Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Finish: Bee Blocks

Ok I really finished these about two weeks ago, but I'm not letting myself count them as finished until they go in the mail, which they did yesterday.  This is my first ever quilting bee and it was formed from ladies I met through the New Quilt Blogger group.   We are spread all over the world, so we adopted the name "Compass Quilters" and one of our wonderful members created a logo for us (you can see it in my side bar).

This month the Queen was Rebecca of One Wee Bird who hails from New Zealand.  I wish I could have fit in the envelope I sent her because I would love to visit there. Rebecca picked the Hummingbird block from Red Pepper Quilts.  It is a paper piecing project and I she asked that we low volume fabrics for the background.  Well I had a few, so off the to my LQS and I found some more that I really loved.

I learned a lot during this process.  You may remember a couple weeks ago when I show you my two test blocks for this project. Both ended up being a little short when I put them together.  They look good, but were about 1/8 inch short all around.

My fellow bee mates recommended not trimming the outside edge until the after they were assembled.  So I started again.  Since my other bee mates had success with the block trimming later, I decided to go ahead and start cutting all of my pieces so the first thing I did was layout blocks auditioning different fabrics.  I would need to do eight, but here are 4 of them in a mini collage.  I took a photo of each one just in case something got bumped I wouldn't have to start from scratch.

I wanted to try and fussy cut a couple of the pieces, and also wanted to make sure I spread my low volume fabrics around so they wouldn't be clumped together.  Now here is the first thing I learned, fussy cutting is hard when you have sharp angles.  I did manage to do a couple, like the bluebonnets and an orange spool of thread (since orange was the opposite color). I also learned to cut things a little bigger to make those angles a little easier.

The next lesson I learned is there is a lot of "trash" with paper piecing.  First there is lots of little pieces of fabric.  So I got a small container to toss collect all the pieces.  I'm saving the tiny pieces to fill a big glass jar as decoration.

Trimming them was fast and I really loved how the pieces looked before assembling them.  The points looked so pretty and I have to say I really love the mix of the low volume fabrics.

Now I bought the Carol Doak's Paper Piecing class on Craftsy and the biggest thing I learned from it was when assembling blocks with points like these is to baste them first, so you can check your placement.  The first one it took me about 3 times basting it get it lined up correctly, but then I was able to baste them all.   And I really think that step helped a lot.  I just expanded my stitch length to the longest it would go and the basting went very quickly.

The next thing I learned is to empty the trash can because there seemed to be paper everywhere.  For eight blocks I was surprised at how much I had.  It is probably because they tear off in such small pieces.  I even took a photo of the last pile.

All of this lead to two very pretty blocks.  I love that with paper piecing the points look so nice. And trimming them after they are assembled worked perfectly.

We also were told to include a block with our name, location and date so that they could be added to the back of the quilt if the Queen wanted to do so.  I made mine a little more than a simple block by snowballing the corners with some of the low volume fabric.  I did try to write my label but the pigma pens I have really seem to drag and move the fabric when you try to write with them.  What do ya'll use to write out a label?  I need to find something better.  I printed mine onto the fabric and set it with an iron.

Now I will say I added a little bit of me to both of these blocks, how you might ask.  Well both of them say Texas on them.  The right one in the green/blue block has a low volume fabric that says "Quilt Across Texas" and it was hard but most of Texas shows.  The left one has bluebonnets on the top right block (fussy cut to boot) and a little Texas state shape.  My sister is doing the Texas Road Trip QAL and I stole some of fabric to use.  Here is a close up of the bluebonnet block. and if you look close you'll see Texas in the bottom right.

I am very happy with these blocks.  I was really nervous about doing blocks for someone else, but I think they turned out ok.  I'm hoping that Rebecca thinks so as well.  I did get something else completed this week but I can't show you yet.  Those 388 one inch squares are completely sewn into a quilt top and I love it.  I"m hoping to get it quilted over the Labor Day weekend.  But alas you don't get to see it until the pattern releases in mid September.

