Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge

We are at the end of our year of learning! Wow! I have certainly learned a lot this year. I think I kind of entered into this with no expectations, but I was certain that I did want to see this all through, and I did.

So I think the most useful lesson I received was the one from Don, I think the tracing the design is brilliant, and I certainly see using that in the future. In fact I have used it several times since, including in my December challenge piece.

I will admit feathers - NOT MY THING. Despite trying and trying I just never rec'd the rhythm of doing them, and to be honest, give a look I don't generally go for on my quilts. I have all respect for people who do beautiful feathers, but not for me!

I want to thank Darlene - SewCalGal for hosting this. I know it has been a lot of work for her, and appreciate what she put into it. And so here we go - the year in review:













December 2012 FMQ Challenge

And we're done! 12 months of free motion quilting, and here is my last one.
The green side is the front, the pink is the back. Honestly, I think the back looks better! The feathers - not my forte, but all in all, I've certainly accomplished something I never thought I would. I will put my year in review in another post.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November FMQ

And because I am on a roll today, I got November's done too (just didn't October's today). Yay!
Not much else to say!

October FMQ

Oh, a little late but I got it done! So close to the end of the year, don't want to stop now!

So, super quick, I ended up having a lot more fun with this one than I thought I would. It turned out alright, although I did have to use normal cotton, as I had to go with what was on hand.

I can tell I am getting the hang of this because the back looks as good as the front with no pulling or skipped stitches or anything. Yay! See the wee dragonfly in the right corner?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September FMQ challenge

September FMQ challenge! I'm even shocked I got to it this soon. Was just looking at it and decided to tackle it. I think it actually went pretty well!

So 1st I did this using a contrast thread, and traced the picture onto tissue paper and then quilted right over it. I took a machine quilting class about 6 years ago and I remember this was the method she taught us with the tissue paper. I like it because there is no question of where the design it etc.

However, the same issue I have with paper piecing, getting everything off after is a PITA. But it turned out pretty well!

But then I decided to switch two things up. 1st, I redid the design using Don Linn's method with the tuule. And then I did it white on white. See, as I try to do this with contrast so it shows up better in photos it also shows more mistakes.  When it all blends in, it covers any small mistakes quite nicely. I really like how this turned out! So here we have the front and back. I tried doing a bit of filler with pebbles, but that is a project for another day I think. I love the look, but the back looks like a mess, so obviously need to work on the tension and what not. So let's not worry about that right now.


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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Martins vs. The World

I have the week off work to get my boy settled into Grade 1. Grade 1 - crazy. He is growing up so quick. Anyhow, initially we had all these plans to paint walls this week, or sort through closets, and what not, but now I've decided that darn it I am going to quilt and catch up on a bunch of UFOs so I can move on to new quilts without that "I have all these unfinished ones!" feeling.

First to get completed was this one. I originally bought the pattern book Maaki Bakker's Spellbound Quilts. This book has a lot of really neat patterns in it and I fully intend on making more eventually. You know, after all those other UFOs are done.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August Free Motion Quilting Challenge

Here we are again! And I'm not even trying to squeeze something in before the end of the month! I actually took the time and just worked on it :)

For those of you stumbling on this, I'm participating in SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilting challenge to learn how to better free motion quilt. I have to say I've had some communication on and off with Ms. SewCalGal and she is just a fantastic lady and I totally encourage you to check out her entire blog.

So, August's challenge! You know this one was neat, an excellent filler, but oh boy took me a long time to wrap my head around it! I took a picture of one doodle page, but it took lots of doodle pages to get the rhythm of the design.

So after I got the hang of this I took it to my machine. I did this one just as I went with no design transferred. I'm quite pleased! My 5 year old pointed out that I missed a spot, but you know, not too shabby. 

So after just doing it freestyle, I thought I would try actually tracing the pattern onto my fabric so I could avoid any gaps. Oh brother, then things went sideways. To begin, I don't like trying to follow a traced pattern on fabric because I spend more time trying to figure out where my pattern is going vs. concentrating on quilting. And then my thread went all crazy. It turns out my bobbin was not wound properly (I don't know how I missed this before). I don't know if you can tell by that picture, but the thread is not tight on the bobbin. The other pictures are of the mess it left. So I left well enough alone to avoid frustration, and am going with my original piece, which, as I said above, I'm happy with.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The R2D2 Project (tutorial)

Cardboard R2D2

My boy loves to do crafts with me. I think this awesome. I want the kids to grow up remember having done stuff like this with Mom. And when my boy throws the craft smack down at me, I do what I can to rise to the challenge. 

So about 3 months ago he asked if we could build an R2D2 out of cardboard, and I'll admit it took a bit to wrap my head around I was going to pull this off. I didn't even tell him I was thinking about it because it just took a while to figure it all out. And I didn't want to get his hopes up if I couldn't pull it off. 

Ha, even as I'm writing this he says "hey Mom, it wouldn't be too hard to build a cardboard C3P0. I laughed and said "yeah, we're not doing that".

Anyhow, 1st challenge - cardboard cylinder. A friend of mine suggested concrete forms from Home Depot, but that was more than I needed. My husband was the one who thought of using the TinkerToy bin. Perfect! I placed it upside down so that we can still open the lid (now at the bottom) if needed. 

Next challenge was the head. Yes I could use a bowl, but I needed something round on top. R2 not having a flat head. So we got a cheap plastic bowl from the dollar store and proceeded to have some fun with paper   mâché.  I have not used paper mâché  since I was a kid. I will be using it more. It was fun!! We did use an Elmers Mix from Michael's - I used a coupon. 
Tinker Toy bin and bowl

Glue the bowl on

Let it dry. We waited 24 hours. 

Paper   mâché  . We used news paper to make the top round. We did the final coat with paper  towel  was I read online it was easier to paint over. 
 Once that dried - we were busy so it dried for about 3 days - nice and hard - we brought it outside to spray paint a primer.  Note to self, even though it is in the grass, use a drop cloth next time.

I fashioned the legs out of cardboard.
Before primer

Quick picture with the artist. 


We had a major malfunction with a leg. After the paint dried I reapplied it with a heck of a lot more glue. It seems to be holding quite fine now.

Once that was done, it was time to paint him. I just used acrylic paints from the dollar store. We went with a basic design for the lines and colours - ie, he's not 100% accurate. Heck, he's not anyhow, but it's a 5 year olds project, so we're not getting too fussy.
Final product!! My boy and his R2D2.

I am linking this up to Skip to my Lou Made by you Monday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pets on Quilts

Lilypad Quilting is hosting this year's Pets on Quilts show. I wasn't around for last years, but when I heard about this I knew I had to get in on the action. I was actually saying to another quilter about 2 weeks ago it seems a lot of quilters are cat people.  I know many are dog people too, but I see more bloggy quilters who have help from their feline friends.

I am posting this a few days early to link up on the day of because I am so busy with my kids right now (not a bad thing!) that I wanted to make sure I got this done on time.

I have two things I am showing you here. One is of a cat on a quilt, but of note, the quilt is a cat themed quilt.

The cat, his name is Strider. He is an orange tabby and friendliest cat ever. He has been an awesome "introductory" pet for my two children as he is so accommodating with being patted, petted, snuggled, and backward pet (you know, when you start from the tail and pet up to the head). He's a funny animal and we love him dearly. We have another cat, Willow. She is very, very shy - she was a rescue. I like to think we're giving her a good comfortable home, but for all I know she hates it here. LOL!!

The quilt is one I made for my youngest brother (I have 3 older brothers). He's a single fellow, perpetually I fear, but hey, if he's happy, it's all good. But at the same time I felt he needed a quilt. Sean and I haven't always gotten along, (getting sappy here) but I love him, so this was my version of a peace offering. Hey, none of my other brothers have a quilt yet. I hope he likes it.

So just in case you can't really see, the gray, black and orange pattern are all small cats. I went with the  colour scheme to go with normal "cat colours". Also the beige coloured fabric says "meow" all over it.  It is the biggest quilt I have ever machine quilted.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July FMQ challenge

And right on the heels of our June challenge, I can safely say I got July's FMQ done too. I just made the "mistake" of looking on the page on facebook and I know it's not a competition, but the gorgeous work these people (I'd say ladies, but don't want to assume here) are completing is amazing.

Mine is not, but hey, I'm learning, so it's all good. However, I don't think I'll be linking up on facebook :)

I thought July's challenge was a really neat filler. I like this idea of making smaller boxes and filling it. I think I'd need to map it out more carefully on an actual quilt instead of winging it like I did on my practice piece here. I did sketch it, but still not the same. As I mentioned on my June post, my fabric marker wasn't working too well, something I think might help with this style.

So here we go. I am adding pictures of my finished piece, and with my sketch beside, just so show how it translated. I still kind stippling more instinctive than other designs, but, hey, I did try others! Never know unless I try!

June FMQ challenge

Yep, we're at the end of July and I am just getting June's challenge up, but at least I got it done! Hey, maybe didn't qualify for prizes last month, but that's okay. I simply didn't have time in June, and wanted to give it a chance.

So here we go. Here are pictures of the front and back of my June piece. Further down there is a picture of my sketch vs end piece. One way I went sideways on this was that my fabric marker just wasn't marking that well and so it didn't translate well to my piece. I attempted a little dragonfly there... did not work out as well as I hoped but still a cute idea.  I really like good filler ideas, but I think for a full quilt this method would take a lot of pre-planning.
Front of challenge piece
 I added the back because I think when the back looks almost as good as the front you're doing pretty well in the FMQ world.
Back of challenge piece
 Pebbles - I love the look of pebbles, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the swing of doing them. These were bigger ones, but I found I had problems skipping from one pebble to the next, although the end result is neat.
 And here is the sketch vs. stitch. I made a mistake adding the feathered part in. Not my thing, oh well!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sock Monkey

I've been meaning to post on this for some time now.

A while back my god daughter asked me if I could make her a sock monkey. I had never made a sock monkey before, but could resist when she threw down the "craft smack down".

I found the biggest challenge was actually getting my hands on the proper sock monkey socks. You know, that ones with the red heels. I ended up ordering them online as I could not find them at all locally.

I also scoured the web for a really good sock monkey tutorial. Tutorials that kind of phrase things like "oh you just do this and this and this and you're done" don't work. I need step by step. I found this wonderful one which did the trick.

And so end result? Wonderful! My coworkers think I could sell them. I'll see. I need more socks. I also did this little tutu, because I figured monkey needed clothes.


Monday, May 28, 2012

May FMQ challenge

Hello fellow FMQ challengers! 

I'm adding a quick post about my May FMQ challenge by the lovely Leah Day. I love Leah! I follow her blog anyhow, and she has such a normal approach to quilting to make it so doable for people. And she just seems so sweet. Don't you think? 

Anyhow, I foundation quilting! It's a good filler! What I liked is that giving yourself a line that starts and stops gives you a guide to follow instead of kind of having a meandering design run off on you. It actually makes me think about re-quilting my son's Thomas quilt, as I did stitch in the ditch for that, and this railway design might work great for that.

I realize as I take these pictures that for the purpose of this blog, I should really be using better contrasting threads.  So I hope it shows up reasonably well. 

Oh, and I need to find some of those bobbin sliders things. Perhaps in June while I am popping down for the Washington Quilt Shop Hop. One month until that! Love the shop hop! 

Until next month!