Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For 2011 - Blocklotto, Free Motion Quilting, Stashbuster Ugly Fabric Challenge, and Friday Block Party

I've really enjoyed the monthly BlockLotto challenge.  With this challenge we send our blocks to other people if our name is not drawn.  We sew the same block up to ten times, following the detailed and helpful directions posted each month.  I intend to continue playing the BlockLotto in 2011.

I also intend to ramp up and continue on my free motion quilting, but even with that, I think I'm ready to do more sewing this year!  I'm thinking of joining two other challenges...

The weekly Friday Block Party has been going on for some some.  Each Friday she posts a new block to make.  Once you make it you post the photo to show the others in the group.  Some of the ladies do it all scraps, some select a color way to use.  I'm going to use scraps (probably the left overs from another project but I'm going to have grey as my color to tie things together for that challenge.  We'll see if I can produce a block at least every other week and keep up with my other plans too!

The other new project I'm thinking of joining in the monthly Stashbuster Ugly Challenge.  I don't like the name especially, but the idea is to use a fabric we have that we do not really like to practice a new block construction.

Last year all the blocks were to include some pink.  Each month they were going to have a beginner pattern and a challenging pattern - but after a few months one of the two volunteers couldn't continue so they didn't exactly do that.  It's a really good idea to have two different blocks.  (The previous year the color was yellow - but I can't find the files on that project so I'm not sure how it was organized.)
All the blocks have straight seams, the more challenging ones had more pieces... 
These are the images of the blocks from the directions that were posted to the Stashbusters' site.
 The list owner has selected a new person to do the challenge this year.  I think it will be fun to follow along.  I had stepped forward to head it up or be the alternative, but with all the emails going back and forth, my email wasn't read until the new person had been selected. Guess we were supposed to write to the group and not just to the list owner to step forward to volunteer.  (Or it could be my email was deleted in error as the list owner wrote me asking if I had written her about something else - that she had deleted a message and thought it was from me.)  Added:  She wrote me a nice note regarding this.

My ugly fabric is stuff I bought to be backing for quilts.  I still could use them for that,  but think I might go ahead and join the challenge that the new person will be working on.  Hopefully the color she selects will be something I have in my stash - if not then I'll have to pick another color and just be consistent with using it in the monthly blocks she posts.

I'm hoping between the three  challenges there will be lots of variety and fun!

I've been making very good progress on going thru cupboards and drawers.  I'm going to reward myself for all the organizing and clearning*, by fitting in time to sew next year!  Another change for at least early Spring 2011 is that I will be learning Italian and attending yoga classes!  But it will take a while still to get thru everything in the house and garage... but it's actually been a nice experience so far.  I've done the dining room, living room, kitchen, van, and part of guest/mom's room and master bedroom.

* clearning = cleaning and clearing out!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two more Roses for Sophie

I had the strips out so went ahead and made two more roses - this time with mainly pink fabric.

I'm going to mail tomorrow - so took a photo of all four roses together...
These are all trimmed to be 9.5 inches square.

Two Rose Blocks Completed

I finished two red rose blocks.  While making them I kept coming up with more than two seams, but I think the end results when put up with other roses will be a nice addition to a quilt.

I'll keep my strips handy so I can sew more later.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I selected and prepped fabric to make a few roses for Sophie.  Cut strips then handwashed.  Put some in vinegar to be sure the colors are set.  Then ironed and picked out subset of fabric to make two red roses.

I cut a pentagon for the center and just added fabric like a log cabin - trying to arrange the colors so it would look right - also pressed after each seam and trimmed fabric so strips are at an angle to help with the rose allusion.

Had to change bobbin - after that the stitching was not right.  So ripped stitches out and will wait until I figure out how to fix the tension...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Get Well Flying Geese and How I Made Them!

Michelle, another lady in the BlockLotto, had an operation in October that was taking longer to recover from than expected.  She is back to sewing already, but I wanted to make her some blocks anyway.  Since I finished the December challenge already I was able to do this sewing.  As I finished the first block, I remembered that the last time I had trouble making the blocks.  To solve it so I could send the blocks to Mary Jame in a timely manner I used much larger pieces of fabric than were really needed - and ended up with a bunch of scraps that I didn't think I would be able to use...

This time I made time to figure out a way to do Flying Geese so I end up with more usable pieces of fabric.  Here are the Get Well Geese I made for Michelle (scroll down to see my notes of how I made them!)

The technique that I ended up figuring out, The June Dodge Method for Get Well Geese*, was a variation of the directions for the December 2010 block - trees.  When I was using the original liberated directions I just ended up with scraps - this way I end up with a mini-reversed goose or point.  (The original directions are very clearly written - it's just that I'm not following them correctly I'm sure.) Anyway,  I'm quite please with myself for figuring out this new way to do the Get Well Geese!

Step One:  Cut background fabric about 1 inch taller and wider than the desired size of the block.  Cut colored goose fabric roughly the same height as the background fabric but narrower.
Step Two:  With right sides facing the same direction, cut a point in the fabric. Be sure to have the tip so when it's sewn together the point tip will show.
Step Three: Move the fabric - you have a full sized set and the mini set.

