Monday, December 31, 2012

December Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

Last day of the month, last day of the year and last 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.  I have truly learned a great deal this year and many thanks to SewCalGal for putting this together this year.

December's challenge was just that a challenge.  Patsy Thompson did a wonderful job for the last challenge.  Borders and more borders and feathers - oh my!  I started working on this in about mid-December finding the piece of fabric for the front out of a stash of my hand painted cloth.  I then picked these threads to work with:

I used a very busy print for the back and the darkest purple for the bobbin.  Of course this is the time in which I had no tension issues what so ever and wish I had chosen a plainer back ground to show off the stitching.

I used a soap sliver to mark the borders and quilted them in the dark purple as well. Then I started on the borders.

I had to remove the top motif three times before my hands and brain would get the pattern.

I love feathers, but I have always been intimidated by them.  No more.  They are far from perfect but I can do feathers.

The whole quilt.

If you want to see my other completed challenges here are the links:


Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year.  I can't wait to start 2013 and the next quilting challenge.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney With Care

Merry Christmas!

The quilt was finished a few days ago.  It started as a exchange of Christmas Trees in one of my splinter groups with Cobblestone Quilters Guild last year and my goal was to have it up this year (just made it!)

Have been working on numerous class samples for next year and lots of Christmas presents (which of course I can't post).

Picked the fabric for my free motion quilting challenge piece and hope to have a few quiet hours in the next few days to quilt.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

I love spirals and so was very excited to see this month's tutorial by Sarah Vedeler. I printed out the practice sheets early in the month - and they sat on my desk until yesterday (a busy month with teaching, doing a trunk show with ATW and family).

After practicing with pen and paper I marked my sample fabric using a template I had recently purchased from Pam Clarke and a Quilt Pounce I purchased many years ago at a quilt show but hadn't really used.

As I have mentioned before, I really hate marking quilts.   But as the year has gone on, I am finding it to be easier and love all the different techniques I have learned and used.

I first started quilting the basic spirals in a straight line.

Then I worked on spirals that alternated direction.

Then I did smaller spirals in both techniques.  The larger ones are about 2" and the ones below are about 1".

I am pleased, for the most part, that my stitches are consistent in size.

Another great tutorial.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Portal - Another Time, Another Place

The latest challenge for my art group (ATW) was to do a piece based upon the phrase "Another Time, Another Place".  I choose to do a almost whole cloth quilt from a photo I took in 1981 near Killarney, Ireland at Muckross Abbey.

This has always been one of my favorite photo's I took while traveling during my junior year of college.  Several friends where traveling with me and we had a picnic lunch on the Abbey's grounds.

I used several of my favorite "quilting" tools to make this piece - my scanner, computer and printer.  After scanning the photo in and doing a little color adjustment, I printed it out on four pieces of fabric which I then pieced together to get the full quilt.

I used a little trapunto on the largest arch way, a little thread sketching and lots and lots of machine quilting.

I knew I wanted an irregular edge, so I finished it with a little bit of yarn that I couched over.

I called the piece Portal as I could see this as a doorway to the past - both to mine and the monks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Day With a Few Friends

This past Saturday, my husband and I spent the afternoon with a few friends - about 70,000 - at the University of South Carolina football game.

My son, who plays trumpet, is in the marching band for the second year and this is the first time we have been able to make a game.

We had a great time, although it was a little chilly.  They did a great half time performance in honor of Veterans Day.  I think my dad will especially like this photo as he is retired from the Air Force.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

This month's free-motion quilting challenge by Teri Lucas had us starting with pens and paper instead of needle and thread.  Drawing is not my strong suit - but I have started a quilt design notebook divided into Fillers, Borders and Blocks.  I am trying to test out my designs before I start sewing and I agree with Teri that by drawing a design first you create a muscle memory and it is easier to stitch.

Here is the second of the drawings I made for this challenge (the first was pretty pitiful).

For the actual stitching I used a piece of Robert Kaufman's Radiance that I had been wanting to try out and a variety of threads and needles.

For my name the thread was a 40 weight YLI Machine Quilting thread, the echo was done in Guterman 100% cotton in a 50 weight, the cross hatches in a Sulky PolyLite 60 weight, the feather in Superior King Tut, the circles in Sulky Metallic and the nautilus shells, swirls, e's and leaves in YLI silk thread.

I liked the heavier weight thread for the bold statement they made, but it really built up on the feather's spine. Both Sulky threads have beautiful sheen and I did not have any problems with the metallic thread - which sometimes can drive you to drink!  And the silk was a dream.  I want to do more with my silk threads - if only they weren't so darn expensive.

