Sunday, July 31, 2011

Block 9

Besides working on Block 9 this weekend I spent some quality time in my garden, or rather yard. I really needed to get some weeding done so I spent 2.5 hours in the 87 degree heat on Saturday weeding the yard. I hoped to weed the half of my garden that was actually on my to-do list but when I got there, alas, it was swarming with bees. Yep, there were honey bees swarming the ivy that grows on the house which happens to me right behind my veg garden. Well I've been stung many a time in weird ways (up my dress, on the bottom of my foot, the inside of my finger, on my ear) so I was not about to get stung again. Hopefully I can get in there sometime this week, although it's supposed to be really hot so I'll probably have to battle the mosquitoes to get it done. Ugh.

I did manage to get block 9 done. It was a pretty simply constructed block but for some reason I had trouble ironing. I kept wrinkling parts that I didn't mean too and was left with creases. Don't know what that was all about. I think technique-wise the block looks good although I'm not sure how I feel about my color choices. We'll see when all is done how it fits in. Speaking of that, this marks 3 weeks complete and only one week left. I'm going to be sad when all this quilting excitement is over. Although I have many more ideas and projects to get cracking on. I think I'll try to make a schedule of sorts to motivate me to get them done in a timely fashion. We'll see how that goes!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Block 8 and a Priceless Tool

Block 8 is finished and turned out very well. Although this was made of simple HST (half square triangles), it had the potential for me to screw up the overall pattern by rotating blocks. I meticulously returned my sewn squares to the "design board" to check that they were in the right order. Not only did I do it perfectly, I had pretty good luck with my triangle points. I'd even venture to say I've actually become better at sewing HST's.

During the process, the directions say to trim your squares (after sewing together a HST) to 3.5". I asked the author if I should trim off the dog ears first, since I have some trouble measuring the squares before I trim the dog ears. She said she did not recommend that. Then I remembered another of the QAL authors recommending a bias square ruler to trim a while ago (well before this QAL). So I whipped that out and eureka! It worked like a dream. It's a 4" bias square ruler.

The idea is that you line up your diagonal seam with the bias mark down the middle of the ruler and then adjust the sides to, in this case, 3.5" like this:

What really makes this ruler priceless is that you can trim the side and the top right away without turning your fabric or measuring the other side as you would with a bigger quilting ruler. You also get to trim off one set of dog ears during these two swipes of the rotary cutter. Here it is close up:

Obviously, you can use any quilting ruler with a 45 degree mark to trim the sides, but this is much easier and well worth the money.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fabric Store Trip

Today was a great day. Not only did I get a good start on block 8, I made a trip to two fabric stores. I'm very happy with my purchases. I'll have to head back to the first shop in a few weeks because the really modern fabrics were blocked by some sort of group meeting at the store. I could see the fabric but couldn't get close enough! But I did find these fabrics at 50% off:

I especially love how the purple fabric has what looks like bacteria to me on it! And who doesn't love a good giraffe print?

I mentioned before that I'm going to do the Sew Mama Sew Block of the Month QAL, well these fabrics are for that (from my second shop stop). I was going to pick all solids but as they were cutting all my selections I went browsing and found the perfect print that matches all my solids!! This print was calling my name. The ladies at the shop loooooved my selections of solids. Yay me!

Lastly, I totally fell in love with this line and what'd you know, the shop had many of the fabrics in the collection. It's Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry in the cool palette. Can't wait to figure out a pattern that will compliment this line. I saw a great pattern that used this line by one of my favorite bloggers, but I actually think I might use this pattern called Chain Linked, for the Guild's Robert Kaufman solid charm-pack challenge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Block 7

I mentioned yesterday I was feeling intimidated about this block. It really wasn't bad at all. The hardest part was deciding how to position the triangles according to my fabric choices. I love the way it turned out, although it isn't quite 12.5 inches. I'm not going to stress out about it though, I'm sure I can fix it at the end. Here it is:

Looking forward to tomorrow's block and a trip to a fabric shop. Yay!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Halfway Done

That's right, block 6 was finished yesterday which means I'm halfway done with the Summer Sampler QAL. I really loved making block 6. I had to make 60 degree diamonds and then use a little paper piecing to put it all together. The center points came out perfectly on the first try! And I like how using a pattern for the background fabric looks. I decided to do this mainly because I am trying to decide if I can stick to the half-yard bundle I bought or if I need to buy some more solid gray fabric. I think the patterned fabric worked well but for block 7 I'll need to go back to the solid gray. I must admit I am a little intimidated by block 7. I'm going to wait till tomorrow to start since I saw some chatter on flickr about an alternative method to piecing. In any case, I've got the colors figured out, so I'm all set to cut. Hopefully I'll get a good block of time to sew during nap time.

Here is a look at block 7:

And here's the halfway point:

Busy weekend, not much sewing got done. But I was happy to host the Modern Quilt Guild of Milwaukee's BBQ. We had a couple of new faces, which was awesome, and then our usual inspiring bunch. We made plans for a Block Bee and to attend the Machine Quilting show in a couple of weeks. Hopefully we'll get to the Madison show in September too. Lots of exciting quilting adventures on the horizon! Also looking forward to a quilting retreat in late September.

Of course I should mention there was another "Peaches and Cream" incident. I was at church singing (one of my other passions) and when I got into my car to come home I had a picture text from the hubs. Wouldn't you know it, he got the baby to sit on the blanket and play. Whenever I try to let him play on the blanket he just screams. As he would say, it was "P and C" back on the home front.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Block 5: Paper Piecing!

I happen to love paper piecing! I love that it is so precise and gets you such interesting designs. I had a little trouble positioning the last piece of fabric which led to a bit of wonk with one of my points. This made matching seams in the middle a little hard, but overall I think this block looks pretty good.

I actually finished this block last night but I spent all day at Lake Geneva with some other SAHM's. Even though it was 91 degrees out, there was a pleasant breeze and the water was cool and refreshing. How fantastic! After three days of hiding out in the air conditioning, the lake was just what we needed. The boys are going to sleep really well tonight...and so will I.

And.....tomorrow when I wake up there will be a new tutorial up with a new block to make. Doesn't get much more exciting than this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Sampler Block 4

Well it wasn't my children that caused me to pour a glass of wine tonight, it was my quilt block. Yes, block 4 of the Summer Sampler QAL kicked my butt today. It only has like 32 pieces and most of them are half-square triangles. Sheesh! Everything was going along well and my seams were matching up as I pieced together the triangles until I got to the last strip of the block and had to match up 4 points. I think I ripped it up 4 times before I was satisfied with how it turned out. It's hardly perfect, but it's done. I guess some other quilters were concerned about matching up all the points too so the tutorial creator made an alternate piecing post after I had already cut my 8 million pieces. Since I don't think there is quite enough contrast in the patterned square and my background fabric, I may make this block again using the alternate piecing.

On another note, since I am really getting this blog going, I am going to start another quilt-a-long (QAL). One of the authors of "The Modern Quilting Bee Block Party," Alissa Haight Carlton will be doing a Block of the Month (BOM) QAL on the Sew Mama Sew blog. I've added their button to my blog and I'll get started on that block as soon as I get some new fabric. Any excuse, right?

In case you haven't read "Block Party," I'd highly recommend it. The idea behind the book is doing a 12 month block swap. Each of the 12 members gets a month where the other 11 members make blocks for her quilt of choosing. You buy your own quilt fabric and give the other bee members some guidance, but you let the others have some amount of creativity with the overall look of the block. It gives you a chance to learn some new techniques and contribute to 11 other quilts, plus you get your own quilt out of the deal too. I loved the quilts in this book and am inspired to start my own bee.

I know that online bee's in which you swap fabric around can be tricky. I'm a member of the Modern Quilt Guild of Milwaukee and have heard some horror stories. I think instead of hosting my first bee all around the country, I'll try doing it with local guild members first. That way I can hunt down bee members if they're slacking. I've got 5 members committed so far, hopefully I can get at least one more to start. I'm going to try and coordinate the start after the release of "Modern Blocks: 99 blocks from your favorite designers," in November. That way we have lots of block ideas. I'm hoping it turns out to be a good experience.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Sampler

Whew, loooong week! But I did it, I finished my 3 blocks for the Summer Sampler Quilt-A-Long. I am very pleased with how these blocks have turned out. My quarter inch seam allowances are so much better than when I completed my first quilt, which was also a sampler. I didn't have to rip out many seams and really only because I wanted to get triangle points a bit sharper. So far I've learned I am not overly fond of squaring-up pieces of these blocks, as uptight as I am I would rather just hope they turn out in the end than being fussy in the middle. Here are my first three blocks:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Before I begin, first I must finish

Today I finished a play-mat I've been working on for my 8 month old. He doesn't really like to be put down yet, so I'm not sure how much he'll use it, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I tried a couple of new "techniques," including embroidery and piecing a quilt back. I struggled a bit with piecing the back as I think very mathematically and therefore wanted a more specific pattern to follow. I swear I could feel my brain's wheels grinding as I tried to figure out how to put my scraps together to piece this back! Phew, it's done, and it turned out ok.

I found this pattern in "Dare to Be Square Quilting" by Boo Davis. I should also note that I did not bind this quilt traditionally. I really dislike hand sewing the binding, instead I adapted a technique my mother-in-law taught me. Basically you fold over the backing and machine stitch through your entire quilt. I had to adapt this idea a little because I quilted diagonal lines, it's a bit easier if you free motion quilt, but I'm totally not there yet. In any case, it still looks clean, neat and is really fast! If anyone is interested in this technique, maybe I'll do a tutorial in the future.

Now that this project is done (I'm a little anal about completing projects), I can start the Summer Sampler QAL blocks. If only I could make fabric choices more quickly...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there. After being inspired by the online quilting community, I've decided to join the party. I have become quite obsessed with modern quilting, although I also like to knit and sew, among many other crafts I dabble in. Relatively new to modern quilting, I decided to join the Summer Sampler Series Quilt along on Flickr and to launch this blog. Hopefully I can keep up!

A note on the title of my blog...I have to credit my husband in part to this one. As a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) of two boys under 3, I often have my hands full. Usually when they are total monsters for me during the day, I escape at night and frequently get a text or picture text with the caption "Peaches and Cream." Which of course means the boys are behaving like angels for their father, to my dismay. So this is my play on the phrase, the pieces being; quilt pieces, knitted pieces, pieces of my mind that are swirling around, you get the idea.

Anyway, I hope to have some followers someday, maybe I'll even inspire another to start a blog.