Sunday, 23 August 2015

Star Update

      It was a very lovely Saturday and I spent the early morning hours doing some slow stitching on my e.p.p. stars.  Here are the latest additions shown on my glass table top.

     Two blue stars and a grey and black one.  I felt that the mix so far was a little heavy on the reds and pinks as you can see below.

     I'm hoping for some more nice weather and some more time to sit and stitch in the backyard which has become my favourite place to be.   Hanging in the backyard helps to keep me calm when things get a little stressful.  I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Stitching Sunday and with Jessica at the Monday Morning Star Count.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What I did on my summer vacation

     Do you remember those essays we used to have to write at the beginning of every  school year.  We couldn't leave the summer to itself but had to think of it as homework.  Well I've had some homework this summer.  Quite enjoyable homework for the Outreach Committee for my local Guild. You can check the Comfort Quilts tab at the top of the blog if you would like to know more. 

     We handed out blocks to all the Guild members when they renewed their memberships.  These are some that I made.  

     Our committee has also been busy preparing for our program starting in September.

      We decided to restart  the block of the month program and each  committee member took on the task of finding a block , making sure we have permission to use it and provide instructions for making it.  The guild members will get instructions for making the block in our newsletter so they can make the block using their own scraps/stash, or they can pick up a block kit and use guild fabrics.

     I had already asked Tanya of Tanya Quilts in Colorado if we could use her Medallion Log Cabin Block and as she had agreed I was first up.

     I made the two sample blocks shown here to be used as examples in the guild newsletter.

        In addition to sending photos to the newsletter co-ordinator  I wrote a small article with a link to Tanya's tutorial, and I made a one page instruction sheet to go in with the blocks. On Friday we got together and cut the fabrics for the block kits. 

 But that's not all.  I have a couple of quilts made over the last couple of years that I'm finishing up.

  This is a close up of one block of a quilt that I've quilted in straight lines that mimic the shape of the wonky wedges. This is a very busy quilt so I went for simplicity. It has a border of the lighter fabric on the left and I'm planning to free motion wonky squares like the ones in the fabric.  This will be a challenge for me, so I might change my mind if it doesn't go well.

     I also put the borders on this quilt and will be practicing free motion loops on it.
And just so you know I have a life outside of the community outreach committee here is a photo of Dwight and I at my friend M.J.'s hippy themed wedding we attended on Saturday.

     We don't look very hippy do we? Some people went all out and looked like they were at Woodstock.  I'm linking up to Let's Bee Sewcial at Sew Fresh Quilts, and W.I.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Friday Finish: A Runner for Tessa and Ryan

     Quite some time ago my co worker Tessa just happened to mention that she loved the colour combination of grey and yellow and that her house was decorated in those colours.  I tucked this information away in my quilters memory.  Early this summer she got married and I put that information to use.
     I had a fat quarter pack of some yellow and grey Dear Stella fabrics.  I put them together with some solids and a few other co-ordinating fabrics to make her and Ryan this table runner.

     I used the instructions for the Graphic Patchwork Table Runner by Amy Ellis in Make It! Patchwork magazine. It came together very nicely and I was really happy with the results.
I decided to quilt straight lines down the length of the quilt.  This caused me some frustration as the top shifted considerably during the quilting.  Since nobody seemed to notice this but me I decided to chalk it up to experience and give her the runner regardless.

      When Tessa returned from her honeymoon the quilt was waiting for her on her desk. She loved it and she was amazed that I had made her something that fit in with her decor so well.  She said it was like I had snuck into her house  to look at her decorating when she was away. (Note:  I have been known to do this, but not this time)

     Here's a photo she shared with me.

     Oliver loves it too! I'm linking up to TGIFF and Friday Finishes.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sewing Curves

  Look what's on my design wall!

     These are some clamshell blocks  I made in a workshop with Susan Forbes a couple of weekends ago.  This is the second curved piecing workshop I've taken with Susan and the third workshop on curves I've taken this year.  The first was with art quilter Maggie Vanderweit and the focus was on free hand curves.  All workshops used the no pins method.  Both women were excellent teachers and I would recommend their workshops.
     The two classes with Susan were using templates to make curves.  The clamshells where cut with the Quick Curves Ruler using an adaptation of a pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful.
     I've learned a lot about curved piecing in the last while and I thought I would share some tips that make things a little easier for those starting out with these techniques.

1.  Don't pre wash your fabric.

2.  Use a light spray starch when Ironing your fabrics prior to cutting.

3. Make your pieces larger than you need and cut down to size.  In the Clamshell pattern I the blocks start at 8 1/2 inches and get cut down to 7 inches. 

4.  Sew slowly and use your needle down position when stopping.

5.  When you are sewing, keep your focus on the right hand side of the block.  As you see in the photo below, there can be quite a bit of ruffling happening to the left.  That's normal.

6.  Only sew a small amount at a time.  In the next photo notice where my finger is on my right hand.  That is about as far as I went before stopping.  It's the distance that the fabric sits nicely together.

     You'll notice  that I am using my left hand to hold the top fabric up a bit, and to keep the ruffling out of the way. Which leads to tip number 

7. Try not stretch or pull on the fabric.

8.  Press the seams towards the circle not the background. To avoid stretching, press parallel to the straight of grain.  For me it works better to press on the right side first and then the wrong side.

 9. Because sewing curves requires quite a bit of focus I find I can't sew too many curves at one sitting. Take lot's of brakes to do other tasks like trimming blocks.  You don't want to get too tired and make mistakes.  Over the weekend I sewed right sides to wrong sides twice.

10. Remember that sewing curves like any new technique requires practice.  Be easy on yourself.  If you are like me it's probably best to take a workshop.  If you don't have easy access to a workshop, Leanne from She Can Quilt has a really good U tube video and tutorials on her blog.  Just remember that Leanne is really good at this and doesn't need to trim her blocks down.  It's something to aspire to.

     I'm linking up with Terry for Tips and Tutorials Tuesday, with Lorna for Let's Bee Social and with Lee for Works In Progress Wednesday.