I think working on the Pickled Ladies border has me thinking of nothing but borders. There are a couple of quilts that I’ve decided need something added in the way of a border. First is last year’s Inklingo mystery – … Continue reading

Scrappy Star Top Finished — Maybe

Actually it was finished on the weekend but we couldn’t get a good photo of it until yesterday. On the weekend it was too rainy and the grass on the roof garden too wet. Monday it was too windy and the top would have flown off, never to be seen again. Yesterday it was still a bit breezy and rather chilly, but we managed to get a shot of it laid out on the grass of the roof garden. One of these days I’ve got to sort out a way to have a permanent design wall. This waiting for the weather to be just right is a pain! We were lucky to get this shot of it as the wind kept threatening to pick it up.

It’s a good thing it was finished on the weekend before the New York Beauty collection came out. Otherwise, it might have been a week or so longer before it was finished.

Why maybe in the title? Because as it is now it’s a small lap quilt, measuring about 50 x 58. Mr. Q.O. likes it just the way it is. I’m tempted to add one more plain border all around and make it about 60 x 68. But for all intents and purposes, the top is finished because even if I do decide to add that final plain border it won’t take longer than an afternoon.

Now to choose a binding. I’m thinking something very dark to frame it. I like to choose the binding at this stage and get it made and ready, along with the label.

It is hand pieced except the plain borders. They were stitched by machine. But when it came time to add the final pieced border, I stitched that on by hand.

I know how I want to quilt the large plain borders. But the rest of it? That I’m still working on. I’m tempted to just quilt in the ditch around the squares in each round of the star.

It was made with shapes from the free Inklingo collection, except for the cornerstones in the final border. For those, I needed a 2.25″ square in a square and used shapes from the 6.75″ Storm at Sea collection.

I worked on another of the pieced blocks for the red and white Feathered Star/Sunflower border last night, although I was terribly tempted to play with another New York Beauty block. That New York Beauty block is just way too much fun to make! My ideas list using it is growing practically by the hour.

The crab apple tree on the roof garden is starting to look very pink. I can’t wait for the blossoms to appear as it really is a beautiful sight and the scent is wonderful.

I had tossed my sweater over the loveseat. I know better. The minute a piece of clothing is tossed there, Baxter is immediately on it making sure it has its fair share of kitty fur.

A Little Bit of a Little Border

Aside from playing around with EQ, this is what I’ve been working on. I need 4 long strips like this for one of the pieced borders for Scrappy Star. At this point, it seems like an endless bit of stitching for a border that finishes at only 2.25″ wide but I’m almost three-quarters done and I know I’m going to be pleased with it once it’s finished and attached to the top.

There are loads of opportunities for continuous stitching when attaching the QSTs to the diamonds and I’m taking full advantage of those opportunities. That is helping make the stitching of the border strips fly along but I’ll still be glad when this part of Scrappy Star is finished!

Playing with designs in EQ  has now taken on a life of its own. The laptop is now plugged in over by the couch, rather than at my desk. The last few nights I’ve been designing and listening to TV rather than stitching and listening to TV. I think I’m on a designing binge of sorts.

Baxter was, I think, posing for this photo.

Thread Tales

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about thread. It got me thinking about the different threads I use. There are five threads that I will use for any hand piecing or appliqué project. The only criteria for me is whether the colour matches the fabrics I’m working with. MasterPiece, Mettler 60/2, YLI Heirloom, Madeira Heirloom and DMC are the five. I love the heirloom threads as they are so fine they melt into the seams. That said, if I need a black thread the only one I’ll use is the MasterPiece one. It is the only black thread I’ve tried that doesn’t break after five or six stitches. Yet it’s fine enough that it doesn’t add any bulk to the seam.

The DMC thread is amazing. It is stronger than it may appear. I’ve used it both for appliqué and piecing. It melts into the seams almost as well as the heirloom threads and, of course, comes in many more colours. I spent some time here, drooling over all the DMC thread colours. I told Mr. Q.O. if we win a lottery, I’m ordering the one of every colour package!

This is a portion of one of the pieced borders I’ve been working on for the Scrappy Star top. Because there are so many fabrics that I’m using in this, the grey DMC thread has been my choice.

Baxter likes to sprawl on the floor right by Mr. Q.O.’s feet. When he does this, he’s wanting tummy rubs — and he’s not shy about asking for them.

Quilt in Waiting

While I am still working on the pieced fourth border for Scrappy Star, starting to work with these pieces in earnest is what’s beckoning although it is still quite a ways off. I finally finished cutting all the Winding Ways pieces last week.

They are now nestled in their own box, just waiting until I can devote some serious stitching time to them.

