Monday, March 23, 2015

A Monday of Quilting!

I was so excited to get the new fat quarters for the background of my March quilt! They will work nicely - I really like some of the patterns in them.  The blue ones went in to my stash - this is one quilt that has no blue in it.  Wow, I can hardly believe I am making a quilt with no blue, that doesn't happen too often!  Anyway, it has some nice yellow, green, and tan prints that work really well with the rest of the prints.

I made 16 blocks today for this quilt, so good progress!  Only four more and I'll be halfway done - woohoo! I definitely should be able to finish the top by the end of this month.  It takes me about an hour to make 4 blocks (9 inches square finished) so by the time I finish all 80 blocks for the center I will have quite a bit of time invested in this quilt.  I guess I need to start looking for a backing for it now.
I managed to take some nice pictures of my newest baby quilt - I made my Monkey Around Pattern using owl fabric.  It came out super cute!  I did some easy straight line quiting on it for the fun of it.  It came our really nicely. I enjoyed doing the quilting, but don't think I'd want to do this on a quilt that would be much bigger!  By the end it was a lot to fit under my machine's arm and control to keep straight.  

Here is a picture of the quilting in progress:  
I didn't measure, just eyeballed the distance between lines.  The staight lines in the pattern and blocks made it easy to keep them faily straight

And this is a picture I found in my cameral of the quilt top I finished in February.  I just ordered a backing for it - feathers! I thought that would be fun with the cats on the top of the quilt.  We'll see if I like it when it comes in.  I have plenty of quilts that need backing, so I'm sure it will work on something if  don't like it for this one!

The roman shades I've been working so hard on are now finished and installed!  So this week I get to have fun quilting....and boy, do I need it!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Right, Left, Right

I posted my dilema about what version of the quilt to make and got feedback on Facebook and here.  Everyone who posted on my blog said to make the blocks as I started to.  Most of the people on Facebook prefered that version as well.  The group that preferred the original version?  My real life quilting friends!  Really interesting, don't you think?  It was quite funny on the Quilting page on facebook.  It sounded like they were calling out a marching beat at times with the comments - Right, Left, Right, Right, Right!

I am going to continue on making the blocks as I started to - I don't want to rip, I do like the way the EQ7 mock-up looks, and it makes the quilt more unique!  I finished another set of four blocks yesterday and here is my progress:
I am short of light fabrics for the background of the triangles and squares so I had to find some light neutrals  I found a pack of Fat Quarters (Key Lime Sorbet by Quilting Treasures) that looks like it will work - fingers crossed.  I ordered them from Green Fairy Quilts.  It was the last one.  The price said $51.00 which was not bad.  Then when I looked back at the site right afterwards I saw the price on their fat quarter bundles had dropped!  My typical luck, things always go on sale right after I buy them, but within moments of purchasing - well, that's just not fair!  I sent them an e-mail and Clint very kindly refunded the difference.  I will defininitely check them out next time I need fabic.

Also check out Judi's blog - GreenFairyQuiltsBlog.  Her quilting is fabulous!  I follow a lot of quilting blogs and hers is one of my favorites, I'm sure you will enjoy it as well.

Now, I am going to go tackle the roman shades I keep talking about.  They are almost finished.  I need to mount the heading boards and string them (hopefully the hardware store will have the weight rods in for the bottoms).  The worst part is braiding the strings after they are done.  Good thing I have some episodes of Quilting Arts on DVR to watch while I do that!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Design Opportunity

Not a lot of quilting going on over the past week - we spent the weekend visiting our kids in Portland.  Always a lot of fun - the grand-kids are growing so fast and it is such a sweet thing to be able to be a part of their growing up years!  Jovi is so much more comfortable with us now and is so entertaining - "I did it!" is her thing, and I really got a kick out of hearing her say this.  I hope she always feel such a sense of accomplishment when she masters the many skills ahead of her to learn!  It is wonderful to see all of them learning new things and becoming such unique personalities - like they say, if I knew being a grandparent was this much fun I'd have done it first!

On to quilting. I have a decision to make with my March quilt in progress and hope to get some help!

 I worked some more on the blocks for this months project.  Here are the first 4 -
And here is the next set of four combined with them:

Sorry for the bad lighting... Do you see where I got a triangle turned wrong?  I fixed it and started working on the next set.  As I looked at the pieces as I laid them out I realized that I have started putting my blocks together wrong!  So, now I have a decision to make.  Do I take apart the blocks I already made, or do I decided this is a design opportunity and make the quilt with the blocks as they are and make the rest the same?  

I got busy with EQ7 and made a quilt with the blocks both ways.  What do you think?  This is how it will look the way I am currently making the blocks:
And this is the way it is supposed to look:
I'm leaning toward one of them, but I'm not telling yet!  Leave a comment and tell me which one you like best!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Irish Chain Wall Hanging

I put my March quilt up today!  This is a quilt made from the book Calendar Quilts.  I won this book many years ago from a Quilt Guild challenge.  It features 12 different quilts, one for each month.  I've made about half of them and still intend to make them all someday.  They are a perfect size for a window in my dining room, and lately I've taken to hanging them over my fireplace. (Yes, it is an electric fireplace - I'm not a fan of building fires!)

This quilt is machine pieced and hand quilted.  I used some scraps of vintage fabric in this one for the flowers.  It's just a simple quilt, but very happy and it's nice to bring it out when the spring flowers are starting to come out.  The binding is made using strips of all the different flower fabrics as well.  I always think of this as an Irish Chain, but it isn't.  I'll have to go find my copy of the book so I can see what this pattern is actually called!  Anyway, it's a cute little quilt and perfect for spring and I am happy I got it hung up today to enjoy for a while.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Sorry to be so ungramatical, but it just doesn't sound as good without the ain't :)

All three loads of laundry are washed and put away, and I have dinner figured out for the rest of the week - still need to get out my Irish Chain quilt - I'll get busy and get that out tomorrow!

I've been working hard to get the roman shades I've been working on finished.  I ran out of rings yesterday, so will have to hopefully pick up more tomorrow.  Then all I have to do is get the screw eyes into the boards and attach the blinds and strings.  Whew.  I've been working on these for a while, and it is time to get this project completed.

I worked at Threads That Bind today, spent part of the day figuring out how to make a lap quilt into a queen size quilt!  We came up with a good idea, and I wrote up the instructions and got the yardage cut.  This is something we do for our customers pretty regularly.  Another good reason to shop at your Local Quilt Shop!  We offer great customer service!

The rest of the day was spent working on a pattern for a barn block with a quilt on it.  I drew up an original pattern and picked out some fabric for the sample.  I will need to work out how to make it and write instructions tomorrow, but that should be a fairly quick task.  I taught an EQ7 lesson, and learned something myself!  I've been trying to figure out how to create a diagonal setting in the custom block mode and today it clicked!  That was super exciting - teaching other people how to use the program has really increased my proficiency greatly.

When I got home I spent a couple hours working on the March quilt!  I finished all my corner triangles and sewed the strips on a few.  Then I had to put one block together - so pretty!
I still need a few more fat quarters of background fabric, so will look for those this weekend.  Only 79 more blocks to go...I guess that means I should make around 4 a day to finish this top by the end of the month.  We'll see!  It's a good goal, and I should be able to sew that many in an hour or so.
Setting a goal really helps push me to get things done, how about you?  I am looking forward to seeing these multiply on my desing wall!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Some real life goals for this week....

Number One:  Put away my clean laundry without letting it sit in the dryer for 4 days (I am not going to deny that for the last two weeks it has taken me 7 days to complete 2 loads of laundry each week)

Number Two:  Plan what to have for dinner before 6:00 most days.  Yes, that last minute cry of  "what shall we eat" every night is getting a little old lately!

Number Three:  Get my Heart Quilt put away and put up the Irish Chain - whoops, it's already the second week of March!

I guess I have been a bit busy the last couple weeks, but boy, it is time to pick up the slack!  I have one more big sewing project and I'll be back to quilting more.  Here is one of my next projects:
Isn't it gorgeous?  The three dimensional effect s achieved by using netting over half of the star sections, but I am going to try to do something similar using ombre fabric!  This pattern is from the book Simply Triangles: 11 Deceptively Easy Quilts Featuring Stars, Daisies & Pinwheels.  I can't wait to start playing with this - it will be a lot of good creative fun.

