Sunday, October 15, 2017

HOME WITH A FEW QUILT IDEAS

I have been off for almost two weeks to the east coast on a Revolutionary and Civil War tour.  Along the way I found some quilts, of course.  
The baby quilt was photographed in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  A reproduction of the original.  I spied several pretty close reproductions of fabrics I have had in my stash too.  




In a shop in Charlottesville, Virginia we saw several really nice quilts on display. 

Plus many really nice quilts for sale.  Next we will be off to Amish country.  With some additional pictures of quilts we saw there.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

TAKING A TWO WEEK BREAK

I will be taking a break for the next two weeks.  Hubby and I are doing some traveling to Washington DC, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  Hopefully being able to take in some Amish quilt shops along with other historical sites.  We expect to be back by the 14th of this month. 
These guys aren't very happy about this.  As you can see there seems to be some shock and concern on their part.  However, their favorite dog and house sitters are coming to stay with them and spoil them rotten, and bring with them their favorite doggie pal to play with.  I am sure I will be able to share some great photos when we return and maybe even a few Amish quilt photos or goodies.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

SPICY SPIRAL

I took a class on Saturday the 30th of September for a table runner called Spicy Spiral, put out by School House Quilts.  It was a lot of fun, particularly as this is a very interesting pattern and different from the average table runner.  
Yes it looks pretty complicated, however, it really wasn't.  There is some good accurate and organized cutting and stacking of pieces one has to do, but after that it goes together really easily.  
I still have to round off the sides and either pillow case it or bind it, which I have not decided on as of yet.  The pattern calls for pillow casing it, but I also think a nice bias binding would work well too.  I plan to quilt it down each color way with a serpentine quilting stitch.  The finished size is 42 by 25, and will look fabulous on my dining room table.  


Friday, September 29, 2017

NEW BEDROOM DECOR

Over the last month we have been doing some remodeling and re-decoration of our master bedroom and bathroom.  This week we finally finished the painting and ordered new flooring to replace very old carpet.  One of the items we purchased was a new bed quilt.  No I didn't make one!  King size just seemed too be to much to handle right now.
So here is a picture of my bed quilt.  I took it into my sewing studio and just started pulling fabrics trying to mimic the color combinations.  I needed three mug rugs for our bedside tables and sitting room table, although I make them 12 by 12 inches a bit larger than a mug rug, and a dresser scarf 18 by 54 inches.
So here is the first mug rug ready to quilt.  I cut the squares 3.5 inches to finish out my 12 by 12 inch piece.  I thought I did pretty well with the color matches without going out and buying any new fabrics.  
And here I have meandered my quilting stitches.  I have finished this one and two more as of now including binding them in the gold fabric with the little red flowers.  The dresser scarf blocks I cut 6.5 inches and the top is finished and ready to spray baste and quilt over the weekend.  This project is pretty close to a finish.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

STAR BLAZER

I finally have my Star Blazer top done.  The paper piecing was my first attempt and came out really well.  The second side was much more of a challenge.  The pattern I had did not give directions for making it.  I was on my own.  
I did run into a small problem.  My point on the bottom did not allow for the seam.  I had to adjust the straight seam on the right.  Next the star was a little too short for the paper pieced side, so I had to add a small piece on the top and the bottom. 
At last it was sewn together.  Just to trim the left side, cut a back for it and batting.  Next on to quilting it.  It is my Modern Quilt small group project.  The assignment was to use triangles and use quilting that is not straight lines.  This should be tons of fun.  Even after a four day class on free motion quilting I still have not got the real hang of it.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

SEPTEMBER FAT QUARTER QUILT ALONG

Another month under my belt, well at least 3 of the 6 done.  I am wondering if this goes all the way through the year.  So far unlike my normal block quilt alongs I'm keeping up.  
These look more complicated then they are.  For 5 1/2 inch squares which I think is small they go together easily.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

FALL PROJECTS

Last year I worked on this fall runner for my sofa table.  Finished it up and stashed it it the closet waiting for fall to come again.  However, it was supposed to have a companion runner for our entertainment center, which I cut out and started the blocks but never got very far on it when I went on to other things.  Now is the time to finish that up.  


The blocks are mostly all cut out and sewn together.  
And construction begins.  It will measure 18 my 72 when done.  I am having to make up a few blocks to finish out those measurements.  It is a pretty straight forward project, although choosing the block combinations is a bit of a thinking process for me.  
Fall is quickly on its way here, we have gone from the 100 plus temperatures to the 80's so I had better get moving on this.  


Friday, September 15, 2017

OCTOBER GUILD CHALLENGE

In the early part of this year my guild threw out a color or theme challenge to make an 18 by 22 inch quilt/art piece based on the flower or gem of a month.  I drew February, so was working with violet or amethyst colors.  
I have been working at improving my paper piecing skills and decided to use them to make this piece.  The triangles came from an idea based on the Star Blazer featured on Modern Quilts Unlimited.  I modified the size by 2 inches shorter to match the measurements required.  The 45 degree side strips I ended up actually drawing my own paper piece pattern on copy paper.
The one thing that was a particular challenge was facing it rather than a binding.  I have never done that before.  
Thank goodness for Internet tutorials.  I printed off several, did a good deal of reading them over and ended up with a really good results.  
I really like the result of this nice facing.  My last small project on it will be to put a split hanging sleeve on it.  It will eventually go to our guild quilt show in January 2019 and Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara in October 2018.  A nice finish for this piece.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TWO CHARITY QUILTS DONE & A BABY QUILT KEEPER

I finished off two more charity quilts in the last week or two.  My 1800's fabrics are quickly becoming tops and off the the guild charity program.  
This one really isn't 1800's, but I didn't have anything except these strips of it, so it got thrown into the mix.  
This one ended up just being 4 inch strips finished.  Easy to make and it went off this past week as well.  
This quilt I unearthed when I moved fabric from one storage area to another in my studio.  It was complete except for the side borders.  Why I just left it at that and tucked it away I have no idea.  Once unearthed I finished it, quilted it, and bound it.  It is a keeper to be put with a couple of other baby quilts I am stashing away for just in case gifts.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

PAPER PIECING

I have had only a little bit of experience with paper piecing.  However I recent purchased a pattern from Carolyn Friedlander called Eads, and also downloaded another pattern called Star Blazer by Modern Quilts Unlimited.  I decided to try my hand with Eads first and see where I was with this newer to me method.  
This first block came out really well.  So I was on to block two.
Hmmm!  There was a problem I left out piece #5, just skipped right over from #4 to #6.  My first lesson I learned in this process.  Be sure to cross off the pieces as you sew them so you keep track of which one is next.
Well I have the first two blocks of nine for a wall hanging done.  I'm please with my progress, but now I know I would be able to tackle the Star Blazer.
I managed a great start and along the way I have learned several tips and tricks.  

When I get ready to add a new piece I cut my area at 1/2 inch from the sewing line.  This helps get rid of a lot of extra fabric and it also made it easier to show case in the area whatever pattern on the fabric I wanted to show.  I then once the seam is sewn I recut them to a quarter inch.    
Before I sew on the new piece I have been taping it down with Invisible Duck or Scotch Brand Acid Free tape.  I found it help not to have my piece double over on the seam line and then require me to rip out the stitches which are very very tight.   I do have to say that you waste a lot of fabric, but I cut my pieces at least an inch larger all the way around from the suggested cuts.  I know they will fit then. 
 The paper pieced area is done.  On to the next part of my piece. 
This is not a finish for me, I have found I really like paper piecing.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

CAT RUNNER

My daughter asked me if I could make a table runner for a fund raiser she was involved in that helps pay for spay and neuter of feral cats.  I looked for a pattern to avoid purchasing cat fabric, and finally found a picture diagram of a pattern.  Unfortunately they gave you no measurements for the pieces.   So I winged it!  




That tail was a bit of an issue, but I finally got it figured out.
This guy was a bit easier, mostly because I had already made enough mistakes on the first one that I knew somewhat how to proceed.

Well it is ready to spray baste and start quilting.  That will be the easier part given the lack of a real pattern.

