Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge - January

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) is my favorite type of quilting. This year, blogger SewCalGal is hosting an FMQ Challenge. Every month, there is a new video by a different FMQ teacher demonstrating some kind of FMQ. The challenge is to practice and learn that method and then post a photo of a completed sample.

I pledge to do a new sample every month as part of this challenge!

January's challenge was presented by quilter Frances Moore, who featured freeform leaves. My leaves have NEVER looked this good and I still have room to improve.

My sample is about 10.5 x 16 and uses a rather thick polyester batting from a roll at Hancock's. It's pretty thick - I used 2 layers of this stuff to tie my Dad's train quilt and it was often too warm for him to use. I also used my Bernina Stitch regulator and the clear foot (kindof like "The Big Foot", an accessory foot). It stitched beautifully on both sides. My biggest difficulty in the past was to make wider, more realistic leaves instead of long thin leaves. By consistently training myself for this teardrop shape, I only have a few of those skinny ones.

Front of January Challenge Sample

Jan Quilt Sample side 2
Back of January Challenge sample

What am I going to do with the sample? Trim and practice machine binding!! This particular one will likely end up as a cat pad, but next month's will be part of a tote bag. For more information on the Challenge, go to my sideline and scroll to the bottom buttons. Click on the 2012 FMQ Challenge button.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Progress on Apple Core!

Here's my progress so far on the Apple Core quilt. I am currently attaching rows 15-18 and will get that done today. I have one more 3 row section nearly done, so I think by the end of the weekend, I will have attached 21 of the 28 rows. I had great sunlight, but poor positioning for this photo, but you can see how colorful it is. I have already bought the green flannel for the backing. Not sure what I will use for binding yet - will come to that when I get it quilted, I think.

Apple Core progress, 012812-progress on hand sewn Apple Core top. 15 of 28 rows Donedone.

I went for both Kindle and Nook training over at the library today (I have both). I am considering buying ONE quilting book to keep on my Kindle - just not sure it is worth the trouble or expense. The only time I would use it is if I am house sitting for my sister and I usually take a project that doesn't require any new knowledge. I'll have to think about that. I can read most craft books because the type isn't so close together - it's the paperbacks that are hard.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

NYE Mystery Top Completed!

Here it is! The New Year's Eve Mystery Quilt top designed by Anne Smith. This thing just shimmers in the light with all that quilter's gold. Mom really likes it, so is looking forward to using it next December. That puts a fire under me to get it quilted and I'm still looking for suitable flannel for it. The top is about 70x96 inches, give or take an inch. I plan to use what is left of the green fabric for the binding.

What would I change in this quilt? Well, had I known the pattern (this was a mystery after all), I would have used the gold in the center of those 9 patches and the red where the gold is now. I'm not complaining. It's great the way it is . However, the border was purchased with the assumption that the red would predominate and while it looks nice, it overpowers. I like to analyze quilts to see how I could do better - it also helps in picking fabrics for the next mystery.

So far, I'm the only one who did this mystery using Christmas fabrics, most of which are Hoffmann prints.

MYE Mystery 2012 top

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another BOM Block

Here's my QATW 2012 BOM Block 5! Log cabin done in more holiday fabrics.


Still working hard on the Apple Core quilt. Having some trouble with my hand, so it's going slower than expected. Still pushing to finish the top before the end of the month.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Thermal Solstice Day!

If you have nothing else to justify buying a half price DQ ice cream cake, try celebrating Thermal Solstice Day!!

2012 Thermal Solstice Day Cake, Yes, pure geek here.  We needed an excuse for a cake one year.

What is Thermal Solstice? While the Winter Solstice starts on Dec. 21, the temperature lags because of "thermal capacitance of the atmosphere-ocean-land system." Thermal solstice is about a month after the Winter Solstice - we just pick a day and that is Jan. 21 this year.

By the way, you could also celebrate National Squirrel Day and thank a little rodent who plants all your trees pretty much all over the US.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Yes, BOMs (known to the greater needlework world as Block of the Month) are addicting. This year QuiltingAroundTheworld.com (QATW) is having a Block a Week so that everybody is done in plenty of time to quilt the finished quilt before holiday gift giving. It is a mystery and there are other finishing secrets. What is the layout? What is the setting? Don't know, but she mentions numerous finishing steps. I'm excited.

This year, I am trying strongly to use stash and I hope to make this entire quilt from said stash. The top will be. Most of these fabrics are Joann's Noel line over the last decade - so kindof thin compared to quilt shop fabric. However, they are all Christmas and Christmas quilts are only used during December, so works for me. Most have quilter's gold as well, which really gives it a luxurious look. I'm using white on white (WOW) fabric left from the 2009 QATW BOM as well as some leftover from a long ago project.

I continue to work on hand piecing the Apple Core quilt. I have 9 rows connected together and hope to be up to 12 before the end of the weekend. My row 28 has gone astray and will hopefully be found soon!

QATW BOM Block 1, Ohio Star
Block 1 Ohio Star QATW 2012 BOM

QATW BOM Block 2, 2012 BOM
Block 2 Friends Coming Together 2012 BOM

QATW BOM Block 3, 2012 BOM
Block 3 Dutchman's Puzzle 2012 BOM

QATW BOM Block 4, 2012
Block 4 Sawtooth Star 2012 BOM

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crocheting Again

Well, it finally happened. I can crochet again. Not for a long time, but hey better than nothing at all for over a year. I joined the Ravelry 2012 BOM for crochet. I also starting some amigurumi toy manufacturing. Since I just started playing Angry Birds (and totally love it), I'm making an angry bird. There are a few patterns on the internet and for the small amount of yarn, I will probably try them all until I figure out which is the keeper for me. During my year of absense from crocheting, I was only so-so at not buying yarn, so I'm also going to be working on reducing the stash down to 2 containers - one for wool and the other for everything else. I'm more or less going out of afghan making for awhile and going for little projects. Yeah, and maybe I'll get that ladybug afghan done!

Friday, January 06, 2012

NYE Mystery Clues #6 and #7 Done!

Finished 6 and 7 today. Haven't pressed them yet. I learned long ago to never press when you are tired. Irons are hotter when you are tired, did you know that?

Part 7 is the 9 patch, Part 6 is the HST piece.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

NYE Mystery Clue #5 Done!

Yes, it just takes me all day to get these done! Actually, I work on them for awhile, stop and do something else, then putter back. Slow process mostly because my sewing chair is broken and I have to use a folding chair which isn't all that comfy. I've been waiting now 2 months for the replacement parts to show up for my sewing chair. I'm almost, but not quite, ready to just buy a new chair. However, I would then have to sell the old chair because I have no space for 2 rolling chairs permanently. Hmmpf. I digress. I think, but am not sure, that this is the last 'parts' step and that we now move into block assembly. That's the most exciting because I have no clue what this is going to look like (it's a mystery).


Snowy sky caused the lighting to be funky

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

NYE Mystery Clue #4 Done!

Here it is! Waited until this a.m. to cut since cutting when you are tired is a sure trip to get bandaids.


Monday, January 02, 2012

NYE Mystery Clue #3 Done!

I'm getting there. 140 of these little puppies done now. On to 4. Probably won't get this done before the weekend as I have to spend some time tomorrow working on a project for a class.

Here's some of the rows for the Apple Core quilt I've been working on. All 28 rows are now done, so I'm focused on sewing the rows together. Bought a nice 108 inch wide sage green flannel from Joann's.


Sunday, January 01, 2012

Little Houses

In future, I will just post a photo of the latest houses. A gal in Holland created a quilt-a-long to make a little house each day of 2012, then one large house to represent day 366 since we have an extra day. Members of QuiltingAroundTheWorld.com also wanted to do this, but created options for other sizes. I am doing a 4 inch finished house. I am not at all good at paper piecing, so this will force me to get with the program.

My first house uses a little leftover from today's NYE project. I have not yet selected a sashing.
My first paper pieced house.

NYE Mystery Clue #2 Done!

I'm a little slow on this, but finished Clue #2. It takes a lot longer when you haven't done all the precutting, but I'm happier with my color choices. Anyway, on to the next step.