Saturday, March 29, 2014

30/30 Sewing Challenge - Update 4

Ok this week was much better as far as sewing goes, but it was a really tough week otherwise.  I sewed more this week but as you will see in some of the photos, tired sewing is not a good thing.  I was determined to have a better week and so on Saturday when I got off work I started finishing the borders on my kissing booth quilt.  I was down to the last two borders and so it went together easily.  I love that sense of accomplishment when a top or quilt is done. It is a good size, I am not tall enough to hold it all up off the ground.  Which means it will be good for me to tuck under my feet and still reach my ears (the perfect quilt length to me).

On Sunday I pieced the back for my disappearing nine patch that was going on the long arm next. Then I had to iron it and the top, since the top has been folded away for months.  I love the colors on this one, the yellows are just so springy to me.  I think my photos of the back are on my ipad at home, and the only photo I have is of the top on the ironing board. I also loaded the top and back onto the long arm.

Monday meant quilting day.  I got the batting in place, turned on my tunes and started quilting.  I will say I love with the thread blends, but that also can lead to a few crossed over lines.  This is a fairly large quilt, and so it took me a good three hours to quilt, maybe a little more.  Of course I had to stop and play with Hollywood in between rows.  He has learned when the sewing stops to run into the room and beg for attention then, because when the machine is running I ignore him. I took a photo just as I was on the last pass.  I will say it over and over, I love my Handiquilter!!!!

Tuesday was grocery shopping day, laundry day, etc.  But it was also binding day.  I actually got the binding pieced on Monday and sewn to the back because I knew Tuesday was going to be a busy day. Once I got home I went to work on finishing the quilt and it was done fairly quickly.  I threw it up onto the frame to get a picture and who decided he needed to be in the photo....that would be Hollywood.

I decided cut out a practice block for my next test quilt on Tuesday night.  It is more half square triangles and I wanted to do a different method than the pattern described.  The HST were very easy to do with this method but they came out just a little bit small, but I decided to trim them up anyway and piece the block. Still love the new Bloc-Loc ruler, it really does make trimming those HST so much easier.

Now piecing the block is where things really fell apart.  First I cut two pieces too big and didn't realize it until I had already started sewing the block together.  Now the smart thing would have been to rip out and cut down, but to my tired brain that idea seemed hard.  Since it was just a test to see if I liked the colors, I just forced it.  But I really was tired because I put it together all wrong.  I looked at it and knew something wasn't right, but decided that I just needed to go to bed.

Now Wednesday was just a rough day.  Things were very stressful at Sharla's office, and they had a big job that needed to go out Wednesday morning.  We got to her office very early and I ended up staying there for a couple of hours to help her, before going to my office for a very hectic day. So by the time we got home we were both very very tired, but I wanted to get some sewing done. I had decided to switch the pink and purple and wanted to test using a little larger fabric.  I was able to get the block together, but when the designer saw it on Instagram, she noticed I still sewed it wrong.  That bottom left is still not sewn correctly. I did learn that I liked the pink and purple switched and even more important I learned sewing tired is not a good thing to do!!!

On Thursday I knew I was still too tired to try and sew, so instead I started cutting out the rest of the test quilt.  I didn't get it completed, but I made a good dent in it.  I just cut and watched some TV to give myself a little down time.

On Friday I had hit the wall.  I just was tired and neither Sharla or I was willing to do much.  In fact dinner was pickles/olives/crackers/cheese.  Yeah it was a gourmet night.  But once I rested for a little while I thought I could cut some more.  I'm still not finished cutting, but I've made some more progress. And no the blue and yellow aren't for the test quilt.  They are borders for a quilt Sharla is doing.

So that was my week.  My test blocks were a bust, but I learn something doing them.  And I finished a quilt top, finished a quilt and got most of another quilt cut. So overall I'm very happy with my progress. I think I've reached all of my goals for the month and still have a few days left over. I've quilted and finished one quilt each week this month, I've cut and pieced my kissing booth turning twenty quilt top, and I've started work on my test quilt.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Finish: My Disappearing 9 Patch

Another week gone, time is slipping away so very very fast.  I am quite happy with my quilt this week, although I didn't get many pictures of it.  It was a very hectic week and so things like taking pictures went to the back seat.

I made my disappearing 9 patch at the same time Sharla did hers. It was in a class we took at NCTC...hey Karen, Vickie & Donna!!!  The colors are not something I would normally choose, but I fell in love with them. The funny thing is when we were looking for fabric, I found Sharla's fabric for her and she found my fabric for me. I did the simple all over meander and yes I messed up a couple of times and crossed over lines.  I think I need to get more lights for the machine.  It isn't hard when the thread is a contrasting color, but I used Signature's Parchment which blended in so well that sometimes it is hard to see.

Here is a close up of the quilting. I still get more wonky curves than I want, but overall I'm getting better at avoiding those.  I will say my biggest problem is keeping it slow and steady.  I get in a groove and find myself going to fast.  But the machine beeps and lets me know when I am doing exceeding the speed limit.

Here is one showing more of the back.  This wonderful busy print really helps to hide any flaws. And yet it still looks great when it is washed and all crinkly.  I am very happy with this one, and I will probably use it on my bed for a while.  It is not quite a queen size, but close enough if I have a neutral coverlet below it.

Now for my funny pictures this week.  When I finished the binding I laid the quilt across the frame to get a picture of it for instagram and Hollywood rand up to pose next to it.  When I switched to my regular camera he laid down in front of it and looked like he was going to nap.

What you don't see in the above photo is behind the quilt is another napping baby dog.  Tucker was sacked out in his bed just sleeping away. He didn't move until I got up to leave the room.  I didn't realize my quilting was such hard work on the babies, but they seemed to be totally exhausted.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Layouts for Trixie Scraps Designs

It is hard to believe the month is almost gone, time is flying these days.  Today I am going to show you layouts I made this month for Trixie Scraps Designs.  I love her kits, they always are packed with great stuff.

The first layout I did used March Templatetopia by North Meets South Studios and Sweetened With Gratitude Value Bundle. The March templates are great and such a wonderful mix, and the kit is one of my favorites.  The photo is of Tom, Mecca and the kids at Christmas.

Next up I did a layout for the word challenge on Trixie's Blog.  Since I was leading the challenge and I picked the word "Happy".  I used the kit A Life That's Good Value Bundle. I adore the colors in this kit and I use it a lot, because of that fact.  The photo is of my long arm quilter, which I have named Abby.  Quilting with her really does make me happy.

I used the same kit again for my next layout, I told you I love that kit.  This time I have a picture of Tucker laying on Sharla's quilt (the one on the long arm in the above layout...hehehe).  I love that you can get lots of different pages from the same kit.  Which is one of the reasons I love scrapping digitally.

And lastly I used Social Butterfly Value Bundle to create my last page for the month.  This kit is really fun for scrapping your social media layouts, but I really wanted it more to showcase my photo.  I pulled all the black, white and yellow papers out (and I didn't even use all that were in the bundle).  Since my photo had limited colors I wanted that to reflect in the page.  The photo is of Hollywood "posing" by my latest quilt finish.

That is it for this month, make sure you stop by Trixie Scraps Designs Store and pick up these kits.  They will be great additions to your stash.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

30/30 Sewing Challenge - Update 3

Happy Saturday everyone, I hope you have had a wonderful productive week.  Me...not so much.  I did get some things done, but not nearly enough.  I think I just hit a wall this week and just needed some time doing nothing.

On Saturday I ended up not sewing, I did something even more important and that was clean my sewing area.  It had been through several projects and was out of hand.  I cleaned off my sewing table, swiftered the floors, wiped down my long arm, and just generally straightened up everything.  I didn't take any pictures, because even when I was done, it looked a mess, but to me it is an organized mess.

On Sunday I put together the back for Sharla's disappearing 9 patch quilt. I also ironed the back and the top and got it loaded onto the long arm. I'm not sure why I didn't take any photos of the top loaded, but I think I was just entering into my tired zone.

On Monday Sharla and I had blood work first thing, so I got a late start, but I pushed and got the top completely quilted. I just did a simple all over meander, but this was a very large quilt, probably the biggest I've done so far.  I will say I had a first with this quilt in that I broke a needle on it.  I think I had the top stretched too tight and when I went across one of the seams it just was too much.  There was no damage.  I loaded a new needle and was off to the races again. I trimmed it and sewed the binding as well.  Sharla ironed the binding Monday night as we watched DWTS.

On Tuesday, I went to work on the binding as soon as I got home from the grocery store.  I was tired, but wanted to get it done.  I put my binding on by machine on the back and front.  So it isn't hard, just time consuming, but it beats by hand any day.  

Yes it is a wild quilt, but it was made by a wild woman.  :)  I threw it into the washer, so it would get that nice squishy look.  I can say that I'm getting better and better with my meandering.  And I love that I'm getting quilts finished.  I know there is still a lot for me to learn, but I'm so happy with my progress to date. Here it is all washed and laid out nicely.

After this is when my week started going south.  On Wednesday night I came home very tired. I think it is a combination of allergies and all the weather changes, but it really hit me hard.  I went into the sewing room to sew the next set of borders onto my kissing booth quilt.  I got the borders pieced together and then as I was sewing the first one onto the top, I realized I was sewing right side to wrong side.  I did some ripping and decided it was time for bed.

And that was my last sewing efforts for the week.  Thursday and Friday were crazy days at work and when I got home I didn't have the presence of mind to do anything.  But I am hoping to change that today.  I have three things I want to get accomplished this weekend.  First I want to get the borders on my kissing booth quilt, then I want to get the back pieced for my disappearing 9 patch and I want to start cutting out the next test quilt.  If I get all of that done I will be extremely happy. I hope each of you are getting lots accomplished too.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Finishes: Sharla's Disappearing 9 Patch

Happy Spring everyone.  Yesterday was the first day of spring and I think my allergies really felt it.  I am happy to say I have a finish this week, but I've not gotten much else done.  This week I quilted Sharla's disappearing 9 patch.  I have to say it is hard to be sad around this quilt because it is bright and cheerful and just screams spring. She loves pink and green and I think these fabrics really fit her tastes.  I tried to get a photo of it outside on Tuesday just after I finished it, but it was pretty windy and even Cole with his long reach couldn't show it all.

I washed it Tuesday night and love how it looks now that it is all squishy.  There is just something about a fresh washed quilt that makes me very very happy.  We took it to Sharla's office and as you can see it is a little bigger than the ones before and it hung over onto the floor some...ok a lot.

Here is one where I'm holding it up, but it still drags the floor some.  I do love quilts that are long enough to tuck under my feet and still reach my ears and this one fits that bill perfectly.  I just did a simple all over meander in a variegated Signature cotton thread call Raspberries. 

The back is the same black/pink/green fabric that is part of the blocks, and it was great because it hid any mistakes I made....oohhh I didn't make any mistakes....if you believe that one I have some ocean front property for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge

I have decided to participate in the Hands2Help Charity Challenge 2014.  They have three wonderful wonderful charities to choose from this year.

Option #1 - Quilts of Compassion

Quilts of Compassion makes and collects quilts that are then given to a wide variety of people, but most recently they have found themselves out in the trenches, handing out quilts to people suffering from the after-effects of the tornadoes that have hit the midwest so devastatingly.  This group got together and made 200 quilts in three days.  And they recently distributed over 1600 quilts to the people in their Quilts For Oklahoma drive.  They need quilts for men, women, children and infants.  Quilts can be quilted or tied, in any size.  Living in Texas I have seen the devastation of a tornado, so this is the charity I've chosen. I plan to do at least one quilt for them.

Option #2 - Hurricane Sandy Survivors

The senior high school students of Gladeville Baptist Church have start a mission project in New Jersey, helping Hurricane Sandy survivors rebuild their homes and lives.  They will be going for a week in October as their first foray into this particular mission field, following up with additional trips on spring and summer breaks.  They worked in New Orleans for five years after Katrina, and it's entirely possible that New Jersey will prove to be a similar situation.  What many people don't realize is that the needs of the communities hit by natural disasters actually go on for years.  There's always an outpouring of support initially, but then it dies off and the survivors are left on their own to deal with the aftermath, including PTSD and depression. Sharing quilts with these folks seems like a good idea, especially after this winter!  Once again, quilts will be needed for men, women, children and babies, so any size is appropriate.  Quilts can be quilted or tied, although we do ask that they be sturdy so that they can be used rather than admired, and will hold up to wear and washing well.

Option #3 - Happy Chemo!

Happy Chemo, an organization that provides quilts and comfort for chemo patients.  They also collect up and provide information about freebies and discounts that may be of use to chemo patients. Quilts can be 45” square to 60”x 72”.  Any style of quilt is accepted as cancer effects men and women, children and adults.  Happy Chemo is trying to reach a goal of 1500 quilts donated, and they have already donated nearly 600.

Options 2 and 3 are also wonderful choices, so if you quilt and want to help feel free to help any of them.  If you need more information you can check out Confessions of a Fabric Addict's blog who is leading this challenge.

First Test Quilt

Ok I'm so happy to show ya'll the quilt I did for Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts.  I was very excited when she selected me to be one of her pattern testers.  The quilt is called Bright Sky and is a giant one block quilt. Yes that is right one block and it makes a 64 x 64 quilt.  When I got the pattern my excitement faded fast and I just got scared.  That was one big block, but Alyce has very clear instructions, and since the pieces are big the cutting went very fast.

I know I teased ya'll with some of the photos of the pieces as I worked on them, but now you get to see the finished top.  It isn't quilted yet, but I hope to get that done soon.  If you're a follower you might recognize the fabric of the center block.  It was the backing of my Skipping Squares quilt.  I loved it so much I just had to use it again.

I will admit I struggled a little bit with this one, because some of those pieces were very large bias cuts and my sewing isn't always the best.  Alyce modified the instructions to help those like me that struggle with bias edges, and I know that if I make it again it will be easier.  

Overall it was really very simple to put together, because there are not many pieces to it.  The instructions are well written and easy to follow.  I love my version but if you want to see some options check out this post Bright Sky Quilt Pattern Testers where you can see all kinds of options.  Although I think I like Alyce's radiant orchid one best.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

30/30 Sewing Challenge - Update 2

Happy National Quilting Day everyone, I hope you get to do something quilty today!!!!! It has been a week where lots got done, but at the same time it feels like very little got done.  I did finished the test quilt I was doing, and I'm happy with the results.  As soon as the pattern is released you will be able to see it.  But lets see what I got done.

On Saturday I started sewing my half square triangles for the test quilt.  It used the method where you sew around the squares and then cut them on the diagonal and get 4 half square triangles at one time.  I will say I loved this method, no marking, just sewing!!!!  I just got the sewing done on Saturday.

Then came Sunday or better known as the day Sharla and I broke the bank.  Not really, but we went to the Dallas Quilt Show and we bought several projects each...ok Sharla got 7 and I got 6.  And like us they were all over the board. We really weren't there to long, but since Sharla is still wearing that funky boot, we decided it was best to use the wheelchair, which meant I pushed her all around. And of course I couldn't just buy because I saw something I liked, we ended up going back to different places after we had gone through all the booths.  The quilts we saw were simply wonderful, but most were way out of my league.  Here is a photo of what we bought on the first pass, I think we added five more on the second time around.

When we got home, I was pretty whooped, and really didn't feel like sewing.  I sat in the recliner for a while with my feet up and then decided to try out one of the tools we purchased.  We got two Bloc Loc rulers, one for half square triangles and one for strips.  Let me say up front I LOVE them.  They work great and once I got hang of which way to turn them I got lots of triangles trimmed.

Monday rolled around, and Sharla took the day off, so I thought I would get lots done, but I was still pretty tired from Sunday.  My goal had been to get started on quilting a disappearing nine patch quilt.  But Sharla really wanted her Kissing Booth Turning 20 quilt done.  So while she pieced the back, I worked on putting together those triangles I cut. I also got her quilt back and front loaded on to the long arm.

Tuesday was quilting day.  I have to say I really love using my Handiquilter!!!  Even if the quilt isn't for me, I just get a lot of pleasure out of completing a quilt.  I just used a simple meander, and it went pretty quickly. Well except for when this one would run into the room every time the machine stopped and beg to play.  It is awfully hard to resist these sad eyes.

But once he was played with I got the quilting done.  Here it is still on the frame after the last pass.  I had turned up the tunes and was rocking as I quilted and the time went by very fast.  I think began putting the test quilt blocks together.

Wednesday night I finished the test quilt, but I can't show it here yet.  I also got the binding sewn onto the back of the kissing booth quilt.  I machine sew my binding front and back, because I HATE hand sewing. Plus with the dogs I know things will get washed a lot, so I think they will hold up better.

I really wanted to get the quilt done, so Thursday night I sewed the binding onto the front, so we could get it washed.  I love how a quilt looks after it is washed, plus it smells so good.

Here it is all washed and looking pretty!!!! I think this is my favorite of the quilts Sharla has done, I love the colors (and I should since I'm making one in the same fabrics), but also I think her piecing has improved a lot over the last year. She says there are still mistakes but I didn't notice any.

No when Friday rolled around I was one tired girl.  But I wanted to get something done, even if it was limited.  So I began putting together the pieced border for my kissing booth quilt.  I got all four sides pieced and the two long sides attached.  I would have done more but I needed to iron them and I just wasn't up to cleaning my ironing table off last night.

So that was my week.  It was long but fun.  I am hoping to get another quilt on the long arm this weekend and finished on Monday and get my third test quilt cut.  The next test quilt doesn't release until May, but I want to get it done and maybe even quilted before then.  I hope everyone is getting lots done on their #30/30SC.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Finishes: Sharla's Kissing Booth

Happy Friday everyone!!!  I hope you have had a wonderful week.  I've actually gotten a lot done, but I can't show you everything just yet.  But the big finish for this week is Sharla's Turning 20 - Kissing Booth quilt.  I'm a little jealous that hers is done, and I still have to add the borders to mine.  But hopefully that will happen next week.

I think this is the best quilt she has done to date.  Is it perfect no, but it is pretty darn close.  I think she is pretty proud of it herself.  The turning 20 pattern is great for showing off large prints and this bundle had some great ones.  I did an allover meander and I know of one place I messed up, but I didn't even look for it once it was washed.  I'm sure at some point Sharla will find it, but I'm not going to point it out to her.

I used Signature's Parchment thread and blends nicely with almost all the fabrics, it does show up on the brown blocks, but not in a bad way. I have to say I like the meander better than the loops, but it is a little harder when the thread blends into the fabric to make sure your lines don't cross.

I also finished the top of a test quilt I was asked to do about a week ago, but I can't show that to you until the pattern is released.  It was lots of fun to do.  But the most fun I had this past week was going to the Dallas Quilt show.  Ohhh so many pretty quilts to see, and so many way out of my league.  I will say I didn't love the best in show quilt, it wasn't really my style, but there was some that I really loved. And then there were the vendor booths.  Sharla and I went on a buying frenzy.  Before going in we knew of some things we wanted to see if anyone had, and we found one. But ohhh boy did we find a lot of other great stuff.  I think we tallied it and Sharla bought 7 projects and I bought 6.  So our to-do list just got longer.  I've already cut one of them out for Sharla and I think she is going to work on piecing it this weekend.  I'm not cutting any of mine until I finish my Kissing Booth and get the next test quilt done.  I can't believe I've been asked to do three different test quilts.  The next one isn't publishing until May, but I want to get it done before I start something new.  I'll try and get some photos of what we bought on Sunday to show ya'll a little later.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

30/30 Sewing Challenge Update 1

Ok it is time to give an update on my 30/30 Sewing Challenge.  I'm doing pretty good, but did have one day that nothing got done...well sewing wise.  So let's see what I did get done in the first 7 days.

