Saturday, May 23, 2009

On The Frame

Today was spectacularly full of progress. I finished, ironed, and squared up all of the Grandmother's Fan blocks. Now, I only have to piece the top, and I have another flimsy to add to the stack. It looks like it'll finish around 92" by 92" inches.

I ironed the backer to Flying Geese I, and got the top, batting and backer loaded onto the frame.

Flying Geese I,quilting

I decided to do this quilt with a tan thread, because I didn't like any of the purple machine quilting threads available at JoAnn's. They were all too bright - the same for the pinks. I'm moderately happy with how it looks so far:

Flying Geese I,stippling,quilting

As you can see, I'm doing a smaller meander/stippling in the spaces around the triangles. This is giving them an awesome 3D effect that I really like. If you look into the background, you can see that I was attempting to do parallel lines in the long stripes. I wasn't too successful for that first try, but I think I'll have to leave the stitches in. They're really small, now that I've mastered my speed versus that of the machine, and I'm just not patient enough to rip them all out.

I don't hold out much hope for the lines at this point. The top was pieced a VERY, VERY long time ago. It was probably the first that I'd pieced on the machine, and while I thought I'd measured twice, and cut once - Yeah, not so much now that I'm at the point of quilting the darned thing. It's puckering, quite a bit, because the border fabric that I used for the stripes distorted. I hadn't realized just how much until now.

Ah, well. I'll chalk it up to another learning experience in quilting.

Anyway, I'm nearly halfway done. With any lucky, I might have this top quilted in time to go in the wash!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Swap and a Giveaway!

So, sewing and quilting have consumed me once again. I have creative drive again! I didn't realize how unfulfilled I was without my form of expression.

Quilting, in all of its stages, makes me happy.

I love selecting the fabrics and deciding how to use them. I love the crisp feel of making a slice into a beloved piece of fabric. I love sewing it all together and seeing my vision come to life. Quilting the sandwich is a whole new joy for me - with my frame and Janome 1600P, I tend to 'zen' out. It's so relaxing. Perhaps even more disturbing, I even enjoy the process of ironing all the fabrics when they come out of the dryer.

Having come back in touch with my quilt-y side again, I've got the itch to create other things and stretch my wings in other ways. So, I joined a Creating By The Lake's
pincushion swap. I spent a day looking at pincushion patterns and getting ideas. Once I get assigned my partner, I'll determine what materials I'll actually use.

In the process of taking a look at Creating By The Lake's blog, I came across this
giveaway. I just have to throw my hat in the ring, because that fabric is just beyond delicious. Even if I don't win, I'll probably have to order some online when I get a little extra money. Just yummy!

The buttons for both the swap and the giveaway are in my sidebar. If pincushions are your thing, there might still be slots open in the swap.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthday Treats for Me!

My birthday was this past Friday. As a present to myself, I set aside money for me to go to the Rock Valley Quilters' Guild Show. I've been looking forward to it since I designed and printed the flyers and posters for it.

Anyway, I nearly made it out of the vendor's hall with my wallet intact. Until I saw this panel and its coordinating fabrics:

YUMMY!! Now, I normally hate panels to death. I just can't ever figure out what to do with them. But this one just called my name. The colors and design are just perfect. I love that deep eggplant shade, and the graceful lines are just delicious.

I had to have them, so $45 dollars later, I was the proud owner of the panel, two yards of the border print, and one half yard each of the all-over florals in purple, pink and golden cream. I'm just afraid that I'll end up needing more than I bought, and have to order it. Thank goodness for selvages.

I also purchased a pattern for an adorable pattern for a purse by Lazy Girl Designs. When I get the bag made, I'll post it. At JoAnn's, I purchased myself a new, 2' X 3' cutting mat.

On Friday itself, I purchased a set of vinyl nesting boxes. They're perfect for keeping quilting projects in. I would have purchased the second set that we had on Saturday, but a friend of mine had to have a set too. So, now I'm on the hunt for something similar in order to have additional storage. I love the clear vinyl, because I can see my progress.

In additional news, I'm one day ahead on the nine patch quilt along at twenty-fout blocks. I've also separated out the rest of the fabrics I need to cut down for this project. My only rules are that there be distinction between the two fabrics in each patch, and that I use up all those cuts of fabric that amount to 1/8th of a yard or less. As a result, I'm going to have a bajillion 2.5" squares coming out of my ears, but I figure I'll make a scrappy Irish Chain or another top that's been living in my head for a while. I'll also have a ton of longer scraps leftover that I'll probably do a paper-pieced strip quilt at some point in the near future.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


After far longer than I care to admit, I have finally taken a top and quilted it. I even got the binding on! It's got its share of mistakes, but I think I did pretty well for the first machine quilted top, and the first binding I've put on entirely by machine as well. It's even my first pieced backer. A lot of firsts in this quilt for me :)

I actually finished it a few days ago, but I finally washed it today, AND it's gorgeous out.

In other quilty news, I've finished all of the fan blade sets for my Grandmother's Fan top. Now I just need to finish them off, and then I can assemble them into the completed design.

I'm a bit behind on the nine patches. I'm hoping I can not only catch up, but get a bit ahead. I believe we're on day 23, which means I need four or five to be current.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Continuing Saga of "Not My Favorite Top"

Today would have been productive, had I not made HUGE mistakes when working with "Not My Favorite Top". I am going to be so very glad that this quilt is finished.

Anyway... I spent Zeb's nap today making the fabric leaders for my Little Gracie II. I've had the frame for nearly three months, and haven't been able to do a thing with it. The frame came with tubing for only the crib sized rails, and I put together the frame for the queen sized rails. I rarely do anything smaller than a lap quilt, thus the need for the larger size.

I did manage to find the appropriate sized tubing at Walmart - it's actually aquarium tubing. Purchased it for far less than what Grace Frames wanted for the stuff. "Woohoo" for determination.

So, I got my frame ready for use. I'll post pictures later, when I'm not so irritated beyond belief at myself.

This prompted me to prepare backing for "Not My Favorite Quilt Top". I have a beautiful Tracy Porter fabric that I just love, and decided to use it for the backer, since I couldn't imagine using it in a top. It's just such a large print. Looking at the fabric and the finished size of the top, I decided to do a pieced backing.

I have not one clue where I went wrong. Everything laid out properly on the floor. But then, I cut the fabric. Not a big deal - yet. I put together a stripe of 7" squares of the fabrics that were in the top. Awesome. That looked great. I then sewed this stripe to one half of the Tracy Porter fabric. Okay.

With this done, I laid it back on the floor to pin the other half to the opposite side of the stripe. (@$&($!!! I totally sewed the first half on backwards. #(#&%$&)@(!!!!

Fine. Whatever. Pin the other side and sew it on, then pull the first set of stitches.

The second set of stitches was finished, and for whatever reason, I decided to make sure the backer was wide enough. Yeah....

Instead of being six inches bigger all the way around, the backer is nearly the same width as the top, and nearly 18" longer. I have not one clue where I went wrong. At this point it doesn't matter though. The fabric is cut, and I like where the backer is headed. Although, I do really just want to burn this thing now, but I WILL FINISH.

Now I am very grateful I still had that extra yard of black fabric that should have gone into the top. I've cut 6" wide stripes to flank either side of the central pieced stripe. That will give me the extra width I need.

Soon, very soon, I can get this whole thing on the quilting frame. Really.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Very Productive Saturday!

Zeb took a very long nap today (two whole hours!). I am ecstatic. More sewing time for Mommy!

Immediately, I set to work on more of the nine patches for the quilt-along. I only had five done at last post, which put me eight behind as of this morning. Well, not only did I get my eight done, I managed to get an additional five in!!

This means that I'm gravy until Friday morning!! Yay! I still have an urge to work on nine patches though... They're like chips for me: can't make just one.

In addition to my nine patches, I was able to work on my Grandmother's Fan blocks. I haven't squared them up, but they're ironed. Yay for progress!!

I think this is pretty good for two hours!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Quilt-Along!

Yesterday, I was shopping at Walmart with my mother-in-law, looking for things for Zeb, and for her new apartment. In six short weeks, Ma will be moving into the same apartment complex, which I'm very excited for. As much as I love Zeb, he can be a handful, and having Ma around to baby-sit on occasion will be a relief.

Anyway, I found a cute, little, metal trashcan in an aqua color, and decided I had to have it for my scraps. I was simply keeping them in a canvas shopping bag. This meant that the kitties and kiddo would get into them on a regular basis. The trashcan is the perfect height for my scraps and to hide away my scissors and rotary cuttery out of Zeb's sight.

In other news...

As if I don't have enough UFOs, but now I've gone and joined crazy mom quilt's quilt-along. There's also a Flickr pool at which to view everyone else's blocks. I'm a little late to the party - we're seven days in, which means I should be seven blocks in.

However, I did get five of them made this afternoon while Zebediah was napping. They went together gratifyingly quickly. It's been so long since I did something as simple as a nine-patch that I'd forgotten how snappy they were, even with stopping to press open my seams. I'm also making sure to cut extra 2.5" squares for the borders so that I'm not stuck cutting 144 of them at the end of doing all the blocks.
In the process of selecting fabrics for the nine-patch blocks, I discovered one more yard of the black fabric framing the blocks in "Not My Favorite Top". More than a little irritated here. And fighting the urge to rip hours of stitches out and make the top the way I wanted to. Considering how little I like the thing right now, I might just do that, if I have enough of the other fabrics. On second thought, I'm lazy, and just DONE with that top.