Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recent Finishes

I don't remember whether I posted these first pictures previously. I trust you'll forgive me if you've already seen them. ;- )

My most recent string quilt was built directly onto squares of batting rather than a fabric or paper foundation. I cut the batting squares at six or eight inches, sewed my strings and strips to them, and then trimmed the blocks to 6.5 or 8.5 inches. My thinking was that the quarter-inch seam allowances would fill in the depth between the squares of batting. It was a bit tedious to press them open but overall I think it worked.

Next time I might try leaving a half inch seam allowance around the batting to make pressing easier. Maybe. In the photo above you can also see where the rows of six inch blocks butt up against the rows of eight inch blocks.

Here's the completed top:

The very middle of the quilt is built of six inch blocks, the two ends are comprised of eight inch blocks.

I bought backing fabric from the clearance section of my local quilt shop and made the back. Then it sat in the closet while I pursued other projects. In the last two weeks our quilt guild received a plea for quilts for the children coming into Foster Care this summer so I pulled this out and finished it up right quick. All I had to do was lay the quilted top on the backing fabric and stitch the two layers together. I used one of the utility stitches on my machine that reaches across the seam lines to help stabilize everything. You may be able to see it in the detail shot below.

And in this picture you can see the print I used on the back and for the binding.

My most recent finish is the Treasure Island baby quilt:

Hopefully by double clicking on the picture you'll be able to see it in greater detail. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

One more finish:

You've already seen the top complete but now it's been quilted. Not that you'll be able to see the quilting unless you have the quilt in your hands. :- ) I used a dark thread and mostly just outlined the major elements.

It's honestly going to be a little painful to part with these two small quilts. But better that someone should use and enjoy them than they sit around my house taking up space!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Playtime, Magpie Style!

I had a blast pulling images out of my stash to create the reverse side for the Treasure Island panel. It all began with three 12 inch squares of a companion treasure map print and the tall ships I'd pieced. In order to get the ball rolling I decided to show some of the creatures of the deep that might be swimming under the ships.

The whales swimming under the center map square is a 12" x 6" piece that was literally all I had left of the original yardage. I confess to stopping in a local quilt shop to supplement my palette of sea creatures. I'm happy to report that my reaction to that expedition was far less severe than it could have been. :- )

Prints that implied water and sky were used to transition from one image to another.

Almost the most difficult thing was to figure out what to use to bring this side up to the same length as the pre-printed panel. In the end a simple strip of one of the water fabrics was a perfect solution!

Here are a couple of detail shots for you:

If you could see this bit in person you'd see that the giant octopus is guarding coins and jewelry on the seabed. This guy was as close to a sea monster as I could come up with. The other one I'd fussy cut was just too small.

In the photo above we have seagulls swooping over the water and more of the undersea creatures. I had one print that looked a lot like coral or sea fans but many of the "seaweed" patches were actually cut from what was a tree print.

I'm very happy with the way this turned out. There's a lot for a little child to discover and explore. The challenge now is to get it quilted! There's already so much going on that I think simple straight line quilting will be sufficient. I just have to gird my loins and get started! ;- )

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ahoy Matey!

The Americana lap quilt has been quilted and pruned. I had to go out to buy fabric for the binding; that still needs to be turned into binding. In the meantime I've set the koi pool UFO aside (bottom of previous post) to whip up a baby quilt. Or so I hope, since the baby is due next month!

It all began with this Treasure Island panel I received as a gift from my sister-in-law.

Apparently that was five years ago! The mother-to-be found me and reminded me of the panel when she reached out after missing an opportunity to buy a quilted version of the panel on Etsy. We've been exchanging email since then. What you see above is one of the options I suggested to her.

The tall ship blocks are six inches square.

Two of them are flying the Jolly Roger...

We eventually decided that I would use the ships to create the reverse side for the panel. This is the potential arrangement I currently have on the wall:

I've fussy cut a companion map print into 12.5" squares and a few other much smaller pieces from an old, old print.

I'd like to have a larger sea serpent but the little guy in the picture below is the only one I could find in my stash.

This is going to be fun to create. Keep your fingers crossed that my energy holds out!

One thing I realized after piecing the ship blocks is that block piecing is what works for me for instant gratification. Completing a block gives me more satisfaction than merely running fabric through the sewing machine. Which could be why it didn't occur to me to treat the koi pool UFO as a log cabin block and simply frame it up with strips. I want to make some blocks to go around it! I have an idea of the type of block I'd like to make too. The trick will be to find the right colors and/or prints to create the look I want. It will be interesting to see how closely the finished top comes to the vision of it I have in my head. :- )

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Celebrating Freedom

Over the holiday weekend I filled in the gaps in the lap quilt you saw in my last post.

This was a fun one to put together. I was able to incorporate old bits and pieces and come up with a very pleasing whole. :- )

To fill in those spaces in the top and bottom rows I created four of these skinny churn dash blocks:

They are four inches wide and six inches long. Even if I do say so myself, they're darn cute! This quilt was apparently meant to be because I found just enough of this old, old print to be the back. (Not old enough to be considered vintage but it's been in my stash for decades.)

And I have begun the quilting process already too!

In the meantime, I've pulled out another UFO with the intention of turning it into a lap quilt for one of the Alzheimer's Disease Co-operative Study participants.

This was the product of a challenge in my quilt group back in the day. As it stands now it measures 24" wide and 28" high. It became a UFO because I didn't need or have room for a piece of wall art that size and I didn't have a clue how to go about quilting it at the time.

If I were to do it now it would get beaded for sure. But I still don't have room for it in my home and I'd rather see it put to good use by someone else. All I have to do is figure out how to make it a bit bigger and then I can turn my son loose on it and let him practice his long arm skills. ;- )

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flying the Red, White, and Blue

Happy Fourth of July to all my readers in the United States! And a belated Happy Canada Day to any of my Canadian readers. :- )

I'm pleased to report that the biopsy I had done came back clean. It feels like my iron levels have improved since my last post as well. Trying to get back into the doctor's office for a follow up but her other patients keep going into labor and having babies during my appointment times!

I received a lovely thank you note from the ladies at the Alzheimer's Disease Co-operative Study for the last two quilts I sent them. Apparently there will be an ongoing need for patriotic quilts for veterans in the studies so I dug around in my stash to see whether there were any other parts and pieces I could use. Look what I found:

That's not all of it either. (I don't know why the rest of the rows are not in this picture.) These rows were made back in 2002 (or was it 2000?) during a round robin project in my local quilt guild. Most of the rows have a white base but one row went more ivory. I separated it from the group and put it on the design wall with some other parts I found that have ivory in them.

The two rows that are sewn together in the photo above are 36 inches long/wide. ADCS requests lap quilts that are about 40 inches wide. I didn't need any further prompting to get this project underway!

The first thing I did was to frame up those fussy cut panels you see at the top of the design wall above. I wanted something that would mimic the row of tall churn dash blocks at the bottom. Couldn't quite figure out how to put the panels into churn dash frames at the time so I opted for puss in the corner blocks.

Eventually I separated the four friendship star blocks and put them in the corners to act as a framing unit for the composition. You see I found a six inch variable star and another five inch house block too.

I began filling in around the flag and houses blocks with some fussy cut pieces out of an old Debbie Mumm  print. Changed out the background around one of the puss in the corner blocks so it wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb, and made another six inch variable star block.

This is what I have now. I've added four inches with a couple of strips on the outside edge through the middle of the quilt and will add those four inches between the friendship star blocks at the top and bottom one way or another. Once I finish filling in the holes this should measure about 40 x 48 inches.

It feels good to be working on this project at this significant time of the year. I'm pleased to be able to make something for one of our older veterans too. There were so  many who came home from service in their day who did not receive the recognition and honors (or even support) they deserved. There will always be improvements to be made but we are still among the most fortunate of citizens on the planet.