Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Girls #2 - Donna's Quilt

In my last post I summed up my group of girlfriends pretty well, so this post will not be nearly as long, but I think each girl, and each quilt, deserves their own entry. Next up this month was Donna.

I think when I look at the whole group of us, Donna is the rock. It's not always easy, but she has finds a way to balance A LOT on her plate and still be a constant support to those around her. She is the one I turn to when I'm lost, and whether she realizes it or not somehow I end up 'found' in no time at all. A good cup of coffee on her porch, Sunday dinner at Pei Wei, or a Wednesday yoga session in her garage and it just seems to calm me down. She has the gathering house and I can't even come close to counting the number of birthdays, holidays, etc. we have celebrated there. Not only is she a wonderful friend, but an unbelievable mom to my favorite 7 year old Roxy. All of this together is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm so glad we are 'neighbors' now, and can't imagine it being any different. This kind of sums it up though.....

So onto the quilt. A while back I asked the girls to send me some ideas for colors, shapes, designs, etc. that they would like. In all fairness it was a pretty broad questions, but Donna's answer by far took the cake. Her reply, and I quote:

"...I like flying pigs in any color, hearts, polka dots, Xs and Os, and weenie dogs..."

I'm not even kidding. Megan gave the best response: "You're weird." I pondered this one for quite a while. How the heck do you take all this and put it into a quilt? I mean hearts with Xs and Os are easy, but would be very Valentines. Oh, and where in the world do I find weenie dog fabric? Yeah, this was a tough one.

I searched online for different polka dot quilts. I figured I would start with the easiest of the patterns she mentioned and work from there. In doing that I came across this circle quilt from Bijou Lovely. It's not exactly what I was thinking, but it was enough to get the creative juices flowing.

Next stop, fabric! Being the procrastiquilter that I am I did not have enough time to order online, so I did the dreaded Joann's trip. Don't get me wrong, I luck out there a lot, but it's just not ideal. I decided once I was there to start with the hardest fabrics and then coordinate with those. This meant I was searching for flying pigs and weenie dogs. Lord help me!

I struck out on the flying pigs. There were pigs, there were angels, but the two combined, no go. Even when I looked later online, there was a serious lacking of flying pigs. Can someone work some Spoonflower magic for me?

Weenie dogs on the other hand, appear to be all the rage! Who knew? I first found this one...

Seriously... Weenie dogs in sweaters? Adorable!
It was almost perfect, but red is not really the color I think of when I think of Donna. It was a little over saturated, so I decided to keep looking. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this....

Dachshunds in rain boots! Um, yes please!
I'm not so much an OMG sqee kinda girl, but this is some seriously cute fabric. I also lucked out that there was about 4 yards left. I bought it all because you never know when you will need a good dog fabric, right? The easy part came after locating this one. I decided to look for the other elements in coordinating colors. The polka dots and hearts were easy, and I found a great graphic floral and a fun chevron that fit perfectly.

In comes procrastiquilter again, and work took over my life for a few days. I got the fabric cut and the backing measured, but the final piecing and quilting had to wait until Saturday. You guessed it, the day before her birthday. Do you see a pattern developing here?

I created some basic circle templates with card stock. If you can't tell, I used a drinking glass, coffee mug, dessert plate and dinner plate as templates. I found that these four make a great variety.

After tracing the templates onto fusible I cut, cut, and cut some more. For each set I layered about five pieces of fusible together, pinned and cut. For me, this is a huge time saver. Being so rotary cutter dependent makes me dread having to cut things by hand.

Once I had what I thought would be a good number of circles I cut fabric. This might sound a little backwards to some people who like to iron on fusible before cutting the circles, but I was really unsure of the layout, so I decided to cut the fabric first, then iron.

I don't even want to tell you how many times I moved these around. Up and down and back and forth. Switching colors, sizes, rotating designs, etc. Finally I said enough is enough and started ironing. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I will share it anyway. After ironing the fusible to each circle I score them with an X with a needle.  This makes it so much easier for me to rip off each little piece of the pie, rather than trying to pick off the paper. This is especially helpful where there are no sharp edges or corners!

So fabric ironed to fusible, and fusible circles ironed to the backing, it was already time to baste the quilt! At this point I got a little over confident on my time schedule and took a nap. Big mistake! Oh well, lesson (not) learned. So, all well rested I got back to work basting. I'm an over pinner. I'm not careful about smoothing and checking while I'm quilting, so I have found it works better for me in the long run. You have to find what works best for you.

Still feeling pretty confident on time I took another break to hang out with the boyfriend. I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, but he is in nursing school. That means that when are both home, and he's not studying, I try and take advantage! So yeah, another big mistake on timing, but well worth it. Now, onto quilting. I stuck with what I know and did a mixed up meander. No real good process pictures of it, but this gives you an idea. My stitching is not as even as I would like, but I am getting better. I think.

So I took my time on this part and before I knew it, it was 2:30am. Oops. At least I had a nap, right?! I whipped up some binding (without measuring of course) and took a quick coffee break. At this point I was seriously regretting the whole nap/dinner/boyfriend time I took. LOL

3am still binding. This picture also gives you a good idea on my whole spool binding deal. I move my thread over to the horizontal, and put an empty bobbin on the vertical spool holder thing (does this have a name?) with my binding spool on top. This keeps it out of the way (empty bobbin gives it height to be over top of the thread spool), untangled, and the best part, I don't pin and it doesn't matter. I just pull the binding off bit by bit and it feeds through the machine. Easy peasy.

UPDATE to answer a question: Yes, that is the machine I do all my quilting on. It is a Huskystar C10 that I think I bought back in 2005 or 2006? I tried to find one on sale somewhere to find out the real details on it, but apparently they don't really exist. Not surprised. So yeah, it's got 5.5 inches under the harp there that I shove all my quilts through. Good times. It has tension issues, and it likes to break needles, but that's ok. It's what I have, and I have learned to work around, and most of the time laugh at, her little quirks. Would I like a new machine? Of course! Can we afford one? Not at all. Oh well, it's something to work towards! Goals are good!

Side note on the UPDATE: I named my machine Mardell after my grandmother. She lived across the country, so I never got to sew with her, but she is still my inspiration. Oh, and naming your machine after your dead grandmother is great until she acts up and then it sounds like I'm yelling at my grandmother's to settle down among other colorful expressions.

Okay, sorry about that. Back to the quilt. I finished up around 4am, just in time to throw it in the wash, have a quick 4 hour snooze, toss it in the dryer, and then off to Donna's for birthday breakfast. Again, don't know how I finished, but I did. I amaze even myself. So Donna literally jumped up and down while saying "I wanna see, I wanna see, I wanna see." I had been teasing her all day with little snaps on instagram. Little jewels like this one that kept her in suspense. Even made it black and white so she couldn't see the colors. Sneaky sneaky!

So without further ado, Donna's birthday quilt!
Added a "D" at the bottom in hopes that she could keep it from Roxy ;)

Only one time through the dryer, so I'm hoping the circle edges will continue to fray.

So in love with this backing!

  That's all folks. Now, I need a nap!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Girls #1 - Meghan's Quilt

I consider myself a pretty lucky gal to have the group of girlfriends that I do. There are six of us all together and we make up quite a fun little group. Some I have known for years, and a few a little shorter, but they are all amazing pieces in my sometimes puzzling life. We have been through it all together; marriages and divorces, births and deaths, health scares and work triumphs. These girls stand by through and through. When thinking about how lucky I am, and how wonderful these ladies are, I decided it was time that each of them had a quilt. What better way than for each of their birthdays.

I refuse to edit this picture because we are all blessed with Supernatural eyes in this one!
Must have been the Voodoo magic at Tibby's New Orleans Cuisine! ;)
Only problem is we were missing Michelle! Next time....
 At least once a month the whole group gets together to have dinner, catch up, and for six of the months, celebrate a birthday. First up was Meghan. She is the 'newest member' to our little club, but it feels like she has been here all along (or should have been at least). A happy spirit and so funny, she lights up any room. After a few struggles this year I thought she needs a super cuddly quilt that would be all hers. The trick to that is that she has two growing boys, who like kids do, tend to claim things as their own. What better way to combat that than go for a totally girly quilt! After all, what little boy wants to be seen wrapped up in his moms purple blanket!

Finished Top
 I decided to do a Jelly Roll race quilt with these beautiful batik strips. If you don't know what a Jelly Roll race quilt is, there is a good tutorial here. I don't normally sew with Batiks and sometimes feel like too much design can be overwhelming with these beautiful rich colors, so I went with basic.

Finally somewhere to baste my quilts!
I am very lucky that last weekend my parents came up to visit us and brought me the family table! This table is older than me, and maybe my favorite piece of furniture ever. It has bounced between my parents and my sister and now it is finally mine! Not only are we excited to have somewhere to eat, but also somewhere for Zach to study and me to baste my quilts! Okay, getting off track here.

My quilt assistant Stash. He can find a new quilt top anywhere!

Still basting

New Machingers! Thanks Mom!

I should mention here that I started the basting the night before the birthday dinner. Oops. I'm a super procrastinator for sure, but this was more a matter of circumstance. Busy at work, family in town, etc. So with a time crunch on I started free motion quilting on Saturday early afternoon. I felt a little rushed knowing dinner was only hours away, but I actually think it helped! I didn't focus on it being perfect, and I think that made my motions a lot smoother. Amazing! I quilted it in about 2.5 - 3 hours (including snack and stretch breaks). I'm not sure if that is fast or slow as I really have nothing to compare it to, but it got the job done.

All squared up
I decided to go with the same bright blue as the backing for the binding. Bonus was that I already had a few feet of the perfect color and width started. I store all my bindings on empty spools and then place it on an extra spool holder next to the machine while I sew it on. It keeps it straight, not twisted, and helps with my lack of pinning. Not to mention I store all the leftover spools of binding together and once it looks like I have a pretty decent collection going, I use them all together on scrappy quilts. More on that later.
New table also great for pictures at night!

This shows the colors a little better than some of the other pictures.
I was able to finish an hour or so before dinner. Whew. Nothing like cutting it close! Tossed on a ribbon and out the door we ran. We celebrated with dinner at Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen in Winter Park. It was amazing! I'm currently not eating Gluten, but was able to work out an order with our very helpful server. I highly recommend it! There was great food, lots of laughter, and our usual good time. I never leave our girl's dinners in a bad mood, and wish they could happen more often.

Streeeeeetch Meg!
Meghan loved her quilt and recently redid her bedroom in purple! I had no idea! Lucky for me, and for her it all worked out. We decided a little impromptu photo shoot was in order.

Quilts are always a perfect fit.
So that's my latest finished project. I'm working on the next birthday quilt now, but will have to wait to post much more than that. She's on my facebook, instagram, here, etc. Makes it a lot harder to share what your working on when your friends are all in the know! She should be getting it this weekend though, so I will have new pictures for you next week!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Central Florida MQG - April 1, 2013

My second meeting of the CFMQG was just a wonderful as the first. There were about 25 of us there, with quite a few first timers. I love that all these ladies are curious about Modern Quilting and learning more of what it's all about.

One of our Steering Committee members gave us some updates on the National Modern Quilt Guild and what that means for us. Our chapter is not actually a formal chapter as of now, but we are heading that way. I paid dues, and am now amoung the eight or so charter members. Feels good to be a part of something new and growing. Excited to see what the future will bring for Modern Quilting and the MQG
Carla's update

We discussed the ongoing BAM BOM project, but I'm not officially a month behind. My feathers didn't turn out quite right, so I'm going to try again this month. I'm determined to learn how to follow a pattern and have it end up the correct size (as opposed to 1/2" off like it always seems to).
If you are interested in joining in you can hop on over to the Bay Area Modern blog and check out the Feather block from March and the Snail Trail for April which is posted on The Peppered Goat blog.   
Karen's feather block

    This was also the month of our Name Tag Challange. I went back and forth on what to do, but decided to go bright and crazy. Hard to tell in the picture, but the star fabric actually has glitter in it! Not something I would normally use, but I think it shows my fun side pretty well.

    We had a little 'runway' show to display all our nametags, and I was actually chosen as the winner! I won a wonderful bundle of bella solid FQs that I am totally in love with. I was however, totally shocked as I really think Karen's was the best. It is modeled after the CFMQG logo perfectly!

    Another new thing we are trying is a Make it Modern portion of the meeting. Many of our attendees are traditional quilters and are trying to better understand what Modern Quilting is really all about. This month we focused on fabrics. Members brought in different fabrics that they thought were or were not modern and we discussed them. 
    How about this?
    Is this modern?
    Linda was a wonderful fabric model for us! :)

    We had a small group for Show and Tell, but they were all beautiful as usual. I'm not great with names yet, but I'm learning. Will probably come back and fill these in as I find out who is who.

    Loved the cute little images on this quilt, and the matching pillow.

    This scrappy trip-a-long was actually put together by her mother Janice. Her mom pieces and she quilts them for her. What a great combo!

    This was made for her kids who just got back from a trip to see the northern lights. Love thes colors and the great Northern Light print fabric. What a great way to remember what I'm sure was a magnificent trip!

    I believe this is from the Jaybird Quilts pattern Come What May. I love the use of color here.
    Again, I'm so happy I found this group, and excited to see where we go from here. Next meeting we will be discussing patterns in our Make it Modern segment of the meeting. Guess I better get to work trying to find a great pattern to share!

    I'm back! (i think)

    I'm slowly but surely getting the blog back in working order. I apparently had more issues than I realized that came about from the app I was blogging with on my iPad. Oops. So now to try and catch up!

    My true addiction online at the moment (for a while really) is instagram. I like the ease of it, and I really like the visual aspect of it. It keeps me connected to my friends and family around the world and allows me a peak into their lives. So that's how I will catch you up on the past few weeks!
    Wrapped up my mojo quilt
    Enjoying the backyard and our giant tree that makes us look like we live in a doll house.
    Spring cleaning and book organizing. Loving the color gradient that I'm trying out.
    My parents came up to help reasemble the family dining room table. It's finally made it's way to me after 35 years!

    New/old dining room table = new light fixture shopping.
    It's a little overwhelming, but I'm in love with this store!!
    New dining room all set. Love the new light and so glad dad was here to hang it! Valuted ceilings look
    great, but man they make things more difficult! It feels much more like a home now.

    The latest project I'm working (at my 'real' job) is on the CFVMPF Memorial Groundbreaking.
    Honored to be designing all the 'paper' for the event!

    So as you can see it's been a busy few weeks around here. Looking forward to it slowing down a bit and getting some sewing done! As I'm catching up now I will hopefully be posting the pictures and recap from the Central Florida Modern Quilt Guild Meeting this month later today. If you just can't wait to see, you can hop on over to the CFMQG blog and check it out there!