Friday, August 31, 2012

Quilting is a dangerous sport

Last weekend while cutting a bunch of these

I also cut one of these.

When I've heard about rotary cutter injuries in the past, I wondered why anyone would have their fingers over on that side of the ruler anyway. All you have to do is pay attention to what you are doing and take your time... Oops!

So now I know the trade-off for that speed and multitasking: a slightly smaller finger. It still hurts, and I tend to bump it on everything I pass. On the positive side, I didn't bleed on the fabric!

To all you quilters with full fingers in tact, slow down and be careful -- it happens to the best of us!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lisa Sipes trunk show

Last week, the Missour Kansas Machine Quilters Guild (MKMQG) hosted quilter Lisa Sipes who had a trunk show and shared much quilty goodness. The fuchsia hair, piercing and tattaoos may have been an eye opener for some of our more seasoned quilters, but she was very entertaining and brought some stunning quilting to share. The quilt below won a blue ribbon at MQS 2011 in the embroidery category and features some incredible micro-quilting. This was also the first quilt Lisa entered in a show (and had been quilting for only two years at that point!) WOW! The purple photo below this one is the back side of this quilt. The gold is the quilting.

I love the ruler work on these. Those three little lines are only an eighth inch apart. I would have loved to have seen first hand how the heck she did this.

I had seen many of these quilts online, but they were just incredible in person. Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your amazing work!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Adding a flange

A few weeks ago when the temperatures in Kansas City reached 109 degrees, there really was nothing more to do than lock yourself inside, crank up the air conditioner, and dig out the Christmas fabric. After all, snowflake fabric somehow gives you hope that the summer inferno will soon come to an end.

A while back I picked up a "Christmas Spirit" jelly roll and the coordinating panels by Moda, and I finally had time to start making the table runners I had planned. I'll share them with you when I have them complete (hopefully before the snow flies). I really fell in love with this fabric line!

When I attended MQS (Machine Quilters Showcase) back in May, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon helping in the juding room. I got to hear the judges' comments and critiques about every aspect of the quilt entries. One thing they liked over and over was special edge finishes like piping and flanges.

I had never added a flange to a project before, so I thought these table runners would be a nice, easy, and small place to start. It turned out to be quite simple. Here is what I did:

I wanted the exposed flange to be 1/8 inch so I cut a strip of fabric 3/4 inch wide by the length desired. The flange is made from a folded strip, so I doubled 1/8 + 1/4 (the width of exposed flange + seam allowance). Then iron this in half, right side facing out.

Next, pin it to the edge of the fabric or block you want the flange to edge. Baste it on with an 1/8 inch seam allowance (so the seam won't show when you attach the next piece of fabric).

Continue around the block adding the flange pieces to each edge. Now you assemble the block as usual, stitching pieces right side together and using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. The flange is now caught in the seam.

This was a quick way to add a little extra zing to the finished block. Now I have to get busy and get the rest of the runners done. I'm afraid the holidays will be here before I'm ready!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Learning the hard way

"Careful. We don't want to learn from this!"
I should heed this advice from Calvin and Hobbs. Unfortunately, I've been learning a lot lately.

Last week I loaded a customer quilt at the shop and started quilting. It wasn't until several passes later when I advanced the quilt that I discovered this: eyelashes.

Eyelashes are great for a night on the town. Not so much on the back of a quilt. Eyelashes mean tension issues. Ugly. So then I had to do this: frog.

Frogs are cute in the garden. But for machine quilters, it just means spending some extra quality time with your seam ripper. Rip it! Rip it! Rip it!

Smooth sailing after that.

I hate when I have to learn things the hard way! But now I check my tension and check it often.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm listening... what did you say?

1. I have a theory that my dear husband only hears half of what I say. Case in point: on his way after a treat Sunday, he thoughtfully asked if I cared for anything. Why, yes, almond m&ms (and it has been almond m&ms since the day these magnificent morsels were invented).

Here is what I received. **shakes head**

2. I love my darling husband more than almond m&ms. Since the odds are pretty good that he'll only hear half of this, let's hope it is number 2. **grin**

Followup: After I posted this, I asked my sons where my m&ms were. Nick told me they ate them so I wouldn't have to make any more blog posts about them! Thanks gentlemen!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Over the hump!

Up until now, I have been doing a little longarming on practice panels and scrap fabric, but with a little coaxing from my quilting buddies, I finally got the nerve to put a "real" quilt on the frame and just go for it! So I guess it is official, I have my first paying customer! WooHoo! (Even if it is my mother.)

This cute as a bug ladybug quilt was pieced by Diana (Hi, Mom!), and the pattern is a disappearing nine patch. I used a variegated turquoise thread in the turquoise and purple fabrics and a light yellow in the yellow fabric.

In the narrow border I wrote, "ladybug, ladybug, fly away home."
Here is the view from the back.

Don't look too close at my wobbles and jitters. And I want to say a big thank you to the South Mini Group girls who helped me pick out thread colors and pushed me out of my comfort zone!

No looking back now, I already have quilt number two loaded and in progress!

Friday, August 3, 2012

My new designer entryway

This week my darling husband finally had a chance to stop off at the board store on his way home from work and pick me up a couple of sheets of foam insulation. Yay! brownie points for the husband! I've been wanting to make a design wall from these for a long time. Even though I have been nagging him for some time about this task, I wasn't quite prepared with a place to house said design wall. My office is currently piled high with all the stuff that doesn't quite have its own home, and someday, it really wants to become a sewing room. REALLY! But that is a whole other project. There just isn't room in there right now. So for now the design wall is gracing the entry way/dining room. It is not so out of place though. This space also currently has my work table and a table with my sewing machine and an ironing board just inside the front door and tools and fabric and... Sounds welcoming, doesn't it? Anyone who comes by already knows I'm quilting-obsessed, so it is probably not terribly surprising. And if they don't know this about me, they will shortly after arriving!

Interior designers may cringe, but I think the pinky/lavenderish foam adds a nice contrast to the red walls.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I will go pin fabric to my wall. **grin**