Sunday, May 31, 2015

Just finished on time!

Yikes - nothing like quilting until the last possible second! My May challenge at A Lovely Year of Finishes is done. With one hour to spare :-)

My brother will be thrilled since it was his quilt, made by my mother, that I finished repairing and re-quilting. Tomorrow I will wash it and should have it ready for him by mid-week. He's waited a long time for this.

What I learned:
  • I knew it would be difficult to finish this project on time because working on someone else's quilt is just not the same as working on my own quilt - even if it was my mother's!
  • I'm glad that I did put this quilt as a challenge - it was the best way of motivating myself to get it done.
  • Thank goodness for being able to borrow audio-books from the library. It's taken at least three books to get this project completed.
Check out the finishes at A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Finishing a practice landscape - two years later

I can't believe that it's been two years in the making, but when I went to find the post for my project - sure enough, it was in August 2013!
Original version of the landscape quilt
In the beginning
It wasn't bad - I did like the sun and parts of the water, but I had no idea where to go from there. That's why it stayed in the UFO pile, until this winter.

When I took it out, I started adding things such as extra plants, especially in the foreground; details in the water and things that might look like a forest.

Adding details
Adding details
Again, I wasn't too sure where to go from there.

I read and looked at a lot of photos in my Quilting Arts magazines. I also invested in a few e-books on Landscape Quilting through Interweave.  I got all kinds of ideas.

I knew that I really didn't like the top of my tree. That was easy - I just removed what I could and covered the rest! Not at all like regular piecing - what's not to love :-)
A brand new tree!
Once I had all of the fabrics in place, it was time to sew. In theory, at this point I would have started thread painting, but I had already sandwiched the project, so the thread painting also became the quilting. Since then, I've had more practice, so I do recommend that you do the thread painting before you add the batting and backing. It's just easier and really not necessary to be going through all of those layers for everything.

Details of the water and shore
Water and shore
Here are some details of the water and the shore on the other side. I also had a lot more in the foreground, but most of it was lost once I added the binding. Oops!

A close up of the sky
The sky - my favourite part!
If the sun looks like it began life as a sunflower, it's because it did!

Here's the final product. Not bad for a little experiment two years in the making.

What I learned:

  • It's important to add enough space around the edges so that I don't end up cutting things off when I square the piece up or lose things behind the binding.
  • I have learned so much from making this little piece. I was not impressed with it when I left it in August 2013. It's amazing what some bits of fabric and thread can do.
  • Don't rush things - when I'm ready, it will happen.

This post was linked to Needle and Thread Thursday and Link-a-Finish Friday. Check them out!

Friday, May 01, 2015

New Challenge for May

I thought I would take this opportunity to update the challenges I listed in my March post, when I started participating in A Lovely Year of Finishes Challenge.

To date, I've been able to finish both my March and April challenges. It seems that the trick is to choose something I want to work on as well as something that can very realistically be completed. It also helps when there’s another deadline for the project!

One type of exchange block
One type of exchange block 
I mentioned in my March post that I had blocks to prepare for the Frayed Knots Spring/Summer Garden 2015 Block Exchange. The task was to complete 23 blocks (mine are all 9” by 9”) with the garden theme and pastel backgrounds. At the time I had 10 blocks completed. Last weekend, I decided to tackle the blocks. I chose another pattern to work on to help with my motivation. After making 4 of the new blocks, I discovered that they were all too small (X*!Z&#!!!!) Yup, too small.
Another type of exchange block
Another type of exchange block

My extra blocks

I rechecked my calculations because I had adapted a pattern – they were correct. So, if the pattern is correct, that means that my sewing isn't. Sure enough, I've been using my ¼ inch foot and generally not caring if it was accurate or not. I figured that as long as I was consistent, who cared! Well, I’m sure that the ladies receiving my blocks will care…, I tentatively made another block using a “scant” ¼ inch. It worked like a charm. The good news, my 23 squares are finished and I have a whole bunch of extra squares for my own quilt. I’m sure that I can make a row of slightly smaller squares and no one will notice.

To re-quilt
My challenge for May is to finish re-quilting a quilt my mother made about 20 years ago for my brother. My mother hand-quilted it but about half of the quilting has become undone. I've already re-stitched some of the blocks and I now have to complete the hand quilting. My mother made this quilt before she took any classes, so she wasn't using hand-quilting thread.

Since the quilt has been lovingly used, it just needs a little TLC. I've had the quilt for over a year and keep procrastinating… this challenge will make my brother happy.

What I've learned:

  • When deciding on a project for a challenge it’s important to be realistic and motivated.
  • It's good to under promise and over deliver (I am working hard on this one).
  • In the end, it doesn't really matter if I achieve my challenge goal, but I do enjoy having something specific to work at since I can sometimes be a little bit scattered in my approach to quilting. I'm like a cat easily distracted by shiny things! It’s also a good reason to celebrate my successes. 
Check out other quilter’s goals at Lovely Year of Finishes May Goal Setting Party.