Monday, August 30, 2010

Bits and Pieces

So I managed to unpick 1 1/2 squares last night. What else ya gonna do while watching the Emmy's. It actually made the mazillion commercials and long acceptance speeches much more tolerable.

I spent the morning cutting. As in the whole morning. I am starting a new twin size quilt that has a lot of pieces. I also cut out my strips for the chubby squares quilt a long. Those are some tiny squares.

Add On - I figured this post needed a picture. I just finished strip piecing for my chubby squares and cut them into 2 patch rectangles. Now I have to turn each of these little guys into 4 patch squares. Good Times!

I also have a huge event coming in a week. I am super excited about it! No hints, you'll just have to wait and see. And if you do happen to know (Because you have seen me working on it at sewing night), just keep it real hush, hush :)

So that's it for today. I am off to get the kids at the bus stop. Happy Quilting!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

I Truly DESPISE Unpicking

And suddenly I find I will be doing quite a lot of it.

So you know that Christmas Quilt that I have been posting a few squares of each week. Well here's the story. I decided that I wanted to try something new on the stitching and since it was a sampler quilt I thought I could do some "Sampler" quilting. This was totally new to me but I just jumped in head first.

I printed off 16 different Christmas images from the computer, cut them out and decided they would be my template. I ran to JoAnn's and bought a water soluble pen and was ready to go. The plan was to stitch an image on each square. Super cute idea, right??

So I started quilting this morning. After the first block I decide that you couldn't see the picture stitched in white and that I should rethink. So I moved to alternating red and green. I restitched over top of the white one (ya, that is going to be super fun to unpick) and decided it looked better although it still didn't show up as much as I hoped.

I moved on to the next block and once again, the design just didn't show up as much as I liked, but I thought, ah well, I don't want to unpick because I hate that.

So on to block three. Same story, cute image, but it just blends in a little to much. Keep pushing on though, since in the end, I almost always like my mistakes.

So on to block 4 and HORROR!!! The block is upside down!! This normally would not be that big of a deal but block 4 has writing on it that is upside down, Awful!! Then it hit me, the back has that same writing print in a huge box in the middle and you guessed it, the images are all upside down on it!!

At this point there were some frantic shouts, followed by some frantic tears. And then chased down with a donut and ice cream. I had crossed the line where I just am unwilling to keep nursing a mistake. So now, I have tons of unpicking to do. Also, I find myself really debating if I still want to quilt in pictures or just do more of a free motion random stitch. I mean if they are barely noticeable . . . . What do I do. Any opinions??

***  SO I can't find these pictures any more to replace them.  Just know it stunk to unpick :)

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free Motion Quilt-A-Long

So I recently joined a free motion quilt-a-long (see side bar) to work on improving and expanding my free motion quilting skills and technique. I am so happy about this quilt-a-long as I have felt a bit in a quilting rut (stuck with stippling). However, trying to break out with only self teaching has proved to be a little bit difficult. This is the perfect fit and exactly what I was hoping for!

As you can imagine, the focus of this quilt-a-long is the quilting and not on piecing together an amazing quilt top. So we were challenged to just grab some scraps, piece them in the 11 lines given, and get ready to quilt. This way if you aren't to happy with your quilting, it is okay, because you aren't to attached to your quilt top.

So I decided to go for a "I Spy" look as I have lots of scraps in that. I started going through my stash and realized that I didn't like the "Girly" I spy prints mixed with the "Boyish" I spy prints. So you guessed it. I made 2 tops, one girl and one boy. I figure this gives me twice the opportunity to practice the new skills I will be trying to attain. I am so excited to start!! Stay tuned for my adventures in Free Motion Quilting :)

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Two for Twins

So one of my dear sweet friends is expecting twin girls. I was so excited to create up a little project of matching but different quilts for her. So I did a spin on the disappearing 9 patch, in that I spun all 4 blocks and not just 2. Here is the result. I think they are so cute together and I love the muted tones in the fabrics.

So here is the first one. I think it came out pretty darn cute.

I wanted to try something new in the quilting and actually do more of a design than just random stitching. This is always scary as trying something new means breaking out of the comfort zone and you are just never know what the results are going to be. I did flowers in the centers and then a "vine" with small flowers in the corners. I did each of the 9 blocks this way. They aren't perfect, but I think it is pretty cute. I was happy with the results of this new experiment in quilting.

Here is the next one. This one I am not near as happy about.

To be honest, I quilted this one first and about 1/2 way through the quilt I realized I choose the wrong color thread to quilt this with. Also, My butterflies are not near as good as my flowers, they are going to need some work. There were several times I thought about scrapping the whole thing. But I pushed on, hoping it would get better. The binding helped a bit. (I really hesitate to post this next picture, know that I am not to proud of this, but I can't only post my successes right? You would all get the crazy idea that I never make mistakes.)

So here they are together. I think seeming them as a matching pair really helps to tone down the poor quilting choices. After being reassured by another friend that it is still cute and looks homemade in a cute way and that the pair are adorable together I gave myself leave to write it off and learn from it and decided it is still cute. (just not as cute as the first one :).

Oh, and here is the back that I promised in the previous post to show. No puckers!!! That I am totally excited about!

And here they are all wrapped up and ready to be delivered. I just love finished quilts all tied up in a bow.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Basting Solutions

So I can't sleep and I am lying in bed thinking I should write this post in the morning. After thinking that for about 15 minutes I just decided to get up and write it and then maybe I can get to sleep.

I have been free motion quilting for just over a year now. I love it. I feel that my skills are growing with each quilt I sew up. I find free motion quilting extremely fun and really love the way it finishes my quilts. With that said, I have recently been more and more bugged by the pucker issues I always seem to have on the back of my quilts. You see, I was self taught to free motion quilt and have never really learned a technique to basting other than laying it all out on my floor and pinning it a bit.

So recently I decided it was time to figure it out. Hence the hours reading quilting blogs. (okay, most of that time was spent getting more quilting ideas, but some of it was actual basting research) After reading several posts on the best way to baste I figured I would try the most popular solution. Start by ironing everything super crisp, then tape the back of the quilt to the wood floor, then lay down your batting and quilt top, and then pin like crazy! At first I was a little reluctant as I figured it would take more time and I would have to kneel on the wood floor to pin but I figured it was research and so I gave it 100% and pinned every 5 inches. No cheating!

The result . . . One perfect quilted back with not one single pucker. I am so excited. I guess this means I will be pulling Jacob's big old construction knee pads out of the garage whenever I need to baste a quilt. It is worth it though to be able to say goodbye to puckers.

I will post pictures of the perfect back tomorrow. I want to put the binding on the quilt before I show it as I tried something new with the quilting. I'm not as excited about the quilting as the no puckering, but I did branch out and try something new, and that's something. Can't stay in the little stippling comfort zone forever :)
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