Saturday, May 9, 2015

Itty Bitty Eights Rulers put to the test!

By now you surely know that I love making minis, right?
So when Lisa Bongean collaborated with Creative Grids to come up with these rulers specifically for making mini quilts I was thrilled!
Left to right, Itty-Bitty Eights 3"x7" and Itty-Bitty Eights 6" (Click for link to order)
Honestly, after finally completing the flimsy for my mini version of Lisa's APQ SAL Burgoyne Surrounded quilt, I was about ready to throw my OmniGrid rulers out the window. I had become so frustrated, trying to cut very precise little pieces with thick lines that were solid in too many places. To top it off, no matter what I apply to the back of my rulers, they slide at the most inconvenient times. And if you put anything on the back that adds any height you are shooting yourself in the foot as far as accurate cutting is concerned.

I had already decided that I was going to be replacing my OmniGrid rulers with Creative Grids when I read Lisa's post here. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the rulers and planned to order them after the next payday. But Lisa beat me to the punch and had a set sent to me so that I could try them and share my experience and opinions. Let me say up front, I am delighted!

Look at the markings--everything is marked clearly, down to every eighth of an inch.
 The lines are narrow and dashed all the way along. So easy to line up on the edge of the fabric or a seam line to get a precise cut.
I finally got play time and have experimented with some of Lisa's own patterns for small quilts.
 Making 1 1/2 inch HSTs and pinwheels, I made a very small version of the Primitive Gatherings pattern "Pinwheel Garden". Excuse the fact that I made my pinwheels rather hurriedly (no pinning), so the centers don't match well, but the photos show how clearly you can see to line up your cuts. Lisa recommends foundation piecing for this quilt, but I used the "make large, cut smaller" technique to give the rulers a good test.
They passed the test so well that I have actually cut HSTs to make the whole quilt in scrappy CW blues and browns.

I decided to give the "Broken Dishes" pattern a try, but this time I thought I'd take it up a notch (or would it be down?) by making the units half the size the pattern indicates. Instead of finishing at 2", those little Broken Dishes blocks finish at 1".
 I got everything cut and then began sewing together the broken dishes blocks.
The ruler markings made squaring up these little blocks so easy. I did not "cut large" on these blocks, but had no trouble coming out with perfect little blocks. You can see I was practically just trimming off fuzz when I squared them.

 After completing enough broken dishes for three rows, I decided to stitch those rows together and move on to another test of the rulers.

 Here are the finished three rows up against one of the Itty-Bitty Eight Rulers. I think it is fun to see how much mini quilts shrink when sewn together.

Next I wanted to test how well things would come together when using one of the less common measurements. I pulled out some thrift store shirt scraps and decided to pretend that the scraps were only 7/8", so I would need to make my cuts accordingly.
 I got lazy about taking photos during this process. Above you see the cut squares compared to my rotary cutter. Below you see the basket in my hand. It will finish at 1 3/4". The 7/8" markings were not hard to work with at all.

I did try one other project, but took no photos of the process. When I made  my mini Burgoyne Surrounded, the most maddening thing in the whole process was the little 9-patch blocks that finish at 3/4". I was having such a hard time getting good results with the OmniGrid rulers, so I had to try a few tiny 9-patch blocks with these rulers. You can see the little double 9-patch block at the bottom of this photo. It isn't laying flat so it looks wonky, but I was really pleased with how well the 9-patches turned out. That block will finish at 2 1/4".
This photo shows all of my "test projects" together, with the rulers. I haven't had much sewing time lately, so this has taken longer than I care to admit. But I can't wait to finish up the broken dishes, and tackle my CW blue & brown version of the pinwheel quilt.

I can highly recommend the Itty-Bitty Eights to anyone who makes minis, or even those of you who make larger quilts that have many smaller parts in the construction. The 6" square is probably the one I used the most, but when I was making the 9-patch blocks by sewing strips, the 3"x7" was very handy. My only wish was that the 3"x7" would have had more markings across the width of the ruler, as the square does. Other than that, no complaints. The textured dots and edges held onto the fabric well. It wasn't until I was writing this post that I realized I hadn't had any slipping problems with any of these projects. Many thanks to Lisa and Creative Grids for a job well done!

Next week is the 4th anniversary of my blog. I'll have to celebrate somehow. : )
Until then,
Janet O.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Not your mother's baby quilts!

Got these sent off Tuesday and they are hopefully now at their new home in NH.
I mentioned that DD#1 didn't want typical baby quilts. These qualify, don't you think? And what fun they were to make!
My top two favorite fabric styles are Civil War reproductions and batiks, so you know I enjoyed these. Third on my list would be thrift store shirts, so I think my next baby quilt will come from that stash.

I wasn't going to put feathers on a baby quilt, but those setting triangles just called out to me, "practice your feathers!!". And believe me, I needed the practice. I draw the curve for the spine of the feather and then work my way up one side of the spine, stitching along the line as I come back down to start up the other side
 I get the quilt "puddled" around the triangle that I will be stitching, and then I get into the flow of the feathering. It is fun, even when I am rusty and have several glitches along the way. I did not unpick (my apologies to the new grandbaby).

