Thursday, June 25, 2015

Raffle Quilt

Wow!  May got away from me without a blog post, and June almost did!  I have been busy with various things, quilting and otherwise.  But I did get one thing accomplished!
I am the chair of our 2015 raffle quilt.  The above is the quilt we will be raffling October 10,2015 at our guild quilt show.  This king sized (100"x116") quilt is called "Swirling Illini".  I designed it based on Jan Krentz's "Lone Star Quilts and Beyond". We are certainly hopeful that the colors will be appealing to Illini fans, as well as Chicago Bears fans!  Raffle tickets will be available in July.
A unique thing that our guild does is that we make a smaller sized replica of the raffle quilt to keep in our archives.  We have a nice collection of small quilts that chronicles quilting trends over the past 30 years.  We try to have a display of them at our quilt show.
The quilting on both quilts was done by longarm quilter Sue Merkle!  It certainly adds to the quilt.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Texas Wildflowers Wallhanging

I spent 3 weeks last month in Texas visiting with a friend who winters in the Rio Grande Valley.  I flew down, but drove back with her.  We planned on the drive back to go through the Hill Country of Texas.  This is located north and west of San Antonio. It is where President Lyndon B Johnson lived and ran the country from the Western White House (approximately 25% of his tenure he was there rather than in DC...hmm, don't remember the press getting their undies in a bunch over that fact!).

Any way, you know we had to find a quilt shop!  And we found a fantastic one! Creations of Kerrville was so fantastic that we visited it twice!  It is located in a beautiful old home, with the various rooms dedicated to various fabric types, notions, books, patterns, etc!

I found this pattern for machine embroidery of Texas Wildflowers!  As we came to the Hill Country to see blue bonnets, I had to buy a permanent remembrance of those beautiful flowers (which weren't really blooming yet when we were there!)  The directions for doing this multiple hooping piece were different than I had done before, but I quickly figured it out and got the machine embroidery done.  I decided to accent the blue bonnets by having two different blues in my border fabrics.

I quilted undulating feathers in the outer border, using a thread (Superior Magnifico) that exactly matched the fabric.  Bad idea, as you couldn't see the quilting unless you are up close and personal.  

So I decided to try a technique I learned from quilting guru Patsy Thompson: hyperquilting!  Hyperquilting is going back over your quilting design with a different color thread, and adding an interesting accent to your design.  In my case, I used an earthy green that I had used in the embroidery.  It also was Superior's Magnifico.

The corner closeup shows the finished result.  I think it adds just a nice touch of color, and a bit of a pop to that border that was missing something!

Monday, March 2, 2015

More completed projects!

Like most quilters, I have quite the stash of fabrics.  Most are fat quarters, some yardage that was purchased just because, lots of pieces that were leftovers from other projects.  Any time that I make a project using from my stash, I feel like it is a freebie, because I didn't spend any money specifically on that project!
"In the Meadow" table runner was one of those projects!  All the fabrics, batting, and threads were in my stash!  Jana Davidson of Turnberry Lane Patterns created this beauty!  I had the embroidery done on this one, I just needed to make the blocks, put it together, quilt, and bind.
This was a workshop project from a Laura Wasilowski workshop sponsored by Decatur Quilters Guild a few years ago. I had it all done, except for a bit of thread work, quilting, and binding.

I felt like it needed some detail between the center and border.  I had used a scalloped rotary cutter to create the edge of the border, but couldn't think of a hand embroidery stitch that I could accomplish that would adequately accent it.  Then it struck me that I could use a heavier thread and machine stitch an accent!

In my thread stash I had a spool of Wonderfil Spagetti thread (12 wt) that I had purchased when Susan Cleveland had taught at our guild several years ago.  It was the perfect color!  It is the turquoise thread on the left.  The middle thread is Superior Threads Magnifico (40 wt), which I used to quilt the border.  The right thread that is crossing over is Superior Threads Kimono Silk (100 wt), which I used to do the echo quilting in the body of the quilt

. Using the Spagetti thread and the double needle on the left, I created a double line of stitching around the scallops on the inner edge of the border.  I felt like it needed a bit more.  I experimented with some decorative stitches, but didn't like the look.  I decided on just doing a zigzag stich in the double line.  Sometimes simpler has a bigger impact.

I was experiencing major tension problems doing the zigzag.  I was using a #100 Topstitch needle.  Despite any tension changes made on the top, I was getting erratic skipped stitches.  Then I remembered that I could change the bobbin tension by threading the bobbin thread through the bobbin finger.  Voila!  That was the answer!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Celtic Basketweave

 One of my favorite quilting magazines is Machine Quilting Unlimited!  Every month it is full of wonderful quilting ideas.  The articles are always informative and educational.  

This issue had a great article by Kay Bell on how to accomplish a Celtic basketweave quilting pattern.  I was so taken by the pictured quilt I immediately pulled out my graph paper and started playing!  I had told myself I would work on a UFO before I started another project....this one just had to happen!

I had the pattern drawn out on my graph paper, but I needed to be able to mark it on my fabric.  My light box is too small (I was thinking I should have scavenged onto an Xray view box at work after we converted to digital films).  Then is struck me!  Sitting in my living room was this gigantic light box.  Move a few things, put an Ott Light underneath, voila!  instant light box!

Here is my finished sample.  The top and backing were from my stash, as well as the battings.  I used a layer of Quilters Dream Cotton and a layer of Quilters Dream Wool.  I had never done a double batting before; I am impressed with the look.  Definitely going to do this in the future with my wall quilts.  The binding will have to wait a bit.  Yes, now I have another UFO!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Finishing UFOs

I have been trying to declutter my sewing studio.  When I was still working, I would buy things, with the idea that when I retire, I will have less income.  So I am trying to get things arranged so that I can easily find them.  I am going through my stash, trying to get it better arranged so that I can find fabric that I need!
In the process, I found a couple of projects that just needed a little bit of work to go into the finished pile.  This little quilt started in a Nancy Prince thread painting class that I took at Indiana Heritage Quilt Show several years ago.  It was a very fun class.  Nancy is not only a great teacher, but one of her quilts won Best of Show at the 2014 International Quilt Festival at Houston!  All this one needed was to be bound.  I used a single thickness binding.

After learning the thread painting technique, I was looking for another project.  My nephew Logan is an artist, and had drawn this dogwood branch.  I took it and recreated it in thread.  It was needing to be quilted and bound.

There are still a number of UFOs in that pile...a quilter's work is never done!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Urban Birthday

While waiting for custom templates to come from Paper Pieces, I have been trying to finish up some UFOs.  Yes, I do have quite a stack of quilt tops that need to be finished.  Don't even ask about the kits, patterns, etc. that are waiting for me to get to them!
The current done project took birth last March as we were coming home from quilt retreat.  We stopped in at Peace and Applique in Rochester to do some looking and shopping!  
I saw this quilt hanging in the back room!  It was made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics and Peppered Cottons by Pepper Cory.  The pattern is Urban Birthday by Sew Kind of Wonderful.   It uses their Quick Curve Ruler, which I just happened to own!

I bought my Peppered Cotton, and collected fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett so I could get a nice variety.  I worked on it at retreat with the Material Girls that July.  
As I was putting it together, I thought they looked like wine glasses, so I decided to make a smaller one, and have it framed.

This is how the shop quilted their sample.  And how I quilted the wine glasses.  But I wanted something different for my quilt.

I decided on using feathers around the oval and pearls.  And decided to leave the center oval unquilted.  I did echo quilting to the wine glasses.  However, I just found out today that Sew Kind of Wonderful has a long arm ruler that would have made this so much easier!  Live and learn!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2014 Mystery Quilt: Grand Illusion

This is the second time that I have participated in Bonnie Hunter's year end mystery quilt.  I will be putting the binding on 2013's Celtic Solstice after I finish this post.
This year's quilt was inspired when Bonnie was at a retreat at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel.  Bonnie loves scrappy quilts.  I am learning to appreciate scrappy.  I am more of a controlled scrappy kinda quilter!
Bonnie gave us the colors to use so we could gather our "scraps" before the first clue was given on Black Friday. Yellows, pinks, greens, turquoise, blacks, and neutrals.
So we all worked diligently, keeping up with the weekly clues, until the final review. 

Can I say, I wasn't in love.  Way too busy.  So I changed the central block a wee bit, which required redoing 100 of the smaller units.
This was the original block.  I thought it was too busy. 

So I changed the pink, neutral, and block zigzag blocks into chevrons.  I like the look of the star!  And it looked good in EQ7.

Then I put it together.  It just looked like a huge mess to me.  Yeah, I probably should have left Bonnie's main block as she had it designed.  I loved the outer border.  I didn't like the green, neutral, and black checkerboard sashing.  So I took out my trusty seam ripper and took it apart!

I took my pieces to a guild sew-in and asked for opinions.  After playing with all sorts of arrangements, changing the center block, and auditioning various sashing and cornerstone colors, this was the final result.

And this is the final product!  It will finish 96" square.  I already have some ideas on how to quilt it.  But, it is going into the queue for the present time, as there is another project that needs attention!

Lesson learned: next year I will just wait until all the clues are given before I start the mystery quilt!