Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finished Quilt : Kindergarten Flowers

I finished in time to wash and crinkle the quilt for Becket's teacher!

He said "flowers", so I looked through my flickr favorites and pins to find something fun to make.  I changed my mind a bunch of times and then came across the Stems quilt by Fig Tree Quilts.  I got all excited and started pulling fabrics for a quilt inspired by it.

Kindergarten Flowers

I was a bit delusional - as you may recall I started this just a week and a half before the last day of school.  But it got done.

Here's what I was thinking:  ooooh, I can pull about 10 reds and 10 blues, cut w.o.f. strips - sew them in pairs - chop - add some stitch and flip white - chop - stems - done. 

Quick and Fun!

Kindergarten Flowers

Pulling all those reds and blues WAS fun.  But as I was finishing up my strips and making pairs I realized that if I wanted to keep all my points, I really needed to add the white triangles before joining them up.  So chop, chop, chop I made stacks of 60 small red strips and 60 blue....then paired them up - luckily realizing that I wanted to keep each flower the same from one side of the stem to the other.

It was lots of fun arranging them on the floor though, planning the rows of flowers, once the halves were all done.

The biggest challenge that I had failed to consider was those six long columns of petals.  I am a HUGE fan of squaring up.  I usually adjust any and all patterns so that I can make a block a tad larger, then press and trim into a perfect square.

Kindergarten Flowers

To keep my points and also to keep each half perfectly lined up on each side of the stem from top to bottom, I had to sew very carefully, instead of relying on squaring up.  Plus, I have some weird issue with drifting along long rows.  So I had to be super careful.

Way Stressful when you have a deadline!

Wish I enjoyed that whole process more.  This quilt is so cute I would like to make it in other color combinations. 

Kindergarten Flowers

On the up side, I had cut more 2.5" red and blue strips than I needed for the petals.  So I pulled what I had left together and created a scrappy binding.  I love how that worked out.

Kindergarten Flowers

I went with a stipple for the quilting.  It was some good, zen time after all that careful piecing.

Kindergarten Flowers

Becket had chosen four of his favorite flower prints for the back, so it's just pieced in large blocks.

But I wanted to show the label/thank you I like to add to the back of my gift quilts. 

Normally I write everything out with a ceramic pencil, this time I actually used the Frixion pen.  It was perfect!  It writes so nicely, and any mistakes could be ironed off.  I traced over the writing with a sharpie and then set the sharpie/erased the Fixation with a pass of the iron.  

Kindergarten Flowers

Becket had to snuggle up in it at least once before handing it over.

Giving the quilt

He was excited to give the quilt to his teacher.  Although, he had been coloring that morning and had marker all over his fingers, along with bits of BLUE frosting from cupcakes.

I was a tad nervous about Becket touching the white quilt.

1st Grader Now

Those blue cupcakes were for the Kindergarten Angel ceremony yesterday.  So sweet.

with kenton

He's a first grader now!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pilot Frixion Pen : Sewer's Warning

I've seen these new Pilot Frixion erasable gel pens come up a couple times as a good, removable fabric marker for quilters.

They're made for paper.  But not checks or legal documents!

While I have a white ceramic pencil that I love for darks, I still haven't found a tool I love for marking light fabrics.  Plus, at less than $2 a pen, you can't beat the price.

But a PEN.  Really?  I wasn't so sure.

I set up some experiments.

Kona white.  The words Rub and Iron, along with the squares, are on there with a sharpie.  That way I could keep track of exactly where I made the Frixion marks.

The second a hot iron hits that pen, the mark vanishes.  Actually pretty fun!

For paper, there's a little nub on the end of the pen that you rub over the writing to get it to vanish.  The heat of the friction is what makes the pen go away.  Didn't really work on fabric, but thought I would give it a try.  Rubbing with my finger didn't heat it up enough to get it to go away either.

But, can you see that up there?  The color is gone, but the gel is still on the fabric.  It left a faint white ghost behind.

I did this on a scrap of color, and the ghost line was there, too.  But it isn't's a, I don't know, ghost?  Couldn't get it to photograph but you can see it from an angle.  (Probably wouldn't bother anybody else but a neurotic like me.)

Now, some poor souls have lost their class notes or other important stuff due to leaving their paper in a hot, summer car.  That level of heat erases the ink.  They suggest putting your paper into a sub 14degree place to get the ink back.

So, my fabric bit went into the freezer with my pizzas and waffles.  After only 5 minutes, the mark came back!


And it didn't go away once the fabric warmed up again.  You had to hit it with the iron to make the lines disappear.  On the up side, they DID disappear again. 

I tried adding it to my fridge.  But after a half hour in 40 degrees, the lines were still gone.  I didn't try to figure out where the line was between cold that brought back the marks and cold that did not.  But from Pilot's suggestion, I would think it's around 20 degrees F.

Next up, what happens when you wash your stuff in cold?  Will the lines come back?

I just used the coldest tap water, as if it was in the wash.  The lines did not return.  BUT, you can see in the photo below how those ghosts was easy to get their photo holding it up to the window.

I would advise against using this pen to mark things like drapes or perhaps clothing that will show the marks when you're outside and the sun shines behind you. 

One last test - I gave the marks a good, soapy scrub.  They still came back after sitting in my freezer for 5 minutes.

The ability of an iron to get rid of the color didn't seem to change no matter what I did to the fabric.

It was kind of fun, like my own magic show.  Here - gone - here - gone.

I have actually used the pen on fabric since my tests, because it marks so nice and dark, to keep track of where I need to stop for the miter on my binding. It is sooo fast and easy to get the mark to disappear with a hot iron, I wasn't afraid to use it in the seam.

So, if you use a Frixion Pilot to mark your quilts, I would make sure the remaining ghost marks will be hidden in some way by a seam or perhaps your quilting. And if you end up using your fabric item outside on a sleigh ride in the winter cold, you may need to hit it with an iron once again to get rid of all the black lines that will show up.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Relaxing before the Chaos

A quiet half hour on my quilt
with a DQ peanut butter bash (super yummy!) 
and Amanda Jean and Cheryl's book
as I count down only 3 more school days left in the year

My kind of picnic while waiting to pick up the kindergartner

And a funny exchange this morning....

Mark: Who opens the water bottles and puts them back after taking only a couple sips?
Becket: Me. I take a cool drink. It's refreshing, Dad.

Can't argue with that.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'll finish in time!

Flying along on a quilt for the teacher gift.

Just need to get that binding on!

Ready to bind

Monday, May 21, 2012

Retreat : recap two

Saturday  - Quilting Lessons

Love love this sample.

This was a sample that Amanda Jean brought along, and I super loved it. The herringbone is awesome, and I am especially drawn to straight line against curvy free motion.

2012-05 WI Amanda Quilt Retreat 13

Right after breakfast we dove into our first lesson.

It must be noted how wonderful the food was all weekend. There was a woman who worked for the retreat location who fed us amazing, fresh comfort food. Tacos with all the fixings, pancakes fresh fruit and 4 different syrups, pulled pork sandwiches with home made coleslaw and the best chocolate chip cookies ever. (she shared her recipe, too!) You get the was so fun to be working along and then you hear the call that the next meal is ready. You didn't have to make any of it, clean up, nor realize hours later that you had forgotten to eat :)

So, our first lesson covered basics and then ideas for walking foot quilting beyond plain straight lines. Even though I have quite a bit of quilting and walking foot experience, there were still new things to learn. Then, the fun of trying it out on our squares.

Angela's herringbone quilting

Had to do the herring bone on one of my blocks. As always though, I became bored with the straight line process, so I added a couple strategic gaps. I really like the look of straight lines, but have very little patience for the monotony. It was nice to be able to try them out on our 17" blocks instead of a whole quilt.

2012-05 WI Amanda Quilt Retreat 27

If we got stuck, Amanda Jean would help us out.

2012-05 WI Amanda Quilt Retreat 53

It didn't take long before we had stuff all over the place. I had commandeered the couch behind me as well was my table.

amanda's quilt
A close-up of a favorite section on Amanda Jean's quilt.

In the afternoon we switched over to free motion. I was excited to get ideas and learn some patterns beyond my standard stipple.

Some of my favorites:

Angela's mod bumps quilting

Angela's dandelion quilting
I made this one up to look like dandelion seed heads flowing up and down the print.

Angela's flower quilting
And I was super proud of how my flowers turned out.

2012-05 KMS Block c 06

Karen, sitting at the table next to me, had an amazing ability to keep things in a straight line. Where I had to spend time measuring and marking guidelines, she was able to keep things straight and evenly spaced BY EYE!

melinda's lilly pads
Melinda turned her Echo into fabulous lily pads!

We spent a lot of time laughing - we certainly weren't a quiet bunch. Then there was quilter fun, like laughing about a spray bottle filled with Vodka Water.

2012-05 WI Amanda Quilt Retreat 56

A total groupie, this was some of the most fun...Amanda Jean would happily sit and demonstrate whatever free motion you were stuck on. It was the short video on her blog demonstrating stippling that got me started quilting 3 years ago.

amanda jean creating and teaching

I thought I would be done with my 20 squares on Saturday, but it was hard to decided between all the FMQ designs. So focused on my squares, I didn't even realize that Terry was talking photos at all that weekend until she posted them on our flickr page!

Hard at work

We would walk around and question Amanda Jean or survey each other when trying to decided which pattern to use on each block.

quilt day 2

Way too soon the day was done, and I had been up since about 4:30, so I turned in before midnight. Final day would be learning to join up our blocks!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yes, of course I am

'Mom, you're going to make my teacher a quilt, right?'

stems start

Of course I am....but how in the world is the last day only a week and a half away?!

sew quick - sew quick - sew quick

Where did the year go?


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Retreat : recap one

Teacher's corner

I have so much to share with you, I'll break my final retreat post into a couple days.  I don't want to leave out a single, fun photo or moment.

Perhaps it was the fact that this was my first quilt retreat, or that all ten of the other women there just amazing, but I can not imagine a more awesome retreat.

(seriously, I've been gushing about it for the last two days to whomever I can get to listen!)

2012-05 WI Amanda Quilt Retreat 06

As everybody arrived Friday afternoon, we uncrammed our packed cars and started loading up the retreat center.

2012-05 WI Amanda Quilt Retreat 10

By evening we filled eight banquet rounds and a big rectangle table with an amazing variety of machines and quilty stuff.

Karen had a cool tilted base-thing so that her sewing surface is at perhaps a 10-15deg angle.  And Flaun had a Horizon that I tried not to drool on, along with Amanda's screamin' fast Juki (no fancy stuff, not even a zigzag, but as she said, it has two modes - fast and faster!)

yoga blocks as quilting platform

Melinda's cool, vintage Kenmore doesn't have a quilting platform, so she improvised.

With yoga blocks, a few books including e.e.cummings, cardboard, and packing tape....It was super Zen!

After a yummy dinner of tacos and cupcakes (mmm!) we sat together to introduce ourselves more formally with some show & tell and flimsies.

Angela's Turnovers magic!

I brought a few, including this dutch pinwheel I made a couple years ago with Snippets turnovers and a bit of stash.  We decided that proudly stippling it and a scrappy binding would be the way to go.

(I love to stipple, and I'm going to own that I'm proud of it - even though it kind of feels like stipple is trending 'out' in blog land lately) 

melinda's strings

Melinda's string quilt.  Amazing. Oh, and she brought her voile quilt top as well - too busy gaping at it's wonderfulness to take a photo.  Go visit it....

flaun's scrappy

Flaun had the most awesome aqua suitcase full of stuff.  She's a hoot and has made some cool stuff - you should check out her blog.

Melinda, Amanda, and the rest of us talked over lots of quilting ideas for all the flimsies we brought.

Angela's Tablecloth

I brought my Figgy Pudding table cloth/quilt to sleep under.  Bummed I didn't take any photos of it in my nice room.

We over-talked.  By a whole big bunch.  It was just too much fun.

So the first class that Amanda was going to do for us go put off until Saturday morning - probably best not to start learning at 10:30 the first night!

amanda's slabs

That was perfect for me, as I had fallen in love with this quilt by Amanda.  She had been at a book signing the night before, and had all her quilts along - lucky us!

Amanda is truely the queen of scrap quilting.  But I have struggled with it.....How do you get the above out of a bin like this:

scrap start

So, late Friday night I asked and Amanda happily dove into my bin and taught me how to do it.

Being an engineer to the core, I really just needed SOME basic process, other than - sew scraps together.  Her little improvised lesson was perfect.

Then it was off to bed a little before midnight - we had a big day planned for Saturday.  I was hyped up on caffine....

Diet Dr Pepper and Iced coffee - the drinks of the champion quilters :)

And had my new scrap-piecing skills churning in my head.  I tossed and turned, finally waking up at 4:30am.  I tried really hard to sleep some more, as we weren't starting until 8:30, but I gave up at 5 and hopped into the shower. 

Up early with the red winged blackbirds. Ready to sew!

I was up alone, so headed out back for some yogurt.  With the red winged blackbirds, and the sweet grass smell, it was a wonderful start.

Then I dove back into my green bin to try blocks by myself.

Great way to start the morning. Iced coffee and scrap piecing.

And I did it!!  By the time others started joining me around 7:30, I was super excited and waving my green blocks for all to see.

my slabs

Amanda had started parts of these, and I just ran with it until the call for breakfast came at 8:30.

my own slab

This one I did all by myself.

After breakfast we start the real lessons - and first up would be using a walking foot.....

Walking foot blocks first.