Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two more quilts get binding

I finished putting the binding on two more of the quilts I quilted last week.  Now there are only 2 more left to bind and then I'll feel like I can quilt some more tops.  Here's a picture:

Monday, March 29, 2010

One More Top Quilted - Iris Nine-Patch Pizzaz

Sunday afternoon I loaded another quilt on my longarm and quilted it.  This quilt is my Iris Nine-Patch Pizzaz.  I completed the top in 2006.  I'm excited that there's another UFO on it's way to being done and that I'm still enjoying - and even looking forward to - longarming now that I've started doing pantographs!  I quilted it using Deb's Feathers-Allover Meander pantograph.  Here's a picture of it and a close-up of the quilting:

Binding the Quilts and Binding Tips

Oh the binding!  Now there are six quilts to bind - that's a lot of binding.  I figured if I didn't do it as I went along, I'd get too overwhelmed, so at the end of last week I jumped into the task.  I squared all six of the quilts, cut all the bindings, and sewed the first side down by machine. The sewing down part was quite a task since I'm binding challenged.  Even when I have a perfectly square quilt, I end up with it wavy after I've put on the binding.  I've been asking everyone I know how they put on their bindings hoping I'd stumble across something that would help.  Talk about a happy ending...........I think I finally have it figured out. The things I think made all the difference:

-I took the advice of my friend MaryG (thank you Mary!) and got out my acrylic extended sewing machine table.  Now I have a nice flat surface to work on.  I've been using a plastic machine slanting system and it's been causing too much drag.  I think this change alone made the most difference.

-This is time consuming, but during my remediation period I decided to measure the side of the quilt as I sew each side of the binding on, and make the binding and top measurement the same length.  It was surprising to me how much this has helped.  Even though it takes extra time, I think I'll keep doing it.  I really, really want a nice flat quilt and figure after I've put all of this time, effort, and money into making a quilt, I may as well put in the little bit of extra time to get it right........and to be happy with it when it's all finished.  I know I sure wasn't happy with my quilts when they got wavy due to the binding the way I was doing it previously.
-Early last week I happened to stumble across a binding tutorial on QuitersTV.com done by Hollis Turnbow. Here's a link if you're interested - http://www.quilterstv.com/channel/video/264?item=3 . Some things clicked on that for me.  One tip I especially liked was clipping the corners (clip carefully - just through the raw pieces of fabric in the corner not the folded fabric that makes the miter - you can guess how I found that one out).

Over the weekend I got three of the bindings hand sewn to the back of three of my quilts.

Don't they look pretty!  It feels soooooooo good to get these quilts completely finished.

Friday, March 26, 2010

First Week's Progress - Organizing My Stash

It's the end of the first week and I'm making progress..........3 days and 3 shelves...........not too bad.  As planned, I'm taking the weekend off so this is all for now.  It's starting to look nice, isn't it?  This morning my husband said it's starting to look like a quilt shop.  Love that guy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another quilt quilted

I quilted another of my waiting quilt tops today.  The top was made in 2006 as a mystery quilt by Quiltaholics.  They called it mystery #19.  I think this quilt looks like a variation of a trip around the world layout.  Here's a picture of it and also a close-up. 

This one was quilted with an allover feather meander pantograph.  It took me a very long time to get this one ready and then quilted.  I didn't have enough fabric in the right color for a backing (not much pink or burgundy in my stash), so I spent way too much time trying to figure out how I could do a pieced back.  I'll try very hard not to do that again because the 5 seams I ended up using to piece the back together caused headaches when I was quilting.  I don't think it helped that I used flannel for the backing either.  The bulk of the flannel made the seams very thick.  The longarm would be going along as smooth as could be and then hit one of those seams and practically come to a stop.  Very hard to push.  Thankfully that doesn't show when I look at the quilting.

I had a "oh darn" moment today.  I was cutting batting for this quilt and realized that both this week and last I was cutting batting from my wool roll instead of my 80/20 roll.  I sure wouldn't have used wool batting on my first pantographed quilt if I'd realized what I was doing.  I decided not to use the wool piece I cut for the above quilt and dove into the 80/20 for it instead.  Due to the batting there's quite a different feel and weight to this quilt than the others.  After I get the binding on it, I guess I should try and wash it to see how much it will soften up.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Organizing my Stash

I finally heard of an idea that looks like it's going to work for folding my stash.  I have about 12" deep shelves where I keep my fabric.  The other ideas I've heard just didn't sound like they'd work as well for my narrow shelves.  This method makes each fabric piece about 12" deep and narrow enough to fit 5 stacks of fabric per shelf.  I thought this idea might be helpful to others who may be struggling to organize their stash and also have narrow shelves like I do.  Here's a picture of the shelf of fabric I folded this morning. 

