Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dumbed Down

I decided today that I have dumbed myself down as a quilter!  Yes, indeed - my quilting skills seem to have deteriorated by quite a bit.  I have my rotary cutter and EQ5, 6 and 7 to blame.  When I first started quilting, I had no problem at all cutting out about 700 odd shapes using only a cardboard template and a pair of scissors.  Then I would sew them all together, and have a really nice quilt top.  Today, faced by one quilt block consisting of a page of instructions and two pages of templates I almost crumbled.
But then I pulled up my big girl panties, gave myself a talking to and got to work!  This is another QBOM from quilt guild.  I'm pretty sure I didn't do this one due to that little bit of applique.  Oh, and the fact that my oldest daughter was in college, the next two were in High School, number 4 in Jr. High, the youngest was just starting school and I was caring for my husbands elderly grandparents....I don't think I really did much quilting that year at all.  

I didn't dig out the cardboard to make templates, I did use my rotary cutter and did the math to figure out the sizes to cut the triangles and strips - there were some odd measurements, but it all went together perfectly.  Then I did the flowers and leaves with fusible applique.  I almost left the decorative stitching for later, but decided to go ahead and do the machine buttonhole - looks good!  I'm glad I took the time to do this block and revive some old skills...I guess I haven't dumbed myself down so much that I can't function doing things the old way!  I must say that I won't be giving up my rotary cutter or computer programs anytime soon, though - they make quilting so much faster and simpler.  

I'm saving this one on my design wall - it's so pretty I'd like to make something special with it - not sure what, but I'm sure an idea will pop up if I look at it long enough.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Did someone say Squirrel?)

HA!  I had great plans for today, but got a bit distracted...what's new?  I moved a box of packaged block kits from the Block of the Month program at my quilt guild and decided I should start making them up.  Today when I tried to pick out one block I realized I had a set of 4 completed blocks plus one kit from 2000.  That's the year all the blocks were made using the same fabrics so you could put them all together into a sampler if you wanted.  So I decided to make the last block and use all 5 in a top.  I added some sashing and setting blocks and am stuck at this point.  Nothing in my stash looks decent at all with what I've done so far.  So I suppose my options are to finish it as is with no borders, go shopping for a border or work on it later.
I'm not going to let this become one of those UnFinished Objects (UFOs) so I am going to see if anything strikes me when I go shopping tomorrow.  If not, it will be finished as is and marked off the list!  I was going to use the fabric at the bottom for the border, but it does nothing for the quilt, so will put it on the back instead...I am determined to use it one way or the other!

Then I pulled out fabric for a very big project I want to work on.  I decided that I don't have nearly enough background fabric for that one, so just did the math for enlarging it to the size I need.  I've added that to my list for tomorrow, so hopefully can start sewing on that - it requires 80 blocks, so definitely a long term project, but one that's been on my list for a long while.

Well, that was my day, not too exciting, but it was fun to play with these blocks.  They are kind of pretty, even if they aren't my favorite colors.  It will make a nice quilt for someone!

Friday, July 25, 2014

July UFO Challenge - Cat Quilt

TGIF - or as quilters say - Thank Goodness It's Finished!  I'm actually ahead by a week after starting out the month behind, so I am thrilled to have this finished already.  This was a fun quilt to work on because it is just for me.  No worries about making anybody else happy, just do what I want :)

 I dug into my new set of Aurifil threads for this one - I absolutely love quilting with Aurifil thread - I think it's the best thread ever for both quilting and piecing.  I used a teal color, it was a bit brighter than the colors in the quilt, but it blended very nicely.  I just made loops all over....like the kitties were playing with the thread in the sewing room.
 Isn't this pattern fun?  Every block is different.  So fun the way the kitties swirl around the center of this one!
Kitties climbing the curtains!  There must be a fly in this sewing room, that always gets my cat going!  I finished the quilt off with a black print binding.  I like the size, right at 50 inches.  It will be perfect to use as a lap quilt in the car.  Sometimes I get a little chilly when we are traveling, so this will be great for those times.  And if we stop for a little picnic, it will be just right for sitting on the grass!  Can't wait to try it out!

Tomorrow I'm going to do some piecing - I've got several projects waiting to get started so it will be a good day to get busy on one of them.  Then I think I might draw the number for the August UFO.  It might be a good idea to get started early, I've got a couple of the harder ones looming and it would be good to have a head start if I should happen to draw one of them!

I'll post my progress on facebook and instagram, if you want to see what I'm up to!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Listening to Your Quilt Talk

Do your quilts talk to you?  Mine sure talk to me!  I usually start out with a pretty good idea of how I want the quilt I am working on to go together, and sometimes that's just how it works.  More often than not, however, the quilt decides that it has it's own plan.  When I started this one, I had in mind to quilt it in a pattern of overlapping boxes.  As I was pressing the finished top, however, I noticed that the print in the sashing had little swirls that overlapped.  The design looked really familiar to me, so I got out my copy of Angela Walters book Free Motion Quilting and found what I was looking for - concentric circles!

 I really love the how the circles look on this geometric quilt!  It really adds great interest to the quilt and looks so great.  They were fun to quilt too - not super hard and I didn't get myself stuck too many times!
It was fun to get this quilt done over just a few days, I just love a little instant (almost) gratification!  I guess it pays to listen when your quilt decides to talk to you!

This pattern is my original design - CityScape.  I made this baby size quilt using 7 different music theme fabrics with teal sashing and royal blue cornerstones.  It's going to Threads That Bind as a shop sample for a while and will eventually be for sale in my Etsy Shop.  It measures 38 by 48 and is a fast and easy quilt to make!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WIP

I can't believe I haven't posted in three weeks!  After spending the  Fourth of July being miserably sick, it seems like I have spent the next couple of weeks working my tail off getting a couple of custom orders completed and not having time for anything else!  I am so excited to have all my big projects done and to be able to work on some projects that I want to work on!  The cat quilt below is a top my sister made for me, and it is my July UFO project.  It is basted and ready to quilt, so I hope to get that finished up this week - this is going to be a lap quilt to take in the car with me on trips.  I just love the cat print and how it is put together - Sis, you did a nice job on this one!
This quilt is a shop sample in my CityScapes pattern.  I wasn't too sure if I really liked the blocks, but once I got the sashing and cornerstones on, I loved it!  This one is up for quilting after the cat quilt, I think I'm going to try doing an overlapping design with boxes.  Should be interesting....

And here is my June UFO Challenge.  Another Asian panel quilt.  This one had plain cornerstones, so was simpler to quilt.  I remembered to add the sleeve before I sewed the binding, so all I had to do was hand-stitch one side of it (wish I would remember all the time, really makes it easier).


Here is the finished quilt!  Came out very pretty and now is available for sale in my Etsy Shop.



Do you do hand quilting?  I still do some, and I have been pushing to get a quilt done that I've been working on for way too long, now.  (Let's just say that menopause is not helpful....between hot flashes and bi-focals, I have had an interesting time adjusting!)  I really do love stitching by hand, it is very calming.  And the results are so beautiful!

I like hand quilting with regular quilting thread.  I really love working with contrasting thread, but not on this quilt, it needs to be more traditional.  I've done some Big Stitch quilting with Perle Cotton, but I thought it was difficult to pull the thread through.  The look was pretty neat, though, and it was really quick to do.  Overall, I'd have to say I prefer the traditional method.  When this one is done I have a green and white Grandmother's Flower Garden to do.  Then I think I'll do one of my own!

No matter whether you quilt by machine or hand, enjoy what you do!  Check out the Quiltsy Team Blog here for more WIP posts, and see what other quilters think about hand stitching.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Wednesday WIPS - Making Progress!

Still plugging away at the free-form bargello - got another strip set done today.  I should be able to get this top done by the weekend, so I'm happy with my progress on this project.  I'm still a little nervous about if I'm going to have the size I want with the borders, but if I have to add some creativity to make it work, I will!

I got the UFO for June basted.  I didn't have a piece of batting large enough, but I did have one that was twice as long, but not as wide.  I cut it in half, then used some strips of lightweight fusible interfacing to bond the two pieces together and created the perfect size batting.  It shouldn't be too long of a process to quilt this, so I hope to have this done in the next few days for sure.  It's about time - I need something new in my Etsy shop!  I found a picture online of the same scene - it's called the Golden Pavilion, so beautiful!


And I finished up my block for the Block of the Month I am doing for the quilt shop.  The pattern is printed up and ready to go, too - so I'm happy I have this done on time.  Seems like I've been running way behind on this - had it designed long ago, but it's taken me longer than I should have taken to get all the samples and instructions finished up.  I swear, next time I will have the whole thing done beforehand.  I really don't need the last minute pressure of creating the pattern every single month!  It is good practice, though....

Nothing really finished this week, but lots of things "in progress", so at least I'm keeping busy!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gone in a Flash

June was one of those months, I think!  Seems like I have been on the run on all month with very little to show for all of my effort.  Actually I do have something to show....empty space!  I spent a good part of the last couple of weeks going through my embarrassingly large collection of older quilt magazines.  Time to let go of these, but of course I had to thumb through them to make absolutely sure that the most amazing quilt pattern in the world wasn't in one of them.  I did find a pattern to use for a long overdue project - hurray!  And I only kept 3 or 4 of the older ones.  I did decide I wanted to keep my Quilter's Newsletter magazines.  The articles, you know!

I haven't finished my UFO for June, but will definitely try to get that done over the holiday weekend.  My husband has Jury duty the next couple weeks, so no traveling for us - we'll be spending the weekend here at home.  That's ok, because I have lots of quilting to do!  I made a little progress on my custom order quilt over the weekend, but my back really has slowed me down.  I plan to finish the top this week so I can work on quilting it next week.  Then I have fabric on the way for another custom order.  Cupcake fabric!  Can't wait to see it - that should arrive on Thursday morning.

In the meantime - here his how my "free-form bargello" quilt is coming:


I like it - it makes me think of waves on the shore!  Can't wait to see the full effect when I am finished.  I plan on quilting the blue with swirls and the green with a watery squiggle, maybe.  We'll see!  I might have to do something creative to get a little more length, depending on how far I can stretch my border fabric. No matter what, I think this quilt will be a winner!

Also up for work is my Block of the month pattern for the quilt shop.  I have two more blocks to finish and need to write the instructions to complete the project.  Never a dull moment around here.  At least I am feeling happy with the schedule I have set myself for working.  I try to do most of my alteration work on Mondays, then have the rest of the week for quilting.  It didn't quite work out for me last week, due to tweaking my back and having to work at the quilt shop all day Thursday, but at least I wasn't stressed out from deadlines on wedding dresses because I had it done already.

Well, I suppose I need to get my tired, rambling self to bed so I can get lots of sewing done tomorrow - hoping for a productive day of stitching!