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Archive for October 2010

As you know, one of my biggest challenges is machine quilting.  If I just get down to it, and do it, it does not seem to be such a challenge, but when I want to do something “beautiful” I get stumped.  Ever feel that way?  Or is it just the actual sitting down in front of your quilt and machine, and trying to wrangle a design using free motion quilting.

Perhaps what we all need is to take a class on Machine Quilting?  Wouldn’t that help alleviate some of our intimidation?  I have several books on Machine Quilting, all which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading, and then it is the “I should do that” routine.  You know, I need to find time to do that.  Pffft!  We never ever ever ever… and I mean never find the time.  We have to MAKE the time.  So how do we do that.  We want to make that next quilt top, but then we put it aside because our quilting skills are not where we think they should be.  Hmmm.   I have a number of quilt blocks I have made – I have a perpetual calendar that is a Block a Day, and some of the blocks were very quite interesting – I could sandwich them and practice all these skills these books highly recommend you do.  Practice!  Practice!  Practice!    I think orphan blocks would make the ideal practice piece.  To be honest, what would I do with a “quilting sampler”.   Sure, it is easy to cut a 12″ piece of fabric, sandwich it, and then practice a quilting technique.  It just is not a finished product.  I want to make a finished product.  Or am I just making excuses.

I think I may have mentioned many blog entries ago, or was that on another quilting community, well it doesn’t matter, as I am going to mention it now.  As I mentioned (just mentioned in fact), I have several books on quilting and how to do it.  I also have a couple of DVDs of Patsy Thompson’s.   I like her easy-going manner, and even though she has had a LOT more practice then me, I feel that I could just sit down and follow her techniques.  In deed I have!  Admittedly, I need to do it more!

Recently Patsy Thompson Designs updated and changed their website.  I like the fresh feel, and it doesn’t hurt that they have incorporated a piece of Patsy’s hand-dyed fabrics as part of the background.   Oh my, did I have an email conversation with Patsy awhile back, about hand-dyeing.  I still want to do it, but the best time for me, is the summer, and I work pretty much full-time during summer hours, but it is on my “to-do” list.

Back to the machine quilting part.  Many moons ago, I read one of Patsy’s blog entries about a neat finish for applique (we all know how I feel about applique, again just more practice required!), that she calls EKG.   I was thinking about this EKG finish, and was trying to duplicate it on my own.  I guess I could have gone back through all my emails, to the discussion we had on it, but I felt adventerous.  I had forgotten she uses it as an applique finish, I just wanted something different on the block I was making.  Working on the Christmas Panels, that I wrote about just recently.   My experiment didn’t work, and I continued on doing what I was doing.  In the meantime, it sat in the back of my mind, and I decided to check out Patsy’s site and read what she’s been up to.  I really love her work!  Imagine to my joy, she has put up a section of tutorials, and one of them was about the EKG finish (Intermediate 1 – Video 1 of 2).  Woohoo!   One of the things I like about Patsy’s videos, is that she makes you feel that you can do anything.  Well, she makes me feel, like I can do anything.  And the really neat thing, when I have left a comment, with a question, she sends an email to me.  I like that personal touch!

If you haven’t discovered Patsy’s website I encourage you to do so.    If you have, and haven’t visited in awhile, be sure to check out the changes.

And a special note to Patsy – thank you for all you do.

-Alice

As many of you know, I’ve been involved in one of the local Christmas Craft Fairs for a few years now.  I’m always on the lookout for new (to me, perhaps) and sometimes fun and/or funky items to make.

On a trip out of town in July, I stopped at a Quilt Shop, and saw some of their Christmas Fabric.  The one thing I have found when buying fabric, especially Christmas Fabric, try to buy all the coordinating pieces at the same time, because you’ll never find the “right” colour the following years!  I’m still learning that little nugget!  I particularly liked this one piece called “Holly Holliday” designed by Laurie Godin for Northcott. (And no, I didn’t buy any coordinating fabric at the same time).  The “Holly Holliday” is a panel with 10 different images, repeated randomly.

I had this idea, that I wanted to try out.  Have you ever bought a panel, or a piece of fabric with several panels, and when you got it home, thought “now what am I going to do with it”.  There are many options I am sure.  Use it as alternative blocks, with a block or two of your choice.  Frame them? Leave them in groups of 2, 3, or 4.  Add borders.

I wanted to do something a little different.  I got the inspiration from watching or seeing a design idea used for photographs.

Today I tinkered a little with my free motion quilting, on a piece that would not really work (unless I took off the red border, which I still could do), as the yardage was cut uneven, and the cut edge did not give me a 1/4″ border to sew too.

Finished free motion sample.

Close-up of Stipple free motion quilting.

So now that I have played with the stippling, and got myself back into some free motion quilting, it is time to put my plan in place.  Instead of binding these pieces (6½” x 7″), I decided to use the “pillow-case” technique.  In order to do that, I did not add a backing, and just quilting the panel piece to the batting.  My friend had given me some “Dream Puff” batting, and I thought I would use it.  The stippling would allow the image to “pop” up, away from the background.  I really liked the way it was looking.

I then cut the backing and placed on top of the finished panel.  Stitched all the way around, leaving an opening, so I can turn the piece inside out.   Now the tricky part was how I was going to  have the fabric attachments work, without having to force three of the panels come inside out.  After I had attached four of the attachments, and two of the panel pieces together, a brainstorm hit… why don’t I just “unpick” a small area, insert the attachment pieces, and then stitch them down.  Sooo much easier than trying to work 2 panels through one little hole.  And no, I didn’t think to take photos of the process.  I was in the groove, and wanted to see how this was going to finish up.

That being said, here is the finished piece.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add a tab for a holder, but then realized, I had already stitched the top piece.   Of course I could have unpicked and inserted the tabs, and then stitched closed.  But then how would someone hang it?  My DS#1 suggested a loop, similar to what you find in jackets to hang them up on a hook.  Again, how was I going to attach it to the back, but still have a clean finished look?  Then it dawned on me, why not use those plastic rings that are used for hanging small wall-hangings (or other things).  So tomorrow, I’ll have to see if I can find some.  That way, it can be hung on a picture hook, or thumb tack.

And just for something completely different.

I’ve been debating on sharing the next bit, but I am proud of it, and would do it again.  As many of you know, I served with the Canadian Navy, working with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.  And I have always liked the yellow rose.  I have always had a love of the sea (ocean), and of course all manner of boats.   I have been thinking about it for quite some time, and almost a year ago, I decided I knew what I wanted for my 45th birthday (which was earlier this year).   I wanted to get a tattoo.  I knew I wanted an anchor and a yellow rose.  You may remember the HMCS Quadra quilt I made, for a friend of ours, well, I contacted the friend, and asked her for a referral.  She referred Leroy to me.  What a great guy.  We worked together via email drafting out a design.   I was going to do it in March, but it didn’t happen.  So I made the appointment for June.  Do you recall the “Wilderness Downpour” quilt?  All in the same weekend!  DD#1 got to look at Wedding Dresses, and watch as her Mom got inked!  Now I know that tattoos are not for everyone, and 10 years ago, even 5, I would have said, not for me.

So here it is.  This photo is just moments after the work was finished, so it quite red, and has some leaking on it.  This is my outside  lower left leg.

So there you go!

-Alice


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