Happy Numbers

I was super excited when in late January Capri came home with a consent form that allowed a piece of her art be hung at the Southwest Regional Art Show at UW Baraboo.  Of course I signed it!  It all worked out pretty well too – the ‘reception’ for the event was on February 22nd – two days before Capri’s birthday.

When we got to the show we went hunting for Capri’s work – she wasn’t sure which piece the teacher had selected.  When I had emailed the teacher for more details about the show she had included a little note too…
We just made it part of her birthday celebration!
I could have put just about any piece of artwork of Capri's!  She is so talented and conscientious! I have really enjoyed having your kids in art:)

So nice to hear!  It wasn’t long before we found Capri’s piece – she had named it ‘Happy Numbers’.

I think it sort of looks like a quilt!  What fun!  It was a  great little show and so nice to see that Poynette was so well represented with some wonderful student artists!

Here Capri is with her piece!

Olympic Mug Rug Swap

When Michele from Quilting Gallery posted about the Olympics Inspired Mug Rug Swap I signed up right away!  She does such an amazing job organizing these swaps I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

There were two patterns from the Patchsmith that we were to make for our partners.

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The first one was the  The Winter Dove.  I used a piece of my hand-dyed print for the background of my dove – I think it was perfect!  Also – my dove is flying in autumn so she has orange leaves (and my partner listed orange as one of her favorites and I liked the contrast of the orange with the blue more than I think green would have made.).

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The other pattern was the Russian Doll.  I  did use a couple of the same fabrics in each mug rug just because I think it makes them more of a ‘pair’ that way – but they also can still hold their own.

Sometimes the swaps are secret but this time they weren’t.  I LOVED that!  My partner was Susan from Canada and this is her website.  We chatted a bit with each other online and when I told her I would be happy to tone down my colors for her so she could enjoy her mug rugs her response after checking out my work was – “please don't tone down your style.  I love it”  WHEW!  Things just became so much easier for me!  The patterns also had the dove rug finishing at a slightly larger size than the doll – I altered the dimensions slightly so they were both the same size…I’m thinking that’s the engineer in me. IMG_6027I did take her preferences into account as I picked out my fabrics for my rugs – BUT I would say they pretty much still scream ‘Kim made these!’  I shipped them out on Monday and I can’t wait to here what she thinks when she sees them!

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I enjoyed these so much that I had a bit of extra time so I quick whipped up a simplified Russian Doll mug rug for a friend who adopted a boy from Russia!  It turned out so sweet and perfect AND she loved it!

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The other day I exciting mail – my rugs from my partner had a arrived!  Ironically she made the dove mug rug for me in her hand-dyed fabric!  Wonderful!

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And check out this adorable Russian Doll Mug Rug!  Pip carries this around and kisses the dolly!  Thank you partner!  I Love them!

If you’re on facebook – be sure to join the group ‘Quilting Gallery Swaps’ so you don’t miss out on the next fun swap (and you’ll see all the great ones coming in from this one) AND/OR join the flickr group!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday!

A Lovely Year of Finishes–February Finish–My Favorite Block Quilt AlongQuilt

My Button

My February goal for ‘ A Lovely Year of Finishes’ was to start and finish quilting my ‘My Favorite Block’ Quilt Top.



I did complete my goal AND I learned A LOT in the progress.

Lesson 1:  Quilting on a frame is way more than just moving your machine around and making pretty patterns!


When you try out the quilting machines at shows the fabric, batting, backing, etc is already all set up for you.  You just push the button and start quilting!  Which is super fun and you feel amazing when on your second try you do manage to make a feather…on a big open piece of fabric that doesn’t really matter.  You are hooked!

When you get your machine home all set up and ready for you to load the quilt on – YOU have to do it all!  The dealer isn’t there each time you have to load the quilt….you have to.  Which takes time.  When you’re used to just piecing and then sending quilts off, you don’t realize the extra time involved in actually doing the quilting part of the quilt.  I think this has been one of my biggest hurdles in getting comfortable with my machine.  As it is, I don’t have a lot of time to even just piece, so it’s hard to fit in my schedule the loading of the quilt and the quilting of the quilt.  Once again – it’s all about timing and time management.  While I did finish my goal of quilting this quilt I didn’t finish much else for ‘extra’ projects.

I have always respected what long arm quilters do – but I have to say after tackling this project I have a new found respect for what there ENTIRE job entails!

Lesson 2:  I am not very good at focusing.




So – my machine is just a super fast straight machine on a frame.  Which means I can do about 6-inches in a strip – which isn’t the biggest strip so a lot of quilt rolling goes on.  Which also means I have to remember what pattern I started on a particular block.  This quilt was a good one to work on with this machine since it’s a sampler with many 6-inch blocks.  If I rolled it properly I could fit an entire block into one roll. The problem came about more with my 12-inch blocks.  Sometimes I would forget which pattern I did on the top half of the block for the bottom half – oops!



I’m also really glad this was a sampler so I could do lots of different free motion stitching designs on the blocks without it looking too weird.  I also started by doing each block differently but soon realized that meandering in the ‘background’ areas of the blocks helped things flow much better.



And sometimes I didn’t have the block rolled out far enough so I didn’t quite make it to the bottom of a block…I figure it still looked good – right?

Lesson 3:  I get bored quickly.




I used a neutral Aurifil thread for most of the quilt.  I was getting super bored with the neutral thread so by the bottom of the quilt I switched to an orange Aurifil thread.  It may be a bit odd to do most of the quilt in one color and then switch in the end but oh well – it made me happy.  I think in the future I’ll have to pick a few threads to use and then switch them as needed throughout the quilt instead of just the bottom quarter.  You can see the two different colors on my giant geese.  It could be worse – I could have switched up mid-grey goose.

Lesson 4:  I’m really good at some free motion quilting patterns.




Like ‘Etch N Sketch’ from Leah Day.  Pretty sure it’s one of my new favorite.  I used it in the top and bottom of my spool blocks. I used Shadow Waves in the ‘thread’ portion of the Spool block.  I love these two combined!



I also like what I did in my ‘heart’ blocks.  Writing words like ‘love’ is one thing I enjoy mixing into my quilting.



I’m not sure if you can see it…but in the green lion fabric I wrote out the word ‘ROAR’.



I think I did pretty good on my ‘River Path’ attempt.

I don’t know if I can stress enough how much Leah Day’s video’s have helped me be a better Free Motion Quilter.  I HIGHLY recommend checking out her site and her video’s!  Even the patterns that look simple…are not always as easy to do as they look but after you watch Leah’s tutorial you’ll be much better and more aware of what you’re doing and what you should be thinking as you work on the design.  Oh – I should mention that her quilting is done on a standard machine BUT they translate into a framed quilting machine just fine too!

Lesson 5:  I’m really NOT good at some free motion quilting patterns.




I’m going to go out on limb and say that my attempt at the Lollipop Chain FMQ pattern was a fail.  This is not to say that I won’t get better at it but this just did not work like it did in my mind.  I also have to admit that I did not watch Leah Day’s tutorial on how to do it – I just looked at the picture.  I do find that watching her videos and listening to tips she shares throughout them tend to make my attempts a bit more successful.



I don’t think this was a complete fail but here I attempted a modified Delilah flower…  definitely need more practice!


Lesson 6:  I did not ruin an amazing award winning quilt.


There were moments as I battled with thread issues (see the dropped stitches in my pinwheel?)

and dealt with my quilt not staying perfect and puckering in some spots on the edge that I thought to myself, “Oh my Gosh!  I’m ruining a prize winning quilt by doing this myself!”


And then I stepped back and really looked at my quilt.  Is it really amazing, cool, and unexpected?  Yes?  Is it really award winning quality? No way.  And it wasn’t before the quilting started.  While my piecing skills have improved drastically over the last few years of working on samplers and BOMs, it is still far from perfect.  An award winning quilt really needs to have points match where they’re supposed to.



Even though if you look at this piece from a distance it looks great and the piecing looks accurate, if you really get up and close to it – you’ll see, I still have plenty of room for improvement!  So while, I did not ruin an award winning quilt by quilting this myself, I DID make a great quilt to use in future Trunk shows.  It’s a non-standard sampler quilt that I can show many free motion quilting lessons on.  Double plus!

Lesson 7:  My Janome 1600 is not a Gammill. (but I still love her)


I do not have a perfect long arm quilting machine.  For me to expect her to work like a Gammill or Juki is just unreasonable.

  It does have a stitch regulator but it’s just not meant to be a long arm machine and it doesn’t work the best.  SO – when I DO have a quilt that I have pieced really well…I’ll probably not be quilting it myself…at least for awhile.

Lesson 8. I still need A LOT of practice!


While my machine is not a Gammill – my mistakes are not completely my machine’s fault.  I need to practice!  I need to take the time and keep a quilt loaded on the machine so I can keep practicing.  I’m not going to get better if I quilt a quilt, pull it off the machine, wait a few months to put another one on.

And with all those lessons learned – I still finished my goal (and it’s bound!)



When the weather gets nicer (at least above zero) I’ll get some better pictures on my deer fence.

But for now…Jared holding it over the railing will just have to do!  (he always makes faces when he knows I’m taking a picture) I used a grey fabric to bind the quilt…I thought it worked nicely to pull it all together.  It does feel good to have a WIP marked off and put onto my ‘FINISHED’ list!

Apple Flagstones Block Tutorial: 52 Twisted Traditional Block QuiltAlong

I had all the photo’s taken and was on track to get my blog post done by last night for the next block of the 52 Blocks Quilt Along but then, I was distracted by #talknt and other online chatting, before I knew it, it was 11pm and I really needed to get some sleep.  I could have gotten this done this morning BUT I decided that I needed to go to the gym.  So – here I am and it’s almost noon and I’m just getting this to you.  I really need to work on my planning!  I could have been sewing instead.  Oh well – it’s a cute block this week, it was worth the little extra wait.


Apple Flagstones Block Tutorial for

52 Twisted Traditional Block Quilt Along


Finished Block Size – 8” x 8”


I twisted the ‘Delaware Flagstones’ block for our next block. By choosing colors and adding a few little stems – we have a couple of apples in a fun patchwork field.

Cutting Instructions

Fabric A (I used red)
2 – 3.5” squares

Fabric B (bright shade of green)
1 – 8” x 1.5” strip
2 – 4” x 1.5” strips

Fabric C (contrasting shade of green)
1 – 4” x 1.5” strips
2 – 8” x 1.5” strips
4 – 1.5” x 1.5” squares

Fabric D (light green)
8 – 1.5” x 1.5” squares
4 – 1.5” x 6.5” strips


Fabric E (brown)
1 – 1.5” x1.25” approximately, a small scrap will do just fine

Fusible (your favorite kind)
1 – 1” x 1.25” approximately

Directions


Draw a diagonal line on the back of your eight 1.5” squares of Fabric D.

Place them on the corners of Fabric A – right sides together in the orientation shown above.

Stitch along the lines you drew.


Trim each of the four corners off leaving approximately a quarter inch.


Iron towards the corner fabric. Square off to 3.5” if necessary.  Make 2 blocks.


Sew your 4” strips together and your 8” strips together like shown in the picture above.

Cut the 4” strip into two 3.5” x 1.5” pieces and the 8” strip into three 3.5” by 1.5” pieces. Arrange as I show to make a nine patch and sew the rows together.


You now have two cornerstones and two nine patches.


Sew them together into a 6.5” square.


Now it’s time to add the border. Sew a 6.5” x 1.5” strip to the top and bottom of the block you just made.

Sew a cornerstone of Fabric C to the ends of the other two 6.5” x 1.5” Fabric D strips. Now sew these onto the other opposite to edges of your block.

Now you have a nice little border on your block.


It’s time to make the stems. Take your piece of fusible and iron it to the scrap of brown.


Trim the excess fabric off that isn’t fused to the fusible.



Now, cut some fun little strips out of your fused fabric. You will only need two for stems.

Place onto the flagstones and fuse them down. If you use a light fusible be sure to stitch them down. And – you now have two apples laying in a green field!

And there you have it – the Apple Flagstone Block is done! Thanks for following along and I hope you enjoyed this block tutorial!

Get a FREE printable PDF of the Apple Flagstone Block Tutorial by heading to my Craftsy page and getting the Apple Flagstone Block Tutorial.   Don’t wait too long though!  In one month there will be a small fee for the Printable PDF pattern…you’ll always be able to view it on my blog for free though.

I can’t wait to see what all your blocks look like!  Be sure to share you blocks and any projects you make using your blocks onto our flickr group: 52 Blocks Quilt Along

Instagram/Twitter Hashtag: #52bTT

Previous Blocks


Stop back next Wednesday for another twisted traditional block tutorial!


Time To Vote! FOUR Favorite Project QUILTING ‘Across the Universe’ Pieces

Things have changed slightly for the voting process of the Project QUILTING Challenges.  Instead of me creating a super long post with a poll daddy poll at the bottom I’ve switched to InLinkz.  This is great because during the week of the challenge the participants can link up their finished projects.  Once the deadline has passed you are no longer able to link up but you ARE able to vote!  This is ridiculously nice for me to as the voting post is a huge long post that takes me awhile to make sure things are accurate.  PQ 2014 Season 51

 

The bad thing is – I’m not here freshly reminding you to GO AND VOTE for your FOUR Favorite pieces from the Across the Universe Project QUILTING Challenge.  So – that’s what I’m doing now – GO AND VOTE!  (you can pick four – click on the heart in the upper right of the image to vote)

 

Did you know there’s a Project QUILTING Pinterest Board?  Head on over and repin all the ones that inspire you!

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