Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Learning New Quilting Patterns

I've decided that I want to do a new quilting pattern on every quilt that I do, at least for a while.  I've had several to work on lately, so I'm getting a lot of practice and getting new designs under my belt.

My neighbor brought me two pieces of flannel and a nice lofty poly batting for a quilt for her new granddaughter on the way.  She usually makes simple tied quilts, but decided to do things a little differently and asked me to quilt it for her.   She said she just wanted something cute, so I had pretty open-ended instructions.

I decided to do an allover flower design. It turned out really cute, and my neighbor loved it!  The quilting is almost completely lost on the front, but really shows up on the back with the solid flannel and lofty batting.  My flowers are a little wonky, but that will continue to get better with time, and more practice.  

Now that school has started again I no longer have a babysitter. =(  I was hiring my 14 year old neighbor to come play with my kids while I quilted, but she's got too much on her plate to keep coming.  As a former junior high teacher I totally understand, but I'm going through withdrawals and it's difficult making the adjustment to having very little "me" time.  It makes me feel selfish, but I am a much happier mommy if I get some time to myself.  So my sweet husband took today off of work to spend with the kids so I could have a mental health day and get caught up on some deadlines that are coming up that I've made zero progress on this week.  Namely, I've got 5 quilts that need to be quilted and bound for Phoenix Quilts by next Friday.  I've had the tops for about 6 weeks, and was sure I'd have them done in plenty of time, but I kept having other things come up and now it is crunch time.  I was going to give them back to Julie at the next Salt Lake/Ogden Longarm Guild meeting, but it turns out my husband's grandmother's 95th birthday party is the same day, in California.  So I'll be delivering these quilts back to Julie somewhere along I-15 as we are on our way there September 8th.  If any of you have any tips on how to keep a one year old happy on a long road trip, I'd love to hear them!  He's a crabby one when he's in the car too long.  Yikes.  But I sure love him anyway.

So, back to quilting.  I finished the flannel quilt above last night.  This morning I loaded this quilt and got it completely quilted and off of my frame before my family came home for lunch.  Wahoo!  It feels so good to make fast progress on something.  Allover patterns are so much faster than even semi-custom quilting.

This quilt is 56x56 and is just beautiful.  I quilted it with allover double loops.  This pattern isn't much harder than regular allover loopy quilting, but it was something new that I hadn't done before.  The thing I noticed when I first started practicing drawing the pattern was that my loops were all facing the same direction, so I had to consciously think about making them face different directions.  I like how it turned out, and I hope the family that gets it does too.  The woman who pieced this (her name is on the other side of the card) did a beautiful job.
 With so much on my plate this week, and planning/packing for a vacation to boot, I asked another neighbor if she would do the binding on this one for me, so she picked it up this afternoon.  She said she might not give it back. =)

This afternoon I pieced the backing for another Phoenix Quilts quilt and got it loaded on my frame.  I'm planning to do swirls on this one.  I love swirly quilting, and I really want to get good at it, so hopefully all goes well.  I've got some serious doodling practice to do on my white board before I jump in on this one.  Maybe I'll get some time to work on it tomorrow.
I am so glad I was able to make so much progress today.  I feel like maybe there is hope that I'll get all of these done in time!

I'm linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced today, and TNT Thursday at Happy Quilting.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finished Dresden Wave Throw!

I LOVE this quilt.  This is definitely my favorite quilt I've ever made (so far).

I'll be sharing more details, as well as pictures of the back, this weekend for the EZ Dresden Linkup Party.  Are you finishing a dresden project?  Entries will be open Sept. 1-6, so there's still time to finish!  See the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild for details.

I quilted this with an allover leaf pattern from Angela Walters' new book.

I'm so happy with how this turned out!  The back is really fun too--I can't wait to share it with you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finished Squares Quilt

I showed a little of this quilt in this post  a couple of weeks ago, and here is the final info about it.  I made this quilt over a year ago for my baby, and finally pulled it out and finished the binding in time to enter the county fair.  I haven't washed it yet, but that will be happening later today.  Unwashed measurements are 73x98.  This is a big one.

This is based on The Orange Quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I strip pieced my blocks rather than doing a stack-n-whack, and it went together really fast.  Funny how a quilt that goes together so fast can take so long to bind.... or to get around to binding.

I free-motion quilted this on  my domestic sewing machine before I bought my Grace Frame.  I realized I don't like domestic FMQ.  I didn't feel like I had the control I wanted, and apparently I wasn't willing to put in the practice to get much better at it!  I really prefer FMQ now on a machine on a frame, especially if it's a longarm with more throat space than what I've currently got. =)
I am very happy with how it turned out.  I like this quilting pattern a lot.

 When I chose fabrics for this quilt I started with three from a line called Pacific Trade Winds by Studio e Fabrics--those are the red and dark blue ones with circles on them, and the plaid.  I added a navy blue Buggy Barn Basics for Henry Glass fabrics for the background.  The light blue is Robert Kaufman, the green is Summer Song by Riley Blake, and I don't know the yellow dot.  The only piece of selvage I have left says ".  ALL RIGHTS RESERV"  and then it is cut off.  There's also a nearly-solid red that I don't know.  I used almost every square inch of that one up.  I used a basic-looking navy blue extra wide backing fabric with just a little print on it for the back.

I think my little guy will like this for a long time!  It certainly isn't one that he'll outgrow when he's six or eight. I really like that.

Old Foot, New Foot

Typing the title for today's post I'm thinking of Dr. Seuss' The Foot Book.  We love Dr. Seuss here.

Anyway, I got a new foot for my quilting machine!  I use a Brother PQ1500S, and the free-motion foot that came with it was weird.  It was a metal oval with plastic in the middle that obstructed visibility.  It also was connected to the machine in a way that sticks out to the side/back, making it difficult to use rulers at certain angles.  These feet aren't designed for using longarm rulers--they aren't thick enough, but it can be done if you're really careful!
 My new foot is the Juki foot, shown on the right.  I wasn't sure if it would fit, but the Brother 1500 is very similar to the Juki TL series, so I hoped it would work.  It does!  It is much more sturdy and industrial-looking.  It also sits lower on the machine, I had to reduce the presser foot pressure quite a bit.  On the up side, visibility is much improved, and I think my machine actually makes nicer stitches, which I wasn't expecting at all.  The shape is also more consistent, and will make using rulers much easier.

Something that I've been wanting to share for a while is this picture from a quick-reference guide that came with Darryl (my Brother).  Yeah, most of us know that you push down the foot pedal to control the speed of the  bobbin winder.
The part I think is really hilarious is the picture of the foot--wearing a slipper.  It's not just any slipper either, this looks almost exactly like my husband's 95 year old grandmother's slippers.  Is there such a stereotype that old ladies wearing slippers are the ones sewing?  This just makes me laugh.  I don't own slippers, but if I did, I doubt I would sew in them.  I usually sew barefoot, or in socks if my toes get cold.

I've made a fair amount of progress this week, I just need to have a photo shoot and I'll get some of it posted.  It's cloudy outside right now so I should go do that before the sun comes out!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Civil War Quilt Progress

This week I've been working on quilting a beautiful Civil War quilt for my friend Andrea from the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild.  She knows I'm looking for practice, and told me she had "No quilting expectations."  Rather than just doing an all-over pattern (which is tempting when you have limited quilting time!) I decided to take a little more time highlighting Andrea's work.  I don't have pictures of the whole quilt yet, but it has a lot of 6" blocks, and a large medallion applique in the center.  I'm doing orange peel quilting in the blocks.  I'm wishing that I had some circular longarm rulers, and that the shape of my hopping foot allowed me to use them.  It has a little part that sticks out at a funny angle and prevents the use of circles.  I'm getting a new foot soon that I hope will work for ruler work.
 I've wanted to practice orange peel quilting for a long time, but hadn't had a chance yet.  My lines are a little wobbly--rulers will help a lot!

There is a narrow double border that I'm doing a spineless mini alternating feather in.  These are also my first feathers on an actual quilt, and they are turning out very nicely so far.  I know I've got plenty of practice in front of me before I do real feathers, but this is a good start, and I'm really pleased so far.

Apparently my machine doesn't like to sew straight diagonal lines, so Brad Paisley is helping me out in that department. =)  Have I mentioned I need some rulers?  The foot I have currently works adequately with rulers for some shapes, including straight lines at many angles.
I've spent about 6 hours on the quilting so far, and I'm only about half done.  I'm really looking forward to my ability matching up with my ideas and the visions in my head, as well as being able to execute those ideas more quickly. I'm still pretty slow at this point when it comes to details.  I was hoping to get this quilt done in time for our guild meeting on Thursday.  It's still possible, but I don't think it is going to happen.  I'm really glad that I get to work on this quilt, it has been fun and I've learned a couple of new things already.

Last week I finished quilting my Dresden Wave throw quilt for the EZ Dresden Challenge, but I still have to put the binding on it.  I'm considering a hand-sewn binding this time.  I am a perfectionist when it comes to hand sewing, and it takes me DAYS to hand bind a quilt.  DAYS.  But it looks amazing.  Hmm, maybe I'll machine stitch it.  I don't have days lying around, do you?  I don't know.  I think that might be something that I can successfully work on while my little guy is awake, but even then I don't know if it would work and let me get it done in time for the challenge.  I need to make up my mind quick.

I'm linking up today at TNT Thursday at Happy Quilting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Looking For a Tutorial

Well, I haven't started looking yet, but I thought I'd put the question out there.  I need to add a hanging sleeve to my In the Pines Quilt so it can go to a new home.  I'll be sending it to my husband's sweet aunt, who just moved to Pine, Arizona.  She loves it, and it just seems appropriate that it should be in Pine, doesn't it? Well, it needs a hanging sleeve so she can hang it up.  I've done sleeves before, but just kind of made it up, and wasn't thrilled with how they turned out.  Do you know of any good tutorials out there?  Please let me know in the comments if you do.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Fair Favorites

Our county fair had some real talent this year.

This Beatles Quilt won Judges Choice.  We really liked it.  Look at all of those little pieces!

This one won the Sweepstakes for Machine Quilted quilts.

I liked the quilting on it.

I really like the effect here with the wedges.  I wondered at first if this used the EZ Dresden ruler, but there are too many wedges for that.  There are 9 wedges in each quarter turn, so they must be 10 degree wedges.

The border on this one looks very much like the EZ Dresden Ruler....

I liked the quilting on this one.  Cute little stars.  This one also had a blue ribbon.

This one was just cute, and was also my husband's favorite.  It was also quilted with large monsters, which were just adorable.  The picture doesn't really do it justice.

There were a lot of other quilts on display, but these were my favorites this year.  It was fun to see some of the talent in our county!

The Sweepstakes winner in the Fabric Arts category was this beautiful smocked blessing/christening gown set.  It certainly deserved to win, hands down.

Look at that detail!

I offer my congratulations to everyone on a job well done!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weber County Fair 2012

Our County Fair is this week.  Our family went yesterday to enjoy some of the festivities.  

I was thrilled that of the six items I entered, they all got blue ribbons, and two won Best of Show!

This was my daughter's Halloween Costume, and when I entered it, it was in the "Children's Costumes" category.  I guess they did some shuffling and put it in the "Formal Wear" category instead.  Kind of makes me chuckle!  This dress has about 580 inches of ruffles, all professionally finished on the inside.  I *may* have gone overboard on this one, considering it was for Halloween.  Maybe.

This one that I quilted for Mary also got a blue ribbon!  Congrats, Mary!

My kids loved the animals.

The pony ride is actually a good deal at the county fair.  Especially if there isn't a line, the guy who runs it will pretty much let your kid ride until there is one.  This munchkin got to go around and around and around and around....  She loved it.  She told us it was her favorite thing about the fair.  I'm not surprised.

 Why, hello there!

I taught junior high up until my little guy was born, and a lot of the kids from my school raise animals for the fair.  It is always fun to see some of them!  I miss those kids, but I'm glad to be doing what I'm doing now. 

Some of the other quilts at the fair this year were awesome....  I'll share a few pics of those tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The Clock Won, but that's okay.

Monday was the deadline to enter the Weber County Fair and I was hoping to get my Dresden Challenge Quilt done in time.  Monday morning I realized that the quilting was just going too slow, and it just wasn't going to happen.

Instead of continuing to work on it, I pulled out a really old UFO (unfinished object) and finished it!  When I made my son's baby quilt I knew I wanted his bed quilt to match it.  I didn't want to risk not being able to find the same fabric, so I went ahead and made a twin size quilt before he was born as well.  I had it completely done... except the binding.  My little guy is almost 15 months old now, so it has been sitting, unfinished, for a looooong time.  I got the binding all done and took it to the fair.

