I am excited to write about my progress this week. I have actually made headway on two of my current WIPs: the Craftsy applique class project and the Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.
The star block was a quick applique, even with the sharp points. Using freezer paper templates gives the edges crisp lines. I was daring again and applied all the stitching to the star, then slit the back open to remove the freezer paper. The bird was stitched down in a similar fashion, but required different preparation with the inside curve along the bird’s back. The wing still needs stitched down, but will go quickly.
These simple shapes are so fun & easy to applique. I really love these fabrics, too. I did some auditioning of the fabric to determine exactly where to position the star template and the bird wing template for cutting. Both are cut from the same fabric in a different colorway. I love how the center of the flower design gives definition to the shape.
I sat down to my Bernina on Saturday afternoon and started FMQ. Again, I had done enough thinking about shapes and decided to just start stitching. Ultimately, I quilted designs I hadn’t even thought to quilt. I repeated the loops across the square sections like in the previous two blocks. Then, I began adding curves from one point to the next, followed by organic swirls and radiating lines. I looked for ways to quilt in a continuous line, creating some squiggles and stitch-in-the-ditch to move into the next corner section.
Overall, I am satisfied with the quilting. I have found that my quilting is not steady and I often cross over patches or my lines are not straight or do not curve smoothly. I know that some of this is due to the shoulder surgery I had several years ago. Prior to that, my quilting was smoother. I am beginning to accept the changes I see occurring in my quilting and just begin finishing quilt tops. Some experienced quilters will likely state the mantra, it’ll get better the more you practice. Sorry, but I can only quilt in small sessions. The longer I quilt the more unsteady my movements. This square was all I could complete on Saturday.
I am overcoming my obstacles to finishing projects. One of those obstacles has been perfection. Have you seen some of those prize winning quilts? Check out this Judge’s Choice from AQS Paducah by Setsuko Matsushima of Japan. This is awesome! These quilts set the bar too high and leave amateurs like myself frustrated with my projects. When did quilting become so competitive? I want to enjoy my quilting again and that begins with accepting my work for what it is. I hope to pick up more of those long forgotten projects and finish them, as I continue to accept where I am at and the outcomes I achieve. They are uniquely me and that’s okay.
What project did you work on last week-end? I’d love to hear about it. Until next week…keep on stitching!
The weather has been nice, so I’ve spent time outdoors working in my flowerbeds. I cleaned up the dried stems & leaves from last year’s perennials and raked out the leftover leaves. I split up some hostas that have overgrown and transplanted iris rhizomes that were being crowded by black-eyed susans in the same bed. The heavy rains over the last three days should set the plants well. My tulips have bloomed and the peony plants are growing. What started as two lily of the valley plants some 15 years ago has spread through the back bed. May’s birth month flower will soon bloom. I transplanted a trumpet vine last fall and hope it takes root and sprouts leaves this spring. The rose bushes are sending out vines and needed trellises to control them.
Flower gardens give much inspiration for quilters. The simple shapes & lovely colors offer a myriad of designs for applique. I continue to work on my Craftsy class project. I finished stitching the petals on an applique flower block and the butterfly block. Though my progress is slow, it continues weekly.
Friday, my sister & I set out on a quilt Shop Hop. We travelled over 300 miles to visit four shops in mid-Michigan. We also checked out a new quilt shop that wasn’t on the hop. It turned out to be my favorite – Park Bench quilt shop in Midland, Michigan. I think the shop was well aware of the 3-day shop hop at their competitor down the street. They offered the same 20% discount on purchases. The fabrics are beautiful and the selection more the style that interests me. I picked up Joan Ford’s latest Scraptherapy book, The Versatile Nine Patch, along with several fat quarters to use in my elephant baby quilt I have yet to begin.
Shop Hop fabric purchases
I always take along a list of notions I would like to try. One in particular I looked for and found is the Kwik Klip. I have heard many rave about how well it helps with closing safety pins when pin basting. Got one and hope it lives up to the hype.
