Sunday, June 21, 2009

Paper Piecing Along...

For a complete change of pace, I'm mixing in some paper piecing on my Thistlepods quilt while working on all of the baby quilts. I thought this would be a good way to stay motivated; while I enjoy paper piecing, I do find that I get bored with long periods of it, so need to mix it up a bit.

On Friday afternoon and evening (amongst other things), I was able to piece together 16 of the arc sections seen here (4 of each color), as well as 7 of the center arc units. While I've yet to trim them up or remove the paper (I'll save that for some TV night), it's nice to be able to lay them out and get a better sense of what part of the final product will look like.

Loads more paper piecing to go on this project; I can't even estimate how much that I've completed represents. Hopefully I can stay motivated. Tomorrow night I need to focus my efforts on a new project for my art quilt group. All I need is the perfect idea!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Appliqueing a Menagerie

Some relatives' and friends' babies are due in the near future and I figured it best to actually get some of quilts started as gifts. Yesterday I had fun pulling fabrics from my stash to applique the following small zoo of animals:








In addition to the ever-nearing due dates, I was also motivated to get the blocks to this point as Jo-Ann's had a thread sale ending today and I knew I'd need to pick up at least a few spools to match these little animals (no, I don't have a lot of orange and yellow in my thread stash). Hopefully I can get the machine applique done over the course of this week, as well as the alternating nine-patch blocks. Can't wait to see how the animals come alive as the thread and eyes are applied.

Oh, and the the pattern is called 300 Parade Crib Quilt, from Kim Schaefer's book, quilts, bibs, and blankies ... oh my!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Endless Horizons

I absolutely love this quilt - Endless Horizons - and finished putting the binding on last night while watching the Brewers win against the White Sox (unfortunately, today was not a repeat).

I know I didn't post anything about it as I made progress, but the quilt went along quite quickly and I was working on other things too, so figured I'd just save it as a surprise. I bought the kit at the Cherrywood Fabrics booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last October. The pattern is by Karla Overland and uses one of Cherrywood's gradations, in this case, the North Shore bundle. I discovered in March when I initially wanted to start this project that the kit did not include all of the fabric that was supposed to be a part of the kit; I wrote Cherrywood and explained the situation and they got the missing fabric out to me right away. I really was impressed with their customer service and that they sent the fabric, no questions asked.

The quilt was so easy to make because the pieces that make up the central part of the quilt were all cut freehand from the fat quarter bundle and then they were laid out in an overlapping fashion on a muslin foundation and sewn down with thread. So they are raw-edge, but I'm not terribly worried about it, as I don't intend for this piece to get a lot of wear and need lots of washing. I quilted the quilt following the same lines as the central portion of the piece and extending them out into the borders, drawing at least a rough placement in advance with my Clover chalk wheel. Honestly, where would I be without that tool? I can't believe that I didn't know about it for probably half of my quilting life. I use it so often now that I'd be lost without it.

I'll admit that I quilted this top and bottom with Bottom Line thread in a medium brown color (Yes, it's polyester. Oh well. I loved the way it looked, it was on hand, and did not require that I go out to buy more. Keep in mind, I was on a roll and did not want to stop.) An added benefit is that I have enough leftovers from the central part of the quilt that I may at some point make another version of this. We'll see. I love how one project can morph into 2 or 3, depending on how many leftovers you have and what form they take. (I also gained a project out of my Just Before Dawn quilt, which may or may not be finished in time for Christmas.)

I can't wait to hang this piece, but I'm torn. The perfect place to hang it in the house currently features a patriotic quilt that I hate to put away before the 4th of July. What to do, what to do?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thistle Pods

I'm challenging myself this summer to work on a Judy Niemeyer paper pieced quilt that features curves as well. The quilt is called Thistle Pods and here's the view of the quilt from the pattern box.

Yes, I did say pattern BOX. This is no quick-and-easy quilt, that's for sure. To help motivate and commit to getting this done, I signed up for a three-session class at Patched Works. The first session was held on Sunday afternoon, and I'm still working on getting all of the fabric cut out! (Never mind the four or five hours it took me to cut apart all of the foundation papers and template layout sheets prior to the class session! I cheated and purchased a kit with the approximately 30 yards of fabric required for the project.)

You know you're in for a challenge when you have to organize pieces in 12 different gallon-sized bags so you don't lose them! Here's what my progress looks like to date:Not a lot to look at, is it? I can't wait to get to the actual sewing! But I have managed to cut out 17 out of the 18 fabrics required (all but the background fabric). The instructor provided a 10-page Excel spreadsheet with all of the cutting instructions; the background represents 3 full pages of this, so I'd like to think that I'm close to 70% of the way through the cutting! Sigh.

Here's a close up of the fabrics in the quilt. Mmm.. yummy purples and greens and blues.
I have some vacation days coming up, so I definitely hope to get some significant paper-piecing done this month. I'll post some pictures as I get through some of the piecing. Do you think I can stick with this one?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This week I've been trying to finish up some projects that have been sitting around for long periods of time, which generally means that I need to machine quilt them. The threadwork I did on my hummingbird quilt earlier this year convinced me not to be afraid of finishing this small quilt depicting geraniums (pattern by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts).

I did some threadwork on the blossoms as well as on the leaves and was quite fortunate that I could go out and rip a leaf off a live geranium plant for reference as to how the veins on geranium leaves actually run. I never would have gotten them correct if I hadn't referred to the real thing and had instead worked from my memory of leaves! This close up below should give you a pretty decent idea of what I did.

I used a wash-away stabilizer for the first time and it really worked like a charm! I wasn't certain whether it really would wash out, but the gooey-ness disappeared after you rinsed it for long enough! Amazing what they can do these days!

Finally, for the quilting, I tried a few new things. Along the right-side vertical band, I tried a watery-like quilting pattern that I thought would echo the grain of the fabric. I really liked the technique, found it was pretty easy to get good stitch length and I love the feel and texture it creates. I was stumped by how to quilt the table underneath the flower pot and in the end, decided to quilt it following some of the lines in the batik, which meant a very free-form design. Ben expressed some concern, but in the end, I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

I did do all of my free-motion quilting without my BSR, mainly because I was too lazy to get up and find it and attach it. But it's also getting to the point for some of these projects that I don't need it! And that's very exciting!