Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Bee's Life - Sister's Oregon Outdoor Quilt Show 2015 block contest entry

Last year I submitted a block to the Sister's Oregon Outdoor Quilt Show block contest.  Indigo Salmon did very well.  Since I have loved this show for years and it is one challenge I can participate in long distance, I am doing it again this year.  

As before, we start with a packet of fabrics and have to make a 9.5" block with only those fabrics and possible embellishments. With a VERY different selection of fabrics, this time from Tula Pink, it is a real challenge indeed.

What a selection - and so far outside my color comfort zone!
 I put the fabrics up on my design wall for a few weeks.  On a side note, i did not realize until i started working on the block that I actually had looked at this line of fabric for the deer print for my Dear, Deer, Deere project.  I got the blue colorway of the deer print and had to have them in hand before I realized!  Too funny!

I finally thought of hexies, and decided to make a hexie garden with a bee.  With variable sizes of hexies I layed them out in a way I likes and glued them to the fabric.

Next I used a teal thread and quilted lines from all the corners of the hexies to quilt them down and create an interesting pattern.

At first I planned to try a fabric bee, but then decided on beads.  I went looking for a beaded bee pattern online and didn't like ANYTHING.  Then I found a wire wrapped bee creation.  I decided to try it in some green wire I have.  A bit later and I have a green bee!  I like how it looks with the fabric line and background.

Last I quilted a bee trail in grey 12wt thread across and around the block.  It is subtle, but I like that with all the other bright colors.

Not sure what I will name it, but I am fairly happy with how it looks!  Even if I do not place this year, I hope someone enjoys this block as much as I did making it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Update to Dear, Deer, Deere

Dear, Deer, Deere is rollin along!

First candies hexie made.
I started this with the challenge fabric from our local guild - Yes Deer in navy from Emily Herrick.

From there I knew I wanted something somewhat scrappy using all the glorious colors in the print - grey, navy, lime, orange, eggplant, even fuschia.  The candied hexie idea came along even before I actually had my hand on the fabric.

Then - I added fabrics.  Some from my current supply - shades of eggplant and orange, and a variety of low volume grey prints.  

Several from Emily Herricks line of Rustique - 

like this one!
...and then went and found some gorgeous and fun deer fabrics from other lines!

Then, I started making hexies.  I have a ton already (well, 63!).  As they are all done by hand (my personal challenge on this one) it is time consuming.  

I figured out what basic shapes I wanted to use for the hexies and made plastic templates of those shapes.  Then, for each hexie I make paper pieces from magazines.  I baste several at a time, then start whipstitching them together while watching TV.  

Here you see my ottoman workspace.  The trick is keeping the cats off it!

This is the basic layout I decided on.  Originally it was only hexies, but I thought that looked a little crazier than intended.  I added the triangle cornerstones to add cohesion and space.  By making some of the hexies solid grey/neutral I think it will draw the eye around the top.
Now the trick is - get to sewing!  I am trying to decide if I will hand quilt or machine quilt.  I think it will depend on how much time I have left once the top is done.  HOPING to have it together by the end of this weekend, but we will see.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My First Quilted Sewing Machine Cover

I have been sewing and quilting for years, so it surprises even me to say this is the first time I have made a sewing machine cover.

In the past I have used the hard cover that comes with many machines.  I have also generally found the sewn covers to be a fad of the moment in style or fabrics.  I also always wondered - is this really necessary?

After having my backup sewing machine finally go patoot, and my bernina in the shop with timing issues I went ahead and got a new backup.  A brother I found on sale at Costco - it does all I want without breaking the bank.  However it came without cover.  Even my serger came with a cover!  With the amount of dust I have in a home on a dirt road and using a wood stove I do think that the cover is a practical necessity at this time.  I am doing a lot of hand sewing right now so the machine will do a lot of sitting and looking pretty.

So, now what?  I went and looked on for patterns and found none I really liked.  But I did like elements of many.  My criteria became - quilted with a binding.  All edges finished, not turned.  Rectangular rather than oblong in shape.  Large enough to fit this machine but also others, and not so big its ridiculous.  Fabrics I think will hold up visually over time, and nothing kitschy like applique characters (cute though many are!).  No need for added items like pockets.   An opening in the back for the machine handle.  By now I had a mental idea of a pattern.

After deciding on fabrics by going thru a scrap pile I recently received from a online friend, I then started measuring.  I wanted it to fit over the machine on all sides without too much pulling.  17" wide, 13 " tall, and 7 " deep.

I decided the front and sides would be different but complimentary.  I chose a crosshatch print in black and white (a new favorite blender/neutral!) for the binding and some of the front and back design element.  Then a fun shot cotton in berry and a tula pink fabric in a chartreuse print.  Add in a lovely character fabric I may never otherwise use and I have a set I can work with.  For the sides I went with a charcoal geometry print I am also newly in love with.

