you to learn on your own time, at your convenience from talented instructors. Check out the new art classes from Craftsy: 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Free Classes at Craftsy!

Have you ever tried Craftsy?  It's free to try with their mini classes.  There are also a lot of free patterns and awesome deals on supplies.

Craftsy offers online crafting classes, taught by world renowned instructors who love the craft as much as you do. Craftsy classes are online, so they are available to you anytime you want for as long as you want, There is no scheduled class times, so you can enjoy them entirely on your own schedule. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD-quality video content... but Craftsy classes are much more than just a video!
While taking a Craftsy class, you can:
  • Ask your instructor questions, upload photos, and get personalized responses
  • Participate in discussions with your classmates
  • Access supporting class materials - including patterns and helpful tips & tricks
  • Bookmark your favorite moments in the video so that you can easily re-watch them and take notes that you can refer back to anytime

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hand Piecing Newbie

Hand piecing

Sigh.  I started another project. I have wanted to try hand piecing for awhile now.  I have been reading about Inklingo for weeks.  My thought was if I learned it well enough I could do some of my Dear Jane blocks that way.  I am not good at practicing something so I needed a trial project.  It took me a little bit to figure out how to use Inklingo.  It was a lot easier than I expected so I think I was making it harder than it needed to be.  And then I needed to figure out what settings my printer liked because things kept jamming.  I found that if I put my printer on envelope setting nothing jammed.  After that it was smooth sailing.

I started these stars with the idea of doing a small tote bag.  I found the pattern on Inklingo's site.   But I love them so much I am now doing a small wall hanging.  The colors watch my bathroom exactly.  But here lies another problem.  The fabric line is called Pure by Moda and its a few years old. I need more.  I won a couple charm packs a few months ago on another blog.  This isn't enough for what I want it for.  So I have ordered some additional fat quarters I found on eBay.  

I think I am getting the hang of hand piecing.  My centers aren't perfect but my seams are getting better.  My stitches are not as loose and are more consistent.  My birthday is next week so I have asked my husband to get me Quiltmaking by Hand: Simple Stitches, Exquisite Quilts by Jinny Beyer.  This book has really great reviews so I am hoping to find a few hints.  I don't know anyone personally who hand pieces so I am teaching myself.  

Here are some close ups:

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Weird center.  It dents in too much.  


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This center just doesn't line up.  

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This one is a bit better but still not perfect.  

Another issue I am having is that all my blocks are just a tad too small.  They are supposed to be 5" but they are coming out to 4 7/8".  I suppose its ok because they are all the same but when I get to working on my Dear Jane I need them to be exact.  Am I supposed to be sewing beside the line or on the line with inklingo?  Maybe its my thread?  I am using 50 wt. Mettler.  Maybe someone out there can help me. I was inspired to start hand piecing from another blog user that uses Inklingo so maybe I will reach out to her.  I wonder if she would mind? 

This week I am linking up to Freshly Pieced and Esther's blog.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Paper Piecing My Way

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Dear Jane, B-6

I finished another Dear Jane block last night.  I thought while I was doing it I would snap a few pictures and describe my way of paper piecing.  This isn't meant to be completely in depth because it was last minute but if people want me to I can do a more in depth description with a simpler block.

To start, I use freezer paper. (I like this kind, Quilter's Freezer Paper Sheets) And I don't stitch through the paper, ever.  Can you imagine cleaning paper out of all those seams in that block above.  Keep in mind, that block is only 5".  Each of those white pieces in the middle are only a 1/4" wide.  I find the method I do to be particularly helpful with small pieces.  Another helpful hint when doing this method is that you DO NOT have to reverse or mirror image your design.  

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The first thing I do is trim my sections down so that they are in standard sections you use in paper piecing.  You can see that in the picture above.  I didn't take a picture with them all cut out.  I cut off the seams too and you will see why in a bit.  The four pieces above are the corner pieces.  To speed things up I like to find pieces that are the same and piece them all at one.  Here I am working on pieces 1 and 2 in these sections.  I pieced together long strips and then ironed my freezer papers on the strip.  It saves me from doing four separate seams.  I am only worried about having enough room for pieces 1 and 2.  I take this piece to my cutting board and trim them down.


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These are the pieces after I trim them down.  When you trim you need to make sure you have a 1/4" seam all around the sections you are working on.  It just happened that sections 3 and 4 are 1/4" wide so I trimmed to the edges.  The paper is on the top of my pieces instead of the back like it normally is with traditional paper piecing.  The piece on the right hand side is the back.  If you look closely you can see my seam.  


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The next piece we need to put on is section 3.  I use a ruler and fold that section back.  Sometimes I find it helpful to run a needle lightly along the line to perforate it. I then use my ruler and rotary cutter to make sure that the visible edge of fabric is a quarter inch.  So the aqua fabric under the three is exactly a 1/4" away from the fold line.


