Books quilts and sewing

Remember you're unique!! Just like everyone else.

Archive for the tag “Sew”

My Recent Troubles with the Christmas Quilts…

It’s been crazy with work lately…  Posting up what my projects are and what I’m currently doing has taken a back-seat to work, home, and sewing.  I knew this was going to be a beat-down that will continue through next week but am able today to give a brief account of what I’ve managed to eek out.

While working on the original Christmas quilt, I was showing Kay a video on more patterns with which to make quilts and found one on YouTube of one that to me looked perfect for another Christmas quilt.  It’s basically a Jelly Roll pattern for a quilt and since Kay had a Jelly Roll sitting around with nothing to do, she decided to attempt it.  While I, having a lot of extra Christmas fabric, decided to start on a second quilt without finishing my first!  I know everyone understands what spurs us on to do that…

So, I’m working furiously during my off time to get this new one completed and realized that I had not finished Teagan’s binding so I could send it out.  I stopped working on the new Christmas quilt and finished up Teagan’s.  With that accomplished, I pulled out both of the Christmas quilts and while looking at the first decided to incorporate some embroidery into the pattern.

 

As you can see I’ve become distracted and have lost focus… the only good news is that I AM progressing on getting these two quilts finished until…

While reading through a quilting magazine, I came across a really simple quilt pattern that I thought would be perfect to use with some flannel material.  You can already guess what I did, I stopped working on the Christmas quilts and am 2/3 the way through this new quilt.

Alas, I have no willpower when it comes to starting new projects while the old ones languish waiting to be finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilts and the iPad

Like almost every quilter I have a phone and a computer.  I read a lot of books as well, though mostly fiction.  Until recently I had a Nook from Barnes & Noble that I used for the bulk of my electronic reading, but a friend of mine was upgrading his iPad 1 to and iPad 3 and made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.  If you’ve ever held an iPad, you’ll notice a huge difference in weight between it and an e-reader.

As great as it was, it was just too heavy to use for reading and it languished on a shelf for a while.  One day while flipping through a favorite quilting magazine I noticed on the back an advertisement showing that you could put a subscription of the magazine on the iPad.  Color me intrigued!!  Though for me, the iPad is much too heavy to use for normal reading… the larger screen and size is actually ideal for walking around with quilting patterns and instructions.

You may be saying that a magazine is just as easy, but I’ll make two points about ease of use.  One, the most distracting thing is to have a magazine open while reading cutting instructions and have the pages flip on me while I’m reading it.  This invariably leads to some not so nice verbiage from me.  Secondly, I can carry around 12 issues… or 32 quilt patterns chock full of pictures, measurements, and ideas that can inspire my creativity wherever I am.

Send me a note on what you do to inspire your creativity!

Finished at the last gasp

Kay was getting a little upset as I started putting on the first of my planned borders for the Christmas quilt.  We had two hours before we needed to leave to get to Linda’s house clear across town and I was just starting to put the first of three borders on.  I really meant to do them the day before, but lacked the motivation.

Meanwhile, Kay had a lot to finish and DID do a lot of it the day before with only a little bit remaining on the day we needed to turn it over to the quilter Linda.

As I was sewing on the first border, I looked at the back and realized that a patch was all wonky!  That’s what I get for trying to go too fast… another ten minutes wasted.  I finally got on-track and managed to get all three borders sewn on in less than two hours.  The last border was the toughest and required the most amount of attention with all the seams it had.

We were talking to Linda after we had arrived and were discussing thread colors and quilt patterns and I looked down at the six piles of fabric, their backing, and the batting realizing that this represented six quilts (translated… a LOT of difficult work) and it honestly put me in awe of what we had accomplished.  Two of the quilts Kay had ear-marked for a firehouse, one of the large purple ones to our oldest daughter Amanda for her birthday, and the last three to keep.

As I mentioned before our daughter Samantha had a valid point that we can only use so many at a time.  I really do like having them around the house though… on the backs of our couches, on the bed, and in the closet.  I keep saying 10 more quilts should be sufficient, but don’t feel the slightest bit of bad when I make one for a relative and two for me.  It’s not like we’re charging anyone.

Anyway, I actually wrote all of this to say that by the time I’d finished the Christmas quilt we had to leave immediately.  Yes, I did finish all three borders.  With Kay’s help I had the backing sewn as well.  As we rushed them out to the car I realized that I hadn’t taken the photo of it yet.  Delaying our trip slightly more, I placed the last bundle in the back of the car and snapped a quick shot of all six bundles on their way to the quilters.

Our daughter put us to shame

So it looks like Autumn is coming to Texas finally!!  I realise that we may yet have a few more days that the heat makes us uncomfortable, but with this forecast it’s a promising sign that we’ve turned the corner and can start pulling out those quilts soon.

\

Have to love it when the weather cooperates!!

On an entirely different note, I did over the weekend manage to finish binding the schoolhouse quilt and the Land of Whimsy quilt.  Since my daughter was here and will be thru Thursday, we decided to try to complete a mini apiece to hang on the wall as a family project.  This started out really great with all of us picking out the pattern that we were to complete and then… Kay started working on a completely different project (more on that project later), I initially was helping our daughter determine fabrics and layout, and finally I realized that both sewing machines would be in use so I opted to finish the bindings of the other quilts.

In the end, only one mini quilt was near completion and almost ready to be bound…  our daughter’s mini.  We still plan on finishing our minis later on, but will not be doing it as originally thought as  a family project.  I’m okay with that however, as I was able to spend a lot of time with our daughter discussing quilting and watching her abilities grow.

The other thing I was able to accomplish was to finish my niece’s daughter’s quilt.  This is a picture of the backing that I finally decided on and now just need it quilted down.

The Schoolhouse Quilt is back!!

I was lucky enough to get a call from my quilter on friday, she said my Schoolhouse quilt was complete!  Yeah, me!!  I picked it up at lunch and brought it home with me, full of promise for getting it bound and hanging on the wall.  Alas, It was not to be as I was still on-call for work and had a VERY busy weekend.  I did however manage to finish binding three of the sides and with only one side left and me not being on-call anymore I’m certain I can get it completed tonight.

 

I really enjoyed making this one and can hardly wait to get it hung.  Here’s another picture of it close-up.

Soldiering On

I’m in the middle of sewing some of the Christmas blocks together and I hit a wall.  I turned off my sewing machine and unplugged the iron from its power source.  I don’t understand why for the life of me I could have been so excited about it one day and then wanting to throw it in the bin the next.  Have you ever felt like that?  It is turning out okay, but maybe I feel a little daunted by how much work is going to go into this quilt when it will only be used either for decoration, or just a lap quilt.

Either way, I need to work through this.  I don’t have the designed firmly set in my mind, though the design is down on paper.  It’s all laid out and measured and I know where each piece is supposed to go.  I don’t know if I’m sold on the four-square piece that will be interspersed with it though.

If anyone has any suggestions or advice, let me know…

It’s Never Too Early to Start a Christmas Quilt

So I started last night thinking about the first Christmas quilt of the season.  What pattern to use though? Here is a quick preview of the fabric I’m going to be using.

 

Now, in my previous post I mentioned that it’s a good idea to have already picked a pattern out… and I did, I promise.  I may still actually use the pattern I picked in the end, but while playing around with the Electric Quilt software I came across a block that with a little embellishment would highlight the blue fabric like I wanted.

The next thing I knew I was designing an entire quilt around the block I created.  I have the look that I wanted but don’t yet know if I’ll change it in the end.  Here is the finished test block, I still don’t know if I want to fussy-cut the fabric… it just seems such a waste, but I may end up doing it in the end.

 

These squares will be 8″ when sewn together with a foursquare.  I should have some of the panels finished to show by the end of the week end.

Thoughts on New Projects and what to AVOID

I wanted to write a little about the art of piecing.  I was originally going to say ‘the art of quilting’, but I really wasn’t talking about that.  The most difficult, frustrating, and wonderful thing for me is still piecing a quilt together.  I do not want to detract from the quilting process at all, merely to say that while the quality of the quilting can make a huge impact on the design as many people know, it takes a special skill to piece a quilt as well.

One of the things that Kay and I had discovered during our quilting journey, was how many of our wonderful long arm quilters weren’t necessarily great at the construction aspect of the process.  It sounds like such an easy thing to do… pick out fabric, pick out/design quilt, cut said fabric, sew all of it together and then hand it to the “professional” to do the real work of quilting it all down.  As I’ve said, I am not detracting from the artistry and difficulty of the quilter, but want to emphasize the first part of this whole process.

Picking fabric

I can’t tell you how much fabric I’ve passed up even when I’ve fallen in love with a particular one.  Yes, I do have some lone wolves in my stash that I could not resist, but they’re lone wolves because I couldn’t (yet) find anything to put them with.  It’s generally a good idea to start with the pattern you’ve created or one you’ve seen rather than picking the fabric and then ‘stuffing’ it into a pattern.  I have seen a collection of fabric however and made the purchase Hoping to find a pattern that I could use.  With seasonal fabric, it is not as difficult.

Picking a pattern

This can be a tough nut… I’ve picked a pattern before and looked at it in all its ‘simplicity’ and then tried to execute it only to find out that I was bamboozled.  What looked like an easy inviting pattern turned out to be a cutting or piecing nightmare that after I finished with it I swore I’d never attempt that again… or words to that effect!  Another challenge loomed while working with Electric quilt, which is a wonderful product, but is time-consuming to learn and then apply your knowledge to build the pattern.  The one advantage that I can see using the EQ product is that whether or not your pattern is unique among others is that you created it yourself and it might just be a one-of-a-kind pattern.

Another thought before I leave this topic is a personal opinion (be warned)… sometimes more is just, more.

Sewing and Pressing

I can’t for the life of me put enough emphasis on this… when ironing, press the fabric do NOT stretch the fabric.  I realize that after sewing you might measure and find that you’ve lost an 1/8” or more off of what the finished size should be, but trust me on this if you stretch the fabric it’s going to do weird things after the first wash.  Also, by paying attention to your seams and keeping them flat but not stretched, you will help your long-arm quilter avoid the “hills and valleys” they sometimes find in others work.

Sewing can be the swiftest was to destroy a complicated pattern.  I should mention that not all sewing machines are alike, nor are their measurements the same.  The biggest issue that I’ve encountered while piecing a quilt together was using multiple machines during this process.  This error is second only to having a consistent ¼” when sewing.  Don’t let your material boss you around!!  As you sew, keep an even pressure on the fabric and keep the speed as consistent as you can.

I hope this post hasn’t been too preachy, I just wanted to lay down a few things to think about when contemplating your next project.  Until next time, happy quilting!!

Blue Pinwheel is Pieced!!

No, I don’t know why it’s taken me soooo long to finish piecing this quilt.  Call it quilter’s block, which is the term I use rather than the real culprit which I’m sure boils down to laziness…  Well maybe 98% laziness and 2% quilter’s block.

Whatever the reason, I’ve finally managed to finish this quilt top and because I did not follow a pattern ended up with a king sized quilt due in part to the double 4″ borders I thought would look good.  I obviously am not finished with run-on sentences either!  This is, I believe, the largest quilt that I’ve made to date.

Here’s an up-close look at this quilt that has taken me the longest to make.

 

Now, the points are not perfect and it won’t win any awards, but I’ve learned another valuable lesson on the importance of using only one machine to make the different pieces.  Kay and I have different sewing techniques and obviously use different machines.  She helped me piece ten of the blocks together and that introduced some variations that played hell with trying to line up everything.  Now I’m not placing blame, only stating that I have yet to learn for a quilt such as this how to “play nice” with another quilter and get the desired result.

Also in this pattern, when sewing the blocks together there are eight different points that need to line up which presents another challenge.  Normally I would have to make sure that all of the blocks are the exact size and then pin them prior to sewing to give me beautiful uniformity.  When there are eight points that need to match however, block size is only one component to a beautifully pieced quilt.

With all that said, I am still and all very pleased with how this turned out and can’t wait to get it quilted down and bound.  Speak out and tell me the challenges that you’ve faced!  Until then, happy quilting…

So Much Fabric and So Little Time

My trip to the Moda warehouse started VERY early in the morning.  Please don’t think that I’m complaining, I feel fortunate to have Moda so close to where I live.  Still and all, 5am is a little too early for my liking even for a sale.  Kay took a couple of photos while we were there, but we were so focused on all of the beautiful fabric that we didn’t take too many.

This was just one of the rows we walked down.  There was so much wonderful fabric, the patterns and the colors fantastic.  Then we went to the other side of the warehouse where the Notions were stored…. WOW!

To say that we were kids in a candy store was an understatement.  The warehouse was FILLED with what amounted to candy to us.  Kay was so fun to watch as she moved from shelf to shelf, ohhing and ahhhing.

What I bought was NOWHERE near what I wanted to buy, but I thought I’d share it with you.

Post Navigation