Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do I Really Do This?!

First, I wanted to add a photo of some blossoms from my lilac bush outside. I love lilacs and I thinks it goes back from when I was little. When I was young, we had a neighbor who had the largest yard on the block, where all of us little kids would play. And in her yard was a lilac bush. I remember the sweet fragrance of the cluster of flowers. But I also remember the flowers being a lot larger. Perhaps, it's because I was a lot smaller in size that the flowers just seemed larger back then!

In the last post, I had explained how I solve my problems of keeping a consistent quarter of an inch seam allowance. I just wanted to prove that I use this method with all my quilts. Here are some examples:

Yoyoville still in progress. Notice the blue water-soluble pen marking on the back of the white fabric and pencil mark on the colored fabric.

Drunkard's Path pieces. This is still in the process of being drawn. If you click the above photo, you will be able the see the lines more in detail.
Again, I know that it can be a longer process to draw out each piece. It would explain why I cannot complete a quilt quickly. But for me,this extra step eliminates the time consuming process of ripping out seams when the size of the block isn't correct. And I think it's worth that extra time. But anyways, I do enjoy it, but I may be weird that way!
As for now, it is getting late. I'm working on some projects in the morning and I hoping to have some photos to post.
Until then,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Controlling Seam Allowances

In recent podcasts from Stash Resolution and Sew Stitch Create, topics of squaring up and staying within a quarter of an inch were brought up. The issue was about how you could keep the seam allowance straight so that the block you were producing would all stay a consistent size.
I had e-mailed both of them my method of solving this problem and now I'm posting it here in my blog:

Years ago, when Simply Quilts was still on television, I had seen a beautiful Irish chain quilt. I thought it would be fairly easy to make since it was made up of squares and rectangle strips. Once I had the blocks pieced, each size was a little different. How was I suppose to piece them together if they weren't the same size? I had used the 1/4 inch guide on the sewing machine and the sewing machine foot to help me, but I was still getting the same results -never the same size.

Then I had an idea.... I would draw/draft the stitch lines on the back of the fabric to show me exactly where to sew.

So, I ripped out all the seams and started over again. And this time, it worked! The blocks were all the same size!

I am using Bunny Hills Designs' free BOM pattern, Snowbound. Once the block is finished, it will be 9 inches square.

Draw/draft the pieces on the back of the fabric.

Once the pieces are cut out, place the pins in where the horizontal and vertical lines cross. (The center lone is a cut line.)

The stitch line is where the drawn line was.

Notice that the center 9-patch block is within the measurements.

Proceed adding the remaining pieces.

Completed block.

Notice the block finished at 9 inches and it still has its quarter inch seam allowances.

I don't know what this method is called but it works for me. And I still use it today. I realize it may seem like extra work, but I'm a perfectionist. Actually, I love to draft and it incorporates drafting with my quiltmaking!
I'm still working on finishing quilts tops. But I'm getting into those moods where I would do anything as long as I don't have to work on those quilts. I'm just getting tired of them. But I know, I just need to bare through it and it will be done in no time. I get like this with every quilt.
But for a quick break, I'm thinking about participating in another swap. Brye Lynn from is having a tote bag swap with her listeners. It will take my mind off those quilts for while and I may come back to them refreshed!
Hopefully next time, I'll have some photos of the tote bags.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Help! Tell Me What You Think!

I'm kinda in a pickle! The sampler quilt that I am working on has put a halt on my creativity process.

I had placed sashing around each block using 1 inch squares. But now, the sashing is so busy, the blocks get lost.

So I decided to place a thin frame around each block. I tested one to see if it worked. I'm still not sure.

So...What do you think? Which do you like better?

Photo #1 (without the framing) or

Photo #2 (with the framing)?

If you are visiting my blog, please leave a comment at the end of this post. Which should I stick with? I had some blog friends already give me their opinions, but with a few more, the verdict may be that I may just leave it as-is.

Once I can get this problem taken care of and the quilt finished, I feel I can go full-steam ahead with the next quilt. At least until the next problem arises!

Will be back later,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Signs of Spring

I love this time of year- the beginning of Spring. The frigid temperatures of winter has passed and I look forward to fresh air and warm sunshine.

The leaves on the maple trees outside are emerging.

The little flowers that appear in the grass are back.

I even enjoy seeing the dandelions (my husband disagrees)!

Except for the fact that Spring always seems to pass by too quickly. Next thing I know, the typical humid "Indian summers" of Indiana have returned within a blink of an eye.

I had received the package of eggs from the Sew~Stitch~Create Egg Swap. It was delightful to see what the other quilter/crafters had made. My kids enjoyed them as much as I did.

Quilt-wise... it is usually this time of year that I'm bursting to start something new again. Case in point, all the floral prints that I see in Baltimore type quilts are calling me, "make me, please, make me!". I feel that I'm in a "Baltimore Album" state of mind currently.

In the Reminiscence quilt, I'm planning on using Nancy Halvorsen's fabrics. I have made (or still in the process of!) a couple of quilts using her fabrics already. I will be taking the pattern with me to the quilt shop to pick the colors to match myself.

The fabrics for the Baltimore Bunnies are going to be harder to find. I'm wanting to make this quilt as close to the original as possible. The fabric lines are a little bit older, and it's just going to take a little bit longer.

I'm pretty content for now. Looking forward in getting my inspiring projects underway!

More to come later,


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another Bunny Hill Quilt

The postman had delivered another gift. Another to make me smile.

It's another Bunnyhill quilt. I have always loved Baltimore quilts and I hope to make one some day, but the whimsical bunnies make this quilt look so much fun. The designer, Anne Sutton, has a very charming, unique look to her quilts that I have fallen in love with. Just like with my Yoyoville quilt, which Anne Sutton had also designed.

I just love the bunnies.

I would love to just dive into this new quilt (being so close to Easter), but I will have to hold back. I will have to play some more "catch-up" with my older quilts. But it is surely something to look forward to!

F.Y.I.: I had decided to post two enteries today. I have upgraded my blog using the Blogger in draft and it's been a bit fustrating. I have been having difficulties in downloading photos. I had been working on the prior yoyo post for a few days due to all of the photos. Sheesh, it just wouldn't go smoothly. The quilt pattern had actually arrived two days ago, so this post is already a day late!

Gotta get back to quilting...


Traveling Yoyos

Now that baseball practice has started, I've had to find something to keep my hands busy while watching my son(s). I had decided to take along one of my newer projects with me- Yoyoville by Bunnyhill Designs. For the time being, I'm going to work on appliqueing the yoyos to the background fabric. It's something I can do and still look up and watch what's going on with practice.

I had purchased charm packs to make the yoyos. The pattern recommended using a Clover Yoyo Maker but yoyos are so simple to make.

Using a template a circle template (I recycled some lids from empty margarine tubs) and cut two sizes. The larger being the outer circumference of circle and the slightly smaller one being the fold line where you will make your running stitches. In the case of this yoyo, the outer circle is 4 1/4 inches across and the inner circle is 3 3/8 inches across, which will create a finished 1 3/4 inch yoyo.

On the right side of the fabric, trace the larger circle template on the 5 inch square and center the smaller circle template in the larger circle. Using the larger circle marking, cut out the circle.

Note: I am using a Bohin mechanical pencil. I initially got the pencil because tradition mechanical pencils tends to skip and drag the fabric when marking it. The Bohin pencil uses ceramic lead which is much smoother than tradition lead. And I just recently found out that the ceramic leads are used with water-soluble dyes and can be removed with water!!! How fabulous! I tried it and to worked! These pencils and the lead cost a little bit more, but, in my opinion, I believe that it's well worth the $$.

Once the circle is cut out, fold the fabric at the smaller circle marking with your fingers. The wrong side of the fabric should be facing you. First, make a knot in the end of the thread. Using the needle, take a small bite through both layers. Once the thread is pulled through all of the stitches, this back-stitch will help secure the knot, so it won't pull out. When placing the first stitch, insert the needle near the knot and start your stitches from there.

Using large running stitches, stitch at the fold at about 1/8 of an inch. I used hand-quilting thread because it is a little bit thicker than regular thread. Remember: The smaller stitches you use, the larger the hole in the center of your yoyo. If the stitches are to larger, it will look sloppy.

Short running stitches...

create a large opening.

Long running stitches...

create a sloppy opening.

Stitch length somewhere in between. You may have to play with the stitch length until you feel comfortable with the size.

I'm satisfied with this one!

Once the stitches are all the way around your circle, pull the thread to cinch the gathers toward the center. This is where the thicker thread is a good idea. If you pull too tight, the thread may break and you will have to do it all over again.

TIP: When your stitches reach to where you started, you will need to carefully place your stitches exactly where you place the initial stitches- have the needle go in where the first stitch went in, and have the it go out where it goes out. I used red fabric in this example to show how it is done.

If you don't follow the these stitches, the stitches will show once the thread is cinched. If done right, you will not be able to see the thread and the thread color will not matter because you will not see it.

Try to cinch the hold as tight as you can and make sure that it is in the center of your yoyo. Now, go right through to the back of the yoyo, going between the gathers so you won't see the thread.

You can place the knot on the back side of the yoyo because, usually, it will be appliqued to another piece of fabric. Not a good photo, but it will leave just a tiny spot on the back.

In my Yoyoville quilt, the yoyo will be appliqued to piece of 3 1/2 inch background fabric. Now I'll have to make 156 more!!

Until next time,