Monday, June 19, 2017

Florida Quilt

I'm happy to say that my Florida Quilt pattern is now available in both print and digital formats!

Thank you to neighbor-quilter-friend Becky who tested my pattern and made a quilt of her own. She also accompanied me to take photos of our quilts. The cover photo was taken along Lake Sumter, at Sumter Landing.

Becky's quilt photographed well and showed off her lovely walking-foot quilting using the #28 serpentine stitch on her Bernina.

I've been thrilled to use this backing on our quilts. It's just too-perfect!
State Cotton, The Sunshine State by Windham Fabrics.

My friend Lora is selling the Florida Quilt pattern in both print and digital formats, a fabric kit, and backing fabric (separately) though her Etsy shop: DragonflyQuiltworks.

Locally, the printed pattern can be purchased from me, or at Sharky's Vac 'n Sew in Wildwood.

With fair accuracy, I'm predicting that Florida will be of most interest to Floridians. 😉🌞🌴Linda

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Picket Fence Pin-Basting

I've had my Picket Fence quilt top finished for more than a year. What put me off finishing it was the thought of pin-basting this huge 98" X 112" quilt top!

After talking with local quilty friends about it, we figured that I would need eight tables - at any of The Villages rec centers - to lay it out. Several possible rec centers came up in conversation, but whenever a rec center room is open to quilters, it's understandable that those quilters are using the tables! Such was the case when I went to the weekly Big Cypress Quilters on Tuesday afternoon. Eight tables were not available. Even a quick stop at another rec center proved fruitless. So I returned home, determined to see the job done.

After thinking about emptying my sewing room, it occurred to me that I really didn't want to pin on the laminate floor, for fear of scratching it. So, I turned to our open living space to determine my best option.

I decided to empty the chat room. It has tile floor, and it's where the dining room is supposed to be. Since we don't have a dining room set, that space is our designated chat room with two chairs, console table, rug and silk plant.

The tile got a good mopping, and the baseboard were cleaned too - an unanticipated side benefit of doing choosing this as a pin-basting spot!

Another good thing is that the painter's tape sticks nicely to the tile. Getting the tape to adhere to plastic table tops has previously been a problem.

Backing fabric is a silver and white wide back called "Spot On Wide" by Robert Kaufman. I purchased it from my friend Lora's Etsy shop: here. I made the quilt sandwich with Quilter's Dream Cotton Request.

And so began almost three hours of crawling around on the tile. In this picture I'm showing that I'm armed with my Kwik Klip and ready to tackle this monster.

As much as possible, I sat on my bum, though after a couple hours, that got sore too. (groan)

I completely emptied two tins of one-inch safety pins - well over 1,000, I'm sure. I store my straight pins separately from my curved pins, in separate tins. Now they're all in this quilt, and I'm still a little short of them. As I remove pins, I'll have to reinsert them in another place.

It's apparent that I have my work cut out for me! Another quilt is currently in the Janome, being FMQed, and now that mongo pile-o-quilt in the front - Picket Fence - is also waiting for attention.

My summertime physical activity is pretty obvious, isn't it? Quilt-wrestling! Linda

Friday, June 9, 2017

Routine Stuff

We're in a routine around here as we've settled into the month of June with some much-needed rain. Several days worth. It's very good because we can see the yard greening-up, and the area ponds filled again.

Dan turned 65 years old last Tuesday. He's thrilled about being on Medicare now! We celebrated his birthday by eating out, which we seldom do. We went to Oakwood Barbecue, a place that serves decent barbecue. But our favorite barbecue is from Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas, just outside of Austin. OMG!

This week saw me at line dancing, dance workout, Big Cypress Quilters, and Ukulele Player Club. I was even quoted - very poorly - in a brief article in the Daily Sun newspaper: "I made my own case to protect it," Hungerford said. "It can be hard to find a case that you like, so me being craft, I cut out my own pattern."
At home, I'm sticking to my vow to finish quilt tops that have languished for too long on hangers in the guest room closet, and have made some forward progress.

First: Last week I pieced a quilt back from my stash - the most satisfying way to come up with backing fabric.

Then using that backing, I sandwiched and pin-basted this string-pieced scrappy half-square triangles quilt top that I finished last December! It's now about one-fourth quilted.

I'm going with quilting designs that travels so I can make this a quick finish. I plan to donate it to Project Linus.

Second: Making another quilt back. After specifically going shopping for backing fabric that coordinate with the Urban Trek quilt top, I found this half-priced yardage (I finished the bolt) at our local shop, Sharky's Vac and Sew. The fabric is a Robert Kaufman print called "Mod Tex." Can you see the seam where I matched the print pattern?

Third: I'm ready to sandwich and pin-baste Picket Fence. This 98" X 112" quilt top has quite a history now! I started it when I went on a sew day with my Kansas City friend, Carla. That was November 8, 2011! (Check out my long hair then!) I continued to work on Picket Fence with West Des Moines quilting friends on a retreat with Hope Quilters in January 2012, and finally finished the top in February 2016!

To buy a king-sized Quilter's Dream Request Cotton batt, I patronized a new local quilt shop, The Quilting Palette in Lady Lake. I now have all the parts together to pin-baste this ginormous quilt that will fit our king-sized bed. Finding a place to pin-baste this is gonna be a real challenge! 

This was my second visit to The Quilting Palette and my first purchase. While the owner carries a few solids - mostly Moda Bella - she doesn't carry modern fabrics. She's apparently catering to traditional quilters. Still, I'm always happy to buy locally whenever that's possible. 

That said, to get Painter's Palette Solids (made by Paintbrush Studios) I had to shop online. When had their 20 percent off sale over Memorial Day weekend, it was a good opportunity to stock up on my new favorite brand of solids. These are absolutely fabulous - the hand, the colors. Can't you see how satiny they are? My stash has grown by 17 yards!

I've always been a pre-washer, so when I washed these I was very happy to discover that Painter's Palette Solids do not run! The color catchers came out as white as they went in. In a odd sort of way, I find it relaxing to press and fold fabric after washing. I labeled every piece "PP" with the color name. Yep, I've got a PP color card now too.

A little diversion has been crocheting. For a reason. My dear friend Patty (@iowagrammy on Instagram) has asked me to teach her how to crochet by making dish cloths. I've knitted all my own dishcloths, so I'm attempting to find an easy crochet pattern on Pinterest.

This one, which is crocheted on the diagonal from corner to corner, is really pretty, especially with variegated Sugar and Cream.

But it's a little complicated for a newbie. If you can recommend a simpler dishcloth pattern, please do!

Now, back to the routine -  making progress on finishes, practicing the uke (Can you overdo that? My left wrist has been sore) and generally appreciating good health and a good life. Linda

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Scraps of Life

I appreciate everyone's comments, and a few suggestions about the edge of the Janome throat plate being a deterrent to smooth quilting using a ruler. Thanks to a long-time quilter, and new(er) friend, Judi, I have a fix! 

It was as easy as removing the thick throat plate, and putting back on the regular throat plate! 

The thickness that caused the lip is no longer there.  

And, by dialing down the stitch length to zero, there is no interference from the feed dogs while quilting with or without a ruler!

Here's my test quilting - straight lines with a ruler, and then without a ruler. It doesn't look like much, but it quilted very well. An easy fix. If only all of life were that simple.

After many weeks of working on and off on a pattern for Florida, I had it printed over the weekend.   

I spent quite a while machine-sewing the pages into a booklet (rather than use staples), and putting each into a plastic bag.

My best intentions for a perfect pattern went awry when it was brought to my attention that I'd neglected to include binding yardage on the back cover. Sigh. Well, at least the information is there, even if it doesn't look very pretty.

On a happier note... Even though I had to miss the Central Florida MQG annual quilt retreat (we were in Kansas City), I have some wonderful friends who let me know I was missed. A friend, Karen T., gave a little presentation telling me that I am appreciated, have taught them a lot, and I was missed at retreat. She then handed me a bag of goodies:
  • a green cupcake that I am assured has "fiber"
  • MQG koozie that snuggles around a glass of Lutheran "juice," permitted at the retreat center
  • an iPad or iPhone holder made with Central Florida MQG fabric from Spoonflower
  • Cbubbles Soaps awesome homemade soap with lemongrass, spearmint, coconut, palm, and soy
  • Velcro-backed pin cushion, for the sewing machine, made with Central Florida MQG fabric
  • a pin, a chocolate, and microwave popcorn
Thank you, Karen, Cindy, and Dee for making these things! You know how to make a quilter feel special!

I've added to our place settings of Fiestaware through another Macy's sale - 50 percent off! We have ten fruit bowls now. I put one to use right away with vanilla yogurt and fresh Florida blueberries.

"Urban Trek" at 62" X 77" is a quilt top. The design is by Heather Black (Quiltachusetts on IG) from the March/April issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. I'm very happy with the Kona solids I picked: Iron, Cerise, Glacier, Pond, and Sunflower. Quilting design options should be fun!

With Urban Trek ready for quilting, I now have four quilt tops to finish into quilts. My summer resolution is to get all four quilt tops quilted before beginning any new pieced project. Though I will take WIP pieced projects with me when I'm away from home - like when I'm with Big Cypress Quilters, or Central Florida MQGers at Sew-Ins - at home sewing room time is this.

I don't particularly like this quilt which has a sort of space-y, orbit-y feel to it. I'm quilting blob-ish designs that really mean "anything goes." When this quilt is done, it's going directly to Project Linus. I'm hoping some teen will think it's great.

Recently, I've been communicating with two different quilt guilds to give a domestic machine quilting presentation and workshop in August and September. (See "Teaching Schedule" above, if you'd like to know more.) Surprisingly, both guilds have already filled a 20-person workshop, and both guilds are trying to make arrangements for workshop number two! I'm honored, and thrilled, especially as I've missing teaching lately.

My ukulele is still my go-to pick-up toy for engaging in something different. Perhaps I'm playing it too much though as I've developed soreness in my left wrist from trying to make my fingers form difficult chords like D, E, and B-flat. Maybe practicing for an hour or more at a time isn't the best way to go about learning. Shorter practices with FMQ in between is my new plan. Linda

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ruler work Revelation

I wanted to talk about something I recently discovered, and perhaps hear from others whether you've had a similar experience.

With ruler work being the newest domestic machine quilting trend, I've been exploring it more. Now that I have a ruler work foot (purchased in March) for both my Bernina 440, and Janome 1600P (for more than a year), I've been able to do a little comparison quilting. 

What I've learned is that ruler work on one machine may not be the same as ruler work on another machine. This revelation has added to my concerns about teaching ruler work quilting - as I have been asked several times to do.

You see, the ability to successfully accomplish ruler work quilting depends so much on the sewing machine! Not only is having a properly-fitting ruler work foot a necessity, but another concern is how the feed dogs are disengaged or covered. The sewing machine bed must be flat!

Let me show you.

As you can see in this close-up photo of my Janome sewing bed set up for quilting, this machine requires a special quilting plate that replaces the regular sewing plate. This one is thicker. See the area circled in red? The thickness of the quilting plate creates a small lip; there's a difference in heights. This thicker plate is meant to cover the feed dogs. The teeth of the feed dogs are engaged and moving, but they're "deep" enough below the surface that they cannot grab the fabric.

Even with a Supreme Slider on top of the sewing machine bed, the edge of the quilting plate is still slightly visible.

Very easily, when trying to slide the ruler and the quilt under the needle, the ruler can bumpily move along, or can even get hung up on the lip.

This was an accidental discovery when I was ruler work quilting a small piece with a thinner-than-usual batting - Warm 'n Natural. Sometimes the ruler would catch on that lip and I couldn't move the quilt at all. Grrr.

I'm surmising that I previously haven't had a problem with rulers because I most often use Quilter's Dream battings which are more dense. Sometimes I even use double batting (Quilter's Dream Wool on top of Quilter's Dream Cotton). Could quilting on a thicker quilt give more of a cushion that compensates for the lip underneath?

All this thoughts came together when I was ruler work quilting on the Bernina. It has feed dogs that can be lowered, meaning that the Bernina sewing machine bed is completely flat. There's no lip for a ruler to catch on.

However, I will continue to quilt on my Janome. For one thing, it stitches faster than a Bernina. And for another, it has a 9" harp (1/12" more space than the Bernina) for quilting big quilts.

My take-away from this is to simply be aware that any quilt on which I do Janome ruler work should have a substantial batting. Linda

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Work of My Palms

Quilting-wise, only a little bit happened while away from home. And now that I've had a few days to get back to stuff, I have several updates to share.

