Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 FMQ Challenge wrap up

I signed up for this challenge in May 2012 and am very impressed with the effort and expertise provided by SewCalGal and the expert tutors.  Sadly, this has now come to an end and here are my efforts for each month.  My confidence in quilting different FMQ designs has grown enormously during the challenge and I cannot thank SewCalGal enough.

January - Frances Moore taught an all over leaf design.  I used this in the border of a quilt for a friend.

February - Diane Gaudynski showed us how to create feathers.  Here is my sample which I used in the same friend's quilt.  My feathers have certainly changed from this sample - they were long and skinny but now they are great big fat things.  I'm better at turning corners as well.

March - This challenge was by Anne Fahl.  Unfortunately, it had been removed by the time I started the challenge, so I have substituted the August bonus tutorial by Susan Brubaker Knapp.  Susan showed us how to take photos of our environment and translate them to quilting.  This was fun.

April - Don Linn showed us how to transfer a motif using a fine mesh fabric and an embroidery hoop.  I've used this several times, but will pre-wash the mesh fabric in future, as the permanent marker transferred to the quilt top in a couple of places - it was a bit random where it came through.  I bought the e-book version of Sophisticated Stitches by Don, but no luck in printing the motifs.

May - Leah Day - the one who started me on my FMQ, taught two versions of stippling - I did the stippling on stippling option.  For my friend's quilt, I used a different design from Leah's website on almost every block - she has fantastic tutorials which I have watched and practiced many times.  I've also signed up for Leah's Craftsy course.

June - Cindy Needham taught us to divide and conquer space and then use different quilting styles in the sections.  While I love how this can look, I'm not sure that I want to quilt as densely as I mostly make bed or lap quilts.  I've signed up for Cindy's Craftsy course as I would like to use some of her ideas, but probably quilt more loosely.

July - Angela Walters was the tutor - lovely modern quilting.  Angela showed us how to quilt straight lines in the shape of overlapping tiles and use a quilting filler in the main area of the tile.  I tried two versions.  I've bought Angela's book on FMQ and will use her ideas when I make a modern quilt.

August - Wendy Sheppard taught us the fun, but often difficult Jester's hats.  I seemed to quilt this one better than I could draw it.  Wendy's site is fantastic and I have used her tutorials time and again.  I had already marked this one to try, so having it in the challenge was great.  I'll definitely be using it again.

September - Paula Reid challenged everyone to quilt a feathered stencil.  I used Don Linn's method to transfer the design.  I'm still not good at following the lines, but need to for my sister's quilt.

October - Teri Lucas asked us to stitch our name and then use different fillers to quilt a block.  I just love the nautilus shell design she showed us and will use it in future quilts.

November - Sarah Vedeler challenged participants to practice spirals - different sizes and all in a row.  I did this challenge on our first day back from overseas, and rushed it a bit.  I'll do this one again next year as I need to keep practicing my spirals to get them smooth and consistent.
 December - Pat Thompson showed us just how nice borders can look using multiple designs with some variation in the density.  This included instructions on how to create flowing feather borders.  I ran with this one a bit and changed borders mid-stream.
Feathers border

Roses border
Thanks very much SewCalGal.  It has been fun.

2012 FMQ challenge - bonus tutorial August

I didn't complete the March tutorial as it had been removed by the time I started the challenge in May.  For my twelfth challenge, I decided to complete the bonus tutorial by Susan Brubaker Knapp, which involved using an image from your environment as a quilting design.

While we were in Amsterdam, I snapped this photo of a leaf on some paving outside the Van Gogh museum, with the plan to use it for the challenge.

This is my quilted version.

Thank you Susan, this was an eye opener for potential quilting motifs.

December 2012 FMQ Challenge

Sad to say that this is the last of the challenges.  I still have the March one to do, which I'll have to make up as it wasn't available when I started the challenge in May.

Patsy Thompson was the tutor for December and the challenge focused on multiple borders and variations of feather designs in borders.  Given my time constraints, I decided to do the challenge on a lap quilt for my mother.  It was meant to be a Christmas present but I had to unpick too many times, so didn't finish it on the day.

I had a few hiccups with quilting the border, including sewing part of the back onto itself, which had me pulling out the stitches again.

As I wanted to make the quilt wider, I used wider borders along the length of the quilt, which meant I  had to use a different approach to the tutorial.  I started off with feather borders.  Given that the filler in the blocks were feathers as well, it started to look feather heavy.
The feather front

Feather back

My mother had asked for either roses or lilies in the quilting, I looked around the web for ideas and found an APQS video on quilting a rosebud shape freehand (these look a little rude!)  I also drew some stylised roses and transferred the to the quilt using the method taught by Don Linn.   Strangly, the blue marker doesn't want to wash out properly for some of the motifs but was fine if I simply drew a shape.  I wonder if there is a chemical in the netting I used, which reacts with the marker.  I think if I use this method in future, I will prewash the netting, just to make sure.

Rosebuds front

Rosebuds back

Because of the different end and side widths and the change in motifs, I finished with four different but related borders.  I'm pretty happy with the results, apart from the puckering on the back.  Not sure yet if this is due to the SID I did or the basting.  I used 100% wool batting for this quilt and love the puff it provides.
The back
The back again

Thanks again to SewCalGal and the expert tutors for these challenges.  My feathers have improved enormously and I really appreciate the value of drawing to instill some of the movements into your head and hands.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Feathers galore for dresdens

After a bit of a disaster stitching in the ditch for every seam, I ended up ripping out half of the stitches due to dreadful distortion on the back.  Given that it was still puffy, I tried steaming out the excess fabric.  It seems to have worked.  Here is the back of the "bad" block.  Ive done free motion feathers as the filler for each block - and I'm really happy with how they are turning out.
Fourth feather block - this is actually the same yellow as the one below - go figure!

First feather block

Here is the back before I unpicked half of the stitches.

 Sadly, when unpicking the pebbles in the centre of the dresden plate, I cut a hole in it.  I've now filled that with a cut off of the yellow fabric, fused it on and quilted it again.  I hate unpicking.

Here is the front of the quilt - you cant really see the feathers, due to the pattern on the fabric.  This is meant to be a Christmas present, but with all the unpicking, I'm running behind schedule.  It will have to be a couple of days late.  I still have two blocks to do with FM feathers, and the sashing and the borders, never mind the binding.

Hopefully I can use this quilt for the December challenge by Patsy Thompson - maybe in the sashing and the border.

Friday, 21 December 2012

2012 FMQ Challenge - October

The October challenge was by Teri Lucas, who got participants to stitch their name and then use different fillers to quilt a block.  These included a lovely nautilus shell pattern.

Here is my version.  I won't be able to finish all the challenges before January, but have found this to be an extremely useful challenge.  Thank you so much to SewCalGal and all the expert tutors.  I'm now stitching feathers and all sorts with much more confidence.

This is the back, as you can't see the quilting well on the front, because of the fabric.  I've got three quilts still on the go, apart from this one.

Here is a link to my recent escapade of free motion feathers as a background - I'm having fun doing these.   feathers galore

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

GMFG update

I'm busy back at work and trying to complete the Dresden plates quilt before Christmas - I don't think that is going to happen.

Since arriving home, I've sewn all the white hexis around the full perimeter of the GMFG quilt and have been sewing the half flowers for the last row. I'm now joining the last row together, before I can attach it to the rest of the quilt. As all my hand sewing is only happening on the train to work and back, my progress is slow. I live too close to town as its only a 10 minute trip!

Here is a photo of my current progress. The colours are much truer now that I can upload photos from my camera.

Dresden plates lap quilt

Now that we are back home (and back at work), I've decided to give my mother the Dresden plates lap quilt. I had only made the Dresden plates before we left, so I've been busy piecing the background and appliquéing the plates on. Last week I spent the night, with mozzies around my ankles, basting it, as I want to give it as a Christmas present.

I stitched "every stinking seam" (thanks Cindy Needham), even around each of the blades. I must have done a lousy job of basting, as to my dismay, there are lots of puckering opportunities on both the front and back of the quilt!

I'll be quilting it quite loosely, so I'm hoping I'll get away with if for five of the plates, but the second last one I did is bad and I'll have to pull out the trusty seam ripper.

I'm still trying to decide what to quilt and have started off with fm feathers in the blocks. I've confirmed that I can't work my way down from the top, as my feathers start to look really odd. I still haven't decided what to do in the sashing and borders. Maybe I'll try the December video Fmq challenge.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

My new toy!

Today I finally bit the bullet and bought a new sewing machine - a Janome 8200.  It was the only one of that model at the store and I gave it a bit of a trial run there.  The woman at the store was more interested in showing me what it could do, but did let me play a bit.  I'm not happy with the button holes she made, but I'm not sure if she had everything engaged.  Hopefully when I play around with it, using the manual, I'll get better results.

The machine is huge!  I'm going to have to rebuild my table if I want to use it on a level surface.  Here is a picture of it (accessories all out) next to my old machine!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

November 2012 FMQ challenge

I didn't make it home in time to enter the November challenge.  The tutorial was provided by Sarah Vedeler, who  challenged participants to practice spirals.

I'll need to keep practicing, but here is my effort on our first full day back in Australia.

I'll also have to do the October and December tutorials, as well as at least one of the bonus tutorials to make sure I have completed at least 12 of the challenges.

Plus I have to finish sewing the GMFG lap quilt, a dresden plate lap quilt and quilt my sister's double nine patch quilt.  I think I need a new sewing machine!

I looked at the prices for the Janome Horizon 7700, which have been heavily reduced as Janome is releasing two new machines.  My LQS doesn't have any but have priced a Horizon 8200 at about $300 more than the best price I found in Australia for the 7700, so I'm off to test drive it on Saturday morning.  I'm excited - maybe an early birthday present?