Thursday, August 27, 2015

Josette's Jumper

I've embroidery software. I've a machine that can read the designs from the software via a USB stick and stitch the designs. Learning how to stitch a finished product that looks great is a challenge! I thought the learning curve would be somewhat of a gentle hike up a "round butte." The reality is that it has been more of a "Mt. Everest" climb!

I've been taking monthly lessons for the software at the local quilt shop where I purchased the machine and the software for the last 18 months. I'm progressing with my learning. For example, I know that I need to apply the lesson in some way or I can't remember how I did it! I also know that repetition is key as the more I successfully practice, the more confident I become. I also appreciate clearly written description about the process. What doesn't work for me is to purchase an embroidery CD to stitch out the designs. Large general classes don't work well for my style of learning either.

Last November, I stitched this design from the software. I practiced centering the design in the space that I desired on this red corduroy. This part became a bib on a jumper.

I used a new ruler to make rick rack trim for the skirt. It wasn't hard; but, it was time consuming!

This was how it looked when I finished it.

This was how it looked on the grand daughter that I made it for!

Friday, August 21, 2015


As I've written before, I've taken Bonnie Hunter's cue of using all available fabric. For this project, I used the triangles I use to toss when I trimmed them from the star points for Dad's Stars. She also is all about having a leader/ender project in mind and then sewing the small parts one would generally chain piece while piecing the main project. 
It is like having two projects going at the same time! That was how the Ripple project started. The photo on the left shows all the triangles sewn into half square triangles or HSTs.

I was inspired to make this because I belong to a quilting book club. We call ourselves "Thread Tales." We read a book, discuss it, make a quilt and then have a reveal. It is so cool to see what portions of the book inspired people and then how they translated their inspiration to fabric.

In the book, "The Husband's Secret," there were different story lines that were underlying at times. Sometimes, the story lines crossed paths; but, what struck me was that one act caused such an event of ripples. So I knew what I wanted to sew.
I made #344 units of four half
square triangles sewn together. 

This is a one unit pictured on the right. They are small!

Then, I tried the design out on the design wall.

Of course, I was curious about "What If?" This is a phrase I learned from Sharyn Craig. In a class, she showed each of us that whatever blocks we brought, we could ask a few questions, try a few layouts and have success with the blocks living together!

I actually decided the box design would be the one so I began to stitch a couple rows together. Oops, there are "holes" in the boxes!! The design could have worked for this project; but, it wasn't what I was thinking. Perhaps, I'll use it another time. It was a challenge matching all those intersections!

I also like to challenge myself to doing something different in a project. This time, I wanted to use reclaimed materials. I did plan to use new thread! I stitch small pieces of left over batting together into larger pieces. This piece is ready for a placemat or a bag.
My second challenge was to purchase a ruler that I could use to quilt free motion circles without marking and do it!

My second challenge was to purchase a ruler that I could use to quilt free motion circles without marking and do it!

The fabric for the back of the quilt was in a bundle I picked up from the free table at our guild meeting. It had seams in it and a few stains. . .perhaps, it was a table cloth? There was a large enough piece for the whole back! I also used it for the binding. The batting was pieces of wool and pieces of 80/20 that were left from another project. Yes, there are two layers of batting in this project and yes, each layer is pieced!

 I even used the  few left over HSTs to decorate the label! 

So this is my "free" quilt with only the thread as new!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Clean Up

This week, I wanted to share what happens after I finish a project. Previously, I would just start the next project. When I ran out of space, I'd bag up the scraps, fold the larger pieces and shove the pieces in a drawer. . .all rarely to be seen and used again!!! 

Case in point, I had a bag of blue scraps that I tried to use over 23 years and wasn't successful until I stitched them into Dad's Stars! Getting the fabrics out of the bag and into a project was so liberating! 

About two years ago, I watched Bonnie Hunter one evening on her quilt cam talk about her scrap saving system. I decided to try it. So, before I tackle the next project, I collect all the pieces from the finished quilt. 

