Monday, March 2, 2015

Wedding Quilt Center is Done

Good progress on this quilt, all being well I should be finished well ahead of the wedding date later this month. The center is already 78"x103", with the three WOW borders it will be around 115"x125". 
BTW, I asked the Bride-to-be not to look at my blog between now and her wedding, I don't want her to see the quilt until it is finished.
I had to order a second backing from my favorite online fabrics store, Thousands of Bolts and Only One Nut! I thought it was 118" wide, turns out to be 108" - it's quite hard to find the extra wide backings over 108" especially if you need a specific color.
I really like the feather motif on the backing especially since the quilting will be mostly freehand feathers, the color is a little more steely than shows here. The backing will still not be wide enough so I plan to insert a 14" strip alternating pieced blocks and squares of the grey backing- I have the extra blocks ready to go. Thousands Of Bolts ships really fast Priority USPS and my orders normally arrive promptly in two days so I will be looking for the second backing by Wednesday. I have recommended this site to many and have purchased from them for years with nothing but the very best first quality brand name brand merchandize, exceptional service and a huge range of everything you could ask for fabric wise.
 Good thing I am ahead with the quilt because our Navy DGS brought by a set of his blues that need a bit of help in the form of stitching on his rank [a 5 minute job which includes thread change] and hemming the pants. He was charged $40 last time he needed an item of rank sewn on, is that outrageous I wonder, is that the best we can do for our military? I am putting on my flame proof panties now because I know that every business needs to make a profit but could they not make an exception for the military? At least offer a discount, and I don't even want to think what they'd charge for hemming the pants!
Disclaimer- we are a military family for generations and I have sewed on patches and hemmed uniforms from BTU's  to Mess Blues and Whites for DH and our Army son and now I have another generation to proudly support in his service for our great Nation.
No complaints here!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Beginning The Wedding Quilt

Having cleared my studio and my current commitments it's onto the wedding quilt for son and his about-to-be-bride. The wedding is only three weeks away and I really do need to get busy since the last of the fabric the WOW came in this week there is no more delay.
Ever struggle to make accurate cuts with rulers and rotary cutters? Cutting across the WOF even doubled as it comes off the bolt, is often a challenge to keep the ruler from straying and giving a less than accurate measurement. Of course that's always a possibility but with a 22" WOF cut it's a distinct likelihood for me!
A few years ago I came across the "Rule Steady" on one of my visits DownUnder and immediately knew I needed this tool.
The price was a little surprise but it has been worth it's weight in gold and if you are interested in looking at it here is the website. It is very sturdy and well made and certainly worth the investment to me, as many surgeries as my arthritic hands have endured I will make use of every advantage.
Below you can see what a perfect cut I can make using my RuleSteady tool.
Sometimes I may slide the ruler up a few inches to make the top half of the cut just because my hands are weak and I get better traction that way.
These are the colors the bride has chosen, grey, yellow and white…….
with the addition of the modern floral I found to liven up the design.
 The WOW which is also the 21" border is a bit of a challenge, so subtle it's hard to determine which is the right side until I hold it at an angle and can see a little shine on the white circles, that slowed me down just a wee bit.
First off I made a mock-up block to test the measurements for accuracy and to check the finished size.
The block came out at 12.5", perfect to cover just the mattress area of a Cal King bed at 72"x84", 42 blocks in a 6x7 configuration will be perfect.
I decided that the fastest method would be to make all the centers…….
 then piece all the outer fabrics. ……….
and sew each block in a controlled scrappy manner.
So far this has worked well and I am very happy with my progress.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A very Manly Quilt!

Another wonderful scrappy quilt from Angela, this one is for her older son and to me it is definitely a guy quilt. I think that some of these fabrics were from thrift shop men's shirts-there is a small button on one little square, that was a real clue!
By free-handing scrappy utility quilts that have these small pieces, it allows the quilter to catch in as many little blocks as possible making the quilt more durable through constant wear and frequent laundering.
A quilter after my own heart Angela utilizes pieced backings, why purchase more when we can reduce the stash and anyway it is more interesting and colorful.

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.