Saturday, March 16, 2013

Never in a million years...

...would I have thought I'd enjoy longarm quilting so much...NEVER. 

Since my post back in February, I've been practicing more.  I did another three charity quilts for a friend's mom.

Quilt #8 - For this quilt I used the curvy tear drop shape I learned in Angela Walter's class Machine Quilting Negative Space on Craftsy. 

Quilt #9 - Here is the tear drop shape again.  This time I didn't make it curved.  I could quilt this shape all day long.  It's so quick and easy.

Quilt #10 - For this quilt I practiced more shapes from Angela's, leaves and pebble.  The quilting on this turned out awesome but unfortunately it was really hard to see and photograph.

As soon as these three were done, I began thinking about what I wanted to tackle next.  And my mind immediately went to feathers.  On my little domestic machine I've been able to do very simple feather shapes but only after drawing them with a  blue pen onto the quilt top first.  My first attempt on a longarm was less than acceptable...see below...sigh.

I did this partial feather back on Quilt #5.  I had no idea what I was doing...obviously.  Isn't that spine horrible?  ACK!  I was so disgusted with it that I was going to rip it out and then I reminded myself that this was a learning experience.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  So I just moved on. 
Here are better photos of the quilting I did that day on Quilt #5.  The ones from my previous post weren't very good so I wanted to share better ones.

As you can see, I didn't do to bad working with other shapes.  They're not perfect but they're acceptable as far as I'm concerned.  But seriously...what was I thinking?  Did I really expect to be able to do perfect feathers on Quilt #5?  Some quilters might have been able to...but not me.  I was still learning (and still am) how to precision control my machine. back to feathers.  Fast forward to last week.  Once I had made up my mind that I was going to conquer feathers, I dragged out my sketch book at just started drawing.  Here is the first sketch I did on Sunday, March 10th, right before my friend and I went to the Dallas Quilt Show. 
I have to admit.  I was pretty pleased with what I saw and I was amazed that I drew what I thought was a pretty good feather.  While at the show I met Irena Bluhm.  Let me tell you.  She is a very talented quilter.  She's been quilting since 2004 and only been longarm quilting since 2007! After much discussion about all over quilting and feathers, she recommended these books to me which I happily purchased.
Irena's books are filled with SO MANY  great quilting ideas, that after browsing through them I was ready to do some more sketching.  Here are a few of the sketches I did.

After all this drawing I felt ready to give feathers a go on the machine.  Here is the result of all that drawing.
Quilt #11 - FEATHERS!

I couldn't be more freakin' pleased!  Practice sketching really does pay off.  My spines still suck as you can see from the third photo.  They were the first feathers I tried.  After the third spine I quilt doing them and just focused on making pretty feathers.  To do it I would draw a curvy line with my blue pen and then just start feathering it. 
I found that working from bottom to top works best for me.  There is another way of doing feathers and are a little different stylistically but I have a really hard time doing them.  So I stuck to what I was comfortable with.  Maybe after more drawing practice I'll be able to do the other style.
Up next?  Quilt rulers!  While at the show I bought these rulers from The Gadget Girls.
I plan to use them in connection with Kimmy Brunner's Craftsy class Machine Quilting With Templates.  I've already watched the class once.  And now that I have the necessary templates I'm ready to watch them again and get started!
Till next time...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Highlights from the 2013 Dallas Quilt Show

Sunday, my friend Nancy and I attended the Dallas Quilt Show.  Sadly, this was my last time visiting one of my favorite shows.  Once I'm in Florida I don't imagine I'll be flying back for the show every year...although I guess I could.

Here are some of the quilts that I really liked...enjoy!

P.S.  I apologize in advance for the shadows and lack of good lighting.  I had to take these photos with my phone because I didn't properly prepare by charging the battery for my regular camera.  Who'd a thunk that'd be

Ode to Inspiration
by Melissa Sobotka of Richardson, TX

Balancing Act
by Sherri Lipman McCauley of Lakeway, TX

Ruffled Roses
by Mary Ann Clendennen of Marble Falls, TX

Wanna Be a Baltimore
by Dot Collins of Port Neches, TX

Flowers & Feathers
by Kristin Vierra of Lincoln, NE

Folk Art Flower Fantasy
by Nell Neunhoffer of Plano, TX

Night Shade
by Shirley Stevenson of Sherman, TX

After the Storm
by Wendy Chizuko Simard of Colleyville, TX

by Linda Neal of McKinney, TX
(This quilt contains 10,509 - 1/2" hexagons!)

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
by Serena S. Vrnak of Tyler, TX

Garden Journal Baskets
by Karen Lambdin of San Antonio, TX
Liberty Wheel
by Michelle Kitto of Dallas, TX

Me and My Shadow
by Gail Stepanek of New Lenox, IL
2013 Best of Show
Vintage Button Bouquet
by Linda M. Roy of Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Progress on Snowmen A to Zzzz

Yes I should have pressed them first before taking a picture but there ya go. 
Do you know the best way to press your finished embroideries?
Lay the finished piece face down on a bath towel and then press the back side. 
This will prevent your stitches from getting flattened on the front side.
And now you know...

I guess I should explain... absence.  Well...I've been here...
Yep...that's right.  We're packing up the house and the pets and leaving Texas for Florida.
This has been in the works for a while and is a big reason why I've been MIA so much the past couple months. We've been busy sorting through stuff and deciding what to take, what to donate, and what to toss. You don't realize how much you really own until you decide to move. This move has really motivated me to declutter and simplify my life.
Anyway...back to Florida.  Last month I flew to Florida to get familiar with the area and start looking for a home.  Immediately upon arriving there it because obvious to me why so many people love skies, gorgeous weather, and green everywhere you look.
Here are a couple of beach still shots from Hutchinson Island.


 Admittedly, I spent more time at the the beach than I spent house hunting. 
I collected shells and sea day's haul.
I saw a lot of birds.
And I saw a couple of things I couldn't identify.
I learned this is Man o' War.

 I still don't know what this is.  It looks like a vacuum hose to me...LOL.
Overall it was a fabulous trip and I can't wait to move.  The movers will be here on the 26th
to pack our things and by the 29th we'll on the road, heading for Florida.  
So if you don't see me around for a while, now you know why. 
Till next time...