Showing posts with label quilting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quilting. Show all posts

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quick Look at the New Quilt Top

Remember this hand embroidered square I showed in this post?
design from Lecien site
  It was supposed to become a baby quilt, 
 
but it grew and grew
 Into a twin size.
I decided it would look nice in what will be the pale yellow bedroom when Kiefer moves out in a few months.

Now, onto the quilting.   I'm going to do this one by machine.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Favorite Hand Quilting Notions

I often find new sewing products by reading blogs. I'm not talking about the paid reviews, just the "here's what I use" posts.  Just in case I'm not the last remaining hand quilter, I thought I'd share a few things that make my hand quilting easier.

First, a new one I stumbled upon at the fabric store, the Protect and Grip thimble from Clover. 
 
 It is grossly over-priced for what it is, but  since only Clover is making them, they can charge whatever they want!  I got this from Overstock.com. for $7.99--cheapest place I could find one including the local store.  Overstock has a lot of sewing items and no shipping charge. 

Why is this thimble so great?  The rubber keeps it from falling off your finger and the metal tip has that great rim that helps push the needle through tough spots. This turned out to be worth the extra money.  Added bonus:  freaking cute!

That thimble still won't replace these plain, old rubber finger tips that I've been using for years for hand quilting. This goes on the top hand to help pull the thread through. the thimble is on the bottom hand, right?
Please don't buy these at any specialty sewing stores.  You can get them at the office supply store for so much less--$2.49 for a twelve pack at Staples.  They stay on and make pulling the need through so much easier.

Next are these flat-head pins from Fons and Porter . 

I held off on buying these because I thought I pin was a pin.  I was wrong.  I bought some because I read that the flat head caused less distortion when piecing.  That really does help, but the super thinness of the metal part of the F & P pins also greatly lessens the distortion.  Another plus is that they come in the pretty tin WITH a window to see what's in there.

This one is also from Fons and Porter, curved safety pins for holding the fabrics and batting together. 
I'm not convinced that this brand is necessarily better than any other curved pin.  It's the curve in the pin that's worth paying a little extra.  These pins are easier to put on and create less fabric distortion than regular safety pins.  I've never been a fan of using straight pins for this purpose.  Straight pins are  either snagging fabric or pricking my fingers. 

The F & P pins are good quality, and I love the nice box with a window--decorative,  convenient, and matches those straight pins mentioned above.  Gotta make the sewing room look pretty.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another Finish: The Garden Steps Quilt

Yay!  I finally finished Clover and Violet's Garden Steps Quilt. It has taken so long that the date of 2012 I so confidently embroidered in the corner block is now a bold lie.

I used one of the quilting stitches on my machine to do the front of the binding.

This method of binding (fold in half, sew to the back, and flip to the front) is new for me. For some reason, it seemed daunting.  As it turned out, it was so easy to do that I finished cutting, sewing and pressing the fabric strips AND sewing on the binding in a matter of hours. It sewed the binding on entirely by machine, front and back.

Better late than never, right?


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Those Squeezed In Projects

I sometimes feel as though I'm not getting much done.  Then I am reminded of all the squeezed-in projects that people spring on me.  They are always needed NOW and end up leaving the house before I can get decent pics if any at all.  (Consider that an excuse and apology for the crappy photos below.) 

This was the latest "save me" project.  It's just a simple quilt top, but it needed to be in the party "theme colors." The only one of those colors in the stash was the white!  I spent a day and a half coming up with a design, figuring out all the dimensions, shopping, cutting, sewing, and embroidering.  Non-sewers have no idea how long this stuff takes.
It will be a raffle item for a teacher appreciation party.  The blue lines across the white strip with the embroidered lettering are supposed to make it look like school paper. If I had more time, I would have preferred to do these line by hand with embroidery floss to give them more emphasis. 
On my "Thankful List" this week: someone else is being gifted with the quilting and binding. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What's That New Quilt Gonna Look Like?

As promised and on time!  So unlike me.  Okay maybe I promised more than one block when I posted yesterday.  Procrastinating is what I do best in life, so getting one done when I said I would is amazing progress.  If I had a therapist, s/he would be so pleased with me.

What do you think?  I added some of the stash to the Shades of Black charm pack I won from Quilt Taffy.  I cannot wait to get this one together.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Continuing Saga of the Garden Steps Quilt

Let me begin by saying that I have grown to love everything about this quilt including my amateur stitching.  It has flourished far better than my actual garden-growing and growing!  The original kits from Clover and Violet were for six and twelve blocks.  I got the twelve block kit.  Then I decided that I wanted it to fit a bigger bed.  That would require eight more blocks.  I needed another twelve block kit. The four extra are turning into pillow shams.  Okay!  Way to turn a big project into a massive one!  So I'm down to the embroidery on the last two squares, and the quilt top is together  ready to pin. 
.
It is a rainy, dark day here which I am blaming for this rather dull photo.  I find that the time to fix photos is often what keeps me from blogging.  I'm trying not to be such a perfectionist.  You guys forgive me, right?  (She says as her few blogger buds hit to drop-this-blog button:-o)
 
Anyway back to the quilt.  Increasing the size left me with lots of blocks that needed embroidery designs.  I combed through some from Clover and Violets past projects, the internet, magazines, and books to find designs to complete the blocks.  Here are a few that will receive proper credit as soon as my life calms down to its normal frenzy.

from this site, Needlecrafter.com

From a quilting magazine that I won't look up unless you want to find it.

Another online one.

The idea is from an online source though there are lots of changes.
From a photo!  I could not find a Hosta drawing.
These are the last two that I need to finish.  I wanted a squirrel because I have an abundance in my garden.  We also have a few toads which always delight me when they turn up.  I couldn't find a drawing of a toad, though.  The tree frog in the last one will have to do.
Finished!  The squirrel is from Aneela Hooey's Little Stitches book.

Toad drawings were too detailed or dark for me to use.
 Best place I've ever sewn:
In a comfy chair on the beach.

I've got to leave you with one last photo.  I promise--last one.  It's my new favorite spot to compute.
Right now, despite the rain,  I've got a downy woodpecker, purple finch, three gold finches, house finch, too many sparrows, and a cardinal feeding.  So cool to get to watch them up close.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Second Hand-Embroidered Block or Now I Remember Why I Bought an Embroidery Machine

I was ready to toss this out when I finished last night.
Adding to my already abyssal embroidery skills, I ended up drawing most of this freehand because the stabilizer on the back made it difficult to trace the pattern.  I didn't have that problem the last time because I forgot to use stabilizer on the first block.  On top of that, my new fading ink pen fades really fast!  The manufacturer used to say that it would last 24 hours, but I always found that the ink lasted much longer.  I could go back days after and still see the lines.  This new one fades within hours!  When I came back to this after dinner, the leaf area was gone.  I'm glad I did the flowers and butterflies first!

Judging this on its own rather than comparing it with the other participants' blocks, it's okay.  It is, after all, only a four inch block.  In the scheme of things, it will just be a bit of a blur in the corner of a big quilt--way in the corner, on the other side of the bed, against the wall;-)

I'm thinking that I might start substituting some of the many yo-yos I make when traveling for a few of these blocks.  That would like nice, right??

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finally! The Garden Steps Blocks are Together

OMG!  This was time consuming.  While we are only going to embroider one center square every two weeks on these blocks, I wanted them ready to go rather than putting together a block at a time.  I'm glad I did.  I was on the tenth of twelve blocks before I felt like I really knew what I was doing!  Doing one every two weeks would have been a constant relearning experience for me. 

I bought one of the kits Clover and Violet offered through two of their sponsors, and these are way more girly/bright prints than I would ever have chosen.  I'm still adjusting to them.  I definitely will put a fairly wide white sashing in between.  That should bring the bright factor down a bit, right?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Craftsy Blocks for March

Although I belong to a quilt guild, I don't do a lot of quilting.  I buy books and magazines about quilting and plan way more than I actually do.  The two quilt alongs (QAL's--they even have an acronym!) and the online quilt bee have been the perfect push to get me moving.

Now I'm realizing how little I know about quilting!  I'd never even heard of foundation piecing before this month's blocks. AND, my definition of a throwaway scrap has changed this month.  It's gotten way smaller.  Here is my new scrap trash container that can sit right on my table.
Did I mention that I have a cold?  I have a lot of these empty boxes right now.  This is so much easier than the usual little trash container on the floor--which I always miss anyway.

Here are my March blocks in the browns/blues:
The one on the right is called Broken Spider Web and the left is String Block pattern.
and the orange/blues:
Here are all the months' blocks so far in brown/blue:
and orange/blues:

I'm still working on finishing the Clover and Violet quilt blocks.  Five are finished and seven more to go.  Next month when I go to the quilt guild meeting, I won't feel like an impostor :-)

I also gained a new sewing convert!
Melissa has decided she wants to learn to quilt.  This is her first block!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pleated Pillow is Finished!

I did this as a sew along that Craft Buds has been doing.  I had narrow strips left over from the Craftsy QAL that worked great for it.

The tutorial (you can get it here) calls for making the pleats less uniform, but I just could not bring myself to do it that way.  I kept going back and fixing it until, eventually, the pleats were pretty much uniform.  In addition to the downloadable tutorial, there are posts covering each aspect. I probably should have paid more attention the the casual pleats part, but, actually, I'm happy with the finished product.

To show you how simple it is, here is the front panel prior to pleating.
 In retrospect, I should have just ironed in a couple of pleats at this point since I prefer the "neat" look."

The back has two overlapping pieces to slide in a pillow.  If you've got some little scraps you can't bear to toss out, this is a great way to use them up.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Clover and Violet Garden Steps Quilt Block

So there it is!  All hand embroidered and everything.  My hand stitching is not the best, but it looks good in a  folk art kind of way.

Fortunately we will only get one small bit of embroidery every few weeks for this quilt-along.  I have no idea what I'm doing despite watching some videos on embroidery stitches to get ready.  My stitches came out nothing like the ones in the video.  Close enough for me, though.

This is a whole new experience for me.  I've never had to work this hard at keeping all the pieces in order when quilting.  The fat quarters get used with only an average of one inch or less off the ends!  Not much room for error here!
As you can tell from the fabric piles on the floor at the top of the above picture and the unbelievable mess on the other side of the table in this picture:
I'm not the neatest worker. (It's just my craft room that looks like this. Really! I swear!)   I'm gonna have to clean it up tomorrow so that I can put together the rest of the blocks.  Doing a block every few weeks leaves me way too much time to get everything mixed up.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fabric for the Garden Steps Quilt


My fabric and thread arrived from the Five Monkeys shop on Etsy for the Clover and Violet blog quilt along!  Beautiful, isn't it?   I decided to get the kit the shop put together for Clover and Violet after hours of indecision staring at my own hoard.  I don't usually do hand embroidery, so being able to buy just the amount needed for this in the matching colors from Five Monkeys is a big plus for me.

It's gonna be a courthouse steps block with small bits of embroidery in the center white square of each block.  This is my first fat quarter project.  I generally over-buy on fabric.  In fact, asking for a yard is hard for me.  More often than not, I quickly change the cutting order from one to two yards when I see that pair of scissors about to cut into fabric.  I am freakin' nervous about messing up these lovely little fat quarters!  Today is the big day, though.  The scissors hit the fabric.  Am I the only one with fabric cutting anxiety?  Wish me luck.

There's still time to join in the fun.  This will take a year after all!  The button below will take you to the information.




Thursday, March 8, 2012

Megan's Star Block for the Virtual Quilting March is Finished

Lauralei, this month's "queen bee",  wanted a fussy cut of a beast in the center.  The colors could be brown, gray, cream, and muted mustard.  I didn't have much hope for it, but I actually found an animal print!  Now let's hope Lauralei  likes the elephant.  This is my first fussy cut.  I was a bit nervous about it.  Turns out that it's pretty easy.

The book we're using, Modern Blocks by Susanne Woods, has this as one of the modern blocks.  There are lots of modern blocks in the book, but this is definitely an old favorite.  Perhaps the fussy cut in the center makes it modern.

One monthly sew-along/virtual bee down, three more to go.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stitch and Quilt Along with Clover and Violet and Hoopla Embroidery Book Review

I've decided to join Clover and Violet's Stitch and Quilt Along!  The quilt will be made up of courthouse step blocks with a little bit of hand embroidery in the center of each block. If you want to check it out, click on the quilt-along button on the sidebar or on the lovely little pic here.






I was hesitant to join because of the hand embroidery.  It's been years since I did any hand embroidery.  However, completely by chance, Melissa brought an incredible book on embroidery home from the library yesterday.  What are the chances of that happening on the very same day?   I'm taking it as a sign that I should join the quilt along.



The book is Hoopla:  The Art of Unexpected Embroidery by Leanne Prain.   Melissa thought I would be interested in it.  Truthfully, had she called and asked if I would like to see a book on mostly hand embroidery, I would have said no. Taking on another form of stitchery would have seemed too daunting.  Thumbing through the book when it arrived, however, I realized that some of the simplest pieces shown were such special expressions of conviction and emotion.
Embroidered poem by Jamie Chalmers
I can think of a lot of places other than an ouch pouch
where I'd like to embroider a band-aid.
 (And, some are just plain fun!)

Embroidering on photos!  See the mustache on the baby?
Who wouldn't want to send a special someone who's far from home a photo
like this embroidered with hearts!

IMHO, anyone who sews beyond simple repairs, has a need to express themselves creatively.  Prain's book shows you how to do just that with beautiful, contemporary, artistic embroidery from the absolute simplest lines to the most complex.  The book has gorgeous photos, instructions on techniques, full directions for some of the projects, and interviews with artists.

As for a few of the more complex--but still doable, how about embroidering your furniture?
Sorry for the distorted photo.  It's the best I can do.
Wish I had embroidered a little something when
I reupholstered my denim set.  Not this much though!

How cool is this map!
You know I own this book now, don't you?  Well, it's on the way from Amazon, anyway,  for $19.77, down from the $29.95 list price.  Check it out at your library or click on "Amazon" above to see more about it online.