Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quilting Day

I decided to spend much of today working on the machine quilting for the queen size quilt that my Mother and I are doing together.

I knew that I wanted to put some fairly detailed quilting in the large blank spaces, so decided to use Golden Threads Quilting Paper to mark the quilt. If you have never used this product, it is a fine paper that allows you to easily quilt a detailed pattern. This is the process that I use.....

Draw the design on the paper using a Sharpie and then pin it into place on the quilt.

Quilt along (or close to) the drawn lines

Tear the paper off.

If you are having trouble getting the paper off, you can use a seam ripper (or other pointy notion) to "cut" around the quilted lines.

This tears the paper further so that it comes out easily.

Here is the final result of some of my quilting using Golden Threads.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finished Quilt (at least my part)

Firstly, I have just realized that I LOVE getting onto my blog at about 8:30 am and checking to see who has added to their posts. I love seeing the posts that were put on late in the evening when I was sleeping and then those from the early birds (like me) who post first thing in the morning. It is lovely to see our diversity!!!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a "commission" quilt that I was working on for my cousin. My mother (85 years old) had originally told my cousin that she would make this quilt for her, but I was asked to print the photos on the fabric. As I talked to my Mom, I realized that she was concerned about being able to finish it on time, so I offered to piece the top. When I finished the top, I called my Mom and asked her if she would like me to go ahead and quilt it for her. She said "yes Please" and then agreed to put the binding on. SO, I spent a Saturday and finished this quilt......

There is nothing particularly fancy about it, but I like the homey feel that it has and I hope that the quilt winner will enjoy the 50+ years of photos.

SO.....on to the post office to get it in the mail and off of my "To-Do" list.

Oh, one other comment.......I made this quilt (and the last one) solely from fabrics that were in my stash!!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Teaching Day

Yesterday, my friend Mary T. came over to start learning how to quilt. She is interested in learning to hand quilt, so we decided to make a smallish quilt (probably a doll quilt for her granddaughter) and then she can try quilting on it. This is the basic design that she is planning to use. This pattern was created using EQ.

She first picked out a main fabric and then had fun selecting two fabrics of each of the colors to include in the scrap quilt. Here are her final choices....

Next, I showed her how to use a rotary cutter and rulers, and she practiced cutting on some old fabric. Once she figured out how to hold the cutter at the correct angle, she was ready to start cutting the fabrics for her quilt.

We started with the background small squares. She cut 2-1/2 inch strips and then sub-cut them into squares. The only problem that she had was with the long ruler slipping as she cut, so I held the further end in place while she cut.

She next cut the 3-1/4 strips (squares) that were needed for the half-square triangle blocks. I had her cut these much larger than the needed 2-7/8 inch size so that they could be trimmed down to the proper size after being sewed.

While she cut the squares out of the other fabrics, I drew diagonal lines on the background squares. She then put the 3-1/4 inch squares together and sewed along both sides of the drawn line. It was good that we made the squares larger as she messed up on a few of them by sewing much farther than 1/4 inch away from the line. BUT, because we had extra to work with, we were able to trim them down to the correct size.

Her final step at my house was to make one of the modified nine-patch blocks. She has taken the rest home to finish at her leisure.

I think that the colors in the trash can at the end of the day say it was a bright, fun day of quilting with a friend.

How could life get any better than that!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Using Orphan Blocks

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful dinner with some friends, Muhammet & Hulya, who are here from Turkey. Hulya is a WONDERFUL cook and has a Turkish Cooking blog that is definitely worth a look. Check it out here.

I wanted to take something to her as a hostess gift and finally had an idea....duh....she is a Chef....take potholders!!!

The next step was to actually make some, so I returned to Anita's (check out her blog too) idea of using orphan blocks to make potholders. This is the UFO that I came up was a border of a quilt that I decided not to use....

and this is what I turned it into!!!

We had a wonderful evening with TONS of excellent food!!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tutorial for working with different sizes of photos

I have been commissioned (by my Cousin) to make a quilt using photos from her business (Merchant’s Trucking Company). It will be raffled or auctioned at their annual meeting in March.

