Archive for the ‘Home Sewing Front’ Category

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40.6 Gearing up for March-A-Long 2017

February 26, 2017

It’s that time again – time to consider March – A – Long for the year 2017.

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For the past several years I have “hosted” March – A – Long for the month of March.

This is an encouragement to sew/quilt/design/dream/read/shop …. about quilting for 15 minutes a day for the month of March!

Last year I made myself for the month of March focus specifically on Free Motion Quilting. I would like to replicate that this year if I can.

Feel free to join a long, which is why I call it an “-A-Long”, so we can all work together on furthering our quilting goals.

I always offer a chance for others to participate. Either here as a comment, or on the Scientific Quilter page on FaceBook. I can also be found on Twitter or Instagram. I haven’t been super active anywhere but the Twilters! group on FB, but I promise to check in these other places for the month of March during the March A Long.

You can either find me as scientificquilt (twitter), or scientificquilter (instagram). I make a pledge to post weekly during March A Long. Most years I am pretty close to “on the nose” on this.

I may do short audio like last year. That was sorta fun. At the current moment, I can’t remember where my audio ants are stored, but we might see if we can find it sometime before the end of the month. Maybe sooner than that, even.

I know for at least for a while, if I don’t have anything else to do, I can always remove the paper from this quilt.

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I think there are 99 blocks here, with several seams in each. I used regular paper too, which while I was sewing them together, wasn’t a bad idea. It’s cheaper, easier to access than the “made for paper piecing” paper that I have purchased in the past. But, the ripping out stage isn’t really quite as much fun.

Actually, neither was the “sewing all the lines together” part.

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My goals are three fold this month:

  1. Finish up this quilt top to see if I need borders. I wish I had more of the blue background to float some borders, I have just the idea for those. But, alas I do not, so this quilt may go with or without borders.
  2. Get as many small quilts free motion quilted as possible. I still have a small stack of quilts, some of which are basted and ready to go.
  3. Create adequate backing for other quilts I have been working on that have tops but not bottoms.

Anyway, I always enjoy hearing about others’ March-A-Long progress. State goals and successes here or other places you can find me!

Ready, Set, Quilt …. March along you little quilters! Drop & give me 20 …. stitches!

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40.5 Ladders and Bubbles metamorphosis

January 31, 2017

As the new year starts, I have found myself gravitated towards a project that I originally conceived of in 2011. A simple paper piecing project with alternating blocks. Hung in strips. 

While the picture below might be the quilt in the middle of its cocoon form, it had very different origins.

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The idea for this quilt started with a sheet I picked up at goodwill, and some scraps of some leftover blue jeans. I had a soft yellow sheet that would have made a good contrast with the thick heavy denim.

I wanted to make a quilt that combined the two types of fabrics. 

I started out seeing a picture or two of denim quilts online that were of a stained glass window type. Ones with wildly varying shades of denim, ones with denim squares and rectangles, surrounded by lots of black fabrics.

A comment I read somewhere in 2011 was that two layers of denim were hard to sew together because the seams were too thick.

In preparation for this quilt, I searched for darker denim, and even scored some light pink denim from somewhere. 

While this project was originally designed with denim in mind, I had a lot of fun in Electric Quilt trying to figure this quilt out. I have 42 different electric quilts in this project file. Most are variations of blues with black sashing/ stained glass, and light pink. The bottom picture below shows the original pretty pale yellow bedsheet.

More and more I thought against using the yellow bedsheet, as the texture would be different in the bedsheet area than the rest of the quilt. I also started to hear about quilts made with sheets.

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I noticed that I started gravitating towards two distinct versions of the quilt – the slanted ladder, and the alternating blocks that used vertical ladders.

I created one of the vertical ladder blocks. It looked good, but the block edges looked thick. And maybe this quilt was going to be heavy and hot. 

I even was able to purchase some non-jean denim of the darker blue type. I could use the dark blue denim as a consistent background fabric for many different values of blue jeans.

One of the designs started to emerge more and more in my electric quilt that seemed to suggest instead of a steady fabric, more of an “I Spy” quilt with lots of different fabrics that could even be showcased in the middle of the block.

So now maybe this quilt would use denim as a background fabric, with non denim fabrics in a more prominent way. But many many of the designs I liked still had a denim on denim seam in between the blocks. It would be hard to get around that without adding sashing. Which in the quilt I liked the most, would ruin the graphical effect.

During one of the sales of an online fabric company, I found some beautiful “denim like / denim colored” fabric on a nice sale, and I purchased enough of this fabric for a consistent background. 

Between the avoidance of the denin on denim seams, and my new denim colored consistent background, I started thinking about replacing all the denim in my quilt for all cotton fabrics. Playing on one idea for the quilt, stringing it together.

I then drew up this quilt in EQ7.

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 This quilt sort of has none of the elements that I started with except for the dark outlines that mimic a stained glass window. No bedsheet, no denim, pink or otherwise. No dark blue consistent background denim either.

So maybe this is the same quilt, maybe it is not? 

It was so different from my original name of my quilt when I started taking pictures of it again, I didn’t even remember what I called it on my files.

For the last few weekends, I have been working on one row at a time.
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My fabrics I actually chose a year ago just prior to the retreat I attended in February 2016, and it was sorta the last project I worked on there as the last day thing to jump start the next project. 

I have since been trading out fabric for better row color match or better quality of fabrics. 

Some of the pictures are even up on my new design wall.

This was before the design wall was hanging up.

Some in progress pictures of each row. Here’s how I start on the ladder pieces. Washable Elmer glue. I also pre-fold the paper before using. 

And the bulbs being glued down below.

The bulbs are large octogon pieces with black on the sides. I had forgotten the order to sew in when I first picked this block back up after a year off. So of course I forgot to sew the sides first. I mean, why look at the order on the back?

I am glad I work in batches. So I didn’t have to seam rip all those seams for all the colored rows.

Actually the paper is still on the backs of these blocks, so when I show them on my design wall, know they are pinned to it.

Above I am previewing the green.

I am pretty sure that I had knocked over the design wall before putting the green row on.

Anyway, now I am putting together these cuties in a tub to with me to the retreat next week to finish up and sew together into a top. Several more rows to go.

I am beginning to think that I may never make a full denim quilt. I did get rid of several fabrics in the last year I hadn’t made any move to use. I believe that the pink denim was removed from my stash.

So I want to thank you for listening to a story of a quilt that either never was, or has changed so much in the interim that is no longer recognized by the owner as exactly the same quilt as it started to become. Metamorphosis in action! 

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40.4 Pictures of my blank wall

December 30, 2016

First off, let me say that yes, my camera has been compromised several months ago. I know that. The white balance is off now and the camera doesn’t get clear pictures anymore with the right amount of light let in. And I just haven’t fixed it.

But I am not going to let that stop me in posting pictures of my (blank) wall(s).

So bear with me.

So this past fall, was a change from one house to another, leaving me with more contained but larger overall space.

And it’s finally getting to the point where my quilts can be put up on the wall, getting to the point where every spare moment doesn’t have to be in relation to the best new thing for the house. Leading me to finally start to feel some enjoyment in my spare time.

Although I can’t say I’ve spent a TON of quilting time, I also can’t say that I find my sewing space actually “complete” either.

Anyway, I realized that you might want to see some pictures of my blank walls.

I really should title this post: My new-found-love-affair-with-3M-Command-products

I finally organized all the extra strips I have been getting with my 3M strips and put all the kinds of things into baggies.

I have used 3M large hooks and those “fancy” dowel rods to hang quilts up on the wall in the past. Below is a picture of a quilt in my previous residence.

little star with beads

See up on the top of the picture, the rod going through the back, and the large 3M hooks.

This particular hook setup actually stayed on the wall until I physically took it down, but some of the quilts just this past January that I had rearranged on the walls had fallen down by July using the sleeve and rod technique.

And guess what else I don’t like about the technique? Making the sleeve! Maybe for large quilts hung in shows, but I don’t really want to do sleeves again if I can help it. Let’s 3M and binder clip it!

OK. So I have found several different ways to use 3M products.

Strategies for using 3M Command strips in quilting.

1. The fridge clips. These come in a package of 6 clips. Which means for my small quilts, I can use them to hang 3 small quilts. Or if I wanted to hang 2 larger quilts instead, that’s an option.

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Even my somewhat heavy “Don’t Panic” quilt can be held by these clear plastic clips. It takes a tiny bit of snugging up into the binding, but there is a larger top portion on these clips that the binding can jam up inside, and once it’s up there, it really feels held by the clips.

But I didn’t already have a ton of these clips, so using what else I had.

2. Mini clips (+ mini binder clips)

Clear plastic clips and mini binder clips.

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I had purchased these 3M mini clips about a year ago or longer, and the mini binder clips that are all sorts of colors I already had them as well. Lots of them. For which I had no other known purpose.

These mini binder clips also happen to have a nice rubber, color-coded coating on the thin wire portion. The 3M Mini clips are just barely narrow enough to let the mini binder clip slip past. The mini binder clips aren’t terribly noticeable and can color coordinate a little bit with the quilts themselves. And I have seen many different colors and decorations for the binder clips themselves.

How strong is this setup? Well a quilt that’s about a yard on each side seems to be holding up ok so far if i spread it out between 4 small binder clips. This has really only been up for one week though.

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For some reason, I have more luck searching amazon for “Mini Hooks”, and I get a similar looking product that is more prevalent, but I don’t know exactly how they work that says “Decorating Clips”. “Mini Hooks” is what I have tested, but “Decorating Clips” seem to be a horizontal version of the same thing, but I don’t know that the binder clips fit on them for sure.

3. Wire hooks

I also had bought a lot of the wire clips that are a little more unruly, but also are narrower and more forgiving. The wire clips I had set up to hold my main design wall at my old place. I have been using these wires to hold many things other than quilts. Wire hooks hold patterns, rulers, my towels in my kitchen.

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As you can see, some binder clips are also employed in keeping rulers without holes punched out together on my stand.

In the background of the next picture, you can see some FMQ patterns and stencils held in my closet. And also you can see I am starting to store projects in bins instead of 1 gallon ziploc type baggies.

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And above you can see I am using mini hooks for my shape cut and long ruler, and large rotary cutter (had to have some other extenders here). Mini hooks I can find like everywhere, they seem to be easier to locate anywhere these products are being sold. More so than the other clips.

Oh, and large binder clips can be used as well, but they just don’t look quite as cute as the minis.

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Here’s a close up of the mini binder clip, with a comparison regular binder clip to the right. And the size and shape of the mini hooks. And 4 clear plastic tabs that fit with most of what’s shown above.

And it looks like if you don’t have mini binder clips, you can always use those wonder clips. There is a small slit in the back.

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This hasn’t been field tested yet, but initial examination looks promising.

Anyway here’s another use for the 3M products.

4. Medium clear plastic hooks

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This picture is of my blank wall, but you can hopefully be able to see the outline of the clear plastic hooks.

This is for my smaller portable portion of my design wall, my “design board” if you will that I am placing right behind where my sewing machine is, and not far from my iron.

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I made a design board out of a bit of foam board I already had from Hobby Lobby. Last weekend, I used some Aleene’s Original Tacky glue in the gold bottle, and glued down some batting to a portable board. I see this being really useful as a smaller board, or for a transferring board.

Here it is resting on the 3M medium hooks. There are currently only 2 hooks on bottom, and two on the side horizontally to keep the board in place. So far it hasn’t toppled over. Yet.

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I actually hope that this mini board experiment works well so I can duplicate it onto my larger wall that I am waiting to put a full “design wall” up. I have the flannel already, but not the 4′ X 8′ insulation foam. I am planning to use the very large white hooks and place them all around the design wall board. I am really hoping to not have to add any holes on these walls. I have done that too much in the past.

I know I have the option of taping 2 large insulation boards together so I can have a really large 8 X 8 design wall, or maybe even 3 boards. But that is just put off for a while. Hopefully soon! But in the meantime, I can use a nice design floor instead. Lots of options there.

Other non-wall, non-3M hacks?

My wire rack that used to have fabric now also stores quilts in progress.

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On the side are 2 re-purposed DVD racks that have jelly rolls on them.

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My cutting surface is a tabletop (new) on top of 4 shoe rack storage bins huddled in the corner. Now a lot of fabric is sitting in those small shoe rack bins. Luckily I had 3 of these already, this is rather expensive to put together from scratch.

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Currently these are not secured, but there is talk and thought about securing the table on top with two of the 3 M wire hooks facing each other with a rubber band in between. So far, I haven’t cut so much on this mat, and what I HAVE done, I haven’t had a problem with shifting much. I also currently am about out of 3M hooks and strips.

These past few weeks have been fun, made me feel like an engineer a little bit. Trying to problem solve and use ready-purchased items to help me do so.

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39.8 March-A-Long end of week 3 – March 20 2016

March 20, 2016

Okay quilters, I hope you enjoyed #internationalquiltingday yesterday (that’s National Quilting day that is inclusive to all nations). Every year, the 3rd week of March on the Saturday there is more attention on this lovely quilting hobby of ours!

This ends our 3rd (out of 5) week of sewing for 15 minutes a day for the month of march. Getting used to sewing and thinking about sewing every day, even a little bit.

This week, we hear from a few people who have tagged their posts with #marchalong or #15minutesofsewing or something similar.

As always, if I forgot to add you, let me know, you could email me or post here or just tag your regular sewing with these hashtags and I’ll try to find them.

I’ve been busy with spray basting, unsewing, resewing, binding attachment, and quilting with heavy thread.

Before the black setting triangles were not added.

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And I hadn’t added the binding on this small quilt.

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And this little thing hadn’t been quilted or trimmed down.

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Close up of the quilting

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And what a cool birthday present!? Great for a very active quilter!

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39.7 March-A-Long 2016 end of second week

March 13, 2016

20160309_183917.jpgSo, it’s the end of week 2 and I personally have been successful at sewing / quilting for at least 15 minutes a day each day this week except for one when I was a little sick.

I have been quilting on a small quilt project, preparing the next quilt, taking apart even another quilt, and getting a lot of projects lined up with batting and/or backing.

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You all seem to have been busy as well!

Good job guys sewing for 15 minutes a day in March. If you haven’t done so, you can start NOW. Keep on keeping on!

 

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39.5 Quilt Pile Up Post 2

March 1, 2016

I am writing up blog posts about my Quilty Goals in March. The first one is here.

I am working through specific goals for March to motivate me for the March-A-Long a 15 minute per day sewing promise to quilt daily.

On my goals, I have decided to focus (though you can’t hold me to this) on free motion quilting.

I have here some of the smaller quilts without backing that need to be matched up with scrap batting and backing before quilting.

small tops to back and quilt

So the quilts specifically, some of these have more deep stories, a few do not.

The first you may recognize from the post from yesterday. There are 2 quilts that are essentially just panels of some quilty rainbow pastel fabric. I have had all but the one edging (sticking up) done for months. I ran out of the same fabric, so finally decided to put a different white on white and call it good. These quilts are (will be) similar, but not identical twins.

pastel rainbow quilt no backing

The others have some significance (more) to me. This crazy looking quilt was inspired by my guild. We had nametags one day for a meeting where we were going to learn paper piecing (for people who didn’t already know). I had two blocks completed with wild colors and they kept staring at me undone. I decided to take the blocks, photocopy the back, that still had the paper piecing on them, and make a few more wild blocks for a mini quilt.

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The next quilt is a winding ways swap quilt. I went to my first or second retreat with the ladies who used to be known as so many swaps, and one lady was bringing her accuquilt with her, in addition to dies for the winding ways quilt block. We were instructed to bring batiks, and then we had cut them all the same with the accuquilt, and one day after supper, we swapped around the tables in a circle the same # of blocks as we donated.

I actually swapped 9 blocks, but I got tired of the quilt while piecing it this summer, so I decided to stop at 4. I don’t know right now if I kept the extra 5 blocks or not.

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The next quilt is a leftover block from my Teal Cathedral Windows style quilt. A retreat 2 years ago I was considering doing red and teal prairie points around the edge to learn prairie points, but I got slightly mixed up along the way. I just like this little block how it is, I think I will quilt it and bind again in a red. Or maybe do striped binding.small cathedral teal.jpg

And lastly, I have the practice block from the disappearing shoo fly block.This mini quilt is 4 shoo fly blocks cut up down the middle horizontally and vertically, all with the same color of center block, twisted and then sewn back together. I picked “controlled scrappy” out of the colors I had already made (about 65 blocks).

small lightning block topWhat are your March-A-Long goals? Tell me in the comments here or on the March-A-Long page. This may be the end of the “premade blog posts for the week.” I think some of that depends on how interesting this week actually becomes!

Keep Marching A Long and keep experimenting!

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38.1 New Beginnings And Cycles

August 2, 2015

Hey! Last time I wrote I was a month ago about my diary of the KCRQF. A month and a half ago. The end of my day 2 was looking at the quilts of the Beatles, and my quick lecture class. Day 3 was my volunteering day where I gave out wristbands to fathers for Father’s Day, and then helping in the booth with 3 other people, which really meant talking to guild members, going to get food, a conversation with my Dad (for who knows how long) and then getting straight on shots of guild quilts.

Later, I may share my pictures & description of the Beatles quilts. Today, as I write, I want to start new, fresh.

Quilt Cycle Cathedral Teal with labels

I am really enjoying this stage of my quilting cycle. At the beginning.

I have noticed that yes, deadlines get quilts done, gets quilts finished, provides me with a much needed focus. I do so much better with a focus. Even if it is a temporary focus. If I want to get things complete, I have a deadline, made up or real, and stick to it. Yes, I like the focus of finishing!

But at the beginning of a quilt cycle, there are so many possibilities. So much potential.

  • What fabrics do I use?
  • What pattern do I use?
  • How will I offset the blocks from each other?
  • Do I want to design something new? Traditional?
  • Who is it for?
  • What size quilt do I want to make?

My questioning mind loves to go back to the beginning sometimes, but I am not alone.

Quilters have many UFO’s, we like to restart, to re-cycle to the beginning of the process.

I have been considering going back to the beginning again with several quilts, or starting new.

Why? Well for one, I completed my deadline. The huge quilt show we had a month and a half ago was a great deadline. Great AND stressful both!

For two, I am wondering, what quilt will be the next best quilt to create for the next huge quilt show?

For three, I reorganized my sewing room. And it’s like halfway done.

For four, I have LOTS of scraps that I would like to use up, cut down, make clean.

For right now, that’s the main motivation for new beginnings.

My wall of fabric (one large ‘bookcase’) I changed from my left to my right.

fabric wall

 

This frees up my cutting area so much. I have had a limited amount of cutting space that I could use. Actually, I am using the same space as before, but now don’t have a large area nearby to butt up against.

new cutting area

I also have a large enough desk I can watch streaming video and press or cut on the table if I desire!

computer desk and small ironing pad

Which will be something nice. I may even bring my sewing machine back into my sewing room, as currently it’s at the kitchen table. Will be hard to do computer & sewing both, but may be possible.

Possibilities are opening!

Speaking of possibilities and scraps and new/old things, I have gotten out a few fabric pieces the last month.

First was my “watermelon dresden”, inspired by Jenny Doan’s visit to our guild several years ago, when we were all doing the jelly roll race quilts, I did jelly roll dresden pieces.

watermelon dresden

And I even came up with a pattern for it, that I don’t believe I have shared with you all.

water melon dresden version 2

How pretty.

And then for a few things more scrappy, I had a couple very small paper pieced blocks we did with the guild that I thought would be perfect for small strings.

string quilt small

I worked on this last weekend at my friend’s house at our last sunday sewing day for a while – her schedule is changing.

The finished piece is pretty small. about a 12″ block or so. May need to make more of these.

And I have been wanting to do an Arkansas Crossing quilt with scrappy cool tones for quite a while now.

16 patches for scrap quilt arkansas crossroads

So I finally have some mindless sewing to work on. Which for me, right now, is fantastic!

And oh yeah, I have some pinwheels against white that I don’t know what to do with. So I am making more and going to eventually donate for a kids quilt for the memorial hospital in Lawrence.

extra squares for pinwheels

For these I have been putting 2 charms (5 inch squares) right sides together & sewing around the edges to cut in quarters and press open later.

I also have been using my new phone for pictures exclusively and haven’t gotten my normal camera out for the last month. So new beginnings there. I wish I was better able to focus that more quickly. The better thing is that this phone with camera has the same megapixels as my point & shoot camera did, AND this one doesn’t take 30 seconds to reset after one picture, it is able to move much more quickly between pictures!

Anyway, thanks for joining me on the beginning of a cycle again! What a great feeling to find lost projects and to work on new things!