Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doll Quilt

I finished another one patch doll quilt. Some of this was hand pieced while I was recovering from my accident.

click to enlarge

I also tried the big stitch quilting, something I've wanted to experiment with. I used six strands of DMC embroidery floss and a sharp embroidery needle. It was fun! The main thing I noticed was that I had a hard time keeping the stitches *small* enough.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eight Pointed Star Strippy

Another completed flimsey from a UFO that's been on the shelf, yay! I talked about the blocks in July 2006 and the assembly in September 2006, if you want to read more about it. Sometimes it just takes a little problem solving to bring a quilt back into the working mode.

I cut the red outer border from the repeat border print (remnant) I had and then shopped for the right navy to border and bind. Very Fun! And I still like it. Sometimes when things sit too long, I fall out of love with them, but not this one.

One of the things I like about this quilt is the back story. In 2005 I made a blue and beige quilt for my son that I called Reflections. It used a method that created a bizillion HST's - which I couldn't throw away.

Even after I pieced the border I had too many left over to toss.

My quilty friend Su was *also* making this quilt. We found out we were making the same quilt quite by accident the day we both worked the Quilt Demonstration table at the County fair. I brought blocks to piece and when she understood what I was making, just about fell off her chair. "I'm making that *same* quilt - only in RED!" Without missing a beat I said, "What are you doing with your HST's?" I always want to know what quilters do with the bit that's cut away and usually tossed, there's so much *potential* there. She thought she might make a pieced border from them but hadn't decided yet.

That fall she entered her quilt in the guild fair, dissing it a little and saying the machine quilting wasn't very good. I entered mine too but as exhibit only. She won second place, knocked her socks off! And the red ribbon goes very well with the quilt, don't you think? - Once she was done piecing her border she gave me the leftover HST's and I began piecing these eight pointed star blocks.

An unplanned collaboration, serendipity!

More Market Bags

I came home from work the last two nights and worked on market bags for my coworkers, have orders for two more. They just love 'em! I think it's this fabric, it looks so much like patchwork. But people also want to go green.

I love the buttons, click to enlarge.

Someone asked me where I got the pattern. I just took a paper grocery bag, cut it open and used those measurements. The handles can be long or short depending on your preference. I made mine a little longer so I could put it over my shoulder. Cotton, quilt-weight fabric works, but these are lined and made from upholstery fabric. I still haven't used mine for groceries, I don't want to get it dirty. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Current Insanity

I saw a Pineapple Mini during Show n Tell at our guild last month and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. No one had a picture so I surfed Google images, got some ideas and drafted it in EQ.

Stunning! I love it! Well it's paper pieced, naturally, but when I saw the size of the pp pattern, no way!

So I pulled strips from the 1-1/2" bins, cut the strips in half and worked with those. It was fun in a weird, totally absorbed, not-thinking-about-anything-else way, that is to say, completely focused. Do I *want* to concentrate this hard at nine at night after a full day at work, what's going on?

It's not a true pineapple, since the white round aren't trapezoids but it's a start. And it went fine until I got tired... then I cut off the seam allowance for the next round.

Maybe I should try it when I'm fresh.

Market Bag

It seems January in Quilt Blogland is a time to pull out the WIP's and get busy, that is, the Works in Progress. I heard a new one today, PhD's, Projects Half Done, as in, "I'm working on my PhD." That's pretty funny, we try so hard sometimes...

So I pulled out this market bag and finished it. The side seams were already sewn, I just had to layer the lining inside and attach handles.

I had fun auditioning buttons from my vintage collection.

Did you know you could sew buttons on using your machine? Look in the manual, there's usually an open toed foot and instructions to drop the feed dogs, set the stitch length to zero and the zig-zag width to match the holes in the button. I like to use the needle up, needle down control so I'm not sewing too fast, in case the button shifts or whatever.

I love it! I was going to use it at the grocery store in place of plastic bags, but so far it's gone to work with me every day this week. And coworkers have asked me to make some for them. Wow! BTW, it's printed, all I did was cut the bag out and sew it together; it only looks like I spent hours piecing and adding embroidery...

Friday, January 08, 2010

2010 First Finish

I've always admired the crayon bright color palette Kathy (no blog) uses in her donation quilts. She said she was willing to share some of her scraps, which was great because I knew I didn't have anything near as bright as these in my stash.

Her scrap bag contained a lot of leftover rectangles from her quilts, so I decided to make another Continuous strip quilt, only this time pieced from bricks. I cut from the scrap bag, then decided it needed a blender fabric; all of these were monochromatic, tone on tone prints.

And that led me to cut up this cotton blouse that I made ten years ago and have probably worn six times. It was the perfect blender.

For the finished dimension I wanted, 33" x 34", I needed 14 yards of continuous strip.

Once the strip is pieced, I folded it in half RST and sewed down the entire length, cut it open and pressed it. I repeated those steps and watched the top grow, 2 rows, 4 rows, 8 rows, 16...

At 16 rows the length became the width and the piecing went from vertical to horizontal.

I *love* it! So fun, so easy; such a complete departure from my usual color palette. Originally I was going to add a border to make it bigger, but I auditioned six fabrics and they all toned it down too much; I didn't want to tone it down.

The machine quilting turned out pretty even too and I finished it with a pieced binding. Nice and bright... for the New Year!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tuesday at Work

I'm at my desk.

But I'd rather be quilting.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wisteria Stars - Part Three

November 8
I started to think I might be able to finish this year and gift them at Christmas. That would be so cool. I washed the batt and pieced the back. I'm surprised I don't have pictures of the back, it's really pretty too. I included one of the pieced blocks and used the same color scheme of green, purple and yellow, and I busted yards of stash too.

November 18
Marian sent me pictures of the progress from her iphone.

First row

She sent me an enthusiastic email telling me how it filled the machine from end to end and the lines were really straight. "Good piecing, well done lady!" That was nice.

Half done

Corner motif

Quilting from the back

November 24
Preparing to bind. Did I tell you it measures 98" x 103". That's a lot of binding...

Once the binding and label were on, I arranged to wash it at Su's house; she has a front loading machine which was perfect for the job. I took it home and spread it flat on the living room floor in front of the wood stove. It was about 80 degrees in there for the first few hours and the quilt was dry by morning. Washing it settled the stitches into the batting and man! did it punch up the quilting, brought it out in clear relief.

December 22

December 24
I spread it out on the bed and put a sign on the door: "Do not open until Christmas Eve". They didn't have to wonder very long what was behind door number 1.

They were thrilled!

And they were willing to share.

I think this is the most well documented quilt I've posted so far. I hope you've enjoyed reading the story; I've had a great time telling it.

Wisteria Stars - Part Two

October 13
The rows were together. I auditioned borders.

Unpieced, as in the EQ draft?

With a set square?

With a set square and triangle to carry the design?

With a strip of white? This made the quilt too big

Once I decided on the border, I went shopping for more purple and began piecing the borders.

October 28
With all 42 blocks done I was pretty stoked about how far I was. I *just* had the borders to do. That felt pretty good.

Pieces for one border

But then I ran into problems. My computerized sewing machine couldn't... that is wouldn't sew across the seam where the Flying Geese unit was. It always *jogged* right around the 'x'.

Click to enlarge

It was maddening. I'd pin before and after each unit, slow down at the critical moment, even tried turning the hand wheel one stitch at a time and *still* it wouldn't sew straight across the 'x'.

So I picked them all out...

... and switched to Adella, my Featherweight. She hummed right over those 'x's' without a hiccup. And I could go full speed so I made up for lost time. It occurred to me that the blocks had flown together, so I was due to run into a snag.

Sometimes the mechanical really is better than the computerized.
While I was piecing borders I started sewing red and cream Bowtie blocks as leader-enders. I'd been immersed in purple and green for several months and they added interest to piecing the border.

November 1

Attaching the last border

So here I am sewing yards and yards of border on this mammoth quilt on my Featherweight, she sewed it like a dream. Thanks GF!

November 5
The top was done and I arranged to have Marian quilt it. We talked about the designs I had in mind and the way I wanted to feature the two-block, all-over pattern so that the elements flowed across the quilt. I was so excited she was willing to work with me on how to quilt it. I usually quilt my own work and was hesitant to give up this part of the process, because quilting makes the quilt. For Marian, she was excited I had ideas and suggestions so when she quilted my quilt I would be happy with it, it wouldn't be a shot in the dark.

She suggested I test the designs I had in mind by laying vinyl over the top, then drawing with wipe-off markers. That was a blast, if I didn't like it, I just wiped it off!

To be continued...