Monday, July 28, 2014

Around The World Blog Hop!

Hey all! Today is my day to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop! I was invited to participate by Marianne over at The Adventurous Quilter, you can read her blog post here. What's the purpose of this blog hop you might ask? Well, it is for the person currently participating (me) to tell you about my process and work and when I am done, I will tag three other wonderful bloggers from around the world for you to go visit! They will post next Monday about their process and work and each of them will tag three more bloggers. I might be dating myself here. . . it's like the Faberge Organics shampoo commercial. . . and I told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on. . . Check out the video if you want to see a very young Heather Locklear with big ol' 80's hair. . . and oh yes I did! LOL OK, I digress. But how fun right? I just love reading about other people's process, how do they come up with such wonderful creations? Read on and I will tell you about me :) I'm throwing in a random picture or two of some of my quilts just to keep it interesting :) Grab a cuppa of something, this might take awhile!

What am I working on currently?

Those who have been around my blog for any time know this about me: I do not work on a ton of projects at once. Two maybe three. I have no UFOs. They make me break out in a very itchy rash! No really, they do! When I start a quilt, I have to finish it. I usually have two pieced and ready to quilt, quilt both and start the next one, get it pieced, finish the second flimsy and then quilt both, you get the picture :)
So right now. . .  Well, I'm supposed to be quilting this quilt top:
Off Course
I have it in time out at the moment. . . I am stumped. I had a quilting plan all plotted out. I love FMQing and the designing process. This quilt is not speaking to me. It is being a little defiant so I put it in time out. Not for long, just for now. It is basted and ready to go, hanging on my design wall. . . just staring at me. If you have any suggestions for quilting, I'm listening! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated :) 

I am also working on a top secret project. . . one I can't share, not even a glimpse of it! OHHH, how exciting, maybe I have been asked by a major fabric manufacturer to make a quilt out of ALL of their fabrics. . . maybe, but umm no, not that exciting LOL I honestly never thought I would say this about a project on this blog, but I am. And it makes me crazy cuz I get great ideas and inspiration from all my bloggy friends! It is a special gift and I know that the intended recipient reads my blog. . . No, Sandra, it is not you! HAHA Anyway, I am taking LOTS of pictures along the way and I will definitely be sharing it when I can!
You see this a lot as a background for fabric and blocks. I had a blast FMQing this one :)
I have also devised a plan for these:

Actually, I devised several plans and I am quite certain this is where I am going with this one. . . Nothing is cut yet so I'm not 100% committed but I am rather excited. . . it is to make blocks like these (the post has several things on it but it's the diamond blocks... are they to die for??? AND there is a tutorial. It's fabric  to quilt fate!). The best part? I can use my Sidekick ruler to make those diamonds. Heck, that little ruler will help me to skip half of the tutorial!! LOL And we all know, I am not a pattern follower. :) Options for layout will be endless, just endless! OK, no, the layout is not completely cemented in my brain yet but it will be. . . soon!

I did just finish this quilt:

The final thing I am working on is this:

I put the binding on and it rippled. . . BAD. The binding got taken off. I then spayed the binding with water until it was soaked. Set it outside to dry (it was 115 degrees that day - it took all of about 5 minutes), ironed pressed it flat again (thank you, Carole for that suggestion, I think it worked!) sewed it back on the quilt and now am in the process of hand sewing the binding. I'm not a hand sewer. This is the first quilt I have done that I did not machine sew down the binding. . . I rather like the look. I might get used to it (hand sewing, not the look) but I'm not sure yet that I'm going to love it :)

How does my work differ from others? How is my work unique?

Gotta love me some Kaffe Fassett :)
I have to tell ya, I kinda struggled with this question! What I have come up with is that all of my quilts are pretty much one of a kind. Honestly, I'm not sure I could recreate them myself! LOL I try to pour a little bit of me into every quilt. I know that is not unique - we all pour a little bit of ourselves into our quilts - but I am unique (just ask anyone that knows me well! HA) and you are unique. That makes my quilts uniquely mine and yours uniquely yours. How's that for a totally ambiguous, lofty non answer? grin NEXT! 

This one was 'supposed' to be a scrappy bargello, ala Bonnie Hunter. . . Doesn't look like Bonnie's but I love it!
How does my creative process work?

 Oh man, do you really want to get inside this brain??? haha I've given this a lot of thought. I honestly have not been doing this for very long. How can I have a process?? But then I started thinking about how I made quilts a year ago and how I make quilts now.  All I can say is that it has evolved (some would say devolved lol) from seeing a quilt (typically from a Jenny Doan video on Youtube, gotta love her), buying the fabric I wanted to use for it, making the quilt, quilting the quilt and giving it away. I had no stash. I had only the material needed to make that exact pattern. How has that changed?

