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April 26, 2011

april bee blocks

With all the trouble and change occurring around here, I got a little nervous about finishing up my April bee blocks on time. That meant I had to work on them and only them the second my machine was fixed, even if I was surrounded by half-packed boxes and piles of fabric needing sorting.

Our queen asked for mod tree blocks, with our imagination as the only limitation. She specifically mentioned she liked a particular block, and since I am so late, I had the opportunity to see if anyone else tried it first. Guess I was the lucky one :) This is a ticker-tape block with black trees free-motion quilted on top.

mod trees set

Next, I wanted to try to make my own design. I have spent a lot of time being inspired by everyone else's awesome ideas - and I thought it was about time to try it myself. Enter: the weeping willow block, where I attempted to keep the design modern with a touch of 'movement' and whimsy. Does it look like there's a gently breeze?

weeping willow set

So there you have it. April 26th. Looks like I am not late after all.

Happy Fabric Tuesday, y'all! Head on over to Quiltstory to check out some inspiration :)

April 23, 2011

Poor Nelly :(

Fair warning...a lot of text ahead :)

I had to bring nelly (my sewing machine...and pretty much every mechanical thing in my home) to the repair man. Too many tension issues following this incident. Basically, I cannot make the top thread tension low enough. In order to balance them, my bobbin tension has to be entirely too high.

Got it back on Friday.  Guess what? They fixed it by...turning the bobbin thread tension higher. So high, in fact, that cotton thread is breaking. Some "fix." I have already expressed my displeasure with Singer, on their website and on twitter, since I brought my machine to a Singer certified center.

This was the test strip it came back with (back side). If memory serves me, a blind hem stitch is not supposed to pull like that. And zig-zag is supposed to "favor" the bottom thread, but I don't remember it being okay to pull the top thread through by THAT much.

some fix, singer.

With my machine being unusable currently, you can imagine there isn't much sewing happening here. I managed to lay out the last of the memorial quilts with my sister's clothes. It's been 16 months since she passed away, I think it's about time to get on with the sewing. Wasn't able to sew much of it, though, before the above happened.

al quilt

So, what have I been doing with all this new-found free time??

Hubs and I held a garage sale last Saturday in an attempt to declutter our 1BR apartment. I parted ways with some old yarn (not anything from my grandma) and an extra hot glue gun, but that's about it for crafty things. It's a good thing we had the sale too, because [alert: non-sewing information to follow] he was offered a job out of state for the summer. We like Georgia, but we love adventure. So we're moving to Maryland (WHAT?!), and we're looking forward to bopping around the northeast for the summer. Besides, I figure I should live in a state called Mary-land for at least a small portion of my life, right?

Scary? a little. Exciting? a whole lot.

Back to sewing. The stuff lingering around our apartment may be making the trip to MD with us...I will try to finish up as much as possible, but between putting our life in storage, finding a place to live, wrapping up things at work, and generally celebrating this leap, they may get lost in the shuffle. At least until the dust settles and I have some extra-bonus free time.

Happy Easter to you all - here's to hoping you all have wonderful spring weather this weekend :)


April 15, 2011

QAYG Block Finishing Tutorial

When I was first considering the quilt-as-you-go technique, I spent a good chuck of time checking out other tutorials and tips to make the QAYG block finishing successful. There are a lot of good tutorials out there, but most involve either (1) a large amount of hand sewing [especially if you have a queen-sized quilt], or (2) some amount of quilting after all your quilt top blocks are quilted and assembled. I will admit, both of those are excellent options, I just did not have the time or patience to hand sew or to wrestle with my quilt post-assembly.

Enter: an all-machine complete QAYG block finishing technique.  Bear with me, this is my first tutorial...constructive criticism is welcomed :)

QAYG mosaic

For this tutorial, I am using the red fabric as the quilt top and the black fabric as the quilt backing. Similar to regular block piecing, you want your top and back piece to be 0.5 inches bigger than your finished size. Your batting should be the same size as your desired finished block. So, if you want your block to be 12" square when the quilt is completely finished, your quilt top and back piece should be 12.5" square, and your batting piece should be 12" square.

Once you are ready to quilt your blocks, layer the top, back, and batting by offsetting the batting to the lower right-hand corner. You will end up with a half-inch gap of no batting on the top and left side of your block.

IMG_0926 IMG_0928

Next, use your desired quilting pattern to quilt your block over the batting only (do not quilt into the half-inch gap).


When you place two blocks side-by-side, the right-hand block should have a half-inch gap on the left, while the left-hand block should have batting up to the edge.


Now to attach the two together. Place the two blocks back sides together. For the right-hand block only (or the block with the half-inch gap), fold the top piece back and do not sew through it. Use a quarter-inch seam allowance to attach the two blocks. (Note: In the photo below, I am stitching from the bottom of the blocks to the top of the blocks. I have folded the red piece back on the upper block so that my presser foot does not catch it).


When you finish sewing two blocks together, they should end up something like this.


Time for your iron. Press the seam you just sewed toward the half-inch gap (right-hand block). Then, press the remaining unsewn half-inch flap of your quilt top under by a quarter of an inch.


 This is where I veer a bit. Normally, you could hand-stitch the flap down and create an invisible seam.

Instead, I used an edge stitch to keep the pressed flap down. (Again, I am sewing from the bottom of the blocks to the top)


Using this technique, you will end up with a visible top-stitch on the front and back of the block (pink in the photos below, if they are clear enough on your screen).

IMG_0950 IMG_0951

If you are smarter than I am and you use a non-linear-on-the-seam quilting pattern, this visible stitch will create a kind of "frame" around your blocks. Or, you could choose a matching thread so that it fades into your fabric.


And that's about it. I completed entire rows for the quilt I made, and then stitched the rows together using this technique as well (matching bottom-to-top rather than right-to-left).

If you have questions, please let me know :) I hope you all find this useful! Good luck in your QAYG endeavors...

Happy Friday!

April 13, 2011

Work in progress Wednesday [4.13]

It has been too long since I linked up to WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

It has been a fun week. My mother-in-law visited, so of course I had to bring her to the Whipstitch Fabrics store, where I promptly purchased a fat quarter set of Habitat with a groupon from hubs. We had a baby shower to attend on Saturday, and I kind of waited until the last minute to make a gift [I had already given the mommy-to-be a quilt, so I didn't feel too bad for waiting].

diaper holder

I swear I saw this little diaper-and-wipe holder someplace, but I cannot find it. If you happen to remember where I might have seen it, please let me know...I don't want to rip someone else's work off!

Besides that little gift, I also finished a skirt, and continued to work on the QAYG monster.

qayg monster!

Seriously. A basicgrey backed monster.

qayg finish

I can't even get a good clear picture of the whole thing in our little apartment. But the good news is that it's done and on its way to its owner! Check. For the QAYG, I machine-stitched the backs together, then folded over the seam on the front and used an edge stitch to finish it off.

Perhaps a tutorial? A very nice person left a comment on my last post asking about it, but they are a no-reply commenter, so I can't get back to you!! Sorry!

Anyway, I don't even know where I am at with my list, but I know my next project is to create some samples for my parents for their little business, Philly's Inc. Also need to help the Easter bunny fill a friend's children's baskets. Then, back to the memorial quilts :)

Happy WiP Wednesday, y'all! Have a productive and fun week!


April 12, 2011

Flirting the Issue

Linking up to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday today...it's been quite a while for me :)

I have had Anna Maria Horner's Flirting the Issue skirt on my to-do list for a while.

flirting the issue

I was kind of waiting for some courage to drop the cash on voile, but then I couldn't keep my eyes off Laura Gunn's Magnolia Lane (for Michael Miller) collection. It is so...spring. So I took the plunge on the Blooming Tulips print, and used plain white cotton batiste for lining.

blooming tulips

I love it. It's a little more poofy and a little less flowy because it is cotton instead of voile. My husband says the skirt is very "Rachel Berry." Umm...okay, I'll admit, I like her style, and I've said it out loud before.

Hope y'all are having a great Tuesday :)

April 5, 2011

My sincere apologies!

Hey there - I was in the process of changing my email address to ditch my maiden name, and suddenly out of nowhere I stopped being alerted of comments on my blog [not coincidental with the email change]!

I just wanted to take a second to apologize to y'all, and to thank anyone that sent a comment my way since mid-morning on March 23rd... I really do appreciate your kind words!!

I think I have it fixed, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything on blogger.

Thanks again! Happy Tuesday!

April 3, 2011

Weekend progression

Eek. It's been a long time since I posted. Guess that means I've been getting a lot done, right?

blue memorial quilt

Right. My primary goal these past couple of weeks has been to get a move on with the memorial quilts. All 6 of them.  They all have a 'theme' of sorts...this one is the Blue Room quilt. My grandmother had a blue guest bedroom, complete with blue shag carpet. Just another memory :)

green and purple memorial quilts

Here are some HSTs for the green/teal "Farmgirl Fancy" quilt (on left - grandma left the 'big town' to live on a farm when she married my grandfather) and the purple quilt for my sister (on right - no story for this one, she just likes purple).

I have also been working on a queen-sized quilt for a friend's sister's birthday. She gave me a couple of tablecloths that she really liked to incorporate into the quilt. I commend all of you who quilt a full queen-sized quilt on your machine. I knew that it was either my sanity or the quilt, so I opted to try quilting-as-you-go. I'm hoping to turn all of this....

tablecloth quilt

...into a stack of these.

tablecloth quilt 2

And one day, these will be sewn together into a very large, very lovely quilt. And by one day, I mean ASAP because this gal's birthday is next weekend.

I'll try not to crawl back into a sewing cave for too long.

'til next time :)