Sunday, February 27, 2011

Did I say that???

Did I once say that I was going to finish up the projects that are lying around before I started something new? ......well I lied!
 I started something new! But it is one of those fuzzy flannel quilts....and that is not the same as quilting a pieced quilt...Really !!? That's what I told myself anyway.
These colors are so pretty....

And I love how cozy and warm these are....especially when it is going down to minus 39C this week!!
They go together so quickly too...such a feeling of accomplishment!

Friday, February 25, 2011

feeling giddy!

I finished the quilt...and named it "Inspiration" ..because that is exactly what it is for me!
The hand stitching really finished it nicely...then into the washer and dryer...

and Voila! Done!!

I am feeling a bit giddy about actually having this finished and happy with the way it turned out.
Now what???? OK, I still have a few things left to finish.....back to the sewing room !!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Success, Success ...and then not quite so much..

Yesterday was a very exciting and productive day for me!
First of all, I received notification that one of my journal articles has been accepted for publication! Yippee!
I will be published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain....I will spare the boring details, but I was very first publication!

Then on to finishing the binding on this quilt. I don't have a big problem with binding, although I have not yet tried a bias binding!

My corners are usually good, but I have always joined the ends by just folding one under and tucking the other one in. I decided for this quilt, because it was special since I did the free motion quilting, that I should try to join the ends properly with an angled seam. I studied the tutorial on bindings over at My Sweet Prairie and gave it a try.

And it worked !!! (well after I sewed it twisted the first time, and had to rip it out !! ) I did a little happy dance! When I finished it was a perfect angled seam!!  It is amazing....not that I didn't believe you Monika...but it still surprised me that it worked so well.

So because I did a proper angled seam on the binding I thought that perhaps I should try hand stitching the binding on the back. I usually machine stitch them like shown in a tutorial on Red Pepper Quilts.  But this time I got out my needle and thread and sat down in front of the TV and started stitching.

OK, now I know why I always do them on the machine !!  It is a lot of work, and WOW, takes a LONG time!! (but I did learn how to make Italian Veal chops with roasted red pepper salad from a TV show while I was working )

I even tried the beeswax, but still got a few tangles : (
I am not quite finished but,  it really does look very nice! I think the jury is still out on this one, though, not sure which way I will do the next one.

And this morning it is -32 degrees Celsius! (-44 C with the wind chill) Which is almost the same in Farenheit!
Cant believe it ! Stay warm everyone!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 thoughts.

Monika is sharing information about labels in her Tip on Tuesdays, go check it out!
Here is my experience in labeling my creations!

I have usually made labels on my sewing machine, using the letters and numbers, and a satin stitch butterfly ( in butterfly quilting... ) I always thought that this added a real personal touch. Also it is amazing to look back and see the date on something that you made...time goes by so fast!

Recently I ordered some labels from Spoonflower. They were easy to design and I only had to order a small amount to try them out. This was a fat quarter, and very reasonable price.

The background is a bit brighter yellow than I had thought, so I might try to order another batch in a creamier color. I left enough space that I can write on them with a marker to add the date and a name if I want to.
I hope to just cut one out and press under the edges and stitch it on the back.

I just learned that I have been putting my labels on the wrong corner!! I always attach them to the lower Right hand corner on the back, and I now know that the more correct place is the lower Left hand corner. Who knew??    (Monika did..:)....)  Also a great idea to sew them into the binding!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chalk Challenged!

I decided to try out using a template for the border on this quilt.  I had bought this one quite awhile ago, before I actually knew what to do with it !!!

The helpful lady at the quilt store explained that you mark the template onto the quilt with chalk, so I also bought some chalk to mark it on the border.  I tried 3 different kinds, one is called a magic crayon (and I really, really, really hope that it washes out like they say it does !!!)

But...I had a lot of trouble.
First of all, the pattern on the template had 4 "loops" which didn't make a lot of sense to me, because it would be difficult to continuously quilt it that I modified it and only went with 3 loops.
Next, the chalk/crayon.      It didn't seem to mark very well, or very easily. ...and it broke....It was taking a long time to mark, and even though I only did one side at a time, some of the chalk/crayon rubbed off as I was moving the quilt around. the end I finished the rest of the border free-hand. Just tried to keep the pattern as even as possible. I know there are quite a few squiggles, and some of the loops are uneven.....but then I guess it matches the quilting! LOL
I am not really happy with the whole border thing so far! is finished anyway!
Next up....the binding!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yeah!! Its the Weekend!!

