Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Living With Quilts: Arbor bed quilt

I like big quilts and I cannot lie.

My first quilt was a bed quilt and even now, thousands of quilts later, I still have trouble making little quilts.  I always have a quilt on my bed and rotate them due to season or mood.

My current bed quilt:

(Next time I'll move my iPhone charging cord out of the photo --  oops!)

This is an early version of my Arbor pattern.  I've made several versions and several sizes as I perfected the pattern for publication.

Some might say that I overdid the ribbon candy, but in my opinion that is impossible!  If you want to learn ribbon candy, I teach ribbon candy in one of my Craftsy classes.  Link for 50% off retail price of class.

The fabric is from Lonni Rossi.  I fell in love with that border print and absolutely had to have it.  Had to.  Have it.  Without question.

When the weather changes or my mood changes, I'll change my bed quilt.  Until then, I get to wake up to this beauty!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Happy Place: Touches of Whimsy

I look in my sewing room and all I see are problem areas.  My cutting table is improved, but the rest of the room is quite a disaster.

One month into my "Great Sewing Room Clean Out of 2017," I want to feel happier when I am in my hopefully soon-to-be Happy Place.

I decided to add a few touches of whimsy to make me smile.  If you don't know that I have a slight Hello Kitty problem, you will soon understand.

I hung a couple of my quilts above my desk:

The fabulous Hello Kitty hook is courtesy of my dear friend Maddie.  Thanks, Maddie!  If you look closely, you'll see that my headset is held together with Hello Kitty tape.  I'm hard core.

I have a gas fireplace in my sewing room.  It is pretty but is also the main heat source for this room.  One nice feature of a fireplace is a mantle.  It's been a catch-all area for years, but I decided to place some treasured items on it:

The dolls are from Russia.  I know this because I got them when I was in Russia.  My husband bought me the tea set when he was working in Taiwan.  The painting is the one and only thing I have ever painted.  It doesn't completely suck.

I added a few pieces from my Hello Kitty collection to the mantle:

I have so much more work to do in my sewing room before it truly becomes my Happy Place, but I now have a few bright spots that make me smile.

Have you intentionally added some fun to your work area?  Do you collect something that isn't Hello Kitty?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Living With Quilts: Squared Away

Quilting is my job.  Quilting is my hobby.  Quilting is my lifestyle.

Quilting is also my decorating choice.

This quilt is currently in my center hall.  It is one of my favorite quilts.  Ever.

The pattern is Squared Away, one of my Cutie Quilt Patterns.

I love this quilt because it's quilted with ribbon candy, whole-y ribbon candy, and nothing but ribbon candy.  Ribbon candy is the most perfect machine quilting design in the whole wide world, but that's just this quilter's opinion.  I teach ribbon candy in one of my Craftsy classes.  Link for 50% off retail price of class.

The other reason I love this quilt so much is because it is made with a really old line of Fig Tree & Co. Fabrics.  Who doesn't love Fig Tree fabrics?

I have a few quilts that fit in this space and I rotate them.  When I get tired of this one, I'll change it and show you another quilt that I live with every day.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Weekly Summary

My blocks are finished!  My blocks are finished!  I finished all of the blocks for my Inez's Walk Around the Block!

Block 8:

Block 9:

I finished all of the blocks for my first BOM UFO this year!!!  Now I just have to set, border, quilt, and bind it.

Maybe "complete" was too strong a word?

More from The Splendid Sampler:

Block 6 Focal Point:

Block 7, Snug as a Bug:

Block 8 Friends Around The Square:

Block 9 Local Quilt Shop:

I'm current on my 182 Day Solstice Challenge.

The Crosswalk:

I don't know if I can keep making one block a day for each day of the year, but I have already completed 28 blocks this year.  That's progress!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quilt Finish: Golden Coins

I am blessed to call Pat Sloan a friend.  But this friend of mine is so bad for my productivity.  She shared a new pattern that is simply magical.  It inspired me to make one of my own (instead of finishing another UFO) so I pulled fabric from my scraps based on the theme of my beloved Steelers (no, I'm not going to talk about our loss to the Patriots):

I had a bag full of 2 1/2" black/white/gray scrap strips, so I really only had to look for the gold fabric.  This quilt pieced up very, very quickly:

Then it was time for the quilting.  I was trying to choose between FabuLux Cloudy Skies and FabuLux Midas Touch:

I decided to use BOTH, and am totally in love with the random length variegation in the ribbon candy:

I teach how to quilt the ribbon candy and the leaves in one of my Craftsy classes  -- link for 50% off retail.

My favorite quilt hanger is my snow-covered deck.  I only get to take a few quilt photos out there each year, so I'm excited to show this one:

I took a more traditional quilt photo as well:

As a devoted Steeler fan, making a quilt wasn't doing enough to root for my team.  I needed more black and gold in my life.  These fat eighths followed me home from the Quilt Basket last weekend:

I increased the black and gold by finding this lovely Bumblebee thread:

I finished my Cutie Scarves to Share scarf in time for Sunday's big game:

The bright yellow Hello Kitty purse completed my outfit.

I will give this quilt away (to someone who has no idea that it's a Steeler quilt) and pack away my Terrible Towel and other Steeler garb until next season.

Do any of you blend your sports and quilting passions?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Resurrecting Bloom

Last year, I fell in love with the Bloom quilt by Lori Holt and decided to make it and to use needle-turn applique instead of machine applique just so it would take longer.*

Soon after beginning, this project was renamed "Abandoned Hand Applique Project #87" and was set aside.

Until now:

I pulled out all of my happy/bright fabric scraps, some plain white fabric for backgrounds, and my gorgeous applique thread.  I use WonderFil InvisiFil 100 weight polyester thread for applique.  It makes a gloriously invisible applique stitch and I love it!

I now know what my travel sewing project will be for 2017.  And now that I've said I'm going to finish this quilt, I won't set it aside again... right?

Hold me to this, quilters!
*While I was locating that link for you, I saw Lori Holt's adorable new applique quilt.  I have to start yet another applique project.  I. Have. To.

Don't judge me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So Incredibly Honored

I am so incredibly honored to have been nominated for MQX Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year.

There are so many amazing machine quilting teachers working today.  If one of them has impacted your life and you want to nominate him/her, vote HERE.

I will be with Handi Quilter at both MQX Festivals in 2017. W ill I see you there?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't Quote Me

"I love trimming half-square triangles" --

-- said No One.  Ever.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Happy Place: Keeping the Cutting Table Clear

Last week, I showed you my clean cutting table.  I have a plan to keep it clean.  So far, so good!

I recently finished a quilt and instead of letting the scraps pile up, I dealt with them:

I cut the extra fabric into:

  • fat quarters
  • fat eighths (for Cutie Quilts!)
  • 5-inch squares
  • 2 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2-inch strips
  • binding
These are all now in their proper bins to be used in future scrap quilts and my cutting table is once again clean!

Do you keep your cutting table clean?  Or do you use it to store in-process quilts?

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