Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Going to Guild - The Stitch Girls

Last Monday was our August guild meeting, and Pam and Lynn from The Stitch TV Show were our guest speakers. The topic was Sew Fast and Take Chances.

It was a great program about how our brains work and what motivates us (spoiler: Pam and Lynn's processes are totally different!). 

Guess what Lynn's favorite color is.

They had tips for breaking down what mental blocks keep us from getting things done or letting go of learning experiences that are not destined to be finished objects.

They also had lots of gorgeous quilts to show, although my iPhone-tography doesn't do them justice.

We even got a sneak peek of a pattern that hasn't been released yet called Main Squeeze!

It was so fun to see my favorite quilting talk show hosts in person again. Have you watched the latest episode? Subscribe so you'll never miss it!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Machine Quilting Monday - What I Learned from Entering My Quilt in a Show

No, I haven't been machine quilting much lately, but I realized I had never wrapped up my experience of entering my quilt into the East Cobb Quilters Guild show back in June.

For the backstory, visit these posts first:

  1. Bonnie Hunter - the class that started it all
    1. too many posts to list over the years detailing the incremental progress being made (or not)
  2. Bobbin Chicken - entering my quilt 
  3. I'm In! - my quilt was accepted into the show
  4. Bordering on Insanity - quilting String Spider Web
  5. Hip to Be Square - blocking a quilt for the first time
  6. Georgia Celebrates Quilts - seeing my quilt hanging in the show

We were in Boston when it was time to pick up the quilts, so Ben generously collected mine for me. I didn't see him until our July guild meeting, and then completely forgot about it.

The Stitch did an episode where they shared their judges comments, so I thought you might like to see mine.

The comments were very kind, and none of the critique was a surprise. For instance, I got a "Good" on Complexity of Design (it was a pattern, and not particularly challenging) and Piecing Techniques (I cut off most of my star points by making my original template wrong).

I also got a "Good" for Finishing Techniques, with a note that says "pieced binding frames quilt well but could be smoother and straighter." That's fair.

The only other "Good" I received was for Quilting Techniques, which has the words "even stitches/tension" underlined. Tell me something I didn't know! I was happy to be rated "Good" in this category since even stitches are still my biggest challenge, especially when quilting teeny, tiny pebbles and other motifs.

But I was thrilled to also have "Very Good" in every other category, as well as these positive comments:

  • "Clever idea, great assortment of fabrics" (that's what you get when you take this many years to finish a quilt!)
  • "Quilting motif well chosen specific to quilt" (shoutout to Christa Watson, Angela Walters, and my #machinequiltingbloghop partners in crime, Kristin, HollyAnne, and Vicki!)
  • "Held up well under stiff competition" (squeeee! Lynn says this means it was held for consideration for a ribbon!)
I am so pleased with this experience and only regret that it took me so long to try entering a show outside my own guild. It was a great learning experience, and pushed me to do my best work. I know that this quilt truly has been practice for the ones that come next, and I look forward to stepping up my game in the future.

Have you ever entered a judged show? How was your experience?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

What's On? Americana

The Pit Boss and I just finished Season 1 of Ozark, a filmed-in-Georgia thriller featuring the dark side of Jason Bateman as a financial advisor/money launderer. There are no good guys in this series, but you find yourself alternating who you cheer for and who you hope pulls up to the dock. 

I love that TPB recognized a place, which led us to discover that the show was filmed in our neck of the woods. But the funniest part is that he didn't recognize any of the iconic or beautiful spots nearby, mentioned in the linked article...no, my man spied a familiar gas station with a check cashing place and a restaurant. Back off, girls. I saw him first.

On my Kindle app this week is David McCullough's The American Spirit, which I'm reading for our book club at work. This is a collection of speeches, including many delivered at graduations and commemorative events over the last twenty-five years.

I'm only a few chapters in, but it's fascinating to read the pre-9/11 (or other critical moments in recent history) with an eye towards what lies ahead. It's like watching a flashback scene in a movie, knowing who's about to die and being completely unable to stop it. Unfortunately, these events are real.

And last, on my podcast app, I've finally caught up on my quilty episodes and gone searching for something new. I've filled in with some History Chicks and Stuff You Missed in History Class, but I've grown slightly addicted to The 45th Podcast, dedicated to keeping up with the latest from the Trump White House. I love that the hosts have differing political leanings, yet manage to keep the conversation civil. It's also super helpful for them to explain a lot of the political issues from both sides when so much of what we hear in the news is so biased.

What's on your devices? 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Finish - "Bliss" - Abri's Quilt

I'm so excited that Abri's quilt is finished and in the mail, heading towards Arizona to wrap Abri in all of our love and prayers while her leg heals. 

If you remember, Amy (aka @amyjodubya on Instagram) made this beautiful top, that she called "Bliss" after the fabric line it was made from. (by Bonnie and Camille for Moda)

Harriet Homemaker Strikes Again

The pattern is by Moose on the Porch Quilts, but I can't find the pertinent details. At one time it was a free pattern on the website, but she has changed her url and it looks like the link may have gotten lost in the move. I will be happy to update if anyone has the details.


