Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oct-Nov-Dec Review

My 2010 Quilt Challenge is now complete... and here is my fourth and final instalment. It has been an enjoyable and rewarding year. Many things changed as I followed through with the  plan to discover what new quilting techniques would inspire me to complete each project.

Take another look at these projects from the last three months:

--Quilting Books on Review--

Several main goals maintained for this challenge were...

· EXPLORING the books in my own library and public library for this last session.
· USING fabrics I already own, with only a few exceptions, as I bought some new fabrics at a yard sale.
· CREATING small projects to test out these new techniques is still my favorite way to test out new ways.


Circles of the East
Kumiko Sudo

Book Project (on left) / My Quilt (on right)

Remembering back... I really had a difficult time choosing one project from this book. What I finally did was put all the project names in a bowl and had my son pick one out for me. This one was one of my favorites and it ends up being the first project in the book.

I do like applique and this project was fun to create. Since I didn't have any oriental fabrics, I choice ones that would give it that feel... especially choosing fabrics that one may not have considered working in this design. It is always good to try different fabrics and see how pleasing they can actually be when the project is complete.

The project was 14" x 14" in the book. Mine turned out being 14 1/2" by 14 1/2". If one desired to make a larger quilt from these designs; they could be put together with sashing. It would, in my opinion, be a very interesting quilt all done up with flowers.

Bonnet Girls
Helen R. Scott

Book Project (on left) / My Quilt (on right)

When I first began to work on my website for these book titles, this was one that I really admired. It was not in my personal library; however, I did find it in the public library, this fall. So, I was happy to give this one a try. I chose Maureen, with her delightful little dog and beautiful dress.

At the time, I had just bought the dress fabric and found it perfect for this application. I've always loved these long, flowing dresses. So, this project was fun to create. The added embellishments were from my scraps I already had in my supplies. The little dog was made with a white, sateen fabric and the black patches created with embroidery stitches.

The project from the book was shown just as it is on the book's cover with no dimensions or quilt layout. I copied the pattern from the book, and now I don't remember if I had enlarged it or left it the same. But I decided to add the borders and make it look like a framed picture.

My finished dimensions were 16 1/2" x 20 1/4". I certainly would try some more designs from this book, when I find the time to borrow it again. The patterns in the book were very versatile and one could create some very unique pictures.


The Complete Guide to Quilting Techniques
Pauline Brown
Folk-Art Applique Table Center

Book Project (on left) / My Quilt (on right)

I found this book in the library. It has a large variety of techniques and applications. When I turned to this page, I was intrigued with the prairie points and decided it would be the perfect project to complete my challenge.

I had done individual double-fold prairie points, but had not heard of continuous prairie points. Along, with this technique, I also was able to use three different applique methods, as well.

These included:
1. Fusible-Web Method (p168) using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2
2. Reverse Appliqué – (p178) where a seam allowance is cut inside an appliqué shape that is marked on a top layer of fabric.
3. Iron-on interfacing used as a foundation fabric ( great for crazy quilt, appliqués, and selvage blocks)

This was a fun project, and the first one that I have ever made that was completely round. My finished project has a 20" diameter.


Originally, my goal was to make a new block each week and then create a variety of projects from those blocks. However after I made my first one, it changed to a goal of creating 20 complete projects over the course of the year.

After several changes to our schedule and a major move; I had a new opportunity to go back to college in September, and my quilting time was altered drastically. And, finding out how little time or desire I had to quilt, I finally decided that 18 projects would be my final total.  With this, I felt I had done enough and am happy to end my quilting technique challenge for 2010!!

Thanks for stopping in to visit, leave comments, and truly keep me inspired to take this quilt journey.  Wishing you the best for this holiday season and into the New Year ahead!!

Happy Quilting!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Folk Art 2

To continue with the Folk Art Quilt... thanks for waiting for part two.

Three different ways to create the prairie point are shown in this book.
Prairie Points – 3 ways: single-fold (218); double-fold (p219); continuous prairie points (p163)

Construction of the Continuous Prairie Point:

The next step was to work on the prairie points that are going around the edge of the quilt. I had not seen continuous prairie points before, nor had I made them.

