Wednesday, 14 January 2015

more works in progress

Before I continue, thank you to all the people who left comments in my Sunday post about binding quilt – it seems we all use more or less the same method!

My year will not continue in this vein. Right now, many Australians are on their summer break. Schools are having their summer holidays/vacation. Nearly everything I am involved with is in recess until later in January. That means I have plenty of time to play in my sewing room if I feel so inclined.

Since my post last Wednesday about works in progress, these are the projects that have had some attention:


I only had to finish sewing down the binding on this quilt. However, I had a lot of trouble with the fourth corner, even more than usual, so I had to unpick the binding and carefully sew it back on again. The fourth corner is now the best corner of the lot! I referred to my issues with mitred corners in my post on Sunday; this is a skill I really want to master this year, sooner rather than later. Here’s a photo of the finished quilt (not my work remember; I only added the binding -- I wouldn’t mind laying claim to it though! It’s a great pattern beautifully constructed; if a little too large for me to hold up for the photograph!).

four patch


The only task left on this quilt was to hand-stitch the binding down. I completed this by the bright, fluoresent light of my sewing room around one o’clock one morning! This is another beautiful quilt (not made by me) but, again, too big for me to hold the width while being photographed!

 Triangle Flowers and Brights quilt


This was the project I showed in my post on Sunday. I was quite surprise and pleased to find that I could quilt almost the whole block in one continuous line – joy! It may not look like it but, with the exception of the two grey lines which were quilted in a different colour, this was how it was done. Quilting gloves and the extension table for my sewing machine made the job easier too!

Kerrys quilt block quilting

Despite my joy at completing this project, I’ve decided that quilting in the ditch and dragging a twin-size bed topper through my wide-necked machine are not my favourite parts of the process!


Between bouts of quilting, to alleviate the stiffness in my shoulders and neck, I tried to work on the QAYG blocks. I found and cut some batting and backing. I learnt, very quickly, that pre-cutting QAYG backs the finished size is a recipe for disaster! Of course, this makes sense given that we always make our backing larger than our quilt top before quilting and trim away the excess afterwards! So, after carefully cutting several backings to 9.5”, it took only two strips to realise that wasn’t going to work. Fortunately, I have a lot of fabric so making new backings, 10.5” this time, wasn’t a problem. I will save the 9.5” squares (they’re all the same fabric) for another project.

I made a mess of the first block made on the 10.5” backing by not using strips that were long enough! We live and learn and now I know two ways not to do it! Plus I have one orphan block for another project! I watched several videos about QAYG (hurrah for YouTube) and thought I could see my way forward with this project.

Today, I am feeling unexpectedly lethargic (despite a full night’s sleep) so have been pottering on this project. Unfortunately, it means I’ve learnt yet another way not to make it work! The pre-existing blocks are made in a particular way, with a 9.5” front and back and a piece of 9” wadding centred between! I started with a 10.5” back and made all my strips the same (diagonal) length as the ever-shrinking back (it’s being quilted remember) but the wadding moved and ended up less than a quarter of an inch from the edge of the front and back in some places and nearly an inch away from the edge in others! I thought securing it with pins while I sewed on the strips was enough but apparently not enough to stop it from shifting! Thank goodness for seam rippers! Any hints you can give would be greatly appreciated since it’s another three weeks before I see my teacher again!


To complete each churn dash block, I need four ‘side’ units and four ‘corner’ units. I am making the corner units with HST (as expected) but I’m making the ‘side’ units from one strip and two squares – it’s a little bit different and helps remind me that these are scrappy blocks after all! I was very excited to see the first Churn Dash block come together – this is my first ever churn dash block and I’m very pleased!

first block completed

So far, I have made two complete blocks and have eight extra ‘corner’ units completed.

Other than that, I have also cleaned my machine – I try to remember to do it regularly, especially after working with batting: that always seems to make additional lint!

I’m not sure that there will be a “works in progress” post next week – I will be away for three and a half days: tomorrow, WM and I are joining several other couples from church for a long weekend away at Sanctuary Point on the south coast.

