Hi Friends! Well, it is the last day of March and I fear it has not been the best month for my goal sheet. Actually, I have made much progress on some not-to-be-mentioned projects and I have done the things on my list, BUT I am falling off the Sienna Burst QAL wagon.
If you follow me on IG, you know that I super-enlarged the block and planned to make four giant blocks for the top. I also had DH (dear hubby) pick the fabrics. It just isn’t my favorite. Here is the flimsy, hanging on the railing, as it will be (at DH’s suggestion), whenever it does get finished.
It will be bigger, of course, when completed, but it will be just this one big burst, I think.
These kinds of things do happen…I suspect often…and we don’t always report on what feels unsuccessful. However, that is part of the Process Pledge, so here you see it! I do really like the pattern and will likely go back and try again…with MY fabric choices. It is part of the discovery process and I could also use some lessons on enlarging patterns. It is not as simple as make each piece bigger!
At any rate, I remain very busy and happily working on projects daily. I will try to come up with a report on all that for my April goals report.
“Practice makes perfect” is a pretty common concept…and it is true. That said, I am thinking about what we learn from experience. Experience IS a good teacher! Since this blog is focused on quilting, I want to talk about some of my experience over the 3 years, or so, that I have been at this craft. More specifically, I want to talk about prepping your fabric….
I hope some experienced quilters will join in on this topic with comments about what they do. Sharing can only help each other, and especially help those starting out. That is, unless they tend to be like me and have to learn for themselves! It is not my most proud revelation, but true. Today’s topic is an example.
Side note: I previously posted on “Quilter’s Moonshine”. Meghan offers up her own version, that I have heard works very well too! You need starch…lots of it!!!!
Preparation…Meghan says to Starch, Iron, Cut. I decided I was going to do every step this time, as directed. In my EXPERIENCE, I have seen how fabric can shrink up when being pressed with either water or starch. You might think this only happens with lower-end fabrics. I hope the pictures I am including below will help you see that it happens…and not only with cheaper fabrics!
This is my first piece of fabric. It is Kona cotton, an acceptable quilting fabric from Robert Kaufman. You will note that I have folded it flat and removed the selvedge. (Another post for selvedges, one day…I love them!) On the cutting mat, you can see where the edges fall. Right side at the 1″ mark, left side at 22″.
Zoomed in a little to show the 22″ marking. The other side is at the 1″ marking.
Now I will press with starch. (Yes, the following pictures are the same fabric…just different lighting.)
Now I have pressed one time with starch. Do you notice those bumps? Those are created from the fabric shrinking in some places and not others. Probably not enough saturation with the starch!
Second…and third…pressing with starch has been done…
Now that looks good!
I attempted to get videos of the process…
You can see the bumps almost disappear when the starch is sprayed on them! This process took THREE times starching and pressing. Prepping about 1.25 yards of fabric used about 12 ounces of starch. Yep! that is why “Frugal Frieda” here likes the homemade version!
Now, I hope the pictures below will tell you, in plain sight, why this preparation is important! Remember above, the fabric was laid out on the mat starting at the 1″ mark and it measured to the 22″ mark. The following pictures are after the starching process.
So why is this important? What EXPERIENCE has proven to me is that if this process is not done first, your blocks will likely be really out of shape and proportion when you starch and press them AFTER you have made them! This results in seams and blocks that don’t match up and much frustration. Also, if your fabric is preshrunk and crisp before you sew, you will have a much better chance at perfect points!
If you want to learn by doing, go for it! That will work too, but once you have progressed to the point of buying quality fabrics, working more challenging patterns, and expecting a well-finished piece, you will understand..JUST DO IT! Prep your fabics!
From one who learned by doing, had some good outcomes, and some very frustrating finishes!
It seems like Sunday is a good day for sharing! My main focus right now is Foundation Paper Piecing, and I just read a post from Amy, @duringquiettime, who is a huge FPPer! She shared some great tips for the process on her blog here.
Number 3 is my biggest pitfall…trying to use up such little scraps! And, if you missed it, I posted on Friday about a DIY lightbox. Amy also shared a discount for purchasing a lightbox on her blog, linked above.
Thanks, Amy, for all your inspiration, patterns, and beautiful work!
Well, maybe it isn’t THAT good, but I got a great idea today!
I have gone back to doing some FPP, Foundation Paper Piecing, lately. You have heard the phrase, “use it or lose it!”, well, it feels like I lost it! I am sticking with it, though, because I really like some of the designs and they will be perfect for some of my upcoming projects.
All that said, I decided I needed a light box for this process. You read about it being helpful and so I thought I would give that a go. Now, if you read between the lines in these blog posts, you can learn a little more about me. (Read between the lines here.) This morning, as I was planning to go searching for said light box, I had a message from my creative spirit guide, Shambala. (Did you catch the clue about me?) Anyway, standing in the shower…inspiration comes in the strangest places, but who cares?…I thought I could make my own light box very easily and it would be always handy, not take any extra space, and cost nothing! How can it get better than that?
First thing I did was to go online and see what Google could tell me about DIY light boxes. I saw some ideas, but I did not see the idea I had! Happy dance!
I know you can’t wait to see this!
Here it is…my tablet, turned light box!
Here is what I did:
In Photoshop, I created a square measuring 14″ x 14″ and filled it with white. It could be any size, actually. It could also be done in other programs OR just take a picture of a piece of white paper. Save it as a .jpeg and call is something you will remember. Mine is called Light Box…creative, eh?
The catch to make this work is to turn the display brightness all the way up! You can use your computer screen, your phone (if small works!), or your tablet, which seemed best to me, since it is flat and bigger.
Open your Light Box jpeg and fill your screen with it. Voila!
