Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm Back

Wow it has been a long time but I really want to be back on the blog wagon now.  Right after the Martha Pullen show in May I started a contracting job where I work at home on the computer and sitting down to work more on the computer has not been appealing.  After 4 months of this I now feel more at ease and able to have a life outside the job.

I have not been doing very much sewing but I am fitting more of that in too.  I got a store sample done and I am working on a Halloween wall hanging - better get going on that before it is too late!  I am also starting Christmas presents - this year they must come from the stash.  I am really excited about the one I am working on right now, a quilt of course but a very fun one.

I did make this smocked dress for Fallon's birthday.  I have not smocked very much but so far this girl has been the recipient of all my efforts,  isn't she the lucky one?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FMQ Challenge

What in the world is FMQ you say?  It stands for Free Motion Quilting and a challenge was issued by  Wendy and Joanne for the month of May.  It sounded easy when I signed up - do some free motion quilting every day for 2 straight weeks in the month of May.  I didn't learm about it until the month had already started and I was pretty busy then so I decided that if I started on Monday May 17 and quilted every day until the end of the month I could do it.  I set up my machine for free motion quilting late Monday night and worked on a UFO until I ran out of yellow thread. 
Early Tuesday morning I worked on the blue areas until I ran out of bobbin then I had to get back to sewing samples for the booth at the Martha Pullen Sewing expo. 

Thurs through Sat was the expo so I did just a bit of quilting each day, mostly stippling Texture Magic to fabric so I could demo the "magic" of it in our booth.  Once the show was over I was back to quilts. 

 I did the border quilting on the UFO in green and while the green was on the machine I did the ditch work on Christmas Pickle. Then thread was on sale at JoAnn so I could get some more yellow and like magic a UFO was done!  I have been wanting to try some feathers from the book Hooked on Feathers by Sally Terry, so I made a practice piece and started making free form feathers. 
 They were so much fun that I did the border of my Christmas Pickle in feathers. 

Bonnie at Quiltville had a post about how she hand quilts Baptist Fans without marking so I made a sample and tried it free motion and I now have another pattern to use for FMQ. 

All in all the challenge has been good, it has helped me to realize how much you can get done if you just do a little bit each day even when it is a busy time - and leaving the machine set up for quilting sure helps but it is not that hard to change a foot and some settings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Giving Birth Part 1

I have been spending the last few weeks in California with my daughter and son-in-law  taking care of her oldest girls while she spends time with their new baby girl.  This family has been blessed with three beautiful girls.  The oldest is 3, the next is 19 months and now a newborn, she will be very busy after I leave.

Baby Kellie had to spend her first few days in the NICU but she came home after 7 days there and she is just fine.  She is a very good baby and her sisters are in love with her.

Giving Birth Part 2

For the past few months I have worked on a quilt for my guild show.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how to do what I envisioned and then spent even more time doing it.  This was for our Chairmens challenge category which was to use 30's reproduction fabrics.

The challenge was issued about a year ago and I chose and then rejected patterns for at least 7 months.  I decided to do my own thing and then it sort of unfolded as I went along.  I tried techniques I had never done before - trapunto, applique, and a scallop border.  The center was a lot of white and I heavily quilted it using some ideas from Leah Day.  I put my heart and soul into that quilt and when it was done I was satisfied.  Is it perfect?  Far from it but I felt I had done my best and I liked the outcome.  sort of like giving birth.

Since I would be out of town for the show I took it to a friends house for show delivery.  She was not home at the time but she later called me after she peeked at it and made me feel very good about it.  If Kayleen liked it then all the work was worth it.

My friend called me after the show started to tell me that my quilt got  a second place ribbon - I was thrilled!  I can't wait to get home to see it and to read the judges comments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Texas Two Step Tutorial Part 1

We have started a swap group in my guild and the first swap is coming up so I thought I would write a tutorial on how to make the block for the swap.  We are using Lynn Roddy Browns method and pattern for swapping.  In her book, Simple Strategies for Scrap Quilts she gives instructions for using a 5 1/2" strip but since we want to make more than one at a time I am showing how to use fat quarters.  This will also work for 1/2 yard pieces, just double the triangle paper.  You can get 5 or 6 blocks from a fat quarter.  Fabric width varies a lot these days and I was able to get 6 blocks from  Moda fat quarters but only 5 complete ones from some other companies.  So a half yard of a light and a dark will make at least 10 blocks which is what we have defined as a set.

First we are using a dark or medium and a light.  Prints are good because it will give the quilt texture, solids and tone on tones are not as good so try not to use too many of them.

We are using triangle paper of some kind - Thangles, Triangles on a Roll, or Triangle Paper.  I personally like Triangle Paper because I think for this project it makes good use of the fabric.  One sheet of 4" finished Triangle paper will yield 6 half square triangles, just right for the fat quarter layout.

Put the two fat quarters right sides together, if you press them together they kind of stick.  Pin down the paper and then cut 2 strips along the side, then 2 strips across the top, these will be for the 4 patch units.  These strips are 2 1/2" but I like to cut mine a bit bigger (2 5/8") and then trim my blocks at the end.  There is enough fabric to do this and although it adds an extra step I like to be really accurate when I am swapping with others.

Now sew the triangle paper - just follow the sewing lines
 and then cut on the cutting lines.

Tear the paper off,
 press and just like that you have 12 half square triangles!

Texas Two Step Tutorial Part 2

Okay now we have our half square triangles complete and we have cut the strips for the 4 patch units. 
The first step is to sew the strips together and then press them to the dark. You will have 4 strip sets - 2 short and 2 long.  Now subcut each set.  You can cut them at 2 1/2" or you can cut them a little bigger which is what I like to do. 
Sew them together with colors on opposite side.  Then we are going to do the little pinwheel press.  Grasp the top layer on each side of the seam and gently pull the seam apart, you will end up with a little pinwheel with the allowance being pressed to the light side.

Now line up a ruler with the seam on the 2 1/4" line and trim each side.  You will end up with a 4 1/2" unit.

Each block for the swap is made up of 2 four patches and 2 half square triangles.  We really are trading blocks even though we are not sewing them together because each person can put them together differently.

  Here are a few ways to put a matching block together
If you separate the units and mix them up then you can come up with a lot of other ways to put these units together.

For swapping  if you stack the blocks offset as pictured
in sets of ten and then put each set in a zip-lok bag then you will be ready to bring them to the swap.

See you at the swap!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quilt Show

Today is the first day of the Bear Creek Quilt Guild semi annual show.  It only happens every 2 years and I have been looking forward to it for a long time - 2 years to be exact, but I am not there and I will not be there at all.  I am in California taking care of 2 sweet little girls while their mama, my daughter, delivers another sweet baby girl. 

I entered 2 quilts in the competition.  My friend delivered them to the convention center yesterday.  I checked a blog of one of the members and she had put up some pictures and lo and behold there was one of my quilts!  I am thrilled to see it hanging!  Thanks Sherrill for taking the time to do a post before the show even starts.