Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Post QuiltCon - Home Again!

Me and my quilt hanging at QuiltCon in the Austin Convention Center!
 I am back from QuiltCon and mostly caught up on sleep and laundry.  I had a great time and met lots of great people!

My quilt didn't win any awards, but I got to wear this cute ribbon that let people know that I had a quilt in the show.

My roommate also had a quilt in the show and we enjoyed the recognition from the vendors and other  attendees.

Since we were kind of last minute registrations, we didn't get into any workshops, but we attended some fabulous lectures by Amy Butler, David Butler, Heather Ross, Thomas Knauer, Denyse Schmidt and many other very interesting presenters. 

The only fabric that I bought was a mini charm pack of shot cotton, but I brought home several yards of free fabric from vendors in the form of charm packs, mini charms, fat quarters and even some yardage that was used to skirt a table in a vendor booth. (one of the perks of helping to tear down the show!)

I will have to figure up exactly how much I got, so I can add it to my stash record. 
I left town just before a big winter storm that dumped about 12" of snow at my house and returned just hours before the second storm that dropped another 10" or so. When I woke up on Tuesday, it was a winter wonderland!  I haven't seen such a beautiful snow in many years!

A view across the back yards in the neighborhood. 

I also haven't shoveled snow in many years. It has made me newly aware of my age and lack of physical conditioning! 

I think quilting is a much safer activity!

I can hardly wait  to get back to my sewing machine.  

I have been soaking up so much inspiration and now I need to see how it will 'inform my work'! (which is serious artist talk used completely tongue in cheek!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday - More Happy Scrappy Trip!

Today, I am on my way to Austin,Texas to attend QuiltCon! I am traveling a day earlier than planned to avoid the travel interruption of the biggest winter storm we have had in two years. The snow will be welcome, but the timing is never good for this kind of storm.

Yesterday, before the airlines decided to allow changes to restricted tickets (the cheap fares, you know) i needed a project that didn't too much concentration. I decided to pull out some strips that I had cut a couple of years ago from some pastel nursery dots and checks. The fabrics were remnants from Joann, so nothing fabulous, but as I said, the strips were cut, so I stitched them up into another scrappy trip-a-long! (sorry about the awful photo!  I just snapped it with my phone on the way out)

I think I will add three more blocks and make it a little larger than the last one. If my travel plans hadn't changed, I would be quilting it today and adding it to the donation stack.

There will be plenty of time to finish it later, though For now, I am looking forward to four full days of quilt inspiration!

And also some good Tex-Mex food...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Alphabet Quilt- 26 letters!

I finished the alphabet quilt on Saturday and it finished up with all 26 letters. 

I embroidered Y and Z onto the block with W and X. I found a transfer that was a good size and even though it is not the same font, I think it looks okay. 

Certainly it is better than having only 24 letters.  I am sure, wherever this little quilts ends up, someone will wonder about it someday, but it is a soft and cuddly quilt and I think that matters most.  

I quilted an orange peel pattern in the blocks and a couple of different patterns in the sashing with giant wishbones in the border.  I machine stitched the binding and came closer to having the same width on the front and the back.   Someday. 
I am still working on the 'quilts artfully photographed outdoors initiative'!

This one makes number 4 in the donation stack to take to guild next month. I probably won't have much sewing time this week, but I feel like I am still on track to have six completed before the next meeting. 

I have been watching Angela Walters' Craftsy class "Machine Quilting Negative Space" and I am itching to try some of the things she demonstrates in the class.  These small quilts are a great way for me to practice free motion quilting, use up some fabric and make a quilty hug for someone!

Stash update - week 7

This week, I am reporting the fabric I used for the coasters (1/2 yard) and the alphabet quilt which I finished last night and is not out of the dryer, yet. The panel was 24" and I used an additional 3.33 yards for the sashing, borders, back and binding.

I didn't add any fabric this week!  

Fabric added this week - 0 yards
Fabric added YTD - 11.83 yards
Fabric used this week - 4.5 yards
Fabric used YTD - 30.86 yards
Net Stash change - 19.03 yards

Next week at this time, I will be at QuiltCon and I will probably spend a bit of time in the vendor hall. I will likely buy some 'souvenir' fabric, but maybe not.  I won't have much room in my carry-on! 

Maybe I should look for a thread souvenir...

Linking here!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday finish - 8 Tiny Quilts...

 ...well coasters, really. 

These were a 'commission' from MsA to take the place of the holiday coasters that I sent in her Xmas stocking. She and her husband have just moved to a new apartment that is an upgrade from the starter apartment they have been in since they moved to The Big Apple a few years ago.  They are furnishing it carefully so that it will reflect their particular aesthetic and style, so I was flattered that my coaster making skills were requested!

I kind of went out on a limb, selecting a print, because she asked for grey, but I think they will approve. The print is the 'front', since I stitched the binding on that side. 

I used hot iron transfers to make the backs more interesting.  The gray fabric was in a Gees Bend quilt kit that i got on sale at Tuesday morning and has that hand-dyed interesting-ness. 

