Saturday, 28 February 2015

Playing Catch Up

Warning: Picture Heavy Post!

I'm catching up after laying low with a stupid cold. (And, ugh, what a bug.)

Circle Quilt Progress

Last week Amy and Adrienne designed Amy's circle quilt. With both of them working, it was laid out in no time!

Amy on the left, and Adrienne on the right.

These two friends work together like a well-oiled machine, and it was fun to see them in action.

First draft - getting all the blocks on the wall for consideration.

It still astonishes me that both of them can work on the same quilt with such excellent results. Two quilters with the exact-same-seam-allowance is an anomaly, but here's proof. . . 

Sewing blocks together, together!

. . . the first two rows went together beautifully (not to mention the blocks they both sewed!). Amazing!

First two rows are together - yay!

I've since heard that all the rows are together (already!!!), and Amy is shopping for border fabric. (And this is why I often wish there were two of me!!!) This adventure will soon continue!

The Grandparent Generation

Oh, dear. I'm at the age where my friends are becoming grandparents! 

Okay, so I've been a granny for almost ten years (yipes!), but when your friends join the club it drives home the fact that you are now in the grandparent generation!

Anywhoo . . . a baby girl recently arrived, so I decided to finish a pretty quilt that's been waiting for someone special. Some of you may remember it from this post.

Baby quilt on the frame.

I printed a picture of the quilt top and stuck it in a plastic page protector so I could doodle design ideas on it with an erasable marker. 

Once I had a plan, I made a little "quilting map" to take into the studio with me. Even though each block is different, I hoped feathers would tie everything together.

Quilting "map".

It is hard to see the quilting on some of the prints, so here is a shot of the back. You can match the quilting with the plan if you imagine flipping the diagram like a book page.

Baby quilt, back view.

Now I wish I'd added a bit more quilting to that one block (upper right in the photo above) - but it doesn't bother me enough to actually do more! 

I was trying to keep the quilting loose and soft. 


Oh, why did I think that was possible???   I just. can't. do it.

I love the wishbone quilting in the sashing and border. This is the first time I've tried it, but it won't be the last!

The hearts were carefully hand appliqued with silk thread. A sensible quilter might have quilted around them so they would pop out, but I decided they needed feathers instead.

Now, I wonder where I hid the binding that belongs on this quilt? Time for a treasure hunt!

Fresh off the Frame

Pauline's scrap quilt:

Kailei's quilt is going to make a fantastic cuddle quilt for the little boy who receives it.

The back view really shows the quilting. Super fun!

The Last Laugh

We celebrated my husband's birthday last night, which meant another silly selfie! It's always fun to pile on for this little birthday ritual.

Besides, when your husband is "allergic" to having his photo taken, a loving choke hold is really the only option! Ha!

Linking up with:
Free Motion Mavericks @ Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing 
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Try, Learn, Grow!

P.S. I love hearing from you, so don't be shy! Comments will be answered by email where possible.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Birds of a Feather

The Canada goose is the harbinger of spring in the frozen north. When I spot the first team of the season, I know winter is officially on its way out. That won't happen for a while, yet, but I dream of the day.

I decided these magnificent birds should be the subject of a little art piece. I've made them once before, so had a set of drawings ready to go.

The fabric I'd snow dyed a couple of weeks ago makes a fantastic sky.

I rolled the quilting and applique into the same step, free-motion stitching around all the bits and pieces through all three layers of the quilt.

Next, I laid some plastic over top and doodled several quilting ideas - looks terrible, but it helped me decide what to try.

Wish I'd stopped there to think about it over night. I would have made some different choices
But, no.
I dove in and quilted. Hate the feather. Too late now.
I have one more piece of the blue fabric, and several ideas about what I like (and what I don't). Time for a do-over. (Or, maybe a whole series of 'em!)

Though I did officially meet my February goal for ALYoF, we are not at the end of this story. "Try, Learn, Grow!" is my mantra for a reason!

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes @ Sew BitterSweet Designs
& Fiber of All Sorts

Try, Learn, Grow!

P.S. I love hearing from you, so don't be shy! Comments will be answered by email where possible.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Need a Trim?

Wayyy back in November, Lois had asked how I would trim a quilt with large pieces and no border. How would I square it up?

The quilt in question!
I'd promised a tutorial, but many of the pictures I took while trimming her quilt turned out blurry. Once a quilt is trimmed, retakes are impossible, so the tutorial was shelved.

Last week, another borderless quilt finally arrived! It doesn't have gigantic piecing, but the trimming process is very similar. 

I'll use pictures from both quilts as I attempt to describe my process.

My aim is to give the illusion of perfection. 
  • Seams should appear to be parallel with the edges of the quilt. If something is a tiny bit off, nobody will notice, but if it's way off - yikes! Let's not do that.
  • It is important to cut square corners (90 degrees). 
  • It is also important to measure, measure, measure! If a quilt is meant to be 56 inches wide, it should measure 56 inches wide at the top, bottom, and everywhere in between! Same if it's meant to be 76 inches long...make it so!

