Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Stitching

I spent the afternoon prepping the next step in one of my many "slow stitching" projects, my compass.  I finally finished appliquing the center - the Broderie Perse is out, replaced by one of the fabrics in the compass - and am now ready to appliqué the compass onto the center square.  This project has been a lot of fun so far because of the challenges it presents.  It wasn't all that easy to appliqué the center on that big piece, especially with all the paper in it, and it was a bit of a challenge to get the circle marked to applique to the center square.  I now have it marked, carefully centered on the background and basted in place for stitching this evening.

The next step is to appliqué circles between all the points.  I decided to play around with prepping a circle using the technique Sara Fielke demonstrated in her You Tube video. 

I cut out a cardboard template and cut the fabric with a seam allowance (a little too small, I think).  I placed it on a square of foil.


I then pulled in the edges of the foil and tried to smooth it out.  It's a lot more difficult to get the edge completely smooth than she made it look in her video!  

After getting it as smooth as I could, I pressed it, allowed it to cool, and unwrapped it.  The end result was pretty similar to what I get when prepping using Perfect Circles...not quite perfect.  

I'm hoping that I can take care of the little pokies when appliquing it in place. I think it's a toss-up as to which technique wins as far as prep time is concerned, and really the results for me are equivalent.  I will have to play around with it a bit more, but I think this technique might have a slight edge in that the edges are still soft and there isn't a lot of the flaky, crusty dried starch on my fabric.

Other progress over the week and weekend includes the next guild BOM:

And a few more Quatrefoil blocks.  I am really starting to like how the fabrics are working together - a pleasant surprise!

I definitely need to work on more light blocks!

I'm looking forward to the three day weekend coming up - two day weekends never seem long enough!  Hop over to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching post to see what others are working on this weekend....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friday Night Sew-in

My Friday night was actually more of a "prep-in" as I never actually sewed a stitch.  I did get a lot accomplished, though!

My evening started with trying a new recipe from Taste of Home.  I like to find things that would work well for my daughter to prepare at school and this cheesy beef tortellini skillet recipe looked promising.

Not sure that it is all that photogenic, but it was delicious!  Quick, simple and made enough to keep me from having to cook the rest of the weekend!

My first project of the evening was to finish the prep for weeks 11 & 12 of my summer block of the week.  I haven't started stitching it yet but at least I have been keeping up with the prep all summer.

My next project was cutting tumblers.  I decided that I really needed to get a handle on how many light and dark I still need before I began tearing into this stack of fat quarters:

I figured I would be short on lights from the jelly roll since KT fabrics are generally mostly dark. After getting an idea of what I needed, I spent a couple of hours pressing and cutting up fat quarters.  

I'm about half way finished cutting the 2,679 tumblers I will need for a queen-sized quilt.

I organized my tumblers by color. Based on the two rows I have done I think it will save time to have them sorted. I am ready to go!

I'm not sure the dogs were as excited as I was about spending the evening on the sewing room. 

I got s smile from Belle (although she looked terribly bored most of the evening) but Ace was too bored to even look my direction for a picture.

I'm back in the sewing room today.  First up is prepping the guild BOM and then I will be firing up the sewing machine to work on the backing for my star quilt.  If I can get my act together I will have three more quilts heading out to be quilted in the next couple of weeks. That's a record for me - seven in one year!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Night Sew-in - I'm Game!

I just read about the Friday Night Sew-in on Kathy's Quilts blog and decided that it would fit in perfectly with my plans tonight! I'm hoping to wrap up work a little early, get my weekend errands taken care of (we're out of dog treats again!), make a quick dinner (new recipe I want to try) and then hit the sewing room,  I have so many things on my list for the weekend - piecing a backing, cutting more tumblers, prepping the September BOM for my quilt guild, prepping another diamond for my Rising Sun.... I am looking forward to a productive weekend!

Join the fun here!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Very Little Progress...and a State Fair Rant

Okay, so let's start with the rant. I won't devote my entire post to complaining, but I just have to point out what to me is quickly becoming an injustice in the quilting world. I have nothing against digitized embroidery and applique - in fact, I own a machine and a couple of patterns and have done a little of it myself. I do believe that the end result can be fantastic and that there are lots of people out there making gorgeous quilts using the technique. The issue I have is when it seems that the workmanship involved in completing a machine embroidered applique project seems to be judged as equal to that of a needle-turned hand applique project. As someone who has done both, I know the difference - and pretty much no matter how complicated the embroider/applique project is, an intermediate to advanced hand applique project is much more difficult and requires significantly more skill. The two should not be judged side by side as applique.

When looking at the ribbon winners at the Illinois State Fair this weekend it became clear that the judges were big fans of machine embroidered applique. Those quilts seemed to take all the first place ribbons and the grand champion.  I recognize that there are several different categories and that I didn't spend the time to figure out which ones were in competition with each other, but this gorgeous hand appliqued quilt received second place.  The workmanship looked excellent (apologies for the glare - they are displayed in a glass case) and was clearly a lot more work and required more talent than some of the quilts sporting the nice blue ribbons. I didn't catch the quilter's name, but in my humble opinion she deserved first place and the grand champion ribbon!

So enough with the fair...or should I post at least one picture of the butter cow?

It was so ridiculously hot on Saturday that I had a tough time resisting the urge to join the butter cow in her display case. But instead I controlled myself and stayed just long enough to take a few pictures and then headed back to the somewhat air conditioned Hobby Building.  

I really haven't gotten much accomplished since my last post. I did make a little bit of progress on my new UFO from the MSQC retreat (the Quatrefoil quilt).  I finished all of the four patches yesterday.

Here are the blocks I completed at the retreat. I'm not entirely sure that the fabric line I selected - this was a mystery quilt involving a layer cake so I was choosing blindly- is going to work out, but I am forging ahead anyway. The color in the picture is terrible - the one above is closer to reality.

I have also done a little hooking on the pineapple rug. I need to cut more background wool to finish off that left side before moving on any farther on the right. I hate leaving all the background until the end!

I have big plans for getting lots of things accomplished next weekend. I don't have anything planned for the first weekend in a long time.  I am looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MSQC Christmas in July

I finally made it to Hamilton to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company!  I had an incredible time at their Christmas in July retreat this past weekend. Hamilton is quite an experience and MSQC definitely knows how to show quilters a good time!  Our hostesses Cindy and Susan were fantastic (and quite the comedic team) and we had a great group of people.

Jenny Doan treated us to a trunk show on the first day. We learned a lot about the family, the business and the quilts. Jenny is an excellent speaker and it was really interesting to see how the designs evolve.  Here are just a few of the quilts we saw.

This one doesn't show up well in the picture but it is one of my favorites. I've been wanting to make it since I saw it in Block magazine. I am thinking it might be interesting in red and cream...

The MSQC folks went all out on the Christmas in July theme. The retreat center and shops were all decked out for Christmas. Santa and Mrs, Claus visited the shops and handed out presents in the afternoon. Mrs. Claus had ditched her costume by the time of the trunk show but Santa made an appearance at the end.

The agenda for the retreat was a bit chaotic, with demonstrations going on both at the retreat and in the stores throughout the weekend. We saw a demo of the Dresden Tree pattern at the Seasonal Shop.

And Cindy demonstrated all kinds of different projects, including the Orange Peel and a tree skirt.

I  had planned to do the Orange Peel and cut my own charm squares from some batiks I have had around for a very long time as part of a stash saved for a New York Beauty I have never gotten back to.  Sadly I didn't make much of a dent in the stash!  I played around with a few blocks but didn't get very far.  I'm not in love with turning those things inside out - they are really hard to get smoothed out. I had also planned to do the tree skirt but didn't get a chance to start it. I spent the bulk of the weekend putting together my stars.

I didn't have enough room to lay the blocks out and leave them so keeping things in order was extremely challenging. I managed to get things all screwed up and had to make a few adjustments to get everything in the right place. I still managed to end up with too much of the same fabric in one spot so I still need to make a couple of adjustments.

I did finally get started on my leader & ender project. I took along one of my Kansas Troubles jelly rolls and cut the first set of pieces for my tumblers.

I had a lot of opportunity to sew my tumblers in between squares and rows.  I managed to finish the first two rows and get a solid start on a third one.  

One of the many highlights from the weekend were the Amish fried pies from the farmer's market. They were incredible!  Hamilton is such a neat little town. I can't wait to go back!