Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mystery Quilt Progress 9/28/2010

Tonight I finished the first set of four corner blocks.  They look good.  I have another set of four corner blocks to make.  The pattern is a smaller, less detailed version of the large central block.  When those are done I can do borders and begin assembling the top.  I'm really hoping to have the quilt done by this time next week.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mystery Quilt Progress 9/25/2010

I finished the 27" sq. central block last night.  It looks good.  Tonight I'm working on four small (9" fin.) corner blocks.  They're fancy nine-patches but pretty straight forward, so they shouldn't take long.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Piper's Polka Dots on Display

Here is Piper's Polka Dots quilt on display in my granddaughter Piper's room.  The walls inspired the quilt design.  The quilt looks good with the inspiration wall.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mystery Quilt Progress 9/21/2010

The four most intricate sections of the central block of the Mystery Quilt are finished.  There are four arms that form an X in the block.  I got two of those done tonight.  Although the remaining two arms wouldn't take long, I don't know how much quilting I'll be able to do tomorrow night.  I've got a couple of other items on the agenda that will occupy most of the evening.  I'm hoping I'll get an hour or two before bed to sew.  Good thing I'm a night owl!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mystery Quilt Progress 9/20/2010

First of all, I'm the mother of a 30-year-old today!  My wonderful son Robbie is 30.  I am officially old.  Happy Birthday, Bud!

I've made progress on the Mystery Quilt.  My paper-pieced sections are all drawn and last night I got one intricate section paper-pieced.  Tonight I'm hoping to finish the other three--identical to the section I finished last night.  I expect the process to go faster tonight, since the fabric pieces are already measured and cut.  It seems that the planning takes a while, but things move right along after the deep thinking is done.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mystery Quilt

I've got a few quilts at the beginning stages.  The one that is farthest along is a mystery quilt.  I have to be careful what I say about it because it's a surprise and I don't want the recipient to read about it on my blog.

I've bought fabric and created a design for the mystery quilt.  Last night I began drawing up the 27" block that goes in the center of the quilt.  I had to piece together three separate sheets of paper to get a size large enough to accommodate the pattern:  a gridded sheet that wasn't quite wide enough and two large pieces of tracing paper which were also a little too small.  I plotted a few points, then had to check my drawing on EQ6 for more details.  That's as far as I got.  Tonight I'll finish drawing the large block, then decide how I'll create 4 identical, intricate triangles for paper piecing.  It sounds complicated, but it's kind of a fun challenge for me.

I may have to drop the project when some ordered fabric arrives.  The fabric is for another project that is due soon, and will have to take priority, since it has an absolute deadline of the middle of October.  But until the fabric arrives, I can work on the mystery quilt.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Piper's Polka Dots, Part 3

Piper's Polka Dots
43" x 51.5"
For my granddaughter Piper
Original design
Partly from stash

I finished Piper's Polka Dots on Wednesday night.  It's a quilt for my four-month-old granddaughter Piper.  You can see the inspiration for the quilt here.  Lots of photos and details of my process follow in this post as well as in two previous posts.  Enjoy.

Quilt sections joined, pressed open.  Used glue and pins, but wished I'd used Wonder Tape.  The glue didn't hold in all places, I kept sticking myself with the pins which were on the bottom of the work, and actually sewed through a flower head pin, which took a while to undo.  It was not a fun time.

Last circle attached with 505 spray.  Will zigzag around edges, then quilt a spiral.  Back of circle will have extra quilting because part of it was quilted earlier by mistake.  Oh, well.  Unquilted areas (left of the tape to center) to be filled in with loop-de-loop free motion quilting, which should blend in with previous quilting.

Quilting finished

Close-up of quilting

Design notes

Quilt finished. Binding is same pink as the circles.  I could have used green, but the pink ties the whole quilt together and gives a little pop.  Glad I made that decision.

Close-up of front

Quilt back

Close-up of back

Enjoy your quilt, Piper!

Piper's Polka Dots, Part 2

Quite a bit of time has passed since I worked on Piper's Polka Dots.  It's time to create the quilt sandwiches.  I had to piece batting together.  My method:  overlap edges an inch or so, then stitch a wide, elongated zigzag (number 27 on my Bernina 440 QE) through the middle of the overlap.  Trim the excess batting.  For me it's flat enough without bulk.

Batting pieced together with long, wide zigzag

Design notes

I laid the sections on my bed, but something didn't look right.  By habit, I put a pin in the top left corner of a section to help me know which way is up.  But when I laid them out that way, the layout seemed unbalanced.  I put the sections on the design wall.
Something was definitely wrong.  The circles seemed to be clustered toward the right of the quilt, with nothing on the left.  And where would the last circle go?  There didn't seem to be enough room.  I wouldn't have crowded it that much.  Confirmation came when I noticed two of the same fabrics in the second row next to each other.  I wouldn't have allowed that.

See the second row center, where two lights are next to each other across the gap.

Flipped left section vertically.  Much better.
Figured out that the pin may have fallen off and been put back in the wrong spot when I showed off the sections at my Modern Quilt Guild Meeting.  Everything is fine now.

Design notes

Setting up backing.  Milk bottles fabric isn't long enough to cover.

Enough of circles fabric to cover one side and piece with milk bottles for the other side.
Tried out a couple of layouts, decided to use combination of milk bottles and circles for both sections.
Cut both fabrics in half, laid on design wall.  Will arrange quilt sandwich to show as much of the milk bottles fabric as possible.

Was able to press most of circles to backing.  Tried fabric glue on the back of a couple of circles, but no luck.  So I used WashAway Wonder Tape by Dritz on them.  It's double-sided, won't gum up needles, and washes out.

Circle secured to backing with Wonder Tape

Marked Wonder Tape circles with safety pins to remind me that the edges may be a little loose.

Quilt sandwich for left half of top.  Spray basted with 505 Spray and Fix Adhesive.
Behind quilt sandwich is old sheet used during spraying to protect design wall and floor.

Close up of pins marking seams.  Did same on other side of piece.  Keeps back looking straight.

Quilt sandwich for right half of quilt top

Circle with zigzag applique on edges.  Could have done this earlier, but wanted the 3-dimensional effect of quilting through all layers.  I love the puffiness and would have liked to leave it this way.  But I'm sure that with time the circle would have gone flat, and I don't want the layers of such a large area to be loose.

Circles machine appliqued and free motion quilted with spirals.

Close-up of spiral quilted circle.  Looks like a big lollipop, a cinnamon roll or Princess Leia hair.  I love the 3-D effect.  Piper will enjoy running her fingers over the ridges.

Last circle laid over the gap.  Will not be sewn to the quilt until the sections are joined.

When I quilt in sections I like to leave the center areas unquilted in an uneven pattern.  Once the sections are joined, the center will be quilted.  The uneven edges help the new quilting to blend into the previous quilting.

I turned the left side upside down for quilting bottom to top, doing loop-de-loop free motion quilting.  When I finished I noticed I had quilted the center half by mistake.  Grrrr.  There was a little open space on the inside edges for joining later, but I was kicking myself for getting it mixed up.  I went ahead and quilted the outer half of the section, since it couldn't hurt.

While I was quilting, I ran out of bobbin and had little lime green thread left.  I dumped my stash of thread to find I had nothing remotely close to substitute.  It was 7:15 PM on Labor Day, and I called Joann's to see if they would close early, but they wouldn't.  I had time to run and pick up a spool so I could keep working.  I usually write the color number on the spool but I hadn't done it on the lime green, so I took the spool with me to find a similar green.  I found a close match.  Yippee!

Right section quilted.  To avoid the same mistake, I marked the inside edges with notes that said No! at the top and bottom.

Design notes

Quilt top three-quarters quilted.
Center edge of right section left unquilted for joining.

Joined sections with a similar method used in Joann Sets Sail.  There was little Wonder Tape left, so trying fabric glue stick and pins.

Piper's Polka Dots, Part 1

Piper's Polka Dots is a quilt for my 4-month-old granddaughter Piper.

Piper's bedroom
Lime green walls with big pink polka dots provided inspiration for the quilt design.

I wanted to have a lime green background with pink circles.  I happened to see a pattern in McCall's Quilting March/April 2009 called Petals in the Grass.  It had similar colors and I decided to use the placement of groups of petals for layout for the circles.

Sketch of layout
Background: 4.5" unfinshed squares -- scrappy
Circles: 4" finished (machine zigzag applique)

The plan was to construct the background in two vertical sections, apply most of the circles, quilt the sections separately, join the sections, and apply the last circle (with the X through it), then quilt it and the surrounding area.

Design notes

 Green fabrics -- mostly fat quarters

Added pink

Has been in my stash for a few years.
Colors and theme (bottles of milk) work.

For Backing
Great colors and I love the pink circles!

Per my Organized Chaos system, I divided the greens into five groups.  I cut 4.5" squares of each fabric, then mixed the squares within each group so that each pile has an assortment of fabrics.

Fabric squares laid out on the design wall following my Organized Chaos map

Squares sewn together into two large sections,
The sections won't be joined together until later in the process.

Trying out different sized circles: 4", 6" and 8".  The smallest was from the original design.

Added a 10" paper plate--my favorite size!  I'd might as well go for the gusto.  After all, the circles on Piper's wall are huge.

Using paper plate for pattern
Four layers of fabric, which have been fused with Wonder Under Fusible Web.
May have been in too much of a hurry, but the Wonder Under didn't work very well, very frustrating.  Would have been better off using basting tape to attach to backing.

Pattern marked with black dots (permanent marker)

Pinned layers together so they don't move

Four circles cut
Repeated for total of 8 circles
Why 8?  Piper was born on May 3.  5th month + 3rd day = 8

Below:  trying out different placements for circles

I'm happy with this one.

Design notes

Removed circle in upper middle, which won't be attached until later in the process.
Fused remaining circles to the background, using tracing paper to protect the iron.
Not all of the edges fused properly.  Had to pin the edges to hold in place.