Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Northwind Quilt using bonus HSTs

I finished a UFO that was at least 10 years old – maybe 15. The Northwind blocks were paper pieced and measure 3 ½”. When I picked it up again this past spring I noticed the preprinted paper had a date of 1992! Oh, my- no excuse for something taking that long. I used bonus triangles from a Square in a Square quilt I made quite a while ago and other scraps. That Square in a Square ruler is great for accuracy, but sure does leave you with a lot of “bonus” triangles.

BTW, this makes 12 finished quilts this year! I thought the blue and white 9-patch would be the 12th, but it seems like I often go from one quilt to the next – completing steps as I go, but usually not finishing a quilt from start to finish without working on other quilts in between. I sometimes start off for the basement where I play thinking I’m going to do one thing and something else enters my mind on my way down and I end up doing something else. Don’t know why that is.

I finished the Northwinds center and added a border  - stood back and decided it needed pinwheels. I love pinwheels – I think they add motion and interest to a quilt. The pinwheels in the border measure 2 ½”.  I just noticed the 7 pinwheels in the Northwind center. Bonus pinwheels!

I want to show and tell you how I made the HSTs for the pinwheels in the border –

My bonus triangles are all light. For the medium/darks I used 1 ½” strips. I lined the triangles on top alternating placement and sewed down each side (lifting the tips of the triangles as I went). I did a very scant ¼” seam allowance. I cut them apart using scissors, trimmed them up at 1 ¾” with my rotary cutter and pressed the seams open. I’ve been pressing many of my seams open lately – it often helps with block construction. Not sure these pics will help, but I did my best -

I was glad I had enough of the inner border fabric to use for the binding. I cut the remainder into a 1 ½” strip and a string to add to my scrap system bins.

This is the first quilt I’ve ever blocked. I measured it and it was almost 1” wider on one side. I machine washed it to remove the markings, laid it on a folded beach towel and gently pulled until the measurement matched – 22”x30” –  stuck straight pins in around the edges and turned the ceiling fan on. A few hours later it was dry and true.

Now I'm thinking of what I can do with that bag still full of bonus triangles.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

String Quilt

I finished this string quilt earlier this year. I finished the top a few years ago for a chapter challenge. We each brought a fat quarter from our stash that made us wonder why we had it. They were put into paper bags and handed back out. I got a very uninspiring piece – it was tan with black markings. I did get inspired after finding a yard of the border fabric in my stash and worked the other piece in. The gal running the challenge sent us to Quiltville for Bonnie’s string tutorial. I quilted it with feathers that I learned to do in a class with Patsy Thompson. She was a very good teacher and she has some great free patterns on her website – Patsy Thompson Designs.

Today I finished machine quilting a little Northwinds scrap quilt. Here is a sneak peak. I was working on it last week when my upper arms started hurting – sit up straight and relax – I should chant this as I work! I wanted to finish it tonight because I have a massage appointment tomorrow and my massage therapists will work out any kinks.

I’ve had good luck with this Easy Mark product. It looks like a piece of soap. Marks come out with heat. I tested it on fabric before using it on the string quilt and it disappeared when I ironed it and after washing.

Just a pic from a couple of weeks ago of some flowers along my front porch. We had our first frost last night so they don't look like this anymore. Winter is here!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

4-patch and 9-patch

While sorting fabric strips last winter, I found I had a good bit of 1 ¾” and 2 ¼” strips from a project from a book I did a few years ago. I put them in their own little shopping bag thinking I would add this to my scrap system. I’m working on a 4 patch quilt with 2 ½” strips and somehow (I never know why one thing will make me think of something else) I thought of sewing a light from the 1 ¾” bag to a dark from the 2 ¼ bag and vice versa to make four patches that would end up being 3” – I think that is right. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but thought it was a good way to get rid of these bags. I’m trying to straighten up, but it always seems like a 1 step forward and 2 steps back process. Anyway, if I need more blocks to do whatever I decide to do, I can just use strips from my 2” bin.

In an attempt to relieve stress on my arms and hands, my husband and I went to a little culinary shop today in Old Town Alexandria. I bought myself a Shun 6” chef’s knife. This came about after a cooking marathon yesterday (2 pies and 2 soups). This new knife should cut better than what I have – I’m just hoping that doesn’t include a finger! Talking about fingers - I purchased this finger guard (the orange thingy on the ruler) at the Quilters Unlimited show last June and just started using it. Having it there also relieves stress on my arms because I'm  not pressing down so hard in an attempt not to let anything slip. Does that make sense? I don't know, but it felt better this morning when I was using it. Why did I wait so long?

All I have to do to reach my goal of finishing 12 quilts this year is to bind this little blue and white 9-patch. I hope I don't find myself doing it New Years Eve at 10pm  (though it wouldn't surprise me!).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin Quilt

During snowmageddon last winter I started reading the Quiltville blog. How many people has Bonnie influenced? It must be in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. She is amazing. I kinda, sorta started using her scrap system and found immediate creative benefits. I have 1 ½, 2, and 2 ½ inch bins and I have used from them, I also have a large shopping bag of scraps I’ve been adding to for months that need cutting down. I have more organizing to do to become a true user of her scrap system.

It took me a while, but I finally noticed the link to other blogs and off I went. I’ve gotten so much inspiration (love Lucy’s photos) that I thought it was time to document my quilt journey.

A little about me - I’m a wife and mother of three (only 1 still at home). I work 10 hours a week at the public library shelving books. It doesn’t pay much, but does pay for my quilting and massage therapy (more about that later).

I challenged myself in January to complete a quilt a month for the next year. Well, I think I’m going to make it. Right now, my hands are in those support braces because I’ve overdone it the past month, but all I need to do is bind a small quilt and I can say I’ve done it! I think I’m going to be less ambitious next year, though.

This is the quilt I just finished. I’ve had these pumpkin blocks for years. I won them at a guild meeting. Someone showed us how to appliqué them, collected them and I was a lucky winner of four. I didn’t think of them often and when I did I thought of an alternately maple leaf block. It wasn’t until I thought of the sawtooth star that I started pulling out fabrics and cutting.

 Happy Turkey Soup Day!