Friday, June 29, 2012

Speedy delivery!

Look what was on my figurative doorstep when I got home!! That's right, a Cuzco fat quarter bundle! I've got big plans for this stack of awesomeness :)

I was lucky enough to snag this at a great price from CreationsByKG on Etsy.

Dinner with a client tonight... But I really want to cut into that bundle!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FMQ: Pebble Quilting

So until now, my free motion quilting was pretty boring.  I could do a meandering "stipple"-like quilting.  And even that looked kind of bad sometimes.  The density of the lines changed so much over the course of quilting one quilt...I kind of thought FMQ was dead to me and I'd be a straight-line and slight-curve quilter forever.  

I was trying to figure out how I would quilt my latest quilt (tutorial coming soon, I promise as soon as I finish quilting this, I will post it!) and was stumped.  The quilt itself is very simple - all squares and rectangles.  Straight lines would be boring.  Maybe staggered straight lines that would give it a sort of "plaid" look?  Nah...  The Kona Coal was reminding me of pavement as I was piecing this all together - I GOT IT!  How about pebble quilting?  It'll look like a gravel road!

After observing a few examples of pebble quilting online (aka doing a Google image search!), I tested it out on a scrap quilt sandwich.  I tried going around the pebbles one time as I sewed - it looked good.  But going around two times looked even better! 

Looking at it up close, it seemed a little sloppy.  I am sort of a perfectionist... I really am not a fan of skipped stitches, bad tension, frayed applique edges, etc... But when you take a step back and look at the big picture, what you're really noticing is the texture, not the fact that you've got stitches not perfectly overlapping each other.

I started out quilting a small 2" x 2" square on the quilt - it's much easier to rip out a small chunk of something you quilted!  Especially with such dense quilting on this thing.

 When I decided that looked good, I moved on to the bigger area next to it.  The one problem I'm having is that when I get back around to where I started, there's a little bit of puckered fabric I have to just try to stretch out and quilt over.  I had everything pulled pretty well when I pin-basted it on Friday.  Any suggestions?  Is that just something I have to deal with or is there a good fix for the puckers?

I've quilted 174 sq in so far and it's used up about four bobbins - from now on, there will be a stash of pre-wound bobbins sitting next to me, this technique uses up SO much thread!


I think it's going to look really neat on the back when it's finished.  The design will echo through to the back but it will be sort of like a negative (the colored areas - where there is no quilting, will become the negative space).  

Now if I could just buckle down and get through about 100 more bobbins, this quilt will be finished up and I can decide what to do for binding!  I have some more Kona (it's Crimson or Ruby or something...not sure exactly which red) but I'm worried it will be a little too solid looking (solids are slightly out of my comfort zone - hopefully soon I will be embracing them!).  I might get some yardage of one of the Hometown prints to use for it.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exciting News

1. I finally understand paper piecing!
2. My first tutorial is in the works!

I came across someone's blog (I forget who, sorry) and they were showing off their Circle of Geese blocks. And I really wanted to make them, too! Somehow I found a tutorial at Chasing Cottons (probably through this other blog...again, I apologize that I can't give you credit because I forgot!) and got to work on my block!

Now, a few years ago I tried paper piecing. The result was a disaster and I couldn't really understand how it works. Turns out I just hadn't found the right tutorial!

My block is half done and I've only made a few mistakes. I used a piece of fabric that was too small and I put a couple pieces on with the back of the fabric showing. Lessons learned!

Two more squares to go and I will be turning this into a Christmas potholder! Or maybe I will make a bunch more and make a baby quilt. It depends how ambitious I get!

In the meantime, I've been working on a quilt for my grandma and decided I should use it to make my first tutorial. It's a two-jelly roll project and it's perfect for beginners. If you're experienced, you could crank one out in a weekend! I used Hometown by Sweetwater and Kona Coal.  Here's a little sneak preview:

I also started on my first t-shirt quilt since high school! I vowed I'd never make another but friends can be persuasive! This one is a commission from a college pal who lost his brother to cancer in 2011.

So there are tons of unfinished projects keeping me busy! Check back in the next few weeks for the tutorial!!  Oh and don't forget to check out WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll thanks to some crafty sleuthing, I found out I passed the PE exam!!!  The e-mail from NCEES hasn't arrived yet and they still say my results are unvailable; however, the PA license verification website indicates that my EIT license is null and void and there's a new record showing my PE license as active!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like Bart Simpson when he thought he failed his test... "Now I know how George Washington felt when he surrendered Fort Necessity to the French in 1754...sob sob sob"  and then he gets a D- and passes and runs all over yelling "I PASSED!  I PAAASSED!"  Pretty much how I reacted.

After a delicious steak and a Sierra Nevada at lunch, it's going to be difficult to work!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting...

Well, it has been about a week and a half since the first states got the results of the PE exam. Unfortunately, I took the exam in one of the slowest states. It is driving me crazy. I know I should just wait for the email but if I constantly check the website, maybe I will know before the email comes. It is pretty much consuming my life. Haha

So aside from that, I've been quilting my Charming Stars quilt! I basted it over Memorial Day weekend. My little Ikea dining room table just wasn't working - every time I moved the quilt to baste another section, I realized it wasn't lined up on one side and the backing was too short! After four attempts, I decided to go to the office for the afternoon and borrow some bigger tables.

Quick and easy! I pushed folding tables together outside of my office, turned on some music (Talking Heads - it was like a one-person party in the office!) and pinned away for an hour or two.

While at the office, I whipped up a curve template for my quilting lines in AutoCAD.  The curves are about 1/4" deep and of several lengths.  I printed them out, traced them onto template plastic, cut the plastic out and now I have a handy little curve template! ...and blue wash out marker all over my quilt!

The template has three different curves: one for the short sides of the star points (~2.25"), one for the long sides of the star points (~3"), and one for the charm squares (4.5").

The quilt is slowly being covered in blue marker lines...  They're not all drawn up yet, but I couldn't wait to start quilting it!  And then I couldn't wait to see what it would look like without the marker lines so I washed them out on the finished blocks.

About 7.5 of the 20 blocks are currently quilted - here's one of them.  I'm really liking it!  It's not too much more effort than stitch-in-the-ditch (okay, well, maybe it is when you consider that you have to sit and mark every line out with the template and then you have twice as many lines as you would otherwise), and it looks so much more complex!

The curves are slight, so the walking foot is handling it just fine. And the automatic thread cutter on my new machine is awesome!! If only the extension table would arrive soon!  I'll just keep waiting for that, too!

Now I just have to wait for the end of the day at the office.... then wait in traffic... then get home and start marking more blue lines!

(Linking up to WIP Wednesdays over at Freshly Pieced - I realize this is from Friday...but I just decided to do this on a whim!)