Step Four: You can either place the bottom of the goose fabric so it lines up to the sky fabric (see normal size for example)  - this will make the end result so it's not even when the sewing is done).  OR
(see mini size for example) Bring the goose fabric so it is below the sky by 1/4 inch (then when sewn the bottom will be even).
Sew the two pieces together.  
Step Five:  Press toward the dark fabric and see how the different placement of the fabric affected the result. Normal size the bird is higher, Mini the bird is flush with the sky.
Step Six:  Place the fabric for the second seam.  For both of these the bird part is not below the sky, so neither of them are going to line up evenly once they are sewn.
Step Seven:  Sew second seam and press - see how the different placement of the parts affects the result.  In both of these examples the outside sky fabric is below the center bird fabric.
Step Eight:  Trim to square up and get to desired size.


Here I thought I knew what I was doing so I did three blocks at one time...

But I must have cut the length too short as for all of these I had to sew on a piece to get the block to be 6.5 inches.  It was just 1/8 inch off but I had to add a wider piece so there would not be extra bulk at the seam when quilting...  The extra seam, I think, will disappear once the project is quilted... or will add charm to the liberated quilt project!
After figuring out and using this June Dodge Method for Get Well Geese*, I have mini-reversed units all ready to use in a project myself later on!

* Ha ha!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BlockLotto - December 2010- Jewel Tone Forest

My ten trees for December 2010!
This month I got the sneak preview so was able to make my blocks ahead of the public release date for the block pattern!

Directions are here: http://blocklotto.blogspot.com/2010/12/jewel-tone-forest-for-december.html
Examples are here: http://blocklotto.blogspot.com/search/label/dec%202010%20photos

I used some of the special black material that my husband got me while in North Dakota a few months ago - I think the swirls of the pattern make the trees look magical.  Sort of combination of snow and sparkles. I did not have to buy any fabric for this month's challenge!

This was an easy block - and there are a lot more creative things that could be done with it too!

On Free Quilt Patterns

So in the beginning, quilting started as a way to recycle and enhance.  There were no quilting stores, no businesses.  Now there are, and I benefit from them - but mainly from the online sharing that so freely goes on.  I read an article today - cautioning people from free patterns as they are not always accurate, etc.  The article goes on to list the free patterns sources she recommends. It was really nice of her to organize the list - it will be a good set of links to refer to.

Hmm.  And this is just an n of 1 - but my last paid quilting class was to make a jacket.  In addition to paying for the class we were all required to get the pattern.  The copyright on the pattern was several years old.  During the class, the teacher told us mistakes that were in the pattern.  There was no printed insert in the pattern container - the pattern was sold with the inaccurate information.  There was some additional added value to the class - she showed us how to make a very nice band to go around the arm.  This pattern would replace something in the pattern - I'm okay with that as in the end the pattern was very open ended and there was room for additional blocks to be added.

The class could have been improved by having samples of the various stages of working on the jacket...  But it really bothered me that the printed pattern was being sold without the corrections.

So yes, free patterns may be inaccurate but my last paid pattern was inaccurate too.

So I guess free patterns are like free recipes or advice - have to take them all with a grain of salt.  But in reality everything we see or read or hear we have to filter thru our own souls to decide what to do with the information.

A few years ago I was chatting with one of my son's friends, I was saying how I needed to make more room for things in the house and was thinking of giving away all my cooking books as I could search for recipes so easily now on the web.  He said he would still keep the books as those recipes were tested and one never knew if the web recipes were correct or not.  This is a similar thought as the quilting article I read - but I so rarely refer to my books now - and I know to look at several web-recipes before deciding which one to test out that really I should go thru those cookbooks are weed them out at least.  And I have never gone thru one of my quilt pattern books and used them - so they should be weeded out too....

I have not found that paid patterns are entirely accurate.

I can not really say if free patterns are accurate - I am still at the block level of making things and have been really enjoying finishing my monthly blocklotto challenges - but I would hope that people would not blindly accept a paid pattern and waste time figuring out why something did not work out as expected when really it's just a poorly done paid pattern.

I think perhaps that is what the author of the original article was thinking about free patterns - but I think paid patterns have to be included too.  One expects the quilt store to screen patterns before they are sold - it was very disappointing that an errata sheet had not been prepared by either the pattern publisher or the LQS.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BlockLotto - November 2010 - Quilter's Choice in Purple

My six blocks for November!


Examples are here:

Nov 11 Notes:
This is going to be a huge block - 12.5 inches unfinished! If I can find my large square ruler then this will be fun and unstressful to do...  That's a big if... I'm not sure what she means by "You can confirm that your center sampler block is oriented correctly by checking the measurement from the point/corner to the adjacent side–it should be 6 1/4 inches." But I'm guessing that will be clearer once I get going on these blocks.  Getting a late start as distracted with conference this month.

Nov 19 Notes:
This month the challenge has two parts (or at least the way I'm interpreting it!).  First make 8.5 inch centers (must use tones of purple and white) - this will then be set on point and surrounded with strips to then be cut at 12.5 inches.

I've really been enjoying the liberated quilting patterns Sophie has set up for us - and voted that she continue with that for next year.  Now though I'm remembering that I really haven't done a lot of this so it would be good to do some traditional blocks too...

It was fun to make the wavy strips - that's something I want to do for another project.  I used templates that I got at a demo from a store for the little triangles.

I just moved my sewing area to this new room so will have to find the strips that I already have cut out... or it will just be silly and I will be cutting up fabric just to make the borders....

Nov 21 Notes:
Got my strips in order and finished up the blocks.  Someone posted their blocks on the blocklotto blog and I had an Ah! Ha! moment as I finally saw the secondary pattern that develops when the blocks are put together.  For me that's where the action is!  I especially liked it when I picked a different color for each corner.  I think it would really be fun to use this idea of putting blocks on point and then adding the colored strips for the corners.

Also, the new sewing room setup is working well.  Easy to use and to clean up.

Ended up these were fun to make.  I can see the secondary design that develops when the blocks are put together - the pattern especially looks good when the points are each of a different color - but the entire point is the same color family.  I'm also liking the middle and dark tones the best.

You can see in the center bottom block I experimented with cutting strips at an angle - I don't think this adds - or takes away from the effect.  The different sized strips are effective though.

I also experimented with framing the block with narrow strips all in the same color - yellow.  This didn't add anything to the effect.

Sophie wrote that she thinks this could be a method to use when one has different sized blocks to put together in a quilt.

Earlier this month I went to a lecture by Sharon Craig - she is now all about selling her patterns and rulers - but she was talking about the settings.  (Back when I was first experimenting with piecing I was in a strip exchange and we made the half log cabin using notes from Sharon - what a fun way to make a block! and a terrific way to get precut strips in a variety of colors!)  One of her ideas was to but the corner off blocks and then using them in the next blocks so they are oriented in a different way - or adding new fabric to replace the corners cut off.  Then there is a nice secondary pattern that develops.  Got me thinking how sometimes when I've been working on a setting I start to think that I am slowing myself down by spending too much time on the sashing and borders - but really since that's part of the over all pattern it's a valid thing to spend time on.  But in the end the most important thing is to make progress and to finish a project!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Went JoAnn's to get the stuff for potholders.

1 yard ironing board cover $8.99 with 40% coupon -$3.60 = $5.39 with tax $5.86

The silver grey stuff....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

BlockLotto - October 2010 - Variable Stars

My five October stars!
Directions are here:

Examples are here:

Wonderful that I don't need to buy new fabric this month! I have plenty of solid white, solid creme, and solid light grey so I can vary my backgrounds too!

10-4 Monday - I made a block but it's smaller than 9.5 square. I added two borders so it's right now. I guess I was in too much of a rush as I was trying to get done before I left for my mom's... I'll do the next one in s-l-o-w mode. I'm going to use 3.75 squares perhaps for my next block, then I can cut down to be 9.5 inches square. Sophie said I couldn't use this block for the Lotto. Oh well.

Oct 20th - Made two more stars.  At first I liked the open center, but now I really like the pieces in the center!
The top block has some purple with orange swirl fabric that used to make A shorts for kindergarten.

Oct 24th -Finished two more stars.  I've discovered a little trick that I want to remember for next time I make these kinds of stars.  Pick the fabrics.  Cut different strips.  Then cut different sized rectangles and cut in half.  Then just place on the full sized background.  Arrange so it will cover the background when flipped.  Makes it easier for me than working with the same sized triangle to get variety in points.
The top star has a little bit of rocket material from a pair of pants I made for A!
Later Oct 24th - I made this star - it may be my last for this month's BlockLotto. This time I experimented with having very skinny points that do not touch when in the same square.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I went to JoAnn's today after the Technology Conference meeting.  I had intended on getting the stuff needed to make potholders. But they were so crowded; the helpers really couldn't do more than point in the direction of where something was.  I couldn't figure out if it was what I supposed to get.... so didn't get anything as I didn't want to stand in that long line.

So instead I got:
  • a 3.5 square ruler  7.49-3.75
  • 2 for price of 1 queen cotton batting 24.99
  • 6 fat quarters (4 shades of purple for the November Block Lotto), 1 WOW (also for the November Block Lotto and I could use for October too), and 1 yellow (just because it was pretty). 6.00
total 34.67 + tax = 38.05
    I only got to use my coupon for the ruler as the other things were on sale.  There were lots of people there as it was 50% off.  I was going to get some Kona cotton - but I already have so much that it didn't seem like a good idea.  But mainly, I just wasn't in the mood to stand in line.

    They did have a copy of Liberated Quilting II.  I was able to sit down and look thru the pages.  Some of the quilts were in the first book.  Right now I'm thinking it's okay to not get this book - and I can check out the first book from the library so I'm sort of set there.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    A Fat Quarter???

