Friday, May 21, 2010

Quilt Whirlygigs

Working on my whirlygig quilt in class.This little quilt is something I worked on this week. More on that in just a second. First let me share a great site for you to visit.

One of my NEW favorite web sites is PioneerWoman.com. I have visited Ree's site lots of times in the past, but it has gotten better and better over time. She's got great photography to go along with her stories. Her writing style is pleasantly down to earth. She's got a refreshing perspective championing her family, hubby and lifestyle. Lot's of good content there if you want to go over and browse. Then check out all those great recipes she so generously shares. I was at Barnes & Noble a few days ago and happened upon her cookbook while I was browsing. I flipped through it - yummy visuals. It was fun to flip through and peak at all the great photographs of mouth watering food. The book has as much eye-candy as the blog.

Well, today is a rainy day. The clouds are supposed to linger for a while. I had thought to get outdoors and do some garden planning. I need to measure and draw out the layout for my soon-to-be square-foot garden plots. We'll have sun again soon according to the weather forecast. Less rain will allow me time to measure and plan later tonight or tomorrow, I think, I hope no rain. So today is a blogging and sewing day for me. I have a number of projects in the works. I want to try to wrap up a few of those over the next week. I noticed Pat Sloan was having a FIU week last week. I need to do one of my own here in the studio. FIU is 'Finish It Up'. I have to chuckle when I think of all those acronyms in use now days. It reminds me of a line from the first Transformers movie where the statement, "Come on, keep up with the acronyms," is said in response to Shia LaBeouf's quizzical look. Huh? FIU? what's that? Check out Pat Sloan's blog about FIU.

Start by sewing five inch charm squares together.Earlier this week I attended a quilt class. The following images are of the little whirlygig quilt we worked on in class. First task is to sew together 36 of those five inch charm squares. These can be from a charm square pack or just coordinating scraps you have on hand. I used some charm squares I won in a quilting horse race game. They are each miss matched, yet somewhat color coordinating fabrics.

Here is my quilt in progress at the class.There is a specialty quilting ruler (you can see in the lower right hand corner)of this picture. Our class instructor got her husband to cut the acrylic rulers for her. The idea for the class was from an old, long ago, out of print magazine/book she had that called for making up a plastic template of the shape with the criss-cross mark on it. She updated this idea to the DIY acrylic ruler for us.

Prior to class (because I'm just so curious about stuff) I searched around the internet for a ruler that was available to do this. I found a similar type of ruler online. And there is now some online instruction from another site similar to what we did. The ruler we got at class has the pattern inscribed in the plastic so it won't eventually wear off. Our instructor had two sizes, for 5" charms and also 9" squares. These make 3 1/2" and 7 1/2" cut pieces that form the whirlygig.

Here are images of the class samples with different border options.Our instructor, Lois, made up three sample quilts to display for class. They show how the quilt looks in different colorways and with different border configurations. I am going to finish my little quilt off with a narrow inner border and a larger outer border.

When finished mine will look closest to hers at the top left, but where she has a red, black, blue border, mine will be green, orange, green borders. It's on my cutting table right now waiting for me just as soon as I get done blogging. A final picture to come soon.
My own version of a thread holder - Mini Mouse goes quilting with me.And just for kicks I'll share my own DIY style thread holder. It works great. This is a Disney Mini Mouse drinking straw clipped to the lid of my sewing machine with a bulldog clip. The extra large spool of quilting thread sits on the table behind my machine, out of the way. Just wrap the thread around the spiral shape of the straw to feed it into the machine's thread guides. It's my best no-cost(the straw was a give-away), travel-friendly version of a thread holder for quilting away from home. I use a standard heavy metal thread stand at home, but that's too heavy and awkward to pack for classes. This option works great.

I used to just use a bulldog clip on the lid and feed the thread through the wire grips. But I found this method didn't hold the thread out away from my machine, and away from the stitched fabric as it exits the needle area. And worse yet, once I had the extra large spool too close to the back of my machine and thread got caught up and wound up into and beneath the handwheel. Talk about a mess! I managed to unreel it from its tangled mess around the handwheel. I was determined not to have to bring my machine in for servicing for something that lame. I know my Mini Mouse straw raises a few eyebrows. She always gets me comments when I take her with to quilt. But Mini certainly does a fine job. She's my little quilting class mascot!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Take a Peak

I was roaming the web a bit today, following links from one great site to another. Following some links for Sisters On The Fly brought me to Alison's blog. She has a knack for taking photos and publishing interesting stories. You will be doing yourself a favor to go visit her blog and take a peak. Her blog is called Alison's Travels. I browsed through several of her recent posts. The photos are all very good eye candy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quilting and Friends

Hello again! Yep, it has been awhile since I last posted anything here to my blog. I have received a challenge from my sewing friend, Deb, to get one of my quilts mounted onto my quilting frame this weekend. So there you see the frame, behind me. As you can see I need to clear off some 'junk' that seems to have accumulated on it. Why is that? Why has so much 'stuff' accumulated on and around my frame? Well . . . because I haven't put it to use yet.

I used to sew with this machine A LOT when I had it set up on a table by itself. It is my Pfaff Grand Quilter that stitches 1200 stitches per minute. I can remember a time I was afraid to sew with it that fast. I had to turn the speed control knob to the lowest setting in order to sew. Since it is a semi-industrial machine it can go pretty fast compared to home sewing machines. Later, after using it for awhile, I got used to sewing with it at full speed. Man! I could sure zip through my sewing then!

However, since I set up my quilt frame upstairs (moved it up from the basement) and mounted this machine on the frame, I have yet to use it. Ahem . . . tsk, tsk. My sewing friend and I were talking about that a few days ago - thus the challenge. I'll have to let you know how I fare on it in my next post.

Today I ran into another sewing/quilting friend at Barnes & Noble. It was fun to sit and visit over an ice cold, frosty mocha frappacino. We hadn't seen each other for some time. And earlier this week I had the opportunity to stop in and say 'hi' to some other long time friends at a local quilting store. How great is that?! It's always fun to visit with these gals. I feel like we should do it more often. Sometime I tend to become a bit of a recluse. Guess I need (and want) to get out more.

For now though, I'm headed back to my sewing machine. I'm in the middle of a spiderweb strip quilt. This quilt is helping me to use up some of my pile of strip scraps. I originally saw the idea via Tallgrass Prairie Studio and her reference to this page at the Quiltville site. I am not doing the selvage method as I always just throw those away. I have plenty of leftover strips and scraps, I don't need to start saving selvages, too! I love scrappy quilts, but I have accumulated so much in the way of scraps I sometimes wonder when or if I'll ever get caught up with using them all up. But, the mission to quilt my scraps goes on -- ha, ha!