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The next piece, section 3, is white so I take a piece of white and lay it right side down over my section lining up the edges and keeping the fold down.  You can see the paper folded up.  I bring this to the sewing machine and sew a 1/4" seam where the edges line up.  You should not hit the paper here if you trimmed correctly and can sew an accurate 1/4" seam.  With lighter fabrics you can actually see the paper under so you know where the fold is.


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After sewing the seam I take the piece to my ironing board and iron it down.  We now have section 3 right where it belongs.  Now I fold back section 4, trim to 1/4", place another fabric and sew the seam.

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Here is this section all done.  Remember to leave a seam allowance around your block because its not included in the paper piece.

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This is how I sew the sections together.  I pull back one of the seams and line up the paper.  If you look closely you can see the two pieces of paper next to each other.  (Please ignore my chipped manicure)  They are not quite lined up here.  The hardest part of this method is getting those lined up and to the sewing machine that way.  I do not like to pin as I feel like it distorts things with so many layers and the paper.  Sometimes I glue baste my seams with an elmer's glue stick if I am having a real hard time.  I very often start the seam and double check it as I am sewing by lifting up the top piece.

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This is a section of my block all done.  You can see that there are little gaps.  You can choose to resew those if you want.  You don't need to unpick.  Just sew again a thread closer.  Sometimes, depending on the piece you can just pick the freezer paper off and move it closer and re-iron.  You might need to trim again if you do this.  I didn't do this because then my white strips in the diamond would not have lined up.

I know with this method of the freezer paper being on top it makes it hard to see if your seams line up.  But it's freezer paper.  You can take it off, check your work and iron it back on. The reason I like the paper on the front is because its not on the back in all the seam allowances.  This gets it out of the way.  I find it easier to be more accurate when there are small pieces.
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This is the back of my block.  Look at all those seams!


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Here it is again all done.  If you look closely you can see that its not perfect.  One of the aqua corner pieces came out too small.  I most likely didn't have a correct 1/4" seam somewhere there.  I am trying to decide if I should fix it but I probably won't.  In this quilt it won't be that noticeable when it is finished. 

I learned how to do this method by combining several different ways.  I learned to paper piece with the freezer paper on the back and that's how I originally did it.  You can see a great tutorial of that here. Then I started working on a Cynthia England design and she paper pieces with it on top but she cuts out each individual piece and then pieces them together instead of folding back the paper.  Kind of like just using the freezer paper as a template.  I find my method a bit faster.  Especially when you can strip piece and do several sections at once.  This block took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes to do.  And that was with taking pictures and tucking the kids into bed.  And bonus, I didn't have to sit there and unpick paper when I was done.  


I would like to hear what you think about this method.  There is possibly a tutorial out there doing this but I have not seen it completely this way.  I think you should give it a try.  If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me.  This was just a quick write up so I understand if something wasn't completely clear. I can describe any step of this more in depth in another blog post when I do my next paper piecing block.

Edited:  I forgot to add my links to Let's Connect Thursday and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday 6/12

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Its another WIP Wednesday.  I got a lot done the past two days!  I am completely caught up on the BOM over at One Piece at a Time.  Actually scratch that.  Almost completely.  I still have a applique block that is almost finished. A few of the leaves need to be stitched down still and there are red berries that go on the ends of the three flowers.  I am still debating on the vase.  I actually found some fabric I like better but I also had the idea of doing some decorative quilting on it when it came time to quilt.  I might wait to see how it looks when I have all the blocks done.  I am being really indecisive.  The next applique block is getting released in a few days so I need to get this one done soon.  

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I also got another Dear Jane block done.  This is block A-8.  It was a super easy block.  I did it by paper piecing and I think it only took me about 20 mins.  Its actually a smidge too small.  I think I trimmed the paper too much.  It comes out at 4 7/8" or so instead of 5".  But I will make it work when it comes time to put the sashing on it.
A-8

The next few days I plan on doing one more block but my main mission is to find a new rotary cutter.  Mine gave out on me.  It locks open to cut but now when I push down to make a cut it snaps shut.  :(  But its served me well.  I have had it about 10 years and if I remember correctly it was my mom's before that.  I was looking at Olfa Splash 45mm Rotary Cutter or an ergonomic one.  I have bad hands and cutting a lot makes them hurt.  If you have any recommendations please share.  What I really want is an Accuquilt but its a bit out of my price range.

Today I am linking up to Freshly Pieced.  Head over to see what everyone is working on!


