Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fabric goodness...

Monday morning as I was doing my daily blog reading I had a surprise waiting for me. I'd won a yard of fabric from the previous Friday's "Free Fabric Friday" post on Sew, Mama, Sew! I saw my name posted... well, I saw the name Christine posted and when I put my mouse over the linked name I squealed like a little girl. My name linked to my blog!

The giveaway question was For your chance to win one yard of free fabric (6 winners!), please do one of the following:
Tell us the title and author of your favorite quilting book. (Please try to limit it to 1 or 2.)
If you’re not into quilting (yet) or quilting books, tell us what, if anything you’d like to learn about quilting. Or, tell us one of your sewing goals for 2010.

My response:
"The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide: From A to Z– Hundreds of Tips and Techniques for Successful Quiltmaking by Ellen Pahl is pretty much my quilting bible. I’ve been teaching myself to quilt since the 1990’s and last year I found this book and it’s helped me sooooo much with all the techniques I’d been struggling with.

Also, my 2010 goal is to get an art quilt submitted to at least one juried show. All I want is for one quilt to be accepted, I don’t care about winning any ribbons. Getting accepted is enough of a start for me!"

I was so surprised because, for people who read their blog, you know how many people comment on their posts. I've been commenting to win on their giveaways for months but I never thought I'd actually win! And I did! And not only did I win a free yard of fabric, I got to choose what fabric I wanted! And it was not an easy decision. But I had to pick something so I went with Poppy Bouquet Lime from Laura Gunn's Poppy line since it was the one fabric I did not already have from that line.

Thanks Sew, Mama, Sew!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rage to art

I've been really irritated this week. Things I've seen and read in the news have just rubbed me the wrong way. Especially when I get on certain social networking sites and see the misinformed status messages from some people.

Today after work I went upstairs to get an image onto fabric. Rage. I just feel rage. I'm not one to smash things or yell at people. I bottle things in. But fabric therapy is good.

Hooping it up

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another one down...

Sunday I finished up the circles quilt. I whipped up a binding from the prints in the quilt top and got to work pinning and machine stitching it to the front.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Circle quilt almost finished!

I don't have photos today because I forgot to take some and currently we have a houseguest sleeping in the room where the quilt is pinned to my design board. (Or would that be design curtain since it is a white flannel sheet handing from a decorative rod?) I really wanted to quilt it in circles but my circles looked more like loops so loops it stayed! My free-form machine quilted circles need much practice.

But overall the quilt looks good. I can't wait to put the binding on it and mark one more top as finished.

Next up, the yellow and black quilt!

Yellow & Black

I bought the fabric online and when I got it I was unsure what to do with it. Most always I buy fabric because it caught my eye, not because I have specific plans for it. I loved this bundle of fabric from Hawthorne Threads and knew I had to have it. I swear every time I buy fabric the print is sooooo much larger than I had thought it would be. I have no idea what to do with large prints! Luckily I had some solid yellow in my stash that really brought out the yellow within the prints. I am pretty pleased with the overall look but sometimes I wonder if that lower right corner fits with the rest of the block.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On the frame...

I finally got another quilt on the frame. The first time I used the quilting frame I had to pin and repin the layers together because the backing was more taut than the batting and top. SUCH a pain since I'd used little quilters safety pins. And boy howdy did I pin baste the hell out of it! Even using my crochet hook to help remove the pins, my fingers ached at the end.

The frame itself is wonderful! I purchased the Grace EZ3 Fabri-Fast Hand Quilting Frame which I finished with a natural Danish oil to strengthen the wood. It was fairly easy to put together once I figured out the illustrated instructions. Some of those steps were tricky! I decided to get a frame because my dining room table was getting beat up during the basting and floors aren't so convenient when you have two boxer pups trying to lend a hand. The frame folds up pretty tight so I can store it when guests arrive.

Quilt on the frame

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thread sketching attempt

I got an early Christmas gift in November. I told the boy all I wanted was a new sewing machine. I'd been using a Husqvarna Viking 350 since 1994 and while it did everything I needed it to, it didn't have enough armpit room. You know, that space between the sewing arm and the base! I like to quilt my pieces myself and I was tired of having to shove so much bulky fabric in such a small area. So I researched different machines and decided to stick with the Viking because I really liked my old machine and the sewing feet I already owned would also fit onto a new machine. And the winner was a Sapphire 850. And the timing was perfect! Husqvarna was releasing a new model, a Sapphire 855 so the 850 was on sale for practically half of the original selling price.

The first thing I sewed was the boy's Christmas gift. He'd helped me pick out the fabric at the sewing expo we'd attended (without knowing it was for him, of course) and when he left for his Key West MegaJam, I made him a wall hanging. It is based on a photo of our hiking boots at the top of this mountain in Muir Woods in California. It was my first attempt at thread sketching and I was winging it.

There was one major issue I hadn't anticipated. The top was layered with the batting and backing before I thread sketched and this made the piece get all puckered and warped. No matter how firmly I tried to hold the layers taut, the fabric puckered. I couldn't iron it to any semblance of flatness. While I was pretty happy with the image I got, the puckering  just made it look terrible.

"Hiking Boots in Muir Woods"

Monday, March 15, 2010


In February 2009 I ordered the Kindle 2 the day it was released. Now, I am not a gadget person. I have no desire to have the most recent version of anything electronic. I didn't get a cell phone until late in the game and all I want is something that will allow me to make calls in case of emergencies. I still use my iPod from 6 years ago (although I do have a 3 year old Nano that I use when I run). I only got my own laptop when I went back to school. Hell, I'd rather chop food with a knife and cutting board instead of using a food processor. But the Kindle... once I heard people talking about them I knew I wanted one for myself.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I am having guests this weekend so I haven't been able to start anything new since I finished binding my last quilt on Friday. I have 4-5 quilt tops that need backs sewn up so I can get them finished and start a new project. And oh how I want to start a new quilt top because I have new fabric!

Here we have some lovely Laura Gunn items from her Lantern and Poppy lines.
Left to right are:
Lantern Bloom, Tile Mosaic in Wine
Lantern Bloom, Tile Mosaic in Turquoise
Poppy, Dogwood Stripe in Spice
Poppy, Dogwood Stripe in Denim
Poppy, Climbing Vine in Spice
Poppy, Climbing Vine in Olive

Friday, March 05, 2010

Workspace tour

For the past year I have been trying to set up my workspace so the 10'x10' room had the most bang for its buck. The room also doubles as a guest room so I need my space to be organized and uncluttered while still being guest-friendly. The boy has been great with building things like a shelving unit that sits over the radiator and under the window, a peg board to hold and various tools of destruction/creation and a frakking amazing spool holder that I somehow managed to overload with thread. I can't believe I started out sewing on an ironing board!

My current quandary is how do I fit everything I have into this small space and also keep it as a guest room? (I've stored the quilting frame in another room and folded down the ironing board and shoved it in the closet while I took photos.)

Working area
My lovely Ikea desk/table along with the killer spool holder and new spinny office chair. I keep my laptop handy so I can watch Hulu while I sew. And on the table is the current quilt on which I am hand-sewing the binding. Tedious at times but it looks so nice when I am done. Next quilt though I am testing the machine binding tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Blog overhaul...

The boy said to me a couple weeks back that I should keep a quilting blog to hold myself accountable. I started this blog originally in order to to do just that when I signed up to train with Team in Training. After I was done I mostly just let this fall by the wayside.

I started quilting by way of printmaking back in 1994. One of the projects I worked on during one of the umpteen times I took the class was a quilt design printed on paper and then pieced together. It just didn't work for me (although I did get an A on the piece) so the next project I printed on muslin. White was fine for the image I used but I decided to sign up for a surface design class where I heard there would be hand-dyeing taught. I fell in love with fabric. It went beyond printing on paper. Printmaking was just one step. Fabric could be cut, dyed, sewn, embroidered, beaded... so many possibilities! I bought a little Viking 350 and sewed everything atop my ironing board. My sewing skills were horrendous but not nearly bad enough to lower my grade below a B at the worst of times.

In 1998 I was hired full time at my current job and I ended up putting aside classes and my sewing slowed considerably. I still did some hand-dyeing on the weekends and tried my hand at making cloth dolls. But every so often I would work on art quilts. I made plenty of baby quilts that I gave away as gifts over the years. When I think back to them I shudder at the shoddy skills. I had been teaching myself quiltmaking so everything I made was another learning experience.

Over the last two years I started up sewing in earnest. I sewed quilts to raffle off for Team in Training and for my 20th high school reunion. I began focusing more on my technique in order to make something I could be proud of. It couldn't just look good, it had to be functional, durable. And now I have plastic bins of finished quilts that I can be proud of.

2010 will be the year I finally quit talking about it and actually submit an art quilt to at least one juried show. This is my 2010 resolution. And this is where I'll try and document what I do to hold myself accountable to this goal.