Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Drumroll Please....Finished Postcard from Sweden

I'm so excited to share my finished Postcard from Sweden quilt!  I'm linking up with MMMQuilts for her Postcard from Sweden QAL.  I finished on time!
I agonized and debated for a week or two on just how to quilt it.  Then I decided to try combining ruler and free motion work, based on a picture of Angela Walters' work that I saw.  I was worried it would be too busy, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  My thread is nearly invisible on the back, so it looks really good.  The front is good as long as you don't look too closely!  I swear, every time I had a big mess-up it was always in a really high-contrast area.  Oh well, I tried something new and learned quite a bit--and I did get more consistent as I went on.  I used eight bobbins on this.  I usually use 3-5 bobbins on similar sized quilts for comparison.  My fabrics are all Kona cottons for the solids and Carolyn Friedlander Widescreen for the back and Crosshatch for the binding.  Pattern is by Jeli Quilts, available as a free download on Craftsy.

I had really hoped to have the mini version done too, but I don't.  I thought I could do it on the long arm, but wasn't happy with how my lines were coming out.  So I ripped it all out and figured I'd do it with the walking foot on the regular machine.  It looks even worse.  The fabric is pulling every which way and the stitch size is very uneven.  I've tried reducing the foot pressure and making tension adjustments and it is just a mess.  More ripping in the future for me.
I thought at first my walking foot had gone bad because I'd had similar problems with it not feeding well and having really uneven stitch sizes on the last mini I tried to quilt, which I've ripped out twice.  Same issues, pulling the fabric out of square and very uneven stitch length.
Before I went in to the repair shop, I figured I'd try quilting this mini mini quilt.  It looks really good. I made zero adjustments to pressure or tension.  So it's not the foot.  Can anyone shed light on why I am having so many problems with these other two minis?  I have a Bernina 440QE if it makes any difference.
Tutorial for this block is available here.
Everything I used to quilt with the foot always came out like this.  I am so frustrated.  Please help me!
I have a few other finishes from last week.
This is Tasha Noel's Winter Wonderland quilt pattern done with her Pixie Noel fabrics.
Ugliest quilt I've ever made.  Planning to donate to a good cause.
Cross stitch pattern by Pop Goes the Needle on Etsy.
These will all be added to the 2018 finishes tab as well.

Until next week.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cross Stitch and Cornmeal Cookies

I'm still working on binding my Pixie Noel quilt.  I'm 5/8 done.  Fingers crossed I can get it finished before Friday's guild meeting.

I have 3/4 of the cross stitches framed/finished.  I still have to finish off my Harry Potter one, which was a good lesson on why you should always unhoop your project when not working on it, especially when you are using linen.  Anyway, these three are done and I'm quite happy with how they turned out.  The patterns are all from SewingSeed on Etsy.  The wooden hoops I purchased from CraftyWoolFelt on Etsy and they arrived super fast.  I was quite impressed with the speed of delivery--I ordered late Monday afternoon and had them Wednesday.  The white frame is from Stars & Sunshine on Etsy.
I decided to quilt another UFO for Friday.  This is, perhaps, the ugliest quilt I've ever made.  I bought the fabrics in 2001 and probably finished the top in that time frame as well.  I didn't buy binding at the time (why???) and I needed backing so I went to Jo-Ann.  The people in front of me in line and the lady at the cutting counter were all math-challenged.  Always so sad.  The customers didn't know how to change feet into yards or tell how wide the fabric was from reading the bolt.  The cutting counter lady didn't know the decimal equivalents of yardage fractions or how to double them.   Anyway, I'm not sure if she completely mismeasured the six yards of backing fabric I requested or if it truly shrunk that much in the wash, but I only had 5-2/3 yard when I went to cut it into two yard chunks.  Luckily I could make it work with some creative seaming, but still.  Hmm.

I have it all quilted and I am going to machine bind it and then probably donate it since it is no longer to our tastes.  I do have to wonder what we were thinking when we put these colors together though.  The green polka dot is the backing.
My son has to do a report on a famous Hoosier and he chose Virgil Grissom.  We took him to the Virgil Grissom memorial museum over the weekend.  It was really interesting and also really depressing.  What a horrible way to die.

We also went to a pioneer village and got some freshly ground cornmeal (which I store in the freezer along with my flour and butter).  My husband made cornmeal cookies with some.  If you like corn muffins and sugar cookies, you will probably enjoy these cookies.  He made 42 cookies with 64 calories each.

Cornmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and flour.  Add the creamed mixture.  
  • Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. We used parchment paper instead of greasing.  
  • Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Snow Globe Quilt and Flowers

It's been a pretty quiet week.  I've been plotting which projects I can realistically finish before check-in at guild next week.  I figured I could for sure get two items off my list completed, thus earning two entries in our contest.

I decided to finish off my Pixie Noel Winter Wonderland (aka snow globe) quilt since I had everything needed and knew which pattern I wanted to quilt on it.  The quilt pattern and fabric is all by Tasha Noel.  I quilted it with the Easy Orange Peel pantograph.  I have the binding attached to the front and just need to sew it down.

I think I can also get four finished cross stitches framed.  I have the hoop for one, ordered hoops for two more, and am going to repurpose a frame for the fourth.  Today I will probably wash the fabrics to get them ready for framing.

I'm still struggling with how to quilt a variety of other quilt tops.  Why does it have to be so hard?  I most definitely need to get my Postcard tops quilted since the final due date on those is in two weeks.

In garden news, my daffodils look really good this year despite the crazy weather.  Yesterday we had violent thunderstorms, flood warnings, and a tornado watch.  It was in the 70s.  Today it is 30 degrees, super windy, and we are even having snow flurries.  I was worried the rain would ruin the blossoms, but I worried for naught since they still look good today.  I took a few pictures just in case though.  (I had a few others, but they turned out blurry since it was windy while I was taking pictures.)

And this is how all my tulips and day lilies look right now.  Darn deer.  Nothing deters them anymore.

Hopefully next week I'll have more finishes to share.  What are you working on?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Postcard from Sweden Update 3

Over the weekend I finished up both of my Postcard tops.  The big one is nice, but I have to say that the mini is my absolute favorite!  I have been staring at them, trying to figure out how on earth to quilt them.  I think I am going to stitch along the diagonal lines on the mini.  I still have no idea what to do on the regular sized one.  I feel like it needs something more geometric, which means ruler work.  For me, that means it will take forever and be a bit choppy since I'm still trying to get a feel for my machine in Precise mode.
The mini quilt ended up at 18 x 22, or around the size of a fat quarter.  The squares are 1.5" finished.  That sounds tiny, but it was so easy to work with and it all fit together really nicely.  It was much easier to line up than the full size quilt.  I need to give both tops another good pressing. I think my iron is dying.  It hasn't felt like it's getting very hot lately.  I've had it more than a year. The previous one (same model) lasted just over a year before it literally had a melt down and became unsafe.  So it may be time.
I've also been considering how to quilt a few more tops.  I realized that I had two different rows reversed on the purple and green one I showed last week.  I will need to do a little surgery (selective seam ripping) on those areas to get them into the correct positions.  I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to quilt it once it's fixed and I still need backing fabric.  I decided on a pantograph, Spiral Feather, for my Fig Tree 2016 mystery quilt.  I need to buy backing for it.  I haven't decided on anything for the Paradiso #1 quilt yet.

I have narrowed down my choices for Pixie Noel Winter Wonderland to either Easy Orange Peel or Traditional Baptist Fan pantograph.  I still had five blocks left to do, so I've been working on finishing those this week while I mull over how to quilt the Postcard quilts.  You can see I have one tree block finished and two more are in progress.

I also got two sets of burp cloths sewn.  Several of my husband's coworkers are expecting their first children, and these are part of their shower gifts.  You can look at my burp cloth tutorial for the method and materials I use.
My current goals are to get more tops quilted and then make myself some shirts.  I think the fabric for them has been sitting there over a year.  I'm desperate for some new tops and I am hard to fit. What are you working on?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Funny Things #36

After a super long hiatus of Funny Things, here is a funny picture I took this week.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Quilting, Snow, and Legos

We finished up spring break with a trip to the Brickworld Lego show.  This is basically a bunch of people's Lego collections on display.  There are also vendors, of course.  My son's favorite display is the M-Tron Space Mining display.  The size of the display grew significantly from last year.  Besides wondering whether they keep it set up, and, if so, where, we were pondering just how much money they must have invested in all the parts.  As we were speculating the worth of the collection, I got to thinking about how quilting as a hobby could be comparable.  Do you know how much money you have invested in your machines, notions, stash, patterns, etc.?

Space Conga? 
Chewy!  What are you doing here?
Here is a brief video of part of the set up.  Make sure your volume is off, since it's just background noise.

Another favorite was the Space series.  My husband had several of these sets growing up and my son has found instructions and rebuilt a few of them.

I thought this farming display was cool.

