Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Weekend

I was able to finish the Feathered Star block from a workshop I took through my guild a couple weeks ago. The feathered star block has been on my list for quite some time and when I saw the workshop offering I signed up. Rather than foundation piecing the block on paper, the instructor using interfacing. This is the first time I had used interfacing for foundation piecing. I like the idea of not having to remove the paper at the end of the process but I found it to be a bit stretchy. I am glad that I tried the technique but think if I was to make the feathered star block again I would use foundation paper. The fabrics are all from my stash which makes me very happy. I do think if I were to make it again, I would use a different color for the churn dash blocks and inner border so they pop.I have moved this to the "to be quilted" project and hope to have it quilted and bound before our next guild meeting in two weeks.

Now back to the civil war blocks ---

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I am still here . . .

Wanted to at least get a post to let you know that I am still here. However work and a family medical situation has taken over my life for the past week and a half. The good news is that the medical situation is improving everyday. I haven't been at the sewing machine too much lately but have been keeping my hands busy with prep work for an applique BOM that I started 5 years ago. Not sure what I was thinking at the time since I was VERY new to applique and there are lots and lots of leaves (my least favorite part of applique because I am not very good at making the points). I have decided that this will be my learning piece of applique so I am hopeful that by the end of the 12 blocks my points will have improved greatly! I started this BOM using the freezer paper method but think when I prep the April block I will switch to the template and starch method which I learned from Megan.

As Caryn mentioned on her blog, we did manage to conduct our own mini shop hop last Sunday. We found some great civil war fabrics to add to our stash. Mostly greens and golds which don't photograph very well unfortunately.

As well as some bits and pieces to add to my beach theme I Spy collection, a couple of yellows for my Jimmy Buffet quilt and a pattern for embroidered tea towels.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Civil War Blocks

Earlier in the week I mentioned that I had completed some more civil war blocks which I thought I would share with you. As you can see I had a helper with one of the blocks. Some days I can't seem to get any sewing done as Malibu would rather play than have me sew.

I am hoping to piece a few more today although the sun has come out and I think I hear my garden calling. I had wanted to work in the yard yesterday but it was too wet from the heavy rains we had the night before. Perhaps I can get my hands in the dirt today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lesson Learned

In the late summer of 2005 I thought it would be a great idea to teach a paper piecing class at my LQS -- even better the owner thought a BOM would be a great idea. We decided to use the book - Garden Stars which is now out of print -- actually it was out of print before we even started the class which made it a bit difficult to get copies for the students! It is a great book containing stained glass flower/stars. By the end of September we had all of the fabrics / blocks picked out and I spent the next 3 months paper piecing 12" blocks and putting a quilt top together.

This was not a beginner paper piecing class and I recall specifically telling my LQS owner that we needed to ensure the students were comfortable with paper piecing and most importantly, liked to paper piece. Famous last words -- several students had never paper pieced and by the second month I had lost a good portion of my students :( Partly due to their inexperience with paper piecing and partly because I didn't think to start with the easiest block for the first month. In my logical/analytical mind (I work in accounting/finance), I figured in January we should do the block that I chose for January -- didn't even think about whether we should start with an easy block as my students were to have had paper piecing experience. We did manage to keep two sessions going throughout the year even with the various issues encountered along the way.

As far as I know only one student, Ann, has completed the quilt (pieced, quilted & bound). Mine remains a quilt top with the paper still on the majority of the blocks -- which brings me to my most recent dilemma ----- I mistakenly used printer paper to piece the blocks rather than foundation paper. I had used it before without any issues, however, none of my previous paper piecing projects had 1/4" leading around each and every piece of the block!

So this evening since Spring has come to the Northeast for a day, I dug out my quilt top and decided to sit on the patio and take out the paper. Because of the leading around each piece this is not an easy task -- a task that is made even more difficult by using regular printer/copier paper. Boy do I wish I knew about the dissolving foundation paper when I embarked on this journey!

Anyway, the reason for this post is I am wondering if anyone has a suggestion for easy removal of the small paper pieces particularly those in the seam allowances. I am tempted to remove all of the big pieces and as many of the small pieces as possible and toss it in the washer briefly.

Below is a partial view of the quilt. I plan to replace the plain yellow flower block in the lower left corner with a nicer one before sending it to be quilted.

Monday, April 7, 2008

And the winner is . . .

The winner of my April Fool's Giveaway (Abe Lincoln fabric) is SBonetSue! Please send me an email with your shipping information and I will get Abe into the mail for you. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April Fool's Giveaway - Last Chance for Entry

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my drawing for the Abe Lincoln fabric. I will accept entries until midnight tonight. I will pull a name tomorrow and post the winner on my blog.

I was fortunate enough to piece several Civil War blocks this weekend. Will put some pictures up soon.

Saturday was sewing day at the firehouse. Spent most of the day working on a triple Irish chain in 30's fabrics. I started this quilt several years ago and put it down. In February I decide it would be my sewing day project at the firehouse until it is complete. Of the 49 blocks required, I have completed 24 -- these were the easiest of the two types of blocks. The remaining 25 blocks might take a bit longer as I am going to unsew the 3 I completed on Saturday as I am not happy with them. Basic block construction is seven 2-inch strips of fabric sewed together and then cut into 2-inch strips -- you do not use the same fabric in a strip twice so the quilt is very scrappy. You then sew 7 of these 2-inch strip sets into the block -- I was a bit lazy on Saturday and did not press after piecing each strip together but rather waited until the block was done -- well I am not happy with the way they turned out so I will undo them and resew them the correct way -- pressing after each strip is added -- oh well lesson learned. In the end, short cuts don't save time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Books

I purchased two books at the quilt show -- Portable Patchwork and Quilts for Rosie.

The Portable Patchwork book gives tips and techniques for taking patchwork with you (hand piecing) and it also gives tips on how to then machine piece those blocks once you have them hand pieced. I thought it would be a good addition to the library.

Quilts for Rosie is a book on paper piecing blocks from the 1940's and also has a brief history of women in WWII. This book intrigued me because my MIL was a Riveter during WWII and had paperwork showing that she was a member of the Rosie the Riveter organization. I say 'had' as DH believes she has thrown away all of that 'stuff' -- ugh! As a history lover, I am hoping that she has not thrown it away as it is an important part of our family history.

My MIL actually wanted to join the Armed Forces but her mother would not sign the necessary papers allowing her to enlist. So instead she became a riveter in order to help the war effort. I am looking forward to having a nice conversation with her in the near future in order to capture her experiences during this time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dear Jane, Civil War and April Fool's Giveaway

I was fortunate to spend the past weekend in Lancaster, PA enjoying the 21st Quilters' Heritage Celebration. During the past 21 years over 8,000 quilts have been display with only a select few being displayed more than once -- a tidbit I found interesting. In addition to the vendors at the show, there is a group of 'renegade' vendors in the building across the street -- kind of a two for one deal. The quilts on display were varied, traditional to art including some clothing. One of my favorites was a Dear Baby Jane done in 30's reproductions and solid pastels which were used for the backgrounds and triangles in the border. I was inspired to piece two of my own Dear Baby Jane blocks on Sunday. It has been awhile since I have hand pieced. After the first block I was back in the groove and able to make my stitches a reasonable size. Not quite small enough but that will come with more practice.

Building on the inspiration of the quilt show and the new civil war fabrics I purchased, I pieced two more civil war blocks last night. I have a total of 15 blocks completed. So as you can see I am still a bit behind the rest of the group as I believe we are on Week 8 for a total of 56 blocks having been chosen thus far. They are addicting blocks if only I could find the time to piece them :)

Lastly as Caryn mentioned on her blog last Friday, I am giving away one of my Abe Lincoln's to one lucky winner. All you have to do is post a comment stating you would like to be entered in the April Fool's Giveaway by Sunday night. I will pull the lucky winner's name next Monday and post it on my blog.

I will post more about the show and the surrounding Lancaster area throughout the week.