Friday, October 30, 2015

Soft Scraps and Hard Surfaces

I really shouldn't wait a whole week between blog posts because then I have almost too much stuff to share!

First up... I'm making another "Modern Hexagon Pillow" along with my students. The English paper-piecing part is finished, and the medallion has been hand-appliquéd to the background fabric which is Essex linen. Monday I'll be teaching how to big-stitch hand quilt.

Second, I finished Scrap Vortex! That was about 16 hours of spiral quilting and six bobbins-full of Aurifil 50-weight white thread. I made binding with a variety of scrap fabrics too, and that turned out nicely.

Here is Scrap Vortex laid across our king-sized bed. 

I absolutely love this quilt! Now I'm sort of wishing I had made it just a little larger than the 88" X 92" that is it. If it was bigger, I could have actually used it on this bed!

I like this picture because you can see the spiral quilting. So glad I did that quilting design.

And last up... Several weeks ago, I bought a white writing desk through Bed, Bath and Beyond, online. The desk isn't the best quality, but it suits my purposes as a place for me to do my daily devotions and Bible study. After seeing the wonderful Christian movie, "War Room," I've dubbed this my "war desk."

Because the desk finish is pretty rough, Dan and I talked about what I might do to make it more attractive. Being the quilter I am with lots of scraps (even after Scrap Vortex), and having already made two of these "Ticker Tape on Canvas," I decided to see how the ticker tape concept might work to fancy-up that desk.

How did I do?

Quite honestly, I love it, and I had a blast actually doing it.  

At first though, since I wasn't completely sure about what I was doing, or how it would look, I started on an end... the side toward a wall. You can see that I mixed the fabric colors. In the end, I mixed the colors on the opposite end too.

After sleeping on what I'd done, I had the idea to make each of the five drawers a different color. Since orange is a favorite color, I began with that one. Happily, I could take each drawer into my sewing room to work, and trim, at my rotary mat. All fabric pieces are applied to the desk with matte finish Mod Podge.

Throughout the project I fussy cut a few pieces, so some element of the fabric design stands out. On the yellow drawer, left of the knob, can you see a small map of Australia? On the aqua drawer, see the five dice in the upper left? And the bird in the lower right corner?

After completing each drawer, and again sleeping on what I'd done, I had the idea to create a color spectrum across the top. This part really tickles my fancy!

It was a little more labor intensive because that wood piece is only two inches high. More messiness with Mod Podge and trimming teeny fabric bits.

But the finish is well worth the couple of fun evenings I spent creating it.

Now I'm looking at every thing differently. What else might be fair game for découpage?! Linda

Friday, October 23, 2015

Triangle Tango Finish

"Triangle Tango" is a pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Company, or you can see it made on Youtube as the "Falling Triangles" quilt. But quite honestly, after seeing the online picture of it, I created it in EQ7.

My version makes 8" blocks which are just half-square triangles in an Attic Windows setting. My quilt is 62" X 74".

Isn't this a pretty spot? It's at the back of the sales office building in Brownwood, a few miles from my house.

I didn't want to spend hours custom quilting this one, so I used a blue wash-out marker to section off three areas. Then, in each of those areas I quilted a different all over design.
Hooked swirls.

Triple paisleys. 


The sections are divided by circles that I quilted with the aid of a 1/8"-thick acrylic circle ruler. These aren't meant for ruler work quilting, so what I did in this video is a "no-no." It could have been disastrous if the ruler foot hopped up over the ruler.

Another pretty finish, I think, with this yellow mini pearl bracelet binding.

I'm trying to get half-square triangles out of my system. Can you tell? Linda

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Assorted Projects

Amongst other activities, in my sewing room I've been flitting from project to project, as usual. I had a nice exchange recently with Susan, my quilt-y friend in Melbourne, Australia, who affirmed that quilters are "better busy, than bored!"

To that end, I made another pillowcase dress for Dress a Girl Around the World. I haven't yet donated them, but will when I've accumulated enough to send a nice boxful. Fabric in this one is Cotton and Steel's "Clothesline in Floral."

My fabric-strips crocheted rug is 22" wide now, and growing. Idea from CrazyMomQuilts.

I've foundation fabric pieced five of the eight sections for my tuffet.

Quilting has begun on my Scrap Vortex quilt top finished at the end of June. It's 81" X 92" and it took me some time to get it quilting-ready. Batting is Quilter's Dream Request Poly; backing is gray with large white spots. The quilt sandwich has about a jillion 1" safety pins. 

Spiral quilting on a large quilt is something I've wanted to try for a long time, though I expected to quilt this on my Pfaff (with the 9-inch throat). However, that plan didn't work. For spiral quilting, you use the side of the walking foot as your "measurement" for the distance between each spiral. The Pfaff walking foot is wide enough for only 1/4" spirals! And, the Pfaff walking foot doesn't have the option of inserting a metal guide/bar to quilt different widths. So, to spiral quilt, I'm using my Bernina with the 7-1/2" throat and walking foot that allows for spirals 1/2" apart.

To make it work, and get smooth stitches, I'm taking it really slow, shoving wads of quilt through the donut-sized opening, adjusting, smoothing, and taking only a few stitches before shoving, adjusting, and smoothing again. I know I'm going to like the finished look, which is still hours away. 

First Time Quiltmaking ended last Monday, and this past Monday, I began teaching Beyond First Time Quiltmaking with 17 students, 16 of whom have previous been in a class with me. Such a nice group of quilters! I'm enjoying teaching them.

Nary a sewing machine in sight because these quilters are learning English paper piecing. Next week they'll hand appliqué their English paper-pieced design to a background. The last week they'll learn how to big stitch quilt the layers, ending up with a pillow similar to mine in in the Fall issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. It's nice to see a room full of quilters. 

Social media has allowed me to enjoy a great variety of "sewing room views." It's fun to see where quilters sews, and what they see out the window of those sewing rooms. My sewing room view has changed dramatically. In Iowa, I spent more than 20 years sewing in an unfinished concrete block-walled basement with that little window "view."

I had to climb on the ironing table to look out that window and take this picture! Yep, that's the neighbor's house.

Makes me really appreciate my view these days! 

Palms, flowering allamanda, and the occasional wildlife. A couple weeks ago it was a turtle; today a crane.

Do you have a nice sewing room view? Linda

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Where Does The Time Go?

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, and I'm not the only one who has expressed frustration over the fact that "everything seems to happen at the same time." Though we're retired, and enjoying living in a retirement community, and we have hundreds of opportunities for fun, there's always the chance that several things are scheduled back-to-back, or even at the same time! It's enough to make your head swim.

This has been my lament as I've been having a blast... an exhausting blast. Last week, Sherri Lynn Wood of California, visited The Villages for a long-planned all-day improvisational piecing workshop followed by a program. From joining a group that went out to dinner with her on Monday, to one of our many country clubs...
Sherri's in the center back. I'm left of her.
...through her workshop and program on Tuesday, I relished every moment. It isn't often that a quilter gives a workshop or program that's "new" to me. But Sherri did it with her delightful approach to a very unnerving/uncomfortable-to-me technique... rotary cutting fabric without a ruler! Yikes!

My block efforts were loosely based on Flying Geese. Remember... I cut these entirely without benefit of a ruler!

Sherri helped me see how to arrange them, using "bleed" to keep the design flow. I will definitely be referring to her wonderful book Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters as I continue to work on my design.

Here you can see some of the different approaches to Sherri's lessons on improv. You can see more pictures here, on our Central Florida MQG blog. Sherri's sitting in the middle front with the piece she created during her demonstrations.

Sherri certainly got me thinking more about my own design process, and gave me some new vocabulary words to define what we do as quilters... follow "fixed patterning" or "flexible patterning." This information is in her book.

All in all, it was an extremely worthwhile workshop, and I highly recommend taking a class from her if you ever have the opportunity.

Last Saturday was our Central Florida MQG Sew-In, an activity we enjoy monthly at the Belleview (Florida) Public Library. Two quilters from the Gainesville MQG joined us too. Lora (front, middle, in the aqua top) is my dear friend (we met through our blogs!) with whom I collaborated on our quilt, "Ad Libbing." The quilt is in Houston, Texas now; it was juried into the International Quilt Festival, October 29-November 1.

Of course, I started a new project at the Sew-In. Ha! Looking for something portable (I just can't free motion quilt away from my great home set-up), I cut a big stack of four-inch squares to sew 100 half-square triangles.

I'm glad to have a Bloc-Loc ruler to easily and evenly trim the finished squares.

The design I'm making is called "Rainbow Swirl" by DownGrapevineLane. I first saw it on Instagram, and then drew in EQ7. I sewed the top in a web (see my tutorial on this blog), and then took a picture of it clipped to my sewing room blinds. I'm in the process of quilting it now, since my new Pfaff Grand Quilter feed dog cover plate arrived. That new cover makes all the difference in the world - no burrs, so no more thread-shredding!

I've been doing some foundation piecing as I've starting working on a tuffet. Do you know what that is? A small footstool. Myra Mitchell has a pattern to make a round one out of fabric strips, and of course, I have to have one! 

Here's the first of eight sections I need to make an 18" diameter orange tuffet. What other color would I make?! Well maybe aqua.

I know you've already seen my "Tiny Quilt Challenge" entry, but you haven't seen the one made by my modern quilter-friend, Beth. Ironically, out of all the 228 entries, Beth and I both won third place! Mine for appliqué and hers for piecing! Isn't that bizarre?

And we won the same prizes too!

Speaking of prizes, the winner of a Fall issue of Modern Patchwork magazine was Béa of France. Though I sent her the magazine, I'm sorry to say that I won't be offering a magazine as an international giveaway again. The postage was more than the price of the magazine!

And now I'm off to get back to pedaling as fast as I can... I finished teaching the five-week beginner quiltmaking class last Monday, and the three-week beyond beginner class starts next Monday. We'll be making the hexagon pillow seen in Modern Patchwork magazine. Linda

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Published! And Another Giveaway!

After the fun of winning third in the American Made Brand Tiny Quilt Challenge, here's the AMB fabric bundle that arrived for me today. Pretty, aren't they?

More happiness arrived Tuesday in the form of the Fall issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. A hexagon pillow, designed by little 'ole me, was selected for publication! I couldn't be more excited about it! Gosh, you can even buy this magazine at Barnes and Noble, and JoAnn Fabrics!

While my piece isn't on the cover, you can see it in this online link. And, here's the page in the magazine... my pillow on a hot pink butterfly chair. I like it!

For my personal styled photos, I chose an aqua chair.

Hexagon Pillow, 15" X 15"
This project can be used to learn English paper-piecing, hand appliqué, and big stitch quilting.

The pillow is sewn together with a nice envelop back because I prefer to be able to remove the form to wash my piece.

I'll be teaching how to make my Hexagon Pillow soon! If you're in Central Florida, you can register for classes here, at the Lifelong Learning College. We'll be meeting three consecutive Monday afternoons beginning October 19.

This giveaway is closed.
Modern Patchwork has graciously provided an extra copy for me to giveaway. This giveaway is open internationally and a winner will be chosen Saturday evening.

Just comment to let me know...
Have you ever looked at or purchased an issue of Modern Patchwork? 

This giveaway is closed. Linda


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