January 31, 2012

How Not to be Bothered

What ever was I thinking?!  Yep, from the files of Shannon trying to be too smart and mucking things up:

The skulls had to go.  I picked the worst type of fabric for the Tic-Tac-Toe Craftsy block.  I liked the fabric too much and allowed the feeling to sway me into trying to use it for a totally inappropriate block.

What was I to do?  Make another block with another fabric.

Most wouldn't have been bothered, but I was.  I've given up trying not to be bothered....  It's easier to fix what's bothering me....at least as far as quilting is concerned.  Yes, that's why I like to quilt.  I can usually fix things that bother me unlike in most other areas of my life.



I will find another block for the skull fabric!


Bargain Bin: Eclipse Official Illustrated Movie Companion

I was wandering around my neighborhood WalMart this morning after picking up the items I actually stopped for.  I always hit the book and magazine section.  I was thrilled to see a stack of the Eclipse Official Illustrated Movie Companion in the bargain bin for $2.97!



I purchased the Companion for New Moon, but not for any of the other parts.  I'm really not much of a collector of such things, but $2.97 was too good to pass up.  I suppose if I really wanted the others, I could shop around.  I see that Amazon has some seller's that have the other editions listed at discounted prices.

I'm trying to let this be my only bargain, but I am being tempted by fabric.  This and That Fabrics has free domestic shipping through today.  Do I need any more fabric?  NO!  Do I want some Paparrazzi, Masquerade, Moda Marbles, Essentials Filigree, and Complements Embellishments? HELL, YEAH!!

I can't really justify a purchase right now, though....

January 30, 2012

Design Wall

I'm doing the Craftsy BOM...my way.  I have read that over 40,000 people have signed up for the free online course.  The instructor is actually based in Denver.  Each month is supposed to help quilters build a particular skill.  I'm not participating for that, although there are some months in the future that feature techniques I've never tried.  I decided to participate because it's free and I was after the social experience.  The online video experience was an interesting--I think we'll see more and more of that.  I've followed along with the discussion periodically.....umm.

My blocks are 8" instead of 12" and I've been able to paper piece the January and February blocks.  I used the patterns to draft the blocks.  I didn't feel like slashing and sewing in January.  I decided to make my February blocks with geese units instead of a bunch of HSTs....sue me!  I dug out my collection of skull fabrics and some red, white, black, and grey coordinates.  The kids keep asking me who I'm making it for, why I'm making it, blah, blah, blah.  I don't know.


I have another item on my design wall.  A Twilight T-shirt.


I'm going to try starting my Beyond the Block quilt featuring the shirt.  I'm not sure if I want to use the whole printed picture, though.  I need opinions....  I'm torn.  I don't know why I don't want to include the Nomads?



Sally's Custom Quilts: Twilight Quilt in Progress



Sally has made more progress on the Twilight quilt she is making.  The quilt is really coming together!

Here is the quilt plan:




Sally takes commissions....  She has many designs to choose from, including non-Twilight designs.  She is a pro at designing in Electric Quilt.


Check out her Facebook page for Sally's Custom Quilts.

January 28, 2012

Chess Match

I don't think it's a very good analogy, but maybe it feels like a chess match when I'm trying to "design" a new pattern for myself.  Having never played chess, I'm probably totally off base.

I had some time on my hands yesterday afternoon so I pulled out my image of the white queen chess piece.  I put Kiefer Sutherland's new Fox series, Touch, on the computer and got busy.  (Totally amazing show, by the way.  I got goose bumps during a couple of scenes and cried.  The episode totally blew me away!)  I missed the episode on the night of its original airing--what did I do before the DVR, On Demand, and the Online Streaming?!

No pressure on myself or anything, but I don't think my brain will allow me to move forward with anything else until I get the Breaking Dawn Chess Piece pattern done.  The block is, I think, the center of my block.  Yep, I know I could just leave a big black square to represent it and go on to other parts..... 

It's a tough one!


