Saturday, January 31, 2015

More Scrap Play.

 This week has been busy with family commitments and not as much time for stitching. I have been able to use a few spare minutes to play and sort more scraps and I've started to join the 2 inch half square triangles into the format for a new quilt. I need to finish quilting the top that's still on the quilting machine but I can only quilt when my DD's sleep and work patterns allow so I hope to get it done soon.
   In the meantime I'm sorting through more scraps and making more 2 inch half square triangles.
  I'm back to work again tonight so not much stitching for a little while but the scraps will still be there. Lol
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Building Blocks.

 Not a lot of stitching this week due to a busy week of paid work and sleep. I did manage to work on using up more scraps by using them to build more blocks. I've been making quite a few 2 inch half square triangles and have chosen a pattern for them. I need at least 620 of them so there's still a lot to go but I've made a start at joining them together. These measure 3.5 inches in size so they will be 3 inches when 4 are sewn together. It' s a great way to use up scraps.
  I've also made a few more of my paper pieced blocks as well. Hopefully I'll have time to finish quilting that top soon. Oh and I have more older UFOs to finish too. Just as soon as I've caught up on my sleep again.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Not Another UFO.

 I really wanted to finish this quilt so it doesn't become another UFO. I finished sewing the blocks together and attached the borders. It really should have been easy to finish it with the quilting as I'd also pieced the backing fabric.
  Unfortunately my quilting machine was having a bad day. First it kept breaking thread and then when I advanced the quilt I found I wasn't happy with the tension of the stitching underneath. So I spent the rest of my quilting time taking out two rows of quilting. I did manage to make a few adjustments and quilt another row but I'm not really happy with that either so it can sit and wait while I go off to my paid job. I'm determined to get it done and will leave it on the machine until it's quilted. It's disappointing as I have the Split Nine Patch top to quilt as well but there will hopefully a better result later in the week.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 23, 2015

I've Changed My Mind.

 I only needed to make 5 more of these Sarah's Choice blocks so I had enough for a top. However when I looked at the 20 blocks set 4 by 5, I decided that it would be a better size for an adult if I made 4 more blocks and added another row. This will give me a setting of 4 by 6 blocks and with borders will be better suited for an adult. I've chosen more masculine greens, browns and some yellows so it will be suitable for a male if I donate it.
   As I still have plenty of fabric it didn't take long to make four more blocks. I plan on adding the borders before work tomorrow. If it's not too hot I might even get it quilted.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Work, Sleep, Dance.

 It's been a very busy week with working nights, sleeping to recover and then traveling to Melbourne. I took another set of finished curtains down for DD and she was happy with them. I have two more sets to make for the bedrooms and then I can take a break for a bit as they haven't finished the Painting the rest of their home yet.
From there we went in to the city and saw the stage show, Strictly Ballroom. We both really enjoyed it despite a late night trip home again.
 Today was spent on making some more of these Sarah's Choice blocks. I plan on making 20 and hope to get it finished in the next day or so before I need to work nights again.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 19, 2015

Scrap Play and Building Blocks.

 In between curtain making I took some time to sort more scraps and make more blocks for future projects. These are 4.5 inch long scraps which are less than 1 inch wide and I'm just sewing them together as random strips, making the squares 4.5 inch in size (4inch finished).
These are blocks from one of Bonnie Hunter's (Quiltville) design from Quiltmaker magazine. I paid $2.99 for the online magazine copy. The pattern is called Wild and Goosey and the squares measure 3.5 inches (3inch finished). They are put together with 1.5 inch joining strips and a corner square but they would also look cute just using the squares.
These are some new squares for a new project and measure 2.75 inches. I had a few minutes so it was good to work with some new fabric and not just scraps. I need 144 of these half square triangles and have made 60 so far.
  I'm back to work again tonight so hope to get some more work done on the curtains first. The weather has been a bit cooler which has been a help for those bigger jobs. I'm enjoying working with my scraps but these patterns don't use up much fabric.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Playing With Scraps.

 I was supposed to be making curtains but I started sewing some of my scraps while the family slept and then found it was too much fun to stop. I printed out the patterns yesterday and I'm surprised at how such tiny pieces of fabric are still useable. The squares measure 3 inches finished and there are 17 pieces in each 3 inch square. I've decided to alternate the position of light and dark in alternate squares and it's becoming a memory quilt as I'm working with lots of scraps from previous quilts. I'm joining 4 of the blocks together so I have something I can show but also mix up the fabrics as I make new blocks. These pieces are really small enough that you would normally discard them but they are fun to work with and the curtains will have to wait a bit.
I've made 18 squares so far and still have plenty of scraps although I have less light fabrics than any others. I want to get another UFO done too but these are fun to make when I only have a little time to sew.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 16, 2015

Appliqué and Curtains.

There hasn't been a lot of time for stitching this week as I've been busy making curtains for our DD's home. They aren't difficult to sew but all the measuring is very tiring, especially in our hot weather.
  I did manage to finish appliquéing one more block for my Chester County Criswell quilt.
I hope to get back to my stitching soon but also want to get these curtains done while I am in the mood.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Scrap Busting.

 Today was a good day for sorting my scraps and when I found that my pile of 5 inch squares was overflowing it was time to use some of them in another quilt. I chose a pattern from the book I showed in my last post and made a variation of Sarah's Choice.

