Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Years Resolution Time!

         It's that time again, it's that time again, it's that wonderful holiday time again! Actually, I guess the holidays are officially over so I take that back... but I think there is still time for me to set the new year in motion of my resolution. I am not very good at keeping my resolutions but I there is a first time for everything! Since starting my first teaching job in September I have been terrible at posting and updating and (as much as I hate to admit it) actually sewing. I get a few small things done here and there but nothing major and that has made me sad. So, for my 2015 new years resolution I vow to not let me passion for quilting get totally pushed to the wayside. I want to continue to create! Even when I feel like I am too tired to accomplish anything. This probably means for hand projects... or finishing the ones I've had in the works for a while... I would also like to continue posting on this here blog more than once every 3 months for sure!
        On that front I have some catching up to do. I did make a few things that I deemed blog worthy over the past few months. Of course that means I now have to dig up some photos...

Ok, just a second....

I know they are here somewhere....

I think I've got something......

Ah Ha! Here we go!

Photo: Finished my badass quilter bag :) #dailyfmq making the most of my weekend!!!
       So when we last left off I posted about our trip down to see all the wonderful quilts at the Portland Sewing Expo. I am still in awe of so many of those wonderful quilts! Well shortly before heading to the expo I got inspired by a group of self proclaimed "Badass Quilters" and decided that I myself might qualify, or at least I could pretend that I qualified and as such needed some sort of method to proclaim this to the world. So I made a bag! I used sharpie to draw and shade my big letters and then quilted the hell out of it. I now carry it with me to all quilting related events.

Photo: Feels good to finish something again! Now to get it quilted.... Eventually....   


After completing the bag I took a bit of a break and then jumped on a project that I picked out at Island Quilter during the summer. While I still love all of the fabrics on their own I am not sure how I feel about them all put together... I am a little disappointed to be honest. I think once it's quilted I will be more happy with it... whenever that is...hah!


      I also started quilting a repurposed challenge quilt that I started working on earlier this year. I completely missed the deadline for the challenge but mine wouldn't have held a candle to the ones that won. They are incredible! I've made a bit more progress since this was taken. I will try to post some more pictures soon...


As December grew closer and closer I started to remember that I had agreed to show my quilts at the Artist Studio Tour on Vashon Island. I also started to realize that I had barely any inventory prepared... I tried to whip out a few small things and actually finished another version of my "Come Sail Away" quilt. I almost like how this one came out a little more than my first version... I like the proportions of the central ship to the rope/anchor and tentacles. I have now completed 4 projects with this image, I think it might be time to put it away for a while.

Photo: Weekend art studio tour! Not a lot to sell but fun stuff to show :)   

        Here is a shot of part of my set up on the studio tour. The lighting wasn't great and I used my phone so it's not a great photo but that's alright. "The Pandorica Opens" (Exploding Tardis) drew a lot of attention which was really neat. It was published in the brochure as the image for our studio and people came by the studio just to see it!!!

Photo: All done! Now to figure out what to do with it...

        Finally, at the start of my two week break, I started working on an English paper piecing project from a year and a half ago. I pieced them all together and then had to figure out how to use them. I figured that this was as good a time as any to tackle the "Sew Together" bag. I would need a small sewing project bag for our trip down to Florida and the "Sew Together" bag is just so dang cute.

        I like it so much I might need to make another.... just maybe not quite yet! That is one complicated pattern! Ok maybe not all that complicated but it certainly seemed like it after 6 hours of sewing. I am just glad I had so many opportunities to see the completed bags made by my guild mates. They all did such a wonderful job on their bags.


        As you can see, my brand new bag is packed full of more English paper piecing papers and fabric. I prepped all of those squares while in Florida and promptly prepped more when I got home. I am still not entirely sure what I am going to do with them (or how I will store them) but I am having fun researching ideas. I am thinking diamonds.

Ok, almost done.... one last story. While hunting for storage for my hexies I came across a project I started years ago. I thought to myself, "lets start this year off right and check at least one thing off my list." I laid it all out on the floor and was fairly pleased with the arrangement.

Just then my husband made known his desire for dinner and, as he has been quite sick, I obliged. I was in the kitchen for just over 5 minutes.... and of course a lot can go wrong in 5 minutes.... Unbeknownst to me my cat had found my freshly arrange top... and had her way with it. Be prepared, the following picture is not for the faint of quilty heart.

