Monday, March 28, 2016

Cozy Quilts FMQing Month Three: Swirls

Front - click for even more detail
I wasn't able to attend the Cozy Quilt demo this month, but did get the assignment.  Swirls!

I found a few sites with examples:

Paula Storm's idea was especially helpful.  Adding additional loops by traveling on line that is hit and going around to finish the swirl makes it look very nice.

The way I did it, the swirls remind me of Latin American art somehow.  I did not like doing these swirls, but they do look pretty nice as long as you look at the big picture not the individual swirls.  I'm not sure if it was the swirl making or the lightness of the fabric I'm practicing on that made it a little un-fun to sew.  

I used a new sewing machine for this, and to add the four leaf clovers to the windmill yesterday.

Last summer my husband gifted me a new Brother sewing machine, and with my tension problems with the Backgammon pillow and needed decorative stitching I finally opened the box.

Since my Mother's Kenmore is still making loops on the bottom I decided to figure out how to set this new Brother up for the final FMQing. The area where I can put the quilt is very small but I was able to do the quilting I wanted.  So I'm happy.
This machine has a needle down feature that is wonderful.  And I can set the speed too.  The slow is very slow, and makes it easy to do travel stitching when I was patient.  The fast is super fast, much faster than my Kenmore.  In some places that was a good option to have too.  

It's the space between the needle and the machine part that is the downfall.  It would be much better to have more space to put more fabric in there!


The Cozy Quilt FMQing group meets next Sunday, so it's good I finished the assignment!

OMG: March 2016 Quilting Cultural Fusion Windmill - DONE!
I have just finished quilting on my purple and black Cultural Fusion Windmill quilt.  This was my March One Month Goal.  I'm sure if I had not written this down as something to finish I would have put it off and not got it done.  But I did.  : )

It turned out to be done in two steps.  Initially, I outlined each of the windmills, changing the method for the middle and the ends of the windmill blades.  I blogged about that initial quilting here:

Here is the design quilted at all the places
between the windmills where four fabrics meet.
It didn't seem finished though so I had to think of what additional quilting I could add.  At first I was going to do one of Leah Day's designs.  I was thinking shadow waves or etch n sketch would make the blades stand out more and they are very much like Sujata did in her windmill quilt (at least in my memory).  The more I thought though I couldn't figure out how to start and stop each line of the design. The borders for the area I intended to quilt were so irregular I couldn't figure out how to put the outline for the area in that I thought I would need.

Anyway, today or maybe yesterday I decided to draw a little four leaf clover - or four hearts that meet in the middle in the junction of the four blocks.  It's really difficult to see with the fabric being so near the black of the thread that I'm using, but it's done now - so my March OMG is done and I will be linking up now.

Front - I think click to see the design - only shows on the lighter plain fabric
Back - stitching doesn't show

 I mentioned when I wrote my goal that I was saving the binding until I had at least three quilts ready for binding.  This is my second quilt now ready for the binding step!

I'm pretty happy to have this part of the quilt done.

So time for me to link up and go see what some of the other folks have finished!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

I was delighted when our Daughter-in-law suggested we get together and go out for a Easter Brunch this year.  She was craving mimosas!

We met at Karl Strauss Brewery.  A beautiful setting for a really nice brunch.  There were tables and tables of different types of food.  My favorite was the end of a prime rib with horseradish and whipped cream.  There was also blackened salmon, omelette and pasta stations, waffles, shrimp, bagels, salads, roast turkey, pancakes, sausages, bacon, potatoes, vegetables.  Everything I had was yummy!  They had special kind of beer-mosa that I just had a taste of, (but next time I will order that instead of the traditional).  It is a mixture of beer and then champagne and orange juice.  The beer added a depth of flavor that was really nice. We had an early reservation so it was not crowded and on top of the food made for a very nice time together.

Missing from my photos: her terrific shoes, purse and how cute the dress she is wearing is!
Maybe, eventually, some of this great style will rub off on me!
With my weight loss I am close to wearing the same size apparently, but my jeans and tennis shoes have no style at all.
Last week I gave them some candy.  I know he likes marshmallow Peeps, and I hope she will like the candy covered malted milk balls I found.  They were formed in the shape of eggs so I thought they might be fun to eat. When I was a kid, malted milk balls were my favorite.  My mom would give me a quarter and I would get from the lady in the basement at Sears.  I felt so grown up.  My husband likes Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but we still have lower goals for our weight so this year skipped getting those for him to nibble on. I've got a whole year to meet my weight goal and to think about what my next year's Easter candy treat will be - if anything.  I think the real treat is the excuse to get together!

I hope you all have a nice visit with family too on this day.  Sending good thoughts to you!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Winner: Quilt Qwazy Queens Blog Hop - Quilt Shop Gal - Quilter's Dream Batting

I'm a Winner!

I had fun while I was putting off decided how to finish my projects, reading blogs and entered a few drawings as part of the Quilt Qwazy Queens Blog Hop.  I believe there are still a few drawings open, so do jump over to join the fun!

Each day there were around five blogs to visit and see their inspiration and projects, and then many had give aways.

Quilt Shop Gal AKA Darlene - let me know Rafflecopter  picked me to receive a package of Quilter's Dream Batting.  

Thank you!

Expense: Postage

Finally got to the post office today and mailed the March Stash Bee block off to its recipient.

Cost $2.54 to have the block along with few pieces of neutral rough cut charms to be delivered with a tracking number. 

It's worth it to not have to worry about the block not being received.

I'm still thinking about what block I will request when it's my turn in July!

Play with Me QAL: 03-2016 Backgammon

Alida (TweLoQ) Designs

I have finally finished the Play with Me block for this month - Backgammon, and the skill used to make it is reverse applique.

Here is my finished denim game board pillow!
Play With Me Backgammon Front
Play With Me Backgammon Back
 I sort of think I could have sewn the points down directly on the background, but it was fun to do this new to me technique.  First the rectangles for the points were sewn together, the top was basted to that, then the points were cut out and stitched around.  With other (non denim) fabric there would not be as much raveling, but with the extra stitching I'm pretty sure my pillow will last a long time.

All three Play With Me pillows playing nicely together on the sofa!
March - Backgammon - Reverse Applique

This month I made a few changes when I did the stitching.

  1. I changed the pattern for the points so they are all the same length so they mirror our board game.  Blogged toward the end of this post.
  2. I cut the backgrounds for the points so they were a little shorter than the pattern, so the spacing was closer to our board game too.
  3. I cut the point template out of freezer paper and ironed them on the back of the fabric and I outlined the points with stitching done on the backside too.  I did this as the felt pen I used to trace the pattern with was bleeding all over, this way if it bled it would be on the back. 
  4. To make the square pillow, I only added sashing or border on two sides of the game.  The previous months I put this around all four sides of the games.

My tension got messed up for some of the points.  I didn't realize until I flipped the project over.  So after this photo, used a seam ripper to clean things up.  And also after this photo, added additional stitching to outline the points.

I'm still using the zipper flange directions mentioned in this post, but I am adding a sewn line above the flap to keep the zipper flat.
On top of zipper flange, sew line to keep zipper flat.

I'm really having fun making these pillows!  New patterns will be offered for another six months!
Alida (TweLoQ) Designs
Click here to see the game boards made by the others participating in the QAL:

If you didn't hear about the QAL before, please visit the Play with Me QAL page! 
Visit the QAL page to find all the quilt layout, all the future boards and rules to participate.
Subscribe to the QAL announcements via email, so you don't miss out on future posts! You find the subscription form on the same QAL page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Woodworking Progress: Two Days of Tools

I've had two days of using the tools in the woodworking class that I'm taking this term.

Last night I used two tools again:

1)  The radial arm saw I even used by myself without the instructor!  This one is used to make cross cuts.  You put the board up against the fence and hold it with your right hand while you use the left hand to put the blade forward to cut.  

If you have several pieces to be cut the same length then a piece of wood is measured and secured to the fence - then the pieces of board are set to hit that board. Sort of template for length.

This tool is very powerful.  When I pulled the blade I was looking at the board where I was holding it (they said not to look at the blade).  I couldn't tell when the blade was cutting or was done, there was no change in the speed. 

2)  Using the table saw was more complicated and the instructors stayed with me both times I used it.

First I used it to cut the width of the boards, then we had to remove the blades and put in spacers to cut the channels in the boards.

Future Bathroom Shelves
Here is what my project looked like at the end of the class.

Next time I'll cut the metal pieces to the correct length, install them in the side pieces, and then glue the top and sides in place. I'm not sure when the backing is cut and installed. I'll need to cut three or four shelves too.

Then I'll have a wooden shelf for the bathroom! (It's going to go in the hole where the metal medicine cabinets were installed in the wall.)

There were two other tools that were used. The instructor just did what needed to be done as he wanted to be sure I made progress on the piece, so I'll use them another time. I sure appreciate his help and encouragement.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Santa Ysabel and Quilts

Today my husband and I took a car trip.  We rarely do this, so it was a real treat.  We drove through Ramona to Santa Ysabel and had lunch.  Our original plan was to drive out to the dessert and take photos of wild flowers, but after we had lunch we decided to walk around a bit and then return home.

Here are just a few photos, first outside, then inside for quilts!

Behind the restaurant. Cows!
This was behind The Santa Ysabel General Store we went to.  It was interesting the way the ground was covered in cement with big rocks.  Why?  We don't know why the rocks or the cement were here.

Pretty trees at the end of the street.

On the way down the street looking up in the trees.

!! ??

In the Santa Ysabel General Store: Someone's hand sewn quilt top, for sale.  I've not seen this block before.  The fabric was very fragile, but aren't the colors nice?

Other quilts. I was afraid to unfold them, they were very fragile looking but were all for sale.

This one was made of ties, the border was ruffled silk.

Even the real estate office across from the general store had quilt pattern feathers on their sign!

The fence of the general store reminded me of my quilt project.

Yesterday was my day for all day sewing with my once a month group.  I brought denim and cut it up to start to make my Play with Me Backgammon block.

It's supposed to be done using a reverse applique method. So first I cut and sewed the background (that will become the different colored points on the board). Then I put a piece of plain fabric on the top and basted it down. I cut the point patterns out of freezer paper and ironed them down to be sure of the placement of things. (There is blue tape as I folded and cut the points all at one time - I taped the paper to keep it all aligned after the first cut.)  The next step is to sew around each of the points, then to cut away the top fabric to reveal the colored points.

But at this point, my friend noticed that the points were different heights, she thought a real backgammon board had the different colored points being the same height.  She thought I should continue as it was a pattern for the idea of a game board.  But after sewing around two of the points, it was the end of the sewing time so I just pinned the freezer paper down and brought everything home.

When I got back I triple checked and she was right.  The points in a real game board are the same height, and the points touch each other at the side of the board too.

My husband was only really interested in the game boards if they were 'anatomically correct', so I'm going to try to remove the stitching I did and then to redraft the pattern for the points so they are all the same and look more like the ones in the actual board game...

I'll decide then whether I do the points as reverse applique or if I put them on the board and then sew the down with raw edges, or even use the single sided fusible paper method I used for February's Stash Bee block!  It was disappointing to be so near finishing the block and to have the monkey wrench thrown in about how a real backgammon board was designed, but I'm glad my friend noticed it before I started cutting as I might be still be able to use the fabric I had cut and sewn together yesterday.

I had looked at several boards that were for sale online when the pattern was distributed, but I just saw the number of points and the order of the colors, not the shape of the points or their length.  Ah well.

It was nice to take a break from this by doing the drive to the country today.

So next week I'll work on the bookkeeping and the board block!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stash Bee 2016 Hive 8 - March Block

This month's block was easy to put together, but it took a while to settle on the fabrics to use.  She asked for Kelly green, or mint green, or navy blue.  Turned out, I had Kelly green in my stash so that is what I used.

To test the procedure, I first made a block with neutral background and fabric with dots.  I followed her directions except I had smaller pieces of fabric so did not have four of all the fabrics.

Even though I tried to mixed things up, it's interesting that the pink and brown stayed together - and they even ended up being next to the center square.

I think her quilt should end up being very pretty.  I've lost count on how many mint, Kelly or navy blocks she is getting but seemed she has a few of each of the colors.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Windmill: Initial Quilting

I have finished the initial quilting of the purple and black Cultural Fusion windmill quilt.

This is the quilt I spray basted last month.

It was extremely easy to quilt this project, so right now I'm thinking it might be worth it to set up a table so I can spray baste future projects myself. I will decide after washing the project.

My friend who helped me had suggested just quilting by sewing a line thru the fans, and then to call it done.  That would finish the quilt, but I want to do more quilting.  I think more in this case would be better!

I decided to start by stitching to outline the blades of each fan.  The outsides follow the fabric seams, the inside of each fan has stitching that usually waves over to meet the blade that is below it in the fan.  I will be adding more designs either in the blades or the part of each block that is not a blade, or maybe in both areas I'm not sure of how I will continue this quilting.  I'm mostly pleased with how this initial stitching looks.

11:42 - 1:00 Tues - sewed 8 lines and filled a bobbin
3:52 - 5:00 Tues - sewed 14 lines and ripped one part of a blade that wasn't done correctly. only had three lines left to do!
12:00 - 12:55 Wed/Today- filled bobbin, sewed the last three lines and redid the blade that hadn't been sewn correctly.
3 hours and 21 minutes

Here is the initial quilting:

Detail of the center of a fan.  Curved the line
so it lined up with the bottom fan blade.
At the outer edges of each fan blade I followed the shape of the blade.

And here is another outer sides of the blades.

Here is another center of a fan.

Here a view of the back - it's easier to see the quilting without the different fabrics. The lint from the carpet makes the black fabric look grey!

The center of a fan.

Showing the outer blades. You can see how each time I
 turned to create the X to jump from one fan to another.

Another example of outer blades.

Here was my problem though.  The outline of the blade is part of the design.  When I put the binding on, that design will be lost as it is right where the edge of the binding will be.  I should have done this stitching so it was half inch from the outside, so the design would show when the binding is applied. I am going to add an additional line of stitching on the outer blades so the design will show when I apply the binding. I can do that when I add the additional design to the piece.  I'm not going to pick the existing stitching out as I made the size of the stitches as small as possible on my machine at each ending and beginning of quilting, but will learn from this experience so I don't repeat this in another project!  I wondered about it when I was quilting, but didn't think it thru until I was done.  Oh well.  A lesson learned.  Writing it up here to help someone else!  : )