I Love My Design Wall!

No, this post is not about Valentine’s Day! It is about something I would not want to be without in my little world of quilting…my design wall.

This post really came about just today, as I was looking at my design wall. The design wall, it occurred to me, is my favorite thing! I get to PLAY here!

Some examples of the wall in use:

Every Which Way But Straight definitely needed to be laid out to see how the lines would work…

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This charity quilty for MQG 2017, Mountains of Hope, was a work in progress, as blocks came in all sizes from Mississippi and Oregon and then was quilted in Texas!

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This is looking at blocks from my Stash Bee, Hive 5, which I originally planned to cut up, but the wall helped me see them as wholes and now I have to decide again!

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And I could NEVER have finished this one, Ali’s Graduation Quilt, without the help of the wall!…

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Sometimes the wall is a complete hodge-podge…

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Today, the wall has the next charity quilt in progress…

20181003_114630~25387386205147338113..jpgThese are just half the blocks for the quilt, as my friend and sew mate, Jude, and I are working together on this. I believe we also have a quilter lined up, but until that is confirmed, I will keep that under wraps.

The “play” is that with a design wall, you can change the layout in any way, take a picture, and then try another! This is such an important part of the creative process! It is also a great way to audition fabric selections before you ever start cutting or making blocks. Here are the same blocks above, in a different arrangement, as an example…

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How cool and easy was that?!? Be sure to save pictures of you arrangements so you can get back to what you like. BTW, taking a picture REALLY helps more than just looking at the wall. I am not sure exactly why, but it is true!

If you don’t have a design wall, get creative and see what you can come up with. Depending on your space availability and budget, there are many ideas on the web…just search for “quilting design wall” and you will find everything from portable and small, full-wall to free-standing, and more!

Being a bit on the frugal side (and interested in having more $$$ for fabric) I found a blanket I would not want to sleep under (if I didn’t have to) at the thrift store. It was already finished around the edges and hemed, so I just put it on a curtain rod on my wall and used push pins to hold it close to the wall. Voila! It is bed-sized, so it works wonders for most projects.

The one thing I DON’T like about my design wall…photogrid_15386724263057062131341135938484.jpg …when it is bare!!!

Remember, that if all else fails, there is always the floor or a bed. If you can, you will find working upright very user-friendly though!

How do you lay out your quilting? Do you have a design wall? I would be interested in your thoughts!

Happy Quilting!

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Catch-Up Time!

All we can do it the best we can do! Whoever said this was absolutely correct! I was feeling pretty pleased at the time of my last post (July 23), that I had been keeping up with at least one post per month. I know that isn’t much, compared to many bloggers, but it is all a process, right? I am not going to beat myself up, but just try to catch up a bit today.

Having not been blogging, you might guess that I was not keeping up with my monthly planner either. You would be right! That doesn’t mean I have not been busy in my sewing room…or other places!

Since my last post, I have completed all my stash bee blocks and another round of wonky stars swap. These are the wonky star blocks I sent out…img_20180811_161010_0427480597515168081610.jpgI just love these crazy things and am getting quite a collection! I think a few more will be arriving, as the swap deadline is this month, so I won’t post the collection I have yet.

In August, I was Queen Bee of the Stash Bee Hive 5. I selected a simple 9-patch block so it would be easy for everyone during the busy summer month. I was so lucky to receive 17 blocks! Some folks made multiples, so it almost fills my wall. Originally, I had planned to cut the big blocks up into smaller squares and make a unique arrangement something like this…

 

At this point, after putting them all up on my design wall, I am not sure. I love the simplicity of these blocks, just as they are, and the pops of color!

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I am going to have to look at this for a while and play with the blocks!

In August, we also went on a cruise to Alaska. It was a time spent with my son-in-law and his family. We had been before, but it was a different kind of trip for them, as they would usually choose to travel to a tropical climate. The highlight for me, since I had not seen it on our previous trip, was the glacier. They got very close for such a big ship! This was the Dawes Glacier and they take you up the arm of the fjord slowly because of the icebergs. Once they get as close as possible, they rotate the ship 360 degrees, so everyone can see, even if they want to stay inside. This time of year, it was quite cold! We stood on the bow of the ship for about 3 hours!

 

The boys were more interested in playing basketball, actually! I guess that is to be understood, but their parents did make sure they stopped to be part of swinging the ship around and they made it a game to get to all sides of the ship, as it turned! I do believe they thought it was pretty cool, after all!

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A few other pics from the trip…

Since the cruise, I have been trying to use my time to clear out some works-in-progress … that ever-growing UFO pile can be daunting!

In no particular order, here are the finishes, so far…

 

I am not sure how many months ago, I asked photographer, Ric Ergenbirght, if I could try quilting the picture on the right above. He kindly allowed me to give it a go. Something I had been wanting to try and have had no lessons on. I guess it came out okay for a first try. I think I need some training!

