tension

Difficulties with tension cause, well, tension!  I am quilting a friend’s quilt top.  Her batting seems the same as what I use, but must be less dense, and I normally use flannel or fleece on the back, so that adds more thickness too.  Which all equals a thinner quilt, therefor tension adjustments on my machine in order to get things to look good.

I start with some ugly fabric, batting and ugly fabric on back.  Then adjust the top tension knob one step at a time, checking how the free-motion stitches look each time.

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I thought I had it pretty good, but then NOPE!

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this is not right. (The stitching, and the ugly cat fabric).

Finally it looks good, and sounds good with the actual quilt running thru my machine.

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So, quilting coming along very well.

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But then tension problems of a different kind appeared! argh!!!!!!

My bobbin holder is shifting out of place while I am quilting, thus jamming everything and making nasty sounding noises in the process.  I have been piecing all weekend with no problems, but clearly my machine is not in the mood to quilt.  This happened almost exactly 1 year ago when I was free-motion quilting my Quiltcon entry.  I have done lots of free-motion in the year in between with no problems.  What’s up now???

And the kicker is that I have been procrastinating on this quilt, and finally just got to it.  Now machine problems.  Did I say Argh!!!! already.

And, I have a this week off and planned to do a whole lot of quilting.  We will see what Sawyer’s sewing centre says tomorrow. ( if they are open due to the holiday).

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Let the sun shine in,

face it with a grin, open up your heart and let the sun shine in!

I love that song.

It is a beautiful, sunny, November day. First day of daylight savings time.

I have been working on my sunshine quilt lately.  The recipient likes yellow, so I just went from there with as many yellow shades of fabric as I could find.DSC04172

I added a few more after this photo, but you get the idea.  I started with 4 white squares, each chopped to be a random 5 sided starting block.  Then I just started adding 2″ strips of each shade.

round and round it goes, taking a lot more time than I thought, as always! Last weekend I had 4 lovely ombre rectangles complete.  Sunlight and fabric can make wonderful stained glass images.

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Ok, so four 36″ x 24″ rectangles, now for the layout. And no, I can’t just make it simple!

DSC04203 (1)That would be too straight forward, and kinda boring.  So I pulled out my cutter and ruler, took a deep breath and

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That was a little nerve wracking.  I have amazing ideas in my head, but will it turn out as well in fabric???

DSC04207That’s better, but still not enough, so I cut again…

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Yup, happier now.  All ready to baste and quilt for Christmas.  But unfortunately it is in line behind a few other things.

And for the glamour shot in the real sunshine.  My 8 year old got sore arms, but earned my gratitude.  What is that worth in mom bucks?

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I think I would have liked it to be more square, but didn’t have enough variety and volume of yellow fabric left to add to one side, and I don’t want a border. Tis what it Tis.

Ta-done

I love that phrase! Coined by a quilty friend, and I am sure by many others along the way.

The big handprint quilt is done for my hubby.

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Bound in black, to continue the black “lattice” look

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Lots of free-motion detail along the way.

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And my little girl Pearl, has been found curled up inside it a few times already!  Kitty approved, check.

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That was a big job, but a satisfying one.  Happy 50, my dear hubby.

blotto

I plan block lotto for my guild each month, present it and blog it etc.  We decided to be a bit silly and change it officially to blotto.  Something to be sewn in under an hour, enjoyed with a glass of wine.

Last month it was spooky eyes to be turned in, in October.

And I won! Pretty good odds, as I had made 3 to demo, and there were only 10 turned in, in total.  Maybe I will do 2 blocks across by 5 down, to make a door hanging.

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I also won a big piece of cool Halloween fabric, kindly donated by a guild member. Super fun.

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Not sure how I will put all this together.  And certainly not enough time to put something together in the next 9 days.  Next year for sure.

I am unwillingly channeling my easily distracted magpie lately.  Ooh, block lotto that could be put together…next bag received for our Round Robin…need to get on with quilting my friend E’s quilt( she made it, I am just quilting it)…gotta keep going on a Christmas quilt for my S-I-L…sample pincushions to make for the guild Christmas swap…what am I going to do for next month’s block lotto, er, blotto?  Too many things on my plate, you say? I say it’s damn work and my major need for sleep that cut in to my creating time.

 

 

birds in the neighbourhood

I live near a pretty big city, in a fairly urban area just outside of the city.  Most of the wild creatures I come across are of the unlikable kind, rats in the shed-eewwww!  Tiny ants coming in under the baseboards in summer, Wasp nest in the bike shed-eek it was big!, and raccoon poop on the back fence.

But sometimes I get little treats!

I have a breeding pair of Anna’s hummingbirds in my big Sugar Maple in the back yard.  It is super cute to see tiny hummingbirds zooming around with their parents.

The other day I looked out the window and saw a little family of quails in the front yard.  I snuck out from the backyard to try to get a decent photo. Not very successful.

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And the other day after school drop off I spotted a Northern Flicker

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Mostly this shows that I need a better camera for faraway shots of moving targets:)

In quilting news, my Modern Quilt Guild had a birthday challenge using Libs Elliot fabric swatches.  I can’t remember if I told you about the lovely fabrics that I ordered and gave out to guild members in the form of a birthday cupcake.

I chose this piece with gold diamonds on it. And after much debate settled on this yellow and teal(ish) accent fabric.

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Using the print on the fabric for inspiration, I sketched a design and started cutting.  Kind of scary when you only have a fat eighth of fabric to work with.

do you see where I am going with this?

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Ta-Da! And sparkly white fabric background to complete this mini quilt I have named “Shiny, Happy”.  Lots of fun to make with little sparkly details,DSC04193

some geometric free motion quilting

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And my favorite swirl quilting

DSC04191I didn’t win the cool Libs Elliot designed vodka bottle which is just as well, I don’t really drink very often;)

Mini quilts are a fun and satisfying way to get in some fabric play and have the sense of completion that is often a long time in coming on big quilts.

and sew it grew

Here’s where you hope your hubby isn’t looking!

My hubby wears white cotton t-shirts under his dress shirts for work everyday.  Over the years I have had the kids make handprints and footprints with craft paint (with a few drops of textile fixer) on these t-shirts and given them as father’s day or birthday or Christmas gifts.  Of course white shirts get yellowed and gungy so there is a decent turnover.  And being the saver, I have stashed all these memory shirts away in a drawer.

And now my man is coming quickly to the big 5-0.  Time to put my plan into action.

Manly colour palette, check.

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I started cutting out the prints and using fusible webbing to make the t-shirt material less stretchy. I was short a few blocks, so added some of the boys old favorite t-shirts.DSC04123

I also had the boys do one more set of handprints on quilting cotton.  Some of the bigger prints ended up 12″, so I added borders to make the others come up to size. Then a black border.  The blocks were getting pretty big by now and I still had more to my quilt design. Block 1 with my youngest boy’s current mitt size

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And then it just kept growing

until I got to this…

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those grey tiles on my floor are 1′ square, that makes this quilt 5 3/4 x 9 1/4 feet! Huge! Although it was intended as a lap quilt, this will now work well for on his side of the bed on winter nights when he is cold and I am warm.

I have now pin basted and am starting to quilt.  October 6 is my birthday deadline, so I better get back to sewing while he is at work.

Fabric note; I am not a fussy fabric girl, and this quilt is typical of me.  There are some thin cottons, some stiff cottons and of course the t-shirt cottons.  I square up lots and press lots and seem to end up with pretty good results without worrying about it all being pristine equal weight fabric.

Have a great rest of your week!

 

tiny appearance

whoa, I almost forgot how to do this!  I took an accidental break that turned into an intentional break from blogging.  Hope you are still out there now that I am back.

This is where I have shared all the little things I see around me, as well as my creations.  But along came Instagram.  I can snap a pic, post it, and get all kinds of interaction. boom.  So do I post the same stuff here? just with more detail? hmm.  we’ll see.

I have heard that rhododendrons and azaleas will sometimes bloom twice in a year, given the right environment. This morning in my backyard, I spotted something on my Azalea…

DSC04151On further inspection, look at ALL those buds!  Maybe this will be a full show.

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I don’t know what I did, but suspect that neglect thru a very dry summer, and then more attention in the last while has reset the plant. Fun!

About mid-July I finally finished My Canada quilt.  Hooray.

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I probably mentioned this before, but there is LOTS of quilting in there.  Even trees quilted into the blank space around the trees. And oh crap, look at the peeks of red fabric and thread showing thru.  Too late to fix that.  Character, right?

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And I couldn’t find plain striped red and white fabric so I went with this one for the binding, and I’m pretty happy with it.

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This was gonna be great at the Saanich fair.  I had the entry form printed and ready, but neglected to look at the submission deadline until 1 day too late. Man, was I bummed out.  Maybe next year.

I have 4 quilts planned/ due in the next 4 months, so there should be lots to show soon.