I wish the binding stitches were a bit tidier on the gray side, so the coasters could really be considered two sided. I quilted them with light gray Aurifil 50 wt thread. It is my very favorite next to the light tan.  A darker gray might have blended better on the gray side, but my thread 'wardrobe' doesn't have much variety at this time. 

I am quite sure my machine sewn binding will be neater on the next project, since I had eight opportunities to practice on this set!

See more Friday finishes here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Same Thing Twice!

This is why I need to stop buying fabric!

Look what I found when I went to put away the Flea Market Fancy bundle that I bought at guild last week!

The stack in the back is the fabric I bought at the guild meeting in January (at 40% off!)  The pink and blue dots were also in the bundle I bought last week!   I remembered that I had gotten the other prints in January, but I completely forgot about the FMF. 

To tell you the truth, it was kind of alarming that I have purchased fabric two times in 4 months and I bought the same thing twice. 

If it doesn't even register in my memory, then I am thinking I really didn't need it!

On the other hand, those dots are really useful and it was kind of a fun surprise...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Beatrix Potter's Alphabet...

...part of it anyway!

I started this quilt from a panel that I got at an estate sale.  It was originally designed to make a soft book, but the instructions suggested that the blocks could also be used to make a quilt.  I found some solid green that looked nice with it, so I dug in and cut out the blocks last night.

I pressed them and put them on the design wall and as I was putting them in 'alphabetical order', I noticed that there was something missing.

Two somethings - Y and Z!

There had been something cut off the top of the panel which I had though possibly was a decorative border or something, since the part with the blocks was intact.  After reading the instructions, I am guessing it was the front and back covers and Y and Z must have been on the back.

This quilt is going to be donated to the birthday party program and I don't want to send a 'defective' quilt, so I am thinking about quilting the missing letters into the border, or maybe repeating them in the quilting all over.  Or, maybe quilt them in the middle and echo out to the edges.

Anybody have any other ideas?

Linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm Going!

The planets have aligned and I am going to QuiltCon in less than two weeks.  Another guild member decided at the last minute to go and asked if anyone was interested in sharing a room. I had talked myself in and out of going so many times that I almost didn't follow up. 

But I did, and I am super excited!

I think there are about 30 others from the KCMQG attending, so there will be familiar faces in the crowd!

I wonder if I have time to make a weekender bag before next week...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Trippy Baby Finish!

I put the brakes on the scrappy trip-a-long after 6 blocks when I started to think about cutting into some yardage to make more 'scaps'. It would be one thing if I had planned out a color scheme and layout etc, but since it was meant to be a scrap busting diversion, I decided to stop.  
Look!  A quilt on a fence instead of the laundry room door!

I am glad I did, because now it is a perfect size for a toddler, about 36" square. 

I quilted it with a combination of Leah Day's giant sunflower and a variation of Elizabeth Hartman's orange peel .  

And, I sewed the binding by machine. 

And, it turned out okay!  

I spent about two hours reading and watching videos about all the different techniques to make a machine applied binding look nice.  I selected a wide stitch pattern almost down the center of the binding, maybe just a bit toward the inside.  I have to say, it does not look bad!

A print from my stash for the back camouflaged any imperfections in the binding and quilting (especially after it came out of the dryer!)

I have added this one to the charity stack which now totals three. 

I looked through the stash to see what I have that will go with the juvenile panels I pulled out the other day and matched up a few.

My goal is to finish at least one a week. 

I better get cracking!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stash report -week 6

As expected, this week I am reporting some fabric added.  I bought a bundle of fat quarters at guild on Thursday.  I got 16 fat quarters of Flea Market Fancy, and even paid full price. I have seen it on sale at some on line shops, but I am sure I would have spent more if I was ordering. Because that is just the way it works...

On Friday, I stopped at the 'used fabric store'* and found another yard of FMF (the blue leaves below) that wasn't included in the bundle! It was a bargain, at $4, so that offsets over paying for the rest.

And I picked up a small  3/8 yard remnant of a licensed print that shall remain a secret, for now.

In the used category, the autograph quilt used 2.33 yards and I finished up my scrappy trip-a-long (pictures to follow) which used 2.62 yards

Fabric added this week - 5.33 yards
Fabric added YTD - 11.83 yards
Fabric used this week - 4.95 yards
Fabric used YTD - 26.36yards
Net Stash change - 14.53yards

I went backwards a bit, but not too much, so I'm good.

*not really used fabric, just formerly part of some one else's stash...

I am linking here to stay on plan!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Finish - Autograph Quilt!

It's a little late in the day, but here is my Friday finish.

I changed up the layout of this quilt over the course of making it - first, to keep it small and second, so the focus is on the autographed strips.  I narrowed the border pieces and turned it into kind of a stacked coin (dollars?) layout.  

I quilted  the vertical strips with loopy scallops - some of them look like I did them in italics, but I got a lot better by the end!


In the other sections I practiced several other motifs. 

I machine stitched the border, since this will only be a wall hanging. I have seen machine sewn bindings that look nice enough to be "seen", but mine do not, unfortunately. 

Last night at guild meeting, a member asked for donations of toddler quilts for a program that gives birthday parties/gifts to children in low income families.

I have a lot of estate sale/thrift store fabric and quite a few juvenile panels that I think I could make into some cute quilts.  I am pretty confident that my free motion quilting skills are at the point that I could do them pretty quickly, but I would like to be able to machine stitch the bindings so they will be sturdier and also, quicker to finish. 

If you have a favorite machine binding tutorials to recommend, I would appreciate any tips!

I would love to have 5 or 6 quilts to deliver to our next meeting!

Go here and here for more Friday Finishes and Free Motion Quilting!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

WIP Wednesday - I Drank the Kool-aid!

 Well, it was bound to happen, sooner or later!  I joined the Scrappy Trip-a-long!
I kept thinking that I should wait until I finished more UFO's, but last night, I couldn't help it.  I grabbed some 2 1/2" strips and started sewing. 

My first block is the one in the upper left.  It was the leftovers of the Orb quilt, so all one line.  I love the way it looks, but I decided I better mix it up a bit with some other fabric, or the quilt wouldn't be very cohesive,  since it wouldn't take long to run out of those fabrics. 

I found some stashes of strips that I had kind forgotten about and threw them in the mix.  It was hard not to try to plan and also to include some of the fabrics that I wasn't sure would play well with the others, but I only paid attention to value and I think it works pretty well.  I have set aside some red and red-orange pieces for the middle strips.  Of course with more blocks, I will be able to mix up the layout even more.  

I can't wait to see how it looks with more blocks!  It all started with Bonnie Hunter's tutorial here, so join in if you have a mind to! There is also a Flickr group that is chock full of different blocks and layouts.  All in all, a very fun phenom!

Also in progress:
This is my progress on the Baby Animals quilt.  I decided to do the main color on all the blocks and then go back and add the other bits.  Mainly because I haven't really decided what other color to use.  Something in the pink/fuchsia spectrum, but I need to settle on it soon.

Here is a closer peek at a cute little cotton-tail. I am working on the lamb and the baby deer is in the queue.

Lots in progress!   I will be finished with my autograph quilt in the next day or two.  I just have to finish the hanging sleeve and get it on the wall, and it will be checked off the list.

Hope you are having a good Wednesday!

I am linking today at Freshly Pieced!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stash Update 2013 - Week 5

Another week with a good trend!

I finished the orange bird quilt and used 4.5 yards for the top,  1/2 yard for the binding and 3 yards for the back.

Fabric added this week - 0 yards
Fabric added YTD - 6.5 yards
Fabric used this week - 8 yards
Fabric used YTD - 21.41 yards
Net Stash change - 14.91 yards

I am almost ready to start quilting my autograph quilt which won't use very much fabric, since it is small.  At least I will be able to report the back and binding, which will be a couple of yards, anyway.

There is a guild meeting this week, and our sponsor is the Epic and Legendary quilt shop, "Sarah's Fabric" from Lawrence, KS.  My plan allows a modest purchase at our monthly meetings to support our sponsors so I may not make any progress next week. I just hope I don't fall too far off the wagon!

Linked here to keep me on track!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Binding super power!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I tried a new binding tool on the Orange Bird quilt. 

It is not very exotic:
Elmers Washable School Glue - The secret weapon!

...but very unexpected!

It is a technique demonstrated by Sharon Schamber that I  was led to through Sew Cal Gal's blog. I tried to link directly to Sharon's You Tube network, but it required a subscription, so I will encourage you to take a look through SCG's site.  Sharon is the developer of the Teflon bobbin washers and the Supreme Slider FMQ aid and has many other mad skilz!

Sharon's slant was to use the technique to differentiate quilts in competition, by ensuring a perfect binding,  but for me, the appeal is that it just makes nice even binding much simpler!

In a nutshell, she runs a small bead of glue (using a special tip that I did not have and I don't think I would bother to purchase) to secure the binding before she stitches it to the front and then another line to secure it to the back before hand stitching it down. Of course she has other great tips along the way, but the glue was my takeaway. 

I skipped the first gluing step (it had been awhile since I saw the video, found the glue and  the time to finish the quilt), but I used it on the back and it made it much easier to stitch evenly.  In a couple of places where there was a bit more glue, it was a little stiff, but not a problem to get the needle through.   After applying the glue, a brief touch with a steam iron stuck the binding so well, that a binding clip every 10 or 12 inches kept it in place perfectly. I might have used more clips than necessary, even.   I glued it as she did, one side at a time for the top and one side, but the last two sides, I did all at once. 

I washed the quilt immediately afterwards. Not so much because of the glue.  I marked the quilting with a heavy hand and the lines kept returning, even after multiple spritzing with water. I was relieved when it came out of the wash with no residue of glue or marker!

Using this technique (along with the ever elusive, but improving, consistent 1/4" seam) is going to help my confidence in applying a binding that is even and full!  

Quilting Superpower is the best kind!