Sunday, December 30, 2012

FMQ - Final Overview

Our last requirement of the SewCalGal FMQ Challenge is to provide an overview of the challenge.  The past 12 months, I have learned so much and became much more comfortable with my FMQ skills.  By no means do my skills come close to being professional, but I am very proud of what I can now do.  Each month, the teachers were wonderful and the tutorials were great learning tools and skill builders.  With the knowledge I've learned and continued practice, I can only get better and better.  Right??!!

I've lain out my blocks on a bed to take the pictures.  It took 2 pictures to get the 20 blocks (yes I did a few extra or twice!) to show the designs and I was standing on a chair!!.

Eventually, I will trim these up and make a sampler quilt.  Definitely not a pretty quilt, but it will be a great reference guide for me.

Thank you to SewCalGal for offering this challenge and for all the hard work you've done to get teachers, prizes, and keep us going for the whole year.  Thank you to all the teachers who provided such great tutorials.  They were ma-a-a-valous!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Week 17

Got this one finished just in time for a new one to be posted tomorrow! Oh, well....
Grandmothers Choice - Week 17
This one is Mother's Delight.  It could have had two colors in each of the center and outer star points, but since I wanted to use the stripe and only one color in the center, I eliminated the extra lines in the foundation.  This let me cut only 4 stripe pieces and 4 center pieces.  There were inset seams in this block, too.

Hope everyone is surviving the holiday season!!!

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Funky Chicken - December Done!!

WooHoo!  Yippee!!! I have completed all the blocks for the Funky Chicken quilt!  I'm looking forward to doing the quilting on this quilt.  I will be doing it either block by block, or vertical strip by strip.  I'm leaning towards sewing 4 vertical blocks for 3 strips and quilting each of these before putting together. That will leave me with only 2 seams to do after the quilting is done.
Dec Funky Chicken

Dec Chick - Closeup
The quilting that I have decided to do will be free motion done on my Bernina 830.  I'll do pebbles on the lower portion and a larger, more open swirl-something on the top.  I also plan to do a bit of detail quilting in matching thread color on the chickens themselves.

I have enjoyed working on these blocks so much throughout the year.  They were just FUN!!!!  A big shout out and thank you to Fat Cat Patterns for providing these wonderful blocks each month.  Just in case anyone missed it with the first block I posted, the original patterns are for hand/machine applique. I digitized the embroidery stitches on these blocks for my own use and they will not be shared or sold.

Keep On Stitchin'!

Friday, December 21, 2012

FMQ Challenge - December Final

I really enjoyed the practice sessions for these borders.  I wanted to do the full 24" piece, but just didn't have the time right now.  So I just did a corner.  Hopefully next year I can do a free motion 24" piece similar to Patsy Thompson's samples in the tutorial.
Dec2012-Borders Final
I drew lines to mimic borders and free motioned along the lines.  I'm most impressed with myself for FMQing such straight lines! hahaha  The only other guidelines I used were the spines in the feathers.  Everything else is free motion!  I still have loop troubles, but I can see I'm getting better with every practice session.  Next year with all the quilts I'll be working on, I should really get in some wonderful practice, don't you think?????

I've done all the FMQ Challenge blocks on my Bernina Artista 630.  Once I begin the quilting work on the BOMs quilts from this past year, I will be working on my Bernina 830 for some and some I will load on the frame with the Juki.  So looking forward to the quilting year of 2013!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Practicing on paper

December's tutorial is by Patsy Thompson.  She's guiding us through borders.  Lots of pre-drawing and practicing for this.  The picture below shows my free-hand pencil drawing of her pdf file, then the needle holes as I went over the lines free motion sewing.  No thread, of course, in the needle or bobbin.  My Bernina 630 lets me turn off the function of seeing threads.
December Border Practice on Paper
I did surprisingly well on the feathers.  Hope I can do as well on fabric with only the center spine drawn in.  The spirals still give me trouble...just can't get those boogers to cooperate with me!!  I also need more practice on the large loops with smaller inner loop to get those bottoms to meet up nicely.  I even had trouble drawing them correctly.  Overall, not too bad, but I think one more dry run on paper is called for before I use a quilt sandwich.  Tomorrow is another day and I'll do the dry run then.

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Color Order- December HST Block

Yippeeee!!!!  Another final BOM finished and ready to be assembled into a quilt!  I enjoyed doing these HST blocks throughout the year.  My points have gotten pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! LOL  It helps that these HST are 3 inches, making it easier to match points, but even so, I've gotten a lot of good practice.
In Color Order HST - Dec2012
The suggested finished quilt layout has been posted.  I think I will probably assemble the quilt as suggested.  It has sashings with cornerstones and an added border with a 3x4 block layout.  A quick glance in my closet shows I will need to purchase border fabric.  I have enough of the white for the sashing and enough left over pieces from the 10" square layer cakes I used for the corner blocks.  Oh, and backing...doubt I have enough of anything for that.  I'll put the quilt together, then take it to the store and get help with picking border/binding/backing.  Always fun to get opinions of others!!!!  So I guess I can put this aside until next year!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Carol Doak Mystery Quilt - December Blocks

Carol gave us easy blocks for this hectic month!  Much appreciated, too!  These are huge flying geese - 4 of them and not sewn together.  Each goose block measures 12.5 x 6.5 inches.  Hmmmm...wonder where these will fit into the quilt??!!
CDoak Mystery - December Blocks

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

BlockBase Sew Along - Block 6

Aaaaah.  Caught up with the BOWs!! It's way to easy to get behind with weekly and every two week blocks!  Now on to the BOMs & FMQ challenge for December!
BlockBase Sew Along - Block 6
Colors are pretty good on this block.  The inside swirl fabric is actually a bit more greenish.  I'm trying hard to remember warm and cool fabrics next to each other.  How am I doing?  I spend way to much time picking out fabrics.  Wish this warm/cool stuff came naturally to me...

Keep on Stitchin'!

Grandmothers Choice - Week 16

WooHoo!  I'm caught up...with this particular BOW anyway!!
Grandmothers Choice - Week 16
This block is named Capitol T.  Do you see it?  It took me forever to see that T!!!  The T is on the diagonal and in my block is the brown/green floral fabric.

Happy Holidays!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Week 15

I'm behind a week, but hopefully I can get caught up today....maybe!  As long as hubby stays interested in a football game! hahaha
Grandmothers Choice - Week 15
The name of this block is Centennial, recalling the 1993 celebration of New Zealand's honorable position as the first country to enfranchise all women in all elections. Hop on over to to read more.

On to this week's block!  Hope your holiday shopping and planning and fun is going great!!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Block 14

I wasn't expecting to get another block finished today, but I did!
Grandmothers Choice - Week 14
This one is Bride's Knot.  Check out the story behind this block and how 'invisible' women were at

No more today for sure. I have to now begin the regime of beautifying myself for a fancy holiday party at hubby's work.  They make us starve until around 7 pm! hahaha  And the beautifying part takes a loooooong time!!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Grandmothers Choice - Week 13

Catching up, I think!!  I have one more plus the new one that comes out tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll be caught up with these BOWs this weekend.
Grandmothers Choice - Block 13
This one is called Everybody's Favorite.

Keep on Stitchin'!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jelly Roll Braid

I may have mentioned...or I may not have!! that the quilt/Bernina shop where I teach and patronize (read, spend my money!!!) has a monthly Jelly Roll Quilt Class.  I missed the October one as it was held when I was in Houston oohing and aaahing over quilts and vendor booths.  November's uses a pattern by Eleanor Burns..Braid in a Day.  Umpfh!!!  in a day?? me???  no way!!
I decided to make the lap size which needs 3 rows of braids, each with a set of 18 'bricks'.  I didn't quite get those 3 rows done during class...but I have an excuse!!  I decided to help a gal pick out fabrics.  Now that's fun!  I can really help someone spend their money! hahaha  Anyway, here's what I've gotten done so far.
Jelly Roll Braid Quilt
I've got 7 more sets to go for each braid row.  Haven't picked out the rest of the fabrics for the sashing and borders.  Probably will use at least one fabric that's in the braids.  The store cuts the jelly rolls for these classes, so finding a fabric should be easy.

Ya think I'll be quilting like a mad woman in 2013????

Keep on Stitchin'!!

BlockBase Sew Along - Block 5

I'm a bit behind in getting this block done.  Also 2 blocks behind with the Grandmothers Choice blocks with another due to be posted on Saturday.  I'm hoping to get caught up this weekend.  You know how it is around the holidays.  Always expect the unexpected!!!
BlockBase SewAlong - Block 5
I think this one is very pretty.  Of course, I paper pieced!!

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another FootBook Page

November's Foot Book Class used the Edgestitch Foot (Bernina #10).  The page was an easy one and once backed with another page, it will have ribbon sewn around the outer edges to further embellish the page.
Edgestitch Foot #10
We did tucks on the center fabric using the Edgestitch Foot, going both ways across the fabric.  The fabric was sewn to the page with strips of card stock.

Keep on Stitchin'!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Foot Book

Here's a couple more pages for the Bernina Foot Book.
Foot #18 - Button Sew-on Foot
We sewed on buttons, snaps, hooks & eyes and made a little book to attach to the page.  Remember these little pages are 8 inch square!
Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR foot)
Using the BSR, we free motioned to attach the various pieces of fabric to make the center square, then applied the flowers.  We then very carefully and v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y attached some beads to the flower center using the sewing machine.

I decided to go back and take some shots of the pages in the little book for the button sew-on foot.

Keep on Stitchin'!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Funky Chicken - Block 11

Next to the last block for the Funky Chickens!!!  Where has this year gone????

This was an extremely easy one.  I got the whole thing finished from capturing the drawing to digitizing applique and decorative stitches to embroidery to adding the borders in about 3 hours.  No tail feathers on this cute chick!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Monday, November 19, 2012

November FMQ - Spirals!

This month's tutorial is by Sarah Vedeler.  Her embroidery is stunning and her free motion quilting is as stunning.  We are doing spirals.  First we stitch over drawn spirals.  Next we draw guidelines and create our spirals within those guides.
Sewn over drawn spirals
More practice is needed!!  I also did a row of spirals down the center totally free hand.  They actually look better than following the drawn spirals!
Spirals sewn within guidelines
Guidelines removed
This looks much better.  With more practice, I should get rid of the wobbles, but I'm happy with my progress so far.  Spirals are not easy for me.

Keep on Stitchin'!

In Color Order HST - November Block

Only one more block to go for this BOM!  The November Block is a pretty one.  Amazing how many different looks one can get with simple half square triangles.
Nov2012 - HST
December will reveal the last block as well as suggested layout and finishing techniques.  Soon, I'll have another pretty quilt top ready for quilting in 2013!!  WooHoo!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Week 12

This block is so pretty.  Caused me a pretty headache, too!!!  I started with paper piecing and found I'd not done a good job figuring out how to make sections.  So rather than going back into EQ7  and stretching the brain a bit more, I printed out templates.  So this block is partially paper pieced (with curses and several frog stitching frustrations) and partially pieced after cutting out the shapes.
Little Boy's Breeches - Week 12
Don't you love the name?  Barbara Brackman's Grandmothers Choice Blog tells us that someone saw pants in the shapes of the corners, so gave it the Little Boy's Breeches name.  Love it!

Take a moment to check out Barbara's blog to read what this block means to us women.  Thank goodness for our ancestor sisters in arms so that we can wear breeches!!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

BlockBase Sew Along - Week 4

Week 4 block is finished! Sure glad I decided to paper piece these rather than rotary cut. Those little squares in the center each measure 7/8 inches finished! Now that's pretty small for my clumsy fingers to hang on to!
 BlockBase Sew Along - Week 4
This block is a bit brighter in real life.  It's actually very colorful, although the outer 3 colors are darker colors.

Keep on Stitchin'!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Blocks 10 & 11

I'm caught up until Saturday when a new block comes out. I've been so busy getting these done and posted that I've forgotten to give the names of the blocks! Block 8 - Rocky Road to Kansas, Block 9 - Brick Pavement

Week 10 - New York

Week 11 - Little Red Schoolhouse

I decided to cut from templates for these 2 blocks rather than paper piecing. Some of the pieces are so small on these 8.5 inch blocks! I may go back to paper piecing when I can. I think the Little Red Schoolhouse was damaged a bit during a wind storm! hahahaha

Keep on Stitchin'!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Week 9

Another one finished! It helps when they are easier blocks and don't take too long to cut out the pieces and piece. Hmmm...wonder if I can get caught up with these little 8.5" blocks tomorrow??!!!

Keep On Stitchin'!

Grandmothers Choice - Week 8

Another done, 3 more to go to catch up before another is posted Saturday. This one is the same block design as a previous one, Week 2.  (see post 2012/09/New Quilt Blocks-Block-of-Weeks).
Grandmothers Choice - Week 8
On to the next one!!

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Carol Doak BOM - November Block Finished

Each month the blocks get more complicated and prettier!  Lots of practice aligning, but the trick, I'm learning, is to pay attention to those lines.  If I'm off to one side or another on the line at the matching points, sometimes I cannot get the points to match up well.  I removed stitches several times in one spot in this block and after the 3rd time it still didn't match....well, as they say, it was meant to be that way!
Carol Doak BOM-November 2012
Before joining the Carol Doak Yahoo group and participating in this BOM, I would never have attempted blocks like this.  With each block I complete, I get excited at what I just did!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Friday, November 9, 2012

BlockBase Sew Along - Block 3

This month's block has lots of pieces!  Once again, I paper pieced the 8.5" unfinished block using batiks from my stash.  I can see that I don't have enough variety in the darks, lights, mediums but I'm trying hard not to go shopping for more.  We'll see how it goes as this BOW progresses.
BlockBase SewAlong Block 3
Those that have posted their blocks on the EQ blog site have some wonderfully different looks.  Check them out!
I'm behind on the other BOW, the Grandmother's Choice.  I'm hoping to catch up over the next several days....if life doesn't get in my way! <smile>

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another Jelly Roll Quilt

Seems I've neglected a lot of my ongoing projects!  Hmmmm..wonder if all those BOMs and BOWs have anything to do with it????!!!!
This is one of 2 tops I got put together while visiting my friend over the past couple weeks.  Most likely, I'll load this onto my small frame with the Juki and do....something!  While at the Houston Quilt Festival, I purchased a small program for pantographs.  Add this to some other stuff I already have and I think I'm good for a while for these designs.
Jelly Roll Quilt Top
I still have the Jelly Roll Race quilt on the frame and only lack a small portion to finish it.  Really gotta get back to that!

I also seem to remember I have another Foot Book page somewhere around here.  Maybe I'll find it in a  day or so and get it posted.

I really have been working on things!!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Craftsy - Quilt Top Finished!

While in Houston (actually League City) with my friend, I completed piecing 2 quilt tops and one backing.  We were so busy with going to the International Quilt Market and Festival, that we only had a few days to actually sew.  One of those days was spent doing our own little shop hop of my favorite quilt shops in that area.  Anyway....this top is put together!  WooHoo!!!
Craftsy Quilt Top

I plan to join the new Craftsy quilting lesson which actually uses this quilt to demonstrate quilting techniques.  The class is Free Motion Quilting a Sampler taught by Leah Day.  Sure hope I can do a good job.

No guarantees that this quilt will be finished quickly! hahaha!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Funky Chicken - October

Whew!  Busy month, plus my sewing time on October's things is cut short by a week and a half.  Not complaining about this as I'll be staying with a friend and having nothing but fun!!
Anyway, here's the finished Funky Chicken block.

October 2012
October 2012-closeup
I'm anxious to start assembling this top. The borders & sashing will be black with tiny crayola-colored confetti bits all over.  I'll quilt-as-you-go with these large 16.5 inch blocks.  I think I'll do a bit of fussy quilting on the chicken, matching thread colors, then do a filler-type quilting around the chicken, again in a matching thread.  I don't want to do meandering stippling around the chicken, so was thinking about doing some of the different free motion patterns I've been doing for the FMQ challenge.  Each block different.

Opinions on this is most welcome. My skin is thick and I can take criticism, so don't hesitate to post what you think.  I have the hardest time choosing what will enhance the quilt pattern.

Keep on Stitchin'!!

CORRECTION to October's FMQ post

I'm so sorry, guys (and Teri!!).  I gave the wrong information about how Teri holds her quilts when she is quilting.  Her hands are on top of the quilt and she keeps her finger tips closer to the needle.

I had been looking around at various videos and watching the quilters in action. This one method must have gotten stuck in my head!!

Teri, I do apologize for posting the incorrect information.  I'll give myself 10 licks with a wet thread! LOL

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Free Motion Quilt Challenge - October

This month our teacher is Teri Lucas.  She does some gorgeous free motion work and gives us some insight into how she does this..including how she holds the quilt.  Rather than hands placed on top to move the quilt, she prefers to grab hold of the quilt and move it around that way.  Interesting and I will give this a go next time I have a larger quilt surface.  Hard to grab hold of an 11" square! LOL  I drew out with pen and paper several blocks with various shapes and swirls and decided upon this layout.
October FMQ
I'm still trying to get the hang of even echo quilting.  Also having trouble with filler shapes such as what you see below the feathers on the left and in the right lower corner.  I keep getting lost and then lose my 'shape' rhythm.  Sigh...I'll never be a pro at this, but I'm better than I used to be!!!  I'm much better at tracing than I used to be, so this might be the way for me to go once I begin using these techniques on a more regular basis.  I'll have lots of quilt tops to practice on next year! LOL

Keep on Stitchin'!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BlockBase Sew-Along - Block 2

The second block is done.  Once again, I paper pieced this block.  Do you see a trend going here???
Block 2
So...these colors are better, right???  The outer fabric is a pale yellow batik.  I think I got the 'pop' right on this block!  Such fun digging through those batiks!!!

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Grandmothers Choice - Week 7

This block is called Alice's Flag.  This particular block is not in BlockBase, so instructions were given in .PDF format to create the 8" block.
Grandmothers Choice-Week 7
We were given a choice to either applique the whole star or we could piece the 5 blades, then applique.  I chose to fussy cut the fabric and applique the star.  The star shape was traced on the back of the fabric, then I used organza to line the star.  I sewed all the way around the star, then clipped the organza to turn right side out.  After a good pressing, I then machine appliqued it to the background.

If you haven't taken a look at the weekly posts for these blocks, you should jump on over to and read the historical stories connected to these blocks.  Mini history lessons about women's struggles to obtain the right to vote.

Keep on Stitchin'!!

In Color Order - October HST Block

Only a couple more blocks to go with this BOM!  I've certainly had lots of practice lining up points with these blocks.  Once I learned to trim the HST from the BACK, I'm getting much more accurate points.  How did this simple little trick evade me for...ummmmm....20+ years????
Oct 2012
Just in case you don't know...trim these little HST blocks from the back so that you can place the 45 degree line of the ruler directly on top of the seam.  And to think for all those years, I was trying to balance the ruler 'in the ditch' from the front side.  DUH!!!

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Craftsy BOM - October Blocks

These are, I think, the last 2 blocks for this BOM.  Next month will be the instructions for putting the quilt together and possibly quilting suggestions.  This month the blocks are paper pieced.
Block 1 is called Friendship Circle and Block 2 is Circle of Geese.
October Block 1

October Block 2
Sorry about the blue tint on Block 1, but the colors on Block 2 are good.  It didn't look blue until I posted on the blog!!

I'm looking forward to getting this top put together.  So many different blocks, both traditional-looking and modern-looking.

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Carol Doak Mystery Quilt - October

This block went together fast.  I was on a roll yesterday and got it completed around 6:30 last night.  It helped that hubby was golfing and I didn't have to cook dinner!!!
October 2012
It was cloudy this morning when I took the picture, but the colors came out really well.  On to the next BOM...which is 2 paper pieced blocks, this time from Craftsy.

Keep on Stitchin'!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BlockBase Sew-Along - Block 1

This sew-along started October 1.  We will get a new block every 2 weeks.  Click on the BlockBase Sew-Along badge on the right side of the blog to go to EQ's blog and see what it's all about.

We have freedom of block size and how we want to put it together.  We have no fabric requirements due to...well, it all depends upon what size the blocks are and how we put it together!  I decided on 8.5 inch blocks and for this first one, I printed off foundation paper and paper pieced it.  I also decided it was high time I used those batiks that have been aging in the closet.  So with all this in mind, I decided to pull a couple of lights and a couple of darks for this block.  For lights I chose yellowish colors and for darks, one is a green and the other is sorta purplish gray.
BlockBase Sew-Along - Block 1
I did good on getting the lights and darks separated nicely and I like the contrast between the 2 lights.  But I can see that I should have picked a better contrast in the two darks.  Maybe this is where warm and cool comes in.  Maybe I should have gone with a more true purple.  I still have problems picking good colors! Next block will be better, right??!!

Keep on Stitchin'!

Modern Mystery Quilt - Week 3

Finally finished up Week 3 rectangles.  Weeks 4 & 5 have already been released, so I'm rather behind!  But I need to put this quilt aside and get to work on the other BOMs for October.  I'll be taking the mystery quilt with me when I go to Houston in a couple weeks - I'll have the final instructions by then.  I'll be there staying with a friend for 2 weeks of sewing, quilting, yakking, International Quilt Show, sewing, quilting, yakking.......FUN!!!
Modern Mystery-Week 3
These rectangles are similar to Week 1, but they have another round of strips.  Again, this was so time consuming.  I finally quit stressing about sizes of strips and decided what would be would be!  But still took a lot of time.  Choose a fabric and cut a strip between X & Y in size.  Choose a different fabric, cut 2 strips, sew to top and bottom, press, trim between X & Y.  Choose another fabric, cut 2 strips, sew to sides, press, trim between X & Y.  Repeat.  I'm just glad to get these behind me.

Most likely, this will be the only modern quilt I'll make.  I don't enjoy this process like I do making traditional blocks.  But I've done something I've not done before, like it or not...and that's a good thing, right??!!

Keep on Stitchin'!