Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quilting Progress

Well - I was going to chat...but my one year old is having a tantrum and my 10 year old is about to join her.  Progress...this was NOT on the long arm.  :)  I'll get there!

I think the back turned out as cool as the front!

I uploaded a silly little tip on Youtube.  I'll link it later!  Children call!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kathy B's Yellow Brick Road

Finished quilting a yellow brick road made by a guild member.  This is her first quilt - I think she did a nice job!  I love those fabrics!  SO my taste.  :)  I did a medium density edge to edge paisley for her.

Still having a great time with my long arm!  Not feeling very good today - I think the lack of sleep and eating poorly is really catching up with me.  Today and tomorrow are cleaning days, and then I'm going to do some fun sewing.  Hope all is well and sewing is happening out there in blogland!  :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quilt Four Done!!!

Well I'm getting there!  I'm so happy!  I've got quilt number four done and I think I'm really getting the feel for my new machine.  I know it seems as though I blew right through a few quilts but I know myself and I just had to dive in and get a feeling for how this thing works or I'd never get anywhere with it.

I'm really happy with how this turned out - and you can REALLY see the improvement.  Two things that I think would help the look of those feathers...blending thread and slowing down a bit.  I freaked out yesterday because I began to have skipped stitches when going to the left...but someone on the APQS forums suggested maybe I had my quilt layers pulled too tight and I think he was right.  I loaded up some practice this morning and - no skipped stitches.

I LOVE the back of this.  All the more reason I feel like I should spend more time choosing my thread.  It blends really well in the back.  I'm not ripping because this is my quilt...but I think in the future I'm going to spend more time carefully thinking about the entire quilt on a whole and how the thread will look.  I think the only way this would have looked better in the borders was to nix the feathers.  This thread just isn't right for it...I'm learning you sometimes have to make a design sacrifice based on the materials you choose to use.

Anyhow, I'm thrilled, and I think I might even do the Dresden quilt next.  I'm going to take some time on it and really quilt it up special.  I feel like those first initial four quilts really helped me to get acquainted with my machine and it's quirks...I feel prepared to do some more detailed quilting.

Here's my practice piece from this morning...

I slowed down the speed and tried some pebbling...this is at about 2-3 stitches per inch.  Here it looks sloppy but imagine it with white thread on white fabric.  I think it will create an effective impact.

Feathers are better - I'm just ITCHING to get those feathers down.  They are my absolute favorite thing to quilt and I want so badly to play with them on the long arm.

Even thready as this is here I still like it.  White on white...using a blending thread I think it will look good even in this rough learning stage.

So that's where I'm at folks!  Part of why I bought the long arm was to focus less on patterns and finished projects and do a little quilting for others to earn a little extra fabric money.  I have had a lot of inquiries and I'd like to complete a few more tops that I have waiting for me and then I will feel comfortable taking in some of your tops for edge to edge simple allover designs.  I can't thank you all enough for the kindness and support along the way - it's been a wonderful experience so far and a huge part of it is because of all of you!!  :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dresden Plate Quilt Flimsy and Applique Tutorial

I signed up to participate in the Dare to Dresden blog hop hosted by Sew We Quilt, and here's my dresden top!  This is still on the design wall, and above the quilt is a pillowcase...I wanted to finish this up but with the new long arm arriving I was distracted!!

I still am going back and forth as to whether to add some of that purple fabric around the quilt itself or just use it for the binding.

Here's a closeup...

The applique tutorial I have been promising!!!  Here it is!!!

I used Eleanor Burns dresden templates from her Egg Money Quilts book.  I used the 4" wedge and the 12" block circle for the center.  I found the circle to be just shy of what it needed to be to cover the unfinished edges of the dresden blades, so I added 1/4" all the way around the circles.  I traced them all onto freezer paper - on the dull side.

Then I ironed the freezer paper templates I made on to the RIGHT side of my fabric.  I snipped all the way around just a few threads shy of the freezer paper.  These sort of helps to turn it in "bites".

To glue baste the edges down you use just a regular old glue stick.  I like Elmer's glue best, but this was all we had laying around - I actually very literally grabbed it right out of my 7 year old's book bag!

On the WRONG side of the fabric add a little glue to the outside edge.

Using a stiletto, your fingers, or do as I did and use the pointy tip of your seam ripper and turn the pieces over.  You'll have a few seconds before it dries into place to adjust a bit and smooth out the edge so it's round.

See how it's turning under?

Continue to do this all the way around the circle (or whatever applique piece you are doing).  NOTE:  You don't need to snip like this for straight pieces.  I really don't usually snip this much but it seemed to help turn this much more evenly.

Once you've turned the edges and glued down the edges all the way around your piece you can remove the freezer paper.  Glue baste into place and just stitch down!

For the dresdens I used a polyester invisible thread made by Superior Threads.

