Thursday, January 31, 2008

Embroidered quilts

While I was working at the local sewing machine store I made samples to be hung in the store and to be used to decorate the booths at shows. I like to use old blue jeans for quilts and since there were 4 jeans wearers in their family, they kept me supplied.

The different sewing machine companies produce CD's with designs exclusive to their company. One of the ones from Babylock was all about little kids. I chose just the boy designs, used the blue checked fabrics to embroider most of the designs on and then filled in with a little embroidery on some of the denim pieces. I designed these quilts as I was working one them, nothing was planned ahead of time.
We ordered some of the Loralie embroidery designs and the matching fabric line. Once again I just started doing the embroidery and designed the quilt afterwards. I am offering a class at that store this month on "Design as you go embroidery quilts". I know that putting the word design in the title scares off a lot of people since most of them want every step laid out for them. I am still hoping there are some adventurous people out there.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Needs to be Finished" box, part 7

This is the other flannel quilt top waiting to be quilted. It is one of my favorites and I will keep it for myself. It is 72" x 94" so it is big enough for a twin bed but it hardly matches my pinky-purple bedroom, or the bright sunshine yellow guest bedroom.

If any of you have done a Buggy Barn pattern quilt you know how this is made. For those of you who haven't, the procedure is to draw the pattern on freezer paper, layer the required number of fabrics, iron on the pattern and cut through the paper pattern and fabric, and then shuffle the fabrics so each pile has a different fabric on top. You sew the pieces back together and of course they don't match after seam allowance is used, so trimming as you go as well as trimming the whole block is necessary. I taught this class more than once so I used a couple different patterns from this company.
And now for the close up pictures of fabrics......

I think this quilt is in the "definitely finish this year" pile.

We had a 50 degree temperature drop yesterday and snow flurries last night after a 53 degree high in the morning. I will not complain about snow however. If you want to see snow, check out Idaho Beauty's blog. Now that is snow. Read the first 3 posts.

Also if you have been reading my blog from the beginning you know that my self portrait quilt was made in a Jane Sassaman workshop. She designs some fabulous fabrics but because a lot of them are really big prints, we sometimes don't know how to use them. She has just started a blog to show us what to do with them. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Needs to be Finished" box, part 6

I'm diving back into that box again to see what else I need to finish this year. There were 2 flannel quilt tops in there. This one was a class sample and same style as one I posted on Aug. 14th. This one is only 54" x 82" so it definitely a one person lap quilt. Here is the close up of the fabrics. I love the flannel quilts and want to make more.
I made one of all 6" squares of flannel plaids and stripes a few years ago so I think I will take all of my smaller pieces of flannel and start cutting squares. Maybe I'll make a few pieced blocks to throw in now and then.

Monday, January 28, 2008

My Happy Quilt

This quilt makes me SO happy! It is made of some of my favorite things: triangles, batiks, and Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I really enjoyed making this one. It is 50" x 70". I pieced the top in March, 2007, basted it in Aug. or Sept., quilted it last week and finished the binding last night. That means I got it done in less than a year. After showing you so many from 10-15 years ago that I haven't finished, I feel this was an accomplishment. Below is the detail shot of some of the fabrics.
I didn't have enough of either of these fabrics for the back so it is pieced and I love it.
Detail of the 2 backing fabrics.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spring is coming

Yes, spring is coming, but not soon enough. We have had a snowy winter this year and there are still 2 more months to go. It is 17 degrees this morning, a lot warmer than it has been this last week. I decided to dig in the picture archive and find something I haven't shown yet.

I made this wallhanging for the local sewing machine store to take to a show in April last year. I enjoy watching the embroidery machine work the intricate patterns. I have done extensive hand embroidery in my past but I have to baby my right hand because of carpal tunnel syndrome. As long as I don't over do I don't have any pain and it doesn't seen to get any worse. So I still get my fix of embroidery when all I have to do is change the thread.
Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 1-12, 1990

I closed my quilt shop in February of 1986. The larger prints were becoming popular and I liked them so much more than the little calicoes I had been using since 1957. By 1990 I had quite a collection of fabric but I hadn't been able to find time to use any of it. On January 1, 1990 I decided I would take a block I liked and each day I would go into my studio and collect 5 fabrics I liked together and I would make one block. This continued until about the14th when life took over again and I didn't even have time for one block a day. In the first part of February, 1990 I decided I would just take my favorite 12 of the blocks and make them into a quilt, thus the name Jan. 1-12, 1990. This one is 66" x 80". It took me a long time to find an outer border I liked and when I found it I looked for a middle border that was exactly half way in value between the first and third borders. I was into trying transparency which had to have the exact light medium dark values.
This is one of my favorite blocks with some of my favorite prints of the day.
Some of the blocks had fussy cut areas. This one also had a polished cotton, popular in that time period.
This block was the favorite of most viewers at a quilt show.
More fussy cut birds in the little squares.
I used Thermore batting in this one. It is the very thin polyester batting that was introduced in the 1980's as a batting for quilted clothing. Due to public demand they started packaging it in bed size pieces. It gives the feel of the old fashioned summer quilts that had flannel instead of batting.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nothing new

I'm just in the middle of finishing some projects so I don't have anything new to show. I have had a leisurely week which happens after I finish a special piece. After finishing a project (heart quilt) I have such an empty feeling. Maybe that is why I have so much unfinished work.

Below are 2 small quilts that I finished last year. The first one is one of those slash projects where you make blocks, then slash them off center to the right and below center horizontally. Rearrange the pieces into new blocks. Of course you have to make a variety of blocks; they can't be all the same fabrics. These fabrics for the center were a leftover pile of 3.5" strips that didn't get used in another quilt. Amazingly all of the leftovers went together well.
On the one below I was inspired by a quilt in some magazine and made the pieced blocks, but soon grew tired of the color palette and found a batik with animals on it in my stash to fill in as alternate blocks. This one was sold at the IL Artisan's gallery last year.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Making small quilts

One of the ideas I presented to my art quilters was making a series of small quilts, about 9" x 12", or in the journal quilt size. I alerted them to be thinking about a theme ahead of time. One of my suggestions was the 4 seasons. I pulled three fabrics that I thought would work, and just gave them a brief demonstration. I haven't done any more to it; it is just fabric laying on a base piece. I know I will add a moon. The word Winter was stamped with tiny rubber stamps but the ink wasn't very dark so I may need to re ink the pad. I'm not sure how many of these I will make but I like making small pieces. Instant gratification.

The project I will tackle today is quilting a quilt I started 13 months ago. It is basted and ready......

Another blog you need to visit is Elsie's. She did a quilt she calls her Insanity Quilt.

And another link, to Candy's where she posted a yo-yo quilt that she found.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A link for you

Michael5000 asked me in the comments the other day if I had ever done a corduroy quilt. I have the collection of corduroy scraps (in the cold, cold attic) but never got around to it. One thing I did do though is add corduroy squares into nursing home lap quilts. The residents love feeling the soft and fuzzy squares. And.......I do intend to make one of all corduroy, and the scraps in the attic are from the 70's. That should be interesting.

If you have never been to Michael's blog, you need to get over there and see the latest quilt he finished.

Yo-yo maker

In the early 1990's I bought one of those Japanese quilt books with antique quilts in it. This is the one that really caught my eye. Mrs. Mel asked me yesterday how this yo-yo maker works so here I have a series of one handed pictures, one hand holding the camera, one hand holding the maker. First you take a piece of fabric wrong side up, place center disc on it and snap into the bigger piece with that line matching one of 3 bumps on the bottom piece.
Trim around leaving about 1/8" seam allowance.
All trimmed.
Using your thumb to hold the seam allowance down start stitching through the holes in the order that they tell you to do it.
When all of the stitching is done, push the center disc out by pushing through the hole in the big piece.
Carefully peel the fabric off the disc.
Sorry about the blur, remember I'm one handed on the camera here. Pull up the gathering thread.
Voila! a yo-yo with perfectly even pleats that you can arrange going around all in the same direction.
A picture of the package, and again how the finished size compares to a quarter. This one is the "small" size. Now I need to get medium and large if I am going to make a masterpiece like that antique one.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Decision made

If you go back to my January 5th post, I was trying to decide whether to add beads or not to add beads to a little wallhanging. I got a lot of great input from my readers in the comments but I wanted my art quilters' group to see the wallhanging in person and give me their reaction. A couple of the ones who read my blog said it was much different seeing it in person and the vote was.........add the beads. I hope to finish it this week and then I will post another picture of it.

I got these blocks sewn together and now the decision on the quilting.
On the quilt pictured on the cover of Kaffe's book, they did perfectly straight parallel lines. Just writing the word perfectly makes me start doubting that is how I want to quilt it. After all it is going to be a couch throw, not a show entry. I happen to love wavy lines and have been using them to quilt my quilts for 15 years. By the time I have it basted I will have a better idea how I am going to quilt it.
I had a wonderful inspiring day with my art quilters yesterday. Last year we had to cancel our January meeting twice so we really lucked out that they were able to come. It takes some of them close to 2 hours to get here. An hour after they left the snow started. It is a winter wonderland again with about 2-3" of snow.

