Sunday, June 24, 2012

Conquering Your Fears

I put off trying quilting for a while because it scared me. All that precision and mathematics. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not bad a math... it's just, I used to think I would never have the patience for anything like that. When I had my baby shower about three and a half years ago, I received two quilts handmade with love-- one from a coworker and the other from my mother-in-law's best friend. I admired the hard work that went into making them, and I cherished the gifts made with so much love. But I never would have the patience for something like that.

Fast forward about a year and a half. I started making cakes for family and friends, and I wasn't half bad from the get-go. Everyone kept telling me that I must have a lot of patience. Me? Doubtful. Then again, perhaps I do.
The teapot cake I made for my neice's 5th birthday 2 years ago.

Then in September of this past year I was in JoAnn's waiting to get some fabric cut with my daughter in the shopping cart. I started talking with the woman behind me in line who asked if I quilted. I told her no, that I didn't have the patience. She encouraged me to give it a try. I tucked the conversation away in my mind. When I found out I was pregnant again, about a month later, I decided to give it a try.. nothing fancy, just a kit for beginners. It would be enough to have to worry about corners matching up without dealing with triangles and other sorts of craziness! 

Well obviously, I loved the experience because two weeks after I finished my first top, I made another! Now two quilts down, and I started this Beginner's Quilt Along hosted by Quilting Gallery. I'm so glad I did. This week I learned how to make those pesky triangles, and honestly they were super easy. I wasn't able to make them the way I was instructed because I couldn't find my marking pen, but I used my brain (man that feels good every once in a while!) and figured out another way. And when I sewed the whole thing together it was as perfect a block as I could have wished for. All the corners lined up and everything!

Last week I followed a blog hop that was giving tutorials on Dresdens and I thought to myself, no... never. Honestly, though, after seeing how stupidly easy doing triangles were with proper instruction and tools I would totally give other shapes a try. But appliques, those might be a different beast. Baby steps, right?

Friday, June 22, 2012

What do you see?

 A few posts ago I mentioned that I made a second taggie quilt for my sister-in-law who is expecting her second bundle of joy later in August. When I saw the Brown Bear, Brown Bear fabric a few months back I knew it would be perfect.The quilt pattern is of my own design, and had I been a bit more experienced in the process I would have assembled it much differently! Nevertheless I prevailed and a lesson was learned in what not to do.

I love all of the different textures for the babies to feel on the taggie quilt. In addition to the taggies, I used some red ribbon to make an interior boarder on the top. It adds a great pop of color too.

I absolutely love the way it turned out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Peek Over the Fence

After many trials and tribulations this week with my sewing machine, I finally was able to complete block two of my beginners quilt along. After I posted yesterday that my machine was broken and then fixed, it started to malfunction again. What a headache! I might be ready for that new machine sooner than I initially thought...

Anyway, I decided to change my thread from a cotton one to a polyester one and all of a sudden everything started working again. Hooray! So I quickly finished my block before there was time for anything else to go wrong... Here's my block.

This whole block of the week thing is interesting. Not only am I learning some new techniques and working on my skills, but I am learning a lot about my machine. I never thought I would enjoy this so much. 

Beginner’s Quilt-Along

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clearly not my lucky day... or is it?

So, I have been diligently waiting for this weekend to find out if I won any of the Dresden ruler giveaways that I put my name in to. Naturally I didn't win... not that I expected to. I mean, the odds were slim, but I had hoped. But that's not really why I was unlucky. The reason for my unluckiness was because my sewing machine broke... or so I thought. Here's what happened.

Yesterday I was minding my own business sewing a makeshift carseat canopy. I was tired of heading out to the store and having strangers get just a bit too close to my new princess, and I was finding that if I just threw a blanket over the carseat handle the wind, or my other daughter, would send it flying off. So my quick fix solution was to take a heavy flannel Carters blanket that someone had given me for the birth of my first daughter (but that was still in its package!), and sew straps to it that would velcro around the handle to secure it in place. Everything was going great. I sewed my straps, attached them to the blanket, and sewed the stiff part of the velcro onto both straps, no problem. But when I went to attach the soft part of the velcro my sewing machine stopped working. Well, not exactly. The needle went up an down, but the fabric didn't push through. Check the feed dogs. Nope they were up... only, they weren't.

After finally managing to get the metal plate over the feed dogs up (it took a nickel to get under the throat and still have room to turn the screws), I realized it was a spring issue. After a time spent fiddling, and what to any one watching would have looked like a game of "Operation" complete with tweezers, a brush, and a screwdriver. I thought I fixed it, but the mechanism still wasn't working properly. I called the local Sew and Vac machine and was informed it would take two weeks and half of what I spent to buy the machine (granted the machine was pretty inexpensive since it was a first machine and I didn't know how much I would really be using it...) No way. I'd rather save the money and put it towards a new and better machine (sigh, next year... next year).

Cue my husband, who took the whole machine apart and figured out that the feed dogs had disengaged and all I needed to do was to turn the wheel to re-engage them. Oy. So now I just need to go and test it out by finishing my project. And then its off to work on my block of the week. Wish me luck!!

With only 2 seams left on my BOTW my machine broke again... this time the top thread keeps getting tangled below the feed dog plate. Clearly there is a bigger issue.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Handy Little Foot

So, being new at quilting I obviously still have a lot to learn and perfect. One of those things, which happens to be extremely critical, is sewing a straight and even 1/4" seam. Ugh. After sewing block 1 of the quilt along less than stellarly (is that even a word?), I came upon this.

This handy little foot ensures a nearly fool-proof method to sewing that 1/4" seam. I decided to go ahead and order it since the $9 it was going to cost me probably outweighed the aggravation of pulling out seams because they were no good. As soon as a got it in today I had to try it out... and let me tell you, it's like magic. Take a look at the difference between my new block 1, and the one from my last post. All my points match up, all of the squares are straight, and remarkably, my block is actually the correct size. I didn't even have to trim it! I think I'm in love...
While I was shopping at Amazon I also picked up two other feet. One is a tape binding foot and the other is an edge joining foot aka a stitch-in-the-ditch foot. I'm excited to try them both out and will report back once I do.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Fabric Is In!

My fabric arrived for my blocks for the quilt along yesterday, and it is exactly what I had hoped it would be. It's called Puttin' on the Ritz (in Pink) by Moda and it is perfect for a little girl's room. The fabric is a mix of pinks, creams, and greys and the designs include scrolling, dots, crowns, and more. There is even some fabric with text that says things like "Sweet Dreams," "Sleep Tight," "Wish Upon a Star," and the like.

Once the little ones were sleeping, I decided to go ahead and get started on my first block. The block is a standard 9 square, but for the purposes of this quilt along they have named it "Play a Game of Hopscotch." As I looked at the 12 different fabrics included in my stack of fat quarters I was drawn to a plaid print and a delicate floral print for this block. I cut out my 9- 4.5" squares and set to work.
Unfortunately, having misread the instructions I trimmed my square down to a 12 inch block instead of leaving it a 12.5" block. The block is supposed to be 12" after assembled into the quilt... oops, my bad. So I will have to re-assemble this block again. Fortunately I have enough fabric, and its a good excuse to practice getting my corners matched up perfectly since I missed one on this block. It also prompted me to spend the $10 on a new foot for my sewing machine that has a guide for a 1/4 inch seam... something I desperately needed. Once the foot comes in I will go ahead and assemble the new block to use for the quilt. I'll try to remember to post it when I'm done.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My First Quilt Along

Ever since I did that first taggie quilt a few months back I got bitten by a little quilting bug. I began following some blogs, I made another quilt for my sister-in-law who is pregnant with number 2 (post about that coming as soon as she gets me a couple of photos. I CANNOT believe I didn't take any photos of it!!!), I bought some fabric that I loved for when I find out someone else is pregnant (I just adore the fabric for children!), and I even went to a quilt show in Lancaster, PA with another quilter I know. Anyway, as I was reading one of the blogs that I follow (, Jen mentioned she was doing a beginner's quilt along. After checking it out, I decided it seemed manageable and not too time consuming... after all I did have a baby 3 weeks ago! I have ordered my fabrics and am looking forward to them coming in so I can get started.

Here's what I chose:
blocks in: Puttin on the Ritz by Moda

Boarders, sashings and backing in: Ooh La La by Moda

For more info on this quilt along (it runs through September) check out The Quilting Gallery.

Beginner’s Quilt-Along