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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hope the templates come today

I'm done with the first row of blocks!  It only took two days to get this far.  Maybe I'll be done with it next weekend since I have a day job.   The curved cross hatching templates should be here any time.  I got an email last Wednesday with a question about my order and she said she would be mailing them that day.  I had them delivered to work so they don't go missing off my porch.

Don't want to go much further without being able to do the cross hatching along the edges.  The blocks meet at the top border and frame the cross hatching area so I thought it was ok to go ahead and do the first row of blocks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

On the first turn

Completed the top part of the first row of blocks and rolled up to do the bottom part.  I do have to say that it goes incredibly fast but I'm sure that's not the case for more detailed quilting.  I saw a video on YouTube of Sharon Schamber with her latest best of show quilt and she said there was 1500 hours of quilting in it, took her 4 years to complete it.  Just imagine... it would take 1 hour every single day for 4 years to do that.

It is surely a work of love and devotion that can never be repaid in monetary value.  Most of us aren't going to get rich by quilting, maybe a lucky few (luck has nothing to do with it).  There are many people that don't know the "value" that we put on our work and there are some who don't see value in it at all.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Still nervous but getting over it

I got the first border done in a beadboard and the top half of the first row of block centers are done.  I kept going back and forth about using the light neutral thread in the circle areas or the cocoa.  Finally decided on the cocoa since the spines of the feathers are mainly in the dark fabric and my not-so-good quilting won't be as visible!

I do like this.  It's not the over-the-top quilting that could be done on it if I wanted to pay someone else to do it but, it's mine.  To me it looks and feels free and flowing.... happy even.

So nervous!

The quilt is loaded, basted at the top and sides.... and I'm procrastinating!

I have black thread in the machine so I'll do the ditch work on the two borders after I use a template to check that the lines are straight.  I did that quickly and put a few pins in just to keep it straight for basting.

I finally got some foam pieces to use for rolling up in the take-up bar to put pressure on the machine bed and I need to get a towel and make a rice bag.  If you've ever seen a Sharon Schamber video about the foam and rice bags, you know that they are used to get more control of the machine.  That is one of the things that I have the worse time with.  The first time I used the machine I wasn't prepared for it to move so easily, like ice on a hotplate.  One tiny little movement on the handles can translate to a big mistake on the quilt.

Maybe I'll eat something for brunch before I start.... :-D

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Red Snappers came!

Yay!  I've been waiting on them to load the faceted jewels quilt on the frame.  I need to sew a channel in my leader cloths for the rods, got one of them done last night, and get to try it out.  I tried doing the semi-float method that Sharon Schamber uses because it was just such a hassel to pin the backing on the top and bottom and then pin the quilt top on the bottom edge too.  Found that I didn't really like that, wanted more tension on the top too.

Been thinking about quilting designs and came up with this yesterday, also got a suggestion of doing curved cross-hatching in the point sections around the edges of the quilt and feathers in the light, circular shape.  Love the idea of the curved cross hatching and I had just ordered templates too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trying out quilting designs

I started drawing some designs today for the faceted jewels quilt and did this when I got home this evening.  I drew the block to scale and quilted the design in the space.  The feathers should be going the same direction in both sections though.

I like it... sort of. :-P  Maybe too much in the center.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Started a simple one

I've been wanting to do this but I wouldn't let myself until I finished the faceted jewels.  I sooooo need a simple little design to work on. (this one)

In no time at all I had this done.  Just 9 of these blocks, 16 of the ones with purple, and then just sew two strips together and cut for the sashing and 4-patch blocks.  Very easy!!  It's a good sized quilt too, 83"x 83".

The blue really looks like water.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A satisfying finish

I think that getting a quilt top done is more satisfying than getting one quilted.  There is such a sense of accomplishment in doing that last seam.  I've been working on this for 4 hours this morning to get it done and can't help a big grin!

The backing needs to be washed and the top needs a good pressing but, the hard part is over.  Yeah, I say that like the quilting isn't going to be hard.  Please, please, please let my machine do a good job.  If it will straighten up and sew right, I'll take care of the rest.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Flange border

Now that the star quilt is DONE I can get going on the border for the faceted jewels quilt.  The first border is ready to sew on including the flange.

I cut the black strips 1 3/4" because I want 1" of it showing... 1/2" for the seam allowances and 1/4" that will be covered by the flange.  The flange is cut at 1" and folded in half.

So that I don't have to sew the flange on after sewing the first border to the quilt, I sewed it to the black strip but left the ends free on the side pieces.  After the top and bottom are sewn on, I'll finish sewing the side flanges out to the edge.

Binding is done

All that's left to do is wash it!  Fingers crossed that it comes out of the washer in one piece!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tweets Progress

Yesterday I had to take my SUV into the shop so I brought the Tweets block with me to work on while waiting.  It sure made the wait go by quickly.

Not a whole lot of sewing progress done but I have all the leaves for the top portion ready, the two other small flowers, and the vines.  The paper foundation for the large flower are cut out and ready to put onto fabric.

Still working on the binding for the star quilt too.  I'm on the 4th side!  Also got the fabric wash dried, and two of them ironed and starched for the borders on the faceted jewels quilt.  Soon as I get the star quilt done and off of my cutting table I can get to that.

Since I don't have a quilt on the frame right now I loaded a long piece of practice quilt.  Been thinking of how to quilt the Patriotic quilt after the faceted jewels.  I would like to do either just echo or a diamond grid in the center applique, then something in the next area bordered by the small squares, then something else in the 4 corner areas.  I'm just not sure what that something will be.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Celtic Bars

I have a set of Celtic Bars and I've used them a few times, they work pretty good but it's a lot of trouble to do them... sewing, putting the bars in, trimming, turning the seam to the back, pressing, etc.

I was working on making some of the stems for the My Tweets BOM using Sharon Schamber's technique with the disolvable foundation paper and a glue stick but I found that the bias stem didn't want to curve very well with the paper in it.  I got out the bars to just do them that way and thought... why not combine the two techniques?

I cut 5/8" wide bias strips for the smallest bar and put a thin line of glue stick along one edge. 

Fold the bias strip over the bar, line up the two raw edges, and squeeze them together all along the bar, keeping the edges even. 

Press gently with a very hot iron to dry the glue.

There's no seam but turn the strip (it may stick a little bit but a gentle tug will loosen it) so that the two layers are on one side of the bar, fold over and press.

Pull the bar out and press again.

It lays a lot flatter than a sewn seam and no messing with all the steps of getting the sewn bias onto the bar or getting the seam sewn exactly the right width.

Been thinking about this and maybe it could be done without a double thickness in the back at all.  Cut the bias strip a little less than 3x the width of the bar,  Put glue on one edge, fold the unglued edge over the bar and then fold the glued edge over on top of the first fold and press down.  The Elmer's glue stick is surprisingly sticky and it holds very well while working with it.  Will try this next time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shooting Star templates

I ordered the pattern and templates from Laundry Basket Quilts for the Shooting Star.  It looks really simple to do and makes a great looking block.  This would be beautiful with some of the 64 yards of batiks, all different colors. 
Here's a video on it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My daughter's cat and quilt

She sent me this picture of her cat on the quilt I made her.  Yes, that cat is BIG!  Bigger than the dog.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Short Attention Span alert!

I went upstairs to my sewing room to work on the binding but still couldn't resist doing something on the Tweets.  The applique design is drawn on the background and I partially sewed the bird on.  Just HAVE to see how it looks!

I'm using BOBs that I got at Superior Threads. I have all three sets that are put together for applique.  The thread is Bottom Line and it is very fine, thin thread.  It almost disappears like silk thread.

More fun with EQ7

I wanted to be able to play with quilt setting designs for the My Tweets BOM in EQ7 so I imported the pictures of the blocks.

I started out with the downloaded PDF of a block displayed on my screen.  I make sure that window is selected and press ALT+PrtSc to copy just that window.  I then go into MS Paint and paste the screen print.

While what was pasted is still outlined and selected, I move it up and left so that the edges of the PDF window are out of the screen.  Click outside of the block or on any tool so that it is no longer selected.

Scroll down and over to the right until you can see the tiny blue dots that mark the edge of the Paint box.  Mouse over them until the pointer changes to a drag arrow, right-click, and drag the window smaller so that only the picture is showing without the frames.

When only the picture that you want is in the screen, do a File... Save As... and save it to a file with type JPEG.

In EQ7 create a new block type Easy Draw + Patch Draw and in Drawing Board Setup make the block 14" x 14".  Then select Block... Import Image For Tracing.  Drag the image to a size that fits the 14" block.  You can also use the Positioning settings at the top.

Click on the Applique tab and you will have a blank block with the image behind it to trace.  EQ7 asks me if I want to turn off auto-fill and I say "no".  I want to know that I have closed a shape when drawing, otherwise when you go to fill in the color and a shape isn't closed, it will color everything at once the same color.  You know you have closed a shape when it turns to a solid white and you can't see any lines or grid behind it.

Trace the image using whatever tool is appropriate, I used the Freehand and the Circle tool on this.  As you draw the shapes you will need to move them to the front or back relative to the other shapes.

Select the Color tab and fill in with your fabrics.

On this block I drew a circle on the Applique tab and then moved it to the back to create a frame.

