Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Goal Finished!!

My December goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes was to complete the quilt top for a quilt I started a few years back, Pie in the Sky, by Kim Diehl, from her book, Simple Graces.

I am happy to report it is done!!  48 pieced blocks and 651 two-and-a-half-inch squares and -- voila! -- you have a quilt top.  I pieced the squares into groups of four, sewed 56 of them into groups of eight, for the final border, and went to my friend Pauline's house to use her floor to do the final layout.  (My design wall holds the finished product but isn't big enough when you include the seam allowances.  And when I try to use my floor, my cat seems to want to help.)

Here is the finished quilt top......

After we had all the pieces on the floor and were looking to see whether the fabrics were mixed well, I made the comment, "Isn't it funny how the block changes just by the placement of lights and darks?"  I then pointed to two different blocks.  Pauline's answer was, "They are two different blocks."  Indeed they were.

This is the way the pattern suggests making the block.......

And this is my interpretation of the block.......

So there are 12 of the correctly pieced blocks and 36 of the alternate blocks.  When I picked up the project to finish it, I unknowingly made the slight adjustment to the pattern but was then consistent to the end. I have convinced myself it adds character to the quilt.  Just like your eye travels to some of the fabrics in the quilt, your eye also travels between the two different versions of the blocks. 

Pauline, this one is for you, as soon as I pick a backing and get it quilted and bound!

I hope everyone has a fantastic 2014!  I will be back for the Lovely Year of Finishes, 2014 version.  It is so helpful to publicly set a goal each month.  Thanks to Melissa of Sew Bittersweet Designs and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts for hosting this finishing party!  I came to the party late in 2013, joining in November and finishing November and December, but for 2014 I plan on a full 12 finishes.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Goal

December always seems like a quick month.  No sooner has Thanksgiving come and gone, the Christmas holidays are upon us.  So my goal for December for A Lovely Year of Finishes is going to be somewhat modest.

Several weeks ago as I was looking for a certain piece of fabric (can't remember what it was or whether I found it), I came across a project that had been started a few years ago and never finished.  I had 12 of the 48 blocks constructed.  I have since completed the remaining 36 blocks.  Here is a sampling of the blocks.

The quilt is Pie in the Sky, from Kim Diehl's book, Simple Graces.  I got the collection of fabrics I used as a Block-of-the-Month.  (I am not sure which quilt shop it was...sorry.)  We got several fat eighths each month, and I have added a few of my own.  It is certainly a scrappy quilt!

The sashing is made up entirely of 2-1/2" squares.  So my goal for December is to complete the sashing and piece the quilt top.  If somehow the stars all align and I figure out how to get 36 hours out of each day, I might just get it quilted and bound, but I don't really see that happening!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

And It Is Finished!!

The quilt that I posted that I would finish this month, in coordination with A Lovely Year of Finishes, is finished!  It traveled with me to Texas, where I am visiting my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, so I could sew on the binding ... in between grandbaby time.

I ended up using some of the green that I added as the first border to do a small corded binding, using the Piping Hot Binding method from Susan K. Cleveland.  Because this was a kit that I was repurposing, I only had limited amounts of fabric.  The binding fabric that came with the kit was the same as the final border, so I wanted a little something in between the border and binding.  Because I didn't have enough of the blue (which probably would have shown up better), I used the green that I added for the first border. 
Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mid-November Progress Update

At the beginning of November, I posted that I would participate in A Lovely Year of Finishes for the month of November and I would finish a quilt started almost four years ago.  To date, I have finished sewing the squares, assembled the quilt, added borders and quilted it.

All that remains to be done is to bind the quilt.  I will add piping to the binding -- I think in the blue color -- and then the binding will be in the same fabric as the final border.

Yep, I will finish it in November!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Finishing What Has Been Started

I recently was introduced to a site in blogland, 2013 - A Lovely Year of Finishes, hosted by Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts.  (Thanks, Pauline, for the nudge!)

At the beginning of each month, you post about a project you will finish that month.  Mid-month, you are encouraged to post your progress, and then at the end of the month, you post about your finished project, a virtual show-and-tell, so to speak.  Prizes are included, but the most valuable prize of all is getting something FINISHED!!  (And check out their website for the definition of "project.")

Even though it is already November, I have decided to join the fun.  My first project to finish this month dates back to April 2010.  I went to AQS in Paducah that year, and I took a class to make a mystery quilt.  It was billed as having an afternoon of fun and creating a memory of Paducah.  Sewing machines were provided.  Fabric kits were also provided, with the fabric already cut to size.  All that was needed was to sew the pieces together.  I figured it would be a good way to create something to remind me of my first trip to Paducah.

Are you surprised it's not finished?  Well, I can be a bit picky in my quilt construction.  I like my 2-1/2" squares to be 2-1/2" square.  Alas, not all the pieces were cut to size accurately.  And then I was supposed to piece a border using strips cut cross grain?  I prefer to cut my borders on the straight of grain, if at all possible.  There is less stretch in the straight-of-grain pieces, and squaring up the finished project is easier.

During the afternoon, I did sew pieces together, but I was underwhelmed, so I was probably the least productive person in class.  First thing I did when I came home was to try to find additional material, particularly the border fabric, which I really liked.  I discovered the fabric was a few years old and could not find any additional fabric for sale.  What was I to do?

I finally decided I could reduce the size of each piece and have a smaller version of the original quilt.  So instead of a 60" x 70" quilt, I will have a quilt approximately 30" x 35".  If you start with a nine-patch made out of 2-1/2" squares, you can cut it down to make a new nine-patch out of 1-1/2" squares.  By carefully cutting, you end up with something like this that you have to then sew back together.

At this point, I've done all the cutting.  I just need to re-sew the blocks and assemble the quilt.  I will finish it in November 2013!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Spooky Halloween Blog Treat

Welcome, Blog Hoppers!

Today is my day to post some spooky Halloween offerings.  Thanks to Madame Samm from Sew We Quilt and Wendy of Why Not Kwilt for all their work in organizing this blog hop and keeping everybody in line.

I have for you two small wallhangings.  The patterns come from The Heart and Home Co.  I picked up kits for both the wallhangings when AQS was in Grand Rapids this year.  Unfortunately, I don't know who I purchased them from so I can't give credit to the shop who put together the kits.

First is Ghost.  My three-year-old grandson is being a ghost for Halloween.  My original intention was to make a trick-or-treat bag out of it for him to use but decided to do the wallhanging instead.

A funny story that I wish I had a picture to go with.....my grandson originally wanted to be a green ghost but in the last couple of weeks changed it to a purple ghost.  He went with me to purchase the fabric for his costume, and when I grabbed the white fabric, he told me, "No; purple."  So purple it was.  I ended up adding bits of cheesecloth over the purple floor-length costume.  As we went through the zoo-boo last night, he did in fact look very ghostly....just bits of white floating along.

The second wallhanging was made for my almost 17-month-old granddaughter.  The only kit that was available that wasn't scary was Candy Corn, so that's what I got for her.  It's quite colorful.  When she received it in the mail, she proceeded to carry it around the house with her.

The hangers for both of them were purchased from Ackfeld Manufacturing.  They have some wonderful hangers available, not just for the holidays but throughout the year.  They come in a variety of finishes and sizes.  One of my favorites that I plan to make a quilt to hang on can be found here.  Think I could get away with hanging it in my office at work?  

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to visit and leave comments for the other blog hoppers today!

I Piece 2-Mary

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wicked Blog Hop

The Wicked Blog Hop starts today and runs through October 31.  Check out the postings each day for some fun Halloween ideas.  I will be posting next Monday, October 28.  Thanks to Madame Samm and Wicked Wendy for sponsoring and cheerleading this blog hop!

Here is the schedule.....

Tuesday, October 22nd

Wednesday, October 23rd

Thursday, October 24th

Friday, October 25th

Monday, October 28th
I Piece 2-Mary
Tuesday, October 29th

Wednesday, October 30th

Thursday, October 31st

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I feel like I should start this post with an explanation of why I have not posted in almost a year.  The fact is, I just don't have a good explanation.  Blogging did not make it to the top of my list of things to do.  And the longer I went without posting, the harder it was to jump back in.

In an effort to become the person I know I can be, I have made a new commitment to post to this blog on a regular basis.  My goal is for twice a week, even if it's something small.  My reasons for blogging are the same as a year ago.  I'm still not sure people will want to read what I write, but I'm doing it as much to have a record of my journey along the way as anything else.

With that said, on to the fun stuff!

When the AQS show came to Grand Rapids in August, I traveled across the state to take a class with someone whose work I've admired for a long time, Susan K. Cleveland.  Here is her website http://www.piecesbewithyou.com/. I have most, if not all, of her books.  Someone who can make prairie points interesting is definitely someone to be listened to!

The class I took was to make the pattern Octet, from her book Precision & Panache:  Fine Workmanship, Fabulous Details, Outstanding Quilts. This book has some, well, fine workmanship, fabulous details and outstanding quilts .... along with the instructions to incorporate them into your quilting.  Even if you don't make any of the projects included in the book, it has a lot to offer.

The pattern Octet features the aforementioned prairie points, but also incorporates the use of beads, using heavy threads for the top thread in your sewing machine, and piped binding.  Mine finished to 16" x 10".  Here is the finished project.

And here are a few close-ups, the first one showing the piped binding and the heavy thread used for quilting.  I used Aurifil 12wt for the top thread in my machine and just a regular cotton piecing weight for the bobbin.  You do have to use a larger needle and adjust your machine tension.

This close-up shows the prairie point with the bead attached.  I have used the Aurifil thread again to embellish the prairie point.  I was originally going to use a plain orange bead, but then I found these neat beads with flowers that really mimic the bubbles in the main fabric.  (I have become a fan of the bead sections in both Joanne Fabrics and Michael's....now to find a way to use all of them!)

I am quite pleased with the finished project and can see myself incorporating these techniques in future quilts!

Check back as I introduce you to some old friends.....sometimes called UFOs.  

'Til then, happy stitching!!