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Thursday, April 30, 2009

I've Been Puttering Again

I've been puttering around with these gift blocks for the last two nights. I started them while listening to President Obama giving his 100-day speech. They are easy and fun to make. Each block is 6" finished. If any of you have been following this blog, you may remember that I made a "Happy Birthday" table runner with this same block last year. I tried to machine quilt the runner and it turned out so wavy that I threw it in the garbage. So now I am starting a new one. I seem to be hooked on black lately and decided this one would be a black background. I like it much better then the first one which had a white background.

added 5/1/09: A couple of you have asked about this block. It is not my own design. It came from Carol Doak's book, 300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks. It is block number 75. I have been wondering if I should note the source for the blocks for all my runners, etc. Mostly so that I remember when I want to make the same design again. The problem is they are almost all Carol Doak's and I didn't want to sound like a advertisement.

While looking for bright fabrics, I came across two tins full of blocks that I had forgotten about. I haven't the foggiest idea what I will do with these, but I am sure something will pop into my head one day when I least expect it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fruit Salad among the Stars

If sewing happens to be your hobby, then you are probably like me and love a rainy Sunday.

Because I can't go outside to work in my gardens, I feel no guilt about sewing away the morning
I did take a 45-minute break to scrub the floors (some things just have get done!) .

What did I sew?

Well, I continued on with my fruity fabrics. This fat quarter reminds me of fruit salad.
I decided to use 6-inch blocks on this one. The pattern I used forms stars when four of the 6-inch blocks are sewn together.

I decided to use the fruit fabric in the large center squares with black again as the frame. I had to find a fabric for the stars. I tried a light yellow, but it was too light. I needed a golden yellow.
Ah, the striped tablecloth fabric I just removed from the table looks like it's a perfect combo of light and golden yellow.

Time to start sewing. Within an hour I had 4 of the blocks done. Isn't it exciting when you put that first block together?
I was very happy with this one. I sewed merrily along for a couple of hours, stopped to make breakfast, and then sewed some more. By late morning I had this much done.
I had planned to end here, but I just didn't like the partial star at the end. I left it for a couple of hours while I went shopping, then came back and decided to finish off that end star.

Now I like it just fine. I think I am all sewed out for today.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Citrus Punch

I bought some fruit fat quarters quite a few years ago.
I get them out every now and then and wonder what I can do with these small pieces of fabric. I can never think of anything, so I put them back and forget about them for another year.

Well, early this morning I had a sudden urge to create something. I pulled them out and spent a few minutes wondering what I could do. I looked through my paper-piecing patterns to see if I had something that was large enough to showcase the fruits. I finally found a pattern with a larger square in the middle that I thought would work.

As is my custom, I just start cutting and sewing. I never know if I will have enough of any fabric.

Darn! There was only one fat quarter of black fabric and it was not enough. Now what?

I just finished a black table runner and had some of that leftover fabric. Perhaps I could alternate the black border with a solid black and this fabric?

Hmmm...I don't really like it. I want the bold graphic look of pure black, but I can't find any more solid black fabric.

Then I glance over to my pattern dresser and look what is sitting on the floor....

a pure black 3" valance topper that I took down last month, washed and tossed in a pile of other fabric.
It's slightly heavier than the black cotton I was using, but I like it better than the black print. I happily cut off a foot or so, cut it into smaller sections and sew it on.
Hmmmmmmm........I think this will work just fine.

I am liking this.

Now I just need to decide on one more fabric.

I tend to make my decisions by looking around to see what fabrics I have in my sewing room. I have tons more in bins in the basement, but I am usually too lazy to go down there and look. I am more of a grab-what's-in-front-of-me block designer.

I think green is what I need and lucky for me, I have green fabric just a few feet away from my sewing machine. I grab it and sew my heart out for about an hour. Before I know it I have 16 4.5-inch citrus blocks made. That uses up all of the 18 x 22" piece of citrus fabric I had.

I am very pleased with the bold black and green with the citrus fruit blocks. I set them aside and leave for a garage sale.

