Charity block done

You’d think with a new baby around I’d have no time. Well, I’m the grandma, so I do, even though my babysitting duties with all five of them have increased.I have been working on this block. I do enjoy handwork, a lot! Building up layers with needle turn applique is very relaxing.I was given a lot of green and blue fabrics to work with, I don’t think I used all of them, although I have tried to get a lot of variety in here.The final touch, a yellow center on every flower. I hand this back to the Valley Quiltmakers Guild this week.  It will be fun to see how the whole quilt comes together.

 

 

Leah

Quilt for Leigh, top is done!

It’s done, it’s yuuuge, it’s wrinkled, there are threads all over it. But it is done!Love the chickens surrounded by the pineapple blocks, and then there are the bees.Depending on the fabric choices, pineapple block looks very different. I’m happy with the low volume in the background, it unifies the scrappiness of the quilt. Here are the bees, so cute.

My friend Ruth is going to be quilting a large quilt herself, so this will have to wait a few weeks until her Longarm is free again. That is fine, I need a break from this. I will probably be full of fresh ideas about how to actually quilt it, having let it sit for a while.This quilt is too big to try and piece the back, so I ordered some extra wide fabric from Connecting Threads, from the sale section, naturally.

Yes, I am very impressed with myself, a full queen size quilt, not something I do often. Let’s be honest, I never make quilts this size, probably won’t again for quite a while. Every quilt is it’s own experience, I learned a lot from this one.

Leah

Quilt for Leigh, part 1

Leigh and I became FB friends a number of years ago, probably through friends with mutual interests. As time went by, we communicated privately and found we have a lot more in common. Leigh has always loved my creativity and I love the chickens she raises in her yard in Nashville.

So I was pleasantly surprised when she wanted to commission me to make her a quilt. I was very flattered and I quoted a price that I thought would be fair, there are materials, labor, coming up with designs. I’m happy to say that Leigh didn’t flinch and even sent me a down payment. She also gave me carte blanche when it comes to the design, she wants something that I come up with. Who can ask for a better customer?!

My first thought was chickens. I’ve noticed that a number of my recent quilts will have a paper pieced animal (octopus, bear) on a traditional block background. So I found what I thought were paper pieced chicken patterns and got to work.Not exactly paper piecing, although those skills are very helpful. Its more about cutting each patch out of freezer paper and adding 1/4″ on all sides. It worked out fine and those paper piecing skill were a big help.Like paper piecing, the pattern is built up in sections that are then sewn together.Here is the hen.And here is the rooster, front and back. Before I forget, these patterns are by Ann Shaw Quilting Designs and I highly recommend them, although not for beginners.I had math to do, these will be surrounded by 12″ blocks, so I had to get the height to 24.5″ and the width to 36.5″I am loving Deb Tuckers’ rulers. She recently put up a You Tube tutorial on using her rulers to make the infamous pineapple block. The block on the left is my first attempt, it worked really well, but this block is way to scrappy even for me. The other two are what I thought I’d use around the chickens.Nope, I don’t like it, which is why I never even finished the second block. Back to Instagram and Pinterest to look at different pineapple quilts.Much better! I intend to use a lot of green and purple, which come in a gazillion shades and will iother colors like mustard and turquoise. You will notice that there is a block with more background, these will be interspersed among the solid blocks (see the block on the left for what I call a solid block). I think it will add some interest, well it did on other people’s samples.I am liking this much better, the chickens and their background will be isolated in the middle, framed by the pineapples. Leigh wants a queen size quilt and my design wall just isn’t big enough, from here on out, it’s going to be the floor again.

I have a lot of pineapples to make which makes me happy. I am having a wonderful time with this and I’m loving making these blocks. So thanks Leigh for giving me an opportunity to be creative.

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Leah

Urbanologie done!

I have finished this project, all it needs is a label. My choice for binding was to simply repeat the red that borders all the blocks. I did hand sew the binding down.So here I am trying to show you the quilting, and you can’t see anything.Better, you can see how I did FMQ in the middle of the blocks and used my walking foot on the background. It was a pain using the walking foot, because as you can see, I had small areas where I had to rotate the quilt. UGH, what a pain. Probably would have been easier just to do those wavy line free hand.It’s on the back that you can see the quilting designs.My butterflies all in a row.The feathers, I outlined them and then did shadow quilting inside.As you step away, you can’t really see the quilting in detail. Clearly the quilting gives a three dimensional affect which is why I quilt so heavily. Each bird got slightly different treatment. I did pay attention to the beaks, I wanted them to stand out.The details of the feather and the birds.Done and flapping in the wind.I pieced the back, I’m frugal that way.With all the white, things got dirty along the way, so as soon as I was done photographing, I threw the quilt in the washing machine. UH-OH! I hadn’t prewashed any of the fabrics, guess what something red did? Yup, it bled. Lucky me, a few of the background fabrics acted like color catcher. This is the after the wash photo. The white is bright, the reds are reds, so what am I talking about?Now can you see the difference? I am so grateful that it didn’t damage the real whites. The quilt is as lovely as ever.  I won’t be keeping this for myself. As much as I enjoyed this, I’m not in love. So some very very lucky friend will receive this for Christmas. Which is why the label will wait until I decide who that lucky person is. Also, I will put in instructions that yes, the quilt can be machine washed and dried, but please use a color catcher sheet when doing so. I have no idea which red crocked, but it may not be done doing so.

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Leah

Urbanologie III

I finished the quilt top and then it sat around for a while. Part of that time I was traveling so it’s not like I was ignoring it for no reason.The math worked out ok, I thought it would be slightly bigger because of the red borders, but I guess I cut enough out of the sashing that the quilt is almost exactly the size that was stated in the pattern. Not a great picture, the shadows certainly distract. I just feel that I’ll get better pictures once it’s quilted.

I have been practicing with rulers and my ruler foot – that is not working out all that well. I would like to at least outline the red borders, we’ll see how it goes.The pool noodle method of basting the quilt is working very well for me. I did this in about an hour, without breaking my back.
Quilting with red thread on a red design makes it hard to see the quilting, that might be a good thing.  I truly live by Angela Walters creed, Close enough is good enough. I like the idea of echoing around the shapes, no perfection needed here. I must say, since having the machine serviced, the free motion quilting is coming along great, it’s just with the rulers that the thread keeps breaking. Also, intricate quilting gets lost on print fabric, I just can’t help myself.I echoed the arrows a few times and then quilted pebbles. This is such a pain to do over a large area since I didn’t have a lot of space to fill, it was worth the effort. Before quilting……and after. So much dimension here, which is why I love dense quilting, it really does make a difference.It’s hard to see, I am quilting the white background with meandering lines, done with a walking foot. Which means I need to turn the whole thing around since I’d break the machine if I tried to reverse stitch with a walking foot. Ah, the joys of quilting on a domestic machine. Of course, long arm machines have their own limitations.

So one row out of five is done, I have another big exciting project I really want to get started on. I don’t like UFO’s (unfinished objects) so I think I’ll just plow through and finish this one first.

Leah

Flamingos

…And it’s done!   Very happy with the result. Although white on white quilting – you really can’t see what kind of design I was trying to achieve, but hey, it looks great.

Another issue I had was the orange fabric on the left-hand flamingo. It really stood out like a sore thumb. Solution? Make sure to have plenty of that fabric in the border as well as use it for the binding. Doesn’t feel so out of place anymore.I washed and machine dried this one as well. Good thing, since somehow, the white background got a little dirty – and that was before any baby got hold of it. The washing machine did it’s job, and I will tell the new parents that it is their best friend. Better to use the quilt and wash often then hide it away.Quilting on busy fabric means you can’t really see the quilting, it’s there, it’s holding everything together. I could have used colored thread on the background and my design would have been apparent, but I wanted the whiteness.My clouds look more like flowers, oh well.If you look closely you can see my favorite pattern of all, the feather.Flamingos are a thing right now. I’m seeing them all over. As is JoAnn’s, which is where I got this great backing fabric.Knowing me, I can’t sit still, so I immediately jumped into a new project. Pineapple blocks with Deb Tucker’s ruler. I LOVE the accuracy I got with this ruler. Not crazy about the scrappiness. I think I’ll find a tighter, more cohesive color story. Here is an idea for a color story.Here is another way to go.Here is a variation on the first. I did have fun finally sipping and painting. No, I wasn’t sipping out of the painted glass at the time. I had to admit to the instructor that yes, I do know how to paint, but it’s still a fun activity.

 

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Leah

I have my sewing machine back! It’s better than ever

For anyone in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita,  Pasadena or Glendale area I highly recommend Mayhall’s for servicing your sewing machine. A week after I dropped it off, I was back picking it up.

Those issues with the needle threader? It was fixed without putting in a new part for $260. A few other small items that I was told would be hundreds of dollars – fixed. The machine was not only serviced, the timing was out and that too was fixed. I was quoted $129 for a service, everything they did came to $150. A sewing machine has to be serviced and serviced well – I am so happy to have found Mayhall’s.

Before I picked up the machine, I was already busy basting my flamingo quilt. There are now a number of You Tube videos as well as blog posts about using pool noodles to spray baste a quilt.I had tried something similar with 2×4 boards, can I just say, this is so much easier.Can you see how nice and smooth everything is! I try and use as little of the spray glue as possible. I do find that the residue does build up on the needle.The whole process took maybe half an hour. For a larger quilt, it will take longer, I will need to bring out two tables as well as combine two noodles together. That probably means a trip to the hardware store to get some plumbing connectors.I was very nervous when I started quilting. Initially, the thread broke. It was Isacord, which many people swear by. I was also using  a Superior Threads Top Stitch needle. So that one came out and I replaced the needle with a Schmetz, and the thread with aurifil.  Ahhhh, it’s working!I don’t plan out my quilting ahead of time. Once I did some basic quilting on the birds, I decided to make it appear as if they are standing in grass, with a few feathers and large flowers. I really love quilting feathers.The real question is, since I’m quilting white on white, will anyone even see the design?I changed direction for the top, trying to make it look like clouds in the sky. So the long lines are now horizontal instead of vertical.We shall see, once I wash this I might just end up with a textured background.

Either way, I am so thrilled to be able to quilt again without the threads breaking. I have tried a little bit of ruler work. Not so good. We are having a lecture at the Valley MQG about Westlee rulers and machine feet. We’ll see if I get any good advice.

 

 

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Leah

Sewing machine is in the shop

I’ve taken my Juki into a new repairman, unfortunately, he only works at this shop two days a week, so I’m not sure when I will get the machine back.  Before I took it in I finished the Urbanology top.I followed the instructions for the largest size quilt. I had to adjust the background so it wouldn’t be too large. Yup, a lot of math was done.I should have waited until later in the day to take this photo. The white is blinding and the shadows are dark. You get the idea what this top looks like.My

Since I don’t have my quilting machine I am sewing a few garments and continuing with my hand sewing.I am totally in love with this needle turn applique. Sometimes I follow the the designs…… sometimes I embellish, like here, where I did some more cut-outs in the center as well as applique a contrasting circle on top.My points are getting sharper and neater. My stitches are really becoming invisible.Some of the blocks are more muted.The pineapple motif shows up often.Now I am wondering if I want to combine the small blocks in with the appliqué or just go traditional and make the whole quilt out of the appliqué blocks. We’ll see, I’ll continue to make more blocks and then I’ll make up my mind. I don’t like to quit, and not using the Splendid Sampler blocks feels like quitting. Luckily, I don’t have to decide yet.

 

 

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Leah

Urbanology II

I am way ahead of the game, finished all the blocks.I don’t know what I’m doing ‘wrong’, mine come out wonky. Then I see someone else post, and their feathers are straight, they have a large portion of quill showing. Oh well,  I guess that when working with curves the results will differ greatly.At least I’m having fun.Some things got easier with practice, like the mirror imaging on the pineapples.Look! I put butterflies on the butterfly! Two small and…… and one large.The poppies got all wonky, but then when do two flowers ever looks exactly alike?Finally the antlers.

So now it’s time to put this together. I made the crazy decision to border each section with a quarter inch border in red.It’s that small detail that will set my quilt apart.  Now comes the hard part, by doing so I have changed the size of the blocks. I don’t want to use the dimensions of the background as given. The quilt will be too large. I also don’t want to just shrink the background down to fit the original size. So I have to work it out as I go.The bottom row has the most pieces, so I started there. Looks like the quilt will only be a few inches wider  than the original plan.

Putting together the puzzle is what I love about quilting. So the math will continue with each row. Now I have to get serious, since it has to match this foundation row.

 

 

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Leah

Urbanologie Quilt Along

I really like the Sew Kind of Wonderful sisters, I have met all three of them, have taken a class with Jenny and really like what they do.

When I saw them at Road to CA in the winter I bought this pattern book.

I was thinking to myself, I like to support these sisters and I might use some of these patterns.  Well they decided to a QAL, quilt along and having the pattern, I jumped right in.I’ve been wanting to make a red and white quilt, turns out I’m making a red, white and black quilt. All the patterns use the mini quick curve ruler, which is based on a nine-inch circle.  This gives many options, it also makes matching a little harder. I did OK with these birds, but then I tried to help my friend and it was one big hot mess.Next came the skinny arrows, ugh!  They look so simple and yet I struggled mightily!Part of me really likes perfection, another part is constantly reminding me to just let it go. No one will every be studying every tiny detail and the overall quilt will be lovely.Not only have I been collecting red and white fabrics, I won the fat quarter exchange at the guild last month, and the colors were red white and black!

I thought the fat feathers would be easier.They were, but….  since I’ve made these they have tweaked this pattern to be more accurate. No, I’m not going back, I realize that as fun as these patterns are – they aren’t accurate and that is that. I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads right now trying to figure out what I am complaining about.  It’s nothing really, it’s an 1/8 of an inch here or there, it’s a tip that will get cut off when the blocks are assembled.  These are the things we quilters see as we work closely with the patterns, but are never seen on the finished quilt- regardless of the size.Since many of these blocks have mirror image piecing – it is doing wonders for my concentration. That is a nice way of saying, a lot of cursing and resewing is going on here.Soon the back of the blocks will be buried forever inside the quilt, so I enjoy showing it. I’m a few weeks ahead, once I start I project I like to move forward. That became an issue with the Splendid Sampler where I had to wait each week for the new blocks. At least here, I have the whole pattern on hand.In the book there are three options for layout, I chose the largest option. In the QAL we haven’t gotten to the houses yet, but I finished them early on since, in my layout, the trees are part of this section.Since I’m playing around with different backgrounds, I wanted to make sure these two share the same one.  This isn’t the layout, it’s just give an idea of how the blocks and colors work. I am very happy with my color choice. Being monochormatic pulls everything together.

 

 

 

Leah