Thursday, March 29, 2012

Video Tutorial for Jigsaw Puzzle Quilting and an upcoming Giveaway!

Well my WIP Wednesday post didn't go exactly as planned.  My video never uploaded and couldn't figure out how to edit my post once it when live.  Oh Well.  I figured I would follow it up with a post that did include the video in my actual post, not a link in the comments section.  So be sure to check it out if you haven't already.  Also my very dear friend and fellow blogger Marisa Voorhees is giving away one of the aprons from my etsy shop be sure to check it out and get some great gluten free recipes and a chance to win an atomicapron. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WIP Wednesday #11 a new tutorial for Jigsaw Puzzle Quilting

Hello Everyone!
This week I have been doing lots of sewing, unfortunately mostly for a birthday gift that won't be received until next week, so I can't share that yet, but as a teaser I have an upcoming tutorial on how to do letters in reverse applique- which was lots of fun and had a really cool effect, so please come back next week for that.  I have finally managed to record a video tutorial for free motion quilting my Jigsaw Puzzle design, so have a look- the video is a bit long as I wanted beginners to be able to see the design several times so it really sticks, if you are not a beginner just view the first part and you will have it down.  I had a few people ask me how this might work on a postage stamp style quilt- the answer is perfect- no marking lines, just use your seam lines and you are good to go.  I made a little pillow in a postage stamp pattern so you can see for yourself how it looks I think the quilting is a bit hard to see in the pictures- but you will get the idea.  Also my good friend and fellow blogger Marisa Voorhees is giving away one of my aprons from my etsy shop on her blog, so if you are interested in winning a free apron stop by her blog to get more info on that.  So without further adieu here is my first ever video tutorial- hope you enjoy!

as always I am linking to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday freshly pieced

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday #10 baby quilt finish and quilting my first quilt for a customer

Well, it's Wednesday again and I have some fun progress to show.  I got my baby quilt all finished up and  it looks so puzzley and snuggly!  I am very pleased with my first original FMQ design and will definitely use it again on future projects- I am thinking it would look really cool on a much smaller scale- and am excited to experiment with it more very soon.  It measures 44" square and the large scale quilting on it makes it very soft- I am hoping the baby that receives it will really get a lot of use out of it and that the mom will treasure it. 
After completing that quilt I got started on quilting my first quilt for a customer- this has been a very exciting and fun process.  This marks the beginning of my journey as a professional quilter- and I hope to have many more quilts in the very near future.  This quilt is something that my customer made almost a decade ago- It is a Thimbleberries quilt called Fall Folk Art and the colors and folk style are so timeless.  I really enjoy all the detail in the center panel, and decided to quilt around all the motifs so it gives it a nice texture- and looks really cool from the back.  I then chose to do a small scale stipple around them- as they are so tightly spaced I just couldn't get any other design to look right in the space.  This is a really classic quilt and some of my more modern quilting designs would really look out of place on this quilt- so I am trying to let the quilt talk to me and keep it classic.  I could have done a pebble in the center panel instead of a stipple- but I think it would have made it look too modern and competed with all the motifs.  I am very pleased with my progress so far and hope my customer will be too.  Now that I am done with the center I will move to the boarder areas- which are screaming FEATHERS to me- so come back next week to see where that leads.  Feathers are my favorite thing to quilt- so I will really enjoy this next part I am sure.  For any of you that remember me mentioning a tutorial on the puzzle quilting- I promise it will be coming soon- I am working on a new link up for FMQ on my blog and I think the tutorial will be a great beginning for that- so maybe Friday?  Fingers crossed I get it all done by then. 
Baby Quilt done
Customer Quilt in progress

As always I am linking to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Baby Quilt with Puzzle Quilting all done!

