Monthly Archives: February 2013

Precision piecing continues!!


Had a very productive and accurate session in the sewing room this evening working on the
double Irish chain baby quilt. Got all 18 of Block A finished, trimmed and squared.

After you get the blocks done you measure a certain spot from raw edge to raw edge and it should measure 3 1/2 inch if it is more than a thread or two different , you use whatever measurement you have to cut the strips for the center part of Block B.

Mine were …….

wait for it……

exactly 3 1/2 inches!!!

so I went ahead and cut the strips for block B . I have rows 1 and 3 done and cut into segments. Row 2 not finished sewing the strips together yet. Just to tired to keep going, long day at work today being month end. but should be a lot quieter tomorrow.

Oh and i have no pics because i left the camera on , for like a day and the battery is deader than disco!

And none of the carousel horses are in danger of being upside down ( yet)  🙂


Double Irish Chain baby quilt-class 170 continued!


I didn’t spend a huge amount of time in the sewing room this weekend, sewing anyways! I did some scrap sorting as my little bins were getting stuffed and another solution needed to be found. That was saturday evening , Sunday morning I got downstairs and got the fabric straightened for the next project in Quilters Academy vol 1. This one is a Double Irish chain baby quilt and is a continuation of our lessons in working with combined grids.



Here is my fabric for this project. the carousel horses is the background and the ribbon fabric will either be part of the border or the backing.  The quilt itself has narrow borders of each of the main colours. I am using the mauve to replace the blue in the quilt that is shown in the book.

You know i think this is my first project that uses actual plain solid colour fabric!  I tend to gravitate towards the prints and tone on tones. but am trying to branch out  🙂

The first thing to do after straightening is to cut strips for the 18 block A’s.

3 different sets to make … rows 1 & 5 are the same , rows 2 & 4 as well and row 3 is well all on its own!

Each strip set has 5 strips with different colour combinations that are then cut into segments and pieced into the blocks.


Here are my strips laid out. the shorter ones are half strips, for rows  1,2,4, & 5 as each needs 1 1/2 strip sets.  so these are all the rows , but of course i mucked it up!  the two outer rows here are really for the center, row 3. rows 2 and 4 are correct and of course the one with the two light strips is row 1 and row 5.

I think i need a new ruler to cut strips…… I use my 6″ by 24″  , the book suggests using a narrower ruler, but i find my 3 by 24 slips more when cutting. so i use the wider one.  but it is one that has little black lines with yellow highlight around them on the one inch lines and i think i am cutting  my strips a bit too wide as i had some trimming to do on some of these and some of the inside strips were not the right width when i checked them , had to do a couple over. And i am still getting some curves and wobbly spots on my strips when pressing. I am trying to follow the directions but still having difficulties. I have some square rules that have very narrow lines and no highlights but i dont have a long narrow one for cutting stips yet.  I like the narrow lines.

so I have cut some of the strips into their 1 1/2 inch segments and of course had to sew one block together. 😀


I had no issues with the seams not butting , they were all perfect on this one!! yay!! but i forgot to trim and check the width after adding the 3rd and 4th strips on…….. and you guessed it they were not the correct width! I think i cut the segments a smidge to wide and then i was sewing without having the edge right against the barrier strip i have.  so some un sewing was called for , some trimming and then some re- sewing and all is well in my little world of blocks now!  but i am glad i didn’t chain piece a bunch before finding out these things!   and another thing the background of the carousel horses is a directional print sooooo i am going to have to be CAREFUL as i would like no horses to be standing on their heads.

No sewing happened at all on monday evening…. meh!

this evening I managed to get 11 more blocks done.  for a total of 12 of the 18 block A’s finished.

All the seams butted very precisely! , I did sew the odd wrong strip on and had to pick out and re sew LOL

I used less steam when pressing the seams and that seemed to work better…. less stretching!

I hope to get the rest of the Block A’s done thursday evening.

I don’t know what i am going to do if i finish this quilt in the next few days!  I bought a fat quarter bundle a week or two ago to use for the last quilt in the lessons and it had a pale buttery creamy ivory  in it. perfect for the background fabric. but nobody here has any.  I tried the store where i got it but they dont have it in yardage.

I finally found some last week on Etsy and it is on its way as of last friday i think. so it will be another  10 days probably before it gets here.

I might start with the borders on the other quilts, or maybe do a few of the Designer block of the month blocks from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Decisions, decisions!!

anyways right now i am deciding i need to go to bed 🙂

Good night!

Inlaid Tiles table runner Finish!


As mentioned in the previous post I left off last night with blocks sewn together in rows.



Here they are laying over and off the end of my cutting table.  they actually went together last night pretty well. nothing was really off at all but i did pin most of them just to make sure nothing slipped.

Headed downstairs tonight at about 7:30 and less than an hour later all the rows were sewn together, once again very little pinning , the seams butted together very nicely!


As mentioned i changed from a 6 x 6 block layout to a 4 x 9 block layout and am quite happy with it.



of course i was looking at the pattern before going downstairs tonight and noticed that Harriet had said we should sew the blocks together first in groups of four and then layout and sew into rows and then sew the rows together…… oops!

Onto the next project in this class  Harriet’s Double Irish Chain baby quilt. Hope to get it cut out and started over the weekend!

cheers and thanks for dropping by!


class 170-lesson 4 Carries Inlaid tile table runner.


This is our first practical lesson on combined grids. A combined grid is explained as a design that has one or more parts have a solid piece that is 2 or more times the size of the grid.


Inlaid Tile Table runner as it is shown in the book.

Feeling fairly confidant going into this lesson, hope it doesn’t come back to bite me!

Anyways here are my fabrics i chose for this design, with the plan being to do a 6 x 6 block layout as a table topper.DSC_0030

These are almost solids and somewhat of a new thing for me , as i have always had a print, but i really liked these tone on tones.

the yellow at the top a bit on the light side when it comes to value. There should be one dark, (dark blue) one light ( cream ) and two mediums.

the light blue works and the yellow is just a bit lighter in value when i looked through my little ruby beholder!  but i felt the colour was rich enough to get away with it.


This is the diagram in the book showing the strip sets we will make.

We make the 2 center strip sets, the ones with the most seams first.


my narrow strips cut for the first 2 strip sets


each side should be 1 1/2″ wide after sewing together. Success!!

Then we add the wide strip to each set of two strips. the wide one for these sets should be 3″ or exactly the width of the 2 strips already sewn. And as mine were exactly 3″ wide i carried on sewing.  Wide strips sewn on and this is where it could get tricky!


Flipping the strip over and measuring from the edge of the first seam allowance to the edge of the wide strip. It is meant to be 4 1/4″ . If it is not

4 1/4″  you take whatever measurement it is to figure out the width of the strip for the next two strip sets.

Luckily , as you can see above mine were 4 1/4 ” wide.

the top and bottem strip sets in the diagram are cut 1 3/4″ wide and 4 1/4 ” wide ( or whatever measurment you had)

Once all the strip sets were done I moved on to  cutting the segments.


all cut out and laid out in sewing order.

Of course i had to lay out  a block just to see what it would look like.


I’m liking it, think the colours are working .

First you sew the two center segments together and fan the seams.  on all 36 , seems a fairly large number but i guess not really once you get going and chain piece them all.  then after pressing you square and trim if you need to , to get the correct measurements. then you add each side and press the seams open.  I gotta say i dont like pressing the seams open as my iron puts out so much steam i am always getting burned 🙂

sunday night i left off without getting the last segment sewn onto the blocks.

I was out monday evening and planned to work on the blocks tuesday evening but had an earache and felt cold and tired so had a hot bath and was in bed by 8 pm!  but i did have a good sleep and the earache has gone! but had a meeting wednesday evening so no sewing! I was starting to have withdrawal I think LOL

But i got down stairs this evening and sewed that last segment to all the blocks and pressed and trimmed them all.

Then it was off to the design wall where i had no problem with the layout, Harriet says it can be a ” brain bender”

until you get it going and see the pattern develop. but i followed the 6 x 6 layout picture in the book  and it was easy , peasy!

but of course my camera had a dead battery so no pics of tonights progress.

I did change my mind about the layout and decided to go with a 4 x 9 block layout , it will make a nice wide and long table runner with the border and should fit my table really well!

I got all the vertical rows chain stitched together this evening and tomorrow night just need to sew the rows together and it will be done.

I just have to remember to take some of the fabric with me to find something for the border, or i may go with one of the colours already in it.

cheers till tomorrow , ( I hope) when i can post a picture of the finished runner.






Finish! Colour Purple











As promised yesterday here is the latest Quilt top in Quilters Academy Vol 1. all finished except the borders as per Harriets instructions.

I have to say taking that extra care really made a difference when it came to piecing these babies together, pretty much each seam met the othere where it was supposed to and was sooooo nice. I only had to rip out one block when making the rows, as it slipped a bit while sewing and the seams didnt match. but an easy fix.  So here’s a tip for myself  ” Slow down, don’t skip stuff, pay close attention to measurements and instructions!”


Here are the blocks all lined up ready to be sewn together. I use some coloured  glass stones with scrapbooking letters on them to keep things organized.


Here it is, probably one of my better efforts as far as accuracy goes!

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A couple of closeups !

the border for this one will be the print fabric and i think it is gonna look fine!!

I spent some time yesterday afternoon reading the next lesson in the book. it is all about calculating how much fabric you need by figuring it out based on mathmatical calculations. I actually read this and worked my way through the lesson previously , just cause i couldn’t wait 🙂

so i applied the formulas to some other blocks that had strip sets to practice. It’s all good as long as i can find my calculator.

On to lesson 170 I believe it is, book is downstairs , I’m upstairs…. heel hurts… you do the math  LOL

Anyways this lesson is all about combined grids, with lots of measuring , trimming each step of the way.

My challenge is to go slowly , follow instructions, and measure,cut,sew and press carefully.

The design is called Carries Inlaid Tile runner


this is the picture from the book.

there are several possibilities for the layout,  a square quilt, or table cloth (which i am leaning towards), the runner as shown , or a runner thats wider and shorter than shown.

My friends daughter had her twins on the weekend, they are about 6 weeks or so early. but not bad sizes one just over 5 lbs and one a bit under 5 lbs.

2 little boys! both are stable, doing well as is mom and grandma is down where they live looking after their big brother!

I have 2 little boy style baby quilts for them.

anyways off to cut fabric for my next project and maybe get a few seams sewn as well!!

cheers and thanks for dropping by



Colour Purple Quilt top….


Also known as  Double Nine Patch!  Well after  having all kinds of trouble with the first block in this quilt, I got them all finished up this last friday evening! They turned out okay but I know I can do better ( I hope) 🙂

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they squared up quite nicely for the most part and are usable.

So when i started the other nine patch blocks i vowed to myself that i would have none of the issues that i did with these ones!

Got the fabric cut out into the strips saturday morning and was very very careful about being exact, I tried the double fold method and had one or two strips that had a bit of a bend in them so cut them in half on the fold and used them anyways.

I put a barrier strip along the front of my machine bed to help keep me on the scant quarter inch mark.


Checked the width of every strip set very carefully after they were sewn and pressed and as you can see above It was exactly 3 1/4 inches, which is what it was supposed to be.   Speaking of pressing, i was very careful not to be heavy handed while pressing , used my starch and was generally a much happier person while these blocks were being done.  I had a couple of areas where a slight bit of trimming had to be done but no narrow areas.

I didnt worry too much about the outside strip that would be the outside of the block as i figured i could take care of any discrepancies when squaring up the block, but i did check to make sure there were no areas narrower than 3 1/4 inches ( there were not)


All ready to be sewn into blocks.

This is where i had to end off on saturday and go out to our steak and lobster dinner…Mmmmmm, it was good!

Sunday morning back at it to start sewing my very precise strip sets into blocks, thats when i discovered one of the green strips that i used on the center row was a quarter inch to wide, thank goodness it wasn’t narrow. I must have cut one strip at 3 3/4 inches instead of 3 1/2 ”  I didn’t have to worry about it until i squared up the blocks when they were done

because i had been super cautious and precise i had very good results on the butting of seams when sewing the two sets together.  I liked that a lot.

Continued to press carefully and lightly, checked each piece after sewing and trimmed any areas.  I did continue to leave anything that was on the outside edge alone until i squared up the blocks at the end.


chain stitching on the 3rd strip, you can see the barrier strip on my machine.

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All finished up, I love the fabrics together … I give myself an A + on my fabric selection for this project  LOL

and my corners are so nice and also the edges of the block , look how even they are and this is before squaring them up to the final 9 1/2 “

I feel really good about the edges especially because that is one area i was having problems, which i think stemmed from inaccuracies with measuring , cutting and pressing on the internal parts of the blocks. so things were pushed and pulled a bit sometimes to fit and that would show up on the outer edge of the block.


I put all 25 blocks up on my design wall last night to admire for a bit, but didnt get a picture.

And i did get them all sewn together today because it was a holiday here in British Columbia, so no work,  Yaaay

but will save that till tomorrow.

 No “Fails” this time Alice, so you don’t need to beat me up, okay! LOL

What did i learn on these blocks as opposed to the first set.

I have to be more precise and measure, measure , measure all the time. and not just here and there on a strip set , all the way along it.

Ironing : keep using the steam but with a light hand on the iron and be careful not to burn yourself! again..

Keep remembering its not a race!

I have been watching a few of Eleanor Burns’s videos over the last few weeks and noticed she uses a stiletto to guide her edges as she sews and to hold cross seams together instead of pinning… well I tried it with the point of one of my seam rippers and it really is nice to use.  I used less pins especially when the leading edge of the seam was on the top and the seams would butt nicely together. I think i will get a real stiletto to use as i quite like it.

so it’s off to the tub for me and then to bed as 6:00 am comes so darn early!




Here we go again , New Project!


Spent a lot of the weekend getting things organized to get started on the next project in Quilters Academy Vol 1.


I have a floral/leaf print with a purple background for my border and larger nine patch blocks.

The green is the background and the dark purple is the contrast in the double nine patch blocks.DSC_0676

I had originaly purchased an orangey tone on tone for the small nine patches but after checking it with my ruby beholder i realized that although colour wise it looked fine, it was too light in value.  The print and the green were purchase in Kamloops last summer on a trip to visit my MIL.

Saturday morning  i had to make a trip to the local quilt store 🙂  The one here in town is  not my favorite store in the world, (my favorite is an hour west, but i dont’ venture out there too much in winter and we have had freezing rain , snow and nearly everything else in the last few days.) but i figured i would be able to find a purple and I did !

While i was at the store i decided to pick up the fabric for Carrie’s Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt which is coming up after after this and the next project.

I found a really cute fish print, but the store here is lacking a good selection of solids  (what i wanted for the chains) and I  couldn’t  find what i wanted.  But I bought some anyways and found a really cute carousel horse print but again no solids to match.  I decided i would head to Fabricland on Sunday.

Sunday morning saw me in the sewing room bright and early cutting the strips for the small center nine patches.  DSC_0677

These are for the 12 nine patch blocks that are in the center of the double nine patch blocks.  Just regular nine patches, finished at a one inch grid.

Pretty quick sewing, no issues , my measurements seemed good, seams correctly sewed and pressed!


Here are my 12 center nine patch blocks all done!

I love the green and purple together.

Off to Fabricland around 12:00 , really needed a new blade for the rotary cutter ,  and figured i could snag a couple of solids for the upcoming baby quilt lesson.

Blade was 30% off and i got a bit of fabric too…… got 1 meter of pink and purple for the baby quilt plus a meter of white ( buy 1 get 2 free) got 5  fabrics to go with the fish print i got on saturday some were 50% off, and one was also in the ( buy one get 2 free sale)so i got a meter of 2 different fabrics. and got a meter of fabric for the back of the Country Lanes runner that i made in a previous lesson and it was only $ 6.50 per meter!


While hubby watched the superbowl , i was in the sewing room making a start on the corner blocks for the double nine patch blocks.

They are not made like a true nine patch as they have a piece on the top and bottem that is double the width ( so 2″ ) of the squares.



So i decided to do one set of 24 first , and do the second set separately to avoid confusion. Good plan!The strips sets are made the same for the center row, but the top and bottem you need a 1 1/2″ strip of purple and a 2 1/2 strip of green. You need to make a total of 48 of these, and they have to be divided up into 24 and each sewn differently so the diagonal line of purple squares heads in the right direction.


segments for the left and right corner squares all cut out! (colour is really off in this photo)

everything went well, till i was ironing my squares after the 3rd row was sewn on , thats when i realized something was amiss!

a lot well, nearly all of the green on the last row were a bit short and didnt match in length to the center row.

I measured and they were 1/8″ too short,





How could i not notice this when sewing??

Out came the seamripper, curses aimed at myself filled the air 🙂

and that was where my sunday night ended, on the couch watching Top Gear with DH and un picking my blocks!


Monday evening was a whole new day…. and a success!


I only got half of the blocks done, tomorrow night i will sew the other ones in the other configuration!

cheers till next time!