Sunday, June 19, 2016

Blossoming (TSS 031)


Blossoming took me an entire week to finish. For a 6" block, there were multiple stitches and color changes. It was nice sitting down with needle after very hectic days, but I've come to accept the need to schedule an eye doctor appointment. My eyes were tiring and crossing way to early each night.

This final block was not my original intent. When I prepped my first block, I thought I'd use the Crayola technique, but, once prepped and pressed, it looked horrible (right- below). So I pitched that one and let my needle do the coloring. 


Easy to color with some of the newest DMC's in my box. It's been awhile since I bought floss so I stopped off at the Rocking Horse in Farmington, MI to update my collection. Lovely blues - I'm all set for Gail Pan's block in July!


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That's a lot of pieces!

I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them. 
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.

Blossoming = 1


Total to Date: 483 pieces*

*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Salvage Saver (TSS 033)


Another installment of The Splendid Sampler, here's another finished block for my collection. The original block used salvage edges, but quite a few friends were concerned that it would shrink disproportionately to the rest of the quilt upon washing. I had a different concern - I was concerned the rest would shrink and this would hold it's original shape/size. So, instead of using salvages, I tried my hand at this string-pieced variation. Love adding a splash of color to the top.


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That's a lot of pieces!

I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them. 
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.

Salvage Saver = 8


Total to Date: 482 pieces*

*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date


Monday, June 6, 2016

Stitching Fashion (TSS 028)


I must admit, although I've never made a garment, this paper-pieced block fascinated me! The complexity! I'd been looking forward to some free time to give it a try and carved out a few hours this weekend. This is Stitching Fashion by Charise Randell (of Charise Creates) and is available on The Splendid Sampler's website.

What makes it so interesting (besides the 44 pieces in a 6" block) are all the matching points. This is one block that could spend hours working on and go horribly wrong. Charise has a technique that involves piecing with no paper seam allowances so you can easily match points without the bulkiness of the paper; but I like the paper seam allowances for lining up larger pieces.

I decided to try Charise's method but leaving the seam allowances around the outside. I'm so geeked with the results.

Thank you, my friends, for the revised patterns with seam
allowances. Note I kept them on the outside while trimming
off the inner ones so I could match my points.
The hardest part about lopping off the paper seam allowances is remembering to sew beyond the paper's edge. I'm so used to starting and stopping right at the paper's edge that I had to go back and sew over my original lines a few times.


Next, using this technique, I had to remember to trim the block while leaving 1/4" for seam allowance.


For a detailed explanation of her method, definitely visit her blog. She did great step-by-step instructions with labelled pictures (and I don't want to infringe on copyright here). Basically, when sewing two sections together, align the points using straight pins first. Once everything is lined up, pin to hold and sew.

This is smart. Rather than relying on accurate seam allowances
to be your guide, you use the actual points without the bulkiness
of the paper. Specially useful when the sections aren't square.
Charise recommends basting with a longer stitch length first (I set mine to 4), checking your seams and then, if everything is aligned, sew again with a shorter stitch length (mine was a 2). I admit, I don't normally baste, but these sections were SO DARN SMALL that I did this time. Luckily I didn't need to take apart any of the dress sections (that darn spool of thread was another matter), but I'm glad I didn't risk it.

Press seam allowances open on small pieces.
And voila! Look how well that point matched! With sections cut on an angle, it would've been hard to match  those points by aligning traditional paper seam allowances.


I may be a little biased, but I think the extra care really paid off. I love this block! 

Final dress section before cleaning up the edges
I decided to leave out the "thread" embroidered on the original pattern. Looking at the other finished blocks, their threads all look wonky as they tried to embroider through so many bulky seams. If I really want it, I may machine stitch it when I quilt the final quilt.



In addition to the free block pattern, Charise has offered a free pouch pattern to showcase this block.

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That's a lot of pieces!

I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them. 
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.

Stitching Fashion = 44


Total to Date: 474 pieces*

*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date


Friday, June 3, 2016

Scrappy Happy Heart (TSS 029)

LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!


I found a little time for myself and finally had a chance to work on my scrappy heart! Oh, what fun! I'm finding this quilt is morphing more and more into a "blue and green" quilt (with splashes of red and purple to keep things interesting)! Wow, they are really printing some beautiful greens lately - not easy to find so I'm snatching them up when I see them.  This quilt is really teaching me to move past the glitzy fabrics on the shop shelves and flush out my basics for blending.

As I've now completed twenty (of the 32 blocks - I know! I know! But I'm still working on them as steadily as I can),  I decided to share a quick collage of my blocks to date.

 

These are all 6" blocks (finished) using applique, embroidery, piecing, paper-piecing, and embellishing.

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That's a lot of pieces!

I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them. 
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.

Scrappy Happy Heart = 20


Total to Date: 430 pieces*

*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Simple Surprises (TSS 030)

Here's the latest in The Splendid Sampler series!


As you can tell, I'm not keeping up with the two blocks a week. This finish is 19 of 31, but I'm plugging along & enjoying myself. I found a little time on Memorial Day to whip this one out and prep two more. If the stars align, I will have a little time this weekend to enjoy the vibration of a sewing machine under my fingertips again.

Although I still consider it a "scrap quilt", it seems like I'm creating more and more blue and green blocks with a dash of red thrown in. I like it!


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That's a lot of pieces!

I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them. 
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.

Simple Surprises = 10


Total to Date: 410 pieces*

*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Measure Twice Cut Once (TSS 019)

As mentioned previously, I have a family member going through some medical issues just lately. That means less time at the keyboard and even less at the sewing machine. Lucky for me, one of the recent TSS blocks involved embroidery. Very handy to do in a recovery room.


Unlike my peers, I really like this block and was looking forward to making my 6" block. But something bothered me.... something kept eating at me... and then I figured it out. Look at the pattern above and a real measuring tape below. The bottom half is upside down!


But I fixed it! So much better right? 


Here's the technique used to transfer the embroidery: my lightbox and my handy, dandy masking tape!


I should write a book about all the fabulous stuff I've done with masking tape in quilting.


Unfortunately, I made a rookie error. Both my cream and my green were more of a polished fabric so, as I embroidered, the stitches sat atop the fabric versus nestling in.


To keep my motivation level high, I've added some new fabrics to my sampler stash! Wowwee!


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That's a lot of pieces!

I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them. 
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.

Measure Twice, Cut Once = 13


Total to Date: 400 pieces*

*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date