Friday, October 06, 2017

A Kickstarter Campaign for a New Die Line!

Hello my die-cutting friends!!  I thought that I would share some exciting news with you all about a Kickstarter campaign that my talented friend Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios is running!!  I remember Ebony's first Kickstarter campaign  to release her book.  It was an exciting process and I really enjoyed being a part of the whole thing.  I encourage you to take a look!

Ebony is probably the most knowledgeable die-cutting expert out there and she is hoping to release her own line of dies!!  Wahoo!  A die-cutting expert releasing dies - it's a match made in heaven!

Here is where we all come in - she needs help with raising funds for the initial launch.  Each level of pledge earns a different level of rewards.  There is no risk here - if the funds are not raised the project doesn't move forward.  I have already backed this project and I am excited to get my awesome rewards once this project comes to fruition.

The three dies she has created really fill a gap in our die-cutting world with the Orange Peel, Key West and Sunburst dies.  By the way - you just know that these shapes are going to be arranged just amazingly on the boards!

 

You might be asking - what can I make with these dies??  I am only going to show you one picture, of Ebony's, because she has many more on her Kickstarter page.

 

Aren't these quilts spectacular!??  I am really excited to have another option for additional dies and I am excited to support my friend, and leading expert, Ebony.

 
 

Just today I got an email with this sweet little treat of a quilt that Ebony came up with for the Sunburst die.  I love out-of-the-box thinking like this!  I am sure that there will be many more cool ideas to come out of these blocks.

Hope on over to the Kickstarter page for lots more information and a FAQs on what cutters these new dies work with and for more project ideas.  Take a look through the pledge / reward levels and see if you can find one that works for you!  I know that I did :-)

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Hot Fall Day!

It's another hot day today!

I rolled my quilt back last night and took a look at the block that I thought that I was going to rip and guess what??  I made it a lot worse in my head and actually liked the quilting I had done - except for a small section that I did rip and fix last night.  So, today I get to continue on and get started on the cross-hatch background fill!  Yey!

 

But first - I wanted to share a couple of projects I finished ;-)

I don't know why but I absolutely fell in love with the idea of Hashtag quilt that Sew She Can posted.  But, I didn't want a whole quilt.  For some reason a pillow kept rolling around in my head.

 

Tada!  I couldn't resist making a Hashtag # pillow cover in these awesome Studio E Modern Mixers!  I love this shade of turquoise :-D 

I quilted the 3 pieces in straight lines using my walking foot and a 50 weight white cotton thread.  Very easy and effective.

I like the look of a binding on a pillow in a contrasting fabric to give it a sharp edge.

 

I used some left-overs for the back and added Kam Snaps to keep the pillowed closed and straight. 

Next up!  I finished the binding on this quick and easy Halloween table-topper.  I used the Accuquilt Go! Signature die (in purple) and the corresponding 3" half square triangle die (in black) to give the illusion of bats flying.  I had the top done forever but finally quilted it!  I had a few smaller Halloween tops set aside and I finally got around to quilting a couple of them.

 

I used 50 weight FilTech Glide thread in black in the top and bobbin in a spider web pattern.


There are lots of spider webs in the black and in the green first border so it seemed like a good idea :-D  I love the look of webs on quilts - I love the texture that they create across the quilt.

I have more quilts to photograph to share with you; but, this is what I have for today!  Now to get on with some background cross-hatching!! 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Under the Quilt Frame

Happy Fall!

It has been unseasonably warm the last couple of weeks and I have to say - I am LOVING it! It's been hotter the last couple of weeks than it was in July here.  I've been counting my blessings that our weather has been enjoyable when so many others are experiencing the opposite.  It's heart-breaking.

Well, with the fall weather comes canning season!  Wahoo!  I love fall food! I love making vats of  tomato sauce for us to use over the winter.  It is hard work; but, so rewarding and so yummy!  So far I have done 2 bushels of tomatoes and I would like to get one more done before tomato season is over for another year.


 During all of this I have been trying to do some machine quilting everyday to keep up the momentum of quilting!  A few minutes here and there is adding up to quite a bit of quilting!  After I finished the bottom border I decided to take a dive under the quilt to see how it's looking.


Look at all that yummy texture!! This is the bottom border.  I am getting excited to see real results!  And, I have to stop myself from going too quickly and rushing the end.  I have a LOT of background fill still to do.

I think I might have to do some ripping as well.  I know that there is a section near the beginning of the quilt that I am going to most likely rip out as I wasn't very happy with it when I quilted it and the more I think about it - the more I want to rip out that section - sigh.  We'll see when I roll the quilt back what I think.

But for now - I am excited to see where I am and enjoy the texture and sense of achievement!

How is your weekend going??

Friday, September 08, 2017

Pondering, Thinking and Wondering

Hi all!

I hope that if you or your loved ones are in an area affected by all of these crazy weather systems that you are safe and okay!  Stay dry and warm.

For me?  I am machine quilting today and pondering taking in some quilts to longarm for other people.  I have been thinking about this for quite some time; but, I haven't come to any real resolution about this, for many reasons.  But, I think that I have made one conclusion - from standing here custom quilting my Curve It Up Sampler.  I don't think that I could possibly make money quilting like this for other people.

 

Let me explain a bit.  I have spent the last couple hours using rulers to fill in the bottom of these blocks (my machine doesn't have a really huge throat like the bigger longarms because, frankly, I don't have the space for one of those!) with custom machine quilting - and - enjoying it I might add!

I took a step back from the machine and thought - how the heck would anyone be willing to pay me enough to do this amount of intensive work on a quilt??!!  To make it worthwhile, a longarmer would have to charge a BIG chunk of money to quilt a quilt as intensely as I am.  However, I am sure that people are much faster at this than I am!  I've watched a lot of longarm videos and I know that people are a LOT faster than I am but it still takes a lot of time.

What if someone came up to me with an identical top and asked me to quilt it exactly the same?  I decided that I would have to charge a lot of money.

 

And I mean a LOT of money LOL! 

I think that this is why a lot of longarmers have gone to doing edge to edge computer driven panto-graphs.  It is a lot faster, consistent and affordable.  I know of several, local, longarmers that do only computer driven edge to edge and they have a steady stream of happy customers - enough to keep them busy.

So, after pondering the cost of custom quilting I started to wonder if there is demand for custom quilting?  And, if there is demand - are people willing to pay for what they want?  Hmm.

In the past I have listened to quilters complain about the cost of custom longarm quilting and how the quilter charged way to mach for her Queen sized quilt (let's say $450.00).  If you break it down and think about how many hours the longarmer ACTUALLY spent quilting that quilt, this is an extremely reasonable amount of money for the hours spent.

I found this wonderful article on just that.

 

"Why Does my Longarmer Charge So Much" is a great article that I recommend you read - either as a longarmer or a customer.   It comes down to value - value for your time, your skill and your artistry - not to mention your base costs like electricity, your machine, your training etc, etc.

So, this has been one very long ramble to say I am STILL wondering if there is demand and, frankly, I am wondering if I want to take in quilts for other people, and, if doing this would take me away from my own quilts and my life!?  

So many questions!!!  

Please let me know your thoughts!  I would absolutely love to hear them.  I would love to hear from longarmers and customers :-D

Friday, September 01, 2017

Metro Rings Top!

Hey all!

Well, I suffered through with my pins and I got the Metro Rings top all sewn together and pressed! 

Since it is a nice sunny day, I ran outside to grab a couple of pictures so I could show the quilt top off!
 

I love seeing the quilt top this way - you can't see all the woopsies!   This top is by no means perfect and I think that this was, for me, the most challenging of the Sew Kind of Wonderful patterns I have done; but, I still love it!  I love most quilts made from 1930's reproduction fabrics :-D  I think they are so cheerful!  I have plans for another Metro Rings quilt and I know the things that I, personally, have to do differently - for one - I have to sew at a true quarter inch seam and not a scant one when sewing the 2.5" strips together.  There are more; but, this is the main one.

I also used Kona white for the background and Kona solids for the corner triangles - what doesn't go with Kona

Taking pictures of this top was pretty amusing since it is a bit windy today.  The quilt was flying in and out of good lighting but it created some neat shots :-)

 
 
 

Gotta love the dappled September lighting ;-)  

Now to fold the quilt onto a hanger to await it's turn to be machine quilted!  I am pretty sure I know how I want to quilt this one; but, if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pinning, pinning, pinning - I need new pins!

Gah!

Is there are a part of piecing that you find tedious?  For me, there are a couple of parts - if I can be honest.  One of these parts is pinning the rows together.  I don't mind pinning pieces together but the rows are another thing.  Odd huh?

Why do I find it tedious?  It's because the rows can be cumbersome.  I find they need to be supported by a table to pin correctly; whereas, I can sit, in a chair, and relax, while I pin pieces together.  It's silly I know; and, I know that it is necessary to get to the end; but, wow I can procrastinate this step! 

 

So, here I am, writing a blog post about pinning instead of pinning LOL!  Why?  Because my pins are starting to dull and I need to buy some new pins.  I have been using Clover glass head silk pins.

But, I've been wondering if there are some new and better pins out there? 

Do you have some favorite pins?  Or, have you heard about a new brand or type?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Machine Quilting and Robert Frost

For a past few days I have had couple lines from a poem running through my head:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" 
I know that the original meaning of the poem absolutely does not apply to quilting; but, man,  these words have been resonating with me the last couple of days!

I try to set myself goals when I machine quilt.  Setting goals keeps me focused and accountable.  But, sometimes these goals are maybe a little too lofty! 


 

I wanted to get a section of background finished today.  A HUGE section to be honest!  I set a goal for this weekend and it was a big goal.  I wanted to get all the cross-hatch done in between the rows and I think that this may have been too lofty a goal for the weekend.  Especially since the weather is lovely today and there are other things I think I'd rather be doing - and - frankly, the quilting will still be there tomorrow!

So, although I have promises to keep, to myself, and, miles to go, I will give myself permission to stop for a bit and get outside :-D  Besides - there are still more hours in the day before I sleep ;-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Curves Progress

Lately I feel like I am obsessed with curves!  Do you do this?  Get obsessed with a technique, or a ruler, or a thread etc and that's all you want to work on??  Well, this is me with curves right now :-D  And, I am A-OK with it!

I have loaded the Curve It Up Sampler by Sew Kind of Wonderful onto my frame and started quilting it.  I decided not to give into the temptation of an all-over quilting design across this sampler quilt and do an all custom job with a theme.

 

 Each block will be quilted with pebbles, echo quilting, free-hand tight hatching and ruler hatching - ok there's a plan :-D  The hardest part is deciding what to quilt to me sometimes.  Especially on a quilt that I really like and want to push myself on ;-)


Where it all stalled was the background fill for me.  My first impulse was to cross-hatch and then do a tight fill in every second square.  That sounded like a lot of work to me so I tried to think of something else - maybe a pebble fill?  Again a lot of work!

I put off the background for as long as I could until . . . . 

 

 Oops!  I am almost out of thread!!  Time to order more FilTech Glide White!  This is my go-to thread - I love the shine, the strength and the lack of link not to mention the amazing pre-wound bobbins they offer.  Disclosure - if you use the Glide link to sign up and purchase it is a referral link so that I can get a few "Stitch Points" for future orders :-D

In the mean-time can focus on the background and use 60 weight thread to contrast with the 40 weight thread.

 


I decided to go with my first impulse and do the cross-hatching ;-)  Doing the ruler work is time-consuming but I love it!  It's so rewarding.


 

I was right - the cross-hatch fill is a lot of work but wow!  I love it! I love the way it looks :-D  You probably can't tell but the thinner thread for the background fill looks really nice.  It melts into the fabric a bit more than the 40 weight Glide Thread.

 

After doing the cross-hatching for a while I found that using my Clover Hera marker to make a pleat in the fabric to mark the spacing was much easier for me and I don't have any blue lines to wash out later.

But, again, I hit a stalling point - I need my thread order to quilt the blocks!!  It should be here tomorrow so I won't have long to wait ;-)

I was so tempted to start a new project as I have a few new patterns burning a hole in my  project binder but I decided to be a good girl instead and pull out my incomplete Metro Rings project.  I have 12 blocks finished - which is what the pattern called for; but, I had decided to make the project bigger than a lap quilt early on.

 

So, the project came out and I put a few hours into cutting more white fabric and piecing the blocks together.  It feels good to work on this again - it's a WIP (work in progress) again instead of a UFO banished to my overflowing quilt closet!  I have so many tops in there to quilt so I need to stay focused and get some projects done, especially when I really like the project, instead of jumping onto the next one!   I think that I will work on this project for a while longer.

I find that if I keep a project out on my sewing table, pieces sorted and ready to go, with the machine set up with the appropriate thread etc I will sit down and put a few minutes in here and there.  I call this my "pockets of time" as in I use little bits of free time to do some work and these "pockets" really add up to get a lot of work done!  The key is to be set-up and ready to work so that if I have 15 minutes free I get 14 minutes of productive work done.  The set-up is the work - the sewing is the fun ;-)

So, are you a quilter who works on one project at a time or multiple projects like me??  How do you decide?  I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Easy Binding Winder

This has been sooo very long in coming!

I have had my Easy Binding Winder since the company first did their Kickstarter campaign; but, well - I forgot that I hadn't published my review on it!!   I had it in my mind that I had published this but I hadn't.  So, here it is after so long!

In a nutshell, what this little machine does is keep your binding organized, neat, and easier to add to your quilt when it is time :-D  I love easy :-D


 

The cute little pink gizmo attaches to your ironing board and as you press your binding you wind it onto a spool in the machine.  I know that you can wind it around a ruler or cardboard etc but this truly is easier!  It's also affordably priced with package deals and shipping deals.

I am the type that likes to cut my borders and binding off the lengthwise grain; so, I usually cut my binding before the quilt top is finished and is quilted.  I do love having my binding cut and prepared well in advance of the final stage so this tool really helps me out.

 

After the binding is pressed it is wound onto the spool and easily removed from the machine.

 

The binding is completely organized and in a small, manageable package to save for later.  If you want you can purchase additional spool pins so you can store multiple bindings.  This is great b/c I tend to do a lot of binding with the same Kona solids like black or white so this allows me to keep adding more binding onto existing binding.

 

Or, you can pop the pin out of the binding and put it in a zip-lock for later (like I do).  Either way - your binding is neat, tidy and ready to go!  Applying the binding to the quilt when it is wrapped like this is sooo much easier!  When I wrap the binding around a ruler it seems to come unraveled when I am applying it but wrapped like the Easy Binding Winder does it stays together and manageable.

 

Because I was part of the Kickstarter campaign  my Binding Winder came signed and numbered with a cute little heart - ahh!  So cute!

So - my honest opinion???  I love this little machine!  It clamps easily to your ironing board and keeps your binding neat and tidy and tangle free.  What's not to like??  At the price-point it is it would make a great gift (for yourself) or others and it would be a great addition to have in your shop.  It is a simple machine that is well made, sturdy, and a great addition to my sewing room!

Anything that can keep my quilting process neater and easier is a keeper for me!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Pool Noodles!

My sewing room got a little addition yesterday!!

Pool Noodles!  

I first saw a great tip to store your quilts using pool noodles on the Sew Kind of Wonderful Blog quite a while ago but I had to wait for spring for pool noodles to pop into stores ;-)  

 

I got a few different colours to start in the hopes that I could sort my quilts that I use for teaching - IE blue quilts are for machine quilting (labelled 1, 2 3, etc etc), trunk shows are red etc.  And then, also, quilts for sale, and quilts to store.  I also had the idea that when I have cut a custom dowel to hang it it could be inserted into the middle of the noodle for storage.  This method would allow me to sort, store, find and transport my quilts soooooo much easier and with a lot less time involved! 

Well the other day this article popped up in my Facebook news-feed! 

Pool Noodles Are a Big Help in the Sewing Room 

What a great article with additional uses for pool noodles!  It was too good not to share!!

Now I am off to organize my new noodles :-)

 


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Good Sunday afternoon!!

It's been raining on an off for days now - bleh - so getting some inside stuff done seems like a good idea.  That and that fact that the bugs are HORRIBLE!!!

I have been participating in the Sew Kind of Wonderful Urbanologie quilt along - we complete one type of block each week.  I love that timeline of this!  Making just one chapter of the pattern each week is doable and it keeps me on-track to complete the quilt top this summer.  It seems like a win to me!

 

Here is my progress so far (I have it pinned to my Snack Time quilt on my quilting room wall) and I am really happy with it!  The pattern instructions are great and the supplementary instructions provided in YouTube videos etc are so helpful! It's also great to watch others' progress on Instagram.  I really need to do something like this myself ;-)

How do you like my lone green bird??  I made him after my parrot - Virgil!

On a side note - I have a desire to make a circle skirt sundress.  Something late 40's - ish . . . something I could wear a crinoline under.   Or not!  I have one in black and white that I really like; but, since I am really not a garment sewer I have been wondering how difficult this might be.  Maybe it's easier to purchase one?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Another Finish! Urban Chained

I am so excited!

I actually have another finish!!  This is Urban Chained by Sew Kind of Wonderful.  This pattern really appealed to me in it's simplicity and clean lines.  I also really liked the size - 46" x 74" - a perfect lap size.

I started this quilt a while back and just loved making the top!  It was really enjoyable and stress-free to complete and the instructions were great!  What held me back from finishing it??   Well, this is going to sound silly - but - I couldn't find a backing that I liked and I really didn't want to buy MORE fabric when my stash is completely overflowing and seems to grow overnight - sigh.

I thought that I had grouped all of my flannels in a certain storage area in my quilting studio; but, I guess I didn't because I found just enough flannel to back this quilt :-)

 

I purchased this flannel several years ago with the intention of making some PJ pants and never got around to it :-D  Now I am so glad I procrastinated!   How often can you say that??

 

The colours fit well with the colours on the front and it fits the bill being a nice soft flannel.  Win - win for me!!  Wahoo!

 

I took a nod from the pattern itself for my quilting.  I used 40 wt FilTech Glide thread in Cotton Candy to do this all over wave pattern.  This colour could easily go over a LOT of quilts and I think it will become a staple in my thread supply.  I love the movement the thread adds to this quilt and the juxtaposition to the vertical rows of piecing.

All in all - I am really happy with this quilt and I can't say that all the time :-)  What do you all think??

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Snack Time is Finally Finished!

Hi all!

It's a beautiful day in May so I thought that I would jump outside and snap a couple shots of my latest finish - "Snack Time"  by Jay Bird Quilts.  I have had this quilt sitting in my quilting closet FOREVER completely finished and with the binding machine sewn on.  All that I had to do was hand turn it to the back - sigh.  It's not a favorite thing of mine to do so it sat for a while until I decided to finish it.  I need to get started on the binding right away now!!  Note to sell ;-)

 

I really love this quilt.  I love the Kona solids and the bright tones.  It's a fun quilt and I look forward to having it up on my wall!  It will match the nicer weather. 

Although I used the pattern for this quilt I completely die-cut this quilt using only a few dies.  I did an entire blog post on how I translated this pattern to die-cutting.  It really is easy to do if you stop to read the pattern before starting and take stock of what dies you have first - I promise!

 

I used a 40 weight FilTech Glide thread in white on the top and back and used one of my Loricles grooved boards to quilt the baptist fans.  I was thinking about really custom quilting it but something about it just seemed too much :-/

It's odd that I finished the baby quilt made of left-overs before I finished this one!!

Monday, May 08, 2017

Finishes!


I finally got to get outside to snap a few shots today!!  We have been experiencing a LOT of rain, flooding and snow these past few weeks and the weather has not been co-operating for me to snap a few shots of these quilts outside.

I have been able to complete a few quilts recently and haven't posted them so I am going to try my hardest to get this blog updated!!

I am in LOVE with the patterns by Sew Kind of Wonderful and their rulers!  I have purchased several patterns and have a few tops in my quilt closet ready to go - now to get to the quilting!  Actually I just took another one off the frame on Saturday that just needs the binding!  Yey!

This is Metro Twist!

 

I fell in LOVE with this pattern some time ago and have been waiting for inspiration to strike.  Well, I found this fabric line in the 50% off bin and knew just what I wanted to do with it!  I pulled out my Quick Curve Ruler (QCR) and got to work.  I completely cut out the top and started piecing in one evening.  Before I knew it the top was pieced!  I loaded it onto my frame and got quilting it using my rulers and taking inspiration from photos from Sew Kind of Wonderful. 

This is a heavily quilted quilt but it is still so soft!

 

I used Glide threads in Pearl and Lagoon to quilt the entire quilt and I am in LOVE!  I was even able to pull a blue flannel from my stash that perfectly matched the blues in the top.

Done and bound!



Next up was this little baby quilt using left-over blocks from the Snack Time quilt that I still haven't finished turning the binding on!  I liked these blocks but they just didn't "go" with the hotter colours of the rest of the quilt :-(  Luckily I had just enough to put together for this little guy.  Again I used a Glide Thread in white for the all over design.

More finishes to come soon!!!  



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Removing a Quilt from the Frame

Hi all!!

Do you ever just struggle to get inspired and motivated when it comes to a quilt??

I sure do and I was seriously experiencing a lack of motivation when it came to this quilt, of mine, on the frame. This is Dessert Nine-Patch that I started in 2010!!!  :-o



Please don't get me wrong - I really love this quilt!  But, it's still winter here, and, well, the dark colours just were not inspiring me at all!!  It has been sitting on my frame for so long now and I quilted a little bit here and there, but, I just couldn't bring myself to really work on quilting it.  So, today I finally took it off the frame and loaded something much more fresh and bright.

 

I bought the Sew Kind of Wonderful Quick Curve Mini Ruler recently and it came with this great table runner pattern to get to know the ruler - so I made this out of some left-over fabrics.   I am in LOVE with their patterns and rulers - not to mention the fabulous machine quilting they accomplish!  They are truly a talented company!

Needless to say I am much more enthusiastic about quilting this runner!  The colours are just so fresh!  I love it!

If you are wondering about the Quick Curve Rulers and patterns I will be at The Quilting Quarters in Almonte demonstrating these amazing rulers on Saturday March 18th!   I will have some new projects ready to show and one that I am just starting - like I said - I love these rulers and the patterns!! 



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Update! And a Baby Give-Away

Hello all!

I hope that everyone is well and enjoying this mid-winter thaw where we are!  I figured that today was the perfect day to blog about what I have been up to.

As most of you know I really enjoy making baby quilts and baby things - I love the fabrics and the colours - they are fun and cheerful; and, so rewarding in their utility.

I was fortunate enough to teach a round of Mommy and Me fitness classes where the babies were in carriers and the Moms danced and worked out with their babies.  Some of the Mom's started coming with "Suck Pads" on the straps of their carriers so that when the babies chewed, drools and sucked on the carrier straps the straps didn't get moldy and just plain yucky!  Well I decided to dig into my, very sizable, baby stash and make some of these Suck Pads to offer for sale to my Moms - they loved them!!

I backed them in a nice flannel with cotton batting in the middle, used ribbons to attach toys etc and used KAM snaps instead of Velcro to do them up.  I love KAM snaps!  

The Moms loved them so much that they started asking me to make Pacifier / toy straps.  Again I used KAM snaps and KAM plastic clips.

Then I got the idea to make beautiful bibs.  Well let's just say I took on the challenge of making a bib that was both functional and beautiful and well made.  It had to have a side neck snap for ease of putting on the bib and a secure KAM snap instead of Velcro, which the kiddies can just rip apart.  I back mine in a lovely fleece for absorbancy and ease of wiping messy faces.  I did a LOT of experimenting and finally came up with a great bib pattern.


 

What do you think????  I did a lot of testing with these items and am now ready to sell them!  I did one small show a couple weeks ago and the response and feed-back has been great for all three offerings :-D I will set up and Etsy store soon and hopefully make some parent happy with these!!
Wahoo!!  I have also decided to sell some baby quilts!!  I have some on hand and some that are all cut out and ready to sew - quilting is 90% preparation and 10% sewing sometimes LOL!

I would love any feedback that you guys have AND

I even have a couple of discarded prototypes that I would love to give-away!  These would be most suitable for a baby up to 4 months - but some babies are small and some are bigger as we all know!  LOL!  Leave a comment here with what you like about my new offerings and if you have a little baby boy or girl in your life who could use a new bib!! 

Cheers!