I would like to try Aurifil thread as I have heard lots of good things about it, but have not seen it locally.  I guess I will have to break down and order some.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Little Christmas Star

I recently finished a little Ohio Star wall quilt done in Christmas fabrics by Holly Taylor for Moda.  This is the block I am going to be teaching at Stitch n' Sew Fabrics in Mount Pleasant, SC on November 9, 2012.

For this class, the students are to bring two fat quarters and are going to learn how to make quarter square triangles and this traditional block.

I also had a stack of charm packs in the same fabric line and wanted to do a more scrappy version of this quilt block, which is my preferred way to work.

I was worried about getting the free motion motifs in the solid squares, so I first quilted each side in the ditch with just batting and no backing.  After that I layered the two quilts, marked one side and finished the quilting.  I liked the way the double layer of batting looks and how well the tension worked on my machine. I will definitely use this technique again.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

For this months challenge I made a place mat for one my guild's (Cobblestone Quilters Guild) charities.  We have been making  place mats for our local Meals on Wheels.  I used Don Linn's method of transferring the stencil to my fabric, and I must say I really like this technique.  I have always hated marking quilts - but have found this to be fast, accurate, and easy.

Like Paula Reid I found that once I had enough space to the left and back of my machine, my free motion skills improved greatly.  I have a wonderful table that my husband cut a hole into so that my machine is level with the surface.  Unlike Paula, however I don't like to have the quilt sitting on my lap - probably has something to do with the heat in Charleston most of the year! I tend to "fluff" the whole quilt on the table.  I have machine quilted fairly large pieces this way.

After I quilted the center medallion, I then added small flowers in the corners and then practiced my echo quilting.  I need to work on the spacing of the echos.  They varied a little more than I would like.

The finished project:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dreaming of Fall - Part 2

Last post I showed the beginning of a small wall quilt I was working on for a class sample and it is now ready for quilting.

To start off I wanted to stitch in the ditch around the inner border.  I hate stitching in the ditch because I am not very good at it, but recently had seen either a post or a discussion on using your blind hem foot to aid in staying in the ditch.  I can't remember where I read or heard it but decided to give it a try.

It really does work.  I used a light tan thread and as I sewed pulled a little on each side of the quilt to separate the seam slightly.  The thread went right in the ditch and as long as I stayed focus and relatively slow, the thread just about disappeared.  This is the best stitch in the ditch I have ever done and will use this technique again.

After I had the inner border quilted on either side, I wanted to use a small curve around all the edges of the cream and wanted them to be similar in size and look.  Since I hate marking, I used a small piece of Tiger Tape to mark the center of each curve and the size from the edge I wanted to go in the block. This small piece was moved around the quilt and was still sticky enough to hold on all the way to the end,

And although they weren't perfect curves, I didn't have any marks to remove either!

Now to quilt the inside of the leaf.  I free-motion leaves and swirls using a variegated thread all over the leaf.

The quilt is done and now hanging at Stitch 'n Sew Fabrics.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dreaming of Fall - Part 1

At this time of year living in the coastal south begins to get a little tiresome.  Hot, humid days seem to stretch forever and having grown up in Colorado, I begin to dream of the crisp, cool days of fall and the changing of the leaves.

I am starting to teach a series of technique classes at Stitch n' Sew Fabrics  in Mount Pleasant called Fat Quarter Fridays.  The class will be held the second Friday of the month and will work on techniques using only two or three fat quarters.  Each class will be a different technique and require only basic rotary cutting and sewing skills

The class to be held on October 12th will be on half-square triangles.  The class will work on several different ways to make half-square triangles including the traditional mark and sew  through the center of a square, using the Easy Angle ruler by Sharon Hultgren and the Strip Tube Ruler.  After we make triangles we will assemble a maple leaf block and talk about how to finish it into a small wall quilt.

For the class sample I pulled the maple leaf fabric and inner border from my stash and used a Phenomenal Fall by Moda charm pack for the outer border and the back. The outer border has simple, random curved piecing.

As I was in a bit of a hurry to finish this piece and didn't really want a binding on the quilt, I finished by sewing the all the way around the piece after stacking a layer of batting, the top face up, and the back face down. I then very carefully cut an X in the backing fabric and pulled the quilt right sides out.  To make better corners, I always angle one or two stitches across the corner and trim the fabric away.

Now the quilt is ready to be quilted which I will show in my next post.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

I am very proud to be posting this months challenge way before the end of the month!  I enjoyed Wendy Sheppard's work and liked the jester "hat" motif.  This month I just worked on muslin to get the technique down.