While I was watching October Road, I decided to try out my new yo-yo maker. At first I wasn't too keen on it but by the third one, I decided it is pretty slick. It makes your stitches so evenly placed that the gathers are almost like little pleats laying in a circle. I put a quarter next to them so you can see how little they are. I definitely want a bigger size one if I am going to do a bunch of these.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Busy Day

Today the art quilters' group comes to my house. I am in the middle of baking a batch of cookies and finishing the last minute cleaning. They will vote on my "beads or no beads" from an earlier post.
This is what I hope to get back to, free motion embroidery flowers on some of my quilts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I like it all

I like the brights. I guess you all had that figured out! This piece was made with one set of strips, cut freehand without a ruler, then sliced in irregular widths and flipped every other one to reverse the colors. Since I only considered it an exercise at the time I made it, I hadn't really considered finishing it into a small wallhanging until now. I like plaids. I wear plaid a lot. I was raised on a farm and wore flannel shirts a lot. When I learned to sew, I loved making plaid clothing to see how accurately matched I could sew it. I like the soft country feel of plaids although one of my friends tells me that even my plaid quilts are bright. I can only guess she means I still use fairly high contrast in the values. This is another unfinished, small piece that I think I will add columns or borders to and make it into a baby quilt.
A week ago I cut some more blocks and got them pieced a couple nights ago. I think this is the final layout.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

In the Archives

This first piece is from the "Needs to be Finished" box and I was looking in my old pictures on my computer for the piece that these scraps are from. I never did find it so I guess I don't have a picture of it and I donated it to a new nursing home that was in need of color hanging on their great room walls. I made the blocks for the original piece in 1992 thinking I would make them into a jacket. Months later I decided to make them into a quilt. All of the little leftovers were just so neat and fun looking that I started sewing them together and ended up with this. This part is kind of the focal point where I added that Dutch wax fabric with the bird.
The block below was one left over from the quilt. I made strip piecing out of 3 wider and 2 narrower strips then cut squares, and then triangles. It was a pretty subdued quilt for me because having planned it for a jacket originally, patchwork for jackets should be more subdued.
While searching the archives on my oldest computer, I found this picture which wasn't in my desktop computer. It was my class sample for Victoria's Garden, a quilt in "Blended Quilts" by McCloskey and Yenter.
It has more of a decorator look to it, subdued and lots of medium value, so that it would just blend into a room and not be the first thing you saw.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"Needs to be Finished" box, part 5

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! Is that what the rabbit said in "Alice in Wonderland"? Well what I am saying is I really try to post by 9 a.m. each day and today I didn't have any pictures ready. I had to take my mother to a town an hour away for her eye check up yesterday and then had computer club last night. That meant I had to do the photography this morning.

Here is another from that famous "Needs to be Finished" box. I really want to finish this one as a lap quilt for myself. It is a Strips that Sizzle quilt and I added in black and white to this one. It is 54" x 76".
Some of the blocks were made from 2 blue strip sets layered together, some from blue and black/white sets, some from green and black/white, and some from blue and green. At first I thought it was really an unsuccessful attempt but later I learned to really like it. The zig zag bands are so much more predominate in real life than in the picture above.
Here are some close up photos of the fabrics and the blocks. Some of you must think I have a problem that I have to keep showing the close up pictures of the fabrics. I had been in the fabric business 30 years when I retired and I really love seeing close up pictures of fabrics to see if I recognize them from the past. I really like it when I can click and enlarge pictures on other peoples' blogs to see the fabrics closer. These fabrics are from 15 years ago, so don't look for any of these in a shop today.

My Internet friend Elaine is just starting a Strips that Sizzle quilt. You'll have to check out her blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The mailman has arrived!

I just received these fabrics in the mail. I couldn't get a photo that did them justice, they are so beautiful and saturated with color.

Terri had asked about my photography awhile back and I went to visit her blog afterwards, and then I visited her fabric shop. I couldn't help myself, I had to have these 2 new Kaffes on the top left and then I saw these realistic leaves and flowers. The next time I went back to her blog she had a link to a site for patterns for hospital gowns for a friend you know may have to stay in there for awhile. Click on her name to go to her blog and there is a link there to her store also. Thanks Terri for the fast service and the reasonable prices! To make it easier here is the link to the store where I bought the fabric.

Fixed label, another Prismatic Garden

I hadn't sewn the last side of the label down in the picture yesterday so I decided to see if I had a piece of light colored fabric with wonder under already on it and if I did I would insert it under the label to cut down the show through of the backing and seam allowances. Luckily I did find a piece because I probably wouldn't have fixed it if I had to start from scratch. I'm happier with it now. I really love the Prismatic Garden 12: Heart and I'm going to wait one more day to mail it out. I'm still trying to get a picture that is perfectly square.

The only one in the Prismatic Garden series that I have been hesitant about is the one below. I don't usually add borders to them and on this one I did. It has been waiting 4 or 5 years to be finished. Boy, time flies when you are having fun! I have had a hard time deciding which way is up on it but I think this is the way I like it, if I like it at all. Decision time: is this one going to get finished this year??