Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tackling a Sampler Quilt

Usually, the first thing I do with a sampler quilt is take a photo of it.  Looking at the quilt on a computer screen gives me the opportunity to see the distribution of colours and shapes.  And sparing no expense (OMG, seriously!!  Do you know how expensive INK is for the printer???), I will also print this out so I can doodle some quilting ideas.  It is always a good idea to take a GOOD LOOK at the piecing here - you may find that some of the patches have been stitched in the wrong orientation.  You still have time to fix that - it is much easier before you load the quilt.  Trust me on that.  See HERE.

Step one will be s.i.d. the borders, the setting triangles, and the black chain.  I'm using black thread for that.  And my favorite ruler Janet Lee's Favorite.  This is actually my second of these rulers and I think I'll be buying a third.  It seems they are 'consumables', especially when you zig when you are supposed to zag and take a large chunk out of the edge.  Thankfully said chunks have never come flying at my eyes.

Then, I fire up the IQ and stitch the motifs in the setting triangles.  Pretty, eh?

The IQ is also used for the border.  As you can clearly see (ha ha, pfftt) this border design matches the above motif.

Okey dokey - we are finished with the black thread.  Changing over to olive green... I just love that little border design - Bluebells by My Creative Stitches.
And now we move on to the blocks, with olive thread.  More s.i.d. and some, I dunno, emphasis quilting.  Through the whole quilt, in every bit of that red print I am doing 1/4" inside quilting.

The centers of the blocks are all getting an IQ motif. That is an interesting process because the block centers come in four different sizes and the motif should FIT the area, while leaving a bit of negative space around the edges.

Once the olive green quilting is finished I move on to the cream thread.  For hours and hours of cross-hatching.  Can you say "hello, massage therapist"?
If you click on the pics to look at a large version, you may notice that I have NOT quilted the side borders.  Usually, I quilt the sides as I progress down the quilt.  In this case it would have been done when I was using the black thread.  Then again when I had the olive thread loaded.  This definitely leaves tiny spots on the back where you can see the stops & starts of the stitching as the thread is anchored.  On this particular quilt, the motif was too long to fit in the available space.  When I am ALL THROUGH with this x-hatching I will take the quilt off and reload it with the short sides attached to the leaders and do those other borders.  At that point the whole quilt will get a once-over.  I will likely find a couple of spots where I have missed a motif, or missed some s.i.d. (I have already found some, actually), or neglected to clip some thread tails.  Hopefully I won't find any tiny pleats on the back - they can be a nightmare to fix.

IN THE MEANTIME, here is my salute to spring.  A plastic bag.  Ha ha ha - yes.  But it is covering up my geranium cuttings.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Strippy Quilt, Pi Day, Stash Report

I hope y'all enjoyed Pi day yesterday!  We celebrated by having pie.  One of the six thousand dozen apple pies I made and stashed in the freezer.

Here is a gorgeous strippy quilt. Can you tell this will be a wedding gift? The layout is similar to the Cobblestones pattern from Open A Can Of Worms.

The placement of dark gold fabrics along the outer edges of the strips accentuates the design.  Mmm.  Love.  Quilted with a pretty-but-not-stuffy feather design.
I know you've seen this a few times, now, but I am really happy with my Urban Runner.  Two meters off the stash report.

This was pieced at the retreat last weekend, and quilted this week.  The pattern, which I slightly modified by only making twelve blocks, is here. Another 7.9 meters off the stash.  Yay!!

Light custom quilting - s.i.d. around the blocks and sashing.  A feather/curl motif dropped in the blocks with a curlicue motif in the sashing.  Just a wee 'x' quilted through the cornerstones. 

Mmm - yummy flannel backing.
Used this report:  9.9 m
Used YTD:         48.9 m
Added this report:  0.  zero.  nada.  zip.  Can you see the halo over my head?
Added YTD:      25 m
NET YTD:        (-23.9) m

Men vs. Women
You see MY photos all the time.  Pretty quilts, pretty flowers, healthy vegetables, cute dog.  This is the kind of photo that DH likes to take.  I just thought I'd share that with you.  :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fishies quilt and Quilting Retreat

This is a cute little fish quilt made for this gal's husband.  A perfect size for watching tv.

Fish were quilted in the setting triangles.

S.I.D. around everything, and scales in the fish parts.

A running school of fish in the border.  Variegated thread was used on the whole thing, including the s.i.d.

This past weekend was the annual retreat for the Binbrook guild at Crieff Hills in Puslinch, On. We stay in St. Luke building, arriving Friday morning and leaving after lunch on Sunday.  Our meals are included (Friday lunch/supper, Saturday breakfast/lunch/supper, Sunday breakfast/lunch).  As a rule we bunk double in the rooms.  For fourteen of us the total cost was about $250.00 per person.

I had this quilt top pieced by 4 pm on Saturday.  I had already spent Thursday getting everything cut out, so it was ready to go when I arrived.  A link to the pattern is HERE.  I made a smaller version than the pattern - twelve blocks instead of twenty. 

In the evenings I worked on hand sewing the binding on my table runner.  This was my January project using the Quick Curve Ruler.

Sunday morning was spent on a few more Tumbler placemats.  These four are made with the reds and greens and will likely go to Meals on Wheels. I have been piecing placemats from these tumbers since...February 2014 and I STILL have more pieces to work with.  The next batch is all browns.  These pieces were all cut by 'JAWS', the Studio Cutter by Accuquilt.  See the tab at the top if you'd like to rent JAWS and whittle down your scrap stash.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dealing with Mother Nature

Desperate Times

Call for Desperate Measures
Mother Nature has been on a nasty PMS bender for weeks.  I'm not sure who put the bug up her ass, but honestly - I wish she'd get over it.  Several inches of snow this afternoon, then freezing drizzle on top.  Aarghh....  When I was talking to Margaret tonight (of the Kawartha Margarets) I mentioned that there was probably a consumption point at which guacamole was no longer a healthy snack.  I think I hit it.  :-)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to Quilt Multiple Placemats, and UFO Report

Here is a little tutorial on how to get a zillion placemats done for Meals on Wheels.

Start with a customer who gives you a large bag of remnants - mostly man-stuff like fishing & camping fabrics.

Add another customer who gives you a box of started scrappy quilt blocks.
Take those two items to your quilt guild, and guilt the members into taking some of that stuff home to make wee placemat tops that measure somewhere in the vicinity of 12-ish inches by 18-ish inches.  While they are groaning and rolling their eyes at you, remind them that they DO NOT NEED TO QUILT THEM.  If they are still giving you a hard time, let your eyes get a little watery as though you might be starting to cry, and tell them about how your mom used to get little gifts from Meals on Wheels and it really cheered her up.  That should work.

When they bring them back to you the next month, take 'em all  home and try to find one backing fabric that will look ok with ALL of the wee tops.  This is definitely a challenge!  Here, you can see that I found a nice neutral in my stash.
Pin those puppies on to a very large hunk of backing fabric which has been matched up with a very large hunk of batting.  Allow three inches of space all around each placemat.  And use a thinner batt - pouffy stuff tends to tip over wine glasses.  Not that seniors drink wine, of course.  :-)

Baste around the edges of each placemat.
Quilt them.  Stay INSIDE each placemat with the stitching - you'll see why in a second.
Cut them apart, leaving a generous one inch of backing all the way around.  Trim off the batting at the edge of the wee top. This way, you can simply turn the backing over to the top, folding over twice, and top stitch in place for binding. 
I have a very fancy name for this binding, calling it "Back To Front Self Binding".  Ahem.


Ta da...  Here is the Blooming 9-Patch all done.  Binding finished and everything.  Even labelled.  Now I'm waiting for Margaret to pull the number for months March & April.  I am going on a retreat this weekend so maybe I could do a little work on the next one.
Have I shown you my cutie-patootie lately?