Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A bit discouraged...

Surely I'm not the only one who from time to time feels rather depressed about how much money this craft of ours costs?  So often I'm making projects using scraps and leftovers from other projects, which is totally fine and I very much subscribe to the "use what you have" school of thought.  Or I'm making something for someone else with fabric that they have supplied.  Or I'm using supplies that I received as a gift or bought in the clearance section.....

But once in a while there's a project that I would love to do and I feel hindered by the cost.  I could just go out and buy what I want, but I also need to balance that with being a responsible member of our family, making wise choices, and sometimes I have a difficult time justifying it.  Which is HARD because I love to quilt!!

What's got me thinking this way at the moment?  The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt.  I haven't really been drawn to it in the past but lately I've been feeling like I want to tackle a long-term, challenging project.  I would need to buy the book, which locally would cost me $30+ and online wouldn't end up being much cheaper to Canada.  And to make all of the blocks, which I'd like to do, requires a lot of fabric and I don't want to go the scrappy route this time.  It's a dilemma!  I joined a Farmer's Wife Yahoo group, which gave me access to the templates and I gave four blocks a try this past weekend using scraps (see above).  They were a lot of fun and it has me wanting to make a lot more!  And my mind just can't get off of Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee line......

So I'm just curious what your thoughts are on this sort of thing?  How do you justify the cost?  Especially if, like me, you don't work outside of the home?

Let me know in the comments!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Winner winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my flying geese mini giveaway.  Unfortunately, the first name I chose as winner was someone who does not have a blog and didn't leave an e-mail address or any other way for me to contact them.  :(  So I picked a second name using a random number generator and am happy to announce that this mug rug...

....will be going to entry #30....

This is super ironic considering it was Nicole who was the one who first got me started on the flying geese experiment!  But she won fair and square and I'm thrilled to send this mug rug to her.  I'll be sending you an e-mail Nicole!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The flying geese experiment continues ~ and a giveaway!

** The giveaway is now over and the winner has been announced here.  Thanks to all who entered! **

A couple of days ago I experimented with a new-to-me method of making flying geese units.  For a tutorial, visit this website and scroll down for the second method described.  I was really pleased with the results, it is truly a no-waste method.  Then on Instagram I was pointed in the direction of yet another method, which I tried yesterday.

Obviously the results look quite the same as any other flying geese but the steps taken are really different.  Another one of those "how is this ever going to end up being what it's supposed to be" sort of things!  The tutorial for this method can be found here.  The previous method I tried really only had pros, and this latest method has a few pros and cons.  
  • you end up with a unit slightly larger which is then trimmed down to size, so there is a greater margin of error.  A plus if you're not confident in your 1/4" seam.  You will end up with units that are exactly the right size.
  • with just 2 squares of fabric and a really easy step-by-step, you end up with four flying geese units
  • this is not a no-waste method.  Because you are trimming the units down to size you end up with waste, and compared with the traditional flying geese method (the first method described here) where you end up with useable waste (half square triangles), in this case you end up with unuseable waste.  Granted not a lot, but still some.
  • you will end up with four identical flying geese units, which is fine if that's what you're after, but if you want to go for a scrappier look (like the units I made a couple of days ago) this isn't the method for you.
I would like to send one of these mini quilts/mug rugs to one of you!  To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know if you would like this blue one, or the orange one.  For a second entry, if you follow me on Instagram (@windingbobbins) leave a second comment on this post to let me know.

The giveaway will end on Thursday, April 10/14.  Good luck!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Unintentional project ~ flying geese

I started off yesterday experimenting with a new-to-me flying geese method, and ended up with this:

I have made a lot of flying geese in the past, after all I did make a Swoon quilt which has many flying geese units.  These were all made with the method using a rectangle and two squares of fabric (the first method described on this page), which totally works but ends up with wasted triangles, or free HSTs if you like to think of it that way, but honestly when I'm making a project I'm not thinking that way - it ends up feeling like waste to me even if they are useful leftovers. 

Nicole pointed me in the direction of this alternate flying geese method, which actually makes 4 at a time.  This technique is the second method described in the same link I gave for the more traditional flying geese method above.  It wasn't intuitive to me but I followed the step-by-step and it totally worked!  Who comes up with these things is what I'd like to know!!  :) 

I liked my little experiment so much that I decided to add skinny borders right then and there, quilt some dense matchstick lines, bind it and call it a finish.  It ended up being 6" x 10.5" and I actually have a perfect spot for it, a place where my husband likes to put his coffee mug when he's working on his computer.  :)

There is actually another method for flying geese that was pointed out to me on Instagram that I really want to try.  Also from the Connecting Threads website, the third method can be found here.  I'll let you know if I give it a try.

One more thing.....until recently I have always joined binding strips straight, end to end, and have always been a little bit frustrated with how bulky those joins are.  On a recent project I decided to try joining my binding strips on the diagonal and I found myself wondering why I had never done this before!!?  It's a bit more effort but it distributes the bulk and makes a much smoother finished binding in my opinion.  BUT I was still joining the two final ends of the binding with a straight seam.  Yesterday when I was finishing this little mug rug I decided to try joining the two ends on the diagonal and I found that it was so much easier than I thought it would be (like so many things!!) and will do it like this from now on.  You can find the tutorial I used here.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Linking up with finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quilting a spiral ~ what worked for me

I wanted to make note of these things for my own future reference, but hopefully you'll find them useful as well:
  • Baste your quilt well.  You will handle the quilt a lot and want the layers to stay put.  Also, quilting in the same direction around and around the whole time has the potential for a lot of shifting if your basting is insufficient.  I used a lot of pins but spray would work as well.
  • I found this printable spiral template at verykerryberry and found it to be very useful.  I wanted to be sure that I began with a properly started spiral and this did the trick.  The template doesn't look like much but it is all you need to get going in the right direction.  I printed it smaller than actual size because I wanted 1/2" distance between my quilting lines.  From there, I actually placed the paper template in the center of my quilt, affixed it with painter's tape, and sewed through the paper and the quilt with my machine unthreaded.  Then I traced over those stitching lines on the quilt with a washable marker and was good to go.
  • Use your walking foot.
  • Start with a very short stitch length!  I went all the way down to 1.5 (on my machine, 2.5 is the default stitch length).  The beginning of the spiral is the trickiest part and when following a very tight curve, a short stitch length is really important.  For the first few rounds I was literally sewing two or three stitches, then raising the presser foot and adjusting the quilt a bit, then a few more stitches, etc., just to be sure I was following my marked line.  Also at the beginning especially you will want to take it really slow.
  • I wanted my lines to be close together and I didn't want to have to use the guidebar for my walking foot (I hate that thing, mine doesn't stay put.) so I moved my needle position as far to the right as I could and then used the left edge of my walking foot as my guide. 
  • As I went along and the spiral grew and became easier to sew, I gradually increased my stitch length until I was up to a 3.0 on my machine, which is what I normally use for straight line quilting.  Unless you look closely you'd never know that the stitch length varies throughout.
  • You'll eventually get to the point of having a full spiral that goes out to the edges of your quilt, leaving the corners unfinished (the point I was at in the above photo).  From here you can just quilt one corner at a time, continuing in the same direction that you quilted the rest (clockwise in my case) and continuing to follow the edge of your walking foot as a guide (or your guidebar, if you're using one).
I hope you'll give this a try sometime.  It's a really fun (once you get past the first few rounds...) and striking way to quilt a quilt, adding lots of interest and texture.  I'll definitely be spiraling again in the future!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spiral Rainbows

This small (finished at 27" x 27") scrap busting project has been in the works for quite a few months.  I didn't know when I started exactly where I wanted to end up, but I'm very happy with the final destination.  :)

I started by digging through my scraps and dividing them into colour groups, then put the blocks together using the crazy piecing technique described in "Quilting Modern."  This falls under the category of 'improvisation' which as I've said many times, does not come easily or naturally to me, so for me these blocks were a lot of work.  I have a hard time just letting random be random and I probably put way too much thought into it!

After seeing Debbie's 'Unlocked' quilt quilted in a spiral, I knew I wanted to give it a try on this project.  I had quilted concentric circles once before, quite a long time ago, so I needed a refresher on how to get started, and any tips and tricks I could gather to make it as smooth as possible.  I hope to write a blog post soon with what worked for me as far as the spiral goes, so stay tuned for that! **quilting a spiral blog post is up, you can find it here**

I found this really awesome Michael Miller "Old Script" fabric to use for the binding, and I just love it.  And in case you're wondering, the backing is nothing to write home about, a plain solid cream, which is why it is not pictured!

I hope your day has been as beautiful and sunny as ours has been!  Thanks for stopping by.

Linking up with finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts