Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Almost-wholecloth Quilting

How does one photograph whole cloth quilting? I think that's going to be a running theme with this quilt. Tonight crappy indoor light is the best I can do, unfortunately. Once it's finished I promise to get good pictures.

close up of the quilted star

So far I have quilted the pieced star and one of the stars on the body of the quilt (it's up on the upper right.) I have another partial star marked in chalk on the bottom right to quilt.  Once I get all the stars quilted I am going to fill in the open areas with some FMQ. I haven't decided what design I will go with yet.

The back is fun; I decided to make the quilt somewhat reversible.  I am using brown in the bobbin so the quilting shows up great on the back.

Ready to get back to work. Linking to WIP Wednesday, go check out everyone's projects!

Monday, April 29, 2013

do. Good Stitches Tutorial

(Edit: See the finished quilt  here!)

Hello, good stitchers! May is my month to be the quilter for the NURTURE circle at do. Good Stitches and this is the tutorial for the block I am asking everyone to make. We are each making 3 blocks this month, because that's how many this tutorial makes at a time. (I made two sets).

These are the colors I would like you to use, minus the plum colored swatch (4th from left), I'd like to add chocolate brown in place of that. Please try to stick pretty closely to the tones in the swatches (but use what you have).  You will each only be making blocks in one of the colors.  I would like to keep the quilt boy friendly/gender neutral. Here we go!

You need to select 3 fabrics and cut a 13.5" square from each:

a white solid (creamy or neutral white is preferable to bleached)
a polka dot fabric (mine were white-on-solid but yours don't have to be)
a solid that matches the polka dot fabric (mottled or textured solids ok)

Stack up your squares evenly, order doesn't matter.

Make the first cuts from the right and left sides of the block.  These are going to be wonky blocks, but we'll be keeping all our angles 90 degree.  So, cut slices between about 1.5" to 3" from each side.  They do not need to be the same on both sides, in fact, it's better if they're not! 

Push the pieces you just cut out to the side but don't move them.  Turn your cutting board 90 degrees and repeat the process.

Push the pieces you just cut out.  Turn your cutting board back to the original direction and cut again.  These are your last cuts in this direction, so the width of the section left in the middle will be the width of your center block.

One more time.  Push the pieces out a bit, turn the board, and make your final cuts.  You're done cutting.

Be careful to maintain all your pieces in their stacks in the right placement and orientation.  On the outer four stacks move the piece of fabric on top to the bottom.  From the innermost single block stack, move the piece of fabric on bottom to the top.

These are your three blocks, stacked up.  The fabrics on top make one block, fabrics in the middle of the stacks make another, and fabrics on the bottom make the third.  Each block should have one ring of each fabric.

Start sewing your blocks together one at a time, it's easiest to work with your cutting mat right beside you with the blocks spread out on it. Start from the center, sewing in the opposite order that you cut the strips.  Because of seam allowances, you will need to press and trim after each round is added.  Once your blocks are sewn together and pressed, line your ruler up with one of the seams in the block and trim to 10.5" square.

Hopefully you'll be able to get everything you need from this tutorial, but if you have any questions just leave a comment and I'll answer.  Also, sometimes it helps to hear the same thing explained a different way, so you can read another tutorial for the technique used in these blocks here.  (Note, she varied the angles of the cuts on her blocks where we are keeping everything square.)

(Edit: See the finished quilt  here!)

Happy sewing, everyone!

Quick picture post

Loving how the evening sun on this antique carpenter's star brings out all the texture of the quilting. This quilt was made by my maternal grandmother and every time I make a Carpenter's Star quilt I start by measuring her stars to get the dimensions on the diamonds :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A finish and a Liebster (a wha?)

Hello! Happy Friday!  I finished my rainbow strip and flip this week. It's going to be going to one of my little cousins as soon as I make a quilt for her little brother, too.

I backed the quilt with a fluffy minky-type throw. Since it's double-sided I was able to skip the batting and just used some white flannel instead.

Quilting was stitch in the ditch on the left- and right-most sections (the "right side up" sections) and some FMQ hearts in the flipped section.  Quick, easy, and cute!

Also this week, the wonderful Jackie at NW Patchwork surprised me with a Liebster Award!  If you've never heard of a Liebster before, it's a blog award created to celebrate small blogs and help them to gain more followers.  I'm so thrilled to have been selected :)

Rules are the following:
  • Post eleven facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions the nominee has set for you and create eleven questions for people  you’ve nominated.
  • Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
  • Go to their page and let them know.
  • No tag backs!
Facts about Me:
1.  I am an only child.  I still live with my parents and don't really plan to move out anytime soon.
2.  I started quilting at 21 on a whim and have been totally self taught.  My biological grandmother was a quilter, but she died long before I came along.  As people say, it skips a generation.
3.  I am just about to graduate nursing school and be an RN.
4.  I love to sail and have spent parts of 2 summers on the Hawaiian Chieftain. (Some pictures here).
5.  I am 100% a cat person.  Dogs are cute, but only from a distance. 
6.  I live in north-east Texas in the country.  My town has a population of 300 and my graduating class (from public school) was 38.
7.  I love to write. One of my personal goals is to be a published author of fiction and non-fiction.  (If YOU hope to write a book one day, I'm going to put in a plug for NaNoWriMo here.  That's where I learned to write long-form and wrote my first novels.)
8.  I once worked for a daily newspaper as a page designer, copy editor, desk editor, and opinion writer. I really enjoyed it and hope to do it again someday.
9.  I do a lot of community theater, usually as a stage manager. Basically the stage manager makes sure that when the curtain goes up a show happens.
10.  My first degree was from Texas A&M (of Johnny Football fame).
11.  I am a sucker for all of Basic Grey's fabric lines for Moda.
Here are my questions from Jackie:

#1  Are you going to "Sewing Summit"?
Unfortunately not.  I wish I were!

#2  What is your latest fabric purchase?
A couple of yards of white flannel to use as the "batting" in the strip and flip quilt.  Of course, some remnants also came home with me.  A nice yellow print and almost a yard of a blue, ribbed knit for baby blankets.  I am, without a doubt, a remnant shopper.

#3  Do you FMQ yourself or send them out to a longarm quilter?
I don't send my quilts away to a long-armer.  Maybe someday, but for now I just don't have the budget. I have straight line quilted with a waking foot on my small home machine for years.  I just started learning to FMQ this year (it was my New Years Resolution) and have been making steady progress.

#4  What is your favorite quilt block?
This is a tough one... I think I'd have to go with the good old fashioned half square triangle. It's just such a simple and versatile block.

#5  If you drink, what is your favorite cocktail?

Lol! I do drink, but I'm not sure I've ever even had a cocktail! How about a Dark and Stormy?  Good ginger-beer and dark spiced rum.

#6  What is your favorite TV show?
Mythbusters! I could (and do) watch reruns for hours.  Top Gear (UK version) is a close second.

#7  If you download music onto ipod,phone,ect--what was the last song you chose?
I downloaded a bunch of Macklemore's song the other day.  Same Love and Otherside are my favorites.

#8  If you Pinterest--what was your latest pin?
I don't use Pinterest, actually.  I don't need one more social media site in my life :)

#9  How many pets do you have?
Seven total!  Three dogs, big Labradors that live outside and roam the countryside.  We also have a ferret; she is the ruler of the roost for sure!  (There are some pictures of her in this post.)  Finally, three cats.  Elvis, Calley, and Wilson.  Wilson is my baby and the "special" one. He is allergic to cats! (More about the cats on the "Meet the Cats" tab at the top of the page.)

#10  Where do you sew?  Kitchen table? Bedroom?
I sew in my bedroom at an L-shaped test.  One side is for sewing and the other side is for the computer and school.

#11  How do you store your fabric stash?
I keep everything folded on shelves where I can see it all, sorted by color and type.

Here are the bloggers I am nominating!

QuiltinCats (quilting + travel + cats!)
No Airplane Here (a friend of mine from college who I have finally given the quilting bug)
Orange Crumpled Napkin (quilting with lots of life commentary)
Back River Designs (really creative and skilled techniques)
Made in Home (cute modern sewing projects + knitting)
Quilting Barbie (I'm stretching the "less than 200 followers rule" here just a bit but this blog is worth it.  She makes the cutest, bright, modern designs.)

Go check out these bloggers!!

And here are my questions for these ladies:
1.  Why/when/how did you start quilting?
2.  What is your "real job"?
3.  How many/what kind of pets do you have?
4.  Favorite TV show?
5.  Preferred source of caffeine?
6.  Favorite fabric line(s)?
7.  Are you a sweet or savory person? What's your favorite treat?
8.  Do you have kids?  Significant other?
9.  Movie star crush?  (PS, mine is Robert Downey Jr!)
10. Favorite place you've ever travelled?
11. What's your preferred quilting method? FMQ, straightline, or send it away?

So there we are, thanks so much to Jackie for the opportunity!!

Linking to Finish it Friday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Feline Friday: Wilson Got His Toes Done!

Kitty Caps in action.  I got manly colors this time, blue and steel grey.

While shopping for ferret food earlier this week I found some Kitty Caps at PetSmart.  I had seen these online before and wanted to buy them, so when I stumbled across them in the store I decided to take a chance.  Elvis and Calley spend the majority of their time out side, so they need their claws, but Wilson spends most of his time inside and has a tendency for, umm, violent affection.

It looks like he's missing one but it's there, just retracted.  The caps don't impede him moving his claws at all.

So, Wilson got his nail treatment yesterday. I have to say, so far I am impressed with this product. The soft vinyl caps slide over the nail and stay in place with super glue.  Wilson wasn't thrilled about the process but he let me do it, and now that they're on he really doesn't seem to notice them.  They should last until his nails shed naturally and the $15 kit has enough caps to do his front paws 4 times, so it should last a while.  I'll let you know how they are working out after a week or so, but so far so good!

This pretty much sums up how Wilson feels about the Kitty Caps.  "Whatever."

Poor Wilson is going to go rolling over backwards the first time he tries to dig his claws into the carpet; I'll try to keep the other two from laughing too hard at him :)

Linking up to Feline Friday, go show the kitties some love!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Design Wall Rainbow

Hello! It's design wall Monday again.  I was sick this past week; it's been a while since I've been that sick! I pretty much went to school and slept.  Fortunately, by Thursday I felt a little better and the first thing I wanted to do was sew!  I made a quick top this weekend from the "Strip and Flip" tutorial over at Cluck Cluck Sew.  I think once I get it done this one done it will be going to my cousin's little girl. Of course that means I need to make one for her brother, too :)

The top measures 52" x 38".  It was super quick to put together; I think the most time consuming part was selecting and cutting the strips. 

Linking up to Design Wall Monday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Feline Friday: It's a Cat's Life

After a week of sickness (hack, cough, sniffle), rain, and a final cold front the sun has finally come out here in Texas!

Wilson-kitty cautiously investigates the flowerbed.  He feels like he's in danger...
Wilson is my cautious kitty.  It is absolutely his personality.  I had to force him out the door to walk around the flowerbeds with me for five minutes, and then he was ready to go back in the house!

Calley stalks Wilson from the high ground
Calley is the princess (and don't you forget it!)  She prefers to have ALL the human attention for herself and has a habit of swatting, hissing, and scratching the boy cats if they wander into "her" space.  Consequently she spends most of her time outside.

Calley demands your attention!   "You may pet me now."
Meanwhile, Elivs is doing what he does best-- impersonating a furry rock.  He really prefers to be on my lap but he's just too much cat for one person! (He's a lot bigger than he looks in the pictures).

So that's what we're doing at the Kat house this Friday. Linking up to all the other kitties at Feline Friday.

(You can read more about all the kitties under the "Meet the Cats" tab at the top of the page.) 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lonestar Growing on my Design Wall

Well, I was worried that I wouldn't have anything new to show today, but then I got busy Sunday afternoon and made some progress on my off-center Lonestar.  It's amazing how productive I can be when I have a test to be studying for!  Now that I have filled in the Y-seams I just need to add a few more yards of the brown and I'll have a completed top.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.  Be sure to go see what everyone else is working on!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Feline Friday: Elvis

Everyday is Feline Friday around here.

The incredibly finicky cat-bush. Caution: water cautiously!
 Elvis is getting into the Spring spirit. Everything is turning green and sprouting-- even the cats!

Elvis giving the quick and dirty cat toy some love
He's also modeling his summer haircut. This year we finally bought some clippers and, if I do say so myself, I think he looks pretty good! You can read more about Elvis here and see more Feline Friday cats at the linkup here.

A few finishes

It was another rough week, so I don't have much to show for it. Mostly a burn on my finger and a chewed up spot on my tongue (my anxious habit). I did finish few things, though. After I found pillow forms on sale at Tuesday Morning I knew I wanted to make a giant patchwork pillow like the ones Amanda Janes makes for her boys.

Mine isn't quite as big, but at 26" it's no slouch! I used my "Mama Said Sew" charm pack to make a black and red chevron pattern.  I quilted with grey thread outlining the zig zag seams.

For the back I used the rest of the squares from the pack and some red solid.  I wanted to try the Dogwood quilting pattern from Oh Fransson that's been all the rage lately. While not completely unsuccessful the results don't really bear taking pictures.

I used a zipper closure-- my first try at that.  And over all I'm really happy with how my giant floor pillow turned out!

I actually finished the animal quilt last weekend but didn't get pictures until today.  I was hoping for sunny, warm day, which never came.  The quilting is simple straight lines.  I didn't want to do dense quilting because I wanted it to keep its softness.  I backed it with a really lightweight denim and it's all ready for snuggles.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway HERE for your chance to win this quilt!

Animal quilt with its matching pillowcase
Linking up to Finish it Friday.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Design wall evolutions

Slowly but surely the Architextures HST quilt is developing. Every time I walk by it I stop to look and move or flip a square or two. One of my favorite ways to look at a design like this is without my glasses. It really makes the trouble areas jump out. Photos are another good way to get a different perspective... In fact I see some blocks that need to be moved now.

Sorry for the crappy phone photos

The other thing currently going on is this pillow cover from a "Mama Said Sew" charm pack. The front is assembled and quilted, the back is cut out but not sewn up yet. In case you can't tell from the pictures, this pillow is going to be huge! I'm using a 26" pillow form and trying a zipper closure for the first time.

That's all I have going on this week. I hope for are finding time to sew! Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.