Aug 24, 2010

First Hexies

These are my first hexies. I made them while my son was having his music lesson last Friday. The background is supposed to be white but it wouldn't come out right: (ETA: I've replaced the picture with a better one)


They are to make this hexie holder from Connecting Threads and are 3/4 inch on one side. I tried to start putting the inside of the tote together and found I didn't like it very much. I had previously bought a cool box from the school supply area to hold them while my tote was being worked on. The box is working out great so these will probably end up in another mini quilt instead.

I find it so relaxing that I put together a few more the other night before bed when I couldn't get my mind to shut up, then I slept extremely hard. At least all the basting is making good use of all the thread I bought from them.

Aug 19, 2010

Busy

I'm so busy with sewing and back to school. I also feel like I can't get enough sleep. The other day I felt like I barely made it back from the grocery store and everyday at work I get worn out earlier than usual. I just keep saying "School starts Tuesday" then I'll be able to collapse without anyone home during the day, or stay up and sew ^_^

My week started out with my mini quilt. I got all the blocks pieced and played around with the setting. I thought I took pictures of different setting but I guess i didn't.

The blocks:



They are about 3.75 inches square. The last seams went together so fast I was surprised to see it finished. I now see why a lot of mini quilt makers sew a 1/4 inch seam and then trim it to 1/8 inch. My 1/8 inch seams were a bit inconsistent and I had to back a few with interfacing because the fabric was unraveling weird and I didn't want to get a hole. But I'm happy with these.

Aug 13, 2010

The Quilt Show




I just finished watching The Quilt Show's latest free episode featuring the gorgeous quilts of Philippa Naylor. She has some amazing bright and colorful quilts! Her quilting and trapunto are exquisite and she shares her techniques and tips in this episode. The best tip I saw was what she uses for gripping the fabric for machine quilting. Here's a screen cap:



It's that drawer liner stuff that looks like a puffy web and grips. I'm so excited about this tip! No more hot gloves in the Texas heat for me! She just cuts a piece 4in by 6in and places her left hand on top of it and grasps the fabric with her right hand to move it. I'm going out to get some today!

She also shared her experiences of living in Saudi Arabia for 15 years, it was enlightening, to say the least, and took a tour of some of the vendors at the Houston International Quilt Festival after the show. It was a really great episode and has inspired me to try trapunto, someday ^_^

My mini quilt is coming together nicely. I hope to have more pictures tomorrow.

Aug 12, 2010

Making a mini quilt....

Here's the 2-patches that have already been paired into 4-patches:



The strips were originally cut 1 1/4 inches to make a small coin block, that never got made, long before the BOM, which is what I'm using these fabrics for now. I cut some strips out of the Kona white and tried to sew them with an 1/8 inch seam. It turns out the 1/8 inch mark on my presser foot wasn't accurate and they ended up smaller than they should.  I have carried on though and turned these into 4-patches, which I'll now have to trim to 2 inches square, and make sure my next seams are a true 1/8 inch. The 4-patches will then be turned into 12 16-patches that I'm going to play with to figure out a setting for my quilt. I've been having loads of fun with this! I think a mini quilt is a perfect idea for all the hot weather we've been experiencing here in Texas.

Aug 10, 2010

Quilt setting

I used Inkscape to make a layout for my BOM quilt:

I really liked this one! Maybe I need to make a mini mock up to test out how it looks.

(crossposted to my LJ)

Aug 9, 2010

Finished a top!

I've finished piecing the top for my Halloween wall hanging.



Right now it's about 22 inches wide and over 50 inches long. I'm going to trim it down to a rectangle but not soon. It's too hot too handle all that fabric right now and I'm short on sleep and will be for a few days. As it is, I'm not sure I've done it well but I'll figure it out when I'm more alert.

It's so hot here in Texas that biggish projects aren't very appealing right now.  It was uncomfortable under all the fabric when I was piecing the long sashings on. I'm thinking of working on something smaller or turning my [info]blockofthemonth round 4 project into a quilt-as-you-go project. I'd like to get a book on the subject first to decide how to go about it and whether to machine or hand quilt it.

(crossposted to my Live Journal)

Aug 8, 2010

On a roll...

I've so gotten into sewing this week that I've often forgotten to eat! It totally satisfies my cravings. Here's what I've done:

My Halloween quilt is coming along. I'm trying to get the bat fabric to go in one direction and the angles I have to cut are weird but it's coming along. This is my layout so far:

Some of the pieces have been sewn together on the diagonal. I'm hopefully going to work more on this today.

I'm joining the [info]blockofthemonth group (on Live Journal) this round and I'm so excited! This is my first BOM, here's my fabrics:


I used the B&W filter on my camera phone to take the second picture. The B&W photo shows the color values of my choices. That is one of my favorite tips that I saw/read somewhere along the way.

