Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Deadline Met

I met my deadline, with a little help from my friend and customer, Janice. She gave me permission to finish her quilt in January. Thank you, Janice!

Motorcycle Dude and I are off to California tomorrow to spend Christmas with our kids and grandkids. If I don't have a chance to post before, have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Deadlines

Six quilts down, six more to go before the morning of the 22nd. No time for anything but quilting. Thanks goodness the Christmas shopping is done. Sleep is highly overrated.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Won!


Pat Sloan has been giving away treats, and I won! She sent me a charm pack by 3 Sisters. How cool is that? I will have to begin researching some patterns that use charm packs.


I never win, and now I've won the honeybun at the longarm guild and this charm pack from Pat. I guess I can't say I never win anymore, can I?











Design Wall

I've been working with some pre-cuts. At the longarm guild meeting I won a honeybun of Christmas fabrics. I got the crazy notion to make a Christmas quilt, for this year! I visited Moda Bake Shop, because they have great designs using pre-cuts. I typed in honeybun in the search engine, and up popped Counting by Fives. Perfect! Quick, easy, and best of all I would only have to buy backing fabric.

 Here is my version. It's a flimsy. The only problem now, is getting it quilted. Hmmm, just a little snag, right?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mending

I don't like mending. I never have. When I was young and my mother learned that I liked to sew she gave me anything that needed mending or altering. My mother didn't sew at all. Not even loose buttons. That was always my job. But, that doesn't tell you why I dislike it.

First, I don't really know what I'm doing, unless it's sewing on a button. Second, I'm not very good at it. It never looks like new. You want evidence?

This is my most recent mending attempt. Not pretty, but effective.

Why mend a dog toy? Because, they are expensive! Snowman Wubba was $10.50. I noticed this
morning that his head was held on by just a few threads, and
we bought him just two weeks ago.  Out came the buttonhole twist. You know, like in Beatrix Potter's "The Tailor of Gloucester." That was the easiest part. I had to find a needle that had an eye large enough to handle the thread. It felt like a railroad spike after working with a straw needle for Dear Jane.

I stitched all the way around Wubba's head on both sides of the neck band. Hopefully, Ginger (AKA, Bad Dog) won't undo my mending and decapitate Snowman Wubba too quickly.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Progress

 The blocks are assembled and the borders are on the string quilt. I even mitered the corners! Mitered corners are easier each time that I do them. Next task, tackle the applique. 
You'll notice though that I haven't begun the applique yet. That's because I'm intimidated by all that applique, and I'm not really sure where to begin. I'm figure the stems for the flowers come first. However, because of the way that the red diagonal is pieced they are not perfect. That means that each stem is a little different. I guess I just need to jump in and start it.

 
I also wanted to show you the progress on Dear Jane. I may have to redo the block in the lower left. Curved seams are not my strong point, and that one is a little off. The seam allowances are so narrow that some of the rounded pieces will get cut off when I sew the sashing on.

Next my SewCalGal Christmas Quilt Show entry.
This was my first experience designing a quilt using Electric Quilt. I had purchased the fabric, one yard of each, and I didn't want to buy more, or have any leftovers. I played around until I had a design that used up everything. The only thing I had to add was the white for the alternate blocks in the nine patches and the plain blocks. This poor quilt never got a name.

 This quilt, however, does have a name. My grandson, Bubba, named it Mimi's Kiki. I purchased the fabrics during one of the shop hops. I bought fat quarters at each of the shops to get a nice mix of fabrics. 

Visit Patchwork Times to see more design walls, and head over to SewCalGal to see all the Christmas quilts.














Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quilt Show!



SewCalGal is having an online Quilt Show.  I'm thinking of entering a quilt or two. You should too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Light Parade

Tonight, Motorcycle Dude and I thoroughly enjoyed the Holiday Light Parade at Courthouse Square. There is something utterly charming about a small town parade.








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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Motorcycle Dude and I are on our own this Thanksgiving. It seems a little strange to have the house so quiet, but this is the Thanksgiving that the kids are with their in-laws.

I couldn't see making big pies, so I made little tarts. Isn't it cute?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

String Quilt Progress

I have gotten all of the blocks pieced and trimmed. I started piecing the flowers.
















 Some of them are strings.


Some of them are crumbs. I have ironed the freezer paper on the back, but haven't turned and starched them. It's a little tricky making sure that I position the points far enough away from seams so that the points can be sharp.







While there are only 28 flowers, I'm going to have an awful lot of leaves, 56, and circles, 84, to applique.

 Hop on over to Patchwork Times to check out the other design walls.

AZLAQ President's Challenge Show

Yesterday, was the Arizona Longarm Quilters' Guild's President's Challenge quilt show. There were only 24 quilts, since the guild is small. I had entered three quilts, Blueberry Twist, Twinkle Stars, and Mashed Potatoes.


I had intended this to be entered into the overall category, but the judges shifted it to the custom category. I did the borders separately, but the interior of the quilt is freehand overall quilting. Nichole Webb calls it Fantasy Freehand. Carla Barrett calls it Artistic Freehand. Darlene Epps calls it Floral Fantasy. I call it quilting for those with a short attention span. I used designs from all three designers, plus some that were inspired by motifs in the fabric.












Mashed Potatoes got a Third Place in the Pieced Custom category. This is one of my favorites. I really like the way that this quilt turned out.














Twinkle Stars was the last quilt that I entered. This one received First Place in the Pieced Custom category, and it got Best of Show! I was shocked, and honored! This is a longarm guild and all members are very talented. I'm still surprised that I was honored with these ribbons.





Tune in tomorrow. I'll have pictures of the progress on the string quilt.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Design Wall

Here we are so far. I'm continuing to work on the string blocks for the MQS edge-to-edge category. I have more stitched, but not trimmed.

I have been trying to get the tulip design refined. You can sort of see them at the top of the picture. I think that I need to stretch out the leaves a little bit, longer and thinner.









Pop over to Patchwork Times to see all the other great design walls.



I didn't accomplish more as I was winging my way to California.

My dear-daughter-in-law gave my daughter a beautiful, surprise baby sprinkle. My daughter didn't know that I was flying in. DDIL pulled off the surprise.






What is a baby sprinkle?, you ask. Well, a sprinkle is a party for a mommy who doesn't need a full shower.  It's purpose is to acknowledge the special baby that is coming, but it's for the mommy who already has the basic baby necessities.





I don't have a good picture of the surprised guest of honor. The result of forgetting the real camera at the house, and having to use my cell phone camera.


We had a wonderful time. I didn't get the baby quilt finished, but was able to get a sweater and hat set knitted up.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ready for the Longarm

 
I've finished the top for the new grandbaby. 
It's much cuter now that the applique pieces are on it.
I should be able to get it finished in time for my daughter to open it on Christmas morning. Don't worry about me spoiling her surprise, it's not a surprise. She saw the kit when I bought it, and she knows I've been working on it.
I had to make sure that she liked it.

I made a decision on the string quilt, thanks to all the feedback from friends and readers. I've decided on the applique border, since the Overall category allows for one border to be quilted differently than the main body of the quilt.

I reduced the size to a square quilt. This will reduce the number of applique tulips, and still meet the size requirement. I've also decided that the tulips will be made from string pieced fabric.

I'm getting excited about it now. A little apprehensive as well. Applique is not my forte. After trying a few different techniques, I've pretty much settled on the freezer paper method.
I seem to do a better job when it's prepped ahead of the hand sewing.


Thank you for helping me make a decision. Pop on over to Patchwork Times to see other design walls.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I have decided to try to enter quilts into two categories at the Machine Quilter's Showcase. The first category is Overall Design. This category can be any quilt design. The second category is Bread and Butter. This category is restricted to two quilt blocks, Storm at Sea and Snail's Trail. Whew, no difficult decisions there. Storm at Sea is a design I've liked for years. Decision made.


It's the Overall Design category that has me stumped. I have been working on designs for the string quilt blocks that I've been making for a year, or two, or three. String blocks seem appropriate for an overall quilting design.



My friend, Kathleen, had this really great idea for a border for those string blocks. Now, I haven't done it justice in EQ7. Her flowers were much cuter. I just haven't figured out how to use the applique tracing feature of the program. It does sort of give you the idea of the border though.













This is design #2. I'm using the string blocks, but have white on half to create the zigzag and bring the white into the border. This plays on Kathleen's design with the stems creating a zigzag effect.














This is #3. The quilt would be trimmed at the red band to create a zigzag shape.















Which one is your favorite? I could use some help making a decision. Please leave a comment with your choice.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Design Wall

I have the borders on Carol's quilt from last Monday. Now, I have to get a few customer quilts finished before I can quilt it.

I started working on a quilt for the new grandbaby. I bought a really cute kit from Fresh Picked Fabrics when we first found out about the new baby. Can I find the pattern now that I'm going to work on it? No. I can find the fabric, but not the pattern.

So, I boot up EQ7 and see what I can come up with. I think my design is way too involved. I'm pretty sure that when Gina Halladay designed the quilt it was much simpler.


I don't care for the way it's turning out. It's too much of a jumble, but I've committed myself to this design. There are some cute cars and buildings to applique on top of the blocks. I'm hoping that they can save this.




Visit Patchwork Times to link up with other design walls. There will be some great inspiration over there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Scary Story

Dear, sweet Bubba has developed a flair for the dramatic. This is probably due to his exposure to his very dramatic sister, Spicy.

He recently made a very scary Halloween book while at day care. His mommy was able to record him reading it to her. I think he does a fabulous job, no grandparent bias here. Well, OK a little bit of bias, but really he is cute. The volume is a little low, because he's reading it in his scary voice.
video










Monday, October 24, 2011

Design Wall

It seems like it has been a very long time since I've had anything on my design wall. Well, I guess that's because it has been a very long time since there has been anything on my design wall. Technically, I still don't have anything on my design wall. My design wall is small, so this is on the guest bed.

I put the rows together yesterday. It still needs borders. Which I've cut, but not pieced together.


This is EQ7's rendition of the finished quilt. It is a simple framed nine-patch. The quilt will be a gift for my husband's cousin, Carol.

Pop over to Patchwork Times to see more inspiring design walls.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Distractions

I got little done today. I was continually distracted by the beauty of the trees as the leaves are turning.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stitch Size

Since I'm pretty new to hand applique and hand piecing I'm a little self conscious about my work. I want to make sure that "real" hand piecers don't think my work is sloppy. When I took the class with Anita Shackleford she commented that my stitches were a little large.

So, when I had my second Dear Jane class yesterday I asked the teacher if my stitches were too large. I was rather surprised when she said that my stitches were smaller than they needed to be.

I looked online to see what information I could find. There loads of resources these days online between YouTube, blogs, and instructors' websites. From what I've been watching and reading my stitches are acceptable. Whew, what a relief!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Counting

I don't know why, but I count. As I'm doing things I count. I will count stitches as I knit. I will count how many chops it takes when I chop up veggies. I count. Weird, I know.

I'm not the only one, however. Jane Stickle counted pieces when she made her quilt
that is the foundation for the Dear Jane book.
She recorded her count on the corner piece of her quilt.
I've also been counting my pieces for this beautiful quilt. 90 pieces down, 5,512 to go.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Man!

Last Tuesday was Little Man's third birthday. His party was on Saturday, and I'm finally getting around to blogging about it Monday.
None of my pictures of him seem to be in focus. He is always in motion. Such a sense of humor in this little boy.










He is going to be such a handful when he is in his teen years and his sarcasm is in full bloom . Good thing his daddy also has a similar sense of humor, and I will sympathize with his mother when he reaches that age.

Happy Birthday, dear one!














Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cute!

I've finished my Dear Jane homework for September.
I have to tell you, these blocks are so stinkin' cute! I was wrong about their finished size. They finish at 4.5", not 4". 














I wasn't sure when I signed up if I was really going to enjoy hand piecing. I did!

I enjoyed it so much I ordered the Dear Jane software by Electric Quilt. I want to have the patterns for the months when I won't be able to attend the class, because you know over the course of the three years there will be times I will miss a class.


I know that I will miss the February class,
because we have a grandbaby due then. Spicy and Bubba have a baby brother coming!










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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Handwork

Curious, suddenly I seem to be quite interested in learning about different handwork techniques. Last month it was a class with David Taylor. This month was a class with Anita Shackleford, and I started taking a Dear Jane class at one of the local shops.

David Taylor does beautiful art quilts that are all hand appliquéd. He was a wonderful teacher, but unfortunately his genius did not seep into my brain. I understand his technique. I just can't come close to duplicating it.












 
Anita Shackleford taught surface textures, appliqué and ruching. Another delightful class and an excellent teacher.



















Different styles of artistic expression, but both done by hand. David only does machine quilting on his works, and Anita does both hand and machine quilting.
The Dear Jane class is taught by Ruth Ann, a lovely lady and great teacher. Yesterday was our first class.












Four to five blocks a month for the next three years. Can you believe it! I signed up for a three year class. A three year class where the entire quilt is done by hand.









I ordered a pack of fabric from The Temecula Quilt Company. It was beautifully wrapped, before I opened it up to fondle the fabrics. I should have taken a picture of it before I opened it up, but I just couldn't wait.



Last night I cut the pieces for all four of this month's blocks. I got two of the blocks pieced.






This is the next one to do.















The last block is still in its baggie.










This is what the finished quilt should look like. Did I mention that the blocks finish at 4" square?
 So, when I finish it will I have to learn how to hand quilt it, or can I load it on the longarm?


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