Saturday, March 25, 2017

Recapping March

A month can fly by much too quickly. My biggest accomplishment was finishing a quilt.


I will do a bigger post all about this quilt when the snow has melted and I can do a nice photo shoot with some scenic Alaskan pics. It is a king-sized quilt so a little too big to drag around in the three-feet of snow left on the ground.

Lots of wonderful pictures from our March Breakfast club meeting to share.

At the December Breakfast Club we did a mystery. The next three photos are different versions and layouts of the blocks we made. I'm still working on mine.

This is Megan's version. Most of us went with a dark background but Megan went very bold and different with this bubble gum pink color. It just screams Florida with the blue ocean, bright sunshine and pink flamingos. She also left out the 1/2" sashing so she got diagonal rows of stars.


This is Joyce's version which is the look most of us are doing...dark background with bright batiks. I like this size which is smaller than the original pattern. I'm not even halfway to the 42 blocks needed for this version.


This is Marge's version...a nice runner. I just have to comment on the "small world," aspect of Alaska. Turns out her grand daughter is dating my son. She's a very pretty, smart and fun young lady.


These next two quilts are also Marge's. This is from one of our autumn classes. Marge has a friend in Minnesota she sends her tops to for quilting. I'm so impressed with the quick turn around.


This pattern was last month's Breakfast Club project, a fat quarter design from Cozy Quilt Designs called, "Mirror, Mirror." 


And Marge's last show and tell is this month's Breakfast Club project, a runner with laser cut appliques from an Alaskan designer, Northern Threads.


This is a nice digital screen print from Hoffman of San Francisco that Patty turned into a fun lap-sized quilt.


Patty also shared a table topper and a runner.


Both are hand quilted.


Kathy had some big quilt tops to share. Yes...obviously this is a Kaffe Fassett design with his fabrics.  It is from the book, "Quilts of Italy."


Another biggie. I do not know the pattern for this, though Kathy thought it was a Thimble Blossom design. I couldn't find it with a Google search.


And a tiny finish from Kathy.


Barb is making many of these for her grandchildren...bunny bags.


The quilt shop we meet at is Seams Like Home. They have a Saturday Sampler series they run every year. This is a set of blocks made by the shop owner for one of the colorways that was available. Barb took the blocks and made a top for them that will be quilted and given to a local chapter of the national charity, Camp Erin which is a children's bereavement program.


And another version of the Saturday Sampler blocks put together by Rona for Camp Erin.


Rona also had some fun spring wreaths.


And finally...an excellent idea was shared by Yvette that documents the quilts made or owned by her family members. It is a very large photo album with a bit of info attached to each quilt photo.


The dedication page...


Spectacular family treasure.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

February Progress

I may have to rename my current quilt project, "Diligence in the Chugach." I live on the side of a mountain in the Chugach Mountain Range and I had named this quilt, "Chugach Mountain Hike." I have been working "diligently" almost every day for two weeks and I am only about a quarter of the way done quilting this top. In the photo are my three main quilting tools. The quilting ruler is a new purchase from Judi Madsen with Green Fairy Quilts. Her modern take on machine quilting is inspiring and has influenced my quilting designs. Of course there is also a seam ripper...I really like this little green one when I am working on my midarm. And I love my little green, Karen Buckley serrated scissors. I just bought a second pair because one pair was really not enough.


I am also feeling like I am moving at a turtle's pace with the blocks for, "En Provence." 


I did make it to Breakfast Club last week were I worked on the pattern we started in December. Loving the colors. I am using a Bali Pop called, "Splash," along with a few strips added from my stash. There will be a one-inch sash of the dark gray around each block. It takes a bit of time to deal with all those points.


Two little reindeer ornaments from a Bucilla kit are finished...nice to get a little something in the done category.


Still several weeks of winter to enjoy. Today was perfect...sunny and 27 degrees. My ideal winter day...and it seems the dogs agree with me.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

February Projects

Having a very playful cat in the sewing room created a big problem whenever I loaded a quilt on the midarm frame. My cat would find the batting hang from the frame to the floor a big play area. I would come back to find the batting completely torn apart. I had seen quilters rig up a pole hanging from their longarm frames to hold rolls of batting. I took that idea and bought a galvanized 1" x 10' metal pipe to hang with "S" hooks from my gardening supplies.  


It did the trick and was an inexpensive solution. I later basted all the layers together and am now ready to start the actual quilting.

Finished up another cross stitch ornament, a Gardening Santa. I am anxious for less winter though I won't be getting my hands into any dirt outside until May.


I have been getting back into the habit of working on my Bucilla kits in the evenings. They really do come together rather quickly when you work on them a little every evening. Most of Santa is complete so it is time to start layering a reindeer into place.


I finally got Bonnie Hunter's specialty ruler in the mail so was able to get to the block construction phase for her En Provence design. I have to make 16 of these blocks. I think this first one took me 45 minutes with all these points to match up. This is the first time I have made one of Bonnie's mysteries and I would definitely say these are for advanced quilters.


Even though I have many of my own quilt designs I should be working on...I really like making designs from other quilters when they have different techniques for me to try. I used the three rulers she recommends and they gave me very accurate components so it is all coming together smoothly...always a bit of stitching and ripping to get those points where you want them.  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The First Finish of 2017

"Northwood Stars"
74 1/4" x 90"


I made this quilt from fabrics in my stash. The border fabric is from a Robert Kaufman line called Northwoods. There have been several variations released over the years. 

The blocks were made from a template set and book from Karen Montgomery.  I made the top in 2014 when this template set and book were the project featured at that year's September Breakfast Club meeting. So glad I had my blog to check the date.

 

The quilt design, "Big Sky," was my inspiration.


The book suggested a secondary star as an option with a color change in the background fabrics. As I recall it was very simple to make and went together very quickly.


A fun look at the backside. 
I discovered a quilting line that was overlooked and will fix that missed area in one of the stars.


Logan was such good boy for this photo. Often, as soon as I call him to get his attention for a photo, he starts running to me but this time he took a beat to see if I had further instructions.


Although the sun is finally high enough in the sky to shine on our house for a few hours a day, it is still just skimming the tops of the mountains so it is a challenge to get a great photo that shows the fabric colors.


I used two layers of Hobbs bleached cotton batting. I used Bottom Line thread in my bobbin, sticking with the same silver color for the entire quilt, even when I changed to darker thread colors. I find the double batting really alleviates the top and bottom threads from showing to the other side when I am quilting.

I plan to hang this in my bedroom for the heart of Alaska's winter months...but of course I have to wait until I share it at the February Breakfast Club meeting.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Too Busy to Talk

The last three weeks I have been diligently staying on task...trying to finish a quilt. I'm in the binding stage...so close. I tried three new techniques with this quilt and I am counting at least two of them a success.

The quilting design on the outer border is a technique called "Curved Echo Border." You can find a wonderful tutorial for the design on Kathy Schwartz's blog Tamarack Shack. She has a wonderful blog and I encourage you to visit her if you have never been to her site. Wonderful quilting along with Aurora photos and some quilting designs in snow.


The second new technique I tried on my latest quilt is marking with ordinary chalk. I got this tip from Margaret Solomon Gunn when I met her at the International Quilt Show in Houston. I even tried colored chalk and it worked beautifully too. Just sharpen with an ordinary pencil sharper with a larger pencil option. This is such a treat to work with...cheap, easy, washes out completely and I can actually see my marks no matter what color of fabric I am quilting. Most batiks are of medium value so this has been a issue for me in the past. Such a simple solution. 


The third technique was also one I got from Margaret. Wash the quilt before sewing on the binding. I'll decide if I like that technique when I actually finish the binding and see how it lays.

Sunshine is in the forecast for tomorrow so I am planning on a quilt photo session in the snow.

In an effort to stay on task with my machine quilting, I have started getting the next quilt ready for loading on my quilting frame. This quilt top has been waiting so patiently for me to quilt her that I had to spend some time ironing out all those hard creases from having her crammed on the shelf for many years. I had a lot of paper-pieced points in this design and I had to spend some time getting seams pressed for the least amount of bulk.


