Monday, January 23, 2017

free motion quilting - days 1-6

as i mentioned previously on my 2017 kick off post, this year is intended to be all about education and learning new skills for me.  i should start off by saying i DID attend my first guild meeting as a guest, and i will absolutely be back to sign up and become a member.  i also won a STELLAR 12 pack of bohemian garden aurfil thread, but that's not the only reason i'll be going back ;) also mentioned, i would be practicing my free motion quilting on my janome daily for 21 days, and let me tell you what... it has started off rough!  i've had some bumps in the road, but i think i may have found what my troubles were and will hopefully have smooth sailing from here.
each day, i generally have the same process.
draw the motif four times on 8.5x11 paper
draw the motif once in my sketchbook purchased for doodling purpose
stitch on fabric block. mine are 13-15 inches, depending on what i could pull together this week.  i bought yards of a solid teal fabric to use, but then felt it would be better used as a quilt back.  ha!
here's each day from january 16-january 22 in chronological order, with a full photo first, then a detailed one of a specific area within the block. then i'll give you some of the things i noticed at the end.
yes, i did miss one day (friday, 11/20) due to preparing quilt backs for another venture.  i'll leave you in suspense from there  :)
i started off with my game face on, and went straight for stipple.  in the class, it was a breeze.  stitching it at home, not as well.  i had my machine set up at the normal sewing table ready to practice and then had a traumatic machine injury by knocking my mom's machine off another table and broke the bobbin winder which messed with my plans for one .  my parents brought in a portable sewing table to use, where my machine bed would sit flush with the rest of the table, and so the blocks wouldn't hang.  simi
day 1 & 2, i stitched it with my machine like normal and felt like i was yanking it around.  lisa mentioned something about dropping my feed dogs, which i had no clue about.  after she showed me how to do it, from there i dropped the feed dogs down and was still feeling frustrated.  day 3 i switched fabrics to see if that was a factor, and it didn't seem to make a difference.  after 4 days of trying to work on stippling, i decided to take a brain break from it and did some meandering with loopy circles.  yesterday, i moved my machine back to the sewing table, since i needed to work on some photo editing and blogging and the space was quite tight, and i decided to stitch the double drip motif.  even though my block wasn't laying flat, i felt like stitching when a whole lot better and i had a lot more control.  
now that i feel better with my stitching set up, i feel back to confident and that i'm not about to throw something.  i'll probably take a break from stipple for the rest of this week and feel better about things and return to it towards the end of my 21 days.
feel free to drop any questions or suggestions you might have.  this is all still a huge learning process for me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

the disney sweater blocks

i can't believe i never mentioned this project on here at all, but i suppose it being something i started on a whim and powered through might be part of the reasoning.
this was a lisa provoked sew along, found on instagram hosted by kerry golder (kidgiddy) as an "ugly christmas sweater" sew along.  well, i don't have a lot of christmas fabric that i can think of, nor did i want to rush out and buy some.  after thinking on it for a bit, i decided to get a little 90s nostalgic with my sweaters and use my disney fabric stash remaining from andrew's disney i-spy quilt1!  in each instagram post, i tried to pair the sweaters with a photo or trinket that correlated with that character or movie.  you'll notice some were easier than others to find things for, but still fun all the same!  in total, i made 81 sweaters (don't worry, i have a layout for that many) and will begin piecing that together in the coming few months.  there really is no rush because 1. it is for me and 2. i want to feel super solid on the long arm, because i have a great pantograph picked out for it to use :)
okay, so i MAY have bought some more fabric than just what was in my stash... oops ;)
the stitch one is one of my favorites, and even made it in to my 2016 best 9 on instagram!
i didn't even remember i had that photo with the genie (hello, 90s!) but am SO glad that i found it to really be able to include a tiny smidge of robin williams within this quilt. little mermaid, aladdin, and toy story all being able to show in this project definitely helps be able to capture all my different favorites at different ages in this set of blocks.
i started in a few weeks late, which left me jamming to finish these during the time period of the sew along.  though, once the end was near, i had to force myself to stop because i am certain i could still be finding more fabric and still be making more disney sweaters today.  ack!
this was such a fun little paper piecing pattern, and such a fun group of sewists to interact with.  i can't wait to see everyone's final projects once they get done.
to see all my sweaters on instagram, plus a few group photos that didn't get included here, check the hashtag #disneysweaterblocks
to purchase the pattern yourself and have some fun, head on over to kidgiddy's etsy shop!

Monday, January 9, 2017

the 2017 kick off

here we are at a week in to 2017, and i feel like so much has already happened!
last year's craftiness came in waves, which i have noticed to generally happen when i go from major project to major project.  last year i had 2 wedding quilts to do, which led me to looking at the same fabric for a LONG time.  this year, i'm hoping to make the waves of on and off with a few different things.  one major one is education.
but emily, i thought you already graduated... again!
yeah, i'm not talking about going back to school again, i'm talking about sewing education!
lisa went to sew pro last year, and while i'm not in a place that going to a big shindig like that is realstic, i am talking more local education.  i've actually already kicked this off a little bit by talking two classes so far at meissner sewing, and currently have one more scheduled.  what have i taken?  well, some pretty exciting ones!
two days ago, on the start of this crazy rainy week ahead of us, i took an intro to free motion quilting class.  our instructor, jenny lyon showed us some of her work, and did a phenomenal job demonstrating each motif as well as checking on each of us and giving us individualized advice and attention.  we did loops, bubbles, stipple, double drip and grid.  i've already signed up for the next class to build on these skills next month as well!  jenny also challenged us to a 21 day free motion challenge, which i am going to spend this next week prepping to do.  i really want my free motion skills to build on my machine so that once i get to the long arm machine, i'll feel more solid.
wait, did i say long arm machine?  you bet i did!
back in july or august, i cruised the meissners website and saw there was a long arm certification class that landed over my winter break.  the classes were generally scheduled on tuesdays (when i teach preschool) and fridays (when i teach dance classes) so i was never lucky enough to take one of these classes.  FINALLY, it happened, and i snatched it up and called it a happy birthday/christmas present to me.  i made sure i wasn't scheduled at winter break camp that day and headed out to meissners for 5 hours of long arm goodness.  now that i've taken the class, i am certified to rent the long arm machines to do my own quilts!  angelina mckenna was a fantastic teacher, and i am hoping more of her long arm classes line up with my schedule.  due to the floor model sale, i can't get in just yet to rent and practice, so in the meantime i'll be working on my stashbusting to make quilt tops to practice on when i get my time.
i attempted to sew my stash in 2015, and did alright, but this year i really want to get it done right.  since there are currently plans to move in to an apartment this year (fingers crossed), the less fabric i have to try and take with me.  the less i have to take with me, the more i can buy later, right??  i started working on my first stashbust on new years eve, by using some scraps that my grandma gave me to make one of elizabeth hartman's fancy fox quilts.  i decided yesterday, after much late night hemming and hawing with lisa, i will be joining the snail paced slow along sew along hosted by gnome angel.  instead of making one twin sized quilt with my 42 snails, i'll be making 2-3 crib sized quilts throughout the next 42 weeks.  at the end of all my practicing, i am hoping to feel confident enough to long arm quilt my disney sweater block quilt i pieced all the blocks to during the end of last year.
my last point is to get involved and build quilty connections.
at the free motion quilting class, a few of the ladies asked if i knew anyone my age that quilts.
i kind of responded with a well, not really.  clearly, there is my cousin.  and a few that i've come to somewhat know through instagram.  but i really don't have any connections locally.  angelina is a member of the sacramento branch of the modern quilt guild, and mentioned it to me when i was last in meissners,  she had a few of her guild friends in the long arm section with her and introduced me.  the next meeting is this upcoming saturday, so if life plays it right, i my be checking that out.  i'm also currently scheduled to be involved in a blog hop next month with jen of faith and fabric design, so stay tuned for that!
recapping things to come
education, and lots of it!
stashbust tops (3-4 currently planned out)
long arm quilting practice
21 day free motion challenge
disney sweater block quilt (recap post, and then final reveal. eventually...)
blog hop(s)
and more, that i don't even know about!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 look back

it is currently 3am on december 31st and i have NOT prepared this blog post at all.
(why am i awake at 3am?  melissa's birthday dinner, 3 dr. peppers, dance moms... wide awake)
anywho, i spent today getting certified to rent long arm quilting machines (more on that later) and realized it was time for my year review of everything i've done!
while this year may not have been as blog filled as previous ones, it was rather eventful in many ways.  2 weddings, a handful of babies and birthdays were all valid reasons for crafting for some of my favorite people.  here's the run down of 2016's posts!
quilts: 13
science ribbon star quilt
dragons & knights on the nine patch
baseball baby quilt
peter pan mini quilt (plus a sew together bag and onsie)
blue, white & gold argyle wedding quilt
goodnight, quilt - winnie the pooh
baby a's charm (and 10!) quilt
musical charm (and 10!) quilt
musical amy butler's daisy chain 2.0
andrew's disney i-spy quilt
fandom filled amy butler's daisy chain
stripes & triangles elephant quilt
giraffe abstractions for baby a
cross stitch
bridal shower cross stitch collection
miscellaneous sewing
boba fett pillow
blush & gold rose ruffle apron
bridal/baby showers
aileen's nerdy bridal shower
erika's gender reveal
erika's baby shower decorations
big eventsalaskan adventure
aileen got hitched
surprised lisa for her 30th (forgot to blog anything here.  but it totally makes the list)
this year in my personal life
i survived my first dog bite
bridesmaid for the 4th & 5th time (1st time not being a maid of honor)
took 2 major vacations
became lead teacher in a preschool classroom
turned 28
photographed 5 weddings
didn't sleep enough, but made up for it by eating lots of mexican food
stay tuned for my "plans" for 2017 post.  perhaps that won't happen at 3am.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

giraffe abstractions for baby a

you know how sometimes you get those perfect gift ideas in your head, and no matter how hard you try you just can't let it go when the time is right?
this is one of those moments.
i had this moment previously when it came to making the lion king quilt for amy, and it happened yet again when my friend sarah announced she was pregnant.  sarah is a big giraffe enthusiast, and when i saw violet craft's jungle abstractions series, the giraffe was instantly perfect.  i knew the quilt was going to HAVE to happen, but i waited for the gender to figure out what shades to do the background.  she announced she was having a baby girl (yay!) and after hemming and hawing over pink, i decided to go for purple, which was also one of her wedding colors.  i printed my pattern pieced, purchased my fabric and packed it all to take to colorado with me in october where the fun all began.  while i had plenty of time to do this project, i obviously waited until last minute to get it going.  knocked it all out in a matter of weeks, and then got to celebrate at their baby shower.  here's a whole lot of giraffe fun!
i just love the little giraffe face and footies!
there were so many of these big pieces, which were likely just as frustrating as the tiny ones. its so much easier to keep little pieces in pace, while the big ones just flop around to their little heart's desire. oy!
it was so fun to see sarah reach in to the bottom of the gift back and exclaim, "and an emily blanket!" her mom was also at amy's baby shower, so she was just as excited, but i don't think either of them knew the giraffe-ness that was in store for her. i'm so excited for raymond and sarah and their soon to be little baby girl. january is going to be oh so baby-ful! her mom

Thursday, November 17, 2016

stripes and triangles elephant themed baby quilt

a few months ago, my aunt asked me to make another baby quilt, this one with the specifications of elephant, blue & gray.  i was absolutely on board to make a fun & quick little project, especially when i knew i had seen the perfect fabric for the job!  i bought the elephant fabric without a pattern in mind knowing if i didn't purchase it, it wouldn't be there when i actually needed it. i finally stumbled across an idea on pinterest, but unfortunately it was a link to a sold quilt on etsy.  from there, i guesstimated fabric yardages and was able to come up with this little elephant filled quilt!
i used my experiences with the triangle quilt along quilts to do the sizing for the triangles on the quilt, which matched quite perfectly with the width of the fabric without causing it to be to far off for trimming or wonky triangle sizes.
triangles, stars and polka dots... could the fabric combo be any more perfect??
i didn't want to stitch all over these cute little elephants on the front, so i kept the quilting simple by following the seam "ditches" which left a few triangles on the back as well. and of course, one of the last few remaining "specially made by emily" tags went on this little quilt :)
there you have this cute little elephant quilt.
though the paisley does seem very much appropriate for my sister.
no nieces and nephews though for another 10 years... or else!
now, it is back to the sewing machine for me :)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

fandom filled amy butler's daisy chain quilt

another major project that was a long time planned was this beast!
melissa & jared got engaged on october 1st of 2015 and then after much debate set their wedding date for a year later.  i instantly knew i wanted to make them something that would blend a variety of their fandoms together and give them the perfect quilt to kick off their marriage.  much like andrew's disney i-spy quilt, the fabrics for this one were hunted far and wide to get the perfect combo without being too in your face and chaotic.
the fabrics used combine their enthusiasm for star wars, star trek, dr. who, marvel (avengers), zelda (particularly jared on that one), disney, music and harry potter.  i picked a color scheme that was subtle, mostly black & white with blue and red touches in there to keep it all together.  each fandom has anywhere from 2-6 prints (star wars had a lot with the force awakens coming out recently) which made for a nice variety on the blocks.  i chose the amy butler pattern again, since i was familiar with it and knew it would be the perfect way to blend all these fabrics together without them looking too uniformed. one of my perfect little mishaps, where thor fit perfectly inside the triangle point. there is one of harry potter playing quidditch as well, but i couldn't find him when i was photographing the details. it's seriously like an unintentional i-spy game!
when i was putting this quilt together, i texted my cousin often, feeling like this quilt could either turn out cool, or a big hot mess.  thankfully, it turned out pretty cool in my opinion.
i chose the blue sparkle to keep one color consistent, and since this looked rather spacey it tied right in to all the fandom-ness. i think if i had gone to the red side, it would have looked WAY different and potentially even an eyesore. ha!
the solid backing worked perfectly, and allowed the quilting to pop out just enough.
i actually got to deliver this to them a few weeks ago and see them open it (and then immediately spread it out on their bed) which was so much fun to see their reaction.  seriously, that's the best part... see?
pardon the crummy cell phone photo, but clearly all worth it.
happy one month and 9 day anniversary, melissa & jared!