40 Shades of Grey Finished!

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So I received the last package for my block of the month.  It was the fabric for the setting triangles and the pieces in between all the blocks.

I really did not like the fabrics they sent for this (as I suspected).  One didn’t even have stripes!  So… I pulled out the fabric that I had ordered for this possibility.  The pattern called for 2 different striped fabrics (although from the picture, I couldn’t tell the difference).

I just used the one fabric.

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Let me just say also that the directions on this section were not good.  The directions for the setting triangles was helpful but the different pieces to fill in between the blocks – not so much.  I was wondering if this quilt pattern had been tested.

The cutting out is important because you need to know which way the stripes go.  Some blocks said and others didn’t.  I couldn’t figure out where some of the pieces went on the quilt – in fact, one I tossed since there was no place to put it.  And I had to cut another that wasn’t on the pattern.

The whole assembly was – interesting.

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First I laid out the pieces where they looked like they belonged.

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Then I added the setting triangles and the filler blocks.

Next, I started in the top left corner and sewed the blocks together in rows. Actually, I started there and then just went around the quilt and added blocks together where they went together and then I was left with blocks or sections that had inset seams.

This took me all day.

Then there was lots of trimming – as you can see, most of the setting triangles are bigger than needed.

After that, I added the 2 borders.

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I really love this bright, fun quilt!  My next step is to find some backing and get it ready to hand quilt over the winter.

I’m planning to use the “big stitch” method again although I’m not sure exactly what design I’ll use.  I’m looking forward to having a project to cozy up with in front of a fire and my favorite movies during the cold winter months and this bright one will be a joy to work on.

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Clamshell Garden

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I’ve just finished the final blocks for the 40 Shades of Grey BOM quilt I’ve been working on for almost the last year.  This one has spanned the past 2 months since they only sent half of the fabrics last month and the rest of the fabrics this month.

These four blocks are called “Clamshell Garden” and they’ll be spread out throughout the quilt.

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I don’t mind telling you that I’m glad to be finished with these circles!  And the clam shells too!

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These circles and clam shells had to be worked mostly by hand.  The circles are all over this quilt and my “Perfect Circles” templates are looking a little worn out.  I used basically the same technique for the clam shells although the pattern called for gluing the fabric around the template.  I just used a running stitch by hand and then ironed the fold.  The last step was to use my thicker grey thread and make a backstitch over the circles and clam shells to applique them to the block.  I found this worked really well and didn’t goop up my template so I could use it over and over again.

Like I said, these are the final blocks and I’m just waiting for the striped fabric to come in the mail so I can put the entire quilt top together.  The striped fabric will be the setting triangles and will fill in a few areas between the blocks.

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All my blocks stacked and ready to go!

I was looking ahead in the pattern book to see if I could put some blocks together now but I realized that nothing in this quilt looks like it goes together very easily.

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The directions say to start at the upper left corner and sew the blocks together in rows.  Uh… it looks like this will work in some places but not in other places.  The blocks don’t always line up.  And the one clam shell garden actually makes a corner so that will be interesting.  There’s one note in the directions that says “because of the varying sizes, some of the seams will need to be partially stitched when putting the blocks together and finished after the next block has been attached.”

OK I’m not looking forward to that part.

For now though, I’m enjoying my Clamshell Garden.

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So check back to see how this goes next month – or a few months as this could take some time!

 

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!

 

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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40 Shades of Grey BOM

I’ve gotten caught up on my 40 Shades of Grey block of the month.  They’re nice and big and so far, have been easy to do.

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The hardest block so far was this month’s log cabin with the applique flower pieces.

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I hate applique so I had to make peace with doing these flowers and I see that these types of flowers are all over the whole quilt!  I remembered that I was taught a technique a few years ago to applique circles where you sew interfacing onto the back and then turn inside out.  I had to refresh my memory but that’s how I ended up doing these.

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You draw your circle onto the “un-bumpy” side of the interfacing which is then sewn to the right side of your circle fabric with bumpy side down.

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Trim fabric to a quarter or a half inch around stitching.

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Cut a slit in the interfacing so you can turn it inside out.

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Use a blunt pair or scissors or something to push sides out and then iron flat onto the surface you want to applique it to.

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Then you’re ready to hand applique or I just top-stitched with similar thread.

My circles didn’t come out perfect but I think I’ll get better by the time I finish this quilt and I’m not heavily into perfection so I’m OK with the results.  I think these would look fine just as raw edge applique also but this is going to be a large quilt so it will probably be used on a bed often.  I think raw edge applique might not do well on a quilt that’s used a lot.

So that BOM is caught up.  I’m now 3 months behind on my Long Time Gone BOM but I think January will be a good time to do lots of sewing and I’m sure I’ll catch up then.

I have to share my progress on another project I’m finishing up.

I’ve been hand quilting my big houses quilt with a big stitch baptist fan design.

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I’m free handing this so don’t look too close – did I mention I’m more about output than perfection?  This big stitch method goes very fast and with this thread that I’m using; the quilting is very soft.

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Let me tell you how great it is to be under this quilt on these cold December evenings here in Germany watching all my favorite Christmas movies and finishing up another project.

May your holidays be warm and quilt-y!