Thursday, January 18, 2018

My First Custom Quilting :)

Oh my goodness...why was I so hesitant to do a bit of custom quilting.  It was actually quite liberating. I am so happy with my results that I think I will do more custom quilting on my own quilts.

I used a ruler for most of this quilt although some of my lines are very crooked so you might think I did it free hand. ;)  I can't actually say that it was fun because it was work and it was hard on my shoulders. I had to keep reminding myself to get them away from my ears - they got very tired! It certainly did take a lot longer to quilt than if I had used a panto but I think it was worth the effort.

It does feel good to know that I have another tool in my quilting toolbox. I have gained so much confidence by stepping out of my comfort zone and just trying. Of course, I will need to do more practicing and now I am inspired to try to do some free hand quilting too.

I have made plenty of wobbles and bobbles on this quilt and honestly it really doesn't bother me one bit. I don't plan to pick out anything on this quilt and not because it is a donation quilt. Even if I was keeping it or gifting it to a loved one I would not pick out the imperfections. I think it just shows that a perfectly imperfect human being did the quilting. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Organizing My Pantographs

I recently had an email with questions about how I organize my pantographs. I think I have come up with a pretty good system.

I unroll all of my pantographs and then I fan fold them into a size that will fit into a hanging file folder. I use legal size because some pantos can be quite wide. I make a tab with the name of the panto and then I store the pantos in alphabetical order in a filing cabinet.

The other thing I do is that when I order a new panto I print out the image from where I am ordering. I place these printed images into individual page protectors and store them in a binder. The binder ends up being a catalogue of all of my pantos and I can quickly peruse through it and choose the panto I want. I can also write any notes about the panto so I can keep track about any issues or whatever information I want to add. It is then just a matter of taking the panto from the file folder and using it.
The binder must be cute for the system to work :)
I find that this system works perfectly for me. I can easily find what I want when I want to use it and it doesn't take up a huge amount of storage space.

I hope this tip helps others that are looking for a practical storage solution.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quilting has Commenced

I am so happy with the way things are looking. :) I am actually quite surprised! I thought I would have the most difficult time but the only real challenge so far has been the power kept cutting out on the machine. I didn't know why so I called out to my husband and asked if we were having power blips? Nope. My husband is an authority on electricity - he is and electrical engineer - so I ask him to check my machine. He doesn't even move off the couch he just says make sure the power cord is in all the way. Let's just say he really is an expert! lol  I had recently given the machine a really good going over because when my sister last used it there was a very strange noise coming from it. So I had unplugged it and checked everything possible to check and it had all seemed okay. I guess when I plugged it back in I must have been a bit limp-wristed and didn't get it seated all the way in the outlet. Thankfully it was such a minor thing!!

In preparation for quilting I wanted a design plan so I would know exactly what I was going to do. So as I made my design decisions I drew them onto this piece of plexiglass using a wipe off marker. I had asked my husband to purchase this quite some time ago in hopes that I would start using it right away. Well, that didn't happen until now! It is perfect to use to figure out what a design might look like on the quilt and it is reusable. The only thing that I need to change is that I need to exchange the painters tape around the edges with duct tape. The painters tape wants to lift off and that is not good. I absolutely want to make sure the edges are very visible so that I don't mark the quilt by accident.

I wanted to quilt a design that wasn't going to be too difficult and that I thought that I could execute as a beginner and I think I accomplished that. I just didn't want to stress by trying to overachieve! I am really happy so far with the quilting. Sure, there are wobbles and bobbles but I am okay with that. I don't think the recipient will be too worried about it either. :) It took me about 2 and a quarter hours to quilt the first three large blocks. By the time I got that much done my shoulders were up above my ears! I have three more blocks to do plus the sashing and borders. I think if I get an earlier start on it today I could potentially get it all finished.

Monday, January 15, 2018

On Ringo Lake

I have started clue 9 and it is a doozer! A whole lot of steps were required in preparation for putting the quilt top together.

Happily I did find enough yardage pieces for the triangle border although I really would have preferred to have more variety. Cue the music -

You can't always get what you want 
but if you try sometimes you might find 
you get what you need.

I did get everything done to the point where I am adding the side sashing to some of the blocks. I must confess that I am having a bit of a problem with that because not all of my pieces/blocks are the correct size....gasp. They are close but some just not close enough. ;) I think the problem was that I adjusted my seam guide mid project and didn't get it back to the correct position. I must have put together several many blocks before realizing the error of my ways. Oh well, such is the life of a quilter!

I can tell you that putting these blocks together and into rows is going to be a very slow process for me. I will really have to pay attention to the orientation of the sashing because sometimes my mind does wander. ;)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dear Jane - Alison's Guiding Light (D1)

I could have used a guiding light for this little block! I faced a couple issues while making this block but I was able to overcome them and get it finished.

The first thing that went wrong were my split triangles. I still don't understand what happened but they looked great until I turned two of them to orient the center diagonal into the correct position. Did you guess it - all of a sudden they were opposite shapes. I should have taken a picture but I ended up with two triangle squares that were wide and two that were long? Don't ask me - I have no clue. I fudged it and made it work and that is what counts. Maybe one of the best things about hand piecing is that it can be forgiving.

The next problem was clearly operator error rather than operator confusion. I cut the outer edge strips for the blocks one half inch too short. I made this block from scraps but thankfully I still had enough fabric to cut new strips. The block was completely pieced by this time and I would not have been very happy. I know, I could substitute fabric and by the time I got to that point it definitely would have been Plan B. There was no way that I was going to remake this block!

All is well that ends well. I think my block turned out very cute and I am very happy with it!

Linking up with other Slow Sunday Stitchers at Kathy's Quilts.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Squared Away Sampler

Once again I have decided to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge held by Angela of soscrappy. This year, Angela is collaborating with Mari from The Academic Quilter to bring us the Squared Away sampler quilt. Angela has done a write up giving the overall details and you can read all about it here.

I made my three blocks this month and I like them - a lot! The instructions provided by Mari were very well done and I had no problem following them. I chose to make my blocks using 2.5" strips from my scrap bins and my Easy Angle ruler.  My blocks will finish at 10" and at three blocks per month by the time we reach the end of 2018 I should have enough for a nice sized quilt. :)

I am linking up with other RSC participants here.

Yesterday, I posted about my Scrappy Friends quilt and my angst. I am one step closer to starting the quilting on this quilt.

I have the backing made and I plan to load the whole kit and caboodle onto the frame today. I think I have decided what I am going to attempt to quilt on it - maybe. :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

What to Quilt and Where????

Not to be boastful but I do have a lot of quilting books. Here I am showing several that I have accumulated. That is all well and good but honestly I have these books and I have not done one bit of custom quilting or anything that could be called custom or even free-hand for that matter. I have done a little bit of playing around on scrap fabric and, yes, I have done loops and other very simple designs as an all-over pattern and maybe that does count a little bit. The thing is that I seem to be in a place where I buy the books in hopes that it will translate into skill and, of course, that doesn't happen. Just looking at the books doesn't automatically bestow skill - there definitely needs to be lots of practice.

I want to do some easy custom quilting on the quilt top that I made for the New Year's Day mystery - Scrappy Friends. Can you tell that I am fretting over it. I looked and looked in my quilting books and there was nothing in there that actually told me what design to quilt in which block in my quilt. Don't get me wrong, these are fabulous books written by some very talented quilters. It is just that they really are reference books to give ideas and to show how to execute the designs but they do not actually tell me what to do!

I am determined to learn how to do some simple custom quilting and I know that my first work will definitely look like a beginner did it but then I am a beginner and I am nervous but excited. We all have to start somewhere and the first thing is to figure out what to quilt where!!