Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lolah is loaded...

with an applique quilt. This vintage quilt will keep me busy for awhile!

I love this tool for going around applique! Makes it really easy to maneuver the machine around delicate work. I also have a Versa Tool that helps quilting around applique but this seems to give me more control as I can use both hands with palms resting on the knobs, fingers and thumbs on either side of the bar. However I might have to improve this tool: I think if the underside edges were beveled or rounded out and smoothed, the shape would make it ride up over embroidery or other applique pieces a lot easier. I can't even remember who sells this tool or what it's called! :( sorry!

I'm still unsure which quilting design I'll use. I can't do ditch work as some of the seams were pressed open, some not, and some are ironed in both directions. :(

Stay tuned...


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Play Time!

With a few quilts done, it was time for some play.

Last December I made Christmas presents for our biking friends. His was a double bottle wine carrier. They bring their own wine to restaurants that allow this practice.

Hers was this bike bag. She loved it and used it regularly on their rides taking it off to bring in with her everytime they stopped.

Forward to last Sunday's ride when they told us her bag had been stolen from her bike! She had gone in to get a table at the restaurant while he secured the bikes but both of them forgot to bring in the bag. Two minutes later when they went out to get it, it was gone! Noting valuable left inside thank goodness, except glasses and lipstick! She was heartbroken! 

So Sunday afternoon, I loaded some leftover fabric on Lolah and began to quilt the fabric. I used a cotton voile for the backing as the bag has a lining. I had always wanted to make myself one so I decided to quilt hers with a pink thread (her new bike has a pink stripe) and mine with a yellow thread. You can see both colors on this piece. This is Perma Core.

Hers has the red zipper. The small bag is a coin purse.

I added pockets.

Mine has a green zipper and the small bag is a little camera bag.

 The coin purse is actually for me too! Heehee!

Here we are at one of the restaurants in Manhattan Beach where we have breakfast on our weekend morning rides. This photo was taken in December last year just before we gave them their presents. You can tell we've been on the same tours: she is wearing the same tour company shirt my husband is wearing.

Now we're on the hunt to find the person riding a bike with her "old" bag! It should be easy to spot... and I can descibe it right down to the thread used!

I must return to the sewing machine and add my logo/signature...



Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Finishes

Last week, Lolah was put through a great workout. Do you remember this quilt from a June post I called Waving? It's an adaptation of a pattern called Metro Waves by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful.

I've had it loaded on the machine for awhile now.

But I returned to it on Wednesday and got it done! I even turned the quilt to work the borders. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and it worked out great.

It's quilted with 1 layer of Hobbs wool and 1 layer of cotton batting; thread used was Superior's King Tut Variegated.

I love the look and feel of this quilt. The back is lovely too.

Thursday, I loaded the baby boy quilt on Lolah. I knew I wanted to make it look modern and didn't want girlish swirls and flowers so I went with straight lines and gridwork.

I love the amount of lighting the LEDs give me especially when looking behind the needle at where I plan to quilt. So pleased with these lights.

The backing is a piece I purchased at our guild August sale: 6 1/2 yds for $12. Can't beat that and it's perfect with the stars in the same colors as in the front of the quilt.

Lastly, I tried my hand at Zentangle quilting. I didn't want the traditional black on white; I just wanted something muted as I was just practicing. First I drew it on paper, then I drew the lines on the fabric with the blue pen. (sorry, no pictures of that!) This was done on my regular machine. Much too fine in details for Lolah! Besides, I have to keep up my machine quilting skills which are barely used these days.

Notice my little spruce tree signature design which will now be quilted somewhere on each piece that comes off Lolah. It incorporates my initials and the SpruceItUp logo (copyrighted).

It's Monday! A new week with new projects on the horizon; it will be busy!



Friday, August 23, 2013

Quilters have big hearts!

The Globe And Mail published an article this morning that proves quilters have big hearts! That flood was in June... 2 months later they had 230 quilts!!! AMAZING work ladies!

Quilts stock photo. (Kathryn Learie for The Globe and Mail/Kathryn Learie for The Globe and Mail)
Saskatchewan quilters send handmade blankets to displaced High River residents
More than 230 handmade quilts are heading to southern Alberta as a gift of love to people who lost their homes in the floods in June.
Arlyce Thompson, who owns Quilter’s Haven in Moose Jaw, Sask., put out the call for quilts after hearing of the devastating losses in the town of High River.
The entire town was evacuated and hundreds of people are still out of their flood-damaged homes and living in temporary trailer camps.
Quilters responded from all over Saskatchewan and even a few from Ontario.
Thompson estimates that they have over $160,000 worth of merchandise to give to the people of High River.
She and other volunteers loaded up her van Thursday and she and her 87-year-old mother plan to drive to High River on Friday to deliver the quilts.
“It started because I felt sorry for myself because the same day that they were flooded, I got a flood in my basement in Caronport,” Thompson said.
“Then the next day I heard about how bad it was in High River. You hear about so many of them who lost everything and they didn’t even have a blanket or quilt to cover themselves with.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Light box update!

