Quilting and Stuff by Knitnoid

Category Archives: Challenges

What’s on my Design Wall

We interrupt this quilting marathon  ( Complete 10 quilts between March 16th – June 22nd) for a new quilt top – Candy Sunflower Seeds (I’m using the pattern The Chain Event by Dorothy Young).

Say what?!!

After the disaster I created quilting this quilt a few weeks ago,  I had to back up and punt.

Thanks to S for ripping the quilting out.  Anyway, I decided I needed to use a template on my curves and quilting in the setting squares and triangles.  Since I hadn’t done that, I figured a “test” quilt was in order.  Thus the new quilt top.

Of course, now I don’t think I need a test quilt.  Yesterday I quilted the Neutral Strip Twist and I did half way decent considering I hadn’t done any template/ruler work previously.

Since I’m reporting, here’s the status of the marathon quilts.

1 – Dragonflies — Completed 3/29

2 – Miniature Ohio Star – Completed 4/19

3 – Crossword Puzzle – Still piecing – need at least the top 6/3

4 – BQ2 – Needs label, otherwise finished 5/14

5 – Summertime – 8 inches of binding left to stitch down, label attached

6 – Neutral Strip Twist – needs border quilted, etc

7 – The Chain Event – needs quilting (appt on 6/5)

8 – Victoria’s Rose – needs border quilted, etc

9 – Kansas Spirit – needs quilting (will do on DSM)

10 – Ribbon Candy – binding attached

There’s still a lot to do, but I’m confident that with the three-day weekend coming up I’ll be able to get it all done by my deadline.

Follow the links over at Patchwork Times – I’m sure you’ll find great inspiration and quilters who aren’t as crazy as me.

Neutral Strip Twist Top

When I picked up thread at Jo-Ann’s the other day, I thought I saw the fabric I wanted for the border of this quilt – a beige speckle that I had used in the center of the quilt.  When I went to buy it Thursday night I discovered the color was off.  What I used in the quilt was from my stash and I bought it at least two years ago.  So, I had to figure out something else.

I really like what I ended up with.  The outer border is a mottled honey color.  The inner border is a light yellowy beige with darker speckles/lines.

Now to get it quilted.

Year of the Pig – Question #10

Jill’s question this week is:

How do you save time and money while quilting?

#1 – Shop my stash first.  I don’t have a huge stash – especially not of yardage, but I can generally put together a scrappy quilt from my fabric bins (stuff larger that a F8) or my pre-cut bins (strips, brick & blocks).

#2 – When I have to buy – fabric, batting, or thread, or anything really – I do my  best to get it on sale.   I can’t think of the last time I paid full retail price for something.  Even if it’s not on sale,  I typically get 10% off because I’m a member of a quilt  guild.

#3 – Shop for fabric where you don’t normally think to look.  Check out thrift shops.  I was in one the other day and there were two different 4 yard cuts of quilting cotton for about  $8.  Since I didn’t NEED any Hogs on Hogs or Bears on Hogs, I left it at the shop.  Which is a good segway to the next point.

#4 – If it doesn’t have an immediate purpose LEAVE IT AT THE STORE.  That’s not to say that if your selection of red fabrics is low and you find a great red that you love you can’t bring it home.  That fills a purpose – filling out your selection of red fabrics.  But it does mean that if you found a great fabric, you love it, but have no idea of what you are going to do with it, or when you plan to use it it can stay at the store.

#5 – Buy only what you need plus the little extra that you always want to have for cutting mistakes.  If the pattern calls for 1/2 yard, buy the 1/2 yard or maybe 5/8 — not the whole yard.  The exception of course is if the sale price is only for 1 yard cuts or more — but if purchasing the whole yard will cost significantly more than getting just what you need on regular price – buy what you need.

#6 – Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you have to use it.  I just got a postcard for my birthday at a LQS. It’s worth 25% off my purchase during a two week period.  Unless it’s good on long arm rental, I think the only thing I’m going to use it on is pre-wound bobbins for the quilt I’ll quilt on the last day the coupon is good.

#7 – Similar to shopping the stash, work on your UFOs.  Most of my UFOs I have everything I need to finish them. Borders, backings, bindings and occasionally sashings tend to be the exception.

Ok, I guess that about sums up how I save money on my quilting.  So what about time savers.

#1 – I’m a big Leader/Ender fan.  Bonnie Hunter has a great tutorial about Leaders & Enders here.  So, while I’m piecing a project that I needs to be done “now”, I’m also piecing a project that can be done “whenever”.  My current leader/ender project is Fun with Bricks.

