Sunday, September 23, 2012

Morris Garden Quilted and Scallope Border Bound

I have completed the initial quilting of the Morris Garden and decided to use a scalloped border that mirrors the curved lined in the outer border fabric.I don't think that a scalloped border fits all quilts but it looks appropriate on this one.

I plan to do more background quilting to make the applique pop up better.  For now it can go in the front entry over Steve's beautiful side table.

That darn Nathan

A couple of weeks ago at Glad Creations, Nathan showed his progress on DaVinci, a Jinny Beyer pattern with an optical illusion sort of feel.  I hadn't thought about it in years, but I had started the same quilt in 2004 when I went to a Jinny Beyer conference.  Maybe I could find it and pull the pieces together to take on the trip.

To my surprise I went right to the quilt in all of it's pieces in a bag, in a drawer.  All of the pieces were present, all of the cutting was complete (although in 2004 I wasn't quite so particular about my cutting) and some of the piecing was well under way.  I pressed all the pieces and organized the whole thing to go along on the trip.

Well, I have to say that my expectations of cutting and piecing have certainly changed in the last 8 years.  It took me longer to piece the blocks than what I anticipated, but before I had to box up my little quilting station at the Woodworking school I had my version of DeVinci fully assembled.

I am not sure how I will be quilting this one but I am thinking I might have Page Johnson give me some suggestions.

What I did while on the road

While Steve was in his bowl turning class, I setup a sewing station a quietly quilted in the corner for 5 days.  I had a space in the back of a large equipment room so I got to visit with some folks but mostly just do my I got a lot done.  You can see that I set up my cutting board on one of the big planers and put my sewing machine next to a huge drill press.  The barrel of wood shavings worked well to hold my pressing mat.  It was a very workable area in an otherwise large room of big equipment.

I finally got around to sewing the Glad Creations Scrap Tames' Mystery quilt for 2011-2012 that I had cut back in May or June.  I think it came out nicely considering that I only bought 1 fabric that was the focus and all others came from my stash. Now I just need to get it backed and quilted

What we did for summer vacation

On Labor Day we took the camper and headed out for the Upper Peninsula and western Michigan. This was our first long trip with the camper and new truck.  Oh my, what a difference the right sized truck makes.  We were very lucky on the weather and drive times.  We still need to work on how much road time to plan for in a day since we ended up with a number of late arrivals and setups but pretty much kept the road time to about 4 hours a day.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan was a bit of a surprise.  Somehow I thought that much sand belongs on the sea coast but there it was deep deep sand dunes.

The visit to Shipshewana in Indiana was interesting.  For this little town to be so prosperous in such a low tech community compared to other Indiana small towns was quite a commentary.  We were surprised by the number of Amish buggies tied up outside the Walmart in Goshen.  If you go to the area be sure to visit the Amish-Mennonite museum and stay for the 1 hour tour through the history of the Amish in the area.  It was really very well done.

The second week of the vacation Steve was in a bowl turning class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.  He really enjoyed his class and made a number of bowls and platters during the week.  They made a huge pile of wood shavings that filled several barrels each day. They also made some really nice little bowls.  I am thinking Christmas gifts.

 These are bowls that the instructor made.  She is really talented and likes to add the engraving details that set her work apart.  Steve is working on his technique and getting "the touch" of working the lathe.

I have never been sure how the days of the calendar flips so quickly by.  I keep thinking that I will add to the blog and then I realize another week has passed me by.  I can promise to be more timely in the future but I have learned that tigers don't change their stripes so don't plan your schedule around a weekly entry by me....

At any rate I have been busy since my last posting.  Migration by Night is complete with an added border of flying geese to make it a better fit for a queen size bed.  I have taken it to The Quilting Page to have it quilted on the long-arm. I will post a photo when I get it back.

I had taken my big feathered star to Page for show level quilting and got talked into giving her some time putting zippers on quilts, trimming quilts and the like in exchange for her time to quilt this large quilt.  One thing has led to another and now I am helping with getting quilts loaded on the machines and learning how to setup the computer patterns for the machines.

Page can see in her mind's eye what will enhance a quilt top and works with the customers to select a complementing design.  It is fascinating to watch her take a computerize design and reconfigure it so that it is the right scale for the quilt, or edit the design to better nest together and reduce the ridges that often happen when the designs do not fit together quite right.  I have been amazed at how much hands on work there is with the computer guided quilting.  The notion of set-it-up and let it run seriously under estimates the time needed to get even a lap size quilt done.

As a spin off to my many questions about the computer side of the machine (I am a geek after all) have led to my working with Page to digitize the designs she has doodled on a gazillion pieces of paper.  I have been learning to use the Art and Stitch program to convert from doodles to stitching lines for the Statler Stitcher and other computer long-arm programs.  It is fairly simple but very putsy work to get the lines to flow well in the program and then stitch smoothly on the machine.  It is going to take time to get this process down to where I don't have to think about each step.

This is a Page turner that Page designed and we have been editing to see how it can be applied to a multitude of different uses from sashing to all over design where the curved curls actually intertwine.  It is all a learning process.

Monday, August 27, 2012

That darn Georgia

Somehow my "NO" button never works. Like most quilters, beautiful fabric sticks to my thighs when I walk by and I end up with enough fabric to complete a lifetime of quilts but never quite the right mix, so a trip to the shop is always in order.  I have to admit that I don't buy very many kits in part because I always want to change them and I don't want what everyone else has already made.

About 12 years ago, Jenny Beyer came out with MoonGlow.  This is a gorgeous quilt that I know many have had difficulty putting together.  Well when they brought out the 10 year anniversary kit I broke down and bought it.  The color play really is striking and most of it can be completed using paper-piecing.  It has been sitting on the shelf for the last 12-18 months...until I get to that stack of the stash.

Photo taken from the web

One night at club Georgia mentioned that she was trying to finish her MoonGlow but thought Susan would personally shoot her if she brought it to another UFO day.  I chimed in and said that I would work on my MoonGlow if Georgia wanted to work together on the project.  What was I thinking?  this was not on my list of projects to work on anytime soon.

I am well on my way to completing the quilt with 6 design blocks done.  However, I have been working on a design edit to add a large oval compass in the center as a medallion and adding a number of additional blocks that may be duplicates of the current design or additions from the Judy Mathieson Mariner's Compass.  I think I have enough fabric but know that I can buy more through Jenny Beyer's online store.

I am taking my remaining blocks with me on vacation next week.  It takes me 2-3 hours to complete one of the blocks and some of the remaining blocks are more complicated than what I have done so far.  I may only get a couple of blocks done or I may complete the remaining 7 design blocks.  Once I have the core blocks done I will really have to focus on that center design and see if I can pull it off or go with the beautiful quilt as it is currently designed.  More to come

Kathy's beautiful fabric throw

My friend Kathy Watson has moved to Sun City, Arizona.  Supposedly she will be back here during the summers when it is brain boil in Arizona.  Last fall before she left, Kathy and I were on retreat at Lake Beauty.  She had this great fabric she wanted to use for a throw at the end of the bed.  Kathy decided to quilt the design motifs with a minke backing.  She spent a lot of time getting the whole cloth pinned to the minke (it really stretches a lot so needs mega pinning).

This spring when she was back she passed the partially completed throw to me for finishing.  You know it was just following the design on the fabric, nothing real difficult or fussy but OMG there was a lot more than what I gave it credit for.  I quilted on this thing for weeks to get it done.  If I needed practice with my free-motion technique, I just got it.

The fabric is a great print of medallion circles and curly cue flowers and stems.  I was able to just follow the outline of the different motifs with a tan thread on top and a yellow in the bobbin. 


With all of the pinning the whole thing was pretty heavy but the mink really need the stabilization or it would have stretched and sagged all over.  As it turned out, the minke took on a fabulous texture. 

Once she binds this "quilt" (there is no batting) I think Kathy will really like the results.

Kristi had a birthday

Recently my business partner and I had to buy new laptop computers.  It is nice that we can do that at this point.  Kristi wanted one of the smaller 13 or 14 inch style for easy portability.  I got the 15 inch with a 10 key number pad in the keypad area.  We have both been happy with the computers but Kristi was having a problem finding a "sleeve" to put her computer into before she slides the whole thing into her carrying bag. So for her birthday I made her a little sleeve for her little computer.

In addition to the computer bag I finally completed the quilting on the Four Patch Posy I had intended to give her for last Christmas.  So in the middle of a very hot summer Kristi got a cozy quilt for her tv room.

The colors will work perfectly for her.

This pattern is so fun to make that I have another one ready for the vacation trip where I get to sew

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Migration By Night

I have started working on the layout for this quilt.  The units are all made and now it is a question of which colors go together as friends without too much redundancy of pairs.  I have chosen to put this quilt on a blue/black background for the night sky. 

There are 2 more rows and the border to work out, and of course I have to actually sew the various blocks together, but this is definitely moving along.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I have to Brag - Steve's Table and Rocker

My husband is a budding woodworker who has made great strides in the last year or so.  He is a little blog shy so I am going to put it here until he gets more comfortable with the process.

This is the Sculptured Rocker in mahogany he finished a couple of months ago. This was 2 trips (2 years) for class in Indianapolis plus a furniture finishing class and it is fabulous! (ignore the kitty tail in the lower left corner)

Last year Steve took a class for this side server.  Some day he will put in all of the technical info but what I know is that it is quarter sawn white oak with a mission finish and I think it is gorgeous!

February FMQ Challenge

Like most quilters I want to be able to do feathers - feathers - feathers.  Somehow even with the stencils it was always a chore.  They didn't fit, they went the wrong way, I spent as much time tracing the lines as I did quilting the lines. I have taken a class from Diane and others in the past so feathers aren't a new concept but I never really got very good at it.

Well to my surprise Diane Gaudynski's feathers are the second challenge.  OMG, they couldn't wait until month 5 or 6? OK, the only way to really do this is jump in. I went through Diane's materials. I have spent several evenings just running the pencil on paper to get the size and shape working.  There are feathers all over my house right now.  I knew that the best idea was shear repetition.

Time to commit needle to fabric - after all it is February 29th.

Last night I was at a quilting class and had my extension table with me in the trusty old pillow case.  It is worn and about to rip, plus it has no handles so kind of difficult to transport.  So here is the opportunity.  Make a quilted tote for the extension table.  Handles, straps around the bottom for support, reasonable size chunk of fabric to quilt with lots of FEATHERS

So I have a lot of it done but not all of it. I started with the blue pen and have completed enough feathers that now I am freehanding the whole thing.  I have completed some of the echo work but need to fill in better.  I am thinking little circles down the spine - but that really is overkill for a tote bag.

As with all of my quilting, practice is needed.  Figuring out the curls and balance will take some time but I can now take on the feathers.

Diane - the key comment in your description was the rounded top and the historical use of a coin to get the curve.  Now I had a true visual image that I could translate into my feathers.  Thank you for the instructions.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Free-Motion Quilting Challenge 2012

Georgia made me do it.  She put into the newsletter a note about the SewCalGals blog and the challenge to improve your machine quilting ( ).  Every month a different machine quilter provides an instruction session and a challenge to be completed.  What a great way to get people more comfortable with the machine quilting - one bite at a time.  I like the idea of smaller pieces geared to practice that I can then apply to my actual projects.

Now there is a virtue in being timely that somehow I missed growing up.  My highway to hell is paved with my good intentions and decorated with my calendars of undone or late activities.  So January is just a few days late.  I have gone through the February challenge and have started working on it so maybe I will get it done before the 29th.

January was leaves.  I have used leaves in the past but not covered an 18" x 18" section.   This has some potential to fit into a project that I want to quilt.

I invite you to join us in this activity.  This is a great way to practice and explore different techniques and designs.

February Sew-In

Every couple of months the folks I work with at Glad Creations in Minneapolis have a weekend sew-in.  I was the host this past weekend and had 7 people sewing and cutting in my quilt room all at one time.  It was great fun and very energizing to see what everyone is doing.  I have to admit that I spent more time socializing and putsing than I did in serious sewing, but we had a good time.

I was trying to finish the scrap quilt I started last summer when I was working in Fort Worth.  The pattern is called "Glory Bound" by Bonnie Blue Quilts and uses lots of 2' and 4" half square triangles.  I put a major dent in my traditional scraps with triangle paper and made a small mountain of half square blocks.  Actually I think I have almost enough half squares left over to make a second quilt.

This was an easy quilt to make but easy to get my star points rotated as I put the blocks together.  Fortunately I had it all laid out on  the design wall.  When I wasn't diverted with the conversations in the room, it went together quickly. 

I really like the secondary pattern that pops out when the blocks come together.  I will definitely make this one again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Magic Garden - It is all about timing

I walked into the store a couple of weeks ago and the new In The Beginning line of fabrics with William Morris designs was on the shelf.  This is really pretty stuff but how would I use it.  Naturally, Nancy came to the rescue and we looked at the Michele Hill applique designs with a William Morris flair - there was more than one idea I could go with.

When Nathan suggested that we both take Pat Cox's applique class I knew that I had the project and the Saturday classes would give me the motivation.  Since I work at Glad Creations I wanted to use my time in the class with a pattern and fabric from the shop.

This is the sample they have in the book

I am working on the Morris Meadow wallhanging.  Although the pieces are not tiny, there certainly are a lot of them.  I have a start in one quadrant of the quilt.  I want to see how the colors work in this section before I cut everything out.

Starting in the upper right corner of the quilt -
one quadrant at a time

Hopefully, the every other Saturday schedule is going to give me enough time to make measurable progress from one class to the next.  This should be interesting.

Scrap, Scrap, Scrap, Scrap.......

They are everywhere!  The more quilts I finish the more scraps I have - its like rabbits - every time I turn the lights off, they multiply.

In the last couple of years I have made a number of "traditional" based colored quilts.  They had similarities in the fabric but of course never shared fabrics.  I now have a small mountain of fabrics in this genre and need to start culling the herd. 

Add to that, I have been digging out the fabric shelves downstairs and find that a lot of batiks have been coming home from the store with me.  It pains me to see these beautiful fabrics hiding in my storage boxes in the basement.  Not all of them are in quantities that will be a focus fabric in my next grand endeavor but they certainly are nice laid out together on the sorting table.

Last year I started taking a bite out of the "traditionals" with Glory Bound from Bonnie Blue Quilts.  I made up a stack of half square triangles but only got a couple of blocks done.  After working at the sorting table I am more committed to moving out these leftover fabric chunks and scraps - both "traditionals" and batiks.

So here is what the first 4 blocks look like.  It is a simple pattern with a great secondary design.  Now that I have Sylvia's off the wall I can put this up and figure out what other colors need to be added for variety and balance.  This block uses 36 darks and 28 lights.  I would like to make up more half square triangles in a greater variety of colors (adding browns, dark golds, more blues....) because the same fabrics keep show up in each block so quickly.  It is not like I don't have the variety so I might as well use it.

Then I think I will do one in batiks with a focus on jewel tones.  More to come.

Garden in the Grey Dawn Project for 2012

Now that the Baltimore Album top is done and I am working on hand quilting it (this is going to take a while 'cuz it is really BIG) it is time for me to pick up another applique project.  I have a number of patterns but found the Karen Kay Buckley design for Magical Medallions online and really liked the stylized flowers and sweeping design. 

During my trip to Lancaster last spring I was thrilled to find that the quilt show had a special display of Karen Kay Buckley quilts hanging.  I was so excited to be able to really look at her quilts and the subtle design additions that you can see close-up but really miss in a typical photo.

My friend and travel companion, Meg, suggested starting with a grey on grey color pallet for the background and framing which I thought would be a great neutral but still show off the brighter colors that I had in mind. I am thinking of the iridescent glow that flowers and plants take on in the early morning light - hence the Grey Dawn.

I have the first block almost complete except for some embroidery accents and about 75% of the second block completed.  This is turning out to be a nice pattern to work with lots of detail but fairly straight forward applique pieces - just a lot of them.

Block 1 needs embroidery vines to the little pink flowers and tiny yellow appliqued circles in the center of those flowers.

Block 2 needs to have the green scrolls finished and the flower center has some pieces to add yet.

I will post the various blocks as they come together - there are a total of 12 blocks plus the center medallion and a darker grey scalloped sashing.  I have a lot to work on yet.

Sylvia's Update

Sylvia's is complete; quilted and bound.  This is the only picture I have right now of it hanging at Glad Creations in Minneapolis.  Susan and Nancy invited staff and customers to display their Sylvia's Bridal Sampler and were surprised when there were over 40 quilts of various sizes and designs that were submitted.  The show will be hanging through January 21st if you can get in for a visit.  You can also click on the link to the Glad Creations blog in the right frame of this page.  That will take you to their blog where you can look at the 2 different slideshows that they have posted.

I will post a more complete photo of the quilt and the label (work in progress) when I get the quilt back at the end of the month.

Four Patch Poesy in Wine

I have always liked the unexpected results of the kaleidoscope or fussy cut repeated units.  Stack and Whack is still a favorite but 4 Patch Poesy is faster.  I bought this fabric a couple of years ago and pulled it out for my fall retreat in northern Minnesota.  I had the fabric cut and the orientation of the blocks figured out in advance so it made for a quick go together quilt.

I had planned on giving it as a gift at Christmas but that is not how the calendar worked out.  I do know when her birthday is so I have a new target date.  I hope to be more skilled on the Handi Quilter by then and would like this to be an HQ quilt.

Pink Flowers???

Some time in the last couple of years I purchased a kit at the Minnesota Quilt Show from Pincushion Boutique with the pattern Out of the Box.  I liked the pattern and thought it would be great for a larger scrap quilt but I also really liked the black and pink floral in the kit.

At a weekend retreat this past fall I put the kit together.  I do like the pattern.  It was quick and easy, and lends itself very well to making a much larger quilt. 

I have it pinned and ready to quilt.  I used it as an example in the machine quilting class on how closely to pin the sandwich.  Since I have another class in February I will probably wait until after the class to finish the quilt.

Christmas Cards for 2011

This year's card was a little simpler than last year.  Time was not on my side so I streamlined the design a smidgen.  Now that I am not in a corporate setting with 30 or 40 co-workers I was able to reduce the number of cards to 90 for 2011.  Of all the cards that I sent out, I only had 1 returned as a bad address.  Either people are doing a better job of getting their addresses updated or folks are just not moving as much as they have in the past.