On day 1, which was Saturday, I did more cutting than sewing, but I got a turning 20 quilt completely cut. I have to say I love this pattern, it uses big pieces that really show off the fabrics and it is easy to put together.

Sunday rolled around and we got a wonderful little ice/sleet storm, so even though I went to work, I came home early and worked from home.  But I did get the back pieced for my t-shirt quilt, but some how I didn't take any pictures.  I also cut a second turning 20 quilt for Sharla.  It was a busy day.

Then Monday was my busiest day of the week.  Since the roads were bad I didn't have to take Sharla to work, so I had extra time.  I got my t-shirt quilt loaded onto the long arm and quilted.  I then made the binding and label. Then bound it.  I was so busy getting it all done I didn't stop to take pictures of each step, but here is the completed quilt.  It is smaller than the ones I've been working on, so finishing it in a day was pretty easy.

Since I finished the quilt on Monday, that left me to do some sewing on Tuesday.  I started piecing my turning 20 top.  It went together very fast, and so I finished all blocks and got them put together. I still have to add the three borders, but am loving the colors.

Wednesday I fell off the wagon. Sharla and I have wanted to change the layout of our family room for some time, and for whatever reason, I just had to move it on Wednesday.  And after moving the sofa, two recliners, all kind of tables and such, I just wasn't up to sewing.

But Thursday I got back on track.  I was asked last week to test a quilt, so I cut out about 1/2 of the fabric and then started doing some of the half square triangles.  The method shown in the pattern makes it go pretty fast, but I did mess up one or two when cutting.  Luckily I got some extra fabric, and I learned a lot just doing these eight babies.

That leaves Friday night, where I finished cutting the test quilt and sewed the strips together.  It wasn't exciting, sewing, but it had to be done. And since it was Friday night, I needed something that I didn't have to really think about to hard.

So I think I've done fairly well for the week.  Could it have been better, sure, but life happens.  I'm hoping to finished the test quilt by the end of the day on Monday as well as get another quilt onto the frame and quilted. Yeah I know I have big plans, but my thought is aim high and even if I miss the mark, I will hopefully still get lots done!!!  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Finish: My First T-shirt Quilt

Well it is Friday again.  I started off the week on a great note, but fizzled quickly.  We had freezing sleet on Sunday, so Monday dawned cold and icy.  That meant I didn't have to take Sharla to work, so I loaded my first t-shirt quilt and got it quilted, labeled and bound all on Monday.

I had an easier time with the loops on this one, but have to be honest and say there is one major bugger spot. The last t-shirt on the last row (I'm Grumpy) has really rubber-like letters and the machine caught on it and didn't want to move. I really had to jerk it to make it move, so that loop is pretty awful! You can see it below, but over all I'm happy with it and you don't really see it from the front.

If you don't see it on the front it on the "py".  I also got some flack because I had the nerve to put an OU t-shirt next to a Texas t-shirt.  That is a big deal down here, but my response was that's the way I roll.  To be honest I'm not even sure where I got these shirts, but somehow I'm guessing from Callie.

Since I finished this on Monday that gave me Tuesday to work on something else and so I began piecing my Kissing Booth Turning Twenty top.  I have to admit I love this pattern.  The pieces are large so they show off the fabrics wonderfully and it so very easy to put together.  I have the center of the top done. But still have to do the three borders.

After two very productive days things came to a halt.  Partly because Wednesday after work I decided to re-arrange the family room.  Something Sharla has been wanting for several weeks, but we've not been able to get Cole to do for one reason or another.  So leave it to me to decide, I can manhandle all the furniture.  I did get most of it done, and all of the really big stuff I moved (but my back was saying..."What are you thinking").  Cole helped us finish up last night.  It still has lots that needs to be done, but Sharla and I are much happier.  I did get a few half square triangle blocks done last night, and I'll show you more of that later. Today I'm linking up with . . . Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Link a Finish Friday, Sew Giving,  NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday) and Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio.