Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Girly Quilt

Linking up with Heather for Needlework Tuesday.
A very feminine quilt for a five year old girl. The quilting design requested was "flowers and butterflies" and that's what it got!
 This was freehand and in order to disperse the butterflies evenly throughout  I placed one in each of the larger blocks.
 The recipient of the quilt will have fun searching for her butterflies
 The back is a bright pink and the Bottom Line thread blends in almost invisibly.

Monday, February 23, 2015

High Tea

A lovely afternoon at Tea with the three delightful young women my sons have chosen, to celebrate the impending marriage of number four son. It has been a little tradition to have Afternoon Tea with each of the prospective DILs before their weddings and this time it made up for the fact that we had been unable to attend the Bridal Shower.  I chose the Arizona Biltmore.
 The Menu
There were numerous choices for teas and we sampled many of them…..
enjoying the variety of both savory and sweet treats, and were all on a sugar high by the time we were done!
Those sweets we were unable to consume went home to the bridegroom to be, along with a tin of the bride's favorite of the tea selections. We all decided it was fun and worth repeating together, so next time we will choose a different venue for a new experience.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Aunts' Quilts

These two are for Angela's elderly aunties.
The first has a freehand folk art floral design, separate borders.
 The second has a circular design called Sukara by Circlelord.
 I have one more large quilt to get on the longarm, then I will be starting on son and fiance's wedding quilt. My soon-to-be DIL has chosen this design for the center of their Cal/king bed, with a wide border of WOW.
My sleuth friend BJ tracked down a free tut for this block in a 10.5" version on the 'net, then I scouted around some more and found a 12.5" which will reduce the number of blocks and speed up the process- I have only a month to complete this for their March 21st. wedding.
I cut out the pieces for a mock up block so I will be certain I am correct before I cut into the actual fabrics which are shown below plus a WOW that is in process of delivery!
The grey on the far left is three yards of wideback for the backing, then a selection of greys and yellows for the center design. The WOW, one of the P and B Ramblings series, will be consistent throughout the quilt.
The basic idea is similar to this blue and white quilt I completed last year with a different center block design. More pics here.
As on this quilt heirloom quilting of feathers, pebbles and piano key border will be the star of the WOW border, quilting details here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Finished For Friday

Well, Thursday midnight really but just now getting it posted. This is QOV # 2 for the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's Reunion in DC in August so plenty of time for them to be bound and labeled. I hope to get the third one done very soon.
These are all large lap size quilts, around 70"x75-80", the backing is pieced with a patriotic panel in the center.
 Quilted in a patriotic design with off white thread top and bobbin
 The center on this quilt has a VHPA memorial block.
Today was my first day back at the gym two weeks post-op, and I took a one hour cardio/strength class that runs every Friday afternoon. Obviously I survived and if I'm up to it will go again in the morning as the gym is closed Monday for President's Day. The gym we belong to is only a mile down the road at the local Community College, I love it for a multitude of reasons but it is closed on all public holidays, a small price to pay IMO for all the other advantages.
If you have progress to report this week grab Mr.Linky and join me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Grey Bear"

Angela's daughter Hannah made this little wall hanging and her Mom entrusted me with the quilting. It was meant to be returned to her by her birthday but my unexpected surgery caused the delay so I decided to make an extra special effort quilting it to redeem my reputation! Having worked on this for two days I am very satisfied with the result and I hope that Hannah will love it.
 There are more modern quilts appearing all the time, even I am drawn to them and their simpler forms and having been mostly a very traditional quilter for so long it seemed that I needed to branch out with some more modern ideas.
 Angela Walters is a very talented young quilter who showcases a lot of modern quilting techniques so I purchased one of her books to see what ideas it might present and Hannah's quilt is a result of some of that work.
 Modern quilts tend to have much larger pieces of fabric leaving lots of negative space for quilting.
I am not sure what the kitty is looking up at in those three grey strips? I have not seen the original pattern.
 I was still wondering how to quilt the setting triangles once the center medallion was done then decided that I preferred them un-quilted because they pop out and showcase the center and that is usually where the eyes are drawn at first sight of a design. There are two layers of batting Quilter's Dream 80/20 and Quilter's Dream wool to give more definition, both of these can be left un-quilted for several inches so there is no risk of the battings ever shifting.
I am so very happy to be able to quilt again, two weeks away put me into withdrawal!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

In Praise Of Pinless Sewing

Being laid up post-op and unable to sew I decided to show one of the ways to avoid the nuisance of pinning when joining blocks.
To date I think that I have made around 15 Bonnie Hunter quilts and a few others that require piecing together many tiny pieces of fabric so any technique that saves time is a winner with me.
Placing pins and removing them slows down the process so any time I can avoid it I do and honestly I rarely pin!
As I was working on the latest BH quilt Grand Illusion a couple of weeks ago and flying through the piecing of four patches I though about this and decided to take a few pics to show how accurate it can be when the blocks are properly prepared.
I press and trim at every step, it makes for much more accuracy, ease of stitching and a nicer finished product. For this to work you need to pay attention to which way the seams are pressed and most times the designer will indicate which direction to press to make nicely nested seams.
Here are a couple of views of how it looks when the blocks are well aligned.
You can see how the bottom fold is bang up against the stitching line on the top piece
It matters which direction the seams are turned, the top piece should have the seam allowance pointing towards the needle then as you sew the pressure from the foot will force the top seam allowance snug up against the bottom piece and and see how perfectly it has lined up.
 Another view………...
 notice that I keep my finger firmly on the fabrics right up to the foot to be sure that they do not shift.
and again a perfect result.
So if you have been meticulously pinning try this next time and see if it doesn't work for you, just a simple thing and a great time saver. Unfortunately it is not always possible to use this technique on everything but it is an advantage when you can.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Light it up!

A few weeks ago after struggling for the umpteenth time to inspect the back of my quilt on the longarm I had a real light bulb moment.  I was tired of the time and effort it took to crawl under the table with a flashlight every time I wanted to check stitching, backing etc.
How wonderful it would be if I could light the entire area on the table so the mirror I use on the table would reflect the condition of the backing stitching perfectly.
Hmmm, now how could that be accomplished? Then I remembered the LED lighting I bought by the roll on the internet when we renovated the kitchen, that was an aha moment! For any other Longarmer who may be interested in this process I will show the necessary parts, the very simple installation-and the wonderful results!
 It is less than 1/2" wide and has a sticky back
 Here it is installed on the table under the clear vinyl sheet.
 Of course I first went to my "fix-it" guy, AKA, DH to find out what it would take to make it happen!
 We needed a connector and fortunately had one left from the kitchen lighting………...
and a power adapter, we also had one of those extra. All of this can be purchased very inexpensively on the internet, I used eBay.
With DH's help I decided on the optimal position for the light strip and measured the distance across the table, then he peeled off the backing and stuck it down, attached the connector and transformer and plugged it in- let there be light!  It is positioned so that on the rare occasion I use a pantograph it will clear the lighting strip.
 Here is how it looks from the front of the machine with a quilt loaded………..
and now from the back with the mirror that I use, a cheap discount store door mirror. 
 This is the illuminated backing, I love it!
Thanks to my handy DH for another successful project, this one makes my quilting life easier. Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions about the process, it took literally only minutes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quilt Of Valor

Linking up with "Needlework Tuesday"
Beginning the week on a high note with one of three QOV's I have to quilt for VHPA, Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's Assoc. DH is a member and the wives of members who quilt, began last year to make QOV's for the members.
Most Vietnam vets had no real welcome home at least not an official welcome, and often abuse and criticism from the general public. More than 58,000 courageous US service members gave their lives for this cause and thousands more were wounded. The percentage of returning Vietnam vets with PTSD is extremely high and at that time there was no place for them to get help.
We wives decided we would honor them all by presenting QOV's, last year we began the project with two quilts, this year many blocks have been donated by the VHPA wives and four quilts constructed to be presented at the annual reunion this year in Washington DC.
So here is number one of the three I will be quilting.
 Quilted with a neutral thread and a Stars and Stripes design.
Most of the blocks are pieced……. 
and two are embroidered.
I think that the veteran who receives this patriotic quilt will be delighted with it, don't you?