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!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

WiP Wednesday - Where Was I?

It's WiP Wednesday, and I'm back to The Pit Boss's Turning Fifty quilt. I've been distracted for awhile. First I had to finish the String Spider Web quilt for the East Cobb Show.  Then I've been quilting a lot for the #machinequiltingbloghop. Plus the monthly blocks for the Twilters bee swap.

This week has been the usual Independence Day celebration with the cousins and more food than should be legal, but I've been sneaking some time in the mornings before everyone else is awake to do a little bit of sewing. I've managed to make two more blocks, so I'm halfway done. 

I have to go back to work tomorrow. One of the team service projects is to pack lunches for kids in need. The team decided that we should decorate the lunch bags to make it a little more fun, and they handed out plain white bags so we could all pitch in. I decided that this was as good a chance as any to practice free motion quilting designs! 

What are you working on? 

Monday, July 3, 2017

#MachineQuiltingBlogHop Week 10 - Swirling Butterflies

machine quilting blog hop

Welcome to our grand finale, Week 10 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop!

Today we are finishing up the hop and working on Chapter 3 of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson, Swirling Butterflies

I'm going to apologize right now for the quality of the pictures. It has been raining here for days and days, and the whole cloth is already tricky to capture. I did my best.

We saved this chapter for last thinking that it was the most challenging, and that making a whole cloth quilt would be the magnum opus of our machine quilting hop. In some ways this is true, but there are definitely other designs that were much more difficult for me. I find the free motion "doodling" to be very relaxing and freeing, versus the specific lines required when doing a pattern. 

I broke from the book in that I didn't trace a design like Christa and Angela did. I started out by cutting a 13" square of this pale gray fabric that I picked up at City Square Quilts. I pressed guidelines into it so I would have something to aim for.

Then I used a Crayola washable marker to draw some circles. In retrospect, I wish I had done two things differently: first, I should have used a compass to be a little more precise. You can see that I just eyeballed it and traced around some plastic bowls. Second, I wish I had drawn more circles because they really were helpful.

Then I just started playing with thread. I used this gorgeous pale blue Aurifil thread called Mint Ice (2800) in the 50 weight that I originally used in Royal Squares. I stitched the center flower design first, using my pressed guidelines to help make the petals all about the same size and evenly spaced. 

I then stitched some scalloped edges. I did microstippling inside the first scallop, and went around the outside scallop a second time to give it a little more depth. I think these are so pretty, and gives the finished product a lacy look.

Here's where I wish I'd had at least one more circle drawn. These spirals got a little out of control, but I do love the pebbling that fills in the gaps between the spirals and the scallops.

I added a leaf design between the spirals. I regret these because they are not on the guidelines but also not evenly spaced between the guidelines. They're also not all the same size. Again, this is where more circles would have helped. 

I finished up with some of the cursive L designs to fill the area around the spirals and leaves. Last I went around the edges with switchbacks to finish it off. 

These small quilt sandwiches are so great for this purpose. I was able to practice and see what works. I learn which things are worth taking the extra time that it takes for precision and which things can be left imperfect. 

Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for your own copy of the book, and be sure to visit Vicki, Kristin, and HollyAnne to enter their drawings. That's right - Martingale gave us 4 books to raffle! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you been quilting along with us? What have you learned? Do you think a weekly or monthly link up would be motivating and inspiring? How should we keep this good momentum going? Let us know what you think, either in the comments or on your favorite social media channel using the hashtag #machinequiltingbloghop. 

This has been so much fun for me, and my stitching has improved already. It's true what they say - practice makes progress! This hop has kept me sewing and pushing some boundaries. I really do hope to keep it up and continue to improve my skills.

Thanks for playing along. Check back later this week to see who won the raffles!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

What's On? - Binge Worthy

What's on? this week is all about the binge, the things that make me forget I own a sewing machine and are the reason my June Twilter's bee blocks took so long to finish. They should be saved for the beach and Christmas vacation because of their ability to derail the best laid plans and the most sincere to-do lists.

What I'm reading:

I'm a huge fan of local author Joshilyn Jackson, but somehow missed her last book, The Opposite of Everyone. When I went to preorder her new novel, The Almost Sisters (coming July 11) I realized that I had a whole other story I could read while I wait.

I have loved each book in different ways, but Joshilyn's genius is in her characters. They are real, credible people at the same time that they each have something about them that makes them truly weird in the most normal way. Does that even make sense? Her stories are always emotional and suck me in, the kind of books that you read while waiting for the water to boil or in the parking lot at work right up until the moment you absolutely have to get out of the car and go inside so you aren't late for your job. They can't be put down. They're the kind of books you think about when you aren't reading them. I think each one is my favorite...until I read the next one.

What I'm watching:

The Pit Boss and I are almost finished with Season 3 of Fargo. We loved Seasons 1 and 2, although this one took a little bit longer to get into. It was worth persisting. I'm constantly amazed by the universe the Coen Brothers have created, and love the moment when you realize how the stories intersect. 

It probably goes without saying that this is not for the squeamish or those easily offended. It's funny and violent and intense; even the most minor character is so well fleshed out that you almost feel like you belong in this world. None are without flaws, and their humanity is laid so bare that it sometimes makes me anxious for them.

It almost makes me want to visit Fargo just to prove to myself that this is fiction. 

What I'm listening to:

In our current environment here in the United States, one salve for the news weary is the escapist fantasy of The West Wing. I have rewatched every episode so many times that I can (and do) quote it almost daily. There is a West Wing connection to just about every situation, and TPB just rolls his eyes when I come out with, "Vermont maple syrup? In this White House we serve New Hampshire maple syrup!" 

Now, to my delight and his dismay, there is a podcast called The West Wing Weekly. Josh Malina, who played Will Bailey on the show, and Hrishikesh Hirway, of Song Exploder fame, dissect and analyze an episode of the show each week. It's perfect for new watchers and old fans alike. Even though I've seen every episode multiple times, I still pick up new things I didn't notice or understand until now. They have hosted some incredible guests, including cast and crew members, and occasionally a person whose real life job is all about one of the political topics addressed in the episode. It's amazing, really, how many of the issues from 2002 are still timely and relevant in today's climate. 

Plus they occasionally do cool stuff like this. If I could figure out how to be in San Francisco on August 26, I'd think I'd died and gone to Heaven! 

So what's on your devices that I shouldn't miss? What do you read, watch, or listen to that takes you away from real life? Please share!

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