Friday, May 31, 2013

June Fresh Sewing Day

Is it really JUNE? Is the year really already half over? Somebody pinch me. I'm very happy with all the quilts I've been making though! I've done at least one a month (this month was two mini quilts, so that counts as a whole quilt, right?) Plus, I actually successfully made my laptop sleeve, and that makes me happy every single day :)


1. "Fruit Punch" mini quilt, 2. AMH Laptop Sleeve, 3. May BOM block, 4. "Bon Chance" Mini Quilt, 5. "Siriusly", 6. AMH Laptop Sleeve

(The Harry Potter embroidery hoop was originally made last year for my sister, but I added the stars to it :) )

May was super busy with the job but I really did get a lot of sewing done. One way I've been (successfully, luckily) managing stress is by sewing at least for a half hour a night, and it works WONDERS.

As readers know, I've been constantly quilting my wedding quilt - my longest standing WIP. I'm not yet sure if I'm making that my June goal. After school winds down (another two weeks of hardcore lesson planning and grading), I think I'll have a lot of time to finish a UFO. That's for another post, though :) Not looking forward to it being in the 80s/90s all the time, like this week... what happened to spring in NJ? :(

So, what did you accomplish in May?

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The wall hanging that finally made it onto the wall

I don't know why I procrastinate with stuff like this (maybe because it's easy?). I finished Facets of Emerald in March (P.S. last day to vote for it in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, #30 in the wall hanging category!) and have finally hung it in my living room. We also have our new blue trellis rug (which I LOVE!). Seriously... I'm more than a little obsessed with it.

 
 And there's all my quilt tops/WIPS piled on the chair, as well as Argyled on the couch!

Decorating this room in blue and green so far has been the perfect choice because the colors are so calming. We spend most of our time in this room (it's where both of our desks are located, as well as my sewing table), so it's fitting. It's really starting to feel like a home :)


I was all set to hang the quilt in the dining room, actually, but we still need to get curtains in there for the sliding doors (the light in there is IMPOSSIBLY bright). I didn't want the quilt to discolor over time. I've made that mistake before by leave white fabric out on my sewing table in direct sunlight - I don't know how long it took to discolor, but I'll never do it again. Ever.




Anyway, I'll have more for Project Color My Apartment soon.We're actually revamping Mike's storage space (which right now is all over the apartment), and buying a big new bookcase just for me! My (very cheap) bookshelf is actually bowing, so the books need a new home ASAP (and no, I don't have anywhere else to put them!)

I mentioned the Blogger's Quilt Festival - you can also vote for Fruit Punch, #18 in the Scrap Quilt category. Thanks for your support if you so choose to vote! No matter what, I'm looking forward to seeing the winners tomorrow.

I'm filing this post in Project Color My Apartment under Living Room.

 

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WIP Wednesday and the Top Five FMQ Frustration Solutions

Thanks to all who posted empathetic comments and/or suggestions about my FMQ tension problems. At that point in the day, I just didn't want to sit down and figure it out, so I let it go until the next night. It all worked out!

I figured out what my problem was (and it was a dumb one). The bobbin tension was off big time. It was off because, twice in a row (as in, even when I changed bobbins), I wound the bobbin the way I used to on my old machine. Let me explain in pictures. Here's what I am supposed to be doing:


Here's what I did. Apparently I'm not used to using my thread stands still after 3 months of sewing almost every day! My brain must have gone on automatic mode and I just didn't realize.

 Either way, still in LOVE with my auto bobbin winder :D

So, I think this is why my bobbin threads weren't coming out right. It just got worse as I went. To fix this problem, I filled one more bobbin and also rethreaded my machine, and everything was perfect! Look! (I edited the picture a bit so you can see the stitches pop)

 
I'm still working on my stitch length. It's a work in progress, like I said :)

So, as it stands, my top five tips for any kind of FMQ frustration:

1. Rethread the machine - this has worked for me as the only solution so many times, I can't even count.

2. Take out and reattach your bobbin, or rethread one completely - the first option, just as common for me as #1, and the second, just this time. Only try the second one if you *think* something really weird is going on with the bobbin after you've taken it out and reattached. I feel like I know my machine like my own flesh and blood at this point (even though I've only had it for a couple months), but I'm surprised I didn't hear something off during bobbin winding (there you go - I'm naive!).

3. Change needles - also very helpful. My friend from the CJMQG, Robin, especially recommended this one.

4. Clean out your bobbin case - sometimes it just needs a good clean. Like everything else. Right?

5. Pray to the sewing gods - this one has worked for me before, too. Things will get better and that quilt will get quilted - promise :) Also, stepping away (which I usually need to do) works well.

If you've read down this far, you deserve a peek at my favorite quilt square yet on my wedding quilt (unfinished in the photo, though finished by the end of tonight!):



I'm so proud of it and I can't wait to finish! Four more FMQed blocks to go (and the white binding!)
Do you have any other FMQ frustration tips?

Linking to:

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Monday, May 27, 2013

FMQ Tension Problem #573

I started quilting rainbows on my wedding quilt today! La de da. Having fun. So happy it's coming out somewhat normal.


Then, I finish the bottom row and I see the stitches just aren't happening on the back of the quilt...


Rethread my machine - still does it. Replace bobbin - still does it (now, I'm using a practice quilt sandwich).


Lesson learned: constantly check the back of the quilt after FMQing, to prevent using my best friend, the seam ripper, for 20 minutes of valuable sewing time... rar! I will figure this out...

Otherwise, we had a wonderful Memorial Day. I did some shopping, hung out with a friend and the fam later, and thought about how much I appreciate our soldiers.

I even hung up Facets of Emerald today - I'll get pictures soon! Ah!

Hoping everyone else also had a weekend full of productivity and family!


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Ode to My Walking Foot

Dear Walking Foot,
Thou hast changed my entire perspective of quilting. No joke. Allow me to list the reasons why:


1. You actually let me quilt in circles. All I've ever wanted to do was quilt in circles (a la Laura, a fellow member of the CJMQG). I'm forever grateful. And it's not as hard as it looks, though it definitely tries my patience!



2. You sew through the thickest of layers - binding is no more a chore. No pain... lots of gain. Because I have so much confidence in you, I'm looking forward to trying the Weekender bag soon! I seriously can't BELIEVE how long I went without you - every time I bind, I remind myself how much more difficult it used to be!





3. You are actually a larger foot physically and, though you were (VERY) intimidating at first (like, I didn't even know what you were, even though I had heard of a walking foot), you actually make me feel more in control... like machine quilting gloves, and Spanx.




Thank you for existing. 

Forever in your debt,
and with never-ending sincerity,

(Linking up to Let's Get Acquainted)

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Just quilt.

This is my motto for what is potentially a very stressful week (which definitely started stressful today). The wedding quilt is out, and if I put in an hour a day, it might be done by next week. I haven't even shown this quilt in full on front or back yet - it's going to be amazing to see it done!



Just quilt. I tried chrysanthemum quilting for the first time (on the right in the above picture), thanks to a great video tutorial from Stitched in Color. I'm doing a different FMQ design around each block.



Just quilt. I'm tacking down those Dresdens further and FMQing squiggles in the white sashing.

 

Just quilt. Breathe. Breeeeathe. Have a cup of coffee. And... just quilt. :)

Linking to Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday.

 

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2013: Fruit Punch

This is the second quilt I am entering into Amy's amazing Blogger's Quilt Festival this spring (see the first one here). I am IN LOVE with this quilt, which I have lovingly titled "Fruit Punch." It was very sad to see it go. I almost kept it. Almost.

AmysCreativeSide.com



Quilt Stats
  • Designed, pieced, and quilted by myself, on my home machine - inspired by Tula Pink's free patterns, "Color Blocks" (click the link for the PDF Free Pattern page
  • Measures 24" x 24"
This quilt was made as a challenge for the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild - we had to swap mini quilts in the analogous compliment color scheme. We had a color class and learned all about compliments, so I played with Color Scheme Designer until I found something I really liked (it's called "accented analogic" on CSD - go try it!).



This was the first time in a long time that I picked a stack of fabrics and waited for inspiration to hit me. Well, I went looking for inspiration, but that's beside the point. I guess I work better when I have a pattern idea in my head - the fabrics just come together after that!


So, there was this stack of fabric that waited. And waited. And then it hit me that my friend Jess is making the Tula Pink quilt mentioned above, and I've been slightly obsessed admiring it for awhile. I looked over the pattern, made it a bit more "off" on purpose (see the middle strip) (okay so actually I messed up on the math and it ended up like that, but I liked how it was off, so technically it stayed like that on purpose!), and made it more scrappy to fit my style (and hopefully, the style of the recipient!).



I was significantly worried about the red and green coming together to Christmas-like, but the other colors balanced it out perfectly. So, no problems there! I really love how these colors work together (and with the purple in the below picture, too :D).




The quilting worked out so perfectly - I couldn't have asked for it to go any smoother (THANKS, WALKING FOOT <3)! I drew the first inner circle of each one with a washable blue marker, and continued from there. I thought this quilt would look cool with overlapping circles, so I found a tutorial here to help me. You can bet I'll be doing this kind of quilting again.


This is my favorite part - the circles almost touch, but not quite.




In retrospect, one of my favorite parts of this quilt is the shapes involved (and not the colors for once, gasp!). Don't get me wrong, I love color, but I didn't realize how cool it would look to have square shapes with rectangle shapes, quilted in circles.


I've been waiting a while to share this one with you - for the BQF, I'm entering the scrap category. Now, go enjoy the rest of the Festival quilts and be merry! Thank you for stopping by :)!


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Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2013: Facets of Emerald

"Facets of Emerald" is one of my favorite quilts ever out of my three years of quilting. I'm so excited to share it with you for the Blogger's Quilt Festival! Readers have seen it before as my entry into the Emerald Challenge.

AmysCreativeSide.com

I seriously can't get enough of it. Every time I see it, I just get so happy (and proud!). :)




Quilt Stats
Designed, pieced, and quilted by myself, on my home machine
Measures: 30.5" x 40.5"


I still haven't learned how to paper piece properly, so I probably made this quilt 1000x more difficult. However, this is what I decided: that's why it's my hobby. It's okay to take my time. It's more than okay to enjoy every step (even, dare I say it, every seam). This quilt was a labor of love and it took a good three weeks to step through the whole process. Half of the battle was lining up the seams right so it would actually look like a jewel! I think my seam ripper got tired. :)



I had also just bought my Janome Memory Craft 6300, so I wanted to play with all of the free motion quilting I now could do! My old machine (a tiny Brother) became completely impossible to FMQ with, and I felt so limited in my creativity with other quilts. I couldn't believe how much it bothered me. Now, I can FMQ again, and I celebrated... and it was glorious!


One of my favorite parts is the back :) I quilted the Pearl Bracelets (btw, I'm obsessed) and leaves from Simply Color - plus, I only noticed when taking pictures that you could see the outline of the emerald because I changed thread colors. How cool!




 

You can see my original post for this quilt here, plus many more pictures. I'm entering this quilt into the wall hanging category (though, unfortunately, it has yet to be up on my wall - long story! It will get there and I WILL post pictures!).


Have fun viewing all the beautiful Festival quilts! I know I will :)

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