Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours!! Our new cat, Lily, is enjoying her first Christmas with us!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge 2012 Wrap Up

I can't believe the year is coming to an end. It seems we just started free motion quilting. I was so apprehensive at the beginning of the year. Anything new was rather scary. I just kept moving forward. I've become more comfortable at free motion quilting. I'm constantly trying to think of how I would quilt something as I piece my tops together. I would like to thank SewCal Gal as well as all the wonderful quilting teachers that donated their time to help us learn so much! Quilters are so generous in so many ways. The picture above just incorporates a few of the techniques I learned this year. There are swirls, pebbles and lines just in this small portion of a wall hanging I made. I'm so happy I'm able to choose from a few techniques. I was only able to stitch in the ditch and meander before I started this challenge.

Here is my year in review:

January featured Frances Moore who showed us how to quilt leaves. This pattern reminded me of ivy!

February featured Diane Gaudynski and her lovely (but difficult for me) feathers.

March featured Ann Fahl and her allover patterns of loops, flowers, stars and spirals.

April featured Don Linn who gave us a wonderful pattern with a new way of transferring patterns onto our fabric.

May featured the fabulous Leah Day who taught us railroad tracks.

June featured Cindy Needham who introduced us into using our quilt space to showcase different stitches to become a ZenTangle.

July featured Angela Walters who showed us how to quilt tiles and fill them with free motion quilting.

August featured Wendy Sheppard with her adorable (but hard) jester's hats.

September featured Paula Reid who gave us a lovely quilting design.

October featured Teri Lucas who had us use silk fabric and really machine quilt some great designs.

 November featured Sarah Vedeler who had us try spirals. This was such great fun to quilt! Loved it!

December featured Patsy Thompson but I opted for the bonus tutorial taught by Teri Lucas. She used Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 software that I just might have to buy!

That's been my year, so far, in free motion quilting! I enjoyed it and felt I learned so much. Thank you to all who helped us out throughout the year. Hoping to keep at it and continue to finish my projects!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December FMQ

Sadly, December is the last month for the Free Motion Quilting Challenge. The main tutorial this month was by Patsy Thompson. However, it seemed too involved for me to actually do this month. I've been so busy between work and shopping. I'm sure you can all understand what I'm talking about! I'm hoping I can get to it sometime in the future where I can give it the time it deserves.

Teri Lucas had a bonus tutorial using Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 Software. I didn't want to buy the software until I had tried out the sample Teri had supplied. I copied the image at work where we only have black ink. You could actually copy the image onto fabric and quilt around the image. It would have looked like this.


Since my copy was in printed in black ink only, I used a light box to trace the feathered star. I quilted using 50 weight 100% cotton by Robison-Anton. As you can see, it was a pink variegated thread.

I really love the result! I'm going to bind it and machine quilt the background. I think it will look nice on one of my coffee tables. 

The FMQ Challenge is over! My next blog post will recap the monthly tutorials so all 12 of my pieces will be in one place. This may take a while!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blogger's BOM, so far

I've finally managed to get a little sewing done. I've been trying so hard to get my blocks all put together! I'm not used to sewing blocks on point and wanted to see the end result. Too bad it's holiday time and I have a million things to do! Anyways, I did find some time and got the blocks put together. The only thing I have left to do is the piano border. That border will definitely take some time. I'm not sure how much fabric I have left from the blocks so I'll probably be incorporating some of the solids I used. It measures 48 1/2 inches square.

I really like the look of this quilt. I'm not used to using a print for the sashing. I don't use much orange. But I think I like it! I'm a little bit out of my comfort zone but I'm happy with the end result!

The piano border is made up of 96 rectangles. Definitely a bit time consuming! I'll get it done at some point!

How's everyone doing with their holiday shopping? I'm almost done although my husband won't really tell me what he wants. I'll have to go to the golf store and take a look around. I love the holidays but love when they're over too!

Hope everyone finds some fun time for themselves to sew! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Early Christmas Gifts

My quilt guild held it's annual Christmas Party last night. We had tutorials on some quick gifts we could whip up as well as some great food and punch to get us through the evening. Every month we have a fat quarter raffle. Of course, the theme this month was Christmas. I was one of the winners! I love Christmas fabric and was thrilled to have won!

My dear friend, Star, sent me an early Christmas gift. She made me this fingerless gloves and sent me the cutest applique! I have always wanted to make these gloves but she beat me to it! I'm going to need them soon since I hear there's snow in the forecast. The applique is adorable and thought I'd use it on a tote bag but I haven't decided for sure yet.

I would like to introduce you to Lily Bouquet! My mom saw her picture in our newspaper and my husband called to inquire about her. Lily has been in a shelter since September. She gave birth to 4 little kitties that have all been adopted. She was getting depressed being in a cage for most of the day. Well, I just had to bring her home! We all miss our cat, Ricky. Lily will never take his place but she is helping us heal. She needed a home and we were missing our cat. I think it worked out perfectly! We named her Lily but the shelter called her Bouquet. I think the name fits her just fine! She's made herself at home and has adjusted very well. She seems happy to be here and we already love her.

I feel my Christmas is already perfect!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quilter's Christmas Party for Operation Homefront

We are just starting to decorate our home for the holidays but I wanted to take part in Sew Cal Gal's Quilter's Christmas Party. Sew Cal Gal has sponsored the 2012 Free-Motion Quilt Challenge and now she is hosting two parties today. She is hosting a physical party in Southern California as well as a virtual on line Christmas Party to benefit our troops and their families through Operation Homefront. I live too far away so I can only attend the online party.

I thought I would share with you some of my decorations that I've made over the years. 

I made this wall hanging in a class I took with Mary Sorensen. It has holly and berries and reminds me of Christmas. I love to applique and enjoyed taking this class with her. She has a very nice method to make those tiny little twigs. I kept all my class handouts so I'll be able to make them again. It's the first time I made a ribbon border.

I made this cute little door hanger last year from a pattern I found in Quilting Arts. 

             I made this folksy little Santa Claus from an old Debbie Mumm book I had.

 I hope you're all decorating the house and enjoying yourself at the same time! Do you have your favorite holiday decoration that you put up every year? Are you getting much sewing/quilting done? I've been so busy trying to buy gifts and decorate that I'm so behind! I always want to get to the sewing machine but there are too many other things to do!

Hope you have a chance to check out the Quilter's Christmas Party! Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Apron

There is so much to do this time of year! I'm not getting as much sewing done as I would like. I did manage to finish this cute little Christmas apron. My daughter was kind enough to model it for us!
It was a panel and only took a couple of hours to make. It had to be cut out and hemmed all around the edges. The ties had to be finished and the pocket added.  Here is the panel I bought.

I bought the panel this past summer while on vacation. It was a fun project to make and I plan on wearing it during Christmas dinner. We have dinner at our house for our family. I hope to hear some nice comments about it!

On a sad note, our cat, Ricky, passed away. He was 15 1/2 years old. He died quite suddenly. It took me awhile to be able to write about him. He kept me company while the kids were at school. We're all quite upset about it. We'll miss him dearly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 Christmas Quilt Show

I found the 2012 Christmas Quilt Show and just had to add my own Christmas projects! My main project is the above quilt. It's only about 3 feet by 4 feet so I suppose it should be called a wall hanging. I hang it over my railing on the second floor which is easy to see from my front door and foyer. I found it in a Christmas issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine many years ago. It uses paper piecing in some of the rows. I think it's the first quilt I ever machine quilted. My stippling in the borders isn't very good but I did finish the quilt myself! I was very proud of it when I finished it.

I've posted these before but thought it would be nice to show my Christmas projects all together. The above is an ornament made from a very nice fabric. This came out good my first try! That doesn't always happen!

I made this table runner a couple of years ago. It was a free pattern online. I just thought it was a fun and whimsical design. I hand appliqued but machine quilted.

I made this tree skirt when I first started quilting. It was summer time and I couldn't find many Christmas fabrics. I ended up calling Keepsake Quilting and mail ordered just about everything. I hand quilted this one. I was still too afraid to machine quilt at this point!

That's my Christmas Quilt Show! I have a few more little things but these are my major projects that I look forward to putting up year after year. Hope you take a minute to check out the quilt show at the above link. It's so fun to see what everyone else has made.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

FMQ Challenge for November

This month, Sarah Vedeler was our FMQ expert. She has been featured on The Quilt Show. She is also know for machine embroidery designs as well as quilt patterns and beautiful machine quilting. She had printed template pages of spirals for us to practice before we even attempted the spirals on our sewing machines. I found drawing the spirals by hand rather difficult. It's so hard not to make the circles wobbly. I wanted nice round spirals!

The above picture is my first attempt. I used a marker and made grids to quilt my spirals. Some came out okay and some not good at all! You have to really concentrate to get the circle nice and round. I waited a few days and tried again. 

I liked my second attempt much better. They're still not perfect but I could see an improvement. Of course, I need more practice. I do plan on using this design on some of my quilt projects. I think the swirl would look great in many different areas of quilts especially borders.

Thanks again to SewCal Gal for sponsoring these great tutorials for us throughout this year. One more to go!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! We have so much to be thankful for! There are good times and bad times for all of us throughout our lives. Let's be thankful for all the good things today.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Quiltmaker Bear

As you can see, the bear is all done! I sewed on his button eyes today. I have him hanging up in my family room. He was fun to make and I felt he was a great way for me to practice some free motion quilting.

I quilted pebbles onto the trim of his hat. I have only done pebbles a few times and still haven't found a technique I'm comfortable with. I try and go around the circle once but end up repeating the circle for the sake of movement. I try to sew the repeats over the existing stitches but it doesn't always go as planned. The lines in the red portion of the hat were very simple.

His whole body consists of lines sewed at an angle. I drew a few in just to keep my angle consistent. These lines are not meant to be equal divisions of his body. They're sort of drawn freely to give his body some depth.

