Snapshots of life and crafts on our little homestead

Posts tagged ‘paper piecing’

New 2017 project start


This week I will be starting on a mandela quilt design that I selected fabrics or more than two years ago. The pattern consists of 32 paper pieced spiral wedges in rich golds, greens and deep reds, that will be placed on a 18th century floral background of warm red tones.  The fabric was cut into strips last year and put away until I felt I had the patience to work on a highly detailed project again — I believe this spring into summer season will be a good time to tackle this project.


Circling the Sun

after almost two years (this one sat in the UFO pile a few times) I finally finished my paper pieced Circling the Sun quit top.


Now how should it be quilted? Any ideas?

Having fun with scraps

I have fun out of room in my scrap container so I have decided to make a number of paper pieced units with the larger scraps and string block with the narrower scraps. I created the first of the paper pieced units this weekend. What do you think of the person in the rain?


Long term project update

A few weeks ago I started working on my longterm quilting project again. This project was started two years ago and it will more than likely be another 3-4 years before it is completed. The finished project will be a hand pieced king sized quilt made out of one inch hexies using fabrics from my scrap basket. So far I have cut about 3,000 scrap squares, made about 1,000 hexies (ordered the paper template from an online source), and have a 100 or so units in various stages of completion.

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I really enjoy hand piecing because it can be taken anywhere and worked on while waiting or traveling. I especially enjoy this project because it allows me to work with fabrics used over many years and to think about the quilts that were created and the individuals that received the finished products.

Moving along

I am moving along at a snail’s pace on my craft projects. One of my biggest problems with crafts is that I like so many differs types and want to try them all. At this time there must be 20-30 started projects of different types. Every few years I try to get the UFOs under control, that is until I make a mistake in one of the projects.  When an error is made that requires that  something be re-cut or ripped out it has a tendency to be moved back to the UFO pile until I have more patience or it is need as a gift.

This year I promised myself that no new projects would be started and no new threads or fabrics purchased. I have already broken the first promise to myself by starting three new projects this year, but have held fast on the “no new purchases” promise.

So far this year five old projects have been completed and progress made on two additional UFOs. Last night I finished the flying geese ring for a star quilt that I have been working on for two years.

nested star quiltThe next piece to be cut is the solid ring that will be placed between the star cluster and the flying geese ring. Not sure when I will get back to this since I haven’t really felt like spring a lot of time with my sewing machine recently, spring will be calling me outside, and work will start getting very busy in the near future.

The other project that I have made some progress on is a needlepoint canvas that I started more than 10 years ago. Since it is rather small and easily be moved from room to room, it may actually get finished this spring.


Mariner’s Compass quilt

Now that the quilts for the grandchildren are complete I have moved my mariner’s compass top back to the worktable. The center of this top consists of five rounds of paper pieced units. Since each of the rounds is circular, and sewing circles is one of my weakest areas, I am hand appliquéing the rounds to each other. This technique may take a bit longer than machine joining, but for me, the results are better. And since there are some many small units and repeated patterns in the stars I am using freezer paper pattern templates. The freezer paper allows me to only have to draw each pattern once and then stack template paper and use an unthreaded needle on my sewing machine to create multiple foundation patterns at once — it also means that I do not have to pick paper out of seams at the end of the project. 👍


I hope to complete the quilt center in the next week or so, and another month or two to complete the multiple borders selected for the piece. The the end of the project the top will be approximately 90 inches square.

The following Videos demonstrate a few of the techniques I am using in this project

Star quilt update

this past weekend we were very busy with outdoor chores. Leaves were raked into the woods or the compost pile, bases of the young fruit trees were wrapped and deer proof cages placed around them, rain barrels drained, all fruit trees and bushes fertilized, and finished the chicken coop weatherization. These chores made for busy days and some welcome restful evenings. For the evenings we started the wood stove in the family room and each worked on or respective crafts. This craft time allowed me to make a bit of progress on my nested star quilt top.

Star quilt round four

Hopefully after next weekends chores I will have time to stitch the four star units to each other and start on the circle of flying geese that will circle the stars.

Have a great week…

New quilt project

Life has slowed down enough that I can spend a bit of time in my craft room. I have started a project that marries my love of paper piecing with a challenging floral pattern.

Project fabric set

Project fabric set

The end product will be a mariner’s compass quilt that has four circular stars nested inside of each other that are banded by flying geese. Under the star unit will be an appliqué wildlife scene.

First two star sets

First two star sets

If if all goes well the quilt top will be done in early to mid spring. I will post additional updates as progress is made.

Galaxy far far away

this weekend winter just seems to hang on and on. Today we had snow, rain, then sleet, then freezing rain. So I did what any good procrastinator would do and that was to spend the day working on a sewing project instead of other things requiring attention. The attention to my sewing machine this evening allowed me to finish the Galaxy Far Far Away top. All of the paper pieced blocks were created from free patterns found on the internet. Please let me know if you would like the links to the patterns.

2015galaxey far far away quilt

All of the paper pieced blocks in this top started out as a quilt as you go project but after quilting a row of blocks I lost interest in the process and turned the remaining units into this top. I come up with a quilting design for the top, but we will see if my machine techniques will live up to my ideas….

Tomorrow is promising to be another overcast wet day so I will see what new projects I can start or possibly pick up a UFO and bring it closer to completion.

Putting the Scraps to Work

My fabric scrap draws were so full that I either had to start new draws, throw some fabric out or put it to use. Additional draws are not an option and I could never throw perfectly good fabric away, so I started making hexies out of the bit and pieces. So far I have made about 1,500 and have about twice as many more to make before the scraps are under control.

it is really interesting to see how my taste in fabrics and colors has changed over time, and how the quality of fabrics have changed over the years.

Hexies units

A tale of caution…

About six weeks ago I finished the quilt top below. I was very proud of the design so decided to send it out to be customer quilted.

Dancing to the light of the moon

The decision to outsource is where the saga begins. I love, love, love designing and piecing tops but my quilting skills are not at the level that I would like, so I outsource a number of tops to be quilted by others. My favorite long arm quitter is Joanne at Splitting Stitches, she works closely with her clients, provides good input and feedback, communicate all through the process and provides quality work, unfortunately (for this project) she only does edge to edge work. So, I had to look for a long arm or free motion quitter that would take on a custom project.

After much searching I selected a quitter in Maine who has been doing custom quilting for others for 3-4 years. I approached her with photos of the top, an explained the inspiration and vision behind the top and asked her if she would be interested in working on the project. She said that she would be very interested and the initial communications over pricing, batting and possible design techniques went well… I was a bit concerned with her need to have all ribbons if the quilt was shown and placed, but that was a small detail since I wasn’t sure if the piece would be appropriate to show in anyplace other than my home. Once all of the  were worked out I mailed her the quilt top and backing.

A month went by and no communication. Then a couple of days ago I hear from her and she states that she is thinking about putting my piece on her machine and to start thinking about the stitching (not sure what she did with the information from our last conversations). So we email back and forth again (she not will to talk on the phone about the project) about the design for the quilt top. Yesterday she decided that she didn’t want to quilt the top after all. I have now wasted 7 weeks with this women and out a bit of money in postage and purchasing the type of backing that she wanted over what I had originally envisioned for the quilt. Now I am waiting to see if I get my top and backing back… be very careful who you choose to work with you on projects. Lesson learned for me.

Tree Skirt Update

After investing another 40-50 hours it looks like I may be able to complete the tree skirt by Christmas, but will not get it quilted for this season. … to many other project calling for attention, also not finding working with beige fabrics 🙂

2014 Christmas tree skirt

Quilt-as-you-go project update

I finally finished all of the paper pieced blocks for the quilt-as-you-go project I started at the beginning of the summer. It is the first time that I worked with solid kona cotton fabrics and love the way that the blocks turned out. I think the solids will work their way into a few more projects in the near future.


2014 quilt as you go blocks

When I started the project I had planned to create 20 unique blocks, but then I feel in love with two of the patterns and just had to create two of each of them…. so much for best laid plans. Now I just need to get the blocks quilted and decide on a border or two to finish the top…. Any ideas for borders?

Holiday Poinsettia Pillow

i2014- poinsettia pillowThis afternoon I finished a holiday pillow featuring a stylized poinsettia. I even used a few Christmas farbics that I haven’t touched since I over did it with the creation of table runners for family members a few years ago.

The 20 inch paper pieced pillow uses a combination of  cottons and silks, and was machine pieced and quilted. This is the first of several projects that I hope to complete for the holiday season.


Snowflakes Quilt Top Done

I finished the snowflakes quilt top this afternoon. It only took me 4 years to finish this one, when we moved 4 years ago the project had a hard time making it out of the UFO pile. Now I just need to decide on how it will be quilted. Any ideas?


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