WIP Wednesday – Free Motion Quilting Frenzy

I’ve been quilting like crazy, trying to finish up quite a few projects on a deadline. The sad thing is that I won’t be able to share them for awhile, but the good news is that I can share little work-in-progress snippets here and there. (The pictures are all from my instagram feed so they are not the highest quality – but you get the idea!)

20140809_fmq_4I can get lost in pebbles! They are fun to stitch but very time consuming! I usually put on a good audio book and keep stitching until I can’t stand it or until my shoulders ache – then I take a break and do something else!

I’ve been having a blast playing around with different weights and colors of Aurifil threads as I quilt my myriad of projects. My go-to thread is the standard 50 weight cotton which blends wonderfully with any fabrics.

20140809_fmq_3I’m also experimenting with quilting spirals – in a slightly heavier thread – I love it!

However, I have been getting a little more daring. I usually try to match my thread colors to my fabrics but have been playing with variegated thread colors and heavier weights, too. I’m really liking the 40 weight Aurifil cotton which is just a tad heavier than the 50 weight (the smaller the number – the heavier the thread).

20140809_fmq_1Who doesn’t love a good stipple? Technically, the larger scale is called “meandering.”

I even tried some of the heavier 28 weight which adds a nice definition to the quilting. I love the Aurifil cottons because they go through my machine with ease and they don’t break! I usually use a size 80 needle with the size 50 thread and then switch to a heaver size 90 needle when dealing with the thicker threads. So far, so good.

20140809_fmq_2Loops are a great go-to design anytime. They always look good on any pattern!

I usually stick with the regular 50 weight thread in the bobbin in a similar color so that I can pack a lot of thread onto one bobbin for more non-stop quilting.

20140809_fmq_5Swirls always take my breath away. They don’t have to be perfect, either, to look good!

How about you? What are you working on this week?

20140809_fmq_threadNearly empty spools of thread make me happy!

A Sizzix Product Review, WIP, and a Giveaway!

Today I want to give a quick plug for a new toy I just got – the Sizzix Fabi cutter. This came to me courtesy of Sizzix and FaveQuilts.com. They gave me a startup kit in exhange for a review of the product which you can read here.

They didn’t ask me to post about it on my own blog, but I had so much fun playing with it that I couldn’t help but share what I’m currently doing with it!


The Giveaway

But first things first – the folks over at FaveQuilts are giving away a starter kit which includes the cutter and 3 flower templates. The other dies shown in the picture above are available separately. They sent me a few extras to play around with. ๐Ÿ™‚

Click here to enter.

The deadline to enter is June 15th at 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on their website, not mine.


I chose to design a modern wall quilt based on the circle die they sent. (I may turn this into a quilt along in the fall once I finish up my summer sewing deadlines – so stay tuned!)

Abacus DesignAbacus by Christa Watson, designed in EQ7

I’m happy to cut squares and rectangles the old fashioned way, but the Fabi die cutter sliced through circles like they were nothing! They were super fast and accurate, too!


I was able to back each piece of fabric with fusible adhesive and run it through the machine with no problems.ย  The cuttings are even fun, too!

die_cuttingsHere are my precut circles pinned to my design wall. The paper backed adhesive doesn’t stick to flannel, so I had to use pins to hang them up.ย  This is my first experience ever with a die cutter, but so far I’m loving what I’m seeing!

abacus_circlesHow about you? Have you ever used a die cutter before? What do you think of them? I’d love to know!

What I’m Working on Wednesday

I thought I’d share a couple of pics of quilts I’m currently working on, you know, to prove that it’s not all about blogging and fabric around here. I actually do take time to quilt when I can, LOL!

Quilting Away!

Quilting Away!

Please ignore the messy hair, but this is my favorite thing to do – listen to a quilting podcast while losing myself in the joy of machine quilting. I’m finishing up a quilt that I’ll get to share with you pretty soon.

Riley Blake Challenge

Quilting my Riley Blake Challenge

And I’m frantically quilting away on my Riley Blake/Modern Quilt Guild challenge to get it done in time. There’s nothing like a deadline to light a fire under me and get me moving quick!

Quilting is also great for weight control. The more time my hands spend stitching, the less time they have to grab munchies! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sew and Tell Finish – Amy Butler Sling Bag

Whoo – hoo! I was able to finish my Amy Butler Sunday Sling just in time for Sewing Summit. I’m there all weekend and will be sure to post a complete wrap up of the event when I return on Monday.

Sunday SlingFor now I am feeling very accomplished. I much prefer making quilts to clothing and accessories. However, since I like to encourage everyone to make at least one quilt from start to finish, this was my turn to make something outside of my comfort zone.

Sunday SlingIt took a few afternoons of sewing but I followed the step by step instructions and took my time with it. After all, it was quicker than making a quilt. The pockets were fun to make and I didn’t even mind learning to sew pleats!

Sunday SlingThe only trouble I had was when it came time to finish. The pattern called for slipstitching the opening by hand to finish. I cheated a little and finished that part by machine since the pieces were too bulky for me to sew by hand. It’s on the inside of the bag though, so no one will know it’s there but me.

Sunday Sling

After checking this 2 year old UFO off my list, now I get to quilt again. ๐Ÿ™‚

An Old Finish and a New Start

I recently finished hand piecing, yes hand piecing this Winding Ways quilt top I started about 16-17 years ago, soon after I began quilting.

Winding Ways

Hand Pieced Winding Ways – Fabrics Circa Mid 1990’s

I remember cutting out plastic templates and joyously hunting through my local quilt shop’s fat quarter bin to find just the perfect fabrics. I had no stash at the time so I had to create my own “scraps.”

I forgot about it in a closet for a good 10 years at least. Then, when all these awesome modern quilters starting embracing hand-work, I decided it was high time to get it out and do a little hand stitching myself. You can definitely tell the difference in my stitch quality between then and now, but it has been relaxing to work on while watching TV with the family or going away on a family vacation.

Lots of Pins

You can see the hand-marked seam lines. Yes, that was a lot of work!

Now I’ve got to decide how to quilt it (by hand of course) and get it basted. Suggestions anyone?

While I wait for my Winding Ways quilt top to tell me how it wants to be quilted, I’ve decided to start on something a bit more modern. This is my version of an improv quilt.

Rain SketchStrips of Rain

I started with a sketch my hubby made on his ipad and started interpreting it in fabric. The improv part is that I’m not exactly sure how long to make the strips or how far apart to space them, but it will be a fun exploration. I’m really stretching myself with this quilt, but so far, I like what I see. ๐Ÿ™‚

2013 Finish Along Quarter 2

Finish AlongI’m participating in the 2013 2nd Quarter Finish Along hosted by Leanne at She Can Quilt.

I first met Leanne when her mini quilt Shattered was entered into QuiltCon (and won a ribbon I might add). I saw it on her blog weeks before and knew it was something special!

I am actually wearing two hats for the FAL – that of sponsor and participant. I’m sponsoring one of the giveaway prizes because that’s just what I do, LOL!!

Also, I’m linking up my UFO’s as motivation to get them finished on time. So without further ado, here are the quilts I hope to finish this quarter (keeping it simple and manageable):

Girl Baby Bricks

Baby Bricks in Pink and Green

#1 Pink Baby Bricks – this quilt was one of my early quilt alongs and is technically finished. However, it’s just begging for more quilting to be added in the “bricks” so that’s just what I intend to do.

French Rose Buds Top

French Rose Buds Baby Quilt

#2 Baby French Roses is my version of Heather French’s fantastic French Rose Buds pattern. I tweaked the design a bit and made it slightly bigger. I basted it last week so now all I have to do is quilt it and bind it. Easy peasy, right? It’s going to my sister’s brand new baby when I visit next month so now I have double motivation to finish!

Hugs 'n Kisses Quilt Top

Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Top

#3 Hugs ‘n Kisses – an updated version of a quilt I designed and made over 10 years ago. This quilt serves double duty – It’s my current quilt along project and I plan on using it for some intense FMQ practice. Also, my daughter has claimed it so it’s going straight on her bed when done.ย  It will definitely be out of my sewing room then!

WIP – Skillbuilder Pieced Blocks February and March

I am slowly catching up on my Skillbuilder Block of the Month blocks. I sewed together two month’s worth of blocks last month during my family getaway. From left to the right, the blocks are called Em Dash, The Mood, Woven Star, and Woven Chevrons.

Skillbulder BOMI chose to go with Kona Solids in all of the blocks since we will be quilting as you go. I chose Coal grey as the background, then I sold out of it and had to order more just for me LOL!!

I think solids really let the quilting stand out. Here are pictures of the first two month’s blocks that I quilted previously. They are called Sound Wave and Magnum.

Skillbuilder Blocks Quilted

(I just got a new camera and am learning how to take better pictures with it – but the lighting is still a little off.)

I am using the same grey for the front of all of the blocks but am toying around with using different shades of greys for the back of each pair of blocks. I think that will give a patchwork look to the backing and break it up somewhat so it’s not just a sea of grey.

Fabric LayoutFabric Layout

To keep everything organized, I took pictures of each set of fabrics I would use for each block. Then, when sewing the pieces together I worked on one block at a time. I kept my pieces right next to my sewing machine and constantly referred to the layout diagram. I also pressed all of the seam open which helped the blocks lie really flat.

BOM Pieces

I am pleased with how they turned out and now I’m excited to quilt them – which for me, is the most fun part!

Skillbulder BOM

Christa’s Show and Tell – Sewing Every Day

One of the quilting goals I set for myself was to sew every day. To make this goal actually happen, I had to make sure it was realistic. In order to do that, I set a minimum time limit of just 10 minutes a day of sewing. I also broadened my definition of “sewing” to include designing quilts, reading quilt magazines and watching online quilting classes.

So far so good. Here is what I have been able to accomplish “sew” far this month:

I’ve signed up forย  several Craftsy quilting classes. I just finished watching Elizabeth Hartman’s free “Creative Quilt Backs Class” and am currently viewing Cindy Needham’s “Design It, Quilt It” class. They are both excellent!

Creative Quilt BacksDesign It Quilt It

I pulled these lovely fabrics to participate in the Skillbuilder Block of the Month over at PileOFabrics.com. I decided to go with all Kona Solids for this quilt. I haven’t decided on my background fabric yet. I’ll probably choose a shade of Grey.

Skillbuilder Fabrics

I used the color wheel when choosing colors and went with an “accented analagous” color scheme. That means I chose red, orange and yellow which are next to each other on the color wheel, then threw in a bit of complementary teal just for fun. I can’t wait to get started!

Today, I paper-pieced this sewing themed block as part of Quiet Play’s And Sew On year-long block-of-the-month series. January’s block is called “Measure Twice” and is available as a free download this month.

Measure Twice

Measure Twice, Cut Once!

I also made this block designed by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time. I love the sewing theme so I may have to incorporate it into the same quilt!

Sewing Machine Block

Next, I designed this quilt in EQ7 which will be the basis for my next quilt-along as soon as the current one finishes. I found out how to download Moda’s fabric swatches directly into the design program so I can design quilts using the actual fabrics from the quilt. Very cool!

Hugs and Kisses

Hugs and Kisses

When I don’t feel up to sewing, or when I’m traveling, and bringing along sewing supplies is impractical,ย  I have a stack of quilting magazines that I am thoroughly enjoying reading.

My favorite magazines are Machine Quilting Unlimited, along with their brand new sister publication Modern Quilts Unlimited. I’ve also been a long-time subscriber of Quilter’s Newsletter, the best source of news for what’s hot and happening in the quilting world.

Machine Quilting UnlimtedModern Quilts UnlimitedQuilter's Newsletter

I think that’s a great start for January! How about you? How are you coming along with your quilting goals?