Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rounding Number Nine

Picnic anyone?

Summer is right around the corner!

Well, not exactly.  Days are longer, temperature are warmer, but we are still immersed in winter here in northern Wisconsin.  

Perfect time to work on my winter quilt and I've finished designing and fusing 8 out of 9 total snowflake blocks.  Here they are:

Snowflakes 1 - 4

Snowflakes 5-8

I've been stuck on block #9:  "drawer's block?"  So, I  just let it sit there and look at me. By the way, a friend recently told me she thought that I draw my appliqués using my computer program, but no I actually draw everything on paper.  These snowflakes are all my original designs, using botanical and outdoor elements for the details. 

This is a "rough draft" of block #9.  I fused, cut and placed these pieces, and after staring at them for a couple of weeks now, I finally realize what they look like:  icicles!  I've never seen so many icicles on the eaves and everywhere as I have this year;  I guess they just showed up in fabric too!

Block #9 in progress

To complete the design, I thought I'd draw tree branches with snow using the next photo as inspiration.

Leo immersed in wintry fabric.

By the way, my shore birds quilt did not win an award at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival.  I'm still waiting to hear if it's been juried into the Paducah Ky, 2013 show.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Modern Quilt Patterns ebook review

Today I'm writing a review about an ebook publication from McCalls' Quilting and McCall's Quick Quilts:  "Modern Quilt Patterns."

This neat little book is available free for anyone. For your copy CLICK HERE.

My first impression of this book was FUN and FRESH.  The modern quilt movement is definitely here to stay, and I've been curious about it myself.  The designs are based on traditional blocks and patterns but the quilts themselves are updated and modern looking.  New, bright and colorful fabrics,  asymmetrical layouts and simple free motion quilting designs are what make modern quilts stand out.  

"Modern Quilt Patterns"  includes 3 projects.  Each quilt is featured as a full color photo with very easy to follow directions for planning, cutting and piecing.  The assembly diagrams, also in full color, are great.  

Baubles and Beads is a bed quilt made up of simple pieced blocks.  Rainbow Rhythm has a very striking color design layout and it is pieced with traditional half square triangles.  And Lemon Squeezy (easy-peasy) is made up of strips, using free form piecing techniques.  Quilt as you go instructions for this quilt are included.  

After reading this book and studying the quilts, I was inspired to give modern quilting a try.  The Rainbow Rhythm quilt project is on my cutting table. I admit to choosing more traditional colors and fabrics, and there may be some appliqué added but, it will still be FUN and FRESH.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Log Cabin ebook update

Since writing a review on my blog about the above Fons and Porter ebook, I learned from the publisher that there are some errors in that copy.

Click here for a link to my blog post. 

Click here for a link to the revised copy.

This bring up an interesting point.  Over the years, I have occasionally found patterns which contain errors - usually in cutting measurements.  I also know that publishers will have corrections posted on their websites.  

One thing I always  do when working from a pattern - my own included -  is to make a sample block and check  it for accuracy.  Lets say you need to cut and piece 50 blocks;  wouldn't you rather discover an error on block number 1?  I also double check instructions before cutting larger pieces, such as borders.  

I edit my own patterns many times. For my book, I had a very astute, perfectionistic quilter edit all my math and measurements.  She found ONE tiny discrepancy.  Even so, I still encourage anyone using my patterns to do the same:  make one sample block before cutting all of them.

Happy quilting and stay tuned for another ebook review on Modern Quilts from McCall's patterns.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Just a little tip

 A neat little sculpture of nature.

I've been wanting to add this photo to my blog for a long time.  It's just a piece of bark I found on my walk one day, but those tiny perfect holes were what caught my eye.  They were created by a tiny perfect beak from some wonderful bird.

My post today is about a different tiny "eye";  this one in my Bernina bobbin case.  I learned long ago that to achieve perfect tension when doing appliqué stitching, one must run your bobbin thread through this eye.  No other tension adjustments need to be made.

Bobbin threaded correctly through eye in case.

Yesterday, I was stitching away doing my appliqué and had major problems with tension.  My seam ripper really got a workout!  I could NOT figure it out, until finally a light bulb went on in my head;  sure enough, I had forgotten to thread my bobbin through that eye, something I usually do without thinking.  

So, that's my little tip for the day.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

More snowflakes!

Snowflake blocks in progress.

While the snow falls outside and the temperature dips well below zero, Jane is making progress on her snowflake quilt inside!   

I spent hours yesterday designing Block #5 (front left partial layout), drawing and erasing until I was happy with it.  

Sketching, cutting donut holes in fusible.

I'm designing one block at a time, and in between I machine stitch the appliqués. 

Leo visits me in my sewing room several times a day and I usually stop and play with him.  If things sound really exciting, his sister Lily will join us.  But yesterday, so intent on my drawing, I ignored him.  Later, when I had Block #5 laid out in pieces on the floor, he snuck in and completely messed it up.  I deserved that.

 Leo loves fabric too!