Friday, January 31, 2014

Gadget overload

I'm not a gadget kind of Girl, as a matter of fact when I see these ruler displays at the store, I start to get overwhelmed. I mean really, how many rulers do you need! And these suckers aren't cheep either! Then I start looking at all the pretty fabric and before you know it I am done with the ruler section! As a matter of fact before yesterday I had just two rulers. But then I started having issues! 

After 9 failed attempts at this block I knew I needed help. It didn't matter what I did to these blocks I could NOT get them to measure at the 9 1/2 inches when I was done. I tried shortening my stitch length cutting the starting blocks a bit larger nothing worked they were all 1/4 of an inch off! Now if this block was for me, I would say no problem. I would just cut them all down to a size that works and carry on with making my quilt. However these blocks are for a swap and I can't send " good enough" as they will be matching these blocks to their own. 
So off to the local quilt shop and found that they had open sew on Thursdays. So I packed my stuff up and headed out. I was a bit apprehensive as I didn't actually "Know" anyone there. But I jumped in and asked for help. Jean took pity on a new quilter and helped so much! and she introduced me to the squaring ruler, and the seam check ruler. 
I truly thought my seems were 1/4 ( that's what the darn machine said!) but they were much larger! and each time I turn my machine back on the needle moves! So I need to set it each time I sit down to sew. That little seam ruler went home with me that day!

And today I grabbed a squaring ruler. OH My Goodness. I knocked these two blocks out and they squared up PERFECT with this ruler. So while I'm still not a gadget girl, I do know the importance of using the right tool to get the job done correctly. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

What's on your Bed?

Jo over at Joscountryjunction  is having a "share what's on your bed" 'Link up. And while it's not to cold here in Southern Ca, it's still cold enough for an extra blanket. Unfortunately quilts get used in this house faster than I can make them and the only one I had to put on the bed was this one. 

My grandma made this when she was still in high school, so we are thinking 1940's or 50's? I love this quilt, actually it's the only thing I asked for when my family asked if I wanted anything of hers. I remember going to her home when I was younger in Upstate NY and she always had a quilt on the bed. Pardon the pictures, today was so gray and overcast that there was no good light to do the quilt justice! 

My other quilts get used for "More important things….

Like the bunny, apparently he needs his own quilt

And storing Legos, apparently Legos need there own quilt as well? 
Anyone else have this issue with people stealing the quilts for "more important" uses then what you intended them for? ( Like on going on a bed?)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Anyone Notice the lack of cute Valentines Fabric?

Has anyone else noticed the lack of cute Valentines day fabric? I recently joined Quiltingboards  and joined the disappearing 4 patch swap.  Using the tutorial HERE we each make 6 blocks, using a Valentines day print and a solid print. I had the hardest time finding anything that was up my ally in the valentines day section so of course I wandered over to the remnants basket where I found 1/2 yard of Kona White and this cute pink banner print. To me this passes as Valentines day print don't you think? 

Mailing isn't until later in February but then I started to worry if I had enough fabric. So off to cutting. I am happy to say that 1/2 yard of each print was enough for 7 blocks. One for me, and 6 for everyone else!

As for the pattern it's self, after I made the first test block, I found that I had to reduce my seems to a scant 1/4 and press my seems open to get the 9 1/2 inch finished block, but other than that it came together fairly well. It is never a block I would choose to do for myself, so I'm glad it pushed me a bit. Lining up the points of the triangle and ensuring exact seem length. ( I have a confusion there has been more than a few times where I haven't gotten the exact measurements on a block and said well, good enough for me!)  was good for me! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

First time FMQ, What was I worried about!

Soon after I witched eloquently discussed what to do about my big star Baby quilt Karen from Stitching Puma suggested quilting would really make it better. Now here is a confession, I LOVE the piecing of the quilt tops, but the quilting part always kind of put me off. There was no way I could do it on my own. But after going to a quilting shop and getting the pricing 
($50.00!!!!) I decided for that price I could figure it out on my own! 

So I pulled out some scraps and the Simply Retro Book by Camille Roskelley that I received this Christmas and made a quick turn dash baby quilt. 

  Then after extensive Utube enlightenment on free motion quilting I took the plunge, and made a few mistakes as you can see ( don't worry I'll point them out for you!) I thought just a basic stipple stitch would work, but as you can see there were a few errors in the work. That was the first corner, and I found that it was to tight. I noticed that if I was slow in my stitching, the stitches were closer together,choppy, and angled 

When I just put the peddle down and went for it you can see a big difference. 
I chose to do the stitching in the red because there really was so much white space in this quilt. It only took 20 min to piece together with some large ( 10") HST so it had a very plain look to it, I really love the red thread. Karen was right, the quilting really does make a HUGE difference! 

I even like it on the back. The red really makes the back more intricate and complex looking then it really is.

The best part, from this angle you can't even see the free motion mistakes. 
The binding did NOT turn out the way I had intended, I normally use a bias tape maker, but for this one I just cut 2" strips from the left over fabric and folded them over to use as binding. I should have gone a whole 1/2 inch larger to give me room and not have the corners pucker as much as they did 
Also I did NOT know it took that much thread to Quilt. I can not believe how often my bobbin ran out.  Thank goodness I had another spool of red thread on hand. I used a small 250 yd roll and still had 1/3 left to go! 
BUT I am happy with it. 

What do you think. Not bad for a first try! And talk about a quilt going from BLAH to OHHH! I love the texture that it gives the big old boring white spots! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Skinny Pincushion Swap

So one of my goals this year was not only to sew more, but to put myself out there more. The way I see it you can't improve if you can't take some constructive criticism, no matter how hard it is to hear at the time! When I came across Amys blog it was just fate that she happened to have a supper cute Skinny Pincushion swap going on!  

Photo credit 
Vera of Negligent Style

Aren't they cute, Amy has started a flicker pool HERE to for signups. Signups close on January 31 2014 and swappers will send by February 28. I think it would be quite fun to swap with international peeps, but there is an option for those who only want to swap domestically as well. 

 If you were wondering how to make a skinny pincushion, head on over to Green Bee design for the free tutorial 

My Irrational Zipper Fear

Not to long ago my Mother-in-law-to-be acquired quite a few zippers. All vintage and in the cutest of colors!  Knowing that I sew she passed them on to me. What she didn't know is I have a fear of zippers. The first time I tried to sew a zipper, I snapped 2 needles and ended up with a nasty gash on my finger. The book I purchased when I had these grand ideas of making cute travel bags was promptly stuck in a drawer and forgot about.

Well fast forward to Christmas when craftsy had a free mini class on zipper pouches. 
I downloaded it of course, (they did say the magic word free)
And eventually I sat down to watch. 
after a few viewings I thought HECK I can do that!
And it was a success. 
Ok, by success I mean I ended up not bleeding this time! But the zipper got on that pouch!

Then I ran across Pink Stitches  boxy  Pouch Tutorial, and just loved it! and it was so much that I hadn't done before, boxing corners, fusible lining, and a zipper. 

Well, there were a few mishaps along the way, 
Did you know that fusible interfacing looses it's fusability?
Not quite sure how old it was but that was a new one for me!
So I had to adhock that one
Then I didn't have any scraps for batting, so I found Christmas snow. 
Yes, the kind you use to decorate under the Christmas tree. ( Surprisingly if I knew it worked as well as it does, I would have grabbed quite a few more bags during after Christmas Clearance!) 

So TADA! The small blue is the one from Craftsy class

and the pink was from Pink Stitches 
I loved the boxy pouch so much, I can't wait to make a few more to hold all my little sewing notion knick Knacks! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Big Star Baby Quilt

  I made this very quick Baby quilt top using a tutorial over at Make it handmade here. It came together very fast, the whole thing took less than a few hours. However it has been hanging over the door for almost a month now. I have been going back and fourth on if I should add a small border to make it pop or just use some really scrappy binding to frame the star…. 
As of right now it measures 36" by 36". Perhaps a bit more pondering and I'll have an epiphany! 
It was originally made for a friend who told me they didn't want to know the sex of the baby so I wanted to use nice bright nutral colors, but alas they ended up finding out and now I am debating if I should make another with more "boy" friendly colors or just finish this one up or perhaps finish this one and gift 2 quilts!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Globe Trotter block One Complete Kind of….

Well Pat Sloans Glob Trotter QAL has turned to be a bit more then I was ready for! 
First the pattern seemed a bit old fashioned for my tastes. But I thought with the right fabric selection, perhaps it would perk up a bit, and I could develop my skills a little bit with a pattern I would never select on my own. 

First was the fabric selection. While I have made quilts before I have never gone and selected a whole line of fabric for one quilt. I always work with hand-me-down fabric, or fabric from others stashes. So this process took and HOUR! Oh Yes you should have seen my cart. Sillyness! I pulled so many bolts out, compared, checked prices, checked the pattern and fabric requirements. By the time I selected everything I was ready to call it a night!
Of course I didn't
Then the cutting, then assembling 24 little half square triangles. 
I think I need to sharpen my seam ripper after this first block as well. The number of times I had to take the stitches out was making me more than a bit irate. 
So Finally two days later done, and I load it up to the flicker group here and realize something is wrong. 

At this point though, I am going to call it "my interpretation of" and call it a day. I don't dislike it, but It's not what I was going for either. But if anyone else asks I just modernized it a bit, I totally did it on purpose! HA! 

Aurifi Block Of the Month

The start of the year, and quiltalongs are popping up all over. I have always stayed on the outside of these quilt alongs, but this year I'm jumping in! Upon chance I stumbled upon Aurifi Block of the month and I just loved The Flicker group here  Well this is an easy enough one to get my feet wet, so here is my first block! I love the fabrics that everyone has chosen for this. I raided my scrap bin for these and crossing my fingers I will have enough to finish this quilt without buying any fabric just to stretch out the last few blocks come December!