Sunday 30 September 2012

UFO Sunday #6

In clean-up mode. The English Paper piecing project is finally finished. Cannot believe it!

Last photo, I promise...
19.5" x 34"

I then set about to make some labels on the computer. I am about 3 quilts behind in labels, so this took a while. Unfortunately I cannot show any completed labels as we have run out of one colour for the printer, so I will have to wait to print the labels out on fabric. Never mind, I felt pleased with my efforts.  This will enable me to finally send off my baby quilt to Germany...this has been long overdue and as I just heard the baby has arrived a little bit earlier than expected.

Apart from this I started cleaning up my EQ 7 program...I have hundred of quilt ideas on there and I decided that this is probably another one of those barriers in actually progressing with anything. At the moment I have about three different ideas in my head and struggle to decide what to actually begin with. So, I started to delete those quilts that will definitely never be made, categorised some others, and deleted a great many blocks in individual sections that I did not need anymore. Not finished as yet, but I am getting there. This has also been long overdue...

And finally, continued on my other table runner. As I have made this table runner before I am quite bored with it, so I decided to just finish it off with some simple outline quilting...I think the design is dramatic enough and any more fancy quilting would go under in it. Will include some FMQ in the inner border and maybe also in the outer border.

 Apart from this I have been doodling. Got obsessed with trying to master a swirly design with hooks. So for the last week I have been doodling this shape in meetings and on the phone, in the evenings...quite funny really. Definitely got it now...very happy with this as this design has eluded me for a while. Not so much the shape itself but the continuation of it and filling a whole area with it from left to right and back again. I can now do it in my sleep and have stitched it onto my practice quilt with no hassle at all.

Will be linking up with UFO Sunday on Leah Day's Freemotion Quilting Project a bit later on.
Until next time


Thursday 27 September 2012

Blockbase Sew Along

BlockBase Sew Along Blog BadgeAnother sew along....

The EQ blog Behind the Mouse is having a Blockbase Sew Along starting on 1 October.

Visit the blog on Monday, October 1 to find out which block they’ll be sewing first. On Friday, October 12, visit the blog again to post a picture of your finished block. New blocks will be posted every two weeks, on Mondays.

The only requirement is that you own the BlockBase software and have it installed on your computer so you can print the patterns for the blocks. Blocks can be done in any size.

Tempting, tempting....

I just got Blockbase, so this could be a good exercise to explore the program a bit more fully. Will think about this a bit more and have a look when the first block comes out.


Quilt Along #32 - Snake Paisley

This week's design at  Leah Days Quilt Along Wednesdays  was Snake Paisley. Felt a bit encouraged by Lava Paisley and went straight to it.

and close up of the back:


This was much harder than the Lava Paisley shape for me. I had to really concentrate on the curvy lines ...a bit reminiscent of the sharp stippling shape. The more I concentrated the more I got into trouble with very odd situations in between and lots of backtracking. Got there in the end though...will have to practice this to get a bit more of a flow happening.

Overall though really happy with my FMQ efforts...FMQ has become so much easier and as always learning a lot about what designs sit well with me and what designs appear to need a bit more re-wiring.  Funny also that some designs that I think will cause me great difficulty flow like a dream and then there are some, like today, which I thought would be no problem at all, cause all sorts of issues.

Until next time


Monday 24 September 2012

UFO Sunday #5

This week was much better. I felt back in control and got started on quilting my English Paperpiecing WIP/UFO.  Doubts were put aside and I just pursued what I liked for this quilt top.

In the end, I decided on a grid which took me ages to work out, as it is an irregular grid across the quilt top, quilting 1/4 inch off the seams of selected 1 inch squares. The overall grid that emerges is about 2.5" X 3". While the rectangles should be true rectangles in a perfect world this grid is slightly uneven as I thought it was more important for the overall look to keep to the 1/4inch spacing approximately correct rather than stress with the measurements. This is not how a normal grid would be done however that was the only way that I could think of placing a grid over the hexagons where I would be able to avoid the seams. If this was perfectly pieced (which it is not) one could extend the grid and place 1/2inch lines on either side of the major lines in a different colour to make it a bit  more interesting, I thought. I did not do it because in the end I thought that this might really draw attention to some of the inaccuracies. Like this it is not noticeable , I think, unless you get a ruler out and measure it (which I, of course, did do). Measurements aside, I was really happy with the end result and then tackled the border design.

The grid:

Normally I FMQ my borders, just winging it around the corners, but for this little piece I wanted a more formal border. Found a nice continuous design in Quilting Dot to Dot by Cheryl Barnes, however could not make it fit within my border.

As you can see the design actually reverses around the corner. I made several copies on paper trying all sorts of ways to place this. In the end I drew the corner elements for the top border and then tried to link up the design in the middle....problem was that the design does not link up as it is coming towards the centre in a reversed way (angles are completely different). I then tried to come up with another way to combine this, putting another heart in, having it literally freestanding in the middle...all a bit odd.

In the end I came up with this after many hours of trying to put this together only to decide I did not like it that much (ha, ha...the trials and tribulations of quilting). Totally wrong design (what was I thinking?), I needed something more dainty. (Definitely keep my drawing though, this would look nice on a country quilt).

I definitely dislike working out and marking border designs...I am no good at it and I continually struggle with trying to make a design fit into a space. Actually this is the reason I originally started FMQ  as this allowed me to just stitch a border design free form in that space. I did mainly leafy type of designs and with time they became pretty consistent. The only problem is that it limits me to a few selected designs.

Anyway, found another stencil (which was adjustable) and this is the end result....

This was a great exercise in trying to follow straight lines. The thread on the photo looks is actually dark rose (Gutermann 50/3) which will blend in more once all the chalk is removed from behind the thread.

I am actually finished (almost)...cannot believe it!! Yep, while a bit frilly and old fashioned, I like it. In fact, if I had been better organised and planned out, this would have looked great with a scalloped border around it to match the stencil design. Never mind, I am thrilled to bits that I finished this...I was so out of my comfort zone with this. While I am actually not a great fan of hexagons, there is something about this I really like...and I do like the fabric.

Linking up to UFO Sunday on Leah Day's Freemotion Quilting Project.


Thursday 20 September 2012

Quilt Along #31 - Lava Paisley

This week on the Quilt Along Wednesdays with Leah Day we are sewing a design which is called Lava Paisley.

I have been doing a bit more FMQ practice this week and gave the design a go earlier (see earlier post). That actually was a lot of fun and while this is not a design that instantly appealed to me, I was amazed at how nice it turned out. I found it easier than the 'normal' Paisley design as it did not seem to matter whether or not one got the distances and wiggles exactly right...the design seemed to just flow and evolve.

Here is my completed square on my 'practice' quilt:

Bit all over the place and for once I am glad you cannot see the stitching close up...I was trialling the Mettler Polyester thread and don't think I got the tension quite right. However, this is the 'practice' quilt and therefore it will be good enough. This is as much a practicing piece as it is also an exercise in letting go of perfectionism. When I had a look at it from a bit of a distance I was actually amazed at how effective this looks, uneven stitches and all. This quilt will be one of a kind.

Linking up to Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays.

Until next time


Monday 17 September 2012

UFO Sunday #4

It has been a busy week and I have not had a chance to do much on my UFO/WIP. So, apologies for the same old's kind of a bit boring, but forces me to continue. I reckon this one could have easily ended up on the UFO list again if it was not for UFO Sunday.

Anyway, I did manage to sew my border on and get my hexagon table runner basted. While I was doing this I I thought more about the quilting...very confused re what I should be doing. My idea of outlining the seams is ok but I really don't feel much like doing that.

This is what happens ...I come up with some ideas, get very excited about them only to go back to the more familiar designs that really don't challenge me that much. Hence, I then think...hmm...too boring and go back to some more exciting ideas and so the whole thing starts again...going around in circles and losing a fair bit of momentum on the project. I wonder whether other people suffer from this annoying indecision syndrome...

I can't believe how I am dragging my feet with this. Anyway, here is the basted table runner ready to be quilted.

I chose cotton particular reason other than that I had the right leftover piece just sitting there. I do tend to vary my batting, depending on what I am working on and by now have tried wool, cotton, bamboo and thanks to Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesday also Polyester. Table runners often will end up with what is left over from the bigger pieces.

