Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Knitting Projects

 I just blocked my latest shawl. This shawl is called Monarda and designed by Jen Lucas. I found the pattern in her book, Sock-Yarn Shawls II. I have both of her books and I really enjoy them. Her patterns are beautiful and the directions are easy to follow. Each pattern has a chart as well as written out directions. I actually contacted her once and she helped me understand one of her patterns. I missed one crucial part of the directions. After she explained it to me, it made perfect sense!

It measures 18" X 56". I used sock yarn I had in my stash. I love using variegated yarn. It adds some interest to the shawl.

Here's a close up of the stitch. This shawl had a 14 row repeat that made up the actual body of the shawl. I never had to rip out once!

I also made this little dish cloth for a friend of mine. Can you see the kitty?? My friend can't have cats at her apartment so I decided to make her the next best thing! (At least, in my opinion!!)

I've already started my next knitting project but it's very early. I'll show you soon!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spiderweb Block

I was off today and spent some of my day working on this Spiderweb Block. There were many seams to match. I tried to reduce the bulky seams by changing direction when paper piecing. I made one set of wedges according to the sequence listed on the paper pieced pattern. However, I changed the direction when I made the second set of wedges.

As you can see in this picture, I started with 17 and worked my way towards 1. This way my seams would go in the opposite direction of the first set of wedges.  Each block is made up of 12 wedges. There are 2 patterns per block, 6 wedges each. This way, my seams were in the opposite direction and would butt up against each other and I'd have no bulk!

Here's the front side of that paper in the previous picture.
I decided to do the harder seams first. These diagonal seams took a while to match up. I think it would have been much harder if I hadn't made the seams go in opposite directions. Still hard! The seams where everything was straight were so much easier! Once again, I tried to do the hard part first!
Here are my 4 blocks so far! I love them! I already have 6 wedges done of the next block. These blocks are addictive! I love them so far!

Monday, April 20, 2015

FMQ and Downton Abbey

I just started machine quilting Ladies of Downton Abbey. I had made a plan and practiced it a few times. I forced myself to start quilting on the actual quilt. I'm so afraid I'm going to screw it up! I tried to implement a few concepts I learned at MQX. I definitely went slower which really increased my control. I still screwed up a bit here and there, but overall, it's coming along well!

I really love the effect of the quilting on the back. The quilting is so easy to see on the off white background. It makes the back so very interesting! I'm using King Tut in a variegated beige. King Tut is a little thicker than I prefer but I just love the color so much! I'm definitely using a finer thread next time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Arcadia Avenue - 3 Blocks and A Half

I finished Northern Lights, the third block of Arcadia Avenue. I'm loving these blocks! They're fun to make they're just striking. Somewhat addictive too! Each block is made up of 12 wedges. I make 3 wedges at a time. I think this block looks harder than it is! The only thing I don't like is the bulky seams when putting the block together. When paper piecing, the seams all go in the same direction. I'm experimenting with the next block. I'm going to paper piece 6 wedges according to directions. However, the second set will be sewed together in the opposite direction. I hope it works! It's so easy when the seams butt up to each other. I'll let you know if it works!

Here are my 3 blocks together. They won't be set like this but I thought it would look nice to put them all together!

Here's half of Block 4, Spiderweb. Hope my experiment works!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

More MQX Classes


Does this quilt look familiar? It's on the cover of Judi Madsen's book, Quilting Wide Open Spaces. I took a class with Judi Madsen and thoroughly enjoyed it! Judi was fun and friendly. I volunteered to help out in her class so I got to meet her and her sister, Amy.

The class I took was Quilting With Shapes. She showed us innovative ways to quilt different shapes in backgrounds. She made perfect sense and I wondered why I never think of this stuff! She had great advice and I want to try some of patterns she shared with us.

These are samples of the shapes she taught us. Very innovative! She was full of ideas. She also tried to make it easy for us. She took us through each step and had a great handout for us to follow with her.

I was right up front! I think I had the best seat! There were about 70 of us taking this particular class.
Judi was nice enough to raffle off a book and a ruler. I won the ruler! I'm so excited to try it! I'm hoping some of her talent rubbed off on me!

The only other class I took was with Karen Marchetti. Her class was how to quilt wide borders which I've had a problem with in the past. She showed us her method of dividing the border and marking it. She makes lines and arcs using a boomerang type ruler. So interesting! Everyone has such great ideas and they're all so varied.

There you have it! I had such a great time taking classes at MQX! I'm looking forward to next year already! I saw little bits of other classes and hope they'll be available next year. There is so much offered but so little time! You know how that goes!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Leah Day Classes at MQX

I took two wonderful classes with Leah Day at MQX in Manchester, NH. Free Motion Quilting was the main subject of the first class. We brought quilt sandwiches all ready to practice the new designs that Leah taught us. It was so helpful to have her watch us and fine tune our techniques. The six hour class just flew by. It was amazing to see how much we all improved. She had handouts and books ready for us. She also showed us all sorts of patterns on the white board as you can see above.

The second class concentrated on feathers and we received patterns that can be easily traced onto any quilt top or block. I don't think I've ever quilted as many feathers as I did today! This class was 4 hours.

The classes were very casual and fun. We could walk around and talk amongst ourselves. I usually get a little nervous when I have to sew a new technique with a classroom of people around. I was quite comfortable. I wanted to sew so I could practice the new techniques I was just starting to learn.

Leah walked around the room and helped us.

Leah showed us her new projects as well as some of her older ones.

Her machine quilting was amazing! She passed around all sorts of projects she had worked on.

I'm sure this looks familiar! It was great to see this in person. It's on the cover of one of her books also and represents her 365 free motion patterns.

This is one of her newer projects.

This was a whole cloth she designed. I actually started this project but never finished. My free motion skills just weren't good enough. 

These two classes were excellent. If you ever have the chance to take a class with Leah Day, go for it!  You won't regret it!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and Happy Easter!

I'm surprising my dad today! I made an Italian  Easter Bread just like my grandmother used to make. I hope he likes it! Actually, I hope my whole family enjoys it too! Enjoy the holiday!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sewing Cat

I'm finally done with Sewing Cat, a pattern by Edyta Sitar. After machine quilting, I had to add a few little embellishments. I usually don't add anything after quilting so it took me a little while to figure out what to do.

I finally gave the poor kitty some eyes! I actually tried to copy the shape of the iris by looking at one of my cats! Their irises are sort of diamond shaped, not round like ours. I've had 2 cats with green eyes so I went with that color.  My younger cat, Molly, has one black whisker. That was added in her honor.I embroidered the whiskers after studying Lily's whiskers. They have a nice gentle curl to them. The cat is gray in memory of our cat, Ricky, who died almost 2 years ago.

I wanted to add pins to the pin cushion. I found these beads in my sewing basket and thought they would work just as well. I tried to add them in a random way, the way you would stick pins on any pin cushion.

And it's done! I'm going to hang it in my sewing room. It will be nice to look at it and think of my cats while I'm sewing away!


Disco is Done!

Even though I'm busily working on my quilt Christmas gifts, I did manage to finish this quilt top! It's Disco by Jaybird Quilts...