Monthly Archives: June 2013

Birthday Gift Shenanigans…

For a while now, I have heard Julie talking about this one certain block that was in a book that I didn’t have: 99 Modern Quilt Blocks. I knew she had it though and when I asked to borrow it, she said to keep it. Great gal that Julie is.

Anyhoo…back on topic…As it was approaching her 29th birthday, I thought it only fitting to make this block for her in a mini-quilt. I heard her mention a certain fabric line, Modern Bliss, many times and so that’s what I decided to use. I paired it with a great matching Moda Bella solid gray fabric.

I took pictures of the first 3 blocks that I made:


These were tough blocks!! I enjoy paper piecing but these tested me with all the small pieces and seams. Completely worth it in the end though.

I ended up being so frazzled and rushed at the end that I totally forgot to get a picture of the 4th block and the whole thing together. That never happens with me! In the 4 years I have been sewing, I have never missed taking a photo of the end product. I think I was just terribly excited about the Expo and it just completely slipped my mind. Talk about last minute. Luckily, Julie put some pictures up, here, on her blog of both the quilt and the pillow.

In the end, I had some extra fabric so I decided to whip up a small pillow. I wanted to make 2 and make them all nice and quilted but once again, ran out of time. So, this one just got interfaced and sewn together. It still looks really cool though with the quilt.

The quilt ended up being 24″ x 24″. A perfect size to hang up. I used almost my entire yard of gray fabric. As much as I enjoy it, paper piecing can be very wasteful sometimes.

Happy 29th Julie…Hope you have a great year!!




Filed under Books, Completed Projects, Finished Quilts, Pillows

Quilting and Sewing Expo – Classes!

So now you have heard all about the Expo itself. Well, one of my main reasons for going was not just to shop…as much as I enjoy it. No, it was to take classes and further my skills while learning new techniques and getting to be hands on. Be prepared…this is kind of a long post. 🙂

Julie and I headed up Wednesday evening because we each had a class around 8:30-9 on Thursday morning. Julie went her way for her first class and I headed my way for mine. I was in Machine Quilting: Basics and Beyond, taught by Debby Kratovil. This was a terrific class. I wish I had been able to take this when I was first learning to machine quilt. Alas, I taught myself with the help of the internet and You Tube. Since I don’t consider myself to be at the basics level anymore, I used the time and the teachers knowledge to try to build upon what I already knew how to do. I used some templates and also tried some free-hand designs that I have been too intimidated by to try at home. These are the samples that I came home with. They aren’t the best but it was great to get out of my comfort zone of the stipple. I can’t wait to practice some more now.
20130624-211841.jpg This was the back of my wreath sample. It was white thread on muslin so it isn’t easy to see in the picture but I was so excited to turn this over and see the wreath taking shape.
20130624-213136.jpgThat was a 3 hour class and then it was off for a quick-lunch in the room and back down for the afternoon session.

The afternoon one was a class that I was a bit anxious to take because I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was Tumbling Blocks, taught by Nelly Vileikis. I have always admired the tumbling block quilts but they are a complicated pattern. Well, the way that she had us do these blocks was not complicated at all! Towards the end of the class, there was a small group of people beside me getting instructions and I think I got turned around because instead of making a full column (which consists of a section 1 & a section 2) I made 2 of section 1. So, I didn’t get a complete column done to show you because I was not going to unpick everything to make it right. BUT…JULIE DID GET HER’S DONE!! Go check hers out here so you can see what it looked like. The only difference is that mine is done in pinks.

That was the end of Day 1. Whew! Busy, Busy!!

Day two started at about the same time. This time, it was All About Zippers, taught by Darlene Guillory. She was a great teacher. She was so patient with everyone while we were absorbing all of this new information. We were able to sew up out own zipper samples. She gave us lots more to do on our own at home but because of the amount of people in the class, we only did 3. She had samples of everything which was great also. I am not horrible with zippers now, but this was nice to have an expert helping you and answering your questions.

After lunch, it was on to the class that I was most excited about, The Good Luck Quilt, taught (again) by Debby Katovil. This was the class that I bought the batiks for. The quilt that we were making looked like it was full of bias seams, triangles, and cuts done with templates. None of which are my best friends. Turns out, she has a technique for making these out of simple strips. It’s all in her book Supersize ‘Em!. I ended up not putting any finished blocks together. Once you started sewing the finished blocks you really needed to iron in between and there were only 4 irons for all 20 of us and there were always people waiting. So, I just continued to sew strips, cut, and pin. I started sewing them all together later that evening in the hotel room instead. Julie and I enjoyed some Netflix and had a night in with our machines. This is a picture of what a block will look like when all 4 quadrants are sewn together.
20130624-212425.jpg This quilt is going to fabulous in all those gorgeous batiks that I showed you in this post.

That was supposed to be the end of my classes. Julie still had one on Sat morning and then we would both be done. Well, turns out that since we were both new to the Expo, we each had gotten a free class session coupon. So, I snapped mine & hers up (Thanks Julie!!) and signed up for a Sat morning class too. Sugarloaf Jewels, taught (AGAIN!) by Debby Kratovil. (Can you tell that I really enjoyed having her as a teacher…hehe) This block turned out to be, quite possibly, one of my all-time favorites. You used freezer paper and cut and pieced in a particular way. It was so simple and turns out a really complicated looking block. There was no fabric waste, no bias edges. The 3 hours FLEW by. This one was a great way to end my classes.
20130624-212657.jpg Warm & Natural (a batting company) was one of the sponsors of the show. Because of that, I picked up a craft size batting in each class…look at this haul! I wont have to buy batting for a while hopefully. I just zigzag pieces together if I need them to be bigger.
20130625-131354.jpgAfter the last class, it was more shopping at the Expo before we said goodbye. It was hard to do, going up that escalator one last time. A million percent, I will be back next year. If you have an Expo around you, go check it out. You won’t be sorry.

Now that I am home, I plan on prioritizing my projects and slowly work on getting them finished. Slow and steady wins the race right? Thank heavens…HAHA!

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Filed under Not a Quilt, Quilting and Sewing Expo

Quilting and Sewing Expo

I am not really sure where to begin with this post. I could make it extremely long but instead, I am thinking that I will make this one all about the Expo itself and then do one with all of the classes I took and the projects that I made. I am a wordy person. 😉

The Quilting and Sewing Expo was held downtown at the convention center in Raleigh. It was a Thu/Fri/Sat event so I made sure that they could live without me at work and off we headed on Wed evening. Julie and I wanted to make sure that we were there bright and early on Thursday morning for our first class.

We stayed in a hotel that was connected to the Convention Center by an underground access. It was so convenient. Leave the lobby, take a couple of escalators down and there we were, right at the registration desk.

These are just a couple of pictures that I quickly snapped after one of my classes:20130624-211445.jpg20130625-075015.jpgThe convention center was huge. We came in on the first floor and there were 2 more levels (that I knew about) above us. The Expo was held on a level down from the registration. Crazy huge.

It was also pretty crowded! It was really great to see all of these folks (men and women!) who share this love of the same hobby that you do. Sometimes living in a small town, you kind of feel like you are in it alone. Thank heavens for the internet and other blogs. And of course, good friends like Julie.

Thursday and Friday both classes during the day. After the classes though is when the shopping fun started. Go thru some double doors and behold:
20130625-075233.jpgahhhhh….I do believe I heard angels singing when I saw this view. We were descending into this huge mecca of anything sewing, quilting, or arts related. Machines, furniture, thread, fabrics, a quilt show, entertainment…I could keep going. It was heavenly.
20130625-075246.jpgSuffice it to say that we didn’t make it all the way thru the first day. In fact, I think there were still vendors that we hadn’t visited by the time we left on Sat.

I did end up with a lot of fun purchases. A scarce Good Fortune Layer Cake, a couple of Christmas Countdown charm packs, and a quilt kit using Art Gallery fabrics (OMG…these are so soft, they feel like a mix of satin and silk).
20130625-075719.jpgThe best purchase was my thread. Recently I discovered that “Big J” is sooo picky about thread. She does not like my ample supply of Connecting Threads thread. I have been using some extra spools that Julie gave me of the good stuff that Big J loves, while waiting to purchase some at the Expo. They had a show special so I ended up getting 4 different cones of very neutral colors. 4 cones & 1 spool = roughly 11,000 yards. Yikes!! I shouldn’t run out of that for a very long time. Hopefully! I also picked up a thread/cone stand to use with them (the cones can’t go on the thread holder on the top of the machine). Eventually I would like to start stocking up on the smaller colored spools so that I have some different colors for quilting. The cones are great though for piecing since I do so much of that.

One of my favorite shopping moments was definitely sitting at this Koala sewing desk/cabinet. It has a remote-controlled lift, a collapsible extension table on the back, and it closes up completely so that it just looks like a cabinet. With a great sewing chair included. Of course, they had many show specials so it was hard to walk away. It’s the first time that I had seen them in person and if nothing else, it was great opportunity to see what they had to offer and all the different options that are available. This is something that I will seriously think about a little ways down the road. 🙂

All in all, Julie and I had an amazing time!! We fell into bed exhausted every night and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We were there to experience it all and that we did. Go here if you would like to read all about the classes that I took, what I learned, and what I got to make.

On a parting note, check out this car cover! It was so neat looking in person. I believe that it was a guild that had put it together. Very cool.

Stay tuned tomorrow for all the nitty gritty on what classes I took, what I learned, and what I got to make!!


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Filed under Not a Quilt, Quilting and Sewing Expo, Shopping

Welcome Home “Big J”

Ok, I admit, she really isn’t a part of the family in the human sense. But don’t tell Big J that. She is already a bit high maintenance as it is. 🙂

Hello Big J. Welcome to our family. (Well, welcome home 3 months ago. I keep forgetting to create and publish this post)

20130625-084107.jpgBig J’s real name is Janome Horizon 7700QCP. She is big. She has 11″ of throat space to the right of the needle. Its great. I can fit a king size quilt under there. She is also a bit heavy, but I wouldn’t want her any other way. (The only diets on this blog are of the fabric variety) She is sturdy and strong. She can sew thru multiple layers with ease and has no tension issues. I can free motion quilt on her and it turns out perfect.

I got to borrow Big J sometime last year and I fell in love than, but wasn’t in a position to get one of my own. She came from a very loving home and when she was offered to me at a price that I couldn’t resist, I jumped on it.

After sewing on her for a few months now, I can’t go back to my Brother machine. He is an amazing little machine that does things that some machines double his price don’t. If I had the room (and the need for 2 machines) I would keep him, but unfortunately I don’t. So, he has been spit shined and will be making an appearance on eBay soon. He has lots of mileage on him and has been well taken care of. He will be coming with a ton of extra accessories. We made dozens of beautiful quilts and accessories during our time together, but I have seen the dark side, and I can’t go back.

20130625-085351.jpgThe Brother had a wide extension table that I bought extra to go with it. That thing was phenomenal to have. Luckily Big J also came with one. Although, hers is double the size. Large enough that I can lay a book or a pattern on the left, sew in the middle, and keep a remote and/or my phone on the right.

Like all grown-ups, Big J likes the finer things in life, and that is ok with me because I get a better stitch, so much less lint (which means less cleaning), and better quality end items out of her. The old adage, you get what you pay for, is so true in the sewing/quilting world. With thread, fabric, etc…Now that I am fully stocked up on those finer things, I cant wait to start digging into some of my Expo projects.

Overall, I think that we are going to have a long and happy life together.


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Filed under Sewing Machines

Batiks, Secrets, and….Potato Chips??

Yep, Potato Chips. No, not the kind you eat. They aren’t as good for you as my potato chips are. Huh you say? Just keep reading…

An excuse first, I have started running again and that is definitely cutting into my sewing and blogging time. So, I am sorry for not posting more. Moving on, I CANNOT believe that it is already June. The past few months have gone by so fast. This is going to be a very fun/exciting month. I have a few things to share with you.

First off, I got my fabrics in last week for the June Tula Pink blocks. Check out this pink/coral yumminess in the picture below. Either my iPhone or the green side of my cutting mat makes them a bit washed out, but they are very rich and vibrant fabrics in person. I can’t wait to start working on these blocks. Or, as the quilting community has come to call them, potato chips. ‘Cause you can’t make just one! (I told you it would make sense…lol)

June's Tula Pink Quilt-Along Fabrics

June’s Tula Pink Quilt-Along Fabrics

Second, I don’t have anything to show off as being in-work/finished since I am working on a super uber secret project that is taking up all of my free time right now. As soon as I am done I promise I will show it off in all its very deserved glory.

AND………….Lastly, I have some very exciting news……Julie and I are going to the Quilt Expo in 2 weeks!! Wooohooo!!!! I am sooo excited! (Can’t you tell by all the exclamation points) 🙂

We are going to Raleigh for 3 days to participate in classes, sew with experts and shop like there is no tomorrow. Ok, well, maybe just a little bit of shopping.  A girl does still have to eat…lol. Since its only an hour and a half away, we are going to go up on Wed evening and come back on Saturday sometime.

One of the classes that I am taking is to make a quilt using strips of fabric and a technique that I am not sure about yet. We will get the book and the rest of the info in the class. I do know that I needed to get contrasting fabrics so I ended up with Batiks. Bright Batiks. Like, hurt your eyes bright. I am drawn to very saturated colors. Both in quilting and in my wardrobe. one thing I am not afraid of is some color. I have never worked with batiks before so I am excited to see how it all comes out.

Super Bright Batiks

Super Bright Batiks

I picked out a white sashing (it has white dots on it) to tone down some of the brights and give your eyes a place to rest. I went with a dark border to contrast the white that will be sitting against it. I think it will ground some of the brights that are in the quilt. We’ll see.

All of the Batik Quilt Fabrics

All of the Batik Quilt Fabrics

I will also be taking 3 other classes:

Machine Quilting: Beyond the Basics – I am excited about this one so that I can learn to do more than just my meandering that has become my normal.

Tumbling Blocks – I have always admired these from afar but have never had the guts to attempt one. They seem so hard! I will be great to learn how to make them now without having to teach myself.

All About Zippers – I am not horrible with zippers by any means but this will be nice to expand my horizons as I don’t feel that I am great.  Plus, if it isn’t a regular zipper than I have no idea what to do with it.

This is going to be such a fun trip and I can’t wait to go soak up as much information as I can.

I have so much on my plate right now that June will be busy but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I  love being able to jump in between projects when I am ready to work on something else for a while. Hopefully my super secret project will be done in the next week and then I can show it off and start working on my potato chips.

Happy June!!


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Filed under Current Projects, Fabric