Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Look What Happens...

 Do you see what happens when I try to do paper piecing. The whole sewing room explodes! Well, OK, it's not the whole sewing room, but it just makes such a mess. I am NOT a neat person, but for some reason this just drives me crazy. Little bits and pieces of fabric laying everywhere. The fabric I used just tossed around. Yuck.

And I'm not even sure the block looks at all good. These colors aren't great (taking pictures at night again), but well, it's just kind of blah.

Oh well. It's a block for the past president of the guild, and I tried my best.

They can't all be winners.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Design Wall Monday-January 30, 2012

Well I must be psychotic psychic. I chose the quilt I wanted to finish, and Judy chose it as the quilt for the UFO challenge for February. Great minds and all...

I don't know which number Judy is going to pick for the UFO Challenge in February, but I think I'm going to work on this one. It should be pretty quick, because the star of the quilt is the fabric and pattern, who cares about the quilting. I'll probably just do diagonal lines or something. Maybe a light green backing fabric--perhaps fleece if I can find it, or maybe the blue. I might have some blue that would work.

I really like this quilt, and think I might make another couple of them. I have plenty of fabric for stack n whack, though this is officially a one block wonder. I started it in 2009 and finished it in November of that year. Here is the original fabric, before the whacking!

To see what's on other design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Got the Featherweight!

Isn't this fun. I drove and picked up the machine today. I stopped to see Joe before I went home, and checked my calendar for something and realized there was a guild sewing day for charity quilts. I stopped by and got to use the Featherweight. It sews great! I'm very happy I got it. I know it doesn't really weigh like a feather, but only about 11 pounds (if the bathroom scale can be trusted...can we trust it)? I don't know what the Bernina weighs, but next time I get it out of the table I weigh it and see.

The stitches are even and it sewed just fine through fleece. I'll have to compare the quarter inch stitch on the Singer to the Bernina, so I don't have to sew a project with only one machine.

I am a happy camper....ummm, I mean sewer! (I never realized that on who sews and the underground pipes that carry sewage were spelled the same. Isn't English funny.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust!

... and another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust...

I have to admit I'm feeling pretty productive. I have now completed 3 quilts since 1 January. Only 27 days, yippee!

I don't know where this one will go, but it will find a home. I used green leaf fabric, the same type as the rest of the fabrics, for the binding. I used green thread on the background so thought that might work. 

It almost looks like I know what I'm doing when you look on the quilting in the orange zig. It was the last one I did on the quilt, so I was getting pretty good by the end. I started this quilt 10 days ago, I think that's a record. I have some ideas for more variations on this quilt. Not only is it quick, but I like the way it looks.

Here is the label, with a bit of the back showing. I like the whole thing. I have to wash it before it goes anywhere...it still has a bit of a mechanical smell and it is shedding.

Hope someone likes it.

Wonder which number Judy will pick next. I still have to wait 3 days to find out, so I may have to start something before the.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quilting is Done

 This looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself. For someone who usually gets out the walking foot and does some kind of straight line design, this feels pretty good.

I still have to trim and bind it. I think I'm going to use a spring green for the binding. That's the color of thread I used in the background zigs.

I used thread that matched the zigs to do the quilting. I decided it was OK if you could see different colored threads on the back.

It's not perfect, but it's done!

...and I think I'm finally giving in. I've been wanting a more portable sewing machine for taking around. My sister has a featherweight that's very cool, but I didn't want to spend $300 for a second machine. I started looking around again online, and found a few small machines, but none of them got reviews that made me think they would last. My current machine is a Bernina 801 Sport. It's the one I bought in about 1988. It was designed to be a machine used in Home Ec classes, so was simple but sturdy. It's all mechanical and I've been able to oil it, clean it and keep it going.

The newer small machines are too flimsy looking for me. A few years ago I spent about $90 on a small machine and it was just crap. Today I was looking at the anniversary edition of the Singer Featherweight. It's about $400 and looks kind of cool, but I want something that sews a straight stitch and does it well.

I looked on ebay for an old featherweight, and there are plenty of them, but they'd have to be shipped, and if they don't work they'd have to be returned, yada, yada, yada.

I finally searched for Singer Featherweight Colorado, and lo and behold on Craig's list there was on listed for $180. I looked at the pictures, it looks good. It's not in pristine condition, it looks like it has been used. I didn't want a collectible, I wanted a machine that will sew, and sew well. I called the person who listed the machine, and he is the one who refurbishes them...I'm going to buy it on Saturday! YAY! It's a 1955, and I was born in 1954, so I think it's new enough for me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Design Wall Monday-January 23, 2012

 Here is the finished top, and I've already started quilting it! It went together very quickly. I started on this on Wednesday or Thursday and finished the top yesterday morning. I bought the fleece, brought it home and pinned it yesterday. I began to quilt the curvy lines on the zigs yesterday and finished two of them today...that leaves 9 more if you count the borders to the left and right of the zigs.

All the fabric for the top is from my stash...but I did have to buy the backing. The quilt is 62 inches wide, just a bit wider than fleece. I didn't want to buy nearly four yards and have bunches left so I used the John Flynn diagonal piecing method. I found his instructions online years ago and saved them. I went back to look at the photos, but he has removed them. If you're interested I've described the method here.

The quilting pattern is very simple...just curves and swirls in the colored and background zigs.  I've done two of them and I like it. It's hard to see in the photos I took, so here is a sketch I did on the pattern picture I printed out.

It's a little difficult to see here but in the purple and the background zig above it I've quilted swirls, going opposite directions. I'm using green variegated thread in the background and color that matches the zigs in the colored ones.

The backing is grey fleece and the quilting shows up pretty well there.  If I finish this before the end of the month, this will be my third finish this  year...I just hope I can keep the momentum up.

If you want to see what other quilters have on their design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Cutting the backing the Flynn Method

I have used this a couple of times, and it works great when the backing is just a bit too small. It saves quite a bit of yardage. When the backing is 1/3 of it's width narrower it is just about even. Use the calculator  (you'll have to download the worksheet for it to work for you). I've shared to see if it is worth it for you. If you save fabric and it's worth the time, here is the method. Make sure you remember to add to the width and length in your quilt measurements so it is larger than the quilt. Add 4-6" and use those measurements in the calculator.

First, measure your quilt. Add 4-6" and plug the numbers into the calculator. Figure how much backing fabric to buy.
(You can click all pictures to make them larger)

Fold the fabric corner to corner and cut. The original page said to fold up the package along the folded edge and use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut about 1/8" off. Because I was using fleece for the backing I used scissors in the folded edge. Not perfect, but it worked.

Then, slide one piece of the fabric down until the width of the fabric, butted together equals 1 inch wider than you need for your backing (remember to add the extra 4-6" so the backing is larger. Once it is wide enough, put right sides together, pin and sew.

Here is my backing fabric from last night. You can see on the right side where I've moved the fabric. Notice the "dog ear". I then took the top piece in this picture and flipped it onto the bottom piece so right sides were together, then...



Here is the backing ready to be pinned to the top. Since it's fleece, the seam is very obvious. It can't be pressed, so I just make sure it's open when I put the top on and pin.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quilting Super Zig

This quilt is pretty big, about 62 x 79...I finished piecing the backing fleece. The quilt is  just a bit wider than fleece fabric and I didn't want to buy 2 x 66" of fleece  (about 4 yards) so bought 2 3/4 and used a diagonal piecing method I had copied from John Flynn's website many moons ago. He no longer has the step by step directions up, but I saved them so was able to save some money on the fleece. One weird thing about this fleece, it has a decidedly oily smell. I guess I'll have to wash the quilt a couple of times before it goes to anyone.

I pinned it all (and the backing was actually big enough!) then had to figure out how to quilt it. I had this nifty printed copy of the finished design and started doodling. I'm going to go with it. I think color to match the colored zigs, and black on the background...or maybe green. I don't have any green in my quilt, and I think I might have some 40 weight variegated, that might look cool.

I might actually have this done this week. That would be three finished quilts in one month, that would be a record.

That Was Easy

 That went together quickly! Now to the quilting. I'm going to use a grey fleece for the batting/backing. Don't know what I'm going to do for the quilting yet, but once it's pinned I'll get an idea (I hope!)

I decided against rainbow order because it was too predictable. I like the colors next to each other this way...they aren't very true in this picture, it was taken too late in the day. I couldn't have taken them outside anyway because there's a front moving through and being in the mountains, that means wind...probably 20-35 mph gusts.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Super Zig-progress

 Here is what it looks like at the moment. All the main blocks are cut, now to cut all of the edge blocks. I don't know if the blocks will stay in this color order, or if I'll move them around some. I'll play a bit and see what I think.

The background fabric in this picture looks like the heather gray of a sweatshirt, but as you can see in the picture below, it really is black on white. If you click the picture to enlarge it, you can see it more clearly.

It should be done pretty darn quick, then there's just the quilting!

And one more arrangement of the colors. I think I might like this one more.

Likin' it

 So far so goodnick!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Super Zig

 Here is the newest project. I have so many quilt tops to quilt, but I couldn't resist this quick one. It's called Super Zig and is a free pattern (click on the name). The strips are 4 1/2" and it's a simple split rail so should go together very quickly. I sewed all the strips together in about 30 minutes (5 colors, 3 strips each).  As you can see on the pattern, the background is white, but I didn't think that would be very practical. I have a white with thin black lines in a wiggly "weave" pattern that I bought from Lunn fabrics about 4-5 years ago. I wanted something light, but not white. It will be interesting to see how it works.

This quilt is being sent to Alycia and maybe the one I am making now will too. I've made QOVs for the past 5 years or so, and want to continue that. Maybe I'll even get 12 done this year, I don't know.

And on the UFO front, I have one more finished, but not because I did any work on it. I thought the Butterfly Blooms still had some quilting to go, but it's done. It's going to be given away this Friday...finally. I made it for my friend, and when we put it on her bed it was a bit too short to be a bedspread (some of the mattress showed). She asked if I could make it wider...I thought I could, but I was wrong. It's been sitting waiting for me to say, what you see is what you get. So she gets it this year for her birthday.

I haven't decided if I get to count that as another UFO done, or if I should add one more quilt top to quilt. I have plenty of them :^)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Design Wall Monday-January 16, 2012

 All that's left is the binding and label and I'm done with the official UFO challenge quilt for January. The batting/backing is fleece and I quilted each hexagon and then circles in the green sashing. The purples just has one line of quilting down the middle. I spent most of today quilting it and I like it.

The hexagons are quilted with curved lines on each seam, and then the yellow has some curved line quilting too. The picture above has more accurate color for the quilt, but you can see the quilting a bit better in this picture.
Here you can see the backing color and what I did for the quilting. Not exquisite, but I like it. I get to put the binding and label on this one, then mark it as done on the list...yay!

Just finished the binding and label...so number 2 UFO for 2012 is done.

If you want to see more design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quilting Begun

 I have started to work on the actual UFO for January. I am quilting the hexagons with curved lines around the seams. I think I'll do the same with the yellow triangles in the background. I don't know about the green strips between, but so far I like this, and it's not too hard.

I am feeling pretty motivated to actually quilt right now, so I think I'll go with that for a while, and hold on the piecing...though I have lots of ideas (and lots of fabric!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

First UFO Done

 Here is the first UFO for 2012 quilted, bound and labeled. It doesn't have a home yet, but it will. The quilting is very simple. Vertical wiggly lines, except on the brown borders and the blue corner squares. The quilting on the brown is in the direction of the border, and the squares are 90 degree lines that go around the corner.

The batting/backing is a yellow fleece, and the binding is kind of a wild black and white print. I'm not sure why I picked it, but it was right at the time.

Yay, one down, 16 to go (if I am going to get them ALL done haha!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Design Wall Monday-January 8, 2012

I've actually been quilting! This isn't the UFO from the list I put up, but it was already pinned so I thought it might be logical to work on it. I'm not quite done, I still have three more borders to quilt, then I need to add the binding and label...then I'll be done.

I'm doing another challenge about learning free motion quilting. SewCalGal is hosting it, and she has recruited 12 different free motion quilters to teach lessons, one each month. Participants follow the lessons and post their samples each month. There are prizes!

It's kind of funny, because I thought after I practiced the leaves (the first month's lesson) that I would use it on this quilt. After all, the fabric is all leaves, but I decided something simpler would fit it better. I have many tops to finish, so I'll have plenty of opportunity to practice.

This picture shows the whole quilt top. The quilting lines are lengthwise, except for the brown border pieces on the top and bottom, those lines will run parallel to the longer sides. I used my walking foot with a pastel variegated 40 weight thread for the top, and a 50 weight cotton in the bottom with a size 14 needle. It's working out pretty well. The back of this is a yellow fleece, and I decided the bottom thread should match. The tension is pretty good and I like the way it looks.

If you want to see more design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge-Month 1 Sample Done

I've decide to take the pledge over at SewCalGal and have finished the first month's lesson. This is going to be good for me, because I have many quilt tops to quilt. Names will be drawn and prizes awarded if you want to join in.

Here is my first sample. I decided not to practice the heart leaves, because I have a quilt that has leaves that look a bit more like this and thought I might get a lot of practice using a leaf design if I do one that looks more like those leaves.

The fabric looks like this (if you click on it you can see the leaves more clearly) and is in about 6 different colors. This is a quilt that has been pinned for at least a month, and probably more waiting for me to finish. It is pinned with fleece for the batting/backing so should be pretty easy to move through the machine as I practice these leaves.

Because I have done a little bit of free motion quilting, and the practice block I made was 15 inches square, and I didn't want to do these leaves over the whole thing I decided to try a bit of a different pattern too. I have a DVD from the Pajama Quilter and she practices the designs before she quilts them by using a white board and marker. I have one but it is stashed behind some stuff at the moment, so thought I'd just use some paper.

Here are the first sketches I did, kinda ugly and the lines don't flow very well. I turned the page and did a couple more. The one on the left side was a bit better, but the leaves just kind of mushed together. I did see the last group of leaves and saw that when I had a group of three I liked it better, so that's what I did on the right side. As I was going from group to group though, I saw that there was space that needed filling, so I added the swirl.

I set this page near the sewing machine, then sewed this sample.  I actually like it OK. I don't know if I'd want this all over a quilt, but it looks OK.

Free Motion Quilting Challenge

Since I am already going to try to finish a bunch of quilt tops I have, why not include learning how to quilt the tops at the same time? I've joined the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at SewCalGal. There are monthly lessons and prizes...how is that bad? Maybe I'll learn enough to really like what I quilt, instead of calling it good when they're done.

You can join in too, just click the link above.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Design Wall Monday-January 2, 2012

 Here is my first UFO. I think I already have the backing/batting. I believe I bought some yellow fleece, but I'll have to find it. Leah, at the free motion quilting project will be a big help this year. She already has 365 different filler designs, but now she is changing the direction of her blog some and moving towards teaching/learning how to quilt large.

Let's see what I can get done. To check out other design walls, go to Judy's blog.


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