December 30, 2015

Ah... the end of 2015

Oops!  Here it is, past dinner time already and I haven't posted this week.  Well.. I think I'll let myself off the hook just this one time.  Spent the day visiting friends and just enjoying the gorgeous Yarra Valley.

I had planned to do a "year in review" post here, and put up a string of all the photos of quilts completed this year - maybe I'll do that next week.

In the meantime - a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you!

And 2016?


December 23, 2015

Quilt 51: Doggoned Placemats (super fast and fun project!) - DONE!

Aunt Sheila lives up in Ballina, NSW, with Ben, her dacshund ("Cousin Ben").  She's the kind of person who can be tough to shop for at Christmas, but this year I came up with an idea: placemats with a dog theme!

It was a fun project and I'm delighted with the results.

I bought 2 "fat quarters" (below) and 1.5 meters of solid maroon for the borders, backing, binding.
I cut the fat quarters down into 5" squares, using 3 squares of each print.
I opted for a narrow border, stitched the whole thing into a single panel (below), with double the border between the placemat blocks.  I opted to use gold thread for the quilting.
After quilting, I just cut the mats apart - super fast and easy!
And here they are - all done!
And hey!  The back even looks pretty good!  The gold thread looks great on the solid maroon.
I'll definitely make more placemats in future - although I'll cut 4.5" blocks, as the overall size of the mats as shown here is about 14" x 11, which is a little larger than they really need to be.

December 16, 2015

Quilt 50: Gold/Red Christmas Table Runner

The leader of my "Tuesday Group" was involved with a fundraiser for a good cause. I decided to help out by donating a couple of Christmas table runners for them to use in their raffle.  Jacquie, one of the members of the group saw them and asked me if I'd whip one up for her. SURE! I'm always on the lookout for "quilt victims".
(click any picture to view a larger image)
In particular, she liked my red and gold one.  I have to admit that was my favorite, too!  So happily I went to my favorite fabric store - but was VERY disappointed not to find white/gold fabric that would go well with the red/gold (which I already had, and my friend really liked). However... I did find two "non-Christmas" prints which worked out nicely:
The bold poinsettia print is strong enough to carry the Christmas theme, thankfully!

When I made the previous three runners, I made an error when cropping the edges. I cropped right up to the point on the center block - WRONG!!!!  That flattened out the point when I put the binding on.  This time I was smarter - keeping that cropping 1/4 inch from the end of the point.
Jackie asked me if I could make the runner about 1.5 meters in length. SURE! But, you know what?!?!... I was using a 9" center square and 2.5" wide strips - and after I got out to the end, realized I'd have to go slightly under or slightly over.  Jackie chose "under" so it wouldn't come to close to the edge of her dining room table.

Here it is on the longarm, ready for quilting.
It got done in a BLINK!  I opted to free motion swirlies for this one, using gold thread (not metallic, just gold coloured).  Here's the finished runner:
Finished dimensions:  12" x 57"
And here's the back, where you can see the thread and my design.  I'm still not completely confident with my freemotion swirlies - but I'm getting better at it and have to admit that quilting the swirlies is SUPER FAST.  Maybe I'll get bold and do this pattern on one of my "Inspirational Quilts" projects.

So Jackie's got her Christmas table runner, and I had a ball putting it together for her.

December 9, 2015

Quilt 49: Splish-Splash (Girl's Version)

In October I whipped up a quilt using charm squares ("Splish Splash" by Moda).  I had enough left over to do a second one with the same design.
And I opted to use the same design:
(click any picture on this page to view a larger image)

I put blue and green borders on the first one. On this one I used orange and hot pink, a more "girly" version of the same design.  Here it is, all pieced and ready to quilt:

I quilted the first one with "Baptist Fan" as the design - but opted to do this one using "Simply Stipple" instead and yes... even as I found with the Tulip Garden design (last week's post), the stippling really looks much better. than the "fan".
I used yellow thread on this one to help ensure the quilting wouldn't stand out too much,
as yellow is the predominant colour on this one. I'm very pleased with the result

And here's the backing (solid orange).

And there you have it - another quilt for "Inspirational Quilts"!

December 2, 2015

Quilt 48: Tulip Garden II - DONE!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my "Tulip" quilt.  After finishing the quilt, I looked at the scraps and realized that I just about had enough leftover from that quilt and other projects to do a second one, so sure!  Why not?!?!

I used the same design (which I put together using my quilting software), but on this one, added a very thin blue border around the center blocks:
I've gotten a little more confident (and competent) with on-point designs, and whipped this one up even faster than the first one!  And here it is, already, FINISHED:
I finished the binding last night.  I didn't have enough green for the binding (as I did on the first one), so opted to bind it with the bright pink I used for the backing.

I'm loving my Handi Quilter groovy boards, and when I did the first tulip quilt, I used the "Baptist Fan" boards, which I thought at the time would be the best choice.  Here (below) is what that design looks like on that first quilt.
For the second one, though, I decided to try "Simply Stipple" - and here's the result:
Well - that's interesting. I originally thought the stippling would overwhelm the quilt, but it doesn't, does it?  Actually, I think it's a MUCH better stitch design for this quilt.

And here's how it looks on the back:
So there you are!  Another quilt done!

And, just like the original "Tulip" quilt, this one is going to "Inspirational Quilts".

November 25, 2015

Quilt 47: Peek-a-Boo - DONE!

Last week I told you about the "Peek-a-Boo" charm squares baby quilt.  As I expected, it quilted up in a FLASH!

Here it is - draped over the stairwell rail.

I just love the bright, cheery colours.

For the backing, I opted to go with a lime-green cotton - it works just fine with the royal blue binding:

And so another quilt joins the stack intended for Inspirational Quilts!

Next week - it'll be "deja vu - all over again", because I'm finishing up a second "Tulips" quilt, just like Quilt 46 which I showed you a couple of weeks ago.

November 18, 2015

Quilt 47: Peek-A-Boo!

More charm squares!  I picked up 3 packages of these at the Gail B. sale back in August.

I adore charm squares - they whip up into something nice so very fast! The only problem with them is that they are cut with pinking cutter (which gives the zig-zag edges you see here). It stops ravelling, of course, but you get a boatload of little bits and pieces of tiny fluffs (as you can see below in the lower left on the green print). Those little linty bits just about drive me out of my mind - the get on everything.
(as always, click any picture on this page to view a larger image)
There's more than enough squares in 3 packs to do 2 quilts. So I opened all 3 packs and sorted through to see what I had in the way of prints. After playing around a bit, I realized that I could pull out most of the lavender and pink ones and use those for a girly quilt. What was left behind would be OK for either a boy or a girl.

I opted to do the more gender-neutral one first - and here's the squares all arranged (it takes a bit of time to decide how to pair up the squares). Once I came up with the arrangement you see below, I just pinned each of the stacks together - then put 1 extra pin in the top of the leftmost row, 2 pins in the top of the next row, 3 pins in the third row, and so on. That way I can tell the order of the rows as I stitch the blocks together - all I have to do is count the pins at the top!
And here we are - all the blocks together.
I added three borders - and am REALLY happy with how the yellow/green/blue pulls out the colours from the center blocks.
Here's a closeup of the blocks. Some of the prints are "baby themes" but most are just geometric designs.
All mounted on the longarm and ready to go.  If you look on the left, you can see the lime-green (solid homespun cotton) I'm backing it with.
Well - quilting this one won't take long!

November 11, 2015

Quilt 46: Tulip Garden

I bought my "Quilt Wizard" design software way back in 2010, when I first started quilting. That was definitely money well-spent, as I've used it countless times. In the early days, when playing around with different kinds of block designs, I came up with this:
(click any picture on this page to see a larger image)
The block design is called "rosebud" in the design software - but to me it looks more like tulips.  Oh well, a rose by any other name.... yes?
I never actually made it, as I didn't know anybody who'd want a quilt like this, but kept the design and looked at it from time to time. Now that I'm making quilts for the "Inspirational Quilts" charity, I decided to go ahead and make this one. But, I made one alteration to the design: I changed the lattice around the blocks from green to blue:
I really like that splash of turquoise next to the pink flowers.

Just as it happened with the "Deep Blue Sea" quilt, the quilting software had fiddly, awkward instructions for the triangles. Just as I'd done for that quilt, I attacked it my own way:

And below you can see the progression of squares stitched together, then diagonally cut and opened up .
And the final result - the completed block. Because my triangle bits came out slightly larger (as they did on the other quilt), I had a bit of work cropping the sides to even them up - but it didn't take more than a few minutes to do that.
And here I'm assembling the top:
All put together and ready to quilt!

And here it is: FINISHED!
Here's a closeup of the tulips so you can see the stitching a little better. I used the "Baptist Fan" groovy board again. It's just about my favorite of the groovy board designs - quilts up fast, has an interesting design but doesn't "take over".

The backing on this quilt is hot pink - here's what it looks like with the quilting (done in white thread).

I'm very pleased with how this one turned out - and it looks like I've got enough fabric to almost squeeze out one more very similar. I'll have to buy a little more of the white and get something for backing. Hmm... yeah.. I think I'll do that.

This quilt will be donated to "Inspirational Quilts".

November 4, 2015

Quilts 34, 35, 36 - Christmas Tablerunners - DONE!

I do love "jelly rolls" - and found this one at my favorite quilt shop.  CHRISTMAS PRINTS!
I had some scraps of green/gold and red/gold Christmas fabric from some dinner knapkins I made several years ago - not a lot, but enough to use for the center of a French Braid design.

Here is the center, and a few squares cut out of the green/gold
And here I've lined up a few strips - so you can see where this is going
Here's the red/gold fabric - for this I pulled out all the gold/cream strips out of the jelly roll:
And, here's the red/gold one all stitched together.
The one mistake I made here: cutting the edges too far in (below). The point in the center block won't be a "point", but will be somewhat flattened on the edge because of the seam allowance. Oh, well... another lesson learned.
The quilting got done in a flash. I used plain unbleached homespun for the backing and after mounting that on the longarm frame, just slapped scraps of batting from other projects... TOO EASY!
Voila!  Here they are, draped over my stairwell rail.
I quilted these using free-motion stitching, just loop-dee-loops. Nothing fancy.  Red thread for the 2 green/gold table runners:
And gold thread for the red/gold one:
WHAM!  That went by FAST!