Monday, October 31, 2011

Nearly finished with Wavy Irish Chain

Quilt top turned right side out, top-stitched border

Close-up of stitching on border

Backing up a little...

Quilt top spray basted to batting

Trimmed batting even with edge of quilt top

Shamrock backing on bottom, stitched around perimeter.

Close-up of stitching (backing trimmed away)

Quilt turned right side out through this space which I left unsewn during piecing of backing. This "escape hatch" allows the quilt to be turned right side out. Have used technique many times in wallhangings.

Need to close the escape hatch. Using fusible thread - first time. Feels like dental floss.

Fusible thread sewn to one edge of escape hatch. Ironed to keep closed. Didn't stay shut in all places, so used Okay to Wash It glue, let dry overnight. Had problem in past where gap came open during quilting, trying to prevent similar problem.

Last night I turned the quilt right side out, top-stitched around the perimeter, then close to the inside edge of the border. I love the wavy border.

Tonight I’ll do more quilting. It won’t be too elaborate. I’m planning to quilt just inside the wavy vertical edges of the “plain” blocks, then quilt over the wavy horizontal seams. I haven’t chosen the stitch yet, but I’m probably going to use a light pink thread since the background of the plain blocks is light pink.

I hope to have the quilting done tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday 10/26/2011

Wavy Irish Chain in progress
This week I finished and delivered the Frog Quilt to co-worker Sara T. She loved it. She has left the office to be a stay-at-home mom and I’m sure she and her two young kids will be snuggling up in it often.

I worked on Wavy Irish Chain this week, after it sat idle for a long time. I attached a border in dark green with black dots. The inside and outside edges are wavy. There is not a single straight seam in the entire quilt top. By the end of the weekend I should have the wallhanging finished.

Wavy edges cut on border, quilt back pieced together

Tonight I cut wavy edges on the border of Wavy Irish Chain. Now all of the quilt top seams are curved, not a straight seam anywhere.
Trying to find out if there's enough shamrock to cover. Lower piece is a double layer.

Back pieced together. Just covers.

I took leftover shamrock fabric from the Frog Quilt and pieced together the back for the quilt. It just barely covers the quilt top and I may add a narrow strip to the bottom just for safety.

I’m still working on how to hang the quilt. Usually I put triangles in the corners and slip a yardstick-like piece of wood across the top and bottom. With the edges so curved, I’ve been concerned about how to keep the wood from showing from behind the lowest curves.

Right now I’m thinking I’ll go ahead and use extra big corners and stitch an inch or so from the top of the triangle so the ruler rests well below the lowest curves of the quilt. It works in my head. We’ll see how it goes in real life later.

Tomorrow I may get the quilt sandwich made and begin quilting. Normally I don’t sew on Thursday night as I get home late and I’m very tired. But tomorrow I’ll be getting home earlier than usual, so I just might sew after all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Border attached to Wavy Irish Chain wallhanging

Tonight I attached a border to the Wavy Irish Chain wallhanging. I chose a dark green with black dots for the border. I like it a lot. The fabric doesn’t appear anywhere else in the quilt, but that’s okay.

I had a time deciding whether to leave the outer edges of the wallhanging straight or to make them wavy like the rest of the seams. After thinking about it and getting encouragement from my daughter-in-law Laurie, I decided to go for the gusto and make the edges wavy. Why not? Even if the quilt doesn’t hang quite right, I can figure out something to make it behave.

The edges look pretty straight now, but tomorrow I’ll cut waves into the outer edges. Then I’ll get ready to do some machine quilting. I started working on this piece in July, but set it aside to work on other projects. Now I’m just a few days away from finishing. Woo-hoo!

Monday, October 24, 2011

New long-term quilting project

Not long ago in our church newsletter there was an article about a local family center, where addicted mothers in recovery live with their children. There was a need for quilts, so I’ve decided to make a bunch for them.

The beds are twin-sized, but there’s no color scheme, so I can do whatever I like. My first idea was to do white background and add spots of color, kind of a modern look.

Today I was wondering what color I should start with. Then I got the idea to use the colors of a recently finished quilt. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. The donated quilts would be kind of companions to the originals. They wouldn’t have to be duplicates, just reflect the color schemes.

I stopped at home and picked up scraps from a few recent quilts: Frog Quilt, Cristine’s Bosties and A Study in Stripes. Then I headed over to Joann’s and picked up a few yards of solids which were on sale. I’ve got the background fabrics for a few quilts now, and I can work in other colors of scraps to make echos of recent quilts. I’m pretty excited about it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quilt Deliveries

My housekeeper Cristine came over on Wednesday and picked up her quilt Cristine's Bosties. She was really surprised. She couldn't believe I had worked on the quilt for so long and never saw it. I told her I had hidden it in the sewing room closet three times. I guess it was a good place to hide the quilt in progress.

On Thursday I delivered the Frog Quilt to co-worker Sara T. She loved her quilt. I found out that she is Irish, which explains the Care Bears with shamrocks on their tummies. I had no idea before, but now I'm really glad I chose shamrock fabric for the back of the quilt. Sara, who is now a stay-at-home mom to her two small children, no doubt will be cuddling up with her kids in the new quilt.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to make Frog quilt

Frog Quilt
For co-worker Sara T.
Original design
59" square
"It went together very quickly."

How I did it: Co-worker Sara T. is leaving our office to be a stay-at-home mom to her two small children. Looking for inspiration, I looked at her cubicle and saw lots of frog stuffed animals and decorations. So the theme for the quilt is frogs.

I wanted to make a paper-pieced frog as one block, place it near the bottom left corner and surround the frog with lots of green squares. I found a cute paper-pieced frog on the internet, but later saw a panel of frogs in a fabric store. I bought the panel and chose my favorite square. I didn't have much green in my stash so I gathered lots of fat quarters. I pulled a lily pad fabric from my stash and sprinkled a few squares of it in the quilt.

I decided to make scrappy nine patch blocks in green. I usually use my own Organized Chaos grid, but this time I used a Sudoku puzzle solution as my layout. Sudoku is based on the numbers 1 thru 9, so it would work great in my project. I had to repeat two columns and two rows to get a 5x5 grid.

Using a similar procedure as in Organized Chaos, I divided the fabrics into 9 piles, cut the fabrics into strips, then assembled according to the Sudoku layout. As I reached the last 9 patch block I was out of a couple of fabrics, but I borrowed from other piles to get a scrappy block.

For the back of the quilt I used a shamrock fabric, referring to Sara's Care Bears with shamrocks on their tummies.

The finished quilt looks much like I envisioned it. I'll give the quilt to Sara tomorrow, her last day.

Lessons & tips: When you run out of a fabric, see if you have something similar in your stash. The oddball may make the quilt look more interesting.

Resources: Electric Quilt program

It took me 5 days.

It made me Happy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday 10/19/2011

Wavy Irish Chain in progress

It's been a busy week. I made Bird in the Tree, a small wallhanging, for the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild Habitat challenge. I made Frog Quilt for co-worker Sara T., who is leaving our office tomorrow to be a stay-at-home mom. I began the throw-sized quilt on Saturday night and finished tonight.

That is the end of the deadline quilts for the moment. This week I plan to finish Wavy Irish Chain, a wallhanging with all wavy seams. It's a project for me, so it's been easy to put off, but now that I have a break I'd might as well get it completed.

Cristine's Bosties quilt finally delivered

My housekeeper Cristine was so surprised when I gave her the quilt today. I explained the blocks, about some of the fabrics, how I hid the project from her every time she came to clean, and of course the story of the missing quilt blocks. She can't believe I've been working on it for so long and she never saw it. I guess the sewing room closet was a good hiding place.

How to make Habitat Challenge quilt

Bird in the Tree
Habitat Challenge for Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild
Fabrics from Habitat line designed by Jay McCarroll, first winner of Project Runway
Original design
9" x 20"
"Lots of impact for very little effort."

How I did it: I am a member of the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild. A few months ago participating members were given a challenge to create a quilt using fabrics from the Habitat collection designed by Jay McCarroll, first winner of Project Runway. We could choose three fat quarters or six fat eighths. I chose three fat quarters, having no clue what I would do with the fabrics. We could make anything we wanted, adding any solid fabrics, making sure that the Habitat fabrics stood out.

One fabric reminded me of log cabins. Habitat means a place to live, and I thought I could show a home. Then I decided to do a birdhouse. Birds are frequently associated with the word "habitat."  I figured I could put a bird in the birdhouse, have his head sticking out the front, his body inside, and the end of his tail poking through the "logs." At my request my daughter-in-law Laurie drew seven terrific birds, using the fabric as a guide as to scale.

I combined parts of three different birds: the body of one, the length of tail of another, and the end of the tail of a third. Drawn on tracing paper, I placed the bird carefully on fabric so that a certain spot looked like an eye. I cut him out, and put him on the birdhouse fabric. All of a sudden, the birdhouse disappeared and it looked like the bird was in the trees. Earlier my daughter-in-law had said that the logs looked like trees, and I had to agree with her now.

Amazingly, the piece looked finished, even though there were only two pieces of fabric. The background was busy and didn't need anything more.

I used the third piece of Habitat fabric for the back of the quilt, and did quite a bit of machine quilting with invisible thread.

I'm really happy with the way the little wallhanging turned out. It is simple but beautiful.

Lessons & tips: Be willing to go with the flow in your art. My plans changed drastically when the logs became a tree. It's okay to scrap your original ideas and go with the new ones.

Resources: My artistic daughter-in-law who can draw

It took me 4 days.

It made me Happy

Cristine's Bosties delivery set for Wednesday

My housekeeper Cristine is supposed to meet me at my house tomorrow afternoon. All she knows is that I want to see her, and I'm sure she's very curious to find out why.  What she doesn't know is that she'll get her quilt, Cristine's Bosties.  I'll be sure to tell her the story about the missing blocks, which still have not been returned.  I'll tell her, too, about how I have had to hide the project in a closet for the last three housekeeping visits.  Had she seen the housekeeping-themed fabric and Dottie the Boston Terrier fabric, she would have known the quilt was for her.

I'll be so glad when I'll finally get to give Cristine her quilt.  She's done a great job keeping my house clean for the past seven years, and I want her to know how much I appreciate her.

Quilt top sewn, pillowcase finish in progress

Frog quilt top sewn together
Frog from fabric panel

Lily pad fabric has been in my stash for years

Tonight I sewed the quilt top together. It looks very much like I envisioned. The frog in the corner is really cute, and I love all the different scrappy greens. The lily pad fabric pops.

Shamrock fabric for back of  quilt

For the back of the quilt, I was shopping for green fabric when I saw a shamrock print. I remembered that Sara had a few Care Bears with shamrocks on their tummies. So the shamrock fabric will be the back of the quilt.

I layered the quilt sandwich for a pillowcase finish and sewed around the perimeter. Tomorrow night I’ll turn the quilt right side out, top stitch around the edges, then tie a whole bunch of knots.

I’ll get the quilt done on time for Thursday, Sara’s last day of work before she becomes a stay-at-home mom.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nine patch blocks finished for Frog quilt

Quilt blocks for Frog quilt on design wall
Close-up of square cut from frog panel

Tonight I finished the rest of the nine patch blocks for the Frog quilt. I met my goal for the evening. I also cut out a square from the frog panel, which will make up one block. There wasn’t enough room on the cut edge to properly center the cut. I could have added a narrow border in green, but I didn’t have anything appropriate on hand. So I decided to cut the square off-center. I can live with it, and recipient Sara will not love the quilt any less.

Tomorrow night I want to sew the top together, piece the backing, and assemble the layers for a pillowcase finish. If I can get as far as turning the quilt right side out by bedtime, I will be very happy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Half of frog quilt blocks done

Last night I got about half of the 9-patch blocks done for the Frog quilt. Tonight I’ll finish the rest. I’m on a very tight deadline but I can pull it off.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quilts displayed in craft fair

Yesterday my church held a craft fair, featuring many different types of arts and crafts. I displayed a few of my quilts: Papillons de Paris (Butterflies of Paris) , April Showers, Hearts, Butterflies and Scrappy Stars.

It was the first public display of my quilts. But there was no pressure as most of the viewers were non-quilters, so I didn’t worry about my workmanship being picked apart.

I couldn’t be there for the set-up because I was in Sacramento for my quilt guild meeting until noon. Friend and room organizer Deb S. kindly set up my display. By the time I arrived the show was half over, but I still got to enjoy the other couple dozen exhibits. This was the first such craft fair in many years. I hope they do another one next year.

Fabrics ironed, strips cut

I made good progress on the frog quilt last night. I got all of the fabrics ironed and cut into 4.5” strips.

Tonight I’ll start sewing nine-patches together. I’m using a Sudoku puzzle solution for the scrappy fabric placement and block layout. It should produce a scrappy look with no fabric adjacent to itself.

Pacific International Quilt Festival 2011

On Friday my quilting friend Judy P. and I went to Santa Clara, CA for the Pacific International Quilt Festival. As usual, we took the commuter ACE train, which stops just a short walk away from the convention center.

Judy and I saw hundreds of beautiful quilts. Amazingly, I bought nothing despite the many vendors. Usually I am looking for a theme fabric for a future project, but not this time. Judy and I had a great time together.

Below are some of my favorite quilts from the show. It's an eclectic mix of styles. I commented on a few quilts.

These colors make me happy.

This is a pattern, not an entry. I love the color combo.

I love the simplicity of this piece. It's basically two fabrics.

There is actual newspaper as the guy's shirt.

My daughter Lisa is a lifelong Wizard of Oz fan, so I had to take a picture of this quilt.

Pick Up Sticks?

This one made me laugh. So many people trying to find their spot on the beach.

I'm a pianist. My co-worker and friend Ramin T. is a violinist. So I had to get a picture of this beautiful quilt.

The fur of the animals is fuzzy, wooly and 3-D.