Friday, April 27, 2012

SID a Breeze w/SR - who knew...?

I simply cannot get over how easy it is to stitch-in-the-ditch (SID) with my 'new' stitch regulator (SR) - this is absolutely amazing!:

Easy-peasy SID w/mono-filament and my SR

Just look at those 'invisible' stitches - I think mono-filament and Betty are going to become best friends...

Even the back looks great!  Betty & I are in hog heaven - 
as we say down on the farm ;-)

OK, now to go back and 'quilt in' the borders with a nice flowing feather design and I think I have one all picked out.  I'll catch up w/you later...

UPDATE 4/28/2012:  Here's the quilted borders:

Here's the front of the border w/mono-filament clear thread...

To get the 'puckery vintage look', I used Warm & Natural batting - an all cotton bat, and didn't pre-wash my fabrics until after everything had been quilted and the binding applied which as you all know, allows it to shrink and pucker at the same time giving the quilt a nice homespun vintage look.

...and here's the back.

I actually used unbleached muslin for the back, but the flash on my camera must've lightened up the photos.

Prior to laundering - no puckers.

Pink Lemonade Quilt - all finished and bound ;-)

Time to get back to the FUN!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SR Fixed - Let The Games Begin...!

Alrighty then - Mike at HQ fixed my stitch regulator (SR) over the phone in less than 15 minutes!  And who's at fault - yours truly for plugging in the wrong computer board piece when I upgraded my carriage in January, (I plugged in the 'green' piece, should've plugged in the blue one - who knew?! could've sworn I needed the green one and I even had the blue one plugged in at one time and still couldn't get it to work!)  Anyway, the upgrades arrived, the 'blue' piece is now plugged in and it works like a jet - YES!  Check these practice stitches out:

Look at those gorgeous, straight, EVEN stitches - not a single toe nail catcher in the bunch ...;-)

Now I totally 'get' ALL you SR junkies - this is AWESOME! I only got to play with it for about an hour and I'm already hooked...This is like having a brand-new machine - don't know when I'm going to bed tonight/tomorrow, but I'll be up for awhile that's for sure, if I even go to bed!  

My feathers still 'stink', but the stitches look great, don't they??

At least now I can get in some great practice on my feathers without having to worry about the SR acting up and giving me lousy stitches or coming to a complete halt.  I tried repeatedly to make it 'skip stitches', come to a complete stop like it did before, all of it, and it would have none of it - purred like a kitten and kept on truckin'/sewin'.  

This was sooo much FUN!

My feathers already don't 'stink' quite as much w/just a little practice - think how great they'll be in a week?!

Oh, how I love my new machine!

Betty is one happy camper now!

My head is just spinning thinking of ALL the pantos and ruler work and free motion quilting and micro stippling I can now do w/NO worries about uneven stitches.  Now, I can focus on keeping my lines nice and smooth and let the SR take care of the rest....soooo, like I ALWAYS say, time to get back to the FUN!

I'll keep you posted on my progress ;-)


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Learning New Things on my New-ish quilt machine...;-)

Put a new practice quilt on my frame - time to play w/stitch regulator and learn how to quilt with it:

At first, I thought it was me and my lack of experience, but after working with it for awhile, I came to realize my x-axis was not engaging properly and was causing all kinds of problems with irregular stitching, stops and starts, and just a plethora of issues.  I noticed the same issues when trying to use the stitch regulator on my last practice quilt - the whole-cloth stenciled quilt, which is why I quilted 90% of it in manual mode free-hand.  However, once I figured out what the actual challenge was, I was able to compensate well enough to get some fairly good stitching in, just can't SID cross-ways ;-)

Freehand stipple quilting w/stenciled hearts and crosshatched diamond borders

Improvement is Good!

The blue marks are chalk marks from pouncing in the stencil.  I was able to use my SR while quilting in the heart stencil pattern and for the diamond cross-hatching and the corner stones, but I had to go back to manual mode for the stipple quilting, since the x-axis was causing too many erratic stitches.

SR Stitch irregularities really show up on cross-hatching - notice the 2nd & 3rd diamond's large stitches :-(

Hopefully my software upgrade will arrive next week and will 'fix' my SR problem - we'll keep our fingers crossed...

Starting to 'like' how this is turning out...;-)

In spite of all the challenges w/SR, this was still really FUN and I learned I like ruler work I always say...time to get back to the FUN!

Finished quilting - need some binding!

UPDATE 11/27/2012:  This Hearts of Blessings quilt will be shipping to a Hurricane Sandy survivor through a Bonnie K. Hunter connection. Please follow this link for more information:

Have a Great Weekend,

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Blog has been awarded a Liebster Award...WooHoo!

Can you believe it?!  Miss Katie of Katie and Kwilts thought enough of my little blog to award it and me the coveted Liebster Award, what an honor - Thank YOU Katie!!!

Until recently, I had never heard of the Liebster Blog Award, and after receiving it I decided to do a little more research.  The German origin word 'Liebster' means beloved, dearest or favorite and the Liebster Blog Award is bestowed upon exceptional blogs with fewer than 200 followers who deserve to be recognized.  Needless to say, I was left speechless - only for a few moments, mind you ;-), after being notified of this incredible honor...

For those who decide to accept this prestigious award, the Rules are:

1) Post about your win on your blog.

2) Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.

3) Copy and paste the award to your blog.

4) Present the award to 5 blogs that have less than 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized.

5) Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

The hardest part for me was coming up with ONLY 5 blogs I felt deserved this award.  I spent quite a bit of time agonizing over this.  I read soooo many blogs on a daily basis, even though I may not always comment or post, these bloggers and their blogs have provided untold inspiration, comfort and even a smile when I most needed it.  I hope you all enjoy them half as much as I have, so here you go - my Top 5 Liebster Award Picks are - drum roll Please...

Top 5 Liebster Award Recipients in alphabetical order:
Helen Quilts - Helen's blog is full of fun and lots of great ideas, and she's first to offer a kind word of support during a trying project ;-).  Be sure and 'scroll down' for some of her many nifty photos of cards and things she's come up with recently - really neat!!

Little Jewel Quilts - a scrap quilter at heart, Ellen has done a wonderful job keeping this blog unique and interesting.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, she tackles them head-on with unwavering spirit - my kind of gal!  If you are struggling with a project and can't seem to find the answer, pop over to Ellen's, you might be pleasantly surprised to find just what you may be looking for with a twist ;-).

Made With Love - this up and coming blog is very inspiring, and I love how Rhonda is not afraid to try new things with her quilts and quilting, and her honesty about her abilities and her projects is refreshing.  She's progressed into quite a talented quilter.   I've learned a whole lot from Rhonda and I think anyone could, too ;-).

Polly the Patchworker - Polly's down-to-earth blog is always good for a great big smile with ALL of her wonderful photos of her latest projects, including her amazing family & friends, and she comes up with some incredible quilting shortcuts I've used several times - what a lifesaver...Thank YOU, Polly!

Wraggedy Patches - chock-full of quilts and quilting & crafting ideas, loads of projects w/pictures, and much, much more.  Whenever I get bored or stuck, I pop on over to Candace's blog and my troubles are soon gone - Thanks, Candace!

These bloggers represent some of the very best I read and enjoy most everyday, and I hope you will, too!  Please visit them when you can and Congratulate them on their prestigious Liebster Award - once you see and read what I have, you'll soon agree they each deserve it...;-)

My Best to Each and Everyone,

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Hand-Quilted Quilt...from 1989...

I got this idea from Judy Laquidara over at Patchwork Times.  She has lots of neat cows and chickens and Quilts on her blog, along with F R E E cooking recipies  and quilt patterns, an upcoming online feather class beginning June 1, 2012, and even a few books she's written - she's one busy lady!

Meet Judy Laquidara w/one of her prized chickens ;-)
Professional quilt artist, author, and apparently an animal lover -
to name just a few of the attributes of this busy lady!

Anyway, while reading her bio yesterday, she featured her first hand pieced, hand quilted quilt, and I thought well gosh, I have one of those, too!  Only mine is machine pieced on one of Singer's first embroidery machines - a Singer 6268, pieced and machine & hand quilted in 1989...

Yep, it's torn and tattered - almost 'loved' to death ;-)

Cross-hatched feather heart hand quilted w/polyester batting!

There's even a nice hole my Brittany started chewing. 
See the X's in the adjacent blocks, those were machine quilted to help stabilize the quilt and for speed

Hand quilted heart - really, it's there...

Our family has fought over this quilt for years - don't know 'why', maybe it's because it was 'the first one'!  And I really don't know 'why' I didn't think to make another family quilt to help spread the wealth until years later, maybe it's because I was soooo busy making Cabbage patch clothes and doll quilts for my two daughters in between working my custom clothing/alteration/craft business and then quilts for college bound students, and before that I was an apprentice computer programmer for ADM in Decatur, IL during the development of the gasohol formula, better known today as ethanol - who knows?!  

It's kind of a blurr what all went on back then, I just know we were always busy, especially in the summer w/gardening/weeding & mowing/canning & freezing, ball games and farming, and on and on and many families raising children today, there's always lots to do and usually not enough hours in the day to do them!  I know one thing, I never had trouble sleeping back then ;-)

But I've always sewn - even made most of my clothes through high school and later my business attire when I started working outside the home, baby clothes for my oldest daughter and clothing for both daughters while they were growing up and then some, including prom dresses and maternity clothing.  Been sewin' since I was 6 years old, learned on my Grandmother's Singer treadle - I LOVED that machine!

Like Judy, wish I'd kept track of all the quilts I've made over the years, especially ALL the gifted ones, there's been more than a few - but I still have the memories, especially those of the incredible feelings I enjoyed while making them... Priceless.

Hope you enjoyed our stroll down memory lane and Please take some time to pop over to Judy's at Patwork - it's a real treat and sooo worth it!

