Monday, April 30, 2012

Make-a-List Monday

Its Monday again!  How did that happen already??!

I'm always amazed at how quickly time goes by.  In grade school, time felt slow until the summer and then all of a sudden it was fall again.  Then college came and somehow time seemed to go by quickly due to the amount of homework needing to be done.  Then "real life" came...and time goes by SO quickly.  The weekends are never long enough and the days go by way too fast during the week!

Despite the week feeling "short", I did get a fair amount done.  Here is my list from last week and what I accomplished.

1. Make all "dark" Ohio Stars for Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay pattern.  My quilt will be called "Wildflower Fields" as I'm using purples, pinks, yellows, greens, reds and neutrals in the quilt.  DONE!

2. Press all "light" Ohio Star pieces for Orca Bay pattern. DONE!  I even pieced all the "light" Ohio Star blocks.

3. Trim up all triangle pieces for Orca Bay pattern. DONE!


4. Prepare directions for table runner and share online.  Partially done - I have the directions written, but they aren't online yet.  I'm hoping to get them up tomorrow (Tuesday).

5. Prepare directions for Lone Star Wall hanging.  Sadly, I didn't get to this one this week.  I chalk it up to getting the "light" Ohio Star blocks done. ;-)

Friday was my birthday, so I was able to get quite a bit done on Friday.  I got my hair cut in the morning and then spent the rest of the day sewing until we went out to dinner in the evening.  It was a good day!  :-)
So my plans for this coming week are:

1. Post directions table runner online.

2. Sew the next step for the Orca Bay pattern (sewing wing triangles to string blocks) and press pieces.

Wildflower_Fields-E Wildflower_Fields-F

3. Prepare directions for Lone Star Wall Hanging.

4. Post tutorial for "perfect binding corners".

5. Setup area in sewing room for scraps.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stashbusting 2012 - Week 18

I've been doing a lot of sewing lately; however, most of the pieces have already been counted as stash used.  I'm still working on Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay Quilt Mystery and since its really scrappy, I counted all the fabric when I cut it.  So now its just piecing all those little pieces together.

Here's some recent pictures of the parts of the quilt.


I was able to get all the dark Ohio Star blocks completely pieced and pressed.


Friday was my birthday, so I picked up a present for myself (fabric of course) and my hubby got me some roses. :-)


The roses are very pretty and I was surprised when he brought them home on Friday afternoon.
I'm hoping in the next few weeks I'll be able to cut some more fabric and start on a new quilt (once Wildflower Fields, aka Orca Bay, is done).
Here are the numbers:
Added This Week:       2.78 yards
Added Year to Date:    15.54 yards
Used This Week:          0.07 yards
Used Year to Date:       10.03 yards
Net Year to Date:         5.51 yards

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Wanna Know" Wednesday - Half Square Triangles

One of the most basic blocks for quilting is the half square triangle (HST).  I'm sure if you look around on the internet, you will be able to find many different ways on how to do this.  Some involve specialty rulers.  Some involve purchasing or printing out sheets of paper with the half square triangle lines drawn on them.  Others involve nothing but your usual quilting tools (i.e. ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat).

The most traditional way is to add 7/8" to the finished size of the square you want.  For example, if you want your square to finish at 2" in your quilt, you would cut your squares to 2-7/8".  I've always found that unless you get an absolutely perfect seam and perfect pressing...these squares will end up a little small.  We all know how difficult it is to add material to a's impossible!

The method that I've found that works really well is to actually cut your initial squares another 1/8" larger than the traditional way.  In this method, you would add 1" to the finished size of the square you want.  For example, if you want your square to finish at 2" in your quilt, you would cut your squares to 3".  Granted, this method does involve trimming the block down after you press it; however, it does mean that your square will be square.  It makes it SO much easier to assemble your quilt top if your individual parts are square.

Here are the steps for creating these half square triangles:
  1. Cut your light and dark squares 1" larger than your finished size of the square.
  2. Draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to the other of the light material.
  3. Layer 2 squares (one light and one dark) with right sides together and sew a scant 1/4" away from the diagonal line that you drew.
  4. Press the entire square before cutting it apart in order to set the stitches.
  5. Cut your squares apart on the diagonal line that you drew (this cut will be between the two stitched lines).
  6. Press seams towards the dark material.
  7. Trim the excess material off the block to make sure that it is perfectly square.
I will add some photos to this post later to show the different steps, but for now, you'll have to make do with just text.

Below is a table of example sizes of finished squares and what size square you need to cut to achieve that final size.

Finished Size of Square
Cut Size of Squares

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, April 23, 2012

Make-a-List Monday

I'm trying something new here.  I am definitely the type of person who loves making lists.  I don't know if it helps organize my mind a little better or if I just like being able to cross stuff off the list when I'm done. ;-)  I've been known to make lists with simple things on it like "make dinner" just so I know I can at least cross one thing off the list.

On Mondays, I will post a list of 5 items I want to accomplish during the week and what I actually accomplished from the prior week..  Most of them will be quilt related, but I may throw in one non-quilt related item each week.  These won't be real simple goals, just because I do want to try to challenge myself a bit.  These days it won't be too difficult since work seems to be taking up way too much of my time!

So here goes for this week:

1. Make all "dark" Ohio Stars for Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay pattern.  My quilt will be called "Wildflower Fields" as I'm using purples, pinks, yellows, greens, reds and neutrals in the quilt.

2. Press all "light" Ohio Star pieces for Orca Bay pattern.

3. Trim up all triangle pieces for Orca Bay pattern.

4. Prepare directions for table runner and share online.


5. Prepare directions for Lone Star Wall hanging.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quilt Tester

Every quilter has her (or his) little "helpers", whether that be a spouse, family member, or pet.  In my case, I have a furry, little "Quilt Tester".  This is my cat, Ellie.


She is twelve this year (May 2012).  I first adopted her when I was living in Connecticut.  I had graduated from college in 2002 and started a job in Hartford.  I was alone in my apartment and tried the fish thing, but it didn't last long.  I decided I wanted a pet that would keep me company and be expecting me to come home each night.  I looked on Petfinder and found a woman who was trying to find a home for a cat because the cat was "terrorized" by her Pugs.

I met the woman and she was happy to give Ellie to me such that she would have a good home.  The first week in my apartment, I didn't see Ellie at all.  The only way I knew she was there (and alive) was that the litter box was being used and the food/water was being eaten.  After about a week, she started venturing out of her hiding spots and coming to me.  She seemed to finally realize she was the only animal in the apartment and that she had the run of the place.

We quickly became friends once Ellie realized she was the only pet.  I would come home from work each night and see her sitting in the window waiting for me to come home.  As I opened the door, she was always right there to say hi when I came home.  It took her longer to warm up to my husband when we were dating and then married, but she has warmed up to him.  She clearly prefers me still as she will come to me all the time and likes to snuggle against me.

When I started quilting, Ellie would love to "help" me arrange the fabrics.  Typically this was done by pouncing on the pieces laid out on the floor and "re-arranging" them. :-)  She has since learned that she's not allowed to walk on the fabric on the floor, but if its folded up...its game!


Every quilt I make is tested by her at some point or another.  Some quilts she enjoys more than others and I know I've done a good job with those quilts in making them cuddly-soft.

Our "helpers" - even if they don't really help - are always a joy to have in our crafty spaces. :-)

Go spend some time with your helpers!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations 

Monday, April 16, 2012

My First Quilt....

This is the quilt that got me started on this long journey.  I made this quilt for my Grandmother on my Mom's side of the family.  When I made it for her, she was in her mid-80s and still doing well.  Sadly, she passed away in 2010...and she is missed dearly.


I enjoyed every step of making this quilt though...and I learned a lot along the way.  Specifically, don't try cutting on a mat with a rotary cutter while on carpet.  Thankfully the cutter didn't pierce the mat, but my squares were definitely not square!  Somehow through lots of pinning, I was able to get all the corners to line up pretty closely to each other, so its hard to tell that the individual pieces weren't very square.



I used a walking foot to quilt the straight lines on my domestic sewing machine (DSM).  I honestly wouldn't change anything with this quilt at this point.  The colors came out beautifully and most of all, my Grandmother loved the quilt.


With my grandmother's passing, the quilt came back home to me.  Its a bit more faded now than when I first made it, but it still reminds me of her.  She loved using it to keep her lap warm throughout the year and I remember watching her trace the patterns of the quilting and fabrics with her fingers.

The quilting and binding are holding up really well still.  Despite being a first attempt, the quilt came out really well in the end I think.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Beginnings

Hi! This is the new home of upstateNYCreations. I live in upstate NY near the southern border of the Adirondack mountains. It truly is a beautiful area to live...and definitely a great place to visit.

I have been quilting since 2006 when I received my first sewing machine from my husband's grandmother. I was hooked the first time I started putting the quilt together. I also do needlepoint and make other quilted items (baby bibs, cloth toys, mug mats, etc.).

I hope to start a business some day to help others see and understand the benefit to having something that is handmade and is a one of a kind versus store bought and made in a foreign country. For now, this will be a place to showcase my work and to show what I am capable of doing.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations