The Endeavourers Nature Reveal

The exciting day has arrived!
The Endeavourers, a new online art quilt group has its first quilt reveal for its members!
Our group of 14 international quilters were charged to interpret the theme of NATURE and make a quilt based on it. You can read our mission statement HERE.

I was not the only member who had ideas churning in my head for nearly two months. Nature can be defined in many ways such as the essence of something, human nature or that of Mother Nature. I chose to focus on the definition of nature as "the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations." 

I continued to look at photos I had taken in the last few years on my walks and travels--that showed how I interpreted the theme of nature. I could not decide on a single photo that told my story, so I selected 24 of my favorites. I chose to collage them. Below is my completed quilt (22.5 inches by 21.5 inches) I call
I challenged myself to move out of my comfortable piecing techniques. The idea of film negatives (from bygone times, when I was a kid and a young mom) where we took photos and didn't discover the results until they were returned from developing and printing. It is so much easier now, delete the photo that does not meet our expectations, save those we want on a hard drive, CD, memory stick--or, the Cloud! To be printed when we desire and how we desire.
I have printed photos to fabric a number of times in the past. I have used many brands of printable inkjet fabric sheets, but the EQ Premium Cotton Lawn are by far my favorite. (I am not paid for product review.)
I like the finish and feel of the 240 thread count fabric. They take ink well and hold up well to washing. The plastic sheet on the back is so easy to pull off! They are well worth the cost per sheet. I buy the 25 sheet pack since it is a value for the money.

I cropped the photos to 3 inches square using Photoshop Elements. In Word, I organized 6 photos to a sheet (allowing space between the photos to cut a 1/4 inch border of white around each print for a seam allowance. These were to be sewn and finish at 3" and the white borders, I thought, would make it easy to keep the 1/4 inch seam. When I sewed the photos to the black strips, some of them showed a bit of the white that didn't get caught in the seam allowance.

Unless one gets very close to the quilt, it is not noticeable. But, next time I will crop the photos to 3.5 inches to include the 1/4 inch seams in the photos.
I worked diligently trying to get the proper proportions for the black and white film strip sections. I tried using my EQ7 program but it didn't help; and then I just sewed trial by error until the measurements worked.  I still don't know how I got them all to work out, but they did! The black strips were cut 1 inch wide and the white strips were 1.5 inches wide. I sewed strips together and sub-cut, pressed toward the black, and then sewed sets together. I added long 1.5 inch strips along the railroad tracks of the black and white sections.

I quilted with my walking foot and lots of pins. I started in the middle of the quilt sewing within the black strips. I smoothed the layers and repinned before moving on to the next set of photo strips. It was a long process, but I am thoroughly thrilled with it. It looks lovely hanging on the wall in our living room.

Visit the other members of the group to see what they made for their Nature quilts!


Sewing Bowl A Cozy

I have been sewing bowl cozies for the last week! 
I was asked to sew some for the boutique where I sell sewn items.
I didn't know there were so many ways to sew a cozy. But a Google search came up with MANY!
I finally chose to use the method I saw in a video tutorial by The Crafty Gemini HERE.

I modified her shape and size, but the rest of the directions made it a fairly easy item to sew.

I cut my pressed fabrics and the 100% cotton batting using my 9.5 inch squaring ruler. Maybe if I had a 10 inch squaring ruler I would have used that.
I sewed a fabric square diagonally (wrong side on battinig) onto a square of batting using the "eyeball" method Vanessa described in her video. I found that if I gently held the point opposite the one feeding through the needle the stitching line was pretty straight. 

I did not cut the curved corners as she did, but if I had, it would have eliminated a tough job of sewing the pointy corners on my cozy in the final edge stitching.

I made a little cardboard marker for measuring the starting and stopping points of the darts.
I didn't mark a line, I just sewed from mark to mark, back stitching on the open edge(where my pen is).
I pinned the corners and the darts to match and sewed a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a starting and stopping gap for turning the cozy right side out.
Here is how I started and stopped my stitches. I came in 3 stitches from the edge, back stitched, and came back to the seam line, needle down and pivoted to sew the seam line. This helps make the seam fold into the cozy for easy edge stitching later.
I found That Purple Thang was the best tool to work the points of the corner out. 

Have you made bowl cozies? What pattern or method did you use?


Nature-Themed Quilt Progress

The piecing for The Endeavourers reveal on February 1 is progressing. This is just a little peek at what I worked on for 2 hours tonight. I will tell you that working out the measurements took the longest time for me, even with EQ, I still had to divide equally. I got some small measurements for the black and white pieces. But I did get one block together that measures 7.5 inches by 10.25 inches unfinished!

Tomorrow I should make better use of my time with the correct measurements.


Nature Project Peek

I am a member of a new online art quilt group called The Endeavourers. (You can visit our blog HERE.) 'The group was started by two of the members of our now disbanded Four-in-Art quilters. Having an online art quilt group helps challenge me to try 4 different ideas during the year.

The challenge reveal theme for February 1 is NATURE. Below is just a peek of what I worked on this week. I searched my photo files, edited the photos, and printed them on EQ Premium Cotton Lawn fabric sheets. It is my favorite fabric sheet for photo printing.

Please come back on February 1 to see the quilt project I make with these--and visit all the other members' posts to see how they interpret the challenge theme.


New Year Sewing Resolutions

It's going on the 4th week since I posted! I think it's time to get back to the laptop.

My husband and I celebrate the Christmas weekend with family and friends.
New Year's weekend we visited our daughter and SIL and helped them with some home improvement projects. A few hang-ups made each them longer projects than expected.

I pondered New Year sewing resolutions.
In the past few months, some quilters I follow have written about many of the same thought I had.

One of the most mentioned was social media. While I enjoy exploring Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and the internet for quilting/sewing ideas, it sure takes TIME! I enjoy sewing! I have a great stash of fabrics (maybe too much) to use for projects. I have a many project ideas in my head. I still have a house to keep tidy and clean. I want to enjoy the company of friends. So:

  • I'm want to sew more; posting on Facebook and Instagram when a project is done. These are quick and easy in my opinion. I want to blog once a week, unless there is a special in which I am participating. (I know there might be a few times I post out of that week.)
  • I am going to set a timer for 30 minutes daily with social media searching. I might find an online BOM that will interest me, but I have quilt ideas to make. I'm going to use my time to put MY designs to paper.
  • I'm going to go through that fabric stash, use what I truly like, and send a good amount out the door. Scraps are unnecessary to keep and saying goodbye to them will free up a good 12 feet of storage space. 
A collage of  my sewing progress for the last week: