Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Triangles on Parade - Photo Fest

Just warning you upfront, lots of gratuitous photos of my latest finish, Triangle on Parade. This is my favorite quilt so far, I just wish it were a bit bigger to actually fit on our bed. Ideally it's best for a twin bed, (possibly a double/full), coming in at 73" x 77.5."

I had a heck of a time trying to quilt the middle of the quilt on my sewing machine. My Baby Lock Symphony is specifically made for quilting and has a large extension table and an 8-inch throat space but it was still a challenge. I ended up ordering a Supreme Slider which helped a bit but I look forward to the day when we replace our dining room table as I intend to convert that into a drop-in table for my sewing machine.

Despite my final design plan to quilt the top with the orange peel design in the main triangle sections, I really wish I would have gone with my original plan to echo a quarter inch. Free motion quilting those peels were actually a bit harder than I anticipated. It was especially hard keeping the lines smooth while fighting the weight of the quilt. Here's a close-up of some of the better ones:

I decided to go with my original echo plan in the triangles that are on the side borders and I really like how they turned out:

I've gotten really comfortable with quilting swirls. They've always been a favorite of mine. I love how they make the negative triangles pop.

I almost like the back more than the front. I fell in love with this turquoise pin dot fabric from Michael Miller. Since I had more leftover triangles I added a strip of them to the back as well. I even went as far as to line up this row with a row from the front so that it would get the same orange peel quilting on it. It didn't line up 100% perfectly but that's okay.

For the binding, I had envisioned a celery green solid but I couldn't find anything at the quilt shop that is closest to me. I didn't want to make a 40 minute trip to one of the other shops, so I opted for Moda's marble dots in a brighter shade of green.

I still need to add this cute little label on the back. Yet another leftover triangle - can you believe that I still have more?! I made it on a whim before the quilt top was even basted.

Picture taken before quilting was started.

Instead of using a fabric pen to write the details, I'm going to hand embroider it, sometime this week hopefully. I'm not one for hand-sewing but I like the look of the hand-sewn labels.

Okay, if you've stayed with me this long I guess a few more photos aren't going to bother you. This was my first time quilting straight line squiggles (okay, that's an oxymoron if ever I heard one, but not sure what else to call it). I really enjoyed them and they really add some nice texture. I'll definitely be using these again.

Lastly, this just makes me want to sit down, get cozy, and watch the sun set. Never mind that it was practically 90 degrees today.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Quick & Easy Stocking Stuffer

After wrestling with my large triangle quilt this weekend, I needed to take a break and do something small and mindless. Wanting to stay on top of my holiday sewing, I decided to make another set of luggage handle covers. These are so quick and easy to do and can be make with scraps. I used some leftover Michael Miller fabric from my Brown Bear Quilt. It's a blue and silver metallic print and makes me think of winter. Luggage handle covers make it easy to find your suitcase in the sea of dark colored suitcases that are riding around on the luggage carousel at the airport. Great for those who travel often. You can see the previous ones I made for our Disney cruise here.

Simply take 2 pieces of fabric measuring 6" x 6.5" along with one scrap of batting the same size. Lay your pieces of fabric right sides together and place the batting piece on top. Stitch a 1/4 inch all the way around, leaving a small opening so you can turn it right side out. Sew up the opening and stitch around the edge of the entire block. Alternately, you could quilt a small design over the entire thing which is what I did with mine. One has a poinsettia design and the other has a circular design. Add some velcro on the sides that are now 5.5 inches wide and you're done!

Quickest stocking stuffer ever! I have family and friends who are big fans of college and pro football. I think these would look great using team fabrics.

Linking up to Ho-Ho-Ho and On We Sew

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quilting Gameplan

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas on what to do for the quilting of my latest project. This is what I finally decided on:

I'm going to do the orange peel curves in the triangle sections using an aqua colored thread. I forgot that I had that color and it goes really well with the lighter blues and matches my backing fabric perfectly. For the large white sashing, I'm going to use white thread and make concentric swirls creating a few triangles in the negative space. I really liked how the white broke up the visual pattern of the triangles. I think if I would have used the aqua thread, I would have lost that visual feature.

I started quilting it yesterday, starting with outlining (meaning stitch in the ditch) the large triangle sections. I've opted to use my walking foot for this since this quilt is so big and heavy. I'm already wrestling with it quite a bit even with several tables to support the weight. I hope I can keep my free motion quilting smooth with all that bulk.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Unexpected Quilting Comment

I went to the dentist last week for my 6 month checkup. It's my first visit since moving to Florida so I had to fill out all the necessary paperwork. In the occupation field I decided to write "quilter." It just sounds so much better than "stay at home mom" or "not applicable." It's my favorite thing to do so why not list it.

After the hygienist took x-rays and asked all the typical dental questions, the dentist came in to introduce himself. This is what he said "Hi, I'm Dr. Chris, it's nice to meet you. So, I'm guessing you like to stitch in the ditch."  Add that to the list of things you'd never expect to hear your dentist say!

The hygienist's mouth dropped open and her eyes got really wide. I think she thought he said something suggestive and inappropriate but I just laughed. Then he told me that I had a dead tooth and needed a root canal. Yeah, not laughing anymore...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scones, Glorious Scone!

Sorry, not a quilting post today. I needed to take a break from my sewing machine this afternoon and since I had 3 pints of blueberries I decided to make some scones. This is the recipe I followed. It's a bit labor-intensive, but man are they worth it! And the best part of all -- you can make these up ahead of time, freeze them, and then bake just 1 or 2 in the morning.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quilting Conundrum

I'm really struggling with how to quilt my "triangles on parade" quilt. I've got some ideas that I want to bounce off of you but before I go into that I wanted to share yet another use I've come up with for Glad Press'n Seal. I've used it before to mark a quilt and sew right through it. This time I'm using it to audition some quilting options. I printed out a black and white rendering of my quilt and taped it to a cookie sheet. I then laid a piece of Press'n Seal over it. Now I can draw on it using a fine tip permanent marker to play around with how I might quilt it. (Yes, I admit it, I'm smiling ear-to-ear at my own cleverness).

Before I added the white sashing, my intention was to straight line quilt along the triangles, highlighting the triangle pattern. I'm not sure if I still want to do that now. Will that still look okay with the white, especially if I go with my original thread choice of a light celery green? I'd essentially be quilting triangles onto the white. Might be interesting and I could fill in some of them to make them pop. I don't know.

Of course, half way through making the lines in the drawing above, I realized that I made my white sashing double what it should be. Each of the triangle sections (2 rows of triangles) are 12 inches high and the white sashing is 6 inches high. In the drawing I made them both 12 inches. Oops. It still gives me an idea of how it will look.

My other thought would be to quilt curves on the triangles. I like that it would give some softer lines to all the angles of the triangles but then I really don't know what to do in the 6 inch sections of white.

If I go with this option, I would use the celery green in the triangle sections and probably white in the white sections. What do you think? Any brilliant ideas or suggestions?

linking up to Tweety Loves Quilting's MOP (My Own Progress) Monday.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Triangles on Parade

I think that's what I'm naming this quilt. Or maybe Parade of Triangles. Whatever I decide at least the quilt top is finally done. I still need to baste and quilt this bad boy but I'm pleased to finally have it all put together.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out now that I added the white stripes. It broke up the chaos of all those different fabrics that was haunting me. With the addition of the large white sashing I had extra rows of triangles so I decided to make a side border that would hang down nicely on the side of the bed.

I tried to take some outdoor photos but it's hurricane season here in Florida. That meant some high winds and this was just moments before it got dark as night and the skies opened up.

linking up to Tweety Loves Quilting's MOP (My Own Progress) Monday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome to QuiltLoop

I'd like to introduce you to a new quilting community website called QuiltLoop. When I started quilting 2 years ago, I wanted a way to track my progress on my various quilts. What was that charm pack that I used? How many yards did I initially purchase of that cute kangaroo print and where did I buy it? What is the exact color of this thread I'm using to quilt with? What pattern is it and what online tutorial did I use? These are all the things that I was trying to remember on a project. Multiply those same details on several projects and I was getting my details confused pretty quickly.

I tried to keep a journal in a notebook but that didn't work out well. I don't know about you, but I find it very tedious trying to manually write out websites. I figured there had to be something online that I could use. Yes, I like to share updates about my projects on my blog, but I don't necessarily blog about every single detail. That's when my husband Jeff got curious about quilting. Up until that point, I think he and I both made the incorrect assumption that quilting was mainly just a grandmother's hobby. He discovered that the world of quilters spanned generations and more and more quilters were under the age of 40 and grew up in the computer age. That got him wondering what quilting resources were out there for people like me who want to track details online. That's when he suggested that we build a site. Lucky for me, Jeff likes to do this sort of thing.

It is by no means a polished site. We're beta-testing and it's just the bare bones right now. That's because we need to get users to put up some projects and provide feedback on what's working, what's not working, and how they envision using it to help them with their quilting projects. Once we get a better understanding of how people will use the site, then we can start adding features.

Here is an example of my Home for the Holidays project on the site. Each project is in a journal format. Once you create a project, putting in the basic details (like project name, description, type of project, and start date), you can then create journal entries to make detailed notes, reminders (very helpful when modifying a pattern or block), add photos, etc.

So check out QuiltLoop and sign up for an account. We'd love to know what you think and have you join us on this new adventure! You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Blogger's Blog Hop - Weeks 3 and 4

Plum and June

Oh goodness, didn't I just drop the ball! While getting ready to post about the great blogs featured on the hop this week, I realized that I forgot to post those for last week. That means you'll be getting a double dose today (sorry about that). Yes, there are a lot of new bloggers here but it's worth it to take the time and check them out. There's lot of great quilty-ness to see and some great tips too!

Week 3

    Week 4

      Monday, July 14, 2014

      One Thing Leads to Another

      It starts with me looking for a fabric scrap to coordinate with something...
      After what felt like a dumpster dive in my oversized scrap bin, I realized that I needed to get my fabric scraps under control...
      Which led to me buying out the entire stock of clear shoebox bins at a local discount store (they were only a $1)...

       Sorting all of my fabric scraps by color led me to clearing off my fabric bookshelf so that I had someplace to put them...

      Which led to wanting a better way to store my fabric...

      Love the mini bolts of fabric and all the scrap bins!
      Among the piles of fabric on the floor were the batting scraps from my tree skirt which needed to be put away with the rest of the batting that is stored in the closet...
      That reminded me that I've been wanting to remove the closet doors so I have easier access to my supplies and small plastic rolling bins...
      Which led to my husband cursing under his breath, while indulging me in removing the closet doors...
      Which led me to cleaning out the closet so that my ironing board would tuck nicely out of the way but still be easily accessible...

      Now that my ironing board was in the closet I now have a bit more space in my sewing room so I needed to then rearrange my tables...

      Which led me to wanting to to finally make a bigger design wall...

      This design wall is 6'x6'

      Yes, you just got a glimpse into what goes on in my head ALL THE TIME and how one thing leads to another.  Now, back to that scrap I wanted...

      Friday, July 11, 2014

      A Penny Saved...

      ... is a penny I can use on quilting supplies! Val over at Val's Quilting Studio is hosting a spare change challenge and I've decided to participate. The rules are simple: designate something to be your piggy bank, decide what you want to buy, and start saving! Here is my change tin. I think I've had this thing since high school which would make it at least 25 years old.

      I've decided to save for a Supreme Slider for my machine and any money left over will go toward my local quilt shop's annual blowout sale on July 4th. This is an amazing sale where they discount everything in the store (excluding machines) 40%, even clearance items that are already 50% off. This past week I got some great fabric at 90% off! I can't wait until next year's sale so this is perfect timing.

      How about you, want to penny-pinch with me?

      Wednesday, July 09, 2014

      Rotary Blade Alternative

      I don't remember where I first saw this (I'm guessing pinterest), but I've been wanting to try this for a long time. Did you know that professional carpet installers also use rotary cutters? Yep! And did you know that they use a 45mm size that will fit your fabric rotary cutter? Yep!

      Now comes the best news of all - a 2 pack only costs $1.99. CRAZY, I know!!

      I would have tried them sooner but the only place I know where to find them is Harbor Freight Tools and we didn't have a store near us until now. They have very mixed reviews from quilters - some say they worked great, others say that they were awful so the jury is still out. So far, the one I put in my Olfa cutter works beautifully. I'll have to keep you posted as to how they hold up and whether I purchase more. Here's hoping, because it's an incredible deal.

      Monday, July 07, 2014

      Anything Goes Monday

      stitch by stitch

      I am so excited to be the guest host today for the Anything Goes Mondays linky party! When I first started quilting 2 years ago, I stumbled upon Marelize's blog, Stitch by Stitch, and have followed her ever since. Her free motion quilting was just stunning and when I learned that she does it all on her domestic sewing machine it made me even more determined to quilt my own projects.

      As a relative newbie to quilting I'm eager to learn everything I can which is why I have a growing list of projects that I want to tackle. Many of my them are smaller ones like bags, thread catchers, and placemats. These allowed me to practice free motion quilting with greater confidence.

      I really like wall hangings and want to make some minis for my sewing room in the near future. Again, smaller projects give me the opportunity to try new things. My favorite, Spinning Stars, got me comfortable with partial seams and stippling.

      Probably the most complicated quilt top that I've made so far is the one I did for the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Now I just need to figure out how to quilt it.

      Lastly, I need to introduce you to my faithful furry assistant, Oliver. He loves to be in my sewing room with me.

      Okay, enough about me, now it's your turn! What have you been working on this week?

      1. Link up ANY recent blog posts, it can be one or more, but PLEASE do not share blog posts you might have linked up in the past.
      2. Somewhere in your blog post, you must link back here to my blog, OR grab the Anything Goes button for your sidebar (found on the sidebar of the Stitch by Stitch blog)
      3. Try to visit at least a few of the other blogs linked, the whole point of having a party is to connect, share and maybe get a few more followers...remember to leave a comment to let them know you stopped by!

      Sunday, July 06, 2014

      Wash Out

      Since my tree skirt met with an unfortunate feline incident I had to wash it before putting it away in storage with all of the other holiday decorations. Given the amount of red fabric in this project, I knew there was the potential for color bleed which is why I doubled up on using color catchers in the washing machine. I won't wash a new quilt without them - they are a quilter's best friend (at least this quilter since she doesn't pre-wash her fabrics)! Check out the burgundy color! So glad I used two.

      Here's something else that came out in the wash - the writing on my label.

      It's only the 3rd time that I've hand written my label, using a Micron Archival Ink pen. They're supposed to be waterproof and the manufacturer even notates its usage on fabrics. I used it on my Brown Bear Quilt and washed that one before gifting it and don't recall having this issue. I also used it on my Tonga Treats table runner but I never washed that one so I hope it doesn't do the same thing.

      Thursday, July 03, 2014

      Home for the Holidays

      Yes, it's Independence Day tomorrow in the US and some people might be heading home, but I'm talking about Christmas. I finished my tree skirt and named it "Home for the Holidays" because it makes me want to have Christmas at our house! Of course we now live in sunny Florida so my fantasy of having it underneath the tree with prettily wrapped presents on it, while there's a roaring fire in the fireplace, with us all snuggled underneath a homemade quilt drinking egg nog is pretty much blown. Oh well, a girl can dream.

      Taking some nice outside photos of it also proved to be a challenge. It just didn't look right under a palm tree (not that I could find any small enough). Snow would have been a better backdrop but I'll have to settle for a breezy, sunny day in Orlando instead.

       The binding really proved challenging on this project. I was almost out of fabric and had just enough yardage for the straight binding but then what to do about the tree opening? Luckily I made a mistake when cutting my blocks and had three 8½ inch blocks leftover so I used this video tutorial that I found online to make enough bias strips for the opening. (I didn't make a tube because the pieces were so small).  Since I wasn't sure how long the bias binding needed to be, I couldn't join it to the straight binding until after it was attached. It was just one of those days where I joined the bindings incorrectly two times before getting it right.

      Of course I was so excited to finish this project that I just now noticed while writing this post that I put the wrong date on it! It's technically a July finish but I didn't realize it when I created the label. Oops!