Frosty morning on the pond

Frosty morning on the pond

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tools of the trade...

Do you like to do foundation paper piecing...many quilters do but I also hear some groans out there!
While this process can be tedious and messy, I really like the accuracy that you can arrive at especially when dealing with smaller pieces. The first project on my 18 in 2018 list is those little scrappy houses dating back to 2012. As mentioned in my earlier post, looking at those bins of scraps has grown tiresome. This post isn’t so much about how to paper piece...there are numerous tutorials out there..this is more about the tools in my toolbox...


First of course is the sewing machine...I use my Bernina for everything, but paper piecing requires that you only have an adjustable straight stitch length on whatever machine you may have. The stitch length I use on mine is at 1.70 to start with. Later when removing the papers, you have a perforated line that usually gives way easily. Any needles (size 70-80) are kept in a special case marked “Paper only”. I keep a small Olfa cutting mat next to my machine too...


The first piece of fabric applied to the paper foundation is secured with a dot of Elmer’s glue stick. After adding the next fabric I like to use the Add-An-Eighth ruler to trim my seam...the slightly raised edge fits into the seam allowance snugly and does not move while trimming with my smallest Olfa rotary cutter (which I use only for paper or template plastic)


When working on a larger block, using the Add-A-Quarter ruler gets called for. Both of these rulers can be found at https://cmdesignsonline.com/recent-posts/paper-piecing-helpers-add-enough/
and I just discovered they make an Add-Enough ruler to ensure you have a large enough piece of fabric to cover the area you are stitching it to. No more guessing! Will have to check that out...

Once the seam has been trimmed, I use my wood “iron” to press...


When the entire unit is pieced, I do a basting stitch all the way around in the main seam allowance to secure everything before the final trimming. The 6 1/2” ruler works well for that. Then I give the little block a light pressing with the iron and add it to my growing stack of houses and little evergreens that will be place randomly throughout the quilt.


As each house is constructed from my scrap bins, the memories flow back - fabrics from earlier projects, friends who shared, road trips...”what was I thinking” fabrics...like the world we live in...these houses reflect all the differences that make us who we are...and somehow it all comes together.

Pat

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Of books and days at home...

For those of us who live in the more northerly parts of the country, the months of January, February and March are usually about staying snug at home by the fire with occasional bundled up trips out to replenish the pantry or meet up with stitching friends...
The home becomes the center of our days...soups or stews slowly bubbling on the stove, the coffee pot full and if you are like me, a cupboard filled with quilting projects to choose from...
The cold and snowy days are also welcomed when books can be enjoyed to their fullest. My wish list usually consists of quilt history/textile books...and thanks to my family at Christmas, the quilting library has gained 3 new titles...
Two gorgeous Quiltmania publications - the first one a recommendation from Di Ford...
And...
The third book is also a beauty - more Chintz quilts and history...
No patterns in this trio, but so much inspiration and with a magnifying glass nearby, a great study in early fabrics...
When not curled up with one of these books, my list of 18 in 2018 is active - #1 is those paper pieced houses from 2012.




All the scraps I am using are separated into those 3 bins... Frankly, I want to wrap this project up - looking at those bins for this long has made me tired!
But - confession time...just could not resist doing a test drive on the first Brimfield Awakening block project from Paper Pieces. (A special Christmas gift from Mr. Outback!) You can make these blocks with lots going on - the papers have perforated lines for different fabrics in each unit or you can treat the unit as one piece.
Because so many other of my things going on involve scraps and/or many fabrics, it is nice to have something that is more controlled...
A French General background and a little fussy cutting bring a calmness to my handwork...
Hoping each of you have your projects for this new year organized and in the works...and if anyone is in a warm climate near a beach...wiggle your toes in the sand for those of us in the far north...
Pat

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Something old...something new...


Wrapping up 2017 by putting finishing touches on a quilt which dates to...are you ready? 1993!! And like every quilt...this one has a story...Back in the day when I had my quilt shop, a group of Hmong ladies would meet to do some stitching for me...it gave them a break from the demands of the home and family and they earned some extra pocket money. It helped to put more samples on display in the shop...win-win! The ladies would chat away and share laughter and we would converse through a translator. Silly me, trying to give stitching instructions to these expert appliquers...
They were very accomplished and very fast, often returning the next day after the meeting with a completed block...
Check out the minute stitches and smooth edges in their applique work...

Well, as life happens, my shop was eventually sold to new owners and those lovely blocks got pushed back - way back into the quilting cave of good intentions...and the years went by - fast forward to 2017...
This is the completed top - I just needed to work on the borders and would you believe, in the project bag were all the original fabric pieces and prepared bias vines...

The pattern appeared in a long ago book by Laurene Sinema - Folk Art Applique...
And, of course, when it comes time for the label, all the ladies will be listed as participants - finally getting the recognition they so much deserve. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to keep notes and record the ladies names. Destined for quilting in this new year...
As for the “something new” - to start off 2018... our Dave and Jena are in need of a new flannel quilt and they requested something modern and in soft tones...this is what they chose...and they really like the quilting design featured in the completed top...(the little graph is my “cheat sheet” to keep my rows organized as this is a large quilt - 90 X 108 compared to the quilt in the magazine which is only about 1/2 that size)

The pattern is called”Positive Direction” in the magazine...because our kids are hoping to build later this year and have so many plans, I am calling the quilt...
MOVING FORWARD

And off it will go to be quilted by a LA quilter...with a Hobbs washable wool batt, they will sleep under a very soft and warm quilt...
So I am off and running for the New Year and making a list of 18 in 2018 - hoping it will be a year of more completed projects - I just get scared thinking what else might be lurking in that quilting cave...
Happy stitching everyone!
Pat