Friday, July 31, 2009

My New Baby(lock)

The plan was to go purchase the new sewing machine this weekend.  However, my husband surprised me and brought it home last night!  So exciting!  He is so good to me! :)

Hello, my new friend.

After extensive research, I decided on the Babylock Quest Plus.  I never intended to get this caliber of machine.  I originally planned to purchase a nice middle of the row, general purpose sewing machine.  While I was at my local sewing machine dealer, I was eyeing the Janome 6600p.   The large arm, the quick stitch speed, built in walking foot, etc all had me.  In all honesty, compared to my current sewing machine, any of the ones in the shop would have been likened to a Cadillac and I would have been happy. 

Giant extension table

Feature to feature, the Janome and the Babylock are about the same-  automatic needle threaded, stitches up to 1000 stitches per minute, needle down, knee lifter, extension table, independent motor for bobbin winding, more stitches and presser feet than I'd ever need, etc.  The main differences are that the Babylock has a free arm and the Janome has a automatic thread cutter.  I figured that since I currently have a free arm and have used it, I would miss that more than the automatic thread cutter which my current machine definitely does not have.  I shall continue in ignorant bliss regarding the thread cutter. 

My machine also came with a workbook that contains more detailed instructions on how to use a lot of the features.  I suspect that this will come in handy.  

Now it's off to play with my new toy!  So exciting!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

9 Patch Top: Finished!

Yesterday I was finally able to finish the 9 patch top and snap some photos to share.  I love it!

It is so bright and cheerful!  I can't wait to quilt it now.  It is so much larger than any other quilt I have done.  It should be interesting.  Good thing my husband is very good to me and is taking me to get a very exciting birthday gift this weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sneak Peek

I have every intention to finish this quilt top this weekend. However, our power inexplicably went out on Saturday from 11:30 to 8:30. Not cool, my friends.

I spent a good chunk of last night working on it instead.

I was making good time. I finished sewing the sashing on, making the strips of squares for the border, sewed those on. I was really making progress. My goal of finishing the top before I left this weekend to camp with Shawn's family looked like it might happen.

Then I realized I was out of white muslin and it was too late to go out and buy some more. Looks like this isn't getting finished until next week now! Darn!

Monday, July 13, 2009

No Sew Sundays

In an attempt to maintain balance in my life, I started what I'm calling "No Sew Sundays" a few weeks ago.  I realized that I just needed a day designated to spending time doing other things I am responsible for.  It can be enjoying quality time with my husband, cleaning, reading, going for runs, or enjoying outdoors.  It has actually been quite nice to have that day set aside for other things.  Surprisingly since I love to sew so much!

This Sunday I took a bike ride to a nearby park to do some reading and to enjoy the beautiful Michigan summer day.  It was so peaceful because I was the only one there!

I eventually went and sat in the play structure to get out of the sun.  I ended up taking a little snooze while listening to a podcast.  Oops.  :) 

 On another exciting note, last week I picked myself up one of these:

Robert Kauffman Kona Cotton solids swatch cards from Pink Chalk Fabrics.  I'm loving it!  I do most of my fabric ordering online so it is difficult to pick out coordinating solids for my quilts.  I feel so liberated! 

I already have an order of solids on the way from the Fabric Shack.  They by far have the best prices around.  Just an FYI.  :) 

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tutorial: Flights of Fancy Quilt

I was asked about a pattern for my Flights of Fancy quilt, so I figured I might as well write a tutorial for it.  You know, it's the hip thing to do these days.  :)

Anyway.  Each block is a 6"x6" finished block with a 3" border making a 12"x12" finished (12.5"x12.5" unfinished) block. The quilt is 5 blocks wide by 6 blocks tall, making it approximately 60"x72".

To make this I used a fat quarter pack of the Flights of Fancy line that had around 14 fabrics in it.  I used less than half of each fat quarter (including the fabric for the back), so this really could be a good scrap quilt.  I also used about 3/4 yard of 4 Kona Cotton solids. 

Each center block has a solid in the center measuring 2.5"x6.5".  The outside strips are of matching prints of one of three different widths:
1.  Two 2.5"x6.5" unfinished strips.
2.  One 3"x6.5" and one 2"x6.5" unfinished strip
3.  One 3.5"x6.5" and one 1.5"x6.5" unfinished strip.

To finish the center blocks, cut two 3.5"x6.5" and two 12.5"x3.5" strips.  Sew them onto the center blocks.  Trim each block to 12.5"x12.5".

When laying out the blocks, I alternated every other block from having the strips vertical and horizontal.  I also arranged them such that each row alternated between two of the border colors.

Once you have your 30 blocks sewn together, viola!  You're finished with the quilt top!  Now you just need to quilt it and bind it

Please let me know if any of these steps were unclear.  I'll do my best to clarify anything that needs it!  Also, if you end up making a quilt similar, please let me know!  I'd love to see what you come up with! 

My First Quilt

I heard that Camille and Carrie are hosting a Parade of Quilts.  I thought it sounded like a pretty neat idea, so I thought I'd play along. What you do is post a picture of your first quilt and your most recent quilt.

My first quilt is this one.

I am immensely proud of it.  I made it for my cousin when she was pregnant with her now 2 year old son.  I saw a picture of it online and decided that it was a winner and I had to make a replica.  I hand quilted stars in some of the blocks.  It really turned out so nicely.  I keep telling myself that I need to make a replica someday.  I really love it. 

My most recent quilt is the black, white & yellow quilt. 

In my past couple years of quilting I have figured out so much.  I truly had no idea what I was doing.  I have pretty much learned everything and am still in the process of learning.  I suspect that will always be the case though.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Done. And Done!

I finished the last of my 9 patches.  Yay! 

The last 11.

I decided to make 71.  I am sure there is at least one in that stack that I am less than thrilled with.  I'm looking forward to sashing these and seeing how they all look together!  They're all pretty random, so it'll be interesting to see how this one turns out.