    I had planned to go to North Dakota with my husband last week, but wasn't able to join him after all. So he got to go to Host Fest in Minot - and go out in the country side to take photos of comets and stars. He had a nice time  I hope he will be invited back so I can come along sometime1

    As I left him at the airport, I invited him to get me a few fat quarters if he saw a quilting store.... he was intrigued with the name. 

    So when he saw the fabric for sale at Host Fest, he stopped to find out what they were and to get me a few...

    He sent me some iPhone pictures of different fabric while he was at the booth and asked me what I'd like.  I picked the bundle of greys that were in the last photo he sent me.... (I can't find his photos now.) If I had been at computer instead of on phone I would have asked him to just pick up two for me...

    But somehow that got lost in translation as he presented me with a tall stack fabric that were all pretty much the same color... and dark1

    When I looked at the group of fabric more closely I could see that instead of a dozen different fabrics there were just five!  He said he got more as he figured there wouldn't be enough to do anything with if he just got one of the little pieces of fabric...!

    I think the shop keeper must have had a hand in selecting the fabrics - the one with the lines may be cotton but the lines are raised so the fabric isn't smooth.  He said didn't notice that fabric when he forked over the $40 for the lot, but he did notice it afterwards...

    I didn't have the heart to explain that the whole purpose for getting fat quarters was to get variety and that if one wants more fabric it's cheaper to buy off the bolt.

    Anyway, I now have a nice selection of fabric that I can use for black on black blocks - and they are a memory for my husband for the nice trip he went on too.

    One of his first jobs was working in a fabric store.  He moved the fabric from storeroom to the front area and after a while was even tasked with cutting it for the clients!  He is so looking forward to my finishing a quilt that he gets to keep!  So far I have only made a square baby quilt for our son, and I shipped off two FMQ to Quilts for Kids...

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    BlockLotto - September 2010 - Liberated Houses

    Houses reversed in this photo...

    Sunday 9/12 - Monday.  Pieced a house. Red Roof
    Saturday 9/18 -  Pieced a house. Zebra Roof
    Thursday 9/21 - Pieced a house. Christmas Holly Roof
    Saturday 9/25 - Realized I missed the sneak peak for October as I forgot to post on the BlockLotto blog.  So I'll get these trimmed up .
    Wednesday 9/29 - Put the new rotary blades in the handles so I could trim the blocks - posted on the BlockLotto site.

    These blocks look like they would be a snap to finish up - but lots of planning involved and need to think ahead.  Both my houses have doors that almost reach the roof!  I thought on the second one I had fixed that, but there is something missing in the way I see the blocks.

    9-18-10 Note ** I realize that the trouble is probably that I have been thinking of the block as having two parts - the roof and the house.  When really it has three - a little top of house that goes under the roof.  I can just create that part of the block in one strip of house color!

    I'm going to make a few more - need to get more comfortable with this block!

    Directions:  http://blocklotto.blogspot.com/2010/09/september-block-is-liberated-house.html

    Example Blocks: http://blocklotto.blogspot.com/search/label/sep%202010%20photos

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010


    JoAnn's 9-28-10

    2 pack 28mm rotary blades 8.99 - 4.49
    2 pack 28mm rotary blades 8.99 - 4.50
    1 olfa 45mm rotary blade 9.49 - 4.74
    1 olfa 45mm rotary blade 9.49 - 4.75
    1 olfa 45mm rotary blade 9.49 - 4.74
    1 olfa 45mm rotary blade 9.49 - 4.75

    Not quilting
    10 yd snap tape for mom project $3.99/yd 39.90 - 19.95

    Not even sewing
    2 happy birthday for 16 year old 2 * 3.49

    Total before tax was $54.90 and with tax was 60.25

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Liberated vs Modern?

    Today I again spent time exploring different sites.  In the Modern Quilt Guild site there are lots of pictures to see - each time I look I am seeing the backs of the quilts I started so many years ago.  I hope to find them in the garage sometime soon!  The backs were always so much more fun for me that the fronts...  I think when I finally get them together I will put the label on the traditional front so the more modern, liberated, creative front will be honored more.

    As I learn more I can't believe how narrow minded my first quilting class teacher was - and what a wuss I was to be bossed around by her!  I couldn't have yellow as my predominate color.  I couldn't use plain fabrics.  I was supposed to make all blocks the same size - that's where I finally broke off which was good - but didn't get the quilt done....

    Liberated vs Modern - these are my thoughts today on this:

    Fabric Use:
    Scraps and assortment of fabric okay vs newer lines of fabric preferred?

    Adapt and change traditional blocks vs create new blocks

    Usually there is something in the block that is cut at an angle - but then the individual blocks line up vs the blocks and the settings are at right angles?

    There are one or two colors that tie the project together - sometimes it takes awhile to be able to articulate what ties it together but it is there vs the same line of fabric is used so things all go together - not as many surprises?

    Always looking back to the traditional and working to wonkify the block vs creating from scratch (or looking to newly created patterns for inspiration)

    Age of Quilter
    There may not be a difference although might be Older vs younger?

    There does not seem to be a difference.

    I'm not sure it really makes a difference - but it does seem like the various blogs use these labels.  I'm just trying to figure things out.  One thing for sure,  I prefer these quilts to traditional and kit quilts!

    Of course with so few quilts under my belt who am I to talk - but the actual quilting part of the process is the crowning glory to me now.  I had so many flimsies and blocks in my other life - I was blocked by not wanting to hand my projects off to others to complete.  I'm so glad that Leah Day happened to start her blog at the time I was reentering the quilting fun.  Now I am able to do the entire project myself.

    I'm also fortunate (since I have not met like minded people in person) to have the online forums and blogs to read and learn from.  Hopefully, in time, some of the folks will become my long distance friends.

    I clicked to open this post to comments - just in case someone would like to jump in!

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Expenses 9-24-10

    JoAnn's with coupons not including 9.75% tax

    Grip Gloves (for FMQ) $3.59 - 1.44 = $2.15
    Fiskars 12x18 mat $14.99 - 6.00 = $8.99
    2 yards Kona White 11.98 - 4.79 = $7.19

    Total = $18.33

    (Also got snap tape for mom project. 11.97 - 4.79 = $7.18

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Project Modern

    The Modern Quilt Guild is having a wonderful Project this year - it started Sept 1 2010 - and ends a year later.


    There will be four challenges during that time.

    Challenge One:  Make a quilt based on an inspiration of your choice. When submitting your entry you will have to submit a photo of your particular inspiration, along with a photo of your quilt and a few paragraphs explaining your quilt.  How does it relate to or display your inspiration? Must be at least 45" x 45". Due November 30, 2010

    ADDED 10/21/10:  I did not do this challenge - here are the winners! Great projects!

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Patchwork Times - Note to Self Quilt Along

    I just found another very handsome project to dream about -


    Doesn't the quilt look great?

    I don't think I have time now to start another project but will read the posts from the blog as they come out...

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    FMQ Quilt Along: Picking fabrics

    There is a FMQ Quilt Along that I'm going to do.

    The directions seem clear.

    First step is to pick out my fabrics for the quick quilt top that will be the project.

    Added 9/25/10:  Hmm this quilt along isn't appealing to me after all - think I'm skipping it.  Nice idea though!

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    QFK - My First Machine Quilt!

    Active Links below go to my versions of design in My First Machine Quilt

    Started and Completed during April/May 2010.

    I had received a Quilts for Kids kit and sewn that together - they asked for me to use my own material and to make at least a second quilt.  This is that quilt.  I cut the same amounts of material as in the first project but I put it together in a different order.

    When you click on a link the display will change -  just click the back button to return to this screen.  Whenever there are photos, click twice to see an enlarged version.

    Link to finished Project

    This is the order I did the quilting:

    Animal Squares - Squiggles

    Tan - Hardwood Floors

    Red - Basic Chevrons

    Black and Blue Material - Stars

    Finishing up - long red section


    Link to finished Project

    All FMQ Posts

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    WSF - FMQ Sampler - Basic Chevron (Beg)


    I had sort of used this design in my first FMQ quilt, but I had only one column of chevrons.

    The video is clear. This design is good to do at the end or edge of a quilt as you have to flip the fabric to start the alternating columns of the design. I drew a portion of the design on paper before gong to the machine (one column then did the transition).

    Front Basic Chevron

    Man, I’m just not getting this design. I even used soap to draw a line so I would know where the tip was supposed to be. I just could not get a point to show in my sewing. During the second column I was sure the sides were supposed to go up against each other, but in the third I lost confidence and made them go more so they were in between. This pattern seems like it should be easy to do, but I’m having troubles.

    I’m not sure how to correct this.  Next time I will draw a complete block instead of just the first column and transition.  Will be moving on to the next beginning design in the next section of the quilt.
    Back Basic Chevron
    To be clear, this does not look at all like Leah's Chevron. : (

    I have now finished the first section of the WSF quilt (there were two shoo fly blocks that were both treated with SITD).

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    WSF- FMQ Sampler - Sea Oats


    This pattern is just like the previous one (Sea Algae) except there is a little loop at the end of each off shoot.
    Front Sea Oats

    My loops are a little stiff looking. Also, I need to work on curving the off shoot. I was so concentrating on the loop and curving the end that I now see that the branches look really straight.

    I had to change the bobbin during the last column of this design.

    I only made four columns – think I should have done five. And changing the length of the offshoots would make it look more natural.

    I also see now that in both this and the previous design I was supposed to have the offshoots all pointing in reverse direction from the question mark ending.  Especially with this one I was really working to get the drops so they were all the same - so it's good to have photos to compare! Amazing that I missed this important part of the designs the first time I tried them!
    Back Sea Oats

    WSF Sampler - SITD Shoo Fly

    I decided to try just doing stitch in the ditch (SITD)for this block, but it looks awfully plain.  I'm hoping that I will appreciate having some blocks that have less quilting and so are softer in the finished product.

    B was very confused about the location of my plain blocks and the patterned ones.  I could tell from him comments that not having a standard setting might not be his cup of tea.  But I’m hoping he will like it once it is done!  If not then I’m making a blanket or something for someone else to keep…!

    WSF Sampler - FMQ Sea Algae


    Before Sewing
    Watched the video. Since it has been a little while since I have done this, I’m anticipating the curves might be a problem, but maybe not!

    The end picture shows the design upside down from how she did the sewing… There is no flipping of fabric so that will make it easier!

    Starts with sort of straight line that curves back and forward to the right. Then you go back on that line to the start of the big curve. Go down from that point to make another upside down question mark shape. Once you reach the bottom travel up adding off shoots to the inside of each of the question mark shapes.

    After Sewing
    Making the upside down question marks were easier than I thought they would be. Traveling on the already stitched lines also didn’t seem as foreign as I thought it would be.

    I am working with 8 inch squares so the amount of fabric covered is more than what Leah shows in her videos. I found myself sort of holding the needle while the machine was going and then readjusting where my hands were, so there are globs of thread on the back. I don’t think this is because of the needle or thread or bobbin tension, I think it’s because I’m sewing several stitches while moving my hands. So for the next design I’m going to try to stop the machine with the needle down – then readjust hands.

    A bigger issue is that the lines on the bottom do not look the same as the lines on the top. The back has more sort of echoing that shows up as one stitch line on the front. This might be because I removed the pins so they would not catch on the side of the sewing table. So on the next design I will keep more pins in. Since this is a design that is done in a column that will be easy to do I think.

    Added: I also see now that in both this and the next design I was supposed to have the offshoots all pointing in reverse direction from the question mark ending.   Amazing that I missed this important part of the designs the first time I tried them!

    WSF - Preparation

    First I taped the back, then the batting then the top to the table... Then I pin basted.

    Then I used a walking foot to sew around each square..

    Then I was ready to start sewing the quilt designs!

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    FMQ Designs Used in First Quilt - Red - Long Beads

    I intended to use a different design in each color - but at the end I saw the long strip of red and I just didn't know what to do. I didn't have control of the fabric at all so I couldn't fathom sewing columns of chevron's there. So instead I just did a long loopy stitch then came back fill it in - like beads...

    I was really tired with this effort - pleased but tired. I determined to get new thread - I wanted red as it would stand out - for my second quilt. I also put the quilting aside until the things I ordered from Leah arrived. Having the bobbin glides and gloves really changed things. And I can't imagine sewing with the machine just being on the top of the table now - having it secure in the little desk really helps.

    FMQ Designs Used in First Quilt - Black and Blue - Stars

    For this first quilt I put a different pattern on the different fabrics.

    In reading about the fillers I was hearing that densely quilted fabric was sort of hard so for two of the fabrics I put stars.

    I used black thread for the black material thinking the stars would poof up - but they didn't. They barely show at all. So when I went to the blue fabric I used beige thread knowing it would show up more.

    For some of the stars I used beige in the bobbin - the back was looking pretty awful...

    Here though you can see that each fabric had a different design...

    This shows the different colors in the bobbin

    FMQ Designs Used in First Quilt - Animal Print - Squiggles

    Originally I thought I would pick one animal in each block to outline - then I was going to echo around that for the rest of the block. I thought that would make the one animal stand out and be sort of puffy. But when I didn't have any control of the fabric - so I ended up just making squiggles on the blocks. I was so disappointed, I packed up the machine and my stuff and left the workshop early...

    I'm so glad I remembered Leah's site and had bookmarked it so I could get back to it easily!

    Front - see how long the stitches are? I had no control at all - and really no plan.

    Back of an animal square. This is about the fourth one I did - I didn't like the squiggles and was trying to get more control of the fabric. Without gloves this is very hard to do.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    FMQ Designs Used in First Quilt - Red - Basic Chevron

    For the first quilt I picked a pattern from Leah's site to try to do.  At this point I had not really read the posts about machine quilting - I had tried to do hardwood floors - now I tried the basic chevron design.

    I put this in all the places where there was red fabric in the quilt.  I was not very confident - was trying to do this without getting the gloves.

    Red -
    Basic Chevron

    My fabric was rather narrow so I expanded the design so one column would fit the piece of material.

    This shows the back - notice the folded fabric - I didn't pin closely enough when I was basting...

    FMQ Designs Used in First Quilt - Tan - Hardwood Floors

    For the first quilt I picked a pattern from Leah's site to try to do.  At this point I had not really read the posts about machine quilting - I just picked something I thought I could sew - hardwood floors.

    I put this in all the places where there was tan fabric in the quilt.

    I did my version of hardwood floors but it looks more like bamboo forest in some places...

    This is the back of the same design but a different place on the quilt.  I think I was afraid to have the 'boards' be so long so I changed the orientation so they could be shorter.

    Beginning Free Motion Designs - Links to my Attempts!

    Beginning Free Motion Designs

    Active Links below go to my versions of the design in one of my projects - the post about my attempt contains a live link to the original, beautiful inspiration on Leah's site.  Use the Back button to return to this screen.  When there is a photo, double click to see enlarged view.

    Leah's challenged herself to design 365 free motion quilting designs.  My challenge is to do all the designs she has coded as beginner level....  Here is the list of beginner designs - when I have tried it there will be an active link to click on....  as she adds more beginner designs I will add them to this list too!

    1) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-1-shadow-waves-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    2) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/henna-floofy.html  (QFK Sampler)

    3) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-sashiko-shell-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    4) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-tree-roots-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    5) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-wandering-clover.html  (QFK Sampler)

    6) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-flowing-glass-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    7) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-brain-coral-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    8) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-matrix-beg-requires.html  (QFK Sampler)

    9) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-motion-sampler-tree-bark-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    10) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/freemotion-sampler-wave-chain-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    11) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/freemotion-sampler-striated-earth-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    12) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/freemotion-sampler-cat-hairball-filler.html  (QFK Sampler)

    13) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/freemotion-sampler-trailing-tears-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    14) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/freemotion-sampler-cartoon-trees-beg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    15) http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/05/freemotion-sampler-mud-flatsbeg.html  (QFK Sampler)

    16. http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/07/wsf-sampler-fmq-sea-algae.html  (WSF Sampler)

    17. http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/07/wsf-fmq-sampler-sea-oats.html  (WSF Sampler)

    18. http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/06/fmq-designs-used-in-first-quilt-red.html  (QFK First)
    http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/07/wsf-fmq-sampler-basic-chevron-beg.html (WSF Sampler)
    http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/09/day-46-basic-chevron.html NEW

    19. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-50-radio-static.html

    20. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-57-curvy-key.html

    21. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-58-flame-key.html NEW

    22. http://junedodge.blogspot.com/2010/06/fmq-designs-used-in-first-quilt-tan.html (QFK Robot)

    23. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-60-spiral-tree.html

    24. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-65-flock-of-geese.html

    25. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-66-dresden-daisies.html

    26. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-71-bamboo-forest.html

    27. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-72-little-hands-and-fingers.html

    28. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/10/day-75-alien-fingers.html

    29. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-85-concentric-circles.html

    30. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-88-stomach-lining.html NEW

    31. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-89-oil-slick.html NEW

    32. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-92-leaf-veins.html

    33. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-95-jagged-cosmos.html

    34. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-97-wobbly-cosmos.html

    35. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/11/day-98-super-spiral.html

    36. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/12/101-heat-coil.html

    37. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/12/103-bright-star.html

    38. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/12/105-overlapping-arches.html

    39. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2009/12/day-110-modern-art.html

    40. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/01/day-112-rainforest-leaf.html

    41. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/01/day-115-mesh-curtain.html

    42. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/01/day-121-river-path.html

    43. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/01/day-124-mario-vine.html

    44. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/01/day-125-shoo-fly.html

    45. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/02/day-127-lacy-lattice.html

    46. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/02/day-128-spiky-vine.html

    47. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/02/day-134-left-turn-right-turn.html

    48. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/02/day-135-cityscape.html

    49. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-136-curvy-turns.html

    50. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-139-cornstalks.html

    51. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-140-goldilocks.html

    52. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-145-knit-stitch.html

    53. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-152-trailing-spirals.html

    54. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-154-spiral-tulip.html

    55. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-161-loopy-hearts.html

    56. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-171-matrix-rays.html

    57. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-172-spiral-vine.html

    58. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-173-loopy-paisley.html

    59. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-175-loopy-flower.html

    60. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-177-angle-turns.html

    61. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-180-slate-tile.html

    62. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/05/day-181-h2o.html

    63. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/06/day-189-square-spiral.html

    64. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/06/day-194-desert-sand.html

    65. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/07/day-203-flowing-lines.html

    66. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2010/07/day-204-spiral-illusion.html

    67. missing a pattern?

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Set Up of Sewing Space for Quilting Project

    Inspired by:

    The machine is now on the little table I got from Leah. On the machine I have pin holder and cheater needle (also from Leah). On the right side I have a little cup to put the safety pins in - I'm putting them in opened most of the time as that is supposed to save time. Extra bobbins, seam rippers, machine needles, different pressure feet, little brush to catch lint and clean out the bobbin case, pin cushion with straight pins.

    I use the straight pins to bring the threads up when starting a new quilting spot. I have the scissors on the bed (oh I'm sitting on the bed as I sew). I have the gloves on the bed or on my hands. I have larger table behind the little table - it has serger on it that I am using to hold the cone thread. There are also cutting mats and things on the table but they are not needed while quilting. There are testing pieces of batting wrapped in material to test machine.

    The iron and ironing board are on the right - only used for pressing the binding before it was sewn.

    Need to have a little container for the broken needles - I'm just hoping I caught all the points in the original needle container. Next project I want to have a chair, another little table to the left of the sewing machine table, a trash can, and little container for the broken needles. Also, perhaps put the pressure feet in a little container.

    There is not as much getting up while quilting - if I can perfect the space then I'll be set!

    Free Motion Sampler - Binding

    This morning I put the binding on. I used the self-binding method as Quilts for Kids listed it as one of the options.

    The backing was cut wider than the quilt so after quilting I sewed 1/4 inch from the edge. Then I cut the top and batting to that edge, leaving the backing so it was wider. Then I used ruler and cutting mat to cut that so it was just 1 inch all around. I pressed back to the cut line and at the sewing machine, turned the fabric over and sewed it down. What a difference!

    I made up name labels and put them on the backs: June's 1st Quilt and June's Quilting Sampler!

    I put both charity quilts in the washer and dryer - am so pleased with how soft they feel now and that the stitches stayed in! In Leah's blog she has mentioned how her show quilts are so filled with stitches that they are like cardboard - my stitching wasn't the same size so it worked out.

    Bernie is already asking me what I'm going to do now for a project that stays here. He put a request in for thicker batting and has again said how he likes the blue, green, purple blocks that I won (but he hasn't been able to see the new wonky fly blocks as they are in envelopes still!) I'm sure he'll like them too! I'll pull them out for another design floor photo. My dilemma will be not just the setting but the quilting - but what fun!

    I need to figure out a way to make the corners of the self-binding binding look better on my next quilts – but I’m very pleased with these two quilts now.

    I know I’m behind with mailing them to quiltsforkids.org – But there is a Super Saturday class the last weekend in May so I'm thinking I'm going to wait to mail these in until after I can show them off in class!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Freemotion Sampler - Borders and Changes in Blocks


    I decided to leave the 1 inch border without any quilting – and in the 3 inch outer border I put simple points – so it sort of looked like fringe – before I put the binding on that is!

    I decided to remove all the cat fur ball quilting – and redid that block – and I added more points to the tree branch square so it looks better.  Using the seam ripper really was a good decision - the change changed it from something I was just going to send off and hope it would be useful to something I'm proud of.  So one ah ha moment is that it's better to go ahead and do a project as with each attempt one gets more comfortable with the process - but if it's not going well to undo and redo.... 

    Freemotion Sampler - Alternating Blocks

    I finished the larger blocks in the quilt – in the smaller boxes of the alternate blocks I decided to do stitch in the ditch and then to make a line from each of the the points – so it looks like a floating square. This way I hope the quilt will not be hard for the child.

    Now I thinking what I’m going to do in the borders – I’m leaning toward something that is not done densely as I want the quilts to be comfortable for the child in the hospital.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Freemotion Sampler - Mud Flats(Beg)


    The video did not show the flipping of the fabric – but it’s required so makes it harder to with a quilt – especially when you have the thread situation I do – cobbled together using a serger in the background. I did a better job of getting the points at the bottom than I did with Cartoon Trees.

    Freemotion Sampler - Cartoon Trees (Beg)


    Before Sewing:
    Good contrast in the video and direction.
    Involves flipping the fabric so that makes it harder for a beginner to do with an actual quilt!

    After Sewing:
    It was hard to get the points pointy on both the branches and the bottom.

    Freemotion Sampler - Trailing Tears (Beg) requires flipping fabric


    Before Sewing:
    This one looks easy to do – but it involves flipping the quilt around so that makes it a little harder.

    After Sewing:
    The pattern was pretty easy to do after all – I’m near the side of the quilt so I could flip it. That serger is grabbing the quilt so so need to rethink how I have things set up. It’s a nice looking pattern. I don’t quite understand how it could be used in 2.5 inch sashing though…. Would be nice to see a sample.

    Freemotion Sampler - Cat Hairball Filler (Beg) Ugh


    Before sewing:
    The video is clear and there is contrast between the fabric and thread.
    This pattern does not require flipping the quilt so that’s good. I’m going to watch the next pattern before going to the sewing room… maybe I can do two squares this morning!

    After Sewing:
    Ugh! It must have been me moving the fabric too quickly and perhaps the fabric was catching on the serger that I have the cone thread on - but my stitches were way too big – so I had to go back over the pattern with smaller stitches to try and save the project so it can still be used by QuiltsforKids.org. It really looks a mess – I don’t like doing this design.

    Added later:
    When I was doing the alternating blocks I went back and ripped out the stitching in this block - then I put it back in. The design is still not attractive - perhaps it's okay if your thread and fabric are the same color!

    This is what was removed....

    This is the final version...

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Freemotion Sampler - Striated Earth (Beg) - perhaps should be beg/intermediate


    Before sewing notes:
    The video is easy to follow - nice contrast to the thread and fabric. Refers back to another pattern that was coded as beginner/intermediate so I skipped it "Etch and Sketch" in my journey thru the free motion patterns. It's a really nice looking pattern so want to try it soon. But first I will do Striated Earth - it's probably easier because there are points for the tips instead of rounded stitching.

    Boy the fabric at the back of the sample block makes it really hard to see the stitching!

    After sewing notes:
    Okay, I did a variation of this filler - I got so involved that I forgot to make it so there were two points in each row. My version has more curved lines and they almost alternate lines instead of meeting in the middle. It's an okay result.
    I think this one should also have been coded beginner immediate as it was hard to get the lines in rows….

    I have four blocks left in the 5 inch squares in this quiltsforkids project. Then I need to figure what to put in the smaller squares and borders! I'm thinking for softness sake that I will do something that is not as close together as the ones I'm doing now…