Can you see the pretty organized shelf amidst the shelves of chaos?

I've decided to make it a priority to work on organizing my stash for a few minutes each day (week days).  My husband still works so while he's getting ready in the morning and I'm still getting awake, I don't want do anything too challenging anyway.  Since this is so easy, I thought I'd do the folding.  When he leaves for work, it'll be my signal that I can stop and go back to other projects I want to work on.  I figure it won't feel so overwhelming this way.  It will get done bit by bit and before I know it, my whole stash will be organized.  I've put a tutorial below of the fabric folding technique I'm using.

Fabric Folding Tutorial

Here’s a way to organize your stash by using a fabric folding technique.  It looks neat, is easier to see what you have, takes up less room, and the real bonus is that as you unroll your fabric it’s set-up ready to cut.

Here are the steps:

Fold fabric in half selvedge to selvedge.

Fold in half again in the same direction by bringing the selvedges up to almost meet the main fold (this is how it is folded coming off the bolt at a quilt shop). 

With the main fold at the top and selvedge nearly up to meet it, you lay a paper lunch sack on the right edge and start folding your fabric toward the left.


When you're finished, you have a neat package and it's oriented in such a way that you can unfold it a little, and it’s ready to cut.  The edge you need to start the cut is what unrolls first. 

Remove the paper sack.

A paper sack measures 5" x 10 3/4".  You want to make a cardboard template to use instead - or you may wish to use a 4 ½” ruler to get a similar effect.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The quilt Carolyn made for me is now quilted

I'm so pleased with how the quilt turned out that my dear friend, CarolynN, made for me.  I quilted this beautiful Shoo Fly quilt using a pantograph with leaves and flowers.  It goes so well with the Thimbleberries fabric in this lovely quilt.  Thanks again Carolyn; I just love this quilt.  I'm happy it's finished.  I think it took me about 2 years to finally get brave enough to try quilting it and only a little over 4 hours to actually do the quilting - I should have just jumped in sooner and gotten it quilted.  Oh well, it's done now and I can bind it and take it up to our mountain home to snuggle with on cool evenings.  Here's a picture of my Shoo Fly quilt and also a close-up of the quilting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Four Quilts Quilted

A longarm quilter friend, Mary M., came to my house on Friday and helped me figure out how to work with pantographs to do the quilting on my quilts (thank you Mary).  We started with a small quilt.  The quilting just wasn't coming out right.  My machine was so, so stiff.  We tried everything and just couldn't find the problem.  I kept at it but with less than satisfactory curves.  Then right toward the end, with only two rows left to quilt, I noticed that the horizontal channel lock light was on.  That's what was causing the drag and making my shapes all squared up instead of curvy like they were supposed to be.  It's like trying to drive a car with the emergency brake on.  Darn!

I'm so glad my top fabric had a dense print and so did my backing fabric. The quilting detail is hardly noticeable, thank goodness.  I quilted it using a very beautiful pantograph called rambler rose.   I'll have to try using that panto again on another quilt because it's really hard to tell what the pattern looks like on this quilt.  It took me 6 1/2 hours to quilt this small quilt.  It probably took so long because I was having training and we were having problems with the machine too.  Hopefully things will speed up when I become more accustomed to the process.  I made this quilt in 2005 and it's been begging to be quilted ever since then.  Now all that's left is the binding.  Here is a picture of...............the first quilt I quilted using a pantograph...........my mystery quilt (mystery was entitled Opposites Attract on Planet Patchwork.  I used Christmas looking fabric), and a close-up of the quilting, such as it is.

The machine problem was somewhat discouraging but I decided to get right "back on the horse" and loaded another UFO quilt after Mary left on Friday.  This time it worked beautifully and the finished product looks so nice.   I quilted this one using a winding plume panto.  I thought pantos were going to make the quilting process faster but this one took me 5 1/2 hours to quilt.  That's longer than I expected since it's a small quilt, but as I get more experienced and the steps become second nature, maybe the time will speed up some.  Here is the second UFO quilt that I quilted using a pantograph.  It's been awaiting quilting since 2006.  It's a stack & slash sudoku made with Moda's Sentimental Journey fabric line.  Here's also a close-up of the quilting.

Yesterday (Saturday) I loaded and quilted another quilt and it looks pretty too.   It's the Faded Memories Opposites Attract quilt that I posted last week on my blog as a UFO top I had just finished.  I quilted it using a camillias pantograph.  It looks quite a bit better quilted than it did in that previous picture, doesn't it?  This one took me 8 hours to quilt - probably because it's larger and the pattern on the pantograph is denser.  Sure like how the pantograph looks and there's something about making all those curves that makes my mind feel good. My feet, not so much. lol.

Just before bed last night, I loaded a fourth UFO quilt and finished it today.   I made the top in 2006 and quilted it using a feather meandering pantograph today - it's a nice flowing pantograph pattern, isn't it?  It took me almost 7 hours to quilt this large quilt.  That's a little bit faster than the last one, maybe I'm getting the hang of this.  It's made with the Moda's Rhubarb & Ginger fabric line.  Here's also a close-up picture.

I still need to square up all of these quilts - then put on the binding.  I'm going to have quite a few bindings to do now, aren't I?  I guess I'm set for awhile with handwork to do while watching TV.

Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 AQG Quilt Show

I went to the AZ Quilter's Guild Show on Friday.  What wonderful quilts this year!  I was especially impressed with the wonderful quilting on them.  Here is a picture of the Best in Show winner - made by Terri Doyle.

Here are a few more of my favorites:

On the above embroidered Sun Bonnet Sue quilt, the quilting was what made it so interesting.  There were things like windows and trees and such quilted into the background.  Here are a couple of samples of that (click to enlarge).

The following quilt was spectacular and the detailed quilting was breathtaking. 

Here's an especially pretty grandmother's flower garden quilt.

The colors on the one below were so calm and peaceful.  I just loved the border applique too.

I loved this cute house quilt.

Here are pictures of the round robin quilts my applique group and I had in the show.  They looked so nice all hanging in a row.  The individual pictures in order are of Joy's, Elaine's Patty's, Joni's, Linda's (me), & Pam's quilts (I didn't get a picture of Joni with her quilt).

Here is a direct link to more of the pictures if you'd like to see some more "eye candy":

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Faded Memories Quilt - Top Finished

I just finished this Faded Memories quilt top this evening.  The pieced blocks were finished in 2006 and then sat in UFO status until now.  They are blocks that were made following a 2005 mystery quilt weekend by Planet Patchwork called Opposites Attract.  This is the 5th quilt I made using that mystery pattern.  On this quilt I set the blocks on-point and added alternating floral blocks.  The original mystery used only the pieced blocks - when set together side by side using high contrast fabrics (as directed during the mystery), they are a real eye bender.  Over the last 2 days I set the blocks on-point and added borders so now the top is finished:

Here are pictures of the other 4 quilts. 

This first one is in the layout of the mystery weekend - more of an eye bender.  My sister wanted a pink and blue quilt so I made this one for her in 2006 using the same fabrics as above by Moda called Faded Memories:
Here is another one I completed in 2006.  On this one you can really see why I call it an eye bender.  I originally made this one for my mother; she wanted a pink & blue quilt too, but this one turned out looking blue & yellow instead, so I made her a different quilt instead.  I got to keep this one myself.

This next quilt is one I made for my dear friend Laura.  It's set on-point like the first one above.  This one turned out especially nice and fits Laura to a tee.  You see, I was fabric shopping with Laura one day, and she was pointing at the various fabrics she liked, and that would look good in her house.  Later I went back to the store, and bought several fabrics in the line she liked, and made her a quilt.  I gave it to her for her Birthday in 2006 as a top and quilted it for her in 2007.

The last of the 5 quilts in this pattern uses low contrast fabrics that kind of blend together.  The eye bender effect is not nearly as pronounced in this quilt.  It is a Chruistmas Opposites Attract.  It's the one I actually made during the Mystery Quilt weekend.  This one is still a UFO; it's not quilted yet.

Sunflowers Quilt - Top Finished

This year I hope to concentrate part of my energy on finishing UFOs........both tops that are in various stages of completion and doing the quilting on numerous tops that are finished.

Last week I finished a quilt top I call Sunflowers.  It's been aging for a few years and just needed the mitered borders.  The needle-turn applique was done when we took a road trip to see my brother in 2007.