Showing posts with label Charity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charity. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Free Motion Chicken No More

I know I've been neglecting my blog lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been sewing. I'm on a bit of a deadline with some custom orders that I can't show right now, so my AMH dress is halfway finished, as is a quilt I intended to enter into a couple quilt shows. I missed the entry deadline for one and am a couple days out on the deadline for the second, so I don't know if I'll finish in time. But before I got swamped I am happy to admit that I jumped a major hurdle in my quilting: I started to try free motion! DISCLAIMER: This post contains many pictures of my many mistakes. Nobody's perfect and we're always learning, right?

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The first quilt I've EVER free motion quilted.

Yes, you heard me correctly. After taking Elizabeth's class at QuiltCon, I took the plunge at home and started trying to free motion a few quilts. They are FAR from perfect, but I think it's important to share the imperfections. I've been catching up on some charity quilts and decided these were the best projects to start honing my free motion skills. 

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Not only am I finding free motion quilting to be fun, it's also fast. I can quilt an entire sandwich in much less time than straight lining it. That said, there is a definite learning curve and it's frustrating at times. But it's helping me get over my perfectionist attitude and I keep reminding myself that all my mistakes will come out in the wash. Quite literally. That's the great thing about quilting. So many of those little imperfections disappear when the quilt comes out of it's first wash all crinkly and cuddly. 

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The second quilt I free motion quilted. See, it's slowly getting better.
So don't judge. And don't be afraid. You can see all of my many, many, many mistakes right here. I'm not embarrassed to show you. Free motion is a lesson in learning to let go. And with each quilt, I am getting in the to rhythm of free motion a little bit more. And I'm making mistakes a little bit less. I'm still backing myself into corners, and fumbling with uneven stitch length, but I'm learning and growing. I'm not going to give up on straight lining, oh no. That's still my favorite aesthetic, but I'm going to continue to hone my free motion skills. Expect to see a lot more around here in the near future.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Caught Up on Bee Blocks

Well, while the Virtual Quilt Show was running I was actually getting a lot of sewing done. Right after QuiltCon I actually wrapped up my latest project for work and I out myself on a personal hiatus. I am actually trying to take a whole six months off. I know that's what I said last time, and my friends and family have bets out on if I'll actually be able to make it the full six months, but nearly one month in and I am loving the time off. 

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I spent the first week or so just cleaning out my studio space and trying to get it into workable order. And I've spent (most) of the rest of the month trying to play catch up on UFOs and bee blocks so I could clear my plate and start to focus on the stuff I really want to focus on for me. And I am happy to say that I am now completely caught up on bee blocks. The first ones I tackled were the last ones I owed for the Bee a Lone Star(burst) Bee because those blocks for Candy were embarrassingly late. Her month was November. But Now they're done and that bee has been laid to rest. No more paper piecing bees for me. At least for a while. I do love these blocks and you can find the template here, but four a month was more than a little aggressive.


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Then I started catching up on my blocks for the Hope Circle. In January Janet asked us to make Quatrefoil Blocks using only brightly colored solids. I love these blocks. In fact I asked a bee to make them for me a few years back. And each time I make them I get a little better with giving enough seam allowance so the points of the petals don't get lost in the seams. 



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Then for February, Suzy asked us to make these awesome (and easy) Stash Buster Blocks using an alternating Cool and Warm palate. I got a little overzealous and ended up making her eight blocks instead of four. Oops! Well at least that's a happy accident.



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And for March in the same bee, Muriël asked Woven Blocks in greens and blues suitable for a boy, since boys don't get as many quilt donations as girls. I can't wait to see how these three quilts turn out. And April is my month so I need to start thinking about what kind of quilt I want the bee to make this time around.


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Then I had to catch up in the Sewn Together Bee. In January Mary sent us some gorgeous fabric and requested Potager Blocks from the book "Modern Blocks - 99 Quilt Blocks". I love the colors she's using in this quilt. After all, gray is my favorite neutral. 

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Then in February Rick asked us to help him make a quilt for his brother. His brother loves to fish so he sent us some fish fabric and colorful batiks for the strips. I think his brother is just going to love this quilt when it comes together. Phew, I made it through the bee blocks owed and now I'm up-to-date. No more lagging behind for me. Work got really intense last year, so I'm hoping the time off will get me back on my game. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Foot Failure

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So I bought myself a walking foot with a 1/4" guide for Hepburn. I didn't even know these things existed, but at our LAMQG Retreat this Fall, Latifah introduced me to this little magical wonder. She pieces with her walking foot and mentioned that it helps especially sewing over some of those bulky seams, which makes sense. Then she showed me this little beauty. I knew I must have it. 


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I tried to find it online (not terribly hard, but hard enough) and had some trouble finding one. Then, one day while I was working in Tennessee I noticed a little sewing machine shop down the road, that happened to be a certified Janome dealer. I stopped in on my lunch break to ask if they carried the foot. They said they did, and I got excited, but then had a heap of trouble finding it. Sadly, I thanked them for trying and told them where I was working for the day just in case they were able to find one. Half an hour later they came looking for me. They had the foot! They were so friendly and helpful. If you're ever in Murfreesboro, TN be sure to stop by Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery.


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I decided to take it for a test run on some of my (past-due) bee blocks. Caitlin had asked us to make Scrap Buster Blocks from Little Miss Shabby's tutorials. Her request was that we use black, white and gray scraps for the 1.5" squares and a bright solid like an orange or pink for the strips. 


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Piecing was going really well. I seemed to be moving right along making the 1.5" square rows and then I started to put the block together. My scrappy rows were consistently too short. I measured them up against the foot guide and it seemed fine. I didn't have the stamina to start all over again so I decided to try and solve the problem rather than "scrap" it. I cut the solid strips wider than in the tutorial and that seemed to help. Then I realized the problem. My needle isn't matching up with the guideline on my new walking foot!


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Ugh. I just assumed that it would automatically be aligned. Well, you know what happens when you assume? You screw up your scrap buster blocks! Ugh! I think I was able to salvage the blocks without starting completely from scratch. I had a few extra 1.5" squares left over from cutting, so I ended up adding extra squares to each scrappy row. That, paired with the wider solid strips helped me to save the blocks. They're now just a scant bi shy of 12.5" square, so I think Caitlin will still be able to work with them. But sigh. These are definitely not my best work.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bee Blocks Almost Done

I didn't get nearly as much as I wanted to get done this weekend, but I'm okay with that. Saturday I only left the house once, and spent the rest of the day curled up on the couch, with a fire and the dog catching up on my TV shows and doing some hand sewing. There was so much sewing I actually had to do, but I opted to laze on the couch instead. Yesterday I had a holiday brunch with my friends in the early part of the day any by the time I got home in the mid afternoon I resolved not to leave the house again. This time I did get some face time with Hepburn to catch up on some bee blocks to get me through to the end of the year. 


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I've got next week off work so we're taking a little trip (to Alaska! I'm so excited!) so my sewing time between now and the New Year will be virtually nonexistent. I was behind on some blocks for November so I wanted to power through and get them off my plate. For the Hope Circle, Janet asked for some Garden Lattice blocks in Tangerine using this tutorial

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Then, Flaun asked us to paper piece some amazing solid blocks in the Sewn Together Bee. We used the pattern "It's a Stretch" found in the book "Modern Blocks". I am so excited about these. I absolutely cannot wait to see this quilt completed. It is going to be absolutely amazing. 


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My last block ever for the Sew Fun Bee was a low volume, traditional block for Dolores. She wanted each of us to use modern, low volume fabrics but do a different traditional block. I picked the Quatrefoil block because I love it so much. I really need to make a low volume quilt for myself someday soon.


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I'm really going to miss sewing with that group, but at least that's one bee off my plate. I still have two outstanding bee obligations to finish out the year, one for November for the Bee a Lone Star(burst) and one for the December Hope Circle. Speaking of the Hope Circle, we're looking for two Stitchers to join our circle in the new year. If you're interested in joining us to make charity quilts for Threading Hope with do. Good Stitches, please contact me. We'd love to have you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

do. Good Stitches October Blocks

I am getting so excited. I can't wait for Thursday. This weekend is the annual LAMQG Retreat. I should have spent the time I had to sew this weekend prepping for the retreat, instead I caught up on the last of my tardy bee blocks. As of now, I am all caught up. I only have November blocks in the queue. Yippee!

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Robyn asked the Hope Circle to make two 12.5" unfinished Patchwork Wheel Blocks using this tutorial. She also selected an autumn palate for us to use. I struggled with this palate, I have to say. It's not that I didn't have autumnal fabrics in my stash, I do, granted not a lot, but I'm just not as comfortable with this palate, I suppose. 

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I think I need to get more comfortable with it, though, because my husband loved these blocks and colors. He never usually comments on the blocks I make for bees but these struck him. I think I need need to work with these colors more often. 

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I actually made 4 blocks since we had a member drop out of the circle and I didn't want Robyn to have to pick up the slack. Remember, if you want to do some good too. You can always sign up to join in a do. Good Stitches Circle. And Rachel is also hosting a celebration of do. Good Stitches and anyone can join in by stitching up a quilt for charity. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Celebrate Good Stitches

I've been hosting the Hope Circle for do. Good Stitches for over two years now. And while I have fallen behind on quilts in the past, I never fell behind on blocks until September when my work trip screwed everything up. So I was frantic to catch up on blocks for Suzy last week. She asked for Herringbone blocks using Holly's tutorial, but she wanted us to send the halves separate, so four half blocks instead of two 12.5" finished blocks. 


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Things were going along just fine until I realized that I didn't read the tutorial all the way through before starting and I got ahead of myself and realized that I made all four halves going in the same direction. Ugh. Well, as it turns out, we unfortunately lost a Stitcher. I thought she had made her blocks for Suzy and I was just going to pick up her blocks for October while I tried to (successfully, I might add) woo Natalie back into the bee. (Doing the Happy Dance!) Then I discovered that she was unable to complete September as well so my unfortunate mistake turned into a happy accident. I made four more halves in the opposite direction and sent all four blocks off to Suzy. 

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I simply adore the color scheme she requested we use for this quilt. Suzy wanted us to work in blues and grays with one red or orange strip in each half. It doesn't hurt that these are favorite colors of mine and I am currently obsessed with the herringbone pattern. You'll be seeing more of this pattern and, coincidentally, color scheme again very soon. I am already swooning over this quilt. 

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And if you haven't heard yet, Rachel is planning a fabulous end of the year celebration for do. Good Stitches, But you don't have to be a member of the bee to participate in the fun! Just complete one quilt for a charity of your choosing and you can be entered to win some fabulous prizes. Hop on over to her blog for more details and to join in the fun!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Looking for a Few Good Stitchers

I'm looking for a few people out there who would like to join in a VQB. We have a couple spots open in the Hope Circle that I run for do. Good Stitches. We're looking for one Quilter and one Stitcher to join our group this round. Each round lasts five months and every month we make a charity quilt for Threading Hope. All ten members are responsible for making two blocks a month from their stash and sending them off to the Quilter. In addition to making two blocks a month, each of the 5 Quilters in the group are responsible for choosing the pattern and color scheme for one month and then they assemble the quilt and send it off to the charity. It's a lot of fun and for a great cause.

Then, the Sewn Together Bee is gearing up for our third year together and we have a few openings. This is a more traditional VQB. There are 12 members working together and each member is responsible for one month. The week before your month starts, send out fabric and instructions for your quilt blocks to the other 11 members of the group and then members send back their completed blocks at the end of the month.

If you would like more information on either of these VQBs or would like to join us please email me ASAP. Both bees start up again in August.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Swaps In Action

June was absolutely crazy with work. I don't know where it went! All of a sudden I take a breath and it's July. How did that happen? I have been sewing a little bit. In fact, I've jumped onto the swap train again. After a quiet Spring, it seems like I'm almost overextended on Summer Swaps. But two of the swaps are associated with bees I'm in so we're taking time off from the bee to get to know each other better so there's a balance. In fact, all the do. Good Stitches Hosts are doing a swap and it gave me the perfect excuse to use my Joseph's Coat paper piecing templates. I'm loving this one!

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And the Pillow Talk Swap is back in action. I have been working on the pillow for my secret partner, and while I love the center, I started improvising one afternoon and I'm bot sure if I'm liking where I took it. Did I go too far?

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Part of me thinks that I should start ripping stitches and change things up, while another part of me thinks that my partner will like it. I guess it's a little out of my comfort zone with all the mixing and matching of prints so I'm second guessing myself. What do you think?

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Then, my guild is hosting a swap and I couldn't resist joining in the fun. I missed the last swap because I was in South America and I think swapping is a great way to make new friends in the guild. For this swap we were asked to bring in a trinket from home and our partner is supposed to make something inspired from the trinket. I ended up with Patsy's geode and I'm really excited about this one. I'm brainstorming loads of possibilities. I know I want to play with solids, curves and thin lines with this one. But what to make? Perhaps a bag? That's where I'm stuck. So even though I haven't been around lately, I have been working a little. Hopefully, I'll be able to show some finishes very soon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"A Year of Making Life Beautiful" Blog Tour

** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

Do you know Melissa of Lilac Lane? If you don't, you really should get to know her. I "met" Melissa a could of years ago, both through her wonderful blog and also as a member of the charity bee "A Dozen Quilters". I saw that they were losing a couple members and asked Melissa if I could join, especially since they were turning their focus to charity projects. She gladly said yes. It was a pleasure to work with her through a year of projects to help those less fortunate than us, but an equal pleasure getting to know her better as well.


I am sure some of you remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects I was working on this Spring. Well, they were for Melissa. The first you saw a while back - her super cute "Picnic In the Park" quilt pattern, which she released this Spring and was also recently featured at her booth at the International Quilt Market. And then came the second secret project... Imagine my surprise when she asked me if I would also be willing to make a quilt for her new book, "A Year of Making Life Beautiful: 45 projects to bake, grow, craft and sew throughout the year". I was honored. Seriously? I'm not worthy!
Melissa sent me her elegant, yet easy, "Make Life Quilt" Pattern along with a beautiful array of Hello Luscious fabrics by Basic Gray for Moda. This gorgeous quilt can be made from pre-cuts. I don't usually work with a lot of pre-cuts but, let me tell you, it made life so much easier not to have to worry about cutting all that fabric. It makes for a quilt top that comes together quickly, yet all your friends and family will think you labored for weeks! She also entrusted me to quilt it too. Whoa! Talk about pressure. It was actually the first quilt I quilted on my new machine, and despite it's size it quilted like a charm! But I'm proud to say it's being featured in the month of April in her book, and also was at her booth at Market. My picture can't even do it justice. The sun was at the wrong angle when I had to take the picture!

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That's not even the best part. I got an advance copy of the book, and let me tell you, the whole thing is simply delicious! Melissa has such an amazing sense of style and grace. And her warm and gentle personality shines in each and every one of the projects featured in "A Year of Making Life Beautiful". And each project really does help beautify your life even more.

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Melissa taken her gift for making life beautiful and translated it to the page with all sorts of fun and yummy projects to create. Each month she cleverly features a variety of sewing, cooking, gardening and craft projects that you can make in your own home. No matter your walk of life or where you live, there's something in this book bound to call out, "Make Me!"

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I, personally, can't wait to try making the Memory Bag. I mean, how genius is that? I wish I had seen that before I left Chicago and threw away all of my bulky sweaters!

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Just flipping through the pages gives me a sense of calm and peace, so rarely found in my hectic life.
Be sure to get your own copy today! They're available directly from Melissa or on Quiltwoman in either spiral bound or hardcover editions. BUT one of my lucky followers and win their very own copy! Melissa is generously donating a copy of her book "A Year of Making Life Beautiful" to one of my lucky readers. So I'm hosting a giveaway! All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment. You can tell me anything but if you're at a loss, tell me what you would like to do to make your life more beautiful. That's it. I'll keep the giveaway open until Monday, June 18, 2012. One comment per person. International Entries welcome. But please, if you're a "No Reply" commenter make sure I have a way to contact you. Good luck!

** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All Caught Up

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Phew! I am finally caught up on all my past-due bee blocks. What's even better is that I'm ahead on my May blocks too, so I'm back in good shape and I can finally start focusing on other things. The most tardy of the blocks was a "Bright and Happy Tree" for Aud in the Sewn Together Bee. February was her month and granted, she sent her fabric late and told us not to worry about a deadline for getting them back to her but I still felt bad being so behind on her block. And it was a relatively easy one too.

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She sent us the tree trunk already quilted onto the background and batting and simply asked us to attach scrappy leaves however we desired. I decided that this would be a fabulous time to pull out my Sizzix Big Shot Cutter and break in my Hexagon Die. The thing that made me most nervous about this block was the free motion appliqué method she wanted us to use to attach the leaves. I've never free motion quilted before. So my stitch length is a bit off in places but I think it was a noble attempt for my first time.

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Then I caught up on the April Blocks for Sarah in the Bee a Lone Star(burst) Bee. She had the same color scheme that ??? did but she sent along the white pin dot fabric for the backing of the stars. Unfortunately the color looks a little blown out in these photos, which is a shame because I really love how these turned out.

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For the Hope Circle's blocks for April, Rachel asked for a simple Purple Strip Block measuring 48" x 6.5" in total. I kept in simple and did alternating square in square blocks strung together. The small centers measure 1.5" and I used some leftover 5" charms for the larger centers.

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Finally, for Stacey's April Block in the Sew Fun Bee she wanted a 12.5" block for a boy. Her only requirements were no pinks or purples. I decided to paper piece a sail boat for fun using this pattern. I don't know why but I had a boat stuck in my head. So I'm done! Thank god. I swear I'm never going to let myself get so behind again.