Sunday, January 30, 2011

First month of blogging

Blogging has been so rewarding.  I was hoping the blog would help motivate me to keep quilting.  With the house super busy and work super busy it was quite easy to come home and just sit and watch TV all evening.  It was not the way I wanted to be.  I want my quilting skills to continue to build.  This first month has really helped me.  I went to the Indianapolis Quilt Guild meeting and it was great, got my sewing room back, did Friday Night Sew In and yesterday went to my first Indianapolis Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  I also got all the block done for my niece's quilts, now I just need to get a few sashing pieces cut and sewn in and then on to the quilt backs.

January I got through my past quilting history through the end of 2009.  I only have a few more past projects and then I can move onto current work.  Thanks to everyone who as stopped by.

Happy Quilting

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another class and workshop

I can't remember which of these came first but both were classes I did while finishing Grandma's quilt.  Both were taken last year and tons of fun.

I'll start with the quilt shop class. 
While at FNF (Friday Night Finishers) I see a really fun quilt hanging.  The design was quite modern and the class would be coming up soon.  Since attending FNF at Quilts Plus I had been wanting to take some classes.  The always have amazing quilts hanging up.  For some reason this one seemed like a good one to start with.  The pattern is Town Square and very modern and clean.  It matches the way we live much better than my first quilt.  So I decide to make it and it could hang downstairs.  At FNF T. and I go out to the shop for fabric for the class.  I find this really great purple floral piece.  We go find some great batiks that really match this focus fabric.  I go to class with these great fabrics, which are really all quite medium tones.  The pattern is very clear about having a light, a medium and a dark.  If you look at the pattern you can see the light serves as a great background to the medium and the dark, letting those squares really pop.  The instructor was great and taught us to make the quilt using strip piecing, which was different the pattern directions.  It was amazing how quick it went together.  By the end of the 2 or maybe 3 hour class I had nearly all the 12 blocks complete.  Once home I was able to finish the unfinished block very quickly.  Looking over the size I decided I only needed 6 of the block to hang the quilt where I thought it would look best.  I gave the other 6 blocks to my sister.  

Now to the workshop.  
It was another wonderful guild workshop this time by Debbie Bowles.  I know this happened in October 2009 because it was the same month as the guild's quilt show.  So with that I really think this was the second of these two quilt tops.  We did her pattern Eureka, which you can find on her website.  It was a fun class, not nearly as packed as the 1st workshop I attended.  Debbie Bowles was really nice and had some great tips on curved piecing.  At lunch since the class was small we all sat around one large circle table and ate and chatted together.  The fabric I used was Chasing Rainbows by Robert Kaufman.  This fabric was probably the first bit of fabric I brought after getting the ones for the first quilt top.  I loved these fabric.  While taking the workshop, nearly everyone else was using very soft colors and I had these bold, dark ones,I felt like I was making the darkest, ugliest quilt ever.  Once everything was put together I started loving the fabric again.  

Now both of these tops still need borders.  With the town square quilt I really thought I would use the floral fabric but now that doesn't seem like a good choice.  The eureka quilt I finally did pick out fabric for it and it's more chasing rainbows fabric.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to post these quilts as finished quilts and not just tops but for now it's fun to look back at 2 classes that happened just a little over 1 year ago. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wonderful give away

I just came across this giveaway while reading a few blogs.  I love this fabric.  Enter Here  Good Luck everyone.

Grandma's quilt- finishing it

Working on Grandma's quilt was quite fun.  Most of it was finished at Quilts Plus a local quilt store during Friday Night Finishers.  It was a fun group of ladies that got together once or twice a month on Friday evening to work on quilts and chat.  A few other projects got thrown in while working on this quilt.  One day T. needed to head over to a member of the guild's house to sign up her quilts in the local show.  She asked if I wanted to come along with her.  I should mention this was on the very last day to sign a quilt up for the show.  Once at the house T says you should sign up your quilt.  I say no it is not that close to finished but with both T. and J's encouragement I agreed.  I had to pick out a name and guess at the size.  I pick out Grandma's serenity, since I was still thinking spa quilt.  I had to leave blank the space on who would quilt it.  There was no way I had time to finish the quilt and learn to machine quilt it in time.  The next day I am on the phone trying to see if someone will quilt it for me.  After 2 or 3 too busy answers I thought there was no chance this is going to happen.  Then S mentions Kathy I call her and she agrees to fit me in.  That was it I needed to finish.  I worked as hard as I could and in about 1 week I had it ready.  I really thought I would lay the blocks out different and play around with it more but time was pressed and I followed the pattern lay out in the book.  Once it was put together I saw how much fun this quilt was and I thought I have picked the wrong name the quilt should be beach party or something like that.  I head over to Kathy's house to drop the quilt off.  We talk over what I am thinking about and she had a new pattern she had not tried called beach party and I knew that was the one.  We looked at thread and agreed a nice light aqua blue would look great.  I relaxed and knew my quilt was in great hands.
About 2 or so weeks later I get my quilt back.  I head to T's apartment and we talk about the binding.  I decide to make a pieced binding well because I had enough taupe piece left over and didn't go to the store and pick up enough of one color.  I really liked the way the pieced binding looked and did my first bit of hand sewing putting on the binding.  T helped me put it on and her stitches looked so much better than mine but by the end of putting on the binding I could certainly see improvements and as much as I dreaded the hand work it turns out I love it.  It was so nice sitting on the couch and still be stitching away.  The quilt was done label and all.  I put the quilt in a pillowcase and turn it in for the show.
A few days later we head to school where the show was and I got a chance to see my first finished quilt hanging up.  I even heard a few ladies say they liked my quilt!  I walked about and saw some amazing quilts.  I was glad my quilt got finished and was able to hang with all the others.
A bit later my sister took the quilt with her to my Grandma's.  She loves it and it really matches well in her living room.    It was quite a quick finish but I am really glad it all came together.

Happy Quilting

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday Night Sewing

This is my first post showing some current work.  I thought at first getting memories out about past projects was a great idea.  I just started quilting a couple of years ago and reading a few Jennifer Chiaverini books made me think I should put these memories in a blog.  I'll still be doing that but came across Friday Night Sew In while reading some other quilting blogs.  It sounded like a great plan.  Last night dinner was over and I was hoping to get right into sewing.  That didn't happen, one of the kids was sick and needed extra hugs and care.  Once the kids were all in bed I watch an hour of TV and then headed up to the sewing room.  The sewing room is right next to the kids bedroom and I really wanted to make sure they were asleep before I started the sewing machine.  I am certainly glad I got some sewing in last night.
I worked on some half square triangle block for the guild's half square triangle exchange.  The pattern I picked out needs 96 half square triangle and I now have 112 ready to exchange!

 That is the paper I used.
 A look all everything laid out.
A closer look at the triangle, which need to be left closed as a surprise for the exchange. And next a pick inside.  The two batiks open are from the first sheet I sewed which I cut wrong and messed up two squares.

Before sewing you cut fabric into 6 1/2 by 21 inch strips.  Next picture is a look at the paper with fabric pinned and at look at the fabric.

And the final thing is a layer cake BOM which my friend S is doing on her blog steph-notices
I am using moda Sunkissed by Sweetwater
Over all I am very happy with last nights work.  I am so glad I found out about Friday Night Sew In.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friday Night Sew IN

I'm going to join in.  I'm excited to try this on the very first month of my blog starting.  If anyone else wants to join I believe there is still time.  I'm not sure how to post the button yet so here's the link to Handmade by Heidi's blog.
 Friday Night Sew In

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grandma's quilt - the class

At this point in my quilting life I had been going over to T.'s apartment and taken the workshop both of these are things I did with professional quilters even with that I was quite nervous about my first class at a store.  I was still really new and at this point still nervous about my sewing machine, I still make tons of mistakes but back then mistakes were the only way I did it.  I arrived a bit early for class and find out there are 3 taking the class.  I spend some time talking with the teacher and really she was very nice.  She had moved here from the East coast and did long arm quilting as well.  A little after when class should start the other two come in.  They are clearly friends and had to rush in coming straight from work.  It didn't take long to find out one sells Husqvarna Viking sewing machines and the other had just bought an expensive one from her.  The other two had very fun bright colors, one orange and purple and the other pink and yellow.  I was of course working with taupe and blue, not at all bright and fun. 
Class starts and we start cutting all the fabric into strips.  I was quite slower than the other 2, they could chat and cut and I had to focus.  Once some strips were cut we started sewing them together.  The teach was able to give some tips, one I remember is not to put really thin ones at the edges because with the seam it is really hard to quilt over such thick spots.  After sewing a few together she shows us how to cut them into blocks then how to cut those blocks in half.  One advantage I did have is the book called for an 8 1/2 inch square ruler, I looked all around for this ruler and another local quilt store had it so I picked it up.  Then I read her supply list for class and it called for a 9 1/2 inch ruler.  I went out and got that size as well.  Since I had the 8 1/2 inch ruler cutting my squares was super fast. So by the end of class I have really been able keep up with the other two. The first class is over and we have homework to finish sewing, cutting blocks and then cutting those in half.  Next class we will start putting them together.  
This was a hard week for me.  I tried hard and sewed often but still didn't have everything done.  I did try and get quite a few of each variety ready that way if she had any tips on the different style blocks I would be ready. The one lady in class that sell machines had all hers done and the other was a bit behind me so all in all I was happy with my progress.  In class we started putting blocks together and I was able to get quite a few done.  We looked over the class sample and she talked about putting it all together and how she quilted hers.  Class was over and really for just 2 weeks of work I was quite impressed with all I had done.  The quilt was still far from finished but really knowing how long I worked on the first quilt top the amount finished at this point was amazing.  The class was so much fun and getting know a few others in the quilting community was great.  I wish I could remember names because I still see the lady that sells machines at Jo Anns and would love talk to her but my shyness always kicks in and I never go up to her and introduce myself.  I am certainly glad I took another leap and signed up for class.  Here's a look at some of the work finished during this class.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grandma's quilt- picking out the fabric

The next project I was going to work on was one I had given lots of thought to.  At first I was really certain it would be quilts for my nieces and not yet born nephew.  I started quilting in November and in January one of my favorite quilt stores had a super bowl sale.  I went and got fabric for these quilts so I was certain they would be next.  Then one day it hit me, probably because my grandfather passed away, I need to make quilts for my grandparents first.  Chances are good the kids can wait.  Now my mind is racing on what I should make.  One day I go to another favorite quilt shop that is now closed :(  It was Quiltmakers and hard to believe but I drove past this store so many times and payed no attention to it before I started quilting.  In the store I see these amazing Japanese taupe fabrics.  I know these are the perfect ones for my Grandma.  I buy about 10 different ones and now I just need a pattern, the right one for my Grandma.
I go back to Quiltmakers and see an amazing quilt hanging right in the middle of the store.  It's fun pinks, reds and lime green and sure enough they are teaching this one.  I think about it for a couple of days and talk it over with T.  I tell her I think my next quilt will be a strata quilt and she thinks it is probably a good choice and mentions that for one of those quilts I will need about 30 fat quarters. Of course I only have about 10 and thought I was right on track. I go back to the store,  knowing this is a great choice for Grandma.  I ask the ladies working if this is an okay class for a beginner and will the teacher be okay with a beginner in class.  They both agree that it will be quite alright for me to be in the class.  The pattern is Sweet and Sour from StrataVarious by Barbara Persing & Mary Hoover.
Now to picking out fabric.  T. was of course correct I needed 20 for the main color (pink in the book) and 12 of the second color (green in the book).  I'm in the store trying to decide do I make the pink and green one that I love so much or do I make a taupe one and if so what color should I put with it.  I can not think of what color to put with taupe that my Grandma will like.  Pink not for my grandmother, green doesn't seem right either, blue seems right but taupe and blue that seems quite boring.  After a long time in the store I finally decide taupe and teal blue.  It will have a great spa look, I think.  I start picking out fabrics and as T. has been telling me since probably day one I need light, mediums and darks.  But this is the first time I am really working on it.  I think I'm picking out light, medium and dark and the lady at the store is telling me I am not.  She goes and picks out a white taupe and a black one and tells me to fill in the rest, she'll be there if I need any help.  It's the first time I get the idea that light is light not just a light medium color and dark is well dark not just slightly darker than the medium.  Now I'm back to work picking out all these taupes and then onto teal blue.  It was quite easy to see why many quilters don't use really light and really dark, it is quite hard to find the right one.  There were tons of medium values but it was really hard finding the right ones to fill in the further you got away from medium.  I finally get ones I'm quite happy with and other customers seem to like them as well.  I buy my fabric and the book and I'm quite excited for class to start.
Here's a look at some of the taupe's.      

Friday, January 7, 2011

First QGI workshop

I can't remember exactly the date of this workshop.  What I do know is it was certainly while I was working on my first quilt top.  I imagine I had finished the middle nine patch.  Once though that section I learned quite a lot.  My nine patches were improving and I was feeling quite good about things.  My quilt teacher, I've been calling her S.B. and I'll now use T. (S.B. just looks mean to me), says we should take the Billie Lauder workshop.  Of course not knowing any better I agree.  It was a 60 degree diamond class.  Not having any idea what I was getting into I took my supply list to the quilt store and picked out some great batiks.  It is the first time I have worked with batiks and also my first real chance to pick out the light, medium and dark she called for.  I walk into class with my little brother sewing machine, which I got at Costco because the box said it came with a quilting package and since I would be learning to quilt that was the right machine for me.  I still to this very day love this sewing machine.  Anyway once in the classroom I see the class is full of all these very fancy Bernina sewing machine with all these wonderful ladies, many of which teach at the quilt stores.  Here I am still learning to sew a quarter inch seam, really hoping I don't run out of bobbin and as much as T. is trying to get it in my head press gently not the hard iron that I love so much and all around me are these quilt professionals.  Billie was so nice and fun and thought it I was crazy to choose the 60 degree diamond as my first workshop.  What she didn't know not only was it my first workshop but I was a complete beginner.  I sat there and just hoped I could keep up.  She gave great lessons on rotary cutting and setting up the sewing machine.  The first set of diamonds were cut and over all I did pretty good.  I was one of the first one's finished and Billie complimented my work.  At that point I finally relaxed a bit and thought hey I can do this.
Here is that first star.

     From there we moved onto the tumbling block.  I loved the tumbling block and any of the optical illusion patterns.  I was so excited to see if I could learn this one and I did.  Certainly some of the others in class looked better but overall I was happy with my fabric choice.  
After the tumbling blocks we moved onto a bigger star more lone star like.  We used striped piecing and a few more colors than the first star.  Once again I was pretty happy with my result. 
The last thing we did in class was work on basically 60 degree log cabin blocks.  At this point we have been sewing for about 5 hours and I had not at this point in my quilting worked that long or that hard.  My brain was overloaded, I had been working so hard to just keep up.  I cut 45 degree angles instead of 60 so of course it was all wrong.  I was too tired to re cut it so now I have some great 45 degree stripes waiting for a home and no 60 degree log cabins.  Overall I couldn't be happier that I took the workshop.  I still have very great memories from that day and my loud, slow brother machine kept up just fine.
Happy Quilting

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First few days (or months) learning to quilt

I know I mentioned yesterday S.B., my now dear friend who is teaching me quilting, didn't seem as eager to teach as I was to learn.  That is probably not completely true.   I think she was a bit surprised by me going out and buying a machine the first day we talk about her teaching me.  S.B. is very upbeat and enthusiastic about nearly everything and especially quilting.
The first day I started I packed up everything I had and headed to her apartment.  I get to her place and notice I forgot my electrical plug for the sewing machine.  S.B. was great and just let me use her machine, so if she had any plans to work on anything of her own well it wasn't going to happen on this day.  She started me on the nine patches using strip piecing technique.  This is now something I am quite comfortable with but that certainly took quite a while.  I had no idea how to sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance, how to cut fabric with a rotary cutter or even how to fill a bobbin.  These first few months would have probably drove nearly everyone crazy but not S.B.  She is quite amazing, at the time she is trying to make a quilt for the Hoffman Challenge and teach a complete beginner.  The challenge quilt didn't get finished, might have been that I needed so much help.  She does have some fabulous blocks put together, so maybe one day those blocks will find a home.
I got quite good at seam ripping, cutting the correct size and even went out and bought a 1/4 inch presser foot.  Now I can even fill a bobbin and have a hard remembering why I found it so hard at first.  Hopefully this year I will put a border on that first quit top and turn it into a quilt.  While it is certainly not the best quilt around I still love it and all the memories I have from learning so much.  Here's another few of this first quilt top. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year.

Hi everyone.  I'm hoping to be able to blog this year.  After quite a few changes around the house, last year,  quilting slowed down.  Now I'm really hoping to pick it back up.
I started quilting about 3 years ago.  A now really good friend started working with me.  I wanted to start a new craft and she was a quilter.  One day I asked her if she would be willing to teach me, she said yes, and that night I went out a bought a sewing machine, iron and ironing board ;)  I went to work the next day and told her I got a sewing machine, she looked at me like I was crazy.  I'm not sure she was completely as eager to teach as I was to learn.  She told me to go to a local quilt store and get a set of fat quarters, not to worry if I think they don't match.  That night, of course I was at the store.  Looking around I was quite overwhelmed.  I made my way back to black and white section and bought a set.  Of course since the set was only black and white I had no worries if it matched.

So that is the first attempt at a quilt.  Lots of problems along the way but overall a wonderful start to a new craft.  Also the lady teaching me quilt has a book Dreaming in Color