Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New Place For My Patterns

My dear, sweet, long-suffering, patient and all around wonderful husband has spent the better part of this week checking website names and setting up a new place for my original patterns to live.  It still needs a bit of "finishing" (imagine sheep frolicking around a quilting frame), but for now, my first mystery quilt and Block of the Month are free at .
Please go visit and sign my guestbook!  Would love to hear your feedback!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Summer Fun" Notebook Challenge Quilt

My big gift for Christmas last year was a Cricut electronic cutting machine. Have enjoyed the various paper related projects I've been making with it--love the accuracy of the cutting and the ability to manipulate shapes by size and orientation. When my DH gave it to me, he said he thought it could be used with fabric and I could use it in my quilting. Sweeter words were never spoken!

First, felt I needed to become familiar with how to use the machine with paper before I could start working with fabric. Then, after six months of practicing (and a smidgen of procrastination) the perfect project came along--a notebook quilt challenge with Love Apples Quilters. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally try fabric with the Cricut.

There really isn't much written about how to use fabric in a Cricut machine on the internet. What little I did read suggested ironing on fusible adhesive and using the paper as a stabilizer, putting it on the sticky mat, placing it into the machine and cutting away. Well, it doesn't really work that way. Found that sewable fusible peels away too easily from the backing, although did work on simple shapes. Peeling off the backing and then placing the fabric directly onto the sticky board didn't work because the sewable fusible doesn't provide enough stability. So, in a final attempt, I used heavy duty fusible on the fabric and placed it directly onto the mat and had success! (Took me five attempts to get the word "Summer" to cut correctly due to it's curlicue style. It felt really good to conquer that hurdle!!)

In addition to using heavy duty fusible, it was necessary to slow the cutting down to a minimum, increase the pressure and blade length (used it set on 4).

After learning a few of the secrets of using fabric on the Cricut, thought it would be a great project to test out using textile glitter to add a little sparkle in the lightening bugs' tales and on the flag of the sandcastle.

Here's how it turned out:

Notebook Quilt (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) using "Stretch Your Imagination" cartridge

The little guy in the lower left corner is a cricket in his grasshopper pajamas--our girls are very concerned that crickets are black and grasshoppers are green, but a black cricket wouldn't have shown up on such a dark background. You have to love their desire for accuracy!

This little project, learning curve included, took me about a day to complete. Would love to make one for every season and am working on some more layouts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Sewing Room--The Cleaned Up Version

Here's my little corner of the house dedicated to all my creative endeavors. About nine years ago, my sweet husband realized that my unfinished basement space was not going to allow me to do all the things I wanted to do, so he hired a handyman to put up walls, the cabinets and a custom cutting table. It was so white and bright back then, it looked like you were caught in a snowstorm. (Years later, he build me an addition to the family room to house my longarm machine, but that's a tale for another time!)

Over the years, the whiteness has been toned down by the millions of things now living in the space. Here is a photo looking into my 12 foot by 10 foot room from the girls' play/tv/computer area.

You can sort of see my design wall on the left side of the picture. My ironing board is set up underneath it so I have to get up and down frequently to keep myself moving, lest I solidify in one position. The cabinets hold mostly kits, assorted UFO's and other crafting supplies.

Looking in from the outside

This picture is taken from the other side, showing my Horn sewing table and Brother Quilt Club machine. Love the large space behind my machine!

More Elfa storage for the notions--great little bins!

Facing south, you can see that I have a modest collection of books. My stash is contained in the bins from the Container Store. Keep explaining to my DH how I really don't have that much fabric compared to most quilters I know. He has yet to believe me.

Not every color or type of fabric has its own bin....some day!

Underneath the cutting table is more storage of batting, ribbons, quilt tops and scrapbooking supplies. Don't know what I would do without my Container Store storage units! Besides, this offers a wonderful place to hide when everyone is looking for me!

Best hiding spot in the house!

Thank you for taking the five cent tour of my sewing space! If you have any suggestions on how I could improve the storage or organization, please don't hesitate to comment!