Quilter Question: Hand Piecing or Machine?

About seven years ago, while building her quilting fabric stash, Katie bought an unfinished Bear’s Claw quilt top on eBay.  It came to mind last night as I was falling asleep, because I was thinking about taking some hand piecing on my flight to Ireland next month.  I didn’t know if the finished squares were pieced by hand or machine….I’d have to wait until I woke up in the morning to find out.

I poured my first cup of coffee and pulled out the four bags that held the quilt top pieces in various stages of completion.  There are three completed blocks;  one almost done; lots of half square triangles, sashing and squares; and some triangles that have been traced on squares of fabric, waiting to be cut out.

  

I immediately picked up the finished squares to see if they had been pieced by hand, or by machine.  Obviously, they had been done by machine.

Here’s my question for you all….if I wanted to tackle this quilt top (with Katie’s permission, of course!), should I continue to piece this quilt by machine?  Or would you switch it up and hand stitch the rest of it?

I realize that even if I use my machine, I run the risk of my blocks looking a bit different simply because I’m not the original quilter.  Would you agree?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

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WIP: Jake’s Darth Vader Quilt

My son is a pretty interesting character. He loves soccer and playing Minecraft. He reads comic books and “boy humor” books like Captain Underpants. He’s fascinated with space and science and he loves the color pink.

What can I say, when I made him I broke the mould!

When I started quilting oh so long ago, Jake was fascinated with my machine and all the working bits. Then he started working on his own projects with my help.

Well this year he turned the big 1-0. And with some of his birthday money, he bought himself a quilt kit at the Pomona Crafting Fair.

Along with all of his interests, Star Wars is a big one, too. And this old school Star Wars mama is completely thrilled with this.

His kit came with two panels that included all his fabrics. We had to cut them apart to get started. The Vader panel is the center piece to the whole project which I felt was a great choice for Jake. Other than some light piecing around the edges, the main focus is already done for him.

So we sat down together and worked through this project. I did the cutting, he did the pressing. Then he sat down to sew and I took over the pressing so that he could focus on keeping things neat and straight.

He was pretty proud of his progress and I made sure to document his journey. Who knows how long he’ll enjoy sewing let alone the company of his mother!

The next day we sat down and really planned to whip through the rest of the borders. The project is fairly straight forward so I wanted him to work through it from beginning to end and not lose focus.

And we finished. Well, with the top at least. After we had everything squared up and ready to go, we shopped for his backing fabric. We went with a Kona solid in black to keep it simple.

I’ve left enough fabric to roll over from front to back as the binding. I figure I’ll be binding it although I’d love to see him attempt to quilt it. That may be asking a lot but it’s worth a try!

I was really proud of him. He stuck with this project and saw it through to the end of the top. He put a lot of effort into it and made sure he took his time to do his best. It’s a good looking top that just needs some quilting and binding!

Did I say he loved Star Wars? Well I wasn’t lying! This is his newly made Imperial Assault Carrier that he made on his own (I only helped a little).

This post is linked up with Sew Fresh Quilts.

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WIP Wednesday: It’s A Twofer!

I’ve been having a blast power sewing the past couple of days.  I finally got the borders on my Disappearing Twisted Pinwheel #5 in time to go to the Orange Quilt Bee on the 25th for their monthly 25% off batting and backing discount.  I love how feminine this quilt top turned out!

Then, yesterday I was able to finish attaching the final rows to this quilt I saw demonstrated by Rob Appell of Man Sewing.


He called it the Gears Quilt.  Though I was unable to find written instructions, I used the video tutorial to get an idea of how to assemble the quilt.  It’s more narrow than I expected, so I’m going to add two borders for both width and length.  I think this combination will work wonderfully.


I decided not to add the gear appliqués, but I will be using an overall quilting stencil that I bought at Road To California from Full Lines Stencil.  Music notes!  Yay!  Since this quilt is for my guitar-playing husband’s birthday next month, I need to get on it!

Happy Quilting!

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Something New: Dresden Plate Piecing WIP

A few months ago, my mom discovered Pinterest. I had already been working on building my boards and pinning anything and everything I found interesting. Slowly but surely, she did the same.

Then something interesting started happening. We have a board together for quilting and anytime I posted something to read later on (I use Pinterest more as a reminder to read things than a place I post realistically), a day or two later I’d find out that my mom had read the same pin and bought all the instruments/fabric needed to create whatever I had shared.

It’s now become a running joke. If I like something, like a fat quarter set, or if I want to try something ,like this Dresden plate pattern from this site, The Stitching Scientist, all I have to do is pin it and BAM! Like Santa delivering gifts in his sleigh, my mom will have it purchased and delivered before I can say “Please”!

Here is the first string of blades. Isn’t this fabric darling? My mom started out with her first Dresden plate using an adorable Riley Blake Design kit for a baby girl. I didn’t even know she was interested in making one when all the sudden I was receiving text messages showing her progress.

Holy smokes was she fast!!!

Before long she had TWO made!

She then began designing a simple wall hanging/lap quilt that will be bordered with the same fabrics as the Dresden plates. The plates will be appliquéd into the corners of a beautiful clean Kona white center piece.

Even her hand turned appliqué on this center circle is perfect! I’m jealous of her handy work and how far it’s come!

As she began the borders, she did find herself in a pickle. The directions in the pattern weren’t as clear as she wanted them to be. Now, in the past, my mom would have allowed this to deter her from finishing. Instead, the growth in her new skills show in her new abilities to work through a problem and solve any issues by stepping outside the box!

So cute! Love this set of fabrics!

Once I saw what she was able to make and how simple she made it sound, I decided to try it out myself. Using the Joyeux Noel set we bought from Moda, I set to work on my first Dresden plate. And she was right!! It was very simple to piece together.

My biggest issue was the hand piecing in the center. It didn’t go together as nicely as I wanted it to look but overall the process is one I’d like to attempt again.

I chose a simple echoing straight stitch from the edge of the Dresden out. It gave it a beautiful star-like look that radiants from the center. It even comes off as a little art deco, an architectural style I adore!

My only problem with the quilting: first, I should have used a red thread in the bobbin. And secondly, I’m still struggling with the back of my quilted projects looking clean. There was a lot of sniping and clean up to be done once I was finished.

I did a simple straight stitch in the plates, around the center piece, and echoing out to the border. Then I framed it all with a simple box around.

Voila!

Today I picked up some red thread to bind the whole thing together. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, whether I’ll hand stitch or if I’ll do a decorative blanket stitch, but I’m ready to wrap this project up so it can hang proudly on my wall!

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #23

Ho Ho Ho hobbyist and crafters!


The holidays are upon us and we’ve got another podcast episode for you full of holiday cheer and laughter!IMG_6543

We have a few holiday works in progress. From my first Dresden plate to my mom’s first mug rug!

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Inspiration for the mug rugs come from Annies Quilt Craft on Etsy.

 

Our big topic today is on the idea of organization. We discuss the idea of over planning and squashing the creative flame and instead finding a healthy balance so that projects are easier to plan and execute.

We’re very excited for Dori’s Quilt Planner by Stephanie Palmer to arrive so we can start filling it up with great ideas for future projects and sew alongs!

We’ve been pretty crafty at home, decorating and creating our very own DIY ornaments. Check out Dori’s haul and mine on YouTube to see what we brought home to make these great crafts!

 

Dori’s gallery wall made with gift bags.


  So adorable! She watched this tutorial that helped give her the inspiration!

And her darling snowman ornament based on this tutorial.
Post to come showing all the bulb ornaments we’ve made with our tips and tricks.

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #16

It’s time for our favorite part of the week, Podcasting day!!!IMG_6544

Week 1 of our Sew Along is officially in the books and we have two amazing looking runners all ready to be appliquéd! Time to cut out our pumpkins and make some fabric decisions!

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Love the way these came out. So fresh and bright! Very spooky and Halloween-y.

Now it’s time for  appliqué! We’ve realized our pumpkin appliqué is a bit small so we’re going to see if maybe we should make it 2-3 pumpkins per runner instead. Check back Sunday!

And here is a sneak peek at my head band DIY tutorial for my rummage crafting! Yes, rummage crafting! I’m making it a thing! Just rummage through what you have at home and make something with it. I’ll post the video to YouTube tonight or tomorrow so check our channel there to make your own Halloween scrappy headband!
A Quilted Passion

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WIP: Sew Along Table Runner

We love Halloween! So this past weekend we decided to start a Halloween craft together!

Using our Haunted Mansion charm pack by Moda, we planned it out together! You can check out our post here to see our layout and applique plans.

I had a good start this weekend due to some free time. Plus I knew that if I didn’t get a jump on it, my week would fill up fast with work. While my mom and I were able to work together a bit on our runners, we spent most of our time apart working separately.

This is my mom’s layout as she had it on her design wall. Pretty cute thus far! 

Later on she sent me a picture of her finished top! How quickly she worked!

Great job, mom! Our next step will begin this weekend when we design and layout our appliqué pumpkins!

Now for my runner….with a story.

My runner top was completed yesterday. I put a lot of the work in earlier in the week due to my hectic schedule of work and mom duties. I really wanted my runner to come out well so I took the time to square things up, press my seams open, and spray the snot out of it with fabric starch. It was looking great and I was super pleased with my finished product.

Then my son happened…

I told him to grab my runner so we could snap some shots for the blog today. He happily ran upstairs to get the runner and model like the goofball he is.

Then this happened.

Poor guy is prone to nose bleeds. He has them at night, in the morning, at school, while walking, talking, hell even when swimming. You name it, he’ll bleed.

While he was holding my runner, all perfectly pressed and immaculate, he suddenly exclaimed, “MOM! Bloody nose!” Of course this would happen right at the moment I have him hold my project I worked so hard on! Gah!!!

Lucky for me I have some Oxiclean handy for his nosebleeds.

I sprayed this stuff on all the spots and worked quickly to scratch out the blood spots on the runner. Oddly, it didn’t make a HUGE mess, it just happened to have dripped ALL THE WAY DOWN. Just a drop every couple of blocks down the whole way.

Sigh….

It’s now drying out on our patio. I just had to laugh. It’s been a rough week. We’ve had plumbing issues and I’ve had to deal with tension at work so my sewing was one of my joys that helped me get away from the bad things happening. So for it to get dirty with blood was just comical, in a Murphy’s Law kinda way.

I’m still proud of my work. It looks great and I’m ready to start the road to appliquéing my pumpkin on!

Check out our side bar for some great link ups around the internet! This is linked up with Sew Cute TuesdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social!

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TGIFF: Playful Colors Quilt Done!

I started this quilt some time ago in 2014. It was a a random sewing project I just started on a boring afternoon to keep busy.

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It was bright and cheerful and was making me happy just piecing the fabrics together. All the bright pops of color against the random browns and mellow greens. I didn’t know what I would end up doing with this blanket, but went with it!

As of this week, I finished! I put the last stitch into the binding Wednesday night and I couldn’t have been happier. The whole project came together beautifully and it’s such a happy quilt.

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Then I took a risk and washed it. I ran it through a delicate cold wash and dried it on low just to give it some freshness. What came out of my machine is a cozy and sweet blanket that I can see myself cuddling up under when the weather turns cooler.

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I love the quilted squares, they really have a rough feeling that gives the blanket texture.

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It comes out as almost a perfect square and a bit smaller than a full sized quilt. It’s not quite a lap quilt so it falls somewhere in between.

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The sashing also worked as my binding and I think it ties everything together so well. I didn’t love my job on the binding, I definitely think I can improve upon my hand sewing techniques. It’s definitely on my list of things to work on!

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I admitted to my mom that wrapped the blanket up and taking pictures of the binding is my FAVORITE shot to take on a finished product. I can’t say why! But there is something satisfying to see my work all wrapped up and layered in such a way!

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Check out our side bar for all the great sites we link up with weekly. Today this post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF at Simply Pieced, and over at Richard and Tanya Quilts.

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WIP: The Disappearing Pinwheel 5 TWIST Quilt

Ohhhh mannn am I loving this pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company called The Disappearing Pinwheel 5 TWIST Quilt. I’m making it with two layer cakes; one in lovely vintage fabrics, the other a solid white.

Sewing the 10 inch layer cake squares together around the perimeter.

Cutting the sewn squares from corner to corner twice to make half square triangles. The finished block is on the right.

Pressing open the half square triangles.

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The finished block.

 

 

 

 

 

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I still have two more rows to finished.

I decided to take my time with this quilt top. It was important to me to set my sewing “style”. Though I made one block in it’s entirety to experience the process and see how it would turn out, I’ve found that I like to sew in an assembly line, much like Jenny Doan of MSQC.  There’s a kind of mediative feeling I get when sewing this way.
I’m hoping to get this top completed in a day or two.  I’m itching to go shopping for the backing, border and binding fabric!  Whoohoo!
Have a wonderful day friends!
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Check out our side bar for some great link ups around the internet! This is linked up with Sew Cute TuesdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social!

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TGIFF: The Spring Bouquet Appliqué

I’m pretty proud of my mom. Ever since I brought her on here at Hobbies Up To Here, she’s taken off running without looking back. She’s stepped out of her comfort zone and tried so many new crafty things. Not only is she trying new things but she’s also doing them very well. Her progress has been impressive and she’s learning new lessons daily.

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This week she finished her first appliqué square. She picked up her Spring Bouquet kit from Laundry Basket Quilts and knocked it out of the park with style. My dad helped, our course. He helped her built her light table and then even went so far as to help attach the appliqué pieces.

They worked together as a team to set up the square and then my mom sewed the whole thing together using her new machine.

Using an invisible monofilament thread up top and a matching cotton thread on the bottom, she sewed down each piece creating an exquisite spring picture with birds and flowers.

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Enough of my chatting, check out the picture below to see what I’m fussing about! Really, words don’t do it justice and neither do the pictures. They barely capture the beauty and precision in which she sewed this square together. I can’t wait to see the rest of her quilt come together!

A pretty birdy!

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The whole square.

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So much color and texture in those fabrics.

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Look at those perfect stitches!

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Super proud of you mom!!!IMG_0123

Check out our side bar to visit some of our favorite linkups. This week we are linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF at What A Hoot!, and Link a Finish Friday with Richard and Tanya.