Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Progress on my Vintage Halloween Quilt

Do you ever do so much handwork that your hands and fingers ache?  I sure do. 

Slowly but surely I'm getting there.  I've completed only two blocks so far but have a third halfway there.  I thought that center block was going to be the end of me.  In the picture below you can see why it took me so long.  The amount of fill stitches was insane!  I never thought I was going to finish it but I'm glad its done and out of the way. 

The little pumpkin all by itself took maybe a day to do.  Really, the thing that takes the longest is all the outline stitching.  I'm getting tired of looking at black thread...need more COLOR.  Hopefully I'll have another one to show off this weekend.  My goal is to have all the blocks done by June.  Wish me luck.

On a related topic, I've been doing so much embroidery the last several months that I have started experiencing a constant ache and weakness in my hand right below the thumb. But the good news is I found something at the Dallas quilt show recently that has helped relieve some of the achiness.

These little gloves are super comfortable and a must have for anyone that suffers with achy hands.  Whenever my hands feel a little sore, I put them on and by the time I'm ready to put my handwork down the pain is almost unnoticable. 

I'm telling you!  These gloves are fantastic!  I saw them the other day at JoAnn's for anyone interested in checking them out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've been busy...sort of

I can't believe I've gone almost two weeks again without posting.  In my absence I've been keeping busy quilting as usual and have some new (and old things to share).

As you know, last week I went on a quilt retreat.  There were 20 of us sewing our little hearts out.  While I spent all four days working on different projects, I managed to only complete one top and another pumpkin for my Halloween quilt.  How does that happen?  Guess I spent too much time visiting or something.  Here's a picture of the only finish.  I am so in love with this quilt.  The basic idea was from the book Cozy Modern Quilts but the color pallette and arrangement was mine.  I used a couple of those Moda Scrap Bags with bits and pieces from my stash for more variety.  The only thing left to do is add a 4" or 6" black border around it and then quilt it.

While I was at the retreat center I did a little shopping too.  The retreat center where we go has a little quilt shop in it that you can shop in 24/7 when the mood or need strikes you.  I came home with a new project and some fantastic batiks to add to my evergrowing collection.  I can wait to cut into them.

After returning home on Wednesday,  I pretty much spent the weekend catching up on my favorite TV shows thanks to my trusty DVR.  And the Saturday evening I got back to my sewing machine to work on a UFO (ugh!) and do some binding (double ugh!).  Here's the bluebonnet quilt finally complete.  I am really happy with how it turned out...happier than I thought I was going to be.

Here is the UFO...I'm not loving it right now and am not sure where to go from here with it.  I think it'll go back in the box until I have an epiphany.  If you have an opinion please share it with me.  I can use all the help I can get on this one.

That's all I have for my goings on as of late.  I'm not sure what I'm going to work on next.  I have a couple class samples that I need to work on but I'm not feeling it at the the moment.  I really need to figure out how to motivate myself to do something that I'm not in the mood to do...sigh.

Anyway.  I'll end this post with another picture of one of my older quilts.  The pattern was called Skyward Nines and came from a McCall's magazine (I think).  I'm not sure if the nine patches patches are going up or coming down.  I'll let you decide.   Each nine patch is different and each fabric was used only once.  This quilt is one of the reasons why I love scrap quilts so much.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Show & Tell

I have no new projects to show.  I've been busy cutting kits to sew on a quilting retreat that starts this Sunday. 

It's always hard for me to decide what to work on at retreats.  This time instead of taking UFOs that I don't really want to work on (that's why they're UFOs), I'm going to work on some simple jelly rolls quilts.  I have three ready to go and some embroidery when I need a break from my machine.

So anyways...are you ready for some more Show & Tell?  Let's start of with my very first quilt...a blue and yellow sampler.  It's quite embarrassing to show people but I always like to because its proof positive that we all start somewhere and anyone can improve on their quilting skills if they try hard enough. 

I am 99.9% self taught.  I've only ever taken two classes (face painting on fabric and hand embroidery).  The blocks for this quilt came from those large Better Home & Garden quilt books that show the block full size and don't give you the cutting you know the ones I'm talking about?  It was the only book and I had so that's what I used.  I had no clue what a scant quarter inch seam what.  What was supposed to turn out to be twelve 12 1/2" blocks, turned out to be twelve blocks in several sizes.  So I cut and tweaked till they were all the same size.  Here...have a look at my expert piecing....ugh.

Like I said, everyone starts somewhere.  Here is my first paper pieced quilt.  I loved the pattern and was determined to teach myself how to do it.  I call it "The Kimono Storehouse."  I spent weeks scouring store for Oriental prints so that each one would be unique.  Since the pattern did not have directions on HOW to paper piece so I got online and started doing a little research.  So when I was confident that I had the basic idea of how to do it, I had to trace each pattern out onto Golden Threads paper and got started.  I don't want to tell you how many times I had to rip out a seam and try again because the fabric didn't fit the piece I was adding "research" never told me how to measure the pieces.  In the end though it all turned out.  I am proud to say that today I know how to paper piece correctly thanks to Carol Doak books.

That's all for now.  I am hoping to do some more show and tells once I get a few more photos done.  Till next time...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Picture Time!

Well...I've started to make a small dent today in photographing my quilts and tops today.  As you can see though, I've barely made a dent and these aren't all of them.  I have others throughout the house.  I hope I'm not the only one with oodles and oodles of quilts and tops everywhere.

Enough talking...time for some show and tell!  Here's Sweet Tea finally pieced together.  I am so in love with this quilt.  And talk about easy!  I have the backing and binding all picked out but for right now its going to sit because I can't decide how I want it quilted.  I'm torn between having DH do an all over design or sending to someone for custom quilting.  Thoughts?

Right after I completed Sweet Tea, I made this little gem!  The oringal pattern is called French Roses.  I made the blocks as shown in the pattern but completely changed everything else.  First, I used a Fresh Cotton Layer Cake and nine 1/2 yards instead of the orignal 5 fabrics.  In the construction, the orignal pattern had you cutting out all the pieces and then sewing and layering one on top of another without cutting out the backs. Instead I cut out the backs each time thus being able to use less fabric while having more variety than the original.  The original quilt was was horizontal blocks with a simple border which I thought was kinda blah so I decided I wanted it on point.  At first I though I would just sash the blocks on point when I had another idea which is what you see now.  The setting blocks should look familiar because they are from the Sweet Tea Pattern.  It just so happened that both patterns had the same finished size blocks so was perfect.  So I cut up my leftovers and the result is what you see.

Lastly, here's my bluebonnet diamonds quilt on the longarm.  DH is a bit behind scheduled as he's working nights for a few weeks.  I may have to call in a friend to finish it for me soon.  I'll show you a better picture once its off the frame.

I'm off now to take some more photos.  Be back soon!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm being a bad blogger again!

Please forgive me for my laziness.  Lately I just haven't felt like blogging. 

Well that's not entirely true.  I always enjoy sharing what I've been up to.  I just don't always enjoy taking photos of my work.  A lot of what I've been working on lately are large quilts that require me to set up the backdrop stand, etc. 

Okay...yeah I'm whining.  Which is why I am determined to set up the stand tomorrow and take some photos.  While I have the stand up I think I'm going to take photos of all my other quilt which I have neglected to do over the years.

So stay tuned.