I've got to include shading unless I decide to add it with thread upon completion.  The top elements of the piece have to be squared up a bit.  The first line is the toughest.  I think I may move it.  Every line after is drawn from that first line so it's important to make a good decision.  That's the way I do it, at least.

I've been distracted by other quilts.  I've also decided to fully embrace my paper piecing fascination.....or obsession.  Did you know that I convert almost every single pattern I use to be made by paper piecing?  I'm in the middle of Orca Bay, paper pieced, and I Believe in Pink, paper pieced.

Sewing on Paper is under construction...... and soon to be a (dot) com.

January 24, 2012

126 More to Go....Gulp!

Orca Bay will be the death of me.

I made myself get back to this project.  I tested the pattern I made for the goose unit.  It works!  I did almost make one mistake, though.  I thought the wing unit light was a square, but it is a HST.  I don't much like all the bias edges.....  I dug out my Fons and Porter Triangle Trimmer to cut off the top tips of the wing units before I sewed them which really helps in attaching the units accurately.

Now that I know the pattern works, I'm going to be more efficient by chain sewing.  I'm going to cut up a bunch of the triangles needed for the wings.  I'm sticking with the scrappy example.

I'm planning on working on some other projects to break up the monotony.





I did a test draft of the Breaking Dawn chess pieces in EQ7 that are a part of the focus square for the Breaking Dawn quilt.  It didn't turn out to anything more than a doodle it was so bad and it's not even worth showing.  I'm going to have to work long and hard at the pattern.  I'll probably have to make a hand drawing first.

I think this is the coolest thing:


Zombie Snowflake


My son is really into Zombies.  I think it would make a cool Hawaiian-type of appliqued quilt.....that is, if I appliqued worth a darn.

Sally, Custom/Commissioned (Twilight) Quilter

I still miss being a part of a group on some levels, but don't miss at all the headaches being a part of a group gave me.  I'm sure I'm not missed either.  I'd probably miss a group more if it weren't for the friends I've made lately.

I treasure the connections I've made through blogging, especially through this blog.....

I have a lot of fun chatting with friends about projects.  I'm inspired regularly by their creativity, quilting ability, and friendship.

Sally contacted me a couple of weeks ago for permission to use one of the Twilight Hands patterns for a quilt she was making for a friend.  (Pattern located at Twilight Quilt Patterns)

Of course!!

She's been kind enough to share some of her amazing designs .  Sally uses Electric Quilt to design her quilts.  She makes commissioned quilts as Sally's Custom Quilts.

She is working on this Twilight quilt:



Twilight Hands



Thank you for letting me share!

January 23, 2012

Design on the Brain

I survived my weekend!  My laptop gasped its last breath.  I conceeded and attached my IPod for the first time to the home computer so I spent some time on Sunday building my playlist.  I lost some music and, honestly, it's going to be too much of a hassle and mind numbing experience to try to recover the songs I'm missing from the back-up drive my husband has saved.  I don't have to worry about my Twilight stuff, though, because it was all there....  Music is really important to me.  I use my IPod at work, to tune out noise at home, and to lift my spirits.  I had taken all my other pictures and important files off the computer previously.

Another weekend without sewing, except to repair my son's Spiderman quilt.  I don't like the method I used and the spider frayed a lot because I was an idiot in the way I stitched the edges down and not understanding that the glue I used wasn't permanent..  Lesson learned!  My son doesn't care so I'm just going to leave it instead of redoing it.

I also thought a lot about how I need to stop messing around and stop making excuses about not getting anything done. 

I've got a design floating around my head that I'm trying think through and be brave enough to work on.  It's another quilt that I dreamt about--a lot like I did with the Stephenie Meyer Quilt.  It's been bouncing around in my mind for a couple of weeks, but I've had a mental block about it.  One of the reasons I've been thinking about it is that I don't feel like I can move forward with any type of quilt unless I have a setting because I need to know block sizes and the other elements I want to include.  I've always wanted to make a quilt that had a border like this:


It's out of one of my favorite books in my library about design,  Rodale's Innovative PiecingThe book is dated having been published in 2000, but the ideas are sound.  The book is very cool and would be very useful for today's modern quilters and the movement.  The checkerboard is drafted on large graph paper, like from a large tablet flipchart with 1" squares, and then transferred to freezer paper according to the instructions in the book.  The freezer paper drawn sections are cut apart, ironed onto fabric strip sets that have been sewn, cut, and then sewed together in the checkerboard pattern.  I'd like to use the border in a Twilight quilt to represent the Breaking Dawn checkerboard.

I pulled both of my red fabric totes upstairs and printed the patterns so I can start making the red string goose units.  I haven't given up on that quilt.  I can't let those 72 grey string units go to waste....

January 22, 2012

In Need of Repair

There's a site out there that acts like they've cornered the market on fandom quilts....

I've been a fangirl or one thing or another as long as I've quilted.  I made a Spiderman quilt for my son Zach over eight years ago.  It is one of my favorite quilts that I've ever made.  I really came into my quilting-own with the quilt.  (I also made a Strawberry Shortcake quilt for my daughter, Sarah, about the same time.)  I used paper piecing patterns to construct the blocks, even the tradtional blocks.  The quilt pattern wasn't my own and I didn't attribute the design on the quilt label....shame on me! I had both quilts professionally quilted by Top Quilters.  The silvery thread that was used is awesome!


Spiderman Quilt - Quilted by Top Quilters

Spiderman Quilt close-up of quilting

Spiderman Quilt close-up of back

For more of my first quilts go here and some opportunity quilts go here.

The kids quilts have been well loved.  When you give a quilt to a kid, you've got to figure that something is going to happen to make you cringe.  Sarah spilled nailpolish on her quilt.  Zachary ripped a patch in his that I've never fixed.

A friend suggested a long time ago that I fix it by placing a spider over the holes.


Today I'm going to machine applique a Spiderman logo spider.  Fortunately, the fabric is only ripped on the front of the quilt.  I think a spider will work...

January 21, 2012

Another Favorite Designer

My daily life is still in a state of upheaval.  I've spent the past couple of days dealing with family issues and just doing all the regular mom things that keep me so busy...too busy for anything else.  I only share this as to explain the distinct lack of anything creative from me.

I'd like to share another one of my favorite paper piecing pattern designers:

Claudia's Quilts (Claudia Hasenbach)

Claudia is German.  Her designs are uber fabulous!  She has a patternshop and appears to accept payments by PayPal, although I have never purchased.

Of note, is her Big Quilt of Nature.  The patterns for that quilt, 80 blocks, are sold in sets are are very reasonably priced!

The series of birds for this quilt are being offered as a free BOM.

The first bird in the series is a SWAN!!!

I hope to get back to things soon.....

January 18, 2012

Escape and Impulsive Fabric Buying

I'm having a tough day.  Family stuff......  I'm at a loss on  how to fix things.  Well, maybe that's not totally true.  I don't know if I have the stamina or fortitude to be the mom....warden....mom that I have to be to effect change.  For instance, I never thought I'd have to commit to brushing my capable 13-year old son's teeth so as to improve his hygiene enough that the orthodontist won't take off the braces mid-treatment we've spent $5000 on.  Tip of the iceberg even as serious as this sounds....

When I'm down and out, I look to ways to make myself feel better.  These things are self-destructive.

Fabric buying is one of them.

Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I escape to a favorite quilt shop.  I'm greeted by name.  I get to soak in the creative atmosphere.  I'm usually asked how I am, what I'm working on, if I need any help......

I usually buy something in return.  I feel better for a minute until I get home and the problems are still staring me in the face AND I have no energy or time to even use what I've purchased.

I'm dying to escape today.  I have some projects that I'd like to get some fabric for.  Nevermind the basement of fabric I have to shop from.  Fabric that I've accumulated over the years from escapism.

