Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quilt ADD?

By now you all probably think I suffer from quilt ADD, with me switching from project to project, but switching keeps the process more interesting to me and I know all projects get done eventually. lol
Sooooo, to test my theory why the green Hawaiian wall hanging (that I posted about the other day) seems to be so hard to hand quilt, I pulled out this blue wall hanging and started hand quilting on it.

As you can see, the applique and background fabric are tone on tone fabrics.

I quilted the center of this piece with dark blue hand quilting thread, so it barely shows and the outline and echo quilting in the lighter blue space is done in white hand quilting thread.

This is the back side of this quilt and as you can see it's a batik.

OK, now you want to know what my conclusion is to the above question. ;o)
The green wall hanging has a total of 3 layers of batik fabric, which all have a very tight weave to them. This makes it really hard to needle and the only way to pull the needle out every few stitches is by using the rubber needle grabber. With this project and only having one layer of batik (the backing fabric) the quilting goes a LOT smoother and is much more enjoyable. So don't be surprised if you see the blue wall hanging done before the green one. ;o)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Alternating between hand and machine quilting

This morning I finished outline quilting this Hawaiian applique wall hanging. The original design is from Nancy Chong (Woodland Lei), but I had to modify the outer ring (basically eliminating it) to fit the fabric I had. With any projects like this wall hanging that are done entirely using hand applique I also hand quilt these. The applique went really smoothly, because batiks are less likely to fray unlike other fabrics, but having used batiks for backing, top and applique fabric I find it's harder to hand quilt and I have to use one of those rubber needle grabbers to get the needle out of the top after each stitching sequence.
This is a close up - don't know if you can see the quilting stitches very well along the outside of the applique.
Next I'll need to do some echo quilting and then it'll go up on one of our walls. :o)

This is a small Lone Star wall hanging that has been sitting in my closet for way to long.
After having received my book order from Pam Clarke I found a design I liked to go into the corner squares and triangle units. With the star having been closely machine quilted I needed something to balance those blank areas out.

This is the design I used for the squares and I halved it to use in the triangle units.

I've been working on the quilting part of this top for 3 days so far. Right now I'm trying to decide how I want to quilt the border and then it's almost ready to be displayed as well.

Working on various things

Before I sent the table topper off last week I took a picture of the back with the label on it. Small projects like this one are really fun to quilt on the Juki and I have some larger projects lined up already that I'm planing on quilting soon. My main problem is that I'm making the quilting process more complicated than it has to be, because I want to find the "perfect" pattern for each block. Well, with several sampler block quilt tops that is taking me quite some time and I've come to the conclusion that I just need to learn to relax and just go for it. lol The one's that are causing me problems are my quilts anyway, so who really cares how I quilt them, other than me? ;o)

I didn't want the quilt police to get me for not having equal quilting on the entire surface, so I added some echo quilting around the heart center I worked on the other day. Since I wanted the heart motif to remain more dominant I echo quilted it using plain white thread.
Right now I'm in the mood to just get things FINISHED, so I think I'll just sew a "flip" backing on without a zipper and no binding around the pillow. OK, I know there must be some formal and correct term for my pillow method, but I can't think of it right now, so if you're wondering what I'm talking about, I'll try to briefly describe it. I'll lay two overlapping pieces of fabric with right side down on the right side of the "top" (the two back pieces will have finished edges), then sew around the entire thing and just turn the whole thing right side out and voila, finished pillow case! :o)
I'll try to get that done today and if so, I'll post a picture later.

Here's yet another American Hero top that Michelle is helping me work on - a simple Rail Fence top. While I do all the cutting and ironing, Michelle sews the strips for the rail fence together.Then I piece the center and put the borders on. I just got done putting the top together and will try to go out to buy some batting and backing for it next week to finish the quilt.
Michelle started working on more Rail Fence strips, but I thought we should try another layout. So I was tracing, fusing and button hole stitching some heart blocks and the result so far is below. Michelle still has a few more strips to sew to make the top larger, but so far I really like it. The border is going to be similar again to the top above if I have enough fabric.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sewing kit etc.

This is a little mesh bag I made for Aaron to keep his sewing utensils and a yard of fabric in. Next week they'll start on a basic sewing class at school and everything he needs for that fits nicely in his bag, so no digging in his backpack for lost items.

This is another piece I created on my Juki last week. The heart measures 13"x 13 1/3". The picture doesn't show it very well, but it's stitched in a burgundy King Tut thread. Since I used a scrap of Warm & White for the batting I'm debating if I should add some more quilting around the heart or not, before turning this one into a pillow, so for now I'll let it "age" a little bit before making my final decision. :o)

Table topper

Here is a picture of a table topper I'm making for a member of WASIQ. To me she represents all of the soldiers that have been sent to war areas. We know the names of those fallen and we get to know some names of those injured, but how many come home with mental scars, like flashbacks, post traumatic stress disorders and the like that nobody seems to want to talk about or acknowledge?
This table topper will not take any of the images and experiences away that our soldiers go through, but we need to let all of our service people know that we care about them, regardless of political orientation.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

One finished / one to go

Remember the stippled heart I was working on the other day? Well, it's a pillow now and sitting on my bed. :o)
Then I got playing some more with the fabric I bought last week and used my Marti Michell Kaleido ruler to make the pinwheel blocks (12"). The center is all sewn together already, but this morning I cut out the red inner border and outside border. I might have a chance to work more on that later - after DH comes home for lunch and before the kids come home from school.
BTW, this is my official quilt tester. lol Right now it's too bright for him while sleeping, so he's covering his eyes. hehe

Our poor car!

This is what happened to our poor car after the Renaissance Festival. We just made it out of the parking for a few minutes when the traffic density increased. So we had to slow down till we came to a stop (due to an accident ahead of us and the left lane traffic having to make a turn to go the opposite direction on the 60). DH said something to the effect as to "hold on" and I'm thinking, we're clear ahead, when we got rammed from the back. Our KIA looks really good in comparison to how the Honda Accord, that slammed into us, looked. Their front end was dangling and smashed in.
Today we received an appointment for Thursday to have the car looked at by the claims adjuster (I think that's what he's called) and then it hopefully won't take too long to get the repairs done.
With Dh's school after work and the kid's after school schedule, we really need two cars.

OK, to contintue the accident story above. A few minutes, after we were moved off the road and one Highway Patrol officer was taking down statements three more cars crashed a few feet away from us on the left hand lane and one of the cars (well, actually a minivan) ended up in the ditch/ median. With two more patrol cars joining to tend to that accident, you'd think people would FINALLAY slow down, but unfortunately that does not seem the case in AZ. They really could make money here by increasing personell and giving out speeding tickets!!!

Here's something my hubby sent me this morning that fits lol:


1. "Phoenix" actually consists of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, and half of the Mexican border.

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00am to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00pm. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph. On Loop 101, your speed is expected to match the highway number. Anything less is considered "Wussy".

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Phoenix has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second.

However, East Valley, SUV-driving, cell-phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It's an offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent in Phoenix. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, dogs,
barrels, cones, cats, mattresses, shredded tires, rabbits,
vultures, javelinas, roadrunners, and the coyotes feeding
on any of these items.

9. Maricopa Freeway, Papago Freeway and the "I-10" are the same road. SR202 is the same road as The Red Mountain FWY. Dunlap and Olive are the same street too. Jefferson becomes Washington, but they are not the same street. I-17 is also called The Black Canyon Freeway as well as The Veterans Memorial Highway. The SR 51 has recently been renamed to Piestewa Freeway because Squaw Peak Parkway was too easy to pronounce. SR 101 is also the Pima FWY except west of I-17, which is also The Black Canyon FWY, and The Veterans Memorial HWY. Lastly, Thunderbird Rd. becomes Cactus Rd. but, Cactus Rd. doesn't become Thunderbird Rd. because it dead ends at a mountain.

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the
shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be "flipped off" accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.

12. For summer driving, it is advisable to wear potholders on your hands.

Renaissance Festival

Last Saturday we went to the Renaissance Festival, right out of Mesa. We had a good day, enjoying the shows, looking at what the vendors had to offer and looking at all of the visitors who came dressed up for the occasion. Above are just a few of the pictures I had taken during the joust tournaments.