Monday, January 30, 2012

String Quilt - 33 Blocks to Go

Yesterday I spent a little bit of time trimming all the newly completed string quilt blocks I had completed.  I then threw them together rather quickly with the others to see how many more I have left to do.  If I want to make the 8 blocks by 10 blocks size I want, I have 33 blocks to go.  I think if I ever complete another string quilt, it definitely will not be as small of strips as those I have been using.  I will also not use as small of blocks (6.5" blocks) as I have been using.  But, little by little, I'm getting there.  However, let's not forget, I have all that paper to remove from the blocks as well.  Bummer.

But, one thing at a time.  I am determined to finish this quilt this year!  Here's what I have so far now.  I wish the colors would photograph better.  It's not as dark as it seems.   When it's time to assemble the blocks, I'll spend a lot more time evening out the colors in the blocks. But, not too bad for a pack of fat quarters I never thought I would use.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mandy's New Walking Coat

Recently, I purchased two of those dog harnesses that you see on TV.  I found them very cheap and thought they would work well for our two yorkies.  I purchased two extra small harnesses.  I have one 10.5 pound yorkie and one 6.5 pound yorkie.  Our dogs are not the usual yorkie size.  They are both very long.  Well, the xsmall harnesses were very big on both dogs.   I was able to adapt one of the harnesses to fit our larger yorkie.  I kept saying I could make a harness for our smaller yorkie.  Well, I finally made one.

I measured the length from her neck I wanted it and then the size of her chest.  She does not like anything different touching her.  It was not easy to measure her.  Look at the look of terror on her eyes when the tape measure got close.  Also, notice her sister in the background peeking her eye over at us.

Then I basically made a sideways H for the harness.  The top straps go around her neck, the bottom straps around her chest.  I angled the neck straps up a little bit to fit around her neck.  The neck straps can Velcro on an angle like the photo or straight horizontally.  Whichever is more comfortable for your dog.

Here's she is modeling her new walking coat.  It will help out a lot to not have her choking when we are walking her.   It turned out so well, I see many different coat colors in her and her sister's future!  It was hard to get her to stand still for the finished coat photo.  This is the best I could do.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Completed - Lotta Love

I finished my Lotta Love wall hanging on Wednesday!  I actually free motion quilted the wall hanging instead of stitching in the ditch, which was a first for me.  I credit SewCal Gal's Free Motion Quilting challenge for pushing me to use my practiced skills.

I was thinking about adding rhinestones to the hearts in each flower but I have decided against it for now.  Here is the finished product.

Finished Quilt
It is hanging in our living room for the next couple of weeks.  I added a matching binding to the outside of the quilt.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quilt Sandwich Issues

Maybe I was in a hurry and I didn't pay attention enough.  Maybe the top shifted while pinning it.  Or maybe, I didn't pin it on a large enough surface and let the wall hanging drape over the edges.  Whatever the reason, I ran into two major issues when preparing the Lotta Love quilt sandwich.  Because I did not want to take out all the pins and start from the beginning again, I'll share how I fixed not having enough batting and having a too short quilt backing on my quilt sandwich.

Once I was 95% complete in pinning my Lotta Love wall hanging, I found out that the top of the quilt did not have enough batting nor enough backing to cover the top.  Don't you hate when that happens.

For batting that was a little too short.  All I needed was a small piece of batting to cover the gap.  I cut the piece to fit and butt it up against the existing batting.  I used my roll of "Heat Press Batting Together" tape.  It works like a charm when joining batting pieces.  I like to use a piece on both the top and bottom.  If you want to learn more about this great tool, I did a review here.

On the backing that was too short, I simply sewed on an addition piece of backing and ironed it.  I took out enough pins to sew the strip of fabric to the existing backing.

Once I completed these two steps, I could finish pinning my Lotta Love quilt and now I work on quilting it.  I am going to be brave and free motion quilt it using swirls and hearts.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Adding Applique Hearts to Lotta Love

I decided on adding AccuQuilt Go hearts to the Lotta Love wall hanging.  Once I had the layout determined, I decided I wanted to add embroidery to the die cuts as well.  However, adding embroidered applique to an already completed quilt sometimes adds risk to getting them placed "just right".  So, I decided to create the appliques and then iron them on using steam a seam2.  Once ironed on, I'd stitch down for security.  I tested out my theory on a few practice hears and scrap fabric.

I digitized my hearts to add a decorative stitch all over the heart and then a satin stitch on the outside.  Later, after the wall hanging is quilted, I'll add rhinestones to the decorative stitching.  I embroidered the design on sulky sticky/tearable stabilizer.  Once the embroidery is completed, I tear off the excess stabilizer.  This leaves a fuzzy residue on the outside of the embroidered item but since it's white going on a white background, whatever I can not get off will not be noticed as much.

I cut and add the same size steam a seam2 fusible to the back of each heart and then iron it down on my project.  Here are my test photos.

I wanted to make sure they were secure so I tested out adding a layer of stitches to each heart.  I wanted to see what a stitch on top of the satin stitching looked like.  It's OK, you just have to be perfect.  On my actual hearts, I used white embroidery thread for the satin stitching so a white stitch on top of it would not be noticeable.  On the smaller heart, it was easier to go just inside the satin stitching to secure the fused heart.

Now that the practicing is completed, I turned to the wall hanging.  I carefully placed the hearts onto the quilt with the Steam A Seam2 fusible web and ironed them to secure them to the quilt.  NOTE:  Be careful if you used polyester thread on your embroidery.  It burns easily.  Ask me how I know :-)  You just want to secure it enough to hold until you stitch it.

Now it's on to securing them with stitching and then I can quilt it.  Unfortunately, I'm not the best free hand quilter so I probably will just stitch around the hearts in the ditch.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Adding More Love

I decided to use one more AccuQuilt Go die on my Valentines Day Wall Hanging.  How could I have one without using the hearts die?  So, I am auditioning several layouts.  I think I have it narrowed down to two options.  I'm leaning more towards Option B.  I'll think on it a day or two before I iron them down.

Option A

Option B

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lotta Love Template and Instructions

Pin It The options are endless on this wall hanging.  The wall hanging center finishes at 24 x 24" and the borders add another 2" for a total wall hanging sized around 26" x 26"  The color changes can make it versatile enough for Christmas, Valentines, Weddings, Nurseries, etc.. All that is needed is your creativity.  I've provided links to various sites that publish "Storm at Sea" pattern instructions since this is what this quilt is.  The only difference is the color placement I did.  I'm sure there is someone out there that has done the same but I have not come across any.  This quilt is AccuQuilt Go and Go Baby friendly or can be cut out of fabric using the EQ7 Rotary Cutting Instructions.  Finally, there is an EQ7 Link provided since I created this layout using EQ7.  You can download it from MediaFire below.


It may look complicated but it really is only made up of 3 types of blocks below.  Each of the blocks have the size of AccuQuilt Go die used. 1/2" ST = 1/2" Half Square Finished Triangle Die (Item 55319), 3" ST = 3" Half Square Finished Triangle Die (55009), 3.5" Square = Square 3.5" die (55006), and 3"TIS = 3" Triangles in Square Finished Die (55027)

**  Please note, the instructions are for a full Storm at Sea Quilt.  But, it shows you how to assemble the 3 blocks above.  You only need to complete the blocks in the full wall hanging image above.  If this is too confusing, please feel free to contact me.


I use for my downloads.  Below is a link to the EQ7 file.  The file will assist to create the quilt if you need to rotary cut the pieces instead of using your AccuQuilt Go.  Or, you will have your own quilt to try different color choices. 

  • My 3 borders used were cut at 1" wide white fabric, 1.5" wide pink fabric, and 1" wide red fabric.  The length of the strips is usually around 26" to cover the 24" square center.  However, I like to have mine longer and then I cut off the excess.
  • Some of the joined pieces produce a lot of bulk on these quilts.  Next time, I'll iron as I go to try and minimize sewing through bigger bulk
  • In some of the areas, 4 Finished 1/2 square triangles come together in the same color.  I would think I should be able to replace these with 2.5" squares instead.
  • Next time, I may embroider a design on the 3.5" squares first, then cut them out and add to the quilt.  It would be easier than thinking about adding after the top is assembled.
  • Make sure you have enough Triangles in Square pieces cut going in both directions.  I found that I needed to go back to cutting to get more of a certain direction.
  • Don't be a perfectionist.  If you have a pucker or bump, leave it in. It only adds character.  I can see about 3 or 4 areas where mine don't match up.
  • Most of all, have fun.  Be sure to contact me with any questions and I'll help where I can!


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Monday, January 16, 2012

Lotta Love

I finished the "Lotta Love" or "Endless Love" wall hanging this morning.  Put the last of 3 borders on.  It's a little larger than I wanted but I am very happy with how it turned out.  I like how the inner white border makes the chevrons look like they are floating.  Now, I need to work on quilting it and placing the instructions online for the color placement.  I hope you like it, let me know what you think.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hearts Completed

I was able to complete a lot of sewing yesterday.  So much so that I finished the double hearts wall hanging center I was working on.  Only thing left is to add the borders and quilt and it will be ready to hang.  I'm happy with how it turned out and loved how the accuquilt pieces went together so easily! I usually don't name my quilts but this one I'm thinking about calling "Endless Love".  Now off to iron, square it up and add some borders.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hearts Emerging

I was able to get some piecing completed yesterday.  So far, so good.  I'm hoping I can complete all the piecing by the end of the weekend to share the results and color placement pattern with you.  Here's what I have so far.  Of course, I have not ironed the sewn pieces yet.  I'm lazy with ironing.  I usually wait until the end to iron the results. Surprisingly, the little bit completed below is made up of 90 pieces so far.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Pieces are Cut

I spent the day yesterday cutting out the pieces to my wall hanging.  I decided to keep using the batik fabric originally selected.  I think the second wash really cleaned out the dye.  There are a lot of pieces to this wall hanging.  I'm sure it can be made with larger pieces but I figured I would use my gifted go dies.  I probably won't begin any sewing today since DH is off work.  I'll begin sewing the blocks together on Saturday.

I used my Baby Go to cut out the pieces.  I'm not so sure I like this machine better than my full size Go machine.  My Baby Go just has a hard time starting the die out.  I usually don't cut a lot of layers of fabric either. I mean it doesn't easily catch the die to pull it through the presser.  I have to push with my leg, hold the top of the machine, and then crank the handle.  It's actually pretty funny to see :-)  If you have a Go Baby, do you have any problems starting your dies under the presser bar?

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Beholder's Beauty

I made some great progress on my string quilt this weekend.  I did more than I expected myself to do.  As I lay out all of the blocks I love seeing the diamonds emerge.  I am not looking forward to removing all the paper and quilting all these seams but that's in the future. 

It was so funny this morning.  I was excited to show DH the progress on the number of blocks I completed.  So, I pulled up the photo below to show him instead of laying them all out again.  I got an eh... it's OK.  Not one of my favorites of yours but it's nice.  He's always a big supporter.  He's just not used to green/blue/brown colors I think.  I laughed.  I love his honesty.

Just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure.  I like this quilt but, is it because of all the work I have put into it?  The next string quilt I finish will not have all these small sized strips.  I used strips no bigger than 3/4 inch. 

Now only 50 more blocks to go.  They are 6.5" blocks and I would like to complete it at 48 x 60.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Starting Again

If you are like me, new years comes and goes and resolutions go right with it.  I really don't make formal resolutions but I like new starts.  My goals were to become more organized, streamline the clutter and return to orphaned sewing projects.  Either decide to finish them or let them go.  I also wanted to get rid of some of my craft items.  But that last one is a tough one :-)

So, my first project return is my string quilt.  I started this one last year.  I love what all the blocks look like when they are together!  I just need to finish about 45 more blocks since they end up 6.5" square.  I should have made them larger but no changing now.  I have probably 18 made so far.  I'm hoping to return to making at least one a day.  If I skip a day, then the next day I need to make two... and so on.

Also, over the last two new years holidays, we really weren't ourselves.  We found ourselves waiting for biopsy results and as much as you try, that's all you can think about.  We received the results of DH's biopsy two days ago and we continue to be blessed.  The cancer did not return and did not spread.  It was just a progression of an autoimmune disease that continues to need to be managed.  Yeah!  Thanks for your thoughts and notes!

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