Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

My first post for 2010! Woohoo! ;)

Here is how it's coming along...I wish I could have found closer colors to that of my EQ picture but I think when assembled this will still be really pretty. :) Just to bring the pink down from the geese I added some pink to the compass/star. I don't really know what that star name is, I don't know if it's technically even a compass. Anyhow it looks like hot pink but it's a bit darker in person.

A couple of you mentioned that this project looks intimidating, but I wanted to share that it really only looks that way. Here's a couple assembly photos I took just to kind of break it down and show how really uncomplicated it actually is. I will show you how I created it in EQ at some point too. But here is the block I designed after printing it in EQ. Each block printed on 4 pages as it is a 16 inch block. I have no idea why I went with 16 inches. LOL* I had to cut each ring and then tape the pieces together to make the rings, but EQ gives you guides so it's really easy to do. I made four of these.

Because of the set in yellow/circular section of the star I cut templates and decided to hand piece it. I think (and hope!) the easiest way to assemble this will be to leave it in four sections and sew them together after set into whole blocks. This has worked for me in the past, but will still be an experiment. If you have ideas or suggestions I will hear them! ;)

I'm not even the neatest hand piecer either, but hand piecing can be forgiving to an extent.

Excuse my yucky sewing table needs a paint job! Now I have this! :) Can you believe that I did this in one evening while my first new york beauty block took me about four hours to make? Lol*

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Only because you said I could...

;) Thanks for all the nice compliments on my EQ designs! I love electric that I have it I don't know what I'd do without it!

I don't have enough of the dark purples and oranges to make the quilt from the last post, although I did buy some fabric today to use in it. What I do have fabric for though is the mariner's compass, but in another coloring. So I'm going to do something like this with it:

Although I liked both of the other colorings I had done of this I think this one has the most impact - and isn't that funny I never even would have gone this route if I didn't have the fabric laying around!

Of course I had to show off some of the fabric I purchased today to! ;) It's a bit darker and more intense than this picture portrays though.

My last EQ for a while - promise! ;)

I started with an idea for a mariner's compass and somehow got to this! Lol* Love this. Love love love. :) Off to buy fabric, and ink so I can print it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More EQ Fun

I'm headed somewhere with all of this, but where I do not yet know. I am in the mood to play with colors and compasses but none of this says "make me!" yet. :) I spent the last hour on a block with gazillions of petals and forgot to save it in EQ - POOP! Now it's gone. Better go and get some coffee... ;)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Playing in EQ

Playing in EQ with geese and compasses. I was inspired by the way Jinny Beyer uses color. I won a few hand dye charms from a quilting buddy a while ago that I think might work for something like this. Off to fiddle some more...

Edited to Add: After looking at my post I see something I didn't see before. ONE blue bugger I didn't turn purple. Oh heavens. It's time to go eat dinner. No more EQ until little girls go to bed. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What does one do the day after Christmas?

Why, blog of course. ;) Here are a few goodies I received for Christmas...aren't I spoiled?

The fabric is a fat 1/8th sampler of Hearth and Home from Connecting Threads.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It was Christmas Eve...

Kenzer lost her second tooth this morning! She says it will be busy in the house tonight because Santa and the Tooth Fairy are coming! :) Oh I love my babies!!!

My grades came in finally yesterday and I thought I'd share - four A's and one B! Woohoo! It's not the 4.0 I'd hoped for, but still pretty good! It was biology that I got that B in, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it was a Saturday class - who wants to study on Friday night?!!! My GPA is officially 3.75 for the semester. Woohooiiiieee! ;) I should still make the Dean's List, and that ain't too shabby for my first semester back at school in ten years...with kids and Christmas to prepare for to boot! ;) Thank you so much to all of you who've been checking in and leaving supportive encouraging comments! Those little words can really pick a girl up when she's having a crummy day! ;)

Merry Christmas!!! I hope everyone gets to spend time with their families and friends, and you get all the goodies you'd hoped for! ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sewing Machine Cover & Mat

I sewed until 3:30 this morning making this sewing machine cover & mat for my Mother for Christmas...

I think it was the quilting that took the longest. It took several hours...but I have to contend with babies interrupting me literally every ten minutes. Once my precious pains in the patoot went to bed I finished the cover and whipped out the mat.

This is actually the reverse quilted side. The interior of the cover is cream fabric. When it came time to sew it together I decided I liked the way the quilting looked on the predominantly red side best.

One more photo - I apologize for the little sewing nook is right next to the bay windows. Great for sewing, not so much for photography.

I hoping you'll excuse me for the mess...Christmas is only two days away after all! I haven't time to clean just yet!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Subtle Art of Un-Sewing

We all do it. Merrily you sew along on your precious Christmas gift, until you realize you have sewn all of the white blocks where you should have sewn the red ones. After spitting out a four letter word too low for the children to hear, you search through your overflowing basket of sewing tools until you find it. Your seam ripper. Some of them are white, some of them are blue; I even know a lady who bought one originally intended to don a surgical table. You suddenly find yourself knee deep in pieces, parts, and teeny threads.

Years ago when I first began sewing heavily I ripped the way my Mother taught me. I pulled each piece apart at the seam, ripping the threads as I go to separate my blocks. There is nothing wrong with this method of ripping and I know many ladies who have been quilting twice as long as me who still do it that way. But I should explain that my Mother is a seamstress and so the seam allowances she works with are 5/8" as opposed to us quilters who are working with 1/4". The problem I encounter with ripping the way our Mothers taught us is that by the time I'm finished the seam edge fabric is bare and distorted from all the stress of being tugged and prodded every which way. I simply do not have enough seam allowance to be torturing my nine dollar per yard fabric in this manner! I have even heard some quilters express that they avoid ripping at all (well, of course we all do that, often without success) so that the strength and quality of their quilt will not suffer.

Really, it probably is not that important. I'm very often too lazy to rip at all. At times I would much rather change my quilt design than rip it apart to do it all over again. But the older I get the less rebellious I become, and instead of breaking rules I find myself wanting to create a quality piece of art. Some day when I muster the courage and find the time I might even like to enter a show or two. So here is a little tip I discovered to make ripping not only easier, but much less traumatic for your fabric.

Now I usually use an inexpensive Dritz seam ripper from Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I murdered mine trying to fix my featherweight. I will save that story for another post. Anyhow, in a fix this Fons & Porter thread clipper will do until I can get to the store for a new ripper.

Instead of beginning by pulling the two pieces apart, I go along the seam I'd like to rip on the outside, and every three or four stitches I break one.

If I have taken my time the pieces just smoothly pull apart without putting much if any stress on the fabric.

Now I have a touch of carpal tunnel, so by this point my wrists are usually beginning to ache and my fingers are a little tingly. So I am left with this...

a nightmare for sore fingers! Instead of spending my precious sewing time pulling every itty bitty thread off of this fabric, I pull out my scotch or masking tape.

The itty bitty threads will be snatched up by the tape, and all you will be left to pull is the single long thread underneath.

See - cat hair and all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Quilting on a Budget

Making candle mats for a few of my Husband's work friends. I have seen these on a lot of blogs and now I know why! ;) They are very quick and easy, and a lot of fun to make.

They are completely from my scrap stash. I precut my scraps following Bonnie Hunter's scrap system, so all I had to do was go into my strip and block bins and pick matching fabrics. No additional cutting or pressing other than what you might typically do during assembly.

The candles were from the local dollar store - shhhh! ;) For $1 candles they smell SO GOOD and pretty strong too. Bags are on sale at Jo-Anne's and these cost me 29 cents per bag...I stocked up as they are so handy and cute for small gifts.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Something Silly

Was Christmas shopping today, and although I wasn't looking for myself, I had to buy these...

Aren't they awesome? Martha Stewart has a whole line of crafter ornaments and decorations...and I'm not sure how long but they are 40% off right now at Kmart.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Japanese Fans

Hand pieced these three fans last night to make a little wall hanging for my Grandmother. She is very into all things Eastern and has a large collection of Saki dish sets I thought this would like nice hung by. Of course, I had to free-motion the daylights out of it!!! ;) The backing is a really old Alexander Henry print that I thought worked really nicely with the fans.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Free Motion Quilting Continues...

Ok, please forgive me for posting twice in one evening...but I'm so excited I just had to share these...I finished the mini/table runner with paisley quilting...isn't it cool??!!! So happy!



I did struggle with tension a little, somewhere along the line my bobbin popped out of the little tension hook and I got those ugly loose stitches on the back, but there's no way I'm ripping them out. LOL* I'm too lazy for that nonsense. I will have to watch that in the future...but what fun! :)

Oh, and more feathers... ;)

Fun with Free Motion

Today I had a to do an oral paper in writing. UGH! I am not a stand up in front of a bunch of people and feel at ease kind of girl. Small groups, I'm ok, and with people I know, I'm goofy. ;) Can you guess my topic? Lol* What else would I write about? Quilts! I didn't know much about the history of quilts so I thought that would be a fun topic to research. We were required to bring something visual and use a few note cards to speak. Well I did stumble a bit the first few minutes I stood up there at the podium and tried to go from my note cards...but once I began pulling out the quilts and things it went much smoother. I could have gone on for days. Lol* It turned out to be a fun time despite my initial fears and to boot, it has inspired me to do a little practicing.

So on to what this post is really about. I thought it would be fun to practice my free motion quilting since my range is basically stippling to vines. I have done some echo quilting on a small quilt that were really rough echoes but ended up having a nice folk art feel. Santa if you're reading this post...what I would REALLY love to have some day is a long-arm. Or even something on a smaller scale. I once saw a Tin Lizzie that looked like it might be the ticket for someone like me who'd love to try long arming but doesn't have the money OR the space to do it. Well until then, I've got to make do with what I've got and that's a Simplicity Quilter's Classic! LOL* So here are some of the results:

I began with some paisley that for now is my favorite! Very easy and looks so cool. Then I tried to ease into feathers...

Feathers are going to take some major practice! I plan on tooting around with those for tonight since I don't have any studying to do. Just some cleaning, laundry, and baths.

Last I attempted some stars that turned out really cool! Leah did these a long time ago and showed them off on her blog. They were so neat I have since always wanted to try them but just never got around to it. Thanks for the inspiration Leah! I'm definitely going to use those on a project soon.Here's a little shot of how it looks from a can see how I progressed. I might even attempt a mini tonight...I'll show pictures when I'm through! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tooting around with layouts...

and I think this is the winner! I love lap quilts. They are the perfect size. One of these days I'll make a big quilt. Lol* Have some extra blocks that might end up being a Christmas gift. :)