Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Stash: On Easy Street!

Each year, Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville blog designs and hosts a new mystery quilt.

This year, she decided to give her followers a break and make the mystery a little easier than those of the past two years.  This year, we'll all be on

I distracted myself from My Little Sailor leaving by collecting the fabrics for this mystery.

I had enough apple green:

 And (mostly) enough teal/turquoise:

 But I was short on purple:

And I'd used up most of my black on white fabric for the Fall "Block a Day" challenge:

I had a grey for the background, but decided it wasn't quite the right color.

So to cheer myself up, I made a quick trip to Ruth's Stitchery to fill out the fabric requirements for Easy Street!

Now I have all my fabrics stored in this (apple green!) plastic bin, ready for the mystery launch next Friday.  Who wants to shop Black Friday when there is a mystery quilt to begin?

Go here to read the details on Bonnie's newest mystery.  Start collecting your fabrics, only one week 'til we're all visiting Easy Street!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Finished Friday: 8/30

Can you believe I'm still on track to quilt and bind 30 quilts in 60 days?  My friend asked how I've stayed up to speed with My Little Sailor at home.  Umm -- I mostly quilted small quilts!

Here are my two latest:

Jelly Filled is from 2011,  made with a "Me and My Sister Designs" jelly roll, "Happy."

Couldn't resist the "Lady Diana" shot!

This one doesn't have a home as yet.  My plan is to fill a shelf with "ready to hand off" quilts, and this is the first one on the shelf!

Our kitten, Domino, loves to sit on DH's lap while he is watching news shows on TV.  She won't sit on bare legs, so I quilted and bound "Square Foot Gardening" for her.  All my cats have "food names," e.g. "Marmalade," "Chutney," and "Chocolate Mousse."  When we got Domino, I asked the neighbor girls what food name we could use for a black and white kitty that wasn't "Oreo."  Alyssa suggested "Domino," because dominos are black and white, and Dominos is our favorite pizza!

You can see the "philodendron leaves" quilting design I used.  "Square Foot Gardening" is my original design for Sunday is for Scraps.

Notice the blue suede shoes?  I put the label on the right side of this quilt, because DH was the first one to notice the typo on my labels:

Tomorrow is Front Range Modern Quilt Guild -- I'll be back next week with photos of our ornament exchange!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday: 30 Quilts in 60 Days

I'm still on track!  Today is the 14th of November, and I've quilted 7 quilts and bound 6.

Here are the next two of my 30 quilts in 60 days.

First, "Cherish Nature," the largest quilt I have quilted.  I quilted an all-over loops and swirls design using a teal "Omni" thread from Superior Threads:

It took both guys to hold this one over the edge of the deck so I could photograph it!

The next "finish" is hanging in my kitchen.  "Dimestore" is a Schnibbles pattern by Carrie Nelson.  My Little Sailor held up his Kindle so you can judge the size of this quilt.  I quilted it on my Juki (Zippy) using white Omni thread at 1/4" away from each seam.

Not a quilt, but displayed in my kitchen next to "Dimestore," I just think these plates are funny.  Misplaced apostrophes make me crazy!

I bought them here.  It's a little hard to read the bottom plate -- the rule is, "it's" means "it is."  "Its" means "belongs to."  Don't you cringe every time you read a blog post with grammar mistakes?

Linking up to "WIP Wednesday" at Freshly Pieced:

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Braid in a Day QAL Tuesday Tute

How progresses your Braid in a Day quilt?  If you noticed, I took a couple of weeks off to enjoy visiting with My Little Sailor.  He's heading back to Japan now, so it's time to get back to work on our QAL.

By now, your top might be pieced and you're ready to quilt your quilt.  This is the exciting part, it's becoming a real quilt!

I quilted my Braid quilt on Meggie, my longarm MegaQuilter.  But this tutorial assumes you do not have your own longarm, and will quilt your quilt on your home machine.  The sample I'm using for this tutorial is a Schnibbles quilt, "Dimestore."  So don't panic if it doesn't look like your quilt!

1.  Backing and Batting
The first step is to cut your backing and batting.  You may have to piece your backing, and that is perfectly OK.  This is a good way to use up leftover fabrics.  You can piece your batting too.  (Hmm, good idea for a future tutorial.)

Lay out the backing wrong side up on your cutting table, dining room table, floor or bed.  Smooth the batting over top of the backing, then add the quilt top right side up.

2.  Secure the layers
To machine quilt your quilt, you need to secure the layers.  There are several ways to do this:  pin, safety pin, or use spray basting.

Many quilters use safety pins to baste their quilts.  They come in different sizes, and some are curved to make it easier to close.

You can buy this nifty tool to help you close the safety pins:

Use the metal tip of the "Kwik Klip" to hold the pointy side of the safety pin when you're closing the pin.  Much easier on the fingernails!

If I'm quilting a very small project, I use long straight pins.  Be careful -- they are sharp!

I prefer to use a basting spray.  Again, there are several brands:

I like the heat set adhesive, I think it holds better.

Fold back half of the top two layers (quilt top and batting) and lightly spray the batting.  Be sure the room where you're working is well-ventilated.  If you're doing a really big quilt, you might consider doing this step outside.

When you've sprayed both halves of the backing layer, repeat to secure the quilt top:

If using heat set spray, press with a warm iron set to steam (or follow the directions on the can):

3.  Set up the machine
Next, set up your machine for quilting.  If you have a walking foot, this is the time to attach it.  It is possible to quilt without a walking foot, so don't think you have to shell out $90 for a walking foot just to finish this quilt.  If you don't have a walking foot, be sure to baste closely.  If using pins, pin every 4-5 inches.

Set the stitch length longer than use for piecing.  Experiment to see what stitch length you prefer.  I set mine at 3 (about 6-8 stitches per inch):

Test your stitching on a scrap of batting between two layers of fabric.  You may need to fiddle with the tension:

4.  Handling the quilt
Handling a large quilt while machine quilting can be difficult.  You can buy "bicycle clips" to keep the quilt rolled up while stitching (or snag them from your bicycle-riding teenager or husband):

Roll the edge of the quilt that will be in the "harp" of your sewing machine and slip the bicycle clip (or two or three) over the rolled edge:

Fold the front of the quilt a couple of times so it will fit in your lap.  If your quilt is really big, you may need to hold the rolled edge on your shoulder:

 I'm stitching 1/4" away from each seam on this quilt, using the edge of my walking foot as a guide.  Place your hands like this to control the fabric:

Stitch along one seam in one direction, then turn the quilt and stitch the next row in the opposite direction.  This will help keep the layers from shifting.

If you're doing a large quilt, don't try to quilt the entire thing in one sitting.  Set your kitchen timer for 23 minutes, and when it buzzes, get up and move around.

5.  Stand back and admire!
Soon you'll have your quilt quilted, and you can stand back and admire your work!

It's hard to see the white stitching on the white background, so here's a closeup:

Next week, we'll review Susie's Magic Binding and some ideas for a label for our Braid in a Day.  

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, November 12, 2012

100 Blocks Winner

I almost forgot about the blog this weekend.  We celebrated Thanksgiving while My Little Sailor was home yesterday, along with Elder Son and Lovely Girlfriend (LG).  I was so proud to see MLS light the chalice at church while wearing his dress blues.  Not a dry eye in the house when the Religious Education Director read a story about a Daddy going on deployment, and his son making him a hug to take along.

I did remember you, however, and the "true Random Number Generator" has spoken.  The winner of my extra copy of "100 Blocks vol. 6" is:

Who turns out to be from Germany!

Ratama needs a "My Little Sailor" to nag her into completing the "About Me" entry on blogger.  But I can tell you, she is doing the Craftsy Block of the Month, and learning to free motion quilt!  She blogs at My World and lucky for me, has included a "translate" button on her blog!

As you can see, Ratama liked the "Happy Puppy" block AND the batik "Shortcut" block.  I think she should have both, don't you?

Ratama, send me your postal address and I'll get your magazine and blocks off to you in Germany this week!

My Little Sailor returns to Japan later this week, so blog posts will be scarce. In the meanwhile, I am researching different solid-colored fabrics to recommend to my Local Quilt Shop.  What is your favorite when you want a solid fabric?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature