Tuesday, June 28, 2011

borders and bags

All done!
I auditioned several options for borders on this quilt.  Nothing was quite right.  Dark overpowered the soft fabrics in the pattern, see here?
and lights just washed away and didn't effectively break the pattern.
 I finally came up with this one, I was thinking little girl with this sample so rick rack jumped into my head
 I was going to do a wider yellow border with the rick rack showing completely but everyone I showed it to layed out that way preferred this arrangement with the rick rack just peeking out half way.
I used a curved ruler to quilt the arcs in the kaleidoscope blocks and then a 90 degree ruler to do the  slanted lines on the outer border. 
I held my breath as I free handed the yellow in the kaleidoscope blocks.  I did them last- working up my courage I guess. They came out pretty good so I think I am improving.
Shot of the back- three blocks that didn't make the cut on the front
( too strong or too weak)

My favorite block
but it was too strong for the front so I jazzed it up and added it to the back.
Over the weekend I made myself a Birdie Sling bag in the colors of my daughters Irish dance school so I can carry a purse to competitions with team spirit!  Alright....That wasn't my original intention but I wanted to use up some of my stash and that sort of fell into place and it is McTeggart colors so I went for it.
I also whipped my mother up a Frenchy shoulder bag
-- another Amy Butler pattern.  
I like this pattern even more than Birdie sling because it doesn't use fusible interfacing or fusible fleece. (I really dislike ironing a lot so the sew in interfacing for Frenchy bag suited me perfectly) 
My mother, as always, was impossible to surprise and walked into my sewing room as I was working on it though I was trying to keep a lookout for her arrival! Darn it!
I added three inches to her straps since she is a little taller than average and prefers longer straps on her purses. 
 Happy Birthday Mom!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend projects

I have a retreat coming up so I am kind of tossing ideas around as to what I am going to work on during that getaway!  I have many many unfinished projects so there is no shortage of possibilities.
And though I have lots of  unfinished projects that didn't stop me from starting a new project when these fabrics came in the shop this week from Riley Blake Fabrics. I scooped them up and quickly whipped this up:
I cut it all out at Free Sew on Friday night and then worked on it over the weekend so I am ready to audition borders for it tomorrow. I had never done a kaleidoscope block before and since I had heard such wonderful things about Marti Michele rulers and templates I thought I would give one a whirl for this projects so I used this guy:
The 45 degree end has the tip cut off ( at the top in the picture) and it made the centers of my blocks go together beautifully without bulkiness. I highly reccommend this ruler. It has two other edges useful for other blocks like spiderweb block, crossed canoes and more. Handy!
I also watched the new True Grit movie last night with my family. Beau Bridges did a great job and they stuck to the original story pretty well I thought ( which was great and well worth sticking to in my opinion!). While we watched the movie I laid out my next Ticker Tape block in Reds:
Tetris with fabrics! Totally addicting. This may win out as my retreat project. I can't wait to have them all done and see the finished project.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I finished the last stitch of the binding for this quilt yesterday and was able to show it off at the local quilt guild meeting last night.

 You can see the curved cross hatched quilting in these pictures a little better than previous ones.
I was excited to see it come out so well. My first ruler work on the longarm! 
As with all the quilts I have longarmed so far I learned a lot but, I think the quilt came out beautifully despite my novice abilities. Onward I go. Practice makes perfect.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birdie Sling

My fashionable daughter works here and there with me in my mother's quilt shop and recently opted to be paid in fabric so I could make her the Birdie Sling bag. 
It is an Amy Butler pattern for a somewhat large purse/tote. Generally I find Amy Butler patterns to be well made and user friendly. I was not disapointed. I whipped this bag out in a couple of hours with no hair pulling, and minimal reverse sewing ( ripping out).
It is large enough for my daughter to use as a dance bag for her dance shoes and accessories with two large pockets within the bag itself.
 But more fashionable than a tote bag or zip up duffle.
These are fabrics from the "Green with Envy" line from Exclusively Quilters. And now I am a little envious and I may need to make one for me too.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

That moment when....

I know you have had this moment.
You know when you are ready to work on a project, all the planets have aligned and you somehow have a block of time when you can focus on a project.
That was me the other night. I skipped off to my new studio ( I know, I need to post pictures!) thinking I would have some time on a quilt.  I got a CD to listen to, cleaned, oiled and warmed up my longarm and was ready to go.

Until I started stitching. Then it all went to hell in a handcart.
The machine was skipping stitches. Like--massive stitches. Toe nail hookers was what my "wordsmith husband" called them, an inch long in some cases.
So I took a deep breath and made some adjustments.
Tension-checked, tightness of the quilt on the frame loosened, uptake bar lowered, checked thread, new needle.
Still. No. good.
Now my nice block of time was down to half and my patience was down to nothing.
Nearly in tears I turned as my husband came in to tell me dinner was ready.(--Yes he cooks,  yes it is wonderful)
Our conversation went like this:

Awesome husband: "Dinner is ready!" then seeing my distressed look: "What is wrong?"

Me: "I was all excited to get this done and now the machine is skipping stitches and I have tried everything I can think of to fix it but nothing worked and now all that is left is the timing but that is scary because I have to take stuff apart to do it and have never done that before."*sniff*

Awesome husband: "I will help you with it after dinner, don't worry."

Me: "Umm... hon, you don't know anything about sewing machines how can you help me? These are really fine tuned machines....."

Awesome husband: "It is a machine hon, they are all pretty much the same, let's eat!"

Me: "ummmm........okay???"

So after dinner he briefly read through the directions and then deftly adjusted the timing on my longarm sewing machine- like he'd done it everyday of his life!
Then he explained to me (the one with the blank look on her face) why the machine had been skipping stitches and how it all made sense!
Of course it did.
Then I really did cry because I had another moment you have probably had too-- the one where you realize how awful life would be without your other half and how truly lucky you are!