Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

That is what I’m naming this quilt.Jan-16p2

Bob Jones took it home for the Jones family in 2012.  (please appreciate this post in the sarcasm with which it is intended)

We play a little game in my family.  Who is the most ill, the most serious disease, the most crippled.  I usually win this game.  Having Rheumatoid Arthritis and some Lupus markers usually guarantees me the top spot!  My sister on the other hand has some back issues.  She saw a doctor in Germany where they injected sugar-water into your spine to help it regrow tissue or assist it in healing itself.. something like that.  I told her that didn’t even move her up in the point standing as I’m considering “sugar-water” some kind of voodoo crap.. It not like they were injecting her with stem cells that we could consider “cutting edge”.  My husband has some bone spurs on his neck, but he is way down the list as he won’t have them treated.  Debbies husband Bob has had some elbow/shoulder replacement or fixes.  A lot of orthopedic issues but they have been able to be fixed.  He did move up in the standing when he had a hiatal hernia repaired.  Hey anytime they have to move your organs around you get bonus points.  So far though I have been the winner.  Hey in 10 years I’m going to have evil witches fingers (as my husband calls it)  I get to take Infusions and injections made up of poison and everyday is a battle of wills on if im going to acknowledge the pain or push thru it.  It’s a sick and twisted game, but the only thing we really can do is laugh and play along because if we don’t we will lay down on the couch and get up.  Trust me I have tried.  Once you lay on that couch its hard to get off again.

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Bob and I are extremely competitive.  He thinks his orthopedic problems should give him more points as he is a war hero with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think he is a cheater!  I bumped myself up the standing by upgrading my condition with twice monthly infusions.  Hey anytime you have to actually have an IV shoved into your arm with poison, you deserve extra points!Jan-16p3

So at the end of December Bob took it for the team and won the 2012 game.  More than likely he will win for 2013 as well. Bob crossed the finish line with stage 3 throat Cancer.  So Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

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So my worthy adversary.. he gets a prize.  He gets a fantastic chemo quilt.  I usually don’t make quilts with any of my family in mind.  I start a quilt… post it on Facebook.. if one of my family shows an interest I will let them put dibs on it.  If not it will get sold or donated.  Along time ago I learned not to quilt on demand.. it’s uninspiring to quilt with someone elses choices.

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As Bob was the winner he also felt that he should get some kind of say in what this quilt should look like.  So I did let him pick the colors, under duress.  I put an SOS call out to some friends, we pulled Black/White/Orange (he is a SF Giants fan)  We eliminated any flowers or anything girly.  We put our heads together and decided on a pattern that would be quick and easy and before I knew it the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner quilt was born.

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I love my ladies.. Thanks Kate and Marianne, coldn’t have done it without you two!   These two answered my SOS and came up with 10 blocks in a matter of days.  Its a very improv block a great scrap buster and easy to put together.  It was quilted at 3/8″ intervals.  I knew this was going to be washed alot, and not on delicate.  So this was made to stand the test of time, and keep up with everything Bob is going to put it through in the coming year.

Dr Seuss

This is Graysons Dr Seuss quilt.

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The Dr Seuss fabric has been around for several years now and I so so SO wanted to work with it.  but alas my boys were just to old for such a juvenile fabric.  I was crushed.  Every time I saw this fabric I wanted to have a play.

One day we were driving back from a football (soccer to my american friends) game, and I dragged Grayson to a quilt store on the way home.  Hey I just sacrificed 3 hours for him.. he could do the same for me.  Surprise surprise he came in the store and stopped right at the bright display of Dr Seuss.  I stopped and stroked like normal.. drooled a bit and had an enlightening conversation with my then 14-year-old.

It went a bit like this….  I told Grayson.. “to bad you’re not younger, I sew want to work with this fabric”  He said.. Mom I love Dr Seuss, make me a quilt with it.  I responded with .. Grayson seriously.. you know this is the quilt you are going to have to take to college right… his response… Mom you know this is the quilt Im going to have sex on for the first time….

Well ok then.. VD Powerpoint presentation coming right up next!

After that it was smooth sailing away… He did get pretty specific.  He didn’t want a girly pattern, He wanted COMPLETE pattern approval.  He wanted his name (FULL NAME) included.  He wanted his birthday (SPELLED OUT) embroidered on.  He wanted his soccer number (FROM EVERY TEAM HE HAS EVER PLAYED FOR) embroidered in the solid squares, which he didn’t get.  He wasn’t asking for much of course.

Thank goodness for Bernina Embroidery software.  I (meaning Ronnie) was able to download the free Dr Seuss font.  Then I (meaning Ronnie) worked tirelessly through the night digitizing it.  Once it was all finished I (demanded asked Ronnie) made some changes to include an outline along the letters.January-8-p7

I did some straight line quilting over the whole thing, and bound it with a thick black and white stripe.  I love me a striped binding.  I put my extra Dr Seuss scraps on the back.  Lets face it, I’m probably not going to play with it again, It was a one time deal.

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Fabric Organization the cardboard way

My husband always cringes when I develop a new hobby.  It seems all my hobbies requires for me to have a lot of STUFF.  Then I have to buy more stuff for the stuff I have otherwise the previously bought stuff won’t work.  Storing all this stuff is a job in itself!  It’s no different with quilting.Jan-10-p1

For me being able to store my quilting fabric in a safe, dust free environment is important.  I didn’t want it to have too much exposure to light, I want to be able to be inspired by it while in my sewing room.  I would love to be able to see what I have at a glance.  I would also love to know how much fabric is actually there.  So I came up with this great system to help me out with this!Jan-10-p2

A few years ago I was at quilt market and saw these great folding boards.  You essentially wrapped your fabric around them and they were like mini bolts.  Neat right?  wrong… These boards for 20$ for 4.. way to pricey.  I need to save that money for more fabric duh.. But it did get me to thinking.

1st I went to my Local quilt shop and asked for all their empty bolts.  They gladly gave them away.  I got home, cut them in half.. OMG.. do you know how thick those are?

2nd attempt took me to multiple stores to collect cardboard boxes to cut up to wrap my fabric around.  Good idea, bad in application.  Cardboard is dirty!

My third attempt happened when I was chatting with one of my scrapbooking friends.  I was no longer scrapbooking and had TONS (my husband says it weighs tons) of card stock.  Hmmm its thick and could probably work!.  My only issue.  What if I wanted to scrapbook?  all my card stock would be stuck in fabric.

My 4th attempt and this one was a winner Comic book card.  It the right size, heavy enough and cheap!

So this is how I do it!Jan-10-p7Jan-10-p5

Jan-10-p6 I store my fabric on comic book cardboard in different dimensions.  I keep the card board whole for anything more than 1 full yard.  I cut the card board in half lengthwise for less than a full yard.  You can see in the top picture that on the right there is fabric that is folded and stacked.  Those are fat quarters.  So at a glance I know approximately the size of each piece of fabric. I think I need to add another cabinet or maybe just sew faster!

The 1 yard or longer pieces get stored on the full size card and go into a separate cabinet.Jan-10-p4

Now onto the folding..Jan-10-p8

Take your fabric and fold it selvage to selvage.  making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or bumps.  Keep the selvage down towards the bottom.Jan-10-p9

Now fold it in half again.  Bring that top fold down to the bottom selvage.  Your fabric at this point should be 4 layers.Jan-10-p11

Place your piece of card on the fabric lining it up on the selvage.Jan-10-p12

Fold over about 2 inches.  I know some people even put a little paperclip there to hold it secure to the board.  The plastic ones are great because they won’t rust, damage, or snag your fabric!Jan-10-p13

then just keep folding your fabric until its wrapped completely around the board.Jan-10-p14

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And thats it.  I line them up on the shelf like books.  I know exactly what I have and how much of it I have.  I keep it seperated by collection and by color.  Precuts on the top.Jan-10-p1

Quilters Versa-Curve (a review)

One of the things I wanted to do with this blog in the New Year was some independent reviews.  By Independent I am meaning not paid for.  These are products/books I have purchased and I either loved or didn’t.  They are products/books that I have spent money on, and are being utilized or collecting dust.

You know how it goes.. You tantalized by the latest and greatest sewing gadget, you get it home, and everything that snake oil salesman showed you has flown right out of your head.  Or you bought the latest gadget because someone told someone who told someone that it is a must have thing!  I once bought a light up magnified seam ripper.  I paid 18$, only to find out the magnifier swiveled and got in the way and the light was on the wrong side.

Right before I left for Houston in October I scanned lots of quilting blogs and really couldn’t find anything on anything new up and coming.  No reviews and nothing that really talked about products.  I found a lot of blogs talking about their sponsors though, and the things their sponsors sold or books they have themselves published.

So in saying all that, my very first review is going to be on this Quilters Versa-Curve.Jan-9-p1

For some reason at the Houston Quilt Show I was really into curves, ok.. well I have been into them for a while… collecting data, rulers, gadgets, snapping photos of just about every circle curve quilt I could find.  I had finally decided on a ruler that I wanted.  So I did my research, well tried and couldn’t find anything independent about it.  I searched and searched and I could only find it for sale by the designer.

So while at the HQF I saw the Quilters Versa Curve.  It had the curve shape that I was looking for.  It also had a demonstrator.  I know I know, demonstrators can make anything work.  It was worth a try and at only 20 bucks it came with 2 patterns, detailed instructions and a website that had instructional videos.  Those are bonuses for me!

Its made from hard acrylic and the way she has designed it with the letter marking system made it easy to understand and easy to adapt to different ideasJan-9-p3 Jan-9-p2

The curve was so slight that I was able to use my normal 45mm rotary cutter with no problem.  If I could add anything to this ruler It would be some non skid/slide stuff on the underside.  I love that stuff and think all rulers should incorporate it.

So armed with my New years resolution of sewing curves, I sketched out a design plan and jumped right in!  I didn’t follow her pattern as  I was looking for something differentJan-9-p5I found with sewing even a slight curve there is a lot of pinning involved.  I’m sure some people can sew a curve without, but I am not one of those people.  So I did have a light bulb moment and did alot of precuttingJan-9-p4

I then folded my pieces in half to the fold would give me a natural center with no marking.  I then took this entire stack with me to bed and pinned away while my husband watched whatever entertaining boring TV show he was into.  I got a huge stack pinned.January-8-p1I found the instructions very easy to understand, the measurements and directions she gave very precise.  After the first several cuts I was able to get the hang of it and was able to put the instructions away.  I didn’t need to reference the videos as the instructions worked great.  There was no guess-work.

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So I would say my first dip in the curve pool was a success!  The ruler was reasonably priced, the patterns a bonus and the instructions fantastic.

This is an independent review of the Quilters Versa-Curve.  I was not payed to say these things in exchange for money or free product.  Its all just my humble opinion.

Its already the 8th of January

And I’m already procrastinating on this blog.

There has been a lot going on.  I haven’t been sitting on my behind eating bon bons.  You can’t get them here in Singapore..

It has already been a very busy start to the year!

What I have been doing…

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Justice came home for christmas from School and we had the best time!  Please note he got his fashion sense from his father

January-8-p11We went to Universal Studios Singapore TWICE!  Both times we got rained out.  These 3 grudgingly took this photo for me.

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Grayson got glasses.  On our way there we had a conversation about degenerative eye disease.  He decided it would be “cool” to go blind.  Reasoning… So he would never have to move out!  WOW!

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I stopped and smelled some flowers

January-8-p3I started working on this quilt.  More will be revealed later when I can talk about it.  But it was by request and said person got bumped to the top of the list.  So It was done in a bit of a rush.

 January-8-p2 January-8-p1I sewed my First Curve!!!!

This is just a bit of a catch up on what has happened since the start of the year.  I have definite goals in mind that I want to accomplish this year, that I will be sharing this week.

On a side note..  I think my kid had school today and I might have missed it.. hmmmmm  I need to check the school calendar.  oops

The Nitty Gritty

As I promised full disclosure!

I got a lot of questions yesterday about drape and the quilting effect so I hope to answer those today.  Also some of the scarier moments of quilting this!

The Hugs and Kisses quilt:

Items used:  Bernina 830 (sewing and embroidery), Isacord thread, 90/14 Schmetz needle and quilters dream batting. QDB is a thin cotton batting.  I love using this especially in warmer climates because It makes a usable quilt and has a beautiful drape.

Some might question the use of Isacord thread.  It is a poly thread.  I always achieve such great results with it.  Its trioble which means it has stretch and won’t shread my quilting cotton, and the added bonus is it won’t lint up my bobbin area.  Bernadette likes to stay clean!

I marked the center of each X with air erase marker.  I used the virtual positioning to line up and pushed go.  I wasn’t worried if the circles for other X’s overlapped and as it happens that really added to the look and gave almost a “water drop in the pond” effect.  It was a bonus!  Several times though I didn’t hoop correctly and my inner hoop popped out.  it caused this drag line to go thru the center of the X.  But because I was quilting individual motifs I was able to “unsew” and carry on.

I also didn’t line up my backing fabric correctly and as you can see I was about an inch off.  This was easily taken care of by just trimming the quilt an inch all the way around.  Because I used a solid border and already did an edge to edge look it didn’t take away from the overall look I was going for.  Next time I will be more careful!

I’m not a “scrappy” quilter, So almost all fabric that goes into one of my quilts is from the same line.  I like to use it all and move on!  After I had cut this project I had 3×10 inch strips.  I sewed them together and created a scrappy binding.  It was the perfect use of the leftovers and finished off things nicely.

Things I learned on the project:  Follow directions!  This was the first time in a looooong time I had used a quilt pattern.  If you’re using someone elses directions its hard to just “wing it”.  White is not the same white across manufactures.  I ended up going with a Kona Snow to match the white in this pack.

ps.. lots of spelling mistakes .. my spell check wouldn’t correct them and I’m to lazy to pull out the dictionary!

Hugs and Kisses

It’s hard to be the Next Great Quilt Star if you don’t ever leave your sewing room and nobody knows you exist.  So my blogging startup stalled just a wee bit.  You know how it is, you get involved in a project and you just tune out the whole world.

I finished this quilt up just yesterday and I have to say I love it.  It’s the first time in over a year I have actually used a pattern and that was a bit of an adjustment.  I loved the concept of the X design and put my own little spin on it by adding the circles.  XOXO hence the name Hugs and Kisses

The circles spiral out from each individual X in a spiral configuration.

I also made a quilt label to coordinate.  I wanted something that would blend and not look out-of-place.

I finished the quilt with a scrappy binding.  I really loved this fabric and wanted to use as much as I could.  By making a scrappy binding I think It finished it up nicely.

Later this week I’m going to go into some of the process of this quilt.  There were a lot of new techniques used, several mistakes made, and it took every bit of my sewing arsenal to create.