Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How I spent my Memorial Day Weekend

How I spent my Memorial Day Weekend

GO! for a Star QOV Challenge

\When Marjorie and SewCal Gal announced this challenge back in April, I knew I wanted to make something.  I made some blocks last year, and was hoping to make a whole quilt this year.  I'm only able to finish the top, though.  The time has run short for me, as well as funds for the backing and batting, and then the cost of shipping a whole quilt.  I can get the top in a Flat Rate envelope for $5, and that will have to be enough.  It was interesting, about that $5.  I knew last week that I was only going to make the top.  It needs to be in by May 31.  Priority shipping is a great way to make sure that happens.  So, I needed a sale to put money in the account to cover the shipping.  The fabrics were bought and paid for a while ago, so the only current expense was $5.  So, late last week, an order came in from my Etsy store for $4.95, one yard of fabric.  Just enough to cover.  Isn't that strange, when that happens?? 

Anyway, the Braid in a Day pattern from Quilt In A Day and Eleanor Burns came in last week.(the profit from the green purse allowed me to catch a quick sale).  I had a bolt of the border fabric, and quite a few yards of the cream tone on tone.  I grabbed some smaller pieces of Patriotic prints, plus some fat quarters from a swap, and set out to make this quilt top.  I think it's great that many of my friends have played a small part in this, because they provided the fabrics.

This quilt top measures 60 by 76 inches.  The lap size, according to the pattern was supposed to measure 53 by 72, but the minimum for the challenge and for Quilts of Valor needed to be 55, so I made the blue frame strips 2 inches instead of 1 1/2".  The pattern came with a template to cut all the parts for the braid, and the directions were wonderful.  I love QIAD patterns.  They always go together well. 
The only issue is that beautiful blue fabric I used in the frame.  It's fraying like crazy!  I can't believe how poorly it is performing.  It looks wonderful, and is soft, but it's a mess!  I wish I could remember the brand so I don't purchase it again.  I know it's not Kona or Moda.  I'll be careful where I buy my solids from (I know I got this online) and check the other brands.  It was inexpensive,  supposed to be quilt shop quality, but I don't like it!! 

I'll be packing this to ship it out tomorrow.  I enjoy doing these challenges.  Giving a quilt to someone who has served our country is a small thing to do, to give them a great memory.  I hope whoever receives this will enjoy using it as much as I enjoyed making it.  The group will find a long-arm quilter to finish it, and it will be presented to someone who deserves this and so much more. 

So, what did you do to thank a soldier?  What did you do on your long weekend? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's in the BAG!

An online friend saw a handbag/tote I made last week and posted on Facebook, and asked me to make one for her.  She showed me the fabric, and I searched for a vendor and ended up ordering it from Sweet Pea Fabrics on Etsy.  The fabric is from the Terrain collection by Kate Spain for Moda.  The coordinating solid is also Moda, but purchased from Missouriquiltco.com.  When both items arrived by Monday, I set to work cutting the pieces and making the bag. 

Believe it or not, in my entire varied collection of buttons, I didn't have any olive green buttons!!  I finally found one that I liked with the bag in a collection of vintage buttons in an old sewing box I was given.  I had to do quite a bit of digging, though!  I do have more buttons in NY, and will have to remember to get them all together.  Not all the estate boxes have made their way to PA yet, lol.  I don't usually make things in green.  It's not my favorite color, but this kind of grew on me.  

It's fun to work outside your usual color choices once in a while.  It makes you be a little more creative.  I chose a leaf swirl design on my machine to embroider along the front pocket edge.  The beautiful matching Aurifil thread just adds a little touch of shine. 

I loosely echoed the shape of the design while quilting.  I like playing with threads and accents.  It's fun to see what developes and know that the finished product will be enjoyed.  Cindy's seen the initial photos on Facebook, and loves it!  I love sewing fun things for others.  Even if it's green!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May's Free Motion Quilting Challenge

I can't believe another month has passed!  This year seems to be going so quickly in some ways.   May's challenge by Leah Day was to practice some background or filler stitching.  She posted two designs, one curvy and one with angles.  The curvy one she named Double Stippling, and the angled one is called Railroad Tracks. 

So, here's my sample! 

Both together (it's one piece of fabric, lol, so they have to be together!)

Double Stippling.  I need to fill in the space a little better, but this was an interesting design.

Railroad Tracks.  The overstitching started close to the bottom left.  It was hard to actually make "corners" since  I love doing a flowy curved stitch.  The points got a little better as I continued, except for a few tension issues, which really show since I used beige thread on black fabric.  My other challenge was using my Gypsy Gripper.  It doesn't allow sewing close to the edge, since the gripper bottom doesn't slide on the lucite table I use.  I may just have to try a pair of Machingers.  Just using my fingers to hold the fabric doesn't allow me to be as smooth as with the gripper.  Or I need to make my samples larger, with more frame space. 

What I find very interesting every month, is the expert's recommendations on batting and thread.  They are all different!  Although Leah prefers polyester batting and Isacord polyester thread, I have other preferences.  I've used polyester batting, and didn't like the shifting or bearding that happened.  The sample above uses Warm & Natural 100% cotton batting, and Aurifil 50wt cotton thread.  The black was a cheap black cotton I got on clearance at JoAnn's.  I used some of it for backing a table runner.  I was looking all over for black fabric last week, for another project, and found this piece.  I also need black for another quilt I want to make, and was thinking of using this, but I really don't like the quality of it.  So, it will be practice sandwhiches until I get tired of showing my stitches, lol. 

I would LOVE to try wool or silk batting.  I've heard from many other quilting STARS that both offer great benefits to the quilt.  But my current scrap collection is cotton.  I hope to get a spool or 10 of silk thread to try, too.  Now I'm using Aurifil or Superior King Tut.  Both are excellent threads, depending on the look desired.  I have some polyester machine embroidery thread that I use for quilting, as well.  The beige was on the machine today, as I'm working on another purse.  I needed to quilt the bag pieces, so decided to make changing the foot worthwhile.  Two birds, and all.   
Hopefully the purse will be done and listed tomorrow.

Speaking of which, Happy Mother's Day!  I hope you enjoy a special day with someone who loves you, and shows some appreciation for all you do. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bandana Beauty Bag

Every once in a while I need to do something different.  I love sewing just about anything, but need a little variety.  When I got this fabric, and a few other coordinating pieces, I set them aside to make some purses.  I love the design of this purse, but don't like the directions that much.  I usually adapt and change most of them, but it's been a while since I did this particular pattern, and couldn't remember what I had changed, except for the water bottle pocket.  Some directions just need to be edited by someone who reads and knows how to sew!!

I'm going to make notes for the next time I use the overall design.  

These fabrics were called Bandana Beauties by Benartex.  When you just see them as fabrics, you may not see the coordination, but now that they are together, they really play well as a pair! 

And just to be funny, I hung them from the mouth on my tree face.  I think the tree likes it!  lol. 

I did cut out a different color combo for the same bag.  I need to take Aurifil 50wt 4020 (yummy hot pink) off and put on the bronzy tan thread. 

It's listed on Etsy.  Do you want one in a different color combo? 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Finish and updates.

Hi!  I got my Accuquilt GO! cutter back as promised so that was good news.  I was told the gears had been damaged because of using 2 layers of flannel on the rag die, but I think the problem started back in January.  I didn't realize the tumbler die I had was warped, and part of the blade bent, and that got jammed, too.  I got the die replaced, and the machine still worked, so when the raggy die got stuck and I had to really work hard to get it out, I was upset.  Anyway, all is good now. 

My QBFF (Quilty Best Friend Forever) Christine had somehow gotten an extra hexagon die, and gave me  one.  LOVE QBFF's!!  I really wanted to make something fun with this die, so I used my Accuquilt points and saved over $12 on the Equilateral triangles to use with it.  I played on Thursday, and cut out some 5" hexies and 2 1/2" triangles in some Patriotic prints I had.  I whipped up this runner and got it finished today, and listed it on Etsy. 

What a fun way to play!  Here are some pictures. 

The hexagon is the print fabric, and the red and cream are the triangles.  It's actually eay to make.  I plan another one like an "I SPY" quilt.  I have lots of fun things for the hexi shapes. 

I also had a chance to play with a new product by Edyta Sitar.  She's one of my favorite designers for Moda fabrics, and also a spokes person for Aurifil Thread.  And her quilts are A MAZE ING!!!  She mentioned something in March about having sample packs of her precut shapes called Silhouettes.  They are backed with fusible web, and laser cut, all ready to applique.  She wanted to know what we would do with them.  I want to make a laptop tote, and this will be the front pocket.  I still need to quilt it, but it's nice to know those beautiful floral shapes are not going anywhere until I get them stitched!  Silhouettes are a GREAT product.  I made the pinwheel shape and as I placed them, they actually stuck.  The fusible product they used has a sticky side that clings.  It keeps them in place until you decide.  Want to move it?  No problem.  It will stick again.  Then iron them and they are permanent.  Now to play with some Aurifil thread!

I am not sure if I had blogged about this, but I'm doing the Quilt In A Day Facebook challenge, too.  Each month they post a block for the Treasure Chest Quilt.  The next month, they take all the uploaded pictures and people vote for their favorites.  The Long Nine Patch was another fun block to make.  I think this is the 3rd of 4th month I was first getting them done! lol  I wonder if they will give a prize for that?? 

I also got a cool picture of The Supermoon.  The orbit of the moon brought it a little closer than usual to Earth, so we had a bright show last night.  This was taken with my basic point and shoot Sony Cybershot about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, May 6.  I thought it was a great shot with my 12.1 megapixel camera.  I used the night portrait setting and a little tripod and zoomed all the way it would go.  This is off the roof of my house, outside my bedroom deck. 

Oh, and the lilacs are blooming here.  I love how it smells in the evening. 
It's been an interesting week, I think.