Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Finish Fit for a Queen (bed, that is)

It was the struggle of struggles but in the end, I came out the winner. I've been working on this project for the better part of a year now. My Dad will be getting married again, in just a few weeks, and when I asked my Stepmom what she would like for a gift she said she really wanted a queen-sized bed runner. You know - those things you see on the end of the bed in hotels.


On a small scale, this pattern is pretty easy but with a project of this size, I wasn't prepared for how heavy it was. It measures 84" x 24" -- I can't even imagine how heavy it would be if it were a standard quilt size.


Despite all of my meticulous calculations on paper, I made a mistake and cut too many squares. But hey, glass half full, right? I should have enough to make some coordinating throw pillows!

Trying to photograph this also proved to be a challenge so I finally decided to hoist it over our 2nd-floor bannister and get a shot of it from the landing stairs.


This was a true labor of love and I'm happy that it's finally done with almost 2 weeks to spare before the wedding. This is one monthly goal that I am happy to cross off my list.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Quilting with Christa

This past Saturday my local quilt guild held a machine quilting class with Christa Watson. She is every bit as delightful in person as you would expect.

Thanks to my friend Ede for taking this photo

Even though I've done quite a bit of machine quilting, it was still great to hear her take on various techniques and practices. I used my time in her class to focus on a few designs and motifs that I've not really done.  It's always nice to just play without the pressure of a finished project.


I enjoyed doing some straight line quilting and definitely want to incorporate more of it in my projects. I also explored some free motion line quilting to be used as an all-over filler. I used my old test block for my Dutch Windmill pattern as a practice piece and turned it into a mini for my sewing room. It also happens to be one of the projects that I wanted to finish this quarter for the 2016 Finish Along.



One motif that I definitely want to try in the near future is this yummy triangle pattern that Christa showed us.

One of Christa's quilting samples.

I have a charity top and a pulse top that I need to quilt this week. Maybe I'll try quilting something different and new to me.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Playing with EQ7

Back in August the National MQG hosted a webinar with Amy Ellis on using EQ7 (only members of the MQG will be able to access the replay). I've had the software for a few years now and have used it for 90% of the quilts I've made but I still fumble my way along. For me, one of the a-ha moments of this webinar was when Amy said that when she first starts a project, she deletes the existing fabrics and uploads or saves only the fabrics that she plans to use. First, this just never occurred to me. Second, I had no idea that Moda and Andover had free images of their fabric lines that you can import into EQ7! This made me so excited and I couldn't wait to try it out.

It just so happens that I was recently summoned for jury duty. What better way to pass the time than to play with some virtual fabric! I've been wanting to make a quilt using my Bonnie & Camille layer cake of April Showers. Here are 3 layouts that I'm considering:

Layout 1 - centered radiating diamond
Layout 2 - offset radiating diamond
Layout 3 - centered radiating swirl
I paired the prints with a solid gray, with the intention of using Kona graphite yardage that I had on hand, but that was before BB-8 came into my life. So now I'm considering using a navy blue instead. I'm leaning heavily to one of these layouts but what do you think? Which layout would you choose?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Reusable Snack Pouches

When I got my KamSnap tool I knew that there were 2 projects that I definitely wanted to tackle. The first was reusable kitchen cloths (my Unpaper Towels that I blogged about here). The second project was reusable snack bags.  I try really hard to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the trash when packing my son's lunch by using plasticware for most items. However, all those containers take up a lot more space in his lunch box than if I were to use plastic baggies. That's why I made these using food-safe PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) fabric for the lining and fun fabric scraps for the outside.


Both snack bags are plenty big for a small snack, like pretzels or goldfish crackers. The one on the right was my first test bag. I used decor weight fabric and used binding to enclose all the edges but it is a bit too bulky for my tastes.

The Star Wars snack bag on the left was made by sewing the right sides of the fabrics together, leaving a small opening for turning it right sides out and then topstitching all the way around. Then I just folded the bottom up to make the pocket and topstitched on both sides. I added 2 snaps on this one because it was a bit wider (about 7"). I'm sure you can guess which one my son prefers. :)

I've never sewn with PUL fabric before and there was a slight learning curve. I found it better to use a slightly larger stitch length (2.5 or 3) and it could NOT be face up, in direct contact with my presser foot. It stuck to the smooth surface of the presser foot and would not advance through my machine. I was afraid that I'd have the same problem with it facing down, but the feed dogs pulled it along with no problem. Since I have plenty of PUL leftover I'm sure I'll be making a few more of these with cute leftover fabric scraps.
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