Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love Entwined Progress Update

I started this blog last summer to share my progress as I stitched Esther Aliu's captivating Love Entwined 1790's Marriage Coverlet. My plans always change as they evolve.  I like it that way!

Here is where I am today. Pardon my wrinkles. I am way behind but I have not stopped.  It is quite complex.  It is a considerable undertaking. It is a time consuming process. I am not the best at hand stitched applique.  I am learning so much as I work on this project.  It is causing me to dig deep in my stacks of fabric.  It is making me reach deep within to create.  I try to understand the mindset of the woman who made the original coverlet for her own life. I am learning new techniques and learning about the many products available to make applique easier.  I have discovered many new tutorials and talented bloggers who are simply marvelous and gifted. That is not me, but I still am happy with how it has progressed so far.  

Center Compass

The original photograph of the quilt is in black and white.  That give us all a blank canvas on which to design our individual quilt.  I chose to give seasonal color to each of the four floral vase bouquets.  My original plan was to make a black, beige, and various tones of browns color scheme. Those quilt colors were proving to be rather uninteresting and kind of boring in such a big project.  I decided I could introduce much more color play if I chose seasonal colors in each bouquet. I like how the many colors are still subdued but there is a variety and much more possibility with each new section.

Spring bouquet

 Fall Bouquet

 Winter Bouquet

  I love the striped zig zag borders. 

Pardon the wrinkles. The blue sketching is for the placement of the summer bouquet. I don't want to iron that area just in case the ink would decide to become permanent. I like it!  

Thank you Esther for making this pattern you drafted from the original coverlet available to the approximately 4,462 members worldwide at no charge to us. This is truly an amazing labor of love and a gift to everyone.  

For more information about Esther's Love Entwined journey, go here

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recent Finished Quilts

I wanted to post a couple of "finishes" completed over the holiday weekend.

The X and O quilt is finished.  I wrote about this quilt here as My Sad Quilt Story.  The story needs one more final chapter because it was even sadder when my dear daughter pointed out that the blocks are off on that bottom row.  How could that have happened? I recognized that this is the section I had to remake after I ripped out the bad stitching. That purple and aqua section was not turned to make the O.  Such a sad story.

Epilogue.  This quilt is so Cute!  It is scrappy.  It has lots of spring color.  It has a Charm and a Personality all its own.  What more can I say?  The End.

Plaid Cats is finished.  I have been collecting various plaids for years. I really like it. I do like the dark colors. Some of the cats are turned the "wrong" way but I think it really adds to the overall placement. I like the choppy plaid border.  I was able to use some larger remaining strips and that makes me happy to reduce some of the leftover stash.  This pattern goes together quickly.   The color possibilities are endless.  It is a fun quilt to make. 

Here is another version of Plaid Cats.... 

I made this lighter pastel plaid version earlier in the year and it quickly found it's new home with a dear cat loving Aunt in Florida.  

Thanks for stopping by!  May your day keep you in stitches! 

Credits...This particular cat pattern, Dream Chasers, is from a book called Quilts for Kids by Carolann Palmer. The book is from the 1990's and was published by That Patchwork Place. I searched for a link online but I wasn't able to find any specific link other than a random copy of the book that was sold and other conversation. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marking with Pins Tutorial

Hello!  And welcome to my Pinning Tutorial!

The colors in this quilt look like spring and Easter with lovely shades of pink and aqua.  Perfect to focus on today. The fabric is Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey for Moda. I purchased a Jelly Roll of Sew Stitchy from Missouri Star Quilt Company and I really never know what to do with a Jelly Roll.  They are so cute and colorful, but what do I do with it? I just thought the fabric was cute enough to make something fun.  

Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Co. has the most wonderful and inspiring tutorials. You can spend lots of time watching tutorials and shopping for unique templates and handy notions.  I came across this tutorial called the Amazing Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern and it completely captured my interest.  Its origination is from the 3 Dudes Quilt Shop in Phoenix, Arizona.  I always like a good story behind a quilt.  It was a perfect application to use this jelly roll that I had been holding back for the perfect quilt inspiration. I followed the tutorial and made the blocks according to Jenny's wonderful video.   I laid them out and this is what I did next.....

I am going to tell you how I "mark" the blocks when I lay them out to get ready to sew them into rows without getting off track.  Let me see if I can explain how I do this with PINS.

I laid all my block segments on my big work surface...My bed.
This quilt has four rows of four block segments.  Each block segment has four squares to form the "pinwheel."   

Row 1.  I usually work left to right.  I pinned the FIRST block in Row 1 with ONE PIN to show this is the First Row.  Then I pin each block in the first row with one pin all the way across just so they stay together as row one.  This is a temporary pinning to keep the row of blocks together.  As I sew each block in each row, I do align and match seams. 

In the photo above, Can you see pin number one at the top left?  I use long quilters pins with a yellow head.  I do have some of the yellow flower head pins too.  You will see them in some of the other photos as well. 

Row 2.  See TWO PINS.  This is Row Two.

Row 3.  See Three Pins.  This is row three.

Row 4  Do you see four pins?  This is Row Four.

All lined up and ready to sew.  Some quilters use sticky note paper, blue water safe pens, painters tape, photos or sticky dots.  I am sure there are lots of methods to accomplish this.  This is so simple, This one is free. I have the supplies on hand. If there are eight rows, I use eight pins.  Just be consistent.

Do you pin this way?  How do you line up your blocks and rows for sewing?  Please share your method.

Happy Easter to everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Sad Quilt Story

It takes A LOT of time to make a quilt.  All of the time spent is FUN time, don't get me wrong.  I enjoy shopping for fabric, looking at fabric, designing with fabric, cutting fabric, sewing fabric and quilting the quilt. You don't plan for the final stitching to go wrong. But it did, TWICE!  And no one is to blame but me.  So sad.

This X & O pattern is a popular Valentine's Day pattern and was featured on many blogs this year. I should call it "The JoAnn's Special" since almost all of the fabrics were purchased by me to use to make my zipper pouches here and here.  I decided to take a 4 1/2 inch cut from my fabrics and make a colorful X & O quilt.  And so that is just what I did.  It is pretty and colorful with a good jumble of scrappy X's and O's.     

 I loaded my frame with the backing, some white batting, and the quilt top.

Here is a picture of my Nolting Fun Quilter.  I have a love/hate relationship with the tension adjustment on this machine. It will be the only long-arm quilting machine I will ever have (so says DH) so I have learned to cope and have come to quilting terms with this machine.  It does the job for me.  It is not the machine, but it is my ability to adjust tension that is the problem.  I know I am not alone here.  

I have learned that King Tut thread is the only thread I can use that achieves the tension I need without having to adjust every, single, time I start a quilt.  Oh so aggravating! Constant thread breaking.
I know I am not alone here. So King Tut it is for me.

I use pantographs most of the time.  I have purchased MANY pantographs but only a few of them work well for me.  Some are too wide and I bump my poles with my machine.  Some are narrow and you have to use multiple bobbins and make endless passes over the quilt just to get to the end.  This pattern is open and airy, covers a wide area, and generally a favorite.  I tend not to like heavily custom stitched quilts, which seems to be popular with the professional long-arm quilting for business trade. 

For some reason this time, I had trouble aligning this pattern, Simplicity by Lorien Quilting.   I have used it successfully with good results on several quilts.  

 See that?  I stitched over the pattern twice.  Argh!  I did this not once but twice!  Such Sadness.  Here is the story.

The first time I did this, I ripped out all of the stitching.  I took the quilt off the frame and ripped and ripped while watching movies on Netflix one evening and stopped at 1:00 a.m.  I am sad to say I did this for about six hours, I kid you not.  What a waste of time but not too bad because I like to watch movies! I made holes with the seam ripper in two of my blocks and three holes in the backing.  So so so sad.  I was defeated. The next morning, renewed and refreshed, I remade the two blocks in the top and replaced the section of backing that had the three holes.  I loaded every thing back on the frame.   The second time would be a charm, right?  No it was not.  I got the alignment off AGAIN.  This time I just went on and rolled with it. 

I have had to come to peace with this mistake.  I will keep the quilt or gift it to a loving family member and consider it as a learning experience.  Unless you look really close you cannot see it.  A non quilter would not even see it.  But I know it is there and so it must be accepted and I must move on to the next quilt.  I have written a note on the pantograph: "Hard to align.  Remember X & O quilt." Hopefully, I will try harder or just never use this pattern again.     

I do like the finished quilt.  There are no holes in this one.  It still looks lovely.  So colorful and full of love.

I know I am not alone here.

X's and O's
Hugs and Kisses

Thanks for reading this very sad quilt story. 
 May you have a perfect stitching day!


The X and O quilt is finished.  The story needs one more final chapter because it was even sadder when my dear daughter pointed out that the blocks are off on that bottom row.  How could that have happened? I recognized that this is the section I had to remake after I ripped out the bad stitching. That purple and aqua section was not turned to make the O.  A sad story.

Epilogue.  This quilt is so Cute!  It is scrappy.  It has lots of spring color.  It has a Charm and a Personality all its own.  It reminds me of rainbow sherbert or a cool glass of Strawberry Lemonade or the slushy menu at Sonic. What more can I say?  

  The End!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rotary cutters

Here is my collection of rotary cutters!  Not as big as some quilters, I am sure, but certainly more than one really needs.  Or is it, hummm.  Here is my opinion of my rotary cutters.  

Olfa. This is the first rotary cutter I purchased. It has cut many, many yards of fabric. I have had it for many years. It is a great cutter for a beginner. Nothing fancy. No ergonomic handle. No bangs or whistles but just a good rotary cutter. I have retired it.  It is now reserved for paper cutting.  It is tired but does a nice job of cutting wedding and party invitations.  Looking at the photo, I may not have it assembled correctly.  It is still loved, it is just tired and has been replaced.

Fiskars.  This is also a great cutter for a beginner.  It is generally a good cutter overall. I purchased it when the Fiskars brand dominated the market with great scissors and rotary cutters. It replaced my Olfa.  It has a good handle design. The handle has been good for my hand and wrist.  I suffered from carpul tunnel for years.  (I have had the surgery and no more problems.)

Fons and Porter. I had to try this one.  It is designed by the great Fons and Porter after all.  I love them.  I don't use it too much.  Something about that retractable edge that is frustrating.  I have trouble using it when I need to cut those pesky bits that miss the blade.  It is not a favorite.  I'm sorry about that.

Martelli   I like these a lot. You see I have bought two of them and they are not that cheap.  The handle design is the best part.  It was a great thing for me when I was having CT issues.  The handle is wonderful for hours of binge cutting strips and squares.  They have good service because when one breaks, I take it back to the dealer at the Quilt Show and they replace the broken parts.  They seem to be flimsy with springs and coils and such. The plastic part at the blade screw has cracked on one of mine.  It is broken.  I think I have just worn it thin.  I have used it so much.  They are very comfortable in the hand.  I have purchased several of their innovative cutting tools and mat.  Martelli has a nice package of tools for quilters at their booth at the Houston Quilt Show. 

This is a newly designed Olfa.  I received this for Christmas.  I have issues with using my fingers trying to squeeze the handle to move the blade into cutting position.  It tends to tire my hand quickly.

Olfa Splash.  Wow!  That is what I said the first time I wrapped my hands around it.  Wow.  It has the right fatness in the hand.  It cuts really well.  It handles really well. It is a delight. The color is so pretty.  I believe Olfa got this one right this time.  I first heard about it here.   Amy at Diary of a Quilter really knows her stuff.    

That's it for my personal review of rotary cutters.  These are my opinions.  I purchased all of these cutters with my own money.   No one has asked for my opinion but I just wanted to give it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Notions HAUL

Today's blog is to be about my recent JoAnn's Haul.  I needed some white batting for a quilt that has a white background.  White is not a good color for anything connected with my family.  There are too many animals and weekend dirty husband projects.   I don't keep white batting on hand.

A little background...My start to online surfing started back in February, 2008, when I searched for a smokey eye tutorial.  I discovered YouTube and blogs.  The rest, as they say, is history.   If you watch makeup videos you know about makeup Hauls.  A Haul is where someone goes bonkers and loads up on many new items to add to their "collection."  I am hooked on quilting blogs and tutorials. Since retiring I am not so much interested in makeup. Quilting blogs have become my a huge part of my daily entertainment as well as my primary creative education source.

JoAnn's was having a pre-Easter sale and almost all of their notions were 50% off.  Well yippee! It was a serendipity experience to happen on a sale of this magnitude and not even know about it.  I picked up a few items I have been wanting but have been waiting to use my coupons.  A 50% off sale is better than coupons!

Clover Wonder Clips.  Everyone is using these and I needed some too.  I first saw these clips here on Diary of a Quilter.  I needed to add these clips to my "collection."  I got the last two packs at 50% off!  

Clover Fusible Web stem maker.  I saw this on Fons and Porter here.  Well, maybe not the best link to use but  Liz Porter used this gadget to make bias tape stems for her Christmas North Carolina Lily quilt.  My local PBS has a Fons and Porter show on Saturday morning.  I will give credit here where credit is due.  I learn so much from Fons and Porter.  My thought is to use these on my Love Entwined applique here that is progressing but progressing very slowly.       

Hexagons!  They are all the rage at the moment.  I am not sure I am a fan of hexagons.  I have been cutting my shapes from paper and they are sometimes wonky.  I hope these will make the process easier and more accurate.  50% off sure helped me want to try hexagons again.

A few half-yard cuts of some cute chicken and garden seed packet with some accent greens.  I have a garden apron that I am trying to perfect and these will be cute fabric choices.

This is the white batting I purchased.  It is 100% polyester and seemed to have a nice fluff. It is sold on a roll and not in a bag.  A bit denser than Fairfield low loft in a package.  Warm & Natural Battings were also on sale.

I do not know if the sale is still going on today.  I don't keep up with sales like I should.  I do have the app for JoAnn's on my phone and there is always a 40% off coupon on a regular price item. Sometimes even a 50% off coupon.  I always have it pulled up on my phone and use them every week  every time I go to JoAnn's.  

Have a wonderful stitching day and thanks for stopping by!