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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Twiddling and tweaking

A couple of days ago, our guild sponsored a visit and lecture from the delightfully funny and knowledgeable Jennie Rayment. If you've never had a chance to hear her speak or take a class from her, you can consider yourself deprived. ;) I was lucky enough to be able to take three classes from Jennie in the summer of 2007 (photos posted of the resulting projects here), and when I found out that she was coming to town, I immediately signed up to take one of the classes she'd be teaching here: Cosmic Happenings. This one involves inserting bits of one circle into another circle to get a wonderful effect. I've finished two blocks and am trying to decide what to do about making more, since I have no more of the deep purple background batik I began with. Drat! But here are photos of my two blocks, both done in batiks. The first has "rays" of varying sizes in a fabric ranging from orange through melon to yellow; I added a gold center. The rays of the second block are lavender, with a purplish-aqua center; the rays on this one are uniform in length.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Finished!

I've finished the nap quilt for our granddaughter to take to preschool next fall. :) You may wonder why I hurried to finish it when there is still lots of time before she'll need it. It's because -- like many quilters -- I have several projects in the works and didn't want to take a chance that this one wouldn't be ready in time.

This was just a pre-printed panel with some borders added. It looks crooked in the photo, but that's because there is nothing behind it to let it hang straight, as hanging against a wall would do; it really is straight, I promise!
I had a wonderful time free-motion quilting this. This photo shows the feathers that fill the borders; I thought they went well with the fairy's wings.

It's almost impossible to see the free-motion outline quilting I did around the fairy and the artichoke plants, but I think you can see the clouds and leaves I quilted into some of the emptier spots.

Oh, and I even remembered to use one of those cute little "PS I Love You" labels I found! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A contest!

And this contest is even more special because it's my twin, Jill, whose blog is holding the drawing! Go to the EQ blog to read about it, and then go to Jill's blog to post a comment to try to win! Good luck! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's coming along ...

About a week ago, I posted that I had begun the quilting on a nap quilt for our youngest grandchild, as she will be going to preschool in the fall. Today I finished the quilting and will now be able to bind the quilt, ready for our granddaughter's birthday. :) Here are a couple of pictures of the back of the quilt, where it is easier to see the quilting than on the front. I outlined the motifs in the fairy panel that forms the major portion of the quilt; here you can see some of the stems and leaves of the artichoke plants that surround the fairy.


And here is part of the border, which is full of feathers undulating their way around the perimeter of the quilt.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rotary cutting unusual shapes

Judy Martin has created a video on how to rotary cut unusual shapes. Most of us can handle rectangles/squares or triangles, but those odd shapes can be a bit of a challenge. This video explains as well as any I've seen how to approach the problem, though I think I might avoid cutting toward myself. ;) Get some popcorn and enjoy the (very short) movie!



Saturday, February 13, 2010

So cute!

I needed a spool of pale blue thread today, so off I went to my LQS (local quilt shop) to see what I could find. Eureka! They had just what I needed, so I got in line at the checkout counter. While standing there, I saw something that just had to come home with me! Look at these adorable little tags that can be stitched into a seam or between a quilt and its binding.

I've put a thimble into the photo to give you an idea of the size. What perfect timing, since I'm working on a nap quilt for my DGD to take to preschool! :)

Unfortunately, I have no idea who makes these, but I do know they were too cute to pass up.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A very special gift

A fellow quilter here in my area recently passed away. She had belonged to my local group for a time until she became too ill to participate. I didn't think I'd made a big impression on her, but I had a phone call from a good friend of hers last week to say that I was one of ten quilters (the other nine were all her close friends) who'd been invited to come to her home and pick out 20 yards of fabric from her stash. Oh my! What an honor to be included in this memorial to her quilting life!

Today was the day, and all ten of us arrived to go through what had to be at least three dozen (maybe more) large tubs of fabric. There was much more than enough for each of us to take our 20 yards; in fact, we were encouraged to take everything there. I think I've mentioned that I have a very small sewing room, so I limited myself to a lot less than what some of the others were able to take, and I do hope you're sitting down as you see the fabrics I ended up with! I'll be forever grateful to Cecilia for including me.

