a blog about my quilting life...mostly

a blog about my quilting life...mostly

Saturday, July 13, 2024

On scarecrows, summer, and a little bit of sewing

 Happy July, everyone! ( although I am a little confused as to where June disappaeared to so quickly?!)

I hope you are all having a nice, relaxing summer, with lots of sewing time thrown in! 

I have been doing a little bit of sewing, but mostly hand stuff at night, while watching television. But that's okay, it still gets projects done, and maybe it is better if I get something DONE, rather than starting another NEW project ;) ( but NEW projects are soooooo enticing!). 

This is my project these days:


I quilted in the ditch by machine, and now am BIG STITCH quilting with my favorite threads around the flowers and leaves I appliqued on the border. Then I will probably do some handstitching in the white blocks as well....it is going to be a riot of color by the time I'm done!

Speaking of big stitch quilting with my favorite thread, I did the same on this little quilt that I finished just in time to use in decorating our sunporch for the 4th of July holiday!



This was such a fun and quick little project, especially because I sewed the binding on by machine as well. That is definitely a time-saver, although I actually really enjoy handsewing binding...
In case you are wondering, my absolute favorite threads are these Sulky Cotton Petites ( click). What I like about them is that it is just one thread, but it is as thick as 2 strands of regular embroidery floss, and there is nothing to seperate, just snip and start stitching. The colors are all yummy too, and I like that the company will curate special packs that coordinate really well.  I use these for big stitch quilting, as well as embroidery, and some people in my FB group even use them in their sewing machines!

Another little (and quick) project that I made was this one, using the Washingston's Puzzle die from Accuquilt ( click). I was looking for a small die to use up my gazillion scraps, and this little block is perfect for those, as it finishes at just 4 inches! I used to run far, FAR away from making little blocks because I was never able to have them turn out perfectly, but using the dies has changed all that!


 I want to end my blog post by sharing progress on my Quilted Scarecrow quilt along project...
We are now on month 2, and this month is all about sewing more leaf blocks~9 to be exact.
You can see on the finished quilt that there are so many leafs, and the first few months that is all we will be sewing :). P.S. If YOU would like to sew along, here are some links to the project:


IF you are sewing along, I have quite a few hints to share with you this month. I hope they are helpful!
First of all, there is a LOT of cutting to be done, so just be aware of that! I think it took me almost 2 hours to cut all the pieces for these blocks. Now, I do think that if you are using your own scraps it might go a little faster, but I was trying to use the correct fabrics so those took a bit longer to sort out.
 Here are some hints that might help you accomplish some of this month's tasks a little faster or more easily:
  • When cutting multiple squares of the same size, cut a STRIP the correct width first, and then subcut that into the correct size square. ( the same goes for rectangles). Even if you have to cut just 2 of a certain color and size, it is faster to cut a strip that measures 2x the size of the required units, rather than cutting each one individually. 
  • It is very easy for your ruler to slip and slide while cutting fabrics, so using a little bit of "grippy" stuff on the back of your ruler is helpful. I bought skateboard tape and attached little squares on the back of my rulers, but here is an Amazon link to lots of different options ( click).
  • Sometimes it can be hard to see the numbers on your ruler on top of ( especially a green) a cutting mat. Here is my little trick: Place a piece of white printer paper under the left edge of your fabric. The numbers will be much more visible!
  • To keep all your cut pieces of fabric straight, I like using Alphabitties ( click). They are available in a couple of different colors and variations and will make your life so much easier, but alternately you could mark with a pin or a piece of paper. 
  • Make sure to measure each partial block to make sure your final leaf blocks will be true to size. It is very easy to have your blocks end up a very different size when working with small pieces like these, so measuring ( and adjusting if necessary) is important and will prevent frustration.
  • You will notice that there are a lot of squares that you have to mark diagonal lines on this month. Here is a little hack to make that job faster. Rather than doing each individual piece of fabric, I laid my fabric  out wrong side up on my cutting mat, matching the diagonal corners to one line. I then laid a quilting ruler on top ( very carefully) just a teeny bit to the left of the line on my mat. Then I was able to mark all those squares really quickly and easily while pushing down on that particular part of the ruler to prevent slipping! This went so much faster than my usual method and I had those squares marked in no time! 








  • These blocks have quite a few "bumpy" seams. You will probably find it easier to sew those if you start with a little "leader" or scrap piece of fabric.
  • I found that pressing my seams toward the "stem" piece allowed my block to be flatter than when I pressed as suggested. But I don't know if that will cause me problems when we go to assemble the quilt top, so you do as you see fit.
  • Please be aware that you are making 9 leaf blocks so there is no need to cut and sew the components for the tenth stem block!
  • And finally, I found the instructions were a bit lacking for the final steps on putting the block together. Just follow the photo illustrations and you will get there!
Whew, that is a LOT of hints for this month's sewalong, but even if only one person is helped by them that is fine!
I did manage to get all of my blocks made in time to share with you, so yay for me! 
Have fun making yours, and if you are part of my Farmhouse Quilts Facebook group, please share YOUR blocks with me there~ I would love to see yours!


 



Want to join my group? You are very welcome! I have a great bunch of members who are so sweet and respectful of each other~ you will be welcomed with open arms. Click here to ask to join the group ( click!).

Until next time~happy creating!

Monique

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