Friday, October 31, 2014

Off Course Quilting - It's a Wrap!

WOOHOO! Quilting on Off Course is complete! I was so excited about finishing it, I took it out from under the machine and ran outside to take pictures! We all know that this one has dragged on way too long. Well, this week has been a bit of an up and down ride while quilting. . . On my last post, I showed some of the wave quilting and the geese were quilted into the negative space but the 'wings' were not quilted. At the time, I said one more solid day of quilting and it would be finished. . . that was until I hung it up on the design wall after finishing the wavy lines and Cs on the right side. . . I hung up the right hand corner (standing on a stool, with a pin, this quilt is heavy and I am short!) and looked down. . . the wavy lines were going down. . . wait. . . I have it hung up wrong. . . no it's not. . . OMG. . . NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I could feel a tantrum coming on and a word that I won't type here was uttered. I sat down. Looked at it. Yup, they are going vertical not horizontal as planned. . . if you read my last post, you know I had already spent three days ripping stitches. . . this would take three weeks! I'm not inclined to spend the next three weeks ripping stitches! NO WAY! Then I cried. Then I decided that was getting me pretty much no where. Then I thought, well, initially I had kicked around the idea of putting the wavy lines diagonally across on one side of the blocks and horizontal on the other. . . vertical might has to work. Then I emailed sent distress signals to two blogging buddies whose opinions I value and respect (Yvonne over at Quilting Jet Girl and Sandra over at Musings of a Menopausal Melon). I had taken really bad indoor photos and attached them. Asked them both if they thought this was a fatal mistake or if I could work with it and call it a 'design element'. . . Both of them were so sweet doing their best to talk me off the edge. Both thought it was not a wash. Both took a good amount of time looking at the pictures and writing their emails to me. I thank both of you ladies heartily and send a big cyber hug and MMMWAH your way! 

How did this happen you might ask? Well, I had not put the quilt back up on the design wall after I finished quilting the blocks. I just started quilting the lines. What I know all to well now is that when quilting on a domestic, it is easy to get the orientation of the quilt all wrong. . . especially when there really is no clear indication by the direction of the blocks - let's face it, I've got geese flying every which way on this bad boy. Note to self - check often and if in doubt, put it up on the wall - being lazy about that could cost a whole lot of hair stitch ripping later!

It took me an entire day to wrap my head around my blunder. And then I forged ahead. Left side horizontal, right side vertical:

This picture is sideways. . . it is right side up in my computer file. . . flipped when I uploaded it. . . This quilt truly does have a mind of its own ;)

I was so excited about the finished quilting, I took it directly out from under the needle and outside to snap pictures :)
Close up of block detail. Nice pinky in the air while taking pictures don't you think? haha

LURVE the texture in the wings of the ghost geese!
I used a double bat, Qulter's Dream wool and 100% cotton, love the poof too!
Hmmm. . . I was so excited about getting these pictures posted, I forgot to take a picture of the back!! :) That's ok, you'll be seeing the finished quilt all bound and washed very soon!

I wish you could see this quilt in person. All of the fabric is from the new Oakshott Colourshotts. They are spectacular! And they were a dream to quilt. I used Isocord thread (two spools. . . yeah, I know!). The combo of the sheen on the Isocord and the colors of the Oakshotts is nothing short of amazing! Oh, and the weight of these cottons? They are as heavy as any of the other the quality quilting cotton I use. It is not thin and it is not 'see through.' I cannot wait to make another quilt with Colourshotts. . . umm, yeah, I have more, don't judge! One more thing, I am receiving nothing for raving about these fabrics (or the thread for that matter). I bought them myself. I love them because they are fabulous :)

On to finish quilting my Michael Miller Challenge quilt. . . first there's some major ripping that is going to have to happen. . . UGH! The negative space didn't turn out quite as I would have liked... the good news? I did it with the walking foot - ripping is WAY easier. I didn't say more fun, I said easier ;)

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and DWM at Patchwork Times. Also linking up with Amy over at 13 Spools for Mistakes and All. To see the final post on this quilt go here :)
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quilting Update

The quilting of Off Course continues. . . on and on and on :) I am making good progress! I have the plan all laid out now (we won't talk about the fact that it took months to come up with a plan.... and more to actually start executing the plan....) and it is coming together well. It has not been without some major time with my not so favorite friend, Mr. Seam Ripper. . . I had the brilliant idea to do a topography type of design in portions of the negative space. So I went for it. . . and I knew it was probably not going to work out as I was quilting but . . . you know what I did. . . I kept on going. . . So after three (THREE!!!) days of ripping, this is what it looked like:

You can see where the quilting was. . . It was a little too wrinkly and a little too wobbly gobbly.
After I finished ripping (and photographing) I spritzed it with water. The bagginess went away as did the quilting lines. OK, that isn't going to work, so I went on to this:

Now this is a design I can get behind :)
 Much better. . . IMHO. I decided instead of doing a different design where my 'ghost' flying geese make their appearance and divide the light and dark negative space, I would use this same design. Try to pull together the lighter and darker negative space. . . So now I have this:

This picture is with flash. . . hence that weird shadowing down the center of the dark negative space.

No flash but not quite as clear.
One more shot. . . Haven't put this up on the design wall yet and these pictures were taken at night... I just needed to show that I am quilting and there is progress :)
I could probably come real close to finishing the quilting on this bad boy today. . . if I did not have to be a responsible adult and maybe see that there is food in the fridge ;) And clean clothes. . . that might be good too! haha

Going to get back at it. . . I still have not done the Week 4 snowflakes for the Snowalong. . . I need to set up my other machine so I can do some snowflake sewing on my quilting breaks! A clone would be nice right about now!!! :D

Linking up with Connie for Linky Tuesday, Lorna for Let's Bee Social and Lee for WIP Wednesday. I'm hoping to be posting later this week with better photos of the finished quilting!!

Until next time, keep on quilting! 
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival!

It is time for the fall edition of the Blogger's Quilt Festival graciously hosted by Amy over at Amy's creative side! Unless you are living under a rock, your computer died and your smart phone is not delivering your blog feeds, you already know this, eh? :) If you haven't been over to check out the completely A MA ZING collection of quilts this year, go have a peak. . . I dare you not to spend the next couple of hours days looking at wonderful quilty eye candy!

Blogger's Quilt Festival -

I was going to skip out on the festival this time. . . and then I see all of the wonderful quilts popping up around blog land. . . and I just had to get in on the fun! I'm entering this quilt in the Large Quilts category.

I decided to enter the quilt I gave to my sister. I still haven't figured out. . . which is the front and which is the back :) I think she likes the back better - when she shared it on FB she only showed the back! I concur wholeheartedly!! 

Is it the front, or is it the back??? Hmmmm. . .

Back :) Was kind of a shame putting all of that work into a back! LOL

Spirals and leaves created all over quilty goodness.

And a closeup of the 'front' just because :)
You can see the original finished post here. The making of this quilt was not without its issues. . . there were many . . . Ahh but I think the finished product was well worth the PITA that occurred along the way!

Make sure you follow the links and check out all of the other quilts and vote for your favorites! You will be amazed, I promise!!

And for even more amazing inspiration, check out DWM over at Patchwork Times and Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts!!

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shoveling and Quilting :)

I have more snowflakes! I made all three versions of Snowflake 3. . . ummm, almost all of it. . . I ran out of fabric for the top strips on Version 1. . . I still haven't decided how I'm going to go about making that right. . . ugh! Anyway, here they are!

I have had several thoughts about how I am going to turn these into a quilt. . .

I thought I had a plan for a quilt. . . and different options keep presenting themselves as I work on these . . . :)

I know this looks wonky but once I figure out what I am going to do about not having enough fabric.... It will all be good :)

Here they are all together. Now I have 7. . . . 11 more to go :)
I have been quilting like crazy on Off Course. I have the flying geese done, now to do the negative space (yes, that's more than half of the quilt LOL). Here's a close up of a couple of the geese - the quilting is difficult to photograph in the black but this gives you an idea. . . and might explain why it took DAYS to quilt - quilting black on black is really hard on the eyes!!

I really like how this is looking!

OK, going to set Rosanne back up for quilting - AHHH Negative Space :D 

Linking up with Joanne for the Snowalong link up. Make sure you link up if you have been having a little snowstorm in your sewing room!! Also linking up with Kelly for NTT

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quilt Show Wrap Up - Lessons learned

In case you missed my post on Friday, here's a recap - I entered Spin into a regional quilt show. It received two ribbons, Best Modern Quilt and Best Amateur Domestic Quilting (still pinching myself). Spin made it back home yesterday afternoon. Here are the judges comments (can't figure out how to use my scanner. . . and my tech guy is at work ;) . . . so I took a picture)
If anyone can explain, "Change in quilting thread color shows good attention to detail and creates the idea that different fabrics were used" please do - I'd love to know what that means!

The only thing that is 'negative' is the comment about the seams showing. I expected that comment. . . There are several spots in the piecing that the thread shows through. Close up so you can see (kind of...):

It's much more obvious when you are looking at the quilt. . . look across the seem both horizontal and vertical on the black center piece and you can see it. It is also showing on those grey pieces to the left and right.
Anyone know if there is a fix for this? Note to self. I admit it, I piece my tops with a light color thread and I never ever match the thread to the fabric. . . probably not a smart choice for black fabric and in a quilt that I thought might some day be entered into a show. . . Also, to reduce bulk I ironed the seams open when I sewed the blocks together. Had they been pressed to the side, those threads would not be showing. . . . I am a press my seams open kind of gal. I use a small stitch in my piecing to compensate. Judi Madsen made a plea (literally, I think the please was even italicized!) in her book "Quilting Wide Open Spaces" for seams to be pressed to the side if the quilting is going to be dense. I poo pooed that little tidbit. . . she even showed a picture - much like my picture above. I still didn't take heed (you know I have to test everything! LOL). I think this wouldn't be as much of an issue if I had used black thread to piece those blocks together. . . or even a very dark grey. . . Lesson learned.

Did you see that last comment? . . . "Excellent binding techniques" !!!!!!!  Those of you who followed through on the making of Spin know that the binding portion of making this quilt was a total cluster. . . it took THREE times and the cutting of new binding to get it to lie flat. . . I used finally Sharon Schamber's tutorial on binding and followed EVERY step. It worked. Oh, the other thing, SonJa (a  wonderful reader of my blog) recommended that I get some Size 11 Millner needles for my hand sewing of binding - OMG! I'm buying a case!! Made the process (and you all know how much I hated disliked the hand sewing of the binding) SO much easier! Thank you, SonJa!! Binding is important, especially if you have any intention of entering a quilt in a show. Lessons learned here? Size does matter with hand sewing needles too!! Perseverance can pay off in the end! Several show quilters have written (Sharon states it in her tutorial) that the binding will make or break a show quilt. I am glad I took the time to get it right! LOTS of lessons learned prior to earning an excellent rating on the binding :)

What you ask is the biggest lesson I learned in this entire process? Perfection is not necessary to enter a quilt into a show (or submit it for jury into a show). I could have named many other things that were 'wrong' with Spin that the judges didn't mention. Did they not see those things? I'm guessing they did. Part of that lesson is also this: there is no need to be so hard on myself when small mistakes are made - especially in FMQing. Did you see their comment? "Machine quilting stitch well controlled." Really? I have never thought my stitches looked 'well controlled'. . . This comment totally took me by surprise. Big.Time.

The big question, will I enter another quilt show? YES! I highly recommend! :) Others that have entered quilts in shows know, it is a thrill to see your quilt hanging on display in public :) I submitted Spin to the Road to California show. I won't know until December if it is juried into the show. I may submit Spin to other shows. I have the Michael Miller challenge quilt that I will submit to QuiltCon. Will either be accepted? My thought is, you will never know unless you try :)

And here is a better picture of Spin, her ribbons and a couple of close ups of the additional quilting I did in the stars (just for you, Vera ;) )  

I am off to quilt some more on Off Course. I worked on it yesterday, this one is going to take some time . . . Dang, look at the date on that flimsy finish post. . . July??? I'm embarrassed!! 

Linking up with Lorna for Let's Bee Social Kelly for NTT and Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday. If you haven't been, go check them out for some pretty awesome inspiration!

Until next time, keep on quilting!! 

Adding a PS to this after I posted. . . I want to give credit to the person that inspired me to enter a show in the first place and I can't believe I forgot to add this to the original post! Leanne over at She Can Quilt had a post back in June (Consider entering a quilt show). Before I read this post, I never would have considered the possibility of entering a show. . . ever. I thought about it a lot. Then she added the page in which she lists shows and submission deadline dates. I found myself visiting that page a lot. Thinking maybe I can hit that deadline, or maybe that one. . . I missed several deadlines but when I saw the deadline for this regional show (not on Leanne's blog) I thought what a perfect way to dip my toes in the water. I sent Leanne an email this week thanking her for her post and for inspiring me to take the plunge :) Leanne has several posts about quilt shows (specifically about entering modern quilts into 'traditional' quilt shows), if you are interested just search her blog - you will find plenty to read and a LOT of inspiration. Her quilts are AMAZING!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Flurries in my DW Forecast!

Word light, picture heavy post. I finished three of the four snowflakes for Snowflake Version 2 for the Snowalong!! I have cut the time WAY down, have had to rip out WAY less and all of this PP business is making way more sense to my flakey brain! (see what I did there?? haha) So here they are, Snowflake 2, versions 1, 3 and 4. And I've thrown in a picture of all four snowflakes just so you can see that there really is a flurry going on right here in AZ :) Oh, and yes Sandra (and others who may wonder) it does snow in AZ up in the mountains. I have actually seen snow here in Phoenix on a couple of occasions over the past 20 years :) So here we go, into the snow storm!

Snowflake 2, Version 1
Snowflake 2, Version 3
Snowflake 2, Version 4
It's officially a flurry! LOL
Here is a better picture of Snowflake 1, Version 1.
I'm going to have to call out the snow plows soon!! :D
So my plan is to make three different versions of each of the 6 patterns. I think I have a plan for a quilt once I have 18 blocks. . . I'll figure it out more concretely once I get a few more blocks. Joanne has Version 3 up today! My plan is to make 5 more this week. . . Two more versions of Snowflake one and all three versions of Snowflake 3. Then I'll be all caught up. I will also be quilting on Off Course this week. I'm not even going to kid myself into thinking it will be done by the end of the week. I will say this - it will be almost there :) 

Linking up with Joanne for the Snowalong and with Judy for DW Monday.

Will be back on Wednesday to share more about my first quilt show! I'm still smiling ;)

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Friday, October 10, 2014

So I Went To the Quilt Show Today. . .

Last week I told you that Spin was juried into the Rim Country Quilt Festival which is a regional quilt show here in AZ. The show started today. I couldn't wait to see Spin hanging in the show :) How cool to have a quilt hanging in a quilt show right? I walk in, and start looking at quilts. There are more quilts than I thought there would be hanging in rows down the center of a big room in the casino (I think it is kind of humorous that the show was held at the casino). I kept walking through what seemed like hundreds (it wasn't!) and started to think "Oh man, they lost my quilt!" haha Then, in the second to the last row (can you believe it . . . if I had walked in the other door, it would have been in the second row!), I saw this:

UMMMM. . . WHAT????
I think to myself, "Self, pinch yourself and take a closer look. . . you are dreaming!!" and when I stepped closer I saw this:

Are you kidding me??? FIRST Place, Modern Quilts. . .

Now I KNOW someone is messing with me!! Best Amateur Machine Quilted??? OK, I'm going to cry now! . . . and I did have tears in my eyes, I'm not too proud to admit it!
OH.MY.GOD! As I was standing there, ready to have a total excited melt down staring at Spin one of the volunteers came over and said "Isn't it beautiful? But wait until you see the back, it is fabulous!" . . . I took a breath. What do I say? And if I say anything is it going to come out right? Am I just going to burst into tears??? I'm not kidding. I'm not a drop of the hat cry kind of girl but I can't even describe the emotions that were swirling! So I said very softly, "That's my quilt, I made that." Her eyes got real big and she told me how beautiful it is and how many wonderful comments she'd heard from people as they looked at my quilt. Then she said "Kind of makes you want to cry when you see ribbons hanging on your quilt doesn't it?" Umm, yeah, it does! We talked for a bit about quilt making and FMQing and then I said to her, again very softly "Was this the only quilt in the Modern category?" Honestly, I hadn't seen any others! And she grabbed my arm and said "Oh goodness no, honey!" LOL So, here are the admittedly bad pictures (impossible to get a good picture at a quilt show - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ;) ) of the other quilts that won in the category:

Second Place, Gee Mod made by Peter A Plante

Third Place: Shards made by Barbara Parish
Honorable Mention: Mostly Modern by Pat Jonz
I am still pinching myself and processing. . . I'm a little LOT in shock. This has been an amazing day! :D 

I won't get Spin back until Wednesday morning. When I do, I will share with you the judges comments - I am so curious to see what they said! And I will also share more about my thoughts on this entire process. I am too in the moment right at the moment ;) 

Until next time, keep on quilting! PS, I think I feel my sewing mojo creeping back! ;)

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Snowing in AZ?

Ummm, no, it is not the snowstorm I had predicted. . . I intended to make all four of the blocks for the first round of the Snowalong over at Canuk Quilter (button on side bar). . . I have not given up. . . I refuse to let this snowflake chill me to the idea of making more! (see what I did there?? Chill me. . . snow. . . haha) Anyway, it has taken me two full days of mostly ripping to get this right. . . TWO DAYS!! OK, a day and a half. I had a terrible time of it yesterday, worked the entire day on this block and did not even make it half way through the block. . . why? My brain just was not cooperating. I kept sewing the wrong color, skipping sewing lines (I know, how does one do that??) and not getting the fabric placed right to cover the intended piece. When I noticed that not only had I skipped a sew line, I had placed a blue fabric where a white fabric was supposed to go. . . and all of the units were already sewn together, I threw in the towel for the day. Said LOTS of bad words. . . and drank some a LOT of wine. And wouldn't you know it is raining here today??? So an inside picture it is because I am going to link up with the first linky party for the Snowalong today if it is the last thing I do! LOL

LOVE IT. . . An entire quilt? Not sure. . . I did order that Flakey bundle over at Fortworth Fabrics.... it arrives today. . . stay tuned. . . ;)
OK, the other thing. . . I sewed the top and bottom print pieces on and sadly realized that Joanne had made a change to the pattern . . . The strips are not wide enough so those of you with the watchful eye are correct - this block is not square. . . I'm contemplating options here. Maybe one snowflake out of each of the patterns and figure out a cool way to make them into a modern quilt. . .Maybe a pillow. . . Maybe different versions of each pattern (6 total) and an entire snowstorm quilt. . . I know. I'm insane. I do have to say that it went MUCH better this morning. I only had to rip once ;) 

Oh, and I want to say - my issues had NOTHING to do with the pattern. Joanne has done a FANTASTIC job with the patterns and when I sent her an email last night telling her of my woes she even mailed me back quickly with some suggestions with how to make things go a little smoother - not things related to the pattern - general paper piecing tips. This is only the second time I have done PPing. . . maybe an easier pattern would have been the wiser choice. . . MOI?? Easy?? NEVER! Ha!

Linking up with the Snowalong, Let's Bee Social, WIP Wednesday (WIP or a finish?? That is the question!!) NTT and Finish it up Friday

I'll be back! ;) Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Randomness and a Finish

Last week I told you about my sewing slump. . . which happens to continue in full force. . . and how I picked up a crochet hook for the first time in well over 20 years. So after a short update of what's been happening around here (because let's face it, not much has been happening!), I'm going to show you the awesome infinity scarf and slouchy beanie I made for my niece :) 

First up, Spin was juried into the regional quilt show in Payson, AZ! Excited you ask? Maybe just a little!! I mailed her off yesterday and next week I take a little drive and go see something I made hanging in a quilt show! I can't wait!! Which one is Spin? Here she is, so you don't have to go searching :)

Darn it, in my haste to get her in the mail I forgot to take a new picture. . . I did ad quilting on the stars. Took some of that baggy saggy out of it :)
How exciting is that?? I'm excited. Who knows, I might hate the entire process once it is over but I thought I would give it a whirl :) 

In other news, I finished putting my stash on comic boards and putting them in my new ironing table! So I have been doing something fabric related. . . I've been folding and petting fabric. . . does that count? This was an interesting process. . . first, I found yards of flannel (very good flannel and very cute BTW) at the bottom of my magic fabric chest.... I have no idea when, where or why I bought it. . . Has that ever happened to you? Nah, I bet not ;) I say my stash isn't that big - and it really isn't because most of it is in fat quarter size. Recently I have been buying larger quantities of yardage to use as background fabrics. Anywho, I had 200 comic boards... I ordered 200 more and have used over 100 of those! Who knew there were that many different cuts hiding in that magic fabric chest??? It really isn't that big!! :) And I might have recently placed a relatively sizable order with Pink Chalk. . . did you hear? The store is closing - major :( Pink Chalk was my go to store for everything. I am rather sad about this. Everything on the site is 20% off. . . if you need anything ;) Oh, and just in case you haven't noticed. . . there are lots of sales happening! Contemporary Cloth has 30% off everything! Cuts of Cotton has 25% off the entire store (code FALL25)!! Man, major restraint has been used over in this corner of the world because I have refrained from buying anything. . . so far ;) I'm not affiliated with any of these shops - I just like to spread around the happy fabric buying bug! Your welcome ;)

The top right cube will be used for known future projects, second for rulers, the second row both cubes are filled with solids, the bottom cubes are mostly batiks and some Kaffe Fassett at the end.  Barely visible, in the cube that sits further back are the few prints I have collected.
In the cubes that you can't see, I have put yardage that is too big to put on boards. Solids, the mystery flannel and some sketch in various colors. The solids and sketch will be used for backgrounds. Mostly grey, some white and a few creams (not sure what I was thinking when I went on that cream color kick. . . whatever it was I was thinking big. . . I bought a LOT ;)

OK, thus ends the fabric portion of this post. On to crochet! This is going to be short, sweet and to the point :)

As I mentioned, I made an infinity scarf and slouchy beanie for my niece (she also happens to be my Goddaughter). For the scarf, I didn't have a pattern.... surprised? LOL I found this video tutorial on how to do the basket weave stitch (oh, and there is a lefty version too!)- LOVED. Double crochet? I can double crochet!! Here are a couple of shots of the scarf in progress.

First couple of rows.

This is one skein of yarn. . . this scarf is DENSE :) I used 5 skeins of 100g chunky acrylic/superwashed wool yarn. G O R G E O U S
For the slouchy beanie I followed this video tutorial - it took me about two hours to make the beanie. I don't have any pictures of just the beanie. Here is my niece in her new scarf and beanie :D

Beautiful no? Oh, and the scarf and beanie look pretty good too ;)
Here's my pretty failed attempt to take a picture of the back of the beanie while it was on my head. . . do you have any idea how hard it is to take a selfie of the back on one's head??? You can kind of get the idea of the back and just how hard taking this kind of picture without a mirror really is ;)

This is the only picture out of about 20 that I got even close! hehe AND it was over 100 degrees out that day. . . I was melting!!
The colors in the picture of my niece are most true. So there you go. My first foray into crochet after not having a hook in my had for over 20 years. . . not bad huh? :D

OH, that new button on my sidebar, the very first one at the top? It's for the Snowalong over at Canuck Quilter! Click on the button to find out all about it! How fun! Snow in AZ in October! I'm in!! :)

Linking up with NTT and Finish it up Friday

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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