New quilt clock

Well, since I’m updating my sewing room – slowly but surely – I decided I needed a new clock. Once I found this tutorial, I was off and running. I used the block supplied with the tutorial, but decided I wanted mine a little different – a little more me. Like Alton Brown, I believe the only “unitasker” in my sewing room should be the fire extinguisher that hangs on my wall. So my clock will serve several purposes.

clock2Not only will it tell me when I’m late, I’m using it for my quilt show pin collection and to hang blocks or pictures. The blocks were made from leftover charm squares I had, which I glued to poster board with a glue stick (no warping!). While the tutorial called for gluing the blocks together, I decided to hand-sew mine, even though there was poster board behind every block. Why? Two simple reasons: 1. I’m a quilter. 2. I’ve never completed anything hexagon-y before, so now I can say I’ve done it 🙂 The burlap canvas and clothespins were purchased at Hobby Lobby. That 40% off coupon sure does come in handy! I bought the clock hands through Amazon. The total cost of the clock? About $14. It only took a week to get everything sewn together, glued, and up on the wall.

And yes, that is a cow on my clock.

IMG_1409This quilt won 3rd prize in the quilt competition at the Ohio State Fair this year! We stopped in today so I could see it 🙂

PebbleSo glad DH talked me into entering it. Being a practice quilt, I didn’t think it had a chance of even being accepted! It certainly wasn’t perfect quilting, lol. But, I’m proud as punch, which you can see in that smile on my face. So, that’s why there’s a cow on my clock. My quilt was in the show there, and that means a pin must be purchased!

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Signature quilt finished!

Yes, several months after the wedding, the quilt is finally done!

IMG_4428OMGosh, it seems like I’ve been working on this forever! And the hardest part was that I couldn’t post any pictures of it, as Kylee and Cam didn’t want to see anything posted until they saw the completed quilt. Aack!

Here’s a pic of it laid out:

IMG_1183As you all know, I did this quilt by paper piecing, as the blocks were to be signed, and also taken to Florida and back to Columbus for two receptions, and I wanted them to hold up to a lot of handing. While paper piecing is accurate and perfect for stabilizing blocks for signatures, I’m not a huge PP fan. Why? Because it’s a PIA trying to sew the blocks together…

IMG_0925….then tearing all of the #&%$ paper off the quilt, which was a week-long process in itself….

IMG_4108Swear to pete, I’m STILL finding pieces of paper in my living room, LOL!

I drew the applique myself in EQ7 – learning experience! Laid it out in paper before I cut out the shapes and hand-appliqued them to the quilt:

IMG_3991Learning lesson #1: Do not make curves too tight! I had a heck of a time with some of the scrolls, trying to turn them under.

Made one mistake when I loaded it onto the longarm. Learning lesson #2: Don’t be in a rush. Press it again after tearing off the paper. Had a heck of a time with some of the seams being bulky because I was too excited to get it onto the frame.

I was able to try out my new Boomerang ruler from Deloa’s Quilt Shop. Awesome!! Looks like waves, doesn’t it? Perfect, as they were married on the beach.

IMG_1140I made the label from one of the leftover blocks, and spent 3 evenings hand-sewing the binding. Always my favorite part.

IMG_1153This was a true labor of love, with a lot of learning and new techniques for me. I drew both the applique and the snowball block in EQ7. So this quilt is my design, my piecing and my quilting. When I finished, I nearly pulled my arm out of the socket trying to pat myself on the back, as every aspect of this quilt is by me – and that’s a first!! I’m comforted in the fact that Kylee is a crafter and appreciates the value of handmade, so I know it will be well taken care of in the years to come.

Now, it’s on to a new project!!

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Let the transformation begin!

After 2 years, I’m finally getting around to making this space my own! It’s in the basement, with one tiny window. The previous owner used it as a woodworking shop, and the concrete block walls are painted a stark white. Ugh. Not that I’m complaining – the room is huge – 17×24′, and I’m grateful to have a place that allows me to put the LA in the room as my sewing area. Plus, I’m looking forward to a place that’s inspiring. My room before was too small, and the LA was two floors up, which meant dragging everything up two flights of stairs. Yikes!

image image image image

And would you look at that gawd-awful paneling?? Right outta the 80’s! So the walls will be painted tan (including the paneling), and we’re putting down carpet squares on the floor. Yes, I am one of the few who prefers carpeting rather than vinyl or hardwood floors in my sewing room. Don’t bother telling me I’ve made a mistake with this. I LIKE carpeted floors! I’m on my feet too much when I quilt, and my legs get achy with a hard floor. We found carpet squares at Home Depot for $1/SF. Woo-hoo! With 480 SF to cover, that’s a perfect price for a basement floor! 

DH is also going to build a cutting table for me – which will be a godsend, as right now I’ve got the most expensive cutting table ever:



Yep, our pool table! Make due with what you have, I say. Everything from the sewing room has now been moved into the pool room and his mancave (incentive!) so the entire basement is a disaster area right now. Then we’ll figure out what to do for a sewing table, whether to build one or buy inexpensive cabinets and put a countertop on them. The portable table just isn’t working. It bounces around too much when I’m sewing at full speed, lol…

The room is now empty except for the LA frame, which we’ll just pick up and move around rather than taking apart. He’s going to be painting this long weekend, while I spend the weekend shopping and dining with my teen niece and dog-watching. Hey! He likes painting by himself – says it’s cathartic and mindless. Who am I to protest??

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More longarm practice

Yikes! It seems like ages since I’ve posted – life got in the way. I have been quilting, though. A while back I saw this quilt on the Tamarack Shack blog, and fell in love with it. I thought it would be a perfect quilt to practice more longarm quilting. I suck at pebbles, so I decided this quilt would be my “Pebble Quilt”. Plenty of blank space to pebble to my hearts desire!

IMG_3840Spent some time with pencil and paper first, then got busy…

IMG_4163Simple quilting in the printed blocks since the quilting wouldn’t show.

IMG_9100Took forever. Had a blast. Decided to hang it on a wall. Yep, the first full-size quilt I’ve ever hung. Used the Hang-it Dang it since it was in such an odd place. One nail and done. Didn’t need hubby falling off a dadgum ladder and breaking his neck.

IMG_4110-1May have to paint the wall a darker color, but right now I’m loving how the beige almost disappears and the design stands out. We’ll see….

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No Fear FMQ (or, just TRY, dammit!)

fave-pic-2Angela Walters is one of my heroes. Her quilting is to die for. I recently signed up for her “Machine Quilting Negative Spaces” on Craftsy, and decided to give it a whirl. I love her teaching style. She’s calm and makes you feel like you can do anything. And I did!

I’ve had this quilt in my UFO pile for 5 years, never finishing it because I just didn’t care for the fabrics. They must have jumped in my cart when I was fabric shopping. But it was the perfect pattern for giving FMQ a go.

Closeup1A different pattern was used in every single block, digging through books (including her book Shape by Shape Quilting) and Pinterest to find designs interested me. I used both FMQ and ruler designs. It really helped me figure out what designs I could do quickly and easily, and which ones were just too dang difficult. And I didn’t care if I made mistakes. Just kept right on going. Taking the fear out of FMQ made all the difference for me. Angela was great at encouraging me to just….well….try, dammit! Yes, I’ve got a long way to go, but I think I did a pretty good job that I’m proud of!
foldedI found the original teal, and had just enough for the binding.

BindingThe back even looks amazing 🙂

the-backThere are too many mistakes on this to even count, and I don’t give a horse’s patoot! It’s gorgeous as far as I’m concerned. I think I used about a dozen bobbins on this, and it’s the most intricate quilting I’ve ever done. This quilt may be going up on the wall behind “Laverne and Shirley” (my LA machine) as my sample quilt so I can refer to it when I’m looking for designs. Thanks, Angela, for such a great class!

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The Great Signature Pen Debate – the final decision

After many weeks and many washings, I finally chose the pen that I felt would be the best for Kylee’s wedding quilt. Remember this picture from my previous post?

Signatures-parchmentWell, here’s those same signatures, sewn together and washed 15 times.

signatures-on-fabricYes, I said 15 times. In cold water, hot water, with fabric softener and without, on about every setting on my washer and dryer, and in 4 different kinds of detergent. Like I said, you never really know how a quilt will be washed once it’s out of your hands! I was a little annoyed that I didn’t sew the samples together in order and right-side up, but it actually worked better for me. With the signatures all jumbled up I looked at the ink, and not at what was written. As an FYI, I also heat-set all of the signatures with a hot iron for at least 15-30 seconds before I threw them in the washer.

These were the pens I used:


The Sharpie Fine was the first to go, after the first wash. Why is it that Sharpies never come out of my clothes, but disappear after the first wash on scrap fabric?

The Sharpie Medium and PrismaColor Premiere pens stayed black, but ran. Gone.

The Microns turned a sort of purple-black and faded quite a bit after all the washings.

The clear winner:

Nano-pensThe Nano-Liner by Royal Langnickel was da bomb in my experiment. It stayed black, my testees said it was a smooth pen on the fabric, and did not fade. And, surprisingly, it was the least expensive of all the pens, at $1.98/pen at Hobby Lobby!

I bought 5 pens in nib sizes 5 and 7. I thought the size 4 nib was a bit “thin”, and wouldn’t be seen at a distance as well as thicker nibs. I failed to get a picture of the signing table (hey! I was too busy decorating the reception halls and tables!), but here’s a pic of the sign I made:

SignI had to laugh when I asked Kylee to add their signatures to the sign. I figured more people would be apt to sign them if it had their John Hancock on the sign. I left plenty of room for a large signature, and what does she do? Well, you could probably fit that signature on a check. ROFL!

So, after a wedding in Florida, a reception in Ohio and chasing people down at both to make sure everyone signed a block, I’ve got about 120 blocks ready to go.

Signed-blocksI think I may add a few nice “marriage” sayings to some of the leftover blocks as fillers. The next couple of weeks will be filled with pulling off the blue painter’s tape (which held up very nicely over 3 weeks, a plane ride and tumbling around in a trunk!), trimming up the blocks and deciding how I want to lay them out!

As a disclaimer, these pens worked for me in my experiment. I hope this information helps in YOUR search and experimentation for signature pens!

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Struggling with broderie perse

I am struggling with this new-to-me technique, broderie perse.

applique 1I understand the concept, and I did a bit of online research to see exactly how it’s done.  However, I wasn’t able to find a lot of specific how-to information out there.  It was mostly historical information; it seems that broderie perse has fallen out of vogue.  A post on Barbara Brackman’s blog states that quilters would not cut very close to the actual outline of the shapes, but rather loosely in the background around the shapes.

Well.  That’s not going to work so well with my chosen appliques.  The background, seen here in my previous post, is more of a bluish periwinkle.  That won’t work with the black background of the quilt.

So I decided to try invisible thread; Superior’s MonoPoly in Smoke.  It really is very, very hard to see – so much so that I had to get a magnifying glass to thread my machine.

applique 2But I don’t like the little holes the needle leaves in the applique. I used a size 10 needle, which is the smallest needle I have.  But it was still leaving those ugly holes, and since the appliques are fused, I doubt the holes will close back up after washing or steaming.

applique 3So I switched to Bottom Line, which is a fine (60 wt) thread.  Didn’t care much for that look, either.

Back to brainstorming.  I briefly considered a denser zigzag, but that’s a TON of work, going around all those shapes, and I think in the end, it will detract from and obscure the appliques.

I’m actually considering pulling off all the flowers and doing a different type of applique for the borders, but the perfectionist in me is mentally stamping her foot and pouting because these flowers are so stinkin perfect for the quilt!

So.  Does anybody out there have any ideas, suggestions, or broderie perse resources I could check out?  I would greatly appreciate it!

