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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Disney Patterns completed and new projects in my list

Just few updates:

1. I completed all the patters for the Quilt&Stitch Test Along. I cannot wait to see some of them come alive!! but for my own I will have to wait because I am leaving for a 2 weeks holiday so no stitching for me for a while :) but remember that the Link party for your blocks is open!! So you can add your block there whenever you want!!

2. Last week I forgot to share this little cute Hogwarts Sue that Jennifer @ Sewhooked designed.

I also won a Sunbonnet Sue's Magical Friends pattern so you may see some of the Wand Wielders here soon :)

3. I created another Finger Labyrinth based on my Pattern (available on Crafsty)
Unintentionally I picked a fabric for the border with flowers similar to the one that I choose for the center. I didn't realized it until it was done. Don't you love when those nice coincidence happens?? ;)

4. My September Block Swap partner received my blocks so I can post them here now :)

She asked for a star pattern but I didn't want to make the "classic" ones to I found these two unconventional stars, I made them small and I added a border :) just because I need to be kind of unconventional ;)

5. I was looking for a nice Christmas wall hanging and I came across the Modern Tree QAL @ Christa Quilts. I really like the improv/scrappy version but (as usual) I want to give my spin to the QAL so I didn't follow her tutorial and I instead decided to do it with paper piecing and my Christmas scraps. I didn't follow the tutorial also because I don't have the rules she is using... and I don't like to cut fabric in triangle form anyway :) I think that paper piecing solves beautifully all my problems ;)

So I draw my templates in a random way and collected the fabric: I will take everything with me during my holidays... I will try to paper piece by hand... let's see how it goes :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quilt and Stitch Test-ALong (38 new Disney Patterns)

And now it's time for the big reveal!
Let's start with the two quilt layouts!

So yes, I guess you got that the themes of the two quilts are
1. Alice in Wonderland
2. Duck Tales/Mickey Mouse

For an explanation of the design choices and all the blocks, please click (NOT NOW, read the rest of this post first ;)) the Test-ALong page.
There you will find details about my inspiration, and PDF for each block.

Since it's a Test-A-Long, I just saved the PDF straight out of Quilt Assistant with any further editing.
I generated two versions: with and without color indicators. I usually like to work with color indicators in order not to get confused, but on small pieces those colored squares can cover the actual pieces! So if you prefer to work with the plain one, you have the file do be able to do that.

Since I didn't do any editing in the files, I didn't add embroidery details either.
I included in the pattern the image that the block is supposed to reproduce, so you can add the embroidery details using that as reference.

And now the fun part: Linky party and PRIZES :)

All the details for the Linky party are in the Test-A-Long page, but in a nutshell, every month I will randomly pick a winner between the blocks that are submitted to the link party. Each block you make will count as a single entry. I also plan to organize little parades on this main page, to show the submitted work (but nothing officially scheduled for that).

Since it's a Test-A-Long, it means that the pattern may contains errors or may need some tweaking. Please don't hesitate to contact me and let me know the problems. My email address is in each pattern. I will post here any update/correction to let everybody have the updated version.

And as a last word before leaving you to the TAL page, please DON'T BE SCARED if some blocks seems complex...
It's just an illusion :)
I mean, they contain small and/or many pieces but this does not mean that they are difficult to make!
You have to believe that, since it comes from a person that didn't even know what a sewing machine was one year ago!! (see my warnings and advises in the Test-ALong page ;))

Here is the first block that I tested:

I hope many of you will join me in this TAL!
And that you will help me spread the word in the world :) Grab my button! :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Disney Mystery Quilt - Block 11

Tomorrow the big reveal for the Quilt&Stitch-TestAlong event.
Come back for about 40 new Disney patterns!! :) :)

But today is the time for an "old" new pattern from my Mystery Quilt.


Here we are with Block number 11 of the Mystery Quilt.

If you have any other question, don't hesitate to ask... I may not be able to answer, but I will do my best to find a reasonable answer :)

The Eight Block of the Quilt is Madam Mim Face.

You can find the pattern in the Free Patterns section.

Have fun, and post a comment below for any question/advice/comment!
And if you tried any of the blocks, please leave me a comment below, or send me a picture of the block or publish the block on the FiS Flickr Group (or all of them :) ). I would love to see your work!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Jumbo Coming Back!

I am back! :)
Thanks to the people that sent me message during these crazy days of pain after the wisdom teeth surgery!
I was knocked out pretty bad but I am slowly getting back to my normal energy level and that allows me to put together this post with many news that were hanging around for few weeks now.

Read carefully because there are going to be announcement about new fandom patterns (many) and prizes ;)

But one thing at the time...

First, here is Block number 10 of the Disney Mystery Quilt:


The Tenth Block of the Quilt is Upside Down Archimedes.

You can find the pattern in the Free Patterns section.

Have fun, and post a comment below for any question/advice/comment!
And if you tried any of the blocks, please leave me a comment below, or send me a picture of the block or publish the block on the FiS Flickr Group (or all of them :) ). I would love to see your work!!

Melissa received the blocks that I made for her for my Selvage-For-Block swap. So now I can share them with you:

She asked me for a Circle of Geese in purple. This was my fist block:

I was pretty happy with that but I wanted to add an extra block because she sent me soo many selvages :)
I wanted to find a similar but different block and I found a tutorial for a block that looked to me as geese in different flock formation (Triple Framed Pinwheel Quilt Blocks)

This didn't turn out pretty as the one in the pattern :( and I was pretty upset with me :( because all those very tiny stripes and triangles and points require super-precision and I am definitely not good at it. So since I was not happy about the block, I wanted to add a third block for Melissa to make up for that second block. And I went back to Circle of Geese but with a twist :) and I got this: 

Which I really like :) actually more than the first block! :) so at the end of the day, I decided to consider the second a "weird" flock of geese, all irregular and different one another... if you interpret the block that way, is not so bad ;)

I received the first blocks from my Block Swap partner. They are very cute owls, but I don't want to show them here yet because I decided to use all the blocks from this swap as my FMQ "practice" sandwitches (similar to the Star Surround QAL blocks) because I don't like to practice on plain fabric and since I didn't put effort in assembly these blocks, I won't feel too bad if my FMQ is not perfect or if I mess up some parts. This takes away the pressure... but at the end I will have very cute blocks to make a quilt or wall hanging, so that's sounds like a great deal to me!! :) So stay tuned to see them in the next weeks :)

And the final result of my Star Surround QAL adventure are: two Jumbo pillows!!

These are my first experience with FMQ! I tried many different designs... they are faaaaaar from perfect, but I love the two pillows. These are the designs I have used:

- stitch in the ditch and echo star shape
- basic stippling
- stippling with wondering clovers
- paisley/echo shell (it's a mid point between the two ;))
- pebbling
loose weave
checker board
Spiral illusion

In the last block, I had a huge problem and maybe some of you can help me understand why?
I was doing basic stippling and my machine started not catching the bobbin thread any more. I start seeing those huge stitches and at the beginning I thought was a speed problem, but then it kept happening no matter if I was trying to speed up, slow down, reduce tension, increase tension, rethread the machine, changed the needle, etc :( I tried everything... and it kept doing it... not all the time, but very very often at the end. Then I started using the machine with the normal feet for piecing and this never happen again. Any suggestion? Was my machine just too tired of a full day of FMQ?? :) The funny things is that before that I did much more complex designs and I never had problems... only the stippling of the last space of the last block create this problem...

And finally... the big announcement: next weekend I will release TWO completely new full Fandom-related quilts. The first quilt contain 16 blocks (both paper-piecing and embroidery) and the second quilt contain 22 blocks (just paper piecing) for a total of 38 new Fandom blocks!! :)

All the patterns need to be tested, but this time, instead of waiting for me to test them all before the release, I decided to organize a TAL (Test-a-long) with you! ;) I will release all the patterns and I will organize linkup parties with prizes for people that want to make those quilts with me :)

Eventually all patterns will be tested by me for sure, but this time you can decide to test few of them before I do. Even a single block will give you the chance of winning, so stay tuned for more information about rules and deadlines :)

I don't want to reveal yet the theme of the two quilts... but here are the hints:
Quilt 1. And what is the use of a book...
Quilt 2. I made [my fortune] by being smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Not feeling good enough

If you are reading this post is because I didn't get enough energy after the wisdom teeth surgery of last Thursday to complete the Disney block that was due today :(
I am sorry for the delay, but I will upload the pattern as soon as I feel better.
If anyone has some advice about how to speed up the recovery and stop the pain in my mouth, I am listening! :(

Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekend projects and lessons

A lot of things happened last weekend! Let me try to summarize them :)

I tested the "Dazzle" pattern for Esther ( and this is the result:

Beautiful eh? I tell it to myself :) I think I did a good job in matching many points :) and this are the few lessons I learned along the way:

1. The pattern is very nice but it required me some courage because it is based on the two things I fear the most in paper piecing: weird angles and matching points. :) I try to avoid/minimize them in my patterns because of this fear. But the only way to overcome a fear is to practice and to get good at it :) and in this case there was not much pressure in the sense that, yes, I was a tester, but the final block will make a pillow or similar for me and since in my house quilting police is banned, even if some points do not match perfectly, that's ok ;)

2. The trick to make this pattern work I think is in the color choices (if you are worried about the central point). My idea was to use the same dark color for the external border of the flower (so that the shape is easy to see) but use two "interlocking" colors for the petals inside... in this way the "flowing" of a petal in the another will trick the eyes to flow around the central point instead of focusing on it :) this is the reason why I picked two colors with some contrast (yellow and orange) but not too much contrast... in this way the human eyes is not going to notice imperfections in the center (I said "human eyes"... the quilting police eyes will still see that my center is not perfect, but as said before, the quilting police is not allowed to enter my house! ;) )

3. Listen to what the author of the patterns says :) There was a tip like "Please do not try to sew it all in one go!"... and I thought "come on, they are just 12 pieces, I can do it"... well... no :) don't try this at home! :) after 6 wedges I was going crazy :) there is nothing wrong in the pieces, but they require focus so I suggest you to listen to the advice and sew 3-4 wedges max and then take a break ;)

4. Since there are many pieces to match, I tried all the possible combinations to make the points match... and I think the strategy that worked best for me was to start from the center, going up half way (or a couple of matching points), check them (if not good, you have a shorter seam to unpick) and then start from the other side and go toward the center. Since there is not much fabric in the block, I never found a case in which the fabric built up in the center of the seam... and the half+half helped me matching things much better.  

I loved the pattern, and now I am less scared of angles and matching points: just give yourself some time and take some breaks... this will solve all the issues! :)


My July Block Swap partner (Teresa) received my blocks so I can share them with you :)

She asked for a Cactus Pot block, so I made two as the one above, but then she said that she will send me some selvages for my selvage project so I wanted to add an extra block for her. However another identical block was kind of boring for me... so I start playing around with squares and triangles in Inkscape and I designed the block below (called: "Not all Cacti are created equal") :)

I think it's a pretty fun block that matches the other, but it has its own personality :) 
She likes it so I am pretty happy about that :)

My boyfriend birthday is coming up this week so I finished a couple of presents for him.

The first one is this "Finger labyrinth":

I designed the embroidery pattern for this block and it is now available on Craftsy. In the pattern there are different design for the center. I thought the heart was a good choice for him, but I made a flower and circle center that can be used with the same external labyrinth.

I then quilted an echo on the external side and stitched also the heart in the center. So the back look like that:

I love that fabric and I love the final effect of the quilting.
BTW, it's important NOT to quilt around the path of the labyrinth itself. Otherwise the "height" of the embroidery walls will be flattened and the goal of the finger labyrinth may be lost (since it's going to be hard to "walk" the labyrinth wit your eyes closed... for people not familiar with what a finger labyrinth is and how it works, you can read about it here. Please note that the labyrinths on Craftsy has been designed by me, and they resemble other labyrinths available on the web. However these pattern were not built to fulfill any specific requirements about angles, systems of numbers, design, etc. They are my version of the finger labyrinth concept and they are designed to fit a small square block (10'')).


Another part of the birthday present for my boyfriend is a Toothbrush travel kit. I found the tutorial here.
And my final result is the following:

I did few changes to the tutorial: this are my advice for you or for me next time:

1. you can skip to put the bias tape at the top of the internal pocket if you cut the pocket keeping the band on the side of the towel. That saves you the seam and the binding tape, plus it adds a perfect place to add a personalized embroidery message! Because what is better than a handmade toothbrush travel kit? a personalized handmade toothbrush travel kit ;) 

2. the project is suuuuper-fast... I cut my binding (I used a 1.5'' strip because I didn't read properly the instructions ;) but I think it worked out pretty good, and WOF was the perfect length), sew the seam in the middle to divide the pocket, sew the binding on, sew the button, done! :) super fast, super easy, super cute, super useful ;)

3. next time it would be better to sew the button on the pocket before sewing everything together. Because it was kind of hard to put the button especially because  there is a seam in the middle of the pocket so you have to put the button right next to it, putting your fingers inside... and it's not very easy... possible, but next time I will do it on the pocket before :)

4. as you see above, I didn't round the upper part of the kit... but it's a good idea to try that, because in my version the two corners kind of stick out when you close the kit with the ribbon (which is kind of centered). Next time I will try the round version... and if that does not close properly, I will add two little buttons and two ribbons, one for each corner. That should solve the issue.

If you have any question/comment about this, please write me below. I would love to hear from you.

I also finished another couple of blocks that will be in the mail this week so I cannot show them because they are a secret.

And I also prepared 3 I-Spy blocks for Sharon (for her A quilt for Blake idea), but I forgot to take the picture of those :( Anyway they were very simple and with cute fabric :)


Now the weekend is over so it's better that I go back on my week job :)