Friday, August 28, 2009

Quilting by Twilight

...the series that is. Crazy new obsession! I put off even picking up the first book until last week. If that many tweens and teens are that crazy about it, I couldn't imagine liking it at all. I usually read old-style science fiction (Herbert, Asimov, Clarke, Tolkien)

I'm super lucky that our library is really good. They have had downloadable audio books for a while, but just added the ability to transfer them to your ipod, so I had to try it out. I almost gave up on Twilight during the first few chapters, but was plugging away on HSTs and was too lazy to switch to something else.

I got sucked in. Now I totally want my own hot vampire and Alice to be my best friend.

A most enjoyable way to spend some chain piecing hours!

And just a note about the Munki Munki jammies I had in my last post. I've had several questions and thought I would post a link for everybody here. I feel a bit like a drug pusher, luring unsuspecting innocents into a new addiction! Here's a new flicker group dedicated to the craziness!

Lucky Day!

I started with some good karma by volunteering to make a return for my husband. The store is in one of those nearby burbs that seems close but takes a frustrating 30 minutes to actually reach. I brought the garmin and thought I would just give one more try in the crazy search for PJs to cut.

Right in front of the first store, Becket found a dime. And inside I found those fun yoga girls! I did a tiny happy dance. This is the first time I actually found some of the coveted Munki Munki, in extra large no less.

Second stop (there are a crazy six of these stores within 10 miles, and 25 within about 20 miles, so it was easy to stop at a few) and I really did squeal a bit when I saw more yoga girls and two others - Martians and Ice cream trucks. Those cute ice cream trucks will look great in my pink and orange star quilt.

Speaking of the stars, I got two more of them done.

Gram is coming to visit on Sunday, so I'm off to clean up a bit. I can't wait to show her all the current works in progress!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pretty Stars

I had time to make some more pretty stars. The center of this one is Paint Red Rhinos, with some other fun fabrics I have received in swaps.

I love the owls surrounded by all those moon dots!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cooler than housework

While I have been scraping and recaulking the tub my brother has been in Aberdeen, Scotland eating haggis and flying in one of these....

Out to a North Sea oil rig in survival gear. He designs and builds flight simulators. I think he goes on these test flights to help gather data so that the simulator will react a close to reality as possible.

I don't know which is more frightening, the haggis or the crazy test flights! On a simpler note, here is a happy little gnome home I made.

And I have been making my way around the edge of my picnic blanket. The kids are in school but summer has not officially ended, so I won't count it late, yet!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fun Birthday Sewing

School is back in session - already! The boys are liking their teachers and seeing friends. The 3yr old is wandering around sad with no brothers to play with all day.
And no mommy paying attention yesterday either, as I actually completed a sewing project!

A few of us moms get together for breakfast out in the first days of school, and today is also the birthday for one. So I made her Amy Butler's document duvet and photo holder.

I debated all week on what to make and in what fabrics, and finally decided on the classic linen with those cute goldfish that I had yet to use.

I love that little guy! Hopefully she does, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not quilting :)

We had a wonderful time at the dunes and on the beach this weekend. After a couple showers, the boys still have sand in the ears and between their toes. Hopefully it will all be cleaned up by the first day of school on Wednesday!

I was at least thinking about quilting - I snapped this Heather Ross inspired photo.
I also came home to a few wonderful packages. The 1976 book "Gnomes"
And a tiny gnome that will soon have his own home.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We're off again!

the polyester is out

the tent is loaded up (whoever came up with the idea of printing the instructions on the tent's bag was a genius!)

That can only mean one thing - I'm preparing to sacrifice my mental and physical well being by tent camping, in the sand, with a [load of stinky boys] lovely group of boy scouts.

To avoid thinking about it this afternoon, I've participated in Rachel's fun giveaway and also bought a ton of Figgy Pudding pre-cuts at the same time! I have a special project these will be used on that I'll share with you later.

Have a fun weekend - I'll be back after I shake out all the sand and shower off the lake!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pieced Shapes Tutorial

I have been putting off finishing my Halloween swap blocks because they were so labor intensive. (I know, doesn't make much sense, but there we are) I used this awesome tutorial  and loved how the one fully finished block looked, but the end process of turning it into a candy corn shape was tricky due to the tight curves.  (Sorry, looks like the linked tutorial blog is dead...)

While reading Kris' blog, I found a new way to make my shapes and I love it! I thought I would do a little tutorial to help remind myself how easy it is to make any pieced shape.
First, join several fabric strips together so that they are at least 1/4" larger overall than your final shape. I pressed all those seams open for a smoother piece.
Then I cut my candy corn shape from freezer paper. It is much easier to quickly press the shape onto your strips than to trace around a template, and it is reusable. Plus it gives all those strips a bit more stability while sewing the curves and you don't have to worry about your drawn line showing on the finished product later. Dry press the freezer paper to your strips, with at least a 1/4" extra all around.
Pin your strips to a piece of light weight fusible interfacing. The right side of the strips should be touching the bumpy, iron-on side of the interfacing. DO NOT do a quick touch-up with the iron on those strips. The interfacing will stick to the nice side of your shape and it will be toast. Ahem.

Carefully sew just outside your freezer paper shape.

Once you're all the way around, peel off the freezer paper and save for re-use.

Now trim all around your shape, leaving about 1/4" seam allowance. Then clip/notch curves or points for a smooth finished edge.

VERY CAREFULLY cut a slit in the center of your interfacing, and start to turn....

Pull everything through and gently poke out all the edges. I used a very light weight interfacing, and it tended to tear at that center cut if I pushed too hard. Also, if you poke too hard you'll rip through your edge seam.

Now place your shape onto the background fabric, and dry press to stick in place. Stitch around the edges however you please - I neatly top stitched all around.

We are supposed to label your blocks on the front for the Halloween Swap - I use a fabric dye pen that doesn't bleed. If I was worried about bulk, I would have trimmed the extra black fabric out from under the candy corn. I didn't think it was necessary, all was nice and smooth!

Sit back and admire your pieced applique shape! The whole thing took a small fraction of the time I spent on the first block and I love how neat the edges are. I think the blocks will quilt up beautifully!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nine patch quilt top done

All the sashing is finally done and I love it! My largest quilt top so far, it drags on the ground in my photo spot.

I think I'll try pebble quilting on this as a nice contrast to all those squares, unless I regain my sanity before I start on such a huge piece! For now it will have to wait with my picnic blanket (finally quilted but not bound yet) as I finish up my swap candy corn.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Needle winner

Random spit out my lucky number 4! It's Laura, from May Your Bobbin Always Be Full. Laura, leave me your email so I can contact you for your snail mail address. And as I changed my bobbin the fifth time on that big picnic blanket, I was wishing I had engineered that cone-bobbin already so my bobbin would be full.

But now we're driving off for the weekend to my nephew's 4th bithday, so it will have to wait. I have a couple of good books on CD, though, so we should all enjoy the long drive.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Quilting along....

I'm plugging away on my summer picnic quilt. Perhaps I'll finish it before the official first day of school in less than 2 weeks?!

I also did one more experiment. I'm a mechanical engineer, so I make and fix stuff. I had to try one more time to figure out what the deal was with those sharp needles!

I didn't come to any solution, but was able to repeat the issue I had seen before, which is at least satisfying. Don't you hate it when your car or appliance has an issue and then totally behaves when the repair guy comes! Anyway, I end up with a skipped stitch if I go over any seem. The only difference between those two rows of stitches is sharp vs universal. And in both cases I was careful to make sure they were installed well and the machine won't let you put a needle in backwards.

Oh well, one of you will enjoy 9 new, and 1 very slightly used machine needles. Be sure to comment in the previous post to be entered in that giveaway.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tool Time Tuesday giveaway (and another pink star)

I have these sharp needles.

I thought for sure I would love them, but they are driving me up a wall! I don't know what the deal is. Perhaps some strange incompatibility with my machine. Every time I try them, I get skipped stitches. I have a brother Innovis NX-450Q that I love and kindly de-fuzz bunny after each completed quilt. So it is not a machine issue.

I use the same brand needle that is made for quilting and love them, so it isn't the brand. For general piecing and stitching, I now use only the 11/75 Universal needles. I am happily back to nice, even stitches.

I have tried everything to fix the problem, and gone through a whole package over time, but it seems they are the culprit. I can't return them, since I already de-packaged the little buggers. I made them pose with another of my pink and orange stars.

I'm sure somebody out there uses these guys successfully, so if you want them, leave a comment and I'll pick a winner on Thursday.

If you hate them leave a comment, also. But I won't make you take them if I pick your name. I'm curious if it is just me, my machine brand, what?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mail day

I got a few last week, and then four today. Mail is fun! I sent off some goodies and now have a great new collection...