Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You CAN Do Free Motion Quilting, I Promise! A Giveaway, too!

Hi, all!

Many of you probably already know that I am a huge fan of Christina Cameli, who blogs over at A Few Scraps.  It all started with her great blog series on free-motion quilting techniques.  It came at a time when I was trying to teach myself how to FMQ, and  her easy style of teaching and great tutorials was a big help.  I now refer people who want to learn how to FMQ to her tutorial series (which you can see here.)

Then Christina wrote her first book, First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting.  I was in love!  Great easy instructions that took her tutorial series to the next level, and twenty-four fabulous projects - and I wanted to make them all!  My criteria for buying a book is to have three or four projects that I want to make - this one blew my mind.  So many great things to make!  Here's just one of the things I've made from her first book...

And now she's got another book - the perfect progression from her first book.  It's called Step-By-Step Free Motion Quilting, and it's available NOW from Amazon!  

In it, Christina takes nine simple shapes and shows you how to combine them into more than eighty fabulous quilting designs.  Here's one example from the book…

I had been searching for a quilting design for a modern sixteen-patch quilt with a lot of negative space, and I thought that the curvilinear waves of this design would make a nice contrast to the sixteen-patch blocks. I loaded the quilt up sideways on my long arm and this is how it turned out!

And as I was looking through the book, I spotted this design…

which is probably going to grace the next quilt I put on the frame!  I love the contrast of swirls with square patchwork, and oh, the texture this will give a quilt!  I can't wait to give it a try!

As you can see from the pages shown above, Christina breaks down each design into simple steps that make you feel like you can easily recreate what she's showing.  And trust me, you can!  I've used her techniques on both my tabletop machine and on my long arm quilting machine, and they work equally well both places.  

And for those of you who have trouble learning from the printed page, Christina also has a Craftsy class...

I've viewed part of this class and it's great!  In it, she takes the basic designs she teaches in her first book and shows ways to enhance them.  My problem is that once she teaches a new design, I want to stop watching and go quilt something!  Christina's teaching style is friendly and engaging - it's so much fun to see her in person and have a face and voice to go with the name.  This is a resource you will refer back to over and over!  AND - if you go to Christina's blog, there's a button in her right side bar that will connect you up for this class for HALF PRICE!!  Jump in and give it a try!

So have I convinced you that you CAN do free motion quilting yet?  No?  Well, how about this - I'm going to give one lucky reader a copy of Christina's new book for their very own!  Are you excited now?  Here's what you need to do to enter…

Leave a comment on this post!  Let's make it fun - since we're stuck with cold weather (at least here in the States) tell about the craziest thing you've ever done in the winter!  Be sure to leave your email address, too, if there's a chance you may be a no-reply blogger.  I'd hate to draw your name and not be able to reach you to let you know you won!  

You can get an extra entry if you are a follower of this blog.  Leave a comment telling me how you follow.

Help spread the news!  Mention the giveaway on your own blog and leave a comment here with a link to your post.  

That's it - easy peasy!  Three different ways to enter - do one, two, or all three!  The giveaway will stay open until Monday, February 2nd at noon CST, and I'll announce the winner on my Make-A-List Monday post later that day.

And just for fun, here's my winter story.  I grew up in Miami, FL, and never had a chance to play in the snow growing up.  When my husband and I got married, we moved to Louisville, KY so he could go to seminary.  About a week after we moved in, it snowed overnight - a pretty good snow, about six inches.  I woke up very early and saw the reflection off the snow and couldn't wait to go out in it - so I snuck out of the apartment and went out to play!  My husband woke up that morning to the sound of kids playing in the snow and me missing from the bed - when he looked out the window, there I was, in the midst of all the playing children!  I still get giddy over snow (when I don't have to drive in it!)

So what are you waiting for?  After all, you CAN do free motion quilting, you know!



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Make-A-List Monday - Oops - Tuesday!

Hi, all!

Sorry about the late post - I was under the weather last night, and couldn't manage to post on time. But I'm fine now, and it's time to review last week's progress and see what's on tap for this week!

