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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Precision Piecing QAL with Quilt Shop Gal

Yesterday was National Quilting Day 2017. Right now I have dozens of unfinished projects to choose from, but I just feel sort of burned out on all of them. I wanted to start something new, but any new project would have to be short enough in duration to finish in just a day or two. I noticed several weeks ago that Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal had a #precisionpiecingQAL. Piecing is not my strong point, but I could make as little as one block to enter, so it seemed a good idea to tackle whatever I could get done in one day.
The blocks for this project were designed by Hope's Quilt Designs, and are available free on the Craftsy platform. Darlene provided links to the blocks. As usual, she is offering some great prizes that will be awarded to participants based on a random drawing. Here is a picture of my entry:
There were five blocks in the quilt along; the plain nine patch in the lower left corner of the mini quit was not one of the blocks. I had a great deal of trouble making the green "rolling stone" block that is outside the little quilt and it just didn't fit, so I made a nine patch to finish the sampler and left the crooked block out of the final product. Each block finishes at 1 1/2" (one and a half inches), so this was quite challenging for me, especially the half square triangle units. I could get them right, but when sewing them into the blocks, I found that my machine often got hung up or skipped stitches when it got to that diagonal seam. That caused the blocks to be out of square. Because the blocks are so small, taking out a seam more than once meant excessive unraveling. This is a skill I need to work on.
The mini sampler will finish at about 9". I still need to quilt and bind it. It was an enjoyable challenge and made National Quilting Day more fun. I'm linking this up to Quilt Shop Gal's precision piecing page.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

2016 Ultimate FMQ Challenge, Part 2, Quilt Shop Gal

It's been over a year since I've posted here. A lot has happened, most of it not at all related to quilting. I did get very involved in my local guild's quilt show in October 2015, which took up a lot of time. My first grandchild was born... I did make a quilt for him along with sewing several other things. But somehow, I just never found time to post anything.

When I saw a new FMQ Challenge from Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal, I really wanted to join in. Darlene and Cindy Needham got me started on this journey. You see, the first time I ever got up the courage to lower my feed dogs and attempt FMQ was in a Cindy Needham's Thread Bar Workshop. It might have ended there if it hadn't been for Darlene's first FMQ Challenge. It was a very slow journey for me, but I have come a long way, and now love FMQ. I'm just a little rusty, as I haven't been quilting so much lately. So I really wanted to jump in again and learn to use Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencils.

Time was still scarce, though, and I've been spending most of my time on piecing, so I decided to do the drawing challenge (part 2), and try to do a mini quilt for part 3. Well, I did do a couple of drawings (in pencil) and prepared a mini, but today is the last day for the challenge and the mini isn't finished. So this is my part 2 (drawing) entry.

I did 2 drawings using the Ultimate Stencils and Background Stencils.
This was done first with the square Ultimate Stencil to set the square within a square. I used the circular version to add the arcs. The backgrounds use the background stencils. The feathers and other embellishments were then drawn in freehand.

The second drawing was a bit different.

Again, I used both of the Ultimate Stencils - square and circular, and the background stencils along with some freehand embellishment. I really liked using the stencils. There are diagonal, horizontal, and vertical marks to help you orient your design on the cloth or page and they make it easy to combine both stencils in one design. They also help you line up the background stencils. It's an easy to use system. I like to use the stencils as a starting point, then doodle in more details to add complexity.

I'm also going to show you my unfinished mini quilt, as I did use the stencils for the design. Here's a photo of the way I used the background stencil.
This is a very old handkerchief that I have had since I was in grade school. I decided to draw a poinsettia in the center, then use the background stencil to add some interest. I taped the handkerchief to the table, then aligned the stencil and taped it in place on the cloth. (I use blue painter's tape for this.) I then used my Sewline pencil to draw the lines for the background. I then removed the stencil and connected the lines to complete the background. I then take up the handkerchief and spray baste it to a background, in this case a fat quarter of red Kaufman Radiance. (Ooooh, shiny!)

I don't usually mark the embellishment lines - I just add them when I'm quilting. I'm not finished yet, but this is what I've done so far.

I think the central poinsettia needs more color. I'm thinking of using several colors of red and green threads to do some thread painting there. I do like the way the background has turned out, and the stencil made it really easy. The poinsettias in the border need a little more detail in the quilting, I think. And of course, I need to do some more quilting in the outer border. I'm thinking feathers and maybe a background grid. The handkerchief wasn't anywhere near square or even straight, so I'm thinking I need to de-emphasize the outline somehow. Not sure how just yet.

I am linking this up to Quilt Shop Gal's Ultimate FMQ Challenge. Thank you, Darlene, for setting this challenge and getting me back to quilting. And thank you, Cindy, for the wonderful stencils. I will be using them a lot more often.