Friday, August 29, 2014

QDD Catchup

So August is almost done for...but I am catching up on all my monthly BOM's and have officially caught up on my Quilt Doodle Doodles 2014 BOM.  I had to get both the July and August rows done this month and being consisted of a bunch of 2 1/2 inch squares it took a little bit of sneaking in extra time here and there but I got it done.

Here is my July row of Hot Cocoa Mugs:

It wasn't until I went to post this pick that I noticed the error in it.   The steam is way off center in the middle cup.  Not sure if I should leave it as is or fix it.  I have not done the decorative stitches around it as I was planning on doing them on a friend's machine.  I could very easily move it but it is kind of growing on me.  Or maybe that cup is sooo steaming hot it should have three steam puffs coming out of it...choices...choices...choices.  My co-worker is always telling me we always have choices.  What to do???...any suggestions are welcome should I fix it or change it up?  I cheated on the mugs.  They were suppose to all be made of 2 1/2" blocks but I wanted to use some fun prints to make some fun seasonal coffee cups...I'm pretty sure the quilt police will let me off with a warning.

August was a quick short row of candy.  I enjoyed the quickness that allowed me in catching up: )
I really like all the different colored candies in it, too.

So only two more pieces of this quilt puzzle to go.  September and October which made catching up now even that more sweet.  So far here is how it is coming together:

September will fill the hole next to the tree, which will mean I can sew it all together next month after I finish the September block.  October is suppose to be a row above the ice skates. I didn't have enough of the dark blues to do the whole quilt but love the scrappy look and the lighter blues give it a much lighter, happier feel to it, so I am completely loving how it is coming together.  It's always a little challenging when you can't see the overall picture from the get go, but it is perfect in my book so far.

Now to catch up on my PMQG Medallion top.  It needs July and August additions.  They call it July and August but as they come out near the end of the month it always seems like the following month's project so it doesn't seem like I am that far behind...except for the fact that the July round consists of 48 square in a square blocks.  I've been dragging my feet as I haven't been sure what colors to do next.  I have been contemplating black as the outside square but having just seen the next round posted on the 28th I will save the black for my August additions.

I also hope that all the sewing time over the Holiday weekend will be therapeutic for me as I feel the need for therapy!!!

Hope you have a therapeutic and relaxing weekend as well,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sister Swap Update and Squishy Mail

This weekend I had a wonderful deluge of squishy mail.  It had me doing a happy dance and smiling from ear to ear.  I recently won some charm squares from Alida from Tweety Loves Quilting and love the assortment she sent.  The colors are going to be fun to work with. Check em'out.  She  is running a series of giveaways with her Monday linky parties so be sure to stop by and check out the details.  She loves seeing what we are all busy doing.  She has some great paper piecing patterns that need tested and I hope to find time to squeeze one in soon.  I am just so far behind on my commitments right now.

Those lips are just a hoot.  They are going to be especially fun to add to a project.

Then I have been anxiously awaiting my Kaffe Fassett charms from the swap that Stephanie organized over at The Quarter Incher.  This is Round 2 and wish I had seen Round 1 and gotten in on that action.  I adore the charms that everyone included this round.  Great selections!!!

Look at all that fabulous color.  You can tell I am a child of the sixties.  I adore all that craziness :)

I also had a purchase come as I found it hard to resist the Curve Ruler that Jenny does all her fabulous patterns with at Sew Kind of Wonderful.  Her latest blog hop really made it too hard to resist anymore.  I also had to get her Metro Hoops and Metro Twist patterns, too. 

But the best package of all was my package from my 'Sister' from Michele's--- It's A Sister Thing Swap at Quilts from my Crayon Box.  I decided to participate this year and it has been an awesome swap and I am sooo sew glad I didn't sit this one out. I already hope she does it again next year! This one was all about spoiling a new friend.

I received a fabulous assortment of goodies from Mary from the Needled Mom blog.  I have been happily following Mary for a couple years now and it was fantastic having her as my sister angel this Summer. She made me feel so spoiled and it is certainly the same feeling I have been shooting to give my Sister that I was assigned so it was a blessing to feel pampered in return. 

Look at all the wonderful goodies Mary has been busy preparing over the Summer for me:

I love that Embroidery!!!  It is always great to get something there is no way I could do for myself.  Mary must have a fabulous machine.  I love my Juki but it only straight stitches and my daughter's machine does decorative stitches but being a cheap machine it doesn't do them well.  A friend here in town recently bought a Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4.2 and I am going to schedule some play time on it soon. 

I love to cook...baking in particular and love the apron.  Once upon a time I even was a Pampered Chef consultant.  My husband always teases me that I bought more than I sold.  Hey...they treat their consultants well and I can't pass up a good sale. What's a girl to do...Shop, shop, shop.  Love the monogrammed  napkins and the potholder is simply beautiful.  Love her color choices.  She made to sure to throw all that yellow in for me and you can't go wrong with that.  I love her pink fabrics, too. Mix it up with all that white and black and I adore it.  Do you see those cute shoes in the black and white print???  I love me some good whimsy, too.

Talk about whimsy, those frogs are over the top adorable.  They just chase away all the blues and make me so happy.  Can't help but smile at them right back.  It is a post card but to me it is an awesome piece of art and I LOVE it!  I think they might be planning a picnic on the quilt in front of them.  The journal will definitely get lots of use, too as I love keeping track of things and those batiks are so beautiful.  It gets me so ready for Fall just looking at it and I will love using it all year long.  Can't wait for fall evenings and doodling in my notebook, maybe a fire and some hot cocoa, too.

Thank you so much Mary!! You are an amazing woman ( She is one busy Grandma) and have been an awesome 'Sister' to me for this swap!  Wishing you all the best always, thanks again for all the love you have pampered me with I truly feel blessed to have been your 'Sister'

I shipped my package to my secret sister today and can't wait till she gets it!!!  She has a special day tomorrow but unfortunately my package won't quite be there in time.  She should have it by week's end though.

Keep Stitchin'

Monday, August 18, 2014

Trails and triumphs

Summer has kept me busy lately.  My DH has kept me busy working outdoors instead of sewing but after we got a few things taken care of outside this weekend, I was able to sneak in some sewing time.  I've been keeping busy making a couple items for my 'Sister' in the It's a Sister Thing swap I am participating in this month.  I've been stalking a quilter's blog that I am paired up with secretly and immediately came up with a couple of items that I had to make her.  She is so open in sharing of herself that it was a delight to stalk her secretly and make her a couple of things I am sure she will love.  Makes me wonder if I share enough of myself here...being open is kind of least for me.  One of the projects I made was a first for me, but it turned out great...thankfully... and I will have to get to work making a couple for me soon.  I can't wait to share what fun I've been having with this one but it will have to wait a little while longer before I can share. Due date for shipping is August 31st and I still have to think of a couple goodies to include with my package for her.

I needed to get a few of my BOMs caught up, so I started in on my June...yep June Quilt Doodle Ice Skate row. 

This one was a lot of work and frustration.  I have had the white ice skates done for a while and completed the two red skates last week.  But when I put the row together it was like 8 inches too long...Yikes...followed by some not so nice words!!!  I had to rip it apart and unfortunately the individual blocks I had sewn together by horizontal rows not vertical.  So ripping this BITCH apart was a nightmare.  Then when I went to fuse the skate blades on I had forgot to take into account they would be inversed so I had to redo them on the fusible web product.  Ironed them on finally and then when I went to do the applique stitch around them, the sewing machine decided to skip ALOT of stitches!!!  Finally after stopping and ripping the stitches out a few times, just went for it and then added the stitches in by hand with embroidery floss that needed filled in.  I do know I have shared before that I hate applique.  Love and admire others work but it kicks me in the bootie every time.

Deciding to move back into my familiar territory of paper piecing and get another BOM done, I moved on to my August Sew Kitschy block and look what happened.

I had it all assembled before I even noticed.  I had been worrying the whole time because I had less than a fat quarter of the background material and feared running out the entire time so when I had all the pieces together I must had been too elated and forgot to pay attention.  See that brown stipe in the middle???  It is suppose to be the kitchen counter.  Hello seam ripper again!!!  And here it is after I corrected my up-tenth flub up of the day.

Much Better
Ignore the fact that the far right spoon doesn't quite look all the way inside the container because at this point you know I am. Hell no way am I fixing that.  More on my to do list but I think this is enough problems for one day. 
Thank goodness my Sister Swap items went together much more smoothly and successfully.
Luckily our outdoor project went more smoothly...even if it did include way too much physical work.
It started out with the hubby ripping up our yard with a Kubota on Friday to make room for a new driveway and parking space for the new RV.
Followed by a lot of work framing in a compacting the new driveway.
On Saturday we got 12 yards of recycle asphalt delivered
Followed by many hours of spreading it all out and leveling it out
And then we compacted it over and over again.

Now we are debating what to do next.  We are thinking of burning it and than sealing it.
Wish us luck with whatever comes next.  For right now it is looking great and we don't want to ruin it by driving on it.  I know silly but it was a lot of work!!! 
Keep Stitchin'

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spunky squirrel and some paper piecing tips

I couldn't wait to get started on this month's BOM from Janeen van Niekerk's Garden BOM.  This month she has added a spunky little squirrel to the garden.  This was another challenging one to pull fabrics for and at first I thought it might be the first block to send me to the fabric shop rather than being able to pull all the fabric from my stash...but I managed to find just what I needed.

It took me a couple hours just making a fabric key so I could keep straight what fabrics went where.  Here is what I came up with and it was super useful for keeping track of all the pieces making up each section.  I don't think I could have kept track of everything without it.

After a few hours piecing all the sections, I got enough of a view of him that I was getting excited to see him become reality.  After many years of paper piecing, I have come up with a few techniques that really help put these together successfully.  Recently, I started thinking that I should share how I put the many pieces together. I use to just align the pieces where I thought they should be and baste them together using large stitches and if it wasn't quite right, I would rip it out and start again. Within the last year, I have found a much better method to aligning the pieces to get an accurate placement of the sections.  Paper piece patterns essentially start out as a drawing, that is then cut apart and all the sections are then given a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around.  So it makes sense that when you put it all back together the intersecting points must match back up.
In Janeen's instructions she wants us to put sections A and B together first.  Above these are those two sections.  I will flip section B on top of A.
I will then put a pin thru the two pieces at the top corner.  I want the pin to pierce both sections in the corner where the two patterns meet.  Hopefully, you van see what I am talking about in the next couple pictures.
I want it to match up to a point similar on the bottom, if I don't get it right the first stab I will pull the pin partially out and keep trying until I get the pin in the right spot on the bottom.

This is the pin coming out of the bottom corner.  I need to do that at the opposite end of the section, too.  When both of those pins are perpendicular, the sections will be properly aligned.

When I get both pins in there holding the sections in the right alignment,  I will put pins to hold the sections together when I take it back to the sewing machine to sew it together.  I usually will put pins next to the perpendicular pins first, and then one in the center of the section. I add more in between if it is a larger section.  Notice I keep the pins back far enough that I don't run over them when sewing the two sections together.

Take note that when I sew them together, I stay right to the outside of the line.  When piecing all the individual fabrics onto the sections, I sew directly on the line.  But when piecing the sections together, I like to stay to the scant side of the line.  I find when you iron the sections together, the added bulk of the fabric will make you lose some much needed fabric to get the correct size block in the end.
At this point before moving on, I will take out the basting stitches that I put around each section when I have completed it.  I don't know if all paper piecing tutorials suggest doing this but I find it extremely useful to baste with the stitches set at about a 4 or 5 around the entire perimeter of each section prior to me trimming it to it correct size.  It does make removing the paper from the back of the section a little more time consuming but I find it to be very valuable in keeping the fabric exactly where it needs to be until I have sewn the sections together.  At this point I like to remove only the basting along the line I am going to be ironing the section on. 
I not only take the basting out,  I will pull the paper off that will be trapped under the section when I flip and iron it.  It not only gives me the crispest line when ironed, but it eliminates paper being permanently trapped in those areas that are hard to get to when it is time to pull off all the paper.
Next, I put together section AB + C according to Janeen and use the same technique.
I just repeat the same process of pinning the corner, making sure the pins always pierces the corner on top and on the underside in the exact needed placement.
At the opposite end, I will do the exact thing again.  It may not always look exactly right, but when I fold it down after sewing it together, it is right where it needs to be.  The key is putting a pin in the corners and pinning the section together in between those perfect aligned corners.
Again, I will take out the basting along the sewn line and take off the paper where I will flip it over.  I don't want to take off too much of the paper as I complete each section being sewn together because I want the fabric to remain stable and I still need all those other corners for when I sew sections to them as this all comes together.
Next, Janeen's directions say to sew sections D + E + F
In no time it looks like this
Here I've put the sections together per the instructions given. 
Good progress being made and you just keep applying the same technique over and over.
Add that little O section to M and N
When I add the PQ section to MNOKL section and pull the paper off and go to press it, it becomes apparent the there is a lot of fabric in all those intersecting seams and it doesn't want to iron out so well.  When that happens I find it best to open up the seams and press them open like so.
When I add the next sections I find it best to do the same again
Before long I am down to just putting the last two pieces of the puzzle together
On a long diagonal I do find that the fabric sometimes will stretch.  Especially if you remove to much paper from those seams.  I like to baste these together and then open it up.  If the sections are properly aligned then I will take it back to the machine and sew it a scant amount to the inside of the baste so that the baste stitches will not be seen when it is ironed in place.
When I open it up it looks great so back to the sewing machine I go to finish this beauty.
You can see I have the basting still around the outside edge.  I take that out and then it is pretty easy to pick most of the paper off the back. 
The remaining basting stitches are holding this paper on.  Eventually I will take those stitches out and pull off the remaining paper.  For now, I am ready to give it a light starch spray and call it done!!!
 I love the end result!!!  Can you see the little fussy piece I gave her for a tongue?  Love it!!!
Another great block for the garden.  You can get the pattern free this month from Janeen's website Quilt Art Design and check out all her other fantastic paper piece patterns.
Keep Stitchin'
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