Saturday, November 26, 2011

This one's for the girl. THIS girl!

Pin It If you've been following my blog for a while (long time), you might remember that once upon a time I made a quilt top for myself.
You can read more about it here (and a few others before that but Blogger is being an asshole and connecting all of my links).

I have been waiting for-ev-er to quilt this top.  It is the one top that I've ever made that I knew was going to be for me.  I knew when I started making it that it wouldn't be given to anyone, no one could talk me out of it, it was mine.  That has never happened before.  This was the one.

It has been sitting and waiting for nearly two years for me to give it a little attention.  I put myself on my waiting list at the beginning of last year, but other things always seem to make this poor little guy less important.  This year, when Thanksgiving came, I decided that the ONE thing I wanted to do, was quilt this top for my bed.  And if I did it over Thanksgiving, nobody waiting for their Christmas quilts (I only have two left, shhhhhhh) could complain, right?

I again entered into the quilting with the no-plan-plan.  I knew I wanted to stitch in the ditch in the "scrappy" areas.  I say "scrappy" (in quotes) because while it's supposed to be scrappy, it really isn't.  I can't do anything truly scrappy.  I very carefully chose the fabrics.  I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that now, since I started this quilt with only a year of quilting under my belt.  But I still love it. 

So!  Stitch in the ditch was done (which was really difficult because I love the look of a flat top with seams pressed open, but I didn't have the patience to quilt it actually *in the ditch*.  Customer top?  Yes.  Mine?  Nah).  Then I knew I wanted feathers.  But I was so confused by the continuous rings versus the cut off sections (I'm making my Elvis lip face right now), that I didn't know where to start.  So...  I just dove in.  I had the same mentality that I had with The Quilt Show block of the month quilt.  No ripping out, no second guessing, just get it done and have it over with.

I just started stitching away and then there was this:


Is it perfect?  Absolutely not!


Is it fancy?  Nope.


But it's done.


And it's mine!  I have never put this thing on my bed, not even before I quilted it to be sure it would fit.  Why?  Because I just don't care.  It's a quilt that is strictly for me and that's all that matters to me right now.  I have to pick out a binding fabric and then I can take it home for my kitty cat to crawl up into it while I meticulously hand-sew the under side of the binding (Elvis lip again).

I have a lot of fun and exciting things to share in the (hopefully) near future.  I know...  more secret stuff.  I'm sorry.  But it's exciting, I promise!!!  I hope you all had as much fun over the holiday as I did!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along (Do not fear the y-seam!)

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It's that time!  It's my turn to post my tutorial for the Quilting Gallery's super cute Christmas quilt-along.



My block is called "Bountiful".  I have to tell you that even if you're afraid of y-seams, just read on.  I promise if you can't make this block you have my permission to... hug... me.  It actually goes together really quickly (the math is what takes forever and I did that part for you!) and I am planning to make a whole quilt of these blocks.  So here we go!

You only need two fabrics for this block.  Of course you may change it up however you wish. I also suggest having at least an 8 1/2"x24" ruler, or a 12" square ruler with 30, 45 and 60 degree lines.

Since this block is largely done on the bias, I want you to repeat after me:

I will not stretch my fabric.  I will press my fabric.  I will not *iron* my fabric.  I will not stretch my fabric.

Good?  Good!

From your focal fabric, cut a 3 1/2" strip x WOF.

With your strip laid out flat, line up the 30 degree line with the top raw edge of your fabric.  (I'm left handed, if you're right handed, I believe you line it up on the bottom edge and cut from the right!)  Cut off your selvage at this angle. 


  Flip your strip around, and from the raw edge that you just cut, sub-cut three diamonds at 3 1/2".


Lay your diamonds out in a cube:


Sew a simple seam from raw edge to raw edge on the bottom two diamonds of the cube:
(Unit1)

On the top diamond of the cube, flip it over to the under side and draw a line 1/4" from the edge on two sides, forming an intersection at the point:


Now, take the top diamond of the cube and line it up with the raw edges of Unit1 similar to the picture above.  Match the raw edge of the top (the piece we're sewing on) to the very right side of Unit1, and the line you drew should line up with the seam of Unit1.
Now sew a seam, starting at the intersection point (DO NOT stitch into the seam allowance of either the top or Unit1) and backstitch at the intersection (beginning of the seam), out to the outside raw edge.


