Sunday, January 31, 2016

365 Challenge Week 4

All 3" finished, here are this week's blocks.  I love Churn Dash and Monkey Wrench! 
January 26, 27, 28, and 29

January 30, 31, and February 1

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Free Quilt List Printable

You've probably seen my Works-in-Progress post.  I've been keeping it updated on the blog, but I'd like a hard copy to refer to when I'm not at my computer.  I made up a printable for myself and thought I'd share it.  It's free!  There are spaces for 75 projects on it.  To access my file, click here.
In other news, my sewing room construction has begun.  Check out my Instagram feed (located to the right--scroll down a bit) to see a photo.
Sunday, January 24, 2016

365 Challenge Week 3

Here are this week's blocks.  We've moved into half-square triangles.  All are 3" finished.
January 19, 20, 21, and 22

January 23 and 24

January 25



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stop! Don't Rip Those Seams! or How to Make Your Seams Align Perfectly

Don't you hate when your seam intersections don't quite line up?  If you're like me, you want those intersections to line up as perfectly as possible.  You may feel that you need to rip out the entire seam (and there are times where that is necessary). But you don't have to!  Here is a simple trick to help realign your seams without tons of ripping.  This is a combination of what I've always done along with tips I learned from Kimberly Einmo when I took her class.
A misaligned seam doesn't have to mean unripping the whole piece!
Rip out just a bit to each side of the intersection.  On a quilt seam, I usually do about an inch total.  You need just enough to line up your pieces and ease them back into proper place.
Next, use a perfectly straight pin (I have a designated pin I received from Kimberly in class that I use only for this purpose) to line up the exact point where the seams should intersect.  On a quilt block, you will poke the pin through the exactly accurate 1/4" seam mark of the top piece, then repeat to move the pin through the bottom piece's exactly accurate 1/4" seam mark.  The picture below shows the pin perfectly aligned through both layers of piecing.


The next step is to make sure that pin holding the two pieces in place is EXACTLY VERTICAL.  It must be straight up and down.  While you are holding the pin exactly up and down, you will place pins in the fabric on either side of the vertical pin.  Once both pins are in place, you can remove the vertical pin.
You will then resew your seam, leaving the pins in until the needle is pretty much right at them.  I don't advocate sewing right on over the pins because it's too easy to hit one and break it, possibly damaging your machine or your person in the process.
Your end result should be a perfectly aligned seam.  While I've demonstrated this on a quilt block, the process will work the same for a clothing or any other type seam as well.  The key is realigning the seams with the vertical pin at the exact intersection.

It may take you a bit of practice to get the process down, but it is really accurate and you don't have to rip an entire seam out to fix one little bit.  

Something else I'd like to mention is that it's up to you to decide how close is close enough.  Some places don't necessarily need an intersection to be exactly on because they will be camouflaged by the pattern print or location of the intersection.  Others, like my super-contrasting intersection pictured above, will be really obvious if they don't line up.  Points on a block are important to line up too.  Again, it's up to you to decide what constitutes quality.

Here's what I am making:

I have 49 more blocks of 25 squares to make.  Finished squares are 1.5".  I cut around 1550 of them for this quilt.  I may be insane.  ;)

One more tip:
You can buy a bamboo stiletto made by Dritz in the quilting notions section of JoAnn.  Full price is $8 or so, so be sure to use your coupon.  The stiletto is very useful as a guide for teeny-tiny ends of seams. You can hold the seam in place with the end of the stiletto and help guide it under the foot so that the end of your seam doesn't curve.  This is especially helpful on tiny block pieces.

If you're wondering what the pink tape is, that is 1/4" tape that I have lined up so that I don't have to mark HST.  It's working fairly well for me as long as I'm trimming down the blocks.




Sunday, January 17, 2016

365 Challenge Week 2

January 11 and 12
January 13, 14, 15, and 16

January 17 and 18
You may have noticed that today is January 17 and I have a block for the 18th as well.  The blocks are sent at midnight of the day in Australia, which is 9 am the previous day here.  :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Random Project Updates

I have a bunch of swaps all due at once--at least it seems that way.  Here are a few of the things I've been working on for them.  The pincushion and tray each finish around 4".  I resized a Thimbleblossoms block for the pincushion.  It did not go well and it took forever, but I finally got it worked out.  It didn't come out square, but I think it looks pretty good.  

Here's a fun Harry Potter/Luna Lovegood cross-stitch I finished over winter break. I framed it by myself.  I'm proud of me!  Ha!

Here is a mini Felix Felicis charm I made. 


And here is my son's teacher's holiday gift.  She is a first-year teacher and her classroom decoration colors are yellow and gray.  She seems to like sunflowers too.  That sunflower I used for decoration is actually a hair clip I made a while back.  Making all those cover buttons for the paper clips, thumb tacks, and magnets really did a number on my nails!  My husband did the vinyl.  I can't figure out the software and he is really good at it.


Finally, I was working on my guild swap yesterday.  I'd tried unsuccessfully to resize a block and had a lightbulb moment yesterday on how to do it properly.  I was really going to town on it and I looked down from a piece I was cutting and noticed a weird chunk of plastic on my cutting mat.  The button to close the blade on my rotary cutter had broken off.  :(  I've used that rotary cutter ever since I started quilting--about 20 years. I guess I can't complain; 20 years is a long time for a piece of equipment to last.  But I was still sad.  Luckily I had purchased a spare cutter last summer, so at least I didn't have to take a trip to the store. 
RIP faithful friend; you will be missed!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

365Challenge

The 365Challenge was created by an Australian named Kathy.  The goal is to make one quilt block each day for a year, finishing with a 90" square quilt top.  She sends instructions for one block each day, and the program began January 1.

I am trying to use only fabric from my stash to make the quilt.  One exception:  I did buy a background fabric since the pattern calls for more than 4 yards and I simply never buy that much of a fabric at once unless it is for backing.

So far the blocks have all finished at 3".  Most of them have been really easy, with the exception of the January 1 bonus block.

Here are the blocks I have completed so far:


January 1 regular and bonus blocks
January 2 and 3:  the H and the plus
January 4 and 5:  four patch and nine patch

January 6, 7, 9, and 10--I skipped the 8th since I already had an extra
block and didn't really care for that day's block.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My New Ruler Holder

My husband made this ruler holder for me.  It measures 13.5" by 8".  He used a piece of walnut we had left from our bed.  After he cut the grooves, he sprayed water-based polyurethane on it.  I love it!


In other news, I have finished my first quilt of the year.  You can see it in the 2016 finishes tab.  I am also embarking on a year-long block-making journey called the 365 Challenge.  I will be blogging about my progress on a regular basis beginning on Sunday.