Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Anna Maria Horner Quilt and thinking about quilting design

Ahhhhh!  I'm dying a little bit over those Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent prints.  This is a fabric line that I adore, but never ended up making anything myself with.  So it was a special treat to get to quilt this and ooh and ahhhh over the fabrics and quilt design.  

When I first looked at this quilt, I was literally stumped at what to quilt it with.  I knew it was going to be custom quilted, but couldn't figure out what to do with all the negative space.  I loaded it on the frame and it sat for a week.  I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook and didn't really have any great luck with inspiration.  Finally I decided on a simple outlined design with some ruler work, embellished with pebbles and other straight lines to fill in the gaps.  

This picture has a filter on it to try to high light the thread more.  It was quilted with Glide Cloud, so it doesn't necessarily blend like white thread would have, but it doesn't starkly stand out from the background, either.  If I could change anything about the quilting, I would go back and double batt the quilt or use a loftier batting.  


You can see here a little better that each print fabric was outlined twice with a small ruler.  Then pebbles were added, along with some straight lines for filler to add more texture.  


I really enjoyed the process this quilt took me through, and I hope to continue to better develop my quilting design.  Usually, I can load a quilt on the frame and I have at least 2 fairly decent ideas by the next day.  This quilt really gave me a run for my money, but all in all, I'm pretty satisfied with the results.    I really love the way a quilt looks finished when ruler work and free motion quilting are combined in the same top.  Sometimes the simplest design can work and really make the fabrics and quilt pop, and other times, it takes some work and elbow grease to figure out the best fillers and accents.  



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Finding time to give back #quiltsforpulse

 In the midst of tragedy, I am relieved that I belong to a group of people that goes out of their way to show love for others.  The group I'm talking about is the Modern Quilt Guild.  And even  more specifically, the San Antonio chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  The Orlando MQG organized collections to accept in progress quilts and completed quilts to show support and love for some of the people affected by the Pulse night club shooting.  I hate that I'm even writing a post about this, because it's so disturbing the amount of violence we hear about on a daily basis on the news...but I want to focus on giving back and showing support for our fellow human beings.  



The SAMQG members are SO giving and generous with their fabric and time, that we've had a plethora of blocks constructed (most using the Heart pattern tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew).  A few charity sew-ins, and we've finished (I think) 5 quilts!  



I had the great opportunity to quilt a few of these, and wanted to discuss charity work in this industry.  I've done a little bit of charity sewing in the past, but not really donated much of my time or resources prior to getting my longarm.  And once I started donating my quilting, I kind of just rushed through the process, doing a stipple or some quick meandering design to get that top off my frame as quickly as I could.  But one night, I started thinking about the recipients of these rushed through pieces I had worked on.  Was I proud of the work I was doing on them?  No.  Absolutely not.  I was just FINISHING THEM.  There was nothing special or generous about what I was doing to add to the quilt.  And maybe those recipients don't even look at the quilting.  But it really got to me that I was doing about 2% of my best work on something that was supposed to be making someone happier.  I decided to start doing my best work on every quilt top.  Whether it was a paying customer or not.  If I'm going to commit to working on something, why would I give anything less than my best?  And besides, if you want to look at it from a really selfish angle, it's great practice and helps develop your skills even further.  

I really love the graffiti quilting style, and chose to do that on this quilt.  These blocks were pieced together by so many different people, with such love and compassion in their hearts.  It really does give me a little bit of hope for humanity.

Anyway, my two cents for the day is to think about where your heart is when you decide to do charity work.  If it's in your heart, put your best foot forward and really give all you have.  Otherwise, what are you wasting your time for?  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Back to school tutorial: Notebook / Planner cover

Everyone loves that time of year when it's hotter than blue blazes outside, right?  That means summer is in full swing, and another favorite is right around the corner...THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!  Parents everywhere countdown the days to this landmark date like children do Christmas, and breathe a sigh of relief to have a bit of a break and shoo the kiddos out the door to start their education once again.

Many moms or dads may want to treat their kiddos to some personalized back to school handmade goodies, and I'm here to help with that!  
 Make some great customizable notebook (or day planner) covers by simply taking a few measurements of the kids' existing school supplies.  My quick and easy step-by-step tutorial will help you create some great covers that will prolong the life of those school supplies and make the kids feel extra special on their first day back.  The tutorial can be found HERE so head over and check it out!  


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Free pattern! Water resistant pool tote

 If you're planning a trip to the pool, river, beach this summer, you've got to whip up this painless pool tote lined with laminated cotton.  Throw your wet towels in and you don't have to worry about them getting water spots on the car seats or even forgetting about them in the car (hey...don't judge...we've all done it!)
Water resistant pool tote
The only thing extra you might want to pick up, as far as sewing machine accessories, is a teflon foot.  Teflon feet are absolutely amazing when it comes to sewing any sort of "sticky" fabric.  So if you run your hand over it with pressure, and it doesn't smoothly run across the fabric, a teflon foot will easily sew it!  Some great examples are glitter vinyl, regular vinyl, oilcloth, and laminated cotton.  Any fabrics that look like they have a sheen or platic-y finish.  Personally, I love to sew with weird fabrics, so I've had a teflon foot for a while now.  But if you don't stray from the beaten path very often, now is the time to stray!!!  You will love the teflon foot, and have so many more interesting sewing options.  
Teflon foot for Janome
So let's get down to the nitty gritty--This pattern was written for Janome exclusively for the Quilt views blog.  So you can grab the FREE PATTERN HERE

Hop to it and get sewing!  Make something cool this summer :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gems in the Night Sky Quilt (Dear Jane-ISH Quilt)

I played with the quilt design for the Gems in the Night Sky Quilt in EQ7 for probably a week straight before I had my final layout the way I wanted it.  I changed the background fabric, moved blocks around, completely deleted blocks, changed color arrangement, the list goes on and on.  It's funny how after you're done with something, all the time you spent on it just kind of vanishes, and you don't think about the labor of love you put into it.  


This quilt.  All the hearts.  I had the awesome chance to design and make this quilt for Janome's brand new machine launch--the 9400.  I'm not going to lie, this quilt took FOREVER.  But packing it in a shipping box and saying goodbye forever was nearly as difficult as giving away your first born. 


And then I saw the picture of it on the Janome website once the machine was released, and it was like seeing photos of a long lost friend.  And I might have squealed out loud at the top of my lungs :)


So there were 81 blocks- with 9 different block constructions.  At first glance it kind of looks like someone took a Dear Jane quilt and dumped a bucket of modern over it (which is fine with me!), but if you look a little closer, you will see the blocks are just made with alternating colors and arranged in a way that it deceives you into thinking there are a lot of different blocks in this quilt.  


This was pieced with the Michael Miller Cotton Couture bundle that's available at Janome dealers, and the background fabric is Anna Maria Horner's True colors- filigree in dusk.  I think the combination is just dreamy.  


Sometimes I love the backs of quilts more than the front.  I like to press my seams open to eliminate a lot of bulk when I quilt.  


And then it was quilted with Stitch in the ditch around the bright colors and heavily quilted on all of the AMH fabric.  I had to keep this a secret for so long, that I nearly forgot about it once the machine was finally released.  So I'm finally able to share and show my little labor of love.