Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Progress

Tomorrow is the 1st of February!  Where does the time go?  I thought I should give a brief update as to my progress before January leaves us. 
Mariner's Quilt: I have been able to squeeze a few hours of sewing in this weekend and made a little progress on the quilt...though not as much as I hoped especially since my quilting time will be limited as I will be working full time starting tomorrow.  I have completed 7 out 12 compass roses, and all the pieces for the last one in yellow are cut, freezer paper on, and ready for sewing.  My goal will now be to complete 1 compass each week.
Knitting Projects: My daughter really liked the headwrap I made in entrelac so that will be a project for the near future.  An opportunity to practice entrelac while waiting to order some yarn for my 2 color challenge.
This past week, I started knitting a baby blanket.  I need to finish 2 for twin babies due soon.
Also need to order some yarn for another project for my oldest daughter. I will tell you about that one later.

Sorry no pictures yet...goodbye January....just have to wait until February...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm back from our visit to Indiana to see our youngest 2 daughters, Kirsten and Kari.  It is always fun to see them!  We also get to spend some nice time with Mike, our daughters boyfriend!   So after my last post telling about the journal cover I made, my daughter, Kirsten, sent pictures of one of the journals covers I made finished as a journal.  The tree trunk and background was made of paper and the leaves were fabrics.  It was all machine stitched.  It has been sold for Bound 4 Freedom, a very good cause.
The ride to Indiana is about 4 hours so of coarse I need something to do in the car.  I didn't have a knitting project so I brought along my hand quilting project.  I have been working on this on and off for about 2 years.  It will be a 2 color quilt, the pattern, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.  There are 96 blocks to make.  Not sure where I am in the count but I was able to sew 5 in the car.
I have also been able to spend time in my sewing room and completed the first compass in the yellow colorwave.

That's all for to a meeting for work!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mariner's Compass Quilt and a little more...

Today I finished piecing the last compass rose in the blue colorwave.  That's 4!  I decided I needed a little break to do something else before starting the next colorwave.  What will it be...yellows or greens?  Hmm...
Any ways, since I started blogging, I have become aware of this whole new world of quilters from around the world.  I have been reading this one blog from Sweden,  kviltstina.  This lady is quite talented and an inspiration.  On her blog is a free download for Valentine blocks.  She gave no instructions with them but wants to see what comes of them.  So that was what I did for my break.

I decided to use her design and also the words from another block download.  I combined the heart from Kviltstina and the word LOVE from gailpandesigns to make a journal cover. 

Let me back up a daughter, Kirsten, makes journals for an organization called Bound 4 Freedom.  I wanted to make a journal cover to help out and I tried sewing on paper.  Never did that before but it was fun to design and create something for a good cause.  I have made several different ones.  I just make the cover and she puts them together and binds them into journals.  I actually have not seen any of mine finished (my daughter lives in Indiana while attending college) but she has been excited about them.

So here is a picture of the finished cover.  Sorry the picture is so bad but I ran out of daylight and my flash caused a glare.  The paper is a marble green and the stitching is in rose, pink and dark green. Pretty isn't it?  I will bring it to my daughter this weekend when we visit!  Maybe I'll do this block (and the others) again using material. I never actually did any hand stitching in my quilts...something to think about.  So the next colorwave for the mariner's compass is... yellows!  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

knitting and quilting update

Let me start with the entrelac knitting project I previously posted about.  I have learned the technique and finished the headband.  Next: I need to look for another project to learn the technique using 2 colors.  Here is a picture of the finished project.  I added a knitted flower to dress it up a bit.

Mariner's Compass Progress:  I have been working when I can on the mariner's compass quilt.  Three compasses are complete and the fourth one is started.  While I work on the compasses I wanted to give a bit more information on my project.  I am using the book Mariner's Compass Quilts New Directions by Judy Mathieson as my guide.  Judy Mathieson is a well know author and quilter of mariner compass quilts.  Her work is stunning.

Although she gives directions on how to design and draft your own compass, I am using one of her sample patterns from this book.  Of coarse, I am changing things up a bit but that's what I like to do to make them my own.

The pattern is called Plaid Mariner's Compass with 32 points.  Each compass has an 18" diameter with a 20" block.  Her sample includes 13 compasses set 'on point' with flowers appliqued in the center of each compass.  My quilt will have 12 blocks and I will not set them 'on point' nor will I applique flowers in the center.  I am not sure how I will finish the centers of each compass.  The center may be solid or she does include an alternate center made up of another smaller compass with 8 points. That's a decision that will be made later.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mariner's Compass Project

Today I worked on the quilt and I am quite pleased with the results so far.   What do you think?  I have completed 2 compasses so far (without the centers and the background which will be added after all the compasses are done). 

The process to put together this quilt is much more time consuming than other quilts I have made but it really helps in the accuracy.  Using the freezer paper method also helps keep the bias seams from stretching.   Here is all that has to get done....
First I cut freezer paper to size - one piece for each of the 72 pieces in the quilt square. I then cut the pattern of the piece out of the freezer paper. By stacking 4 pieces of freezer paper together, I can cut 4 pattern pieces at once. That makes 18 cuts.  I iron each piece on to a piece of fabric.  Next I cut the fabric allowing for 1/4" seams.   Once I have cut out all 72 pieces of fabric with the freezer paper still intact, I can start assembling the compass and sewing (See previous pictures for assembly process).  That's a total of 162 cuts for each compass! 
Lesson learned:  I can make 2 compasses with the same freezer paper pieces if I am careful not to rip or sew through the freezer paper.  I am being careful!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Knitting Club

Although I started this blog to track my progress on 'the quilt', I will periodically post some of my other projects. So today's post will be about knitting.

On Monday evenings a group of ladies from our church get together at the local Panera and knit.  Or mostly.  I'm not sure if a whole lot of knitting gets accomplished but we do love to visit.  It is pretty informal.  Come if you can and knit, or just visit, or sew, scrapbook, etc.  and leave when you need to...

This year I set the goal to teach myself entrelac knitting.  Entrelac knitting is a technique that creates a fabric of diamonds and triangles.  By knitting in different directions, the end result looks like the piece has been woven.
I searched for a pattern that was easy enough to use to learn the technique but interesting enough to hold my attention.  I will be making a headband and using a variegated fiber rather than changing yarns.  Here are some pictures.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mariner's Compass project

Today I started to sew the compass rose together...but before I get to my progress I want to clarify something I said in my very first post.  I stated how making a mariner's compass quilt scared me to death.  My husband can't understand this but of coarse he isn't a quilter.  I am quite particular when it comes to how my quilts come together.  Corners should match, points should be pointed, etc.  If you are a quilter, I think you will understand.  The mariner's compass quilt relies on accuracy.  There is little room to fudge and oh so many points. So what I am afraid of is...failure in my own eyes.  I'm sure my husband will love the quilt even if some points are not perfect.

Now for my progress after day 2...  

Points were coming together pretty well!  Next  is to sew the sections together to make the complete compass without the center piece. That is added later.  Here is a preview.
With every project, I want to learn something new.  So what have I learned?  With this many points and seams coming together, seams need to be pressed open.  As a quilter, I generally press seams to one side but I quickly learned that points and seams become bulky.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mariner's Compass Project

Only a few hours later but I took some pictures so I thought I would include the first day's progress.  Here is the array of colors.  I've started with the blues.

The templates were cut from freezer paper and ironed on the fabrics.

Then the cutting.  Each compass will have 77 pieces.  72 are points, 1 center and 4 background pieces. 

Hopefully I'll start sewing tomorrow!

Preparing for my most difficult quilt yet....

Hi! Today I decided to start this blog to track my progress on the most challenging of quilting projects to date.
I started quilting back in 1996, finishing my first 2 quilts for wedding presents. My first quilt was a log cabin quilt pattern and the second was a double Irish chain. I continued quilting making each of my daughters quilts, many more wedding presents, baby gifts and others. I learned new techniques along the way, perfecting my piecing and quilting. I follow patterns, changing sizes, layout, borders, etc. Pretty straightforward. I am basically a self taught quilter.
Now for the challenge...
My husband has never received one of my quilts. You see, my husband loves maritime. He grew up in Norway and loves any thing that happens to do with boats, ships, the ocean....consequently he would like a Mariner's Compass quilt. That scares me to death. This is not a simple quilt made from squares, triangles, or even half square triangles. This involves many points jutting out from a center circle with many bias edges. Thinking of ways to deter him, I even made him take a weekend trip down to Hancock's of Paducah with me to pick out the fabrics for his quilt. Didn't work. The fabrics are all prewashed and pressed and it is time to get started!
I will be using the freezer paper method. There are three different color groups, blues, greens and yellows. The goal: four compasses in each color.
That's all for now. I will posts pictures of my progress!