Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Applique Is Complete!!!!

I started this quilt in a Baltimore Album class in Roswell, Georgia in 1993.  It was a block of the month that took just a little longer to complete than originally planned.  Actually I had the 12 core blocks done within about 18 months.  I even had the flower basket center done about 6 months after that.

It was at that point that I realized that I had cut the center basket a little toooooooooo small for the blocks to work around.  I also knew that it would take me as long to complete the borders as it had to complete the various blocks. 

Off to the closet for years and years - waiting for Prince Charming to awaken the quilt with a fresh new look.  I have taken the blocks out several times over the years to consider options but it was last fall when I saw a setting at the Des Moines' American Quilter's Society show that I knew how to add some size to the center block and not have it look forced.

With a clear plan in mind and a willingness to take on the applique project again, I set about completing the Baltimore Album quilt.  The dog tooth border around the center basket added the size I needed and didn't take very long to complete.  I had a block that needed to be re-worked and Pat Cox helped me resolve that problem and the balance of the various shaped blocks.  Working out the borders and setting up the pattern was went fairly quickly.  Finding the right fabric for the "fans" at the center of the borders took more time than expected, but eventually paid off.

Completing the dog tooth border around the perimeter of the quilt was a bigger project than anticipated.  Suddenly there were a lot of inches of border to applique into place.

As of today, all of the borders are on.  Now I have to get the back ready, pull out the basting table (Steve loves it when I set it up in the family room for several days) and sandwich the quilt top.  I plan to hand quilt this in a simple grid with some extra texture around the basket.  We will see how long this project will take.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting Back in Touch

As many of you know, I have been working in Fort Worth much of the last 6 months.  The money has been good but the constant travel has taken a toll on my quilting and documenting. 

Well I am back!

I have finished the baby quilt for the nephew but the photos will follow.

I have been working on the Baltimore Album and have about 60 inches of the final dog tooth border to finish.  That photo will follow as well.

I am just about done with the Sylvia's Wedding Quilt.  I have come to appreciate how demanding a two color quilt is.  When your only contrast comes from value in a small space, it is a greater challenge than I expected.  I have learned that previewing the pre-cut blocks on the design wall from 5-10 feet away is to evaluate the visual impact of different fabrics.

I drafted most of the blocks into EQ7 so that I could use paper piecing to put the blocks together.  In a 6 inch block, being off just a little on your seam allowance is highly visible whereas the paper piecing kept my seams straight and points sharp.

I decided to use the Peaky & Spike style sashing to create a more circular look to the blocks with a touch of shared space.  The blocks are small enough and busy enough that I thought that it called for a setting that gave a design reason to the busy blocks.

Now I have a couple more blocks to finish and then move the blocks around to balance the lights and darks with the horizontals versus the stars versus the circulars.......

In the next couple of weeks I anticipate getting caught up on the blog as I finish both Sylvia's and the Baltimore Album

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ohio Star Scrappy for Quilts of Valor 2011

Last week was my SPRING (are you kidding me we got 14 inches of snow last Sunday) quilting retreat.  I have done this now for the last 4 or 5 years to get away for a couple of days earlier in the year and to get something of a jump start on this year's projects.  This year I am trying to focus on using the leftover fabric from quilts I have made in the past to make at least 2 donation quilts.  I now understand that when you do a scrappy quilt from your stash, you have to think a lot more about how you are going to use the fabric and how many pieces you can get out of those odd shaped scraps.

I decided to start with a group of traditional based fabrics from 3 different projects: the Lone Star Maniac I made last year for my brother-in-law; the Thank You quilt made for the neighbors who have watched our pets; and Brian's Lone Star in Ohio from a couple of years ago.  While the fabrics have a similar feel to them, each box of scraps brought a different set of fabrics.  It was great to go through the boxes and realize that I actually have enough of these fabrics to make 2 quilts.

From Brian's quilt I found that there were about 20 leftover 6" blocks that I could use as a starting point.  I cut all the pieces I would need to make a total of 50 Ohio Stars and 49 Quarter Square Triangle blocks.  I worked on the Ohio Stars at the retreat.  I had to finish the Qtr Sq blocks at home on Sun since we all cleared out early to beat the blizzard.  This is what I had completed by the time I got home Sunday morning:

I had the blocks complete by Sunday night and the whole top assembled by last night.  I have decided to use it for my demo quilt in the Machine Quilting class that starts on Monday night.  I will post some followup comments about how that goes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The center of the Baltimore Album quilt is assembled

Once I figured out the process for the sawtooth border, the center basket came together in a week.  It took a week to fix the heart block in the top right corner and then just a couple of days to get all of the blocks trimmed and assembled. 

Now I just need to scale the border pattern, layout the design, cut the fabric and prep for applique and spend the next several months getting them appliqued in place.  After 17 years of waiting I guess that a couple of months is progressing like a speed demon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Baltimore Album is in progress

I started a Baltimore Album as a block of the month class when I was living in Atlanta.  I think it was about 1993 that the first class started with a 2 fabric cut away applique.  I had the 12 blocks and the center basket complete before I moved to Minnesota in 1997, but I knew that finishing the sashing and border were going to take as long as the blocks had.  Over the years I have taken it out to contemplate what to do next and then it quietly goes back in the box.

In my current effort to complete unfinished projects the Baltimore Album has floated back to the surface.  Now that I am not traveling every week I am able to sign up for the applique class at Glad's.  It has helped to get me back on track and clarify my plans for layout and finishing. 

I have now finished the sawtooth border around the center basket and will start to add the blocks.  Once I have the blocks on I can finalize the size of the border.  For now I will post the center. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Glad Creations Staff Quilt Show

This is the last post for 2010 activities.

Each year Nancy and Susan host a staff quilt show.  The theme changes from year to year and is always quite interesting.  This is when our customers get a chance to see how the staff responds to a challenge.  This year the theme was Lone Star Quilts.

Click Image to go to Glad Creations Blog

We had a great show with 14 very different quilts.  Please go to the Glad Creations Blog and watch the slide show that Nancy & Susan have put together using the SmileBox app.  You will be able to spot the central theme of the Lone Star but you will quickly see that each quilt is completely different form the others.  From a Lone Star with a "broderie perse" center to an all plaid quilt and colors that glow.

It was a great show that we are trying to get into the Minnesota Quilt Show as a group showing.  If that doesn't work I think we are each planning to submit our individual quilts.  I am going to have to tell my brother-in-law and his wife that their quilt will be delayed for a few months.

Judy Neimeyer's Autumn Splendor

A couple of years ago I took the Autumn Splendor class from Judy Neimeyer.  I really appreciate the paper piecing method for the long skinny points and Judy's technique minimizing the number of pieces converging on a single point.  This quilt turned out so well that I know I will be making a future Judy Neimeyer design.

When I saw Brian's apartment last year it was clear that he needed some color in his space.  Something to work with the tans and light golds but also to provide contrast and a spark.  Then I thought of this quilt - which of course was not yet completed.  By February 2010 the quilt top was ready.  I already knew how I was going to quilt it so I didn't feel any pressure to get going on it during the year. (I really need to learn to not put things off just because there is time still on the calendar)  By the time I was supposed to be finishing the quilting, our days were consumed with family and health issues. 

The quilting actually went as quickly as I planned.  What I didn't expect was the scalloped edge binding as a learning experience.  This took significantly longer than anticipated.  I had never done a scalloped binding and quickly realized that I didn't have a clear idea of how I was going to convert my familiar binding steps to this different angle.  Fortunately I found a web reference to Linda Franz Scallops and great directions on how to complete the Scalloped Binding ( click here for the link to her page:

I am very pleased with the final results and have been looking at fabric for the next one.  Brian says the wall-hanging is the best quilt I have made so far and hopes that he will be the recipient of the Hawaiian Star bed sized quilt.  Somehow I doubt that he will get the next one.

Christmas Donation Quilt

Every year I plan to donate 2 or 3 quilts.  I had donated the Log Cabin earlier in the year to the Woman's Shelter and was finally able to get the binding finished on a quilt I had completed a number of years ago.  This little quilt was made for the daughter of one of Brian's friends.  There were changes in their relationship and the girl moved away before I completed the quilt.  I thought that it would be good for this quilt to go on to another little girl.

In December I looked for the Angle Tree at Caribou Coffee and found a request from a 12 year old girl.  She wanted a watch for Christmas.  I was able to meet that wish and add a quilt just for her.  I hope that she likes the watch and enjoys the quilt for many years.

Christmas Cards - 2010

I have made an ornament or Christmas Card each year for the past 25+ years.  It has ranged from 20 ornaments in the 80's to as many as 125 postcard in 2008.  In the early years it was a felt, glue and fabric paint affair that Brian and Eric reluctantly participated in.  In the 90's I converted over to making quilted ornaments that I included in the annual Christmas Cards.  In the last several years I have merged the postcard concept with a quilted ornament to make a Quilted Postcard.

In 2010, I was able to cut back on the number of cards since I no longer work in the corporate setting.  The total for this year was 70 cards.  If you look at the fabric that I used in the Christmas Star quilt in 2010, you will see that there is a border fabric used in the quilt.  I thought that it would work well for a Christmas ornament to be hung from a branch.

I already have the card for 2011 designed in my head but I have 10 months to figure out the construction and plan for the assembly line that takes over my quilt studio to get them done.  I  am on the lookout for the right fabrics and embellishments that I will need.  Maybe next year I will put them all on ice blue like the cold winter nights we have in December.

Remembering Jay

The end of 2010 was a whirl-wind of activity and emotions.  Steve's father, Jay, stayed with us for the month of October.  We thought that he might be moving in for a significant period of time as he was having trouble getting around in his apartment.  At 97 we expected him to be having difficulties but it was the harbinger of things to come. 

November brought multiple trips to the doctors in Minnesota and Iowa finally resulting in Jay entering the care center in Eagle Grove.  We knew what the outcome would be and we had a pretty clear idea of just how quickly it would come to pass.  Thanksgiving was a special dinner at Jim's (Steve's brother) with Jay an active member of the dinner party.

Events quickly cascaded from that point on.  More trips to Iowa and gathering of family for the final days.  December 29, 2010 was our last day with Jay.

We are still working to regain a balance of normal with the recent events, the holidays and the bittersweet gathering of all the family.  I think I like getting together for weddings better than I do for funerals.