Monday, August 26, 2013

Stars and Stripes Quilt

Stars and Stripes
For co-worker and very good friend Thomasina W.
Design adapted from an old Kmart newspaper ad
60" x 58"
Completed 8/14/2013

Kmart ad from May 2011

The Kmart ad above was given to me two years ago by friend Thomasina, who saw the advertised quilt at the store but thought the fabric felt cheap. We talked about me making a replica. I kept the ad in my purse for two years, working on ideas now and then. I finally made the quilt recently, working in secret, hoping that Thomasina either forgot about the quilt, or thought that I had forgotten or abandoned the idea. I tried not to talk about the quilt at all on my personal Facebook page, and asked mutual Facebook friend Sharon E. not to Like any of my Traveling Quilter posts, to prevent Thomasina from getting a sneak peek.

Electric Quilt sketch
60" x 60", smaller than the original quilt size of 86" x 86"
When I talked to Thomasina about the size way back when, she said she'd use the quilt as an extra blanket, so throw size would be fine.

Star pattern found in Electric Quilt, printed on regular paper, then traced onto sturdy junk mail cardstock

Wonder Under fusible web
This package looks pretty old. It's one of several donated to me by a friend.

Wonder Under applied to the back of the white-on-white fabric, star traced

A few of the 13 stars needed for the design

Star cut out

Star fused to the blue background

Scrap pieces to test zigzag patterns

Tried several widths and lengths, found a combination I liked.

Zigzagged around edge of star to keep it from coming off during laundering. Could have used invisible thread as the top thread, but couldn't come up with a suitable bobbin color that would blend, so went with white in both the top and bobbin.

Back of the star block

Star blocks

Plain blocks added

Stars area sewn together

Pre-quilted chickens/sunflower fabric

Thomasina loves sunflowers and I wanted to work them into the quilt. The flowers had to go on the back of the quilt because they would not have fit the patriotic theme of the front. I went to Jo-Ann's in search of sunflower fabric and the best I could find was the pre-quilted fabric above. I figured if I could find it in regular fabric, I could use just the sunflowers. But there wasn't any in the store.

As I was putting the bolt away, I saw this on the back.

Wow! Just what I needed. Having scanned the aisles twice, I knew they didn't have it in plain fabric, so I bought a half yard and decided to take out the stitching. Crazy, I know, but Thomasina is a good friend and worth the effort. The fabric was regularly $19.99 per yard, but on sale, and I was able to use a coupon off my entire purchase, so the piece came to a little less then $6.00. After I left Jo-Ann's I went to a local antique fair and saw a roll of fabric similar to the one above, with a lot more red background and fewer sunflowers - $1.50 for what looked like a yard. It was tempting, but I had already spent the money for the quilted fabric. Besides, taking out all that stitching makes a better story!

Two 2-hour sessions later, plain fabric. It wasn't big enough to cover back of the blue stars area (my first choice), but I could use it as a stripe on the back.

Now on to assembling the stripes. The quilt as you go technique that I used was adapted from Kaye Wood's Six Hour Quilt, which I saw on an episode of Simply Quilts many years ago. I used the technique to make Egrets, as well.

Batting - cut in strips a little wider than needed

Strips for the quilt sandwich - red top, batting in the middle, white back

Quilt sandwich made - will build on that. We'll call this Stripe A.

The fabric folded back is the top fabric for the next strip (Stripe B), placed right sides together to the top of Stripe A.

To the backing of Stripe A I placed the backing for Stripe B, right sides together. At the very back is batting for Stripe B. Sew through all six layers.

Top of Stripe B pressed open

Backing and batting of Stripe B pressed open
The strips are joined and quilted at once. The seam is enclosed.

Using the same method to add Stripe C to the other edge of Stripe A

Stripe C pressed open - view of top (Stripe A is completely enclosed now)

View of the back

Seven short stripes finished

View of the back

Using a similar technique to join the stars area to the stripes. Batting and backing are the same size as the stars area.

Stars area pressed open. Seam between the stars area and stripes is enclosed. Since it isn't quilted yet, stars area held together with spray glue, edges are safety pinned.

Sunflower fabric - stitching removed

Cut to width of red and white stripes, sewn end-to-end to form a long strip

Sunflower strip - actually twice as long as this

Used the same quilt as you go technique to join the long red stripe. Sunflower stripe is on the back. Chose to put the sunflowers behind a red strip, because they would have shown through on the front if I had put them behind a white strip.

Back of the quilt after adding a few more stripes

All stripes added - quilt top is finished and mostly quilted.

Finished quilt
Used the same blue background fabric for the binding.

I decided to tie the plain squares in the stars area.

Back of the quilt
I like the sunflower stripe.

I gave the quilt to Thomasina at work about a week ago. As I had hoped, she was surprised. She loves her quilt and I believe she's going to use it as a topper for one of the beds in her home. Enjoy your quilt, Thomasina!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pacifica Quilting Trip

Pacifica, California

Last week I went on a short quilting trip to beautiful seaside Pacifica, California, just south of San Francisco, and a couple of hours drive from where I live. Once a year I spend a few days quilting by the ocean. I can see and hear the waves from my motel room. It's quite wonderful.

After check-in I unpacked and got the room set up with sewing, cutting and ironing stations. The motel is small and the manager, who knows me as the quilting lady, always gives me the same room. It helps, because I know where the plugs are hiding. With the room set, I went out to the beach and enjoyed the waves for a while. The mist was coming in and I was nervous about driving after dark in the fog. There would be no beautiful sunset, so while it was still light I drove to the grocery store, picked up snacks, then headed to Gorilla Barbeque to get dinner. It's take-out only so I went back to the motel and ate in my room. Then it was time to sew.

During these quilting trips I like to try new techniques. For the past several years I have been working my way through the book Quilters Playtime by Dianne S. Hire. The book is full of exercises, named after children's games. The game I chose for Thursday evening was Ring Around the Rosy.

Fabrics selected from the bags of scraps I brought with me.

I like these proportions.

Strips sewn together

Strips cut into units - no measuring, just eyeballing.

Cut into wedges

A few wedges cut from plain burgundy fabric

Laid out, kind of like a flower

The first few wedges sewn together

All of the wedges sewn together.
Reminds me of a pleated skirt.
It's supposed to make a complete circle like a flower, but I stopped here.

That's what I got done on Thursday night. I watched a little television and fell asleep to the sound of the waves.

Friday morning and there were just a few hours before I had to pack up to leave. This was a shorter trip than usual, but I could still get some sewing done.

Yellow/orange/red scraps
I decided to sew together something that would form the yellow part of a flower to go with the wedges unit.

Sewed similar sized pieces together

Little units sewn together

Sewed a few strips together, cut in half 

Auditioning for placement


Leftover, may be used later

Made another set of strips




Leftovers may be used later

I packed up and checked out. I only stayed overnight, but I accomplished quite a bit in the two sewing sessions.

After checking out I walked to the coffee house and got a coffee and pastry, which I enjoyed at the beach. Often I stick around the area until dark, but I felt it was time to go. It was Friday and I didn't want to get stuck in traffic. On the way home I stopped at Texas Roadhouse and had lunch. It was my first visit and the food was very good. I drove home after that.

The next day, Saturday, I drove to Sacramento to attend the monthly Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I shared my latest projects and got to see what the other members were working on. After the meeting I had lunch with Steph, who shared during the meeting a self-invented technique that reminded me of the exercises from Quilters Playtime. I lent Steph my book. I'm sure she'll have a lot of fun going through it.

My current project: Perhaps inspired by my recent trip, I'm working on an ocean-themed quilt. It will be quite scrappy, with lots of novelty prints from my stash.

EQ Sketch

Fabrics for the centers of the blocks
Note the solid fabrics underneath correspond to the sketch below.

First couple of blocks for the ocean quilt

Although my quilting trip at the ocean was shorter than usual, I had a great time. I love the ocean and I look forward to the next time I can go back, even for just the day.

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