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.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Warning - Lots of quilting ahead

I really have been working hard although you wouldn't know it from reading my blog.  I have finished a few more samples for Sew It Up and I have been working on a quilt for our guild show next month.  It is one month from now and I still have to put the top together and quilt it!  I also realized that the birth of a new granddaughter is only a month away and I had better get a quilt made for her, so that is what is on my design wall.   
It looks pretty simple right now but I plan to add applique.  And of course since I am so late starting I had better make it simple.  I would like to get it done by next Tuesday night for guild show and tell.  I am usually finishing things at the last minute and then giving them away so I never get to share them so I thought it would be a good goal to get this done in time.  What was I thinking?

So my plan for the week is get the top together and start quilting it for the guild show and finish the baby quilt.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More Finished Projects

I am trying to record my finished projects this year and as I was updating my list the other day I kept thinking there was one more but I could not remember it.  Last night as I was falling asleep it came to me - I had just made a birthday dress for my 3 year old granddaughter Shannon.  How could I forget?

I purchased a kit called Hannah from Sew It Up when I started working there over a year ago.  I washed the fabric and then set it aside.  My daughter told me Shannon is wearing a 4 now and when I pulled out the kit I saw that it only went up to a 4 so it was now or never.  I was sure that the size 4 would be too big but she tried it on and it fit perfect and she looked so good.

Friday I made another mini Modkid pattern - Frida.  This one matches our store kit Pebbles and it is adorable.  I really like making doll clothes, I always have, there is something endearing about the small size that draws me in and the 18" doll is really a perfect size.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day Part II

We had a record snowfall yesterday, 9.5" (latest update is 12.5".)  I know that is not a lot compared to many places but we do not have equipment to deal with it.  If we had snowplows our streets would be cleared and if we had snow shovels our driveway would be cleared, but alas we do not.  My car is pretty much buried in the driveway.  My daughters car is at the end of the driveway because when she came home yesterday afternoon she kept spinning out trying to pull all the way in.  It is 33 degrees right now so maybe it will start melting but until it does we are kind of stuck.

As I sit at my computer I look out onto my backyard and as the light has brightened I noticed there is a huge tree branch on the path that broke off because of the weight of the snow.  Fortunately we have power so far.  I just let the dog out and she is quite puzzled by the tree in her path.

Schools have all been cancelled, I have had emails from stores that they are closed and the newspaper sent out an email last night and said that in case we don't get our paper we can read the news online today.  I guess it may be another sew day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day Equals Sew Day

We are a little surprised here that we are having a second snow event in one season but I am taking it in stride and using my day for sewing instead of going to work.  I have quite a bit to catch up on, first I am sewing samples for the store.  Lorene is headed to the Sewing Show in Puyallup, Washington so we are very busy cutting kits and making new samples.  I completed a new Sara Jane sample using the Moda Basic Grey Blush line and a  bit of Texture Magic.  I also made a doll dress to match.  The pattern is Sister Smocks by Indygo Junction.

Next I made a doll dress to match one of our newest kits, Saphire,  I used the Dolly Dress Up pattern from Indygo Jucntion (which is the same I used for Sara Jane) and added 2 more panels, it matches the full size dress, every girl needs a doll dress to match, right?.

I need to sew a couple more doll outfits but I decided to take a break from clothing and I pulled out a purse I had already cut out.  It is an Amy Butler pattern, and I just needed to cut and fuse fleece and interfacing.  It turns out that cutting the fabric was no big deal compared to all of the fusible.  It took me a long time and then when I tried to fuse the interfacing it turns out that what I thought was fusible interfacing was not - I really should label things when I buy them.  So I had to start over with the correct fusible. 

Fusing is not a fun task but a few years ago I found a Singer press at a garage sale for $25, you can bet I snatched up that baby in a hurry!  I only pull it out when I have lots of fusing to do but it is great for that, unless you put the fusible on upside down and get gunk all over the pressing plate.  I tried to keep going but it all kept sticking so I quit for the night and watched a movie with the family.  Tomorrow I will clean the press and finish fusing but I may put the project back on hold while I work on some other things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back in the Saddle

My daughter and her two precious girls were here for the last two weeks so it has been "grammy time".  I am back to the sewing machine but I am having trouble getting focused after so long away.  I tried to sew a little while they were here but Shannon was very interested in the machine and all of the stuff so I couldn't do too much, I was able to make a doll outfit for the store using one of the new Modkids mini patterns for 18" dolls - so cute!

We did some photo shoots while they were here with the boots and skirts and shirts from Christmas, although the weather did not cooperate we did get some good outdoor photos on Saturday and on Monday we went over to our church building to get some indoors with all of the cousins since it was a very rainy day.

I was also able to finally give the wedding quilt to Mike and Chao, I finished it at the end of last year so I can't add it to my list for this year but I did say goodbye to it.  Sometimes it is so hard to let them go.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What a Productive Week

Sometimes having a lot of projects in process can get you down, that has been the case for me.  I have had 2 quilts just waiting for borders and then I added another one and that was the straw that broke the camels back.  I do not like adding borders- all that measuring, cutting long strips and then dealing with the whole big thing.  I made this past week border week and I now have 3 quilts with finished borders!  I decided I might as well get the backings ready too because that is no fun either.  As I was doing all of this I realized that my least favorite quilting tasks all begin with the letter B - borders, backing, basting, and binding.  I think I need to adjust my attitude because those steps are a very big part of quilting! 

Since I got so much done this week I rewarded myself with starting a new project so my design wall has the beginnings of a jelly roll quilt.  I have never used a jelly roll before but I wanted to try it so here is what I have so far.  Not too exciting but I decided to divide the roll by color and see what that does for me.  This may stay on the wall for awhile since this will be a busy week but at least it is a start.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Double Delight is Done

I had a great weekend - with lots of time to quilt, spend time with family and stay home.  I finished my Double Delight quilt - finally.  I was able to finish all of the Carolina Christmas blocks, my daughter in law started quilting with me and I worked on an entry for our guild show in April.

My Design wall is covered with Carolina Christmas blocks, they are 16" and since I can't fit them all on the wall I have laid out the red blocks in the order that I will have them to make sure there are no obvious problems with the same print being close to another with the same print.  I plan to take them down in an orderly stack and then do the same with the green ones and then if I just take one from each stack, in order, then everything should go together as planned - but we will see.

I am trying to organize or should I say reorganize my sewing area, I just keep spreading to fill any available space, so when I go up to my room I am putting things away and sorting and tossing.  If I do it a little at a time maybe I can accomplish something - eventually.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Another Monday

I was so productive this week I can't even believe it. 2 finished projects - yay! I completed and wrapped up the son in laws shirt quilt. I was very pleased with how it turned out. It is a quillow so I used patches of the shirt for the pillow part. One of the shirts I found at the thrift store was a western style with pearl snaps. It was very thin so I probably should not have used it but he used to ride rodeo so I really wanted that shirt. I ended up using a pocket with the pearl snap on the quillow pocket.I used fabric for the sashing and border and then I tried something new and used fleece for the back and no batting. It quilted quite nicely and felt wonderful. I will probably do this on baby quilts now.

As for this weeks projects, I have two things on my design wall. Carolina Christmas is slowly coming along, I am playing with layouts but am leaning towards the one Bonnie suggested.
My quilting friends and I are making nine patch blocks to make some donation quilts so I went through my 3.5" bin and was able to make some of those blocks. I will probably do more this week, they are fun and easy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year New Projects

My quilt guild has a show coming up in a few months and as I contemplate entering anything to be judged I started feeling like I hadn't really accomplished anything this past year. If I really thought about it I could come up with a few completed projects but it was a bit depressing. So I have decided that I am going to start a list in my sidebar of anything I have finished- quilts, sewing, scrapbooking, home dec. This should help me realize in December that I have done things and not twiddled my thumbs all year.

To start off this years list - ta da my first finish! A t shirt quilt top. Now you may say that is not finished but it is all I am doing because this was a job for someone else. A friend has a longarm business and she was hired to put this quilt together. She asked me to do the top and then she will quilt one for me. So my part is done and I can count it as my first finish.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Adventure

My quilt made from mens shirts is coming along nicely.I just have to do the horizontal sashing and borders.
I wanted something quick and this seems to fit the bill. It is also very masculine. My husband asked what will I do with the rest of the shirts (I only used a sleeve from each one) I kind of like these plaids and stripes so in my head I am planning another quilt to use this kind of fabric. I also plan to make lap quilts for nursing homes this year and these will make good manly ones.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Our New Years Eve plans went away so we stayed home, ate crab, watched the last Dollhouse we had on DVR and then looked in our Hoyle book of games for a two player card game. We tried Seven Up - not too much fun. We used to look for 2 player games when we were first married but it has been a long time since there has been a need. We were in bed by 10:30, just like normal. I was just fine with that.

Today I finished the last of the Carolina Christmas blocks. 48 red and gold blocks and 52 green and red blocks, now I just have to put them together. I also started a new project, I broke down and got some used mens shirts to cut up and use the fabric. I need to make a quick quilt for a son in law who has a birthday this week and I thought this would make a masculine quilt. I found the shirts for $1.00 on sale at Thrift Town so the price was right. There is a bit of labor involved in cutting them apart but I can do that while watching TV at night - having something to do keeps me awake.

I have a list of projects waiting to be completed this month so I have lined everything up in the baby guest room and I can just go in and grab the next one. Yesterday I finished 5 shrugs for bridesmaids in a wedding tomorrow. As always the Carolina Christmas sewing is my reward for doing something else so now I have to work on the shirt quilt before putting the blocks together.