 

I call this lap quilt Caribbean Courthouse Steps. I am thinking of donating it to a good cause. Perhaps a hospital, cancer center, or senior living home.

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This little piece has been a thorn in my side, as they say. It started out to be part of the Sienna Sunburst QAL, with Then Came June. I really just couldn’t get into it, so I asked my hubby to pick some fabric. He only asked for something very plain and simple. Well, he got that in the fabric. I got the bright idea to make it bigger and that was another thing I had never done. It was not perfect, but HE liked/s it. I guess that is a good thing. He also want no batting, no quilting, and he even said no binding! He just wanted that unfinished flimsy hanging on a wall. That was not possible for me, so I compromised on what you see…no batting, but it is backed in a simple fabric and slightly quilted with a variegated thread. Phew…another one out of the stack!

Fall always seems to bring many projects and I now have two projects in the works. I expect more to come.

 

My friend and sewmate, Jude, and I have started a charity quilt using these beautiful Marcia Derse fabrics above.

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Above is a peek at a “special request” quilt that is in the works.

More to come as these and other projects unfold this fall.

Today is September 1. I am so happy to have fall in the air. It is a favorite time of year for me! I got a good start on the month by completing the September Stash Bee Hive Five blocks. Cute little kitties aren’t they?

 

This year is the first time I have been in a Bee and it has been great! I hope I am invited to play again next year!

Well, friends, this is a long post, but I needed to hang in there with my blogging and catch up! Thanks for reading. What are you up to?

I hope you enjoy a beautiful month of September. I hope the fires stop burning and that people are not suffering! Thank you to the firefighters!

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I will wrap up with this…an IG post from @blissfulheart (by Ram Dass) that spoke to me…screenshot_2018-09-01-15-22-37~23191375327874516317..png

Peace and happy quilting!

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A Finished Project and Lessons Learned

As part of the “process pledge,” I have been sharing pictures along the way on my IG account, @facetfully. To complete the pledge, I am blogging today about the steps taken and the lessons learned in completing this table runner.

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As noted in an earlier post, I took a class at the Quilters Affair in Sisters, Oregon with Natalie Barnes, Beyond the Reef Patterns. We had to do some prep work before the class, so I had already chosen this layout for the background for the handwork we would do.

Well, to make a long story short, DH (dear hubby) really liked the background, but he was not so impressed with the pot of flowers that were appliqued onto it when I returned home. Even though I can’t quite figure out what he does like, I was pretty sure he would not like the applique! He just isn’t a “folksy” kind of guy! Here is what would have been appliqued on the runner…

20180715_084213-11595952722737691344.jpg   So, as you can see from the first photo above, I removed the applique and left it as a simple runner. (Keeping all the pieces for a future project!!!)

I decided, as I have many times in this journey, to use this piece to learn/practice some things that I want to get better at doing.

  1. I wanted to use some of the Essex linen I have had in my stash for some time now. I felt unsure how to combine it with different quilting cottons, so I jumped in here. The large pieces of solid fabric are linen, along with the light blue stripes. I am very happy with how it turned out and I am ready to do more with linen!
  2. For the quilting, I decided to use straight-line quilting, both parallel and radiating lines, from Jacquei Gering’s book, WalkI had used my walking foot quite a bit for quilting, but learned about changing the presser foot pressure and that made a big difference. Jacquie was a dream to help me along the way, by commenting on IG. I didn’t expect that at all, but tagged her and her book so others could know what I was doing and have a refernce point for her work. It was quite a pleasant surprise to have her help from afar. I had met her before and loved her right away…no wonder I am so excited to be going to her workshop in Kansas City this fall!Here are a few progress shots…you can see where it got better as I went along and learned more!

  3. When it came time to bind I decided to try fully machine binding it. I do enjoy hand sewing the binding on my quilts and I feel it adds a level of love to them. However, several people I follow use the machine and love it. It seemed like a table runner would be a good place to really focus in on this and try it (I had done some before because of time factors). I tried the method of sewing the binding on the back side and then turning to the front. I felt that, by using this method, I could do a better job of neat top-stitching on the front. 20180720_1210153807751392315505458.jpg                                    This is an example of the NOT-SO-GOOD top-stitching! This did get pulled out and redone, for sure.                                                                                                                            There were some places that looked pretty darn good to me though…

    And if you follow the “3-foot rule,” it looks great!                                                                  So, you ask, what did the back look like after top-stitching?

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    The good…
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                                         The not-so-good                                                                                                                          

    Overall, I came away from this project knowing that it is important to take my time, use good fabrics and habits, press…press…press, mark…mark…mark (yes, that chalk all came out!), and focus!

    Will I continue to machine bind? Not on very special projects, for sure…but maybe for small or high-use items.

I feel my skills are improving, I am learning what I like and don’t like, and that I still have a long way to go! I love this journey!

What is your process for binding? How do you feel about hand-sewing that binding on?

Thanks for reading and Happy Quilting!

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Phew!

Last week was a busy rush of fun, sharing, learning, and excitement! New faces, new experiences, new techniques…just wow and Phew! Not sure I can really recap, but here we go…

My dear friend and sew mate, Jude (@judemadeit), arrived on Sunday. We had been looking forward to the Quilter’s Affair and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show for a while. Monday was planned to get pictures of our QuiltCon 2018 Charity Quilt. This quilt was a collaborative effort (as required by MQG) by four independent MQG members from across the country. Jude and I came up with the idea and set out to find two more people who would like to work together. We found Lorrie, from Mississippi (@langdon813), and Adrean, from Texas (@quiltfabulous). Three of us made blocks and then sent the top, batting, and backing off to Texas to be quilted. The result…

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Ours was the first quilt hanging with the charity quilts as we began walking into the convention! Just look at that!

20180710_154819462669107111992629.jpg(Here she is in Sisters with the mountains in the background)

We had a few “meetings” online during the creative process and decided to call the quilt Mountains of Hope and to donate it to a new homeowner through Habitat for Humanity in Bend, Oregon. After all, every home needs a quilt and every quilt needs a home! This week included the culmination of that plan, as we presented the quilt to Toni.

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To make a long story short, Toni was the perfect person to receive this quilt! Her story and the title and theme of the quilt are so similar…it was meant to be!

Our first class of the week was on Tuesday, Sew All the Curves, with Jen Carlton Bailey. SEW much fun! Not only did we want to take the class and learned a lot, but Jen is a hoot! Check out her bettycrockerass blog!

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We made several curvy pieces and had a lot of fun!

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And we even got to use this beautiful quilt made by Jen (@bettycrockerass) with fabric by Valori Wells for our picnic lunch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our scheduled class for Friday, Arts and Crafts, was with Natalie Barnes (@beyondthereefpatterns) and included some prep. That meant some shopping, of course, along with cutting and sewing for me. Natalie’s class involved some folksy ways of doing applique…pretty simple and freeing, in that anything works…whatever you like. Natalie could be a stand-up comedian! She is also very inspirational. I suggest you check out her blog…beyond the reef.

 

It was fun to see everyone’s take on the pattern we used. Unfortunately, I was too busy to get many pictures! Below is a picture of several things from the Quilter’s Affair that includes the pot of flowers that we worked on.

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The ‘Main Event” of the Quilter’s Affair was Friday night and included a dinner where we met more fun women. These are the gals from across the table. They went to Oregon State and demonstrated the Beaver Chant for us.

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Saturday was the big day – Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show! It goes without saying that this is a well-known natonal, even international, event. I will just post some pictures of some of the quilts that grabbed me…I didn’t get around to everything!

The word quilts are by some of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild members…

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Not sure the maker on this one…

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Following quitls are from the teacher’s tent…

Rob Appell…

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Not sure who…

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Possibly Deborah Boschert…

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Jen Carlton Bailey…

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My friend and my sweetheart…

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And the iconic picture of the wall of the Stitchin’ Post…

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There it is…my week in review. A great one, at that! Thanks to all the coordinators, collaborators, instructors, friends, etal who made this week what it was!

Now I will take another nap…or better yet…I will SEW!

Facetfully Icon Happy Quilting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where does the time go? It is JULY!!!

4th-of-july-fireworks-clipartYes, I do have plans for the 4th, but first, I’d better comment on my goals for June. It was a pretty short list. 20180605_092217358716420.jpgI did my Stash Bee block and I did work on some WIPs. Generally, It was an easy month and I am not complaining!

The June Stash Bee, Hive 5 block was for Tammy, @jenlukpip. She had us make a fun block called Geese Migration.

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To continue a bit of recap of June, unrelated to quilting, we went to Seattle for a few days and explored with friends who live in Capitol Hill. What a beautiful area and we got the city with mostly beautiful days too! We used to travel there for work, but those trips are never the same as visiting! Just a few snaps below. If you have not visited, I recommend it!

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On to July…

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The goal page looks pretty blank again, but this will be a fun month! Besides the 4th of July, it is Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show month and the Quilter’s Affair. My friend and sew mate, @judemadeit, will be visiting for both. We are booked for several events at the Quilter’s Affair and will certainly be found wandering around the quilt show! More on all that after the events! My goal will be to post shortly after these things happen, but if it goes like summer usually does, there may be one post to recap July and start August…like this one!

So, here’s to the month of July…celebrations, food, fun…and quilting!!!

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Maybe I will see you in Sisters, Oregon!?!? ( Oh, and don’t look for me dressed like the picture above! 😉 )

Happy Quilting,

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Fabric Quality for Quilting

My meter is in the middle this morning!

This morning I have been (once again) reading online about the difference between LQS and chain store fabrics.  My quilting has advanced to the point that I am more comfortable spending more money on the fabrics, but curious if fabric standards have changed over the years and considering just how I should look at my fabric purchases.

Having just finished a major quilting endeavor, I cringe to think that it won’t hold up over the years, no matter what fabric is in it. Love, sweat, and much joy does, indeed, go into a big quilt project and it would be nice to know it will be around after a few washings!

I have learned to feel the fabric, the “hand” of it, the differences in thread count, does it bounce back when you crush it in your hand, and all those kinds of tests. I have learned that it probably is a good idea to wash and press before using (depending on the final use of the item being made). These are all things that I knew from being a seamstress for years before taking up quilting. I still find myself drawn to pretties in chain stores, sales, and simply the other part of quilting…collecting fabrics.

Using good fabric from a chain store sometimes fits the bill for me for backing, for fun prints, or for fillers. Also, when testing a pattern or trying something new, I might use a lesser quality. Yes, I do have some fabric quarters that came from the chain store when I first started quilting – and that don’t compare. They will have to be used for who knows what…bookmarks? bibs? or nothing!

Here are a couple of pictures grabbed from my stash this morning:

20180612_0955301154601776.jpg 20180612_0954451909094044.jpgI know you would have to do the “touchy feely” thing, but these are all a mix of fabrics from LQS, chain store, and even sheets!

I plan to use them all!

 

 

 

 

When I was reading online this morning, I ran across this comment that I found compelling…

MaryAnn had this to say:

“Don’t be fearful. Buy what you like but pay attention to it. If it is a cheaper fabric, but you MUST have that color or that pattern, just be aware of it’s possible weaknesses. Example: If it’s not a good tight weave, then don’t use 1/4″ seams; use wider ones. Not all fabric is created equal, but all fabric is wonderful and can be useful… if you pay attention and get to know what you are working with. (Quilting since 1975) And I think it helps to remember our grandmothers who made their quilts from shirts and dresses and flour sacks… and hoarded every scrap that came their way.”

Your thoughts? I would love to hear what you think. Sometimes, I fear we become too snobby about everything in life! (Forgive me…no judgement intended!) Let’s just have fun and love what we do!

And remember…Life is short - buy fabric

Be IN-joy and Happy Quilting!

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June is Here

What to do in June???

I did finish my big secret sewing project on time…just two or three days before deadline! It was a great challenge and a great finish.

However, that leaves me in June with a little less than strong intention and focus! Is that always a reaction to finishing a big project for you? Do you need a little down time to recuperate? Here I am trying to figure out what to do next. Yes, I do have at least one specific project in mind, but not quite ready to start it…no deadline.

So, here is my reasonably blank sheet for June goals…20180605_092217358716420.jpg

Looks like the plan is to finish up some WIPs!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to try to decide what those…or even one…might be, I spread things out on my work table, chairs, and design wall.

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Oh my!  I have so many and all the stars don’t even show! ( I can say here that if another wonky star swap comes up this month, I WILL join 🧡💛💙 I love them!)

Speaking of Stash Bee, I didn’t post about my blocks for May, but I did complete them.

20180523_092251775921263.jpg Julia requested blue and gold stars. I was excited, as I love stars (repeating myself here), but these felt just OK. She was sweet about them though and said she liked them. I always find that blocks added to a bigger group look better than alone!

The June Stash Bee project looks fun, as usual. I will get to that too!

Back to all those WIPs. DH (Dear Hubby) want me to finish the giant Sienna Sunburst, as a wall hanging. I am less than excited about that, as noted in the linked blog. BUT…it would be a fairly easy finish!

People like different parts of quilting. I get that! Some like to just make blocks, some like to make flimsies, some like to hand quilt, some just long-arm, I have not decided what part I like best, but I don’t like cutting! I would say that might be why I like improv so much!

One thing I have heard said…

Jenny Doan - a finished quilt So, I had better finish something!

Oh, and then there is this part of quilting…which takes LOTS of time…and is a favorite!

Life is short - buy fabric

I guess future posts will tell how it goes in my room this month. I don’t want to rush through beautiful June, but there are some things on the calendar for July that involve quilting and I am looking forward to them!

I am trying to be a better blogger, but you can follow me on InstaGram, @facetfully, for more frequent posts.

See you around…and be sure to be IN-joy!

Happy Quilting!

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Oh, and one more PS…I don’t really like my new Bitmoji, but I cut my hair, so I changed it. They don’t offer a short hairstyle with bangs!!! 🤷‍♀️ I know, who cares!

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