First I drew the hats with a blue wash out marker and then stitched it with variegated thread.  I wasn't terrible happy with my design - the hats didn't travel smoothly from one to another

Then I drew the hats with the Fleur de lis look. I liked some of the hats and others not so much.

Finally I just took a blank piece of muslin and started stitching.  I am still not terrible happy with all my hats but I felt like I was finally getting the hang of stitching another hat to move from spot to spot.  I can see myself using this as an all over design in a quilt.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

The last day of the month and I once again just finish the challenge.  Actually it was done yesterday - but we lost the Internet just as I was getting ready to post!

This months challenge by Angela Walters used straight lines to enclose quilting designs - she used a swirl design in her tutorial.  This technique is good for large open areas of a quilt.  I struggled with this as I don't tend to have large open areas in my quilts.

I did not want to make yet another 10" square sample and finally decided to randomly piece some scrap fabrics together and make a place mat out of the finished project.  My guild in Charleston, Cobblestone Quilters, has two charity projects this year and one is to make place mats for Meals on Wheels.

I had three fat quarters of Terrie Hanock's fabric for Robert Kaufman in three different color waves (the fabric with all the colored circles in the piece).  I used one to pull colors of the other fabrics and the backing and will use another for the binding.  After I pieced it together I used a variegated thread to do Angela's technique of tiles but I used a loopy swirl for my design inside of each tile.

I need to work on quilting straighter lines - but I think it makes a very cheerful place mat.  Now to bind it before next guild meeting.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Little Knitting - Wingspan

Along with teaching a few classes over the summer at Stitch n' Sew in beginning sewing and quilting, doing my free-motion quilting challenge, and working a few quilts and challenges, I have been knitting a shawl/scarf called Wingspan that I found on Ravelry.

I started working on this when I was in Raleigh for the Animazement convention with my daughter and it was a perfect pattern to work on while doing other stuff and being around other people.  Basically it is just knitting with short rows with an occasional cast on.

I used yarn from Brooks Farm in Lancaster, Texas that I picked up at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair last October.  It is an alpaca, wool and mohair mix.  Lovely yarn - only one problem - as I was getting near the final "wing" I could see that I would not have enough to finish.  I did the only sensible thing and knit faster - as if that would make the yarn go further.

I eked out the last few rows of the wing and managed to knit all the way across the scarf one time and then it was clear - I was out of yarn.  I needed to knit four more rows and bind off.  Not going to happen with this little tiny bit of yarn.

Luckily I remember having some left of yarn from some finger-less gloves I knit last year and dug into the stash.  It had a little purple in it but it was the best I had.  So the last four rows and the bind off were going to be in this yarn.

You can't even see the where one yarn stops and one ends.  Now if it would only cool down so I could wear it - not going to happen until October or November or maybe even December!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

End of the month - no excuses - just procrastination.  When I first read the June challenge by Cindy Needham, I was a little intimidated.  Her work is outstanding and such a lot of stitching in such a small area.  This is the type of quilting I am aspiring to master.

I used her divide and conquer method and started with a drawing.  I used different styles of paisley's as my inspiration plus some straight line fillers.

I then marked my muslin with a few significant lines - I hate to mark so I did not copy every line - just the ones I needed to keep myself orientated.

Then I quilted the divide and conquer lines with Superior's King Tut.  I wanted to make sure I would see these lines as I went.

Finally I quilted the other lines using Superior's So Fine.  I needed a very thin thread to work with as I knew I would be backtrack lots during this design.  I was surprised at how few starts and stops I had and how quickly it quilted up.  I need to work on my small circles - they are not very smooth and I think my poor machine needs a trip to the service technician for a little TLC as the stitches seem to be a little angled.  Most of all I am glad I got it finished in June (just).  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

Once again - the end of the month (nearly) and I am just getting my May Free-Motion Quilting Challenge finished.  I have had a few distractions this month, as you will see at the end of the post.

I have used Leah Day's blog in the past when trying to come up with new quilting motifs, so I was excited to see her in the list of teachers.  I enjoyed her video and decided to try my machine with the feed dogs up as well as down to see if there was any difference in the quality of the stitch.   My first sample was done with the dogs up and without my Supreme Slider.  It was a little more difficult this way and I would not want to do anything very big in this manor.

For my second sample I lowered the feed dogs and used my Supreme Slider.  Much easier and after comparing the two pieces, I don't think my machine cares if the dogs are up or down.

As far as this distractions this month, I have had lots of company, a college graduation,

and a trip to Raleigh for Animazement, a convention celebrating all things Japanese, science fiction and fantasy, with my daughter to help her sell her work in the artist alley.  She did very well (and as you can see from the picture it was very busy), but I certainly could handle long days and late nights better at 22 than 52.