Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Finish: Split Personality Quilt

I finished this quilt just under the wire for Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts February Lovely Year of Finishes!  Yea!

I loved the name that Marlene of Kissed Quilts came up with, "Split Personality".  It also inspired my quilting method.  I split the quilt into free motion quilting, and straight line quilting!  I love the way it looks, and even better, it sounds and feels like corduroy when you run your hand over the straight quilting :-).
I even used some Kaffe Fasset fabric for the binding, which gives it even more "personality", as it goes so well with the Mark Lipinski fabric, a designer with tons of personality!

The back is even more "split", as it's all reproduction fabric that I had in my stash!  Lots of orange in this quilt, which I'm sure Shanna will like ;-).

Finally, I used a new technique that I leanred from Marlene's blog or facebook page... using clear transparencies and a white board marker to put over a print out of the quilt (I don't have a color printer).  Love it!
I'm also linking up with Leah Day's Free Motion Friday  and Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday. Below is another "finish", and free motion mini quilt that I finished earlier this week!  2 in one week?!  Oh yeah!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WIP Wed: Quilting

I'm trying hard to finish up my "Mark Lipinski Quilt" for February's "A Lovely Year of Finishes".  Any other quilt name ideas would be welcome.  There are already over 70 finishes on her blog party!  Yea!  Be sure to check them out!  I hope to be adding to it very soon!

I just about have the blue and yellow sections finished, but ran our of yellow thread.  I also realized that I didn't have the right orange or green, but now I'm all set, after a trip to the fabric store.

I tried out a new free motion design, in the thin borders, "figure 8's"from Angela Walter's book, and hate to admit that while I love the way it looks, I really don't like sewing it.  I feel the same way about the traditional "loops".  It's interesting how different I feel about various quilting designs.  It's really a lot like different piecing methods, or fabric choices, but it's always good to try something new, even if I decide that I don't like it.

Here's what typically happens in my house when I spread a quilt out on the floor to photograph!  I know I'm not alone ;-).

I have a few ideas, but I would love to hear any suggestions on how to quilt all of the great "negative space" in this quilt!  I'm also linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced WIP Wed.  With the help of all of the wonderful link ups out in blog land, I'm down to just 3 quilt tops to finish up after this one is done!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Off Topic: Dog, Swap, Storage and Vote

Yeah, I'd like to put my dog in storage now, or swap him, but this will help for now.
There's a reason you don't see tons of pretty throw pillows (or lots of white, for that matter) on my blog ;-). He hasn't been on quite this kind of rampage in a long time, and only does it while we are out of the house.  Out lives have been busier as my kids have been getting older.  >>>shrug<<<  Any ideas on how to salvage the pillow would be welcome!

I have to share some shelves that my husband has been working on building for me.  They're going to go on the wall next to my sewing machine.  They're just waiting for some better weather and free time for him to sand and finish!!

I also just love the new configuration of my tables.  They make quilting a quilt much easier (they hold the bulk nicely!).

I also was able to bring out my old sewing machine to work on some swap blocks that are due this week, so I didn't have to reset my 6600.  Even better, almost all of the feet are interchangeable, although the machines have different shank lengths, so not all of them interchange.  The bobbins are now totally interchangeable too, which is fantastic!!! I'll be keeping my old machine handy from now on!!
I turned these in at my LQS today, and picked up the most perfect Kaffe Fasset fabric for the binding for the Mark Lipinski quilt that I'm working on! 
I hope to finish it up in the next day or two.

FINALLY, Kim of Project Quilting has decided to bring back a public vote for the quilts in each weeks' challenge.  The winner gets a nice charm pack, so if you'd vote for my quilt (and 3 others) I'd appreciate it.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project Quilting 4 Wish Upon a Star

For the 4th Project Quilting Challenge, Wish Upon a Star, I knew I wanted to try to interpret my blog title, "Solar Threads".  I've made a few "New York Beauty" quilt blocks, and found a pattern that I liked, and sewed it up (foundation paper piecing) with the same batiks that I used for the first challenge.  I love rainbows, and wanted to reflect the way light from the sun changes into the spectrum of colors.  I also needed "thread" in the piece.

