Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tackling Quilting at Home

I love the work longarmers do. I wish I had a long arm machine of my own (and somewhere to put it). But since I don't, and I have no more space for random "tops" waiting to be quilted, and my daughter's boyfriend wants a quilt, I dug in and put a quilt sandwich together myself. 


I just did a basic stitch in the ditch with my walking foot, then added a few lines the other way too, for more security. I didn't want it to scrunch funny after washing. It's not fabulous, but it's functional, and finished is better than perfect. 


Now onto the binding. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Using up the Scraps

A while back, I bought a book called Sunday Morning Quilts, which is a great resource for using up fabric scraps. The article that intrigued me the most was re-making fabric using a single color of scraps. 


I pulled out my scrap drawer and started sorting and managed to put together some new pieces of fabric. These blocks are each sewn together using various sized strips. But I didn't love them, and couldn't figure out how to arrange them in an eye pleasing manner, so I tucked them into a box in the closet.

Recently, I discovered them again, and pulled them out and decided to use them. I have always been attracted to traditional blocks, and when I saw a video tutorial for a quick and easy churn dash, I knew I had found my pattern!



Each block uses up some of the original "made" fabric, so it's fun, and colorful, and scrappy!



This is the perfect mix of color and solid background. It tones down the busyness but still leaves each block bright and happy.



I even took some of my smallest scraps that couldn't be sewn in strips, ironed them onto fusible interfacing, and sewed around the edges of each piece. Then I cut it up and made a block out of it. (I think this one is actually my favorite)



Lots of scraps mean lots of blocks, so this will be an ongoing project, one that will be there in the background to give me a break from other projects I'm working on.

Is it just me, or does it seem like quilters always have multiple projects on the go at the same time?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jelly Roll Race 2

I watched a video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company called Jelly Roll Race 2. It seemed so easy and quick, and I just happened to have a jelly roll! 


(I realize it's not the greatest picture, and please forgive me, but I'm home by myself today, so I have nobody to hold it up for a better shot.)

I am pleased as punch at how it turned out! I'm thinking I may add a border or two yet, but I also love it just as it is. 

The fabric line is "Mixed Bag" by Moda.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Puff quilt finished

Puff, bubble, pillow... This "quilt" has many names. It is tied, and the binding is on, and it is ready to be delivered. So happy to finally have this one finished!
 

This project was much easier in my head on paper. I struggled with maneuvering it around on my little table, and trying to squish the pillows enough that it would go between the presser foot and the feed dogs. In the end, when I was trying to attach the binding, I actually moved my table against the bed and used the bed to support the weight of most of the quilt. There should be a course out there, "Quilt Wrestling 101", just for doing things like this. 


The original idea came from a magazine many, many years ago (like maybe 18 years), but that pattern was a baby quilt with much smaller pillows and the pillows were not nearly as stuffed. I thought a bigger quilt for a bigger bed needed bigger pillows proportionately, so that's how this one was resized by me, to fit across a queen size.

It became a never ending project... I would see it in the closet, take it out, wrestle with it trying to do a row or two, remember why I wasn't working on it, put it away again... But as it grew, I couldn't fit it in the closet anymore and then it was on my dresser, overspilling the laundry basket that was trying to contain it, taking up valuable space... 

It became my mission to get it finished.

Happy dance!
 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Orange peel decisions

 

After putting out a poll about whether applique should be hand stitched or machine sewn, and observing the debate among friends and strangers, I've opted to go with hand stitching the orange peels to the background squares. I've found that a blanket stitch is fairly quick and not at all difficult. (This short video tutorial on you tube by Alex Anderson was the only help I needed.) I do not have an aversion to hand stitching like some quilters do, and actually enjoy the relaxation of it when I'm watching TV.
 

I went to the local craft store, looking for perle cotton to match each of the leaf shapes, but had to get embroidery floss, as that was what was available. I did find perle cotton in a creamy shade to match the background, so picked that up as well. 


Also, after much debate on my favorite Facebook quilting group about seeing the stitches or blending the colors, this was my decision. I like the traditional look of seeing the applique stitches, but want this quilt to have a little modern flair, so I'm stitching each peel with a color that matches the fabric, but not necessarily that peel. There will be some blocks where the thread will be the same color as the peel, but for most of them, they will be in a contrasting thread. Does that make sense? These six were all stitched today with the pink floss that matched the middle peel on the bottom row. 

 
I am loving how this looks... But it will take a few days weeks to get these all stitched down, so prepare for another project popping up in the meantime while I do this in the evening... Not sure just what yet, but something.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Orange peel

 

 I had some lovely coordinated fat quarters given to me and just couldn't decide what to do with them... I scoured Pinterest, auditioned a few different patterns, and finally settled on the orange peel. I was worried about the reds bleeding, so I did a test.


Exactly what I thought might happen! I let each piece soak in it's own bowl with vinegar/salt water, rinsed and repeated as necessary. Now, I was ready to begin.


I rounded up all my neutral backgrounds that I had kicking around, and decided that the best use of fabric would be to cut 4.5" background squares. Then I drew and cut my own leaf shape template to fit inside my square.

 

I used this technique, where you sew the leaf shape fabric to the fusible interfacing, right sides together, then turn it right side out, and iron it down onto the background, creating the effect of needle turn applique.


I have to admit, this project is much more time intensive than I anticipated. It took several episodes of Friends on Netflix to turn all 146 of the leaf shapes right sides out, and about two hours to press  them all onto the background squares.


Testing the layout... Loving how it looks! But now comes the dilemma of how to stitch down the peels.


This one is done on my sewing machine, applique stitch, with thread that matches the background piece.

This one, also by machine, but with thread that matches the peel. Maybe not the best example, as the fabric is busy, so the stitches seem invisible... Or is that the idea?



This one I hand stitched with embroidery floss, in the only color I had, which just happened to match. I think I like this best, but would like to try using the background color with this method, just to compare. I like the traditional look of the hand stitching showing, especially since the orange peel quilt is such a traditional pattern.

What are your thoughts on thread selection?


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hip to be square

Hip to be Square challenge complete!






Twenty four squares wide by thirty two squares long, each cut at 2.5 inches. Nice lap size throw. I may even try my hand at free motion quilting this one.

In other news....

 

This puff quilt has all the pillows sewn and stuffed, and I've begun the task of tying on a backing. 

And I've started working on some orange peel blocks. Stay tuned for details to come on that one.