I've started my project for March - lots of half square triangle units being sewn so far:  

Yes, the background unit is larger than the triangle, there will be a strip sewn to these to complete them as corner units in the blocks I am making.  The blocks will be more scrappy, but all the corner units are the same and will form pinwheels where the blocks meet at the corners!  I think it is gong to be very pretty when done.  I love it as the small pieces come together and make the bigger units, then become blocks.  I have 200 of these units to make - I think I am halfway there already and I hope to finish these tomorrow so I can start working on the next units.  First I need to finish sewing all the rings on the Roman shades, so I'll be getting on that right soon as I put away my laundry (wink, wink!).

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Happy Etsyversary!! PamelaQuilts is 9 years old tomorrow!

Which means this blog of mine is also 9 years old as I started both around the same time!  How about we celebrate with some cupcakes:

Want to see an overload of awesome looking cupcakes?  Just try searching on Pinterest!  Too many to choose from :)

Since I can't actually give you any cupcakes, I will give you a 9% discount in my Etsy shop today and tomorrow with the coupon code CUPCAKE!  That seems like a nice little party favor for all my friends!

In addition to that, I will give an additional 9% to the Calliope Joy Foundation because I am the featured quilter on the Quiltsy Team blog today.  We are celebrating Worldwide Quilting day by featuring team members and their charities all month long!  Check out our Facebook Page to see the new feature each day, or follow our blog.

Thanks for reading my blog!


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Do What You Love...

and you will never work a day in your life.  Really?  I don't agree, work is work.  Maybe you might enjoy it more than digging ditches, but it is still work.  And what about all those people who do not want to turn their hobby into a job?  They have a very valid point that once you start doing it for pay, it's not as much fun anymore.

I know this is somewhat true for me.  My work involves sewing, so I enjoy that.  But it is still work.  I have to do it.  I have deadlines and people counting on me to finish the job, so I can't slack off or start a new project just because I feel frustrated by the one I am working on.  I actually have two jobs (at least!)  so I can really see different sides of the issue.

The job I earn an actual (small) paycheck for is my position at my LQS (local Quilt Shop).  I started out as just helping customers, making kits, cutting fat quarters - really basic work that ended when I left the shop.  At this point I am in charge of the website, newsletter and scheduling classes.  I also am relied on to provide designs for blocks and create custom patterns and kits for the shop.  My work comes home with me more often than not and I sometimes feel stressed about deadlines and things that need to be done.  It is just a half day a week, but I find it takes up much more than four or five hours a week in my brain!

Another job I do is custom sewing and alterations.  I have been working with an interior designer, creating custom drapes and home furnishings.  This can be quite fun and creative, but also requires sewing to deadlines and being very precise with cutting and sewing.  Plus I have my own clients that I have worked with for many years that bring me their projects - so I can have a lot on my plate at any one time and I really try to make everything work as best as I can, but sometimes I feel like I am chained to my sewing machine!

At the start of this year I decided that I needed to create some more space in my life for playing on my own projects, which keep getting pushed to the back of the line because of work.  So, weekends and early mornings I have set aside for doing what I love - quilting!  During the month of January I spent most of that time working on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery.  I loved every minute of all that piecing!  The quilt top makes me so happy and I am excited to start quilting it soon!  (Playing is so much fun, and this quilt was definitely play - not work at all)

In February I decided to complete sewing a top that was about halfway done.  This is going to be a pattern - my inspiration was to create a sampler quilt that I could use to teach beginnners with.  This quilt features a huge variety of techniques and is great for helping students to learn the basics.  This is the third top I have made, and I think it is my favorite!  I finished the center last night, after quite a long inner debate about the cornerstones.  They look all right to me, and I think once the borders are on it will be perfect.  I plan on using this as my hand quilting for the spring and summer and will be using it as my fall quilt later this year.  I have been wanting a fall quilt for years, but could never find a design I liked - guess I just needed to come up with my own thing!

I have another large top I want to work on for March.  I think this is going to be the year of queen size quilts for me - but I love it.  I am so happy with my decision to set some time aside to play at completing some lanquishing projects.  I can't call my progress on these work, because it really is play and it makes my sewing work so much less stressfull.

Is sewing work for you, or is it play?  For me it is both - and I hope to keep the balance and spend enough time playing to make the work feel like it is worth it!