A Top Finished, One Started & A Question

The pink and cream star quilt top is finished. Has been, in fact, for a while but we had to wait for a day that wasn’t too windy to get a good shot on the roof garden. It’s approximately 60″ by 80″.

The start is the red and white stars quilt that will be the same as the quilt in my blog header. I learned last week that cutting out fabric with scissors is a huge kitten attraction. So Friday I got all the pieces for the top cut by rotary cutter. Otherwise, it would probably have taken me a month to try to cut out all the pieces. Having all the pieces cut and ready to stitch is very tempting.

That said, I’m working on the Summer Dresden Plates almost exclusively. It’s going to be a pretty, summery quilt and I want to finish it before the summer is over so that I can get a good shot of it out on the roof garden. The blocks for the centre are done. Today the blocks will be up on the design wall so I can arrange and rearrange them and get them sewn together. The first border is already planned out.

The question? In conversations with a friend lately, the question came up about what was the preferred size of quilts to make. I seem to prefer making lap quilts for the most part. That may be because we use a duvet rather than quilts on the bed. What size quilts do you prefer to make? When you look at patterns, are you more attracted to those that give you the instructions for various sizes?

It’s very hot and humid here. I don’t think we’ve got smog alerts yet, but with this kind of weather they’re sure to happen. It almost feels like you’re walking into a wall of heat when you go outside. I’m not complaining, as this is by far preferable to winter temperatures.

Last week was not a good one as far as replying to comments goes. If you left me a comment last week, thank you!  I promise I will try to do better this week

Baxter discovered the windowsill on the weekend.

Half a Dozen Melons

I’m hooked.  No question about it.  Stitching these little blocks is nothing but fun. They’re a quick stitch and those perfect curves make me smile every time.  I need around 40 of them for the border I’m planning but, at the rate they’re going together, it’s not going to take long.  But ideas for a quilt made with just these blocks keep floating through my mind.  It’s one of those blocks that I find irresistible.

Thursday was a great day.  The pink and cream quilt top is finished.  When I got up Thursday morning, I decided it was time.  Sashings were cut, sewn to cornerstones and added to the blocks and then the final border was added.  What I learned yesterday?  That machine piecing isn’t that difficult.  All the joining was done by machine, while the blocks themselves were hand pieced and I got it all put together without having to rip out any seams.  The top finishes at around 60 x 70, and I am thrilled with it.  Pictures when it’s quilted.  I’ve already got the quilting planned for it.

Charlsey posted some pictures on her blog post here from our two days of stitching, talking and planning as well as some interesting people watching.  There’s one shot of Charlsey’s Seven Sisters quilt and my X’s and O’s quilt that I love.  The hotel lobby is rather beige and I think our quilts added some needed colour!

For some reason we got no new photos of the cats on Thursday.  Things are definitely looking up — the two of them had one of their mock battles on Thursday evening, which they haven’t really done for a couple of months.  This is one of my favourite photos and a rather rare shot of the two of them together that was taken a few months ago.

Pink and Cream Stars

All the hand piecing is done and everything is ready to put this top together.  As I’m planning on doing that by machine, I have some hope that it will be a finished top by the time the weekend is over.  As I so rarely use my sewing machine, the sewing table ends up as a collection spot for fabrics I’ve been auditioning for blocks, stacks of blocks for yet unfinished tops, notes that haven’t quite made it into my ideas book and who knows what else is lurking there.  It’s going to be a small treasure hunt organizing and putting everything away.

Every time I need to use the sewing machine I seem to go through this.  Maybe this time I’ll learn my lesson and keep the table clear so that it’s not such a production getting to the point of being able to sew by machine.

Thursday Smudge showed a little interest in food, but nowhere near what he was showing earlier in the week so the syringe feeding continued.  I’m starting to wonder if he has lost his sense of smell which would affect his appetite.  We’re off to the vet with him this afternoon.

Lester has definitely been enjoying all the various foods we’ve had on offer trying to get Smudge to eat.  I know he has put weight on, which isn’t necessarily a good thing for a kitty with a heart condition.  So that’s another thing we’ll be asking the vet about.  Somehow we’ve got to balance the two issues.

Pink and Cream Stars

The pink and cream quilt will be the next top finished this year.  All that’s left to do is the setting squares and triangles of the large blocks.  The cornerstone blocks and sashing are ready, so it should be relatively quick to put together.

The piecing of the baby quilt was completed last night and the final pressing will be done today.  I’m hoping to start quilting it this weekend.   That will depend on whether our neighbour whose floor I use to baste is around.  While I’m at it, I’m going to baste a couple of other small quilts that have been waiting too long to be finished.

I’ve decided to approach the work situation from the perspective that it’s giving me lots of time to play with quilt designs and finish up a couple of pieces.  I’m going to fall back on the therapeutic benefits of quilting to keep me centred through this.

We had a bit of snow on Thursday.  The cats decided it was a good time for a snooze.  Smudge found a soft toy to curl up with.

Lester headed for the kitty bed.

Dots of Colour

The baby quilt I was working on back in August and early September will finally be basted, hopefully this weekend.  I was lucky enough to win a gift certificate, so used it to buy the fabric above for the backing.  I couldn’t find an appropriate flannel but when I saw this fabric I couldn’t resist it.  Perfect for a baby quilt, I think.

These 3 fabrics were also purchased with the gift certificate — what a treat!  Initially I had thought the stripe on the far left would be perfect for the binding, but it’s too pink.  I love using stripes to get different effects in pieced blocks and for bias binding, so this is a welcome addition to the stash even if it’s not used for this particular quilt.  Lately I find I want to use a bit of black in almost every quilt I make, which explains the middle choice.  The one on the far right intrigues me.  I think I’ll have fun with it and already have an idea.

Thursday night I got out the completed blocks for the Harpsichord Quilt.  I have a long way to go, but was pleasantly surprised when I realized I already had 2 of the vertical rows complete.  The centres of the last three pink and cream big stars are done.  If the weekend weather is as rainy and cold as they’re predicting, I think I may have at least 2 of the stars completed by Monday.  Now I’m seeing the benefit of a large block as I may well have this top together by month end.

Smudge was chasing leaves on the windowsill for a while on Thursday morning and then peeked out from under the lace.  We couldn’t resist this photo, even though it is a bit blurry.

Later on, Lester was on the windowsill.

And Then There Were Three

Blocks stitched and shapes printed for three projects on Wednesday, that is.  Project one, the big pink and cream stars.  One more finished so there are now three completed.  Tuesday night I started thinking about different settings for the big pink stars and have decided on one that will include 6 of the large stars and some other elements.  Three more big stars to go and then the setting and it will be done.

The pieces printed and cut out for the remaining three big pink and cream stars.

Project two, two of the Pickled Ladies done.

Lots of clamshells printed and cut out for project two.

Lots of the shapes needed for the arcs also printed and ready to cut.

Project three, the Harpsichord Quilt.  One new block pieced and pressed.  Smudge was determined to be part of this photo — you can see his shadow.

Lots and lots of black and gold octagons and the little coloured squares printed for project three.

While my printer wasn’t going quite as quickly as in the video I showed yesterday, it was humming along for about half an hour last night.  I like working on projects in groups of three.  Getting the freezer paper sorted out made it all so easy.  In next to no time I had the fabric pressed to freezer paper and printed for all three of  this Wednesday’s projects.  Perhaps if I keep doing this for the next couple of weeks I can have all the pieces printed and ready to stitch for another 3 or 6 projects.  What other ones?  The Summer Picnic Dish, also known as pickle dish.  The Rouenneries Drunkard’s Path — I have another 3 sets of charms to print for that one.  The Storm at Sea is definitely on the list for next week.

For the most part, the cats had no interest in what was going on.  Lester had a nap.

Smudge was looking a bit bored, I think.

The Making of Big Pink Stars

Two of the nine pink and cream stars are made and I’ve sorted out a stitching sequence that makes them very quick to construct.  The first part is to make the centre 8-pointed star.

Once that’s done then I stitch all the pieces that need to be stitched into pairs or triplets together.  It’s then just a matter of adding rounds to the centre — a great opportunity for lots of continuous stitching which makes the star go together quite quickly.

This picture shows the centre after I added the first round of cream pairs and started adding the next round of pink diamonds.  Everything is ready now to just keep stitching until the star is done.  I’ve found that pressing after I get the third round of pink diamonds added is the most efficient.  All that’s left after that is to add the final star points made up of the 2 cream and 1 pink diamonds, a final press and the star is finished.  This will actually be a quick quilt to make as the setting is planned and won’t require a lot more work.  As of now, I plan to use the sewing machine to join the blocks and sashing.

Monday night some time was spent sorting the stack of freezer paper sheets that were lying about that I use to print shapes on my fabric.  As I use the custom sizes suggested in the various Inklingo collections, I have quite the variety of sizes of freezer paper cut  ranging from 3.25″ x 5″ all the way up to 8.5″ x 14″ and, as freezer paper can be reused many times, I keep it.  Over the past few months the stack of freezer paper sheets on my printer was becoming unruly, to say the least.  So a few hours of organization, and I can now see at a glance if I have the size I need and find it easily.  What started me organizing it was sorting out what I need to print for a couple of the projects I’m working on. After a few frustrating minutes of trying to figure out if I had the right sizes of freezer paper already cut, I realized it was time to just sit down and organize it all. Now the trick will be to keep it organized and file the sheets away after I’ve used them.

The gardeners have been and have taken out the flowers and cut down the hosta on the roof garden.  The trees have lost most of their leaves now and it looks very stark.  At least we haven’t yet had snow although there apparently was some snow to the north of us on the weekend.  The cats are finding cozy spots to curl up and nap.  First Lester.