Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Linda's Tablecloth Quilt

A member of our quilt MeetUp asked me to quilt this lovely little tablecloth for her, it is intended for her son and DIL. It measures around 47".
Quilting is E-E Peacock Feathers using the beautiful Superior Rainbows thread. It is a trilobal polyester and this was the first time I used it on the Prodigy machine so I had to tweak the tension a bit. It is a perfect match for the fabrics and sewed nicely once the tension was correct. I decided to use silicon thread lubricant, that often helps when using these slinky threads.
Both top and backing are batiks which required a little further tension adjustment, these fabrics are so dense that skipping stitches can be an issue but fortunately I had none of that! Also using a larger needle helps to prevent fraying and breaking of thread as the needle heats up with the high speed stitching. 
Linda tasked me with binding  also, and she had made a nice double-fold bias binding. I was a tad concerned about all those inside corners sewing by machine but my Pfaff 2056 with IDF and I had no problems and the binding went on fairly easily and smoothly! I would not have attempted it without the bias binding.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Magnolia market

I doubt there are many in the USA who do not know of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper" and the empire that Chip and Joanna Gaines have built in Waco Texas.
 We took a break from sewing in the middle of our "quilt retreat" week and drove over to Waco from Round Rock. I was shocked at both the crowds on a weekday and the size of this project. The Market itself is huge but really not much different in merchandize than a Hobby Lobby, I would estimate over 90% of the goods made in China, one little apothecary jar I saw from France and a few from other countries like Thailand and India. The only items made in USA that I saw were the signs made by local artists, expensive and way too large to bring on the plane back to Arizona! In that regard I was very disappointed. I made only three purchases, this hat for DH [made in Bangladesh]
 A small jug [made in Thailand]
because it said Magnolia on the bottom!
And a cute book for Matthew, made  also in China!
My friends patiently awaiting me as I finished my shopping with the Silos in the background!
There were hundreds of people waiting to get into the restaurant and a line down the block for the Bakery, so we went to a cute little place called Luann's for lunch where I had the best veggie burger ever, made from beets with a red pepper humus.
For dessert we had pie, this was the peanut butter crunch, tasty but a bit too sweet for me.
I am happy that we made the trip, now I have seen it I am content, and it did break up our very intense week of quilting!

Texas Quilt Retreat

I just flew to Texas for a week with my longtime friend Leslie, fellow quilter and electronics/quilting tools guru! We have repeated this event many times over the years, dedicating it to sewing new projects and probably vastly annoying her husband as we constantly chatter about quilting! We do try to discuss more general topics over meals, after all his forbearance can only be expected to go so far!
This was our first project and we thought "easy", the piecing is certainly simple, but we failed to really read the full instructions and it wasn't until we began to construct the quilt that we realised the significance of the contrast in tone between each set of fabrics and the need for diligence in selecting the Flying Goose/Sky and HST fabrics. We ripped out some and resewed new fabrics several times before we were ready to construct the quilts. 
 Our second project also seemed simple and quick! I think it's called "Rainbow" and requires unstructured piecing of fabrics. We thought it looked very easy but for the two of us who are both quite structured people it was challenging! We spent an inordinate amount of time cutting and resewing our colors until we were satisfied with the results.

 Leslie decided to use black for her background and it will be very eye catching.
The third quilt was pieced just in time for Memorial day, it's from the book "Mini Wonderful Curves" and has 16 fun ideas for small quilts. Perhaps by this time near the end of our week, we were both a little brain drained, because each of us struggled to get the red "stripes" in the correct configuration.
I love this little flag and look forward to quilting it so I can hang it in our home-if I can find a wall that isn't already covered with quilts!
 Finally with some fabrics left from our first quilt we made these little color wheels.
Now to quilt them all, but I still have one unquilted from our previous time together and my conscience may force me to quilt that one ahead of these, so they will be added to my list!

Button

Because she was such a large part of our family for 13 years I cannot ignore her loss.
Our precious, spunky, loving, clever little Australian Terrier is no longer with us, we allowed her to return to her Creator before the cancers she was fighting on two fronts could make her miserable.
 We took her for a last stroll in the greenbelt the evening before my vet friend of more than 30 years came out to see Button over the Rainbow Bridge. She was still able to scold us for being too slow with her food or failing to attend to some other need, but she was definitely not the same dog and we would not allow the cancer to rob her of even those pleasures. So with heavy hearts and many tears, still now as I write, we said our farewells to the best little friend we could ever ask for. It was particularly poignant for me as she was my shadow after our son died in 2006, she would sit on my lap as I sat on the floor in my closet and wept for my lost son.
Such a faithful loving companion without equal, flying with us to Boston twice a year, and back and forth to Colorado or wherever we traveled any distance by car.
We made her grave on our son's property in Strawberry marked by a cairn of rocks and later this week to be identified with a stone marker.
We are so thankful for her life with us, and it was a good life, she was adored by everyone who ever met her, and given every comfort we could provide.
I hope that God who provides every good thing will find a place for these beloved creatures with whom He blesses our lives.
You left your paw prints on our hearts Button dog.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mountain Landscape baby Quilt

Patricia took these pics for me, mine were poor owing to haste !
Patricia asked for a windy sky and different quilting in each of the mountains.
I had fun thinking of various textures to quilt to form the sky and the landscape.
The dark grey mountains don't show the quilting which has more detail and I used my favorite Superior thread for dark grey/black fabrics, it's Magnifico  #2167 and I think it's called "Smoke". It was so much fun to quilt that I stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. to finish it and I didn't even feel tired!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Orphan Block Deer Quilt

These were a set of blocks from a kit, one where I did not read the directions! I could not figure out how to make a quilt of the resulting mess of odd looking blocks so I took it to quilt retreat two years ago and Jen, clever lady, set the blocks on point so they made sense.
This was Jen after straining her design brain to find a way to put the blocks together!
 I had a bit of fabric left, enough to make another couple of blocks to finish up the necessary number.
 For a rescue I think it turned out quite well.
It took another year to find a fabric for the setting triangles and I was weary enough of this quilt not to care that it featured deer, and I scrounged together sufficient for a final border and a piece from another project for binding! Whew! It lay around another six months or so but today I finished the quilting and got the binding on, so happy for another UFO to be off the list, woohoo!
 The backing was from another kit that I bought on sale with the intention of using the fabrics for stash. It's about40"x65", and may end up a baby quilt or a small lap quilt. A bonus, I had enough Quilter's Dream "Dream Angel" batting left from a couple of other quilts to join together for this quilt
The quilting looks a little strange from the back but the fabric is busy enough for it not to matter.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

35th.Ave 2017 BOM Quilt

When I signed up for this quilt I did not realize the color scheme and if I had paid closer attention I probably would not have done it at all. I "suffered" through and completed the 12 months and now the quilt is finished. It's very plain, all solid color fabrics and traditional block piecing. The design included more sashings which I decided not to add just wanting to be done with it, and as it turned out bypassing the extra sashing has formed an eye catching secondary block design so that it looks as if it were set "on point".
For once a happy unintended consequence!
Because the quilt was basically boring to me I decided to try and "kick it up a notch" by going full custom on the quilting and I think I succeeded! 
 Feather wreaths were no brainer [when in doubt feather it] but it took a while to decide what to do with the sashing. I found when I came up with a ruler design to fill in the space that it formed a very interesting frame for the feather wreaths, I have become very fond of ruler work, even though it consumes a fair bit of time it can be very effective.
 The backing is a green ticking and I don't remember how I came by it, a donation I believe, and grey for binding. Continuing in the green theme I used Quilter's Dream Green batting which is made from recycled soda bottles, has a soft feel and creates good definition. It is also probably indestructible, LOL.
I really like the effect from the back, the design shows up very well.
Now to decide what goes on the Longarm machine next, I am making very good progress this last few weeks but it may be a few days, our little dog may have very serious surgery tomorrow.

Monday, April 23, 2018

On Ringon Lake

The results of a relaxing Sunday afternoon in my most happy place, my Longarm Quilting Loft, because quilting is not a job for me it's a joy! 
Edge to Edge feathers in the body of the quilt and a formal feather motif in the setting triangles.
Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilts are very time consuming, many, many tiny pieces and this one had a complicated pieced setting, half a dozen pieces in each strip. I find these quilts so busy that I think that full custom quilting would be rather wasted time but I like to do something a bit special in the borders.
A light peachy/pink thread from Superior So Fine and Quilter's Dream Pink 80/20 cotton /poly batting finished up the project-another checked off the list.
My sashings do not all go in the correct direction but after struggling to get it right for a while I just gave up! The recipient will never know the difference, even I have a hard time seeing it.
The backing is a neutral print from stash and the binding another piece left from...something!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Flannel Flag Quilt

Another of my personal quilts done! 
 Quilted with Essentials Pro grey thread freehand with a swirly motif . I just realized that one of the flags is flipped over, LOL, guess I need to take another photo!
It will be a good quilt for a young boy.
I had some of this nice soft brushed cotton plaid extra from making a Braveheart kilt for son#1 for the renaissance festival and it made the perfect backing for the flannel quilt with leftover grey backing for the binding! 
                                   At quilt MeetUp group today I began to piece some HST's that I had made the wrong size for another quilt. I have plenty of the red but have to pull in a similar light fabric to make extra blocks. I think I can get enough for a lap quilt, the colors are not very suitable for a baby quilt. I have someone in mind for this, so it will not sit around too long after it's finished!
I am attempting to whittle down the number of my own quilts that await the longarm and here I begin another! Currently the Bonnie Hunter Ringon Lake Mystery quilt is loaded on the longarm awaiting my attention! Too many quilts and too little time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Surfeit Of Oranges

The orange tree has bloomed and there are now lots of tiny green oranges. The balance of this year's crop was falling off the tree and/or the birds were eating them so DH and I picked the rest, a huge bag half filled. What to do? Well, give away a couple more grocery sacks full, save one in the fridge for snacking, and then -when life gives you oranges make marmalade!
 The recipe I have used the past couple of years is from Alton Brown of the Food Network. It produces a very yummy result for a marmalade afficionada like myself, not to mention DH!
You can find the recipe here, no need for me to repeat it!
Alton's recipe requires zest and juice of a lemon. I do not often purchase them as my kindly neighbor has a vigorous and very productive Meyer lemon tree, and these just happen to be my very favorite lemons ever. I have been given free access to said tree making me a very happen lemon lover- they also make good marmalade and delicious lemon bars.
Myer lemons are sweeter than others having a faint orange flavor and aroma and more orange colored skin and pulp. They are thought to be a cross between Lisbon lemon and mandarin orange and are quite delicious and juicy. The vintage citrus squeezer is a treasure inherited from my Mum and likely as old as I am!
The first batch jelled up very firm
Doesn't it look delicious?
This did not use up nearly enough oranges so then I made a double batch which was more stubborn in the jelling process. There is no added pectin in Alton's recipe but I have never needed it.
I ran out of Ball jars but I usually save nice jars for jam making and the smaller ones make great hostess gifts. The four jars on the far right are the original batch and there is a slight color difference I think because I had to cook the second lot a bit longer to attain jelling stage.
If you can bear to use it other than on bread or toast, it is great for orange chicken!
Alton says it keeps six months but honestly I have kept it a year and then some, no problems as long as your jars and lids are sanitized and also the tools you use. I do usually end up putting mine in the fridge for longer time storage especially in this hot Arizona climate.
DH is very happy, this being his favorite jam, and when he and a few friends meet every Monday morning for breakfast he likes to take his own marmalade along as the restaurant usually does not offer it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

One, Two, Three baby Quilts Plus One!

We have had two baptisms at St. Mark last month and one this month and the quilts are now done and delivered to church last Sunday.
Number one, very scrappy using baby type fabrics that looked more "boyish" in random sized rectangles.
And a pieced backing, quilted with peacock feathers and light blue thread.
  One baby girl quilt
 A cute piece of alphabet fabric needed borders to "grow" it a bit!
 And plenty left for the backing.
 The other baby boy gets this yellow and grey quilt using three sizes of triangles.
Below, Matthew's quilt is a combination baptism and birthday gift.
I am very happy with the way this turned out, the fabrics are cute together and the18" giant block pattern from Missouri star Quilt Co. was perfect.
 I meandered in the Mickey block background to echo the round shape of the Mickey Dots fabric and his ears and head and used some quick and easy modern ideas to quilt the black zipper, the  red and and white fabrics.
The black print squares have Mickey's outline, using Superior Magnifico thread and a couple of different sizes of round templates..
It was great to have enough of the zipper fabric to bind the quilt, that fabric has been in stash for several years and this was the perfect time to use it.