July 11, 2018

Quilt 107: Orange Mocha (Sonnet Collection) - DONE!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a charm square project I started, but ran into trouble when I found that some of the squares in the back had been incorrectly cut (click here to see that post).  All the squares in the pack were fabrics with plaids or stripes - and several were cut at an angle.

After considering the possibilities, I decided to go ahead and make the quilt - and use the crooked-cut squares as-is.  The results turned out fine:
45" x 62" - quilted on the longarm ("Shells" groovy boards) - cotton batting
Yes, you will still see the crooked squares if you look closely, but they don't really scream.  And, after quilting (I used my new "Shells" groovy boards), it looks lovely, even with the imperfections.
(doubleclick the pictures on this page to see a larger image)
The shop where I bought the squares had a great deal on yardage from the same Moda range, so I opted to back it with one of those prints:
(I really wish my camera caught colours better - the backing is just gorgeous!)
I love the "Shells" groovy board pattern.  It took a couple of practice rows before I got a good feel for how the board should be approached.  My stylus wiggles a little in the grooves, and if I'm not careful, I get wiggles in the stitching.  But I worked out how to do it and the results are great.

And, because the "Shells" grooves aren't as dense/close together, it took very little time to complete the quilt.  For this one, just under 3 hours (and that was with thread that kept breaking on me).  Pretty good!

July 4, 2018

Crooked Charm Squares

The fabric shop was having a sale and they had some charm square packs marked down REALLY low.  I snapped some up in a hurry.  Should'a looked the pack over carefully, however.

Last week's post was about a quilt top I made with one of those sets.  Some of the squares were cut wrong in that pack.  I went ahead and used them anyway and yeah, the quilt looks fine, really.

But I decided to do the other "plaid" charm square packs I bought and oh, no.  Way too many of them are like this:

Ouch.  I got away with crooked squares in the Orange Mocha quilt - but this one?  No.  Too many squares out of alignment and off way too far.

What to do?

  • cut the squares down and get them all evened up? (nope - too much work and I'm not THAT wild about the plaids)
  • use them as they are? (nope - there's just way too many of them and unlike the previous set, these squares are going to SCREAM "crooked!")
  • use just the ones that are OK? (nope - there won't be enough to make anything I'd want to make)
  • throw them away? (Oh, I hate waste...)
The daughter of a friend has been playing with fabric bits - SHE might enjoy playing with these squares - so I'll give them to her.

And from here out, you can bet I'll be looking more closely at charm square packs before I buy them!

June 27, 2018

Quilt 107: Orange Mocha (Sonnet Collection)

More charm squares!

I got three of these charm square sets at a sale at Patchwork With Gail B.  There were only 25 squares in each pack, so I needed all three (plus fabric for borders) to make a single quilt top. 

There were 5 squares cut from fabric like the top square you can see here:
The top 4 squares are solid fabric sewn into little pleats, giving a textured effect.  The rest of the squares were various stripes and plaid prints in chocolate, melon, olive green and turquoise. 
Some of the squares weren't perfectly aligned when they were cut

Quite a few of the squares weren't cut strait, so the plaids and stripes are off a little bit.  Fortunately the slightly "not quite right" squares don't stand out - your eye fools you a bit when you look at the completed top.  In the photo above, it's obvious.  But when you look at quilt overall, they fade into the design.

At the same sale I found a 4-meter package of one of the prints in the charm-square pack.  It is the perfect backing for these charm squares, and with 4 meters to work with, I was able to use some of it on the top to add interest

June 20, 2018

Quilt 106 - Flower Panel - DONE!

I love making panel quilts.  They generally come together very quickly and, although they are simple in design, the results are lovely.  Here's another example:

48" x 66" - quilted on the longarm, cotton batting
The center panel has a splash of summer blossoms on it, with a butterfly and dragonfly near the top.  I simply added borders of solid lavender cotton and two coordinating prints (blue and green) from the same manufacturer that sells the panel.

The quilting was done using my "Baptist Fan" groovy boards.  The backing fabric is a pink-polka dot print, and the binding is the same lavender cotton used in the smaller borders.

Simple but lovely!

June 13, 2018

Quilt 11: Trees - DONE!

It took me a while to get around to this one, but I finally did.  Almost 7 years to the day!  Here's my original post about this project: (click here)

I started it in 2011, a design I put together using "leaf" blocks.  I got the top put together, but then got distracted by other projects and ended setting it aside until just recently.

Here's the design:

And here's the finished quilt, laying on the bed.

The forest image just doesn't show up well like this.  But I decided to hang it on the wall of my "quilting room" - and it's spectacular there!
(doubleclick the picture above to see a larger image)
For batting, I just grabbed leftover bits and pieces from other projects and hand-stitched them together.  It took a little time, but I used up a LOT of leftovers and you'd never know where the joins are; the quilting hides them beautifully.

The quilt stitching was done on the longarm using the "Nested C's" pattern I've been experimenting with.  It only took 3 hours to quilt it!  Amazing!

I'm especially pleased to have this on the wall of my "quilting room".  There's no carpeting in there (just a carpet runner I stand on in front of the quilt machine), so having the quilt on the wall gives a little bit of noise-reduction.

June 6, 2018

Quilting in Space (you can't make this stuff up...)

Oh, this is too good.

Back in 2013, astronaught Karen Nybert, while aboard the International Space Station, made a video about "quilting in space"...

Here's the video: (click here to view)

She really got me laughing when she said "I can say one thing with certainty — it's tricky."

She challenged other quilters to come up with star blocks to be combined with hers into a quilt which she intended to complete and present at the 40th anniversary International Quilt Festival in Houston in 2014.

And did it happen?  It sure did!

Here's the story about the quilt:  (click here to view)

June 3, 2018

Jenny's 3D "North Star" Quilt - Fabulous!

Pauline, my quilting guru, is an avid follower of "Jenny" from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Today she told me about a tutorial that Jenny did last Wednesday.

Jenny's latest is a quilt design she calls "North Star" - and oh, my... it's fascinating.  If you do a Google search for "North Star Quilt", you'll find quite a few different designs under that name - but unless Jenny's tutorial comes up in the search results, you won't see her version.  Her's is a very distinctive quilt with a 3D effect.

I don't have a photo of my own I can share (yet), but the link below will take you to Jenny's tutorial on YouTube.

See Jenny's "North Star" Tutorial.

And am I going to make one of these?  You betcha, baby!

(BTW - The tutorial was added on May 31, 2018.  As of this moment - June 3 - there have been  58,573 views! Yup.  Jenny's worth her weight in gold, that's for sure!)

May 23, 2018

Quilt 105: Half-Square Triangles - Moda "Quilt Pink" - DONE!

It came together SO FAST!  And I love the bright cheery colours.  The charm squares were purchased for this quilt.  The rest of the fabric in the top is leftovers from other quilts.

52" x 64" - quilted on the longarm (free-motion loop-d-loops) - cotton batting
The backing fabric is a soft pink print (little flowers in 2 shades - very subtle).  I got it at the big sale I told you about a couple of weeks back.
I'm working on using up my cotton batting, and am switching now to bamboo batting.  The bamboo costs just a little bit more, but it produces so much less lint when I'm quilting that it's worth the extra money.

May 16, 2018

Quilt 105: Half-Square Triangles - Moda "Quilt Pink"

After watching some Missouri Quilts YouTube videos (starring the fabulous Jenny), I decided to grab a pack of charm squares and try my hand at half-square triangle blocks.  I used Moda's "Quilt pink" pack - and got 2 packs of this set, because the "pinwheel" blocks I want will need 2 charm squares (and this set from Moda doesn't have any repeating prints - every print in the pack is different).
And I cut out an equal number of white 5" squares from some leftover fabric I had.  Then I placed one of the prints and one solid white square together (right sides in) and drew diagonal line from one corner  to the other.  I stitched 1/4" out on either side of the pencil line.
Then cut along the line...

Flipped them open, pressed, and then assembled pinwheels:
And here's the finished block.
I've got a bright green solid fabric (leftovers from another quilt), and will frame my blocks in a 2" lattice.  I'll have that to show you next week!

May 2, 2018

Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned

I thought about giving this post the title of "It's Not What You Spent, It's What You Saved" - but I know I've used that before, although some years ago.

I knew about the sale at "Patchwork With Gail B" (my fav. quilting shop).  I wasn't going to go.  But On the first day of the sale, I had a dentist appointment - and it was just down the road so...


I went.  To make matters worse, I contacted Pauline, my quilting guru and she didn't exactly say "...lead me not into temptation".  No.  Pauline was all too happy to join me in a fabric frenzy.  And yes, readers, that is exactly what happened.

Here's my loot:

I broke a new record for yardage bought on a single shopping trip.  It's actually enough that I couldn't carry it all - had to make 2 trips to/from the car to get it into the house.

Now I'll partially redeem myself by saying that when I buy fabric for a new quilt, I almost never buy the backing at the same time.  So I've got several projects in the pipeline which will need backing, and I was going to have to make a special trip to get it.  But here I was - with Gail's unimaginably inexpensive 4-meters-for-$20 - AND quite a few of the packs she had are just about perfect backing for top fabric I already have.  So yes... indeed... I did save a lot.

And what can I say? Well... the American comic "Flip" Wilson would know:

Me: I'm not buying anything
Devil: Look at those 4-meter packs!   What a deal!
Me: No, I'm not buying anything.  Oh - wait!   I have a top ready to sandwich and this pack is perfect!
Devil:  See?  Would I lie to ya, baby?
Me: Right.  2 packs of backing and here's a kit marked down super low.  I made one of these a long time ago.  It was fun doing it and the results are stunning.  This would be lovely for one of the "Inspirational Quilts" kids.
Devil: Charity begins at home.
Me: Well, I'll get some thread while I'm here.
Devil: (just smiles and grins)
Me: Ah yes - a spool of this and a spool of that.
Devil: get 2 each.  That way you can use one for the machine head, one for the bobbin!
Me: There's some sense in that.
Devil: Oh look!  Charm Squares!
Me: Oh look!  Charm Squares!

(you get the idea:  The Devil Made Me Do It)

April 25, 2018

Too much on my plate at the moment.

No post this week.  You noticed, didn't you?

Just too much going on at the moment: taxes, thinking about getting a new car, other general life issues. 

And I haven't done much quilting, although I've got one mounted and ready to go on the Handi Quilter, and another top nearly ready to sandwich.  So I'll try to be a little more dilligent in the next week or so and get some things done to show you.

Stay Tuned.

April 18, 2018

Quilt 104: Red/White/Black Jelly Roll Race - DONE!

It's been almost 2 years since I made my first "jelly roll race" quilt.  Time to do another!  I think this one is my 4th.  These quilts are loads of fun to make and, boy oh boy don't they whip up in a flash!

If you'd like to see how it's done, have a look at the video tutorial on YouTube by "Jenny" of Missouri Quilts - click here.

Here's the finished quilt - it's 54" x 66":

(Doubleclick the picture above to see a larger image)
I'm really pleased with how it turned out - and also pleased to have stitched it using the "nested C" free-motion quilting design I posted about a couple of weeks ago (to see that post, click: here).

Here's a close-up of the quilting.  I was very nervous starting out with this, but quickly learned to relax, and as with all free-motion quilting, when you relax, the quality of the work gets better.

Here's tha back of the quilt.  I usually use solid fabrics, but found this "love love love" print at Spotlight when they were having a quilting fabric sale.  It's just perfect for this quilt!
Jelly Roll Race quilts are the fastest quilts I've done.  The time to piece the top is only a couple of hours (Jenny says it takes less than an hour, but I just don't sew as fast as she does), and with the super fast "nested C" free-motion design, the quilting was less than 90 minutes!

April 11, 2018

Hetty and "her" quilt

A few weeks ago, I posted about the quilt I made for a friend in Ireland.  Fiona's quilt arrived last week and she posted a photo of her dog "Hetty" with her quilt.  It's such a cute photo I had to share it (and thank you, Fiona, for permission).

What a sweet face!

April 5, 2018

AQC 2018 - in Melbourne

It opened today, and did I go?  You bet your boots I did!  This is the 4th consecutive year for me attending and, well, I just wouldn't miss it for the world.

It's held in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
The sign over the door promises "a one of a kind experience".  Well, let me tell you: they deliver on that promise!
There's a huge number of stalls with vendors showcasing the latest and greatest in tools.  Lots of fabric shops there, too, and many with bargains (if you have a keen eye).

And, of course, quilts.  Hundreds of them in diffent sizes and styles.  You can learn a lot (and get lots of inspiration) by looking at these masterpieces.

Like this one - a fabric painting done in applique.
(doubleclick the picture to see a larger image)
 I don't do applique, myself, but I have gotten interested in making quilts with pre-printed panels.  Quilting the panels has been challenging for me because I really want to "free motion" quilt those, and get away from using groovy boards.  But I get hung up on free-motion outlining and whatnot because I'm afraid what I'm doing won't be perfect.

But look at this one:
 It's absolutely stunning - even more so because the quilter didn't hobble herself (hiself?) with demanding perfect outlines.  The stitches are controlled, but not overly so, and the results are simply amazing.  I'm going to keep this in mind with the next panel I do.

Here's another applique quilt.  I love the simplicity of it -gum leaves cut from batik prints and arranged in regular-sized rectangles of a contrasting batik.  It's just charming.
  The artist says she based each leaf on the shape of a real leaf.  And look at the one in the center here - it's had a chunk bitten off!  I love it!
 I'm not always fond of fabric painting-style quilts, but this one is a stunner...
 ...and look at the detailed, intricate appliques.  Amazing!
 This one used a combination of  applique with thread-painting - and it just glows.
The orange and yellow "leaves" are not applique - they are stitched.  A very effective use of the technique.
 This one blew me away - twice!
 First - have a look at a closeup of the stitching.  MICROSCOPIC!
But here's what just about took my breath away: On the sheet describing the quilt, what it's made of and how it was done was this statement:
Get me some smelling salts, will you?

The piece below is small, maybe 12" x 24".  But it's really sweet.  Looks like a painting, yes?  No. It's applique and stitching.
 The one below is deceptively simple-looking...
...until you get close.  The quilt is made of a single cream panel with coloured appliques that have intricate cut-outs for the windows and doors.  It must have taken ages to do - and it's lovely.
 Here's another knockout, a prize winner and rightfully so.  Simple, yes.  Easy, NO!
 Those little squares are only a half inch!  And they are PERFECT! 
 And here's a mind-blowing bargello.
There are always a few portraits of famous people, like Malala.  This is not a large quilt, just a little more than a square meter, but it is powerful.  I stood nearby for a while and listened to the other visitors at the show as they approached it.  They all knew her name, and spoke it softly - with obvious affection and respect.
This portrait of Obama is fairly large (not sure of the dimensions, maybe 2 square meters?) and interesting because it's done on a single cream cotton panel, with the quilting giving a subtle American flag design (actually - VERY subtle, as I didn't even notice the flag design until I got home and looked at my photo of it).  The dots making up the face are made up of batik fabric which has been bonded to the quilt.
These portraits of royalty are impressive, but they have a kind of "manufactured" look, as opposed to hand crafted.  A little too industrial for my taste, but there you go.
Much more fun is the Van Gogh "challenge".  The panels are small and each one is an image inspired by the great impressionist.
 This is my personal favorite of those:
There's still 3 days left in the convention. Go and see it if you possibly can!

April 4, 2018

Quilt 101: Indigenous Zig Zag

Oh, I'm proud of this one.  I really am!

I posted about this project a few weeks ago: "Indigenous Zig Zag"

I bought the fabric at last years' Australasian Quilting Convention here in Melbourne.  It was a very large bundle of fat quarters, each piece a different design inspired by Australian aboriginal art work.  I pulled out the gold/red/brown prints and used a quilt design I'd purchased in Florida several years ago (but hadn't gotten around to making).

Well - here it is!
(doublclick to see a larger image)
It's 50" x 75" with 100% cotton batting.  There are 463 individual pieces - that may be a new record for me.

It took me a while to decide how to quilt this one.  Using brown thread was pretty much an easy decision.  I chose solid brown fabric for the backing, and dark brown thread pretty much disappears on the top.  But what stitch design should I use?

I got out my rulers!  I did a simple, straight-forward stitch-in-the-ditch around the 3 narrow outer borders, then did the same "...in the ditch" around the copper zig zags.  But I needed just a bit more quilting in the large center of the quilt.

Here's a closeup photo with lines drawn in yellow, showing the stitch pattern for the quilting.  It's just inter-connected triangles - simple, really.

And here's what the back looks like:
The stitching around the outer borders is easier to see on the back, as is the zig-zag and triangle shapes.
All the stitching is done with my rulers (it's just about impossible to keep the lines straight without a ruler).  This is the most work I've done with rulers to date.  At first it was really awkward working with the ruler, but as I went along, well, I found that once I relaxed it got easier.

I still have half the fat-quarters stack I bought at the convention last year. I may just make another one of these!