Friday, April 29, 2011

quilting Kiss the Frog

It is time to start quilting the "Kiss the Frog" quilt. I really love the colors on this quilt!

So the question I faced was how to quilt it......again that moment of fear that I might ruin the top that I love so much.  I thought that maybe straight line quilting would look better??

This may sound backwards....but I have never tried straight line quilting, just my beginner efforts at free motion! So I went to my local quilt shop..Periwinkle ...and had a browse around (snooping at the quilting) of some of the display quilts.  Of course...I didn't walk out empty handed, but more on that another day : )

What I did find, though, is that I  liked the softer look of the free motion quilting better that straight line stitching. I know there is no "right" answer, and it is mostly personal preference, but that was my preference. So looking at they pattern in the darker grey fabric I used for the sashing and border I saw loopy swirl designs.....

So I tried to echo that in my quilting pattern. I used the same pattern on the last quilt - the Jelly Roll quilt- and really liked how it turned out, so have started to work. I had originally planned to try to centre the loops over each block.....but that only lasted about one block! So then I just wandered around!!

It is actually going faster this time, guess I am getting a bit more confident.
Just a few tips for anybody else who is just starting FMQ........

  • fill up several bobbin with thread before you start.
  • I DID NOT drop my feed dogs! I have read about this and tried it, and it works! Set the stitch length to zero, and sew. 
  • set the speed on the machine to half speed ( if you can). I have gradually increased the speed as I have gotten more comfortable, but you don't have to go fast.
  • Gloves are a MUST!! I didn't like using gloves when I first started, but now think that they are essential and make it SOOOOOO much easier. I have tried several kinds ( although never tried actual quilting gloves LOL), and my favorite are the non-sterile surgical gloves. They come in a box, are cheap, and I can still feel the fabric under my fingertips.
  • Stop and check the back now and again as you go. I did have to adjust my upper tension a bit higher, but just keep an eye on how it is looking.
  • I use pins to baste, and thought that they would get in the way, but I find that I am stopping so frequently to readjust the position of the quilt and my hands, that it really isn't a problem just to take them out as you get close to them.
  • Have fun! I am actually loving doing the FMQ part!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

didn't know that I didn't know!

There is an interesting phenomenon going on in blogland apparently!  People venting and getting things off their chest. Check out all the comments over at Rachel's blog Stitched in Color, and then at Krista's blog Poppyprint.

I actually felt a bit intimidated by all this. I guess I didn't realize how much I didn't know till I read it. I freely admit that I am a beginner quilter and a newbie in blogland.

  • I dont know who the newest fabric designer are, or what the newest fabric line is. I buy what I think looks pretty.
  • I dont care if what I sew is "dumbed down" ...I kind of like it that way!
  • I dont know if I am a "modern" quilter or not....dont think I am a traditional quilter...but also dont really care. (see first point)
  • I dont know how to make hexagons, or even half square triangles to be honest.
  • I usually dont enter give aways if they require that I become a follower...I follow people because I am inspired and learn from their blog.  I am honored and flattered that anybody follows mine!! Is it a competition to see who has the most followers?
  • I didn't even know what a Single Girl quilt was (I had to google it) or if I liked it or not.
  • I really dont like  Sherbet Pips ! (there I said that out loud) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

buttonhole amnesia

my son asked if I could sew a new slip cover for the cushion on one of those big round wicker chairs. Sounded easy....thought I could whip that up in an hour or two. ....or not!

First issue, of course was doing the math...drawing a circle with a diameter of 4'4"!! means a radius of ??? I know, I get the simplest things mixed up !! Anyway, I did get past that, and got the cover sewn, and then went to add the button holes.  My "Jenny" sewing machine has many features, most of which I haven't used yet. So I thought that this would be a good time to try out the automatic button hole attachment.

 There were a couple of options that looked promising. The first one is putting the actual button into the attachment and then the machine automatically makes the buttonhole the correct size...theoretically...

or not. It made a perfect buttonhole, but it was only about a quarter inch long.

 Oh well, on to option 2...
this time was a memory buttonhole, where you manually stop at the correct length, and once you have completed the first buttonhole, it will make the rest exactly the same. .....or not !

I think Jenny has buttonhole amnesia....she would get it done perfectly....almost, but couldn't quite finish the last side. : (  I ended up taking the attachment down to the dealer, and there was actually a small piece broken, so once it was replaced, it was like magic!! Buttonholes have never been so easy! Love it!

And my son (and his dog- Taylor) love the new chair cover!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

on a roll with the Jelly Roll!

I had a very relaxing day, quilting the Jelly Roll quilt. I put on some good music, took my cup of coffee and went to work!
I find it very helpful to practice drawing my pattern with pencil and paper before I start. It gives me an idea of size, and direction, and sometimes where I need to change direction. I keep this paper nearby as I start sewing too.
I must admit, I did have a moment of panic before I started, worried that I would mess it up, and ruin such a cute quilt top...but once I got going I actually relaxed and really enjoyed it.

 I tried a different free motion pattern this time, it is actually less "busy" than what I have done before, and I thought it looked better on this quilt. It was easier to do too, which is always a bonus!

I had a bit of trouble with the border, though. I just did a stitch in the ditch on both sides of the narrow border, but did FMQ on the wider border. The problem I had was the the top thread almost matched the fabric, so it was hard to see where I had stitched. ....

Even though there are some mistakes, looking at the back where you can see the stitching ,the border stitching turned out OK..

The fabric for the backing is called "Raining Cats". I am not sure what it has to do with cats, looks more like little sunshines to me, but whatever....I think it looks great for this quilt.

So, all finished now except hand stitching the binding and the label.  Yes, I think I will hand stitch this one! It is a gift for my nephew's wedding, so thought I should do it up properly! : )

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Apron

First of all, I would like to thank all of you who offered your comments and advice. I really do appreciate your thoughtfulness and concern. It is like a having a whole lot of sisters to talk to !!

I have not committed to anything yet, but am leaning towards continuing to plod along and see if this can actually lead to completing my PhD someday! Why not? I am going to discuss it further with my supervisor, but she is quite willing to continue, so I don't see that I have much to loose...except my time...and because I am just doing this for the challenge of doing it, might as well continue!

Anyway...HAPPY EASTER to everyone!! Hope the Easter bunny is good to you.

We are travelling to my sisters place for Easter dinner, so I made some cute Easter aprons....matching ones for me and her! (I am a messy cook!!)

I don't have a pattern to share, sorry, I just sort of copied an old apron that I had here. I used decorator weight fabric, so it is a bit heavier than quilting cotton. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Decision Time

This is kind of a good news, bad news post....

The bad news...

I was not successful in my application for a "fellowship" to fund the rest of my PhD. (and this PhD doesn't mean - projects half done !!)

The good news....

The device that I was supposed to be testing has never actually been completed by the Engineers on our team, so if I had been successful in getting the money, we would be scrambling to find something to test. So, in a way this solved that problem.

The bad news...

My supervisor has accepted a position at a different University several thousand miles away.

The good news ....

She is willing to continue as my supervisor, by distance, if I choose to continue.

The bad news....

If I do choose to continue I will need to start all over again with a new topic - it would mean starting the literature review from the beginning, writing a new proposal, finding a new committee.....after having lost the past year and a half's work.

The good news....

I could just withdraw from the program .......and have more time to quilt!! (before I pay anymore tuition) So now it is really decision time....what do I want to do when I grow up ??

 ...but there is  more good news.....

my sweet hubby brought home some beautiful Gerber daisies for me! 

They are bright and cheery, which is great, because there is still scattered snow outside ! If you look closely, you can actually see the Kiss the Frog quilt blocks laid out on the floor behind the flowers LOL!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kiss the Frog!

I hadn't really planned on starting something else, but saw this material and it really called my, really!!
It is called "Sunkissed" and it is beautiful. I have a good friend getting married this summer (yes 2 weddings...and they are both on the same day!!) but anyway, I thought this would be perfect for her.

I found a pattern in my Jelly Roll book,that I was would be great....with a few minor changes (of course)

The blocks are sashed with a darker grey, I am not quite sure what it is, the name on the salvage says "Nature  Elements Collection." It is probably the nicest fabric I have ever worked with. I have read about people loving some fabric...well I love this fabric. It is so soft and so pretty, and so easy to work with!
I cut it pretty close with this one...almost nothing left over ...

The blocks went together quickly, although it would have been much quicker if I hadn't made so many mistakes! Ever wonder how many times you can make the same mistake??? Well I can tell you....quite a few times! A lot of these little pieces are very similar, and it is a bit like sorting socks when they come out of the dryer, and sometimes I got the wrong sock!!

I also have never worked with "setting triangles" so that was a new experience. After a few misplaced triangles, it was all pieced together.

As for the material for the backing, I try to buy backing for my quilts from the half price wall (which in Canada is still about $9 per yard) and I found some that I thought was just perfect. It is "Castles and Carriages" and has the "princess" scattered across it. Of course it also has a very faint "kiss the frog" written too !! oops

Hope the new hubby doesn't look too closely LOL!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I can sew....really!

After a day of making several very silly mistakes, I thought I would talk about some of the good things I have done, instead of always talking about the crazy mistakes that I make trying to quilt!!

I have been sewing for many years, just new to quilting. This is the dress that I sewed for my youngest daughter when she was one of the bridesmaids for her older sister last summer....

I had such a cute little tulle ruffle around the bottom...

and yes...I usually label these too....

I sewed one of the other dresses too, but don't have any pictures of it. Funny, I take pictures of all the quilts and quilting projects that I make, but have never before taken pictures of any of the clothing.

My baby......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

wearing out ??

I have been having problems with my rotary cutter.  It has been skipping little bits. I have tried to change the blade, a couple of times, but that didn't help. ...and at the cost of blades, I cant keep doing that !!

So I had a chat with Deb, at my local quilting store, and she suggested that I might have "worn out" my rotary cutter!! Have you ever heard of that ??? Not me!! How do you wear out a rotary cutter ?? I guess I must be very aggressive when I am cutting?? Must be all those arm weights that I do every morning....I just don't know my own strength!!

Anyway, I bought a new cutter....

and more problems!  (maybe I can dig some of those blades out of my sharps container and give them another chance !!)
Easy fix....I will try to be a little more gentle with this one!! Who knew??

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Country Kitchen Cozy

I have had a jelly roll for some time now, but just wasn't sure what to do with it. Then I saw a picture of a jelly roll quilt on Sharon' s blog Vrooman's quilts, and she was kind enough to share the directions with me. It was her Jelly Roll Race Project. It looked like something quick and that is what I decided to try.

I missed one very important step when explaining this. 
After you have sewn all the strips into one long piece CUT OFF 18" FROM ONE END. This is important so that the ends are randomly scattered when you start to sew it together. Then fold it in half and sew a quarter inch seam down one side.
Full directions are here;

The first thing you do is shuffle the jelly roll strips, so they aren't all in order of color.....or in my case, because I cant do random..... order the strips to mix the, blue, yellow, etc.

Then you sew them all together on the diagonal - end to end- (like sewing binding together) ...yes it is long!! 40 strips makes about 1600"...quite a pile!!

Now cut 18" off one end of the strip ! (important step)
Then place the ends right side together and sew the whole length, cutting the strip apart at the end to finish the seam. So now it is only 800" ...whew, so much better! : )
Then keep repeating for a total of 5 times. Each time the seam gets shorter.

Then press all the seams in the same direction, and trim the even the edges.
I am adding a narrow off white border and then a wider dark blue border, just because I love borders, but you don't have to add borders to this.

Of course the fabric I had picked out for the backing was a bit too small, but I found some really cute blue on the half price wall at the quilting store! I love it, and it looks great with the colors on the top. I have it all layered and pinned, ready to try out my free motion skills again !

These colors are a little out of my usual range, but wanted to play with something a little different. I actually think it looks a bit Country Kitchen Cozy. I really like it, it is very bright and fun. I have a nephew getting married soon, so thought a nice home made gift would be a good idea for them. Hope they like it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award !

After all the excitement of packages in the mail, I received a "Stylish Blogger" award, nominated by Jan-Maree , a.k.a Cherry Red Quilter.

Sorry it has taken me so long to post, but had to patiently wait to get my computer back. (or maybe not so patiently!!) Anyway, here is the deal with the Stylish Blogger..
1) I need to thank and link back to the person who gave the award...Thank you Jan-Maree!!!!
2)Then award some of my favorite bloggers (some say 3, some say 6, How about a few of my favorites), having given them some notice to see if they are willing to accept.
3) And finally share 7 things about myself.

So my Stylish Blogger awards go to some fun blogs:
  • Appliqué Addict  I haven't tried much applique, but lots of great information here, and wonderful pictures. (I love pictures)
  • From the Blue Chair -great blog,  very creative, and wonderful quilts and projects...all from the blue chair!
  • Vrooman's quilts- not only are there great quilts here, but Sharon is also very knowledgeable and willing to share tips and advice! 
  • Walks in the Woods I love this blog. She is so creative, and inspiring! I have one of her books too, and it is great. The pages are getting a bit worn from leafing through it !!
And finally......7 things about myself (and that may be more than you really want to know!!)|
  • My favorite animal is the elephant...not such a good idea as a pet, though : (
  • My favorite color is yellow...reminds me of sunshine.
  • I grew up on a farm in the middle of the Canadian prairies, and although I have moved around some, I am still  living in the middle of the Canadian prairies. 
  • I got remarried 4 years ago, on a beach in Maui at sunset, with all of our children around us.
  • I love to travel, and have tried to learn Italian. .."Buon giorno"
  • I love flowers, and have a backyard full of them in the summer...and actually quite a lot in my fabric stash as well.
  • I have been sewing for many years, mostly clothing, but have only started quilting in the last year or so. 
There you have it! Me in a nutshell....and that is all for today. More details on some of what I have been working on soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Laptop has come home!!

Well, where do I start??? It seems like a very long time since I have had my laptop, even though it has only been about 2 weeks! It probably seemed longer because I whined the whole time about not having my laptop. (my apologies to my husband, who patiently listened to me!!) I wish I could say that I got a whole of work done because I didn't spend so much time on my computer....but....not so much!

Anyway, first up ....I have had a very exciting week checking my mailbox!
My first package was from Susan over at Susan's Texas Quilting Adventures
I won a layer cake....."Happy"...

It is so bright and pretty...

I don't have any immediate plans for what I am going to do with it. So far I have enjoyed just looking at it!!

I also received my prize from Barb at Bejeweled quilts.  And along with the cute buttons (which I love)....

she was so kind and sent a very pretty bit of fabric....

Thanks so much for being so generous, both of you!! It is so much fun! And with this winning streak, I have bought a lottery ticket on the $50 million dollars this weekend....just imagine how much fabric that would buy !!! : )

It is good to be back in blogland!!  I think I have some catching up to do....

Monday, April 4, 2011

sad computer news

Well, my laptop is sick, apparently very sick.  I have little red warning signs coming up. One of them told me that I had 39 viruses!! How can you get 39 viruses??  and don't you just hate seeing those little warning signs??

Anyway, I took it in to the computer tech guy, who has kept it to clean it,  : ( and they say they are quite backlogged, so it may be at least 2 weeks!! ......even more : (

Anyway, the bottom line is that I can view other blogs and add comments from my iPad, but cant upload any pictures......boring !!  Consequently, I probably wont be adding much here until I get my laptop back again.

Maybe I will have done lots of exciting quilting by that time and will dazzel you with my achievements!! We will see.

Stay tuned, I will keep you posted.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just the sweetest!

I came home to an amazing package yesterday!  It is such fun getting packages : )
This was from Cara at Cara Quilts. She posted the "Basics Charity Challenge" awhile back....such a great idea...not just for the challenge, but because we can and should give back.

Anyway, I won a copy of Asian Fabric magazine, donated from Kona Fabrics.

 I have never seen this magazine before, but it is pretty cool. It has great pictures and instructions..

and even a recipe for Hot and Sour soup....yummy!

And if that wasn't great enough...Cara added some fabric...

I absolutely LOVE these colors....and if you look closely, you can see little butterflies in the design! How perfect is that!!  Thank you so much Cara, you are so sweet.