Using Bonnie's system, I start cutting. I cut strips from the larger pieces; I cut squares and rectangles from the smaller pieces and any piece less than an one and a half inches goes into the string pile. Pieces smaller than an inch, go to the crumb pile! 

The pieces are stored in zip lock bags that are marked by size and color. When I need a certain size strip/square/rectangle, I use these parts and the beauty is that they are ready to sew!! Also, the usable parts take up less space than all those chunks did!!

I also piece the batting. If the pieces are small, I'll use the batting for a bag, placemats or a project that seams in the batting won't matter. This is what I started with: and this is how large the piece was when the I finished piecing.

Finally, I prepare a slide show using a template from smilebox to document the process of that quilt's journey.

Next time, I'll share a "free" project I made from the reclaimed scraps and batting. Honestly, I only bought the thread! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blueberry Lime Finish

This quilt was a mystery quilt offering through my quilt guild. Every month, the chair of the mystery quilt committee would mail the instructions we were supposed to sew. I started on track; but, soon fell behind. At a retreat, I caught up and then fell behind again. I did finish the top so it could be displayed with other tops and other finished quilts made from the same mystery in June 2014.

The fabric requirements were fat quarters. . .light and dark. I didn't realize just how many purple fat quarters I had. I also used some purple yardage to have enough variety. I bought six green fat quarters. So my fabric investment for the project mostly came from my stash! I was excited to be using what I had been petting!!!

What I liked most about the mystery was when we received the last clue, there were lots of different ways to set the blocks. In fact, I liked all the ways that I tried. (At some point, I might make this pattern again just so I can make a different layout!) In the end, I went with the layout on the left.

I pieced the back with the bits that were left over. In the end, it almost became a quilt on its own; but, I decided the last thing that I needed was another project! I like pieced backs anyway.
I had planned to use the floral fabric fabric as a border; but it didn't work with the quilt.

Then, I got stuck with the quilting. . .Usually, the quilting just flows because I have been thinking about it since I chose the fabric! Perhaps, because this was a mystery the quilting was going to be a mystery too! In March of 2015, I layered it and quilted it in the ditch. While I quilted, I hoped to figure out the next step. Unfortunately, it didn't speak to me until June!!

I quilted part of it this way:
           I quilted the diamonds with feathers                      
using Superior Fantastico thread:                          
Used the continuous curve to quilt
the stars. The purple thread is Floriani.
                                                                I label my quilts. The number is the month/year/number
                                                      of quilts I have finished in that year.                     

And, I make a pillow case to store the quilt when it isn't in use. I try to use some of the same fabrics in it. One, it uses some of the left overs and it is easy to find when I want it!

This is the finished back:                                                                This is the finished front.

Finished is WONDERFUL! In my next blog, I'll share what I do after a project is finished as well as what I tried; what worked and what didn't.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mini Churn Dash Blocks

As I posted last week, I made churn dash blocks from the 7"squares. 

By the end of the retreat though, I had 32 blocks finished. I'll share one block here. Not sure what the next step is going to be. I didn't use a lot of the 7" block so I have quite a bit left over. I plan to incorporate the leftovers as sashing or perhaps, I'll just piece the churn dashes into long strips and use the leftovers to fill the space. . .hmmm. . .just not sure; but, it is fun to think about another project when the current project one is working on is b o r i n g!!!

I finished quilting in the green star points. What is boring on this project is that it is so repetitious. I decided that the quilting should be in the background so that the star piecing and the colors would be the stars of the quilt.

Then started quilting feathers in the green diamond blocks. 

I was close to finishing these feathers when I discovered I had caught the backing while quilting a green star point. Ripping is involved and I decided, I would tackle that step another day!

I'm closing in on the end of the quilting on this project. The next step will be to quilt feathers in the purple diamonds. Then it will be on to the blocking step which is going to be interesting because the quilting I've done so far has made the quilt wonky!!

I am looking forward to finishing "several" small projects and then starting a new project.