Log Cabin finish

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I finished my “Libby’s Log Cabin” quilt top this past week!

I debated about a border but finally decided against adding one.  I thought a plain  border would be too… well, plain.  And anything else would be hard to match the quilt fabrics.  This size will be a nice winter throw I think.

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Now I just need to choose a backing fabric and get it quilted.  I’ll share when I get it’s all finished!

 

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On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt

I finally got started with my “On Ringo Lake” Mystery Quilt this past week!  (Now that it’s no longer a mystery.)

Bonnie Hunter offers a fabulous mystery quilt every year on her Quiltville website.  She usually posts the first part the day after Thanksgiving – which I have to say, is not a good time for me.  Then the quilt clues usually show up once a week until around the first week of January when she reveals what the quilt should look like.

The quilts really are beautiful – and detailed.  I started one a few years ago and then got overwhelmed by ALL the pieces to cut.  But when I see the quilts people have made from her mysteries, I want to make them too but guess what…?  The patterns are gone!!  She only leaves the clues on her website for about a month and then they’re gone.

This year I made a point to print out the clues as Bonnie posted them.  I could tell from the color reveal (she posts paint sample cards) that I had none of the fabric colors she was using.  I started to buy a few fat quarters here and there and put them away with the clues that I had printed out.

Last week I was cleaning my sewing room and found the bag of fabric and the folder of clues and decided it was time to get started on this quilt before Bonnie comes out with yet another mystery quilt.

I think this Part 1 was easy this year.  Maybe she didn’t want to overwhelm anybody!

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Part 1 is to make 50  9-patch blocks.  And the pattern called for using strip sets to do it so it wasn’t too hard.

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So I have the first step done and I even got the fabric cut out for Part 2.

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200 Coral rectangles and 400 little background squares.  It took just a little time.  At this point I realized that I didn’t buy enough fabric so I used up almost all my coral fabric.  Before I get to Part 3, I need to find some more.

My goal is to have this quilt top done before Bonnie comes out with her 2018 mystery quilt the end of November.

Toy Sewing Project

I bought this stuffed animal kit when it was on sale at the AQS store because it looked so cute!  I thought it would be a fun project and a nice gift.

It’s called “Puppy Dog Pete”  and it’s an original design of Pauline McArthur of the Funky Friends Factory.

I don’t usually do much of this kind of sewing but the pattern was easy to follow and had helpful photos and illustrations.

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First, I cut out all the pieces.

And followed the instructions for sewing the pieces together in the correct order.

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When I got to the step of adding the button eyes and sewing on the nose; I felt a little like Geppetto.  My little dog was coming to life!

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Adding the head to the body was the hardest step.  It was just some awkward sewing but not too bad.

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Then he got stuffed and sewn up tight.

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How cute is this puppy?  I cut the pieces one day and sewed him the next day.  It really is an easy project.

Now he’s on his way to a new home.

Maybe you would like to make your own Puppy Dog Pete?  There are many projects similar to this one; both patterns and kits on the Funky Friends Factory website.

 

 

Log Cabin blocks

Sometimes I just can’t believe how time flies while I’m busy puttering with this project or that.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to share what I’m working on but the weather has been nice and we’ve had guests and I just haven’t gotten to it.

I have been working on some things though.  One is a small project that I gave up on since it just did not come together like I wanted it to and then there’s this log cabin quilt.

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This is the quilt kit that my husband gave me for Christmas and it looked like a fun and easy project that I wouldn’t have to think too hard about.

It’s called “Libby’s Log Cabin” by Marianne Fons and it’s made up of these reproduction reds, browns and creams that give it a very “country” look.

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The center of the Log Cabin blocks are these red & cream Variable Star blocks that are put together with a very clever method that allows you to make them really quickly.

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The pattern calls for cutting large and small squares.  The small red squares are lined up on the largest cream square, a line is drawn down the center and then everything is sewn 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line. (The seam lines are drawn here.)

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After sewing, cut down the middle & press the small triangles open.  Now you have 2 weird triangles.

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Then you add another red square to the bottom of each of the weird triangles and sew 1/4″ from the center of those and then cut down the middle again.

And guess what?  Now you have 4 flying geese blocks!

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Clever, right?  So these turn into the points of the Variable Star.

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Then the block gets built similar to a Log cabin block.

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The quilt consists of 20 of these big blocks so I’m about halfway through.

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Hopefully I can get this finished in the next few weeks.  The pattern doesn’t call for a border for this quilt and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  The finished size is 60″ X 75″ so it says it’s just a throw or a lap sized quilt.  Of course it’s a kit so it doesn’t include any extra fabric but it might be easy to add a cream colored border that would match the rest of the fabrics.  I have enough of the dark red for binding although if I make the quilt bigger I might not have enough.

Before I get ahead of myself, I think I should finish all the blocks first and put them together!  I’ll think about adding a border while I do that.

BOM catch-up

I was doing so well keeping up with my 40 Shades of Grey block-of-the-month project but last month my package of fabrics never arrived.

After waiting for 6 weeks, I sent out an email looking for it.  I know things get shuffled around sometimes in the military postal system but I was anxious to get my blocks made!

