Saturday, October 3, 2015

Some quilting, some embroidery and some blue and white

Another road trip is behind me and I am finally back to some fun stitching. This was a trip to check in on DH's aging parents and all I can say is that I am so happy that I have my sewing to keep me going during these times! This trip I worked on this little embroidery, Welcome Home by Kathy Schmitz. The original embroidery was done in all black but I decided to add touches of teal to go with the border fabric. I ended up hand quilting it and think it is sweet on this little stand.

I have also been working on the hand quilting of Mountmellick, the Quiltmania mystery quilt by Di Ford. I ended up doing an echo quilting for the background fill. I was originally planning a crosshatch but decided I didn't feel like marking. Hmm, now to decide how to do the first border.

And I have completed a few more of the blocks for the Antique Wedding Sampler by Di Ford. Here is Block 17.

And Block 19. I was thrilled to be able to find a place to use this Asian toile, I love the pagoda style building. I think those little butterflies need to antennas added.

Today I finished the last machine pieced block in the quilt, Block 23. Unfortunately there were a few errors in the directions for this block. Two of the templates were marked with the wrong dimensions and the layout diagram was incorrect for one of the HST units. Fortunately I figured out the measurement issues as I was figuring out the rotary cutting measurements but sadly did not notice the incorrect HST unit until I showed it to DH who noticed right away that the block looked weird. Oh well, all fixed now.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Back to the Blue and White

Seems like forever since I have worked on my blue and white version of Di Ford's Antique Wedding Sampler. But sometimes that is a great thing because when I finally got back to it this week it felt like a brand new project and I have been making great progress. I am one of those people who find it impossible to work on just one project at a time and being able to bounce from one to another sure keeps things interesting. Anyway, I picked up this project right where I left off and here is Block 13. I hand pieced this one and then added the broderie perse. A fairly simple block but the broderie perse really brings it to life.

Block 14. Another one of my favorite circle blocks from this quilt. The starburst is hand pieced and then appliqued to the background. Then some fussy cut circles in the center and leaf shapes around the outside really come together in a great block. The hardest part of this block was selecting the fabrics!

Here is Block 15. Whew, piecing this one was like making a complete miniature quilt but, since I was in a piecing mood the day I made this one, it was a perfect project. This was machine pieced and rotary cut, really wish the pattern included the instructions for machine piecing but I guess it just adds to the challenge!

And Block 16. So hard to pick a favorite of all these blocks but I do love this one. I am trying to incorporate as many different broderie perse shapes as I can and was excited to find these little fan like flowers. I think they add a little Asian influence to go with the look of Chinese blue and white pottery.

Fabric selection continues to be the most challenging part of this project. I find it is easiest to think of each block as its own little quilt making sure that the blues within a block coordinate well. For a block that includes broderie perse, I try to select the motif first and then build the other fabrics around that. Of course, I love to add a bit of fussy cutting here and there to add extra interest to the block. Here you can see Block 17 in process. The diamonds and little circles are fussy cut and the colors were selected to enhance the broderie perse rose.

And finally I try to balance the colors in the whole quilt by keeping all of the blocks up on the design wall and taking plenty of photos for reference. Right now I am starting to think about the sashing fabric(not sure about this one), setting triangles and final border and, because I am over 1/2 way complete, need to make sure to start repeating fabrics to keep things cohesive. What looks pretty haphazard to many is actually quite a challenge to keep balanced and pleasing to the eye! Well, here is how the design wall looks right now. The blocks are not arranged in any order but I think it is coming together well.

On to stitching block 17!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mountmellick is a finished top

Whew, back from our trip to Oklahoma to move our son and The Texas to visit family. All went well and I have spent the last several days trying to get back into the routine of things and trying to get motivated in the sewing room. Though I was feeling the urge to start on something new, I resisted and put on the borders for Mountmellick, the mystery quilt by Di Ford that was in last year's Quiltmania magazine. I am so glad I did as I love how it turned out.

Part of what took so long is that I couldn't use as much of the strip as I wanted as there were not enought full repeats of the pattern to cut it the way I needed. So after much deliberation and advice from quilting buddies, I ended up just using the darker portion of the stripe. Turns out that was the perfect solution, but in future I guess I better check the stripe repeat before getting my heart set on how I want to use it.

Next up, the hand quilting. I am trying a wool batting for the first time and my LQS only had Quilter's Dream Wool in the size I needed. Seems a bit puffy so far but hopefully once I add the fill around the appliqe I will like it better. Still deciding between echo quilting or grid work as the fill. I like the look of grids but hate the marking and stitching. I love doing echo quilting though so it may win out once again!

I did get this month's Quiltmaker bitty blocks done. These finish at 4" and were a fun way to get back to my machine and use up more of my scraps. This will end up as a cute row quilt at the end of the year and hopefully I will see a dent in that scrap basket by then!

Finally, you may remember a quilt, Science Fair, that I finished quilting a few months ago. It was draped across the bed in the room that our son was expected to live in at the end of the summer. However he was only here for a few nights before moving to his permanent job and I had forgotten to remove it from the bed when he arrived. He saw it in the room and said how much he liked it. The next day he sheepishly hinted that he would like to have it to hang in the office/sewing room in his new apartment and I was thrilled to gift it to him. After all, isn't that the best purpose for our quilts, to surround people with our love. I was delighted to get this picture of the quilt hanging in his room, haha, a constant reminder of mom!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two Halloween finishes

Whew, it has been a busy week of stitching and I finished both Halloween quilts in time for the grandkids to enjoy them for the season. Good job as moving our son jumped forward a week and with almost no notice an apartment became available for him one week early. So we load a truck today and head out tomorrow for the long trip to Oklahoma. But following his move we are going to Dallas to spend time with family and I get to visit my SIL who is my long distance quilting buddy! Hmm, maybe I can sneak in a little quilt shop therapy.

Back to the sewing. Here is the finished top for my granddaughter, a cute little wall hanging that was in the fall 2010 Quilt Sampler magazine.

I had fun playing with the quilting in this one. Since it is for Halloween, I liked the look of the jagged frames around the blocks and it was fun doing random spider webs and spiders. White thread on black is pretty non forgiving but I have decided it just goes with the scary look.

The lighting is weird with this one. Why is there no quilting showing on the bottom? And what happend to his legs?!

I searched for a pattern for my grandson's quilt but couldn't find anything that struck me,so came up with this design. Inspired by a quilt done by my SIL, I just cut random width of fabric strips, sewed them together and then inserted a strip and added some fun appliqué. I gave it to him last night and he loved the spider and bats, especially since "Grammie is afraid of bats".

I just quilted it simply, an all over loop and stars in the pieced section and a little swirl/star filler in the solid grey.

Not perfect but finished, my new motto!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I'm still here

Oops, it has been awhile and after my last post you might think I was planning to stop blogging. Nope, I am still here but things are busy with family stuff. Once again, it involves a move but this time it is not me that is moving but my youngest son. He graduated with his Masters degree in May and is working in Virginia on a contract that ends Aug 31. He just got a job offer in Oklahoma for a more permanent job and starts Sept 8 so we are all frantically trying to figure out how to find an apartment and get him moved. All his stuff is here in Georgia so the logistics are pretty crazy, but hopefully this will be last move we are involved in for quite a while!!!

But I have had a chance to get some sewing in. When life seems crazy I want to work on happy projects and first up is this Aiming For Accuracy quilt. I finished the top a few years ago and finally made a back and quilted it last week. This is my first time free handing this swirl pattern. I had planned on a more elaborate custom design but just couldn't concentrate enough so swirls it is!

I decided to make it reversible with a more modern pieced back. I like how the swirls look on the solid white. A fun happy quilt for my kid friendly guest room.

And here are a few more blocks for the Antique Wedding Sampler.

This is coming along nicely and I am happy with how they are looking together. This limited color palette gets more challenging with each block. Such a lesson in value and scale. I know I will appreciate 2 color quilts more in the future.

This weekend I really just wanted to sew some quick and easy projects for the grandkids. My little grandson started preschool and I saw this tutorial on a Patchwork Posse for a shark pencil case. The zipper was pretty confusing to do, and I discovered that I could not use my pinking shears anymore, but overall it was a fun little project. Hope he likes it.

And I couldn't forget my granddaughter. Here is a little purse for her , a free tutorial on the blog Make it and Love It. It is sized for a toddler so it should be perfect for her - she does love a handbag!

Finally a little fun Halloween sewing. This pattern was in the 2010 Fall/Winter Quilt Sampler magazine. I loved the pattern at the time and set it aside for when I had grandchildren. Then later I saw that my LQS had a kit for another quilt in these fabrics at a clearance price, I scooped it up and put it with the pattern waiting for just the right time. Well the grandkids are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 so the time has come. This is just a 40" wall hanging and I hope to make lap quilts with the remaining fabrics.

I just love the bits of embroidery in the blocks and now that they are finished I will put them together today and hopefully get the border on and quilted by the end of the week. Here is a closer look.

It is fun having this silly project to work on during a busy time. Sewing is such great therapy!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Flower Pots is finished and blogging reflections

Well here it is my finished Flower Pots quilt by Kim McLean. This top was finished about 4 years ago and was my first, and almost only, use of Kaffe Fasset fabrics. I am very happy with it overall and while the quilting is not perfect, it is indeed finished.

A few close ups to give a better idea of the quilting.

While trying to figure out when I had finished this top, I scanned through old blog posts and that got me to thinking about my blogging. First and most important I blog to keep some sort of diary of my quilting progress and it is mostly for this reason that I continue. I love the fact that through your comments and my reading other blogs I feel I have entered into a world of friends which is a bonus I truly could not have imagined when I began. But sadly I am not reading blogs as often as I used to and rarely comment as lately so many of my comments get bounced back. Something to do with my aol email account not wanting to play nicely with Yahoo accounts and other stuff I don't quite understand. You might even be wondering why I am mentioning all this but mostly I wanted to alert people that I am not ignoring their blogs but finding the commenting situation just so frustrating. And some of you who comment on my blog, the comments are sometimes not being sent to my email so I can't respond. Anyway please know that I do appreciate all my readers and followers whether you comment or not. And like many of you I am also spending more time on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest but I am not quite ready to give up my blog, I really need this diary. So what are your thoughts, are you still blogging, reading blogs much or have you moved to other types of social media?


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More blocks from the Antique Wedding Sampler and Quilting Flower Pots

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my design dilemma. I am still torn and have decided to wait to make the final decision until after the rest of the blocks are finished. Hopefully once they are all arranged it will be more obvious which one works better to balance the quilt.

I have finished a few more blocks. This is one of my favorites, another starburst hand pieced block with broderie perse.

Here is block 9, an applique block with a fun fussy cut center.

I also made the cute little log cabin blocks for the Quiltmake Bitty Blocks BOM. They finish at 4". It was fun doing them totally scrappy from leftover bits of fabric, I think it took longer to cut than it did to sew!

Several years ago I made Flower Pots by Kim McLean and this week I finally had the courage to put it on the longarm machine. I have come to the conclusion that if I keep waiting til my skills are better to get all my tops quilted I will be waiting forever. The only way to improve my quilting skills is to practice, practice, practice so I here I go!

And I am off. This will take awhile but hopefully it will look OK and I keep telling myself that finished is better than perfect!

And finally someone asked about the paint color for my bedroom but was a no reply blogger which meant that I could not respond directly. The paint color is Aquatic Edge, a Valspar paint from Lowes. I have now used this color in three Master Bedrooms and still love it!