Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A little of this, a little of that

Do you ever have those days where you can't concentrate and work on a billion and a half projects?

I had one of those.  I just couldn't lock into anything, so I did a little of this and a little of that.
I certainly made some progress an multiple things, but only one teeny little thing got done.

A friend of mine has asked that I make a baby quilt for her niece.  The shower was this last weekend and because she knew the quilt wouldn't be done by then, she asked for maybe a little scrap of the fabric so she could give a hint at her gift.  Just the fabric?  Oh no, that won 't do.  She mentioned she was also giving the baby a Rocking Dog.  Like a Rocking Horse, only it was a fluffy puppy.  *Lightbulb*  My crafty mind thought, I can work with this.  Every puppy needs a collar and tags right?  So ...

This darling little dog tag was born.

The binding is a bit rough.  Which led me to read some tutorials on how to bind a tiny thing.  I love the abundance of quilting tutorials.  Now if I can only remember what to do next time. This was about 2 inches across. My friend hung it on a ribbon around the dog's neck and told them there was more to come.  :)  It was fun to make.  I need to get to work on the quilt.  Maybe this long weekend will see its finish.

I also made a little gift for a friend, but you can't see it until she gets it.  :)

Then I worked on another quilt that a friend asked me to make for her boyfriend.  How many of you have used those Crown Royal bags to make a quilt?  It is fun.  I think it will turn out well.  I need to decided on some design factors still because the amount of bags I have doesn't make it quite big enough.

And, last but not least, I worked on a quilt that has been in progress for a couple of months now.  It is for a nephew's 16th birthday, which has come and gone, but I KNOW I will get it done before his 18th.  

I am loving the colors of it.  I wish that I could share the fabrics with you, but it is ALL from my stash and I purchased most of that before I knew to pay attention.

My design board... I recently bought a new dining table and I had to attach the legs myself and it came in this HUGE, heavy box.  I kept one of the cardboard sides and keep it behind my sewing table.  When I need to lay something out, I just pin some batting scraps to it and lean it against the wall behind my sewing space.  Then I just swivel in my chair, grab the pieces and Bob's your uncle.  It works out pretty well.  I wish I had a more permanent, stable design wall, but tiny apartment living just doesn't allow for wall space.

This green quilt still has a little growing to do.  Maybe two more rows on the side, then the top will be done.  If you have read my #BraveQuilter post, you know my free motion is a work in progress.  How would you quilt this?

I did work on one more block, but I will save that for another post because...*drumroll* I will have a Giveaway to go with it!

As usual, I will be linking up with:
Linky Party Tuesday at Free Motion by the River
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, June 20, 2016

#BraveQuilter - FMQ

Ok...So, it turns out it is taking much more bravery to share this experience than it was to actually do it.  I don't want to say that my #BraveQuilter choice for June over at PinkDoxies was a complete failure, but it did make me realize that I have A LOT of practice ahead of me.  And probably some more pricey supplies too.

I chose to focus my free motion quilting work instead of just making wobbly, meandering lines and loops.  I have always quilted my own work and didn't think too much about it.  I little out of the ditch here, a knot there.  No big deal.  But, now that I know more, I want my skills to match what I know is good work.

I made a few little quilt sandwiches and stitched around the outside so I would have a good little frame to work with.  I decided to start with a simple feather.  I love the look of them and they are so versatile.  AND...turns out they are not as easy as they look.  This is downright embarrassing showing these photos, but I am hoping it will shame me into practicing much, much more.

I am not sure if it is a setting on my machine or if I am just that shaky when I sew.  My lines are SO wobbly.  It might be the foot I am using.  It is a foot with a circle, but no spring.  I think you can see it here:

It bounces so much that it makes me dizzy.  It is hard to stitch over lines with any accuracy as well. Maybe I just need to invest in the normal spring free motion foot.  Advice?

I felt that I did better starting at the bottom of the stem and doing the top of the curve each time.  And my right side was always better than my left.

Then I moved on.  Trying a few different things.  Still very shaky and wobbly.  Even when I was doing a simple curved line.  
Those pebbles are just horrible, how do they look so easy in the videos?

I think at this point I need to take a few steps backwards and make some stitches and label what tension, what speed, etc. that I use with each and then look at them to see what is working best.  

I think these practice sandwiches have taught me a lot.  I need to make about 100 of these and start practicing before I even think about picking up a full quilt.  

Today I'll be linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at SewFreshQuilts
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
and at the end of June...
#BraveQuilter at Pink Doxies

Friday, June 17, 2016

My Favorite Fabric

Do you ever find that fabric that just calls to you?  A couple of years ago I came across two fabrics that were the prettiest, most "Me" thing I have ever seen.  I didn't know how much I would grow to love this fabric until it had aged in my stash for a bit or else I would have purchased the entire bolt.
I only bought a half yard of each thinking I was just going to make a little bag for myself and that was it.

But I couldn't cut into it.  The bag didn't do it justice.

While rearranging my sewing area about a month ago I came across these two half yards at the bottom of my fat quarter bag.  *I really need a better way to store those. They are currently overflowing an old clear plastic bed comforter bag*  I was reminded just how much I love this fabric.  "I have to do SOMETHING with this," I told myself with the promise that I would use the great thing that is the internet and find more of it.

Aren't these colors just delicious?

And in that same organizing session, I realized that the little plastic bag (that once held some pillowcases this time) that I kept my frequently-used tools in had a little hole in the bottom.  PERFECT!  I knew I had a caddy pattern somewhere.  Time to get to work.
The pattern I used was another Lazy Girl pattern, this time for the Suzi Purse Insert & More. You can get one here if you are interested. (No affiliation or compensation).

