Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's been awhile since I've done paper foundation piecing. To get myself back in the mode, I made a sample block. This block is a 3 1/2" block (3" when finished). If you want precision piecing, especially with very tiny pieces, foundation piecing is the way to go. You can also use fabric (muslin, usually) for your foundation with your sewing lines drawn on the fabric.

The accuracy comes from sewing directly on the provided lines. If you can sew a straight seam, you can foundation piece. A few tips that will help you are;
Cut your pieces bigger than you think you will need them to be. You will trim off the excess, so being large is not a problem. If they are too small, you can't add fabric and will have to rip out the seam, re-cut the fabric, and re-sew the seam.

Sew, trim,, trim, iron. Be neat and snip all threads.

When you are done with the block and you are squaring it up, don't necessarily use the printed lines on the paper. Sewing and ironing repeated seams on the paper may have distorted it a bit. Use your ruler and not the printed lines as your guide. Also, be sure to use the same ruler throughout your project for accurate trimming. There can be small, subtle differences in rulers that can make a difference in your final project.

This picture shows that I have cut outside of the lines and inside of the lines in a few spots. This was deliberate, and my final block is an accurate 3 1/2".

Don't remove the foundation paper until you have sewn all of your blocks together. This will keep your tiny blocks from distorting. Because you don't have to pay any attention to whether or not you have a bias edge on your fabric pieces when you are cutting them out, the fabric may be subject to stretching without the paper. Once everything is pieced together, gently remove your paper foundations. "Handle with care" until you have quilted and bound your treasure.

Foundation piecing is not quick, but it is very rewarding when you see how accurate your project turns out. Be patient and enjoy the process!

Monday, January 26, 2009

This fabric postcard arrived today. It was part of a swap that I joined in November but the sender had been ill and couldn't send it until now. I had just about forgotten about it and it was a nice surprise today. This one, like the last one, came from England and arrived in perfect shape.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I've got something different for you today. No sewing machines were needed!

Can you guess what these pieces and parts will become?......No? Well, keep scrolling down........

It's a mouse! Eeeek! I think he's a pretty cute mouse, at that! In addition to sewing and fabric crafting, I enjoy lampworking (flameworking, hot glass, molten glass, whatever you want to call it). I made the beads that were used as the body and head of the mouse. I have a jar of odds and ends beads that didn't make it into jewelry and this is a great way to put them to good use.

This mouse was not my own design. I bought a tutorial on how to make him from Maria at Whimzicalities, a fellow lampworker. Overall, it was pretty easy to make. I didn't have the right gauge of copper wires and will wait to make another one after I find the right gauges. I searched through my garage stash, stripped a few cables, and found some usable copper wire. Some of his parts are too thick, some are too thin. Nonetheless, he seems no worse for the wear.
Now, say "Cheese", little mouse!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Here it is....a finished (almost) Thangles tablecloth! The finished size is 34" x 43". This would be a good size for a small (very small) lap quilt or wall hanging too. I say that it's almost finished because it will still need to be quilted and bound. I'll be using the largest border fabric for the backing and the purple fabric for the binding. It's at this stage that I loose my enthusiasm. I don't have the time and patience to hand quilt anymore, and I don't have a sewing machine that would do a particularly good job of quilting. I have many quilt tops, wall hangings, and lap quilts that remain at this stage of finishing. Since this is intended to be a tablecloth, I may omit the batting to make finishing it much easier. When you don't have the added bulk of batting, even a regular sewing machine will "quilt" the two layers together without shifting and puckering. There's no hurry to decide so I'm off to a new project!

(This quilt is actually rectangular. I put it on a curved surface and it now appears to be wavy. It isn't.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Block Number 12 in the Thangles series. I've had the materials for this last block for awhile and had to put it aside to finish other projects. Now that all 12 blocks are completed, I'll set them into a runner or table cloth. I have enough fabric to make more Thangles blocks if I would decide to make it bigger. Hmmmm......we'll see. I'd really like to finish this quickly and get if off of my "to do" list.... Stopping right now may be the best choice.

Monday, January 12, 2009

After what appears to be my daily chore of snow shoveling, I was able to spend some quality time with my sewing machine. Although I actually enjoy shoveling, I must admit that I like sewing more. Yes, it's the Psalm block pattern that I got yesterday and it's all done! Fortunately, it was a simple, quick pattern and I was able to get it done without a hitch.

This block is a representation of Psalm 57:1;

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This is a hand made Christmas card that Lisa sent me. Like all of us, she was rummaging around in her stash and found a Christmas card kit that she had forgotten about. You just never know what you'll find when you sort through things. So.....lucky me got to receive one of them!

This is another Psalm block. For about 24 hours, I am officially caught up on my Psalm blocks. Tomorrow afternoon or evening, I'll receive, via email, this weeks' block scripture and pattern. Until then, I'm just going to just enjoy this moment in time!

This is Psalm 46:1-3, 10;
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another snow day......another block! This is the January block of the month, which I just picked up yesterday. It's nice to be able to take the time to get it finished right away instead of adding it to my "to do" list. Again, I exchanged their enclosed green fabric with my own green fabric to soften the contrast.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I got an unexpected "snow day" today and made another Psalm block. This is Psalm 27:4-5;
"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock."

This block was quite difficult to piece because of the inset pieces. I should have redrafted the pattern but had already cut all of the pieces. I finally completed the block, but not without many ripped out seams. At least it's done!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I managed to get another Psalm block done yesterday, as well as beginning another. I'm now only two blocks behind on my Psalm quilt!

An all time favorite, Psalm 23:2-3;
"He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

Friday, January 2, 2009

I finished two Psalm blocks today. The pattern was the same for both of these blocks but these will go into two different quilts. The first block was done with hand dyed fabric and will go into the charity quilt that I'm making with five other quilting friends. Although we are all contributing blocks, there will be some continuity because we are all choosing our fabric from these hand dyed fabrics. I think the quilt will be beautiful when it's finished.
This is the same block pattern, made with fabrics that will go into my own personal Psalms quilt. I used the same basic colors in both blocks.
The Psalm inspiration for both of these blocks was Psalm 25:4-5;
"Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I pray that 2009 will be a great year for everyone. May it be full of God's blessings for you and yours!
My New Year's Eve was pleasantly quiet and uneventful. My neighbors, who have a tendency to be very inconsiderate of everyone other than themselves, left for the evening and are not yet home as I write this. This made for a pleasant, cozy evening. I went to bed well before midnight and was able to get a normal night of rest. What a great way to start my year!
This is the December block of the month that I finished yesterday. Not a day to spare. I've got several more Psalms blocks to complete before being back on schedule. I'm hoping to capture some sewing time over the week end and get these finished. Fortunately, my online Psalms group took a three week holiday break or I'd really be under water. I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, but I do have a goal to keep on top of these smaller quilting projects. It's a doable goal.
Have a great 2009! I hope that all of your resolutions (or goals) are doable too! I'm heading over to a friends house for some cooked cabbage for lunch. How about you......some Hoppin' John maybe?!