Here's the skinny on last week:

1.  Sandwich, quilt and bind the third sample quilt for the quilt along.
Done - finally!  When will I learn that it takes FOREVER to straight line quilt a quilt on my Juki?  But the end result is so worth it - here's a peek.  More on Friday...

2.  Cut and begin sewing the fourth sample quilt.
Done!  My strips are done, and I've started assembling the 16-patch blocks.

3.  Start working on a commission t-shirt quilt.
Not yet. That straight line quilting ate up all my spare time!

4.  Update the Hands2Help page with the new button, charities, and schedule.
Not yet.  Still working on it!

5.  Write the next quilt along post.
Done!  You can see it here - and this was the featured 16-patch quilt! (It's also the second quilt for the adoption fundraiser I'm running right now - it will be added in when we raise $500 in donations.  You can read more about the fundraiser here.)

6.  Keep up with all quilt ministry needs that come up this week.
Done! This quilt went to a lady diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer… 

This one went to a woman who is partially paralyzed as a result of a rare bacterial illness...

This quilt went to a man who was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

…and these fifteen children's quilts went to The Bridge Ministry, a ministry in Nashville that works with homeless people and families.

We als sent a quilt to a man who just lost his wife unexpectedly, but of course, I forgot to take a picture of that one!

So far in January, we've given away 31 quilts - looks like it's going to be a busy year!

And here's what's on the table for this week

1.  Work on the 4th sample quilt for the quilt along.

2.  Update the H2H page.

3. Start contacting sponsors for H2H.

4.  Work on the commission t-shirt quilt.

5.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.

That should keep me busy this week, but something tells me that other things will come up!  At least I won't be bored!

And now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sweet Sixteen Quilt Along - A Modern Take!

Hi, all!

Welcome to the third week of the Sweet Sixteen Quilt Along!  If this is your first time stopping by, here's a rundown of what's happened so far.  The first week, we discussed several different ways to make sixteen-patch blocks.  Last week I showed you one way to use those blocks

 by alternating them with pinwheel blocks.  A fresh take on two traditional blocks!  (By the way, this quilt is being raffled off to help raise money for my daughter's adoption of Nathanael, a sweet little boy from China.  You can read more about that raffle here.)


Today I want to show you a more modern take on the sixteen patch quilt, which I created based on inspiration from the picture above this paragraph

This is a true scrappy quilt!  Those sixteen-patch blocks were made from 5-patch strips left over from a postage stamp quilt I made several years ago.  I repurposed those strips into the sixteen-patch blocks you see.  Each block finishes at 8" square.  

Since I had sixteen of the sixteen-patch blocks, I chose to make my quilt 64" square.  (Eight rows of two 8" sixteen-patch blocks each.)  I started by laying out the block design, separating each pair of blocks with a four inch wide background piece.  (Graph paper is my friend!)  My top row of sixteen-patch blocks is 12" from the right edge of the quilt and 32" from the left edge.   It's fairly easy to figure out the size of the background pieces from that.  I chose to work the quilt in rows all the way across rather than piecing the center section and doing large pieces to either side, although either way would work.

The back is several large remnant pieces of batik, separated by 1" strips of the background fabric from the top (in this case, Kona Khaki, I believe.)

But what I love most about this quilt is the actual quilting!  This design is from Christina Cameli's new book, Step By Step Free Motion Quilting.  I love the contrast between the straight lines of the piecing and the wavy, organic lines of the quilting. This was a very simple pattern to create, too.  I'll be doing a review of Christina's book (and her Craftsy class!) next week - be sure to come back and check it out!

All in all, a fairly simple quilt to make, and one that lends itself to some creative quilting if you are so inclined.  It would look equally good with a simple random meander, straight line or organic straight line quilting, too!

And remember that fundraiser I mentioned earlier?  Well, if we get to $500 in donations (and we're getting close) this quilt will be added in to the raffle, so there will be two winners!  Help us #bringNathanaelhome!

One more thing - just to whet your appetite, here's a sneak peek at next week's sixteen-patch offering…

So now, it's your turn! Are you ready to show off what you've been working on for the quilt along?  Link up below and give us a peek!