Friday, January 27, 2017

bronco diamonds baby quilt

first quilt post of 2017!
(not exactly my first start to finish project of the year though, since i was quilting and binding on new year's eve and then sewed all the binding on the next day)
with lisa's baby boy number three nearing his due date, i had to kick it in to gear to figure out what to make for the little fella.  since the broncos are kind of a big deal in that house i wanted to come up with something inspired by the team colors but not in your face football.  i looked through some of our texts of pictures sent back and forth and remembered one from when i made the charm and 10 quilt for baby a.  there was another one i had considered for it, and i remember commenting about that pattern herself.
the entire thing was made up from half square triangle blocks, which made it look more complex but still went together like a breeze.  i found the blues all by the yard, but ZERO bolts of orange fabrics were making me happy.  i then stumbled by the fat quarter packs that joann's has, and found a great pack of oranges with some metallic to them.  they became the perfect balance to the blue prints and i was nearly ready to go.  i had the pieces to the front, but nothing at all for the back.
i scoped out the flannel section one day, and found this super cute fabric of woodland animals that was just the right color scheme for this quilt.  i pretty much love flannel backing on quilts for kiddos (and myself... lets be real) so this was such a great find for it.
one more tag goes to use, and now i'm down to two!
but really.  aren't those little forest friends adorable??
i originally bought blue thread to quilt on the white, but it was WAY off color wise. i pulled out the thread left over from erika & matt's wedding quilt, and it was a perfect balance of all the shades in the orange fabrics. i kept the bobbin thread white to keep from adding any color chaos on the back. super happy with it!
and there you have it!
it is always fun to make baby quilts for people, but especially fun for someone you know AND has been in your life since the day you were born.  though on completeing this quilt, i realize i've made one for each of lisa's boys, but lorelai got the short end of the stick by being born before my quilting game really started.  maybe if she's nice to me, i'll consider doing something for her 10th birthday next year.  maybe i'll even invite her to have some junior quilter input ;)
welcome to the world, baby jace!  can't wait to meet the little nugget in hopefully a few months.
yep, you guessed it... the idea of a colorado visit is calling my name for spring break again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

adventures in long arm quilting

yep, you read that right!
if you follow me on instagram, you know that last saturday i was able to rent the long arm machine to get some practice in.  i took my certification class on december 30th, and after that rentals weren't actually available since meissner sewing was having their annual floor model sale.  i got a call from angelina saying that not all the machines were sold yet, so they were trying to get those of us from that last class in so we didn't have to wait even longer.  i jumped on a date, and had my fingers crossed i wouldn't get the call saying it sold.
all last week i sewed and sewed in anticipation of saturday, getting ready to use the long arm machine for the first time without having to pass it back and forth with anyone else.  it was mine all mine for the day.  friday night, i was getting all my backs and battings prepped, hence why i didn't get any free motion practice in that day.  though, i think this could help count.
i had planned out which ones i would do in which order, going from my most basic project (an olaf panel i bought at beverly's in rocklin) to the one i wanted to be the most practiced for (the fancy fox pattern by elizabeth hartman)  i got to shop, got all pinned in after a quick refresher, and then was ready to go.  i decided i wanted to use the pantograph "african samba" since it was said to be a popular one that didn't have any sharp corners or perfect circles.  angelina got it all rolled out and marked off for me, and off i went.
i kept all three projects with the same color of thread, since they all had shades of blue in it, as well as the same pantograph to really get a feel for it.  i took a short lunch break after my second one, and came back to bust out my final one before calling it a day.  in total, it was about 3 hours combined, but it didn't feel that way at all.  time flies when you're having fun, right?
while i do love my walking foot, i absolutely love that i now have this option open to me!  i have a few projects in mind coming up, and i hope to find the perfect patterns to combine with a perfect quilting design.  it might take a little time until i feel ready to free motion an actual quilt, but i'm hoping that all my combined efforts will pay off.  clearly starting smaller before i brave it to quilt my disney sweater blocks quilt.  i'm imagining that will be my end of the year goal.  i've already got the panto in mind, but it involves a lot of circles.  oy!
i'm excited to show you my fancy fox quilt once i get it all bound up.  after a week of constant sewing, i now find myself anxious to start another project.  i have a few ideas in mind, so stay tuned!

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!