I followed the directions on this one! It needs more quilting though don't you think? ;)
I rarely never use a pattern, if I do, you can bet something will be changed. I have an entire folder FULL of digital patterns. I have made two or three of them. I have 100s. . . I like to design and figure out how to make the quilt I see in my head come to life on my design board. I had no idea I had a creative thought in my head a little over a year ago! This change has been surprising, frustrating and SO much fun! I use EQ7 a lot initially just to get an idea of secondary patterns for blocks (played a LOT with the Dutchman's Puzzle block when creating Spin) and color schemes. I also spend a lot of time on Image search engines - Bing mostly. I love to look at quilts. It inspires me. Lately I have been admiring Medallion quilts. There is one in my future. I am gathering patterns. I know, I don't  follow patterns but considering my less than stellar mathematical abilities, I will follow a pattern if when I make one, no really, I will! 

Jenny Doan's Famous Square in a Square. Check out the back - totally mine :)

I also find inspiration in all of your blogs :) I have bookmarked so many pages of quilts that have me in awe. . . you ladies have some talent! :) 

The design is mine but inspired by The Quilting Edge.
 So that's how I make the flimsy, as for the quilting? Oh man, there are many places I go! Here are a few places I go and just click through the pictures :) Judi Madsen, Angela Walters, Leah Day, Kathleen (recent find and OMG!! So crushing on this blog and her amazing skill!) and a very new find, my new stalking focus, Jenny. I also do a lot of image searching on the web. SO much talent out there! If I am quilting flying geese for example, I put "quilted flying geese" in the search engine and just get lost :) haha

This is the first quilt that I quilted the snot out of and it has me HOOKED! More quilting good! haha
 And I of course get inspiration from many other blogs out there! As for what I am going to design? I figured out something pretty amazing while trying to figure out the quilting for the Modern Plus quilt pictured above. . . I can use Paint to draw on the pictures of my tops! Duh, right? No, really I had never thought about it before... Here are some pictures of what I had going on:

LOVE this! I have to admit, it's not helping me with off course. LOL And I can not stress enough the benefit of doodling on paper. Seriously, the difference this has made in my quilting is amazing! I rarely find myself 'stuck' in a corner or wondering for very long (which makes those jerky lines!) where to go next.

So I get my head full of ideas and go for it! Warning: this method might end up in ripping out stitches for days. . . ask me how I know.... but mostly it works!

I hope you are all still with me! Because now I am going to share three blogs that I did not list above that totally inspire me and I read every post. These ladies have loads more experience than I do and I am very grateful to each of them for all of the knowledge they share on their blogs. Here we go!

Sandra blogs at Musings of a Menopausal Melon.  I just lurve her blog name!!! Sandra tells it like it is and I love that about her blog! If she is working on a project that needs a time out, you are going to know it :) Check out the awesome Gears quilt she just finished for her husband! 

Helen blogs at Til we Quilt Again. Helen has MANY talents! I have gotten lost for hours in her blog looking at her quilting prowess and the amazing quilts she makes. Seriously jaw dropping! Check out this one!! 

Marly blogs at Marly's Quilts. Marly and I became kindred spirits while working on our triangle quilts during the Sassy Quilter's Triangle Quilt Along. You can see Marly's beautiful finished triangle quilt here.

OK, this post is long enough (probably too long)! Make sure you check out their posts on Monday next week and see who they tag! And I told three friends and they told three friends and so on and so on and so on. . . . 

Linking up with Design Wall Monday, Anything Goes Monday, Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and NTT. Yeah, I like to party :D Check out these amazing linky parties for some amazing inspiration!

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Modern Plus Finish :)

Wow, this one went fast! I started it a week ago this past Saturday. And finished the binding, washed and took pictures of it earlier this afternoon! I posted the flimsy a week ago. It took me a while to decide how to quilt it and I took a few think breaks along the way. You can find other posts about this top here and here. If you are looking for a quick project, this might just be your pattern :) I did a few tweaks to Jeni Baker's tutorial on In Color Order called Modern Plus. I used 5" squares. That was my tweak :) The fabric is Carol Friedlander's Botanics. A fat quarter of the entire line. I have a few 2.25 inch strips and four squares left after putting the majority of the left overs in the backing. Speaking of backing, let's start with that first. . . Shake things up a bit :)

You might remember that this quilt is too long to hang horizontally on any wall in my back yard, these pictures have not been turned so the strip blocks should be vertical. Why? I tried, it just looks weird :)

When making the stacks of squares to sew together I just went light/dark. No particular order. Total randomness. It's a backing right? :) I did have more lights than darks left over so was not able to do that throughout all three of the columns. Who knew a plus would come out of it?? Not me, that's who but I was pretty pleased with myself ;)
The squares are leftover from the front. The bottom fabric is Carol Friedlander's Widescreen in grey. Left over from Spin's back. The top fabric is well, from my stash. . . I don't know what it is.

On to the front :) 
It always amazes me how much dimension a quilt takes on after it is quilted! Makes me smile :)

I decided on square spirals. I've done round before. I admit it, I don't know what the trick is but I just cannot keep mine looking good. . . I'm really pleased with the squares :D

My consistency might have been was due to the fact that I used my Fine Line Ruler to aid me in keeping those lines straight and a pretty consistent 1" apart.

This was the spiral I started with and kept going out until I hit the edge of the quilt on one of the sides.

Then I picked the white square in the upper right to start the second spiral. When I hit the outside line of the first, I stopped. Broke thread and then started quilting Three sided spirals until I hit the side and bottom of the quilt.

I just thought this picture was kind of cool :)
I used Quilter's Dream Cotton Select batting on this one. I know right? What happen to the wool?? I have a good amount of 'scrap' batting hanging around from before I found wool. And I still haven't gotten my roll of wool batting. . . SO I did some frankebatting. I'm not going to lie. I do not like a batting with no loft. Wool provides the perfect amount. I still have more leftover cotton batting and I will use it but I do not like it. (Yes, exactly like Sam and the green eggs and ham!)

So there you have it! This quilt was a lot of fun to make. This might be my go to pattern if I ever need a quick quilt for some reason. As for what is next. . . I am off to quilt Off Course :)

Linking up with Kelly over at My Quilt Infatuation for NTT and Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

DWM and A Hop!

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, there, I think I have them all covered for all time zones :) And how appropriate. Have you heard of the Around the World Blog Hop? It's kind of like a fun game of telephone or tag. You get tagged by a blogger (who tags three of their favorite bloggers) and then you tag three of your favorite bloggers. I was tagged by the wonderfully creative Marianne who blogs at The Adventurous Quilter. Her post is today, I've been tagged so I will be posting my hop post and nominating three more worldly bloggers on 7/28. How fun! Be sure to check out Marianne's post and come back and check out mine next week! 

OK, on to what's doin' in my studio. . . otherwise known as my living room which has been completely taken over by quilty stuff (wonder if my husband regrets saying "You should totally turn the living room into a quilting studio!" Don't have to tell me twice!)... I have the Modern Plus quilt about halfway quilted. As happens often with me, I started with one plan and I think I have changed it slightly :) No ripping involved, just thought of another way this quilting plan will work out. . . and if it doesn't, I can still go back to my original plan with no ripping involved. I'd say that is a win win winning plan! Here she is under the needle:

Yes, that is a straight line ruler you see there. . . but this is not the traditional straight line quilting typically seen on plus quilts. . . it's me, of course it isn't! LOL

I also have Off Course basted and ready to be quilted next! Here it is patiently awaiting it's turn to be quilted up:

Boring, I know but this is a rather picture light post so something is better than nothing right? :)
The plan is to have Modern Plus quilted and bound by end of day tomorrow. . . ambitious? Maybe.... and to have Off Course quilted up by the end of next week. I'm going to quilt the crap out of it so I figure it is going to take awhile :) 

What's next on the horizon you might ask? Well, take a look at theses lovelies:

I got the half yard cuts. I'm thinking I'll have enough left over to put a cool back together. Just gotta love a pieced quilt backing!
Half yard each of a bundle that came from Fort Worth Fabric Studio (love love their speediness in delivery and their Friday bundles are nothing short of amazing). I ordered this bundle after seeing them on Helen's Til We Quilt Again blog (she does AMAZING work). HAD to have them with no plan in mind :) And then I ordered this Charcoal Peppered Cotton from (love their prices, DO NOT like that it takes an entire week to get my happy mail!). . . I think I am IN LOVE! Have you noticed my obsession with gray lately?? Not sure what that is about. . . Anyway, the plan has emerged for putting these beauties together and let's just say it involves the Sidekick ruler :) I'll be posting more about this plan in my blog hop post next Monday. Come back to see what's to come! 

