Lots of Blue and a Little Yellow

A week or so ago, I finished this quilt and sewed on the binding.

blue-quilt

This was a lot of fun to do. I got to use many of my quilting stencils, and the white thread shows up so well against the dark blue fabrics.

Since I had reached a stopping point in the sweater I was working on, I started on a new pair of socks.

blue-sock

In keeping with the whole “blue” theme, I stuffed this kitty last night.

blue-kitty

I never get tired of making these. Each one is unique. I’ve made so many — about 5o or so — that they fill more than two large shopping bags. A few weeks ago, I contacted a local homeless shelter for women and children to see if their kids would like them for Christmas. They wrote back that there aren’t enough to give to each child, but it’s just about the right number for the single women at their Day Center. Once I get up to 60, I’ll drop them off.

Now that the very blue quilt is done, this is my new quilting project. I don’t want to show much, because it’s my next Craftsy project.

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A Swatch and a Sweater

I’m at a stopping point in the knitting of this sweater. I’ve knit the left and right halves, and the next step is to join them in the center front and back. Not something I can do while watching Netflix in the evening.

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So, until I have an hour or so of quiet time to focus on stitching together the two sides, I’ll get started on a new pair of socks. I measured my gauge on a swatch of Huckleberry yarn, and plugged the numbers into my generic sock pattern.

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Tonight, I will cast on.

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Not Just for Hexagons

Recently, I’ve been trying my hand at English paper piecing, and I’m finding that I like it quite a bit.

Although it’s usually associated with hexagons, it is useful with any design that features set-in corners.

front

I’m currently working on my third block using English paper piecing. And I’ve made some improvements to my technique.

The first two blocks look pretty good on the front, but are rather messy on the back.

back

My seam allowances were wider than they needed to be, and when I wasn’t too particular about which direction they went when I pressed the blocks. Mostly, I just wanted to get them pressed as flat as possible!

The star block on the left was the first one I made, and I thread-basted all the pieces. For the second one, on the right, I employed glue basting with a small glue stick. That was less time-consuming than thread basting, since I didn’t have to remove the basting after the block was completed, but I had to periodically go wash my hands to remove the sticky residue.

Then I learned about the Sewline Fabric Glue Pen. The glue pen is smaller than even the smaller gluesticks available at Staples or Office Depot. I still got some glue on my fingers, but it was definitely an improvement.

units

This time around, I’m also trying to be neater with my seam allowances. I cut them less generously, and trimmed the pointy ends before I began stitching the pieces together.

I’ve also changed my approach to the order in which I sew the pieces together. For the second block, I had more or less started at the bottom left corner, and added pieces working outward and upward. About two-thirds of the way through, I found that some of my pieces were not aligning as well as they should.

So on this current block, I’ve broken it down into small units which I will later join together into intermediate units, and finally join those together to finish the block.

 

 

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A Blue Quilt

As usual, I am rotating my time among several different projects — stuffed kitties, a couple of hand pillows, knitting a sweater, sewing a series of quilt blocks, to list just a few.

But I’m having a lot of fun quilting this little quilt I made using some blocks I made to test the instructions for the 2016 Row by Row quilt at Pacific Fabrics, where I work.

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The blocks are 9″ x 9″, set 4 across and 4 down. The alternate squares provide nice open space to quilt wreath designs, and the pieced blocks are just right to quilt 3″-wide border motifs.

Often I’ll donate a quilt top made from my stash to the Linus Project but this one I decided to keep. Someday, I think it will make a great baby quilt.

 

 

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The Ultimate Scrap Quilt

For some time now, I’ve been sewing together small bits of leftover fabric that I collect in zip-lock bags, and turning them into pillow covers and occasionally a quilt top.

Some of the pieces are quite small — two inches square, or even smaller. It’s a wonder that I keep them. But it’s so easy to just toss them into a plastic bag.

This month, I went a step further.

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I had previously made a heart quilt where the background was pieced from leftover bits of all the same fabric, and the heart was made of random strips sewn together.

This time around, the whole thing was crazy pieced.

Very few design decisions go into this sort of construction. Here, the background fabrics are primarily tints of blue and pink, with some lavender and yellow or beige thrown in.

The corner squares are made from the triangles trimmed away from the star-point rectangles. I sewed together two triangles, added some strips to bring them up to size (12-1/2″ unfinished) and then a triangle in one corner to anchor it.

Below is a picture of the outer side rectangles before the star points were added.

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Unintentionally, the focal point turned out to be the yellow square in the center star.

Someday, I think it will make a fine baby quilt.

 

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Not So Ugly After All

For the last few months, I’ve been engaged in an ongoing project where I am making a series of blocks using fabrics from my bin of batik fabrics paired with the same background fabric.

There is this one fabric that, whenever I have come across it, I have always looked at it and thought to myself, “This is kind of ugly, and I don’t know what I will ever do with it.” And then I put it back on the stack.

batik-star

Well, I finally did something with it, and  to my surprise, it looks pretty good!

batik-star-block

 

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So Many Projects, So Little Blogging

Between this pillow, that sweater, some quilting over there, and trying my hand at English paper piecing — not to mention enjoying a couple months of summer in Seattle — posting to this blog has definitely been relegated to the proverbial back burner.

I will make a concerted effort this month to write a bit about everything I’ve been turning my hand to lately.

Today, I will feature my latest Craftsy project, “Stained Glass Squares,” which I (finally) finished (hand) quilting a couple weeks ago.

stained-glass

Yes, yes, if I’d gotten it machine quilted, it wouldn’t have taken so long. But I like to hand quilt, and this way I was able to feature a different motif in each square and rectangle.

quilting

 

 

 

 

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