Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bombshell Swimsuit

About a month ago I realized I needed a new swimsuit--as in, my old swimsuit seemed okay when I put it on dry, but would all but fall off when soaking wet.  The idea of trying to get a babysitter and/or take the kids with me to go shopping for a suit (which in itself is an ordeal!) made me want to just stay on dry land.  And then thinking of the cost of a swimming suit that I probably wouldn't even love?!  Ugh, no thanks.

These were taken after sitting in the hot springs, so yeah I'm a hot mess.  But it does show how nicely the suit holds its shape when wet!

But I had signed my son up for a two week swim lesson...and wasn't sure if I would need to be in the pool with him or not (I didn't after all, but the possibility sure lit a fire under me!).  So I got the Bombshell swimsuit pattern, went to Joann's and bought supplies.  A week later I finally made it!  I kept planning to take photos at the pool, or in the backyard, but actually this trip was the first time wearing the suit!  So I did get photos of the maiden outing!

In the San Antonio Hot Springs, Jemez, New Mexico.

And thank goodness there is a very detailed Bombshell Sewalong, with lots of extra tips, photos and hand holding!  It was my first time making a bathing suit, and it went swimmingly.  After this trip I must say the biggest con to a one piece suit is not being able to pee without taking the whole thing off.  Not fun in the middle of the woods.

I'm a 1/4 hispanic and like to say I keep it all in my butt, haha.  The bombshell did a very nice job of covering it!

The biggest con of this swimsuit is, at least on mine, the water somehow collected in between the layers in the back and pooled around my butt--annoying, weird and not flattering.  Eventually it drained out and was fine, but not before my husband and brother had a good laugh.

Progress photos from IG: @quiltsnkids


I was sure it would just end up looking like a frumpy mom-suit, but I really don't think it does! Next time (probably wait until next year, I am not fond of all the gathering steps!) I'll add a little around the hips and length.  I did a straight size 12 and it pulls around the hips, though it is still comfortable.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quilting Progress

I've been making good progress getting the Pink Star Quilt quilted, despite only working on it every other day or so.

Finished quilting around the star!  My 4.5 year old monster son is for scale. ;-)

I finished all the feathers around the star, hurray!

Big quilt feathers!

I decided to continue the double circles around the corner ribbons, and then fill in around the ribbons with pebbles, so the ribbons stand out a little more. I used my FMQ foot to quilt these circles, and it was tricky!

I marked the circles first and then traced them using my FMQ foot.

Started quilting the pebbles around the ribbon, I will come back and fill in the rest when I'm done with the loop-di-loops.

And now all that is left is finishing the loops around the perimeter of the (very large) quilt:


I love the way the dense multi-sized loops look and feel, but whew they are time and thread consuming--but what hasn't been on this quilt?  Ha.

I think I've quilt about a 1/3 of these so far, hoping to finish by the end of the month!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guest Post and Pink Star progress

It's a big quilt!

I am elbows deep in quilting the Pink Star quilt, but wanted to tell you I have a guest post for the Giant Chevron QAL over at the Elven Garden about free motion quilting today!  Go check it out!

Elven Garden Quilts


Here's a peek at the feathers I just finished!  They are a lot of work, and use tons of thread.  But they're gorgeous!

Big feathers!  They are about 20 inches long.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quilting Tutorial: How to make peacock feathers


There was a lot of interest in how I make these free motion quilted peacock feathers, so here's is a detailed photo tutorial!  This is adapted from the Angela Walter Plume Feather

Step 1. Start with a line just off from center, ending with a spiral (I'll call this the head of the feather)--leaving enough room for more quilting around the head.

Step 2. Come out of the swirl, and around to the top, going up to a point and back down, connecting to the stem just below the level of the head.

Step 3.  Curve back up to make a petal/leaf shape that is fairly narrow and pointy.  The first couple of petals help create and define a nice head shape--you want them to go up almost as far as the top of the head point.

Step 4.  Continue adding more petals.  Occasionally you can add a swirl.  Note this one faces down.

Step 5.  For downward facing swirls I keep them fairly thin, then add a small "filler" petal that comes up to the bottom of the swirl (where I added the red dot).

Step 6.  Continue filling in with the feathers until you get to the bottom of the stem.

Step 7. Quilt the other side of the stem, about 1/4" away from the first stem line, then curve gently out before getting to the head (I added a small line on the green about where I started curving out), and ending in a pointy petal that approximately matches the other side.

Step 8.  Connect/close the petal about where you started curving out from the stem (near the little line again).

Step 9.  Continue adding petals, adding occasional swirls (I like to put them in the places that have a lot of space to fill).  Note that this swirl faces up.

Step 10.  Come out of the swirl, back to the stem, continue with petals.  Usually for upward facing spirals I keep the base of the petal about the same shape as the other petals, although I didn't do that very well in this drawing.

All those colors and arrows really distract from the finished feather, so here is one I made with just black:


I love making these feathers, and have used them for all sorts of shapes.  On my current project I'm using them to fill big half square triangles--here's how I did it following the steps above:

Steps 1 and 2.

Steps 3-6.

Steps 7 and 8.

Steps 9 and 10, feather filling a half square triangle.

Here you can see them on the quilt, and how each side of the feather has at least two swirly petals--I add more when the feathers are big (these are are about 18 inches long):


Here are some more examples, using different sizes and filling different shapes:

Back of an envelope--rectangle feather.

Diamond feather.

Wedge shaped feather from my Radiant Orchid mini quilt.

Back of Radiant Orchid quilt--shows wedge shaped peacock feathers on a dresden.

Diamond shaped feather, my first quilt with a plume/peacock feather was Lone Star Reflections.  I've come a long way!

This was a practice feather for the one above, I quilted the feather and then went back to add a bunch of echo lines inside and outside of each petal.  Then I turned it into a mini quilt.

 I hope this helps you FMQ some gorgeous peacock feathers!  Please let me know if you have any questions.  If you make some feathers using this tutorial, I'd love to see them!  Use #FMQpeacockfeather on IG or post a link in a comment.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quilting Feathers on the Pink Star Quilt

I finally got to start quilting the Pink Star quilt this week!  I had a pretty specific plan in mind, but once I started it changed quickly.  The star just seemed to beg for a circle frame (sorry in advance the photos are awkward, the quilt is so big!):

I quilted a double ring using my walking foot.

I measured from the center to the tip of each point to make sure they were all the same length (or within about 1/8") and then used a string to draw the circle before quilting it (I used a pink Frixon pen I can erase with the iron).  You can see some of marks that weren't quite right in this photo:

Some wonky lines in there!  I quilted around each circle twice so it has a nice thickness.

I spent a day or two trying to decide on what to quilt in the star points--they are about 30" from center to tip, and quite awkward to do in one go on my domestic machine.  I finally decided on a modified plume feather--they're fancy peacock feathers that are able to fill different shaped spaces really nicely.

Using a water soluble blue marker to mark the feathers.

 I started with marking the whole feather, but after quilting a few of them realized that I really only needed to mark the stem, top swirl and where to put the side curly ones.

Marking only the stem, top and side curls on the peacock feather.

I've been sharing a lot of process photos on IG (@quiltsnkids) and love all the instant feedback!  Several people asked how I make them, so I'll put up a tutorial for these feathers later this week.  After making 16 of them I have a few tips!

Absolutely loving the texture from these feathers!

Here's a peek at the back, in case you were wondering how cool they look:

Quilting on the back of the quilt.

 Hoping to finish up the quilting on the star this weekend and figure out what to quilt in the negative space inside the circle.