June BOM – LeMoyne Star

Hi everyone,

I’ve been cheating a little and looking ahead to see what’s to come in my Craftsy BOM class (as I’m already way behind!) and I decided to skip the May blocks for now as they seem more scrappy and I’d rather do the bigger blocks first to make sure I don’t run out of a particular fabric I may need.  So I decided to give the June BOM, a LeMoyne Star.  This block was very intimidating to me as I’ve never  worked with diamonds, with so many points and biased sides, or even Y-seams.  I’d read a few posts from others about how complicated the process is, and how careful you need to be, so needless to say that as a beginner sewer, I was thinking I might be way out of my league.  But I hunkered down and got into it :)

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I started by colouring in my chart to decide which colours/fabrics I wanted where, and then proceeded to make strip sets which I then cut down to two 2.5″ wide parallelograms to make all of the star parts.  The next step was the trickiest part, attaching the parallelograms together to make each of the star diamonds.  I’ve never before worked with these shapes (while quilting), and so I had a hard time following the instructions here.  I ended up by creating my own method which ended up working perfectly every time!

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I started by drawing a line 1/4″ across the seam on each of the sides to be joined.  I then stuck a needle exactly through the point where my line intersected the diagonal seam and did the same on the second piece, making sure that good sides were together.  I then pinned it like crazy to make sure it wouldn’t move and then sewed across.  Give it a go, it really works!

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The rest of the star went pretty smoothly.  As I had marked all my pieces, sewing Y-seams was actually pretty easy, simply a matter of going from point to point, and never beyond.  I have a fancy option on my sewing machine that allows it to stitch three time in place before moving on to sew, which was great as it reinforced my stitches without my having to backstitch and risk going too far.

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Here is my completed LeMoyne Star, in fact, my very first star block!  I’m really happy with it.  Only a few of the sections got a little distorted and for the most part, my points/intersections match up :)  Wow, what a sense of satisfaction!  I’m really happy that I decided to give it a go, even though I was warned it would be tough.  I learned a TON on this one, and I can’t wait to give my next BOM a go!

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April BOM – Fan Block

Hi everyone,

So it’s finally time to show you my Fan Block!  This was a serious trial and error as I wanted my block to look quite different from the Craftsy class one, and so I had to slightly modify the instructions for it to work.  These were the templates I created from template plastic and some of my work in progress about a week ago.

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At this point, however, I have to say I had a pretty serious mental block.  I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t seem to get the hang of a proper 1/4″ seam.  I always ended up with wider seams then I intended, and thus my blocks always ended up smaller than they should.  Since this block was full of curved seams, I was worried that my pieces wouldn’t fit if I continued as I had been.  And so I put the block aside and stopped working on it…  I saw a video of Leah Day on getting past Quilting Ruts yesterday, and it pushed me to give my fan block another go.

So this evening, I practiced over and over again.  I measured out 1/4″ and gave myself a guide on my sewing machine, and eventually I got very close.  The curved seams weren’t too bad either, I simply used a TON of pins to keep everything in place as I sewed, and it worked out great :)

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The centre piece was appliqued on using some fusible web, my first experience with a glue-based quilting product.  I used “Heat n Bond Lite” which worked very well and easily on my first try.  After ironing the centre on, I then machine sewed using the Applique Stitch Pattern on my sewing machine.  And so, without any further ado, here is my finished Fan Block!

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Have you ever done curved piecing?  Did you find it a difficult process?  I found it to be quite time consuming, but I have to say, it feels pretty good to have successfully completed the block!  This Craftsy 2013 BOM is such a wonderful class.  As a true beginner sewer, I love the challenges it forces me to deal with. Already I have learned so much, and I’m excited to get started on my next block! I’m certain my final quilt won’t be perfect, but I can’t wait to put it all together and feel that sense of accomplishment.  It’s going to be awesome :)

 

Secret Garden Quilt Update

Hi everyone!

This weekend has given me the time to make huge progress on my Secret Garden quilt top (first post here).  I’ve finished sewing and cutting up my blocks to size.  I even remembered to take a few photos as I was going through the process.  :)

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I then spent time (and I mean a lot of time…) arranging all my quilt blocks just right on my living room floor.  I think I’m a little obsessive about my need to have everything in the right place, but I have to say I’m super happy with the result!  JS thought I was crazy as I would switch two pieces, stand back and look for a minute, before moving things around again… and again… and again…  Lol, you get the idea!

