Thursday, August 23, 2012


Stars for BOM

I am working on the setting stars for the BOM I made last year, and it is taking a while, so I thought I would just post some random facts to keep you up to date with my summer.  The BOM was in Civil War colors, and I chose to use my own fabric for the setting stars to keep it from looking like everyone else's quilt.  At the time, I decided I wanted to have a red feel to the quilt, so I chose some brownish reds for the setting fabric.  I didn't want it to be too red though, so I am also using some browns and other colors as well.

Then I go into indecision mode.  I am not sure that the reds I am choosing are really Civil War colors.  Some of them I can probably get away with, but some of them are decidedly a country red, and even though they go well with the other colors, I am not sure I am not breaking some major quilting rule.

Just like I worried about my "sophisticated" quilting ruining the modern feel of the three hearts quilt, I am worried that my "country" reds are going to ruin the civil war feel of the quilt.  I remember a time when I didn't care about these things, and wish I could go back.  In fact, I deliberately cross contaminated things so my quilts and I couldn't be put into a particular category box.  Ever since modern quilts have been shown as their own separate category, I seem to want to put things in their nice neat cubicles, except that I still have preferences to mix and match.  The country red is staying, not because I am confidently liberated to use the colors I want, but because I am not going back to the store to buy more fabric.

I am also making a small quilt using the scraps from the stars, and it is turning out really well.  I think I may want to submit this quilt to a magazine or somewhere be published, and it is rearing up indecision for me as well.  Now there is a greater "oh what if this next step ruins the quilt" and "does this fabric really the best fabric to use here" indecision. 


The last time I went to the store, they were having a sale, and I bought four yards of clearance fabric.  They had a one yard minimum, and I am sure these would be great for backs or backgrounds or something.  I completely broke my "only buy fabric for specific quilts" rule, but I decided I deserved the splurge.

Then I had a friend who commissioned another quilt.  I went shopping for fabric for that quilt, but I wound up buying a great deal of fabric and thread for myself as well.  It was also on sale, but this was definitely not a well deserved splurge, coming so close to the other splurge, and especially coming so close to my last day at work.

Now I am not sure that I am even making the commissioned quilt.  It is a twin sized quilt, and I wanted to make sure that I had properly heard what she wanted, so put together the quilt using Paint by scanning the photos she had given me, and the blocks she wanted to go around the quilt, and typed up what we had discussed.  She has decided that she doesn't like what the quilt looked like.  I didn't change the colors or spend a lot of time making the drawing look just right, since it was just an idea of the quilt, so I am not sure if she just couldn't picture the differences between the sample and the actual quilt, or whether she really wouldn't have liked the finished quilt.

I am glad I did write this up though, because I would much rather have her be unhappy now, then after I went through the trouble of making the quilt.


I have joined Pinterest, mostly as a way to share my hubs, but have been spending more time enjoying seeing and pinning all the beautiful quilts that have been pinned there.  Several people have complained about photos from their hubs and blogs being pinned there without their permission.  I can see why you wouldn't want a photo pinned there, especially if you were a photographer.  But I really see it more as free advertising.

Besides, many people are going to copy and save a photo of a quilt on their hard drive anyway.  When I decide to make a quilt, it would be great to be able to find the original so I can find out more about the quilt and whether a pattern is available.  Pinterest actually keeps the photo and the link to the source attached, so more can be learned about the pattern.  Is it possible that I would make a simple quilt by using the photo and not buying a pattern?  Sure, but I could do that anyway when I found a photo on a blog or on my hard drive.

Besides, I quilt pretty slowly.  The chances of me actually getting around to making a quilt from a photograph is pretty slim, as much as I would prefer otherwise.


It's been a bad year for fleas and ticks. Well, it is a good year for them, but a bad year for us dealing with them.  So far, the thing that has worked the best is the flea comb, and it seems now that after the thorough brushing and combing, Zeus's fur is much better taken care of than my own hair.  He is looking very pretty, even though he still keeps scratching himself from time to time!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quilt Reveal: Three Hearts Quilt

I have finished quilting and binding the three hearts quilt.  Please check my previous posts for details about this quilt.

The fabric I had separated as "use me" in my stash was the one I used for the binding and the simple label. I really like the backing fabric as well.

This is what it looks like before washing. I used two different fabrics for the background, and just like in the book, the one white looks a lot darker than the other when looking at it on the quilt. In real life, the whites are both very similar to each other.

This is what it looks like after washing. The pencil markings came off great, but there was one spot I used the eraser to erase (old habits die hard), and that little blue stain is still on the quilt.  I did play around with the photo program to try to get the colors to look truer in all of these photos. The quilt finishes at 13" x 17".

I like it. I think it will be a great addition to my quilt wall collection.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Three Hearts Quilt

In my last post, I showed you the open book showing you my inspiration for my latest hearts quilt.  There is another picture n this post so you don't have to look for it.  It is from this book called Red White and Sometimes Blue: Classics from McCalls Quilting by Patchwork Place.

My main goal was to make something small and quick, with a modern feel to it. I decided that it would be great to have the three hearts form one heart.  I used pink instead of red because I had just purchased a BOM kit for one month, and it happened to be pink.

You know how libraries put certain books out on display to draw attention to them?  I had found a pink fabric while I was looking for something else, and I had placed it on top as a display because I wanted to use it next.

The piecing was quick and simple, although it did require some unsewing. Why did it take four seams before I noticed the error?  This would have worked great as an orphan block, leaving everyone wondering why I made a y, but I didn't want to cut any more pieces.

I only had three pieces of pink, so instead of looking for more or using a fabric twice, I decided to make only three hearts.  I liked the idea of using three hearts that form one heart, instead of making all six blocks. I think this design would be great for a couple with a child, or three children, or three grandchildren.  The white spaces would be lovely for embroidering in the loved ones' names or quotations.

My choice to use only three of the hearts left a lot of white space for quilting. Even though the goal was to make a thoroughly modern quilt, I decided that it was my quilt and a more interesting design would be a better choice.  Besides, I wanted to make use of the books from my big book buying spree.   Instead of simple quilting, I decided to use some quilting designs from the book Sophisticated Stitches by Don Linn.

It is a machine quilting book, but the motifs work just as well for hand quilting. The author encourages adapting the designs and using parts instead of the whole, and mixing and matching. I used some parts, and was happy to see that they fit perfectly into my quilt without resizing. This decision to hand quilt slowed the progress down considerably, but it is enjoyable. This week I have been hand quilting for at least fifteen minutes every day while I watch the Olympics. I was going to use white or cream thread, but decided it I was going to take the time to hand quilt, I would get credit for it, even if it did look sloppy and show my uneven and crooked quilting stitches. In fact, with my modern quilting style, I am not even fretting about uneven or crooked stitches. It's liberated if I do it on purpose, not mistakes. Can you be liberated and sophisticated at the same time?

 I did the top center and two of the little free form hearts on Monday.
 Tuesday, I did the left side and the other free form heart.
On Wednesday, as I was quilting, my mother called and reminded me about the family pack of chicken in my refrigerator. She said she had come over earlier in the day when I wasn't home and saw it there. She would have cooked it for me, but she didn't know what I wanted. Oops, I had left it there to defrost and I was supposed to cook it on Tuesday. When I got home from work, I was too hungry to cook, so I ate something quick from the freezer, planning to cook it later. But I would forget, because I wasn't hungry. So, I quickly set the hand quilting aside for my cooking emergency.
When it was time to quilt on Thursday, I could not find my needle. The thread from my unfinished motif had broken in two and the needle was missing. The quilt was on the couch, but I didn't remember it being in that location. Apparently in my cooking emergency, I hadn't properly put away the quilt. The dog was frantic because of the thunderstorm. I was worried that he might have had a fight with the quilt, and I was hoping that the needle didn't win. It wasn't until it was time for bed that I found the needle in the fold of the couch. On Friday, I finished the top half and started on the bottom half, which I completed on the weekend.
There is a little bit of extra space on the sides I want to quilt and I will be finished.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quilting Orgy

No Mom, not that kind.

I've been madly trying to make up for lost quilting time.  I've been sewing anything and everything that wants to go under my pressure foot.  Big or small, new or old, it doesn't matter.  All sorts of parts and pieces are piling up on my sewing table, all jumbled up in a glorious mess.

The HSTs are star points for the BOM I did last year.  Instead of buying the package finishing kit, I chose to buy my own fabric, so that my quilt wouldn't look like all the others.  As usual, I wound up buying much more fabric than I need for this quilt.  Of course, I can use it for other quilts, including my Jane Stickle quilt and my other fall quilts.

The little pink things are for the hearts quilt - my newest project.  I like to have a new project going to keep my momentum going on my older quilts.  When I tell myself that I can't start a new project until I have all the old ones done, my motivation to quilt completely leaves, so now I use the new projects as a jumping ground to finish the older ones.

The purple / orange/ blue/ green thing at the very bottom is my Wildflower Garden quilt.  This one is even older than the BOM.  I had a minor error on this block and ripped it, but for some reason, didn't manage to sew it back together.  Now it is done.  All the pieced blocks are done. I need to work on the applique on this project.

I've also been madly skimming through my Google Reader.  I can't just delete the whole and start over.  So I skim and keep all the ones with the pretty quilt pictures, and keep adding to that never ending quilts-to-make list.

The hearts quilt is actually completely pieced.  I still was not able to free motion quilt it.  My machine is very fickle with free motion quilting, and I'm not in the mood to make it behave, so I am hand quilting it. It is another small quilt, and I am hoping that it will be my next finish. I'm actually enjoying the hand quilting.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Quilt for Lily

I've made a quilt and been frustrated about my inability to show it to you, since I lost the cord that attaches the camera to the computer.  I thought there was a way to use the card reader on my computer, but the card didn't fit in the slots.  This morning, I tried again, and there is a card reader that works, it just looks like it is bigger than the card.

So, at long last, I can show you a quilt for Lily.

First the background story.  Last year, the first weekend in June, 2011, I went to the National Quilt Society quilt show in Columbus, Ohio and took a photograph of a small quilt that looked very intriguing to me. Well, I actually took lots and lots of photographs, but this story is about this photo.

I showed it to a friend of mine who has a granddaughter named Lily, and she said "make that for me."  Well, there was no way I could even make anything exactly like that, and I wouldn't want to break any copyright laws legally or morally, but I figured I could make something inspired by it.  Unfortunately, this request happened during our busy time at work and somehow this little quilt took a year and a month to make.

I liked the original technique of cutting through layers for the background, but decided to keep it simple for my quilt.  I took a jelly roll and put the strips together for a background.  Then I traced the flower from this photograph and cut out some fabric with fusible attached to it.  Then I zig zagged it down.  Yes, I know that even after tracing, my lily doesn't look like the original.  Even when I try, I am not good at copying.

I chose a different font and a different location for the name.

This little bud is such a wonderful feature.

I didn't take the stem all the way to the binding so the flower is floating on the surface.  I used Timtex as a batting because this is a wall hanging and I wanted it to hang straight on the wall. This made it difficult to free motion quilt, but I had fun choosing different straight line quilting designs.  The backing fabric is folded to the front.  I did stitch it down. This quilt seemed too formal to just use fusible web, and I didn't want to use up any more fusible web.  I added a false back to hide my stitches, so I wound up having to use extra fusible anyway.

I added an extra layer of batting for the flower to give it more interest.  I gave it to my friend and they loved it.  It matches the room since it is purple and yellow.  I only today realized I don't have a photo of the whole quilt showing all the binding, but the binding is right underneath the photo so you aren't missing much.

Overall, I am really happy with it. The flower itself isn't as good as the original quilt, but I really like the rest of it, so it balances out. The quilt is 12" x 12", and was finished the end of July 2012.

I haven't stopped quilting, so there are more pictures to show on another post.