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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She finally made one…..

IMG_8073_edited-2Back in 2013, I wrote a beginners t-shirt quilt tutorial for a few of my relatives who live far away. My cousin, Tanya, finally made hers! Her daughter is a cheerleader, so she laid Juliet’s t-shirts out in chronological order to “build” her quilt.

We had a blast Facebook messaging back and forth during the process. It was her first quilt, and – understandably – she had a lot of questions. Tanya was SO excited about making it, and would message me every step of the way. And I was determined to teach her as much as I could right from the beginning, even if it was over messaging! Everything from prewashing to the essential supplies she’d need to the binding stitches. Get it right the first time, and there will be no “unlearning”! She did learn the hard way – and early! – about rotary cutters, though….

Tanya's fingerHere’s one of my favorite messages I got from her. She had fun!Screen shot 2015-04-18 at 6.43.43 AM_edited-1

I offered to quilt the quilt for her, so she shipped it off to me. Tanya did a wonderful job for her first quilting experience! She wanted a polka-dot backing, so I placed an order for Riley Blake’s polka dots from Backside Fabrics. What a wonderful company. Extremely friendly and very fast delivery. My order came quickly, and the quilt was soon on the frame.

quilt on frame copyI opted to quilt it quite simply – SID and FMQ:

IMG_8077_edited-2I offered to apply her binding and make her label – but she’ll do it from now on. She was pressed for time as she wanted to give it to Juliet before her next cheer competition. I made an instructional video and sewed about 6″ of the binding so Tanya would know how to do her corners, and sent it on back to her. She spent an entire evening and the next day finishing up the binding, washed it up and was able to give Juliet her new quilt as they were preparing to leave for the competition:

JulietsquiltShe loves it! I also quilted her name into the quilt (a great identifier in case it’s lost or stolen!) and she’s still searching for it, lol.

Still searching for that hidden name....

Still searching for that hidden name….

….and now has a new cuddly “friend”….

Juliet snuggleTanya found a quilt shop just down the street from where she lives that offers “do-it-yourself” quilting on their longarm machines. She excited for the next quilt to be done 100% on her own. She’s a big scrapbooker and crafter, so she likes to do everything herself! It was fun watching a “newbie” learning to quilt – we had a blast together!

Cindi 100Way to go, Taunie!!  It looks great!  It is so much fun sucking new people into our obsession hobby, isn’t it, Cin?

I’m sooooo green that Tanya has a shop nearby where she can rent time on a longarm.  What an awesome way to learn.

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Green

A while back, twelve members of my quilting group decided they wanted to explore art quilting.  We decided to make one 12″ by 12″ quilt a month, with each member picking a theme that the rest of us could then interpret into a quilt.

Our first theme was “Green”.  I spent a lot of time contemplating ideas and designs for Green.  There are several possible interpretations; money, jealousy, earth-friendly, color.  I had a great idea for jealousy but I could not make it work in such a short period of time.  I knew a couple other members of my group were going with money and recycling ideas.  So I chose to simply feature the color, but I wanted to do something unexpected, something you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with “green”.

I made a green zebra.

s2b 1It was fun and surprisingly easy to make!  I browsed copyright-free images on the internet, found a zebra, cropped it to what I thought was an interesting perspective, and printed it out on freezer paper.  Since the paper is only 8.5″ by 11″, I couldn’t fill the whole width of the quilt with the image, but in the end I decided that this non-standard framing also added interest.

I ironed the freezer paper on the front of my green fabric, ironed fusible web on the back,  and spent a happy hour pretending I was back in Mrs. McGee’s first grade class, cutting out green zebra stripes.  I ironed it onto a solid white background and fused a stabilizer to the backing to support the stitching and give the quilt some stiffness, so it would hang nicely.  Then I sandwiched the quilt with batting as usual, and quilted it with a zigzag stitch in metallic green thread all around the raw edges.  I wanted it to be subtle but sparkly.  I contemplated further quilting in the white areas, but in the end I decided it would distract from the main image.

s2b 4I’ve never been much of an art quilt fan; I think there are maybe 20 art quilts I’ve seen that I actually liked.  And I’m not much of an artist, either.  I can’t draw, paint, sketch, etc.  I have no sense of perspective and I can’t figure out how to illustrate light and shadows well.  But for some reason, when I was asked if I wanted to participate in this art quilt challenge, I said yes.  And I’m really glad I did!  I surprised myself by accepting a challenge to do something I didn’t think I’d like doing.  And then I surprised myself even more by actually enjoying the entire process and being proud of my final product!

How about you?  Have you ever challenged yourself to do something you didn’t think you’d enjoy, only to discover you actually had fun?

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 I love the quilt! The metallic thread really brings it to life. And I love the way you thought “outside the box” and didn’t make the first green thing that came to mind. I did challenge myself to do a portrait quilt, thinking it would be the hardest thing ever. I don’t do well with color theory, and making the quilt helped me learn color-matching. Instead of being hard, it was thrilling watching the portrait come together! Your quilts always amaze me – the thought your truly put into them – and because of you I always step up my game when I’m preparing a quilt. You’re my quilting “hero”, and I love to surprise you with something you’re not expecting from me!

Cindi 100 small

 

Evergreen and goldenrod

hollie 1Hollie requested “light & dark sage greens, light & dark creamy golds” for her birthday blocks.  For some reason, it got easier to pick fabrics when I changed it to “evergreen and goldenrod” in my head.  I didn’t think I would care much for the color combo, but can I just say wow!  I love it!  It’s not a color combination you see every day, which is nice.

hollie 4I’ve been drooling over the POTC (Patchwork of the Crosses) blocks for some time.    My block is rather plain in comparison to most of the ones you see on the internet.

The Y-seams were definitely a challenge, but well worth the extra patience.

hollie 2I love, love, love bead blocks.  They’re harder than you’d think.  Getting those points to line up is like getting kindergarteners to line up.

hollie 3I tried a new technique for this applique.  Usually I cut heat-resistant templates and starch the seam allowances under, but this time I cut the bead shapes out of Beth Ferrier’s “Wash-Away Applique Sheets“.  It’s an interesting product.  The sheets are printable on one side and fusible on the other, and when you’re done with the project, they dissolve in water.

hollie 5I found it difficult to hand-applique through the fabric.  The sheets seemed to be pretty stiff, so I ended up switching to machine applique.  When I was done, I stay-stitched around the outer edge of the block and tossed it in the washer, then let it air dry.  After pressing, I’m not sure I’m entirely happy with how crinkly the beads look, but you know what?  Once it’s in the quilt, no one will ever notice.

I recently learned about another interesting applique technique called “front basting”.  Have you heard of it?  I’m eager to try it.  I might have to make another bead/leaf block and test this new-to-me technique.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Night Sky

The sun was out yesterday, and that energized me.  I was VERY busy. Last month, Cheran Bee, the owner of FiddleSticks Quilt Shop, asked me to make a sample quilt for her store.  What a fun opportunity!!

1The pattern is “Night Sky” from Jaybird Quilts.  Bright, vivid, bold colors against a black background.  I love it.

Quilt confetti!

2Once I made a couple of blocks, I really fell in love with this quilt.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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A challenge, part 1

Several months ago, my quilting group decided we wanted to do a challenge.  We tossed several ideas around and finally decided that a fabric challenge would be fun!

This is the fabric we chose:

challenge fabric

It’s pretty awful, isn’t it?  Kinda reminds me of – ahem – things we learned about in 7th grade science class. (Snort.  I almost said “things we learned in 7th grade”.  Ha – leaving out that one little word sure would have put a different spin on that sentence!  Snicker!)

The rules were simple and few:  The challenge fabric had to be identifiable (meaning you couldn’t chop it up into tiny, unrecognizable bits – I’m fairly certain this rule was created specifically for yours truly), and it had to be lap or wall size; the perimeter was to be no larger than 200″ around.

We decided we wanted an incentive – prizes!  Everyone participating put $5 into a kitty.  Finished quilts were kept under wraps until our all-day Sewing Marathon in September.  We then voted on the three best quilts, and the top 3 quilts would split the kitty.

Challenge accepted!

My first thought was to simply recreate this quilt that I originally made (and wrote a tutorial for)  back in 2009.

drunkards-path-quilt2I pulled solid colors from the challenge fabric for the drunkard’s path blocks, and used the challenge fabric itself for the bias strips at the edges of the curves.

challenge 1Um.  Yuck!  That’s pretty ugly.  I thought maybe it was because the black fabric was not playing well with the fairly dark reds, greens, and blues, so I tried white fabric instead.

challenge 2No, that didn’t really work either.  I abandoned the drunkard’s path idea.

If you look at the black drunkard’s path picture, the first one, you’ll see on the right edge of the frame, some leaves and flowers in an applique arrangement.  That’s the only picture I have of it because it was so awful, I wadded it up and threw it in the garbage.  My idea was to use the solid colors for the center of the block, then use bead or leaf shapes cut from the challenge fabric to frame the block.  Nope, it was pretty boring!

Then I looked at the fabric.  The print is fairly small and compact, but I wondered if I could play with the movement of the design.

challenge 5Hmm.  It’s sort of interesting, but those leaves are not even 2″ long, and the print is too busy.  Rather difficult to do anything striking with.

One day I was meandering around a fabric store, looking for inspiration, and came across an interesting template.  It was kind of a tessellating pattern and I thought I could do some interesting things with it.

challenge 6I quickly realized there were 2 major problems with this template.  First, there are unavoidable Y seams.  Second, you WILL end up with a big lump in the center.  There is no way of pressing or spinning the allowances like you can on a star block.  Those seams will not lay flat, no matter what.  I scoured the package contents and the internet, looking for instructions, and when I didn’t find any, I looked for other quilters who had experience with this template.  I found one.  And when I contacted her, she agreed with me about the problems and said she just pounded the seams flat with a hammer.  I can deal with Y seams, but that center lump was just too much work and aggravation for me, so I abandoned THAT project.

Sigh.

Okay, I CAN do this. The deadline is looming, but I work quite well under pressure.  In fact, in high school I used to write my English Lit essays (3rd period) during my 2nd period Chemistry class, right before the essays were due.  Talk about coming down to the wire.  And I always got A’s!  Well, in English Lit, that is.  Don’t ask me what grade I got in Chemistry, ha!

Somewhere on the interwebs, I stumbled across an older quilt pattern called “Ferris Wheel”.  I have never seen a quilt made from this pattern, and I liked the uniqueness.  It’s sort of “Dresden Plate” meets “Hearts and Gizzards”.

challenge 3Erm.  Well, it was okay, but it didn’t knock my socks off.  And I really want people’s socks to be flying through the air!

Okay, back to something I’ve tried before, and had success with.  Mini apple cores.

challenge 4This is after I fooled around with it a bit and realized that the red and pale tan just do not play well with the blues and greens.  And I liked the blues and greens together, so that’s what I worked with.  It’s okay.  Not very prize-worthy, though.

Well, I did eventually end up with a pattern that worked.  But I’m not going to show it to you – yet.  Tomorrow I’m going to post pictures of ALL the challenge quilts and have YOU, dear readers, vote on which one you like best.  Then I will reveal which quilt won.

Oooh, this is fun, isn’t it??  🙂

peg large sigI love the way you’re not afraid to waste a little fabric to try out different layouts. You really think things through before you create a quilt, coming up with unique designs and ways of looking at fabric differently. I admire that! It’s a trait I’ve not yet developed – nor even think of when making a quilt – but will certainly try to use more often. You’re a true designer! Looking forward to seeing the challenge of the quilts, and will refrain from voting, as I already know the outcome – and can’t wait until you all see it 😉

Cindi 100 small

 

 

 

 

 

So excited!

I’m so excited to share my awesome news…  my quilt,  Midnight Garden, won a blue ribbon at the county fair!

blue ribbonIt’s a terrible picture, I know, but if you look verrrry carefully, on the right hand side almost in the middle, you can see the blue ribbon….  it’s there, really…

And to top it off, I just received notification that it’s also been accepted into the 2013 NW Quilting Expo in Portland next month!!!

snoopy happy danceYep, that was me, doing the Snoopy happy dance – ALL NIGHT LONG.  I’m sure it was  unbearable for my husband and kids, except I baked a cake for myself in celebration.  Chocolate with chocolate fudge frosting.  They didn’t seem to mind THAT.

The best part was when I emailed Cindi the news.  She called me immediately, whooping and screaming.  I think she might have been more excited than I was!  It’s always incredibly fun when you have a good friend who understands what something like this means to you, and celebrates with you.

Okay, I’ll quit bragging.  For now.

peg large sigExcited? Excited?!?!?! Over-the-top ecstatic was more like it. Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous and I knew it would go far! You’re piecing abilities are beyond amazing – you should teach classes on that – Practice Perfect Piecing Perfection with Peggi. Yeah. That’s it. You should also teach a color class. Your color choices are always so incredibly eye-catching. How lucky I am that we met and became fast friends. I will have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed for your entry into the NW Quilting Expo!

Cindi 100 small

 

 

 

Do you know the way to applique?

Do you know the way to San Jose?

Yeah, that song is stuck in my head now too.  Thanks, me.

I’ve started a quilt that is really out of my comfort range.  It’s almost all applique.  Here is the first of the two different blocks that make up this quilt:

1

I’m torn as to how to applique these intricate, curly pieces on.  I don’t want to turn under the seam allowance; that would take me forever and I just don’t have that kind of patience.

2

So I’m going to fuse these pieces and machine stitch them onto the background.  My question is what kind of stitch would work?  I’ve done buttonhole applique before, but I just don’t think it’s right for this fancy style of block.  I’m tempted to try raw-edge applique like Kelly does (from Don’t Look Now), but I’m scared that it will fray at the edges.  I’m not sure I want to use invisible thread, I’ve used it before and it’s kind of poky and shiny.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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Peggi, I love, love, love this applique! You know, I’ve heard that MonoPoly has really changed their thread, and it’s not so “shiny” anymore. You know me – I don’t do applique much (you are the applique queen of the two of us!), but this certainly makes me want to try again!

Cindi 100 small