Saturday, August 31, 2013

Elza's Flowers

My final layout chosen, appliques fused in place, and zigzag stitching done; it was time to add the  lettering to the borders.

This time I tried all capital letters on the bottom border; however, I didn't think it fit or looked balanced. So, then I redid the letters I needed; and replaced most of them with lower case letters.


This change was to my liking. The last addition to make was adding some fancy buttons, once the quilt was finished.
To finish, all I needed to add was the backing, as I had added the batting to the top layer to stitch through both layers while adding the appliques. I found this worked quite well. I also like matching the binding fabric to something used in the quilt blocks; in this case, the inside border, as I wanted to use more of the polka dot fabric. 
Here is the finished quilt project. I am also working on a pattern, which I plan to add to my store in the coming month.  

There are two more quilts in this series that will be showcased in September and October. Hope you've enjoyed these projects, so far. 
As we once again turn another page on the calendar, into another season; hope your plans include a few exciting quilting projects. Cheers.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Basket of Flowers

To begin, I had chosen four vases to fit onto the blocks, and now I needed to add more images to fill the rest. Thinking of what a real flower shop displays and has for sale, I wanted to add lots of flowers.

Having drawn and prepared several applique pieces, I began to try them out. The first layout shows the vases placed on the green blocks and a few flowers lain out on the brown blocks.


One goal in mind was to have vases filled with stemmed flowers that were ready for creating flower arrangements. So, how to go about this….
With these tall, black vases, I tried several layouts; here are two of them. Even though I liked the idea, I just wasn’t impressed with using black. I found it too harsh. So, then what….



Having introduced baskets in the above layouts, I figured that was a nice addition to the vases. My next query; was how to arrange them properly.  
After a lot of adjusting and figuring out what to use for my stemmed flowers, I was ready for the final options.
This layout was working well, and after deciding that I’d place each group into rows, this is what I thought would work the best. Here’s a sneak peek at part of the final layout:


Don’t get me wrong, every slight adjustment did look good; sometimes better and sometimes another great alternative. What I did need to do was make a final decision and fuse each block’s images in place. As at some point, we must move on to the next stage of the process. 
Check back next week, when I’ll show you the completed quilt.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Flowers and Vases

The theme for my second quilt in this series was: flowers. For a peek behind the scenes, here is how it began.

Having decided I would use the green polka dot fabric, I chose a green and a brown for the inner blocks, from my fabric stash. I would use the same measurements for the blocks and borders as for the shoes quilt. Those that needed resizing were cut into four-inch blocks. Some were already the size I required.
Applique selection began with choosing several styles of urns and vases; then figuring out what else to add before working on the arrangement of these twelve designs. Even though this can take much time, I enjoy this part of the process. Sometimes the hard part is trying to make the final decision on design placement. There are many options, and only one is needed.


The Block Appliques
On small blocks such as these, the best method to add the appliques is to first sew all the blocks together to make a larger surface area before applying the applique pieces.

Then, if you notice some designs extend beyond the borders of their own block and also onto the polka dot border. This requires the first border to be added before adding the appliques.

When to Add the Borders and Batting
Also when a piece has a lot of applique work added, it tends to shrink in some areas, this can make the borders harder to keep straight.

So this time, I thought I’d add the batting to the quilt top I’d created. I found this helped keep the piece straight. The one thing I found happening, was the batting tended to shed onto the quilt top. So after I had finished stitching on the appliques, I used masking tape to de-fuzz the quilt top.
Because I had only added the polka dot border, I still needed to add the white border before adding the backing fabric. This was not difficult to do. I just figured next time; I should just add both borders on this size quilt, if I wanted to add the batting piece, so it could be stitched through while doing the applique stitching.

Check back next time -- to see some of the layouts that I tried in the process of figuring out what I liked best.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

New EQ7 Software

I finally took the plunge….

I’ve been an EQ user for about seven years now. I first started with EQ5, buying it from a quilt shop. Then, I upgraded to EQ6 in 2009, buying it from a vendor table at a quilt guild meeting. Now, I have Electric Quilt 7.
Recently, I was finding my EQ6 was not allowing me to view and print projects and templates; and figured it was time to seriously consider upgrading to EQ7. I believe I was on my last activation, as well, and would not be able to do another install.
Since, I knew no one around where I lived had the upgrade version, and after checking online shops, didn’t come up with anything either; decided to go directly to the source -- Electric Quilt's website.

I checked out Electric Quilt’s website for more details. The new version sure looked good. Here is a partial list:
1.       New activation policy – never runs out of activations!
2.       It includes over 5000 copyright-free blocks.
3.       Borders and Sashing – over 290 pre-designed auto borders!
4.       Import and trace photos – to create new blocks.       
5.       EQ6 Owners – Save $100 when upgrading to EQ7.
How many great photos do we all take today with our digital cameras? #4 was one feature that I was really intrigued by. 

Electric Quilt 7 -- shipped/received
Extra Notes:
I just saw a note on their website that EQ7 is compatible with Windows 8. Hooray!! I’ll be installing it later this month on a new computer. Then, I'll be able to watch all the videos.

I ordered it from their website because they ship by USPS, not UPS.  This is a BIG savings in shipping and importing fees when ordering from Canada.  
It came within the timeframe given in the order information; it shipped USPS, saving me on brokerage fees; and postage was under $17.
Now, all I need is to install it to a new computer when it arrives, and I'll be ready to prepare my next pattern series. 
See you next week, when I reveal the next project in my "Shop to Shop" series -- all about flowers.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ready-Pockets Tutorial

Do you have any denim pockets that have been waiting for a unique project? This may be it!

Why not try this quick and easy project using two denim jean pockets that will nicely decorate a small space on the wall next to your desk or work area or even bathroom.

Ready-Pocket filled with Notepad and Pencils

Materials List:

·         2 pieces fabric* (front and back) – 13” x 13” (minimum)
·         1 piece batting – 13” x 13” (same size as fabric pieces)
·         Two denim pockets (cut from old jeans) – two sizes
·         10” embroidery hoop 
·         Thread – either contrasting or matching

*Fabric can be any color you choose. It may be made from one piece or a pieced section cut to these dimensions. [IE: An orphaned block or scrappy block from a variety of fabrics cut to 13” x 13”.]



Quilted Block—
1.       Cut fabric and batting – all pieces are:  13” x 13” (minimum).

2.       Before layering, you may fold the top fabric to form a triangle and press to create a fold line to form an X to mark the first lines of stitching.

3.       Layer these three pieces with right side of bottom piece facing down and right side of top piece facing up, with the batting in the center.

Layering Pieces
4.       Fasten the layers with three or four pins to hold them together as you sew the grid lines.

5.       Begin stitching on the fold line and then continue stitching straight lines on both sides of this center line. Stitching lines are set two inches apart in this project.

Creating the Grid Lines
6.       Turn block and repeat Step 4 to stitch on the other fold line and continue until you have formed a grid.

7.       Your quilted block is now ready for adding the pockets.

Grid Lines Completed
Adding Pockets—
8.       Select two denim pockets from old jeans. You will need two different sizes. Or if you wish, you can add just one pocket.

9.       If your pockets have been cut with the leg material still attached, cut out around the pocket. Then trim around the pocket carefully to get rid of any stray threads.

10.   Turn the pocket over, and cut away the extra layer, as you’ll need to be able to stitch on the second pocket without closing up the bottom pocket.
Trimming Pocket--Backs

11.   Place the smaller pocket on top of the larger pocket. Then stitch around the sides and bottom of the smaller pocket to attach it to the larger pocket. Leave the top unstitched.

12.   Use a thread color to match the denim fabric or other color of your choosing. Stitch next to the outer edge of the decorative stitching line already on the pocket.

13.   Secure the beginning and ending points of your stitching with backstitching or a narrow zigzag. Carefully and slowly stitch over the bulky sections at the top of the pockets.

14.   Mark the center point on the bottom edge of the block with a pin or your finger as you place the pockets onto the quilted block.

15.   Measure two inches from bottom of quilted block and place bottom point of the pocket there. It should be centered now from each side of pocket to outer edges of quilted block.
Placement of Pockets
16.   For the larger pocket, sew two or three rows of stitching to secure it to the quilted block. First, sew a row of stitching as in Step 12.

17.   Then another row of stitching inside the outer decorative stitching already on the pocket. This can be done all in one round before cutting thread.

18.   I’d suggest stitching two lines around the sides and bottom of this pocket. [IE: between the decorative lines, as shown below:] 

Stitching Lines for Larger Pocket

 Inserting into Hoop—
19.   Open hoop and place bottom ring on table.

20.   Center quilted block on bottom ring and add top ring.

21.   Retighten hoop.

Inserting Into Hoop
22.   Then trim fabric away from back of hoop to complete project.

Trimming Away Excess Fabric

23.   If you wish, you may take it out again and serge or zigzag around the edge.

24.   It is ready to fill with items and hang on the wall. Enjoy.  

Completed Ready-Pocket

Note:  If desired, you could add binding and a hanging sleeve to create a mini quilt you can hang from a rod, instead of putting it into a hoop.

A Few Examples—Filling the Pockets: 

Pencils and Notepad

Concert Tickets

Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Discover other unique places where a Ready-Pocket might come in extra handy. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.