Aug 30, 2014

Addie's Quilt - FMQ

Hello everyone!

Addie's quilt series is practically finished. But it HAD TO include a post just about FMQ.

The most challenging thing about this post are the pictures!  There are a bunch of things that can go wrong and sometimes the actual picture does not capture what we want to.  Or, it shows exactly that itty bitty thing that makes the quilt!

OK, I'm not a professional photographer, but I knew what kind of pictures I wanted.  Let's begin the experimentation with light.

Light enhances either the texture (a.k.a. quilting) or the piecing in a quilt. I had a hard time finding a place that would show details, but I really like how the next picture turned out.



This is in the same area, at a different time of the day. The quilt wasn't finished, but I think the flowers in the middle of the diamond are easier to see... Well, sort of...


I knew I wanted the quilting to emphasize the piecing; hence the diamonds in the intersections. Some of them got to have wavy lines to give yet another dimension to the quilted diamonds; they were like medallions scattered all over the quilt! I had an idea of how I wanted it to look, but the final results just blew my mind!


And here are close-ups of the flowers. It all starts with a simple spiral surrounded by loops that flow around the center.







Here is the back. The diamonds are easier to see, and you can get a glimpse of the loopy quilted flowers.


And here are the corners with the floating strips. The quilting is also a loopy flower surrounded by stippling.


The lines of the quilted diamonds created a nice boundary for the design.


I always like to enjoy the back of quilts as well. In this picture of a corner, the loopy quilted flower created a lot of movement in that lattice-like print.  Happy accident indeed!


Here is another back view of the diamonds. Every other one got wavy lines. This simple addition made a huge difference, simple to make and so classy!


And another happy accident... Two diamonds intersect on the back, right by Addie's name, forming a nice frame to the two embroidered legends. I guess my centering abilities are getting sharpened!  :)


This was an amazing journey for me. Little by little, sometimes just five minutes a time... Addie's quilt is finished and a stepping stone for more learning experiences has just been set!


Thank you for stopping by.  Stay blessed!

Yiya

Aug 2, 2014

Addie's Quilt - Sandwich and FMQ beginnings!

August is here!!  YAY!!  :)

OK, ok... Yes, I'm making a reference to my previous post, which was suprisingly close this one.  I figured that I'd better take advantage of precious time while I can sit at the computer and finally finish this post that has been in the draft mode for a while now...
 
Little Addie time it is!  She's growing too fast, and she is super cute!  I wonder if she'll ever visit this post and enjoy seeing how her quilt was made.  Who knows! Maybe it will be the perfect motivation for a sweet little girl to make friends with needles and threads! 

We left off in the back of Addie's quilt, which means that the next step was the quilt sandwich. I don't have much room to pin a quilt sandwich, so I use a wonderful flat space: the floor!  :)  



I use regular masking tape to secure the back.  It actually works great!  I was able to keep everything from moving, but I also got a bit of tension.



Now, the batting...



...and making sure it's all straightened out.



And here comes the top with all the strippy diamonds!!  :)



After some knee work, it is all pinned and ready to be quilted!



I had a hard time finding a good angle for this picture.  Despite all my efforts, light was kind of dark, so I tried to enhance the colors with the computer.  I'm not really happy with the results, but I hope you can get a general idea of how close the pins are. This really depends on the kind of batting you are using; however, I like having things secure while shifting and squishing and wiggling the quilt around the sewing machine. 

Of course, the more pins around the sewing area, the more careful you should be when moving the quilt. Just be ready to bump into one; and yes, I said "be ready."  Once you are familiar with the pattern you are quilting (either by sketching or quilting), you know the direction, curves, angles and movement.  This definitely helps with when and where to expect a pin bump.



Here are two other angles. Note that there are two pins in each diamond, in opposite squares, there is one in each intersection and one more in the sashing, close to the middle of the block.  I like doing this to keep seams where they should be. 





I really didn't have a specific plan for the quilting. I watched Crafty's free QuiltCon Lecture Series 2013; in it, there is a seminar by Angela Walters and she mentioned that she likes the quilting to enhance the piecing - brilliant! That idea has stayed with me and I always think of it whenever I think of quilting, whether it is admiring already finished quilts, or me being in the process of deciding how to quilt.
So, use your imagination and take a look at one intersection...  Can you see the invisible lines going from one block into the adjacent ones?  It's almost as if there were an invisible diamond in each intersection!  




After this eureka kind of moment, I used my smaller square ruler to roughly mark a diamond at each intersection, to enhance the piecing.  Note that I did not remove the pins at all; I just worked with it, remove the caps, marked and capped them again.







FMQ beginnings - what an exciting and fuzzy moment of crafty thoughts twinkling all around.  Aaaah!  The beauty of a non-perfect chalked diamond that will transform into a bit of wonder...  And that's the stuff the next post will be about!  :)

That's the right moment I try to stop and enjoy the moment.  I thank God for the abilitites He has given me and just awe at the marvels He has created... Looking out the window, a cardinal sits majestically on the wired fence and a gorgeous lily flutters behind it, playing with the wind...

Stay blessed!

Yiya


Jul 31, 2014

Easy-piecey Swarovski Earrings

Oh my!  Where did July go?  With everything going on and school about to start, this has been a heck of a busy month! I know I have shared a bit about my job, but what I do has to do with assisting people attain their career goals - and it's great to see their excited expressions when they know there is a chance for them to go back to school!!  I just thank God for the opportunity to have such a rewarding job and having the possibility to encourage others to fulfill their dreams!  

Needless to say, work days have been intense, and my Crafty-Bloggy bone is kind of numb by the end of the day... lol

But I just cannot let July go by without another post!  And as promised, I prepared a little extra when I worked on the Swarovski bracelet for Craftyful some weeks ago.


And no, I'm not an expert jewelry maker, but that's the beauty - it's so easy to make and it looks really cute!  If you have never made a bracelet before, this technique is really easy - that's probably why I'm able to pull it off, hehe...

So, let's make a nice pair of dangling earring to go with your braided bracelet.


Check this tutorial on "The Wired Tree" to get the instructions on the first step - using wire or posts to create a hook on each crystal.


I like to make sure I have at least two crystals per color; it doesn't hurt to use the bracelet as a reference:


Also, make sure that you have the same number of hooked beads for each earring:


Take one ring and open it (remember to twist both ends gently; do not pull them away from each other). Insert five of the hooked beads. Double check that you insert different colors on each ring.


Insert a second ring. Close the first ring by gently twisting the ends back together. 


This is where your tweezing skills become useful. Repeat the same process; gently twist to open, insert hooked beads, another ring and gently twist ends together.  You just need to add an ear hook...


... and that's it!


Cute and easy to make!  I still find it funny that the best pics turned out to be the ones I took on the cutting mat, which is generally covered in threads, fabric, quilting rulers and scraps!  

Stay blessed!  

Yiya

Jul 15, 2014

Addie's quilt: The Back

Well, how to start this post? I guess that not in the beginning, because this post is all about the back!  I have been observing how scraps are sometimes reused in quilt backs, or even a sort of repetition of the pattern is there as well.

So, why not with Addie's quilt? Here is a bit of eye candy:


And just in case you were wondering about the one that is behind this quilt, here is a hint... I guess this will also dissipate any doubts about whose quilt this is, or whom it was made for!  I guess... Just saying...


Always remember to use the right kind of stabilizer for the project... this makes a huge difference in the final result.


Although I used a light stabilizer, it still was stiff compared to the rest of the fabric.  In order to allow the quilt to work with the FMQ, I decided to use fine scissors and cut around the embroidery as closely as I could.


Just to celebrate the major event - embroidery features being used - I had to take a picture of it all happening, especially because Mr. Fuzz was at the other side of the table watching every step!  His mind is always inquisitive and he just loves figuring out how things work. He is still figuring out how the machine knows how much thread is in the bobbin and always stops at the right time, after going up and down, up and down, up and down...  :)


 And this is the back once it was finished...  I must confess I sometimes imagine the threads all perked up, happy to be part of something new...  Yes, I know... not happening, but hey - we cannot deny that the creative process is full of excitement and surprises!



The two embroidered legends became the central "blocks" for the back.  I used some of the scraps leftover to frame Addie's name.


The central area of the back also had a very special legend, the only request made by Addie's Grandma: "Grammie's little love."  My! Someone was really looking forward to welcoming little Addie - and is not shy about making a BIG statement!  :)


The 11th diamond that didn't make it in the front made it to the frame:


I just made sure to center the parts...


... so it would look like this:


And just after one more chunky frame - in orange, because Grammie wanted bold colors - it looked like this:


I ended up using more chunky stripes to reach the size I wanted.


And here they are, the top and back of Addie's quilt posing on the carpet for the "before" picture!


And here is another view... I just love the way that embroidered center looks! I guess that finally using this feature of my sewing machine was way more worth that I could have pictured...  :)


This is my first time making a quilt this size and piecing the back.  Curiously enough, this is the side Grandma saw first when unfolding the quilt, and she stared and stared at it.  She actually thought it was the front!

How do you feel about pieced backs? I know it takes more time, but it definitely makes a statement.  Have you ever pieced the backs of your quilts?  Please share your comments!

I hope you are having a wonderful week and hope you see you soon again in the next post... stay blessed!

Yiya

Jul 11, 2014

My first pattern!

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you had a great week and are ready to get everything ready for your weekend project - and yes, I mean a crafty project... Well, at least sneaking in some time to work on it while the washer is going and takes care of the laundry!

And on this day where two of my dearest people, Mr. H and Miss N are celebrating B-days, I want to share another major stepping stone I've been toying around with for a while - My first downloadable PDF pattern!  Woohoo!

With all these technological advances, why not make the most of transportability?  (Does that word even exist?)  I often find myself either trying to print a blog tutorial or adapting my tablet so that I can use it while making something.

Recently, my tutorial on Pieced Strip Blocks became the most popular post ever!  And thinking of all of you who may want to try something like me, here you have it, ready to print or download to your device!


To download the Pattern in PDF format, just click here. I hope this gets your crafty bone tickling with excitement and the best part is that it is free!!  :)

Enjoy creative times and feel free to ask questions and share pictures in the Flickr pool.

Stay blessed!

Yiya


Jul 6, 2014

Addie's quilt: Floating corners

Little Miss Addie has been alive for a tad over a week... She is such a cute little girl! Grammie is all excited about helping new mommy out and I'm pretty sure they all had a wonderful long weekend.

It sometimes seems quite extraordinary that Addie's quilt is finished and is no longer in my dining-room-turned-sewing-room. I look at the pictures of the process and must confess end up in a mixture of rejoicing and nostalgia.  Addie's is my first baby quilt ever, and I'm so grateful that her Grammie gave me a creative green light...  It was a blessing to work on her quilt, and I hope she enjoys it for many years to come.

So... here is a floating corner:



So, why is it called a "floating" corner?  Weeeeeell, I really don't know... I know that sometimes, a little splash of color is added to a quilt by inserting a small piece of fabric in an otherwise even background.  In Addie's quilt, these strips are really not connected to any other block; it is as if they were "floating" in the corners...

I thought that strips going in different directions would break up the evenness and give the whole quilt an interesting movement.  What do you think?

And just a little parenthesis...  I added the floating corners because I only had 11 diamonds, so I would have to at least deal with a different corner.  In the end, I went for two floating corners and used the 11th diamond in the back of the quilt.


But just before going to the corners, and in case you would like to know, for the diamonds section, I only added a 2.5" strip to one side of each block.  I then used longer strips of the same width to make rows. That is how the diamonds came together - just one note: only the two central columns (in the picture above) were finished this way.


And here is another view of the same process...


Now for the columns on the sides (remember the pic with the finished top?), I used the scraps that were leftover from cutting the squares. For a quick reference, click here to visit my tutorial on Easy Strip Diamond Blocks, and check out where the scraps came from!  :)


The first step was to add strips of background fabric to each end of the scrap strips, like so:

Notice that the length of the background fabric varies. I was not going for matching edges, so I double checked that the distance between the edge of the scraps and the edge of the background strip were all different.


Even though the scraps are the same size, the uneven effect can be done with varying the length of the background strips.


Here are the first three strips ready to go floating to the quilt!  Make sure that the length is just a tad larger than the length of the corner (basically, one diamond block and 2" more in the background fabric - remember the outer columns in the quilt picture?)

Also, notice that the edge of the scrappy strips don't match at either end.


The next step is adding background strips in between the strips.


 If you end with something that looks like this:


...just trim a little bit in order to have a straight edge and make the rest of the block construction easier.


When you are done, you will have something that looks like this:


Just trim the edges and make sure the final measurements match that of the quilt block:


And here you have it! Floating stripes ready to go into Addie's quilt!  :)



This technique is very easy to use and has a touch of improvisation...  Ultimately, you are making sure that all the leftover fabric is used and it introduces a fun and unexpected element to the composition.  

I hope that you had a wonderful Independence weekend!  

Stay blessed!  :)

Yiya