Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

and a very Happy New year with lots of quilting for everyone!

My New Year's resolution will be to post more often! Enjoy the holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A learning experience!

I finished piecing my 168th block last night! I have only one inner block left to piece. I still have 20 blocks to quilt and bind before putting them all together but I can now relax and enjoy Christmas because I made my goal of piecing them all by the end of the year.

I have been quilting for a LONG time so when I learn something new I like to share it. I learned 3 very important things while working on these little gems.

1) when pressing the blocks (especially those with lots of tiny pieces) I sprayed the backs with a little water, then turned them over onto a thick cotton wash cloth and pressed them from the top with a pressing cloth (I used plain muslin). This avoids scorching and makes even the tiniest piece lie flat.

2) I learned to love my seam ripper. For years (and years) I voided ripping out seams. I was like a man who never turns around to go back once he has left the driveway. I would rather have thrown out the whole block than to rip out a seam. For some reason I felt compelled to save a block once I had put 30 or 40 pieces into it and I learned that if it didn't fit, I needed to "rip" it out and do it over!!!

3) Most importantly, I learned patience - or at least I learned to be more patient that I normally am.

This is the first quilt I have made in years that I did not design myself. As I pieced these blocks I began to feel a connection with Jane Stickle and also with Brenda Papadakis. If  a block wasn't going together properly, I simply fiddled with it until I was (relatively) happy with it. I thank Jane for making this quilt and I thank Brenda Papadakis and the thousands of others who have even attempted to make this quilt for sharing it with the rest of the world.

I'll keep you all posted on the pesky border pieces - Hope they will work in this pot holder method!

Monday, December 8, 2014

My crazy method

I have had a few questions in my last few posts as to the process of basting and quilting these little guys. First I trim the block to its desired size (in this case 5")

then I cut a piece of wool batting (split it in half for lower loft) and put the three layers together

then I press them (yes with an iron) together and baste them on the machine around the edge about an 1/8" from the edge. The loft of the wool pops back up after it is quilted and bounced around a bit. 

then I take two of them and baste them together along the edge of their backings

then I baste them onto muslin strips using the longest stitch on my machine (I think it about 5 stitches per inch) so it will come out easily after quilting.

and this is the what the back looks like - and then I quilt them in my 14" hoop.

 I will post a few binding tips as soon as I remember to take step by step photos! Hope this helps. Enjoy the day.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Today's progress in Christmas colors

Two more blocks about to pop out of the hoop. I am working furiously now to meet my goal. My husband is flying to Antigua tonight (I know it sounds like fun, but he will be working - really) so I have 5 free nights to concentrate on my little Jane's.

Who needs a white sand beach when you can be quilting - right?

Enjoy the day and hope you too get some quiet quilting time.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I just might make it

When I started the absurd challenge to make a "Dear Jane" quilt in the pot holder method, I really didn't want it to take over my life. I started on August 1st and vowed I would finish all the 5" blocks by the end of the year. That way I could have the center done and take my time over the winter working on the triangle border blocks in between other projects. The beauty of a pot holder quilt is you can have a finished looking quilt and still add to it over the year! Anyway, it looks like I might meet my goal as I am on the next to the last row. I may not get all of them quilted and bound before the end of the year, after all we do have Christmas and working full time to contend with, but I should have all the blocks pieced. Here are the two I am working on today.

I am backing each block with the same fabric as the front and as you can see I have basted each 5" block to muslin to save fabric. I baste two together and then add the muslin which I use over and over again. I quilt all my quilts (even king sized) on my 1988 14" hoop.

I know I should be cleaning and decorating for Christmas, but we will have another Christmas next year and I only plan to make this quilt once. And... I have to keep it up because I am itching to start on the next three pot holder quilts whirling around in my head. Enjoy the day.