April was a month where I operated on overload most days! Why, you ask? I simply had more on my plate than I could do…and I hate that!
This is how my goal sheet wraps up for April:
Stash Bee Square was one I was not sure I would like. It was a Union Jack flag in bright colors. Our queen bee, Lauren, @laurenmlir5 on IG, shared a tutorial from Granny Maud on WordPress. She requested a rainbow of colors for this FPP block that measures 15″ x 7.5″ when finished. I ended up really enjoying it and appreciate that it was easy paper piecing…not all of them are! Here is my block…
The Riley Blake Challenge for the MQG was due this month and it was a fail for me. I liked my idea and did get started, but it is still sitting in the WIP pile! Here it is…in no glory!
I am sure the concept does not come through on this picture…it was to be Spring Breeze. Well, maybe for next spring????
The Wonky Star Swap is always fun…I do adore them. And I did finish that one even if I shipped a day late on May 1!
Wonky stars are always so unique, but they play well together! Thanks to all my swap mates and Rachel, @bylancer on IG, for this one!
That brings me to the SHHHH….Secret Sewing! Believe it or not, this has been my main focus for months and it is actually almost finished. It must be done in a few days and IT WILL BE!!! YAY! This makes me so happy and I can’t wait to post about it pretty soon!
The other carry-over project that is moving on into May is a semi-secret. Our grand-daughter turns 8 and has asked for another quilt. This one is to be about her creativity…it runs in the family! It won’t be done in time for the birthday, but it will be getting my focus once the secret is revealed. Can’t tell a sweet grand-daughter no!!!
So, I can’t say I got nothing done in April. On top of the sewing there was a nice trip to California to see family…always a blessing! beautiful places, good food and wine, boys baseball, laughs and love!
So, here’s to May…you notice my goal sheet is pretty simple!
I hope this new month brings you much joy and some finished projects along the way!
“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!
Oh my! How does one recap an event like QuiltCon? I am overwhelmingly inspired, happy to have made new friends, and not sure where to start next! I was ready and raring to go!
I attended with my friend and “sew mate” – Jude, @judemadeit – a trip we had been planning for a long time.
We were in the first 1000 to register, so our first prize was this bag of swag…
As we walked in the first day, we were shocked to see our Charity Quilt hanging proudly, first one in line!
Mountains of Hope is destined to live in a home built by Habitat for Humanity. Our group, an independent members group we dubbed the SewIMQs, felt that a quilt needs a home and selected Habitat for that reason. The other members were Jude, @judemadeit; Lorrie, @langdon813; and Adrean, @quiltfabulous…you can find them on InstaGram with the handles shown. It was such a pleasure to work with these gals that we didn’t even know before deciding to seek members for our little clan, and to create a work of art. Thanks to each of you for your part!
We got a glimpse of many quilting “sewlebrities” over the course of the event (we were there for every day!). Our first was Yvonne, aka Quilting Jetgirl
She was running from place to place, as she is an avid supporter of MQG and a willing volunteer, but she had a great smile when we begged her to stop for a quick snap!
Being newbies to the whole event, we decided not plan taking any classes this time (and found we would have loved it), but did sign up for some lectures. Quilt as Desired was the first one with the knowledgeable Jacquie Gerhing. The subtitle of her lecture was “how in the world do I know what I desire?” This is a very good topic for me, as I seem to want it all…or at least to try it all! Her book with a long subtitle, but lovingly known as Walk, gives great information on the quilting process with your walking foot. Her lecture was very fun and informative and she is a hoot! Oh, she is also a Kansas City girl, like me, so even better!
Another good lecture was given by Latifah Saafir, titled How to Design a Quilt in 5 Easy Steps. Who doesn’t want to learn those steps? Another presenter with a congenial, jovial spirit, Latifah had some terrific points. I won’t post the pictures of her slides here…so you can go see her for yourself!
The keynote speaker for this QuiltCon was Carolyn Friedlander. Young, friendly, and a creative, for sure (like everyone there), Carolyn’s topic was “You Make the Rules: How I Use Design to Guide Work and Life.” She is a tiny, little, trendy one who has had a great impact on the quilting world.
Carolyn’s work was displayed in one of the exhibit halls…a beautiful room for beautiful work by many quilting artists. The center of the room featured quilted upholstery work she has done…another thing on my list, but I don’t see it in the near future!
The MQG Mini-Quilt Swap was fun! I might blog in more detail about that specific event, but suffice it to say it did not dissapoint me! Thanks to my partner, Lauana, @mysewingspace on IG for a lovely mini. Lauana, you are doing fine at bridging that gap from traditional to modern quilting.
@runandsew on the right
@quilts2sew on the left
@quiltydoings on the right, my swap mama and a swap fairy who came all the way from Scotland!
The book party was a blast! Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century is a beautiful book and several of the creatives included were present to autograph their pages. I hope I got everyone who was there. The creative process is often a bit solitary and not everyone is ready to be mobbed at a signing party, but all were gracious. I got a few snaps…
Angela Bowman, @angelabdesign
Elaine Wick Poplin, @messygoat
Heidi Parkes, @heidi.parkes
This book will get lots of loving review and was the go-to (next to InstaGram) for relaxing moments during the show.
Jacquie Gerhing signed her book Walk (and I snuck in the Modern Quilts book too) at a separate signing in the Lucky Spool booth.
There was a bit of tooling around Pasadena outside the show, but not too far…we had plenty to absorb at the show!
My travel buddy and room mate is always fun, but we did meet plenty of happy people…
With Jude and Greg Stewart, Region 1 Rep
With Jude and Debbie, @aquilterstable
Heading to the airport with @judemadeit, @runandsew,@elisemakler, @oceanannie123, @quilts2sew
I was either too awestruck, dumbfounded, tired, or something to get more pictures!
However, I was looking all over the show and late in the game finally met up with (and looked like an idiot, no doubt) with the wonderful Chawne Kimbre, aka @cauchycomplete on IG, whose work I admire. She is so sweet and soft-spoken and I would love to spend some time with her one day!
Happy now! With Chawne Kimber
@judemadeit and @cauchycomplete
As an attendee, we were asked to vote for the People’s Choice award. This is really an impossible task. It would even be difficult if you could pick one from each category! I voted for the quilt below, ‘But, I Tried To Remember’ by Heidi Parkes. It has a beautiful story and many layers process. Not the typical quilt, but very appealing. Look her up and read about it here.
The People’s Choice award went to Liz Harvatine, @ladyharvatine. It actually is impressive work, but you probably can’t read the description card.
So, my friends, I will post a few images of quilts, but I tell you, there is no real way to say how inspiring the work is from design to technique to finishes.
I know I should post the names of each quilter… I took pictures of each sign, but they are too small to read in some cases.
Top photo includes Emily Lang, @mommysnaptime; Sandra Kaye, @sandieloves2quilt; Steph Skardal, @stephskardal; Charity Quilt, San Antonio MQG; Carolyn Friedlander, @carolynfriedlander;Tara Faughnan, @tarafaughnan; Chawne Kimber, @cauchycomplete; Sarah Lauzon, @cera.bee; Diana Vandeyar, @dianavandeyar
Second photo includes Cassandra Beaver, @cassandra.beaver; Sydney Beauty (youth category, 18 years old); Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill, @wholecirclestudio; Jacquie Gehring, @jacquietps; Pam, @px4color; ____; @jessicawohlstudio; AnnMarie Cowley, @runandsew; ____
If you get a chance to go, you will not be disappointed in QuiltCon…maybe I will see you in Nashville next time!
Ok! I am just going to admit it! Some of the most basic things about quilting really mess with my mind!
This image might just give you an idea why…
This was an attempt at an improv log cabin square…and I call it a fail! My strips are not in order for that log look and more! To me, it looks more like a messed up courthouse steps block.
So, today I am moved to work with that old, familiar, very basic log cabin square. I am doing it for the sake of:
1) practice in improv (Can I really just grab a strip and sew it in place without thinking about it?) and
2) understanding this basic square so I can learn to make it modern.
I am using the pattern from Suzy Quilts. I am using solids to keep it even more simple…I think. This pattern creates nice even strip sizes, but something bugs me about the center.
I think I don’t like the two same-size squares next to each other.
Then I found another tutorial from Marzi on her blog, Made by Marzipan. I like that this one has a different way to add the second piece in the center, but I can’t figure out the math to do it with 2.5″ strips, which I have a lot of! However, this block has a look that is not as uniform. Maybe that is why I like it? Off I went to cut some 3.5″ strips from scraps! Drat…I have cut the 3.5″ strips and guess what? They really turn out to be 2″ strips for most of the pattern! This is where that old addage, “measure twice, cut once,” comes into play only a bit different, “read twice, cut once.” Or better yet…”read and think about what you are doing!” I hate to rush and making mistakes is a sign of just that! Oh well, more for the scrap bins! Here is the block I made…
I am wondering if the log cabin block is just not for me! However, I do like the bright colors in the first set of blocks. And (for the most part) I did grab and go! I also figured out that the 2″ strip width in the directions from Marzi should work with any width. I’ll have to give that a try. And maybe I will try the wonky look…that for another blog!
What do you think of the log cabin block pattern? Do you have a favorite way to produce this block? Do you have tips and tricks you can share?
This is part of my commitment to the process pledge! It IS all a process…good, bad, or ugly!