Thursday, May 31, 2012

Progress on the Prism

I started machine quilting my prism quilt today. This is a first for me, so I am a bit excited. I used my wonderful table from Joann's that expands to 3'x5'. It is the perfect height to work at without straining the back. I taped wooden skewers to the table to mark the centers of each side. This is an idea I have read about in the past. As you put layers down you can no longer see marks. Using the skewers allows you to feel where the center line is.
I secured my layers by using large binder clips. I was surprised at how sore my hands were after clipping and reclipping after adding each layer.

After layering the backing, batting, and top, I began pinning. I started by putting one pin in the center of each triangle, but added more so that I had a pin near each point of the triangles.
I rearranged my sewing space to give the most support possible to the quilt as I worked. I have two portable tables. I used one to push the quilt onto as I sewed and I put the other on my left side to support the rest of the quilt as I worked.
Since this is my first experience with machine quilting, I am learning how to deal with the bulk of the quilt. This is certainly not a fast process. I have made quite a few horizontal lines of quilting with several more to go. I plan to also quilt the diagonal lines.

Another new experience for me is using a walking foot. I bought this sewing machine last September to replace my over 40-year-old machine. That machine was very basic, even when it was new. I now have this wonderful electronic machine. I also purchased a walking foot to use with the new machine. What a wonderful experience that is! I never had anything like that with the old machine. Do any of you use the walking foot for piecing too? It seems to me that I would really like that. I may do it even if it is unorthodox.

Thanks for stopping by.

FMQ for May

This is my best 8'x8' sample of this month's FMQ Challenge. This is Leah Day's contribution to this year long challenge. I think this is a technique that I will be able to perfect.
At first I had quite a few 'eyelashes' on the back. After doing some reading on the subject I discovered that it didn't have anything to do with tension. Rather, it was due to going too fast on the curves. It is a challenge to get the right speed of the needle and the speed with which I move the quilt matched so I don't get eyelashes. I am still afraid to try this on a quilt. I need more practice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Merry Snowman #4

I completed block #4 of the Merry, Merry Snowmen BOM. This one was much simpler than some of the others. My applique skills are improving, but I think I really prefer piecing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Paper Piecing Problem

Now that I am past 100 houses, a problem is developing with the paper piecing. A couple days ago, I noticed that my iron was beginning to drag and my ironing board cover was picking up some black marks. I cleaned the iron (OK, I lied. DH cleaned my iron) and put a piece of muslin on the ironing board. The black marks continued to show up and my iron is continuing to pick up some residue.
Here is a picture of one afternoon's accumulation of black marks. When DH and I discussed the issue, he remembered that when he took the pattern to be copied at Office Depot (he takes care of these kinds of errands for me. I know. I am spoiled), they changed copy machines during the process because one machine was having trouble with the thin paper. I now know that I have pattern sheets that came from two different copiers. One machine, apparently had a different kind of ink, or perhaps just put more ink on each copy.

So here is the problem. I am getting quite a mess when ironing these blocks. Have any other paper piecers out there ever had this problem? Is there a solution? I would love to hear about your experience with copied patterns.

I am trying to be very careful so that I don't smear any of the ink on my blocks. I have a lot of blocks to go in this project. I work slowly as it is. I don't need another problem slowing me down even more.

Blogger's BOM #9

I have completed block #9 of the Blogger's Block of the Month. Another fun block. I have a little wonky problem in the lower left section of the Christmas block. I will likely take that apart and fix it. How can everything go so well and then I get to one spot and get so off track?

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am completely overwhelmed and honored for my quilt to be among the finalists in the BQF in the handquilted category. Thank you SOOO much to those of you who have voted for it. It is such an affirmation to get kudos from people who also love quilts. Thank you again.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Prism Ready to Quilt

I finished sewing the Prism quilt together today. I am really happy with it. It really seems to glow. You might not see a difference in the picture, but in person it looks a lot better now that it is sewn together. I found some yardage in my stash that I have had for years that I will use for the backing. I have the panels sewn together and the center marked. I have the batting. What am I waiting for? I have to get the thread for quilting. I am thinking that I would like a variegated, maybe purple/blue/green. I think I will stitch in the ditch on the horizontal rows and then follow the diagonals. If I think I need more quilting, I will probably continue with parallel lines. I have no confidence in my FMQ skills. I don't want to mess this up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

First, I want to thank Amy @ Amy's Creative Side for hosting this Festival.

 Amy's Creative Side

The quilt I am sharing in the Blogger's Quilt Festival is my White-on-White Counterpane Victorian style quilt.  I am entering this quilt in the handquilted category. It is 92x75 inches (Double Bed size with plenty of drape). In addition, I made matching pillow shams and a round decorative pillow. I am sorry that I don't have wonderful photos of my quilt. The only camera I have is on my cell phone.

This quilt will always be special to me. It is the first bed-sized quilt I ever made. I spent a lot of time selecting the designs for each panel. My overall goal was for the quilt to look antique. The method was quilt as you go, so each block and border were completed separately and then put together. I wanted the joining seams to be disguised so I shopped for just the right lace to give the antique look while hiding the seams. I couldn't find anything that looked antique. I bought samples of several and experimented using different methods to get just the right look. The method that worked on the lace that I put on my quilt was a specific ratio of chlorine bleach and water. I experimented with different times to get the lace to look antique.
I also took great care in selecting the patterns for each block. I saw a picture of a tulip applique block in a magazine that I really wanted to include in my quilt. The picture was very small, so I took it to the public library and used an overhead projector to put the outline on the wall. I had to adjust the focus and the distance of the projector from the wall in order to get the right size. I made my own pattern from that tiny picture.
I made pillow shams and a round decorative pillow to go with this quilt. The pattern I used on the shams used two different patterns that I put together to please myself. The feathered oval surrounds a bouquet of roses. Stipple quilting surrounds the roses.

Thanks so much for having a look at my quilt. Enjoy the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Come back again to visit my blog.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prism Quilt Ready to Sew!

Prism Continued

I worked though the green round on the prism quilt yesterday. I had to reposition the whole thing on my design wall to make it fit. (Note to self: the next time DH is putting up a design wall, have him put it all the way up to the ceiling in order to make it as large as possible. This one is 6'x8' and it would be great if it was larger. It could have been 8'x8' but we cut off 2'. Doh.)
I am liking the effect. I really am drawn to a dark palette of colors. I don't particularly like the brown/gold round. That round looked really good in the project that this is based on, but with my dark fabric choices, I don't really like the browns in there. Oh well. Next I move on to the turquoise/aqua round and the blue corners. Maybe today. Or I might just look at it for a while and go back to houses. I have also received block #4 of the Merry Merry Snowmen quilt so that is also waiting to be worked on.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blogger's BOM

I have now completed the block that was posted on April 25. I really liked making this block.
I am getting a little low on my gold fabric. I wish I could figure out how to apportion it out or if I will want to use it in future blocks. Oh well. That's the way it works with a BOM project.
The Christmas prints are a bit busy. I think my fabric choices don't show off this block in the best way. It would have helped if I would have used the whiter background fabric around the center block. I was experimenting with using the different fabrics. Live and learn.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

101 Houses!

I have completed another 16 scrap houses. I now have a total of 101 houses! Yeah for me. Only 264 more to go.
I have just now noticed that my belly shows in this picture. I held my camera above the cutting table to get the 16 houses without showing all of the other mess on the table and inadvertently got my big belly in there. OK, that's just too much information. I am too lazy to go back downstairs, unpin them from the groups of 10 and rearrange them on the cutting table to take another shot. Sorry.

Summer semester has begun. It hasn't gotten too intense yet so I am trying to take advantage of a little down time to do some sewing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Banner Quilt

I have been asked about the quilt that is shown in my blog's banner. I started it many years ago and intended it to be given to my son when he moved out on his own. (At the time I was probably a little anxious for that to happen.) When he fell in love and got married, his wife already had a furnished house. Their taste runs to the modern/contemporary style. I didn't think this quilt would fit in with their house at all. I have gotten to the quilting stage. It is about half way hand quilted, but I have lost my mojo on the project.

The pattern can be found in The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts (1998) by Lynette Jensen. It is called Pine Grove and I liked it because I thought it had a very masculine look to it. I don't know if this book is still in print, but I really like the projects in it. I have completed several of them. The directions are very thorough and the illustrations and pictures are very helpful.

I hope that helps.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Second Try at the Prism

I have cut the fabric that I picked up while in Michigan. I think I have some improvement in the overall look. What do you think?
Check out the red/orange and brown/gold rounds. This was my first try.
This is my second try. I think it is better, but I am still not happy with my golds.

Back in Kentucky

We returned from Michigan yesterday. We had a great visit with our granddaughter, son, and daughter-in-law. The guys finished the playset, no thanks to the terrible directions, misleading illustrations, and poorly marked parts. At one point, they had to disassemble the entire tower because they had made an error (due to the illustration) in step one. Despite forecasts of great weather for the weekend, they worked between bursts of POURING rain. Through it all, they remained in relative good spirits and worked together well. In the end, they finished the project and granddaughter LOVES it.
I took this photo as they were finishing the last few steps in the process.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Away from My Machine!

We have slipped a quick trip to Michigan into the short time between semesters. The main purpose for the trip is for DH to help Son build a newer, bigger playset for Granddaughter. Here is a picture of the beginning of the process.
So far, no conflicts. While I am away from my machine I am really enjoying time with Granddaughter. She has changed so much since we saw her in March. Exploding vocabulary. What fun to spend time with her.

Today is DH's b'day, so we are going to have Margarita Cupcakes for dessert. DIL is an expert cupcake maker. I have taste tested and they are great. It is also Derby Day. We are missing all the hoopla in KY. That's OK; we aren't that into it.

I made a trip to Joann's yesterday and found a few reds and browns to replace some of my initial choices on my prism quilt. I hope these will solve some of the med/dark problems I have with my fabric selections.

I am supposed to be "off" this week between semesters. I have five meetings scheduled for this week. What's up with that? This is supposed to be a 9-month contract, but the work never seems to end. I am even missing one of the meetings because I am in Michigan. Since I don't have tenure I can't be too snarky about such things and I just go with the flow. 

I'll be watching your blogs while I am away from my machine. Be sure to share good photos so I can enjoy seeing your progress.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April's Progress

Rabbit, rabbit! It's the first of May. Yeah. I want to sum up my accomplishments for April. If you think I am a bit obsessive compulsive, you are right. My kids would say 'annal retentive' but I reject that term. I have a list posted next to my sewing machine so I can keep track of the projects I am actively working on. Don't even ask about the WIP's that I am not working on right now.

Here goes. I haven't yet completed the Blogger's BOM which was posted on April 25. I will get to those soon. I won't consider those late until May 25. I completed block #3 of the Merry, Merry Snowmen BOM from Shabby Fabrics. I completed the FMQ challenge for April. I completed another 40 scrap houses.

I now have a total of 85 houses done. I have them pinned in groups of 10 so I can keep count (Bonnie Hunter's method). I am reminded of the line from Jaws "We're going to need a bigger boat." I think I'm going to need a bigger basket. I am still behind on this project, but I am catching up. I have now added the Prism QAL to my list. I have a little more time to get my fabrics selected before the next step in the QAL will be posted.

And, crazy me. I have also ordered the 2012 Designer Mystery BOM from Fat Quarter Shop. That will be added to my list when I get the first shipment. Oy. Will I never learn? I always seem to take on more than I can handle. I don't know if it is a character flaw (either learned or just out of plain orneriness) or if it is in my DNA. Maybe in my next life I will apply this lesson.

Thanks for stopping by.