Prep Work 101

March 31, 2011

It really IS all about size...Spray sizing that is.
Magic Sizing is one of the products I can't quilt without.  I spray size EVERYTHING.  Every piece of fabric that walks through my door, including charm squares.  Sizing has made all the difference in the accuracy of my piecing.  I used to find that when piecing my blocks, they were always a bit smaller than they should have been, even though I checked my 1/4" before I started.  Very frustrating.  A few years ago I was fortunate to take a class with Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings and she preached the wonders of Magic Sizing.  She said it would without a doubt improve your piecing.  And she told us where to buy it and how incredibly cheap it was.
Sure enough, $ 0.97 cents!!!  Wow.  Now like Lisa, I nearly buy it by the case.  I always have at least 6 cans of it on hand!!
Before I start any project, I do a little prep work with Magic Sizing.  Every Le Petite project uses at least 2 charm squares.  It may sound like a lot of unnecessary, tedious work, but it's worth it because my piecing is always spot on!  AND trust me, I don't have any spare time, so if I do it, it must be worth it. 
Now that I have an ironing station, I usually set myself up with a movie or show playing on my iPad and sit on my saddle stool and size all my charms up.  I always play a movie or show I've seen a million times because mostly I'm listening to it.  Time just flies and before I know it I've sized 2 packages of charm squares.  I will warn you that your charm squares will shrink up a bit.  Usually at least an 1/8".  Most patterns allow for this, I believe, but if you need the full 5" then you don't want to size your fabric.

The Le Petite project for this month is "Endless Summer" by Heartspun Quilts.  I was pleasantly surprised to read in the general directions she recommended sizing the fabric before cutting to improve accuracy.  That was an awesome tip to include.  I know Carrie Nelson also preps her fabric including charm squares as well.  Carrie posted about it here.  She uses a different product that I have not yet tried, but plan to soon.

I plan on making my Le Petite project tonight.  Yes, tonight.

30s Revisit

March 29, 2011

So what have I been up to???  Everything and anything!  I'm pretty sure in the last 5 days the only time I've sat still for longer than 5 minutes is when I have been sleeping.  The quilt shop was very busy last weekend because there was a little quilt show in town sponsored by the local business association.  I didn't work Saturday, but I worked Sunday and Monday.  Fortunately, I received calls from quite a few potential quilting customers that had seen my work in the shop over the weekend.  :-)  I drew up a design for one of my customers and she really liked it.  The only thing is...I have never quilted it.  Luckily, if I can draw it then I can quilt.  AND my quilting looks way better than my drawing!!  LOL!  So, I decided to revisit my UFO pile to see if I could find something to practice the design.  As luck would have it, I found a 30s UFO that would work perfect!
It's a top I started a few years ago.  It's a jelly roll quilt.  As you can see, I need to apply borders still.  That's always my problem, I never seem to want to get the borders on a top.  So this morning before I headed off to work, I did finally get the borders on.
It's a very happy looking quilt.  I really like it, but Scott is not a fan of the fabric.  I hope he changes his mind once I work some of my "magic" on it.  It's a nice sized lap quilt.  It measures about 62" x 73".  Give or take because this quilt is NOT square.  Oh and there is some fullness in the body of it.  I made this before I really knew what I was doing.  It should be great practice for me!  I will piece the backing when I get home.  I will be doing some marking in the borders and onto Annie it will go.  I can't wait to start quilting it.  Practice AND getting another UFO busted out!

Scott wants to give a big thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes.  Remember in January when I wrote that we surprised the girls with Silly String when they were blowing out their candles.  Well, the girls thought it was payback time!!!  LOL!
Too bad Scott knew it was coming because the girls could hardly contain themselves!!  :-)

Look Who's Turning 40

March 25, 2011

Noooooo, it's not me.  Scott is turning the BIG 40 on Saturday!!!  Yes, I married an older man. Hee-heee!  Happy Birthday, Scott!  Scott may have gotten older, but few things have changed over the years...
Loves fishing.  Then...
Still loves to fish.  Now...
One word...Hockey.  Then...
Now...  Hmmm, I can't believe it...is that Scott in the Penalty Box???  :-)
Always a Spartan.  Then...  (center)

Now...
Clearly this photo was taken before the game started because we are still smiling.

We want to wish you a Happy Birthday!!
We love you!!

Paganini Quilted

March 24, 2011

Another day...another Happy Dance!!  Paganini is moved up to star status!!  I love how it turned out!! Paganini is a Schnibbles pattern from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. by Carrie Nelson.  It was the October Le Petite project from last year.  All fabric is from French General.  It took me 3 times to get the quilting right on this little quilt.  I frogged it twice!!  There were more holes in this than Swiss Cheese!  LOL!  I did all the feathers and feather wreaths freehand.  I used a ruler to to stitch in the ditch and make the the little diamonds in the centers.  I was able to practice some new techniques.  Stitching in the ditch and using a ruler on the LA is pretty hard work, but I loved every second of it!!  I love how the quilting made it look like trapunto.  Three was the magic number.  I'm glad I didn't settle with other quilting because this design was the best for Paganini.
I gave it a wash yesterday.
Big difference from before quilting!!!  Wow.
The back.

I would not have been able to make this with without a little help.  Scott used freezer paper to make a scallop template for me.  He did a wonderful job too because it's pretty good.  I will save the template for future use.  AND Scooter, my sister Kristin's kitty, seem to really enjoy "helping me as well."  :-)
Just the design help I was looking for.  Oh and he thought he was certified to longarm quilt too.
He studied me from the floor for hours trying to figure out how to get up there!!  LOL!!  Too bad when he finally did, I had to give him the boot so he didn't get hurt.  Scooter seems to have particular love for Miss Rosie's Quilt patterns too!!  :-)

I'm off to the eye doctor to get fitted for contact lenses.  A trial run to see how I do...

Butter Churn Quilted

March 23, 2011

"Butter Churn" was the Le Petite project for last November.  It is a This & That pattern by Sherri K. Falls.  The majority of the fabric is from two charm squares of Clermont Farms by Minick and Simpson.  I was reminded by someone that I never wrote a post about it being completed.  I wrote a post back in February showing it half quilted.  Another Happy Dance here because it's another busted out UFO!!  Yippee!
I can't believe I forgot to show it finished!!  LOL!  I love how it looks after a good bath.  All crinkly!!  I always feel the quilting just brings a top to life.  Here it is before I quilted it.
 
I would like to now hang it here in Annie's studio, but we have to figure out a good way to hang things on cement walls...
I, of course have been modeling it on my table like I do most of my Le Petite projects. :-)
Tomorrow I'll be able to show Paganini in all it's glory.  I will be stitching down the binding tonight at the library while the girls are at dance.  I have to say...I love it!!

Where Does My Time Go???

March 21, 2011

Well, Saturday was dance picture day for the girls.  It was a day l-o-n-g extravaganza for me.  The girls are in 5 dances in the recital in June, so they had 5 different picture times on Saturday, which is why it took so long.  I did really enjoy getting to see them all dressed up in each of their costumes.  Preparations start the night before.  I lay out all their "gear" to make sure we have everything.
10 outfits and 10 pairs of shoes...= $$$$$$.  Trust me, when I see the girls up on stage during the recital...it's worth every penny!!  I usually have to keep from crying the whole time!  LOL!

So where else does my time go??  Well, you all know I have a family, I'm a quilter...now a LA quilter, and I work one or two days a week at a quilt shop (does that count??...because I'm getting paid to touch beautiful fabric all day...LOL!).  Some of you might remember I also work as a traveling makeup artist for a BIG cosmetic company.  The company's initials are E.L.  When I first started my blog, I commented that I was the queen of part-time jobs.  Now that it is Spring, I work at my friend/neighbor's ice cream shop, The Dairy Delite.  I work mostly in the Spring and Fall during the day while the kids are in school.  The owners employ high school and college students, so I work during the day while the they are in school.  It's an awesome job because I love the owners, it's close to home and I'm home when the girls get home.  The only problem with that job...I'm surrounded by yummy, diet sabotaging food all day! :-)  On occasion, I also work at my friend Daphne's shop when she needs my help.  Whew, and I wonder where my time goes???  LOL! I hope this helps explain why I've been posting less the past month.

Now that I'm quilting for others, I will be phasing out the traveling makeup artist role.  I'm tired of traveling on weekends.  It became too much time away from home, not to mention gas prices.  Last Fall, we decided to make the leap into the world of longarming.  I can be home with my family, while making a little extra cash.  Oh and I am loving quilting for others!  I am so looking forward to this new journey.  I just recieved my business cards!  I'm so excited!!  The printing company also sent me some complimentary bags too.
Love it!!!  I just received two rolls of batting for customer quilts.  I will be able to offer Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and Hobbs Heirloom Wool.  I'm just getting everything figured out and set with my prices.  I would be thrilled if anyone would like me to quilt for them!!!  And honored...and humbled.  Please email me with questions and details.  I am so excited!!  Have I mentioned that??  :-)

I did find a few spare moments this weekend to practice on Annie.  I loaded up "Paganini" for the third time.  That's a story for later.  Seems third time is a charm because I'm finally loving it!  Here's a peek...

It Feels Like Spring At The Quilted Pineapple

March 17, 2011

It's finally starting to feel like Spring here!  Starting with this happy baby quilt.
It's done!!  I just love it!  The quilt is for a baby girl, so I thought some pretty swirly daises were in order.  Again it's all freehand.  I took about a 100 photos of this quilt.  It was hard for me to choose which one to post because it's just so cute!!


I love all the texture on the back.  I received a lovely email yesterday from the customer, Kim regarding the quilting.  She loved it, so far!! I feel super honored that Kim trusted me to quilt this.

I have a little story with this quilt...there was some frogging done on it.  LOL!!  I'm learning every day more and more I'm a tiny BIG perfectionist.  I started quilting this and realized I wasn't completely happy with the thread color I chose.  I should have stuck with my gut feeling and went with the pale yellow to begin with!  I called Scott for a second opinion.  He, of course thought it was lovely and to NOT remove the stitches.  I didn't listen and out they went.  Scott took pity on me and helped me!!  What a guy!!  Thank goodness because it was more of job then I thought was going to be!  He sat on one side of the machine on my stool and I sat right on top of my table!!
Have I mentioned the A-1 is built like a rock??  I am so glad I changed the thread because I love how the quilt turned out!

Look!!
I've been waiting for what seems like forever to see these...daffodils will be blooming soon!!

I'm off to pick my NCAA Tourney Brackets.  Our family does this every year.  There are eleven of us total that play.  The winner gets $110!!  And guess who's won the last TWO YEARS???  ME!!!!  Oh yes, I have a big target on my back.  I"ll tell you my strategy...I pick with my heart.  I always have Michigan State in the final!!!  The last two years Michigan State has made a surprising run for the championship.  No one else picked them to make it that far, but me.  This season has been a rough one for MSU.  MSU Ladies Basketball, however has had a phenomenal season!  Way to go!  Now, back to my brackets... should I follow my heart (wishful thinking) or common sense???  It IS St. Patrick's day, so maybe I should go for the GREEN!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Just A Quickie

March 16, 2011

Trying to keep up.  That seems to be the theme of my life right now.  Elaina came home from school sick the other day.  I think the poor thing had a touch of the flu.  She had just started feeling better and got sick again.  She went to school today.  I'm off to work at the shop today and then off to dance tonight.  L-o-n-g day...!!

I have a quilt loaded on Annie.  It is a customer's baby quilt.  It looks "Spring" to me.  I thought I would give a quickie peek before I head off to work.
Pretty all over flowers and swirls!  I'm loving it so far!  I will have the whole quilt to show tomorrow and a little story with it.

Weekend Recap

March 14, 2011

Another weekend that just flew by!  I would like to report that I accomplished a lot this weekend, but that was not the case.  I did manage to get the binding done on the Scrappy Tumbler quilt.  This is cause for the Happy Dance because that means I have completely busted out my first UFO for the year!!  Yippee!!  I think this quilt is going to be a welcome addition to the family.  Well, at least Sarge seems to think so!
Sarge cuddled up while I was sewing on the binding!  I think he likes wool batting too!!  LOL!
Looks nice on the couch...
Even looks nice on my table.  Hmmm, thinking I might need to make another one!! :-)
My friend Patti treated me to a special dinner last weekend too.  It was my Christmas present.  She treated me to a Mardi Gras themed dinner at Southern Exposure Herb Farm.  Southern Exposure is a beautiful and amazing place to visit.  They do specialty themed dinners, weddings, cooking and decorating workshops and trips.  It's actually the beautiful setting for all of Edyta Sitar's books.   As I mentioned our dinner was a Mardi Gras themed dinner.  It was so much fun and delicious.  I forgot my camera, but Patti, thank goodness remembered her's.  We were greeted by vallet.  When we walked in we were greeted with a drink called the Hurricane and seated.  Our plates had these fun masks and beads!
Patti
Both of us, but our pic is a little blurry.
We sat with four other people at our table.  It was fun to meet new people.  We met a few ladies that were quilters too!!  Southern Exposure is so beautifully decorated in a French Country style.
We ended our evening with the most delicious Bourbon Chocolate Cheesecake!!  All the ladies were also treated to a long stem red rose.
Naughty, but oh so good!  Notice the tablecloth...it's a quilt!  Looks almost like French General.  We had such a wonderful time.  Thanks Patti!!

Scrappy Tumbler Quilted

March 11, 2011

I didn't get to post yesterday because I have been busy taking care of some sick little girls.  Both girls are sick with what I had.  They have terrible coughs.  They have both missed school.  AND to make matters worse Elaina is also sick with her CVS spell.  I posted about it here.  It occurs about every 11 1/2 weeks.  Actually, the last two spells have been short 12 weeks apart by one day.  Unfortunately, I was expecting it.  Remember, her last spell was in December. I'm always praying that a miracle will happen and she won't get sick.  My heart always falls into my stomach when she calls for me first thing in the morning that she is going to be sick.  Yesterday morning was no different.  Poor thing has never been sick with a cold AND her spell.
On a happy note, I did get my Scrappy Tumbler quilted!!  Yes, I was doing the Happy Dance.  :-)  I have to say "I LOVE IT!"  I am very pleased with the quilting.
 I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it looks.  I quilted the entire top freehand.
I used wool batting.  Have I mentioned how much I love wool batting???  It's the best!!  It makes the quilting look so beautiful, even without being washed yet.
 I did have a few minor hurdles to overcome with this quilt.  First, if you remember I originally planned on FMQ this on my Janome 6600P, so I had already spray basted and layered the quilt together.
Yeah, that ended up being a bit of a sticky situation.  Ha, ha!!  It just made everything really sticky on Annie.  I just had to make sure everything rolled up evenly, so there were no pleats.  The batting was the biggest pain.  It really wanted to stick together!
Second, my backing was almost not big enough for Annie.  LAers need about an extra 8" in width and length on a backing.  As you roll the quilt on a LA, you need that extra fabric, especially if the quilt isn't very square.  I like to use the image of rolling a phone book up as an example.  If the quilt backing isn't that much bigger than the top, you'll run out of backing before the quilt top is quilted.  I JUST made it.  My top was surprisingly pretty square.

Third, I didn't do a very good job piecing the backing.  I had some fullness in the seams.  That would cause the backing to sag a bit in places.  I made some adjustments as I would advance the quilt to make sure I didn't quilt in any pleats on the backing.

I'm so excited to have one of my quilts to use in my house!!  I've been draping it around the furniture to see how it looks.  Well, admiring how it looks!!  LOL!  I will be working on the binding this weekend in my spare time.  I plan on practicing border designs, specifically feather borders.  I'm thrilled to say I've been getting customer quilts in, so I need to get going on those!!  I want to thank everyone for all the kind and encouraging comments regarding my quilting!!  Thanks so much!!

***Prayers to all those effected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami***