Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tumbling Hearts quilt tutorial

In my last post I showed you my recent finish, my Tumbling Hearts wall hanging.  

If you'd like to make your own Tumbling Hearts wall hanging, here is the info you will need.
I started with 2  one yard cuts of Sending My Love by Marie Cole for Henry Glass Fabrics and some White solid.  I did not figure out the total yardage as I was designing this on the go and wasn't sure how many blocks I wanted to make.  You could also use scraps to make your blocks if you'd like.
I cut 2 1/2" strips from each print and then cut 2 1/2" squares.  You will need 3 for each block.  If you duplicate my quilt, you will need a total of 24 in each of your 2 fabrics.
You will also need 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" blocks, 1 for each block you are making, or to duplicate my quilt, 8 in each of your 2 print fabrics.
These were my cut pieces for my Red blocks.
With the White solid fabric for each block, cut (1) 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" block, (3) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" blocks and (2) 6 1/2"' x 2 1/2" blocks.  For my quilt I used a total of (48) 2 1/2" squares, (16) 4 1/2" blocks and (32) 6 1/2" blocks.
Layout each blocks as shown below.  Then you just sew together the pieces into rows and the rows into a completed block, matching up seams where needed.
While making my blocks I had someone that wanted a little bit of attention and some tummy rubs.  Who was I to deny him that? :)
I pressed all seams toward the print fabric.
This was the perfect little project to work on during some recent snow storms.
These blocks are great for chain piecing and before long all 8 of each color are completed.  Your blocks should be 8 1/2" unfinished.
Here is where my original vision went awry.  The intent was to have the print corners of each block meet up with the corner of the adjacent block but when I laid them all out this was the result.
While not a bad layout at all, it wasn't what I was going for and the fact that the blocks are tilted hearts totally got lost.  

I decided that I needed to separate the blocks in some fashion.  I pulled out the Brown print that I also had of this fabric line that I wasn't intending to use and tried a few settings using horizontal sashing.  These were cut at 2" wide to finish at 1 1/2".  Here is Version 1 that was rejected.
Version 2 was also quickly rejected.
Version 3 wasn't bad but didn't really speak to me.
Version 4 was getting a little closer to something I'd be happy with but I wasn't there yet.
Version 5 also was a possibility but I still wasn't loving it.
Then came Version 6.  No choir of angels were singing to tell me this was "the one".
Any of these layouts would have looked great for the finished quilt but for me, I was searching for a certainly vibe and I just wasn't feeling it with any of these previous versions. I gave up for the night and went to bed to wait for fresh inspiration on another day.

When I was able to get back into my studio, it was as if the light bulb went off when I realized that I didn't need to have the sashing strips going horizontal.  Why not try it vertically? I know that the print is a directional fabric and I already had the strips cut but that really didn't bother me at all since the blocks themselves are off kilter.

Once I set the sashing vertically I knew this was the right choice.  From there all it took was sewing the blocks into the rows, adding the sashing rows and sewing all the rows together to have a finished quilt top. For my sashing I used 5 strips 2" x 32 1/2" long and 2 strips 2" x 40" long.
It was quickly loaded on my frame and I set to work to add some pretty texture and design.
The binding I used was the Red heart print and that took a total of (4) 2 1/2" strips.
I think this quilt would look adorable in all sorts of color ways, even rainbow with each heart a different color.  I'd love to see your versions of my Tumbling Hearts quilt so please send me an email with pictures of your creations.

Happy New Year!

 Our family wishes your family a very Happy New Year!
 In Vietnam we refer to this holiday as TET.
 This is how you say Happy New Year in Chinese.
These are some of the personality traits associated with people born in a Year of the Rooster. 
 People born in a year of the Rooster are very observant. Hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented, Roosters are very confident in themselves.

Roosters are always active, amusing, and popular within a crowd. Roosters are talkative, outspoken, frank, open, honest, and loyal individuals. They like to be the center of attention and always appear attractive and beautiful.
Roosters are happiest when they are surrounded by others, whether at a party or just a social gathering. They enjoy the spotlight and will exhibit their charm on any occasion.
Roosters expect others to listen to them while they speak, and can become agitated if they don't. Vain and boastful, Roosters like to brag about themselves and their accomplishments.
Their behavior of continually seeking the unwavering attention of others annoys people around them at times.

