Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Passion of Quilters - and a movie that will stir them.....

I have just taken an hour to view Stitch: The Film available for free today and tomorrow by clicking on https://www.thequiltshow.com/  It is a peek into the lives of 3 quilters as they go through the process of making and entering quilts for the Houston quilt festival. (You will need to create a user id, if you don't already have one, but there is no credit card required to sign up.)

It does a good job of capturing the tension between art quilters verses traditional quilters. I also think it gives some good insight into the judging process. At first I was going to turn the movie off, because I thought it was going to be solely about Art Quilt(er)s. I stuck with it though, because I have an interest in entering judged shows and wanted to learn more about that whole process.

I find it interesting that the judging process for this huge show was not much different from what I observed at my local county fair last year. I happened to be standing there when the judges were judging quilts and observed their process. There were three judges, one was very vocal with her opinions and the other two tended to follow the first opinion spoken. In my little county fair, this was the entire decision. At Houston, this critical first round of judging and vocal opinion, determines whether you quilt even gets hung at the festival. I think this is a flaw in the process and that it should be a silent step as well.

I know there is a lot of passion in the quilting community regarding traditional verses art quilts. I also know there is a lot of passion surrounding the show/judging process. With so much passion invested in our quilts, why wouldn't we be passionate about how this object of our passion is perceived/accepted?!

Just my two cents, what do you think?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Living vicariously

I took my daughter to the doctor this morning for immunizationsand that took almost three hours counting picking up and returning to scholl grabbed lunnch and now i am waiting at the doctor office for myself  then i get to go to the depatment of revenue to straighten out a little tax matter.  i wonder if i could squeeze in a mammogram this afternoon too!   LOL

so needless to say i am livving my quilting life vicariously by catching up on blog reading!  what are your favorite blogs? what do you look for in a blog? what motivates you to come back to a  particular blog?

i like blogs where the writers actually do stuff and arent just posting photos/posts of others works  i am amazed at how many bloggers simply post photo albums copied from flickr or pinterest.

i would love to hear your input.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Witchy Woman - Coming to Life

I know I have been excited about a lot lately, probably because I have been in such a funk all summer long and Fall is my favorite time of year. For some reason, I am getting excited about Halloween this year. I don't know why, typically it is not a big deal in our household. My children are 8 and 9 this year, and they are excited too of course. I have several ideas up my sleeve in this regard. This is probably my most elaborate design ever and it has been a WHOLE lot of fun:

 From tracing, to cutting to fabric selection, everything about this has been enjoyable.

I felt like a kid with a blank sheet of paper and a brand new box of crayons.

 I am going to add a walking stick, but I am too tired tonight......
 See that little spot at the top of her bangs, just under her hat? I guess my pieces slipped when I was tacking her down. I didn't notice it until after I took the photos. I am going to add a little more brown to fix it.
 Then I have to do the stitching and embellishing.
It seems as though she is literally walking off the fabric! I can definitely understand why applique is so addicting to so many people!

Until next time,
Michele Hester

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Halloween Mug Rug

No it isn't Monday, and depending on how you look at it, I am either really late, or really early for the next Mug Rug Monday. However, I was so excited with how this Halloween Mug Rug turned out, that I couldn't wait!

Here is the first of (maybe) four Halloween Mug Rug patterns. I even digitized the applique pattern for my embroidery machine!

Here is a closeup of the candy corn, since colors faded a bit on my full shots taken outside.....

As always, I am providing the mug rug pattern and even the candy corn machine embroidery design free to you, so keep reading.......

Hoop the black fabric and stabilizer (I used cut away) into a 5 x 7 (or larger) hoop. Load the black fabric/stabilizer only into the machine and stitch your layout outline (1st thread color.)

Now get ready to tack down the top color (I used white) of your candy corn. For each of the three colors in the candy corn, I used a single charm square. It is the perfect size for this pattern. One charm square covers the whole area and each segment of that color is tacked down in one step.

 After stitching the tack down stitches for a color, trim away.
Those stitches you see on the black background are the layout stitches that sewed out in the first step. They show you where to lay your fabric for tacking down.

 Be sure to trim all of your jump stitches between each step. Also, trim your applique as close to the seam line as possible. Applique or curved clipping scissors are a must for this project!

Repeat the process with the middle (second) color.

