April 18, 2010

Til the Cows Come Home

After over two and a half years I'm trying to finish the free motion quilting on my cow quilt. I'm terrible at it and slow to boot. But I don't care. I want it done.

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July 8, 2007

Again With the Quilting

Saturday night I prepared the backing and batting for the hexagon quilt (this is a bigger image than the last one I posted).

Then I wanted to try some free-motion quilting. To practice I had heard somewhere that pre-printed panels were quick and easy to use. I remembered I had one that I got in a fabric grab bag that I would never use for anything. I got some batting and backing fabric and pinned it all together. Then I went at it with the sewing machine. I found the feed dog cover for my machine and I had gotten a darning foot a while ago. Free-motion stitching is really bizarre. The fabric just sits there unless you're moving it. Working out the timing of how fast to move the fabric and how fast to move the needle is tricky. And my machine does not have a very sensitive pedal so I can pretty much go fast and super-fast. Fortunately fast is a good speed for machine quiting and I started to feel like I was doing all right pretty quickly.

Click for bigger

First I tried outling the baby's face which didn't go that well. Then I did some of the swirls around the sides. In the blue section at the bottom I made stars that came out really well but are very hard to make out in the photo. Then I wrote my name along the bottom. Woohoo.

So today I took my quilt, backing and batting the The Quilting Loft to use their workroom to pin it all together. It was a lot more comfortable then crawling around on the floor. I got some cool green variegated thread to use for the top and some plain white for the bottom. When I got home I started quilting it. I've only done about six straight lines of quilting so far to begin to stabilize the whole thing. Then I'm going to flip it over and do some free-motion quilting around the cow spots on the back.

I also spent some time last night and tonight tacking down the binding on the Simple Zen quilt. It's still taking forever but my stitching looks remarkably better. I still can't miter a corner worth a damn. Hopefully I'll have this one finished on Tuesday and will post some pictures.

My Welsh socks should be finished shortly and the spider monkey still needs a lot more sewing. I'm currently knitting the tail.

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July 7, 2007

Hexagon Quilt Top Done!

Modeled by my lovely assistant, Wes, who insisted I get his feet in the shot for scale.
Now on to basting and quilting. Ack!


June 17, 2007

Thank You

You all are the best. Thank you so much for all the kind comments and support.
We had a very busy weekend and there's not much knitting to share. I knit the heel for my first Welsh sock last night then ripped it out and reknit it tonight. I made a run to the craft store for some plain buttons for the Baby Surprise Jacket. It's been done for a long time. I didn't want to sew it up until my class ended. You can see it resting below on the first six strips of my hexagon quilt. I did a preliminary pass through the quilting shop to pick out fabric for the borders. I don't have a clue what I'm doing.


June 13, 2007

Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir. Five Bags Full.

Of yard waste.

I discovered the key to getting the kids to help me with the yard. I bought them their own work gloves. They helped me pull weeds and put yard waste in bags for a while. Then I went back to work on the blackberries. I cleared a pretty good area yesterday and spent a lot of time digging up roots. My older son came back outside and begged me to let him help more with the yard. So I got him pulling vines off the deck and the trees. There is still much, much more work to do. We haven't even approached the mega-blackberry patch. The 20 foot high one. When I woke up this morning I could barely life my arms. I actually woke up during the night because I was so sore. I feel like I'm in slow-motion today.

I worked on the Welsh sock last night while watching The Good German. I didn't get to finish it (the movie. Or the sock.).

I also did a bit more on my Fake Isle hat. I'm just using random odds and ends of Lamb's Pride so the colorway *ahem* leaves a bit to be desired.

I've finished sewing the strips for the hexagon quilt and I have sewn four strips together. I tried out my new walking foot and it kept slipping out of place. Then it popped off and snapped my needle in two. It was pretty dramatic. I put the old foot back on and got out a new needle. Whoa. Sewing with a new needle is like sewing with a whole new machine. Smoooooth. It's like oiling your spinning wheel. I always forget what a difference it makes until I do it.

But now I just feel tired and my motivation is waning. I keep checking over my shoulder and the quilt has still not started to assemble itself.

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June 5, 2007

Not So Longies

Dang, I just ran out of yarn. I still have 5 rounds left on each leg and the feet to go. If you've got any leftovers of Peruvian Highland Wool in Butter, Allspice, Spring Green or Blue Vista laying around, let me know.

***Update: I got some more yarn tonight. I should be okay. Thanks for all the offers!***

There's been more sewing. The hexagon quilt has three strips sewn and 13 to go. But last night I went off on a tangent. I was reading about the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt technique. I wanted to try it myself so I dug out some ancient fabric that only kind of goes together and started cutting.

This morning I started sewing.

Then I cut.

Then rearranged.


I'm going to use these blocks to make a mini quilt to practice my machine quilting on. That should be interesting...

ETA: Itty bitty Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top is done.

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June 1, 2007

Preliminary Layout

I've already moved a few things around since I took this picture. I'll do a little more tweaking then straighten all the pieces out. Some of my lines got a little wonky. I think I'll be ready to start sewing the strips tonight.

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May 29, 2007

Impressing Myself

I can't believe I've not only cut all the triangles for the hexagon quilt but I've completed 67 blocks! As Amanda pointed out it's a lot of sewing and pressing. The hexagon "blocks" are actually two halves of a hexagon. You piece the final quilt in half-hexagon strips. There are still over 30 hexagons to put together. I've been chain-piecing the hexagons. First I stitch two triangles then another two from the same hexagon. I place the stitched together triangles on my ironing board with the two still loose pieces. I do this for a giant stack of triangles. Then I press open the two partial hexagons and place the remaining triangles in the right position to stitch. I do this for all the pieces. Then I chain-piece the last triangles and end up with a huge garland of half-hexagons. I press them out and pin the two halves together. It goes pretty fast. Fast being a relative term here. It definitely goes way faster than the first one that I stitched then hopped up and pressed then stitched then hopped up then stitched, etc. That one took forever. On the plus side it was practically an aerobic activity.

Then I put them up on my "design wall."

This is just my first pass. I divided them up into color stacks then just thwacked them up on the wall. I've already found that if you start to move one hexagon it sparks a chain reaction and I start to want to rearrange the whole thing. There are definitely a few blocks that simply don't fit in right now. I'm really anxious to finish the rest of the blocks and see if they help smooth out the transitions or take the whole thing in another direction.

Cheryl asked, "Will you quilt it yourself or hire it out to do?" To which I say, I can't believe I got this much done. I haven't even thought about what happens next!

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May 28, 2007

Sunday Sewing

Wes took the kids to see his parents this weekend which left me with the entire day to myself on Sunday. I got One-Block Wonders from the library a few weeks ago and am really fascinated with this style of quilt-making (I've seen from some online reading that the technique is similar to Stack-N-Whack). You create hexagons, or octagons, that are kaleidoscopic. Unlike Stack-N-Whack you don't have to do all the fiddly little bits of piecing to make them into traditional square blocks. The quilts in the book are very abstract and really fun. I spent some time at the fabric store on Saturday and picked out a very silly fabric.

This gives you some idea of what finished blocks will could look like.

I picked it mostly because I liked the shades of green in it punctuated by some very small bits of magenta. I cut and cut and cut.

On Sunday I spent a solid 8 hours sewing and pressing. I have 38 completed hexagons and about another 38 that are half-done. There is still a big tower of triangle waiting to be stitched together.

For kicks I laid out some completed blocks to see what they might look like.

I like the colors a lot and I have a much better sense of what to look for in a fabric if I want to do this again. You need BIG prints which are hard to come by in a quilting store since most quilt fabrics have very small patterns. I'd also lean toward something slightly monochromatic with only one or two accent colors.

I still have a huge amount of work to do on this but it was a really fun way to spend a quiet day alone, listening to This American Life.

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