Monday, September 29, 2014

My Stop on the Around the World Blog Hop

Welcome to my Around the World Blog Hop post. I was fortunate to be nominated by a Linda of The Road to Oklahoma.  Linda has ping ponged between Oklahoma and Texas her adult life and she actually resides in Texas. I have enjoyed getting to know her through her blog. She shares her beautiful family, her sweet spirit and her quilting adventures on her blog and my visits to her page always leave me smiling. 

My post is a bit wordy so I'm going to introduce my hop invites at the beginning instead of the end. I'll probably lose too many of you and I want to make sure you get a chance to visit their great sites.

Marie is a member of my quilt guild. She blogs at Quilting by Marie. Marie always has several quilts to share at our meetings and they range from simple and sweet to complex and wowza! She has a heart for charity and a beautiful smile. Oh, and I can't forget, she's pretty much a celebrity to me because she's been published in quilting magazines!

Next I'd like to introduce you to Zenia at A Quilted Passion. She's one of those quilters who have drawn me in and I made me want to go back and read her blog from post one to present. I love her sense of color and adventurous style. I can't get over her adorable grandson and their pillow case project.
And lastly I have Momiji Studios. I first saw her post on the Sew Canadian Tour of sewing spaces. I was struck by the Swiss Army Knife efficiency she created in her tiny space. Plus, I think we may have the same Ikea shopping list! You have to visit her site and see how she dyes her own fabric. I know she will have something to write for question number two!

All of these lovely ladies will be joining the hop next Monday, October 6th. I can't wait to see who they introduce.

Now for my Q & A:

1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on?

I am currently working on a quilt that is a wedding present for a young man who has been good friends with my boys for years. It is of my own design but it is so simple that I am pretty sure it has been done before. the front and back are completely pieced and ready to load on my grace frame. 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I can't say I'm that unique. I am pretty new at being a "Modern Quilter" (MQ) and I am still developing my style. I have only been aware of MQ since December of 2012. Before that I had had a desire to quilt but I just wasn't motivated by the fabrics and patterns I saw in any quilt shops I had visited. They were full of beautiful and amazing projects but they just were not me. It wasn't until I started an internet search on "Quilting" that I happened upon the modern sites and I must say I was mesmerized. Caught me hook, line and sinker they did!

I guess you could define my aesthetic as "Lee Grant" style. 

I was home sick from middle school in the early 1970's and I caught an episode of the Mike Douglas Show that would leave a strong impression on me. Lee Grant was one of the guest and she was so beautiful with her tussled hair style. I found her so gracious and real. I really didn't know much about her since I hadn't seen her in film or on TV and all the other guests and host had this uncomfortable attitude towards her like they were afraid of saying something. Even with that heaviness you could tell she had stolen their hearts. Years later I would realize it was because she had been blacklisted and was just emerging back into public life.

They had a segment with a little seven year old boy who was a championship ironer on the show. Lee's interaction with him was precious and who knew ironing was a competitive sport? To this day his process runs through my brain every time I attack a wrinkled shirt.

My observation of that day that beauty could be tussled and imperfect has defined my style since. I always rough up my hair after I get it styled. Sometimes I even do it in front of the stylist. That is always how I approach my crafting arts. Quilting is no different. I like it a bit raw and imperfect. Not a fan of FMQ feathers and perfect points. Like Lee, I don't take offense when I can tell others are a bit uncomfortable or put off with my final product. 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I write for several reasons. 

I am a transplant to the South and my family is spread between , Georgia, Washington State, California, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, soon to be North Carolina. It is a way for me to share with the people I care about. My in-laws in PA include several incredibly talented quilters. My sister in TN, soon to be NC, has been inspired by my adventure and is embarking on her own. I am so excited for her. She's going to visit in early October and we are going to have our own little retreat in my new sewing space.

When I started my journey there wasn't a MQG in the Augusta area and even though I would make a point of telling the sales people in our two local shops about my style and ask if they knew of any other MQs out there I was coming up short. I really wanted to hang out with some like minded quilters. I had started reading a lot of quilting blogs which led to following even more on Bloglovin and I just enjoyed the camaraderie and wanted to be part of it, especially since I didn't have a local community available. 

Sew at Home Mummy's Beautify Your Blog series popped up in April and I figured it was a great opportunity to play along. So I started my blog. Little did I know a local chapter of MQG was being established that same month! Unfortunately, I would have to wait until August to find out about it but now I am getting established in two MQ venues.

I also joined our local traditional guild in January of 2014. I think they enjoy my alternate style for the most part. I know I enjoy seeing all of their projects. 

I create because I can. I have more time now that my kids are grown. I homeschooled them from kindergarden to graduation and now I have a void to fill and quilting is the perfect fit! 

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Writing motivates me to stretch my skills and try new things so I have something to share on my blog. Who wants to read about someone's adventure with the same project over and over again? Not me. I also try to share with others the things that I like them to share with me. I want to see your sewing space, read your machine review, get to know your kids, see your vacay pics and celebrate your finish, book or fabric release.  Sometimes I get so invested in a blogger that I read or scan from their first to last post!

My creating process is still under construction. Sometimes I wing it, others times I follow a slightly modified pattern and I often design my own project from scratch. My goal is always to get a piece that feels relaxed enough that it will be inviting to use. I always give my projects the snuggle hug test. I hope that all the pieces I have gifted get put to use and loved and not stored behind glass. I want them to take part in their owners lives.

Now that I've answered the official questions let me introduce you to myself.

I was transplanted from Washington State to Georgia in 1985. I was an adult at that time but officially  I have now spent the better part of my life in Georgia. I've adapted quite well to everything except the humidity.

I have a terrific husband and a couple of swell grown up boys. 

Now that I am done home schooling my boys I have a new career as the office manger of our family business. Just the hubs and I at the office. We are commercial general contractors and we love to build houses too. This new career kicked into gear at about the same time my quilting addiction grabbed me so I don't have free reign to create as much as I'd like to. But hey, I do get to work with Mr. Fantastic so I can't really complain.

Three members of the family love to bike. One hasn't been bitten by the bug yet. I'm not giving up on him yet. 

Here's my bike. I want to make her a quilted bento bag and complete the bike to quilt fusion.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A View from My Foyer

Linking up with Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday.
Linking up with Pretty Bobbins I Quilt Thursday at Two Little Aussie Bird's.

This is what greats a visiter when they enter our home.

I have been in the process of letting my sewing space take over our dining room for almost a year. It started with setting up tables straddling the dining room and foyer to sew Christmas projects last December. I was against that door trim you see below, a mere 2 1/2 feet from our front door.

The stack of unfinished projects, two quilts and a Nested Churn Dash pillow, are finished! Just waiting for some sun to shine so I can shoot some photos to share.

Then I moved under that window on the right by the door to the kitchen. The dining furniture was still in place but I kept pushing it around as I added more sewing furniture. Then I got the Grace Quilting Frame and the dining room was officially dismantled. I have the lovely mahogany and cherry furniture listed on Craig's List but for now it is spread out all around our first floor. As you can see the table is still in the dining room as it is a bit difficult to tuck it anywhere else. 

As I have posted before, we rent our home out for the Master's Golf Tournament the first full week of April each year. My studio must be constructed in a way that will allow me to revert this room into a legit dining room for that week. That means that all my sewing furniture must be light so that we can cart it out our front double doors and stow it in the garage for Master's Week.

That also means the hutch with my Friendly Village collection needs to remain. In my last home it was in the kitchen but this house has no wall space! It has been crammed into the dining room with a sideboard and table for six since we moved into this house. 

The hutch was an anniversary gift from my husband and is not leaving my possession. I love my dish collection so it stays. The mahogany/cherry pieces, on the other hand, need to leave. They are beautiful and I wish someone would see them on CL and take them off my hands.

Do you notice anything funny about that light fixture? No shades, just exposed bulbs. I despised the tan opaque glass and they sucked up too much light. The shades are stored in my linen closet.  There were sconces above our fireplace that looked like roaches to me and owls to my husband when we moved in and we replaced them lightening fast. This fixture was originally not that objectionable to me but now it needs to go so that I can get more light in this room for evening sewing. As you can see I do not lack daylight but I do lack space for a design wall!

Notice how nice and clean the floor looks? No thread or fabric bits. You can blame or thank Evora for that. She's the white German Shepherd Dog lounging under the tables. I sweep daily in an effort to contain her shedding. It doesn't work. She has shedding down to an art.

Yes, this room is grass green. Unfortunately, I am going to have to paint it a more neutral color. My powder room is the same happy color so it won't completely go away.

You can see my three WIPs in the above photo. I actually finished binding that top one tonight!

Above you can see how close and exposed this mess is to my entry. With those double french doors there is no way to hide it. See Cooper the JRT perched on one of our stowed dining chairs by the front door. He will miss that perch when the furniture sells.

Here is my garage sale score from this weekend. I love this little mid-century number. I want to get two more night stands to tuck under the frame for storage. I'd like to not get in the habit of tucking plastic bins in that space. I also need to spiff up those 4x4 risers that were gifted with the frame. I need the height so they have to stay. I'm going to router the edges smooth and paint them.

Now that I have exposed my mess to you I have to confess that it doesn't look like that anymore. The hutch is in its new spot and the sewing furniture is placed for better flow. But that reveal will be for another day.

 Now for another teaser:

I'm working on a tutorial and here is my supply photo. I hope to have it out next week.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Bee Social.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Help-Mystery Ikea Fabric

(Linking up with Molli Sparkle's Sunday Stash #94)
(Linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for TGIFF)
(Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?)

I'm a bit stumped here.

When I went to the superhero party a few weeks ago we stopped off at Ikea on the way home. I was hoping to find Britten Nummer in stock. I bought 5 yards in June and at the time they had a bolt and a half. Kicking myself for not buying a lot more!

No luck, they were picked clean but I did spy an unwrapped bundle of a black and white simple leaf print. It didn't look familiar but I liked it and thought it would be a decent substitution for Britten Nummer in some applications. I cut off five yards and then checked the book for the data to fill out my price card. No luck again, it wasn't in the book. I couldn't find a shelf price either.

The fabric has the weight and feel of their $4.99 pieces so I figured that was the price. I copied data off the bolt wrap sticker on my price card and away I went. Hubby was thrilled as we didn't even go to the top floor and I picked up my other choices on the fly as we headed to checkout. Fastest Ikea trip ever!!!

This was a Saturday so the lines were long but ours was moving pretty peppy...until it was our turn.

Have you ever had a price check call at Ikea? I could see the people behind us deflate. My fabric wasn't in the computer or her book either. She called it in and got the expected $4.99 price. I gave a thumbs up to the crowd behind us, some cheers rang out and away we went.

I've done some research since and I can't find this print anywhere. Not on Ikea or Google Images. I am stumped.

Want to see the mystery fabric?

Nothing earth shattering, just simple swaying leaves in a clear black and white instead of the charcoal of Britten Nummer. The label on the bag said it is Natiljus and the designer is Paulin Machado.

I've searched the selvage data and I am totally stumped. Ikea has a mattress that shares the Natiljus name and Paulin has a simple fleece throw in a different print. Has anyone out there ever seen this fabric? I'd love to hear so feel free to share and ask around. It has a recent date and I'm wondering if it may be Ikea's attempt to offer another basic design to appeal to the Britten Nummer fans.

Moving on to the progress of the Wedding quilt.

