Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop

After a long wait, it’s finally my turn on the blog hop.  I signed up for this hop at the beginning of June, and it seemed like my turn would never come, but it’s finally here.  My tutorial, My Granny is a Star, is in the post directly following this one.  I have another tutorial that I made this summer, Kentucky Chain, that you can check out if you like.

mosaic

I made up a mosaic of some of the projects that I’ve completed lately.  They are, from l-r, Deco Shimmer, Mod Pop, Community Quilt, The Tree, Cathedral Stars, Boys’ Ties, Road Trip QAL, Urban Nine Patch, and an unnamed WIP.  I am far behind in adding my completed projects to the page on my blog that is designated for them, and if you read through some older posts, you will find more than is pictured here.  I’m just too lazy to make two mosaics.

Beth, the host of this blog hop, gave us a list of questions to answer, so I’ll get started on that.

How long have you been quilting?:  I started quilting about 6 years ago, in 2006.  My sister, who is an excellent seamstress and quilter, taught herself how to quilt using books from the local library.  I was very intrigued by what she was doing, and eventually caught the bug myself.  My husband is often out of town for work, and quilting keeps me company while he is gone.

Favourite quilting tip(s):  Make sure that when you are cutting your fabric, that you are as accurate as possible.  When I started out, I wasn’t such a stickler for accurate cutting, and I always wondered why my seams never seemed to line up.  Accurate cutting in conjunction with accurate piecing, are the backbone of quilting.

Favourite blogging tip(s):  Don’t worry if you haven’t blogged for awhile.  If you pressure yourself to blog more frequently than you actually want to, blogging will become a chore and not be fun anymore.  If you need to take a break from blogging, do that.  It’s supposed to be fun, and when it’s not anymore, then you need to reevaluate why you are doing it.

Favourite fabric (or wish list fabric):  Recently, I’ve really started to fall in love with solids, as is evidenced by my tutorial, which uses only solids.  Something that I really want to get, but haven’t yet, are Oakshott shot cottons.  I love how they seem to glow.

Favourite craft book:  I just got some craft books in the mail the other day.  My favourites of the bunch are Word Play Quilts, by Tonya Ricucci, and Sunday Morning Quilts, by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison.  There are definitely some techniques and patterns in those books that I am going to try.

Favourite book (or book you are currently reading):  I am currently re-reading The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde.  It’s an eclectic mystery book in the Thursday Next series.  My favourite books tend to be old classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.  I don’t like thillers or books that are too explicitly gory.

Favourite children’s book:  I love anything by Bill Peet.  I read those books to my kids all the time.  If we’re talking older children’s chapter books, then the original Boxcar Children are my favourite.

Favourite quilting tool:  Probably my rotary cutter.  I know everyone seems to say that, but if it were not for the rotary cutter, I don’t know that I would be quilting today.  It makes life so much easier.

Favourite music to listen to while quilting:  I’m not sure what to put down for this one.  If my husband is around, we tend to listen to rock music since that’s what he likes.  I listen to whatever I’m in the mood for.  Sometimes it’s Christmas music, other times it’s opera or something else classical, and sometimes it’s just pop.  It totally depends on my mood.

Favourite TV show while hand stitching:  Lately I’ve been watching Once Upon a Time.  It’s filmed near my old home base in Vancouver, BC.  I actually had my wedding reception in the building that they use as their town hall.  I also enjoy Castle, Call the Midwife, and Downton Abbey, which is starting again soon!

Binding – by hand or by machine? Always by hand.  I find hand stitching to be a very soothing activity.  I’m hoping to hand quilt a smaller project with perle cotton one of these days.

If I’d only known – what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog:   I thought about blogging for quite awhile before I finally decided to take the plunge, so there’s actually not too much that I didn’t sort of know about.  I do wish I had known how to take nicer pictures when I first started, but I’m getting better at that now.  There are so many helpful places online to help you out if you’re struggling with the code side of blogging, that the answer I need is typically just a quick google search away.

That’s all for the questions.  As I mentioned earlier, the tutorial is in the next post.   Here’s a link, if you need one.  Be sure to visit the other bloggers who are on the schedule this week.  The blog hop is coming to a close soon, and it’s been a great ride.  Many thanks to Beth for organizing it all!

Oct 30
Janice from better off thread
Shena from Apple Pie Patchwork
Nov 1
Kelly at Live. Love. Create
Wendi at Bethadee Zoo

Plum and June

Tutorial: My Granny is a Star

As part of the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop, we were asked to put together a tutorial.  I was inspired by all the Granny Square quilts that I’ve seen around blogland lately.  It is definitely on my bucket list for sometime in the near future.  In the meantime, I’ve come up with an alternate version of it.

For this block you will need:
2 – 3 1/4″ squares for star points (white in the sample)
2 – 3 1/4″ squares for background of star points (red in sample)
9 – 2 1/2″ squares of red
13 – 2 1/2″ squares of white
16 – 2 1/2″ squares of green

Granny tut 7

This is the block we are making. I called it My Granny is a Star. Both of my grandmothers are deceased, but they were wonderful women. My grandmother-in-law, still living, is also a very fine lady. So this block is in honour of all of them.

We will start by making our hourglass blocks which make up the star points in the block.

Granny mosaic

Layer a white 3 1/4″ square with a red one. Mark the diagonal (this is hard to see in the photo, but there is a faint line there). Mark both white squares and match them with the red squares. Sew 1/4″ away from the line, on both sides of the line. Cut the squares in half, on the marked line, and press them toward the red.

You will now have 4 HSTs. Mark the diagonal on two of them, and layer them with the two unmarked HSTs, matching red with white. Sew 1/4″ away from the marked line, cut, and press. You should end up with 4 hourglass units that measure 2 1/2″. Trim if needed.

Granny tut 5

Lay out your block, and sew it together in rows.

Granny tut 6

Alternate the direction of the pressed seams, as indicated by the arrows.

Granny tut 7

You should end up with a block that looks like this. Trim your block, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance along the outside edge. My block finished at 11 3/4″

Granny tut 8

What you want to make with these blocks is up to you. I made three blocks altogether, in order to make a Christmas themed table runner, since my house is seriously lacking in Christmas decor, which is unusual, since I love Christmas and am always being told by Mr. Apple Pie that putting up the tree in November is not a good idea. Scrooge! He usually lets me put it up the first weekend in December, by which time I’ve already been playing Christmas music for a few weeks.

Granny tut 9

 

I sashed the blocks with a 2″ white solid.

I hope this tutorial makes sense! Let me know in the comments if you’re having any trouble understanding, and I’ll try to clear it up.

Snow! (and more Road Trip QAL)

The weather has taken a drastic change here.  We’d been having quite a nice fall up until this point.  The weather has been mild, if not occasionally warm, and there has been very little rain.  Then, on Monday night, it started snowing, and it didn’t stop for awhile.  Remember how nice my front yard looked when I took a picture of Deco Shimmer in my front yard last week?  Well, this is my front yard now.

snow 1

We ended up getting about 25cm (10 inches) of snow. They forecasted 10-15cm (4-6 inches), so I think the weatherman was a little off. This also meant a snow day for the kidlets. It was actually kind of nice, because typically when it snows here, it is like -15C to -20C (about 5F to -5F), and then it’s too cold to really play in the snow for longer than two minutes. And it was only about -5C (23F) yesterday, so they played outside for a long time.

snow 2

It was too deep for Thing 3 to even walk in it, poor thing. Her siblings had to help her up all the time. But they had a blast. Before they went out, they drew plans for an ‘epic’ snowfort. It even had three heaters! Plus the requisite gigantic stash of snowballs to attack any enemy with, of course. While they played, I got some sewing done.

QAL Missouri

I finished off both of the Missouri blocks. They came together really quickly. I think the most time consuming part would have been picking the fabric for and fussy cutting the centres. This leaves only two blocks left: Kansas and West Virginia. They will be coming soon!

I’m linking this up to WIP Wednesday at the Needle and Thread Network. Lots of fun stuff to check out there, so head on over!

Deco Shimmer is done!

I can cross another one off the list, because Deco Shimmer is done!  I quilted it in one evening, and then cut and sewed the binding the next.  I hand stitched the binding on the third evening, and then I had to wait for the clouds to clear to take some nice pictures outside.

Deco 5

I quilted it in a giant spiral. It seemed fitting for a quilt named Deco Shimmer. I used my walking foot, and quilted the lines about an inch apart. It was tight maneuvering in the middle of the quilt when I had to wrestle the whole thing around to rotate it every few stitches, but the farther around I went, the easier it got.

Deco 6

You can’t see the quilting as well in this shot, but the colours show up better. I put a hanging sleeve on the back in case I want to put it on a wall. This also gives me the option of putting it in our local quilt show next June, since hanging sleeves are required for the shows that are entered.

Deco 7

I backed it in a dark green fabric that had been lingering in my stash for a very long time. I guess I don’t use a lot of dark green.

Deco 8

I caught this little ladybug on the quilt as I was taking pictures, so I had to add a shot of him. I was surprised to see one outside at this time of year, since it’s been a number of weeks since it has started to drop below freezing overnight. It must be a very determined ladybug.