(Unit 1.1)
(Forgive my crappy seams.  I used black thread so you could see and my new sewing machine hasn't arrived yet.  Aaaaahhhhhh tension!!)

Now.  You should have three diamonds sewn together.  But you still have one more seam to sew.  Take Unit 1.1 and flip the seam you just sewed so that your raw edges of your next seam match top to bottom.


I am anti-pinning in my piecing, but you're welcome to put a pin at the top of where your seam will be and at the intersection if it helps you hold things in place.
Repeat the last step.  Starting at the intersection, be sure not to sew through seam allowances and sew a seam along your line to the outside raw edge, backstitching at the intersection (beginning of the seam):


When Unit1.1 is opened up, it will look like this:


From here I usually finger press my seams from the back, making sure that all of the seams lay flat.  Then I flip it to the front side and press with the iron.

Next, from your background fabric, cut a strip of fabric 3 3/4" wide.  Again, lay your ruler's 30 degree line along the edge of your fabric strip and cut the selvages at the angle.



From the raw edge that you just cut, sub-cut two (you will only use one) 3 3/4" diamonds:


Cut this diamond in half along the short side:


Lay your newly cut triangles out along your block:


Sew each triangle to the side of the cube with a simple seam.  You should have 1/4" (depends on the seam allowance you use if this is accurate or not) extending beyond the cube on each side.
(Unit1.3)


Press seams out.
Now, from your background fabric, cut another 3 3/4" strip.  Once again, line up the 30 degree line with the edge of your strip.  Cut selvages at this angle.


Sub-cut two diamonds from the raw edge you just cut at 7 1/2" (if you want to make more than one of this block, you may cut the strip at 7 1/2" and make your sub-cut at 3 3/4" to make more out of one strip.  For the purposes of a single-block tutorial, you save more fabric with a 3 3/4" strip!)


Cut these diamonds in half on the "short" side.  It doesn't look short.  Just make sure when you cut, from point to point you have a 7 1/2" edge!


Lay out your block:


For the first frame, lay out your background on top of Unit1.3 right sides together.  The outside edges should be flush and all overlap should be over the point at the seam of Unit1.


Repeat on the opposite side, forming a V at the seams:

For the next two frames, we sew a little differently.  Rather than meeting the new piece at the outside raw edges, you extend the new piece of the frame out 1/4" from the edge of the block (which will actually meet up with the seam allowances of the seams you just sewed, and the other end will still overlap beyond the point):


Sew both of the final half-diamond frames in this manner.

This is a good time to square up your block.  Trim it so that your raw edge extends 1/4" outside of the points of your seams.  Measure your block when you're finished.  Mine measured 7 1/2" x 12 1/2".



For my final frames I sewed a 3 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip along the top and a 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip to the bottom for a finished block of 12 1/2"x12 1/2".  Wheeee!  That was fun.  Now for the bow!


For the bow, it is best to have plenty of ribbon (I bought a couple rolls since I'll be making a whole quilt) that isn't too decorative because you want it to look the same on both sides. You'll also need a little bit of craft wire or a twisty tie.



Leave yourself a long end and eyeball the size you want your ribbon by holding it up to your block and make a loop to one side.


Make a loop the same size (again, approximate) to the opposite side.


Repeat, making loops over one another until your bow is as full or as bare as you'd like.


In the center where you're holding it together use the craft wire or twisty tie and wrap it around the center.  Not too loose so your bow doesn't fall apart, but not too tight so that you can't manipulate the bow.  At this point you can start spreading your loops to make the bow more dome-shaped if you'd like. 


I use my sewing machine to run a basting stitch on each side of the twisty tie or craft wire.  I then run a seam right down the center of the bow, then remove the basting stitches once I'm sure the bow is secured.  AFTER your quilt top is quilted, attach the bow by hand or machine sewing it to the center of your cube.  You can even add embellishments like buttons or beads to the center of the bow to make it a little more fun.  If you'd like to make it removable for laundering and storage purposes, you could always attach it with a safety pin (quick and easy all the way).  And you're done!


***If none of this made any sense to you at all, please let me know!  I've been thinking about making this into a video blog to better show the steps and techniques.  If I need to, I absolutely will!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The goods!!

Pin It Okay.  I'm finally getting around to the Market post.  I started it Saturday, but that was a long day, y'all.  So I scrapped it!  Besides, half of the work was already done for another site!

The awesome ladies over at GenerationQ Magazine asked me to tag along with them to the Schoolhouse sessions and I got to write some snippets of my experiences for them.  Check it out here and comment, tell your friends, etc.  Because I want them to think that I'm rad and ask me for favors more often.  =]

So aside from Schoolhouse sessions, there was tons of fun.  The first day Melissa and I helped Jen of ReannaLily designs set up her (very first!) booth.  If you don't have her book, Deploy That Fabric by C&T, get it NAU.  Even if you don't use military uniforms, the projects are super stinkin' cute!



That night Melissa and I went to dinner with Sarah Vedeler and Susan Brubaker Knapp at what was possibly the best Mexican restaurant I've ever been to! Back to the hotel afterward and Melissa and I both zonked out (I hadn't slept the night before and she had only taken a nap for an hour or two).

Friday was of course Schoolhouse day.  I missed some that I really would've liked to go to but I was either at other Schoolhouses, or they were just too late in the day and I was too tired!  After Schoolhouses was the Fabric 2.0 party.  There, I tracked down Thomas Knauer and told him that while I didn't make it to his Schoolhouse session, I had to meet him.  I was approached by someone from Brewer, where I get all of my notions, telling me that I'm adorable and amazing.  I don't know where it came from, but like I'd turn down compliments like that?  We had to take a picture:


Saturday I spent the day looking at the exhibit quilts and then playing once again with Sarah.  I had totally planned on going to the Modern Quilt Guild meetup in the lobby of the Hilton, but spaaaaaaced it off.  Instead, I spent three hours wandering around downtown Houston by myself waiting for Melissa to finish at one of her appointments so we could EAT!  We went to Sambuca.  It was loud.  That's about all I have to say about it, other than we caught glimpses of Valori Wells and the rest of her clan, along with some Michael Miller people at the same place.  Wonder what they thought of it.  Elvis lip.

Sunday.   What did I do on Sunday?  Oh, yes!!  I looked at all of the competition quilts!  I took over 500 pictures and there's no way I can show you all of them.  I did have a random stranger take my picture with two of Randall Cook's dance panels he created.  They're uh-may-zing.


I apparently missed the people of AccuQuilt oohing and aaahing over my BeDazzled quilt.  One of the ladies from Brewer actually thanked me for making it.  Anyway!  This is a picture of Sarah holding up her BeDazzled, and the CEO of AccuQuilt holding up mine, photo taken by Lee Nakamoto.


I was also able to track down Paula Reid (actually, she found me first!) and snap a picture.  Me with my striped tights and she with her awesome fishnets!


Just as we were grabbing our luggage to head to lunch and then to the airport, we ran into Thomas Knauer again and chatted for a while.  He's such a silly, awesome fella.


And last but not least, Melissa and I FINALLY got our picture taken together!  We realized we didn't have any pictures at all of just the two of us!  Thomas took it.  See?  Good guy.


So that was my Market experience, in a nutshell.  Last year I was so star-struck, I just wanted to get my picture with everyone.  This year I did stop by Anna Maria Horner's booth and apologize for still having thirteen of her quilts to do.  Luckily she said it's fine!  But no picture.  I didn't really get my picture taken with too many people.  Which is unfortunate because all of those pictures from last year?  I had a really terrible haircut!

Anyway, go check out the fun stuff I saw at the Schoolhouses over at GenQ and leave some love.  
It was a BLAST and I can't wait for spring!

I'm not really sure what happened with my HTML making everything at the end all tiny.  But whatevs, yo.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Anniversary, the *BIG REVEAL* and some fun news

Pin It I wanted to post this yesterday but my internet at home has been funky (and I realized last night that my modem has decided to bite the dust) and I'm trying not to surf at work to do some crazy things like increase my productivity. If you're my friend on the ol' FB, you already saw everything I'm about to post. If you're not my friend on FB and you'd like to be, send me an email!

Anycrap. Yesterday was my third anniversary. Anniversary of quilting. Three years ago I knew nothing about this stuff. Three years ago from this very moment, I was stitching in the ditch for the first time on a longarm machine. It was a couple of months later that I pieced my very first quilt, which now resides with my friend Shay in North Carolina.


It's amazing how lucky I've been and how far I've come in these three years. It's been a huge learning experience and I'm flattered that people trust me to teach them what I know, considering I'm always learning, even when I'm teaching.

So if you aren't on "FB", you're probably wondering what this "Super Secret Project" is that I've been babbling on and on about for the last few months. You may not think it's that big of a deal, but for me, it absolutely is. What an honor to be asked to do something with such a wide reach and a large impact on the quilting community as a whole.

You all know who Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims and Sarah Vedeler are, right?  All superstars in the industry.  And you all know what The Quilt Show is, right?  Even if their style isn't your cup of tea, most in the quilting community absolutely know who these people are, and they are very respected as being pioneers in their own right.

The Quilt Show has a yearly block of the month program that they host through their website that thousands of people sign up to do every year.  This year, my friend and wonderful person, Sarah Vedeler was asked to design the block of the month quilt for the show!  They always have two colorways, to suit everyone's tastes.  This year, I was asked to make one of them.

HOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

The quilts were finally revealed at Quilt Festival in Houston yesterday, so I can show the whole thing now.  But before I do, I have some explaining to do.

This is the most important quilt that I never cared about.  That's kind of misleading.  When I first started out, I was so paranoid about everything being perfect.  I mean, it's going to be seen by thousands (millions?) of people, at Festival, on the show, in magazine advertisements, etc.  So it had to be perfect, right?  But let's not forget that my boyfriend and I broke up just after I finished actually putting it together, when it was time to quilt it.  That was... wonderful.

I'm only being partly sarcastic there, because I was so depressed, down in the dumps and out of my mind that I really didn't care how it turned out.  I didn't rip anything out, I cut corners and skipped over seams where I normally would've tied off and started new.  I didn't worry so much about fixing thread shred, making sure all of my starts/stops match and I absolutely, positively did not bury a single thread.  Because I just didn't care.  About anything, really.  It turned out that all of that not-caring was the best mentality I could've had because it turned out pretty damn beautiful (if I do say so myself) and I wasn't stressed about the quilting while I was doing it at all.  I wish someone would break up with me before EVERY major quilt (but not really, but totally yes)!

So without any further ado, here is Sedona Star, The Quilt Show's 2012 block of the month (at different stages of completion).  As always, click the images to get a better view of detail!


Hanging in the TQS booth in Houston

Ricky, Justin and me posing with it (before the reveal, luckily few people saw it) for the Editor in Chief of American Quilter magazine

Most of the center was done, here

The back with everything but the settings and the filler in the center border done

The back, ALL done!

The front, in the middle of the night during its first blocking

And the front after I finished its second blocking!

Sarah's is the other colorway and this picture was taken while I was blocking it, as well.  This is the wallpaper on my phone! (It replaced a picture of Caleb and me) =]

And just a little bit more detail.

Now, my fun news.  Today, I bought another sewing and embroidery machine.


It's a Brother Isodore Innovis 5000 Laura Ashley edition sewing and embroidery combo.  Am I getting rid of a machine for this one?  No.  Do I need it?  Opinions vary, but I'll go with yes!  Can I afford it?  Shhhhhhh.  But I think I deserve it (I'm sure opinions vary on that too!).

So I hope my super secret project doesn't disappoint any of you.  It was huuuuuuuuge to me!  :O)

I still owe you some Market stuff.  Check back here and also at GenQ for more on that!