Quilting

Half Year Review – 2015

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Well, howdy, Internet friends!  Seems that I sort of disappeared from blogging the last half of 2015.  So, it may take awhile to catch you all up; I’ll resist my initial inclination to do it all at once!

Connie_CDA_June_2015I started a new job last year, in May, which coincides with when my blogging dropped off the map.  I’d been at my previous employer for almost 10 years, so it’s been a bit of a transition.  I’m still in the same tech field, though it’s a much smaller department, and even get to travel and go to conferences.  I think I’m finally getting comfortable and I really like the people I work with.

I also started a small quiltscrap_explosion group.  It wasn’t an intentional decision, just a group of my friends who I wanted to spend time with and, well, it just sort of blossomed.  This photo is from one of those sessions where they helped me with a collection of scraps; what happens at sew day, stays at sew day!

Interestingly enough, the majority of the group are teachers, whether by formal training or natural ability.  We call ourselves the Grateful Threads and we meet once a month, working on both personal and group projects.  There’s so much laughter, fun, and learning that goes on, I can’t believe how lucky I am to know each and every one of them.

Pfaff_7570I bought a Pfaff 7570 sewing machine this summer because not only do I love my Pfaff machines, this one is capable of embroidering and came with the original cable that will allow connection to an (older) computer and a TON of embroidery cards.  I’ve had some challenges getting it connected so I can make up the embroidered quilt labels as I intended, but that’s an ongoing process.  I’ll keep you posted!

Fast forward to the recent holiday season, and I had several customer quilts I had promised for Christmas.  I finished by the 12th of December, so I helped a friend with her first quilt, which was made up of a variety of 5” blocks sewn together and a dark blue minky back.  She wanted to give it as a gift for Christmas and it was so much fun watching her gain confidence in the process.  I didn’t get any photos of the quilt, but I’m sure she did so I’ll post them later.

20151220_094040I also made 4 hats on my bulky knitting machine, 3 of them using this EASY pattern:

http://knittsings.com/how-to-machine-knit-a-basic-easy-stocking-hat

 

20151220_093647For the 4th one I adapted a hand knitting pattern that allows for a ponytail at the top so that my long-haired niece could wear it:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/holey-hat-2

It was fussy to do because I don’t have a garter bar for the bulky, much less know what I’m doing with adapting patterns or moving stitches around!  LOL!

I’m planning on getting my ribber set up in the next couple of weeks because I really want to start making a sweater that uses ribbing and I REALLY don’t want to hand knit it.

I’m also looking forward to trying a  new pattern for a Quarter Crown hat pattern that not only is it a new technique to learn but I’d like to contribute some chemo hats to a gal who only takes hand knitted hats made in the round because a seam is too rough on the chemo head.

http://slisen.blogspot.com/2016/01/quarter-crown-for-hats.html

I’m definitely looking forward to this coming year.  There will be many challenges but I’m going to embrace them all the best I can.

Happy New Year!

What’s New?

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20150308_162656I have been thinking of several topics for blog posts over the last 2 months, I’ve even taken photos!  However, life has simply gotten in the way of posting.  Seriously, maybe I need to re-think how I post; Mary from MaryQuilts.com posts something almost every day!

 

I, however, try to post on both WordPress, Blogspot and my own website and that means keeping them all updated at the same time.  Simplify?  Yes, I need to do that!  But I also want to reach the widest audience possible.  Why?   It’s my social side; I’m also planning a podcast!  I like to talk to people and share what I know.  The problem is trying to figure out the technology and schedule.  I know I love being able to share my ideas and conversations. And then I also think about the need to update my website…aarrgh!

 

What’s new?  I started a new job!  That is, I left my employer of 10 years to start providing tech support at a new place.  So, in some ways I feel like I’m starting a new career.  It just happens that I am still providing tech support, which I love, ‘cuz I love helping people.  It’s just who I am.

I’m also going to be teaching another beginning quilt class in June; the first one was in  March at Jones Sew and Vac.  I made the quilt that is shown to illustrate how a rail fence pattern looks without a sashing in between each block.  I love the design and it’s great for a beginner.   I really enjoyed the last class and learned a lot.  I think everyone had fun and I even made new friends.

 

Now, I’m back to quilting customer quilts and my June is totally booked!  No surprise there!  I will be teaching new quilters in June and I’m hoping to attend a family reunion.  My step child is also graduating from college but because of the new job I won’t be able to attend; I have no time off now!

 

I hope you are all working on projects and enjoying yourself; life is just too short.

 

Happy quilting!

Growing, not shrinking, stash!

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20150308_162656I wanted to try to show an alternative block size and layout to the pink and white Odd Girl Out Rail Fence pattern I’ll be using when I teach my beginning quilting class at the new sewing machine shop in town, Jones Sew n Vac.

So, what did I do?  I shopped my stash, of course!  And I found some great fabrics that work well with the colors in my living room, the colors that my DH is most comfortable with.  This will be easy, right?

I ended up with 24 blocks and I decided I liked the traditional Rail 20150308_141653Fence layout but I wanted a larger quilt.  I like scrappy so I started adding fabric.  And then I needed just one more color, maybe two.    But I needed more than just a fat quarter.   Oh, and how about this other color, I need that one, too.  Oh, but that green is too dark, I’ll need to replace that one, and that print is distracting, so take those blocks out.

Seriously, see the orange print?  It’s distracting and I hadn’t noticed it before I took this photo!  So, those are going into a different project.

All in all I spent my allowance for this on fabric that I didn’t intend to purchase and my stash has grown, not shrunk!  Aargh!

