Archive for November, 2012

Two more finishes

I’d planned to work on my November UFO yesterday and today but with Keith coming home later tonight I decided to take advantage of him being gone and tie two more quilts before putting the tying table away. Our living room is way too small to leave it up when he’s home.

These two are also from the group in CA and are from the new box of HeartStrings tops that arrived this week.



And just to show the overlap between the blog and 365 project, a photo of all 4 finishes from this week.


November’s UFO will get finished but not before the next trip.

Project 365

I’ve been intrigued by this photo project since my son did it a few years ago. It’s a big commitment but I blog almost every day so I’m sure I could be successful … especially since I’ve found an iPhone app. How easy is that? One photo a day.

The app – Project 365 Pro



I rarely redo blocks

These were like the 3 bears… The thread in the first was too dark, in the second, I liked the thread color but decided the zigzag was too close. The 3rd was just right for me.


All the blocks are done and I’m partially thru stitching down the circles. Planning on tying another top tonight after a break.


Being far away

I’ve said before that I’m thankful that we have email, video, and FaceTime so we can watch the kids grow up from a distance. We manage 3-4 visits a year but that wouldn’t be nearly enough on its own. Adam sent me a video and photo today of Caleb putting his puzzle together and playing with his engines.


And thanks to Amazon, Caleb’s been getting engines in the mail since our visit. I have a prime membership and am able to ship directly to GA without paying shipping.

Just in time

These two tied quilts were pieced by a group in CA and I finished them just in time as their next ‘shipment’ arrived yesterday. 11 more HeartStrings tops.


Blue and red center strings are our standard colors and I never get tired of seeing these quilts.


I used pieced backs from Tish on both of these. I chose them carefully, picking ones that had similar shades of red (and blue) so that the binding would look good as I wrapped the backing around to the front … Consistent overall but having the interest of a pieced binding as you looked closer.


Although I work alone most days, I always feel connected to something larger than just me when I’m working on HeartStrings group quilts.

One exception to my rule

As a rule I dislike machine bindings … I know a lot of you like them and use them but I don’t and I won’t be convinced that they’re better so don’t try (and I won’t try to convince you that hand stitched bindings are better). Luckily there are more than one way to bind and none are right or wrong.

So my one exception to the hand stitched binding rule are tied quilts. For these I pull the backing around to the front and machine stitch them. While some quilters use a straight stitch, I pick a decorative stitch – pretty much the only time I use one of them.


Along with using a decorative stitch, matching my thread to the binding hides any wandering that occurs as I push the quilt thru the machine. You’ll also notice that this binding is wider than usual which helps it sit nice and flat while I stitch it.


And since I’m rolling the backing around, the thread blends there too.


Both quilts I tied last night are now bound. I’ll take photos and share them tomorrow.


I set up the tying table last night and my goal for the next couple days was to tie and bind two HeartStrings tops. It was a perfect activity for a solitary Sunday afternoon and evening. The tying is done and I plan to bind them later today.


This morning however, I made some border blocks for the Bricks and Stones quilt. The beauty of this design is that the border blocks are the same size as the body of the quilt so I’ll sew them together when I’m assembling the top … No borders to add afterwards.


I’ve had some questions about this quilt and there will be an instruction sheet with my measurements when I’m done but I thought I’d answer them here too.

The circles will be fusible appliqué finished with a narrow machine stitched zigzag edge like I did on the DP & Circle quilt

For the border, I’m using my Accuquilt GO Chisel and 3 inch half square triangle dies but if you don’t have the GO or these dies, you can get the same effect as demonstrated below.

To use the Chisel die, you’ll need half your pieces reversed … That just means that you’ll cut half with the fabric right side up and half with it wrong side up.

You could cut 3.5 inch squares paired with a 3.5 inch half square triangle. You’d want to use the same fabric in the half square triangle and the square.

Or if you like to sew squares on corners … You could use a 3.5 x 6.5 inch rectangle and a 3.5 inch square. Sew on line and trim leaving a 1/4 seam allowance, press open. Make sure you make mirror images of these . Looking at my drawing you can see the sewing line is top left to bottom right for one block and bottom left to top right for the other.


Binding cut but not made

Yesterday I finished cutting and organizing binding for the flurry of recently finished tops. I try to always cut the binding although I don’t piece it until I’m ready to sew it on.


I also try to keep up with pulling/piecing backs but you can see I’m behind. The RWB top has a backing pieced but all the others need them. I’ll need to do one a week until I catch up.


Little things like cutting bindings and piecing backs helps when your tops sit around as long as mine do.

A new start

I’ve made a start on the Bricks and Stones quilt. The fabric is from a set of fat quarters from Connecting Threads.


Becky is so good to us

I’m missing Rae but my DIL is sending lots of photos …. A few of my favorites.


We also missed FaceTiming with Caleb last night … Got caught up in decorating our small tree, listening to Xmas music and then a movie on TV. I’ll try to catch him tonight. For the record, this is very early for me to have the tree up but we’re gone a lot before Xmas and decided we’d put it up now or else it wouldn’t be worth putting up at all this year.


TouchDraw app

I’ve had a few questions on the iPad app I use for designing quilts. First, I still use and find EQ7 the easiest quilt software to use BUT I use my iPad way more than I use my laptop these days and I never carry the laptop with me when I travel. TouchDraw is my favorite of the many drawing and quilting apps I’ve tried. I also find it more helpful than EQ7 when I want to show a series of steps in assembling a block or top because I can draw them all and export the drawings individually or as a group and I frequently use this feature to demonstrate block or quilt assembly on my blog and in my instructions.

It is an app that you WILL want to read the instructions for use. Learning how to quickly duplicate, group, and rotate blocks helps when you need to set each block into place.

I begin my quilt by drawing my shapes and then duplicate and color them as I set them into the quilt. Once I have a couple rows or sections ‘built’ I then copy and duplicate the larger sections so I don’t have to build the entire quilt block by block. For the most part I leave the snap to grid feature on for easy assembly but sometimes it helps to take it off when I want to expand my blocks to show the individual pieces.

Here’s a screenshot of my Bricks and Stones design board.


One last Log Cabin photo

See how the promise of starting a new quilt spurs me on through my least favorite part — assembling the top. I promise, this is the last photo of this quilt for a while. The top is done and will be set aside for a while before it’s turn for quilting comes up. It will probably end up on next year’s UFO challenge list.  It looks like there’s a lot of overly dark strips right in the center but the whites in those strips are much more noticeable in person so that dark spot doesn’t jump out like it does in the photo.

If interested, you can find brief instructions for the Log Cabin quilt on my website.

Bricks and Stones

I am in such a piecing mode right now … So as I finish up the borders on the Log Cabin, I’m already thinking about the next quilt. I’ve got fabric pulled for a Half Log Cabin but I think I want to do another one in between so I spent a little while putting this idea on the iPad this morning. It’s one that’s been floating around in my head for months … Simple … Uses my brick, circle, chisel, and 3 inch half square triangle dies, and I think I have a set of fat quarters that will work.


Hopefully having a plan for the next quilt will motivate me to finish the log cabin top but I’ve also got my November UFO and a couple tied quilts on the agenda before my next trip so we’ll see how much I get done.

Just a dusting

The flurries continued into the morning and I watched out my window as I continued to assemble to log cabin. Lunch and a movie rounded out our day


This one’s coming together well – I’m pleased with it so far. Working on borders now.


It’s snowing!


No photo?

I made a mini top today to highlight some design ideas/issues for a quilt that Habitat for Humanity is contemplating for their new offices and didn’t even get a photo. How fun to have the opportunity to give some input.

I also managed to finish the log cabin blocks today and am ready to start assembling the quilt center.


Lots of questions

I wasn’t sure how the log cabin die would work either but I knew I could figure it out once it arrived.

They suggest you put address labels on the die to label each strip but I just wrote it in with a sharpie. Here’s the full die and the largest block you can make is 12 inches finished.


My fat quarter is not long enough to cover the die so I decided to go with an 8 inch finished block which will use 1-8 on the die.


To cut one block you’d cover those 8 blades with a black/white fabric and a red fabric. Because I want a scrappy quilt, I’m cutting 8 reds and 8 black/whites for each 8 blocks and then mixing the fabrics up in the block. You could make a two color quilt and just use two fabrics but I like scrappy quilts. Here are my first 8 blocks cut … You’ll see that there are 8 black/white pieces and 8 red. I showed them mixed up in yesterday’s post so I won’t show that photo again.


Once I have them cut and laid out … this is the order of piecing.


The strips finish at 1 inch so if you count across both ways you will see there are 8 logs. In my particular block, the last red round is NOT used. I’ve set that aside and will either use them in the piano key border or toss them in my string bins.

Here are my first few blocks tossed up on the design wall


Log Cabin

I’m going to blame Shirley!

I went upstairs to piece a back for the Tessellating Pinwheels top that I finished before my trip and started eyeing potential fabrics for a log cabin quilt using my new die. After pulling a bunch of brown and green fabrics, I read Shirley’s comment and remembered that I had a bundle of black and white fat quarters.

I figured I could make 36 eight inch blocks from that bundle so pulled some reds to go with it and played a bit in EQ. I think this is where I’m going but I might change the layout – after all there are lots of choices with Log Cabin blocks.


I cut the first 8 blocks and got them sewn…. would have been quick if I hadn’t had to pick out a couple rounds when I wasn’t paying attention. To make my blocks scrappy, I cut 8 different B/W prints and 8 reds… more fabrics will be added in as I go.

As cut

After “shuffling” the stacks


Yikes! Two weeks away

We’re home and as usual, Chesty traveled very well which I’m always grateful for! The first item on the agenda was going through two weeks of mail!!! Now I’m going to head out to get a bite to eat and then come home and grab the pile of bills and pay them … Luckily, that’s NOT the big pile in the middle of the counter.


That little striped item is a set of straight needles I’d forgotten I’d ordered … Nice to have them all in one place. I also came home to the new Log Cabin Accuquilt Die. Going to be hard but I have a few things on the list to take care of before I can play with that one.

Dog Park

It was a beautiful afternoon so after we got home from our visit with Rae we headed out to the dog park with Chesty.