Thursday, April 30, 2015

Not much news...

The fabric arrived so I could get back to the curtain project that got shelved.  I'm going to spare you the picture of a lot of plain blue fabric sewn to white fabric with embroidery on it which is all sewn to plain blackout lining.  Not very exciting!

I also worked on my Blue and White quilt, but that picture would look an aweful lot like the one I took yesterday!  The good news is that I am now halfway around the white border.  I really feel like I am getting the hang of the swirl and hook now!  Still contemplating what I will do in the last border.  There is a bit of a print on it that I am thinking I may be able to use as a guideline for quilting.  I'm still not sure, but I have at least a couple more days to decide.

How about a cat picture?  I took a couple good ones of our Scamper last week:
As you can see, he has claimed my lap quilt as his own.  Luckily, he is fickle and when he is tired of using it I will switch it out for another one.  It's not like we don't have plenty of quilts around this place!  The quilt on the back of the cushion is a flannel rag quilt I made.  It usually sits on top of the back of the loveseat, but he likes to knock it off when he runs around the room.  You can also see the two pillows and fleece blanket on the seat of the chair on the right.  This was his preferred spot for a while, but now he shuns it.  Cats.  Who knows why, but he will not even look at that chair - at least not the seat.  He will stretch out on top of the back of it on a rainy afternoon!

Here is a nice closeup of the handsome boy:
It's hard to get a picture of him because he is generally a feisty kind of a cat!  He is very entertaining, but not a lovey kind of kitty.  He and I have a truce.  I get one side of the loveseat and the other side is his.  If I go over the line he will attack my hand!  If he tries to come over on my side I threaten to squirt him with my handy water bottle.  He does like to be loved on in the morning time though - he sits on the bannister upstairs and meows at me until I pick him up and hold him - I do enjoy our lovey times because later in the day - watch out!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Back to Quilting

I wanted to share some pictures of the Nursery Rhyme quilt after quilting.  I was really happy with how it came out and when I showed it to Sharan at the shop today, she liked it as well.  This was a fun project to work on and I am glad that I have it finished now.



Old King Cole.  The block looks skewed because of the way I took the picture - they are actually all nice and square!

 Ding dong dell, Pussie's in the well!



Mother Goose?


This one I am not sure about - looks like Mother Goose sweeping the moon?


One of my favorites, the old woman who lived in a shoe!




And the back - I did a nice job of balancing the tension on the sashing - I used dark blue on the top and white on the back.  It came out great!



Today I got back to quilting my Blue and White Star quilt.  Instead of continuing on with the bubbles and swirls that I did in the center I decided to switch it up and am doing swirl hooks!  I was surprised to get almost 1/4 of the way around the outside of the stars today, so should be able to get all of the white done by the weekend!  I know what I want to do in the following border, but then I'll have to figure out what to quilt in the last one.  I will be glad to get this one finished because I have several more tops lined up that I want to get quilted!

I am looking forward to getting more sewing in tomorrow - the fabric came in for a set of curtains I need to finish, and I want to do more quilting on this star quilt.  Plus I'd like to do another block or two for the Craftsy Block of the Month.  April has been so crazy that I haven't gotten too far on that project, but if I push a bit I should be able to get it done over the weekend, I think.  Anyway, I'm going to give it a good try.  Then I need to decide what project I am going to work on in May.  The fair is coming up in a couple months and I want to enter some nice projects!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nursery Rhymes and Star Shuffle progress

Had to make sure I posted my progress picture for the Star Shuffle quilt.  It's a beauty!  I will look for the final border fabric when I work at Threads That Bind tomorrow.  I am so happy with how this quilt is coming out, and will definitely have to pick out another project from the book (Simply Triangles by Barbary Cline)

I also wanted to show you what I worked on this afternoon.  It is a quilt made with 25 hand embroidered blocks that are colored with crayons.  So cute!

I had a lot of fun trying to remember all th verses as I sewed them together!  I plan to quilt the sashing in straight lines and ad some loops and swirls to the embroidered blocks.  This is going to be an adorable little quilt when it's done!

Hope you are having a productive Tuesday!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wear Your Sunscreen!

Last week was a super busy week, my husband had a skin graft on the area of his nose where he had to have a skin cancer removed.  Then I had to work two full days at the quilt shop, and spent three days away at our church ladies retreat.  Whew.  Today I had a lot of household stuff to catch up with and tomorrow it's back to the dermatologist to get stitches out and check the skin graft.  

Please make sure to wear your sunscreen - even a little skin cancer is no fun.  My poor guy has a wound the size of a dime on his nose.  He also now has a scar about four inches long down the side of his neck where the skin graft donor site was.  His poor nose has a large bandage and lots of staples and stitches.  We are hoping for a good report on the graft tomorrow.  This has really been a harder ordeal than either one of this thought it would be, and we are both hoping to be done with the dermatologist soon and on the road to healing.  He's been a real trooper, despite my busy week with not much time to help him out.  Good thing he is pretty independant!

