Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Do You Baste Your Big Quilts?

I'd planned on posting sooner but life has been happening and I just haven't had the chance to post.  Also apparently Google removed my blog for a bit. My MIL and SIL tried to visit my blog and it said it was removed. I tried to log into my Google account and couldn't until I gave them my mobile number. Looks like all is well now. Strange though.
Our homeschool year is well underway and is going well. In my spare time I've been working on a small quilt that I will show to you once it is mailed and received by it's new owner! I've hand quilted just a few blocks on my hand pieced quilt. I've been feeling great and have really wanted to use this time, before the winter and the baby comes, to cross a few home improvements off of my list. I've been tearing down old wallpaper and borders. This is the first home we have owned and it is so exciting to fix things the way you want them. So I'm preparing to paint. I can't wait to paint our bedroom. It's pretty funky. If Pepto Bismol had a brother, it would be the color of our room. Pepto Blue.

I'm already thinking of my "someday quilt wall" and have most of my small and mini quilts gathered to finally make my wall. So after I paint I'll start. Yay!

I pulled out my "Sweet" quilt today after school. It's gigantic, for me anyway. I should have basted it at our old house. I had a really big kitchen floor that was great for basting. Now I don't have any floor space big enough to baste a quilt this size.. I have a carpeted area that is big enough but not sure I'll get all the puckers out of the backing or even how to go about that. I don't use spray baste and especially won't use it while I'm pregnant. So I'm wondering if you all have any creative tips on basting this mammoth? I'm all ears!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hand Pieced Quilt-A-Long ~ Hand Quilting

~ Before I start I want to say a HUGE thank you for all of the sweet congratulations about my baby news. Your comments really touched me and lifted my mood. I appreciate them more than you know. So thank you! ~

For those of you doing the hand pieced quilt along with me, I bet you never thought I was going to get to this. A few posts ago I said the next post would be about hand quilting the quilt. I apologize for dragging my feet. The truth is I feel a bit inadequate giving hand quilting instructions. But I will show you what I do and if it is not helpful I'm sure there are much better tutorials around.
A few years ago another (experienced) quilter told me to use needles called betweens or quilter's betweens for hand quilting. I just used any ol' needle I had on hand (still do most times) and they would start to curve after hand quilting for a bit and they would become hard to grip and keep straight. The betweens won't bend after lots of hand quilting, or at least not as much anyway.

When I first started quilting I read a lot of old quilting books. I read repeatedly that for hand quilting the quilt should be basted using thread and long running stitches. I have used this method and don't like it. As I don't use any hoop or frame to hand quilt I have no problems pin basting.

Shall we start? Cut a length of thread about 18 inches. Thread your needle leaving one loose end. Knot your thread at the other end. Insert your needle into the quilt top and into the batting but not the backing fabric about an inch or 2 from where you want to make your first stitch. Bring the needle up at the beginning of your quilting line. I am just outline quilting here.

Give the thread a little tug and pull the knot through the quilt top and bury it in the batting.

Take a few uneven, messy stitches. Just kidding. I like to call them organic. Just kidding. Again.

Quilt in this manner until you come to the end of the area you are quilting or your thread is getting short. Then wrap the thread around your needle twice. Insert the needle where you would make your last or next stitch and pull the needle through the quilt top and into the batting but not through the backing fabric.

Bring your needle up an inch or 2 away and pop the knot through the quilt top.

Bury the knot in the batting. Carefully snip your thread. That's how I do it. If you have any tips, suggestions, words of wisdom on hand quilting please let me know. 

Here are the links for all of the hand pieced blocks:

Block #1 ~ Churn Dash

Block #2 ~ Jacob's Ladder

Block #3 ~ Ohio Star

Block #4 ~ Bear Paw

Block #5 ~ Granny Square

Block #6 ~ Shoo-Fly

Block #7 ~ Card Trick

Block #8 ~ Friendship Star 

Block #9 ~ Square in a Square

Block #10 ~ Log Cabin

Block #11 ~ Flying Geese Pinwheel

Block #12 ~ Honey Bee

The flickr group is here. Come on over and see all the other pretty hand pieced blocks.

Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A "Little" News

(3/4 inch Nine Patch Mini)
I have some news I've been wanting to share with you for a little while now. See, when we lost our electric for 2 weeks, back in the end of June, it was during a crazy heat wave and everyone was feeling generally gross, no appetite, nauseous, tired and yucky. It was just the heat. Then we got our electric back (thank you utility workers from all over the country!) and everyone started feeling like their old selves again, everyone but me! In fact I felt worse. Then I noticed these beautiful, strong finger nails growing on my fingers. Mine. Hmmmm, that's weird. My morning coffee gagged me. And I thought ~ coffee, I love you, what is wrong with me? We live out in the boonies and it takes quite a long while on some very curvy roads to get anywhere. So I thought I just "acquired" motion sickness. And then one day I looked at my husband and said "I'm pregnant." He smiled and said "yeah, right". and I said,"No, really, I know it." So I got a test and in less than a millisecond I had a positive test in my hands. And so life changes. Your mind set and plans change. Your emotions change (oh, boy, do they!). We are really happy to have a new baby on the way. I truly believe babies are blessings from above. We are pretty much starting from scratch. I have no baby things anymore except for the one or two things that I saved from my others as keepsakes. At least when you've had children you know that you don't need nearly as much "stuff" as you think you need when it's your first.  I've had my first appointment and the midwife was super sweet, except when she said I was "advanced maternal age", umm, what? I chuckled, she didn't. I'm only 34 and mentally I feel like I'm 20 most of the time. 

I'm happy that everyday I have less nausea. I'm craving tangy, sour things like lemons, pickles and these...these on everything. Sandwiches, pizza and I might add that they do just fine on their own. This is the industrial size. It won't last as long as you might think. Okay my mouth is watering now.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Just wanted to let you know our happy news.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Artist's Studio ~ A Bee Block

I hope you are having a restful weekend. It has been absolutely beautiful here. Cool temperatures breezed in Friday night and it's been glorious since then. I finished another bee block. This one is for Amy. Her theme was an Artist's Studio. I knew that I wanted to incorporate quilting in this studio since that is the first thing I think of when I think of art. Then color! I have wanted to make a Circle of Geese block for what feels like forever. I even have a set printed on freezer paper, colored and ready to go, just never made it. Have you made one? Aren't they fun? Well I decided to make a miniature one for Amy's block. I wanted it to look like a painting because the only thing I could think of that would be better that sewing a quilt would be painting one, right?! I was going to add more details to her block. I wanted to make a shelf holding paints and brushes but I really feel that I add too much to these paper pieced blocks sometimes. I went with the "less is more" approach and I quite like it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Charise's House Finished

I finished Charise's block for the cocorico bee. So, it's supposed to be an Edwardian/Victorian style house. I'm not sure I captured that. I was going to use more subtle colors but the more I worked on it, the brighter it got. I like it bright. It makes me smile. I made her a window box with the text Great Washington because she is from Washington state. I made little flowers for the box using 1/4 inch hexagons and I embroidered 3 French Knots onto the center of each hexie flower. I hope she likes it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Catching up...

✓ paper-pieced block drafted
✓ fabrics pulled
✓ iron warming up
✓ sewing machine cleaned and oiled

It feels so good to catch up on things. This block will be for the very lovely and talented Charise for the  cocorico bee. She wanted houses so this is my take on that. I love seeing these paper-pieced blocks come together. I REALLY love seeing the blocks from the other girls in the bee. They are all so talented and inspiring. Oh, and patient too! This block was due in April. A few of us are behind and so are group is taking August to catch up. I really need that. I have a list of bee blocks due. I'm just checking them off as I go.

Have a great weekend! xo Erin


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