Monday, December 31, 2012

The Pea Green Quilt

This quilt has nothing to do with peas. Or really green either.  But it is about me being pea green with ENVY for the new home my cousin just settled into.

House Warming Quilt for a Montana Cabin

He divested himself of city life and is now settled on a nicely appointed piece of property in Montana, back to his roots.  The side of the family we have in common are all Montana folk.

There are lots of acres to the property.  With a river running thru.  And deer.  It's an awesome place for a guy that is perfectly happy hunting and fishing when he's not thinking about hunting and fishing.
The quilt unfurled (sorta)

There are bears on the property too (yikes).  They like the apple trees in the yard.  I could do without bears, but I guess they come as part of the package deal.

So, the quilt . . . .

There are three bears paw
blocks in homage to the bears so maybe they will just be happy with the apples in yard and not wonder about the food in the house.

And a few flying geese blocks, just because I like their zippy factor.

And the rest is filled in willy-nilly with variations of 3, 6 and 12 inch blocks and some sew-the-scrappy-bits-together blocks.

There is of course fish fabric.  It wouldn't be a Montana guy quilt without fish fabric. And fish hook fabric.  And cord wood fabric.  And leafy fabrics with teal greens, just in case a girl should wander by.

The FMQ is a geometric meander.  I've finally gotten over you-can't-cross-over the quilting lines.

I'm growing very fond of liberating myself from rules
and embracing 'my quilt, my rules'.

Which is expanding out into 'my life, my rules'.

Which makes me think of Jenny Joseph's endearing poem "Warning"

Video Courtesy of Neil Astley
As laid out in EQ.  I didn't follow the EQ design layout
but did use it for reference for cutting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tsunami Quilt: Descent Into Chaos

This is the quilt I was working on over the Christmas holidays 2004.

It started out as a study in half square triangles which I decided I needed to master, well, at least try to tame.

It started out with the name Bali Star.

Once I had the top sewn together, I took a look back at it and thought gee, the center looks a bit muddled, the center detail just didn't show as crisply as it did in the EQ design.  It looked chaotic.

Tsunami Quilt: Descent Into Chaos
And then the terrifying images began to air of the destruction that was unfolding in Indonesia and the all the countries of the Indian Ocean.  It was heartbreaking.  The quilt got it's name that Boxing Day in 2004.

This quilt reminds me how fragile life is and to make the most of every moment, however humble it may be.  You never know what the next moment might bring.

The back . . . very large Bento Box squares

I tried to add a wave aspect to the quilting.  I had a few areas of broken threads and skipped stitches (grrrrr) and had to redo those areas.

Wherever I had to fix, I added an 'eratic' circle like the one on the left side of the purple fabric.

That seemed fitting too for a Tsunami Quilt.

Detail of the Friendship Stars.

I like these little stars, I should use them more often in projects.

The Tsunami Quilt as designed in EQ6

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A New York Beauty Christmas Quilt

My favorite quilt and my best work to date,
the New York Beauty Christmas quilt.

The full quilt.  I used wool batting (wonderful!) so there is good
definition on all the quilting lines.

All of the quilting was done on the Bernina.  The echo quilting was done
with the walking foot and it's very helpful guide.  And the outline quilting on the beauty points was done free hand with the FMQ foot.

The quilting, up close

The back.  I love the back fabric.  I'm very fond of big boisterous
fabrics on the back of quilts.  And the quilting really shows up nice.

. . . . and then there were all the many many many many! little bits of fabric trimmed away during paper piecing.  There was so much!  I had to use them somehow . . . I call it eXtreme scrapping.

eXtreme scrapping . . . A table topper. A little tree for my sewing table.
And two little stars for the tops of the table top little Christmas trees.

Think about all the cute little things that get thrown into the waste basket.

And yes, I have been known to waste basket dive at quilt retreats.

The sewing room tree.  It has a little pagoda thing going on.
These scrappy pieces were made by sewing the scraps directly onto a piece of batting, with a backing . . . it is quilt as you go.  I'm sorry I don't have pics of the process, this was done well before I thought about creating a blog.

The scrappy bits were simply butted up to each other and then a decorative stitch anchors them to each other and to the batting and backing at the same time.

Very few pieces were cut to fit and I didn't worry if there was overlapping.  I just wanted to use as many of the scraps as possible and  I just kept sewing until all the scrappy bits were all used up and then cut out the final shape I wanted

These pieces are reversible . . . leave an opening so they can be mounted.

And remember about mirror image, I had to do one of the stars twice, because I didn't remember about mirror image for the reverse side.

For the tree and star pieces I made templates from freezer paper.  And then cut the shapes once I had a big enough scrappy piece done.

On top of one of the trees . . . with one of my little knit hat ornaments

The dark fabrics were used around the edges.  This topper
it is just the size of the top piece of an old treadle sewing machine cabinet.

By the glow of Christmas lights

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mabel Lucie Attwell Baby Quilts

There are two quilts, one crib size and the other is a good size for a stroller or car seat.  Both are available for sale in my Etsy shop.

I found the Mabel Lucie Attwell fabric several years ago and it was love! at first sight.  There were 2 fat quarters of each fabric except the large print which was only 1 fat quarter.  And I've used up all but a smidge of the green check to finish these quilts.

The smaller quilt is in front with the large print, and
the larger crib size quilt is at the back.

The fabric is from 2001 and was made by The Woodrow Studio in London.