I finished my baby quilt last night and got it all bound and ready to give.  I was visiting my mother in law today and decided to use her lovely house and yard as a pretty backdrop for some glamor shots of the quilt.  Please be aware that this is a picture heavy post - hope you enjoy.  I had to throw in some pics of my labradoodles Moose and Juki and my mother in law's maltese Tazzi. They were quite curious as to what the fuss was and were just too darned cute.  Also there is a pic of one of the resident hummingbirds that was buzzing around us during the photo shoot, it was too pretty not to share.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Like a Good Irish Girl

Happy St Patricks day everyone!  I, like a good Irish girl, am making my little family a beautiful meal of corned beef and cabbage with potatoes.  I realized earlier after talking to my sister in law that not everyone knows how to make this- and it is so easy.  I know many people who swear by the slow cooker for this meal- not me, no sir.  I don't have the time or patience to start that early.  I cook my corned beef (always flat cut, not that triangular cut that is typically cheaper) in a big pot with the seasoning packet plus extra pickling spice and a Guiness plus water.  I bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for around 4 hours- or until it starts to fall a apart.  Then I add my quartered yukon gold potatoes and when they are about half done my quartered head of cabbage.  Once the potatoes fall off a fork when you poke them the meal is done.  You then drain the whole thing and put on a serving dish- I serve with spicy mustard (preferably with  horseradish) and of course GUINESS!  I have had this meal religiously throughout my childhood- my mothers maiden name is O'Conner and my paternal Grandfather visited Ireland so much doing business in the 60s and 70s that they made him an honorary citizen.  We are proud of our Irish heritage in my family- and it just wouldn't be St Pattys day without corned beef and cabbage.  Fun Fact... as an elementary school student we were asked to write a report on an important historical event that happened in another country... Naturally I chose to write about the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.  Hope you are all wearing green, drinking your Guiness and eating a lovely Irish meal tonight.  CHEERS!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday #9

This week I have been busy doing some unfun sewing... and some really fun sewing.  My lovely Father in Law volunteered my skills to his neighbor who needed the edges of his new pontoon boat cover bound.  Not cool.  I spent the better part of my week putting binding on a huge stinky cover- while I am all about helping out with my sewing, this is definitely not my area of expertise.  I did a pretty good job with it though and the owner of the pontoon boat seemed pleased.  I have warned my Father in Law that I am a QUILTER not a pontoon boat sewer.   Lets just hope he refrains from volunteering me for any other undesirable sewing. 

The rest of the sewing time I had this week was devoted to quilting my baby quilt for my Mother in Law's neighbor Joe.  His daughter is expecting a son very soon and so I have been very motivated to get the quilt done for him as a surprise.  For this quilt I was really inspired after meeting Joe's wife.  She spends HOURS every day putting together puzzles.  It is her favorite hobby.  I thought about it for a while and ultimately decided that I could make my quilting look like a puzzle.  I spent days sketching and experimenting until I finally nailed down how I would do it.  This is the first FMQ design I have ever designed myself.  From all my research I couldn't find it done anywhere else.  It ended up being pretty easy and really fun.  The main trick with this quilting design is you have to be pretty good at travel stitching (stitching over your previous stitches without straying).  It is a basic all over quilting style- but does take a bit of planning and marking.  I did not mark all my lines- I used the seams in the quilt as a guide and on the first quadrant marked it into a grid, so I could keep my design straight.  I realized though that this wasn't really necessary if you stop and visually look at the row above the row you are working on.  So for the rest of the quilt I am doing it basically free hand with no marking and it is coming out fine.  I am just about 3/4 done with it now and am very excited and motivated to finish it up and give it to Joe and his wife.  I decided if I got enough interest I would do a video tutorial next week on WIP Wednesday for this design- so if you would like to learn how to do this design then please leave me a comment saying so.  Also if you aren't a Free Motion Quilter and would like me to quilt your quilt top in this or any other design then please contact me for more info as I have started a quilting service.  Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog and Happy WIP Wednesday to you all!
I am linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced by Lee

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh Makiko!