Linking up with Patchwork Times for DWM and Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays. Go check them out and be inspired!! :) 

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Modern Plus Top Finished

Started this quilt top on Saturday, finished the flimsy today. Not bad huh? We won't talk about the fact that the backing will be heavily pieced to use up those 40 squares I had left over plus whatever fabric I can find in my magic fabric chest :)

I first posted about this quilt on Monday.  Carol Friedlander fans will know that this is her Botanics line. All of it :)

Here are the pics and then I'll share a few things I learned/confirmed while sewing this top together.

I need a taller back wall :) I am posting this picture because I think it is pretty amazing the color difference between the lower portion of the quilt that is in the BLAZING sun and the upper quilt that is not in direct sunlight. Amazing the difference it makes isn't it??

I hung it horizontally so I could get the entire quilt in the picture :)

One more just cuz :)
And now here are a few close ups so you can see all of that absolutely LOVELY fabric :) I have to admit, there were a few times during this project that I thought I had made the wrong choice in terms of patterns. Now that the flimsy is finished I just love it!

So I thought this would be a really straightforward top to put together. . . That was pretty much the case with piecing portion. What took me the longest was getting the Plus signs all situated so the fabrics didn't blend into one another, lights, darks, if I move that one, then I have to move those three. . . oy vey! I spent all day Sunday putting blocks on my design wall. I'd put some up. Walk away and do the dishes. Put some up. Walk away and take a shower. Put some up. Walk away and make food. Well, you get the idea. What I found was walking away, made the process go a little faster than deciding on layouts have gone in the past. We hear all the time, getting frustrated, making mistakes, doesn't seem to be looking right, just walk away - and I do when I find I am making mistakes. But I had never actually done it while I was in the design phase. I usually get so excited about seeing something come together that I stand at the wall arranging, rearranging on an on and on.  Walking away works very well!

I learned that even with a 'simple' quilt made out of just sewing squares together (no block construction), precision in cutting and piecing make life MUCH easier! :) You might be thinking, DUH, no kidding! haha Have I mentioned in this post how much I love Rosanne's 1/4 inch piecing setting and the piecing foot that came with her?? LOVE!

One more thing, press those seams open or to the side? Most of you know I am a press those seams open kind of girl. I like the way my blocks lay and it just seems to me that I am more accurate pressing open. BUT there is a time and place for everything - even which way to press seams! LOL I pressed the seams to the side on this one. I'm not crazy about pinning but I do pin when sewing rows together when the seams are pressed open. It's the only way I have found to be accurate. With a quilt like this, nest those seams baby! No pins for me! :) I guess what I am saying, no need to be militant about the seam pressing issue. From here on out, I'll let the project dictate!

Oh, last item I promise - I managed to get all of those squares sewn together and I only had to rip out and resew ONE 5" seam due to messing up the layout! Now that is amazing!

On to making the back. My batting should be here tomorrow so I can start quilting Off Course - YAY :)

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social, My Quilt Infatuation for NTT and Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

On My Design Wall

In my last post, I said I am waiting on batting to start quilting Off Course. . . And I said I might have another project on the go. . . weelllll. . . . 


Is the scrap pile left from this:

The entire line of Carol Friedlander's Botanics :)
After cutting it into this:

12 5" Squares and one 2.25" inch strip for each fat quarter
I am going to say - this is the most efficient use of a fat quarter I have ever experienced! I starched the bejeezers out of the fat quarters before I started cutting so yes, they shrunk. I tried 5.5" squares but the shrinkage totally knocked that out of the realm of possibility since I needed 12 squares per fat quarter. The 2.25 strips? Binding of course! :) I just happen to have some other Botanics laying around here so if there isn't enough to go around the quilt (no, I have not done the math) I will have enough to supplement the fat quarter strips. 

So what is on my design wall, what are these lovelies going to be when they grow up? Well, this is the current lay out on my design wall:

This is everything but the top row. . . I'm too short to reach, even with my step stool. . .   C'mon! Those boards are 8 foot tall!

Different angle just because I thought you might like to see more than one picture LOL
I kind of followed Jeni Baker's tute for the Modern Plus Quilt. I however am using 5" squares. I thought since I was using 30 fat quarters instead of the 20 in her pattern and that I would end up with 20 more squares - I'm good right?? I'll just add two columns and all of my squares will be used. . . well yeah, that might work when the goal is not to have the quilt actually have a design of something in it. I did not have enough of each print to finish out the last two columns. . . Of course you didn't you might be thinking. . . haha, it's me remember?? I just jumped right in and didn't give it a second thought. . . until I got to the last couple of columns. And I got a little a lot nervous that I was going to have to find something else to make . . . Yes, I have left over squares, 40 to be exact.... They will find their way onto the back of the quilt. Problem solved. This is going to be a rather large quilt, bigger than I have made in awhile. It should finish right around 72" x 85."

I'm not likely to start sewing this together until sometime tomorrow.  SO, if you see something that makes you cringe, please let me know!

Linking up with Design Wall Mondays over at Patchwork Times, Linky Tuesday over at Freemotion by the River and Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story.

Until next time, keep on quilting!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Off Course, A Flimsy Finish!

Hellowee!! :) Man, have I been busy! But before I get to that, you have to check this out! Kathleen, over at Kathleen Quilts, put out a call to quilters who have tops and want ideas for quilting to send her a picture of the top and she would post ideas for quilting on Fridays.  I don't even remember how I found her blog but she does AMAZING quilting and I just had to know how she would have quilted Spin :) There is likely a Spin 2 in my near future and while I was quilting it, I had several ideas pop into my head.  Check out her ideas for quilting Spin (and then be sure come back, I have so much more to share, haha)! How cool is that?? Don't get me wrong, I am very happy with how Spin turned out (except for the ripply binding but we'll discuss that later) but I always think it is so cool to see another person's take on quilting. Her take is nothing short of amazing :) If you are looking for a take on how to quilt your top, head over and submit yours and let Kathleen work her magic!

On to Off Course. . . Remember this rendition?

I decided I wanted the geese to be wonky.  And then I tweaked the color gradation based on the beautiful New Colorshott Oakshott cottons that I ordered directly from the Oakshott web site. People, these fabrics are DELISH to look at and absolutely a DREAM to work with!! LOVE LOVE LOVE! And Michael is absolutely wonderful. The customer service is nothing short of amazing. OK, I'll stop, I'm gushing.

The big question became, how do I get those geese to go wonky. . . I tried paper piecing. WAY too much waste when using this precious fabric! Then I tried improv. . . not as much waste but I was not coming up with any kind of consistency in the blocks. Then I thought, what if I use templates?? Voila we have a winner!! I drew out the blocks on a piece of grid paper that was 9.5 x 9.5 (I found really cool grid easel pads on Amazon and cut a few lot of squares and drew out the triangles until I had two different blocks.  Then I cut the fabric into strips, cut the templates out with a half inch seam allowance and went to town chain piecing.  I was so into the process, I didn't take one picture :( If there is interest, I would be more than happy to whip out a few more and write a tutorial.  Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures. I swear I ironed it and some pictures are better than others because the wind was blowing just enough :)

See, Looks Wrinkly and the seams look puckered. I can assure you they are not. I'm pretty sure that this is the straightest, squarest quilt I have ever made! Rosanne is amazing when it comes to 1/4" seams! 

I pieced the negative space in strips instead of blocks. This part of cutting and piecing took about an hour and a half - from cutting to finished top! Gotta LOVE that :)

The wind is starting to pick up but I love how this picture really shows off those purples and blues :)
And now the wind is really picking up and I caught this picture where you can really see the different colors in the blues and purples depending on the angle. This fabric is fabulous!
 Another wind shot.

Another without wind and looking rather wrinkly. . . it's the sun, really ;)

 Really we're almost done here :D

Last one I promise! haha

I'm very happy with how this top turned out! What I'm not happy about is that my local source for wool batting has dried up and they were not very convincing about when they might get more. So, being the impulsive person I am I ordered it on line. . . and then I got to thinking. I use a lot of batting. . . I always use wool. . . I need a roll :D So I set off to find me a roll of batting. And wouldn't you know - I found one! Even better, I found it ON SALE!! YAY All I can tell you is that the price is right. I bought it at I've never shopped at this store before (yes, there are a few online shops that I might not have heard of!!) so I can't attest to anything about it at this time except that they were having a 20% off sale and that turned out to be about 3-4 bucks a yard savings over other sites that carry it! WIN I have gone a little off course (did you catch that? HA) but the bottom line is that I'm not going to be able to start quilting Off Course until next week.  Although this saddens me, I am doodling like crazy to prepare for when the quilting commences!

And I might have started another quilt. . . maybe. . . 

OK, for those of you still hanging out, THANKS! On to my little problem with the binding on Spin. . . The quilt was flat as a pancake before I sewed on the binding. It is no longer flat, it is rippled around the edges. It is the binding and I know I am going to take it off. . . yes, there are very off color words I would like to type here but I won't. You can bet they have been said though! Any thoughts on what might have caused this would be greatly appreciated. I haven't posted the finish pictures because well, the pictures make me sad :( well, and I'll be honest, I haven't written the post yet either. . . 

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday

Until next time, keep on quilting!