Monday, January 9, 2017

Quiltville Mystery Part 7

Last week I posted my Part 6 progress. 

I began working on this final phase, Part 7, of the Quiltville En Provence mystery quilt on New Year's Day holiday.  It didn't take long to cut the patches needed to construct the hourglass units.  Over the course of a couple of days, sewing here and there, I was able to get all the units made and trimmed to size.  
I spent some time calculating exactly how many units I needed to make a rectangular quilt.  Instead of using Bonnie's block layout of 4 x 4, I decided to make mine 3 blocks across and 4 blocks down which should measure out to be about 69"  87" if all goes according to plan.

I laid out all the patches for one block and one sashing.



Because we've had some nasty weather, I was able to spend more time sewing this past weekend.  I got all the blocks and sashing strips assembled and began connecting everything into rows.
 

I'm hoping to get this top completed by the end of the week.
 
I'm linking with Mystery Monday Linkup.   Check it out.  There are a lot of creative quilters out there making some awesome quilts.
 
Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to leave me a comment.
Happy Quilting,
   ~Diane
 
 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Scrappy Star Block

My fabric scraps are getting way out of control!  I have more than I can keep track of.  It's time to make a plan to get rid of them without throwing good fabric away.  So.....SEW!

In the past I've made several scrappy quilts.  One of the patterns used 16-patch blocks.  These blocks are made from leftover 2-1/2" squares.  
 
This is a pic of the second quilt I made using the same pattern.  

I have been exploring ideas for using these blocks in new ways and have a couple ideas rambling around in my head.  I know I have a bunch of these made up already, but not sure where they are at the moment, so I made a couple more yesterday.
 
 Start by making 4-patch units and then connect four units together to make the 16-patch block.    
Not long ago I saw a QOV (Quilts of Valor) quilt top made with all scraps.  The featured block in the quilt was a star using a 4-patch unit in the center surrounded by flying geese units.  I made some flying geese units with dark batiks for the triangles to go with my 4-patch units before cutting the background squares for the corners. 
Here's my first scrappy star block.  It measures 8-1/2".  I'm liking how it looks.

After I make several more of these star blocks I will play around with alternate blocks and sashing configurations.  Looking forward to putting these into a quilt.
 
Thanks for stoppy by today.  Feel free to leave me a comment.  
Happy Quilting!
   ~Diane

Quiltville Mystery Part 6

I was able to download the Quiltville En Provence Mystery Part 6 on Friday, but did not get to work on it until Saturday, New Year's Eve.  According to my calculations, I needed to make 48 of the required 64 units.  I ended up making 50 units.

I followed Bonnie's instructions and stacked four strips of the required colored fabrics before cutting the triangles I needed with my Easy Angle ruler.  That sure made it easy when I got to the sewing machine.  Each pair of fabrics were all ready right sides together, so all I had to do is chain piece them.  I'll have to try to remember this method for next time I cut and sew units like this.  

Here's one way to assemble these units to make a block.  I'm sure Bonnie has a better idea for placing these in the quilt.
Much to my surprise when I went to Bonnie's site to join in the Mystery Monday Linkup, I discovered that there is no linkup this week.  She posted Part 7, which is the final part and quilt assembly instructions.  Needless to say I have some cutting and sewing work to do this week.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Quilting!
   ~Diane
 

 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Quiltville Mystery Part 5

Thursday night I discovered that Bonnie Hunter had released her Part 5 clue for the En Provence Mystery Quilt a day early.  I quickly downloaded the instructions, but it wasn't until Saturday before I could cut the patches needed and start sewing.

I calculated that 75% of the 60 units required was about 48, so I began cutting my dark purples and neutral 3-1/2" wide strips.  After stacking a neutral strip on top of a purple strip with right sides together, I used my Easy Angle ruler to cut the paired triangles.  After I did a test of a few, I decided to go ahead and cut the dog ear corner off the pointed triangle end so I would have less to trim up after sewing.  That worked out great.  I actually had only a sliver to trim on some of my units.   I made a few extra, so now I have (52) 3-1/2" units ready to go.

I'm linking up with the Mystery Monday Linkup over at Quiltville.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you had an awesome Christmas.  Happy Quilting,
    ~Diane





Thursday, December 22, 2016

Quilt Suspension and FMQ

I have quilted quite a few large quilts with my domestic sewing machines and am thankful for the nice table I purchased several years ago.  The sewing machine drops down so the bed of the machine is level with the table top.  

Maneuvering a large quilt on the table and through the machine throat is a bit tricky but can be done.  This does tend to slow down the process of quilting due to stopping and rearranging the quilt in order to move to new areas to quilt.  I have heard of several ways to reduce the drag made by the quilt and recently watched a video online.  Patsy Thompson Designs.com offers for sale a system using bungie cords and clamps to raise up the bulk of the quilt.  According to her the system works well and makes moving the quilt under the needle easier.  

The first thing I did was show the video to my husband and ask him to make one for me.  He's really inventive and able to put together a lot of creative things.  But as I thought about it some more, I had an idea of a way to achieve the same effect.  I dug out the Dritz Quilter's Floor Frame from under the bed and "borrowed" some of the parts.   I already had some clamps and binder rings.  My husband gave me the small bungie cords I needed.  After making the frame, which fits well on my quilt table, I added the binder rings over the cross pvc pipe.  The bungie cord hooks attach to the binder rings and the opposite end hooks fit perfectly into the little holes in the clamp handles.  
 
  My test run on my FMQ practice quilt went well.  Elevating the quilt really does reduce the drag and makes it easier to move the quilt around as I quilt.  Re-positioning the clamps on the quilt every so often takes a little time, but so far I think its a more efficient method than rearranging the bulk of the quilt every few minutes.
 
 
The nice thing about my suspension contraption is that I can easily dismantle it and store it away when not needed. 
 
Here's a few pics of the quilting I have been doing on this practice quilt. 
I'm using yellow thread on the top and white in the bobbin.  The quilting shows better on the solid back. 
 
About this practice quilt.......I am obsessed with learning how to free-motion quilt.  I watch videos almost every day.  I have dozens of practice quilt sandwiches ranging in size from 6-inches square to 24-inches square.  
 
Several years ago I made this top and, because I never really liked it, I stuck it up high on the top shelf and forgot about it.  When I was looking for fabric and batting to make more practice sandwiches, I spotted this quilt.  I had previously sandwiched and spray basted the batting and backing to the top so it was ready to be quilted.  Now I have a very large practice piece to work on.
 
I am quilting this rather densely and using pebbles for filler in between the larger elements.  Whenever I see a new quilt stitching design to try I have a practice piece all ready to go under the needle.

Thanks for stopping by.   Happy Quilting!
   ~Diane
 
  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Octagon Mat and Mug Rugs


A while back I was inspired by a YouTube video featuring Karen Lukac making an octagon place mat.   


This is a pic of a table mat I made.  It measures 12-1/2" across.

My thoughts were that this shape would make a nice mug mat or coaster. 


This is one of the first mug mats I made when I was testing my technique.  To keep it simple, I opted not to put binding around the outside. 
 

For this year's Quilting with J.O.Y. Christmas party I wanted to give each of my friends a set of two matching mug rugs.  Each set was different from any other set.  I was able to use up small bits of fabric that I had in my stash.  


Here are two of the sets that I had left over and didn't give away....yet. 

 
These mug rugs begin with a 4-inch focus fabric octagon.  The contrasting pieces are cut 1-inch wide and sewn to the outer edges of the center octagon.  I used more of the focus fabric for the outer ring and cut those pieces 1-1/2" wide.  I also used the focus fabric for the backing octagon.  After making the top, I layered the backing, right sides together over the top and a thin piece of batting on top of that. Then I sewed it all together around the outside edge using a 1/4" seam and leaving an opening of about 2 inches for turning.  Next, I turned the mats inside out and top-stitched next to the outer edge to close up the opening and finish it all around.  These mug mats ended up measuring 6 inches across.



I wish I had remembered to take pics of all the other sets I made.  They were a fun, easy gift to make.  

I am linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting!
  ~Diane
 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quiltville Mystery Part 4

On Friday, Bonnie Hunter released Part 4 of her latest Mystery Quilt "En Provence".  I went online and downloaded the instructions right away.  We've had snow on the ground for several days and I don't drive when the roads are bad because I work from home.  Yeah!  So, I've had a lot of time to sew lately.  

Saturday I was able to cut the patches needed and begin constructing the units.  
 
 


 
In keeping with my goal to make 75% of the required units, I made 60 of these 3-1/2" square units.

After sewing the units I began trimming them down to the correct size.  At first I used my Perfect Half-Square & Quarter Square Triangles slotted trimming ruler until I sliced my finger with the rotary blade.  It was my fault for having my fingers too close to the slot where I was to cut.  The blade did not get into the groove before I started moving the cutter.  It took a few minutes with pressure to get the bleeding to stop so I could apply liquid bandaid.  It's been a long time since I made such a foolish mistake.  After that I ditched the trimmer for my regular square ruler and made certain my fingers were safe while squaring all the rest of the units.

I am linking up with Quiltville's Mystery Monday Linkup:  http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2016/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-4.html
 
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Quilting,
   ~Diane
 
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