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Posts from the ‘LongArm Quilting’ Category

so What have I been doing for the past few weeks?

It has been a whirlwind of ‘things’–family, work, fun!

I joined two quilt guilds; one in Louisiana and another north of here. Both of them have quilt-a-longs and I very much enjoy these.

The first one is a series of blocks; the finished piece is not available for view but I chose a background fabric of a white with tiny blue flowers and picked out some other blues to go with it. Here are the first three blocksl

and on the bottom left is the first of many for a charity quilt–the pieces were all cut out–and I am just hte seamstress—so very obviously ‘not my colors’. You can also see all the threads on my design wall recently recovered with a black felt–the other one has a mid gray and you will see that one next.

The guild in Louisiana has an annual President’s challenge. This year it is a mystery quilt with directions published every other month. Here is the center.

That green dot is my ‘background’ but I will also use some dark avocado green as I’m not sure I have enough to finish the quilt.

And then I am working on the Block of the Month from the Quilt Show–it is ‘Garden Party Down Under’ and features both applique (mostly) and some piecing. I am using a patterned linen as my background fabric–and hope I bought enough of it and using some hand-dyed solids and other prints. I am trying my hand at machine applique–not my strongest suit—but giving it a try. This quilt like the previous two Quitl Show block of the month’s will become wedding quilt gifts for grandchildren—I will have two more to go after this one–but have my eye on one that might work. But then I really want to get back to some art-work.

Pink is as Pink Does

Some times it is a good thing—or something to not have to think very hard about—but taking a pile of scraps and making something of them. I inherited my mother’s quilting scraps along with her threads and tools and quilting patterns. Along the way two friends in a Nancy Crow workshop also gave me their scraps—I think I cast an admiring eye on them–or picked up few—and they went home with me. They sat in a zip-lock bag for quite some time—until I decided to put them together—after all I had a niece who became a grandmother of a little girl—and this stuff had a lot of pink in it.

The quilt itself is fairly simple–strips surrounded by an ocean of my mother’s pink fabric on a bolt. Mom’s leftovers required more effort—and I formed them into a tote bag—who doesn’t need a lot of tote bags with a baby.

And then I had this zippered Cathedral Window pouch my mother used to put some tissues and other cleaning supplies in her car and quilting basket—just in case.

So here they are.

I used a heart pattern to quilt the interior of those bright pink strips—the size is a good 45 by 60—a grea size as a lap quilt, to cushion a car seat, to serve as a picnic blanket if necessary.

There are a few more scraps and left-overs from my mother’s fabrics—it is a good feeling to see them put to good use by family members who will appreciate them.

Almost last view of Window on my World

Saturday I finished quilting this quilt. It is destined to be the wedding quilt for my oldest grandson—as mentioned earlier, he is just ten almost eleven and so I have every confidence I will get it bound and labeled before then.

The quilting took over 4 hours of stitching time; each house done individually, I changed colors for the sky, the trees, and some of the corner pieces. It would have been far easier to put on a pantograph and work away but I did want it to be special.

I pieced the backing using Texas themed fabrics, long-horns, cowboys, and regular cows in pastures. I will get a more formal photo once I have the sleeve and binding on—but those are easy evening tasks.

Now that it is in the almost done stage, I can start in on the next Block of the Month from the Quilt Show–Garden Party Down Under. I decided to use a linen background and as much hand-dyed fabrics from my ‘extensive collection’.

Best laid plans

With the pandemic in full swing, and sheltering in place—a nicer thought than stuck at home—I have been going through projects and boxes and cartons and working on finishing up things.

I dug out a package containing a quilt kit; I bought it at a quilt show several years ago–it was offered by a shop at half price. It was strips of batiks—and the pattern looked fun.

Cutting for a quilt takes some space–laying out the fabrics, and cutting the pieces. I studied the layout choices and decided to combine two options into one. I cut and stacked the pieces and put them neatly into a clear plastic box. I carried it home and put it somewhere in my sewing room—no–it is not a studio entitling me to be messy and disorderly—I might call it a work-room—but definitely not a studio.

Other projects seemed more important and I worked on those.

After a few weeks or maybe even months had passed, I decided to work on this project.

Did I remember what I had thought I would do?

Of course not!

And the worst of it was–the shop-owner who had cut the strips had not centered the fabrics…so I had several unusable strips due to the dreaded ‘v-shape’ strip problem.

But I managed to figure out something to do with those cut-out pieces.

It has joined the stack of ‘to be quilted’; a stack I had down to just two by the end of 2020 but is now back to five or six. Far better than nearly thirty at the beginning of 2020—that included my mother’s grandchildrens’ wedding quilts—glad that project is done–she had about twenty or so.

Window on My World

For the past several years, the Quilt Show hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims hosts a block of the month. Each month there is an installment of patterns. Kit fabrics are available and many take advantage of the ease of all the fabrics pre-selected.

Of course, I did not choose to get the kit; instead I worked from my large collection of novelty fabrics throwing in a few more ‘regular’ fabrics. I have music, apples, watermelons, canoes, University of Wisconsin, basketballs, fountains, balloons and so forth. It was a great deal of fun picking out fabrics for those houses.

The directions included making the central compass rose, surround it with the inner road, then the ring of houses. I constructed mine in fourths–then to halves and then as a whole.

I am now in the quilting phase. I am doing each house individually which means a lot of rolling and re-rolling as the larger houses span is larger than my working area.

And who is destined for this quilt? It is for my oldest grand-son —when he gets married—and as he is just ten years old, I am quite confident I will have it finished well in advance.

Construction nearly Completed

Color My World was the Block of the Month for 2021 featured on The Quilt Show. It is a complex quilt with buildings in the round; definitely a challenge to piece. It featured paper piecing—a method I despise although I have tried multiple ways—assured by each instructor that I would love it.

I didn’t love it—it is fiddly and requires thinking in mirrors or upside down or backwards or something.

So I devised a way to do regular piecing and use the freezer paper templates to ‘square up’ the final component although there were no squares in this project.

I also used novelty fabrics for the buildings, inserted a fountain for a house, and designed my own north/south/east/west blocks along with large swaths of novelty fabric instead of the tall buildings. I have seen the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben but thought some of it was entire too fiddly. I contemplated windmills–but in the end used more novelty fabric.

This quilt is destined to be a wedding quilt for my oldest grand-son. The quilting is taking some time as I must roll an re-roll to complete a building—and I have not yet figured out what I will put in the Longhorn borders.

I made a rule last year that I could not begin the next (now this year’s) Block of the Month until the previous one was completed—bound, labeled, photo-ed and safely tucked away….in the chest my mother stored the tops for all her grand-children,

Grassy Creek, a Bear and a Book

For several Thanksgiving/Chrismtas holiday seasons, Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville has graciously posted a mystery quilt. Each Friday and maybe a day or so extra she posts directions to complete units for a quilt she has designed. I’ve done all of them except the very first one.

They are always large which stretched the ability of my Gammill to quilt but I finished last year’s quilt this past week.

She uses paint chips as a method of choosing colors—and her colors are always (unless they involve teal/turquoise/aqua) quilt lovely together and there is a rush to the paint store to pick up those particular paint chips and then to the fabric store to buy fabrics.

With a wealth of fabric, I have not bought new—unless it is backing and definitely batting.

I pull out colors I think look okay together and depending on how much I have and how much she suggests, I put them into zip-lock bags and label them as the ‘new’ colors—it is a bit disconcerting for her to say start with your red–but my ‘red’ is blue. But this system seems to work fairly well for me.

These fabrics were the last of my ‘modern’ fabrics from my brief stint in the Modern Quilt Guild. They have now leaned toward traditional patterns with a graphic look from the 30’s and 40’s.

This quilt is now ready to be bound–and I will have it done before Thanksgiving weekend.

and here is a closeup

And because I had some backing and batting leftover I quilted some satin pieces—choir robe scraps and a covering for one of those Marble notebooks.

That backing–that rust with the spots–was fabric from my mother’s quilt shop days in the early 90’s. It looks modern though, doesn’t it?

Grassy Creek Up Next

Yesterday I wrote about finishing up a Block of the Month. I am not sure why I take these on, I have many projects awaiting my attention. LIkewise I am not sure I take on Mystery Quilts—ones in which you have no idea what the finished project will look like–you just make parts for a long time–different ones every week or so–and then the grand reveal comes–and you think—I wish I had chosen a different fabric for this part—and then some of the parts are just beyond un-fun—if that is even a word.

However, each Thanksgiving/Christmas season i find myself following along with others on Quiltville trying to keep up with the clues.

I don’t always follow her suggestions for colors—and now that I think of it—have never used her suggestions—that is challenging as the directions will say put a pink square with a green triangle—and I have chosen purple to be pink and black to be green—.

But here is last years—this one is called Grassy Creek and it was supposed to be mostly orange and teal. I gathered up all the fabrics labeled ‘modern’ and put them in bags, labeled them a color—and proceeded. The backing is stretching before I begin quilting—it is quite large–90 inches square—a real stretch for my Gammill.

And of course I will be waiting for the suggested colors to be posted in the next few weeks—and winidng a few bobbins to be prepared to take on those clues in mid November.

Rajah and what was I thinking

For some reason, I decided I would work on the Block of the Month offered by The Quilt Show annually. The first one was a Sue Garman paper pieced star quilt—the center made and the fabrics and patterns neatly sequestered in a nice hinged plastic box. The next one was Rajah, a quilt made by convicted women on their way to Australia. My version was not nearly so complicated and considerably smaller. The designer/re-creator of the pattern suggested starting with something I liked—and so I did. I surrounded it with some indigo dyed fabrics and some from Africa. It is now quilted and in line for the binding process.

On the left side you can just barely see one of my favorite fabrics–a batik made with circles of color overdyed with black. There are two giraffes facing the dancing woman (also a batik). Those were done pantograph style using my hand-drawn giraffe. Unfortunately I used the raw measurements of the area they are in–not the finished sizes—–but it is done.

I think I skipped one or two Block of the Month but then once again decided I would make the next one regardless of its requirement for paper piecing or applique—-and it was Afternoon Delight—a combined pieced—-TINY ITSY BITSY pieces—and applique. But that is now done, quilted, bound and I am putting on the sleeve and the label—all ready for the next local quilt show—where it will win no prized except for tenacity in taking on a project that challenged my skills.

Rainout Construction

Rainy dreary chilly days in the Emergency Room meant a day spent with respiratory therapist treating asthmatics and other folks with pulmonary/breathing problems.

Rainy days in the clinics meant construction workers showing up for their blood pressure medications and any other health issue that could wait a bit–but now they had a ‘free’ day to come to the doctor in a clinic–much cheaper than an emergency room.

My construction efforts have also come to a stop. Last month I completed twenty four tall buildings. I’m waiting on the plans for the next eight—and although my buildings are mostly completed, it is far too dark in my sewing room to work today.

High cost of building materials and scarcity were challenging–I had to do a bit of digging to find the appropriate materials—-like most quilters I have two lifetime supplies of materials or more.

Interesting though–the fabrics I though particularly ugly made the best buildings. The ‘sky’ part will be added after I finish all the remaining buildings–eight small houses and four skysrapers so I can see where I need to put the night and dusk and day ‘skies’. And I ran out of the black shadow fabric—-now I have an excuse to go shopping!