Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No Scrap Left Behind!

I am celebrating with Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts as she kicks off a blog hop for her new book "No Scrap Left Behind". Amanda Jean is such a generous person and has freely shared so many wonderful tips, creative ideas and quiltalongs over the years. So when she publishes another book, I want to support her! As soon as I heard about the book I pre-ordered it and have enjoyed reading her new ideas and seeing her fabulous scrappy quilts. Click here to see the blogs on the celebration tour and enter the daily draws for free copies of the book.
With one week left to the finish line, my April UFO (which started with a Crazy Mom Quilts quiltalong!) has been pin basted. 
Only quilters can appreciate how much time it actually takes to go from a quilt top to being ready for quilting. The thread has to be chosen for the top and the bobbin, and the quilting design has to be figured out. The backing fabric has to be chosen, measured (and pieced sometimes) and pressed, the batting has to be cut and fluffed up in the dryer, and the quilt top has to be pressed. Then the layers have to be smoothed out, one on top of the other, and finally the pin basting can begin.
This quilt insisted that the quilting design had to be the spiral pattern, which is also something I learned from Crazy Mom Quilter Amanda Jean Nyberg from her tutorial here. I have quilted this design once before and remembered that the beginning of the spiral is a little tricky using the free motion foot, but when you change to the walking foot, it's a little easier. 

However, you are shoving half of the quilt continuously through the harp of your sewing machine, around and around, trying to keep the curves smooth. Shoving the quilt through the machine and repositioning it constantly means that your shoulders and hands will be aching, but it's the price you pay for leaving it to the last week and trying to finish it before the end of the month! LOL
Once you get to this stage of the quilting, when you are farther away from the centre of the spiral and moving to the outside of the quilt, it gets way more fun! There is less fabric to shove through and the curves are more gentle and easier to manage. I am lucky to have two large tables to spread the quilt out on when I am machine quilting and it holds the weight of the quilt (except the part that is on my lap, which in this photo is the top half of the quilt that is hanging over the front of the table).
An important spiral quilting tip - always make the spiral go clockwise, or the bulk of the quilt will accumulate to the right of the needle in the harp of the machine, instead of to the left of the needle and you will not be happy!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Finished Quilt Top

The Scrap Vortex is finally a quilt top!

I started this quilt in June 2016 and it has used up a ton of scraps. The piano key borders took a long time to prepare and attach, but I'm soooo happy with how it all turned out. It is rich with scrappy fabric memories and completely frenetic - just like my life! 
The quilt top measures 59" x 77".
I have a week left in April to get this quilt pin basted, quilted and bound. I feel like I'm on the amazing quilt race TV show...will she reach the finish line in time?!?!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly celebration of the art of slowly stitching by hand! We encourage you to slow down, breathe deeply, take a few stitches, and enjoy seeing the slowly created projects of hand stitching gurus from around the world.

I had a terrible flare of "gettingthingsdoneitis" this month, with many deadlines and not enough time. So now I have to recuperate, slow down and get myself calmed down. A few more embroidery stitches will be put into this Life Is Beautiful block. In fact my plan is to deliberately move SLOWLY like a sloth for the entire day. 
It used to be that the animal symbols of being slow were the turtle and the snail. But more recently the sloth has become the representative of slowness. Have you seen the Zootopia movie? Here's my favourite scene of sloths at the DMV:

It's Sunday, so slow down and stitch like a sloth!
And then link up your blog post below and share your slow stitching project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

The colour of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is "multicolour". That has been quite a challenge for me for my RSC projects, so I practiced with some cookies first! 
These are some of the easter cookies my daughter and I made last weekend. It was great fun to decorate each one differently. My favourites were the ones with all the icing colours. The colourful cookies created quite the family conflict, since she didn't want anyone to actually EAT these treats. Apparently she thought we should just admire the creations for a few weeks! They're long gone now!

I did finally make a sort of multicoloured block for my Circle of Squares project. My scrap collection doesn't seem to have much in the way of multicoloured fabrics, and this is the best I could do!

Here are the 9 blocks on the design wall.

To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to the weekly link up.

Friday, April 21, 2017

UFO update

April is more than half over and I am not exactly on track with my UFO goals, but am making progress in the right direction. I was hoping to have the quilt top finished by now and ready for pin basting, in order to be able to finish the quilt by the end of the month. That goal doesn't feel impossible at the moment, but we'll see what progress the next week brings.

There were 3 tasks to do:
1) The areas of the quilt top that needed to be improved (so I could like the quilt more) are now fixed. That task involved tedious unsewing and resewing, but I'm happy with the changes.

2) The scrappy piano key border strips are almost finished.

3) I made 4 scrappy asterisk blocks and they will be perfect for the cornerstone blocks at the ends of the border strips.

Now I just need some time to connect all these parts together into a quilt top!

PS... hop over the Cynthia's blog to see her fabulous colourwash scrap vortex quilt. She pieced it as a leader-ender project... just wow!
PPS... hop over to the Oh Scrap! link up for more scrappiness and thoughts about backings.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blockheads Update

Block #6 was posted last week and is a sunflower
It's one of my favourite blocks so far because it has a pieced base that was interesting, but not too complicated or stressful to sew, plus a tiny bit of easy applique. 

I made the circle using Karen Kay Buckley's "Perfect Circles" and it turned out okay....
not at all perfect, but it's done! 

Here are my first 5 blocks on the design wall. I have cut out the pieces for block #4 and that will be my Slow Sunday Stitching project for this weekend.
Hop over to Moda to see what we are sewing for block #7 - click here.  
Also, if you are a member of Facebook, and want to see more block collections, there is a group page where quilters are posting photos of their blocks - Blockheads Facebook.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Scrappy piano key strips are on the design wall today. These are going to be borders for the scrap vortex quilt. I am piecing the scraps on wax paper to see if I like this technique. It's keeping the strip sets perfectly even and so far, I'm really liking it. A few more sections are needed to add to the quilt top, but right now it's the perfect mindless piecing job!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.