Monday, June 27, 2016

Lately

Though last week was a no-blogging week, that doesn't mean I've been in a sewing slump. In fact I've found time to happily play in my sewing room on my new quilting machine. 

That new Janome 1600PQC has already proven it's capabilities as a quilting machine. I returned to quilting on this "Make it Easier" quilt, finishing it last week. 


I designed "Make it Easier" in 2014, specifically for teaching block construction in a Beyond First Time Quiltmaking class at the Lifelong Learning College. The top had been languishing too long, so several months ago I double-batted it (Quilter's Dream request loft poly with Quilter's Dream wool on top), and began quilting it.. That's was the first hint of machine problems on the Pfaff Grand Quilter - skipped stitches and broken threads. So, the quilt is done now, and I'm very pleased with it.

By the way, I sold the Pfaff Grand Quilter to a local friend who's a newer quilter. I didn't give her the feet with it, knowing new feet are needed for successful FMQ. I'm looking forward to seeing some nice quilting from her.

Most of the quilting on "Make it Easier" is with white Aurifil 50-weight, though I used orange thread to emphasize several arrow patterns. I did a lot of quilting with rulers, using FineLine rulers by Accents in Design. I recently purchased a set of concentric circle rulers, called Circles on Quilts Templates by Westalee, that I look forward to playing with.

Four different prints were used to bind the quilt! Usually I don't do that, but this quilt called for it and I thought it would be another way to get a good photos of my favorite No Tails Binding: Mitered Corners by Machine method. 

This also gives me an opportunity to mention again that I'm teaching this binding method through the Modern Quilt Guild. If you're a member, then you can attend the free webinar I'll be leading on Thursday, September 29 at 9 Eastern Time. I'd love your support! Register here. 

A full-size picture of the finished "Make it Easier" quilt is coming as soon as I get outdoors to take a decent photo.

On weekends in my sewing room, I've been attempting to design a quilt that's all solid fabrics. I'll admit that designing does not come easily to me... if it even comes to me at all! I had this idea, worked it up in EQ7, pieced the quilt top, and then decided I didn't like it, though it turned out very much like the EQ7 design.

I emailed a picture of the quilt top to my quilty friend Anne Sullivan of PlayCrafts - to whom it seems designing comes really easily (she's moving to Orlando in July, and teaching at QuiltCon East!) - and asked her to give me some suggestions to make it better. Following her idea, I took apart the top, rearranging units of dark medium and light blue, and still didn't like it. Too boring, probably because of the too-limited color palette: three aquas, and yellow.

I've been making a mess as I unsew blocks, sew them together again with accent colors, and then decide I don't like those either! 

This designing stuff isn't easy!

Next I tried some improv piecing with all the bits of fabric I've been unsewing.

They're in a revised version of the first block, but it still didn't make me happy.

This is the latest iteration. Better. Still not sure where this is going... or if it's even going. 

Instead of white on the outside of the block, I've been auditioning other colors.

Goodness. It's no telling where this will end up! Sewing has been only on weekends because last week my sister visited, for the first time, from Kansas City. We had a nice time. And this week our Texas family is coming. I'm looking at company as an enforced breather between frustrating hours of designing!

This past weekend proved rather exciting as at 10 a.m. Saturday registration opened for next February's QuiltCon East in Savannah, Georgia. I was at my computer on the strike of 10, and managed to register for everything I wanted - four-day admission; all-lecture pass; and two workshops: Playing With Solids, and Understanding the Rainbow: A Fresh Look at Color. I got in before the major crash of the whole registration site!

Many modern quilters are waiting for an email from the MQG about when they can try registering again. I feel very fortunate, and so does my friend Di.

QuiltCon East, February 23-26, will be a really big deal on multiple fronts. Not only is the show not too far away from where I live, but dear friend Di Jobbins (SnippetsnScraps, and DarlingDi on Instagram) is coming to the US from Sydney, Australia for the show, and a month-long stay with me! We've been FaceTiming about our plans for her visit here, which will be her first to the US. I'm planning to drive her as many places as possible, before and after QuiltCon, including the AQS quilt show in Daytona Beach March 1-4.

Di, and her friend Di (also a friend) were recently featured in a Vinelines blog post. Team Di deserves this recognition for all their donation/charity sewing, and the post also relates the story of how the Dis and I became friends - when I taught a beginner quilting class in Sydney. Here's a link to one of Di's posts about me teaching there. I looked much younger in 2009!

Anticipating Di's trip to Florida gives me the warm-fuzzies. I have so many friends around the world! It's pretty amazing how our world becomes small when it's shared electronically with quilters. Every one of you who comments, and who I have a chance to reply to, is one of those special friends. Thank you! Linda

8 comments:

  1. Looking forward to seeing the full reveal of the "Make It Easier" quilt- it looks lovely! And how great that the machine is performing so beautifully!
    And what a process you are going through to get bring your solids idea to life! From the first picture, where there is the three blues and the one yellow, I was thinking you could change the yellows, going from light to dark across the width of the quilt. That would have been my simpler and probably boring solution, for what its worth!

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  2. Glad your new machine is working well for you. And I'll confess - I like all the versions of your EQ7 quilt!!

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  3. You really don't give up when something doesn't seem right to you, do you? I must say I admire your tenacity. Although I quite liked the first version of your quilt, I like the multi coloured blocks too. I'm looking forward to seeing where this design journey is taking you. I love your "Make it Easier"! I must make a solid coloured quilt one of these days as it's just so effective, especially with the white as contrast.

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  4. You really don't give up when something doesn't seem right to you, do you? I must say I admire your tenacity. Although I quite liked the first version of your quilt, I like the multi coloured blocks too. I'm looking forward to seeing where this design journey is taking you. I love your "Make it Easier"! I must make a solid coloured quilt one of these days as it's just so effective, especially with the white as contrast.

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  5. If you don't have a name for your quilt yet, I have an idea for it. What you have going on reminds me of the brackets they use for sporting tournaments. And of course, the biggie is the college basketball tournament called March Madness. Perfect name for your quilt and every basketball fan out there would IMMEDIATELY get it. You could do it in as many or as few colors as you choose and some would probably choose to do it in school colors, even! It will be fun to see where your designing trail leads you.

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  6. There's so much to make me smile in this post😄. Your lovely fresh Make it Easier quilt, the colours you've been playing with in your designing, and your happy anticipation of my visit next year! I just need to book that final flight to your part of the country and it will all be set. Ooh! So excited!

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  7. Such a fun and inspiring post Linda! I love how you stay with a challenge, albeit FMQ or designing. And I am impressed with how methodically you approach these challenges. I am so jealous that you are going to QuiltCon. I did think about it but will wait u til West Coast again. And Make it Easier is such a delightful quilt!

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  8. The quilt really turned out great and I'm so glad that your new machine made it possible.

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