 This is what resulted. I realize the final border wasn't stitched when I took this photo, but that's okay, because it wasn't that great. : )

These were April's blocks for those things I don't do. (BB BOM and Attic Heirlooms OOM)
Have only got them fused. May get to the stitching during the MLS soccer game on TV tonight. : ) The snowlady doesn't look like much without all of the stitched details. That will be a basket of flowers in her twiggy hands, and she will be wearing a floral wreath on her chilly brow. If you are doing the BB BOM you may notice that I added a strawberry to my tomato pincushion. Just felt right.

If you follow this blog because you like mini quilts, then you will want to stay tuned. Recently Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings introduced the results of a collaboration with Creative Grids. These rulers are expressly made to meet the needs of the mini maker. They can be ordered here (6x6) and here (3x7).
See all of the thin, little dashed lines in small increments, and the measurements written along the edges? And they have the textured surface along the bottom edges to grip the fabric.  I have been playing with them and in my next post I will be sharing my experiences and giving a thorough review. Believe me, I am thrilled! Thank you, Lisa--somebody needed to do this!!

I'll leave you with another shot of the Sandhill Crane that has been wandering a field to the north of us the past few days. Isn't he a handsome fellow, standing there in the dandelion peppered alfalfa? Don't know if he lost his mate or if he hasn't had one yet, but he looks lonely.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this month marks the 4th anniversary of my blog. One of these days a giveaway will probably surface.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

This, That, and The Other (and this, again)

THIS... what I did while I still had my Kim Diehl fabrics out. She designed this for a recent quilt cruise project. No, I didn't go, but Michelle did and she loaned me the pattern after she made hers. I had seen Kim's when I took her class last Fall, and I am happy to now have my own. Thanks, Michelle!

The scraps from the above project made some great little ornaments. I haven't made these for a little while and it was fun to do them again. I really like the pineapple in these fabrics. Think I'll have to make more--someday.

That... my version of Pam Buda's Nabby's Dowry SAL under Gidget's needle. Finally getting it quilted up for grandchild #5. DD#1 does not want typical baby quilts, and I am more than happy to oblige.  : )
Can you see my FMQ sample from my first class hanging above my machine? That is to encourage me. When I feel like I am not doing a good job of quilting, I can glance up and remember that I have come a long way.

The Other...
...recent activity in my sewing room has been quilting and binding these two little quilts. On the left is my "Bowties in Plaid" (aka Baby Bowties), made from thrift store shirt fabrics, and on the right is the little quilt I made replicating one of Kathie Holland's creations (still nameless). The fabrics were donated by Kathie and I made the top quickly, but I stalled on the quilting.
 I got them finished in time for...
 I visited the local miniature quilt guild again. I had a few more quilts this time than when I did a trunk show last year, and I didn't have to borrow back any that I had gifted in order to have enough. This was a display only, not a presentation, and that took a lot of the pressure off.
This guild is such a great bunch of gals. What a fun evening! If I was ever tempted to join a guild, this would be the one! Thanks, ladies!

Now I need to get busy on those wool applique projects I am  finding every 30 days or so on a couple of blogs. (I worked really hard there not to say BOM--you know, those things I DON'T do).

Until next time,
Janet O.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Little finishes and some wool gathering.

The two little quilts in Kim Diehl fabrics are finished.
The larger one (No Big Diehl) is a mini version of Kim Diehl's design "All in a Row".
In my last post I asked for name suggestions for the smaller one. I received many good ideas, but still can't decide, though I think I have narrowed it down.

My Spring version of Lisa Bongean's Old Glory Gatherings pattern is now completed and hanging in my living room.

I do think there will be one more little quilt made for this series, but it will wait a few months.

Just in the nick of time I finished stitching up the March block for Miss Stacey's Mystery BOM (yes, I know--I don't do mysteries and I don't do BOMs).

I chose not to use the crown, so I added an extra bee for height, and threw in some buzzing lines. Don't you know about those? I live next door to a real life bee garden and I see those in the air all the time (well, it was still April Fool's Day when I started writing this--but I really do live next door to a bee garden).

So here are the three blocks so far for those things I don't do (mysteries, BOMs).

Just caught up with the last three Attic Heirlooms Ornaments of the Month. Check out the link for April's ornament. So cute! Each pattern is free through the month it is posted.
You are extremely perceptive if you caught on to the fact that I am not making these into ornaments. I am appliqueing them onto cotton from thrift store shirts and will be sashing them with red and green shirt fabrics for a little mini Christmas quilt. I think I will trim the blocks to about 4 1/2" before sashing them.

Finally, and most fun of all, almost two weeks ago (has it really been that long?) I was able to meet up with friend and fellow blogger, Gayle (The Middle Sister blog) for a nice lunch. We actually remembered to get a photo just before we parted ways.
Always such a treat to get to spend time with Gayle. They don't come any nicer!

