Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Practice

I finished the Humbug Bag (pattern by McKenna Linn) I started yesterday. It turned out really cute. It's kind of big so I'll keep it for myself and make smaller bags for my granddaughters.

I cut out blocks for a couple more bags and did some free motion quilting just for fun. Tonight I didn't feel like change the thread colors and looking for different stitches, so I practiced some stippling, leaves, and random circles.

Here are two blocks with free motion quilting. It is hard to see because I used a thread that blended instead of a thread that contrasted.

Since these blocks are smaller than my first one (about the size of a regular piece of paper), it's very easy to sandwich them together quickly and practice new techniques. I still want to do some more couching and thread deco on one of the blocks, but it can wait until later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Foray Into Thread Art

Last night I decided to make a small purse for my granddaughter. I made her one a few months back and she carries it around everyday and has literally worn it out.

The pattern suggested either simple quilting or free motion quilting since it's such a small piece of fabric.

I put the three layers together and was going to do some free motion quilting but instead ended up using some of the decorative stitches on my Bernina and did some simple couching. After I finished the decorative stitches, I serged the four sides so it will look nice when it's all put together.

Wow - it was a ton of fun! Nothing fancy, mind you, but I enjoyed it and can't wait to get home and try again on another small piece of fabric for another purse. It's a beautiful piece of batik fabric which just begged me to practice this technique and I think it worked together nicely for this project.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quilter's Candy Store

I spent yesterday at the Long Beach International Quilt Festival. If you've never been, you gotta go! It's like a huge candy store for quilters and stitchers.

Here is a photo of the treasures I brought home with me.

I also purchased a new foot and binding tool that will be shipped to me this week.

Everything and just about every vendor you can imagine is at this event. There are also many very beautiful quilts that help stretch the imagination for your next quilting project.

Guess what all the grandkids are getting for Christmas this year.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekend Sewing Plans

Let's see - tonight there is a dinner meeting, then there's a birthday party tomorrow for my goddaughter and a family 4th of July BBQ on Sunday just because that is the day we were all able to get together. The weekend's barely started and it's already full of things to do.

Somewhere this weekend I hope to be able to do some sewing. I have several baby quilt tops that are done but they need to be sandwiched and quilted. I have some red, white & blue fabric to make things for the grandchildren which I haven't even started yet. There are still a number of Christmas motifs that need to be embroidered, and I have two, maybe three, jelly rolls that are just waiting to be made into quilts.

Oh I hope I can sew this weekend. I have many things to do and am anxious to work on all of them!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Itch to Stitch

All I want to do this week is sew, sew, sew. Unfortunately, there have been way too many interruptions!

I'm going to try again this evening and see if I can't accomplish a little sewing. I always feel better after I've spent time at the sewing machine. What about you? Do you find sewing and crafting relaxing?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sew Busy!

I have been SEW busy lately!

I'm really, really trying to finish up some UFOs before beginning any new projects, but it's hard to stay focused on current projects. Every time I walk into a quilt shop or go to a quilting demo, I see something new that I desperately want to try and have to remind myself I already have a zillion projects in the works.

Some progress has been made though. I have hemmed about a dozen T-shirts, blouses and pants for my mom; practiced some trapunto quilting; used the Cutwork tool to create a flannel rag quilt block; practiced some free motion quilting; worked on two more embroidered Christmas blocks; and made some quick receiving blankets. I also took a Lemoyne Star class from the local quilt shop and have started making a cute wallhanging from the pattern that came with the ruler.

Earlier this year I participated in a jelly roll race and made a flannel quilt top out of jelly roll strips. This weekend I decided that instead of making one large quilt top, I would cut it up into 12-1/2 inch blocks and make smaller baby quilts. So far, I've got two quilt tops made and I think this week I'll cut up the rest of the original quilt top. This time, however, I think I'll make some wonky blocks instead of traditional blocks by twisting my ruler a little so that they're all tilted. I think it will be cute.

This year I joined a group that meets every month and we are making quilt blocks from two different books. I have finished all the blocks (there were only six) from one book and am halfway through the blocks I want to make from the other book.

Will post pictures soon as well as more updates on my progress.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quilting & Embroidery Update

Well, just because I haven't posted, doesn't mean I haven't been busy - LOL.