Linda's borderless quilt, ready for trimming.
Step One:
Start with a corner. Place a large, square ruler over the corner. If possible, align it with both a horizontal AND a vertical seam in the piecing. (With large piecing you may need to measure out from a seam in several places to align the ruler - see photo, below). 

The outside edges of the ruler should be at the outside edges of the quilt top (obviously!).

Measuring out from a seam to the edge that will be cut.
Before cutting anything, I add extra rulers in both directions from the corner. They should butt up against the square ruler on the corner AND follow the edges of the quilt. If they don't, adjust all three rulers until you are satisfied that your corner will be square and true to the quilt.

To trim the corner, I cut about 5 to 8 inches in both directions along the outside of the square ruler. (My first corner is cut in the picture, below.) This gives me a true 90 degree corner as my starting point.

Preparing to cut the long edge of the quilt.
Step Two:
Lay a line of rulers along the edge you intend to cut first (shown, above). I like to start with one of the long sides. Getting that right sets me up for success with the rest of the quilt.

At this point, I measure the width of the top in several places, including across both ends. I want to find a number that will become my target width. I am also checking to see if I need to adjust my rulers before I cut! 
  • How straight is the piecing? 
  • Is the quilt relatively square to begin with? 
  • If not, how can I make it look square? 
  • If I make that first cut, will things look wonky on the other side of the quilt?
  • Do I need to adjust anything?

The first side becomes the reference point for squaring up the rest of the quilt, so I want to be very sure of my decisions before I start chopping.

Remember to keep an eye on the seams when lining up the rulers. I try and keep seams parallel to the edges of the quilt, if possible (as in the picture, below). This is where you might have to "fudge" things a bit if the piecing isn't perfect, and that's okay.

When I'm happy with how everything looks, it's time to cut. After each cut, I slide my cutting mat forward (under the edge of the quilt), being careful not to disturb the rulers on top.

Keep an eye on your seams. Try to keep them parallel to the quilt edges.

Step Three:
Skip to the opposite side of the quilt and cut it parallel to the first. Time for some accurate measuring. 

The target width for this quilt was 56 inches, so I lined up the outside edges of all my rulers (where I would cut) exactly 56 inches away from the side I had just cut.

Thanks to the extra care I took when preparing the first side, the rulers also line up nicely with the piecing on the second side. Yay!

In the picture below, you can see that I had cut around the second corner. Just ignore that! It didn't hurt anything, but was completely unnecessary. Corners will be dealt with when the final two edges are trimmed.

Preparing to cut the second long edge of the quilt, parallel to the first.
Step Four:
Cut a third edge. Doesn't matter which one you choose, just pick one. Align rulers along the edge, as usual. Try to keep the edge and the piecing seams parallel, as usual.

Extend the rulers beyond the quilt top and use the lines to ensure 90 degree corners (like in the picture, below - see how the line exactly matches the edge I had already cut?).

Again, before I cut anything I measure, measure, measure the length of the quilt to find a target number for the next step. This is your chance to decide how best to handle things if the quilt is not perfectly square. Do you need to cut a bit more off one end or the other?

Rulers extend beyond the corners.
Use the lines on the rulers to make 90 degree corners.

Step Five:
Cut the final edge.

Repeat the process of measuring and aligning rulers with the target number on the tape measure. Remember, if it is meant to be 76 inches long, make sure it is 76 inches long at both outside edges and across the middle!

Align the rulers with the piecing as much as possible, and check that the corners will be square. (Line up the cut sides with the lines on the rulers.)

Measuring exactly 76 inches from the cut edge to the edges of the rulers.

Once the final cut is made, you should have a lovely, squared up quilt!

What if the piecing is ginormous?

Use the exact same process as above, only you will need to measure out from a "landmark" seam (preferably one that extends the full length of the quilt) to help you align your rulers along the first side.

22 inches from the seam to the edge of the quilt.

What if there's a "gap" in the seam line you are using as a landmark?

Bridge the gap with a second ruler, and measure out from where the seam would be if it had continued.

Extend the "landmark" seam using a second ruler.
Measure out (22 inches, in this case) to the edge of the quilt from there.
Once your rulers are laid out along the first edge, remember to step back and check your line before you cut. If you make the cut, how will the edge of the quilt look in relation to the piecing? Does everything look right, or does something need to be tweaked?

After that first side is cut, remember to jump across to the opposite edge next. Use the side you just cut as the reference point. Measure, measure, measure, lining up your rulers for the parallel cut.

Lining up for the third edge - making sure both corners are square.

Cut the third edge, making sure corners are square. Use a landmark seam that extends the width of the quilt to help you keep the edge of the quilt parallel to the piecing (photo below).

Measuring up from a "landmark" seam to keep things looking straight.

And, voila! Another nice, square quilt!

This method works extremely well for me, but I cannot guarantee it will work perfectly for everyone who tries it. There are many small decisions to make along the way, and every quilt is different, so results could vary. Please use your own best judgement and common sense when squaring up your own quilts!

I'm hoping everything I wrote makes sense . . . I'm so sick with a head cold right now that I can't really be sure! Need something clarified? Please ask!

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River

Try, Learn, Grow!

P.S. I love hearing from you, so don't be shy! Comments will be answered by email where possible.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

And the Winner Is...

Today is the BIG DAY - time to see who will win a small piece of original art made just for them!

I am not a fan of random number generators. I know it is all in my head, but I feel like certain numbers get ignored, and others are picked over and over.

So...Crazy or not, I printed the comments, cut them apart, and threw them all into a big bowl. 

Crumpling them allowed me to mix and stir to my heart's content!

I then asked my husband to stir some more, and to make the draw. Here he is, in action:

WOW. came over from the grow your blog party, and i'm impressed with your quilting. can't wait to peek through your posts to see more

Congratulations Emily!
I've sent you an email with the good news!
Please contact me with your theme idea and mailing address as soon as possible. If I don't hear back by noon on February 22, 2015, I will draw another name.

I hope to hear from you soon! I'm excited to get started on your piece. :-)

Oops! You might need my email address, hey? Ha!
carolegoldquilts @ (no spaces, of course!)

Thank you, everyone, for leaving such lovely comments on my Grow Your Blog post. Comments remain open, but the competition is now closed. If I must re-draw I will dip into the bowl again. No new comments will be added.

Try, Learn, Grow!

P.S. I love hearing from you, so don't be shy! Comments will be answered by email where possible.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Where To Begin?

Please click here for my Grow Your Blog post.
Be sure to say Hi and enter the giveaway! Draw will be made on Feb 15. 

So much going on. Too busy to blog. Where do I begin? 
(These would make perfect hashtags for most of us, I suspect!)

This week's exercises included making contour drawings of fruit using thread instead of lead. No marking, just looking and drawing with the sewing machine. 

This was more comfortable than I'd expected - not too much different than drawing with a pencil, except there's no erasing.

There were also exercises to do with straight and curvy lines and the nine design forms (vertical, horizontal, symmetrical, asymmetrical, diagonal, circular, radiating, bordered, grid) featured in the text.

Snow Dyeing

At our January guild meeting, Sarah provided dye packets, fabric, and instructions for snow dyeing. The idea was for each of us to try it at home and bring the results to the next meeting.

Fabric is scrunched/crumpled in the colander under the snow. Dye powder is sprinkled on top.

Two days before our February meeting (ha!) I remembered our mission. I called my Mom to join me (we were to share a dye packet), and we made our "creative mess" together.

While we were at it, I wanted to try some leftover dye I'd mixed a couple of months ago. I'd read that it wouldn't work, but I wanted to see for myself, so . . .

It's a parfait!
Bucket to catch melting snow, mesh to elevate the fabric, fabric "scrumpled" on top of the mesh, snow topped off with dye.

More snow! I poured on the turquoise, brown, and yellow dyes. The worst that would happen was - - - nothing! The fabric would survive to dye another day. (sorry! I couldn't resist!)

One of many rinses/soaks.

Most of the brown and all of the yellow washed away during the rinse process, but enough turquoise stayed to make it worthwhile.

Snow dyed fabrics - I'd stitched black thread in the corners of my fabrics to identify them after they mixed with Mom's in the wash.
I think the blue fabric will make a wonderful, soft-looking sky. I'm happy I took the chance!

Quilty Goodness, Fresh off the Frame!

Tracy's beautiful batik.

Linda's Linen Lines.

Kailei's playful patchwork.

How does Ellen do it??? 

Group selfies are harder than they look!

Not everyone looks their best here (oops - creepy stalker husband alert!), but we had a good laugh trying to make it happen. My poor son is on the bottom of the pile. Ha! 

Since I happen to look FABULOUSLY YOUTHFUL here (it was kinda darkish), and since it was MY 50th BIRTHDAY, I'm posting the picture. Muaahahahaha!
My 50th birthday picture - that's me on the far right, below my "creepy stalker" hubby!
This picture also features my Mom (in green), my daughter and her children, one of my sons, and his girlfriend - you might recognize her from our recent circle-quilt cutting session. She had the ears!

I also squeezed in housekeeping, grocery shopping, three walks with my Mom, plus three more gym workouts this week. Whoop whoop!

Linking up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation 
Free Motion Mavericks @ Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Show off Saturday @ Sew Can She

Try, Learn, Grow!
Comments are welcome and will be answered by email where possible. Thanks for visiting!