Yeah, it is the weekend, and I finally have some time to sew!!  Back to the finishing of projects that I have neglected! And back to free motion quilting !!  I tried out some different gloves today. The gloves I used before were great, except they were so thick that it was hard to feel the fabric layers and also I had to take them off to change the bobbin etc.  These are surgical gloves, so very thin.

I can still feel the fabric, and wrinkles etc as well as keep them on when changing thread and bobbins !! Great!

I also had another great discovery today! This may seem totally obvious to most people but it took me awhile to figure it out. The first time I free motion quilted I had a problem every time the bobbin ran out and needed changing, because I lost my place, and couldn't find where I had left this time I put a pin in to mark the spot!
Simple, I know!  (I can't believe I didn't think about it before either !!)

I am getting better, slowly.

There are still lots of mistakes, but because I am using thread that blends and a patterned fabric on the back it is pretty forgiving. It took about 3 hours of sewing to finish the centre.

Now I have to do the borders and bindings...and it is another finish !! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just Looking....

I really haven't had much time to do any sewing for the past few days. ...that work thing keeps getting in the know the one that actually pays!

So I think my Jenny Janome is feeling a little neglected!

I have curled up in the evening with a amazing book though....

It is "Quilted Symphony" by Gloria Loughman.  I just love looking at the pictures!

There are some good sections on using color and the color wheel, and also on a variety of different techniques including applique and embelishing. I haven't actually made any of these yet,  but maybe someday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I need advice...

As I promised at New Years, I am working on finishing some of the quilt tops that have been waiting to be quilted. As I am fairly new at this, I have really appreciated all the tips and advice that I have received, and things I have learned from other peoples blogs. When I was working on my first real free motion project a few weeks ago, I first stitched in the ditch to stabilize the quilt. This worked great, and made it very easy to move the quilt around during free motion and not worry about anything shifting. So I have started doing that again for this quilt top... (this is the back)

My question is does everybody do this? or is this a beginners tool? or just a personal preference?? Although I like how it stabilizes the layers and also means you can pull all the pins out before starting the free motion, it is a lot of extra sewing.  This quilt top is a disappearing 9 patch, and the blocks are on point, so I think it is probably wise to do the extra sewing for this one.

But I have others, one is a "Yellow Brick Road" and it is larger, and I really wonder if I could just start off with the free motion quilting or should I do the ditch stitching first?

My other question is about thread (any Tips for Tuesdays coming up on thread ????)

 I have read that when you are using cotton for your quilt top, that you should always use 100% cotton thread as well. But I have also read that it doesn't make any difference?? Maybe this is largely personal preference as well. I find that Gutterman thread works well in my machine, so I have been staying mostly with that.

I sure appreciate any light that you can shed on my issues! Thanks!!

And Happy Valentines Day...these are flowers from my sweet hubby.....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Near Finish :)

The "Apple Tree" quilt came together very quickly, and I love how it turned out. This is my favourite block...I just love the little bird in the bottom red strip. It wasn't fussy cut...just lucky cut : )

And I have a huge counter in the kitchen that makes the layering and basting quite easy....

I did some stitching in the ditch around the blocks first, and then sewed all around the outside edge (thanks for the tips everyone!!) Then I started the free motion quilting. I know the suggestion is to start off small, but on the other hand, why not just  jump right in with a 60" x 72" quilt. I thought that by the time I finished this, I would have worked through my issues !!

The gloves worked GREAT!! I love using them for the free motion.  And I LOVE doing the free motion. Although there are still a lot of mistakes....sometimes the gloves grip too well and I have little jigs and jogs where I didn't mean to.... overall it went very well. I still overlapped sometimes, but really, really, enjoyed doing this!  Cant wait to try some more!

But it took a long time...that is a lot of sewing!  And thread....Holy Cow !!! I lost track of the number of bobbins I used up...and had to keep refilling.  I thought if I had filled 3 or 4 ahead of time I would be ok....wrong! And then I ran out of the thread I was using in the bobbin, and had to switch to another color. (the quilt store is a good half hour drive away, and I didn't have time to go) But anyway, I got the quilting done.

Unfortunately I did not have time to get the binding finished. I just ran out of time. And we flew home yesterday, so the binding will have to wait till I get back there again. Now it is back to the real world...and back to probably a lot less quilting will be in my immediate future!
The weather here is milder here than it has been, and the melting has left me with an interesting look on my deck !!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Did you say gloves?

Well, I am almost ready to try my free motion skills out again (or lack of !!)
Monika said to wear her latest Tips for I went in search of gloves. I went to 2 different quilting stores, and wouldn't you know it, they were both sold out!!!

But the nice lady said she just goes to the hardware store and buys garden off I went to the hardware store.  The only ones that were small enough were kids gloves....

What do you think??  Do I look like a quilter now???  I guess I will try them goes !!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ta Da !! Yippee!!

There it is .....hanging on the wall (Thanks Monika!)  Looks great in the sewing room, and makes me smile when I go in there!

So I started thinking about what to do took a look through some of my magazines and also my saved file of favorite pictures off the internet.  I decided that I wanted to do something simple because the love the look of the modern quilt with box within a box.
So I tried to sketch/think/figure but got myself overwhelmed with all the options!  2" strips? or maybe one should be 1.5" and the other 2.5"? How about a wide 3" with a narrow 1.5"????

Finally I just cut a bunch of 2" and 3" strips and started sewing!! I had so much fun, I didn't really care if I needed to have a bigger plan in mind.

I know that is not always a good idea, but I have quite a bit of fabric that is all coordinated, so will be able to work with it, and plan as I go.

I finished about 10 blocks....they turned out 12" blocks, so I will keep going and see what happens!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Always a snag!

I was so proud of myself for actually attempting the free motion quilting, that I foolishly thought all was good!
Well, it didn't take long to burst my bubble!
Squaring up the Strata started off well.... then.....

Oh, no !! How could that happen? A big gap !! And it was too wide to hide with the binding!!  I am always careful (well, sort of careful) with my 1/4 inch seams and making sure seams are matched up. How could I have done this????
Well, fortunately I had a few scraps left over, so I just added a little strip!  : )

and once it was turned over, it fit right into the Strata effect !!

Just trimmed it up and moved on !

Now the binding :(

Now I know why I never actually finish anything.....all these details are a lot of work   LOL !!!
The binding actually went on very well. I can see that with a little more practice this gets easier! The corners were perfect too!!

Only problem is that it is just a bit wavy in a couple of places.

This wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't a wall hanging, I guess.
I was very careful  that it was square, and not to stretch anything as I was pinning on the binding, so not quite sure why this happened??? I will try pressing it and see if that helps.

Now I have to go back and read Monika's tutorial on making a hanging sleeve.

But in the meantime, I dug these out of the drawer....

The local quilt shop here closed last year, and they had all these 1 yard packs on sale, so I picked a few up. What to do with then.....mmmm.....not sure yet. I think I need to sit down with some of my quilt magazines and look for some inspiration! .......after I finish the hanging sleeve!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I am so brave.....sort of!

Well the "Strata" quilt/wall hanging reached the quilting stage.... but I delayed a bit longer by stitching beside the seams to stabilize the quilt ( I have been reading other peoples blogs....sounds like I really know what I am doing, doesn't it????) I didn't want to stitch in the ditch because the points where the corners come together are quite thick.

Then I had to move on to the quilting. The book shows samples of what they have done, so I practiced first on a scrap of material.....OK, several scraps....
that didn't feel too bad I started quilting !!!! YIKES!!!!

Over all it went all right...
A few overlaps, and sometimes I just seemed to loose my way and wander a bit ...LOL!!

The back even look all right...
 I need a lot more practice, but at least that is a start, and now I am not so nervous about trying more.
I had some trouble with loosing track of where I was, and ending up in a section that was already finished, or sometimes leaving a gap where I had to go back and fill it in.

 In the beginning I thought I would take each section and be very orderly in how I quilted (OK, I already know I am a little obsessive/compulsive) but that lasted for about 10 seconds, then I was just wandering around it seemed....and all of a sudden I was finished !! WHEW!!! Not so bad after all ....for my first free motion quilting! :)  ...time to sweet husband just poured me a glass of wine!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Birthday Hit :)

Well the birthday girl turned 2 years old yesterday...

and the I Spy quilt was a big hit!

She loves the dinosaurs on the back as much as all the little squares on the front !!

She likes to snuggle in it, and it is flannel on the back, so is very snuggly!
We are away, in Phoenix right now (although it is just about as cold here as back in Saskatchewan!!) so we talked to her by Skype last night. It is great to be able to see people and chat while you are gone. Love it!