On Monday I had finished quilting all but the border. I decided to take The Pit Boss's suggestion and quilt hearts, loops, and flowers along with words of encouragement. It's hard to see the white on white, but I quilted Abri, hope, love, faith, joy, fierce, cure, peace, and strength. 


Then I trimmed the excess batting away, trimmed the back of the quilt 1 1/2" from the edge of the top, and folded it over. I stitched it down so that the "binding" is nice and secure.

All I had left to do was make a label. I wanted to document who had made the quilt and why, so there's a lot of information on it. I also didn't want it to be too stiff, so I used a printable fabric sheet made out of silk instead of cotton. 

Of course I was a nervous wreck when I washed it! It came out beautifully, just a little bit crinkly and cozy. The flannel back that Amy sent is soft and warm - perfect for snuggling under when you don't feel 100% fierce.

Now the quilt is finished, but our work is not done. If you would like to donate batting, fabric, time or money to make quilts for kids with cancer, please contact Quilts for Cure.

Quilts for Cure has also recently announced a great way to beat the system with a UFO Disposal Service. For a small donation, you can send your UFO away - guilt free! - to QfC to comfort a sick child.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Machine Quilting Monday - Abri's Quilt

It's #MachineQuiltingMonday and I'm still working on Abri's quilt. My goal is to have it completed and in the mail to her within the week. 
#machinequiltingmonday fmq free motion freemotion abri quilt orange peel spiral continuous curve flower

On Wednesday, I showed you these orange peels in the squares.

#machinequiltingmonday fmq free motion freemotion abri quilt orange peel spiral continuous curve flower

I wanted something that carried this swoopy, curvy feeling through the quilt, so I went with that continuous curved flower from Chapter 3 of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I love how these two designs connect.

#machinequiltingmonday fmq free motion freemotion abri quilt orange peel spiral continuous curve flower

Then I added spirals in the corners of the star blocks. 

#machinequiltingmonday fmq free motion freemotion abri quilt orange peel spiral continuous curve flower

I think I'm going to leave the stars unquilted. I don't want to quilt it to death, partly because of time but mostly because I want it to be soft and cozy. I'm so happy with the texture that's being created.

#machinequiltingmonday fmq free motion freemotion abri quilt orange peel spiral continuous curve flower

I've made good progress, and only have the borders left to quilt. I'm still trying to decide what design to use there. It's a pretty wide border, so a lot of my go-to patterns will be a little lost there.

The Pit Boss suggested mixing in some words with loops and hearts and flowers. I'm trying to decide if I'm brave enough to try it. I quilted words in Grace's minkee quilt a long time ago, but this is in a wide white border, so my mistakes will really stand out.

I'm making a list of words that would be appropriate. So far I have:

Abri, hope, love, peace, strength, courage, fierce, happy, brave, joy, healing, and cure. What words would you add to the list? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WiP Wednesday - Quilts for Cure - Abri's Quilt

It's WiP Wednesday and today I'm doing a little bit of quilting for Quilts for Cure.

About a week ago there was a Facebook update asking for a quilt for Abri, a little girl who was about to go Round 2 with Ewings Sarcoma

Fellow Twilter Amy had a quilt top that she wanted to share with Abri, and quickly got it in the mail to me. 

Sunday I pieced the back and basted the quilt, praying for Abri each step of the way. Then I realized there were puckers in the back because I hurried.

Monday I unpinned the basting and started over, taking my time. Don't you hate it when your mom was right? 

I channelled Christa while I stitched in the ditch and planned the quilting designs to complete this very special project, thinking of Abri's mom's plea that this was all a mistake.

Yesterday I got the best message from HollyAnne. We chatted about the quilt and agreed that it should still go to Abri to comfort her through surgery and while her leg heals. I don't even know this family, but cried tears of joy when I read her mom's post.

Then I got back to work and began FMQing in the blocks. I started with this orange peel design in the squares. This time my prayers were of thanksgiving, and also for everyone who didn't get this miracle. 

If you would like to help Quilts for Cure, let HollyAnne know

What are you working on?

Monday, July 10, 2017

#MachineQuiltingBlogHop - We Have a Winner! And a New Feature!

Our #MachineQuiltingBlogHop has ended and we have a winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please join me in congratulating Carolyn, aka CaroChristi on Instagram. She will receive a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson

I'm so thankful to Vicki, Kristin, and HollyAnne. We had so much fun hopping along and encouraging one another, that I think you may see a brand new hashtag and weekly(ish) feature on some of our blogs called #MachineQuiltingMonday.

I also really appreciate the support from Angela, Christa, and Martingale. They shared our posts and, of course, donated the books for our raffles.

This has been a great experience, giving me more confidence in my quilting and my ability to improve with regular practice.

I hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have, and keep practicing!

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