April 30, 2011

Epilogue: An Occasion (Prom!)

You're taking me to the prom! I yelled.  (Bella, Twilight p.484)




My daughter is at Prom tonight. Wow....Prom!



I'm trying to stay up until midnight so I can call her or, at least, text her.  Her birthday is tomorrow.

I was up last last night, though, and up early this morning taking my daughter to nail and hair appointments.  I'm sooooo tired.  I'm afraid to distract myself with sewing because I'd probably sew my fingers together.

I can't wait to hear all about Prom!

In the Middle of Things


Half way there.....

I experienced a bit of shrinkage in piecing the upper to the lower half.  I probably could have been more careful and seam ripped a second time, but I didn't have the heart to and I was worried about how much the sections would distort.  The first time I seam ripped was because the grey areas on the outside of the thumb didn't line up like it should even though the outside edges (black dotted fabric) did.  This is a side effect of paper pieced blocks that have many sections and many bias edges and why I sometimes oversize a block about a 1/4-1/2", piece it, and then square up a block when finished.  I'm going to have to evaluate the block when I'm done to see at what size it finishes at, etc. and adjust the pattern and my piecing accordingly.

I'm not crazy about the fabric I used for the apple shadow on the hand as I think it's too dark.  I think I would have been better served to use a grey like the one in the EQ7 mock-up.  The fingernail may look a bit too weird, too.

I've got a busy weekend ahead of me personally.  I'll probably won't get much more done.

April 29, 2011

Meadow Fabric

I reached the edge of the pool of light and stepped through the last fringe of ferns into the loveliest place I had ever seen.  The meadow was small, perfectly round, and filled with wildflowers--violet, yellow, and soft white. ... (Twilight, p.259)

I'm on the hunt for some meadow fabric and you may be, too, for the Twilight Mystery Quilt.

I've found some to choose from using my favorite quilty search engine Quiltshops.



I'm thinking of getting some of this for Jacob's house:








Will work for fabric......

April 28, 2011

Twilight Hands Block: Just Another Test of Wills


I'm on my way....

I'll explain more of the details later but, needless to say, I made a stop at FedEx Kinkos this afternoon and printed a couple 10x10" Twilight Hands block patterns. I used one of the copies to print out more copies at home. I didn't want to use the originals in case I miscut something--sure enough I did so on one of the copies.

I didn't get very far since I started at 10 tonight. I decided to quit after sewing one of the sections with the wrong reds. I also used a wrong grey in one of the sections, but I left it since it's only a test block.

I'm using really cheap fabric, too. I'm a bit of a huge fabric snob, but I'm using WalMart fabric to test this block. My WalMart is being remodeled and they've gone to prepackaged fabric. I picked up some FQs for this block. I was having a bit of a mental block over fabrics for this block so I needed all the help and inspiration I could get even if it took buying a bit of fabric at WalMart.  It could be worse as I could have used plain muslin to test the block--maybe I should have?

So far so good!

I will have to renumber one of the sections as #1 in the section should actually be #4.

Paper Piecing Design: Top Secret!

I belong to a fairly quiet paper piecing group at YahooGroups.  I joined it months and months ago because I was seeking knowledge and support for paper piecing design, but no one could really help me.  One would think that paper piecing design is some type of quilting state secret.  There isn't a lot of information out there or, if there is, I can't find it.  I've found a couple of tutorials.  I know of a couple of books authored by Cynthia England and Ruth B. McDowell.

Even with this information, I think it's a technique that is very difficult to teach.  I've heard and read more than one person say that most of everything associated with paper piecing block design is intuitive and you can't teach intuition.

There is also a bit A LOT of trial and error that you have to do to get things right.

Nothing that I'm doing is all that special.  I think anyone can do it if they're willing to put in the work (and sometimes, okay A LOT of the time I question whether I'm willing based upon time constraints and my frustration level.)

The point of all this chatter is for me to say that if you have an idea to go for it!  I know, I know.....easy for me to say!  I'm secretly hoping, though, that someone will come up with something better than me so I can just use it.  HA!

Yes, I know there's other Twilight quilting stuff out there for me to use.  I'd like for there to be more, though.  I'd also like for the patterns to be better formatted and more detailed.  Now that I've made blocks from patterns like Siliver Linings Originals, Paper Panache, and Piece by Number, I find it hard to make blocks that lack detail.  I'd like to try different techniques, too, and not be so tied to paper piecing.

If anyone does learn any of those quilting paper piecing design state secrets, don't be afraid to tell me.  I promise not to tell....

April 27, 2011

Twilight Mystery Quilt: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I'm paralyzed by fear.....

The first block is ready to go--sort of.  I haven't had a chance to test it.  (I've had my opportunities, but I'm procrastinating.)  I can't imagine that it's not going to work.  I've mentally sewn the pattern in my mind hundreds of times and it works....in my mind.  I fixed one section in the EQ7 pattern version to be different from the originally hand drawn version with the pieceability issue, but I also sectioned the apple a bit more.  I tested that pattern and it worked just fine.  (See a picture.)

I'm afraid to give it up without testing it myself.  I'm worried that it's not labeled enough.  I still haven't figured out that part and I haven't had time to work on it.  Is it just time to get out the colored pencils since I can't figure out how to do it on the computer?

I'm also torn over which fabrics to use?  Should I go with white and gray fabrics for for the hand or should I go with more natural complexion fabrics like the actual book cover.  I said I was going crazy and I wasn't exaggerating.

Should I make the 6x8" version available and leave the enlarging up to those that use it?  Should I section the pattern into pieces or leave it whole for those to cut it apart?  (Silver Linings Originals patterns are like that.)



I need someone else's voice other than my own inner one telling me what I should do.....

The design of the piecing is just the first step and that is tough enough.  Choosing each fabric piece is so complicated.  I can imagine the picture above in actual fabrics, but is it right?

Now that I'm looking at the picture above, the block almost looks better in the square picture above.  Maybe that is an option?

Help!

April 24, 2011

Twilight Mystery Quilt: Almost Ready to be Revealed

I should have been doing all this work months ago, but I had given up on the whole project.

I have about worked out some of the remaining issues.  My main concern was being able to make available patterns in a format that anyone would be able to access, print, and use.  My other concern is that I don't really have anything tested and so there could be some errors that might make people annoyed with me.  There's nothing like foisting something on the general public that contains an error, wastes fabric, or just won't work.

Since I made the commitment to figure out and use Electric Quilt 7, a most wonderful program, I've had an epiphany.  I can do this!  I still wish the program would afford me the ability to do a couple of more things, and it still could if I could figure it out, but I'm not going to delay any more than absolutely necessary if I can come up with another solution that will work and only require a bit more work on our parts to make the block.  For instance, I don't think I can print the paper pieced patterns in more than greyscale at best.  I'm still investigating ways to include color or fabric legends for the patterns that won't be too confusing.

Thank you for your patience.....

I've thrown a few tips and hints out there that might help or shed some light on the quilt as a whole.

Three guess as to what the first block is going to be?!

The is going to be about 60x72" in size.  The blocks will vary in size.  A wide range of techniques will be used including traditional piecing, paper piecing, applique, embroidery, photo fabric printing, and others.

Most of the blocks will be able to stand alone or be used in a design of anyone's choice--no need to be committed to my setting.

I can't commit to a schedule because I would just ignore it or fail miserably.  This will probably frustrate some, but that's just the way it is.....

I wish I could dedicate my life to quilting, but I can't.  I have to balance my time balance my time between family, work, and making sure my house doesn't fall down.

April 23, 2011

Sectioned and Numbered

Don't try this at home......  The block below isn't to scale and is only an image.  (I suppose it could be printed and enlarged for use, but do so at your own risk.)


I had to print the block as 6x8" and without the seam allowances included to get it to fit on one page.  I drafted the block as 12x16.  There is a way to make it a .pdf for printing.  The block could then be enlarged.  I wouldn't recommend piecing it at this scale.  (When I made my sample from the hand drawn pattern, I used an 8x11" pattern.)  The block isn't color coded, either.

I still have to test it.

April 21, 2011

Twilight Hands/Book Cover Block EQ Style

I'm always amazed with myself.  I'm amazed at how dumb I am most of the time about stuff.  I never think I can do anything and so I don't even try.  I also get lazy and avoid learning new things and taking the time to learn.  I'm great at being a cheerleader for other people, but not myself.  (This creates other issues because I also get disappointed in people when they're happy to stand pat on whatever they do, especially quilting.)  I always think that I lack the talent and skill to even try.  Oh, I could never do that.  That looks too difficult.....

WORD

You just have to sit down and do it.  Trial and Error.  Practice.  Read the instructions.  Use the Help function.  Stop being lazy....


I made this in EQ this afternoon and tonight.  Granted, it's not perfect.  Please allow me a moment of revelry, though.  This rendition is the closest I've come in EQ to drafting this block.

I learned quite a bit tonight.  It's also nothing more than a tracing of the block I had to hand draw first.  I'm still at the point where I seriously question whether I'd ever be able to trace a picture into a paper pieced block pattern.

I have many things to take forward with me....  Most importantly, I need to remember to ZOOM.  It made all the difference.

April 20, 2011

Breaking Dawn Quilt Setting

I know many a quilter from their blogs that use EQ7 proficiently.  One of them in particular, is an EQ7 doodler.  She is amazing and seemingly creates quilt after quilt in EQ.  She posts many of her doodles in multiple options and everyone always clamors for her to post the instructions to make the quilts for real.

Doodling isn't something I do very often.  I have to get into the mindset that it's a way to be creative even if it never amounts to anything.

I saw a quilt in Easy Quilts Summer 2011 that I think would be a good setting for the Breaking Dawn Quilt.  I saw it and immediately thought Breaking Dawn Quilt because the blocks look like a chess board! (By the way, no copyright infringement intended. I did purchase the magazine. I will not be posting instructions or anything.)


The center squares would feature blocks depicting important Breaking Dawn moments like the ones I made for the unfinished Eclipse Quilt.  The blocks as pictured are 16" finished.  The center block is 7" with a 1/2" red strip surrounding the center.

I started doodling a bit to audition some borders.









I could go crazy.... Oh, I just did.

Bella and Edward's Wedding Quilt: I Haven't Given Up

Did you know that April 20, 2011 has been designated as Make a Quilt Day?  I feel like it should be a national holiday.  My boss should have been forced to give me the day off so I could be home making a quilt....

I've been pressed for time more than usual lately.  I had plans to sew this weekend so I could put to the test some of the changes I had made to a pattern, but I ended up being busy all day Saturday at a soccer game and then shopping for a prom dress for my oldest daughter.  About halfway through the shopping, I was fantasizing that Alice popped in to help or, better, that Caroline became a Bella and didn't want to go to prom.

I'm a firm believer that you have to make time to do what you love, but it's difficult.  I also am a very bad procrastinator and struggle with the lazy vs. busy affliction.  It's true--there is such an affliction.  Go here to read more about it.

I'm never one to take my own advice.  I've had people tell me that they want to make their own Twilight quilts.  I tell them to go for it.  I think we put ourselves into our own little boxes, thinking that quilting is all about sewing traditional pieced quilt blocks or even that they have to be appliqued (hand or machine) and paper pieced.  I've seen some amazing ideas searching the 'Net and browsing magazines.  I've Favorited so many sites and ripped pages out of magazines for Someday.

The truth is that it's easy to do this.  I feel like I'm on a qwest to make the perfect Twilight Quilt, gathering ideas and dreaming up layouts.  The trouble with this qwest is that's all I've been doing.  I'm on a neverending journey and I never come home to actually start doing.  I feel like I'm only going to ever make one quilt so it's got to be perfect.

I ordered the Judy Niemeyer Wedding Quilt pattern.  It has sat for months after I looked at the instructions.  I was totally scared away.  Then, I came across this pattern.  It's totally paper pieced unlike the Niemeyer pattern that still had me having to sew curved pieces.  I've been wanting to order it for weeks, but things keep popping up like kids' birthdays and an unexpected Prom invitation.

The inspiration is there.  I've even got this fan fiction-like story floating in my head featuring Esme, Alice, and Rosalie making a wedding quilt.  I've even thought and looked for the fabrics I would use.  For instance, this add for Connecting Threads Spring Batiks in my Inbox today featuring these fabrics and that free shipping offer.

In the end, it's nothing more than me making more excuses even with me telling myself that I haven't given up.

April 19, 2011

Printable Fabric

I have plans to use printable fabric in the Twilight Mystery Quilt.

I have been using Printed Treasures printable fabric because I can purchase it at JoAnn's, catching it on sale or using a coupon.  It's pricey stuff!



I have also used Electric Quilt printable sheets with good results.  They have been harder for me to find unless I want to order them online which I don't do a lot of online shopping anymore.  One of my favorite local quilt shops closed and they carried them.  I got an email offer today that I might take advantage of.  EQ has a sampler pack and I'd like to try the Cotton Satin.  EQ now also has a Printable Fabric Roll!


I have also wanted to try Bubble Jet Set to make my own printable fabric sheets.  Caryl Bryer Fallert has some excellent information about this product on her site.  I have also heard that there are recipes for a homeade solutions like it, too.

April 16, 2011

My Favorite Things

Just a little bit longer...I have some tweaking of the first block for the Twilight Mystery Quilt 2011.  Thank you for being so patient.  I'm testing the first block again with some new fabric and after I edited a couple of sections.

The quilt is going to be a large one at least 60x72".  It contain some traditional blocks, paper pieced blocks, machine appliqued blocks, embroidery, and photo printing on fabric.  I'm eager to try some new techniques out myself so I may add a few more.  The possiblilities are endless!