Now you have a light box! You can use it for tracing…
Lining up your FPP fabrics. (oops…this picture is a bit darker than reality)
Note that the darker your fabric, the more difficult to see, but on this medium blue you can still see that the fabric fits. Again, this image is darker than reality.
No, it does not work for dark fabrics. I don’t think most anything would work for this.
So, dare I say that I feel greatful to Shambala? And, if you don’t believe in spirit guides, you can just give me credit for this one!
It took all of about 5 minutes, max…and I think it works pretty well…if I do say so myself!
Oh, and don’t forget to turn your brightness back down to the level you like after using your new light box. That will save on your battery use…and your eyes!
I plan to post more on FPP soon, so keep an eye out for that, if you are interested.
The MQG Mini Swap…tagged #makeaminimakeafriend…became quite the challenge for me! The idea, of course, is to trade minis with a new friend that you will make. Some are able to actually go to QuiltCon and some swap by mail. I was so very excited to be going to my first QC, that I, obviously, chose to meet my new friend in person.
Along the way, you are supposed to communicate with the partner via Instagram, post a mosaic of ideas that you would like, share snippets along the way, etc. I was excited to get my partner assignment via email. Lauana, @mysewingspace, seemed to be new to modern quilting and wanting to bridge the gap from more traditional work to modern by attending the convention. Sounds good!
We did comminicate via private message on IG. That was interesting and she was very friendly, but I was frustrated that I could never get any direction about what she wanted. She had stated in her signup form that her favorite quilting style was Patriotic. Well, that is not a favorite of mine, but I decided to move ahead…I had to make something, so I thought of making a more modern red-white-blue mini.
Most of us can relate to wanting to make something that we like when making a gift…something we would be happy to give. Often times, we make something we like so much we would like to keep it, but that is not how it goes! Well, I was just not happy! Here is the first mini I made…
Not happy…next try involved a wonky star…a new favorite block of mine, having been in a swap this year…better, but still no cigar….
This is the part of the story where I have to make a confession. With all my anxiety, I don’t know how in the world I missed it, but my partner had, indeed, posted a mosaic!
Just look at this mosaic. There are so many minis that I would clearly love to make! This was posted in November!!! How did I miss it??? (Please tag your partner when posting a mosaic.) At any rate, it was one week before I was to leave for the Bahamas, with only two more days at home between the Bahamas and QuiltCon! I opted for the HOME mini…quick and easy, right? Well, I would love to do the house Dresden, have done the feathers, but I L-O-V-E-D the clothesline mini! Gulp! That would be like making many mini-minis on top of the 24ish-inch mini. I tried the HOME idea, but my heart was already wrapped around the clothesline. Alas…my fate was set!
At least I had a plan that I liked now!
Without mentoining that I finished the binding on this at 6:00 AM the morning I was leaving for QC…oh wait, I just said that! Well, I did get finished, had fun making it, and yes, I would happily have kept it! Here are pictures of the mini I called “Quilts on a Clothesline”.
I was a happy…and relieved…camper, or traveler in this case! On my way to the first QuiltCon for me, with a swap mini that I was pleased to say I had made.
At QuiltCon there is a lot of excitement and confusion, at times. Let’s just say the mini swap was another place of confusion…and excitement. There was no plan or organization for the event. You just showed up in a room full of quilters and hoped to find you partner. Let’s say that could be a topic for another blog! All that said, I FOUND HER!!!
Look at that very cool mini that Lauana made for me! She references the idea of color coming from words, which is depicted perfectly. You may not be able to see that the background fabric is all text. I am so happy with this mini! Thank you, Lauana! It was fun to meet you, and find you running around the convention, with your darling daughter. I think you have made the jump into modern quilting well! Have fun with it!
Here is a peek at a few others that I snapped at the swap. The lighting was bad, but there was a lot of happiness too! Sorry, I can’t name everyone!
That is my story of the MQG Mini Swap 2018. Would I do it again? You bethca!
And finally, here is a bit of my room with the newest mini in all her glory!
Time flies when you are having fun! I guess I have been doing a lot of that! As reported in my earlier post, QuiltCon did not fail to inspire! But now it is March and new things await!
I managed to meet my January and February goals…even if I have kept the lists short. March is looking foreboding to me, but I must prevail!
The picture above was snapped before I succombed to another Wonky Star Swap! Yikes! It doesn’t close until April, so I will make it work. Signups close March 10, so jump in if you want to participate. Link in bio of @bylancer on Instagram.
I also joined in the Sienna Sunburst QAL with @thencamejune. Check out the post…I think you could still join in! There are so many different looks to this pattern. I think I will do solids (photo below from Meghan’s website)
Another new project is on the books…secret sewing! More than one, if you must know!
My secret sewing projects are going to take a lot of time, planning and patience, though patience is really not that much a part of it, as I hope to love the finished products! I hope I finish them both this year.
Of course, there is the March, Stash Bee – Hive Five! This month we are working on I Spy Poloroid Blocks for our Queen Bee, Stephanie. I have made many poloroid blocks, but I gave them all away in the IG Get Your Quilty Wishes Granted campaign! They are simple and fun and I like joining four to make a block! I am not a big fussy cutter, but I do have a stash of fabric that will work for this.
This is Stephanie’s sample block…love that gray!
Last but not least…I didn’t put it on the actual list, just the picture…is the Triangle Mini Quilt Challenge from Curated Quilts. I love the colors and the magazine! I am just not so sure I can “git’er done”!!!
It just seems that those of us who have been bitten by the quilty bug can’t stop!
SEW…I am off and running into March. Isn’t that the month that “comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb”? Here’s hoping! Tell me it is not as bad as it seems, because they ALL don’t have to finish in March!