One year ago today I had an unusual sale in my Etsy shop that unbeknown to me would change my life for the better.  It was April 11th 2011, and the Tsunami had just ravaged much of Japan, Earthquakes and aftershocks were shaking the poor country to it's core, and nuclear power plants there were spewing dangerous and scary leaks.  And I got an order for 2 aprons- one being my favorite Kate Spain central Park design- from a gal named Makiko O'Neil in Japan.  I have to say I was immediately curious- who could be thinking of aprons at a time like this?  I decided to write her a message and ask if she was affected and if there was anything I could do to help.  Thus beginning a beautiful friendship and business venture that has made me smile several times over the coming year.  Makiko was affected by the earthquakes, and was very unsettled by all that was going on in her beloved country, so she decided to look on her favorite fabric designer (Kate Spain) website.   She saw that Kate had listed some of her favorite Etsy retailers on a sidebar and my shop AtomicAprons was one of them.   Makiko's husband Jason encouraged her to order a few aprons to cheer her up and give her something to look forward to.  In the following months we emailed regularly, I got perspective of a healing Japan, and she got insight in to the world of a small business owner who made and sold her wares.  We inspired each other.  Makiko decided she would like to have her own shop there in Japan, and as she wasn't yet doing much sewing she decided selling my aprons amongst other American made delights would be a fun thing to do.  She supported my little business very well and bought many aprons from me over the year.  When it came time for her birthday her husband Jason contacted me to order one of my quilted pillows in her favorite Kate Spain fabric as a special surprise.  I had so much fun working with him to surprise her- and we ended up being good friends too.  They are the gift that keeps on giving.  Makiko has supported me as I have learned to Free Motion Quilt and always been a cheerleader and fan of my work.  Jason has told me funny stories about life as an American in Japan- and brought a whole new perspective.  I have encouraged and given advice to Makiko in the realm of being a small business owner, and also a new sewer.  She has done wonderfully- and is blowing my mind with all her newly acquired skills.  I have so much respect for this gal- who could turn tragedy  into triumph and follow her dreams so fully.  I am so proud to have her as my friend- she has given and shown me so much- and I can't imagine life without her.  It is amazing how the people we meet change us- after meeting her I truly understood that connections were never to be taken for granted- if we are not open to the people we come in contact with- who knows what we might miss out on.  Thanks for a great year Makiko- happy friend anniversary and I hope to meet you in person one day to give you a well deserved hug!
Makiko and Jason
Makiko's shop displaying one of my Aprons

traditional Kimono fabric sent to me by Makiko

Japanese fat quarters and piping another gift from Makiko

more Japanese fabric

and even more, I am so spoiled!

traditional Japanese carpet binding-

this little pincushion I made from a Heather Baily pattern Makiko sent to me

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

WIP Wednesday #8 a new quilt for a special friend

Joe Sugamelli is my mother in law's neighbor.  He is the kind of neighbor anyone in America would kill for.  He is in his 70s and doesn't miss a beat.  He is kind and caring, always there to take in your trash bins before you get home and collect your mail when you are on vacation.  Jeff's mom has owned the house she now lives in for a decade, but rented it out for several years while living in a newer house across town.  With the bad economy and home depreciation she was forced to sell her new home and move back to the one down the street from Joe.  As a house warming gift he had all her palm trees trimmed.  He used to be a baker and not a week goes by without him bringing us his precious Italian delicacies.  Nobody makes a cannoli  like Joe.  He is a proud Sicilian- don't you dare call him Italian- and he loves Jeff and I like his own kids.  When I heard his daughter was having a baby recently I knew the perfect way to thank him.  Joe's wife LOVES puzzles- and that is the only hint I will give you all about how I will be quilting this quilt.  This jumbo log cabin quilt is a special thank you to a guy who makes our life better every day.  I know the world will be a colder and less friendly place without our beloved Joe.  To him and all the great neighbors that make our country special.

This quilt is made from a half of a Jelly roll and some solid strips.  I did a traditional log cabin quilt in an X pattern.  It came together quickly, which is good for me as I can't wait to quilt it.  I have had some sew wrong moments with this little baby snuggler though... the brown fabric I have used as a solid seems to have shrunken slightly when I ironed the seams- and I am not looking forward to basting it.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to remedy this problem it would be much appreciated.  Regardless I will make it work and spray baste if I need to to get it as flat as possible.  I don't like spray basting but in extreme cases like this one it might just be the only way to go.  I promise every seam is a perfect 1/4 inch and ironed open just as it should be- I think the brown fabric was just hexed- and decided to shrink on me under my hot iron.  Not cool.  C'est la vie- that is the great thing about baby quilts- it will be used and loved regardless of it's imperfections and once washed I doubt the wonkyness will be noticed.  I love it anyway and I know it is going to a very good home.  I can't wait to finish it and surprise Joe and his wife with my special gift.   This is my only progress this week and I don't have anything else in progress to report.  As always I am linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced