Saturday, August 6, 2016

Whisper

 A few weeks ago, I decided to make a lap quilt for my sister. She was in the midst of a kitchen renovation. With her open floor plan, that meant new family room furniture, too. I texted her daughter-in-law to get a picture of the new sofa and chair. So sneaky! Anita is a neutral girl. No crazy colors like in my house.


I had a pile of low volume prints still out from the trivet project. I added a few grays and solids and started cutting. In no time, the scrappy trip around the world blocks were done and ready to assemble. Wow, are they fun! 

It was super hot that week, so I needed to carefully move everything from the design floor in the living room to my air conditioned bedroom.


 I knew I wanted to quilt a spiral from the center of the "trip" and go around and around. I put on the walking foot, drew a starting circle and got started. I knew the center would be the toughest part, but I was really struggling moving the quilt along. Guess what? I forgot to re-engage the feed dogs after the free motion class the day before. How embarrassing! It's a little wobbly in the center, but not bad enough to rip out for a quilt that I know will be used and loved and washed often.

 

I tried not to post much of this project to Instagram, because I wanted to keep it a surprise. She did comment on a tight pic of the center quilting that the grays and yellows matched her new chair. Is that so? What a coincidence!

The next lesson I learned was that my needle was too small. I usually use a size 80 with 50 wt thread, but I was all out. I put in a 70 and my thread kept breaking. I was finally good to go after changing to a 90. With the feed dogs engaged!
 

I found the binding in my deep stash. I hope the little sparkle will compliment the mica flecks in her new granite counter tops. The backing should bring together her gray and beige paisley chair and brown leather sofa. Everything came from stash except the backing and batting.
 

Whisper
60" X 72"
Started: July 11, 2016
Top Done July 17, 2016
Quilted: July 23-24, 2016
Bound: July 25, 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Little Lucy

 Oh, happy day! My little Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses wall hanging is finished and hanging on the wall! I swear, every quilt I make looks fantastic on my golden yellow walls.


 This piece started in December 2014 as a traveling project to take on our trip to Tanzania. It was such a long flight, I knew I'd have lots of time to stitch. I met a lovely Brit in the JFK airport who wished she had brought her hand stitching with her, too. 


The fussy cut centers were fun to work on and were done by May of 2015. I won the Union Jack needle case from Helen/Archie the wonder dog a few years ago. How appropriate for this very English project! I'm so glad I decided to purchase the papers (1" honeycombs and squares) and a fussy cutting template from Paper Pieces.


When it came time to fill in the sashing, motivation was hard to come by. I pieced together small groupings of cream and blue, but there are other ways to assemble this top. This worked for me because it kept the project portable. I used 50 wt Aurifil for most of the piecing and all of the quilting.

 
I finally finished the top in early July 2016.


Bear with me while I document each block...


 If you click on one, you will see the free motion machine quilting.


 Clearly, I had fun fussy cutting! All the fabric is Kate Spain's Fandango line except the Kona solids in snow and aqua.


 Compare the yellow pieces above and below. I started out making little feathers in these pieces, but I wasn't sure if it was worth it in the busier prints. So every other block has the simpler design below.


The center block is my favorite.
 

Many thanks to Angela Walters for the confidence to tackle this quilting!


I fussy cut the binding to take advantage of the scallop print.
 

Free motion machine quilting was done on my Bernina 153. I used a light mint green Auriful #2800 in the colorful parts and creamy #2311 in the background.


No, maybe this one is my favorite block!
 

The ribbon candy quilting in the negative space wasn't my first choice. I tried an overlapping figure 8, which was just not working out. (I need more practice.) After working my way around two blocks, I realized it had to go. Have you ever noticed that 10 minutes of machine quilting takes over an hour to rip out?!! In the end, I think it was worth it.


Since this was all hand pieced, I considered hand quilting, too. That would have taken me another two years to finish instead of just two days! I'm so happy she's done!


Little Lucy
35" X 35"
Started: December 2014
Top done: July 1, 2016
Quilted: July 27-28, 2016
Bound: July 29, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ombre Mini Geese

 Oh, this ombre mini makes me so happy!


Way back in March (?) a new swap got under way on Instagram. @nydiak, @the_tattooed_quilter and @modernhandcraft started a V&Co ombre mini swap. The stress-free twist was that you wouldn't be assigned a partner unless you finished by April 30. Unfortunately, I didn't even have the top finished by then. Check out the swap hashtag for all the ombre love!

I had a small stash of ombres from a workshop with Vanessa. I found the paper piecing block in EQ7. It is similar to Bonnie Hunter's Wild & Goosey block with more geese. I was off to a promising start. Then life and other projects got in the way.


I finally got around to finishing the top at the end of June. Then it waited a little longer until after a workshop with Angela Walters. I was excited to pick up some new quilting tips and design ideas to use on this little piece.


 The machine quilting was done on my Bernina 153 with 50 wt Aurifil in three different shades of gray. I had so much fun choosing designs! Ribbon candy is a new design for me.

 
 I was even brave enough to try a little half-feather in the corners. Perfectly acceptable!


Oooooh. Look at the yummy backing! That teal ombre is just delicious.


 Since I used the ombre for the binding, too, I needed three shades of Aurifil for the hand stitching. Two of them came from a designer collection I picked up from Angela!


In case you were wondering, the grays in the background are also from V&Co. It's a wide stripe of the gray gradation.


Ombre Mini Geese
16" X 16"
Cutting 4/5/16
Piecing completed 6/30/16
Quilted and Bound 7/25/16

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Burgoyne Surrounded

This recent finish started out as a mystery! My friend, Louise Pankiewicz, taught a mystery workshop at our weekend retreat in March. She's a great teacher and pretty sneaky! Burgoyne Surrounded is a complicated block, and one that I might not choose on my own. It was a brilliant idea to turn it into a mystery. It's not so bad, one step at a time.
 

With all the cutting done in advance, I was able to complete the top in a day.


This is the quilt I was working on when I sliced my thumb with the rotary cutter and ended up in the emergency room. That one drop of blood came out easily with some hydrogen peroxide. I usually trim with scissors after basting. I don't know what made me grab the rotary cutter that night.


 I went to a Modern Quilt Guild meeting in early July and realized I didn't have any completed projects for show & tell. So I came home and quilted this pretty top.


The backing is a beautiful V&Co Simply Color print that I've had for a while. 
 

The binding had to be scrappy. I dug through my bin of leftover bindings and found plenty of blues and greens. I'm happy to have this sweet quilt finished.


If you're curious about the history of Burgoyne Surrounded, click here. I grew up in upstate New York, and I have visited the Saratoga Battlefield several times. It's a beautiful location on the Hudson River.


Burgoyne Surrounded
39" X 57"
Pieced 3/5/16
Basted 4/2/16
Quilted 7/9/16
Bound 7/10/16

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The King

 This magnificent lion is finally off the WIP list and onto my living room wall.


 Way back in February, 2015, Juliet at the Tartan Kiwi asked for pattern testers for her new paper piecing pattern. Since we had just been on safari two months earlier, I practically begged to be a tester! My first post to Instagram was this spectacular eye!


At the end of a single long day of piecing, the king was born. I remember Julia and Fred coming in and out all day, checking on my progress.


After waffling for 18 months on whether or not to quilt him, I gave in (gave up?) and ordered a frame. Without removing the paper, I trimmed him to size to fit the frame. Five minutes.  Done! 

To be completely honest, I was not quite done yet because I did something stupid. There was a lot of lint on the front of the plexiglass. I grabbed a lint roller, the sticky tape kind, and rolled it over the glass. It left lines of sticky residue all over! Nothing I had in the house could remove it. A week later, I picked up some Goo Gone with a JoAnn's coupon. Just a drop of that miracle liquid cleaned it all up. OK. Now it's done!


The King
Pieced 2/24/15
Framed 6/17/16

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trivets for Susan

 Some time last Fall (November, maybe?), a friend called to ask if I could make some trivets for her that would be cuter than the ones she had been seeing in stores. "Of course," I said. "When do you want them?" "Whenever you have time," she said. Big mistake, Susan! Now she knows that I need a firm deadline, even if it is arbitrary!


 Susan follows me on Instagram.* Every time I saw that she had clicked "like" on one of my quilty photos or left a sweet comment, I felt guilty for not working on her trivets. A few months ago, I pulled all the reds and cream/tans from my stash and set them aside. I thought that was a good start. About a month ago, I was surprised to see my stash was seriously lacking in reds and low volumes. Haha!
 

When I cleaned out my quilty storage area to move some furniture around, I found the stack and quickly got to work. I used different block designs and different fabric combinations for each trivet to make the project more fun and interesting for me. That Dutchman's Puzzle might be my all-time favorite block.
 

She had asked for a modern country look. The smaller trivets are 8-9" and the larger ones are about 11".  There is a layer of Insul-brite and a layer of cotton batting. They are pretty thick, so I kept the quilting simple with just a few straight lines.


I get excited when I actually remember to sew my labels into the binding! (It's the little things, people.) The binding is done all on the machine for durability. I rinsed each one separately several times to remove most of the excess red dye. Then I threw them all in the washer with a color catcher and then into the dryer. I wanted to make sure they wouldn't run or fall apart on her, and they washed beautifully.
 

If there is a moral to this story, it is to always give Tina a deadline!
Percolation time: 8 months
Working time: 10 hours over 3 days

*If you ever wonder what I'm up to between blog posts, visit me on Instagram. I post there pretty regularly. For example, you can see what I worked on in a machine quilting class yesterday with Angela Walters!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Spring Recap

 Now that summer is officially here, I thought I should show you what happened around here in May and June.  Here's a recap of the highlights.

Julia graduated from college, so I made her this little gift. The title of the hymn and smiling earth are perfect for my sweet girl who majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Religious Studies. (Pattern by Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive).


The best pictures of any event are the ones with my mom! Julia is happily interning at Disney's Animal Kingdom as a Wilderness Explorer troop leader (environmental educator). If you're headed to Disney before the end of January 2017, look for her and say hi!


 My cousin celebrated his 25th anniversary of priesthood, so I made him a new stole. I decided to use scrappy greens, knowing he'd get a lot of use from the color for "ordinary" time. I didn't know green is also his favorite color.


My husband turned 50 in June, so we went on an epic musical road trip from Nashville, to Memphis, through the Mississippi delta, and finishing up in New Orleans. I only stopped at a few quilt shops along the way: Craft South, Sew Memphis and Ella Rose. We were on a tight schedule, so grabbing fat quarters was a great option. He bought a guitar in Clarksdale, so I came in way under budget!


We picked out the bendy bag pattern at Sew Memphis for Bill's electronics and new reading glasses. He travels a lot for work, and this is a vast improvement on his ziplock baggie. I forgot to include the pull tab, but he doesn't mind.
 

And now for the WIPs. This spinning hexie EPP has become my traveling project. I kitted up some blocks to take on our vacation. Now I'm working on them during work breaks and in front of the TV at night. I've got 2 or 3 more block kits, but I might keep going to use up more scraps. Each hexie finishes at 3" on a side. I have no idea what this will be. I'll just keep going until I get tired of it or a shiny new idea comes along.


In other EPP news, my Lucy Boston-inspired Patchwork of the Crosses top is finished! It measures about 35" square, so I'm trying to decide if I'll add borders or not. It would be a sweet wall hanging as is. I have no clue how I'll quilt it.


I designed and started piecing this ombre mini back in early April. I had intended to participate in the ombre mini swap, but I didn't finish in time. I finally competed the piecing this week. I think the quilting will wait until after a class with Angela Walters in a few weeks. That will be fun!


Since the ombres were out, I wanted to play some more. I pulled an old Simply Color (V and Company) jelly roll off the shelf and went to town.  I found this pattern online that got me started. The jelly roll only had 21 strips, so I cut 3 more from my stash. Each strip set makes 7 equilateral triangles plus 2 ends (1/2 triangles). I cut the first triangle in the center of the strip set, which in this case was the lightest area. The top is about 36 X 45", which is a nice baby quilt size. It would be a striking wall hanging, too. I love how it looks on my front porch!


 Last but not least, Julia and Fred are engaged! Yes, there is a wedding quilt in the works. She really likes the wedding ring quilts I've been making for my nieces and nephews, but mama needs a change! She picked the Geese at My Wedding pattern from Quiltworx. We haven't decided on colors yet, but she likes modern solids. That works for me!


It's time for me to head back to the basement for more sorting and purging and cleaning.