Monday, April 30, 2012

April FMQ challenge technique

Don't you hate it when you try something that you are sure is going to be wonderful, only to find out you're wrong?

I loved the Don Linn tutorial  on Sew Cal Girl using tulle to transfer a quilt design.  

I tried it on a Friday Freebie design from

Unfortunately, my pattern seems to have shifted when I was tracing and my repeated design came out wonky.  So I gave up on the interior design which would have just added another level of unpleasantness and added some stippling to distract from the overall horribleness.

I will be trying this technique again.  On a different design.  When I'm not tired.  And when I'm not facing a deadline.  I'm sure it will be wonderful next time.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shop Hop - the long day

14 hours, 450 miles, 8 quilt shops, 8 women, 1 Suburban.   Saturday was an estrogen-drenched day of fun.  I know that somewhere there are photos of people sleeping in the car from early in the day, and drinking in the bar at the end of the day.  But here, you will only get photos of the spoils of the Shop Hop.

Friday night, younger daughter hands me a letter from her home-ec teacher (excuse me...."teen living" class) which states that if she wants to pick her own fabric for the 9-patch pillow project, she needs to bring 1/2 yard of fabric 1 and 1/3 yard of fabric 2 of her choosing.
"Mom, do you have any fabric I could use?"
Seriously?  Can you say "Duhhhh"
After looking through the stash she falls in love with this lone friendship square in an odd shade of blue.
There are some second-choice options picked as well.

The selections on the right contain enough scraps to make a 16" 9-patch, provided that the teacher allows scraps.  And my task for the shop hop was to find more of the dark batiks like the ones shown,  that might go with that light teal on the left.

I was pretty successful in my finds.  And when she's done with her picks, I should have enough fabric for a nice lap quilt.

One of the nice things about shop hops is getting door prizes.  One of the bad things about shop hop door prizes is that they are often things that I am unlikely to use (like brown fabric and cute embroidery patterns).  Here's a partial sampling.

I had a great time with a fun group ladies.  Especially since I got to help 2 of them pick out batik fabrics for projects they were working on!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Wow!  This bike DOES make my butt look small.  
I actually didn't realize how big the bike was until my daughter took this picture.  

I used the chaps I made a few years ago as a pattern. My biggest challenge was deciding how to match the grain an pattern on the hides.  
I totally splurged on lining.  It's crepe-backed-satin.  I cut the lining about 1/2" smaller than the leather and used a spray adhesive to hold it in place. 
Then I used glue and binder clips to turn over the raw edge.  That was all top stitched.  Unfortunately, I bought a spool of a heavy duty thread which was so thick that it was all used up by the time I went for a second round of stitching!  Seriously???  I finished up with regular poly thread.  I'm not showing you a close up.  My stitching lines are wobbly and random.  But I don't think you'll notice while I'm riding by you at 60MPH.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shop Hop Round 1

As we were out looking for replacement mirrors for the  new bike, I made a quick detour to the LQS to pick up my Shop Hop Passport.  Normally I would have by-passed this door prize, but could I resist.   Nothing says "Bad-ass Biker" like a quilt shop fob.

Mom, if you remember how to get to my blog and you are reading this, please be sure you're sitting and take a deep breath before continuing on.

Today was my first ride on my Big Girl Bike.  OK, it was really my first REAL ride ever.  I took a 15 hour motorcycle skills class last weekend and discovered that despite never having ridden before, I was actually pretty good.  And when I was "just looking" this week, I found the bike I wanted at a reasonable price.  Perfect way to practice? Shop Hop.   I bought 7 pieces of batik that I did not yet own.   The sewing gauge and pressing tool were door prizes.  We passed on the yard stick at Cindy's since we were on the bikes.

Have you seen this Kaufman print?  So worth the outrageous $12.50/yard for a 1/2 yard to make headbands.  I'll wear it on the bike.

And at staff meetings at work.

I think I can fit more fabric into these saddle bags than I can possibly afford.

But if I'm wrong...please note in the top right of the photo, that the bike has a very nice luggage rack.

Note to self: buy cargo net for bike asap...just in case.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Instead of quilting, I've been hanging out more with my hubby.  That means plenty of time on the bike.  For me, biking is all about the costume.  I have black leather pants and coat.  I also have a coat that is black with a pink stripe.  But what I wear most is the Merlot colored, alligator-embossed chaps and vest.  It's a lot of fun when I'm at biker bars and get compliments.  My reply is "Yea, I had to quit drinking tequilla because I kept seeing purple alligators ---but I made sure to bag one before I quit.

Well, there's a new bike at our house that is a lovely shade of cherry red.  Which looks terrible with Merlot.  So I matched some paint cards to the color of the bike and headed to the annual  sale at the Tandy Leather shop.
Unfortunately, there were only 3 pieces on sale that were red, and this one matches the sparkles in the paint.  They'll be a great match on a bright sunshiny day.  And it was only $40 marked down from $100.  I've never seen anyone else with red chaps.  This will be fun.

But there was this really cool snake skin print.  Even though it "reads" as pink & grey, up close there are dark red dots that perfectly match the dark tone of the paint.

Sadly, it was not included in the $40 sale :(  The 2 pieces I want would be $540!!!.  *gasp*  But it is scheduled to go on sale in May.  In response to my sad/pouty face, the manager said she'd sell it to me today for the May sale price :) *Yippeee!!* I just saved $400!  But more importantly, I can make 2 amazing pieces for the price store-bought chaps.  I know there's enough for both chaps & vest....and if I'm both lucky and clever, possibly some zip-off sleeves to make the vest a light-weight jacket.   I spend a lot of time on the back of the bike.  I've day-dreamed about this design for years.  Guess it's time to pull out some muslin and make a prototype.

So, my apologies to my quilting and applique friends.  I'll be learning, once again, how to sew leather.   But I am going on the Treasure Shop Hop next weekend, so I promise to post at least some batik fabrics next week.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wine Whine Whine

I received a couple nice looking polo shirts from my employer, in a very nice logo-colored shade of wine.  This is all well and good, except that the expectation is to wear it with khaki pants.

I do own a pair of khaki crop pants that I bought sometime before the turn of the century.  When I was 10 pounds lighter.  They still fit...kind-of.  But I have to be careful about what color underpants I'm wearing since it's a little thin where the grommets on the pockets pull.

Have I mentioned how much I hate shopping*?  For, of all things, khaki pants???  Seriously?  Beige isn't even a color.  I have to pay MONEY for something that is COLORLESS? Ugh.  I'm dying here.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have insanely long legs and a pear shape making "pants that fit" legs, hips and waist all at the same time a lot like seeking the Holy Grail.

First stop, I find some straight leg pants in "the size I think I am" on sale.   But even the sale price makes my frugal self hesitate.  And I'm still convinced they will only look the right length if I'm bare-foot or wearing boots.  At this point I'm also at the height of my annoyance of having to buy khaki.  That color reminds me of oatmeal. Bleech!  You can make me eat it, but you can't make me like it. Sorry.  I'm not paying $30 for something that makes me gag.

Five stores later, I found some Lee's straight leg pants at JCPenny's in a LONG!  $27 and fit better than any other off-the-rack pant's I've tried in decades.

And the real coupe was my new wino shoes found at Ross.  I can slosh a little Zin on these babies and no one will notice it. (No silly, not at job isn't THAT fun.)

Moral of the story: Do not expect to see me making a burgundy and tan quilt any time soon.

*Exceptions to shopping hatred: Batik fabric, farmer's markets, art, Native American pottery

Monday, April 9, 2012


My machine has been taken over by a daughter making headbands for a paintball team.

Which is a lovely excuse for me to do nothing quilty.

OK.  I'll confess...
I really am sewing hexies together while I watch Dancing With The Stars.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Machine Quilting Tips

Here's a video from one of my LQS, Quilt Expressions.  Karen gives tips on how to decide on a machine quilting pattern.  Her shop does long arm quilting and rents time on her longarms to people whom have attended her longarm training classes.  The video nearly an hour long, but does have some great discussion that's helpful both for those of us deciding what to quilt for ourselves as well as what conversations to have with your quilter if you are paying to have it done.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SW Quilting

I haven't posted lately because a) I 've been on vacation  b) I've been crabby about life events that cut into my quilting time.

These are 1/3 yard cuts that were able to sneak into my stash on my trip to Arizona.  2 are from Glendale and 1 from Havasu. (total score...I dropped everyone off at the London Bridge and doubled back to the fabric shop I saw as we drove in. )
   I had a whole quilt designed as "Utah Construction" but settled on just making a throw pillow.  The inspiration was the long construction delay near Provo.  Unfortunately, it took me a long time to find the Utah map in the car to bypass the construction.  What can I say...Usually I can drive through the state with vague directions like..."if you're in Payson you've gone too far".
 Interestingly, this lag triggered a conversation with the teens about religion.  Not about theology, but rather about what specific religions are "known for".  There was discussion about which religions discourage drinking and dancing...then somehow that ended up with this discussion:
Me:  I heard at my quilt group that Lutherans are known for their love of coffee. Daughter: Really?  Because Kaily is Lutheran.  I've gone to church with her.  It's freaking boring. It's no wonder the have to drink coffee just to make it through the services.....

OK...but I digress.  Look at the detail of the photo above.  The swirls were the inspiration for this quilt.

The top piece quilting was done using a walking foot.
And the lower piece using FMQ.  I do not have any doubt about which I like better.