My original plan was to mix some Lark yardage with Britten Nummer for the back. I changed my mind when I saw the mystery fabric since it has a more mature feel. I'm saving my tiny stash of BN for kid projects.

So yesterday I cut into it and finished the Wedding Quilt back. I like the movement.

The front and back are layered without batting in this photo and you can see the leaves peeking out through the Kona Snow.

This baby is ready to load on the frame but I'm not ready to quilt it on the frame yet.  

I have decided to put the partially quilted Sale Table quilt on the frame first. I can't find any instructions on how to load a basted quilt on a frame but I know how I will do it and I am confident it will work out fine.

Next I plan to do a row-by-row sample of designs on my remaining Hancock's Heather Ross yardage. If that goes well I will tackle the Wedding Quilt. If not, I will get another practice project.

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm getting it out there today so that I can figure out this mystery!
So, will you help me...if you know anything about the Ikea fabric please leave a comment or email. Thanks

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Carriage is Full

I've had my new-to-me Grace quilting frame sitting in my studio/dining room for a little more than a month now. All that time it has stood empty, cold and unused. So sad. The only adornments have been the newly made queen leaders, the pink Ikea clip light and my inspiration photo taped to the carriage. Oh so sad and lonely.

The Juki TL2010q has been my dream machine for quite some time. That photo hung over my mechanically fading Viking 1100 for months before it graced the frame. I don't know why I never mentioned my desire on my blog as I am not superstitious. I guess it just seemed like such a long off dream and I didn't want to be a bore hashing over it again and again. First I had to prove to myself that this quilting thing wasn't a flash in the pan hobby. Done. Next I had to set aside the jack for the purchase. Done.

I'm on the hunt for a white Singer 221 and I always plug in Juki on ebay and CL as well when I am checking on new listings. My dream machine with a bunch of quilting frame accessories at a savings popped up at the most opportune moment. I love buying slightly pre-loved. I like the savings and I enjoy being free of the kid glove treatment. It's so liberating! 

I made my offer and set up a pick up time and away I went with Son #2 along for the ride. He drove, he always drives because driving is his greatest passion. He has a GTI too but his is an automatic with flappy paddles whereas mine is a manual. He likes having the variety at his fingertips.

I don't think this set up was actually pre-loved by its first owner. She bought it as her Grace frame FMQ machine and it didn't deliver the precise quality she expected. She replaced the Juki after a few months and a few projects with a mid-arm machine. The pack of 4 Organ Needles it came with still had 3 unused. Her work was gorgeous and quite varied. 

For me, I want it for an all around workhorse. The frame is just one aspect and I prefer a relaxed organic look to my quilts. 

I didn't think we would ever drive away with my new-to-me toy! They had a beautifully restored 1967 Mustang in their garage and Son #2 would have spent the night in it if I would have let him. He was quite smitten. I'd like to say it was my sparkling conversation that really made the trip for him but it was actually the Stang. 

Here's all the bits packed away in my hatch. 

I started setting her up as soon as I got home. I had one bolt that didn't work with my frame so I had to go to Fastenal the next day. Scored and she was up and running.

Here's it all set up on my frame! Look at all those extras. Lamp, laser, bobbin winder (hidden), and the stitch regulator! The Grace frame looks so much nicer without all the hokey wood pieces you use with the foot pedal. (See top photo)

Here she is loaded with the Heather Ross fabric I bought for a song at Hancock's for practice. I think I did it right. It worked.

Here's a sample of my I-really-need-some-serious-practice all over stipple on the front.

Here it is on the back.

I felt like my stitch was a tad long so I started experimenting at the very end. I realized that I needed the speed up a bit. This photo shows too slow and too fast. Next quilt I will try to dial in a proper speed.

The Juki is off the frame now. I finished the FMQ on my Nested Turn Dash pillow. I also used the walking foot on the boarder. My next step is to piece the back of my wedding quilt then I'll head back to the pillow and try my hand with the zipper foot.

So far I am loving my almost-new-but-new-to-me Juki and accessories. My Son #2 said "I can't lie, that is really cool," when he saw the Juki and regulator in action. He usually yawns when I bring up quilting. It's fair, I usually yawn when he drones on about auto tuning.

Is it bad that my sewing is really cutting in to my blogging time?

Who cares, I'm having a blast!

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday and Blossom Heart's Sew Cute.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Went to a Superhero Party

We went to a Superhero Party on Saturday for my nephew's 3rd birthday. Since he loves superheroes and he has a brand new big boy room in his newly built home I thought I would help him along with some new wall decos. 

I chose a couple of the Lego Marvel Superhero paper pieced blocks by Kristy at Quiet Play. The patterns are available free at Craftsy.

I made Iron Man and Spider-man. I finished the Iron Man pretty much as per the pattern but I took a smidge off the top blue section and added 1/4" to his body. 

Besides the same tweaks I made on Iron Man I also made some major changes to Spider-man because I didn't want him to read as a Lego piece. I added 1/4" to his forehead, then added to his lower face section to make him the same size as Iron man and I eliminated his lego peg. Both blocks measure 9 1/2" x 9 1/2".

These were so much fun to make. Batman will definitely join these guys for Christmas.

Now I am doing the FMQ on Cooper's Churn Dash pillow on my Viking. I wish I could use the Singer 15-90 because I have read that it is a pro at FMQ but I still need to get a foot. 

I am trying something new with the Viking and leaving the feed dogs up. It seems to improve the tension problem a bit. I think the stitches look better but it is obvious that I need more practice!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life After Home School

We were a K-12 home school family.  Two boys, start to finish. Our boys were always very active and we were involved parents. Our last four years were filled with Rowing/Crew, basketball and Forensics. We were the rowing team cooks and I was the co-leader of a speech and debate club. Add to that that hubby competed in cyclocross and we like to do charity rides together and you have a family that spent a lot of time on the road. Through our home school years I only dabbled here and there with crafty projects. 

Son #2 graduated in the spring of 2012 and the student activities halted. I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. I floundered for several months and then my in-laws came down for Thanks Giving. 

As I've mentioned before, my MIL and youngest SIL have been avid quilters for years. During the visit our conversation turned to quilting and she asked about the fabric I had purchased several years earlier. I dug it out and we started going over the pattern and she noticed that I did not have enough fabric. We headed down to Branum's and picked out the two needed FQ's. I think I broke a record for taking the longest time to choose half a yard of fabric. In fact, it had taken forever to pick out the original fabrics. 

Notice that the second fabric from the left is faded. I must have left it exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time.
My MIL took the bundle home and quickly whipped up this beautiful table runner. She cleverly placed the faded fabric to make it look like it was meant to be.

This whole process piqued my interest in trying my hand at quilting again and I began scouring the internet. I quickly came upon a number of websites for quilters who labeled themselves as modern. Wow, what an eye opener. I realized why I had so much trouble choosing fabrics for that runner. Though the fabrics were beautiful, I just did not "feel' them. I had never seen nor noticed fabrics that truly sparked my interest to create in any quilt shop like I was seeing on line. 

I decided to start small just in case I found I didn't want to invest in quilting again. I pulled out my old tools that had been used more for home school projects over the years than sewing.

I found a Wonky Log Cabin tutorial (I'd love to share a link but I can't find it) and I headed to the fabric shop with fresh eyes. 

The modern aesthetic was thin but I did find this lovely collection that coordinated with my home colors.

I set up shop in the guest room and away I went.

I discovered that wonky isn't as easy as it looks. Somehow my trimming kept getting it closer and closer to not-wonky!

I bound it scrappy and cheated on connecting the binding. I found an easy version on Youtube and unfortunately used it. In fact, I used it several times before I attempted to do it right.

I used my walking foot and quilted straight lines. This now hangs in my bedroom.