#2 – I’ve never been one to be able to pick up an entire quilt off the floor or design wall and sew the blocks together and have them in the right order.  On the other hand, don’t like getting up after one seam to get the next block.  So, I’ve taken flower head pins and put numbers on them 1 – 2- 3- 4, and so on – I think up to 8.  When it’s time to sew a row together, I stick pin #1 in the top left corner of the 1st block on the row.  I flip block #2 over onto it and then stick a straight pin through both blocks where they will be seamed together.   Flower pin #3 goes in the 3rd block, and I go down the row.  Now, I can take the entire pile of paired blocks (don’t forget to bring block # 7 with you) and sew them into pairs and then the pairs into 4’s, without turning a block up side down or putting block 1 & 2 after block 3 & 4.

#3 – Get a design wall.  It is so much easier walking up to a wall and arranging blocks than trying to arrange them on the floor and having to get up and down, or on the bed.  The bonus is you don’t have to worry about the cat rearranging them for you.

#4 – Change and/or sharpen your rotary blade.  I can’t tell you the # of times I fuss with a blade not cutting all the way through and keep messing with it.  Then I’m amazed at the speed in which I can cut fabric with a new blade.

#5 – I used to belong to a group that sent out a reminder to wind your bobbins once a week.  It take the same amount of time to wind 10 bobbins all at once as it does to wind one bobbin 10 times, but you only thread your machine once instead of 10 times.  Also, the project goes faster once you start sewing if you don’t have to stop to wind another bobbin. (I tend to piece everything using gray thread).

I’m sure there are other things I do which speeds my quilting along, but since I do them all the time by habit, I don’t necessarily realize it’s saving me time.

Check out the link’s over Jill’s to see how other same time & money when they quilt.

What’s On My Design Wall

I’m bouncing all over the place this week.  This is nearly half of the blocks I’ll use as the background for the crossword puzzle quilt.  I still need to piece the rest of the blocks I’ve got cut out, and I think due to a miscalculation on my part, I need to make another 8 blocks.  Over the weekend I picked up 5 more FQs.  I’ve said it before, but at this point, this is it.  If I don’t have enough fabric, the quilt will simply be smaller.  The good news is I have final confirmation of the last name I need to include in the quilt.  Isabelle, my sister’s granddaughter to be was born last night.  So, once I get the rest of the blocks pieced I’ll figure out the final block arrangement.

But, since at this time I’m only aiming for a quilt top by the end of may and I have time booked to use the long arm next week, I’ve got to get at least one more quilt top done.

These are the strips sewn into pairs for a Strip Twist quilt.  Since this picture was taken Sunday afternoon, they’ve been pressed open and matched up to sewn into sets of 4.  Tonight is the  Guild meeting, but I hope to get the strip sets sewn afterwards.

Finally my Peacock BQ2 quilt is finished!  OK, it still needs a label, but that’s the least of my worries.  This is quilt # 3 in my 10 by June.

I made this quilt top in May 2009 – but then had no idea how to quilt it.  Honestly, I still didn’t know what I was going to do until my husband suggested loopy flowers.  I had my doubts, but it works. Sure, feathers would have been cool, but  since I’m giving this quilt to my aunt, I wanted to make sure it looked good – or at least not embarrassing.

Hop over to Patchwork Times for links to other design walls.

What’s on my Design Wall

There’s several quilts on my “design ironing board” today.

First is this stack of quilts (5 of the 10 by June).  The middle one I’m still working on the binding. The one below it and the one on top are ready for binding.  The bottom quilt I need to quilt the borders.  The second one down – well, it has some issues and will be meeting the seam ripper as soon as I figure out how much needs to be ripped.

But quilting was not all that I got done this past week.  I finally got all of the fabric cut out for the Crossword Puzzle quilt.

I can’t decide if the color is good on this picture or not.  As I was finishing up the cutting, I was grouching to myself about how “orange” the fabrics were.  I had a fluorescent light shining on them.  I cut that off and turned on my Daylight light and the color improved immensely.

The strips will be sewn into sets of 4, then they’ll be cut with the Go! cutter as well.  Only then will I be able to start assembling blocks.  This quilt is the next one that has to be completed, so it becomes the priority.

See what others have on their design walls by checking out the links over at Patchwork Times.

Year of the PIG – Question #9

This week’s question from Jill is:

This week, we will be discussing Leaders and Enders and whether you multitask when quilting. Do you work on one project at a time or are you better when you are juggling 2 or more?

I fell in love with the Leader/Ender (L/E) concept shortly after finding Bonnie Hunter’s website Quiltville.com.  At this point, I can’t remember what my first project was, but I have been known to complete entire quilts including sewing the blocks into rows as a L/E.  As a result, I’ve been able to finish lots of tops and do the boring stuff while working on the fun stuff.

In January, I decided I was going to focus on my UFOs and I didn’t have anything appropriate already in progress, that didn’t require thinking (very important)  for L/E.  That lasted for three weeks.  At that time I started sewing patches together for Fun With Bricks.  This project is nearing completion, but now the short seam is 8″ and that’s getting a bit large for L/E.  Of course it might have something to do with my last piecing project had 2″ finished blocks!

Since I got back from the quilt retreat, I’ve been focused on a single project – the Miniature Ohio Star.  Then I started in with quilting.  Although I now have 3 machines, if I’m quilting, I get focused on that.  So, I started to say at the beginning, I’m currently only working on one project.  But upon reflection, that’s not quite accurate.

First up is The Chain Event.


Although this quilt was prepped for the long arm last week, I’m still reviewing my quilting plan.  I’ll go over it a couple of more times before I load the quilt on the long arm Saturday morning. It looks huge, but that’s because it’s attached to the leaders.

Next is Ribbon Candy.

Tonight I made the backing and cut the batting.  I’m still debating the quilting.  The original had swirls through the rail fence blocks and grid work in the borders.  I’m leaning toward an all-over design, but I’ve got to get it down by Saturday.  Somehow I don’t think daisies or dragonflies is quite the right motif for a quilt for my FIL.

This is Kansas Spirit.

Since it’s a sampler quilt, I can’t decide if I want an all-over design, one design repeated in all of the blocks and another the setting blocks or go custom.  I figure I have until Sunday morning to figure this out.  The backing and batting were prepared this evening as well.

Crossword Puzzle.

Yes, those block/pieces are pink and I’ve said the Crossword Puzzle quilt will be red.  Well, since I think I  have just enough red fabric I thought I should play with some other fabric and I pulled the pink/purple box down.  I’m not certain I’ve achieved what I envisioned, but time is short and I need to get this done, so I’m going with it.  The pieces were cut with a Go! cutter, some after I ‘made’ fabric out of strips.  I’ve also been stitching down the letters — I think I have 20 more to go.

Finally there is “Summertime”.

In between all this other work I’ve been doing I’ve been stitching on the binding.  I WILL take the time to get the binding correct so I can machine finish it on these next quilts.  If I don’t I’ll never get them all bound by the time I have to give them to the recipients.  I clearly wasn’t thinking straight earlier in the week when I tossed in the towel and decided to hand stitch the binding.  I’ve worked on it for 3 or 4 nights and I still haven’t hit the 1/2 way  mark.  I can only do 3 or 4 needle fulls of thread before my wrist starts to ache.

So, do I do better when I multitask?  I think so.  I found out quickly in January that when I have to focus on just a single project – especially when I’m working toward a deadline – it takes the fun out of quilting.

To see what other think, check out the links over on Jill’s blog.

April UFO Challenge Quilt

The number for April was 4.  On my list to get to the top stage was my Red, White and Blue quilt shop sampler.

On my to be quilted list was this Thangles quilt.

But given I was going to a retreat, I think I said I was going to work on Mom’s 4-patch Stacked Posies, which was March’s pick. 

None of these quilts made it to the top stage or got quilted.  But have no fear, I did complete two UFOs in April.

The first was my Dresden Plate which I’m calling Metamorphosis since the fabric came from my old skirt.  This was #10 the pick for February.  It took all of February, March and a couple of days into April to get it completed.

As of 4/3/11

The second quilt I finished was my Miniature Ohio Star.  I finished this up in time for the quilt show.  It’s not on either of my Challenge lists, but it was on my Quilts in Progress tab at the beginning of  the year.

This month Judy picked #9.  That’s my Green and Cream quilt that I’m working in a Quilt-As-You-Go method.

I’ll say it right now.  This quilt won’t be finished by the end of the month.

That’s not to say I won’t be working on my UFOs.

On the piecing front I have the crossword puzzle quilt.  I started this last fall, but couldn’t begin putting it together until my sister’s latest grandbaby was born. I’ll also be working on the binding of “Summertime” – a Venetian Glass Turning Twenty Again.  Between now and the end of the month I have 4 days reserved on the longarm.  All of the quilts I’m planing on working on were on my To Be Quilted tab at the beginning of the year.

The good news is Judy’s challenge has gotten me focused on my UFOs whether it’s from the list I put together in December or my master list.  Since the beginning of the year I’ve competed 6 7 quilts — all UFOs and I’ve only started 3 – 2 of which are tops just waiting to be quilted.  Not bad if do say so myself.

Check out the link over at Patchwork Times to see how others are doing on their UFOs.

What’s on my Design Wall

This week I have my Turning Twenty Again that I’m calling “Summertime”.  Several years ago during a FQ sale at my LQS I picked up a bundle of Venetian Glass.  At the time, I thought “What was she thinking, some of these are ugly.”  I LOVE how they all work together.  I guess it’s true you need some “uglies” in your quilt to make it sparkle.

I finished the quilting on this Sunday afternoon.

I’m not sure how well you can see the quilting.  It’s pretty basic quilting — wavy diagonal lines.  I was having the worst time finding something to mark the quilt that I could see.  Then I decided to use painter’s tape.

I put several lengths on my cutting mat, then cut both sides using my wavy ruler.  Then I put it on my quilt top and quilted around it.  Worked like a charm — and no marks to wash out!

Now I’m working on the binding.  I normally machine stitch my bindings down, but this one simply wasn’t working — so at the moment I’m stitching it by hand.  No telling when I will finish it, except it will be before June 18th.  This is one of my 7 10 by June quilts.

So, up next is the quilt is the crossword puzzle quilt.

I bought a few more reds at the quilt show yesterday.  Since it was right before closing, they let me pick the FQ from two different bundles.  This is what I have so far:

Not all of those fabrics are FQs — some are just barely F8s.  I think that piece on the far left of the bottom row is going to have to go.  Other than collecting the reds, I’m at a standstill on this one.   My friend V is letting me borrow her Go! and I’ve ordered the 7″ Drunkard’s Path Go! die, but it hasn’t gotten here.  I don’t want to start cutting the fabric until I have an understanding of the die.  I’ve got a great visual in my head of this quilt, so we’ll see how it translates to fabric.

Don’t forget to check out the other great design walls by following the links over at Patchwork Times.

Year of the Pig – Question #8

Jill’s Year of the Pig Question #8 is —

What part (or parts) of the process of making a quilt are your least favorite? The part (or parts) that you just dread and that make you throw your projects back into the dark recesses of your stash closet? Have you found any tricks to break the cycle of being held up on the parts that aren’t your favorite?

This question got me thinking. Is there any part of making a quilt that I dread?

It’s not the binding.  Once I get a quilt quilted, I want to get it bound.  I don’t sew the binding down by hand, so that is probably why this doesn’t bother me.

I used to hate sandwiching the quilt. It’s hard on the knees crawling around on the floor.  But I’ve figured out how to get it done on my big board ironing board (I generally make twin size quilts or smaller these days).

One could argue that I must not like the process of quilting itself. Putting stitches through the three layers which makes the quilt top a quilt.  I say this because I have around 40 quilt tops waiting to be quilted – three from September of 2006.

It’s not that I don’t like this step, it’s more a case of  not knowing what to quilt on a top.  Until last fall, all of my quilting was done on my sewing machine. I’ve tried free motion quilting and I  need more practice, but don’t want to do it on my “good” tops and mess them up.  So, I’ve been limited to straight line quilting and soft curves — especially on anything bigger than about 40″ square.

But last fall I discovered Rocking Chair Quilts in Butler, Missouri rents time on their longarm.  It’s an hours drive, but well worth the time.  My oldest completed top was from 2005. I think it was 96″ square — no way for me to get it done on my sewing machine and not “good enough” to pay someone to quilt it.  I took it down to Butler and quilted it in an afternoon.  It won’t win awards, but that’s not why I quilt.

Hard and fast deadlines also get me going.  I’ve got a stack of 5 quilts w/backing fabric which need to be quilted by the middle of June.  All of them have been waiting to be quilted for at least a year or more.  A couple I’ll quilt here at home and a couple I’ll take down to Butler.  I have a rough idea of how I’m going to quilt at least 4 of them.  The fifth one is giving me fits, but I’ll figure something out.

Click over to Jill’s to see how others get past their least favorite part of quilting.

Not Quite Halfway

Small as they are, I can only fit a dozen stars on my scanner bed.  Seven more done last night.  I’m not planning on doing any yard work tonight, so maybe I can get two sets of 7 done tonight.  Of course, I’m thinking about two other quilts and I’m itching to play in my fabric.

I’ve gotten the last name I need for the crossword puzzle quilt, which is really more of a Scrabble quilt, and now I need a “theme” for the rest of the fabric.  I’m leaning toward red —  which is probably the color I have the least of!  I wonder if it’s an unconscious decision so I can go fabric shopping?

The second quilt is one more that needs to go on my 7 by June, which would make it 8 by June if we hadn’t already added another quilt which means the count is up to 9 now!  At least the other quilt just needs quilting and I’ve been thinking about that as well.  But back to the second quilt.  I’m leaning toward using Bonnie Hunter’s Strip Twist and doing it in neutrals – scrappy of course.

My EQ drawing looks so elegant.  I hope my stash delivers. (Yes, shopping is required on this one for the border and backing).