Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Fever

I'm afraid it's been one of those weeks that I've barely been able to do any sewing.  It's Spring Break season, husband's been traveling, and for the first time ever, I've had both boys in school sports.  Volunteer work and much general "life" stuff has kept me busy as well.

I was hoping to have a Forest QAL block done, and a Project Quilting quilt done, but it's just now going to happen this week, or possibly next.  This is about how far I got before throwing in the towel.  I printed off the Forest QAL pattern, and got a plan and started cutting out fabric for the Project Quilting Challenge, which is "Spring". 

I was going to make a quilt based on the "Square Foot Gardening" book / method, which was the first one we used when my husband and I lived in a tiny duplex apartment which had about a 5 by 12 foot piece of dirt that we could use.  Over 20 years later, we still use many of the concepts in this book, especially trellising many of the vine vegetables, such as cucumbers and winter squash.

I'll still get it done, but it's now a WIP.

I hope you all are having a great Spring!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Finish: Feather Block from Forest QAL

My paper piecing kick got derailed in the last week or so after our printer ran out of toner.  A brand new, $55 box of it that I'd bought at Best Buy, in a city an hour (each way) away had an opened interior bag and a totally empty toner cartridge inside (which we discovered only after it was home).  Booo....  We're working with the company now to resolve this.  In the mean while, we ordered on on-line from and it was delivered to us with free 2 day shipping earlier this week!  Yea!  Guess who I'll be doing more business with...

The above feather block from the Forest QAL group again was very challenging.  I made a few goofs, and unsewed more than a few seams, but I love it!  Thanks to Joanna of Shape Moth for the fantastic pattern!!

Along with the publication challenge finish at Project Quilting, I had a pretty good week!!

I'm linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilt's Finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIP Wed: Honeycomb / Hexagon Machine Quilting Tutorial

I'm about a third done quilting my Organic Chemistry Quilt.  I decided to do a simple grid all over the quilt, but also wanted to use hexagons on it.  After looking all over the Internet for ideas, and pretty much coming up with nothing, I decided to create my own.

One great thing about this quilting design is that just about anyone can do it with a walking foot.  All I did is to use the same cereal box template that I used to make the appliqued chemical hexagons, and used a plastic pot scrubber (my makeshift "Hera marker") to trace the outline of the next shape to stitch on.

Hopefully this give you an idea of how I am quilting it.  I tried to use chalk marker at first, but the white is almost impossible to see on such a light background, and the few I did in a peach colored chalk didn't easily "erase" with water or a lint roller.  I've had colored tailor chalk stain previous quilts, so immediately stopped using it.  This "Hera marker" leaves a crease that lasts just long enough to guide my stitches over!

It'll take a while to do this, but I find that I really really like this design.  I bet it'd be super easy on a long arm machine too.

Of course now that the design is taking shape, I may not be able to resist free motion quilting inside some of those "empty" hexagons ;-).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Project Quilting 5 Challenge Done! Seed Packet Quilt

For this last round of Project Quilting, the challenge was to use page 28 in any publication as our inspiration.  I choose a seed catalog that we have been eagerly browsing through, in anticipation of Spring planting season!  It turned out a little bit corny, but that's OK ;-).

As I mentioned in my last post, I used this challenge to try to learn how to make a paper pieced pattern on my EQ7 program!  I'm so happy about this!  I also thought it'd be fun to "personalize it some, putting our name at the bottom.  My husband is from Illinois originally, which is pretty much a king corn state.  We almost always have corn in our garden, and according to him, it should always be "knee high by the 4th of July", so I had to add that as well.

It's 18 by 12 inches, and has hand embroidered letters, paper and regular piecing, and finally some free motion quilting.  My husband remarked when it was almost done that the corn needed some tassels, so I added a few of those too for fun! I purposely did the embroidery and quilting over it to give me a mini trial on how quilting my "Organic Chemistry" quilt would work.  As you can see, sewing through the embroidery really doesn't distort it much at all.

I also tried out my idea for using a lamp and my glass table as a "light box", and it worked beautifully!! SWEET!  ... corn that is LOL

Friday, March 8, 2013

I DID it!! My first EQ Paper Pieced Pattern!!

I'm just too excited!!  I FINALLY figured out how to create a paper-pieced pattern in my EQ7 program!!  I've been struggling with this program for about a year, as I got it last Christmas, or birthday (which is in January).  I'm not too computer savvy, but have been making myself use it each time I try to design anything quilt-related.  Slowly but surely, I'm learning this program.  I've been wanting to figure out how to make a paper-pieced pattern for several months, and have even used quite a few of the foundation block patterns in the EQ library.  It finally all clicked (sort of) and while my pattern is a bit clumsy, I did it!

It's part of this week's round of Project Quilting.  With my current round of quilt alongs, swaps, and finish alongs, I almost decided NOT to participate in this round.  I generally don't do these unless it truly inspires me, or I want to try or learn a new technique.  It's a perfect way to do this.  So, I decided to try to make a paper pieced ear of corn block.  And it worked!!!  I used this tutorial on Joanna of Shape Moth's site to step me through it.  THANK YOU Joanna!!

I plan to create a "seed packet" mini quilt with it, based on my "page 28" inspiration in my seed catalog :-).  Our printer is out of service, but luckily I got this printed in the nick of time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIP Wed, West Coast Edition: PQ5 and Organic Progress

When I first bought the fabric for my Organic Chemistry Quilt, I first cut a generous "border" from the selvage of the fabric in order to resew it back on to look like the margins of a page.  I finally sewed this back on.  I also decided that I'm going to pre-wash the batting to try to minimize the shrinkage.  I don't always do this, as it's a big hassle, and takes time, but I think it does help a bit.  Tomorrow I hope to start pin basting it!

One good thing about having this top finally done is that I can now add these yummy scraps to my scrap bin!!

This week's "Project Quilting" challenge is to take our inspiration from the page 28 of any publication.  Wish Spring right around the corner, seed catalogs are on just about all of our  tables and counter tops. I'm itching to make something "Springy", so I'm hoping to make a project based on the page above!

Finally, I just turned in my final quilt block swap that I've been doing for the last 6 months at my local quilt store. Above is what I turned in, and below is what I picked up (from Feb).  I LOVE that Tula Pink frog!!
Be sure to check out what others are up to at Freshly Pieced WIP Wed!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paper Piecing Passion

Last year, I admired from afar the "Sew Out Loud" quilt along, and finally attempted a block or 2.  I was hooked, but have been too intimidated to do a whole lot more, outside of the geometric stars that I've been doing.

When I saw the Forest Quilt Along starting up, I was undecided on whether or not to join in.  As soon as I saw the first wood pecker block from Juliana at Sewing Under the Rainbow, I fell hard..... really hard!  It pretty much took over my last 2 days.  To say it was challenging is an understatement, but now that it's done, I'm higher than a kite!

Having worked in the forest, and being married to a husband who also works in the woods, I have a feeling that I may not be able to resist any of the future blocks!! We also used to get Pileated Woodpeckers frequently in our Michigan home.

Over the week-end I also finished March's Lucky Star block of the month that "Don't Call Me Betsy" is hosting.  I can't seem to let more than a day or 2 go by after I get these in my mailbox before I have to make them!

I'm getting quite a nice collection of them now!

Finally, I wanted to thank you all for the quilting suggestions for my organic chemistry quilt.  I hope to get it pin basted before long.  After looking online for Red work quilts, I was impressed at the simple quilting on most of these, and am now leaning towards something similar.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March UFO Goal: Organic Chemistry Quilt

For March's "A Lovely Year of Finishes" over at Fiber of All Sorts, I've not only chosen my hardest and oldest, UFO, but also the one I most want finished.  It got "stuck" almost 2 years ago, when I failed to finish it in time for the Modern Quilt Guild's "Organic challenge".
Another reason it got "stuck" is because I have no idea how to quilt it.  I worked so hard on the embroidery that I really don't want to quilt over it, but it takes up so much space that I can't leave it all open.

I'm open to any and all ideas on this one! I've thought about an all over hexagon / chicken wire patter, or some FMQ-ed hexagons in both the organic rings, and in the open space (maybe in different colored thread), or maybe even just tying or tacking it evenly instead of quilting it. I just really don't want the embroidery to get distorted, and have never done a quilt like this.

I'm also thinking about adding some random fabric hexagons and pentagons here and there to add more color to the quilt.  There is just something not quite right with it, but I can't put a finger on it. It's one of those quilts that seemed better on paper than in practice...

The back is done, and borders all cut out, so all that's left is sewing the borders on, and pinning it and quilting it.

I know that once Spring gets going full tilt I'll be slowing down in the sewing room and spending much more time outside, so I really GOT to get this done!!

Speaking of my sewing room, here are the shelves that my husband made and just installed about an hour ago!  The stain on them is still a bit tacky and needs some time to dry, but otherwise I'm finally able to put all of my sewing things in one room, for the first time in over 3 years!! Yipee!!