Friday, January 22, 2010

Template Free Applique!

Here is a great tutorial on a Template Free applique technique. This technique is great if you have a full layout for your applique design. If the author/designer of the pattern has only made templates for you to cut out, it is not as simple, but can be done.

This Template Free, or Back-Basting applique technique is the way I first learned needle turn applique. I disliked the idea of tracing and cutting out all the templates, pressing the seams, etc. It seemed like too much work to me. This concept gives you a simple, accurate way to needle turn without pins (yay!)and no templates or pressing first. It also makes applique EASY to take in the car or plane on long trips.

So check out Kay Mackenzie's blog All About Applique and see if this makes applique more fun for you! She also has a book out on this technique that you can check out on her blog/website.

I just love it and I hope you do too! Tootles for now!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Free Motion Quilting- don't fear it!

This is one of those techniques that you either want to learn, or you are happy to let your long-arm quilter do it all for you. I don't meet very many quilters who sort of want to quilt their own quilts. You either do or you don't from what I have seen.

Free motion quilting is something I am still learning. I find that it gives me great pleasure when I do it well, and great frustration when it does not look good enough. Along that line of thinking, I found this great blog. Leah Day is offering You Tube tutorials for 365 different free motion designs at this link. Some are so unusual that I would probably not even try, but many are so terrific. I find it incredibly inspiring. The one above is called "Creepy Bug", but I don't think it looks that much like a bug, I like it though. It looks more floral to me, and I would use this design. Leah has all kinds of tips and ideas on this blog for better free-motion quilting. Definitely check it out!

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got when learning free motion quilting, was this:
If you draw or doodle with a pen or pencil, consider trying those designs with your sewing machine.
It's good advice really. You simply try to "doodle" with the needle and thread. In most art classes one of the first projects they make you do is a one-line continuous drawing or self portrait. That is taking a pencil, putting it to paper, and making the drawing without ever lifting the pencil until the picture is done. It is a hard thing to do well, but it is possible. I have seen some that are simply remarkable. Free-motion quilting is the same concept, but with more freedom to "doodle".

She also has posted this tutorial on how to quilt your quilt blocks, or your quilt in segments, then piece them together. I have seen a lot of quilt as you go methods and tried many, but this one intrigues me. Mostly I find that the end result is very simple line quilting on the back. Often, it looks messy or crooked. This technique offers you a way to free motion quilt your quilt in a unique and dynamic way, but also to do it in small segments. That is important for most of us because space is always an issue when free motion quilting, and it is so hard to manipulate those huge quilts. The result is a nice quilting flow and design on the front and back of your quilt.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goodbye 2009-- Hello 2010!!

Wow! another year gone by!

Usually I don't make resolutions, I have always broken them by February! This new year, new decade I am going to make some resolutions.

1. Get back on track with my fitness routine. (I had to stop exercising because of a car accident that my back is finally recovering from)
2. Be a better blogger-- and a more regular blogger
3. Read more books-- I forgot how much I love to read until I began the Twilight saga in late 2008- Thank you Stephanie Meyer for writing such an engaging series of books!
4. Continue to drive my pattern/design business-- there are more specifics on this, but for now they are secrets. I will reveal them as I can!
5. Get as many UFO's/WIP's done this year as possible! I am going to shoot for 1-2 a month. These are ones that are not for patterns, but just for fun.
6. Figure out this new computer we have and Windows 7! It is not that different from Vista or 2007, but still I am not a computer guru, so I am still floundering. This new computer is so fast and really nice though-it is worth the learning curve.

What are your RESOLUTIONS??????

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I promised pictures and here they are! These are the last few projects I made in '09.

Above are Nan's Bakewell Tarts. Well, these are the ones I made that are similar to the ones our Nan used to make. Nan was from England and she passed away in November of '08. We have dearly missed her. She is actually my husband's grandmother, but she loved me like I was her own granddaughter, and I loved her like she was my own grandmother too. She made Bakewell's by the dozens every year for the family at Christmas. We all got to take some home on Christmas night and they were divine!
So now I keep up the tradition and make them for Christmas, but mine are not quite as good as hers were. I need to keep practicing!

This is a Christmas quilt I worked up very fast and didn't have time to quilt it before Christmas. So I just hung it up anyway! I used Nancy Halvorsen's Christmas panel and line of fabric from Benartex. Sooooo cute for Christmas.

Notice anything different about this flag? It's a vintage 48 star flag. A gift for my dad who is a retired history teacher and loves historical items like this. I hand appliqued it to the cream background, then added a skinny red flange, a dark blue paisley border. Then I hand-quilted the whole thing and bound it. I also added a couple of loops for hanging it on a wall on the back.
Dad really liked this- or so I hear- I still need to chat with him because he has been out of town.

This is a gift for my mom. I made it out of a charm pack of Shangri-La by Moda a while ago, and finally finished it. I added the corner triangles, some raggy posies, and quilted it. The quilting got all bumpy and nubby when I washed it-yummy! She really loves this-I know because she saw it before it was done and commented.
This is simply a cute quilt made in Christmas Gracies that I made last year. This year I got the binding on it though--so now it's done and I love it.

We got all of our Christmas things put away today-yippee! I love when it all goes away as much as when it all comes out.

No Schnibbles last month-----I tried the Tuffets pattern- got some bits cut out and tossed them. I lost patience well before I should have. I knew the pieces were just too tiny for a busy December. I actually made a different one-a quilt, and it is not quite done. It will be cute though and I will keep it secret just in case that pattern gets chosen in the next few months.