First Wednesday WIP for 2014

So I got off to a great start for my stitching this year.  I’ve done something every day this year which is a new record.  On New Year’s Day, I finished off an ornament which I have promised to make for a neighbor as part of a service auction.

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This is Homespun Elegance’s Majestic Bird from the Just CrossStitch Christmas ornament edition.  After finishing this, I started working on probably the oldest WIP in my stash.

This was in my grandma’s sewing room when my aunt and I cleaned it out.  From the paperwork with it, the kit was first published in 1943 and from the price of $6.95 was probably purchased toward the end of the 40’s or start of the 50’s.  If she started it as soon as she bought it which was her habit, then it would mean, in all likelihood, this WIP is a good 15 years older than I am.

Now the kit should include (according to the paperwork) the brass hardware, the lining, the front, back and side petit point canvases and instructions.  I have everything but the canvas for the back.  I called Plaid which acquired Bucilla in the 1990’s and their suggestion was to buy a 14 count canvas to replace the back piece.  My husband’s suggestion was to buy a piece of black satin and use that for the back.  He’s worried that I will lose interest in it before finishing all three pieces and I can see his concern.  I’m at 6 hours of work now and starting to want it finished.Image

But then, this is what it looks like right now….and I really think I could finish the frontispiece in the 4 hours I have left in this rotation slot which makes it highly unlikely that I’m going to want to mark a piece of canvas and tent stitch the whole thing in black, it’s going to be boring enough doing the center band.  I own black velvet in my stash so all I would need would be some interfacing to stiffen it up so that it would work around the lining pieces.

So this is where I am right now. So just out of curiosity, if you had this piece – how would you do it?  Would you do the whole thing in needlepoint?  Would you just finish the frontispiece and do either a satin or velvet back?  if you did a different back would you do the petit point side piece or just do that in the same material as the back so as to highlight the petit point piece?   We’ll see how I feel after 4 more hours…

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Wednesday WIP update

So I finished up the 10 hour slot on Fall Carousel horse which is nice because I’m so ready to work on larger count.  My TW Carousel horses are done on 40 ct linen over 2 so working on them for more than a 10 hour slot is hard on the eyes.

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At thirty hours, 33% of the squares on the graph are completed and a few more could be if I put in just a few hours more of backstitching.
Then there is the Dr. Who SAL – the final block was released today and I’ve already transferred it to the fabric ready to stitch. Of course that doesn’t mean much since 11 was traced a week ago and still hasn’t been stitched.

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Which leads us to the next issue, now that the rotation slot for Fall Carousel Horse is complete, what comes next, finishing the warp on the loom or working on Fire and Ice?

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Here is the loom with only about 40 strands left to put in before I can start weaving. Except I’ve misplaced the pattern but I know which book it’s in so it should be easy to find.

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This is Kustom Krafts Fire and Ice which I started in Jan 2003 and have finished the first page but still have 85% of the pattern to stitch. The nice thing is it’s on 28 count fabric which looks huge after the 40 count I’ve been working on. I’ve only put 20 hours into this piece and I haven’t touched it since July of 2004 so it may take a bit to remember where I am and get into the pattern again. It’s a good thing that I have a list of Hitchcock movies I want to see and stitch too.

Making a quilt top from the 9 patch blocks

So I went back and found my project from November of 2009 since the post from earlier this weekend.  It turns out that it may make more than 5 blocks.  Then again, I may have used 2 fat quarters, I’m not sure.

Strips I found when I opened the project box.

Strips I found when I opened the project box.

So for kicks and giggles I finished them up to see how many blocks I really had.

10 finished blocks

10 finished blocks

I have 10 blocks 5 of each color. The next step is to make sure they are all the same size.

Measure to find the smallest block.

Measure to find the smallest block.

So I measure all to find the smallest block and after I evened that one up (making it square to the shortest edge. I cut the other blocks down to that size in this case 6-1/4″

Then because I’ve been told that quilts with even numbered blocks aren’t really aesthetically pleasing (although my favorite quilt has 24 blocks). I added some blocks of solid fabric to place between the pieced blocks.

Cut 10 solid pieces the same size as the pieced blocks.

Cut 5 solid pieces the same size as the pieced blocks.

Then comes the fun part, layout.

Hm, I don't think 5 blocks will be enough.

Hm, I don’t think 5 blocks will be enough.

I cut 5 more of the solid blocks (used 2 fat quarters) for this layout.

27And hmm, we have an even number of blocks – 4 rows of 5 for a total of 20.

The next step is sewing the blocks together.  The nice thing about this layout is there’s no worrying about seams laying right, every seam on the block is going against a blank block.  I sew the blocks to make rows.

two sets of two rows

two sets of two rows

I learned early on that it’s a pain to try to stitch a single row to a section of three rows or more rows. So I usually start on both ends of the quilt and work toward the center.
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So this seemed a bit small, great for a crib size or wall hanging though so I added some borders. First I added a 2 inch stop border.

Top with stop border

Top with stop border and mitered corners

Then I added a 6-1/2″ outer border.

Evening things out

Evening things out

After adding the side borders, I evened out the edge before putting on the bottom border.  I like having an even edge to work with.

Finished Quilt.

Finished Quilt.

And we have a finished quilt. If I remember right, it took 4 fat quarters for the 9 patch blocks, 2 fat quarters for the solid blocks, 1 fat quarter for the stop border and 4 fat quarters for the outer border. So at 11 fat quarters which I got on sale for $1.50, that’s not a bad price for a throw quilt.

More instructions on a 9 patch block

So back in November 2009, I started a tutorial for making a 9 patch block but I didn’t finish it.  Just like the quilt that I started for the tutorial is still sitting in the block box and not finished.  However, there are some pictures from the first round that didn’t get posted so her is part 2 in How to Make a 9 Patch block quilt –

When we left off 3 years ago, I had suggested marking the 1/4″ seam allowance on the sewing machine like this.

Marking a quarter inch seam allowance on your machine

Marking a quarter inch seam allowance on your machine

The next step is to play with the iron. I like having a good heavy iron for quilting because it’s important to press with the iron, not “iron”.  Rubbing the iron back and forth can stretch the fabric, especially when working on the bias in triangles.

Lay the strip with the darker fabric on top

Lay the strip with the darker fabric on top

The reason for putting the darker fabric on top is when you open the seam, it will then lay toward the darker fabric.

Press the seam to set it.

Press the seam to set it.

It’s really tempting to just slide the iron down the seam but it’s important to pick up the iron, set it down and press, pick up the iron, repeat.  The times I slide the iron, I end up with curved seams. Press the entire length of the strip.

open the strip and press the seam open

open the strip and press the seam open

I was taught that whatever direction you open, is how the seam will lay.

What it looks like pressed open

What it looks like pressed open

The two really good suggestions I was given were 1. Go in the direction of the fewest seams and 2. Lay the seam to the darker color so it doesn’t show through.

view of the seam laying on the dark side

view of the seam laying on the dark side

Now add the third strip to this set.

Again, darkest fabric in the seam on top.

Again, darkest fabric in the seam on top.

So on your strip where the light fabric is on the inside the pressed seams lay toward the outside dark strips and where the light fabric is on the outside, the seams will lay toward the inside.

Now there are 2 set of three strips

Now there are 2 set of three strips

Now that we have the 2 sets of 3 strips, it’s time to cut them to make blocks.

Create a straight edge

Create a straight edge

Line one of the lines of the ruler with the line of the seam in order to get a perpendicular line, now you can use the rotary cutter to create a straight edge to your strips.

Cut blocks the same size as original strips.

Cut blocks the same size as original strips.

Cut new strips the same size as the original strips, in this case, I was using 2.5 inch strips so I’m going to cut this portion the same size as my original strips.

Lay out the new strips to form blocks.

Lay out the new strips to form blocks.

Lay out the strips to form the 9 patch blocks.  I had enough to make 5 blocks 2 with the light fabric in the corners and 3 with the dark fabric in the corners.

abut the seams

abut the seams

So this is where my obsession with pressing the seams the correct direction come into play.  Since we pressed all the seams to the dark side, we now have a way to make our corners perfect, abut the seams so they line up perfectly.

Finished block

Finished block

I seriously thought about telling people to press the block seams to the dark side again but I think I’ve hammered that enough.

So now you have five 9-patch blocks and a choice.  How do you want to lay out the quilt?

I’ll hurry and finish my quilt this month and take more pictures.   I won’t make people wait another 3 years for the remaining instructions but I’m not promising that it will be this weekend.

The Rules:Post 11 things about you…

The Rules:

  • Post these rules.
  • You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions set for you in their post.
  • Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  • Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
  • No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things about Me:

1.  I inadvertently caused a rules change at the conservative college I attended.
2.  I’ve always owned dogs
3.  More people know me as Stasha than under the name my mother gave me.
4. The only way I’ll eat peanut butter is if it’s mixed with something else like chocolate, chocolate ice cream, Thai spices, etc.
5. My favorite college classes were World Philosophy Symposium and Logic
6. I started working as a file clerk at age 11, processing medical claims at 16 and auditing at 18.
7.  I took my test for my driving license in my Uncle’s secretary’s car because my parent’s forgot about my appointment.
8.  I used to play cello
9.  My youngest child turned 16 last week.
10. My mother asked me not to learn to knit so my sisters would have a craft they can do better than me.
11.  That knitting thing?  I gave up trying to learn when my Grandmother told me it was too hard to teach a lefty and I had a shop teacher give me a refund and a gift certificate to drop the beginners class.

Questions for me to answer:

  1. What is your favorite movie? Casablanca
  2. What is the first movie you remember seeing at the movie theater?  Jungle Book at the Drive In
  3. Is there a type of movie or an actor/director that you refuse to watch?  Never made it through an 80’s slasher pic and not about to start.
  4. What craft or hobby would you try if money and time were no obstacle?  I would have a long arm quilting machine.
  5. Name your favorite kitchen tool. – – Henckel serrated blade
  6. What is your favorite type of trip/vacation? Active (like hiking), museums/history, beach, mountains, theme park, etc. – – Laying around the beach
  7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?  I’ve never been to the Caribbean
  8. Would you ever seriously consider living abroad? If the answer is no because you now have a family, do you think you would have considered it when you were “young and single”?    If the circumstances were right I would live abroad for a few years, even with the family.
  9. If you could choose any profession other than your current one, what would it be?  Something allowing for research and analysis which paid good money.
  10. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Let my kids make their own mistakes, and not bail them out afterward.
  11. When is the last time you felt really free (whatever that means to you)?  The first week after being laid off last summer.

Questions for those I tag to answer

  1.  Have you ever dyed your hair?
  2. What would you do if you knew you would never be caught?
  3. If money were no object, where would you be right now?
  4. What is your favorite song?
  5. Did you ever recover from your biggest life mistake?
  6.  How do you feel now about the event in #5?
  7. If you could tell your teenage self one thing, what would it be?
  8. What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
  9. Have you been to a live performance (symphony, opera, play)?  If yes, when and what?  If no, why not?
  10. When was the last time you performed volunteer service? What did you do?
  11. What’s the worst question you’ve ever been asked and expected to answer?

How to make a Nine Patch Block

Just so you know, I posted a quilt I finished to an online group and Terry made the comment that she learns a lot about quilting from me and that one thing she knew is that quilting by hand is a time consuming venture. I should mention that I got into quilting because after finishing a 241 hour stitching project my first quilt took 22 hours from pre-cut kit to bound quilt. With such a quick turnaround it’s no wonder I became addicted.

Just a note before we begin, I still consider myself a beginner. I don’t know the proper way of doing curves, I don’t get my points right more than half the time. Many people are far better quilters than I am, but I can do simple quilts and I have a good eye for color IMHO.

So before beginning, there are some needed supplies. A rotary cutter, a sewing machine, a cutting matte, a ruler and some fat quarters of contrasting colors. Walmart sells a beginning quilting kit that has the matte and the cutter and a decent ruler – it runs about $27.99. Fat quarters run about $1.25 to $3.50 depending on the local shop.

The picture shows several fat quarters which I picked out on a retail therapy spree. Pick two fat quarters which look good together. It works best using a light and a dark fabric. A lot of people will suggest pre-washing the fabric and it makes sense especially if the colors bleed like red or purple. Personally, I like working fabric with the sizing still in it. If deciding to wash, serge the fabric before washing it to keep it from unravelling. Definitely iron it after washing.

One of the critical parts of quilting is cutting. The first thing I do is create a straight edge by either using a fold in the fabric or the removal of the selvage edge.

Fat quarters have a long edge and a short edge. For this block, use the ruler to cut 3 strips either 2.5 inches or 3.5 inches wide along the long edge of the fabric.For this project I cut 2.5 inch strips.

Using 2.5 inch strips, there is enough fabric in a fat quarter to make six strips instead of just three.

Line the strips of fabric up so that there are two sets, one with the dark in the center and one with the light in the center.

Quilting is done with a 1/4 inch seam. Most sewing machine standard feet are a hair wider than 1/4 inch. I’ve marked where 1/4 inch is on my machine because I got tired of trying to remember if I had the standard or 1/4 inch foot on the machine.

Now I’m lazy so I don’t pin my strips in place and I’ll admit that I pay for it as later pictures will show. I also admit that I’m a believer in the Dorky Homemade look to quilting. I quilt for relaxation not to make a masterpiece.

I’ve now spent 3 times as long writing this narrative as I did making the nine patch block and taking the pictures and I’m not finished. Later this weekend, we’ll get into the importance of a good heavy iron.