Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let there be Geese!

Lots and lots of Flying Geese units are needed for a redwork project that's in progress. And there are lots and lots of methods for piecing the units accurately. For the first batch, I tried the the method in which you make two units at once. But for the second batch I used the method we just practiced in Kim Diehl's class at quilt guild. Her instructions are for a stitch-and-flip method using squares and rectangles. She gave us several tips for sewing the units successfully.

One useful tip was to adhere this narrow tape to the bed of the machine to provide a stitching guide for sewing an accurate diagonal seam across each square. You can see in the photo above, that by watching the point of the square and keeping it aligned with the tape, the line will stitched in just the right place. She also suggested starting at the center point, as above, to keep the machine from "chewing up" those corners. Once sewn, you can flip the triangle back on itself and press, and then trim away the bottom two layers to reduce bulk. But just in case your brain goes on a mini vacation while sewing, and the unit is not accurate, she suggests just trimming out the middle layer of the triangles. Doing this preserves the cut rectangle and keeps the unit precise. That happened in the unit at the upper left in the top photo. You can see a sliver of the red rectangle peaking out where I stitched slightly off the true diagonal. I like this method because it keeps the unit from becoming distorted or wonky, as we quilters like to say.

All those Flying Geese units, plus many more, are going to border these three panels of redwork. At long last I completed all three panels. I'm glad I saved the one below for last because I knew it would skim right along and that the hard part was behind me. It may not look like a lot, but every branch, every stone, every fence post and snow line, every bit of horse tack is embroidered with two strands of floss. It seemed as if I'd never get there!

And now that these are done, the remaining task is to sew them in rows with pieced blocks like those seen below, and then border the whole project with the geese. Oh yes, and quilt it (or get it quilted). So I'm still a long way from done, but it is a Christmas quilt and I have some time. The pattern is by Crab-apple Hill, and the quilt will finish to about 51" x 57". Meantime I'm celebrating completing the redwork, and I'll keep you posted on the finish line!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

True Grit...

That's what I've been cleaning for awhile... grit. I noticed it's been several weeks since I last posted, and I reflected on why that is. One word answer- remodel. We've had contractors camped out in our home ripping and re-doing one bathroom and tiling the other. So I have done little but putter and await the completion. They're gone! And I like what they did very much. But now I'm cleaning the "mud" and debris left behind in prepartion for painting. It feels like my life was on hold. But one thing I did was to take a class at guild on making this handy iron caddy. If you've ever seen the tell-tale imprint of a hot iron on carpet, you'll know how useful this project is going to be. At the end of a class or retreat, no hanging around while the iron cools enough to safely put it in the car. This caddy can take the heat!

It's made using layers of fabric, batting, heat resistant insulated fabric, and silver ironing board fabric. Here it is pinned and ready to stitch. A plus is that it also makes a pressing surface when it lies flat like this.

We used a walking foot because the layers are quite thick. I'm glad to have this handy tool, and our instructor did a great job walking us through the project. Our guild also had teacher Kim Diehl visit for a trunk show and class. Those little star blocks in the first photo are about as far as I've gotten with her project, but her machine applique methods are excellent so I hope to use them for other projects, too. I did other things during the remodel, too, like making binding and some sorting of "stuff" in the sewing room. My sewing therapy helped ease the turmoil of the remodeling, and I think we have everything updated in the house that we want updated for now.