While making this quilt, I decided to photograph the process and present a tutorial about making a quilt using photographs that are different sizes, so here goes.....

First of all, decide on the size of block to be this case, I chose 6 inch finished.

Print the photos, being sure to keep them under the 6 inch size. Make some of them quite a bit smaller than 6 inches, and some almost full size. These sizes will also be determined by the quality of the photos that you are using.

Cut the photos out, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side.

Cut strips of the fabric that you want to use to border the photos. I like to cut the strips larger than I need them to this case I cut them 2-1/2 inches.

Place one strip in your machine and sew the photos, one at a time, onto the strip.

Lay the pieced strip onto your cutting board and slice the fabric between the photos. Press the strip away from the photo.

Follow the same process for the opposite side of the photo.

Now, take the border strips and sub-cut them into pieces that are the finished size of the block plus about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. In this case I cut these border pieces 8 inches.

Sew one of these strips to the un-bordered sides of the photos, roughly centering the photo in the middle of the trip. Don’t worry about the un-even borders from the first sewing, just concentrate on the new strip being straight with the photo and sew on the edge of the new strip.

Press these strips away from the photo as well.

Square up the blocks, using a square-up ruler. You can choose to center the photo in the block, or have it off-center.

Ta-Da.... now your blocks are ready to put into a quilt.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

WHAT A MESS!!!!! How did my studio get into THIS shape?

Believe it or not, a week ago this room was clean, but then came a week of "a bit of this and and a bit of that" and before I knew it, I had a MESS.

Fortunately, it only took about an hour to clean it up and finish off all of those "only need to add a line of quilting", or "only need to make a sleeve" chores.

This looks MUCH better!!!

On to the next project........

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seasonal Strolling

I finished the season challenge quilt that I showed in the last posting. I really enjoyed the quilting process and was encouraged at how the quilting added dimension, especially to the boots.

The challenge quilts were presented at last night's guild meeting. The really funny thing that happened was that one of my best friends in the guild, Deb H., brought her quilt in and it was SHOES!!! I immediately got worried that she had told me her ideas and I had adopted them for my own, but she assured me that she had NOT told me her design. I guess that "great minds" think alike!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Wonderful Day

I have had SUCH a fantastic day today and I just have to write about it. It all really started last night..... Several people had asked whether or not I was going to make a quilt for the Quilt Show Challenge this year. The directions are that the quilt has to feature the Attic Window block and have something to do with the season (our show is called "Quilts for All Seasons"). I had told everyone "No" because I simply didn't have any ideas about what to do.

Last night I was enjoying roaming on the internet while we were watching TV and somehow the thought popped into my head to deepen the attic window so that it became a shelf. Then the question was what to put on the shelf. I thought about sports equipment relating to the seasons and then, for some reason, thought about flip-flops (my favorite foot apparel).

I started searching the web for drawings of flip flops and came across a series of photos and drawings of shoes. I was able to use these basic designs and create fabric shoes that go with the seasons.....flip flops for Summer, running shoes for Fall, Boots for Winter and Pumps for Spring (my daughter suggested that they be yellow).

Anyway, here is the result of the day's efforts. I still have one small border to add to the right of the quilt and then it will need to be quilted.

I am really excited with how it looks....I just hope that others can figure out how it relates to the seasons!!!!

Bye for now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bits and pieces

First of all, here is a better photo of the charity quilt that I put together last week. There are still a few lighting issues in the photo, but you can certainly get a better idea of the pattern. The group picked out a backing fabric and it is now off to Ellen who will Long-Arm quilt it for us. We have decided to use a bunch of the dark fabrics in the binding and will cut those strips next week.

Secondly, this is a quilt made by one of the Charity Bee members. Ginny came to the meeting back in the summer and said that she REALLY wanted to make a quilt to go into our guild show in March. She had this wonderful kit, with really bad directions, so the group has helped her to figure out the instructions and get this quilt done. She finished piecing it before Thanksgiving and finished the quilting over the Christmas break. We are all SO proud of what she has accomplished......way to go Ginny!!!!!

