Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thread Thursday

I can't keep up with my own thread acquisition!
I cannot resist a good price on thread.
In the last newsletter Superior Threads had their Try Me Specials on sale for a great price.  I picked up another five spools of Masterpiece and another five cones of Fantastico.  I love Fantastico for quilting.  I also threw in a couple of the Deal of the Day Specials.  Being a member of a thread club really pays off.  It also gets me loads of great threads!  This isn't even my Club order!  I look forward to doing some great sewing with these.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Row by Row: Spring Water Designs

Spring Water Designs in Columbia, MD, is another great little shop.
This is a new shop.  They are also a Handi-Quilter dealer.  I may have to take a class with them sometime.  I'm self-taught, unless you count Craftsy.  The Row-by-Row Experience is a great way to learn about new shops and to make new friends.  This is where I picked up my extra fabrics for the Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  the fat eights they give you is just enough to whet your appetite.  If you missed it, you can ready about what I made with my challenge fabrics in this post.  I also picked up a fat quarter bundle for the Row by Row pattern.  I may not use the fabrics for that, but I couldn't pass up the reproduction prints.  I just love them.  I also picked up backing for a scrappy quilt I'm working on.  When I can find quality wide backing fabric I have to take some home.  It is so hard to find.

What kinds of fabrics draw your attention?  Do you like reproductions?  Batiks?  Solids?  There are just so many to choose from!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Row by Row: Cottonseed Glory Quilt Shop

They stack the fabric to the ceiling at Cottonseed Glory!  I love all the different fabrics they offer.
Their nautical section is not to be missed.  They also have a room filled with kid prints.  Even better?  They have a "buy 10 get 1" deal for fat quarters.  I never leave without 11 fat quarters.  Never.  Another summertime kit and pattern.  I so want to make a summer themed quilt.

Have you picked up many of these Row-by-Row kits or do you just pick up the patterns?  I love the entire shop hop experience and try to spend at least 30 minutes in each store.  Keeping small shops in business is important to me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Row by Row: Tomorrow's Treasures

This is my haul from Tomorrow's Treasures in Crofton, MD.  This is a great shop!  The ladies are all very helpful and genuinely excited about helping you find the best thing for your project.  I picked out these fat quarters along with my Row-by-Row plate and kit.  I love these little plates.  I'm going to have to figure out something awesome to do with them.  I'm still collecting.  I have only gotten to five shops but I've got all summer long to play.

Are you participating in the Row-by-Row Experience?  Do you like the shop hops?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Threads, threads, threads!

Today I spent a little time auditioning threads for this quilt.  This is the quilt from last year's Quilt Quest.
I would really like to finish this quilt before the new shop-hop begins, so here I am looking at my quilt top and all these threads.  I don't usually do color-work with the quilts.  I pick one that matches the backing and just go for it.  This time, I may challenge myself.  I'm still thinking about it.  So many choices!

All these amazing threads are from Superior Threads.  I love them all.

Do you change your threads often when quilting?  Or, do you just pick one and stick with it?  If I do change the colors, how custom should the quilting be?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Modern Quilting for The Bitchy Stitcher

WARNING:  If you think quilting isn't funny, or are easily offended by (im)mature language, I recommend you stop reading now.  You've been warned.

Back in April of this year, The Bitchy Stitcher wrote a fun post that tickled my funny bone.  I set out to make some of her amazing modern quilts.  In miniature.  I also found a short thread (that I can't find now) over on the Quilting Board where there was some butt-hurt that lasted about three posts until someone pointed out that her new book, Modern Quilting:  F*ck Yeah!, was a joke.  The original post was posted on April 1st, after all.
First I picked out my solids, because everyone knows that modern quilting demands solids.  Lots and lots of solids.  These are all Kona Cottons from Robert Kaufman that I had in my stash.  I have so many of these because they are quilting staples.  I also have batting by the roll and thread in colors the rainbow never heard of.  Don't judge.
I was going to use Kona white (there are actually several shades of white/neutral in this line) for the backing and the background for some of these.  I ended up changing my mind on the backing fabric since I decided to print the label directly on the backing fabric.  I used the prepared fabric you can get at quilt shops for printing with your inkjet printer at home.  I've had these fabric sheets for a long time and decided that I should use them.  It is only a matter of time before the sticky backing either doesn't come off or falls off before I can print on it.
To get the shapes for the front of the quilts, I went with English paper piecing.  I have an unnatural (and disturbing) urge to do this sort of sewing.  It goes against everything I am when it comes to quilting.  I am a machine sewer.  I am a machine quilter.  I finish binding by machine.  But... English paper piecing is a topic for another blog post.
I attached the shapes to my white background fabric.  Sometimes, my hand work is better than others.  The hexie was fine.  That quadrilateral challenged my sewing ability and my inner calm.  I decided to just let that one ride.  Life is too short to rip.
The quilting is where I really let this project take off.  First was Far From the Madding Crowd.  I sort of let the walking foot do the work.  This is another thing you see a great deal of in modern quilting; long parallel lines that use some of the piecing as a base and just take off across the surface of the quilt.
Here we have Dream Your Explosion Tiffany.  I used one of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine to balance the feather I put in the white background.  That feather isn't perfect, but I love it anyway.  Sometimes the feather, an heirloom quilting motif, is stitched into the negative space of modern quilts because, well, feathers are awesome.
Finally, we have Meadowlarking.  I love the quilting on this one.  Each of those little clams challenged my free-motion quilting abilities.  Overall I like this one the most.  The quilting is perfect!
I trimmed and added the binding to each tiny quilt to contrast the quilt and really help the design stand out.  Nah, I just sort of followed the book on this one.  I still love the effect.  Megan picked great colors.
Each back was printed with the label prior to quilting.  This is a great way to label your mug rugs.  I should use some freezer paper to do this sort of thing with other mug rugs.  Sometimes I'm such a genius!  (One millisecond is all it takes.)  I suppose if I do that I should also share a tutorial.
 Far From the Madding Crowd
 Dream Your Explosion Tiffany
These quilts were a blast to make.  After they were done, I bundled them up and sent them to The Bitchy Stitcher.  I can only hope I did her patterns and designs justice.

As I mentioned before, The Bitchy Stitcher is collecting quilt blocks to create the Laughter Quilt.  This is a great way to share something that makes you laugh with the quilting world.  Seriously, lend a hand.  Remember, if you can't laugh, you'll cry.  There is no crying in quilting, especially modern quilting.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MQG Challenge meets Sew Together

When I received my fabrics for the Modern Quilt Guild Challenge, I had no grand idea on what I would be making.  That was before I discovered the Sew Together Bag.  
My friend Susan over at The Bored Zombie made one and I had an opportunity to use it while I was at the Maker Faire in Raleigh.  I loved it as a notions bag.
This is actually the second bag I made with this pattern.  I used the majority of the challenge fabrics plus two fat quarters of coordinating Michael Miller fabric, a small piece of batting and some Wonder Under for the lining and the side pieces.  Little squares of wool felt became the needle and pin landings.  I did try another pattern before this one, you can see the result in this blog post.
I cut all the lining pieces before I cut the squares for the outside of the bag.  I wanted it to be scrappy and this seemed the best way to use the limited fabrics available.
The very simple quilting was done with my Pfaff with the IDT engaged.  I used Superior Threads Masterpiece for the piecing and the top stitching.  I found a great tutorial over on the Quilt Barn for a sew-along for this bag.  Great pictures and descriptions.
I wasn't in love with the fabrics when I started, but I love this bag.
Pattern from Sew Demented:  $12
Challenge fabric, six fat eighths of Michael Miller:  Free
Coordinating fat quarters from Spring Water Designs:  $6
Masterpiece Thread from Superior:  less than $1.00 (I got this color as part of a Try Me! special.
Zippers from ZipIt!:  about $2.50, little zipper pull:  free with order from ZipIt!
Wonder Under:  about $0.75 (you need a little over 1/4 yard)
Batting was a piece of Warm and Natural left over from a quilt, so I'm going to count that as free.

A bag that holds my scissors, thread, needles, pins, bobbins, hexagon papers for Engilsh paper piecing, fabric squares for hexies and finished hexies, tape measure and binding clips is a wonderful and priceless thing.  Love it!

Have you made something that you just love?  Something that you want to make again and again and you question whether you want to give any away?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Charity Quilting: Bubbles

A friend of mine pieced this quilt a while back.  I just found the perfect backing on the discount shelf at a local quilt shop.
I still have eight bobbins worth of Bottom Line in this fun green, so I decided this would be a great quilt to use some of those threads.  I used Fantastico for the top thread.
I figured this one would be great for the swirl and pebble design but with a bit of a twist.  I didn't go small with this one.  Some of those swirls are six inches across.  I like working in these big sizes when I stitch with the high-visibility threads.  I think it just adds so much character to the quilt.
I tried to capture some of the texture this little quilt has.  
I should have just shared this picture first.  From the back, you can see all that fun texture.  These colors are a little more vibrant than they appear here, I was trying to work the lighting for the texture and that just isn't the best for seeing the colors.  They are as bright and vibrant as the colors on the front, I promise!

How do you modify a quilting motif to suit your quilt?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Laughter Quilt

I've been following Megan The Bitchy Stitcher (yes, that all gets capital letters) for a while.  Not forever, but long enough to know that she has a great sense of humor and wants to share it with all of the quilting world. She recently asked for some blocks to make a quilt.  I finally set myself the task of making some of these blocks.  I know, how hard can it be?
I won't go over the instructions.  You can find all the instructions over at The Laughter Quilt blog post.  For the record, one 3.5" strip cut width of fabric will square up into 12 blocks.
If you decide to join in, you'll have to go there to get The Bitchy Stitcher's address anyway.  I paired my Kona White with some leftover charms from the Fossil Fern collection.
I even used my new thread snipper to snip apart those units.
She asked for bright and cheery colors.  I hope I managed to stay within the guidelines.
Again my piecing skills were saved by the Tucker Trimmer.  I love this tool!  Sometimes quilting is like writing.  It isn't about the first draft, it is about the editing!
Before I knew it, I had a cool dozen of these cute little blocks.
I backed them with a piece of freezer paper to stabilize them while I wrote on them.  I didn't back all of them at once since I had things to say early in the process and freezer paper is easy enough to move to the next block once it has served its purpose.
I won't share what I wrote on these until much later.  Heaven forbid I ruin the surprise.  I am looking forward to the finished quilt.  This will be a wonder to behold.  Or, it will just be a bunch of snarky blocks sewn up into a quilt.  Although, I think that would be pretty awesome, too.

Are you joining in the block-making?  Do you have something that makes you laugh that would be a good addition to this quilt?  I know I have more to say.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tool Tip Tuesday: the Tucker Trimmer

This will be a quickie.  I promise.

Today I bought the Tucker Trimmer III.  I know it is hard to believe that I have been making quilts and quilt blocks for a long time and I just now picked up this 12.5" square-up ruler.
I've been in love with my 6.5" Tucker Trimmer since I bought it on the recommendation of Material Girls.  I have been frustrated by squaring up these larger blocks for long enough.  If you don't have one and want to try making half-square triangle blocks I recommend getting one.  If you just want to make your squares square, it works, too.  There are plenty of other square rulers that will get you to that perfectly trimmed block.  This is the one I prefer.
When I make my HST blocks, I cut to the next 1/2" up (a 4.5" finished block would be cut at 5" (charms!)) before sewing.  I mark a diagonal line, stitch on both sides at a scant 1/4" seam allowance, cut the two apart along my marked line and press open for trimming.  The trimming leaves me with all of these little bits.  I am realistic enough to know that cutting at 4 7/8" is just not something I want to do.  I would rather square up that square after I have pieced it and pressed it.
I picked up this great tool at Ellicott City Sew-Vac.  I was there for the Row-by-Row Experience but I couldn't pass up this great ruler.  I also picked up the license plate and their row kit.  I'm trying to figure out how to get my far-flung friends in on this adventure.  Have you looked into joining this Shop Hop?  It is a great way to find some of those little shops you would never know were just around the corner from Grandma's house.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Charity Quilting: Zig Zag Rail Fence

Here is another charity quilt.  This one was loosely based on the a rail fence quilt.  I don't know where the pattern was found, but this Zig Zag Rail Fence from Red Pepper Quilts is awesome!
The blocks for this one were made by the members of the Annapolis Quilts for Kids group during one of our monthly get-togethers. The schedule is on their blog if you want to know when we meet.  We love to have new people come out and help us make these fun little quilts for children.
I pieced a couple of these blocks but not the overall quilt.  I decided a simple meander would work great for this quilt.  I just needed something that wouldn't fight with the design.
Are you a member of a guild or other group that does charity work?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thread Thursday

Another package filled with Superior Threads.
My Thread of the Month Club order came in!  I love getting these cones of thread every month.  My library of threads is growing.

I added a couple of the Deal of the Day specials to my order this time.  This is a great way to save on shipping.  Check out the details on their site.