Up next on my quilting agenda is to turn my Nabby's Dowry flimsy into a baby quilt. Picked up the backing flannel yesterday and will wash it up tomorrow. Grandchild #5 is less than 2 months away!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Quilt as desired"

Do you dread those words as I do?
My mini version of Lisa Bongean's Burgoyne Surrounded is a flimsy. It has been on a design board in my sewing room for a couple of days.
 I find myself sitting in a chair across the sewing room from it--just staring, trying to decide how it should be quilted. This is small; the blocks finish at 3 3/4".

It is a miniaturization of Lisa Bongean's version of Burgoyne Surrounded from the APQ designer SAL last year. Her quilt swept me off my feet. It is shown in the lower corner of the photo to the left, and you can see the post about it here.

I used a pattern from issue #11 of the OOP Miniature Quilts Magazine, but followed Lisa's colorway, as the pattern is for a 2 color quilt.
If you are not already lucky enough to have the magazine, but want to get the pattern, you can usually find most of the issues on ebay.

My little Leprechaun Lamb quilt just needs the binding hand sewn. I've been toying with names and right now "Leaping Lulu" is the frontrunner (with apologies to the local Celtic band of the same name).
It will be hanging on the wall before St. Patrick's Day, which is a vast improvement over the Winter and Valentine's Day lambs.  Pattern (by Lisa Bongean) from which this is adapted can be found here.
The other 3 unfinished lamb quilts have all of the machine quilting completed and just need the big stitching around the wool applique before binding.

A couple of other minis have been getting some love. "No Big Diehl" (my miniaturization of Kim Diehl's "All in a Row" design), just needs stitch in the ditch around the outside of each churn dash. The rest of the quilting is finished. Can't wait to get this one bound.
 These blocks finish at 1 3/4"

This little quiltlet is made from the leftovers of "No Big Diehl". It needs a name, but I am drawing a blank. Any ideas? This little baby measures 5 3/4" x 6 3/4".  The blocks finish at 1/2". That is a pint jar behind it, for some perspective.
 It is all quilted, but the binding needs to be hand stitched down.

Just wanted to share this handsome guy that was in the pasture beside our house. I took the photo from our second story kitchen window with the camera I got for Christmas. It has a great zoom!
That is all I have to show for the past two weeks. Hope you have had more sewing time than I.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I guess it was wishful thinking on my part

that I could actually get my chosen UFO at least to flimsy stage by the end of the month. Didn't happen. This is where things stand with my miniature Burgoyne Surrounded (based on a large quilt by Lisa Bongean, shown HERE).
 Ten out of twelve 4 1/4" blocks are completed (and it looks like they could all use a shave--haven't trimmed them yet). The cornerstones will be more little 3/4" 9-patches.

 The last two blocks are waiting the completion of the tiny 9-patch blocks before they can be sewn together.

So this is the only finish I had for February--the Buttermilk Basin heart pillow from retreat last month. (The quilts on the rack are all my Mom's handiwork.)
At Miss Stacy's recommendation, I stuffed it with the Morning Glory Brand Premium Polyester Fiberfill. It makes for a firmer pillow.

I wish I could show you more, but I haven't done anything else. That's all, folks! : )

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Year of the Sheep

I don't want to get embroiled in the controversy as to whether it is really the year of the sheep or the  goat. I'm just going to roll with the sheep! Here is the latest "Lamb for All Seasons".
 Can you tell that my Leprechaun lamb is step dancing? Makes me laugh. : )
I still may put a gold buckle on the hat.

 The Spring lambie needs something more. I may add some French knots in the feather stitching (which looked like chicken scratches to me).

Eight seasonal/holiday 12" lamb quilts have been created so far from Lisa Bongean's "Old Glory Gatherings" free pattern here.
Winter through Spring are just flimsies. Fourth of July through Christmas are finished.

The second block now joins the first for Buttermilk Basin's Mystery BOM.

More Buttermilk Basin stuff--I finally got up the courage to feather stitch around my mat from the  workshop with Miss Stacy. 
This is the last of the sheep in this post. : )

My heart pillow from the workshop is ready to assemble.
I redid some of the decorative stitching and trims and now I am happier with it. Probably no one else can tell the difference, but I can.

 This is my Mom quilting on what she says is the last quilt she will make.
 She has named it "My Happy Quilt," because the colors and design make her happy.

She hand quilts all of her quilts and her stitches are tiny.
You can barely see some of the piano key border on the left side above.

As always, she gave me the leftover parts and scraps and I used them to make some little quilts for my two daughters. The hexie flowers were made by Mom, as were the HSTs in the corners. The colored borders were made from the trimmings on her piano key border.
The backing, bindings, even the batting are from the leftovers of Mom's quilt. I also tried to replicate the quilting motifs Mom has used in her own quilt--and I hand quilted them. Now my daughters will have a little memory quilt of their grandma's Happy Quilt, and I have enough pieces to make one for myself.

Keeping family and friends that are in the deep freeze in my prayers!
Until next time,
Janet O.

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