First, here are a few tools I picked out:

There's a 24" ruler, an OmniArc Circle Cutter, some flat-head pins (good for paper piecing), and a hemostat.

Now for the fabrics. Oh my goodness! The first photo shows some miscellaneous fabrics: a couple of Christmas prints and a few fat quarters.


Then there were some groups (FQs) of florals.


Next, a Fusions print and two Moda Marbles, which are probably about a yard each:


Here's something called a Gold Dust Medley, which isn't really washable, though it will be fun to use. There are seven FQs.


There was a whole tub full of Oriental prints, so I picked out a few of those, too. These range from FQs to a yard or more.

This is a set of 30 FQs, called a Hand Spray Medley, and the colors range from brights through neutrals and everything in between.

The pieces I liked the best, though, were the batiks! Of course, I wasn't the only one, but I think everyone who wanted them got some. Here are the half-yard pieces I selected, each "bundle" containing six FQs:


And here are twelve more of those half-yard pieces, in all shades of blue:

 

Going there today and participating in this sharing of fabric and tools made me think a bit about what would happen to my quilting supplies if I were to die, and I have to admit that I haven't made any provision for them at all. It's something I suspect most of us need to consider. Unfortunately, my two daughters show no interest in quilting, though I can always hope that will change. But if it doesn't, who will get my sewing machines? Who will get my other tools and my fabrics? I think letting a trusted friend supervise a distribution similar to the one I attended today is a wonderful idea and ensures that everything goes to someone who will value it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Starting ...

... the quilting on a new quilt is always fun! :) This one is simply a panel with added borders -- very basic, as it will see very hard use as a nap quilt when our youngest grandchild (our only granddaughter) goes to preschool next fall. I'm going to outline quilt the major motifs in the panel and then add some feathers (have I mentioned lately that I love feathers? ) in the borders. Since this is for a girl, I thought something feminine would be nice for a change. :)

When I'm doing free-motion quilting, I find it very useful to add a SewSlip II to the bed of my machine; this allows the quilt to slide nicely instead of dragging or getting "hung up" on the cabinet. I also like to use the halo -- that's that red ring (it's not a hoop) -- which allows me to move the section I'm currently quilting without having to grasp fabric tightly in my fists.  Both of these tools make handling the bulk of a quilt so much easier!

What tools do you use to make your free-motion quilting better?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More stockings

My goodness! That jelly roll I bought has enough strips left for one more batch of these cute stockings (with several strips left over afterwards!), but I may be "stocking-ed out" at this point. ;) I'm not sure this particular jelly roll was quite as traditionally colored as I'd thought it would be when I ordered it, but the stockings are cute anyway. This is the second batch of three that I've made, though I still need to add the little cords for hanging them up.

Actually, if I'd followed the directions exactly, I'd have enough strips left at this point for two more batches of three stockings each, but I used an entire strip for the ruffle at the top, instead of a half strip. That way I could use my handy-dandy ruffler foot on my sewing machine to quickly gather them up to the right size. Half a strip, as used in the pattern, would have yielded a "looser" ruffle, and one I'd have had to do by hand.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I gave in ...

... to temptation and finished my armchair caddy instead of waiting until March for the next lesson. I'm not unhappy with how it turned out, though I know there are things that could have been better. Here's the outside view, with the little handle for carrying. 

And here's the inside, with the two embellished parts forming the nice big pockets and a pin cushion in the center.  I think this is going to be very useful! :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More embellishing

I think I can finally call this finished! Of course, the caddy isn't finished, but the embellishing is, and I'm not unhappy with the results, considering that this is my first attempt at something like this. :) These two pieces will be the pockets, and I'm going to put the project aside until the next lesson on how to assemble the caddy, which will come along in March. I have several other projects to work on in the meantime, of course -- what quilter doesn't? ;)