Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Starting to Feel At Home

Awhile back I posted about how frustrated about my learning curve with my new Tiara.  (Baby Tiara to me)

Yesterday as I finished up some quilts and started quilting on a new quilt, I realized how far I've come.  I have usually had my top tension too loose and I'm learning how to adjust that--and darn, I still can't do it from memory, I still need the user handbook.

This is a peek at my new quilting project.

Here is a picture of my first practice on these quilts
Today, I'll make a gift of my third practice

and my second practice (previously posted)

I realize now that I liked this one because the bigger thread automatically made my top tension tighter.  I didn't realize that then, but I'm beginning to understand it now and the different ways I can use different threads. 

I did complete the binding for my donation quilts, so now I'm caught up!  Whoopee!  This one was made from blocks I'd won on a Sunshine Yahoo Group Block Lotto.  Theme for the month was green, but I had some dinosaurs blocks that seemed kind of boyish, and with a huge stretch of imagination fit with the few green boyish ones I'd won, so rather than send those three in, I added them to this quilt.  I have enough blocks for two more quilts, but they are a lot more feminine.  This quilt will go to Rotary Wrap a Smile.
This is a quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders that was pieced by a church group in Texas just for QBB.
And, spring has finally arrived and I love my Flowering Almond bush.  I'm afraid only a few more days of the beautiful blossoms! 
Have a great day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quilting Finishes...Whoopee!

I've been looking at the spare bed and wondering when I'd get to all the projects there!

Well, finally I have something to show for my stash busting!

First I love making wonky stars from the triangles I cut from bindings.  This little quilt is a result of cleaning out some of those.
Cleared out some sashing fabric, backing and the music squares--just enough of those!

This one didn't bust much stash because it's a lotto block win.  I did use some solid for the settings and then there's the binding and the backing.  But, the blocks are now in a quilt!  I love the little ship block in the middle.  Thanks Sunnies!
The next two, didn't really bust much stash because they were brought to me so that I can practice my quilting.  The batting arrived last week, so these got done for Quilts Beyond Borders.  A church group in Texas donated the tops.  I just need to sew on the labels.

I made some blocks from some 1 1/2 inch squares and some other odd squares.  I got 28 blocks done toward my monthly goal.  Not quite there yet.  When it's complete for April, I hope I can remember to post some pictures.

I'd be in pretty got shape stash wise, but alas I got a package in the mail with some new fabric!  It is fun to get some new life.  I've got an idea for some boyish blocks for the Sunshine Yahoo Group Lotto for April, but I'm going to finish up the bindings first.  Got to have one of them done for Wednesday as it is a gift for a friend who lost a son.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

of This and That...

I'm currently on a "Staycation"  My goal was to sew and quilt, cut and sew and repeat.  I have a few charity quilts quilted, but I won't show them until they are bound.  I'm still playing with the tension on my Baby Tiara and it's getting to look better all the time.

I had some blocks with a black center and the first thing I did was make 23 more blocks.  I made these blocks from total random and pieced the squares the same way.  I then finally decided on thread for the quilting and after I started I thought that maybe I should have picked black.  But, I didn't and I didn't want to rip out what I'd done.

I fought with the backing and I don't know why it was so problematic, but finally, I got it all smoothed out and bound.  I'll be sending it to Wrap them in Love in Washington state.
My strings drawer has a few strings left, but overall I've made a dent.  Especially with strings I had no coordinating colors or themes.  It's pretty mindless just sewing things together and it's always a surprise.

I finished a little wall quilt for my hallway.  WELCOME SUNSHINE with Hugs and Kisses--but there is no sunshine today and I'm finding it hard to be inspired.

My recent trip to Moab, ended with some photos that are a little lackluster, but the quilt is finished and in the home of the recipient!  I have the fabric now to make the shams and I wish I had been able to finish them before the photos.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Gentle Reminder from a Friend

I admit it!  I am a Facebook junkie.  I have many friends through the years of moving around that I keep up with through FB.

Yesterday, I posted a couple of finished projects and I made the comment that maybe I needed to keep a binder of some of my samples of trials and errors of my quilting tension triumphs and trials.  A friend said, "I thought that is why you started your blog, Pattilou."

She got me there.  I've been so consumed by this thread thing: trying threads, winding the bobbin, and then working out the remainder of the thread in the bobbin and then moving on.  Yesterday, I stopped long enough to do some binding and then I posted my results on FB.

I completed some placemats from some fabric from Linda Moran found here  she has such beautiful fabric and when I first started using her fabric a year or so ago, I did so with the intent of following the lines for some eye/hand coordination.  I started this piece on my DSM and then put it aside after my trip to Atlanta and some orders for some quilts.  I decided to finish it up on my Baby Tiara and tried using the Isacord in the top thread and the Superior SuperBOBs Pre-Wound Bobbins on the bottom.  That SuperBOBs is 60 weight polyester and my machine has some trouble with it apparently.  Each machine is different from what I can tell.  One lady on my Yahoo group suggested, "I think the problem is in your bobbin tension from your description. Adjust it to be somewhat tighter and then loosen off your top tension. Just do small incremental adjustments on the bobbin until the bottom thread is how you like it and then adjust the top after that."  So I did that and played and quilted.  I finally went to a cotton thread 40 weight on the bottom and finished the piece. The first bobbin of  SuperBobs and Isacord and it seemed to work fine.  It was when the bobbin ran out and I changed bobbins (above) that I started having problems. So I checked for dust and lint and finally out of desperation tried my bobbin winder with just the cotton thread and that seemed to adjust easier.  Don't have a clue as to why.  More practice is in the future and then I may be able to come up with some sort of answer from my experience!

Anyway this piece was quilted earlier, using the first bobbin of  SuperBobs and Isacord and it seemed to work fine. 

I used a dragonfly template from Green Fairy Quilts and had some fun with it.  This is the bottom and you may be able to see the design a bit better.

A little bit of spring on my dining table now!

Somewhere in the workings of everything I tried a practice piece--my first one I won't even show, but this one used a heavier thread  I had on hand--I think it is a 20 weight.  The design is nice, but I don't want to use this thread too much.  I bought it years ago thinking I wanted heavier threads.  I now have a few spools to work through and this led me to think I may design something in a plain fabric somewhere down the road.  Anyhow, this is done and packaged to send to a friend and I didn't take pictures of the back before sending it, but as I looked at it yesterday, I saw things I hadn't seen before.  I think I need to learn to adjust the top thread better, but each piece gives me more accuracy in the tension process.

I have one more piece similar to this but with the remainders of the fabric in a piano key border.   I don't know when I'll get to that one!  My feathers though are starting to become more free and curvy.  This has taken a lot of practice.  First I started on my DSM and then now on the Tiara which with the bigger throat space gives me much more freedom.  My shoulders are relaxing more and I just may figure this all out!

In the meantime I'm working on my 30 blocks for March  for the 350 block challenge .  I decided to challenge myself to finish each bobbin I've started by using it for a string block.  I'll wind my bobbins with the Isacord and then because that machine handles the Isacord, I can use it up in string blocks and meet a challenge both to my fabric stash and to my thread stash.

I need to get busy.  We have tickets for a Utah Symphony performance tonight in Ogden, UT.  I'm looking forward to that!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Going in Different Directions!

Finished the binding on a couple of quilts.  This one has been in the UFO stack since last July.  I tried making a modern type quilt using the ABC's I'd been given.  The "X" was missing so I made one from the "!"  I did post about this quilt earlier last summer and I can't find the post where I gave Helen credit for my idea for this one.  Graciously she reminded me about it in the comments.  Here's her link again, it is an adorable quilt:  Helen's Blog

This quilt came from many quilts through the years.  I made some blocks and tried to figure out how to line up the few I had.  I had the perfect fabric to use as a background and then found the solid in my stash to outline them.  This one holds lots of memories and will be hard to part with.  I'm not sure where it'll go--probably Project Linus.
The thread bobbins I got have presented some new tension issues and I'm still working it out with some other threads for the top.  I found that if I use a bit heavier thread in the top, it works better.  It's so frustrating to have so many colors of Isacord and then not be able to use that with the new bobbin thread.  But, I think I've found a solution.  I've still got that one on the quilting machine.

I didn't realize how similar the quilts were until I pulled out the red one to start quilting.  Guess it was an idea that I liked!

Made some blocks yesterday for this new to me challenge: 350 Blocks Challenge
Also Linking over to Whoop Whoop Friday

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's All Stacking UP!

Got my little quilt finished!  It was one of those quilts that was made from scraps.  i tried a demo on the flying geese for it and then I just tried putting it together and it turned out to be a practice piece for my new Baby Tiara.

Glad I've figured out some tension issues.  Thanks Debbie at Stitchin' Therapy   for some thread help.  I really appreciate all the bloggers who have cheered me on!

I was going to give it to Project Linus as a baby quilt, but decided to send it to my sis for a table topper.  Pretty fun when you can use scraps and practice and have it turn out being something useful.  It is packaged and ready to mail tomorrow.

These are the quilts now ready for dispersal.  Yippee!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Some Resolution!

After having a crying zag yesterday after so much tension about my thread tension...
I took heart from Paula the Quilter, one of her posts HERE   I watched more youTube videos and tried more things.

I learned:
  • No matter how much I tried to get my Isacord to wind on the bobbin, it just wouldn't--so I'll take it in next time I'm in SLC
  • I can use my Isacord threads with some closely matching Superior So Fine that came with my machine.  It for some reason winds onto the bobbin.
  • I need a horizontal gizmo--can't remember the name but it is shown in the above link to Paula
  • Tears can release the valve of frustration
  • Lunch "out" can give one new perspective
  • I like polyester thread right now as it doesn't show my quilting missteps as much as the cotton 40 wt. 
After taking out some of the quilting from my little baby quilt sample, I tried the pale blue I had in Isacord and used the bobbin I was able to wind with Superior So Fine in an off white.

