Hand Quilt-Along Group!

Kerry of Lovethosehandsathome  recently posted about a hand quilt-along group that she had joined. It sounded like a great idea to me, as I guiltily remembered a quilt stuffed in a cupboard waiting to be completed. The quilt along was started by Kathy of Sewingetc, and I contacted her to be added to the group. Here is the story of my project….

I was surprised to see the date on the post – I didn’t realize that it was so old. (The top was completed pre-move (2013) and it is still not done!) I did start quilting it at some point and it is perhaps halfway done. It is not an easy project to hand quilt. All of the fabrics are batiks, which are always printed on very finely woven cotton, which means that it is harder to pierce with a needle. The backing is also made up of batiks… To compensate for the difficult fabrics, the batting is a thin polyester. Sneer as you might, but polyester is very easy to quilt, it’s very light, it washes easily and many award-winning hand quilters use it for all of these reasons.

I noticed on the post I wrote celebrating the finish, that I was planning to machine quilt it. In those days I had the #%$& Bernina sewing machine and was having all sorts of trouble using it, which would explain why I decided to hand quilt it. I use the teeny, tiny quilting needles with my readers on and a bright light over my left shoulder. Now that the weather here has finally cooled off, I will surely attract a cat or two with this cozy project.

This quilt was made in what I call my Illinois colors. I have moved on to lighter, brighter colors in South Carolina. But I do still have the Indian rug that I used as an inspiration, and it will still be lovely in that room.

Let the quilting begin!

Here are the other quilters who are participating! Click on their names to see what wonderful quilts they will be finishing. Check up on us November 26th to see what we have accomplished.

Kathy, Kerry, Deb , Bella Lori , Margaret , Emma , Tracy

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Orphan Block Quilt – – – Finally Finished

I certainly do not win awards for finishing projects in a timely fashion! After starting to quilt The Orphan Block Mash Up quilt, I quickly lost interest and it sat under my Sweet Sixteen machine for months. Languishing… it was started over a year ago. Fast forward to the present : I have a growing stack of quilt tops waiting to be quilted, so I have spent the last two weeks getting it done.

I am not thrilled with it. My quilting is not great so I will not be showing you a close-up. But as I have told students in the past, you can quilt samples or practise on “the real thing” and I chose to do the latter. Most people viewing the quilt in my hallway are not quilters, so they will not scrutinize my work. And if I can keep my tongue in my head and not say “Gee, the quilting is not very good”, I am sure they will admire it. (Sorry for the poor photo – I have no walls big enough to hang a quilt and get away from it to photograph, so it was on the floor and I was on a ladder!)

I must say that I am always amazed when I wash a quilt. It looks so much better and you really have to look closely to see the quilting at all; there’s just a nice texture.

Now that it is done, I can get on with the next project and learn some more.

Next Steps on Rock Around the Block – Jack’s Chain Quilt

Now that December has come and gone, I am trying to spend more time in the studio – and it’s back to the Jack’s Chain quilt. Knowing that I did not have enough of the background blue hand dyed fabric, I had to fiddle around with a final layout for the top. I finally decided that a center 3 square by 5 square strip, with a strip on either side using the new fabric would work for me.  I shopped around a few quilt stores and found a darker, but similar hand dyed blue.The center strip of the quilt top is completed and I am working on the rows with the new fabric. This pattern is not as circular as the original, more difficult pattern; it is more wavy.

Working on strips

A new addition is little hexies that I have hand appliqued in the middle of every other block. {Looking at the photograph, I am now wondering if I should make one for every middle, but will wait until I have finished with all the blocks…}

Hexie middles

It has been hard to find time to work on it, but I am back to making one square a day.

An Exciting Friday Finish!!!

It has been excessively hot and humid here; we’ve had days and days of over 90 degree heat. The gardens are growing away and though it’s time to re-plant some veggies, they don’t need my attention. And of course the weeds are growing too, but oh well. So I’ve been indoors more, working on the Double Nine Patch quilt top. Sewing the squares together on the diagonal means that they get quite large and unwieldy and do not fit on the design board anymore.

Double nine patch sewing

This middle strip is 104″ long and if you are good at geometry, you get that!

Too big for design wall!

Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t often finish projects, so this is A Red Letter Day. The Double Nine Patch top is nearly done! In looking through my blog posts, I found that I started it last July, so this isn’t a bad finish for me…

Triple Nines!

To complete the top, I need to decide how long the border strips will be, so that the quilt will tuck under our thick new mattress. The color inspiration was the scrap of fabric on the headboard. Though the windows have shutters and don’t need curtains, I plan to make some to break up all the wall space. {And re-paint the walls…}

Triple Nines color inspiration

I actually finished on Thursday and was all set to photograph the quilt on our bed – but – His Nibs was napping and I didn’t want to bother him. ;-D

Gizmo's nap

I’m doing a little happy dance now…

Fiddling with Color

I promised myself that when I started making the extra 5 wheels for the enlarged quilt design, that I wouldn’t be too fussy. As I said in the last post about this – my plan was to quickly pick colors and sew them. Ha! With the wheels done, I thought I should assemble everything on the design wall and give it a look. Ha again!

Double Nine Patch mock-up

The wheel in the bottom row, middle, bothers me. Even Peter noticed it when he eyed my progress the other day. It’s not that I need them to match or I would have used the same fabrics for each wheel. But that one sticks out! Why? I finally decided that it was the yellow that offended me and made the wheel way colder than the others. Truth be told, most of the wheels are not in my “color comfort zone”. I have been purposely trying to make them cool and not as ferociously bright as I usually make my quilts.

Wrong colors...

One of these oranges looks like it will help that wheel be friendlier with the others…

Better color...

The topic of being too fussy and re-doing projects is often kicked around by those of us who make things. I have learned over the years, that if it bothers me, it bothers me and it had better come out! The last thing Peter wants to hear before we get into bed is “Why didn’t I change that wheel? I do not like the colors!”.

Once I sew this wheel, I am going to stop being overly critical of the others and get the double nine patches done.

What are you ripping out today???

Interesting Tidbits & Tools

It’s Spring in the Upstate of South Carolina and outside projects are calling to me. I shared the picture of the veggies coming up and they are growing like crazy – – – I can almost taste them! Peter and I are having our annual debate about what shrubs to yank out and how to make some of the gardens smaller. He bought a new tool which enabled us to take out some stumps fairly easily and now I am going to have a large cutting garden! Indoors, I am quilting away on the Mash Up quilt, weaving the rag runner/mats and trying to get going on the double nine patch quilt again. I thought I would share some tidbits with you…

At some recent quilt show or other, I bought this set of nesting circle templates. It’s really been useful. I used it to decide what size the center circle should be on the Dresden Star pattern. In the past I have wandered around the kitchen looking for plates or saucers or lids for the proper circle size, and used bobbins and spools and coins for the smaller ones, but this set plus Karen Buckley’s Perfect Circles is about all I need now. This size is just for templates, but there is a thicker size to use in machine quilting.

Circle templates

At the same show, I bought this hangar to wrangle my rulers. After I bought it, I realized that a belt or scarf hanger would have worked, so you can go buy one of those! All the rulers can be a mess and despite this nice hangar, they are generally all over the place. Oh – I also use rings to keep templates for a particular project together. Nothing like finding them lying about and wondering which pattern they belong to!

Hanging template holder

When I took the class with Edyta Sitar at the Phoenix AQS show, she said that she had sprayed our fabrics with Best Press for extra stability. And then she said she hadn’t actually used that product but made her own – out of potato vodka and water! I Googled it and below is a great post by a woman explaining how to make quilt wash and color catchers. I always pre-wash my fabrics and so I often use something to stiffen them a bit, so vodka is on the shopping list!

http://morelcabincreations.weebly.com/recipes-for-quilt-wash-color-catchers-and-starch-recipe.html

A few years ago a blogger got me going on watching the Decorah IA eagle cam. This year, I came across the D.C. one. The eagles are named Mr. President and The First Lady and they have two eaglets. It is the best cam I’ve seen – there are two cameras and it’s infrared at night, so when I was not sleeping last night, I checked up on The First Lady and she was not sleeping either… Often when the eaglets are being fed, someone zooms the camera so you can see everything. It’s addictive for sure.

http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/

And here I am jumping up on my soapbox! Pinterest is one of my favorite places on the Web and I can lose time when I’m on it. The ads that started appearing a bit ago were annoying, but fairly easy to get rid of. Now my page is so full of recommendations “from my recent browsing history” that I can hardly find pins by the folks I am following. I am VERY unhappy about it. I found a survey to take about Pinterest, but I don’t imagine they care what I think…

So what’s up in your neck of the woods – peas, snow, tulips, too many UFO’s ???

Procrastination – Sometimes A Good Thing!

There are UFO’s in several closets and I rummaged around last week to find this quilt for our bedroom which I was calling the double nine patch. Sometime ago, I picked out the background fabric and then tucked it away a closet.

Double nine patch background

Procrastination was a good thing in the case of this quilt, because a few weeks ago, Peter and I bought a new mattress. The old one was 25 years old!!! The sales lady kept explaining the features of all the mattresses on sale and we just looked at her, because ours was so basic. The men who came to bring the new one and take away the old one had been doing that job for 20 years. “I’ve never seen a mattress like this one!” they told us. (Needless to say, we are very much enjoying our comfortable new mattress.)

The point of all this is that the new box springs are much smaller, but the mattress is much, much thicker; so much so that the quilt we’re using does not tuck in at the bottom. It’s annoying because it means that every morning the bed needs to be completely re-made. Thus new quilt needs to be a good bit larger.

I put the pieces I’d already sewn on the mattress and moved them around and determined that the best thing to do is to make 9 wheels, instead of 4. Using the original design, there would have too much border. So back to the machine I go…

Nine wheels

 

One More Batch of AQS Phoenix Quilts!

I meant to get to this sooner, but life gets in the way sometimes. There is one more group of quilts to share with you. It really was a good show and I found lots to study and admire. There is something for everyone to enjoy in these shows, that’s for sure!

This one comes first because of its colors. In a sea of brightly colored quilts, this beauty quietly waited for a closer inspection. This quilt is Trellis by Mary Owens. I think the design is lovely – and –

Trellis by Mary Owens

— be still my heart – it’s hand quilted! I want you to see this detail. I was standing in front of it and another woman came and stood with me. After a bit she asked me why the quilt looked so soft! Hand quilting and piecing will do that.

Detail Mary Owens Trellis

This elegant quilt is Celestial Orbs Sylvia Schaefer. The simplicity of the design and the circular quilting is amazing, and she sells this pattern if you’d like to make one.

Sylvia Schaefer Celestial Orbs

I wandered around the convention hall late on Friday afternoon when the crowds had gone home, and enjoyed the quilt show almost alone; and I saw some quilts I’d missed! This colorful quilt is called Yellow Sky and is by Shirley Gisi. She lives in Colorado – might you have guessed? The colors sing and the simple quilting echoes the design.

Yellow Sky by Shirley Gisi

Summer Storm by Peg Collins also has amazing use of color and simple quilting. I think the design is so fresh and pleasing.

Summer Storm by Peg Collins

And of course you know that I save the best for last. This is my favorite quilt; I love, love, love it! I saw it in some quilt magazine or other and thought it was wonderful. And lucky me, I got to admire it in person. It’s called Golden Temple of the Good Girls, by Susan Carlson.

Susan Carlson, Golden Temple of the Good Girls

Here’s a close up for you to admire the delicious fabric choices, lovely quilting and of course, the sweet girls.

Susan Carlson Golden Temple of the Good Girls close up

Upon reading her website and blog, I found that the quilt is a fabric collage! Susan has a lot of information on her work and this blog post talks about designing this quilt. Though you can get quite close up to the quilts in the AQS shows, I had no idea. No wonder the piece has such a richness to it.

Hope you enjoyed my show and tell. Any favorites???

 

Bedroom Quilt Middle Plans

Now that I have chosen the on-point quilt design, it didn’t take me long to choose what to put in the four middles. I had a similar design with empty squares saved in EQ7 using wheels in that area. I added the wheels in the center of this quilt to take a look.

Quilt with Middles

Next I wondered if I should add more wheels and was surprised to see that EQ7 cropped the circles! I like it but the design is very different; very busy. I like the medallion look of the top design.

More middles

The wheel I chose has 16 spokes, which means I can use 16, 8, 4 or 2 different fabrics. I auditioned some color ideas for backgrounds as well as wheels this morning and I think 4 different fabrics is plenty of variation. I want the wheels to be brighter than the nine patches, but just how bright remains to be seen.

Wheel one color ideas

 

Choosing fabrics is fun, but time-consuming. This quilt is going to be on our bed and I will be looking closely at it many times a day! Because I am a colorist, { a descriptor I have seen many people using recently}, where each color lies is enormously important. The last thing Peter wants to hear as we climb into bed is, “Do you think I should have used a blue-green instead there of the yellow-green?”!

It Was A Dark & Stormy Day…

Hooray! This Summer in South Carolina has been endlessly hot, humid and sunny. Yesterday the storm clouds arrived early in the morning and we had several downpours during the day. One was really violent with probably 50 mph winds and we lost power for about two hours. On a day like that, I declare it to be an indoor day. {When I lived in Singapore, except for Monsoon Season in January, it was mostly sunny, hot and humid. When we would have a cloudy day, my friend Beth and I would call each other up and discuss what we were going to do on our indoor day! When it’s nice out, you just feel the need to be doing something in the sun.}

Of course I decided to sew some more nine patches. Then, because I had so many of them, I sewed some double nines as well. When I completed nine double nines, I realized that if I use the medallion type layout, that I was done piecing. I put a fresh sheet on our bed and tried out the different layouts.

Here is a reminder of the first layout, the horizontal one. I’m adding these thumbnails in so you can see the whole design. It’s hard to lay squares out on the bed and really get the whole picture.

Master bedroom quilt idea 2

Obviously I can add more squares on each row, or leave it as is and have a large border. I like to make square, symmetrical quilts for our queen sized bed so that I can rotate them, for even wear. Cats, accidents, the sun from the window all “weather” a quilt.

Straight pattern

Here is the medallion layout.

Masterbedroom quilt idea 4

It’s just nine double nines with a border fabric (on the right) which is so pale that you can hardly see it! This design would be centered on the bed and have lots of border fabric to make it the correct size.

Medallion layout

And this is the four on point design…

Masterbedroom quilt idea 3

…with the whole bed covered in double nines on point.

Four on point layout

Peter helped me arrange the squares and we discussed the merits of each layout. He thinks I should make the middle design – the medallion one. (I like that one too!) He’s been noticing that the new Sweet Sixteen machine has been quiet this Summer as I dart in and out of the studio. Those big borders have lots of room for machine quilting. I hope I’m up to the task!

Next up – what to put in the medallion part of the quilt.