Thursday, February 18, 2016

Oh Those Triangle Squares

Yesterday was my day to visit my padawan.  We mostly just sat and chatted, but I took along my Alllietare project to show her.  

It began raining yesterday about the same time I left to go over and was raining a little more by the time I came home.  I pulled in the driveway and just sat for a few minutes to take in that wonderful rain, and the sound it made hitting the car roof.  I do love the rain, and while today started still with some clouds, as forecasted the skies cleared early and we're expecting 90-degree temps again within the next couple days.  

Today, I decided I needed to catch up on some DVR recordings as I was out of space and lost a couple of recordings, so while the TV was on across from my work surface, I continued working on Part 1 of Allietare.  I'd sewn about 1/4 of the triangle squares on Monday before going over to Panda's, but hadn't sewn since.  I now have all those units done, including pressing and trimming off the dog ears.

triangle-square units
The photo seems a little washed out. My grey is a medium, and my neutrals are mostly whites and lighter creams.  

I'm not sure how soon I'll start Part 2.  I don't want to get too far ahead of Panda.  Easy for me to do as I will sit and keep working non-stop, while she has her days filled with other activities so may not get as much done as quickly.  I'm happy to be working on this.  I see so many beautiful ones out in blogland, and of course, saw Bonnie's in person on Monday night.  I think it's my favorite of the four (including this one) I've done of her mystery quilts.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Unexpected Pleasures

A couple of days ago, when I first found out that Bonnie Hunter was going to be in a town not too far away, I determined to go so I could see her presentation.   I asked my friend Panda if she'd like to go, but she already had plans.

Panda and I are meeting on Mondays to see how we're each doing on Allietare.  When I got there she was cutting some of the first units to make a first block wanting to be sure she likes her color choices.   She's using pinks and purples in lieu of the golds and reds.  
Part 1 triangle squares...and trimmings
I had managed to get about a quarter of the first step done and made sure they all measured correctly and trimmed the dog ears.  

Panda let me know that her original plans may fall through, and they did, so she was free to join me in going to hear Bonnie.  What a treat, we BOTH get to go! 

We left, allowing lots of time expecting freeway congestion as it was rush hour, but as my husband mentioned earlier in the day, being a holiday traffic would be lighter, and it was.  We arrived an hour early which gave us plenty of time to go grab a bite to eat.  We quickly found an Outback Steak House, where I enjoyed a bowl of baked potato soup and a side Caesar salad - perfect combo.

We arrived at the meeting, and met Bonnie right away as she was selling and autographing her books - how could I resist?  The problem was, I knew I had two of her books, I just couldn't remember which ones, so I picked one up, flipped through and figured it was one I didn't have - she also said it was her most recent and I knew I didn't have that one yet.  I made my purchase and then she obliged me with a picture.  I'm not usually a "star struck" kind of person, but Bonnie Hunter I think is an exception.  I LOVE her scrappy quilts and the challenge to use from my stash. Do you know that her quilts look even better in person?  Flat photography, no matter how good, just doesn't do them justice.  And I'm still amazed at how much she accomplishes with such a busy schedule.

I know many out there have already been to some of her events, or been on cruises and other adventures with her so you know what I mean when I say she is very personable, warm, passionate and unpretentious.  She is truly a gift to the quilting world.  We thoroughly enjoyed her presentation and are so happy we could both go. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Design Wall Monday & (14 February 2016 Stash Report Sunday)

Design Wall:
I'm getting started on Allietare this morning,
These are the first three pieces to be sewn of the first step.  I did all my cutting as the clues were released.  I'll be meeting with Panda this afternoon briefly, so I need to have something to share with her.  She hasn't cut hers yet, so maybe this spur her on.  In fairness, she keeps a pretty busy schedule.  After that, I'll make a long drive so that I can see this project's author at a guild meeting she's the guest lecturer at :).  I missed her last year up in the Portland area, so am going to make the drive - it's the closest opportunity I'll get to go to.

Stash Report:
In an earlier post I mentioned that I'd gone with my friend Panda to a couple of stores for her to get fabric for her Allietare.  At the second store, I was tempted when I saw a remnant bin with some neutrals in it.  I bought three pieces.  The largest was a full yard, and cost $4.97.  I'm happy with that.  The bin had even larger 'remnant' pieces at 1/2 price; some at three yards or more.  Good remnants! 

Used This Week: 0 yards
Added This Week:  2.37 yards
Used 2016: 0 yards
Added 2016: 3.27 yards

Linking at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Writer's Block

I've sat numerous times to write a post and my mind just goes blank.  I haven't been able to come up with content let alone a post title.  I had to start somewhere though, so here I go.

Only little bits of quilt-y activity have occurred this past week or more since I visited you last.  I took some time to finish perusing the Lover's Knot quilt pattern book and in doing so decided I would make my quilt a lap-size.  Eleanor Burn's measurement gives that to be a 52" x 72" quilt.  I also chose my fabrics.
The quilt uses just four fabrics: a dark, a medium dark, a medium light, and a light.  In part, my selections came about based on the amounts of yardage of each needed, and what was available in my stash.  I didn't want to purchase any fabric.  I'm already thinking this quilt will be named "Love is Blue".  At least that came quickly!  The medium dark has a lot of light in it, but it will work in the places it's needed.

I took these and the book with me on Wednesday to my padawan's house and showed her.  She's looking forward to starting hers for her mom but still wants to finish her daughter's quilt.  She has a very busy life with young ones and she home schools.  Her colors will be along the lines of black and soft golds.  

On Monday, I met with my friend Panda as she wanted to get the rest of her fabrics for Allietare.  We went to Joann's first and then to another local craft store that carries a large selection of fabric.  Those are the only two local options.  We went to lunch and then back to her house where she began the process of washing and pressing the fabric before I left.  We agreed to start meeting every Monday, mid-afternoon.  We will probably do the actual work in our respective homes.  For me, it's a big effort to pack up my sewing machine and portable table, set it up, then take it all down to come home for just a 2 - 3 hour get together.  If she works on hers while I'm there, I'll plan to take hand work with me.  I have a number of embroidery projects that have languished again lately.  And while she's cutting or sewing, if I'm ahead of her, I can share what I've learned.  Also since this is her first B.H. mystery quilt, she may have questions as she goes about Bonnie's methods so I can answer those, though that may not be necessary at all.  Panda's a very experienced quilter, having both worked in a quilt store, and taught in the past.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I'm Torn, Are You?

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with my quilting padawan for the first time since prior to last June.  In my absence, she began working on a quilt for her middle daughter and had hoped to have finished it prior to Christmas, but life happens and she didn't get it finished.  However, she did gift it to the daughter (age 8 or 9?) with a note letting the daughter know she could help her finish it after she got the binding on.   Since Christmas, she's been busy and hasn't made any further progress, but I got to see it and it is a lovely quilt, and she's done a very nice job on it.  I didn't have my camera so didn't get a picture, and I always forget that I can use my smart phone.  Maybe I'll get a shot of it next week.  We're going to resume our weekly meetings, even if it's just to chat and catch up.  I've missed her and the kids.
Lover's Knot
My padawan mentioned a long time ago when we went to a quilt show that she'd also like to make a quilt for her mom, and she saw one there that she thought would be perfect.  It's a quilt pattern by Eleanor Burns called Lover's Knot.  On one of my trips to Oregon, I found a very old (1986) book for the pattern.  We talked about this project yesterday, and it's a quilt I wouldn't mind making too, so I pulled the book down and began reading.  
Excerpt from Lover's Knot 3rd edition, c.1985, by Eleanor Burns
As I was reading through the book, these instructions jumped out at me.  Do you remember the days in fabric history where you'd go to the department store, choose your fabric and take it to a counter where they had this little measuring machine?  The folded edge of the fabric would be placed into the machine, which had a meter and as the fabric was pulled through, it measured the fabric.  When it reached the desired length, the clerk would snip the fabric, take the fabric from the machine and tear the fabric at that point.  This tearing of fabric was common and normal.  Today of course, most stores rely on cutting mats and rotary cutters, though a few still utilize scissors.  I also remember from my clothing construction days, and high school home-ec classes, that tearing was the method used to put yardage on the straight of grain.

Still, an almost audible gasp came from me as I read this, actually seeing it in print.  In the quilt world, we've been conditioned to believe that tearing damages the fabric, and I would agree that it does pull a few rows of the thread apart to some degree.  I don't use this method for fabric I use for the piecing process, but I have been known to use it for borders.   

I can't compare a more recent edition of this book with this older one, but in skimming through, while it doesn't have a lot of photos (we're so spoiled today), it does have a lot of illustrations and charts, and instructions are laid out nicely.  I think it will be very easy to follow the instructions to make this quilt.  The charts and instructions include sizes from baby quilt, through king size.  There are instructions for diagonal finished corners, or square corners.  She also included instructions for a Sawtooth Edge if desired, and a separate dust ruffle, as well as for tying a surgeon's knot should you prefer tying over machine quilting.  For what more could one ask?

The book is still offered at the Quilt In A Day website for $19.95, updated in 2008.  The older books are available at Amazon where I see prices range from $3.27 to $72.36 + tax/shpg (you read that right, lol).

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Quilting Tutorial

I've not created a tutorial before but hopefully this will be coherent enough for someone to follow should they so desire.  

This is a very simple, basic design of straight parallel lines diagonally from corner to corner (i.e. northeast to southwest) and then crossing diagonally from corner to corner the other direction (i.e northwest to southeast).  On a rectangular quilt, the pattern becomes a diamond shape.

Because I didn't want to mark every single line with tape - which would not have stayed in place, nor did I want to mark with any type of writing tool due to the time it would take, I had to find an alternate method.  Following, is how I chose to go about that.  This quilt, which measures, 53" x 62" took approximately six hours to quilt this way.  That time included having to make adjustments, and to fix a few mistakes I made along the way as well as my own learning curve.
To begin, I apologize for not having a photo of the whole quilt laid out on the table with tape making a large "X" from corners to corners.  That would be the first step.  Lay your quilt on a flat surface, layer and pin.  Stretch a line of blue painter's tape from one top corner to the opposite lower corner - you may need an assistant.  Make sure the edges of the same side of the tape are on the same side of the respective corners.
This paper diagram illustrates how the tape is laid.  You would do the same across the diagonal for the other corners thus creating that "X".  Painter's tape is tacky but does not leave residue; it is also not sticky enough to use the same piece repeatedly, nor to mark every single line ahead of time.  Hence, my need to come up with a way to quilt without marking beforehand.
This shows where, in same places, I needed to stick a pin to hold the tape in place as it was already lifting.

The first line of stitching is run along the right edge, which should also be the side which the corner points are on, from corner to corner. 
This photo shows the point where the diagonal tapes crossed each other.  Once the two crossing diagonal lines are fully sewn, the tape can be completely removed (if it hasn't already fallen off).
I utilized this tool on my right hand.  It was very helpful.
This is the other tool I used.  The ruler is 8" x 4".  I wrapped blue painter's tape around it as well.  That defined the measurement I needed for the space between the first sewing line and the needle on my machine so that I would get the lines spaced at 3".  It also helped provide a slightly rough surface that helped hold the ruler in place as I worked.
This closeup shows how I snugged the edge of the ruler up to my presser foot and where I marked with the tape.  The right edge of the tape would be laid atop the first line of stitching.  You'll note it measures just over 2 3/4"; that's because it takes into account the width of the presser foot from the needle.  For a true 3", it should have been slightly less, but when pressing the ruler down on the fabric it squishes it and this actually did measure to 3" when quilted.  [I wasn't overly concerned about exactness, as long as it was close.]
 3" between stitching.
For each row of stitching, including the initial guidelines, I began by setting my needle off the fabric, and pulling the bobbin thread to the top.
Once it was pulled through, I lowered my needle, raised the presser foot, and swung both loose ends to the back before lowering the presser foot again.
Before sewing, I placed the right edge of the ruler against the presser foot aligning the right edge of the blue tape on the previous line of stitching, shown in the picture above.
The bottom edge of the blue tape needs to also be aligned with the previous stitching line.
This is the positioning of my left hand while applying enough pressure to prevent the ruler from sliding as I sewed keeping the edges of the ruler and the presser foot together.  Note that the tip of my ring finger is right on the edge of the ruler in essence overlapping the ruler and the fabric which helped to keep it from sliding to the left.  A glove may have helped here but I didn't use it.  Also, I would have to stop as I progressed long enough to push and rearrange the bulk of the quilt both behind the needle (to get it out of the way as it occasionally hindered the ruler's movement) and what was resting in my lap for freer movement, letting the machine move the fabric.
My right hand was positioned here with three fingers on the quilt and my index finger and thumb steadying the ruler against the presser foot.  My index finger loosely stayed on the ruler and my thumb would help push it forward as the machine fed the fabric through.  I would run it pretty close to the end of the ruler.  Before removing my left hand from the ruler, I would make sure my machine was stopped, and the needle down (not automatic on my machine) before moving the ruler for the next 7" or so of stitching.  I continued stitching this way the entire diagonal length of each row spaced 3" apart.
Coming onto the quilt.
Over the edge and into the quilt body.
Progressing through the quilt.
Within the quilt, crossing opposing diagonal lines.
Needle down, time to move the ruler.
The ruler is moved and aligned, ready for a little more distance.
When I would reach the end of each row of stitching, I would run off into the batting/backing and pull the bobbin thread to the top again before cutting the thread.  This left no dangling threads on the back of the quilt.  That is pretty much it.  Just diagonal straight lines, using a ruler, and no other marking implements beyond the initial blue painter's tape.  How easy is that?

Along the way....
I enjoyed watching this pile grow, removing the pins as I quilted...a great feeling!  The more it grew, the closer I knew I was getting to being finished.
Oops, there were some errors, oversights, along the way.  I should probably have taken a few more breaks than I did, but I was intent on getting this finished.
This was another one, but this one occurred when I was putting the binding on as I hadn't yet trimmed the edges.  You can see the diamonds from the quilting very well here on the backing.
The stitching shows fairly well on the front.  I think a 3" width was good for this quilt, but for another, a narrower one might be better.  I don't think I would hesitate at all to use this method. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Design Wall Monday, 1 February 2016

 Linking up at Patchwork Times.

It had been awhile since I finished the piecing and subsequent layering and pin basting on Essie's quilt.  This was a project passed off to me by a friend who decided quilting just wasn't for her.  I wrote about it here.  As she had helped me with Nick during my absences when I was off helping my dad, and way back when I broke my foot, I'd been wanting to do something special for her as a thank you.  When she gave me her project "to do whatever I wanted to" with it, I decided gifting it back as a finished quilt would be the perfect thank you.

Shortly after I brought it to the point of being pin basted, I had Marty help lay diagonal rows of blue painter's tape (love that stuff) from corner to corner to mark the initial lines for my planned quilting...and that's as far as I got.
I folded it up and tucked it out of the way, but it would still nag at me since it was in plain sight.  This weekend, I finally decided to get to work on quilting it.  
Back of quilt.
I deliberated with myself as to how wide to make my rows of quilting and finally chose 3".  Originally I'd thought only 1" but decided that was just way too close.
Front of quilt.

I have the binding sewn on the front and need to hand hem it to the backside.  I noticed as I was trimming the excess that I should probably go back and restitch along the edge as my seams for the binding were a bit shallow.

Essie also provided the dark brown thread for this, and I used it, but I will never use this type of thread again.  It was this: 

I initially found this to be very difficult to use in my machine.  It is cotton covered polyester.  I haven't used any type of polyester since back in the days of making garments.  Eventually I got the kinks worked out and was able to use it.  I will return the remaining thread when I present the quilt to her.

She had also provided a fusible batting which I used, but did not fuse.  I did not find it to my liking either.  It too was polyester, and had thin spots, and thick spots, and even a spot where it felt as if there was cording running through it.

I now need to only stitch the binding to the back and it will be done.  I don't think I will attach any sort of label, but I might.  That will be my work later this afternoon. 
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