But before that happens I have to not only finish the pieced fourth border for Scrappy Star but also the final pieced fifth and possibly sixth borders for it.

The pieces in this box will be incorporated into those pieced final border(s) for Scrappy Star.

Then there’s the red and white Sunflower/Feathered Star quilt top that is next up on the list to finish as soon as Scrappy Star is done. After Scrappy Star and the Sunflower/Feathered Star tops are done, the Winding Ways blocks are going to be such a wonderful fun stitch.

Some interesting comments yesterday on the topic of pre-washing fabric. It seems like almost all those who left a comment have the same feeling; that it’s the dirt and chemicals that are the bigger concern than the possibility of bleeding.

Mr. Q.O. and Baxter have a game they play. Mr. Q.O. tosses Cappy, Baxter’s favourite toy, on to the windowsill. Baxter races over to grab it and then jumps back on the bed with it in his mouth. But yesterday? Yesterday, on one of the tosses, Cappy landed on the edge of the open window. Baxter apparently sat there for quite some time trying to decide if he’d grab it or not. Finally, he walked away. We rescued Cappy and all was well.

Next Border on Scrappy Star

There are three borders on Scrappy Star now. I’m working on the fourth border, which is a pieced border. For it, I need close to 200 QSTs. That’s the majority of them in the picture. In less than the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, I had all of them printed, cut out and ready to stitch.

So what does this have to do with it? On the weekend, I was washing some fabric for various projects. I tend to wash a lot of fabric by hand for numerous reasons, including the fact the washing machines in our laundry room are front loading and lock once the wash cycle begins. So I can’t check the water to see if anything is bleeding.

But that’s not the main reason I wash my fabrics. I want to get rid of the sizing and other chemicals that are in the fabrics. Many of the fabrics we use now are printed offshore and come to North America in large shipping containers, sit in warehouses and then get shipped. And something I’ve noticed a lot lately is that when I wash fabrics, even though they don’t bleed, the water is … well, dirty. It’s the only word for it. There’s a real grey dirty look to the water. After a good wash and rinse, the water is rinsing clear.

I know it’s a never-ending debate in quilting, whether to pre-wash or not, and everyone has their own preference. My choice is to work with fabric that’s clean and as free of chemicals as possible. As a hand piecer, I prefer the softness of fabrics with the sizing washed out. The very few times I’ve worked with unwashed fabrics, I’ve found myself coughing every time I pressed whatever I was making with them. I think that’s the formaldehyde and other chemicals reacting with the heat of the iron that bothers me.

I know I’m opening up a big can of worms here, but what’s your preference and why?

Baxter has no opinion on the subject at all. He’s much too busy guarding the toy basket.

Squaring up the Scrappy Star

Two corners of the scrappy star are now squared up. Two more to go and then I can start working on the borders. Some of the pieces for one of the borders are ready and there are boxes containing the other pieces. If I don’t get too distracted by the red and white quilt, this might be finished before the end of January.

As I don’t want this to end up as a square quilt, I’m going to add one border to the top and bottom and then add another border or borders to all 4 sides of it.

Baxter was particularly interested in the quilt rack last night.

One Big Star

The scrappy star is still growing. With this latest round of diamonds it’s now almost 32″. Each round is taking longer to add, but I’m determined to get it to around 45″. Then I’ll add some elements to turn it into a rectangular quilt that can be used as a lap quilt. At least that’s the current plan.

It’s also taking longer to press after each round.

Baxter was determined to get in the picture.

Earlier in the day he was watching squirrels playing in the trees out on the roof garden. I think he looks like he’s smiling.

Diamonds, Diamonds and More Diamonds

Not a lot of stitching has been done this week, although I now have enough diamonds joined into pairs to start the next round on the scrappy star top. As the scrappy star has grown, I’ve found it easier to put them together into pairs and then, once the placement is figured out, join the pairs into sets for each of the 8 segments.

It’s definitely looking like fall now.

This birch tree has now lost almost all its leaves.

This is a shot of Queen’s Park, a park near our building. Some of the trees still have their gorgeous fall colours.

Baxter was watching me stitch. We think this is his Morris look.

Scrappy Star Again

After finishing the flannel top, I needed to do some hand piecing.  Another round is added to scrappy star and it’s now 29 inches.  I think it’s going to end up about twice the size it is now.

I’m glad I decided to press after each round as it only takes a few minutes.  I can’t imagine leaving this whole thing to press until the end.

I’ve started hand quilting Ferris Wheel and am much happier with the look. It was worth the time it took to take out the machine quilting I had done.

Baxter has been very busy watching leaves flying by the window.