People born in a year of the Rooster are typically healthy people. They are active and enjoy sports, such as hiking and swimming. Roosters don't get sick very often because they tend to fight illness well. Even when they do become ill, they feel better quickly. Roosters are a little sensitive, and they feel stressed and moody at times.  

In what year were you born?
 I just realized that for my family my zodiac sign is directly opposite on the chart from Jammer's and my husband's sign is directly opposite from Sunshine's.  Interesting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tumbling Hearts - a Valentine's Day wall hanging

Do you find quilt block inspiration in the tile of your master bathroom shower. I do and this was the catalyst that was the spark for my newest finish.
I'm calling this quilt Tumbling Hearts.
The final design and block layout was not what I originally envisioned in my mind but I love the way it turned out in the end.
I quilted it using the Cutie Patootie panto and a medium Pink So Fine thread.  I keep wondering if I would have liked the other panto I had in mind and the lighter Pink thread better but I'm still happy with how this came out.
It's always fun to see the texture the quilting adds to the piecing.
It is now hanging on my wall in the great room, though the lack of sun on this dreary winter day doesn't make for the best lighting for pictures against the pale gold wall.
This quilt finished at 39 1/2" x 35".  For anyone that wants to make one for themselves, a little tutorial is coming soon.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Price Reduced - Voyager 17" machine, completely upgraded, with Hinterberg Stretch frame and extras

My Penelope has had a few serious inquiries from potential new owners but no one yet has made the leap and decided to make her their own so to help make the decision a bit easier for someone, I've reduced the price to $5,500.  She is located in Clifton Park, NY

Penelope is a Voyager 17" all metal machine that has received a complete electronics upgrade 1 1/2 years ago.
She now boasts push button Ram handles with start/stop, needle up/down and increase/decrease the number of stitches per inch right at your fingertips.  Her new features also includes 5 stitch modes (Stitch Regulated, Manual, Baste, Ruler and Robitic). Yes you can add a computer for automated quilting if you'd like. The upgrade also included great LED lights, laser light and ultraviolet lights.
Her first circut board (which was sadly inadequate) was replaced with a much improved version, all new wiring was added and new encoders were installed.  The only thing that wasn't replaced was the motor itself, which is a real workhorse and will last for years and years.
She sits on a Hinterberg Stretch frame, which is currently at 10 feet but you can easily make the frame bigger or smaller by purchasing new conduit at a local hardware store.  The stylus for the pattern boards is also included or you can flip those over and use the flat side to roll out a panto to quilt from the back of the machine.  You just turn the handles around.
Because my studio space is tight I added the laser stylus so that I could pantos from the front of the machine.  And of course you can use her to do free motion quilting.
My longtime readers know that before the upgrade was installed I struggled to use her mainly because her original electronics were subpar.  She stitched well (and still does) but the electronics just didn't work right.  Once her new parts were installed she became a completely new machine and I've really enjoyed finishing my quilts with her. 
I've done quilts as big as 92" x 106" with no problems.  The only reason she is looking for a new home is that more and more I'm quilting for others and needed to upgrade to a machine with a bigger throat and a bigger frame.  I purchased her in April 2013 and the upgrade was done in June 2014 so she is still a fairly new machine.  

Also included in the package are:  Red Snappers, extension base for doing ruler work, zippers for the leaders (if you'd prefer not to pin), ruler foot, Towa Gauge, bobbin winder, 50 bobbins, 5 extra bobbin cases, 100+ needles, 20 Magna Glide bobbins, timing needle, extra belt, machine oil, 2 DVDs and the manual. 

If you want to start into the world of longarm quilting, enjoy the freedom of creating your own quilting designs and have the satisfaction of completing it yourself, email me and then come check her out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My New Year's un-resolutions

While I don't usually make New Year's resolutions I've decided to not pick a word of the year either.  My life is way to fluid at the moment to pin down all the thoughts I have on what is to come either one word or a list of what I want to achieve.

I didn't do either of these for 2016 either and it definitely helped reduce the stress because I didn't have any preconceived notions of what I was supposed to do.  Going with the flow has distinct advantages.
I won't say that I don't have a lot of things that I want to accomplish this year because I most certainly do but I've decided to not make a formal list or set any time frame for the vast majority of it.  Just being "in the moment" and carving out as much creative time as possible will yield the results I hope for naturally.

There are a few things that are currently unknown that will play a big part on how these first months will go.  First my step dad is living his final days.  His Mesothelioma returned a year ago and he decided not to get it treated this time.  At 83 and knowing how rough it was the first time, I certainly respect his decision.  We don't know if this means that we have days, weeks or a few months left with him but when the end comes there will be a lot of changes for my mom and I'll be helping as much as I am able.

To add to all that uncertainty, my boss is selling the business and retiring this year.  The new company has mentioned me going to work for them but we haven't had any discussions yet as to what that means...temporary during the transition or permanent, how many hours they are considering and all the other things that come with a new job. So as of right now I have no clue as to how much sewing time I will have each week once that shift happens.  Time will tell.

As in the past, I'm not joining in at this point any of the blocks of the month or quilt alongs with one exception.....Thimble Blossoms' Swoon Quiltalong in her celebration of 10 years in business.  I've been wanting to make a big Swoon quilt for a long time and now I'm going to at least get it started.  I have the pattern and the fabric that I'm using.
 It is Jeanne Morrison's True Colors. It's going to be bright and colorful and I can't wait to see the first blocks completed.  You can follow along too with the Instagram hashtag #swoonalong. 

I've already made good progress on getting back to sewing.  My newest quilt design is on the frame and I should have it done soon so that I can share all of the details with you. 
The new year holds endless possibilities but for me right now not putting any sort of expectations on myself is the right thing to do.  While it's not the way I usually operate, I'm going to take each day as it comes and do the best that I can.  Hopefully in the end, things will work out well and by this time next year I'll have a great recap to reflect back on.

Whatever your own goals are for this new year, I wish you all the best on realizing them.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year and my blog reboot

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and my wish for you is that 2017 brings you all the quilting time you desire.
 I had planned to write this post yesterday but the kids had some friends over and I spent a bunch of time refereeing the girls and in between that I was working on quilting my latest project.

This past year wasn't a good one at all for me sewing wise and it is the year that I posted here the least, not counting the first year.  I'm not at all happy about the lack of sharing and even more so, the huge lack of sewing time for me.  Months ago I realized that I've got a big issue with all of this and something had to change.
When I took on the role of Troop Organizer for my local Girl Scout service unit, I vowed to do the very best job that I could but that ended up meaning a lot of my previous free time I used to sew was taken up by those responsibilities.  For my area we currently have almost 700 girls (plus hundreds of their parents) in 75 troops and there are a few more in the process of getting started.  I also still have a list of girls who want to join troops.  All of this results in tons of my time spent at the computer emailing parents and leaders and meeting with new leaders to get them up and running.  I know that I do my job well but if my quilty dreams are to become a reality, I had to do some serious thinking about how to make my quilting life and my Girl Scout life coexist in relative harmony.

I've got many future quilting customers who are just waiting for me to say the word that I'm starting to accept their work and given that the busiest time for that (the fall months) coincides with the craziest season for the troop organizing, if I'm ever going to ramp up that part of my business I had to find a way to free up time during that time of year.  Next year the Service Unit Cookie Manager role will be vacant so I'll be switching it for my current role. While that job is also intense it is for a limited time period (January through April) while my current role is practically a year round gig. 

Many of you have been patiently waiting for me to release the pattern for my Merry Jingle quilt.  
 I've actually got the fabric here that I'm using for the pattern version but I haven't been able to carve out the time to make it yet.
I'll be using Kate Spain's Latitude batiks.  It will be my first quilt using mostly batiks and it's going to be gorgeous.  I just know it.  Depending on how insane my troops' cookie season goes (we start Jan 13th) I hope to have this done and ready to share by the end of the first quarter at the latest.

What does all of this mean in the big scheme of things?

It means that I'm making a conscious change for the better that will allow me to get back to my sewing, back to my designing and back to sharing all of it with you. blog reboot.   There will be more posts and more eye candy in 2017 and more of why I started this blog in the first place.....connecting with quilters around the world.

Stay tuned.