Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Another Little Trees Quilt is Finished

Sandy has been busy, busy, busy quilting her Little Trees, including over Christmas - which to me sounds like the perfect way to enjoy the holidays - and now it's finished. Apparently the trick is to spend many an hour stitching while watching cheesy Christmas movies and enjoying an eggnog or two... a recipe for success if you ask me.

Unfortunately, she didn't quite make it to get photos while her Christmas décor was still up, but she's still very happy with how it turned out and I can't help but agree. 

Remember the great bicycle fabric that she found for the backing?

Well, she just couldn't resist using some of it on the front too, and who can blame her? It's gorgeous and works so well with the green gingham - such a great find! And I love how she quilted the trees; it's a great fit for the contemporary prints.

This was her first attempt at a bias binding and apparently it will not be her last. I find it so much more enjoyable to stitch a binding on the bias; there's a softness and pliability that you just don't get when it's cut on the straight of grain. That candy cane stripe is the perfect finishing touch to a beautiful Christmas quilt.

And I have to share the beautiful Christmas cards that she made too - SO much work, and more beautiful trees!

Apparently she has nothing else in the works right now so her new year will really be a fresh start when she lands on her next project. She is keen to start on something though because she's not certain that she knows how to watch TV without needle and thread in hand...M

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Getting In My Own Way

The scrappiness of Wintersweet continues to capture my interest but I have to say that in my excitement to get started I've been a little slack on paying attention to even the most basic instructions.

Nine-patch blocks are pretty straightforward, right? Apparently not for me. I started with the red/white blocks which have white/neutral squares on the corners and four red squares. Not paying attention, I did a beautiful job of sewing the exact opposite. A little time with Jack (the ripper) remedied that but I still repeated my folly a few more times. Sheesh.

When I started to play with a few green blocks there was obviously some muscle memory built up because I had it down pat. Problem is, the corners and centres for these blocks should be green! More time with Jack. 

I think I finally have it figured out now but I'll admit to a bit of self-talk to help keep things on track.

And I don't do myself any favours when it comes to scrappy nine-patches. This pattern is designed around strip sets, which means you get several consistent sets of blocks throughout the quilt. I must be a little OCD because if the quilt is to be scrappy then I want to avoid those repeats and really work to having each block different from the next. So much for taking advantage of speed-sewing techniques!

That said, I do a bit of a modified strip set, joining a light and a dark strip and then sewing down a variety of blocks. It's a little slower for sure, but it gives me the mix that I'm looking for and once you get into the groove it moves along quite nicely. All of which is to say that, despite this being a 'quick' quilt designed for strip piecing, by the last step in the process I'm back to working with 2.5" squares instead of strips. Ah well, it's still fun....M

Sunday, January 02, 2022

New Year, New Quilt

The tail lights of Santa's sleigh are long in the distance but it seems that I am not ready to say goodbye to red and green quite yet. An innocent scan of a few of my Pins on New Year's Eve day opened the door wide for the quilting squirrels and soon I was off cutting strips for Wintersweet.

It's an Irish Chain pattern from Cakestand Quilts of a few years ago that was originally made up in a wide variety of Fig Tree fabrics, which I love, but which are in short supply in my stash, so I opted to go with what I have and make it really scrappy (surprise, surprise). 

The beauty of scrappy is that the more variety you add in any given colour, the better the outcome, so I set off digging. In addition to cutting from yardage and larger scraps, a little scavenging through drawers and bins revealed a few scraps like the one on the left that were just big enough to give me one or two squares to work with. Love that!

Nicola has kindly provided a free pattern and tutorial so there was really no reason not to dive right in. It relies heavily on a number of strip sets to move things along quickly, and in no time I had several 2.5" strips cut and was off to the races. When I came to the end of my spool it seemed like a good time to call it a wrap for 2021 so I trundled upstairs, wished the Official Cookie Tester 'Happy New Year' and settled in for a long winter's nap. It looks like we'll by lying low again for a while, trying to stay out of the way of the Omicron variant, so I'm looking forward to working with this cheery palette to help pass the time.

I hope that you have a very happy and healthy New Year and that your days are filled with many creative diversions as you explore your quilting passion!....M

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Surprise Ending

There is one Holly Bazaar project that didn't quite cross the finish line in time, but it's close to being finished so I thought I'd let you have a peek at it while Christmas is still in the air. It's a sweet little Christmas tree runner.

I've had the pattern pinned forever - it's O 'Lil Christmas Tree from Moda's Bake Shop by Sharla Krenzel of Thistle Thicket Studio - and in my sewing craze decided that I needed to make it up too. In truth, I thought it was going to be a set of potholders, but when I took a closer look at the pattern I realized that there were instructions for both a 6" and a 12" block. Bonus!

So I made two 12" blocks and added a white spacer in the middle, knowing that Roberta's magical snowflake panto would be used again. I was able to cut and sew the entire thing in a morning, if memory serves me correctly, so nice and quick to sew up.

There was more of the green holly fabric left so it became the tree. Add a little red twinkling star or two and it's a wrap.

It's quilted and ready to be bound and that's where it has come to rest. I've never made a flange binding before but I found a perfect little piece of red to use as the accent so I'm going to give that a try whenever the spirit moves me. Right now I'm enjoying the post Christmas lull in the action; might be time for a nap by the tree....M