Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's Do The Twist

In the evenings, after jury service this week, I've worked a little bit in the studio.  It seems there are 2 projects happening at once.  Does that ever happen at your place?

The twister quilt needs a border, so I went shopping and found a nice, cheerful print for it.  Unfortunately, it looked awful with the quilt.  So, I'll save it for another time.  Instead, I opened my fabric stash and found these two - a purple for the inner border and the lime green with fish for the outer border.
Project Linus twister quilt

The other project is a impulsive one.  I wanted to try making a quilt from plaid shirts.  When a local thrift store had a half-off sale, I purchased a few and started playing.  The blocks are made, but not joined yet.  I think this would be a neat quilt to keep in the car for a picnic blanket.

The inspiration and pattern came from The Thrifty Quilter.  I liked her use of red and decided to place mine in the centers of each 9 patch also.  If this were larger, I think it would make a neat veteran's quilt.

Finally, I did clean up that mess under my cutting / pressing surface.  It looks much better now.

Since I've been released from jury service with a big check for $31.80, I think I'll go to my workplace and see if I can earn a few more pennies today.  No actual trials for me, but I was on a panel and was not chosen for the jury.  During my down time, I enjoyed getting to know a few people while I hand stitched a binding.  Over all, it was a pleasant experience.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Monday, January 21, 2013

Made a Quick Change

When we moved back into our house and I was settling into the studio, I made a pressing surface using a 5 foot by 2 foot piece of MDF, some batting, some canvas and lots of heavy duty staples.  It's been very useful, but it's pretty heavy.

It's a better fit now.  That clutter in the open shelf .... will be gone soon.  I'll post another photo to prove it.

And it sticks out past the doorway when I prop it on my cutting table.  Plus, I've found that I really don't need it to be 5 feet long.  Actually, a little more than the width of fabric is perfect.  Plus, I can use the other piece to press blocks and still have plenty of room for cutting with the leftover piece of wood.  Although I didn't have another piece of canvas handy, I did have some striped duck cloth. 

I'll use it like this most often and store the larger pressing surface against the wall.

I worked on Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street Mystery today .... part 1.  My 4 patches are now finished and pressed nicely from this new workspace.

Now I'm switching to a Project Linus project.  These large squares were sewn in sets of 3 and then donated to PL.  I took them home and joined them all for another twister.  This week, I found a cute outer border fabric which ties in all the colors.

It may be about time to stop sewing and help my family with the next step towards building our shed.  They've been purchasing long pieces of wood and bags of concrete.  Now they're returning a truck and trailer and buying lunch to reward themselves for the morning's work.  Looks like we'll cut some lumber this afternoon while it's sunny.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Thursday, January 17, 2013

This One's a Challenge

I picked up this top from the Project Linus work day a few months ago.  PL always has a few tops that I can play with and perhaps try some new ideas.

This one is pieced well.  I think it was an incomplete kit and so the person making the top had to come up with her own ideas for making everything work.  She did a terrific job!

What I'd like to do is to add quilting that makes it appeal to children.  My first inclination was a metallic thread.  I'm not sure how it will look with the muted American colors, but I could give it a try.

Another idea is to use that tall green bar under the flower to do a Jack In The Beanstalk kind of thing.  Then the house could become a Hansel and Gretal scene.  But the pieced designs don't lend themselves toward stories.  There are a lot of swirls and pinwheels that might be a good start for a quilting idea.  I can see the 4 seasons if I try ... maybe something to emphasize those.

There's no deadline on this one, so I may ponder it a bit and put it away until I get a good idea of how I can finish it.  If you have any ideas for making this one appeal to a child, please leave a comment.  I think I've turned off the annoying auto-verify feature.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Off the Frame ... Woohoo!

Quilting is finished (at last!)  Woohoo!

The hardest part is done.  Now I get to bind it and find a box to mail it to it's new home.  It's going to a friend who just moved to Texas with her husband.  Since she's a recent college graduate, a recent bride, and has just started a new job, I think I'll call this one New Beginnings.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the quilting and helped me with suggestions as I struggled to use so few fabrics in this one.  Deb requested a photo of the back and I'd love to share one ... or more.

from the center
Border quilting
I can't remember where I've recently seen this half feather, half stripe for the border.  I wish I could share the blog which inspired me.  But this design is striking and I just had to give it a try.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I even used Deb's method for feathers (except I quilted spines since they were just half feathers).  She recently posted a cool tutorial at stitchintherapy.  Definitely check it out if you'd like to learn more about making feathers.  I like that there are so many ways to achieve great results.

