Country Threads Sampler for 2014

Happy Saturday, a Spring Humid Day in Texas.  Now tomorrow will be Fall.  Isn’t this fun?

Today I have all my block patterns ready to cut out for my Country Threads 2014 BOM.  I am trying to get back on track for my 2014 projects, so this morning I decided I would pull fabrics for this project.  I am going to try to use up some of my scraps and fabric left over from other projects.  Moda had a line of fabric a few years back by Joanna Figueroa from Fig Tree Quilts and I finally made the House quilt – is it put together, NO.  Maybe sometime this year.  I was not pleased with the outcome as there were problems with the pattern, of course.

OK, I have digressed.  Here is a picture of the fabrics I will be using for this 2014 BOM.  I have added some Moda Marbles, and old Marble Mates that were popular about 8 years ago (I think).  Anyway, I am hoping it turns out – should be interesting.  I usually tend to gravitate to the darker shades of the colors, but this will be fun to try something different.

Have a great week-end!

Why Quilters Give Up on Projects

Greetings, it is Spring Time in Texas, at least for a few days!

How many times have you started a project and ended up either putting the unfinished project it in a drawer, giving it away, use the fabric for scraps, or just throwing it away.  I started piecing in 2004 and it is 10 years later and I now understand exactly why this happens.  I have just completed my 2 blocks for Barbara Brackman’s 2014 BOM.  She does not provide cutting instructions for the blocks,  so I used my EQ Software to reproduce the block.

I used my EQ print out for rotary cutting and soon found out that the software is programmed to follow the “standard” rule in rotary cutting.  So I made a sample block from scraps to identify problems:   Here is a picture of the Center Star.  To achieve perfection, I had to add 1/4″ to the star points (flying geese) strips.  I tested it without and did not have enough fabric to trim them.  My points would have been cut off when sewn to the rest of the block.
Here is a picture of the finished sample block.  As you can see, there are issues with the Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs).    I did not increase the cutting size that EQ7 provided as to identify any problems I might encounter when using my best fabric.  As you can see the secondary brown triangles around the Center Star do not line up together. 
Here are the finished blocks for January and February.  The lesson I learned in this project is that EQ allows the Quilter to input the desired seam allowance size, but it uses the standard rotary cutting rule that all Designers use.  So if a Quilter cuts according to the pattern instructions, it is best to use a “scant” quarter inch when sewing the block together.  Or, the alternative is to add at least 1/4″ when cutting strips and use 50 weight thread when sewing the project.  Might make things a little less frustrating.  

Tomorrow I plan on working on my Country Threads BOM.  The other 2 monthly projects are applique and I think I might have to wait to start them as I am still working on my BAS projects.  

Organizing My Quilt World

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

In 2009 when we doubled the size of our “play” Studio, we had a great indoor carpet laid by one of the best companies available.  Each year it appeared that there were problems with the installation.  The carpet  in one of the rooms appeared to have bubbles in it.  Long story short – the company came out and advised us that they would rip up the existing carpet and re-install new carpet (and at no charge to us – just move everything out of the room).   Wouldn’t you know that the room just happened to be where I keep the majority of my fabric for quilting and my computer area.  I really dreaded having to just move the fabric from one room to the other because I knew that would be a chore in itself.  But, my 2014 promise was to get organized, so I decided that there might be a better way to put the fabric back on the shelves.  I took each piece of fabric that I have (1 to 10 yard pieces) and folded them into flats.  It was a good idea, but the entire process took over 4 days to complete.   Hubby was the real unlucky one – he had to tear down the computer desk and put it back together.  This was not his favorite part of the party and I do not blame him.

 Here is a picture of what the stash looked like before:

Here is the “After” picture:

This fabric is on the opposite wall in the same room.  I decided that I just had to refold all of this fabric into flats to make better use of my space.  It worked (so did I):

Here is a picture of my computer area.  Hubby made this from cabinets and a counter top from Home Depot years ago.  I love it.  He customized it for me this weekend – see the little shelf above my CPU on the left?  He built that for me to put my external hard drives and help remove clutter from the desktop!  He also built the pull out shelve for the keyboard.   Clever guy!

Here are some pictures of my sewing room.  See the plastic bins?  I emptied 5 of them.  It is always nice to have a quilting friend who can use the scraps and fabric that I know I would never use.

This is my Handi-Quilter.  The table was one that they sold in 2005 when I purchased the machine.  Terrible engineering.  Hubby remade it for me and it works great.

When I first started quilting I used a regular ironing board, and we all know how much fun it is to iron a 2 yard piece of fabric on one.  When we added this room I purchased the Elfa cabinets and Hubby cut a piece of Mahogany for me and I covered it with muslin.  Wonderful ironing board.

This corner has two wonderful windows where I can watch the birds and squirrels when I am working on a quilt.

As I was refolding all the fabric, I kept asking myself, “What have I been doing”?  All of this fabric and I still purchase more?  Well, today I am no longer subscribing to some quilt stores – Yup, need to start using this fabric and quit collecting it.  I still have some in the house that I purchased while in Arizona and Oklahoma this winter.  Almost nowhere to put it.  So now that I am so totally organized, and rested from this ordeal, I am going to start working on my 2014 projects.  
I have completed all the preparation work for the BAS blocks, just need to start working on them.  Time now to go play and work on my Threads of Memory, Benjamin Biggs, and Country Threads.  The Austen Family Album quilt BOW is starting in April……….Yikes!
Have a great day.  

The Baltimore Album Society Donation Quilts – The Process

It is a nice day today here in Texas.  We are hoping for rain this weekend.  I have been working on the preparation work for the 2 Small Quilts for the Baltimore Album Society Internet Auction.  

I have traced all pieces for each block and now I am ready for fabric selection.  I have not decided whether or not to do them in batiks, reproductions, or other fabrics.  There are approximately 100 pieces in each block.  The Hervey Quilt block will be the easiest to applique, but the Lady of Victory Block will take a little more time.  My goal is to have the fabric selected, freezer paper pieces pressed and marked and ready for applique by Monday.  I will need to have them appliqued and quilted and ready to go no later than the 8th of August.

The preparation work is usually the most difficult.  Selecting the colors and fabric are fun, especially as I applique the pieces onto the background fabric.  It always amazes me when the project is complete!

Here is a picture of the background fabric I have selected.  One might barely see that I have traced the pattern onto the fabric.   I am using Michael Miller Krystals number 1008-D.

Below is the pattern for the Hervey Block.  A few pieces to work on.

Below is the pattern for the Lady of Victory Block.  A few more pieces to work on.  I have not worked on a Horn of Plenty block before, should be fun.

Next week I will start quilting Linda’s quilt for her Grandson.  Linda and I try to get together twice a month and quilt.  She did a great job on this quilt.  
My goal is to have it quilted by the 21st of March, probably sooner.  Linda was able to find some matching fabric for the back. 
.Have a great day.  

My Dutch Triangles – Quilted

I do not know how I did this today, but it is quilted.  Of course, in my quilting life nothing really goes easy.  The stitch regulator on my Handi-Quilter decided to act up, and when I got to the last row to quilt, I realized that the backing was even with the top and no extra wiggle room.  Now this is a nightmare for a long arm quilter.  The rule is to add 4″ to the quilt back on all sides so there is plenty of fabric to “float” the quilt top. I figured that it seemed to go well with this quilt – probably a payback for letting it sit for almost 14 months.   After I took it off the frame I realized that I had squeaked on this one.  It came out just right – do not know how this happened, but as I said before, my quilting life is not all that perfect.

The quilt measures 88″ x 100″ – WOW.  I did free motion meandering and I used a gold thread.  Well, I am now half blind and have eye strain and I think my back will be sore.  I had to almost lay on the quilt in order to see where I was going (LOL).  Anyway, I will never leave a quilt in the frame as long as I did this.  2013 was not the best year – do not think it was a good one for anyone – I am just glad to have finished the project.  Now for the binding.

I really love all aspects of the quilting, but somehow we quilters feel that we have “finished” a quilt when the top is complete, but lo…… there is one step left – making the sandwich and quilting it, then the joy of binding it!  I just love making tops, not sure about all the work that goes into either machine or hand quilted quilts, and the binding on a large quilt like this is just not fun to do.

Have a great evening.  Next project – finish the preparation work on my 2 Baltimore Album quilt blocks for the BAS Auction.   The quilt is so large it is difficult to get a good picture, but I am pleased with them.

Organized – At Last

I have finally become an organized Quilter!  Wonder how long this will last.
I have cleaned out tons of downloaded patterns from 2000 that will never be made, or used for that matter. The trash man loved me yesterday!  We were in the Spring mode this last week-end – now we are back to Winter, with a little rain.  So as we all do in Spring, it was time to clean things out.  Time to move new things in.

