Sunday, December 16, 2018

Studio Clean Up--Before and After

While working so hard on quilts like Ruffled Roses, my studio gets cluttered,  plain and simple. It tends to stay that way until I have a reason to clean up. With two groups of students coming to visit this weekend, that time was NOW.


Primary cutting and work surface and dumping ground 

Overflow work surface--the Q20 table

Chair rarely available for seating

What is under that practice quilt sandwich?

View from just inside the doorway

Miscellaneous stuff--and Garth
AFTER, this took less than 45 minutes:

View from the doorway

Another view from the doorway

View from the desk

View from the ironing station

Rare view of the cutting table with NO fabric or other stuff on it

Ruby lives under the practice quilt sandwich, a Featherweight I had painted Ruby Red

View from my sewing machine

I love having the design wall opposite the machine--I can often see things from that far away I would miss closer up. Ruffled Roses will remain up for a few more days then she needs to come down so I can put up two quilts I am working on. Ruffled Roses will head off to a great long arm quilter in a few months for the royal treatment. I have plenty of tops to work on and this quilt deserves the best.

It would be nice to say I'll keep the studio this neat indefinitely but I know that won't happen. This is my happy place, and when I'm being creative stuff just piles up. That's OK with me. All I have to do is invite a group over and the place gets a clean-up. There is still way too much stuff in all those boxes and the closets are full. A purge isn't likely anytime soon, however...

For photos of the wonderful closets see Closets 1 and 2, Closets 3 and 4, and Closets 5 and 6. Those photos were taken two and a half years ago--they are reasonably the same today, though there is more stuff in them now.

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SIZZLE Fabric Selection and Preparation

This is an exciting time--selecting and preparing fabrics for SIZZLE--the 2019 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show.

Here is the Cool Kit I will be using, it looks so neat, tidy and pretty all packaged:

Here are the fabrics, separated into lights, greens, and blues:

Then I separated them into lights/darks, relatively speaking:

While I don't usually pre-wash my fabrics, the instructions recommend pre-washing so I'll do it  to as part of this process:

I snip off a small corner of each fabric before pre-washing to cut down on raveling, especially if I plan to wash fabric with clothing. The other advantage to this method is I always know these fabrics have been pre-washed:

Shake out each fabric flat, don't put into the washing machine folded. I used the Express Wash cycle, it's not dirty, after all, and just a bit of Orvus Paste, a mild soap I use to wash my quilts. AND I added a Shout Color Catcher to each load.

Here is the result of the Color Catchers: light load on the left, dark load on the right. There is some color loss in each load but not enough to worry any more about:

After drying the fabrics, I intended to smooth them flat and press them before using each one, as the instructions recommend. I found the solid woven fabrics really needed pressing now and fabrics just look so much more scrumptious pressed flat so I pressed them all.  BEFORE:

AFTER.  I recommend not letting your fabrics get bone dry, about 99% dry is best, they press nicely then: 

The hardest part for me now, is to NOT start on this--Christmas needs some work at  my house; otherwise...:

Last week I helped a few students select their SIZZLE fabrics at Huntsville Sew Creative:

Sheila started with the small piece of batik on the lime and pulled fabrics in those colors

Peggy is going black, white, gray and Royal Blue
Terri is working with this lovely palette
Several other people stopped in to ask questions and see my additional palette--I am also making a Cool/Warm combo version:

Some of these fabrics are more than 10 years old--the colors are perfect for me. Here is my fabric inspiration, I went heavier on the purple, less of the darker blue:

Kauai Rooster

Class begins January 5 at Huntsville Sew Creative, 256-536-3757. There is still some room in this year-long adventure, call today to secure your spot. You will learn so much, I promise. No sewing in class, I lecture/demo/help you for two hours each month, you do all your sewing in the comfort of your home. I hope you'll join us.

Here is a 10 minute conversation with Becky Goldsmith, the SIZZLE designer and well-known quiltmaker, author and teacher--she will get you excited about our new journey too:

Becky Goldsmith Video

Let's Quilt!


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Day 8 Blog Hop and Book Giveaway!

My friend, Jenny K. Lyon, has written a terrific book on Free Motion Quilting--I am thrilled to tell you how it can help you. AND, you can win one right here, if you make a comment on my blog--more about that in a moment.

I first met Jenny more than 10 years ago when she was teaching FMQ at the International Quilt Festival Long Beach. One of her students was raving that Jenny taught her she really could learn to FMQ to her satisfaction, in just a three-hour class. I asked Jenny "What's the Secret?" This book is her answer to that question.

Subtitled "3 Steps to Joyful Machine Stitching in 21 days", the book will take you through the basics of FMQ and you will see results over those three weeks. We ALL want to see results as we learn a new skill. The book is FULL of useful information--here is just a taste.

Step 1: 21 Days of "Plactice"--you know we have to practice FMQ to get better, and so many of us treat that like work. Jenny calls it play and encourages you to just do it.  NOTE: Recently, I wrote about making your "practice/plactice" quilt sandwiches into something useful Here. Planning for that as you make those sandwiches is a good thing.

Step 2: Five to Learn On--5 great projects to get you going, from postcards to quilts to garments. Full of helpful photos and excellent instructions.

Step 3: Your Personal Quilting World--Everyone should read these 5 pages, weekly if necessary, to rekindle the joy quilting brings and to inspire us to love it even more.

Beautiful photos of Jenny's work will inspire you:

Over the years I have taken several classes from Jenny and my FMQ is better for those classes. This is a book I will read cover-to-cover with a highlighter in hand, learning more as I read and even more as I "plactice".

Want to WIN this book? Write a comment HERE on my blog--answering the question: What is your favorite thread for FMQ and why? Eight days from now one of you will win an autographed copy of Jenny's book, sent to you directly by her. For MORE chances to win, go to each of the other Blog Hop posts, answer their question, and increase your chances of winning:

Dec 1     Jenny K. Lyon    
Dec 2     Lisa Chin                                                          Dec 3     Catherine Redford               
Dec 4     Lyric Kinard                      
Dec 5     Heidi Proffetty                   
Dec 6     Debby Ritenbaugh Brown                           
Dec 7   Libby Williamson                 
Dec 8     Barbara Black                   
Dec 9     Cindy Grisdela                 
Dec 10   Teri Lucas          

A few additional notes about the blog hop, the "fine print":
  • You can enter each day but can only win once.
  • Each blogger will leave the comments open for 8 days and will then randomly choose a winner.
  • Jenny will send her book to the winner.
  • International winners will receive a digital copy.
If you are new to my blog, welcome. If you are a "regular", thank you. Good luck to all--if you don't win, ask Santa to gift you a copy, you won't be sorry.

Let's Quilt!


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I Love This Tool!

New notions come along in the quilt world all the time. At Houston this year I purchased this--and LOVE it:

What is it?:

How do you use it? Press seams open--especially helpful with these narrow strips--they are cut 1.25" so finish to .75":

Border section of Ruffled Roses:

6"blocks for Ruffled Roses:

Ironic, isn't it, that now that both Ruffled Roses and my Lifetime Quilt are almost finished, I discover this wonderful tool, making all that open-seam pressing so much easier and effective?

The solid wooden base also serves as a "clapper"--another tool often suggested for making seams nice and flat.

I have been using a different tool, made from silicone, but this one just works so well and is so easy--I love it.

Check them out here: Wooly Felted Wonders. No connection to this company, just a satisfied customer. This tool comes in 12" and 20" sizes--I have the 12" which is plenty long enough for the kind of piecing I do.

Let's quilt!


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Month 12 The Patchwork Barn

This is the FREE Block of the Month pattern "Patchwork Barn", designed by Edyta Sitar exclusively for The Quilt Show. You must be a Star member of this world-wide quilt guild/show/Internet community to receive the free patterns each month, beginning January 1, 2018. Join today and get started on this journey.

Previous Months can be found here.

We made it to the end of this journey. This month you receive basic information on Quilting and Binding your quilt.

Here are a few photos showing the work of a couple of the Sunday Sew and Sews:

Donna created her own  home in the center

Terri used the Crystal Farms Kit and enlarged the background
My Top--still a Top
I have several detailed tutorials that may help you with Quilting and Binding:

Pin Basting for Machine Quilting

Batting, Backing and Binding: Bias or Straight Grain

I hope you enjoyed this quilt and learned from it. Now it's on to SIZZLE!

Let's Quilt.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What To Do With Free Motion Quilt "Sandwiches"

Besides throw them out?  The one thing I know about free motion quilting is, it takes lots of PRACTICE. And that means I have lots of "sandwiches" with practice stitching over them.

Here is a pile I culled from the closet:

Some of these are from classes, where my quilting stitches are pretty poor. Some are practice pieces I just do at home. All of them will be donated to Huntsville Animal Services for cage bedding. The animals won't care how my stitching looks and when they are too soiled or worn out, there is no guilt in throwing them away.

I finished the edges in two different ways. Here the back fabric is turned over twice for a "finished" look:

For each quilt I machine-quilt, I prepare a practice sandwich with the same back, batting and fabrics from the top. Once the quilt is all done, there is no need to keep this. This is the practice piece for Long Time Gone #2--recently finished. Here I just used a zig-zag stitch, functional and fast:

Sometimes I create practice sandwiches with a specific purpose in mind: placemats and mug rugs come to mind. Here I prepared placemat-size sandwiches to demo Ruler Work at a local shop. For the demo, the muslin side was the "top" side--I drew lines and demoed several different patterns with rulers. The back was a busy print, perfect for my kitchen. Once they were bound and finished, they became placemats, print-side "up". I now have a set of 6 of these and we use them daily:

If you want to donate to an animal shelter, check with them to be sure they want them. Trim any loose threads on them--don't want the animals chewing on those.

Now I am on to mug rugs--I need some of them for Christmas gifts and they also make great practice pieces.

Let's quilt,


Sunday, November 25, 2018

What's Next?

This is my post-Houston get-productive period. That means classes are about finished for the year and I don't have to go anywhere for a while.

I just finished Circa 2016 and am pleased with how it turned out. This pattern is still available for purchase from Temecula Quilt Company.

Now it's time to clear away the clutter from the stuff I brought home from Houston and make a plan for the rest of this year. I didn't buy a lot, mostly thread:

There are a few gifts to sew, quilt and finish--that won't take long. So, I've decided to finish a very long, on-going quilt: Ruffled Roses, the 2011 Block of the Month from The Quilt Show:

A few months ago, I put this on the design wall to inspire/prod me to finish it. Today, when the clutter is stashed away, I will get back to it--my goal is to have the top done by the end of 2018.  

My Lifetime Quilt is almost done too, another Finish I want to complete by the end of this year:

Are you busy with sewing projects now or do holiday preparations take over? I don't like to shop and only do it when I must. The kids won't be here for Christmas so holiday decorating will be limited to a few of my favorite things. There is no reason I can't get these two quilt tops completed.

Let's Quilt!