If I remember correctly, the strip was 4" wide, and then pressed in half to mark a center line from which to create each fold of the prairie points. Then cuts were made every two inches on both sides of the center line, alternating along the whole length of the fabric strip.

Pressing a Fold-line

Cut to the Pressed Line

Then each cut square was folded once towards the centerline and pressed, as shown on the left below. The second step was to go back and fold each triangle shape to create another triangle, shown on the right side of the photo below.  Once all the triangles were folded, all the points facing downwards were folded up to create the finished prairie point. These I pinnned and then basted along the cut edge. They were set aside.

Folding the Prairie Points in Two Steps

Basted Prairie Points Strip

Before stitching the prairie points onto the edge, several things needed to be done first. Stacking the layers of the quilt top, batting, and backing together, to do the quilting. Shown below are the center of the quilt, and the applique elements. I stitched around the star design to quilt through all the layers. Then added a shadow stitch around the complete design.

Quilting the Layers

Quilting All Around the Outside of the Design

Still having a square-shaped quilt, it was ready to mark the cutting line. I placed the pattern piece back onto the quilt and marked the edge with a pen. When completely marked, I stitched inside these marks about a quarter of an inch, and then cut on the dotted line, marked in pen.

Marking the Cutting Line

Stitching 1/4" Inside the Marked Line

Attaching the Prairie Points

Closeup of Binding

I enjoyed making this quilt. It has lots of variety; especially, with the applique techniques, involved. And this quilt makes a delightful centerpiece, if one has a place to display it. I have done lots of square-shaped quilts on this challenge; however, it is my first round one.

My Finished Project
Size: 20" diameter

This concludes my 2010 quilt technique challenge. I will try to complete the final quarter review within the next month.

Enjoy the holiday season....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Folk Art 1

Time to reveal my last project... I chose “Folk-Art Applique Table Center” on page 160.

The project is listed under hand appliqué in the book. However, I didn’t use any hand appliqué. Instead, I used three different methods for machine appliqué.

Machine Appliqué methods used:
1. Fusible-Web Method -- using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2.
2. Reverse Appliqué -- where a seam allowance is cut inside an appliqué shape that was marked on a top layer of fabric.
3. Iron-on interfacing used as a foundation fabric -- great for crazy quilt, appliqués, and selvage blocks.

Book, Fabrics

For this last project, I am going to divide it into two parts. That way, I can dialog the process the way I wish to and still have time today to continue with my preparations for this week's exams.


First, I hand-stitched my layers together and marked where the leaves were to go using a yellow tracing paper. Below it shows that I machine stitched on this yellow line before the shapes can be cut out. I had three layers of fabric - top, white, yellow-green. The backing fabric was stitched on after all the applique was complete.

Stitching on the Yellow Line

The pattern was copied from the book with my printer and the pages assembled before I could transfer some of the details to my top fabric.

The Paper Pattern

Next, with a small pair of scissors I cut just inside the machine stitched lines. This was done in two separate steps as I didn't want to cut too deep and mess up the process. Below you can see one shape is cut one layer deep revealing a white fabric. The shape beside that one is cut two layers deep to reveal the yellow-green fabric.

Because the yellow-green fabric is much darker then my top layer fabric, I used a white layer in-between them so that the darker colour would not show through the lighter fabric.

Yellow-Green Leaves

After all the shapes for the leaves were cut out, I used a light coloured thread and zig-zagged around the cut edges. Also shown below are the cut-out pieces for the flowers and the red hearts.

Applique Pieces- Leaves, Flowers, Hearts

The green flowers (tulips) and red hearts are ready to attach to the quilt top. Along with the leaves, this quilt uses three applique techniques. And now that I think about it, it appears to be a very fitting finish to my year's technique challenge, in that I end with my favorite technique.

Applique Pieces Ready to Attach

The tulips are stitched to the quilt tip using the machine buttonhole stitch in a variegated thread to match the fabric. Also, you can see the zig-zag stitch around the leaves. As this is a folk-art quilt the leaves to me don't really look like leaves, but they do create an interesting pattern around the edges of this quilt.

Leaves and Flowers

Lastly, the hearts are stitched to the quilt top. I was originally debating whether to use the buttonhole stitch or the zig-zag stitch. But after trying both, I wasn't happy with either. I also considered trying handstitching them on, but of course, you can probably guess how that went.  Or didn't go!!

So, digging out my sewing machine manual, I decided to use a stitch I hadn't used yet, and that one worked perfectly. A new machine stitch and no messy results, well, that was perfect! The book calls is an applique stitch.

Stitching on the Hearts

Before stitching on the flowers and hearts, I machine stitched the star in the center of the quilt top, as shown above. First, I marked it with the yellow tracing paper and then marked the points with pins and then carefully stitched on the yellow lines.

This may look confusing, but it worked really well. I didn't want the tracing lines to be dark, so this helped me see the points where I needed to turn the fabric. After stitching it in yellow, it needed more punch, so I stitched more lines with a red thread.

The Pins Mark the Star's Lines

Next week's entry will show the completion of the construction process and final photos... Enjoy your creative time!!

More Book Titles...
If you wish to see more quilting books you can check out my website for more details. Those books reviewed are listed on the "featured" page.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

An End To The Journey

At the end of 2009, when I was mapping out my quilting technique challenge, I decided I'd try for a total of 20 projects. 

Originally, I was only going to make a block of each new technique, and then make those blocks into a variety of projects. But that changed after my first project! It was then that I decided I'd make small ones and complete each as a separate quilt.

Then, there were two periods of time, that were going to be challenging to get any quilting done, so I worked extra time in the spring and then again in the summer. So, because of this I was able to keep up with my goals to make five new quilts in each three-month timeframe.

However, over the past few weeks, I've pondered on whether I should forge ahead and get to 20 completed projects or stop at 18. So for my last three-month session, the total will end up at 3.

As the weeks go by so quickly... and the challenge of going to college and keeping up with the assignments and such, I've decided that the projects that I completed in late summer will be all that I wish to do. I haven't done any quilting since late August and am not finding any desire to squeeze it into my schedule.

Therefore, next week I will share my last project from this year's challenge, before wrapping it all up in December.

Next week…

My eighteenth project will be shared next week...

The Complete Guide to Quilting Techniques/
Pauline Brown

More Book Titles...
If you wish to see more quilting books you can check out my website for more details. Those books reviewed are listed on the "featured" page.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bonnet Girls

Bonnet Girls/ Helen R. Scott

Time to reveal my next project... I chose “Maureen” on page 68.

Book, Fabrics

I found this book during my online search for appropriate quilting techniques to fill the A-Z topics on my website. And, was happy to borrow it from the library system this fall. I am pleased to share with you the one I created from the book.

I find this style of dress so appealing. I know they probably weren't very easy to launder and keep clean back in those days when women wore them. But, it was certainly fun to create one for this quilt.


After choosing my fabrics, cutting out the applique pieces, and deciding on the embellishment features; it was time to assemble the pattern.

I attached the applique pieces using the fusible web method and using the buttonhole stitch to sew around all the edges. Any places where straight lines were needed, I used the straight stitch on the machine to create the folds in the dress skirt and underskirt. I found a scrap piece of narrow lace that was just the right length for the bottom of the dress.

Assembly of Pieces

Embellishments added to the design were hemming lace for the scarf and belt; a flower for the hat, and lace for the bottom of the dress. The stitching adds the rest of the details.

Top of Design
Close-up of the Hat

Close-up of the Scarf

I didn't have any fabric that would work for the dog, so I used a white sateen. Then.. I added a machine zigzag stitch around the edges and added hand embroidery stitches to make the spots, face, and gold chain.

Bottom of Design

Close-up of the Underskirt

Binding and Mock Piping

Close-up of the Dog and the Quilting

I really enjoyed making this quilt and would be interested in checking out more of the designs in the book. I only used one pattern, but the designs lend themselves well to incorporate several into a larger center block. Or, one could make several small blocks and add them into one quilt with sashing and extra borders.

My Quilt
Finished size: 16 1/2" x 20 1/4"

Enjoy your stitching time... and try to relax as you plan your activities for the upcoming festive season!!  I see it better to think in terms of "less is more" then overtasking your resources and energy to do it all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Organizing Fabric

How do you organize your quilting fabrics?

Every task is easier when the items we require for a project are readily available as we need them.

Sometimes that isn’t always possible, but when it is we should really plan out our work space to make the best use of our time where we can sit down and stitch for a few minutes to all day.

I was able to purchase a buffet and hutch, last year, that I loved using for my fabrics and supplies. It being the first time I had ever owned such a fine piece of furniture, it really looked good filled with fabrics.

That was then…

Of course, most people have it in their dining room filled with fine china and an assortment of dishes that may not get used very often, but it is a great place to display them.

Sadly, mine is now used in the kitchen for dishes, cups, and other stuff that doesn’t fit into the cabinets. Because there are so few upper cabinets it really was necessary.

However... when I think about it, it is much better then storing kitchen stuff in boxes. That is probably much worse then storing fabrics in boxes.  Or is it?

This is now…

Sometimes… we get a whole room for our quilting and then at other times that space needs to be shared within another room.

So, here I have replaced the hutch and buffet with a cabinet that still can hold my fabrics. I do miss the drawers but it is right next to my cutting table and that works good, too!

I don’t have as much time to sew at the present time, but when the workspace is tidy… a few minutes here and there still adds up to some fine quilting time!!

So what am I waiting for!!  Enjoy those moments of creative bliss…

Next week…

My seventeenth project will be shared next week...
Bonnet Girls/ Helen R. Scott

More Book Titles...
If you wish to see more quilting books you can check out my website for more details. Those books reviewed are listed on the "featured" page.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Japanese Family Crests

Circles of the East/ Kumiko Sudo

Time to reveal my next project... I finally decided on “Peony” on page 26.

[Book, Fabrics]

There are so many beautiful designs… that to make my decision, I had someone draw a slip of paper out of a bowl, so I could finally get started.

Making the Pick Easy

All the pieces were cut from the different fabrics and fused onto the background block.

Ready for Stitching the Edges

Each piece was stitched with a matching thread using a zigzag stitch. It isn’t too difficult to change these threads when you use the same colour in the bobbin.

Matching Thread

All the pieces have been stitched and the layers sewn together. I stitched through all the layers using an echo stitch around the design.

Ready to BindDSC00072

All the patterns in this book are small like this one and very quick to stitch up. Another option would be to make a variety of these crests and then add sashing and borders to make a larger quilt.

Since I borrowed this book from a public library, I was happy to get one done before the book was ready to be returned. There are many more great projects that deserve another look.

My Finished Project
DSC00367 (2)
Finished size: 14” x 14”

As this is a long weekend, [Thanksgiving] we enjoyed a turkey dinner with family and I got some homework finished before getting down to writing up this entry.

Enjoy your week… and remember to take time for yourself to enjoy a hobby.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Autumn Colours

I find it so inspiring to watch as Mother Earth paints nature with those wonderful reds, purples, yellows, oranges, and browns! How about you?

Where I live it has warmed up this week to give us a few more days of summerlike weather before all those pretty leaves are blown off onto the ground. And the season turns it way to those colder months.

But here’s a few reminders that make this time of year my all time favourite.


I had the opportunity to share my quilt challenge projects with my local quilt guild, last week. It was really very interesting to see all my quilts spread out on the two tables. And, also to see everyone so interested in what I had accomplished. A quilt journey like this can really stretch one’s skill level and experiences. As I know seeing someone else’s work can inspire me to try new techniques and venture further along the path of discovery.

As I go into the fourth quarter of sharing with you the quilt books I’ve explored, hope you have the courage to try new things this year and add more depth to your skill levels. Or, perhaps, set some quilting objectives to reach for in the coming months and new year.


My sixteenth project will be shared next week...

Circles of the East/ Kumiko Sudo

More Book Titles...
If you wish to see more quilting books you can check out my website for more details. Those books reviewed are listed on the "featured" page.