Sunday, April 9, 2017

BOM Blocks

I am participating in two block of the months this year.


These are the blocks so far for the Yankee Diary BOM from Barbara Brackman's blog Civil War Quilts. This month's blocks are the 5 Double Tie blocks. They are 6" blocks. Some of my blocks so far are just the correct size of background fabric since I haven't decided what I will appliqué yet (I'll decide when more of the blocks are finished).


These blocks are for the Welcome Home Mystery quilt from Kathleen Tracy (A Sentimental Quilter) - she posts the instructions on her Small Quilt Group on Facebook and Yahoo. The latest are twelve 3" Nine Patch blocks. I also added the border to the house block - the block is now about 15".

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!♥︎

Monday, April 3, 2017

Some Recent Finishes

A quick post to share some recent projects -


I finished up the table mat from my last post (I pieced the blocks on International Quilting Day). The mat is 12"x28", with 4" Courthouse Steps blocks. I went with this layout, although I preferred (as well other commenters from the las post) a different layout, but I realized it would be the same as the quilt on the couch -


I free motion quilted an all over meander design.

A couple of knitting finishes using yarn that I dyed and spun-



A sweater made with all kinds of fibre - linen, 2 breeds of wool, 2 types of silk, bamboo, alpaca and tencel. You can see more information and photos on the Ravelry page. This was my own pattern.


A simple cowl knit with silk and merino. The pattern is Botanical Cowl by Megan Goodacre, a free pattern on Ravelry.


I also finished weaving a piece of fabric that I plan on making a vest with - kind of scary cutting it up, but it should work! Technically not a finish yet. It is made with yarn that I dyed and spun also.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!♥︎

Saturday, March 18, 2017

World Quilting Day

Today is World Quilting Day (International Quilting Day) and I was happy to do some online sewing with a dear friend in New Zealand.  


I pieced 21 little Court House Steps blocks. They are 4" blocks that I had cut out earlier in the week. The strips are 1/2" (cut at 1"), with 1" (cut 1+1/2") centres.

Now I have to decide on which layout I like best -




I am making a little table mat.

Happy World Quilting Day! Thanks for stopping by!♥︎

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Finished Westering Women Quilt

I finished machine quilting the Westering Women quilt last weekend.


Now it is all washed and soft.
The design is from the Civil War Quilts blog by Barbara Brackman. The quilt is 54"x67". It was a fun quilt to make, along with interesting stories to go with each block design.


I love sampler quilts, but seem to struggle on deciding what free motion designs to quilt. For this one I decided to keep it simple and only use three different quilting designs - Continuous Curves, Swirls and Hooked Feathers. I am really pleased with how it came out.


I used my favourite combination for a lap quilt of silk batting (Hobbs Tuscany Silk) with minky/plush backing (it comes 60" wide, that I why I made the quilt a bit smaller than the original pattern). It makes for a lovely, soft, squishy, warm on bare skin, lap quilt.


For the free motion quilting in the sashing, corner stones and blocks I used this brown thread - it was amazing how well it blended with all the different colours.


I used red Aurifil thread for the hooked feathers in the border.

I did stitch in the ditch around all the blocks before free motion quilting, and for that I tried using Bottom Line thread, but my machine really doesn't seem to like it these days, and somehow it kept cutting the thread (I even removed the blade from the built in cutter, but that didn't help). So I ended up switching to a thread from Connecting Threads called Essential Pro. It is a 70 weight thread that I had bought on sale and tried for the first time - it wasn't quite the right colour, but worked very well.


When I was picking out fabric from my stash for the binding I thought this fabric seemed appropriate since the quilt is designed by Barbara Brackman.

Barbara's quilt-along for this year is called Yankee Diary,


and this is my first block (invisible machine appliqué). It is 9"x12". The next two block patterns are out, and I knew going into this quilt along that it would be more 'American' than I would like (stars and US flags...), so I am still deciding if I will just make whatever appropriately sized appliqué blocks, or wait and see what appliqué will work when the other blocks are finished. The style for this quilt-along is one of my favourite - random sized blocks with a mix of appliqué and pieced blocks, so I knew that I wanted to join.


These blocks are for Kathleen Tracy's quilt-along for the Small Quilt Group.


I also decided to go back to working on my Pineapple quilt blocks this week. These are large, 14" blocks, and I had forgotten how long they take to piece. I have 18 out of the 49 blocks pieced now.

In the Knitting/Spinning department I have a couple of finishes -


This shawl is from the pattern Neato by Jumper Cables (a Canadian designer), that I made with hand spun yarn that I spun last year from fibre that I won during Tour de Fleece. It is a 50% Silk, 50% Merino blend that I spun into a lace weight gradient.


This little chicken I knit out of some leftover hand spun. The pattern is Bock Bock, I'm a Chicken by Patricia Grace Evans.

These next two are a couple of skeins that I finished spinning for the Spin the Bin Challenge 2017-


100% flax/linen.


100% Merino that I dyed and drum carded to blend. The grey is heathered and the coloured one is a gradient. This was spun to make a Leftie by Martina Behm.

I also did some dyeing -


100% Finn wool that is part of my Spin the Bin 2017 Challenge.


And for fun I dyed some Cashmerino sock yarn.


I love to have a pair of plain socks on my needles for simple knitting, and it is more interesting with fun yarn.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!♥︎

Monday, February 20, 2017

Spin the Bin 2017 Challenge

This year I decided to participate in something 'new-to-me' through the 'Completely Twisted and Arbitrary' group on Ravelry. It is a Spin the Bin Challenge.


This is the fibre I chose for the year. I picked out an assortment of fibre - some that I have had for a while, others that I thought would be a challenge and some that I just love to spin. There are a few rules, but basically you pick out at least twelve fibre bundles of at least 2oz to spin during the year. I also joined the 'Use It or Lose It' club, so that if fibre doesn't get spun it becomes a prize for someone that spun their whole bin (a good motivator to get everything spun).


This is all my fibre in it's bin (having a photo of the fibre in a bin gets me a free pass to exchange one of the fibres, otherwise if I take a fibre out I have to replace it with two bundles).

Here is what I have spun so far -


Tussah silk. This is the first time I have spun pure silk (it was much easier than I thought it would be, I think because it is Tussah silk it is easier than other silks to spin).


The finished skein - about 55g of fingering weight yarn.


I dyed it after spinning because I didn't know how it would be to spin if I dyed it first.


50/50 Merino and Silk. This is one that I had previously dyed.


Finished skein - about 50g of fingering weight yarn.


35/65 Silk and Superwash Merino that I had previously dyed (twice because it was too pale the first time).


The finished skeins - about 225g of sport weight yarn, enough for a short sleeve sweater.


This is an assortment of two types of silk and merino that I put together when I was getting the bin together, but I decided to add to it to spin enough for another sweater.


I also added this white flax that was already in the bin,


and added some more fibre to make a 'kitchen sink spin' (another spin along happening on Ravelry).


I dyed about half of the fibre,


divided it into two and drum carded it to make rolags (two different colours for each of the plies) - something 'new-to-me' too).


This is the yellow/green/blue fibre on the drum carder - I 'painted' the fibre on the main drum (again something 'new-to-me'). When I was dyeing I chose the colours to compliment the already dyed fibre (blue wool, black silk and blue Tencel).


The finished skeins - 429g, about 820yds of DK weight yarn,


plus a small skein made by plying with a rayon sewing thread (something else that I tried for the first time).


All the finished skeins together. I am half way through the bin, and hope to have it finished before the start of Tour de Fleece in the summer. Here is a link to my Spin the Bin on Ravelry where I go into more details.

I have been sewing too -


A few new mug rugs (more on these later in the year).


I added to my Welcome Home Mystery quilt - from Kathleen Tracy.


I have also started quilting my Westering Women quilt. I have done all the stitching in the ditch and FMQ'ed the border, now I have to decide what to quilt on the blocks.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!♥︎

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Valentine Mug Rug Tutorial

This is the next in my series of Mug Rug tutorials - perfect for Valentines Day or a Wedding Anniversary (like mine - our anniversary is in less than a week - my husband asked if this was his anniversary present).


This is using the hexagon shaped mug rug base from another tutorial (I said I would be having more tutorials for that shape) - Hexagon Shaped Mug Rug Tutorial.
I used a 5" radius for this hexagon, the finished mug rug is 10" point to point and about 8.5" straight edge to straight edge.

This is the most simple appliqué, and any size or shape base will work.

