Friday, September 21, 2018

Pattern Giveaway

Remember when I was focused on finishing this quilt by August 31?
"Diamonds in the Pond"
I was in a hurry to get it done because I wanted to be entered in the Bernina Zen Chic giveaway of Playing With Triangles QAL prizes. Winners were chosen randomly from among more than 200 finished Playing With Triangles quilts! Prizes were a weekend at Bernina in Switzerland; Moda fabric bundles; Aurifil thread; Bella fabric assortment; and Zen Chic patterns.

My name was chosen to win a Zen Chic pattern. I could choose one of Zen Chic's 47 PDF patterns!

After looking at them, I realized I would likely never make any of them. Not because they aren't great. They are! But because I'm trying more often to challenge myself to create my own designs. Not always, but more frequently.

So, after swapping emails with Brigitte Heitland - she is Zen Chic - she wholeheartedly backed my idea to make the $11.95 pattern PDF a giveaway on my blog.

This is the link to the 47 patterns that one lucky winner will have to choose from! Below is the pattern I probably would have chosen.

Now, one of you will receive my exclusive pass code to make your selection!

Here are the easy things to do:

  1. Comment. If you're a "no-reply commenter," be sure to include your email address in your comment, so I can notify you if you're the winner.
  2. In your comment, please recommend a book, movie, or TV series... so I can enjoy it too!
This giveaway is open internationally. Just leave your comment before next Monday morning September 24.

I'm looking forward to hearing from many of you who otherwise never comment on my blog posts! 

By the way, the latest good book I read is "The Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline. The story is based in truth, about children traveling by train from the East to various Midwest stations where they are "adopted" to work. It will tug your heartstrings. Linda

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Zippered Pouch

After reading my Aussie friend, Susan's blog post about the zipper pouch she made, I swapped a few emails with her to find out whether the pouch would be the right size for my purposes - to hold an EPI  (epinephrine injector) pen for Luke, our four year-old grandson who is allergic to peanuts. 

Since Susan is a teacher at an all-boys school in Melbourne, she has been trained how to use an EPI pen, and assure me this pouch pattern would work to hold all the parts. Here's the link to free pouch instructions by FelicityQuilts.

Basically, you can piece the exterior from a charm pack or 2-1/2" fabric squares. You need 42 of them to lay out in a 6 by 7 arrangement. Since I have a little Swiss fabric left over from my trip to visit my quilt-y friend, Edith in Switzerland in 2002, I thought to use it to give the pouch a sense of "emergency." I know. I know. It should be red crosses on a white background, but at least it's red with crosses!

After piecing together the outside, I positioned the layers, adding one more layer to the stack - Insult-Bright by The Warm Company. Because this pouch will be used in Texas, I thought it would be beneficial to add a layer of insulation to keep the heat out, and the epinephrine drug viable.

So the stacking order was: interior fabric, Insul-Bright, Annie's Soft 'n Stable, and the pieced exterior.

Here's it's all pieced and layered, and ready for walking foot quilting in a diagonal cross-hatch design.

Quilting and sewing through four layers was a little more than I'm accustomed to, but my Bernina was up to the task.

I added a handle at one end, that was not included in the instructions.

This pouch was in a box of presents we shipped to our daughter-in-law, as today is her birthday! However, the pouch wasn't gift-wrapped, nor meant as a present for her. 

It's just something that she can use to carry an EPI everywhere, including leaving it a pre-school when Luke attends twice a week. 

Makes me glad I know how to sew, and can occasionally make something that's actually useful! None of us who sew can deny... It's fun to sometimes pick up a project that's quick to sew. Quicker than making a quilt, anyway. Linda

Monday, September 17, 2018

Scrappy Triangles QAL - Caught Up

I'm still involved with the last of three QALs (quilt alongs) that I participated in during the past year.

The "Year of Scrappy Triangles," led by Leila (SewnbyLeila) has actually been a weekly block release. Every Tuesday, Leila puts another - different! - foundation paper-pieced block on her blog. That's where I go to get it, and print it onto a newsprint-weight foundation paper.

While Leila took a week off this past week, to vacation in Paris, I spent many hours catching up. I started by cutting out all the pieces, and then made good use of sewing machine time during the Central Florida MQG Sew-In, on Saturday, September 8, I kept at it here at home to catch up to Block 46!

As I was 16 blocks behind, piecing took a while.
I have continued to piece my blocks with fabrics from my canvas bins, where I store scrappy bits sorted by color.

Since I had my lighting set-up, I thought to put them all on my design wall. This is all 46 weeks of 6-1/2" X 6-1/2" unfinished blocks (so far), plus one bonus block for signing-up for Leila's newsletter.

I'm thinking that I'd like to put the blocks together in a quilt top that's larger than the baby quilt these will make. Maybe add some calming blocks like half-square triangles pieced from solid colors.

Anyway, it feels good to be caught up... until tomorrow when Leila releases another block. Linda

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Roulette Quilt

In my last post I showed how I photographed "Roulette," a recent quilt finish. It's 52" X 68-1/2" and is a design that was my first experiment with cutting and piecing wedges according to instructions in the book "Wedge Quilt Workshop" by Christina Cameli (AFewScraps). The book provides lots of different wedge-making ideas. In fact, between the book and Christina's MQG Webinar "Wedge Quilts Go Modern," (July 2015) I'm putting together a program/demonstration on pieced wedge quilts, and will be presenting that at the Monday, October 8 meeting of the Central Florida Modern Quilt Guild.

Batting is Quilter's Dream 100% cotton batting, Request Loft.

You probably can't tell from the whole quilt photo that wedges are pieced from two different solids - orange and white, and punch and white, with the occasional turquoise and white wedge.

Half circles were made with circular rulers and the ruler work foot.

I had some good free motion quilting play.

Below is the quilt back, with a sleeve sewn to the top. Because I'm still committed to no fabric purchases in 2018, I pieced the back using fabric chunks from my stash and a free pattern called "Bookmark," by MaterialGirlQuilts. Of course, the design was meant as a quilt top, but it works as a backing too. 

While most of the background and binding is Painter's Palette Aluminum, this little bit of turquoise in the binding makes me happy. All threads colors are 50-weight Aurifil. 

Roulette hangs in our entryway right now, because the quilt that's usually hanging in that spot - "My Small World" - is on display at church, Amazing Grace Lutheran. Artwork is displayed in the church vestibule, and changed quarterly to give everyone an opportunity to share a talent. I'm honored. Linda

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Improved Quilt Picture-Taking

Since attempting to photograph my "Diamonds in the Pond" quilt from several different locations (see last post), I decided that the best spot is still on my sewing room design wall. However, the tray ceiling and adjacent wall (on the right where my rulers are hanging), make shadows on whatever is on the design wall. 

A blog reader/friend, pointed me to this "Shoot That Quilt!" article, that provides lots of great information about setting up to take pictures, and even settings for one's camera. Though the article appears to have been posted a while back, the information remains relevant, and the links to various products still work. Only the prices of those products (light bulbs and reflector lamps) have increased slightly, as I found out after making purchases.

The article explains that daylight bulbs aren't all the same. So I ordered four of these from 1000bulbs.com, (linked in the article), for $5.18 each. 

I'll need only two of the bulbs for the two portable work lights I bought at Lowe's Home Improvement, but having two back-up bulbs makes sense. These lamps are $7.68 each.

The article explains how to build stands for each lamp, so the lights are at the same level as the camera. Happily, I have a quilt stand with two sturdy pole legs that I can clamp the lamp onto, and then position the height to whatever I need. 

This was my set-up. Note that the following two photos were taken with my iPhone 8. While my phone takes vivid, clear pictures, I'm never pleased with the intensity of the colors, which I think are exaggerated. For example, the navy at the bottom left of this quilt is not that dark.
Photographing "Owl Always Love You"
I mounted my Canon camera on an adjustable table-top style tripod, sat the tripod on a step stool, and sat the stool on one of my IKEA adjustable-height sawhorses, with the sawhorse at the highest height.
Photographing "Roulette"
Certainly, if I had a floor stand tripod, I would use it. But this worked.

Here is "Roulette," my wedges quilt photographed without daylight bulb lighting. Though shadows appear on the quilt, the quilting texture is apparent.
Roulette, 52" X 68-1/2"
Here's the photo with daylight bulb lighting. While the quilt appears brighter overall, I've lost the visual texture of the quilting. 
Roulette, 52" X 68-1/2"
I'm happier with no-shadows, but unsure about the inability to see the quilting. To get it right might take more moving lights around, or camera setting experimentation. Linda

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Rollin' Along

Activities that are keep me rollin' along... healthy eating; regular exercise of one sort or another (line dancing, power-walking, and tomorrow I'm trying Zumba); a ukulele playing and singing; reading (an audiobook and an ebook going simultaneous), and sewing room each day.

If I may recommend another very good book, read "Magic Hour" by Kristin Hannah.

In my sewing room, I'm FMQing.

Maybe you remember that I finished this 68" X 68"  "Spin Art" quilt top in May. Wedges were pieced according to Christina Cameli's book, "Wedge Quilt Workshop."

I had attempted quilting before, wasn't pleased with it, and unpicked it. However, with the passage of time, and fresh eyes, I've started again. I'm happy with the center - a little ruler work, and some FMQ.

Because I want to keep the "spin" effect going in the quilting, I've been intentional about choosing designs that appear to be rotating. I used my clear acrylic sheet and dry erase markers to try possibilities.



I wasn't particularly happy with any of them, but settled on the half-feather.

When quilting it, I went so far as to change thread colors for each wedge. I don't like it. Not one bit.

Instead, this is the design I'm going with. I like it better. I'm still changing thread colors.

I was involved with three quilt-alongs this year. This Year of Scrappy Triangles, being led by Leila, is one that hasn't been "going." After falling way behind, last evening I made a big step toward catching up. After printing foundation paper-piecing papers for blocks 31 to 46, I selected and cut fabrics for each. Except for three pieces of fabric that I cut into from my stash cupboard, the many remaining pieces came from my canvas scrap bins. 

This 52-block project doesn't even make a dent in my scraps! I swear, I could make a thousand blocks! It might be time to make another Scrap Vortex quilt

At today's Big Cypress Quilters, my friend Sarah (who helped make wall kites for the Early Learning Center), showed a quilt that she started two years ago. It's one that was trigger by me, when I gave her a couple dozen 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" leaders and enders blocks. She made a whole lot more of them that became this quilt. It's it great?! I really like her diagonal layout, though she admitted that the quilt pulled toward the bias, and she had to do some fiddling to get it square. 

Sarah plans to donate it Project Linus.

As I'm still into smoothie bowls, eating one about every other day, I'm sharing another tasty combo. The smoothie part, made in a food processor (but a blender works too) is:
  • fresh, steamed, then frozen yellow crookneck squash
  • fresh, frozen blueberries
  • banana (not frozen)
  • carton of coconut-flavored Greek yogurt
  • hemp seeds (these add protein)
Didn't the blueberries make it a lovely color? 

Toppings were (from left to right):
  • banana
  • walnuts
  • shredded coconut
  • homemade granola
  • wheat germ
  • chia seeds
Low calorie, nutritious, and filling. What more could you ask?

Must mention that after my last post, showing my lighting issues when photographing a quilt, I believe I've found an inexpensive work-around. (Though a business on Instagram suggested to me that I use their quilt photography services for $175... for two pictures of one quilt!) I'm hoping the $45 I spent for bulbs and lamps will be a better long-term investment. Linda

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