Sunday, July 29, 2012

Inspiration on Sunday - via the International Quilt Festival

I just couldn't contain myself!  I had a chance to sit down at the computer this morning, and all I could think about was showing you some pictures from the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach.  I attended yesterday, and it was awesome!

I figured I would try to share a few pictures every Sunday for the next couple of weeks.   All over the world, people find Sunday a day of inspiration right?

First up, something you could totally accomplish!  These two quilts are by Pat Kroth from Verona, Wisconsin.

Now, I don't know her exact method, but what it looked like to me is that she took "crumbs" of leftover fused pieces, arranged them on a background, fused them in place, then quilted heavily making sure to catch every piece a little bit.  Uh, Brilliant!!  I am not sure I could arrange my colors as beautifully as she did, but it would be fun to try!

If you have ever done the fusible applique method, you know that once you trim out your applique piece, you usually have some fabric left over with the fusible web attached.  It is typically in small, random shapes.  Heck, I have some this week!  Well, I am considering saving them now and creating a wall hanging or something.  I mean look at how wonderfully colorful these quilts are!  They would brighten up anyone's day!

Next up, Penguins!

I think I saw this quilt by Joyce O'Connell from Courtice, Ontario at the Road to California Show back in January too.  I'm not sure what it is about penguins that makes them so endearing, but I they are so cute.  This quilt was machine appliqued, hand-dyed, inked, threadpainted, and free-motion quilted.

What I love about it:  She pieced different fabrics together to create the shading effects of this quilt, and her free motion adds another layer of interest.  It is amazing!

It seemed like many of the artists exhibited at this years show had abandoned the technique of using pieced fabrics to create those shading effects in favor of painting on the fabric surface.  It could be that I was sensitive to it, because I prefer the unpainted technique, but it seemed like at least a third of the quilts in the show where fabric painted.  Some looked like paintings that had been quilted, instead of quilts that had been painted.  Now, I don't mean to put down the technique or anything - it certainly is growing in popularity - I just like the old way.

It's funny, my other big observation of the collection exhibited was the number of quilts that had been hand quilted really grew from last year.  At Road to California, almost all of the quilts were machine quilted.  I would say about a third at Long Beach were hand quilted.  It was really neat to see.

More pics next Sunday!

Did anyone else go to the show?  What were your observations?


Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm Diggin' It - Finish Friday

I have a few finishes this week.  It is nice to have a few small projects in the works - I might even have something to show you next week too!

As promised, here is a picture of my reverse applique T-shirt.  It's really hard to get a picture of a shirt you are wearing, while you are wearing it!  I did not follow the pattern given in the Handstitched class, but instead tried to make my own.  It didn't quite turn out like I imagined.  Seems more like a showcase of stitches rather than the fabric underneath, but I will still wear it proudly!

Also - Tada!!  The latest installment of the Medallion quilt for the Handstitched class, complete with the storm at sea blocks.  I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am diggin' this quilt and the journey.  The next step has some applique and a few on point squares in the border.  Can't wait!

I'm not sure whether I am pleased to show you my latest Free Motion Challenge piece or not.  It seems vacation has taken a toll on me, and my work has suffered a bit.  Well, here it is anyway.

I really liked the idea behind this month's motif, and drawing it didn't seem to be too difficult.....but when I started doing little tiles on my practice sandwiches, everything didn't come together as I hoped.

You see, I have made a whole bunch of practice sandwiches from the "trimmings" of my quilts.  They are typically 4 inches wide by 6 or 7 inches long.  Just big enough to practice something, pick up my free motion groove, and check my tension levels.  For a little while there, I even got into the habit of every time I changed my bobbin, I would load up my darning foot and do a little practice sandwich before continuing with whatever I was working on.  It kept free motion a little fresher in my mind.  Well, some time last month THAT habit went out the window!  And I could tell based on my first couple of practice sandwiches when I sat down to do this month's challenge.  My hands were jerky, my foot unsteady, and I swear I was seeing double a few times!  The results weren't great.

Now a smart woman would have said to herself, "Jen, you seem a little out of sorts today.  Perhaps you should save your challenge piece for another day."  Evidently I am not a smart woman!  After 2 1/2 practice sandwiches, I thought to myself, "maybe these sandwiches are just too small and it will work out better on a slightly bigger piece".  HA!

Oh well, these placemats are showcasing my journey through the challenge.  It probably wouldn't be realistic to think that I wouldn't have a month of backsliding.  I should eat my breakfast on it and just think how much better I am going to do next month!  Which brings me to a short list of things I am going to work on before next month's challenge: free motion quilting straight lines, and travel stitching.  Seems I really need some more practice on those two things in particular.

Tomorrow I am off to the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach!!!!  I cannot wait!!!  I plan on getting some inspirational pics to show off and share on Tuesday's post.  So, make sure you stop by for some eye candy.  I'm just sayin'!

Linking up this week with Handmade Parade at There and Back, TGIFF (this week at Stop that Owl), and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

There and Back

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jewels - WIP Wednesday

The Embroidery portion of my Handstitched Medallion Quilt is D-O-N-E, Done!  My word, it took a while! 
Sorry it is wrinkled, I just couldn't wait to snap a pic as soon as I finished the last jewel!
Each of those little jewels took about 2 hours, IF I wasn't distracted, which is rare.  I am now working on the Step 3, the paper pieced Storm at Sea blocks.  I'm doing them by machine in an effort to catch up and am almost done.  I have also completed the border that goes with them to complete this step.  Step 4 is a little applique and more machine piecing, so I am hoping to finish that step up by next Wednesday.  Then, it sounds like Step 5 is really time consuming - the hand quilting!  I know it sound daunting, but I can't wait to see what this quilt looks like when it is done - I absolutely love each addition when I complete it.

As you saw yesterday, I am all caught up on the Beginner's Quilt Along at Quilting Gallery.  That's a good thing!

So I am almost back to my typical state of chaos!  This Wednesday......

Completed Projects:
  • Embroidery portion of Handstitched Quilt
  • Reverse Applique T-shirt as part of Handstitched Class - pic on Friday
On-going Projects:
  • Handstitched goodies, including the class quilt.  These are my top priority as I am still behind in the class, and there are so many neat projects to choose from.
  • Design something for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop - my stop is in September, but at my pace, I better get started soon.
  • Vintage Holiday Quilt Along - actually starts August 6th.  I have fabrics picked out, and the blocks look REALLY easy.  Two blocks a week shouldn't be too hard.
  • Totally Groovy Quilt Along - I bought fabric for this one, so I might as well attempt to do it!  It also starts in August, with the sewing beginning mid-August.
  • Beginner's Quilt Along Block 8
  • July Free Motion Challenge!!!!  Gotta get this one done!  It looks so fun.  I have my sandwich ready to go, I just need to do a bit more practice first.

Back Burner:

I've taken most of the previous projects out of here and just left the ones that I think I might work on sometime between now and the end of the year.  You'll notice a theme, "waiting for quilting".  That's because I haven't yet figured out what I am going to do about a new machine yet.  A few of these projects could easily be done with Big Brother, but some of the bigger ones I am hesitant about.  For example, the Batik Stripe Quilt is one of my favorites so far and I really don't want to mess it up!  Plus, Big Brother has an even tighter throat space than Ms. Kitty, so the bigger quilts are more difficult on him.
  • Batik Stripe Quilt - still sandwiched and ready to be quilted!

  • Thank you quilt for Ashley's teacher - awaiting quilting

  • Red, White, Blue New York Beauty - piecing in progress
  • Urban Nine Patch Tablerunner - sandwiched and awaiting quilting
  • June UFO - "A Christmas Something for myself" - English paper piecing in progress.  It will be a table runner of hexagons.  This is the hand project I keep in the car, so I will do a little at a time, but progress is slow.
  • July UFO - tile batik quilt - piecing in progress

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 2
New projects - 3
Currently in Progress - 6-ish

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday's and Handmade Parade at There and Back on Friday
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced There and Back

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Make Up Week - Trial and Error Tuesday

Beginner’s Quilt-Along

I feel like it is "make-up" week here at my house.  Not only am I running the kids around to make-up swim and gymnastic lessons, I've been busily trying to catch up on my stuff too!

Here are blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7 for Quilting Gallery's Beginner's Quilt-Along.  I really like how these are starting to look, and I appreciate how "easy" these blocks are.  They come together quickly.  After spending so much time on the Handstitched quilt (I'll tell you more on Wednesday), it is nice to see a few things FINISHED and off my list, even if it is just a few completed blocks.

You can see the other participants blocks at the flickr group site.  It is neat to see how the same block looks completely different in different colors, etc.

If you are looking for a quilt along that hasn't quite started yet, try my post from last Tuesday here.  There are a few that are about to start in August that look awesome!

Also the 3 x 6 Bee that I participated in last quarter is having sign ups now for the next round.  Check out the 3 x 6 Bee flickr group here, if you are interested.  Hurry though, I seem to remember it filling quickly.  I had so much fun, I signed up again!

Who else is doing the Beginner Quilt Along?  How are your blocks coming?


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Underwater - WIP Wednesday

Well, not a whole lot of progress has been made since last Wednesday.  If you remember, I was on vacation last week and we didn't get home until almost midnight on Sunday.  If/when I got a chance to stitch during the last few days of vacation, I spent my time working on the "jewels" portion of the embroidery for the Medallion Quilt.  You can see from the  picture above, an orange jewel in the lower right hand corner.  Well, there are 8 of those jewels in the borders, and they take FOREVER to satin stitch.  I now have 3 1/2 left to go.  But hey, that's still progress!

Of the other hand projects I took with me, the little hexagons are still basted and waiting on a layout, and my T-shirt is still in the hoop waiting for the next step.

I am a full two weeks behind in the Handstitched class, and trying not to fret too much.  Luckily, last week's topic was English Paper Piecing, and we have the option of doing the next step of the Medallion quilt by machine paper piecing instead (if we are running shy on time, like I am).  So, it is a given that I will be doing THAT step, not by hand, in order to catch up.

As of tomorrow, I will also be 4 weeks behind on the Beginner's Quilt Along at Quilting Gallery.  At least that really only translates to 4 blocks.  If I can find some time alone in the next few days, I might be able to get the cutting and piecing done on all 4 at once.

Finding the time alone is the tricky part!  We have done nothing but run around since arriving home from vacation and my oldest is home with me this week.  Normally, she can entertain herself rather well, but I guess having both parents at her disposal for 2 weeks straight has made her think we don't have anything to do other than what she wants.  Gotta love it!

So I am underwater this Wednesday......

Completed Projects:
  • None (yet)
On-going Projects:
  • Thank you quilt for Ashley's teacher - awaiting quilting
  • Red, White, Blue New York Beauty - piecing in progress
  • Urban Nine Patch Tablerunner - sandwiched and awaiting quilting
  • Handstitched goodies, including the class quilt
  • June UFO - "A Christmas Something for myself" - English paper piecing in progress (wow it takes a while!)
  • Design something for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop - my stop is in September, but at my pace, I better get started soon.
  • Whichever Quilt Along I decide on from yesterday's post

Back Burner: (Maybe I am mistaken about the meaning of this category.  I seem to just be collecting UFO projects here.)
  • Swoon - my fabric is waiting, and waiting, and waiting
  • Batik Stripe Quilt - still sandwiched and ready to be quilted!
  • Lincoln quilt - need to put the borders on this baby and finish it up.
  • Blue & White Stack-n-Whack for May UFO challenge 
  • July UFO - tile batik quilt - piecing in progress

In other news, Ms. Kitty returned from the shop only to return to it a day later.  Plan C must be put into action.  I am going to start looking for a replacement.  Luckily several other bloggers lately have been shopping too, so I will likely piggy-back on their research.  My biggest hurdle seems to be that there aren't many dealers around here.  There is a huge international quilt show going on in 2 weeks nearby, but if I buy a machine there, I may not have anywhere close to get it serviced if I run into trouble.  Things to ponder.....

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 0
New projects - 2
Currently in Progress - 7-ish

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday's
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Temptation Island - Trial and Error Tuesday

Temptation is everywhere in blogland.  I seem to be constantly suckered into buying fabric because of beautiful pictures on someone's post.  Over our vacation to Maui (aka Temptation Island - well at least for this post), I ran into a different type of temptation, but first let me lead you down the path.

Alyssa over at Pile O'Fabric has a few interesting series going on for beginners.  One is just getting started, the "Beginners Quilting Tutorial Series" and she has a great post on fabric here.  I can't wait to see what other tutorials will be in the series.  The other she calls "Quilting and Sewing Events 101 Series", the latest post is here on Quilt alongs (a must read if you are tempted).

Now I recently tried my hand at a quilt bee, and liked it.  I'm part of the 3 x 6 Bee group on flickr.  The 3 x 6 means that I had 3 months to make 6 people one block each (the same block).  I imagine that they will be having sign ups for next quarter soon if you want to check out the group here.

I also recently went to a quilt guild meeting, not the guild that is local to me, but one up in the mountains where we frequently visit.  I was turned off by a few of the ladies in the local guild, but a friend of mine asked me to try out the mountain guild.  Having a friend involved immediately makes it more fun.  The mountain guild is heavily focused on charity quilts most of the year.  I really like the idea of doing a few quilts a year for charities, so that part was OK with me.  Coming up in October, they have a little quilt show of their own (most of the proceeds go to charity too).  They meet once month on a Saturday, and are pretty relaxed about attendance.  Sounded good to me!

OK, Jen, when are we getting to the temptation???  Well, Alyssa's post on the quilt alongs spurred me to take a look around blogland.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) I guess the end of summer is quite the popular time to get these started because they were everywhere.  And of course, I wanted to do them all!  Here are just a few that caught my eye:

Fabric Mutt

  • The Totally Groovy Quilt Along at Pile O'Fabric.  Alyssa followed up her series post with a quilt along of her own.  The pattern is not something I would normally choose, but I can see it being a skill builder and it might look great in masculine colors (and make a great gift for a guy in my life).
Pile O' Fabric

  • The Great Granny Quilt Along at Bee In My Bonnet - currently in week 2, but you can still join up!  I just love this block.  Lori also has a fabulous tutorial on how to make a portable design board.  I'm definitely going to have to try that out!

How Far Will You Go? QAL

It is IRONIC that I am interrupting my regularly scheduled show & tell of the blocks for the Beginner's Quilt Along that I didn't have time to catch up on since returning from vacation!  Ha!

Beginner’s Quilt-Along

What about you?  Are you quilting along with anyone at the moment?  Care to try out any of the above with me?


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Handstitched vacation - WIP Wednesday (vacation edition)

pardon the random strings, I needed a way to remember which color went where
Vacations are wonderful, but they can have mixed results on a girls "to-do" list.  Luckily, with Ms. Kitty being in the shop and the Handstitched Class in full swing, I have plenty of projects to do that don't require a sewing machine.  Unfortunately, the portion of my list that includes machine work is growing rather quickly!

For this vacation, I brought 3 hand projects with me. 
  1. The Embroidery portion of my Medallion Quilt for the Handstitched Class
  2. My English Paper Piecing project - little hexagons in Christmas prints to eventually be a table runner
  3. A T-shirt that is destined to be reverse appliqued - another project from the Handstitched class
Progress has been made on all three projects!  As you can see, #1 is almost complete (well, this step anyway)!  Hooray!  Happy dancing in progress.  For #2, I have basted almost all the hexies and just need to decide on a layout and start sewing them together.  And #3 is in the hoop, basted and almost done!

So here is where I stand this Wednesday......

Completed Projects:
  • None (yet)
On-going Projects:
  • Thank you quilt for Ashley's teacher - quilting in progress
  • Red, White, Blue New York Beauty - piecing in progress
  • Urban Nine Patch Tablerunner - sandwiched and awaiting quilting
  • Handstitched goodies, including the class quilt
  • June UFO - "A Christmas Something for myself" - English paper piecing in progress (wow it takes a while!)
  • July UFO - tile batik quilt - piecing in progress
Back Burner: (Maybe I am mistaken about the meaning of this category.  I seem to just be collecting UFO projects here.)
  • New York Beauty Quilt A Long - actually different from the one above.
  • Swoon - my fabric is waiting, and waiting, and waiting
  • Batik Stripe Quilt - still sandwiched and ready to be quilted!
  • Lincoln quilt - need to put the borders on this baby and finish it up.
  • Blue & White Stack-n-Whack for May UFO challenge 

Ms. Kitty is supposedly waiting for me at the shop when I return.  I DO hope she is in working order and ready to quilt up some of these UFO's!  'Cause otherwise, I am going to have to go to Plan C....

This week's stats:
Completed projects - 0
New projects - 0
Currently in Progress - 6-ish

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday's
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Quilt show classes - Trial and Error Tuesday (vacation edition)

It is that time!  Time to register for classes for the Road to California Quilt Show in January.  Registration actually started Sunday.  I am all set to be there from Wednesday through Friday, and I am already filled with anticipation!

If you are a beginner quilter, I highly recommend attending a class at a quilt show.  "Why?", you ask.  Several reasons:
  • Because the shows are big events, they can draw in teachers from around the globe that your local quilt shop or guild might not have access to.
  • When you are not in your class, you can tour the fabulous exhibits which are full of awe and wonder, and can't help but inspire you
  • You might make a friend
  • You might make 2 friends
  • Shopping opportunities abound (if you are into that sort of thing).
  • You will learn SOMETHING, and it might not be what you expected
  • Uh, it's fun!
Did I mention that I am already filled with anticipation?  I really can't wait!  If you are anywhere close to California, consider coming to the show.  It is fabulous!!!!!  And, I would love to meet up with you!

If you are wondering what happened to the Beginner's Quilt Along progress, I will resume making blocks as soon as I return from vacation.  Who knows, you might even get more than one since I need to do a bit of catching up!

Are any of you planning on attending the Road to California Quilt Show?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

A day of rest? On vacation?


First, let me thank all of you that stopped by for the Red, White, and Blue Blog Hop. I was amazed and encouraged by all the lovely comments! It has inspired me to actually do SOMETHING with my block. I am not sure if I will make some friends to go with it, or if I will make it into a cute beach bag. Today marks the half way point in our family summer vacation.

The girls are having a blast! As a result, my husband and I are needing more naps. Thankfully, on vacation, you can do that!

Now, I don't want you thinking that I am only lounging around the pool or beach. I have actually made quite a bit of progress on the embroidery portion of my medallion quilt as part of the handstitched class. If I can figure out how to post pictures from my camera, I will attempt to show you when it is done! I need to get it done before we leave since I am already WAY behind in the class.

I hope your summer is treating you well!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red White & Blue Blog Hop - Welcome!

Happy 4th of July and a big welcome to all of you visiting for the Red White & Blue Blog Hop!

I must admit that I have been enamored with this color scheme for some time and have several projects in progress using it.

Here is the block I created for this special hop.  I was inspired by a commercial on the food network which showed a beach ball floating across a pool.  To me, nothing says summertime quite like a pool party!

Actually before we get our feet wet....if you also love the Red White & Blue color scheme, check out the other participants of the blog hop.  There were some awesome blocks yesterday at:
Also posting today are:
And tomorrow I am sure the following quilters will have some terrific blocks:
The full schedule can also be found here, and the blog hop goes for nearly the whole month of July!  There are enough participants that you could make 5 quilts from all the blocks created!

Now then, let's dive in!!!!!

First, you may want to download the ball template here (pardon me as I have the original version of quilting software = graph paper).  You will also need:

  • 8" x 13" light blue fabric
  • 5 1/2 " x 13" dark blue fabric
  • 2" x 13" strip of white fabric
  • (2) 5" square pieces of white fabric or muslin
  • Red scraps
  • embroidery floss, if desired (I used light gray, black, pink and green)
Step 1 - Make your foundation:

Lay your white strip on top of your dark blue fabric so that it overlaps by about an inch

CAREFULLY!!! Use your rotary cutter to make a wavy design, making sure to stay within that 1 inch of overlap AND making sure not to cut yourself!  TIP: I found laying my ruler on the blue fabric and just barely on the white helped keep things from shifting too much.

You should have something that looks like the above.  These are gentle waves!  Anything too big will be hard to piece together.  Think of a gentle breeze blowing on the surface of the pool - not someone doing a cannonball.

OK? Fingers in tact?  Feel a little naughty for cutting something so improvisational and imperfect??

Now, remove that little raw edge of white on the left, flip the white over onto the blue and pin matching concave and convex curves together (that's why we overlapped the two fabrics).

Now sew with a 1/4 inch seam and press toward the blue.

Ooo, yes! We really broke some rules there, didn't we!  Now add the light blue piece.  This time you should actually sew a straight seam - I know, I know, the fun is over.  Press toward the blue again.

Foundation complete.  Don't square it up yet.

Step 2 - Complete the ball applique:

After printing your templates, decide which applique method is best for you.

  • You could use fusible web and machine applique the ball together
  • If you are brilliant at needle-turn applique, you could just go straight at it and I am sure your ball will be perfectly round.
  • I wanted to do hand applique, but I was not confident that it would turn out properly without some help, so this is what I did.....
First I cut out the "foundation circle" and the other circle that included pieces A, B, and C.  It looked like this:

I took the "foundation circle" and traced it onto one piece of my muslin.  I actually liked using the Frixion pens for this.

I then traced the inner part of my ball shape (this section was unnamed).

I now have a guideline of where I need my pieces to be turned.

I traced the templates A, B, and C onto scraps of red.  Cut them out with approximately 1/4 inch allowances, pinned them to the marked foundation circle and then needle-turned the appliques making sure my stitches just covered the lines marked.

At this point I felt the inner white area needed its own fabric piece, so I traced that unnamed section once more on a white scrap and appliqued it in the same manner.

Then I trimmed the whole foundation to allow for an approximately 1/4 inch seam.  It looked like this:

Now decide where you best like your ball to be floating, and applique it in place.

Step 3 - Embellish as desired:

I am taking Rachel's Handstitched Class over at Stitched in Color and am totally loving it.  So, I felt after all that hand applique, I needed some hand stitching to go along with it!

I felt the beach ball's seams needed to be highlighted in some way, so I backstitched along them.

I also added a depth indicator (like pools have) of 4'.  I picked 4' because today is the 4th, but you can choose whichever number you like best!  Maybe you hang out in the deep end more than I do!

Hmm, mine still seemed to be missing something...

That's better.  If I actually got a chance to relax by the pool instead of  being a lifeguard for my 3 little ones, I would want a nice cocktail at the pool's edge.  Strawberry Daiquiri anyone?

There you have it!  Once all your applique and stitching is done, you can square everything up to a 12.5" square.  You could also adjust to make it a 10.5" square rather easily.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution, now go enjoy your Independence Day!