Add caption
Pieced minkee backing
I included this last photo to let you see what happens if you piece minkee backing and rotate one of the pieces 90 degrees from the other.  It's a slightly different color.  Like corduroy, but not nearly as noticeable.  I can live with this, but I might buy enough yardage next time to get the length going the same direction - especially since it stretches more in one direction that the other.

I received a photo of the family in New Jersey who received the Hurricane Sandy quilt.  Their faces were bright with smiles and the smallest boy stood right in front of the quilt, but he was so small, he didn't hide much of it.  I don't have permission to post the photo on the internet, so you'll just have to imagine the smiles.  It made me smile too.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Friday, January 11, 2013

On the Frame

This poor quilt continues to progress slowly, but surely.  I like it much better now and it's beginning to look more exciting as the quilting is taking shape.
First 2 rows are quilted
The photo above shows the first 2 rows, so I can refer back to them once they're rolled up.  Each block is quilted differently, just for fun.  With photos, I can try to keep the similar designs spaced nicely.  It's easy to forget the placement once the quilt is advanced.

3rd row

Of course, sometimes, the same pattern happens in adjacent blocks in the same row.  I have no excuse.  Sigh.  Didn't notice till I was finished with the 2nd one.  I am NOT ripping the stitches out.  

3rd row on the right

Time to advance to row 4 and hopefully make a little more progress today.  I like the minkee backing fabric.  Hope it isn't stretching too much on the frame.  Guess we'll find out soon.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sharpie Mug Rug Project

I met a few friends online for a pajama party Friday night.  One of us teaches the rest as a sort of interactive tutorial.  It's fun and there's silliness added to the photos and comments of each step.  So this week, we used sharpie markers to draw a design on white fabric.  Some used a nice Kona white, but I had some white muslin that I substituted instead.

Here are some of my designs.
 The squiggles were stacked two fabrics deep and the sharpie bled through a little bit.  But I still needed to retrace each line to make it thicker and darker.

After sharing our designs, we all sprayed them with alcohol to make the marker dye dissolve a little and spread.  Most used a 90% solution, but we had 3 bottles of cheap rubbing alcohol, which was a 70% solution.

After the alcohol spray
Then, we either hung them to let the colors run, or laid them flat (on a kitchen trash bag) to dry.  This is a quick process since alcohol evaporates quickly.

Finally, I stayed up late and quilted one of mine using lots of different thread colors.  It's been a long time since I quilted on my domestic sewing machine, but it was easier to do for such a small size.

I'll probably make up the quilt sandwich for the other designs and have them waiting until I'm in the mood to finish them.  This would make a quick gift along with a mug and a small treat.

Until then, I'm slowing quilting on my big machine that teal quilt which has haunted me.  My goal is to get it off the frame Friday and then hunt some more cream to bind it.  It's going to a dear friend who just moved to TX, so I'll send a care package to her soon.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Friday, January 4, 2013

Micro Handles !

I installed a gift and had a little time to play with it today.  Microhandles for my longarm machine.

 These little curls were quilted using the new handles.  It takes a little adjustment - different muscles to control the machine.

Microhandles rotated upward to get them out of the way.
 Here's a photo with the handles raised.  It's a twist of the knob to loosen and rotate them upward.  Easy to change their position.

After getting started, I realized that I really do need to stitch in the ditch before quilting these blocks.  They distort with the quilting.  Sigh.  Guess I was being lazy and hoping to avoid this step.  You can see those wavy seams in these photos.

So I need the handles up to use the ruler as a guide to stitch in the ditch.  Then, each block is getting quilted differently.  For those with more dense quilting, I'll move the new handles in position to use them.  Otherwise, I'll just use the original handles.

With a minkee backing and new handles, this is a skill building quilt.  Hope it goes well.  It's behind schedule, but I'm thankful it's made it to this stage.  I'll quilt the 3 borders last, once I decide what to do there.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars