Friday, January 18, 2013

Fabric Choices...

I spent the last week or more finishing up all the little sewing projects that tend to accumulate while I'm quilting a quilt.  Finally my sewing table is nearly cleaned off (aside from all the things that usually live on the floor but I now try to keep away from the crawling and cruising baby), so I am thinking more and more about the next quilt to start!

For Christmas I was lucky enough to get a whole bunch of Tula Pink Salt Water fabrics--the blue fat quarter bundle, some pink yardage (in the seahorses and octopus prints) and I used a gift certificate to get the pink fat quarter bundle.  I love this line of fabric!

I've decided to use the pink fat quarter bundle for a triangle quilt for my daughter.  I think that the fabrics right next to each other is a little chaotic, so I pulled out some coordinating solids from my stash.   I want there to be some solid triangles in the quilt where your eyes can rest, and also to make the quilt a little bigger.

I really like the light tan color and light pink with the bundle, and feel like the dark tan and dark pink are okay/good enough.  I'm not sure about the white or the dark brown yet.  My husband, the consultant, likes the white, but thinks the brown is too dark.  What do you think?

Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 Quilts

 Here are all the quilts I completed in 2012!

Jessica's Prayer Quilt 

Birthing Red Mini quilt

In May I made a lot of bags.

Rainbow Quilt

Plus Quilt

Rainbow Hexagon Quilt

Tree Quilts

Ticker Tape Doll Quilt

King's Corner Quilt Finished!

I am so glad to be done with this big quilt!  The last of the quilting on it required a lot of wrestling.

Once or twice a week my Dad needs someone to go feed his dogs while he is at work.  I decided to deliver the quilt while he was at work over the weekend (and feed the dogs too, of course).  This is what he came home to this morning:

It ended up being a little short on the sides, oh well.  I think the final size was about 98" x  94".  It might actually work better on the bed turned sideways, maybe I just had it oriented wrong!

It's been pretty cold around here lately, so I think a quilt is a welcome gift, even if it is belated birthday present by two months!  Two months late for quilts has been my running average for gifts though, so maybe it is right on time!

I finally decided on what I dubbed "ceiling tile" quilting for the border, inspired by Jenny's Doodling Needle.

Spiraling triangles and feather quilting.

When I took the quilt outside to take it's portrait, I realized how wintery this quilt is.  That wasn't my intention at all, I just chose masculine colors.  But on this day the sky was grey, the mud was various shades of brown, the grasses, weeds and bushes were various shades of tan and golds, and the pinion, ponderosa and juniper trees were dark green.

Back inspired by my Dad saying "maybe a little yellow" and also commenting that the first bed quilt I made was his favorite.  Also I had a couple yards of brown in my stash (ended up needing 6 yards of brown though!).

I love how a quilt crinkles after washing!  It makes it so inviting.

The above photo I think really illustrates how different bolts/batches of Kona fabrics can be quite different!  One batch of this charcoal grey had more purple and the other had more green.  Unfortunately I ended up using like 7 yards of the grey, from 3 different bolts/batches, and you can certainly tell.  Oh well, it ended up giving this massive grey quilt a little more character!

Even the browns are different, though the difference is a lot more subtle.

Very happy to have my first finish of 2013!  Despite a certainly busy year ahead I hope to make more quilts than last year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Feather & thoughts of FMQ feet

All of last week I was itching to get started on the quilting.  But holiday visiting and having my aunt as a house guest for two nights (in my sewing room) didn't make it possible.  Then the day my aunt left I got a terrible neck and shoulder ache, that persists almost a week later.  I was in too much pain to even think about quilting for a couple of days.  I got a massage, which was painful, but helped.  Finally got started quilting earlier this week, despite a constant ache in my shoulder and neck.  Luckily though my husband has this whole week off and has been entertaining the toddler (near preschooler!), so I've gotten a lot done!

The quilting as of last night.

Yesterday we drove 2+ hours to visit some grandparents, and I spent about half the time twisted in my seat trying to console the over tired, hungry and teething baby in the back seat.  That combined with the amount of time sitting in the car brought my neck and shoulder ache back to constantly painful.

Since the kids passed out early last night, I decided to do some quilting.  Before long I noticed the free motion foot was dragging (it wasn't "hopping"), which was causing excessive wrinkles and folds as I quilted.  I couldn't figure out why!  It was so frustrating!  It seemed to be working fine, except that it wasn't hopping.  Then I tested out the little bar that makes it hop and it broke off without very much pressure.

Old one on the left with a broken bar-thingy.

 I think I've made around 14 quilts with the old foot, so I guess it's had a good run.  Still it made me grumpy for the rest of the evening.  But this morning I was able to go get a new foot (and more thread, and a new seam ripper), and continue without any more issue.

This is my third free motion foot.  The first one I kept as-is for a long time, I didn't think about it being different or better.  Then I got my new machine and it came with an open-toe foot, which I've used ever since.  Since I had two, I decided to "break" my old one, as per Leah Day at The Free Motion Quilting Project.  I tried using it on a bunch of different quilts and came to this conclusion:

-Open-toe free motion feet are much better than closed-toe!  I really like being able to see around the needle and it's an easy fix for a plastic one.

My new foot, which I cut open and then I used an old nail file to smooth the sharp edges. 

-A none-hopping foot works extremely well (and it so much quieter) for whole cloth quilts, or quilts that have very few seams.  Even with adjusting the rubber band (hair tie) on mine, it is hard to get the height just right to smoothly go over every seam, and having it occasionally snag on a seam is very frustrating!  Also, every quilt and every batting requires you to adjust the height.

Overall I really like having a standard-hopping foot and a fixed height foot for all the various quilting projects I do.  Have you tried "breaking" your free motion quilt?  Do you have a preference for hopping vs non-hopping feet?