In a Thicket

I worked on my version of a Thicket quilt this past weekend. I had four animal prints left over from the two other thicket quilts I have made, and a few yards of the coordinating fabrics from the Gingiber line. The original Thicket is made with one large and three small animals.

I started by putting the prints on the design wall and cutting the yardage into 5 inch squares. Then it was a matter of adding and subtracting blocks to make it fit into a square. There was a bit of ripping involved. At one point my DD came in and asked me if I was taking it apart or putting it together. It did all fit together eventually.

I got the Good Times top on to the frame, and started quilting it. I had a bit of trouble at the start, I couldn’t get the tension right between the two threads I wanted to use. Blue variegated on top and cream for the bobbin. I kept getting blue dots underneath and white dots on top. I finally switched over to a King tut variegated off-white cotton on top. I think the problem is that Fantastico and magna glide don’t work well together. By the time that was all sorted out, I was able to do the first row and shut it down for the day.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts today for Design Wall Monday.

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I (heart) HSTs

I started on the Grassy Creek Mystery quilt yesterday. The first clue was for gray and gold HSTs. Luckily, I have an Accuquilt die in just the right size. I cut the all triangles in about an hour and a half. Sewed them together a bit later in the day, and ironed them after dinner. I didn’t have to trim them, as they all turned out perfect (lol).

I tried to get the Good Times quilt on to the frame, but the puppy was helping too much. I was able to get the backing pinned on, but then the puppy discovered the pile of batting pieces. Playing “chase me” ended the quilt prepping. Today is another day.

I’m itching to start another project. I found four more Gingiber animal prints, while shopping the stash for the GCMQ. I really like the Thicket quilt, and would like to make another. Although, I did just purchase a quilt kit that will be here next week. It is called Reflected Harmony by Kaye England.

I think its a pretty pink quilt, and it is Accuquilt friendly. I also have the other pink quilt, the Panama Star quilt kit, that I got for Connecting threads. Perhaps 2021 will be the year of the pink quilts?

I have to confess that I did a little Black Friday shopping yesterday, at Accuquilt. They had a buy one get one half off sale. I got two 8 inch Block on Board dies, Winding Ways and Snail Trail. What I like about these two dies is that they accommodate a ten inch square of fabric. This makes for very little sub-cutting of fabric before running it through the cutter. The dies are constructed so that the pieces are all together. Some of the larger Block on Board dies aren’t like that, the pieces are spread out, so in order not to waste a lot fabric, you have to sub cut the fabric to cover the blades of the pieces on the die. It probably has to do with the grain of the fabric, the manufacture of the dies and curves and such. Looking back through this post, it seems like an endorsement for Accuquilt cutters, it’s not meant to be, (no links) I just enjoy using it when I can. I managed not to buy any more fabric or yarn yesterday though. Yay Me!

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Hand Applique

I started this months Halloween figs bom blocks the other day. The pieced block, (I think its called a tornado block) went together fairly quickly.

The appliqué blocks will take a bit more time. I got them prepped for back basting by tracing the design on the back side of the fabric. I started to use the Uniball gold pen, but went with a #2 pencil instead. The background fabric was a bit too light to hide the gold color. The black bias strips will cover it, but I was concerned that it might show through the orange pieces of the tulips. These should hold me over until Friday and the release of the first Grassy Creek clue.

Grassy Creek is the name of this years Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. Six or more weeks of cutting and piecing scraps, wondering if it will all look good in the end. I’m playing with the idea of doing this one half size, not a smaller number of blocks, but ½ the measured size of the pieces. I did this with the Provence quilt, and I really like that it is a wall hanging, and not another bed size quilt. There have been hints of string piecing involved with the GC quilt, but its optional. After doing the Appalachian Autumn strings, I may just go the non-string route. I also want to do the Emerald city quilt, which I was going to do (start) at a retreat earlier this year. I have a bunch of green fabrics I want to use. It’ll be on my 2021 to do list.

I got the ‘Meeting of the Geese’ quilt quilted. I chose a very simple panto called Celtic wave, and it took about 2 hours to get this top done. I want to see if there is enough backing left on the frame to do the rock pool quilt. I need to measure it though, as I only have about 40 inches left. The width isn’t a problem as it is 108 wide.

I measured and the remaining backing was about 6 inches too narrow. I took ‘Meeting of the Geese’ off the frame and got it bound and finished. For extra credit, I made the backing piece wider with a strip of Batik that matches the Rock Pool quilt batik. Maybe, if I get all my prep work done today, I can put that on the frame. That’s a big maybe, I think Friday or Saturday might work better.

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Hats and Joy

I finished my Santa hat quilt top yesterday. I had sewn the letter blocks the day before and sewed the rows together, but just couldn’t get to the last five rows of stitching. About half way through I realized I didn’t web the top, but that’s okay, it’s done. The blocks are supposed to be 10 ½ square. Since I didn’t do paper foundation piecing, mine were a few different sizes. I rounded them all down to 10 1/4 inches square. They look pretty cute, I think I’m going to use a string light panto that I have.

One of the first paper pantographs I bought when I first got my long arm, was Christmas lights on a string. I thought it would be cute for a few Christmas quilts I was doing, ha, not quite as easy as it looked. The bulbs turned out really wonky, the socket parts didn’t line up with the bulbs, and the connecting wires didn’t really meander. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do more than one row of them, which was promptly removed. Now, with the Q-matic system, any design is possible, I just need to make sure there’re enough hours in the day in which to quilt it.

After getting that top together, I started on the November edition of the BOM Botanica. Lots of flying geese, 72 of them, practically a flock. I’m excited to see this quilt done, next month is the final border.

Botanica Park

This months blocks make up the chevron and dark blue border, and the thinner light green one with the geese around the corners. This quilt is actually a medallion layout, but the way its broken up into blocks makes it easier to piece. It’s sort of a puzzle like approach to piecing the top.

I really want to finish the quilting on the teddy bear quilt. I have two more rows on that one, but I need to “hover quilt” it. Which means standing over it and make sure none of the stitching goes over the appliqués, and deal with the stops and starts. The first few rows went well. The other hard part of that job is psyching myself up to go into the room. The heating system in there is ancient, and I am having a mini-split put in Monday (Yay!). Until then it is a bit chilly in there, usually around 55 degrees. I have a mini electric heater in there, but I feel like I have to stand in front of it to get warmed up. Good thing I have a few sweaters around I can wear.

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Working day(s)

Yesterday, was a work day for me. I got a lot done in the sewing room and three loads of laundry. I finished the Medallion quilt Sunday afternoon and there was enough backing and batting left on the frame to add another baby quilt. I used 108 wide backing with the selvedges pinned to the leaders, so the medallion was only 60 inches square, which left about 45 inches of backing. I’m not sure if this is going to stay a square or be a round quilt, so I can’t bind it yet.

I quilted the second Irish chain baby quilt with the sleepy bear pantograph I want to use on the appliquéd Irish chain quilt.

Plus there was enough room to add on this little square of extra blocks, for a pillow top. I was even able to bind the ICQ to push it into the finished column.

After dinner last night, I worked on ten more Santa hats for that quilt. I had all the pieces cut, so they went together pretty quickly. Just keep sewing.

The only project I didn’t work on was the Nieve sweater. It had been languishing for the past few months, waiting for a sleeve. I re-started it a few weeks ago, now that its cool enough to have a sweater on ones lap. This pattern has you make most of the torso, then make the sleeves, then attach them to the top and knit the shoulders and neck line in the round. It results in raglan sleeves, which I like, and very few ends to weave in. Plus knitting in the round is much easier.

Today is a windy day, with rain expected in a few hours, officially a stay inside day. I should bake something, but the sourdough starter isn’t fed. I want to get the appliqué quilt on the frame and start that. It’s a little more involved with the computer, I need to mask the bears, so the stitching doesn’t go through them. It creates a lot of stops and starts, which translates to many snip thread/pull up bobbin thread actions. The bear panto is big enough that it won’t be too much trouble.

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More BOMs

I got my monthly BOM installments yesterday, the Halloween Figs and the Botanica quilts. This months is the 11th month for Botanica. I’m excited to finish this one, as I have a whole set of pretty digital quilting designs for it from Wasatch designs. I used a similar set to quilt the Forest Floor (below also by Wing and a Prayer designs) and I really like the results and the quilt turned out beautifully.

Forest Floor

I was thinking about the finishing of the Botanica top, when I got an email from the place I get the BOM from, Stitchin’ Heaven. They are starting a new Christmas BOM in December, called Holiday Snow Village. It’s an older pattern from Pat Bono, and it is appliqué. I think it’ll be an good way for me to pick up the hand stitching again. I really enjoyed making Pearl Pereira’s Baltimore Christmas and Halloween quilts. I think that I made them pre- blog, yeah, this photo is from 2012.

Baltimore Halloween
Holiday Snow Village

I think it’s a little plain looking in this photo, but lots of room for embellishments.

I worked all day Saturday to get the bears sewn on the Irish chain baby quilt. I used freezer paper templates and school glue. I used the glue to hold the fabric edges of the pieces to the paper. This proved to be a bit too sticky, as it wasn’t easy to get the papers out. I sewed them to the quilt with a zig zag, and hand embroidered the eyes and details with 2 strands of floss. The nose was a bit of a problem, too big to embroider and too small to machine stitch on. I resorted to hand appliqué, which looks good. After I finished the three bears, I realized it was a bit off balance and I made the fourth bear in the corner. That one I re-used the freezer templates and skipped the glue, just ironed the edges down and sewed them on. Now to finish the medallion quilt and get this baby quilt done.

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A little appliqué

I finished the Irish Chain tops earlier this week, just had to wait for the fabric I ordered to come by mail. I didn’t have the right color brown for the bears. FatQuarter Shop had a brown called teddy bear brown, so I went with that. I think it’ll work. I am still not sure how I want to do this appliqué. Raw edge with straight stitch or zig-zag, turned edge with invisible edge stitch, use fusible or not. I (think) I want to do an all over panto of teddy bears, but should I mask out the bear faces or just let it sew over them? I could quilt them and then hand appliqué them – no. Part of the problem is the Minky backing, its not very forgiving. I am wondering how it would look if I quilted the top to it and then zig-zagged the appliqué on to it. How would the back look? Would straight stitches blend more? hmm, elongated zig-zag? Experimenting will happen today.

This is my inspiration clip art for the bears.

Here is my inspiration quilt and my pattern pieces.

I got a notice today that Connecting threads was shipping an order to me. I had ordered some fabric from them in July, and a sale kit that I had picked was back ordered. I figured since it was a clearance sale, they were out of stock and it was canceled. Well I guess they found one, it should be here Monday. It is a pretty quilt, pink and browns, it’s the Panama Star pattern by Nancy Rink. I think it’ll be a good project to do while putting the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt together. I won’t be mixing up the fabrics, that’s for sure.

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Santa Hats

I started a new quilt, it’s a QAL with Mellisa at The Polka Dot Chair The QAL started on November 4th, but the real sewing starts today. I am a day ahead, but I’ve only made 6 whole hat blocks so far. There are 28 in total, and I am using up some yardage that’s been in stash for a few years. I want to make “option 1”, pictured below.

It finishes at 60″ square. My hats are a mix of green and red prints, with a constant WoW holly print for the fur trim and pompom. This pattern is for both paper foundation pieced blocks or traditionally pieced blocks. I opted for the no paper pieced version. My past two projects, the secret one and Appalachian Autumn, have been paper foundation pieced. I am still finding little scraps of paper in my sewing room, and they seem to be attracted to the dogs.

The medallion table topper quilt is progressing too, I got to the middle yesterday. It is a digital print from Hoffman, like the big dream dahlia panels. The quilting pantograph I picked is called swirls and pearls (or something like that). Each row takes about 45 minutes for the computer to stitch out. When I first got my automation system, I thought I would be able to do a few small quilts a day, or one large one in a few hours. This is proving not to be the case. I sometimes think that free motion and ruler work is faster. Or maybe it’s just that I choose very dense designs, or I make more work for myself than necessary. Like placing designs in the blocks individually, or borders and having to turn the quilt on the frame. I think I have gotten more proficient at creating designs and using them with in the program. Setting up the digital quilt can be time consuming, and I have gotten to the point where I save things when I should. Sometimes while stitching there will be a machine error and, if you haven’t saved, your design is gone, or changed, not in a good way. I do appreciate the quality of the stitching and the consistency of the designs though, that’s what keeps me going.

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Irish Chaining

Friday I started cutting the pieces for the small Irish chain quilt I have an order for. Our power was turned off at 9 am, (grr) for PG&E to do some tree trimming on a road that is a quarter mile away. I thought I could use the new 2 ½” strip accuquilt die I got recently to cut the strips. With this die, I can cut 9 WOF strips at a time. After cutting the yardage into 8 ½” wide strips, I tried to put it on the die, they were a little creased, so I walked over to iron them. Drat. It was kinda like that reaction when you try to turn on the closet light, even though you know the power is out. I’ll admit, I did try to cut one set, and it turned out okay, but the strips needed to be recut with a ruler and rotary cutter. Which cancels out any convenience of using the Accuquilt cutter.

Our power was restored at around 2 pm, and I was able to iron and cut the rest of the strips. I sewed them into sets, and cut them into columns with the rotary cutter. There is a way to do it using the strip cutting die, but I didn’t want to experiment with this project. I am making 12 blocks, with 5 columns of 5, 2 ½” squares. I made one block, put it on the design wall and then cut the rest of the columns. After dinner I sewed all 12 blocks together, for a total of thirteen. While making and counting all the parts, I forgot the one on the wall, I guess that’s better than finding it stuck to my back or on the floor.

Saturday I was back to the cutting table, for the “B” blocks. I got the pieces cut and started to chain piece the blue squares and white rectangles. Hmm, why did I run out of blue squares? I rechecked my math, 13 blocks with four blue squares in each, makes for 52 squares. Yup, and 52 rectangles. Ugh, then it occurred to me, only 26 of the rectangles get blue squares on each end. I un-sewed the wrong ones and made them correctly. Once that was done, the blocks went together quickly.

Up on the design wall, things looked okay, but I thought I had worked out in EQ8 that there would be five columns of five blocks. The four column version on the wall was looking a little big for a baby quilt. Back to look at the EQ8 version, oh, that size version has 9 inch finished blocks, I made 10 inch blocks. Mmm. Now I have extra blocks, not enough to make another quilt though. I can’t put them on the back either, as it is supposed to have minky on the back. I guess I’ll make some more and have another to sell. This quilt has been a lesson on the importance of making a plan and clearly following the steps. But it is much more fun to wing it, and hey, I have another quilt top.

Going to get it all together today, and add a border or two.

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A Few finishes

I finished my Appalachian Autumn quilt top. This went together really fast, and I didn’t buy any new fabric for it. All from stash and mostly scraps at that.

The funny thing was is that I thought it was bigger than it really was. It’s 56 and ½ inches square, not huge, a good lap blanket though. I would like to get it quilted and use it for November. I have a halloween quilt on my chair for now.

I also bound two quilts. I still need to sew down the hanging sleeve on the Costumers Ball quilt. That one is pretty large, shown here on a full size bed. A little bit of ruler and template work, free hand around the figures and computer guided borders. A hybrid so to speak.

The Peppermint Poinsettia quilt got a binding to match its backing. I really like how the pearls in the white inner border turned out.

In other news, my DH asked me if he could use one of my quilts as a back drop for his court appearance (he’s an attorney) tomorrow. I set up my ‘Sew She Did’ quilt behind his chair in his office. I told him to tell anyone who asks, that it’s an award winning quilt. He didn’t think anyone would notice, but you never know😊.

I found an inspirational picture for the baby quilt I need to make. The Childs name is Theodore, so teddy bears are in order. I like the way this quilt has the bears peeking out of the chain pattern. I’m going to do a double Irish Chain and appliqué the bears in the squares. I found a few clip art bears that I like, so I’ll be drawing them out this week. I want to get started on this little quilt soon.

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