Monday, February 24, 2014

A Quilter's Giveaway - Now Closed

Do you free motion quilt on a domestic sewing machine? If so, do I have some handy tools to tell you about!

I came across the company Accents in Design about three years ago when another quilter whose domestic machine quilting I admire - Wendy of IvorySpring - blogged about a curved ruler she uses. I bought the curved ruler, used it to quilt a section of Snowflake Medallion, and forgot about it in the shuffle of moving.

Recently, wanting to quilt lines, I pulled out my little 1" X 6" Omnigrid ruler. I placed the ruler alongside the sewing machine foot, but as I tried to quilt, the ruler kept slipping under the sewing machine foot.

That's when I had the "ah-ha" moment, remembering rulers with handles on them! I found the Accents in Design website, and low and behold... Straight line rulers, 1/4"-thick, in three lengths! And a special price for buying all three at once. So I did.

After getting them, I posted a couple pictures on Instagram, and a short video of how I used a ruler. I quickly realized that not many FMQers are familiar with these. It was just like Karen at NanaGirlQuilts blogging about her super-cool sewing machine light. I read that post, and now own the light and couldn't be without it!

Below are my pictures using my "Fine Line" rulers. But the best information is on the Accents in Design website. Especially the video for domestic machine quilters. You'll easily catch on to how the rulers work.

Domestic machine quilters are accustomed to using both hands - palms and fingers - to move the quilt beneath the needle. With a ruler under the left hand, pressure is put on the ruler to move the quilt. Quilting vertically is easy.

What you need to know is that the size of your quilting foot determines where to position the ruler. With my Pfaff Grand Quilter foot, I position the ruler about a half-inch from where I want to quilt. I eyeball where I want a line to be and then align the ruler with the free motion quilting foot. 

Quilting horizontally is also doable. Note the lines on the ruler. Those are guides for repeating lines.

Look what a nice, straight line I was able to stitch! No stitch regulator either.

For newer quilters wondering whether they can used these rulers, I would say yes! If you're comfortable with basic free motion quilting like stippling or some other all over designs, you've had enough experience to try a Fine Line ruler.

As with all quilting though, it takes practice. Using a continuous curve ruler takes a little more patience. 

No problems moving the continuous curve ruler vertically or at an angle.

The horizontal curve needs a little more coordination. Note the lines on the curve ruler too, for repeating curves at intervals.

Honestly, using a ruler makes me feel like I'm quilting like the "big girls!" Ruler work is for domestic machine quilters too! And happily for long arm quilters, these Fine Line rulers work for you too!

If you're intrigued by how these rulers might help you improve your quilting, you should be.

If you'd like to enter to win a set of rulers, you should! This giveaway is now closed.

Thanks to Carol at Accents in Design, I'm able to offer two chances to win. The first winner gets to choose either:
a set of three straight line rulers - 6", 8" and 12" long
a set of three continuous curve rulers - 6-1/2", 10", and 12-1/2" long
The second winner gets the other set.

This giveaway is open internationally. Simply leave a comment for one chance to win. Winners will be selected Friday, February 28. Linda This giveaway is closed.

Note! As of Tuesday, 69 people have commented to enter this giveaway. Of that number 20 commenters are "no-reply." This means that I have no way of contacting you if your name is chosen. Please either change your profile setting to allow your email address to appear in the comment I receive from you, or include your email address. 

In good news, odds are in favor of 49 valid commenters!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Catch Up

Time is passing at lightening speed. Or is it just me? My beginner quiltmaking classes are already coming down the home stretch. Today I showed one class of students how to sew binding to a quilt. My thanks to whoever picked up my camera to take this picture!

This Friday is an all-day free motion quilting workshop. For those quilters who have never attempted FMQ, I'll do a pin basting demo as I've done on this "Spinner" quilt. Spinner is a 36" X 48" quilt I recently designed for First Time Quiltmaking students. It's simply an additional pattern option, besides the four basic designs students have had since 2005. (Oh my! I've been teaching for a long time, haven't I?!)

