Books quilts and sewing

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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

UFO’s and how to complete your least engaging projects

So many times I plan on doing a project and get caught up doing something else, like a site I read that had the same subject “   So this evening I was looking at some of my unfinished projects and knew that I needed to get a move on to finish some.  I decided to start with my old block of the month project from Joann Fabrics Arbor Lane.

Has anyone else out there worked on a project and as it was coming together felt their stomach drop through the floor?  As soon as I started I realized that the measurements were all wrong.  I was texting my wife and letting her know how disappointed I was in this, but that I was persevering in the face of adversity!!

“I AM going to complete this quilt” I keep telling myself, all the while thinking about the quilt I really want to be making.  It’s not turning out horrible, but some of the blocks do NOT match up.

What do you do when things go wrong with your projects?  This UFO isn’t complete yet, but by the end of this weekend it will be.  I think the best way to complete these unfinished project is the same way you do anything else that’s overwhelming like eating an elephant… one bite at a time.  After all, it really isn’t the rabbit that wins the race, it’s the turtle.  Steady and with perseverance, at least that’s my .02 worth.

So as far as ease-ability of putting the Arbor Lane quilt from Joann Fabrics together??  2 out of 5 stars.  We’ll revisit once we’re completely done.

Persian Plum Block 2

This is the second block in the series for Joann Fabrics Block of the Month “Persian Plum”. This block was a little more technical and has you sewing triangles together prior to joining the halves to form a square.

While not impossible to get the tips perfectly lined up, I would suggest pinning for best effect.

At the end of the first round of sewing you should end up with eight half squares.

Joining these together forms your four multicolored squares.

The finished square is well designed and I’ll say once again a beautiful set of colors. Look me up in another week where I’ll be putting block three together.


On Coffee, Rain, and Spring

Four days of work left until my week off and I’m eagerly anticipating the projects I’ll be working on.  It’s very late in the Central time zone as I write this and all I can think about right now is having a delicious cup of coffee and working the binding for a quilt while listening to the storm rage around me outside.  It’s at times like these when I know I should be asleep to rest up for the day ahead, that I enjoy life the most.

I’m not a caffeine addict, but thoroughly enjoy a great cup of coffee while I’m working or just relaxing.  At 10PM however, I know that my sleep will be affected.  But tonight… the rain is coming down in sheets, my beautiful wife is working on a new quilt, and I can understand that the rain is telling me that spring is nearing its end.  I pause to enjoy some of life’s most beautiful moments and as midnight rolls around know that some of the happiest times for my me were while drinking coffee with our children out in the rain as it poured down in the spring here in Texas.

Book Review Quilting a Patchwork Garden

Product DetailsOne of the books that I recently received was Quilting a Patchwork Garden.  As I found time to open it up and review its pages, I came across the first quilt Sage Garden Patch.  Wonderfully inspired I would highly recommend this pattern for a beautiful and easy project that will win over a beginner or an advanced quilter.

But quilt aren’t the only thing this book has instructions for, pillows, table runners, wall hangings, napkins, and more. The last 17 pages of this book have helpful hints and suggestions, it even has quilting designs.  I recommend this book with 4 out of 5 stars.

Quilting a Patchwork Garden

Move Day… Continuing…

The closet didn’t deserve pictures as it was chock-a-block full of camping gear and Christmas gear.

We spent our entire Saturday with the movers and rearranging the furniture.  By the end of the day I could barely stand up straight anymore.  The walls are still more-or-less bare, but the room now has a television/game systems, book shelf for quilt and other types of books, filing cabinet for patterns, and organizing unit for quick access to fabric squares.

The closet has been completely reworked to include all the fabric bins and craft bins, plus some of our quilts.  We brought our old dining table in to continue to use as a surface to sew on until our new sewing tables arrive.  here’s a look at some of the transformation.

Daughter is leaving

As you may know my daughter has been on vacation and staying with us for the past three weeks.  Her quilt top is still almost finished, her panels are sewn together and she’ll be taking it with her back to Kansas to finish it.  We tried to find the border fabric she had selected but will end up buying it online.

I’m sad to see her go, but proud that she was able to accomplish so much for her first time quilting in-between relaxing and spending time with her parents.  We sent her off with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, fabric scissors, and some new fabric.  I hope this will spur her on to take her sewing machine out of the box and finish up her quilt.  Maybe she’ll even want to start another afterwards.

Move Day 1

Well…  the movers didn’t show up yesterday which would normally be a bad thing, however I ended up working late anyway on a project that was supposed to take one hour (read noon until 1pm).  The movers called and said they were delayed at another site and wouldn’t be able to make it until tomorrow (which would be today) and it actually worked out well since I would be at work until almost 7pm!!

My wife had done all the preliminary work of getting the storage facility to clear out the house and boxed everything up that would be going to the storage facility.  She even with our daughters help, made a trip to storage after loading both cars up.

I stopped off on the way home and brought dinner which we ate and then relaxed.  So, no work was done last night but I’ll be posting pics tonight or tomorrow of the before and after.  Speaking of pictures…  Here is one of the completed quilt top for my Amish Quilt!!  I’m so excited to be quilting this one myself…

Time to move the sewing out of the dining room

We have decided to get rid of the guest bedroom and furniture in favor of a sewing room/media room.  I’m not looking forward to the move, as I don’t look forward to a move of any kind.  I am excited about the result however.  We are replacing our sofas and dining set with a nicer one.  This means we’ll be moving the old table into the guest bedroom until we can replace it with a sewing table for two.

It’s musical furniture this memorial  day weekend, I’ll try to post some pics for the new sewing room once we’re done.

Thimbles and Batting

Have you ever wanted to know which product to use only to go through the process of searching and only have a headache and more confusion for your trouble??  When I first started quilting and figured out how to piece my quilt together through trial and error I was finally ready to put the sandwich together.  Which batting to use?  I went down to the store to find myself inundated with cotton, polyester, cotton/poly, and wool.  Which would be best?  I couldn’t find an answer, not even after I searched extensively online.  No one just came out and said, “this is my favorite!”.  So for anyone searching out there, here’s my opinion for what it’s worth…

Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting is the ONLY batting I have used on any of my quilts.  Another look into what constitutes GOOD batting makes my head spin.  Bearding, loft, composition, and drape… for me it couldn’t be more confusing.  When I start to search this topic through numerous hops on the web, after 2 – 3 pages of information the final answer I read about is they don’t have a straight answer.  Well, polyester is used for some wall-hangings, but is harder with a higher loft to quilt…  blah, blah, blah…

Warm and Natural 100% Cotton

Usually if someone has asked a question or does a web search, they have a specific need in mind.  The bulk of what I make are quilts ranging in size from 12” x 12” up to a King size  of 100” x 120”.  When I ask what batting should I use I not looking for a discourse in batting or a run-thru on the thermal-dynamics of polyester vs. cotton vs. cotton/poly blend.  I’m asking about a personal preference, what would you use if this was a quilt you were making for a family member and why would you select that particular batting.

Microsafe Traditional Loft Polyester

I have noticed that there is far fluffier (read “more loft”) batting out there, but MY personal preference is warm and natural 100% cotton because of the weight and feel of it and it may be kind of goofy, but it says natural (no dyes).  I’ve made enough quilts now that I am relatively sure it will survive my grandchildren tussling and still keep them warm and that’s good enough for me.

Mountain Mist Traditional Loft Polyester

Now on to thimbles…

I have to qualify my remarks first.  I’m a guy and my hands are on the large size, so when picking out a thimble I’m only trying out large ones.  So far I’ve tried out thimbles from Dritz, Clover, and Pons & Foster.  I’ll give you my impression of each one.

I started out using Fons & Porter brass thimble for my hand quilting and after a while was very pleased with the result.  The third day of use however, left me with a green thumb… which is great for gardening, but not so nice when dealing with fabric.

I looked around for an equivalent thimble that kept my finger its natural color and came across the Dritz thimble.  This thimble was fantastic and I did a lot of work with it on my Amish swap quilt.  Alas… after so much use it was cutting into my cuticle on the back side.  I’m not sure if this was due to bad technique, sizing of the thimble, or combination of both.  There was enough pain though to prompt my searching for another.

Enter the Clover thimble, soft supple leather and a steel coin to protect the finger.  This is the MOST comfortable thimble that I’ve used and still use when I want to give my finger a break from the Drizt, but it had a couple of disadvantages for me.  The coin is located on the front of the finger and when I’m using the rocking motion for quilting, I can get more stitches per inch if it’s on the top of my finger.  The other issue is that at times the needle head will get wedged between the leather and the coin.  That can be real annoying when you are on a roll.

The last thimble I’ve purchased seamed like a good idea, it just didn’t work for me though.  The top is solid and the body is elastic.  It stays glued to my finger without any issue and protect it as well… but without the stiffness of the solid thimble I, once again, had trouble with not enough stitches at a time.

So for now i use a combination of the two thimbles, the dritz with its solid performance until my finger hurts, then the soft leather clover to ease the pain.

That is all I have to say on the subjects of batting and thimbles.  I would LOVE to hear everybody’s preferences and opinions.

Book Review for 101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts

101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts

Before I went out to purchase this book, I had read a few reviews on it. “If you can’t find a dozen quilts to make from this book right away, you just haven’t opened the cover” was the review that made the decision for me.

At 272 pages this book goes into enough depth that a beginner can crack it open and start quilting and an experienced quilter can find new designs and ideas as well. A section of the book goes over finishing quilts. I couldn’t go over everything this book covers without rewriting it. Color wheel, paper piecing, rotary techniques.. it has something to say about all of that.

The quilts are well detailed and illustrated with a grade by skill level. The real test came after the book arrived and my daughter came down to visit. We were able to talk about which one she should try based upon what she liked and the skill level it gave.  The quilt I posted about earlier that she is working on and almost finished came out of this book. Of course there were some questions she needed answers to about the best way to do something, but I was impressed by how far she was able to get with her first quilt from following the simple-to-use directions from the book.

That is the best review I could give a book, 5 stars out of 5.

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