I took a couple of pictures first, but didn't do an official photo shoot.  My little guy approves.  He loves blankies.

Here's a closer shot.  It is quilted with a square loopy meander.  It is 8 x 11 blocks, and I'm pretty sure the blocks are 8 1/2".  It also has a border, about 2 1/2".  It's been so long since I worked on it that I don't remember the details!  I'm pretty sure it measures about 74 x 98.  We are really tall in our family, so we don't bother with regular twin size beds when we know the kids will outgrow them. We just go straight to extra-long twins, so it's bigger than a regular twin.

I also entered my Dresden Wave Mini Quilt, my In the Pines Quilt, and three dresses I've made for my daughter--her Easter Dress, her Princess Halloween Costume, and the Black and Red Paisley dress that I finished about a week ago.  We'll be going to the fair tomorrow to see how I did!

 And here's my Dresden Challenge Quilt, still on the frame.  I'm quilting it with allover leaves, from Angela Walters' new book.

I'm loving this quilt.  I'm so close to getting the quilting done!  I'm disappointed that I didn't get it done in time for the fair, but it will definitely be finished in time to enter in the EZ Dresden Challenge.  

Another shot of the quilting:

I've decided that I want to do a new quilting pattern on each quilt that I do so I get lots of practice doing different designs.  Well, at least on quilts I do for myself, and charity quilts that I have free reign on.  I'm still quilting what clients ask me to, of course.  I'm seeing a lot of improvement in these leaves from when I first started.  It's good to practice.

I'm linking up to Work In Progress Wednesday today.  Go check it out!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WiP Wednesday: Racing Against Time

Do you work better when you have a deadline?  I sure do.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to enter items I've sewn in my county fair.  The day to enter this year is August 6th.  Yep, next Monday.  I've got a few finishes I'm planning on entering (it only costs $1) but I'd really like to finish and enter my Dresden Challenge throw quilt if I possibly can.  I hadn't worked on it recently until just a few days ago when I pulled out some leftover strip sets I had sewn up from my Dresden Wave tutorial.  I cut those and just got started.  I figured out how many more strip sets I would need and started cutting in to the remainder of my fabric, hoping I'd have enough.  I BARELY made it.  I had exactly enough left, with only uneven raw edges remaining.  =)

The thing I think I like most about making this quilt is that it combines two of my favorite time-saving methods: strip piecing and chain piecing.  Here is my insane pile of chain piecing--I just kept making the pile bigger until I got through all of them!  I've got over 20 blocks in progress here, maybe closer to 30.

Each block has 5 pieces, and the first step in block assembly is to sew them into pairs.  It's easy enough to keep corresponding pairs stacked together so they don't get separated, but what about that fifth piece that isn't sewn onto anything yet?  I pinned it to the side of one of the pairs to keep it from getting lost.  If you're just making one or two blocks at a time you don't have to worry about the pieces getting mixed up, but I'm mass-producing this and it would be a big waste of time to have to match them all back up again!  This was an extra step, but it seemed like a real time-saver to me.

Once I got them sewn into pairs I pinned both sides of each block as I pressed them.  Here's the layout:

I pinned on the parellogram first because it is small and doesn't overlap the other seam, therefore it won't get sewn in by accident.

Then I pinned on the other side.

Here's my pile.  When sewing these I sewed down one side of all of them, then turned around the whole chain of pieces and sewed the other side.  I love making it go fast!

The thing I dislike most about this method is the waste.  You really lose a lot on the outside of the curves.  I still love the look though, and I think it is worth it.  I lined these ones up a little differently than I did in my original tutorial and cut them to 6 1/2 by 9 1/4.  I've got 26 blocks done, and a bunch more in progress.  I need 48 altogether, then they need sashing on two sides to make them squares.

I am uber excited for this quilt.

I can get pieces for three blocks out of each 8 1/2" wide strip set with these odd shapes left over.  I've got an idea up my sleeve for the back that will use these puppies that looks great in my head.  I hope it turns out like I'm picturing it.  I think I might wait to reveal that part until the EZ Dresden Link-up Party September 1-6.  Maybe.

I'm linking up today at Work In Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...