Monday, October 27, 2008

String Quilts, Fabric Baskets, Carol Doak's October BOM and Long-Arm Quilting

I have been working the last few days on several different projects. One is my first string quilt. I have suggested this as the next project for the Senior Center quilters, so I am working on an example. No surprise - mine is yellows and blues with a few teals and golds thrown in. string quilt blue yellow 4 squares My guild had a work day Saturday where most of us worked on string quilt blocks that were more scrappy than this, but like mine they did have the same color thru the center of each block. I only have enough of the dark blue fabric to make 3 more 4-block units, then I will use a different fabric or 2 and mix them up, but I do plan to have all blues in the corners so that the centers of the big diamonds will be blue. The blocks could certainly be different sizes, but I am squaring mine up to 10". I am trying to make my stripes varying widths so I don't have anything to match up except the center dark blue stripes.

I've been working on a secret quilted wall hanging over the last week - not ready to show it, but here is a fabric basket I made yesterday to go with it.
Carolyn's Basket I'd been seeing these on Vera's blog and thought they were really cute, so I went to Pink Penguin and printed the directions. I'm sure I will be making more of these! It is about 4" x 6" and 4" tall, not counting the handles. Thank you Vera for posting your pictures!

Recently Carol Doak started a new BOM on her
Yahoo Group - here is my October one. Carol Doak's Oct '08 BOM Each block will be a 7" square. I already have plans for whipping up another one with a different kind of tree and a creek instead of a road. She has already given us the November one, but I am not looking at it, or the pictures that others have already posted, until Nov 1.

Friday I used a friend's long-arm machine to quilt the Senior Center's first Turning Twenty quilt. I had practiced on it a couple of times and selected the stars and loops pantograph to do on this quilt. I got there about 1:00, chatted for awhile and then we began loading the quilt. When I got down to the actual quilting it took about 15 minutes to do a pass across the quilt, then about 10 minutes to reposition, etc. We were taking it off the machine by 8:30, and we had taken several breaks. It is just my first attempt, but not too bad. I thought this pantograph allowed a bit of freedom about exactly where you put the loops, as long as they don't run into the stars! rays quilt front quilted closeup Here is the back of the same quilt rays quilt back quilted

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Monsieur Beauregard" ~ and Other Allie Quilts

Last weekend DH and I went to Columbia County, NY to visit Allie, our daughter who works at Thompson Finch Farm in Ancram. She is our youngest, and the only quilter. In between tending and harvesting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and the other garden produce this summer and fall she has also been busily working on some more quilted wallhangings. I mentioned some of her pieces in a previous post but now she has more. The model for "Monsieur Beauregard" Monsieur Beauregard Monsieur Beauregard Close-up is a Beauregard sweet potato that graces her doorstep. Here she shows the original and the quilted piece. Allie with Monsieur Beauregard She used some Paris street scene fabric for the background and painted over it. If you look closely at the larger view of it you can see the design in the background. She also painted the fabric for the potato to make it more the real color.

Another one of her quilted wall hangings is "Hans" In Memoriam, Hans
The model for this one was Hans - a bull at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville, NY. Allie worked at this farm last year, and still goes to the Inwood Greenmarket in Manhattan for them sometimes. He died prematurely and Allie created this quilt in his honor. Here is a close-up of the work on it. In Memoriam, Hans, closeup

She made "Lily's Peas" Lily's Peas for a friend who used to work for a food magazine - this was made to resemble a photo in the magazine. Here is a close-up of the stitching on it. Lily's Peas Close-up

Another one of her quilts is this rolling chicken coop Chicken Coop modeled after one on a farm she worked on this spring. I think my scrap pile was raided for several of these blue fabrics - but what a wonderful use of them! The background fabric has text on it about chickens, painted to blend with the blues. Chicken Coop Close-up

Another quilt she made is this one of dried tomatoes - again painted and quilted to emphasis the colors. Dried Tomatoes She says the title of this one, "Plump Thing with a Naval," is a translation of the Spanish word for "tomato." I am amazed at the way she quilts the lettering of her some of her titles in cursive writing! Dried Tomatoes Close-up

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back of Lillian's Quilt and the Quilt Frame at the Senior Center

Last night I finished the backing for Lillian's quilt - Backing for Lillian's Quilt Here is the front Lillian's Quilt Top Finished . I have the backing and batting together now, just need to add the top to them and I will be ready to baste it.

Today I went to the Maury River Senior Center, where I lead a quilting group and teach a computer class, to demonstrate using a quilting frame during a community festival. Yesterday I took the Pantry Quilt over to set it all up. The frame I was using was a Hinterburg that was donated to the Center. We had to drill a bigger hole in each side of the legs to get the bolt thru that is a attached to a stabilizing piece. One of the gears on it was turned the wrong way, but we couldn't figure out how to get it off. We even tried hammering it off but it wouldn't budge. This afternoon, as I was taking the quilt off the frame, the director of the Center showed me that the gear has a screw - no wonder hammering it wouldn't make it come off!

DH came over to see how it was going for me and took a couple of pictures. Here's the long view Pantry Quilt at Senior Center and a closer up shot - Pantry Quilt at Senior Center - closeup In the backgroud you can see my Grandmother's Flower Garden, that is still a work in progress, and the Turning Twenty top we recently finished. The sampler on the wall with the gold sashing is the one our group made for the Center last year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pantry Quilt Backing is Done!

I've never pieced anything this big this quickly. Saturday night and Sunday night I worked out a design using leftover fabric from the front of the quilt and a few fabrics that I bought for the front but never used. After several hours of drawing, measuring, etc I discarded the first design I had and then came up with this one. Pieced Backing for the Pantry Quilt Sunday night I started cutting out the pieces, then this morning I started putting the pieces together. You can't see it but there is a white square in each corner. My thinking is that when I have finished quilting it I could add a few appliqued jars to the large white area, but I don't want to add them now. I am planning for the hand quilting to be outlining the jars, inside and out so I wouldn't want to have jars on the back that would have the quilting around jars on the front showing. However, I have plenty of time to think about this because it will be a long time before I finish the hand quilting on it, unless there are lots of people helping me quilt it at the Senior Center this Saturday.

Next I need to lay out the batting, trim it on one side and piece it on one end. Then I will be ready to begin basting. I have been spray-basting smaller things in the last year or so, but because this is so big I think I will baste it by hand. I'll be using my big Q-Snap frame to do that. I don't use it much for quilting as the height does not suit me, but it is convenient for basting.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pantry Quilt Update

Late last night I finished the top on the Pantry Quilt Pantry Quilt Top Finished I like the braided border even better now that it is all done. (See the previous post for why I am working on this quilt now.) It was not as difficult as I thought it might be, but time consuming since there are a LOT of 1.75" x 5" strips in it - 85 each on the top and bottom, more on the sides. The quilt is 78" x 98" which makes it a bit bigger that the t-shirt quilt I made for Dave - and therefore the biggest quilt I have made to date. (Disregard the white sock on the couch - this was taken late last night and Dave was asleep on the couch!) Now I am working on a plan for the backing. I did not any wide backing fabric at Walmart that I liked, and don't have time to go out-of-town to a quilt shop this week, so I am taking a page from Erin and Bonnie Hunter and making do with what I have. I have some of the white left, and some of the woodgrain, as well as some multi-veggie prints that I bought to use on the front but ended up not using, so they will be on the back. Hopefully I will have that done by the end of today. I also have to piece some batting - the biggest piece I have is not quite long enough but is wider than I need, so I will try to piece it together. Any advice there?

Speaking of Bonnie Hunter - she has a great new book out - Scraps and Shirttails: Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle! The Art of "Quilting Green" My autographed copy arrived a few days ago, and after going thru it quickly I was even more inspired to try to make do with what I have for the back of this quilt.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How Do I Decide ~~~

One of the online quilting groups that I belong to recently asked the question - "how do you decide what to work on next?" It got me to thinking about how DO I decide. A few days ago I was working only on Lillian's quilt - see the previous post - but had to stop because I ran out of one of the fabrics for the backing of her quilt and had to order more. Fortunately, I was able to still find it where I got it first - Thousands of Bolts - and it arrived yesterday. Just have to wash it, cut one piece out of it, add it to the backing and I'll be ready to sandwich that quilt and start the hand-quilting on it.

In the meantime however, I met with the Senior Center quilting group and began to make plans for the demonstration that "we" are going to participate in on Oct. 11. Months ago I agreed to set up a quilting frame that was donated to the Center and have a quilt on it to be showing hand-quilting. This is to be part of their presentation for the "Mountain Days" celebration in Buena Vista where the Senior Center is located. So, we need a quilt to put on the frame. I had thought that maybe one of the other members would like some help on hand-quilting one of her quilts that is ready to quilt, but I was wrong. On to Plan B - to put another quilt on the frame --- but which one? I don't have any that are totally ready to quilt and the one that is the closest to being ready, Liliian's, I really don't want any help on. I go thru the other possibilities - BargelloBowl (no decision on the border yet and not very mountainy looking), Orange Crush Mystery (blocks are finished, but not sewn together yet), the quilt as you go blocks I started 20+ years ago (they are quilt as you go, not suitable for a frame), the Senior Center's Turning Twenty (but I have already made plans to quilt that on my friend's longarm). That brought me to my Pantry Quilt that we made at the Senior Center a few months ago. Others have finished theirs, but in my typical fashion, I had not finished my border nor decided on the backing. It would be appropriate for the frame however and I wouldn't mind having some help on it, and I did plan to hand-quilt it -- I just have to finish the borders and decide about the backing - before Oct 11. I wanted the border to be braided, like Bonnie Hunter does on some of her quilts, but had not finished sewing them together, and was really worried about how easy it would be to put them on. Since it seemed like the best choice for the up-coming demo, I am now working on it in spite of my concerns. Here is a picture of the quilt with one border on it - One Braided Border on the Jar Quilt The braid is made out of 1 3/4" x 5" strips from the fabrics in the jars. Last night I finished sewing on the first side. With lots of spray starch on the braided strip, and a pin on each strip, and slow, careful sewing I think it turned out pretty well. I have the the other side finished and starched, but not trimmed yet. One little problem with the quilting frame we have at the Center - there are no cloth leaders on it to attach the quilt to. One of the resourceful ladies in the group suggested that I temporarily sew a strip to the top and bottom of my quilt that I could then wrap around the rollers and pin in place. Sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure I want to do that with these braided borders on the top and bottom, so I'm thinking that I will just sew some muslin strips to the top and bottom as they are now, after I get the other side border on, and let those muslin strips be what wraps around the roller. Would that work - I'm not sure. Maybe the muslin strips need to have some batting on the outside edges that would be the part wrapping around the rollers first - I'll have to think about that. Oh, and decide about the backing - pieced from what I have or buy a "fat back."