Sunday, October 19, 2014

Make It Work!

If you are a fan of Project Runway you are familiar with those famous words uttered by Tim Gunn as a means of encouraging a designer when something is not going well. Or at least that is what they mean to me. Well yesterday I had a "make it work" moment in my studio working on the borders of my old UFO,Fall Urns. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are probably aware that I hate doing borders. I consider them my quilting nemesis and clearly for good reason! It started out fine. I had finished the appliqué of the 4th border and needed to sew on each side and miter the corners before adding the corner appliqué. I carefully measured the sides and marked each border in the center and the appropriate distance to each end. I don't mind mitering corners so that was not the issue ( though these days I always cut my borders with extra length to give myself a little wiggle room when I am mitering the corners). Anyway. I did the first corner with no problem and trimmed it. I went to the next corner and discovered that one of the pieces of fabric was too short. Aghhh! What I did not realize when I did the first corner was that these borders had been cut to the exact size, over 20 years ago, and the bit extra on the first corner should have alerted me to the fact that I had incorrectly centered that border. I could not take it off and start again as I had already trimmed the miter and I certainly was not going to make a whole new border. Plus I had no more background fabric. So in the manner of quilters throughout the ages I added a tiny scrap of fabric from the trimmed corner and made it work.

It isn't perfect but I will just look at it as a learning experience. Oh and then when I was prepping the corner appliqué I discovered that I did not have enough stem to fit under the appliqué in one corner. This fix again is not perfect but it will do. I just added a bit more stem with a little join in the bias and fit it in. The two sides are not a perfect match but I can live with it. You may also have noted that the birds are not quiet in the asme position in each corner, another issue of measurement but I can live with that too.

Oddly enough these difficulties make me think of the women making quilts long before we had all our modern conveniences such as sewing machines, rotary cutters and mats, xerox machines, light boxes, Frixtion pens and good lighting. All of these are things I take for granted and certainly go a long way to making my quilting more accurate. But it is the imperfections and whimsy of the antique quilts that really draws me in so I am going to let these imperfections remain as part of my quilt's history and consider it working for me!


Now I can just relax and get stitching those corners.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sampler Magic ready for the border

I am working away on the appliqué quilt shown in the previous post and am really hoping I will have a finished top soon. But there is not much progress to show so instead here is the finished center of Sampler Magic.

Here are a few close ups of the blocks. I missed a few of them as I stupidly deleted a bunch of photos.

Now on to the pieced border. I really want to get this finished up as I have my fabrics picked for Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. Check out her Quiltville blog for the details. The fun begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and the free directions are given out once a week for 6-8 weeks. I have changed one of the colors from yellow to orange to suit my guest room decor and look forward to working with this fun group of fabrics. Great to be using fabrics from the stash though I did buy a few greens and may need some more black.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

An old UFO and design inspiration

Look what I just pulled out. An, old, old UFO that I designed and started back in the early 1990's that I am calling Fall Urns.

I remember the time very well as I was working on this long before we moved to Boston for one year in mid 1995. My home was decorated in shades of teal, peach and rust and I decided to design a very traditional 4 block quilt, usually done in red and green, and use my decorating colors. Well as usual, life got in the way and a move put this quilt on the back burner. When we moved again a year later our new home was completely different and my colors were yellow, green and raspberry. Little incentive to finish this quilt. Happily I had packed everything away very neatly in these two containers. All the fabrics, templates, pattern and design notes are there and since I only have one border and the 4 corners to finish I think I may be time to work on this one. And look at that great pillar fabric that I had purchased for the backing. I remember a crazy trip back to the store where I had purchased a small amout for the birds hoping that they would have enough for the backing. It is such a great print that I am almost afraid to now use it!

My home is now done in teal and ivory so this will be a perfect fall wall hanging which should provide me with the incentive I need. Looking at this old UFO has been such fun. While my appliqué has certainly improved over the years, I am amazed that I was doing broderie perse back then and had completely forgotten. The vases were fussy cut, something very popular theses days but not so much in 1993. And I so wish I had continued designing. This was done 20 years ago and we had far fewer patterns available. I did almost all of my own designs then but somehow as patterns became more available and I became busier raising my children I started just purchasing patterns. I started designing again a few years ago but still make many quilts from patterns, why I even ordered a new exciting one this morning, but seeing this old project has inspired me to start getting some ideas out of my head and onto paper. And hopefully someday they will be in fabric at last.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rachel Meyer Revisited and a few more sampler blocks

One of my most popular posts is one I did about a year ago about the Rachel Meyer quilt. In preparation for my back surgery I had prepped 6 blocks for stitching and quickly stitched 2 of the blocks. And then life happened. And the project was set aside while we endured the upheaval of another major move. At last I am back on track and while traveling to Ohio last week I was able to work on this block.

And I am feeling the excitement of this project again. Here are the first 3 blocks and I have started work on the next one. I am feeling the appliqué mojo returning, yay!


Work continues on my sampler blocks too and here are a few more.

This last one was particularly challenging as there were so many bias edges going on. Frankly I am amazed it turned out this well.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sampler Magic Row 2

I have finally finished row 2 of Sampler a Magic by Lori Smith.

Here are the individual blocks.

And finally the first two rows sewn together. While sewing this sampler is a bit of a challenge the real challenge seems to be selecting just the right fabrics. I am not thrilled with a few of my selections but they are not changing!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Maple leaf quilt finished

Just a quick post to show my finished Maple Leaf quilt. I really enjoyed the McTavishing as the quilting design. It was faster once I got going and I love how it looks like swirling wind.

I hope my son and DIL like this one but if they don't I think it would look just as nice in my home!

Funny how the lightning changes the color. I think the true color is somewheree in between.


Thursday, September 18, 2014


It has been a busy few weeks but not much stitching has been going on. My son came in for a visit which was great. He taught at Quilting Live here in Atlanta and it was wonderful that he was able to combine his work trip with a family visit. While he was teaching I decided to tackle my own Patchwork Of The Crosses block. I have seen so many of these around blogland that I had purchased the EPP papers a few months ago. I found a small piece of a bright striped fabric and a few other fabrics and came up with this block for my bright sampler. It is really fun arranging the pieces for this block and I like the finished result, a perfect reminder of one of the quilting trends of 2014.

I also appliqued a few bird blocks for the same quilt. These blocks are my son's design from one of his first quilt patterns. It is called Bird Crossing by Feed dog designs and remains on of my favorites. I really wanted a reminder of these birds as I made the sample of this quilt and don't really want to make another whole quilt but want these blocks as a reminder of his work.

Finally, today I have been practicing my Free Motion Quilting. My son was kind enough to help me baste a few quilts so I was all ready to go. I decided that I wanted to try McTavishing as my background fill. It kinda looks like swirling wind which I love with these fall leaves. I am really having fun with this design. Much easier than I expected and very forgiving though I am finding it pretty time consuming. I am really anxious now to try this pattern on a smaller scale on an appliqué project. I have so many tops sitting around ready to quilt that I need to get busy!!!