Thursday, June 30, 2016

Modern Batik Challenge - Finished!

I did quite a few hours of machine quilting this week, but I got it done!  I am pretty pleased with how my quilt turned out, and I learned that I should probably do smaller projects for the Island Batik challenges.

 But I had a vision for this quilt and I followed it through to the end, despite a very busy month.  I was inspired by a quilt I saw online when I looked for modern quilts using 10 inch squares.  I had a gorgeous Stack of Florida Oranges in my Ambassador box and the colors were so bold and vibrant I knew they would be perfect for the challenge!  I loaded up EQ7 and went to town designing a quilt using only large half square triangles and squares.  I wanted it to explode out of the center and this is what I came up with:

Sewing the top was easy and fairly painless - I did get my green triangles turned around and had to unpick all 8 of them and sew them correctly, but other than that it was fast and simple sewing.  For the background of this quilt I used Egg White - I love the little dots of color swirling on the light background - it really went well with the vibrant Florida Oranges line!

Then came the quilting, which I really wanted to be special.  I started out with an outline of what I thought would be interesting and progressed through a lot of marking to do the straight line quilting in the center of the diamonds and around the center square - you can see my progress for my first couple of days of quilting in these posts:  Part One and Part Two

When I last blogged I was thinking about what to quilt in the triangles around the blue diamonds.  I found my inspiration the very next morning when I was reading through some blog posts.  Angela Walters blog is one of my favorites, (her machine quilting is amazing!) - and this post about dot to dot quilting gave me the inspiration that I needed to fill in those triangles.

I was thrilled with the results!  My daughter commented on how perfect the lines were, but they aren't - it's just the overall effect that makes them look that way!

I used a light gray Aurifil 50 wt for the quilting.  I like the way it blends into the colors and subtly shows up on the background.  I think it was the perfect choice!

And now for the finished quilt:

Isn't it fun?  I am just thrilled with the results!  I usually like to make more traditional quilts, but I think this quilt is pretty amazing!

It's really heavy - lots of thread went into the quilting, nearly the whole spool!  I used another Island Batik for the binding, from the Lavish collection - it was a nice orange that went well with the rest of my fabrics.  Batiks are nice for mixing and matching between collections!

What do you think?  Did I meet the challenge and come up with a modern quilt made with batiks?   If you would like to see what the other Ambassadors came up with for their modern challenge, there are links to their blogs under the Island Batik Ambassador tab at the top of my blog.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Modern Batik Challenge Part Two

I am deep into the quilting on my Island Batik #modernbatikchallenge.  I kind of wish I had gone ahead and added the double batting, but it is way past too late now!  Yesterday I added some matchstick quilting in the center square channels
That fine controlled stitching makes my forearms ache!

After that I decided to do a sunburst as the filler for the center square:
This is a fun design to quilt, though I have a tendency to stitch myself into corners fairly often.  I have a couple spots where I accidentally stitched over the line, so will need to do a little unpicking, but I like how it came out.

Next I added the spiral stitching to the outer triangle channels.

That went really well, then I realized that I meant to add this deign element to the second channel. Oops.  I decided this was a great design opportunity and came up with the idea of adding some diamonds outside the blue diamonds to highlight them a bit more:
I think I will end up adding some filler to the outside ones to make them stand out a bit more.   I also added the facets to the diamond.  One down, three to go!  Next I went on to try out a filler for the outside background triangles.  Spirals and bubbles:
And finished up the day by adding the facets to the four orange butterfly corners:
Now I have lots of filler left to do as well as three blue diamonds.  I laid it over the cutting table and as I was about to leave looked back at it.  Looks pretty good so far, though the picture really doesn't it justice!
I have a big bag of alterations to work on today, but after that I'll get to work on this quilt - hopefully I can make more good progress so I can get this crossed off my list for the week.  I hope you have a productive Monday as well!

See more about making this quilt on the following blog posts:
Modern Batik Challenge Part 1

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Modern Batik Challenge Part One

I've been challenging myself to work on some of those projects that I got started, but never have finished up.  My sewing room drawers are full of these pockets of good intentions and it's time to work through some of them!  Some time ago I was given several books of decorator samples.  I managed to cut all the fabric out of the books and intended to use it to make a number of projects, one of them being zipper pouches.  I even ordered a bundle of zippers and intended to make a bag or two every week.  Well, only a few bags got made, then the rest of the supplies got ditched out of sight.  This week I determined to put those zippers to use and get pouches made.  I did a good job!

I even got them all photographed and listed in my Etsy shop - my Bags, Checkbooks and Wallets section is nice and full now!  I had fun mixing and matching the zipper colors to the fabrics.  Some of them are a little imaginative, but I figure there is no reason something useful can't be pretty and fun, too!