My quilting looks somewhat respectable and I'll move ahead.  Yesterday's grief is behind me now!

 I have several pieces I can work on today with the thread combination I've now got! 


Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm NOT Liking my Learning Curve!

I've been a bit discouraged.  I've still got mountains (well, not really that big) of blocks that I'm not sure how well they go together as I won them in a lotto.  I've got some of them assembled and I've practiced on my new Baby Tiara and boy is there a learning curve there!

I put this little donation quilt together and just did meander quilting so that I could get a feel for the machine.
I don't even know if anyone would want it if I give it away.  I'm really in a funk!
I watched videos yesterday, trying to get the tension right when I changed the needle and the thread.

I thought I had the tension right on this one, but when I did some curves I got a few "eyelashes" on the back, now---do I give it away and hope for the best or do I just ditch it???  Good question.  Any answers?

A close up of on of the blocks that I did a little more quilting.
There's some hesitation in the machine between my foot releasing and the start up.  It sometimes causes a bit of a jerk in my quilting.  The funky loops look okay on some quilts--the more primitive looking ones, but on this one I was quite disappointed.  I need more thread, but I'm a little short of cash right now, so it may have to wait.  I think I finally got the threader figured out, so I'm going to venture into using some of my older threads and see how they work.

This is the third quilt I did on my new machine.  I just got it bound last night.  It is a quilt that goes with my wonky quilting.

I've got a little quilt sandwiched that I'm going to experiment on next.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It Couldn't Be More Perfect!

I have two goals each morning:
Get UP
Get Coffee!

I love my new Doll Quilt Swap quilt from Lee H.
The colors are just perfect--all my favs!
...and it's been to the Bahamas!

Lee also included a piece of fabric in my go to neutral color--lime green
a much needed pin cushion.  (I'd just purchased a new length of pin and needed a pin cushion for them!)

So sorry you have to give up coffee, but I'll drink an extra cup for you if you want!

Thanks so much for a perfect swap.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Goal for March

well, I should say one of many goals for March!

Last year at this time, I became involved in a spurious trip to Atlanta to see my sister.  I stayed for two weeks and came home with three orders for quilts!  Needless to say, that changed my plans for 2013!

I had started a BOM project of My Favorite Blocks My Favorite Block Quilt Along

I got a few blocks done before my trip to Atlanta:
Now they are a UFO and I've completely lost interest!

The red fabric started as some coffee mats, but the coffee cup fabric is all gone and I bought extra red just so that I'd have it.

Oh, well, the same story is had by many quilters
                       A great idea
                               A project finished
                                    Leftover fabric
                                         Lost interest!
So this month I'm going to take these six blocks and make them into a donation quilt!  I hope to use up the basic off white in this project as well as the remainder of the red and also of some deep purple that I'll use somewhere! 

I've scouted the web for some ideas and I think I have one that won't require lots of work and will allow me to finish this quilt!

Linking over to Fiber of All Sorts for the Lovely Year of Finishes

Friday, February 28, 2014

AH Ha! New Projects Started!

When I joined the New FO Challenge last December I didn't foresee all the things coming my way.
New FO Challenge
can be found in the above link.

I made a list and some of the things I listed, I'm not interested in now, and some of the things I listed I'm still waiting on some fabric to make them--like the Peacock fabric for my sister.

But, I scrounged around when I was cleaning my sewing room and found this wonderful Laurel Burch Fabric that I was really not wanting to cut into.  But, I made the cut!
It is so rich and wonderful!  I've ordered some fabric for the sashing, but it hasn't come yet.  That's okay, as I don't have all the blocks made.  This is what I have so far...  This is my goal for April.  Finishing this quilt start for A Lovely Year of Finishes
This is the pattern...

from this book...
And then I really did a huge jump!  While going through some blogs, and I do wish I would have written down the blog that inspired me, I ordered this book...

This is just so much fun.  I was going to try to make a block a day, but I've already missed about 2-3 days, but I'm having loads of fun with this!  The blocks are 6" blocks and so I have to be very careful in the cutting and sewing.  I'm going to love, love, love this quilt as I love my blocks I have so far.
The first section is "crosses" and you can see the various ways of making crosses by just looking at these blocks.  This would be a fun quilt to do in black and whites, but I've started in the colors she used, but my blocks look quite different from hers.  This is a quilt that will take me awhile, but it is keeping me interested.

Still waiting on the deep purple to get here from a special order so that I can finish my Rainbow Quilt set.  I need to make shams (they are quilted so they will be easy) and pillowcases.