Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

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43.8 More Ruler Work Observations from Beginner – MAL 2019

March 9, 2019

I am staying as true as possible to the quilt for 15 minutes challenge for the month of March – aka March A Long. The only date that might have been missed was Friday. Even on Thursday when I was feeling a little under the weather, I looked through some designs in books that have been sitting on the shelf for years.

I have been staying on my free motion / ruler work for quilting working on my practice project.

Last week I did some cross hatching, this week, I tried out the football curved ruler.

A little bit of practice every day. One day was the outline of two footballs offset on the same row, the next day was the pebbles.

I filled in the corners with this weird gap thing set aside for something and the swirls that I almost see as my default traveling pattern.

I have found that instead of a generic meander, I tend to go with swirls as a “I don’t know what filler to go next with” filler to get from place to place and to speed up.

As you may notice I have a strange red thread design in the center of these white patches.

I did this with the marking pen around the ruler for the center of the design. This was to practice using my marking pen. I am not known to do a ton of marking or registration marks on my quilting. The pen took a while to get used to being used again, but seemed to do decent with the initial design.

This was before tackling any of the “rulers on the machine” work. Then I echoed it. Three times. Uhhh… two echoes, three lines.

Anyway, I am mostly happy with the work I did on the first pass, but my echoing skills leave a lot to be desired.

I am wondering what about this is hard for me to do correctly. Is it that I go too fast, or I can’t see well enough or I just “lose where I am” a little, or am a little careless, or I try to “make up for previous passes” by making a change the next echo and then actually make it worse.

Granted, this would be better if the thread color actually matched the background.

This is a small issue I have to work out on my own. This quilt has both light and dark patches, and for some reason, I have decided to make it all symmetrical. Same shapes in each corner, same threads. Sometimes it means that the thread color contrasts, the other times it blends. More or less.

I am finding myself feeling moments of “rush” with this quilt. It is practice, I did not piece it. I do not see it hanging in my house, or given to someone else. I don’t know if it would be “good enough” to donate to the local hospital or not (for a lap quilt), I am mostly going through the motions on this quilt to really use as practice.

So I am periodically “speeding up” through some of the quilting.

When I first started, I was having lots of shredding thread issues. Because of that, I lowered the tension “way down”. So what did that cause? Eyelashes.

I went through the entire corner blue section with this rushed, low tension top which caused the back to eyelash incredibly badly throughout.

I am finding it hard to make myself stop and figure out what I am doing wrong, just getting through the section of practice without doing as much learning as I “could be.”

Since I was needing more practice echoing, I decided to use the curved rulers to help me out on echoing this.

And then finding a fill that works too. This worked well. I am amazed at how much I get confused or frustrated when turning the quilt around to the the other side of the design. Somehow now doing the same shape, in the same way, on the same kind of quilting background, I feel more frustrated on the 2nd half than the first half. Almost every time.

I am finding myself hitting the ruler on the machine, or getting it stuck behind where the foot gets in the way.

At least I figured out that the more I can do on the machine in one direction, the better off I seem to be. The first few circles/loops, I was turning all the way around instead of working “just the tops,” or “just the bottoms”.

I think if this machine was a higher shank machine with more throat space, this task would seem way easier at the moment.

Which I have to use what I have at the moment. I need to start a fund for getting either a Juki or something bigger like a sit down 16 HQ. But that, being down the road a bit, will have to wait. It’s hard to say, because I do really like piecing a LOT, and designing a LOT, and for those activities I only need the machine I have now.

I hate to come away from this post feeling negative about the whole experience. I am not feeling that way necessarily.

This is fun, I might need to figure out how to move on to my real projects pretty soon though. Keep my tension in check. Watch for my foot slipping off the screw and falling down – something that happened this morning and caused issues trying to get through some of the tough seams on the underside in particular.

This is really nice, and I am glad I am working on this, and I know in a few short weeks I will be piecing again.

This is my stopping point at the moment. I need to get on and do a few other things this weekend. I have a plan for the other four corners in this section, and I have three of them to do still. I really hope this practice quilt doesn’t take the entire month of March to quilt, but as long as I March-A-Long and keep at it, I will eventually be done! And I will have a nice reference too!

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43.5 Ten Year Quilt-a-versary – First Quilting Moments Revisited

February 24, 2019

In 2008, I drove around with a second hand book in the back of my car that said “Your First Quilt Book”. The book sat in my car for the majority of that year. Finally in February of 2009 I used enough “good work credits” (sorta) at work to decide to afford to get my very first sewing machine. I had never used one outside of school, but had fond middle school memories of sewing activities.

I called my first machine Molly.

I picked a design out of the book to work on, went to Walmart, bought fabric and started to get some other supplies for this project, and in a short month stitched up the center of the top.

Here I was laying out the fabric for my first quilt block before sewing. (taken Feb 22, 2009)

These are the blocks laying side by side. March 4, 2009.

Here it is with simple borders (taken March 8, 2009).

At the time I was really focused on getting the top done, but this was spurring me on to more and more down the quilt rabbit hole. Seeing so many pictures of other people’s quilts online, starting to listen to quilting podcasts, hearing people talk about quilts and techniques.

So I attempted to quilt this cute little top in the summer of 2009 (July 2009) to be able to work on the projects I had already started.

Learning about binding from a small group I started to sew with (that doesn’t exactly meet anymore in the way it used to, but am still friends with several online) caused me the courage to actually do the binding on this quilt for the first time.

And then I got to hang it in my tiny living room for quite a while.

During this time about 10 years ago, I was trying to get myself out of a funk, learn something new and exciting and beautiful. Starting to look at patterns, get a hold of a sewing machine and supplies, get stuff in order to decide to actually take the quilting plunge.

At that time, I had no actual knowledge of people in my family being “avid quilters”. Yes, my aunt was crafty, but crafty in lots of ways that also included sewing. Yes, I have fuzzy memories of my other grandma owning mysterious “sewing machine” in her bedroom.

I do remember as a child checking out a crafting book, learning how to sew, and then doing some running stitch hand-sewn pillows. My sister got a sparkly pillow with the “best looking fabric” that left glitter on her face, which was a childhood mystery until we figured out that sparkly fabric wasn’t best suited for sleeping and pillows. Then the middle school class which we sewed things, and even an activity of machine quilting (we did a log cabin block in pinks and blues).

So much over the years though.

Convincing people to come to our regional show from out of town / state.

I did, in the last several years start to spur my one aunt into quilting more, with my enthusiasm for it, and it has been nice to be able to share some of the hobby with someone I knew before. We joked about Cow Quilts, drove all the way to Michigan from Kansas / Iowa just to see some quilts and some internet friends.

Countless jokes about “Is she done yet?” or “Quilts don’t go on beds, they go on walls.” or “If you just made a little larger, it would be a nice blanket.” have been staples of my quilting journey over the last 10 years.

But also affirmations about being creative, having good color sense, designing by book and by program. Creating my own podcast for a few years, this blog, various online social media accounts, various retreats, a few in other states, renting a long arm, getting better at free motion quilting myself, design, quilt, create, write pattern for my guild opportunity quilt, and the upcoming and annual, continuing March A Long month- long-every-day-sewing inspiration.

So much in only 10 years! Was not sure where I was going to be 10 years ago, but because of you, I have enriched my life, my creativity, my art, and found such satisfaction and sometimes peace.

Upcoming posts about March A long will hopefully catch you all up to the last few months of quilting progress and quilting! This blog has become less about you, and more about me, and that’s not really ideal, but it is what has happened. I am still grateful for 10 years of quilting journeys!

 

 

 

 

 

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43.1 “Handwork” to avoid carrying around my machine

October 5, 2018

A small sewing group meets about once a month and I have been able to be a part of it. I took my pinwheel blocks, which are leftover from as swap from 2010 or 2011 and decided to ask if I could learn how to “spin the centers” of the back of the pinwheels

Somehow I had a little bit of a struggle. One, I misheard and started pulling apart the backs of the last seam instead of the next to last seam. Things went crazy. The block was re-sewn.

Eventually I did get it figured out, with the help of my friends. I didn’t cut off my dog ears before sewing these down, which actually made it decently easy to pop the opposite seam (both sides) and flatten it out. I sat the afternoon and got most, if not all, the pinwheels popped. I had 88 pinwheels to do.

Then, sometime the last few months in between projects, I got some sashing, cornerstones figured out and cut to size.

Which meant I had to trim up my pinwheels to the same size.

I was able to use some offline time away from my machine, away from internet to work on these. It was sorta tiresome, but the perfect opportunity to do a little bit of offline sewing.

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41.7 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival KCRQF 2017 – Part 5 – Quilts Focusing on Quilting

October 9, 2017

Hi, this is part 5 of a quilt show featuring quilts from the June 2017 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. I have decided not to post details about the quilts but I very likely have taken the information down of the quilts in the form of pictures of the quilt tags. I have put off this online quilt show long enough and have documented the quilts that I decided to show. I wish I could be more explicit here, but I am finally getting at least some recognition of some of the quilts that I enjoyed seeing at the show. Part 1 describes some of the show itself.

This is my own category of quilts that are based a lot on the quilting patterns. Not necessarily the categories put up by the show itself. Some of the quilt pictures below may not show the quilt in the entirety as they may be blown up to show quilting designs in detail instead of the larger picture.

This next quilt most of the texture is done with quilting “tightly” back and forth in an S shape. Looking up close to this quilt, the pieces are straight, but back from this long view angle, the whole effect of the quilt is curvy.

 

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41.5 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival KCRQF 2017 – Part 3 – Paper Pieced quilts

October 5, 2017

This is part 3 of a “quilt show” from the Regional quilt festival in Kansas City held in June 2017. I have most likely documented names of quilt makers and quilts, but because of this lateness, I have decided not to match them up with the quilts I am showing here. Ask and I should be able to provide information. The introductory post about the festival itself is found in Part 1, and Part 2 are the simple & modern designs.

This part is my own category of quilts that I liked that I called “Paper pieced quilts”, which does not necessarily mean that the quilts were known to be paper pieced. I hope you enjoy the quilts in this part.

Close up of my fingers for comparison on size of pieces.

The next quilt had specific symbols on it and a guide to the symbol were pinned onto the quilt below. The guide says Hobo Quilts Glossary. I found this fascinating!

 

 

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41.4 Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival KCRQF 2017 Part 2 – Simple & Modern Designs

October 3, 2017

I attended and participated in the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival in both 2015 and 2017. I haven’t yet posted some of my favorite quilts from the show. I took pictures of all, but I don’t think I am going to post the name and maker of the quilt, but if you ask, I can probably access this information to pass along. No promises, but I do have pictures of tags of quilts as well, just not going to put them here for space reasons.

I have put this task off too long and I am deciding just to put pictures instead of pictures & info up. My apologies. I have documented my own quilt in the previous post. None of the pictures in the next few parts of this series will be of quilts of mine.

Now that’s settled, I wish I could post everything here. These quilts are going to be divided up by my own categories, not categories that the show decided. I spent a ton more time in the guild section of the show than the judged portion of the show. At this point I honestly can’t remember which quilts were judged and which were guild.

The festival is put up by 16 guilds and as such, guild members have opportunities to put their quilts in the show as decided upon by the guilds themselves. Some guilds are small (like mine), and some guilds are way bigger and have 2 meetings a month instead of the one we do. I also did not document which quilts were in which guilds. I actually did, if I count all the quilt tag pictures I also took, but again, I am not posting here due to time/energy etc.

********* Part 2 – Quilts for their simplicity and Modern designs ****************

I made one of the following types of quilts, but didn’t have the good foresight to see how lovely it would be to do all monochromatic colors.

Doesn’t this quilt look like one from the recent Charlotte Hawkes mystery quilt?

 

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41.2 Some stitching at home

May 24, 2017

So it seems like lately I have been wanting to be under the radar in about all areas of my life, so, naturally, no blog posts. Whoops.

The weather being nice, and the prompting of Tabletop day, and the various activities for others have kinda kept me from sewing. That is, unless I employ the “March a long” strategy of sewing after work and sewing daily. Which doesn’t /didn’t happen after March this year.

Anyway, I have a few sewing objectives in the last month. My small quilt was picked to be part of the guild group for the upcoming Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival (KCRQF) in less than a month. And it wasn’t finished quilting.

I did get a start on this right away beginning of april. I did the long figure 8’s and the long thin lines, as what I had decided a year ago on my quilting diagram.

But then I went to change it up on the alternate blocks from my original plan.

And this is not my best work here, but I really liked the way it brought a different dimension to the quilt with a different type of design. And I froze on it. For a while.

Finally decided to press on and complete this quilt. I took one long weekend day to get all the rest of the blocks done, and then put the binding on while sewing at my friend’s house.

I forgot to take a picture of this with the binding sewn all the way back.

I have since turned it into my guild so they will have it by the time they need it for the show. Next picture I will have will be of it in the show itself. Here’s hoping it still looks ok after not seeing it for a month. I did a large rush job to get it finished by the end of the guild meeting in May, and I’m not proud of that, but it is what it is.

Here’s an up close version of the quilting/quilt.

It’s a fun and cute little quilt made with alternating blocks, one of which is called footstool, and one is Grandma’s Choice (modified). So naturally the quilt name is: Grandma’s Footstool.

I didn’t make a fancy label for it – usually my quilt labels are printed on from electric quilt onto that printable fabric, but for this one, I just used a pigma micron pen for marking the label.

And finally, I got some good quilt fabric for my ladders and bubbles quilt for the border blocks.

I went to a quilt shop to help a friend design a quilt for her church, bought a plain blue (with green tint). Later I went to a small quilt show which then prompted me to go to another quilt shop in the area, and actually I found fabric that I liked even better for the borders.

This is still in the planning and cutting stage, but mainly I spent time ironing the fabric down to be manageable after getting it prewashed.

So now, instead, I’ve been wanting to piece, and wanting to work on older stuff. The blocks that I have been staring at for a while now found their way into my sewing machine.

I did massacre the points on this quilt, and if it’s for me, I don’t care. I am considering this as our guild auction quilt for next year’s show for our charity work. It’s small and bright and cheery. And now will need quilted. Or I may not donate it if I think the cut off points show way too little care. The unfinished size of the block was 1.5 inches each.

Trying to get other things off my design wall, I decided to next work in stages on the single patch quilt that is the other quilt with these same batik/black leftover quilt bit blocks.

I have batched them to help me sew these up better. I don’t really care too very much about colors except for orange. I have an orange stripe (3 of them) that I am trying to keep in diagonal ripples in this quilt. I am actually not batching them in the end, just for the temporary time before all the seams are sewn.

I find it cathartic to sew one line of new patches, one line of double patches, and then one line of 4 patches, then I go back to the single new patches, and I am rippling my way through the quilt. I do this so I can keep each line of patchwork straight. I can easily tell what I am sewing and where the next line of patches I need to sew are, and where the newly sewn patches can go.

I am curious to know exactly how much fabric I will lose to the seam allowance. This will also be a nice wall hanging but not super big in the very end. But that’s ok with me, easier to swap out in the rest of the house that way!

Well there is more to share, but this is enough! Thanks for letting me share my quilting progress. The past few days are more “march a long” and doing sewing during the work-week as a heads up for the nice long memorial day weekend coming up!

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