Saturday, March 30, 2013

Project: Princess Dress

At the beginning of March I posted a finish of a dress I made for "Princess 2."  Needless to say, Princess 1 wants her dress also.  As these are spring/summer dresses, and the season is here, I decided I should drop my other projects and work on it.

Do you remember the problem I had last time?  I forgot the lining fabric.  Ha ha...I did it again!  No fear though.  I just went right ahead.  First I drafted the pattern on red dot tracing "paper." It is a multi-size pattern. This is really like an interfacing that is easy to see through.  Then I laid out the pieces and cut out the outside of the dress.

Are you surprised that my great-niece chose a batik fabric for her dress?  Ha ha...she says that purple is a princess color, so I had several purples/violet/lavender fabrics for her to choose from.   I am very happy that she picked this one. I think it will be a fun and unusual dress. The design on the fabric has lots of movement.  It is bright and happy looking.  I can hardly wait to get this made (hopefully in the next week) and get pictures of them in the dresses.

What is on your cutting table?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm Wishing (la la la)

If you have been reading my blog posts, then you know that I love Craftsy. One of the great features of Craftsy is the Wish List. I thought I would share some of my wish list with you My Craftsy Wish List: 

1. Free Motion Fillers Volume 1 with Leah Day. (yes, I am loving the other class with Leah, so this seems too obvious!)

2.Beginner Serging: Machine Basics and Techniques  (because I am sure I could do more with my serger)

3.  Modern Piping with Joshua John Russell --now that is NOT a sewing class, but rather a cake decorating class.  There are so many interesting classes on Craftsy and I love making food pretty too.

Check out all of the other great Craftsy Classes by clicking here.

From some of the other classes I have taken let me show you some of my projects.

 This art quilt is one I made from a class called Stupendous Stitching with Carol Ann Waugh.

This pillow is made from a small piece I created in a class called Stitch N Slash with Carol Ann Waugh.

I have also taken some other classes and I have enjoyed all of them.  I am sure you can find a  Craftsy Class that is just right for you.

I highly suggest setting up an account and trying a free class...and why not build your own wish list?

More Free Motion

The class I am taking on Craftsy is Free Motion Quilting A Sampler with Leah Day.  I am really enjoying this class.  I wish I had a lot more time to be practicing.  Monday night I watched the section on quilting feathers.  I tried feathers a long time ago and honestly it looked horrid.  It was so bad in fact that I said "Okay so I will never quilt feathers!"   I couldn't even draw a decent feather-and I tried - a lot.
Fast forward- after watching the class on how to quilt feathers I spent some time drawing feathers.  I was pleasantly surprised that I seemed to have gotten it.  So Tuesday evening, I made up a quilt sandwich, drew a circle on it with a disappearing pen and had at it.

Forgive the bad picture but! I did it. My spiral inside it looks all wonky.  Oh well, I will get better at it  or just not do spirals.  I am practicing pebbling outside the feathered circle. I can tell that with practice I will get this.  Color me happy.

Also, on Tuesday evening, I drew a winner in the Anita Goodesign blog hop.
The Random Number Generator picked number 59.

Number 59 is Fran who said:

I have sent an email to Fran and I am waiting to hear from her with the info we need to get her prize to her.
Can I hear a big "Way to go!" for Fran and for the entire Blog Hop?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Free Motion Quilting

A class in Free Motion Quilting is one of the new things I am doing.  I am taking the class on Craftsy and it is taught by Leah Day.    I am loving this class.  I do believe that Leah is a natural born teacher. She has a great way of making you feel confident enough to go for it.  While I have done free motion quilting in the past, I have never been very confident in it.  The confidence the class is inspiring in me is a good thing.
Now I am going to show you the first two blocks I have quilted.  I will be the first to say that they are not perfect. Ha not even close.  But I have been able to quilt in spaces and maintain a design.  I have never really managed that on a quilt before.
This is both of the blocks.  For the green one, I tried to trace out a real block then stitch the seam lines before I started.  I clearly need a better pen or pencil to make with. The red one was supposed to just be a large spiral. I was not consistent in my distances so it ended up off center. (maybe I started off center!)  Anyway, I decided to just wing it and add some clam shell design to fill in the rest. I am happier with the red block than the green one.

Now some detail shots.  First is one corner of the red block.  You can see the clam shell design. It is rather organic (and not perfect either.)
Here are two  of the sections with a paisley design. I need to work on this one a bit.

 Here is a second detail picture of the red one.
Everything -including the block lines on the green block were done free motion.  Here is a picture of the green block so you can see that.

Yes, I need a lot more work on this, but I am amazed at how much more I have learned since starting the class.
Want to see the back of the red block? Okay here it is.
I love the texture that the clam shells added around the spiral.  I may try a wider spiral and add clamshells inside it.

There are lots of different classes on Craftsy.  If you want to try one, click the picture below and go register.  Maybe I will see you in class!

Online Quilting Classes

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Will you be Disqualified?

I have had a number of entries into the Machine Embroidery blog hop.  I have noticed that several of them are the dreaded "NO REPLY" bloggers.  Do you know if you are a "no-reply" blogger?  If your email is not enabled in your blogger profile: you are.  If you have switched to using the GooglePlus profile you most likely are a no-reply.  Here is a link to a blog post that tells how to fix your Blogger profile to enable your email so you can win.   Be sure to read the entire post.  She explains a lot.

If you have switched to the GooglePlus profile you probably want to switch back. Here is a link that shows how to do that.

If you have commented on my blog (and many others) and have never gotten a reply, chances are that you are a dreaded "No-Reply Blogger."
Join in the fun of connecting with the bloggers that you read.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Day for the ME Blog Hop

I thought this day would be forever getting here.   Today is finally my day for the Machine Embroidery Blog Hop hosted by IHAN (I Have A Notion) and sponsored by Anita Goodesign.

This has been a lot of fun planning and making a project to showcase a machine embroidery design.  By the way, machine embroidery is commonly abbreviated as ME.  Now that you know that, I can save a lot of typing.

I chose a package called Asian Quilt for my project. There are 42 designs in the package and each one comes in three sizes.  The smallest is 5.8" square so you need a machine with a large embroidery hoop space.  There are designs that are repeating patterns as well as designs that are traditional Asian elements.  Some of the designs are medallions - I used one of those.

If you haven't skipped this already and gone straight for the pictures, I will show them now.

 I chose to make a wall hanging with these designs.  I used two elements in each section and made four sections.

This has fleece as the batting and is quilted with wavy lines all around the design elements.  I did consider adding some stuffing under the designs like trapunto, but decided it was overkill.  I will happily hang this on my cubicle wall at work to add some color to my space.

Let me show you some closes ups of these designs.

These are designed to mimic traditional Sashiko which is a type of hand embroidery.  Sashiko is done with white thread on dark blue fabric.  Obviously I modernized it a bit.
I hope you notice the two color design on the purple section (the flower and pagoda.)  This is designed to stitch out all one color.  As I watched it stitch, I was hoping the flower would complete before the pagoda started. It did and I quickly hit the stop button on the machine and changed thread colors.
TIP #1 Dont' be afraid to stop the machine and change thread colors. I think it really made this element more interesting.

Then in the green section there is a lotus flower (I think that is what it is.)  I originally sewed that out in a yellow thread. It got lost in the green.  I did NOT unhoop. I simply used the placement control on my machine and "nudged" the design over two "clicks."  I restarted that section with a brown thread. You may not be able to see both colors in the picture but in person that adds depth and a pop factor to the element.
TIP # 2 Learn to use the controls on your machine to your advantage. If I had not tried this I would have been ripping out the stitches.  And if you have never removed ME stitches, take my word - save it for a last resort!

Stabilizer is important when stitching out ME designs.  I used a medium weight tearaway/washaway.  For this project just a tearaway would work, but I usually buy one that will wash away too as it is more versatile.

Since I was using the big hoop on my machine and my stabilizer wasn't wide enough to hoop I had to improvise.  I hooped the fabric first.  Then I used an Elmer's washable glue stick to outline and make an X on the stabilizer and glued it to the back of the fabric. It worked perfectly. It held very well during sewing and yet was easy enough to pull off when I tore away the stabilizer.

Tip #3 Stabilize your work, and remember my glue stick trick.

When I first got the design pack I sewed out a couple of the repeating patterns just to see what they looked like.  I hated to waste good fabric and a nice ME stitch-out, so I made this little zipper pouch.
I love the way this design seems to shift before your eyes.  I think I will use this to store charger cables for my electronic gadgets.

Tip #4 Use those test stitch-outs for another little project.

Did I happen to mention a prize?  There is a prize.  All you have to do is leave a comment.  The winner will get to choose one of the Anita Goodesign Special Edition packs.  I happen to love Oriental Daydream (are you surprised?) and also Garden Gate. there are two different Christmas sets also.  I think there will be a winner from every blog on the hop. (hint hint)
I will use the Random Number Generator to choose a winner on the evening of March 26th. So leave a comment if you have an embroidery machine and want a chance to win.

I am at the end of the line, but you can still go back and visit all the other participants.

Mon, March 18th 

Kelly - I Have A Notion
Tues, March 19th
Cindy - Sew Cindy
Trish -
Wed, March 20th
Marjorie's Quilting Bee
Margaret - The Average Quilter
Thurs, March 21st
Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri, March 22nd
Gene Black - Alabama Artist

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I don't know if you have ever taken an online class but it is a lot of fun.
I have taken several classes from Craftsy.  I have learned a lot of very fun techniques. One of my favorite classes was Stupendous Stitching with Carol Ann Waugh.
Online Stupendous Stitching Class

You may remember these little art quilts that I made using what I learned in the class:

The simple fact is, YOU can learn to make amazing work like this too.  And you don't have to travel to attend a class.  You can sit at your computer and take the class. Or if you have an iPad, there is an App for that!  You get answers to your questions from both the instructor and other students.  Who knows, you may make some new friends. 

Craftsy has all kinds of creative classes.  I am enrolled in some classes on cooking, sewing and of course quilting arts.  There are some free classes you can take to just get started trying it.
I like the platform so much that I have become an affiliate. So if you click through a link in this post OR my affiliate link at the top left sidebar and take a class, I get a few pennies. These will go toward giveaways and if there is enough, more classes.  Just in case you want to go RIGHT NOW and check it out, here is another picture link:
Online Quilting Classes

And don't forget that today is day three of the machine embroidery blog hop. 
Tomorrow -  Wed, March 20th
Marjorie's Quilting Bee
Margaret - The Average Quilter

Day Two

Today is the second day of the Machine Embroidery blog hop Sponsored by IHAN  and AnitaGoodesign. If you missed the stops on Monday go back and check them also.

Mon, March 18th 

Kelly - I Have A Notion
Tues, March 19th
Cindy - Sew Cindy
Trish -
Wed, March 20th
Marjorie's Quilting Bee
Margaret - The Average Quilter
Thurs, March 21st
Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri, March 22nd
Gene Black - Alabama Artist

And since I don't like posts without pictures
Let's hope spring gets here soon!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Machine Embroidery HOP

I want to remind you about the Machine Embroidery blog hop I am in.  The hop starts today. It is sponsored by Anita Goodesign.   It will run all week and there will be prizes!

The stops along the way are:

Mon., March 18th 
Kelly - I Have A Notion
Tues, March 19th 
Cindy - Sew Cindy
Trish -
Wed., March 20th 
Marjorie's Quilting Bee
Margaret - The Average Quilter
Thurs., March 21st 
Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti
Fri., March 22nd 
Gene Black - Alabama Artist

You will be getting some tips on various aspects of Machine Embroidery and enjoying the lovely art made by each of the bloggers.  So go get some inspiration!

And since I am posting twice today here is a link to the earlier post

Pay it Forward - A Friend

I did a pay it forward and one of my participants is now ready to do her part and Pay it Forward.
She got the "Queen Bee" mug rug that I made - on the right in this picture.
So if you want to participate in a "Pay it Forward" event..go to Queen Bee aka Barbara's blog and sign up. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

In honor of the day, I have recorded a video of both pennywhistle and singing.  Please don't throw rocks - you might break your monitor.

There is a poem/prayer that I love. It is:

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

And I wish you yet again Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Do Something Quilty Today!

Today is International Quilting Day.

There is a lot of quilty stuff going on.  One of the things I am excited about is from The Quilt Show

Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, hosts of The Quilt Show, have a great way for quilters, sewers and crafters to celebrate International Quilting Day.
You can see what is going on in today's quilting world.  Free access to over 140 of  shows of The Quilt Show has been opened.   This will run  through Sunday, March 17th.
Yes, I will be watching some shows! You (and I) can learn some amazing new techniques by watching The Quilt Show. 
There will be some  terrific prizes given away.  In addition to the Bernina machine I mentioned a couple of days ago there are other great prizes:
  1. AccuQuilt GO! package including a GO! Baby Fabric Cutter and AccuQuilt Dies autographed by Alex and Ricky
  2. C&T Publishing package including books, foundation paper, an Eco Tote, and Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
  3. A Deluxe Gammill Drafting Chair - perfect for longarm quilting.
  4. 5 - $100 Gift Certificates from Superior Threads
  5. A one-year membership to AQS and 6 of their popular books
  6. RJR fat quarter fabric palette ($450 value)
  7. And prize packages from Alex and Ricky
I Have been drooling over the fat quarter package from RJR  - I mean --well just look at this:
Yes I want this! 

SewCalGal is also hosting a virtual Sew-cial sponsored by Hoffman California Fabrics and Martingale. There are prizes.  Be sure to read the rules and abide by them. 

Do you have quilty plans for today? 
I am planning to trim and bind a wall quilt. And I am going to a party where I am giving a quilt as a present to a friend. 

If you are looking for more free video to learn things you can watch my videos on YouTube all year long. 
It is International Quilting Day - CELEBRATE!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

FMQ on a project

This is a bit frustrating for me.  I am working on a project that I can't show you. I decided to quilt it with organic lines.  I chose to use a nice Aurifil thread. I did a little sample piece to set the tension and be sure I liked it.
I am not sure but perhaps I mentioned that I got a Janome 6600P machine.  Leah Day does amazing Free Motion Quilting.  She recommends Janome machines for FMQ.  Now I know why for sure.  This machine is not a "fancy" machine with a touch screen and auto threader. That is okay with me. It does have a thread cutter and a semi-automatic threader.  The thread cutter is huge in my book- I love to push a button to cut the thread. This machine is a workhorse - it is built on a metal chassis and is industrial quality.

So back to the quilting. I decided to do organic lines in do I explain that?  Well here is a picture.

It is a back and forth line. You will notice that they are not all even and were not intended to be.  I see a couple of "not exactly what I intended" spots. But I am still happy with it.  I sat down with a plan to start quilting and do maybe two sections.  The machine was playing so nice that I finished the quilting all in one go.  The stitches stayed much more even than I have ever had them before.  

I used this free motion foot that I ordered from an eBay seller. I don't know what brand the foot is but it works excellently with my machine.  This is a high shank machine so this foot won't work on a low shank machine.
You may see an "open" area in the top left of this picture.  On the front of this quilt there is a design element.  I can hardly wait to show it to you, but I did promise. Let me say that the quilting really makes the other elements pop!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

International Quilt Day -Saturday!

International Quilting Day is this weekend Saturday, March 16th.   

Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, hosts of The Quilt Show, have a great way for quilters, sewers and crafters to celebrate International Quilting Day.   
You can see what is going on in today's quilting world.  Free access to over 140 of  shows of The Quilt Show   will be opened up on Friday, March 15 and will run  through Sunday, March 17th. 

There will be som  terrific prizes given away.  The companies providing the amazing prizes include: Bernina, Gammill, Superior Threads, AccuQuilt, C&T Publishing, RJR Fabric.  There will be gift baskets from Ricky and Alex given as prizes also.  
You may want to go here and see the prizes!

The grand prize is a new Bernina 550QE sewing machine!  If that isn't tempting I can't imagine what else would tempt you to stop by. 

Happy Quilting and Sewing people!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Digitizing -Notes and Samples

EQ Stitch has been keeping my attention a bit lately.  I have been designing some simple objects.  And just seeing what fun things I can develop.  I did three stitch-outs Sunday night. Actually there were more than that.  But I am not counting the "oops" ones.
In the process I learned more about digitizing.
1. When in doubt about what a control means:  Check the help file.
 example:  I wanted a less dense e-stitch for the edge of an applique.  I saw "adjust density" - so I lowered the number, which made sense to me.  The piece got tossed away. Still I didn't read the help file. (foolish man!)  Instead the stitch got more dense.  It worked okay but the e-stitch looks like a satin stitch.  In reality you need to increase the number to make it less dense. It is in the help file.

2.  You will need to be ready to sew out the design more than one time.  If it works the first time you are just really lucky.

3. The simulated stitching will show you some things that you can fix BUT,

4. It is important to watch the file stitch out on the machine.  You can see things that you can correct.

So here are my stitch-outs:

 An appliquèd house - the appliquè edges are supposed to be an e-stitch. (sigh)

 Stars and bubbles - I made a minor change to the file after I sewed this one...but this version is okay too.
Peacock Star - I removed the edge stitching around the diamonds after seeing the finished product. I didn't feel it added to the design.

Now some photo notes.  When taking a picture of white fabric with stabilizer that has been torn away....lay the entire piece over a WHITE surface (not shiny wood) so that the stabilizer doesn't show through.  In reality you don't see the stabilizer AND it will wash away.

I hope you learned something from this - I know I did.