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My First Quilt Show

by Steve Tippets on 03/16/18

Today I was able to attend my first quilt show as a patron! Before today I had been to one in Florida, but I was there to help my Aunt and Uncle in their booth. I didn't actually walk around and see anything, especially since they were right next to the doors so I didn't even walk by anything to get to their booth. At the time I didn't mind. I wasn't sewing yet and I wouldn't have understood most of what I was seeing. 

This quilt show was different though. I was actually able to attend as a patron and walk through most of the displays. To make it even better, my Mom drove three hours just to attend the show with me! 

There were so many amazing quilts, beautiful fabrics, and nifty tools. There was one quilt in particular that really jumped out at me. I just had to make it. Thankfully they had it in a kit for sale so I will be able to make it exactly the way I saw it and not settle on wanna be material. I'm excited to work on it alongside the BOM quilt I'm working on. So much goodness!

While I was at the show I also had the privilege of visiting the Sew Very Smooth booth multiple times. While I was there I tried my hand at a curve for the first time. It was intimidating, but not too hard. The Ideal Seam Guide made all the difference! 

Don't mind the extreme look of concentration on my face. I was nearing the end and trying to keep things lined up right to the very end. It's not perfect, but not bad for my first attempt!

This week I also started working on quilting the detailed work of my table runner. These seams are out in the open so I want them to look as good as they can. Insert my Ideal Seam Guide.

When I first started I had to pick many a seam out. I was having trouble with my measuring and marking. The lines would be straight, but the corners of my squares weren't properly aligned so the seam went on the diagonal. I was getting extremely frustrated and almost called it quits for a few days, but I plunged on and eventually managed to figure out a great way to mark my squares evenly.

I'm still only halfway done with them, but I don't feel like quitting anymore. 

In addition to these squares I had planned on doing smaller squares within the rectangles, but that did not go well at all. I ended up picking all of them out as well and deciding on a curved design instead. They're not perfect. I need more practice with freehand curves, but they look so much better than the little squares did.

I've only done these three, so I'm sure I'll get better as I go. There are a lot of them to do so I'll have plenty of practice. 

Ideal Seam Guides Are Where It's At

by Steve Tippets on 03/09/18

This week I was able to get a lot done and I'm so excited about that! 

I finished up the smaller block for the BOM, the orange Ohio Star. I didn't take any pictures as I worked on it because I've already done this block before, but I did snap a picture of the finished block next to last month's finished block. I still need to square up the one on the left, the latest one, but otherwise they look great.

This week I also started to quilt the table runner that I've been working on. I was about to get out my Ideal Seam Guides to use for my quilting when I had a bout of curiosity. Since I've been using these guides from the first day I started to sew I was wondering just how much help they were. 

This table runner will be quilted in two stages. The first is to quilt 'in the ditch.' the second will be to quilt some patterns into the individual blocks. I figured of the two, sewing 'in the ditch' would be easy so I decided to see how easy it actually was. 

Now, this is strategic posing on my part to hide how unstraight those lines are, but if you look really closely you can tell. To prove it, I have a picture taken closer up just below this.

I'm a little embarrassed to even post these because the seams are all over the place. What's so crazy I was going slow so I could have better control of where my seam was going and yet it still ended up swerving a bit. 

In my first two projects, some mini quilts, I used the Ideal Seam Guides to quilt. My blocks didn't line up perfectly so the straight seam didn't stay in the ditch, but it didn't matter because the seam that was showing was perfectly straight. It didn't detract from the over all finished look. These crooked seams are distracting. 

It's easy to say that it's faster to just sew free hand and follow the existing seams than it is to line up the guide with each seam you're going to follow, but it's not. When I use the guide it does take a little bit longer to make sure it's straight, but once it's ready to go I can run my sewing machine at a faster speed because I don't have to worry about it swerving. I sewed so slowly to stay "straight" without the guides it took even longer to sew than it would have with the guides and the results are not as good. 

I will be working on the second stage of quilting this next week and I'll be using the guides. I'll always be using the guides from here on out. My curiosity was satisfied. I'm glad I know, but I don't ever want to do that again. 

This week I also started to plan out the heart stockings I'll be making for my family to use next Valentine's Day.

My outline is pretty rough. I just threw it together so I could get an idea of how much fabric I was going to need. It's not pretty, but it worked. 

I'm fighting the urge to sit down and redo the whole thing with straight lines and to scale, but I don't know how necessary that is. 

How do you plan out your projects that you don't have an existing pattern for? Do you sketch it out? If you do, do you try to keep it as even as possible or do you just draw it fast on a piece of paper like I did? This is my first planned project from beginning to end and I'm loving it. How can I improve before I plan my next project? 

I hope everyone has a great weekend and that you find plenty of time to sew!

February's Block of the Month

by Steve Tippets on 03/02/18

What a fantastic week!

I am just so thrilled with how this months block turned out. I was a little nervous going into it because there were a few new techniques that I had never done before and I really wanted to get them right. I think I succeeded. 

My favorite part about this week was the fact that I was able to do the whole block just by reading the pattern. I knew I had the tutorial videos available to me if I needed to reference them, but I wanted to see if I was able to follow a pattern even if it was something I'd never done before. 

My Ideal Seam Guide has become my new best friend. I love how simple it makes piecing and getting a perfect seam. 

I also love that I was able to practice my spinning seam. It really does reduce bulk to the back of the quilt and it just requires a little preparation to be able to do it. 

I laid out all of the squares again so I could make sure everything was where it was supposed to be. It also makes glue basting SO much easier. 

And finally, the finished block. I am so tickled with how this one turned out. I can nitpick, of course, but ultimately there isn't much to criticize. The panels are all lined up correctly and the points are all almost perfect. My biggest problem is the edging on the outside. There is one spot that doesn't have much of a seam allowance at all. I'm hoping I can make it work, but I won't know until it's time to assemble the whole quilt. 

In addition to completing the BOM, I was also able to assemble the table runner I've been working on. I still have to baste, quilt, and bind it, but I am really happy with how it has turned out as well. 

I think the colors do ultimately work. My husband thinks it's perfect for the fall or the spring. That's a win in my book. 

The colors really pop in the picture but they're not quite so bold in person. The blues and the orange in particular don't stand out so much in person. The binding will be red like the center points. I'm excited to get it finished. 

I'm also excited to do the smaller block  for the BOM next week. It's the same one I did last month, just different colors. It will be interesting to see how the second one turns out compared to the first. That's what I'm loving about quilting. You can do the same thing over and over again and still have them be different every single time.

What are some of the things you love about quilting?