Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Mini Sampler Swap

When I began blogging in 2007, I was involved in a number of on-line swap groups.  Much of my blogging centered around these swaps.  I have gradually cut back on swaps but when Linda at A Swap for Seasons announced that she was hosting a Mini Sampler Swap for 2015, I knew I just had to be involved.  We swap a mini sampler each month.  No themes - only rule is that is must be 4" x 6" and made of fabric.  Just my kind of swap.

I made the sampler above for Wendy in Missouri.  I used a vintage hankie as my inspiration piece.  The sampler's base is a reproduction 30's print.  I used the corner of the hankie that had both hand embroidery and a hand crochet insert.  Someone spent lots of time making this.  And then it ended up at Goodwill.  Lucky me!
I inserted a small piece of darker fabric behind the embroidery so it would be more visible.  Then I machine quilted around the square.

For embellishments I used a Recollections flower, vintage yellow button, lace, and vintage rick rack. I didn't take a photo of the back but I added a "mini hanging sleeve".  I'm a quilter and every quilt needs a hanging sleeve!

Linda sent me a sampler in January.  I will post about it later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Keeping it on the "Q.T." Quilting Tip # 1

Recently I was selected as a member of Quiltmaker's Scrap Squad.  Monday, we received our first quilt assignment.   I decided to Google the word SCRAPPY -

 Scrappy -  consisting of disorganized, untidy, or incomplete parts:

No one wants a quilt that is disorganized, untidy or incomplete.  So how do you use scraps in a quilt and keep it organized, tidy, and complete.  Well here is Q. T. # 1.

"Choose an inspiration fabric and let it be  your guide."

I began by looking through my stash of fabric.  The fabric below had been in my stash for a few years waiting for the perfect quilt.  I decided to use it as my inspiration fabric.

It is a hand dyed fabric.  Not sure how I will use it in the quilt but it will serve as my guide for selecting scraps of fabric.  After looking at the inspiration fabric, I remembered that I had recently purchased a small amount of various colors of hand dyed ombre fabrics.  I placed then on the inspiration. 
I eliminated the gray and red fabrics. The gray was completely wrong and the red was a little too red.  (not pinkish enough)
I decide to go with these six colors.  Again I'm not sure how I will use them but I added them to my stack.
Now comes the fun part, gathering together my scraps.  Since this is the Scrap Squad the scraps will be the focal part of the quilt.
I began by going through my scraps and selecting fabrics that were similar in color to the six colors above.
I auditioned each fabric and some were eliminated as was the yellow fabric shown below.  It has similar colors but was too yellow.
I have a maybe "pile" of scraps. You can see them at the top of the photo below.  I can always go back and add then to the mix if I choose.
If you are having trouble deciding whether or not to use a certain fabric, sometimes it helps to take a photo and look at the photo.  It can give you another point of view.  Here I used my IPad and took a photo. I eliminated a few fabrics after viewing the photo.
Below is my final selection of scraps.  You will notice that I eliminated the orange ombre and one of the blues.  I also eliminated the orange scraps and combined all the blues into one stack.  Now I have my inspiration fabric, 4 ombre hand dyes, and my scraps in four piles.
All of these selections were based on my one inspiration fabric.   I have found this to be a simple and effective means of selecting a variety of scraps for my quilts. 
My final stack of scraps
And I didn't add in any of my "maybe" fabric this time but often I do go back and revisit those fabrics.  This time I had enough variety without them. 
Hope you enjoyed my Keeping it on the "Q.T." Quilting Tip # 1.

"Let an inspiration fabric be your guide."

Oh yes! Leave your fabric out on your table for a few hours or days.  Walk by and see if you are concerned about any of the fabrics or if something is missing.  After doing this, I decided I needed a POP of COLOR.  Referring back to my inspiration fabric, I decided to add yellow as my POP.
Remember, I still don't know how I will use these fabrics but my quilt design is beginning to come into focus.  I'm pleased with the fabrics I selected and know that they "fit together".  Now the quilt  design will begin to take shape.   I won't be able to share the quilt pattern until my quilt is revealed in March but I will share more later as I make design decisions.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quiltmaker Scrap Squad 2015

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Emilys Silver Lining
I've been selected as a member of Quiltmaker Magazine's 2015 Scrap Squad.  I'm so excited.  I received my first assignment today and I'm already planning the quilt.  I plan to do a "Keeping It on the Q.T." (Quilting Tips) here on my blog.  I'll probably do a couple of "Q.T." tips each month.  I'm busy planning my first post for late this week. 

We were to submit a few pictures for use on the Quiltmaker blog.  I'm not sure which photo they will select but I've chosen this one for my post here.
Check back often as I blog about my experiences as a member of the Scrap Squad.

Western Themed Towels

Christmas 2014 was a Hand Made by Pam Christmas at our house.  Everyone received something handmade.  I shared the mug rugs for nieces and nephews earlier.  Today I am sharing a set of Western themed Christmas towels I made for my sister.  She recently decided to decorate her home with a Western Theme.  This embroidery by Anita Goodesign was a perfect fit. 

The towels were purchased from Bed, Bath and Beyond and embroidered on my Janome 15000.  I love that machine with it's large hoops.  Below you will see each individual design. 

Bath Towel
Hand Towel
Wash Cloth
If you are a machine embroidery person, you know that sometimes it is difficult to embroidery with metallic threads.  I have found that the Janome 15000 does a wonderful job using metallic threads. 
This was a fun project and my sister loved her towel set.  She wants another set!!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Magical Slice and Dice Now Quilted

I first posted about this quilt a year ago here.  I finally had a chance to quilt the top on my new Handi Quilter.  I decided to quilt each block with a feather design.  I used it as an opportunity to center and skew my quilting designs.  It took awhile but I'm pleased with the results.

I even learned to add triangles to the outer triangle sections. 

Once I had quilted the blocks and triangles, I decided that I needed a little something in the corners where the blocks meet.  So I added a simple little leaf.  Hope you can see it in the left corner of this pictures.

The quilting actually shows up better on the back of the quilt.  I'm pleased at the results of my very first Pro Stitcher quilt.  Hope there are many more to come.  There is so much to learn about Flora but she is very cooperative!  I'm naming the quilt Golden Lavender and it will be a surprise gift for a very special young lady. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Some Christmas quilting

These are mug rugs that I made for Christmas for nieces and nephews.  They are essentially mini quilts.  I found the pattern on-line.  I had the perfect fabric in my stash.  It was a kit I bought a few years ago for a Christmas tablerunner.  I didn't make the tablerunner and the fabric was perfect for these little mug rugs.

I added the names with my embroidery machine and found the perfect mugs at the Dollar Tree.  Everyone loved their little mugs and matching rugs.  Perfect for that hot beverage and a little treat.


Here they are checking out their gifts.  This year I decided to make all the Christmas presents for the family.  I'll share more of my creations later this week. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

TBT Mom - My mentor on my sewing journey

This is a photo of my parents and me.  I was about a 1 1/2 years old in this photo.  My mom was pregnant with my sister at the time.  This photo hangs on the wall of my studio above my desk.  I'll be adding more photos to this wall as I blog about my Mentors
I have to decided to concentrate on my journey in the sewing and crafting world this year in my blogging.  Today I want to recognize my wonderful MOM.  She taught me to sew at an early age.  She told stories of me stringing buttons with a needle and thread when I was only two or three.  People would question her about letting such a small child use a needle and thread but she continued to let me work on those skills that I would use even today. 
A very special thank you to my Mom.  She left us much too early at the age of 58 but the life lessons she taught me have been passed on to my son and are now being taught to my two beautiful granddaughters.  I'll do a blog about these two wonderful young ladies and their sewing project next week.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bento Box Quilt

I began this quilt last year while in Kentucky.  It was the local guild's mystery quilt.  The instructions called for a light neutral for the prominent fabric but I decided to use a gray instead.  We completed two of the blocks at the guild meeting and I did the remainder in KY and back home in Arizona.  The pattern is called Bento Box.   If I were to make this pattern again, I don't think I would add the border.  Since this is for a young lady, I felt that the flowered border added a feminine touch.

The top had been waiting for quilting and was perfect for one of my first longarm quilting projects with Flora.  Flora is so talented.  I just hope I can master some of her wonderful features.

This quilt features an "edge to edge" design from my Pro Stitcher software.  It has stars and swirls.  Below you can see close-ups of the quilting stitches.

It isn't perfect but I'm learning as I go.  I had issues with the tension but overall I'm pleased with the results. I have classes one Saturday a month at Sew for the Heart in Scottsdale.  I have learned so much from fellow longarm quilters. 

The quilt will be a graduation gift for a young lady that's graduating in June.  Now I need to add the gray binding. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I'm back in Blogland

After a hectic Fall, I am back to blogging and participating in a wonderful swap over at A Swap For All Seasons.

 I'll  be posting about my experiences with my new longarm quilting machine   This is a photo of the machine. I call her Flora after my great grandmother. I'll explain the connection in later post.  I am so impressed with my Handi Quilter Avante and can hardly wait to show you what I've accomplished in my first month.