It doesn’t look like much, but…

Sometimes it seems that one can work endlessly and when all is said and done it doesn’t look like much was accomplished. This week was one of those times.

The design for this week’s Building Blocks Quilt Along was “Circuit Board”. It’s a really nice design and someday I’ll have the courage to use it on one of my quilts. Maybe. The problem is that I have always had difficulty stitching this design. It takes monumental planning to make all those lines flow and align correctly. I tried and tried to figure out how to do this without marking, and what a disaster.Ciricuit Board practiceAfter spending a great deal of time with a practice fat quarter, I just marked my block in the various scales and followed the lines. The one-eighth part of the block (out of necessity) was free hand, but size is on my side there. You can’t see the flaws. Anyway, it’s finished and I’m satisfied. I found the series in quilting scales very useful. This Monday we move on to a set of new blocks.

In the meantime, I was determined to finish my April 2013 Sugar Block Club block, cut out the block for May 2013 and May 2014 block when it became available. Well, I cut and pieced all three! Wow! It’s the third of May and I have my May blocks done. They are all paper-pieced, and I think I’m improving! As mentioned before in an earlier blog, I’m doing two each of these blocks. I will have a monster quilt by the time next December rolls around and am toying with the idea of going back to the beginning of the year and quilting each block individually and then attaching them. Not having any experience with this, does anyone know if that would be easier than quilting it as one big quilt top on my domestic machine? I’ve done a queen-sized quilt before, but I have a feeling that with sashing and border, this quilt is going to be larger than a queen.

I love it when Leah Day posts a new fmq design. This week it was #433 Growing Sprouts. I tried it, and had a lot of fun learning it. I’ve been saving all my little samples and when I have to do a quilt, I go back through the growing stack, or even look at my quilt sampler that I did in Leah’s Craftsy class. How fortunate we are to have all Leah’s tutorials at our fingertips on the internet and in her books. Talk about a great resource! Thank you Leah!

In the coming week I want to get the quilt cut that I planned on doing this past week. I also will have to begin the fmq on the two philanthropy quilts I have committed to complete.

I guess I finished more than I realized this week!

I’m linking up with Leah Day’s Free Motion Project Link Up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Quilting!

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Portable FMQ!

Three years ago, just after I retired, I was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and visited the Pine Needles Sewing Center. (This place is in the top three of my favorite Quilt Shops.) I hadn’t really done much sewing since the mid-1980’s. The quilts on display were awesome. I knew right then that I wanted to start quilting. I had made a few small quilts in earlier years that were quilted with a walking foot as well as a couple other quilts which were finished by a long-arm quilter, but that was the extent of it. I wanted to learn how to quilt my own projects. I mentioned this to a neighbor who did a lot of quilting, and she cautioned me that it was very difficult to free motion quilt.

I found Leah Day on the Internet, and the quilt bug bit me. I LOVE to quilt and it is such a bonus that I can see my projects through from start to finish. I have been trying to figure out how to take my quilting on the road when we travel for long periods in our motor home. My Bernina is too big to haul along. I own a vintage 1929 Singer Featherweight that I never considered using for free motion quilting because I was always of the notion that you have to drop the feed dogs in order to fmq. When I saw a post on Facebook of a Featherweight, it occurred to me that I might be able to use my little Singer when I’m traveling. (I am now a proponent of feed dogs up. It makes nicer stitches.)

Well, much to my amazement I can free motion quilt on my little old Featherweight! I have to use a spool stand because Isacord doesn’t fit on the spindle of that tiny thing. My Supreme Slider is too big, but eventually I’ll cut down the one I have and buy a new one for my Bernina. I find myself moving my right leg whenever I need to lift the presser foot because my Bernina has the free hand system. If my hands were any larger, I would have to quilt one-handed because the harp space is so small. I could never do a standard quilt on this. I’m still working on perfecting my stitches and will have to figure out how to enlarge my work surface. It’s crude, but it’s fun! It will be perfect for small projects.

Singer_2528

Singer1

I get almost giddy thinking of how cool it is to do a relatively new process on such an old machine. I like to dream about the person who used this machine 80 some years ago and wonder if 80 years from now someone will be using my Bernina. (Hmm.)

This week, I finished the second pattern of the first block group of the Leah Day’s Building Blocks Quilt Along. The pattern is all straight lines, and I think I’m finally getting the feel of working hands and feet in concert. I am looking forward to quilting the spiral.

Block 1.2 front

Block 1.2. Markings and all!

Block 1,2 back

Block 1.2 back. Ditching is improving and I feel that using just the darning foot and not the BSR affords more control.

I’m linking up to Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project Link Up.

Progress

I missed posting last week. I had been working to get “caught up”, trying to incorporate into my quilt  all the lessons that Leah was presenting for Express Your Love. I finally painted the corner motifs and started working on concentric circles. The painted corners of this quilt are very distracting and overwhelming. I will have figure out a way to tone them down. (It’s hard to keep in mind that this is just practice and experimentation, and it can’t be perfect.) Concentric circles are difficult for me, and I’ve been working on them for several days, piling up all those sandwiches! I’m able to stitch this pattern a little better than when I first started, but my sample is a far cry from Leah’s. Once I feel confident, I’ll use them in the remaining rays.  Meanwhile, I’ve been spending most of my time piecing a couple other quilts, just for a little diversion.

2:15'

 

2:15-1