Thursday, July 21, 2011

Humbugs by the dozen

I am getting ready to go on my annual quilting retreat with good friends. We all do little gifts for each other and of course I would like to make everyone something handmade.  Many of you know how this goes....things sneak up on you and before you know it time has run out.
I wanted to make these little Humbug bags designed by Quilting Woman:
I have used this pattern before and knew it was quick but making a dozen is still time consuming because each one is quilted.  Then I had an idea. If I made each one have the same lining I could do all the quilting at once on the longarm.  So I loaded the lining as the backing of a quilt and the batting. Then I placed each piece for the bags on top and basted around them.
Then I could quilt each one individually or go across 4 at once.  I grouped them by the color of thread I wanted to quilt them with. Row one seen above were all quilted with black thread, row 2 below was with gold thread etc...
Here are some shots of the quilting:

Here is what I ended up with when they were all quilted up:
 The lining side:
So these all got cut apart and trimmed down to the size needed for the bags according to the pattern:
Then I followed the pattern directions and got these:

Cute little bags for all my quilting buddies:
I can't wait to give them to everyone!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Angela's Quilt

I had the pleasure of quilting this for Angela who is expecting her first grandchild in the fall! It was so soft and made even more lovely by the wool batting she chose for it.

It's a triple Irish Chain pattern with a beautiful combination of browns, pinks and greens with fun appliques in the open areas. There was lots of room for fun quilting.

She requested the baby's family surname be quilted subtly in the bottom border, I had never tried this type of thing before but I loved how it came out and I plan to try to play with this idea some more-- putting words in the quilting. 
In preparation for doing this quilt, I asked my longarm mentor/friend how I should do this and she gave me some wonderful Trace and Quilt paper to execute this name.  
After printing out the name in the font of my choice and the desired size I traced the name out on the paper and pinned it to the quilt where I wanted it to be and then stitch right through it. The paper is easily torn away after, leaving the stitches perfectly copied! Surprisingly easy and precise. Then I just filled in all around it to make it pop.
Angela picked up her quilt today and had BIG is going to be a boy so I can expect another quilt (boy themed) soon!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This is a pattern called Eureka put out by Maple Island.  It has you cut your curves without measuring or a ruler- just your rotary cutter. It is kind of liberating. I have made this pattern twice ( following the pattern exactly in Black and white and red)
But my daughter thought it would be a nifty addition to her room in black and white and GREEN and oh could I maybe make it a little bigger? Kids are so great at helping us keep busy aren't they?
 She was right of course it looks fabulous in her room.
I thought since this was a quilt for our house I would take advantage of the opportunity to practice some of my quilting skills that are needing some fine tuning. I have a list of things I am anxious to master (feathers, pebbles, sharp points, echoing tears etc...). Feathers of course are very important in quilting and I am far from mastering them but, I realize I will never improve without practice.

 I also did some different fillers and textures so experiment and see what I could do now that I have had quite a few hours on the machine.
 I found I need to work on the backtracking portion of the feathers. This caused a lot of frustration but I did see some improvement. It will be worth it when I have more options to put on quilts.
 The back:
It was encouraging to compare this practice quilt with an earlier one I had done and see some progress. Much smoother in my large motions and more able to stay within a shape.  The first few times on the longarm reminded me of my first time behind the wheel learning to drive.  I thought it was hard to stay within my lane (until my mom said to look ahead down the road instead of down at the hood).   On the longarm, trying to stay within the part of the block I was trying to quilt was tough at first, no guardrails to keep me on the road!  Experience, practice and getting a feel for things has helped.  
It is really fun seeing my skills starting to catch up with my ideas. Endless possibilities!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mosaic Madness

Last fall I took one of the two workshops our guild offered with guest speaker Cara Gulati.  We had a great time in class and I finished the top quickly but hadn't quilted it yet!
I finally finished it last night! It was great to snuggle under it while we re-watched Harry Potter movies in anticipation of the last movie coming out this week.
I found a fun variegated King Tut thread to quilt it AND,  having finally figured out that a little turn of the bobbin screw on my longarm when using King Tut equals perfect quilted up fun and quick- nothing fancy needed on this fun throw quilt. 
 I love brown so it was fun to use that as my background and find hot colors that glowed enough on it. I went for the 5 hot/4 cold nine patch configuration, very symetrical but it looked the best and I thought the varying brown backgrounds made it look less planned and more fun.
I found a Kaffe Fassat wavy stripe for the binding which was perfect. I love striped binding as a finishing touch.
Also I was super excited today that my mom's shop finally has Alexander Henry fabrics!! I have wanted some since we opened but  we have had so much going on it was hard to pursue.
 Finally we have some. 
I can't wait to make quilt out of this print:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pictures as promised

This is Nancy's quilt! It uses a Stonehenge Christmas 2.5" strip pack to make the tessellating trees and just a bit more fabric from the same line for the border.
Details shots: I had some fun playing on the border.
The pattern is by"Quilt Woman".  The funny thing is "Quilt Woman" owns the quilt shop in Spencerport, New York where my mom lived! It is a small world.
Nancy assures me that the pattern was quick and easy to follow. The quilt is gorgeous and the Northcott fabric really does feel like silk as they promise it will. 
This quilt was so much fun to quilt!! It was bliss! 
Also had a fun sewing these today:
 Stockings and ornaments:
My daughter was busy cutting fabric for a Birdie Sling to give a friend while I sewed these.  She was following the pattern and doing it all on her own! My baby is growing up....


I was tired after working in the store most of the day I really wanted to start a customer's quilt that I have been thinking about lately. So despite being tired I thought, "Well I will just start it and see how it goes.... "
Ahhh.... bliss. It was great. 
I think all the planets were aligned or something.... 
My thread broke ONLY one time- a first in my longarming career, (usually I have several breaks being a newbie I just assume this is normal). My tension required only minimal tweaking and I was so focussed and enjoying the quilt and the process that I finished the whole thing! I wish every quilter this feeling.
It is midnight so it is too dark to take pictures but I will try to get some up soon. Meantime I think Tonks (my cat) wants me to stay in bed and I am not arguing with her. 
Night everyone!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tie Dyed fabrics

We have very few whites in our house.  I sort of banned all whites when the kids were little--back when they would get stains on anything white within 60 seconds of putting it on (or at least it seemed).  I realized in those early years some of those stained shirts could be saved with a little dye.  Bingo a new colorful shirt! Anything white that somehow makes its way into our house despite the ban usually ends up in the tie dye pile waiting for a day like yesterday.
gradations of Jade Green and Royal Blue
Dharma Trading (where we buy dye) also sells a variety of fabrics that can be tie dyed. I purchased a bolt of Kona Cotton to dye and my daughter was in the mood to do some items too so off we went.
 Here are our results. Now that is what I call a happy clothesline!

I have been slowly making and accumulating these squares in hopes of one day soon putting them together into a quilt for myself. I think it would be neat to have a quilt that I did everything for (except weave the fabric of course)
I had a bunch of white hand towels that I purchased cheaply at Target that we dyed yesterday:
 and my favorite baby shower gift is to buy cloth diapers and tie dye them into colorful burp clothes. I try to keep some on hand since I don't dye more than a couple of times per year. Here is the batch we made yesterday.
Another successful and fun tie dye day!
I will have some fat quarters for sale at Quilters Crossing later this week if anyone is interested in purchasing some hand dyed fabric.