Thursday, July 30, 2015

Return to the Ruler Work Sampler

We went to the coast of Virginia this past weekend for a whirlwind visit of the beach and the aquarium. We were at the beach in the afternoon through sunset of the first day. Then our hotel lost power in the middle of the night so we managed to make it back to the beach at sunrise.

Perfect photo taking time! But my kids are not very cooperative when it comes to all looking at the camera at the same time.

They did have a blast however and none of them were afraid of the seaweed, unlike their mother. I can't stand stuff touching me in the water. A few days later and I took the kids and my mom to a small water park. More fun! Poor kids have one full week before school starts, so we're living it up.

In the midst of all the summer fun, I managed to knock over a light fixture in my studio and sent an explosion of glass everywhere. What a disaster. I got it all cleaned up, I hope, but the studio is a wreck. Hard for me to stitch when it's a mess, but I decided I was going to knock out a block of my sampler.

Above, I've used my trusty air-eraseable marker to mark the point at which I will turn these V's. First I had marked at 1/4 inch from the corner, but then I went with 1/2 inch away. I used my quilting ruler to measure it. Then I drew out the design on one of the corners to make sure I'd like it.

free motion quilting with rulers

Ruler work and McTavishing. I was really feeling tight and things weren't feeling good as I quilted with my rulers, but then I started filling in with the McTavishing and it started to flow. I'm not feeling too confidant about the light turquoise thread throughout this quilt, but I want the quilting to show as it is a sampler for my classes. I might re-do the section on the navy. You can see even here that the thread looks white and the contrast is doing funny things in my camera (below). See how those lines on the left look jagged? They're straight! Just the camera and pixels playing tricks.

The McT might be a little dense compared to the feathered center. One of the things I love about using rulers is that it gives great results without having being too dense and stiff. I've been checking Pinterest out for great ruler work and free motion quilting that combines well with it and finding some fabulous inspiration. I need to practice some of the new-to-me designs.

That's all I've got for now. Quilt on.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Motion Quilting Video: Amy Introduces Herself

So here's the first video I've ever posted that shows more than just my hands and I've got to tell you that this was the hardest video I've ever done. I want to keep tweaking it and getting it just so, but sometimes you've just got to move on. It's about sharing my quilting adventures, not about how I look.

I am no videographer, but I hope you enjoy seeing it and learning a little more about me.

Watch it to the end and there's a little blooper for you.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunrise at the beach.

Normally, getting up to see the sunrise while on vacation is a nice idea in theory, but not likely to happen. But the power went out at our hotel at 5am and since I use a Cpap machine, I got up.

Once I'm up this early I love the peace of the early morning!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Of Quilting and Blogs

Happy Thursday dear readers! One more weekday and my family and I are taking a much deserved trip to Virginia Beach. We're going to hit the Virginia Aquarium and wade at the beach. (All the talk of sharks on the east coast and I'm happy to decide we'll stick to the shallows!) The great thing is that this short trip will be completely funded by my blogging and quilting activities.

My kids earlier in the summer
  I'm so happy to make a big deal about this with the kids because they've dealt with less than stellar meals from time to time and sometimes a cranky and busy mommy as I worked on various projects. I think it's good for them to see me work and make progress on my goals as we've had big changes since my husband's cancer a few years ago, when I had been a SAHM whose sole focus was on raising the kids and keeping up with the house and garden.

Like many 10 year-old boys, my oldest child is into Minecraft. He built a 'world' with our family in it. My 'room' has a craft table in it.
Sometimes the work of blogging takes over and pushes out the quilting that I'm supposed to be blogging about! Then there's the work I do for my local Janome dealer where I handle anything that has to do with computers and the internet, including a little social media on the shop's behalf.

I'm not making a killing, especially if I add up how much time goes into the blog itself and the writing (and I am such a slow typist), not to mention the quilting projects. I think any quilter understands that aspect of it. But it fits with my life and family and at least it's a subject that I love. The people I interact with because of the blog are absolutely wonderful! As a blogger, it's hard to earn much without selling a product or book, unless you're doing sponsored posts or have a large amount of advertisers. I've started selling a few advertising spots, but I've never done any sponsored posts or sold products or patterns. I'm excited to see how I can improve what I'm doing soon as all three kids will be going to school in two short weeks.

Sometimes there's far more blogging than quilting going on. Pardon the mess- this is real life! Oh, and I'm supposed to be standing when I work on the computer. Busted! Let's just pretend that my shirt is ballooned out in an unflattering way and that's not my tummy.
If you're a blogger, do you read Abby Glassenberg's blog, While She Naps? She's a crafter who has developed a niche of blogging about the business of craft blogging and business as well as her softie design work. She's recently provided a link to Quilting Jet Girl's recent post for quilt bloggers. It's got quite a few links and content of interest to those who are blogging about quilting.

Quilting Jet Girl is part of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, and as such there's some great tips and stories of interest offered. I wish I was a new enough quilt blogger to join in, but it's great reading. Being old enough to not have a ton of experience with computers in the workforce (My college years were pre-Windows), I'm sometimes overwhelmed by all this internet stuff! But I'm learning.
Clearly this lighting and arrangement will not work for this video.

As part of my YouTube channel, I'm finally taking the plunge and doing a video introduction of myself. It's a big stretch to show myself talking on screen after some 80 videos that pretty much show just my hands! Not to mention needing to set up my studio in a totally different manner and running back and forth from behind the camera to being the star of the show, so to speak.

Amy Johnson Quilting with Rulers
That's better. Mostly.
That's part of the reason I've not been posting as much. I hope to get back into the swing of things and get some projects finished!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quilting with Rulers: Feathers Off a Curve

Somehow summer has nearly ended and it's time to get the kids ready for school and make some plans for myself while all three kids are in school each day. It's been hard to get any actual quilting time in, though I've been doing some work in my studio. When I can, I'm still plugging away on my sampler.

Feathers drawn out.

I decided to use a curved ruler around the edge of the white square and then add feathers. The square is actually made up of 4 triangles so it was easy to plan the feathered areas. Since I wanted them to be pretty uniform, I went ahead and drew them out.

Two feathers down, two to go. It's hard to see but the stitching isn't right on top of the lines.

I don't like marking much, but I knew in this case that marking would be faster than ripping out feathers if they weren't even enough. I used my trusty air-erasable marker.

The markings are nearly all gone so you can see the feathers.
They're not perfect, but if I strove for perfection, I'd never get done. Good enough is perfect. I still need to work on the angle and spacing of the stitching where a plume gets close to the spine. The seams gave me a little trouble, changing the feel of things as I stitched on the seam allowances. There's one spot where I got right into the seam (which was pressed open) and the stitches practically disappeared.

I'm really loving this quilt and all the opportunities to use rulers on it. It will make a good sample for my classes.