Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Made a Thing!

I don't get much accomplished since summer started because it's been so busy, but last night, I got a thing done.

Ogee Study
Isn't it grand?! I don't know what it will be when I'm finished, I'm just thrilled to have accomplished something.

I first designed this shape back in 2014, just before the beginning of the last summer Olympics. It's modeled after a traditional architectural shape: the ogee.

Here is a picture of my first quilt made using it. (I don't have a finished picture, as it is still with the longarmer, but I hope to get it back soon.)

Olympic Ogees - 2014
I basted and pieced it all by hand, then attached it to the background by hand. It took me quite a while, but I worked on it while watching my beloved Olympic Games. I am NOT a sport person, but I LOVE the Olympics. Go fig.

Jump forward four years. I don't have as much time to sit and piece by hand so my EPP has been languishing. Recently, however, a friend of mine shared a video online that has changed my life.* Turns out you can do EPP by machine.

EPP. By. Machine.

I know right?!

All you need is a high quality monofilament for your top thread and a short, narrow zig zag on your machine. This gave me a very fine excuse to play with Helga! (She's the machine I first learned to quilt on, but as I have a new Juki, I rarely play with her any more. I think she gets lonely.)

Prepare your pieces as usual by wrapping the fabric around the paper shapes, then stitch on your sewing machine.

I was able to finish the ogee shape above in two hours, counting the time it took me to glue all the pieces to the papers.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go EPP all the things!

Even Professor Snape approves of this magic!

*I can't find a link to the video, any more, but I'm nearly certain it was someone from Cotton and Chocolate demonstrating the technique.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

My Scraps are Taking Over!

I have a lovely drawer next to my sewing machine that I stuff all my scraps in. These can be bits I cut off as I sewed together a top or leftovers from my stash that measure less than 6 1/2" (the width of my ruler that I wrap all my stash fabric around to fold it as I wrote about here).

My pretty little scrap drawer overfloweth.
When it gets too full, I sort all the lovelies by color into boxes I bought at IKEA. The slot for a label has a tiny bit of fabric placed in it to show me what color is in which box.

If I fits, I sits!

Just over two years ago, I decided I would use my Accuquilt Go Baby to cut all the scraps into usable bits: squares of 2 1/2", 3", and 3 1/2", 3 1/2" drunkard's paths, flying geese, and strings all 2" or narrower.

The beginning of my well-intentioned precutting
It didn't last long. I only fully got through one color and partially through another. The reason being the Accuquilt Go Baby is terribly hard to work with! First, it won't cut through many layers at a time; second, you have to hold it down while you're turning the crank because it's so light; third, I had to lean over pretty far to use it (I'm nearly 6 feet tall) thereby straining my back. Not feasible for me. I sold it and all the dies I had purchased.

Spring forward to this summer.

Despite having whittled my scraps down to what I really wanted to keep, my boxes are still out of control because I never use them. Every time I try to start a scrap project, it starts with sorting, then pressing where necessary, then cutting bits off the scraps to start whatever project I've decided... It fizzles out very quickly.

One of my favorite tools in our shop is the Accuquilt Studio.** Unlike the Accuquilt Go Baby, it is big and heavy, so you don't have to hold it in place while you cut, and the dies are sturdy enough that they will cut through ten layers at once!

I took two colors of scraps into the shop on my day off just to get a jump on precutting them into the shapes I use the most - charms and jelly strips.

Mostly before - as usual, I forgot to take a picture before I actually started.
If the scrap was wide enough, I roughly cut off at least enough for one charm square. The rest went onto the 2 1/2" strip cutting die.

Loaded up and ready to roll!
One quick roll through the Acuquilt, pull away the trimmings, and voila! Precut jelly strips that can be used in string quilts, to strip piece, or even to sub-cut to make my favorites: HSTs and flying geese!

My strips are ready for some piecing action.
Repeat until the stack is gone - honestly, that doesn't take long at all, especially if you've prepared the scraps ahead of time.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...
Remember, I already sorted my scraps down to those that really thrill me, so this will be squee worthy when I'm done.

Then I cut all the pieces that were large enough for a charm square.

And after!
Of course there aren't as many charms, but I'm already dreaming of the HST lovelies I will make with them.

Cutting complete (and coffee gone)!
It really didn't take me much time at all and now two colors of my scraps are all in easily usable pieces. I can't wait to finish the rest!

Do you die cut? Do you scrap piece? Tell me about your favorite thing to cut or make with scraps.

*I am in no way affiliated with Accuquilt. We can't even purchase dies wholesale from them, as there is a signature dealer in town and only signature dealers are allowed wholesale accounts. I just really love what the Accuquilt Studio does for me.

**You can rent time on the Accuquilt at SPOOL for $10 per hour. In that time, you could cut enough fabric for multiple quilts from yardage or scraps.

Monday, July 4, 2016

AQS Quilt Week Chattanooga

I know it seems a long way off, but AQS Quilt Week Chattanooga (September 14-17) will be here before we know it.

And just a few short days ago, I got the news that Climber was accepted into the show! I'm beyond excited. This is my first juried acceptance ever.

designed and pieced by Flaun Cline
quilted by Maddie Kertay

It all started with a four-patch kaleidoscope demo and this awesomely BadAss print from Alexander Henry.

Zen Charmer by Alexander Henry

Then, Maddie worked her magic. She's not the BadAss Quilter for nothin, people! 

She wove a snake all around the border and inserted flowers, skulls, and even a geisha in its coils, all inspired by the original fabric.

amazing quilting by Maddie Kertay

I'm so proud to have this opportunity and even more proud to call this woman my partner. We make epic things happen together.