January 17, 2012

EQ7 Tutorial: Using EQ7 to Design a Paper Piecing Pattern from an Imported Picture

I have visited the Shape Moth blog for months, but not regularly.  I see the error of my ways and have joined as a follower and will probably add the blog to my Sidebar.  Amazing work!!!  I visit blogs like these sometimes and feel inept and definetly un-artist-like, but still inspired to try to get out of my stagnant quilting box.  I should try more and stop staying, "I can't"....

I have taken some baby steps in the past year.  I never would have thought I'd make any patterns even if I'm not being very original as I use other people's pictures and graphics as their foundation.

Shape Moth has a really cool tutorial that shows how to design a paper piecing pattern in EQ7 from an imported picture.

As one can see, I don't do anything that special....

I would love to participate in a Bee like the one for Alice and Wonderland.  How fun!

January 15, 2012

Lydia's Immortal Child: Creeptastic

They were very beautiful, Carlisle had explained quickly, seeing my reaction.  So endearing, so enchanting, you can't imagine.  You had to be near them to love them; it was an automatic thing.
Breaking Dawn, p. 33
He was beautiful, adorable, just as Carlisle had described.  The boy was a toddler still, maybe two years of age.  Light brown curls framed his cherubic face with its round cheeks and full lips.  And he was trembling, his eyes closed as if he was too frightened to watch death coming closer every second.
....The child opened his bright, bloodred eyes.
Breaking Dawn, p. 36-37
Another wonderful block from Lydia!



Lydia braved another one of my patterns to make this amazing representation.  Perfect fabric choices once again!  Lydia suggets using a "printed" white fabric for the whites of the eyes to get the best contrast.  She used one of my favorite fabrics by Jennifer Sampou for the background.

Thank you SO much!

*Please note the block was made in reverse and is the opposite view than the pattern on the site will finished unless reversed.  I like it best this way!


I always used to question why designers had pattern testers and didn't just piece things themselves.  I'm feeling that sometimes after I finish a pattern and it's ready for testing that I'm not in the mood to do it.  I am so thankful for Lydia!

Immortal Child pattern is located at Twilight Quilt Patterns.

January 13, 2012

Score Two: One for Hunger Games and One for ME

I've read all the Hunger Games books.  I'm not in love with them, but I appreciate them.  I am looking forward to the first movie in the series out in March.  I believe it will be a huge success....as long as it's not bigger than the Twilight movies....HA!  I was thrilled to hear the first song from the soundtrack Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars.  I enjoy Swift's music very much and The Civil Wars became an instant favorite after hearing the song.  (I can't say enough how much I love their sound...so pure and true.)  I immediately downloaded it and having been listening to it ever since.  Both my girls love it, especially my 10-year old who is a HUGE Swift fan.  The song fits any number of scenes and characters in the book and I can't wait to hear its placement in the film.  I can say that the song is a big score for Hunger Games.  I believe that a few songs were specifically written for some of the Twilight movies, but I'm not sure any of them were as perfect as Safe and Sound sounds for Hunger GamesTurning Page in Breaking Dawn may come close.



This perfomance of Safe and Sound has surfaced....it's supposed to be the first live performance of the song.

On a personal note....my quilting time has been cut in half this past week with the kids being back in school.  It's homework every night with all four kids.  Last night, I was helping my sophomore daughter diagram sentences.  Wow, that's hard!  I think it might have been almost as worse as helping my 13-year old with linear equations, slope, and graphing them.  I was clueless!  A search on the 'Net saved the day....and my husband who still understands that stuff.  I am so glad I'm not a student.  My poor kids!

I did manage to clean up my sewing area.  It was a wreck after finishing those 72 String blocks for Orca Bay.  I braved my stash to pull out some cuts of black fabric for the next step I've decided to tackle for which I have to make 224 Quarter Sqaure Triangle units.  Craziness!  I tested my EQ7 drafted QST sheet that I made based upon some tips found on the 'Net.  I don't know what's what, but my units did come out a tad bigger than needed.  I'm not complaining at all, though, in having to square them up to the correct size.  OMG...those little blocks are small even at 2" finished.  I think my sheet is going to work well for me as I can't imagine having to cut all those little triangles and piecing them individually.



Images only!

Each square will make two blocks.  The full sheet is 6.5 x 9.75" so it will print on one sheet of paper and net 12 blocks.  If I want to make my blocks as scrappy as Bonnie's, then I will have to switch my produced units around with others produced by other sheets.

I hope I haven't outsmarted myself as I'm prone to do.....

I layered my light fabric and dark fabric right sides together, dabbed a bit of glue stick here and there on the pattern sheet so I didn't have to use pins, and sewed all the inside diagonal lines.  Mistake!  Duh....  I quickly unpicked those extra stitches, cut the units apart, sewed the opposing units together to make the QST unit, pressed, and squared those babies up to 2.5" unfinished using the proper technique of lining that diagonal ruler line up with the diagonal seams of the unit.


sew on the green, cut on the red (excuse my amateurish graphics)


The pattern includes the needed seam allowances.


January 12, 2012

Requested

I finally finished all 72 3" grey string blocks for Orca Bay.  I should have gone to be bed and I'm tired today, but I was bound and determined to finish the last 10.  I did things my way, of course!  I drafted a couple of different paper piecing pattern versions of the 3" String block to use.  I hardly used any greys from my stash as it was lacking so I purchased most of my fabric in 1/6ths, 1/4s, and FQs from three different stores.  I now have a nice compliment of greys in my stash for future projects.  I don't know which step of the mystery, that is no longer a mystery since I peeked, I will do next.  I hesitate to take a break as that is how so many of my UFOs happen never to be finished.  I think I've figured out a paper piecing sheet of QSTs for one of the steps so that I don't have to piece the units with individual triangles.  I have to test it to make sure it's right, though, before making those units.



I made the mistake of showing my sister the SewHooked/Fandom in Stitches Project of Doom Harry Potter quilt when she came over for pie and birthday wishes last weekend.  She wants one....  I'm kind of interested in making it as it is a cool quilt as far as Harry Potter goes, but to find the time is the issue.  I'm also worried about the patterns.  I've had issues with Sewhooked before.  I've been assured that they have been drafted well, though so maybe I'll fit it into my schedule.  If I could just get Lydia who has an amazing talent for using just the right fabric to help me.....I'd be all set!

I've had numerous requests for different patterns.  It's too bad I work at a snail's pace.  New Moon tulips, the Eclipse ribbon, a Breaking Dawn chess board, Bella's truck, etc, etc.  I'm making up a list so if anyone wants anything in particular, let me know.

I'd like to buy some time for $1.  Anone know of a place?!

A small note about my free-motion quilting.....  I've not gotten back to practicing anymore, but I'm dying to.  Reason?  Well, Leah Day's Free-Motion Quilting #2 spot addresses one more subject that I've needed help with.  I mentioned that I get overwhelmed by my quilt tops, quilt myself into a corners, etc.  The #2 spot talks about quilting in rows.  Who knew that it was okay to do this?  I try to be logical about things an this has occurred to me before, as well as quilting in quadrants, but I didn't think it was okay to quilt this way.  I'm figuring out that I can be logical and creative at the same time.  In fact, it's probably really good to be that way.  Why I needed permission, I'll never know?!

January 10, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

My blocks aren't thrilling me....  I'm having issues with my design process.  I'm going to try a new method with graph paper.  The tracing only works to a point.

Anubis is crazy the way I've done the pattern and finished sectioning it as of last night.  I don't think I'd even want to piece it.  I didn't have time to attempt the one with the pyramid last night other than a bit of marking up a drawing with pencil.


8", pattern image ONLY


I'm having a bit of a crisis of quilting faith.

I'm so sorry.  Everytime I turn around I'm whining about not being able to accomplish the things I want to accomplish for one reason or another.

January 9, 2012

I Think Alice Would Approve

I'm already counting on the fact that 2012 will be more fun with friends in my corner.

My theme of today and maybe for this year is inspired by a little gifty I recently received:

Too Much of a Good Thing is WONDERFUL!  (as quoted from the top of Mary Engelbreit box).

The reds have it....

Lydia sent me the perfect red fabric for the Bella's Transformation block.  We think it will be perfect for the heart.  I'm so lucky!



I received a lovely squishy in the mail on Friday.  My winnings from Annie's Ruby Slipperz's Monday Mystery.  I asked for red and Annie didn't disappoint.  The FQs I received were totally scrumptious and one in particular set my heart racing.  Yes, fabric still does that for me.  I used the same fabric in my Switzerland block for the Eclipse Quilt.  I only bought a FQ at the time and I think I have I might have a bit left.



Heleen Pinkster is one of my favorite paper piecing designers.  I don't think I've mentioned her before.  I checked in on her site the other night after months of not doing so.  Shame on me!  She has a BOM of 2012 that might be fun and I think Alice would approve.  Shoes is the theme!  I approve because they're paper pieced!  The BOM is free for the year.  (Be sure to hit the English flag at the top of the site for translation.)  The first month's shoe is a ski boot. (LINK to site)  Last year's theme was kitchen tools and it's still available, but I don't know for how long.

I have so many projects calling my name, including ones in my head that are Twilight-related.  If they're not Twilight-related, I've managed to make them fit the bill.  I'm toying with making a Civil War Love Letters quilt, something I've always wanted to do, and attaching it to Jasper.  Hey, he was from that era!  It's a stretch, but I'm good at that.  Ha!

I've also determined that I need to learn hand embroidery so I've been researching that.  I used to cross stitch a long time ago, but I haven't done any handwork in a very long time.  I almost can't bear it anymore because of all the damage I've done with all the computer work I do.  I've been totally inspired by Lydia's quotes quilt idea and this quilt.  I'll not be able to embroider by machine, but I think the quotes could be done by hand.  I've been hanging out here trying to learn some things.

I can't leave well enough alone on my own design front.  In the process of cleaning up the Anubis block, I decided I needed to add a pyramid in the background.  I did it, but now the proposed piecing is all jacked up to the point that it might not able to be pieced anymore reasonably.  My solution?  Well, I'll make the pattern without it work and stubbornly make the one with the pyramid work, too, even if it's only for personal use.



oops!  an error in fabric placement by his ear...

I browsed through all the pictures I have saved for coven ideas.  I can't wait to start the rough drafts.  I need to clone myself.

Amazons....


Denalis



Nomads




Romanians

I haven't forgotten about the KMA quilt, either.

I need more hours in the day!

January 7, 2012

Conversation

I have things to finish, but I never let that stop me starting something new.  I have promised myself that I will finish Anubis today, too, though.  I also have plans to finish my strings for Orca Bay.  (Wow...not lying that quilt is labor intensive! Since I peaked at the solution, I'm going to probably just draft the rest in EQ7 and paper piece it all.)

I've always wanted make a conversation hearts pattern because of this passage.  Conversation hearts were included in the New Moon Quilt, too.

Happy Valentine's Day,  Jacob said, smiling, but ducking his head as he greeted me.

He held out a small, pink box, balancing it on his palm.  Conversation hearts.

Well, I feel like a schmuck, I mumbled.  Is today Valentine's Day?

Jacob shook his head with mock sadness.  You can be so out of it sometimes.  Yes, it is the fourteenth day of February.  So are you going to be my Valentine?  Since you didn't get me a fifty-cent box of candy, it's the least you can do.

I started to feel uncomfortable.  The words were teasing, but only on the surface.

What exactly does than entail? I hedged

The usual--slave for life, that kind of thing.

Oh, well, if that's all... I took the candy.  But I was trying to think of some way to make the boundaries clear.  Again.  They seemed to get blurred a lot with Jacob.

New Moon, p. 202



I've imported the image into EQ7 and done some preliminary sectioning.  I'll print it out and clean it up.  I hope I can get it right!  The messages will have to be embroidered.

January 6, 2012

Quilt University: T-Shirt Quilt Class 2/3/12

Bella's T-Shirt Quilt is one of the main reasons people land on this blog.  People are looking to buy it or make their own mostly.  I've given up on collecting the T-Shirts from Desteenation because it would be just too expensive an endeavor and many of the shirts are out of stock, anyway.



I received Quilt University's newsletter in my Inbox this morning.  Fran Gonzalez is teaching a class on how to make a T-Shirt quilt at Quilt University (link to supply list) that starts on February 3, 2012 that only costs $27.00.

I've taken classes at Quilt University before.  I've not been disappointed.

January 4, 2012

Free (E)Motion in Life and Quilting

I've avoided the blog for a couple of days to avoid boring anyone with my negativity.  The blog is in danger of becoming  more of a personal blog than a Twilight quilting blog.  I'm trying to avoid that at all costs.  I've stepped into into it before with my woes and tales of issues with the Twi-Quilters, but it could be worse.

I don't know if the lingering holiday blues this time or just my overall demeanor getting out of control.  I don't know if it's my dissipation of anger.....finally....that has sapped any motivation I have to produce any new patterns, finish those started, or finish quilts as I don't have it was my "fuel" to fire me up into doing things.  It could be just a bit of quilter's burnout.

I feel like I'm a person meandering through life bumping into obstacles and flirting with the edge of disaster all the time.  I'm all about the drama.

Anywho....

I'm still working on the Orca Bay Mystery Quilt, but I'm stuck at the string stage.  I went ahead and looked at the final reveal.  I'm happy with my Twilight color choices.  I think they will be great!  I took on the project to get myself sewing again and I am at that, but not as much as I could be.  I went overboard on buying fabric and I wish I could say it made me feel any better.

I've distracted myself by hanging out on the computer too much.  ....So many UFO challenges and quiltalongs to choose from.  There are more than one free-motion quiltalongs that started at the beginning of the year that have intrigued me because I'm still stubbornly hoping that I can do it well enough for some charity quilts.  I've had a .....hate relationship with free-motion quilting and I've written about it more than once.  I get the concept.  I recently been able to produce decent stitch quality.  My issues have always been creating a decent design, even in meandering.  I get overwhelmed by the amount of space I have to fill on my tops.  I start out okay, but I get anxious, confused, and then I kind of throw my hands up and just finish as quickly as possible.    I fully acknowledge that I need to let go of trying to be perfect and practice.  I also believe that I need to figure out a way to section my quilt top so that I can focus on smaller sections and avoid being overwhelmed.

I've been a fan of Leah Day and her blog for over a year.  I think she is one of the best experts out there and a true asset to the quilting community.  Her practical advice and equipment recommendations have made all the difference in my free motion even though I still struggle.  I no longer distracted by tension issues.  I still fuss a bit over the challenges that the quilt sandwich presents using a regular sewing machine to quilt.  Don't let anyone tell you differently--equipment and tools make a big difference.  I'd like to get a better machine, like a Juki or similar machine.  (I had a Juki before when I tried to quilt on a B-Line quilting frame, but I had to sell them both.)  I'd like to set up a better sewing space with a table that is the appropriate height and one in which my sewing machine fits into.

I dug the machine I use for quilting tonight--a Singer Confidence Quilter.  I got some ugly fabric out of my stash and some leftover batting.  I loaded a bobbin with my favorite thread, Aurifil.  I have figured out that this machine likes Aurifil thread for quilting.  I tried the Isacord that Leah uses, but my machine doesn't like it as well.  I do use the Little Genie Bobbin Washers.  I have a Supreme Slider but it doesn't fit my machine very well and I have messed it up a bit by sewing it a couple of times when it came untaped from my bed.  I do leave my feed dogs up as suggested.  I use gloves.  Tonight I tried the phone book trick--put the phone book in front of my foot pedal and it does feel like my foot is in a better position.

I taped off a section of my sandwich.  I quilted only in that section a simple meander and it did seem to help.  I pulled off the tape and quilted some more.  I didn't quilt the entire sandwich because I had to stop for dinner.  I won't get back to it tonight.

I feel good!  I wish I had a top to quilt on.