Sunday, January 18, 2015

C- in Social Media (continued)


I seem to be working on a lot of things I can not yet share with you so here are some recent pictures I have taken with my phone & probably failed to post them anywhere ....



Part way through this quilt my machine lost its timing. It has happened so regularly that I felt my only option was to send it back to Handiquilter for a full service. (By the way Glen at Handiquilter technical desk rocks!)


We took the opportunity to dismantle the frame and move it down to the basement


I was beyond stressed sending him off. 


My new 'room' (cupboard) is just big enough. I can't put on any weight - I won't fit!!


My kids made gorgeous art as Christmas presents - it was really hard to give them away. This is an apple tree my 5year old painted and put collage on top. 


I learn to make a Lone Star quilt - this is a really lovely quilt I have made for a fallen soldiers family - stay posted. 


I get given SO much wool fabric you would not believe how long it took to wash, fold and organize 7 big trash bags of fabric (thank you Auntie Chris!!)


Freddie comes home and he is PERFECT. I want to hug and kiss Glen - luckily for him he is in Utah and I am in New York.


I learn to sew on dolls hair. 


I re-load the pre-Christmas quilt - which is a quilt laden with various disasters. I name it the 'what not to do quilt'.


A pillow to go with the previously mentioned Lone Star quilt. 


It gets really cold - this is my workroom window. 


I get to play with my new couching foot - more fun than eating a box of Jaffa Cakes while getting your feet rubbed!!







What have you been up to?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cloud 9 Cirrus Solids

I'm sure you have seen this advert for Cloud 9's range of Cirrus Solids. They are GORGEOUS colors and fabrics to touch. I was really taken with them when quilting this top - soft and vibrant.


Cloud 9 has a Block of the Month challenge going at the moment. Our guild (NYC Metro Modern Quilters) took on the challenge and made a beautiful quilt. I got to quilt it! Maria pieced the quilt and suggested the feather running up the middle. This is essentially a little bit of an quilters eye candy post ;-)







Huge thanks to Maria - who suggested the feather - because I would never have dreamt of that and I think it looks pretty cool


You can read about who won the block challenge on the Cloud 9 website http://cloud9fabrics.com/category/collections/cirrus-solids/ Which one do you think should have won? I think they are all pretty fab.

Maria & I holding the quilt up at our guild meeting.

Monday, January 5, 2015

January Lesson (& Giveaway): Beginners Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

During 2015 I hope to push myself further along the free motion quilting path and also perhaps teach a few people some little things (I keep being asked - eeek!) Teaching sort of terrifies me - because I'm pretty shy and I often worry I'm not qualified enough to impart useful pieces of information. So to warm myself up to the idea I'll be putting a little lesson out once a month accompanied by a little giveaway.

*******

Years ago I took a lesson on free motion quilting way before I could do anything (even try anything) that resembled free motion quilting on a quilt. The lesson terrified me and I never did a drop of free motion quilting again for over a year. I then completed a very very small project (a small zippered pouch) that somehow gave me the confidence to do more quilting. It has been a long journey with many doubts and dips but over all there is only one thing that has helped me improve and that is the really boring word of 'practice'. I know I have said this over and over again.

And so to encourage someone to take the same leap as I did and push through those doubts I want to start a series of lessons and little giveaways in 2015 - that will be focused on giving you that extra little push to drop those feed dogs on your machine and get quilting.

My tips for beginning free motion quilting are:

(I'm assuming you have dropped/covered your feed dogs and lowered your stitch length - try lowering your stitch length to 0 - if you are using a Bernina BSR try a stitch length between 1.5-1.7)

Practice with a purpose. Practice on something you want to (have to) finish. Be it a new baby quilt, some placemats/coasters for a birthday present, a bag, a quilt for a charity or your church - your kids will be happy and unjudgmental with anything you make them - a quilt for their doll or teddy? Your projects do not have to be big at all - but make sure you see through each project (even if you hate it others will love it.) As you progress through each project you will see progress and improvement.

Start with smaller projects like placemats.

Are you comfortable? If your chair is too low and your table too high (or any combination of uncomfort) you won't want to sit for too long. Is your foot sitting on the pedal comfortably? Free motion quilting takes time - you will want to be comfortable.

Are you sitting at a big table? It is important to keep your quilt elevated off the floor so you are not fighting with the drag of the quilt as well as trying to move the quilt around smoothly. I have some great portable tables that I found at Costco that I can hide in a closet or under a bed when not in use and then place them around my machine to ensure the quilt off the floor and not creating additional resistance. Having a big surface area around your machine for your quilt to sit on will really help you.

Music? Silence? I personally listen to talk radio when I work - it distracts me enough so my shoulders drop a little. I know some people like to listen to music to get into the quilty groove. Other people work better when it is quiet. What ever makes you zen? (Tip: Copious amounts of alcohol and chocolate do not help!)

What design to start with? Would you believe that the all over popular stippling is really hard to work out at the beginning. Start with swirls, pebbles or wavy echoing lines. Cut yourself a break and leave the stippling for later - there are much more fun designs out there to play with. 

Using an all over meandering design? Start in the center (if using a domestic) - and work your way out. The center is always the most cumbersome and difficult. Working from the center out will prevent a whole host of problems that might defeat the confidence you are trying to build.

You are not a baby bird learning how to fly - keep your shoulders down (easier said than done) and keep your elbows in.

Practice:
- your hand eye co-ordination by repeating patterns over and over again
- try to think and focus on the pattern ahead - especially with meandering patterns - where are you going next?
- achieving smooth motion and movements
- consistent size and pattern shapes

Practice by repetition.

Some practice ideas:
- doodle - I doodle (scribble) everywhere - repeating these patterns and motifs on paper will really really help your muscle memory. Found a pattern you want to try? trace it 10 times on paper first before trying it on your machine.

Doodle, doodle & doodle some more

- take your thread out and follow the lines on a coloring page - just make little needle holes - follow the lines as closely as possible. Slowly you will find you will get more control and be able to follow the outlines exactly.
- tracing the pattern/shapes of a pretty fabric can make a gorgeous quilted project as well as letting you escape the big question 'what pattern am I going to quilt' it will also help you gain more control as you follow the pattern shapes
- quilt as you go is gaining in popularity and serves a solution to wrestling an entire quilt at one time
- play 'what shall I draw' - get someone to tell you what to draw with your machine/needle and thread. Not only it a fun(ny) game - but it will also help you to begin to see the endless possibilities of free motion quilting.

GIVEAWAY: Natalia Bonner's Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting


My favorite pattern in this book are the spiral circles on  pages 44 & 45 - a great all over pattern that would look great on any quilt.



To win this book leave a comment and answer one of the following questions below before January 26th:
- if you are nervous of free motion quilting enter please leave a comment below saying what free quilting pattern you would like to learn and why?
- if you are a budding free motion quilter what pattern do you favor and why?

(Please note: Giveaway will only be shipped within the US.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 (Phew!)

2014 has gone by in an utter blur. I've worked too hard - not spent enough time (in my little mind at least) with my adorable children and I've had some big break throughs (in my little mind at least.)

So here is a little recap.

January
I fall deeply and madly in love with my new Fusion. And the quilts start rolling.



February



March
A small halt in quilt making to make way too many fabulous super hero costumes.




And then more quilts.



The lady who made this quilt top had fallen out of love with it - until I gave it back to her. That was a great feeling.



I also publish my continuous cable pattern which so now available on Etsy and is selling very well.


One of my favorite quilts to date was finished in March 2014 - Kids Art Quilt: Fabric Building Blocks.


By this point in the year I'm totally gone. All I can think about is free motion quilting. Textures. New patterns.

April




May

Secret projects #1,2 & 3 (sssssh) as well as this quilt that introduced me to mix & matching designs.


June


A great quilt top I got to quilt- a fund raiser for Doctors without borders.



This years teachers appreciation gift pillows turned out super super cute. 



Four memorial quilts for 4 siblings whom lost their mother.





And this picture that says everything I ever need to say about Quilting A Memory.


July

A big memorial quilt all made from men's cotton shirts with some fancy quilting.



 Cute tutorial on very easy (& cheap!) hooded capes.


The wonderful Bess Beetle Quilt ... 


And her many babies. 


2 week vacation in my homeland was included as well .... (haven't quite worked out how I got all this stuff done!!)

August




A week with the very fun Luke Haynes and having him load my brain with way too many ideas and possibilities. 


September

Class with the ever so lovely Amy Butler - which I haven't written about yet as I am still in the process of finishing the quilt that resulted from her class (her class had nothing to do with quilting.)


The very sad story of a firefighter who passed away leaving behind 2 twin boys.

October



Discovering there are metallic threads out there that will not let you down endless sparkly possibilities are now at my finger tips. 


November


This Scottish Flag that made me feel like all that hard work was beginning to pay off.


Secret Project #4 (don't tell!)

My dear friend left New York and I made her a memory quilt from her pashmina.


December



Cloud 9 block challenge quilt for the NYC Metro Modern Quilt Guild


And to round December off a charity group quilt that will be displayed at QuiltCon.


I have not included all and every project that happened in 2014. But from this little list I can honestly say I'm exhausted. I have some amazing (some very touching) projects lined up for 2015 - I can't wait to share them with you. 

Wishing you all a wonderful and Happy New Year and I can't thank you enough for all the support and interest you have shown in my work to date.

Google+ Badge