I went to an awesome three-day embroidery retreat where I worked  Claudia's Baltimore design. It still needs to be quilted, but all of the embroidery is done.

Then there was a trapunto class with Paula Reid where I learned a bunch of new tips and trips about trapunto and stippling. Thanks Paula for a fantastic day of quilting! I have done another 18" block just for grins and to make sure I've got the technique in my head.

After that was a great rainy afternoon spent embroidering my first Magic In The Air block.

On top of all of that, I've also completed four blocks and will begin two more blocks this week so I can get through a block-of-the-month (well, two blocks a month) quilt project.

I'll post pictures later - now back to quilting!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monogrammed Hankies

From the time they were old enough to wipe their own noses, my grandchildren have always used hankies instead of tissue. I love that. Not very many people use hankies anymore - I wonder why.

There are some beautifully monogrammed and embellished hankies out there that certainly should not be used for its intended purpose, but the kids love and use hankies all the time.

I bought hankies for each of them and monogrammed their first initial in the corner. Here's how they turned out.

That should just about take care of the 2011 Christmas projects I needed to complete before starting this year's projects.

Hmmm, what should I start next?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Free Motion Quilting

OK, I'll be the first to admit that stitching in the ditch is a safe and easy way to quilt baby blankets and wall hangings.

However, I want to be able to do more than just stitch in the ditch, so I'm practicing my free motion quilting skills this year thanks to a group of online FMQ'rs who generously have agreed to provide some tutorials and tips to help us improve (see FMQ link on the right side).

I put together a couple of quick quilt sandwiches for practice and gave it a whirl. Man, it's tough! My machine has a stitch regulator which I tried and miserably failed at. It also has a darning foot which I tried and liked a little better, but my stitches are not even and there are some pointy spots that should not be there.

The stitch regulator would be a fantastic tool to use if I can figure out how to get my speed and hand movements coordinated enough to keep the silly thing from beeping at me so I'm willing to put up with the beeping until I'm able to perfect my stitching a little more.

I'll probably also use the darning foot just because it somehow seems more comfortable for me but the stitch regulator is calling my name and I must go try it again.

Like the little train in the nursery rhymes, my new mantra is, "I think I can, I think I can." It may take me all year, but I am bound and determined to improve my FMQ skills!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crazy Quilt Blocks

As always, this has been a crazy, busy month. I fixed the super hero capes that I made for Christmas so that they fit the boys better. Then I created some crazy quilt blocks for a round robin and some quilt sandwiches for FMQ practice.

My portion of work on two crazy quilt blocks is completed. Years ago I did hand embroidery and only just last year started it again. Needless to say, I don't feel that my stitching is up to par with many others in the group, but we all have to start (or begin again) somewhere so I jumped in with both feet and am doing my best.

I've been collecting different threads, ribbons, and other embellishments whenever I see them in local stores and trying out new stitches and new techniques.

Working with very narrow silk ribbon is something I really want to get better at so I am practicing every chance I have. In my stitching library at home, I have some how-to hand embroidery stitching books from years ago and there is a ton of online tutorials and information which I find absolutely invaluable. Thanks to everyone who contributes their time and talents online so that we can all learn and feel more confident in our skills.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Busy Start in 2012

Wow! It's not quite the middle of January, and I don't think I've slowed down from the holidays yet.

There were a couple of things I didn't finish before Christmas, one of which I'll finish tonight. It's an apron for my daughter's BFF and it turn out really cute. I'll post a picture once it's done and ironed.

I made a couple of superhero capes for some super grandsons and the closure at the neck was a little loose so I need to fix those too. Maybe I'll have time to finish them tonight after the apron is done.

I've made some 6x6 quilt blocks to use for my CQJP and I need to make some practice quilt sandwiches for my free motion quilting.

There's a serger class coming up soon so I can learn all about the extra feet that came with my Babylock and I can't wait to experiment with them.

With all this going on, I'm also trying to unclutter my house and my mind and get rid of some of the excess I really don't need. I found a blog through the Proverbs 31 Ministries blog about being clutter-free by Glynnis Whitwer and I'm following it in the hopes that I can eliminate some of the extra "stuff" in my life that keeps following me around.