Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bow Ties UPDATE...

I'm up to 39 Bow Tie blocks and counting:

I LOVE making these - aren't they cute?!

AND, my 30s reproduction jelly roll arrive (the one I HAD to purchase @ 1:00 am - remember...?when I couldn't dig through my stash because it was holed up w/hubs in the bedroom where he was sleeping)  Anyway, the new 'roll' is awesome:

Can hardly wait to start in on this one!

What yummy colors - I know what I'm doing this afternoon...

This jelly roll arrived the morning 'after' I had spent three 14 hour days moving the youngest daughter into her first house from an apartment.  Needless to say, it was a very Welcome site!  I still have a few sets of curtains to make/hang since the previous sets don't fit the new windows - surprise!  And there's a desk arriving over the next couple of days that yours truly will no doubt get the honor of assembling but that's OK - I've got a few hours to myself with my new jelly roll and my new-ish quilting machine.

Speaking of which, I've managed to get in some stress-buster quilting, not too bad - I think I may be improving a bit:

This pre-marked quilt top was the best thing I've ever tried for practicing!

The great thing about the pre-marked top is that I have no choice in what I must quilt, that's already been pre-determined for me, so I must in turn practice that type of quilting without avoidance if I want to move on to the next section of the quilt, it works for me.  

I've found I actually do better without the stitch regulator - now I just have to learn how to make those curves smooth and consistent - with lots more PRACTICE!  Which is just fine with me since I have lots of excuses to practice stemming from lots of STRESS ;-)

Getting better and my back-tracking has improved alot! But see the 'squiggle' to the right on that feather, that's where my carriage keeps wobbling - need to figure out how to fix this because it's done it several times throughout this quilt in the same spot of the frame...ugh!  I've cleaned tracks on the frame and carriage,  oiled EVERYTHING, checked wheel rotation and contact, you name it and I cannot seem to find the culprit.  The wheels, carriage and track are ALL new upgrades within the past few weeks - go figure?!

I have also learned how to keep consistent tension on my quilt in each individual section I'm quilting on.  In fact, some of the tools I made early on that have never before been used are now being incorporated into this practice quilt:

This is a Sharon Schamber original idea that I tweaked ;-), works great!

I love just about everything Sharon Shamber, especially watching her do feathers in fast motion - what a trip that is.  Check this out: 

 (Please X off the short ad for a bigger view, AND I am NOT affiliated in any way - shape or form ;-)

Alrighty then, time to get back to those Bow Ties and a little practicing if I'm ever to do feathers in slow motion let alone FAST! ;-)


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1st Signs of Spring - Green Grass and the Geese have Arrived...!

I heard a terrible commotion Sunday morning while getting ready to go help my youngest daughter move (for the third day ;-) - I ran outside to see what was going on and to my surprise a small group of geese had landed on our pond!  I watched in amazement for awhile as they swam around squawking and honking and giving my golden bears (retrievers) quite a start until it occurred to me to snap a few quick photos:

There were 5 geese total and they were rather large...

2 golden bears (retrievers ;-) and 5 geese a-swimming!

My golden bears were quite perplexed by the geese and didn't know if they should bark at them or go into the pond after them:

And I noticed in these photos just how GREEN our grass is - in March, no less!  Don't think I've ever seen it this green this time of year AND, we had to mow... what is the world coming to - Spring ;-)?

Well, once again - time to get back to it...moving that is...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bow Ties can be Addictive!

So I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was making Bonnie Hunter's cheddar Bow Tie - Leaders and Enders challenge (from 2011), while my baby quilt blocks were getting embroidered.  Somehow, I got really into making these Bow Tie blocks and the next thing I knew it was 1:00 AM and I was still planning and plotting my next Bow Tie blocks, coordinating fabrics, etc.  I ended up with 18 blocks and counting!  Here's what I have so far:

These are Rosie's 1930s Reproduction fabrics - I like these alot!

