Saturday, March 24, 2007

Row x Row - Quilted and Bound

Quilters! I hope you can see all these 4 photos. This is a Row x Row that a group of us made for Auction for Golden Halo Foundation. I showed you bits of it along the way, and Row x Rows never look great until they are finished, and let me tell you -- this one is absolutely gorgeous, thanks to the fantastic machine quilting by our friend Anita Allen, of Prairie Creations. These photos do not show the quilting well enough, so I will post another photo when lighting is better.

We all just added bits of our own fabric along the way - even the borders were in somebody's stash.

Our original plan was to add sashing between each row, but we received more rows than expected, and it started to get too long, so some of the rows had to be combined. The finished project took our breath away -- it is so beautiful!

Book Overloaded

'SOMEONE' out there in Blogland is responsible for this! I will graciously thank you for mentioning this Internet site,, but my checkbook may groan, although only a little.

My word - I couldn't push those buttons fast enough, and today my order arrived - 6 quilt books for $67.00, plus about $5.00 S & H, all new books. Three of the books are art quilt books, and three are technique, but ALL are in color. The big art quilt book on top left, has 500 pages! I do believe they have books on other subjects ... but I didn't even look. You cannot view the inside of the books on this site, but I already know what they'll be like - delicious! I am in hog heaven!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

UFOs - One finished

This post, I made my photos "small" - according to Blogger - although they are still over 100 KB. I'm hoping this works. A lot of this photo/blogging is trial and error.

I was preparing for a Quilt Guild Class on Storm at Sea and remembered I actually HAD a UFO Storm at Sea, so I dragged it out, trying to remember why it was never finished. Ah hah! I had done it with plastic templates, and they were not as accurate as I had hoped, leaving lumpy intersections. However, after checking it out, it really wasn't as bad as I had remembered, and I might just finish it after all, although it needs to be larger. The diamond (Peaky) and wedges (Spike) can be done accurately using the Tri-Recs ruler, and there is also another one on the market. Remember, this diamond is NOT 60 degrees!

This next little UFO project (about 36 x 45 in.) is a Sharon Craig design - a scrappy half log cabin, but when you add those little red quick corners, it becomes an entirely different animal. The light border was the problem here -- I should have prewashed that fabric - 'something' was in it, so that when I pressed it, the fabric took on a yellowish tinge. But yesterday I sandwiched, quilted and bound it, yellowish tinge and all. The quilting thread is a red-blue-yellow variegated thread that someone had given me along the way. These little UFO's are wonderful practice for machine quilting. This particular pattern, loops and hearts (or leaves) is ONE I can do reasonably well.

A close-up of the machine quilting. I use a Janome 6500 Memory Craft domestic sewing machine which I bought simply because it has a wider throat space - about 11 inches. It is a heavy machine, which I wanted - too heavy for hauling to classes, but it doesn't jounce on the table when running at full throttle. It comes with a bunch of extra features I hadn't even considered, that I now take full advantage of, i.e., auto threader, thread cutter, knee lift, needle down, a bunch of stitches. I practiced using the knee lift (right knee) until it became second nature and use my left foot for the 'gas'. I also LOVE that thread cutter ... I can stop and start without fiddling with the thread ends. Using these extras has added to efficiency. If you have them, USE them! I also purchased an extra throat plate with a little hole, that I use most of the time. The 'regular' hole is quite wide to accommodate the wide stitches, but a wide space on any throat plate may tend to pull threads down.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

If at first you don't succeed .....

I hope this solves my problem of 'no photos'. All the "I Spy" photos are now smaller in size. I forgot the rule that photos should be less than 100 KB in size. Thanks for the help along the way.

Can't see photos?

Uh, oh - I have heard from 3 people who commented they cannot see the photos. That's a first for me. I see them from all my browsers and from 2 different computers. Suggestions?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Spy Quilt, WIP

This is too cute -- I just had to post it, unfinished! It's not sandwiched nor quilted yet. I'm hoping when you double-click you can see some of the squares. I will probably just do quick straight line, in the ditch quilting.

This is for a 2 1/2 year old (hope she's not 3 before I get it to her!) who plays on the floor with visiting foster children, and as I understand, has decided she will be their teacher.

This is the second time I've ordered these squares from Keepsake Quilting and I have been very pleased. They are called 60, 6-inch Kids Prints. (Yes, I added a few of my own left over from my previous order.) Each one is better than the next - opening the package was like Christmas for ME - and the quality is excellent.

The backing, with all the black/white dogs and kitty motifs, is as cute as the front, and I thought was a nice combination with the polka-dot border. Absolutely NO other color would go for the cornerstones and 1 inch border except yellow. Tried red, blue, green. Brown was pretty good for the outer border. Remember when you mixed all your paints up as a kid and the rinse water for your brush turned brown? I think our eyes are trying to do the same thing with all those colors, so yes, I almost used a nice swirly brown, but finally decided on the black/white, ala Freddie Moran style.

The bear square with a bit of sashing still on it was taken out of the quilt AFTER it was ME who had the nightmare about bears. But aren't they splendid? That was the only square I did not use.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kaleidoscope Quilts, and Rulers

One of my first specialty rulers, a Kaleidoscope, 45 degree ruler, by Marilyn Dohaney. This even came with great instructions, resulting in a quilt with seams pressed oppposite directions and neat intersections. Easy, despite what it looks like. I bought this ruler in 1989, and went wild with it for a time, probably due to the included instructions. I marked the back with masking tape (ugh) to help keep everything in line, and later learned about using painter's tape, a vast improvement. Masking tape left icky residue.

This is another favorite ruler but I found the lines hard to see, resulting in eye strain and error - hence the bright orange marking product. This product comes several strips to a package, they are reusable, and can be cut. No residue. I found if I licked the back of the product (oh yeah, quilt-y germs and all) it would stay put.

This was my first quilt I made using the Kaleidoscope Ruler - now, there are many similar products, but I still like my first. It is machine quilted using a rainbow type invisible thread, and two of the borders are done in a cable, using blue thread and a walking foot. I was new to this machine quilting stuff back them! The outside border is done with invisible thread, straight line stitching jogging between the white moons.

I purposely left my DH's stocking feet in the photo, as well as the lovely blue spring sky. We quilters should have a special commemorative day for willing "Quilt Holders."

Close up of the lovely crinkles and wrinkles, etc.

If you are new to quilting, be sure you understand the difference between a 45 degree ruler and a 60 degree ruler and a "Peaky and Spike" type set of rulers. Yep, a lot of us (uhhh ... me ...) have forgotten until we make the dreaded mistake!

You know, just pulling this quilt out of the closet, taking photos, etc., and I get all gung ho to make yet another! Arrrghhh - there is no end to what MORE we MUST make!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A favorite scrappy quilt

An ‘old’ favorite of mine. This pattern/idea came from Bonnie Hunter at (I can't get the link to show?) Bonnie keeps coming up with new, wonderful, quick and scrappy ideas with excellent photos and instructions - I tried briefly to keep up with her -- had to admit defeat -- but did manage to make this cheerful scrappy project, called Chunky Churn Dash.

There are 2 blocks - one is the chunky churn dash, and the adjoining block is the hourglass. Adding an hourglass block between seemingly ordinary blocks makes your quilt appear far more complicated.

Note how different the 2 blocks look, just by changing the values.

I’m sure you’ll recognize these fabrics that have been around a long time. But lucky me, the instructions called for 1 ½ in strips and 2 ½ in squares, and amazingly enough, I already had those pieces cut and ready to go. Talk about good luck!

This top went together in a weekend -- thanks to pre-cut strips, and thanks to adrenaline as I saw it develop into something delightful. I used up a LOT of favorite scraps, and even the border used 1 ½ inch squares, again leftover from the blocks. What I like best is that almost every block is different. I was not fussy about putting colors together - just used light medium and dark in each block. For a pallette, for the most part it was beige, browns, gold, country red, and a few black/white. I greatly enjoyed hand quilting this project, fondly remembering the original purpose of each fabric. Now, when I use it, I study the various combinations of colors that I have in this quilt, and think about those combinations in the next project.

It was too cold to take outside for the photograph. My rocking chair has the most intricate carving on the back rest – one of these days I will trace the pattern onto a quilt!