Saturday, December 31, 2016

Love (TSS 073)

Alas, the holidays are over, my Dad is settled, and all my adult responsibilities have been put to bed! I decided to head over to Bits 'N Pieces in Wayne to treat myself to a bagful of new goodies! Happy New Year to me, right?


With my first free day, I headed back to the Splendid Sampler.


Now, this block might appear simple, but it took me forever! First I had to move the rolls of holiday paper propped against the table legs. Them I had to rewind the spools of Christmas ribbons. Next came the filing of the sales receipts. And lastly locating my cutters. Then the fun began!

I selected the green and the purple center as a play on the posies in the corner fabrics. What do you think?

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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.

Love = 13


Total to Date: 596 pieces*

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

Traveler (TSS 061)


It was a nice surprise this morning seeing a pieced block released.  wasn't sure I'd have time for it, but I've been itching to get back to the machine. Kinda Christmassy, eh? Not sure if I'd like a full quilt of this block.

As per my norm, I peaked at the pattern and scratched my head. Some of the patterns use the newest and most time-saving techniques and some don't. This one wanted us to cut two fabrics into 4-2" pieces and then piece into pairs. What? 


So I went my own route. I cut 2 - 2"x8" strips and cut first. Then I cut them down into 2" sets. Pretty standard, don't you think? 


The other thing I changed were the corner gold pieces. This was the same flaw as in block #3. Why would you flip-and-sew a triangle onto a long piece only to catch it into a thicker, bulkier seam? 


I sewed pieces C & D to piece B. THEN I added the flip-and-sew corners. No extra bulk in the connecting seams. Then, after sewing, trim and flip.


Look how beautifully it all went together? And without the extra bulkiness it lays flat as a pancake.



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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.

Traveler = 16


Total to Date: 583 pieces*

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Starting Point (TSS 057)


August was a bust with work and family, but I did get one block done (and not posted - drat!). Here was a simple one. Not sure how I feel about the dark blue on the outside, but it might give the final top a kick!


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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.

Starting Point = 20


Total to Date: 567 pieces*

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Friends Around the Square (TSS 008)


Taking inventory I realized I still had this one to do. I had tried it when it first came out, but the fabric folding I attempted didn't work. Only plus side is that it interested a new friend. So, I made this simpler version today.

I'm loving the outside fabric (Meadowbloom's Meadow Rain fabric). I bought a piece of it on a whim, thinking I'll never find a use for it. But since I started cutting it up, I'm finding great places to use it everywhere! Almost impossible to find online, I hope my local quilt shop connection will help.


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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.

Friends Around the Square = 12


Total to Date: 547 pieces*

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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pencils (TSS 042)


No, Laurie. Still no hexies. Each one of those flowers takes me an hour to piece. Slow going...

So I took a little break today and worked on my pencils. There are others that pooh-pooh'd it, but, as I'm a geocacher as well as a quilter, they do place an important role in my life. This was fun. I was a little concerned about the pink, but, once sashing is added, I don't think it will be as overwhelming. The brown "wood" fabric reminds me of pencil shavings.


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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.

Pencils = 27


Total to Date: 535 pieces*

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

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hand in Hand (TSS 028)

 

Sorry, Lauri. You will have to wait to see those little hexies come together. It took days to make them after I narrowed down my preferred technique, and piecing together is slow going on these tired eyes.

In the meantime, here's one I completed yesterday morning while Steve was at work. You can't tell it here, but the spikes are 3-dimensional using a template and fabric folding. I'm glad I fussy-cut the stripe, but, by their nature, the tips looks little wonky.

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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.

Hand in Hand = 25


Total to Date: 508 pieces*

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

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

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cool Trick: Buttonhole Applique

This was posted on the Quilter's Renegade FB group, and I thought it such a neat idea.


Instead of guesstimating or using Tiger Tape, mark your finger and use it as a guide when doing buttonhole applique by hand. How cool is this?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Have Zipster - Will Travel

Hey, I realized I went on my fabulous trip to Washington DC and didn't share my new purse made by my sister, Lorna.


Isn't she a beaut? It's the Tulip Crossbody Zipster by Clobird. Lorna made it using Japanese linen cat fabric from Etsy and some coordinating fabric I found at Guildcrafters. 


She made it with a longer strap and coordinating pouch. PERFECT for this trip. Large enough to hold the essentials but small enough so I couldn't weigh it down. It hung at just the right place to avoid backstrain and had 3 outside pockets perfect for Metrocards and hotel keycards.


It seems most ever picture of me is from the shoulders up so you can just make out the strap. Here's one of me wearing my wonderful gift at the Korean War Memorial.

Quality work made by a talented sewist. I LOVE IT!



Inspector Sidekick (TSS 024)


Another one checked off the list. Not sure how I feel about Inspector Sidekick - it didn't come out as planned and not perfectly pieced. I think it may look better in the pictures, but I'm going to keep it.

Speaking about pictures... when I started quilting, you would lay out all your blocks on the bed to see if they went together or if you needed to change the fabrics. As I became more experienced, I had a design wall (no room for one now), and we would use the peephole purchased from a hardware store to step back for perspective. Now I use the collage feature on my phone. You can really get a good sense of color balance and settings using it.


Yes, I just completed block 24 and there are only 17 in the picture. But I'm catching up! Can't believe as of tomorrow morning we'll be 25% through this series! WOW!

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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.

Inspector Sidekick = 45


Total to Date: 387 pieces*

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Goose on the Loose (TSS 022)


I'm slowly catching up from my absence. I took it pretty conservative on this one; I regret the pale green, but I'm leaving it as is. I hop to start the embroidery blocks this weekend.


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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.

Goose on the Loose = 32


Total to Date: 342 pieces*

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

Flying High (TSS 014)




Ok, I admit. This is not the original block Janet Clare created for The Splendid Sampler. Janet's area of expertise is applique involving nature. The examples on her website are lovely. However, as much as I looked and looked at her '3 seagulls in midflight', they appeared to be blobs of ink on fabric. I knew that I couldn't follow her lead so I found some other birds to make me happy.

Unfortunately, two of my blues ran. I'm heartbroken - 3 hours of work on a 6" block. But I have some synthrapol on order. We'll see if that plus a dye magnet might save the day!


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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.

Flying High = 4


Total to Date: 310 pieces*

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sweet Candy (TSS 021)


Ah, it feels good being back at the machine. We've had a family concern and then a vacation so I'm 9 blocks behind. I decided to start with an easy one today.


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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.

Sweet Candy = 11


Total to Date: 306 pieces*

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