Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Applique or Piecing?

Applique or piecing?
Piecing or applique,
which do I like best?
 The answer to that burning question: 
I like whichever one I'm not doing on my current project!

Whenever I'm working on an applique project, I tell myself I really enjoy piecing more than applique. Then whenever I'm piecing, I think "Why in the world did I think I'm a good piecer?!?"

Why am I sharing this? Read on.

I've been struggling along with part 5 of Love Entwined (LE). I've added most of the flowers, some of the leaves and I'm auditioning fabrics for the fried egg shape. Look next to the center top flowers for the light blue. That's probably not supposed to be a fried egg shape but that's what I think of when I see it. I'm not so sure I like that blue fabric there but inspiration hasn't struck yet for an alternative.

Sometimes the number of color choices involved is really overwhelming to me. There are definitely days when I'm losing my excitement about this project but I plan to keep slowly stitching.

While I've been working on LE's applique, I've been thinking that I'd really like to piece something!

Remember this photo from my last post? I usually start new projects during stressful times in my life. Well, things are about to get more stressful (more on that another time) so I decided to make a preemptive strike and start a new project - Antique Wedding Sampler, designed by Di Ford and in her "Primarily Quilts" book. Phebe is also in this book.

I've never made a traditional sampler quilt. In fact, this is the first sampler type quilt that I've been attracted to. So far, I've made three of the blocks and they are definitely challenging my skills. (Mostly a good thing!) Here they are with my comments.

Block #1 - My unfinished problem child block. First of all, what was I thinking using those fabrics? The brown and pink fabrics are too much a like since both of them have similar cream ovals. Some people might simply redo this block in other fabrics but me? I actually made it twice and that was definitely enough. Unless, of course, I just can't stand it anymore and give in. 

I tried hand piecing this star but it turned out really awful so I machine pieced most of another one. The light pink diamond shape of the interior star and the center circle were applique plus the entire finished star was appliqued to the background. 

My other issue is the Broderie Perse - nothing seems right so I'm still looking through my fabric stash for possibilities. I'm finding I don't have many florals which will work. Any suggestions for fabric which might work?

This block has definitely been a learning experience.

Block #2 - I was surprised how easily this block went together. I have been known to really mess up on triangles. As I look at it now, that center mini star may be wonky but doesn't appear so when the block is on point.

Block #3 - This block was difficult for me to make but not for the reason you might think! The colors are so subdued (brown, ugh) that I finally gave in and added some fussy cut fabric with color in the center. 

I also learned I need to improve my template making skills. That center star was a bit difficult to machine piece and while I was working on it, I was thinking about the merits of hand applique projects, specifically my LE! I especially was thinking about that when I had to make a second star circle because the first turned out too large due to the inaccurate templates I'd made. 

I still need to applique the star circle to the background so this block is unfinished also but not for long. At least, I'm not planning for it to be unfinished for long.

Here they are together in the order the pattern suggests.

Last night, I had the first quilting related dream I can ever remember having. I have no idea where I was but I was onstage trying to impress other quilters with my piecing skills. When I looked down at the block I'd made, it was a simple strip pieced block that was 12" square but was supposed to fit in a 10" square space. Uh, oh! Maybe I'll dream about applique tonight?!?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

LE - Part 4

 Update on LE Part 4 - Seems like every time I thought I'd added all the stems and leaves, there was one more I'd missed! I still need to applique the vase and the four hearts on either side of the vase. Of course, there are still bits and pieces to finish from Part 3. Sometimes catching up to the current Part 10 seems overwhelming but a little stitching here and a little there and I hope to get there!

I'm really glad I made the stems and some of the leaves for Part 5 at the same time I did Part 4. For me, the flowers are the fun part! Just looking at the pattern, I'd say that Part 5 is not as detailed as Part 4 so maybe I can finish it before Part 11 is released. 

And that is a big maybe since spring is here! For the past few days, I've been tidying up the flower beds and there seems to be more to do. Of course, the weeds are growing just as quickly as the flowers. It always amazes me how well weeds can grow in drought situations. I'm happy to say, though, that there are no weeds on my quilts!  

Until next time,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Yesterday ...

But first ... !

My Love Entwined - I'm starting to applique the leaves on Part 4 and have the stems and some leaves done for Part 5. I really wanted to do Broderie Perse for the flowers and leaves but the fabric I purchased just didn't look right to me. Instead, I'm fussy cutting the flowers and leaves for the applique. Because I set my LE aside to work on Phebe, I'm at least 5 parts behind and still have pieces to finish for earlier parts.

Connor's Bungle Jungle quilt is finished and is on its way to him.

I quilted it with topstitching thread which gave it the effect I like. Unfortunately, there are a lot of not so straight quilting lines. My other learning moment - I should have used a polyester batting instead of the cotton batting. It was very evident after I took it out of the dryer that this quilt will never look this smooth again unless its ironed.

Other news - My Selvage Star of Bethlehem has gone to Jan, the machine quilter. The fabric I chose for the backing is the red and white leaf print in the picture below. I tried to straighten those pointy corners but decided to see what they look like once it's finished. Maybe (likely) I was just really tired the day I made that decision and decided not to mess with it!

Do any of you read the magazine, "Quilt Life"? I normally don't but was glancing through it at Barnes & Noble and was surprised to see the vintage inspiration quilt on P. 78 of the May, 2014 issue! I had been making my selvage version based on an internet picture so it was interesting to read more about the original quilt. 

OK, so yesterday ...

Can you guess?

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bungle Jungle & the Grands!

This week, I've been working on this Bungle Jungle quilt designed by Tim and Beck for this little guy -

Connor, our Florida grandson!

Introducing our newest grandchild -
Elizabeth Anne!

Her parents have requested a jungle theme quilt for her too and I've assured them I'll have it done before her high school graduation. Just kidding, it will be much sooner! I'll be using a Timeless Treasures panel and adding blocks and borders to it. That project is coming soon.

Until next time, Mayleen 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4 Pointy Corners

I thought I'd finished my Selvage Star of Bethlehem quilt top but after I put it on the design wall to take a photo, I decided that no, its not finished. Look at those pointy corners!!! Aack. I really don't want to take those borders off but it looks like thats just what I'll be doing.

Edited to add: Some of you were concerned that I was going to take off and leave off the borders. After I do some careful measuring, I'm going to take off the narrow red border and try to fix the problem. I'm guessing I've stretched the bias edges of the diamond cornerstones. If that's the case, I'll press and trim the cornerstones and then sew the narrow red border back on. Those borders are definitely staying!

Tomorrow, I'm going to celebrate our sunny, warmer weather and and go shopping for the backing fabric. Once I redo those corners, this quilt top will be ready for the machine quilter and finally, after its bound and labelled, it will be one of my quilts in the Common Threads Quilt Show! Here's a link to information about the show:   

Until next time, Mayleen 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Cotheals at Home

As promised, here are some photos of Phebe now that she's quilted! Unfortunately, the photos from my camera didn't turn out very well so most of these photos were taken with my cell phone. The colors are a little brighter and there is some distortion too. Also, I'm not sure if the beautiful quilting will show up very well so I'm going to link to the machine quilter's blog at the end of this post. Please click on the individual photos for a better look. Enjoy!

Whenever I get stressed out, I find myself starting a new quilting project. Quilting is my stress reliever!

I began working on Phebe in April of 2013. My husband's mother had passed away in February and my daughter's wedding in March had really stressed me out. We finally became empty nesters and I needed something to pour myself into.

In June, my mother's health began to deteriorate and I spent many hours sitting with her in her room at the nursing home and during her hospital stays. Phebe was always with me.

In August, hospice was called in to care for my mother and a few days later, she passed away. Planning the funeral, cleaning out her room, taking care of details took time. Feeling like quilting again took even more time but I began to enjoy working on Phebe again. I decided to finish this quilt in memory of both my mother and mother-in-law. Neither of them were quilters but both encouraged me to keep quilting! 

I can't remember at which step I was in September. My two years as our guild's Membership Chair were over which freed more time for me to work on Phebe. However, I felt like I was working in slow motion and not accomplishing much. It is so easy to get bogged down when working on a big quilt so my advice is to find a few quilters to hold you accountable and spur you on!

In fact, I did cheat and start a few UFOs just to help me fight the boredom of working on the same project over and over. At the end of 2013, I realized I hadn't finished a single project during the last twelve months! I couldn't believe it.

Di Ford's pattern for Phebe is her version of a wedding coverlet made for Phebe Warner in approximately 1803. This pattern is in her book, "Primarily Quilts". When I made my quilt, I purposely made Phebe and her husband, Henry Cotheal, appear mature as if they had been married several years versus the younger couple on the wedding coverlet. Even though I will always call my quilt "Phebe", her official name is "The Cotheals at Home". 

Here's a link to information about the Phebe Warner wedding coverlet:
More information about the maker of the wedding coverlet and quilts inspired by it:

Blogger is driving me crazy today. I can't go back and redo things, can't center the text either. Just a pet peeve of mine but that's really driving me nuts. I'm sure not much of my ramblings are making sense so please just enjoy the pictures, LOL!

I do want to especially thank Jan, the machine quilter. Here's a link: to her blog where she plans to post much better close up photos of Phebe. She's done a wonderful job especially stitching in the ditch, making the Ohio Star blocks appear square and just generally covering up a lot of my not the best piecing!

This photo was taken with my camera and the colors seem very blah. I'll be looking for a new camera soon, one for the technology challenged user! Did you know that I'm a Luddite?

More about my other projects coming soon!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Three Projects

Now that Phebe no longer takes up all of my time, I've been working on my version of Love Entwined in the evenings. I had put it aside so I could work exclusively on Phebe and I'm seriously behind! Here you see most of Part 2 finished and a start on Part 3. Its looking a little pink at the moment which I hope to tone down with the addition of the flower vases in parts 4 through 7.

I've made the same mistake on the Selvage Star that I made on the Parlour's Tin Ceiling quilt - too narrow seam allowances. When I tore out the foundation paper, some of the seams let loose. I have quite a bit of resewing to do and quite simply, I don't like resewing. When I'm done, I'm done except in this case. Remember I said this would be a large wallhanging? Its going to be a really large wallhanging. Without the borders, it already measures 62 inches wide. 

On the subject of foundation paper, I have had several people tell me they use regular printer paper when they paper piece. I tried it - disaster. I've also tried pages from old telephone books but I caused a major printer paper jam and now our printer squeaks. So now I use purchased foundation paper, sew with a large needle, a small stitch length, press the paper with a hot iron before removing it, crease it before tearing and I still occasionally have problems. I won't give up paper piecing because it gives me more accurate piecing so if you have any tips for removing foundation paper, send them on!    

Guess who's home and ready to be bound?
Check back early next week to see Phebe in all her glory!

Until next time, Mayleen