Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quilt Show Wrap Up - Lessons learned

In case you missed my post on Friday, here's a recap - I entered Spin into a regional quilt show. It received two ribbons, Best Modern Quilt and Best Amateur Domestic Quilting (still pinching myself). Spin made it back home yesterday afternoon. Here are the judges comments (can't figure out how to use my scanner. . . and my tech guy is at work ;) . . . so I took a picture)
If anyone can explain, "Change in quilting thread color shows good attention to detail and creates the idea that different fabrics were used" please do - I'd love to know what that means!

The only thing that is 'negative' is the comment about the seams showing. I expected that comment. . . There are several spots in the piecing that the thread shows through. Close up so you can see (kind of...):

It's much more obvious when you are looking at the quilt. . . look across the seem both horizontal and vertical on the black center piece and you can see it. It is also showing on those grey pieces to the left and right.
Anyone know if there is a fix for this? Note to self. I admit it, I piece my tops with a light color thread and I never ever match the thread to the fabric. . . probably not a smart choice for black fabric and in a quilt that I thought might some day be entered into a show. . . Also, to reduce bulk I ironed the seams open when I sewed the blocks together. Had they been pressed to the side, those threads would not be showing. . . . I am a press my seams open kind of gal. I use a small stitch in my piecing to compensate. Judi Madsen made a plea (literally, I think the please was even italicized!) in her book "Quilting Wide Open Spaces" for seams to be pressed to the side if the quilting is going to be dense. I poo pooed that little tidbit. . . she even showed a picture - much like my picture above. I still didn't take heed (you know I have to test everything! LOL). I think this wouldn't be as much of an issue if I had used black thread to piece those blocks together. . . or even a very dark grey. . . Lesson learned.

Did you see that last comment? . . . "Excellent binding techniques" !!!!!!!  Those of you who followed through on the making of Spin know that the binding portion of making this quilt was a total cluster. . . it took THREE times and the cutting of new binding to get it to lie flat. . . I used finally Sharon Schamber's tutorial on binding and followed EVERY step. It worked. Oh, the other thing, SonJa (a  wonderful reader of my blog) recommended that I get some Size 11 Millner needles for my hand sewing of binding - OMG! I'm buying a case!! Made the process (and you all know how much I hated disliked the hand sewing of the binding) SO much easier! Thank you, SonJa!! Binding is important, especially if you have any intention of entering a quilt in a show. Lessons learned here? Size does matter with hand sewing needles too!! Perseverance can pay off in the end! Several show quilters have written (Sharon states it in her tutorial) that the binding will make or break a show quilt. I am glad I took the time to get it right! LOTS of lessons learned prior to earning an excellent rating on the binding :)

What you ask is the biggest lesson I learned in this entire process? Perfection is not necessary to enter a quilt into a show (or submit it for jury into a show). I could have named many other things that were 'wrong' with Spin that the judges didn't mention. Did they not see those things? I'm guessing they did. Part of that lesson is also this: there is no need to be so hard on myself when small mistakes are made - especially in FMQing. Did you see their comment? "Machine quilting stitch well controlled." Really? I have never thought my stitches looked 'well controlled'. . . This comment totally took me by surprise. Big.Time.

The big question, will I enter another quilt show? YES! I highly recommend! :) Others that have entered quilts in shows know, it is a thrill to see your quilt hanging on display in public :) I submitted Spin to the Road to California show. I won't know until December if it is juried into the show. I may submit Spin to other shows. I have the Michael Miller challenge quilt that I will submit to QuiltCon. Will either be accepted? My thought is, you will never know unless you try :)

And here is a better picture of Spin, her ribbons and a couple of close ups of the additional quilting I did in the stars (just for you, Vera ;) )  

I am off to quilt some more on Off Course. I worked on it yesterday, this one is going to take some time . . . Dang, look at the date on that flimsy finish post. . . July??? I'm embarrassed!! 

Linking up with Lorna for Let's Bee Social Kelly for NTT and Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday. If you haven't been, go check them out for some pretty awesome inspiration!

Until next time, keep on quilting!! 

Adding a PS to this after I posted. . . I want to give credit to the person that inspired me to enter a show in the first place and I can't believe I forgot to add this to the original post! Leanne over at She Can Quilt had a post back in June (Consider entering a quilt show). Before I read this post, I never would have considered the possibility of entering a show. . . ever. I thought about it a lot. Then she added the page in which she lists shows and submission deadline dates. I found myself visiting that page a lot. Thinking maybe I can hit that deadline, or maybe that one. . . I missed several deadlines but when I saw the deadline for this regional show (not on Leanne's blog) I thought what a perfect way to dip my toes in the water. I sent Leanne an email this week thanking her for her post and for inspiring me to take the plunge :) Leanne has several posts about quilt shows (specifically about entering modern quilts into 'traditional' quilt shows), if you are interested just search her blog - you will find plenty to read and a LOT of inspiration. Her quilts are AMAZING!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Flurries in my DW Forecast!

Word light, picture heavy post. I finished three of the four snowflakes for Snowflake Version 2 for the Snowalong!! I have cut the time WAY down, have had to rip out WAY less and all of this PP business is making way more sense to my flakey brain! (see what I did there?? haha) So here they are, Snowflake 2, versions 1, 3 and 4. And I've thrown in a picture of all four snowflakes just so you can see that there really is a flurry going on right here in AZ :) Oh, and yes Sandra (and others who may wonder) it does snow in AZ up in the mountains. I have actually seen snow here in Phoenix on a couple of occasions over the past 20 years :) So here we go, into the snow storm!

Snowflake 2, Version 1
Snowflake 2, Version 3
Snowflake 2, Version 4
It's officially a flurry! LOL
Here is a better picture of Snowflake 1, Version 1.
I'm going to have to call out the snow plows soon!! :D
So my plan is to make three different versions of each of the 6 patterns. I think I have a plan for a quilt once I have 18 blocks. . . I'll figure it out more concretely once I get a few more blocks. Joanne has Version 3 up today! My plan is to make 5 more this week. . . Two more versions of Snowflake one and all three versions of Snowflake 3. Then I'll be all caught up. I will also be quilting on Off Course this week. I'm not even going to kid myself into thinking it will be done by the end of the week. I will say this - it will be almost there :) 

Linking up with Joanne for the Snowalong and with Judy for DW Monday.

Will be back on Wednesday to share more about my first quilt show! I'm still smiling ;)

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Friday, October 10, 2014

So I Went To the Quilt Show Today. . .

Last week I told you that Spin was juried into the Rim Country Quilt Festival which is a regional quilt show here in AZ. The show started today. I couldn't wait to see Spin hanging in the show :) How cool to have a quilt hanging in a quilt show right? I walk in, and start looking at quilts. There are more quilts than I thought there would be hanging in rows down the center of a big room in the casino (I think it is kind of humorous that the show was held at the casino). I kept walking through what seemed like hundreds (it wasn't!) and started to think "Oh man, they lost my quilt!" haha Then, in the second to the last row (can you believe it . . . if I had walked in the other door, it would have been in the second row!), I saw this:

UMMMM. . . WHAT????
I think to myself, "Self, pinch yourself and take a closer look. . . you are dreaming!!" and when I stepped closer I saw this:

Are you kidding me??? FIRST Place, Modern Quilts. . .

Now I KNOW someone is messing with me!! Best Amateur Machine Quilted??? OK, I'm going to cry now! . . . and I did have tears in my eyes, I'm not too proud to admit it!
OH.MY.GOD! As I was standing there, ready to have a total excited melt down staring at Spin one of the volunteers came over and said "Isn't it beautiful? But wait until you see the back, it is fabulous!" . . . I took a breath. What do I say? And if I say anything is it going to come out right? Am I just going to burst into tears??? I'm not kidding. I'm not a drop of the hat cry kind of girl but I can't even describe the emotions that were swirling! So I said very softly, "That's my quilt, I made that." Her eyes got real big and she told me how beautiful it is and how many wonderful comments she'd heard from people as they looked at my quilt. Then she said "Kind of makes you want to cry when you see ribbons hanging on your quilt doesn't it?" Umm, yeah, it does! We talked for a bit about quilt making and FMQing and then I said to her, again very softly "Was this the only quilt in the Modern category?" Honestly, I hadn't seen any others! And she grabbed my arm and said "Oh goodness no, honey!" LOL So, here are the admittedly bad pictures (impossible to get a good picture at a quilt show - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ;) ) of the other quilts that won in the category:

Second Place, Gee Mod made by Peter A Plante

Third Place: Shards made by Barbara Parish
Honorable Mention: Mostly Modern by Pat Jonz
I am still pinching myself and processing. . . I'm a little LOT in shock. This has been an amazing day! :D 

I won't get Spin back until Wednesday morning. When I do, I will share with you the judges comments - I am so curious to see what they said! And I will also share more about my thoughts on this entire process. I am too in the moment right at the moment ;) 

Until next time, keep on quilting! PS, I think I feel my sewing mojo creeping back! ;)

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Snowing in AZ?

Ummm, no, it is not the snowstorm I had predicted. . . I intended to make all four of the blocks for the first round of the Snowalong over at Canuk Quilter (button on side bar). . . I have not given up. . . I refuse to let this snowflake chill me to the idea of making more! (see what I did there?? Chill me. . . snow. . . haha) Anyway, it has taken me two full days of mostly ripping to get this right. . . TWO DAYS!! OK, a day and a half. I had a terrible time of it yesterday, worked the entire day on this block and did not even make it half way through the block. . . why? My brain just was not cooperating. I kept sewing the wrong color, skipping sewing lines (I know, how does one do that??) and not getting the fabric placed right to cover the intended piece. When I noticed that not only had I skipped a sew line, I had placed a blue fabric where a white fabric was supposed to go. . . and all of the units were already sewn together, I threw in the towel for the day. Said LOTS of bad words. . . and drank some a LOT of wine. And wouldn't you know it is raining here today??? So an inside picture it is because I am going to link up with the first linky party for the Snowalong today if it is the last thing I do! LOL

LOVE IT. . . An entire quilt? Not sure. . . I did order that Flakey bundle over at Fortworth Fabrics.... it arrives today. . . stay tuned. . . ;)
OK, the other thing. . . I sewed the top and bottom print pieces on and sadly realized that Joanne had made a change to the pattern . . . The strips are not wide enough so those of you with the watchful eye are correct - this block is not square. . . I'm contemplating options here. Maybe one snowflake out of each of the patterns and figure out a cool way to make them into a modern quilt. . .Maybe a pillow. . . Maybe different versions of each pattern (6 total) and an entire snowstorm quilt. . . I know. I'm insane. I do have to say that it went MUCH better this morning. I only had to rip once ;) 

Oh, and I want to say - my issues had NOTHING to do with the pattern. Joanne has done a FANTASTIC job with the patterns and when I sent her an email last night telling her of my woes she even mailed me back quickly with some suggestions with how to make things go a little smoother - not things related to the pattern - general paper piecing tips. This is only the second time I have done PPing. . . maybe an easier pattern would have been the wiser choice. . . MOI?? Easy?? NEVER! Ha!

Linking up with the Snowalong, Let's Bee Social, WIP Wednesday (WIP or a finish?? That is the question!!) NTT and Finish it up Friday

I'll be back! ;) Until next time, keep on quilting!
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Randomness and a Finish

Last week I told you about my sewing slump. . . which happens to continue in full force. . . and how I picked up a crochet hook for the first time in well over 20 years. So after a short update of what's been happening around here (because let's face it, not much has been happening!), I'm going to show you the awesome infinity scarf and slouchy beanie I made for my niece :) 

First up, Spin was juried into the regional quilt show in Payson, AZ! Excited you ask? Maybe just a little!! I mailed her off yesterday and next week I take a little drive and go see something I made hanging in a quilt show! I can't wait!! Which one is Spin? Here she is, so you don't have to go searching :)

Darn it, in my haste to get her in the mail I forgot to take a new picture. . . I did ad quilting on the stars. Took some of that baggy saggy out of it :)
How exciting is that?? I'm excited. Who knows, I might hate the entire process once it is over but I thought I would give it a whirl :) 

In other news, I finished putting my stash on comic boards and putting them in my new ironing table! So I have been doing something fabric related. . . I've been folding and petting fabric. . . does that count? This was an interesting process. . . first, I found yards of flannel (very good flannel and very cute BTW) at the bottom of my magic fabric chest.... I have no idea when, where or why I bought it. . . Has that ever happened to you? Nah, I bet not ;) I say my stash isn't that big - and it really isn't because most of it is in fat quarter size. Recently I have been buying larger quantities of yardage to use as background fabrics. Anywho, I had 200 comic boards... I ordered 200 more and have used over 100 of those! Who knew there were that many different cuts hiding in that magic fabric chest??? It really isn't that big!! :) And I might have recently placed a relatively sizable order with Pink Chalk. . . did you hear? The store is closing - major :( Pink Chalk was my go to store for everything. I am rather sad about this. Everything on the site is 20% off. . . if you need anything ;) Oh, and just in case you haven't noticed. . . there are lots of sales happening! Contemporary Cloth has 30% off everything! Cuts of Cotton has 25% off the entire store (code FALL25)!! Man, major restraint has been used over in this corner of the world because I have refrained from buying anything. . . so far ;) I'm not affiliated with any of these shops - I just like to spread around the happy fabric buying bug! Your welcome ;)

The top right cube will be used for known future projects, second for rulers, the second row both cubes are filled with solids, the bottom cubes are mostly batiks and some Kaffe Fassett at the end.  Barely visible, in the cube that sits further back are the few prints I have collected.
In the cubes that you can't see, I have put yardage that is too big to put on boards. Solids, the mystery flannel and some sketch in various colors. The solids and sketch will be used for backgrounds. Mostly grey, some white and a few creams (not sure what I was thinking when I went on that cream color kick. . . whatever it was I was thinking big. . . I bought a LOT ;)

OK, thus ends the fabric portion of this post. On to crochet! This is going to be short, sweet and to the point :)

As I mentioned, I made an infinity scarf and slouchy beanie for my niece (she also happens to be my Goddaughter). For the scarf, I didn't have a pattern.... surprised? LOL I found this video tutorial on how to do the basket weave stitch (oh, and there is a lefty version too!)- LOVED. Double crochet? I can double crochet!! Here are a couple of shots of the scarf in progress.

First couple of rows.

This is one skein of yarn. . . this scarf is DENSE :) I used 5 skeins of 100g chunky acrylic/superwashed wool yarn. G O R G E O U S
For the slouchy beanie I followed this video tutorial - it took me about two hours to make the beanie. I don't have any pictures of just the beanie. Here is my niece in her new scarf and beanie :D

Beautiful no? Oh, and the scarf and beanie look pretty good too ;)
Here's my pretty failed attempt to take a picture of the back of the beanie while it was on my head. . . do you have any idea how hard it is to take a selfie of the back on one's head??? You can kind of get the idea of the back and just how hard taking this kind of picture without a mirror really is ;)

This is the only picture out of about 20 that I got even close! hehe AND it was over 100 degrees out that day. . . I was melting!!
The colors in the picture of my niece are most true. So there you go. My first foray into crochet after not having a hook in my had for over 20 years. . . not bad huh? :D

OH, that new button on my sidebar, the very first one at the top? It's for the Snowalong over at Canuck Quilter! Click on the button to find out all about it! How fun! Snow in AZ in October! I'm in!! :)

Linking up with NTT and Finish it up Friday

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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And the winner is. . .

Today is the day to announce who wins the lovely Michael Miller Cotton Couture fat eight bundle. Just a little reminder, here is what was up for grabs:

I also want to thank everyone for their well wishes, kind comments and thoughts regarding what this bundle might best be cut up and made into. There were many fabulous ideas, the overwhelming majority of you said baby quilt. I also want to welcome my new followers!

OK, here it is, I went to that random generator doohiggy ;) at and put in the numbers: 1-71 and the winner is: Number 70, Charlotte over at Grammie Q's! Here is Charlotte's comment:

"Congrats on your 100th post. Those look like Easter egg colors to me. So maybe a springtime Easter kind of quilt?"

When my husband saw these fabrics for the first time, his response was "What are you going to do with those Easter egg fabrics??" :) Charlotte, I can't wait to see what you come up with! I have sent you an email and will send these out post haste! ;)

I don't think there is a way to copy that free widget to post the result on my blog. . . and if there is - it is beyond my IT skills LOL Oh, and if you know a trick - please share!! 

I am working on my post to share my crochet (yes, you read that right) finish and will post later today. Come back and meet my niece and see my little side venture into crochet! 

Thank you again to all who commented and to all of my followers - old (OK, really, it's not even been a year, how old can my followers really be! haha) and new! I appreciate each and every one of you, your comments, your visits and all of the great input I have gotten over the past 9 months. It's been quite a ride so far, I can't wait for the next 100 posts!! 

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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Friday, September 26, 2014

A Different Kind of Finish

First things first, I'm doing a giveaway to celebrate topping 100 posts on the blog, go here to enter! No rules, just comment on that post. International entries welcome! :)

Things have been a little quiet in this corner of the internet. . . I've been a little busy and a little in a funk. Ever just not feel like blogging. . . or cooking. . . or cleaning. . . or . . . sewing .  . . GASP! Say it isn't so!! It is. I've been reading blogs a lot (read way too much) lately. I'm seeing a lot of this going on around blog land. Reasons are different, results are the same. Quiet blogs. Interesting. Maybe it is the new equinox ;) And all that being said, I have no sewing to show you today. . . I have been quilting on my Michael Miller Challenge quilt (very little haha) and will hopefully have something, heck anything, to show soon.

What is my different kind of finish? Two things, first up, I picked up a crochet hook for the first time in . . . let's just say it has been a very LONG time . . . and went yarn shopping. Look, it's been many many many years and I'm quite sure when I was crocheting before the yarn I bought was from Target (I don't know if they even sell yarn anymore but they used to, really they did!!). Who knew there is an entire world of the most fabulous yarn out there??!!! No one informed me! Oh man, I might need a new hiding place for yarn stash ;) Anyway, I needed a truly special gift for a very special young woman who is going through some rough times. I of course have already given her a quilt and I needed something quicker. . . so I decided to crochet something for her (OK, I wasn't thinking about the fact that I had not crocheted in DECADES, that I was picking stitches I had never done before, that I didn't really have a pattern for the scarf. . . of course it would be quicker than a quilt. . . LOL). I made her an infinity scarf and a slouchy beanie! Look at me! HA I had never even made a hat in my entire very short previous crochet career! Here is the lame part of telling you about this now. . . I don't have a picture of it. I am waiting for my niece to send me a picture of her modeling her new scarf and beanie. She loved it by the way :) "It's so me!" were her words. This makes me happy, nailed it :D I will tell you all about this little adventure as soon as I get the picture. Oh, and introduce you to my niece :)

What is the second? I have been obsessed lately with two things. Having a cutting table that would also give me some storage so I can actually see my industrial sewing machine AND having a SUPER SIZED ironing board. . . disguised as a wonderful fabric storage unit. Easy peasy right? . . . well, not so much. I looked, and looked and looked (there are more looks in there but you get the idea) Bing images and Google images until I was seeing ironing boards and cutting tables in my sleep. I was going to buy a cutting table. . . man, have you seen the prices on those suckers?? OUCH! Can I spend that on a cutting table? Yeah, but I guess I have a little of my dad in me. . . I'm a tight wad it turns out LOL As for ironing boards - I was finding NOTHING like what I wanted. Major bummer! Enough talk, Here is what my studio (living room) looked like prior to my finishes:

Yes, yes that is an industrial sewing machine hiding under batting, blocks, quilting samples, starch, thread, pins. . . oh, there's more there, I'll spare you the details ;)

Side view. Yes, that is the MM challenge quilt. . . sitting there . . . not being quilted :)
There is an end table under there. . . really ;) This is part of my former fabric storage solution. . . I won't even show you my magic cedar chest of fabric. . . A big old mess is not even close to describing what is in there! To be honest, I have no idea what is in there!! That is all about to change!!

Isn't that so sad? You can't even tell that is a beautiful industrial sewing machine under all of that . . . STUFF! Here is my studio with my new cutting table and ironing board/fabric storage :)

That my friends is an ironing board table!! :D This is just the fabric I have on comic boards. . . there's a lot more to add but you get the idea :) I put one of the cube sets directly behind so I have a set of longer cubes. Works well for rulers. Might work well for bolts of background fabric.... did she just say bolts??? hehe
In LOVE! :)

From the side. Lighting not so good but SO excited about this cutting table!!! :) LOOK! See the industrial sitting there ready to be plugged in and used?!!

YAY, wide enough to handle large amounts of fabric!!
I am in LOVE with the fabric I used for the ironing table! :) The colors are perfect for rest of the house! It is Flirtation by Northcott. I don't know if it is available anymore. I used some in a quilt, loved it so much I bought two more yards on close out - bonus, using stash AND got the fabric for a song! And quite honestly, forgot I even had it :)

Both pieces are made from ClosetMaid pieces (three of the same pieces for each of them) on the bottom and an IKEA table top (yes, they sell just the table top!!) for the tops of both of them. I read all kinds of DIY stuff about Home Depot and buy this and that and I thought - yeah, no. not. doing. that. Then I went to IKEA and I saw these table tops. . . hmmmmmmmmmmmm note to self :) I did not find cabinets or cubes that I liked (read, got sick of walking in circles and getting lost) at IKEA and I went home with a nagging hmmm about those table tops. I went online. . . again. And success! :) If you are interested in the model numbers or more info, drop me a line or leave a comment. I will admit that the ironing table is tall. I might have to wear high heels to iron grin BUT I wanted storage and I wanted it tall enough that longer pieces of fabric were hanging around on the floor. I think this is a combo that will work. AND I was noticing yesterday, it is the perfect height for my husband to iron!! ;) 

I'm going to end this post - it's long enough and I have about three other posts that need to be written. . . not today - there is fabric waiting to be put on comic boards :) BUT, coming soon - I bought some AWESOME books last week - I can't wait to share my reviews with you!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday and Design Wall Monday.

Until next time, keep on quilting!!
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