Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Perle Cotton

In the last 10 years, I have become a fan of incorporating embroidery into my quilts, but I am not a fan of embroidery floss. I prefer perle cotton #8. I have used DMC, Anchor, and Valdani brands. The perle cotton is more expensive than embroidery floss, but you do not have to do any separating of strands and it tangles far less.
The perle cotton adds a little more dimension and texture than embroidery floss. I also back my fabric with Warm and Natural batting and embroider through the batting and fabric.

By stitching through the batting, my knots are not seen through the fabric and it is easier to hold onto while embroidering.

I also use perle cotton for quilting. It gives a primitive look which means larger stitches are ok. The above picture shows how it looks on the front of the quilt and the picture below shows the back. 
Now that Joann's is open in my town, they carry basic colors of DMC perle cotton #8 balls including  ecru, black, red, and navy. I usually order more colors from Joann's on-line when the perle cotton balls are on sale half price.
I have quite the rainbow collection of perle cotton stored in Mason jars and displayed on narrow picture shelves in my sewing room, it is functional and colorful.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to School

One of my 10 Things for Summer was to complete the Back to School quilt designed by Temecula Quilt Co. and featured in Quilt Sampler Fall/Winter 2009. I took Carol's suggestion at Brown Quilts and just focused on completing each block design independently. Breaking the quilt down into pieces/parts made it so much more manageable! I finished the top yesterday and the only fabric I purchased was the black for the border and I found the perfect backing in my stash.
Now I am not sure about the quilting. The quilt featured in the magazine is very simply stippled all over. It is not too huge, so I would not mind quilting it by hand with pearl cotton. The quilt itself is detailed enough and any hand quilting would probably just get overlooked...What do you all in the blogging universe think? Hand quilt primitive style with pearl cotton or just simple long arm quilting? Please share your thoughts and or advice!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Forgotten Quilt

I made this quilt top as a sample for my local quilt shop 2 years ago. I stopped by there yesterday to buy a black fabric to finish up my Back to School from Temecula Quilt Co. (My top will be finished today!) and the owner gave me it back. I don't remember the the pattern name or fabric line, but the quilting on it is big pretty flowers and I will find it a good home somewhere.

I was not productive this week because I drove these two gorgeous girls, my daughter (the one with the glasses) and her BFF,  to Denver to go to the One Direction concert (it was more than just the concert as they had VIP tickets and went to the sound check and got a swag bag, last summer we had to go to Las Vegas and they got to meet them). Then, they flew out to California to visit grandma for the week. This trip ate up most of my time and money! I only have 2 more weeks of my summer vacation, so I need to buckle down and get some more things done. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Scrappy Watermelon Picnic Quilt

I started this quilt last summer and it was on my list of 10 Things This Summer. I finished binding it last night. It is about a third bigger than these pictures show. With the exception of the border ($3 a yard and looks like perfect watermelon skin) and the back, I pieced it entirely from my scraps and stash.

I long arm quilted it myself with loopy, loops around all the watermelon seeds.(No close-ups of the quilting necessary as I am a total beginner on the long arm quilting.) The back is a red plaid with bright green running through it. The pictures really don't show how bright read and green it is.

These pictures are on my pasture fence. Since I intend this to be a picnic quilt, I better plan to take the family on a picnic soon...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Finish!

I made my first Schnibbles quilt, Lincoln, for the Another Year of Schnibbles July challenge. I used an old Moda charm pack, Portobello Market.  All fabric was from my stash!

I just quilted it cross hatch on my Pfaff. It was so small, I did not see the point of taking the time to put it on my mom's long arm. I am so pleased with it and can't wait to find out what the Schnibbles design is for August. I am completely hooked.

I recently splurged on a couple of tools that are amazing! The first is the Olfa Splash cutter--all of the splendid reviews are true. It is lighter, has a more comfortable handle, and goes through the fabric like a hot knife through butter. I used a 40% off coupon at Joanns and might even buy a second one next week when our local Joanns opens and they already sent me a 50% of coupon. I also invested in the Clover Wonder Clips. They were only $13 on Amazon instead of the $36 everywhere else for the 50 pack. I used them for the first time last night when binding my Schnibbles Lincoln quilt.

Now, I am on to the new BOM over at elephantz.com. I have lots of old Robyn Pandolph scraps that I plan to use for this adorable house quilt. The patterns are free each month and it only finishes 37 inches square, so join in! Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scrappy Bag Challenge

So, I was asked to donate a bag/purse for an upcoming silent autction for one of our local charter schools. I donated one last year and of course bought a bag when I attended. They need it by the end of August.  I started digging through my stash because I really didn't want to buy anything. I found a charm pack of Swell by Urban Chicks for Moda (part of my fabric inheritance from my sister). I also started thinking about the hexagon tote bag pattern I had seen as part of the new book A Quilting Life by Sherri McConnell. The pattern was also in a magazine from a couple of years ago that was sitting on my shelf already.

The magazine picture hooked me, but I was scared to death of the insetting for the hexagons. I usually avoid complicated patterns and do not challenge myself very often. The cutting was pretty easy and that gave me a little confidence...

It took me all day Saturday to sew together the six rows of hexagons. I was so intimidated by the hexagons, I kept avoiding my sewing room. I cleaned bathrooms, did laundry, and in between slaved at the sewing machine. I quilted it on Monday morning on my little retro light green Singer Featherweight at our weekly gathering.

The light is not the best in these pictures, but I love the retro look.  All the fabric came from my stash, but I did have to break down and buy some heavy weight interfacing. I added an inside pocket and my measurements were right on.

I hope it brings a good price because sewing those hexagons was much more work than I thought! And now I will continue to avoid insetting especially hexagons...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Congratulations Barbara!

This amazing quilt Twisted Bargello by my friend, Barbara Willey, won first place for Small Pieced Quilt division at the 18th Annual Black Canyon Quilt Show in Montrose, Colorado this past weekend. Congratulations Barbara, job well done!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quilting Weather Progress and Advice Desired

For the first time in two months we had real precipitation! We are under extreme drought conditions here in western Colorado, so we were thrilled by a great soaking on Thursday afternoon. I was ready to go out and dance in it because it has been so hot and it looked so refreshing. But, I quickly changed my mind when lightning struck in spitting distance. Instead, I snapped these pictures and made the most of the rainy afternoon in my sewing room with the windows open. It looked like it might rain some more today, but no such luck yet...

I completed my Schnibbles Lincoln top for July. I made it completely from stuff on hand and even have several backs to choose from as well as binding--to celebrate I bought some charm packs for future Schnibbles from greenfairyquilts. They were on sale, free shipping, and no tax! I am definitely addicted to the Schnibbles patterns.
Another, semi-finish...This is my Bee In My Bonnet Row Along.  I only started this two weeks ago! I only purchased the white solid and a grey fabric everything else is from my scraps.  Now, I have to figure out the borders. The design calls for multiple borders that make it much bigger. My problem is that the place I want to hang it in my sewing room is too small for it to be much bigger. I was thinking of maybe a 3 inch border in turquoise. Please help me decide, ideas and advice welcome!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

10 Things This Summer

So I am joining along with Sherri over at aquiltinglife.com and making my 10 things to do this summer. Unfortunately for me, my summer is already half over, but I was off of work starting on May 22 and have been accomplishing a lot. These are really not in any particular order...

Number 1- to keep plugging away with "Back to School" from the Temecula Quilt Co. I started with the little houses several years ago and that was probably a mistake starting with small templates, but I am determined to keep at it and make all the blocks from my stash.

Number 2- this Watermelon Quilt is a UFO from last summer. I finally found the perfect green border fabric that was only $3 a yard. I quilted it the other day using my mom's long arm and just have the binding left. It is huge and really too hot for hand binding right now, so it might wait a while longer.

Number 3- the Farmer's Wife Sampler- I started admiring all the blocks for the Farmer's Wife Sampler on everyone's blogs. I decided to give it a go, but not use templates and make a smaller quilt. I have finished all 48 blocks since the beginning of June and put them together this last week. Now, I am on the hunt for a border and back.  Any ideas?

Number 4- Organize My Scraps- I had kept my scraps in Ziplock bags by color in each of my fabric bins.  This was not very easy to access. I broke down yesterday and bought four 3 drawer carts at Walmart. It was $50 I would rather have spent on fabric, but I think having my scraps easier to get to and look through will also save me money in the long run. Plus all the carts find under my cutting table and are on rollers!

Number 5- Another Year of Schnibbles- I confess, I had never made a Schnibbles quilt before. But, I ordered one of the books and dug into my stash and am working on piecing the Lincoln one for July. I think I might have to do one every month!

Number 6- Bee In My Bonnet Row Along- When I discovered this, I fell in love. I showed my mom and she was determined that this would be our summer quilting project. So far, I have completed the tulips, the apples, the stars, the spools, the cups, the chubby chevrons, the baskets, and the butterflies. I will start cutting everything for the rest of the row this afternoon to bring for piecing at our get together tomorrow.

Number 7, 8, 9, and 10- Long Arm Quilting- I have a pile of quilts to long arm quilt myself including:
7. Art to Heart Christmas Favorites
8. Buggy Barn's Pineapple Quilt
9. Buggy Barn's Ice Cream Cone Quilt
10. Plaid Pigs

This list is rather ambitious, but maybe writing it down and publishing it will make me accomplish them! Happy sewing!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Patriotic Quilts

Hard to believe the 4th of July is tomorrow! We have extreme fire conditions here in western Colorado, so there is a fire ban and we are not even sure there will be a public fire display(it was canceled last year and held in the fall when conditions were more ideal). That is ok with me because I certainly don't want any fire mishaps and it will save my dogs from their annual freak out. We will just barbeque some burgers, try to stay cool, and enjoy the 4th without the fireworks.

When we moved here from California eight years ago, I was thrilled to live in the country and have a country style home.  Plus, it was three times the size of my tiny house in San Diego. I have lots of room to display my quilts.  Here are some patriotic pieces that I have up right now. This one has some embroidery designs from Cheri Saffiotte Payne and I did some tea dyeing on it. It is hanging in my dining room. 
This is a wool felt door banner hanging on my front door. You can see the reflection in the door windows showing the pasture and trees that are across the street. I love living in the country!
This my front entry. The hanging quilt is a design from Joann Mullaly and I don't remeber the desginer of the table topper on top of the Singer treadle machine. The treadle was my first antique store find when we first moved here. 

Well, Lori Holt has a new barn design posted on her page today, so I think I will head for my sewing room and make it. Have a great 4th of July!