Quilt ADD in therapy

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Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Monday, February 28, 2011

We've All Been Robbed!

Hmph. For those of us who have monthly quilting goals set, February's lack of 2 whole days is a real bummer!

Since we lost all that time, I'm going to stop feeling bummed that I didn't get to my Beachwalk (I'll sneak it in tomorrow if I can). I did manage to slip two of my UFO BOMs under the wire despite a serious load of "real" work today.

And, of course, now the camera's dead and there are no batteries left in the house, so I can't upload those pics yet. But I can find pics on the web of the whole projects! hahahaha  (Man, I need sleep!)

The first one this morning was for this fun quilt from the 2010 Patchwork Party:


The second one (pair, actually) was for the Selvages quilt:



And now I have to go fall into my bed - won't even bother me that Dev's got the TV blasting over the noise of the treadmill, either. . .

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not much says "Love ya, Mom" more than. . .

. . . an 18 year old young man who's willing to step outside traditional male behavior to learn how to sew a quilt for his mom!

Kyle stopped by to follow up on Becca's work from yesterday on Lori's Irish Butterflies.

Pretty adept already at wielding the rotary. . .

Gotta get that little snag!

. . . he took to the whole careful 1/4" seam allowance concept like a fish to water. Got the rest of the strips cut out and sewn in duos for the criss-cross blocks as well as the last trio for the butterfly block sides. I was impressed!


Way to go, Kyle!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lori's Irish Butterflies

Today's sewing was fun!

Becca came over to work on her mom's quilt. We'd started it before Christmas, with Becca and Kyle doing almost all the work under my mentorship, but ambitious high school teens in band have rare moments available at that time of year.


They'd chosen some fun gold-highlighted butterfly fabric for her, paired with some pretty purples because they said Lori loves purple. We found some metallic Gold-on-Gold blender fabric that looked AWESOME as a contrast for the border play. But we quickly tossed that because it created a strong LSU effect - AND WE COULDN'T HAVE THAT! Not for a die-hard GATOR fan! We decided to wait until the center is finished and audition some other colors for the accent border. We do know what we'll use for the outer border - it matches the lighter purple, but has really cool metallic gold swooshes all over it without looking like it belongs in Tiger Country

I happen to know that Lori also loves the entire concept of Ireland, so I suggested they work up a double Irish Chain quilt - not too hard for beginners. Just two types of blocks, no bias or HSTs or anything really frustrating.

Anyway, after a long hiatus, out came the box with Lori's pieces. . .
 
Now, where were we?
(Do you want to know how badly I had hovered like a hawk while they were using the rotary cutter after I tried so hard to cut my finger off the month before?!!)

 . . .and Becca got right to work. She finished several butterfly blocks and then switched to making a criss-cross block so she could finish the whole first row. Which she did quite well!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some Valor blocks and Cleaning a Dirty Iron plate

Got some valor blocks whipped up. Pressed the first one, only to see a "lovely" brown smudge on the white center appear. Looked at my iron's plate, and sure enough - somebody had got something on it.  Rats. (Must have been rats, because I sure didn't do it <heh>, and my daughter and hubby plead innocent, too!)

I recalled hearing something years ago about rubbing wadded up waxed paper on the hot plate, so I thought I'd give it a go. Wow! It sure did work! Took those brown patches right off. I can see, though, that you want to be EXTRA careful not to burn yourself!

Oh, the valor blocks? Here they are:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Origami Bowties or Floating Diamonds tutorial

Haha!! Yesterday I swore I wasn't going to make another tutorial for a very long time, but here I am working one up so I don't forget this cheater method I saw demonstrated at our last guild meeting. 'Sides - it was the perfect fit for throwing together some Quilts of Valor blocks.
This tutorial was a lot less involved, though - took all of 20 minutes to cut 8 blocks out and sew one up with camera stops throughout the process.

So. . . how do you get this Floating Diamond Block (or Bow Tie depending on your fabrics) IN THREE SEAMS without having to sew ANY biases, and with EASY PEASY SUPERFAST cutting? Check out the tutorial at my fledgeling Valor Bee blog!

And hey - any of you are welcome in that bee. It's brand new and if you could help spread the word I'd sure appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Paper-Piecing (foundation) Tutorial, courtesy of BOM 5, Glacier Star

I finally got to sew again, and the next BOM up was a lot of fun - involving a paper-piece quilt from Judy Niemeyer.

I have to say, I *despised* paper foundation piecing when I first tried it a few years ago. It was such a pain to try placing that next fabric piece on the backside of the pattern in a way that would not leave gaps once the stuff was all sewn and flipped, and then you had these irritating huge seams to trim away.
Well, I saw a Niemeyer quilt I just HAD to make (that's it, over on the left), so I decided to grit my teeth regarding the method and get it done. Got the pattern and the fabric, took one look at the directions, and said, "Wow!! Now why couldn't I ever think of such an approach?!" That pattern, as well as a tutorial she has posted on her Web site, teaches a very simple technique that makes paper piecing so much easier!

As I did this month's portion, I wanted to share this process so that others who love the results of paper piecing but have been too frustrated with the process could also break through to the other side. I wish I'd thought of doing this at the very start, so my pictures would show the whole story in pure sequence. But you'll get a good idea, and I'll share some personal tips on tools and concepts.

Step 1: Prep the paper

You start with your paper pattern. I had already mass-cut the fabric pieces using the cutting template that came with it. Locate the position of the first piece and swipe a glue stick on the BACKSIDE of that area. (Any water-soluble glue stick will work, but I love the narrow Sewline sticks.)









Then place your first fabric piece onto the glue, RIGHT SIDE UP, making sure you've covered the entire first area plus its seam allowances.






Step 2: Layer for a Sewing Line


Flip the paper back over and locate the first sewing line (you'll see I'm on the third seam, but the process remains the same). Place a folding tool right on the sewing line.

Tool tip:As you can see, I did not purchase quilting template plastic as recommended. I LOVE free tools, and those annoying oversized advertisement post cards are good for sooo many things around the house. Use one of those for this task! They're perfect. 


Fold the paper down. . .

[If this is not the very first seam, you'll need to rip the paper in the last seam allowance area to allow the paper to fold on the seam. More on that later.]


. . .Then place a ruler over the edge so you can trim the excess off at the 1/4" seam allowance.


Whatever you do, DON'T FORGET THE RULER~!!  Otherwise, you cut off the seam allowance and then you have to pick the affected pieces off, cut new ones, and start all those sections over again. Major pain. I know from experience!

Another tool tip: The Add-A-Quarter ruler that is marketed is, indeed, very nice for this job. However, if you need your spending money for other items, go ahead and use any quilting ruler - just be careful because they'll SLIDE on that paper if they don't have no-skid spots attached!


Once you've trimmed off the overhang, pick up the folded paper with fabric attached and place that on top of the next piece of fabric, which is laying right side up on the cutting mat.

Two things to watch:

1) Make sure the fabric will cover the next area AND its seam allowances. I can see through the paper well enough to lift the unit to compare to the next fabric's location, but if you're not confident about that you can always sketch in the lines on the back side to see what's what. You get good at this step pretty quickly since the folded-over paper shows where the piece is needed.

2) Line the sewing edge up the tiniest bit shy of the edge of the next fabric, especially if you're laying a darker fabric over a lighter fabric. This is so you don't get dark lines showing through on the front side of your quilt.


When you have everything lined up, lift the paper back open and place a couple of pins parallel to your sewing line to secure the bottom fabric. Some people can just hold it and sew them, but I still can't. I get too much slippage.

Tool tip: Yes! Those flat-head flower pins are terrific!! I love them OODLES more than round-head pins for this job. Worth the money. Get the thinner ones, the IBC brand with flexible .55mm shafts and 3/8" heads. Supposed to be handy for lace work and knitting as well.



Step 3: Sew your lines and press

I prep several units at a time so I can chain stitch them.  Just pull the threads out enough between units to allow the next one to lay flat.


Make sure the leading end of the bottom fabric is not folded under itself. I've had to pick out more than one seam end because of this!

At your machine, sew along the entire solid line (across the next seam allowances - marked on my patterns with a dotted line). You'll actually want the stitches to start and end a stitch's worth beyond either end of the stitching line.

TIPS:
  • Use a medium length stitch. Too long, and it will be a pain to tear your papers off when it's all put together. Too short, and your seams pucker and the paper falls apart prematurely. This varies so much from machine to machine, sorry I can't tell you what setting to use. 
  • Use the smallest needle you can. A 70 or 75 with a thin thread (50 weight) is marvelous. And use SHARPS not universals, and certainly not ball tips.
  • Some people find they need to tighten their tension a little bit. On my machine, this is not necessary.
 When you are ready to clip your units apart from each other, it is not necessary to trim off the pesky tails. . .



. . . because  when you trim off the next overhang, you will cut those tails right off the unit - especially if you went the extra stitch past the seam allowance area!

[Let me clarify: this picture is here to show you why you don't need to clip the tails - you're not going to do any trimming at this point.]

Take your units to your ironing board and press the newest piece open. You will get a much nicer unit if you press with the iron instead of just finger-pressing.

 Don't use steam, and do back the heat setting down a bit from the hottest level. I go to the halfway mark between cotton and linen on my iron. (You don't want to scorch your paper.)



You're ready to repeat Step 2 to set up your next sew lines!


Getting back to that Tearing concept:

If your next line intersects any others, there will be a seam going across the seam allowance which will impede your fold when you fold the paper down. The work-through is to simply pop a tear in the middle of the paper along those allowance stitches. Sometimes this happens at the edge of the unit where it's easy to rip from the side. On this unit, it happens right in the middle of the paper. No big deal. I just carefully pull the stitches through the paper and pull that tail all the way out while I'm at it. This lets me fold straight across the next sewing line and trim the allowance for Step 2. 



You don't even need to fret about messy tears! The paper is not important beyond giving you your sewing lines, so just ignore those bloops that pop out every now and then.




Moving Right Along . . .

As you work through the steps, it's not long before you find your groove and pick up momentum. Before you know it, you're on the last seam line!



And then you're ready to trim the outer edges of the units! Simply lay a ruler down along the cut line (make sure you're not cutting on the sewing line) and roll away! 






It's so nice to see the finished units go from ugly ducklings to pretty little swans. . .



. . . So that you have some really pretty Floating Flying Geese units:


. . . or some nice New York Beauties:


. . . or even a handful of fun Stepping Stones! 
            - Yes, these are for an entirely different quilt. ;D


And now I have the utmost respect and appreciation for all those wonderful folks who have put together tutorials.  It takes forever!  Thank you for everything you each share.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Got to sew a bit today - Squared away BOM 4 :)

I do wish I could just be a full-time quilter, but I don't get to sew every day. It all depends on if I've finished enough of my school work, as I'm a history grad student. History is right up today's alley, though, since what I worked on was my reproduction BOM packet that arrived a few days ago.

I love all kinds of quilting - just about every style makes me feel happy. My personal favorite colors are the clean, mid-value, high-intensity greens, blues, lavendars, especially paired with white. Yellows and pinks are cool, too. Orange is even pretty neato, which is a new one on me since I *despised* it for the first 37 years of my life!

But even though I would never choose the colors you'll see from today's work (if color were my deciding factor), I really dig reproduction projects. There's just an indescribable delight in having a tangible connection to particular points in humanity's past. Patriots in Petticoats has a double appeal for me: Being an American, I enjoy the Revolutionary period, and being a woman, I *love* celebrating gals who had pluck! So - let me show you the fun blocks that I've done so far this year with this BOM: (gotta get some good photo equipment!)

January Gal #1 was Deborah Samson. Cheers for the first known woman who enlisted as a man during the Revolutionary fighting. Although she never faced the death penalty as Mulan did, she was dismissed for her gender. Still, Paul Revere spoke up for her and she was awarded a $4/month pension. Go, girl!



January Gal #2 was Anne Hennis Trotter Bailey, whose wild bellicosity freaked the men in her regiment out so much that she was known as "Mad Ann." (She really didn't react well to her husband being killed by Indians.) Not as "revered" as Samson, she faced two years in prison for crossdressing after deserting. Must not have fazed this woman, who later in life built herself a log cabin at the age of 70!


February Gal #1 was Margaret Cochran Corbin. Not about to be left behind, at 25 years of age she went right along with her hubby when he joined the Continental Army. At the Nov. 16, 1776 battle at Fort Washington, when he was killed at the cannon, Margaret took over, loading and firing by herself until she was grievously injured. Three years later she became the first woman to be awarded a pension from the U.S. government as a disabled soldier and in recognition of her distinguished bravery.


February Gal #2 was Elizabeth Gilmore. A 1776 immigrant from Ireland, she and her sister enlisted in the Continental Army as nurses. She served at Valley Forge throughout that awful winter of 1777-1778. It must not have been all bad, though, because this is where she met the man she would marry. Elizabeth went on to become an official rifle-toting, paid "Ranger of the Frontier" for four years after the war.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ha! Ha! ::smug naughty-girl chortle::

When I laid down the law that there would be NO SEWING until my critical review draft was finished, I didn't say that once I accomplished a substantial portion, I couldn't trim a handful of those pesky HRT's that are needed at Valor Night at the guild's retreat in two weeks. . .


Yeah, yeah. . . . Back to "real" work!  ;D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"What a Hoot, Heather!"

My second daughter is graduating from high school right smack after our first daughter did - Boom, Boom! Of course, GRADUATION (especially when the girls each earned Summa Cum Laude) deserves a terrific long twin quilt from mom that will do a good job of brightening up a blah dorm room.

Which means, I get to work right now on a second rendition of perhaps the favoritest quilt I've made so far. And the fun thing is that it's my own design, from start to finish. As soon as it comes home from St. Louis for the summer, we'll wash it up and have a better photo op session!


Even our Siamese loved that quilt. He sat by my side, tucked under the quilt, the whole time I stitched the binding. I'd get up to get a drink or something, and he'd dutifully climb out, sit on top, and keep my spot for me. Thanks, Koko!

Those Celtic Knot corners were a bit tricky - I don't like the look of shortcuts methods, splicing and dicing when the design is a continuous line, so I had to deal with a lot of short Y seams and interweaving of the "ribbons". But the effect was worth the effort.

And those owls are just so stinkin' cute with their button eyes! It's pure coincidence that owls are popular in quilty fabrics right now. Graduation and owls are just so obviously perfect for each other, what else would I have chosen?!




Now, I want to be up front about everything I do in quilting, so let me acknowledge my quilter on this project. I knew how I wanted the inside quilted, and Patty of Katydids Quilting did a very nice job in a rushed time frame, with great ideas for the perfect border pattern to complement the white-on-white pattern of that fabric and the celtic ribbon borders. She even wrote the graduation year in the corners! Patty is terrific, and I can't wait to start taking longarm lessons from her! In the meantime, I'm about to set up a drop-in sewing table so I can start getting good at free-motion quilting with my piecing machine.



Devon's "What a Hoot" is in blues and raspberries, per request, and her owls are mostly in pieces still. (The big white squares are so cute with floating feet and ears stitched on!) When I made Heather's, I used a spray adhesive while doing the satin-stitch applique. I loved the ease of sewing, but I wasn't happy with the thickness of the layers and difficulty in clipping the backsides. This time I'm using basting glue around the sewing edges only. The prep time is much longer, and the edges aren't as very crisp for sewing, but so far I like it enough, and I'll have NO problem getting those back layers off. The sewing world is just like everything else in life: you choose the trade-off you can live with most!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BOM 3 - Jan & Feb

Now, this is kind of a cheater, because I actually finished both of these last month. They're sure gorgeous, though!

From McKenna Ryan's Sea Breeze, my manatee and pelican friends:



I haven't decided if I want to set these as individual mini-quilts like you see on the pattern package (I'm doing the 9) or if I want to assemble them into a unified top. In the meantime, I'm such a quilt nerd that - yes, I did! - I pinned them to the wall!

January and February BOMs 1 - 2

I have to play a little catch-up with my blogging, so I'll just list the BOM blocks I stitched last month with the coordinating BOMs for this month.

First, we have the blocks for Flying Needles Quilt Guild. At our general meeting, if you turn in a block, you get a ticket and the winner of the draw gets to take all the blocks home! (Fun stuff!) I make my blocks in triplicate: One to turn in, one to keep for a complete theme quilt at the end of the year, and one to turn in to Ginger for the guild's Quilts of Valor efforts (since these are in Americana colors, why not!?)

Sharon is running the BOM function this year, and she had the greatest idea for a theme. 2011 is the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, so she's chosen 12 star patterns that relate to the theme. In January, we sewed Rising Star blocks, which signified Thomas Paine's best-seller Common Sense. This appeared in January 1776, after the fighting had started. The pamphlet was widely distributed and loaned, and often read aloud in taverns. It contributed significantly to spreading the ideas of republicanism and liberalism, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army.

Incidentally, New Hampshire was a rising star, itself - as it adopted a state constitution in January 1776 – 6 months before the Declaration of Independence!


February's block is pretty self-explanatory: Washington's Star



BOM #2 - Linda's Swap Adventure

Linda organized this swap group through the blogger world, and I'm having a blast with it. The first block was made for my January partner, Mary in Canada. The other two blocks were sewn today for my February partner, Sylvia in Australia:











Speaking of which - Here are the blocks I've received from Mary and Sylvia!