Saturday, February 19, 2011

The one quarter inch seam and other quilting challenges

Today, I put all the blocks and sashes together for the chemo quilt I am working on.  I have some light green I will use for the first border, then some dark blue with small pink flowers for the second border.  I have some very sweet pink flannel for the back.  I think I will use the green for the binding, as well.  This is not going to be a really big quilt, but it is for a little girl, so it doesn't have to be.  It is a wonder, however, that it has come this far.
I have been sewing these blocks for a while.  That means that I sewed many seams before I solved my quarter inch seam issues.  Today, I tried to work around that issue, but it was pretty tough at times.  I ripped a few seams and used my steam iron quite a bit.  It is still a bit wonky, but the over all look is pretty nice.  I will square this up before I attach the first border.  That should resolve all remaining issues.  At least I didn't have points to match.
Now that I am quilting much of the time, I am discovering several things about quilting I never realized before.  First of all, fingers have to develop tough skin on the tips to withstand heat from the iron and jabs from the occasional pin or two.  Second, I need a better chair that will support my lower back.  It does get sore after four or five hours, even though I am constantly up and down going to my ironing board in the other room.  Third, my hands get so dry from constantly handling fabric, being near the hot iron, and just generally putting them out there.  I am glad I have good lotion to put on at the end of the day. All of these things may deter the less hearty soul, but I will keep on quilting.
After I pieced the above top, I spent some time making three more blocks for the border of my intuition quilt.  I am getting near finishing this quilt top.  Maybe next week.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Plaids, polka dots, and stripes

Today, I didn't have tons of time in the studio, but I did want to work on creating new blocks for the latest challenge over at 15 Minutes Play. Victoria has asked us to create two blocks each using plaids, stripes, and polka dots. Fortunately, I have lots of that in my stash. I couldn't begin to use all of it in these two blocks, but I had fun making a dent.

I love all the beautiful colors. I think there are plaids in all colors. I have red, orange, green, tan, blue, and all combinations thereof. After I made a pile of scraps on the cutting board, I started grabbing pieces and sewing them together. I just kept sewing them together and the new fabric kept growing. I tried a set-in corner, but it was a struggle. I really need to figure out how to do that without so much stress. I thought about creating some curves, but elected to save that for another project.

Tomorrow, I hope to spend much more time in the studio. I want to get the chemo quilt all pieced and onto the quilt frame. I think that is doable. I need to get it done so I can deliver it Sunday evening. I will post progress photos tomorrow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative quilt

This one is called Honolulu Sunset. When Tom and I first moved to Hawaii, we lived in Honolulu, right across the street from the beach. I loved watching the sunsets. They were always so beautiful. I decided I wanted to recreate the moments in a small quilt.
It amazes me that it takes so long to create a 9" by 12" quilt. I started with a very rough sketch. Then, I looked through my books and online for a foundation pattern for a blazing sun. Of course, I couldn't find one, so I had to design one. That was a challenge in and of itself. Once I got the design done and the parts numbered, I dug into my stash for just the right fabrics. I had a few problems with the foundation piecing, but eventually worked it all out. I love the fabric I found for the sun's reflection on the water. I used a gold thread to quilt it to simulate sun on the water. I am going to bind it in a dark green, then send it on its way to be auctioned off.
I also wanted to share a photo of Isabella with her very own stash. She developed a love of fabric when she designed the quilt for her Grandma Edwards. That same grandma gifted Isabella with the fabric she was making yo-yos with. Isabella has a wonderful time with her fabric, and today she informed me she needs more fabric to put up on my design wall for a new quilt. Oh dear, what have we done.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

This is the mug rug I made for Tom for Valentine's day. I used a foundation pieced pattern by Carol Doak. I really like the way this little heart turned out. The heart block is 6". I added strips to make it 9", just the right size for Tom's favorite mug and a small snack.

Today was a finishing day. I finished quilting the D9P for Mary Ann. I have the binding machine attached and will hand sew it down this evening. For a photo of my pin cushion while I was unpinning the quilt from the frame, check out Tom's Facebook page. I really like the colors in this quilt. They don't show up well in this photo, but it is a very warm quilt. I also finished up this months preemie quilt. My intuition quilt is still on the design wall. All the blocks for the chemo quilt are pieced and the sashing cut. The blocks for the new D9P are partially stitched together. I have begun putting together the fabric for my Coming Home quilt (a new design of mine), my tea party quilt (another design of mine), and the American Hero quilt. I have the design done for the February Alzheimer's Art Initiative quilt. There is never enough time in a day.

Finally, here is the UFO I started about 30 years ago. The lace is from an old dress. The center piece is from a dress made in the Roaring Twenties. The beaded piece on the lower right is also from an old dress. I cal this piece For Madame. I obtained all the embellishments from a very good friend who went by Madame. She collected and sold vintage clothing and jewelry. When there was something that was not otherwise salvageable, I bought them for my collection. If I was to do it all again, I would use a different fabric for the third border, but I will work with what I have. I think I have found some fabric for the next couple of borders. I think it may end up about 36" x 36".

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Quilting Day

I finally got the D9P on Priscilla. I decided on a line and loop quilting pattern. I tried to do feathers at the top, but they were a disaster. I will decided tomorrow whether to rip them out or just hope Mary Ann knows they were done out of love. Someday, I will get them right.
I used Superior Threads King Tut thread for this quilt. Who knew thread could be so wonderful? It gave me the best tension I have had with Priscilla (my Juki and Little Gracie Frame, for those of you who may have forgotten). I love the look of the variegated thread. I am going to have to take a more serious look at thread. This is all so new to me. I am so thankful for my online friends who have pointed me in this direction.
I nearly finished the quilting on this lap quilt today, but had to stop to go watch Bella. Tomorrow morning, I will finish the quilting. By tomorrow evening, I should have the binding atached and stitched down. Mary Ann's birthday is at the end of the month, so I am planning on getting it into the mail on Thursday or Friday. I really like this quilt and hope she enjoys it, as well.
First thing this morning, I made a little valentine surprise for Tom. I will post a photo of it tomorrow. Until then, joyful quilting.