Later in the morning I sewed the 16 blocks together and ended up with this table runner:

I like it. Most of all I am very, very happy that I have finally found something to make from this piece of fabric!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Added the Finishing Touch to the Black/White Table Runner


As you can tell I am now "into" covered buttons! I think they gave this runner a crisp, clean finished look.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Black and White Top is Finished

Last night I finished piecing this.

Here is the pattern. It's block 180 from Carol Doak's book, 300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks (another great pattern book). I modified the end blocks so the white cross pattern would end complete and added the triangle ends.

Doesn't it look different when using just two colors?
I like this one.

What a great start to the weekend. I also spent time outside raking and doing other spring garden chores. When I was done, I toasted my efforts with a glass of blueberry wine.
Here I am celebrating the fact that I still have some tulips that the deer have not eaten. I sprayed all of them with a repellent (for the second time this week).

I predict a great weekend. Hope yours is to.

I promised I would show the finished table when I used the pinwheel tablerunner and chair covers that I made last week. I did a table yesterday.
I posted more about it on this post at my tablescaping blog.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Starting the Black & White Runner

I was ready for work this morning with 10 minutes to spare. I got this far on my first block for the new runner.
It's amazing how much a person can get done in just 10 minutes each day.

When I got home I worked outside in the gardens for about an hour, then came inside, threw a load of laundry in the washer and began finishing block #1. It takes four of these to make the 12-inch block.
Here it is. I think it took about an hour to finish. I am not terribly happy with line up on a couple of seams, but I am not unhappy enough to pick it out. :) It will work just fine.
This is the pattern I showed you yesterday. It will look more like it when I make the other three. Tonight I don't feel like doing any more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Project Underway

During the past three days I have made 24 of these blocks.
I made them all from the same fabrics I used for the pinwheel table runner.
These blocks are stars that will be used as chair backs to match the runner.
I am not finished with them. I worked on them about three hours after work today. I probably have another couple of hours before they are all finished.

One of these days I will set a table with matching dishes, etc. and will post a picture here so you can see the finished project.
I am in a hurry to get this done because I already have my next table runner idea.
I want to make this in just black and white (or maybe hot pink, black & white). I will add triangular ends because I just don't like table runners that end in a harsh rectangular jolt to the eye. I like the eye to flow slowly to a pointed end. Just another little quirk of mine.... :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pinwheel Runner with a Little Bling

Early this morning I had this pile of 6-inch blocks that I started making last night.
A few hours later I had this pinwheel table runner.
I just machine quilted it in a big grid. I didn't like the end triangles with just one line of quilting down the middle, so I added a few more lines of quilting.

I liked that better, but it still seemed to be missing a little something.

I thought of embellishing the center of each pinwheel.

But with what?

While rummaging through a sewing junk drawer, I came across a couple packages of covered button things that I bought last fall and forgot about.
I had two packages and each had 5 buttons. I needed 10 buttons for the runner.

Perfect! Covered buttons it is!

I have never made these before, so I quickly read the back of the package. Cut a round circle twice the size of the button...........I ignored that and just whacked off a wedge of fabric (much quicker). I stuck the fabric in the hole
Then I cut off the excesa.
I put the back part of the button on and pushed down with the little gadget that came in the package.

Even with long nails, it was super easy! I had it all 10 done in just a few minutes.
Now that makes me a little happier. It gives just a bit of bling to the center of each pinwheel.

I covered all the buttons in the same fabric that I used for the back of the runner.

I like the whole thing much better now.

Update: After looking at it a while longer, I decided it needed a large button at each end.

I think that does it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Whoo Yooo,

I have talked about my attempt to machine quilt this double star quilt. It's my first attempt at machine quilting and I did not have fun. I didn't think I would ever get the quilting finished . It would sit in the corner for weeks before I would get the urge to work on it.

I used it for a table covering this weekend. As you can see here, it is very heavily quilted, which was one reason it took forever.

I really do love these stars. That center star is a 3-inch paper-pieced block. I forgot just how many pieces were in it, but it was a lot.

I am not a bit proud of the quilting on this one. In fact it ruined an othewise nicely pieced item.

But I decided not to get to upset over the failure. There is a positive side. I can use it as a tablecloth and not really worry if it gets food spilled on it!

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