Friday, November 30, 2012

Good fabric day!

Hi all!
What a fun day for me today: fabric fun!

While doing morning cleanup chores and sweeping the porch to get ready for Christmas lights, the mailman brought my package from Craftsy! I got a great Black Friday deal on the Riley Blake "Pieces of Hope" fat quarter bundle and the companion layer cake! That's the fabric line that with every purchase, a portion of money goes to Autism research and Autism Speaks, the national organization for Autism. Autism Speaks has chosen puzzle pieces for its logo, since so much of Autism is a "puzzle", i.e. so much is unknown and not understood about Autism. This cute line features puzzle pieces and inspirational words, cute stars, stripes, and dots. I'm thinking using the Swoon pattern, since the preview of the pattern online states it uses 18 fat quarters and some yardage, and the bundle has 20!
If you didn't know, my son has Autism.

Then I got the Christmas lights up. I must have done something different than last year, because they didn't extend across everything that I did last year. Growl* my husband wants me to wait until payday to get more.... But he can be such a Humbug when it comes to decorating for holidays.

Then I mailed off the Quilt U Be Mine piece to the next person.

Then I went to Walmart and found some cute little fabric bundles of pinks and purples, which I will use to supplement the next round of Quilt U Be Mine. Also, I found a remnant of a medium green viney print. Whee!

Hearts and more hearts

I've been paper-piecing these little hearts this week.
The little straight ones are possibly the simplest and most fun little paper-pieced hearts! And I really like how the heart-in-a-heart turned out, too. It almost looks like a heart-shaped gem in a heart-shaped ring, doesn't it?

Just a few notes about removing the paper foundations: every quilter has his/her own preference. For me, when joining sections together, I like to remove the paper in the outside seam allowances, anywhere I'll be joining edges. Then I leave the rest of the paper there, until I'm ready to join the blocks together into the quilt. I just feel it stabilizes the block better until joining in the quilt.

When paper-piecing, it is helpful to use a larger needle, such as a 90/14, which can help penetrate the layers and paper. Then set your machine to a slightly shorter stitch length than the preset. The larger needle holes and smaller stitches work together to help make the paper easier to remove afterwards.

Whenever you decide to remove the paper, work in reverse order of sewing, if you can. That's usually from the outside in. Use a pair of tweezers or the tip of small scissors to pry up the corner of a piece of paper in a patch, press onto the seamline with another finger, which stabilizes the seams and helps prevent stitches from pulling out with the paper. --it helps to do this on a flat, hard surface--
Then slowly pull the paper off along the seamlines.

And I just got my borders done and all attached, on the first round of Quilt U Be Mine! Whew!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

X and O

This is how my little chubby chevrons turned out: little X's and O's!

Aren't they adorable?!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Teeny tiny

This week I figured that I needed to buckle down and decide what I was going to do for the Quilt U Be Mine first round....and then tackle it.

I've spent a lot of time in QuiltPro trying to get inspiration and organize what I'm going to do, and also on the web. Funny how lots of ideas come to you when you least expect it, and sometimes not so much when you're searching!

I stumbled upon Bee in My Bonnet, ( and she's hosting a Row Along! Seems super-simple and she's great at tutorials. And inspiration struck me! I saw her Row 3, the Chubby Chevrons or Lozenges, and I figured out I could join a bunch and arrange the directions of the chevrons, and have a Valentine's Day theme. And at the perfect size for the required border widths of the Quilt U Be Mine!

I spent yesterday and today afternoon cutting squares.
I am surprised again, just how small 4" finished borders can be!

So here are my stacks of lozenges, ready to arrange and sew together. That's it for tonight; I'm turning in!

BTW, now that I'm looking at them, I don't think that the pink with green egg shapes print really goes with the rest. What do you think?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Belt carriers and Binding

Happy Sunday!
I'm tired, I worked today, and we've all been sick, but things are alright.
I made belt carriers (or belt loops) for my jeans tonight. I got sick of my belt riding up and my waistband sinking down. I have a short torso with a sway back, which means I need to alter all my home sewn pants to have more room in the back rise, and shorter in the front rise. My store-bought jeans need to be lower-rise, but I still need to have a flat belt with D rings (no buckles--they stick out funny!). But, manufacturers never seem to add enough belt loops. I always have to add more for my shape!
I cut strips from old jeans, or from a short cut of lightweight denim or twill. I fold the strips in thirds along the long sides, and press. The strips are usually 1 1/2" wide. Then I use a specialty overlock-type zigzag to secure along the long side, and a straight stitch on the opposite parallel long side. Then I lay the strip next to the carriers already on the pants, leave some room for ease and turn under, and cut into pieces. I straight-stitch each end twice in place on the pants, and zigzag over that.

Next, I'm sewing the binding on the Design Builder baby quilt. I'm using the scraps leftover from the backing of the SBS baby quilt. It's a darker red, but it has tiny stars like the prints in the panel.
I found a cool tutorial on for no-lump beginnings/endings of the binding strip, for sewing it on the quilt.
One thing I found that makes sewing binding sew much easier, is a Binding Buddy, or the Simplicity Binding Maker spools. I make double-fold binding, then wind it around the long bobbin, then tie slip knots in a length of ribbon. Slip the knots over the ends of the spool, and slip it over your head to hang around your neck. The binding spools off the bobbin when you give it a tug, as you need more. Pretty cool, huh! Tame the twisting binding!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

FMQ practice

I thought I would try something I learned in Ranae Allen's class about transferring markings for quilting designs.
First, I printed the design I wanted from the included CDROM. It had three repeats. I thought--"hey, I can practice this and make more copies at the same time!"

Pin or staple several sheets of tracing paper to the back of the pattern. Next, take the thread out of the machine, and "quilt" through all the layers. I ended up with hole-punched designs on paper to follow!

Carefully unpin the layers, then carefully separate all the layers. Cut the repeats apart.

Then Plan the placement of the designs. It's pretty easy to tell where the designs are going because the tracing paper is semi-transparent. Once the repeats/designs are placed where desired, pin in place.

Thread the machine with quilting thread and take off, following the punched designs on the paper. Hand placement and keeping the quilt with paper flat is important, and it helps to have a Free Hand System like on my Bernina. That's where there's a lever, that's attached into the machine, that can be operated with a sideways push of the knee, that raises and lowers the presser foot. I can't live without it, in any kind of sewing or quilting I do. Use it in combination with the Needle Down function, when the needle always stops in the down position, and it's so much easier to guide the quilt.

I did one whole side of the first border, and I'm liking the tracing paper quite well. My two biggest stumbling blocks are : guiding the quilt where I want it without jigs or jags or wobbles--keeping smoothness of the lines; and also I stink at free handing anything. I'm not a fly-by-the-seat of -my -pants type of girl, and that goes for drawing anything--even drawing with thread on a quilt. My biggest fear is that those two weaknesses are going to make my quilts look awful. I'm a perfectionist, and I can't get what's in my head onto paper and fabric well. So I need guides, stencils, lines, dots. I want to do every part of a quilt myself, so I'm trying to conquer my fears and practice, and try not to be distraught over what it looks like. Probably the people I am making quilts for, might not even notice all those wobbles and such; so I try to tell myself that they'll think it's "whimsical." But at least I keep going, right!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Blog Tour

I am following my favorite magazine's blog tour for their new issue of 100 Blocks, Volume 6 !

Great designer blogs, great giveaways every day, and great blocks! I just wish I could use some of the gorgeous fabrics that they get to use! And I wish I had time to make every favorite block in all the issues! There is definitely some of every style of blocks to appeal to just about everyone.

Congrats to all the designers, fabrics, thanks to the sponsors, and everyone who organized this huge undertaking every time to put a new volume out!

Some of my favorites so far:

Indian Cabins,
Carson City by Pat Sloan
Codex by Scott Murkin
Coffee Mill by Jennifer Chiaverini
a strippy star on the front cover (I think it's called Spring)
Star by Cinzia White
Northcott's fun colorway variations of several of the blocks (using Reptile Rumpus--way cute!)
And of course, the fire truck on the front cover!!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Been sick

I'm sorry that I haven't posted much lately. I've been working a lot of evening hours at the ER, and I have had a cold followed by an awful sinus infection, the last two weeks. So I haven't gotten a lot done sewing and quilting.
The babies have been delivered, that I am making quilts for, so I should get in gear and get the quilting done. On the pink and white quilt, I have gotten the block quilting done and started the borders. Money is tight, so I'm waiting until I'm working on the binding for the pink and white before I get backing and batting for the yellow one.

I have gotten some hand piecing done, since I haven't had a lot of energy. I got the Glorified Nine Patch done, and nearly have the King's Star finished.

Right now, I'm blog hopping with Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 6. This is so much fun!