I’m linking this post with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced blog (hosted by Lee) when it goes live later today.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What about you?
What have you been working on this week?

Monday, 12 January 2015

slow stitching on a wet Sunday afternoon

WM is not well so what could be a better way of spending a wet Sunday afternoon than curled up in front of the television watching the final two-part episode of “A Touch of Frost” (a British detective series) while sewing down the binding on a quilt?

The quilt was donated to our quilting group by my quilting teacher in 2013 in response to the terrible bush-fires that occurred in September of that year in which 200 homes were lost and a further 200 were damaged. This donated quilt was only at the basting stage and no amount of effort by me at the time it was given would have gotten it done in time. I asked my teacher if she’d like it back but she said that once given, it was given (or something to that effect).

In my last post, I explained that my week had been spent working on other people’s projects.  Quilting this fairly small quilt (48” x 62”) took me three days – I haven’t quilted anything for more than a year and I found my muscles tensed up a lot; each quilting session was shorter than the previous one! Anyway, I finished the quilting late on Saturday night; thank goodness for excellent lighting in the sewing room. I was so exhilarated by finishing that I even attached the binding which went on extremely easily and quickly compared to the previous two quilts! I found a video on YouTube which instructs the quilter to stop a quarter of an inch from the corner, which I have always known, then turn the quilt clockwise 90 degrees and sew off the edge of the quilt. Those extra three stitches have made turning corners so much easier than my previous method, which was to backstitch when I got the quarter of an inch mark!

Kerrie's quilt finished

What was even more exciting for me was that the corners mitred on the back so easily! I am absolutely stoked with the results I got this time. The only thing I don’t like is that the binding is not as “padded” as I prefer because I trimmed the backing and batting to the same size as the top (as instructed on this video) – my previous teacher had me trim a quarter of an inch out from the quilt top which gave that little bit of extra padding to the bound edge.

For my next binding, I will try this new method of doing the corners (which logically shouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference!) with the extra quarter of an inch batting under the binding! I might find I need to cut my binding at 2.75”, or even 3”, to compensate for that extra padding but I won’t know until I try.

Did I mention that I’m just so happy that the binding looks almost as good on the back as it does on the front? ;-)

How do you do your bindings?
By hand or by machine?
With a 2.5” binding strip?
What about the corners?


I’m linking this post with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy’s quilts.

Slow Sunday Stitching

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

works in progress

Everything I have been working on this week is not originally my project. However, they all need to be completed for the Airing in April so I had to get them done, sooner rather than later. Most of my own projects are at the basting stage and I need to make a trip to my LQS to use the big table there for that process so now was as good a time as any to work on other people’s projects!

Here’s what I've been working on (or plan to work on) this week:
  1. four patch quilt – to be bound and labelled
  2. triangle brights and flowers – to be bound and labelled
  3. pink brights and gingham – backing required
  4. K’s project – quilt, bind and label (binding supplied)
  5. QAYG string blocks – 14 more blocks needed
At our community quilting group, when projects go to the long-arm quilter, there must be a top and a backing. When projects come back from the quilters (who volunteer their time to help us), the project is usually given back to the original maker to bind. Sometimes the original creator is not there – either they are a member who is absent that day or the quilt top was donated.

Projects #1 and #2 came back from the quilter but the original makers were not there so I ended up with the quilts to bind and label.

For some reason, the member who donated project #3 did not provide a backing so I was asked to make one.

Project #4 was donated to our group by my quilting teacher – the quilt sandwich is made so the trickiest part is done for me!

I have already made a quilt from the donated QAYG string blocks (project #5) but I still have 28 x 9” blocks left. That’s not enough to make a quilt in the size required in our group so I will have to make some more blocks which shouldn't be too much of a hardship given the number of scraps around here!

So, how has my week gone so far?

