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Posts from the ‘LongArm Quilting’ Category

Homeward Bound but there is no House

The quilt show hosts a Block of Month every year designed by a well known quilter–and this year’s is Sarah Fielke from australia. I was not familiar with her work but I am always up for a mystery and a step by step project.

This project will be a wedding quilt for one of my Grand-sons. I have five grandchildren and thus far I have two quilted, one waiting to be quilted, and have started in on this one.

The center is supposed to be this tiny little paper pieced house.

I am not fond of paper piecing.

The pieces were eensy-weensy.

I decided since this grandson is a Texan as is his dad (my son) that the center would be a star—and wherever I was supposed to put that tiny little–(but really cute) house, I would put a star.

It is my quilt and my fabric after all.

I might be an Engineer

Some years ago I splurged on a Gammill long arm quilting machine.

I had quilted many large quilts on my ‘domestic’ Pfaff 7570, shoving the quilt through an arm space of about 8 inches. I didn’t mind that, but I hated basting the layers together. It involved clearing the dining room table, putting down popsicle sticks to mark the center, then basting with safety pins, moving the quilt sandwich around and re=taping and basting.

In earlier years, I had participated in a group basting—someone mopped the gyme floor, the backings were taped to the floor, the batting and tops laid on top, and the more agile of us crawled on our hands and knees basting with a spoon to lift the needle from the floor. Someone not so agile sat on a chair surrounded by four quilts laid out—and threaded needles with thread. I think we basted about twenty five quilts that day—and then had a nice lunch.

But by myself, it was not so much fun and took hours.

The Gammill made it so easy—pinning on the back both top and bottom, then floating the top with magnetic tool strips to hold the top firmly in place.

I didn’t expect to like edg to edge patternis but I did–just follow the red dot along the black line. It was easy to have your mind drift to other things–as the pattern was already there–and the only hard part the first row and the last.

However, ruler work is suggested as a more advanced kind of quilting—and who wants to be elementary—it seemed to be the interim step to ‘customs’ quilting….the epitome of excellence!

Ruler work requires a stable surface large enough to firmly hold the rule in place.

Of course at one Quilt Festival in Houston, I bought several–enticed by the wonderful designs and convinced I could/would/shoud learn to do this.

My Gammill had a ruler attachment–but the spring was incredibly stiff.

I broke it!

My husbnad suggested I go to a local hardware store and buy a new one.

This particular hardware store is well known for its incredible staff who are familiar with all the products. We opened several drawers hunting for the right size spring—found one–but it did not have the proper hook on the end to fasten it in place—-but there are S-hooks.

I bought a pacvkage of 4 S hooks, my dear husband fastened the spring to the plate, and I put the plate into position.

I know you wanted to see the underneath of a Gammill Vision with new spring holding the ruler plate in place.

And now you have.

Have I done any ruler work?

Of course not—but it is there when I am ready to tackle ruler work once again.

Can’t eat just one

I’ve named this series of quilts as Cookie Crumbs—but maybe I should re-consider and call them Potato Chips or Fritos or……

The proces is simple.

I sew small pieces together, trim, add more fabric pieces or perhaps combine two previosuly combined pieces together until I have a piece of ‘fabric’ 6.5 inches square. I use that size because it is large enough to use up a lot of small pieces but not so diddley I am accumualating a lot of blocks.

I had a huge box of these squares, and I thought I had come to an end of them—but I found a box with another stack of them—so I will need to figure out yet another setting for these blocks.

This one uses a strip on each. Side—I had some leftover jelly rool strips I did not have enough to make anything, and beign miserly–after all I am sewing blocks from fabric pieces some–maybe most–would toss—I used those strips as a strip between rows of blocks.

These blocks are roughtly constructed as log cabin blocks taking care to have large pieces on the perimeter to make piecing the rows together easier.

They are always brigh and cheerful and so satisfying to create.

I take these photos on the front porch hainging them by clothespins from a clothesline I strung up along the porce overhang.

I could spend some time in cropping and making a formal portrait—but I reserve that for my art pieces—this is a functional piece–made for picnics or cuddling up in front of a fire while reading a good book.

Tiny Stars aka What was I thinking?

Sometimes I start a project with a great deal of enthusiasm and then about halfway through I rethink the advisability of that project.

This project is one of those.

I bought the pattern, complete with tiny plastic templates at Quilt Festival some years ago. I know it had to be quite a while as my latest purchases have focused on specific items—cone thread for my Gammill, zippers for purses (I like to make purses, but I don’t change mine–maybe once every other year or so), wide backings, specific novelty fabric. One year I bought my Olisco iron–and carried it all day long—it is HEAVY!. Another year, I bought a case of Sulky hand embroidery thread—and the following year the next case of more colors. I’m still using it—and enjoying all those luscious colors.

I don’t remember when I bought this pattern, but I collected fabrics I thought appropriate in scale for this project, cut and sewed quite a few stars, decided I wanted to frame them with triangles, and cut them in groups of four.

A more ambitious person might have fussy cut those star points and those framing triangles.

I am now trimming the few I have completed. Only 38 stars left to piece, frame, and trim.

It will not be a useful item. It will be too small to function as a quilt for anyone

It will not be a work of art.

But at some pont it will be a finished project; the shoebox containing it and unearthed during a organizeing/spring-cleaning/de-cluttering frenzy emptied and ready for another project.


Is that even a word? And if so, did I spell it correctly?

None of that really matters as I think everyone can guess my meaning.

So, at the last quilt show, I bought this vintage top. It has cut off corners, some dreadful color combinations and flimsy fabric as the outside border. I bought it with the intentions of making a quilted coat from it.

I chose a sunny yellow brushed cotton with a western theme to be the inside or lining of the coat.

I measured carefully—but as it turns out–only two sides—and they were not the longest.

I ended up with a shortage of backing/lining.

I discovered this problem as I was working on the very last row.

Since I will be cutting this up, I think I can manage to get fronts, back and sleeves from this—and then some wonderful leftover bits to do some fun smaller projects.

Some people might object to this use. I could have taken it all apart and sewn accurately; replaced that flimsy outside border, replaced that interiro sashing with something more to my liking—but it is so wonky and therefore I think will be so wonderful and fun to wear.

More seams with Laura

Several days ago I described working on a treasure trove of partially finished blocks dating from perhaps the fifties.

The seams were 1/8 inch wide, perfectly and meticulously sewn by hand with a construction manner I would not have chosen.

Here is the interim stage of these blocks

The pattern does not show the blocks turned but as I had one completed block to study and several others nearly completed, I chose to ignore the designer’s plan and continue on.

It is now a completed top—and waiting in line for qulting—how shall I quilt it? The original seamstress must have had some sort of plan in mind–I think she stopped because she ran out of certain fabrics Inspecting some of the squares of gray and even some of the prints, there were carefully pieced bits–some barely 1/4 inch triangle or a tiny strip to comlete the square True frugality—but also with an eye to design and color placement.

A patient Husband

Yesterday I wrote about repairing this quilt. It occurred to me that I had not show the entire quilt.

So here it is.

My very patient husband held it up while standing on our front portch steps.

It is quilte heavy—and I must confess it was nice to work on during our cold snap as it kept me quite warm.

Velvety Goodness

When someone you know realizes you sew, you might be asked to shorten pants or sew on a button.

When someone you know realizes you quilt, you might be asked to repair a family heirloom.

My former cross the street neighbor asked if I could repair a quilt made by her grandmother.

It is velvet with finely emboridery feather stitch around each patch and tied with pink yarrn. It is heavy!

And one of the green velvets has disintegrated, leaving the underlying backing along with the uneven edges of other peices showing.

My embroidery can not match the quality and so I chose to do a simple blanket stitch around each piece.

Here is the quilt .

Here is a sample of what I needed to repair

and here is a patched part ready for me to embrodier

Reparing is not as easy starting from the beginning. I needed to avoide piercing the entire set of layers. There were multiple areas needing repair. I also tugged and checked each piece of velvet to ensure it was stable and did not need replaicing.

It is now completed; I’ll put a label on the back–i found a tear in the bacvking; and include my information along with the original seamstress.

It was a pleasure to work on this project—but I’m not ready to take on quilt repair as a sideline.

Poppy Mae formerly known as Chilihowie

My middle name is Mae.

My mother’s middle name is Mae.

My grandmother’s middle name is Mae.

I have a great niece whose middle name is Mae.

When I was five, my dad asked me to pick out some flower seeds—and of course I picked Poppies–they were bright red—also my grandmother’s favorite color.

I bought this fabric several years ago=—I don’t remember how long ago it was.

I decided to use it as my color palette for the latest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt she offers each Thanksgiving.

After all that sewing, I seamed together the background—and the design is Poppy Mae.

So the quilt is now Poppy Mae!

It is now resideing in the stack to be quilted by Vivian Mae—my Gammill.

On the left side is the background, the label, and the red is for the binding. On the right–the finished top,

For those who hate to make labels, I make them as I am tidying up after completing the top There are always extra bits and peices and I use them to border the label, some people cut and prepr the binding at this stage also, but I don’t mind waiting until I have finished the quilting as sometimes I use leftover backing as the binding.

A Rabbit’s Year

The twelve year cycle of animals has always been a bit fascinating—although I can claim no Asian heritage or even a toutist’s view.

This is the year of the Rabbit in China—the Cat in Viet Nam.

I waas born in a year of the Rabbit—it seems to be a bit like a horoscope with postive and negative personaliuty traits. How much of that is really true is probably equivalent to all the facebook quizes regarding names or types of gemstones or inner childr or whatever is the latest fad.

However, I do like to participate in the quilt block drawings—I hope I don’t win—as I don’t need new projects. But I like to try a new block, new color combinations without committing to a full size project.

And so I did this Rabbit block.

And since February has Valentine’s Day, there was this fun block.

Although I like to think of myself as an artist, I do these blocks to play with color, and to maintain piecing skills. The more mastery I have of sewing, the easier it is to express my artistry.

Some art quilters do not think they need to sew very well–‘the art will speak for itself’. For me, though, the limitations some artists face because they lack craftsmanship skills, sets them back. They struggle with the mechanics of their vision, instead of flying free.

I have never paitned a large abstract–unless you consider my living room walls as a painting, I have never worked with porcelain clay, but when viewing art objects in a local gallery, the poor craftsmaship of a poorly constructed and braced stretcher bar painting or the uneven edge of a porcelain bowl draw my attention to those areas—not the idea intended by the artist.