 Firstly you stitch 2 five inch squares right side facing each other, and stitching a 1/4 inch seam all around the outer edge of the squares.
Then cut through on the diagonals in both directions.
Then press and open up the half square triangles which have formed. I press lightly and then trim them to 3 inches each. These are all on the bias so you need to work carefully so you don't stretch the sides out of shape.
Then I made them into a pinwheel shape. When I add the outer pieces of the green star points it stabilizes the bias edges of the pinwheels. I've chosen to work in autumn colors and I found the cream and green fabrics in my stash. The blocks go together quickly and the pile of 5 inch squares is still high so I can see I need to make lots more blocks. It's a great way to use up some of those less pretty 5 inch squares. I hope to get more done tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 12, 2015

Some Quilts Take 20 Years.

 Since Christmas I have finished 4 quilts which has been a great achievement! Two of them were UFOs of 20 years ago. One of them had all the blocks completed and this one just had the 7 appliqué blocks finished so I had to make the other 8 alternate blocks. I'm really happy with this finish and still feel like maintaining my progress as long as I can as I really want to clear some of the UFOs out as well as the scraps.
This book "Around the Block" byJudy Hopkins is the other book I use most frequently. It has lots of different blocks and when I have a pile of scraps as squares and half square triangles, I select a block from the book and make enough for a quilt. As well as clearing out more UFOs I've been able to use up a lot of fabric for the backings and it allows me to clear out some of my older fabric.
 I hope you are also finding some time for some finishes but I doubt you have UFOs as old as these. If I'd kept them any longer they would have become vintage.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another Mature UFO.

 I'm still on a mission to finish some of my many UFOs and this is another one I started at least 20 years ago. The fabric may be even older although I bought it especially for this quilt. It was supposed to have more blocks but I couldn't find the fabric I used for the leaves or the dusty pink fabric. I found that I had finished 7 blocks although 2 of them still needed to have the centre circles appliquéd. Luckily I found the 2 circles and it was an easy job to stitch them down. The original pattern I was using was in an old Quiltmaker magazine and had a mix of appliqué blocks and the alternate blocks were to be pieced.
I decided to make 8 alternate blocks to go with the 7 appliquéd blocks. I decided on the Rising Star pattern I used for one of the baby quilts I made recently. I hope to get the top finished tomorrow and it will be great to get another UFO off my list while I stay inspired. Check back soon and I hope to have the quilt finished.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Building Blocks.

While I am sorting scraps from other projects I like to make what I call "building blocks" such as half square triangles. This gives me a head start on making quilt tops. This pattern is a Split Nine Patch and I started making blocks last year. I have a container of fabric squares for 2.5 inch as well as one for the same sized half square triangles. When I have enough I choose a pattern and start making blocks.
I already had enough for half a quilt so I made some more yesterday to have enough for this top.
This is a good pattern for scraps and I concentrate on making the half square triangles from any fabrics which read as light with med/dark. I always find I have less lights than any other so I need to focus my buying on lights.
The cats had a play on my design floor and rearranged the blocks.
I made enough for a top with the blocks measuring 6 inch finished and set 6 x 8.
I added 5.5 inch borders which make the top 47 inch by 71 inches. This will most likely be another donation quilt and it's one of my newer UFOs as I only started the blocks last year. I plan to finish the quilting soon so it will be another one off my list. Last night was spent crawling around the floor cutting fabric for curtains for DD's new home. It was much harder than quilting but as I have a whole house-full to make I thought I'd better get started, regardless of the hot weather. I'd rather be quilting so I plan on another UFO finish very soon.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Next Finish.

 This was the dresser runner which I bought in Houston and I couldn't resist re-making it to preserve it. The hexagon flowers were nicely made but the connecting white hexes weren't and it had been cut through some of the hexagon flowers and some of the pieces had frayed quite badly. I have re-made it  with the hexagons a bit smaller to avoid the damaged and weakened fabric. I started it at the start of November 2014 and finished it tonight. It's a very sweet little cot sized quilt and it will make a lovely memento of my time in Houston at IQF. I had to repair some of the hexes which had been cut in half and I also had to substitute some fabrics when I didn't have enough to make the hexie flowers from all of the same fabric. All of the fabric is the original from the 1930s except the borders and I used a 1930s reproduction fabric on the binding.
I'm really pleased with it and really wanted it finished before I start on my next rescue project of the Red and cream Lone Star top.
It's great to have some finishes so quickly and have plenty more to go. Back to deciding on my next UFO finish.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Time For Some Appliqué.

 It's continuing to be very hot here but as it's our summer I guess we should expect it to continue for awhile. Temperatures of 41 degrees Celsius do become a bit wearing when they continue for several days. I have my youngest DD's house lot of curtains to make as well as more tops to quilt but I'm waiting for some cooler weather for those larger jobs. In the meantime I've prepped another of my Chester County Criswell quilt block to needle turn appliqué.I'm still loving back basting for my applique and I'm using a lovely French general fabric by Moda. I'm not sure if all the blocks will look cohesive enough when they are done but may have to swap a few out if they "don't play nicely" with the others. On the other hand they are replicating a community quilt where all the different quilters would have different fabrics on hand which may not all suit each other, but when the quilt is finished these imperfections are much less noticeable.

I've also started appliquéing these lovely feedback Dresden Plate blocks onto 6.5 inch backgrounds. I bought 59 of them from an antique dealer in Houston and plan to set them with alternate white blocks which I plan on quilting with some sort of design to complement them.
Stitching some appliqué blocks is much cooler than wrestling with curtains or quilt tops but I hope to get some cooler weather so I can cross them off my "To Do" list.
Hugs, Jan Mac