My package with the April fabrics arrived and I still didn’t have my March stuff.  I got started on the Catherine Wheels blocks and wouldn’t you know it, the March package showed up a day later!  I have no idea what happened there but I’m happy to say that I’m back on track and all caught up with my BOM’s.

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Here are the “Beach Huts” from last month or maybe March.  These were super easy to do and I got them done in only a couple days.

Then the “Catherine Wheels” blocks were from April I guess.

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These blocks were also pretty easy.  They’re paper-pieced but nice, big pieces so they went together quickly.

I think there’s only one more month of blocks to make and then cutting the setting triangles and putting everything together.  I can’t wait to see the fabric for the setting triangles.  I thought we would have to sew strips of fabric together but then I realized that it’s fabric with stripes.  That sounds easier!

 

Vegetable Bags

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This is a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  I always usually bring my own grocery bags to the store and have been doing this for a while but I’ve been feeling guilty about all the little plastic bags I use for my fruits and vegetables.  Until recently, I’ve been saving and re-using them a few times.

The recently part is because the commissary (the grocery store on base) hasn’t had any little vegetable bags for the last few weeks.  It’s been making me crazy!  What’s going on?

It made me so crazy that I came home one day, went online and debated different fabrics, ordered fabrics from the U.S., the fabrics came in the mail, I dragged them home and get this:  I actually made some bags!

(I’m sure tomorrow the commissary will have the little plastic bags again.) It doesn’t matter though because I have my own little bags and I’ll be standing on  environmental high ground!

These bags were so easy to make!  I’ll walk you through the process so you can make your own.

Step 1:  Pick your fabric.  You really can make these out of anything.  I wanted light-weight, see-thru and washable so I picked these two fabrics from Fabric.com called Telio Mod Stretch Mesh (left) and Bartow Tobacco Cloth (right).

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I wasn’t sure about sewing that mesh so I started with the Tobacco cloth which was very soft and lightweight.  It’s very loosely woven though so it requires a little more preparation.

Step 2:  Decide what size you want to make your bag.  I folded the fabric and cut mine 12 1/2″ wide by 16″ tall.  I kept the fold at the bottom of the bag in hopes that the bag will be stronger that way.

Step 3:  Finish the edges so the fabric doesn’t fray.  If you have a serger, this would be a perfect way to finish the edges or you can zig-zag the edges.  I just folded the ends a tiny bit and sewed very loosely.   When I worked with the mesh I skipped this step since it didn’t seem like it would fray.

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Step 4:  Add a tunnel for a drawstring on both top pieces.  For my drawstring, I used 3/16″ polyester Cable Cord and I figured it would save me time to just sew the cord into the bag.  DON’T SEW INTO THE CORD – you want it to move freely.

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Step 5:  Sew the side edges together.  You want to put the outsides of the bag together for this step and if you are sewing it with the cord inside, be careful to keep it out of the way and going the right way.

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Step 6:  Turn it right side out and you’re done!

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As you can see, the tunnel part of my bag isn’t sewn together.

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I can pull my cord up at one end or both, however I like.  I’m not really sure if I can burn the ends of the cord or how to keep them from fraying.  I plan to consult with my husband who has more rope and cord knowledge than I do.

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Here’s the mesh bag which was actually easier to make; just a little stretchy to sew over.  Also, I didn’t need to do any ironing on it.

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There you go!  A couple hours of sewing and I have 5 fruit/vegetable bags that I can use over and over again.

 

Indian Summer project

While I wait for my block of the month projects to arrive in the mail, I pulled out this kit that my husband gave me last Christmas (2016!).  It looks like it will be a beautiful quilt and I can’t wait to complete it.

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This is a Quiltworx pattern with all the extensive instructions they are known for.  It’s full of beautiful fall-colored Batik fabrics and I love every one of them.

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Last year I managed to get all the fabrics cut and put together in pairs for each block.  I even sewed a couple together!

There are 84 of these triangle units for the inside part of the quilt and they’re all paper pieced.  Here, I’m showing how I use a postcard for the folding and trimming.

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It gets a little monotonous.  Also, I’ve found that these tightly woven Batiks are a little troublesome for my sewing machine.  I’ve never had this much trouble with Batiks.  They keep breaking my thread and doing strange things to my machine.

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I think I have about 27 triangles finished which means only 57 more to go.  I do a few at a time and then put it away again.  This is one of those projects that may take me a while to finish.

Maybe I’ll have all the triangles finished by this fall and then I can put it together.  However, there’s also a paper pieced border of strips so that might take a while as well.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this one!

Spinning Geese

I just finished my most recent 40 Shades of Grey block of the month block.  It’s called “Spinning Geese”.

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I thought this block would take me no time to finish.  I love paper piecing so I thought it would be easy.

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I was wrong.  I had so many difficulties with this block.

First of all, this was one of those paper pieced patterns where they have you cut out specific sized fabrics.  I followed the instructions but discovered that the amounts were wrong.

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It only called for 8 inner and outer background pieces but that was only enough to do half of the circle.  And while it wasn’t a problem for the inner background fabric, (they sent me plenty) I ran out of outer background fabric and had to put a couple of pieces together.  I don’t think it’s noticeable – just annoying.

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The paper piecing was easy.

But then the pattern called for cutting the outer circle out as one whole unit and sewing it to the finished circle.  I wouldn’t have done it this way.  I would have cut the outside circle into quarters and pieced them to the quarters of the inside circle and then sewn it into a square.  I think sewing a complete inside-out circle is difficult.  Maybe it’s just me.

I wanted to do it that way but worried that a seam allowance hadn’t been added for four extra seams.  After trying to pin the whole circle, I decided to try it that way but with 2 half circles.

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It worked that way.

Then, inside of the circle were more of the appliqued perfect circles that have been scattered throughout this project.  I’m getting pretty good at these!

The pattern for the inside circle was included (but only for the grey circle).  I cut out the fabric and got it ready to applique but then discovered it was too big by about a quarter of an inch.

I was very frustrated at this point because I dug through all the circles I had used before and couldn’t find the right size.

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So I had to make my own circle.

This one fit and I was able to find two smaller circles from previous months to make the pink and flower circle.

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As you can see, I machine top-stitched the inside circles because I had been working on this block for two days and was done with it.  I like to think of it as extra durable this way.

I looked forward in the book and there’s only a couple more months.  Yay!

Playing Catch up

I didn’t think this would happen but I’ve finished one block of the month quilt and I’m all caught up on the other!

I finished my Long Time Gone quilt top!  I can’t tell you how happy I am since I thought it would never end.

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Sorry the photo is a little dark but it’s winter in Germany and I don’t have professional lighting.

I have to admit, when I was adding the borders to this, there was a little problem with the square-ness.  I think anytime you have so many pieces, there can be problems.  I did the best I could and did some easing and took in a little here and there.  Once the batting and backing are added and it’s quilted, it -hopefully, won’t be so noticeable.

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I also noticed this after I put it all together.  I think the checkerboard piece on the right should have been turned the other way and then I wouldn’t have two colored squares next to each other.  The checkerboard would have continued to the left piece.  However, at this point, I just didn’t care enough to take the whole thing apart and fix that!

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It was a fun project and I’m glad I did it but I’m also glad it’s finished!

I also finished this month’s 40 Shades of Grey blocks!

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Lots of applique, as you can see.  I looked at it when I got it in the mail and then I put it away thinking I would never be able to do these.

First of all, they didn’t include the purple fabric for the middle circle and after I went out and bought some – they sent an email saying that they forgot and it would be sent next month.  Also, the pattern called for 1/2″ hexagons and they didn’t include any pattern or anything for that.  So I was not too happy to begin with.

I found some purple fabric for the middle and made the circles using the perfect circles method.  Then I printed out some hexagons on card stock and hoped they were the right size.  This was a little excruciating to work with such small hexagons and to fussy-cut the fabric so you see little images in the hexagons.

After all that, I wasn’t about to hand applique – I have my limits.  So I used thread about the same color as the hexagon flower and just top-stitched it onto the purple.  Then used purple thread and top-stitched the purple circle onto the colored circle.  Then I used the thicker grey thread and a big stitch to sew the big circles onto the grey squares.

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They look OK.  This is another busy, colorful quilt so maybe these little blocks won’t be too obvious.

I hung everything up on my design wall and they look good together!

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One finish – two updates!

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Now that the holidays are over I’ve been trying to catch up.  I finished hand quilting this house quilt and even got the binding on!  The big stitch quilting went really fast – well, faster than regular hand quilting.

I call this quilt “A House of my Own”.  It’s a scrap quilt with lots of black and white touches.  I quilted it with big stitches in a baptist fan design with thick Aurifil 12 weight thread in a grey color.

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I just happened to see this thread on my visit to Hancock Fabrics last fall and I liked the color.  I didn’t realize that I had picked up the perfect thread to do this “big stitch” technique.  This will definitely be my go-to thread for this type of project.  It was thick but not too thick and was a joy to sew with – it just glided through the layers nicely.  I only bought one spool and was worried that I might run out but there’s a lot of thread on that spool!

Anyway, I’m so happy to have this fun project done and guess what – that was my last unfinished quilt top!

 

I think I’m caught up with my “Long Time Gone” block of the month.

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However, I’m wondering if I missed a package or what because I still need to make one more block for section 5 before I can put it together (in addition to 6 more pineapple blocks).  And there are maybe 2 more blocks in section 6 before I can put it together.  I’m getting close to the end so I’ll just be patient.

 

And for my “40 Shades of Grey” block of the month; it was my worst nightmare – so much applique!

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I’ve gotten this far and now I need to applique everything onto the block and add the border.  Apparently, when I fell in love with the quilt, I didn’t notice how much applique there was involved!  I’m just gritting my teeth and doing it although it might take me all month.  We’re making a million (maybe not quite a million) half square triangles this month as well.  They’re sewn together and will be fillers in various parts of the quilt.

I’m really trying to get caught up because I received a quilt kit for Christmas that I can’t wait to start!

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