My personal favorite is the droid factory.  I was hoping they would have it on display again.  It has so many details.  It's just fascinating in person. Here is a brief video of it.  Turn your sound off, please.

Oh, Grumpy kitty.
In other news, we got a ton of snow yesterday.  I'm guessing 4-6 inches.  The roads are okay, so no school delay or closure.  It's supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow.  While the snow looks pretty, it is spring and it can just go away.  I want my spring flowers back.
Yesterday at dinner time.
Today at breakfast.
I haven't really progressed at all on my Postcard quilt.  I pressed the row I had made last week and cut the next row, but haven't sewn it yet.

I've been trying to figure out how I want to quilt it when it's done.  Since it's all solids, whatever I do will really show.  Eek!  Any suggestions you have are welcomed.

And, because Postcard isn't on my UFO Challenge list for guild, I was looking over the list to see what else I might be able to get done.  I have two candidates selected for quilting:  Paradiso #1 and this purple/green flower top that I made prior to 2006.  Honestly, I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt either of them.  But I am determined to get them done!
Also, our next program at guild is EPP.  I'm not interested in doing the project that will be presented, but the cover image of the last Make Modern magazine caught my eye.  I had ordered a whole bunch of blues as color samples and between those and my leftovers from the Postcards quilt I have almost enough to do the project.  I wanted one more dark, so I ordered Kona Prussian yesterday.  Fingers crossed it fits into my progression.  
Kona cotton colors from left to right:  Royal, Pacific, Malibu, Water, Niagara, and Lake.
I will leave you with this random fact, as photographed on the bathroom mirror at the state fairgrounds.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Postcard from Sweden QAL Update 2

I've made some pretty good progress on my regular size Postcard quilt.  I finally got my fabric order I was waiting on and decided to replace all the "delft" color with "stratosphere".  I am much happier with the color flow now.  I have 10 rows fully sewn together and two more rows made. That means only three more to go!

My best tips are to use non-white thread to sew it together and to pay attention to which way you press the seams so that they nest from half-square triangle to HST and also row to row.

I have 12 rows of the mini put together, but none are joined yet.  Eleven are pictured since I haven't pressed row 12 yet.
I will be using gray Carolyn Friedlander wide back fabric for both backings.  Not sure what the quilting type will be yet.  My free motion quilting skills could best be described as emerging.  I really like how Kelly of Jeli Quilts did the loose lines on hers, but mine never look like that.  More like wonky sine curves.  

I was really hoping to be a bit further along, but it is spring break for my kids, so my husband took a few days off work and we've been trying to do some activities with them.  Saturday we took them to an amateur ice skating show (basically anyone who takes lessons through a few local clubs).  There were tots through college age kids.  It was interesting.

Monday I had my first daffodil bloom of the season.  Last year's first blooms were March 1, so we're behind a bit.
Yesterday my daughter had an eye appointment in Indianapolis so we went to a few specialty stores in the vicinity--LEGO and IKEA included.  I was sad that the American Girl pop-up shop was gone since I really would like to get my hands on the NASA shirt without paying shipping.  I did get a bent prong on my ring repaired while we waited at a jewelry store, so I guess that's something. We came home to a dusting of snow!!  I do not like that!

We read in yesterday's paper that there were American white pelicans migrating through a local birding hot spot, so we left bright and early in the 24 degree chill to go see them.  We did find them, and it was pretty cool.  My bigger lens on my good camera isn't powerful enough to get a good, close-up picture.  There were three big clumps of the birds.

We drove around a little and watched a juvenile bald eagle trying (?) to catch a duck an American coot.  (edit 3/15/18--do a Google image search for the coot.  Their feet are crazy looking!) While we were watching he was not successful, but it was so fascinating to watch.
Someone who lives within the area had this lovely display of flamingos too.  😁
I have added a finish from my UFO list.  This dragonfly baby quilt is probably 15 years old.  I did have to purchase a new backing for it, but used the old backing as binding.  I tried out continuous curve and ruler work on this one.  The Juki's "ruler foot" is just the basic foot that comes on the machine and you cannot get a ruler under the part that attaches to the shank without modifying the foot.  My husband gave it a go, but it's not quite there yet, so I had a hard time being accurate with the ruler. Also, I used precise mode as instructed in class.  I didn't like it.  It randomly shut off and was kind of jerky.  But I'm not good enough with a ruler to go with cruise mode yet.
A tip that I learned from Dorie Hruska's (Forever Quilting) Facebook page is that if you have wavy borders you can use bead board stitching on them and they will flatten out.  It works!