Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Recap

Well, I didn't have the May I thought I would, but blessings come in all different forms. Hopefully June will be the May I thought I would have. I should know tomorrow.

I haven't posted a lot, but I've been doing a lot of sewing. I have completed three long-arm projects so far. I realized that two of them I've not photographed. I will have to do that as soon as I get the binding on them. So far I've really enjoyed working with the long-arm machine. I feel like I'm more comfortable with working the machine and soon I'll be able to focus on the design completely. This last time I went I didn't make a single mistake with the buttons or tension. All my projects have been panels so far but I'm about to move to a real quilt with my next visit. The only downside so far is that the only day I have as an option for quilting is Saturday. It can eat up the day.

I also spent some time recently making the two baby blankets for hire. I had to change my original design slightly because I was running out of fabric from the person. But I still think they are cute. I am now torn between long-arm quilting them or doing them at home. They are small enough to do at home and I can be more accurate with my home machine, but I think I could do them faster on the long-arm. I also am not sure how to quilt them yet. So many decisions...

A t-shirt quilt is my other project from this month. I am so excited by how it has turned out. I will definitely be long-arm quilting that and it will be my first pantograph. I don't know if the recipient reads this so I probably won't be posting it for a long time. Let me know if you want a picture!

I've also been working on a really large project that I want to write a long blog post on. I'm hoping I'll be in a good place this weekend to take some nice pictures and write about it.

My UFOs list is quickly becoming divided into two sections: binding-only and large projects. I'm both excited and dreading the June number. Again, if June is my exciting month, I will need a large project to keep my mind focused and busy.

Upcoming projects that are on my radar include pillow shams for the same lady who requested the baby quilt and some flannel quilts made from baby blankets for a friend. I also want to create a pattern and instructions from the items I'm designing myself and posting for download to see what the interest is like.

Another Hand-Pieced Block Completed

I recently finished another block for my hand-pieced quilt.

This would be my 8th block which means I'm half-way done with the blocks.



Under the wire with one day to spare!

This is a panel I've had forever. I took it to the longarm shop and used it as practice. Then I bound it by hand. I followed the lines so that the panel design was the focus and not the quilting.

The longarm is getting easier to use and it doesn't "talk" to me as much.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Plans for May

May is a very exciting month around here. I have a big event in the works that we've been working on for a long time. Fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan. I'm anticipating it so naturally the month will just drag by.

I was hoping that the UFO number drawn would be 1, which is my biggest UFO to complete (seriously, I'll have to get my project manager hat out and outline tasks for each day in order to get it done) so that I would be busy and have something to focus on other than that big event. But they drew #10 this morning which is my Halloween Quick Quilt. Not super exciting but I need to finish it.

This is not bad though because of a recent find. In April I took a long arm quilting class at a local shop and can now rent time there on their machines for long arm quilting. YEA! My plan is to plow through my panel stash (I loved panels - the past tense of that word to be explained very shortly) as practice pieces before I put a large and time-intense quilt on the machine. I finished my first panel in about 2 hours at my first session - picture to come when I get the binding on. My second panel is taking longer because there is more detail that I am quilting. But it's going to be awesome. I next will focus on the Halloween Quick Quilt and get that completed for May.

Why have I fallen out of love with panels? My head wants me to follow the lines (can you say Type A??) but the machine is not precise enough for that. Luckily for me, I anticipated this and my first panel was quite abstract, so imperfect quilting worked ok on it. My second panel is not as abstract, but I am still able to do some "interpretive quilting" and it's going to come out quite nicely. I probably won't be buying many panels in the future.

This Sunday is also the last hand-piecing class in our series. I am both sad and happy. I really do love hand-piecing, but I'm slow at it. I have less than half of the blocks done but the instructor doesn't care. I think my quilt will look great once I'm done with it, whenever that happens to happen.

The other thing I'm doing is working on the quilts for hire that I'm doing for a friend's pastor's wife (figure that one out!). She saw a baby quilt that I made for my friend at her shower and asked me to make some baby quilts for her to have for when she starts to get grandchildren. Good thing there's no deadline or else I would be in trouble.

Here is the original design I started with - sort of a nine patch inside a distorted nine patch:

I've made the nine patches for two quilts and then assessed my fabric situation. Important note: The fabric used in the quilts is leftover from when she made her daughter's clothes. I think that's cool! Back on track: I didn't have enough of the white for the distorted nine patch. So I came back to EQ tonight and played with design. I have lots of this blue and yellow stripe and tried some on-point designs as you can see below.

I really love the on-point layout. The visual design is more pleasing to me and you see the colors more than the white space. So I think I'll be moving forward with this design instead. The blankets will be smaller than I anticipated, but I can always add borders.

Does May sound busy enough? I also have a sewing day planned with Jodie, Tina and Aimee, a Sunday afternoon at a dog agility trial and Bark at the Park, where you can take your dog to a major league baseball game.

April UFO - Hand Applique

Here is my April UFO. It was a Hand Applique Sampler class at a local quilt shop. It really helped me understand the technique of hand-applique. I've had the top completed for awhile but quilted and bound it in April. I used clear thread to quilt around the outside of the applique and then used white thread to quilt the dragonflies in the white space.

I used purple chalk to draw the dragonflies but it's not come out yet. I've tried quilt soap and soaking it but it's only lightened. Next step is OxiClean. If it doesn't come out, it's not the end of the world - this is mine to just keep and display around the house.

March UFO (a little late)

The end of March was super-rough and I didn't finish my project in time for the UFO game, but I did finish it in April. The project was my framed star quilt from Fons and Porter. I believe (if memory serves) that this was the first quilt I did with my quarter-inch foot and it shows. I quilted it at the retreat last September all free-motion. April's project was to get the binding on.

I don't know what it will be used for. It may be the first of my baby quilt stash but it would be hard to part with because I'm so proud of the quilting. For right now it will just hang out here.