Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Color Poetry: Green

Are you the same as me, that you almost feel as if you are walking just a little bit lighter when you first start seeing those spring buds appear everywhere? It's no secret that green is my favorite color, or that spring is the season where I feel the most alive. I would say that it is more than obvious where my color affections lie when you look at the projects I've been working on this week.

Backing for my Penny quilt? Check. I'm hoping this will go rather quickly... especially since I am using this method to baste it.

So far I have been able to sew all the leaves for my Green Smoothie quilt either from scraps or fabrics in my stash. I realized that I needed to add some additional prints to really give it the depth and variety that I am wanting. And besides... adding more greens to my already green heavy stash is just so much fun!

It's been helpful to me to lay this out on the bed to see the progress that I've made.

It's been on my wish list now for far too long to make some new curtains for our bedroom.... why does it take so long to motivate me to do a little practical sewing?!? Tja, I guess because it is not very creative, but wow... did these light colored curtains ever make a huge difference in the room.

April showers bring May flowers... what are your spring projects?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April Design Wall

Somehow as my list of WIP's gets smaller, it makes me feel unsettled when I come into my sewing room. While it feels great to have knocked several biggie projects off my list, somehow it leaves me feeling a little lost when there are not multiple projects in the works. I've come to realize that am totally moody when it comes to sewing. While logically it makes the most sense to complete one project at a time, creatively I find that I am inwardly frustrated when I don't have options of what to sew. One day I feel like curves, the next day it's traditional piecing, and quilting days are like fish days... I really have to be in the mood to enjoy it.

Oddly enough, now that my design wall is starting to fill back up again, I feel at ease with so much flipping potential. What started out as "audition blocks" have made it to WIP status and are now growing. While I know such project flipping is not for everyone, somehow it's what works best for me.

The Green Smoothie quilt (leaves) is actually planned for our bed, and I have decided to make only one row of leaves offset to one side... lots of white space on this one! This will be, at least size wise, my biggest project yet... a king size quilt! I'm a little hesitant when I think about stuffing this through my machine, but very simple straight lines should help a lot.

I have decided that my Churnstile blocks will stay as a basket/backburner project, and it's nice to know that I don't have any additional prep right now when we have our monthly Patchwork Treffen meetings. I was able to add a few more blocks since our last meeting and I'm still trying to decide how big I want to go with this.

Well, I suppose that this quilt cannot stay on the backburnner for too long since we have another get together next weekend... I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesdays.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

THE FinishYou've Been Waiting For...

I'm super over the moon excited that I was able to finish all my first quarter goals for the 2016 Finish-A-Long. I actually split my list into quarterly goals and yearly or ongoing goals. Granted, I didn't set the bar too high, but in my book it's much better to under promise and over deliver! Even though it was originally on my yearly/ongoing goal list, I just barely missed the mark by days last quarter for completing what is my biggest finish of the year... my Facing East quilt!  

So, it really wasn't my orignial plan to share my new quarterly goals list and my "tah-tah" moment at the same time! This finish is a very long story that I've been talking about here throughout this whole past year.

When I first started this quilt, I had always thought that I would send this out to be quilted by a longarmer because as a new quilter I just didn't trust myself to tackle such a complicated design. I suppose that all those projects in between helped me build the confidence that I needed to go for it. I decided that simple quilting really was the way to go... sometimes more really is just more, right?

I still haven't worked my way up to free motion quilting for such a large quilt, so the graduating circles were quilted with my walking foot... and boy, oh boy, talk about some major quilt stuffing!?!

I usually end up doing a simple pieced design on all my quilt backs, which sometimes get more attention than the much more complicated fronts.

 Can you spot my little helper trying to hide in the corner?

Quilt pattern: "Facing East" from Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander
Started: January 2015
Fabrics: Basic Grey Grunges, selected fabric accents from Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler fabric, and various additional prints. Low volume background fabrics

Finished quilt size: ca. 63 x 83 in. (160 x 210 cm) 


So, I think this quarter is starting out with a bang, getting to share my first finish of the quarter right out of the gate! I'll be carrying over my yearly/ongoing goals as well as adding a few new things like my Churnstile blocks and Green Smoothie audtion blocks.

How was your first quarter? Any big goals in sight for this quarter?

Linking up with Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesdays

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Why I DON'T Hate Basting... And You?

Time after time, whether it's on blogs, Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media people are using, I hear the majority of quilters grumbling and mumbling over their least favorite step of the quilting process... basting. Aching knees and backs are top of the list of annoyances, and I often wonder if my newbie quilter naivety gets the better of me trying to figure out why the mere thought of basting is almost like a curse word.

With all this in consideration, I have to say that I am lucky to have an extremely talented and experienced quilter in my family. The unfortunate part of the story is that I did not start quilting until I moved to Germany. So, all those tips and short cuts have to be shared from abroad, or crunched into all too short visiting times when we can travel home. This past summer while traveling home, my aunt shared with me how she bastes quilts, which I thought I would share with you. I really have to say that this method is probably the very reason why I don't hate basting:

Granted, I realize that not everyone has space in their home for this technique, but I am blessed with at least a little space to spread out. I have four 1m x 70 cm Ikea tables that I scoot together. My aunt uses a foldable buffet table, and even elevates it using four custom cut pvc pipes. (bed risers are a good alternative if you live in the US) I don't use the risers since I would need twelve! I'm sure this method would even work with a good size dining table.

Start by finding the center of your table. This is easy and obvious in my case, but you could also mark your center with a toothpick that had been taped to the table center. It is also helpful to mark the center of the tops and sides of your table (you'll use these markings later) I then fold my quilt backing in half wrong sides together and then in half again. This gives you the center of your quilt back. Place the folded corner on the marked center of your table.

Gently unfold the quilt backing on one side. Here I unlfolded the length of the table and used a paper weight to keep the backing from slipping. Then you can gently unfold the rest of the quilt back. Smooth the quilt back in place.

Here comes the fun part of visiting your local hardware store to find something that is generally not used for quilting, but seems as if it was just made for it! Smooth the quilt back out and using plastic clamps, secure the quilt back to the table. I generally clip one or two clamps on one side, and then clamp one or two on the other side until the quilt back is properly taut.

Repeat same steps with the batting, smoothing as you go.

Carefully remove the clamp from the quilt back and re-clamp to the table, now with both the batting and the quilt back. 

Repeat again with the quilt top, but this time right sides together. Be sure to align your quilt top up with the markings that you have on your table. (center, and side and top centers) 

Carefully remove the clamps and re-clamp now all three layers including the quilt top to the table, smoothing as you go.

Now you are ready to start pinning! I usually use a rolling chair and sit while I am pinning, and can easily scoot from section to section. I have to admit that I was a little surprised how quickly this went, even with taking pictures!

(***NOTE*** no cuss words were used in the production of this basting project) 

How do you baste your quilts? Any tips? Do you use this method or a completely different method?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and Sew Cute Tuesday.
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