Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

4 Patch Into 16 Patch

January 12, 2019

I joined a block swap in Tucson Estates this winter where each person makes a 4 patch, and then receives one from each participant.  I thought we were going to make 1 block to swap, and it turned out to be 4 blocks to swap.  Multiply that by 16, and that’s 64  blocks.  Good thing it’s an easy block to make.

I’d never seen this before, and it is a variation of the popular disappearing 9 patch technique – of which I’ve done, but never starting with a 4 patch and ending up with a 16 patch block.

Here is what you start with – a simple 4 patch:

1

These happen to be 3.5″ squares, but you could make them any size you like.

The first cut is to take 1.75″ off each side.  That is one half of each block, so if you want to start with 6″ blocks, you’d cut off 3″ from each side.  This is what it looks like when you make the first cuts:

2a

Then you rotate the cut pieces:

2

And sew them together:

2b

Now you cut 1.75″ off the top and bottom of this block:

4a

Then you rotate the cut strips again and sew together:

5

Voila!!! You have created a 16 patch with not a lot of little squares to sew together.

Pat N. taught us how to do this, and she did a great job.  Thank-you, Pat.

Will I do this again?  Only with different ironing or opening up the center of the 4 patch and twirling the seams so you can iron towards the dark fabric all the time.  I found I couldn’t get perfect point matching because the seams didn’t nest for me.

I’m not a pinner, so that could also be the reason.  When I’ve made this block before, I’ve always ironed toward the dark fabric, and never had the need to pin.  I’m a big proponent of nested seams.

16 more blocks to make, and then onto the shorts/pants.

Hugs…

 

 

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Pfaff Passport 3.0

November 9, 2018

My almost 15 year old Janome 720 Platinum sewing machine well and truly died a few weeks ago.  I loved that little sewing machine.  It sewed through lots of layers, and never needed to be repaired.

The computer board died, and the turn wheel seized up.  The machine has been discontinued, and even if the parts were available, it would have cost more to repair it, than it was worth.  I did check with a couple of different shops before starting the search for a new sewing machine.

Many hours of research later, I narrowed it down to two machines, another Janome, or the Pfaff Passport.  I was interested in the Ever Sewn line also, but one of the youtube videos promoting the machine, showed it sewing out decorative stitches.  In the short bit shown, there was a thread loop on the top.  Combine that with no dealer support, and I ruled out that machine. It was half the price of what I ended up purchasing though.

My priority was good stitch quality, light weight, needle down abilty, able to sew without the foot pedal, speed control, needle threader, free motion available,  and a few decorative stitches.  Went to the local dealers, test sewed with the machines – with my own fabric, interfacing and batting layers – wrote on the fabric samples what machine was used to create the stitch samples, then came home and thought about it.  I find if I can take my time with making a decision, I’m usually happy with it for the rest of my life.  😉

The Pfaff Passport 3.0 was the winner.  It came home with me yesterday, and I did a bit of sewing with it today.  It threads differently, so I will have to get used to that, and I’ll have to get familiar with which button to push for the function I want, but that will hopefully be a short learning curve.

Here is what my little darlin’ looks like in my sewing cabinet:

Passport

And yes, that is snow on the trees, visible through the window.  It was a good day to turn on all the lights in my sewing room, and familiarize myself with my new sewing machine.  I had to make my own sunshine today, because I sure as heck wasn’t getting any from the dreary Upstate New York sky today.

And WOW, I think my new little darlin’ just named herself.  Sunny!!!  I had a dear knitting machine friend named Sunny.  Coincidence that name came to mind?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes our brain makes connections without us even being aware of it, and this is one of those times.

Hugs…

 

 

 

Santa is Pieced

October 8, 2018

I’ve been busy working on projects, and can happily share the completed quilt top that has been a work in progress for a couple of years – yes a couple of years:

Santa Done

All that embroidery is by hand – the large Santas and the small cornerstone designs, then it was arranged differently from the original pattern.  I saw this setting at a quilt show and loved it, so made it happen for my quilt too.   Now for the quilting by check book.  😉

I also finished up a huck towel.  I’m a member of a few art groups, and this one tries new ideas every month.  All I can say is, huck embroidery is not my thing.  This is a one and done:

Huck

Now, what next?  I have so many new patterns I want to make, and so many unfinished projects that could be tackled.  Wonder which will win?

Hugs…

Santa Quilt

September 1, 2018

No, it’s not Christmas, but it is September first.  Where in the world did summer go?  We’re still having summer weather, so it’s shorts and t-shirts being worn everyday, but Christmas in my sewing studio.  Why Christmas?  The Santa quilt has finally gotten some attention again.

I’ve talked about working on the Santa quilt so much here,  that it is way past time to give you all a status update.  This might take the record for taking me the longest quilt to piece, but here is how it looks so far:

First Row

The Santas are hand embroidered redwork designs (so are the little cornerstones inside the stars), and all  embroidery has been done for over a year.  I placed 5 little pieced blocks  around the Santas to add interest.  Then I added a 1/2″ black border to set off the blocks.  All 12 of them are ready to be added to the lattice.

Each lattice piece is different, and there is no pattern, and that is what I’ve consistently been screwing up.  I’m winging it and trying to make the stars wonky.  Wonky is hard for me.  Precise positioning is easy – as those little blocks around the Santas pretty much well prove my point.  Some of them have 32 pieces in them, and they finish to 4″.

I’ve taken each visit to the seam ripper with a good attitude though.  It’s only fabric.  I have more of it.  Mistakes happen, and either having to take BP medication for the first time in my life, or old age has mellowed me out.  Surprises even me.  😉

I love, love, love this quilt, and hope to get it completely pieced by the end of September, but am not making any promises.  I thought it would be pieced by the end of June, then the end of July, then the end of August.  Now I know it will be completely pieced when it’s ready to be completely pieced.

Hugs…

Free Motion Quilting

August 14, 2018

I used to be pretty good at FMQ, but my oh my, did that recent Comfort Quilt test my patience.  I lost my FMQ mojo.  That’s what happens when you don’t practice – often.

I was so upset that I was considering purchasing a new sewing machine – the Juki straight stitch only one – the mini version.  Came to my senses and realized, no, it wasn’t the sewing machine’s fault, it was little old me.

Determined to get better, I watched FMQ shows on YouTube and old Craftsy classes I had purchased, and practiced, practiced, practiced.  After 2 weeks of almost daily practice, this is what I sewed out today:

FMQ

Yes!!!  Now that’s more like it.  Not perfect, but I’m happy with the improvement.

I will now practice FMQ a few times a week, or I’ll lose my mojo again, and can’t let that happen.  😉

Hugs..

Good to Feel Good Again

August 3, 2018

It’s been a long haul here, but I’m finally feeling good again.  Let me tell you, it’s no fun to be dizzy, short of breath, and have no energy for a couple of months.  It lasted way too long, but am very grateful to be doing well again.

Comfort Quilt #16 was started in Tucson, and completed in Churchville.  It was free motion quilted on my Pfaff – with the nice big space between the needle and machine.  It’s the next best thing to a sit down quilting machine set-up.

Comfort Quilt 16

The fabric was gifted to me by a dear friend, and now I am passing along the good will by donating it to my quilt guild’s Comfort Quilt group.

Hugs…

 

Delilah Pieced

May 17, 2018

Oh Happy Days!!!  Delilah is pieced.  I’ve hired a long arm quilter to do the quilting as the sheer number of seams in this quilt has intimidated the bejeebers out of me.

My Delilah completedI attempted to create some places for your eye to rest by using a red and white polka dot fabric for most of the small solid colored squares in this quilt.  I don’t think that was successful, but it did result in a much lighter, brighter quilt – which is fine by me.

Delilah made her debut for Show and Tell today at an art group meeting, and after the reveal, I was rewarded by a resounding silence.  Seems this quilt is not for everyone.  That’s okay.  I kind of like it.  After grousing about it from day one,  I’ve finally come around to appreciating her.

So far there have been only 2 people who responded well to this quilt.  One because of the pattern complexity, and the other because of the bright colors.  I’ll take all the positive responses I can get after working on this for a full 12 months.

Tomorrow, I’ll cut the backing fabric, iron the top again, remove all the little threads, then package it all up for Kim Swink – the talented long arm quilter I’ve hired.

Next up is either the Comfort Quilt I made in Arizona, or the Santa quilt.  I haven’t decided which project it will be yet, but I really like both of them, so have some happy, creative days ahead of me.

Hugs…

 

9 Black Cockatoo Blocks Completed

April 23, 2018

My oh my, I had issues with sewing this simple block.  I have no clue why this happened, but Black Cockatoo, and the substitution I used – Interwoven Star from EQ-8 almost defeated me.  I don’t know if it was because I was excited this was the last shipment, or because I wanted to zip through the process so I could start assembling the quilt.

Here is picture of all 9 blocks:

9 Black CockatooThe bottom right one is the way Jen designed the block, and it grates on my nerves, so I only made one according to the pattern.  The Interwoven Star design is nicely balanced, with resting spots for my eye, so the other 8 blocks I made were that design.

The only onesthat laid perfectly flat was the first one I made on the first row on the left, and the paper pieced one I made that is in the middle of the bottom row.  All the rest had to be ironed into submission.  Have no clue why, as the fabric was all cut the same way, but they needed quality time with my iron and Best Press.

Next are a bunch of half square triangles, and hopefully, they’ll be completed this week.

We are back from Tucson, and while I miss the sun, I don’t miss the really hot temperatures they are having now. And it is oh so great to be back home so I can  pull fabric from my collection, and leave it on my cutting table, chairs, and various tables, then close the door and not see the mess.

We live in our RV when we’re in Tucson, and you really have to put everything away, everyday, or you have no room to eat, or prepare meals.  It wastes a lot of time, and the older I get, the more aware I am of wasted time.

My solution?  I’m going to try and bring more handwork projects down next year.  Setting up and taking down the sewing machine will be reserved for when I go to the craft room with our quilting group.  There is plenty of room to spread out there.

Hugs…

 

Princess Blocks Completed

March 30, 2018

 

Happy Days!!!  This block was oh so pretty, and such a pain in the neck to make.  Lots and lots of pieces, but I promised you I’d show you the 2nd variation of it, and made my last two blocks using this variation.

Here’s what it looks like partially put together:

mine 8a

I combined 2 templates to create one new one for the center pieces.

mine 8

And that is the block completed.  Do I like it?  Not really.  It’s pretty, but doesn’t look enough like the original Princess Cut block design.  It was a piece of cake to piece, as I eliminated 8 seams from a seam heavy 6″ block, but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as the 1st variation I made.

Since I had already cut out the material for another block using this 2nd variation, I did sew it together:

mine 9The Princess Cut blocks are now completed, and it’s a good thing they are, as I received the templates for the last block – Black Cockatoo this week.  More new fabric, new templates, and a new design to create.  Let the fun begin!!!

Hugs…

Delilah Princess Cut Blocks

March 24, 2018

I have been busy having a good time on vacation, and doing a little sewing.  The Delilah Princess Cut templates arrived, and 32 pieces in a finished 6″ block makes for a lot of seams.  See?

mine 1

mine 2

mine 3

mine 4

One of the fabrics I received has a nice oval design which was pretty large for any of the pieces in this block.  What to do?  What to do?  Create a new template!  I traced the template onto the back of the fabric, then flipped the template over to draw the other half of the design – matching up the dots.  I now had template large enough to handle the fabric design:

mine 5 explained

Whoa, I apologize for the blurry picture.  I must have moved my hand when taking the photo, but if you don’t mind squinting, you can see that the oval shapes are complete – with no seam down the middle of the fabric design.  Success!

Flush with that accomplishment, I realized it would now require a different piecing assembly, and guess what?  It was actually easier to piece this block by eliminating 4 of the seams.

I didn’t finish piecing this block, so you could follow along if so desired.  I pieced the tiny triangles in the block center together into pairs, and pressed the center seam open.  Pieced the fabric with the oval design on it to that section.  Then it was simply a matter of sewing the text fabric pieces to the sides, and adding the corner fabric pieces.

I ended up with 4 ltriangles that were pieced together to form yet another larger triangle – which was half the block, seen on the right side of the photo.  Then simply piece the two large triangles together to form the completed block.  Voila!

I am so pleased that I was able to make use of the complete fabric design as a feature of this block, and ended up with less bulky seams, and still honored the block design.  That was a trifecta of happiness, and one long sentence.  What can I say?  My brain works in threes.  😉

Stay tuned, because my next bright idea will do away with 8 seams.  I hope to get that block cut out and sewn this week.  It’s kind of hard to concentrate on sewing when the weather in Tucson is so gorgeous, but I really want to complete all 9 of the Princess Cut Blocks while I’m still in Tucson.  The next, and last, TOM will be shipped soon, and it would be great if I could start on that when it arrives.

Hugs…