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Friday, June 29, 2012

I went "camping"!

No, not that kind of camping. ;) I'm just home from attending the new Celebrate! Quilt Camp in Flagstaff, AZ. Summers there are so pleasant, since it's up in pine country. This camp is a new one, since the one I used to attend each year fizzled, and the lady who runs this one is very nice, very receptive to ideas and suggestions. Maybe you'd like to attend next summer!

I was there with two friends who live in Phoenix, and we had a really great time. One of them and I took a two-day class from Tammy Kelly, getting a start on a quilt called Mesmerize. This is a few of the block "beginnings" for my version. It's a variation on a Drunkard's Path block, as you may be able to see. Mine will be in blues and purples with yellows and peaches for the inset circles. As you can undoubtedly see, nothing has yet been sewn together.

All three of us took two days of classes with Julie Hocker, learning a lot about thread painting and using various techniques to get some dimensional effects. This photo shows an ocotillo plant done with thread on water-soluble stabilizer that is then rinsed off, leaving a free-standing plant; please excuse the bad lighting in the photo. There is also a scrub pine tree, which I haven't yet removed from the stabilizer; I'm debating adding more foliage. Both of these will be incorporated into a quilt with a desert theme. Of course, none of that is going to happen for a while yet — I have so much to catch up on first! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lace sleigh

Last night I attended the second of three mastery classes for machine embroidery. We learned more about placement in the hoop and how to use stabilizers and that sort of thing. To practice, we made free-standing lace ornaments, and I chose to do a sleigh. It was lots of fun watching the process as my machine did the work, and I'm amazed at the result! Seeing what the others in the class did was just as much fun. Of course, I'm planning to use this embroidery module mostly for quilt labels, but it's still good to know what else it will do. I'll have to wait until August to take the third (and last) class in this series, due to other commitments, but that will be a fun one, too, I'm sure.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another cover


I'm making good progress on the top of my Sakura quilt, but in the meantime I took the first of three classes on how to use the embroidery module of my Bernina. That was Wednesday, and I learned how to place a piece of fabric accurately into the hoop in order to get the motif in the right place. The result of that class is another journal cover, though I hadn't known ahead of time that this would be the project. If I had, I'd have thought about who might like to have one and done that person's initials! But I didn't, so I just did my own and will use this journal for notes in classes or something. I can hardly wait for the next class!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sakura

Gorgeous fabrics
About six months ago, I saw a gorgeous sample quilt at my LQS. I don't normally find kits interesting, but this time I was so tempted by that beautiful sample! To add to the temptation, I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, so I bought the kit and put it away until I'd finished a few of my other projects. We've all "stockpiled" projects, right? ;) In case you like what you see, the pattern was designed by June Pease, and the Sakura fabrics are by Red Rooster.

Machine appliqué
Yesterday I decided it was time, so I began cutting all of the fabrics according to the instructions. After doing the cutting, the first step was to appliqué some circular pieces to a background, and so I've actually begun the stitching! Yay! I did the appliqué by machine, and I was so glad to have the magnifying lenses to attach in front of the needle, since seeing smoke-colored "invisible" thread on a black background is enough to give anyone a major headache otherwise. 
Appliquéed blocks

These four blocks are the only ones that really need any special attention; everything else will be a matter of simply putting various cut pieces together to frame the central panel. But here are those blocks, all ready to add to the rest when I get to that point. :) 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A couple of updates — part 2: quilting

Here is part two of my update. ;) I've finished (all but one step, which I'll explain in a minute) my Coneflower quilt! :) This one measures 26" x 21" and is machine appliquéd (after fusing) and machine quilted. As I explained in a previous post, I took a class for this and didn't like the class at all. I ended up leaving class early — something I almost never do — and coming home to follow the directions in the book. 

The flower parts were fused in place, and then I was supposed to thread paint them for extra security. However, I'm no great shakes at thread painting (someday …), so I did multiple rows of echo quilting inside each petal, stem, and leaf shape instead. The background was supposed to be echo quilted, according to the pattern instructions, but I added large, flowing sprays of feathers instead. You know how I love feathers! ;) You may just be able to see a bit of the quilting in this close-up. Would you have guessed that the thread on the background is actually a very dark navy? I didn't think so! ;)

Finally, I added piping next to the binding as a bit of extra interest; I didn't think borders were really necessary on this piece. So what haven't I yet finished on this? The label! I planned and designed an embroidered label (my first!), but my embroidery module isn't cooperating. It's probably operator error, but I'm going to take it in for some help in the next few days. 

A couple of updates — part 1: knitting

I've been working on a couple of things, so I'm going to split them up into separate posts to keep things easier. ;) First of all, I'm still playing around with a Craftsy class on knitting lace sweaters. I really like knitting lace! This is another cardigan; it was supposed to be red, but the yarn that arrived turned out to be wine-colored instead. That's okay; I'd have preferred red, but I like this shade, too. 

As you can see, I haven't really done a whole lot on this one yet, but I do have the yoke finished. It's difficult to see the lacy effect in the above photo, so here's a closer shot. The next step is to knit the body; then I'll go back and do the sleeves.