Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Finish--Shocking but True!

Well, finally I am finished with my heart quilt. I refuse to go back in my blog and see when I started it. It underwent many changes as I worked on it, going from a rail fence to a heart, then a heart with a red center. I also did my first long-arming on this quilt. Had to rip some out because I had railroad tracks on the back, then do my own FMQ on my domestic machine. I think it looks fine after washing though. So, I guess you can say this is my first true, not practice, FMQ.

Today was the first sunny day in awhile, but a cold, cold wind was blowing as we took these photos.

Tallulah came over to investigate...actually to see Yud who is just to the left of this photo, but I couldn't resist including this photo even though the wind was really not helping me with my photo. If you ever meet my husband, don't tell him you saw his bald spot. He is trying to pretend it doesn't exist.

In this photo of the back, you can really see how the wind was blowing and more of the bald spot. :-)

Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Finish Along

Adrianne at On the Windy Side is hosting the 2015 Finish Along and I am excited! You link your WIPs to the quarterly linky party and then link back to your finished projects at the end of the quarter. I am hoping this forces me to finish some really old WIPs, including a Christmas wall hanging I did in one of the first classes I took after I got my sewing machine.

All the details are available on Adrianne's blog linked above. Prizes are along involved, so link up those WIPs.

Below are the three projects I hope plan to finish in the first quarter. Two baby quilts. There is actually a third I need to do, but I don't have fabrics pulled yet.

I don't have a pattern here, but I am doing half-square triangles in a diamond pattern. Hope that is enough information for the Finish Along.

The upside down Christmas quilt. OMG...the mistakes I see on this quilt. I have actually enjoyed getting it out again because I can actually see how much I have learned about quilting in two years. And how much my style has changed.

I may have more projects to add before January 7th because several are "in the works," but they are not complete enough to include here yet. One is pulled with a pattern, but I am not feeling that quilt today, so don't really think I would complete it during the first quarter, so I am leaving it off.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate Christmas! From my family to yours....

Debby and Dolph
A short trip to Yellowstone before Christmas

Tallulah, Yud, Jaspyrr, Mandu, Willow, and Honeynut

Willow (bottom left) is my quilting buddy. She never leaves my side when I am quilting, often sleeping off to the side gently snoring away. Shhh...don't tell the others...but she is my BCF (best cat forever).

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mondrian Riff Mini-Quilt Tutorial

I am not quite sure this is a tutorial. I think it is more of a "this is how I did it" explanation. If you have questions, just let me know.

This is an easy quilt, so beginners who know how to rotary cut and sew 1/4" seams will have no problems with this quilt, especially if you like to stitch in the ditch. If you do not know how to stitch in the ditch, check out this video from Quilty with Mary Fons. Of course, depending upon your color selection and patience with burying threads, you might choose to do another type of stitching when you are ready to quilt your pieced top.

I used a design-as-you go approach for this design, starting with color selection - bright, bold solid colors. I went with red, yellow, orange, blue, and green to begin.

Use your design wall or a dining room table and start by laying out two1.5 inch black strips. Size doesn't matter at this stage. Choose something bigger than your expected finished quilt top. I chose strips that were  1.5 x. 27.5 and 1.5 x 43.

I like asymmetrical, so started with the off-center cross below. My design wall is just a cheap plastic table cloth turned backwards and tacked to my sewing/office room wall so that the flannel backing is on top.

Now just start cutting your fabrics. I tend to choose 5", 4", and 2.5" strips because I can easily use the leftovers in other projects. When I get to a random spot that needs color, I measure the area I need filled and cut a strip to match.

 I also pull strips off the design wall and use them to measure for cutting too. This is where design-as-you-go really comes into its own. By putting the blue rectangle on top of the green I wanted to add, it was easy to see know where to cut the green.

Once I add a few pieces, I back up, take a photo and decide if I like the pattern or if I need to change something.

For me, this is too square and does not have any white. I may need another black strip somewhere too. So off to cut some white strips/blocks and we will see what we have. I think I am going to build this "sideways" and then turn it later. I am going to add more rows/strips to the left of the long vertical black strip.

Still a little square, but more white. I also do not like the white strips that are parallel to each other in the same locations.

This is the rectangle I am looking for, so I am pleased with that. I have one more piece to add in (see the design wall peaking through under the lavender). I think I want another red piece or even a random different color. If I go red, I am probably going to have to move a few pieces around to make that work.

Notice that I do not care about the uneven ends. They will be easy to even up with I am finished sewing the sections - the areas between the black strips - together.

Piecing is easy. Just section off the areas around the black stripes and use a 1/4" seam. Once you have a set either horizontally or vertically completed, you can begin to add in the black stripes. On this mini-quilt, I added the strips horizontally first, then cut so that I could add the longer vertical strip.

I just used gray on the back (Kona Pewter) and used straight line quilting to quilt. Quilting is still my weakest area. My goal for 2015 is to improve my quilting and become less afraid of FMQ.

Because I was in a rush to finish my Secret Santa gift (and this was it), I have no photos of the back of the quilt. I do have one with the binding. I used a 2.5" black double fold binding and machine stitched it. For machine stitching, stitch the binding to the back first, then fold over and iron and stitch close to the edge on the front. 

The only finished photo I have is from our guild Secret Santa swap and is not great, but at least you can see it with binding and after washing/drying. Using color catchers in the wash meant I had no problems with the bright colors bleeding at all!

If you look back at the design I decided would work, you will see that this is different. I also think I have the colors of the Irish/Ivory Coast flags in the top right corner. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mondrian Riff Mini-Quilt/Wall Hanging

So, if you know Piet Mondrian's work (above) and you quilt, you have likely had the same idea - ohhh, I could make a quilt like that. This weekend, after thinking about it for awhile, I decided to give it a try. Below is my first attempt. 

I chose colors and then created the design on my design wall (a reversed plastic table cloth). I like it a lot, but learned one VERY important lesson. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT steam press a light-colored square without first removing all the black thread remnants. I do not pre-wash my fabrics and the black just melded with the yellow in one tiny, irritating spot. ARRGGHHH!!

I was making this as a Christmas swap gift, so back to the drawing board. The tiny black dot that would not bother me if I were making this for myself is just too irksome as a swap gift.

I am making a tutorial for my next Mondrian. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Porter Flea Market - Nashville

I am going to my first pop-up Modern Handmade Market tomorrow - the Porter Flea Market. It should be really, really good. It is a juried show with multiple vendors, including some sewists. Craft South, Anna Maria Horner's company will be there. Oh Just Dandy looks really cool if you have babies who need Christmas presents. She has baby bibs and burp cloths made from Cotton & Steel fabrics!

Some of the items will be totally affordable - $8 for a Cotton & Steel baby bib. Other things will be beyond what I am willing to pay - e.g., small absolutely adorable earrings for $150. Everyone should be paid for their work, so I actually think $8 is too low and $150 acceptable for some, but not for me. Both vendors likely know their markets, so I guess the prices are fair for them. How do you decide on a price?

I have had two people ask me to make quilts for them. Both have said they will pay for the quilts. I declined both offers because how do you charge a fair price for your labor, the material, and your creativity? I agree with Sam Hunter and her We are $ew Worth It post. However, I do not feel that I am up to Sam Hunter's level of creativity and skill. So, what would I charge?

The local guild members here say 7 cents a square inch is the going rate - that is $400 for a twin-sized quilt. Whoa! Hmmmm. I do not think my quilting is up to a $400 level. I may get there, but for now I am just going to give my quilts away and enjoy the process.