I used the invisible machine appliqué technique (my tutorial can be found here), but your favourite  appliqué method will work.
I have learned that the invisible machine appliqué technique stands up to repeated washings and scrubbings, which can't be said for every appliqué technique - this is a mug rug after all, and tends to get spilled on.


To make a mug rug like mine you will need about a 11" square of background fabric, 1.5" strips of fabric for the binding (2 strips across the width of a fat quarter worked for me), and a few assorted scraps of fabric for the appliqué. As well as the invisible machine appliqué necessities  - freezer paper (from the grocery store), glue stick glue (just paper one is fine), Roxanne Glue Baste or liquid white glue,


100wt thread to match the appliqué fabric (I used Invisafil by Wonderfil), or polyester invisible thread.


I cut out the background fabric slightly larger than the finished shaped to allow for any shrinkage during machine quilting.


For the Appliqué -


I cut out heart shapes from 2 pieces of 4" square freezer paper folded in half (mine were cut out at the same time, but different shaped hearts would be nice too).


I also cut out 3 freezer paper circles - I drew out one circle on the freezer paper, it is about 1" (traced around an old spool, a coin, a circle template...), stapled it together with two other pieces of freezer paper and cut out 3 matching circles.


I glued the freezer paper shapes, waxy/shiny side up to the wrong side of the fabric, using glue stick and cut out a 1/4 seam allowance (on the bigger side of 1/4" for me).

Preparation of the Appliqué Pieces -

This is the most important part of the process, and really effects how the finished product will look.


The seam allowance for the appliqué needs to be pressed to the waxy side of the freezer paper, so I like to baste a little gathering stitch around any curves - tiny stitches make smoother curves.


I stitched around the curves on the hearts and all the circles.

I use the tip of a hot iron, with no steam, to press the seam allowances, and a pressing board that is very hard (no padding).


I like to press the points first,


add a bit of glue stick glue,


and fold the rest of the point to create a crisp corner.


The top of the heart needs to be clipped almost to the paper. Extra machine stitches should be added in this area too when attaching the appliqué to the background.


For the circles I like to pull the gathering stitches tight,


press the opposite side from the gathering thread ends,


and then press all around the circle.


Make sure to clip the gathering thread ends so they don't get caught and pull the seam allowance off the wax.

Now comes the fun part of deciding how you want the mug rug to look -





Once you decide glue the pieces to the background with small dots of liquid glue (Glue Baste). If any pieces overlap the bottom ones will need to be stitched down first and the paper removed before adding the next piece. I opted for a simple one layer of appliqué, and glued all the pieces at once.


I pinned the hearts first and lifted the edges to add the glue.


The circles were easier to glue.


Once everything is glued, I like to weight it down to set while I get my sewing machine ready.


This technique uses a very small zig-zag stitch - I use a shorter than normal stitch length and just 'off the straight' for the stitch width. The tension is also adjusted (loosened I believe) so that the top thread is drawn slightly to the bottom.


Especially with 100 weight thread, the stitches really do become invisible.


I use an open toe embroidery foot. The bobbin thread is just regular sewing machine thread to match the background.


Once all the stitching is complete,


the fabric behind the appliqué needs to be cut out, leaving a large 1/4" seam allowance.


Then the freezer paper can be removed (tweezers help with the little pieces).


I like to use a bit of spray starch for the final pressing, and the pieces is ready for embellishment.

I decided to add some decorative machine stitching around the hearts just because I never use those stitches.


Since I decided to add a bit of machine embroidery around the hearts I added a bit of interfacing on the back as a stabilizer.


I used a heavy weight variegated thread and a top stitching needle in the machine.


After stitching I cut away all the interfacing in the back because I did not want it to affect the quilting.


For the free motion machine quilting I outlined the shapes, chose parallel lines (straight and curved) for the bulk of the quilting and swirls in the circles. I always like to try something new for a project and since I struggle to use striped fabric I decided to use some for a heart - I really like how it looks after quilting (and I learned that I really can't follow lines!).

I used 100wt thread (Invisafil) for the quilting, and 2 layers of batting (one silk and one wool because that is what I have scraps of). With heavy quilting it came out nice and flat.


After quilting I cut the shape out and applied the 1.5" binding as shown in the hexagon shaped mug rug tutorial.


My Mother made a log cabin table mat from my last tutorial! With simple walking foot quilting and no appliqué it looks beautiful.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!♥︎