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Errors, Errors and more Errors

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I finally finished part 3 of Lazy Sunday Mystery.  It took me a lot longer than I thought it would.  Perhaps if I didn't make 300 errors it would have been better.  I was listening to an audio book while I was sewing and was so very close to finishing it.  I was listening to The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan.  It is part of the Wheel of time series.  Anyway, I was very intently listening to the last two hours of the book and I realized a bit too late that I had sewn every single block the same.  So instead of two piles of 78, I had one pile of 156 all with the same orientation.  Luckily that was after sewing only one of the white squares on and not both.  But at this point I had already trimmed that corner and there was no saving my mistakes.


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This is my sad abandoned pile of squares.  The good news is that I can trim the ends off and end up with 2 1/2" half square triangles.  I think I am going to use these to make a pillow or pillowcase to match the quilt.

And to top that off after I cut 78 more rectangles and white squares I proceeded to sew another 20 or so wrong again.  But this time all I had to do was unstitch.  Sigh.  But I finished my book and it was amazing.  I already downloaded the second one and started that as well.  Do any of you listen to audiobooks while you sew?


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I also picked out fabrics for my next project.  I don't really need another but there is a quilt along over at Quilting Gallery that I really wanted to join.  It's called Aiming for Accuracy.  It looks like a fun quilt and I owe my son one since I am pretty sure my Lazy Sunday is going on my daughter's bed.  He picked out orange and blue and I am going to use black for the background.  There are a couple colors in there I might pull out but we will see how it goes.  I needed 24 fat quarters but most of these are half yard cuts.  I think I am going to duplicate some colors.  I have been collecting fabrics for a quilt for him for awhile and I don't want to buy any more.  Click the banner below if you want to check out the quilt along.  

Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along

This week I am linking up to What a Hoot Quilts.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

TGIF!!

A-7

I didn't have much in the way of finishes this week but I did manage to get a block done for my Dear Jane that I haven't worked on in forever.  This is block A-7.  A few days ago I just had this urge to work on this quilt again.  I saw a few pictures on another blog and my desire rekindled.  Don't you love it when that happens?  The white melons are reverse applique and the aqua melons are regular applique.  I have about 20-25 blocks of this quilt done so I better get going on it.  Lots more to do!


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In also started this applique block for the free BOM, Jingle Belles, over at One Piece at a Time.  She is releasing the next block soon so I need to get caught up.  I am not sure about the colors on the vase though.  I might need to change them.  I still have to add flowers and some leaves so I am going to wait to see how it looks after that.  The red is just looking too dark to me.  Maybe with some bright yellow flowers and light green leaves it won't be so bad.  I love this block of the month and am loving the cardinals but they do take a bit of time to prep.  The cardinal alone took me about an hour but I think he came out pretty good.



I also got another sponsor for my blog this week!  I love, love, love, this online store.  I actually order all my Moda Marbles for them for the Jingle Belles BOM.  Being a sponsor means that when you click any banners or links on my site and place an order with them I get a small commission.  It doesn't change the way the sale works for you at all.  Anything I make from my sponsors goes back into my blog.  My opinions of the store and its products are my own and are not influenced by the company at all.  

This week I am linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quilt Block Storage Ideas



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I just wanted to share a quick tip I had for storing quilt blocks.  I don't have a lot of storage in my teeny tiny house so I needed to come up with a way to store works in progress.  This is probably a known idea but I haven't seen much on it.


I use these pant hangers.  I love storing my blocks this way.  They stay ironed and I can organize each project on a separate hanger.  I can even keep partial quilt tops stored this way.  Right now I have mine hanging on Command Strip Hooks on my wall as I don't have a closet in my sewing area.  

They do tend to collect a bit of dust if they are there for a bit but all I do is shake them out a bit.  

Do you have any storage tips like this to share?  

Monday, June 3, 2013

More Lazy Sunday Mystery!

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I got part three of Lazy Sunday Mystery this weekend and was able to get a lot of it done.  I got the blocks above pieced.  There were 24 of those.

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And then I got all of these pieces cut out for the next step.  Bonnie used mostly white and blacks in her quilt but I decided to use all white on whites or cream on creams.  A few years ago I bought a huge amount of them on sale and I wanted to use them up.

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I just love this picture.  This was after I trimmed all the dog ears off the small blocks.  The little triangles look like confetti don't they.  I had to keep shooing my kitty away as she just wanted to play with them.

This week I am linking up to let's get acquainted blop hop.  This week it is being hosted by Life's Rich Pattern.  Its a way for blogs that don't have a lot of followers to get to know each other.  Sounds fun doesn't it!  All you have to do is go the link and and share a link to your site.  Then you go visit at least two blogs on the list and all the people who follow you.  

  Plum and June

I am also linking up to Lily's Quilts for another blog meet.  Its the same general idea as the other one.  Now I have lots of new blogs to read!
Lily's Quilts


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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