Catching up on a long-intended to-do, I recently had two more books made of my Flourishing Palms blog posts. While I managed to have volumes 1, 2 and 3 printed shortly after the end of each year -  2009, 2010, and 2011 - somehow, I never made the time to create Volumes 4 and 5, from 2012 and 2013. Both those years were pretty monumental for us, so I didn't want to lose record of them.

Having blog posts made into a print book is a pretty easy process. I did it through Blog2Print. You get to choose a date range, and then several options for formatting - a cover style, front and back cover photographs, and whether to include a table of contents, or blog comments. I didn't include either. It takes a couple weeks to have the book order fulfilled by Shared Books.

Here are pages from a post about a Carolyn Friedlander trunk show I attended last year. It's great having lots of pictures.

The only posts I didn't include were those about giveaways.

I'm expecting that someday, probably after I'm gone, my children and grandchildren will look through these books and find that their Mom/Nana was crazy for quiltmaking. As if they don't know that already! They'll also know I'm proud of them. After all, they made the covers of several books!

Below are four churn dash blocks for Carla, the February queen of our Mid-Century Modern Bee.  This is the link to our new Mid-Century Modern Bee blog where you can see pictures of blocks and 2013 quilt finishes by our 12 bee members. I'm sorry to say that my 2013 quilt isn't there yet - because it's not finished - and I don't have a clue what I'm going to ask my bee mates to sew for me when I'm the July queen.

Carla's churn dash blocks might look familiar because she asked for them, and I sewed them, in January 2013. Now she's requesting them again because she needs a lot of 4" blocks for a queen-sized quilt! All the blocks are bright - orange, red, pink, yellow, and white/snow. The quilt will be appropriately named "Juicy Fruit." If you ever need a clever method for sewing a churn dash block, check out Carla's super tutorial!

When I sewed together each little block, I used my web method of piecing. If you're not familiar how to sew a web, check out my tutorial here. This joining method works for sewing together blocks to make a quilt top, and can be applied to sew together little patches to make a block like this.
Chain-pieced columns to make a web.
All four blocks as webs.
Then, I sewed rows together to finish each block.

Last weekend I finished improv-piecing my 2014 Pantone Challenge quilt. That was a lot of fabric-chopping and resewing! I've pretty much decided improv takes longer than sewing together more traditional blocks. The four sections, and the gray and white strips are all improv-pieced.

With fabric leftovers, I pieced together very scrappy single-fold binding. It's ready to sew to the quilt when I'm done quilting. Happily, I'm on track to meet the March 21 entry deadline.

So far, this is the quilting - very much an improv quilting design since none of the quilted arcs have uniform spacing.

To quilt those arcs, I used this handy FMQ tool - a Fine Line Curve Ruler made by Accents in Design

Stay in touch! In an upcoming post, I'll show you how to use the ruler, and you'll have an opportunity to win a set for yourself! Linda

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Really? Random Thursday

Okay. So this post isn't so "really" random, 'cause I always end up posting about quilting (comes from having grandchildren too far away), but here goes.

How can it be Thursday again, already?! It's been another week of on-the-go activities, but I'm lovin' what I'm doing - presenting, teaching, sewing, writing. Being in tip-top health now, and once again with wide-open arteries pumping blood to my legs... well, it's pure joy to line dance three times a week. I'm smiling my way through all the dances!

Monday evening found me, along with blog-friend Lora, giving our "What is Modern Quilting?" to 70 quilters at Tree City Quilters in Gainesville - about 80 minutes from my home.

Following our presentation, we had a little trunk show. I won't bore you with pictures of all the modern quilts I've made and shown on this blog in the past few years, but here are a few. This quilt is being shown sideways!

Wibble-Wobble, my own design
I sure look like I know what I'm talking about, don't I?! Contemplative, I'd say.
foundation paper-pieced Circle of Geese
Teaching is going very well, and I'm seeing that students have had fun choosing fabrics and starting to sew their quilts. There will definitely be a group photo, with quilts, taken at the last class which is in two more weeks.

We've had quite a bit of rain lately, so I've been in my sewing room. Last weekend I free motion quilted. Here's a peep.

Continuing with improv piecing, I've enlarged several rectangles for my Radiant Orchid Challenge quilt. The parts and pieces are on the design wall, ready to be pieced into a quilt top - probably a wall hanging.

Some happy news... I've been invited to Paducah, Kentucky, expenses paid, from April 22-26 for the AQS QuiltWeek, April 22-25. I'll have a job there - to interview the winning quilters, and write about their quilts! Yes, it's work, but somebody's gotta do it... for the July issue of American Quilter magazine. The last time I attended the Paducah AQS show was in 2005 when my Swiss friend Edith visited me in Iowa and we drove to Paducah together. I'm very excited about returning! Are you going to Paducah?

And, what do you think of the Sochi Olympics design, and the athletes' clothing? Aren't the colors eye-catching? Makes me want to start another quilt!

In case you'd like to know how the design evolved, here's an online explanation of the interesting story.

If you like randomness, there's more on  Cindy's blog. She has way more variety, than all the quilt-y stuff I've presented!  Stop by and say hi. Linda

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Really Random Thursday

Much has been going on lately, but it seems not much is happening! How can that be?!

A little freelance work has occupied my time as I continue to write for American Quilter magazine. One of my articles is in the March issue. 

Last week I was flattered to be contacted about doing the technical editing on a quilting book. I gave the 112-page project consideration, even putting four hours of work into it, and then decided it wasn't fun! LOL Really. It would have been great to have that kind of job opportunity about five years ago, when I wasn't living a retired lifestyle, but now...

I've begun teaching beginner quiltmaking again. Now that's fun! I've got two, five week-long classes of 20 students, so I'm teaching every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. As I've come to expect, students are more than willing to learn, and I always enjoy seeing how everyone chooses fabrics to interpret their five pattern options. Yep, I now give students five different 36" X 48" patterns. The newest design is one that's more modern. (It's not in this picture.)

I'm proud to say that I'm now a card-carrying member of the Modern Quilt Guild! That pin is just adorable. So far, our Central Florida MQG is opting not to join national, but several of us have joined individually. Now I won't miss out on any of the fun of challenges, or opportunities to attend a Sew-Down or QuiltCon 2015.

What I've been trying to do in my sewing room is this - a quilt for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge being hosted by Anne at Play-Crafts. Boy, does this gal have an understanding of color! Anyway, I ordered a Radiant Orchid color bundle from Intrepid Thread because I had only one stash piece of this color. Obviously, the color isn't one I'm attracted to, but I'm learning that it's good to work outside my comfort zone, because I'm also pushing myself to improv piece... a technique also outside my comfort zone. 

I'm finding improv results in quite a bit of trimming. 

But I'm sorta liking the result, though I'm not sure where it's headed. I guess that's typical of improv.

This week I also made a 15-1/2" X 15-1/2" improv block as a sample for workshop I anticipate co-presenting (with Lora of DragonflyQuiltworks) on June 4, for Quilting Guild of The Villages. We're giving our "What is Modern Quilting?" program to QGOTV guild on June 3. If you're in the area, mark your calendar and come! I sure love how this improv block goes together. Everything works!

Next Monday evening, Lora and are taking our "What is Modern Quilting?" program on the road to Tree City Quilters, a traditional guild in Gainesville. If I do say so myself, we've come up with a presentation that does a thorough job of explaining modern quilting, even showing side-by-side pictures of traditional quilt designs done up modern. 

These days I'm frequently on Instagram, where I like keeping up with the latest fabrics and projects by trend-setting quilters. Not just a few of them have lately been lamenting the cold weather and copious amounts of snow - and snow shoveling - that they're experiencing.

Our daughter sent a photo of our Kansas grandies bundled up to head outdoors for some snow-shoveling. Tay's expression is something else. When I inquired about it, I learned that it's his tough-guy "Let's go kick the snow's bum!" face. 

One of several of my favorite Instagrammers (Lollyquiltz) shared a snowy picture of... "My view from the front door." She invited the rest of us to do the same. Here's the picture I shared. To heck with snow! Our palms are thriving! 

And how is it in your neck of the woods? Linda


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