Time to go hang another set of roman shades so I can sew some more Bow Ties later on along w/African zebra crazy quilt.  In fact, I do believe I got a few more pieced since my last post so here you go:

20 More Bow Ties...

And a couple more African zebra crazy quilt blocks:

This is one of my favorites!

Only 3 more African zebra crazy quilt blocks to go and I'm ready to sew this one together sooooo....time to get those shades hung so I can get back to sewing!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Playing Catch-Up w/UFOs, Bow Ties, Embroidery...

I've been sooo busy trying to get my pile of UFOs caught up I haven't had time to turn around!  I did upload a few pics of my UFOs that I've managed to get finished up, just didn't take the time to post so here we go...:

I Spy quilt - teacher gift

I chose to do a different freehand quilting approach to stay in keeping with the I Spy theme:

Freehand "loop 'D loop" quilting design - this was FUN!

It's still not bound.  I had to order some red polka dot fabric since I could not find what I had after 2 weeks of searching, I gave up ;-)  But, it should arrive in the next couple of days so...hoping to have it bound w/hanging sleeve and quilt label and delivered sometime next week!

UPDATE:  the red w/white polka dot binding fabric just arrived via USPS so I'm off to bind this cutey ;-)

Also got a couple of other long lost UFOs completed along w/I Spy:

Harvest Quilt panel - 1st practice piece on new-ish HQ16 system

Up close:

Close-up of freehand stipple/meander quilting

These two quilts were both on my frame at the same time (side by side) for practice when I was given 5 minutes notice to move my entire quilting studio due to water damage by over-zealous carpenters! (Details here:  "Well...That Didn't Last Long!")  Needless to say, more than 2 months later I am finally able to finish quilting them.  Both still need binding.  We'll hope this one gets bound before 'harvest' of this year ;-)

And yet another vintage top panto quilted:

What's up w/Pepto-Bismol pink in these vintage tops...?  Just askin' ;-)r

Here's a close-up of the panto using King Tut variegated thread:

Up close of panto quilting on Vintage top

Since I inherited this quilt top without any extra materials, including binding material, it's still not bound while I search for appropriate binding fabric.  I may have to resort to white muslin once again, if I come up short - we'll keep our fingers crossed I can find something else.  

I have 2 more of these vintage tops w/Pepto-Bismol pink as one of the primary colors.  Was there a lot of this color around back in the 20s and 30s?  There just seems to be plenty of it in many of these vintage tops, at least in the ones I've inherited ;-).  Oh well, gives me lots of chances to practice!

Managed to get a few more Bow Ties pieced:

10 more Bow Ties and counting - aren't these the cutest?!

Also made some progress on dgd's African zebra crazy quilt:

This is one of several different zebra blocks being worked on - I'll keep you posted...

This zebra quilt has been one of the funnest (can I say that ?;-) quilts I've worked on in awhile.  It will be backed w/grape crush minkee - can hardly wait!

Sooo, should probably get back to it...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Linen Whole Cloth Quilt FINALLY Finished...!

When I first put the linen whole cloth printed queen panel (Welsh Beauty) on my frame, I never imagined it would still be on there almost 3 weeks later waiting to be finished:

It's not that I didn't work on it fairly consistently - in between moving my youngest daughter, putting together furniture for same daughter's first house, trying to keep our three-acre lot mowed and weeded all while dodging the contractors' vehicles, tools and dirt piles they've managed to scatter ALL over my yard for my golden bears (retrievers) to drag around, and design a new zebra quilt for my granddaughter's new room, which is turning out fabulously by the way ;-).  I underestimated just how long it would take to quilt this one, especially all the swags and feathers.  Maybe it's because I've never quilted swags or these types of traditional feathers:

I was also surprised ALL the blue marks came out along w/gel marks I put on to practice my feathers prior to stitching them out.  The quilt looks so much better after laundering and I'm delightfully surprised how nicely it displays. 


They certainly are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I did improve quite a bit, which was the whole purpose of quilting this whole cloth printed panel, AND I'm no longer afraid of feathers ;-).  I now know I can indeed quilt them, even free-hand which I practiced at the end on extra top/backing/batting fabric and was even able to incorporate some of it into my quilt label:

Pocket quilt label

Making a pocket quilt label out of leftover fabric to tuck potpourri, care instructions, and possibly even a note about how/why the quilt was originally made seemed like a good idea.  It turned out much better than I originally thought it would and I think I will make more of these in the future.  It does have a pearl button (shank) w/string wrap closure to keep things safely inside the pocket and for easy removal and additions later on.  I named the quilt the Good Friday Quilt since I was able to finish it on Good Friday.

While I was ready to quit quilting about halfway through and probably won't try to tackle another queen-size  printed top, at least for awhile anyway, I'm glad I finished it and will now be able to apply what I've learned to ALL those quilt tops waiting in the wings...

And as I always say, time to get back to it!

Happy Easter Everyone,