Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7 hours

Wonder what you can accomplish in seven hours on a longarm? 

This is what I managed to finish on my second rental. TWO quilts! 

The tumbler is just a small one, maybe between a baby size and a lap size, but the other one will fit a double bed. No small feat for a beginner longarm user. 

I used the same pantograph pattern on both. 

This top was completed about five or six years ago, and it has been patiently waiting for the day it would become a quilt. There are many more where that came from, with the same dream. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Pattern testing

Someone had written a pattern for a table runner and put a call out for testers. I was one of the lucky ones selected. I received the pattern on a Thursday, and it was to be finished by Monday. I had suggestions right off the hop, just from reading the pattern. I emailed questions, and offered my opinions, even before I'd cut anything or sewn a single stitch. 

Friday I made the top out of fabric that I already had on hand, just bits and scraps. I must admit, the concept of the pattern was wonderful, even if the pattern itself needed a bit of tweaking (in my opinion). And I really like how mine turned out. 

Then it was on to finishing. I tried to just stitch in the ditch, but I didn't like it. It was too plain. I wanted to play with some stitching. So I ripped out my ditch stitching, and watched some free motion videos. 

Pebbles! Better than I could have hoped for! But I had no idea the amount of time and thread this design would use up... I'm better educated now. 

Quilted, bound, and pictures taken. I edited the pattern in areas that I thought needed clarification, or found were not necessary, or some areas were just too "wordy" and submitted it all by the deadline. 

I enjoyed being a pattern tester. I would like to do another, if the opportunity arises.

Monday, July 20, 2015


I took a longarm certification course! Eeek! I'm so excited! Three hours of instruction at Wonderfil Threaducation Centre in Calgary, AB, followed by two hours of "do it". 

I opted for an overall meander, and love love love it! 

You may recognize this top from a previous post about using up my stash. I chose this top as my first to work on because it was small in size and made from scraps, so if I messed up, no harm done. But I didn't mess up! And I did wonderfully for a first time free motion meander.

I've already booked my next rental session and am planning on doing the other tumbler quilt top much like this one, only this time trying a pantograph. I can hardly wait!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jelly roll race 2 ... 2

My second jelly roll race quilt top. Greys and blacks with pops of color.

I don't have a decent picture of the whole thing, so all you get is this sneak peak, for now. You'll get to see it better in it's entirety when I have it quilted.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mondo bag

This bag was a pattern that people were raving about a couple years ago, so I bought the pattern then, but just finally made it this week when the need arose for a bag big enough to take toddler toys to the park for outings. I used a charm pack and a few scraps, plus leftover grey from a backing on a quilt for the lining.

It is a huge bag, constructed in modern neutral colors, so either mom or dad can carry it along.

The project took all day to sew. It was easy with well written instructions, but very time consuming. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Another rescue

I've been back working on "projects from the closet". Things that were started, but not completed for one reason or another. The pile is getting smaller and smaller, I'm happy to say.

Another Stack 'n Whack has been rescued. I didn't have enough background fabric left to make more blocks, so using the ones that were already pieced, I came up with this layout. It will be a dandy tabletop covering, once it gets quilted.

A close up of the individual blocks. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ten minute blocks

If you've never heard of ten minute blocks, there is a great tutorial on you tube. I used this tutorial, along with a layer cake of fabric to whip up some blocks. 

I used sticky notes to design my layout, but the math for piecing the setting triangles was above my ability so I ended up just "winging it" and eventually it came together as I'd hoped.

The completed top. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Plus Quilt

The fabric line is an older one called Sweet Serenade from Sweetwater fabrics. I used charm squares and pieced it in less than a day. I love quick projects. 

This was how it looked on the design wall. There was lots of rearranging to get all the blocks to stand out individually, but I'm happy with the final layout. The colors are truer in this picture. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


It's called Shimmering Triangles, and it's a pattern available on Craftsy with support from a facebook group called Shimmering Quilts. 

This project came about simply because I saw a picture posted of one that someone else had made and I was in love. I did a search, found the facebook support group, and joined. I was in awe of the projects other people were making with this pattern... each so different, depending on the fabric chosen. 

I bought the pattern that very same morning, and my brainstorming began. There were so many choices. Different fabrics/patterns/colors each gave a different feel to the look of the quilt. It was overwhelming.

I decided to use fabric that I have, sort of to "test drive" the pattern. 

These were the fat quarters I pulled from my stash. Oh how I love Amy Butler fabric! I was going to use them for a pineapple quilt once upon a time, but that never happened and they've been waiting patiently for me ever since. I decided to go against the suggestion of the pattern to have every block a "color", and instead I made every other block a background 4-patch with 2 different shades of brown. 

I did a test piece, and decided I liked it, so onward I went, making half square triangles and 4-patches and laying them out on my flannel covered styrofoam boards as I went (do you like the backside of the dinosaur flannel? lol).

It didn't take long before it grew upwards and outwards, and then outgrew my little flannel boards.

So, from this point, I started assembling the pieces into blocks, and the blocks into rows, and sewed the first half of the quilt top together. 

The remainder was assembled a row at a time, and it was attached before I assembled the next row... I was unprepared for just how time consuming it was to assemble, but that won't detract from making another. 

All blocks completed and assembled, and border added. Ready to be quilted. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lunch Bag

It seemed like a good day to make a new lunch bag. My daughter picked the fabrics from my stash, and it turned out wonderful! 

This is my favorite go-to pattern for a quick, easy project, and I have not yet found a better design for holding stacked square sandwich containers, plus a bottle of water. It has that handy-dandy drawstring top that keeps everything where it belongs, too. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Fling

I've been fascinated by curves in a quilt for a long time, but the challenge scared me. I remember back in the day when I used to make clothing, I hated doing sleeves on shirts, as it was hard to get a nice seam that didn't pucker or ruffle or pleat... The seam ripper was often my friend back when I used to set in sleeves.

Then I discovered this website called Sew Kind of Wonderful. It had this ruler that guaranteed easy piecing of curves in quilts. I watched many videos and browsed many photos of completed projects. It did seem easy. So, I bought the ruler, a jelly roll, a coordinating solid and a pattern.

But I didn't want to use my newly purchased fabric just yet. I wanted to test the ruler first. I found a free pattern for a block called Spring Fling and thought I would give it a go.

The test block turned out wonderful, just as it was supposed to, and, much to my surprise, the curves were not difficult at all. This block hooked me and made me want to make more of these... "make a whole quilt" it said. 

I assembled four blocks out of strips that I had, but I wasn't in love with the fabric placement I had chosen once they were put together (the greens and yellows kind of got lost with the background, and the prints really jumped out). They were alright, but not as lovely as that first one. I am also not a fan of square quilts, so I used the leftover bits and made two scrappy blocks, so it was large enough to be a couch quilt.

With sashing in between and all around, I am calling it done as a top. I debated adding a border, but opted not to. 

I love the ruler, and now feel confident enough to tackle the pattern I bought, Metro Hoops, without worrying about wasting my "good" fabric. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

And... It's Finished

Not the best angle or lighting, but I sent this quilt off without taking a picture of it first. Oops! All I can say is Thanks, cell phone makers, for making decent cameras on your phones so I can still get a picture (from the recipient) when I need one. 

I chose this lovely bright orange fabric for the binding and it turned out lovely. It is attached by machine and hand sewn on the back. 

It's been so long since I've made a whole quilt, start to finish, by myself on my machine, without the use of a longarm service. Maybe it's not as bad as I remember, trying to do my own quilting, as long as it's simple like this one was. Perhaps it's time to do some more...

Finished is better than perfect. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tackling Quilting at Home

I love the work longarmers do. I wish I had a long arm machine of my own (and somewhere to put it). But since I don't, and I have no more space for random "tops" waiting to be quilted, and my daughter's boyfriend wants a quilt, I dug in and put a quilt sandwich together myself. 

I just did a basic stitch in the ditch with my walking foot, then added a few lines the other way too, for more security. I didn't want it to scrunch funny after washing. It's not fabulous, but it's functional, and finished is better than perfect. 

Now onto the binding. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Using up the Scraps

A while back, I bought a book called Sunday Morning Quilts, which is a great resource for using up fabric scraps. The article that intrigued me the most was re-making fabric using a single color of scraps. 

I pulled out my scrap drawer and started sorting and managed to put together some new pieces of fabric. These blocks are each sewn together using various sized strips. But I didn't love them, and couldn't figure out how to arrange them in an eye pleasing manner, so I tucked them into a box in the closet.

Recently, I discovered them again, and pulled them out and decided to use them. I have always been attracted to traditional blocks, and when I saw a video tutorial for a quick and easy churn dash, I knew I had found my pattern!

Each block uses up some of the original "made" fabric, so it's fun, and colorful, and scrappy!

This is the perfect mix of color and solid background. It tones down the busyness but still leaves each block bright and happy.

I even took some of my smallest scraps that couldn't be sewn in strips, ironed them onto fusible interfacing, and sewed around the edges of each piece. Then I cut it up and made a block out of it. (I think this one is actually my favorite)

Lots of scraps mean lots of blocks, so this will be an ongoing project, one that will be there in the background to give me a break from other projects I'm working on.

Is it just me, or does it seem like quilters always have multiple projects on the go at the same time?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jelly Roll Race 2

I watched a video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company called Jelly Roll Race 2. It seemed so easy and quick, and I just happened to have a jelly roll! 

(I realize it's not the greatest picture, and please forgive me, but I'm home by myself today, so I have nobody to hold it up for a better shot.)

I am pleased as punch at how it turned out! I'm thinking I may add a border or two yet, but I also love it just as it is. 

The fabric line is "Mixed Bag" by Moda.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Puff quilt finished

Puff, bubble, pillow... This "quilt" has many names. It is tied, and the binding is on, and it is ready to be delivered. So happy to finally have this one finished!

This project was much easier in my head on paper. I struggled with maneuvering it around on my little table, and trying to squish the pillows enough that it would go between the presser foot and the feed dogs. In the end, when I was trying to attach the binding, I actually moved my table against the bed and used the bed to support the weight of most of the quilt. There should be a course out there, "Quilt Wrestling 101", just for doing things like this. 

The original idea came from a magazine many, many years ago (like maybe 18 years), but that pattern was a baby quilt with much smaller pillows and the pillows were not nearly as stuffed. I thought a bigger quilt for a bigger bed needed bigger pillows proportionately, so that's how this one was resized by me, to fit across a queen size.

It became a never ending project... I would see it in the closet, take it out, wrestle with it trying to do a row or two, remember why I wasn't working on it, put it away again... But as it grew, I couldn't fit it in the closet anymore and then it was on my dresser, overspilling the laundry basket that was trying to contain it, taking up valuable space... 

It became my mission to get it finished.

Happy dance!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Orange peel decisions


After putting out a poll about whether applique should be hand stitched or machine sewn, and observing the debate among friends and strangers, I've opted to go with hand stitching the orange peels to the background squares. I've found that a blanket stitch is fairly quick and not at all difficult. (This short video tutorial on you tube by Alex Anderson was the only help I needed.) I do not have an aversion to hand stitching like some quilters do, and actually enjoy the relaxation of it when I'm watching TV.

I went to the local craft store, looking for perle cotton to match each of the leaf shapes, but had to get embroidery floss, as that was what was available. I did find perle cotton in a creamy shade to match the background, so picked that up as well. 

Also, after much debate on my favorite Facebook quilting group about seeing the stitches or blending the colors, this was my decision. I like the traditional look of seeing the applique stitches, but want this quilt to have a little modern flair, so I'm stitching each peel with a color that matches the fabric, but not necessarily that peel. There will be some blocks where the thread will be the same color as the peel, but for most of them, they will be in a contrasting thread. Does that make sense? These six were all stitched today with the pink floss that matched the middle peel on the bottom row. 

I am loving how this looks... But it will take a few days weeks to get these all stitched down, so prepare for another project popping up in the meantime while I do this in the evening... Not sure just what yet, but something.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Orange peel


 I had some lovely coordinated fat quarters given to me and just couldn't decide what to do with them... I scoured Pinterest, auditioned a few different patterns, and finally settled on the orange peel. I was worried about the reds bleeding, so I did a test.

Exactly what I thought might happen! I let each piece soak in it's own bowl with vinegar/salt water, rinsed and repeated as necessary. Now, I was ready to begin.

I rounded up all my neutral backgrounds that I had kicking around, and decided that the best use of fabric would be to cut 4.5" background squares. Then I drew and cut my own leaf shape template to fit inside my square.


I used this technique, where you sew the leaf shape fabric to the fusible interfacing, right sides together, then turn it right side out, and iron it down onto the background, creating the effect of needle turn applique.

I have to admit, this project is much more time intensive than I anticipated. It took several episodes of Friends on Netflix to turn all 146 of the leaf shapes right sides out, and about two hours to press  them all onto the background squares.

Testing the layout... Loving how it looks! But now comes the dilemma of how to stitch down the peels.

This one is done on my sewing machine, applique stitch, with thread that matches the background piece.

This one, also by machine, but with thread that matches the peel. Maybe not the best example, as the fabric is busy, so the stitches seem invisible... Or is that the idea?

This one I hand stitched with embroidery floss, in the only color I had, which just happened to match. I think I like this best, but would like to try using the background color with this method, just to compare. I like the traditional look of the hand stitching showing, especially since the orange peel quilt is such a traditional pattern.

What are your thoughts on thread selection?