Thursday, February 9, 2017

Machine Quilting Block Party Update!

I've had a few "sew days with the gurlz" and a retreat weekend in the past few weeks so I've made some progress on several projects!!!   I think my productivity has a lot to do with cleaning out my sewing room to be honest.   I can actually find\organize stuff.

One of the projects that I mentioned that I'd be starting in my Top 10 UFO's for 2017 post was the BOM (Block of the Month) Machine Quilting Block Party hosted by Leah Day.


A very good friend of mine, that less than 2 years ago was a COMPLETE beginner, did the "Block Party" called Sunshine Surprise in 2016.  She took a fast liking to free-motion quilting so I sent her looking for Leah Day.   All I knew about Leah Day at that point was that she had a fast-growing internet presence when it came to quilting on a domestic machine. The more you googled...the more she came up in results.  12 months later, Sabrina presented the most BEAUTIFUL finished quilt!   I couldn't be more proud!   Her skills with piecing, cutting, points and quilting increased 10-fold!!  

Sabrina's Sunshine Surprise
When it comes to free-motion, if you've followed my blog over the years, I'm still a less-than-confident novice.    I can TELL you everything you need to do, but still have this internal hesitation on doing it myself.   Last year - I quilted my first quilt on my Vintage Singer 201 Sewing Machine. You can read about that fun journey here.  After seeing how much Sabrina excelled with Leah Day, I was ONBOARD for doing the next one with her!  

Join us!   Machine Quilting Block Party - Flower Festival.   Block 2 was just released on Feb 1.  First of the month, every month, the next one gets released.  You get the instructions for the block, the template for the quilting and there are many many many videos to provide instruction and confidence along the way!  Tutorial Videos.

So here's how far along I got!

Fabrics Picked!
It's hard to see in the picture - but the background fabric is a light blue\gray batik with Light blue impressions on it. That I bought at Miller's Amish Shop in Lyndonville on a road trip with Rose & Sabrina.  The other Batiks are from Vicki's stash.  The LOUD batiks are going to go on the back of each block.   This is a Quilt-As-You-Go Quilt so all the quilted blocks get attached at the end.  I have a bunch of amazing batiks that I inherited from Vicki that I would never have the heart to cut into.   They are just so gorgeous in BIG pieces.   The back of this quilt will be a cool mish-mosh of some of these fabrics.  The night before retreat I even got these all in the washing machine and dried.   I don't normally pre-wash but Leah Day said so, so I did.   I am a BIG advocate of when you are taking a class\instruction from a teacher, you do everything their way when you are learning.   No matter how skilled\advanced you think you are, there will ALWAYS be something, even if it's just a teeny-tiny tid bit, that you will learn.   Nobody likes a know-it-all student.   If you know it all, why are you taking the class?  Anywho, I digress...

OH - Important to mention!!!   Speaking of learning a teeny-tiny tidbit....let me tell you about the octave my voice reached when I threw in a purple batik fat quarter last minute and the water in the washing machine immediately started turning HOT PINK.    OMG, I totally started to panic.   I ripped that purple out of the water sooooo fast!   Threw it in the laundry tub and tried to rinse it and it just kept flowing, and flowing and flowing hot pink\purple down the drain.   I finally grabbed it like it was a spider body in a kleenex and threw it at the garbage can!!

I had a batik\hand dye discussion with my friend Sandy over at Quilting For The Rest of Us.  (Go on, visit her a minute and then come back.    She does a fabulous "pose" when told to.  (grin) )

Anywho - Vicki was dabbling in dying fabrics, so there is a chance that the purple "batik" I threw in the washing machine was a hand-dyed fabric that had not yet had the color set.  Sandy does a LOT more than dabble with it.   So I peppered her with questions on retreat.   The result is this bulleted list:
  • do NOT wash anything that COULD be a hand-dyed fabric until you soak it in RETAYNE.  Retayne FIXES dye to fabric and should be used in cases where you are concerned that a fabric might bleed.   She recommended only putting LIKE colors together.
  • SYNTHRAPOL is a special detergent that does all kinds of cool stuff.   It suspends dye particles so that they do not reattach to fabric.  Removes sizing, oils, fingerprints and other impurities.
  • a COLOR CATCHER catches loose dyes found in the wash water and prevents the dye from running or bleeding onto other fabrics.   
  • I got REALLY lucky that I caught the only bleeding fabric.

Moving onto Block 1!    "Blooming Nine Patch Block"   I spent about 2 hours starching and pressing all my nice clean fabrics before I started cutting.   I joked a few times...  "why did I wash, dry and then stand here making it stiff again...."

"Bleeding and Shrinking" I was reminded.... I have to admit - working with this fabrics after all this preparation was REALLY worth it.   I have never felt more confident putting pieces under the needle.

Just keep piecing, just keep piecing
Block 1 - NOT yet Quilted
Block 2 - minus the center
Block 2 went together beautifully as well.   It's not sewn down yet and somewhere between my dryer and retreat, the yellow batik disappeared...  I had a small piece with me for the center of Block 1, but not enough to do the center of block 2 and I wanted yellow there.    This one is an applique block.  I want to watch Leah's video on how SHE does the applique steps here.  I was going to hand applique it down, but again....why take a "class\guided instruction" if you are just going to do it your way??

Home on the design wall
I worked on several other projects at retreat, which I will cover in another post, so these two blocks made it home and up on one of my design walls without being quilted.    I kept feeling this little "tug" about which machine to use to quilt this quilt.    By the time I got set back up at home....I knew what I was going to do...

Meet "Emma"....   (gasp!)  Did you even know that I had a computerized machine?? This is actually "Emma II".  My first machine was a Viking Designer 1 that I purchased as a house-warming gift to myself back in 2003.  My first love was Machine Embroidery...not quilting.  More on that some other time. A few years later, I had an opportunity to upgrade to a Designer SE, so I did!  Anyway... a long-time friend of mine happened to mention that she was looking for a new home for HER DSE.   We bought them\upgraded them at the same time.   So this little nostalgic tug pulled at me....  Lula... Lula is Emma's SISTER!   Don't ask me why, but she's coming home with me too.  So Lula and Emma will live happily ever after together...    Ok yeah - getting off track here...


So I set up my Viking (Emma) in my cabinet and grabbed an old practice sandwich to take her for a spin....

Practice, practice
The BLUE thread is from a show I did.   We were testing tension on an old Singer 15-91.  I loaded up some rainbow varigated thread and just started testing out some of the blank space that was left on this scrap.   Once I got my rhythm going, I slapped a 10" square light blue batik right on top of it and loaded up a different thread.

Really liking this thread Weight!

Looks like a 40wt cotton
So after playing around a bit, I've decided I'm going to DOUBLE my batting on my Leah Day blocks, and try using a heavier thread with the quilting.    Stay tuned!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Top 10 UFO's for 2017

Well OF course every blog has to have a "Top 10 UFO's" list as a January Post right??   I need to pick what I want my Top 10 to be for a guild challenge.    And I'm not going to be nuts about it.   REAL accomplishable goals here Jan!   You can do it!

I honestly don't have a clue how many people actually read my blog (guess I should look at the stats page every once and while eh?).  I do it for a creative record of sorts.   So much loss in my life the last few years and very poignant moments when handling a departed friends UFO's has really struck a chord with me.  If their stories aren't told.... they just stay.... UN finished, forever.  And sometimes eventually just disappear.

Some people think that quilting is an isolation hobby.    They picture someone hidden away from the world, sitting at a sewing machine like there are shackles on their ankles.   Those that are active quilters know, that for the most part, that's the furthest thing from the truth.   There's soooooo many social aspects to quilting.  

1) Classes - some that you took because a friend begged you to do it with her, some that you begged someone else to do with you, some that you took because you wanted to expand a specific skill set or add a new technique to your bag of tricks!  Some because you just wanted to spend some time with a particularly nationally known quilter.  Some because you wanted to hit the 7 quilt shops on the way!

2) Guild Sew Days - while you COULD sit alone at home and focus on a project, there is something special to being surrounded by others that love the craft.   There are moments that you might never sew another flying geese block for as long as you live....except when you are doing them in the company of friends.     There are fellowship moments.   There are moments when you find yourself vulnerable and open up to people that you wouldn't normally open up to.   There are moments where you find companionship & comfort because your common interests brought you together.   There is laughter, there are jokes, there are "memories" that are created when for no apparent reason, everyone breaks into a familiar song.   There are tears and moments of release.  There are moments where you make mistakes and get to laugh at yourself.  There are AHA moments where everyone learns something.    There are moments where the world is peaceful, calm, loving, nurturing and the bad stuff just doesn't exist....

3) Weekend Retreat Get Aways - Now THESE are the bonding moments.   Morning, noon and night you are with your friends.   They become a PART of your projects, they become a PART of your story.

4) Guild meetings\Show and Tell - When someone else's project grabs at you so hard that you HAVE to make one, try it, do it, learn it.  Or just their story calls to you.

I could go on and on, but the point is, some UFO's are WORTH finishing.   Some have stories, memories, emotions that should NOT be forgotten.    They are scrapbooks of a quilters life!   They are our legacy.....

This was why I started the "My Projects" Tab on my blog.   Pulling things out, assessing their importance, their story.  I've been trying to take the time to add at least 2 a week.   Having a one stop visual of all that exists down in that sewing room of mine.

So here's the ones I REALLY REALLY want to finish this year.

1) Retreat Sweatshirt
2) Seasonal Halloween Sampler Wall Hanging
3) Scrappy Log Cabin Blocks
4) Thangles Mini Sampler
5) Quilters Dozen Plus BACKGROUND Quilt
6) Scraps of Time - Winter
7) Technicolor Galaxy
8) < Have to choose by the end of the month!>
9) < Have to choose by the end of the month!>
10) < Have to choose by the end of the month!>

Here's a few BOM's\Mystery's I know I am STARTING this year!

1) Leah Day - Machine Quilting Block Party
2) BOM with Kate!  (This is specific to our local quild)
3) Charlotte Hawkes - Surrounded by Scraps

Here's a few I want to get QUILTED this year!

1) Seasonal Halloween Sampler Wall Hanging
2) Quilters Dozen Plus BackGround Quilt
3) Vicki - Snail's Trail
4) Halloween Scrap Frenzy!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Sew Day!

Our local CCQ group had sew days this weekend.   I was able to make it for a little while on Saturday!  Here's what I worked on!

Scraps of Time - Winter
Got that little birdhouse finished!   Now need to find some fabric with a quilt square in it for the teeny tiny patchwork piece.   Choose Sashing, Border and Quilt!
Thangles Sampler

I started and finished the "August" Block (Bottom Right corner) and cut the strips for the September Block!



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Update on Projects

Today I spent some more time updating the "My Projects" tab of my Blog.   This is where I have started to catalog all of the WIP's (Works in Progress) UFO's (Unfinished Objects), PIB's (Projects in Bags).   I am determined to get more organized!

Here's a copy of what the tab looks like JUUUUst in case I screw something up and lose it!

Started June 2015 - Scrappy Log Cabins



Dec 2016 - Progress Note here












Started November 2016 - Scraps of Time - Winter



Nov 2016 - progress post here.
- needs birdhouse roof repaired, Sashing and Border















Started September 2016 - Technicolor Galaxy Skillbuilder 2015 BOM -



June 2016 - Progress Note: here
Sept 2016 - Progress post here















Started June 2016 - Thangles Mini Sampler



Progress Note added 7/25/16
June 2016 - Progress post here
August 2016 - Progress post here










Started May 2016 - Quilted Memories Hand Embroidery



Progress Note added May 2016
May 2016 - Progress post here















Started March 2016 - Let's Get Organized ByAnnie Class Series



Progress Note added July 2016
July 2016 - Progress post here















Joined together - April 2015 - Vicki Flower Blocks


Every month at the CCQ quild meeting - Kate picks a block out of "Around the Block" by Judy Hopkins.   People could participate, donate, or not.   We've been doing this for years.

In 2014 - Vicki chose a palette of fabrics for her monthly blocks.   Flowery, peaceful, pretty fabrics.  She completed 8 blocks before she passed away in January 2015.

In her memory - I decided to use the rest of the fabrics in the bag as a retreat project in her memory.   I pre-cut 1,500 squares and tucked stacks of 50 into little memory boxes. Each quilter at the May 2015 retreat received the box along with some gridelined fusible stabilizer.   The group project was appreciated and reminded everyone of her.

I joined her 8 blocks with one of the group blocks in the middle.

Started September 2013 - Halloween Frenzy - Scrap Quilt



Progress note added 2/12/16.

September 2013 - started cutting
February 2015 - progress post here.
February 2016 - Progress post here.

Needs to be Hand Basted, Quilted & Bound






Started December 5, 2014 - "Grand Illusion" - Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt



Progress Note added - 12-23-14

Part 1 Post here
Part 2 Post here
Part 3 Post here
Part 4 Post here











Started sometime in 2012? - Judy Neimeyer Seasonal Table Runner



CCQ Quilt Guild decided to have Barb Miller from Mt Pleasant Quilt Company come and teach a small Judy Neimeyer class at the church.

I made a good amount of progress during the course of the class but really only took it to learn the "technique.    I had intended "some day" to finish it up.

Then I found a pattern called Misty Mountain Pond (also by Judy Neimeyer) that used the same units!   Well of course - go big or go home right??

Still haven't gotten back to it.




Started by Vicki Steffenhagen - Seasonal Table Runner - Judy Neimeyer



Vicki took this class with me.   As you can see - neither of us finished it.    Someday...someday...















Started December 2, 2012 - "Easy Street" - Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt



5 ladies in my Guild are doing it too!

Progress Note added - 12-12-12
Part Posted here

Progress 12-17-14  LOL - just realized I never updated this!
  The top is complete, still waiting for an AHA moment that gives me the drive to quilt it.   Last thought was to add hand embroidery - not sure if that will really happen...

Needs to be Quilted & Bound






Started June 2, 2011 - Affairs of the Heart - Designed by Aie Rossman



First Hand Applique Project Ever (Needle-Turn)
3 Friends of mine are doing this quilt too.  We meet twice a month to work on it, but usually end up laughing and eating instead.  (blushing)

Progress Note added - 12-12-12
Progress Note added - 12-17-14 Haven't worked on this in quite some time.   Still on one of the design walls though.









Started sometime in 2010? 2009? - Halloween Sampler - Machine Embroidery



Progress Updates posted 2/11/16
These embroidered blocks have been laying around for about 4-5 years..  Time to do something with them!

Part 1 Post here
Part 2 Post here
Part 3 Post here
Part 4 Post here
Part 5 Post here
Part 6 Post here
Part 7 Post here

Needs to be Quilted & Bound




Canal Country Quilt Guild (12" Challenge) - 2010 (sewing notion focus fabric)

Jan's Sewing Notion Focus Fabric

In 2010 - The Spencerport Quilt Guild did a "Round Robin" type challenge with it's members.

A yard of fabric went into a bag and passed from person to person for 12 months.   Every month, using the "focus fabric" in the bag - you had to make a block (or blocks) that finished at 12".   We showed the blocks at Show N Tell and passed the bag on.   At the end of the year - your bag was returned to you and the challenge was to find the appropriate setting for the blocks and finish the quilt!

January 2017 - I pulled out the bag of blocks for the 100th time and inspiration finally hit.   I put the blocks up on the design wall to remember what I envisioned!



Canal Country Quilt Guild (12" Challenge) - 2010   Sue Babe's Blocks


Sue Babe's Polka Dots & Buttons

"Round Robin" 12" challenge.  These were found in Sue Reynolds things after she passed away in October of 2013.  They were passed on to me to remember her.   Sue Babe, Vicki and I were the 3 amigas.   So many fun stories about the "button man" blocks, buttons and Sunbonnet Sue.







Canal Country Quilt Guild (12" Challenge) - 2010   Vicki's Blocks



Vicki's Crazy Swirl Flowers

"Round Robin" 12" challenge.  These blocks were given to me after Vicki Steffenhagen passed away in January of 2015.

Everyone in our guild stretched the boundaries with the challenge.   Vicki was in complete awe of what these blocks became.  The two of us together had a tendency to push people to try new things.   The blocks people made for her were a testament of how much she was respected as a friend, teacher and inspiration



Started 2009??  - Pine Tree Valley - Machine Embroidered BOM 2008?



Block of the Month Class taught by Vicki S and Jan Mercer at Betty's Quilting Etc in Spencerport

Never got around to finishing the quilt.   Must do something with these blocks!








Started 2010? - Retreat Sweatshirt - Machine Embroidery



A sweatshirt I started to show off some of my favorite Machine Embroidery designs.    Button fabric was from my Sue-Babe's stash to be used as a collar, bottom & Sleeves.   Sweatshirt had all ribbing cut off of it.

Some day need to pick some more designs and get this cool shirt finished.










Started November 2006 - Sally Collins Workshop - Precision Piecing



Most amazing workshop I've ever participated in. Was SO inspired by Sally Collins.   Sadly - the quilt I designed never got off the group.  I do still want to make it some day though!

Everything from class is still in a bin







Started by Vicki Steffenhagen - Birthstone Flowers


Vicki finished 4 out of 12 of the Birthstone flower blocks out of "Quilts With Style" magazine before she passed away.   There a BILLION little pieces in each block - all paper pieced.

This was a project we chose to do together.   She was 4 blocks ahead of my ZERO progress.











Started by Vicki Steffenhagen - Civil War Print Sampler



This was a project that Vicki was working on at various retreats with me.   She got 6 out of 12 parts finished before she passed away.














Started by Vicki Steffenhagen - Tulip Flower Garden Sampler



This was a project Vicki started.   At some point I'd like to spread it all out and see what's left to do.   It's really beautiful.










Started by Vicki Steffenhagen - Sometime in 2010 - Quilters Dozen Plus


Vicki made these class samples back when we worked together at Betty's Quilting Etc in Spencerport, NY.  She was given the option to "purchase them back" from the shop owner when the shop closed.    So she did.

I spent a Sew Weekend sometime in 2015 pin-basting a bunch of them with the intent to quilt them and hang them in my living Room.

I think these need to go on my Top 10 UFO's for 2017!








Started by Vicki Steffenhagen - Bloomin Flowers 2008?



Vicki and I both had a severe passion (addiction) for Machine Embroidery.    We taught classes all over Monroe County. Both "Embroidery Club" and some "Embroidered Block of the Month" classes.

Bloomin Flowers is a BOM class that I taught in 2010 while working at Betty's Quilting Etc in Spencerport.

I finished my quilt and it even won a few Blue ribbons around town!    This is as far as Vicki got with her blocks.

I'd like to sit down with these and come up with something. Machine Embroidery takes a LONG time and hefty investment with thread - we shall see.



Painstakenly HAND Stitched by Vicki Steffenhagen - Baltimore Beauties

About 20 years ago - before Vicki and I became besties - she worked at another quilt shop in Holley called "Apple Country".   There she taught many classes in Hand Applique

These "Baltimore Album" blocks are absolutely exquisite.  I'd like to get these into a wall hanging in her memory.

Inspiration just hasn't come for a setting yet.