Easter Quilts & More Machine Talk

I was just going through my quilts looking for Easter ones and I came across these two to share. The first was one I designed for McCall’s Quick Quilts a few years back. I love it more and more every time I see it. I will be turning this into a Quilt Cabana Pattern in the future.

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And this little cutie is from my book, Little Quilts For Big Occasions. It fits in that wall space perfectly!

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I love choosing quilts to display for each holiday.

Machine Buying – Ok, so I went back to the sewing center today to purchase the Baby Lock Symphony and of course, it was out of stock. I brought my Viking to trade in and had a discussion with the salesman about the free motion issue as I wanted to be upfront about the machine. He told me it is a common problem and that they have discontinued Viking machines because of too many problems with them.

Since the Symphony was not immediately available, he offered me the next model up, the Esante. This is a sewing/embroidery combo. It would have been $800 more but he was willing to work with me and offer it for $300 more…kind of a no brainer EXCEPT that the Esante is really geared toward embroidery. It was missing all the good free motion feet which he offered to throw in plus the piecing foot. I hemmed and hawed but noticed it also didn’t come with the extra bobbin case, it didn’t have the pivot function or the button on the screen to lower feed dogs from there without reaching around. I didn’t know what to do…give up that quilty stuff for embroidery? I already have an embroidery machine…a cheaper one but just the same, I don’t use it much.

In the end, I ordered the Symphony which will be here in a few days. The very nice man also gave me $600 instead of $500 for my trade in and is throwing in a dozen bobbins too. I will do a post with their link next time around. Have to run now…

I am thrilled about the new machine and can’t wait to move forward on my quilting journey with a properly functioning machine. A machine having trouble can really bring a girl down!

Forgot this quilt from Seasonal Trios!

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New Machine Decision & Artsy Progress

So I’ve decided to say “goodbye” to this machine and trade her in!

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I bought this machine (Viking Sapphire 875Q) a few years ago when I was looking to upgrade to larger throat space and more functionality. It has been a great machine but I’m ready to upgrade again. This machine can be a little persnickety about my thread choices and I feel like that is very limiting especially when I’m enjoying creating art quilts more and more. The thought to trade the machine in came to mind and I realized that it was entirely possible for me to do just that…trade it in and get something newer.

I spent hours online researching machines that fit my “requirements” and found out that there aren’t that many machines out there that fit the bill. I still need a large throat space, a machine that is for sewing/quilting but without the embroidery function. I have a stand alone embroidery machine and I don’t use it all that much, truthfully. When my kids were small I would make all kinds of embroidered pillow cases for them but now they aren’t too interested in that. I also really like the ability to pivot while appliqueing as well as good lighting on the machine, the automatic thread cutting and bobbin sensor…and it had to be within my budget. So obviously, a Bernina was out! The lack of throat space on any model I could afford was a deterrent for sure.

I narrowed it down to two choices to go test drive at the sewing center…A Baby Lock Symphony and a Janome Horizon 7700. When I got the store, they didn’t have the Janome 7700 but they did have the next one up (Janome 8900). I spent an hour and twenty minutes at the store with a wonderful woman who didn’t balk once at my wanting to try all sorts of functions on each one and then do it again! LOL. She assured me playing with the machines was her job and no worries. I really loved the look and feel of the Symphony. It has everything I want but the throat space is a smidge smaller (8.5″)than my current machine (which has 10″) and the Janome (11″). However, the space near the needle threader is taller than what I have currently and also taller than that space on the Janome. I’m willing to give up a little throat space in order to have more room to maneuver my big old hands while changing out presser feet and needles. My knuckles will thank me!! I did some free motion quilting on the machine and I like the way the stitches look and that it comes with several free motion feet. I also love the large extension table that it comes with. This machine is around $2,000.

The Janome 8900 was very impressive as well. It had a wealth of stitches, a large extension table and seemed to be the sweet heart of the store.
Right away I didn’t care for the jog dial on the front of the machine. It wasn’t quite as computerized as the Symphony. I tried out lots of stitches and the free motion and I don’t know if it was the lighting or the machine or my imagination but I didn’t love the way the stitches looked. They just didn’t appear as smooth as the other machine. This machine does have the dual feed action though which I could feel and would be very nice to have. I wanted to love this machine but I didn’t. I couldn’t find enough things about it that were different from the Symphony to justify the $2,900 price tag.

I decided to go for the Symphony and I’m headed back to the store tomorrow to either purchase or order it depending on if they have it in stock. I packed up my Viking Sapphire 875Q this morning. It will be a little sad to see her go but I think I’m going to really love this new one. I should mention that online I did also look at Brother machines (basically the same company as Baby Lock) and I did poke around the Bernina website but I would have to pay about $7,000 to get everything I like in a machine. For that amount, I’d just as soon get a sit down quilting machine.

I have to thank the Twilters for all of their advice yesterday via tweets! It’s way more fun choosing a machine with friends helping every step of the way. Lucky for me, Diane has a Symphony and has been so helpful with my questions!

Ok, on to the art quilt…I finished the stitching on the black part of the t-shirt and I stitched the arms, legs, face, etc. So basically the hard part is done. Now all that remains is the background. Any suggestions on quilting this? I am thinking straight lines across with different colors of green depending on which green section I’m working on…so light green on the light green parts, dark on the dark green parts. I don’t want anymore stippling because that is what the majority of the skin and shirt etc were.

Amanda mentioned leaves but I’m not sold on that even though she is the ‘star’ of the quilt! LOL.

Here are the pics of my progress this week…

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Have a great night!
Sandi

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Visit The Project Hope Online Quilt Show

As we take time this morning to remember the events of the Boston Marathon last year, you might want to revisit the Project Hope Online Quilt Show from last April. The 12″ x 12″ art quilts featured in this Flickr Group were the personal responses quilters had to the tragedy.

Click below to view…

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2173269@N24/

Sandi

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Weekend Progress

Well, happy Monday! I’m sitting at home while my car is in the shop getting a hole in the tire fixed and new rear brakes. Not how I intended to spend this morning but now I can catch up on laundry and blog posts! See, a silver lining lies within.

We had gorgeous weather over the weekend! The lawn chairs came out and the badminton net went up! It was blissful. Today is another beauty, Wednesday will be a different story…anyway…

We also painted and hung up the three bird houses that the girls have made over the years in Tech Ed class. I love this tree with all of its fun color.
Isn’t it fun?

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I’m going to send a picture to the Tech Ed teacher since he may wonder if the kids ever actually paint the birdhouses and hang them. I feel like I would want to know that they were being used.

I worked on the art quilt some…got the hair thread sketched…

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Got the shorts stitched…

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Got the white t-shirt logo appliqueing done…

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Went back to the granny square crocheting. I changed up the color of the yellow yarn. The original one on the left is too pale looking for the living room. I really need a gold color. I like the gold on the right much better. Also…check out how much better the square came out second time around. I am looking forward to moving along on this during the week. I really do enjoy crochet.

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How was your weekend?

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Almost Ready For Thread

Happy Tuesday!

This week I’m working on getting the art quilt of my daughter to the basting stage so I can begin some thread sketching. I spent yesterday trying to get the logo on the t-shirt to look similar to what’s in the photo. The actual t-shirt has a lot of detail to it but I’m ok with just getting the idea of it across and not having it be exact. I also spent time painting the skin with a mixture of textile paint in an aloe vera gel medium. My aloe expired a few years ago but it was still ok to use mixed with paint.

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I used the paint to give the skin some tone and variation.

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I also broke out the Inktense blocks and created some highlights in the hair and some fold marks on the shorts.

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I’m thrilled with the progress and the next step now will be to layer, baste and do some quilting/thread sketching.

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This week I received an awesome picture of my nephew, Jon, sporting his new t-shirt quilt! My mom delivered this out to him over the weekend and I heard from Jon shortly after that he loved it. My sister sent me a message later saying that she was snuggling up under it too. I have the sashing and fleece all purchased for his sister’s t-shirt quilt and will start working on that soon.

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Enjoy the day!

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New Pattern, Progress & Turkeys

My new Happy Cupcakes Table Runner pattern has been published this week and is available through QuiltWoman as a paper pattern or download!
I made this with cheery fabric from Holly Holderman but any cupcake novelty will be adorable. I can’t wait to use this at our next function!! It will be so cute on the table for a party. The novelty fabric could also be donuts or cookies or something other than food. It’s very versatile. The Diamond In A Square and Electric Fan blocks compliment each other and work well with bright fabrics!

Here it is!
Happy Cupcakes Hi-Res Photo blog

Happy Cupcakes 3

Happy Cupcakes 2

Click Here For Ordering Information

This week I spent some time on constructing a background for my art quilt of Amanda laying in the grass. I also got the pieces fused to the background and I did some stitching on the hair and face. I have a long way to go with this but I’m really excited about it. More on that in a later post. I took the photo standing at her head so the proper way to look at this quilt is the way it is shown here.

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I’ll be working on her t-shirt detail next.

And…this was the scene on the way to school yesterday…we had to slow down for a turkey crossing…too funny!!

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Have a wonderful Friday everyone!!!

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In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lion?

It’s snowing. Yep, that’s right. Can you hear my sigh???? When will this winter be over for real?

It was cold and rainy all weekend but we still managed to have some fun around here. For me, the fun started on Thursday night when a bunch of us headed to a local restaurant to participate in Paint Nite. We went to the function room where easels, aprons, paints and drinks were waiting! We carefully followed instructions to paint masterpieces…we also laughed ourselves silly when we went overboard with a color or dripped a line of paint right smack down the middle of our canvas! This was put on by the company titled Paint Nite and although it was supposed to cost $45, we had a local coupon through Amazon to paint for $25. The cost of drinks was not included. I will say though, we barely had time to drink the one glass of wine we had!

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Our fun group…

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My masterpiece…

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Saturday was another fun day spent at my cousin’s bridal shower in Connecticut. Diane’s shower was beautiful. It was held at the Barcelona Wine Bar and we had much fun with the family. The party favors were so cute…little ramekins full of apple pie and they were delicious…

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We also played a little Bingo while the gifts were being opened…cute idea to keep everyone interested in what’s in those gift boxes.

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These two silly girls won Bingo and the prizes were colorful mason jars full of dried flowers…

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My mom and I also won Bingo…now we have lots of pretty mason jars!

How was your weekend?

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Woes & Artsy Progress

I’m happy to say after a day of trying to fix this dang laptop, it’s working again. Not sure what happened but the short version is that I ended up having to refresh the whole laptop which means lose all your programs which means spend the day reinstalling programs…ack, ugh, no fun. However…in between reinstalling and pressing buttons here and there, I ran back and forth between sewing room and ironing board and worked on a new art quilt.

After watching Wendy Butler Burn’s Craftsy class (Pictoral Quilts), I had the itch to make my own art quilt using human form but not use all of her techniques. She is a wonderful teacher and spends so much time perfecting every step…me, not so much. If there’s a way I can do something with fusible and not turn edges down, I’m there. I’m your girl. So I traced this picture I had of Amanda from 2 summers ago.

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I scanned it and copied it into Photoshop. From there I printed it as a poster size PDF file and taped all the pages together. This is where Wendy would send you to Kinko’s for an enlargement…no time for that!

I printed it twice so that I could cut one up into template pieces. This should have been done on freezer paper but regular printer paper works just fine if you are going to use fusible web and reverse the image anyway.

I hung the master copy on the design wall and started choosing fabrics and pinning the pieces to the master.

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I continued to do this all afternoon and here is where I’m leaving off for the day…

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In my excitement, I neglected to piece or choose a background fabric so that will need to come next…a girl needs a place to fuse these pieces to after all!

I am windowing my fusing so that I can stitch over it more easily. I forgot to do that with the hair and face so I might need a redo or to stitch those pieces before I fuse them to the background so there’s less bulk for the needle to go through.

Any suggestions for background piecing? I’m thinking lots of different colored green squares. I don’t think I have anything big enough to use as one piece in my meager stash. I think pieced will be more interesting anyway.

I’m off to make dinner as we have a few kids here for dinner and AP History project homework.

Hope your day was really much better than mine!!!

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Monday’s Update/Swap

Did you all have a wonderful weekend? We had a busy one but it was fun. The girls and I got some Easter dress shopping accomplished and I was able to whip up another pair of slippers. This time I used sherpa as the lining and I made them one size bigger. The last pair was a smidge too small. This pair fits me perfectly from heel to toe but they are a little large on the sides. I will definitely still wear them as they are so warm and comfy.

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When these wear out, I’ll adjust the pattern so that I follow the lines for the heel to toe size but I’ll reduce the size to the next one down for the sides. Leah is in love with this fleece and wants a pair made out of it for herself. Looks like I’ll be heading back to Joann’s for more fleece!

So, I can’t believe it but we signed my oldest, Amanda, up for the school trip to France next year!!! I know, right? Scary as h, e, double hockey sticks as my kids would say. I’m dying inside but I know this is a trip of a lifetime and it will be well run, she will have a blast and she will be just fine. Her friends are all going and I can’t find one good reason to say, ‘no’…believe me, I’ve run through all of the reasons I can think of and there just isn’t a valid one. My heart is in my throat over it but being a person who used to not be afraid of much and is now afraid of everything, I can’t hold her back based on my own cowardice. Right? Let me get the tissues….

Ok, on to other news…if you haven’t gone to the Flickr Group for the spring postcard swap…you must!! The pictures are piling in and each postcard is a work of art in and of itself. I can’t wait to see the rest of them as they roll in. Click the link below to see them.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/2532747@N24/

If after seeing these you decide you can’t stand to not be a part of the summer swap, please let me know that you would like to join and I’ll add you to the list.

You might also want to revisit the Project Hope Online Quilt Show with the anniversary of the Boston Marathon coming up. This was an online quilt show featuring small art quilts with our hopes for each other in the midst of tragedy. Click link below for this group.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/2173269@N24/

Have a beautiful Monday!

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New Look And Progress

The blog looks different but it’s still little o’l me doing the posting! It was time for a fresh, new look around here. What do you think?

Over the weekend I managed to get a few small things accomplished. Whenever I had time over the last few days, I hopped into the sewing room and did a step on a project here and there…and it added up to some finishes…

I made 5 Comfort Bears so that the next time the police station needs replenishing, I’ll have a bunch ready for them.

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I worked on more buntings for Angel Outfitters. I have 12 made so far.

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I pulled out the Cozy Toes pattern that I received from my mom at Christmas (ordered through Nancy’s Notions) and made some slippers. These are a smidge too small for me so they now belong to Amanda. She was thrilled. I’ll make them again but this time using Sherpa for the lining instead of faux fur. The fur was a mess to work with and it was hard to sew because I couldn’t see where I was sewing with all that fluff in the way.

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Saturday I took a 3.5 mile walk with Amanda. My Fitbit probably thought I was having a major malfunction…I logged 12,500 steps!! We also took a picture of this cute mailbox along the way.

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Easter is around the corner and you have time to make this mini quilt…it’s from the Second Seasonal Trio series and measures 12″ x 12″. You can order here.

Easter Joy

Sandi

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