I initially was going to try to fuse some tiny pieces of the batik fabric onto the black body, as "thread rays", but wasn't very satisfied with how it looked.  I spent 2 hours in a car on Friday, going back and forth to our nearest city for some errands and lunch with a friend, and while driving and thinking, I knew when I got back that I was most excited about the quilting on this, so decided that I'd make the free motion quilting the highlighted part of it. 

Unfortunately my dog decided to "investigate" my work, after also deciding to go through our garbage while I was gone (something he hasn't done since he was a puppy many years ago).  Luckily hand washing it and ironing it was all it needed, but it almost didn't get done due to the extra time that took!

It's also one of the first time I've ever used contrasting thread to highlight the quilting instead of matching to hide it.  I must say I'm thrilled that I worked up the courage to do this.  Even better, my new sewing machine didn't skip a single stitch, or break a thread one single time!!  It's a wonderful thing!

I once again used an invisible binding, and purposely used a almost white backing to further highlight the quilting! This is going to be my "go-to" method of finishing these smaller art quilts for sure!!  Be sure to head on over to the Flickr group to see what others have created this last week!

Friday, February 22, 2013

PQ4: Stuck

I finished up my New York Beauty "Star", and put together a panel as well.  My hope is to translate my blog title, "Solar Threads" into this quilt, but I'm stuck. 

I wanted threads radiating out from the sun (get it?).  So far I have lots of little bits of fused fabric that I plan to iron on, but as I got into it (nothing is ironed on yet), I'm not sure I like it.  Maybe I should just use embroidery floss instead?  Curved lines?  No lines, stitch my actual name in there somehow?  Any ideas?  Here's another view.  It's hard to get the true colors on "film" though...
I can't wait to get started on the actual quilting part of this!!

On one last note, I originally planned on getting my pattern from the New York Beauty Quilt Along that I participated in last Spring.  I made 3 of 9 patterns, adn had hoped to make more, but the link has now been removed :(.  Luckily I found some on my EQ7 program, but lesson learned is to print out these things when I find them, as there's no guarantee of permanence on the Internet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WIP Wed: West Coast Edition, Project Quilting Challenge 4

After taking a break for the last Project Quilting challenge, I'm throwing my hat back into the ring.  This week's challenge is "Wish Upon a Star".  More later as this progresses!  Linking up with Lee's WIP Wed!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Enlarged Heart, and a "Craft Fail"

Against all conventional medical advice, I decided to enlarge my heart LOL!

I liked my Valentine Cards so much (so did my husband and 2 boys), that I decided to enlarge it to a 12.5 x 12.5 inch size and make the first block of a "gross anatomy" quilt.  It's been way too long since I did a fun geeky quilt, and this heart was just what I needed to realize that!

I also thought I'd share a "craft fail".  Truly, a fail is also a learning experience.  I've dabbled in the past with using bleach to "discharge" the dye in fabric to make shirts, and artwork.  I bought this bleach pen a few months ago, after seeing a craft made with it on a T shirt.  I was going to write out my card with the bleach, but the result was less than desired. 

In the end, I bought the largest gauge thread I could find for my sewing machine, and free motion quilted it.  It was a button or upholstery thread I believe, and it really stretched the limit of my machine, but it worked!!

I just got to add that with 2 kids in school, I hear often about the pros and cons of teaching cursive writing anymore.  I'm not sure I could do this as easily in print :-P.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fat Tuesday and WIP / Ash Wednesday

Can you tell what I've been working on today?!  I love biology, but when I was in school if the biology teacher told us to take out our colored pencils, I was ecstatic! I'm going back to school with my Valentine's cards this year!  So much FUN!  I'm also inking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced WIP Wed...

Today is also Ash Wednesday, which means that yesterday was Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.  I was so busy making King Cake, a traditional Mardi Gras treat that I didn't have time to blog yesterday.

I have a few Louisiana cookbooks, but only one had a King Cake recipe, and I didn't feel that it was "traditional" enough.  I found this John Besh recipe on-line that totally takes me back to my childhood!  King Cake is actually a yeast bread, with a brioche dough.  It traditionally has a plastic baby that is tucked into the cake from underneath after it's baked.  Whoever gets the baby has to bring the next King Cake.  They are served on a very regular basis during the season of epiphany (12th day after Christmas) until Lent. I had to once again go "old school" and used a walnut half instead.  My oldest son was delighted to find it. 

The original custom, way back when, was that whoever got the walnut, or bean would be the "king" of the ball or event which this was served at, and then hold the next party.  I'm linking up with Debbie at A Quilter's Table!

I also finished my 3rd Triple zip in Mardi Gras colors.  All day long I was listening to my dozens of New Orleans music CD's... The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, and many many others!  As the song goes, I "know what it means to miss New Orleans", but carrying on these traditions here in Oregon makes me miss it a bit less.

Do you have any traditions that makes you miss yous birthplace or past home less?

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Small Finish: Fabric Recycling Bin

First of all, thank you so much for all of the great sewing room organizing ideas!  Interior design is neither a strong area for me, or a major interest, so I need all the help I can get!

I've had very little sewing time this week, as I've been on a major cleaning binge.  One thing led to another, and somehow, the whole house became involved in a much overdue cleaning and organizing.  I've taken a few loads to local thrift shops too.

In the process, I uncovered my piano!  This had become the dumping ground of newspapers and office paper recycling, as well as other odds and ends.  I even found our new washing machine manual after 2 months of missing it!  I'm determined to not block this anymore, as I am with the entry closet, so I used a project in "Sunday Morning Quilts", by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison to make some larger recycling bins for these items so that they have a new and beautiful home.  They're not "scrappy", but made use of not only some fabric stash, but are a great way to use up larger batting scraps!

I'm linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish it Up Friday.  Come join us.  There's also a link to buy her book there! I also love Kit Lang's new piece at her blog.  She's hosting "Finish It Up Friday" Come check it out too!

The new table area is a bit cramped, but usable!  One major plus is the natural light and the view!!  I think this is going to work!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sewing Space Redo, Trying to Work With What I Got!

As I mentioned, I am really motivated (finally) to get all of my sewing space out of the main part of our house, and into one room, that being our master bedroom.  It's 14 by 16 feet, so it's a bit of a challenge (our kids' rooms are both 10 by 10).  This is where my sewing machine has been for the last year, since I moved it out of the dining room ;-).  That door is the bathroom, and the window is centered on the 14 foot wall, so this little 5 x 5 ft corner is what I have to work with.

Yes, we plan to repaint this Spring. This is a Western town, and the previous owners had the whole house decor based on this (sigh).  If you think the paint job is bad, check out the top of the room.
Yep, that's a wall paper border that is going to be a
to remove!  We plan to paint it a much lighter color, which will reflect the light that comes in from the small North facing window, and will also make it look bigger.  We would love to get rid of the carpet too, but that's not in the budget (yet).

We've had this glass metal desk from "Staples" for many years, and love it, as it takes apart and stores (and moves) easily, but the curved corner takes up a lot of wasted space.  I decided to take the desk apart, and also remove the keyboard tray.
The original plan was to place the now 2 separate desks next to each other, and put one up on risers to make it higher for a cutting table.  As you can see though, I didn't really measure it all first (blush).  The tables are too small for the cutting mats. Dang!
Since I have the roll out cutting table, I then decided to bring it into the room to use as well.
This arrangement works, but I realized that the wall would get pretty beat up putting the table away each time.
I think this is what I'm going to go with.  I like the space to the left of the machine to put a quilt on while I quilt it and the cutting table is easy to access.  Unfortunately, our house has floor vents for the AC and heat, and the only one for our room is right under the window, so I can't really extend anything much further.

I hope to get some adjustable shelves or cabinets up on the wall, and maybe work out some storage for under the desk, or maybe not, as it's nice to be able to clean under there easily.

I also had (what I think is) a great idea to install or place a lamp under the glass table to use as my new light box!!

Having a smaller house is challenging, but in some way it's very freeing.  Moving cross country with a weight limit has also motivated us to really think hard about what things we need and don't need.  We also use less energy, there's less space to keep clean.  I just need to start learning more about how to use the space more efficiently.  We just recently got, for the first time, the "Home and Garden" channel on our TV package.  I've been really enjoying some of those shows!  They're full of great ideas! If anyone has a good book, magazine, or website resource they'd recommend, I'd love to hear about that too! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fat Quarter Shop Bundle Give Away at Persimon Dreams
As you know, I'm a big fan of Project Quilting, hosted by Kim of Persimon Dreams.  I participated last year, and this year.  She is having a fabulous give away of the fat quarter bundle that will be used in the final Project Quilting challenge this year.

Be sure to head over to her blog and read about Project Quilting, and how to win one of these gorgeous fabric bundles!!

Here's a few more details from Kim:

Hello everyone! This is Kim from Persimon Dreams,, and I’m so happy to be here sharing some exciting Project QUILTING news with you.  We are currently in the midst of Season 4.  The first two challenges inspired over 100 quilts to be created – so amazing!  The third challenge went up on Sunday, February 3rd and I can’t wait to see what comes from it (still time for you to join in!) 
I personally love Project QUILTING because it has been extremely inspirational to me in my quilting journey.  I know I only have a week for the projects but it’s a great opportunity to give ideas in my mind a try – see what happens, try new techniques.  If it works…maybe I’ll do a bigger project that takes more time.  Project QUILTING has me creating pieces I never imagined before, it brought me out of the only making ‘what I think will sell’  and in turn, and the Project QUILTING community has been such an inspiration and support.
I have heard from many that they love watching along with Project QUILTING and the projects created from the challenges but they just can’t fit making a quilt in just one week.  That’s what my exciting news is all about today – a new *Bonus* Project QUILTING Challenge.  I’ve teamed up with a fabulous online fabric store – The Fat Quarter Shop to bring you all the ‘Fat Quarter Shop Bundle Challenge – Tradition Times Three’: 
Diane outlines what is required for this particular challenge.  You must go to the Fat Quarter Shop to by the fabric bundle (
in order to complete the challenge BUT the twist is – you have until May 30th, 2013 to submit your challenge!  At that point, one of my girls will randomly draw a winner of $75 to use at the Fat Quarter Shop. 
I also wanted to share with you a few ways you can save on your fabric bundle.  First – head over to my blog and enter in the giveaway I posted today:
OR if you want to save 20$ off your entire purchase of fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop check out this blog post: to find the special code – good through February 10th.
Thanks for having me and I hope to see you all with a quilt in one or more Project QUILTING Challenges.  Have a great rest of your week!
~Kim Lapacek

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Goals and Sea Star

I couldn't wait at all to start my Lucky Star BOM for February, once my Triple Zipper pouches were all finished!  Again, I am using Tula Pink's Saltwater. 

I even "fussy cut" the coral spokes to highlight the little seahorses, which are just about my favorite element of this line! They are so adorable!

I'm also linking up with Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts' February Goal party for her Lovely Year of Finishes.

My goal this month is to finish up my quilt that I made from my Mark Lipinski Califon stash.  I bought the fabric more than a few years ago, made the top this summer, pin basted it, and even started quilting it this fall.  It got "stuck" once Christmas came around, so I hope to get it all finished up!

A personal somewhat quilt related goal is to finally free up our entry way in our house from my sewing cutting space.  Yes, my family is very patient with me.  This arrangement drives even me crazy, as it has to get moved any time anyone wants extra shoes, coats or winter gear.  There's even some hunting gear in that coat closet.  I'm not sure where I'm going to cut out fabric now, but this just HAS to end!!  Any space saving tips would be more than appreciated!  Our house only has 3 bedrooms, and a large open great room that includes the kitchen, living room, dining room, and entryway.  No extra bedroom, office, den, study, basement, loft, or anything like that. The rest of my sewing space is in our master bedroom, so I'm hoping I can find space there for a cutting area. Wish me luck!!