Tuesday, January 29, 2013
warm up feathers

I started quilting my DQS 13 last night. Before I could start I always have to warm-up first. It helps me get the jitters and helps my hands and body remember what they are supposed to be doing. I always have a practice quilt sandwich lying around (about 18” x 18”) for warm-ups. I just reuse the same sandwich in different thread colors until it’s pretty stiff. Then I grab a new one. Those batting cut offs come in handy for practice sandwiches.


Monday, January 28, 2013
I’ve started quilting the little doll quilt for my swap partner. I always like to do a little “quilt-storming” on my computer. Usually I use photosop and a wacom tablet. Using a wacom tablet is hard! you have to draw while looking at the computer screen instead of looking down at your tablet.
This time I played around with my Kindle Fire and was able to make it work. There are limitations because the screen is so small. I’m going to have to try it out on my husband’s iPad sometime.
On the Kindle I used an app called Sketchbook Mobile ($1.99) There is also a free version (Sketchbook Mobile Express) and a pro version that wasn’t available when I bought the “mobile” version (Sketchbook Pro $1.99)
In order to use any app for drawing on your quilts, you first need to get your image on the kindle. There are a couple of ways to do this. Since I already had the image I wanted on my Flickr account, I simply opened up my web browser within the Kindle and downloaded the image from Flickr. I was then able to find it in the default “Gallery app” that came on the Kindle Fire. After that it was a matter of opening up the Sketchbook App and opening the image from within the app. Once I had it open I was able to draw on it to my heart’s content. I highly recommend getting a tablet pen because it just works 100 times better than trying to use your finger!
So I came up with a few ideas:

quilt-stormingquilt-storming 2
On the first one I drew in black but it was hard to see so I switched the color to white for the second one, which made it much easier to see. I decided I like the direction of the second drawing. I was trying out different designs so they won’t all make it onto the quilt. I really like that “frame” around the center star and I really like the feathers in the corners from the top drawing. The nice thing about drawing on your quilt is you get to see which elements you like without having to rip things out.
Do you “plan” your quilting?
~ Norma

Linking up to "Design Wall Monday"


Thursday, January 17, 2013

I decided to name my DQS 13 pattern Starburst because it looks like a fabric explosion :)  I’m almost done with piecing the top together and then it’s ready for quilting.

DQS 13

Monday, January 14, 2013

If you have followed my blog for a while you know that my all time favorite online swap is the Doll Quilt Swap (DQS) over on Flickr. Round 13 is underway and quilts are due to be sent out by mid February. I think I have participated in 6 rounds so far. I love the challenge of creating something unique for my partner. As I have pointed out to my husband before, just because it’s small (must measure between 9”x9” and 20”x20”) it doesn’t mean it’s any easier.

I’ve decided to finally make a design that has been in my EQ folder for a couple of years. I drafted this design when I was playing around with designs made up entirely of HST’s.

DQS13 - game plan


Saturday, January 12, 2013
I finished up my Sparkle Plenty quilt top yesterday. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Once I was done I stuck it up on the design wall for a picture. I was admiring my work when it hit me how far I have come in quilting when compared with the first quilt top I ever pieced.
a finish
I was excited to see that my boring work of squaring up the each and every one of those 108 HST blocks paid off. 95% of my corners and points match up perfectly. The quilt top actually looks nice and square (there is a slight distortion from the camera.) On the back my seams are laying nice and flat. The seams are also 1/4” like they are supposed to be. I share this not to show off and say “hey look at me, I’m an awesome quilter, neener neener!” I share it to show you what you can accomplish if you stick with quilting.
I started quilting/sewing 7 years ago and my first quilt top has much to be desired. It is so wonky, not square and full of mistakes. I had no idea what bias meant. I had no clue that fabric needs to be cut a certain way in order to minimize stretch. Or that once cut it needs to be handled with care to avoid distortion. I didn’t know that you had to be careful with the iron as well. A 1/4” seam allowance? HA! some of the seams on my first quilt were non existent in some places. I literally had to go back and repair the quilt top (a few years ago) so that it could be quilted.
Still I have loved learning without restraint. The only quilting class I have ever taken was a free motion quilting class for beginners and I took it after I had been quilting for about 4 years. If I had started my quilting journey with proper “training” I think I would have held myself back from trying things that sound too difficult.
If you are just starting out on your quilting journey, DON’T give up! Don’t compare yourself to other quilters. Just give your project your best effort and as you practice, practice, practice – as with all things, you’ll get better. Learn those little tips and tricks from fellow quilters that will help your quilting become awesome. Be willing to try different tips, but also be willing to discard those that don’t work for YOU. There are many ways of achieving the same result and no one way is the right way to do things.
ok, that was a long winded post.

Have a great weekend!
~ Norma
 Linking up to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday

Design Wall Monday

Monday, January 7, 2013

You’ve probably noticed that I have been missing since early December. At that time I was busy with seasonal orders for my shop. I was also busy with my own family and our Christmas traditions. This year we spent Christmas in Houston with my in-laws. It’s a 13 hour drive from middle TN according to Google. But Google doesn’t travel with 3 little kids!

Right before leaving I started having computer troubles. Somehow we got infected with malware, something our antivirus didn’t catch. Once we got back from our vacation it was time to really attack the problem. We tried 5 or 6 different programs and scans to fix the computer and nothing worked. Finally we backed up all the files and did a complete wipe and re-install.

It worked and now I have clean slate to work with! Unfortunately I can’t find my software cd’s for Adobe Illustrator from our recent move. I use it for all of my portrait silhouettes and use it often for designing applique and some of my quilts. grrr!

To drown out my sorrows I decided to start a new project on New Year’s Eve. I don’t like staying up late anymore so I need to be actively doing something so I don’t fall asleep. I’ve been working on this fun project for the New Year:

sparkle plenty

I got a kit from Connecting Threads (no longer available) for around $25! I thought it was a steal and so did lots of people because they sold out quickly. The pattern is called “Sparkle Plenty” by Loft Creations.

~ Norma
PS make sure you go see what every one else is working on at Judy’s

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