29 December 2013

A Few Homemade Christmas Gifts

I only made a few Christmas gifts this year since I have been spending so much time working on my longarm machine skills.  I didn't even whip up something in my sewing room for the boys teachers.  But I did however make some chocolate covered pretzels and peanut butter cookies for the boys to take to school.  They went over a treat.  

The few things that I did make I had to wait till to share as my mom reads my blog. :)

I made a really cute dog toy for my brother-in-laws dog.  It is my own design and even put a squeakier in the belly.  My two dogs were totally jealous so I guess I will need to whip up a couple for them too.  Just mine are not as gentle with stuffed toys. 

While I was cleaning up my sewing room I came across this unfinished project that I started years ago. This pattern is called an Fabric Origami Tree.  All I had to do to finish is sew on the bells and base.  It now resides with my mom and dad.   

I also found this pattern in my stash that my mom gave me a while ago so I whipped up a small table topper for my parents.  Most so I could play on my longarm machine.  I only used the snowman from the pattern the rest is my layout.  The pattern can be found here. I did it much like my wonky scrappy tree quilt.  I used the washable glue stick to hold everything in place.  Then quilted it to tack all the pieced down.  


I put a flower print from my stash on the back so it can be used all year around. 

Now to spend a bit of time before the new year getting my sewing room all organized as the scrap bins are over flowing again. 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

24 December 2013

2013 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Quilt Top

Today I finished joining my blocks from the Lucky Stars Block of the month by Elizabeth over at Don't Call Me Betsy.

I did both the 12" and 6" blocks and could not be happier with how it turned out.   All of the blocks are paper piece.  The fabric for the boarders is called Basketweave in Black by Legacy Studios from Joann Fabric. The top is roughly 71" x 71".  


Now to figure out how I will quilt this one up.  I am thinking heavy quilting in the black and some echoing and outlining on the blocks since there is a lot of seams in there and it might cause some troubles. But first I need to get a back pieced.  

Off to work on finishing up my 2013 Skill Builder Quilt.  Really hoping to have a few more things completed before the year end.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

23 December 2013

Wonky Scrappy Trees

I played around in sewing room yesterday and came up with this lovely little wall hanging.  I still have to finish tacking the binding down to the back but could not wait to share it. 



It is totally improv and I have so happy with how it turned out.  The trees are all cuttings from my scrap bin that I glued onto the white polka dot fabric (can't really tell in picture) so they are all raw edges.  Then I loaded it onto my longarm machine and used matching thread for each of the trees to take them down.  I used a sort of zig zag for the edges and then did a free motion tree shape over the top of the tree.

The background could not of turned out any better, exactly what I was going for.  I watch Leah Day's You Tube video on her Wavy Hair Design and then practiced on paper a bit before moving to the machine. 

I also did some sketching on paper and loaded up some practice fabric to be able to get my sketch of Bumble to work out just right.  Here is a close up of Bumble.  I don't think he turned out to bad.  This wall hanging finished up 25.25" x 42". 

Now to go finish putting the binding on and finish piecing my 2013 Lucky Stars quilt top so I can take it off the design wall.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

21 December 2013

Couple Finishes

I finished up my last customer quilt this week and hand delivered them today.  I am happy to say they love both of the memory quilts that I created for them.  Yeah!

While I was finishing up the memory quilts I also whipped up a small Christmas tree wall hanging to send to my husbands parents in Florida.  The boys even managed to make some tiny snowmen ornaments to hang from the buttons.  

The pattern is paper piece by Cindi Edgerton called A Little Bit Shorter Tall Tree that I picked up from my local quilt shop after they visited market this year. I forgot to measure it before I put it in the mail but I think it is roughly 15" x 38".  I loaded it up on the long arm and did a free motion filler in the gray behind the tree and a loopy meander in the red fabric.  

It went in the mail today and should even be delivered before Christmas, nothing like last minute gifting. This is all I managed to get in the mail this year since I seemed to slipped up on getting Christmas cards sent out.  Oh well there is always next year. 


I create little slip covers for a couple Nook tablet cases.  They were just to boring so I picked up some fabric for my nephews favorite sports teams and made them way less boring.  Now to finish warping gifts up for Christmas. 


We are iced in here in Michigan hope everyone stays safe. 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

linking up with Kristy @ Quiet Play's Paper Piecing Party

14 December 2013

Oldest Quilt Top Completed

I loaded up my oldest quilt top this week to practice my long arm quilting skills on.  The quilt pattern is a Stack and Whack.  I made this top back in 2009 at a local quilt shop with some of my friends while living Australia.  This is the only quilt class I have taken but it was so nice to be able to spend time with my friends sewing and chatting.  I miss that now that I am back in the states.  

Here is the front of the quilt and back.  My husband was nice enough to stand outside in 10 degree Fahrenheit weather so I could get pictures of my finished quilt. 
Front

Back
I pieced the back using my leftover fabric from the front.  I really like how it turned out even though in the beginning I was not sure of my fabric selection. 

I did some free motion quilting and some ruler work on this quilt and let me say there is such a big learning curve between FMQ on a domestic and quilting on a long arm.  Big Curve!

Some of my lines are not the straightest but I had to force myself not to take them out or I would never get it finished.  The only time I did remove stitches is when I forgot what my plan was with the straight lines in the background.  In the corners on the orange I have lines going in two directions, by the time I got to the bottom corners my mind slipped and I did one all up and down.  So I removed them and started over but am glad I did I would of never been happy with the results if I would not of. 

This one finished in at 56" x 62".

Print fabric used was Sprays GP107 by Kaffe Fassett and paired it with Kona Cotton in Terra Cotta and Aqua (I think).  

Now onto quilting my last commission quilt for the year so I can deliver before Christmas, not to mention I still need to whip up some Christmas gifts.  Really should stop waiting to the last minute. 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

09 December 2013

Last of the Lucky Stars BOM for the year

I completed the last of the 2013 Lucky Stars blocks this weekend.  


I really love how the big one turned out!  I really need to pick up some more of the purple with white dot fabric as I am totally  in love with it.  I still have not figured out how to lay them out to be a quilt since I made both the 12" and 6" blocks and I want both to be in the same quilt.  So far nothing is coming to me but now that they are all done maybe it will hit me.  That is how most of my layouts have come to me. 

I also have loaded up my oldest UFO quilt top on the frame this week.  I don't know why it makes me to nervous to start quilting by I feel so paralyzed   I had to walk away for a few days before I decided to jump in and just do it.  Here is the result for my first day of quilting. 

Hope to have this finished up in the next couple days.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

05 December 2013

Skill Builder Final Blocks

I finished up the last two block for the Skill Builder BOM.  


I did some Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) on these blocks on my domestic since all the other blocks have been done that way.  


Here is how they all look up on the design wall.  It is really hard to get picture without the quilting frame being in it.  Will have to get a step stool so I can reach the top of my wall, standing on a chair just is not good enough. 

I am running low on background fabric so I might have to put it together different then what Alyssa is doing. 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, Abby

02 December 2013

A little Thanksgiving and a UFO no longer

 I worked up a little turkey wall hanging for my parents for Thanksgiving.  



I started it last year but just never finished it.  I used the Dresden Plate template to make the feathers and body.  Then appliqued it to the background fabric.  I used a meandering loopy quilting design for the background.  Wish I would of took the picture outside it is a bit blurry.  

I also completed one of my UFO's quilt tops this week, my Prism Quilt Top.  Originally blogged about here
Front
Back
I pieced the back to include the diamond shape from the front.  The quilting is not the straightest but I am really happy how it turned out.  Here are a couple close-ups of the quilting. 

I stitched in the ditch in the grey area and then did free motion loops.  I used a ruler to get the diamond shape in the blue fabric. I will have load up the next quilt so I can practice some more.  I need a lot more practice is needed, a lot more. 

I used Kona Navy for the binding and the finish size is 60" x 60".   

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Abby

22 November 2013

A Finish

I have  been busy practicing quilting on my longarm quilting, but I have managed to get a few things completed this week.  

I completed a pair of small curtains for my parents. They are 12 x 3/4" x 19 1/4" each.  I used some Heidi Grace fabric I had in my stash and some Moda Tranquility jelly roll that I had in my stash too. 

I finished up my first of two custom memory quilts for a customer.  I decided to stitch in the ditch so not to take away from all the shirts.  The back is army camouflage flannel.  This quilt is super snugly and has some weight to it.  It is 60" x 96". The binding is Kona Black.  I hope they love it. 


Today I took some time to make Pat Sloan a block for her birthday quilt she is making.  My block finished up 11 3/4" square.  I hope she likes it, put it in the mail today.

Now to finish up the back for my Prism quilt hoping to have it loaded up on the longarm tomorrow so I can start stitching.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Abby

14 November 2013

Hopeful Threads November Project

Kristy from Hopeful Threads and her friend Melissa from Sew BitterSweet Designs are gathering small quilts to donate to the NICU at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital.   The nurses give quilts and blankets out to the kids when they come in.  How nice is that?   

I took a few hours and whipped up these two really simple quilts.  One for a boy and one for a girl.  I used some Alexander Henry Prints that I had in my stash and backed them with some flannel also from my stash.  This was really just an excuse to be able to load it up on my long arm.  I kept it very simple since that is all I am good at so far.

Boy Quilt - 33" x 34.5" - I did a simple all over meander design.

Close up shot of quilting and I used some multi colored dot flannel for the backing.  


Girl Quilt - 32" x 33" - I did a simple all over loopy meander design.

Close up shot of quilting and I used some flannel with little mice parachuting for the backing.



Now to get these in the mail so Kristy and Melissa can delivery them to the NICU.

Thank you for stopping by.

Abby

12 November 2013

Juki TL-2200 QVP

Well this year I got a very fantastic early Christmas present.  My very own long arm quilting machine.  




Now I did not test drive the Juki but the price was right for entry-level long arm quilting machine.  I test-drove all the bigger machines at a quilt show in Grand Rapids last year.   This machine came out a few months after that show.  I thought I would share with you my thoughts on this machine.  


I bought the machine over the phone from Sewing Machines Plus in California.  The reviews for the store were good with excellent customer service and I agree.   

The TL200-QVP is an 18" horizontal throat space and 10" vertical throat space.  It also does 2200 stitches per minute and uses the double capacity "M" style bobbins.  I got the 10' frame but you can get a 2' extension to make it a 12' but my room is not big enough for that.  You can find more detailed information about the machine here

The Grace Company designed 
the frame for this machine for Juki, the frame and rails are steel.  The frame was easy to put together following the instructions except they wanted you to put the handles and a few other items on before you put the head of the machine on the table.  This seems silly so I waited till I could set it on the frame.
  
The frame needs to be level and the instruction manual only says use the leveling legs to level the frame so the machine does not slide. I recommend setting a level on the frame as you adjust the legs. Not really clear in the set up. 

This machine and frame does not come with cloth leaders so you need to purchase them at the time you order or source them somewhere else.  I only paid $89 for the Grace Start Right Cloth leaders for the 10' frame.  Grace Frame has the Fabri-Fast slot with tubing to install the leaders. I also ordered Leader Grips to just speed the loading process up.  I ordered them here


To finish the machine off you will also have to install the stitch regulator, handles, thread stand and a few other small items. Then you are set to go.  Getting the tension correct was the hardest as the manual does not give enough information but a quick call to customer service and it was all sorted. 


I loaded an almost queen size practice quilt on the machine. I did not find the manual overly helpful with attaching the layers to the leaders.  I found a You-Tube video that walked me through it and I could pause as I worked on each step.  

I like Manual Mode the best but will practice with the stitch regulator modes to become better.  I did try out the stitch regulator in Cruise Mode and I have trouble with going to fast and it beeps at me.  Here are some pictures of the first week of practice.  I am going to bind this and leave it in my sewing room for my pups to cuddle in.  I am a bit sad that my pebbles are not has good as they are on my domestic machine but I will practice to become better. 



Here are some closeups:


My mom came over this week and had a small play too.  Then of course the boys had to have a go too.  

Overall I think this machine is going to work out very well. The only things that I wish it had was channel locks and a throat base extender.  I think I can work work around both of these items.  The throat base on he Juki machine is wider compared to other similar models.    Be sure to check back as I will be sharing the quilts as I finish them.   I already have another practice quilt loaded up and ready to go. 

Thank you for stopping by. 


Abby 





10 November 2013

November Lucky Stars BOM

Finished up my November block for the Lucky Stars BOM.  


There is one more block left and then I have to figure out a layout.  I have no clue how to lay it out.  I have them arranged on the design wall right now and it just is not working for me.  More playing will be needed. 

Another note my labels to attach to my projects arrived from JJlabels this week.  They are awesome if I do say so myself. They are 1" x 2.5" poly cotton.  



Thank you for stopping by. 

Cheers, 
Abby

06 November 2013

Another Quilt Top and an early Christmas Present

I finally finished putting together my Impromptu Quilt, as always I start way to many projects at one time.  First blogged about it back in August



This is roughly 90" x 90".

This week my Christmas present arrived.  I know it is early but my husband is never one for waiting till December.  

It weighs over 200 pounds and came on a pallet.  The very nice UPS Freight man dragged it up my gravel driveway on a pallet jack.  



This shrink wrapped pile of boxes turned into a Juki TL-2200QVP.  Best present ever!



Now my room is officially full.  I had to stand in the doorway to get a shot of the whole machine.  I finished assembling it today and just have to work out a tension issue.  I plan on doing another blog post in the next day or so, talking more of the machine. After I finally get to play with it a bit.  I am super excited!

I am hoping by year end I will have finished two customer memory quilts and at least a quarter of this stack of quilt tops that I have been shelving for a while. I think there are 12 piled up in there.  Some with backs already pieced and some that I will have to make backs for.  But first I will practice on my whole cloth that I have loaded before I touch anything that I really care about. 


Thank you for stopping by. 

Cheers, 
Abby 

27 October 2013

Memory Quilts and a little Halloween Sewing

I have been flat out working on a commission memory quilt the last couple weeks.  So excited I was able to finish piecing the first top today.  It is roughly 60 x 96. 



Will show more pictures once I have it completed. Now to get started on the second quilt for this customer. I set myself a really insane goal to have both of these completely finished by November 14th, which will be a month from the time she gave me the shirts.  I like to have a time frame to push myself to get them done.  Plus I still have Christmas gifts to make so really need to stick to this timeframe. 

This is my first memory quilt working with t-shirts, trying to fit everything in was the hardest part of the whole quilt. I have actually created a memory quilt a couple years ago for my cousin using her horse show ribbons.  Working with those satin ribbons was a bit tricky but I think it turned out pretty good considering the materials I was working with.  

I had to practice on my own ribbons from some dog shows (years ago) before I ruined hers so here is my little sample for myself.  I have it hanging in my sewing room to remind me of the crazy times doing dog shows (think Best in Show Movie), good times. 


I did take some free time to do some selfish sewing and whipped up a pillow cover for the living room.  I free motion quilted different size spiders and goggly eyes on the front. I even put in a zipper but cut the backing fabric a bit to short make the flap to hide the zipper.  I will remember it for next time, it looks so much nicer when you can't see the zipper I think. 


I have one other halloween pillow started, hoping I will get a chance to finish it before Halloween is over.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby 

21 October 2013

Lucky Stars BOM - October

Who would of thought I actually completed one of my blocks in the month that it came out.  They turned out fantastic.  I think I will have to start working out how the quilt top is going to come together. 


I am currently working on some commission work (so excited to get some paid work) so nice to be caught up on all my monthly projects.  

Thank you for stopping by. 
Cheers, 
Abby

17 October 2013

Skill Builder BOM - Liberty Floral and Modern Beauty

I have been working on the latest Skill Builder Blocks.   Appliqué is not my favorite of things to do.  I always seem to have trouble get perfect edges but I stick with it and in the end it is not to overly horrible. 




I also got right to work doing some Free Motion Quilting on them.  I am really like how they came turned out. 




Thank you for stopping by. 
Cheers, 
Abby