02/3/14

Design Wall Monday – Winter Blues

It’s Monday morning – time for Design Wall Monday. So let’s take a peek at my design wall – it’s something exciting! 111 six inch blocks, stitched in reproduction indigo blues and shirting prints. And it’s ready to sew together! It’s just the kind of winter blues that I like! And it’s a good thing it’s only 18 degrees in Kansas today because it would be bad news if someone came in and turned on the ceiling fan!

001 It’s taken a year to make these 6″ pieced blocks from the book, The Farmer’s Wife.It’s the store sample for a Block of the Month program at Quilting Bit’s and Pieces in Eudora, KS. Throughout the project I have used Marti Michell’s perfect patchwork templates along with the conversion charts  she created to go with the book. (If you are interested in the charts, go to Marti’s website and write to her through the contact page.) I’m a long time fan of Marti’s templates and especially loved using Set S for making the 5 patch blocks in this project.

The block of the month is ongoing and will continue until Jan 2015. The last time I checked there were still a few openings in this indigo version and several in the brights and white version. Check it out at the shop’s website by clicking here.

Judy Laquidara of The Patchwork Times, hosts Design Wall Monday so click here to see what others have on their design walls!

I’m hunkering down as we are expecting another big snowstorm tonight. Lack of milk or eggs isn’t a problem but I can’t be caught snowed in without the right color of thread!

02/1/14

Tiny Stars-Month #3 Progress Report

Feb 1, 2014

It’s the end of the first quarter of my Star-A-Day challenge. For three months I have marked off a star a day. That’s 92 days. I now have enough stars completed for my second section – which means I am over 2/9ths finished! Can’t say I have ever measured quilt progress in 9ths before.

I love sewing these little stars. I know, I know, I say that all the time. But they are like little friends. Most days my ritual goes like this:  I sit in my grandmother’s overstuffed chair, turn on the evening news, and stitch. By the time the news is over, my star is finished. Every day there is news. Every day there is another star completed. I don’t stress about getting them done, I don’t need to block off time to get into the sewing room, I don’t have to stop to wind a bobbin or change thread color on my machine. I just pick up the pieces and sink the needle into the fabric and stitch. And stitch. And stitch. Day after day. For three months. And look where it has gotten me:

92 Tiny Stars

92 Tiny Stars

Next, I will machine quilt section #2.

Then, I will connect the two sections which  is sure to generate a story or two! If you have quilted this way before and have any tips for me, please leave a comment.

A few months ago I blogged about slow stitching. (See the story by clicking here. ) The rhythm of stitching these tiny stars is the epitome of slow stitching. I officially take back all the times I saw someone hand piecing and said, “That would be faster on the machine”.

If you are just tuning in to my blog and want to see all the related Tiny Star posts look for Categories in the column on the right and click on Star a Day Challenge.

As for me, I’m off to sew my first star of the second quarter! Catch ya later!

02/1/14

Subscribe To This Blog!

Some of you have been asking, “How do I subscribe to your blog?” Today, I bring you my shiny new “subscribe” button.  Enter your e-mail address and click “subscribe”.  You’ll get an e-mail message asking you to confirm, so go to your inbox and follow the instructions in the message.  Done. From this day forward every time I post a new story to my blog you will get an e-mail notification. If you ever get tired of getting the e-mails there is an unsubscribe option that will appear with each message.

That was easy.

02/1/14

A Mini Tutorial – Pressing Tiny Stars

It took a few completed star blocks to figure out my favorite way to press them. This is what works best for me.

When piecing, I leave all the seams free by poking the needle through the seam to the other side instead of crossing over it and sewing it down as in machine piecing. By leaving the seams free I can press them anyway I want when the star is completed.

Stitched and ready for pressing (wrong side view)

Stitched and ready for pressing (wrong side view)

Stitched and ready for pressing (right side view)

Stitched and ready for pressing (right side view)

Working from the wrong side, start on the lower right hand corner. Use your finger or stiletto and working counter clockwise, smooth the seams away from you, pressing a seam at a time with the tip of the iron. Avoid getting the iron on the very center, we’ll go back and get that seam later. In general, I am a fan of steam, however, I turn the steam off during this step because I don’t want scorched fingers. Note to lefties: You might have better luck starting in the lower left hand corner and pressing clockwise, try it, and let me know if it works.

Start in the corner like this

Start in the corner like this

When you reach the upper right hand corner, press one more seam with the iron pointed toward the upper left hand corner.

Continue one seam at a time until you reach this point

Continue one seam at a time until you reach this point

Rotate the block so the next seam you will press is now at the lower right hand corner. Repeat, smoothing seams and pressing, rotating the block as needed. Rotating the block helps avoid getting the hand holding the iron into an awkward position.

Rotate the block pressing the seams into a spiral

Rotate the block pressing the seams into a spiral

The pressed seams will spin counter clockwise.

Press the final seam open. Don’t worry if it looks a little wonky.

Press  the center seam open

Press the center seam open

Flip the block over and give it a good pressing from the front side, with steam and a spritz of light spray starch, if you’d like.

Press from the right side

Press from the right side

There! A lovely little star block, pressed and ready for the “finished” pile!