Today I am linking up with  Let's Bee Social with Sew Fresh Quilts, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts, Ms Midge, Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation, Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio and Weekend Link Party @ Patchouli Moon Studio.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Around The World Blog Hop

Happy Wednesday everyone, I hope you are having a wonderful week.  For me it has been a super busy one.  I was asked by the awesome Shelly of Cora's Quilts to participate in the Around The World Blog Hop.  I have tested one quilt for Shelly and am in the process of testing a second one (and if you've not checked out her pattern you should, because they are great).  This hop is pretty simple it is a set of questions, and then I nominate three more people to do it next week.  I picked Cornelia of Pieced With Love XOXO, Barbara of Suzy Homemaker and Rebecca of One Wee Bird.

So first let me tell you a little about me.  I am a native Texan, and proud of it.  I love to quilt, but I also do digital scrapbooking, some photography, loom knitting, and love to read.  My sister and I live together (and quilt together) along with my nephew.  And the most important members of the house are Tucker (yorkie), Zoey (shih tzu) and Hollywood (lab mix).  We are a wild bunch, but that is how we roll.

Now for the questions

#1 - What Are You Working On?

Well I have a couple of things going right now.  I just finished the main part of my #TexasRoadTrip QAL, but still need to do borders on it.  I really really had fun with this one, because I love the fabric and as I said before I love being from Texas.

I am also working on a test quilt for Cora's quilts, but I can't show you that until it is released.  I will say that it has 388 1 inch squares on it.  When I read that quantity I admit I thought ohhh my I will never get done, but I finished the top yesterday.  I just have to iron it and get the back together and hopefully get it quilted this weekend.  Here are all the pieces cut out, so you can get an idea of what is to come with it.

Then the exciting prospect of starting a new project.  I have about 20 waiting, but I think I know what I want to do next.

#2 - How Does Your Work Differ From Other In This Genre?

This is a tough question for me, because I am not a designer and have no desire to be a designer, so in some respects my work isn't different than others.  But at the same time I think what I love about quilting is that you can take the same pattern, use different fabrics and it takes on a different life.  In fact my sister and I have made two quilts with the same pattern, same fabric line, and they are different enough for us.  Maybe where I'm different is I'm not compelled to design in any way.

#3 - Why Do You Write/Create What You Do?

Now this is a much easier question for me.  I'm am a left brain type of person.  I'm logical, analytical, and objective.  I don't have the artist flare of a right brain type of person.  I will never be able to paint a masterpiece, write a song or sculpt a statue, and I'm ok with that fact.  But some part of me wants to be creative and I do that with my quilting.  I can take fabric and layout it out and create something that is beautiful and useful (see that left side just has to kick in on occasion).  I love playing with fabric, and have an addiction to it. Taking a pattern and putting my fabric choices with it, makes me happy.

I write this blog not as part of my creative process, but more to let friends and family know what I'm doing. I also use it to document what I've done.  I've learned so much reading other blogs, and love seeing what others are doing.  So I thought I would share what I'm doing.

#4 - How Does Your Writing/Creative Process Work?

Hmmm...I am pretty simple in my approach.  I either find fabric I love and then match a pattern to it or a pattern I love and match fabric to it.  The fabric on the shelves above bother me, because I purchased them on close out, so they don't have any specific plan to be used.  I'm using them up slowly but surely, but I much prefer to have a plan.  Now once I have fabric and a pattern, I have to lay things out to see how it should go together.  I have the Electric Quilter program and will even use it, so that I can get a good idea of how things will look.  Yes I know, not very creative, but that is how I work.  I get my joy out of the actual sewing/quilting, not out of the creative part (in fact that is the toughest part of a project for me).  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not totally structured or anything like that, in fact if you could see my sewing area you'd know for as logical as I am, I'm not overly organized. While I work I like to listen to music or TV, I always have something to drink near by, and there is always at least one furry baby in the room to distract me periodically.

Well that pretty much wraps it up for me, and I hope you've enjoyed learning a little more about me.  Now if you would like the answer these questions, I love love to hear your responses.  So feel free to comment below with your answers.