Friday, November 29, 2013

Star Value Top Finished

The November project for my scrap group was the Star Value Quilt. My top is finished!

The pattern can be found here and includes instructions for 5 block sizes. I made the 24" blocks and did twelve blocks. My finished top is 72" by 96".

No one else in the group was able to finish a block during the class. We are meeting in December, but there is no new project so hopefully some of them will be able to get one of the previous projects finished.

I am already planning another one of these quilts. It will be a Quilt of Valor. A guild friend gifted me some red and blue squares that will be perfect for the stars. I already have plenty of light background fabrics and gray/black. I purchased a few 1/8 yard cuts of cheddar fabric to use for the diamonds. I'm planning for this quilt to be my main retreat project for my guild's February retreat.

Notice the snow in the photo above. And we got more snow after it was taken. Spooky is not fond of the snow. She has started behaving better so she can hang out with me in my sewing room.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Few More Ornaments

The crochet thread I ordered came in so I have made a few more ornaments.

I'm using size 3 cotton crochet thread with a 2.75mm crochet hook. The center wool circles and yo-yos are about 1.75" in diameter. Again, this is the tutorial I am using for inspiration. I have experimented with the crochet stitches around the edge as well as the centers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scrapper's Delight and an Iron Review

I'm trying to finish my class samples for the next quarter of classes at my LQS. Next quarter I'm doing one of the quilts from the book Sunday Morning Quilts.

It uses strips (or strings).

I can pack quite a bit of fabric into this bin but when I open it they kind of explode out. I worked on this at work over the last couple of weeks in between my other duties. I finished six blocks.

I want to make at least three more blocks, maybe six more. I'll work on those when I teach the class so I can demo the technique. Not many people around here seem to be familiar with this type of improv-style piecing. I've already had one person express interest in the class!

Recently we had to replace one of the classroom irons at my LQS. The owner bought a cordless model.

This one is by Panasonic. It has a cover that locks on for travel. The iron sits in the dock to charge. It is dual sided so you can't stand it up on one end. You just put it back in the dock instead.

Pros: (1) It is dual sided and there is no cord (only the base plugs in) so it works well for both left-handed and right-handed quilters. We routinely have both at the store. (2) It is a good weight, not too heavy and not too light. (3) It has a good size reservoir for water but we haven't tried it yet. We keep a spray bottle full of water at each ironing station and only fill the irons if steam is required for a particular project. (4) If you are taking this iron to retreat or a class, you don't have to wait for it to cool down before packing it up. The cover locks on securely and the cord retracts into the base.

Cons: (1) It is dual sided and folks are always trying to stand it up on one end which does not work. (It is comical to watch though.) I've also seen some folks just leave it sitting on the ironing surface while they adjust their fabric instead of putting it back in the dock which over time is going to ruin the ironing surface. (2) It does not seem to get quite as hot as I like. Not everyone has had this complaint though. I may just be picky. (3) It seems to take longer to heat up than I am accustomed to.

I'm not sure how long it stays hot once you remove it from the dock and are using it. So far we've just used it for pressing seams which only takes a few seconds. If you were trying to press a large piece of fabric or a garment, I wonder if it would stay hot enough until you were ready to put it back in the dock to adjust your project/garment.

Overall, I think this is a great iron. For the store it is perfect because we often have both left-handed and right-handed students in the same class. The majority of the time we are just pressing seams with it and have had no issues with it staying hot long enough. It is pricey, retailing for $130 but worth it if both righties and lefties will need to share the iron or if you need a good iron to take to class or retreat.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Swap Goodies

A few months ago when Stephanie, of Peas in a Pod, visited we made arrangements to do a private swap. I made her a cover for one of her sewing machines.

Her machine is much bigger than my Bernie. I had to put my camera bag underneath the cover so that it would stand up nice for a photo.

She made me a new pillow for my sewing room chair.

Click on the image to make it larger so you can see all the details. The star is English Paper Pieced and then appliqued on the background. Notice all the lovely hand stitching she did echoing the star. And the pompom fringe is so fun. On the back she put in a hidden zipper so I can take out the pillow form and wash it, if necessary.

Good swap partners always include extra goodies and Stephanie is a good swap partner!

The small circle on the right is a little tin which contains a tape measure. I sent her a fun tape measure too. The little "quilt happy" book on the left is a book of sticky lint remover sheets. I've never seen a book of lint remover sheets before. Every quilter needs a lint remover and these sheets work well! The spiral bound book is a journal. On the cover it says, "I am fairly certain that given a Cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world." How fun is that?! I love journals and use them. I am the secretary for my art group and this journal is going to be used to keep us organized.

Thank you so much Stephanie! I am so lucky to be able to call you my friend! Go visit Stephanie's blog to see the cover I made for her on the machine it is intended for as well as the extra goodies I sent her.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Finish

I finished up the binding at my guild meeting on Saturday.

It was a bit breezy yesterday when I took these photographs. I could not get the quilt to stay still!

Here is a detail shot of the front.

I used two packages of Honeycombs for this quilt but only used 73 for the front. The other seven went on the back.

And here is a closeup of the back. The quilting shows up really well on the back.

The quilt is titled Hexa-Chevragon and the idea came from this tutorial. I altered the pattern to use pre-cut hexagons and trimmed my blocks a bit differently. The finished size is about 41" by 56". The quilting is all free-motion done by me on my HQ Sweet 16. I used Signature cotton 40 wt. thread in an Ivory color which oddly is almost the exact same color as the Kona Ash solid grey.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Finish

This was a recent scrap group project.

Finished, washed and ready to be turned in to our charity quilt chairperson at guild tomorrow. It turned out 48" by 54". It is simply quilted with an all-over meander using white thread.

And check out my new header! I learned how to make a photo collage yesterday afternoon using PicMonkey. It took some trial and error to get the size right so that it would fill most of the top of the page. Not bad for someone who really doesn't know what they are doing but is willing to try something new and see how it goes. It only took me about 30 minutes to get it to the "good enough" stage.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Half Dozen Done

I've made six ornaments so far. I ended up redoing the yo-yo one with the correct size hook (top left in photo below). I like it much better now.

Things I have learned:

1. When using a button in the center, if there are only two holes it is best to place the hanger so that the holes line up vertically. Otherwise, the button tends to pull away at the top.

2. Doing four chains and skipping two double crochet gives a more petal-like look (bottom left with the cream wool center and red button in photo above).

3. I have lots of fun buttons in my stash, but I'm having a hard time using them. LOL! I don't seem to want to use it unless I have a duplicate I can keep for my "collection."

I've ordered a couple more colors of crochet thread for these. I'm going to wait until it comes in before making more. Tutorial information can be found here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quilting My Hexa-Chevragon Quilt

I'm not even done, but I really love this one.

I started by stitching in the ditch around the columns of hexagons. Then went back and forth in the chevrons.

Aside: I have succumbed and gotten a Pinterest account. I'm "Alamosa Quilter" there too if you are interested in seeing the few things I've pinned so far.

Through Pinterest I found a new-to-me blog, The Inbox Jaunt and this tutorial. So I tried it.


Then I added ovals around the leaves.

While the light was still good I snapped a few more photos.

The back - in progress:

The front - in progress:

I hope to get this finished soon. I'm already thinking about what I will use for binding. I have a couple of good options in my stash.

Friday, November 8, 2013

More Ornament Auditions

I believe this is the end of my audition process for 2013. I will be making these.

I used this tutorial as my inspiration. The one on the left is the first one I made. I used a yo-yo for the center, as called for in the tutorial. The crochet hook I used for it was too large, but was the smallest one I owned. I made the one on the right second. The center is two pieces of wool with an awesome button attached. I purchased a smaller crochet hook and am much happier with the end result. It's a keeper!

I think my style is better represented by the one on the right, with the button and the wool center. So, I will continue to use wool rather than making yo-yos, which I don't really enjoy anyway. I plan to use some of my fun buttons and I may even do a little embroidery too. The center circles are only 1.75" so there isn't room for much on them.

I do still really like the first ornament I auditioned, but due to time constraints this year I will be making these. However, I don't have to do any auditioning for 2014 because I will be making the embroidered wreaths. I'm just going to start on them sooner so time won't be an issue and I can enjoy the process.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Passing On an Addiction

I have a very talented friend/student, Mary Ann. Check out what she made for me!

Thank you so much Mary Ann! I love it!

A few weeks ago I told you that I signed up to do Sue Spargo's BOM for 2014. Mary Ann saw the post and asked if I could order Sue's book, Creative Stitching, for her through the store. The book came in about 2 weeks ago and she has been cranking out some stitched awesomeness. Above is just one example. The flower in the center didn't photograph well, but it is made from bullion stitches. The outside edge is completely beaded.

I've seen a couple of other things she has made too. All are gorgeous! She told me that she was "mad" at me for introducing her to Sue Spargo's work. You are so welcome, Mary Ann!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Annual Ornament Auditions

This one is a keeper!

Although I don't know if I will have enough time to make two dozen of these before Thanksgiving. I have another idea that I haven't had a chance to test yet. I think it will be faster to make. If so, I will make it for this year and these wreaths for next year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Half Square Triangles

I haven't posted anything in a few days because all I have been doing is making half square triangles.

I need 440 for the project I am working on! At this point they are all sewn, cut apart and pressed. I have about half of them trimmed. The quilt top will go together pretty fast once I get all the half square triangles ready, but ... I still have a lot of squaring up to do before I can get back to the sewing part.