Deco 9

I tried a new shot, nestling the quilt in the crutch of the ash tree on my front yard. I love the fall colours on the trees down the boulevard. It’s a great view to see out of my front window.

I’m linking this up to TGIFF, which is being hosted by Jenelle from Echinops and Aster this week.

QAL: Kentucky Chain

I wrote this blog post about two weeks ago, saved it as a draft, and then forgot about it.  Oops!

This is the Kentucky Chain block for the Road Trip QAL.  I wrote a tutorial on how to do this block, since I didn’t want to paper piece it, and Emily had hinted that there wasn’t really another way to do it.  In the end, she did figure out a way to piece it more traditionally, and those instructions are posted on her blog.

I made three versions of this block.  The traditional dark and light with the red/orange combo, and also a green and blue one.

QAL Kentucky Chain
QAL Kentucky Chain 2

I’m thinking of taking these blocks, making more, and making an entire quilt out of them. I love the way the chains weave in and out of each other. And since I have that extra Wyoming Valley block, my main quilt will not be missing anything either.

However, in the meantime, here in Kentucky chain pictured with the rest of the blocks from the QAL. It fits in quite nicely with them as well.

QAL dark 1-13

I think the light blocks are winning with regards to which set is my favourite. They would both look great in my girls’ room though. Matchy, but not too matchy.

QAL light 1-13

Since it’s Wednesday, I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at the Needle and Thread Network. I missed a week somewhere in there, so I’ll have some catching up to do with reading all about the stuff everyone else has done!

QAL: Mod Pop

So, to keep up with my self-imposed deadline of finishing all my UFOs by year’s end, I have settled on an overly optimistic goal of finishing three quilts a month for the next three months.  To achieve that, I’ve been sewing as much as I can.  It actually feels great to put an emphasis on sewing again, since I tend to slack off a little in the summer.  It’s been working out quite well.  I’ve finished the top for the Mod Pop QAL!

Mod Pop QAL: completed top

I took some pictures outside. The wind did its best to co-operate, but in the fall in Southern Alberta, that means that the breeze is only a light 30km/h. I was sort of successful. There are lots of shadows in this shot, but the golden evening light makes the colours look amazing.

Mod Pop QAL 4

I tried the stained glass flimsy shot. I got an excellent silhouette of Mr. Apple Pie in the process. My, his ears do stick out far, don’t they? And there’s an odd blue light on his neck. I promise the kids didn’t have a sniper scope on him or anything.

Mod Pop QAL: completed top

Here it is on the lawn.  I like the contrast between the leaves and the flimsy.  And, bonus, the whole top is under the same light in this shot!

Deco 4

I also basted the Deco Shimmer top. It went very quickly. I already have a plan for the quilting that I want to do on it, so it’s just a matter of getting it done. I’ve found in the past that deciding how to quilt something will take me ages longer than actually quilting it, so having a plan in place is a great start.

she can quilt

Cross one off the list: A finish!

I finished my community quilt!  Yay!  This one has only been lingering on the ‘to finish’ pile for about 7 months.  I made the top at my guild’s sewing day for community quilts, way back in April.  Then I had to wait for the guild to stock up on quilt batts again.  That’s only a partial excuse for why it took so long, though, since I got the batting a couple of months ago.  I was sidetracked with other projects.  But, since the community quilts are supposed to be in by the November meeting (so they can be given away in time for Christmas), I wanted to prioritize it.

Community 2

It’s not a very large quilt, since that’s Thing 1 holding it up for me, and she can keep it off the ground. I think it might be about 35″x50″ or so. I can’t be too sure, since I lost the paper that I wrote the dimensions on.

Community 3

It was a great fall day to take pictures outside. The air was crisp and the leaves are making good progress in falling off the trees.

Community 4
Community 5

I had originally planned to do just some outline quilting, but Mr. Apple Pie convinced me to stipple it. He said that when he was a boy, he had a basic quilt with those big ‘U’ shaped quilting designs on it, and he got a lot of enjoyment from just tracing the paths with his finger when he was winding down at bedtime. He said that stippling is just hundreds of u shapes after one another, and if he was a kid, he would have loved it. He must have made a convincing argument, because stippling is what I ended up doing. I am getting happier with my ability to stipple, so it might be time to try a more complicated free motion design one of these days.

Community 6

I bound it with a blue stripe, and used a greyish blue for the backing. I really like how the stripe looks as binding, and will probably employ more stripes for this purpose in the future.

I’m linking this up to TGIFF, which is hosted by Better Off Thread this week. It’s definitely nice to check this one off the list. One down, and only 8 to go!