A View of My Quilt Life

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another April Finish!

Hot on the heels of the Sauder Challenge finish, I decided that I was going to design, piece and quilt the Yurt Challenge hanging in a week's time. 

Of course, it's my own dang fault I had to compress the process!  I've had this since last June and dragged my heels big time!!   I should have picked a different season but I chose Winter.  I am a Summer child - Winter holds no appeal to me whatsoever.   Not an excuse but it sure didn't help the process in the least.
I started by drafting snowflake blocks - 1 large (22") and 2 mediums (12").  I also drafted 3 smaller block (6") but decided not to piece them - too fussy. 

Large block

Medium blocks in progress

Medium blocks done

Here the pieces are coming together

The sections are joined to each other 

Introducing:  Snow Crystals

Honestly, I'm not entirely thrilled with it. There are definitely things I would do differently.  As I was assembling the top, I came up with a better design/layout but it was way too late to start over piecing new blocks. 

Lesson learned...hopefully. 

Next up - I need to go draft some blocks for foundation piecing the 4th row of the Daring Downton Debacle challenge quilt. 

And I need to get a head start on the MQG Michael Miller fabric challenge. Not letting  myself lollygag around on these two projects.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

2014 Sauder Challenge Finish

I promised to share my latest finish and here it is.
The 2014 Sauder Village Challenge was to use Michael Miller's Big Stripe fabric, and only solids, dots and chevron prints. 

I matched a bunch of Kona solids to it, along with a fun bright dot and a chevron fabric, inspiring me to do something modern. 

Here is:  "Seeing Stripes"

It left on Monday for the upcoming Sauder Village (Archbold, OH) quilt show April 29th to May 4th.  Over 400 quilts are on exhibit for 6 days.  Maybe one day I'll actually get out there to see the show.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Basket Gifts and a Little Outside Project

I got off work early last Friday - perfect for fitting in a few errands before dinner.  One stop was to Menard's for some DH project supplies.  And his Easter Basket gift

We also hit the grocery store, where I added a box of gourmet bakery cookies to his goodie basket.  Very non-traditional, but he really doesn't need jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.  And the hinting for this drill has been going on for months! 

My Easter basket gift was some fabric

and some backing fabric

Since it's still too early to work in the garden,  I was itching to get something done outside - anything to enjoy the warm temps and sunshine.  So the truck became the object of my attention.  Later this year, my Honda element turns 10 years old and she was starting to show some age spots on her wheels.

A little Rustoleum hammered silver paint and she's looking shiny!

Next week, I'll be putting on a second coat and then she's  ready for some road trips!

Nothing coming up on the calendar but that can always change. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Need a New Challenge Like I Need a Hole in My Head

But that's exactly what I signed up for!

The Modern Quilt Guild Michael Miller Challenge is underway!  Back in February, while wandering around online, I found this challenge.  In order to participate, you have to be a MQG member.  I'm really not much of a joiner but MQG has individual memberships, in addition to all of the member guilds.  So I joined, quickly signed up for the challenge.

Last week, my packet of fat eighths arrived!   The Michael Miller challenge is to make something quilted using as many or as few of the challenge fabrics.  We are allowed to add any Michael Miller printed or solid fabrics to our piece as desired. 

Here are the challenge fabrics:

And after hitting a LQS, this is what I have as my palette.  I also have some Michael Miller stripes lurking in the stash.

I have no idea what I am making but I need to decide quick - deadline is June.  I'm thinking maybe a baby quilt.  Is there a self help group for challenge addiction?  

It was great to hang fabric on the clothes line to dry on the warm sunny Easter Sunday we had.

Hope you have an terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!




Signs of Spring 
are popping up around here!  

I am so excited to see the daylillies sprouting in the backyard.  
A few crocuses bloomed and there are some tulip leaves - no flowers yet.  

Yes, I know the Dusty Miller needs to be dealt with - they're looking like space alien mushroom plants.  I planted them a few years ago and normally they are annuals in my neck of the woods but they have come back every Spring since.  They LOVE this spot and are apparently sheltering the more tender bulbs, or completely taking over this narrow bed.  I like to plant purple kale in between the dusty  millers for some cool color and contrast.

If you look really, really, really closely you'll see the fainest flush of lime green buds on the forsythia...

but it may be only wishful thinking!  Time for some soil amendment and a new layer of mulch here.  I am itching to get into the dirt but it's another month (May 15th) yet before the threat of frost is past.

I have a finish to share with you tomorrow and a new beginning that has to be done in a week. It's not fully designed yet so I'll be in the studio most all day. 

Temps are heading up to the high 60's, with beautiful sunny skies. Time to pull out the gas grill and fire it up.  A celebration dinner of grilled steaks and Tater-Tots is planned for today. 

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Turned Around and Quilting Away

Sometimes you need to struggle awhile before the brain kicks in gear.  I was struggling to see the white thread on the white fabric and tell where I was going with the pebble quilting.  I re-positioned the quilt, I moved my Ott light repeatedly, I may even have said a few bad words and my shoulders kept riding up around my ears. Not. Good.

And then it hit me - turn the quilt around to keep the quilting working from the center toward the edge and quilt away from yourself!   I remembered back to late last summer when I was practicing my free motion quilting, following the lessons from Diane Gaudynski and this was exactly the direction I was supposed to be working from.  

It made all the difference in the world!  My shoulders dropped, I could see where I was and where I needed to head and the whole quilting process smoothed out.  

Not to mention I got a lot more quilting done it a short amount of time.  There are only four small sections remaining to be quilted.  I'll be knocking that out this morning right after some grocery shopping.  That leaves the borders to be decided.  I need to get this quilt finished this weekend as the deadline is looming closer and closer. Maybe this needs a narrow flange, too. So much to think about...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Little Bit of Pebbling Got Done

Okay, so I need to fit quilting in when I can and I did just that Tuesday night.

It's not a ton of work to share but here are the first four outer sections machine quilted in a pebble pattern.

It really is drawing in the finished size so most likely borders of some kind will get added to this piece.

While working on this, I did have to stop, clean & oil the machine due to a squeak. 

A really annoying squeak.

A really annoying squeak that the oiling did not fix!

It was really getting on my nerves but it turns out it was the darning foot spring that squeaking. 

Glad it wasn't something more serious, requiring a trip to the service man. With luck, the remainder of the machine quilting will get done this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Showers!

Snow Showers that is!  
Driving home from work (and how weird that is for me to say) Monday evening this was the view out my truck window.

About an hour later, the further west I went, the more the snow was accumulating on the grass.

Needless to say, this was enough to slow down my commute but not as much as what I discovered Tuesday morning.

After scraping the thin layer of ice from my windshield, I realized that I had a completely flat rear tire!  DRAT!!!

Thankfully, I was able to use DH's car while he dealt with the flat.  Of course, as his car never moved out of the driveway during Monday's snow, I had 3 inches of snow and a good half inch of ice to chisel off.

No, April snow is not uncommon.  It's just something we all have seen too much of this Winter and we're really, really, really ready for Spring to stay sprung!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Big Change!!!

Yes, indeed!  We have experienced a major change here last week that will undoubtedly affect my blog. But no worries - it was a good change.

I am back in the workforce full time! My temporary retirement of 21 months officially ended last Tuesday.  Being out of the house during the day all week will require me to find quilting time whenever I can squeeze it in.  The DH will take over the majority of the house chores and will certainly not begrudge me any studio time.  But there may not be daily blog posts.

Which brings me to sharing what I was able to get done on my Sauder Village Challenge entry last week.

The free motion quilting on the Kona white between the color sections and the dotted fabric is tiny pebbles/scribbles.  On the white part on the outside of the color sections will be larger pebbles.  

Stay tuned for more updates on the April quilting projects as I figure out this next chapter in my life, it will be interesting!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Under the Needle

Whenever I go to the Michigan House, I bring my Singer workhorse machine with me, knowing that I will manage to squeeze in some sewing time at some point.  The family has come to understand that the dining room table will not be able to be used for dining purposes once I get rolling.  Not that they like it very much... but that's what they make tray tables for.

This last trip was no different.  After cleaning up Lill, I scrubbed my hands, removed the tablecloth and broke out the design paper.  I use the end rolls of newspaper for drawing out my design patterns.  It's 24" wide, sturdy enough for handling but you can see through it enough to trace a copy of a pattern before you cut it apart if needed. 

Yes - I used a dinner plate for a template
I didn't take a picture of the design before I cut it apart so this will have to do.  I was making color placement decisions as I was drawing the design.  See the pile of solid fabrics - I removed the orange & red so that they became the bright pop of color from the striped fabric.

This will be my entry for the 2014 Sauder Village Quilt Show Challenge.  The theme is Line Dance and the link will take you to the challenge guidelines page.   The challenge fabric is Michael Miller's Big Stripe.

I got to work a little later in the evening than planned &  stayed up to 1 a.m. working on piecing the background. 

All of the striped strips, as well as the dot fabric, will be hand appliqued in place.

I finished the top on Monday and started the machine quilting on Tuesday.  And I've discovered something as bad as quilting with black thread on black fabric and that's white thread on white fabric!  Thank goodness for my Ott light and by brooder lamp.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Almost Ready for Prime Time Binding!

'Grey is Not a Color' but it is almost a finished quilt.  I powered through the machine quilting as fast as I could last week and on Thursday, I focused on joining the quilted quarters.  I thought some pictures would show you my process.

One quarter is trimmed to the seam allowance through all three layers.  The quarter that it will be stitched to, has its batting and backing pinned back out of the way.

The trimmed quarter
 It is then pinned, right sides together and stitched on the quarter inch seam allowance.  

The excess batting is carefully cut away.  Then the extra seam allowance of the backing is trimmed.

The backing is folded under and pinned in place.  I hand stitch this in place, much like a binding.  

Not as straight as I'd like it but I can adjust it as I hand sew the seams.
Once that sewing is done, any quilting that needs to be added over the joined quarters  would be done.  This extra quilting also flattens the joining seams on the back and makes them less noticeable.

Only thing missing now is the binding.  Not sure what I am going to use - probably will piece the binding from some of the leftover color blocks fabric. I don't think I have enough of the sashing fabric to use as the binding.

Really need to have this done by Wednesday, April 9th - TOMORROW - for my Sweet Man!