Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Quilting Ethnic Drunkard's Path Quilt

After finishing the commission quilt and the mini quilt of the month, I could finally resume the quilting that had slowed almost to a standstill when the busy time at work happened.  I decided to pick up on quilting the drunkard's path quilt. I call it the ethnic drunkard's path quilt, because I already have another drunkard path, and this one has a more exotic feel to it, but I don't know the art in these countries enough to know where exactly to place it - Morocco, Spain, Persia, etc. The other one is really a leftovers of this one, but it is smaller and got finished before this one. That one took forever to quilt too.

I am working on a domestic sewing machine, and apparently working long hours, forgetting to turn on the light!

It is a lap size quilt, which seems to grow in size as I am quilting it; (really, I have how much left to quilt?!), but I am pretty sure it will resume normal proportions when I am done.  Right now, I am quilting the light ring around the center shape. I wanted all the lights to work together so I am quilting them all as a group. The echo quilting really helped add the cohesiveness to the pattern.  It is pretty big area width size so I used these long leaves, but they seemed like long bananas when I looked at them. These curly shapes make me happy.

It isn't perfect quilting, but there is less pressure than there was when I first made the quilt.  I am not as much of a perfectionist anymore, and the fabrics are dated enough now that I can relax a bit. And although I can see lots of mistakes in this picture and I almost wanted to take out this quilting, when I step back and look at the quilt as a whole, the quilting adds texture I want, and I am leaving it, and continuing the same design in similar spaces around the entire center. If you do keep doing it, it isn't a mistake, it is a design choice!

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 30

It is already Wednesday, but I wanted to enjoy bragging about my finishes. So now I can belatedly tell you about my stitching week last week, that ended on Sunday,  After finishing Fuschia Fairy, I have been working solely on quilting the ethnic drunkard path quilt.
15 Minute sessions of stitching this month: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 172 out of 209 sessions
Success Rate: 82%

The pictures of the tomatoes and peppers were taken at a park. I hadn't seen those shapes and really like them.

Linked to:
Throwback Thursday  - this quilt top is from before I started this blog. I think it has waited long enough to be quilted.
Wednesday Wait Loss - I am still learning free motion quilting and am learning how to step back and look at the whole picture instead of fretting over every little bobble, of which there are many!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

July Mini of the Month Quilt Reveal: Fuschia Fairy

  Can you handle two quilt reveals in a row?

Initially, I was going to skip making a mini quilt this month.  After all, I have a huge backlog of  quilts I started earlier this year (not to mention previous years), and a huge list of quilts I want to start (alphabet quilt, postage stamp, circa 1880).  But I realized that I would feel bad about not making one this month, and I didn't want to rush through making one just to say that I did. I started this quilt last week.

I started looking for ideas of a mini quilt, and realized that I didn't need to look for ideas because I already had plenty of ideas from previous projects. I thought it would be best if I took an orphan block and made a quilt out of that. That way, it isn't technically a new project, and there is some progress in the overall quilt lineup.

I was thinking about pretty fabrics in general and I remembered that I had received a panel a long time ago. So long ago that I think it was before I moved to this blog in 2008. I got it from a blog friend who said something to the effect of "I look forward to seeing what you do with it." Sorry, friend, for making you wait so long.  This panel is just so pretty, and I wanted to do it justice.  Over time, I saved pieces of leftover fabrics that I thought would go well with the quilt. They were my favorite pieces then and they still are! The panel came with three small squares, so I just cut the other scraps to the same size and added them around the quilt.

 I realized I had everything I needed to finish off this panel.  The fabrics I have with the panel were ones I especially liked for one reason or another, and went well with the panel, but they were on the small side, so they didn't lend to themselves to much piecing. Which is good, because I wanted to keep the piecing simple and let the focus stay on the panel.

I added in some other current favorite bits, and made this quilt, like some sweet 30s fabrics and two kinds of lace. I also added embroidery stitches in the form of wavy vines in the borders. If you deliberately make it wavy, it doesn't have to be straight! The picture above shows the truest color.

The darker pictures were taken earlier in the day when the sun was out.  I left them here because they show the texture.

Linked with:
Slow Stitching Sunday I hand stitched the binding, and took the time to add embroidery stitches and lace.
Monday Making 
Friday Foto Fun

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Quilt Reveal: Love and Happiness

I made a commission quilt and have delivered it, so now I can share it with you!

I told you that I was showing my mini book of quilts to everyone in the office who might be willing to look at it and my friend and coworker asked me to make her one. I bet you can figure out her name!  I normally don't do commission quilts, but she wanted one that I enjoyed making (The Earth Laughs in Flowers), so I said yes.

She then decided that she wanted one that was more customized and fit better with her available funds. I thought it was a little easier than the one she originally wanted, so it would be a little bit less time consuming. It has some repeat blocks, but not too many.

I wasn't keeping track of my time since I was charging her a flat price, but it took me a lot longer to make than I estimated. This quilt was fun to make, because it has the bright happy fabrics that I enjoy working with, and there is a variety of blocks that keep it from getting boring.

It uses batik and regular cotton fabrics. The blocks are all made with raw edge applique. I used some embroidery stitches around some of the hearts.

 I like the wording on the plaque to go with this quilt.

My family asked me if I wanted to go for a walk in this park. I had already been there earlier that day to deliver the quilt (I didn't get Debi's message that she wanted to postpone).  I came with the quilt and roped them into being the quilt holders and turned their innocent walk into a photo shoot.

Linked to:
UFO Busting
Off the Wall Friday 
Finished (or not) Friday

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

15 Minutes to Stitch

A little belated recap of my stitching week.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 29

For the last couple of weeks ending Sunday, I started and have been working on my mini quilt of the month. I thought about not making one this month, due to all the quilts I have already started this year and still want to start now, but I decided it was better for me to start while it was early enough to make a good showing, instead of starting it at the last minute to get it in by the end of the month.  I am putting in the final finishing touches on the quilting and have the binding ready to go so the quilt reveal will be soon.

I started with a panel I got a long time ago called Fuschia Fairy and built a small quilt around it.
15 Minute sessions of stitching this month: 14 out of 14
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 165 out of 202 sessions
Success Rate: 81%

I must have made some sort of mistake in the number of sessions in the year, so I just fixed that to reflect the number of calendar days in the year so far. Hopefully the other numbers are accurate, but it is just an estimate so I am not going to try to go back and figure out where I went wrong.

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Friday, July 19, 2019

Batch of Index Card a Day Cards

Here's another batch of cards I made for Index Card a Day (ICAD). This time, I tried thinking of words to add - some came from advertisements, while others came from art journaling tutorials I watched.

Even though I think I have 60 cards now, I plan to continue making these.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Designing Quilts

Last time, I showed some layout options for the Fourth Rail quilt.  Most of my readers and I liked the first option. That one required me to make additional blocks. So I played with the first option, turning all the blocks around so that what was out is in and what was in is out.

I had a hard time seeing it the whole pattern, even with a picture, and realize that I need to make sure there is lots of contrast in the blocks in the center and the corners so the design is easier to see. I might have placed some of the blocks incorrectly, I'm not sure. The center is supposed to be "light" with rings around it.

Then Tanya said something about a spiral, which sounded really interesting, so I laid out the blocks again, this time in a spiral pattern. It doesn't really look like a spiral (unless I make additional blocks which round out the corners).  I think this is the same layout as I showed before, except for the center, but I really like this better, and I will not have to make any more blocks. To me, it looks like a three rail fence with a dark sashing.  I was hoping to be able to join these blocks without a design wall, but I think I will need to plan it out more to make sure there is enough contrast and the colors are balanced.

What do you think? Are the corners okay as is, or do you think I should make "light" rails with dark corners so the turns show better? Then they would look like concentric circles.

I am going to try seeing what it looks like when the darks in the corners are oriented next to other darks. That will make the corners bolder, but may show the spiral. Stay tuned!

In other news, I sewed some ATC holder rows together, and I am so tickled at the secondary pattern that is created! I think this will make a striking quilt even without any ATCs in them. (The dark shadows make it look badly sewn, but I just haven't pressed it yet.)

Here it looks with some ATCs in them. Looks good to me! Most of these cards have a vertical layout, but I am planning horizontal for this quilt.

Linked to:
Let's Be Social
Off the Wall Friday

Monday, July 15, 2019

More Index Cards

I have been trying to follow Daisy Yellow's challenge to decorate an Index Card a Day (ICAD). You may be wondering why, and I thought I would give some of the reasons.

It gives me a chance / reason / excuse to do something creative every day.

 It is fun.

It lets me try out techniques in a way that does not intimidate.

It lets me use my art supplies and see how they interact with each other.

It lets me figure out what I like to do and what I don't.

It gives me permission to make mistakes.

And combine markers and paint and paper and fabric.

In case you are wondering what I plan to do with them, I am showing you an index card holder I bought this week.  They only had one design, but I figure that can be part of the challenge to keep adding to the outside as well as the inside of the box.

I bought some more index cards at the back to school sales!

I started this index cards challenge before the start date and plan to continue after the end date and plan to make a whole collection.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fourth Rail Kicked Back to Blockmaker

When last we talked, the Blockmaker had declared that she was finished making the blocks for Fourth Rail and had passed the finished blocks to the Block Put-together-er and checked off the completion of all the blocks.  The UFOs and the WIPs rejoiced and had a celebration.

The Block Put-Together was supposed to try out different layouts to find the best one for this set of blocks. She was supposed to try the traditional fence rail with the larger number of blocks, a courthouse square, multiple courthouse squares, copy the layout of the last fence rail, etc.  She even took a book with pictures of different layouts of fence rails so she could try them all.  Being the lazy sort, however, she tried one layout with a little less than half the blocks. She wasn't sure about the layout but when she took the picture, she declared that it was good. She also decided that these blocks did not make good turns and required a different block be made for the corners.  Probably HSTs.

Maybe if all the rails faced with the dark rail inward instead of outward, like the center, the additional blocks wouldn't be necessary.

When asked for more choices and more pictures, she simply referred to the blog.  The rest of the pictures are ones you have seen already, but are put here for your convenience. This picture shows the multiple courthouse square/oval idea. It would also need corner blocks. Maybe more fence rails with a dark corner triangle. Or maybe they would be okay as they are with a slight gap in the corners.

This one looks like multiple rows of fences and does not need additional blocks.

 Here's the traditional fence rail which also would not require additional blocks. I already have a rail fence quilt with this layout, although it does not have a specific dark rail, but this is more traditional than the others, and I like the others better.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 28

This week, I pieced the rail fence blocks and the ATC holder. I also cut more pieces for the ATC holder today.  I thought I had pressed all the corner triangles, but I didn't.  These little pieces were hard to press in December, and would be even harder in the heat of the summer.  I may cut all the rest of the pieces and save it for the fall or winter for making more corner triangles. I will try to make more progress on it before I move to the next quilt.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this month: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 151 out of 195 sessions

Success rate is still 77%.

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch
Oh Scrap !
Moving It Forward

Saturday, July 13, 2019


You probably didn't hear the Blockmaker say "next" because she mumbled it under her breath, but all those quilts waiting in the disorderly line noticed a sudden shift in their position.  The blocks for Fourth Rail are finished, and you can see the bottom of the shoe box!  I would show you the empty box, but it is a visual that only the Blockmaker would love. Since "make blocks" is a column in the progress chart, and I am able to check it off, the progress rate has moved up. The Fourth Rail blocks now move to the next station, where the Block Put-together-er is going to arrange and rearrange them to decide on a layout.

In the meantime, the next quilt scurried up to the Blockmaker's counter before anyone else noticed. This quilt happened to be ATC Holder, which is a horrible name for the quilt, but it is its name, so what can we do?  There was a spool of whitish thread in the box, and more blocks are now being made. This is a very calm, sedate block compared to the wild and scrappy Fourth Rail. This one requires precise piecing (those black cornerstones finish at half an inch) and only use three fabrics. This is a scary prospect that requires the right amount of fabric to finish the whole quilt. It looks pretty boring, but I hope to make it up in volume!

Linked with:
Put Your Foot Down

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A Dozen Rails

I have finished the Love and Happiness quilt - quilting, binding, labeling, everything. I'll show it to you after it has been delivered.

This means the floodgates open and there are a million new quilts I want to start.  How about an alphabet quilt? Or a postage stamp quilt that Lynn and Wanda and a whole bunch of other people are making? Both of these use scraps which would be really helpful in reducing some of the scraps. And then there is the Seasons Crazy Mystery Quilt. That one can also use scraps, but would likely make a bigger mess. I have a couple of other quilts to finish before I can get to that one.

Yes, I do plan on starting all of those, but to keep the current quilts from grumbling too much, I thought I should work on them at least a little bit so they at least feel like the line is moving forwards instead of backwards for them.

Today, I sewed a dozen rail fence blocks. The stack has more than a dozen since I also pressed all the blocks that hadn't been pressed yet.

And since it has been two weeks since I posted a stitching update, here it is.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 27

I have been diligently working on the Love and Happiness quilt (formerly known as Purple Smiles). It took me much longer than anticipated, which I guess is normal. Since my last update, I put on the borders, I tried to keep the borders lightly quilted so that it would retain a soft hand, and then bound it by machine.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this month: 14 out of 14
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 144 out of 188 sessions

Success Rate: 77% Finally an upward trend!

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch 
Friday Foto Fun I made more rail fence blocks, and the picture would look similar.
Off The Wall Friday

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!

Here are some more index cards I made for 1CAD (one card a day). They were all inspired by other artists.