Civil War Blocks – Set 1
Here’s a quick peek at some of the 55 blocks I’ve completed for my Civil War sampler quilt. These are 8″ blocks that I’ve been sewing in my monthly “Civil Sewing Circle.” It was nice to spread them all out to get a better idea of how much has been accomplished with this project for the past year.
Civil War Blocks – Set 2
In addition, I am rededicating myself to the Building Houses from Scraps challenge. The idea is to sew one scrappy house block a day – right now I have 17. On June 1st, I started sewing 2 a day (and plan to for the rest of the year), so there will be 365 blocks by Dec 31. As of June 1, I am only 6 blocks behind (as in, I still haven’t started sewing on them 🙂 ).
Civil War Blocks – Set 3
Any tips for how to better organize your time? I’m sure all of us could use some time management advice. I’ve tried various ways to get on a sewing (and blogging) schedule, but it seems something always comes up that is more important. Right now, my focus is on finishing projects since so many are close to being done. By the end of June, there should be quite a dent in the UFO pile (fingers crossed).
Keep it thimble!
I still am way behind on my Civil War Tribute quilt, but several blocks for the other quilt I am working on are finished.
Civil War Block
I am in the middle of packing for a big trip – destination to be revealed in a later blog post (don’t tell anyone mom!) but wanted to make a quick post before I left. I hope to blog while traveling, as I think I will have some exciting pictures to share with you.
Civil War Block
In the meantime, here are four new blocks. I don’t have time to look up the names right now, but I will post them later. The names are as fan as the blocks!
Civil War Block
As you can see from the photos, I have a hard time getting my blocks nice and flat. I swear the iron is on the hottest setting and has lots of steam, but I still end up with puffy blocks. If anyone has a sure-fire way to get these to lay flatter, please let me know!
Civil War Block
Keep it Thimble!
I am a member of the “Civil Sewing Circle” that meets once a month. Each month we get patterns and fabrics to make four blocks. The meetings started in August and by now we should have 24 blocks completed (can you see where I am going with this?).
I got behind pretty quickly and by the end of December, I only had SIX blocks completed (as in 25% of the blocks). I’ve included a pictures of a few of the blocks I made so far. This quilt is a lot of fun and I look forward to completing it sometime next year.
However, once the New Year began, I vowed to get caught up and knew I needed to make some changes in how I managed my time.
One thing I’ve started doing is sewing at least 30 minutes a day. I am surprised at how much I can get done in an hour (even if it is comprised of 10 minute spurts throughout the day). I keep a small basket with my latest project next to the machine and sew when I can. This is more efficient if I have everything cut out and ready to go the beforehand.
Which brings me to my next tip. Dedicate a few hours each month to cutting out three projects to work on. This way, you can store all the cut pieces, instructions, and other notions in a project bag and have it ready for your thirty minutes of daily sewing time. This is helpful because cutting out the project is oftentimes the task that requires the most room and creates the most mess. By cutting out multiple projects ahead of time, you can make a single BIG mess once a month, and then more manageable smaller messes the rest of the time.
For things that involve a larger commitment (like sewing 4 civil war blocks a month, or a scrappy house block a day), I use the “timebox” method. Timeboxing is where you set aside a block of time and do as much work as you can (the time box). This works great on the weekends when I can set aside 3 – 4 hours at a time to work on projects. I put this block of time on my schedule and treat it like a meeting (this is the project manager in me coming out).
So far, this has been a success. What are some tips you have for managing your sewing time?
Keep It Thimble!
I have to confess, I’ve already blown my stash reduction resolution made at the beginning of the month – it’s a lot harder than I thought! In my defense, I had good reasons for purchasing the following items (and some of it falls under the rule exceptions).
Adding to my Halloween stash
Here is a bundle of Halloween fabric I purchased at an online quilt shop. This fabric line features “Boo Kitty” and is designed by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night. There are several good reasons why I needed this much. First, it was on sale for a very good price and there was a 1 yard minimum cut per fabric. Second, this line was released years ago and is VERY hard to find. Third, I have the cutest pattern for a Halloween table topper that uses this fabric and I WILL make it – I promise!
Halloween Celebration by Bonnie Sullivan, All Through the Night
Next, the Local Quilt Shop (LQS) was having a one day sale of 30% off all fabric. This shop is one of the few in the area that carries Civil War fabric. This style is very useful for all the quilts I make, plus I have to bring five fat quarters of Civil War fabric to my monthly quilting bee. It’s best to stock up when it’s on sale – right?
Adding to my Civil War stash
Last, here is my haul from the thrift store. I usually find nice large pieces of corduroy and denim that I can use for my bags. There is a new pattern in the works and I will need to make a few prototypes. It’s better to use fabric from the thrift store since it is so cheap (about $1 a yard).
Thrift Store Stash
So, as you can see, all these purchases were justifiable. But just to keep things honest, I am going to write down my MONTHLY stash report (it’s apparent these need to be done monthly, in order to have the desired effect of actually reducing the stash):
- Used the last month: 1 yard
- Used Year to Date: 1 yard
- Added in the last Month: 30 yards
- Added Year to Date: 30 yards
- Net Used for 2012: 29 yards
Keep it Thimble!
It’s been a busy few weeks for me with work and travel (and prepping for potential travel) and it’s really cut into my sewing time! Thankfully it looks like summer is going to slow down and I will have plenty of time to hang out in the sewing room!
Charlevoix - Minnick and Simpson - Moda Fabrics
Speaking of sewing room, I am finally getting ready to re-decorate it. This has been one of the last rooms in the house to get any attention and now it’s time! The color scheme is going to be around the fabric above – it is from Minnick and Simpson’s Charlevoix collection. This fabric will be used for valances and then other fabric from the line will be used to make chair covers. The walls will be painted a light blue (exact color TBD).
Civil War Tribute BOM
There are a few other things I am making for the house as well and would like to get them all done this summer. For the regular readers you will recall that I am making the Civil War Tribute Quilt. There are a few more blocks to finish and then they all need to be stitched up so I can put the quilt on our master bed. In addition, I have some Civil War fabric that will be used to make valances for the bedroom. I will post pictures later when it is all put together.
Shower Curtain - Pattern from Moda Bakeshop
Finally, for the downstairs bathroom I am going to make a shower curtain. I found a great pattern for making a shower curtain out of layer cakes on the Moda Bakeshop website. I am using the same fabric in the picture above (Clermont Farms – Minnick and Simpson). In addition to the shower curtain I am going to make some hand towels by making ruffles, prairie points and other embellishments from the left over fabric. Should be a lot of fun!
Keep it thimble!
I haven’t forgotten about this quilt – in fact I am trying to finish it so I can put in on my bed! Here is Block 10. The picture doesn’t do justice to the colors – they are more vibrant in person. When paired with the other blocks, the color palette is gorgeous!
Civil War Tribute - Block 10
Overall, this one was pretty straight forward, except for the FOUR set-in seams at the end. I always wondered why quilters thought set-in seams were so difficult, after making this block, I understand why! If I were hand piecing this, the set in seams wouldn’t be such a challenge, since you have so much control over what and where you are sewing.
Next up – the large center medallion (it is 30 inches square). After taking a look at the directions, it seems like the center medallion should be pretty easy – as far as I can tell there are not set-in seams!!
Block 9 of the Civil War Tribute quilt is now finished! It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the colors are really vibrant in this block. I bought several yards of the blue fabric to use for making pillow shams and other accessories for the quilt. I will use some other fabrics as well, but the blue is so pretty I wanted it as a main fabric.
Block 9 - Civil War Tribute
This block took a bit of time to put together. There are lots of pieces that have to be sew together in a particular order. You have to be especially careful about the placement of each color so they all end up in the correct plan in the finished version. I did get some of the blue and brown fabric pieces reversed, but it looks fine since I made the same mistake with all four sections.
The set in seams were a bit of a challenge for me. You might not be able to tell, but there is a small triangle towards the outer edge that is a set in seam. I’ve never done these types of seams before so I had to consult a few diagrams to make sure I was doing it correctly. Essentially, a set in seam is where you have to sew along two different sides and account for a 1/4″ seam allowance where the seams intersect. Sewing the first seam is pretty easy as long as you’ve marked where you need to stop the seam. The second seam can be tricky since you are limited by how you can maneuver the fabric to get it in the correct place for sewing it.
I plan to complete Block 10 this week, and then I will start on the center medallion!
I am on a roll! Two blocks completed in one week. This is block 8, and it was far more challenging than Block 7 as far as matching up seams and making nice sharp points. I thought block 7 would be a challenge because of cutting pieces in increments of 1/16, but it actually went together pretty easily.
Civil War Tribute - Block 8
Block 8 was a different story! The triangles go in all different directions and there are tons of seams to match up. You also have to be careful about not cutting off the points as you sew these together. When I finished piecing this block – I was really sweating from the effort :). It turned out pretty good, even though it is slightly lopsided.
Whew, I finished another block today for the Civil War Tribute Quilt. I really wanted to get the whole quilt top done by now, but work and life just interfere with sewing time. My new goal is to have this done by the end of June (you heard it here first – so you can hold me accountable).
Civil War Tribute - Block 7
This is Block 7 and it my favorite one so far. The fabrics and colors are so beautiful, the picture doesn’t do it justice. This one was challenging because it had some many half square triangles AND because you had to cut the pieces into odd sizes based on 1/16ths. It turned out pretty well, and I don’t think it will look so wonky once it is part of the larger quilt. I only need to make 7 more of these to finish up Month 7! Back to the sewing room!
Block 6 is finished! This was a fun block to put together and I really like the colors – purple, cream, and green. I am getting better at sewing the biases on the triangles, so my blocks don’t get so stretched out of shape. The January 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine had an excellent article about how to sew half-square triangles. They discussed 5 or 6 different techniques, and I am going to put these to use on the rest of the blocks I make for this quilt.
Civl War Tribute - Block 6
One of the ladies in the Civil War Tribute club also shared a website that discusses some easy ways to make flying geese units. Block 7 is cut out and I am in the process of sewing it together. I think this will probably be one of the most complicated blocks in the quilt (of course you have to make 8 (!) of them).