Saturday, February 23, 2013

A seam-ripping day/Liebster award

It has been a long, frustrating day, getting to know my seam-ripper on a personal level! I have finally had a free weekend to work on my own quilts and inspiration seems to have deserted me. I have been working on an Asian tea cup quilt that I found in a magazine. I am very happy with my fabric choices, but am struggling to come up with quilting ideas.

I decided on a swirly filler, a la Angela Walters, for my creamy tea cup blocks. I was very happy with how that turned out, so I moved onto the next color block.

Basically, the whole thing alternates between the above blocks. I had a nice Asian feather block planned for the koi blocks. If you can make out the tiny block in the last photo that is in the second row, second from the left, you can see what I had in mind. I thought, hey, gold metallic would show up nicely on this. Wrong! Not only did it not show up well, it also conflicted with the fabric pattern, and it sounded wrong. Don't know if that makes any sense to you guys, but I could almost hear the machine fighting to pull it through. I used regular cotton thread in the bobbin and there was nothing wrong with the tension, it just sounded different. Maybe I'm crazy, but I was a music major, so maybe that is my excuse:)

So, with the help of my trusty seam ripper/clipper, I spent a  couple of hours ripping out what took about 10 minutes to stitch. Grrrr....... Still wondering how that works! And it was so sad, because it looked lovely on the back:( I should have stuck with my instinct and stopped stitching when I thought maybe it didn't look quite right. That will teach me!

So now I'm stumped. I was aiming for amazing, intricate, tight quilting, and now I'm wondering how to pull it off on the busy fabric. And I decided to try out wool batting on this one, so it has to be stitched tightly or it puffs out like crazy! I'm starting to think I might just follow the lines on the fabric instead of trying to compete with them. Maybe I can change up the cream blocks or do something fancy on the teal.
And the tea cups?! Hmmmmm.............
Any suggestions?
And, by the way, if you have made it this far, you might as well know a little bit more about me:) Kelly Wood from remember your karma has nominated me for a Liebster Award. Thanks Kelly! So I guess this means I get to answer some questions. Here they are:
1. What is your favorite quilt block or pattern?
I'm not really a quilt block sort of person. I love making art quilts, and if a block speaks to me, then I go for it. Just don't quiz me on their names:)
2. What is your guilty pleasure?
I don't know if it is a guilty pleasure or not, but I have a horrible sweet tooth. I try to keep chocolate out of the house, but my husband keeps surprising me by hiding Reese's cups in my drawers (and that is dresser drawers, not under things;)
3. What inspires you?
I am inspired by longarm quilters like Angela Walters and Judi Marsden. Their work is amazing!
4. Tell me about your pets!
We are a house of dog lovers. We brought our lab/border collie mix over with us from Wales when we moved here 9 years ago. Murphy is a mutt of indeterminate breed. Very sweet. Lily is my baby. We got her for the girls, and she attached herself to me. And who wouldn't want a sweet little cuddly chihuahua in her lap?
5. What is your music of choice?
I like a variety of music. Depending on my mood, I could be listening to Classical, Pop, Celtic, Latin, who knows...
6. Favorite vacation spot
Wales, definitely!
7. What is the most influential book you have read?
Hm, I love to read. I think The Food Revolution, by John (?) Robbins was a big one for me. Really opened my eyes up to the food industry in this country and made me more aware of what I am putting into my body.
8. What quilts are on your "bucket list" to make?
I'd really like to get my art/photo quilt finished. I finally got it all fused together. Just need to quilt it:) I also finally broke down and bought Star Gazer, a Lunden Designs pattern. I try not to pay for what I can figure out on my own, but this one has been speaking to me.
9. What is your favorite quilt making technique?
Steam-a-seam 2! Woo hoo!
10. What is your favorite color combination?
I am a big fan of blue and white.
11. What quilting tool or gadget can you not live without? (other than your sewing machine!)
I would have to say my Anchor seam ripper. I bought this at Sewingly Yours a few years ago and I would really struggle without it. Not to say that I rip out seams a lot, but it really is a pair of scissors as well. Perfect for clipping those little threads on the underside of a quilt without worrying about cutting the quilt as well.
I think this is where I am supposed to nominate other blogs, but I am still new at this and my blog list is sadly lacking:) Thanks again Kelly!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chris' Christmas wall hanging

I had a lot of fun with this one! Chris brought me some bright Christmas colored embroidery thread and let me have free reign on designs. Woo hoo! I got to do all sorts of fun tight quilting:)

Here's my 'design board'. This piece of plexiglass is amazing. I put some masking tape around the edges so I wouldn't draw over onto any quilts by accident. Then I used a wet erase marker to try out different ideas while the plexiglass is on the quilt. Dry erase markers are too risky because they rub off easily. Wouldn't want to mark anything I shouldn't!

I texted the pic to Chris and she decided to make one little change. The maze-like design around the pinwheel block was changed to a stipple to flow better with the rest of the quilt. You can see where I just drew over the lines:)

The overall stippled worked out well since both of the above blocks seem to flow together.

Pebbles, yay! I changed up the sizes for variety in the light background. The 'arrows' were a bit more challenging design-wise. I finally decided to start from the middle and do a floral design that works outwards.

Again pebbles (or maybe they are called pearls if they go in a straight line). I'm getting better at quilting straight pearls. They look amazing when they are done, but I still break out in a cold sweat going into them:) Got to keep those circles nice and even, and, of course, end up just right for the corners. So cool!

I really liked this design for the pinwheels as well. The leaves in between the feathers break it up a bit and give it variety. Really like how the feathers turned out. Maybe they aren't so scary after all:)

Thanks Chris!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Erin's bright quilt

Erin had made this bright quilt a while ago and decided to get it quilted. I picked a circular edge to edge pattern to help break up all the triangles and give it a space/solar system look.

Thanks Erin!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bloomin' baby quilt

I've been wanting to make a blooming nine patch for a while and I'd seen these gorgeous fabrics at Sewingly Yours and thought they would be perfect for this pattern. I used three different fabrics for this little quilt.

In retrospect, I should have had more light fabrics, with just a little dark at the edges, but I still like how it turned out. I cut 2" squares, so it wouldn't be too heavily pieced and quilted it with the swirly feather pattern that I used on Chris's tulip quilt. Love that design!

The quilting really shows up well on the back. I didn't want the quilting to take away from the colors of the front. Now I just need to find someone with a baby girl!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vicki's quilt

This antique quilt came from Vicki's grandmother, Martha. It is a full-sized quilt and was entirely hand pieced using fabric from clothing. Vicki asked for an outer border to help level out the edges.

I decided to quilt it using a large meandering stitch to help hold all the pieces together.

Thanks Vicki!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mr. P's quilt

My friend Carrie had been working hard on this lap quilt for her husband and she asked me to quilt it for her. It has all sorts of neat 'manly' blocks:) I can't decide which one is my favorite!

Carrie asked for the sashing and borders to be quilted with brown thread in a chevron pattern. I laid it all out on graph paper and sketched it before I marked so that all the corners would align properly. I thought about doing the lines with my free-motion foot, but I chickened out and used my all-purpose foot instead:) I still can't get used to those monstrous walking feet. They drive me crazy! If I'd had a little more confidence, I would have just gone with the free-motion foot and probably been just fine. Really wanted to be sure those lines were nice and crisp though:) I'll stick to experimenting on my own quilts:)

Then I quilted the blocks with off-white thread with a kind of leafy floral pattern Carrie had found in one of her books. The corners looked a little bare once that pattern was quilted, so I echoed around the edges to fill in the space and make it look more in keeping with the rest of the quilting.

It turned out great! Thanks so much Carrie!