Friday, September 1, 2017

FREE MOTION QUILTING

Free motion quilting has been a real challenge for me.  I just have not been able to wrap my brain around it.  I have managed to dodge it by coming up with all sorts of cheat ways to get around learning to do it.  I have drawn designs on tissue paper and sewn on the lines and then pulled the paper off.  I can get great quilting done that way, but all that paper pulling is a real chore.  I have learned to meander by putting my sewing machine on a serpentine stitch and turning my quilts this way and that to accomplish a nice pattern.  That works, but there has to be a easier way.  So I finally gave up and took a four day class on free motion quilting.
And here I was for four days.  I am told it just takes lot of practice.  Well four days at 8 hours each sounds like a lot to me.  I am exhausted! 
Well practice we did, and I did get somewhat better at this.  Sort of.  
This is my final project practice piece.  Not perfect, but I am doing better.  I took my Bernina 125 with the free motion darning foot, but I have a Bernina 750 with a stitch regulator that probably will work a bit better for me.  I am still not sure that I will ever become really accomplished at this, but I guess I am on my way a bit to being able to master it eventually.  WITH PRACTICE, yes I know!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

AUGUST FAT QUARTER QUILT ALONG BLOCKS

I am a little surprised that I have continued to get the last eight months of a monthly block of the month complete.  I usually give up and move on after three or four months.  Short attention span I think!  These little guys have become sort of addictive.  I will have to purchase some red fabric for September and the following couple months.  I am fresh out of red fabrics.  I am repeating some of the white backgrounds, although I said they would be different each month as well.  White fabric purchases just isn't as exciting as red. 
Four of the six are done, but the other two block parts are cut and put together to complete the last two blocks of the six for this month.
  

Friday, August 25, 2017

BABY QUILT STASHING

I just cleaned out most of my 1930's fabric stash.  While working on a charity quilt to rid myself of some of the huge stash of them I discovered two prints that were very pretty and I had over a yard of each and in fact almost two yards.  Some of it went into the charity quilt, but they were so pretty I thought I would make a baby quilt.  I don't usually need baby quilts as my daughters and all their friends are well into their 40's and 50's and babies are no longer a happening thing around here for us.  However once and a while I do get a request for one, so I have taken to stashing a couple for just in case occurrences. 

A simple pattern but so pretty.  Love it!  It is just 42 by 48 inches a perfect size for me to quilt myself.  Now it is just waiting for a baby I guess.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

CHARITY QUILTS GALORE

I finally managed to get one of my stash busting 1800's charity quilt tops done.  I mention a few posts ago that I had finally decided a huge bin of 1800's fabrics had to go.  Once this one was done I have sort of fallen in love with it.  It really doesn't look so 1800's does it?

This one is also going  for charity.  It is the last of my Cotton and Steel fabrics.  I have made several quilts and runner from this line and I was finally done with it.  I actually sent some of it to my VBF Brooke and still ended up with an awful lot of leftovers.  

This one I made more for boys or men.  Most charity quilts we make and give are girly.  I had lots of browns in the 1800's bin so used them in this very simple 5 inch squares.
And of course the finished 1930's quilt top finished at last.  Yes there are still more cut out and another done, but no photos of it yet.  It has been a marathon this past week, but I still need another run at the remaining ones all cut out.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

IRON AGAINST RUNNER

Here is the culprit!  It is only about 2 years old.  It started leaking several months ago, so I empty the water out of it when I turn it off.  It started spitting so I cleaned it with vinegar.  I have always used distilled water in it, but recently was told to use drinking water in it.      I guess I did something wrong because its final crime was to spit brown water spots all over a runner that I had been quilting and was only 3/4 of the way complete.  
There was nothing to do but wash the runner, still 1/4 of the way unquilted.  I treated it with stain spray, Oxi Stain liquid, and Blue Dawn.  I did manage to get the stains out.  I tossed it into the washer on delicate and hung it to dry.  The stains came out. 
I pulled out an old iron, no steam this time, just Best Press and was able to iron it nice and flat and it actually ended up looking like it had never been wash.  I was able to finish quilting my circles on it.  

I have just purchased a new Rowenta Pro Master.  I am reading the directions really carefully.  Believe me the directions are lengthy and specific, since the silly thing ended up costing $80 and that was with a 20% off coupon I am going to follow these maintenance directions perfectly.  Lesson learned.  
It is all finished now, no brown spots and not looking the worse for the whole experience.