But I’m happy to report that the blocks are sewn into rows and I’ve started sewing the rows together.  It seems that I’m a lot less tolerant than I used to be for those seams that shift when I sew them together.  Either that, or I’ve gotten sloppier in my technique.  Oh yeah, THAT’S why I don’t use this layout in my beginning class!

I should have the top done by Saturday, but I may not have borders on.  That’s OK because then I can use this top as an example to show my class, which is exactly what my intent what in the beginning, anyway.

New Beginning Quilting Class Sample

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20150221_145426I had so much fun yesterday!

I pulled fabric from my stash to create another version of my Odd Girl Out rail fence quilt in order to refresh myself on my beginning quilting class instructions because I’m going to teach the class again, which is actually a piecing class, in a 2 day series of 4 hours each, March 14th and 28th at Jones Sew n Vac, the new sewing machine store in Boise on Fairview avenue.

Once I pulled the fabrics, I headed to Jones Sew n Vac to test the new Pfaff Performance 5.0 machine.  They prominently display all of the Pfaff sewing machines (my favorite!) and carry the new Brother Dream Machine for sewing and embroidery which looks like SO much fun!

This is the same class I taught for Community Education a couple of years ago and I’m really excited to teach it again.  To get started, I’m going to cover tools, choosing fabric, how to cut and sew and we’re going to get the majority of the work done to start work at the next session.

During the second class we’ll put the blocks together l20150221_202851earning how to add sashing and borders, then create the back.   My mentor, Marian Drain, taught me a super easy, super fast method of creating a square back that any longarmer will love!

Once I got back home I started playing with the layout of the blocks I’d made. 

I’m partial to the stair step design, but the initial purpose of creating this quilt was to show students how the design would look 20150221_213542using 4 – 2.5” strips instead of 5 – 2” strips.

The other factor is that if I don’t use sashing then my quilt is smaller.  Well, that is, using only the first fabrics I pulled.  I may need to create another set of corresponding blocks, similar colors and values, to add to the design, and explain to my students the nature of changing your mind mid-project!

I’d appreciate any feedback, if you care to share your opinion on which way to go.

Happy Trails

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DSCF8490As promised, I’m sharing the last customer quilt I completed, which was in November 2014.

 

This is Nani’s quilt, one she made for herself out of some vintage cowboy fabrics.  I did an overall DSCF8487looping meander to simulate the look of a cowboy’s rope.  It was really fun to quilt and Nani loves it.  Best of all, I’ve made a new friend!

 

During the holiday break I had a chance to work on the 9 patch medley and it’s all quilted.  I love how it’s turning out!  The binding is already made and once the I finish the label I’ll catch 2 sides of it into the binding seam so all I have to do is stitch down 2 sides.  Once I finish it I’ll post photos.

 

I also went shop hopping with a couple of friends and while I don’t need more fabric, I did make a few purchases.  Uh, some of them might even be fabric.   Winking smile

I’ll highlight them in some upcoming posts but for now I’ll just say “Happy New Year”!

November projects

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I don’t know how I managed this, but today is EXACTLY one month since my last blog post;  I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy during this past month, too!

In the first part of November we had a snowfall of 7”-10”, leaving a bunch of ice on the streets and sidewalks and an inversion that caused some VERY cold weather!

PW_hatI pulled out the hat I’d started making my husband last winter and sewed up the side seam, finally completing the project.  Nothing like a sudden weather change to prompt finishing UFOs!

starParticipants in my online vintage sewing machine group decided to make a quilt for a friend of the group who was recently diagnosed with cancer and  I made this 54/40 or Fight block.  It’s one of my favorites!  The participants in the group are far and wide and most of us haven’t met in person.  However, we got a lot of satisfaction making this quilt and it turned out great so we’re going to continue this group.

20141116_182900I’ve also been working diligently on a quilt for a special veteran.  This vet is a new friend of my mom’s so I thought I’d take some blocks that I had left over from the first American Hero Quilts I made to make this second quilt.  I figured I’d get it finished in time for Christmas.

Well, I got an email from my mom in early November telling me that my brother, who lives in New Hampshire, was bringing his 15 year old son to visit my mom, who lives in Montana.  He’s a Montana State University alumni and my mom is a University of  Montana alumni and they planned on attending the cross-state rivalry Cat-Griz football game.  Of course that changed all my plans!

Try as I might, I didn’t get the quilt finished in time for the trip so I’m putting the borders on it and piecing the back this weekend.  It’ll have to be a Christmas gift instead, especially if I decide that it’s not long enough; he’s a tall guy!

I already know how I want to quilt the interior and which thread I’ll use, so now I need to figure out how to do the borders.  I’m pretty pleased with how this one is turning out!

I’d better get moving if I want to get any sewing done today.  I’ll post an update on the last customer quilt I did for this year next time.

Cute Baby Quilt!

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20141021_165635This is the latest customer quilt I finished.  Isn’t it cute?!?!

This is Thalia’s first quilt.  Well, she helped on a bunch of them with her mother-in-law on all the previous family quilts, but unfortunately, her mother in law has passed away, and now she’s expecting another grand child….THIS week!

If you zoom in on the picture you can see bicycles in the dark fabric.  She wanted to create a pathway for them so I quilted some close, wavy lines in that area, with wider wavy lines in the squares.

We chose Warm and Safe batting with King Tut Heather thread on the top, which matched perfectly.

I did the binding by machine because it’s going to get washed … a LOT!

Thalia was so thrilled to complete the quilt, and I was thrilled for her.  We’ll be sitting down, creating more of them together, soon!