Friday, January 31, 2014

Feathered Practice

I recently enrolled in Angela Walters' Craftsy class for Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers.  I'll admit it, I'm pretty much nuts over just about everything Angela Walters.  Yes, I'm a quilt geek.  I'm comfortable with that.  I decided this little quilt for Annapolis Quilts for Kids would be a great place to practice these new lessons.  
I don't think I'm anywhere near ready for prime-time, but I love the overall effect of this huge feather that runs the length of the quilt.  I did a simple echo of the feather until I reached the blocks, then I filled those in with all-over swirls until I got to the other border.  A much smaller feather runs along the other side. 
This quilt was made with some strips leftover from some jelly roll race quilts I made for charity last year.  I didn't have enough for an entire quilt, so they become the focus for this quilt.

Tune in tomorrow morning, when I share my version of machine-finished binding for this quilt.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Beach Hippos

This is another Quilts for Kids kit that I handed over to a friend to piece together.  I've had it for a while now, but just got around to getting it loaded into the long arm frame and quilted.  I decided a simple meander would be perfect for this little quilt.  Sometimes, that's all you really need.
I decided to give machine-finished binding another try.  I think I've finally got the process down.  I plan on doing a "my way" tutorial on the blog for this.  I know there are plenty of tutorials out there, but another one might help someone find their perfect technique.

This one will go in the stack headed to Annapolis Quilts for Kids.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Polar Biker Embroidered Towels

Urban Threads has just released this fun embroidery design.  You can pick up Polar Biker in both machine embroidery and hand embroidery for free for a limited time.  I love their designs!  They are also having a sale on some designs, so check them out!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Modern Challenge: the block

After ages of thinking about the Riley Blake Basics Challenge, I managed to come up with my block.  I added the bright orange, olive drab, teal and the background gray from my stash.
This block is based on a pattern from Fons & Porter.  I didn't use the pattern exactly, but I did model my block from their pattern.  The only difference is that I used a different size sashing so they were all the same size.  Made the cutting simpler. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scrap Busting

I have bins full of scraps. Not too many, but still multiple bins.  I will put some of the smallest bits into the bins to make scrappy blocks with. I've been saving and stitching leftover blocks together for years. I have a stack of 12.5" squares that will become a new quilt for my bed. When I have enough blocks.  This won't be the first scrappy quilt made with the leftovers, nor the last.
Over the last few days, I've been stitching my scraps into smaller, 4.5" squares.  These will easily stitch up into 12.5" squares to add to the bin.  Well, that's the plan.
This is one possible layout. Somewhat like a churn dash block. I think I might find another center square for it, though.  Do you use your scraps?  Do you have bins full of scraps waiting for something to happen?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Going Wireless

I have been on the move with my sewing and had started using my earbuds more often. I just can't hear the iPod over the long arm unless I use the earbuds. More than once I got caught up with the cord and wasn't happy. I mentioned this to Darling Husband. He found a solution
Here is the answer. Bluetooth earbuds and the transmitter that connects directly to my iPod. Since the transmitter is run by the iPod, I do have to remember to plug it in when not in use, but I can wander all over the place, even pop down to the kitchen for a cup of coffee without getting tangled or having to pause my podcast. Loving it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quilts for Kids: A Jelly Roll Race

The truth is, this quilt wasn't made with a jelly roll.  Same idea, but not from a jelly roll.  I grabbed a bunch of my 2.5" strips, did some simple math and stitched up this fun and scrappy quilt.  
The quilting is based very loosely on a design from Leah Day called Ocean Current.  The binding on this one was finished by machine, too.  I'm making huge steps in accepting this method of attaching binding.  I think I have finally perfected my technique and am getting consistent results.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quilts for Kids: Blooming Butterflies

This is a kit I gave to a friend to piece.  I picked the swirl-based flowers as a quilting design for the big blocks.  I played with some new threads and designs with this one. You can see more of the quilting in this post I did last week.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quilts for Kids: Geometry

Over the long weekend, I managed to complete a couple quilts for Quilts for Kids.  I did some quilting. I did some binding.  I even did some piecing.  I think I may have finally gotten the hang of this machine-finished binding.  Well, at least I don't hate it so much.
I made the blocks for this quilt, but my friend pieced the blocks into a quilt top and attached the borders.  That left the really fun part, the quilting, up to me.  Three different designs in this one.  You can see the quilting in this post I did last week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow day, sew day!

Due to the storm that hit the Eastern seaboard today, I got to stay home.  Yay!  Snow day, sew day.  What to do with such a landfall of time?
Today I spent some time getting to know my Accuquilt Go!  When I decided I wanted this die-cutter, I knew I wanted the die for the tumbler.  This is the larger of the two dies, there is a smaller die for tumblers.  I know some people complain about the waste that is created with the die-cutters, but to that I say you just need to use those scraps.  After cutting my tumblers, I stitched the scraps together until I could cut another.  I repeated this process until I had bits too small to work into a single piece.
Overall, I love the effect this has given the quilt.  I couldn't find a backing in my stash that I really wanted to use with this quilt, so it will go on a shelf until I can find something appropriate.  Since I'm on a fabric diet, this quilt could be waiting for a while.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sneak peek

I have been working on this quilt over the long weekend.  Today, I worked on the quilting for about... five hours.  
It isn't quite ready for the debut, though.  I did want to share a peek at the quilting.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I am in Love with Thread!

