New toys and quilting day trip!

It seems this whirlwind of a new found, joyful hobby has led me to quickly outgrow my entry level sewing machine. And since I get more and more engrossed in this activity with each passing day, it seemed appropriate to get a sewing machine with serious skills and room to grow into.

My new baby arrived on Thursday – the Juki TL-2010Q. I love this machine. Love, love, love it. It’s mean, it’s spacious, and the stitch quality is insanely good. I am quite impressed and really enjoying working with it so far.

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Since I’m just starting out, I am slowly building my stash one quilting project at a time…and I was running low on fabric while simultaneously overflowing with ideas so it was time to make an excuse to buy more. So the fam and I took a little day trip up to Quilting is My Therapy and the Missouri Star Quilt Company. We had a blast and I got to stock up for some upcoming projects.

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In the meantime, I have also been practicing some feather doodles on paper – trying to improve muscle memory.

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And even sketching out some more quilt ideas:

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What took me so long to discover quilting?! I’m having such a blast!!

Free motion quilting practice

Can I just say that one of my absolute favorite things about my recent discovery of the art of quilting is the practice of free motion quilting? It’s so meditative and freeing. 

I was always a doodler growing up and the margins of my college notebooks are filled with scribblings and abstract shapes. And so free motion quilting feels like a natural thing to do. The challenge has been learning to doodle with a sewing machine instead of a pen and trying to work within the tiny throat space of my entry level, all purpose sewing machine.

So far I’ve been able to come up with some halfway decent looking lines:


I liked this design so much that I used it for the borders of my daughter’s quilt:

It reminds me of big fluffy clouds.

Flowers are fun…and I took a shot at pebbles:

And some of this:

And filling shapes:

I decided I needed a machine with a lot more throat/harp space, an extension table and more control over stitch quality…

So I ordered one of these lovely things:

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!!!!!

They tell me it will ship today. And I’m BEYOND excited. Hubby and I are planning a day trip to Missouri Star Quilt Co. And Angela Walters’ shop in Liberty. Hopefully it won’t arrive on that day. I would hate for it to be sitting out on the porch all exposed!

Piecing practice: When failures become inspiration…

A few days ago, I was working through a block cookbook I had purchased and practicing some piecing. I found a block that looked relatively easy and did my best to recreate it. The result:

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Not perfect by any means imaginable. Vertical lines don’t match up throughout and that bottom middle HST got away from me.

So then I started playing around with my leftover pieces to see what kind of design they might form and came up with this:

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I actually quite liked it and wondered what it might look like if I made a whole quilt with this same design.

So I got out my graph notebook, pen, pencil and crayons and sketched it out.

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Immediately, I thought of “Jagged little pill” because those crooked rectangles look like Dr. Mario pills dropping down the screen of some impossible level (quilting + Alanis Morrisette + video games = ???)

It works out to a 56″x56″ throw sized quilt made entirely of split quarter square triangles (well aside from the 4″ border). 144 split QST’s…12 each of 12 different types. Six different prints or solids (can’t decide yet).

Not sure how to figure yardage, so I’m just going to shoot for 3 yards of background and a half-yard bundle of 6 prints or solids to start with and go from there.

Excited to get started on this project!

Tula…loora..looo

Who doesn’t love Tula Pink? Seriously. I think seeing her wildly colorful, artful prints is part of what got me so interested in quilting. Her “Eden” fabric collection may as well have been named “Spirit Animal,” because the tigers represented are definitely MY spirit animal.

I picked up a couple of Eden charm packs with my first fabric buying excursion and wow! I love these prints so much, I framed a couple of squares to decorate my sewing room with.

But! Because I…just…can’t…stop…sewing, I gathered a few squares and made a sewing machine cozy. I figure, the old girl has been working so hard lately, I ought to show her some loves:

 

It even fits nicely over the back of my desk chair when not in use:

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I promised my mom a quilt some time in the near future and I’d like to use some of Tula’s fabrics, but I can’t help feeling like keeping them all to myself…(evil laugh).

It begins….

I’m still not really sure how this whole thing started, but I think it started with this thing:

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That…is a “rope basket.” I made it, with rope and a hot glue gun and I hate it. Why do I hate it? Because it’s flimsy, the glue shows through, it comes apart in 4 different directions when hit by a stiff breeze.

See, I wanted to decorate my dining room. Last year my husband and I bought this 137 year old house in rural Kansas and I wanted to dress this old girl up fancy. And I really wanted some coiled rope baskets. But my eyes were (and have always been, really) bigger than my budget, so I decided I would save some duckets and make some myself. But this thing…

It made me so angry that I said to my husband in my best ultimatum voice: “I’m going to buy a sewing machine.” And he replied in his best, why are you talking like a weirdo? voice: “Okay.”

So I went over to Amazon.com and bought this thing:

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It’s a beaut right? Here’s the thing though…I had no idea how to use it. Step one:  learn to use a sewing machine.

After some quick Google searching on DIY’s I started doing this kind of thing:

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And that was that. I’d been bitten by a big, beautiful, crafty bug.

So I started researching what else I could make with this wonderful piece of machinery and I stumbled upon the mecca of all sewn craft addictions…quilting.

But before I could get started, I needed a worthy work space. I have an office that overlooks the living and dining rooms that, until a few weeks ago, housed my desk, computer and a large, comfy love seat. One day I stared at that love seat and it became clear to me that it was a testament to sloth and if I was ever going to do something worthwhile in this space, I had to get rid of it. So I posted it up on Facebook and gave it away for free to the first interested party. Then, I got to work building this:

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And before I knew it, I was doing this:

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And this…

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And this…

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And now 2 weeks later, I’ve done this:

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Whew!! That’s a lot to get through. But I’ll tell you what. It was all worth it for this…

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That’s my little girl right there, enjoying the first quilt I ever made…just for her.

But anyway, now I’m hooked. Completely hooked and blogging about it apparently.

The journey is just starting.

It begins……