Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another Pair of Lively Blocks...


How did June fly by me so quickly? It's nearly the end of the month, so time to complete the two Block-of-the-Month quilt blocks from Craftsy's free online class. This month the blocks are two examples of what instructor Amy Gibson calls Modern Nine Patch blocks. Both were quick and easy to piece. The first is this Greek Cross block. And below is the Octagon block. I'm liking the vibrancy of these blocks made with the California Dreamin' fat quarter bundle I purchased just for the project. The blocks are piling up in month six of the year-long project. I look forward to seeing how Amy suggests setting the blocks together... but I'm getting ahead of myself. We're just half-way there. Meanwhile, I've also signed up for Carol Ann Waugh's Stitch and Slash class. Craftsy was having a sale recently, and I enjoyed a previous class she taught. So there's never a shortage of projects to work on in the sewing room!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Girls...

The piles, stacks, and files of paper in the sewing room have been neglected for awhile. So it was time to put my hand back to cardmaking and other paper crafts. I made this birthday card for a friend using an ArtChix image. The vintage girl looks so fresh and pretty ... just perfect for the start of Summer. Looking at her, I can almost feel the beach breeze!

       And my new "job" also involves some papercrafting. I've been involved since April in helping to coordinate a crafting and sewing program at a nearby women's prison. The women who enroll in the program are part of a faith and character development initiative, also called betterment program. They will report to the program daily, and while there, will develop skills to craft and sew items of use to community organizations. So far they have started crochet hats for patients undergoing chemotherapy, begun to learn cross-stitch, and sewn some simple four-patch quilt blocks. We've also done some cardmaking. Many of the participants are women of faith. Despite the limited supplies, one of them designed a card like the one below (my version of her design). They call the design "Praise Girl" to express their gratitude for the opportunity they have to learn new skills and produce useful items that can benefit others. Isn't she cute? I just had to make one, too. The new volunteers who come to oversee the program are finding it very worthwhile and rewarding, as do I. So helping to get the program operational has taken quite a bit of time and been my focus recently, but I believe it's time well spent.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Progress in Free-Motion Quilting...

This quilt is the result of some additional practice in free-motion machine quilting. I didn't make the quilt top. It's the creation of quilting friend Jan who started out to make a table runner and some matching placemats. Somehow, she instead turned it into a quilt top which she slated for one of the many donation quilts our guild gives each year to several worthy causes. Jan heads up the donation quilt project and periodically delivers quilts to the recipients. She brought the top to a meeting and asked if anyone would take the top and complete it. I found the asymmetry of her setting appealing, so I agreed, and home it came. I like quilts that sort of invent themselves, as this one did.

It took awhile, but at last the quilt is finished and ready to return.  I'm glad I took this project on. As it turns out, I'm happy enough with how the machine quilting turned out. I use a Bernina with the Stitch Regulator for some quilting, but uninstall it and quilt without it some of the time. I can't decide if the Stitch Regulator is a reliable help, or if it's just as easy without it. Do you have experience using a stitch regulator on your machine? I'd be interested to hear your take on its usefulness. (By the way, if the fonts in this post look different colors in your display, I'm clueless as to why that is. I was unable to correct it. Apparently some things changed in the short time I was away from Blogger.)

Thanks to the Sew Cal Gal FMQ Challenge, I was able to apply a few of the tips and patterns I learned in the monthly tutorials. That meandering ivy you can see in the photo from the back of the quilt (below) is one of the lessons I've used more than once. It's still a challenge to wrestle with the bulk of a piece while quilting it, but I did persevere to the end. Now to apply my newly developed machine quilting skills to the pile up of unfinished quilts awaiting completion! Now there's a lofty goal.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Back in the Blogging Loop...



Where have I been? In addition to a lost camera, my old software failing to deliver the pics with the new camera, and a few other challenging tasks, I've been out of the blog loop for a bit. I even have a new "job" of sorts... actually a volunteer opportunity, but it's been time consuming to start. More about that later. Meantime, one thing I did during this hiatus was to learn to make Smilebox slide shows. And another was to teach a papercrafting class on making vintage-look pennants. Seven of us gathered at the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shop in Trenton, FL to enjoy a day of cutting, gluing, shopping, and lunching. Great fun, and these quilters will be ready to decorate by Christmas. How often does that happen? Here's a little glimpse of the work we accomplished. Hope you enjoy it.

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