I was having so much fun that I went back to the fabric shop for more supplies before I even finished this piece. I had a new activity to fill in some of the home school void!

About the rest of the void...

Around this same time my hubby was experiencing a big change in his business. He and his partner of more than 20 years were splitting up. Even though it was an amicable event due to his partner wanting to try his hand at a different venture, it was still a big upheaval to our life. I became involved in the family business in a big way for the first time. Boy do I have a lot to learn and boy is it ever cutting into my quilting time! But I love working side by side with my Sweetie. I think he finds me a bit exasperating at times.

So, here you have my first finished project as someone who finally found her place in the quilting world.

Linking up with Pretty Bobbins "I Quilt"

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Goals, WIPs and Finishes

We will start with WIPs:

Hand binding a small. Sorry for not showing much but this is a gift. Full reveal next week.

Paper piecing a small to go with the one above. Reveal after the party on Saturday.

My New-Old Singer 15-90's first project. The Nested Churn Dash by Quilt Jane. Pattern here. I am a bit late for the Quilt-Along. The block is done and sashed to bring it up to the size I need for a 28" Ikea pillow. This is for my JRT, Cooper. He has adopted an orange velvet version of this pillow as his favorite bed so I thought he would like one another.

Wedding Quilt top is finished. All backing fabrics are in house and design is sketched. This is Priority One when I am done with the birthday gifts above.

Canvas Swedish Blinds. I had a change of heart on the ribbons fabric and have decided to go with twill tape. Still need to get the dowels and 1x2s. This will go quick once I get all the parts and pieces together.

Sale Table Quilt. My hearts not really in this one. I am still just over half done with the quilting.

Birds Embroidery. Still pecking away on the third panel. I could finish it in about ten minutes.

Untouched in August:
Angel Embroidery
Purse UFOs


All four of my dish mats are finished and in use. I love using mine. Hubby gives them a big thumbs up too. My sister loves hers. I'll have to check in with my son to see if he's even using his. I'll see him at the party on Saturday.

Grace Frame Queen Leaders.

Refurbished Singer 15-90. Here she is working on the Churn Dash with my make-do seam guide. I need to get her some accessories.

ALYoF Goal: Finish the Wedding Quilt.

I think that's about it. My sewing room was super busy in August but there were a lot of starts and equipment activities and not many finishes.

Linking up with:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tips On Tuesday - Fuzz Buster

Dedicate a Lint Roller to your sewing area.

I know, pretty much a no-brainer for some of you out there but some of us are a little slow.

We have two white dogs who are super shedders so lint rollers are stashed in several key areas of our home but my sewing room was not one of them. Until recently I would run and get one to use and them put it back in its designated spot. Then one day I opened the cupboard and looked at the several rollers inside. Hmmm, you know I could just keep one of these IN my sewing room! I have the perfect spot next to the starch in my blue Ikea cart. So it made the move and I L-O-V-E it!

One of my favorite things to use it on is my cutting mat. Have you ever noticed all the lint that gets stuck in the grooves caused by use? Have you ever trimmed a pile of HSTs and then tried to scoop up the lint only to have it roll around the pad?

Well, I have and I whip out my lint roller to clean us the mess.

See all that lint on my over-used-and-needs-to-be-replaced-but-I'm-too-cheap mat.

Looks like a job for the roller.

Swipe one.

Swipe two. Much better.
I should have taken one more photo after I swiped the whole mat.

Other uses:
Post sewing personal cleanup
Removing lint and tread bits while basting a quilt. (Not so good on the batting)
Clean up that ironing board
A quick run over your sewing machine bed and sewing table
Sew in a carpeted space? It will remove some of the stubborn bits a vacuum always misses.

So, if you don't have one in your sewing tool kit at all or if you are still wasting sewing time and energy using one you store elsewhere you might want to think about buying one just for your sewing kit.

Thanks a bunch for visiting.
Rest assured, I will have some things prettier than lint to share next time.