OK! I have egg on my face this morning! This is what happened last Friday while I was tracing... OOPS!! It was NOT a good day and so early in the morning that I decided to stay at home all day. Hate being superstitious.

It was my elbow's fault. ;) I went to put my elbow down gently and it just tapped the glass. CRACK! Do you want to know what saved the elbow from any cuts? That glued down tissue paper that's what. Had there not been any, I would've suffered a serious injury. SO PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

Wearing gloves, I removed the glass without removing the LEDs. Not as easy as one might think with that tissue paper holding strong but doable.

This break led me to look for an alternative to glass replacement. Yesterday was the first day I could manage to get to the hardware store where I found this acrylic sheet. Since my frame was 24"X30", and of course these sheets don't come in that size, I had to get a 24"X48". Notice the thickness: .220! That's almost 1/4"!

 Luckily, the hardware store also has a supply of the right cutter for the job. Another caution: this is sharp!

Also purchased was this silicone sealer which I thought I'd use to glue down the acrylic to the frame. But it's not a glue! :(

Sorry I didn't take photos of the cutting process. It's quite simple really: you measure, draw a cutting line with a marker on the plastic that protects the acrylic, use your favorite quilting ruler and the cutter shown above and make several passes on the drawn line. The instructions on the package the cutter came in recommends 7-10 times for this thickness. I went overboard and made several more just to be sure the acrylic would snap at the right place. Then you position the larger piece of acrylic on a table with the cut line on the edge and push/snap the smaller piece in a downward direction carefully. VOILA!

The instructions also recommends sanding/polishing the cut edge but it was not an issue as I angled one of the cuts to create a small bevel.

I opted to place the acrylic on top of the frame for better support along the edges. The sheet is thick and firm enough not to bow in the center with pressure. I don't know if I'll glue this one down yet or frame it out with some wood trim. For now, the acrylic is just resting on the frame.

I also tried covering the foam board with foil to see if the reflection of the lights helps. It actually does! A mirror under it would really be ideal.

As you can see the foam board isn't as large as the frame but that's OK... it lets the little heat created by the lights dissipate. LEDs normally don't get hot but they do generate a little heat.

See how thick the acrylic is? I'm quite pleased with this version.

LOVE the size of this light box without the frame in the way.

I could have done a better job of foiling the foam board. :(

Off to do some more tracing...



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Handwork finishes

Last week was a rewarding week where projects were concerned. I love it when I finish one and love even more starting new ones!

Snowy Days is a pattern by Heart To Hand that I purchased as a kit at Road to California Quilt show in January. I didn't like the way the binding was applied in the instructions so I made a regular single fold binding instead. It makes a neater finish.

Block no 2 for Peppermint Place BOM by Quilty Pleasures  (pattern by: The Quilt Company) is done and block no 3 is on the cutting mat ready to be sewn together. I'll be picking up block no 4 today!

Lolah is complaining... she's lonely... must get her fired up!



Monday, August 19, 2013

Project storage

How do you store your fabrics/supplies for particular projects? Do you use shoe boxes? I have several of those! Do you have special containers? I have many of these! All of mine are full!

Most of the time, my projects get left out in the open in piles... that is IF I'm working on them on a regular basis. But piles need horizontal space which can be problematic. For instance, if I pile my project on my cutting table, I might need to use that space to trim blocks etc. so the pile gets relocated. The chance of losing parts of that project is an issue. So I like to protect them in easily accessible containers.

I've loved "house" quilts forever and this one had my heart from the first time I saw it. I finally took the plunge and purchased the pattern online. It arrived last week and I knew it had to be my next evening handwork. 

I spoke last week in Glad for Plaids (08/13) that I needed taupe fabrics for my new project so I headed to my favorite store Quilt Emporium and bought oodles of fat quarters. YES THEY CUT THESE OFF THE BOLT! How patient they are! LOVE YOU LADIES!




But as if I didn't have enough, I went to Candy's Quiltworks and found a few more. However they don't cut fat quarters so I had to purchase 1/4 yd cuts instead. :(  she doesn't know I have a love affair with FQs.

So how do I store so many fabrics for one project?

None of my containers was big enough so I went to my favorite store: Goodwill Thrift Store (those who know me aren't surprised) and found this great picnic basket at a terrific price! Even better, it was clean and empty! Did you know that when you shop at Goodwill you get 10% off if you're over 55yrs of age? Just show your driver's license! And there's NO TAX at Goodwill. 

This baby cost me $3.60. Can't beat that!

Here's is what I have so far on Block no 1: sorry for the crooked angle in which this photo was taken :( 

I'm working on the pink house; the rest is all appliqued. Then comes the embroidery. Missing is the dog that will get appliqued after two strips of small rectangles get sewn on at the bottom. 

Off to prepare block no 2!



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Light box project!

My old light box consisted of a wooden wine box covered by an inverted acrylic tray and an under-cabinet LED light strip. That was fine for pages that were the size of a regular sheet of paper; but what happens when you get a pattern on a sheet that's 22"x 30" and the block you want to trace is larger than the light box?

I've wanted an Artograph Light box for quite awhile now but have you seen their prices? A 17"x 24" retails at $350... Amazon sells them cheaper but still they're expensive. Not an option!

I needed to upgrade my own light box to a larger size if I was to start Yoko Saito's Mystery quilt. I thought of getting a glass top desk and installing lighting under it but there's no room in my studio for another surface. Nice idea though!

Options to a light box could be a window or a patio door! I have lots of windows in my house but they're all divided lights in a diamond pattern. I suppose I could tape these to the patio door but since I use a fine line marker to trace onto freezer paper, I have to write with the pen at an angle to keep the ink flowing. Not practical.

I had a frame that could work which I purchased at my favorite thrift store for $15 and decided to use that. So off to the LED store I went.

This is what I got... a lot longer than I needed at 5 meters but they deal in wholesale lengths! At least the adapter was included in the price. You can cut these to length too.

The materials I started with were:

1) one picture frame measuring 24 X 30" (with glass) and a frame thick enough for the LED strip
2) glass cleaner
3) needle nose pliers
4) white tissue paper
5) Krylon Repositionable Spray Adhesive
6) staple gun
7) foam board

Start by removing the backing in your frame. For me this involved removing all the staples, cardboard backing and the ugly picture.

You can reuse these if you don't have a staple gun.

Then wash the glass on both sides. See the reflection of my windows in the glass?

Next staple along the inside of the frame so that the staple sticks out and isn't pushed all the way in... the object is to prevent the glass from moving in the frame. You can use framer's points for this but I couldn't find mine. Use what you have on hand and make do!

The staples don't go in close enough to the glass so push them down onto the glass with the tip of the needle nose pliers. BE CAREFUL not to chip the glass or worse, break it... be gentle. And be generous with the staples... you can't have too many!

Once the glass is secure, it's time to "frost" the glass! Cut the tissue paper to the size of the glass; I needed 2 sheets with only a small section of the second sheet. 

Spray the glass with repositionable adhesive; starting at a corner, place the tissue paper on the glass; be gentle here too as the tissue paper will tear easily... best not to wear rings! Run your hand on the paper to glue it down.

If you find wrinkles rub them with your fingers until they disappear. The repositionable adhesive is good for this as it allows you time to work the paper. 

When your glass is covered with the tissue paper, it's time to add the lights! Working small sections at a time, peel off the paper on the sticky side of the LED strip starting at the connection of the power cord. Stick to the inside edge of the frame and work your way around the whole frame.

When you get to the start, decide where you need to cut. You can only cut at certain places and in my case it would leave a gap with no light in the corner so I went a little beyond. See the 4 copper dots at the level of the bottom of the red tape? I would've had to cut between those copper dots. I elected to go to the next cutting mark so there is one light overlap. It's no big deal. I taped down the power cord and stapled it to prevent dislodging. I'll come up with something different eventually but for now this will work.

Next staple your foam board to the back of the frame. 

And here's my new light box!

It's a great size at 24" x 30". That round spot is a reflection of my ceiling light and not a defect in the paper.

 And it works beautifully! Now if I had thought of it sooner, I would've covered the foam board with aluminum foil before stapling for added reflective light. I may do that yet! One can always improve on projects! Total cost of this 24 X 30" light box was $85= $70 for the lights and $15 for the frame; far better than $350 for a smaller surface! And had I been patient and ordered the LED lights in the length I needed, this would have cost even less. Nevertheless, I'm pleased with it.