Hand Pieceing & Glue Stick Winners

June 4, 2011 § 11 Comments

Thank you so much for all the kind comments on my Dear Jane blocks!!  Someone sent me a link to a Dear Jane quilt made of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and it almost (almost!) makes me want to start a second one. But I won’t. I also have The Farmer’s Wife book and maybe I will some day use those blocks for a colorful Kaffe version.

First off, the two lucky winners of a Lapel Stick glue stick are:

Tina of Needles n Notions and May of Krisp-Quilt

Congratulations! You will be receiving an email from me.

And a couple of people asked about how I hand piece.  Let me just say that I am still learning!!  I bought a used copy of Jinny Beyer’s book Quiltmaking by Hand and have been using that for instruction.  It is a fabulous book!  So… here is basically what I do.

Tie a knot

Running stitch with a backstitch after every few stitches

Backstitch on each side of crossing seams

What the other side looks like

Continue running stitch after a backstitch

What the whole seam looks like

The Jinny Beyer book

I found a Youtube video… not of Jinny Beyer… but by Marianne Roberts and she has a lot of similar information. I didn’t know about the ending knot that she talks about. I’ll have to try it!  My Dear Jane blocks are definitely a learning exercise.


A Dear Jane Weekend

May 30, 2011 § 31 Comments

Jan - May 2011 blocks

These are all of the Dear Jane blocks I have made since January of this year. I’m still not that speedy. But I have been having a Dear Jane Weekend. I’ve made 5 blocks so far and have 3 more prepped.  It’s been good to spend some time with Jane.  I’ve noticed a few things:  For one thing it’s becoming  more comfortable to sit down and hand sew.

My methods have changed

And my methods are changing… I’ve started tracing around each template in pencil to make the seam allowances more even.  And when I inadvertently picked up the snack size Ziplock bags instead of the sandwich size I discovered that the snack size is perfect for storing block parts. Jane in a bag…

New labeling

And I’ve changed the way I’m labeling each block. Now I’m writing the block number on freezer paper and ironing it on the back.  I think I ran across some blocks like this on Flickr and the “aha” moment took over.  What a good idea!

Glue Sticks

A marathon weekend of Jane blocks has also given me an opportunity to try out these glue sticks by Lapel Stick.  It’s a temporary glue and although it is meant for fashion emergencies but it works great for applique as well.  I’ve been fighting with pins sticking out everywhere when sewing down an applique piece. So this was the perfect opportunity to smear some glue on the back and try it out. I just held the piece down on the background for a minute or so and then stitched around the shape.  I love that I don’t have any more pin points sticking out and poking me!

The manufacturer gave me a couple of glue sticks to give away so that you could try it too.  Leave a comment and I’ll draw a couple of names later on this week.

All 41 blocks

So far I have a total of 41 blocks consisting of 543 pieces.  I still haven’t reached my first year goal, but it doesn’t really bother me. It may take me a lifetime to finish but that’s okay.

The Dear Jane Software

May 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

Dear Jane screenshot

I get asked fairly often where did I get the icon in my sidebar that keeps track of my Dear Jane progress.  This is how I do it:

I have the Dear Jane software from Electric Quilt.  The screenshot above shows what my project looks like.  I color the blocks as I make them. Then I export an image of my quilt and save it to my computer.  It only exports in bitmap format so I then open it in Photoshop and convert it to .jpg and save it to a smaller web size.

I love the software because I can print out each template as I need them.  Actually, I print to .pdf and safe it on my computer in case I ever need to go back to that template.  Poor Jane has been neglected.  At the rate I’m going I’ll be 100 before I ever finish this quilt.  I really need to spend some time with Jane this summer.  There have been too many distractions over the last few months.

Dear Jane in Review

December 29, 2010 § 12 Comments

2010 Dear Jane blocks

It’s not likely that I’ll finish any more Dear Jane blocks this year.  That’s 26 blocks hanging on my design wall.  That’s only half of my initial goal of 52.  I think I’ve figured out a way to keep me going at a wee bit faster speed.

Prepping blocks

The most time consuming part of the process is preparing the blocks for sewing.  I print out the templates onto sheets of freezer paper, cut out the templates, and then iron them onto the back side of the chosen fabric.  To save paper, I’ve been saving the templates to pdf files and then opening the files in Adobe Illustrator. I can usually combine 3 blocks onto 1 sheet of paper.

I think if I can always have at least 4 blocks or a month’s worth of blocks ready to sew at all times, then I will always have some sewing available at random moments.  This last year I was preparing only 1 or 2 blocks at a time and sometimes I would pass over working on a block just because I would have to take some time to get one ready.

We’ll see how Dear Jane progresses in 2011.  Oh, and… are any of you Dear Jane folks also on Ravelry?  The Dear Jane group seems to have gone silent. Wanna come on over and help resurrect some conversation and cheer each other on?  Do you need to set some new goals or to re-evaluate some old ones?  It’s always more fun to work along with others on the same project.

A Small Stack o’ Janes

November 18, 2010 § 13 Comments

Stack o' Jane's

This nasty cold has been sucking the energy out of me. The symptoms have been mild as colds go. But I have had little energy for anything beyond what is necessary each day.  Anything that involves sitting, minimal movement and maybe a movie has been good.  I did manage to make three more Dear Jane blocks this week.  Three.  And I knit two dish rags. (Ravelry link) Not very exciting, I must say. But there it is.

My little stack of Jane blocks hasn’t grown much. My initial goal was 52 blocks a year or 1 block a week.  I think I might need to revise that goal.  That poor little stack above  is just 23 blocks leaving only 202 more blocks to make over my lifetime. Meh. What’s 202 more blocks?  Making them on the sewing machine would be faster……. but my objective was to overcome my dislike of hand sewing.

The good news is that I am sensing a change in my attitude towards hand sewing.  That’s progress, right?  And I do love how they are coming out.

Three this week

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