Here's another view of the swirls. I also echoed a little square in his ear.

I truly enjoyed making this bear. I found the quilting was fun to practice. The final measurements for this piece is only 15" by 18". This was so easy to quilt on the machine. There was no bulk! It fit very nicely and I felt I had better control quilting him due to the size.

On to my next Christmas project! I have a little holiday apron calling my name! Until next time!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

FNSI November

I seemed to work on a variety of projects this past Friday night (and during the day as well!) I had cut all my pieces to finish the Blogger's BOM quilt top. I did not cut the piano key border yet. I'm waiting until the top is assembled and I can get the final dimensions. However, since this quilt is on point, I had to start sewing from one corner. Here's a picture of one of those corners. I really like it so far! This quilt is a departure from my usual choices. The sashing has a vibrant pattern. I'm used to solid sashings that are on the quiet side. I rarely use orange but I really like the orange corner stones. I have the next row almost done but it's still in pieces. More to come!

I also worked on some FMQ. I started the challenge for this month. I need more practice so I will show you photos when there is more to see! This month the challenge is swirls. They look so easy yet so difficult to keep your lines nice and rounded.

I also worked on my Christmas Bear by practicing some swirls in the background. I liked them much better than my practice piece. My little bear is almost done. I just have his body and face yet to quilt. My binding is all cut. I can't wait to have him finished. He'll be adorable to hang this Christmas season.

I also did a little sewing on my Dresden Plates. I'm on block #6 out of 12. Slow but steady!

And that's my Friday Night Sew In recap!

Hope you are all having a great weekend. Can't believe Thanksgiving is in just a few days! I'll be baking the night before. We're going to my mom and dad's for dinner. My brother and his family will not be joining us this year. He lives in upstate NY and is about 8 hours away by car. We'll all miss them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Christmas Bear

Isn't he adorable? I found this pattern in Quiltmaker Nov/Dec '12. It's actually called "You Got Cookies?". I just couldn't resist. I had to make him. It uses paper piecing which I love since it's so accurate. I printed the pattern on regular multipurpose paper used in printers. I find there's so much recycled content that it's easy to rip off your fabric as long as your stitch is shortened. There were 5 sections that made up the actual bear's face.

You can see the 5 sections in this picture. I find every time I paper piece I have to think about what I'm doing. It's sort of backwards since the lines you sew on are on the back of the actual piecing. Once I get that orientation in my head, I'm good to go.

After the bear's head was done, I had to add the window panes and the rest of the background. These two pieces were quite easy since most pieces were large.

Here's the finished piece without borders or the bear's pompom! The finished wall  hanging should measure 15" by 18".

I used mostly fabrics I had in my stash. However, I did buy the gray solid fabric for the windowsill as well as the light fabric for his hat. His hat fabric is white with gold glitter. I bought both of these fabrics on the mystery ride. The pattern called for flannel but I thought the gold would add more of a holiday look.

I'm going to layer it and pin the layers together today. There is even suggested machine quilting as part of the pattern instruction. One of the suggestions is to make swirls in the blue sky. I'm working on swirls as part of the Free Motion Quilting Challenge so I'll get to actually use what I'm practicing this month! I'll post his picture when he's all done! I have so much machine quilting to do! I'll get there eventually!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Quilter's Gathering 2012

A week ago today, three friends and I made our way to A Quilter's Gathering. This quilt show has been held in Nashua, NH for the last few years but this year it was held in Manchester, NH. The venue was much larger and easily accommodated vendors, quilts and classes. Every room was larger which allowed everything to be spaced out in a much nicer way. We weren't cramped while shopping or while drooling at the quilts on display.

Here's a quick peak at the vendors. There's plenty of room. That was good thing since there were lots of vendors. I bought some fabric which I hope to use for the Blogger's BOM. You'll be seeing that soon, I hope! I also bought a few books. I'm not sure why but I always end up buying books! It was very hard to decide which to buy since there are many wonderful books out there. I also bought this:

Isn't this the cutest ornament!? I have embroidery floss from past projects. It's all stamped and just has to be embroidered!

Here's a look at how the quilts were set up for viewing. They were nicely spaced. The room was large with plenty of space to look at the front as well as the backs of the quilts. I took pictures of some of my favorites!

This quilt may be familiar to some of you. Carol Doak made this quilt a few years back and has been featured in many magazines and received many honors.

This is an antique quilt made from soldier's uniforms. It was very moving to look at it and realize all of these patches represents a soldier.

I loved this quilt for it's applique. It was just perfectly done. So beautiful!

I  loved the applique and quilting in this quilt.

 The quilting on this quilt was unbelievable! This is only a small segment. I wanted a closeup to remind me of what I'd like to do some day!

Just a cute little block with kitties on it! They made me smile!

Hope you enjoyed my little quilt show! Enjoy your weekend!

Old and New!

I made this quilt about 15 years ago. It's called Starry Night. I signed up for a Block of the Month. I would receive directions as...