Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And February is almost gone!

Well ladies I finally got the quilt done that I have been telling you about and showing you some of the pictures.  It turned out so very well, in my opinion, I just hope the lady that I finished this for thinks the same thing.  I really love applique but sometimes it just seems that I have a very hard time deciding what to do in the background.  Can't wait to take my class in a couple of more weeks and see all the new things I get to learn!  Super excited about that even though it is still a couple of weeks away.

So here are the pictures of the finished quilt.

As I have told you before I did a very little detail work on the applique pieces but I did do the stems up through the tulip leaves.  I also did a line of stitching that runs beside the black applique blanket stitch that defines the area where the two leaves are together and also on the tulip petal.  This picture actually shows the meandering that I did as the background and it is fairly small, but not a micro thank goodness.  As it was this took an enormous amount of time.  In additon it shows the areas I picked out for some division between the blocks and the half feathers that I used in those areas as well as the channel outlining those.  I can tell you this is so much harder for me than you would think when you look at it!  Ruler work is definately not one of my best items.
This picture was taken while the quilt was still on my machine at it shows the chanels better and shows all of my bobbles much better!
This is not the best picture in the world, but it sort of shows the border.  All around the border I did triangles and then in the triangle that pointed in toward the quilt I did lines and in the triangle pointing away from the quilt I did an Egyptian Feather.  This is the first time I have used this technique also, but it turned out well and actually was much easier to do than I expected.  If you want to do something like this remember you have to measure your borders and divide so your triangles will be consistent!  I was fortunate that I thought of that before I started this!
This picture was taken after the quilt was removed from the machine and it is spread out over my bed.  Of course the light streaks are because the sun was coming in through the blinds.  I really do love this quilt.  The finished product is one I would be happy to have any time!
After this quilt was completed I did get another pinned on my machine.  I have to say here I can hardly wait to get my staple gun so that I can start using it.  It is on order.  That should speed up my process some and will be very welcome.  Anything that helps me quilt better and quilt faster is always welcome, as are new ideals.  Many of my ideals come from looking at things others have completed and belonging to a network of awesome quilters who are all much more talented than I.  This really makes me strive to make each quilt better than the last one.
In addtion to the above I have started taking a class at the local Senior Center with my bud Peggy.  Peggy teaches the class and it is free.  She shows people techniques and they make a quilt top which they can either sew while they are there, or take the things home to sew and bring them back to show everyone what they are doing.  People in the class also will bring in quilt tops that are completed and everyone will help them to pin baste the quilt if they are going to be quilting it themselves on their home machines.  People working together and helping one another achieving things they never thought they would be able to do!  Isn't that what it is really all about.  Yes there are always those in a class that would detract from the goals, but they can be tolerated and loved as we continue to help one another!  I hope you all have a wonderful quilty week!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Goodness it's February already!

Well not only is it February, but February will be gone before we know it!  It's been another eventful week here and not just with quilting, even though there was some of that also.  I've been working on a quilt that I am doing for a lady in Rome.  Actually I thought I would be finished with it by now, but alas, it hasn't happened.  I decided to try something new, as in a new pattern, or maybe I need to rephrase that.  I purchased a video from a lady who does absolutely beautiful quilting, Lisa Calle.  This particular video is about how to decide what you are going to quilt on a quilt and how to design your quilting layout.  I really have felt that I was getting into a rut and wanted to do some new things.  I really don't want to do the same thing over and over on everyones quilts.  Quilts are so individual that I think they each need something that sets them apart from the crowd.  I've actually even signed up for a class coming up in March to learn some new techniques.

Well I digress..........Anyway I got this wonderful video and the instructor is showing how she comes up with some of her ideals and some of the things she uses and I was getting ready to put a new quilt on the machine so I though, well I'm going to try this.  Now that is when the problems started.  I have like never taken this long to get a quilt done (when I was working on it like I have this one).  But first I wanted to follow her directions and divide the quilt.  She says that your quilting will not show up as well unless there are dividing lines.  Well I had this really great ideal to do arcs on this quilt,  I got my design all ready and got my quilt on the machine and I was ready to start this.......Well, not quite, I soon discovered out of all the rulers I have I did not have the one I need to do the arcs because the blocks in this quilt are 18" blocks.  My arc rulers are 12" at the largest.  So then I decided to do straight lines.  Well this is much more difficult than arcs because they will all need to rise the same amount in the center or this will not look good.  I then had a lot of measuring to do.  Now I didn't have to make a lot of long marks, just dots, but the dots had to be in the right place or else I would not have a consistent pattern.  I really don't think that would have looked well at all!  So I had to measure and make marks.

She said to be sure and start in the center of the quilt, so I did. This really involves a lot of moving the quilt back and forth on the rollers. It's not at all like you just pin the quilt on and start on one side and work your way to the other. A lot more time consuming. In addition to that, I know that if I don't keep my work area fairly close to me then I wind up with a bad back ache and I hate to do that to myself, which means even more frequent rolling!

This is a picture of some of the marks that I had to make.
As you can see in the picture the marks are very small.  There are 30 blocks in this quilt and I had to measure to the center of each block and then I wanted the channel to travel from the corner up to  1 1/2" at the peak and then back down to the corner.  I wanted the channel to be about 1/4" wide which involved a real learning curve and I had to start marking the other 1/4" mark on the quilt to so the channels would be partially straight!  Wow, who knew this would wind up being this much work!
I wanted to put feathers in the blank space between the channels and between the border and the channel, I think this turned our really well.  Of course you can see in the first picture the feathers where they cross the block seams between the blocks.  This quilt has no sashing.  Still I'm liking the way this looks.
Now I'm really happy with the way this part is turning out.  I think the lady will be pleased when I get this finished, but as I said, a lot of work and a lot of measuring!  Now I started at the center and worked out to one side.  The video also said to go ahead and either pin baste your quilt if you had large areas between the channels.  Well I did have large spaces between the channels but instead of pin basting which I really am not a fan of doing anyway, I decided to go ahead and sew around the applique in the blocks.  The next step was suppose to be go around applique and specific blocks so I just decided to go ahead with that as my next step.
I decided that I wanted to go ahead and do the detail work on the appliqued pieces at the same time I was doing the outline work.
I really do like the way this is turning out also.  But another problem.  This is applique, and even though I spent extra time when I was putting the quilt on the machine to make sure all of the embroidery thread had the tails tucked under the applique, some of them sneaked out!  Drat and Darn!!, Double Darn even!!  I have to take a pin and work my way under the applique and pick the thread back down so it will be in under the appliqued piece or else the quilt looks like it has vericose veins!  There are some places that can not be done, since she just skipped over from one piece to the next and did not cut and tie the thread.  Oh well, nothing I can do about that.
Well yes I know I should have posted this first.  This is just a picture of the quilt before I started my quilting.
I have decided that I will do a small meandering pattern around the inside of the tulip blocks and I have an ideal for the border that I think will be nice and fairly easy to do.  First I need to finish the center of the quilt though and I'm just about half way through with that portion.  Next week is another week.
In addition to working on this quilt I've also managed to get the borders sewn on a quilt for the guild that is in line to be quilted.  Sorry I know it will not be ready for the next guild meeting.  No hope for that I don't think!  I've also been working on a t-shirt quilt being made out of a young lady's cheerleading uniforms, t-shirts, lots of bows and a couple of pictures and some ensignias from her high school.  Got the shirts all cut out and fused to the interfacing and trimmed to size.
I have two quilts that need to be repaired that are waiting for me in addition to another quilt waiting to go on the machine for a customer (it goes on next).  On top of all that I just picked up the t-shirts for another quilt for a customer.  So far I've done quilts for all of her boys as they graduated and got ready to go to college and she told me when the last boy graduated that she had some neices and nephews that she wanted to get quilts for so she brought the tees for one last week.
In addition to all of that I started taking a class at the senior center and we are going to be making a mystery quilt.  I really will have to work hard to keep up with this.  Sometimes I have a tendency to let those projects fall by the wayside and that is why I have so very many UFO's which is something I want to try to finish some of this year.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful week.  Happy quilting!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hey Baby it's cold outside!

Thank the Lord, I have a nice warm house.  It is so unfortunate that not everyone is able to say that and so sad to think that many of the ones who don't have a nice warm house are children.  Wish I could give them a nice warm quilt to snuggle up in and a nice hot meal to warm their tummies.  It is a great comfort to me to know that my kids and grandkids are taken care of, and my great-grandson also.  They all have nice warm quilts that I have made for them to snuggle in if they like.  Each year at Christmas I start going through the quilts that I have on hand and pick out what I want to cycle out of the house this year and I always have a wonderful time doing that.  I'm sure that many of you have made so many quilts that you really don't need or even want to keep them all, so Christmas is a wonderful time to start a new cycle, and it gives us an excuse to purchase more fabric in the new year and start all over. 

I have promised that I will try to be better about posting on my blog so I am attempting to do that and I want to go ahead and show you some more pictures of what I was up to the weeks before Christmas when I was running around here like a chicken with her head cut off!  So here are some more pics.

This quilt was comissioned by one of the physicians I work with.  She wanted blue and some yellow.  It had to be masculine, meaning to her that there could not be any fabric with a flower print.  Then she picked out this pattern and wanted it to be very scrappy.  Well believe me it was.  I dug through my stash and pulled out every piece of fabric I had that was any shade of blue all the way to teal!  I had well over 100 different fabrics in this quilt and none of them with a flower mofit!  Hard to believe huh.

Another specification was that she wanted it to have a little bling.  Well the bling was achieved by using Fairy Frost fabric in the yellow with the gold metalic print and the white with the silver metalic print and then I picked a grey fabric with just a hint of a shimmer.  The Fairy Frost and the gray were used as the background fabrics.

After the quilt was started then she said she really had wanted to do some purple in it but she had so much purple in the room she was afraid to do a purple quilt.  Hence the purple border and binding, which when all was said and done, she really, really liked and the backing is the same purple.

Rather than put a label on the quilt, she wanted me to do what I call quilt writing on the borders of the quilt.  This particular quilt I decided that I would only do a top and bottom border and no border on the sides.  I guess I could have decreased the time I spent on the quilt if I had done side borders rather than all that extra stripping, but then again I really like the finished project.  The top border has her husbands favorite scripture.  I just used contrasting thread in my quilting machine and it turned out quite well.

This is just a closer look at one of the stars so you can see the scrappiness of this quilt.  I made the strata and then cut out the pieces.  When I was laying the quilt out I really wished that I had kept my pieces together better because it became a huge headache to find the pieces that matched and it looked so much better when the entire star was made out of the same strata pieces.  Problem was that the strata was very different and I would not have enough of one kind to do the entire star.  If I ever do this pattern again I will have a much better ideal of how I want to do the strata and how much of each strata I need. 
I really love the scrappy quilts and there will be more.  I have some pieces left over from this project and I have plans for those "one of these days".  Oh me, another UFO!
I also finished up a batch of my Quilts for Kids and those have all been mailed now which made me feel really good!
Well I can hardly wait until my next post because I want to tell you what I am up to next!  Ya'll have a quilty month with lots of love and laughter!