Photo: And I turn my for 5 minutes! You evil kitty! #catproblems

          I was devastated! I thought I'd never quilt again! All hyperbole aside I was fairly upset. I kicked her out of the room and proceeded to arrange it as close as possible to how it had been. I don't think I got it quite right... (the first picture is actually my "after" pic but the story works better this way! Hah!) but I like it well enough. I then returned it to its box.  Maybe that's what I will do tonight?

         And that's all I got for ya! Happy Quilting!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Northwest Quilting Expo

        Last Saturday I had the a wonderful opportunity to attend the Northwest Quilting Expo where two of my quilts were on display! It was a long day but an awesome one all together. My mother hopped on a ferry at about 6:50 and booked in over to my house so that we could meet up with some other gals at a near by park and ride. We all piled into the car at about 7:45 and off we went! It was a bit of a drive to Portland but the time flew by quickly and before we knew it we were pulling into the expo hall parking lot. After purchasing out tickets and passing through the doors of the hall we were greeted with an overwhelming sight of color and craftsmanship.

        We decided to explore the expo row by row but I was anxious to find my quilts. I started out with my eyes peeled and nearly held my breath around every corner. Of course my quilts were among the last few rows so it took a while to get there and I was quickly distracted by all of the other beautiful quilts haha.

        I got so see one of my favorite quilts from Pinterest! I have been obsessed with this quilt since I found it over a year ago. This quilt held one of the images that inspired my own quilted ship that was hanging in the show! It was so cool to see it up close and really look at the quilting. I later found out that the image was a painting commissioned by the Oregon Coastal Quilters Guild which was then turned into a panel to be sold. This was of course a few years ago and all of the panels are likely gone but I still hold a tiny hope that I might be able to buy one somehow :)

        I was stopped in my tracks by this beautiful quilt! The detail of the background is incredible and the feathers of the rooster are way too cool. I stared at this beauty for a while before even having the thought of taking a picture. 

        Look at the feathers!!! JUST LOOK! They are so cool! Each feather was fused and cut out around a designs. I think the big gold feathers were once a piece of bamboo batik and the little ones are either smaller printed leaves or an actual feather design. Either way this quilt is amazing! I wanted to take it home and just stare at it some more. 

        This one was definitely done by a quilter after my own heart! That horse is beautiful and those feathers pop out so nicely. And guess what! It was hanging right by one of my quilts!!!

        It was really fun to see my quilts hanging among so many gorgeous pieces of art. It was also really fun to stand back while "admiring" another quilt and listen to the comments of other viewers... hah! It's hard to tell but this one is super sparkly. It is covered in hot fix crystals. 

         My other quilt was one row over and further down but I found it eventually. I think that gorgeous bird of paradise applique piece next door stole the show but that's ok :) I heard some lovely comments about both my quilts and that made my heart soar. 

        After taking off from the show we headed to several quilt shops around town. I spent under twenty dollars on fabric! I can't believe how much restraint I was able to conjure up. Of course it was hard to turn down some lovely Tula Pink that I cam across. I ended up coming home with some cute Viking fabric and two pieces of Tula Pink to add to my slowly growing collection. After hitting up Fabric Depot (which was chaos and totally awesome) we were back on the road for home, pulling into the park and ride around 8 pm. The trip was quick and totally packed full of quilty goodness. 
        A few days after the show ended I received a box with my neatly packaged quilts, a few participant ribbons and some very nice notes from the judges.

       All in all it was a very fun weekend!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Long Awaited Swoopy Geese Tutorial: Part 2! The One About Paper Piecing!

        It's been about a month since my post about the swoopy flying geese and so I deem it time to finish up out tutorial! Also it's a Sunday so I actually have the time and energy to blog :) This whole teaching thing is tiring!

        Before I get started I have to apologize to the ladies at the Tacoma MQG. I forgot to mention something at the meeting on Thursday. When I prepared my finished flying geese paper piecing panel I traced the design onto a piece of tracing paper then turned it over and stitched along the lines that showed through the paper. This allowed the finished panel to look exactly the same as my patter. Once again I apologize if this caused any confusion or made me look a bit crazy to those of you who noticed :)

        Alright! So last time we ended with a fully designed pattern, complete with 1/4 inch seam allowance. From here I suggested either scanning and printing another copy of your pattern or tracing the individual parts onto a different piece of paper. I always keep my original pattern that I can make another copy if I accidentally make a mistake...
Which never happens.... ever... not even once.... ;) 

        When I first started making my own paper piecing patterns I would use regular computer paper (as pictured below) for my outside curve templates. I would simply pin the paper to the fabric and try to cut as accurately as possible. More recently I started using freezer paper for those templates. It's not necessary but it is much easier to use as a guide and it made my edges much more accurate.

        Alright! Lets get started!!! For the actual paper piecing portion of this pattern you will need a few things:
  • Scraps for your geese: The don't actually have to be scraps but they do have to be at least 1/4 inch bigger than their intended triangle on all sides. I take a strip of my favorite fabric and cut out rectangles and are bigger than my geese. It may be a tad wasteful but paper piecing usually is... So, if that bottom goose is approximately 2" x 1" I would use a rectangle that is 2.5" x 1.5". You get the idea :)
  • Background fabric
    • Triangles for your background: You can use various sizes of triangles so that you are not wasting too much fabric. I started with a 3" square cut in half diagonally for the first two rows, a 2.5" square cut in half diagonally for the next two. The remaining triangles were 2" squares cut in half diagonally. Once the triangle is sewn and flipped it must cover all of the seam allowance. If there is paper visible on the front once the goose has been pressed you will need a bigger triangle. 
    • Remaining background pieces will be cut from template created in part 1
  • Sewing machine: Use a new needle as older dull ones may have problems going through the paper (printer paper especially, tracing paper isn't as much of an issue). Set your stitch length to a smaller stitch. I use either 1.8 or 2.0 instead of my machines default of 2.5. Either way you don't want the stitches too small that they will be a pain to tear out if necessary. 
  • Iron
  • Rotary Cutter, Ruler, and Mat 
Here We GO!

Step 1:  For this project your will start your paper piecing on the side with the bottom of the triangle. In other words the side with the longest unbroken straight edge. 

  • If you are using tracing paper like me, turn your paper over so that the drawn lines are against the wrong side of the fabric. You will be sewing along the lines seen through the back of the paper. 
  • If you are using a direct copy you will be sewing directly on your printed/traced lines so the fabric will all be arranged on the back of your pattern. This will create the reverse image of your pattern. 
Align your first goose rectangle with the bottom edge of the paper so that it covers all the seam allowance (piece 1). Next, with your pattern held to the light, try to arrange the background triangle (piece 2) right sides together so that the long bias edge overlaps the line of stitching by at least a 1/4 inch. Pin in place but make sure the pin does not cross or come close to the line of stitching.

Step 2: Turn your pattern over and stitch along the drawn line between pieces 1 and 2, back stitching at the beginning in the seam allowance and at the end near the point. Make sure your line of stitching goes all the way to the edge of the seam allowance but do not go past the end of the line at the point of the goose. Trim your thread tails.

Step 3: Fold back the paper along the line of stitching and trim overlapping fabric back to 1/4 inch.

Step 4: Unfold paper and press to set the seam then press flip and press triangle out.

Step 5: Take your next background triangle repeat the process of lining up, stitching, cutting and pressing. 

Step 6: Once you have one completed goose grab another scrap that can extend all the way across your pattern. With right sides together, align the scrap with the line between goose one and goose two (pieces 1/2/3 and piece 4) so that it overlaps the line by at least 1/4 inch. Turn the pattern over and stitch in place. Repeat process until until all the geese are complete. 

Step 7: Sew a line of stitching slightly within the outer edge of the total seam allowance of the flying geese panel and trim away excess fabric. 

Step 8: Cut out remains background pieces using templates.
  • If you used tracing paper to create an exact copy of your pattern, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the front of your background fabric. 
  • If you are using a printed exact copy, pin (or press your freezer paper) template to the back of your background fabric. 
Freezer paper pressed to front of background fabric

Step 9: Cut out around your template. Top piece demonstrates regular curved piecing by machine, bottom demonstrates optional turned curved piecing. If you don't like machine stitching curved seams hang tight! I will explain that method at the end. 

Step 10: With right sides together, pin seam thoroughly and stitch together. 

Step 11: Press to set the seam then press open! Repeat with other side! Trim if necessary. 

Optional Turned Curved Seams!!!

As long as they are properly pinned curved seams are fairly easy to do. If you hate curved seams and want to try something different this may be the way to go.

        Take another look at the bottom background piece. You may have noticed that the freezer paper template was cut out without the curved seam allowance. This is definitely on purpose :)

Step 1: Stitch along the outside edge of the freezer paper to create a line between what will become the finished background piece and the seam allowance.

Step 2: Remove the freezer paper and carefully press the seam allowance in using the stitched line as a guide. The goal is to make the stitched line invisible.

Step 3: Pin the turned down curved edge along the edge of your finished paper pieced panel.

Step 4: Hand stitch or top stitch with your machine along the folded edge to finished up your block.

Step 5: Finish up your block by trimming down if necessary. 

And there you have it! Your very own paper pieced flying geese pattern. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Big Changes!!!

        Well this post will likely be a bit boring as is not about quilting and roughly a paragraph long. I got some great news this week that will mean big changes for me in the near future!

Wait for it...

Keep waiting...


        I can't believe how excited I am! And nervous! Although I think everybody feels this way when they start out... Anyways, I start in a week and a half and I am already planning out music lessons and thinking about how I will make the room my own!

        Anyways, here is a quilted ship to keep you happy until my next quilty blog post ;)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Long Awaited Swoopy Geese Tutorial!

        A while ago, I shared a picture of one of my first swoopy geese projects and mentioned that I might write up a tutorial but then promptly forgot about it... Well the time has come to make good, here is the long awaited swoopy geese tutorial in all of its swoopy glory!

        Or perhaps not so long awaited? Anyways I am writing today for all my friends in the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild hoping that this tutorial will provide a bit more insight to the whirlwind that is my design process. So, lets get started!    

Please Note! Unless you plan otherwise, the you will actually be designing the reverse side of the block. The finished block will be a mirror image of your pattern! (Sorry guys, I forgot to mention this at the meeting). If you have a specific design that needs to be oriented one way or another you might want to draw the general shape out correctly, then trace it onto the back of the same sheet of paper and work from there or use a computer to reverse the image.  

Edit (9/28/2014) During my demonstration at the September meeting of the TMQG I forgot to mention that I traced my design onto tracing paper and stitched on the back (as the lines were clearly visible). As a result my finished flying geese pattern looked the same as my pattern!

  • Paper: either plain or graph paper works. I like 1/4 inch graph paper best!
  • Clear Ruler: I picked up my mini 5"x 1" for exactly this purpose but it isn't necessary, any clear ruler will work. A regular straight edge ruler would also work however it might require a bit more measuring.
  • Pen and Pencil: I like end up doing a lot of tracing so my original lines need to be dark enough to see though another layer of paper. 
  • Tracing Paper (Optional): Makes good paper piecing paper because it is so thin. 

Step 1:

Draw the shape of your block without seem allowance. This will be the shape and size of your finished block. Mine is 8" x 6".

Step 2:

Draw the overall shape of your swooping geese. They can be really curvy or only slightly curvy. It can also narrow at the end or it can maintain an even width.

Step 3:

Divide your swoopy curve into individual geese. You can use your ruler to achieve straight lines. I sometimes find it faster to estimate straight lines. This however isn't always as accurate.

Step 4:

Once the you have your individual geese blocked off begin to draw in your triangles. Once again you can use your ruler to measure the exact center of each line and draw the wing of your goose. I like to start by drawing one side of all my geese...

Then filling in the other side.

Step 5:

Once you have the (reversed) pattern of your block you will start to draw in your seam allowances. Add a quarter in to the outside edge of your pattern. Quarter inch graph paper makes this step easy since you can simply add a square without needed to measure with the ruler.

Step 6:

Using the clear ruler draw in your seam allowance along the outside of the swoopy geese. This will be the seam allowance for the swoopy geese paper piecing panel.

Step 7:

Finally draw in the seam allowance for the curved edges of the top and bottom background pieces. I used a dashed line for this seam allowance marking so that I wouldn't be confused by it while piecing the central panel.

Step 8:

At this point you have several options: you can copy and print 2 copies of your pattern to cut out and use or you can trace or print the pieces of your pattern onto other types of paper.

In the picture above I chose to make one copy of the patter and trace the patter piecing panel onto tracing paper.

Here is what the pattern looks like all cut out. Because I traced the patter piecing panel onto tracing paper I don't have to worry about any dashed lines. The tracing paper is easier to sew through and much easier to tear away. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of "Swoopy Geese" entitled "The One About Paper Piecing" in which I will talk about how to paper piece your swoopy geese (duh) and a few ways to piece you curved seams including curved seam piecing with freeze paper! How fun!