I will definitely be making more of these caddies to hold all of my things.

There are pockets on the inside too!

*Edit - Red Floral Song of Joy by Victoria Hutto for Quilting Treasures and Fusion Illusions "Pool" Blank Textiles BTR 4368

Linking up with:
Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Friday, June 10, 2016

Brave Quilter - quilting with purpose

I have finally decided to join all of the #Bravequilters over at Pink Doxies for the month of June.

I have no pretty pictures to show because I have to post this right away so I don't back out.  :)

My challenge for June will be to quilt with a purpose.  I want to start quilting outside of a meander or a straight line.  I want to do leaves and swirls and vines.  Eventually I want to do dragonflies and daisies, but lets not get too crazy.  :)

I will do some practice blocks, but I think I will set this goal to quilt a wall hanging or mini quilt of some kind so I can also work with the shapes in the quilt.

Any design suggestions?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Pattern you say?

Yup that's right, I am using a pattern!
If any of you know me at all, you have realized that throughout my quilting life I could count the number of quilt patterns I have used on one hand (not counting bags and things). I always want to make my projects unique.  So, often I just use a block or two, or just get the measurements and then wing it.  Or make up my own patterns. This drives my pattern-following friends crazy!

What led to this change in habit?
I won a book.  :)
I won the Holiday Wishes book by Sherri Falls of This and That Pattern company from The Fat Quarter Shop.  You can get your own HERE. (no affiliate or compensation)

As I was glancing through the book on a 100 degree day, I was not thinking about wintertime holidays.  I was thinking about a icy lemonade by the pool.  Then it hit me.  Why not?  There are no rules to fabric picks.  I decided on the Midnight Clear Block of the Month pattern and switched up the color scheme.

 These are the colors I pulled out with the white as the background fabric. They were so bright and summery, I couldn't wait to get started.

Block 1 cut and ready.

I always seem to have trouble getting those perfect points.  I don't use pins a lot, I just can't get into the flow of it, especially when working with such tiny pieces. I decided I wanted to do really well on these blocks, so I ended up pulling stitches on three of these pieces to make them at least a LITTLE more accurate. Sometimes it is ok to have them off a bit as they aren't that noticeable once the quilt is complete, but this teal on white was really driving me bonkers. Are your points always perfect?  How often do you seam rip to correct them? What is your favorite method to make them perfect?

Then of course there are all of the little triangle cut off pieces.  I hate really dislike wasting any bit of fabric. And even these teeny little triangle call to me to make something from them. Do you keep these little bits? Do you have a go-to project for using them?

When measuring each of my final 9 squares to make the block, they weren't coming out right.  The pattern said 4 1/2", most of mine were closer to 4 1/4".  I had measured my seam allowance before starting, I don't know what was wrong.  If using this pattern has taught me anything, it has made me realize that I need accuracy practice. Because I usually just have a quilt size that is what it is, rather than aiming for an exact measurement, I am not used to this. I want this one to be just right.  I might end up making this block over just to get that perfect measurement.  Also, I am not totally pleased with the color arrangement.  I think I should have swapped the teal and pink.

If I end up re-doing this I'll find some purpose for this block.  It is a super pretty block and I love the skill building involved with it. I can't wait to get started on block number two!

I'll be linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Quilt that fought back.

Do you ever have that project that you are so excited to get done, but it fights you every step of the way?
I had one of those last weekend.  I was so pumped because my son actually requested a wall hanging after seeing my finished butterfly.  He pulled up an image from his favorite video game (Kingdom Hearts) and asked if it was possible. It is the symbol of the Heartless and is kind of a heart with thorns crossing in the middle.
"Anything is possible" I cheered.  I  handed him some graph paper and a pencil and told him to make it work.

And he did!
He converted this symbol into little squares and triangles in the best way.  I was so excited that he actually wanted something that we picked out the fabric and got started right away.
The red that we found was in my "less than a yard" bin and I was worried about my math being wrong. After calculations, it was an almost exact match.  Phew!  But then... duh duh dum... my first cut was off. What was I thinking?!?  I cut a full 2 inch strip instead of allowing for the seam allowances and cutting 2.5 inches.  Aaarrggg.  Welp, I guess it would have to be smaller than planned.  No biggie.

I started cutting into the black fabric (which I had plenty of). It felt a bit off on texture.  It was one of those pieces that I had purchased when I first started quilting and was not totally sure if it was 100% cotton or not.  Short of lighting it on fire, I really am still not sure how to tell.  It was just for a wall hanging, so I figured it wouldn't matter.  I won't be using it for a bed quilt ever, so I might as well use it for something. It was a frayer (don't care if that is not a word, it is now).  And when working with 2 inch squares a little fraying makes a big difference.  Good thing I had lots of it, I tossed quite a few just because they weren't working right or they lost too many threads in the handling.

Time for laying out the rows and putting them together.  Why are the two in the middle so short?  Ack.  Forgot the darn seam allowance ...AGAIN!  There was no way I was going to be able to rip seams from that black fabric without tearing it apart.  New rows it is, and because I had to cut the red smaller than originally planned, I had a little extra.  :)
Finally I get all of the rows together and minus a few points being off, it looks good.  He asked that it be quilted to look like cracked glass.  Oh goodness.  I ended up doing a pointy meander with angles instead of curves.  I think it turned out pretty good overall despite its best efforts to defeat me.

Sorry for the terrible photo.  He wanted it hanging in his poorly lit room right away.

Have you ever finished that project that seemed determined to fight you every step of the way?  Were you just glad to get it done?  Or did it end up in the scrap bin?

Linking up with:
Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio