On-going projects: January update

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Last year I started to write this kind of monthly summaries, and they did help in keeping track of everything and show what’s going on behind the finished blocks I normally share here.

That being said, this month has been really busy. I took a two-day course at Cotton&Color, started three new sew-alongs and tried to keep up with the ones currently running.

For the already running projects:

The Splendid Sampler™ is entering the final stage, with only 4 blocks left to be released. I have committed myself to finish it in time, that’s it, no blocks left to sew when the n.100 is released. However, I’m a little behind, with block n. 90 waiting. I now have a huge problem with how much fabric I’ve left, and the selection process isn’t easy at all. That’s the main reason block 90 is on hold; it requires big pieces and I don’t want to compromise prints that can be in handy for small piecing.

– The 2016 BoM by Cotton&Color. I was planing to start to quilt it this month. I just didn’t have time, and I’m still considering if it needs some more borders or an upgrade with appliqué. I hope I will have made an advance in February.

– The “Buttons” pattern by Me and My Sister Designs has almost all the blocks finished and ready to be put together in the final layout. I need to unpick a couple of them and start cutting the sashing fabric. Great progress on that one!

– There wasn’t a new release for the Star-Sampler quilt along by Amanda of 3and3quarters until yesterday, so it’s almost up-to-date.

The Stars-quilt is, as it’s becoming more usual, the neglected project. Little advance on this one since the last stats (November!!):

Stars basted: 84/84 (504/504 templates)
Stars sewn: 84 /84
Background pieces basted: 504/504
Stars completed: 1
8/84 (+6 from the last stats)

For the new projects:

– I started the Flower Festival quilt-along by Leah Day, and this one has taken the big part of my sewing time during this month. Piecing the block wasn’t a big deal, but quilting it… another story! I made a couple of mock sandwiches to practice, and I’m really slow at quilting. In fact, it still isn’t finished. I plan a couple of blog posts about this one, so many new things learnt!

The first pattern for the project of the month by Cotton&Color is waiting on my ironing table. I have the fabric already selected, and I’m planing some hand-quilting on it.

The Quilt Block Cookbook sew-along by Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock is running and I was able to find time to piece the first two blocks, which I just love! I’m having lots of fun playing with fabric selection! However, I haven’t been unable to spend time on working on blocks 3 and 4. I ‘ll try to catch up as soon as The Splendid Sampler blocks are finished.

– The course I took was about Laura Heine‘s collage quilts. Lots of fun! I did finish my top and now I’m searching for the thread to quilt it (trying new things on this one!). I really hope to have it finished in February! At Cotton&Colour blog there’s a post about the course, with a little story about my quilt (the English version is just after the German text).

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And for the knitting, my top has seen lots of progress, and I’m moving the deadline for it from end-March to end-February.

Now that I have put all of that in writing, it confirms the feeling that I had since planning this year’s sewing: I need to start finishing things. I hope that with the end of The Splendid Sampler and having done all the warm-ups for the Festival Flower QAL I will start seeing things coming to an end! It’s not a bad feeling – I’m really happy of all the sewing I’ve done so far this month-, it’s just that I prefer to keep my focus on fewer projects rather that having so many running along!

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 95

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The 95th block of The Splendid Sampler™ “Sunshine” is designed by Kim Niedzwiecki (Go-Go Kim). This pieced block shouldn’t have posed any difficulty, but it ended a little off (1/8″) in one corner. I think it’s due to the loss of stiffness the fabric has suffered; it’s been a year since I starched it and several iron-fold iron-fold circles, as well as the constant manipulation of the scraps bin led to that.

For this one I based my fabric selection on the scraps/pieces I have left of some of the prints, and the overall balance of coloured prints in the sampler. Although this orange wouldn’t have been my first option if I hadn’t determined I needed it, I’m quite happy of the final result.

Pattern and info are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 91

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Block n. 91 for The Splendid SamplerGran’s Button Jaris designed by Lynette Anderson. She was one of the first designers whose work I got to know when I started quilting. Although her style doesn’t match my own when it comes to the patchwork itself, I have used some of her fabrics now and then.

So, although I was tempted to simplify the block and go for an all-embroidered version, I remained true to the original design, which is so characteristic of Lynette Anderson’s designs. The needle-turn appliqué perhaps ended a little bit wonky, but overall I’m pleased with the result, and glad I decided to keep the design.

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I used a back-stitch for almost all the lines, except the horizon-line, which is stitched with a stem-stitch, French knots for the buttons, a colonial knot for the bird’s eye and satin stitch for the hearts (the bird’s one was framed with a back-stitch), along with a running-stitch for the border.

I should have sewn the block’s borders before the embroidery; it was tricky to add them afterwards due to the irregularities caused by the embroidery itself. Also, I would have been able to adjust better the pattern into its space.

One block less to go, and one more for the beautiful embroidery collection this sampler is providing. Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 92

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Block 92 of The Splendid Sampler is called Double Bees, by Beth Bradley. Unlike the two previous ones -90 and 91- that require some extra work, this one was quick and easy, so I jumped right into it meanwhile I work on the others.

I went for fusible appliqué with a blanket stitch for the appliqué parts, and a stem-stitch for the embroidered details. I may skipped my own colour-scheme a little bit on this one by adding two colours, but accidentally this combination pop up and I couldn’t find another one that convinced me enough to change it.

Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Cookbook QAL: 2. Cherry on Top

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Not so much history on this one… the most difficult part, decide on the fabric!

1. Close to home, T.S. Post, P&B Textiles
2. Cookie Book, Kimberly Knight, Cotton+Steel
3. Painter’s Canvas; Michael Miller Fabrics
* The background is from the 1000Colours collection, by Lecien, grey n. 501

(This block belongs to a QAL hosted by Amy Gibson –Stitchery Dickory Dock– and based on her book “The Quilt Block Cookbook”).

Christmas gifts for a knitter

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This past Christmas’ sewing involved a special gift for a friend who, among other crafty things, is a passionate knitter. And when this sheep fabric appeared on the quilt-shop, I knew I had to do something with it.

So, I planed to sew something useful! The “2 Fat Quarter Bucket!”, by Me and My Sister Designs, has become a favorite when it comes to sewing useful things. Fast, easy and versatile. And it showcases the fabric, which is also important! (other buckets are here and here).

And to pair it with something else, I had had my focus on this open-wide pouch by Anna Graham (Noodlehead) for a long time, and I thought it could be of use for a knitter. The yarn-balls fabric from Cotton+Steel is just the perfect lining, isn’t it?

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This one took some thought, however. Zippers and I aren’t good friends, and my first interfacing choice didn’t work quite well.

Now they have been delivered and I hope being enjoyed by their new owner!

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Project: Bucket
Size: 6″W x 4 1/2″L x 7″H / 15 x 11.5 x 18 cm
Date: December 2016
Pattern: 2 Fat Quarter Bucket!, Me and My Sister Designs
Exterior fabric: Wool Ewe Be Mine, Maria Kalinowsky for Kanvas Studio, Bernatex
Lining fabric: Reel Time, Zen Chic, Moda Fabrics
Batting: Thermolam TP971 (100% polyester), Legacy

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Project: Open-wide zippered pouch
Size: Medium (9″ tall x 12″ wide)
Date: December 2016
Pattern: Open-wide zippered pouch, Anna Graham (Noodlehead)
Exterior fabric: Wool Ewe Be Mine, Maria Kalinowsky for Kanvas Studio, Bernatex
Denim fabric, unknown manufacturer
Lining fabric: Cat Lady, Sarah Watts, Cotton+Steel
Batting: Heavy interfacing, unknown manufacturer

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 89

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The 89th block of The Splendid Sampler is called “From Colorado to the Midwest”, by Ebony Love. I pieced this one as a leader-and-ender project for another block, and it came together really smoothly! I was amazed when I realised I had only used the seam-ripper once, and for a misplaced piece.

It indeed helped the construction method for the Flying Geese units. I rather prefer working with triangles on the bias than the stitch-and-flip method. In this case, all the units needed some minor trimming and all had the right dimensions. This method is also a fabric saver!

I also pressed all the seams open in this one… the block I was working on called for them, and I just kept doing it on this one… which worked!

Pattern, link party and other information are here.

The Cookbook QAL: 1. First Kiss

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Well, this one was supposed to be an easy and quick one. It wasn’t. And truth is, I can’t understand what went wrong with it… well, my flying geese units were short, and instead of re-doing them I insisted on using them in the block… So the block is smaller, and it took ages to get the center seams to match. Why didn’t the flying geese units turn out the right dimensions is still a mystery, the rest, is just me being stubborn.

1. XOXO, Cotton+Steel Basics, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Cotton+Steel
2. Mesa, Alexia Marcelle Abegg, Cotton+Steel
3. Life, enjoy the ride; Tina Higgins Designs, Quilting Treasures
* The background is from the 1000Colours collection, by Lecien, grey n. 501

(This block belongs to a QAL hosted by Amy Gibson –Stitchery Dickory Dock– and based on her book “The Quilt Block Cookbook”).

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 86

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The 86th block of The Splendid Sampler is called Unity Star, by Vanessa Christenson. I postponed it as it is a mini-version of the Star n.3 for the Star-sampler quilt that so much trouble caused me. Oddly enough, this version came together pretty smoothly -perhaps because I already had the experience of the bigger star-. In this case, I only trimmed the extra fabric from the corner units, leaving the “base” piece intact. Although it adds bulk, it helps in accuracy.

(And yes, I couldn’t resist to fussy-cut my particular Waldo…).

With this one my Splendid Sampler is up-to-date (I’m not sewing the bonus blocks), and ready when it resumes the designer’s blocks tomorrow.

The pattern, link party and other info are here.