I didn't do any cutting or sewing: the heat/humidity has stopped me sleeping well and I was too tired to use my rotary cutter and sewing machine safely! Instead, I auditioned fabrics for bindings for projects #1 and #2, both 280” around.
 2017 binding fabrics
Then I read a novel in a day! It was The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen – historical, romantic (Christian) fiction. Ms Klassen has been described as a ‘modern day Jane Austen’ – I’m not so sure but it was a light, enjoyable read.

I auditioned fabric for the backing of project #3 then put the fabric in the washing machine (on the  ‘easy iron’ setting) because it was stiff and very creased. It’s the same pink fabric in the photo above.
I cut the binding strips, joined them and made binding for both quilts. I then made labels for both quilts from leftover triangle scraps (note to self: write the label after attaching it to the quilt – or write smaller!).
2015 label for Triangles Brights and Flowers
I had to watch a video on binding, because I haven’t bound a quilt for over a year and couldn't remember how to start! Thank goodness for YouTube and all the generous video makers! Eventually, I attached the binding and label to project #1 and began the task of hand-stitching the binding down – I got a little more than halfway (the quilt is 280” around) before it was time for bed!
What looks like a brown and white check is actually tiny white stars on a brown background; which I didn’t notice until I’d already cut the binding strips. It doesn't look like a good choice with that blue backing; but the quilt was mostly browns – here’s a hint (see the checked fabric in the block?:
2015 binding Four Patch not mine hint of front
I started writing this post before I got on with attaching the binding and label to project #2, then I watched another video on mitred corners because mine just weren’t working! They are fine on the front but the back is terrible! I attached the label to the quilt then started sewing on the binding. I got to the second corner and realised there was a hole in the fabric, eight on the fold line of the binding. I had to undo twenty inches so I could remove the hole – it was close to a join in the binding strip – and rejoin the strip. I was about to start sewing again when I realised I was attaching the binding to the back of the quilt! *sigh* 

If it were my quilt, I might have been tempted to keep going but it isn’t and I couldn’t take the risk of bad corners on the front of someone else’s quilt so I spent more than thirty minutes un-sewing the rest of the binding! :-(

Things improved somewhat; I got the binding on eventually. It’s not perfect but it really is the lest I can do. After pressing the binding (I can’t remember ever doing that before but I think I must have – my teacher is very big on pressing) I moved onto project #3.

Piecing a backing involves a bit of maths and, for me at least, the rough drawing of diagrams. Eventually I had it sorted and went to find some strips to join my pieces together – I can’t help myself; it has become my signature to have a panel or some sashing on the back of my quilts. This isn’t mine but I did it anyway. I cut the pieces for the sashing and for the backing. There was some more reverse sewing after I sewed the right side of one piece to the wrong side of another piece but, all in all, with the help of lots of pins, I got the backing finished.
2015 backing for Joyce's quilt
What looks like an off-what fabric is actually a very pale pink. It has some lovely details on the fabric which, of course, can only be viewed close up.
2015 backing for Joyce's quilt detail
Because I have so many other projects to quilt in the near future, and because I think J. would like this quilt in this year’s Airing, I am not going to attempt to quilt it myself. I will pass the backing and the flimsy on to our coordinator, who will in turn, pass it on to one of the long-arm quilters. If I feel so inclined, I may even make the binding to go with the quilt. I’m thinking I’ll make it out of the same fabric as the back – I have some binding left from project #2 and lots of that fabric left. I’ll think on it – it may be too much having the same binding as backing fabric.

So, here it is, Wednesday evening, which still leaves me two full days to work on the other two projects and to get the binding done on projects #1 and #2. I’m linking this post with WiP Wednesday over at Lee’s blog, Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
What about you? Are you crafting this week or is something else occupying your time?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

scrappy and very happy

RSC 15
It’s a new year in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge on SoScrappy blog. This linky party started in 2012. I was late joining in back then – being a newbie quilter I didn’t have many scraps but later in the year I found I had acquired enough to get started. I was a regular participant in 2013 but I didn’t join in much last year (twice, I think). This year I’m ready and raring to go! All those hours in November spent pressing, cutting, sorting and storing scraps has set me up to sew, sew, sew.

Yesterday was my first sewing day for 2015 and the first time I’d sat at my sewing machine for over three weeks. I had plans to make two 4.5” crumb blocks for RSC but, you know how it is, I was having so much fun and I had so many blue crumbs and other scraps that I ended up with twenty-two 4.5” blocks!
22 crumb centres for Churn Dash
I have plans for these crumb blocks to become the centre of modified 12” Churn Dash blocks. You’ll have to come back later this month to see my modifications! ;-)

At the rate I’m going, I’ll have enough blocks finished by the end of the month to create another top/flimsy.

Flimsies becoming quilts has to be my focus over the next couple of months. January is summer break in Australia so most of my activities are in recess; therefore I will be at home most days throughout the month. Our quilting group has the "Airing of the Quilts” in April and I have promised six quilts, only two of which are completely finished so I’d better get cracking. The biggest setback for me is not having anywhere to baste the quilts – I’m too out of condition to crawl around on the floor (I always end up pinning to the carpet anyway!) and we have a good timber dining table. I don’t think my normally easy-going WM will be happy if I start sticking pins into it! I want to buy a trestle table but in the meantime I have to take my layers to my LQS and baste on the big table in the classroom – when there are no classes on! During January they are conducting one day workshops so I will have to work around them.

During December, I had been pondering how to see exactly what projects I have in progress and where I’m up to with each one. I have all of them listed on my Errands app but that doesn’t show me where each project is up to (and I can’t see all of them at once because there are too many to fit on the screen)!

The answer was simple – an Excel spreadsheet!

So far I have only created one for my sewing projects – Ravelry looks after my knitting projects for me.

I have recreated part of my spreadsheet here (in case you’re curious). Windows Writer didn’t cut and paste effectively!
Project cut pieces piece blocks square blocks cut sashing join rows cut borders attach borders top finished cut backing piece backing back finished
Country Houses done done done done done WiP WiP WiP WiP WiP WiP
Canary on a Pinwheel WiP WiP
Scrappy Hearts done done
Violet & Friends done done done done done
n/a done done done done
Sampler Quilt WiP WiP

The other columns are shown here but none of the five projects shown has reached this stage yet!
baste quilt make label make binding attach binding attach label hand-stitch binding Show-n-Tell
There are, of course, more projects than the five shown here. Only projects in progress are on this spreadsheet; I have also created a worksheet for projects to come!

Anyway, what you can’t see on this spreadsheet is project-in-progress #15;  that’s the “very happy” part of this post. It’s scrappy and it makes me very happy!

The top of Jacob’s Ladder Goes Barn Raising is finished; and without much reverse-sewing – the worst was 48” where I joined the wrong sides of the rows!
JLGBR top finished
But wait! there’s more! (Did you have television commercials/advertising with that phrase?)

The backing is also done – and look! Five Jacob’s Ladder blocks put together correctly! I don’t usually use a solid for backing but this is the only coordinating fabric I had in a quantity large enough to make a backing.
JLGBR backing finished
Woo-hoo! I’m a happy patch-worker! I linked this project-in-progress with Sharon’s Let’s Book It challenge in November and am adding it, belatedly, to the December link-up on Vroomans Quilts. I’m hoping it will appear again at the end of January in a more advanced state!
Dust Off Those Books
Both the front and the back of Jacob’s Ladder Goes Barn Raising were finished by 12 December but my original photos, taken on my iPad, looked fine on that device but on my PC they looked terrible so I withdrew the post (my apologies to those who had the post come up in their reader and then couldn’t find it). I had to fold it and put it away when DD and grandsons arrived so new photos weren’t taken until today. Thanks once again, WM [never too hot to snap!].

Are you joining the Rainbow Scrap Challenge or the Let’s Book It challenge this month?

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Yes, it's another view from our deck; this time looking south. The header of my blog is a tiny part of the view to the west.

I wish you peace and joy; and all the crafting time you desire!