Saturday, November 28, 2015

"Positively"--a Finish!

A finished quilt!!!! With each project I stitch, I try something different.

What inspired me to make the quilt was the seven inch exchange squares from Fall retreat in 2014. I wrote about it here. Also what inspired me to make the quilt was the book our quilting book club discussed, "Where Lilacs Bloom," by Jane Kirkpatrick.

The book is about the history of the Hulda Kluger lilacs. I did enjoy reading the book and since I am a farmer's daughter, I could relate to the farming excerpts in the book! 

I chose the "plus" design, because it reminded me of plant markers. Also, Hulda always had people helping her with her plants and people that she helped by also providing room and board. She had many "plus ones" at meal time!
To read more about the piecing for the top and back, click here.

I used straight line quilting which reminded me of what a field looked like when we would work it for planting. 

Hulda was a star in terms of growing new lilac varieties so I quilted one large star and a couple parts of large stars; but, you can't see it in the background. I know that they are there though! I made a freezer paper template for my quilting design!

I also used Wonderfil's Invisafil thread to quilt the piece in gray. Invisafil is like a 100wt polyester. I have used it in the bobbin on embroidery pieces; but, had originally purchased it to quilt with it. My first attempts with my 1630 Bernina was that it was okay in the bobbin; but, I couldn't get the tension adjusted well enough to use it in the needle. So, I didn't use it.

When I purchased my 780, I tried again. I found that I needed to reduce the tension on the top or I had thread breakage when I used the walking foot. I had no adjustments to make if I free motioned quilted. Wasn't that an interesting discovery? The gray thread blends well and you have to look to see it.

Eventually, this quilt will be a gift to a new baby. Since, the ultimate purpose of this quilt is for a baby, I wanted the quilt to have some texture so this thread worked great for creating the subtle texture. 

This is my label. . .upside down. . .but, you can get the idea! I used a part of a sawtooth star that was left from Dad's Stars. I've left room to add the baby information when that time comes!

I stitched the binding totally by machine! I liked this application so much in terms of a time saver that I plan to work on perfecting the process on future quilt bindings. 

I finished stitching the corners closed on the binding, the sleeve and the label. The handwork goes much faster when one has already applied the binding totally by machine!

New tries: freezer paper quilting template,
straight line quilting, Wonderfil Invisafil polyester thread, machine stitched binding. 

I used ALL of the seven inch squares in the design. I've had the green fabric in my stash for years and I used all of it in this project! It measures about 32"w x 48"l.

Finished feels GREAT!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Retreat update--no finishes; but progress made!

What do you get when you combine 47 ladies and some fabric? Lots of fun and creativity, that's what!!

The one project I did not work on was the mystery quilt project through the guild. Maybe this week I will work on the second step.

I spent lots of time working on the hexagon blocks. I generally forget how long it takes to apply the sashings and borders! What is terrific about this progress is that with three blocks left to stitch in the mystery, the first nine are set! I like how the green and orange muted the dark and light backgrounds. I did have a cutting error in that I cut two extra 3 1/2" strips which won't leave me enough fabric to cut the outer borders. I haven't found any more of this batik so a new plan will emerge. I actually have an idea and have my fingers crossed that it will work!

While I was sashing, we had a mystery project. If you wanted to participate you brought three fat quarters (FQs)in a brown bag and then you had an exchange. Once you had the new three FQs, you made something out of them. 

I made two fold up totes with the FQs I received. Below are my samples:


I received this table mat with the FQs I put in my brown bag. The back is what is unique about this project though. The gal backed the piece with a piece of her Swedish weaving! She even signed her work!
Isn't that extra special?


My next project was to work on the square in a square blocks to compliment the churn dash blocks I made months ago. With the two blocks, there is a lot going on; but, I think the two blocks work together and will live nicely together in a quilt. I also cut a few plain squares from some of the bigger print fabrics to throw into the mix. I want the viewer to wonder, what was she thinking? When they see that I've a few of these plain squares among the blocks. It is turning into an "I Spy" type quilt! 

I still have fabric left from the seven inch exchange squares. How many more square in a square blocks and churn dash blocks and plain squares I'll need remains a mystery for now.

The last project that I worked on was the string geese. I gave a demonstration on how to make them to the group. The demonstration was well received. I talked about Bonnie Hunter's scrap saving system and shared where they could find the directions to how she cuts her scraps as well as this geese tutorial.

In the past, I would have thrown away most of those scraps. For a time, I wasn't going to save that small stuff because I "couldn't" make anything out of it! Well, look at me now, cutting use able strips, squares and blocks out of the project's scraps. In the end only tossing pieces that are under an inch wide!

My goal was to sew the "wings" on all of the geese that were made. I didn't get that far. I did sew all the "wings" I had cut on the available geese. I did tear the paper from a number of geese; but, I still have more to go. Also, I still don't know how many geese I have! The plan was to count them so I knew how many more I needed to string piece. I'm saving that for another day! Isn't it good to be able to save tasks for another day??  

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Cape Fit for a Princess

Dear Daughter (DD) asked if I would make youngest granddaughter a cape so that she could wear it as part of her birthday attire. 

DD said she thought that the birthday girl might wear a yellow princess dress; but, that any color would be fine.

This granddaughter loves a rainbow; she doesn't settle on one color. She also is partial to kitties. So the party theme is Rainbow Kitty Super Princess or something like that.

This is what I stitched. I know the cape was much loved because there was so much twirling and giggling involved and thus the out of focus photo! Below is a photo after about half an hour of play!

She is wearing the cape on her birthday invitation and DD says that there are times when it is ABSOLUTELY necessary that the cape come out to play! Ahhh, what a simple gift to make an almost two year old's playtime fun!

 Next week, I'll be back on quilting related topics!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

First Book Club quilt--"The DaVinci Code"

“The DaVinci Code” was the first book our book club, "Thread Tales," read, discussed, made a quilt/project and had a reveal! 

I chose to replicate a scene from the book.  If you have read the book, can you tell which scene I chose? (It was the scene where Langdon and Sophie have visited the high tech safety deposit box building and decided to go to Teabring’s rented mansion for help in solving the cryptex or puzzle box.) 

I sketched the design on a piece of paper and then onto freezer paper in actual size.  It was the first time that I tried to make an art type quilt. The house/barn was inspired from a block by Mary Tendall and Connie Tesene in the book “Celebrating the Quilt.”

One the front of the quilt, the scraggly, ugly, misshapen tree signifies the evil Teabring and represents his physical abnormalities. The mansion/barn represents where a major portion of the clue solving took place. On the fence, the embroidered crosses represents the church and the equal distance cross represents the early religious symbol. The triangles represent the male/female symbols. The “eight” symbols represent the large and small cryptex as well as the path Langdon and Sophie travel to solve the mystery. The white area represents the albino monk. Note that the white gradually turns to beige as the monk commits a series of serious crimes all for the greater good of the Church. In the white, there is one of the five hidden clues that I chose to include from the book.

I designed the back of the quilt, first, based on the end of the book when Langdon returns to the Louvre and looks out at the landscaping under a star and moon lit night, he sees where the male and female symbols intersect thereby marking the spot where the answer to the mystery lies. The label is gold to represent the moonlight and the Star of David represents what Langdon saw looking out over the landscape.

The stars I made in Sally Collins’ precision piecing class in October 2006 and the quilt is the size it is because that is the size of the back that I had in my stash, I have used silk thread, nylon thread and sulky thread to free motion machine quilt this piece and I didn’t use the same machine quilting design twice which was fun.

Size:  35 ½ x 47 ½  made in 2007