Don't worry...the iron is unplugged...a habit I am trying to instill in my routine since my quilting space is shared with a cat that loves all things quilty.


And I just had to share a puppy picture. Logan is four months old. He still loves to cuddle. When my husband is out of town the puppy gets to spend a few minutes in bed with me before we go to sleep.


I never made it to the January Breakfast Club gathering. That morning I woke up to the sound of rain...the worst possible weather when you have snow-packed roads. Many cars slid off the main road I would have had to drive that morning...it was a wet ice rink everywhere. Fine the next day...so frustrating! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Weekend of Snow Leads to Quilting Progress

Today was beautiful and sunny after four straight days of nonstop snowing. I snapped this photo at the end of my driveway to post on Facebook for one of my neighbors who is vacationing in Maui. Too bad she will have to come home to this. It is beautiful but the temperatures have gone sub-zero and will be there for most of the week. 


I faithfully watch the weather report so Thursday I stocked up on groceries. When I got home late Friday afternoon from my Jazzercise class, the flakes were just starting to fall. I just happened to have a quilt top loaded on my frame with a snowflake theme. I'm pleased to be getting lots of time on my mid-arm quilting machine. I may have a third of the quilting done. I am really hoping to finish it for the Breakfast Club meeting on Jan. 26th.


I will venture into town tomorrow but hurry back home to quilt some more.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Week One

Welcome 2017...but first a little recap of the last few projects of 2016.

We had a fantastic Breakfast Club gathering on Dec. 29th. It is a tradition for us to tackle a mystery on our last meeting of the year. Our leader, Marcia, picked a pattern and made it into a quick mystery because we only have a few hours to work on it before it is revealed by the end of our quilting day. We had to show up with brightly colored rectangles, 2 1/2 x 5 inches, and about 4 yards of a dark background. We each made one block to determine if we were happy with our background fabric in relation to the rectangles we had gathered. Here's my block.


This is not the background fabric I brought to class with me...as soon as I walked into the quilt shop I saw this darker grey and grabbed the rest of the bolt. It is perfect with all my little rectangles that were cut from a Bali Pop called, "Splash." I did add a few pieces from my stash.


After we all completed our block, Marcia revealed the her top...borders still to be added. Marcia really did use her scraps for this as there is not one single repeat of fabric in her rectangles! All batiks. 

Now the majority of the day is spent doing other things than quilting...like shopping and eating. There is always great food and company but the shop also had a big sale on fat quarters. Huge selection and if you buy 100 fat quarters they are only a dollar a piece. You are allowed to combine with you quilting partners to come up with 100 fat quarters. I came away with 27 batik fat quarters.


Back to the mystery pattern details. Here is the pattern as it was made up by the designer, Cory Yoder. Marcia's twist is a great version!



It is just one of 15 quilt designs in this new book which I highly recommend. I'm sure our quilt group will be making a few more quilts from this book. I counted six other designs in the book I would like to make. 


There were other projects I tried to wrap up before the end of 2016. I needed to make a little bear for a stocking called, "Bear to the Rescue." I have made several bears for stockings and I never seem to get faster...this little devil took me four hours to make. Ridiculous! And I still have three more to make.


But he sure looks cute when he is all done and sitting in the little firetruck.


And...I just finished tacking green wool backings to all of the cross stitch ornaments I finished in 2016. My cat was obsessed with trying to pull down all the cross stitch ornaments I had hanging from garland on my stairway railing. I'm trying to figure out how to hang them out of "cat range," next year. Very difficult decorating dilemma as I have 168 cross stitch ornaments...so far!


Here's a quick look at one backside. The instructions call for gluing the felt onto the backside but since I've had some of these ornaments for almost 20 years...I have found the glue does not hold up for many years of storage. It just needs to last for my lifetime!


I am working away on Bonnie Hunter's "En Provence." Love it...but lots of piecing left to finish before I even start putting blocks and rows together.  You know how it is...sew many projects in progress and new ones I would love to start. I'm looking forward to getting lots of quilting done in 2017.