Friday, January 31, 2014

Doctor Who Embroidery

I have a quick finish to share today! Not that the project was actually very "quick" at all, though - I started this last February and just finished a couple of weeks ago. Whoops. I guess my priorities are with quilts. I've also figured out that I can't embroider while catching up at shows because then I don't pay attention to the shows... and New Girl needs my complete attention (Nick Miller, hellooooo).

 Bad Wolf on the door! Plus, metallic thread for the "movement." The windows are purposefully a bit wonky.

Most of you know that the husband and I are huge Doctor Who fanatics, so I thought it only fitting to draft a pattern for the TARDIS. I don't know the "right" way to mark fabric before embroidering, so I just used pencil. Works for me and it's erasable.

The quote (which yes, I realize is spelled different below; it's contested) is from the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, who so acutely sums up what time is:

Now I have a nice wall of hanging embroidery. I'll be sharing some embroidery hoop decorations next week (they're elsewhere in the apartment, too :) ).

Sorry for the slightly strange-colored photo - this is near the sliding glass door. Will try to get a better one for next week.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Happy Friday! Allons-y! (<<<Doctor Who fans, click that link, you won't regret it!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why you should visit your Modern Quilt Guild: Sewing With Certainty

Today I'm posting about Showcasing Your Work for Sewing With Certainty (don't forget to go read the 4 linked up posts there^^ and to post your own in the next 5 days, if you want to participate!). Rather than talk about blogging (which is next week's topic) or social media, I'm discussing a topic that I don't think gets enough attention in the blogosphere: the Modern Quilt Guild itself!

I believe that sharing your quilts in-person, with like-minded sewists, is a unique and essential experience that can't be replaced. There's only so many times you can ask your (yes, very awesome but still non-sewing) husband/possibly whole family for help/advice/opinions. I might be biased because I'm very involved with my guild, the Central Jersey MQG (webmaster for 2 years, VP last year, President this year) but here's my two cents!

I joined my "local" (I say that because it's an hour away now) Modern Quilt Guild at the ripe old age of 22. All of you who say you were/are the youngest guild attendees - trust me. I was definitely the youngest (and still am, and yes, I'm the President now... it's funny how things work). I was in my senior year of college, 10 minutes away from Pennington Quilt Works, when I found out (from visiting the quilt shop on the weekends with my college friends to ogle at/buy fabric) about an MQG interest session in December 2011. No, I wasn't your typical college student... lol.

 This may just look like pandemonium, but it was a color challenge that took place at one of our earliest meetings. :) I swear, we're usually a laid back bunch.

 A recent meeting in which our own Meg Cox gave a fabulous talk on photographing your quilt!

I cannot emphasize this enough: I was SO NERVOUS about attending. I almost flat out didn't go, but one of my best friends/roommate, bless her, convinced me to just do it. I had never met quilters in person at that point, and I had hardly seen any quilts in person either, except my own. I had been blogging for a couple of years and had bloggy friends, but doing all of this in person (even buying fabric - I buy online more often than not) was SO foreign to me. Overall, I had a lot of anxiety about attending. I'm throwing that out there in case you are feeling the same way.

Improv blocks for our bee

Guess what, though. I had a blast, and everyone was so nice and accepting. I remember we did a "get to know you" activity where everyone chose scraps of fabric and had to meet up with the person whose fabric matched theirs. We then had to tell the guild about the other person. That's how I met my friend and fellow officer (treasurer) Kristina! Jessica was leading the interest session and now she is one of my good quilty friends (and VP - we flip flopped positions this year). I was pretty intimidated by all the talent in the room, honestly. All of it was a blur.

CJMQG July meeting

Our own Liza Lucy giving a demo on Y-seams

I signed up for a year with the guild in January 2012, and I haven't looked back since. We have monthly meetings and we have done all sorts of things: a guild bee (still going on), guild quilt-a-long (this year we are using - Modern Mondays - laid back, finish about 6 blocks a month or set your own goal), lectures/demos/trunk shows/workshops with Denyse Schmidt, Kaffe Fassett, Angela Walters, Jessica Levitt, and Barbara Persing, secret swaps (our holiday swaps are a personal favorite!), 10-minute demonstrations from members, random swaps (this coming month is anything Valentine's Day), monthly challenges, monthly sewcials outside of meetings (latest pictures), and so on.  If you are interested, you can see a recap of all of our meetings here, and you can click on individual meeting posts as well. I worked hard on that recap page so give it some love ;) I kid, I kid. A bit.

Barbara Persing shows us her quilting ideas. She gave me ideas for Blizzard!

 Angela Walters! What else needs to be said?

Sidenote: I'm also super excited for this event that we are hosting with the Philly and DC MQGs in April!! I can't wait to meet everyone (who's going???)!

Mid-Atlantic Mod

Two monthly features in our guild especially encourage us to share our work. One is the ever-popular Show and Tell. Everyone brings whatever they are working on and shares with the group  - this is the time of the night where we all feel super inspired and simultaneously in awe of all the talent we have. We also encourage bringing in trouble quilts and pleas for advice. We've really grown into quite a fabulous group!




 Kathleen, our secretary

 Laura (who also took many of these photos!)

^I just picked a bunch of random, happy photos from recent posts on our guild blog - all the ladies are fabulous!

We also do a special segment called "Spotlight" where quilters volunteer to share their journeys through quilting. They bring in as many quilts as they have, since we give them all away as they can to show their progress. I still have yet to do one - probably this year, though I'll be super busy just running the meetings!

I finished quilting my wedding quilt at a sewcial this summer - it was so much more fun achieving this milestone in a room full of quilters!

I'm excited about this year: I'm planning some fun swaps and discussions (think Pantone and low volume - there are your hints, CJMQGers)! We're also looking at more charity sewing this year, thanks to our Philanthropy Chair, Krishma. Next month, my friend Neva and I are giving a presentation on the tools for free motion quilting. We want to encourage more quilters to try it. :)

Secret gift exchange with Amy this year :D She's our hospitality chair this year and she is amazing!

Anyway, the point of this post is to share with you how amazing and supportive an in-person guild can be. The highlight of my month is driving down to Pennington for the meeting (I love you guys!!). Don't let the prospect of not knowing anyone or being the youngest (or oldest, or "least experienced" or a traditional quilter, or whatever) stop you from trying a Modern Quilt Guild meeting, if you can make it!

How many of you participate in MQGs? What kinds of things do you do at your meetings? Let's collaborate :) Or, if you are interested in our guild, please check out the guild blog, and feel free to email me (centraljerseymqg(at)gmail(dot)com) or at my blog email with any questions! We would LOVE to have you visit (first time is free!) and/or join in 2014. Please come meet us - promise we don't bite :).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TGIFF: Blizzard, A Finished Quilt

Welcome one and all to TGIFF! Please share your finish for the week in the linky party below! I can't wait to see them :) I have an exciting finish to share today, too: Blizzard, a string quilt I pieced last winter and quilted this winter! This quilt is also one of my FAL Quarter 1 goals!

I designed the snowflake blocks and used some applique to make a wintery (ie, not Christmasy, as in, I-can-leave-it-on-my-couch-until-the-end-of-February) quilt. Thanks to Laurie Wisbrun's Brr! fabric and a healthy dose from my stash (ie my usual Pearl Bracelets and solids), it wasn't too difficult. Also, I considering naming this quilt "Flake" or "Flakey" but then it occurred to me how dandruffy that would sound. :P Ha, ha. Moving on.

Because it was only fitting, the husband and I ventured out into the fast-falling snow on Tuesday afternoon to take pictures of the quilt. IT WAS COLD. The cold and I don't mix (like, at all), but I was willing to do anything for a good quilt photo. Well, almost anything.

The "what were we thinking" face

When I designed the quilt, I wanted the snowflakes to actually look like snowflakes. I hesitated to sash them at all because the patterns and secondary patterns and tertiary (?) patterns were so darn cool. But, "half sash" I did, and I actually really love it. I guess that's all that matters in the end. Selfish sewing is for me to love! Plus, those patterns still exist, but the solids give the eye a rest.

I quilted this based on Barbara Persing's suggestion when she visited my guild: all-over swirls to signify wind. I also threw in some snowflakes to break up the monotony of quilting swirls on a large couch quilt. I quite like the snowflakes' randomness. See them above (especially clear in the large border)?

The husband was proud of this shot^^ :) Nice blur action!

For the 6 snowflake middles, I created a swirl using my FMQ foot, and alternated between pebbles and random squares for the white. Those polar bears just GET ME everytime.

This quilt also makes me want to watch the movie Frozen a zillion times. All the Nordic patterns... I can't.

Blizzard is backed in Anna Maria Horner flannel that was originally intended for some pajama pants. HA. Quilting flannel will get easier with my incoming Supreme Slider, so I hear, so flannel backing will definitely happen again (the husband hath requested). As you can see, I ran out of flannel, so I picked up some extra from the Intrepid Thread. I also left the AMH selvage in there, because you know I'm a quilty fangirl, and I don't use nearly enough selvages in my projects (though I hope to change that this year).

Finally, I bound it in a really light blue/white fabric. I love the small prints for binding! Kind of swirly, like the wind.

Thanks for reading about a quilt that's very special to me. I love seeing it and snuggling under it for a bit every day. :) If anyone is definitely interested in a tutorial, please let me know, and I will work on one!


Show us the finishes!!
  • Please visit other links for maximum comment love/sharing.
  • Please link back to TGIFF in your blog post so your blog visitors can see all the other finishes this week. :) Sharing is caring.

Stay warm, everyone! Well, if you are in a heat wave... stay cool!

A new bee: Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts

Stephanie of Spolgar Quilts recently asked me to join her new bee, based on the book Modern Bee. She wants us to challenge ourselves to really make these quilts unique and special. How could I turn that down? Forget the other deadlines...

 I designed the button using my most recent finish, Diamond in the Rough. I figured AMH fabrics would give the button the "zing" it needs. ;) We chose the name based on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books... flashback to middle school!

This first round includes Stephanie, myself, Laura of Little and Lots (who recently wrote a post here about Showcasing Your Quilts), Ashley of Wasn't Quilt in a Day, and Kim of Robot Mom Sews. I am so/sew excited!! I just pulled a preliminary pile of fabric (minus solids):

Initial fabric pull - SotTQ

I hardly ever work with black but I now love how it looks with jewel tones. You'll be seeing more of this quilt as I plan out my "starter block/section" during February. My quilt will always go to Ashley, and I happen to be meeting up with her in Feb. for the NJMQG meeting - therefore, it needs to get done before that! Then, Ashley will add onto mine, while I'm adding on to someone else's - and we keep passing them on. It's going to be way too fun.

Follow us along on our Flickr page and on Instagram (#sisterhoodofthetravelingquilts) to see our progress!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nearly Wordless WIP Wednesday

Thank you for all the love on my FMQ Journey post! It sounds like a lot of you have similar journeys to my own!

Current Projects

Radiant Orchid Challenge using the Intrepid Thread's leaf tutorial. Can't show any more just yet! And yes, I realize I really need to paint my toenails. It goes like this: paint toenails or work on the quilt. You tell me what's more important ;)

Botanics challenge quilt. They're starting to look like trees, right? Right? I'm basically just sewing and slashing. So relaxing and improv-y.

I feel like I finished up so many projects lately, and now I just have piles of fabric waiting everywhere. Not that that's a bad thing!

My Free Motion Quilting Journey

I'm writing a long-overdue post about my FMQ journey today, which fits with the Sewing With Certainty FMQ topic a few weeks ago. You can click on over there to read Christa's encouraging take on FMQ, plus 5 linked posts about other bloggers' journeys and FMQ tips!

 My most recent quilt/FMQ finish, Diamond in the Rough - each color is quilted custom.

I'm writing this post to inspire people (yes, you!) to try FMQ or branch out your FMQ no matter what machine you have. Let me start by saying that I FMQed for a year and a half on this little guy:

And in March 2013, I switched to my Janome 6300 (Elsa - yes, it's because I love the movie Frozen so much, and because they both have so much power):

At the very least, all you need is a darning foot (or free motion foot).*** The other products can come later if you want, like quilting gloves (I have Machinger's and they make such a huge difference) and Supreme Slider (this is on its way to our apartment!). Please comment below about any other tools you find helpful for free motion quilting (hopefully someone else will find it helpful!).

My first FMQ baby quilt had very uneven stippling (but man, was I proud!). By the way - sorry these pictures are so small. These were the early days of my quilting and blogging, and I can't make them any larger.

My FMQ was very shaky at first, which is to be expected. It is a bit daunting at first to move the fabric around like you are drawing. Basically, if you can draw it (especially in a continuous motion), you can quilt it (once you have a handle over this new movement). It took me a long time to get tension right (sidenote - it was never right on my Brother but I didn't really understand that until I got my Janome) and to learn how to quilt with more equal-sized stitches.

Bubble Trail was quilted on my first machine. I stippled by the bubbles in their respective colors, and quilted white on the white. I was getting much better because I kept practicing!

With Elsa, I quilted Facets of Emerald for the Emerald Challenge - and I got to try out all the crazy stitches I had sitting dormant in my mind (***I did have some difficulties with my small machine after a while - I didn't invest in an expensive darning foot and two of them broke. I gave up free motion for a few months until I bought the new machine because it was so frustrating. Overall, I'm not sure if it was the feet or the machine or both or the thread or the needle or what have you - something began to work against me! But please don't let my misfortune make you think you can't FMQ on a basic machine - because you can!!).

My wedding quilt was really a test of my quilty endurance; it is my quilting "magnum opus," if you will. I sampled a different FMQ design in each color block, and quilted special designs in the borders. Each section took an average of 2 hours to complete (without counting stitching every other part of the appliqued plate down first with my walking foot). Overall, this is THE quilt, so far, that holds my quilty soul in its clutches. :)

FMQ is the most fun with smaller quilts because you eliminate much of a heavier quilt's drag. "Hoot," for example, was an absolute delight:

 That hasn't stopped me from quilting quilts as big as a queen - but I do take a lot of breaks, wear my gloves, stretch, drink water, etc. If anyone ever tries to tell me that quilting must be very boring/nonathletic/sedentary, I will laugh in their face ;) It is a total body workout! Skip the gym and FMQ!

This is the largest quilt I ever FMQed (which happened to be on my first machine)- a queen sized Made in Cherry (Flying Purple People Eater. Sidenote - Adrienne recently featured this one on her blog as part of her tour of purple quilts for the Radiant Orchid Challenge - click here to read that post!).

I enjoy custom quilting, especially by color, like I planned for Sedona.

If I'm attempting a new design (like Pumpkin Spice Latte^^), I always draw it out first. I often reach for my graph paper pad, where all my designed quilts are, because it's so close. The gridding is useful sometimes! Make a journal of the FMQ you've tried so you can refer back to it for inspiration.

 You'll see more of this guy on Friday when I host TGIFF (come one and all to link up your finishes!).

I'm in no way an expert, but FMQ doesn't stress me out anymore (unless there's a deadline approaching). I bought a "quilting machine" (Janome 6300) for a reason and I intend to take advantage of it as much as possible! Though, I'd like to try a longarm soon just for fun (Jess? :)). Overall, quilting is now, hands down, my favorite part of the quilting process.

Some links that inspire me to FMQ:
Grab button for I Quilt @ Pretty Bobbins
  • I love the book Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. She spoke to our guild last year (and signed my book!). She recommends quilting fast and not worrying about mistakes. I LOVE that. Check out the post I wrote about her visit to hear more from Angela.
 Angela Walters
I hope some of you are inspired to start/keep free-motioning! Let me know - where do you stand with FMQ? What is the quilt you are most proud of, quilting-wise?

Linking up to Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts and I Quilt! @ Pretty Bobbins.



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