I am in love with Superior Threads.
That might be an exaggeration.  It also might not be.  I ordered some Magnifico from them in the "try-me" spools.  500 yard spools in colors picked by them.  You get a price break if you don't care what color you get.  Since I like to have variety, this is just fine with me.  I used a couple of the spools when quilting a couple Quilts for Kids quilts and I love everything about this thread.  The shine is wonderful, it doesn't break, even under the high-speed conditions of the long-arm and it is pretty.  This might not be my go-to thread if I want the thread to really blend, but for stitches you should see it is Magnifico!

In this box I have the "try-me" special of Magnifico in cone-size.  I think the colors I got are wonderful.  I can definitely use them all.  I might not have picked up the silver one for myself, but I'll wager I will really like it on the surface of a quilt.

Hiding in there among the Magnific, are a couple spools of Fantastico, a variegated polyester.  I'll admit, it was on sale and I can't pass up a sale. 

I also picked up five spools of the "try-me" of MasterPiece, a cotton piecing thread.  I haven't tried it, but I love the bright colors.  With the "try-me" I'm paying less than I would pay for polyester thread locally at a chain store.

Finally, I've got a 5-pack of Bottom Line, which is a polyester thread.  I have some of this on cones, but was curious how well the pre-wound bobbins would work with my Empress.  I'll have to get back with you on that.  Besides, a pre-wound bobbin for $1 didn't seem like a terrible thing to me. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I picked up the Riley Blake Challenge fabric months ago.  I stacked the prints up with this 1 yard cut of solid olive-green from my stash.  I still haven't decided if this is the direction I want to go.  I also picked out an amazing red/orange that will go nicely.  I'd better figure it out though, the challenge won't be around forever.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Drive-by blog post #5

I saw another blogger share something similar.  I don't know that I managed to save every spool I exhausted through 2013, but here is what I have to show for the year. I've already got three or four for this year.  
How many spools of thread did you use last year?  Do you think you'll exceed that this year?
My count for 2013 = 20+
My count for 2014 = 4+?

You can see what others are coming up with if you check out Quiltmaker or Selvage Blog.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Geometry - Quilts for Kids

This small Quilts for Kids quilt was put together by a friend after I helpfully handed her thirty blocks and some border fabric.  The scrappy blocks are a fun way to work through some of the scraps left over from other projects.  Besides, I love scrappy.
I had this smallish piece of batting, that was a perfect fit!

I wanted to do some fun designs I learned during my most recent Leah Day Free Motion Quilting class on Craftsy.  She always presents so many designs I have trouble deciding what to do.  If you want to learn loads of new free-motion quilting designs, I highly recommend her classes.
I used Super Circuit Board for the solid blocks.  It is a fun design that I may have stitched a little tightly for this quilt, but I love the effect.  I used a simple closed square-spiral for the wonky log cabin blocks.  All of these designs are presented in her Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers, Vol. 2.
I used the design Pipe Maze in the borders. I really like this one.  It is really free-form and lets me just lay down the thread.
While stitching along, there was a rogue swirl that sneaked into the quilting.  I'm hoping it is something like an Easter egg for the recipient. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blooming Butterflies!

I am what you might call a quilt pusher.  I pick up kits from Annapolis Quilts for Kids and push them on my friends.  The hope is that they will be as excited about making quilts for kids as I am.
Messy bubbles for the outer border.
Sometimes this works and I get back a quilt top ready to be loaded and quilted. Since I love quilting, this works out for just about everyone.  (Everyone?  Yes.  Me, the eager quilter that will sew anything, Quilts for Kids and Superior Threads.  That's just about everyone.)
I sent this one off as a kit in a gallon plastic bag.  I got back a playful top.
The back of the quilt really shows the texture of the quilting.
I spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how to quilt this one.  Ultimately, I put bubbles in the outer border, some wavy lines in the inner border and this big flower design over the face of the quilt.  I wanted the butterflies to have somewhere to land.

My goal for this year?  Find a sewing friend that likes to finish up binding.  Then I will be unstoppable!

Drive-by blog post #4

Finishing up some binding while my handy men install new lighting in my sewing room.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Drive-by blog post #3

I dropped the bobbin case for my long arm and couldn't find the backlash spring.  I found an eBay seller that was offering five cases, with springs, for $29.99. That sounded like a deal since the spring alone would be $4 plus shipping.  Now I can have a couple cases for the long arm with different tensions already set up. Happy dance.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Drive-by blog post #2

I made up another sweater tonight. Belle wanted a sweater, too. Now, Reese and Belle have sweaters.
Since they often play rough, I don't see these lasting much more than a single winter, if that long.  For the record, they are rarely this subdued. Usually they are like whirlwinds made of fur.

Since my work-horse Pfaff is in the shop (regular service is necessary) I made these with my Baby Lock serger, which never gets enough love.

Created with the great tutorial put together by the Crafty Gemini.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Drive-by blog post #1

I stitched up this quick dog sweater in about 20 minutes after dinner. 
Check out the great video tutorial the Crafty Gemini shared and I used to make this simple sweater.