Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Making My Sewing Machine Free Motion Friendly!

There she be!
My perfect little sewing table, one my husband made over 20 years ago.
While I quilt my larger projects on our 6' dining table, this one has been perfect for this space and for all my everyday sewing needs.
Except for one!
Free. Motion. Quilting.
Over the years, I have allowed my imagination to throw up so many obstacles to this basic quilting skill!
I thought I had to be able to drop my feed dogs...or I thought I needed to cover my feed dogs, etcetera, ad nauseum!  Well guess what! 2018 is my year to learn FMQ!
 2 days ago, my sweet sewing table took a little trip out to the shop!
And looky what happened!
My very handy, and extremely handsome husband cut into the table and created a shelf/drawer space for my machine to sit in!
I wasn't supposed to show any pics of the underneath, but look how tidy those cords!
 One obstacle down...machine is now flush with the surface of the table!
But what about those pesky feed dogs? 
Look at em just sticking up there like that!!!
It just so happens that my husband  (did I mention he is the "Fix-It-Up-Chappy"?) had already found a solution to this little conundrum one random morning last November or December...
and it involves these little plastic washers that came with my Kenmore, for under the thread, I guess, on the spindles.
Oh yeah! It is about to get really good you guys!
Check this out!
1. Remove cover plate.
 Like so.
See the holes where the screws just came out of?
There are 2 on my machine.
 2. Place washers over the holes.
 3. Replace cover plate.
Ooooh, looky there!
Those feed dogs have virtually cowered in submission!
I have tested it out, and I think the very slight rise in the cover plate will be okay, it is very smooth...we shall see.  At least it is a doable place to start!
The only thing I still lack is a darning foot...and it is on order!
 Enter a most timely Quilt Along led by the talented Jessica Skultety of Quilty Habit
and hosted monthly at the Central Jersey MQG blog! It is open to everyone, not only guild members! Thank you!!!!!
Central New Jersey MQG FMQ QAL
I have my fabrics pulled and 2 more weeks of January left to make my first Fat Quarter FMQ theme! 
Also, a big THANK YOU to Bernie/Needle and Foot for bringing this super fun looking, relaxed QAL to my attention at the beginning of this year! It has really helped catalyze all this progress in my sewing situation!!!!
Woot!

Seriously crushing on my FMQ prospects! 
Linking up with Beth at Main Crush Monday (I know I'm late, but the linky is still open!)
and Lorna at Let's Bee Social!



Sunday, January 7, 2018

A New Year, A New Finish Along!

Marci Girl Designs
I am excited to kick this year off with a bunch of long awaited FINISHES!
I so appreciate all the hostesses, and sponsors who keep this gig going!
My whole sewing year has become habitually framed by these quarters, and I love that!
To the 2018 Q1 List!
1.  Moda Bake Shop quilt
Ombre Confetti Metallic by V. and Co.
This quilt is pieced, all that remains to be done is quilting, binding and writing the tutorial! 
This will be done in short order!
And I hope you all love it!

2. Seeing Stars
You might take note that this has moved to the top of the list!

3. Friedlander HSTs
I foresee finishing these in list order!

4. Graded Linen Plus
Mmmmm! This patient love child of a quilt!
I scored on a great sale of Essex at Modern Studio Fabric,
so there is nothing holding me back on this one!  Be still, my heart!
I happened to find Modern Studio Fabric via Instagram! Janean is streamlining her shop to specialize in linens, shot cottons and basics...you may want to check out her website...she is wonderful to work with!

5.  Hunters Star
image and tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co. blog
I am still figuring out a palette and pull for this one...but it is a custom quilt, a "cousin quilt" if you will to the first quilt on this list...so it will be made!

6.  Great Grandmother's Dresdens
Out of 5 small tops from 20 blocks, I have finished 1 and have 4 to go. 
I really, really need to keep after these and get 'em done!
I don't foresee getting more than one this quarter, but if I do, I will count each as a separate finish.

Sew there it is!
We can do this!
Make yourself a list of projects YOU would like to finish in the next 3 months, and link it up this week! Each finished project is an entry for some great prizes at the end of the quarter, so why not?
Linking up with the Finish Along crew at SheCanQuilt

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Final Big Finish for 2017!

Peaks and Paddocks, for my eldest!
It has languished on several Finish Along lists.
And those are just from this year!
It is quilted simply, in a diagonal grid of about 3", which was dictated by the size of the block units.
It measures "59x84"
And the whites are not all the same...that is okay...it is Boy approved!
This quilt pattern is fun in that it is a simple Shoo-Fly block except one corner triangle has been turned the "wrong" way, resulting in the fun new overall design! It is a Moda Bake Shop recipe, the link is in the name on the first line of this post!
I was lucky to come across the perfect fabric for the backing while I was back in Indiana last year! 
A cowboys fabric, reminiscent of what I had used in his last quilt.
I still had enough scraps from that to put a few pieces in this one!
So pleased to have this one finished and on my son's bed!

I might have called this post
"2 Quilts for 2 Brothers"
The blue and white Irish Chain was my first finish of 2017!
 The red and white was my last!
 I am just glad I was able to finish them in the same year!
"Even steven", you know!
 The boys were most cheerful quilt holders on a snowy, snowy morning!
                                                They are happy to have their quilts!                                                     
 I thought it might be fun to take a quick look back at the other quilts I have made for these guys!
These are their "baby" quilts:
For the elder, 56"x56"
 For the younger, 54"x54"
These were both made before the turn of the century!
(I have not ever said THAT before!)

I think my love of triangles was apparent even back then!
The flying swallows medallion center of the first
 is all hand pieced, a ufo, that was happily incuded in my first baby's quilt!
Both quilts are hand quilted.
Both remain in very good condition, being made of quilt shop fabrics.
Their second round of quilts haven't fared so well, I'm afraid.
 These two represent well my "machine pieced, hand-tied" phase of the 90s into the early 2000s!
They both are backed with a flannel sheet.
These were made for the boys' twin bunk beds and measure 59"x84".
These two quilts endured a lot more wear and tear than the previous two, but the (lower) quality of the fabrics did not help them at all, I'm sure!
Thank you for joining me in my little stroll down memory lane!
Time sure flies, and I am thankful both my boys are still home for now, and that they needed new quilts from their Mama!
Appropriately linking up my final finish this year with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish It Up Friday!

Monday, December 25, 2017

2017: October, November, December!

One simply cannot look to a new year with multiple "messes" strewn about, as if no one will notice.  It is akin to leaving your bed unmade in the morning...it just is not a tidy beginning to a day, or a year!
Slow Stitch Sew Along with @JillWignall
Embroidery basics!
So I aim to spruce this place up a bit with a mighty recap!

I spent many hours of September, and half of October, either up a tree stand hunting for elk with my bow,
(the river bottoms a refreshing oasis of peaceful green and undergrowth, so absent from all our other daily vistas, scorched, blackened and denuded by the fires of late July), 

or else packing out elk for good friends and family who successfully filled their tags!
My son's first archery elk, first bull elk! Well done!

I have this beautiful "choker" to show for my archery efforts this year!
But I had an awesome season anyway!
That continued into October and November, gun season, as well.
his first, and long awaited Pronghorn!
Filled tags also means a lot of processing to get the meat either canned or packaged and into the freezer!

There was sewing too, of course!
Tumble Bug baby, with Sweetwater's Tree House Club, and Timeless Treasures' Color Weave
A store sample for Lewistown's Sew Pieceful, my LQS!
A Friendship Star mini, a "Thank You" for a sweet and helpful Tumble Bug pattern tester!
A birthday zipper pouch for my neighbor...
...and a few fabric "trays", one for each of her daughters!

I finished a quilt that was #3 on my "Unofficial" Q4 Finish ALong list
It is a design I plan to make into a pattern in 2018!
The working name is "Spring Break".
Ironically, the finish and photo shoot coincided with our first snow!
It is a funny, sunny, cute little thing, designed at the urging of my husband, who has always seen HSTs as little bikinis, lol!

The Sewcial Bee Sampler!
The top is assembled, but there are several in the quilting queue ahead of it!

Moda Bake Shop approved a new project idea...so glad to have another "recipe' in the works!
The quilt is about finished, I just have to write up the tutorial now!
Ombre Confetti Metallic by V. and Co.!
I started a new personal BOM in September, Simply Flying.
Flying Geese, in "verse and reverse", using my Denyse Schmidt fabrics.
I really enjoy setting myself a personal block of the month project.  The first, Simply Sawtooth, in 2015, is one of my favorite quilts!  And this one is quickly shaping up to be another! My method is easy: a simple block, that can be "reversed", made with favorite fabrics! I pick 2 fabrics a month, for as long as I like! I look forward to each months choices and completions!
December held a very big surprise for me and my little BOM....I posted a picture of my September-November geese on IG, and a gal who I have known, and followed for years, Cindy @liveacolorfullife messaged me.  She wondered, were there any DS prints I was needing, or having a hard time finding, because she had an extensive stash and was willing to share! I about flipped, literally!
When I tentatively suggested two different prints, ones that always caught my eye while on the lookout for more DS, but that I had not yet acquired, she admonished me to "Dream bigger!",
And she sent me this box,
overflowing with Denyse Schmidt goodness I had only ever seen through a computer screen!
I am still wrapping my head around Cindy's most generous and spontaneous gift!
I am so very grateful, and quite in awe of  Cindy's charity to me!

Lastly, for this extensive recap, in spite of already having begun a BOM, I dumped my selvedges one day and began making Selvedge Color Blocks.
They are pieced on fabric foundations, and I have had this particular block in mind for my selvedges since I very first saw them on Krista/Poppyprint's blog!

I have likely left something(s) out, but I feel like we are all up to speed, for now anyway!
Thank you so much for joining me here!
I will see you here again real soon, likely before the new year, as I have at least one more finish to squeeze in!
xo!
SarahZ

Linking up with Lorna! Let's Bee Social