For my UFO Sunday, I worked on putting together the blocks from a Stack-n-Slash top that I started at a quilt retreat several months ago. This whole top was a complete accident in the making. At the guild retreat last October someone asked me about Stack-n-Slash tops. They had heard of them, but never made one. So, my quilting buddies Sharon and Linda and I raided my fat quarter drawer mid-retreat and selected enough pieces to each make a 9-block top. Well, I got back to the retreat with only 8, so chose to do a center block fussy cut/applique for fun to fill it out. The blocks were done at the October retreat and have been sitting in a project bag since then. Sharon came to my place Friday night for a sew-in weekend. By the time she left Sunday afternoon, both of our Stack-n-Slash tops from the retreat were assembled except for final borders. Mine will have a medium green leaf border fabric that I'll also use to back it. Next weekend we're meeting up here for another sew-in visit and plan to have borders already sewn on so we can layer & pin on my big tables and then start quilting. [Please excuse the lighting--it's late afternoon and the sun is shining through the blinds right onto my design board.]
I've also started on the Free Motion Quilting Challenge Express Your Love! whole cloth quilt. I managed to get two full size 30" x 41" tops traced--one muslin and one black--by the end of last week after discovering the challenge on Leah Day's FMQ Project website. Once I started layering my quilt sandwich I realized, from looking closely at the pictures of Leah's sample, that she had stitched all of the main outlines of the quilt, which I had not done. So, yesterday I got about half of the outlines quilted and will go back to it this week to finish that portion so I can start the actual thread painting of the words that I've chosen to thread paint in the breath wisps.
I'll be using the first lines that Leah suggested, "I am Enough", "I Have an Open and Willing Heart", and "My Cup Runneth Over." I'm also adding "Live Laugh Love Dance Breathe", "Give Thanks", "Imagine Living in Peace", "Be The Change You Want To See In The World", and "We Are All Connected In The Great Circle Of Life". I'm excited to start on that portion of the quilt!
I'm excited to be taking part in this challenge as I love FMQ, but need practice and help coming up with new ideas for my quilts.
When I showed the design for Express Your Love! to my daughter, her response was "WOW! Oh Momma, that's so YOU!" She knows me well and she's right, this is the perfect design for me to work with affirmations and color and creativity in my quilts. Plus, it will be an awesome piece to hang in my sewing room or above my bed when it's completed!
This past week I've been able to take advantage of the year-end clearance sales at several favorite quilt shops. Their mark-down selection has allowed me to add to my batik collection for a future project, plus I was able to get end-of-bolt discounts on quilt backs for several quilts in progress. It's nice to know I have enough to finish projects when I start them or go back to them.
Despite having had one of my sewing machines for several years, it seems there's always something new to learn. Sharon and I both sew on a Brother Quattro 6000D embroidery/sewing machine and when I was grousing about having to stop and lift the presser-foot every time I needed to shift the fabric while stitching down the fused applique, she came around and showed me a setting that leaves the needle down (which I already had set) AND lifts the presser foot every time I stop! SCORE!!! I was so happy to learn a new trick! I'm sure I'll be using that setting a lot from now on!
My afternoon was topped off by about an hour snuggling with my little grandson. My daughter had texted me and asked me to stop by for a visit, which I always gladly do! We had a great talk and getting extra snuggle time with Jacob is always an added bonus. Now to get back to a couple more hours of sewing before relaxing with a movie this evening.
More snippets from the sewing room soon,