Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival/Grey Bear

It is that time of year again when Amy's Creative Side hosts the very popular Blogger's Quilt Festival.
This year I chose this wall quilt pieced by Angela's daughter Hannah- I had previously posted about it here after the quilting was completed.
I still love how the "Grey Bear" quilt turned out, it measures 36" square.
Voting begins tomorrow, 22nd. May, so please click here and vote for Hannah's quilt!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My New/Old Machine!

While in Texas I sewed on my friend's Bernina machines and decided to look for a used Activa to replace my Pfaff 2042, it is much lighter, only 17lbs. and has the knee lift the Pfaff 2042 does not.  It also has the very convenient Bernina feature of rear pedal foot tap to change the needle position, I like that. My friend did some sleuthing for me and tracked down an Activa 240 at a reasonable price on Sew it's For Sale and I coordinated with the owner to purchase it and have her ship it to me from Florida.
It has the large free standing extra table and the tool box as well as a couple of other interesting accessories like the decorative needle punch tool and needle plate, lots of extra bobbins and the bendable LED light. 
I needed to order a new insert for my Quilter's Cabinet to accommodate Activa 240 and it came a few days ago, now I am enjoying using my new/old machine, it will be a perfect travel companion. Eventually I may invest in a walking foot and SID foot for binding, but meantime I will default to the Pfaff 2056 with Integrated Dual Feed for binding, it does a very nice job but it's awfully noisy with the IDF I can't hear the TV very well!
 Over the weekend I made a few things to take to my retreat next month, selvedge pot holders and more funky chicken pincushions. We are five friends from more than three decades ago, can you believe we have kept in touch? Some of us were military families and have moved-and moved- and moved some more but managed to keep in touch mostly due to one valiant soul who lives in Colorado Springs. We will all gather at her home for a few days to catch up and find out all the things you don't write in a Christmas card! I can't remember if everyone sews, I know for sure two do other than myself but everyone needs pot holders!
Aren't they these the cutest funky chickens?
This is one of the projects from the power sewing week in TX, I have decided that I do not want to border it and the 5x6 block format is too small for a lap quilt even with ten inch blocks so I prepped fabric for another eleven blocks to make it 6x7, about 60"x70" bound. The blocks go together fast these curves are very easy to sew, just keep the convex curve on top and lift the fabric up as you sew.
It is definitely another feminine quilt, it seems that unless I use Fall colors, Red White and Black or CW replicas my creations are predominantly girly!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Finally Finished Friday!

The fights I have had with my long arm are [hopefully] over and "she" will behave nicely now! A tech from out of town came Wednesday and spent a couple of hours with the machine then after the tech left and I returned to the ruler work on the little quilt I experienced the same problem of thread breakage. I tinkered around a bit more with the single stitch speed and managed to get the baby quilt done and bound last night.
 Simply quilted and not too much, it needs to be cuddly 
 and with Quilter's Dream Angel batting it is soft and "drapey".
 It is backed and bound with the very cute "I love puppies" fabric by Heather Mulder Peterson for Henry Glass & Co. The thread is Superior So Fine on top and Bottom line in the bobbin.
Now just have to launder the quilt and it's ready to go for the baby shower next weekend, it feels good to be ready early!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Revamping My Design wall!

After visiting my TX friend and her wonderful, larger than mine sewing studio, I came home inspired to make a few changes. My design wall had been a sheet of 4x8ft. foam board propped against the wall in an unstable state, liable to move around and often overbalanced and "interacting" with the ceiling fan, not at all satisfactory! On occasion it would topple over and hit me on the head, no pain but great aggravation, why ever did I wait so long to change it?!
First I trimmed about a foot off the length so it would clear the outlet then had DH screw it to the wall with large washers to prevent the screws stripping out of the foamboard.
While we were at it I flipped the batting to the clean side and secured it all around with T pins-result? my old, revamped, newly efficient design wall!
Lined up there upon the wall are some of the extra triangles from the baby quilt, I saw a design on the 'net using a row of triangle hexies on a solid background and thought it would be a good way to use them up but there are still quite a few left- maybe for the border?
I also had DH make another improvement for me, my ruler storage board was on the work table taking up valuable space. I had admired my friend's ruler storage up on the wall, so DH attached some simple brackets to my board and now it is in a very handy place on the wall clear of my working surface. I might paint the brackets to match the wall if I still have any of the paint.

I think I am procrastinating the quilting on the baby quilt while I make a decision on design!

