Thursday, September 29, 2011

#3 Churn Dash Quilt Block Christmas Ornament

Quilt block ornament #3 is finished.  45 to go. 

This was a really easy one to do and it only took about 45 minutes.  I broke this one down into 3 separate segments. and it worked out perfectly.  This is another one that I will probably make a couple different variations on.  It was again hung on the diagonal and stitched in the ditch. 

I think I'll have to figure out how to make a pattern with the stitching order written in.  Once you've done a couple of paper piecing projects it starts to make sense and it's fairly easy to tell how a project should go together. 

These ornaments are turning out to be about 3.5 - 4 inches square.  I suppose they could be made a little smaller but I kind of like this size.  I'll bet they would look awesome made with batiks!  Hmmm...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Christmas Ornament Project Goal

As I've been looking over my blogs since I began this site it's apparent that I haven't been making anything that resembles a regular post.  I think it's partly because I haven't viewed this blog as a project or that it's really about anything.  Since I've been making the quilt block Christmas ornaments this has changed.  That's a project I can get excited about.  I've been finding myself preparing for a weeks worth of blogs on the weekends. 

The other thing that is apparent to me is that this blog is giving me some much needed therapy.  On August 26th my stepson was in a long boarding accident (long skateboard) and sustained a traumatic brain injury to the frontal lobe.  He was in the ICU for a week and has since been in an inpatient rehab clinic.  The doctors have told us that they expect him to have a full recovery but it's just going to take a long time.  This experience has been a real eyeopener for me.  I didn't realize how prevalent this trauma is and how long it takes for people to recover from these traumas.  Writing and preparing this blog has provided another world for me in which I'm in control.

So I'm going to set a goal for the blog.  I want a total of 48 Christmas ornaments.  That will make a total of 12 ornaments for each of my kids: 2 daughters and 2 stepsons.  I'll keep posting the ornaments and the progress of the project. 

May the therapy continue!

Friday, September 23, 2011

#2 Dutchman's Puzzle Christmas Ornament

The next block I wanted to try is the Dutchman's Puzzle.  I love all the little triangles and how they can make several different pinwheel patterns.  I put some Christmas green into this one and I think I'll make a couple different variations.  Here is the first one. 

This was a little easier to do than the Ohio Star.  The block was separated into basically 4 units of flying geese and then put back together.  It just had a bunch of really little pieces so it took about an hour to do but it made for some good  movie time.

I attached the hanger so that it will hang on the diagonal and I think for this one it works.  I don't know why I attached the strings to the front of the quilt.  I won't do that again.

This is a really fun project and I'm enjoying it immensely.  It's very gratifying to have a completed little quilt in about an hour. 

2 down 22 left to go. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#1 Ohio Star Christmas Ornament

So the first ornament I'm going to work on is Ohio Star.

I know that there are a lot of pieces to it but I figure I might as well jump on in.

Fortunately I had a bunch of Christmas fabric scraps left over from the Christmas Quilt I had finished. I have no idea why I saved them. The majority of the pieces were too small to do much with. But it turns out they are the perfect size for miniature quilt blocks. Another trip to the store was saved by my obsession with saving fabric!

Instead of a 1/4 inch seam allowance I'm using 1/8 inch seam allowance. I figure that the little quilt won't get a lot of hard use and 1/8 inch should be adequate. I am keeping the outside seam allowance of the block at 1/4 inch so that I can use a traditional 1/4 inch binding. I have some red crochet thread that I used for hanging the block.

I attached it the thread under the binding in the back,  I quilted it by stitching in the ditch. This was done with the feed dogs engaged so that the lines were nice and straight and even stitches.

It took me about 1 hour to complete the Ohio Star. This includes looking through the book, the aha moment, copying the pages, building the block, quilting it, and making and adding the binding.

I want to make about 24 ornaments so now that I know what to look for I did a quick google for images of traditional quilt blocks and printed out a bunch of them. I can't wait to have more machine time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quilt Block Christmas Ornaments

Last Christmas I had decided to make Christmas ornaments and have a handmade Christmas tree for this year.  I've been diligently working on crocheting snowflakes and have made about 20.  So it's time to start working on the quilt blocks. 

I've been really struggling to find traditional quilt block patterns small enough to be ornaments.  There are quite a few ornament patterns but I haven't found any for traditional quilt blocks.   I also don't want these to look cheesy.  It's amazing the amount of time you can spend on the Internet looking for these things.  And if you're like me, I'll start out googling "quilt block ornaments" and end up looking at kayaks.... It's almost like a Googling evolution.  I'm sure there will be a government study on it....

Anyways.  I'm bombing with finding patterns for quilt block ornaments.  So I pulled a book off my shelf which has some traditional blocks in it to see if there was a way that I could develop my own patterns.  I'm not a traditional quilter so I think I own only one book with traditional patterns. I thought that I could maybe I could cut down the size by doing some math.  I'm staring at some of these pictures and it hits me that the picture of the block is close to the size that I want the ornament to be... And I could easily copy the page and use it as a paper pieced pattern.  Woo Hoo!!  Fortunately we have a copier at home (you can find them really cheap at used office supply companies or EBay) and I played with enlarging some of the pictures until I had just the size I wanted. 

I really love that moment when something perceived as a problem is suddenly solved and an easy solution is found. 

The first pattern I'll try is Ohio Star.  Wish me luck!