Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ready to tie

Tonight I did a pillowcase finish on Carolyn’s Flower Garden quilt, turned it right side out and topstitched all around the edge. Tomorrow night (Wednesday) I’ll tie knots with embroidery floss and the quilt will be done—just in time for Carolyn’s last day Thursday before she retires.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quilt top in four rows

I’m making good progress on Carolyn’s Flower Garden quilt. Last night I got the blocks and sashing sewn into four rows. Tonight I’ll join the rows and sew on the border. I’ll do a pillowcase finish, and I’m hoping to get the quilt turned right side out by bedtime tonight. I’d love to deliver the quilt on Wednesday, with a day to spare before Carolyn retires.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sets 3-5 of flower blocks finished

                                 Flower blocks - sets 3-5

Strips not long enough for 4 4.5" cuts. Combining two fabrics for a two-color flower.

Most purples in third set are solids.  Chose a subtle print for interest.

Two-fabric flower

Set 3 flower blocks

Set 4 flower blocks

Fabric for 5th set.  Dark, almost red.  Saved it for set needing fewest number of blocks (2).

Not enough fabric for 8 cuts.  Borrowed an unused fabric from another pile.

Set 5 flower blocks
Tonight I finished the flower blocks for Carolyn’s Flower Garden. In a couple of cases I didn’t have enough of a fabric to make four squares. So I used a second fabric to make a two-color flower. I even had to borrow an unused fabric from a previous set to get enough squares.

Tomorrow I’ll lay out the flower blocks on the design wall, then start on the sashing. With the absolute deadline of Thursday looming, I’m doing pretty well.

Design notes

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Second set of flower blocks finished

Tonight I finished the second set of flower blocks for Carolyn’s Flower Garden quilt. I’m hoping to finish all of the blocks tomorrow. I bought a white-on-white print for the sashing tonight. It’s a sweet little print that will add a subtle texture in the large areas between blocks.
Design notes

See more progress on: Make Carolyn's Flower Garden quilt

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First set of blocks made

Attaching yellow fabric to one corner. Not trying to center or get perfectly symmetrical.  Only real concern is that the yellow covers the purple when flipped to the right side.

Yellow flipped and ironed

Here's what it looks like on the back side.

Yellow fabric trimmed even with sides.  I leave the purple fabric underneath in place.  The double thickness doesn't bother me.

Four squares with yellow attached.  I'm not concerned that all of the yellows aren't going to line up just perfectly.  The quirkiness will be interesting.

Small green pieces attached to corners

Larger green pieces attached

Squares sewn together to make a flower

I finished the first set of four flower blocks tonight. I like them. I purposely made the yellow and green pieces a little off kilter to add personality. I’ll work on more blocks tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not much time to make the quilt

Carolyn, a co-worker, is retiring soon. I didn’t realize how soon until yesterday when I spoke to her. Her last day is next Thursday. I decided I needed to make her a quilt, as I have for many retiring co-workers. Although I didn’t know her very well previously, yesterday I learned that she likes to garden and that her favorite color is purple.
Stash fabrics - larger pieces


Organized Chaos Grid and Color Breakdown

Fabric piles - Embroidery floss skeins indicate Organized Chaos color assignments for piles

So last night I adapted a simple flower pattern in Electric Quilt. The flower pattern (9” fin.) is basically four squares with bits of fabric attached here and there in a Liberated Quiltmaking style to form the yellow center and hints of green leaves on the edges. I want the quilt to look a bit scrappy and shopped my stash for most of it. I’ll need to get some fabric for the wide sashing—I’m thinking white-on-white or a pale blue (sky).

I’ll have to hurry on this one!

Design notes

Missed the June guild meeting

Saturday morning I wasn’t feeling well but I was determined to drive up to Sacramento for the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. The Kona charm pack challenge quilts were due and I wanted to show off Butterflies—my creation from the charm pack. I got up, took a shower, then sat down on the sofa for a half hour. I was feeling pretty miserable and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I decided it wouldn’t be wise to drive 1.5 hours each way just to show my quilt. So I decided to stay home and off the road. I went ahead and loaded my photos onto the guild’s website, then emailed the leader to let her know. I sat back and let myself rest.

A couple of hours later I woke up and checked my email, but there was no answer from the leader. I called Sew Fun Quilts in Folsom, where we meet, to let them know I wouldn’t be coming but that I had uploaded my photos.

I would have loved to show my quilt but I know I made a good decision not to drive. There’s always the July meeting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Headed to Picasso Exhibit in San Francisco Today

Today my friend Lena and I are going to San Francisco to see the Picasso exhibition.  This will be Lena's first time riding BART.  I'm coaching her on public transportation.  She's made the arrangements and set the itinerary.  I'll be there to make sure she doesn't get on the wrong bus, etc.  We're in for lots of fun and a few adventures.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to make Kona charm pack challenge quilt

                                       23" x 29"
                                 Original Design
"It came out really cute."

How I did it: The project was a challenge from Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am a member. We were given a pack of 5.5" charms in 42 gorgeous colors by Robert Kaufman. The challenge was to make a quilt in any size, any design, using the charms and up to two other fabrics.

I'd been wanting to make a butterfly-themed quilt for a while, so it seemed like a good time to make it.  I found an applique butterfly pattern on Electric Quilt, bought a pale blue print for the background and a shimmery, sparkly sheer to give one special butterfly a gossamer look.