Finally, another of our members, Gretchen had heard that I purchased a Needle Felting machine and had mentioned that she had some "scraps" of wool felt if I was interested in them. I was expecting to receive a handful of stuff, but was amazed when she showed up yesterday with this huge bag of wonderful wool, and a small bag of wool ties for me to experiment with.

I CANT WAIT to get back to the felting machine!!!

But, first I need to finish the collaborative flower quilt . I have finished all of the "in-the-ditch" work and am now working on the half octagons on the sides. I have finally found a design that I am happy with and it is quickly coming together. I have been debating about what else to do in the flower blocks, and every one at the bee thinks that I should echo quilt the octagon shape. I think that is a great idea except I am not too sure about free motion stitching STRAIGHT lines....I will try it on a block first and see how it goes.

Well, back to tax work!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

BQL Challenge

I have been a member of the yahoo group, "British Quilt List" for about 2 years. I joined when we were getting ready to spend two months in Oxford and actually got to spend time with two wonderful quilters as a result. I also got to attend two meetings of the Oxford Quilt Guild and go to one of their big national shows.

Last year BQL had a bag challenge where the participants made a different bag or purse each month. Well, the last thing that I need is another tote bag or purse, so I didn't do the 12 months of challenges.

However, this year they are doing a calendar challenge. The idea is that you print off a paper calendar and baste it to the bottom of the 12 inch piece that you have made. I am not so interested in the calendar, but thought the idea of making a small quilt each month might give me a chance to try a few new techniques.

The January quilt instructions were posted on the 1st and I was able to spend a few hours on Saturday and then finish it up on Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed making the piece by using only fabrics that were in my scrap box, and I may try to use this idea to make most of these upcoming quilts.

Technically, it is not a wonderful quilt, but was fun to make and isn't that the point of making quilts!!!!

Well, today is the first day of "TAX SEASON" for me, so I know that the fun days of spending hours in my studio are past, but I am still hoping to get in there for at least 30 minutes each day!!! We will see how that works out this week!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Power Piecing

For the past couple of days I have been "Power Piecing". This is the term that I use when I am making a quilt that is to be functional and all (or most) of the design decisions have already been made. At this point, I am focused on piecing as quickly and accurately as possible and getting the top finished fast!!!

In this case, the quilt top in question is one that will be donated by Cotton Patch Quilters to the Oconee County Relay for Life program. My guild has donated 3 previously and they have raised almost $9,000 from the three of them. I really enjoy working on these projects, and am always excited to see how much money can be raised from the raffles.

These quilts are organized by the Charity Bee for the guild, with general members adding fabrics or blocks to them as well. However, with this quilt, we decided to make it within the Bee and to use fabrics that have been donated to the group over the years. We found the pattern in "Nickel Quilts" by Pat Speth (Arlington Square Pattern) and selected and cut all of the pieces this past summer. Unfortunately, Summer quickly turned into Autumn and then to Winter and the quilt lay dormant. Since the Relay organizational meeting is in January, we realized that it was time to get the quilt finished. Nancy (the group's leader) and I started working on the piecing, but it became obvious that we would not get it finished very quickly if we only worked on it at the Charity Bee meetings.

SO, I volunteered to bring it home and see if I could get it done during the holidays.

It has not been an easy quilt to piece as there are tons of seams that have to be sewn and the biggest patch in the quilt is 2x4 inches.

There was supposed to be a fairly intricate pieced border, but I decided that we could do without that and simply took some of the bits that were leftover from making four patches and sewed them into a checkerboard pattern which became the smaller inner border. I ended up having to un-sew an entire long side when I miscalculated the direction of the strip so that the border would turn the corner correctly. I almost left it the way that it was, but my conscience got the better of me and I took it out and did it right.

Here is a quick photo of the top. I will post a better one once I go to the charity meeting and hang it on the big design wall.
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