These fabrics were given to me by my MIL. She made sets of decorative napkins out of them and I got a ton of leftovers. This BOM inspired me to use them, as soon as I saw it I knew I had the perfect set of fabrics. All I  bought was some Kona solid white. Here's my first block:

I'm making the 16.5 inch blocks. It's huge! I love it! I hope to really get all of the colors into the whole thing so it looks balanced because this one looks a bit weird by itself.

Another tip I'd like to share is to not waste those leftover bits from the flying geese units. I pieced them as the directions said by positioning a square over the rectangle and sewing on the diagonal of the square. Then I draw a line 1/2 inch away from the stitched line, in the section that is going to get cut off, and stitch on that. When I cut between them, I now have a flying geese unit and two half square triangles. Here's a picture of my leftovers from the block above, they're 3.75 inches square:

I don't know what I'm going to do with them but they look cute as pinwheels and will go into a pile of scraps that just this quilt is going to make. Maybe they'll go into the borders. Anyways, I can't wait till next month!

(crossposted to [info]blockofthemonth and my Live Journal)

Aug 4, 2010

Quilts: a finish, a modification & a WIP

Finished: The Maneki Neko quilt from Fat Cat Patterns is done!



He's hanging on the wall and hopefully welcoming the money into our home ^_^ This was a fun quick project. I learned a lot and he's cute. I didn't do much quilting within his body because I didn't know what type of filler would work and if I could do it well. I followed the lines in the background print for the quilting outside the cat like a 5 year old but I'm still happy with the practice. I quilted scales on the fish and heavily lined the mouth and collar to make the rest of the cat pop out. I would never give this away because of the inexpensive fabrics involved. The fish was made with a higher quality scrap and it fused better and didn't fall apart when I quilted around the edges, unlike the white. Quality is worth the price. Next time I'll try not to skimp. It's 12.5 inches square which I think is a perfect size for me to try new techniques.

Modification?: My labyrinth quilt got an upgrade:

I took it off the wall to put up the Maneki Neko and decided to add the echo quilting to it. The fabric was starting to sag around the labyrinth where I hadn't quilted it and I think I caught it just in time. I don't know what to call that because it was previously "finished". I really need to make another of these with more presentable techniques.

and finally a WIP:


This is my current project. These are some diamonds I pieced from the leftovers of my Halloween Lone Star strips. I trimmed them up and cut some sashing. Today is the perfect day to piece it because it's HOT!  I'm going to piece them in an X with sashing and add some of the bat fabric, also used in the other quilt, to make it a rectangle wallhanging or table runner.

Wow! I hope this creativity keeps coming.

(crossposted to my Live Journal)


Aug 3, 2010

Pineapples and Lucky Cats

I think I need to practice updating more often and in smaller bits. I've been thinking it over the past couple of days and realized I was going to make one giant post after the project I'm making is done. I need to either make posts more often during the progress or cut to the basics so it doesn't take over an hour for me to write up a post. I'm normally much more succinct verbally but tend to type up a storm.

Sunday we picked up a small pineapple on sale at the grocery store. It tasted so good it was gone in a day. Last year, I had found some information online about growing the pineapple top. I searched around and found this page:
http://www.rickswoodshopcreations.com/Pineapple/pineapple.htm
My pineapple top is drying out now and will hopefully get planted.

I have a bit of a brown thumb but this looks doable. If it doesn't work out, I'll try again with the next pineapple.

On the quilting front, I'm in the middle of an applique' project. It's my first. I decided to do it when I was looking at Fat Cat Patterns' website and saw how simple their patterns looked and they were free! I decided on the Maneki Neko, Lucky Cat, pattern because who couldn't use more luck? The Maneki Neko is a darling welcomer of luck and money in Japan and ceramic statues can be found in every business and as the Fat Cat Patterns logo. Me and my kids went to a Japanese dollar like store in Houston and now I regret not picking one up. When I saw this pattern, after we came back, I knew it would be my first fusible applique' project.

Here's my pattern, all taped up, and the fabrics I choose to do the cat in on the left. The background will be the red print on the right. I just picked the FQs up at JoAnn's when we were there the other day. I have a tendency to use inexpensive fabric the first time around on a project.
My daughter auditioned where the brown and orange brown were going on the cat in Photoshop. She's fortunately a wiz at it and it's faster than cutting extra pieces that won't be used.

So with everything together, I got to tracing and cutting out my fusible web pieces and noticed my first mistake: I didn't take off the scaling when I printed out my patterns. It wasn't a big deal though because as you can see from the taped pattern, it's almost 12 inches square so I'm still going to put it in a 12 inch background.

My second mistake became evident when I started fusing my fabric pieces together. The inexpensive white fabric was so thin that it didn't cover the dark pieces underneath. I'm letting that go as a learning experience. I did some topstitching over the white to distract the eye from the shadows underneath and trimmed the fish body under the paw. Next time I'll use better fabric.

I added the whiskers with some topstitching and in the eyes also. It's layered with batting and backing and I'm in the middle of quilting it. I hope to finish it tomorrow.