Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For 2011 - Blocklotto, Free Motion Quilting, Stashbuster Ugly Fabric Challenge, and Friday Block Party

I've really enjoyed the monthly BlockLotto challenge.  With this challenge we send our blocks to other people if our name is not drawn.  We sew the same block up to ten times, following the detailed and helpful directions posted each month.  I intend to continue playing the BlockLotto in 2011.

I also intend to ramp up and continue on my free motion quilting, but even with that, I think I'm ready to do more sewing this year!  I'm thinking of joining two other challenges...

The weekly Friday Block Party has been going on for some some.  Each Friday she posts a new block to make.  Once you make it you post the photo to show the others in the group.  Some of the ladies do it all scraps, some select a color way to use.  I'm going to use scraps (probably the left overs from another project but I'm going to have grey as my color to tie things together for that challenge.  We'll see if I can produce a block at least every other week and keep up with my other plans too!

The other new project I'm thinking of joining in the monthly Stashbuster Ugly Challenge.  I don't like the name especially, but the idea is to use a fabric we have that we do not really like to practice a new block construction.

Last year all the blocks were to include some pink.  Each month they were going to have a beginner pattern and a challenging pattern - but after a few months one of the two volunteers couldn't continue so they didn't exactly do that.  It's a really good idea to have two different blocks.  (The previous year the color was yellow - but I can't find the files on that project so I'm not sure how it was organized.)
All the blocks have straight seams, the more challenging ones had more pieces... 
These are the images of the blocks from the directions that were posted to the Stashbusters' site.
 The list owner has selected a new person to do the challenge this year.  I think it will be fun to follow along.  I had stepped forward to head it up or be the alternative, but with all the emails going back and forth, my email wasn't read until the new person had been selected. Guess we were supposed to write to the group and not just to the list owner to step forward to volunteer.  (Or it could be my email was deleted in error as the list owner wrote me asking if I had written her about something else - that she had deleted a message and thought it was from me.)  Added:  She wrote me a nice note regarding this.

My ugly fabric is stuff I bought to be backing for quilts.  I still could use them for that,  but think I might go ahead and join the challenge that the new person will be working on.  Hopefully the color she selects will be something I have in my stash - if not then I'll have to pick another color and just be consistent with using it in the monthly blocks she posts.

I'm hoping between the three  challenges there will be lots of variety and fun!

I've been making very good progress on going thru cupboards and drawers.  I'm going to reward myself for all the organizing and clearning*, by fitting in time to sew next year!  Another change for at least early Spring 2011 is that I will be learning Italian and attending yoga classes!  But it will take a while still to get thru everything in the house and garage... but it's actually been a nice experience so far.  I've done the dining room, living room, kitchen, van, and part of guest/mom's room and master bedroom.

* clearning = cleaning and clearing out!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two more Roses for Sophie

I had the strips out so went ahead and made two more roses - this time with mainly pink fabric.

I'm going to mail tomorrow - so took a photo of all four roses together...
These are all trimmed to be 9.5 inches square.

Two Rose Blocks Completed

I finished two red rose blocks.  While making them I kept coming up with more than two seams, but I think the end results when put up with other roses will be a nice addition to a quilt.

I'll keep my strips handy so I can sew more later.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I selected and prepped fabric to make a few roses for Sophie.  Cut strips then handwashed.  Put some in vinegar to be sure the colors are set.  Then ironed and picked out subset of fabric to make two red roses.

I cut a pentagon for the center and just added fabric like a log cabin - trying to arrange the colors so it would look right - also pressed after each seam and trimmed fabric so strips are at an angle to help with the rose allusion.

Had to change bobbin - after that the stitching was not right.  So ripped stitches out and will wait until I figure out how to fix the tension...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Get Well Flying Geese and How I Made Them!

Michelle, another lady in the BlockLotto, had an operation in October that was taking longer to recover from than expected.  She is back to sewing already, but I wanted to make her some blocks anyway.  Since I finished the December challenge already I was able to do this sewing.  As I finished the first block, I remembered that the last time I had trouble making the blocks.  To solve it so I could send the blocks to Mary Jame in a timely manner I used much larger pieces of fabric than were really needed - and ended up with a bunch of scraps that I didn't think I would be able to use...

This time I made time to figure out a way to do Flying Geese so I end up with more usable pieces of fabric.  Here are the Get Well Geese I made for Michelle (scroll down to see my notes of how I made them!)

The technique that I ended up figuring out, The June Dodge Method for Get Well Geese*, was a variation of the directions for the December 2010 block - trees.  When I was using the original liberated directions I just ended up with scraps - this way I end up with a mini-reversed goose or point.  (The original directions are very clearly written - it's just that I'm not following them correctly I'm sure.) Anyway,  I'm quite please with myself for figuring out this new way to do the Get Well Geese!

Step One:  Cut background fabric about 1 inch taller and wider than the desired size of the block.  Cut colored goose fabric roughly the same height as the background fabric but narrower.
Step Two:  With right sides facing the same direction, cut a point in the fabric. Be sure to have the tip so when it's sewn together the point tip will show.
Step Three: Move the fabric - you have a full sized set and the mini set.

Step Four: You can either place the bottom of the goose fabric so it lines up to the sky fabric (see normal size for example)  - this will make the end result so it's not even when the sewing is done).  OR
(see mini size for example) Bring the goose fabric so it is below the sky by 1/4 inch (then when sewn the bottom will be even).
Sew the two pieces together.  
Step Five:  Press toward the dark fabric and see how the different placement of the fabric affected the result. Normal size the bird is higher, Mini the bird is flush with the sky.
Step Six:  Place the fabric for the second seam.  For both of these the bird part is not below the sky, so neither of them are going to line up evenly once they are sewn.
Step Seven:  Sew second seam and press - see how the different placement of the parts affects the result.  In both of these examples the outside sky fabric is below the center bird fabric.
Step Eight:  Trim to square up and get to desired size.


Here I thought I knew what I was doing so I did three blocks at one time...

But I must have cut the length too short as for all of these I had to sew on a piece to get the block to be 6.5 inches.  It was just 1/8 inch off but I had to add a wider piece so there would not be extra bulk at the seam when quilting...  The extra seam, I think, will disappear once the project is quilted... or will add charm to the liberated quilt project!
After figuring out and using this June Dodge Method for Get Well Geese*, I have mini-reversed units all ready to use in a project myself later on!

* Ha ha!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BlockLotto - December 2010- Jewel Tone Forest

My ten trees for December 2010!
This month I got the sneak preview so was able to make my blocks ahead of the public release date for the block pattern!

Directions are here: http://blocklotto.blogspot.com/2010/12/jewel-tone-forest-for-december.html
Examples are here: http://blocklotto.blogspot.com/search/label/dec%202010%20photos

I used some of the special black material that my husband got me while in North Dakota a few months ago - I think the swirls of the pattern make the trees look magical.  Sort of combination of snow and sparkles. I did not have to buy any fabric for this month's challenge!

This was an easy block - and there are a lot more creative things that could be done with it too!

On Free Quilt Patterns

So in the beginning, quilting started as a way to recycle and enhance.  There were no quilting stores, no businesses.  Now there are, and I benefit from them - but mainly from the online sharing that so freely goes on.  I read an article today - cautioning people from free patterns as they are not always accurate, etc.  The article goes on to list the free patterns sources she recommends. It was really nice of her to organize the list - it will be a good set of links to refer to.

Hmm.  And this is just an n of 1 - but my last paid quilting class was to make a jacket.  In addition to paying for the class we were all required to get the pattern.  The copyright on the pattern was several years old.  During the class, the teacher told us mistakes that were in the pattern.  There was no printed insert in the pattern container - the pattern was sold with the inaccurate information.  There was some additional added value to the class - she showed us how to make a very nice band to go around the arm.  This pattern would replace something in the pattern - I'm okay with that as in the end the pattern was very open ended and there was room for additional blocks to be added.

The class could have been improved by having samples of the various stages of working on the jacket...  But it really bothered me that the printed pattern was being sold without the corrections.

So yes, free patterns may be inaccurate but my last paid pattern was inaccurate too.

So I guess free patterns are like free recipes or advice - have to take them all with a grain of salt.  But in reality everything we see or read or hear we have to filter thru our own souls to decide what to do with the information.

A few years ago I was chatting with one of my son's friends, I was saying how I needed to make more room for things in the house and was thinking of giving away all my cooking books as I could search for recipes so easily now on the web.  He said he would still keep the books as those recipes were tested and one never knew if the web recipes were correct or not.  This is a similar thought as the quilting article I read - but I so rarely refer to my books now - and I know to look at several web-recipes before deciding which one to test out that really I should go thru those cookbooks are weed them out at least.  And I have never gone thru one of my quilt pattern books and used them - so they should be weeded out too....

I have not found that paid patterns are entirely accurate.

I can not really say if free patterns are accurate - I am still at the block level of making things and have been really enjoying finishing my monthly blocklotto challenges - but I would hope that people would not blindly accept a paid pattern and waste time figuring out why something did not work out as expected when really it's just a poorly done paid pattern.

I think perhaps that is what the author of the original article was thinking about free patterns - but I think paid patterns have to be included too.  One expects the quilt store to screen patterns before they are sold - it was very disappointing that an errata sheet had not been prepared by either the pattern publisher or the LQS.