Monday, January 30, 2012

Pulling ties...

This morning I am working on finishing th task of pulling all the ties out of a butterfly quilt so I can repair it, replace the batting and quilt it! There were a lot of ties in this one. I can't quite figure out how they were done as they all go through the back into the seam allowances of the pieced top. Too bad the cotton batting disintegrated!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project Quilting 3:2 and Plenty of Piecing!

It's been quite a busy week, at least as far as quilting goes! I really had a lot of other things to work on, but I didn't want to miss out on making another quilt for the Project Quilting challenge this week. The theme of the challenge was fun - it was called Making Music and we were supposed to make a quilt based on a song. I was excited because I have several quilts based on songs floating around in my head, but I soon realized that they were not quilts that could be easily made in a one week span! As the days started ticking by, I kept trying to come up with another idea that would work for my theme. Finally, the pile of fabrics with roses that I have been shuffling around my sewing room all week and the June Taylor ruler I won from Moda merged together and the song title became obvious! Something simple, like Ring Around the Rosies! Woo hoo, I was ready for sewing - fabric, theme, and tools were all set to go.I cut four squares of blue, four squares of pink, a rose print for the center and borders and used my ruler to cut the squares out. (ignore the fact that the one pink square looks like a different color, because it wasn't! These are the squares you have left after cutting with the special ruler. I started out with a piece of fabric 20 x 20 inches
After cutting the smaller squares and sewing back together my piece measured 12 1/2 inches! I thought about making a pillow, but decided on a small quilt for a table topper or wall.
And here is the finished quilt, complete with some accent beading. I had a hard time with the binding, there wasn't enough of the blue fabric or the roses, which would have been my top two choices. I was really pleased with how the pink looked after I had it on, though.
I've been making stacks of triangles for Ann's quilt. I hope to have the top for this one done early next week. I think I'm about halfway done now.
Don't they look nice all together?
I also finished 15 of these this week. Only 85 left to go :/ Trying to keep a positive attitude, but I want to get this project finished soon! With any luck I'll have 35 more done by next Saturday. I also finished up the T-Shirt quilt! I'll take pictures tomorrow and show it - it really deserves it's own post!

Hope you have a good quilting week - don't forget to check out the Home Sweet Home Quilt along! If you need me to send you a pdf of my block instructions, let me know, and I still have more of the houses to give away if you want one make sure to let me know.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Home Sweet Home Quilt - A - Long

Are you ready to make a really fun house block?

I was pretty excited to be asked to join in on this Quilt- A - Long and I had just the block in mind to create, so I hope you enjoy it! It looks a lot like my house (not that it really sits right on the bay, but who says it can't in my quilt block?

I know there are a lot of little pieces, but they all go together super easily to make this cute little house block. You can download the full printed instructions here. I've even included a paper piecing pattern for the house itself, so if you would prefer to work on it that way you can. If you want to learn how to paper piece see this Tutorial on Connected Threads. Oh, and when you finish your block, come show us on our flickr group!

I also have a couple of little goodies you can get, but join me at the end of this post for the details.

So.... let's get started on our House by the Bay!

You need a lot of pieces for the house block, but they are small so it really won't take too much fabric! You'll need 6 - 1 x 2 1/2 inch pieces, 4 - 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch pieces, 2 - 1 1/2 inch squares, 2 - 1 x 2 inch pieces, 1 - 1 1/2 x 1, and 2 - 1 x 6 1/2 inch strips for the house itself. I used white for my first house, then a fun blue stripe for my blog version!

Then you will need 2 - 2 x 2 inch, 2 - 1 1/2 x 2 1/2, and 1 - 1 1/2 x 2 inch pieces for the windows. Yellow is a nice window color.

For the roof you will need a 2 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch piece and a 1 1/2 x 2 inch piece. I had a nice brown piece that looks like shingles for this one.

A nice door - I picked a red one - 1 1/2 x 2 1/2.

Blue for the sky - you'll need 2 squares 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, one strip 2 1/2 x 8 1/2, one strip 4 1/2 x 8 1/2, and one strip 4 1/2 x 2 1/2.

A piece of green for the hill, or brown rocks, or how about a sand dune? Just one 2 1/2 x 10 1/2 piece will work for this.

And water for your bay - 2 1/2 x 12 1/2.

