Saturday, August 20, 2011

Votes Needed!

I'm totally thrilled to share that my Riley Blake Upsy Daisy quilt was chosen to be one of the top 10 finalists in the Riley Blake contest!
Upsy Daisy whole
Now the contest is opened up to public voting to choose the winner, so I need to ask all of you to vote for me and then ask everyone you know to also vote for me!
You can see all the finalists and vote here: or here:

Click the 'vote now' and scroll to the Upsy Daisy quilt and click the 'vote' button.
If I win, this is the fabulous prize:
Photo courtesy of the Riley Blake blog.  You can see more photos there.
Here are more photos of my quilt:
upsy daisy 4 block
Quilting angle:
upsy daisy turquoise block
Border quilting. Even the ric rac is Riley Blake!
upsy daisy outer border
I got the small floral for the backing from Lorrie and Paige and filled it in w/scraps from the front.
upsy daisy back

Lorrie let me photograph it on her lovely Robin's Egg blue wall in her studio. I love it on that wall. I have a Tiffany Blue bathroom that it would also look great in, but it's way too large for that room.upsy daisy whole 3
That's all I have time for right now, I'm off to the dentist this morning! Too much fun, I know.
Thank you for everyone for your support and votes, it's greatly appreciated!
Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tools, tips and tricks - Working with Minky

I use Minky (or Minkee, depending on the manufacturer) quite often in my quilt projects and get a lot of questions about how difficult it is to sew with.

I've found that I really like having Minky on the back of the quilt because it glides so nicely across your machine bed when quilting on your home machine. The only catch is that you must be sure that it's totally wrinkle free when making your quilt sandwich and you need to make sure you pin the layers together with less space between the pins than normal. This is not a problem for me, since I pin the bejeezes out of all of my quilt sandwiches. The quilt is rather heavey though, between the Minky and the plethora of pins.

When cutting Minky, I find it to be more accurate if you put it plush side together. Fair warning, have the vacuum ready, it gets fuzz everywhere
I use a 1/2" seam and walking foot for Minky to Minky sewing. I can usually get away with a 1/4" seam and using my 1/4" foot for Minky / cotton piecing. I usually use less presser foot tension than I would normally for cotton/cotton sewing.

Piecing with Minky is a totally different animal. Due to it's stretchiness and loft, it tends to move and shift a lot. When piecing, Minky to Minky or Minky to cotton or flannel, I've found the following tips have helped me to keep things the correct size, shape and keep shifting to a minimum.

1) Fold your Minky piece in half and mark the center with a pin. Do the same with the other fabric you are sewing the Minky to.
2) Match the two center pins from each fabric and pin together at midpoint. Then pin the ends the pieces together on the right and left corners.
3) Fill in between the center pin and corner pins, spacing pins an inch or less apart. I find it best to put the points toward the edge to be sewn for this project.
4) If using a 1/2" seam and walking foot, mark your 1/2" line on the machine with something that has a raised edge. (see photo below)
I use a self-stick, removable sewing edge tool, but it's lost it's stickiness due to Minky fuzz, so I tape it down. A post-it note pad would work as well. I've also used multiple layers of Duct Tape in a pinch. It really helps to have a nice ridge to line the pieces up on to keep it all moving together evenly. When using Minky / cotton, my 1/4" foot has that ridge attached to it already.
That's really it to making Minky easier to work with.  I hope you give it a whirl if you haven't already. It's so soft and fuzzy and makes a great baby quilt, or for that matter, any age quilt! Everyone who's petted the Minky requests it for their quilt.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


How did that happen? Why is it that time goes by so much faster the older you get?
In July I turned 40, had my 10 year wedding anniversary and celebrated my darling nephew's 2nd birthday.
I gardened and watered all of my plants a lot. Other than a few measly days in July, it was disgustingly hot. As I've mentioned, 82 to is my limit, and since 85 was considered 'cooling down' by the local weather guy, there was a lot of whining coming from me the entire month. Ok, it was more than whining, it was really bitching, to be honest. And as bad as we've had it in Chicagoland, I am thankful everyday that I don't live in Texas. One of my coworkers who is based down there said the other day it was 110. Yuck, with a ginormous capital Y! And the poor things have had over a month of that kind of weather.

At the beginning of July I started what I thought would be a quick quilt. I figured it would take a week at most. Riiiiiggghhhttt.  I'm starting to think PittiPat is right. She always says that she thinks we all have delusions of grandeur because we bring 10 projects to work on to our weekend quilting retreats. I tell her it's really because we are optimistic, glass half full kind of girls.
I've been eyeing the daisy quilt on the cover of Quilting for Joy since I bought the Barbara Brandeburg / Teri Christopherson book over 2 years ago and thought it would be fun for the Riley Blake contest. I've also wanted to do a turquoise and red quilt for some time, so I went with that combo.
The pattern called for 12" blocks but I only had quarter yard cuts, so I had to resize it down to 8" blocks, which meant that instead of 16 blocks, I had 36.
Each of the 36 blocks has 5 appliqued daisy pieces and 5 centers for said daisies. It took me 14 hours just to cut out the daisy pieces and another 12 to applique them down. Luckily I have a Sizzix circle die that worked perfectly for cutting the center circles or you could have added a few more hours devoted to cutting circles out.

When I put the blocks on my design wall, I realized that my lay out would not work w/the different block background and alternating centers. Since I'm symmetry girl, I really struggled with the layout. The lesson there is to slap the blocks on the wall pre applique to decide what you need! Who knows if I'll remember that next time.

Like any quilter with an issue, I took it to my quilting friend Michelle's house, where, after laying in the pool and drinking margaritas,  we decided it didn't have to be square and taking off a row would make it work. I think the margaritas really helped the decision making process.
Phew. I finished the top Thursday night, and hope to have the quilting finished this weekend since it's due by the 17th. Wish me luck!