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I’m glad it’s not any bigger though, because as you can see, my quilt top takes pretty much my entire living room floor…  I have no idea how I’m going to be able to make a quilt sandwich…  Most of the rooms in our home is carpeted, and the few that aren’t are definitely not big enough…  Any ideas???

For now, I’m off to start sewing my blocks into rows, and my rows into my first finished quilt top!  Can’t wait to show you!  :)

 

Been A While… Time For An Update!

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry I haven’t written anything in over a month, but what a month it has been!  I was gone for a whole 3 weeks, for work, to visit family, and for JS’ brother’s wedding.  It was a great time but talk about hectic!  By the end I couldn’t wait to get home to our relaxing apartment… and I was super excited to open up a special package from Craftsy which had been delivered while I was away!  I waited soo patiently, and this is what I got!

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I joined Amy Gibson’s Secret Garden Quilt-Along on Craftsy and ordered the quilt kit which is made up of two layer cakes in Amy Butler’s new fabric collection, Belle and some Kona Cotton in Snow.  I love the fabrics, bold and whimsical with awesome pops of colour!

As this new quilt pattern is much simpler than the other Craftsy course I’ve been working on (posts here, here, and here), I’ve decided to do this one first, which will help me practise my 1/4″ seams – which I still seem to have problems with :S – and making my corners meet.

As I started cutting and putting the quilt blocks together, I noticed that not all of the layer cakes squares are the 10″ x 10″ they’re supposed to be.  Some are close, others are about a 1/4″ off.  Is this normal??  I’ve never bought pre-cuts before and it seems odd that they didn’t arrive as advertised.  Regardless, I decided to continue with them and I didn’t resize them for fear of changing the overall dimensions of the quilt and messing up the other pieces in the quilt.  Do you think I should have?  I’ve been pinning my blocks and some are a little hard to line up, but hopefully it’ll all work out in the end :)

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How have your summer’s been?  Any adventures, sewing or otherwise?  I’d love to hear about them!

March BOM – Economy Block

Hi everyone!

So I just completed my first ever Economy block!  I was a little nervous with this one as it involved triangles and I wasn’t really sure how things would go when sewing along points.  As you can see, things did work out pretty well in the end.

IMG_1582The large majority of my triangle points did line up, but I have to say there were quite a few instances of seam ripping and trying again.  About 10 minutes in, I realized that my 1/4″ piecing foot requires me to move the sewing needle of my machine over to the right to the 4.5 mark for a scant 1/4″, and to the 4.0 mark for a proper 1/4″.  I wish I’d realized this before, but I didn’t even know I could move the needle over!  Have any of you ever had to do this?

Another sewing machine question I have that I still don’t know the answer to is: “is it common to have to hold the threads when you start sewing”?  If I don’t, my machine sucks one of the thread ends into the first dozen or so stitches and it becomes all jumbled in the back.  It doesn’t stop the stitches from looking nice on the top, but it seems odd all the same.  Is this normal???

 

February BOM – Spring Blooms Blocks

Heya everyone,

So I’ve completed my next set of blocks.  It was my first strip set block and I definitely made an error of not properly measuring my seams/ironing properly as I was creating it – and thus my overall strip set was a little short, by about 1/4″…  I’m soo annoyed about it, but I’d already cut all my pieces before I realized and so couldn’t simply redo them.  So again, everything is a little off, but another lesson learned.  Hopefully (again) it won’t matter in the final quilt.

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Overall, my blocks simply aren’t quite square.  I don’t want to cut them down or square them off until I know exactly how they’ll fit into the final quilt.  I will say, however, I had no problems with the partial seams, so yay for that!  I do like the way they turned out though, very cheery with all the pink!  Would you have chosen to mix up different colours or stick to one like me?

My New Baby, Rowenta!

Hi everyone,

So I may have bought myself a new iron…  Lol, I mentioned here that my old iron was a super cheap one that just honestly didn’t work very well.  JS and I really don’t iron much, so we never really had need of anything better.  So after much research (and advice from my mom), I decided on a Rowenta Eco Intelligent Iron from Amazon.ca.  I have to say, it works wonders compare to the old one, and it looks awesome too!  I’m loving the colour and design, but best of all, it means I’m ready to tackle my next set of blocks!

IMG_1585I apologize for the clarity of my photos.  Everything current is simply coming from my smart phone, which obviously doesn’t take the best photos :S  One of these days I’ll have a better camera, it’s on my Christmas list!  What about you?  What’s on your Xmas list?