Friday, 25 September 2015

TGIFF! - Welded Links

Things have been going a 100 miles (or kilometres) a minute around here lately. The joys of September. Even though there's not a lot of time for quilting, I'm happy to say that the start-itis I've been suffering from these last few months is officially over with this project -- must be a TGIFF! miracle.

Of course, it always helps when you have a deadline. This deadline? The AGF Stitched with Kimberly Welded Blog Hop hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop and sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics.

The Fat Quarter Shop provided the free Welded Quilt pattern and a great video tutorial and Art Gallery Fabrics provided the fabric love. The Fat Quarter Shop also has a Welded Quilt featuring Pat Bravo's Artisan line and a backing set available.

For my version of the quilt, I wanted to play with navies and greys so I picked out fabrics from Katarina Roccella's Imprint, Indelible (Spirodraft Carbon), and Recollection line (Cuneiform Script Cast), as well as a few prints from the Art Gallery Studio Maker line. Mmmm!

I modified the Welded pattern a bit and replaced some of the blocks with background fabric, making the negative space more prominent and giving some asymmetry to the fun on-point block design of the quilt. I'm so happy with how it turned out!

For the quilting, I used a light grey Aurifil and echoed the sewing lines. Simple, but effective and I love the extension of the lines in the negative space. 

For the backing, I took the leftover greys and paired them with the I'm a Maker print (sooo love that fabric!). 

I find the navies and greys make Welded look like links in a chain so I'm calling it Welded Links.

Here's Welded Links enjoying some sun by the Rideau Canal. ;)

Finished size: 60" by 60".

There are a whole slew of fabulous bloggers participating in this hop so be sure to check out what they've done with the pattern.
You can also check out #Weldedquilt and #AGFStitched on Instagram (and Twitter) for more inspiration.

I'm also linking up to TGIFF!, which is over at Simply Pieced this week, because it's been a long time since I've had a finish to celebrate. :)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Heart Strings - A Work in Progress

I started this project back in the winter, just before or around the time my mom first got sick. I haven't shared anything about it yet so I thought I'd share a little about my process in designing this quilt. I actually took many more pictures along the way, but I summarized the major shifts in the process below.

My intent with this piece was to do something like October Sky, but with reds on the vertical. I'm also thinking about mounting this one on a canvas, but we'll have to see if that will work when it's done.

I worked on the layout back in March-ish. Given everything going on with my mom's health in the Spring, working on this quilt this actually became somewhat therapeutic, hence the name.

There it is on the vertical (please ignore the triangles showing through on the design wall, they are not part of the piece). Hmm...not quite what I had pictured. I found the big dark red strips on the edges were too thick.

One side fixed. Sort of. I'm not liking the portrait layout.

What if I cut it in half and made it a landscape composition? Yes, I like that more (I folded it over to test it out before cutting it).

Right side strip is now a little better, but not quite there yet.

More value changes were needed in the red.

Right side fixed. Also started inserting different greys to get more depth.

I'm liking the subtle shifts in the greys. It still needs a lot of work, but the top is almost there.

Happy quilting!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sponsor Snip-its and Specials

I did a little retail therapy when I popped into Mad About Patchwork's warehouse location yesterday. Sigh. I love Alison Glass fabric. And a little Kona. And a little Cotton and Steel and a little Moda. Yes, perhaps it wasn't a 'little' retail therapy after all.

In case you are looking to do a little retail therapy yourself, check out these specials with my wonderful sponsors.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop Deal of the Month is a 3-pack bundle of Aurifil thread for $24.83. That is a sweet deal!

Deal of the Month - September - Aurifil 50wt 1300mt 3 Pack

Canadian National Fabrics Sale section is deliciously stocked with lots of fabric goodness! Remember, there's free shipping on order over $50 in Canada.

canadian national fabrick

The Running Stitch Lucky 7 Special this month is 17% off Batting, Backing, and Basting Spray on September 8th (they are closed on September 7th for Labour Day). They are having an Open House on Saturday, September 12th from 12-4 p.m. for classes. For every class you register for, you get a $10 gift certificate that day to use towards class supplies.

The Running Stitch

Craftsy is also having a Labour Day sale with up to 50% off all online classes and supplies!


Mad About Patchwork is featuring at 10% discount on children's prints this week. Mad About Patchwork is having an Open House for Fall workshops (including my Modern Free Motion Quilting Sampler class) from 10-2 p.m. on Saturday, September 12th.

Mad About Patchwork

Hope you have a great long weekend! 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Five Free Motion Quilting Myths and How You Can Overcome Them!

File:We Can Do It!.jpgMy journey to free motion quilting was a long and winding one, peppered with a lot of obstacles, most of which were myths in my own head. I know I’m not alone in believing them. I thought it’s time we talk about them more openly and see if  we can't get rid of a few obstacles for some of you too.

Myth #1: You have to be a very experienced quilter (a.k.a. quilting for 20 years). 

Prior to discovering the online quilting community five years ago, the only quilters I knew who were great at free motion quilting were my senior by at least 10 years. Then I found Leah Day on YouTube when she was about 25. That woman’s got skillz! I said to myself, if she can do it, then surely I should be able to learn it before I retire.

Myth #2: You have to become good at piecing before you try free motion quilting. 

If you get really good at piecing, you may find that you become afraid of quilting your top because you don’t want to ruin it. Don’t wait! There’s no rule that you can’t build those skills at the same time.

If you are already a good piecer and find that you are now afraid to quilt your own quilts, make little projects like coasters, mug rugs, and placemats or quilt-as-you-go projects. It’s going to get coffee or food stains on it anyways so who cares if your pebbles aren’t perfectly round?

Myth #3: You need a fancy long arm machine or a stitch regulator. 

Nope, they are nice and helpful, but they don’t do the quilting for you. You do need a machine that works properly though. If you are trying to free motion quilt and are having a lot of problems with threads breaking or nesting and you’ve tried all the usual fixes (cleaning, rethreading, new needle, different thread) without success, there may be something wrong with the machine. The needle timing may be off or there may be burrs that don’t affect regular straight stitching, but interfere with free motion quilting. Try quilting on someone else’s machine (or demo a machine in a quilt shop – shh!). If you can do it without breaking threads on their machine, bring yours in for a servicing and tell the technician what problems you are having.

Myth #3: Free motion quilting is too complicated or advanced for you. 

If you can handwrite or drive, you can free motion quilt. Yes, really! Were you able to write cursive the first day you learned how to write the letter A? No! You practiced those damn As until you hated them and then you practiced those stupid Bs. You may not remember the frustration of trying to get those curves right because you were 5 or 6 at the time (I sure did because I had to do remedial handwriting classes – the joys of being a lefty), but you probably do remember how weird and jerky it was to have to drive at first? Eventually you stopped braking in the middle of the curve and did it before the turn, right? Free motion quilting just takes practice, practice and more practice. Did I mention it takes practice? Seriously. Do one coaster or mug rug a day with a different motif each day, every day for a few weeks. Wax on, wax off, Quilter-san!

Myth #4: You don’t want to waste fabric, batting and thread on something you won’t like. 

If your stash is too new and pretty to 'waste', go get some fuglies to practice on – either buy it in the clearance section or ask a long-time quilter if they have some to spare. As someone who is blessed with an abundance of “what was I thinking?” fabrics, I assure you that they would probably be happy to share some with you (if only to relieve themselves of the guilt of feeling they have to use it). I keep my batting leftovers for practice quilt sandwiches. As for the 'waste', I keep my better practice sandwiches on a ring as a reference for quilting ideas.

Myth #5: You are left-handed in a right-handed world. 

Okay, I’m totally making this one up (Five myths just seemed better than four). We lefties never let this one stop us!

Enough myths busted for you? What other myths about free motion quilting are holding you back? Going to give it a go?

Loop left, loop right, Quilter-san. You got this!

By the way, I'll be teaching my Modern Free Motion Quilting Sampler class on Saturday, October 3rd at Mad About Patchwork. Also, while you're there, check out the other great classes Pam has lined up for the Fall. There's even one based on Sherri Lynn Wood's book that I mentioned in my last post!
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