On Tuesday night I didn’t quilt for a change! Yes that is right I took a night off of the quilting frame. Instead I worked on the applique for the checkerboard quilt – red/black – I was watching both of the NCIS shows so I just ended up in the living room instead for a change. I got the first of the four blocks finished – it is large applique and easy. Then on Wednesday I got the other 3 blocks of applique prepped but none are glued in place.
The first block is finished. The next three are cut and ready to work on – I will update as I get these appliqued to the blocks – no rush – I just wanted to jazz that top up a little bit but it was a good example for showing how to piece and put blocks together.
I do have the circles gathered for the 3rd row of the Granny’s Got Style border but I need to do the finish of the prepping for the circles before I applique – I have a tutorial for how I do the circles on the side bar – look under Tutorials.
Give away for the Prairie Point pressing tool continues – go to this link to sign up – almost to 100 – so close!
Today was the day Mike decided to get that dead pine tree down that was on the very edge of our very large front yard – there is one more that is dead up there as well although you can’t see it from this angle – the top half of it has already fallen so it shouldn’t be too hard to get down – first is clean up of this one. Warmer weather is coming and we will get tired of this clearing of the dead trees soon – we are already beginning to swat little flying bugs away from our heads even on a breezy cloudy day as yesterday was.
This picture gives a better indication as to how far from the deck I am standing on this tree is – it also shows more how large the yard is. Just missed that flower bed!
I had been watching a Pileated Woodpecker attack this tree all winter so I’m kind of sad to take it away – but it needed to be down – look at those large holes it left behind.
My hand by it so you can see.
The rhubarb growing – I had it covered up with leaves the last three days as it was supposed to get down to 24 but then they changed it to 28 but it never got below 32 here so I uncovered them yesterday.
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Wow is this really the middle of March? It has been so nice lately – since our last rain on Sunday that is. Really this whole week is to be near 80 degrees daytimes. I think out here among the shade trees it got up to 77, I’m not sure what it was in town.
Between yesterday and today I actually got the pink row sewed onto the Joseph’s Coat quilt – now to get busy making some circles. I want to get caught up on the circles before I move on to the next colors (purple family). Here is a link to how I make circles from my tutorial a couple years ago. I didn’t count how many I need for the two rows that I need to get caught up on – at least 30 or so- I have 12 made, I guess I will be busy the next several days.
Besides getting that row sewed on I have been trying to quilt every day but didn’t get any done today. I am now working on this section of Star Crazy – maybe tomorrow? Just a little more on this section and then I will be moving on down a little bit.
The Red Bud is in bloom – how pretty! It is still kind of skinny but it is growing – this one grew from seed and is probably about 6 years old or so. I have to look tomorrow if I can get through the soggy yard over in that area to look at one I found two years ago – I can’t see it from the house and do not know if it has blooms on it this year – that one too grew from seed.
I was out at the trails on Saturday with our daughter who was visiting from Little Rock as you can see from this photo – plenty of turtles were out in the swampy areas.
And although the sign warns of alligators – we didn’t see any this time – the two of us spotted (click on that link and it will lead you to the photos & story from 2008) one though several years ago– they didn’t have the sign up then but we knew there was at least one back in the swampy area – we just happened to be lucky enough that time to see it.
Now I know a lot of quilters – me included – make mistakes. We don’t always point them out and sometimes we hope no one else will notice them. We don’t always take close up photos of our mistakes – but – I wanted to share this with you all because I know what has been happening with my Joseph’s Coat quilt might be something that would make some quilters toss it in their UFO pile and be so put out about it that they would never finish it. I love my Joseph’s Coat quilt but I have been having a lot of trouble with the centers of the designs. So I’m sharing. So as one quilter to others I am sharing my mistakes and showing what can be done to fix it – call it a learning experience
Here are photos of some of the centers so you can see what I mean – some are pretty good, some aren’t – this one is one of the better ones!
Kind of off but I can live with it.
This one has a little hole in it – now I could do a applique stitch and pull it in and it might work, but I have more of these scattered around. This happens when you have so many oval shapes coming together in the middle.