Note that I did not glue or baste my charm squares, I simply laid them down on top of the design and had no problems with them bunching up or flipping around. I was pleased with the ease of stitching out this pattern.
I used yellow in the middle, but I think that the orange was supposed to go in the middle and yellow on bottom. Oh well, no one can say this isn't original!

Once you have clipped the middle color pieces and all of the jump stitches, reload the hoop on your machine.

It's time for the tack down of the third and final color (orange in my case) on the bottom.

After you have trimmed the final color pieces and jump stitches, reload the hoop into the machine and get ready for the applique stitching around the edges.

Again, be sure to trim as close to the tack down stitches as possible, so that you don't end up with any frayed edges as you see in this photo.I have made adjustments to my design to help, but you still have to trim well.
 Sandwich and quilt your applique design.

Bind as desired and there you have it! I am going let my daughter take this one to her teacher, along with a jar of candy corn.

 I am uploading the candy corn outline here, for those of you who want to do traditional applique or don't want to use the machine embroidery design.

If you would like the free machine embroidery design, I ask that you be a follower and leave me a comment telling me which design format you need for your machine. I will e-mail you the design file. If you don't know what type of file you need, tell me what brand machine you have.

Brief jargon: You may share a link to this blog for you friends to get the free patterns as well, but please do not give or loan anyone the patterns directly, without my written permission. If this pattern goes out two times or a million times, I want to know about it - that is my encouragement and my "payment."

Stay tuned, another Halloween design is just around the corner - I couldn't leave my son's teacher without a Halloween treat could I?

Until then, Piece!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Progress on my Scrappy Triple Irish Chain

Off to work on piecing my scrappy Triple Irish Chain:

 I started this one about a month ago, but I have been leaving it packed up for my quilt guild sewing days. (my photos were taken with my phone, so they are not the best.)
 Remember, this is a jelly roll that I got on sale for $5! I think the white really makes the colors brilliant.

The squares aren't sewn together yet - I still have more to do.

Michele Hester

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How did I do?

Here is the completed block - all hairies aside LOL! I finished all of the tucking and tying of thread tails and here is my first finished raw edge, machine applique, Florabunda block......

By the way, WHAT IS UP WITH BLOGGER???? I had all of my blog reading caught up this afternoon, but when I just logged in I now have 473 unread items! I know I follow an excessive number of blogs, but there is no way there were 473 posts in a matter of hours today!

Michele Hester

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hairy Florabunda - and it's not the cat's fault.........

I worked this weekend on doing the stitching around the first Florabunda block. It looks like it needs a good shave LOL.

I used my machines blanket stich around all of the applique edges. I do very little by hand, as I don't have the patience, or experience. However, after doing this block and seeing the amount of time it took, I am not sure an experienced hand applique-r couldn't beat me in a race!
I used mono-filament thread in the bobbin and embroidery thread in the top....I know, it isn't cotton and the quilt police will probably shoot me....but I am learning techniques right now and this is what I have on hand. Besides, I think it looks pretty!

I am VERY pleased with how the mono-filament turned out in the bobbin. It wasn't easy to wind it on the bobbin, but I think it was worth it. I used Superior Threads MonoPoly.
 The stems are done using a bias bar and with straight stitching down both sides.

All the "hairy" threads on top are where I pulled my threads to the top to keep them from nesting on the bottom of the block. At first I was pulling the bobbin thread up, but then I figured out that duh, it is clear mono-filament and won't show through, so I left it at the back. I am sure I will learn another lesson the hard way of why I still should have pulled those threads up - I will let you know when that happens.

At any rate, now that I have all these threads to pull to the back and tie off, I have some "hand work" to do during my Wednesday bee days - my guild will be so proud of me.  ;-)


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Florabunda Block and a Giveaway

I have neglected you, but I have been so very busy!  First, I was completing a project for a magazine, which I can't tell you any more about right now, but I am so excited! Secondly, I have just finished fusing together my first block for the Florabunda Block of the Month by Erin Russek. Here it is.......

I took a class with Sue Nichols a couple of years ago and I am using her raw edge applique techniques. I figure if she can win national blue ribbons with it, it holds some promise. ;-)

The Florabunda blocks are no longer available for free, but you can purchase them from Erin's website. She is doing a new block of the month right now called "My Tweets." You can still get in on this one with some free blocks at her blog. I am collecting those to do later.

To Grandmother's House We Go - a free quilt pattern

Click here for the free quilt pattern This quilt is a take on little red riding hood. I just think it is adorable for girls of any...