And since I decided I did like these repros sooo much, I've also decided the entire quilt will now be made w/only 1930s Reproduction fabrics if/when possible (may have to insert some of today's unbleached muslin for lights, we'll see, along w/cheddar) so of course, I really didn't want to try and dig through an entire stash @ 1:00 AM that is mostly in storage bins in the master bedroom where the hubs was sleeping and/or storage facilities, I broke down and ordered one (1) 1930s Reproduction jelly roll.  It's not enough, mind you, to complete the entire quilt, but is enough to get me really started until I can get ALL my fabrics organized and processed so I can at least find them and use them in a decent amount of time - rather than 2 - 3 days/weeks!

And I did find a partially used jelly roll from another project (the Orca Bay Mystery quilt challenge that I have to wait to finish until my studio is completed - I do have ALL the blocks sewn together but, there's just too many parts, my design wall is in storage and I don't have enough space to spread out and assemble right now, I need much smaller projects for now) and I can use these strips for the time being until my other fabric roll arrives:

These will look fabulous w/cheddar!

Since I want to keep a nice balance, will try and use equal amounts of lights and darks to help the Bow Ties light up - what FUN!  I haven't enjoyed myself this much in weeks and I don't think I realized just how stressed out I've become with everything going on - needless to say, the only downside is these Bow Ties can be Addictive!  I found myself waking up this morning w/Bow Ties on the brain ;-).

I did some quick math and this is what I came up with:  My blocks will finish at 4" in the quilt sooo I decided my quilt size would be 100" x 120" which means I need 25 blocks wide and 30 blocks long = 750 total blocks! 

4" x 25 = 100" wide,  4" x 30 = 120" long, 
25 blocks wide x 30 blocks long = 750 total blocks! 

Oh boy, I thought 18 blocks was pretty good until I did that math BUT, there's no embroidery or top-stitching or crazy quilting or intricate piecing or applique involved in finishing each block.  Like Bonnie mentions in her instructions - only 5 seams are needed to create a single block so these cheddar Bow Ties should whip up fairly quickly.  

I got to where I was chain piecing them pretty fast and on my cutting I soon discovered I can get ten (10) 2 1/2" squares and ten (10) 1 1/2" squares out of one 44/45" jelly roll strip with selvages removed leaving a little extra...just in case...  Of course, I also need 2 1/2" cheddar squares so I just cut them out of 2 1/2" strips folded in half until I get what I need.

Cheddar fabric w/1930s Reproduction strip and Creative Grids ruler

Since I have a 2 1/2" wide ruler from Creative Grids, the cutting is a No-Brainer - this works great for me right now because I really don't have to think too much about what I'm cutting, just stay safe w/rotary cutter and cut and cut and cut and then sew and sew and sew - this is FUN! and a great stress buster for me, too ;-)

I LOVE this 2 1/2" x 12" Creative Grids ruler and use it ALL the time!

The downside is, the youngest daughter's dresser is still in the same stages of construction that it was yesterday, which means it's barely started.  But like I told her - the chest is completely DONE!  What can one expect w/cheap labor aka F R E E?!  

And I really do need to stay rested up for the big move this weekend and ready and armed to hang 12 sets of curtains/drapes along with shelving units for two bedrooms and an office - Hello, can anyone say - I'm tired just thinking about it.  

It will get done, it always does.  In fact, I may just take a break from my Bow Ties and go work on her dresser for awhile, especially since the heat wave in our area has finally decided to move on/out for a bit - Thank Goodness!   My garage is un-air conditioned and was getting toasty yesterday with our 85+ degree temps...

Speaking of which - should probably get to it ;-)


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Construction Updates...

The walls are starting to go UP...

First floor side walls in place and trusses for second floor getting set - these trusses were BIG & Heavy!

Another view from the front:

Front view of crane from the road - the crane was BIG, too ;-)

One more view from the pond side, I just couldn't resist and I needed to take my golden bears (retrievers) for a dip, they were getting hot just watching:

It only took 3 1/2 hours for them to put ALL the trusses in place - I thought it would take ALL day!

And now for the roof:

Starting to actually look like a real building!

Not too bad - and some of the doors and windows arrive tomorrow, just in time before the rain sets in ;-)

So what am I doing when I'm not taking pictures?  Well, believe it or not, been a little busy with a couple of projects of my own.  

I'm in the middle of two baby quilts for gifts, here's pics of one of the embroidery blocks for one of the quilts:

Turning out adorable, don't ya think?

While the blocks are getting embroidered, I decided to make a few Bow Tie blocks from Bonnie Hunter's cheddar challenge - it's actually from 2011, but I'm running a little behind trying to get caught up:

Sorry for the glare, but they're turning out great!  

I love to chain piece and these cheddar and scrappy Bow Tie blocks are perfect for that - here's a better pic:

Aren't these too cute?!

Bonnie's directions call for 2" squares and 1 1/4" squares for the smaller 'snowball-type' blocks.  I tweaked that to accommodate my 2 1/2" jelly roll strips that I have a ton of and am committed to thinning down this year so my blocks are 2 1/2" squares w/1 1/2" smaller squares and finish out raw at 4 1/2" and 4" finished in a quilt, which are numbers I like to work with ;-).

I've also been doing a little practicing on my new-ish HQ16 longarm whenever I get stressed out, I just walk over and quilt for awhile - it works!  And I'm starting to improve on my free-motion feathers:

Practicing on this marked top has taught me a lot!  Still have more to learn, but I'm gettin' there...

AND, I got the crooked quilt bound:

I like to use a blind hem/applique stitch turned down to a low setting to give the effect of hand stitching, the walking foot helps keep everything nice and straight!

Washed and ready for it's destiny - I think it may end up on a guest bed in the new studio, I'll keep you posted

And when I get bored ;-), I also go out to my former quilting studio - now back to a garage, and put together furniture for my youngest daughter who's moving into her first house this weekend:

This is the dresser - ready to be put together...

Here's the finished chest:

It's chocolate brown w/brushed nickel hardware - not too bad for contemporary/modern...

I already did the bed, quilt and curtains - whew!  At least I don't have to worry about that!!  But there's shelving to paint and I'm in charge of hanging ALL the drapes/curtains - I can hardly wait ;-)

I'll share more later but for now - gotta get back to it...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time out for some Pillow Cases...

I took a little time out from quilting to make some (flannel) pillow cases I had promised for our online quilting group - Quilter's for Comfort, here's our link:   We typically do quilts for various charities throughout the country and this time we added pillow cases ;-)  I had fun making mine - I even made a few extras for gifts, and here's some pics:

I love the PEACE sign cuff fabric (far left w/blue) and wish I had more!

Even though I have a serger and it's probably a little quicker to use one for the seams, I like to do French Seams on pillowcases.  I think they look a little more finished and possibly more durable for commercial laundering making them great for charitable projects:

This is the inside/wrong side of the pillowcase w/French seam sewn

I also like to top stitch the outside cuff in place prior to stitching the final seams:

Gotta love that Juki compensating foot - I use it ALL the time for top stitching, including for bindings!

And one of the finished pillowcases w/top stitching in place:

The top stitching gives a nice finished look and helps to stabilize the cuff and keep it in place

If you'd like to make your own fast & fun pillowcases, here's a link to a youtube video by Missouri Star Quilt Company that's one of the best I've seen to date:

Have FUN!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Construction UPDATE...

After ALL the hard work, starting to see some significant progress.  First the concrete for footers and cinder blocks got poured/placed:

Pouring concrete for footers

Laying cinder blocks and tying in re-bar - what fun that is!

Next come the frames for the walls:

1st side wall and counting...

And drum roll please - the wood trusses for the roof arrived TODAY - Yeah!!!

These are BIG - looks like a little yard work will be in order when we're all finished...;-)

OK, back to planning where I'm going to put everything on my upper level studio.  The hubs and the youngest son let me in on their conspiracy - they're turning the lower level into a heated shop to work on equipment.  That's ok, just ensures my studio will have heat and running water - YES!

Alrighty then, time to get back to it,

Monday, March 5, 2012

There was a crooked quilt...

I've put off trying to quilt this crooked family vintage quilt as long as I could.  It's fraught with ALL kinds of issues that until recently, I didn't feel confident in trying to quilt out.  With my new-ish HQ16, I'm feeling a little more confident but this quilt still left me troubled with it's crinkles and wrinkles and crooked-ness (which until now, most in my family had no idea WHY it was so gosh darned crooked and refused to lay flat):

It's almost 12" longer on the left side!

Somehow, the original creator left out 2 complete blocks on the right side which made the quilt almost twelve inches longer on the left side, problem solved ;-)  After trying to press it flat in spite of all it's twisted seams  - many which had been sewn by hand, I opted to stipple quilt it to try and stabilize and salvage as much as I could for posterity:

Was really wanting to try the Baptist Fan quilt pattern on this one, but... I don't think it would've worked out in the end ;-)  Once again, my stipple quilting came to the rescue.  I think I may have stipple quilted more quilts recently than most and I'm startin' to get pretty darn good at it!

And on top of everything else, I did what we are instructed/reminded over and over again to NEVER do - while trying to flatten out a few wrinkles on the top prior to quilting and not really paying attention to where I was stitching, I quilted right over my left index finger, broke a needle off 'inside' my finger and I had to pull it out w/needle nose pliers - now we know why we keep our longarm tools up close and personal!  

DISLAIMER:  I do NOT recommend doing what I did nor the remedy - it was practically a reflex action and I didn't really think about it until AFTER the fact - my friend, the nurse reminded me, I could've had permanent nerve/tendon/bone damage!  

Front hole

Back hole

the offensive needle w/tinge of my blood on tip

OK, I will NEVER do that again!!!  After much bandaging and applying antiseptic repeatedly, I was actually able to go back to quilting for awhile.  Speaking of which, need to get back to it...;-)

UPDATE:  got the Crooked Quilt completely quilted and it turned out much better than I ever thought it would:

Crooked Quilt coming off the frame - it actually lost a couple of inches of fullness on the left side after the stipple/quilting was finished ;-)

Time for binding!


Friday, March 2, 2012

First Charity Quilt for 2012...Finally!

I was once again beginning to wonder if I would ever get to finish any of my charity quilts - was finally able to finish this one and I think it turned out surprisingly well considering it was created on the fly:

'Dumbo' coming off the frame

Because I had a dimension requirement, kept adding alternate color and white boarders around the embroidered blocks until I achieved the desired results.  I had to piece the final border by combining the white and the circle fabric w/all four colors used in the previous smaller boarders, since I didn't have enough of the circle fabric to create continuous boarders. Surprisingly, I think it actually added to the overall design and an element I will keep in mind for future reference.

While top stitching the binding, I like to use a Juki compensating foot on my Viking MegaQuilter to get just the right distance from the edge of the binding for a perfect finish, works great every time:

Top stitching the binding w/compensating foot

I use 2 1/2" strips to create double fold binding by folding/pressing wrong sides together in half lengthwise, stitching to the 'back' of the quilt first using a quarter inch seam allowance, rolling to the front and top stitching down an 1/8" from the edge.  This creates a real durable finish that will stand up to commercial washings - great for charity quilts, too.

Turned out great w/multiple colored binding strips

And it's already been packed and shipped to the intended ;-)  Now, if I only had the other 3 quilts finished, along w/two baby quilt gifts that were supposed to be completed over 2 weeks ago!  To say I'm waaay behind on my 2012 UFO goals would be a huge understatement but, with ALL the construction still going on around here, I'm grateful I've been able to finish what I have to date I always say...time to get back to it!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Re: Shout OUT for Online Quilt Classes that are F R E E!!

This was passed on to me so I'm passing it on to ALL of you.  Some may know about it and others may not.

It is being held in Alaska but will come directy to your computer via the internet - how neat is that??

If you decide to take part, Please enjoy - if not, Please delete/ignore this notice...Thanks!

Happy Quilting!