This one –oops what happened here! doesn’t look good at all, needs to be taken apart and fixed or maybe just covered up!
One could fix all these centers up by covering them up!! Circles to the rescue
The black circles look good on all the colors. It kind of makes it look like Daisy Chains.
The red diagonal row is pressed in sections and ready to be sewed together to form the next diagonal row.
The moral to this story is don’t let your piecing mistakes turn a quilt into a UFO – take a look at your quilt top and see if there is a fix for it that you can live with and make it into a quilt that you love enough to finish it. This quilt is perfect for the circle fix – some quilt tops you can fix by placing an applique flower over a mistake or 5 or 6 flowers scattered though out – over the mistakes and in other places so it looks intentional – whatever it needs to fix it and still look good. If you do not want to take time to go back over things taking pieces apart and re-sewing make a fix!
Looks like I will be making a lot of circles – but they are fun to make – here is a tutorial I did several years ago on my method.
I was asked by several how I am making my circles to applique for the scrappy quilt that I am working on. Instead of explaining – pictures are much better! Of course I am using my new camera that Mike got me for Christmas. I didn’t realize I had the date/time stamp in the bottom corner – I have turned it off but it is there in these photos.
I like to have plenty of room to work with so I cut about an 1/8 of on inch on the other side of the drawn line.
using strong thread on the right side of fabric sew a basting circle - size of stitch does not matter
next, use the size circle that you are supposed to for the circles - I think this one was 1 3/4 inches - place it in the middle of the circle
put your finger in the middle of the circle to hold it still. Using your other hand pull the thread tightly to bring it up tight against the Mylar plastic
use a little spray starch - either spray it on the circle of fabric or brush with a stencil brush by putting some starch in a small container. This will help hold the circle stiff while you are working with it. Some people don't use the starch but just use plain water - it is up to you. I like the extra stiffness the starch gives.
holding on to the thread tail make sure you have it pulled tight while you are pressing the circle. When the starch is dry and it is pressed, flip it over and press down on the top side.
now loosen up your thread where you had finished the gather at. Loosen it up just enough to remove the plastic circle.
pull your gathering thread lightly to tighten the circle back up - this should be fairly easy as you do have it pressed and it normally pulls back into the circle easily. Press your circle again on both sides and trim your gathering thread tail off.
your finished circle with the template removed.
fold your white square (3 1/2 inches) in half and finger press or iron and then in half again and press. Center your circle in the middle and pin in place. Your circle is now ready for you to applique. Once you get the hang of this method it takes minutes only to prepare each circle. I have 4 pieces of Mylar template the same size so I work up 4 at a time and then start all over again. When I have about 12 circles ready to applique I sit down and get the stitching done. Take a break and work on something else and then try to do another set before boredom sets in :)
When you have your circle appliqued in place you can from the back trim off the back ground and also trim some of the gathered circle off from the back. I use a little extra fabric here because I want the circle to be a bit puffy – I did not trim off from the back. I have found that when I make circles like this the added puffiness makes it look like it has trapunto after it is quilted when I use the 100% cotton batting that I use and wash the quilt and dry it in the dryer. It gives that nice antique look to quilts and it this case the circles will look a little more 3 dimensional without having to add the extra batting in from the back. If you do not want the puffiness but do not want to trim from the back you can make your gathering line in closer to the size circle you want – I have excess in mine for the purpose of puffiness.
My white ironing mat has gotten stained up already – it was white not a short time ago – I think it is the spray starch that does it. You can find Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley at this link. These circles are made from Mylar and are safe to iron. This set comes in many 15 sizes. I order a lot of my notions and little handy items for quilting from Connecting Threads and from Keepsake Quilting . I have had a lot of luck with these two quilting sites and I receive their catalog all the time. I have been ordering from both sites for years and have never had a problem with either. I just discovered Karen Kay Buckley’s web site and blog though and I see she has a store also and sells the perfect circles on her web site. I am going to check out her store and the next time I need something by her I will know I can order from her.