The state of my progress.. or is it procrastination..

August 11, 2014 § 7 Comments

August-state-of-studio

I know that many people join up with finishing parties to get them motivated to finish their projects.  But, I have a hard time committing to my LONG list of UFO’s.  It’s so intimidating to look at the list and then think about how much time & effort it is going to take to finish ALL of them!

However…  my piles of unfinished or half started projects is getting out of control.  So, I’ve come up with a plan to trick my procrastination thought process and make some finishing progress.  I just can’t bear the thought of counting all of my projects in process.  But I can handle choosing two or three to work on at the same time with specific achievable goals.

low-volume-quilting

Ironically,  and really, I should already know this…. but while trudging through the quilting of my low volume quilt I have found that my quilting is improving and I am becoming more relaxed about it.  I only commit to quilting two rows each day.  One across and one back.  This has been accomplishing two things. First, I am slowly making progress towards finishing this HUGE quilt.  And secondly,  it really is putting into practice that sage advice that we all know but hate to admit… that practice does make perfect.  It takes about 30-40 minutes to stitch across the quilt and back.  And that allotted amount of time is enough to be able to stitch a little each day without becoming overwhelmed.  And if I’m feeling ambitious, I stitch one session in the morning and one session in the afternoon.  I’m only 2-3 days away from finishing this baby!!!

steam-punk-blocks

Another discovery that I made is that focusing on one project makes for quickly becoming bored and dreading the finishing of it.  I begin to hate what I originally loved.  So a little piecing breaks up the monotony of free-motion quilting. And I make a little progress on another project in process.

Gathering Fabric, the shop where I work, was going to do a fabric exchange for the Steam Punk quilt in the 100th issue of QuiltMania.  But we need a few more folks to sign up!!  So  here’s a shout out to all you local peeps who were thinking about it.  Come join us in exchanging fabrics to make this fabulous quilt!!

- – – – -

Projects in process in top photo:

Design wall top to bottom -
scrappy log cabin, Do.Good.Stitches castle blocks, Kaleidoscope II with printed fabrics

Ironing board top to bottom -
Crazy Snowflakes, Random Sampler, Brrrr Park, Garden Medallion in French General fabrics

 

Iceland in a nutshell

August 8, 2014 § 5 Comments

Iceland-Reykjavik2

Iceland-Reykjavik1

Here are a few more photos from our vacation.  On the way back from Copenhagen, we spent four days in Iceland. What a fascinating country! The photos above are the north & northwest corners of Reykjavik from the church steeple.

iceland-church

The Hallgrimskirkja church is in the middle of the city.  There are lots of tourist shopping and places to eat nearby. Of course we had to do a little shopping.  Hand knit Icelandic sweaters are everywhere!  I bought one that was made by Olga.  I can’t wait for cooler weather so that I can wear it.

Iceland-Geyser1

Iceland-Geyser2

Iceland-Geyser3

Iceland-Geyser4

We took a day to drive the Golden Circle, which included Geysir & the Strokkur geyser (above), Gullfoss Falls (below) and the Thingvellir National Park.

iceland-gullfoss-falls-2iceland-gullfoss-falls

The falls were huge!  And cold and blustery!  But we were so lucky to have sunny weather the entire time.

iceland-tectonic-plates-1

The Thingvellir National Park is where the American & Eurasian Tectonic Plates meet.  Apparently the plates are separating about one inch every year.

There are a few more photos over on my Instagram feed.  We also visited the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and took a Puffin tour.  It’s hard to see the Puffins. They are so little compared to the seagulls.  But they are so cute!  We definitely want to go back to Iceland in the winter for the Northern lights. And I’m still dying to see a sheep farm.  Not that I haven’t ever seen any sheep. But with all that wool…  I don’t know.  The sheep are cool.

Liberated Sewing Classes

August 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

sarah-girls

Hey, local friends! Richla asked me to teach a series of classes that explore the basic shapes of Liberated Quilting.  Mondays, Sept. 22nd, Oct. 6th & Oct. 20th. We were going to start in August but pushed the dates back to September. Now you have even more time to gather your scraps!

Bring a bucket of scraps or a stack of fat quarters and start sewing by intuition and without a pattern.  Sign up for one class or all three.  Richla is giving a discount if you sign up for all three.  Come hang out with friends in her beautiful new studio!

Class 1 – Learn the basics of Liberated piecing with Strips (log cabins) & Triangles (stars, flying geese, trees)
Class 2 – Advanced Liberated shapes – birds, baskets, houses, people
Class 3 – Liberated Letters

The photos above & below are from a Flickr Bee group that I was in a few years ago.  If you would like to see a few more examples, I’ve collected a few quilts on my Pinterest board.

liberated stars

Copenhagen

August 5, 2014 § 2 Comments

copenhagen-j-g-g

I’m still trying to return to my own time zone and embrace our usual routine. But it is hard. I always have a hard time going home.

Gary, his sister and I decided that we needed to make a trip to Copenhagen where his niece, husband and daughter are living.  We had no idea that it was going to be in the middle of a heat wave!  Most days were plus or minus 80 degrees. Which doesn’t sound all that bad. But there is something about the sun on the cobblestone & brick buildings. It was warm.  There isn’t much air conditioning to speak of either. Normally, they don’t need it. Like Seattle, it is generally a cool & mild climate.  We even slept with the door & window open in our hotel room to try and get a cool breeze through it at night.  Despite the heat, I loved Copenhagen.  The healthy food, the bicycling and the walking are what I wish our lifestyle could be like at home.  But alas, our country is stuck on junk food, cars, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Sigh.

nyhavn

nyhavn building

Of course, we had to see many of the usual touristy things.  Nyhavn canal was hot & filled with tourists. But the colorful buildings are to die for!

copenhagen-bicycles

We bought 3-day Metro passes in the beginning that could be used on the trains & buses. When they expired we rented bikes for a day and rode everywhere!  There are a few more photos on my Instagram feed.

copenhagen-windows

royal-jewels

royal-palace

These were just a few of the photos we took.  Gary took many of the photos in Copenhagen. And I only took a few.  It was too hot to carry the DSLR and I ended up using my iPhone more often.  Plus, we were on the go most of the time and I am more of a rambling tourist. I like to stop and savor, take in the details and try to feel the culture.

On the way home we stopped in Iceland. Since we would have normally flown over it to get to Copenhagen, we decided to take the opportunity to visit. More photos to come.

Ahem, while I’ve been away…

August 3, 2014 § 3 Comments

copenhagen

Please pardon me while I try to re-enter life after returning from vacation.

We visited some family in Copenhagen and then took a detour through Iceland on the way home.  More photos coming soon.  The above photo is Copenhagen along the lakes in the center of the city.

Castle Blocks

July 30, 2014 § 4 Comments

castle-blocks

August is my month to organize, gather blocks & create a quilt for the Faith Circle of Do.Good. Stitches.  We make quilts and send them to Restore Innocence, an organization that rescues girls from human trafficking.  I am asking my fellow block makers to make this Castle Block for me.

I would venture to guess that at least 90% of my scraps are strips and strings leftover from previous projects.  I have three large bins and 2 small bins of these kinds of scraps.  So I am always looking for ways to use these up.  Once I made three quilts to give to three couples that we hang out with regularly.  They were the 3 Amigo quilts.  Even three quilts didn’t seem to make much of a dent in the scraps! I also have a couple of projects in the works.  The Liberated Wedding Ring and the Liberated Log Cabin. I just wish I had more time because I *swear* that the scraps breed like bunnies while I’m not looking!

When I ran across this interesting block that was created for Downton Abbey fans by Michelle Freedman over at Generation Q magazine, it seemed like a good idea for our Do.Good.Stitches group.  And….  maybe I could use up some of my overflowing string scraps.  We make 12 1/2″ blocks in our group, but I wanted just one cross per block.  So, here’s my  version of Melissa’s block.

castle-1

1. Gather together enough scraps to make two 4 1/2″ squares and one 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.  Sew the scraps together and press the seams open.  Trim to make two 4 1/2″ squares and one 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.

castle-2

2. From a variety of background fabrics cut four 4 1/2″ squares and eight 2 1/2″ squares.

castle-3

3.  With a pencil, mark the diagonal on the wrong side of the 2 1/2″ square background fabrics.  Place one in the corner of a scrappy 4 1/2″ square and sew on the marked diagonal.  Trim away the corner leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Repeat to the adjacent corner.  Do the same to the second scrappy 4 1/2″ square. Press the seams towards the corners.

castle-4

4. Repeat sewing & trimming a 2 1/2″ background square to each corner of the scrappy 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.

castle-5

5. Place the scrappy 4 1/2″ squares perpendicular to the 4 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle.  Place the 4 1/2″ background squares in the corners and sew to each side of the scrappy square in the middle.  Press the seams towards the corners.

castle-6

6. Sew the rows together to complete the block. Press the seams towards the center of the block.

castle-7

Would you like to see the back?

If you are part of my Do.Good.Stitches group, then proceed to making another one.  Please?  Thank you!  If you just want to practice your 1/4-inch seams, then make as many as you like!

Can you believe that August is just around the corner? My summer is going WAY. too. fast.

 

Piecing 101: Accurate Cutting

July 25, 2014 § 12 Comments

cutting-8

When it comes to quilt making, accurate cutting can be just as important as accurate sewing.  Especially when there are a million tiny little pieces! The first thing you will want to do even before cutting is to press & straighten your fabric.  This just sets the foundation for better overall success.

everything blue fabric
(photo courtesy of Clothworks)

I’m sure you all know that when you cut fabric right off the bolt it is almost always a little crooked, right? Some fabrics are better or worse than others. Quilting fabric comes rolled on long tubes as the manufacturers receive it from the printing & dying facility.

Then it needs to be rolled onto a flat bolt.  When the fabric is placed on the machine that folds & rolls it onto the bolt, it can really get messed up if it isn’t set up properly.  Believe me, from working in a quilt shop, we hate those bad bolts as much as you do. They aren’t easy to cut and you end up with a funny shaped piece of fabric as well.  Cassie at Elegantitus shows some good photos of fabric rolls to bolts in her post over here.

So, getting back to cutting basics.

cutting-1

First, straighten your fabric.  Fold the fabric in half with selvages together. Hold the fold with your fingers on one side and hold the selvages in your other hand.

cutting-2

In this photo you can see that the cut edges from the bolt are lined up but the selvages are not parallel.

cutting-3

Shift the selvage side up or down until the selvages are parallel to each other.  Here you can see that the selvages are parallel but the cut edge is not. This is how your fabric will look. It may not be this dramatic of a difference. Or it may be more.  If you skip this step, this is why that “wow” or “bow” at the fold line of your cut strip occurs.

cutting-4

Carefully lay your fabric onto your cutting mat and line up the selvage with the grid on your mat.  Trim away the uneven cut edge from the bolt.

cutting-6

Now, there are many ways to cut from there.  Most people turn their mat around and start cutting, measuring from the left side of the fabric to the right.  These people often say to NOT use the mat to measure, but use the ruler to measure from the cut edge of the fabric, from left to right.  Your ruler may not match the mat.

cutting-5

Quilting teachers tell you to leave your fabric where it is, lay a ruler along the cut edge to measure from the right towards the left. Then lay your large ruler snug up next to that ruler, slide the first ruler away, and cut your fabric.  They also say to NOT use the mat but to only use rulers to measure.

cutting-7

What I do is a modification of the last one.  I measure from the right towards the left. But I use my ruler and line it up with the measurements of the mat.  The extra ruler seems like an unnecessary step to me.  I always look to make sure that at least two or more lines on the top & bottom of the ruler match the lines on the mat. This seems fairly accurate to me.

And for me, I have found that I cut more accurately using this method over the other two methods.  I recommend that you try each one and see which gives you the best results.

Sometimes, if you have to make a large number of cuts, it is easy to start being 1/16th to 1/8th inch off no matter which method you are using to cut.  Just line up the selvage with the mat again, trim off the little bit of uneven edge as in the beginning. Then beginning cutting again.  Nobody likes to end up with that curve at the fold of the fabric.

If you have a fat quarter, just line up the selvage to the mat, trim the edge to make it straight and start cutting using your favorite method.

Now, go forth and cut.

cutting-9

By the way, this is going to be the binding on my low volume quilt. I had to find something to cut up for you.

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    Hi. I'm Anita. I like vintage textiles, old houses, fresh bread, and dinner under the pergola. And... I like making things. Thank you so much for visiting!

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