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1  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / new quilt community/social networking site on: February 12, 2009 09:42:01 PM
Hey!  Have you guys heard about quiltgroup.com?  It is a quilter's community/social networking site, similar in some ways to ravelry (for knitters).  Anyway, it is still in the beta phase and they are working on some bugs and adding features and whatnot, but there are some really beautiful quilts and it gets better by the day!

I think you still have to get an invite at this point, but I've heard that is going fast and there isn't much waiting at all.  You should check it out

(I'm in no way affiliated, by the way, aside from being a user/member)
2  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Help me figure out the best layout!!!-- plus a new one!! on: February 07, 2009 09:14:57 AM
So I started this quilt early in my high school career and 14 years later, despite being ALMOST finished,  it is still sitting in a drawer.  I think it is because I'm not so sure about the layout I chose, but I want to get it DONE and out of the drawer. 

So weigh in and let me know which layout you like best!

#1:


#2:


#3:


#4:


Elijor had an amazing idea and I couldn't help but try it out.  So...
#5


In case it will help your decision making process, for layouts 1, 3, and 4, I will most likely do a 3-4 inch red border (the small half-square triangles are about 2.5 inches).  For layout 2, I would do a narrow (1-2 inch) white border on the inside then a 3-4 inch red border.
3  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Machine quilting = GRRR!!! Help please! on: November 01, 2008 10:20:04 AM
So I'm fairly new to this whole "actually finishing quilts" thing and this is my first attempt at machine quilting.  I'm making a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born niece and I really need to get it done! Unfortunately it is NOT GOING WELL and I'm hoping the vast collective knowledge of you amazing craftster quilters will give me some hope!

So here's the deal.  I'm (attempting to) free motion quilt (stipple) the entire top, but my machine keeps skipping several stitches then starting to work again.  This means I have to stop, unpick any stitches that stuck after the skipped part,  pull the bobbin thread to the top then start again every 4 inches.  It is getting really frustrating and the number of ends I'll have to bury is getting ridiculous. 

I've tried everything I can think of to fix it... I've changed the needle (needles are specially designed for quilting) I've re-threaded the top and replaced the bobbin thread.  I've made a practice "quilt sandwich" and messed with the tensions, even though the directions that came with the darning foot I'm using said I didn't have to change them.  It doesn't seem to make any difference.

Any ideas?

Just to give a little more info in case it is important, I basted the quilt both with basting spray and with pins which I'm removing as I come near them.  The basting spray doesn't seem to be making anything sticky.  As I mentioned, I'm using a darning/stippling foot.  My feed dogs are lowered as I think they should be, and I'm using cotton thread on cotton fabric and cotton batting. 

Any insight you have or additional things I can try to get this to work will be greatly appreciated!  If this keeps up I'm going to  rip ALL the quilting I've done so far (the very thought of it makes my eye twitch) and quilt in the ditch with my walking foot.  Not what I wanted, but at least I know the stitches don't skip with plain old straight seams!!

Thanks for any ideas you have!!


***See picture of what I mean below***
4  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / new gym bag! on: October 18, 2008 06:30:00 PM
I just joined a new gym that makes it possible for me to hit the gym on my way to or home from school --a big improvement over my old gym--but it doesn't have lockers were I can store stuff when I'm not there so I decided I needed a new gym bag to carry all my crap.  This bag is constructed almost entirely from stash materials--I'm so proud!  I got the main fabric as a remnant a while ago and hadn't found a project for it.  It ended up having a small hole, so I appliqued a patch over it.  This was my first time trying machine applique.  It isn't the neatest, but hey, it's a gym bag.  I'm not too worried about it.  The zipper was bought for a sweater I knit, but it didn't match.  Fortunately, it just happens to match the darkest color in the fabric exactly!  I also had the strapping for the handles left over from another bag project.  I did have to buy the lining fabric and interfacing, but I found cheap clearance fabric for $2.00 a yard and I only needed one yard.  So all in all, this bag cost about $5.00 (money I spent in the past doesn't count, right?)

Anyway, on to the bag.  I used this tutorialhttp://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=42927.0, but ended up assembling it a little differently.  Also, I apparently can't measure or add or something and I didn't have quite enough fabric, so I ended up doing a little creative piecing on the sides.  Oh well--all's well that ends well. 

Here it is, stuffed (even with heavy interfacing, it is fairly floppy when it isn't full):


Close up of the applique:

I probably would have chosen a different location for a patch if I didn't have the hole to cover, but then again, if I didn't have a hole to cover, I probably wouldn't have done a patch at all and now I like it!

unstuffed and lining:


I highly recommend the tutorial.  It seems like it will be a very useful bag!
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Jewel box quilt for a baby girl on: October 18, 2008 06:09:59 PM
I've been really loving the baby quilts these days.  Fortunately, there is a veritable swarm of new babies entering the lives of my friends and relatives so I've had plenty of excuse (not that I need an excuse!). 

I've been working on this one since last January.  I finished the piecing quickly but the quilting dragged on because I got distracted by other projects and because hand quilting in an un-airconditioned house in the muggy summer isn't my idea of fun. 

I started this one with the idea of giving it to my friend's second baby if he turned out to be a girl (he didn't--he got the bubble quilt instead http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=267680.0) or to his three-year-old sister if he was a boy.  It turns out his sister is very very picky about her bedding and hates anything with texture so a heavily pieced and quilted quilt is out for her.  Fortunately, our other friends are having a girl any day now so I decided to finish the quilt for her.   

Anyway, enough back story.  It is about 36" x 36".  My mother-in-law very generously donated most of the fabric from her stash of repro fabrics (Thanks Merry!!)

Without further ado:


Here is a close up of some of the fabrics.  My photos are a little washed out, but I think this is fairly accurate:


And just because I think it shows off my quilting the best:
6  COOKING / Dessert / TROGDOOORRRRRRR!!!! on: September 21, 2008 08:55:00 AM
My hubby loves Home Star Runner (well, Trogdor, really) and so for his birthday this year I decided to make him, completely from scratch,  The Trogdor Cake to End All Trogdor Cakes. 

It was constructed from two chocolate sheet cakes, topped with chocolate buttercream frosting, then a ridiculous amount of marshmallow fondant containing an utterly obscene amount of food coloring.  The cake itself turned out a little dry, unfortunately, but by the time I was done with the decorating, eating it felt almost beside the point.  Our guests still managed to make a pretty big dent in it at the party.

On to the photos!

Finished trogdor, complete with wing-a-lings, big beefy arm, consummate 'V's, angry eyebrows and thatched roof cottages to burninate (cupcakes topped with shredded wheat and candles):


Close ups of big beefy arm, wing-a-lings, and face.




With the hubster for size reference:


and burninating cottages!


This was my first time decorating a cake (aside from just frosting a standard cake) and my first time using fondant.  It took me almost two days to make: cakes and fondant made on day one, cake assembly, frosting, and all decorating done on the second day.  There was much sweat, though no blood or tears. 

He LOVED it so it was worth it.  I may have blown my wad though.  I have no idea how I will top it, or even come close next year!!

Let me know what you think!
7  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Which is your favorite cookbook? on: September 08, 2008 06:30:46 PM
So I was looking in my cookbook cupboard today and I realized that I hardly use any of my cookbooks.  They all withstood The Great Moving Purge of '04, so they each have either sentimental value or at least one recipe I use regularly enough to justify their existence, but for the most part they just sit there, crowding the pile of tea boxes they share the shelf with. 

I'm in a bit of a cooking rut and in need of inspiration so I thought I would ask you brilliant cooking craftsters: Which (or is it what?) is your favorite cookbook?  Which do you pull down most frequently and know that on practically every page you will find deliciousness? 

I'll start.  Probably the most frequently used cookbook in my house is Joy of Cooking (my go-to for basics and some baking).  The most inspirational book I have, but one I rarely use in "real life", is Everyday Greens by Annie Sommerville ( http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Greens-Celebrated-Vegetarian-Restaurant/dp/0743216253) .  I wish I could cook like that every day, but it just ain't happenin' in my house. 

My favorite cookbook, however, the one I use the most often aside from Joy and am continually pleased by how each recipe is as amazing as the last is A Muse Came to Dinner By Anne Bunch. (http://www.amazon.com/Muse-Came-Dinner-Anne-Bunch/dp/0941848116).  I highly recommend it. 

Which is your go-to  for good food?
8  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / bubbles baby quilt on: September 07, 2008 05:00:35 PM
I made this quilt for my friend's new baby boy.  I was having a hard time coming up with something gender-neutral to boy-ish, with the fabrics I had on hand (I didn't want to buy anything if I didn't have to) but was inspired by this quilt: http://www.whatididatschooltoday.com/archives/2008/02/dots_and_though.html#comments and some of the circle quilts I've seen on here.  I dug some repro fabrics out of my stash and went to town. 



The circles are hand-appliqued onto the background and then I hand-quilted concentric circles at two-inch intervals around each of them.

The colors in that photo are kind of wonky, but my camera died right as I finished and I had to get a friend to take the photo so I can't re-do.   The background is actually a light aqua blue with darker blue dots.  The yellow circles are actually a light-ish buttery yellow, not acid yellow, and the greens are a light sea green, not puke green like that upper circle. 

Anyway, I love this quilt!!

Comments are appreciated and thanks for the inspiration, fellow craftsters!
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / pincushions on: June 16, 2008 10:04:49 AM
I'm a newbie and I didn't really know where to post these, so I thought I'd put them here.  If they should be elsewhere, let me know!

I've been on kind of a pincushion making kick as a way to use up scraps of fabric I have that probably won't ever make it into a quilt. 

The first was made using this tutorial: http://www.planetjune.com/blog/offset-square-wrist-pincushion-tutorial/

I used different fabrics for the top and bottom to highlight the interesting construction (the bottom is bright pink to match the pink of the top fabric), I made it bigger, and I omitted the wristband part.  You probably can't see it in the picture, but the bead in the middle is shaped like a watermelon seed to go with the theme:


The second one was my own pattern.  I cut two identical round pieces and a strip of contrasting fabric and sewed them together:

10  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / My best friend's baby's quilt on: June 15, 2008 04:43:41 PM
 I designed this quilt for my best friend when she first started trying to get pregnant.  Two years later she finally got knocked up, and within four days of her telling me the good news I had the top put together.  I don't have any good pictures that show the quilting, but I hand quilted it.  This is my first ever finished quilt and I know it is really simple but I'm very proud of it!

I'm still a newbie poster so I have to link to the pictures:
the quilt:


Close up of the fabric:


The white printing on the background fabric isn't quite that obvious in real life but it pops in every photo I have.  Oh well.
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