Strip piecing . . . hi ho, hi ho, it's off to quilt I go

For quilting the circles, I used freezer paper templates and
then carefully ran the Bernina around to created the quilted circles.

There is double quilting along all the seams.
This is a durable quilt!

Both quilts have the same quilting with a quilted circle in the center
of each block, and double quilting on the seams.

They are darling companions!

But I have listed them separately on Etsy for economy reasons so those with modest budgets have options.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Thanksgiving Quilt: Ohio Stars Quilt in Civil War Fabrics

My favorite star block is still the Ohio Star,
even after making as many as I did for this quilt.

All of the block pieces in this quilt are 2 inches finished, including the little hourglass blocks that make the Ohio Star.

Using up scraps with the pillow shams . . . flying geese from the border.
The quilting on the shams is the same as done on the quilt border.

Neckroll made with leftover blocks.
I always do a neckroll for my bed sets to hide the top of the sleeping pillows.  The neckroll is made by whip stitching 2 little roll pillows together.
The little roll pillows are from JoAnn.

This neckroll is closed with a tie that I made from fabric from the quilt.
Sometimes I do a drawstring closure for the neckroll . . . but this is the easiest, and I like the little frilly look . . . looks like crackers!party poppers the English have on their Christmas tables.

No scrap shall remain unsewn!  The very last little fabric bits were sewn together willy-nilly with no real forethought.  I love these little projects . . . and no scraps in the waste basket.

 . . . on the bedside table

The Ohio Stars quilt as designed in EQ6

This is the quilt that goes on the bed at Thanksgiving.

There is no Christmas quilt, yet.  At this point the Christmas quilt is
a stack of fabric and a plan. It will be very red. With dragons. Oh my!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yiayia's Quilt Block Scrapbook and The Christmas Quilt from Hell

The newspaper used to publish quilt patterns every week.  My grandmother neatly clipped pictures of the blocks she liked and kept them in a scrapbook.

Here's one of the pages . . . 

 . . . and another page

Early in my quilting life I decided to make one of the quilts.  I chose Philadelphia Pavement, which If you don't pay mind to how you cut the pieces, you can have lots of bias edges to deal with.

I didn't pay any mind and learned a great lesson: Pay Attention to Bias Edges!  That is one reason why this quilt is called The Christmas Quilt from Hell. It ended up being a nightmare to put together.  I love it now, but the process was oh so painful.

When I started sewing the blocks together I could not get the pieces in the block to align: they were so distorted from stretching that alignment was not an option unless I took them all apart.

So I had to go shop for more fabric for sashing to mask my inexperience.

The sashing worked . . . it got the blocks together and camouflaged the distortions.

Some of the effect of the pattern was lost by using sashing which disappointed me at the time, but at least it was not all a total loss.

The Philadelphia Pavement Block

See the little red and white half square triangles in the border?

They were s'posed to be in the block but I made them all too small and had to make more.  This was before I had EQ and did my own (mis)calculations.
This may be my very first attempt at free motion quilting.
The stitches are testimony to my struggle . . . wildly uneven and jerky.
This was before the Bernina.  It was done on the Singer 501a  utilizing the 'darning' feature which meant loosening the needle shaft to no tension.

In the back of the scrapbook was a 1943 Christmas calendar
of the Dionne quintuplets, which I still keep in the back of the scrapbook.

It's taken a decade to forget the aggravations of miscalculations, stretchy bias edges, points that never had a prayer of matching and jerky quilting.

But I look at my Christmas Quilt from Hell now and actually like it.

And it's a good marker as to how far I've come in learning my craft.

Not that I still don't make mistakes. I do.

But I never struggle with every step of the process like I did with this quilt.

Praise be to all who watch over me . . . maybe that is Yiayia, looking down and encouraging me along.

Bah Humbug . . . a fitting end for a post on The Christmas Quilt from Hell.

This was a gift for me years ago.

It hangs in the basement year round
to remind me of the things that really matter.

This time of year, everyone remember what really matters in your lives.
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the trappings and the expectations.

But it's really about the simple things.
And what lives in your heart.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Autumn Quilt . . . Scrappy Spider Web

This is the quilt that goes on the bed when the first breath of fall hits the air.  It has all the colors of fall . . . blues for the crisp autumn skies, reds and yellows for the leaves that fall, and greens for the grass that is coming back to life.  In my neighborhood, we don't water our lawns in the summer and they all turn to straw. We are happy not to have to mow for a couple months, save on the water bills and then watch them come green again with the rains.

The fabric criteria for this quilt was a) leftover bits from other projects b) this is ugly, "why did I buy this fabric" and c) the less the fabrics "went together" the better.

You all know what I mean by the ugly fabric, we all have them, we all bought them.  We liked them at the time but they never ended up 'going' with anything else.

The result is wonderfully scrappy.  I don't see the individual fabrics, I see how they all just work together in their little misfit way.

Pillow Sham Front with trimmings from cutting the triangles for the webs

The pillow shams were made with leftover bits and cutting trimmings . . . there was next to nothing left of these particular misfit fabrics in my stash by the time this project was done.  I love it when that happens.

Pillow Sham back, which is the side that is usually showing on the bed
I liked this quilt so well when it was done that I took a little extra time on the shams and actually did button closures.

I really liked the quilting for the back of the sham . . . it's a double
wavy line on the seams.  It goes really fast and will keep all those seams closed

Each block looks a bit different depending on where the darker
fabrics are positioning in the web.
This is a good example of
"color gets all the credit, but contrast does all the work"

EQ6 design for the spider web quilt