Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christmas Lights Completed

When I had completed all the blocks, the next decision was the layout.  Since I was working a month or so behind the more eager quilters, I was fortunate enough to trip across a quilter's blog, (blogger unknown - sorry), that showed 3 additional layouts.  One of these struck a chord with me, so it was the winner!
I scan through the blogs found here every morning and check out the ones that catch my eye.
I used the quilting design that was suggested in Quiltmaker, and stitched tangled Christmas lights all over the quilt - I think this would have been easier using a quilting frame, but I managed to do it in three passes down the length of the quilt, making sure that the quilting motifs were evenly distributed over the quilt top.
Now it needs to find a home. According to my rough calculations, I was able to use up approximately 18 yards of my stash, including the pieced front, the backing and the binding!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Christmas Lights Pt 3

I am still trying to use my stash, so that influenced my choice of borders.  Back in my stash-building days, I used to buy the "rest of the bolt".  The burgundy with gold holly vines was one of those purchases that sat on my shelves for a long time.   The beige looking fabric in the middle border was also a Christmas cream with metallic gold print waiting for a quilt. 
I have a large stash of Christmas fabrics that were calling to me from the shop shelves, but I make almost no Christmas projects.  I hope to find some inspiration this year, so my stash can shrink more than ever.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Christmas Lights Pt 2

This is one of the finished block 2'sOf course, it uses more leaders and enders!  Good thing I have a seemingly endless supply.  This set of blocks also used lots of my stock of red scrap strips as well.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Christmas Lights

I decided to make the mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter that was in Quiltmaker magazine.  It was a three part mystery that began in the July/August issue (No. 128).  Since I am trying to use my stash, I thought this would be a great opportunity!
This is one of the blocks (colour is a bit deeper than in the picture).  I used a brighter yellow in the quilt where it asked for gold, as I was determined to use what I had on hand.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

P.S. Borders on the Heart Quilt

No matter what I did to adjust the colours, the borders appeared to be black-ish.  Here is a close-up of the border, to see the actual colour of the fabric.  I've been using my stash, as it was getting too big for my quilting studio.  I've only purchased fabric in the past year, that was necessary to finish a project.  It is amazing how creative you can become when you set your mind to it!

Appliqued Hearts Quilt

I still haven't come up with a name for this quilt.  That is always the hardest part for me!  This quilt will be donated to the Limestone Quilt Guild in Kingston ON, for its Community Quilts program.  We make quilts to donate to many groups in our community, and  there is a never-ending need.
You can see all the "leaders & enders" that were used in this quilt, but the bins never seem to empty!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Final Set of Hearts!

Here are the last of the heart applique blocks that I made as teaching samples.  The full quilt will be next!

And More Hearts....

The hearts just keep coming..

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Hearts

Here are some more hearts from the UFO quilt project.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finishing UFO's

I'm usually pretty good about finishing projects, but sometimes, when the excitement of some new idea hits, I just have to get started, and from time to time, I find a few UFO's around.
Last winter, I spent one of our quilting afternoons, teaching about  applique.  I made quite a few heart appliques, using several different fusible products and methods, as well as some hand appliques, showing different ways to prepare the pieces.  I took some time to finish all the applique, some by hand and some by machine, and decided it was time to make them into a quilt.
I used an alternating "leaders and enders" 16 patch block to complete the quilt top.  The top was too narrow, so I added border to each side, again using some "leaders and enders" 4 patches.

When I quilted, I wanted to use a different design inside each heart, but I think I did do one or two alike!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Using our Scraps

I discovered Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville several years ago.  Her "scrap users" system and "leaders and enders" helped me to tame a 15 year collection of scraps.  My DH threatened me with "use it or lose it", so I began taming my scraps.
Every time I pressed seams etc., I also grabbed a handful of "scraps" and pressed them as well.  They were then placed on my cutting table.  The next time I was cutting, I also cut up the scraps into usable strips and squares.  I don't save all the sizes, as I am limited in my storage space, but I do save strips, (minimum length 12"), in 1 1/2", 2", and 2 1/2" sizes, as well as 2" squares.
I have 2 bins beside my sewing machine, and every time I finish a seam, I pick up 2 squares and stitch them together, then trim the threads between the squares and my sewing.  The square stays in the machine until the next seam.  This way, almost all my thread is used to sew (I'm a bit frugal at times!)
When the pile of "2 patches gets too large, I stitch them into 4 patches.  The 16 patch block in the picture was made this way, and made its way into a quilt as an alternate block.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Play Date Sampler Top Complete

Here is the completed Play Date Sampler in bright jewel tones with a white background.
The second picture is of another Play Date Sampler that I made using scraps and a dark blue-green mottled background with rose sashing and cornerstones.
The variety of choices that my quilting group made were wonderful, and each quilt has its own "flavour"

Final Border added to Sampler

I finally found a fabric that I liked for the final border of this quilt.
Pattern is "Play Date Sampler" found at Nancy Mahoney's website.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally a picture of the whole quilt!

Decided to name this one
"Oh, My Plaid Stars!"
Asked a friend to come over to be a quilt holder yesterday.  He and my DH stood on ladders while I photographed the quilts that I have completed this winter.
I always find it difficult to take pictures of quilts that show all the details, especially in the quilting.  At least I have a record of all the quilting in the different areas.
The background fabric is more of a tea-dyed colour of muslin, and the star colours are much brighter as well.  I must learn more about Photoshop!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Outing

No quilting done yesterday as my Florida quilting group had a celebration!  We try to get together before everyone begins to head north for the summer.
Had a lovely lunch then off to a quilt shop in Lakeland - The Patchwork Pig.  Lots of variety and even some fabrics on sale.  Everyone in the group headed home with a bag.....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Last Section Quilted!

Finally finished the last round of feathers!  These travel between the gold and rust stars, and the blue plaid "chain" area.
Once again, I planned the route that the stem travels by tracing a pencil line on the gray-scale print out of the quilt design.
Machine quilted using my Juki with no frame.
Just the feather quilting took 14 filled bobbins of tan thread!  Now I have to spend some time checking the front and back for stray threads.  I try to do this while I am stitching, but there are always just as many "hidden" on the quilt - especially a busy quilt with a pieced plaid backing!
Now I just have to wait for a wind-free day to get a picture of the whole quilt!  This is a big one - blocks are 12 inches finished, and they are in a 7 x 9 layout.  DH wondered why I wasn't adding a border!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Plaid Star Quilt Centre Close-up

Another view of the centre "circle" of the plaid star quilt.  This shows a close-up of the "Hooked on Feathers" filling a slightly awkward area.  Once a decision is made about the spine shape, the rest is quite easy.  I actually used a gray-scale picture of the full quilt, and drew the spine line in each area as a guide to my stitching.
As always, machine quilted with my Juki and not using a frame.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Plaid stars Heading to the Finish

I finally figured out a path for the centre area of the quilt.  The "Hooked on Feathers pattern seems to fit into almost any space with just a bit of pre-planning.
This was machine quilted on my Juki, without the use of a frame.
The end is in sight!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The first corner is completed!  Now to work on the other 3!
Then I have to figure out how to quilt the centre area!
Still doing "Hooked on Feathers", using my Juki to machine quilt.

Monday, March 8, 2010

No Quilting Today

We spent the day at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Circles of Feathers

There are quite a few small yellow plaid stars in this quilt, so I decided to quilt a circle of feathers around each one.
I found a plastic bowl lid that was just the right size to mark the circle, using a hera marker (sharp edged plastic that makes a visible creased line).  Once the stem was stitched, I was able to make "Hooked on Feathers" hooks and flourishes on both sides of the stem.  Hand guided machine quilting with a Juki machine and no frame.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making a template using Press n Seal

I just smooth the Press n Seal over the pattern in a book or one that I have printed from my computer.  It leaves a tiny bit of tackiness, but not enough to even make the pages stick together.  When I mark a template for use on darker fabric, I use the golden tracing paper, as it tears away very easily.  I used to use it exclusively before Press n Seal hit the market.  The plastic wrap moves easily when you are manipulating your quilt through your machine.
I only pre-mark about 10% of my quilting designs before stitching.  I usually decide what design I want to use, and if I want part of the design to be in a regular spot on the quilt, I mark the spots with a pin, to remind me to stitch a leaf, flower, butterfly, etc. in that spot.  I have also quilted words and phrases in the border of a quilt, using a chalk marker as a guide line for the letters, and rarely in a straight line - curves are so much nicer!

Mt. Dora Florida Quilt Show

Yesterday, my DH drove me and six of my quilting friends to the Mt. Dora quilt show.  They had a good turn-out, very crowded at times.  Two members of the group had never attended a quilt show before, so they enjoyed seeing all the different quilts, as well as shopping at the vendors' booths.
Since Mt. Dora is almost 2 hours from home, we took advantage of the trip to visit two quilt shops and a cross stitch shop in the area as well.
On the way home, we also stopped at Ron's Miniature Shop in Orlando, so I could introduce the ladies to my other obsession!  We rounded  out the trip with a stop at Joanns Fabrics on the way home, and managed to arrive home in time for dinner - a full, tiring, wonderful, fun day!

Questions Answered

1.  Yes, the Glad Press n Seal that I mentioned is the tacky type of plastic wrap used in the kitchen.  I use pastel fine point Sharpie markers to draw the design onto the wrap.  I let it dry well before placing onto the quilt top and stitching.  I recommend testing on scraps before stitching on your quilt.  I tried using my Pigma Micron pen to mark, but some of the ink rubbed off on the thread as I was stitching.  I usually test all the different colours on a scrap of wrap to see which colour shows up best.  Remember to always test!
It is easy to pull off after stitching, but if you have done any stitching over previous lines, little pieces can get caught.  It takes a bit of time to pick all the bits out, but is good TV watching work.
2.  I use a Juki TL-98Q to stitch almost all of my free motion work, although I do some using my favourite Pfaff as well.
My husband altered my table so that my  machine can sit flush to the table top.  He cut a hole in the table top and built a box at the correct depth.  He even drilled a hole, so that the presser foot knee lift can be used.  I find that my quilting has improved greatly having the machine a table height, instead of sitting the machine on the table and adding the extension table.  I still use the extension if I go to a workshop etc.
The Juki is a straight stitch machine, with a great stitch, and seems easier to adjust the tension.  It comes with a walking foot and two free motion feet as well.  I don't like the 1/4 inch foot very much, but that is just a person preference.   I did purchase a free motion foot from Sharon Schambers, and use it when I have to follow a pre-marked line, as it gives better visabililty while stitching.  I only pre-mark quilting designs for about 10% of my quilting. 
This is where I sew while in Florida.  The sun  hits the room in the afternoon, so the matchstick blinds keep it out of my eyes.  You can see my Juki set into the table. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stitching around a larger Plaid Star

More feathers with a few more flourishes.  It is like a puzzle, trying to fill all the spaces!
It is very satisfying to see a plan develop, and I still love doing the "Hooked on Feathers" method.
This was hand guided without using a frame, stitching with my Juki.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Plaid with Feathers

More "Hooked on Feathers" filling the area around a small star.  This was part of a continuous loop in a corner section of the quilt.  I love the way the feathers grow and shrink to fill the spaces.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plaid Quilt Continues....

I finally started the fun part - the quilting in the background!
I chose this pattern as it has lots of open space for quilting.
I've been inspired by the book "Hooked on Feathers" by Sally Terry.
I started quilting in the tiny corner areas, doing feathered hooks radiating from the centre.
You can also see the next area.  I began by stitching the stem, then quilting around one side, then the other, trying to fill in all the spaces.  I used some curliques etc. to fill in extra large spots.
My background is a darker tea coloured muslin, and I decided to quilt the feathers in a contrasting thread.
I ordered several colours of tans to browns from Superior Threads, and decided to quilt with "So Fine" #425.  It really stands out well against the muslin. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Still more Plaid

I finally found a design that I liked for the gold and rust stars.  
I marked the design onto "Press n Seal", using a Sharpie marker, then centred the design in the gold square.
I stitched over the lines with rust thread, then pulled away the "Press n Seal".
There are two styles of gold and rust stars, which were all quilted alike.
I hand guided the designs, using my Juki sewing machine. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

And More Plaid

This is the centre block in the quilt - there is only one of these. 
I repeated the spiral with figure eight loops in the small green star, then quilted larger figure eight loops in the larger red plaid star.
This was quilted by hand guiding the quilt, using my Juki sewing machine.  I didn't mark the designs before quilting.