Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

It's been a little while since I had a chance to post.  I haven't had much quilting going on except sewing the binding on my disappearing four patch quilt from my Lotto winnings earlier this year.  I hate sewing binding.  I hand stitch it to finish it off and it takes absolutely forever!  But I don't know a faster way that turns out as nice so hand stitch it is.

But I thought I'd share pictures of what I have been up to... Christmas!!!  

Merry Everything and Happy Always!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Curved Rails & Curved Quilting

So I won the  BlockLotto for the second time in September.  I won 48 wonderful batik blocks!  I've gotten the top pieced and am working on deciding about the quilting.  It is against my nature to show an unfinished project. But since the whole point of this blog is to share the "evolution" of my process, I'm going to show you what I'm up to.  Here is the pieced top:

I hope it is apparent (since I worried over it forever :) that I arranged the blocks so that the top of one block is in at least the same color group (if not the same color) as the bottom of the block above it and the corner pieces in the sashing.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  It was suprising to find that I didn't have an odd piece out.  Not every match up is perfect, but they really are all in the same color groups.  I was pretty impressed with myself! 

So now on to the quilting.  I'm learning free motion quilting.  So I made a set of 3 blocks to practice a few things before I try it on the actual quilt.  Tell me what you think.

As you can see I haven't hidden any of my loose ends yet.
I'm also trying to decide whether to take the pebbles (that's what I call them anyway) right to the seam or just an 1/8 of an inch away.

What do you think?
Here's a close-up of the front.

And here are some pictures of the back.

My curves are still a little jerky, but I'm getting there!
So leave me a note and let me know what you think.  Seeing these close-up pictures of my quilting just encourages me to practice, practice, practice.  There's loads of room for improvement!  I'll try and keep things up to date as I continue with this one.  If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lotto inspired

A couple of years ago my partner's great-aunt died.  Chris was close to her as a child and he remembered fondly the bright floral print polyester blouses she always wore.  When he helped his mother clean out his aunt's home, he asked if he could keep the blouses.  So he brought home this pile of shiny floral polyester blouses and asked me to make something out of them.  I thought he was nuts at the time and I put the clothes in a bag and tossed it in a closet.  
I'm fairly new to quilting and didn't think it would be possible to cut and sew together that slick, shiny, slightly stretchy fabric.  But then in February we did string hearts as the block of the month for the BlockLotto.  And I had a EUREKA! moment.  I made string blocks from the blouses on muslin squares.  Then I made stacks similar to the squares we made in January and was pleasantly surprised with the results. These are definitely colors and patterns I'd never have chosen on my own.  And when I first looked at the pile of clothes I didn't really see that they connected well.  However, as I constructed what I was afraid would be a polyester monstrosity, I saw them all come together.  Now when I see Chris or his dad look at the quilt I can see a sort of faraway look come over them and I know they are thinking of Auntie.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wild Geese Chase!

So I was happily clicking through pictures from one blog to another, when I happened upon a flickr account by Lee from a blog called  Freshly Pieced.  She has such wonderful blocks in very modern color combinations.  I love these blocks that she has posted.  Anyway, one of the pictures is of a block called Circle of Geese.  (check it out here.)  So I google "Circle of Geese quilt block" looking for directions for making this block.  And I get a link to with a pattern for Circle of Geese.  I realized that this is a paper pieced block.  Well I've never done paper piecing before.  So back to google I go.  This time I search "paper piecing tutorial" and a number of youtube links come up.  I looked through several until I came upon a tutorial that I thought would work for me.  I liked this tutorial because she spent a lot less time measuring and cutting and did it all a little more improvised.

Well here is my first attempt...

Now you might say to yourself, "that looks like a pretty good block!"  Until you realize that the lack of squareness of the block is not a trick of the camera angle, but an effect of my "improvised paper piecing."  Especially when you see this:
This is the point (or lack of point) of one of the interior triangles.  I was not pleased when I noticed this.

Anyway, all in all I suppose it isn't a terrible first try.  But I think I will do a little more measuring and cutting next time and less improvising!   Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drunken Sixteen-Patch

About 10 months ago I joined a group call the blocklotto.  Each month a block is chosen with a certain color scheme and everyone makes up to 9 blocks.  For each block you make you get an entry into the lotto.  If you win then you receive a share of the blocks that all the other members have made.  It's a lot of fun and taught me some new techniques.  Well for the month of October the block was a "Quilter's Choice," meaning each person could make whatever block they wanted as long as the color scheme was blue and cream with brown or tan.  So I made up the block you see above.  One of the other members of the group asked me how I made the block so I made a second one and took pictures while I did it.  This is my attempt to explain it step by step.  I hope it makes sense!

To begin, choose four fabrics and cut out one 6" square from each one.

 Then stack them together and pin through each corner.

Next make 2 curvy cuts perpendicular to one another.


Lay them out in four squares with a different fabric in each quarter.

Now sew piece 1 to piece 2 to form unit A
and sew piece 3 to piece 4 to form unit B.
Don't worry if they don't line up perfectly, you will be squaring it up at the end.

Clip the seam allowance along the curves.

Now iron the seam allowance toward the curve.

Next sew unit A to unit B. (still not worrying about everything lining up perfectly)

After repeating this for the other 3 squares, lay them out in an arrangement you like.

Take block A and block B and overlap them by about a 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.

Then pin the two blocks with staggered pins so there is room to make a curved cut around the pins.

Make the curved cut between the pins. Then remove the pins and discard the cut away portion.

Sew A and B together to form one unit.  Then repeat this process with blocks C and D to form a second unit.
Iron these two units flat then overlap them, pin them and cut a curve between these two units.  Sew the newly cut units together to form your unsquared 16-patch.

Now cut your square down to 8 1/2" by 8 1/2".  And there you have your Drunken 16-Patch!!!

I hope that makes sense.  I realized I should have taken a few more pictures of the last few steps.  If you have any questions please let me know and I will try to clear it up.  - Andrew

P.S.  If anyone tries to make this block, please let me know.  I'd love to see your results!


I've been quilting here and there for about 4 years.  My grandmother has quilted off and on for years but about 6 years ago she became really interested in quilting again.  She was making quilts for each grandchild and asked me what I wanted for my quilt.  I told her I wanted to pick out the pattern and the fabric and help her sew it.  That's when I got hooked.  I chose a tumbling blocks pattern and went online and ordered all kinds of fabrics for our creation.  We've finished the top but I am determined to quilt it myself and have yet to make up my mind about how I will do that.  Here's a picture of a section of the quilt.

The picture in the background of this blog is a picture of the first quilt I completed.  I made it from old clothes.  As it happens many of the clothes I used were old boxers.  So my family calls it the "Underwear Quilt."  I made up the pattern myself then pieced and quilted it on an old Bernina Record 830 that belonged to my mom.  I really enjoyed the process and am pretty proud of the outcome!

Hopefully I can share some useful and entertaining information as I blog about my evolution as a quilter.  Thanks for checking it out!  - Andrew