November 14, 2018

Quilt 120: Baby Australian Animals - DONE!

    There was a sale at Patchwork With Gail B - and they had an adorable quilt kit marked down.  I couldn't resist.  Here's the top, after piecing.  There's a center planel with baby Australian animals shown, and the borders are an adorable coordinating print.  In the corners, the original design calls for some of the coordinating print to be cut out and applique'd - but I felt that was too busy.  Instead I decided to insert a fancy-stitch design of my own.
     I had a length of bright green that I wanted to use for the backing.  It's not an exact match to the greens on the top, however.
     But binding the quilt with this pink swirly leftover fabric would create enough separation between the back and front- and the pink goes great with both!
     I mentioned wanting to do a fancy design in the corners with stitching (instead of applique).  I found this image online - a cluster of gum leaves.  I used the Art-n-Stitch software that came with the Q-Matic to trace the leaves and make a stitching pattern I could execute on the longarm.
    And here's my test of the design using scraps.  It turned out great!
    The animals in the center panel are really cute.  I didn't want to do end-to-end quilting on this quilt, but opted instead to outline the animals and add a little bit of interest to the backgrounds inside the frames.
     And here you see on the finished quilt how that turned out!
    The finished quilt!  Doubleclick the image below for a larger picture.  In this photo you can see the gumleaves in the corners (especially lower left)
    44" x 52" - quilted on the longarm (freemotion, ruler work, Q-Matic gum leaves) cotton batting
    My friend Sarah just became a grandmother for the first time recently.  She saw this quilt and fell in love with it - so it's going to be her gift to her granddaughter.

    November 7, 2018

    Quilt 119: Nell's Flower Shop - DONE!

    This quilt is a kit from "Patchwork with Gail B".  I've been in love with this design for years and finally broke down and bought the kit.  It looks so elaborate, but is actually so simple!

    You start with 2 packs of charm squares:
    Doubleclick any photo on this page to see a larger image
    And here's the finished quilt.  Basically, all you do is cut the charm squares into into 2/5" squares, then sew them around blocks of a coordinating (and lighter) fabric.  Tack on borders, and you're there!

    I was so surprised at how fast this went.
    63" x 63" - quilted with the Q-Matic ("Aloha Petite_PRPANTO10" quilt design) - cotton batting
    Here's the quilting pattern I selected from the library that came with the Q-Matic.  I used tan thread, which beautifully disappears into the prints.
    For the backing, I managed to get a few meters of fabric on sale that happened to be part of the same Moda line.  A bargain!
    I loved making this quilt and I have quite a few charm square packs that I ordered online and will really work with this design.

    You're going to see a lot more of these (in different prints, of course!).

    October 31, 2018

    Quilt 118: Tree of Life I - DONE!

    I found these panels online, and a friend was interested in them, too.  She found a photo online of a quilt made by slicing the tree panel into strips in inserting coordinating blue fabric in between the strips (somewhat as I've done to the panel on the right, below).
    (click any photo on this page to see a larger image)
    I also found another coordinating print - the wild rainbow swirlies I used for the border (below).  And for drama, I inserted a 2" black border on eather side of that.  Well, you gotta admit: it's colourful!
    49" x 62" - quilted on the Q-Matic longarm ("PRPANTO110" stitching pattern) - cotton batting
    This is the stitching pattern I selected from the library that came with the Q-Matic

    The backing is solid navy homespun, and I used a medium grey thread (which fades well into the top but is nicely visible on the back).

    My husband especially likes this quilt.  He said the tree reminds him of the drawing style of Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig.  You know what?  He's right!
    I'm going to do the other panel a little differently.  I'm going to trim down the top of the panel and will use only the bright blue coordinating print for the borders (instead of the rainbow swirlies).

    October 24, 2018

    Quilt 117: B&W Jelly Roll Squares 'n Scraps - DONE!

    I've had a black and white jelly roll in my stash for several months now.  I kept looking at it feeling, well, uninspired.  But I finally pulled it out and grabbed some solid red scraps and black-and-white scraps from Quilt 104 (the backing).

    I used the jelly roll strips to create alternating dark and light "frames", and here's the finished quilt.
    55" x 67" - quilted on the Bernina Q-Matic ("Panto_Square Meander" stitch design, end-to-end) - cotton batting
    It was a pretty simple and fast quilt to make.

    Here's a closeup of one of the squares showing the "lovelovelove" print in the center of the frames.  It's that print I used for the backing of quilt 104.
    Spotlight had a sale on quilt fabric, so I grabbed a print to back the quilt with:
    And below is a closeup of the print.  Very VERY busy, but attractive.  I used it for the binding as well.
    I quilted it with white thread and used the same "loop-d-loop with squares" quilt pattern that I used on Quilt 114.  The white thread pretty much fades into the quilt (except in the red blocks and borders) - which is what I wanted with this quilt.  If the thread was more visible, it would make the quilt too "busy".

    October 17, 2018

    Quilt 116: Peach Rainbow Jelly Roll Race - DONE!

    Time for another "Jelly Roll Race" quilt!

    Here's the jelly roll pack that I started with (photo didn't come out well, colour-wise.
    And here's the finished quilt!  It never fails to surprise me that these quilts come out as large as they do, especially given the fact that the jelly roll packs just don't look to me like there's that much fabric in them.
    49" x 64" - quilted on the Bernina Q-Matic ("PRPANTO131" stitch design, end-to-end) - cotton batting
     Here's a photo of the backing so you can see the stitch design:
    It's a nice design, not quite as dense as some of the others.

    I've got this jelly roll race thing down pat.  The one thing that bothers me with this kind of quilt is that it's really easy to accidentally get the seams unraveling a little after you cut the strips down.  Next time I make one of these, I'm going to try doing it with a much smaller stitch length.  That should help prevent unraveling.

    October 10, 2018

    Quilt 115: "Nana Mae II" EZ On-Point - DONE!

    Another charm square quilt - and this one is an on-point design that is so easy it makes me laugh!

    I started with 2 charm square packs.  This pack is from Henry Glass & Co. - a set they call "Nana Mae II".  It's all soft pastel prints, flowers and baby animals.

    First, I sewed the squares into a rectangle, 6 squares down and 12 across.
    Next I cut the rectangle as shown with the red lines below: - I end up with a large triangle (the center) and 2 smaller triangles from either side.
    It's fairly easy to keep straight - you just cut through each square diagonnaly, from point to point.

     Then join the 2 smaller triangles as shown below, making a larger triangle

     And finally sew the 2 triangles together, resulting in an on-point top!

    I added a solid lavender border and bound it with some pale yellow scraps I had from another project.
    46" x 46"- quilted on the Bernina Q-matic longarm ("PRPANTO131" stitch design, end-to-end) - cotton batting
    Here's a closeup of the flowery stitch pattern I selected.  I opted for a very light grey thread, which pretty much disappears into the quilt.
     And here's the backing:

    I love the on-point design and will probably make a few more of these.  Fast, easy, and loads of fun!

    October 3, 2018

    Quilt 114: "Baby Koala" Panel Quilt - DONE!

    Now that I've worked out how to use the Q-Matic for end-to-end "pantograph" quilting, I'm really having a ball - and getting quilts done faster and faster!

    I found an adorable Koala panel online a few months ago - and ordered it and a coordinating print (blue, green and grey leaves) for a border.  Adding a little bright solid green from my stash of leftover fabrics ersulted in a quilt that took very little time to put together.

    I decided to experiment with the quilt design on this one, and chose "Panto_Square Meander" from the library of end-to-end designs in the Q-Matic.  Here's a photo taken just after I started stitching. As you can see, it's much like my free-motion "loop-d-loops", but with squares instead of circles.
    I selected grey thread in the same shade as the koalas - so that the stithcing over the koalas fades back a bit.  I'm very pleased with the results!
     And here's the finished quilt!
    40" x 56" - quilted on the Bernina Q-matic longarm ("Panto_Square Meander" stitch design, end-to-end) - cotton batting
    The back is solid green - and here the stitching really shows up.  I love the effect!
    I'm getting quite a bit more comfortable with the Q-Matic now, and have managed to figure out how to handle it when the top thread breaks and when the bobbin runs out, which happened a couple of times on this project.

    What I don't know how to do is: restart quilting after shutting the machine off halfway through.  I'm sure it's just a matter of saving the design in the computer properly, but I won't be attempting it on any projects until I've successfully done it with some practice scraps.

    October 1, 2018


    Sad beyond words today. My beloved cousin Beth McClain Bonaccorso got her wings a few hours ago.

    We have a special connection and share a love that is woven with our earliest childhood memories. In the years when her family lived in West Virginia (my family in Ohio) we spent weeks together at her house and mine every summer. So many joyous memories. We lost touch when her family moved to Florida and our lives went in different directions. But eight years ago we reconnected and discovered each other again - the years melted away and we became closer than ever. We shared laughter and tears - and never missed the chance to say "I love you", even when we talked briefly on Saturday - and she gently told me what was about to happen.

    It's been nearly a year since her doctors said "get your affairs in order". That shows what a fighter she is. I've never seen such courage. And I will always remember how she lived her life. She had bad days - way too many - but when she was able, she was out there going places, doing things, spending time with her loved ones. I don't think she wasted one moment.

    And so, Beth, I love you with all my heart. I love your spirit, your humor, generosity, patience, kindness, your wisdom and "tell-it-like-it-is" pragmatism. Thank you for all the times when you were there for me, and thank you for letting me be there for you. I will carry you in my heart and will look for the times when you reach out to me in spirit. You know where you can find me.
    Yellow roses are Beth's favorite flower.  I made this quilt for her
    two years ago.  She told me she always slept better under the quilt,
    and her daughter Toni told me Beth was lying under it when she passed.

    September 27, 2018

    By George, I Think I've Got It!

    After pulling my hair out trying to get end-to-end quilting to work on the Bernina Q-Matic, I finally caught on!

    The YouTube video I found online was somewhat helpful.  It shows two ways of realigning the "safe area" - which you have to do after advancing the quilt on the frame.  The method "Reposition on Screen" is pretty straight forward, but has the disadvantage that it's too easy to accidentally shift the area to the left or right while pulling downward - and thereby throwing off the design.  "Snap to Point" pretty much allows you to avoid that problem - but the video doesn't show the head being moved into position.  Instead, it just shows the computer screen the whole time - and I found it confusing.

    I also looked in the printed manual that came with the Q-Matic.  Yup - there's written instructions in there on how to do it - but oh, my... the way the pages are laid out on that book (with wierd uses of indentation and bullet points)... VERY difficult to read and make sense out of.

    For me, the breakthrough came when I used the "how-to" instructions that are recorded inside the computer itself.  Once I selected "Realign Safe Area", I noticed there's a blue circle with a question mark at the bottom/center of the screen.  When I selected that circle, a small dropdown window appears with written instructions for both the "...on Screen" and "...on Point" methods.  And guess what?!?!   The instructions are actually fairly clear!

    What a relief! 

    So OK - I'm off and running now.  I've got several quilt tops that are ready to go - and will be powering through my backlog of work in no time!

    September 26, 2018

    Quilt 113: Zoe The Giraffe (and Q-Matic Headache) - DONE!

    I mentioned last week I was having trouble with doing end-to-end quilting on the Bernina Q-Matic.  Here's an example of what was going on...

    Here's the stitch pattern I selected for the quilt from the library that comes with the Q-Matic.  As you can see, it's circles which are overlaid, creating an interesting design: "Half Moon Border 03". 
    With the Q-Matic, you can select this design and have it repeated on the quilt, effectively stitching from left to right in rows.  As you advance the quilt on the frame, you have to keep things lined up and spaced properly - something the Q-Matic is supposed to do automatically with it's "Re-align Safe Area" function. 

    But I was having trouble with that when I did the quilting on this project. 

    In the photo below, you can see the result.  After the first set of rows, the Q-Matic just wouldn't line up the next rows correctly.  Instead of adjusting the Q-Matic's area, I had to get as close as I could and then manually shift the quilt on the frame to match up what the Q-Matic was wanting.  It was, frankly, a nightmare.  In the photo below you can see the worst-matched row (look in the lower left corner, and you can see the points don't match up as they should).

    (doubleclick any picture on this page to see a larger image)
    I'm certainly glad I didn't select a more elaborate design. I managed to do OK with this.  I don't think you'd notice the incorrectly aligned rows without me pointing them out, but I certainly have trouble seeing anything else...

    Here's the finished quilt.  It's made from a single printed panel, with a 3" border of solid tan fabric, and solid dark brown for the binding.
    40" x 48" - quilted on the longarm (Bernina with Q-Matic) - cotton batting
    Fortunately it looks just fine.  I used gold thread for the quilting, and it fades well into the pattern on the top.  And here's the backing.  With the patterned backing fabric, you can't see any goofs at all because the green swirls just swallow  up the stitching.
    The quilt is fine - just not quite to my usual standards.

    And, as I reported last week, I did finally find a video showing how to realign the safe area, and managed to get one of the 2 methods they show to work consistently for me. 

    I've got another quilt mounted on the Bernina and expect I'll be able to report a very happy success next week!

    September 19, 2018

    End-to-End Headaches with the Bernina Q-Matic after Advancing the Quilt

    No - there's nothing wrong with the machine.  It's me.

    Shelly, the dealer who sold me the system, is also the one who is teaching me how to use it.  One of the first things she showed me was how to do end-to-end quilting with the Q-Matic, and keep the rows lined up properly.

    Well... it's just a little tricky and my brain didn't absorb the lesson well.  I had to ask her to show me again, which she did, but again I just didn't get it.

    I hate to have to confess to her that I need yet a 3rd go and learning this - but thankfully I found a video on YouTube which shows how to tell the Q-Matic that the quilt has been advanced on the frame, and the starting point for the next row needs to be calculated.

    Here's a link to the video: "BERNINA Q-matic Video Tutorial: Realign Safe Area"

    So I played with it... and I can do the "adjust on screen", but "snap to point" isn't working.  Oh well... at least one of them works....

    Stay tuned...

    September 12, 2018

    No Post this Week

    I've been a little under the weather and have gotten behind on my quilting - so there's not much to post about this week. 

    Hopefully next week will be better!

    Stay tuned!

    September 5, 2018

    Quilt 112: "Oriental Traditions" Kit (Disappearing 9-Patch) - DONE!

    This project came together beautifully. 

    After auditioning the threads for quitling, I opted for a gold thread, as it would fade into the background on most of hte prints in this quilt.

    The kit designer instructions included the recommendation to place the fabrics randomly - but instead I opted to make them uniform.  So if you look at the cream colour prints, you'll notice they are all in the same relative position as the gold/brown positioned diagonally from them.

    Here's one completed block:

    And here is the finished quilt:
    (51" x 68" - quilted on the longarm free-motion nested "C"'s - cotton batting)
    I did this, feeling a more "organized" quilt than the designer intended would look just fine and would be less bothersome to make than "random" placement of the fabrics (which means having to worry about having 2 of the same fabrics end up side by side).

    The backing and binding are solid black homespun.  Here's the backing with my free-motion quilting stitches in gold:
    (I do wish my camera captured colours better - this backing is superb in real life)

    I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt, and will definitely do another "disappearing 9-patch" quilt using some different prints!

    August 29, 2018

    Quilt 112: "Oriental Traditions" Kit (Disappearing 9-Patch)

    At the April 2017 Australasian Quilt Convention, I saw a quilt kit that I fell in love with.  A simple quilt, the design involves a "disappearing 9-patch" block using oriental-inspired prints.  I've not done a "disappearing 9-patch" block before, so I was pretty sure it would be fun and easy.

    First, I cut the fabrics in the kit into 6.5" blocks, and sewed them into a 9-patch block:
     Then I quartered the block:
    And rotated the upper left and lower right squares:
     And stitched them together.
    And there you have it: disappearing 9-patch!

    I loved making this block and was simply amazed at how fast it came together.  Now to make the other 11 blocks for the quilt - it sure won't take long!

    August 22, 2018

    Quilt 111: "Queen of the Ranch" - DONE!

    (Here it is.. my 400th post on this blog!!!!)
    Another Moda charm square pack!  This one is all about horses and flowers.

    It's feminine but not sugary.  The images are like the ones below - girls on horseback, horse shoes, roses and saddles.  The colours are muted pinks, blues and variations of tan/brown.
     And, as these simple charm square quilts always do, it came together in a flash.  The only thing that was a tad tricky was deciding what to border it with.  But I got lucky, finding a solid ash-rose muslin that marries well with the pinks (for the inner border and backing), and I had just the right amount of a coordinating blue in my stash of offcuts.
    58" x 64" - quilted on the longarm ("shells" groovy boards) - cotton batting
    I used the "shells"groovy boards, and a soft dove-grey thread which pretty much dissappears on the front - but you can see it on the backing.