The dreary weather kept me inside most of yesterday, so I also completed a bit of FMQ. I’ll have to share photos next time. Tomorrow, I am going on a field trip with my granddaughter to Woldumar Nature Center. All the rain has likely made the trails muddy and I’m praying the rain will hold off until the trip is over.
That recaps some of the activities over the last two weeks. I’ve been busy with a lot more that keeps me away from needle & thread. But life is more than just quilting.
Hoping to share more progress next week. Until then…happy stitching!
Progress: (noun) forward or onward movement toward a destination.
Do you recall hearing about the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago with the theme of Century of Progress? During the Great Depression, women from all over entered quilts into the largest contest ever held. Fast forward to 2017 and women all over are entering quilts into contests. The competition is stiff. I recently received my AQ magazine with winners from the Daytona Beach QuiltWeek. Fabulous quilts. The piecing, quilting, and artistry are just amazing.
So, why would someone like me consider entering a quilt into such a contest? Not everyone will win and I hardly expect to take home a prize. But, there is just something about sharing quilts, at all levels. My progress towards entering a quilt into an AQS contest is slow, but I did begin the machine quilting, stitching in the ditch around the blocks. I will need to step up my quilting over the next two weeks, if I expect to finish in time to enter in the GR show. Here’s my quilting area setup.
For those that read last week’s post on my Singer sewing machines, you may have wondered why I didn’t show a pic of my Bernina. Well, here it is. I purchased it in 2004, so it’s an older model. But, I love using it. Below are the blocks that I began stitching around. Not much to see. And, I continue to toss around ideas in my head about how to quilt the blocks.
I also made progress on my applique project. I finished the Teacup block, pictured here with the only other finished block, Hearts.
I love the teacup fabric and the coordinating orange heart fabric. These two fabrics, plus the large heart fabric, are from the Passport collection by Weeks Ringle over at Modern Quilt Studio. I picked up a fat quarter bundle from her booth at an AQS show. I finally decided to dip into the stash and use them in this quilt.
So, I am moving forward toward my destination of finishing my quilts.
Until next week…Happy Stitching!
I am a procrastinator. I put off doing things when I definitely have time. Last week, I procrastinated a lot. I definitely had time to work on a quilting project, but chose not to. I only found time to do yoga once during the week. And, I ate too many sweets. Maybe the change to daylights savings time affected me. For whatever reason, my week slipped by with little progress on any WIPs; no machine quilting on my Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt that I want to enter in a quilt show; and no hand quilting on the solids improv quilt that sets beside the sofa beckoning to me nightly.
But, the week wasn’t a total failure. I had prepared some applique shapes for basting and took them along to my guild meeting. I was able to baste a few leaves. I fussy-cut some petal shapes.
This project is from a hand applique class with teacher Mimi Dietrich over at Craftsy. I like that I can learn at my own pace, going back over the information as many times as I like. And, I can work on my project as I have the time. Mimi teaches several techniques, but I really like using freezer paper to back my applique shapes. I have used freezer paper in past projects, but Mimi adds some great tips to improve my applique. I appliqued the heart-shaped petals for the Heart Flower block on Sunday. I also prepared the petal shapes and the body for the butterfly block, which is now ready for stitching.
Applique block progress: Hearts, Heart Flower, basted leaves & petal shapes, Butterfly
If you’re interested, check out the class at Craftsy, or any of the other classes, patterns, and supplies for purchase. There is always something free to download and some fun YouTube videos. Have you seen The Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters? You really gotta watch! Angela is funny & creative.
National Quilt Day was Saturday. Did you do something quilty? I had plans to attend a guild event, but they changed when my daughter organized a birthday party for my granddaughter. I did turn my blotto block in at the guild meeting, so that it would be a part of the giveaway.
So, there’s the scoop for this week. Hope you’ve enjoyed doing something quilty. Until next time…Happy Stitching!