Now for the sewing! It all goes together in sections, so it won't take long!

For the roof, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the 2 1/2 inch squares of sky. Sew these to the sides of your big roof piece:

Trim away the extra fabric 1/4 inch from the seam. Press your seams toward the roof, then add your first 1 x 6 1/2" house strip to the bottom:

Sew a 1 1/x x 1 house piece to the bottom of the 1 1/2 x 2 window. Then add a 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 house section to each side of the window, then add a 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 window to each side, and finish with a 1 x 2 1/2 house section on the ends, so you finish with a strip like this:

And sew it to your roof!

Now, take your 1 1/2 inch house squares, draw a diagonal line on them and sew them just like the big roof! Trim and press and add the last two 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 house pieces to the side like this:

Sew it the bottom of the house, then add the second 1 x 6 1/2 inch strip - almost done now!

Sew a 1 x 2 house strip to the bottom of each 2 x 2 window square. Set aside. Now sew a 1 x 2 1/2 strip to each side of the door piece, add the windows (house strip toward the bottom) and the last 1 x 2 1/2 inch strips. Press seams.
Add to bottom of house - the hard part is done!

Sew the 2 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch sky strip to the left side, and the 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 to the right side of the house.

There's a little trick to the hill - with your 10 1/2 hill piece right side up on the bottom place your sky piece right side down at a 90 degree angle so you can sew the angle - like this:

Mark your line, sew, trim and press. Add to the bottom of your house and sky unit:

For the big finish, add your 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 strip of water to the bottom! Stand back and admire!

If you are worried about whether your house block will be accurate in size wait to cut your 2 1/2 x 8 sky piece and 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 water piece until the house is done. Then you can easily adjust the size of these pieces to make your block come out to 12 1/2 inches, sometimes it's nice to have that little "fudge" factor!

Don't forget to upload your picture to the flickr group!

So on to the surprise bonus' I promised! Do you EQ? I designed this block in EQ7, so if you do use EQ7 I would be glad to send you the project file for this - just let me know and I'll e-mail it to you! I'd love to see your EQ7 project using my block, too, so show it to me and I'll post it here on my blog!For the second Freebie, I have a couple of strips with these cute houses and trees that were left over from another project. I thought they were perfect for this Quilt - A - Long, so if you would like one of these little houses, just leave a comment. I think there are 16 of the houses altogether, so if I get more than 16 interested I'll have to do a little drawing. If there are less, then I will just divide them up among those interested. I think the strips are about 4 inches tall or so.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Project Quilting 3:1 Architectural Elements

I was excited about this challenge because I knew immediately that I would choose an inspiration piece from my Paris photos, little did I realize how hard it would be to choose one (and find time to actually complete the piece)!At first I wanted to make a piece using Notre Dame as inspiration, but as the week sped past I realized I did not have time to do justice to that project right now, but it will have to go in my "someday" list. Then I started looking for something a little more realistic with the amount of time I had to work with. I decided that this picture of the underside of the Arche de Triomphe would be just the ticket. At first I planned on doing nine squares, but piecing all those strips on took longer than I thought, so ended up settling for just a little 4 square quilt.
I dug through my stash for some nice tans and happened across that nice brown stripe that I thought would work perfectly for my dark strips. The small center blocks were a fabric that I loved and had just a little strip left, but enough for this quilt! The inner and outer light strips are the same fabric, and I used a brown print for my dividing strip and binding.
Isn't the backing perfect? It really reminds me of the inspiration photo!
I love the way the yo-yos worked for my flowers. I made them early Saturday morning and sewed them on half asleep because I had to go to a Dance Competition for my daughter and wanted to finish and post my entry so I didn't miss the deadline.
I would love to do this project larger and add pretty quilted borders to mimic the detailing in the arches. This was a really fun project to make - if you look at the flickr group there are lots more fabulous entries! Check them out and leave some comments - it's always fun to see what other people think of your work.

Have a productive week!


Sunday, January 08, 2012

First Free Motion Stippling

While I was putting things away from yesterdays class, I took some pictures of my first effort at free motion stippling so I could share it here. I thought it would be fun to also show you how pretty it looks hanging in my front room before I start criticizing it too much! The walls are a lovely gray/lavender shade that I just love. The quilt looks perfect hanging in this spot and I really enjoy looking at it. It's so heavily quilted that it lays quite flat. The blocks were made for me in a secret sister swap probably about 15 years ago and I quilted it back in 1992.I studied some you-tube videos and read all the books I could find and jumped in to machine quilt this little top. I used monofilament in the top, and a soft grey color cotton thread in the bobbin and quilted the heck out of this little quilt! Can you see the crazy looking quilting. Definitely no consistancy to the quilting. Lots of funny pointy spots and crossing over lines. Big loops, little loops. But you know what? It doesn't really matter. I still love this quilt and am proud to display it!

See the little blank square above the lighthouse block? I meant to make that into a signature square, but was so excited to quilt it that I forgot. Isn't that funny? I sure wasn't going to take out the quilting so I could write in it, so decided to leave it as is, and have to really look hard to find it every time I tell the story! I guess the moral of the story is, to just have fun - enjoy your projects and the process of learning new skills. I sure do!


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Free Motion Quilting and Charming Hearts

Today was a busy day. I taught a free-motion quilting class. It was fun, and I enjoyed encouraging my seven students in their attempts at mastering some basic free-motion. I know how hard it is when you first start and think that it all looks so bad. They all did quite well, the machines were pretty well behaved (yahoo!) and I hope they will continue to practice and move forward in their skills!

I showed them my first attempt at stippling and it is truly horrible! Much of it looks like scribbling with thread. I'll have to take some pictures of it before I hang it back up so I can share with you! Nothing like looking at one of your first attempts at something to make you realize how far you have come.I finished these table runners this week as sample for my Charming Hearts pattern. Am still refining the instructions, but should be able to get that listed on Etsy sometime this week. I am getting faster at writing the patterns, but it's still a struggle. Hopefully later this year will be upgrading my laptop and that will make an improvement for me in the illustrations.
Here is the quilt I finished for a customer before Christmas. Isn't it pretty? I like how the quilting came out - I did outlining around the animals and Noah and the Ark. Then I drew the lines in the border and stitched those with the walking foot. I used white thread on the back as well as the front, and was a little concerned about how it would look.

I think it looks great! Love the contrast and how it brought out the design. I didn't really mean for my waves at the bottom to align with the ones at the top, but it worked out well also. I enjoyed working on this one, definitely a cute little quilt. The customer supplied the backing as well as the fluffy poly batting. I don't usually choose the fluffy batts, but they are nice for baby quilts, very cuddly and soft.

I'm excited about Project Quilting starting tomorrow! Last year I didn't participate because we were preparing for my daughters wedding, but this year I am ready to make some fun quilts. Cannot wait to see what the first challenge is going to be tomorrow. Stay tuned and you'll get to see my work in progress! Maybe you might want to join in on the fun, too!

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Postman rings.....

I had a bounty of fun stuff arriving in my mailbox last month, and though I took pictures I never got around to blogging about them! One of the best arrivals was a prize I won in the 12 Moda Days of Christmas Giveaway - I won the second day prize. I received a fun looking box in the mail, all taped up with Moda tape - I received a June Taylor Ruler for cutting twisted squares in different sizes (Twist and Stitch) and four charm packs of moda solids! I am really excited to create something special with these - right now I am thinking a fun holiday apron with a decorative band of the blocks cut from these fabrics at the bottom. Unfortunately the holidays are past so this might fall down to the bottom of my to do list. Or not. I'm itching to dig into this project right now!

Another fun little item arrived, I purchased some fabric for a mystery project - am not saying what it's for, but it's going to be a lot of fun!And I ordered some scrap packs from Fabric Depot for making some bags. I was so elated to see that I got selvages! Double bonus! I've trimmed the selvages off the bottom set and am working those up into a strata that I will quilt and make (hopefully) a large carry on bag out of. The rest will have to wait a bit, my plate is full at the moment and I need to do some crossing out of items before I can start any new projects. But I might sneak in a little selvage project or two in between other things...just because!
Hope your year is off to a good start and you don't feel as overwhelmed as I do. I started a list of projects (see 2012 list at the top of my blog) and feel a little bit in over my head at the moment - too many projects, too little time. One step at a time, I guess, and it will get all done! I'm not taking on any large projects for anyone else at this time, so that should help me to make some headway on my list. That and a little caffeine.

Off to the sewing machine!