Tuesday, February 26, 2019

My 50th time around the sun and how I plan to spend it

I don't know if I've mentioned this on the blog yet so my apologies if this is a repeat.

I've recently turned 50 and since it is such a big year, like all zero years,  I've decided to do something just as big. I've decided to make and donate 50 items to charity. Pretty big huh? If you think about it though 50 items is just one item a week with a two week buffer built in just in case. 

This little preemie diaper shirt is one of the things I will be donating. You can find out more information about the organization and ways to donate on their Twenty-five and Four website.  I've recently been certified so now I can start assembly line sewing these little shirts. 

I've also decided to make 50 or 52 baby quilts this year. I have no immediate plans but they will most likely be donated to Project Linus. 

The greens is this top are a bit darker. My craftroom doesn't always have the best light.

These greens are muted also. This top turned out beautifully. Perfect for a sweet little princess.

This top was donated to me and I added the blue borders to make it a bit wider.   

I've been having fun not only making the quilt tops but also finding fun and quick patterns to try. Sometimes I just wing it and I'm always surprised to see the finished quilt top. 


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Block 5

Block 5 in the Hand Pieced QAL is an Ohio star block with HSTs in the corners and it has been named Dorothy. Kristen explains why they named this star block Dorothy over in this blog post.

Each week's block builds off skill we have learned in previous blocks. While the individual blocks become more complex/detailed each week I've noticed that stitching them has become easier for me. While this block still took me three days to stitch they weren't full days. I think I had about an hour or so each day to sit and work on this block. That includes cutting and marking the lines.  It takes a bit to figure out just how to hold your hands, move your fingers, and obtain muscle memory. I also needed to find the right needle for me and the project.

These are the needles that Kristen uses. You can see what's in her hand sewing bag over here.   While watching some of her tutorial videos she mentions how very sharp these needles are and I noticed that she could load a bunch of stitches on her needle. I've been on a quest to find the right needles for me and for each type of project that I like to work on. These needles are great for hand sewing. The only thing that could be problematic is that the eye is so small.  Some needles have an elongated eye no matter the needle size and some have basically a small round eye. These have little round eyes. It is worth occasionally using a needle threader 

I'm also getting my seams under control. This block lays flat (without numerous blasts of steam lol) and it looks relatively tidy on the back.  After stitching each little unit I stopped and pressed the seams. While doing the actual stitching I like to hand press the seams but once all the little units were stitched I hit them with a nice hot iron and gave them a blast of steam to set everything in place. I spun the seams where I could and I only had to flip one or two seams in the final block. That was where the HST corners met up with the hourglass blocks. 

The last four blocks are all star blocks and we can only guess which one will be next. We won't have to wait very long because the new block comes out bright and early Monday morning. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Block 4

Week 4 of the Hand Pieced QAL is an hourglass block. As I'm sure you can tell I have not trimmed this block yet. I've decided to wait until I've made all the blocks before trimming them up. We will be adding sashing between the blocks so I'm not too worried if they are a bit off in size from each other. I'll just adjust the sashing width to accommodate any discrepancies.

I think I've created muscle memory for hand stitching at this point. Last week's block went fairly well but this week's block were much faster to stitch. Of course the process of hand stitching blocks is still slower than by machine but that's part of the point really. You spend more time with each fabric and block not to mention the portability and relaxation that comes with slowing down and hand stitching.

This is the back of the block. This is the part that I'm still working to improve. I need to remember to stop and press and trim each smaller block before I stitch them all together into the final block. 

The block lays nice and flat now. I was able to spin the seams on the little blocks and I sort of spun the center of the big block lol.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Block 3

I spent today stitching block 3 of the hand pieced qal.   This block took me awhile to get it all stitched together. My stitches are getting better but I'm struggling with the multiple seams. Stitching through the seams is no problem it's just how to press them to get the block to lay flat.  No big surprise there since I struggle with that when machine sewing blocks too.

I did go back and press all three blocks and they lay nice and flat now.  I like that we can link up our blocks each week. It gives me a deadline and a little pressure to get each week's block done. I know I can go at my own pace but I also know if I don't link up each week then I won't finish the project. It's only 9 blocks over 9 weeks which isn't that big of a commitment so I should be fine.