Here is another project I'm working on that I showed a little bit of last week.  I traced these petal shapes onto freezer paper and followed the steps shown above.

Here I used Gutermann silk thread - they didn't have the right dark purple color...but the thread is so fine look how it melds into the fabric and still can barely be seen!

I hope everyone is enjoy the blog hop - I visited several of the participants from yesterday and WOW I'm blown away by what a creative group of people there are out there in blogland!

Thanks for visiting and please visit the other hoppers and comment on their fabulous posts!  There are giveaways and tutorials so check everyone out!

January 25th, 2013

It has been SO fun seeing what everyone is making - thanks to CHRISTINE from Monster in my Closet and Mdm Samm from Sew We Quilt for allowing me to take part!  :)

Meet Eunice...and hear my voice! Video About What I'm Learning

Hey guys!  I've been blogging for around 7 years, and had this blog for's about time you heard my voice don't ya think?  Here's a short video about Eunice, my "new to me" APQS Ultimate 1 and some things I'm learning as a new long arm quilter that might help YOU out when you're thinking about sending your top out to a quilter.

Also look for tomorrow's post - I'll be sharing with you my favorite new applique method and some detailing of my dresden plate quilt as a participant in the Dare to Dresden Blog Hop!  It's going on NOW so click the link below and take a peek at what people are doing!

Edited to add:

Of course when I went back and watched the video I thought of some more things that I'd like to say!!  Here's a very short video talking a little about tension and the things that I forgot to mention!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day Three - Quilt Two! :)

Well - it's almost one in the morning (so technically it's day four) - and I'm finished with my parents quilt!  I pieced this a LONG time ago and it's been sitting around waiting to be quilted.  It was my first experience with Y seams and some of them weren't closed.  Eep.  Got the foot stuck in a hole more than once today...

I was determined to try feathers...they aren't fabulous...but they will do!  They are super thready...they look a lot like my first feathers on my domestic.  I'm feeling like if I just keep plugging along, challenging myself I can do this.

I didn't piece this well so there was some fullness I struggled a bit to redistribute.  Good practice though.  Not that it was terribly difficult, but I was still trying to figure out how to slow down to plan ahead and keep things neat.  That will take some practice that's for sure.  I also got a small pleat on the back and I sort of knew it was going to happen...didn't pull the backing taught enough but I know now...I had a feeling it was too loose, I should have listened to my instincts!  ;)

My parents are pretty forgiving so I didn't do much ripping when the feathers started to get ugly.  LOL**  This is their bed quilt...and I'm READY for bed!  My Mom has a small quilt she's putting a backing together for me to quilt for her and a friend from my quilt guild has a quilt she offered for me to practice on so I've got my work cut out for me.  Having a great time though!  I'll try to post over the next few days but it may be slow going.  The house is starting to fall apart and I think tomorrow I'm going to have to catch up on all the chores I've been neglecting to play with my new toy.  :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

My First Quilt on the Long Arm - FINISHED!!!

Well, it's official...I'm a long arm quilter!!!  I showed you some of my practice yesterday after getting the machine home and set up.  I finished quilting the living daylights out of that second larger much so that I was afraid I'd break the needle if I layered anymore thread up.  I just don't have tons of fabric laying around to burn I decided it was time to try a real quilt.

I still had some adjusting to do before I could get the machine to move fluidly.  I had to clean down the entire track front and back...and since I have an older machine I read on the APQS forums that it is suggested to clean the tracks with alchohol and then rub with CAR WAX!!  Hahaha - I don't know why I find that so funny...I polish up my vintage machines with wax so I was prepared!  :)  THAT made the HUGEST difference!!!  Once I did that I had enough control that I was no longer making square circles...I can finally MOVE!!!  Yay!!!

So here's what I DID!!!

I think it turned out pretty good for my first shot!  I'm so happy!!!

It's definitely going to take a lot more practice to get the control that is needed to backtrack over stitches for feathers and intricate designs, but I'm feeling really great about what I've done so far and this is SO MUCH FUN I have to tell you!!!  Tension really wasn't a problem either as it's pretty much similar to how my older sewing machines work.  I used the white Isacord thread I was given for Christmas.  I'd like to try some smaller needles as those holes are kind of big but to start, I'm really excited.  :)

I'm going to quilt my Mother's quilt to come!!!  :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Long Arm is HERE!!!!!

Well, the day is finally here!!!

Meet Eunice!!!  She's an APQS Ultimate 1 long arm...and I'm in love!  :)

Our day started about 5am - well, MY day started about 5am!  I woke up, dressed, did hair and makeup and then cleaned house for a bit getting ready.  Got the little baby ready as she had to make the drive with us, and by 8am we were on the road.

We drove nearly two hours away to pick the long arm up.  It was a LONG drive!!  More because of the excitement and nervousness than anything else.  Took a little over an hour to get everything apart and loaded...and then the return home...another two hours!!!

It was a bit scary to see her all in pieces...thank goodness for my Husband's Uncle - he ran the show!!  If not for him we'd have been done in!  My wonderful Husband also gave up his first day off in weeks to devote to me and my long arm - aren't I blessed?

The picture below literally sums up my life!!!  The long arm - and a BABY GATE!!!

Pretend like you don't see that dresden plate quilt back's supposed to be a surprise!  LOL*

Yay!!!  All put together!!!  It was about 2pm before we got everything set up...lots of fiddling...running to youtube for help videos...and then bazzaaaaam!!!  I loaded a teeny tiny practice piece.  (I loaded it totally wrong too!  Hahaha!)

Below are some of my first stitches.  The bobbin thread is orange and I have tan in the top - I had to loosen up the bobbin tension just a hair - no tan on bottom and no orange on top...not too bad!

Here's my second practice piece which is more like baby quilt size.  If you click on the picture you can see some of my wonky attempts at feathers.  I have tested long arms before buying this but you just can't really let loose until it's YOURS.  Nobody was going to get mad at me for breaking thread or doing something wrong.  I did have a few thread breaks but they were good - I learned what NOT to do.  Lol*

Really - this is A LOT like la sewing machine...but totally different at the same time.  Kind of like...a car sewing machine.  Hahaha!  It's big machinery like a car with sewing machine functions.  It's really fascinating!!  I noticed it's REALLY touchy when it comes to glide and movement.  I still have a bit of a boxy thing going requires this almost bouncy dancing like movement to get the machine head to move in a flowing way rather than a boxy way.  The head moves on a track back and forth and then another track side to side.  There is this point when moving the head where you almost "bounce" it into the right shape.  I can imagine the ONLY way I will master this is to build up arm muscles in places that I never had them before.  It isn't a strenuous movement but it's definitely a different one.

I had a few moments of nervousness, intimidation, a teensy bit of apprehension.  But I reminded myself I am itching to learn this so I just forced myself to lose fear and make it work.  So far I'm having a ball!!!  Tomorrow more practice and then I think I might dive into a quilt.  Won't be fancy - likely stars and swirls hahaha, but still, I'm just going to practice night and day until I get this thing!  :)

My feet and back and whole body are killing me so I'm off to bed.  A friend is bringing her Grandma by for some sewing help so I have another early morning!  :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gutermann Silk Thread and ONE MORE DAY!!!

I just couldn't NOT sew for a week.  I love my three little girls like crazy but for this stay at home Mom there is no break.  Ever.  I'm hiding a bit in my bedroom after my blood pressure went through the roof just a few moments little boogers had toys and sheets and blankets and pillows, and bowls and cups of who knows what scattered EVERYWHERE after all the scrubbing and cleaning and straightening I did.  They tried to escape cleanup by running into their rooms...grrrr.  Lol*

The house is for the most part tidy again but I'm stealing away to the computer for a few minutes of peace.  Gutermann thread is on sale for 40% off at JoAnns until February so I ran and grabbed a couple of the small silk spools for applique.

Ack.  So much for peace, of course the baby just went down for her nap and the Husband called and urgently needs me to run to the post office!!  Pooh!!

Ok I'll make it quick then.

I'm making a couple of runners for least I think for Etsy.  I love them so much and they aren't even done!  I might just keep them...they are just some fabric I've had in my stash for a while now.  I told ya I crave those brights this time of year!

I couldn't find a darker purple but there is a bit of this lighter purple in that batik fabric so I'm hoping it won't be noticeable.  I've heard such great things about silk for applique.

Several people have suggested Invisafil for applique AND quilting and I've got an order going into them in the next few days.  Really looking forward to try it - it's 100 weight poly so it's finer even than bottom line.  Really looking forward to trying it out.

Tomorrow the long arm comes!!  Yay!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Two Days Left!!!

I'm ready!!!  You're looking at the new home of a long arm quilting machine!!!  Assuming all goes well THIS is the last time this space will be empty...can you tell I'm excited???

I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed that floor with a tooth brush - I am just running out of time so after the long arm comes I'm going to try a little bleach with soft scrub.  I just can't get that grout to turn white again!!  If we do tile again I'm getting colored grout for SURE.

I'm planning on storing what I can underneath the frame so all my bins and sewing baskets are smooshed until we get it set up.  Probably won't be much sewing happening for a few days.  I'm sticking to my goal of entering two quilt shows this year and currently have one in the design process.  Today I'm going to spend some time scrubbing the rest of the that I've washed down all these walls I feel like nothing else matches!

Need a cover and a permanent home for the serger still.  There is so much to do!!!  I am over the moon with excitement...say a few prayers and send me good vibes!!  :)  I don't think I'm going to sleep much the next two nights!!!