Monday, January 24, 2011

Operation Learn Hand Quilting: Successful!

I'm calling this my practice pinwheel quilt.  I used this technique for making super quick pinwheels and then determined to figure out how to hand quilt once and for all.  I looked up all sorts of tutorials and youtube videos and then experimented with many different materials and techniques until I was able to come up with a method that worked for me.

Molly's Hand Quilting Notes to Self: 

Forget quilting needles and quilting thread.  The official needles are way too short and the thread is way too thin.  I finally bought cotton darning needles and used the longest ones in the pack.  Then after buying perle cotton size 12 (thin) and then buying perle cotton size 5 (too thick) I settled on perle cotton size 8 (just right).

Pin baste your quilt sandwich and then don't use a hoop.  I just could not get the hang of the big hoop but since it was basted well there was no problem with letting it lay across my lap.  Well, except for the Assistant laying her head on it every five minutes for a quality check.

Make one simple knot in the perle cotton before burying it in the batting.  Don't worry about twirling it around your needle and pulling the knot down the cotton like they show on the videos.  You will never be able to master that technique and it doesn't matter (breathe deep....).

By the time I was done I was pretty good at burying knots and getting semi-even stitches. I can't express my relief when I pulled it out of the dryer and saw all my stitches were still there and nice and tight.   Whew!

This quilt is sweet and simple and I think it will find a home someday with a baby.  I'm not super proud of it but it taught me a lot and it is bright and fun.  The best part was that, with the exception of the various perle cotton and needle purchases, I didn't buy anything new and used up lots of my large batting scraps that I zig-zagged together.   As Martha would say ... that's always a good thing :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Peep Love

The Assistant needs a lot of attention. 
This is how the Assistant helps me while I'm handquilting.  She lays her head on the quilt and gives me "the look" until I pet her.  This gives me a chance to rest my wrist and give my fingers a break so I guess it does serve a very important purpose.  She knows what she is doing. 

This weekend I was so pleased to find out I was tagged for the Stylish Blog Award by one of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn, of Fake it While you Make It, a blog that not only full of awesome quilts but  lots of interesting takes on crafting and life in general.  The rules of the award are that you share seven things about yourself and this works out perfect for me since I don't have one single "post worthy" topic going on right now.  Sooo, without further ado .... seven quilty things about me:

1.  I'm hand quilting for the first time and learning as I go.  I'm now wondering if I should have bound it first.  Also I found I don't like a hoop, it goes much easier just pin basted and on my lap.

2.  I love to bookmark things of interest I find on the internet. Quilts I admire, tutorials I want to use in the future, cool haircuts, interesting paint jobs, etc.  But later I have a hard time going through my folders to find what I want.  I just found a new site I love pinterest where you can pin these links to bulletin boards you create.  Perfect!  Not only it is easy to find what you are looking for, you can open your boards on any computer you are using PLUS you can see what other people are pinning.  At this time the site is in a beta stage so you need an invite to start a board so please let me know if you want one.  I promise you'll love it!

3.  I'm attracted to plain quilts with lots of solids and rich, earthy colors.   But I found that over the summer I bought lots of fabrics of pinks and peaches.  Now I have a stash that does not match my personality or my tastes ... yet I almost bought some pink fabric today.  Haven't figured out why I do that yet. 

4.  I have major gift regret when I think of the quilts I've already given to people. As I learn and my skills increase I cringe when I think of the quilts I was so proud of and gave away.  Now I want to take them all back and replace them with better ones. 

5.  I've realized I don't like pre-cut packs like layer cakes and jelly rolls.  I'd rather pick and choose the fabric and cut it myself.  Plus they're expensive!

6.  I hate putting the walking foot on my machine and I hate taking it off.  I pretty much hate everything about the walking foot. 

7.  The next quilt I make is going to be just for me.  I'm  excited to start, but I'm paralyzed with indecision because there are so many designs I've been wanting to try.  I think I'll just have to sit down this week and start cutting and sewing and see what emerges.

In the spirit of the award I'd like to tag some of my most recently subscribed to quilting blogs.

 Andie Johnson Sews
Shiner's View 
Greenleaf Goods 
The Happy Bumbler 

Check them out!  They're some awesome quilters. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ode to January

I love a snowy January.   There ... I said it.  I know most people are droning on about how they hate the snow and can't wait until summer's loooong days, but not me.  I miss my peaceful, long evenings of sewing, baking, puttering and rearranging.  When the boys were younger we'd fit puzzles and board games in there too.  I love to read the January magazines full of new hope and clean, organized houses.

January such a nice relaxing, no pressure month after the craziness of the holidays.   You can stay in your house all weekend and not be embarrassed at work on Monday morning when people ask what you did over the past two days.

So far this weekend I made chili and bread, starting cutting up some fabric and making crazy nine patch blocks, experimented with handquilting on the pinwheel quilt I threw together last weekend, cleaned out my junk drawers and watched the first season of St. Elsewhere on netflix.  My house feels super warm and cozy with the windows covered with a lacy frost.  How could anyone even be dreaming of hot, sticky days and blazing sunlight until 10 p.m.??   I save that for the muddy days of March.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back in the groove

That binding looks good enough to eat
I’ve got my sewing room back until Easter dinner (when it’s turned back into a dining room) so I’m slowly easing back into the sewing groove. I had bought a layer cake and a jelly roll last summer for a project and ended up using very little of each so I’ve been staring at those for months. Guilty feelings over the money spent makes me hesitate to buy new fabric.  Then after the holidays I saw an awesome way to make pinwheels on one of my reader blogs (apologies but I can’t find you again) … it is TRULY amazing … and I just threw those squares together and made a pinwheel quilt top this week. It’s going to be an easy, yet adorable, baby quilt and the best part is I didn’t buy one scrap of fabric or batting.  Guilty feelings abated .....

I have some interesting new projects ahead in January. The ORB flickr group I began quilting with is starting their ninth round very soon and we are making a ticker tape quilt.  I haven't done a quilt a long in a while and I miss the comradeship of sewing with a group.  I'm also going to teach my friend Mary how to quilt and we are starting this very weekend. I'm using her as my test student and seeing how I do with teaching quilting to someone with no sewing experience. I've already gotten two women I work with into quilting so pretty soon I'll be able to start my own guild of quilters. Wouldn’t that be fun! 

Well, hopefully the video that amazed me is here ... and if you are the person that originally posted it … THANK YOU!

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