Monday, 30 September 2013

Quilting at the Museum

Saturday found me at the museum celebrating Alberta Culture Days with some quilting friends. Sewing and visiting all day is right up my alley!

We offered a diverse display of quilted items, graciously set up by the museum staff:

I managed only two shots. People were so anxious to not be "in my way" that they literally dodged out of my view, so I stopped trying to take photos for fear of scaring people away completely!

 We also offered various quilting demonstrations:

Binding a quilt

Glue-basting hexies


Many people dropped in to see us, including some local politicians. We managed to put our current Deputy Mayor to work during his visit!

North Darling, Deputy Mayor

North did a great job, though he claims he only took Home Ec. in school because, "That's where all the girls were."

I spent the day piecing blocks for a "Crazy Curves" quilt using the fabric that was cut away during the making of my poor, dead "Circle Pizzazz" quilt. (sob, sob)

At the end of the day I had enough blocks to make 6 full circles. I decided to add some interest by splitting some of the circles in half and creating a radiating design.

This will become a square quilt.

All that pink together kind of gags me, so I'm toning things down by adding sashing between the blocks.

Even before the horizontal sashing goes in, I can see this was the right decision (for me).
Bonus: the sashing fabric makes the rest of the fabrics shine!

This quilt will be used for feather practice on the longarm...gulp. I'll keep you posted!

Until next time...Try, Learn, Grow!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

From Inspiration to Quilt 
(the visible parts of the process, anyway!)

Snapshot of poppies in my garden.

Pattern prepared . Considering fabrics.

Creating an interesting background using an improv piecing technique I learned in Judith Trager's Craftsy course

Poppies take shape.

Ready to stitch.

Elements are stitched. Adding background filler. This was worked on my domestic sewing machine.

Finished quilt.

Now, a bit about minky.

Even though I'm relatively new to longarm quilting, I did manage to use minky successfully on both of my grandkids' quilts (shown in a previous post) and this little baby quilt.

Beautiful! The minky is sculpted, and the thread tension is perfect.

BUT...Here's what happened on Sunday:

Ugh. I shouldn't see anything like THIS on the back!

The thing is, while the quilt was on the frame everything looked reasonably good.

My guess is that I had the layers rolled too tightly on the frame. The stitch tension looked good until I took the quilt off the frame. When it "relaxed", the flaws became glaringly apparent! Oh, no!

First lesson: minky is stretchy (duh), so looser is better.
(I already knew this, but why, oh why, didn't I do it?)

I also think thread choice played a part. I had used a 40 weight cotton thread on top and glide in the bobbin. This combo can work very nicely, but takes a lot of "testing and tweaking" to get the tension just right. (As I said, it looked fine while the quilt was on the frame.)

Second lesson: it would make life easier to use a "friendlier" thread combination on a "difficult" fabric.
It would have been smarter to use a fine poly thread on top to better balance the fine poly in the bobbin.

I had chosen the thread based on its colour, not on its properties.

Sadly, I have now decided I don't even like the thread I chose.

The even sadder thing is that this quilt started out so beautifully. See?

Beautiful circle pizzazz quilt, about to be slaughtered.
Oh, well. I'll bind the thing and see what happens when I wash it. It'll make a snazzy car quilt, if nothing else.

Off to try something new!

Try, Learn, Grow,


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Successes and Messes

In an effort to become more comfortable using my Freedom I have embraced the "Practice Principle".

Okay, I made that up just now.

BUT... I do know that if I want to get better at something I need to do it.

Not perfectly.
Just often.
And my skills will improve.
And I know there are no short cuts to improvement (dammit).

So, my mantra has become, "Done is better than perfect."

This was the first quilt I tackled using my new set up:

Carla's quilt. Ivy Twist by Southwind Designs
Lessons learned include:

  1. Do not attempt a pantograph* on a quilt with 3-D elements. Just...don't.
    The parts that are folded back to create dimension will get caught on the foot of the machine and insist on being stitched down in some wonky, weird way that will require the use of a seam ripper to rectify. And foot stomping. And swearing.
  2. Do not attempt a pantograph on a quilt with 3-D elements. Again...just don't.
    It takes an entire bottle of Roxanne's temporary glue-baste-it to glue those suckers down so they won't get caught on the foot, and a butt-load of time.  ...and, did I mention the cursing?
  3. Ensure that the laser pointer aimed at the pantograph is secure.
    If not, it will "jump" and shift to a different point on the design exactly when you glance away to check your stitches, and you will merrily complete the row of stitching before noticing that something is not right...
  4. Done is better than perfect. (sigh)
    (I just hope Carla likes it anyway because it was stitched with love!)

    *pantograph = an "all over" design free-handed from the back of the machine while "tracing" a printed pattern with a laser pointer.

Okay, moving on. I won't show you every-single-quilt-I've-ever-quilted.
You're welcome.

I will show a couple of cute grandkids (I KNOW...RIGHT??? Every time I say that, it comes as a surprise to me that I'm a GRANNY!) wrapped in quilty love:

Grandpa Chuck thought R should have a super hero quilt! R obviously agrees!

I love that kids immediately roll themselves up in their quilts! They get it!

And a couple of quilts that were "smooth sailing":

Hidden Moons, from the book, "Crazy Curves, Continued"

Brandt's quilt. BQ by Maple Island Quilts.

And finally, fresh off the frame this week:
(trimmed, but not yet bound)

Stars n Spurs. One Block Wonder technique, my own design.

Next time I'll show what I recently learned about using minky on the back of a quilt.

Thought I had that under control, but there is still much to learn for this quilter.

Try, Learn, Grow!


Monday, 23 September 2013

Learning the Ropes

Learning how to blog is a bit like learning how to quilt:
  • Dive in and try things
  • Discover what you like
  • Practice (a lot)
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Learn from others
  • Share ideas
  • Keep trying new things
  • Have fun!
I see blogging as a forum for sharing ideas and experiences with like-minded folk.

There will be successes.

There will be "disasters".

I will share it all. Even the messy stuff.
If there were a pledge for "keeping it real", I'd take it. There is much to be learned from mistakes.

You are in the right place if you enjoy the process of quilting and quilting related activities.

Let's start with a peek at some of my summer activities:

Cheesecloth sculpting class with Mary Pal

Went to Sisters, Oregon for a week of classes...still had to fit clothes in that suitcase, but supplies were more important, of course!

Fabric dyeing class with Lynn Koolish

Improv piecing exercises with Jean Wells

Deconstructed screen printing class with Rayna Gillman

Painted some landscape fabrics, just for fun!

Sun printing in my back yard.

Grid quilting exercises on the longarm with Dawn Cavanaugh

In December I got a new APQS Freedom longarm machine, which I absolutely L-O-V-E.

Next time I'll share some quilts fresh off the frame (thus the name of my blog!), including one messy-lesson-learned.

Thanks for visiting!