Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Sewing Time

Feels great to have another semester done. Graduation was yesterday, so today was free for sewing. I find the Under the Stars project to be quite boring. So, in order to force myself to get the project done, I load up my six small design boards with the pieces for the blocks. I make myself finish six blocks before I can start on the more fun projects.
The good news, for me, is that I only have 32 more blocks to go. I am ready to get this baby on the design wall and be done with it. Do you find some blocks to be absolutely boring to sew?

The next project I worked on today was block number 7 of the 2013 Designer Mystery Block of the Month. I love this fabric and think this BOM is great fun to work on.
With those blocks done, I got to work on Lucey. I am practicing my FMQ on really inexpensive fabric and making play quilts for my grandkids. I recently finished this Disney Princess quilt top.
When Little Missy was visiting for Thanksgiving, she stood on a step stool and watched me quilt this for her. I haven't buried my beginning/ending threads yet or bound it.
Here is the back of the Princess quilt. I found this quilt design on YouTube. It is from Lynn Durban and she calls it ButterClam. You can find it here.

Today I finished up a baseball/robot quilt for the grandsons. I was practicing making random squares. When I quilted, I had the baseball theme fabric on the top.
 The back of the quilt is Robot themed fabric. When I turned it over, I really liked the backside the best. The quilting kind of looks like circuit boards. Very appropriate for robots.
That was enough for one day. Now I have the two play quilts to get bound. That is always my least favorite part of quilting.

Thanks for stopping by.







Sunday, December 8, 2013

Icy Sunday

We are getting the freezing rain that has plagued much of the country. Our trees are coated.
I took this picture through the screen, so it isn't really showing up like I thought it might. I am not going outside to get a picture, so this will do. So far, we haven't lost power. Some not too far from us have lost power, however. Keeping my fingers crossed.

DH and I got the Merry, Merry Snowmen quilt hung up for the season.


These little guys make me smile every time I look at them. They are going to be a great addition to my minimal decorations this year. I am getting old. I don't have a lot of enthusiasm when it comes time to pull out the bins of decorations. I put fewer ornaments on the tree, but I told myself that I was just reducing the temptation for the 15-month old who will be coming to visit us soon.


I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon hours sewing blocks. I kept my fingers crossed that we wouldn't lose power, and I have been lucky. I have now finished 30 blocks for the Under the Stars quilt.

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Little Sewing Time

We had a great Thanksgiving. Son, DIL, and Little Missy visited from Michigan. On Saturday, we sent Son and DIL off to have a day of shopping and eating out. We had fun with Little Missy. We made a gingerbread house and Christmas cookies. We had a great time. Little Missy isn't even four, but she absolutely loved the whole process of decorating the gingerbread house and cookies. She is grandma's best girl. I really miss her. 

It has been so long since I have been in my sewing room. Ahhh! It feels good to be back. The first thing I did was shorten a pair of pants for DH. They have been laying by my machine for three weeks. He says that with all of the machines I have I ought to be able to shorten a pair of pants. Of course I can, I just think it is beneath my dignity. Ha. I will spare you any photos of the boring process. Believe me, I did get the job done.

Then, on to the fun stuff. I completed block #6 of the 2013 Designer Mystery BOM series. It is called Fireworks. Cute.
The next project was a block for my bee mate. She asked for wonky houses. This is so far from my comfort zone that I can't even describe it. I have spent years trying NOT to make my projects look wonky. I really don't get this whole wonky craze. Oh well. I will give her what she wants.
I am so much more comfortable when I am using a pattern. I have no creativity...really. That is an Easter Bunny looking out the window. I am so sorry that I have already put this into the envelope to send off. I am really disappointed. I really try to produce a good quality product for my bee partners, and I am afraid that I really fell short on this one. So sorry. I'll do better next time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

EPP Tutorial

You didn't think I had written the tutorial myself, did you? How many times have I whined that I needed a good tutorial for the six pointed stars. I have searched and searched and had no luck. Today, I just stumbled onto it. I got an email from Riley Blake Designs with a link to an EPP tutorial for clamshells by Sue Daley. I checked it out and found out that she has a whole series of EPP tutorials on YouTube.
Check out the six pointed star tutorial here.

I am so happy to have found this tutorial. I have been doing things all wrong. First, the wrong needle. I was using an embroidery needle that was long and had a large eye. I chose it because it would be easy to thread. Here are the needles I need to use:
I bought them when I made my Merry, Merry Snowmen applique quilt. What a difference this has made.
Second mistake, wrong thread. I was using polyester thread that I had left over from various projects but it was way too thick. This is the thread that Sue recommends:
The 60 wt. thread makes a huge difference. It is fine and just blends in.
So now that I had the right needle and tread, what other problem could I have? I couldn't thread the needle to save my soul. Fortunately, I remembered that I had purchased this and had it tucked away in a drawer:
Problem solved. This Clover needle threader is a lifesaver. Now I can get the perfect thread through the eye of the perfect needle.
The next change is that I am going to try her glue method. That will save a lot of time that I have been spending basting each piece.
I am sure these changes will help me get my Tula Pink "Diamonds in the Sky" EPP quilt finished. 

Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two Rows Done

I have been working on my first EPP project. It is Tula Pink's Diamonds in the Sky. I love the fabrics. I finished the second row today and added it to the first row.
That is a terrible photo. Sorry. I use my iPhone since I don't have another camera. Here is a detail photo:
I am still working on my technique. I find lots of tutorials about hexies, but none about the diamond shapes. I have kind of combined the methods of Lori Holt and Mickey Dupre (is that how she spells it?).

I also thought I would share a photo of the first five blocks in the 2013 Designer Mystery project. These have all been fun, as usual, and I love the fabrics.
Aren't these going to make a cute quilt? I look forward to each installment in the project. Such fun.

Thanks for stopping by.



Friday, November 1, 2013

Rabbit, Rabbit

The first day of November. Yeah! I hope Trick or Treaters had better weather where you live than they did around here. Because of storms, we will be Halloweening tonight instead.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Photo heavy post

I have been spending some quality time with Lucey. I think I have the tension figured out. Now, I am not going to use a different kind of bobbin for 6 months. That is what has been recommended to me as a new long armer. That way I only have one adjustment to mess with; top tension only and leave the bobbin alone.

I bought a lot of $3/yd. fabric to mess around with. My grandkids will have a lot of dragging-around-type of quilts to play with.

I used this pre-printed panel to practice FMQ.

This was my first attempt at a pantograph. I do a better job with curves when I FMQ. Anytime I so much as shift my weight from one foot to the other, I get wiggles. Practice, practice, practice.

More FMQ. This will end up being a moving pad or something. I can see a difference in quality between the first section I quilted and the last.

I have also been plugging away at the Craftsy Under the Stars Sew Along. I was really let down to find out that this sew along is an on-your-own thing. There are no videos or pointers from a teacher as with other Craftsy classes. I'll never sign up for one of these again.


I have also started working on my first EPP project. I am making the Tula Pink Diamonds in the Sky quilt using her Acacia line of fabrics. I love the fabric. I am still working on my technique for EPP. I have been using a combination of Mickey Dupre and Lori Holt instructions. Again, practice, practice, practice.

The red and white churn dashes are starting to come in from my bee group. I am going to be really happy with this. I love red and white.

I am juggling a lot of projects right now, but I am having fun. Thanks for stopping by.






Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rabbit, Rabbit!

Another month is gone. This is annual evaluation time at work, so I haven't touched my sewing machine for a while. Can't wait to get back to it. Have a great day.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Churn Dash Tutorial

I am writing this tutorial for my wonderful Bee buddies. October is my month to be Queen Bee. I am jumping the gun just a bit because I have to send fabric to Australia and New Zealand. It will take a couple weeks for them to get the fabric bits that I am sending out. Apologies if I seem overanxious.

As Queen Bee, I decree that I want to make a Red and White Quilt. I am sending the white fabric to everyone. I am asking my drones to gather reds from their own stash to add to my whites. I am requesting a Churn Dash block, 12.5" unfinished and 12" finished. I want my red and white churn dashes to be positive and negative, so I am asking half of my drones to make red churn dashes on white background and the other half of my drones to make white churn dashes on red background. Here are a couple samples I sewed up. Won't these make a fun quilt?



I am happy to have the blocks be scrappy as long as they definitely read as red and white. You will notice that the white fabric pieces I have sent are slightly scrappy in that they are not all the same brand/color. The difference is subtle, but I am happy with it. Here are some of the reds in my stash that will work nicely in this project.
Solids are fine, but so are these prints. The reds can be bright or dark. You will notice that I have even pulled out a red with white print, but that it reads as mostly red.

I hope these instructions will be useful. If you don't mind, I am going to be very detailed, not because I don't think my drones know how to sew, but I am also going to post this tutorial on my blog and it might be read by an inexperienced sewer.

When you get your envelope with the white fabric, you will find a paper asking you to make either the white churn dash with red background, or a red churn dash with white background. Either way, I have included all of the white fabric you need for your (my) block.



Here are the reds you will need to add to the whites I have sent:
 
2-5" squares; 4-2.5"x4.5" rectangles
1-4.5" square; 2-5" squares; 4-2.5"x4.5: rectangles
 1. Put the 5" squares aside for now and layout the remaining pieces as shown below:
Red churn dash/white background; for the white churn dash, the center is red, and you reverse the order of the rectangles

2. Notice that when you line up the fabric, the pinked edges are measured from the tips of the edges. Chain piece the rectangles as shown

3. Press seams toward red fabric.

4. Next we work on those HST corners. Get your 5" squares. This is how I mark the diagonals. Use your preferred method.
I use my handy dandy 1/2" wide ruler. I put the solid line from corner to corner.
I use my Frixion pen (disappears when ironed) to mark my sewing lines.
5. I sew on my drawn lines. You can chain piece both pairs of 5" squares.

6. Cut between the sewn lines for a total of 4 HSTs.

 7. Press seam toward red fabric. Square up to 4.5".





8. Lay out your units in the correct order to sew together.
White churn dash layout
9. Assemble into rows
Red churn dash layout


10. Press this way
Red churn dash
White churn dash
11. Trim to 12.5"

Ta dah! You are done. Thank you so much.




Sunday, September 8, 2013

Farmer's Wife Flimsy Done

I have finished working on my FW.
I am so glad that I added that narrow turquoise border. I think it really looks finished now. OK, yet another top to add to the pile waiting to be quilted. On the Lucey front, I am having quite a time getting the tension right so that I don't have huge loops on the bottom. I reached my frustration point yesterday and had to walk away. I will be revisiting the manual and the videos today to see what small detail I have overlooked. I'm sure I'll get it right soon. Update on tension: DH and I found a couple really helpful videos online (http://forum.apqs.com/index.php?/topic/32042-jamie-wallen-video-taking-the-stress-out-of-thread-tension/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZBNUKsCyxg). I now have good tension. I have also changed my thread to be polyester on both the bottom and the top. I am in heaven. Thanks for all of your suggestions.

I'm linking up with Stitch by Stitch: Anything Goes. See the button on the right side of my blog. I am also linking up to Quilt Story found here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fire Her Up. She's Ready to Go!

Here is my Lucey.
Isn't she cute with her pretty little red bow?

I think I have the perfect place for her. When we had our basement finished three years ago, the builder couldn't understand why I didn't want a wall with a door leading to my sewing room. After all, wouldn't I want to be able to close the door to hide the mess? First, I don't consider it to be a mess. And second, I had this in mind the whole time. It took a while, but here she is.


Today, the bow comes off and I will be practicing all of those basic things that will soon become second nature. Turning it on/off, needle up/down, threading, putting in the bobbin, loading a quilt and all of the other myriad things I will have to be able to do before I even begin FMQ. Can't wait.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rabbit, Rabbit!

Happy first day of a new month.
Yesterday, DH and I went to Monticello, KY to attend a quilt show. It was a small show, but it was nice.
It was hard to see the quilts because they were roped off. This was the winner in the small, hand quilted category.
I was trying to get pictures of the quilting details so I will have some ideas when I get started with FMQ on Lucey.

When we left Monticello, we made a special trip to Somerset, KY to go to Paul's Discount. My, oh my! Piles and piles of flat folded fabric at $3/yd. I have been told that I need to get inexpensive fabric to practice my FMQ. I followed that advice. I also found wide backing fabric that I will use for my Farmer's Wife. Got a gallon refill of Mary Ellen's Best Press. Terrific prices! Spent $130, but everything I bought was a bargain. DH is an enabler! Who knew? He helped me look through those piles of fabric and kept calling me over to see what he found. He was probably just thinking he would get out of there faster if he helped. It was a great day.


Today DH and I plan to complete the assembly of Lucey. Our delay is not due to difficulty of assembly. After the casters arrived, we discovered that a different part had been damaged in shipping. It arrived yesterday, so today is the day to get this finished.

Thanks for stopping by.