Just reading Leah Day's post on UFO Sunday talking about the fear factor...I think that this is what is happening to me at the moment. The fear of completely stuffing this annoying and so unreasonable. It really does not matter whether or not it turns is not a gift, nor will it ever see a show or similar...I really need to get over this.

Linking up to UFO Sunday #4 over at The Freemotion Quilting Project.


Friday 14 September 2012

More FMQ Practice

I finally found some Isacord thread in one of the shops here...a few selected reels were on special as they are stopping to carry it. The woman advised that Mettler Polysheen 40 was pretty much the same thread (and according to her comes from the same factory), so I got them both to have a bit of a try. I wonder whether this is correct...will have to research this a bit more.

Anyway, just was practising a bit more today...

Worked a bit more on the spaces and found it much easier this time around. Went back earlier several times to fill up the spaces ...and ended up with less odd spaces. Not that you would really notice over a larger area. I think I prefer to leave little triangle spaces in between and will concentrate on this...filling them up with lines looks a bit wonky in my pieces.

Wiggly Paisley - how cool is this?
Doodle with Isacord

Colonial Vine Motif - maybe for the Hexagon table runner?
Like the Isacord thread. Very easy to work with and has a lovely shine to it. A bit thicker though to what I am used to. I often use Aurifil 50/2 or Rasant (particularly for practising). As to the Mettler Polysheen 40...yes, behaved pretty much the same and also easy to work with.

Until next time


Wednesday 12 September 2012

Quilt Along #30 - Paisley

Here are my efforts for this week's Quilt Along #30 at Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays

Did a bit of a trial run first on a bit of a scrap piece of backing.

Knew I would have difficulties filling in the spaces, however went onto my practice quilt and had a go.

Bit hard to see but looking good from a distance

The design went alright...did not realise how much backtracking this involved. Initially I followed a sort of direction from left to right, but this soon changed and I found myself all over the place and stitching the paisley upside down and sideways...started off a bit bigger but as I went along the design got a bit smaller.


- my biggest issue were the odd empty spaces; do you just put lines in there to fit in with the overall design or leave some empty spaces?

Until next time


Sunday 9 September 2012

UFO Sunday #3 - English Paper Piecing Project

As mentioned in the last post, the English Paper Piecing project has become a WIP. I must say as time consuming as this was (and this is only a little quilt top), this was most enjoyable and I could imagine doing something like this again.  There is just something really soothing about sitting somewhere and quietly stitching away, reflecting on your day and planning ahead...or just simply zoning out.

I decided against 'bagging' the quilt as I do not think it would look any good if it is then heavily quilted on the top. Can't see how that would work around the edges as the quilting would have to pull the edges in which would then make the seam line fairly visible. So, I am thinking of putting a simple border around it and possibly putting some FMQ design in there. I think I decided on my first design idea of simply following the seam lines to emphasize the shapes.

I was very nervous about taking all the paper out. I could not get over the feeling that this was going to be more fragile than a machine pieced quilt this is how I approached this:
  • Took all the paper out , leaving the paper around the edges in place temporarily in order to minimise the possibility of distortion. In order to remove the paper template, I just ran the eye of the needle on the inside of the seams on the wrong side to loosen the fabric ( the fabric was glued onto the paper template).  Ha, time should remember to be a bit more careful and not stitch into the paper. A bit of a hassle to then get the paper out in one piece. These shapes can be re-used if you are careful.

  • Then I spray-starched the piece before ironing all of the seams. Did notice that some of my stitching was somewhat sloppy in places, i.e you can see some stitches on the right side. Made mental note to keep the stitching more consistent next time.
  • The seam allowances of the edges needed to be carefully let out and ironed flat. I then cut off the overhanging shapes to square off the piece. Now this was a bit of a drama...had difficulties getting it straight (obviously some distortion did retrospect I think I should have spray starched the piece from the right side while the paper was still in there and then ironed it). Also noticed that I stitched into the seam allowance a number of times...which then caused little pleats when I was trying to let out the seam on the edges...well, live and learn. This was a bit of a painful process. Anyway, straight or not, it is finished.


Now for the border.  I auditioned a plain tone-on-tone red fabric... yes, I like that. I feel that it does need something plain around it.

Almost done.

Linking up to Leah Day's UFO Sunday to see what other people have been up to.


- if I just outline-quilt (in a curvy line) each of the hexagons on the inside, will this not become too dense? The shapes are only about 1.5" wide and about double in length;  I am intending to use some leftover cotton batting. As this will be a table runner I want it to lie nice and flat, but not be completely stiff from all the quilting.

Until next time


Friday 7 September 2012

WIP - English Paper Piecing Project

Who would have thought...the English Paper Piecing Project has gone from an UFO to being a WIP.
Well, here it is, I actually finished the hand piecing. Now I 'just' need to finish the project.

13" x 27.5"

Until next time
Now the fun begins in earnest...

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Quilt Along #29 - hearts

This week on Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays Leah showed us how to combine hearts (you can use any other shape you might like) with the 5 designs that we have been learning so far: Stippling, Zippling, Circuit Board, Loopy Lines and Sharp Stippling.

If you are wanting to improve your FMQ I highly recommend this Quilt Along. I am really noticing the improvement in my FMQ skill level compared to the beginning of the year. I can now sit down (even after a little break) and just go for it...I am far less concerned about imperfections and seem to have developed my own little rhythm that produces stitches that are on the whole pretty decent.

Here is my practice piece:

This is good fun
Close up

Using other shapes

The star is commonly used with the loops. Every time I do this, I have to stop and think which way to approach it, otherwise I get it wrong...very effective though and such a great playful design. I like the little leafy design...saw something like that in one of my quilting books and it seems to flow for me for some reason. That design seems to look good no matter how wonky you make the leaves and the veins really set it off. I wonder what else I could combine this with. Ran out of thread so I stopped here and continued on my UFO.

No questions...can't wait for the next design.

Until next time


Sunday 2 September 2012

UFO Sunday #2

Still on the English Paper Piecing Project. Two more rows of little squares....will post photos when it is finished.

Not going too quickly but the end is in sight. Thinking about some quilting designs. The first thing that came to mind was to simply follow the shapes:

That would actually be quite an easy finish and go well with the ordered arrangement of the pieces.
I am also still looking at an overall design...maybe something like below, although the spacing would have to be a bit wider. I like this design but have not done it before edge-to-edge because I tend to loose orientation easily when  sewing. With this little quilt though that could work because of the shapes...I could literally count off the rows and place the loops neatly in the little squares (sorry, was too lazy to re-draw this a bit wider and more spaced out). Would have to practice this a bit...

Alternatively, I am thinking I could use an overall floral design... or maybe Baptist fans like Danielle from Fresh Off the Spools suggested...decisions, decisions. Well, I can think about all of this while I am completing this, as it is probably still going to take another week.

In terms of UFOs, this is what's on my list

- 'practice' quilt: on-going as part of Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays
- Table runner: to be tackled after the English Paper Piecing Adventure
- Craftsy BOM: embarrassed to say that I stopped in March; the issue seems to be with the size of the blocks. I actually do not like to work with 12"blocks (shouldn't I have thought of this beforehand!), so I am currently considering re-working them into smaller size blocks. Now that would mean I have to start again - to be decided
- 'Arrangement of Small Pieces' quilt: decided to stop this project; I had chosen 30's fabric for this quilt and having had a break and re-looking at it, I actually do not like my choice of fabric and also have already moved on in my head to a more exciting use of this block. I am going right back to my more familiar choice of fabric, darker and more contrasting colours. As I have made some blocks, I could sew them up into another table runner. The rest of the fabric I am thinking of sewing up into Nine Patch blocks, put them on point and have alternate plain fabric blocks in between. This will then give me the opportunity to practice some fancy FMQ motif in those blocks
- Cat panel wall-hanging: this has been around for a while; I followed the major outlines of the picture using the walking foot and have a thousand and one threads to sew in...this was before I had enough confidence to FMQ straight lines; I could use this to continue to practice FMQ on this to just finish it off.

No wonder I am confused. Going to link up to Leah Day's UFO Sunday on the Free Motion Quilting Project

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

Until next time


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