Friday, June 25, 2010

Organized at last!

I've always been extremely neat and organized, almost neurotically so, except when it came to my sewing room.  In there it seems that I've just never had the right kind of storage or enough of it, but I didn't really know what I needed or wanted.  Things would pile up, I'd set things aside to sort "later" but we all know that later never gets here.  Finally I got a new Billy bookcase from Ikea this week.  Should have gotten it long ago, I'm so pleased with it!  

I had a Billy bookcase from a few years ago and had all of my fabric stuffed into it, but it was just barely 24" wide and things didn't quite fold nicely without having to specially make room.  Hard to explain, but it just didn't fit well.  This new one is supposedly the same bookcase, but they're making them a tad wider now, and it's PERFECT!  
So now I have Big Billy (new one), Little Billy (old one), and this little guy in the middle.  The little one isn't an actual Billy Bookcase but I call him Baby Billy (he's adopted, don't tell him .. shhhhh!).  I have some patterns in binders standing down at the bottom of Big Billy, and all of my fabric fits just right without having to fiddle with folding!

On Baby I have miscellaneous things, like pre-bought Christmas stuff on the bottom shelf there (I buy ahead when I see a good sale, never pass up a good deal!), business cards, brochures for #quiltchat and Quilts of Valour, notions, etc.  

Little Billy holds my quilting magazines, books, and patterns, folders for QoV, Canucks stuff, freezer paper, wonder under, everything that was set aside to put away "later".  Later came!

I have quite a few Ikea things in here actually, I could do an ad for them!  Besides the Billies I have both of my tables, trash can, and wire drawers, all Ikea.  The table in front of the window there is called Big Redlegs, because it has red legs and it's bigger than the other table.  It's for doing all my cutting and designing patterns on.  The smaller table against the wall is of course Little Redlegs, for obvious reasons.  It has my sewing machine and thread storage.  The ribbons I've won in various quilting competitions are displayed there next to the window.  In the wire drawer unit under Big Redlegs I keep PHD's (Projects Half Done, aka UFO's), templates, freezer paper and cardboard for making templates.  My scrap bin is under there too, just to the left of the basket thing.

I'm very pleased with my sewing room now.  I can go in there and not feel overwhelmed with the clutter, there's a place for everything and everything is in its place.  It will be very easy to keep it tidy from now on.  Now I'm working on a wall-hanging to put up on the wall above my sewing machine. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hoffman Challenge 2010

This is the focus fabric for the Hoffman Challenge 2010.  As soon as I saw it I LOVED it, which is rare for challenge fabric.  They tend to pick something that's a little off-beat, quirky colours, stuff that is hard to work with.  These are colours I have all over my house so I had no problem at all using it.

Here's the design I came up with.  I used the focus fabric, plus various prints in chartreuse, yellow, teal, turquoise and other blues.  I made a heart template for the large flowers and cut out four identical hearts from the focus print, put them together to create each flower.  There are no two alike.  All of the half-flowers and buds are different too.  The hummingbird has some focus fabric on its belly.  I used the challenge thread (sulky) for the quilting and to embroider the detail on the bird, butterflies and the little curlicues on the vines.   The quilt is named "Of a Feather" because there are feathers appliqued around the center medallion, feathers in the bird, and feathers in the quilting among the cross-hatch grid.

Here are close-ups of the four corners of the quilt, showing the detail in the hummingbird and the quilting.

This is the back of the quilt, I love looking at them once they're all quilted and seeing the detail it shows.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Finished the Birds quilt ...

For the past 3 weeks or so I've been working on another quilt for a customer, one that has given me lots to do in the past few years.  She makes lovely quilts, they're always so much fun to quilt.  

This one is from a book called Birds of a Feather.  It's a sampler quilt with some blocks in applique with birds and flowers, leaves, pears, all kinds of neat stuff, and every here and there is a traditional pieced block like 4-patch or flying geese.  She liked the way they had done the quilting on many of the blocks as shown in the book and had very conveniently loaned me the book with sticky notes posted here and there.   

While I was quilting, I'd get to a particular block, look it up in the book to see if she'd left any notes, then quilt it.   Easy schmeezy!  I didn't have good light to get a picture of the whole quilt but I did get some pics of a few areas here and there on it to show the quilting.

The top picture shown here is typical of the appliqued blocks with a few of the traditional ones around it.  I quilted random leaf shapes in the background of the blocks, in the ditch around the applique, then feathers in the birds' wings, outlines in the leaves and vases.  The half-square-triangles have a feathered design quilted in them, then there's a diagonal cross-hatch in the 4-patch blocks above.
The middle picture shows another applique block with the leaves and feathers, then just a 1/4" outline in the hourglass blocks on the left.  The border was all quilted with diagonal lines, all 4 corners look like this.

In order to get the corners to all match, so I wouldn't end up with two opposite funky corners (if you draw it out in your mind you'll see what I mean), I had to reverse directions halfway around the border on each side so the diagonal lines would go on the right angle and point towards the corner.  More birds with feathered wings and leaves behind them.