Friday, December 28, 2018

2019 Planning Party

Planning Party

There is a party going on at Yvonne's Quilting Jet Girl.  Let's join in for some fun.

It's that time of the year again that we look back and reflect on the finishing year and look ahead with hopeful/wishful plans for the coming year.  I'm not one who makes resolutions, but I do hope to change and improve a few things in my personal and professional life.  Here we go.......

2018 has been an eventful year for me.   It started off just like any ordinary and quiet year but is ending with a bang.  I am disappointed that the AQS is out of the book publishing business.  I still have an inventory of my book, Soft & Cozy Keepsakes -  Faux Rag Quilting.  You can read about it here and let me know by email if you want to buy one.  As of today, the book is still being listed on the AQS website.

I made a some baby quilts for gifts and charities.  There was one commissioned baby quilt too and you can read about it here.  I was asked by my mother in law to make a baby boy quilt for her grandson.  She insisted that I accept payment for it because if I didn't, it wouldn't be her gift.  I usually don't charge friends and family for my work, but this is the first quilt that I got paid for making.

The baby quilt below was an experiment.  I added some cotton fabric into the design along with cotton flannels before, but I wanted to see if another large piece of fabric besides flannels would work well for the background for Faux Rage quilts.  This quilt was made for the element challenge from the Valley MQG which you can read about it here.   I found some cute linen fabric so I used it on both front and back.  I quilted on the linen negative space lightly.  It turned out great because this linen shrinks at the same rate as flannel and frays so well after washing.  It would be a great gift for a baby boy some days!

The following two quilts were gifts.  I love to use the Faux Rag technique in a quilt to give it a lift.  The design stands out more and has a 3D effect.

I made this Faux Rag quilt below, for the National Federation for the Blind of California (nfbcal).  If you read about it here,  then you will know why I used the Faux Rag technique for this quilt. 

The following quilt is the quilt that I made for our guild's  philanthropy group.
It has been fun all year round at our Valley MQG.  There were many challenging and fun quilt projects.  Our guild is participating in the QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge which you can read about it here.  I don't have a finished quilt picture to show but trust me, it's beautiful.  I hope to take its picture at QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville.  Here is the top that I showed to the guild members on our meeting night.  There are so many reasons to love this quilt.  The main one is that it's made with so much love for our guild.  Those who participated in making blocks, putting together the top, quilting the quilt and putting on the binding and sleeve had given their all.  I'm so proud of everyone and couldn't be happier to see the beautiful finished quilt.

One of the happiest moments for me this year was to learn that my Curved Triangles #2 quilt got selected into QuiltCon 2019.  What can be a better way to end the year than with this great news?  

Now it's time to look ahead for the new year.  I do have some goals for 2019:

1. Make more quilts, of course.

2. Set up an Etsy shop.  This is a big step for me, we'll see how it goes.

3. Finish setting up the new sewing studio.  I purchased a new sewing table that I can drop the sewing machine down.  It's being delivered as we speak.

4. Challenge myself to design one new quilt a month.  It's going to be tough but I'd love to try.

5. Post more tutorials and free patternsThe quilting community has given me so much and I want to give back.  I used to think that I'm a novice and don't really have new information to contribute or that everyone already knew what I know.  I didn't think about people who are new to quilting.  I don't think it's inaccurate to say that there are new quilters born almost everyday.  Someone new may benefit from what I have to share.  With that in mind, I will share more things regarding quilting.  In 2018, I tried to write free patterns but didn't finish them.  I don't have a good graphic program to do the illustration for the patterns.  I'll be more confident and try harder to finish them and post them on my blog.
I have so much to be thankful for.  My family of four is the most important aspect of my life.  I couldn't have gone through the year without them.  They are my biggest supporters, my fans, and my everything.  My husband and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last week.  It's wonderful to have him next to me in every step of the way to cheer me on and to give me encouragement, always.  I love him with all my heart and I'm happy to call him mine.  My two great children are the crown jewels for me.  They are my proudest achievement.  They both do well in their respective fields of work and interests.

I've been working on my own in my little sewing corner for a long time.  A few years ago, I started to reach out to others by joining quilting guilds and I've met many wonderful quilters.  Some have become good friends.  I've learned so much from them.  I want to thank them for filling my world with colors and possibilities.

Last but not least, I'm thankful to all of you who visit my blog and my Instagram.  You've made social media fun and exciting.  I'm still here blogging because of you.  When I first started 4 years ago, I didn't think I would last 6 months but look, I'm still here.  I've learned to come out of my little shell and experience the world.  I hope you will continue to visit and make comments.  You've touched me with warmth of humanity and friendship and for that, I Thank You.

Happy New Year!!

Link to #2019PlanningParty.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

For the love of HSTs, again!

I'm working on a fun project using half square triangles (HST) to compose the blocks.

The only thing that wasn't fun about these blocks was trimming all 256 HSTs to 3" pieces.  That task took me a few days to finish because it was so boring.  Sewing them to make 16 blocks was a real fun though.  

By chance, one day I saw a show on PBS by Nancy Zieman, one of the icons in quilting world.  She was sewing small squares to make a block just like what I was doing.  She called it honey comb piecing, all the squares were connected by chain piecing.  So I decided to give it a try.  

First I lay a block on my sewing table.

Since I'm right handed person, I flip the squares on the right side over the ones on the left side, like in the picture below.  If you want to flip the square on the left to the right side, you can do that.  Whichever side you choose to flip, be consistent through out the project.

Continue to pair all the squares.
Start chain piecing the pairs of the squares.  After sewing all the pairs, put them back in the same positions, do not separate them.

Now pair the top row by flipping the right side over the left side.  Continue down to the last row, as in the picture below.  Put one pin to secure the pair in place.  Chain piece the pairs together. 

Now you have 4 rows of connected squares, do not separate them.  We will sew the row together by flipping the top row over the bottom row.  Nest the seam together to create a nicely matched corner as you go.  Continue down to the bottom row.

When you finish sewing all 4 rows together, press the whole block at once.  Here's the finished block.

I found this method to be very fast and convenient because I only press once after all the sewing is done.  In the past, I would sew and press each pair separately.  Sometime the squares got mixed up and misplaced.  This way each square stays put where it belongs. 

Well, that's my two cents about sewing small squares together.  

I have another great news:  

Monday was my 30th wedding anniversary and I got a great present.  I got an email from the MQG that my quilt, Curved Triangles #2, was selected for QuiltCon 2019. 

I'm super excited and looking forward to see it at QuiltCon.  Nashville here I come!!

Have a great sewing day!

Link to: Sew Fresh Quilts: Let's Bee Social
              Midweek Makers@QuiltFabrication

Friday, December 7, 2018

We are in QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge

In the past few months, I've been working on a few secret projects and a few charity quilts.  It's shocking to me how time flies by so quickly.  I can't believe we're in December already.  

In August, our guild, the Valley MQG, participated in the 2019 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge.  The theme for this year is "Small Piecing".  We bought the fabric and made kits for our members who wanted to join in with the fun.  We handed the kits out in our September meeting.  These are the blocks that I got back from our members at the October meeting.

They were on my design wall for a few weeks till I knew what I wanted to do with them and this is the finished top that we showed to everyone at our November meeting. 

Now the top is in the hands of other guild members for quilting and binding.  By the December meeting, we'll get it back and it'll be ready for shipping to QuiltCon in January.  Everything worked out well according to our plan and we're right on target.  I still have a few blocks left over, they will be made into a baby quilt for our Philanthropy group later on. 

I just love a project like this.  It helps us to become one as a guild.  So many hands have helped to make this quilt which will be donated to a good cause.   

Have a great day!!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

QuiltCon Submission

Here is my personal project for the QuiltCon submission.  I chose to do the Michael Miller fabric challenge.  I really like the fabric this year.  I love, love the minimalist designs and geometric shapes.  I put some blocks on the design wall as I was trying to come up with some interesting designs.  My husband joined in and played with them too by putting some blocks together and that gave me the idea for this design.  I must say that this is the most quilting on one quilt I've done to date. I used Aurifil white 2024 for both piecing and quilting.

I wish you all HAPPY QUILTING!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Charity baby quilts

I used to volunteer at the Twin Vision Library which is a part of the American Action fund before it was closed and moved to Baltimore.  I posted about the quilt that I made for them last year in this post here.   I was asked by Ever Lee Hairston, the president of The National Federation for the Blind of California (nfbcal) for a quilt for their fundraising event this year.  This is what I made for her.

I love to make Faux Rag quilts for this event because not only that the quilts are warm and soft, they also have texture that blind children can touch and feel. 

I would like to tell you more about the organization called the National Federation of the Blind.  It's comprised entirely of blind people and headquartered in Baltimore.  They work to make things easier and better for blind people.  You can go to their web site nfb.org for more information.  They are the ones who get laws passed (like beeps at light signals) and pressure companies to make things accessible and safer for blind folks.  Each state has an affiliate.  And each state has a convention each year to keep local folks updated on what's new, what they're working on, and just as a social way of getting together.  I'm happy to be a small part of this organization.

Last month I also finished a baby quilt for the Philanthropy group at our Valley MQG guild.  I talked about it here.  I finally quilted it and here's the finished quilt.

I wish you all HAPPY QUILTING!!

 I link to Sew Fresh Quilts: Let's Bee Social

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A new Kaleidoscope quilt

We just had a really fun meeting here at the Valley MQG.  It's our 3rd birthday party and celebration.  The membership chairperson went around town and gathered donations from local quilt shops.  They are very generous to our guild and they gave many fabric bundles, patterns, charm packs etc. There was something for everyone to take home.  This confirmed to me once more that it's our duty to support our local businesses. 

We had our Round Robin reveal too.  We were blown away by the creativity level of each person who participated.  You have to go to the Valley MQG website to see September pictures because I can't post all the pictures here.  I can only post mine and here it is.

Isn't it a riot?  I'm not a hand applique person but I love all the applique work my fellow guild members put in my piece.

We also had our pin cushion swap and what I got is the most adorable.  I'm sorry I forgot to take picture of my pin cushion but the lady who got it said she loved it!

In the last month meeting, we had an alphabet soup challenge issued to us.  We were to pick a letter and make something in the size of 20"x20".  I randomly picked letter K as my challenge.  The kite quilt came to mind but I did a kite quilt to represent the wind elements challenge last month which you can see it here.   After giving it some thought, I came up with a kaleidoscope idea.  This is my take on the kaleidoscope quilt.

I really like it and it's so easy.  I'm sorry you can't really see the quilting too well in this picture.  I only did echo line quilting in the white area to let the flower piece puff up and I like the way the whole piece looks.

Now the works in progress are the baby charity quilt that I showed a picture of in the last post here, the 2019 QuiltCon charity quilt challenge, and if things are going well, I might have a quilt or two to submit to the 2019 QuiltCon.   

Count your blessings and enjoy each day!!

Link up to Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?


Friday, September 21, 2018

A new commissioned baby quilt and a WIP

I just finished a commissioned baby quilt.  I had great time picking out boy prints from my flannel stash for the HST (Half Square Triangle) blocks.  Did I tell you I love to make baby quilts from flannels?  Here is the layout I chose.

Here is the finished quilt after I gave it a Faux Rag Quilting touch, of course.

I also made four matching burp cloths as baby gifts from me to the couple.  I got the pattern from Abby Hersey.  I made a minor change by using three layers of flannel instead of batting in between.  The printed fabric on the top 2 burp cloths is also on the quilt back.

They're all finished and delivered.  A happy dance for everyone.

Now I'm working on a charity baby quilt for the Valley MQG Philanthropy group.  I was given a panel and some fabric.  The panel is 17"x 20" and I got 5 dark fat quarters, 5 light fat quarters and some strips and backing fabric.

I used one dark fat quarter to frame the panel as in the picture below.

And now the top is done.

I bought black and orange fabric for the binding and can't wait to put it on after the quilting is done. 

I'm also a part of a group project for the 2019 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge at our Valley MQG.  We have about 20 people joined in in this endeavor.  We are using Jean Wells' quilt as our inspirations which she gladly granted our request.  I'll tell you more about this as the project developed.

I'm having a great time doing what I love.  I wish y'all the same.



Notes:  I learned something new today.  While searching for how to spell the word ciao to say goodbye, I found this: je ne sais quoi ( zhə-nə-ˌsā-ˈkwä ) which means something (such as an appealing quality) that cannot be adequately described or expressed.  Wow! What a great find for me!  But I bet y'all already knew this expression.

 Life is a great fun!!!!

Link up to Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, Let's Bee Social

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A new challenge at Valley MQG

At Valley MQG, we had another challenge for August which are the Elements; earth, water, wind and fire.  We have to make a quilted project to represent some or all of these elements.  I was impressed to make the kite quilt to represent wind and water.  I wanted to use the design from the block that I made for the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop 2015 blog hop.  You can see my block hereAfter the event was over, most of the blogs were put into quilts and donated to local charity.

It's funny that sometimes we got a good idea and when we put it into a quilt but the quilt doesn't come out as we expected.  I had to change my design a little bit so that it still represents some elements from the challenge.  Here is my design.

Now it shows the wind and earth elements.  I like the quilt but somehow the kite tails got lost into the background.  The Faux Rag Quilting is so flexible.  It's so easy for me to changed it to this.

Kite quilt - front

Now I love it! That looks better, don't you think? When I look at the picture, it occurred to me that there is a hidden image in there.  It tickled me so much when I saw it.  Can you see it?  Leave me a comment and tell me what you see.  It will be fun to see what you all see in the quilt.

Usually when I make Faux Rag quilts, I use flannel.  But this time I did something new, I used linen as a background and the back of the quilt.  It turned out linen frays so beautifully.  It's perfect for making Faux Rag quilts.

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Gifts received, everyone is happy

In the past two-three weeks, I had been making baby Faux Rag quilt for a friend who is expecting in September.  I gifted it last week and the new parents to be are very thrilled.  Now I can show the quilt. 

I found a picture on Pinterest from the blog called The Bored Zombie by Susan Owenby and fell in love with the birds on her quilt.  I decided to add some birds into my design too.  They look pretty good in there, don't you think?  I did the raw edge applique on the birds using monofilament thread and zigzag stitches.  This is a new experiment for me and I'm quite surprise that I didn't have any problem at all.  The stitches came out so nice and don't interfere with the over all look of the birds.

Another happy report, my niece got her quilt and sent me this picture.

I'm so happy that she loves the quilt.  She is doing remarkably well and her mom said, '....if she didn't have a shaved head you would never know she had a brain tumor....'.  I'm very happy to hear that.  According to her doctor, her record of the biggest tumor of the year still holds at the Primary Children Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It's not a record anyone wants to hold, but I'm sure it's a bragging point in the family gatherings because they are a bunch of pranksters.  I love them so.

The happiest person here is ME.  I love it when the things I made have a positive impact on people that I made them for.  I love to see their smiling faces when they receive the gift.  It's really true that you're happiest when you give.

Have a happy quilty day!!!

Link to Let's Bee Social

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Quilt for Savannah

This will be a short post.  I just want to show you the quilt that I finished for my niece, Savannah.  I made this top a few years ago for a class that I taught at our local quilt shop.  It’s Angela Nash's pattern called ‘Star Flower’.  Originally, the quilt is a square quilt but last week I made it into a rectangle quilt and it's perfect size for a lap quilt.  I quilted this one on my Janome 6500 with 50 wt Aurifil thread, white 2024. 

 This is such a happy quilt.  I hope that the design and colors of the quilt will cheer her up.  She's recuperating from a surgery.

Have a great Quilty Day!!

Link to LetsBeeSocial

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Newest finish

I'm excited to share my newest finished quilt with you today.  This is for the Paint Chips challenge we have at the Valley MQG.  I  picked an envelope that had a color card in it.  My card had purple, grey and white and I pulled these fabrics out of my stash.  It's amazing that I have a purple fabric that's pretty close to the color on the card considering that my stash is pretty small.  Thanks to Helen, my dear friend, and Eileen for giving me the fabric.

I only had a fat quarter of the purple fabric so I designed small blocks.  I had a lot of fun piecing these 3" curve pieces.  It was a bit challenging to me but it was good practice.  In the future I have to remember that when using white fabric, iron the seams open.  Did you see some colors show through?

When it was time to quilt it, I decided to use the nylon quilting thread instead of cotton 50 wt. thread that I normally use.  I loaded the nylon thread in the bobbin as well, despite the rumor I heard not to do that.  For this thread I set the tension to almost zero and it seemed to work well for my machine.  The quilting was almost hassle free except when I had to reload the bobbin.  Two new bobbins were completely destroyed when I tried to reload them with the nylon thread on my Janome 6500.  I was quite surprised because it has never happened before.  Is this a problem with plastic bobbins or the nylon thread?  Here are pictures of the broken bobbins.

In the second bobbin picture, the middle part where the thread is supposed to be came off totally.  It's buried in the tangled nylon thread.  Those of you who own Janome sewing machine, what do you think about plastic bobbins?  Have you had the same problem?  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  
Luckily I have a bobbin winder so I used that instead of using the sewing machine, and went back to quilting.  Despite all that, I had a lot of fun quilting this piece without any marking.  I felt so adventurous!!  It took about 4 hours for me to finish the whole piece, including the mayhem that I had with the bobbins.  I chose to do facing in the back instead of binding.  Facing gives the quilt a clean look and I really like that.  

Lastly, I want to share my personal feelings about nylon thread.  I'm not sure if I want to use it on a quilt that will be used everyday.  I don't know how the thread will hold up to frequent washing and drying.  But for art quilts, I love quilting with nylon thread.  The stitching is smooth and stitches come out so even and nice.

 Have a great sewing day!!

Link up to Let's Bee Social


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sew Far Sew Good

Hi Everyone!  I have been busy with lots of sewing and working on quilt patterns.  I have to admit I'm slow in many things, including sewing and writing for that matter.  I'm also still a part of the Round Robin at our Valley MQG.  It's been lots of fun to see other guild members add their touches and ideas onto the piece. I can't wait to see my piece, still have 3 more months to go.  

I also repaired a boat cover for one of my dear friends.  The cover was torn at several places where the anchoring straps are because of the wind.  Before I became a quilter, I was a re-upholsterer.  I did all kind of projects, such as cushions, chairs, sofas, couches and even car seats!  Of all the projects, the car seats are the most challenging because there are many connected curve pieces.  And when the covers are done, they have to fit like gloves onto the seats.  So sorry that I couldn't find pictures of the car seats that I did on my computer .  I didn't have a digital camera back then.   I think I've shared a picture of a sofa that I did for my friend before, but for those who haven't seen it, you can see it here.  Doing upholstery jobs taught me precision sewing and patience.  For everything, I owe it all to Mr. Jackson at our local occupational school where I took auto-upholstery classes when my younger child started school twenty some years ago.  He would make us redo the pieces over and over again until they were perfect.  I still remember redoing a part of one particular car seat cover five times!!

In May, at our Valley MQG, we had another challenge.  It was a song from the Led Zeppelin called 'Stairway to Heaven'.  We were to take anything from the lyrics and make a quilt project with it.  I decided to use a part of the lyrics from the song about glitter and gold.  After all the quilting and facing were done, I hand sewed the golden beads on with gold thread by Sulky that I have had for many years but never used it on any project.  The big beads have real gold foil inside.  They are pretty cool. 

This is my piece.

This song reminds me that we can't buy our way to heaven.   I believe that everything in this life is for us to learn and while doing that, we are supposed to help and serve one another along the way.  

You can go to this Valley MQG webpage to see the lyrics.  It's been so much fun doing the challenges this year.  My husband dusted off his Led Zeppelin CD collection and we listened to them all.  My ears are still ringing from Robert Plant's high pitch voice.  It's amazing that his voice worked so well with the music.  Many wonderful old memories flooded back to me as we were listening to these old rock classics.  I remember my brother would play his guitar and we would sing old classics from The Carpenters, Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, and many, many more.  When I was young, I didn't speak English so I didn't really know the meaning of some of these songs.  All I knew at the time was that they sounded good.  Now that I speak English and I have my husband to ask what things mean.  I have somewhat better understanding of things.  In the other part of the world we admire the Western culture without knowing or understanding the true meaning of it.  I believe that Arts have no boundaries!!  I never knew a lot of these artists before I came here either, I just liked their songs and music.   I also watched Jimmy Page's interview on Youtube and I realized how committed he is to his art.  That's why he is so good with his guitars.  It is quite an inspiration to me.

For June our challenge is to incorporate a selvage or selvages into a quilted project.  I have to come up with something before next Monday!!

Have a great day!!

Link up to Let's Bee Social

Friday, March 30, 2018

Works in progress and Lincoln's quilt

Phew, where has the time gone!!  I can't believe I haven't posted any progress for almost a month.  This is going to be a long post, let's get to it.

At our Valley MQG, we have a new challenge in honor of Quilt Con last month.  Our challenge is to take a 12 inch Sawtooth Star and make it modern. Use the components of a Traditional Sawtooth Star to make a modern version. We can change them around, change the color formation or delete parts altogether.

This is the traditional Sawtooth Star block

This is my spin on the traditional Sawtooth Star.

By itself, the block doesn't look like anything much.  But when I put a few of them together, they turned out really nice.

I like it so much that I want to make it into a whole quilt!!  My husband gave it a name 'Time to Sew' because of the hour glass and thread spool images there.  The free pattern and instructions will come in the near future.

There is still one more thing that we're doing at the Valley MQG, it's a Round Robin.  This is my center block for this challenge.

It took me awhile to come up with this block and I really like it.  I can't wait to see the final piece.  This will be the only image you'll see until the Round Robin is done 6 months from now.

Another project that I was working on was a quilt for Lincoln, the newest addition to the family.  The colors of choice are navy blue and gray, I pulled some fabric out as you might have seen in the last post.

This was on design wall.

This is what I finished with.  I couldn't leave the blocks as they were, I had to give them a Faux Rag Quilting touch on both the front and the back of the quilt.   :-)

The dimension of this quilt is 48 x 56"

Another piece of good news before I go, in April, I'll be teaching at one of our local quilt shops called Quilty Pleasures in Simi Valley, Ca.  I'll be teaching projects from my book 'Soft & Cozy Keepsakes - Faux Rag Quilting'I took a break after my surgery two years ago.  I'm very happy to be back teaching again.    Can't wait!!

See you next time
Go do something fun!!!!