Thursday, May 26, 2016

a start

Spring is just too busy!  I've been scrambling to find time to get started on my new applique project.  I want to make Radical Rose & Reel a pattern from Collector With A Needle by Dawn and her daughter.  It was a big decision to settle on what to start next and I deliberated many choices. I went over to Dawn's website to consider Harrison Rose that Hilda is making and as soon as I saw Radical Rose & Reel it was love at first sight :0)
I ordered background fabric - I love appliqueing on Moda Bella Solids and they can be hard to find where I live.  I settled on Eggshell - I feel it is a bit of a gamble to order fabric online but I'm really happy with how it looks - not as stark as white but not yellowy either.
Then I chose the other fabrics.  I love, love antique red and green quilts but I just couldn't picture myself appliqueing the exact same block 9 times with only 3 fabrics so I decided to go scrappy with prints.  I think they are all similar enough to pull off the look of the antiques I love.

I usually applique with the freezer paper-on-the-top method but I thought this pattern might work better with backbasting.  For that I had to draw the pattern onto the back of the fabric.  The 24 inch block is BIG!  The only window large enough was the livingroom window.  (the pattern has a full size 30 inch drawings too)  I am finding the pattern to be fantastic - it has the quilting lines marked on it too! Of course I can't wait for that part either!!
Today I started with some backbasting... prepping for it goes really slow... I hope I like it.  I can always switch back to my freezer paper-on-the-top if I don't.  Maybe tonight I can take my first applique stitches :0)
There has been a very little bit of machine sewing as well.  I am following along with the Thimblecreek mystery quilt and I have my 40 -  six inch blocks ready for the setting instructions.  Shown here is one of each of the block patterns. Anyone following this mystery will notice that I didn't make the house and tree blocks - I'm pleased with the blocks I substituted them with.  I hope I like the setting!
 I've been quilting away on my Bird of Paradise quilt.  Outline quilting goes fast and is so relaxing.  So far I am very happy with the basting - don't miss the vertical lines at all.  I will try some background fill quilting when I get 4 blocks outlined.
I have about 3 1/2 blocks done now so it should be soon.  Every once in awhile I feel a little bit guilty about abandoning my 1/2 quilted Lily Quilt - I tell myself I will get back to it when the novelty wears off of quilting this one.  I wonder when that will be?

Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

long arm basting

I did it!  With the help of a very patient friend/instructor I basted my Bird of Paradise quilt with a long arm machine.  It was fast, it only took an hour. It was fun!  The cost was very reasonable - $30.  I will definitely do this again.  It was so much better than my usual, horrible 3-4 evening ordeal down on my knees on the dining room floor.
The long arm machine was so fun to use. 
I will confess it seemed bizarre to see this top loaded up on the machine - I almost forgot to take pictures.
We set the stitch length to 1 inch and all I had to do was guide it across in a straight line.  The lines of stitching are between 2 - 3 inches apart going in horizontal rows.  I debated reloading and also basting vertical rows as that is how I baste by hand but the instructor thought this would be secure enough. 
It was a wet, rainy day so this afternoon I sat down to start quilting so I could see if the basting was going to work out. It's good so far. Lots and lots of outline quilting will come first and then some kind of background fill.  So far so good!! 
I love the backing fabric.  I found it on sale 4 years ago and I love that its the perfect color, a beautiful print and it has birds on it as well.  Happily I bought enough :0)
I finished all of the applique for this other project.  I guess I've been calling it 9 patch flower.  It was fun and relaxingly easy applique to do.  Next it needs 105 uneven nine patches to make a couple of pieced borders. I'm making them as leaders/enders so it could take awhile.  There's no rush to get this together. 
In the meantime I have selected a new applique project to start working on.  I'm very excitied about it!! I ordered fabric and it hasn't come yet but I am looking forward to sharing more soon.
Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

an early finish

I finished quilting and binding my Zigzag quilt.  It is ready to deliver to the 2016 outdoor quilt show.  Usually I am snapping quick pictures the morning I take it in so to be done 2 weeks ahead of time surprises and delights me :0)
 The pattern is from a quiltalong that Lori hosted on her blog Humble Quilts in 2012.  She called hers Mountain Trails.
I still wanted to use more of the red and white polka dot fabric so I used it for binding. 

 I free motion quilted feathers all over this quilt - it went SO FAST!  I got the idea for this after reading this post by Barb on her blog Fun with Barb.  She quilted a very large quilt on her home machine with a cable design across the width.  I got thinking about what kind of design I could use that could go in rows across a quilt. 
My quilt is much smaller than the one she quilted but the across the width idea worked out very well. 
I took this shot of it on the back of the couch in the sunshine -I thought the texture of it was cool.  The thread I used practically disappears into the scrappy top so it doesn't overpower the piecing.   I will look through my ufo bin to see if there are any other projects I could quilt this way.  I could not believe how fast it went.
So I'm going to try something else that's new to me.  I have an appointment next Thursday to learn how to long arm baste for handquilting.  I'm taking my Bird of Paradise quilt - so excited! 

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bride of Paradise Top - DONE!

When I bought this pattern back in August of 2010 I don't think I knew what I was getting myself into.  Last night I appliqued the last flower bud on and the top is done!  I'm itching to get quilting it but I will stay focused and finish my current handquilting project - my Lily quilt.
 The pattern was by Threadbear - Civil War Bride Quilt.  The original 1860 antique quilt top is in the Museum of American Folk Art - maker unknown.   I made many changes.  The borders are all of my own design as are the blocks including my husband, children, squirrel and church.
This first picture is under the fluorescent lights in my basement.
This picture is with natural light.
What a fantastic time I have had working on this. I know my applique skills were challenged and I grew as a quilter.
It's very large for a wallhanging - I have no idea where I will hang it once it is quilted. My daughters were hassling me last night because the border squirrels and birds could use a stitch or 2 of embroidery - eyes...  Technically its not done :0)  But close enough for me!  It has unfortunaltely already gone into the ufo bin to await quilting.  Hopefully it doesn't have to stay there too long.
And now - what next?!!
Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

blocks done

I was sure glad to stitch the last set in seam for this quilt.  The pattern is Circle Game - (somewhat modified) by Jen Kingwell.  The blocks are done, pressed and trimmed - they are all ready to sew together.  Now to puzzle out the best arrangement for them - lol!
 This probably won't be the final arrangement but I'm getting close I think.  A friend and I took an afternoon and drove down to Okotoks to the charming quiltshop there. They had a sale - 20% off everything if you were wearing an apron.  I wore an apron!  And, found a good red for a narrow first border.  There should be nothing to stop me from getting the top together this weekend.
 I thought I would show side by side a couple of the blocks I made using the pattern and just a couple little changes.  These 2 are exactly the same but I split the diamonds into 4.
This one has string pieced melons and a four patch instead of a nine patch in the centre as well as being set on point. 
It was fun to play with the block patterns this way :0)

My friend that I've been sewing this quilt along with has her top together.  You can see how different hers looks in progress here.  It's been such a great learning experience!  We haven't picked out our next project to do together yet ... but we will!

Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

a bit of this and that

March has been a busy month!  I don't have a lot to show for myself but I have been sewing - a little bit every day.  
I've been trying to focus on this last border for my Bird of Paradise quilt.  It's almost finished.  I was very pleased to applique the last of the squirrel/bird feet!  I'm going to stay clear of projects with feet like this in the future :0)
I've been sewing along with the Thimblecreek mystery quilt this year.  The blocks today are so much fun - little beach balls :0)  Three more to go.
 Here are the rest of my blocks.  I'm mixing in some Dutch chintz fabrics - I love sewing with them.  I've been sewing them with my Featherweight machine. I had a problems with my main sewing machine for a few weeks (happily it was fairly easily resolved with a new foot pedal) but in the meantime, I had pulled out my Featherweight.  I am rediscovering how fun it is to sew with.
 I also was rummaging through my ufo bin and found a handful of these leader/ender blocks.  I've been working on them again and enjoyed playing around with them this weekend.  I'm not sure what they will become.  They sure are good way to use up little scraps but a distraction from other sewing...
 I hope to have something more exciting to show for myself next time.  Until then -
Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

finally a border

The annual outdoor quilt show is coming up in May and when thought about what to put in it this year...  I came up blank.  I haven't finished anything this year except small stuff.  I've made great progress on a number of projects but nothing finished to show.
 Well that just wouldn't do.  How can they have a quilt show with no quilts?  I simply must contribute something.  I have wanted to finish this Zigzag quilt for a long time.  I was stuck on the border. I thought I was going to use the red and white polka dot fabric for the border but I just didn't like it.  I couldn't let go of the idea so this quilt got stuck. 
 My daughter came downstairs to do some sewing with me on the weekend and I dug it out and together we chose this medium blue print. I've had it for ages - set aside for another, even older ufo.  Well it seemed just right so now I must pin baste and machine quilt this.  That should be doable by mid May - right??  This Zigzag quilt is a ufo from a quiltalong that Lori hosted on her blog Humble Quilts in 2012.  She called hers Mountain Trails.

 This is the little project my daughter got started on.  A friend of mine had gifted her with a lot of these little bits cut off from a couple of charm packs - and then washed. They were narrow - less than 1 1/4 inch wide and frayed on both sides. 
She lined them all up and sewed them like strings together and made this little block.  I was quite impressed!  But, now she is stumped to know what to make with her "made fabric".  There are enough strings to make one more block. I suggested a bag or a pillow but she wasn't keen on my ideas.  Do any of you have other suggestions? 

Yesterday my Circle Game friend came over and I pieced the last extra block I will need for my Circle Game quilt.  After drawing with my compass for the previous 2 blocks it was nice to just modify with my friend a couple of the blocks from the pattern.  With a line change here and there these blocks look very different.  She has been posting about some of her blocks too - here
All that remains is to finish the block surrounds and put it all together.   Then we get to choose a new challenging project to work on - I can't wait!

Happy Quilting!!