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Sunday, September 28, 2008

My newest addiction - podcasts

In particular, podcasts about quilting. And that can be dangerous, because I find out about designers or techniques or products of which I was previously unaware and, of course, have to try! :)

I've recently subscribed to Alex Anderson's podcast, and have been listening to them in order, so it will take me a while to catch up to her latest one. In the one I just listened to, Alex interviewed the owners of Superior Threads, and it went along nicely with the Sue Nickels machine quilting with different threads workshop I took at AQS Nashville in August.

I've also subscribed to a video podcast by Bonnie McCaffery, one by the designers known as Lizzie B Cre8tive, Annie Smith's Quilting Stash, and I just finished listening to Driven To Quilt (which, unfortunately, she no longer does - it was a pretty good podcast, in my opinion).

This week I've been working on Noel's Gone Fishing quilt, and I got to the flannel round of the blue block and realized that I do not have enough flannel for all of the blocks. A little calculation mistake on my part. FORTUNATELY, I checked the web site where I originally got this particular flannel (fabric.com - quilter's suede-look flannel), and they still carry all four colors I need. If the dye lots are different (and maybe even if they don't appear to be), I will use the old lot on half of the blocks and the new lot on the other half.

I've also been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden while we watch television. I've nearly completed two more columns of hexagons, which is quite a lot of work! :)

I'm not particularly fond of the fact that I have to go back to work tomorrow. I've been having way too much fun at home this weekend. Oh well, I guess I have to pay for the fabric somehow... :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Saturday

Just a couple of quick updates - I've been working on Noel's blue fish blocks, and here is my progress so far


These are some of the fabrics I've cut out for Tori's Hexagon Beads - all of the hexagons are cut out, and one set of diamonds so far


And here is my latest progress on the Halloween Fairy (Trick or Treat)


I just finished up a new book (juvenile, science fiction / mystery) that I read about on Orson Scott Card's web site. Found (book 1 of The Missing) by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I really liked it, and I'm looking forward to seeing where she goes with the next book. I borrowed another book of hers from the library, and I plan to read it next. I may have found another excellent author to read (and I've just gotten so finicky lately).

Oh, and I'm so excited! I'm registered to take a workshop in October with Paula Reid - Free Motion Boot Camp with Trapunto Training. I had just ordered her Machine Quilting DVD (Fluff and Stuff, which came in the mail today), and Friday I found out that she's going to be teaching an all day workshop here in October. I can't wait! If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that taking classes can be really wonderful and helpful. I hadn't really considered taking any until this year, thanks to a conversation with a fellow quilter at work, and now a new world has opened up for me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

SUPER Second Saturday

This was indeed a Super Second Saturday of September. We started out the morning by doing some planned shopping at Joann's. I had pretty much decided the quilt I'm going to make for our friend Noel. Most people know that he, like me, is a huge Steeler fan. That would have been the obvious choice, and I don't always go for the obvious. I also know that in his free time he loves to fish. So that was my inspiration - I found two fish fabrics that I thought would look nice, and I found some homespun plaid fabrics to coordinate with them. When I got home and looked at my pattern, I realized that I would need to include some additional fabric from my stash to get it to the size I wanted it to be.

I plan on doing a modified Cotton Theory - not all of the pieces will be attached in the CT method - only the blocks will. I plan to quilt the blocks and then put them together with CT seams. I haven't tried it out yet, it's only in my head (and figures are on paper, where I've tried to ensure that pieces are cut the right size for this), but I think it will work (fingers crossed!). Here are the fabrics - the quilt will be reversible - the blue and tan on one side, red and green on the other. I created images from EQ5 where I designed the quilt.



After Joann's, we went over to the Sally Cheney Superstore where my mom was taking a class on her serger. I figured we'd save a little gas by taking their Double Wedding Ring quilt and putting it in her car while we were in the same area of town (btw, they love the quilt).

Once that errand was complete, we drove over to the quilt shop and picked up the September block of the month. I also picked up a couple of fabics I thought would coordinate with some fabrics I've been collecting for a quilt of unknown pattern and recipient (though it might be me, because I love the colors). It started out as just a collection of Bleeker Street fabrics (2005) - dusty greens and turquoises, and I've added a few to it. I've noticed that quilts made entirely from one line of coordinating fabrics, with no other fabrics introduced, are either boring or have very little definition. As much as I love the Bleeker Street line of fabrics that I purchased, any quilt I might make with only those fabrics would be rather uninspiring. But when I add a few other fabrics (there are 4 Fairy Frosts in there, plus some new Modas I bought today), they start to sparkle (no pun intended).


Once I got through playing around with my new fabrics this afternoon, I went ahead and stitched up Rising Star. It is similar to last month's block, but this one has a small version of the outer star in the center.


And in the mail today, I finally received the Kreinik braid and cross stitch chart that were on backorder. The braid is for the Trick or Treat fairy, and the chart is for me to start after ToT is finished. It's called "My Security Blanket" by Patricia Allison, and it looks just like Stilts. I'm surprised I've been able to find patterns that look so much like each of our cats. Hopefully it won't take very long to stitch and then frame and hang on the "Cat Wall". :)

Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew

And so, instead of machine quilting the t-shirt quilt, I am hand quilting it. I did just fine on my practice piece of machine quilting with the threads and pattern I had chosen for the sashing (which I am quilting first to stabilize it). However, I didn't take into account that this quilt is bigger than Delaney's Snow Puzzle, and actually heavier because of all the t-shirts backed with interfacing. Way too big and way too heavy for me to successfully machine quilt at this time. I even tried moving my machine onto a bigger table, but that just didn't work either.

So I spent some time this morning picking out the machine quilting that I had tried yesterday, and then I marked a hand quilting pattern on one column of sashing. I'm about 1/3 done with that column and it's much less frustrating (although it will take much longer).

I don't know what I'm going to do for the quilting in the t-shirt squares. They will need something, because I'm using 100% cotton batting. I just haven't thought of what yet. I may do some sort of simple grid. Oh well, I'll have some time to think about it...

And I'll work on practicing my machine quilting with smaller projects for now. :)

A pot of chili's on the stove, store-bought cookies have just finished baking in the oven, and my Steelers won today. Even with the machine quilting snag, I'd say it's a pretty good day!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Delaney's Snow Puzzle



Stilts just about refused to let me take a picture of the finished quilt without her, so here they are together. And the second picture is a closeup of the grid quilting. One Christmas present down... :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Boogie Oogie Oogie


Yes, indeed, that means what you think it means! I am happy dancing this weekend, with not just one quilt finish, but TWO! I don't have a picture yet of Delaney's Snow Puzzle, but I just finished putting the binding on it and it's in the wash right now.

I DO have a couple of pictures of my most complicated quilt to date, the Double Wedding Ring quilt for my mom & dad. The first photo shows the entire quilt finished, the second shows a bit of the backing, and the third shows a little closer view of the curved and pointed bias binding.




I'll post a photo of Delaney's quilt after it's dry. Meanwhile, here is another photo for those of you who think I might not be cross-stitching at all. :) Trick or Treat!