Post Scriptum
As you can see I am also experimenting with font changes, I looked around and this is the closest to  my own handwriting-but neater!  Let me know if you think it's harder to read than a regular printer font.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Triangle Baby Quilt Progress

Linking up with Heather at "Needlework Tuesday"
This has been an experiment, a first for me of this kind of triangle quilt.  I began with all these fabrics and cut a lot of equilateral 4.5" triangles. I have a lot left so there may be another triangle design in my future!
After sewing about three rows I hated it, way too crazy busy, simply awful! Eliminating the two black and white fabrics made a big difference then introducing a WOW helped tone down the design.
It's now ready to quilt and I haven't decided how to do that, I want something modern but not too much quilting it needs to stay soft and cuddly for a baby quilt.
It measures 42"x55" just about right for a baby.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Grandmother's Fan Quilt

After a bit of a hiatus from the LA I am back in the groove. The issue I had with timing seems to be ok now after countless re-timing, cleaning encoders, adjusting single stitch etc etc. It's really hard when the timing looks so perfect but the machine is still not sewing properly, the adjustments are so minor as to be difficult to even see, very frustrating! There is a perfect sweet spot, then a tiny bit either side of it that works and I am hoping I have found it again!
Once the new hook was installed then I had a tension issue, so it's been a rather unproductive week but today finally the GM Fan quilt is done, and I can move on.
It measures 62"x86" probably good for a girl's single bed.
The fans are individually quilted the balance an E-E floral, this is the fourth for my ALS friend. To add to the problem my machine did not really like some of the fabrics principally that floral border which is very thin fabric and probably a poly blend.
 Backing is a light pink solid, there's enough for binding and along with the other large quilt I need to get both bound and shipped back to MA. I hope by the end of the month.
For now it's back to the modern baby boy quilt with all the triangles, lovely, a new project a fun start to the week!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Modern Baby Boy Quilt

I am home, already missing Texas, my friends and their weather! We are expecting our first triple digit temperature of the season later this week, yuck.
These are the fabrics and I am planning to use an equilateral triangle design. The very adorable "I love puppies" fabric will also be the backing, and as I have the boy this week so I am not sure how much will get done on it but I should be able to get it together next week. I have a quilt on the LA that must be done too it is not even begun because of the wait for the new hook. It is in and timed but seems to be noisier than normal so I will call the A-1 tech tomorrow ands see what he says, don't want to run it if there's a problem.
Below are the projects from our power sewing week……...
number one……..
number two………..
number three……...
and number four [a cute iPad stand that just needs stuffing with crushed walnut shells].
 However, before I can return to them I have that baby quilt to make for the shower May 22nd.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blooming Flower Garden

This is the view from the back deck, it's a natural pond with all kinds of waterfowl, fish and amphibians, unfortunately it's also a haven for water moccasins that mostly stay in the water! Care must be taken to keep the grass short to discourage the snakes from leaving the area and domestic animals are watched closely.

My friend's husband makes a mean mango daiquiri and that's what we had with our yummy lamb shanks, a lovely evening to a successful day.L
Project #3 was our focus today, starting with the strips for the background of the quilt, that was the most time consuming part. Tina Curran's pattern is our guide for this adventure, and it's interesting to see how Leslie and I approach the construction and how different our final quilts will be.
We began by laying the strips down on the design wall until we found an approximation of the basis. We began to piece the strips using a mitered seam rather than the block approach in the original pattern. This doesn't look at all encouraging but it's early in the process!l
I found the simplest way for me to join the strips together was to lay a ruler on the strip to be sewn and draw a line with a marker where I wanted to stitch.
Then I took the backing to the machine and pinned the new strip on the marked line, leaving the other strips still on the wall.
I sewed each consecutive strip in the same way until I had my backing the desired size.
It down and squared it and trimmed to this, about 27"x29".
We cut out a wide selection of flowers from lifelike to stylized and modern, and ironed on a fusible backing, we prefer Steam a Seam Light 2, it is the most user friendly we have found.
This is my interpretation of the pattern mostly ready to do he final fixing of the appliqués, it needs just a couple more flowers and a little tweaking. One of the advantages of the Steam a seam is that it has a sticky backing that adheres temporarily to the fabric but is repositinable until you reach the final design choice and can press the appliqués on permanently.
Below is Leslie's design, quite a bit different to mine as her eyes interpreted th picture.
She has yet to add her stems and some leaves, I love it she even has a little green frog hiding in the bottom of the picture! I think I must make a second one with different colors, as Leslie said they are addictive!
After church in the morning we will finish up with this quilt and see how far we get with the next project before I head for home Monday afternoon. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Two Down, One To Go!

 This morning we made a run to the Bernina store to have my friend's big Bernina checked out- the one she quilts on-  and I indulged in a little retail therapy!
This cool tool and cup holder clips to the table like this.....
I need one, I am forever knocking my tools onto the floor, scissors, pencil, ruler etc not to mention my Coffee/water when I am sewing.
Then we saw these very handy little iPad/phone stands and I decided we needed to make them so we had to have the book. 
Twelve projects in here surely we can use more than one!
It would be good to find vinyl covered fabric for these or they will get dirty and impossible to clean. Tomorrow we will look for some when we go out to buy lamb shanks for dinner, yum yum!
While wandering around the terrific and very friendly Bernina store -"Sew much more than a sewing store"- I noticed copies of the Angela Walters book that I already have and so I had to buy one for my friend. Her quilting set up is a sit down version and this book is aimed at both longarmers and home quilting set ups so I am sure she will be able to reproduce the designs. Angela demonstrates  lots of great design combos that are easy to quilt out.
This was the progress I made today on the curves quilt made with the curves ruler from I didn't have enough WOW but Joann's had the lovely Kona cotton and I had a 50% off coupon, deal!
Tomorrow we begin on the Summer Flowers wall hanging that should be fun, something different change.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Longhorns And Bluebonnets, I know I'm in Texas!

This is Texas now in Spring so lush and green with wild flowers everywhere and the State flower looking particularly beautiful, the Bluebonnets are amazing.
I am here for a week to visit with a dear, long time friend, also a quilter in fact the person who really got me hooked!
We began this morning on our first project with two sets of templates a 9" and a 10", Leslie took the 9"  and I the 10 " and off we went on a cutting spree, which took longer than we expected.
Here is my friend hard at work, we did cut 30 blocks each and below was our progress by lunchtime.
 Mine are on the left and hers on the right they are looking very nice.
By bedtime we had a few sewn together. I made a couple of mistakes sewing the background on backwards then in spite of my errors Leslie did the same thing so there was a little ripping, always have to do a bit of ripping or you don't feel as if you are really quilting!
We are very happy with them and since we are inspired to move on we may set them aside to begin on a second project tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Baptist Fan Quilting Design

I just replaced my broken iPad2 with an iPad Air and this is the first post to be constructed using the Blogger App. Little man destroyed the old unit, grabbed it and ran and when it flew out of his hands it bounced a couple of times on the tile floor then came to rest on the now shattered screen!
Argh. Guess it was time to update!
The old iPad never gave me the ability to post the way I wanted to and I am anxious to see if it can be done with the Air version, I am weary of toting the laptop whenever I travel.
 At first look the App is quite different from working directly with the Blogspot URL And I don't yet know how to manipulate the photos and text so more study is required!  
Baptist Fan is a terrific traditional quilting design I love to use on more traditional quilts like this king size quilt .
It's the third of four quilts I am finishing for the dear lady with ALS, and hanging in the loft as high as I can hoist it you can see by the way it drapes on the floor that it is a large KS.
I just love the way the design looks as simple as it is the result never fails to delight me. In the past I had managed a fairly decent freehand BF but when I decided to invest in the Circle Lord system my first purchase was the BF template and I can't say enough about how efficient, accurate and fast these make execution of this design. It gives wonderful movement to the quilting and does not distract from the pattern of the quilt but rather enhances it, the goal of most longarm quilters.
The backing is a plain muslin also a very traditional way to back quilts allowing the back to become a whole cloth quilt and easily used in reverse as a change from the pieced top - thread is neutral tone.
 The variation in color is solely due to lighting issues, there was a light on in the area the other side of the quilt and it showed through to the different colored blocks.
OK, so far I am not a fan of the Blogger App. which I have to use on the iPad because regular Blogspot editing software does not play nicely with the iPad. What I am finding with the App is that I cannot alter the size and position of the photos and I can't seem to get the full post editing page up. I went back to the laptop to tweak the post to make it prettier but when I am away from home next week I will not have that luxury!
Some of these issues may be operator error, I haven't had a chance to read up on the App to get the full benefits, that will be a project for the next few days.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

To Border Or Not To Border!

It somehow looks unfinished to me but is that the way of the modern quilts, no borders?
I will ponder it - there is sufficient fabric for borders of some kind, what do you think?

Monday, April 6, 2015

A New Project!

This is the perfect moment to begin a new project, since my right knee is in very bad shape at the present I decided I would prop up the right leg and sit and sew with my left foot! It does feel a little odd to a right handed person, the biggest problem I have is failing to lift my foot off at the correct moment!
This is the pattern I chose because the fabrics had already been prepped for a retreat last year then I found there wasn't time to get to it. I do not remember the name of the pattern, or where I got it but I suspect it may have been one of those freebie inserts that come with magazine subscriptions.
It's made up of these simple blocks, HST's and squares. I had saved the pattern because I thought it would be a great example for some modern quilting techniques.
 It needed eight different half yard prints and I had won these beauties called "Rose Parade Half Yard Bundle" in an online contest at Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog two years ago [they have gorgeous, yummy fabrics!]
Exactly eight half yard pieces, perfect! Combined with WOW already on hand it was the exact fit for this design, how rarely does that happen?

So I sat and sewed yesterday afternoon and again this afternoon for a while, now all the blocks are pressed and trimmed and these few on the design wall. OMG.
I really love this quilt and can hardly wait to try some modern quilting ideas on it.
Tomorrow perhaps I will get it all pieced together