I wanted to make black bodies and antennae for the butterflies, but there were no black fabrics in the pack. I'd already reached my limit of two extra fabrics and I didn't want to give up either of them.  What to do?  I decided to create black fabric from some of the charms.  After auditioning a black permanent marker and some fabric paint I went with the paint.  I also purchased black dye, but didn't try it since the paint worked just fine.  End result: I made black fabric without breaking the two-fabric rule.

I chose 2 charms for each of the 9 butterflies, and ironed fusible web to each of them.  I wanted the butterflies to be similar but not identical so I cut the parts of the butterflies free-hand which gave each one a different personality.  If pieces were too big for the area underneath, I trimmed them a little until they fit.

I fused the wings pieces together, arranged them on the background (previously backed with fusible fleece), then ironed the wings in place.  I quilted the wings, attached the bodies and antennae with fabric glue, then quilted those.

I did a pillowcase finish with the backing, turned the quilt right side out, then machine quilted the background.

I like how the quilt turned out.  It's really fun and just in time to display for spring/summer.  I'll take the quilt with me to Saturday's quilt guild meeting.

Lessons & tips: When you run into a stumbling block, think creatively to get around it.

Resources: Electric Quilt quilting program
Tulip fabric paint

It took me 2 weeks.

It made me Happy

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our trip is on Friday

My friend Lena and I will be going to San Francisco on Friday to see the Picasso exhibition at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. We’ll be taking BART and a city bus or two. Lena has never been on BART and has little, if any, experience riding buses in San Francisco. While I am quite versed in public transportation in big cities, my goal is to take a step back and let Lena lead—and learn at the same time. I’ll be there to stop her from taking the wrong bus, etc. She’s researched and planned. Soon the plans will become action.

I’m sure we’ll have some adventures, as well as a lot of fun along the way.

Almost finished

Last night I quilted in the corners of Butterflies, then did a pillowcase finish. I need to do some machine quilting tonight, then I’ll be done.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Butterflies quilted

                                  Butterflies quilted

Original charm layout

Butterflies arranged and oriented similarly to the charms above

I arranged the fused butterflies in a similar orientation as the charms were placed early on in the project. I removed the bodies and antennae, placing those on the corresponding scraps of butterfly wing pieces, to make sure they get back to the proper place later. Then I fused the wings to the sky background.
Zig-zag experiment
I experimented with zig-zagging around the edges of the wings and detail: first with closely matching thread, then with black. I didn’t like either way. They looked sloppy and the thought of turning the quilt top around and around seemed clunky. Discouraged, I took several days off to let my brain work on a solution.

Butterflies edgestitched

Close-up of edgestitching

I finally decided to stitch around the edges with invisible thread with free-motion quilting. I had recently purchased a YLI invisible thread for an online machine applique class. This was my first time working with invisible thread. Up to this point I had avoided using invisible thread, due to not-so-good memories of the stuff coming undone on bedspreads like loose fishing line, so invisible thread meant “cheap” to me. I went with YLI, which seemed like a good brand and presumably good quality. What surprised me was the fineness of the thread, like a hair. I experimented a little and decided to use grayish thread in the bobbin. If any bobbin thread appeared on the top at least it would not stick out too much. The quilting went alright. I went slowly, sometimes going off the fabric piece I was working on, but that was okay.

Butterfly before sheer added

Sheer added. Stitched along edges of wings only. Did not quilt dark pink detail.

I needed to deal with the sheer butterfly. I used Fray-Check on the edges of the sheer to keep it from fraying. When that was dry I used a good amount of fabric glue on the edges of the fused butterfly, placed the sheer on it and weighted it down with a stack of books. I didn’t want the sheer to go anywhere during the quilting process. It, too, went just fine.

Close-ups of a couple of finished butterflies
I like how the dark pink shows through the sheer and I love the sparkle.

Next, I used fabric glue to attach the antennae and bodies to the butterflies. I gave the glue time to dry, then quilted those in black thread. Perhaps my needle was tired, or perhaps it was the fabric paint on the pieces, but it was slow-going on the quilting, but it looked pretty good when it was finished. All in all, I’m glad I did an edgestitch instead of the zig-zag. From a distance I can’t see the quilting, and the edges are nice and clean, not muddled with zig-zag.

Next I’ll do a pillowcase finish with backing, then quilt the sky area. This project is almost done.

Design notes

Fabrics gathered

                     Fabrics for Cristine's Bosties

Top: Dottie the Boston Terrier--special order fabric from
Bottom: Housekeeping-related fabric

Right: The third novelty print, a cute dog-related fabric
I’ve gathered a set of fabrics for Cristine’s Bosties, the quilt for my housekeeper Cristine. I think the fabrics will work well together. I’ll probably start working on the quilt in a day or two. It’s a surprise for Cristine, and she’s due to clean my house this week. I’ll have to remember to hide the evidence before she comes over.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Butterflies assembled

Sheer with tiny clear beads and sparkly glitter

Preparing to cut last butterfly.
Sheer is inside.  You can see it peeking next to the yellow flower pins.

Sheer matches wings size-wise pretty well.

I finished the last butterfly. Since I was adding the sheer, I left the wings fairly simple. I added good-sized pieces of accent fabric to the bottom half of the wings, and just slivers to the top half, where the most sparkle is in the sheer. I have not fused the sheer to the butterfly. I plan to fabric glue it in place later, then machine applique the edges.

The body of the first butterfly, dark purple and yellow, was bothering me. I cut a sleeker body and swapped it out. I like it better.

Next step, arrange butterflies on background, fuse them into place, then machine applique the edges. I keep going back and forth on the color thread to use. Right now I’m thinking of choosing a darker version of the fabric, rather than black. I may try a test butterfly and see which way I prefer.
Design notes