I did get to work on some quilting today, and have the Star Shuffle top put together!  It needs the borders and will be ready for quilting soon.  I'll post pictures tomorrow when the light is better.  I have really enjoyed this quilt, a bit of a challenge, but not too hard!  Lots of bias seams, but it all came together pretty smoothly.  I did get a couple pieces out of order, so have to unstitch a couple seams to sew one of the side pieces in the right place.  Leave it to me!  I'm going to clean up my sewing room and work on my Craftsy block of the month tomorrow - the month is almost over and I haven't made much progress yet, yikes!

This sweet little baby quilt will be on its way to Colorado tomorrow - I need to make some more of these cute flannel quilts!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Making Life a Little More Beautiful

Isn't that one of the things quilting is all about?  It really isn't a necessity, but it does make our beds and our home just a little more beautiful.  At least I think so, and I hope you do, too!

Today I worked on making something a little more beautiful that was downright nasty and ugly looking.  My heating pad!  I realized how terrible it looked when I rushed to put it away when I was expecting a visitor.  So when I had some free time today I worked on making this pretty cover for it -
I tried to find some instructions, but even the power of google failed me.  Not too much out there explaining how to make something like I wanted at all.  See how neat the opening for the cord came out?
There was quite a bit of trial and error involved, but in the end I was very pleased with the results!  I even made a little cozy for the cord while I was at it...
I used some Riley Blake fabrics I purchased in Colorado this summer.  Just love them, and was so happy to find a practical use for them.  I decided to write up a pattern just in case anyone else wanted to make one, too. You can get it here! That way it's less trial and error and more fun sewing!  Just make sure you continue to follow the instructions included with your heating pad!  It's always better to be safe.  And beautiful :)

Enjoy!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Do It Afraid

In my devotional reading last week I came upon a phrase that really struck me- Do It Afraid.  The point of the passage was that in order to move forward in our lives sometimes we need to do things even if they are scary!  We might fail, or the thing we want to try may not work out, but we can't let fear keep us from experiencing the wonderful things that lie before us.
Quilter's Primer - Retro version
Boy, that hit me!  I have so many things that I want to do, but many times I back out because of my fear and don't even try.  I am very much a perfectionist, so I often feel like if my efforts aren't going to be up to my standards, well I shouldn't even bother.  I was feeling very much like this about a pattern that I've been wanting to publish.  Even though I taught this as a class twice to much approval I was still not convinced that my idea was worthy of being polished up and put out for sale.
Quilter's Primer - Brights!

Oh, I had all the excuses - it's too long, it's too big of a job to edit it all and put it into one document, it won't look professional enough.  Spurred on by this small phrase I decided to just feel the fear and go ahead and do it!  It helped that I have a touch of a cold and this is something I can do while I am resting in the recliner, as well.

Quilter's Primer - cat fabric!

I was delighted that Word 2013 in compatablility mode not only preserved all my illustrations perfectly, but in most cases made them even easier to work with and improve.  This was a big fear because upgrading from my antique version of Word did not do well with the patterns I had done in a different program that I used when Windows 8 rejected my old version of Word. Because I was working with 12 different documents plus several pages of templates and the need to make it all cohesive it took several hours.  Then I had to figure out how to get it all into one PDF file, so it did take hours of work to get it done, but I did it!  And I am thrilled with how it turned out!  Now the test is whether anyone else will like it, but it is out there now, so I can move on to the next scary thing on my list (and there are quite a few of those,,,).

If you would be interested in purchasing my pattern, I have it available in my Etsy shop, as well as on Craftsy.  I am offering an introductary price of $5.00 for the next week, after that I will be charging the normal price of $12.00.  

Now that I am energized by getting this pattern done, it's time to work on getting some quilts done this week - the following week looks really crazy, so I am looking forward to focusing on getting some work done in the sewing room.  I have a custom quilt that I want to get pieced, a finished top to baste and quilt, plus a few more fun projects to work on - so I guess I won't be bored.  I am encouraged to work on some of these projects, even though some of them do make me feel a little anxious I know that I can keep moving forward and do my best without letting fear paralyze me and keep me from even trying!  Knowing that faith is stronger than fear is very empowering and I am looking forward to seeing the results of stepping out and trying new things!

Don't let fear hold you back, go ahead and try something new!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Quilting From the Back

I have a lot of different quilting techniques on my "bucket list" and on this quilt I got to do one of them.  The top was pieced in January as a shop sample for the quilt shop.  It's a lovely quilt, but not really inspiring as far as the quilting go.  As I was looking for a nice backing for it I found a great print in the right colors with big flowers on it - and so an idea was born - why not quilt this from the back?  I thought it was a fabulous idea, so decided to go with it.



The first problem, I realized, that if I was going to quilt this by the fabric design then I should absolutely try to match the pattern when I pieced the back.  Yikes.  I did not have a lot extra to work with in order to accomplish this, but thankfully the repeat was just about right to make it work.  There is a section in one corner that is a bit off, but it is close enough to work.  Then I had to baste the quilt and realized that this was going to be tricky since the bottom (which is the top) was bigger than the backing and batting.  Yikes!  I taped the top down, making sure it was right side down...then added the batting, and the back went on the top.  I did a lot of double checking to make sure everything was straight and pin basted the sandwich.  I flipped it over to make sure I had it all nice and flat - definitely did not want any tucks or wrinkles in the front of the quilt when it was done!

I chose a light tan aurifil thread that went well with both the top and the back.  I did a small sample to check my tension - really important to have just right for this technique, since the back is the top of the quilt!  I don't always start in the center of the quilt when I am machine quilting, but felt like it would be the best decision in this circumstance.  I started quilting around and in the flowers - it's very detailed quilting and  was difficult to figure out a path as I quilted.  After I got to the end of the first bobbin I was surprised at how little I had actually finished.
Over the next couple of days I quilted on and off, and quit counting after six bobbins.  Today I was determined to get this quilt finished!  I was so close to the edges, so just pushed myself to keep going, and finally got all the quilting done - I was so excited to cut the extra off and sew the binding on it!

Here is the back!  If you look closely you can see the line at the bottom left where the fabric didn't quite match up.  

Another view of the quilting on the back - I was pleased at how well the thread blended in with the colors.

When I first started I wasn't sure if I really liked how the quilting looked on the top, but now that it is done I love it.  It's so pretty on the black triangles!

Here is my helper, showing you how soft and comfy this quilt is ;)

And the cat free version!   This quilt will have a lovely crinkly texture after washing, but for now it's going to keep it's crisp and flat finish so it will be a nice sample to sell kits with!  The pattern is Sweet Escape by P&B fabrics.  If you would be interested in reading my post about making the top you can see that here.  

So glad to tick this one off my to-do list!  I got out my supplies for the 2012 QBOM quilt today and started basting my hexagons for the April lesson.  I decided I will work an hour a day on this quilt and hope to get it done by the end of April.  Let's see - that makes this project only three years old... not too bad!

Tomorrow I'll be cutting strips for the Star Shuffle Quilt!  I hope to get that one done by the end of the month as well.  I can't wait to start playing with it - I think when I start I won't want to stop!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April Goals

I think it's a great idea to actually put goals down in writing because it helps me actually accomplish them, but when I start going through the list...it's a little intimidating!  It seems like I usually tend to think that I can potentially do a lot more than I actually can, and there is nothing sadder than a list that you can't cross everything off as completed.  That said, I do have a lot of things I want to get done and that has been my (unstated) theme this year.  Last year I worked on completeing all 12 of the UFO's I had stashed in my drawer.  I am still working on one, but got the rest finished - yay!  This year I am concentrating on at least getting the tops done for several projects that have been hanging around in the half completed stage for a while.

In January, I finished piecing Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt!  Technicially I just started this in November, but I thought it would be a win if I did not start off the year by creating yet another partially finished top, so decided to get this one done right off !   I also purchased a back for it, so technically I am ready to get this one finished when I have time to do the quilting, but I am pleased that I finished the top for now.

In February I finished my sampler quilt with the fun cat fabric:

I just got the backing for this one, too!  I was bad and had to pick this fun fabric for the backing...I think it is so funny :)  Those mischievous cats, look what they did!

In March I finished this beauty of a quilt top - and purchased the back for it as well.  It will go up next on the queue for quilting because I want to get it done!  I have the backing for it as well, but I have to finish quilting the ones I have pinned already so I can use them to get this basted.

Since I have been working with large quilts the last few months, I'm going a little smaller this month.  The top that I would like to get done for April is the Craftsy Block of the Month from 2012.  I think I made it up to the June lesson...English Paper piecing.  It's the handwork that gets me every time!  I just need to do it - it's not that I don't know how or am terrible at it, I just prefer to speed along with my sewing machine.  

I also am working on a custom quilt, so that should keep me busy as far as piecing goes, and I have lots of quilting to do as well, witness the three queen size tops that just got finished and are ready to go!  I will undoubtedly fill in with some smaller projects, and quick finishes as I go along, but I intend to stick to my goal of finishing those WIP's this year (Works In Progress).  Dear Jane, Joy, and Farmers wife will be getting done, and I want those all finished before September so I must be getting to those after taking the month of April a little easier!

Now it's time to get that walk in for the day and work on the next order for curtains - at least this set is a short length and shouldn't be too taxing to work on.  I am excited to get my day's worth of work done on them so I can get back to machine quiting my current shop sample - wait till you see what I am working on, so pretty!