Now I can play around with the blocks and see how it will really look. Just three of the blocks have been posted in PDF so far.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

First Bird

Ok, I couldn't resist doing SOMETHING on the Tweets.  Took a few minutes out of my day to do one of the birds.  The purples aren't coming through very well, they look a look more blue in the picture than they really are.

I used a bit of the heat resistant template material to make some flower and leaf pieces since they are used over and over in the blocks.  I also have 1000 Swarovski pearls that I can use as accents.

Binding the star

On Thursday I finished machine sewing the binding onto the front of the quilt and last night when I got home from work I started the hand stitching on the back.  I worked on it for about 2 hours, off and on between that and getting some fabric washed and dried.  I'm using Elmer's School Glue to turn over, iron, and secure the binding on each section as I get to it.  That method is sooooo much better than using pins that poke and catch on thread.

I'm doing a ladder stitch and I noticed in this picture that the blue 1" lines on the pressing board show that the stitches are about 10 per inch.

The fabric for the My Tweets BOM is washed and dried except for the white background.  I have 8 yards and decided to cut off 3 yards for the twelve 18" square pieces for the blocks and wash that.  Oh... might as well do another yard for the center block.  The remaining will be for borders or whatever other design I decide on for the rest of the quilt.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Now I REALLY want to work on this

The last of the fabric for the My Tweets BOM came today!  It has a lot of colors to coordinate with the batiks and I am very glad to see that the white is bright white, like the Bella Solids white.  I like the chocolate brown background and I will play around with that in some designs to see about using it for borders or other elements.  Should be able to find a Bella Solid to match it, or pretty close.

The scale is good too for using an area without the bird motif for the vase in the BOM center block.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The rest of the fabric

It came today!  Received the Moda Bella Solids in white and a bundle of Spearmint Hoffman Batiks for the My Tweets BOM.  I have a few green batiks but, what the heck, I wanted the same Bali Handpaints as the rest of the fabrics.  Not like the other greens will go to waste or spoil. :-)

I really want to work on this but I need to finish up the star quilt and get the borders on the faceted jewels quilt so I can get it loaded on the quilting frame.  Hope to get those done this weekend so that I can straighten up my sewing room for the next project.  Yeah... still have others that are in the works but everything in it's time.

Was just thinking about how many UFOs I have and off the top of my head I can only think of 3 of them that are actually in the stage of being sewn together.  There are others that are waiting to be quilted and others that are just planned with fabric, not started yet so I don't consider that a UFO.  That's not much, is it?  I saw someone post once that they had something like 75 UFOs!!!  That would be so overwhelming to even think about working on anything.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First pic with new camera

Nothing "new" but I layed out the quilt to trim it.  I decided not to wash and block it, just going to bind it and then wash.  It doesn't need to be blocked and squared, looks pretty good to me.

I have the binding strips cut and pieced together into one LONG strip for starching and folding in half, right after I lay it out on the quilt again to make sure there is enough to go all around.  Almost done....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Scrap that idea

So, I decided to scrap the floral applique idea (for now anyway) and do the My Tweets BOM. I have so many Bali Handpaints that I could do several things with it and I definately want to do the BOM.

I ordered Moda Bella Solids in bleached white yesterday for the background and Michael Miller Birds of Norway for the focus fabric. I love this fabric and the colors!!

So impatient!  I want to get out the handpaints and start matching up colors with this fabric right now.

What I will do today is start working on the binding strips for the diamond star quilt.  Undecided about sewing it to the front and handstitching the back or machine sew all of it. I suppose that I could just sit on the bed under the quilt and listen to the TV while I hand sew.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A little "make work" this morning

Well, there isn't really any unnecessary work, just some odds and ends. I am going into work late this morning because I have to work late tonight so, I have a couple of hours to mess around.

I got the batiks washed and dried for my next quilt. The colors are so vibrant!

Received the delivery of the batiks for the Faceted Jewels border but the black isn't what I want.  As soon as I took it out of the mailing package I thought, "That's blue, not black."  It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes.  Have you ever worn one black sock and one blue one?  I even asked a couple of people at work what color they thought it was.  The main color looks black but the mottling (lighter) is definately blue.  I can't put that on the brown/beige/black quilt.  I ordered a solid deep black since I needed backing for another quilt anyway.

Still had some time to kill (even though the house really needs to be cleaned) so I did some work on the border blocks for the giant dahlia quilt.  This one has been sitting for awhile although the center is totally done.  I am doing a partial seam on these blocks.  You can't tell in the picture but the white has a very light silver design on it, there is also silver in the other fabrics.

This is the rest of the quilt.  It has been hand sewn onto the white background but I can't find a picture of it.