I then decided to do an offset checked in the prints with a strip of them in the middle of the black and white character print.  Squared to the size I needed with the black and white crosshatch fabric.  Then I quilted the front and back with the inside of all panels in the charcoal print.  The quilting is just a straight line in random widths.  Then I did the sides and top all in one length and quilted it as well.

The hardest part was the binding.  I decided (because I am not patient) to completely machine sew it.  I took the front and the side piece insides together and sewed 3 edges with a VERY scant 1/4 inch.  I then sewed the binding raw edge down.  Then flipped the finished binding edge over and sewed right along the fold.  It created a tight binding that helps hold the shape of the machine cover and looks like piping.

I did the same for the back with one addition.  Before I sewed the back and side pieces together I sewed about 8" of binding to the top of the back piece.  Then, as I sewed the back and side piece together then added the binding, I did not sew or bind that top of the back.  This made a bound open spot where the back of the machine has an inset handle.  So, I can pick it up with the cover on it and transport it securely if needed.  I felt it finished really well!

After binding the bottom edge as the final finish - there we go.  As one of my friends said, I 'indigoed' the design.  Unlike some experiments this one worked out very well!  I enjoy using it and looking at it.  I hope it is useful for years to come, even if my aesthetic changes.

happy sewing!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Q2 Finish Along

I have more artistic thoughts than any other kind of thought I think.  I start a ton of projects and finish a sadly small amount of them.  In an effort to negate that lovely cycle I  am joining the 2015 Finish Along at On the Windy Side.

Q1 was not a great finish time for me.  Out of 17 listed, I finished 1.  Have to laugh a bit.  However, lots of turmoil in my life during that time that for now seems to have relaxed.  I went a month with no quilting (unheard of!) which majorly set me back.  This quarter - lots will be done!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

So here is my Q2 list which is alarmingly similar to Q1!  But here we go anyway  :)

1-  2015 Guild Spring Challenge - getting there!

This is a test hexie for a quilt guild challenge I am going to do.  My first attempt as english piecing, I think I love it!  The challenge will have to be done around April, so this is a must finish.

Some progress -

I have a layout and and slowly working to put it together.  When finished it will be around 45" X 40" and all by hand.  So, its time consuming.

2- Sister's Oregon Quilt Show quilt - still in progress

In 2014 I won a selection of blocks from a block challenge hosted by Sister's Oregon.  I want to make a quilt and enter it in the outdoor show.  It would have to be finished by June, so I better get crackin!

3 - Friend swap in 2014 - still in progress
 I figured we would get off track on this friend swap.  I am still working thru the packets of goodies she has sent me.  However, I would like to have them done and the top done by Q1 so I can say 'yeah!' and focus on 2015.

4 - 2014 Around the World Swap - still in progress
 This is the results of a swap with people from all over.  I have seen a few of our facebook participants post finished quilts which has me inspired to make this happen and get it quilted.

5- 2014 Quilt Guild Paint Chip Challenge - still in progress

I really love the design I created for this challenge.  I still need to finish 6 blocks and then get it quilted.  I would love it on my couch this summer.

6- Garden Wallhanging - still in progress

This is a gift for a friend I want to have done this summer.  I got stuck on quilting the tiny little bits I fused, but I think I have a solution.  This should be finished this quarter.

7- Shop banner wallhanging - still in progress

This has been around for at least 2 years.  Again, I got stuck not sure how to quilt the edges of the small pieces.  However, I want it done and on the wall and then photographed for my etsy shop.

8 - awake my soul wallhanging - still in progress

Similar to the above.  Inspired by Mumford and Sons song lyrics, I would love to do a line of wallhangings with song lyrics like this.  Just have to finish and then do more.  I want to add building silhouettes and a few simple things to give depth, then quilt.

9- 2015 Sister's Oregon Outdoor Quilt show block contest.

The challenge is to make a 9.5" block out of the fabrics above and ONLY those fabrics.  Embellishments allowed.

10 - hexi mini - top almost done - still in progress, but well on its way

This is kind of a personal challenge to figure out hexis and hand sewing.  I actually kind of love it, and made a ton of 2 inch hexi forms I can use over and over.  Hoping to have the mini on the wall in Q1,but i also plan to hand quilt this baby, so we will see.

Progress on hexi mini -

Top almost done.  This is something I do when chilling out with the TV after work.

11 - Saving the Pillow Top  - still in progress

This is for my cousin.  My grandmother made this for her years ago, and since grandma has passed it is one of a kind.  It has been well worn, and I don't think can be a pillow anymore.  I am thinking I will turn it into a wallhanging, and then make a pillow for her using this pattern.

12 - Commissioned quilt - still in progress

 I have to get this done.  I have gotten stuck on designing an applique tree in king size.  I just need to get the base on the wall and do it, and stop waffling.  I want at minimum the top done in Q1.

13 - Baby quilts - still in progress

I have 3 of these tops done in scrappy HSTs.  I just need to back and bind them.  I will donate them when finished.

14- Disappearing Blocks Quilt - still in progress

This is a quilt intended as a Christmas gift.  however, life got busy and I did not finish.  I would like to finish it this spring to gift or put in my own closet.

15- HST quilt\wallhanging.  - still in progress

 I challenged myself last fall to work with half square triangles and pink.  I have a lot cut and pieced.  I need to square up and iron and then decide on the top.  I would love for this to be a quilt I gift or sell -and not hang around!

16 - Winter Wonderland art - still in progress

I painted some snowflake designs on fabric and have been adding thread to them to create unique art with them.  I want to make a wallhanging with them - or maybe a couple of wallhangings.  These were intended to be done for last holiday, but life got in the way, and I got stuck on the sewing portion which is taking a while to make each flake unique.  I love how they are coming out - this may also turn into a teaching aid for a fiber art class.

17 - purely fun pot holders - still in progress

I made a couple of potholder gifts from a pattern I saw online - little R.V. designed art.  I loved them, my recipient loved them, and now I want a few for me!

18 - Local quilt challenge for a quilt show.

So close!  Need to bind it then decide on embellishments.

19 - Mystery Quilt

This is the fabric for a Mystery Quilt on facebook starting in May.  I plan to keep up with the mystery so I don't let it slide!

20 - Sewing Machine cover

Time for a sewing machine cover.  Might as well have fun with it!

21 - New swap due in May.  These are the fabrics and the start of the project.

Whew!  Lots to do!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Coffee Time Blues

Whew!  Boy, life sure does move fast!  Its like it's own particle accelerator.

Coffee Time Blues - 14.25" x 24.5"
This project is in response to the Project Quilting Challenge #6 'Isn't That Charming'.  Hosted by Kim at Persimmon Dreams I have followed this for some time, but seem to usually miss the start of the weekly challenges.  This time I caught it, and it was right up my alley challenge wise.

Take 20 + charms (5" squares) and using only those - make something with the front of your project having the charms.  OHHHHHH the possibility!

I knew I did not want to make anything large as I have SO many things going on right now.  I also knew I wanted something I would use.  Hmmm.  I decided, since I am enjoying spring and my kitchen these days, to make a counter runner for next to my coffee station.  Coffee is my life blood in the mornings and I feel it deserves something a little special.

Next, I had to decide on the charms.  I have a huge collection of charms for my 365 project but I decided to both simplify and challenge myself by sticking with one line.  I took a charm pack I recently got from JoAnn's; Flourish by Fabric Central.
I decided to work with all 30 charms and see what I could do with my favorite - cut and sew cut and sew method.  I started with random curved cuts. .  Then I did another curved cut and worked with that.  The results were a little crazy, but I elected to continue.  After making the curvey 4 patch, I squared the blocks to 4 inches.

 I found it really difficult to work with essentially 2 colors - white and blue.  At several points while sewing I was NOT sure I would like the results - but I kept going.  28 blocks later (4 x 7 setting) I have a top to work with.  Next I had to decide on the backing.  I pulled out a neutral I fell in love with - 'Vintage Sterling Formal Setting' by Susan Winget.  I cannot get enough of this fabric!

Once I had my top and backing, time to decide on quilting.  I had many thoughts, but elected to go with an organic (unplanned) wavey machine stitch to accent and pull together the curves in the piecing.

I finally started to see some cohesion.  The thread I used is a very light yellow, it adds a bit of brightness to the look and helps pull the eye along the top.

Next design decision was the binding. I knew from how much the 2 color white and blue bugged me (and SO does not match my eclectic kitchen colors!) I wanted a bright binding.  I decided to machine bind and used a risky fabric that adds a ton of colors to the piece.  It has a faux piping in a light blue with the crazy random print of fushia, green, orange, white, turquoise and blue.

The thin blue piped binding adds a nice frame before we get back into the crazy colors of the binding.

I have been using this for a few days now and I just love it.  It adds a bit of bright to my morning.

 The waved quilting is very calming, while the curved piecing of the blues and white fabic is slightly jarring and invigorating.

 The crazy cuts of the fabrics reminded me of broken china.  While the pattern name broken dishes is taken, that thought led to the name - 'Coffee Time Blues'.

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