Friday, August 17, 2012

Pies and Tarts have entered the building!!

Ta-Da!!!  My Pies and Tarts UFO is finished!! 

It was one of those patterns that is 'OUT of your BOX' ... but you have to have it anyway!! Pies & Tarts was offered as an English paper-piecing BOM at The Calico House in Lincoln NE just about the time I was moving to Oregon.  I passed - not my favorite method, I don't need another BOM making me feel guilty because it's not done and who has the time now?? [Listing excuses - a hobby in itself!!]

I didn't 'see' some results until a year later when I was back in NE visiting, and my friend showed me her blocks in progress. Loved, loved, loved them - but, seriously ... EPP?? I would never get it done!!

But, I had taken a paper-less PP class and the light dawned!! I think I can make this work!! I bought the template kit, and I set up 1/2 pies and 1/2 tarts templates on freezer paper and started piecing them. It worked!!

By now, of course,  the store's BOM is done, no fabric kits to be had!! So I had to scour my stash looking for just the right fabrics! Quite a few were found. But you know I didn't stop there!! Some shopping was involved! And a good selection of civil war fabrics was 'liberated from the tyranny of the retail outlet' and moved to my stash!! Doesn't that sound better than a multi-state shopping spree was under way??? Any excuse to buy Jo Morton fabrics works for me!  LOL!

BUT since this was years ago ... I can confess my evil ways and it still counts as an UFO!!! After that many years - I think it even counts as stash!!

I cut the triangle-ish pieces; paired them up, pinned them together and put them all in a gallon zip-lock bag. Then I decided on the background squares - shirtings mainly. And I was ready to roll.

Did I mention I'm NOT an applique person?!?! As one friend told me ... "well, you are NOW!!!" But I still don't feel like one ... yet! Does just one pattern count??

While I was back in Nebraska this spring, my friend offered her hand-quilting group to quilt this ... wowzer - talk about a plan coming together!! It was mailed back to me finished, in July. Some binding, some sleeves ... and it's ready to hang on my wall! At 53" x 62" it fits my 'quilt wall' perfectly.  Hip, hip hooray!!

Here's the quilt in process.  After they were done, I sent the mailing cost and a bonus.  They celebrated with a pie party!!  Clever gals!

Some things I learned working on this project:

1.  Don't tell a store that specialize in EPP that you didn't use that method!  They look at you like you just kidnapped their puppy!!  LOL!

2.  When you use a freezer paper template, they stop sticking after 4-5 times.  [At least at the cool, damp Oregon coast they only last that long.]  It also depends on how hot your iron is.  The point is - don't keep using it!!  It's not worth it - break out a new template, so much easier!!  Remember how wonderful it feels when you finally change the blade in your rotary cutter???  It's like that!

If you have an ink-jet printer [no heat involved] and you cut your freezer paper into paper-sized sheets, hand feed them thru your printer, you can copy a sheet of the templates as needed.  You don't actually have to hand-draw each and every one.  I didn't discover this until the last round, yep, I'm a slow learner!  But no need for you to be one!!

3.  If you leave the freezer paper on until the pie or tart is sewn together, you can iron the curved edge against the freezer paper and get a good line to guide your curved applique onto the background square.  IF you do it the same day.  That line doesn't last forever.

Tarts are not appliqued until the blocks are together.  So after 'rounding' them,  I basted the edges of my tarts down and set them aside until I was ready to sew them.  Put your beginning knot on top so you can take out the basting easily.

If I was to make another one of these gorgeous quilts ... I would cut a template for each size [pie or tart]; put a pin hole in the center and use that to iron my rounded edge.  I would pin thru the center of the pie or tart and start pressing. The edge would probably be less 'choppy' and easier to iron down.  [less 'owie' iron touches on your fingers.] You could even gather that edge before ironing to make it even smoother. 

I tend to be "Type A" [ya think???] and have to remind myself that it's folk art!!  Relax!!  Even now I don't  notice all those little bumps and dips that drove me crazy while I was working on it!

4. I starched my background squares within an inch of their lives!  I then pressed a center line on the edge of all sides, but not in the middle.  I used those marks to center my applique pies before sewing them down. 

Since I was a beginning applique gal, I tended to bunch up the background piece in my hand too much and unevenly at that!  The starch helped me fight that tendency.  I always wash my quilts - even my wall quilts - at the end so I don't worry about the starch.

5. I'd sew my pie appliques in groups, [don't you love to chain stitch?]  When it came time to applique them, I varied the backgrounds, light, medium, dark, each work session. 

I'd also deliberately line up the pies and tarts so sometimes the light was on the left and sometimes the dark was on the left.  It makes them dance alittle and not be static across the quilt. IMHO!

I appliqued at meetings, in front of the tv at nights. I was surprised how fast they piled up!

Finishing this quilt has made me a little more enthusiastic about finishing others!  I've even been hand quilting on my poor neglected "Birds of a Feather".  Hoping to report another finish in the fall!

We had two gorgeous days this week, but then it's back to grey, grey, grey.  Bummer!!  More time to quilt??  Let's hope I can look at it that way.  On the brighter side [pun intended!] it's not 103 degrees out there!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Happy August everyone!!  It's hard to imagine!  Our summer has been, well, foggy and cool, so cool that it's hard to imagine it's summer at all, let alone August!  I haven't accomplished ANYTHING that I thought I would over the summer.  Of course, my list was pretty much 'pie in the sky' to begin with!  Does anyone else do that??  Of course, you do!!

And, my birthday is this week ... I usually don't have any problems with birthdays ... beats the alternative!?!  But this is a really BIG number and I have little twinges of feelings about it.  But, if this is as bad as they get ... no problem!  I'll survive!

We'll be up in Portland for the big day.  What fun to spend it with 2 of our grandkids.  We haven't seen them for 6 weeks, so we've got lots to get caught up on.  Miss P (almost 6) taught Mr M (almost 4) to write his name and he thought that Beach Papa and Nana would be so-o proud of him.  Of course, always!!  We may need a special dessert to celebrate!  And Miss P thought that maybe Beach Papa could help her learn to ride her bike.  The last time she fell on it - clear to the ground, she got up and kicked it saying she'd never to ride it again unless 'Teacher L' told her she should!!!!  And Miss P and I may go see "Brave" if it's still around.  The bears are pretty scary in it so she said she might wait and go with me!!  We both do love movies and since I've seen it(!) I can warn her when the scary bits are coming up!

For Christmas last year DH gave me tickets to Cirque [last April] and Jersey Boys [next Wednesday], I love musicals. He's babysitting the grandkids while DD and I go - what a guy!  It will so much fun! -girls' night out!

We had a fun-filled and ice cream filled two weeks when our friends were here. C&L were neighbors in Lincoln.  When they come out, they rent the condo next door - it's like being neighbors again!!  We're not admitting how many cartons of Tillamook Ice Cream we went thru ... but I may need a 'methadone' program to break the addiction!!  Sure was fun though!!

We all went to "Trees of Mystery" when L&K were here too.  It wasn't as 'hokie' as we feared and we really enjoyed riding the tram to the top of the mountain over the trees and ferns.  The young kids decided to walk down so us 'old folks' rode the tram again!!  There was no line when we came down and we wanted to sit the opposite way of our first trip!  We got the full experience, laughing all the way.

Between eating ice cream, watching the Olympics and laughing ... well the time went fast.  We filled it with a little of this - finding rock sculptures on the beach and

A LOT of this - finding the perfect 'perch' while walking the beach and

And even some of this - traveling the viewpoints, just to be sure they are still g-r-e-a-t!!

C liked Miss P's quilt pattern so well, that she made a smaller one for her granddaughter. I finished Miss P's quilt top while we sewed away the foggy parts of our days - and wouldn't you know it.  Held it up when it was totally done and right there - smack-dab in the center - two blocks were in the wrong place!!!  Arrrrgh!  10 hours of Olympics on DVR and a picky little quilt pattern do not work together!!  I put it in 'time-out' over night and decided I couldn't live with it ...

Years and years [and years] of experience ripping came to the rescue!  I ripped out the offending 3 blocks - doughnut style.  Carefully repinned, triple checked it was right and resewed it in a morning.  We were surprised how quickly it went.  And now that mistake won't hound me for years every time I see it on Miss P's bed!!!  The back is almost pieced - 2 more seams and then I just have to decide if I'm machine quilting it on my DSM or Longarm it at the shop.  Still mulling over that question.  Hope to have it done for the big birthday in September - Miss P will be SIX!

So long for now. Remember it's August - the perfect time to sit back and relax before the rest of the year zooms by us!!! [tee hee]