KQG Mystery Quilt Pt 2

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.

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Only 361 days until Christmas!

I hope you had a very merry Christmas and happy holidays!  This year was one of those Christmases where I wasn’t really sure what I wanted so my wishlist was very short.  But because my family is awesome, I was happily surprised by a few gifts under the tree especially the fabric kit for Postcards from Sweden by Jeli Quilts – I was definitely not expecting that!

When Momma Bear started quilting years ago, my best friend (Kimmeh) and I asked her to make us each a big block quilt.  We got the fabric, set the layout and even used minky for the backing (sorry Momma bear!)  At the time, these quilts were amazing…a bit very bright and so not colour coordinating but we loved them.  Fast forward 14-15 years, we are now both 30 years old and our tastes have matured quite a bit….and Kimmeh’s quilt is confined to her bedroom because it doesn’t do anything for the rest of the house decor.  As soon as I started quilting in July, I knew I was going to make her a new quilt for this Christmas. She was in desperate need, amirite?

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Greek Cross quilt for Kimmeh

I really wanted to keep this quilt for myself because…well, I did a pretty amazing job on it.  This definitely is one of my best quilts to date and the first time using a pantograph on a quilt.  That experience was fun – it’s not as easy to follow lines as you would think, and the thread kept breaking (if you know why, please feel free to provide some advice in the comments) but I would definitely do a pantograph again (and will soon!) Continue reading

Visions of Sugar Plums (Week 4)

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!

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Sugar Plum Table Runner finished in time for Christmas dinner.

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.

Whatcha doing?

It’s been a while…and I haven’t really gotten anything done! Shameful I know but it’s Christmas time – there’s shopping to be done!  Anyway, here’s a quick update on some of my ongoing projects:

Sugar Plum Table Runner – The final week was published at We All Sew…I’ve gotten the blocks sewn together but now I just need to quilt it and bind it.  I’m still not sure how I want to quilt it.  I was thinking of doing straight lines as per the quilt along since it is a modern design and all…but to be honest, I’m not the best at sewing straight lines so can you see my dilemma?

KQG Mystery Quilt – The second installment will be provided at this week’s meeting (Dec 5 @ 9:30am at Glen Carin United Church if you are interested in coming).  I heard that it has plenty of small half-square triangles which I’m so excited for (not really).

Pattern Making – YES! PATTERN MAKING! I’m sort of doing it?  I’m stuck between “Yes, let’s be an awesome pattern maker” and “But this is an original and no one else should have one”.  While I continue that inner monologue, I have started a pattern for My Fair Isle and instead of using the finished square size of 1 inch, I thought I’d try to make it mini (1/2 inch finished square) but…………………yeah.  Maybe I’ll go back to that idea in the new year.  There’s always Christmas in July right?

That’s what I’ve been up to on the quilt side of life.  Hopefully I’ll have something finished to share for my next post!

Visions of Sugar Plums (Week 3)

Week 3 of the Sugar Plum Table Runner is available and it’s the last two three blocks of the project (2 snowflake paper piecing blocks and 1 traditional piecing star block).

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?!

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Modern Pine Tree – Golden Star – Snowflake – Poinsettia Flowers

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

Visions of Sugar Plums (Week 1 & 2)

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.

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Colour palette for Sugar Plum table runner

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.

Check out BERNINA’s We All Sew blog to participate!  Week 1 has the fabric requirements, templates, and cutting instructions. Week 2 has the pattern instructions for blocks 1 & 2.

This fabric & That pillow

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.

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Comfort & Joy charm pack pattern from This & That.

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!

It’s All Greek To Me

I waste invest plenty of time on Pinterest…who doesn’t?  There are just so many things to discover and it’s a great place for inspiration.  That’s where I stumbled upon the Greek Cross block.  It’s quite possibly my new favourite block.  It’s sort of like a Churn Dash but…not.

I whipped up a quick pattern and thought about using Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make up the cross part of the block however I figured that might be too busy for what I was going for.  I ended up going with Kona Solids (Pond & Mango for the crosses, Bone for background) and Cotton & Steel (XOXO #2 Pencil) for the corner half-square triangles.  The finished block size is 12″ x 12″.  I managed to get the top done in a day and will post a picture once it’s quilted and ready to go.

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Greek Cross in Pond

Half-square Triangles have to be one of the most common blocks in quilt making.  A quilt I’m working on is made up of 302 HST….this Greek Cross one has 80.  Needless to say, I’m becoming an expert a HST.  If you need a bundle of HST, I’ll tell you how to do the ‘Magic 8’ method which will save you so much time. Continue reading