I have finally started quilting the Dutch Triangles, the poor quilt that had been loaded in the frame since January 2013!  I found the pattern on the back of a 2007 Quilter’s Newsletter magazine.  The original quilt maker is unknown.  I chose fabrics that I had purchased in Branson, Missouri in 2002.  They were probably some of the first reproduction fabrics.  When I decided to make the quilt, I had realized that pinks were really not my favorite colors, but since I had purchased the fabric line, I shut my eyes and made the most of selecting the fabrics.  This quilt was also my first attempt at making a scrappy quilt.  I made the blocks up but a friend come over and helped me with placement.  Here is a picture of the quilt that was in the magazine:

A picture of the quilt loaded and some quilting that I was able to do late Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday was not the day for quilting – it was an errand day.  So today I am headed off to quilt.  I hope I can finish it today. This will be a “utility” quilt so I am doing free motion meandering.  

Now this was not a “planned” picture, I just happened to catch the famous Oscar Picture Tweet – Interesting.

This is my Handi-Quilter (of 2005) and the now infamous table that did not stay on the market very long – Hubby had to re-engineer the table because of its’ instability.

Until next time, relax, have fun, and enjoy quilting.

Spring is Coming?

Here in South Texas, the weather is so confused that we have been through all 4 Seasons in the last 6 weeks.  This is just a hard to deal with as individuals who live in the Northern part of the country having to deal with all the snow.  I yearn for the good ole’ days when we had “Seasons”.  Change of the Seasons is so good for our physical and mental health.  But I guess we must learn to adapt to changes.

This year I decided I would set project goals and so far so good.  The Irish Mist put me behind about 3 weeks, and I volunteered to be a Moderator for the Applique Boutique Yahoo Group.  I am enjoying all of it.  It is so nice to connect with other Quilters and see their work and learn new ideas or challenges.

I am now starting on my 2 Baltimore Album Quilt Blocks for the Baltimore Applique Society (BAS)  fund raiser. I volunteered to make 2 blocks.  So I am now in the process of tracing the pieces from the pattern on to freezer paper, cutting them out and putting them in baggies.  The next step will be to select fabrics.  Now that can be fun, because I must decide whether to make them both traditional Baltimore Album’s or maybe make one with Batiks –  I love batiks but of course, batiks were not on the market in the 1800’s!

Here are pictures of the blocks that I have selected.  I have until August to complete them.  They will be auctioned off on the BAS Internet Fund Raiser Auction at a later date.

I will post my progress.   Along with this project, I will be quilting a Civil War Reproduction quilt that I made using some fabrics I purchased in 2002.  The fabric line came out in 2000.  I finished the quilt in 2006, but I have let it gather a lot of dust and it is time to finish the quilt!

Have a great day and stay warm, cool, or dry – whichever weather you are blessed with!

Irish Mist In Red and Black

It is always a happy day and yet a day of relief when a Quilter finishes a project.  This project turned out to take me longer than I had planned, but I am very pleased with the outcome.  Lessons learned in making this quilt.

  1. Review the pattern completely.  Try to match the cutting instructions to where the pieces will go in the quilt.  
  2. Consider adding an extra 1/4″ to cutting instructions for Flying Geese, HST, and QST’s.  This will allow the Quilter to have extra fabric to “square” or “trim” the piece. 
  3. If the pattern does not make sense, or if measurements are not provided to sections of the quilt (i.e., like the triangle that I had problems with in this quilt), call the Designer and ask for those measurements.  
  4. Do not give up on a pattern when you run into a problem.  Designer’s really do not mind questions to clarify and assist. 
Enjoy the pictures, and now on to my next project.  I will be making 2 Baltimore Album blocks for the Baltimore Applique Society (BAS) auction.  They will be due in August 2014.  So time to get going on that.  I will document how I prepare my needleturn applique projects. 
I will also be starting on another pieced quilt to work on during the day, but have not decided which one is next.  I want to make Marsha McCloskey’s Feathered Star quilt, but not sure I want to tackle two intense quilts right now.  

Have a great day and hope you enjoyed the process. 

Moving Along with the "Re-Do"

I am finally making progress.  I have finished all the Star Blocks for Irish Mist and getting ready to start on the panels – the ones that I messed up in the previous version of the quilt…I hope to have them completed today… wishful thinking.  Making the quilt the 2nd time (although I wasted time and fabric) really makes a difference.  I have a better understanding of where each stack of squares, rectangles, etc. will go.   I know which way to press the seams – not relying on the pattern – and taking extra care in cutting, squaring, and sewing.  The secret is pin, pin, pin, and go slow

 This is the first time a Designer actually indicated that  a “scant” quarter inch seam allowance was used throughout the quilt.  This really assists the quilter in knowing whether or not to adjust their sewing machine.  AND all machines are different.  I have Husqvarna Designer and a Husqvarna Sapphire.  Each of them are different in setting the seam allowance.  I always thought that my 1/4″ seam allowance on the Designer was exactly that.  Well, it a “generous” 1/4″.  Last year when I was working on my Floating Stars quilt I realized that I needed to “adjust” that 1/4″ seam.  I keep a note on my table that has the settings for a full 1/4″ and a “scant” for both machines.  This way I do not “forget” and have to rip, rip, rip, of which I have done a lot of “ripping” to achieve a quilt that is square when completed.   This information is so critical for new quilters because it can be the deciding factor if the have problems when making first time quilts.  I firmly believe that this is why many newbies give up.  It is so frustrating to make a quilt and when completed it is not squared, points are cut off, seams do not match, etc. 


Irish Mist Quilt

                                                HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
During the next few days I will be posting my journey with a quilt called Irish Mist.  I started the quilt in January, and  had issues with cutting instructions and a mistake I made.  So I now call the quilt the “Re-Do” quilt.  Ever start a quilt thinking, “ah this is a well written pattern and I should not have any issue” only to have the opposite outcome?  The hiccups I encountered were minor but caused me major problems.   I am sure there are other quilters out there who experience hiccups with pattern directions and just throw their hands up and walk away and the quilt goes in the UFO pile.
Half Square Triangles, Quarter Square Triangles, Square in a Square, and Flying Geese (FG) can drive a Quilter absolutely nuts.  The Designer provided a very good technique in making Flying Geese – 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ (unfinished)
 –  To make 4 FG, the pattern called for 1 each 5 1/4″ square and 4 each 2 7/8″ squares.   I followed the cutting instructions, made about 60 FG – only to find out when putting the blocks together that my points were cut off, or one was perfect the other not.  UGH
Then there was the lovely mistake that I made.  When I am making a quilt with lots of pieces, and specific color placement, I use a small label to make sure that I do not mix things up…..Well, so much for me. I accidentally picked up a wrong piece and really messed up 2 weeks of work!  Lesson Learned.   Read the pattern, study where the pieces go before any cutting is completed and if possible, make a practice block.   
To remake the quilt, I had to order 4 yards of new background fabric (another cost and delay).  The second go around I changed the cutting for the FG.  For a nice finished FG at 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″,  I cut a 5 1/2″ square of the background fabric  and 4 each 3 1/8″ squares.   Even with all the  hiccups, I do believe the pattern is well written and the quilt will be pretty when completed.   Here is a picture of the fabrics I selected to make this quilt:
This is a picture of the center of the quilt as of 24 Jan 2014.  It was not soon after that when I realized I had major problems.  This quilt is now in the “never to be finished” bin!
Here are a few pictures of the problems with the points because of cutting the large square for the FG at 5 1/4″ and the 2 7/8″ squares. 
By using the 5 1/2″ and the 3 1/8″ squares, this problem has been resolved.  Whew!
Here are the steps for the Flying Geese using a 5 1/2″ square and 4 each – 3 1/8″ squares.
 (Newbie having problems with adding pictures – will work on this later.)




I have now received the new background fabric and have re-cut all the background pieces and any of the other fabrics that needed to be re-cut.  The new background (Hoffman Batik) has a little more blue in it that the original, but I like it better.  The Quilt has 4 Large Star Blocks, 4 Small Star Blocks, and a Center Block, 4 Side panels, and lots of 2 1/2″ squares for the corners of the quilt.  Here are pictures of the “redo” of the quilt blocks that I have finished and the blocks that I will now start working on.  I still have a lot of work to complete this quilt, but feel that it will be worth the effort put forth.
 Center Star Block, Large Star Block and the Small Star Block.

Now on to making 4 blocks like this.  I lay blocks with numerous piecies on a large Creative Grid ruler and stack them accordingly to prevent me from making “dumb” errors, although no guarantee on this one as I can still make boo boo’s. ( Excuse the color changes in the pictures, I am trying to get the adjustments on the camera)
Completed Blocks


I hope that you have enjoyed my first Blog and hopefully the experience I have had might help you in your next project.   


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