Sunday, January 22, 2017

En Provence, Clue 3

This is the year that I finish all of my Bonnie Hunter UFOs!

I'm plugging away at my En Provence quilt and just finished clue 3:


Before I begin on Clue 4, I want to finish another Bonnie Hunter UFO.  I just found my Old Tobacco Road Quilt  that I started in 2005.  2005 -- TWELVE YEARS AGO!!!:


I just have to add borders, quilt, and bind.  Oh no, the dreaded binding!

Are you working on En Provence or any other Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts?  How far along are you?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekly Progress

I was home this week and sewed my fingers to the bone yet again.

I worked more on my Inez's Walk Around the Block block of the month quilt:

Block 5:


Block 6:


Block 7:


I've been enjoying my Splendid Sampler blocks.

Lots of Love:


Happy Happy:


Simple Simon:


I am also current on my 182 Day Solstice Quilt.

Gramma Anna:


I broke down and started a new quilt because.... well.... because of the Steelers:


I don't plan to leave this quilt unfinished for long.  I plan to hand-bind it during the game on Sunday!

What have you been working on this week?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Quilt Finish: Mummy Mambo

This quilt has quite a timeline:
  • sometime in 2006 -- bought a clearance quilt kit
  • September 2016 -- cut the fabrics
  • January 2017 -- pieced, quilted, and bound

I finished the top at my quilt retreat at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing:

I quilted shortly after returning home from my retreat:


Yesterday, I was brave and machine bound this quilt:


And now the quilt is done!


This quilt will soon be in its forever home where I hope it will be well-loved for many years.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Machine Binding Experiment

I hate binding quilts.  I'd rather go to the dentist than bind a quilt (and that's saying something!).

I love the look of hand-bound quilts but hate the time it takes.  Machine binding is faster, but I'm not thrilled with the look.  I am not giving up, so I'm willing to keep trying.

I pulled out my quilted Halloween top and decided to give it a whirl.  I read Pat Sloan's directions for machine binding and adapted them to my preferred binding width.

I prepared my binding as usual, but stitched the binding to the back of the quilt:


Since I use a straight-stitch machine for piecing and wanted a decorative stitch for the binding, I switched to my lovely Stitch 710 machine.  I clipped the binding to the front of the quilt, set a blanket stitch, and started stitching the binding to the quilt:


See how pretty it looks?


I'm mostly pleased with the binding on the back of this quilt:


I will try this again.  I'm pleased with the thread matching the backing of the quilt and will repeat that, but I might try a different color on the front next time.

Do you machine bind?  What method do you use?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My New Year's Resolve is Wavering

My New Year's resolution was to clean my sewing room.  I'm making progress on that, but it's not yet obvious to the casual observer.

One of the steps I'm taking to clean my sewing space is to finish the projects I've already started.  I've been making great progress on this but I'm getting kind of desperate to start a new (!) exciting (!) project instead pulling out yet another UFO, wondering why I ever started it, counting all of the pieces, and trying to figure out exactly where I am and what the next step is and then finishing a quilt I didn't feel like finishing some time in the distant past.

I'm trying to make starting a new project feel virtuous by pulling all of the fabric from my overflowing scrap/stash bins.  This is what I just pulled:


It's going to be a very subtle, low-contrast quilt where the quilting can show off.

I love, Love, LOVE the Picnic Patch Cutie Pattern.  I've made it many, many times.  I love to piece it and love to quilt it.  This quilt will be all joy for me, if I allow myself to start it.

What do you think of the choices?  Should I just pull out another UFO instead?

What type of quilting bargains do you make with yourself?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Invisible Seams on Backings

Sometimes, quilting makes me feel like a super-hero.  I recently pieced a quilt back using some lovely Joel Dewberry fabric:


Can you see the seam?  No?  Do you want to know how to perfectly match a backing seam?

I pressed one of the backing pieces using a hem gauge and then lined up the backing pieces  I held them in place with glue:


Then I sewed along the pressed line:


Once I was done, I trimmed the seam, pressed, and then had a perfect backing!

Do you have a different way to match backing pieces for invisible seams?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy Place: The Cutting Table

Last week I showed you what was underneath my cutting table.  This week I tackled the top of the cutting table.

Here's the best I can do, so far:


I have two half-used cutting mats stacked on top of each other.  I will use the one on top until it dies, then use the one on the bottom, and then buy a glorious new cutting mat, whatever that might be.  I can't wait until show season starts to check out all of the cutting mats to see which I really want.

My sister gave me a Hello Kitty watering can and I keep my rotary cutters and scissors in there.  The packs of extra blades are in the bottom of the can so I always know where they are and when I need more.

My friend Dawn gave me a Hello Kitty sand pail that holds the pins for my longarm machine and a magnetic wrist pincushion sticks to the side so I never lose it.

One of my student's husbands made me my ruler holder.  Thanks Brenda!  I always know where my rulers are now!

As a rule, I don't drink bottled water but I was glad for one bottle -- it is perfect to refill my iron.  Yes, I'm a steam iron type of quilter.  Don't judge me.

I keep a basket on my table.  It holds my current project and is large enough to separately stack different cut pieces without jumbling them all together.

I love, Love, LOVE my Great Board!  I press my strips and blocks on it.  When I have a larger pressing job like yardage or a backing, I turn the board horizontally and my cutting table becomes an ironing station!

You know me as Debby Brown, but I am better known as
Debby Brown, Quilter of Quilts and Slayer of Irons.

Don't believe me?


As you can see, I go through a lot of irons (a LOT OF IRONS) so I don't buy expensive ones.  Expensive irons die as quickly as inexpensive irons.

I will eventually upgrade my cutting mat and replace my iron (many times), but I'm pleased with my cutting table.  It's easy to find everything I need and easy to keep clean.

What do you keep on your cutting table?  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

One Less Worry*

While I'm hard at work cleaning my studio in hopes of someday turning it into my Happy Place, I discovered that I have amassed three lifetime's worth of tape measures:


At least that's settled.
_____

*Alternate Title:  I Got 99 Problems and a Tape Measure Ain't One

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekly Progress

Because of last week's quilt retreat at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing Center, I made a lot of progress on my quilting projects this week.

My Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Allietare, is pieced and ready to quilt:


I finished piecing this quilt kit, purchased over a decade ago for reasons unknown:


I pulled out some already made orchestra fabric blocks for Yellow Brick Road and pieced them into a top:


I pieced a sample for an as-yet unreleased quilt pattern.  Here's a sneak peek:


OK, I actually pieced two samples for two as-yet unreleased quilt patterns.  Another sneak peek:



I finally finished a Christmas gift that I can't show you since the recipient might see it here, but I'll tease you a bit:


I continued working on my BOMs.

Pat Sloan's Globetrotting Washington DC block in a second colorway:


I filmed a series of videos on how to quilt this block.  Watch them HERE.

I continued working on my Inez's Walk Around the Block.

Block 2:


Block 3:


Block 4:


I continued to work on Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge.  This week's block is Cobble Stones:


I'm re-booting my Splendid Sampler quilt.

Hearts Aflutter:


I filmed a video about how to quilt this block.  Watch the video HERE.

Wings:


I'll be at the Quilt Basket today, teaching machine quilting.  I hope you have fun quilting plans today, too!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Quilt Finish: Lazy Sunday

I did it!  I finished another Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt!!  

Meet Lazy Sunday, whose pieced borders nearly did me in:


This quilt was gi-normous and I absolutely adore it!  This is the first Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt that I did in yardage rather than scraps.  I'll likely continue to use scraps, but this yardage POPPED!

I had fun with the quilting, too:


The pattern is called Elements and I teach it in my Craftsy class (link has $20 off retail coupon).  I used my FabuLux Wisteria thread with a DecoBob bobbin.  The quilting holds the quilt together without distracting from the piecing pattern.

I have about seven more Bonnie Hunter UFOs.  I'd better get stitching!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Quilt Retreat Sewing: Yellow Brick Road

My Sewcation at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing Center was super productive!  I pulled out an old Yellow Brick Road quilt using orchestra fabric.  I think I started this quilt about twelve (??) years ago.  The blocks were done, so I joined them and added borders:


Now that I'm home, it is time to pick thread.  I was going to choose cream and let the quilting be neutral, but with all of the brass instruments in the fabrics I thought my FabuLux Midas Touch would work:


I'm so glad I didn't use cream thread!  The Midas Touch adds to the richness of this quilt.  I'm using DecoBob in the bobbin to make a beautiful stitch.

I'm trying to finish as many of my UFOs this year as possible, but I'm afraid all of the bindings are going to trip me up!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quilt Retreat Sewing: Halloween Quilt

About a decade ago, I bought a Halloween quilt kit.  I remember it being on clearance and that's my excuse.

I cut the pieces for this quilt last autumn when I was in a hotel room after work and it sat unfinished until my retreat at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing last weekend:


All these years after buying that kit, I have found the perfect recipient.  Now I really want to finish this quilt quickly so I can give it to her!

Picking thread for this quilt was the easiest thing I've ever done.  I designed one of my FabuLux threads as a Halloween thread.  It's called Boo! and is Black, purple, and orange.  How perfect is that???  I pulled out some DecoBob to make a lovely stitch on the back of the quilt:


Once I finish the quilting, I get to bind the quilt.  Maybe I'll try machine binding on this one!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Quilt Retreat Sewing: Allietare Mystery

Last weekend, I was at a quilt retreat at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing Center.  We got snowed in but didn't care since we had food and friends and fabric inside!  I brought a bunch of UFOs instead of starting new projects, and I will admit to pouting about that.  New projects are super fun, but I was experimenting to see if finishing projects was also fun!

I pulled out my unfinished Bonnie Hunter Allietare quilt, stitched the blocks together and added borders:


I'm tickled with how it turned out!

As soon as I got home, I loaded it on the longarm and grabbed my FabuLux Mellow Yellows and DecoBob bobbin thread:


I started quilting my go-to swirl.  I've quilted it on each and every Bonnie Hunter quilts.  The beauty of these quilts is in the design and piecing; the quilting just holds the layers together!

This quilt is 84"x98" and I'm so looking forward to hand binding it (insert eye roll here).

I'm back to working on Bonnie Hunter's En Provence mystery quilt in between binding stitches.

Which Bonnie Hunter UFO should I work on next?  Oh the decisions!    

Monday, January 09, 2017

Operation Happy Place: Plan B

I was so excited to start cleaning my sewing room this year!  I imagined wild success in the form of a magazine-photo-shoot-ready studio within 10 days.

Well....

I mentioned last week that I was dealing with my "under the cutting table" scrap problem.  I thought a three-bin laundry sorter would be the perfect solution.  I measured my cutting table and checked the size of the laundry sorter.  I assembled it and added the scraps to the appropriate bins:



and then...

It didn't fit under the table.

I forgot to take into account the support bars under my cutting table.

So, my laundry sorter fits perfectly NEXT to my cutting table.


I could shove it under the table, but it would stick out the front about 4-6 inches.  So... no.  But I think I might actually like it better this way.  I can throw the scraps into the bin without rolling the cart out from under the table each time I have a scrap.  Hurray for plan B!!!

Now, I wonder what I'll store in that big empty space?

The next area I want to tackle in my sewing room is the top of this cutting table.  The underneath looks ok (for now), but the top is a disaster area.  I have a few ideas about how to make it a more productive work space.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Quilt Retreat Productivity Tools

I'm on a quilt retreat this weekend at Sturbridge Quilting and Sewing Center and I'm having a BLAST!

I brought a huge bag filled with UFOs and a few new projects just in case I finish all of the UFOs:


I wanted to finish a bunch of projects that I started as long ago as 2005.  They were weighing heavy on my mind.  I'm desperate to lighten the load in my sewing room so I can feel nothing but peace in there.  I'm using my Quilter's Planner to help me keep on track with each project.  As I pull out each new (old) project, I add it to my project list so that I will be sure to quilt and bind them and get them off my mind and into their forever homes.


My Handi Quilter 210 is working hard this weekend and helping me finish all of my projects;


I'm excited to have such a trusty sidekick to accompany me on all of my quilting adventures!