Category Archives: Quilting bee

FNSI February 2012

So I have only blogged this year after FNSI. Ah well…at least I’m getting at some projects.

My youngest had a friend sleep over last night and my oldest went camping with the boy scouts, so I took the opportunity to work on some bee blocks.

February’s do. Good Stitches blocks are the retro-mod Granny Square blocks I’m seeing all over the Internet right now. We’re so cutting edge ;).  I believe it’s an original pattern and while I don’t actually see the granny square-ness of a crochet block, I do appreciate how pretty these are when they’re sewn together so the designer can call them whatever she wants.

Many of the bee members, myself included, struggled with these blocks, because, though beautiful, they’re tricky little buggers. The key I found out after 2 failed attempts is to sew with a scant 1/4″. That’s hard. The result if you sew with a solid 1/4″ is that they’re a solid 9″ (or as I kept repeating last night, “shit! they’re short”).  They’re supposed to be 9 1/8″.

So I made 2 lovely but unusable blocks. Actually, they’re not lovely at all and as my husband pointed out, they’re off-center.

See those notches on the left and bottom? In addition to the block being just too small, those nips are too big to hide in the seam allowance. So a too small block + big nips = total reject.

Apparently the other block was too embarrassed to be photographed so I can’t show it to you.

I did manage to make two that are actually good, the right size with minimal nips (small nips are apparently unavoidable, even by the designer).  These can be hidden in the seam allowance.  I measured to be sure.

Kristen from the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild asked us to make log cabin blocks framing the sweet Little Apples fabric.  So cute.

OK, full disclosure because my guilty conscience won’t let me get away with anything else:  I was too clever by half and decided to trim the light pink strip to 2″ because I thought all of Kristen’s strips were the same width (2 1/2″) and I didn’t want them all the same width and I thought in the end it would be more than big enough to trim the block down to 12 1/2″.  Wrong.  The strips weren’t all the same width and the dark pink strips were already only 2″ (remember the old quilters’ adage measure twice cut once?  Remember it!!) thus my block was SHY of 12 1/2″.  Ugh.  I’m going to have to rip the dark pink and sew it back with a scant 1/4″.  Are you seeing a theme here?

The biggest news of my night was that I did (almost) all of this with my new sewing machine!  I’m so excited to have something so nice.  I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what this gal can do and I can’t wait to do more than just piece on it!!

I’ve been sewing with a very old and very basic Singer since I started quilting.  It was a hand-me-down from my sister and I really made it work for me.  I darn near burned it out making Christmas quilts for my boys in December.  It works OK to piece (and apparently sews a very fine scant 1/4″ seam) but it was toast for actually quilting or doing anything that required my walking foot.  Plus, it only had 5 stitches and one of them is a non functioning buttonhole stitch.   While I’m sure I won’t use all of the 60+ stitches on this one, I will use more than 5 for sure and I SO look forward to creating new things with it.



Filed under Friday Night Sew-In, Milwaukee_Modern Quilt Guild, Quilting, Quilting bee

FNSI – February, 2011

I had one completion this week for FNSI and I’m OK with that.  I have been wanting to make a quilt I saw in the Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.  I thought the simplicity of the design would make it a quick quilt.  Well, although the design is simple, it requires a lot of quilting.  And I found out that I really don’t like quilting.  Don’t get me wrong, I love selecting fabrics, piecing, and binding.  It’s the quilting that I suck at.  It makes my back and neck ache, and I generally get annoyed doing it.  That said, I like how the quilting, or stippling, turned out in this piece.

OF COURSE I didn’t finish a quilt for FNSI, that’s ridiculous.  I did finish a pillow though.  My circles leave a lot to be desired, and for sure, that’s the focus of the piece.  I noticed afterword that the circles in the original quilt are actually a continuous loop and mine have a definite starting and stopping point.  I ripped and sewed each of the circles twice because I wasn’t happy with them.  Ultimately, I had to leave them because I ripped and re-quilted after I had stippled with the red thread.  There is some puckering but it’s not too bad.  However, I am satisfied with my stippling overall.  I made a simple envelope-style closure for the back and used one of my throw pillows from the couch for the form.  I bound it like a quilt with the same Kona red.  Here it is, modeled by Rex:

And a closer view

I might actually like the quilting process in the future if I can get a more comfortable chair/table setup.  I think that’s why my back and neck ache when I do it.   Here is the quilt in the book:

Mine looks reasonably like the original, right?  Minus the messy ends in the circles.  Well, minus the messy circles themselves.

I also mailed off my blocks for February’s do. Good Stitches quilt.  We’re supporting a young lady in Australia whose home has been devastated by the flooding and I think this quilt is going to be really beautiful.  I think all the do.  Good Stitches quilters have done a really wonderful job picking the blocks and making the quilts for worthy recipients.  Kristy’s design is no exception.

Here are my blocks:

She asked for a disappearing 9 patch in Spring colors.  I think I got the “value” wrong in these – Kristy’s colors are more pale – but I think they’re very Spring like.  I hope they work well with the other blocks.  This block was so simple and rewarding.  I might have to try it again.  I like how these turned out.


Filed under do. Good Stitches bee, Friday Night Sew-In, Quilting, Quilting bee

Busy week

The Freedom Block Swap deadline has come and gone and I mailed out all of my blocks on time.  That bee was different from most in that each member sent enough fabric for one block (at least one fat quarter) to each member of the group, but the design of the block was totally up to the maker.  I really struggled with some of these because the block I originally chose to make (top row left) just wasn’t coming out at the right finished size.  I finally purchased a 1/4″ foot for my machine but the blocks were still taking way too long to finish.  The second block I chose (top row, right side) needed longer pieces of fabric than I received from most of the bee members.  Consequently, I ended up piecing some of the blocks, which I didn’t want to do.  I finally ended up making other blocks that better fit with the amount of fabric I received (top row middle and bottom row).  Here  are all of the finished block (you’ll have to click the image to see the whole thing; there are 10 blocks):

I’m rather underwhelmed by the pictures (because my camera sucks or maybe it’s operator error – whatever) but I can tell you that in person they do look nice.

I also completed blocks for Fresh Comfort 2 but then found out that one set isn’t cut right so I have to fix them.  Here are spider web  blocks for Anita:

The spider web blocks were kind of hard because there was no seam allowance in the instructions and they therefore didn’t come together neatly.  It’s too bad too because the fabric is really nice. They do end up at 8 1/2″ square, so I hope she can still use them.

These are string blocks and I have to remake them:

I liked making these string blocks.  They were really very easy so I’m not sure what happened.  I guess I just didn’t trim them down correctly.  I’ll have to finish them off another day.  I’m just too tired to create anything now.  It’s almost 3am and I can barely keep my eyes open.

This was a very lucky week for me.  I hope to post my winnings tomorrow.

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Filed under Freedom Block Swap, Quilting bee

Need a fix

Need a lighting fix.

I know I can find instructions on the web for making a light box in which I can photograph my blocks and other small things.  I need one.  My lighting setup is just terrible, even in the morning sun.  These pictures were taken this morning when it was bright and sunny but you can hardly tell:

These are more blocks for the QAYG Quilt Along.   That’s 4 blocks down and, like, a bajillion to go.  The important thing though is that these are for ME.  I’m not making them for anyone else’s quilt but mine.

I also finally uploaded some blocks for a quilt that are not for me.  They’re for the Do. Good Stitches charity quilt I’m helping create.  Alesa asked for blocks in green/teal and orange/yellow.

When put side by side, they also create blocks like this:

And you can see both blocks together here:

And on the off-chance that Laura reads this before she gets her mail, here is a sneak peek for something I’m working on for her:


Filed under do. Good Stitches bee, Family, QAYG Quilt Along, Quilting, Quilting bee

Sewing Goodness

Now that the kids are back at school and summer is officially winding down AND the temperature is coming down, I’ve been able to get back to a wee bit of sewing.  I’ve finished these:

And I’ve joined these:

And I’m really itching to do this:

Of course, this is in addition to baseball, football, and soccer practices and games with a few baseball tryouts thrown in for good measure, and my usual volunteering.

Spare time?  What spare time?

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Filed under Charity, Fresh Comfort Two, Quilting, Quilting bee, Stash