These are a few of my favorite things....

The Twilight Saga, of course!  The books, not necessarily all the movies.  I do think they've gotten better with each one so I've got great hopes for Breaking Dawn.  Is it too early to remake Twilight with new script and director, but with all the same actors?!

My new favorite thing is the The Twilight Saga:  The Official Illustrated Guide.  (I'm not sure if I really like the hard cover novel-sized format, but who am I to complain?!)


I've gotten through Esme's bio.  I've been peaking ahead at all the diagrams and character drawings.  They are so helpful.  I may have to redesign this quilt...... 
I have more than a few favorite quilting tools.  I would hate to quilt without them, but one certainly could so they aren't essential.

I'm an avid paper piecer.  I want to paper piece as a quilting method even when applique would probably be more appropriate or instead of learning something new.  I would be lost without my Add a Quarter Ruler, Add and Eighth Ruler, and Add Enough Tool for paper piecing.  The rulers are designed by CM Designs, Inc.  The rulers are available at many local quiltshops and online.  Connecting Threads carries them and they have a free shipping coupon (enter QUFRESH at checkout) which makes it reasonable to order online.  I also like my Hera Marker, and Washable Glue Pen.


I use the Hera Marker to mark my 1/4" seam before I sew sections together sometimes.  It helps me match matching points and edges before I pin or baste.  I use the glue for any number of reasons, like tacking that first fabric piece to my paper pattern or using it to baste.

My favorite quilting search engine is Quiltshops.  I try to buy locally as much as possible, but whenever I'm in a pinch trying to find more fabric or I can't justify running all over town I'll use Quiltshops to find things.

Stay tuned....

April 14, 2011

Rotary Cutting, Pressing, and that 1/4" Seam: Tutorials and Troubleshooting

Rotary Cutting Skills  (a list of links, including Cutting Fabric Strips)

Do you know that to this day, rotary cutting strips still gives me fits?

I would love to have a sous quilter that cuts for me....

Pressing Techniques

Be careful!  Don't ruin your block by ironing it like you would a shirt.

How to Sew an Accurate 1/4" Seam (read through all the pages)

I use a 1/4" foot and I move my needle of one position to sew a scant 1/4" seam.

I also use a high quality 100% cotton thread, Aurifil, which has made a difference in my piecing.

I try to be as consistent and as accurate as I can.  I never lose points, have to ease blocks in sewing them together, or measure my quilts before adding borders.

Troubleshooting Sewing Machine Problems

I love about.com!

April 13, 2011

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide...Giveaway


I have my copy, do you?!

I somehow ended up with two copies.

If you would like to take one off my hands, please enter to win my spare.

Leave a comment letting me know the something, something you are eager to learn from the Guide.

I have to be able to contact the winner. If your Blogger Profile is set for privacy and I can't email you back, I understand. You will need to send me a separate email with a way for me to contact you.

Email The Twilight Quilters Coven

The deadline to enter is April 22, 2011 12:00 am m.s.t. I will announce the winner on April 22, 2011.

I'm eager to read the character backstories. I also can see that some of the pictures and diagrams will be very useful for some Twilight quilting!

April 12, 2011

Twilight Mystery Quilt: Quilting Fundamentals

The Fundamentals of Quilting from a Renaissance Perspective:
...So, what has this rant to do with quilting? It is a reminder that really embracing and mastering the fundamentals of a discipline will help develop any artist into a better version of what they could become. It is about the idea that to become thoroughly proficient in the basics will allow the artist to branch out and explore new and more innovative ways of participating in that art.
The article is excellently written and deserves to be read in its entirety (see linked title above).

I'm about to get a little preachy about quilting again....

Please know that I'm not out to insult anyone.  I realize that quilting can be a very personal thing to people and everyone has their way of doing things.  I'm far from perfect.  I make mistakes all the time and my seam ripper is never far from my sewing machine.  I can piece a top, but I still struggle picking out fabrics and quilting for myself.

There are a few standards that I made it a point to learn, hold dear, and use every day when sewing, though.

I'm one of those quilters that strongly believes that the fundamentals of quilting are very important.

Why?

The answer is really simple.

You'll experience less headaches during construction and be more productive.  You will net the best results and have a more positive quilting experience.  Confidence is thrilling!  If well constructed, quilts will also stand the test of time and wear.

Before anyone gets flappity, please be assured that I only place this exacting level of importance on a few things.  I believe that everyone should be able to use a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat to safely and accurately cut out their own quilt pieces.  (If you are still using scissors and templates more power to you.)  I believe that everyone should be able to sew an accurate and consistent  (scant) 1/4" seam.  There is absolutely no excuse for not doing so because there are enough tools, aids, and tutorials available to help one achieve the 1/4" seam.  I believe that a sewing machine in good working order that sews strong and even tensioned seams should be used.  (If you hand sew, wonderful!)

Oh, and I also believe that one should care enough to produce their best work.  Practice and learn to sew well.  If you value your work and do your best, other people will too....

When one doesn't use the fundamentals and doesn't care, blocks end up looking like these:

Angie's Meteor Block

Meteor block made by Angie of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009

Photobucket

Phone Call block made by Angie of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009

Angie's Cliff Diving

Cliff Diving block made by Angie of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009


Joyce's Mended Heart

Mended Heart block made by Joyce of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009

Joyce's Meadow

Meadow block made by Joyce of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009

Mel's La Tua Cantante

La Tua Cantante block made by Mel of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009

Mel's Volturi

Volturi block made by Mel of TQC for the Twilight Moms New Moon Quilt 2009


Quilting style, construction methods, design, and fabric choices are never included in my fundamentals.

What does all this mean as related to the Twilight Mystery Quilt?

There will be plenty of opportunity for creativity in making the quilt.  The blocks and quilt will require no more than a using the aforementioned quilting fundamentals during construction.

Get your machine ready....

Set that 1/4" seam...

Quilt ON!

April 4, 2011

Twilight Mystery Quilt 2011

I have been asked, "Where is the Twilight Mystery Quilt that you promised?!"

Well, to be honest, I didn't think anyone was interested.  With the exception of a few close friends, I've not seen any interest or support from anyone else for this blog.  I'm not saying the blog doesn't have visitors.  I shouldn't need the support, but I do.

I feel like I'm on an island sometimes.  I don't have the support of a group to motivate me or to keep me in check.  I know I shouldn't need all that, but I do.  I'm that much of a wimp.  And, even when I do, I still don't follow through.

I wasn't sure that I wanted to put in the time and effort just for me.

I'll post what I have starting April 15.

From now until then, I'll drop as many hints as I can and also make references to some other sites for tips and tutorials that might be helpful.

Respectfully,

Shannon

April 3, 2011

Spoonflower: My Thoughts

Midnight Ball and Ship Wreckers, Spoonflower fabric by Jillian Morris

I received my samples from Spoonflower in the mail on Friday.  I didn't get to really enjoy them until today.  I'm in love with Organic Cotton Sateen!  The fabric feels like silk.  I've written previously that my interest in quilting has its foundation in my love of fabric.  It's fabric like this that makes me remember why I love quilting so much.

Jillian Morris, the designer, designed Midnight Ball for a contest that Spoonflower had for vampire fabrics.  Her work is amazing!  (She is also very responsive if one ever has questions.  She emailed me both times when I ordered her fabric.)  I also splurged on a sample of her mermaid fabric Ship Wreckers.  I want some of her other designs and to order more Midnight Ball, but......

I ordered and received a yard of Midnight Ball months ago.  I ordered the design on Quilting Weight fabric and I didn't like it that much.  My disappointment stemmed from the quality of the fabric NOT the design.  Quilting Weight is very much like Kona Cotton which I feel is more of a utilitarian type of fabric.  It is used a lot in quilting even today as modern quilting takes off, but I've never liked using it because it feels heavy to me and isn't very interesting.  The feel of the fabric is coarse to the touch and the weave of the fabric is obvious.  I would compare it to skin with visible or large pores.  The design didn't seem to be as crisp on the Cotton as on the Sateen.

At $18/yd, it's not like it's cheap.

The Organic Cotton Sateen is $27.00/yd.  Ouch!!

I cry when I have to pay $10.00/yd for quilt shop quality fabric.

If I'm ever going to make this quilt, though, I'm going to have to use the Sateen.  My sensibilities won't let me do anything else.

I'm not saying that I won't ever use the Midnight Ball Quilting Weight that I bought for another project.

I guess I have to wait until I have an extra $27.00 or more to spend.

So, this is my opinion of Spoonflower.  I love the concept.  I wish the fabric weren't so expensive.  I would always order the Organic Cotton Sateen if I were going to use it in a quilt.

April 2, 2011

I Love Being Spoiled

Gah!

I about had heart failure when I visted eonline this evening.  I've been away from the computer for two days.  Two days is entirely too long to not check Twilight news because I almost missed the best spoilers yet.

I love spoilers....  No one will ever be able to talk me out of loving spoilers.  I'm just that type of person.

I thought I had missed the leaked pictures but, thank goodness, I found them on You Tube.

WOW!

I don't want to spoil anyone else so that's all I'm going to say.....