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!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Leisurely Stitching

I have found that it is a bit hard for me to relax and not be in a hurry, but I am becoming addicted to my slow stitching projects!  I really anticipate that down time to work on them, and am worried that I am going through them too fast.  My husband enjoys me spending time with him and not being on the laptop, so it really is a nice part of my day to sit and stitch.  I actually finished last weeks project and it came out so cute!

I used my Quilted Journal Cover Pattern to  turn it into a beautiful  journal that I will use to write down my positive and encouraging thoughts in!

I had fun choosing some pretty and feminine fabrics for this project.

I even used some of the lovely rose fabric I've been saving since I bought  it last summer for the inside flaps.  Am I the only one that hates to use the fabrics I love the most?  I always feel bad about using them up!

I've been working on finishing up a cross stitch pattern this week.  I've made a lot of progress and should be able to finish that up this week.

I've done all the outlining and just have to finish the quilting lines, cat's whiskers and detailing on the fan.

I was a little distressed to realize that the outline around the whole picture was supposed to be the dark pink in the top corner of the quilt.  But I decided that it's my project and if I like the dark gray outlining, then I don't have to feel like I need to change it to match the pattern!

After this one, there is one more in the series.  I don't think I will start it right away, I have more embroidery that I want to do first.  It's funny what captures my interest, never was into embroidery that much before, but that cute little stitchery on the journal cover got me hooked!

I'm linking up on Kathy's Blog for Slow Sunday Stitching, am having a great time checking out everyone's projects!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Fruitful Week

It's been a pretty quiet week this week, which set me up to make a lot of progress on varying projects.  I finished up the "Make Time to Breathe" embroidery piece and started working on finishing up my cross stitch cat project -

I don't know how long this has been waiting to be finished, but I know it's been several years.  I was about halfway done working on back-stitching the basket when I put it away last, so I picked up there again.  So much back-stitching to do!
I've made a lot of progress on this piece so far, but still have more to do.  I've been thinking about what to work on when I finish with this.  I have several pillowcases that need to have the embroidery done/finished on, so I might do those.

I got this little quilt pieced and quilted -
I was short about 6 inches of having enough of that viney looking fabric for the back, so I pieced in a strip of jungle animals.  I was very pleased to have done this entirely from stash!

I decided to quilt this with orange thread, and it looks perfect.  Another quilt added to the inventory in my Etsy shop - I have a goal to go through my bin of 5 inch squares and put together a couple of these a month.  That drawer is stuffed to the brim and needs to be reduced!

I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday... two more cavities taken care of.  I have three more fillings scheduled for next month, then it will be time to get those wisdom teeth extracted.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to that, but it's time to get it done.  I spent the rest of the afternoon working on some ideas for future Island Batik projects,  I got one block sewn, then realized that I reversed a couple fabrics.  I haven't decided if I actually like the accident better than the original yet!  I might have to make a few more blocks before I decide for sure!

Wednesday was my normal half day at the quilt shop, then I spent the afternoon cleaning out my sewing room closet.  I got tired of everything falling down whenever I tried to find something in it.  I was looking for a backing for a top I wanted to quilt.  Here is what it looks like after, it's pretty cluttered, but at least it's not falling down on me!

  The pile on the far left was the biggest problem - it is flannel scraps that I have been saving from the annual Christmas PJ project.  I have been thinking it would be fun to make scrappy quilts from them. I even went as far as cutting a bunch of squares of flannel and batting some time back, but never really got to work on them.  This week I decided to challenge myself to sew an x through 10 sets of flannel and batting every day.  So today, I have 30 squares done.  Hopefully by next week the pile of blocks will be taller and the pile of fabric will be shorter!

Thursday I spent working on a journal cover - I'll show you that project tomorrow.  Then I went through some of the fabric that was given to me last month - it was all washed, but not pressed.  I pulled out some pieces and spent some quality time pressing and folding while I thought about what I could make with them.  I also started cleaning off my cutting table - it sure gets cluttered after a few projects.  I'm at least attempting to clear off my surfaces once a week if not after every project.

Speaking of cleaning, I recently purchased a new vacuum - which was very overdue!  It sure has been interesting seeing how much dirt it pulls up out of my carpets - yuck!  I completely filled up the canister with dirt in just my bedroom.  I also got inspired to go through my closet and get rid of a trash bag full of things from my closet.  I feel so happy to have more breathing room in there, too.  Must be spring - I feel like cleaning out the cobwebs and clearing out some space everywhere.

Yesterday I had a call about a bride needing some emergency alterations, so spent the afternoon and this morning taking care of that.  I was glad I had the time to do that, it is always lovely to send a bride out the door excited about her dress looking just the way she wants.  This was a mermaid style with a long train that needed a bustle.  It came out pretty, and I foolishly forgot to get a photo so you'll just have to take my word for that one.

Then this afternoon I added one border to a quilt top, and prepared the backing for another quilt.  I'm thinking about my goals for this coming week - I have a couple of quilts I want to get quilted, and just a couple customer projects to finish up, so need to see what else needs my attention before the end of the month.  I finally feel like I am making some progress on creating some space in my sewing room and time to actually enjoy my sewing instead of feeling like a hamster on a wheel.  I'm looking forward to lots more creative projects over the next couple of months!  I know there will be some Island Batik quilts, and more mini quilts (don't forget my giveaway of a Miniature Quilts Magazine!) plus some soft and pretty floral projects.

Hope spring has all of you feeling productive and happy as well!