I made a total of 38 of these zipper pouches.  Most of them measure about 7 inches wide and 5 inches tall.  They are all lined with different cotton prints, so are nicely finished inside.  So many pretty prints and colors that I definitely can't pick a favorite.

Other than working on a couple of alteration projects and getting back into my exercise routine with my husband that was my week.  I did get out my picture to work out the quilting design for my Modern Batik Challenge with Island Batik.  I did some looking at a lot of quilts on Pinterest and came up with a starting point for the quilting.

My idea kind of revolved around the facets cut in a diamond.  So I started from there and added some of my favorite types of ideas - I like the contrast of plain lines and quilted areas so tried to incorporate that idea, and I always love a transparency effect and saw that occuring with the yellow squares.  We'll see how it looks in real life.  I got the top basted on Friday thinking I would get the quilting started on Sunday.

I worked all day at the quilt shop, but when I got home really wanted to start quilting this.  So, when my husband went out to mow the back yard, I headed for the sewing room.  Frozen pizza for dinner meant no cooking and I decided I'd put that time to good use and get started.  I got the center done and am happy with that:
And I got the bulk of the straight line quilting done as well.  This is pretty tedious as it all needs to be marked first.  Tomorrow I'll be doing the freemotion quilting around the center and in the channels.  I'm still thinking about what to do with some of the areas, but I'm sure I'll think of something interesting.  One of the things I really like about modern quilting is that you aren't constrained to the design of the top, but can do something a little out of the ordinary to make the quilt shine!  I'm using a light gray thread for my quilting, so it really doesn't stand out a lot.  I debated using a double batt, but really didn't want that much bulk in this quilt.  I think I will try that on a smaller quilt first.

So far I am enjoying this challenge - I hope the quilting will look as good as I want it to.  It's fun to step out of my box and do something a little out of the ordinary, and I am enjoying my foray into Modern quilts.

For more about this quilt see the following blog posts:
Modern Batik Challenge Part 2

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Whew!  It's been quite the week, but so much fun - my youngest girl is now a college graduate!  All of here sisters were there to celebrate the day and we had so much fun despite lots of driving, lots of walking and a cool and cloudy day.

So happy!  It was a tough year for her, but she did great and finished up well!  Before the evening ceremony we went out and had pizza.  We enjoyed spending a couple hours just talking and eating - there was an arcade for all the kids to enjoy.  Here is the whole crew plus the youngest grand daughter.  She was going on another no nap day and was getting a little unhappy.

We enjoyed having our oldest two daughters visit for the weekend before the graduation, and spent lots of fun time doing stuff with Asher, Cole and Jovi!  We haven't been able to visit as much this year and are definitely missing spending time with them.  After all that fun, there was work at the quilt shop, a dental appointment for me, and playing Bunco with two different groups on Friday.  What a busy week it was.  Thank goodness, I got to spend the whole day at home yesterday and do some sewing!

I got out this unicorn fabric I bought almost three years ago and made a couple of quilted journal covers. It was so enjoyable and relaxing to just play with fabric for the afternoon.  Of course, now I have to clean up the mess I made, so I can get more sewing done next week, but it was worth it.  I'll have to stay busy so I don't miss all that fun time with my family :)

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Using Custom Set on EQ7

I hope you are enjoying these monthly posts on EQ7 - I am really enjoying writing them and find that I am learning more new things and exploring the functions of the program more every month.  I also hope you are entering their monthly contests - they are giving away tons of great prizes, including a monthly prize for using #EQ25!  I was the winner for an Instagram post in May, so you could be a winner, too!

This month I was working on designing a row for an upcoming blog hop and since I wanted to use blocks in different sizes I needed to work with the custom set feature.  I haven't really worked much in this setting, so was pleased to find several features that make it easier than I thought it would be!

To show you some of the process, I loaded up my sketchbook with a variety of blocks, and got going.  Under the layout tab you can set the size of your quilt - mine is 48 x 48.  When you add your blocks, you need to press the shift key, right click and drag your block into position.  It's tricky to get your block the right size, but if you click on the Adjust tool on the right, then click on your block, you can type the size you want your block to be in the third set of boxes.  (The first set is your block location on the grid)  I made mine 18 x 18.

Then you can center your block on the grid by clicking the two icons on the far right - super simple!

Notice the first set of blocks, which show the blocks location on the grid - it measures where the block's top left corner is located, not the actual center of the block.  You can use those arrows to move your block up, down, right or left without having to drag it around.  It's more precise to do it this way, I think.

Now, do you want your block to be set diagonally?
You can do that using that single box beside the rotating arrow - a 45 degree rotation will put your block on point.  After you rotate it you will need to recenter it by clicking the appropriate buttons again.  

Now you can add more blocks.  I made these 9 inches square and rotated each one.  I discovered that instead of clicking and dragging, on the grid you can actually drag the blocks directly from the Sketchbook Blocks box!  I think that is a much easier way to do it, then I just resize the blocks as I go.  I set them around the edges of my center block.  Then I added more blocks.

After playing with the layout I though it would be fun to use just half the block.  You can't cut the block in half, but what you can do is to put the block to the back so you only see half of it - just click the button that says send to back and there is your half block!

Another neat thing you can do is trim a block that would extend beyond the border or center of your quilt.  You have the option for no trim, trim at border of quilt, or trim at center of quilt.  I trimmed at the center.  I also un-clicked the button to show the grid as it was a bit distracting.

You can continue to add blocks,as you like.  I found an easy way to change your blocks as well!  Just click on a block from the Sketchbook Blocks, then click on a block in your layout and it will replace the block!
All of these things I discovered just clicking around on my own and playing with the settings.  I'm sure there are a lot more neat tricks to discover - there is a built in lesson on Custom Sets that I plan on going through this month to find out more!  I know I will be using this option more often - it's a lot of fun and if you want to make a quilt with a variety of block sizes this is the way to go.

Electric Quilt is having a giveaway each month this year to celebrate - make sure you check their EQ25 Celebration to enter!  This month's sponsor is Aurifil thread, so they will be having a giveaway as well.

Darlene of QuiltShopGal has been sharing a list of bloggers who are writing about Electric Quilt each month so make sure you check that out as well to see what other bloggers are doing with EQ.  Thanks for following along!

Adding a Corset back to a Wedding gown

My goal yesterday was to get this wedding gown taken care of.  The bride needs more room in the back, so we are adding a corset closure.  I had her try the dress on and we needed about 8 inches at the top.

The first step is to remove all the buttons - we won't be needing them and they don't look right with a back that is laced up.  This dress had a lot of them!

 Then the zipper comes out so we have the back of the dress opened up.  This dress has the perfect back for adding a corset (or loop and lace) finish!  The lining and all the layers are already finished and sewn together, so I just need to create the loop edge and sew it into the dress.

I use wide grosgrain ribbon to attach my loops to the dress.  You'll see why when I add it to the dress!  First I mark how far apart I want the loops to be.  I use 1 inch for my spacing and put the loops right next to each other.  This creates a nice back that is very secure and looks fabulous!

I cut my loop sections at 2 inches and sew them to the ribbon.  The easiest way to keep the rat-tail cord from sliding is to stitch right up to where I want to place the cord, lift the presser foot, then place the cord right against the needle.  Lower the foot and you are ready to stitch across.  I always back stitch over as well because I want this cord to be extra secure - it's holding up the dress, so we don't want it to come loose.  Here is how it looks from each side:

After the loop strips are created I sew them to the dress at the seam where the zipper was.  You need to measure and pin to make sure the loops are aligned nicely!  After sewing I add a second line of machine stitching to really secure that cording - I figure three times of stitching over it ought to do the job and keep those loops as secure as possible!

Then I fold the ribbon to the inside of the dress and hand-stitch it to the lining.

This makes such a pretty finish.  If you like, you can also add a layer of boning to the seam allowance underneath to keep the back from buckling when it is laced up.  Some dresses work better with it, some without.

Making the lacing is my least favorite part.  I used to make a long tube and turn it right side out, but this takes forever, so now I just press it and top stitch.  It's an easier process and still makes a nice looking lace.  This one is about three widths of fabric long.  Better to make them too long than too short.  The excess gets tucked into the dress usually, so it doesn't matter.  I always try to make sure that there is not a seam right in the middle because that's the piece of lacing that ends up at the top of the dress.

If the bride desires a modesty panel, you can make that at this point.   I go for a couple inches wider than the top gap and at least 4 inches at the very bottom.  Sometimes I attache one entire side to the dress, but for this one I am trying just tacking it at the top corner and bottom center.  I used a clear snap at the top corner to secure it.  I have found that once the dress is laced up that I often need to move the snap a bit, but it does help to hold the dress in place while you lace it.

All that's left is to lace up the dress!  I usually lace it so the bride can see what it will look like from the back, but for the dress to be tried on, you will have to take it all out again and re-lace it on her.  I can't wait to see what the dress will look like once it fits!  I'm sure it will be lovely, and I always feel happy to be able to help make a bride's special dress work for her.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A Happy Monday

Yesterday was a good day!  I got this fun bundle in the mail - my prize for being the social media winner for May by using #eq25 - three layer cakes from Moda!

Those will be lots of fun to play with!

I got to snuggle a 6 week old baby for a bit while his mama tried on her dress for me to alter, that was definitely a sweet spot in my day...haven't had a baby fix for a while.

I did get the top finished for my #ModernBatikChallenge.  I'm deciding how I want to back it, then will get started on the quilting.  The final border is on Allietare now and I prepped the backing for it so I can get it basted.

I had been having second thoughts about that gold stripe, but I really do love it now!  Adds a fun zing to the quilt.  And that backing was a red tag clearance fabric I got for $1.50 a yard years ago - so glad to finally put it to good use!  It will make a super fun backing for this quilt.

I got my fall Nine by Nine quilt basted and started quilting it, so will have something new to add to my Etsy shop soon!  I have so many projects going right now it's a little overwhelming, but I know I'll catch up to the pile someday.  I need to work on the alteration/customer projects today so a trip to JoAnn's for zippers, satin and a few other odds and ends is in the works for me today.

 Never a dull moment, plus I have to get the house ready for the girls this weekend!  I washed my Grand Illusions quilt and it looks wonderful.  We've been using it in it's crisp "new" state.  My husband loves the size of this one, so I'll definitely start making my bed quilts more on the large side.  
 I just love quilts after they are washed and have that lovely crinkle factor!  I should have washed it sooner, but for some reason haven't made the time to do that.   I'll put it away for a couple months, then get it out again for the end of summer.

I'd better get off the computer and get busy with the day's work now.  I hope you find something to make your day a happy one!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Weekly Targets

I have been trying to set a few goals every week for things that I want to make some progress on or maybe even finishc but it seems like most of the time it seems that I actually have deadlines that set my goals for me.  One of the things I have been working on that doesn't have a deadline is my rag quilt squares.  I have quite a pile going now!  I still have a lot of flannel to cut up, so I don't think I'll be making any quilts soon.  It is fun to see the pile of squares getting taller, though.

For this week, I plan on continuing that project.  I also have a pair of pillows to make, and a dress to do alterations on.  I want to finish the top for this months Island Batik challenge - Modern quilting!

I'm working with a layer cake in the Florida Oranges Line - very pretty and colorful!  Here is the center of my quilt so far:

I think it will be a lot of fun to quilt.  I'm collecting some ideas on pinterest!

I also have another quilt top I would love to finish into a quilt this week.  Not sure if I will have time, but I would love to be able to get it done.  I could add on, but I am trying to make my goals realistic so I will just leave it at this for now!  At least I don't have any pressing deadlines, which should make my life easier.  We are excited about going to see our youngest daughter graduate from college on the 13th, and will have some of the girls home the weekend before.

I got a nice bowl of strawberries out of my garden, so I think I will munch on those tonight.  I tried on my summer shorts and they are still a bit tight, so I'm trying to stay out of the chocolate!  Wish me luck on that one!

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Is It Really June Already?

I can hardly believe that May is gone and it's already June!  It didn't help that I caught a head cold and it kind of kicked the snot out of me...literally!  (Sorry for the bad pun, I just could not contain myself)  I am totally behind on everything right now, so need to do some catching up.

First of all, it's time to draw the winner for my Miniature Quilts Magazine giveaway!  Maryellen McCauliffe is the lucky lady - I'll e-mail for your address and get this magazine in the mail first thing tomorrow.  Maryellen is not only a fellow Quiltsy Team member on Etsy, but she also is the one that encouraged me to sign up as an Island Batik Ambassador.  She has had a rough few months so I'm sure this will brighten her day a bit.

I spent last week working on quilting this quilt top - a real scrappy and bright project with lots of crazy prints.  I used purple thread and added a purple binding because it's my clients favorite color!

This one was a bit of a challenge because the top was not very flat.  It is all hand pieced, and the blocks are supposed to be 18 inches, but you could tell there was a lot of easing going on as they were sewn together!  I quilted it with hearts and loops and am very pleased with the results.
The best part is that this won't be a top sitting in a drawer or on a shelf anymore.  It's a finished quilt, ready to be snuggled under, wrapped up in and loved!

I got an exciting message on instagram yesterday!  I am the winner of the #eq25 social media prize this month.  Don't forget to use the hashtag if you post a picture of a project - you could be a winner, too.  I'll be blogging more about that on the 10th of the month - I learned more about using the custom set tool and am excited to share about that.

Today I am doing some random sewing and thinking about what I would like to get done this month, so I'll save that for another post.  I've been continuing to work on my rag quilt project and have a big pile of sewn blocks, but lots more flannel to cut up!  There is a new Ambassador Challenge for Island Batik this month - modern quilts, so that will be fun.  I know what I am making, just have to get I think I will leave you there for now and continue on.  Have a wonderful day - go get some sewing done, too!