Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘Craftsy’

Hand Applique Progress

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.

Leaves & Petals

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

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!


Progress on Current Projects

With my Bernina home, I was able to make some progress on my current stitching projects. I’m behind on my National Quilting Association Block of the Month. Today, I finished the May star block, a Crazy Star, for the Galaxy quilt. The pattern was designed by Pam Seip, certified NQA teacher.


The pattern is a paper foundation pieced block. Now, paper piecing is not a technique that I enjoy, but I did complete the pattern as designed. Over the years, I figured out a way to make foundation paper pieced blocks, but find paper piecing to be tedious with unnecessary extra steps. The results for this star are not significant compared to a liberated star piecing technique I learned several years ago. Gwen Marston’s liberated piecing techniques produce lovely blocks in less time and without any paper. I would much rather make my stars like this.

Liberated Stars

Liberated Stars

I really like Gwen’s liberated piecing techniques. I have taken several classes from her and made not a few quilts using them. Here are two more liberated quilts – String blocks and Liberated Baskets.

String blocks - quilt on top

String blocks – quilt on top

Liberated Baskets - challenge quilt with Michigan Quilt Network

Liberated Baskets – challenge quilt with Michigan Quilt Network

I also pieced the back for the baby quilt, Dresdan Zoo, that my sister and I have been making for a great-niece. My sister had an orange and yellow leopard print fabric in her stash. She added a small print yellow that reads well as a solid. I had completed a  free Craftsy class by Elizabeth Hartman on pieced backs and used the information to put this backing together. Neither piece of fabric was large enough for the backing and just seaming them together would have placed a seam too close to one edge. I measured the necessary dimensions and determined an appropriate place to add in a strip of the yellow fabric. I also added a piece the same distance down from the top, to give an offset cross shape.

Pieced Backing

If you’re wondering how my Bernina looks, here are a couple of pics.

Bernina virtuosa 155

Bernina virtuosa 155

Repaired machine base

The stainless steel base of the machine had been damaged and was separated about 3/16-inch above the machine base on the front, left corner. The area was raised just enough to make an uneven surface, causing minor issues with piecing and free-motion quilting. I am so glad that I finally got it fixed. I was concerned that the part would be expensive and it was only $23 plus labor. I understand that the repairman had a difficult time removing the damaged part, but was able to get it done and glue down the new piece. The machine looks new again.

Now, I need to get back to my Rose of Sharon applique blocks. My deadline for the quilt study is fast approaching and with limited stitching time, I need to spend as much on this quilt as I can.

Happy Stitching!

Free Motion Quilting Frustration

Practice! Practice! Practice! Anyone that does FMQ (free motion quilting) knows that you need to practice regularly. I have been doing FMQ on my domestic sewing machine for several years. Before I begin quilting a new project, I practice on a sample square. My quilting has progressed over the years, but still has room for improvement. Mostly because I need to do it more often.

I’ve mentioned before that I had surgery on my shoulder last year for a rotator cuff tear, related to a bone spur that was also removed. Not that everyone needs to know my medical history, but the shoulder issue was far more than just a tear. Since the problem had persisted far too long without proper treatment, I also developed problems with my humerus and tendons. In layman terms, the surgeon literally detached my tendons, cut off the ends that were dead, and reattached them to my humerus.

I say all this to suggest that I may not be able to FMQ like I used to. And, this is frustrating to me. I am finding that my motion is not fluid. While quilting recently, I have noticed sudden jerks or an inability to maintain control of my movements. I am hoping that this is temporary as I re-establish regular FMQ time. I mean, it has been over a year since I have been doing regular FMQ. I cannot expect to just go back to quilting like I did before surgery. Unfortunately, I have also developed bouts of tendonitis after sessions of quilting.

You be the judge… Here are some examples of FMQ on a wall-hanging I am finishing up for a challenge. I made Ocean Waves blocks and wanted to quilt pebbles and waves into the quilt. I viewed tutorials on the The Free Motion Quilting Project by Leah Day. I browsed her library and chose a pebble ripples design to incorporate into the center of the quilt.

Pebble Ripple Front

Pebble Ripple Front

Pebble Ripple Back

Pebble Ripple Back

I added curved line quilting in the dark HST (half square triangles), to look like waves. Then, I looked for something to add to the white HST. I settled on another Leah Day design, underwater rocks. I currently have it on my machine, quilting in short spurts, but keeping the quilt intact until I get to the end of a section.

Underwater Rocks design

Underwater Rocks design

For those who are interested, I am using 50 wt. Aurifil thread in a variegated blue #3770 Stonewashed Denim. The white  HST are being quilted in 50 wt. Aurifil #2021 Natural White.

Aurifil #3770

Aurifil #3770

It may be that I just need to practice. I appreciated the blog post by Christa Quilts! yesterday. She reviewed a Craftsy class on FMQ by Elizabeth Dackson. I especially liked Elizabeth’s philosophy:

The Golden Rules of Quilting

  1. Practice, practice, practice!
  2. Give yourself permission for things not to be perfect right away.
  3. Walk away and take a break if you feel that you’re getting frustrated.

I really needed to hear this today. Whether my FMQ ability returns to it’s former level or I have to adjust how often and how much I do, I will keep quilting. Maybe I’ll take that Craftsy class, too.

Happy Stitching!

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