When traveling by car I never drive, so passenger seat time is spent on handwork, or practicing the ukulele - now that I have that new form of entertainment. My long-term, on-going, will-take-years-to-finish handwork project is making these 8" English paper-pieced hexagons. I put together three of them while riding from Florida to Kansas and back again.

The design is called Spinning Wheel, and I think it makes into a pretty cool quilt. Though pre-cut papers are available for purchase, I drafted this shape in EQ7 and printed my own card stock papers that I cut out with a rotary cutter. The paper's aren't quite as accurate as purchased papers, but I've found that as I remove the card stock, if something is puckery, when it's fabric-only it eases out. 

I'm 23 hexagons into this project, and will work on them again when traveling or when I can't take my sewing machine with me to a quilting activity. I'm out of pre-prepared fabric pieces, so I need to spend time doing some cutting. 

My scrappy Slopes quilt is getting attention. I've now sewn blue blocks and purple blocks, and continued to use my 18"-long Strip Stick to press seams open. I don't know how us quilters managed to press nice, tuck-free seam allowances before this gadget was invented!

After pressing, I cut the pieced strips into 6-1/2" X 6-1/2" blocks. This picture is of the smallest remaining trimmings. They're the ones I toss into a bag sewn from upholstery fabric. When the bag is full, I'll sew it closed and donate it to a pet rescue facility to be used as a bed. These beds are one of several charity projects by Big Cypress Quilters.

This is how Slopes looks on my design wall. I love it! But I don't have enough scraps to repeat every one of the colors. Right now it measures 60" wide by 48" high.

I've wondered if I should go ahead and put it together, rotate the design, and call it done as a kid's quilt. It looks good this way too.

More than anything, I've been itching to quilt again. An in-progress quilt has been languishing on the Janome for too long. So, here I go a-FMQing! Linda

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day Revisited

Many things make it attractive to visit Kansas City, not the least of which is spending time with family. But another treat is getting to worship at Methodist Church of the Resurrection. It's even more special to me now as we continue to live in our Florida community without a church home. Though we worship every week, and lately it's most often Baptist, no church is "home." During the past five years we've attended 12 different churches of a variety of denominations, and mostly because each of them has "rules" for membership we haven't joined any. I deeply miss my Lutheran heritage, and in particular, Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. Since both Hope and Resurrection are considered mega-churches, being able to attend Methodist Church of the Resurrection felt almost like home. 

Since April 1, the congregation in Leawood, Kansas, has been worshipping in a new sanctuary that is absolutely stunning. The stained glass above the altar, music and choir loft, is breathtaking, and has the notable distinction of being the world's largest stained glass window. You can see more pictures here. And here's a great video of it. 

Pastor Adam Hamilton's current sermon series is real, and so relevant to our current culture! I wish I could attend next week to hear more. 

Because we worshipped on Mother's Day, we were treated to a beautiful vocal duet by this mother-daughter team. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the sanctuary. 

When worship is a joy, it's almost like a drug... I crave more of the Lord and that his goodness will permeate my life. That's the kind of spirit-filling church experience that continues to elude me living here in Florida.

Mother's Day afternoon found Jill and me shopping at an Overland Park Bed, Bath and Beyond store. She found these seasonings and gifted them to me. I'm the biggest fan of popcorn (often for dinner), and like it best with spray almost-butter, salt, and white cheddar seasoning. Our local BBandB doesn't stock the seasoning year 'round, but the store in KC does! Yay!

Through Instagram I received a message from @Macys asking if I would give permission for the Fiestaware photo in my IG feed to possibly be used in a Macy's ad or marketing material. No compensation. Heck. Why not? I did buy all the pieces from Macy's. If you ever come across this picture in Macy's marketing material, please let me know!

A happy announcement popped up in email while I was away. Three on-staff quilters in the Modern Quilt Guild have put together a picture book (no patterns) of modern quilts made by 236 quilters.

My "Lime 'n Luxe" quilt is in the book. (I signed a contract in January.) This quilt was my one accepted entry into QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah.

35" X 35"
There's no compensation for being included in the book...  except for the honor (and it is) and being able to buy the book at half price! Ha! "Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century" can be preordered, and will be released in December. Linda


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