Saturday, February 18, 2012 in crafty things

Still with the feathers

I am almost done Kaytlyn’s quilt. At least the quilting part. I ran out of yellow thread *again*. That’s two spools if you are counting, plus a spool each of pink, purple and orange that still have lots left, but I need the yellow for the back. This quilt is using a LOT of thread.

I read another tutorial from Diane Gaudynski, and I swear this is the one I was looking for before, but someone forgot I read it. This time I clicked. Diane Gaudynski “Echo Feather Plume”

Here’s what I did the other day.

This was the third block I did, nice and relaxed and happy with the results. I’m not quite done the quilting because as I said above, I ran out of thread! And my local quilt shop is moving so it has been closed for a few days.

Here’s a nice shot showing how the quilt will look when done.

I need to find where I put the rest of the hot pink fabric so I can use it for the binding. One more row of feathers to go and two more of loops.

And just so Kaytlyn is not the only person I am tormenting with quilting previews, I did some work on a wall hanging for my mom. Mom has picked out a panel to hang in her stairwell, and since I am now her quilter, this is my first project and she said to do whatever I liked.

If you think that looks good, wait till you see the front. 😉 Some days I wish I had the whole day to quilt. So far, I have to keep stopping for one reason or another.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 in crafty things

Feather quilting

Since I’ve finished up Meaghan’s quilt I moved on to Kaytlyn’s, getting it all layered and basted this weekend. I also had a chance to quilt three of the large blocks.

I had always planned to do big feather plumes in these blocks, as it just screamed at me to do so. Problem was when I started the quilt, I’d never done them. So I drew and I practised and I did some samples.

Today I actually dug out all the thread and took the plunge. I’m using yellow thread on the back and in some places on the front will be changing thread colors. This not only blends in better (to hide potential goofs 😛 ) it also helps me use up much of my half-empty spools of thread. OF which there are plenty.

I’ll do all the large blocks on this quilt first and yes – I am stopping and starting on each block, snipping the thread entirely and not stitching over to the next one. I also did not draw on most of the quilt top for a template. Some I just drew the spine, some blocks nothing at all. They will be almost entirely freehand.

I’ve also been picking up some tips from Diane Gaudynski and her upcoming free motion quilt along. The topic for February? Feather plumes! 😀 Mine don’t look near as nice as hers, but like she says – just keep on practising!

By the time I get to the last block, I should be pretty good. They are fun to do, if maddening in parts. I definitely like the look of going back and outlining the whole thing until the block fills. It definitely hides my turn backs.

I also chose poly batting because of the loft, and to see how my Bernina handles it. So far, I still don’t like working with it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 in crafty things

Meaghan’s gray and purple quilt

YAY! I finally finished Meaghan’s quilt this week. Her birthday was Nov 1st. Remember, I also made a quilt for her brother and his birthday was the day before. He got his quilt on time tho.

I used the same pattern for both quilts, except for Meaghan I sized the blocks smaller to 5″ and made the sashing smaller as well. This brought it down to a twin size. She picked purple and grey as her colors.

It sewed up fast enough but both Meg & I hummed and hawed over how to quilt it. Finally we decided to go for diamonds in the sashing areas. When I finished that part, she picked a curved leafy design for the borders. That was not something I want to quilt again any time soon. They are small and detailed.
After another long period of indecision, I went and quilted loop squares in the squares .Those were pretty fun! It worked up fast too, as I just went in a straight line down the side of each square to get to the next one, and went around the quilt in a big circle towards the side. This made nice lines on the back as well.

I bound it in a grey on grey floral she picked out from the Thimbleberries line. Just straight cut, 3″ wide, folder over and sewn down on the front.

She’s happy, so any mistakes are noticed only by me. It crinkled up real nice after washing as well.

There’s a shot in here of the border before and after washing.The denser quilting on the border definitely crinkled up really nice.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 in crafty things

Red & yellow progress

The red and yellow disappearing nine patch quilt I am making is finally coming together.

Coming together

In total, it has seventeen different rows, seventeen different prints, gradated from a deep red to yellow. Some of the challenges with this particular design were ones of my own making. I had an idea in my head to start, so I know what I wanted the finished quilt to look like. Usually, I work backwards to that – knowing the pattern and picking particular fabrics usually winds up a surprise in what the actual top will look like. (Well, somewhat, but you know what I mean.)

In this case, I wanted certain colors in defined places. With the disappearing nine patch pattern, one usually makes a large nine-patch block (3 blocks by 3 blocks) and makes a cut horizontally & vertically through the middle blocks. Since I wanted particular placement of colors, I cut each one to start and worked row by row according to my diagram.

Tho at times I didn’t look at it. 😀 First small issue: in my zeal to finish, I had sewn every print block to a white rectangle in pairs, except the 3″ block rows have a block at each end, and the large block rows have a white rectangle at each end. So the other night, I had to unpick a white rectangle off the end of the smaller block rows and sew it on to the bigger ones.

If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see a ripple on the larger row with the red & white gingham. I hate that fabric. It has a higher polyester count, I am sure, and it slippery and prone to ravel. Because of that, my seams are off in this row and it is about a half inch longer than it should be. I’m being extra careful to match seams when I sew rows together, so this will take some easing when I sew it to the next row. The spray starch helps, but it can’t fix everything.

In the pic above, most of the rows have been paired. There are six more rows on my work table waiting to be assembled this weekend.

Ron also pointed out one row where I used a directional print, and half of the blocks go one way with the rest of them going another way. Small tiny issue, yes. This one doesn’t bug me. (much.) Otherwise, that’s it. There’s no complicated sewing, just straight seams. The small blocks are 3″, the large ones 6″ and the rectangles 3×6″. Cutting was extremely easy as those are the widths of my rulers.

The takeaway lesson here I realized last night when seeing how it all came together and where some fabrics were placed. There were some fabrics I had limited amounts of, and because of this, placed them in smaller rows instead of a larger one – a row which would have made a better transition of color to the next row. So: when planning a quilt with prints in particular places, don’t constrain yourself with fabric amounts. Get more. 😀 Substitute if you have to.

Also see when I cut it out and
when I planned the quilt. I took a while with it because I really had to think about the fabrics and the placement. Just restating that more fabric in some prints would have helped. For the curious, a fat quarter was more than enough. I just has scraps of some and tried to squeeze out what I could.

This is a quilt I would actually make again, and I am strongly considering writing up a pattern for it. It would mostly deal with how to pick the colors and where to put them, because the sewing bit is the easy part. I’m thinking next time, go from a deep blue at one end, to a green at the other. Ooooooooo…

Sunday, January 30, 2011 in crafty things

In just a few minutes

People keep asking me how I get all this sewing done. Even the other quilting ladies.

Actually, this is my only hobby right now. I haven’t even really taken very many (non-quilt) pictures. I don’t go on photo hunts, I cleaned out a lot of my scrap booking stuff and I barely watch tv. If I do, it’s usually online.

Yeah, I gave up housework, too. 😉 A looong time ago… ANYWAY!

My home office is at one end of my house and the ktichen is at the other end. Far enough away that I cannot hear the timer on the stove. even from the old office, I couldn’t hear it. Ron sometimes could, but I could not.

So, after a few burning dinners or running up & down staircases multiple times in five minute increments, I decided to just stay downstairs for however long it took me to reheat or cook whatever we had.

My sewing machine is set up in a room downstairs in the middle of the house. Just a few steps through a small hallway and I’m back in the kitchen, actually. The sewing machine is always plugged in and I can leave my work in a second. There’s always something to work on, and I just grab whatever is on top of the pile.

I sew and sew, with a lot of chain piecing. that’s just pushing in one seam after another without cutting threads between them. I sew whatever seams I need to as long as they do not cross. I use all white thread. If i do need to use another color, I will plan multiple projects of just those colors.

Sometimes I will spend my time cutting instead. That’s how I wind up with ten quilts cut out though.

Sometimes I will iron instead. I don’t have a dedicated ironing station, so I’ve been using the kitchen counter for smaller ironing. For larger pieces, I either do it down at the quilt shop where she has custom boards, or I use the dining room table. I’ll do a couple of items at once then.

Right now I am still sewing that red & yellow quilt. I’m piecing each row together in stages, usually chain piecing two rows at a time, cutting sewn section apart from each other as they come out the back, and lining them up for the next seam to go through the front. I think there’s a piece halfway through the machine if I go look now.

I usually start supper, get to a spot where I don’t have to stir anything, set the timer & go sew. Maybe it’s five mintues, maybe it’s ten. Sometimes it’s two. I do two meals a day, and sometimes if I am really tired of sitting in font of the computer, I will go downstairs and sew for a bit instead. Half a hour maybe. Or iron as I puzzle something out and figure out how to phrase a support questions without sounding condescending or frustrated.

One tough Monday, everyone had communication issues, so I went and sewed every time I wanted to scream at the computer. I got a lot of sewing done that day. Since I work on multiple projects at the same time, there’s often only a few steps needed for each one to reach completion, so it looks like I finished a whole bunch of things at once. A lot of the recent quilts I’ve finished, I actually cut the pieces out two or more years ago. I just told myself I needed to finish the tops before I cut out any more, and that’s been my motivation.

Of course, now I have a large pile of quilt tops to quilt, instead of a large pile of cut blocks to sew, but that’s a different problem. Right?

(Hrm, it would probably help the readers at home if I linked to the different entries in the archives for each quilt. Ooops.)

At any rate, my point is just something like ten mintues twice a day at the machine adds up by the end of the week. It’s all straight sewing, nothing fancy.