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Neon Glow part 2: trying something new

Well, it seemed to take a really long time to get all the blocks assembled, but it’s done.

kaffe 4But…  it doesn’t really look done, does it?  It needs something, some kind of border.  Not just a typical plain border, though.

Sometimes daydreaming can be very productive.  I was staring at the quilt, daydreaming, studying the construction, when it hit me – what to do about the border.

bordersAha!  Much better!  I really like how those corner blocks extend the center of the quilt out.  And it’s different.

But.  Hmmm….  it still needs something, doesn’t it?  A bit of applique, perhaps, to soften up all those pointy angles.  Off to my local quilt shop I go, top in hand.

I auditioned teal, purple, and pink solid or read-as-solid fabrics.  The colors matched the ones in the quilt, but the fabrics just did not blend well with the design.  They overwhelmed it instead.

Enter one of the best things a quilter can have in her life: a wonderful, knowledgeable, and creative Local Quilt Shop Owner.  My favorite LQSO is named Cheran Bee, she owns Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, Washington (Vancouver not B.C., Washington not D.C.), and she’s an absolute gem.  Cheran looked at the top, agreed that the borders needed something, and she didn’t like the pink and teal fabrics either.  She thought a minute, disappeared into the depths of her shop, and reappeared with this:

philip jacobs anne marie in blueWow – I know where she’s going with this.  I gasped and blurted out “Broderie perse!”  It was PERFECT.  I bought a couple of yards and ran straight home, did not pass Go, did not collect $200.

Confession time.  I’ve never tried broderie perse, and to be honest, I’ve never really liked it when I’ve seen it in magazines and quilt shows.  But I realize that’s probably because when I have seen it, it looks like a still-life painting to me.  Boring, yawn, Ho with a capital Hum.

But it’s a challenge and I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I did some research.  I learned that broderie perse was quite a popular technique back in the day, whatever day that was. Quilters would loosely cut around floral prints, then applique (needle-turn or buttonhole stitch) the shape onto the background.  According to Barbara Brackman, “traditional broderie perse is harder today because large-scale florals with white backgrounds are rare” and it’s harder to match backgrounds.  However, quilters can solve that problem by cutting the entire background away from the print.

People, that kind of detail work is right up my alley!

I ironed some fusible web onto the back and started snipping happily away.  I LOVE intricate, detail work.

A few hours later, I have some working pieces to play with:  dahlias and carnations.  I tried the dahlias first.

kaffe 7Hmm.  This doesn’t balance.  I tried placement of the flowers by size, first putting the small ones in the corner, then reversing the order and placing the larger flowers in the corner.  Neither worked.  Okay, let’s try carnations:

kaffe 8I like that better; I like the delicateness of the carnations.  They’re not big and blobby like the dahlias were.  But it’s still not cutting it; the carnations don’t seem to flow with the quilt either.

How about combining both types of flowers?   I really didn’t think that would work well, which is why I separated them in the first place.

kaffe 9Wow, I really like that!  I like how it starts off large in the corner and tapers out toward the center of the quilt.  I like how the carnation stems give some flow and continuity. I like how the small, delicate carnations balance the big blobby dahlias.

Yes, I think this will work!  Off I go to cut more flowers for the opposite corner.

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Neon glow

A couple of months ago, I got a wild hair.

kaffe 1I picked up an assortment of Kaffe prints and started slicing and dicing without much of a plan.

kaffe 2

A very simple, basic 1-patch block.

kaffe 3 I love how it seems to glow, so the working title for it is “Neon Glow”.

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I LOVE THIS! It seems to float on top of the black 🙂 Can’t wait to see how the blocks intertwine when you make more!

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Shoe doodling. Took me a year to get up the nerve to draw on these Vans. Nobody wants to ruin a perfectly good pair of Vans! But once I got started, it went really quick. It was a nice break. Love Pinterest for all the ideas. I used Sharpie medium and fine markers, and sprayed them with waterproofing. Don’t think I’ll ever wear them in the rain – I don’t want to find out the hard way that these markers aren’t “permanent” enough, lol….