Friday, August 18, 2017

It's here- Shibori II!

     I made a couple of HST star quilts from a layer cake of Shibori (Moda) that I got a deal on from MSQC. But then I could never get any more of that fabric. And I loved it. 
     I heard that Moda was planning a Shibori II line and have been looking for any hint of it showing up. When I went to the Adirondacks, which is a remote place, I walked into the Crazy Moose Quilt Shop in Inlet, NY and UPS had just delivered bolts of it. It was closing time, but I asked if I could have half yards of 15 of them, the ones that had the most design. I came back the next day to pick up and pay the damages and also bought 2 panels (which I never do) that had beautiful outdoor scenes (not corny). Now, I have to decide what to make with these. They are beautiful. If you want this fabric, buy it now, I am sure it will disappear like last time.

Folded nicely
     One of my sister in laws spent six weeks in Nepal early summer and brought me back this fabric, a yard of each. Not sure what to make.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

RWB exploding sqares version I lost track

     The RWB exploding squares that I trimmed on vacation were laid out, then sewn, then two borders were added to make it big enough. Guild members had cut a kit for this, but I was unsatisfied with the fabric chosen for the last round, so I dug around to find some other prints instead of the solid white. Then there was not enough for the red border, so I changed that also. Anyways it is all sewn together and I bet the backing is not big enough for my long arm. I took a photo in the shade and in the sun where it was windy. I have made I don't know how many of these exploding squares. This one used 4 patch orphan blocks for the first square.

In sun

In shade

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


     I bought some fabric sight unseen in hope one would work with my kaleidoscope quilt. Hmm, not sure what to do.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trimming and prepping

     Yes, I did take my sewing machine to the Adirondacks and set up a little table and did some work. I trimmed a whole lot of stuff and finished Clue 2 of Kevin's Sapphire Star Mystery Quilt. I also sewed a raft of tiny wonky stars, but I can't find the photo. I did not work on anything large as we all shared the same space. I took the Featherweight and blocks to trim.
Trimmed all the diagonal blocks cut from tube.
I did not have the ones I previously trimmed with me, so they all need to be trimmed 1/8" smaller. Rats.
Exploding Squares, last round opened and all trimmed. Ready to go on the wall.

Clue 2 all done

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back all inspired up!

     Every year for over 20 years, we spend one week in the Adirondacks, NY around Old Forge. Our whole family goes. My kids were little when we started, and now my son's kids are the same age. Seeing them play in the water in the same spots as their dad is somehow very humbling. When you spend a week every year over decades, you really get to know a place and see the growth and changes. I never tire of this spot. We rent a big house and miraculously all get along. I am very blessed and am extremely grateful. 
     The landscape is like taking mega B-12 shots. I photograph for my painting reference and to inspire me with colors and textures. I did even visit one quilt store and leave a chunk of change there. My goal is to start some landscape quilts this year after dithering about techniques and fear of starting. I have lots of ideas.

View from McCauley Mtn.
Chair lift to top of McCauley Mtn.
Enchanted Forest Amusement Park in view

Top of McCauley 
Tiny plants at top of McCauley

The chair lift

Not me in the canoe, but we rented one like this and
 traveled on the Moose River

Train Ride in open air car
Grandson watching for deer out the open air car

My all time favorites- the water lilies-
sorry for the overexposed flower

Friday, August 4, 2017

Spa Day for a 69 year old

     No, it is not me. I am not 69. It is a Singer Featherweight that I was asked to clean and make sing. I love cleaning and adjusting vintage machines. The craftsmanship and attention to detail on these machines are awe inspiring. The straight stitch on these are superior to any new one. The Singer Featherweight, the 221, is slightly underpowered compared to my 301 or 15, but it sews fantastic. I just gaze at the stitching sometimes in wonder. Any bells and whistles new machines have hold nothing to the quality of the straight stitching of the vintage. To me, it is all about the stitch. I could care less about thread cutters (I have snips), knee lifts, or automatic threaders- as a quilter is all about the stitch quality. Because of this I crave to fix and clean vintage ones to restore the glory to machines that truly revolutionized women's lives in the home. I get referrals to clean and give the spa treatment frequently and especially love restoring the 221s.
     This 221 has mold and moisture issues. The cord had to be tossed. It was so gross, I ran it out to the trash with no time for a photo. The machine had mold on the bed and inside. I was able to clean it all out and it ran like a champ. Perfect stitching.



It all clicked

     In April, I took a class with Sujata Shah on Organized Chaos, a kaleidoscope quilt. I spent two workshop days on it and innumerable hours and pieces of fabric (a lot not used) in putting the quilt together. I have always loved the kaleidoscope quilts. Ones from Wanda and Maureen have made me drool and I was glad to take the plunge. I needed a lot of advice and help because sometimes I got lost in the forest. I kept chipping away at it and added two additional rows to make it bigger and more rectangular. It was sewn in sections instead of the normal columns webbing that I like to do once Wanda explained it to me. 
    I used all stash fabric with some fabric strips given to me by a friend. I love the colors and movement and sparkle. It was slow with double pinning, but I wanted a good result. I was really never sick of looking at. I was frustrated at times, but the whole quilt was a great experience. If I had not taken the class, I would not have got off the starting block. I love all the different kinds of fabrics and colors used. 
     It is 55" x 72" right now. I would like to have a wide border, but what fabric? So, from early April until August 4th, it is sewn.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Just Six Sections

     The Organized Chaos kaleidoscope quilt is all sewn up into six sections just waiting for the other seams to sewn. It is very slow because of all the pinning matching up points. I am not normally a pinner, but I am forced with this. No matter how careful I cut, sewed, trimmed, etc, I could not get every point to line up but close. I need to not obsess on it, I did the best I could. I need about an uninterrupted hour and half to get this all sewn. All then, I am not sure what to do about a border. I just love all the colors.

Special Project Reveal- Why Free Motion Quilting matters

     There are many reasons to work on special projects. Like a company gives you new fabric, a milestone event in a loved one's life, a extraordinary inspiration, or a challenge to move you ahead. 
     I believe that the quilting on the quilt needs to be part of the fabric pieced design, like paint fills around the lines on a pages. I look at the quilt and try to determine what the quilt needs stitched in. Personally, I don't like all over designs because they ignore all the  beautiful piecing going on. I realize I am in the minority. When I choose a top, I try to find an overall theme, topic, motif, or expressive line. 
     When Deanna from Wedding Dress Blues posted how she had a quilt that she did not know how it could be quilted, I emailed her and told her I would take it on. I don't quilt for others, but this was a challenge I wanted to gift. 
Deanna's quilt in her blog
     I looked at this quilt as a flower garden in vertical rows. I thought the bright vertical strips would be a tall column of leaves in between the flowers. The pastel areas, I made free form leaf designs that curve and curl to break the linear grid. I did not want to quilt over the flower star shapes, so I did swirls around them up to the edges and made a flower center which I varied for each flower. When this is washed, the star flowers will pop up from the background. 
     I quilted this in Mocha Glide on the top and Mocha Premosoft in the bobbin. I used a titanium needle and no problem with the batik or multiple seams. I did not trim it, but folded into a priority box and mailed it back to her in Utah (I am in Buffalo, NY). 
Whole quilt, untrimmed

Vertical leaves columns

Flower center detail

Back, busy fabric, hard to see quilting
Quilting on back
   She has not received it yet, so I am hoping she likes it. 
I hope I explained and showed that quilting can be an effective design element along with the piecing and elevate the whole quilt. Now back to my stack of quilts hanging in the balance.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Three finishes, kind of, sort of...

     Due to all the rain we have been having, it has been hard to photo some quilts outside. Today, there was a break, so I rushed out and did the job.
     The first quilt is one from our guild that was cut out as a kit to make for our local VA hospital. We want to have 50 quilts by Veterans Day. I added an extra row around because it needed that neutral on the outside edge. Except for the center squares, it is all made from brick shapes. My mom helped sew the short edges of all the bricks, and then I assembled all the blocks and top. I made a scrappy binding because I thought it looked better than what I was given.

     The second vet quilt was made by another guild member and I quilted it. She wanted to trim it herself, so it is not all done.
     The last quilt is from the other half of the HSTs made from the Shirbori layer cake. This one is asymmetrical. I made the borders real wide so that  it can be used on a twin bed. It needs backing and quilting.