Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

I am thankful for so many things today...my wonderful family, great food, a few days to kick back and enjoy my grandchildren!  God has blessed me with so many good things and I am truly grateful.

I am also thankful for my little corner of the internet here and that I have a place to post some of my projects and thoughts.  This is my 500th post!  I've been holding out a bit because I wanted this milestone to be something significant.  Kind of silly, I know, but I do think it is important to take note of milestones and this is a pretty good one, at least for me!

I am interested to see where the next 500 posts take me - I can see how much I have learned since I started this blog, and can't wait to see what comes next!  I have so many projects in the works, just need to find some time to work on them all...that's the trick of it all - balancing all the balls in the air just right so you don't drop any and actually make some progress...this blog really helps me to be accountable and when I look back I can actually see that I have made progress in completing projects and getting things accomplished.

I think the turkey has gotten to me, so I guess that will be it for today - a bit of a nap and some pumpkin pie are in the works.  And maybe a game of Candyland!



Friday, November 21, 2014

Some more QDAD designs

Even though I haven't been able to do much quilting this past couple of weeks, I have been keeping up with the Quilt Design group on facebook.  It has been so much fun (and good practice!) to just do one quick quilt design a day.  Some of my favorites this week:
 A feathered star.  Medallion quilts are very fun.  This one might get more borders eventually
 Wheels.  This would be a fun block to try making.  Yes, I like a challenge...

I really like the way these two blocks play together.  This would definitely be worth playing with!

This last one is interesting.  I made it using the baby blocks quilt layout and reducing it to one block.  Then I played with the measurements until I got a shape I liked.  I think it is unique and interesting.

All my designs have been done in EQ7.  I am very much enjoying challenging myself and learning more about what I can do!  It's been a fun relief from the stress of making a difficult set of curtains.  I will be so glad when I cross this project off my list, it's an odd fabric and I'm having the worst time getting the hem to hang straight.  I am going to leave it alone for the weekend and hope to finish up on Monday.  Then maybe some quilting?  Please!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jazzing things up a bit...

Though I mostly lean toward peaceful and calm shades of blue and green, sometimes I like a little color in my quilts....and red and black can really liven things up!  This is a quilt I made from my friend Chris Malone's pattern - Dad's Downtime  This is a free pattern from Quilter's World.  I made this quilt as a shop sample for Threads That Bind after we ran out of the fabric the original quilt was made out of. This one was just as popular, and now my sample is for sale in my Etsy shop.
I did a simple overall design for the quilting on this one, and the back is a really fun red and plack print print that coordinates with the front fabrics.  This would make an awesome Christmas gift for someone special!


(Use the coupon code SHIPFREE to get free domestic shipping throughout my shop this week!)

Monday, November 10, 2014

When is the best time to go to the dentist?

Tooth-hurty!  Actually my appointment is at three, but I figured I might as well post a joke.  Not feeling too jocular at the moment, my appointment to figure out why one of my teeth has been bothering me did not go too well this morning.  The darn think is cracked right in half and must come out.  Blah.  I am thankful he can do it today as I have severe dental anxiety.  So it will be good to get it done an out of my way today.   In case I don't feel like doing much sewing or posting over the next few day, at least you will know why.

Here is my QDAD for Nov. 11.  The block is called Frayed Sawtooth.  I thought it was appropriate!


My sedative is on board and it will be time to leave soon, so off I go....hopefully it won't be too bad!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Using the Freehand Brush tool in EQ7

One of the benefits of doing the Quilt Design a Day challenge is that I have been learning to use more of the tools available in EQ7
For this quilt I created a one patch quilt using diamonds.  

After you get your basic quilt layout set up and you are ready to add your colors, choose the paintbrush tool.  At the top of the screen you will see several options you can use with it - click the freehand tool - I have a red arrow pointing to it.  Click and drag your curser around the screen however you want:
When you release, all the patches that are touched by the line will fill with color.  I used a contrast so you could see how it works.
Isn't this a neat tool?  I used it for this design as well:  
I also used the oval and rectangle tools with this.  See the P and Q?  I have been having a lot of fun playing with these designs.  I hope this inpires you to try something new. 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Getting ready for a sewing weekend!

My ladies group at church is having a craft weekend.  We are all bringing our creative stuff to work on and are going to hang out and sew, glue, etc while we laugh and eat and enjoy some girl time!  I am busy prepping some kits for quilt tops I want to get done (shop samples, of course!)

One set is for my Monkey Around pattern using a cute pastel owl fabric. Here is the original in Monkey print -

The owl fabric will look really cute, I think.

The other one is for my Jolie pattern in a pretty floral.  I want to make it in some Egyptian prints, too.  Long story, but I had the idea and the fabric, so I decided I would give it a try. I have quirky taste, what can I say!  You can tell me if you like it or not when I get it done...

I'm also cutting fabric for a donation quilt I am working on.  Can't wait to show that, it will be stunning!

Not much else going on at the moment.  Hemmed a formal dress for a wedding, but that was the extent of my sewing progress for the day.  Can't wait to get to the weekend and make up for the lost time this week!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

On the Run

Today was a busy day and I never even got to go into my sewing room at all!  DH and I did get our exercise in, we paid our bills and voted and did some errands.  I spent the afternoon teaching my EQ7 class.  They worked hard today drawing a block in patchdraw and adding nodes to curves.  We are going to take a break until January, then start again.  I will have to work on some interesting projects to have them work on for our next set of classes.  It's really been fun and stretched me out of my comfort zone on using the program!

Here is today's QDAD:

I made the little bird block by tracing part of the image provided for our inspiration.  I like it much better than any of the birds I found in the EQ7 blocks.  The block is called Birds in the Air.

I chose the fabric for the cupcake quilt I need to work on.  Just need to cut it up now and start sewing to get this project going.  Hopefully I will heve plenty of time tomorrow to get going on it!  For now it's time to sign out and get some rest....

Monday, November 03, 2014

Quilt Design A Day

Have you seen the Quilt Design a Day group on facebook?  I've been lurking for a while, but finally decided to jump in this month.  So far I have really enjoyed it!  I'm using EQ7 right now for my designs.  Had to learn to add custom colors to get the right colors.  A new skill!  It's making me think outside of the box....a litle, anyway!  Here are my first three designs.


Sunday, November 02, 2014

UFO Challenge for September - Mariner's Compass Round Robin

I am pleased to say that I have successfully figured out how to get my pictures from my old laptop to the new one!  Whew.  I haven't got them all done yet, but I am working on it.  I did have a little snafu with my documents and ended up putting a big lot of them into One Drive.  Not sure if I like that, but I will give it a bit and see if I can deal with it.  As you can tell, change is an issue for me....

My EQ files for this quilt are dated from 2007.  I think this project is a bit older than that, but since I am not sure I will go with that date for now.  This was a round robin done with a group of ladies in my quilt guild.  I made the center Mariners compass and the various rows were added.  I had thoughts of finishing this into a queen size quilt for my bed, but after talking it over with my husband decided to finish it off as is into a lap quilt.  Here is my EQ6 plan:
I would have added starting at the solid blue border.  Here is what it looks like finished without the extra borders:
It would have bee pretty with the extra borders, but it would have been a lot of work and since I decided to place it in my Etsy shop for sale it made a lot more sense to finish it at a smaller size.  I am happy to have it out of the bottom of my project drawer in any case!  The quilting is hard to show.  I only quilted it with black thread in the black areas, except for the center, which I did in blue threads.
It's not a super fance quilting job, but it looks nice.  Can you tell it was a nice sunny day when I was taking these?

I love the backing fabric!  It works really well with the front and gives it a nice modern touch.  I used Quilter's Dream Black Poly in this one and it is wonderful to quilt with!  Black Aurifil thread made the quilting so pleasant, no breaking threads at all.  This quilt measures 60 x 60 and is available here in my Etsy Shop

Saturday, November 01, 2014

UFO Challenge for October - Candy Heart

I'm a little out of order (in more ways than one!), but since these are the pictures I have right now I am going to add this quilt to my blog now and hopefully get the September quilt tomorrow.

This was a complete top that I made for Threads That Bind as a sample for the strip class I taught as well as a set of Jelly Rolls that I cut.  I chose the fabrics in the strips to go with the fabric in the strip border at the top and bottom of the heart.  I like how it all works, a little different from my usual choices - quite vibrant!
I used Dream Poly batting in the request weight for the batting and Tula Pink Key Tree in Pink/red for the backing and binding.  I quilted the heart in a paisley design using Essential from Connecting threads.  I quilted the cream background in a small meander with Aurifil Cream thread.  The borders were quilted with another Essential thread in green using a spiral design, and the checkerboard was done in yellow and green Essential threads with a simple curve to echo the seams. I really loved how that came out:
Those curves did not look at all even when I did them, but once they were all done it looked really great!  I did have to go back when I was finished with this quilt and take care of a couple tucks that got worked into the paisley quilting.  Grr. Poly batting tends to be more of an issue for that than the cotton I usually use.  

This quilt is now available for sale in my Etsy Shop.  It measures 56 inches square and will make a nice lap quilt or wall hanging.  Candy Heart is made from my pattern that was published in Jelly Roll Inspiration.

This makes my tenth UFO for the year!  Woohoo!  Just two more to go....in November I will finish the Pink Embroidery quilt.  I have already got a head start on it since I decided to hand quilt it...I am using wool batting and I am in love!  When this one is done I plan to hand quilt a queen size for myself with this luscious batting.  So soft and luxurious feeling!  Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight...it's going to be lovely to sleep in :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Free Download for November - Peace and Plenty Potholder

I work part time at my local quilt shop (Threads That Bind) and as part of what I do to help keep our customers engaged and coming into our shop I have been designing free block of the month projects.  I've done a 6 month series and a 5 month series and have a year long project in mind to start in January.  Since we had a few months before the end of the year I decided to do a few stand along blocks/projects.  This is my November project - a Pot Holder!

I did a bit of browsing, looking for a block that was a little different, but something that would represent the Thanksgiving season.  I found this block, called Peace and Plenty and thought it would be quite suitable for my project.  The nice thing is that for this project you can use charm squares, leftover jelly roll strips or scraps!

The technique I use for the half square triangles and the flying geese is a sew and flip technique.  This does waste a little bit of fabric, but the results are so reliable that it is well worth throwing away a scrap of fabric.  Or you could make more half square triangles out of those leftover bits and make a tiny block to match your pot holder....

Here is how I do this technique:  First you need to mark the back of one of your squares.  You can use a ruler and pencil to mark a diagonal line

 That's a very faint line!  You can mark it darker than that if needed.
 Or carefully finger press a diagonal crease in your square.
 Be careful not to stretch your block, because this is the stretchy bias grain.
 Now layer up your squares and sew that diagonal seam right on your line.  I like to chain them up in a row to save time.
 Then trim them up while they are still attached to each other.
 Press the seam toward the dark and you have a nice half square triangle.
 Double check the size to make sure it is correct!
 I chain stitched all the leftover pieces together, then pressed them -
 They measure 1 3/4 inches!  If you sew them in a four by four block, it will be 5 inches square and very cute!
 Now for the flying geese blocks.  Mark your 2 1/2 square for the left side and place it like so:
 Stitch your seam and trim 1/4 inch away (always trim the corner side!)
 Press out toward the corner.  Mark the right corner square
 Sew and trim...
 Press out toward the corner.  Voila!  A perfect flying goose block...
 Look how cute this version of my block is!  The fabric is from a Bobbins and Bits Charm Pack (designed by Pat Sloan)  Love the colors!

The Peace and Plenty Pot Holder pattern and instructions are available here.  This pattern will be free through the month of November.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 UFO Challenge - August Finish - How to sew a y-seam quilt block - LeMoyne Star

The LeMoyne Star is an old traditional block - I've seen versions from the early 1800's!  It is a beautiful block, but a little tricky with those Y-seams, though.  I wanted to show you how I do them by machine.  First you cut all your pieces.  I used EQ7 to print out my template for the diamond and rotary cutting instructions for the background pieces.  The best thing about using the rotary cutting instructions is that it figures it out so the triangles are cut with the straight of grain on the outside of the triangles, making it much easier to get a block that stays square!

I fussy cut my blocks using a clear plastic template that I cut from heavy duty template plastic.  I marked the position of key elements on the plastic to guide my cutting for each piece.

Choosing which way I want to sew the diamonds.  I decided that I liked the blue stripe to be nearer the center of the block (the first picture)
Putting them together in pairs....
Lining them up to make sure I sew them all the same way (sure enough, if I skip this step one will get turned the wrong way....so I always line them up before I start)

I sew from the tip, backsitiching 1/4 inch from the end of the seam.  This is the pivot point and it sews together easily as long as you stop at the 1/4 inch mark.  You can mark it with a pencil dot or pin - I have done so many I can eyeball them pretty well, now!
I finger press all the seams to the same side for all four pairs.
Put two of the pairs together..
Match up the seams at the point....
Take a peak to make sure they are lining up just right
And sew from the point, stopping at that 1/4 inch mark once again.
Finger press the seam going in the same direction again, then put your two halves together and check those seams....looking good!
Sew all the way across the halves, you have to start and stop at that 1/4 inch mark for this seam!
Press to one side and you have the star put together.  Look at that nice center!  You can press your seams open, but I think it helps me match up the intersections better if I press to one side.
Looking good!

Time to add the background pieces.  I start with a triangle.
Line up the point of the triangle with a point of the star.
Here is where the 90 degree corner of the triangle goes into the join between star points.
I like to stick a pin through the corner of the triangle where the seam allowances would meet, then pin through the end of the seam between star points.
Stitch from the point of the star to the seam and backstitch at the pivot point.  Make sure you don't stitch into the seam, just stop at the 1/4 inch mark on this seam as well.
It's all right if you are a tiny bit short of the corner, just don't stitch across that seam allowance or you will get a pucker.

Now line up the next star point with the other side of the triangle. Stitch from the 1/4 seam to the end of the point.
Just fold the rest of the star out of your way so you don't accidently stitch anything into your seam allowance.

See how your seam allowances meet at the corner, but don't cross.  Just make sure to backstitch one or two stitches and you will be fine!
Open up the block to see your beautiful corner...very nice!  Only 7 more y-seams to go....

Now to do a corner square.  See how the background and point make a perfect square at the corner?
Perfect for sewing the corner square and matching up the sides!
Just line the top up with the background piece and the side with the outside of the star seam!  This will give you a perfect point at the corner (the seam is sticking up, so it looks like the edge of the star is shorter than it should be, but it does line up with the seam)
Sew to the middle, watching that 1/4 seam allowance, just like the triangle piece...
Now match the edge of the trimmed triangle with the outside edge of the square.
Sew from the 1/4 inch mark to the edge of the block.
Another perfect corner...Practice, practice, practice!
Front of the finished block....
And the back after sewing all 4 triangles and corners.  Make sure you don't goof and sew two squares in a row...I've done that before!
To press, I like to press the seams away from the star to reduce bulk at the points.
Use the point of your iron to encourage the seams to spin the way you want them to.
Lift and press - be careful not to distort your block!
All seams pressed and laying nicely!
Ta-da!
Here are all 9 blocks, sashed and bordered!  So pretty!  This is a really old UFO and I am so glad that it is now a finished quilt!  Well worth my time!
Now, I just need to catch up on the September UFO quilt post.....my blog posts are starting to become UFO's too!