Sunday, August 2, 2020

My! it's August already?

Hi Everyone,

I can't believe it's August already.  Times sure fly fast these days.  I must say this year is very challenging for everyone.  I feel for parents who have young children who are not able to go back to school.  I pray that you'll be strong and hang in there.  There are silver lining behind every cloud!!

On a personal note, I'm pretty much stay on tasks.  I feel very productive this year.  All thanks to Patty at the Elm Street Quilts for her OMG challenge. 


My August goal will be squaring up and binding the quilt 'Journey'.  You can read about this quilt here and here

Stay strong and quilt on....

Friday, July 31, 2020

July OMG finished

Hi Everyone,

It's very hot here in Los Angeles.  I've been working on my July OMG for the whole month.  The goal is to quilt the quilt called 'Journey'.  The quilt is about 72" square but I had to make it 80" square for the quilting.  Here are the front and back pictures of the quilt.

Here is a closeup shot.

I don't know how to do free motion quilting, especially on a big size quilt.  I've played with free motion quilting on smaller pieces but I can't translate it to big quilts.  I chose to quilt it with a walking foot on my Juki TL-98E machine.  It's a great machine and works like a charm except when it decided to be fussy about thread tension.  I had it worked on by a Juki certified mechanic before, but it's still very temperamental.  It's very frustrating when I was in a middle of sewing and had to make a 90 degree turn, without warning, the corner thread became curved instead of having a sharp clean angle.  A seam ripper saved the day, again.  It happened so many times that I even thought of throwing the machine out the window.  I took many breaks, re-adjusted the machine and continued.  That's has been my experience for the past three weeks.  In the end, I finished it this morning.  All the loose thread ends were tied and buried.

I learned a lot from working with this quilt.  Thousands of times I wanted to give up and work on something else, but I kept telling myself  'Don't let the beast win!!'. 

I'll be very, very happy when the binding is on.

Maybe it's time to really be serious about free motion quilting..... 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Another day in quilting

Hi Everyone,

Last time when I made Candy Box, I had such a great time working with scraps to make improv blocks. It’s such a liberating feeling to work without worrying about cutting or following patterns. I decided to make another improv quilt. They will be smaller pieces to fit windows in my new sewing room. 

I tried some new techniques.  One of which is called inset circles, which I have been curious about for sometime. The modern quilt studio has a tutorial on YouTube that you can watch it here.  This is my first inset circle, and I must say that I was pretty nervous about it at the beginning.  I'm glad I tried it and it's not that hard.

After I made this block, I cut it up into several 5" squares and used them in the new quilt top as below.  Right now it's 22"x28".

It looks somewhat like the Candy Box quilt but smaller.  This one will be put on a 27"x54" window opening.  That room has two windows so I have to make another one.  I think I will use different colors.  

I also am working on a new piece which is on my design wall right now. 

This one is conceived from a sketch that I did.  I showed it to my daughter and she really liked it. I just love consulting with my artist daughter. We share what we’re working on regularly.  I love to get her comments. 

Now I have got to get back to my quilting goal for July.  Journey, at 72” square, is such a big quilt for me. I basted it yesterday and now I'm ready to actually quilt it. I have a renewed respect for those of you who make big quilts. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Stay cool and quilt on.....

Thursday, July 2, 2020

July OMG

Hi Everyone,

It's July and it's hot here in Southern California.  The best thing to do now is staying home and quilt.  Since the beginning of the year, I have made a few quilt tops and now is the time to start quilting them.  The OMG for July is to quilt this quilt, 'Journey', as shown below.

This quilt is 72"x72" right now.  I'll be using my Juki TL-98E to do the job.  It's the biggest quilt I've done to date. 

Wish me luck.  πŸ˜‰ 

Have a great week and quilt on......

Friday, June 26, 2020

A New Baby quilt

Hi Everyone,

I set out to do the quilting of this baby quilt for the OMG for June and I did it.  Originally, I thought circular quilting would be perfect for this quilt.  As much as I like the circular quilting, I wanted to do something different for this one.

What I'm really excited to share today is this tool that helped me do it.  I have an iPad and have been using the photo editing program for most of my photos for my blog.  In the photo editing program, there is a function called Markup which allows you to add text and do some doodling to the photo.  I have found it to be very useful to help me decide on how I want to quilt this quilt.  Let's look at the following pictures.

I thoroughly enjoy the process of quilt making.  Sometimes I find myself stuck on how to quilt the tops that I made.  In the past I would insert the quilt photo to a word document and print it out on paper.  Then I would use pencil to draw the quilting design to help me make a decision.  Using the photo editing program on the iPad simplifies things for me.  I was able to doodle with my finger how I wanted to do the quilting.  It's not perfect but it really helped me to visualize the quilting design.  As you can see, I decided to go with the design in the first photo. 

Now that the quilting is done, tomorrow is the day for binding.  If this is new to you as it's to me, I hope this info. will help you.

Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New Project Fabric Pull

Good morning everyone,

I hope you're well and healthy.  We're hanging in here and trying to enjoy everyday as it comes.  My husband is still working from home and I am still trying to work on new quilt designs. 

Today, I'm pulling some fabric out for a new idea that I have in my head.  I noticed that I haven't worked with blue and pink fabric much so I'm pulling these out to see what I can do with them.

Sometimes I get stuck using the same colors that I like and don't use much of the other colors.  Do you have the same experience?  I may add some more colors as the design evolves as I go along.

I can't believe June is almost over.  I'll work on this new quilt top in July but right now I have to go back to finishing the goals for June.

Be positive and press on, even though things around you are not as pleasant as you want them to be.  I believe that we're in control of our own happiness.

Be calm and quilt on.......

New: Today I link with Quilting Patchwork Applique.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A New Goal for June

Hi Everyone,

It's June!!  It's hard to believe that it's the middle of 2020.  It's time to set a new goal for OMG challenge for June.  

It has been about 3 months now that we have had a stay at home order.  My husband still works from home and I really like that.  We've extended our walk to 3 - 5 miles a day.  We really enjoy walking and seeing beautiful flowers around our neighborhood. 

My goal for June; I will quilt this baby quilt. 

 Stay healthy and safe everyone.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Two New Baby Gifts

 Hi Everyone,

Happy Thursday!!

As you know I signed on to the Hands2Help challenge and in my last post, I talked about a baby quilt, you can read about it here.   I checked all of the organizations in the program and decided on the Little Lambs Foundation For Kids.   In short, they provide comfort kits in a backpack for children entering foster care from their home due to neglect and other dangerous situations.  You can read more about them here.  

The quilt they receive should fit in a backpack, along with other stuff, that will be given to the children. I felt that the first quilt, 42" x 44", with batting inside will be too bulky for the backpack. So, two days ago, I decided that the first baby quilt will be donated to a different organization and that I would make another quilt for the Little Lambs Foundation and it has to be done fast!

For that reason, I used the technique in my book called 'Faux Rag Quilting'. You can read about the book here. Faux Rag Quilting is a new way of making Rag quilts, fast, without batting and without cutting up the fabric into squares. Here is the new baby quilt.  

Hands2Help quilt - front
Hands2Help quilt - front+back

I finished this one in less than 2 days. This baby quilt is not too bulky at all. At the same time it will provide warmth and comfort to a child.

One of my friends is having a baby girl.  I continue to use the charm pack combined with scraps that I have.  Here is the new top.


Hopefully I will be able to start the quilting on this one in a day or two.

Keep calm and quilt on........ 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Disappearing 9-patch My Way

Hi Quilty Friends,

I hope you all are well and healthy.  I'm enjoying summer-like weather here in Southern California.  Cherries are in season and I made some Sweet Cherry Freezer Jam today.  It's really easy and I can enjoy the taste of summer from the freezer all year long.  I got the recipe from this website.  One recipe makes 5 half pint jars.

I started working on a quilt for the Hands2Help challenge since last week using the charm pack that I bought from a fundraising event at my local guild.  It's been sitting in my stash pile for sometime now.  I brought it out to see if I could make anything out of it.  Here they are sorted by value; dark, medium and light.  I'm challenging myself to make something.

I started to play with the pieces and came up with this top.

I like 9-patch block very much.  As a matter of fact, my very first quilt was a 9-patch.  I learned real quick that 4 1/2" 9-patch blocks are not for beginner quilters.  Anyway, I'll tell you that story another time.

Then I remembered a pattern called Disappearing 9-Patch which I like very much.  A mischievous thought came to mind; I would make my own disappearing 9-patch quilt.  I cut up the top above with a 6 1/2" square ruler and came up with this quilt top below.  I stared at it for 2 full days and realized that a circular quilting is for this one too.  I used flannel for the back.  I love to back child size quilt with flannel.  It makes the quilt so warm and cuddly.
Hands2Help quilt front
Hands2Help quilt back

When I started making it, I didn't know what to expect.  Even when I pieced the new top together, I still didn't know if I would like it.  Only when I finished quilting it that I realized that I really like it.  It's different and the whole quilt came together in a really smooth way, no difficulty or hiccup in any way.  I quilted it with my good old Juki TL-98E.  This machine is 16 years old!!  It still runs like a champ.

It has been almost 3 months now that we have had the lock down.  We are trying to look at it in a positive way.  I have more time to sew and be productive.  We walk more even when we need more groceries; we walked instead of driving.  I'm getting to know my neighborhood better.  Flowers are blooming everywhere.  There are many ducks and geese in the park near our house.  Here are some of the pictures.

I'm so grateful for many blessings in my life, my husband, my children and friends.  And I'm very grateful for all of my quilty friends out there.  You are wonderful.

Still many charm squares left, I can see that there will be more charm quilts in my future.  

Keep calm and quilt on....... 

Link up to:
Scrap Happy Saturday 
Peacock Party @ Wendy’s Quilts and More 
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Candy Box, May OMG finish

I started this project with a box full of scraps.  I didn't have any pattern in mind, but I knew I wanted to do curved piecing.  I worked with one piece of scrap at a time.  If it was too small, I would sew several pieces together to make a new fabric and worked with that.  Each block was uniquely constructed.  When finished, I put it on the design wall and went on to the next block.  

There are some prints in there too.  Some modern quilter purists might not agree, but I didn't want to limit myself, on this quilt at least, to just solid.  Now that I make mostly modern quilts, I want to be able to bring these fabrics that I love into the modern projects too.

This is what I started with.

Then it grew into this.

Then it came to this.

I absolutely loved making this quilt.  I had so much fun just like playing with a giant jigsaw puzzle pieces.  Next will be quilting it and I think I have an idea how I want to do it. This is my May OMG project.  I'm glad I finished it.

I continued to make more face masks for family and elderly friends.   I'll be making them until this pandemic is over.

Stay calm and sew on.... 

Monday, April 27, 2020

A new quilt 'Candy Box'

Hi There.....

I hope you all are staying healthy and safe.  

I'm enjoying sewing time at home and quality time with my husband.  Even though he's at his desk working all day but we have a great time taking lunch together.  We talk more and I really feel at ease having him around.  I have to cook more, yes, but I love it.  When he signed off from work, we walk with our dog in the nearby park everyday.  At the beginning, I think our dog was confused why he's home all day!!  Now he's loving it too.

I'm starting a new project.  It will be an unplanned and totally improv quilt.  No pattern in mind and design as I go kind of quilt.  As you may find out from my previous projects that I absolutely love curved triangles.  I will use scraps from old projects and make lots of curved triangle blocks and see what will happen.  The colors will be orange, yellow, grays, green, black and white.  These colors are the most in my scrap box.

I have started some and here they are on the design wall.

My daughter said it reminded her of a box of mixed chocolates or candies.  I really like that so I'll call this quilt 'Candy Box'.

I'll be working on this for the OMG for May.  I'll at least finish the top in May.

Stay calm and quilt on......

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A new quilt finished

For the April OMG, I said I would finish a new quilt top.  You can read about it here.   I'm crazy about geometric shapes of all kinds.  May be because I was a math major in college.  I think geometric shapes go well with modern quilt aesthetic.  I especially love HST and Curved Triangle shapes.  Not only did I finished the top, I went ahead and quilt it too.  Well, my quilty friends, here is 'Subtraction'.

'Subtraction' (36"x36")

I also tried spray baste for the first time.  I liked it, but I think I put too little adhesive spray because while I was quilting it, some part of the top became loose.  I had to reset the glue with hot iron a few more times and put some more basting stitches to secure it, as seen in the pictures below.

All in all, I'm very happy with the way this quilt turned out. 

Keep calm and fight on................... 


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Problem solved

My mask making came to a halt last week.  When I first started making them, I knew that I didn't have any 1/4" elastic and couldn't find it anywhere.  I also knew I had a bias tape maker somewhere in my old sewing room which was turned into a storage room when we tried to fix up an old spare bedroom into my new sewing room.  I gave up looking for them.  

As I stated in my previous blog, I found a pattern on Julie Cefalu's blog:  I started making them using 1/4" grosgrain ribbons and quickly ran out of the ribbons after only few masks.  One spool only has enough for 2 1/2 masks.  I have plenty of 1/8" ribbons but feel that they are too narrow.  I ordered some more 1/4" ribbons online and to no avail, I cancelled them.  They said they had over 300 orders ahead of mine.

I continued making the masks but without any ties.  Frustrated with the feeling of defeat, I turned to Youtube and came across this:  How to sew a reusable face mask with filter pocket.

Her mask style is different than the ones I was making but the ties turned the light bulb in my head on.   Here is the new and improved mask.

Thanks to Brie from that I got this solution.  In the video, Brie used a piece of  3/16" synthetic cotton clothesline cut to 50-60" which I didn't have but I happened to have a bundle of soft cord as shown in the picture above.   I finished 26 masks for my family in a matter of a few hours.  What a relief!!   All the masks were delivered last weekend.  I still have plenty of cord left, I can make more.

With this method, I found it to be a quicker way to put the mask on and off.  I just slip my head through the loop with the inside of the mask facing out when it hangs around my neck.  When I need to put the mask on, I just tie the ends behind my head and I'm ready to face the world!!

In crisis, I found kindness.  In sorrow, I found love.  In despair, I found hope.  I'm grateful.

Keep calm and fight on.

Link to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday, Alycia Quilts Finished or not Finished Friday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Take a break to make masks

Hi Everyone,

How are you all doing?  The Mayor of Los Angeles just announced that we should wear masks when we go out and about.   In the past couple days, I've been making masks for my family members.  There are 13 of us and I plan to make 2 masks for each person.  That's 26 masks!!  I don't have any elastic and can't get it anywhere so I used grosgrain ribbon instead.

I got this pattern from by Julie Cefalu.  You can also check out by Caroline.  Caroline also has video to show you how to put a HEPA filter insert in the mask that she makes here.

Here is what I've made so far.

Stay calm and fight on...............

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A New Project

Today I pulled out some Kona solid for a new project and here they are. 

For this quilt, I limit myself to 6 colors; 2 shades of yellow, 2 shades of gray, black and white.  This quilt top will be my OMG for April. 

In these past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed being home and sewing.  Last year a dear friend gave me an orchid plant.  It bloomed and gave me tremendous joy, and this year, it re-bloomed !!  This is the first time that I have an orchid re-bloom with so many flowers.  I’m glad I have these flowers to enjoy during this time.   Behold the beauty!! 

When I visited my sister in Thailand last year, she unloaded her stash of fabric on me because she doesn't want to sew any more.  As a younger sister, I had to take it even after telling her that these fabric are not what I use nowadays.  I really had no say in the matter.  That's the way things are back home; you can't argue with your older siblings.  Most of the fabric is for garment sewing but there are some Japanese cotton and a few pieces of Thai silk in the mix.  Japanese quilting style is big in Asia.  I said to her that I would take it on one condition, that I would make quilts for her and her daughter.  I'm sure with solids and other fabric in my stash, I should be able to make 2 quilts with these. 

Cotton fabric sorted by colors

Last week, I put together a quilt top.  It's the one on the design wall in  the flower picture above.  This is just a background for something special which will come later.  I sent this picture to my sister to show her the progress but she wasn't impressed.  :-)
I'll finish it and send her another picture.  If she doesn't like it, I'll make her a new one.  

Do you know about  Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge from Confessions of a Fabric Addict ?  I just found out about it last week.  Check it out, and sign up.

I'm counting my blessings.  My husband still has his job and I still can do things that I love.  It's been four years since my brain surgery and I'm still here.  I'm grateful for every sunrise in the morning. 

Here's something funny to lighten up your day.

 Image may contain: possible text that says 'This is Wilson. He is now working from home'

Stay calm and sew on.......

Monday, March 23, 2020

New Quilt Top finished

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well in this trying time.  Please stay healthy and strong so we can fight this thing.  It may be funny to some but I'm happy to be home and sew.   I realized that I don't mind social distancing as much.  :-)

I've been working on my One Monthly Goal for March.  I'm happy to say that I'm done with my new quilt top.  The picture is below.

In my last post I said the quilt 'Journey' was my biggest one so far.  This quilt, 'Journey 2', is even bigger.  It'll be interesting when I quilt this one, can't wait!

My local quilt shop is calling for actions to make fabric masks for the healthcare professionals.  Here are some links they sent to me.  If any of you are interested in doing something for the hospitals in your area, it's best to check with them for their specifications before you start.

Stay calm and sew on.......

Link up to Alycia Quilts - Finished or not Finished Friday

Friday, March 6, 2020

I'm in love

I'm delighted to show you my new sewing machine.  It's not a brand new machine but it's new to me and I'm so happy to have it.  

My friend called me and said that her friend wanted to sell her old machine and asked if I wanted to take a look at it.  The seller insisted that I take it home and play with it before I made a decision.  You guessed it, it's now a part of my ever growing collection of machines.  I really like the way it sews, so smooth and so effortless.  It even came with a walking foot which is a big plus.  I'm in cloud nine right now.

I'm going to piece my new quilt top with this machine.  It's going to be so much fun.  Last week, I presented to you 'Journey' which you can read about it here.   This month, I wanted to see this block in new colors.  The fabric that I chose are in the picture below.   The two big pieces on the left have been on my shelf for a long time.  I got some fat quarters from Robin Pickens's fabric, Thatched, to go with this new look.

My OMG project for March is to finish this quilt top.  I can't wait to see how this block will look in these new fabric.

Have a great day!!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Feel so accomplished

Hi Everyone,

I feel so accomplished this month.  I finally finished the gift quilt for my friend.  You can read about it here.  I'll be sending it to Idaho soon.  I learned so much from this project.  This is a good jumping board for me to tackle other projects like it.  Someone asked me what was the name of this quilt. "I don't have one", I said.  I thought to myself, 'Do I have to name all the quilts I made?'.  I'm not sure on this subject.  What do you all think?   Do you give your quilt a name after it's done? 

I also finished my OMG that I set for myself at the beginning of the month.  You can read about it here.  And this is the picture of the finished top.

This quilt is going to be the biggest one that I have made to date.  It's going to be at least 72" x 72".  I have an idea how I'm going to quilt it.  I do have a name for this one, 'Journey'. These little squares went through a lot before they came together on the quilt. 

I think this block has a lot of potential.  I'm planning to work on more designs for this block.  I will keep you all posted.

Wish you all a lot of great sewing time. 

Link up to Elm Street Quilts: One Monthly Goal February finish.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Work in Progress

In Sept. 2018, I designed a block for the Challenge at our VMQG, which I named it Kaleidoscope.  You can read about it here.  Last year, I changed the color and tried to do something with this block.  I put together one block and still have enough pieces to make 2 more blocks. 

In participation with the One Monthly Goal, my goal for this month is to piece the top of this new quilt.  I haven't come up with a name or what size it'll be yet.  Once I have the top done, I'll give it a name.

We had our mini group meeting today and I volunteered to put together this quilt top for the group.   Right now they're all in pieces, all 30 of them.  It'll be interesting to see the end result.

 Happy sewing time everyone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

OMG Achieved!!

I can't believe how good it feels to accomplish my goal.  OMG stands for One Monthly Goal.  At the beginning of the month, I set a goal to finish quilting a gift quilt for my friend.  You can read about it here.  I started to work on it right away and little by little, I got it done.  I sure learned a lot from this project.  It's a lot of sewing and resewing but it's only in a certain area of the quilt.  I used 50wt. Aurifil thread #2311 for both piecing and quilting.  

Here are the pictures; front and back.

 Here are some detail pictures.

The rectangle area above is about 5 1/2" x 6 1/2" big but it took me almost 2 days to quilt it as seen in the picture.  Of course I took several long breaks in between to recompose myself.  Some days, it seems, I can't sew straight lines.  Sigh.....

Now what remains is binding/facing; I'm not sure yet which way I want to finish it.

The vanilla extract is coming along nicely and it smells so good..... If you don't know I made vanilla extract, you can read about it here

Have a great time sewing everyone!!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

It's sunny outside

I’m making progress on my one monthly goal.

The quilting progresses slowly because I don’t want to distort the shape of the block designs. The white rectangle in the picture above is only 5 1/2” x 10 1/2” big but it took me two days to quilt that area just right.  Miss Ripley, my seam ripper, and I are good friends.

Taking a break today to make another bottle of homemade vanilla extract.  I love to bake and share my goodies.  I go through vanilla extract really fast and have you checked the price for a small bottle of vanilla extract lately?  It's shocking to me.  I had some left over vanilla beans sitting in my pantry for sometime now, so I thought it was time to use them.  My brother in law who supervises the wine department in a big chain supermarket gave me a big bottle of vodka.  Thanks, dear brother in law!  My husband and I don't drink alcohol, so the vodka will be used to make my vanilla extract.  Perfecto!!

Here is a picture of my products with the quilt on the design wall in the back ground.   Currently, I'm sewing in my dining room right outside my kitchen.   :-)

I made the first bottle 2 weeks ago.  See how good it looks!!  It will be 4-5 more weeks before it's ready.  Can't wait!  The 2nd bottle is made this morning.  These new beans are a lot smaller, hence there are 10 beans in this one instead of 7 in the 1st one.  I used the ratio of 7 beans per 3 cup of vodka.  After reading a lot of recipes on the web, I came up with that ratio for me.

Will keep you all posted how the final outcome is.  

Now, I should get back to sewing, but it's so so beautiful and sunny outside........

Saturday, January 11, 2020

It's here: Make Modern 32

Today is the day that Make Modern Magazine issue 32 is out.   

I am very excited to tell you all that I have my Curved Triangles pattern in this issue.  

If you haven't heard of this magazine before, it's an online magazine based in Australia.  The magazine always has a lot of interesting patterns and articles.  In this issue, there is information about the block swap and how to keep your stash under control.  I for one can use the help even though I don't have a big stash, but it's getting out of control.  Check out #smashthatstash on instagram for more pictures.

Happy Quilting!!


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome 2020

Hi Everyone.......

Hope you all had great holiday celebrations.   Now that all the fun parties are behind us, let's plan what to do in this new year.

Plan for 2020:

For me, this year will be about Actions and Motivations.  I want to sew more and create more.  For years, I've told myself that my quilting was my hobby.  This year, it's a hobby with a bang!

I've been thinking about how to be more productive.  I decided that I'll make something every week.  My husband said back; 'Every week?'.   Well, he got me thinking, 'Every week might be a bit much, let's do every month then'.  With that mind set, I decided to join in 'One Monthly Goal' at Elm Street Quilts, when I read about Patty Dudek of the Elm Street Quilts on the Make Modern 27.  I need an extra push and motivation.

I just found out about 30 day Sketchbook challenge on Instagram  or you can go to here.  I think this can be fun to do.  I need all the help I can get to boost my creativity.  

Ok, my first 'One monthly goal' is to finish quilting this gift for a dear friend of mine.

 Yes, it's a real goal and I'll get it done!!

Again, Happy New Year everyone.