The final installment of the Kanata Mystery Quilt was provided at the February meeting so now it’s time to finish! All my blocks are pieced and ready to be sewn together.
The “mystery block” is called Cat Nip and the quilt pattern is The Cat’s Meow. I’ve never seen it prior to this although some ladies who participated had previously seen the pattern. In all honesty, I’m not sure I would have done this if I’d seen the pattern beforehand but I guess that’s the point of a mystery quilt!
All the completed quilts are to be shown at the Kanata Quilt Guild June meeting so for now, this quilt is being put on the shelf because I have so many other projects that need to get done before. I have a couple baby quilts that need to get finished before March/April. I have one top done already and can’t wait to show the finished quilt. It might be one of my favourites (I know I say that about most of my quilts but…shouldn’t it be that way?) so stay tuned for that post.
Speaking of plenty on the go, how do you keep track of your on-the-go projects? I recently started using a project tracker in my Quilter’s Planner Mini and it’s a game changer. I can see at a glance what I have on the go, at what stage of the process and other useful information. Because it’s been so useful for me, I’ve decided to make my own and share it with you! You can find a free printable project tracker below. Feel free to print as many copies as you like/need and share it with your friends as it is for personal use (please don’t try and sell it).
I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve posted! I feel like I should have a bunch of finished projects to share but…I don’t. I have finished the second part of the mystery quilt though! Talk about half-squares triangles! This installment needed 96 HSTs – 1.5″ half. square. triangles. (Yes, that’s small)
If you have a bunch of half-square triangles to do, I suggest trying the Laundry Basket Quilts triangle paper. This stuff is a life saver when it comes to large quantities of small HST. It makes 32 HST in one go, amazing right?! I mean there’s still the task of cutting but it makes it all super easy and quick.
I have another tip to share – chain piecing and the Cutting Gizmo. Many beginner quilters don’t use or never heard of chain piecing. This technique is basically stitching pieces together with one continuous length of thread without stopping in between pieces. This saves time (and thread) because you aren’t constantly stopping, snipping, and starting again. I feel like I’ve mentioned this fantastic tool before (maybe?) but The Cutting Gizmo is a must have if you chain piece. It makes snipping the connecting threads so easy and super quick!
I have just one more piece of advice to give to all quilters of all levels – NEVER BE AFRAID TO SHOW OFF YOUR WORK! I started quilting in July 2016, joined 2 quilt guilds and have participated in almost every ‘show n tell’ in both guilds. It doesn’t matter how talented you are (or how untalented you think you are), you are making works of art. Your passion for what you do shows through in every stitch and whether you know it or not, you are inspiring other quilters to make their own masterpieces.
I mentioned last post that the finishing instructions (final week) were published at We All Sew on November 28. Last night I finally got around to finishing this awesome table runner!
Like the sample in the quilt along, I was going to quilt straight lines to keep the modern look but….I can’t sew a straight line. Instead I got to try a pantograph for the first time! Here’s the story: I have this other quilt (that I love but can’t show right now because it’s a Christmas gift) that I wanted to quilt with a pantograph. Seeing how I had never done it before, I figured I should practice on something small(ish) before attempting to do a whole lap quilt. Enter the Sugar Plum Table Runner. The pantograph was the perfect size and fit the modern/whimsical look of the piece. I think I did a pretty darn good job as well.
This past weekend I enjoyed a mini retreat with Momma Bear and a friend. I even got to try a Pfaff Passport 2.0! Using the amazing little machine, I finished the table runner ‘pillowcase style’ as per the quilt along. I really like the no border look and a pillowcase finish, while similar to a faced edge, is much easier to do on smaller projects. I just need to add my label (always add a label!) and this table runner is ready for Christmas dinner!
I enjoyed participating in my first quilt along and would highly recommend joining one if you never have. It’s a fun experience and having a set date for the next part to be available really motivates you to keep on track.
Sewing right sides together and then turn inside out for a pillowcase finish.
I was really enjoying my new journey in paper piecing…until this snowflake block. Not as easy as I thought it was going to be. The actual paper piecing part was fine but then sewing those four blocks together to make the final block AND get the points matching was another story. One block I had to unsew twice before getting the points to somewhat match. The second block I only have to unsew once. But I guess that’s what makes quilting fun because if everything was perfect every time it would be boring…right?!
The center block is a traditional pieced star block that I really love the look of. It’s my second favourite block of this table runner (the poinsettia is the first). If you are doing this quilt along, I would suggest doing the Magic 8 Method for the half-square triangles. You need 8 HST so this way is much faster (and easier) than doing them the ‘regular’ way (as explained in the quilt along instructions). For this block you need an finished size of 2 x 2″ which means to do the Magic 8 method, you will need to start with a 6″ or 6¼” block. Continue reading →
One thing about being a new quilter (or new at anything) is that there’s always a bunch of “firsts” – First time cutting fabric, first time sewing, first time “unsewing”, first time doing a mystery quilt, etc. Well I have two new things to add: first time doing a quilt along and first time foundation paper piecing.
A quilt along is very similar to a Block of The Month program except the instructions are usually provided weekly. These are great multi-week “lessons” for quilters of all skill levels. Fresh Lemons Quilts is hosting a quilt along for their Sugar Plum table runner at BERNINA’s We All Sew blog. It’s a modern Christmas table runner with a mixture foundation paper piecing and traditional piecing.
I was a little hesitant to participate in the quilt along because this is my first go at paper piecing….which seems like a very intimidating method (especially if you look at Judy Niemeyer quilts). Thankfully these aren’t extremely complicated blocks and the detailed instructions make it very easy to understand and follow…but that doesn’t mean you won’t have (user related) issues. I had to “unsew” a few times because the pieces weren’t right (put on wrong, more than a quarter inch seam, etc.) and one block I just tossed in the garbage halfway through because it was looking terrible. Having done 12 paper pieced blocks so far, I really enjoy the process and the end result is amazing. Everything is so precise and on point.
Although Momma Bear and I sometimes have different tastes in fabric choices, I’m lucky enough to have her stash and pattern library at my disposal. Taking full advantage of that, I decided to finally make the Comfort & Joy pillow from This & That. A pattern that we she had bought a few years ago.
The pattern is for a 16 x 16″ Christmas pillow – you can always resize for whatever size pillow form you want. This is a great pattern for using fabrics from your stash. While I browsed Momma Bear’s stash, I decided on two sets of coordinating fabrics; one set was (for lack of a better word) matte Christmas fabrics, and the fabrics in the second set all had some gold metallic accents throughout the fabric. I really loved both sets but ultimately decided on the metallic set.
This is my second pillow and the second time using a pattern (I can’t design everything I do, right?) BUT it is the first time doing applique! Which is not as easy as it seems…although it doesn’t really seem that easy. I used Heat n Bond Light Weight and maybe I’m not using it right, or it’s an old package but the letters (JOY) weren’t completely sticking to the fabric! Momma Bear prefers Steam-A-Seam so next time I applique I’m going to use that instead to see the difference. That whole process is pretty easy….it’s stitching down the applique pieces that is difficult. That’s when I became a frog…Satin stitch? Rip it. Zigzag stitch? Rip it. Straight Stitch? Rip it. Blanket stitch? Winner winner chicken dinner! I did a pretty darn good job of blanket stitching around all the pieces – using coordinating thread colour helps too!
Applique…it’s hard work!
Painted wooden star buttons gold to match the fabrics.
If I could knit, I would always knit the Fair Isle pattern. However, since I don’t know how to knit, I’ll just design a Fair Isle quilt instead.
Feeling creative, I drew out the design on graph paper (shhh…don’t tell Photoshop) and went to work on figuring out if this were to be a full size quilt or a wall hanging….or something in between. I settled for wall hanging with a final approximate size of 23″ × 23″. Yes, that means tiny 1 inch and 2 inch squares make up this beauty.
I like how this turned out even though it’s far from perfect. Originally I was going to quilt an overall 1 inch grid however I changed my mind (and took out some stitches) after realizing how not-so-good that would look. I ended up just quilting a quarter inch echo in coordinating thread.
Did you know that there are multiple ways of binding a quilt? I sure didn’t. There’s a way to bind a quilt called “Faced Edge” (I’ve also seen it as “Knife Edge”). Basically this means facings, instead of bindings, are used to finish the edges of a quilt. It gives the quilt a very modern and contemporary look since the quilt design finishes at the edge. That’s how I finished this wall hanging and I’m definitely going to try this method again for wall hangings.
Designing My Fair Isle wall hanging
Simple quarter inch echo quilting
Hand stitching down the facings to finish the quilt
Artists always sign their masterpieces so don’t forget to sign yours too!
I’m participating in the Kanata Quilt Guild’s mystery quilt! Since I started quilting, I have yet to make a quilt top that is from an ‘actual’ pattern – they have all been my own designs. You would think that since I’m a beginner I’d want to follow a pattern but….nope! So this will be a first for mystery quilts and a first for actually having a real pattern to follow.
I was a little hesitant to sign up because I actually don’t like the ‘mystery’ part of a mystery quilt. How can I choose the right fabrics if I don’t even know what I’m making?? Luckily, my first ever quilt retreat was with the ladies from the Kanata Quilt Guild and most of them were working on their mystery quilt. I was able to see what fabrics others had chosen and get an idea of what I’d like to do. I decided to go in a completely different direction than everyone else…I went the way of Christmas fabric. I absolutely LOVE the fabric I chose so I’m excited to get the next installment. The backing fabric is the cutest ever but you’ll have to wait until the quilt is done to see it!
Strip sewing…isn’t that Christmas print so cute?!
Sub-cutting the strips into eighty-eight 2 inch pieces…
…to make fourty-four 4 patch blocks. Chain piecing FTW!
The Cutting Gizmo saves so much time when you chain piece!